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 following article published more than ten years ago, in August 2004 refutes the 9/11 Commission script as to what actually happened on the planes.

Much of this  detailed information was based on alleged cell phone conversations between passengers and family members. Yet the technology to use a cell phone on a plane above 8500 feet did not exist in September 2001.  

A revised version of the article was subsequently published in my book entitled America’s “War on Terrorism”, Montreal 2005, which can be ordered directly from Global Research   

More Holes in the Official Story: The 9/11 Cell Phone Calls    original

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, August 10, 2004

“We Have Some Planes”

The 9/11 Commission’s Report provides an almost visual description of the Arab hijackers. It depicts in minute detail events occurring inside the cabin of the four hijacked planes.

In the absence of surviving passengers, this “corroborating evidence”, was based on passengers’ cell and air phone conversations with their loved ones. According to the Report, the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was only recovered in the case of one of the flights (UAL 93).

Focusing on the personal drama of the passengers, the Commission has built much of its narrative around the phone conversations. The Arabs are portrayed with their knives and box cutters, scheming in the name of Allah, to bring down the planes and turn them “into large guided missiles” (Report, Chapter 1, http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch1.pdf ).

The Technology of Wireless Transmission

The Report conveys the impression that cell phone ground-to-air communication from high altitude was of reasonably good quality, and that there was no major impediment or obstruction in wireless transmission.

Some of the conversations were with onboard air phones, which contrary to the cell phones provide for good quality transmission. The report does not draw a clear demarcation between the two types of calls.

More significantly, what this carefully drafted script fails to mention is that, given the prevailing technology in September 2001, it was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to place a wireless cell call from an aircraft traveling at high speed above 8000 feet:

“Wireless communications networks weren’t designed for ground-to-air communication. Cellular experts privately admit that they’re surprised the calls were able to be placed from the hijacked planes, and that they lasted as long as they did. They speculate that the only reason that the calls went through in the first place is that the aircraft were flying so close to the ground (http://www.elliott.org/technology/2001/cellpermit.htm)

Expert opinion within the wireless telecom industry casts serious doubt on “the findings” of the 9/11 Commission. According to Alexa Graf, a spokesman of AT&T, commenting in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks:

“it was almost a fluke that the [9/11] calls reached their destinations… From high altitudes, the call quality is not very good, and most callers will experience drops. Although calls are not reliable, callers can pick up and hold calls for a little while below a certain altitude” (http://wirelessreview.com/ar/wireless_final_contact/)

New Wireless Technology

While serious doubts regarding the cell calls were expressed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, a new landmark in the wireless telecom industry has further contributed to upsetting the Commission’s credibility. Within days of the release of the 9/11 Commission Report in July, American Airlines and Qualcomm, proudly announced the development of a new wireless technology –which will at some future date allow airline passengers using their cell phones to contact family and friends from a commercial aircraft (no doubt at a  special rate aerial roaming charge) (see https://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2004/07/15/american-airlines-and-qualcomm-complete-test-flight-evaluate-cabin-mobile)

“Travelers could be talking on their personal cellphones as early as 2006. Earlier this month [July 2004], American Airlines conducted a trial run on a modified aircraft that permitted cell phone calls.” (WP, July 27, 2004)

Aviation Week (07/20/04) described this new technology in an authoritative report published in July 2004:

“Qualcomm and American Airlines are exploring [July 2004] ways for passengers to use commercial cell phones inflight for air-to-ground communication. In a recent 2-hr. proof-of-concept flight, representatives from government and the media used commercial Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) third-generation cell phones to place and receive calls and text messages from friends on the ground.

For the test flight from Dallas-Fort Worth, the aircraft was equipped with an antenna in the front and rear of the cabin to transmit cell phone calls to a small in-cabin CDMA cellular base station. This “pico cell” transmitted cell phone calls from the aircraft via a Globalstar satellite to the worldwide terrestrial phone network”

Needless to say, neither the service, nor the “third generation” hardware, nor the “Picco cell” CDMA base station inside the cabin (which so to speak mimics a cell phone communication tower inside the plane) were available on the morning of September 11, 2001.

The 911 Commission points to the clarity and detail of these telephone conversations.

In substance, the Aviation Week report creates yet another embarrassing hitch in the official story.

The untimely July American Airlines / Qualcomm announcement acted as a cold shower. Barely acknowledged in press reports, it confirmed that the Bush administration had embroidered the cell phone narrative (similar to what they did with WMDs) and that the 9/11 Commission’s account was either flawed or grossly exaggerated.

Altitude and Cellphone Transmission

According to industry experts, the crucial link in wireless cell phone transmission from an aircraft is altitude. Beyond a certain altitude which is usually reached within a few minutes after takeoff, cell phone calls are no longer possible.

In other words, given the wireless technology available on September 11 2001, these cell calls could not have been placed from high altitude.

The only way passengers could have got through to family and friends using their cell phones, is if the planes were flying below 8000 feet. Yet even at low altitude, below 8000 feet, cell phone communication is of poor quality.

The crucial question: at what altitude were the planes traveling, when the calls were placed?

While the information provided by the Commission is scanty, the Report’s timeline does not suggest that the planes were consistently traveling at low altitude. In fact the Report confirms that a fair number of the cell phone calls were placed while the plane was traveling at altitudes above 8000 feet, which is considered as the cutoff altitude for cell phone transmission.

Let us review the timeline of these calls in relation to the information provided by the Report on flight paths and altitude.

United Airlines Flight 175

United Airlines Flight 175 departed for Los Angeles at 8:00:

 ”It pushed back from its gate at 7:58 and departed Logan Airport at 8:14.”

The Report confirms that by 8:33, “it had reached its assigned cruising altitude of 31,000 feet.” According to the Report, it maintained this cruising altitude until 8.51, when it “deviated from its assigned altitude”:

“The first operational evidence that something was abnormal on United 175 came at 8:47, when the aircraft changed beacon codes twice within a minute. At 8:51, the flight deviated from its assigned altitude, and a minute later New York air traffic controllers began repeatedly and unsuccessfully trying to contact it.”

And one minute later at 8.52, Lee Hanson receives a call from his son Peter.

[Flight UAL 175] ”At 8:52, in Easton, Connecticut, a man named Lee Hanson received a phone call from his son Peter, a passenger on United 175. His son told him: “I think they’ve taken over the cockpit—An attendant has been stabbed— and someone else up front may have been killed. The plane is making strange moves. Call United Airlines—Tell them it’s Flight 175, Boston to LA.

Press reports confirm that Peter Hanson was using his cell (i.e it was not an air phone). Unless the plane had suddenly nose-dived, the plane was still at high altitude at 8.52. (Moreover, Hanson’s call could have been initiated at least a minute prior to his father Lee Hanson picking up the phone.)

Another call was received at 8.52 (one minute after it deviated from its assigned altitude of 31,000 feet). The Report does not say whether this is an air phone or a cell phone call:

Also at 8:52, a male flight attendant called a United office in San Francisco, reaching Marc Policastro. The flight attendant reported that the flight had been hijacked, both pilots had been killed, a flight attendant had been stabbed, and the hijackers were probably flying the plane. The call lasted about two minutes, after which Policastro and a colleague tried unsuccessfully to contact the flight.

It is not clear whether this was a call to Policastro’s cell phone or to the UAL switchboard.

At 8:58, UAL 175 “took a heading toward New York City.”:

“At 8:59, Flight 175 passenger Brian David Sweeney tried to call his wife, Julie. He left a message on their home answering machine that the plane had been hijacked. He then called his mother, Louise Sweeney, told her the flight had been hijacked, and added that the passengers were thinking about storming the cockpit to take control of the plane away from the hijackers.

At 9:00, Lee Hanson received a second call from his son Peter:

It’s getting bad, Dad—A stewardess was stabbed—They seem to have knives and Mace—They said they have a bomb—It’s getting very bad on the plane—Passengers are throwing up and getting sick—The plane is making jerky movements—I don’t think the pilot is flying the plane—I think we are going down—I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building—Don’t worry, Dad— If it happens, it’ll be very fast—My God, my God.

The call ended abruptly. Lee Hanson had heard a woman scream just before it cut off. He turned on a television, and in her home so did Louise Sweeney. Both then saw the second aircraft hit the World Trade Center.50 At 9:03:11, United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center. All on board, along with an unknown number of people in the tower, were killed instantly.”

American Airlines Flight 77

American Airlines Flight 77 was scheduled to depart from Washington Dulles for Los Angeles at 8:10… ”At 8:46, the flight reached its assigned cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.”

At 8:51, American 77 transmitted its last routine radio communication. The hijacking began between 8:51 and 8:54. As on American 11 and United 175, the hijackers used knives (reported by one passenger) and moved all the passengers (and possibly crew) to the rear of the aircraft (reported by one flight attendant and one passenger). Unlike the earlier flights, the Flight 77 hijackers were reported by a passenger to have box cutters. Finally, a passenger reported that an announcement had been made by the “pilot” that the plane had been hijacked….

On flight AA 77, which allegedly crashed into the Pentagon, the transponder was turned off at 8:56am; the recorded altitude at the time the transponder was turned off is not mentioned. According to the Commission’s Report, cell calls started 16 minutes later, at 9:12am, twenty minutes before it (allegedly) crashed into the Pentagon at 9.32am:

” [at 9.12] Renee May called her mother, Nancy May, in Las Vegas. She said her flight was being hijacked by six individuals who had moved them to the rear of the plane.”

According to the Report, when the autopilot was disengaged at 9:29am, the aircraft was at 7,000 feet and some 38 miles west of the Pentagon. This happened two minutes before the crash.

Most of the calls on Flight 77 were placed between 9.12am and 9.26am,  prior to the disengagement of automatic piloting at 9.29am.  The plane could indeed have been traveling at either a higher or a lower altitude to that reached at 9.29. Yet, at the same time there is no indication in the Report that the plane had been traveling below the 7000 feet level, which it reached at 9.29am.

At some point between 9:16 and 9:26, Barbara Olson called her husband, Ted Olson, the solicitor general of the United States. [using an airphone]

(Report p 7, see http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch1.pdf )

United  Airlines Flight 93

UAL flight 93 was the only one of the four planes that, according to the official story, did not crash into a building. Flight 93 passengers, apparently:”alerted through phone calls, attempted to subdue the hijackers. and the hijackers crashed the plane [in Pennsylvania] to prevent the passengers gaining control.” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_flight_93 ). Another version of events, was that UAL 93 was shot down.

According to the Commission’s account:

“the first 46 minutes of Flight 93’s cross-country trip proceeded routinely. Radio communications from the plane were normal. Heading, speed, and altitude ran according to plan. At 9:24, Ballinger’s warning to United 93 was received in the cockpit. Within two minutes, at 9:26, the pilot, Jason Dahl, responded with a note of puzzlement: “Ed, confirm latest mssg plz—Jason.”70 The hijackers attacked at 9:28. While traveling 35,000 feet above eastern Ohio, United 93 suddenly dropped 700 feet. Eleven seconds into the descent, the FAA’s air traffic control center in Cleveland received the first of two radio transmissions from the aircraft….”

At least ten cell calls are reported to have taken place on flight 93.

The Report confirms that passengers started placing calls with cell and air phones shortly after 9.32am, four minutes after the Report’s confirmation of the plane’s attitude of 35,000 feet. In other words, the calls started some 9 minutes before the Cleveland Center lost UAL 93’s transponder signal (9.41) and approximately 30 minutes before the crash in Pennsylvania (10.03)

“At 9:41, Cleveland Center lost United 93’s transponder signal. The controller located it on primary radar, matched its position with visual sightings from other aircraft, and tracked the flight as it turned east, then south.164 “

This suggests that the altitude was known to air traffic control up until the time when the transponder signal was lost by the Cleveland Center. (Radar and visual sightings provided information on its flight path from 9.41 to 10.03.)

Moreover, there was no indication from the Report that the aircraft had swooped down to a lower level of altitude, apart from the 700 feet drop recorded at 9.28. from a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet:

“At 9:32, a hijacker, probably Jarrah, made or attempted to make the following announcement to the passengers of Flight 93:“Ladies and Gentlemen: Here the captain, please sit down keep remaining sitting.

We have a bomb on board. So, sit.” The flight data recorder (also recovered) indicates that Jarrah then instructed the plane’s autopilot to turn the aircraft around and head east. The cockpit voice recorder data indicate that a woman, most likely a flight attendant, was being held captive in the cockpit. She struggled with one of the hijackers who killed or otherwise silenced her.

Shortly thereafter, the passengers and flight crew began a series of calls from GTE airphones and cellular phones. These calls between family, friends, and colleagues took place until the end of the flight and provided those on the ground with firsthand accounts. They enabled the passengers to gain critical information, including the news that two aircraft had slammed into the World Trade Center.77…At least two callers from the flight reported that the hijackers knew that passengers were making calls but did not seem to care.

The hijackers were wearing red bandanas, and they forced the passengers to the back of the aircraft.80 Callers reported that a passenger had been stabbed and that two people were lying on the floor of the cabin, injured or dead—possibly the captain and first officer. One caller reported that a flight attendant had been killed.81 One of the callers from United 93 also reported that he thought the hijackers might possess a gun. But none of the other callers reported the presence of a firearm. One recipient of a call from the aircraft recounted specifically asking her caller whether the hijackers had guns.

The passenger replied that he did not see one. No evidence of firearms or of their identifiable remains was found at the aircraft’s crash site, and the cockpit voice recorder gives no indication of a gun being fired or mentioned at any time.

We believe that if the hijackers had possessed a gun, they would have used it in the flight’s last minutes as the passengers fought back.82 Passengers on three flights reported the hijackers’ claim of having a bomb. The FBI told us they found no trace of explosives at the crash sites. One of the passengers who mentioned a bomb expressed his belief that it was not real. Lacking any evidence that the hijackers attempted to smuggle such illegal items past the security screening checkpoints, we believe the bombs were probably fake. During at least five of the passengers’ phone calls, information was shared about the attacks that had occurred earlier that morning at the World Trade Center. Five calls described the intent of passengers and surviving crew members to revolt against the hijackers. According to one call, they voted on whether to rush the terrorists in an attempt to retake the plane. They decided, and acted. At 9:57, the passenger assault began. Several passengers had terminated phone calls with loved ones in order to join the revolt. One of the callers ended her message as follows:

“Everyone’s running up to first class. I’ve got to go. Bye.” The cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds of the passenger assault muffled by the intervening cockpit door. Some family members who listened to the recording report that they can hear the voice of a loved one among the din.

We cannot identify whose voices can be heard. But the assault was sustained. In response, Jarrah immediately began to roll the airplane to the left and right, attempting to knock the passengers off balance. At 9:58:57, Jarrah told another hijacker in the cockpit to block the door. Jarrah continued to roll the airplane sharply left and right, but the assault continued. At 9:59, Jarrah changed tactics and pitched the nose of the airplane up and down to disrupt the assault. The recorder captured the sounds of loud thumps, crashes, shouts, and breaking glasses and plates.

At 10:00:03, Jarrah stabilized the airplane. Five seconds later, Jarrah asked, “Is that it? Shall we finish it off?” A hijacker responded, “No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off.” The sounds of fighting continued outside the cockpit. Again, Jarrah pitched the nose of the aircraft up and down.At 10:00:26, a passenger in the background said, “In the cockpit. If we don’t we’ll die!” Sixteen seconds later, a passenger yelled,“Roll it!” Jarrah stopped the violent maneuvers at about 10:01:00 and said, “Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest!” He then asked another hijacker in the cockpit,“ Is that it? I mean, shall we put it down?” to which the other replied, “Yes, put it in it, and pull it down.” The passengers continued their assault and at 10:02:23, a hijacker said, “Pull it down! Pull it down!” The hijackers remained at the controls but must have judged that the passengers were only seconds from overcoming them. The airplane headed down; the control wheel was turned hard to the right.

The airplane rolled onto its back, and one of the hijackers began shouting “Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest. ”With the sounds of the passenger counterattack continuing, the aircraft plowed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 580 miles per hour, about 20 minutes’ flying time from Washington D.C. Jarrah’s objective was to crash his airliner into symbols of the American Republic, the Capitol or the White House. He was defeated by the alerted, unarmed passengers of United”

The Mysterious Call of Edward Felt from UAL 93

Earlier coverage of the fate of UAL 93 was based in part on a reported cell call from a passenger named Edward Felt, who managed to reach an emergency official in Pennsylvania. How he got the emergency supervisor’s number and managed to reach him remains unclear.

The call was apparently received at 9.58 am, eight minutes before the reported time of the crash at 10.06 am in Pennsylvania:

“Local emergency officials said they received a cell phone call at 9.58 am from a man who said he was a passenger aboard the flight. The man said he had locked himself in the bathroom and told emergency dispatchers that the plane had been hijacked. “We are being hijacked! We are being hijacked!” he was quoted as saying. A California man identified as Tom Burnett reportedly called his wife and told her that somebody on the plane had been stabbed. “We’re all going to die, but three of us are going to do something,” he told her. “I love you honey.”

The alleged call by Edward Felt from the toilet of the aircraft of UAL 93 was answered by Glenn Cramer, the emergency supervisor in Pennsylvania who took the call.

It is worth noting that Glenn Cramer was subsequently gagged by the FBI.” (See Robert Wallace`s incisive analysis published in Sept 2002 by the Daily Mirror, (http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/WAL403A.html ).

Ironically, this high profile cell call by Ed Felt, which would have provided crucial evidence to the 9/11 Commission was, for some reason, not mentioned in the Report.

American Airlines Flight 11

Flight 11 took off at 7:59.  Just before 8:14. The Report outlines an airphone conversation of flight attendant Betty Ong and much of the narrative hinges upon this airphone conversation

There are no clear-cut reports on the use of cell phones on Flight AA11.  According to the Report, American 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8.46.

Concluding Remarks

A large part of the description, regarding the 19 hijackers relies on cell phone conversations with family and friends.

While a few of these calls (placed at low altitude) could have got through, the wireless technology was not available. On this issue, expert opinion within the wireless telecom industry is unequivocal.

In other words, at least part of the Commission’s script in Chapter 1 on the cell phone conversations, is fabricated. 

According to the American Airline / Qualcomm announcement, the technology for cell phone transmission at high altitude will only be available aboard commercial aircraft in 2006. This is an inescapable fact.

In the eyes of public opinion, the cell phone conversations on the Arab hijackers is needed to sustain the illusion that America is under attack.

original

The “war on terrorism” underlying the National Security doctrine relies on real time “evidence” concerning the Arab hijackers. The latter personify, so to speak, this illusive “outside enemy” (Al Qaeda), which is threatening the homeland.

Embodied into the Commission’s “script” of 911, the narrative of what happened on the plane with the Arab hijackers is therefore crucial. It is an integral part of the Administration’s disinformation and propaganda program. It constitutes a justification for the anti-terror legislation under the Patriot acts and the waging of America’s pre-emptive wars against Afghanistan and Iraq.

 Note: Emphasis added in bold font. 

America’s “War on Terrorism”

Michel Chossudovsky’s book can be order directly from Global Research. Click image to order


ANNEX

The 9/11 Report’s Footnotes on the Cell Phone Conversations

70. On FDR, see NTSB report,“Specialist’s Factual Report of Investigation—Digital Flight Data Recorder” for United Airlines Flight 93, Feb. 15, 2002; on CVR, see FBI report,“CVR from UA Flight #93,” Dec. 4, 2003; Commission review of Aircraft Communication and Reporting System (ACARS) messages sent to and from Flight 93 (which indicate time of message transmission and receipt); see UAL record, Ed Ballinger ACARS log, Sept. 11, 2001. At 9:22, after learning of the events at the World Trade Center, Melody Homer, the wife of co-pilot Leroy Homer, had an ACARS message sent to her husband in the cockpit asking if he was okay. See UAL record,ACARS message, Sept. 11, 2001.

71. On FDR, see NTSB report,“Specialist’s Factual Report of Investigation—Digital Flight Data Recorder” for United Airlines Flight 93, Feb. 15, 2002; on CVR, see FBI report,“CVR from UA Flight #93,” Dec. 4, 2003; FAA report,“Summary of Air Traffic Hijack Events: September 11, 2001,” Sept. 17, 2001; NTSB report, Air Traffic Control Recording—United Airlines Flight 93, Dec. 21, 2001.

72.The 37 passengers represented a load factor of 20.33 percent of the plane’s seating capacity of 182, considerably below the 52.09 percent for Flight 93 on Tuesdays in the three-month period prior to September 11 (June 11–September 4, 2001). See UAL report, Flight 93 EWR-SFO load factors, undated. Five passengers holding reservations for Flight 93 did not show for the flight.All five were interviewed and cleared by the FBI. FBI report,“Flight #93 ‘No Show’ Passengers from 9/11/01,” Sept. 18, 2001.

73. INS record,Withdrawal of Application for Admission for Mohamed al Kahtani,Aug. 4, 2001.

74. See FAA regulations,Admission to flight deck, 14 C.F.R. § 121.547 (2001);UAL records, copies of boarding passes for United 93, Sept. 11,2001.One passenger reported that ten first-class passengers were aboard the flight. If that number is accurate, it would include the four hijackers. FBI report of investigation, interview of Lisa Jefferson, Sept. 11, 2001;UAL record, Flight 93 passenger manifest, Sept. 11, 2001.All but one of the six passengers seated in the first-class cabin communicated with the ground during the flight, and none mentioned anyone from their cabin having gone into the cockpit before the hijacking.Moreover, it is unlikely that the highly regarded and experienced pilot and co-pilot of Flight 93 would have allowed an observer into the cockpit before or after takeoff who had not obtained the proper permission. See UAL records, personnel files of Flight 93 pilots. For jumpseat information, see UAL record,Weight and Balance Information for Flight 93 and Flight 175, Sept. 11, 2001;AAL records, Dispatch Environmental Control/Weekly Flight Summary for Flight 11 and Flight 77, Sept. 11, 2001.

75. Like Atta on Flight 11, Jarrah apparently did not know how to operate the communication radios; thus his attempts to communicate with the passengers were broadcast on the ATC channel. See FBI report,“CVR from UA Flight #93,” Dec. 4, 2003.Also, by 9:32 FAA notified United’s headquarters that the flight was not responding to radio calls.According to United, the flight’s nonresponse and its turn to the east led the airline to believe by 9:36 that the plane was hijacked. See Rich Miles interview (Nov. 21, 2003); UAL report, “United dispatch SMFDO activities—terrorist crisis,” Sept. 11, 2001.

76. In accordance with FAA regulations, United 93’s cockpit voice recorder recorded the last 31 minutes of sounds from the cockpit via microphones in the pilots’ headsets, as well as in the overhead panel of the flight deck. This is the only recorder from the four hijacked airplanes to survive the impact and ensuing fire.The CVRs and FDRs from American 11 and United 175 were not found,and the CVR from American Flight 77 was badly burned and not recoverable. See FBI report,“CVR from UA Flight #93,”Dec. 4, 2003; see also FAA regulations, 14 C.F.R. §§ 25.1457, 91.609, 91.1045, 121.359; Flight 93 CVR data. A transcript of the CVR recording was prepared by the NTSB and the FBI.

77. All calls placed on airphones were from the rear of the aircraft. There was one airphone installed in each row of seats on both sides of the aisle.The airphone system was capable of transmitting only eight calls at any one time. See FBI report of investigation, airphone records for flights UAL 93 and UAL 175 on Sept. 11, 2001, Sept. 18, 2001.

78.FAA audio file, Cleveland Center, position Lorain Radar; Flight 93 CVR data; FBI report, “CVR from UA Flight #93,” Dec. 4, 2003.

79. FBI reports of investigation, interviews of recipients of calls from Todd Beamer, Sept. 11, 2001, through June 11, 2002; FBI reports of investigation, interviews of recipients of calls from Sandy Bradshaw, Sept. 11, 2001, through Oct. 4, 2001.Text messages warning the cockpit of Flight 93 were sent to the aircraft by Ed Ballinger at 9:24. See UAL record, Ed Ballinger’s ACARS log, Sept. 11, 2001.

80.We have relied mainly on the record of FBI interviews with the people who received calls. The FBI interviews were conducted while memories were still fresh and were less likely to have been affected by reading the accounts of others or hearing stories in the media. In some cases we have conducted our own interviews to supplement or verify the record. See FBI reports of investigation, interviews of recipients of calls from Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham,Sandy Bradshaw,Marion Britton,Thomas Burnett, Joseph DeLuca,Edward Felt, Jeremy Glick,Lauren
Grandcolas, Linda Gronlund, CeeCee Lyles, Honor Wainio.

81. FBI reports of investigation, interviews of recipients of calls from Thomas Burnett, Sept. 11, 2001; FBI reports of investigation, interviews of recipients of calls from Marion Britton, Sept. 14, 2001, through Nov. 8, 2001; Lisa Jefferson interview (May 11, 2004); FBI report of investigation, interview of Lisa Jefferson, Sept. 11, 2001; Richard Belme interview (Nov. 21, 2003).

82. See Jere Longman, Among the Heroes—United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back (Harper-Collins, 2002), p. 107; Deena Burnett interview (Apr. 26, 2004); FBI reports of investigation, interviews of recipients of calls from Jeremy Glick, Sept. 11, 2001, through Sept. 12, 2001; Lyzbeth Glick interview (Apr. 22, 2004). Experts told us that a gunshot would definitely be audible on the CVR. The FBI found no evidence of a firearm at the crash site of Flight 93. See FBI response to Commission briefing request no. 6, undated (topic 11).The FBI collected 14 knives or portions of knives at the Flight 93 crash site. FBI report, “Knives Found at the UA Flight 93 Crash Site,” undated.

83. FBI response to Commission briefing request no. 6, undated (topic 11); FBI reports of investigation, interviews of recipients of calls from Jeremy Glick, Sept. 11, 2001, through Sept. 12, 2001.

84. See FBI reports of investigation, interviews of recipients of calls from United 93.

85. FBI reports of investigation, interviews of recipients of calls from United 93. For quote, see FBI report of investigation, interview of Philip Bradshaw, Sept. 11, 2001; Philip Bradshaw interview (June 15, 2004); Flight 93 FDR and CVR data.At 9:55:11 Jarrah dialed in the VHF Omni-directional Range (VOR) frequency for the VOR navigational aid at Washington Reagan National Airport, further indicating that the attack was planned for the nation’s capital.

Law enforcing agencies on January 22 claimed that they arrested al Salafi, along with his two companions, during a joint raid in Lahore. However, sources revealed that al Salafi was actually arrested sometimes in December last year and it was only disclosed on January 22.

“During the investigations, Yousaf al Salafi revealed that he was getting funding – routed through America – to run the organisation in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria,” a source privy to the investigations revealed to Daily Express on the condition of anonymity.

Al Salafi is a Pakistani-Syrian, who entered Pakistan through Turkey five months ago. Earlier, it was reported that he crossed into Turkey from Syria and was caught there. However, he managed to escape from Turkey and reached Pakistan to establish IS in the region.

Sources said al Salafi’s revelations were shared with the US Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent visit to Islamabad. “The matter was also taken up with CENTCOM chief General Lloyd Austin during his visit to Islamabad earlier this month,” a source said.

Al Salafi also confessed that he – along with a Pakistani accomplice, reportedly imam of a mosque – was recruiting people to send them to Syria and was getting around $600 per person from Syria.

“The US has been condemning the IS activities but unfortunately has not been able to stop funding of these organisations, which is being routed through the US,” a source said.

“The US had to dispel the impression that it is financing the group for its own interests and that is why it launched offensive against the organisation in Iraq but not in Syria,” he added.

There are reports that citizens from Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India besides other countries are being recruited by the IS to fight in Syria. Posters and wall chalking in favour of the IS have also been seen in various cities in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2015.

The bad taste left in the majority of Hong Kong residents’ mouths from America’s last attempt at subversion in the Chinese special administrative region, has barely begun to fade as the US State Department and its mobs of “umbrella revolutionaries” take back to the streets in a verbatim reprisal of “Occupy Central” which ended in humiliation and defeat just months ago.

Led by the exact same exposed, corrupt opposition leaders, the clearly diminished movement was unable to “occupy” any part of downtown Hong Kong. The number of protesters was put at around 5,000 by Hong Kong’s police, while the movement’s leadership claimed their numbers were more than double that.

The South China Morning Post would admit in a recent article that:

 Leading the charge were key figures of the Occupy Central movement including Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-ming. Others at the front included Democratic Party founding chairman Martin Lee Chu-Ming as well as Daisy Chan Sin-Ying.

Benny Tai, who poses as the founder of the “Occupy Central” movement, has been sufficiently exposed as a proxy of the US State Department with nearly every organization he is associated with a direct recipient of US government funding. Also mentioned by the South China Morning Post is Martin Lee, who was literally in Washington D.C. before the US State Department’s foreign-sedition funding arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), appealing for aid ahead of planned unrest earlier last year.

The ideology of the new, post-coup, Ukraine, is the ideology of its leaders. Above all, Dmitriy Yarosh, the founder of Right Sector, is that; but so too are Andrei Beletsky, the founder of Azov Battalion; and Andriy Parubiy and Oleh Tyahnybok, the co-founders of the “Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine,” the Party which, at the CIA’s urging, changed its name in 2004 to “Freedom” or “Svoboda,” in order to sell it better in the West. All of these leaders are leaders in this new Government, but not at its nominal top, because the U.S. regime doesn’t want the ties of its new Government to Hitler’s Nazi Party to be so obvious to Americans or to Europeans — it would be bad PR, especially because the United States lost so many men fighting against Hitler’s forces, and against the fascisms and racisms of Tojo and of Mussolini, all of which (and especially Hitler’s views) are basically boiled down here in the statement quoted below (only replacing “Ukraine” where Hitler said “German,” because this is a Ukrainian nazi, not a member of the original nazi party, which was the National Socialist Party of Germany).

The ideology of this Government was best expressed in 2010 by Andrei Biletsky; and the high points in his statement are here being boldfaced. The translation provided from the original Ukrainian, is mainly via google chrome auto-translate, but is clarified by minor changes from me, Eric Zuesse, in order to improve readability. Some terms are not translatable on the Web; and, so, someone who knows the Ukrainian language should improve on the translation that is provided here, and is invited to provide such an improved translation, either alongside this one, or else at a different site. But, here is the best that I can come up with:

The Ukrainian text is here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20100216231547/http://rid.org.ua/?p=256

&

http://rid.org.ua/?p=256

Here is the translation:

Ukrainian Social Nationalism  [Соціал-Націоналізму]

[symbol is presented here of the inverted Nazi Wolfsangel sign]

rid00.jpg

The main idea of mystical Social Nationalism is its creation, consisting not of piles of separate individuals united mechanistically into something called “Ukrainian” and the presence of Ukrainian passport, but instead a single National biological organism, which will consist of a new people — a physically, intellectually and spiritually more highly developed people. From the mass of individuals will thus come forth the nation, and the faint start of modern man: Superman.

Social Nationalism is based on a number of fundamental principles that clearly distinguish it from other right-wing movements. This triad is: socialism, racism, imperialism. 

I. Socialism. We fight to create a harmonious national community. We argue that cutting social rozmezhovanist leads to decay and disintegration of Spirit of the national community, as well as fostering selfishness. We vidmitayemo being rich (provided the wealth acquired by them fair and socially useful work), but rejected the possibility of the poor. Every Ukrainian irrespective of the nature of the work should have a decent social status and material security. ”I am ashamed to be poor in a rich country, even more ashamed to be rich in a poor country.”

On the principle of socialism follows our complete negation of democracy and liberalism, which generate rozbytthya Nation isolated on gray power unit and a crowd of famous personalities (ochlocracy). Instead, we put forward the idea of national solidarity, the natural hierarchy and discipline, as the basis of our new society. Not a “democratic vote” crowd, who can not give councils to their own life, much less to the life of the State, but instead natural selection of the best representatives of the Nation — born-leaders as Ukraine’s leaders. Anyone who believes that this system of government is unacceptable, let him think, and if acceptable modern power system in which the prostitute and the Academy have equal say where degraded addict or gay equally valued in the election of the commander of the armored division. People by nature are born with different abilities and abilities and therefore the greatest happiness of man – when it finds its own place in the national hierarchy and conscientiously fulfills its purpose in life.

II. Racism. All our nationalism is nothing — just a castle in the sand — without reliance on the foundation of blood Races. Traditional (postwar, postounivskomu) nationalism has put the cart before the horse – claim that the nation is linguistic, cultural or territorial and economic phenomenon. We certainly do not exclude the value of spiritual, cultural and linguistic factors, as well as territorial patriotism. But our deep conviction is that all this only derivatives from our race, our racial nature. If Ukrainian spirituality, culture and language are unique, it is only because our racial nature is unique. If Ukraine will become paradise on earth, it is only because our Race turned it so. 

Accordingly, treatment of our national body should start with racial purification of the Nation. And then in a healthy body can be regenerated a Race healthy national spirit, and its culture, language and everything else. Apart from the question of purity, we must pay attention to matters of usefulness to Races. Ukrainians — it’s part (and one of the largest and highest quality) of the European White Races. Races that produce a great civilization, the highest human achievement. The historic mission of our Nation, a watershed in this century, is thus to lead the White peoples of the world in the final crusade for their survival. It is to lead the war against Semites and the sub-humans they use. 

III. Imperialism. We change the slogans ”Independent Ukraine,” “United Ukraine” and “Ukrainians,” by an imperial nation that has a long history. Throughout its existence, the Ukrainians had at least two superpowers – Great Scythia and Kievan Rus. The task of the present generation is to create a Third Empire [a Ukrainian Third Reich] — Great Ukraine. This question, oddly enough, is not so much political as biological. Any living organism in nature seeks to expand, reproduce itself, increase its numbers. This law is universal and Paramecium caudatum, and for the person and for the Nation-Race. Suspension means extinction in nature — death. The slowdown in population growth leads to biological death of Nations, the suspension of political expansion, and decline of the state. Thousands of times we have heard stenannya pseudo-nationalist oppression of us Poles and Moscow, their curses to the empires. Social Nationalism is not so, he says - if we are strong, we take what is ours by right and even more, we will build a superpower empire — Great Ukraine, which is the legal successor of the Scythian and Kiev Russian empires. If we are weak, we place among the conquered peoples dying. As things are in nature! The choice is ours!

So, Social Nationalism raises to shield all old Ukrainian Aryan values forgotten in modern society. Only their recovery and implementation by a group of fanatical fighters can we lead to the final victory of European civilization in the world struggle. 

This stand is right, and can not be otherwise!

Glory to Ukraine! 

Andrei Beletsky

 

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.

A school director has filed a complaint against the father of a fourth grader. He is also supposed to have inflicted “bullying” onto the schoolboy, according to the family lawyer.

January 8th, 2015, the day after the killing at Charlie Hebdo.  In a primary school in Nice, fourth grade pupils discuss the tragedy with their schoolteacher. “Are you Charlie?”, he asks them. Ahmed, aged 8, says no. Why not? “Because they caricatured the Prophet. I am with the terrorists.”  The teacher alerts the school headmaster, who decides to summon the boy, and then his parents, who reason with their offspring. But he does not stop there. On January 21st, the head of the school, which is located in the south of the city, lodged a complaint at the police station for “glorification of terrorism”, according to the lawyer for the family of the child, Mr Sefen Guez Guez.

Contacted Wednesday evening by Libération, the Minister of Education confirmed that a complaint had been filed against the father of the child, who is supposed to have made an “intrusion” into the school premises.  And that “an alert had been sent to child protection services.”

“From there, the judicial machine is launched,” explains to Libération Mr Guez Guez, the lawyer defending Ahmed. Summoned on Wednesday afternoon to the police station in Nice, as part of an unofficial hearing, the child remained there for almost two hours. What next?  The lawyer related the events in a series of tweets, under the moniker “IbnSalah” .

[Tweet] S. Ibn Salah Question from OPJ [police officer in the French Criminal Investigation Department]: “What does the word terrorism mean to you ? – I don’t know.” Ahmed. 8-year-old.

[Tweet] S. Ibn Salah “Did you really say that the journalists deserved to die? – It’s not true, I never said that.”

“Placing a child of 8 years in an unofficial hearing, is telling of the current state of hysteria around this notion of glorifying terrorism. In these kind of cases, pedagogy is necessary”, considers Mr Guez Guez, furious. ”We do not think of leaving it there, the headmaster’s attitude is unacceptable.”  He accuses him of inflicting “bullying” onto Ahmed by “putting him in the corner” and“depriving him of recreation.”

According to the lawyer, the child also recounted having endured this remark while he was playing in the sandbox: ”Stop digging, you will not find a submachine gun to kill us all with.”  Ahmed, a diabetic, had even once been deprived of taking his insulin, according to the lawyer. Contacted by Libération, the prosecutor of Nice confirmed the existence of this unofficial hearing, but did not have any further comment to make.

“In the current context, the school principal decided to report what happened to the police”, Commissioner Marcel Authier explained to the AFP [French Press Agency], noting that it is was absolutely not  a judicial complaint. “The child and his father were summoned to try to understand how a boy of 8 years could be able to make such radical statements”, said the director for the department of public safety. “Obviously, the child does not understand what he said. We do not know where he found his declarations sentiment from”, he said. The primary school, closed, could not be reached on Wednesday evening.

“Glorifying terrorism”: French Minister of Education Najat Vallaud-Belkacem supports the measures taken by Nice Elementary school

Source: http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2015/01/29/enfant-convoque-au-commissariat-pour-apologie-du-terrorisme-la-droite-applaudit_1191086 – JANUARY 29, 2015

Translated by Jenny Bright for Tlaxcala

Politicians react after the summoning of Ahmed, 8-years-old, to the police station for having affirmed his support for the perpetrators of the “Charlie Hebdo” attack.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem supports the administration of the Nice Elementary School where studies Ahmed, 8, summoned to the police station yesterday for “glorifying terrorism” . The staff “responded appropriately”, the Minister of Education said this Thursday. “I say it strongly, not only has this team done well to behave as such, but its monitoring work, educational as well as social, is a useful endeavour and I thank them for it”, the Minister has insisted from the Presidential Palace where she had met with teachers, educators and associations.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem also affirmed that “when the father [of the schoolboy] came into the school facility, he had [...] a brutal attitude, he even repeatedly entered without authorisation into the school building while threatening school staff.  So it is for this precise reason and for that reason only that the school director filed a complaint against the father and not against the child.

A statement which the child’s lawyer, Me Sefen Guez Guez, again challenged on his Twitter account.

[Tweet] S. Ibn Salah @najatvb Nonsense. I signed a police report that testifies to the contrary. Go ahead slandering and defaming, but the truth will always emerge.  State lie.

On the right-wing scene as well, some were keen to show their full support for the school headmaster who made the complaint against the child, as for instance Christian Estrosi, UMP mayor of Nice, where the incident occurred, and Eric Ciotti (UMP).

[Tweet] Christian Estrosi Full support for the school headmaster who courageously denounced the facts. I await justice and firmness in front of parental responsibility.

[Tweet] Eric Ciotti I wonder about the collective hysteria merely because of the unofficial hearing of a child and of his parents after alarming declarations had been uttered.

[Tweet] Eric Ciotti Child heard at Nice, the police and teachers have perfectly reacted given the context, I fully support them.

More cautious, Chantal Jouanno (UDI) has wondered, in a message on Twitter, why “no one [has been] putting their trust in the principal and the police.”

[Tweet] Chantal Jouanno Child heard at Nice with his father. No one trusts the school headmaster and the police?

The communist deputy of the mayor of Paris, Ian Brossat, has not reacted on the substance of the case but to the declarations of some right-wing members.

[Tweet] Ian Brossat Those who rejoice at an 8-year-old being summoned by justice howl when their dear Sarkozy is in custody. #Go figure it out.

As for the National Islamophobia Observatory (OIC), he was indignant: “The National Observatory against Islamophobia is indignant about the treatment inflicted on Ahmed, a child of 8 years, summoned to a police station in Nice”, writes in a statement this authority attached to the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), the representative body of Islam in France. ”The fight against radicalisation should not lead to mass hysteria but must be inscribed within the Republican legal framework”, said the Observatory, which calls on the Minister of Education, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, “to ensure that such excesses do not happen again and to give priority to dialogue in similar cases.”

On Twitter, where the hashtag #Ahmed8 was used nearly 4000 times Thursday morning, users have already taken up the case, with irony , dismay , annoyance , humour , or to express their agreement with the decision of the school headmaster.

“US, India Move Forward on Nuclear Energy Deal” read the headline at the top of USA Today‘s front page (1/26/15). Moving forward–that sounds good, doesn’t it? The subhead was “Obama makes progress on the 1st day of his 3-day visit”–making progress also generally being seen as a good thing.

Online, the headline was “Obama, India’s Modi Cite Nuclear Investment Breakthrough” (1/25/15). And who doesn’t like a “breakthrough”?

The article itself had the same positive spin, beginning with its lead:

President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday they reached “a breakthrough understanding” in freeing up US investment in nuclear energy development in India, as Obama began a three-day visit to India.

Not only is it a “breakthrough understanding,” it’s also going to be “freeing up” investment. In these word choices, USA Today is saying it wants you to know that this is good news.

But what is the news? Here’s how the paper’s Mandakini Gahlot summarizes the agreement:

Picking up from a stalled 2008 civil nuclear agreement between the two countries, the deal would allow US firms to invest in energy in India. It also resolves a dispute over US insistence on tracking fissile material it supplies to the country and over Indian liability provisions that have discouraged US firms from capitalizing on the agreement.

Fukushima nuclear disaster

Fukushima: the kind of thing Obama thinks US corporations shouldn’t have to pay for.

“Indian liability provisions”–what does that mean? The only further explanationUSA Today gives is a paraphrase of the White House view that the agreement “resolves the US concerns on both tracking and liability.” In other words, it doesn’t explain much.

You get a much fuller picture from a story in the Mumbai-based newspaper Indian Express (1/26/15), which explains that the problem is with Indian law:

India’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, has a simple purpose: to make sure that victims of a nuclear accident can get quick compensation, without having to prove the plant operator was negligent, and irrespective of who was at fault…. Section 17b of CLiNDA says the plant operators…can claim compensation from their equipment suppliers if the accident resulted as a result of “equipment or material with patent or latent defects.” And Section 46 makes both suppliers and operators liable to be sued by accident victims.

This is in conflict with the international rules that the US nuclear industry has arranged for itself when marketing its products abroad:

In the US, the law allows victims to file damages claims against operators, suppliers and designers. However, when US firms started selling abroad, they pushed for the concept of legal channeling, which left only operators liable.

These corporations–who have the political backing of the US government–have succeeded in getting international conventions to agree that “no one other than operators can be held responsible” in the event of a nuclear catastrophe. The suppliers want assurances that these international conventions, and not Indian law, will be applied in the wake of such an event.

The “breakthrough” between Obama and Modi seems to be an agreement that the law will be “tweaked” to let US corporations off the hook in case of a devastating accident. For example, suppliers of nuclear equipment could be redefined as “contractors” and therefore not be liable under Indian law.

Of course, if USA Today explained that Obama had gotten the Indian prime minister to find a loophole that would allow US corporations to avoid having to compensate victims of nuclear disasters that they contributed to, that would be harder to present  as a “good news!” story.

We condemn the repeated attacks on journalists in Iraq and we urge the competent authorities to carry out independent and impartial investigations in order to shed light on the circumstances and identify those responsible.

On January 7, 2015, the  Xinhua press Agence reported  that 14 journalists were killed in Iraq in 2014, citing the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate:

“A total of 14 journalists were killed in the violence-ridden Iraq last year, an Iraqi journalists’ body said on Tuesday.

The latest body count brings the death toll of journalists in the Middle East country to 406 since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

“Some media organizations and houses of journalists were not safe from some abuses, whether by security forces or by unidentified parties,” said a report made by the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate.

According to the report, more than 23 offenses had been registered against the journalists during the year, ranging from assassination attempts, detaining, beating and raids on their headquarters and houses to prevent them from reporting.

Such killings and other offenses came despite some positive indicators in general, like growing openness shown by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s new Iraqi government toward the freedom of the journalistic work, including his decision to drop all pending government lawsuits against journalists and media outlets.

The prevailing atmosphere of democracy, which greatly enhanced the freedom of expression, in addition to the official and popular support to the journalists, were not enough to prevent the series of violence against the journalists, making the journalistic work in Iraq fraught with risks, the report added.“

The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) lists only 6 of these victims in its database. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) lists only 4 killed media profesionals.

Question: Why do these organizations not contact their partners of the Journalists’ syndicate? Year after year after year both CPJ and RSF persevere in their evil course of downgrading the number of assassinated colleagues. Read: 2013: Another year of slaughter in Iraq claims the lives of at least 21 media professionals. 

Here are 13 reported cases of  assassinated media professionals in 2014: 

Muhanad al-Akidi, 13 October 2014 (not reported by CPJ, not reported by RSF)

Iraqi Kurdish journalist working for the Sada news agency, was killed Monday at the Al-Ghazlani camp in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Islamic State (IS) militants on Monday evening executed an Iraqi-Kurdish journalist in north-west Iraq.

Muhannad Akidi was shot in the head and killed by IS militants in Alghazlani camp, south of Mosul, a representative of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said in a statement.

Akidi was kidnapped two months ago by IS in Mosul. He worked as a reporter for a local news agency and presented programs on domestic television.

Medical staff in Mosul on Monday night were said to be preparing his body to be returned to his family, according to the Abu Dhabi based Erem News.

Raed Al-Azzawi, 10 October 2014. 

Islamic State militants killed al-Azzawi, a cameraman for the local Sama Salaheddin channel, six weeks after he was kidnapped, according to the stationnews reports, and the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate. Al-Azzawi was killed with his brother and two other residents of Samra village, near Tikrit, the reports said. There were conflicting reports on how he was killed. Family members said he was shot, according to Al-Jazeera, but other news reports cited an anonymous security source saying the victims were beheaded.

The journalist was kidnapped by Islamic State militants in early September 2014, the director of the station, Marwan Naji Jabara, told CPJ. There were conflicting reports on the exact date of his kidnapping.

It is not clear why Islamic State militants kidnapped and killed al-Azzawi. Jabara told CPJ that al-Azzawi was accused of helping the Iraqi Air Force target Islamic State positions, an allegation Jabara denied. Islamist militant groups including the Islamic State havepreviously accused journalists of spying as an excuse or rationale for abducting them, according to CPJ research.

CPJ has documented numerous cases of Iraqi insurgents targeting journalists who have any contact with government officials, including the security forces. Jabara told CPJ that the channel’s support of the Iraqi armed forces leads to constant threats by insurgents, including the Islamic State group. After insurgents took control of Tikrit in June 2014, Sama Salaheddin’s office was raided and its equipment looted, Jabara told CPJ.

Al-Azzawi had also previously worked in the media center for the governor of Salaheddin province, according to news reports, and he may have been targeted for that reason as well. Insurgents have previously targeted individuals working for the government as press officers, according to CPJ research.

It is also possible al-Azzawi was kidnapped after criticizing the group. Jabara told CPJ that some citizens in Samra were upset with Islamic State’s control over their village, especially as it drew bombing from the Iraqi military. According to Jabara, al-Azzawi told his friends that the militants, including one of his relatives who is a senior leader in the group, should leave Samra to stop the bombing.

Safaa al-Khaiyatt, 08 September 2014 (not reported by CPJ, not reported by RSF)

An Iraqi journalist and two policemen were killed in two attacks in Iraq’s northern Nineveh and Kirkuk provinces on Wednesday, local police source said.

The policemen were killed and two others wounded in a bomb explosion near their patrol in the town of al-Zab, about 200 km north of Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

In Nineveh province, unidentified gunmen with their silenced guns shot dead Safaa al-Khaiyatt, a religious programs presenter in the local television Mowselya, as he was leaving his house in the provincial capital city of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Khaiyatt was heading to his work at a television station when the gunmen attacked him, he said.

The middle-aged journalist was the father of five girls and one boy.

Riyadh al-Sarray, 07 September 2014 (not reported by CPJ, not reported by RSF)

The incident came a day after gunmen in Baghdad killed Riyadh al-Sarray, presenter of political and religious programs in the state-run television Iraqia.

Leyla Yildizhan (Deniz Firat), 08 August 2014

Yildizhan, a Kurdish journalist who also goes by Deniz Firat, was killed when shrapnel from a mortar shell hit her in the chest, according to news reports. Yildizhan was covering the clashes in the Mukhmur district between Kurdish forces and insurgents with the Islamic State, an Al-Qaeda splinter group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, the Firat News Agency said.

Firat, who was from the Kurdish city of Van in eastern Turkey, was embedded with Kurdish forces, according to Rahman Gharib, general coordinator for the local press freedom group Metro Center to Defend Journalists, and news reports. She was reporting for the Firat News Agency, an outlet based outside Turkey pro-Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) station. She also reported for other several pro-Kurdish TV stations, including Sterk TVMed NUÇE, and Ronahi TV.

Firat’s body was sent back to her hometown in Çaldıran district of Van in Turkey for her funeral, according to news reports.

Khalid Ali Hamada, 15 June 2014

Hamada, cameraman for Al-Ahad TV, was killed in an attack in northern Diyala province, the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate and Iraqi news outlets reported. Moataz Jamil, a correspondent for the station, was also injured in the attack. Al-Ahad TV is affiliated with the Shia militant group League of the Righteous, according to Phillip Smyth, a researcher at the University of Maryland who focuses on Shia Islamist groups.

The station reported that Hamada was killed as the crew reported on military operations in Diyala province between what it called the “Islamic Resistance” and “terrorists.” CNN reported that Iraqi security forces, backed by Shia militias, clashed with suspected ISIS gunmen in Diyala that day.

The deadly attack came amid escalating clashes between the Iraqi government and its allies against an insurgency spearheaded by Islamic State, an Al-Qaeda splinter group formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS).

There were conflicting reports on how Hamada was killed, with some outlets reporting the journalists were hit by a mortar shell while others said gunmen drove up to them and opened fire with automatic weapons.

Al-Ahad TV did not provide details on the attack or an update on the health status of Jamil, the wounded journalist. The station did not immediately respond to CPJ’s e-mailed request for more information.

It was not clear who was responsible for the attack or whether the journalists were targeted specifically. Some Twitter accounts claiming to support ISIS rejoiced at the news of the attack, declaring the “lions of Islamic State” were responsible. CPJ was unable to verify the claims.

Kamran Najm Ibrahim, June 2014. (not reported by CPJ, not reported by RSF)

Iraq has consistently been among the most dangerous countries for journalists, who are victims of threats and violence from security forces and armed groups. However, the security situation has deteriorated considerably since ISIS began a major offensive in June.  Cameraman Khalid Ali of Al-Ahad TV and freelance photographer Kamran Najm Ibrahim both lost their lives in June while covering the fighting between pro-government forces and militants in Diyala province and Kirkuk.

Hammam Mohammed, 09 April 2014 (not reported by CPJ, not reported by RSF)  

Photographer of Altaghyir satellite TV channel, Hammam Mohammed was killed due to the fall of an army cannon shell on his home in downtown Ramadi city capital of Anbar province. Source:

Mohamed Baidawi, 24 March 2014. (not reported by CPJ)

Reporters Without Borders is dismayed to learn that Mohamed Baidawi, Radio Free Iraq’s Baghdad bureau chief, was shot dead in Baghdad on 22 March, while Radio Babel journalist Raji Hamadallah was badly injured in a shooting attack yesterday in Babil province.

Baidawi was trying to enter the high security “Green Zone” where the Radio Free Iraq’s office is located when he got into an argument at a checkpoint with a member of the presidential guard, who hit him several times and finally shot him in the head.

This well-known journalist’s murder has shocked Iraqi media workers. The presidential guardsman has been arrested and an investigation is under way to determination the circumstances of the shooting. Reporters Without Borders offers its condolences to the victim’s family and colleagues.

Hamadallah was badly injured in a targeted shooting yesterday outside his home in Qada Jalba, in Babil province, 90 km south of Baghdad. Unidentified gunmen shot him several times before fleeing.

“We condemn the repeated attacks on journalists in Iraq and we urge the competent authorities to carry out independent and impartial investigations in order to shed light on the circumstances and identify those responsible,” said Lucie Morillon, head of research and advocacy at Reporters Without Borders.

Muthanna Abdel Hussein, 10 March 2014

Abdel Hussein, a cameraman for the state-run Al-Iraqiya TV station, was killed in a suicide bombing at a police checkpoint in Iraq’s Babil province, according to news reports. The explosion killed dozens of Iraqis, including Khaled Abdel Thamer, another cameraman for the station.

The blast destroyed dozens of cars waiting to pass through the checkpoint, trapping some victims in their burning vehicles. It is unclear if the journalists were driving a vehicle or how near they were to the checkpoint at the time of the explosion. There were conflicting reports on the number of casualties, but a Reuters report citing police and medical sources said that as many as 45 people were killed and 157 injured. Abdel Hussein’s mother told Reuters that she identified her son by his socks and shoes.

The Iraq Journalists Syndicate reported that Abdel Hussein and Abdel Thamer were covering preparations for next month’s parliamentary elections. The elections would be the first since American forces left the country in 2011 and would be held despite a significant spike in violence across the country.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Iraqi officials said they believed Al-Qaeda was responsible. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the formation of a committee to investigate the explosion, according to news reports.

Khaled Abdel Thamer, 10 March 2014

Abdel Thamer, a cameraman for the state-run Al-Iraqiya TV station, was killed in a suicide bombing at a police checkpoint in Iraq’s Babil province, according to news reports. The explosion killed dozens of Iraqis, including Muthanna Abdel Hussein, another cameraman for the station.

The blast destroyed dozens of cars waiting to pass through the checkpoint, trapping some victims in their burning vehicles. It is unclear if the journalists were driving a vehicle or how near they were to the checkpoint at the time of the explosion. There were conflicting reports on the number of casualties, but a Reuters report citing police and medical sources said that as many as 45 people were killed and 157 injured. Abdel Hussein’s mother told Reuters that she identified her son by his socks and shoes.

The Iraq Journalists Syndicate reported that Abdel Hussein and Abdel Thamer were covering preparations for next month’s parliamentary elections. The elections would be the first since American forces left the country in 2011 and would be held despite a significant spike in violence across the country.

No group immediately claimed responsibility f or the attack, but Iraqi officials said they believed Al-Qaeda was responsible. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the formation of a committee to investigate the explosion, according to news reports.

Firas Mohammed Attiyah, 20 January 2014 (Not reported by RSF)

Attiyah, a correspondent with the pro-government news station Fallujah TV, was killed when a bomb exploded at the side of the road in the city of Khalidiya, according to news reports. At the time of the attack, the journalist was accompanying a government patrol that was headed to a ceremony for the reopening of a police station, according to the local Journalistic Freedoms Observatory and other press freedom groups.

The bomb also injured Anbar TV correspondent Muayad Ibrahim, the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate said.

Attiyah had been reporting on clashes between the Iraqi army and the Al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) in Anbar province, according to news reports. In late December, Sunni militants–some linked to ISIS–launched an offensive against security forces in Anbar province, taking at least partial control of both major cities in the province, Ramadi and Fallujah.

Fallujah TV, which was founded in part to counter Al-Qaeda’s influence in the city, posted on Facebook a picture of the journalist’s body draped in an Iraqi flag.

Mohammed Ramadan al-Hadidi, 12 Januari 2014 (not reported by CPJ, not reported by RSF)

Gunmen shot and killed a local television presenter outside his home in Mosul.

Mohammed Ramadan al-Hadidi, who hosted a show on herbal medicine on Nineveh al-Ghad TV, was shot by unidentified gunmen as he left his house in the western part of the city.

A local journalist told CNN that the journalists union received a text message Sunday threatening to target journalists in Nineveh province. The message was signed by al Qaeda-linked groups in the province.

In another incident Sunday, an Iraqi journalist was wounded along with a driver when a bomb attached to the car they were in detonated south of Mosul. The journalist works for the city’s Mosuliya TV channel.

Dirk Adriaensens, Criminologist, writer and activist. Between 1992 and 2003 he led several delegations to Iraq. Member of the International Organizing Committee of the World Tribunal on Iraq (2003-2005). Co-author of several books and articles for numerous newssites. Member of the Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal.

Having just written that Greece needs Spartans in order to prevail over its creditors and the EU, the new Greek government is showing signs of being Spartans. Listen to these words from Greece’s new Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras: “We should not accept or recognize the government of neo-Nazis in Ukraine.” “The EU lacks democracy, and citizens do not believe that their vote can change policy.”

The new Greek government has protested the latest EU denunciation of Russia, saying that the attack on Russia was reported in the media as if the decision was unanimous, whereas in fact, Greece, Slovakia, Hungary and Austria objected. No new sanctions on Russia have been imposed.

The New Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said that a provision that would have imposed further sanctions on Russia was removed at Greece’s insistence from the proposals at the meeting. Greece also required that the communique does not directly blame Russia for the conflict in Ukraine

German foreign minister Steinmeier apparently blustered that the EU would lambast Russia with more words if the independent-minded eastern Ukrainians launched an offensive against the defeated forces that took part in Kiev’s latest assault on the Russian provinces of Ukraine. Washington’s puppet state in Ukraine is vulnerable to collapse if Russia permitted the independent-minded provinces a free hand.

One cannot avoid wondering how long EU officials, Merkel, and Cameron can defend the imposition of austerity upon the peoples of Europe before they are hung off of lamp posts. The kind of austerity that is demanded of Greece and other European peoples is the kind that produces revolutions.

The kind of ignorant arrogance that characterizes Washington’s neoconservatives now afflicts the EU leadership. “Let them eat cake” is the cry and the policy.

If the new Greek government adheres to its Red Cloaks and the EU looters do not bend, Greece can turn to the new BRICS bank for its financing and turn its back to the EU. The other southern European countries that are set up for looting could follow. Intransigence on the part of the EU and Greece’s creditors could unleash a Black Swan that could unwind the EU and, consequently, NATO. Peace would descend upon the plundered and war-torn earth.

If the greed and stupidity of Greece’s creditors and the inflexibility of Germany and the EU persist, Washington’s European Empire could crumble. Just like Xerxes’ army.

The Immortals proved to be no more immortal than the Exceptional people have proven to be exceptional. A few Red Cloaks can scatter the lot.

Let’s hope Greece gets on with the job.

Since the President’s State of the Union message where he announced his plan to push corporate trade agreements and seek Fast Track trade promotion authority, the movement against Fast Track, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and globalized trade has grown. Instead of the bump in support that Obama expected after the State of the Union, opposition has increased inside Congress and in the grass roots.

Indications are that we are winning, and if we continue to mobilize over the next two months, we will win.

Mobilization

Before the President’s speech there was already a large movement organized from across the political spectrum to oppose Fast Track and stop corporate trade agreements.

When we took action on Capitol Hill this week, we did so as part of a larger campaign to stop Fast Track. The US Trade Rep Michael Froman testified before the House and Senate. It was essential for him to be confronted at these hearings because he has consistently misled the Congress and the people. There are multiple false statements to dissect, but his latest is the claim that Fast Track will give Congress the power to shape the negotiations. This is a laughable lie since the negotiations have been carried on in secret for most of Obama’s Presidency. How can Congress shape negotiations that Froman claims are near completion?

The truth is that Fast Track removes Congress from the equation. It allows the President to sign trade agreements before sending them to Congress for a brief review of thousands of pages of documents; without committee hearings and only brief debate on the floor. Then Congress has an up or down vote with no amendments. Under Fast Track, Congress would be unable to fulfill its responsibilities under the Commerce Clause to regulate trade. It is also a tremendous grant of power to President Obama.

After the President’s speech there was a protest at a town hall of Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. Wyden is a key player as the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. He has played both sides of the debate and the movement needs to monitor him closely and hold him accountable. If he cannot reach agreement with Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, then Fast Track is unlikely to pass the Senate. This week Senator Grassley said that currently they don’t have 60 votes in support of Fast Track and therefore it could not pass a filibuster. If Wyden demands that Congress sees the text of the TPP and has true involvement in the negotiations before they are finalized, then he and Hatch will not reach agreement and the Republicans will have to go it alone.

In the House there are even more challenges for Fast Track. Chuck Porcari of the Communication Workers (CWA) writes:

“House Speaker John Boehner has said that the White House needs to deliver at least 50 House Democrats if Fast Track has any hopes of passing, especially now that the White House is trying to whip together 80 Democrats in the House and New Democrat Coalition is trying to cobble together at most 40 votes. . . . According to a story by Inside U.S. Trade, ‘one informed source questioned whether the New Democrats actually have an idea of which lawmakers will provide the 40 ‘yes’ votes they are seeking.’”

When the TPP negotiators met in New York City this week, people showed up to protest the negotiations despite a winter blizzard. The protests were organized by Trade Justice New York and included the Teamsters, 350.org NY, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Fight for the Future, Food and Water Watch, Veterans for Peace, Citizens for Safe Energy, Popular Resistance and a host of other organizations. Despite snow, the crowd was too large to stay in front of the Sheraton and police forced them across the street. After the protest, they marched to protest Senator Chuck Schumer, a member of the Finance Committee and the Democratic Party leadership in the Senate.

In the first week after the President’s speech there were 10,000 phone calls opposing Fast Track made to Congress, according to Arthur Stamoulis of Citizens Trade Campaign. These phone calls will continue to escalate. We urge people to call; go to StopFastTrack.com which will contact your legislator for you and provide you with talking points. Phone calls make a difference when tied to a campaign that includes on-the-ground protests, meetings with congressional representatives and media work. We know that this movement can generate tens of thousands of calls and are confident it will do so again.

NAFTA has changed the Politics of Trade

There are many differences between the debate over trade today and the 1990s era debate over NAFTA. The major difference now is people know that corporate trade agreements favor transnational corporations but undermine people and the environment. At the same time, politicians know they are risking their political careers by supporting corporate trade agreements.

In Trade and Consequences: Dems Forget Political Impact of NAFTA, the author reminds us that:

“From the get-go, the pursuit of NAFTA was damaging to Democrats . . .With pro-labor and pro-environment congressional Democrats lined up against business oriented New Democrats in their own caucus and the White House . . . when the elections came around, Clinton’s advocacy of NAFTA seriously hurt the Democrats.”

The political fall-out from NAFTA was severe. In 1994 there was a tremendous backlash to the policies of Bill Clinton. The result was a 54-seat swing in membership from Democrats to Republicans. For the first time since 1952, Republicans gained a majority of the House. Democrats have still not recovered from this electoral slaughter. But, Republicans should realize that if they go it alone on Fast Track, the Democrats will reap the political benefit from these trade agreements which always lose jobs, expand the wealth divide and increase trade deficits.

The political winds on corporate trade have been blowing strongly negative in recent years. In a 2008 Gallup Poll, 53% of Americans said that NAFTA had a primarily negative effect on the economy; only 37% said the effect had been positive. As a result President Obama took an anti-NAFTA campaign stance saying “NAFTA and its potential were oversold to the American people” and promised to “fix” the agreement so it “works for American workers.” Obama claimed he would seek renegotiation of NAFTA to include more rigorous labor and environmental stipulations. Now, he is negotiating even worse deals in the Trans-Atlantic and Pacific partnerships.

By December 2012 polling indicated “U.S. public opinion has intensified from broad opposition to overwhelming opposition to NAFTA-style trade deals,” citing

“U.S. respondents who believe that the United States should ‘renegotiate’ or “leave” NAFTA outnumbered by nearly 4-to-1 those that say the country should ‘continue to be a member’ (53 vs.15 percent). Support for the ‘leave’ or ‘renegotiate’ positions dominated among Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike.”

The 2012 presidential campaign played on these views; spending “an unprecedented $68 million—about $34 million each—in ads attacking more-of-the-same trade policies. Trade-themed presidential ads aired an estimated 83,000 times in 2012, more than twice the number of trade-related airings in 2008.”

Perhaps more importantly for the current debate in Congress, in the 2012 congressional elections, 57% of candidates in competitive races campaigned against trade deals:

“Out of more than 125 paid ads used by congressional candidates across 30 U.S. states, only one indicated support for any trade deals modeled on NAFTA. (It was from GOP candidate Linda Lingle, who lost her bid for Hawaii’s Senate seat.) The same was seen in the Senate where ‘candidates who employed ads against status quo trade won seats in Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.’”

And, these views continue through current times as Dave Johnson writes: “The public gets it that our NAFTA-style trade agreements have sucked jobs out of the country. They get it that we need a national plan to restore our manufacturing ecosystem. They get it that we need to invest in maintaining and modernizing our infrastructure.”

Even politicians who have supported trade in the past are expressing doubts. The Teamsters reported on Froman’s testimony writing “Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said to Froman, ‘If trade agreements can’t show they’re going to help the middle class…I’ve got some real problems with them.’” And in a theme heard throughout the day: “Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, criticized the TPP talks because members of Congress are severely constrained from reviewing the text. He also grilled Froman on the failure of the S. Korea trade deal to create the jobs promised.”

Huffington Post reports another area of bi-partisan opposition came from “Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Rob Portman (D-Ohio), who pressed Froman on the issue of currency manipulation — an economic strategy in which a nation devalues its own currency in order to attract jobs from abroad without reducing its workers’ standard of living.  Grassley asked Froman twice if currency manipulation had been raised in the TPP talks, without getting an answer.” Even though almost 250 members of this Congress signed letters in the previous Congress saying this issue is critical for their support.

The Movement against Corporate Trade has Grown Deeper, Broader and Stronger

The movement has broadened because the current trade agreements cover much more than trade, impacting every aspect of our lives. Leo Gerard of the US Steelworkers writes:

“Supersized trade agreements now intrude on every area of life, from food safety to generic drugs to national sovereignty. They can extend patents that make life-saving drugs unaffordable. They can forbid country-of-origin labeling on food. They can outlaw requirements that American taxpayer-financed road and bridge projects use materials made in America. They can allow multinational corporations to sue governments for damages if a law to protect the public reduces profits. They can commit the United States to pay fines or revise laws if an international tribunal orders it.”

Another reason for stronger opposition is the experience with NAFTA and other corporate trade deals. Teamster Mike Dolan writes in a report on how to fight the corporate trade agenda:

“The NAFTA and WTO and their progeny have cost the U.S. millions of jobs lost through outsourcing and cheap imports, and it is the definition of insanity to continue the same trade model and expect different outcomes. The new crop of trade talks, these alleged high-end, 21st century agreements, are so big and complex, and intrude on so much of the substantive jurisdiction of law-makers and regulators, that the old-fashioned Fast Track is a completely inappropriate delegation―an abdication even―of Congressional Authority.”

The NAFTA impact can be seen in changes in the environmental movement. During NAFTA, Mike Dolan reports seven Big Green environmental groups provided Clinton cover: World Wildlife Fund, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation International and Audubon Society. Now the environmental impact is evident and the environmental crisis has worsened. Fresh Greens have taken a more aggressive stand preventing Big Greens from providing Obama cover. Their demand now, echoed by many in Congress, is enforceable environmental standards. The agreements negotiated by Obama have less environmental protection than those negotiated by George W. Bush –leaks show they have no environmental protection.

Dolan also points out that consumers have joined the anti-corporate trade movement because food and water, health care and medicines, data and privacy as well as the future of the Internet are all adversely impacted by these trade deals. He points to mainstream groups like the American Association of Retired Persons, Breast Cancer Action, AllergyKids Foundation and the Alliance for Natural Health U.S.A, the Council for Responsible Genetics, Food Democracy Now and Moms Across America.

The threat to the future of the Internet has brought groups like Fight For the Future into the battle against Fast Track along with Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge and Free Press.

While NAFTA is good for agribusiness, it is not good for traditional farmers. Dolan writes “three great farmer groups, . . . the National Farmers Union (NFU), founded 1902, representing farmers and ranchers in all states; the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), founded 1986, and its 24 constituent grassroots groups in 32 states; and the Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy (IATP), the preeminent progressive think-tank at the intersection of globalization and farming” now oppose corporate trade agreements. Similarly, the Organic Consumers Association which has an Internet following of over one million people opposes corporate trade.

Another area of large growth has been faith-based groups. The Vatican has spoken out on trade because of its adverse impact on developing countries, facilitation of corporate tax evasion and exploitation of workers and natural resources.  The Sisters of Mercy oppose corporate trade because of their concerns about immigration, non-violence, anti-racism, women’s rights, and the Earth. Protestant groups opposing NAFTA-like trade include the United Methodists, Presbyterians and the United Church of Christ. The Unitarian Universalists and the Quakers have been long time opponents of corporate trade. And, conservative religious groups oppose the trade agreements because they include countries that are hostile to Christianity.

Of course, a backbone of opposition to corporate trade is labor.  Teamster Mike Dolan lists other key players the “United Auto Workers, The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, United Steelworkers of America, the Communication Workers of America,  the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, and the Union of Needletrades and Industrial Textile Employees, affiliates of Public Services International, including AFSCME and the American Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union.”

How We Win

The movement opposed to corporate trade is larger – representing tens of millions of Americans; broader – representing people concerned about food, water, healthcare, the Internet, workers’ rights, the environment, banking regulation and more; and more committed because they have seen degradation of the economy and environment by NAFTA and similar corporate trade agreements.

The key is for this movement to mobilize now. The next two months will decide whether corporate trade is finished for the remainder of President Obama’s term in office. If people take action (go to www.StopFastTrack.com), we will win.

There is also a week of national actions being planned in February during the congressional recess. Take the pledge at www.FlushtheTPP.org to get involved and stay informed.

This is a battle between mass people power and trans-national corporate power. It is a battle the people can win, and it is essential for every issue we care about that we win.

Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are co-directors of Popular Resistance. Both were arrested for protesting Fast Track in the US Senate.

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland is one of many hardcore neocons infesting Obama’s administration.

On January 27, she spoke at Washington’s Brookings Institution. An elitist think tank supporting wealth, power and privilege. An establishment organization representing America’s dark side.

Deploring peace. Promoting war. Featuring speakers like Nuland discussing “unity in challenging times. Building on transatlantic resolve.” More on her comments below.

A previous article explained her hardcore background. A foreign service official for Democrat and Republican administrations.

Earlier she covered Russian internal politics at Washington’s Moscow embassy.

Served on the Soviet Desk in Washington. Worked in the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Served in Guangzhou, China.

Was Deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union. Directed a task force on Russia, its neighbors and an expanding NATO.

Was Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott’s chief of staff. Was US Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO.

Was Dick Cheney’s principal Deputy National Security Advisor. Was Permanent US Representative to NATO.

A former National War College faculty member. Obama’s special envoy for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.

On September 18, 2013, she was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Her husband, Robert Kagan, co-founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). A neocon foreign policy theorist/hardliner.

He advised John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. Served on Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board.

The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) is PNAC’s current incarnation. Kagan is a board of directors member. Representing the worst of America’s dark side. So does Nuland.

She was Obama’s point person in charge of manipulating regime change in Ukraine. Replacing its democratically elected government with fascist thugs.

Very much involved in Kiev’s aggression on Donbas. She promotes “transatlantic resolve” against Russia.

Wants pro-Western fascist governance replacing its sovereign independence. A US-installed stooge replacing Putin.

Eliminating a major rival. Transforming Russia into a US colony. Brookings’ Center on the United States and Europe/anti-Putin ideologue, Fiona Hill, introduced Nuland.

Called her “one of our most distinguished public servants and diplomats. (At) the forefront of many of the major crises that we’ve been dealing with over the last several months.”

Heavily involved in creating crises. Mainly Ukraine. Blamed Russia for Kiev’s crimes. Irresponsibly accused Moscow of “aggression.”

Urged greater NATO presence close to Russia’s border, saying:

“All NATO allies must continue to contribute to the land, sea, and air assurance mission all along NATO’s eastern front line.”

“All must contribute to NATO’s new spearhead force which will allow us to speed forces to trouble spots, and we must install command and control centers in all six front-line states as soon as possible.”

NATO is an offensive killing machine. Nuland lied calling it “a defensive alliance.” When its only enemies are ones it invents.

“Our goal is deterrence of aggression,” she said. US-dominated NATO’s goal is world conquest.

Waging multiple direct and proxy wars to achieve it. Responsible for mass slaughter and destruction. Multi-trillions of dollars spent for making the world safe for monied interests.

“Our fight against ISIL and its affiliates” requires transatlantic unity, she claimed. ISIL/ISIS/IS and similar terrorist groups are US foot soldiers.

Recruited, armed, funded, trained and directed at CIA/US special forces bases Turkey, Jordan and Georgia.

Used against America’s adversaries. Earlier against Libya’s Gaddafi. Currently against Syria’s Assad.

Perhaps heading for Ukraine. Nuland ludicrously calls it the “frontline for freedom.” Her comments sounded like bad fiction.

Saying “(o)ver the past year, we have all rejoiced in (its) successes.”

Including replacing democracy with fascist tyranny. Tolerating no opposition. Abolishing human and civil rights.

Holding sham elections with no legitimacy whatever. Shutting down independent media.

Waging dirty war without mercy on its own citizens. Against self-defense forces wanting democratic freedoms. What everyone deserves.

Washington wants Russia’s government toppled. Nuland turned truth on its head claiming otherwise.

Saying “we…want…a strong democratic Russia. (A) Russia that works with us, and with Europe, to build peace and security in the region and globally.”

No world leader works harder for regional peace and stability than Putin. None more aggressively pursues war than Obama.

Putin supports a sovereign independent Ukraine. At peace internally and with its neighbors.

US policy is polar opposite. Washington bears full responsibility for Ukrainian crisis conditions.

Not according to Nuland. Blaming Moscow for US/Kiev crimes. Ludicrously claiming “an off-ramp for Russia, a route back to better ties with all of us, and it’s very, very simple.”

“The minute Russia allows Ukraine to control its side of the international border, and stops fueling the conflict the situation will improve.”

In other words, peace in Ukraine depends on Russia observing Washington rules. Surrendering its sovereignty.

Letting America control Eurasia en route to global dominance. Hill called Nuland’s address “inspiring.”

Admitted Washington wants Western-style governance replacing sovereign Russian independence.

Ukraine is the pretext. Regime change the objective. By color revolution or war.

Soviet Russia’s last leader Mikhail Gorbachev expressed grave concerns about what’s ongoing in two recent interviews.

In mid-January, he told Der Spiegel he’s “truly and deeply concerned.” Asked about possible major conflict in Europe, he said “inevitably (it would) lead to nuclear war.”

“(S)tatements from both sides and the propaganda lead me to fear the worst.”

“I don’t say things lightly. I am a man with a conscience. But that’s the way things are. I am truly and deeply concerned,” he stressed.

“NATO’s eastward expansion” destroyed European security. Responsible Russian proposals are “arrogantly ignored by the West.”

“We are now seeing the results.” He called Ukraine’s conflict personal. He’s “half Ukrainian.” On his mother’s side.

His wife Raisa was Ukrainian. She died in 1999. He has relatives and friends in Ukraine.

When Soviet Russia dissolved, “America…started building a global empire,” said Gorbachev. “(A) mega empire.”

“(S)urrounding Russia with so-called rings of defense – NATO’s eastward expansion.”

Intervening militarily instead of seeking peace and stability. When NATO raped Yugoslavia, it “triggered a backlash in Russia.”

“No Kremlin leader” could ignore what happened. Or what followed. Gorbachev said he urged both sides in Ukraine to resolve conflict diplomatically.

What’s ongoing “threat(ens) the entire world,” he stressed. His pleas for peace and stability “fell on deaf ears,” he said.

Gorbachev is aged 83. His strength and health are waning, he explained. In the last 18 months, he had “three serious operations.”

“The whole world is fighting against aging,” he said. “(B)ut there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“In some ways I feel old, but in others I feel young.” In the time he has left, he wants to “live life and not just survive or vegetate and wait for death.

He’ll travel to America to lecture, he said. His only source of income besides his books, he explained.

“I still have goals and that keeps me going. I want to continue to be part of the discussion about Russia’s future, about global peace and environmental protection.”

“I want to write books, give lectures, attend conferences and give interviews.”

Asked if he fears death, he said “not at all.”

On January 29, he said “the US has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its idea of triumphalism.”

“…I cannot be sure that the Cold War will not bring about a ‘hot’ one. I’m afraid (Washington) might take the risk.”

“All we hear from the US and the EU now is sanctions against Russia.”

“Are they completely out of their minds? The US has been totally ‘lost in the jungle’ and is dragging us there as well.”

Things are on a collision course unless cooler heads stop it. Peace more than ever is vital.

The alternative is humanity destroying nuclear war. Ongoing events aren’t encouraging.

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 Coming Biological Infowar: US Proposes DNA Database

February 1st, 2015 by Tony Cartalucci

The US is proposing a government-backed DNA database composed of over a million volunteers’ genetic material. RT would report in their article, “Got genes: Obama proposes genetic biobank of 1mn Americans’ DNA to fight disease,” that: 

A new $215 million US government proposal would seek more than 1 million American volunteers for analysis of their genetic information in an initiative to fight disease, while developing targeted health care based on one’s DNA.

Officials hope the biobank project, announced Friday by President Barack Obama, can merge existing genetic studies with a diverse range of new volunteers to hit 1 million participants.

While this initial database is composed of volunteers, involuntary blood samples are already collected by US law enforcement agencies around the country and amassed in an existing, and ever-expanding network. Additionally, the new proposal seeks to establish “precision medicine” as a standard in medical care, implying that everyone’s DNA will eventually be required by medical practitioners to administer increasingly state-run healthcare.

Such information will undoubtedly end up in an expanded, nationwide iteration of this new proposed network.

Serial Abusers and Their New Toy  

While precision medicine is indeed a powerful tool in fighting disease and repairing injury – in fact, truly the future of medicine – those appointing themselves as its arbiter in the US have already demonstrated they cannot be trusted with such a responsibility.

RT would also note in their report that:

How the US government will ensure that individual genetic information is kept private will certainly become a point of concern for many. A government-led database system amassing genetic coding will likely face resistance in this age of a global spying regime run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and a genetic patent system used by the likes of Monsanto to consolidate legal ownership of the natural world.

Indeed, a DNA database would be to our bodies, what the Internet was to our computers – with an NSA-like entity invading, abusing, exploiting, and manipulating not just our personal data, but the very genetic code that makes us who we are. The dangers are immense, and the abuse of genetic information has already been eagerly explored by the very special interests driving this new initiative.

The prospect of using one’s genes against them in the form of genospecific weapons was mentioned in the Neo-Conservative Project for a New American Century’s (PNAC) 2000 report titled, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (.pdf) which stated:

The proliferation of ballistic and cruise missiles and long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will make it much easier to project military power around the globe.  Munitions themselves will become increasingly accurate, while new methods of attack – electronic, “non-lethal,” biological – will be more widely available. (p.71 of .pdf)

Although it may take several decade for the process of transformation to unfold, in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and sea will be vastly different than it is today, and  “combat” likely will take place in new dimensions: in space, “cyber-space,” and perhaps the world of microbes.  (p.72 of .pdf)

And advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool. (p.72 of .pdf)

This targeting will require a database of genetic information – which when coupled with the NSA’s already omnipresent surveillance – will enable the growing police state to locate and target individuals with genospecific weapons with unimaginable precision – a literal “touch of death” on equal to mythological gods able to strike down their enemies at will.

How to Have the Best of Both Worlds 

The race to establish a top-down healthcare system based on genetically-driven precision medicine is done with the knowledge that the democratization of technology, including that involved in biology and genetics, is accelerating toward local labs being able to reproduce or even out-compete developments made by large pharmaceutical giants. This follows the same pattern IT followed, where disruptive technology, institutions, and paradigms allowed for rapid decentralization and downsizing.

Small groups of people or even individuals now have a platform online with which to compete against multi-million dollar media studios. Likewise, 3D printing is driving a similar revolution in manufacturing.

“Do-it-Yourself biology” (DIYbio) is now positioned to disrupt the fields of biotech, human health, and medicine.

With DIYbio, individuals and communities can manage their own genetic information, sharing it how and when they decide, and work directly on applications to alter, improve, or repair it. The decentralization of this powerful technology also will establish a balance of power. Those with malevolent intentions will be kept in check by the fact that so many more people have a vested interest in preventing the abuse of this technology.

Like in the world of IT today, backups, firewalls, and a general knowledge of “good practices” will help protect the vast majority from the abuse of emerging genetically-driven precision medicine.

Already, there is a wealth of information online regarding DIYbio – which like its counterpart in IT – maintains an open source, collaborative ethos. People, understanding that preventing the use of this technology is impossible, can begin empowering themselves with it to ensure a balance of power is struck to prevent its wide scale abuse.

Coincidentally, the proposed decentralization of the Internet by local mesh networks would also serve to build defenses for genetic information stored by individuals on such networks. Establishing and promoting the idea of moving away from all forms of highly centralized systems maintained by serial offenders of our privacy and human rights, by democratizing the very technology they seek to monopolize and use against us, is the first step in winning this new battle before it starts.

Delusional America

February 1st, 2015 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Robert Parry is one of my favorite columnists. He is truthful, has a sense of justice, and delivers a firm punch. He used to be a “mainstream journalist,” like me, but we were too truthful for them. They kicked us out.

I can’t say Parry has always been one of my favorite journalists. During the 1980s he spent a lot of time on Reagan’s case. Having been on corporate boards, I know that CEOs seldom know everything that is going on in the company. There are just too many people and too many programs representing too many agendas. For presidents of countries with governments as large as the US government, there is far more going on than a president has time to learn about even if he could get accurate information.

In my day Assistant Secretaries and chiefs of staff were the most important people, because they controlled the flow of information. Presidents have to focus on fund raising for their reelection and for their party. More time and energy is used up with formalities and meetings with dignitaries and media events. At the most there are two or three issues on which a president can attempt leadership. If an organized clique such as the neoconservatives get into varied positions of authority, they can actually “create the reality” and take the government away from the president.

As I have reported on many occasions, my experience with Reagan left me with the conclusion that he was interested in two big issues. He wanted to stop the stagflation for which only the supply-side economists had a solution, and he wanted to end, not win, the cold war.

Both of these agendas put Reagan at odds with two of the most powerful of the private interest groups: Wall Street and the military/security complex.

Wall Street for the most part opposed Reagan’s economic program. They opposed it because they understood it as Keynesian deficit pump-priming that would cause an already high inflation rate to explode, which would drive down bond and stock prices.

The CIA and the military opposed any ending of the Cold War because of the obvious impact on their power and budget.

Left-wing journalists never picked up on this, and neither did right-wing journalists.

The left could not get beyond Reagan’s rhetoric. For the left, Reagan was trickle-down economics, Iran/Contra, and the fired air traffic controllers.

The right-wing liked Reagan’s rhetoric and blamed him for not delivering on it.

For the left, the Reagan years were a traumatic time. Robert Parry has never recovered from them. He can scarcely write a column about events today, which are horrific in comparison, without dragging Reagan into it. Parry doesn’t realize it, but if it is all Reagan’s fault, little wonder it has been impossible to hold Clinton, Bush 1 and 2, and Obama accountable.

Having written these lines, I already detect the denunciations coming my way for again attempting to “rehabilitate Ronald Ray-Gun.” Reagan does not need rehabilitating. This column is not about Reagan, and it is not a criticism of Parry. It is praise for Parry’s column, “‘Group-thinking’ the World into a New War.” https://consortiumnews.com/2015/01/30/group-thinking-the-world-into-a-new-war/ Read it.

The pattern since Milosevic (and before) has been to demonize a foreign head of state and to take the US to war to get rid of him. That way the secret agenda is achieved under the cover of the necessity of deposing a bad or dangerous ruler.

Parry describes this well. Group-Think plays the important role of preventing any dissent, any suspicion of the case against the demonized person, and any examination of the real agenda that is being pursued.

Now it is Russian President Vladimir Putin who is being demonized. As Parry and I and Stephen F. Cohen, the most knowledgeable of the Russian experts, appreciate, Putin is not Saddam Hussein and Russia is not Iraq, Libya, Syria, Serbia, or Iran. To foment conflict with Russia that could lead to war is worse than irresponsible. Yet, as Parry writes, “from the start of the Ukraine crisis in fall 2013, the New York Times, the Washington Post and virtually every mainstream U.S. news outlet have behaved as dishonestly as they did during the run-up to war with Iraq.”

When Professor Cohen pointed out, correctly, that the lies about Russia, Ukraine, and Putin were hot and heavy, the propagandists had to get rid of the man with the facts. The New Republic, a hang-out for low IQ fools, called America’s leading Russian expert “Putin’s American toady.”

From Parry’s reporting, it appears that Group-Think has spread from the media and foreign policy community into the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies, which has decided that academic careers require adherence to the government’s propaganda line, which means the neoconservatives’ line.

As I have written on a number of occasions, facts no longer play a role in American political life. Fact-based analysis is also disappearing from academic life and no longer plays a role in official economic reporting. A matrix has been created, an artificial reality that channels the energies and resources of the country into secret agendas that serve the interests of the ruling private interest groups and neoconservative ideology.

The United States government and the American people cannot contend with reality, because they do not know what the reality is.

In America’s make-believe world, neoconservative toadies such as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, set the Group-Think tone, while knowledgeable experts such as Stephen Cohen are tuned out.

In effect, America is both blind and deaf. It lives in delusions. Consequently, it will destroy itself and perhaps the world.

Jeff Halper, Noted Peace Activist, Touring Canada Jan 17 – Feb 13

February 1st, 2015 by Global Research News

Dr. Jeff Halper, is the co-founder and Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) for the past 17 years, as well as a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

IJV and the United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel are organizing the tour.

 

National sponsors are:
United Church of Canada
Canadian Friends of Sabeel
Anglican Church of Canada
United Jewish People’s Order
Canadian Friends Service Committee

For more on Jeff Halper, visit icahd.org

National Tour Coordinator (UNJPPI): Kathy Bergen 226-647-0120; [email protected]
Tyler Levitan (IJV) 613-400-2550; [email protected] 

Monday February 2; 7:30pm - Halifax, Nova Scotia

Democracy or Hypocrisy: Israel and Illegal Settlement

Theatre B, Tupper Bldg., Dalhousie University, 5850 College St

contacts: Linda Scherzinger  - [email protected] / Larry Haiven – [email protected]

Tuesday February 3 – St. John’s, NL

Potluck dinner 

Contact: Pat Mercer – [email protected]

Wednesday February 4 – St. John’s, NL

 Beyond Fear and Violence for Israel and Palestine

Engineering Lecture Theatre–EN2006 S.J. Carew Bldg

contact: Pat Mercer – [email protected]

Friday February Feb 6; 7:00-9:00pm - Edmonton, AB

No Home, No Homeland: Israel’s Policy of Demolishing Palestinian Homes

University of Alberta
Room: TBA

contacts: Dawn Waring – [email protected] / Adrienne Wiebe – [email protected]

Saturday Feb 7; 7:00-9:00pm - Edmonton, AB

 
Where Are We Headed in Israel –Palestine? Apartheid, Warehousing, or a Just Solution?

Southminster Steinauer United Church 10740—19 Ave.,

contacts: Dawn Waring – [email protected] / Adrienne Wiebe – [email protected]

Sunday February 8; 7:00pm - Winnipeg, MB

 Lecture

Crescent Fort Rouge United Church, 525 Wardlaw at Nassau

contacts: Daniel Thau-Eleff - [email protected] / Harold Shuster - [email protected]

Monday February 9; 10:30am-11:30am - Winnipeg, MB

Academic Freedom and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

University of Manitoba, Concourse Lounge, University College

contacts: Daniel Thau-Eleff - [email protected] / Harold Shuster - [email protected]
Monday February 9; 12:30-1:30pm - Winnipeg, MB

Lecture

University of Winnipeg, Room 1L11, Lockhart Hall

contacts: Daniel Thau-Eleff - [email protected] / Harold Shuster - [email protected]

Monday February 9; 7:00pm - Winnipeg, MB

Conversation/Live Interview with Bernie Bellan (editor of Jewish Post and News)

Free Press News Café, 237 McDermot at Arthur St.

contacts: Daniel Thau-Eleff - [email protected] / Harold Shuster - [email protected]

Tuesday February 10 ; Surrey, BC

Imagining a Future for Israel/Palestine:Beyond Fear and Violence

Northwood United Church 8855, 156th Street (corner 88th Ave)  

contacts: Helen Allen - [email protected] / Marianna Harris - [email protected]

Wednesday Feb 11; 10:30am - Duncan, Vancouver Island, BC

Imagining a Future for Israel and Palestine: Beyond Fear and Violence

Duncan VIU Cowichan Campus. Donations encouraged

contact: Helene Demers - [email protected]

Wednesday Feb 11; 2:00pm - Nanaimo, BC

Imagining a Future for Israel and Palestine: Beyond Fear and Violence

Harbour Front Library 

contacts: Jennifer Seper - [email protected] / Eva Manly - [email protected]

Wednesday Feb 11; 7:00pm – Courtenay, BC

Imagining a Future for Israel/Palestine:Beyond Fear & Violence

Stan Hagen Theatre, North Island College

contacts: Judy Goldschmidt - [email protected]

Thursday Feb 12; 7:30pm - Vancouver, BC

Israel at the Crossroads

Oakridge United Church, 305-West 41st Peretz Center

contacts: Helen Allen - [email protected]
Marianna Harris - [email protected]

 

An inquiry into the death of the fugitive ex-Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko opened this week—nearly eight years after he was murdered.

Litvinenko died from radioactive polonium-210 poisoning on November 23, 2006. It is claimed that the toxic element was contained in tea he drank during a meeting at London’s Millennium Hotel on November 1, with two former Russian KGB agents, Andrey Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun.

Litvinenko had been a lieutenant-colonel in Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB, the successor to the KGB), but had reportedly fallen out with his associates over corruption allegations. In 1998, he charged that the FSB had given him the order to kill Boris Berezovsky, a Russian oligarch and opponent of President Vladimir Putin. Litvinenko was charged with abusing his office and spent nine months on remand before being acquitted. He fled to Britain in 2000 and was granted political asylum.

Berezovsky, who left Russia for the UK at the same time, became Litvinenko’s associate and patron. The oligarch died in suspicious circumstances at his home in March 2013.

Litvinenko went on to accuse the FSB of bombing Moscow apartment blocks and two other cities in 1999, as a pretext for Russia’s second invasion of Chechnya, as well as the 2006 murder of journalist and Putin critic Anna Politkovskaya. A close friend of Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev, also exiled in London, Litvinenko reportedly converted to Islam shortly before his death.

His killing was greeted with banner headlines, especially after traces of polonium-210 were discovered in hotels that Lugovoi had stayed in during his visit and the two aircraft on which he had travelled.

However, this was followed by damaging revelations that Litvinenko was working for Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency. The government has refused to confirm or deny his involvement but in 2007, the Daily Mail cited intelligence sources claiming that Litvinenko was paid about £2,000 per month for his services and alleged that then MI6 head, Sir John Scarlett, was personally involved in his recruitment. There is also evidence that he worked with Spanish, Italian and Georgian security services.

A British request in May 2007 for Lugovoi’s extradition to stand trial for Litvinenko’s murder was rejected by Moscow, on the grounds that Russia’s constitution forbids the extradition of its citizens. Lugovoi, who represents the far-right Liberal Democratic Party of Russia in the Duma, denies the charges and has accused British intelligence of involvement in the assassination.

The standoff presented major political difficulties for the British government, especially as London had become the home to numerous Russian oligarchs, many of them political opponents of President Vladimir Putin. With Litvinenko charging on his deathbed that his assassination had been ordered by the Kremlin, this raised concerns that the British capital had become the locus for internecine warfare within the Russian elite.

Russian-British relations deteriorated further, with the UK’s decision to expel four Russian diplomats in July that year. The move came as antagonisms between Moscow and Washington accelerated over a range of issues, including the US decision to station its anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic. Putin responded by signing a presidential decree for Russia’s withdrawal from the Treaty for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE).

Backing for the UK’s action was cautious in Europe, however, especially given disputes over the status of Kosovo and fears for European gas and oil security.

Moreover, under conditions in which the Russian economy appeared to be enjoying a boom thanks to rising oil and gas prices, sections of Britain’s ruling elite were anxious that any further retaliatory measures would jeopardise UK investment and alienate Russian oligarchs fuelling London’s property and stock-market boom.

The case was parked. In 2013, a coroner’s inquest into Litvinenko’s death—required under British law—was delayed. Coroner Sir Robert Owen argued that his inquest was unable to hear confidential British intelligence material relevant to the case and requested a public inquiry, which can take such evidence in secret.

The government refused and was challenged in the High Court by Litvinenko’s widow, Marina. In February 2014, it ruled that ministers should reconsider the decision. Three months later, the government agreed to a public inquiry, headed by Owen.

The inquiry is unlikely to shed any real light on Litvinenko’s death. The government has set strict limitations. Much of the most important evidence will be heard in secret, with some of the 70 witnesses testifying from behind a screen. Others will be given complete secrecy. Parts of Owen’s report, which is not expected until the end of the year, will remain classified. Even Litvinenko’s widow will not be allowed to see the secret parts of the judge’s report.

Any examination of the role of Britain’s security services, and whether they could have prevented Litvinenko’s killing, has been ruled out. Notwithstanding the claim that the inquiry will impartially consider all theories—which include that Litvinenko was involved in smuggling polonium-210 and inadvertently poisoned himself—Owen has previously stated that he has seen evidence amounting to a “prima facie case” that Litvinenko was murdered by the Russian state.

The timing of the government’s decision and the opening of the inquiry is politically significant. It came against the backdrop of the Western-backed, right wing putsch in Kiev in February 2014, and the downing of Malaysian passenger flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July the same year.

Without any evidence, the NATO powers seized on the MH17 atrocity to press ahead with long-standing geo-political plans for the military encirclement of Russia and the destabilisation of the Putin regime. The US and the European Union imposed financial and diplomatic sanctions against Moscow which, combined with collapsing oil prices, have devastated the Russian economy. NATO has stepped up the stationing of troops and armaments on Russia’s borders and is now directly training Ukrainian forces, which include fascist militias, for Kiev’s bloody civil war in the east.

The forces overseeing the inquiry are poised to use it not to determine the circumstances of Litvinenko’s murder, but as grist for the mill of NATO’s anti-Russian propaganda campaign. The tone of the inquiry was set by Ben Emmerson QC, in his opening statement. Emmerson, a visiting professor in human rights law at Oxford University and United Nations special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, charged Putin directly with ordering Litvinenko’s murder.

Litvinenko was “eliminated” because he had made an enemy of the “close knit group of criminals who surrounded and still surround Vladimir Putin and keep his corrupt regime in power,” he said.

Accusing Moscow of carrying out “an act of nuclear terrorism on the streets of a major city which put the lives of numerous other members of the public at risk,” he said the inquiry would unmask Putin as “nothing more or less than a common criminal dressed up as a head of state.”

On Friday, New York Police Department Commissioner William J. Bratton announced the formation of a 350-member paramilitary police unit specializing in “disorder control and counter-terrorism.” Bratton made clear the new unit would be used to crack down on political opposition.

In his announcement, Bratton explicitly equated peaceful protests, protected under the First Amendment of the US constitution, with acts of terrorism and mass murder. The commissioner said the new unit will be “designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris,” referring to the 2008 Mumbai, India attacks that killed 164 people and the recent shooting of 11 people at the offices of the French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo .

The police commissioner made clear that members of the unit would be heavily armed. “Long rifles and machine guns… are unfortunately sometimes necessary,” he said.

The announcement by Bratton, speaking for the Democratic administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, makes clear that the official response to peaceful protests in Ferguson, Missouri and other cities is not to rein in police violence, but to intensify it, along with a further militarization of the police to deal with the broader social and political unrest to come.

Political dissent in America is being criminalized, especially opposition to the forces of repression themselves—the police, military and intelligence agencies.

Bratton’s announcement comes in the midst of a counteroffensive by police in New York and nationally against any opposition to police violence, which has taken scores of lives in the past year.

The past two weeks have seen some of the most appalling police shootings in recent memory. On Monday, a Denver police officer gunned down 16-year-old Jessica Hernandez as she was sitting in a car with her friends.

On Wednesday, police released footage of the January 22 shooting of 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard in a Texas police station, showing that officers made no significant effort to subdue her using non-lethal methods, and failed to give her medical aid after shooting her a half-dozen times.

The same day, the Wayne County Prosecutor announced that she was dropping charges against the Detroit police officer who killed 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in 2010. This followed further police shootings last month in St. Louis, Missouri and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The escalation of police violence has been the direct and premeditated result of policies undertaken at every level of government to shield killer cops from prosecution. On January 21, the New York Times reported that the Justice Department would not bring civil rights charges against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson policeman who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown last August. The department was merely waiting for the right time to make the announcement, the newspaper said.

This action follows the decision of the Ferguson grand jury last November not to indict Wilson. It is all the more egregious given the fact that St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch has since admitted that he knowingly presented to the grand jury perjured testimony favorable to Wilson.

After the decision in St. Louis, a grand jury in New York City ruled December 3 that it would not bring charges against Daniel Pantaleo, who choked Staten Island resident Eric Garner to death on July 17. Protests erupted in New York and other cities.

Less than two weeks later, the killing of two New York City police officers by a mentally unstable man were seized upon by the entire state apparatus, from the local to the federal level, to circle the wagons around the corrupt and hated New York Police Department, and to declare political protests against police violence to be tantamount to inciting murder.

In a gesture of solidarity with the New York Police Department, which was in near-mutiny against the city’s civilian administration, Vice President Joe Biden attended the funerals of the two officers, while New York City Mayor de Blasio called for an end to protests against police violence.

The militarization of local police, which erupted into public view last year in Ferguson, is part of the buildup of police state measures since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including the Patriot Act, mass surveillance of the Internet and telecommunications, military tribunals, indefinite detention without charges or trials, and the use of drones, secret prisons and torture.

All of these methods, developed under the guise of the “war on terror” overseas, are being increasingly applied against domestic political opposition to war, inequality and police violence. The war on terror has come home.

The creation of increasingly dictatorial, police state forms of rule is the response of the capitalist ruling class to an economic, social and political crisis for which it has no solution besides war and repression. These measures make clear that the American ruling elite will respond to any significant political opposition with overwhelming brutality.

To the extent that the wave of police violence and murder is even acknowledged in the US media, it is presented as a question of race and “community relations.” In fact, the target of the police state apparatus being built up in the United States is the working class, which creates all of society’s wealth but whose living standards are collapsing, even as the wealth of the super-rich continues to soar.

Independent DNA lab testing has verified that 100% of the corn in Kellogg’s Froot Loops is genetically modified corn, containing DNA sequences known to be present in insecticide producing Bt and Roundup Ready corn. The soy also contained DNA sequences known to be present in Roundup Ready GMO soy. What’s more, tests documented the presence of glyphosate at 0.12 mg/kg, the main chemical ingredient of Monsanto’s best-selling Roundup weedkiller.

Bt crops, such as Bt corn, have been shown to cause serious health problems.The EPA has registered Bt corn as a pesticide as the crop makes its own insecticide. The makers of Bt corn, primarily Monsanto and Syngenta, are responsible for selling this food-stuff to companies like Kellogg’s, but they have the choice to source their corn from organic farmers, and simply don’t.

“. . .a toxin called Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt, designed to attack a corn pest called the corn rootworm. Rats fed Mon 863 developed several reactions, including those typically found with allergies (increased basophils), in response to infections, toxins and various diseases including cancer (increased lymphocytes and white blood cells), and in the presence of anemia (decreased reticulocyte count) and blood pressure problems (decreased kidney weights).”

In-vitro studies have found that the insecticides in the corn used in Froot Loops may be toxic to human kidney cells. At only 100 parts per million (ppm), Monsanto’s biopesticide led to cell death. Furthermore, they found that Roundup at 57.2ppm  killed half of the cell population – 200 times below agricultural use.

What’s more, feeding studies conducted on mammals found adverse effects, including:

  • Immune system disturbances
  • Blood biochemistry disturbances
  • Male reproductive organ damage
  • Disturbances in the functioning of the digestive system
  • Signs of organ toxicity

 

Image credit: gmofreeusa.org.

Commenting on the lab test results, Diana Reeves, Executive Director of GMO Free USA and mother of 3 says:

“We find it disturbing that Kellogg’s is feeding children unlabeled GMOs and toxic herbicides. Statistics show that this is the first generation of children that are sicker than their parents. Is Kellogg’s endangering our children? Based on the growing body of scientific evidence, we believe so and we hold Kellogg’s accountable. Parents need to know what they’re feeding their children, and Kellogg’s is spending millions to keep the composition of their products hidden.”

Unfortunately, these insecticial proteins aren’t exactly broken down and excreted through the digestive tract as the industry would have us believe.

“We are deeply concerned about the health risks of genetically engineered foods and the associated insecticides and herbicides, especially their effect on the bodies of growing children. Children eat more food per pound of body weight than the average adult. As a result, pound for pound, they have substantially heavier exposures than adults to any toxins that are present in food, water or air. Children are undergoing rapid growth and development and their delicate developmental processes are easily disrupted. We must keep them safe,” said Alexandra Zissu, Editorial Director of Healthy Child Healthy World.

There is a good reason that Kellogg’s spent over $1,012,552 on media propaganda in California & Washington to defeat voter ballot initiatives that would have required the labeling of GMO foods, and now are contributing again to the defeat of labeling initiatives in Oregon (contributing $250,000).

This is why consumers are standing up for their rights to eat healthy, and are boycotting Kellogg’s.

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Back in October, I reported that, “A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the Middle East by the U.S. Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing, is responsible for more Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination than any other platform, according to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW). . . . Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright told me, ‘There is no prohibition against the use of Depleted Uranium rounds, and the [U.S. military] does make use of them. The use of DU in armor-piercing munitions allows enemy tanks to be more easily destroyed.’”

This week I have left an email message and a phone message for Mark Wright at the Pentagon. Here’s what I emailed, after consulting with Wim Zwijnenburg of PaxForPeace.nl:

“Recent reports by CENTCOM have noted that 11% of the U.S. sorties have been flown by A-10s , and that a wide range of attacks on tanks and armored vehicles have taken place.  Can you confirm that  PGU-14 30mm munitions with depleted uranium in the A-10s (and any other DU weapons) have not been used during these attacks. And if not, why not? Thanks!”

I sent that email on January 28 and left a voice message January 30.

You’d think there’d be lots of reporters calling with the same question and reporting the answer. But then it’s only Iraqis, I guess.

This article was first published on September 30, 2013.

Karen Hudes is a graduate of Yale Law School and she worked in the legal department of the World Bank for more than 20 years.  In fact, when she was fired for blowing the whistle on corruption inside the World Bank, she held the position of Senior Counsel. 

She was in a unique position to see exactly how the global elite rules the world, and the information that she is now revealing to the public is absolutely stunning.  According to Hudes, the elite uses a very tight core of financial institutions and mega-corporations to dominate the planet. 

Karen HudesThe goal is control.  They want all of us enslaved to debt, they want all of our governments enslaved to debt, and they want all of our politicians addicted to the huge financial contributions that they funnel into their campaigns.  Since the elite also own all of the big media companies, the mainstream media never lets us in on the secret that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that our system works.

Remember, this is not some “conspiracy theorist” that is saying these things.  This is a Yale-educated attorney that worked inside the World Bank for more than two decades.  The following summary of her credentials comes directly from her website

Karen Hudes studied law at Yale Law School and economics at the University of Amsterdam. She worked in the US Export Import Bank of the US from 1980-1985 and in the Legal Department of the World Bank from 1986-2007. She established the Non Governmental Organization Committee of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association and the Committee on Multilateralism and the Accountability of International Organizations of the American Branch of the International Law Association.

Today, Hudes is trying very hard to expose the corrupt financial system that the global elite are using to control the wealth of the world.  During an interview with the New American, she discussed how we are willingly allowing this group of elitists to totally dominate the resources of the planet…

A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained. In an interview with The New American, Hudes said that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for her efforts. Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success.

Citing an explosive 2011 Swiss study published in the PLOS ONE journal on the “network of global corporate control,” Hudes pointed out that a small group of entities — mostly financial institutions and especially central banks — exert a massive amount of influence over the international economy from behind the scenes. “What is really going on is that the world’s resources are being dominated by this group,” she explained, adding that the “corrupt power grabbers” have managed to dominate the media as well. “They’re being allowed to do it.”

Previously, I have written about the Swiss study that Hudes mentioned.  It was conducted by a team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.  They studied the relationships between 37 million companies and investors worldwide, and what they discovered is that there is a “super-entity” of just 147 very tightly knit mega-corporations that controls 40 percent of the entire global economy

When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.

But the global elite don’t just control these mega-corporations.  According to Hudes, they also dominate the unelected, unaccountable organizations that control the finances of virtually every nation on the face of the planet.  The World Bank, the IMF and central banks such as the Federal Reserve literally control the creation and the flow of money worldwide.

At the apex of this system is the Bank for International Settlements.  It is the central bank of central banks, and posted below is a video where you can watch Hudes tell Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com the following…

“We don’t have to wait for anybody to fire the Fed or Bank for International Settlements . . . some states have already started to recognize silver and gold, the precious metals, as currency”

Most people have never even heard of the Bank for International Settlements, but it is an extremely important organization.  In a previous article, I described how this “central bank of the world” is literally immune to the laws of all national governments…

An immensely powerful international organization that most people have never even heard of secretly controls the money supply of the entire globe.  It is called the Bank for International Settlements, and it is the central bank of central banks.  It is located in Basel, Switzerland, but it also has branches in Hong Kong and Mexico City.  It is essentially an unelected, unaccountable central bank of the world that has complete immunity from taxation and from national laws.  Even Wikipedia admits that “it is not accountable to any single national government.“  The Bank for International Settlements was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II, but these days the main purpose of the BIS is to guide and direct the centrally-planned global financial system.  Today, 58 global central banks belong to the BIS, and it has far more power over how the U.S. economy (or any other economy for that matter) will perform over the course of the next year than any politician does.  Every two months, the central bankers of the world gather in Basel for another “Global Economy Meeting”.  During those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet none of us have any say in what goes on.  The Bank for International Settlements is an organization that was founded by the global elite and it operates for the benefit of the global elite, and it is intended to be one of the key cornerstones of the emerging one world economic system.

This system did not come into being by accident.  In fact, the global elite have been developing this system for a very long time.  In a previous article entitled “Who Runs The World? Solid Proof That A Core Group Of Wealthy Elitists Is Pulling The Strings“, I included a quote from Georgetown University history professor Carroll Quigley from a book that he authored all the way back in 1966 in which he discussed the big plans that the elite had for the Bank for International Settlements…

[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.

And that is exactly what we have today.

We have a system of “neo-feudalism” in which all of us and our national governments are enslaved to debt.  This system is governed by the central banks and by the Bank for International Settlements, and it systematically transfers the wealth of the world out of our hands and into the hands of the global elite.

But most people have no idea that any of this is happening because the global elite also control what we see, hear and think about.  Today, there are just six giant media corporations that control more than 90 percent of the news and entertainment that you watch on your television in the United States.

This is the insidious system that Karen Hudes is seeking to expose.  For much more, you can listen to Joyce Riley of the Power Hour interview her for an entire hour right here.

Are Vaccines Safe?

February 1st, 2015 by Richard Gale

This article was first published on October 13, 2009.

When we hear official reports released by the FDA and CDC, transmitted throughout major corporate media outlets and publications, that a particular vaccine is safe, we should immediately perk to attention, raise a red flag, and muster rational suspicion.

One of the most important questions is, what kind of studies are performed to determine that any vaccine is safe? And what evidence is there that vaccines are especially safe in infants, small children, pregnant mothers, the elderly, and those with asthma and compromised immune systems?

According to the statutes of the FDA’s Public Health Service Act, vaccine manufacturers are required to prove a vaccine complies with three criteria before approval and launch: safety, purity and potency. There are no requirements before FDA approval and licensing that a vaccine undergoes independent studies by researchers with no vested financial interests and industry ties in order to validate a vaccine maker’s claims. Rather, the entire approval process is nothing more than a good-faith relationship between the vaccine industrial complex and the FDA and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACID), the primary entity determining vaccine policies.

In an interview with Dr. Tom Jefferson, one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in vaccine research and head of the Vaccine Field Group at the Cochrane Database Collaboration, the Financial Times reported that he found less than two dozen studies on the current H1N1 flu vaccine and none have a completion date before December 2010. Moreover there is no knowledge whatsoever that these vaccines are safe.[1]

Clinical trials with at-risk individuals, including infants, small children, pregnant mothers and people over 65 of age are not mandatory for regulatory approval. So how do the vaccine makers determine whether or not a vaccine is safe for these at-risk groups? Well, they don’t except by predicting past incidences of vaccine effectiveness and safety using mathematical models. The vaccine industrial complex is under no federal obligation to give sound scientific evidence that their vaccines are safe in anyone except health adults.

What is quite extraordinary in the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research’s document, “Guidance for Industry: Clinical Data Needed to Support the Licensure of Seasonal Inactivated Influenza Vaccines”, is the large leeway permitted vaccine manufacturers to prove a vaccine’s safety. For example, “the protocol should include a clinic visit or telephone contact at least six months post-vaccination to ascertain serious adverse events.” Or, “we recommend that you assess the safety of your investigational vaccine in several thousand subjects.” Or, “we assume that approval for use in the adult population, including the geriatric population, would be sought with the initial application.” More serious is this allowance given to vaccine manufacturers, “For vaccines using novel manufacturing processes and/or adjuvants, laboratory safety tests including hematologic and clinical chemistry evaluations, may be needed pre- and post-vaccination in the first clinical studies.” (all italics are ours to clearly identify word choice in the official CDC document). As a result of such noncommittal and ambiguous requirements, we find the efficacy clinical trials conducted for the currently approved H1N1 vaccines enrolling only between 100-240 subjects depending on the trial.

In the October 28, 2006 issue of the British Medical Journal editor Fiona Godlee commented on Dr. Tom Jefferson’s article attacking the UK’s vaccine policy, which is fundamentally no different than that in the US. As an aside, David Salisbury, the UK’s Department of Health’s Director of Immunization, is the only foreign government representative represented on the ACIP. Godlee wrote,

“As if to prove the point, we publish this week a broadside (based on a systematic review of the literature) about the lack of evidence for influenza vaccine. Why, asks Tom Jefferson (p. 912), is there such a gap between evidence and policy? Governments go to great lengths to promote and provide the vaccine. But there is almost no valid evidence that it does any good. Jefferson puts the gap down to our desire to do something, combined with”optimism bias”—an unwarranted belief in the value of interventions. Would randomized trials be unethical? No, says Jefferson, they are the only ethical response to the possible waste of resources on ineffective or only partially effective care. The problem is that the UK has no transparent process for evaluating the effectiveness or cost effectiveness of vaccines.”[2]

The American public has every reason to be suspicious over our health officials vaccination claims and to hold them in distrust and even contempt. Citizens’ confidence in the swine flu vaccine’s safety has dropped with 72 percent reporting in a recent Associated Press-GFK poll they are worried about the vaccines side effects. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Secretary Sebelius should also be worried. Our tax dollars are spending approximately $3 billion on the entire pandemic swine flu vaccine story. But our distrust should not be based on the incestuous romance between government and the vaccine industry, although this surely exists. Instead, the policy decisions being ruled by our national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice rely on exceptionally bad science. This is what should alarm us because it undermines the very foundation of medicine as an art to prevent disease, pain and suffering. So to our health bureaucrats, “It’s the science, stupid!”

I have come to think of the Cochrane Database Collaboration as the penultimate emergency medical think tank of investigators performing triage on the layers of bad, and even quack, science published throughout peer-reviewed medical journals, particularly research papers sponsored by the pharmaceutical industrial complex and their financial supporters and cronies in government health agencies and advisory committees. Given the utter lack of credible vetting being done in peer-reviewed medical journals, which have even allowed freelance contractors at advertizing firms to write scientific articles for the pharmaceutical complex, the Cochrane database is today’s gold standard for a library of sound medical research. Sir Iain Chalmers, called the “maverick master of medical evidence” by Lancet, founded the Collaboration in 1993 as an independent initiative, free of vested interests with private drug and vaccine makers, with the mission to undertake systematic reviews of existing healthcare medical trials. The Collaboration now includes over 10,000 volunteers from 90 countries busily analyzing decades of medical studies to pull out the kernels of sound scientific research and reliable conclusions from the chaff of pseudo-scientific waste that has become a trademark of drug and vaccine manufacturer trial methodologies in order to get their products quickly passed through government regulatory agencies’ relaxed requirements.

Even for those unfamiliar with clinical trial jargon, we can all agree that the approval of any vaccine should rely on sound evidence-based medicine; that is, we would expect clinical trials for determining the efficacy and safety of a vaccine to rely on the best scientific methods in order to gain accurate data to protect and improve the lives of people. Instead, the vaccine approval policy relies on individual-based decisions, subjective quackery fabricated by the vaccine industry, and poor study designs for vaccine efficacy and safety that only serve corporate biases and commercial interests.

Such is the case of several H1N1 vaccine trial press releases issued last weekend that are being spearheaded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). All the studies, although still in progress, are being announced at a time when public confidence in the government’s pronouncements about the severity of the “new” H1N1 virus and the urgency of a national vaccination program are waning. Moreover, a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order have been filed against the FDA on October 9. The suit seeks to place a stay on the H1N1 vaccines’ licensing until conclusive safety trials have been conducted for all targeted groups and with full public disclosure. Slumping on the ropes, the CDC and other health agencies are therefore desperate to fill in the gaps in the safety studies for at-risk groups which they have ignored for decades. Hence this flurry of press releases from the NIAID.

One of the criticisms raised against the CDC’s and HHS’s swine flu policy is that certain groups have been prioritized for vaccination when no definitive and sound medical studies exist to support the government’s claims that influenza vaccines’ are efficacious and safe. These include clinical trials on small children, pregnant mothers, individuals with compromised immune systems, such as asthma, and the elderly. The CDC’s hypocrisy lies in the fact that systematic reviews have already been performed on all available sound studies but the CDC doesn’t like their answers and prefers to ignore them. Dr. Tom Jefferson, head of the Cochrane’s Vaccine Field group, has shown that studies concluding flu vaccine’s efficacy were either poorly designed or “badly executed.” With respect to trials conducted on children under two years of age, the very sparse reliable studies show influenza vaccines are no more effective than a placebo.

Dr. Jefferson has observed strong biases in the selection of trial participants throughout vaccine industry-conducted trials. His conclusions state that “evidence from systematic reviews show that inactivated [influenza] vaccines have little or no effect on the effects measured.” He has discovered that there is “gross overestimation of the impact of influenza, unrealistic expectations of the performance of vaccines, and spurious certainty of our ability to predict viral circulation and impact. The consequences,’ Dr. Jefferson states, “are seen in the impractical advice given by public bodies on thresholds of the incidence of influenza-like illness at which influenza specific interventions (antivirals) should be used.”[3] When it comes to identifying the infecting virus for any case displaying flu-like systems, only PCR is very reliable, and there can be anywhere from 152-200 different infections contributing to flu-like symptoms. This reinforces an opinion by Dr. Anthony Morris, a former Chief Vaccine Officer at the FDA, “The producers of these [influenza] vaccines know they are worthless, but they go on selling them anyway.” We would add from a review of the CDC’s statistics on influenza threats, they are intentionally misleading and medically worthless.

A review of the NIAID’s recent safety trial descriptions for pregnant women, persons with asthma, and the co-administration of the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines in healthy adults and the elderly show once again more sham science on the immediate horizon. The results will surely be twisted, kneaded and molded into a smiley face, plastered on the CDC’s and pro-vaccine health websites, and aired across the media waves to convince us to rush to our nearest vaccination facility.

The NIAID studies are being done in collaboration with Novartis and Sanofi Pasteur, each a manufacturer of an approved H1N1 vaccine. In fact, Novartis’ Head of Strategic Immunization Planning, Dr. Clement Levin, and Sanofi Pasteur’s President Damian Braga sit as representatives on the CDC’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP). The vaccine industrial complex is therefore involved in making our health choices for us. Furthermore, a review of all the clinical sites where the trials will be conducted reveals that most have representation on the ACIP. There is no indication of any independent research entities participating in the trials without financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.[4]

One major concern Dr. Jefferson found in his review of flu vaccine studies involving over 50,000 people from 1969 to 2002 is the high incidence of “confounders.” For this reason these studies have been discarded as examples of poor scientific quality leading to undependable conclusions. Confounders are variables that appear in research studies that produce erroneous results. The way to avoid confounders and achieve more accurate data is to run controlled trials. Even better is to include a placebo in the trial study. This is standard best-case scientific protocol, and in the case of vaccine research it would mean that a group of vaccinated individuals would be compared to a similar or identical group that is unvaccinated during the flu season. However, the vaccine industry does not conduct controlled nor placebo efficacy and safety trials, and none of the recently announced NIAID’s studies are identified as “controlled” in their official documents. Even worse, studies can be designed to intentionally introduce confounders in order to tilt results towards the particular bias the research hopes to achieve. This is what we find evident in the trials underway on pregnant women, asthmatics, and the joint swine/seasonal flu study. Each is bogus science and yet each will be used for forthcoming public relations efforts issuing from the CDC and its foot soldiers throughout the insurance industry, professional medical associations and media.

For example, each of the NIAID studies claim to test for vaccine safety, however, none will investigate or measure any criteria associated with other vaccine ingredients—thimerosal (ethylmercury), adjuvants such as squalene, formaldehyde and oxtocinol (a detergent used as a spermatocide)—except for the H1N1 virus itself. Since the vaccines are being made with and without thimerosal, we would expect the trials to use the latter for preventative measures. Individuals with known allergies to formaldehyde, gelatin, chicken eggs or oxtocinol—in the event your physician or vaccine administrator ever happened to ask you if you were sensitive to any of these—are excluded from the studies. The pregnancy study will only include 120 women, and one of the exclusion criteria includes any woman whose temperature rises to 100 degrees F or higher during the first 72 hours after injection being removed from the study. This last point is a clear example of a confounder intentionally inserted in the study because adverse side effects that may appear in any of these women will not be included in the final data analysis.

While the NIAID study on the H1N1 vaccine’s safety for persons suffering with asthma will enroll only 350-400 individuals, an earlier Canadian survey of 134,000 people found 80 percent were more likely to experience exacerbations requiring the use of inhalers and nebulizers than unvaccinated controls. Another study published in The Lancet, one of the few placebo controlled studies in influenza vaccine research, discovered “that pulmonary-function abnormalities may occur as a complication of influenza vaccination.”[5]

The NIAID press release on October 9 announced it was undertaking a trial to determine the efficacy of taking both the swine flu and seasonal flu vaccinations together. This news arrives after Canadian medical researchers reported four studies indicating the seasonal flu shot will put people at much greater risk for getting the swine flu.[6] These studies are compounded by an equally serious threat of genetic recombination of the different viral strains in the vaccinated person. Dr. Michael Gardam, Director of Infectious Diseases and Prevention and Control at the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion stated, “We don’t know with this year’s flu shot how it interacts with the pandemic flu shot, so it’s a worry.”

We would hope the NIAID would take these warning to heart in designing their trial on the co-administration of the H1N1 and seasonal influenza vaccines. But that is asking a bit much from an agency already sold to bad science. We are stuck asking ourselves, with all the money at their disposal, why can’t our health agencies and advisory committees fund a decent scientifically sound study to get to the bottom of the critical questions regarding vaccine safety? The only answer we are left with is that they don’t want to know the truth. There is no other reason for the continuation of flawed science except to support the CDC’s reactive measures to the growing pressure to convince Americans that the fast tracked swine flu vaccines are safe in the absence of good medical studies.

Fortunately for the Department of Human Health and Services, Americans are still more dim-witted than their European neighbors when it comes to scrutinizing products coming off industrial assembly lines, especially vaccines and pharmaceutical drugs. It proves the high effectiveness of the vaccine industrial complex’s marketing schemes through our government and corporate media. At this moment, health care professionals in the UK are increasingly spurning the H1N1 vaccine. Some hospitals are showing as low as 10 percent of staff and 10 percent of doctors willing to get vaccinated. The primary complaint is “the vaccine is no good and you shouldn’t be bothered with it.” [7] The French government is struggling to find doctors to administer the flu jab. A recent poll in Sweden has more than half of its citizens refusing the shot, and anti-swine flu vaccination protests are erupting in New Zealand. The German health ministry is in a quandary. This week, physicians and advisors of the German military have declared soldiers should not be given the approved vaccines with the mercury preservative and the adjuvant squalene. Consequently, the German public is growing more skeptical by the day over H1N1 vaccines’ safety.[8] Yet here in the US, the sheeple are glued to the theatrics of the ever popular Dr. Oz rolling up his sleeve for a swine flu vaccination and offering his studio audience to fanfare applause their very own free injection of some toxic solution whose effects are unknown. But then Dr. Oz during a separate interview on CNN stated his four children and wife will not receive it.

Pregnant women are now being listed as a high priority for swine flu inoculation. Yet the product inserts so far from the package inserts state the disclaimer: “Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with influenza virus vaccine. It is also not known whether influenza virus vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman.”[9] By their own admission, the vaccine industrial complex has not even performed clinical studies on pregnant animals, let alone pregnant humans!

The Canadian Health Ministry has confirmed that there is no data on the use of adjuvanted swine flu vaccine in pregnant women that would warrant administering it.[10] In fact flu vaccines, as with all other vaccines have not been fully tested to determine teratogenic effects, the dangers vaccines have on the fetus. Unlike the US, Canada is more wary about the medical evidence showing adjuvants have a high adverse threat to pregnant women and the fetus. This conclusion was drawn earlier by the World Health Organization (WHO). Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, head of the WHO’s vaccine research department, has stated “Does that mean that it [adjuvanted vaccine] will be unsafe? No. It means that there is no hard evidence that it will be safe.”[11]

Dr. Jefferson states, “There is no study of the vaccines on pregnant women—no randomized clinical trials.”[12] The real impact of flu vaccines’ perils was summarized in an article in the Summer 2006 Journal of the American Physicians and Surgeons. Drs. David Ayoub and Edward Yazbak conclude their review of the ACIP’s policy on vaccinated pregnant women with the flu vaccine: “The ACIP’s citations and the current literature indicate that influenza infection is rarely a threat to normal pregnancy. There is no convincing evidence of the effectiveness of influenza vaccination during this critical period. No studies have adequately assessed the risk of influenza vaccination during pregnancy and animal safety studies are lacking…. The ACIP policy recommendation of routinely administering influenza vaccine during pregnancy is ill-advised and unsupported by current scientific literature, and it should be withdrawn.”[13]

It would seem that the pro-vaccination community abides by the prevailing myth that the placenta serves as a kind of barrier or wall protecting the fetus from toxic chemicals, metals and contaminants and pathogens in the pregnant mother. This belief has collapsed after one of the more important discoveries in recent years. The Environmental Working Group, an independent non-profit organization conducts laboratory research on environmental toxins. After testing umbilical cord blood for over 200 of some of the most dangerous chemicals found in our immediate everyday environment, the researchers came to the startling results that on average approximately three quarters of them were present in umbilical cord blood. The urgent importance of this discovery is that the placenta does not serve as a reliable filter and highly toxic neurological damaging chemicals, including those used in vaccines, such as ethylmercury and formaldehyde, will make their way to the developing fetus and can contribute to untold neurological and genetic alterations leading to long-term diseases as the child grows up. Unless we can fully appreciate the rate of cell division in an unborn child, which is astronomical and therefore more susceptible to mutations in the presence of highly toxic chemicals, we are unable to grasp the full extent of the dangers vaccines pose on the developing child. This in and of itself should force us to pause and reconsider the serious side effects being inflicted on unborn children from vaccine ingredients.

If your physician or nurse intentionally injected you with lead, they would go to jail and rightly so. As every civilized government in the world knows, lead is neurotoxic to the brain. There is no controversy about this. The controversy is when public health officials insist that a pregnant woman or a young child receive an annual influenza vaccine and a swine flu vaccine containing 25 mcg of mercury each, a level that is deadly to the brain’s neuron cells Mercury is more toxic than lead. It is unfathomable, therefore, how the same doctor, as well as all of our government health officials, would never suggest you be injected with lead, but can turn around and insist you be injected with mercury, knowing full well that your blood will carry that thimerosal past the blood-brain barrier and potentially cause neurological damage.

Furthermore, we have an epidemic of autism in the US and other developmental and learning disabilities in children. We have never experienced this in our history prior to the introduction of large numbers of vaccines going into the children of America. There are no long-term double-blind, controlled placebo studies for any of the pharmaceutical industry’s vaccines nor are there any studies to determine what interactions might occur from the interaction of other vaccines when in the presence of the new swine flu and/or seasonal vaccines. Such studies don’t exist. The CDC and HHS cannot prove that if you did not get infected with the flu it is because you were vaccinated. And yet they have gone to the extreme in demanding and legislating that the vaccine industrial complex be subsidized, given waivers and indemnified from any and all lawsuits. Consequently, if there should be large numbers of serious adverse reactions and deaths, no one will be held accountable. In a society that prides itself in democratic principles and free choice, our health officials are denying that very same free choice by implementing mandatory vaccine policies. This is not the Hippocratic Oath. This is medical fascism.

Richard Gale is the Executive Producer of the Progressive Radio Network and a former Senior Research Analyst in the biotechnology and genomic industries. Dr. Gary Null is the host of the nation’s longest running public radio program on nutrition and natural health and a multi-award-winning director of progressive documentary films, including Vaccine Nation and Autism: Made in the USA. Dr. Null is also the plaintiff on a law suit against the FDA to prevent the launch of the swine flu vaccine until safety studies have been thoroughly conducted.

Notes

[1] “Interview: Dr. Tom Jefferson and the Pandemic Flu Vaccine” Financial Times. September 11, 2009.

[2] Yazbak, F. Edward. “Flu Vaccines Creating a Myth.” Vaccine Risk Awareness Network, November 11, 2006. www.vran.org  

[3] Jefferson T. “Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidence.” Brit. Medical Journal. Vol. 333, October 28, 2006.

[4] “Safety and Efficacy of an H1N1 Influenza Vaccine in People with Asthma” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://clinicaltrials.gov; “Sanofi H1N1 + TIV – Adults and Elderly” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://clinicaltrials.gov;  “H1N1 Vaccine in Pregnant Women” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://clinicaltrials.gov;  

[5] “Randomized placebo-controlled crossover trial on effect of inactivated influenza vaccine on pulmonary function in asthma.” Lancet. 1998; 351: 326-31.

[6] “Seasonal flu shot may increase H1N1 risk.” Canadian Broadcast Corporation News. September 23, 2009.

[7] Campbell, Denis, “Swine flu fears grow as NHS staff shun vaccine.” Guardian UK, October 11, 2009.

[8] “Virologe: Bundesregierung hat den falschen Impfstoff gekauft.” Yahoo Deutschland October 12, 2009.

[9] Richardson, Dawn. “Flu Vaccine: Stay Out of My Womb” October 8, 1999. http://www.vaccineinfo.net/issues/flu_vaccine_warning.htm.  

[10] Branswell, Helen. “Canada to Buy Only Adjuvant-Free Vax for the Pregnant. The Canadian Press. September 5, 2009.

[11] Burgermeister, Jane. “No Data on the Use of Adjuvanted Flu Jabs on Pregnant Women Admist Canada as it Changes “Swine Flu” Jab Policy. The Flu Cure. September 7, 2009. www.theflucure.com  

[12] “Swine flu vaccines not tested on pregnant women.” Pregnancy Weekly. August 6, 2009.

[13] Ayoub B, Yazbak FE. “Influenza vaccination during pregnancy: a critical assessment of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.” J Amer. Phys and Surg. Volume II, Number 2. Summer 2006.

Greece: From Austerity to Prosperity?

January 31st, 2015 by Ellen Brown

The verdict of the Greek people renders the troika a thing of the past for our common European framework..” -Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Greek Syriza Party [1]

The accumulation of large public debts in Western countries has provided the financial elites with political leverage as well as the power to dictate government economic and social policy. Under the sway of neoliberalism, public expenditures are trimmed and social welfare programs are undone. State policies promote the deregulation of the labour market: deindexation of earnings, part-time employment, early retirement and the imposition of so-called “voluntary” wage cuts…” -Michel Chossudovsky (2003), from The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order [2]

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On January 25, 2015, history was made when the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) secured its first ever victory in the Greek Parliamentary elections.

 In the final tally, Syriza received 36.34% of the vote, securing 149 seats, just shy of the 151 necessary for an absolute majority in the 300 seat Hellenic Parliament.

Syriza had won this victory running on a staunch anti-austerity platform. This result seems to be consistent with a year end New York Times article in which writer Suzanne Daley details the decline of Greek living standards under austerity:

But at the street level in Greece, there is little debate anymore, if there ever was. The images of suffering here have not been that different from the grainy black and white photos of the United States in the 1930s. Suicides have shot up. Cars sit abandoned in the streets. People sift garbage looking for food.

About 900,000 of the more than 1.3 million who are out of work have not had a paycheck in more than two years, experts say….

Michalis Mitsopoulos, an economist who has written two books on the crisis, says many of Mr. Tsipras’s ideas are unworkable. But, he adds, many Greeks are desperate, saying to themselves: “I have no job. I am going to lose my house. My children have no future. What more can happen to me?” [3]


Clearly, the harsh economic medicine prescribed by the so-called “troika” (European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) in exchange for bail-out money has proven to be unpopular among Greeks. The question arises then, how did the country get into this mess in the first place, and what viable options, if any, are available to help get the country’s fiscal house in order?

This week’s Global Research News Hour provides some of the context surrounding the recent election with two guests.

Ellen Brown of the Public Banking Institute explains the role of Goldman Sachs and other mega banks in setting up Greece for a fall, and how the Mediterranean country could survive the end of the bail-outs.

Binoy Kampmark, RMIT University lecturer and Counterpunch contributing editor, talks about the background of the Syriza Party, the political culture on the ground, the dynamics of the new Parliament, and what the prospects of financial emancipation for Greece as well as other European countries.

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario –1  Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border.

It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario. Tune in Wednesdays from 12am to 1am.

Notes:

1) Matthew Weaver (January 25, 2015), “Tsipras declares end to ‘vicious cycle of austerity’ after Syriza wins Greek election – as it happened”, The Guardian; http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2015/jan/25/greek-election-syriza-confident-of-victory-live-updates

2) Michel Chossudovsky (2003), p. 3, “The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order”, Global Research

3)   ( December Greek Patience With Austerity Nears Its Limit”, New York Times; http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/30/world/europe/greek-patience-with-austerity-nears-its-limit-.html?_r=0

Politics, Financial Fraud and the “Big Three” Credit Ratings Agencies

January 31st, 2015 by Timothy Alexander Guzman

China and Russia to Launch Credit Rating Agency that will Challenge U.S. Financial System

The “Big Three”Credit rating Agencies Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings are a powerful monopoly and a very influential actor in the World of finance. Since 1975, these same rating agencies gained power with assistance from the U.S. government, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at the forefront and private firms who together wrote the rules so that these credit agencies can have a greater role in the financial markets for investment opportunities such as pension funds for example, that can only invest in an “investment grade” securities provided by the “Big Three.” The risk of investing in securities is therefore determined by the debt issuer whether a corporation, a bank-created entity, sovereign nation such as Russia or China will “most-likely” fail to make interest payments on the debt in a timely fashion. The credit rating are characterized by letter grades, from the highest and safest grade AAA with lower grades moving to double and then single letters (AA, A, then BBB, etc..) and so forth are granted by the “Big Three” which can impose economic implications for potential investors and global markets. After rating agencies realized that they had a significant impact on the market value in regards to their credit ratings even if bad ratings were given to the issuers. The “Big Three” has substantial impact on the power these rating agencies hold today which does determine the market value.

To prevent new companies that are not approved by the U.S. government from offering similar credit rating services, new terms were created by the partnership between the U.S. government and private firms called “recognized rating manuals” that would only protect the “Big Three” against non-approved companies that promised “investment grade”ratings for a price. The SEC created the Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations (NRSRO), designating the “Big Three” as it’s first and only approved entity granted by the U.S. government who endorsed their business practices. This was the start of the credit rating monopoly pushed by the U.S. government and special interests from competition from private firms not approved by the U.S. government itself. It created an environment that prevented any form of competition because debt is rated by the U.S. government standards which mandates credit ratings by NRSRO. “Federal bank regulators in 1936 started requiring banks to hold reserves in securities of a certain rating. State insurance regulators followed suit for insurers” the Chicago Tribune reported in 2011 the following on how the“Big Three” gained its power:

So the government essentially outsourced a difficult and expensive task: evaluating investment risk. “What the government effectively did was to deputize the credit rating agencies,” said Jeffrey Manns, a professor at George Washington University law school who is an expert in credit rating agencies. The Securities and Exchange Commision in 1975 anointed the approved agencies by name and gave them an important-sounding moniker, “Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations”

The role of Credit rating agencies were supposed to provide investors with an in depth-analysis of potential risks associated with “debt securities” that can range from government and corporate bonds, certificates of deposit (CDs), preferred stock and municipal bonds. They can also include collateralized securities, such as collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and mortgage-backed securities. However, corruption is at an all time high according to a former analyst named William J. Harrington who worked for Moody’s for 11 years as Business Insider reported in 2011:

Harrington has made his story public in the form of a 78-page “comment” to the SEC’s proposed rules about rating agency reform, which he submitted to the agency on August 8th. The comment is a scathing indictment of Moody’s processes, conflicts of interests, and management, and it will likely make Harrington a star witness at any future litigation or hearings on this topic

This is a major setback for Moody’s. Harrington can be considered a whistleblower. But can more people come forward exposing the deceitful practices of the “Big Three”?  According to Harrington:

Moody’s analysts whose conclusions prevent Moody’s clients from getting what they want, Harrington says, is viewed as “impeding deals” and, thus, harming Moody’s business. These analysts are often transferred, disciplined, “harassed,” or fired

The most persuasive argument made against the “Big Three” is Matt Taibbi’s report published by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2013 titled ‘The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis’ exposes how deeply involved in the 2008 financial crisis:

Thanks to a mountain of evidence gathered for a pair of major lawsuits by the San Diego-based law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, documents that for the most part have never been seen by the general public, we now know that the nation’s two top ratings companies, Moody’s and S&P, have for many years been shameless tools for the banks, willing to give just about anything a high rating in exchange for cash.

In incriminating e-mail after incriminating e-mail, executives and analysts from these companies are caught admitting their entire business model is crooked.

“Lord help our f*****g scam . . . this has to be the stupidest place I have worked at,” writes one Standard & Poor’s executive. “As you know, I had difficulties explaining ‘HOW’ we got to those numbers since there is no science behind it,” confesses a high-ranking S&P analyst. “If we are just going to make it up in order to rate deals, then quants [quantitative analysts] are of precious little value,” complains another senior S&P man. “Let’s hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of card[s] falters,” ruminates one more.

Ratings agencies are the glue that ostensibly holds the entire financial industry together. These gigantic companies – also known as Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations, or NRSROs – have teams of examiners who analyze companies, cities, towns, countries, mortgage borrowers, anybody or anything that takes on debt or creates an investment vehicle

Politically Motivated? Downgrading Putin or Russia’s Sovereign Credit Rating?

Cold War 2.0 is in full force as Russian President Vladimir Putin is demonized by the Western media. The “Big Three”is in line with Washington’s foreign policies. Russia’s sovereign credit rating was recently reduced to “Junk” status by the S&P and was downgraded to Baa3 by Moody’s Investor Service and the Fitch group recently.  RT News reported that “Russia’s Finance minister Anton Siluanov said S & P’s move was “overly pessimistic, and did not take into account the strengths of the Russian economy.” Was it politically motivated? Of course. They represent 95% of the credits rating market according to a Deutsche Welle analyst in 2011 who said that “The three major rating agencies hold a collective market share of roughly 95 percent. Their special status has been cemented by law – at first only in the US, but then in Europe as well.” Russia Today (RT news) published ‘Moody’s downgrades Russia to just above junk level’ when Moody’s recently downgraded Russia to a Baa3 so it should have been no surprise:

Moody’s international ratings agency has downgraded Russia’s sovereign credit rating to Baa3, which is just one notch above the non-investment grade. It follows similar moves from Fitch and Standard & Poor’s

Moody’s decision was based on the “sharp decline of oil prices” and “Russia’s national currency” with can be an obstacle to growth it said. RT news also quoted what Moody’s had stated following its decision:

Although the rating agency expects Russia’s current account to stay in surplus due to import compression and continued capital flight, the ongoing repayment of external debt by the corporate, banking and public sectors and the outflow of direct investment will likely increase the speed of erosion of official foreign reserve,” Moody’s said.

Moody’s also placed Russia on a review for additional downgrade amid risks of a further decline in oil prices, during which the agency will assess Russia’s “foreign currency reserves cushion” in a situation when the “international market access is restricted for Russian borrowers due to sanctions”

In 2011, RT news also reported that “In 2008, US credit agencies failed to forecast the problem, ranking Lehman as a secure investment just one week before its historic bankruptcy” Joe Wiesenthal formally of Business Insider who now works for Bloomberg news spoke to RT and said “very little has changed with their business model,” said Joe Weisenthal, deputy editor with Business Insider. “Probably the only thing that has really changed is that there is really much more skepticism towards them.” Chinese and Russian experts are already declaring that an alternative credit agency will compete with the “Big Three” as an international relations expert named Victor Gao told RT:

Traditionally credit rating is mostly done by Western credit rating agencies. They sometimes may not fully understand the dynamics of the economics of any particular company or the sovereign borrower,” he said, adding that the agency won’t pursue a goal of replacing traditional Western credit rating agencies like S&P and Moody’s.

“It will give the whole world another perspective of how risks are analyzed and how credit rating should be done,” he said. Acccording to RT, the new agency will be based in Hong Kong to balance the “Big Three” because as many analysts agree do not provide accurate economic information:

Many securities and bonds in the US that had triple-A ratings in 2008 and were considered ‘safe’, turned out to be a bubble, revealed by the subprime mortgage crisis.

“When the issue of creating an agency alternative to the ‘Big Three’ [Standard & Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch Group] was raised, we in fact offered [a] project that was ready to be launched and was supported by the governments of Russia and China,” Ovchinnikov said

This is an interesting moment in financial history. It is a turning point for the credit rating industry which has been dominated by the U.S.

The “Big Three’s” Role in the Collapse of Lehman Brothers

The 2008 financial crises was due to Lehman Brothers, a historic Wall Street institution wh was borrowing large amounts of money to invest or gain “leverage” in the mortgage-backed security industry. The main problem was that Lehman Brothers had a significant portion of investments in housing-related assets vulnerable to a financial downturn. Lehman Brothers profited when the economy was stable, but it also meant that any decline in the value of assets would wipe-out the total book value of equity. The subprime mortgage crisis eventually caught up with Lehman Brothers when they lost an unprecedented amount of money because they held positions in subprime mortgage loans and other low-rated mortgage backed securities and by securitizing the underlying existing mortgages. It resulted in the loss of more than 8 million jobs, it eliminated more than $16 trillion in household wealth and more than 12 million homeowners were left “underwater” owing more on their mortgages than their homes were actually worth. USAToday, a daily newspaper published statements made by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2011:

We conclude the failures of credit-rating agencies were essential cogs in the wheel of financial destruction,” according to the report submitted by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in January 2011. “The three credit-rating agencies were key enablers of the financial meltdown. The mortgage-related securities at the heart of the crisis could not have been marketed and sold without their seal of approval

USA Today also criticized the “Big Three” following the 2008 financial crises:

The big three credit-rating agencies — Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings — are still trying to repair their reputations as being a level-headed, sharp-penciled bunch following the collapse of Lehman. These agencies are roundly criticized for not only failing to warn investors of the dangers of investing in many of the mortgage-backed securities at the epicenter of the financial crisis, but benefiting by not pointing out deficiencies

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal who “sees little value in credit ratings” and that “raters shouldn’t be getting money from federal financial rescue efforts.” According to Bloomberg News. Blumenthal continued “It rewards the very incompetence of Standard & Poors, Moody’s and Fitch that helped cause our current financial crisis,” he says. “It enables those specific credit rating agencies to profit from their own self-enriching malfeasance”

The European Union and the Downgrade of Portugal

Although the European Union is on the verge of collapse because of their unified currency that is creating a financial disaster for most people who are faced with austerity measures have criticized the “Big Three.” Reuters’ reported what former President Jose Manuel Barroso of the European Commission said in regards to Moody’s decision to downgrade Portugal although it took steps to regain financial control:

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Moody’s decision to lower Portugal by four notches and maintain a negative outlook was fuelling speculation in financial markets. Europe was looking at getting away from its reliance on the mainly U.S.-based ratings companies and weighing possibilities for legal redress, he added. [ID : nLDE7650RE]

His view was seconded by Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, who said Portugal’s downgrade was totally unjustified in present circumstances, when the country was taking steps to put its finances in order. “Yesterday’s decisions by one rating agency do not provide more clarity. They rather add another speculative element to the situation,” Barroso told reporters, adding that the agencies were not immune to “mistakes and exaggerations”.

“It seems strange that there is not a single rating agency coming from Europe. It shows there may be some bias in the markets when it comes to the evaluation of the specific issues of Europe,” he said, stating publicly a view that many senior EU officials have pushed privately for some time

Although the European Union project which has reckless economic and political policies is on the road to collapse especially with latest developments with the Greek elections with the Syriza party winning the majority of votes now leads the way by declaring that it will break away from the European Union. The “Big Three” is still criticized for its corruption, lack of competence which are heavily influenced by Washington, multi-national corporations and Banking industry. Russia and China will launch its joint credit rating agency that will rival the “Big Three” and the Wall Street cartel is fearful. Their dominance in the financial World is quickly losing its grip. Perhaps, other nations or regions in the world would develop their own credit agencies that would provide a more accurate reading on “Investment Grade” financial instruments. Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital summarized how the S&P maintained a relationship with Washington and Wall Street in an article titled ‘You Can’t Believe the S&P’ based on the U.S. AAA rating at the time:

The bottom line is that the AAA rating on U.S. sovereign debt is pure politics. S&P simply does not have the integrity to honestly rate U.S. debt. It has too cozy a relationship with the U.S. government and Wall Street to threaten the status quo. In fact, given the culpability of the rating agencies in the financial crisis, it may well be a quid pro quo that as long as the U.S.’ AAA rating is maintained, the rating agencies will continue to enjoy their government sanctioned monopolies, and that no criminal or civil charges will be filed related to inappropriately rated mortgage-backed securities.

Remember S&P had investment grade, AAA, ratings on countless mortgage-backed securities right up until the moment the paper became worthless. Amazingly, the rating agencies somehow maintained their status, and their ability to move markets, after the dust settled

The Washington-Wall Street alliance has an influential hand in the “Big Three” which the Russian downgrade proved. China and Russia is leading the way by creating their own joint credit rating agency especially after the 2008 financial crisis which created a panic in World markets. What nation on earth would not want to create a competent, non-political, non-bias credit rating agency that will better serve their financial interests intead of the “Big Three”? The World knows that the U.S. financial system is quickly heading towards collapse with a debt load of $18 trillion and counting. China and Russia’s new credit rating agency should consider giving the U.S. sovereign credit rating a “new category”, perhaps a “C” for Corruption or a “D” for Debt. Either one would be an accurate grade long over due.

The America Police- Warfare State Is Upon Us

January 31st, 2015 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Anyone paying attention knows that 9/11 has been used to create a police/warfare state. Years ago NSA official William Binney warned Americans about the universal spying by the National Security Agency, to little effect. Recently Edward Snowden proved the all-inclusive NSA spying by releasing spy documents, enough of which have been made available by Glenn Greenwald to establish the fact of NSA illegal and unconstitutional spying, spying that has no legal, constitutional, or “national security” reasons.Yet Americans are not up in arms. Americans have accepted the government’s offenses against them as necessary protection against “terrorists.”

Neither Congress, the White House, or the Judiciary has done anything about the wrongful spying, because the spying serves the government. Law and the Constitution are expendable when the few who control the government have their “more important agendas.”

Bradley Manning warned us of the militarization of US foreign policy and the murderous consequences, and Julian Assange of WikiLeaks posted leaked documents proving it.

Were these whistleblowers and honest journalists, who alerted us to the determined attack on our civil liberty, rewarded with invitations to the White House and given medals of honor in recognition of their service to American liberty?

No. Bradley Manning is in federal prison, and so would be Julian Assad and Edward Snowden if Washington could get its hands on them.

Binney escaped the Police State’s clutches, because he did not take any documents with which to prove his allegations, and thus could be dismissed as “disgruntled” and as a “conspiracy kook,” but not arrested as a “spy” who stole “national secrets.”

Greenwald, so far, is too prominent to be hung for reporting the truth. But he is in the crosshairs, and the Police State is using other cases to close in on him.

These are only five of the many people who have provided absolute total proof that the Bill of Rights has been overthrown. Washington continues to present itself to the world as the “home of the free,” the owner of the White Hat, while Washington demonstrates its lack of mercy by invading or bombing seven countries on false pretenses during the past 14 years, displacing, killing, and maiming millions of Muslims who never raised a fist against the US.

Many commentators have written articles and given interviews about government’s ever expanding police powers. The totality of the American Police State is demonstrated by its monument in Utah, where an enormous complex has been constructed in which to store every communication of every American. Somehow a son or daughter checking on an aged parent, a working mother checking on her children’s child care, a family ordering a pizza, and sweethearts planning a date are important matters of national security.

Some educated and intelligent people understand the consequences, but most Americans perceive no threat as they “have nothing to hide.”

The Founding Fathers who wrote the Bill of Rights and attached it to the US Constitution did not have anything to hide, but they clearly understood, unlike modern day Americans, that freedom depended completely on strictly limiting the ability of government to intrude upon the person.

Those limits provided by the Founding Fathers are gone. The hoax “war on terror” demolished them.

Today not even the relationships between husband and wife and parents and children have any protection from arbitrary intrusions by the state.

Essentially, government has destroyed the family along with civil liberty.

Those insouciant Americans who do not fear the police state because they “have nothing to hide” desperately need to read: Home-schooled Children Seized By Authorities Still In State Custody:http://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/01/gary-north/homeschool-children-kidnapped/

In Police State America, authorities can enter your home on the basis of an anonymous “tip” that you are, or might be, somehow, abusing your children, or exposing them to medicines that are not in containers with child-proof caps or to household bleach that is not under lock and key, and seize your children into state custody on the grounds that you present a danger to your children.

The government does not have to tell you who your accuser is. It can be your worst enemy or a disgruntled employee, but the tipster is protected. However, you and your family are not.

The authorities who receive these tips treat them as if they are valid. A multi-member goon squad shows up at your house. This is when the utterly stupid “I have nothing to hide” Americans discover that they have no rights, regardless of whether they have anything to hide.

We owe this police power over parents and children to “child advocates” who lobbied for laws based on their fantasies that all parents are serial rapists of children, and if not, are medieval torturers, trained by the CIA, who physically and psychologically abuse their children.

In the opinion of “child advocates,” children are brought into the world in order to be abused by parents. Dogs and cats and the fish in the fishbowl are not enough. Parents need children to abuse, too, just as the Police and the Police State need people to abuse.

Of course, sometimes real child abuse occurs. But it is not the routine event that the Child Protective Services Police assume. A sincere investigation, such as was missing in the report on the home-schooled children, would have had one polite person appear at the door to explain to the parents that there had been a complaint that their children were being exposed to a poisonous substance in the home. The person should have listened to the parents, had a look at the children, and if there was any doubt about the water purifier, ask that its use be discontinued until its safety could be verified.

But nothing sensible happened, because the Police State does not have to be sensible.

Instead, a half dozen goon thugs show up. The parents are put outside in the snow for 5 hours while the children are scared to death with questions and then carried away from their home, mother, and father.

In Police State America, this is called Protecting Children. We owe this tyranny to the idiot “child advocates.”

It is no longer important to protect children from homosexuals, unless the homosexuals are Catholic child pedophiles. But it is absolutely necessary to protect children from their parents.

So, yes, dear insouciant American fool, whether you have anything to hide or not, you are in grave danger, and so are your children, in Police State America.

You can no longer rely on the Constitution to protect you.

This is the only way that you can protect yourself: grovel before your neighbors, your co-workers, your employees and employers, and, most definitely, before “public authority” and your children, as your children can report you. Don’t complain about anything. Do not get involved in protests. Don’t make critical comments on the Internet or on your telephone calls. Don’t homeschool. Don’t resist vaccines. Turn your backs to leaders who could liberate you as it is too dangerous to risk the failure of liberation. Be an abject, cowardly, obedient, servile member of the enserfed, enslaved American population. Above all, be thankful to Big Brother who protects you from terrorists and Russians.

You, dear insouciant, stupid, American are back on the Plantation. Perhaps that is your natural home. In his masterful A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn documents that despite their best efforts the exploited and abused American people have never been able to prevail against the powerful private interests that control the government. Whenever in American history the people rise up they are struck down by brute force.

Zinn makes totally clear that “American freedom, democracy, liberty, blah-blah” are nothing but a disguise for the rule over America by money.

Wave the flag, sing patriot songs, see enemies where the government tells you to see them, and above all, never think. Just listen. The government and its presstitute media will tell you what you must believe.

More evidence of Police State America: http://www.globalresearch.ca/notes-on-police-violence-in-america-police-shoot-and-kill-two-teenage-girls-within-two-weeks/5428432

No Breakthroughs in Syrian Peace Talks

January 31st, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

None were expected. Conflict continues. Ongoing since March 2011. Syria is Obama’s war. There’s nothing civil about it.

Death squad insurgents are US proxies. Recruited, armed, funded, trained and directed by CIA operatives and Pentagon special forces.

So-called IS, Nusra Front, Al Qaeda and other takfiri terrorists are imported from dozens of countries.

Longstanding US/Israeli plans call for regime change. Replacing Assad with pro-Western stooge governance.

Previous Geneva I and II peace talks accomplished nothing. Russia’s best efforts were for naught.

Takrifi elements weren’t involved in current ones. They control large parts of Syrian territory. They want it all.

Russia has done more than any other nation to end conflict diplomatically. On Friday, four days of peace talks in Moscow ended.

Russian Academy of Sciences Oriental Studies director Vitaly Naumkin served as moderator.

Before talks began, he said they’d include no preconditions. Free dialogue. No prearranged agenda.

No international pressure to direct things one way or another.

Syrians alone participated. In a personal capacity rather than officially representing groups opposing Assad.

Talks were private. Held in two stages. On January 26 and 27, opposition representatives met with Syrian civil society groups.

On January 28 and 29, they met with Syrian officials. Naumkin said talks weren’t meant to replace Geneva I and II.

He called it “great if (they) help(ed) resume the Geneva process.” At the same time, he said “no one expects an agreement to be signed.”

The main objective was “mak(ing) personalities (on all sides) discuss the basis of dialogue.”

“The issue of fighting terrorism was one of the key themes discussed. This is exactly what brings the sides together as a key challenge to Syria’s territorial integrity and unity.”

In mid-January, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Moscow invited nearly 30 opposition group representatives to participate in talks.

Around 40 showed up. IS and other tarfiri elements were excluded. Washington-backed Syrian National Coalition representatives refused to participate.

So did opposition figure Mouath Al Khatib. Former National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces president.

They insist Assad must go. Naumkin commented saying “(i)f you are a Syrian patriot, why would you not want to use even a tiny possibility to come and talk?”

“(E)ven if you do not agree with Russia’s position.” Achieving peace involves advancing things one baby step at a time.

Anything helping to break impasse is a step in the right direction. Washington is the main obstacle. Obama didn’t wage proxy war to quit. Conflict shows no signs of ending.

Syria’s delegation included six representatives headed by its UN envoy Bashar al Jaafari. Commenting after talks ended, he said:

“We did not hear a single unified position from the opposition delegations. What some could agree on, others rejected.”

Russia proposed so-called “Moscow principles.” Including maintaining Syrian sovereignty. Its state institutions.

Its territorial integrity. Ending Israel’s Golan occupation. Confronting terrorism. Countering foreign intervention. Resolving conflict diplomatically.

A separate document was presented. An “Appeal to the International Community.”

Its four points asked international leaders for vitally needed humanitarian aid. Easing (lawlessly imposed) Syrian sanctions.

Denounced Israeli attacks on Syria and Lebanon. Condemned international interference in Syrian affairs. Brazenly illegal under international law.

Russia’s initiative was helpful, said Jaafari. It helped break longstanding impasse between Damascus and attending opposition representatives.

“The Russian friends have succeeded where others have failed,” said Jaafari. Talks will continue in early March, he added.

On January 30, Tass said participants approved Moscow principles. Russia’s Foreign Ministry was cited saying talks “reflected growing sentiment inside Syria in favor of more active and effective steps aimed to restore peace…”

On January 28, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov welcomed participants to Moscow. Saying

“(t)errorists and extremists of all kinds came to Syria from all over the world.”

“We, as your true friends, are convinced that in the wake of these trials and tribulations, Syria will emerge as a single, sovereign, secular and prosperous state, in which all its citizens and all ethnic and religious groups will feel comfortable and safe, and their rights will be securely upheld.”

“Transitioning from confrontation to dialogue and bringing about solutions to pressing issues on the national agenda require considerable efforts, including the willingness to make inevitable mutual concessions and compromises.”

“This is the only way to save Syria and defeat the forces that want to degrade its people, and split and undermine the unity of the country, while ignoring the risks of the spread of extremism and international terrorism across the region.”

“Russia’s position on the Syrian crisis has always been consistent.”

“We have always advocated for a settlement by Syrians themselves based on the principles of the Geneva communiqué of June 30, 2012, the basic principle of which is about achieving mutual consent of the Syrian sides through an inclusive national dialogue without any preconditions.”

“This is exactly what we strive to promote as we provide you with a venue in Moscow for starting an inclusive dialogue.”

“The whole point of the Geneva communique is that the settlement process cannot and should not be a zero-sum game.”

“All Syrians must benefit from it. We are deeply convinced that external intervention, be it in the form of military actions or attempts to impose political dictate through unilateral sanctions, undermines the spirit and the letter of the Geneva communique.”

Last October, Lavrov, Moscow’s Middle East envoy Mikhail Bogdanov and other Russian officials met with Syrian opposition figures and government officials. Attempted to restart peace talks.

Participants in Moscow represented widely divergent views. Many more concerned about their own interests than what benefits ordinary Syrians.

In a recent interview, Assad explained saying “(y)ou have personalities who only represent themselves.”

“They don’t represent anyone in Syria. Some of them never lived in Syria, and they know nothing about the country.”

Moscow’s meeting wasn’t about “negotiat(ing) the solution. It’s only preparations for (a later to be held) conference.”

Reports suggest opposition elements dropped their demand for establishing immediate transitional government excluding Assad.

Agreeing to continue talks was modestly encouraging. Far from conflict resolution. Nowhere near in sight.

Nor can it be with IS and other takfiri terrorists rejecting peace. Continuing war. With full US support and encouragement.

As long as Obama wants regime change. As long as Israel demands it. As long as rogue EU partners play by Washington/Israeli rules. Expect no end of conflict.

Forever talks won’t end it. Countless thousands more will die. Maybe half of Syria’s population will end up displaced.

Increasing parts of the country will be turned to rubble. Obama bears full responsibility. Another high crime on his rap sheet.

In mid-January, Pentagon officials announced sending hundreds of so-called US “specialists” and “enabling forces” to train anti-Assad elements.

Takfiri terrorists by any standard. Showing Washington intends escalated conflict. Training will be at US bases and facilities in Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

Plans are to train thousands of extremist fighters annually. Perhaps double down on numbers US forces currently train.

Obama wants war, not peace. It bears repeating. Forever talks won’t change things.

Anti-war activism alone perhaps can accomplish what diplomacy has virtually no chance of achieving. So far it’s nowhere in sight.

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. 

Now that Greece has elected a new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, he’s announced his first order of business: receive the money owed to them from Germany in part of unpaid World War II reparations, reported The Washington Post.

Tsipras is part of the Greek left-wing Syriza party, and, according to the Post, the Syriza party has been “outspoken about the need for Germany to atone for its past in Greece.” In a move symbolic of that sentiment, Tsipras visited the Kaisariani rifle range to honor 200 Greek activists who were murdered by Nazi soldiers in 1944.A two-year-old study estimated that Germany still owes Greece $200 billion “for damages incurred during the Nazi occupation” including the cost of rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. However, later studies have estimated a much higher amount. Another Greek reparation advocacy group estimated that Germany owes Greece $667 billion.Some German public officials are actually on board with Greece getting their full reparations.

“From a moral point of view, Germany ought to pay off these old compensations and the ‘war loan’ that they got during the Occupation,” said Gabriele Zimmer of the German socialist party Die Linke.Nazi occupation led to the starvation of 300,000 during World War II, as well as other mass killings of Greek citizens during that time. For these atrocities and extensive damage done to the country’s infrastructure, Greek rightfully seeks out full repayment.Greece’s economy has been in utter shambles, with the unemployment rate reaching as high as 27 percent. We realize that the Germany of today isn’t what it was during Hitler’s rule; the country sees the Nazi movement as a dark blemish on its history. But Germany did agree to a deal, and it must honor its deal

 

Gorbachev Warns Ukraine could Ignite World War III

January 31st, 2015 by Niles Williamson

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union, accused the United States Thursday of initiating a new Cold War with Russia and expressed fears that the conflict could escalate into a nuclear Third World War.

Gorbachev made his comments as fighting escalated in Ukraine between forces directed by the US- and European Union-backed government in Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Donbass region.

“Plainly speaking, the US has already dragged us into a new Cold War, trying to openly implement its idea of triumphalism,” the former Soviet leader told Interfax. “What’s next? Unfortunately, I cannot be sure that the Cold War will not bring about a ‘hot’ one. I’m afraid [the United States] might take the risk.”

He criticized the US and the EU for continuing to press for more economic sanctions against Russia. “All we hear from the US and the EU now is sanctions against Russia,” he continued. “Are they completely out of their minds? The US has been totally ‘lost in the jungle’ and is dragging us there as well.”

Earlier this month, Gorbachev gave an interview to the German news magazine Der Spiegel about the ongoing conflict between the US, EU and Russia over Ukraine. While he stated that it was “something that shouldn’t even be considered,” Gorbachev warned that a major war in Europe would “inevitably lead to a nuclear war.” He added, “If one side loses its nerves in this inflamed atmosphere, then we won’t survive the coming years.”

In the same interview, Gorbachev lamented these developments as the outcome of Washington’s construction of a “mega empire” in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Gorbachev, as the initiator in the late 1980s of the process of capitalist restoration, in the form of the policies of “perestroika” and “glasnost,” bears a huge degree of responsibility for the current crisis in Ukraine and the expansion of NATO. At the time, he argued that the relentless drive of imperialism toward war had been replaced by the pursuit of universal “human values.”

The decision of the ruling Stalinist bureaucracy to preserve its own interests by liquidating the Soviet Union and restoring capitalism allowed NATO to expand its reach to Russia’s Western border.

Gorbachev was not alone in warning of the dangers involved in the Ukraine conflict. Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who has been involved in countless crimes of US imperialism, spoke Thursday before the US Senate Armed Services Committee, declaring himself “uneasy about beginning a process of military engagement [in Ukraine] without knowing where it will lead us and what we’ll do to sustain it.”

The 91-year-old Kissinger added: “I believe we should avoid taking incremental steps before we know how far we are willing to go. This is a territory 300 miles from Moscow, and therefore has special security implications.”

The ongoing imperialist operations in Ukraine, from last year’s US- and EU-backed fascist-spearheaded coup to the ongoing fighting in the Donbass, as well as the current sanctions regime against Russia, are aimed at asserting US hegemony over all of the former Soviet Union and ultimately breaking the Russian Federation itself into a series of semi-colonies, opening the way for the plunder of its vast natural resources.

While there had been signs in recent weeks of a desire on the part of some EU states, in particular France and Italy, to begin rebuilding diplomatic relations with Russia, a deadly rocket attack on the Ukrainian city of Mariupol last weekend brought the EU members back into line behind the sanctions regime.

An emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers on Thursday decided to extend travel bans and bank account freezes against 132 Russian citizens and 28 organizations until September of this year. The foreign ministers will meet again on February 12 to discuss escalating the current tranche of economic sanctions against Russia.

Speaking after the meeting, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated menacingly, “If there is an offensive towards Mariupol or other regions, one will need to respond with clear and harsher measures.”

In the wake of the EU foreign ministers meeting, Donetsk was subjected to a new round of artillery shelling. At least five civilians were reported killed when mortars struck a crowd of several hundred people waiting outside a community center for the distribution of relief aid.

Another two civilians were reported killed after a mortar shell landed near a bus stop. Artillery shelling throughout the day on Friday in western Donetsk killed at least five more civilians.

The pro-Russian separatists continued their assault on a key railway hub between Donetsk and Luhansk, taking control of the village of Vuhlehirsk, just west of a city, Debaltseve, where at least 8,000 Ukrainian forces are currently entrenched. While the city’s civilian population of 25,000 has for the most part been evacuated, at least seven civilians were reported killed by shelling on Friday.

Semen Semenchenko, founder of the Ukrainian nationalist Donbas Battalion militia, which has been integrated into the National Guard of Ukraine, reported that Kiev-backed forces in Debaltseve had been fired upon by artillery shells, mortars and grad rockets.

Ceasefire talks hosted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that were set to resume on Friday failed to even get off the ground. Vladislav Deinego and Denis Pushilin, representatives of the pro-Russian separatists, announced they were leaving Minsk for Moscow after Kiev’s representative, former president Leonid Kuchma, failed to show.

The Ukrainian government and its backers in the US and the EU have shown little desire to reach a compromise with the rebels. Speaking in the UN Security Council last week, US Ambassador Samantha Power dismissed the latest Russian peace plan as an “occupation plan.”

On Friday, in a desperate attempt to stimulate its economy and avoid a devastating recession, the Russian central bank made a surprise announcement that it was cutting its key interest rate by two percentage points, to 15 percent. This decision came little more than a month after it raised the same interest rate by 6.5 percentage points, to 17 percent, in an attempt to stem the decline of the ruble, which has lost more than 17 percent of its value since the beginning of the year.

The sudden move by the Bank of Russia is an indication that the sanctions regime, combined with the collapse of oil prices, is contributing to a mounting political and economic crisis within Russia. According to preliminary reports from Russia’s Statistics Services, the country’s economy grew by a mere 0.6 percent in 2014. Citigroup projects that, if the average price of Brent crude oil remains deflated, Russia’s economy will contract by 3 percent in 2015.

The US helped Mossad assassinate a top Hezbollah figure in Syria in 2008 by lending bomb expertise and surveillance on the ground, Washington Post reported. The joint operation marked CIA’s post-9/11 drift toward modern-day drone killings.

The death of Imad Mughniyah on February 2008 was initially pinned on the Israelis. Hezbollah’s international operations chief, he was suspected of having a hand in many terrorist attacks, including the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy and the 1994 attack on a Jewish community center, both in Argentina.

The suspicion that the CIA may have been involved in the assassination arose on several occasions. But now the newspaper Washington Post reports that this indeed was the case, citing five former US intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The US was instrumental in killing Mughniyah, who was among other things suspected of planning the 1983 bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut, the newspaper said. The CIA provided the bomb, which was planted in a spare tire on the Hezbollah official’s car. An American spotter team in Damascus tracked him down and gave a signal to Mossad agents in Tel Aviv that they could remotely trigger the explosive device.

“The way it was set up, the US could object and call it off, but it could not execute,” a former US official told the Post.

The bomb itself was reportedly built by Americans after a series of testing at a CIA facility in North Carolina. The charge was shaped to ensure that no collateral damage would happen – a pledge that the agency allegedly made to US lawmakers during a secret briefing in the lead-up to the operation.

“We probably blew up 25 bombs to make sure we got it right,” the former official said.

FILE PHOTO: A bulldozer demolishes the bombed out building of the American embassy in Beirut. (Reuters)FILE PHOTO: A bulldozer demolishes the bombed out building of the American embassy in Beirut. (Reuters)

The newspaper calls the killing of Mughniyah the most high-risk action by US intelligence in recent years, after the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. It also marked a significant shift in how America targeted its enemies triggered by the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

The Bush administration secured approval from the attorney general, the director of national intelligence, the national security adviser and the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department to carry out the operation, one former official said. Getting them to sign off on it required a legal justification, which was that Mughniyah “was a continuing threat to Americans” due to his organizing of attacks against American troops by Iraqi militias.

“The decision was we had to have absolute confirmation that it was self-defense,” the official told The Post.

The assertion apparently was enough to override a Reagan-era prohibition on US intelligence agencies carrying out assassinations established by Executive Order 12333 and to team up with the Israelis to kill Mughniyah in the Syrian capital, far from any battlefield. The same reasoning was later used by Bush and Obama administrations to deliver hundreds of drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen and even kill American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki without a trial in 2011.

A man walks past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by US drones in Yemen, painted on a wall in Sanaa, November 13, 2014. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)A man walks past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by US drones in Yemen, painted on a wall in Sanaa, November 13, 2014. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

The Post says that the US determination to kill Mughniyah was voiced to Israelis as early as in 2002. At a secret meeting with the chief of Israeli military intelligence service senior officials from US military’s elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) suggested to discuss such an operation.

“When we said we would be willing to explore opportunities to target him, they practically fell out of their chairs,” a former US official described the reaction of the Israelis to the suggestion.

JSOC envisioned a commando raid rather than a clandestine bombing attack and wanted Israeli support for evacuation.

Eventually the mission to kill Mughniyah became a long term CIA-Mossad effort with at least a year spent on studying the target’s habits to establish a plan for the attack. At one moment the team reportedly had a chance to kill both him and Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, when they met in Damascus, but the Bush administration didn’t give the agents the authority to kill the Iranian.

After the news of Mughniyah’s death broke, the US hailed it.

“The world is a better place without this man in it. He was a coldblooded killer, a mass murderer and a terrorist responsible for countless innocent lives lost,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said at the time.

Let’s have some fun today!  For a change of pace I thought it a good idea to think way outside of the box and write about something that isn’t possible and wouldn’t really matter even if it was true.  

Recently a question was posed to me by a reader, a really crazy question!  He asked regarding the fact there has been no audit of U.S. gold since 1955, “what if the reason they refuse to audit the gold is because we have much MUCH more and they don’t want anyone to know?”.  At first I just laughed and responded with a flippant answer, but then it dawned on me, would it even matter?  Let’s break this down in several pieces and then make further assumptions to see if it would really matter.

First, the U.S. claims to have 8,400 tons of gold.  For simplicity let’s call this amount rounded as one third of a trillion dollars or $350 billion.  Let’s assume the vaults are actually bursting and have 3 times the amount of gold claimed.  This would mean there is a nice round number of $1 trillion worth of gold sitting in the vaults.  Would this amount “matter”?  Would really and truly having “$1 trillion” mean or change anything?

Think about where we have come from and what has been done over the last 6 years to keep life as we know it going.  The Fed has increased their balance sheet by well over $3 trillion while the Treasury has borrowed some $8 trillion more.  You might also remember the Fed “secretly lent out” some $16 trillion all over the world and mainly to foreign entities.   This was discovered in 2011 I believe, it was a shocker at the time but “oh well”, it means nothing now.  My point being, in just the last 6 years, the Fed and Treasury have printed and borrowed over $10 trillion, so no, $1 trillion in the vault is no big deal.

But wait, “this is gold and not dollars” you say?  Well yes, it is gold and we do know it can be pegged in price.  If it is pegged too low, demand will outstrip supply and if too high then supply will come in to the bidders.  Yes, there is a huge difference between sitting on $1 trillion worth of dollar bills and $1 trillion worth of gold, we can touch on this shortly but first let’s do a little more math.  We have had several individual years where our fiscal deficit was over $1 trillion, so our 25,000 tons of gold would have already evaporated many times over.  Let’s make another assumption that the rocket scientists in Washington D.C. decide to pull a “Roosevelt moment” and mark up the price of gold (since they have so much).

Let’s assume it is decided to mark gold up to $10,000 per ounce, what would this do?  The flat out answer is “very little and certainly not enough”.  Even if we truly did have three times the amount of gold we claim to have AND marked up the price nine or ten fold to $10,000, we still only cover the lunacy of the last six years!  If we look at the big picture of Treasury debt and the Fed’s balance sheet combined, we are only halfway there.  Looking at the entire picture which includes all debt and future obligations, the number is a staggering $200 trillion.  This humongous stash of 25,000 tons of gold, priced at $10,000 per ounce is only equal to 5% of total current and future obligations!

Do you see what we just did here?  This was a backdoor way of displaying how ridiculously cheap gold is currently compared to all of the debt that’s been underwritten.  Yes I know, there will be those who say “Holter, you are an idiot.  It doesn’t matter what the price of gold is because it’s not money anymore”.  Really?  (not the idiot part, the “money part”).  Gold IS money.  Yes, our government says it is not and does not want you to believe it is money …does that change the fact?  Let me point something out to you, China believes gold is money, many other nations believe gold is money, can the U.S. “legislate” to foreigners?  Foreigners are already “voting” their beliefs and pocketbooks by purchasing all the gold the world produces and quite a bit more.

To wrap this part up, let me just say that no, pigs do not fly unless they are in an airplane and no, the U.S. does not have more gold than we claim to have.

 Common sense tells you the gold supply and demand deficit has had to have been supplied from somewhere.  This “somewhere” is obviously where the gold had been stored.

ONLY the West, led by the U.S. had massive hoards of gold large enough to supply 1,000′s of tons of annual supply deficits.

ONLY the West, led by the U.S. has had a motive to supply these deficits to support the value of the dollar and to depress the price of gold.  Yet, all we hear from the U.S. when the topic of either the Fed or our depositories being audited are three things, either crickets, an audit is too expensive or “trust us”.  As for the “too expensive” part, I think we can equate this to last year’s 5 tons of German gold… they didn’t get more because of transportation logistics.  How funny!

 

The Express Tribune, an affiliate of the New York Times, recently reported in an article titled, “Startling revelations: IS operative confesses to getting funds via US,” that another “coincidence” appears to be contributing to the so-called “Islamic State’s” (ISIS) resilience and vast resources. A recent investigation being conducted by Pakistani security forces involving a captured ISIS fighter has revealed that he and many fighters alongside him, received funds that were routed through the US.

“During the investigations, Yousaf al Salafi revealed that he was getting funding – routed through America – to run the organisation in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria,” a source privy to the investigations revealed to Daily Express on the condition of anonymity.

Al Salafi is a Pakistani-Syrian, who entered Pakistan through Turkey five months ago. Earlier, it was reported that he crossed into Turkey from Syria and was caught there. However, he managed to escape from Turkey and reached Pakistan to establish IS in the region.

The Tribune would also reveal that the findings of the investigations were being shared with the United States. The source cited by the  Tribune suggested a compelling theory as to why the US has attempted to portray itself as “at war with ISIS,” stating:

“The US has been condemning the IS activities but unfortunately has not been able to stop funding of these organisations, which is being routed through the US,” a source said.

“The US had to dispel the impression that it is financing the group for its own interests and that is why it launched offensive against the organisation in Iraq but not in Syria,” he added.

Indeed, the story reveals several troubling aspects regarding ISIS’ operations in Syria. First, Al Salafi’s ability to effortlessly enter into Syria through NATO-member Turkey, then escape back to Pakistan, again, via Turkey once again confirms that the source of ISIS’ strength is not captured Syrian oil fields or ransoms paid in exchange for hostages, but rather from a torrent of fighters, arms, equipment, and cash flowing from NATO territory in Turkey.

Second – the US does indeed claim to be at war with “ISIS,” going as far as unilaterally bombing Syrian territory while claiming it must now train more militants not only to topple the Syrian government, but now also to fight ISIS – yet appears incapable of stopping torrents of cash flowing from its own borders into the hands of its implacable enemy. A similar conundrum presented itself amid the recent Paris killings, where France too is participating in military operations aimed at both toppling the Syrian government and allegedly fighting ISIS – yet claims to be unable to stop thousands of its own citizens from leaving its borders to join ISIS’ ranks.

The All-Selectively-Seeing Eyes of American Surveillance 

Finally, now that the US is reportedly aware that money destined for ISIS has been routed through its own borders, surely it can leverage its massive and continuously growing surveillance state to identify where the money originated from. The individuals, organization, or government that provided the funds can then suffer the same fate other “state sponsors of terrorism” have suffered at the hands of US foreign policy, including sanctions, invasion, and occupation.

However, the likelihood that the US was unaware of these routed funds – specifically because of its massive and continuously growing surveillance state – is unlikely, as is the likelihood that the US is not also fully aware of where the funds originated from. Der Spiegel in a report titled, “‘Follow the Money’: NSA Monitors Financial World,” would state (emphasis added):

In the summer of 2010, a Middle Eastern businessman wanted to transfer a large sum of money from one country in the region to another. He wanted to send at least $50,000 (€37,500), and he had a very clear idea of how it should be done. The transaction could not be conducted via the United States, and the name of his bank would have to be kept secret — those were his conditions.

Though the transfer was carried out precisely according to his instructions, it did not go unobserved. The transaction is listed in classified documents compiled by the US intelligence agency NSA that SPIEGEL has seen and that deal with the activities of the United States in the international financial sector. The documents show how comprehensively and effectively the intelligence agency can track global flows of money and store the information in a powerful database developed for this purpose.

The obstacle the US faces in stemming funds destined for ISIS centers then, not on knowing about them, but on the fact that both the US itself and its closest allies in the region surrounding Syria are directly complicit in the funding.

As exposed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” it was stated explicitly that (emphasis added):

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

Thus, it is clear, that from 2007 where the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel openly conspired to stand up, fund, and arm a terrorist army to fight a proxy war against Syria and Iran, to 2015 where this army has finally manifested itself as the “Islamic State” complete with funding, arms, and fighters streaming in from NATO members, the source cited by the Tribune claiming that “the US had to dispel the impression that it is financing the group for its own interests,” and thus must now feign to be interested in stopping the organization in Syria, is the most compelling and logical explanation available.

It will be interesting to see if the New York Times itself picks up its affiliate’s story, or if the US State Department, reportedly aware that ISIS funds are being routed through America, makes a comment on this recent development. What is more likely, however, is that the “War on Terror” charade will continue, with the US propping up ISIS, using it both as impetus to funnel more cash and weapons into the region that will inevitably – and intentionally – end up in ISIS’ hands, or as an excuse to intervene militarily in Syria’s conflict more directly.

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

Israeli bulldozers, on Thursday, destroyed a water pipe being used in connecting the West Tubas district’s Atoof village with Khirbet Yezra, in the northern Jordan Valley.

Head of Al-Maleh local council, Aaref Daraghmeh, said that the pipe had length of 1,000 meters, and was donated by Agricultural Relief to provide the residents of Yezra with water, since the area has no water sources.

According to the PNN, Dr. Hanna Issa, professor and expert on international law, strongly condemned the action, saying that occupation authorities provide settlers with water, while depriving Palestinians of their own sources.

Settlers in the occupied West Bank reportedly get an unlimited supply of water amounting to about four times more than Palestinians’ consumption of water.

Issa added that occupation authorities consume about 80% of the mutual water wells, despite the fact that 80-95% of them are located in Palestinian areas, pointing out that this is water theft, and in contravention of international law.

Issa also stressed that Israel has continuously implemented a policy of displacing Palestinians, separating them from homes near water sources.

Israel also prevents Palestinians from digging wells without military permission, while giving privilege to all illegal settlers.

Issa reiterated that Israel was an occupying power and had no sovereignty to tamper with water sources, according to the fourth Geneva convention.

He also demanded Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian land, according to UN Resolution 242 (1967) and Resolution 338 (1973).
http://www.imemc.org/article/70412

Amnesty International: Torture and Human Rights Violations

January 31st, 2015 by Robert Barsocchini

(Additions to Amnesty excerpts are in italics or brackets. Bold emphases added.)

USA:

Torture: Amnesty International USA is partnering with human rights allies around the world for a two-year global campaign to stop torture, from Chicago to Nigeria

  • Chicago police under the direction of former Commander Jon Burge systematically tortured more than 100 people of color
  • …officers repeatedly shocked Anthony [Holmes] with an electric shock box referred to by the detectives as the “ni**er box.” They wrapped the wires around his shackles while suffocating him with a plastic bag. Anthony passed out from the pain [and later] confessed to a murder he did not commit. His confession kept him behind bars for thirty years.
  • …detectives tortured Darrell [Cannon] … They pressed a cattle prod to his testicles and put it into his mouth. …They repeatedly made him believe that they had loaded a shotgun and rammed in into his mouth, pulling the trigger which, at each click, made him think his head was about to be blown off. …Darrell falsely confessed – and spent 24 years in prison on the basis of his confession.
  • [As Obama ensures of all torture committed by the US] Neither Burge nor any of the detectives under his command have been prosecuted for torture. Not one of the torture survivors have received the reparations (financial compensation, psychological counseling, vocational training) needed to make them whole, as required by international law.
  • The Intercept noted Tuesday that Obama is voraciously persecuting whistle-blowers while protecting torturers and other international and national criminals.

Torture, prison: The USA stands virtually alone in the world in incarcerating thousands of prisoners in longterm or indefinite solitary confinement, a form of torture.

  • [The number of prisoners in some form of solitary punishment in the US is] estimated to be approximately 80,000 on any given day
  • …psychological harm … can result from isolating people even for relatively brief periods
  • The journal New Scientist finds that psychological torture is “as bad as physical torture”. 
  • The journal also points out that “US Senator John McCain, who experienced torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, has said that if he were forced to make a decision between enduring psychological or physical torture, he would not hesitate to pick the latter.”
  • (Interesting side note: On roots of the USA’s unique standing in terms of its immense incarceration and prisoner isolation-torture rates, see this essay by Mark Lewis Taylor, Professor of Theology and Culture, Princeton Theological Seminary, which delves into white Christian and European ideas of isolation as a means of appeasing god.  He quotes de Tocquville’s observation that US prisons were illustrations of “complete despotism”, and notes how when African Americans were transferred out of slavery and into prisons, things became even “more abject”.)

Policing: Amnesty International condemns the excessive, unnecessary or arbitrary use of force and will not rest until all policing in the United States respects human rights.

Death Penalty: Rather than continuing a practice that has been abandoned in all but a few counties—and risking more botched executions—Oklahoma should join the national trend and end the death penalty.

  • On the occasion of one such botched execution in Oklahoma, Obama took the opportunity to dissent from virtually all of the world’s human rights organization, including Amnesty, and defend his isolated stance on the death penalty, stating “there are certain circumstances in which a crime is – is so terrible that the application of the death penalty may be appropriate”.  

Saudi Arabia:

Reforms: Noting “some positive reforms”, Amnesty reminds that “Despite the advances in recent years,the country’s human rights record has worsenedThe negatives vastly outweigh the positives.

  • Raif Badawi’s case [the blogger being lashed nearly to death] is just one example we have documented of the state’s brutality in Saudi Arabia.
  • Under King Abdullah’s reign, there has been an increasing crackdown on freedom of expression. All of the country’s prominent human rights activists have either been jailed, forced into silence, or fled the country. Hundreds have been imprisoned for “crimes” such as using social media to discuss human rights issues or for “insulting the King”.
  • Throughout his reign, hundreds of people have been beheaded and several hundreds sentenced to death. Severe discrimination against women continues in law and practice, including through an archaic driving ban and a deeply discriminating guardianship system which requires women to get the permission of a male relative to work, seek higher education and travel. Citizens and foreigners alike are banned from practicing their religions freely if they do not comply with the state’s version of Sunni Islam. Torture remains rife.
  • The list of violations doesn’t end there.

Libya:

Amnesty notes that “since February 2011″ (the civil war and US-led aggression against Libya), the country has descended into “chaos” and “spiraling war crimes … waged by rival groups and their supporters seeking vengeance”

  • The Washington Times reported yesterday on “secret tapes” that show how the Obama regime (led in this case by Hillary Clinton) fabricated the idea of an impending humanitarian crisis (Human Rights Watch dismissed the idea that such a crisis would occur), and rejected negotiations in favor of detonating explosives in Libya, an act of aggression, to bring about an illegal regime change.  Libya was one of seven countries that, according to Gen. Wesley Clarke, W. Bush had madeplans to “take out”. 
  • Washington’s Blog reported, citing the Daily Mail, that ‘The White House and senior Congressional members,’ the group wrote in an interim report released Tuesday, ‘deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler [Muammar Gaddafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qaeda.’ 
  • “The United States … knowingly facilitat[ed] the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,’ Clare Lopez … former CIA officer, told MailOnline.” (WB)

Nigeria:

New evidence shows that the Nigerian military were repeatedly warned of impending Boko Haram attacks on Baga and Monguno which claimed hundreds of lives…

  • Boko Haram warned the inhabitants of Baga and surrounding villages almost two months ago that they would be coming to attack the troops and the civilian JTF [Joint Task Force].” Sources told Amnesty International that after the Baga attack on 3 January, Boko Haram members informed locals that their “next target is Monguno,” and that these civilians informed the local military.
  • One Monguno resident told Amnesty International: “There was a warning. Everyone was aware.Boko Haram came on Wednesday last week [21 January] and asked the villagers [in nearby Ngurno] to leave because they are coming to attack the barracks. The villagers told the soldiers.”
  • As former US marine Ross Caputi and Prof. Noam Chomsky note, Boko Haram’s warning to civilians to flee from the impending attack is precisely the same courtesy the USA granted civilians in Fallujah, though the US killed 4-6,000 civilians in that town and may have caused an epidemic of birth defects and mutations, in addition to destabilizing Iraq and introducing and empowering terrorist groups throughout the wider region. 
  • Sheldon Richman notes: “Before Americans invaded Iraq, al-Qaeda was not there. Nor was it in Syria, Yemen, and Libya.”

Boko Haram was also strengthened by the US-led destruction of Libya:

  • Al Jazeera: “…heavy weapons such as SAM-7 anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles…were either surreptitiously obtained by posing as Gaddafi’s supporters or indirectly purchased from mercenaries who had acquired these arms from Libyan depositories. …these arms have been transferred to groups such as Ansar Dine, Boko Haram and MUJAO, emboldening and enabling them to mount more deadly and audacious attacks.
  • Human Rights First: “Unsecured Libyan stockpiles empower Boko Haram and destabilize African Sahel”
  • NBC News: “Apart from benefiting from sympathizers in the Nigerian military, the Islamic terror group is able to purchase small arms and occasionally some larger weaponry in nearby conflict zones, ‘probably Libya’ … The collapse of Libya has further flooded the market”
  • Reuters and United Nations: “The Libyan civil war may have given militant groups in Africa’s Sahel region like Boko Haram and al Qaeda access to large weapons caches, according to a U.N. report released on Thursday. … Boko Haram killed more than 500 people last year and more than 250 this year in Nigeria.”
  • Washington Post: “Boko Haram … militants, who traveled to northern Mali last year to join the fight there, have returned with heavy weapons from Libya, presumably from former Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s arsenal.”

Israel:

Palestinian Murad Shtewi sits in an Israeli prison. His “crime?”  Daring to protest the Israeli military occupation that his village lives under.

  • In Murad’s village of Kufr Qaddum, much of the land has been confiscated by the Israeli authorities for the purposes of building and servicing the illegal Israeli settlement block of Kedumim.
  • …an Israeli military court announced that [Shtewi] would be released from prison in February. Even so, he still won’t be truly free.  Like so many other Palestinians, Murad faces re-arrest if he chooses to participate in any future protest.

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published researcher and writer who focuses on global force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry.  He is a regular contributor to  Washington’s Blog.  Follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.

Ukraine’s top general is contradicting allegations by the Obama Administration and by his own Ukrainian Government, by saying that no Russian troops are fighting against the Ukrainian Government’s forces in the formerly Ukrainian, but now separatist, area, where the Ukrainian civil war is being waged.

Here is a screen-print of a google-chrome auto-translation of that statement:

The Chief of Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, General Viktor Muzhenko, is saying, in that news-report, which is dated on Thursday January 29th, that the only Russian citizens who are fighting in the contested region, are residents in that region, or of Ukraine, and also some Russian citizens (and this does not deny that perhaps some of other countries’ citizens are fighting there, inasmuch as American mercenaries have already been noted to have been participating on the Ukrainian Government’s side), who “are members of illegal armed groups,” meaning fighters who are not paid by any government, but instead are just “individual citizens” (as opposed to foreign-government-paid ones). General Muzhenko also says, emphatically, that the “Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian army.”

In other words: He is explicitly and clearly denying the very basis for the EU’s sanctions against Russia, and for the U.S.’s sanctions against Russia: all of the sanctions against Russia are based on the falsehood that Ukraine is fighting against “the regular units of the Russian army” — i.e., against the Russian-Government-controlled-and-trained fighting forces.

The allegation to the effect that Ukraine is instead fighting against “regular units of the Russian army” is the allegation that Vladimir Putin’s Russia has invaded Ukraine, and it is the entire basis for the economic sanctions that are in force against Russia.

Those sanctions should therefore be immediately removed, with apology, and with compensation being paid to all individuals who have been suffering them; and it is therefore incumbent upon the Russian Government to pursue, through all legally available channels, restitution, plus damages, against the perpetrators of that dangerous fraud — and the news reports have already made clear precisely whom those persons are, who have asserted, as public officials, what can only be considered to be major libel.

Otherwise, Ukraine’s top general should be fired, for asserting what he has just asserted.

If what General Muzhenko says is true, then he is a hero for having risked his entire career by having gone public with this courageous statement. And, if what he says is false, then he has no place heading Ukraine’s military.

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.

Google, Gag Orders and the WikiLeaks Investigation

January 31st, 2015 by Binoy Kampmark

Google’s gargantuan presence on the Internet, be it in terms of search engines, archived data and the use of email, has become a problem.  Given that it traffics in information of virtually every shade and colour, it was bound to be on the attractive hit list for law enforcement authorities. Those who use its services had to be aware that, at some point, their subscriber information would become attractive.

Google took almost over two and a half years to disclose that it has handed emails and various forms of digital data belonging to three WikiLeaks staffers to the US government.  On December 23, 2014, investigations editor Sarah Harrison, section editor Joseph Farrell, and spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson were told by the company that contents from their subscriber accounts had been handed over to US authorities.  The letter to Google, authored by Michael Ratner, counsel from the Center for Constitutional Rights representing WikiLeaks, expresses astonishment and a degree of disturbance at the fact.[1]

The warrants, outlined in the letter of January 26, are said to have covered espionage, conspiracy to commit espionage, the theft or conversion of property belonging to the United States government, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and conspiracy.

The extent of the disclosure required was staggering, “including stored or preserved copies of emails sent to and from the account; draft emails and deleted emails; all records or other information related to the identity of the account (associated phone numbers, IP addresses, types of services utilized, account status, log files, any credit or bank account numbers associated); all records or other information stored at any time using the account; any communications the person had with Google.”[2]

Julian Assange’s suspicions that Google might well have been in the FBI bed were triggered after it was revealed that orders had been made requiring Twitter to disclose material connected with WikiLeaks affiliates.  The contents of the April 19, 2011 conversation held between Assange and Google’s Eric Schmidt are disclosed in the letter.

In Assange’s words, WikiLeaks was “fighting this case now, with Twitter, we’ve done three court hearings now, trying to get the names of the other companies that fulfilled the subpoenas for the grand jury in the US. Twitter resisted and so that’s how some of us became aware.  They argued that we should be told that there was a subpoena.”  Schmidt’s response: “I can certainly pass on your specific request to our general counsel.”  The Google chief was left in no doubt that “Google argue legally that WikiLeaks as an organization should be informed… Ok, I’ll pass that along.”

Unlike Twitter, which challenged the US government over notification protocols to its subscribers in the event orders were made on the company, Google remained tardy. The technology beast was not for turning.  In the words of Ratner’s letter, “We are surprised that Google appears to have failed to act upon this request, causing notice to our clients to be delayed more than two and a half years.”  Lists on materials provided to law enforcement, or any pending legal proceedings, were not submitted.

The Twitter episode crystallised an approach that seems to have infected Google. In December 2010, Twitter received a court order for subscriber information covering five WikiLeaks staff members and supporters. The US Justice Department was sought out and pressed on the issue: those individuals concerned would be informed that their data was the subject of interest.  Prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia did not, at that point, seek a gag order on Twitter.  Disclosures were subsequently made to the supporters and staff.

It transpired that assistant US Attorney, Tracy Doherty-McCormick, turned up in the material that was subsequently published. The lid on the prosecutors had been lifted, ensuing a degree of fury and alarm.  The US Attorney’s office duly hit the roof with the ensuing publicity.  According to attorney Albert Gidari, who has represented both Twitter and Google at various stages, they even “went through” it.[3]  A precedent had thus been set: the desire to seek gag orders over warrants disclosing material connected with WikiLeaks and coming through the conduit with Google, was born.

Gidari, as is to be expected, treads softly regarding his client. Google, he claimed, has repeatedly contested the gag order on the WikiLeaks warrants.  “From January 2011 to the present, Google has continued to fight to lift the gag orders on any legal process it has received on WikiLeaks.”  Their response to WikiLeaks says nothing of the sort.

The nature of these warrants has been deemed by Alexander Abdo, privacy expert at the American Civil Liberties Union, to be “shockingly broad”.[4]  “This is basically ‘Hand over anything you’ve got on this person.’” The pressing point here, however, is how the conduct of WikiLeaks, in this case, hardly seems different from “what major newspapers do every single day in speaking to government officials and publishing still-secret information.” Editors and journalists beware – and very wary.

The gag order itself is also problematic, an aberration that stalks the First Amendment with its threatening fetters. The ACLU has argued that such orders must “be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest.”[5]  But authorities keen on getting the loot can’t help themselves, and tend to fall into generalising any associated risks.

There is the other, broader picture at stake here.  Even as Schmidt attempts to remove the contents of any egg that has found its way onto his face, the Google revelations simply point to the continued interest in WikiLeaks by US authorities.  The Eastern District of Virginia continues to busy itself with the publishing outfit.  Around a dozen outstanding search warrants and court orders remain under seal, a situation attorney Ahmed Ghappour, who acts for journalist Alexa O’Brien, is attempting to redress.

Google has refused to disclose the details of its conduct towards the three WikiLeaks staff members, suggesting rather darkly that it does protect “all our users”.  But the gag orders present a classic bind.  Google won’t reveal to its subscribers that it will, in fact, hand their data to the authorities, even if it assures them legal action will be taken on their behalf to prevent that. In failing to do so, their own escape route is that there was a gag order to begin with.  This suggests an incentive to get parsimonious when using the technology giant’s services.

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

Notes

Ecological Economics, and Changing Everything

January 31st, 2015 by Patricia Perkins

This talk was delivered at a forum at Beit Zatoun, in Toronto on January 11, 2015, on Naomi Klein’s recent book, This Changes Everything (2014) [see video at LeftStreamed No. 245].

I would like to thank and acknowledge the First Nations of the territories where we live and are meeting, the Anishinaabe Mississauga, Seneca, Huron-Wendat, ‘Neutrals,’ and other peoples whose ancestors lived here. The land claim of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, relating to the Crown’s 1805 acquisition of land running from Ashbridge’s Bay westward to the mouth of the Credit River, and extending 28 miles northward, is still under negotiation. Toronto owes its location and earliest traditions as a meeting place to the aboriginal peoples who developed sustainable ways of living and welcomed settlers here. The appalling treatment of aboriginal peoples by settlers is an ongoing disgrace which is intertwined in many ways with the economic, political, and social systems that have produced climate change.

We must start by acknowledging and addressing long-standing injustices if we are to build alliances to fundamentally change this reality, as we are discussing today. I hope today’s session will contribute toward this understanding, and I think we all need to take seriously our responsibility to educate ourselves about the still-suppressed history and the current situation of aboriginal peoples.

Ecological Economics, De-Growth and Climate Change

As I read Naomi Klein’s wonderful book, This Changes Everything (2014), it kept reminding me of proposals and ideas which are part of the ecological economics canon, and I’d like to briefly share and describe some of these.

Ecological economics emerged as an academic field in the late 1980s (the journal Ecological Economicsbegan publishing in 1989 and Canada’s chapter of the International Society for Ecological Economics(CANSEE, started in 1993). Ecological economics recognizes that the economy, however it is organized, is an open subsystem of the Earth’s ecosystem (of which humans are of course a part). The Earth system is materially-closed and energetically-open – since the Earth receives sunlight, and hopefully radiates an equal amount of heat back to space. Therefore material limits exist on how big the economy can grow, although these limits are not usually acknowledged in capitalist / neoclassical / traditional economics, which sees perpetual growth as good and necessary. Interest rates, wage increases, profits, and sometimes redistribution are fueled by this growth. Following the Meadows Report, The Limits to Growth (1972), E.F. Schumaker’s Small is Beautiful (1973), and Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen’s The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (1971) which pointed out that due to thermodynamics, energy degrades and becomes progressively less useful once it enters the economy, books like Is Capitalism Sustainable? published in 1994, have highlighted the fallacies, contradictions and problems with economic growth-dependence. But as we know, growth has powerful and linked political constituencies.

The Degrowth movement, which is quite strong in Europe now and has an active Canadian presence, advocates for the downscaling of production and consumption so that humans live within the limits of the earth’s ecosystem while maximizing well-being through non-consumptive activities centred on culture, community and human relationships. Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster (2008) by my colleague Peter Victor at York University is a detailed blueprint and computer-tested model which shows how social goals like full employment and poverty reduction can be met even in a no-growth economy if the political will supports concerted, directed government spending. Clearly this will require a lot of grassroots organizing!

The Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), founded in 1986, fosters research and discussion about the benefits of an unconditional basic income for all as an economic right. A basic income could be at least partly funded through minimizing the complex bureaucracies required to administer welfare, unemployment and other social transfers, and would allow those without formal employment to still contribute socially. Doesn’t this approach the aboriginal principle that everyone deserves food, clothing and shelter? Some people see a global basic income, perhaps funded through carbon taxes and climate debt repayments, as a climate justice goal. Wouldn’t this at least partly redress the economic development inequities stemming from colonialism?

The York-McGill-University of Vermont partnership website is e4a-net.org.

Ecological economists have also researched how to support the development of local economies, how to end perverse subsidies that stimulate economic bads not goods, ways of measuring resource depletion, pollution, and ‘stranded assets’ so that they can be included in national accounts, planning, and policy, and many other detailed policy-relevant topics that are likely to come in handy during the transition we face.

York University has recently begun a pedagogical partnership with McGill University and the University of Vermont to develop a joint ecological economics graduate program that will train dozens of graduate students over the next several years. Its goals include critiquing and advancing alternatives to Western, instrumentalist mindsets and disciplinary silos in order to contribute to a more holistic and practical understanding of sustainable human endeavor. Students work directly with organizations outside the university to put their academic studies at the service of civil society and test the relevance of what they are learning. The three focus areas for this joint program are water, energy, and climate justice.

In much recent work on ecological economics, degrowth, and the transition to more sustainable socio-economic systems, ‘commons’ is emerging as a paradigm for future economic institutions. A ‘commons’ starts out more overtly oppositional to capitalism than other sometimes-vague terms like ‘sustainability’ or ‘development,’ focusing as it does on ownership and property, land, resources, and assets that are explicitly not privately owned.

This goes beyond the idea of a commons as a common-property regime with the socio-political structures required to prevent open access. The vision more broadly is one of people working together, cooperatively, to build methods of production, service provision, and exchange which create value and well-being while integrating ecological care, justice, and long-term planning to the best of diverse communities’ abilities. This includes institutions such as co-ops, land trusts, and non-market or beyond-market collective ways of organizing production, distribution, consumption, and waste or materials management.

Preventing the so-called “tragedy of the commons” by controlling open access through strong social institutions requires a high level of general civic consciousness, co-operation, the ability to listen and mediate differing goals, conflict resolution, flexibility and good will throughout society, especially in the context of social dynamism and diversity. As 2009 Nobel Economics laureate Elinor Ostrom and others have demonstrated through meticulous research, this does not always happen, but it is possible.

The interdisciplinary International Association for the Study of the Commons was formed in 1989, building on the Common Property Network which was formed in 1984. IASC now has over 1,000 institutional members and has sponsored 12 international conferences, with another planned for May 2015 in Alberta. The idea that commons governance represents something fundamentally different from “the Market” or “the State” is becoming well-known and widely accepted.

The journal Capitalism Nature Socialism, founded in 1988, provides a focus for egalitarian and environmental anti-capitalist perspectives. Political ecology, green community development, and feminist eco-socialism, among others, are burgeoning communities of thought and action related to human relationships with the Earth.

My general point is that many relevant theories, methods and tools which may be useful in the struggle against climate change have been advanced and analyzed by academics, and are therefore available when needed and as soon as the political will is in place to put them to use. Academics and activists can and should be strong allies.

Three Sets of Ideas in Addressing Climate Change

There are three areas where I’d like to offer some additional thoughts, building on what Klein says about climate change and capitalism. The first relates to race and slavery, energy transitions, inequities, and human work. Energy transitions are times when humans ‘discover’ or invent a new way of making their lives easier. Animal traction, making ‘domesticated’ animals do work for humans, made possible new kinds of agriculture and increased food production. Using fire was one of the first energy transitions (requiring wood biomass for fuel). The eventual near-deforestation of Europe led to the discovery that coal could also be burned; coal allowed hotter fires, making possible steel smelting and all sorts of resultant technological changes. Transitions to other fossil fuels, and nuclear energy, followed. Technical change in ship design, including hull profiles and sails, made possible ever-fleeter and more wide-ranging wind-powered and then fossil-fueled ships, military conquests, trade, colonialism.

But not all humans were ever the beneficiaries of these energy transitions and technological advances. The beneficiaries depended, and still depend, on which people have access to the technologies and which people, through violence and political power, ‘own’ the ability to enjoy easier lives. Women’s work, for example, has nearly always been controlled and directed for the service of men through religious and family traditions, domestic violence, labour-market discrimination, and other institutions of patriarchy. This is why women in North America and Europe still earn only about two-thirds of what men do for equivalent work, and why women with dependents work a double or triple day at the expense of their rest, leisure, and health. After WWII, as electric household machines fuelled from the grid reduced women’s drudgery in housework, laundry and cooking, women began to work outside the home, still at low wages. In the global South today, electrification has similar effects, sometimes displacing rural women and men to urban factories where they face a different kind of drudgery.

And slavery, viewed in this way, is another institution that some people invented to make their lives easier at the extreme expense of others – it cannot be separated either historically, economically, or environmentally from the energy transitions surrounding it. (Some alternative energy publications still talk about ‘energy slaves’; since the average sustained power output of a human being is about one-tenth of a horsepower, an ‘energy slave’ is equivalent to about 0.67 of a kilowatt-hour.) Recent research by black scholars is documenting all the ways that slavery undergirded and made possible the growth of capitalism and its heinous intellectual justification. The near-genocides of aboriginal peoples are another aspect of this ‘othering,’ using Power to categorize some humans as beneficiaries and others as outcasts. Our fight today against the results – globalization, corporate control of governments, trade agreements, worsening income inequality, ongoing extreme social inequities, environmental injustices, and climate change – represents our chance to build the strong alliances needed to right these wrongs, as Klein states.

Obviously this is a complex story about which a great deal more can be said, but my basic point is two-fold: We must not allow ourselves to assume that all humans, even all humans in a particular region or country, are equally responsible or equally affected by the institutions and processes that are responsible for climate change. And secondly, this is one reason why the voices of all those affected must be equitably involved in envisioning and building the solutions – so that all the relevant information is brought to bear, and so that the question of interpersonal, political Power is reunited with the question of energy transitions and power shifts in building sustainable solutions. The climate justice literature speaks of “procedural justice” – engagement in building ongoing political solutions – as being equally important along with “distributive justice” – the material redistribution of benefits, land, and rights.

Watercolor depicting the Klallam people of chief Chetzemoka (1808-1888) at Port Townsend, Washington, with one of Chetzemoka’s wives distributing potlatch.

I’d also like to add to Klein’s words on the role of Aboriginal leadership, treaties, court rulings, and land claims – what John Ralston Saul has described and documented as “the Comeback.” Indigenous worldviews provide such rich insights into ways of organizing society to prioritize resilience, interdependence, trust, and ecological respect. Aboriginal traditions of hospitality, sharing, potlatch (or giving away material wealth as a sign of moral and community standing, thus trading off material wealth for leadership and respect), humility, and reverence for the earth and its creatures and life systems are central to locally-appropriate commons governance processes. First Nations also had nested governance hierarchies which seem to me to correspond with what Elinor Ostrom has cited as successful ways to govern large-scale commons.

The active suppression of the potlatch by the Canadian government between 1884 and 1951, on penalty of 2 to 6 month jail terms, shows the extent to which gift-giving and generosity were inimical to the selfishness and violence of capitalist expansionism. During the potlatch, guests are named and given gifts with the words, “you are recognized.” In The Principles of Tsawalk: An Indigenous Approach to Global Crisis (2011, Ch. 4), E. Richard Atleo (Umeek) comments:

“Over time it was learned that gift giving and recognition promoted balance and harmony between beings, that it obeyed what might be called the laws of the positive side of polarity. To neglect the promotion of balance and harmony between beings promoted what might be referred to as the laws of the negative side of polarity. These are not new ideas. Indeed they are commonly held both by Western and Eastern morality (generosity begets generosity) and by the laws of physics (to every action there is a reaction). When two neighbouring nations shared the same resources, whether cedar, salmon, or human, then it was obvious to the ancient Nuu-chah-nulth that to neglect the act of recognition would open the way to conflict, while to observe the act of recognition, through what I refer to as ‘mutual concern,’ would open the way to balance and harmony.”

Aboriginal women, in particular, are the strong leaders of the most powerful environmental movements in Canada today.

The issue of women’s leadership and embodied knowledge of power inequities is a third area where I would like to add to what Klein has said. The transition away from climate change and fossil fuel ‘energy slaves’ has to mean a transition to meaningful jobs without drudgery for all – and women are everywhere the experts on drudgery. As Emma Goldman said, “Woman is the worker’s worker.” Since most of this work is unpaid, and in fact the unpaid economy is at least as big as the paid one in every country and globally, this both undergirds capitalism and is simultaneously outside the market’s control, which puts a different spin on the prospects for alternatives to capitalism. A basic income could make the distinction between paid and unpaid work almost irrelevant. Women’s voices, participation, and leadership are so crucial in climate change activism for such changes.

I’m learning a lot about this through interviews I’ve been doing recently with women across Canada, for a study on climate justice and gender in Canada. When extreme weather events disable the electricity grids, flood the farms, bring fires and beetles to the forests, melt the permafrost and sea ice, and cause rising sea levels which destroy the fisheries, this wreaks economic havoc and sometimes brings family breakdown. Women end up doing much more work, and sometimes taking another paid job on top of their family responsibilities. There is lots of stress. And as noted after Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, and other climate crises, domestic violence against women can also be a manifestation of climate chaos.

At the same time, gendered social roles and responsibilities mean that women tend to be central to community resilience, care for the sick and vulnerable, livelihood skills transmission, and inter-household sharing in times of crisis. For all these reasons, the alliances needed to build socially, politically, economically and ecologically sustainable futures must rely on women’s experience and input.

Organizing into an Effective Movement

I believe the potential of the internet, social media and youth organizing have an important role, especially insofar as youth learn to use these means to communicate effectively across difference, address conflicts, and build politically astute coalitions. Cellphones and community radio, along with the internet (which is more liable to intervention/control and to which not everyone has access), are powerful tools for networking and democratic information dissemination.

Canada’s diaspora communities provide many opportunities to communicate broadly, build trust and assemble global coalitions that I think may have tremendous potential in times of climate change. For example, my students in environmental studies at York have included people of Egyptian, Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian descent who were able to discuss issues related to climate change and water politics in the Upper Nile basin, and at times correspond with their relatives in those countries or do internships and field experiences there, at times when there was a total breakdown in peaceful communication on these issues among the governments themselves. Some of these students have gone on to careers related to environmental policy, water, and climate. Won’t their interpersonal connections and experiences with others in the diaspora contribute to their future work and to broader understandings of what is possible?

For those who are doubtful that dog-eat-dog capitalism can be summarily dismantled, let me offer the view that it is already happening, in ways I’ve outlined. Furthermore, we do know some specific areas where concerted pressure will provide additional impetus.

Here’s quotes from commons expert Elinor Ostrom, specifically in reference to climate change:

“Instead of presuming that cooperation related to social dilemmas is an impossibility, the presumption should be that cooperation will occur in settings with several broad characteristics. These include the following:

“1. Many of those affected have agreed on the need for changes in behavior and see themselves as jointly sharing responsibility for future outcomes.

“2. The reliability and frequency of information about the phenomena of concern are relatively high.

“3. Participants know who else has agreed to change behavior and that their conformance is being monitored.

“4. Communication occurs among at least subsets of participants.

“…. The crucial factor is that a combination of structural features leads many of those affected to trust one another and to be willing to do an agreed-upon action that adds to their own short-term costs because they do see a long-term benefit for themselves and others and they believe that most others are complying.

“….. Many of the policy analyses recommending ‘solutions’ at an international level to be implemented by national governments are based on a fear that unless global solutions are made for global problems, these problems will continue unabated….

“Yet extensive research on institutions related to environmental policies has repeatedly shown that creative, effective, and efficient policies, as well as disasters, have been implemented at all scales…… It is important that we recognize that devising policies related to complex environmental processes is a grand challenge and that reliance on one scale to solve these problems is naïve…. The benefits from reduced greenhouse gas emissions are not just global in scope. The benefits are distributed across scales – from the household to the globe.

“….. Rather than only a global effort, it would be better to self-consciously adopt a polycentric approach to the problem of climate change in order to gain the benefits at multiple scales as well as to encourage experimentation and learning from diverse policies adopted at multiple scales.” [2009, pp. 13-14, 27-28, 31]

In other words, starting where we are and continuing to do research, educate, organize, advocate for transparency and democratic governance, attack cronyism and corruption, and build broad, respectful, inclusive political alliances is exactly the way forward. Polycentric commons-building at multiple scales isclimate action, and also builds institutions that challenge, destabilize, and create alternatives to capitalism. •

Patricia Perkins teaches in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto.

References

  • Atleo, E. Richard (Umeek) (2011). Principles of Tsawalk: An Indigenous Approach to Global Crisis. Vancouver: UBC Press.

  • Baptist, Edward E. (2014). The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. New York: Basic Books.
  • Basic Income Canada Network: biencanada.cawww.thebigpush.net.
  • Capitalism Nature Socialism.
  • Commons: www.iasc-commons.org.
  • Debeir, Jean-Claude, Jean Paul Deléage, and Daniel Hémery (1992). In the Servitude of Power: Energy and Civilisation Through the Ages. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Degrowth Canada: degrowthcanada.wordpress.com. “The Degrowth Paradigm.”
  • Daschuk, James (2013). Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation and the Loss of Aboriginal Life. Regina: University of Regina Press.
  • Economics for the Anthropocene: E4A-net.org.
  • Georgescu-Roegen, Nicholas (1971). The Entropy Law and the Economic Process. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Gibson-Graham, J.K. (1996). The End of Capitalism (as we knew it). Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
  • Mantle Site, Wendat (Huron) Ancestral Village. This village is near Whitchurch-Stouffville in Ontario, and built in early 1500s, with about 2,000 occupants in 95 longhouses, and a well-developed waste management system.
  • Mellor, Mary (1997). Feminism and Ecology. New York: NYU Press.
  • Mies, Maria (1986). Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour. London: Zed Books.
  • Milani, Brian (2000). Designing the Green Economy: The Postindustrial Alternative to Corporate Globalization. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation Land Claim.
  • Nikiforuk, Andrew (2012). The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude. Greystone Books / David Suzuki Foundation.
  • O’Connor, Martin, ed. (1994). Is Capitalism Sustainable? Political Ecology and the Politics of Ecology. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Ostrom, Elinor (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Ostrom, Elinor (2009). “A Polycentric Approach for Coping with Climate Change.”
  • Painter, Nell Irvin (2011). The History of White People. New York: Norton.
  • Salleh, Ariel, ed. (2009). Eco-sufficiency and Global Justice: Women Write Political Ecology. New York: Pluto Press.
  • Saul, John Ralston (2014). The Comeback. Toronto: Penguin Books.
  • Schumaker, E.F. (1973). Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered. London: Blond & Briggs.
  • Sugden, John (1997). Tecumseh: A Life. New York: Henry Holt.
  • Victor, Peter (2008). Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
  • Wilder, Craig Steven (2013). Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery and the Troubled History of America’s Universities. New York: Bloomsbury Press.

Following the deaths of 36 bankers last year, 2015 has got off to an inauspicious start with the reported suicide of Chris Van Eeghen – the 4th ABN Amro banker suicide in the last few yearsAs Quotenet reports, the death of Van Eghen  – the head of ABN’s corporate finance and capital markets -”startled” friends and colleagues as the 42-year-old “had a great reputation” at work, came from an “illustrious family,” and enjoyed national fame briefly as the boyfriend of a famous actress/model. As one colleague noted, “he was always cheerful, good mood, and apparently he had everything your heart desired. He never sat in the pit, never was down, so I was extremely surprised. I can not understand.”

As Niburu details, friends and colleagues were startled by the news that Chris van Eeghen had committed suicide.

He worked in Amsterdam for ABN / AMRO in the position of “head of syndicate and corporate finance markets.”

 Again, there is again a familiar pattern, namely that there is no indication that Van Eeghen had plans to take his life.

Ostensibly a successful banker, coming from what was described as an illustrious family. Chris was also a familiar sight in Amsterdam’s nightlife scene and enjoyed national fame as possible new boyfriend of Tatjana Simic (a famous Croatian-Dutch model, singer, actress).

“I have never expected. It was an incredibly nice cute guy, “said a neighbor from Amsterdam. In banking circles he had a good reputation.

Most believe that the suicide is not related to his work at the bank,
but a former colleague had noticed that on his Facebook recently changed
its job title to “former.”

Chris leaves behind a son – who had recently been cleared of cancer.

*  *  *

This is the 4th ABN Amro suicide in recent years…

In December last year, missing couple, Thieu (64) [a relationship manager at ABN Amro] and Ellen (55) Leenen from Valkenswaard were found dead in their car Monday afternoon in the Bocholt-Herentals canal in Mol (Belgium). The circumstances under which the car is hit water, point to suicide, police said.

In April last year killed former ABN Amro board member Jan-Peter Schmittman even suicide.

In 2009, ABN-Amro banker and Fentener Vlissingen scion Huibert Boumeester an end to his life in London to put a bullet through his head. Cause for the suicide were missed Madoff investments, was then suggested.

* * *

This is the third banker death in 2015…

1) Michael Flanagan, 45, head of Foreign Exchange, National Australia Bank, London, England

2) Omar Meza, 33, Vice President, AIG, Los Angeles, America

3) Chris van Eeghen, 42, Head of Syndicate and Corporate Finance Markets, ABN / AMRO, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

*  *  *

After at least 36 banker deaths last year…

1) David Bird, 55, long-time reporter for the Wall Street Journal working at the Dow Jones news room
2) Tim Dickenson, a U.K.-based communications director at Swiss Re AG
3) William Broeksmit, 58, former senior manager for Deutsche Bank
4) Ryan Henry Crane, age 37, JP Morgan
5) Li Junjie, 33, Hong Kong JP Morgan
6) Gabriel Magee, 39, age JP Morgan employee
7) Mike Dueker, 50, who had worked for Russell Investments
8) Richard Talley, 57, was the founder and CEO of American Title (real estate titles)
9) James Stuart Jr. 70, Former National Bank of Commerce CEO was found dead in Scottsdale, Ariz
10) Jason Alan Salais, 34 year old IT Specialist at JPMorgan since 2008
11) Autumn Radtke, 28, CEO of First Meta, a Singapore-based virtual currency trading platform
12) Eddie Reilly, 47, investment banker, Vertical Group, New York
13) Kenneth Ballando, 28, investment banker, Levy Capital, New york
14) Joseph A. Giampapa, 55, corporate bankruptcy lawyer, JP Morgan Chase
15) Jan Peter Schmittmann, 57, voormalig topbestuurder ANB/AMRO, Laren, Nederland
16) Juergen Frick, 48, CEO Bank Frick & Co AG, Liechtenstein
17) Benoît Philippens, 37, directeur BNP Parisbas Fortis Bank, Ans, België.
18) Lydia…, 52, bankier Bred-Banque-Populaire, Parijs
19) Andrew Jarzyk, 27, bankier, PNC Bank, New York
20) Carlos Six, 61, Hoofd Belastingdienst en lid CREDAF, België
21) Jan Winkelhuijzen, 75, Commissaris en Fiscalist (voormalig Deloitte), Nederland.
22) Richard Rockefeller, 66, achterkleinzoon elitebankier John D. Rockefeller, Amerika
23) Mahafarid Amir Khosravi (Amir Mansour Aria), 45, bankeigenaar, zakenman en derivatenhandelaar, Iran
24) Lewis Katz, 76, zakenman, advocaat en insider in de bancaire wereld, Amerika
25) Julian Knott, Directeur Global Operations Center JP Morgan, 45, Amerika
26) Richard Gravino, IT Specialist JP Morgan, 49, Amerika
27) Thomas James Schenkman, Managing Director Global Infrastructure JP Morgan, 42, Amerika
28) Nicholas Valtz, 39, Managing Director Goldman Sachs, New York, Amerika
29) Therese Brouwer, 50, Managing Director ING, Nederland
30) Tod Robert Edward, 51, Vice President M & T Bank, Amerika
31) Thierry Leyne, 48, investeringsbankier en eigenaar Anatevka S.A., Israël
32) Calogero Gambino, 41, Managing Director Deutsche Bank, Amerika
33) Shawn D. Miller, 42, Managing Director Citigroup, New York, Amerika
34) Melissa Millian, 54, Senior Vice President Mass Mutual, Amerika
35) Thieu Leenen, 64, Relatiemanager ABN/AMRO, Eindhoven, Nederland
36) Geert Tack, 52, Private Banker ING, Haaltert, België

A former senior aide in the Bush administration has said that the British territory of Diego Garcia was used for secret interrogations by the CIA, contradicting years of denials by the UK Government.

Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002-05, told Vice News that his CIA contacts “indicated…that interrogations took place” on Diego Garcia as part of the CIA’s rendition and torture programme.

“[Y]ou might have a case where you simply go in and use a facility at Diego Garcia for a month or two weeks or whatever and you do your nefarious activities there,” he said.

Colonel Wilkerson’s comments contradict years of assurances by British ministers, who have consistently claimed that “no US detainees have ever been held on Diego Garcia.”  While the UK conceded that there had been two CIA rendition flights, each carrying a single detainee, that passed through the island in 2002, ministers claimed that was the full extent of Diego Garcia’s involvement.

Col. Wilkerson believes it is likely that the UK – or at least personnel on the island – would have known about the use of Diego Garcia for CIA interrogations: “It’s difficult for me to think that we could do anything there of any duration to speak of without the British knowing – at least the British on the island – knowing what we were doing,”

Col. Wilkerson’s comments come in the wake of a report published late last year by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), which revealed new details about the CIA’s rendition programme, in which detainees were flown around the world to face torture.  The report contained no reference to UK complicity, despite existing evidence in the public domain, leading to questions over whether the British Government lobbied to have certain details removed.

Despite repeated calls, the British Government has still not published flight records relating to Diego Garcia, which could shed light on its involvement in the CIA rendition programme.

The US operates a major military base on Diego Garcia, which it leases from the UK.  That lease is due to expire in 2016, and there have been calls from Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee that any renewal of the lease should include “formalis[ing] the existing informal arrangements by which the US seeks permission for rendition or other politically sensitive operations in Diego Garcia.”

Cori Crider, a director at legal charity Reprieve said: “This suggests the UK Government has not told the whole truth about Diego Garcia’s part in the CIA’s torture programme.  Ministers have consistently claimed that only two CIA rendition victims ever landed on Diego Garcia – Lawrence Wilkerson’s comments suggest that either they haven’t been honest with the public, or the US Government hasn’t been honest with them.

“These revelations will also cast suspicion over the British Government’s ongoing refusal to publish flight records for the island.  Until we can get a straight answer from the US and UK Government on what went on on Diego Garcia, there should be no renewal of the US lease, which is due to expire next year.”

Notes:

1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8140 / donald[DOT]Campbell[AT]reprieve.org.uk

2. For UK ministers’ comments on Diego Garcia, see then-Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s 21 February 2008 statement to the Commons:

“Contrary to earlier explicit assurances that Diego Garcia had not been used for rendition flights, recent US investigations have now revealed two occasions, both in 2002, when that had in fact occurred. An error in the earlier US records search meant that those cases did not come to light. In both cases, a US plane with a single detainee on board refuelled at the US facility in Diego Garcia. The detainees did not leave the plane, and the US Government have assured us that no US detainees have ever been held on Diego Garcia. US investigations show no record of any other rendition through Diego Garcia or any other overseas territory, or through the UK itself, since then.”

Subsequent ministers and Governments have reaffirmed Mr Miliband’s position, for example Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood on 11 December 2014:

“The US Government has assured us that there have been no cases of rendition through the UK, our Overseas Territories including Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory), or the Crown Dependencies since 11 September 2001, apart from the two cases in 2002, about which the then Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the then Member for South Shields, Mr Milliband informed the House in 2008.”

3. The Foreign Affairs Committee’s comments on Diego Garcia, and the need for further agreements over its use in light of the rendition programme, can be found here.

Greece hasn’t outright asked Russia for a loan, but Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Moscow wouldn’t rule it out. His statement comes days after Greece openly opposed further economic sanctions against Russia.

“Well, we can imagine any situation, so if such [a] petition is submitted to the Russian government, we will definitely consider it, but we will take into account all the factors of our bilateral relationships between Russia and Greece, so that is all I can say. If it is submitted we will consider it,” Siluanov told CNBC in an interview in Moscow on Thursday.

The new left-wing Syriza government in Greece won a majority at last Sunday’s election on the promise to renegotiate the country’s €317 billion debt and end austerity.

Greece needs to negotiate with EU policymakers by February 28 in order to receive the next tranche of bailout funds. If Athens doesn’t get the money it will have difficulty servicing its debt. Two bailouts were paid in 2010 and 2014 totaling €240 billion.

The new government was quick to show support for Moscow, and has openly called for an end to Russian sanctions, and may veto any future sanctions.

Siluanov applauded Greece’s stance on sanctions as “pragmatic” and “economically justified.”

On Thursday the European Commission decided to extend sanctions against Russia through September 2015, but did not add any broader economic measures. A spokesperson for the new PM Alexis Tsipras said Greece didn’t approve of any further restrictive measures.

 

Between announcing it doesn’t intend to pay off its €317 billion debt in full and blocking Russia sanctions, Greece has emerged as a wild card among the 29 countries of the EU.

Russia-Greece deals

Russia gave Greece a very valuable card to play in the EU when it announced its South Stream pipeline will be re-routed through Turkey, with a gas hub expected to be built on the border between Turkey and Greece.

Russian investors have been watching Greece closely since the economy went bust in the 2008 credit crisis, which sent it looking for financial assistance from the EU to pay its creditors.

The crisis, as well as the EU bailout policy, has sent the economy into a six-year recession, forcing the government to dismantle and privatize state assets to meet austerity targets under its EU bailout plan.

State-owned Russian Railways and Gazprom have been eyeing stakes in Greek assets. Russian Railways has held talks with TrainOSE, Greece’s state-owned passenger and cargo rail operator. In 2013, Gazprom made a €900 million bid for Greece’s state gas company DEPA, but backed out of negotiations at the last minute, citing concerns over the company’s financial stability.

Russian investment in Greek railways is estimated at up to $3 billion per year.

Traditionally, the two countries have very strong tourist ties, with more than 1 million Russians visiting Greece each year. This number has been trimmed since the ruble crisis and slowed growth have forced many Russian to forgo foreign travel.

Greece is home to a robust Russian diaspora – nearly 300,000 Russian nationals live 1,400 miles south of Moscow, largely a result of emigration.

NEW YORK – USA – In a remarkable admission by former Nixon era Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, reveals what is happening at the moment in the world and particularly the Middle East. [please note this is a SATIRE, which in many regards says the truth regarding the current situation, the interview is fiction, it never took place, some of the quotes are from Henry Kissinger]

Speaking from his luxurious Manhattan apartment, the elder statesman, who will be 89 in May, is all too forward with his analysis of the current situation in the world forum of Geo-politics and economics.

“The United States is bating China and Russia, and the final nail in the coffin will be Iran, which is, of course, the main target of Israel. We have allowed China to increase their military strength and Russia to recover from Sovietization, to give them a false sense of bravado, this will create an all together faster demise for them. We’re like the sharp shooter daring the noob to pick up the gun, and when they try, it’s bang bang. The coming war will will be so severe that only one superpower can win, and that’s us folks. This is why the EU is in such a hurry to form a complete superstate because they know what is coming, and to survive, Europe will have to be one whole cohesive state. Their urgency tells me that they know full well that the big showdown is upon us. O how I have dreamed of this delightful moment.”

“Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”

Mr Kissinger then added: “If you are an ordinary person, then you can prepare yourself for war by moving to the countryside and building a farm, but you must take guns with you, as the hordes of starving will be roaming. Also, even though the elite will have their safe havens and specialist shelters, they must be just as careful during the war as the ordinary civilians, because their shelters can still be compromised.”

After pausing for a few minutes to collect his thoughts, Mr Kissinger, carried on:

“We told the military that we would have to take over seven Middle Eastern countries for their resources and they have nearly completed their job. We all know what I think of the military, but I have to say they have obeyed orders superfluously this time. It is just that last stepping stone, i.e. Iran which will really tip the balance. How long can China and Russia stand by and watch America clean up? The great Russian bear and Chinese sickle will be roused from their slumber and this is when Israel will have to fight with all its might and weapons to kill as many Arabs as it can. Hopefully if all goes well, half the Middle East will be Israeli. Our young have been trained well for the last decade or so on combat console games, it was interesting to see the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 game, which mirrors exactly what is to come in the near future with its predictive programming. Our young, in the US and West, are prepared because they have been programmed to be good soldiers, cannon fodder, and when they will be ordered to go out into the streets and fight those crazy Chins and Russkies, they will obey their orders. Out of the ashes we shall build a new society, there will only be one superpower left, and that one will be the global government that wins. Don’t forget, the United States, has the best weapons, we have stuff that no other nation has, and we will introduce those weapons to the world when the time is right.”

End of interview. Our reporter is ushered out of the room by Kissinger’s minder.

This article was first published on August 31, 2008.

1947 to 1951, FRANCE

According to Alfred W. McCoy in The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, CIA arms, money, and disinformation enabled Corsican criminal syndicates in Marseille to wrestle control of labor unions from the Communist Party. The Corsicans gained political influence and control over the docks — ideal conditions for cementing a long-term partnership with mafia drug distributors, which turned Marseille into the postwar heroin capital of the Western world. Marseille’s first heroin laboratones were opened in 1951, only months after the Corsicans took over the waterfront.

EARLY 1950s, SOUTHEAST ASIA

The Nationalist Chinese army, organized by the CIA to wage war against Communist China, became the opium barons of The Golden Triangle (parts of Burma, Thailand and Laos), the world’s largest source of opium and heroin. Air America, the ClA’s principal airline proprietary, flew the drugs all over Southeast Asia. (See Christopher Robbins, Air America, Avon Books, 1985, chapter 9)

1950s to early 1970s, INDOCHINA During U.S. military involvement in Laos and other parts of Indochina, Air America flew opium and heroin throughout the area. Many Gl’s in Vietnam became addicts. A laboratory built at CIA headquarters in northern Laos was used to refine heroin. After a decade of American military intervention, Southeast Asia had become the source of 70 percent of the world’s illicit opium and the major supplier of raw materials for America’s booming heroin market.

1973-80, AUSTRALIA

The Nugan Hand Bank of Sydney was a CIA bank in all but name. Among its officers were a network of US generals, admirals and CIA men, including fommer CIA Director William Colby, who was also one of its lawyers. With branches in Saudi Arabia, Europe, Southeast Asia, South America and the U.S., Nugan Hand Bank financed drug trafficking, money laundering and international arms dealings. In 1980, amidst several mysterious deaths, the bank collapsed, $50 million in debt. (See Jonathan Kwitny, The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money and the CIA, W.W. Norton & Co., 1 987.)

1970s and 1980s, PANAMA

For more than a decade, Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega was a highly paid CIA asset and collaborator, despite knowledge by U.S. drug authorities as early as 1971 that the general was heavily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. Noriega facilitated ”guns-for-drugs” flights for the contras, providing protection and pilots, as well as safe havens for drug cartel otficials, and discreet banking facilities. U.S. officials, including then-ClA Director William Webster and several DEA officers, sent Noriega letters of praise for efforts to thwart drug trafficking (albeit only against competitors of his Medellin Cartel patrons). The U.S. government only turned against Noriega, invading Panama in December 1989 and kidnapping the general once they discovered he was providing intelligence and services to the Cubans and Sandinistas. Ironically drug trafficking through Panama increased after the US invasion. (John Dinges, Our Man in Panama, Random House, 1991; National Security Archive Documentation Packet The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations.)

1980s, CENTRAL AMERICA

The San Jose Mercury News series documents just one thread of the interwoven operations linking the CIA, the contras and the cocaine cartels. Obsessed with overthrowing the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, Reagan administration officials tolerated drug trafficking as long as the traffickers gave support to the contras. In 1989, the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations (the Kerry committee) concluded a three-year investigation by stating:

“There was substantial evidence of drug smuggling through the war zones on the part of individual Contras, Contra suppliers, Contra pilots mercenaries who worked with the Contras, and Contra supporters throughout the region…. U.S. officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war efforts against Nicaragua…. In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. govemment had intormation regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter…. Senior U S policy makers were nit immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras’ funding problems.” (Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy, a Report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and Intemational Operations, 1989)

In Costa Rica, which served as the “Southern Front” for the contras (Honduras being the Northern Front), there were several different ClA-contra networks involved in drug trafficking. In addition to those servicing the Meneses-Blandon operation detailed by the Mercury News, and Noriega’s operation, there was CIA operative John Hull, whose farms along Costa Rica’s border with Nicaragua were the main staging area for the contras. Hull and other ClA-connected contra supporters and pilots teamed up with George Morales, a major Miami-based Colombian drug trafficker who later admitted to giving $3 million in cash and several planes to contra leaders. In 1989, after the Costa Rica government indicted Hull for drug trafficking, a DEA-hired plane clandestinely and illegally flew the CIA operative to Miami, via Haiti. The US repeatedly thwarted Costa Rican efforts to extradite Hull back to Costa Rica to stand trial. Another Costa Rican-based drug ring involved a group of Cuban Amencans whom the CIA had hired as military trainers for the contras. Many had long been involved with the CIA and drug trafficking They used contra planes and a Costa Rican-based shnmp company, which laundered money for the CIA, to move cocaine to the U.S. Costa Rica was not the only route. Guatemala, whose military intelligence service — closely associated with the CIA — harbored many drug traffickers, according to the DEA, was another way station along the cocaine highway.

Additionally, the Medellin Cartel’s Miami accountant, Ramon Milian Rodriguez, testified that he funneled nearly $10 million to Nicaraguan contras through long-time CIA operative Felix Rodriguez, who was based at Ilopango Air Force Base in El Salvador. The contras provided both protection and infrastructure (planes, pilots, airstrips, warehouses, front companies and banks) to these ClA-linked drug networks. At least four transport companies under investigation for drug trafficking received US govemment contracts to carry non-lethal supplies to the contras. Southern Air Transport, “formerly” ClA-owned, and later under Pentagon contract, was involved in the drug running as well. Cocaine-laden planes flew to Florida, Texas, Louisiana and other locations, including several militarv bases Designated as ‘Contra Craft,” these shipments were not to be inspected. When some authority wasn’t clued in and made an arrest, powerful strings were pulled on behalf of dropping the case, acquittal, reduced sentence, or deportation.

1980s to early 1990s, AFGHANISTAN

ClA-supported Moujahedeen rebels engaged heavily in drug trafficking while fighting against the Soviet-supported govemment and its plans to reform the very backward Afghan society. The Agency’s principal client was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the leading druglords and leading heroin refiner. CIA supplied trucks and mules, which had carried arms into Afghanistan, were used to transport opium to laboratories along the Afghan Pakistan border. The output provided up to one half of the heroin used annually in the United States and three-quarters of that used in Western Europe. US officials admitted in 1990 that they had failed to investigate or take action against the drug operabon because of a desire not to offend their Pakistani and Afghan allies. In 1993, an official of the DEA called Afghanistan the new Colombia of the drug world.

MlD-1980s to early 199Os, HAITI

While working to keep key Haitian military and political leaders in power, the CIA turned a blind eye to their clients’ drug trafficking. In 1986, the Agency added some more names to its payroll by creating a new Haitian organization, the National Intelligence Service (SIN). SIN was purportedly created to fight the cocaine trade, though SIN officers themselves engaged in the trafficking, a trade aided and abetted by some of the Haitian military and political leaders.

William Blum is author of Killing Hope: U.S Military and CIA Interventions Since World War ll available from Common Courage Press, P.O. Box 702, Monroe, Maine, 04951

It has been said that birds of a feather flock together, and proof of that statement can be seen in the fact that terrorist sympathizer John McCain was recently forced to act as Knight in Shining Armor for famed mass murderer Henry Kissinger as the latter was attempting to give yet another speech to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Kissinger’s arrival, as well as the beginning of his speech, was interrupted by protesters from Code Pink, who attempted to list off the crimes of Henry Kissinger but were unable to continue their presentation for the requisite number of days it would take to do so due to the fact that Capitol Hill police were called in to remove them.

McCain, always a friend to those who have committed or are doing their best to commit atrocities on a mass scale, erupted in typical angry fashion screaming at protesters, “You know, you’re going to have to shut up, or I’m going to have you arrested.” As the protesters were being removed, McCain also screamed, “Get out of here you low-life scum.”

McCain went on to apologize to Kissinger by stating that “Dr. Kissinger, I hope on behalf of all of the members of this committee on both sides of the aisle — in fact, from all of my colleagues, I’d like to apologize for allowing such disgraceful behavior towards a man who served his country with the greatest distinction. I apologize profusely.”

Many Americans, particularly Vietnam veterans, however, may indeed remember “such disgraceful behavior towards a man who served his country with the greatest distinction” taking place in the Capitol on a number of occasions.

Indeed, the performance of John McCain standing in front of Congress and arguing against any further investigation or revelation of whether or not American POWs were still being held in Vietnam, would certainly count as one such instance.

One other such instance might be his incessant grandstanding in support of al-Qaeda and ISIS, known to the mainstream media as “moderate rebels,” freedom fighters, and the like.

Yet, while McCain’s support of the Vietnam war, Iraq War, Syrian War, Libyan war, and virtually every war that was ever waged and those that ever will be waged upon the face of the earth, has resulted in the death of millions of people, McCain found himself in the presence of one of the true kings of killing in Henry Kissinger.

Indeed, Kissinger is one of the true living figures whose feet most psychopathic killers the world over still long to kneel at.

Kissinger’s direction of the Chilean coup, Vietnam war, Cambodian andLaotian tragedies, and his famousNational Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (NSSM200) has earned him a special place amongst the world’s most effective mass murders, although admittedly not the most widely known.

It is thus not surprising that McCain would come to the aid of Kissinger so readily. In fact, it is not surprising that, after all these years and all these crimes against humanity, that Kissinger would be addressing such an important Congressional committee. Nor is it surprising that this committee boasts yet another criminal, terrorist supporter, insidious color revolution operative, and traitor like John McCain.

The only surprising aspect of the whole affair was that the protesters were allowed to stay for as long as they did.

Or was the most surprising aspect that there were protesters to begin with?

Recently from Brandon Turbeville:

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 300 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

U.S. Army General John F. Campbell speaks Dec 8, 2014 at North Kabul Afghanistan International Airport, Afghanistan. (Photo: ResoluteSupportMedia/flickr/public domain)

In an unprecedented blackout, top U.S. military officials have quietly classified key information about how they are spending the over $65 billion dollars appropriated since 2002 to train Afghan forces.

New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg, who broke the story in the press on Thursday, explained, “until this month the American-led coalition regularly shared details on how the money was being put to use and on the Afghan forces’ progress.”

However, this information has been suddenly declared off-limits, meaning that over 100 critical aspects of U.S. policy in Afghanistan are shielded from public disclosure. These include:

  • How much money the U.S. spends on weapons and equipment for the Afghan National Army.
  • The total dollars the U.S. spends on salaries for Afghan national police.
  • The number of active Afghan military and police personnel.
  • Full details about U.S. training programs for Afghan forces.

report released this week by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko states, “The classification of this volume of data for SIGAR’s quarterly report is unprecedented.”

“The decision leaves SIGAR for the first time in six years unable to publicly report on most of the U.S.-taxpayer-funded efforts to build, train, equip, and sustain the ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces),” the report continues.

Addressing the Inspector General, Gen. John F. Campbell, the U.S. commander of coalition forces, claimed that classification is necessary to “protect the lives of those individuals who could be put at risk by the release of sensitive information.”

But Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy, pointed out, “The General did not explain how budget and contracting information, among other routine data, could be used to sharpen attacks against allied forces.”

“For years, this kind of information has been available,” Aftergood told Frontline. “It’s not just a particular fact or figure that’s being classified, but whole categories of previously public information. That is both stunning and disturbing.”

Others drew their own conclusions:

The U.S. military is pulling the veil over this information at a time when the United States is locking in at least another decade of war in the country and publicly claiming that its strategy centers on the training and building of Afghan forces. The Obama administration is expected to request for the 2016 budget at least $42 billion for the war in Afghanistan, signaling the long-term nature of U.S. military entanglement in the country.

The new classifications, furthermore, come at an especially dangerous time for Afghan people. According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), 2014 was the deadliest year on record for Afghan civilians since the global body began making reports in 2009.

Relatives of journalists who were killed during Israel’s summer attack on Gaza protest in front of the United Nations’ Gaza City headquarters in September 2014. (Mohammed Asad / APA images)

Maysoon Abu Hayyin is not sure how she will provide for her one-year-old daughter Lana.

In July last year, Maysoon’s husband Ziad — a freelance journalist and online editor for the al-Kitaab newspaper — was killed during Israel’s attack on Gaza. Ziad had some money saved, yet Maysoon has not yet been granted authorization to access his bank account.

Maysoon, 22, was living with Ziad and Lana in the Shujaiya district of Gaza City. As Israeli forces launched widespread indiscriminate attacks in the area, Maysoon fled with her daughter to Egypt.

“When everyone fled, he stayed behind to do some work,” she told The Electronic Intifada. “He told us he’d come join us a few days later, but he couldn’t find transportation.”

Four days later Maysoon learned of her husband’s death while watching the news. Ziad was killed when Israel shelled his family’s home in Shujaiya. Ziad’s grandfather and cousin also died under the rubble.

“I was shocked,” she said, pausing, “and devastated.”

“Bloodiest year” for media workers

A total of 2,257 Palestinians were killed during Israel’s summer assault on Gaza, according to the United Nations monitoring group OCHA. Of that number, OCHAestimates 1,563 were civilians, including 563 children.

Entire neighborhoods throughout Gaza were left flattened, and Israel targeted hospitals, schools, mosques and other civilian infrastructure. In the Abu Hayyin family’s neighborhood of Shujaiya, homes were turned into massive piles of busted concrete and torn steel.

According to the Gaza Centre for Media Freedom, 2014 was the “bloodiest year” in history for Palestinian media workers. The watchdog group recorded 295 Israeli press violations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Sixteen press workers — fifteen Palestinians and one Italian — were killed by Israel during the attack on Gaza.

Although Maysoon received a one-time sum from al-Kitaab for her late husband’s final paycheck, she later learned that she will not receive regular financial compensation.

“There just isn’t any money,” she explained.

Because al-Kitaab is affiliated with the Islamic University of Gaza, Maysoon has been granted a scholarship to study math and hopes that she will find work in order to take care of her daughter.

“Lana looks like her father very much,” she noted. “He was a good man. I never knew anyone so perfectly fitted for his job. He loved it.”

Repeatedly targeted

Ezz Zanoun, a freelance photojournalist whose work has frequently appeared on The Electronic Intifada, was one of dozens of Palestinian media workers injured during Israel’s assault on Gaza. “I luckily only had light injuries, but I was hurt several times,” he told The Electronic Intifada.

According to statistics provided to The Electronic Intifada by the Gaza Centre for Media Freedom, at least twenty-eight journalists dressed in press garb were seriously injured by Israeli forces in the course of their work.

“During the war, I had to carry all my equipment at all times,” Zanoun said. “[Palestinian] journalists are always aware that they may not return home to their wives or children because they live the massacres they are covering.”

Zanoun, who taught himself photography while covering Israeli attacks on Gaza, said: “The Israelis don’t consider [Palestinian] journalists. They attack us and shoot at us just like everyone else.”

The hardest part of covering the attack, he explained, “is hearing each day that another journalist was hurt or killed. And when we cover massacres and arrive at areas with martyrs, the first thing I think of is my family and how it could happen to them at any time.”

“I always thought I’d be next to die,” he said of last year’s onslaught. “The sound of [Israeli] rockets and bombs never stopped.”

Zanoun’s photography will be presented in an exhibition in Gaza City this week. “It is a collection of fourteen photographs that show the dangers journalists face in Gaza, especially during wartime.”

In addition to the record number of fatalities and injuries among media workers, rights groups have accused Israel of targeting media offices during the fighting in places across the narrow coastal enclave. At least seventeen offices were directly struck by shelling or missiles, according to the Gaza Centre for Media Freedom.

Muhammad Thuraya, news director of the Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa TV, recalled the channel’s long history of being targeted by Israeli forces, particularly during the three major offensives against Gaza since 2008.

“The [Israeli] enemy attacks the entire Palestinian people and all of the Palestinian media, but there is always a focus on al-Aqsa,” Thuraya told The Electronic Intifada. “Just like the schools and the hospitals Israel has targeted, al-Aqsa TV was repeatedly directly targeted during the 2014 aggression.”

Thuraya added that Israeli forces directly struck five al-Aqsa TV offices and a storage unit last summer. Sameh al-Aryan, an al-Aqsa TV photographer, was killed on 30 July when Israel bombed the Shujaiya market.

Rami Rayan, his cousin, also a journalist, died in the same attack.

Ahmed Nasser, another al-Aqsa TV photographer, was injured when Israeli forcestargeted the Italian Tower in Gaza City on 26 August.

Criminalizing journalism

Journalists in the occupied West Bank are also targeted by Israel.

Mustafa al-Khawaja, an al-Aqsa TV correspondent, was arrested by Israeli forces in October and detained for fifty days.

Charged with “incitement against the State of Israel” and “the promotion of terror ideas,” al-Khawaja was released on bail on 10 December, according to the Ramallah-basedPalestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA).

During one of al-Khawaja’s hearings, an Israeli prosecutor said that al-Aqsa TV has been considered an “illegal terrorist organization” since the beginning of October.

According to MADA, this is perhaps the first time that a media outlet has been classified by Israel as a terrorist group.

Nonetheless, al-Aqsa TV employees have also been the target of deadly attacks in the past. Two al-Aqsa TV journalists — Mahmoud al-Kumi and Hussam Salama — werekilled by Israel during its eight-day war on Gaza in November 2012.

Israel and the United States “treat us as a terrorist channel because we protect [Palestine] with our voices, through news and pictures,” Thuraya of al-Aqsa TV said. “They attack us on social media — Facebook, YouTube, Twitter — and [Israel] attacks us with weapons.”

Patrick O. Strickland is an independent journalist and regular contributor to The Electronic Intifada. Find his reportage at www.postrickland.com. Follow him on Twitter:@P_Strickland_

On January 22nd, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News (Murdoch founded it, his son James headed it for a while, and their 21st Century Fox owns “a controlling stake” in it) telecast a puff-piece for Ukraine’s right-wing extremists, several times calling them “heroes” to “patriotic” Ukrainians. This segment of their documentary series “Ross Kemp: Extreme World,” was titled “Ukraine: The Rise of The Right.”

In it, Ukraine’s “far right” are described as being patriots who are protecting all of Ukraine from a Russian invasion, and who are therefore being increasingly admired by Ukrainians. It says: “The ultras [ultra-rightists] are actually patriotic young people who are ready to fight — not only on the Maidan, but also at the war for our land. … These men — seen now by many as heroes — are fighting for the Azov Battalion in Mariupol, Maryinka and Iliovaisk.”

The message is that whereas these far-rightists were previously despised, they now are widely respected: “Just a few years ago they were on the fringes of society — shunned for their violent behaviour and xenophobic beliefs, but since the 2014 Maidan revolution — and the subsequent fighting against pro-Russian groups — their popularity has grown.”

In the segment here, the presenter, Ross Kemp, says, at 15:25, that, Ukraine “faces the threat of a full-scale Russian invasion. NATO has called the crisis in Ukraine, the biggest threat to European security since World War Two. Amidst this chaos, volunteer far-right battalions have put up some of the strongest resistance.” He then notes that the city of Mariupol in Ukraine’s southeast “is currently being defended by a right-wing militia called the Azov Battalion.”

At 17:55, Kemp refers to “occupied Crimea,” as if Crimea (which had been part of Russia from 1783 to 1954, andwhere far more of the residents still considered themselves to be “Russian” than “Ukrainian”) had been seized by Russian troops, instead of Crimea having been protected against invasion of troops from the new Ukrainian Government immediately after the February 22nd coup in which Obama had seized control over Ukraine’s Government, by the use of paid mercenaries (‘volunteers’) from the nazi Right Sector, who were headed by Dmitriy Yarosh, and by other racist mercenaries, some from outside Ukraine.

Ross Kemp is then in Mariupol, where he says: “Just to give you an idea of how vulnerable this city is, in the distance is Russia, all the way along there [and he points at the supposedly feared Russia]. … In May of 2014, Mariupol was one of several cities seized by pro-Russia separatists. … How did a predominantly far-right militia[Azov] end up defending one of Ukraine’s most important cities? … The fight to defend Mariupol has made the[Azov] Battalion specialists in urban warfare. The majority are ordinary Ukrainians united by a sense of patriotism[he doesn’t say ‘nationalism,’ but ‘patriotism,’ so as to give it an attractive odor].”

He also doesn’t deny that “some” of the Azov fighters are White-supremacists (they make it too obvious). At 20:25, he says: “But there’s an altogether darker ideology that unites some Azov members.” A swastika is shown; then an Azov fighter is interviewed saying, ‘’’It’s a war with Russia.’” The idea Rupert Murdoch’s man Kemp wants to convey here is that these fighters are “patriots,” who are “volunteering” to “defend” Ukraine against “pro-Russians”and against “Russian troops” (he uses that phrase though there’s actually no sign of any of those). He ignores that Obama’s team had taken over Ukraine during a coup which was long in the planning and which used the public “Maidan” anti-corruption demonstrations as merely a ‘democratic’ PR backdrop. In fact, here is the U.S. State Department’s Victoria Nuland, telling the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, on 4 February 2014, whom he is to place at the top of the post-coup Government; and, when the coup occurred, this “Yats” was indeed the person who became appointed 22 days later. No hint of such background is given in Rupert Murdoch’s ‘news’ (propaganda) report.

At 30:20, Ross Kemp says:

“Since February of 2014, Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists have been locked in a bloody battle for control of towns in the east. [Actually, the civil war had started not in February 2014, such as he says, but on 9 May 2014. The Obama coup had occurred in February 2014, overthrowing the Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, for whom more than 70% of the residents in southeastern Ukraine had voted; and the civil war didn’t start till May because it wasn’t clear till May that the newly installed Government wanted the residents in the southeast to die or else to flee to Russia — to be gone from Ukraine. Obama didn’t want them voting in any future Ukrainian national elections, because that would jeopardize the lasting-power of his coup-Government.] This is the town hall of Mariupol. Five months ago, Russian separatists stormed this building. … The Russian supporters were made to leave, but when they did, they torched it.”

[He’s there trying to convey the idea that “Russian supporters” had torched the town hall in Mariupol. But, actually, it wasn’t the “town hall”; it was the police station; and there’s no indication that the locals had torched it. Instead: On 9 May 2014, which is the very day that Ukraine’s civil war started throughout southeastern Ukraine (in response to the May 2nd massacre in Odessa), the local police force refused to take commands from the invading Ukrainian Government troops of western Ukraine, who were then entering Mariupol to take the city over. Anti-coup people entered the building in order to occupy it, and a battle ensued between the Kiev troops and the Mariupol locals. The locals were driven out by Ukraine’s military; and the police station was torched, but no one knows by whom.

Here is video of the police station on fire, on 9 May 2014.

Here is a detailed description and another actual video of the burning; and the description that’s given, which comes from a resident there, makes clear that the invading troops burned the building down because the local police refused to accept the authority of the newly imposed Government. But the “town hall” also had been involved in Ukraine’s invasion.

Here is a Reuters article on 7 May 2014, reporting that “Ukrainian forces seized the rebel-held city hall in the eastern port city of Mariupol overnight, driving out pro-Russian activists, then withdrew, making no attempt to hold onto the building, witnesses said. .... Witnesses said the soldiers left after smashing furniture and office equipment.” Maybe they burned it later. The vandals were the haters — the very people whom Ross Kemp so obviously admires. In any case, what Kemp is saying about the event is almost certainly false. He pretends to be a videographer, but his video presents no evidence — merely assertions by Ukrainian Government officials and soldiers.]

Here and here and here are how what Kemp fearsomely calls the “pro-Russian separatists” (or, as Reuters had referred to them, ‘activists’) in Mariupol first encountered the Obama-coup-regime’s troops, as those troops invaded Mariupol slaughtering residents on 9 May 2014. And here is what had happened at the largest southeastern city, Donetsk, just three days earlier, on May 6th. That Donetsk video refers to the Ukrainian oligarch or aristocrat Kolomoysky. He was the man who had financed the massacre on May 2nd of entirely peaceful anti-coup demonstrators in Odessa — the massacre that had actually caused the people in the other rejectionist cities to become separatists. It caused some southeastern areas to go all the way to refusing to accept the Obama-installed coup-government at Kiev, and to establish instead their own independent nation, in order to protect themselves from the (it had by then become blatantly clear) rabidly anti-Russian racist-fascists, or nazis, whom Obama had placed into power in Kiev. Obama needed the May 2nd massacre in order to terrorize the people in the southeast so as to cause them to form their own government to protect themselves from it, thus enabling the ‘legitimate’ Government (the one that Obama had just installed in his actually illegal coup) to call them ‘Terrorists’ and so to have an excuse to bomb and drive them out, so as to eliminate the residents in the pro-Yanukovych area, so that no similar

Ukrainian President would ever again be able to be elected by voters in Ukraine. This was essential in order to get Obama’s imposed illegal nazi Government to stick, to last. Kolomoysky was an ally, and an employer of the family and friends, of key people in the Obama Administration, and all of them could benefit enormously from killing and driving out lots of residents in the heavily-pro-Yanukovych southeastern portion of Ukraine.

At 31:30, Ross Kemp says: “After months of attacks, Kalinovka [he pronounced it ‘Kalikovka’] is a ghost town. All of the houses have been abandoned here.” He doesn’t even care to mention why the surviving residents had left: Ukraine’s troops had been shelling, bombing, and shooting at them, so survivors fled into the separatist-controlled area, or else into Russia.

At 33.00, he’s at the border heading into Donbass (the separatist-controlled region), and is told by the nazi troops to go back from whence he came, because press presence might draw fire from pro-Russian snipers just beyond that demarcation-line — which is just a lie, but the sucker or propagandist apparently took everything that these fascists told him as being the gospel truth, and he was basically a mere video stenographer for these nazis anyway, not a real journalist (who questions everything).

So: Ross Kemp went back to Mariupol. He didn’t even care to get the opponents’ side of this war. The nazis told him to go back to Mariupol, so he did. This is Rupert Murdoch’s ‘news’ operation: one-sided ‘news’ only. (Any intelligent person who watched the ‘documentary’ up to that point, had to recognize by now that this was really no ‘news report’ at all, but pure war-propaganda. Even if that fact hadn’t become blatant before, it now became blatant.)

At 39.00, Kemp says: “The city [Mariupol] formed its own militia because of the threat posed by Russian separatists and, the Russian Federation.” An interviewed Ukrainian official, a woman, tells him that “Russian troops … systematically destroyed” the city. She calls herself a “nationalist.” No evidence is presented — and none is asked for — to support her “Russian troops” allegation. He just accepts everything she tells him.

At 41.30, he says: “You can see why regiments like the Azov Battalion and other far-right battalions are gaining support here. Because they’re volunteers who are making the ultimate sacrifice to defend the city. And so people here are rallying to their cause.” Actually, most of the “people here” must both hate and fear the nazis. The residents know that they’ll be killed if they express any support whatsoever for the anti-coup, or anti-‘Maidan,’ side. To a ‘reporter’ like Kemp, it makes no difference what the reality of or for the residents there is.

In other words: This documentary by Rupert Murdoch’s Sky ‘News’ is just pro-nazi propaganda, which conflates “nationalism” with patriotism, and which presents nazis as being heroes, instead of as being the rabid anti-democratic bigots that they actually are.

The Obama-installed coup-government was assigned by Obama, and by the IMF, to exterminate as many of the residents in the Donbass region of southeast Ukraine as possible, because 90% of these residents had voted for the very man, Viktor Yanukovych, whom Obama’s nazis overthrew on 22 February 2014. (The dark purple region on that map, in the far east of Ukraine, is the area that had voted at least 90% for Yanukovych; and it’s the area that broke away from Ukraine in May 2014 and is being bombed by Obama’s Ukrainian forces. That area was traditionally called “Donbass,” but many of its inhabitants now call themselves “Novorossiyans,” or new Russians, because they want to be part of Russia, which their region used to be part of.) So, this Government sent these nazis in, to finish the job, for Obama and for their own oligarchs.

Do the viewers of Sky ‘News’ want to know any of that background? Apparently not — after all, they are viewers of Sky ‘News.’ They are fascists, and many of them are like Obama’s team: they are nazis — racist fascists. (Most of those viewers probably just call themselves “conservative.” Of course, they won’t acknowledge that Obama too is “conservative.”)

That video was called “Part 2” of Kemp’s propaganda-film about how heroic Ukraine’s nazis are. Here is “Episode 1” (or “Part 1,” as alternatively tagged). Most of it is actually the same video and text, except organized differently (placing the emphasis upon the failure of the post-coup Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to be sufficiently nazi to satisfy these ‘patriots’).

Here is a bit of the relevant historical background that Murdoch’s operation decided to hide from both versions:“The Nazis Even Hitler Was Afraid Of.”

And here is the current geopolitical context of Obama’s February 2014 take-over of Ukraine.

Ironically, the view that the rightist oligarch Murdoch is spreading — that Putin is the aggressor in this war and that Obama is not — is exactly the same view that the leftist oligarch George Soros is spreading about it. In fact (as can be seen from Soros’s many statements and actions there), both of those Western oligarchs are remarkably similar, and Soros could as well have hired the people who hired Ross Kemp as Murdoch did. Kemp’s ‘documentary’ is 100% in line with Soros’s many essays about the situation in Ukraine. The biggest difference between these two aristocrats is that they’re in different lines of business — different rackets. (Here is a partial list of the companies that Murdoch controls. Soros is instead an investor and a ‘philanthropist.’)

DISCUSSION

When ‘right’ and ‘left’ merge and become one, at nazi (i.e., racist-fascist), such as does occur in the top aristocratic circle (especially regarding Ukraine), then what authentic meaning remains to standard political debate? What does the public then know of ‘democracy’? How is democracy then even possible? It’s not. (And that linked-to scientific study, specifically of the U.S., proves that the U.S. is not a democracy. But this problem is far broader thanmerely the U.S.)

Perhaps wealth-inequality is getting to be so extreme as to close out even the possibility of democracy. Let’s not fool ourselves about how big the challenge is; it’s enormous:

On 9 October 2013, Credit Suisse issued their Global Wealth Report 2013, authored by Anthony Shorrocks, Jim Davies, and Rodrigo Lluberasis. It reported that the world’s richest 0.7% owned 13.67 times as much as did the world’s poorest 68.7%. That super-rich 0.7% (each with net-worths above $50,000,000) owned 41% of this planet’s private assets. The world’s richest 8.4% owned 83.3%. The world’s richest 31.3% owned 97%. So: the bottom 68.7% owned just 3%. (All of these findings are calculated from the data shown on page 22.) Overall, the share of global wealth was “barely 1% for the bottom half of all adults” worldwide (see page 4). Furthermore, economic mobility into and out of the billionaire class, during the latest ten-year period (2000-2010), was low: only 24% entered or left the class during the decade (see page 28).

According to Vilfredo Pareto, who was the father of today’s ‘welfare’ economics and also the “Karl Marx of fascism” (and also Benito Mussolini’s personal teacher), there is no rational basis for economists to consider any of this extreme wealth-inequality to be sub-“optimal.”

No wonder aristocrats favor such a ‘free market’ (and such an economic theory).

But it won’t do Ukrainians any good, and it’s slaughtering the people in Donbass. However, any of that richest 0.7% who care enough, one way or the other, about what’s happening there, are promoting the nazis, who are doing those aristocrats’ dirty-work, regardless of whether nazi bigots are aware of the fact, or even care whom they’re actually serving, or why. Any of those nazis who are in the bottom 68.7% of the world’s wealth-pyramid — the people who collectively own just 3% of the world’s private wealth — are probably driven more by their hatred than by their greed, anyway. They’re like sleepwalkers, or robots. Push their psychological buttons, and they’re on, “for the cause.” True-believers, in some Big Lie or other. And, so, they ‘volunteer’ their services far cheaper than do people who actually care. (Most of their payment comes to them in the form of the personal pride they get, for their race and nation. It doesn’t come out of any aristocrat’s hide.) In that sense, they value themselves appropriately: dirt-cheap. (Of course, they don’t understand this.) They’re a bargain for their unrecognized masters, who push true-believers’ buttons by hiring propagandists such as Ross Kemp.

But, as for the residents in Donbass: these people are total victims in all of this.

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.

Corporate Media Propaganda and CIA Covert Ops

January 30th, 2015 by Robert Parry

Rupert Murdoch, the global media mogul who is now a kingmaker in American politics, was brought into those power circles by lawyer/activist Roy Cohn who arranged Murdoch’s first Oval Office meeting with President Ronald Reagan in 1983, according to documents released by Reagan’s presidential library.

“I had one interest when Tom [Bolan] and I first brought Rupert Murdoch and Governor Reagan together – and that was that at least one major publisher in this country … would become and remain pro-Reagan,” Cohn wrote in a Jan. 27, 1983 letter to senior White House aides Edwin Meese, James Baker and Michael Deaver. “Mr. Murdoch has performed to the limit up through and including today.”

The letter noted that Murdoch then owned the “New York Post – over one million, third largest and largest afternoon; New York Magazine; Village Voice; San Antonio Express; Houston Ring papers; and now the Boston Herald; and internationally influential London Times, etc.” Cohn sent the letter nine days after Murdoch met Reagan in the Oval Office along with Cohn, his legal partner Thomas Bolan, and U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Wick.

In a photograph of the Jan. 18, 1983 meeting, Cohn is shown standing and leaning toward Reagan who is seated next to Murdoch. Following that meeting, Murdoch became involved in a privately funded propaganda project to help sell Reagan’s hard-line Central American policies, according to other documents. That PR operation was overseen by senior CIA propaganda specialist Walter Raymond Jr. and CIA Director William Casey, but the details of Murdoch’s role remain sketchy partly because some of the records are still classified more than three decades later.

President Reagan meets with publisher Rupert Murdoch, U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Wick and lawyers Roy Cohn and Thomas Bolan in the Oval Office on Jan. 18, 1983. (Photo credit: Reagan presidential library)

However, at my request, the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, released a batch of documents about Roy Cohn’s contacts with the Reagan White House. Most of the documents revealed a warm personal relationship between Cohn and Reagan, with exchanges of effusive compliments, handwritten thank-you notes and birthday greetings.

Both Cohn and Reagan got their starts in politics during the anti-communist purges in the 1950s, Cohn as Sen. Joe McCarthy’s chief counsel and Reagan as a witness against alleged communists in Hollywood. Cohn, a hardball political player, built his reputation as both an anti-communist and anti-gay crusader who aggressively interrogated witnesses during the Red Scare and the Lavender Scare, claiming that the U.S. government was infiltrated by communists and homosexuals who threatened the nation’s security.

Cohn’s high-profile role in the McCarthy hearings ultimately ended when he was forced to resign over charges that he targeted the U.S. Army for an anti-communist purge because it had refused to give preferential treatment to one of his close associates, G. David Shine. Though Cohn denied he was romantically involved with Shine – and a homosexual relationship was never proven – Cohn’s own homosexuality became publicly known after he underwent treatment for AIDS in the 1980s, leading to his death in 1986.

However, in the years before he died, Cohn gained some measure of revenge against his liberal enemies by helping to elect Ronald Reagan. Roger Stone, another Cohn associate, has asserted that – at Cohn’s initiative – he delivered an apparent bribe to a leader of New York’s Liberal Party in 1980 to arrange the endorsement of independent candidate John Anderson, who then siphoned off 7.5 percent of the vote and opened the way for Reagan to carry New York against President Jimmy Carter.

Stone described the transaction in a 2007 article by Matt Labash in The Weekly Standard, with Stone noting that he was speaking only after the statute of limitation on bribery had run. Stone described a discussion with Cohn about a $125,000 cash payment “to grease the skids” for the Liberal Party’s endorsement of Anderson and then recounted Cohn’s instructions that he deliver a suitcase to a law office two days before the Liberal Party, indeed, did endorse Anderson.

Cohn’s Murdoch Ties

Whatever Reagan’s personal knowledge of that scheme, the conservative Republican President subsequently lavished favors on Cohn, including invitations to White House events, personal thank-you notes and friendly birthday wishes. But perhaps nothing was more important to Reagan than Cohn’s ability to deliver Murdoch, then an Australian citizen, as a stalwart media ally.

According to the documents from the Reagan library, Cohn’s relationship with Murdoch apparently developed around their mutual commitment to Israel. For instance, one set of documents described Cohn’s intervention with Reagan to get the President to praise Murdoch’s 1982 receipt of an award from the American Jewish Congress as its first “Communications Man of the Year.”

Handwritten notes cite Murdoch’s “steadfast support of Israel + free + outspoken support of free press” and point to Cohn as the contact. On April 20, 1982, Reagan extended his and his wife Nancy’s congratulations to Murdoch.

Cohn, a notable socialite, further ingratiated himself to Reagan’s insiders by co-hosting a lunch on June 28, 1982, for USIA Director Wick, which also counted as guests Roger Stone and the New York Post’s Niles Lathem, according to a document.

By late 1982, the Reagan administration was gearing up for an expanded propaganda push in support of the President’s hard-line policies in Central America, including support for the Salvadoran and Guatemalan militaries – both notorious for their human rights violations – and for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels who also were gaining an unsavory reputation for acts of terrorism and brutality.

This PR campaign was spearheaded by CIA Director Casey and Raymond, one of the CIA’s top covert operation specialists who was transferred to the National Security Council staff to minimize legal concerns about the CIA violating its charter which bars influencing the American public. To further shield the CIA from possible fallout from this domestic propaganda operation, Casey and Raymond sought to arrange private financing to pay for some activities.

On Jan. 13, 1983, NSC Advisor William Clark noted in a memo to Reagan the need for non-governmental money to advance the PR project. “We will develop a scenario for obtaining private funding,” Clark wrote, as cited in an unpublished draft chapter of the congressional Iran-Contra investigation. Clark then told the President that “Charlie Wick has offered to take the lead. We may have to call on you to meet with a group of potential donors.”

Five days later, on Jan. 18, 1983, Roy Cohn accompanied Rupert Murdoch into the Oval Office for a face-to-face meeting with President Reagan and USIA Director Wick.

Nine days later, in the Jan. 27, 1983 letter to Meese, Baker and Deaver – written on the letterhead of the Saxe, Bacon & Bolan law firm – Cohn hailed the success of Murdoch’s “warm meeting with the President and the goodwill created by Charlie Wick’s dinner.”

Murdoch’s Thin Skin

But Cohn also passed on Murdoch’s annoyance at “consistent slights that have been dealt to Niles Lathem, the head of the News Media (Murdoch) bureau in Washington, while the Reagan haters on TV and in the media have the run of the place.”

Cohn complained that Reagan, during a trip to Boston on Jan. 26, 1983, had ignored Murdoch’s offer

“to turn the Boston Herald over to him. … Mr. Murdoch himself placed calls to Michael Deaver and to a Mr. Michael McManus [a deputy assistant to the President], none of which were ever returned to him. One of his editors at the Boston Herald was told that the President ‘had no time for them.’”

Cohn continued:

“Mr. Murdoch has been deeply disturbed at what he regards as a failure to stand by some basics in the President’s original program, which he believes to be correct. His advice is consistently sought by Mrs. [British Prime Minister Margaret] Thatcher and Prime Minister [Malcolm] Fraser of Australia, in both of which countries he owns extensive media interests. he is not the kind who is offended when his advice is not taken but he does appreciate being treated courteously and having at least the same courtesies extended to his Washington reporters as seem to be heaped upon the opposition.

“He is hurt at the way the Boston matter was handled and there is just so much that Tom [Bolan] and I can do. Because I believe that the total support and loyalty of at least one major publishing chain in this nation is of key importance to the President, and because of our admiration and affection for the President, I thought I would be less than forthright if I did not bring this situation to the attention of the three of you.

“I know how hectic things are there but if there is time for the enemy there must be just a little time for at least a thoughtful handling of a friend – unlike what happened in Boston.”

The letter got the attention of the three senior White House aides, with Reagan’s chief of staff Baker writing a note to Deaver, “why don’t we have someone draft a response from the 3 of us. Can you arrange?”

On Feb. 4, 1983, McManus, the deputy assistant to the President, offered an apology to Cohn:

“we were all sorry about the confusion surrounding a possible Presidential visit to the Boston Herald. We are all aware of the very positive nature of such a visit. Unfortunately the request came in after the visit had been planned and the President’s schedule was full. …

“I also called Mr. Murdoch as you suggested, explained the situation to him and apologized for any confusion. I am sure you are aware of our continued high regard for Mr. Murdoch personally and our appreciation of the importance of what he is doing.”

Despite the fulsome apology, Cohn continued to complain about perceived slights against Murdoch’s publications. In an April 28, 1983 letter, Cohn told Wick:

“I write you in desperation, because you have always recognized the importance to the President of Rupert Murdoch, probably the world’s most powerful publisher, whose papers played a key role in carrying close states for Ronald Reagan in 1980 … But all of our hard work to get the Murdoch papers an even break with those that opposed Reagan – some in vicious terms – comes to naught – because there are some people in the White House who don’t have the sense to know friends from enemies.”

Cohn expressed Murdoch’s dismay that Reagan, during a speech in New York, seemed to favor the New York Daily News over the New York Post, saying

“in remarks prepared for and delivered by the President not once but twice … the President asked people to follow the fight against crime by reading the Daily News. The Post people walked out. … The News supported [George H.W.] Bush over Reagan, and then barely squeaked out an endorsement over Carter as the lesser of evils. The Post and the other Murdoch papers gave their blood on a daily basis for Ronald Reagan, and I know Bill Casey, Roger Stone, Tom Bolan, etc. will confirm that without the Post, Reagan could not have carried New York. …

“To say that all the good you tried to do, and I tried to do, and the President did in his meeting with Rupert has been severely damaged by this second insult, is an understatement. As of now, tempers are so hot that I would wait for things to cool off. … I believe in Ronald Reagan – and it hurts me to see him victimized this way from within. How many of these screw-ups can he survive?”

In a May 2, 1983 addendum to the complaint, Cohn added:

“The lead News opinion column every Sunday is written by Ken Auletta, a consistent attacker of the President, and the one who just spearheaded the drive against Ken Adelman’s confirmation, carrying it to the point of personally appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to call Ken a liar. With friends like the News, the President does not need enemies.”

On the same day that Cohn fired off the complaint about Auletta, Murdoch served as an honorary chairman of a testimonial dinner in honor of Cohn sponsored by the B’nai B’rith Banking and Finance Lodge and the Banking and Finance Division of State of Israel Bonds. President Reagan sent a congratulatory telegram to Cohn.

Propaganda Campaign

Despite Cohn’s complaints about the alleged slights to Murdoch, the Australian media magnate appears to have pitched in to help the Casey-Raymond outreach program for Reagan’s Central American policies. Documents released during the Iran-Contra scandal in 1987 and later from the Reagan library indicate that Murdoch was soon viewed as a source for the private funding.

On May 20, 1983, the longtime CIA propagandist Raymond, from his perch inside the NSC, wrote that $400,000 had been raised from private donors brought to the White House situation room by USIA Director Wick, with the funds divided among several organizations including the right-wing Accuracy in Media and the neoconservative Freedom House (which later denied receiving White House money, though it made little sense that Raymond would lie in an internal memo).

As the White House continued to cultivate its ties to Murdoch, Reagan held a second Oval Office meeting with Murdoch — on July 7, 1983 — who was accompanied by Charles Douglas-Home, the editor of Murdoch’s flagship UK newspaper, the London Times.

President Ronald Reagan meets with Charles Douglas-Home, editor of London Times, and its publisher Rupert Murdoch in the Oval Office on July 7, 1983. (Photo credit: Reagan presidential library)

In an Aug. 9, 1983 memo summing up the results of a Casey-organized meeting with five leading ad executives regarding how to “sell” Reagan’s aggressive policies in Central America, Raymond referred to Murdoch as if he were one of the benefactors helping out. In a memo to Clark, entitled “Private Sector Support for Central American Program,” Raymond criticized a more traditional White House outreach program headed by Faith Whittlesey as “preaching to the converted.”

Raymond told Clark that the new project would involve a more comprehensive approach aimed at persuading a majority of Americans to back Reagan’s Central American policies. “We must move out into the middle sector of the American public and draw them into the ‘support’ column,” Raymond wrote. “A second package of proposals deal with means to market the issue, largely considering steps utilizing public relations specialists – or similar professionals – to help transmit the message.”

To improve the project’s chances for success, Raymond wrote, “we recommended funding via Freedom House or some other structure that has credibility in the political center. Wick, via Murdoch, may be able to draw down added funds for this effort.”

Raymond included similar information in a separate memo to Wick in which Raymond noted that “via Murdock [sic] may be able to draw down added funds” to support the initiative. (Raymond later told me that he was referring to Rupert Murdoch.)

In a March 7, 1984 memo about the “‘Private Funders’ Project,” Raymond referred to Murdoch again in discussing a request for money from longtime CIA-connected journalist Brian Crozier, who was “looking for private sector funding to work on the question of ‘anti-Americanism’ overseas.”

Raymond wrote:

“I am pursuaded [sic] it is a significant long term problem. It is also the kind of thing that Ruppert [sic] and Jimmy might respond positively to. Please look over the stack [of papers from Crozier] and lets [sic] discuss if and when there might be further discussion with our friends.”

Crozier, who died in 2012, had a long history of operating in the shadowy world of CIA propaganda. He was director of Forum World Features, which was set up in 1966 by the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which received covert funding from the CIA. Crozier also acknowledged in his memoir keeping some of his best stories for the CIA.

At least one other document related to Murdoch’s work with USIA Director Wick remains classified, according to the National Archives. Murdoch’s News Corp. has not responded to several requests for comment about the Reagan-era documents.

According to the new documents released by the Reagan library, Reagan and Cohn continued to exchange mutual praise, sometimes in handwritten messages. On March 28, 1985, Cohn sent Reagan a handwritten letter thanking the President for contributing a video tribute in support of Cohn’s receipt of the Americanism Award from the Young Republicans.

“I count many blessings, but none more meaningful than the privilege of living through the Ronald Reagan era – which represents everything I have loved since I joined the Justice Department at age 19 – our great country, and the opportunity it offers for the election of a man of your greatness to lead it.”

In his own hand, Reagan drafted the reply, writing: “I know I’m sending a thank you in answer to a thank you but in this case it’s to express to you appreciation for your generous words. You were more than kind.”

The last dated communication from Reagan to Cohn in the files was a “Get-Well message” on Nov. 22, 1985, saying: “I just learned that you are being sent home from the hospital tomorrow. Nancy and I are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. May our Lord bless you with courage and strength. Take care and know that you have our concern.”

At the time, Cohn was suffering from AIDS, though he claimed that his illness was liver cancer. He died on Aug. 2, 1986, due to complications from AIDS, the disease that was then ravaging the gay community in the United States and other countries. He was 59.

Among the ironies of his death was Cohn’s history of purging gays and Lesbians from the U.S. government as security risks, a policy put in place by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953 in response to the Lavender Scare generated by Cohn and McCarthy – and not rescinded until 1995 by President Bill Clinton. Another irony was that President Reagan, when faced with the devastating AIDS epidemic, failed to respond aggressively to the crisis because many religious conservatives considered the disease God’s punishment of homosexuals.

Murdoch’s Rise

Meanwhile, with the close ties to the Reagan White House that Cohn helped nurture, Murdoch’s media empire continued to grow. To meet a regulatory requirement that U.S. TV stations must be owned by Americans, Murdoch became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1985.

Murdoch benefited from the Reagan administration’s relaxation of media ownership rules which enabled him to buy more TV stations, which he then molded into the Fox Broadcasting Company, which was founded on Oct. 9, 1986.

In 1987, the “Fairness Doctrine,” which required political balance in broadcasting, was eliminated, which let Murdoch pioneer a more aggressive conservatism on his TV network. In the mid-1990s, Murdoch expanded his political reach by founding the neoconservative Weekly Standard in 1995 and Fox News on cable in 1996. At Fox News, Murdoch hired scores of prominent politicians, mostly Republicans, putting them on his payroll as commentators.

Last decade, Murdoch continued to expand his reach into U.S. mass media, acquiring DirecTV and the financial news giant Dow Jones, including The Wall Street Journal, America’s leading business news journal.

Murdoch parlayed his extraordinary media power into the ability to make or break political leaders, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom. In December 2014, the UK’s Independent reported that Ed Richards, the retiring head of the British media regulatory agency Ofcom, accused British government representatives of showing favoritism to Murdoch’s companies.

Richards said he was “surprised” by the informality, closeness and frequency of contact between executives and ministers during the failed bid by Murdoch’s News Corp. for the satellite network BSkyB in 2011. The deal was abandoned when it was discovered that journalists at Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid had hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and others.

“What surprised everyone about it – not just me – was quite how close it was and the informality of it,” Richards said, confirming what had been widely reported regarding Murdoch’s access to powerful British politicians dating back at least to the reign of Prime Minister Thatcher in the 1980s. The Reagan documents suggest that Murdoch built similarly close ties to leading U.S. politicians in the same era.

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that Murdoch, now 83, was using his extraordinary media power among conservatives to block Mitt Romney from gaining the Republican presidential nomination for a second time — and instead was favoring Jeb Bush.

“In the delicate and unseen campaign underway for Mr. Murdoch’s affections in the next presidential campaign, this much is clear: Mr. Romney is out of the running, a reality that has pained and angered his allies,” the Times reported.

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.

Poder popular, Estado y luchas sociales

January 30th, 2015 by Franck Gaudichaud

Esta entrevista es una contribución a un libro colectivo por publicarse en 2015 sobre “Movimientos sociales y poder popular en Chile. Retrospectivas y proyecciones políticas de la izquierda latinoamericana”, un trabajo realizado en conjunto entre el Grupo de Estudios Sociales y Políticos – Chile (GESP), de la Universidad de Santiago – USACH y Tiempo robado editoras.

En esta segunda parte de la entrevista, Franck Gaudichaud -uno de los artífices del portal Rebelión [1]- efectua un repaso sobre las acepciones y usos del concepto de poder popular, las distintas experiencias históricas latinoamericanas que le dieron carnadura y el carácter inescindible que asumen en los procesos emancipatorios de nuestro continente las nociones de clase/género/etnia/colonialidad. Además, el autor de El volcán latinoamericano habla de evitar en los debates de las izquierdas la dicotomía entre movimientos sin organización política ni programa, y la defensa acrítica de la razón de Estado, teniendo presente que son necesarias herramientas políticas y estrategias concretas de transición global. “América Latina y sus resistencias son el continente laboratorio de la construcción de alternativas para el siglo XXI” afirma.

22 de enero de 2015

Seguel [2]: Entendiendo que el concepto de poder popular se instala en el imaginario latinoamericano desde los sesenta en distintos contextos y que, en ese marco, se han realizado diferentes usos por parte de los movimientos sociales y las organizaciones políticas, ¿qué elementos a tu juicio son fundamentales para una aproximación al concepto de poder popular en base a las experiencias latinoamericanas? ¿Qué elementos son los centrales para entender esta idea, noción, teoría del poder popular que se ha venido levantando en América Latina hace más de cuarenta años?

Gaudichaud : Por cierto, como bien mencionaste, es una noción heterogénea que no tiene una sola definición. Su flexibilidad es su fuerza y también su debilidad, ya que hay que adaptarla a cada proceso real para entenderla de manera plena. En un libro colectivo sobre poder popular coordinado por Miguel Mazzeo, el politólogo Hernán Ouviña destaca el peligro de la “palabra murciélago” (concepto del italiano Vilfredo Pareto) en que se podría transformar la noción de poder popular: una palabra en la cual caben tanto pájaros como roedores… ¡Aunque a mí, personalmente, me gustan tanto los pájaros como los roedores, que son los de abajo y, como el “viejo topo” de Marx o lo que Bensaïd llamaría “ la sonrisa del fantasma del comunismo” , son capaces de socavar el orden dominante! Ahora bien, hablar de poder popular tiene muchas aristas y varias lecturas, desde las corrientes anarquistas, libertarias hasta las marxistas ortodoxas, pasando por las marxistas heterodoxas, etc. Por ejemplo, algunos grupos anarquistas dicen “el poder popular sigue siendo una noción estadocéntrica, entonces no nos conviene”. Para mí, la noción de poder popular se refiere a esa irrupción del movimiento obrero y popular, a las movilizaciones de los dominad@s, explotad@s y subaltern@s organizados en un contexto capitalista-patriarcal hegemónico, que desde su posición subalterna y con su fuerza de movilización disruptiva, logran comenzar a crear espacios de poder propio, autónomo y subversivo del orden social imperante. Este poder puede ser un poder local, comunal, regional, hasta lograr ser un poder territorial-dual nacional que cuestiona la legitimidad y el monopolio de la violencia del propio Estado. Pero para su concreción necesita desarrollarse desde sujetos reales y sobre todo desde espacios económicos: por esta razón, las experiencias de poder popular cobran particular fuerza revolucionaria cuando surgen desde el asalariado y los trabajadores, ya que sus resistencias amenazan directamente la reproducción y acumulación del capital. En Chile, la praxis paradigmática ha sido la de los Cordones Industriales, que lograron tomar en parte -y de manera transitoria- el control del aparato de producción en el seno de la turbulenta “vía chilena al socialismo” (1970-1973). Actualmente, en Argentina y Brasil, hay decenas de empresas recuperadas y algunas bajo control obrero. Son formas de lo que llamo poder popular constituyente clasista. Por otra parte, la importancia de nuevas luchas obreras y sindicales en varios países demuestra que el sindicalismo sigue vivo e incluso está recobrando colores: veamos las fuertes luchas de asalariados en el último período en Argentina, acompañadas de la recomposición de la izquierda anticapitalista; o en Chile, con la acción decidida de los trabajadores subcontratados del cobre, de la Unión Portuaria o los conflictos en los supermercados.

No obstante, desde los años ‘90, la forma sindical está en receso y crisis (el caso de la COB boliviana es paradigmático) en todo el continente, a la par con la flexibilización-precarización-tercerización del trabajo. Querer encontrar hoy a la gloriosa clase obrera industrial de los ‘70, es una simple ilusión romántica o dogmática. Y por esta misma razón es muy importante comprender las nuevas dinámicas de luchas y nuevas formas de organización horizontal-territorial y comunitarias, gracias -en gran medida- al impulso de los movimientos indígenas. El poder popular constituyente surge así también desde el espacio territorial o barrial, en torno a los pobres del campo y de la ciudad y a las comunidades originarias en resistencia. En el último período, ha sido muy potente esta fuerza de los territorios urbanos periféricos o comunas campesinas indígenas, donde se efectúa una (re)apropiación de los espacios de vida, generando un contrapoder colectivo frente al poder constituido de multinacionales extractivas, del Estado neocolonial, del patrón de fundo, del alcalde incluso el gobernador, etc. Este contrapoder progresivamente se transforma en apropiación social democrática, reivindicando la horizontalidad de la democracia, la lucha contra el patriarcado, el derecho a la ciudad, nuevas formas de producción agrícolas, etc. Podemos pensar en la comuna de Oaxaca (México) en 2006: para mí fue una experiencia clave si hablamos de poder popular en siglo XXI, porque ahí se afirmó un nivel de democracia desde abajo, popular-indígena y sindical excepcional, seguramente la primera Comuna de nuestro siglo, un poco como lo fue la de París a fines del siglo XIX. Interesantes son también los Consejos Comunales en Venezuela, como expresión del poder popular local que tienen mayor potencialidad cuando se ligan al movimiento sindical u obrero. En el Cauca colombiano, se desarrolla una experiencia indígena original, con rotación de mando, control de la producción, de la alimentación y agroecología: un biopoder alternativo, una potencia constitutiva hecha de autogestión, autoorganización, con capacidad de controlar sus propias vidas, alimentarse, sin depender de las instituciones de arriba… Podríamos hablar también de Chiapas y del neozapatismo, utopía concreta esencial de nuestros días o de la resistencia de Conga en Perú frente a la multinacional Yanacocha. Son muchas las experiencias y eso nos permite cierto optimismo para el futuro. No obstante, ninguna de esas experiencias puede evadir la discusión estratégica sobre cómo ese poder popular constituyente local construye también capacidad de cambiar la sociedad y proponer un proyecto-país alternativo anticapitalista.

Seguel : ¿O sea que para tí, necesariamente una noción de poder popular si se ancla solamente a una experiencia local y regional no se sostiene en el tiempo, si no se plantea una tarea de disputa de la hegemonía en el marco nacional?

Gaudichaud : O sea, a veces se sostiene durante décadas incluso. Hay varias prácticas muy ricas de poder popular comunitario que se deben valorar y creo que una de las más emblemáticas en América Latina, sigue siendo la de los zapatistas que acaban de conmemorar sus veinte años de resistencia a una escala territorial importante. Han demostrado que sí se puede terminar con formas de organización autoritarias y construir otras formas de vida, defender los bienes comunes desde la comunidad y las subjetividades indígenas, con una visión y práctica del poder más respetuosa, más democrática en el sentido real y subversivo de la democracia -como bien lo dice Jacques Rancière-. Es decir más horizontal, con rotación de mando, control de la base social sobre sus dirigentes, con “consejos de buen gobierno”, etc. Pero, no por eso la situación social y política en el resto de México ha mejorado: de hecho, se sigue degradando, la pobreza, la explotación del trabajo y la violencia aumentan. El narcoestado mexicano implica niveles de descomposición social tales que ha sido posible desaparecer 43 estudiantes en Iguala en toda impunidad y con la colaboración del alcalde del Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) (¡centro-izquierda!). Y eso es solo la parte visible del problema, cuando son decenas de miles los asesinatos y las desapariciones en los últimos 5 años: una verdadera guerra interna. Por eso, la importancia y urgencia de la discusión estratégica sobre el tema de cómo “cambiar el mundo” tomando colectivamente el poder y por dónde empezar…

Algunos, desde el marxismo piensan que es una disputa sobre los “sujetos revolucionarios” y la búsqueda de la “contradicción principal”. Por ejemplo en Chile, he escuchado debates sobre poder popular versus poder obrero, insistiendo en la centralidad insoslayable de la lucha de la clase obrera. Pienso que es necesario restaurar un pensamiento dialéctico y comprender que el concepto de poder popular abarca la noción de poder obrero, la contiene, siendo más amplio. Personalmente, asumo plenamente que en ningún caso podemos pretender disolver las contradicciones de clases y el papel central del sujeto-trabajo con la constitución de formas de poder popular: si el poder popular pretende al anticapitalismo, entonces tendrá que articularse en torno a las luchas de l@s que viven la dominación del capital. Históricamente, en Chile, el movimiento obrero industrial ha sido la cuna de algunas de las formas más avanzadas de poder popular, con el surgimiento fugaz pero esencial de los Cordones Industriales en 1972-1973. Los Cordones buscaron alianza con los pobladores, con los estudiantes y otros sectores de asalariados. Cuarenta años después, volvamos a discutir sobre las alianzas estratégicas que se tienen que articular para conformar un bloque clasista popular contrahegemónico, pero a la luz de las formaciones sociales actuales. Es decir, dejando atrás una visión heroica, un poco fantaseada de la clase obrera industrial, como si el asalariado no se hubiese transformado profundamente en décadas de shock neoliberal. Por ejemplo, hoy en Argentina, varias experiencias de autogestión nacen de los movimientos de trabajadores desocupados, fuera de la fábrica, como también a partir de una nueva generación de la clase obrera, más escolarizada como se ve en la “fábrica sin patrón” de Neuquén (FASINPAT) exZanón. Asumiendo también la existencia de la “diagonal” del conflicto social que no se resume al trabajo: conflicto de género y con el patriarcado, conflicto medioambiental y frente a la destrucción de la naturaleza, conflictos étnicos y a favor de la autodeterminación de los pueblos, etc. Como ya lo escribía el historiador chileno Luis Vitale hace 30 años, todavía los marxismos latinoamericanos deben asumir tres desafíos insuficientemente integrados: el feminismo, la colonialidad y la crisis ecológica . Y por esta razón, el pensamiento crítico debe saber interrelacionar y enlazar las diferentes opresiones de manera didáctica:

Etnia-clase-sexo-colonialismo constituyen en América Latina partes interrelacionadas de una totalidad dependiente que no puede escindirse, a riesgo de parcelar el conocimiento de la realidad y la praxis social, como si por ejemplo las luchas de la mujer por su emancipación estuvieran desligadas del movimiento ecologista, indígena, clasista y antiimperialista y viceversa (Vitale, 1983).

Seguel : Entendiendo que la referencia al poder popular en América Latina depende mucho de los contextos, sé que hay varias experiencias en las que se ha utilizado la noción de poder popular como un elemento central en la construcción de los distintos proyectos. Me refiero por ejemplo, a la utilización que hoy hacen en Venezuela y Cuba o, en otro contexto, en la organización argentina Frente Popular Darío Santillán, en el Congreso de los Pueblos en Colombia o, por último, la referencia que se hace en el campo de la cultura mirista en Chile o en la cultura militante del PRT-ERP en Argentina. ¿Qué es lo que crees que incide en que se acuñen nociones que, en torno a un mismo concepto, articulen prácticas políticas tan antagónicas, como por ejemplo en el MIR o en el PRT-ERP?


Desde una concepción centrada en una idea más clásica de dualidad de poderes, hasta una concepción de democracia participativa, que es lo que se está construyendo en el proyecto de los Consejos Comunales en Venezuela o el Estado Popular que se consolidó a finales de los setenta en Cuba ¿Qué es lo que lleva a que en torno a un mismo concepto se acuñen praxis políticas tan distintas?

Gaudichaud : Bueno, con tu pregunta tenemos confirmación que la reubicación del poder popular puede ser muy amplia y flexible, como lo puede ser la noción de democracia, de revolución, de libertad o de muchos otros elementos centrales de la política. Este concepto es potente, pero requiere de discusión y sobre todo de definición. Entiendo que la noción de poder popular en Cuba es una herencia de la revolución de 1959 pero hoy en día, ante todo, se transformó en una retórica muy institucionalizada, que se usa desde un partido-Estado único que deja poco margen a la pluralidad y a las diferencias políticas desde la revolución, si no se expresan de manera interna al partido y en forma subterránea. Es decir, es sumamente diferente a la noción de poder popular que se expresa en el Frente Popular Darío Santillán argentino, un movimiento autonomista territorial que rechaza globalmente la figura del Estado, que reivindica la autogestión desde el movimiento de trabajadores desocupados para crear un referente político mucho más libertario… y que, a diferencia del castrismo, ¡no enfrenta el bloqueo criminal de EEUU o la gestión diaria de un pequeño Estado muy pobre del Caribe!

En el caso de las experiencias históricas que citaste, es cierto que en Chile, el MIR fue la organización que más reivindicó y desarrolló teóricamente la noción de poder popular. Famoso es su grito callejero: “¡Crear, crear, poder popular!”. Durante la Unidad Popular en particular, el movimiento dirigido por Miguel Enríquez intentó colocar esta reivindicación en marcha desde los espacios donde se movía, en particular en el movimiento de pobladores y en un campamento como “Nueva La Habana”, que fue una experiencia muy interesante de poder popular local. Pero siempre hay que comparar discurso y praxis, reivindicación teórica y acción político-social. Y para el MIR, hubo siempre una tensión entre una organización que seguía siendo muy vertical, con grupos políticos-militares y los llamados a “crear poder popular”, a desarrollar los Comandos Comunales. El MIR era marxista y asumía la teoría de la dualización de poder, en términos leninistas, pero carecía de una inserción masiva en el movimiento obrero-sindical: asumiendo cierto niveles de pragmatismo inmediato, el MIR le dio la prioridad a la noción más amplia de Comando Comunal, perdiendo de vista que en ese momento, frente a las asonadas de la burguesía chilena, urgía darle prioridad al verdadero germen de poder dual o constituyente que, en ese instante de la revolución chilena, eran los Cordones Industriales. En el PRT-ERP argentino hay también rasgos que se vinculan a la noción de Guerra Popular Prolongada, es decir un aspecto político-militar central, y una mezcla de marxismo teórico a veces abstracto con fuertes rasgos de pragmatismo (como lo ha demostrado el historiador Pablo Pozzi) lo que, en períodos prerrevolucionarios, choca con los elementos de mayor participación, horizontalidad, masividad y con lo que el historiador Peter Winn denominó “revolución desde abajo”. Una de las lecciones que se pueden sacar, es la necesidad de considerar los elementos político-militares o de autodefensa como parte integrante de los procesos de autogestión y autoorganización, y a su servicio. No como un aparato militante “profesional”, exterior a la clase o al movimiento popular. Evidentemente, la dificultad es cómo organizarse de esta manera cuando el Estado tiende a reprimir enseguida todas las formas de autodefensa.

En Venezuela -proceso “pacífico pero armado” como bien lo decía Hugo Chávez-, actualmente tenemos una reivindicación muy presente sobre el poder popular por parte del gobierno bolivariano, de hecho, ¡todos los ministerios son “del poder popular”! En quince años de “revolución bolivariana” también se crearon espacios originales de participación democrática como los que ya mencioné, en particular los Consejos Comunales. En un país donde los movimientos sociales eran débiles, aunque muy explosivos como sucedió durante el Caracazo de 1989, se intentó institucionalizar formas de participación originales, como fueron los Círculos Bolivarianos, los Consejos de Tierra Urbana, los Consejos Comunales. He ido varias veces a Venezuela en los últimos años y pienso que la “batalla de Caracas” -como lo dice Atilio Borón- tiene una importancia clave en el ajedrez continental. Pude participar en reuniones de Consejos Comunales en barrios populares de la capital y leer varios estudios universitarios serios sobre el tema. Sin duda, son realidades complejas, pues algunos Consejos funcionan de manera fenomenal, realmente democrática, y otros son cooptados por pequeños grupos poco representativos. Por lo general, permiten efectivamente mejorar la situación concreta de la gente, empoderar a los habitantes pobres, discutir de los problemas del barrio y gestionar un presupuesto participativo público. El límite de estos organismos es que son espacios muy acotados, un poder participativo dependiente del Estado y, en particular, de la Presidencia, que otorga el presupuesto y delimita los poderes del Consejo, su territorio, sus normas. Se trata de un embrión de poder popular local, impulsado principalmente desde “arriba”, gracias a una relación estrecha entre el pueblo bolivariano y el líder carismático que fue Hugo Chávez. Es decir, de nuevo encontramos la tensión entre el “poder constituyente” y los poderes constituidos, pero no precisamente en el sentido desarrollado por Gabriel Salazar, pues el historiador chileno centra esta discusión sobre aspectos como la “construcción del Estado por el pueblo junto al mercado y a la sociedad civil”. La visión de Salazar me parece que, en primer lugar, sobrevalora lo social por sobre lo político (afirma que el movimiento social-ciudadano podría ser por sí mismo una alternativa al sistema institucional dominante, sin evaluar la problemática de la organización política) y, en segundo lugar, es engañosa, porque el Premio nacional de historia escribe sobre la necesidad de dejar de pensar en términos de lucha de clases (resumida a una lucha económica). Visto de esta manera, el poder constituyente parece cristalizarse como una praxis -desde abajo- de un conjunto de diversos sectores sociales corporativizados: pobladores, intelectuales, trabajadores, empresarios, ciudadanos, constituyendo Estado y mercado… Me parecen interesantes sus reflexiones sobre la memoria social del pueblo, su rescate de experiencias como la Asamblea Constituyente de Asalariados e Intelectuales de 1925 o sus críticas hacia el vanguardismo político y a las izquierdas parlamentarias. Pero no quita que -para mí- la esencia disruptiva de lo que denomino poder popular constituyente, no se puede resumir en tentativas de escribir nuevas constituciones o incluso construir Estado; y sobre todo, tiene como carburante y motor a las clases sociales y sus luchas, es decir, no una imaginaria y ahistórica elaboración del conjunto de asalariados, sociedad civil y empresarios, diluyendo los conflictos fundantes de la sociedad.


Seguel : A medida que me ibas contando tu análisis sobre poder popular, alcancé a puntualizar algunas tensiones. Por una parte, una tensión entre forma y fondo, que señalabas en el caso del MIR, en el que se reivindica un fondo que es democrático, pero cuya práctica política específica es contradictoria por el modo en cómo se relaciona la herramienta política, es decir el partido, con el movimiento de masas. Otra tensión, era entre lo local y lo nacional, en el sentido que experiencias concretas tienden a veces a aislarse de los contextos nacionales y se generan problemas en los campos de la representación y alcance de las mismas. Y la otra que es algo que el vicepresidente y sociólogo Álvaro García Linera señala como las “tensiones creativas de la revolución boliviana”, o sea tensión entre poderes constituyentes y poderes constituidos. ¿Crees que esos tres elementos podrían explicarnos las diferencias entre las diversas orientaciones que, hoy en día, el poder popular presenta en América Latina o le agregarías otros referentes?

Gaudichaud : Yo creo que esas tres son fundamentales, pero justamente pensando en García Linera en Bolivia y en Salazar en Chile, quiero insistir de nuevo, en que el debate sobre el poder popular se inscribe en la discusión estratégica sobre relaciones y modo de producción, modelo de acumulación y escenario anticapitalista. Si no, el riesgo es de vaciar esa capacidad de transformación que representa la reivindicación de poder popular constituyente. Es decir, ¿seguimos –o no- con la perspectiva de la transformación de las relaciones sociales de producción? ¿Queremos insertar la dinámica del poder popular en la capacidad del trabajador, del estudiante, de la mujer indígena, del campesino afrodescendiente y de todos los sectores subalternos, de tomar en sus manos el poder y ejercerlo democráticamente? Hoy, García Linera -un intelectual sin lugar a dudas brillante- por su posición actual, se sitúa más desde el poder constituido estatal que desde la construcción del poder comunal y sindical, que ha defendido como sociólogo marxista heterodoxo en el grupo Comuna (un grupo de intelectuales bolivianos muy interesante). Asistí, hace poco, a su conferencia en el ex Congreso en Santiago: era el discurso del Linera estadista, gobernante, reivindicando al Estado como arte y forma suprema de la política. De hecho, lo dijo varias veces. A diferencia de sus escritos sobre luchas sindicales e indígenas, sobre la forma sindical y la forma comuna, defendió al Estado (pluri)nacional-popular boliviano y al capitalismo ando-amazónico por sobre la noción de conflicto de clase y conquista del poscapitalismo.


Seguel : En ese sentido, si tomáramos la forma en cómo se refiere el teórico argentino, Miguel Mazzeo, al poder popular, podríamos señalar que este se constituye como una praxis política performativa, en el sentido que las formas que tenemos de nombrar al poder popular y de materializarlo, anticipan el fondo o fin de la construcción de la sociedad del mañana, en este caso anticapitalista y socialista.


Gaudichaud : 
Creo que eso es muy importante y que tal vez en la izquierda marxista o revolucionaria, lo hemos olvidado o no supimos siempre practicarlo. Hoy se puede recuperar el “principio esperanza” de Ernst Bloch y reivindicar el concepto de “utopía concreta”: necesitamos demostrar desde la praxis, no sólo anunciar, teorizar o marchar en las calles. El desafío es señalar hoy lo que podemos comenzar a construir mañana a otras escalas. Y por eso la importancia de la ocupación de fábricas, la experiencia de Zanón y muchas otras, probar que sí, los trabajadores pueden ocupar la fábrica y ejercer democráticamente la producción. Enarbolar con los zapatistas en Chiapas que podemos repeler al ejército y al mismo tiempo construir Caracoles, demostrar que podemos crear medios de comunicación alternativos y comunitarios, manifestar que como movimiento estudiantil podemos tomarnos espacios escolares y practicar educación popular, etc. Esas muestras concretas que a veces hemos menospreciado, porque no apuntaban a una experiencia inmediata de doble poder o de “toma del poder”, son fundamentales. Son “prefigurativas”: permiten que practiquemos, que erremos, que nos conozcamos, que veamos todas las dificultades que tenemos por delante, nuestras falencias, fuerzas y potencialidades colectivas. Son espacios que nos pueden servir para ir más allá, hacia luchas más globales contra el Estado, el capital, el imperialismo, el patriarcado. Por eso son muy interesantes las reflexiones de Miguel Mazzeo sobre el poder popular como fin y praxis, como camino y objetivo de la emancipación en construcción, es decir ya no desde una simple perspectiva “utilitarista” al servicio de una vanguardia de cuadros revolucionarios profesionales, ni tampoco encerrada en la impotencia relativa de micro-poderes localizados: un poder popular que se constituye desde abajo, desde la fábrica y la comunidad, la producción y el territorio, pero también que aspira a impugnar la hegemonía de los de arriba, su estado y leyes. Un pensamiento dialéctico entre lo de abajo y lo de arriba de la transformación social y de las luchas de clases es fundamental, puede parece muy básico si volvemos a leer los clásicos del marxismo y del pensamiento crítico, pero -en cierta medida- esa brújula política se ha perdido frente a las tiranías del autonomismo esencializado y a la visión gubernamentalista oficialista “progresista” que coexisten en las izquierdas latinoamericanas, como mundiales. Hay que evitar la dicotomía entre un movimiento de “indignad@s” sin organización política, ni programa versus la defensa acrítica de la razón de estado por funcionarios de ministerios y intelectuales orgánicos del social-liberalismo o progresismo “light”.

Seguel : Entonces, ¿qué relación tendrían las experiencias de poder popular con las expresiones institucionales? ¿Se plantean por fuera de la disputa de la institucionalidad, se relacionan con la institucionalidad?, ¿Son una forma de institucionalidad?, ¿Cómo relacionarías la noción de poder popular con estos elementos que veníamos señalando?

Gaudichaud : Es un debate que ha atravesado toda América Latina y horizontes europeos como el movimiento indignados o los Ocupa de Wall Street en EEUU. El debate sobre las herramientas: ¿partido o movimiento? y ¿qué tipo de movimiento? La discusión sobre el Estado también, ¡gran tema todavía! El debate sobre la violencia: ¿qué hacemos de las fuerzas armadas?, ¿cómo se ejerce la violencia de los de arriba pero también la autodefensa de los de abajo? Esto va de la mano con todo el intercambio de ideas que hubo en torno al poder y sus definiciones: una rica reflexión sobre la relación entre el “poder hacer” (potentia) y el “poder sobre” (potestas) que inauguran John Holloway, Raúl Zibechi y que también se dio en Francia, con Daniel Bensaïd, Michael Löwy, Philippe Corcuff y otros más en la revista Contretemps, como el de intelectuales que participan de la revista Herramienta bajo la dirección de Aldo Casas en Argentina, etc. [3]Son problemáticas estratégicas esenciales. Con una visión a veces fetichista de lo social y del zapatismo, Holloway afirma que hay que crear potentia y rechazar el potestas, que necesitamos crear rebeldías por fuera del Estado. En otro registro, Raúl Zibechi, basándose en la observación de luchas como las de El Alto en Bolivia o de la comuna de Oaxaca, ve más la necesidad de luchas por “los intersticios” del Estado y las “grietas” del sistema, para “disolverlo” o incluso “dispersarlo”. Este autor y militante de números colectivos populares tiene un acercamiento original y creativo sobre emancipaciones y resistencias en América Latina, rescatando la fuerza de la trilogía territorio-autogobierno-autonomía. También, en su análisis participativo de varios movimientos logra subrayar con claridad elementos e ideas-fuerzas comunes, entre los cuales: el arraigo territorial de los movimientos y el espacio en donde se crea comunidad; la autonomía como forma de organización frente a prácticas clientelares del Estado y de los partidos; el componente cultural y las identidades descolonizadoras de las luchas; el papel esencial de las mujeres y; la relación con la naturaleza y el medio ambiente. Pero, como Löwy y otros, creo que no basta pensar sólo desde las grietas del sistema o desde la posible “disolución” del Estado: toda política de emancipación debe y tiene que combinar potentia y potestas, “poder hacer” y “poder sobre”, movimientos sociales y formas de organizaciones políticas. Para controlar y poner en jaque a las fuerzas reaccionarias, hostiles al cambio, es indispensable organizarse, alcanzar niveles mínimos de institucionalización e incluso de violencia plebeya hacia los dominantes. Toda vida en sociedad tiene espacios normados o institucionalizados, un sindicato es un espacio institucionalizado, un colectivo tiene un nivel de orgánica: ¿cómo no la va a tener un movimiento de emancipación masivo que pretende “cambiar el mundo” de manera revolucionaria? Como lo señala el libro de Antoine Artous, Marx, el Estado y la política, los marxismos hoy, deben superar la “mitología” de una posible desaparición rápida del Estado y de la instauración de una democracia directa en una sociedad ideal sin conflictos. Una lectura crítica del joven Marx y de cierta subestimación del momento jurídico de la emancipación por parte del marxismo, al mismo tiempo que los desastres autoritarios del siglo XX, nos obligan a (re)pensar la democracia y la afirmación de la política (y su mediación) como momento clave específico. No se puede disolver o subsumir lo político en lo social, como tampoco podemos dejar de reflexionar sobre las futuras formas institucionalizadas de una posible democracia autogestionaria, acompañada de sus derechos democráticos fundamentales y de indispensables formas de representación popular (asambleas constituyentes y asambleas de los movimientos sociales, mecanismos de control desde abajo, formas de participación y deliberación populares, derecho de voto universal y proporcional, etc.).

Al fin y al cabo, Chiapas y el zapatismo no “disolvieron” totalmente el Estado, pero es verdad que crearon nuevas formas de institucionalidad, basadas en los bienes comunes, en la autonomía comunitaria y en una democracia radical de autogobierno, como bien lo explican los estudios del antropólogo Jerôme Baschet. Holloway tiene toda la razón en poner el acento en los avances del zapatismo y su creatividad frente a todos los dogmatismos. Entonces, de acuerdo: la emancipación es también emanciparse del Estado, pero… como lo reconoce el mismo Atilio Borón en sus duras críticas a las teorías de Holloway, lo ideal sería crear ahora ya una sociedad democrática sin Estado, lo que decía Marx hace dos siglos en sus estudios sobre la Comuna de París y la guerra civil en Francia. No obstante, frente a la urgencia global del desastre capitalista en el cual nos encontramos y, a pocos pasos de un colapso ecológico planetario, hay que pensar formas de transición, tener un programa táctico concreto y un agenda estratégica que no proclame la “disolución” del Estado burgués, sino una construcción de largo plazo y rupturas sucesivas, en “revolución permanente” diría Trotsky, hacia una democracia autogestionaria libertaria, un mundo en que quepan todos los mundos (un lema zapatista). Hay que pensar y elaborar junt@s este largo plazo de la emancipación poscapitalista, posdesarrollista y pospatriarcal. Urge así proponer vías no-burocráticas y no-autoritarias para democratizar radicalmente el Estado y -al mismo tiempo- “revolucionar” la sociedad, que tod@s tomemos y transformemos el poder. Es decir, encontrar los caminos de una democracia de comunas autogestionadas, basada efectivamente en la libertad individual y la autonomía colectiva, la autodeterminación y la participación política plena de hombres y mujeres libres, la distribución del trabajo emancipado del yugo del capital y con derecho al ocio, a la cultura, a la diversidad sexual, respetando la naturaleza, etc. Pero en esa discusión sobre como “de nada ser todo” (Manifiesto comunista), hay que cuidarse de los atajos de la antipolítica, del antipoder, de “la ilusión de lo social”: ¿cuáles son nuestras herramientas para enfrentar el imperialismo, las multinacionales, las oligarquías, el patriarcado, los golpes de Estado como en Chile en 1973? ¿Lo podemos lograr sólo con autogestión local y diversas experiencias de “poder hacer”? No. Necesitamos también herramientas políticas y estrategias concretas de transición global. En este contexto, los partidos y movimientos políticos pueden servir de “acelerador estratégico”, como bien lo apuntaba Daniel Bensaïd, en vista de favorecer el reflexionar colectivo, evitar la colección de egos individuales o de intereses particulares corporativistas, como también el fenómeno del caudillismo o del bonapartismo. Sin fetichismo de la organización o culto del líder, asumiendo y criticando el riesgo burocrático o electoralista, imponiendo medidas estrictas de control de las directivas, referéndums revocatorios, paridad de género y rotación de mandos, terminando -como primer paso- con la profesionalización de la política, el vanguardismo, el machismo y el autoritarismo.

Así como lo escribe Edgardo Lander, los retos de las transformaciones que tenemos por delante son buscar alternativas más allá del capitalismo, del desarrollismo y del Estado liberal/(pos)colonial. Y en esta búsqueda apasionante, necesitamos sacar lecciones esenciales del siglo pasado y de la traumática experiencia estalinista:

La lucha por la construcción de una sociedad poscapitalista en el siglo XXI —se denomine sociedad del Buen Vivir o Socialismo del Siglo XXI—, en particular en el contexto sudamericano, tiene que responder necesariamente a retos y exigencias que superan en mucho los imaginarios de la transformación social de los últimos dos siglos, y muy especialmente los del socialismo del siglo pasado. Una alternativa al capitalismo y a la democracia liberal en este contexto debe ser forzosamente una alternativa radical al Socialismo del Siglo XX. Esto se refiere a tres asuntos fundamentales que caracterizaron a estas sociedades: su confianza ciega en el progreso y en las fuerzas productivas del capitalismo, su carácter monocultural y sus severas limitaciones en el campo de la democracia. (…) Una sociedad poscapitalista en el siglo XXI debe ser necesariamente una sociedad que cuestione los mitos del progreso y asuma la transición en dirección de una sociedad del posdesarrollo (…) Una sociedad poscapitalista en el siglo XXI tiene que ser necesariamente más democrática que la sociedad capitalista. Se trata, en palabras de Boaventura de Sousa Santos, de la construcción democrática de una sociedad democrática . Si se plantea la idea del Socialismo del Siglo XXI como una experiencia histórica nueva, radicalmente democrática, que incorpore y celebre la diversidad de la experiencia cultural humana y tenga capacidad de armonía con el conjunto de las formas de vida existentes en el planeta, se requiere una crítica profunda de esa experiencia histórica del siglo XX. (Lander, 2013).

Un enfoque radical que, desde la Patria Grande, propongo llamar (desde una óptica mariateguista del siglo XXI) la construcción de un ecosocialismo indo-afro-latinoamericano, feminista, decolonial, del buen vivir, entendiendo el ecosocialismo como:

Una reorganización del conjunto de modos de producción y de consumo es necesaria, basada en criterios exteriores al mercado capitalista: las necesidades reales de la población y la defensa del equilibrio ecológico. Esto significa una economía de transición al socialismo ecológico, en la cual la propia población –y no las «leyes de mercado» o un Buró Político autoritario– decidan, en un proceso de planificación democrática, las prioridades y las inversiones. Esta transición conduciría no sólo a un nuevo modo de producción y a una sociedad más igualitaria, más solidaria y más democrática, sino también a un modo de vida alternativo, una nueva civilización ecosocialista más allá del reino del dinero y de la producción al infinito de mercancías inútiles. (Löwy, 2011).

Sin duda, más que nunca, para alcanzar esta “nueva civilización” tendremos que inventar, intentar, errar, experimentar, luchar, pensar y volver a soñar para crear, crear, poder popular… Pero, en un momento en que la crisis del capitalismo es global y que el “viejo mundo” europeo se hunde día a día, América Latina y sus resistencias podría ser el continente laboratorio de la construcción de alternativas para el siglo XXI.

Santiago de Chile, noviembre 2014.

Bibliografía

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J. Baschet, Adiós al capitalismo. Autonomía, sociedad del buen vivir y multiplicidad de mundos, Buenos Aires, Futuro Anterior, 2014.

D. Bensaïd, “¿La revolución sin el poder? Acerca de un libro reciente de John Holloway ”, revista Herramienta, www.herramienta.com.ar/debate-sobre-cambiar-el-mundo/la-revolucion-sin-el-poder .

D. Bensaïd, La sonrisa del fantasma, Barcelona, Sequitur, 2012.

D. Bensaïd, Clases, plebes, multitudes , Caracas, El Perro y la Rana, 2005.

F. Betto, “América Latina: Impasses de los gobiernos progresistas”, Revista América Latina en Movimiento, No.500, diciembre de 2014: http://alainet.org/publica/500.phtml .

E. Bloch, El principio esperanza, Madrid, Editorial Trotta, 2007 (reed.).

A. Borón, Aristóteles en Macondo : notas sobre democracia, poder y revolución en América Latina, Valparaíso, Construyendo América , 2013.

B. Dangl , Dancing with Dynamite : Social Movements and States in Latin America , AK Press, 2010.

P. Dávalos, La Democracia disciplinaria. El proyecto postneoliberal para América Latina, Santiago, Editorial Quimantú, 2013.

F. Fuentes, “ Cuando el árbol del “antiextractivismo” no deja ver el bosque”, Rebelión, 2014: http://rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=185659 .

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F. Gaudichaud, “Venezuela: El debate hoy es cómo frenar la violenta ofensiva de la derecha neoliberal”, Entrevista de Valeria Ianni, Revista La Llamarada, 2014: www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=181839 .

F. Gaudichaud [ed.], América Latina: Emancipaciones en construcción, Quito, IEAN, 2014.

F. Gaudichaud [coord.], El volcán latinoamericano. Izquierdas, movimientos sociales y neoliberalismo en América Latina, Concepción, Escaparate, 2012.

F. Gaudichaud, Poder popular y cordones industriales. Testimonios sobre el movimiento popular urbano (1970-1973), Santiago, LOM, 2004.

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J. Holloway, Agrietar el capitalismo. El hacer contra el trabajo , Buenos Aires, Ediciones Herramienta, 2011.

C. Katz, El porvenir del socialismo, Buenos Aires, Herramienta – Imago Mundi, 2004.

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Notas

[3] Desarrollé ese debate y sus aristas en un texto reciente que introduce un pequeño libro colectivo titulado América Latina: Emancipaciones en construcción. Ver bibliografía.

El proceso de democratización y movilización social, que se inaugura en el contexto de resistencia e impugnación de las políticas neoliberales en América del Sur desde mediados de la década de los noventa, supone un desafío político de consideración para los (nuevos) movimientos sociales, las organizaciones de izquierda (emergentes y tradicionales) y el pensamiento crítico latinoamericano. Pensar el poder popular desde estas coordenadas, geopolíticamente subalternas (en la historia de las luchas políticas de los movimientos sociales del continente) e intelectualmente periféricas (en la generación de saber de los polos de pensamiento social), implica un ejercicio de conocimiento y apropiación de los principales procesos llevados adelante, atendiendo sus límites, potencialidades y aciertos.

El objetivo de la presente conversación (primera parte) con Franck Gaudichaud es entregar antecedentes para la construcción de un marco histórico, desde donde situar las recientes experiencias de movilización social del continente y, al mismo tiempo, contribuir a proponer algunos antecedentes que contribuyan a pensar el poder popular desde nuestra propia experiencia, en ese claroscuro entre tradición y elaboración donde -como diría Marx- el peso de todas las generaciones muertas oprime como pesadilla la cabeza de los vivos [iii].

Esta entrevista es una contribución a un libro colectivo por publicarse en 2015 sobre “ Movimientos sociales y poder popular en Chile. Retrospectivas y proyecciones políticas de la izquierda latinoamericana”, un trabajo realizado en conjunto entre el Grupo de Estudios Sociales y Políticos – Chile (GESP), de la Universidad de Santiago – USACH y Tiempo robado editoras

El escenario geopolítico latinoamericano actual y la (re)emergencia de las izquierdas


- Seguel: Muchos analistas señalan que América Latina se constituye hoy, nuevamente, como un escenario para la emergencia de proyectos políticos de izquierda. ¿Qué elementos geopolíticos inciden a tu juicio en esta coyuntura favorable para la movilización de izquierda en América Latina? Con esto me refiero a elementos de la política internacional, el rol de Estados Unidos y su política hacia América Latina, o elementos tales como la implantación y la impugnación del neoliberalismo en la región o los virajes estratégicos de las izquierdas.


- Gaudichaud: 
Hay varios planos ahí que podrían desarrollarse. Partiendo de un plano continental, podemos señalar que, efectivamente, la perspectiva geopolítica es esencial para entender parte de la coyuntura actual. Se está hablando, desde hace un tiempo atrás, de una posible “nueva autonomía” o soberanía de América Latina respecto a los “gigantes” del norte, al imperialismo céntrico y de Estados Unidos en particular. El escenario regional es evidentemente fundamental para analizar el impulso o “giro” progresista -institucional electoral- de varios países, de manera sucesiva en menos de 15 años. En más de diez países, en particular en América del Sur, se vivió la elección y a menudo reelección de presidentes que se reconocen como de izquierda o centroizquierda y aparecieron gobiernos de nuevo tipo de corte “progresista” o más bien de orientación nacional-popular, más o menos radicales. No por eso se puede afirmar que la influencia de Washington haya desaparecido de la región o que el imperialismo sea algo anticuado en América Latina. Se trata todavía de un fenómeno de dominación continental esencial, pero combinado con nuevos procesos y actores que hay que integrar al análisis: desde la relación de los gobiernos latinoamericanos con los poderes fácticos cada vez más impresionantes de las transnacionales, pasando por el nuevo papel de China y de Brasil. No obstante, es cierto que podemos constatar la existencia de una nueva -aunque muy relativa- autonomía de la región y márgenes de maniobra más amplios para los estados. Insisto en lo relativo, pero también en la novedad de la coyuntura, que se traduce por ejemplo, en un curso integrador regional bolivariano creativo. Es el caso del ALBA, impulsado por el presidente Chávez, sin duda lo más novedoso del período 2006-2010. Pero también pienso en espacios diplomáticos y de coordinación internacional, como es CELAC o UNASUR, que permiten consensuar, superar conflictos interestatales o ayudar a tratar problemáticas internas sin Estados Unidos, un hecho capital después de décadas de hegemonía de la OEA. Así, por primera vez, Cuba se reintegró a la comunidad latinoamericana a pesar de la oposición férrea de los EEUU, e incluso asumió la presidencia protempore de la UNASUR, un hecho improbable diez años atrás. Entonces, representa un avance importante de autonomía, de soberanía política regional, de resurgimiento de la ideas de Simón Bolívar y de José Martí. Se trata, sin duda, de un avance parcial y con no pocas contradicciones: no es casualidad que los movimientos sociales reclamen una “diplomacia de los pueblos” en oposición a una integración interestatal al servicio del capital, de proyectos neodesarrollistas o del modelo primo-exportador extractivista, como es el caso del IIRSA ( Integración de la Infraestructura Regional Suramericana), perspectiva defendida hoy por los miembros de la UNASUR y del MERCOSUR .


- Seguel: En ese sentido, analizando el tema específico de la CELAC, no deja de ser interesante que la presidencia de ese organismo, en primera instancia haya recaído en Chile, en un gobierno neoliberal liderado por Sebastián Piñera y en segunda instancia, en Cuba. ¿Cómo lees esa tensión entre un sector dentro de América Latina que se perfilaba hacia el ALCA y que drásticamente tiene que dar un viraje en su política regional hacia estas expresiones, lo que al menos, para los gobiernos neoliberales como el chileno y el colombiano, es bastante complejo porque tampoco pueden marginarse?

-Gaudichaud: Eso demuestra una nueva relación de fuerzas geopolíticas que hace que los gobiernos más abiertamente proimperialistas no se puedan quedar al margen de espacios como UNASUR o CELAC y acepten la reintegración de Cuba, aunque al mismo tiempo, defiendan su propia agenda estratégica proestadounidense y proneoliberal, expresada hoy en la “Alianza del Pacífico” y complementada con la multiplicación de Tratados de Libre Comercio (TLC). Chile es el país que más TLCs ha suscrito en el mundo y sigue aferrado a su alianza estratégica y comercial con los poderes céntricos del sistema-mundo capitalista, con la Unión Europea, con Estados Unidos e incluso con China, hoy primer socio comercial del país. Globalmente, el panorama regional dista de ser homogéneo ya que cada nación tiene intereses nacionales propios y orientaciones disímiles. Algunos desde una visión claramente bolivariana, como Venezuela que buscó instalar una “petrodiplomacia” activa y más solidaria con la creación de Petrocaribe, del ALBA, la interesante tentativa –pero fracasada hasta el momento- del Banco del Sur (para ya no depender del Banco Mundial), etc. En el caso de Brasil, vemos afirmarse una potencia ya no sólo “emergente” sino más bien “emergida”, de corte subimperialista o como imperialismo regional, que defiende el MERCOSUR como una integración, no alternativa, proliberal y también “latina”, pues se contrapone en parte a los Estados Unidos. Por eso es que el escenario es un tanto más complejo que una visión binaria: algunos autores describen una nueva era marcada por la multipolaridad o una época de “transición hegemónica” que conduciría hacia el declive de Estados Unidos en el continente y en el mundo. Yo creo que hay que tener mucho cuidado, ya que todavía estamos lejos de este escenario, cuando todavía dominan los claroscuros y algunos resabios de la “guerra fría 2.0”. Por cierto, hay un declive parcial de la presencia dominante de Estados Unidos en lo político en América Latina, pero no así en lo militar: EEUU ha multiplicado las bases militares en la región, con siete nuevas bases en Colombia en el último período. Esto le permite generar una presión muy grande en “eslabones débiles” de la cadena de estados del continente. Estoy pensando en Honduras y en Paraguay, donde Estados Unidos se involucró, de manera directa o indirecta, para apoyar golpes de Estado calificados de “institucionales”… Pensemos también en el golpe de Estado en Venezuela de abril de 2002. Pero no sólo la presencia de Estados Unidos es hegemónica en lo militar, sino que también en lo cultural a través de sus medios de comunicación globalizados, de la difusión de patrones de hiperconsumo, alimentación y endeudamiento, de las industrias musicales, etc.… Este llamado “soft-power” está igualmente presente a través de ONGs que dicen fomentar la democracia (NED, USAID) [iv] y, en realidad, lo que buscan es la desestabilización de gobiernos considerados adversos como el boliviano, el ecuatoriano o el venezolano. En lo económico, las redes de los capitales transnacionales y de las multinacionales norteamericanas o europeas, son muy activas, captan cada vez más recursos naturales, tierra y mano de obra: por ejemplo, Wal-Mart está presente en toda la región; las maquiladoras están asentadas en varios países como México y en América Central.

Además, habría que citar la alianza estratégica con Colombia (“plan Colombia”), lo que finalmente permite que Estados Unidos tenga todavía mucho poder, mucha capacidad de maniobra y presión en la región. Poderío militar, poderío económico, capacidad de influencia diplomática: así que si hablamos de “transición poshegemónica” geopolítica es de muy largo plazo y dependerá de muchos factores de futuro. Por otra parte, si bien es cierto que se está consolidando una nueva multipolaridad de países emergentes en el mundo, con Brasil, China, India y los famosos “BRIC”, hay que evaluar bien en qué son realmente un progreso y si son capaces de proponer algunas alternativas a la gubernamentabilidad imperial mundial actual. Todo permite dudar de ello…

-Seguel: Me gustaría que pudieses referirte a dos temas en específico. Lo primero, a las características del neoliberalismo y el modo en cómo se ha ido generado su impugnación por parte de los movimientos sociales en América Latina y, lo segundo, ¿cómo esto se relaciona con el viraje de las izquierdas? Digo esto porque, con posterioridad, me gustaría ver las diferencias entre distintas izquierdas, tales como el rol del Partido de los Trabajadores en el gobierno en Brasil o el Frente Amplio en el gobierno de Uruguay. En el fondo, quiero ver si, a tu juicio, existe una relación entre el neoliberalismo implementado en los países de la región, el modo en cómo se lo ha impugnado y las orientaciones de los actuales gobiernos de izquierda.


- Gaudichaud: 
Bueno, sólo quisiera añadir algo antes, que tiene que ver de nuevo con el plano geopolítico de este inmenso escenario que es el continente latinoamericano. Quiero subrayar primero, la gran diversidad de condiciones geofísicas, demográficas e históricas, por ejemplo entre pequeños países de América Central y algunos gigantes de América del Sur. De hecho, desde principios del siglo pasado, Washington siempre ha pensado el mar Caribe como un “mar cerrado”, perteneciente “naturalmente” a los Estados Unidos, incluyendo México y América Central como zona de influencia directa y dividiendo así América en dos, quedando del otro lado una América del Sur considerada como un peligro si lograra unirse. Esta visión tradicional surge dentro de la élite política “yankee”. Últimamente, las declaraciones de John Kerry sobre la necesidad de volver a controlar “el patio trasero” (sic) de EEUU o los documentos del Departamento de Defensa sobre la indispensable proyección militar hacia el Asia-Pacífico, sin perder la hegemonía en América Latina lo demuestran (ver los documentos de Santa Fe) [v] . Esa división en dos del continente es un potente freno a la integración bolivariana. Por supuesto, un país como Honduras, si se queda aislado, no tiene la misma capacidad de resistencia geopolítica o de construcción de soberanía nacional que un país como Brasil. La gran derrota estratégica del siglo XXI de Estados Unidos en la “Patria Grande” es el fracaso del ALCA (Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas) en 2005, en la cumbre de Mar del Plata. Es una derrota con profundas consecuencias, pues echó abajo los planes neoliberales estadounidenses en el continente para la primera mitad del siglo. Por eso se multiplican ahora otras tentativas como los TLCs, la consolidación del TLCAN [vi] con México y Canadá, la voluntad de integrar la Alianza del Pacífico, etc. Y una de las lecciones de todo esto es que el fracaso del ALCA fue producto de una doble dinámica: resistencia de los pueblos y capacidad de oposición de algunos gobiernos. Esa gran derrota vino desde abajo, con la intensa campaña continental de movimientos sociales por el “No al ALCA” y fue posible gracias a la oposición de presidentes como Hugo Chávez en particular y Lula de Brasil, que veía con malos ojos esta presión de Washington en su zona de influencia privilegiada.

Lo que quiero subrayar es que entender el “giro a la izquierda” (una expresión muy engañosa en realidad) es comprender la activación de grandes luchas sociales y populares en los últimos quince años, lo que varios sociólogos definen como “emergencia plebeya”: un fenómeno variopinto pero que irrumpió en el escenario político logrando fisurar el Consenso de Washington en algunos países y, al mismo tiempo, poner en jaque la hegemonía política, económica y subjetiva del neoliberalismo. Dichas radicalidades críticas y resistencia explican, en parte, esta reorientación progresista en lo institucional-electoral. Es decir, las relaciones de fuerza políticas solo pueden verse afectadas de manera prolongada gracias a las luchas y reacomodos entre las clases sociales. Esa evidencia de toda teoría política crítica ha sido, una vez más, demostrada en América Latina desde mediados de los años ‘90. De hecho, es donde hubo irrupción más significativa de movimientos sociales, de trabajadores, indígenas y populares, donde el escenario político conoció cambios más drásticos, más profundos en lo institucional y una mayor capacidad de los gobiernos “progresistas” de proponer otro camino que podríamos llamar, por el momento y de manera transitoria, “posneoliberal”. Pero, este impulso desde abajo no fue suficiente en ningún país -hasta ahora- para encontrar derroteros poscapitalistas y en ello seguramente pesa mucho todavía, la debilidad de la organización clasista de los trabajadores y su proyección política independiente.


- Seguel: ¿A qué casos te refieres?


- Gaudichaud:
 Estoy pensando en el caso paradigmático de Bolivia, donde hubo realmente inmensas movilizaciones, conflictos de clases, grandes manifestaciones populares, en particular por parte del movimiento campesino indígena y con el apoyo, aunque restringido, de la COB (Central Obrera Boliviana). Como lo escribió el periodista anglosajón Benjamin Dangl, en Bolivia, el movimiento social era tan explosivo que parecía “bailar con dinamita”. Sólo ese nivel de movilización permitió, a la larga, la elección de Evo Morales. La “guerra” del agua y del gas, los enfrentamientos con los militares, la destitución de varios gobiernos corruptos y neoliberales, todo ese cóctel permitió la emergencia de un nuevo instrumento político: el MAS (Movimiento Al Socialismo) también considerado como “instrumento de soberanía de los pueblos”. Desde otra realidad, en Ecuador es la irrupción indígena durante los noventa y de la Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE) -incluso con algunos caminos equívocos de su brazo político, el movimiento Pachakutik que participó un tiempo en el gobierno de Gutiérrez-, lo que modificó sustancialmente el escenario político. Esos cambios abrieron el espacio para la elección de un outsider, Rafael Correa, exministro sin partido, cristiano y economista heterodoxo. Y en fin, la experiencia venezolana -tal vez mejor conocida- que surge más bien “desde arriba” y desde la figura carismática que fue Hugo Chávez y, a partir de ahí y con sucesivas victorias electorales (¡más de 19!), empodera progresivamente a la sociedad civil y al “bajo pueblo”, en un país con poca tradición de movilización obrero y social de masas.

Es interesante constatar que estos tres procesos nacionales-populares no se basan en la izquierda tradicional, ni en la izquierda revolucionaria histórica, fuerzas ausentes o marginales. Parece derrumbarse el sistema político tradicional, hay irrupción o recomposición desde abajo que no se hace según el libro clásico de la izquierda marxista revolucionaria, ni siguiendo a sus partidos. En términos de “sujetos del cambio”, tampoco se hace desde la clase obrera industrial o minera, sino más bien desde la subalternidad múltiple y popular que son los movimientos indígenas, los movimientos populares urbanos, los trabajadores desocupados, etc. Los y las que el teólogo de liberación brasilero Frei Betto nombra como el “pobretariado” de América Latina. Aunque también están presentes el movimiento sindical y los trabajadores (como la COB boliviana) o gremios más tradicionales como el de los profesores. Después de que el neoliberalismo atacó, destruyó, desplazó al movimiento obrero tradicional, desindustrializó en parte los países, han sido otros los espacios los que lograron recomponer la conflictividad -que es lucha de clases también- y permitieron agrietar el consenso hegemónico de las clases dominantes.

En otros países, se gestó un escenario más clásico e institucionalizado, con sus avances democráticos y retrocesos también. Estoy pensando en Brasil, donde un partido inicialmente muy anclado en el movimiento obrero clasista, el Partido de los Trabajadores (PT), que dio una encarnizada lucha contra la dictadura, poco a poco al institucionalizarse y participar en poderes ejecutivos locales o de estados federados, se va hacia al centro, abandonando su reivindicación anticapitalista inicial, la de la campaña de 1989. Con la distancia, podemos decir que cuando Lula logra ganar la elección presidencial del 2002, ya el PT había perdido parte de su alma revolucionaria original. Instalado en el gobierno, termina ese proceso de integración: el partido reivindica a la centro izquierda, gestiona el sistema con reformas estabilizadoras, otorgándole nuevos beneficios y campo de juego al capital nacional y extranjero, al mismo tiempo que responde a la urgencia social -y ahí reside la fuerza del “lulismo”-, a través de un sistema de subvenciones, de bonos, de programas sociales (como “hambre cero”) que saca de la pobreza extrema a más de 30 millones de familias. Una dinámica que un economista francés calificó de “neoliberalismo perfecto”, porque combina políticas favorables al capital local como al global, pero creando una muy sólida base (o clientela) electoral en las filas mismas de las principales víctimas del capitalismo. Por mi parte, he hablado de la constitución de un “social-liberalismo sui generis”. Subrayemos que la hegemonía del PT ha sido, por fin, cuestionada con las recientes movilizaciones urbanas de junio 2013 por el aumento en las tarifas del transporte público y en contra del vergonzoso despilfarro que representó la copa del mundo, movilizaciones que fundamentalmente representan el primer quiebre masivo y organizado entre el “petismo” y l@s brasileros, abriendo así un nuevo panorama político que si bien no impidió la reciente reelección de Dilma Roussef, se tradujo de manera contradictoria en el plano electoral con una fuerte tasa de abstención, el crecimiento notable del PSOL (Partido Socialismo y Libertad) y el importante auge de la candidata ecologista-neoliberal Marina Silva (que casi vence a Dilma).


- Seguel: Entendiendo que ese es el escenario heterogéneo de las izquierdas, ya sea por el modo en cómo irrumpen o cómo son oxigenadas por las movilizaciones sociales que se van generando, el historiador y politólogo cubano Roberto Regalado señala que, en ese contexto, la clásica distinción -que tenemos los marxistas para referirnos al alcance de las transformaciones- en términos de “reforma o revolución”, se agotaría, ¿en tu opinión, crees que esa consideración es adecuada?

-Gaudichaud: Todo depende de qué “izquierdas” estemos hablando. Primero, anotar que Roberto Regalado estudia esencialmente el campo progresista gubernamental, lo que deja a muchas izquierdas, colectivos y partidos extraparlamentarios, incluyendo a los más “radicales”, fuera del análisis. Si hacemos un balance distanciado, ese famoso “giro a la izquierda” permitió, principalmente, comenzar a salir de la “larga noche neoliberal”, como una vez lo dijo el presidente Correa. Como lo señala el sociólogo ecuatoriano Franklin Ramírez, lo que nace hoy en América Latina, no es la revolución, no es el reformismo socialdemócrata tradicional o el populismo clásico, no son tampoco sólo “dos izquierdas” (una moderada y otra radical): esencialmente, el progresismo actual encarna un cierto retorno y regulación del Estado, de políticas sociales que redistribuyen parte de la renta hacia los más pobres y de afirmación de una era de “neodesarrollismo”, después de décadas de neoliberalismo. Una época de mayor control estatal de los recursos estratégicos y naturales, sin romper las reglas del juego de la economía de mercado, renegociando las relaciones con las multinacionales o la búsqueda de ciertos niveles de consenso con las burguesías locales (en Bolivia hoy, entre 60% y 80% de la renta del gas se queda para el Estado y el resto para las multinacionales, antes de Evo era al revés…). En el caso de los procesos nacional-populares más radicales, como en Venezuela y en Bolivia, esta dinámica viene acompañada, o más bien se basa, en una fuerte orientación y discursos antiimperialistas y decoloniales: después de su nueva elección, en octubre pasado, Evo Morales dedicó su victoria a “los que luchan contra el imperialismo y contra el neoliberalismo”.

Este escenario, cristalizado en torno a contundentes victorias electorales, está caracterizado por la afirmación creciente de figuras presidenciales omnipresentes carismáticas (se puede hablar de hiperpresidencialismo) e importantes procesos de asambleas constituyentes (Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela), con la aparición de nuevos derechos fundamentales: derechos de la naturaleza, estados plurinacionales, referéndums revocatorios, etc. Es evidente que asistimos a dinámicas democratizadoras novedosas y a la implementación de reformas sociales profundas que permitieron disminuir a la par pobreza y desigualdad social de manera notable (la pobreza bajó más de 20 puntos en Bolivia y Venezuela). Estos gobiernos tienen que lidiar con fuerzas sociopolíticas, mediáticas y económicas internas y externas muy potentes, hostiles y capaces de manipulación de la opinión pública como de subversión militarizada: recordemos el golpe de Estado en abril de 2002 en Caracas, el golpe “institucional” en Paraguay o Honduras, la casi secesión de la regiones más ricas de la “media luna” en Bolivia, la sublevación policíaca en Ecuador contra Correa, etc. Pero, claro, no se trata de procesos revolucionarios como los vividos en el siglo XX, como en el escenario cubano en 1959 o nicaragüense en 1979. Desde Marx -por lo menos- y sus estudios sobre la Comuna de París, algunos signos fundamentales de dinámicas revolucionarias son la ruptura del aparato estatal, la transformación de las relaciones sociales de producción y la irrupción de l@s de abajo en el escenario político, donde disputan la hegemonía y desplazan a la clase dominante. No estamos exactamente en tales condiciones en la América Latina de hoy, a pesar de la retórica revolucionaria (revolución “del siglo XXI”, “ciudadana” o “comunitaria-indígena”) y de las transformaciones existentes en el plano político.

Entonces, cuando Roberto Regalado plantea que la disyuntiva “reforma o revolución” ya no es válida, yo diría que sí es válida la disyuntiva “reformismo o revolución”, en un escenario diferente al del siglo XIX o XX. Tal vez necesitemos pensar hoy, a la luz de las experiencias recientes de América Latina, en “reformas Y revolución”, “reformas en permanente revolución” o sea políticas públicas radicales en procesos abiertos destinados a revolucionar la sociedad y sus estructuras, apoyadas en el desarrollo de formas crecientes de poder popular constituyente. Tenemos que asumir que, en algunos contextos específicos, puede haber procesos interrumpidos de reformas democráticas y posneoliberales que abran camino, desde gobiernos de izquierdas, gobiernos del pueblo trabajador, como desde las luchas de clases. De hecho, basta con volver a leer textos de los mismos bolcheviques (Lenin, Trotsky, etc.) o de Rosa Luxemburgo para constatar que l@s revolucionari@s de principios del siglo pasado no cometían ese error de confundir reformas con reformismo. Y, por eso, no podemos oponer de manera a-dialéctica y dogmática reforma versus revolución, conflicto social versus disputa electoral, gobiernos populares versus luchas de clases, unidad del pueblo trabajador versus unidad de las izquierdas, etc. Siguiendo a Claudio Katz, se trata de recuperar hoy los sentidos estratégicos del “porvenir del socialismo”, sin perder la brújula de necesarias discusiones y pasos tácticos audaces, creativos, autogestionarios, de transición para lograr unificar, aglutinar a los trabajadores, indígenas y sectores populares como también en ese camino -ojalá- a las fraccionadas izquierdas anticapitalistas. Sin esa unidad de l@s de abajo, y sin independencia de clase, sólo habrá populismo desde arriba o neoliberalismo de guerra… De la misma manera, según Katz, el objetivo es concebir procesos de transformación de mediana y larga duración, con saltos cualitativos y rupturas contundentes, más allá de la caricatura del “asalto” al palacio presidencial (que en realidad nada tiene que ver con el pensamiento dialéctico de Lenin) o del “limbo” institucional en el cual se encuentran hoy la mayoría de los “progresismos”.

Para que me entiendas bien, insisto en que esa perspectiva de reformas en revolución permanente significa no abandonar la estrategia e intencionalidad revolucionaria (y consiguiente transformación rupturista del Estado), pues si no, el efecto inmediato es bregar por reformas democráticas que terminan siendo meramente reformistas o electoralistas, pensando el Estado como “neutro” y posible de “mejorar” desde los márgenes del capitalismo periférico: es decir, al final de cuentas, ajustes “progresistas” dentro del modelo, como lo vivido por ejemplo en Brasil, Uruguay o con el “new sandinismo” orteguista en Nicaragua. De hecho, el mismo Roberto Regalado se pregunta si las actuales izquierdas gubernamentales representan un “reciclaje” de viejos esquemas o realmente nuevos vientos de cambios. Yo diría que la clave continúa siendo la relación de estos gobiernos con las luchas sociales, l@s asalariad@s y el pueblo, sus posiciones respecto al imperialismo, a las clases dominantes, pero también con desafíos esenciales del tiempo presente: la lógica decolonial e indígena, la lógica medioambiental y del buen vivir, la lógica feminista y antipatriarcal. Desde las izquierdas, varios intelectuales (como Isabel Rauber o Marta Harnecker por ejemplo) piensan que en Bolivia, Venezuela y, en menor medida, en Ecuador existen procesos democratizadores, antiimperialistas, posneoliberales aunque en disputa. De hecho, en estos países varios sectores revolucionarios apoyan críticamente -y con más o menos autonomía- los evidentes avances que han significado estos gobiernos progresistas o nacional-populares en el plano de la soberanía nacional, integración regional, de la salud, educación, alfabetización, infraestructura, en la disminución notable de la pobreza extrema, el empoderamiento político y territorial, etc. Las experiencias de las Asambleas Constituyentes en estos tres países son una lección para toda la región (y para Chile, en particular, donde sigue vigente la Constitución de la dictadura…). Así, en Bolivia, no cabe duda de que hubo revolución de las subjetividades, transformación democrática campesino-indígena, desplazamiento de la élite gobernante oligárquica racista, pero -en rigor- no una revolución en términos de transformación radical (es decir “en la raíz”) de la relación capital-trabajo y capital-naturaleza. Es un proceso abierto posneoliberal. En Venezuela, varios grupos del chavismo popular o anticapitalista como -entre otros- Marea Socialista apoyaron a Chávez y hoy al gobierno del presidente Maduro, subrayando sus vacilaciones y las capitulaciones de las burocracias estatales, llamando a una “revolución en la revolución” y a contraatacar frente a la ofensiva subversiva de la derecha neoliberal o del imperialismo.

Por eso, es importante ver que para otros intelectuales, como los ecuatorianos Decio Machado o Pablo Dávalos por ejemplo, esta fase progresista-neodesarrollista sólo escondería las nuevas figuras de una “democracia disciplinaria” que coopta y canaliza los movimientos y clases populares, mientras tanto oxigena un capitalismo local-mundial en crisis, con inversiones públicas. Alberto Acosta, ex presidente de la Asamblea Constituyente del Ecuador o el sociólogo marxista Mario Unda piensan así que el correísmo se transformó en un “nuevo modo de dominación burguesa” y de restauración conservadora, con un discurso de cambio muy marcado que acompaña una modernización económica capitalista nacional. Esta modernización ocurre también en otros países combinando el reciclaje de viejas formas del populismo con nuevas figuras del bonapartismo latinoamericano: ¿qué pensar, por ejemplo, del kirchnerismo en Argentina y de su asombrosa capacidad de control social? ¿qué opinar de las agresiones verbales en la televisión pública, del presidente Correa hacia movimientos indígenas o militantes ecologistas (calificados de “infantiles” o de “terroristas”)? De hecho, analizando el caso ecuatoriano y el creciente autoritarismo del gobierno hacia el movimiento indígena pero también hacia los defensores del proyecto Yasuní o su rechazo contundente a toda perspectiva feminista, se ve una clara determinación del “progresismo” a rechazar las disidencias o criticas sociales y políticas “abajo y a la izquierda”: el último episodio de esa tendencia regresiva ha sido el lamentable anuncio de Rafael Correa del desalojo de su sede histórica a la Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE), con justificaciones legales falaces. O sea, eso significa intentar borrar uno de los bastiones históricos de la resistencia contra los embates de los gobiernos neoliberales por ser hoy, duros críticos de la “revolución ciudadana”… Un hecho denunciado con razón como “injusto y políticamente insensato” por Boaventura de Sousa Santos, sociólogo portugués que acompañó al gobierno en sus inicios. En este caso, como en muchos otros, el deber de solidaridad es de denunciar estos hechos, sin tapujos, ni genuflexiones ante el poder, sea quien sea quien ocupe el sillón presidencial.

Incluso, ¿cómo analizar hoy el fenómeno carismático-popular chavista? Por cierto, alguien como Ernesto Laclau, por su propia filiación peronista, explica que la “razón populista” puede ser progresiva y democratizadora como regresiva y autoritaria en América Latina, según su contenido, dirigentes e inclinaciones. Pero este problema plantea la imperiosa necesidad de un análisis crítico, abierto y clasista de estas experiencias. Asimismo, Raúl Zibechi en su libro “Progre-sismo” afirma que l os gobiernos progresistas, finalmente tienen un efecto despolitizador en la sociedad porque logran “domesticar” gran parte de los movimientos.

Desde una óptica gramsciana original, el sociólogo mexicano Masimo Modenesi lee el progresismo como una variante de “revolución pasiva” por su carácter contradictorio y sus efectos desmovilizadores. Según Modenesi, aún con saldos y sobresaltos específicos, los gobiernos progresistas lograron asentarse hegemónicamente, reproducirse en el tiempo a partir de la construcción de fuertes consensos pluriclasistas y electorales (en particular frente a las oposiciones de derecha) y llevar a cabo, en la mediana duración de 10-15 años, una combinación de procesos de transformación política, reformas sociales progresivas y de conservadurismo del orden existente y sus equilibrios en términos de relaciones sociales de producción. En resumen, un escenario complejo, pero aun abierto, para las izquierdas anticapitalistas, que hay que descifrar sin dogmas o sectarismos.

Análisis de casos: Venezuela y Bolivia en la mira


- Seguel: Me gustaría seguir analizando el caso de Venezuela, sobre todo a un año del fallecimiento de Hugo Chávez y cuando han surgido ciertas críticas al interior de las mismas filas del chavismo. ¿Dónde se inscriben esas críticas, a qué responden?

-Gaudichaud: A un año de la muerte de Hugo Chávez, la coyuntura bolivariana es muy crítica, muy tensa, con la ofensiva de la derecha insurreccional neoliberal, pero también por el estado mismo, interno, del Proyecto Bolivariano. Por supuesto, existen presiones exteriores imperiales, intervención de Washington y una campaña mediática planetaria, digna de futuros estudios, para atacar al proceso bolivariano. Es un dato esencial de la coyuntura, pero no por eso podemos caer en la visión binaria, reduccionista que dice: “o estás con el gobierno de Maduro, en bloque, de manera acrítica o si no, es que estás con el imperialismo”… Es una visión equívoca y nefasta para la solidaridad internacional. La “ternura de los pueblos” (así llamaban los sandinistas al internacionalismo) no puede basarse en tal análisis simplista, maniqueo. La oposición a Maduro y la derecha venezolana se apoyan en contradicciones y en la propia debilidad el proceso bolivariano, en sectores medios altos de la población (no sólo en las clases altas), e incluso en el hartazgo de parte del “bravo pueblo” frente a la corrupción, ineficacia administrativa, crisis económica, inseguridad urbana, etc., como lo ha demostrado el declive electoral relativo del chavismo. Por eso, necesitamos descifrar esas debilidades internas y escuchar las voces críticas dentro del espacio bolivariano y también, fuera del gobierno. Los libertarios de Caracas no son proimperialistas; Orlando Chirino (dirigente trotskista y sindical de la Unión Nacional de Trabajadores) no es neoliberal; el ex viceministro Rolando Denis no es propatronal y los compañeros de Marea Socialista o del sitio web Aporrea no son “traidores”… Hoy día en Venezuela, existen luchas obreras y sindicales que han sido reprimidas, esencialmente por sicarios patronales, pero nunca denunciados por el Estado. El mismo Ministerio del Trabajo impide la aplicación del nuevo Código laboral que representó un gran progreso para los trabajadores del país. La inflación ya ha carcomido el aumento salarial de la época de Chávez y la dimensión de la crisis económica actual, no es sólo producto del mercado negro o de la ofensiva de la burguesía, también nace de una muy mala gestión, del tipo de cambio de divisas, de la ausencia de una planificación para la diversificación económica y la industrialización. Todo eso ha sido graficado, estudiado y explicado por economistas críticos como Manuel Sutherland o Víctor Álvarez (exministro) e investigadores del Centro Internacional Miranda (CIM). El desabastecimiento ataca primero al bolsillo de las clases populares y el tema de la inseguridad es real, perjudicando primero a los pobres de la ciudad, no a los que habitan Chacao, Altamira u otros barrios pudientes. La reproducción de una “boliburguesía” parasitaria, que lucra del proceso a la sombra del Estado, es cada vez más insoportable para miles de militantes barriales, de fábricas, de cooperativas, de consejos comunales. Entonces, esos son problemas graves, candentes y, repito, no tiene sentido callarlos en nombre de la defensa legítima de las importantes conquistas sociales y democráticas del decenio chavista y de la lucha unitaria necesaria, indispensable, frente al imperialismo. Menos aún, en nombre del “socialismo del siglo XXI” o frente a las 19 elecciones democráticas victoriosas… Cuando toda una burocracia gubernamental o paraestatal del PSUV [vii] rema a contracorriente, hay espacios como Marea Socialista u otros grupos que denuncian el actual “diálogo de paz” y el pacto de no-agresión con la burguesía venezolana (como los Cisneros, los Mendoza y otras familias), los mismos que incentivaron el golpe de Estado del 2002 y que nunca fueron castigados. ¿Por qué no se dialoga más con el movimiento obrero que intenta organizarse, con los colectivos bolivarianos, con los consejos comunales? Últimamente se ha intentado iniciar “gobiernos de calle”, volver a la base: veremos si esto permite reanudar los lazos entre el ejecutivo y el pueblo chavista. Hay tensiones y la situación actual es muy crítica, a pesar de los avances en términos sociales logrados en los últimos 15 años. De hecho, según la CEPAL, es el país que más ha reducido, a la par, pobreza y desigualdades en la región. No representa un dato menor en el continente más desigual del mundo… Existe además hoy un pueblo empoderado, politizado y movilizado -herencia de Chávez- que quiere defender sus conquistas. Por esta razón, hay que pensar el bolivarismo como un proceso nacional-popular “en tensión” y una dinámica plebeya muy contradictoria, en la cual la capacidad de las luchas populares autónomas -en particular del movimiento obrero clasista- será el elemento decisivo del futuro de esta experiencia excepcional de principios de siglo


- Seguel: ¿Qué rol juega la transferencia de renta del petróleo a la llamada “boliburguesía”, en el sentido de la acentuación de estas contradicciones internas que mencionas?

-Gaudichaud: Varios estudiosos venezolanos, como Edgardo Lander o la historiadora Margarita López Maya, ya han descrito la “maldición” que representa el petróleo y la monoexportación de recursos naturales para una sociedad. Paradójicamente, estar sentado en un pozo petrolero para un proyecto de emancipación es una verdadera calamidad, porque el rentismo es todo lo contrario a una perspectiva humana emancipadora, impregna todas las clases sociales, no hay nadie que esté a salvo de este modelo de sociedad, de hiperconsumo y de una economía extravertida, una formación social dependiente que debilita toda capacidad de producción nacional y posibilidad de soberanía alimentaria (más del 80% de los alimentos de los venezolanos es importado). En este complejo contexto, la revolución bolivariana logró, por primera vez en la historia republicana de este país, y con el nuevo control gubernamental sobre PDVSA (Petróleos de Venezuela), utilizar la renta petrolera para y hacia las clases populares a través de las misiones de salud, educación, vivienda, infraestructura, etc., con el apoyo de Cuba. La principal reserva de petróleo del mundo ya no es sólo un recurso al servicio de la oligarquía local y de sus socios de Miami, aunque hoy todavía, una gran parte de los beneficios van a parar a las multinacionales asociadas a PDVSA asentadas en la franja del Orinoco como EXXON, CHEVRON, TOTAL, etc. y a un sector parasitario del viejo Estado. Pero, ¿cómo hacer para transformar y democratizar realmente, económicamente, este modelo rentista depredador? Es la gran pregunta de estos 15 años de proceso bolivariano. Ahí, la gran desgracia es que todas las experiencias más avanzadas de control obrero o de cogestión como en la siderúrgica Sidor en el estado de Guyana o en una empresa como Inveval y algunas otras grandes fábricas, no fueron incentivadas o apoyadas, más allá de sus problemas internos, también reales. Al contrario, son a menudo combatidas por las burocracias sindicales, municipales y/o estatales. Lo mismo pasa con los Consejos Comunales o las Misiones. Además, estos organismos se crearon por fuera del Estado, como un bypass para intentar suplir la inmensa ineficacia estatal y responder a la urgencia social. En estas condiciones, estas políticas públicas no transforman al Estado rentista y están muy poco institucionalizadas, lo que amenaza su continuidad en el tiempo. O sea, ¡de nuevo el problema del Estado!

-Seguel: Pasando a otra experiencia, hablemos un poco del caso boliviano. Llegando al término del segundo mandato del presidente Evo Morales, se notaba cierto agotamiento o más bien ciertos cuestionamientos internos, los que -se podría decir- fueron revertidos por la impresionante victoria electoral presidencial de octubre pasado. ¿El proceso boliviano se está agotando en términos de su planteamiento inicial? ¿Cómo leer el llamado de García Linera a constituir el capitalismo andino-amazónico?


- Gaudichaud: 
Como punto de partida, una pequeña precisión: el tema del agotamiento parcial del “ciclo” progresista gubernamental, yo lo vería a nivel continental, con altibajos y diferencias nacionales obviamente. Estamos a más de quince años de la apertura del ciclo y de la elección de Hugo Chávez, y la fuerza propulsiva de lo que alguna vez se llamó “giro a la izquierda” muestra sus límites y tensiones. Desde formas de social-liberalismo sui generis a la brasilera, pasando por la experiencia ecuatoriana, hasta el proceso bolivariano y sus crisis, hay -es cierto- una pérdida de fuerza, un cierto agotamiento, aunque relativo si analizamos encuestas de opinión. Volviendo a Zibechi, el periodista y sociólogo uruguayo afirma que si efectivamente los progresismos mantienen una gran fuerza electoral y gubernamental, parecen haber perdido su capacidad inicial de transformación social emancipadora, con un sesgo que se volvió cada vez más estabilizador o conservador del orden político-económico existente. Habría que recordar algo esencial, las derechas de ninguna manera desaparecieron del ajedrez político, controlan países clave como Colombia, Panamá o México y crecen electoralmente en varios de los países con gobiernos progresistas: basta con ver las últimas elecciones regionales o locales en Venezuela y Argentina. Cuando la crisis capitalista mundial impacta a la región, los límites de los procesos en su diversidad afloran con mayor fuerza y aparecen las grandes contradicciones de modelos productivos primo-exportadores, altamente basados en el crecimiento de la exportación de materias primas. El tema del “megaextractivismo” y sus formas de acumulación por desposesión y depredación es un tema central del período y un talón de Aquiles de América Latina. Los útiles trabajos de Eduardo Gudynas o Maristella Svampa sobre la problemática y los caminos emancipatorios del “posdesarrollo”, subrayan que no se ha superado esa gran dependencia, incluso se han reprimarizado las economías de algunos países: en Brasil, país “imperialista periférico” e industrializado, el sector extractivista es proporcionalmente cada vez más importante. Un economista como Pierre Salama describe bien esta nueva degradación de los términos del intercambio. En este contexto, se acumulan los conflictos y luchas entre el movimiento popular, las comunidades indígenas y los gobiernos progresistas. El neodesarrollismo extractivista es una de las piedras de tope de los progresismos, revelando los límites de los procesos actuales. Así como lo recalca Frei Betto:

La fuerza de penetración y obtención de ganancias del gran capital no se redujo con los gobiernos progresistas, a pesar de las medidas regulatorias y cobro de impuestos adoptados en algunos de esos países. Si, de un lado, se avanza en la implementación de políticas públicas favorables a los más pobres, por otro, no se reduce el poder de expansión del gran capital (…) Los gobiernos y movimientos sociales se unen, especialmente durante los períodos electorales, para frenar las violentas reacciones de la clase dominante alejada del aparato estatal. Sin embargo, es esta clase dominante la que mantiene el poder económico. Y por más que los inquilinos del poder político implementen medidas favorables para los más pobres, hay un escollo insalvable en el camino: todo modelo económico requiere de un modelo político coincidente con sus intereses. La autonomía de la esfera política en relación con la económica es siempre limitada. Esta limitación impone a los gobiernos democrático-populares un arco de alianzas políticas, a menudo espurias, y con los sectores que, dentro del país, representan al gran capital nacional e internacional, lo que erosiona los principios y objetivos de las fuerzas de izquierda en el poder. Y lo que es más grave: esa izquierda no logra reducir la hegemonía ideológica de la derecha, que ejerce un amplio control sobre los medios de comunicación y el sistema simbólico de la cultura dominante.

Por cierto, como lo subrayó Fred Fuentes, el extractivismo no puede ser “al árbol que esconde el bosque”: o sea, el modelo primo-exportador es, ante todo, producto de una estructura de dependencia económica de tipo neocolonial. Para países del sur, cuando la pobreza y las necesidades son todavía inmensas, no se trata de abandonar “a secas” toda forma de extracción de riqueza (pero sí la más depredadora y extravertida). Tampoco se pueden confundir los diferentes usos que hacen los gobiernos suramericanos de la renta o sus políticas hacia las multinacionales. En paralelo, es significativo ver que los ejecutivos en vez de buscar radicalizar sus enfoques posneoliberales e intentar apoyarse más en el pueblo trabajador movilizado, convergen cada vez más hacia el centro, en una clara “lulización” de la política latinoamericana que implica compromiso entre las clases, negociación con el capital financiero y acuerdos con la oposición parlamentaria neoliberal. Es el escenario ya existente en Nicaragua, Uruguay, Salvador, Brasil, Argentina, etc.

El caso boliviano, creo yo, con el paso del tiempo, ha mostrado ser el progresismo más potente y capaz de construir un posneoliberalismo consolidado, popular y con fuertes rasgos decolonizadores, un hecho esencial en un país como Bolivia. Tenemos un presidente sindicalista-indígena surgido de esta “emergencia plebeya” de los años 2000, de las “guerras” del gas y del agua, y que declara ser el “gobierno de los movimientos sociales”. Un autor como Pablo Stefanoni (unos de los mejores analistas del complejo proceso boliviano), explica de manera detallada este fenómeno de una experiencia nacional popular que se asienta -en un plano simbólico-subjetivo- en la reivindicación del campesino indígena y de la decolonialidad del poder (concepto acuñado por el peruano Aníbal Quijano), a la vez que promueve un modelo económico modernizador-desarrollista. La elección de Evo favoreció la reintegración de las comunidades indígenas a la nación y a la comunidad política, facilitó el desplazamiento de la vieja élite oligárquica blanca, permitiendo el surgimiento de una nueva clase media indígena. Evo y el MAS (Movimiento Al Socialismo) encarnan no obstante un indigenismo muy flexible y pragmático, un “esencialismo estratégico” adaptativo, ya que Evo Morales reivindica el indigenismo al mismo tiempo que el vicepresidente García Linera anuncia un “Modelo Nacional Productivo” modernizador. No se trata en absoluto de una política indianista, como lo reivindican Felipe Quispe y los sectores más etnoracialistas del indianismo. El MAS logró alejar los riesgos de golpe, controlar y negociar con latifundistas y burguesías de las regiones orientales de la “media luna” y constituir una base electoral popular muy solidificada: lo que acaba de confirmarse con su nueva y contundente victoria electoral de octubre de 2014. Con el gobierno del MAS, Bolivia entró en 2005 en una fase de consolidación institucional, después de décadas de caos neoliberal, represiones del movimiento popular y golpes militares: Evo es el presidente más longevo de la historia de la república de Bolivia, desde su fundación… Se conseguiría así forjar un consenso nacional en torno a esta figura campesino-indígena. En ese sentido, sí es una revolución política, una ruptura en la historia boliviana. El MAS controla el Parlamento y una nueva democracia corporativa, que pasa por los espacios sindicales campesinos e indígenas, que juegan un papel de cooptación de dirigentes y de ascensor social.

En el campo económico, varias nacionalizaciones (con indemnización) y el control del gas nacional dio forma a un esbozo de lo que el vicepresidente llamó, en los años 2005-2006, “capitalismo ando-amazónico”: construcción de un Estado regulador, capaz de orientar la expansión de la economía industrial y extractiva, al mismo tiempo que organiza la transferencia de recursos hacia sectores populares y comunitarios, a través de bonos o del aumento del salario mínimo o de la cobertura social, educacional y de salud. Pero fundamentalmente, en términos macroeconómicos, en la gestión de divisas y en el presupuesto público, este gobierno sigue aterrorizado por el espectro de la hiperinflación de los años ‘80 que derrotó toda tentativa socialdemócrata. Es muy ortodoxo en el plano económico. El sociólogo James Petras declaró que el gobierno de Evo Morales sería, en su opinión, “el más conservador de los radicales o el más radical de los conservadores”… Es el país que, en proporción a su PIB, tiene la reserva de divisas más importante del mundo, ¡más que China! El mismo FMI calificó a Bolivia como la economía más estable de América Latina y el New York Times afirmó que Evo Morales sería el mejor representante del desarrollo de la región. En ese aspecto no hubo grandes cambios. Los principales avances fueron primero, en términos simbólicos y subjetivos (lo que no hay que menospreciar después de siglos de racismo estatal); segundo, en el plano del control de los hidrocarburos y de reafirmación de una soberanía nacional antiimperialista y; tercero, los avances en el sistema de jubilación, de servicios sociales, de regulación del mercado informal. Pero queda mucho por hacer en términos de lucha contra la pobreza, la desigualdad social y de género. No obstante, la inversión en los servicios públicos se multiplicó por siete desde 2005, a medida que bajaban, como nunca antes, los niveles de pobreza y analfabetismo.

Varios sectores desde el movimiento popular, del indianismo o de la debilitada izquierda radical, reivindican una ruptura mucho más profunda y rápida, una opción que entiendo y comparto. Desde la COB, hay una tensión acumulada con el gobierno sobre salarios, pensiones y reforma laboral. Por parte de algunas corrientes del movimiento indígena también, del katarismo aymara y de figuras como Felipe Quispe o Pablo Mamani. Entonces, ese es el escenario, un escenario bastante complejo. Morales supo ocupar un espacio desde una reactivación de la antigua figura nacional-popular, surgida con fuerza en la revolución minera campesina de 1952 (ver los trabajos de René Zavaleta Mercado). Pero, a diferencia de los años ‘50, no existe hoy en Bolivia una alternativa radical revolucionaria al nacionalismo popular, con influencia de masas, enraizada en masivos sindicatos mineros, como lo era el POR (Partido Obrero Revolucionario) boliviano.

Conclusión: una derrota de Evo Morales en las últimas elecciones presidenciales hubiera representado un grave retroceso y una victoria para los neoliberales y las oligarquías…

Notas

[i] Franck Gaudichaud: Doctor en Ciencia Política (Universidad París 8) y profesor en Estudios Latinoamericanos de la Universidad de Grenoble (Francia). Miembro del colectivo editorial del portal www.rebelion.org y de la revista ContreTemps (Paris). Contacto: [email protected].

[ii] Bryan Seguel: Estudiante de historia y sociología de la Universidad de Chile. Asistente de investigación del “Núcleo Bicentenario: memoria social y poder” de la Universidad de Chile. Equipo interdisciplinario de investigación en movimientos sociales y poder popular (www.poderymovimientos.cl). Contacto : [email protected] .

[iii] La bibliografia de este texto se encuentra al final de la segunda parte de la entrevista.

[iv] NED: National Endowment for Democracy; USAID: United States Agency for International Development (N.d.E).

[v] Documentos elaborados para orientar la política imperial de EEUU hacia América Latina, iniciados en los años 80 con Reagan (Santa Fe I). A fines del 2000, bajo el presidente Bush, vieron la luz «los documentos Santa Fe IV», con una fuerte orientación antichavista.

[vi] Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (N. d. E)

[vii] PSUV. Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela.

Police in Longview, Texas released footage Wednesday of officers killing a 17-year-old girl in the lobby of a police station on January 22.

Officers Glenn Derr and Grace Bagley shot and killed 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard last Thursday, after officer Gene Duffie fired a taser at her. The three officers have been on paid leave since the shooting.

Longview Police Chief Don Dingler and spokeswoman Kristie Brian told reporters Wednesday that Coignard used the station’s phone to speak with dispatch, requesting the help of an officer.

When officer Derr arrived, police say she threatened him, indicating that she was armed with a gun. A struggle then ensued between Derr and Coignard, with officer Duffie entering the lobby during the confrontation and quickly drawing his Taser.

 Image: Kristiana Coignard

Officers claim that Coignard then charged at Derr, allegedly brandishing a knife, prompting Duffie to fire his Taser at Coignard, which police claim had no effect. Derr fired his weapon three times, and Bagley fired her weapon twice. The girl was then taken to Good Shepherd Medical Center at roughly 6:45 p.m., where she was later pronounced dead.

The video of the incident, recorded by a police station camera, contradicts aspects of the police story, while showing the brutal methods used by Derr against the teenager. It also reveals that medical attention did not arrive for nearly six minutes, during which time none of the officers attempted to perform CPR or assist Coignard in any way.

The video shows that immediately upon entering the police station, Derr reaches to his left side, presumably to have his tazer ready to fire at the teenager. A struggle ensues, and he quickly draws his weapon from the right side of his waist. During the subsequent three minutes when they are alone in the lobby, Derr appears to have his firearm drawn nearly the entire time, pressing it against the back of Coignard’s head multiple times. At one point he has her stand up, and then violently slams her to the ground face-first, seemingly unprovoked by any action on her part.

Shortly after Duffie arrives, Coignard appears to charge at Derr, to which Derr responds by shooting her with his pistol at least once. Bagley entered the lobby as this took place, and visibly fires at least one bullet. The police claim that Duffie’s tazer failed to stop her, thus prompting Derr to shoot her with his pistol, does not hold water, as Derr shot her immediately after she moved towards him.

Above all, the video plainly demonstrates that Derr had ample opportunity to defuse the situation entirely by handcuffing Coignard.

Coignard’s family has since said that she suffered from depression and bipolar disorder, and had been hospitalized twice in recent years after attempting suicide. Coignard’s aunt, Heather Robertson, told Think Progress “I think it was a cry for help. I think they could have done something. They are grown men. I think there is something they are not telling us.”

In 2014, Longview police shot and killed 15-year-old Justin Michael Aguilar and 23-year-old Regan Marshall Wagner in separate incidents. In both cases, the officers were cleared by a Gregg County grand jury.

Official story in Denver police killing of 16-year-old Jessica Hernandez contradicted by witness

A passenger in the car in which 16-year-old Jessica Hernandez was gunned down by Denver Police on Monday has disputed the police story, saying that officers began shooting before one of them was struck by the car she was driving.

Image: Jessica Hernandez

Initially, police chief Robert White told a local news station, “as [the officers] approached, the driver of the vehicle struck the original officer at which time the officers fired several shots.”

On Thursday, the witness told the Associated Press “When the cops walked up, they were on [Jessica’s] side of the car, and they shot the window and they shot her. That’s when she wrecked, and that’s when the cop got hit.”

On Thursday, in response to this and other statements made by friends of Hernandez, White retracted his earlier outline of what led to the killing, and told reporters that there were “unanswered questions” regarding the case, which he said will be answered when the ongoing district attorney’s investigation into the killing is complete. White also declared that the other teenagers present in the stolen car would not be charged with a crime.

On Wednesday night, a crowd of roughly 200 people protested outside the District 2 police station in Denver, where the two officers involved in Hernandez’ shooting are based. Smaller protests took place Thursday and Friday as well.

San Francisco public defender arrested for shielding client

Jami Tillotson, a deputy public defender in San Francisco, was arrested Tuesday for attempting to prevent a plainclothes officer, identified as police inspector Brian Stansbury, from questioning and photographing her client outside a courtroom.

Image: Public defender Jami Tillotson being arrested

A video taken by one of her colleagues in the San Francisco public defender’s office shows her calmly blocking Stansbury from taking pictures, to which he responds with threats of arrest, absurdly claiming she is resisting arrest. He tells her, “look, you can either step aside, he can be released in two minutes, or we can make this…”

Tollitson responds, “I’m pretty sure that we’re OK here. We don’t need any pictures taken, thank you,” to which Stansbury replies “No, you’re not pretty sure. If you continue with this … I’ll arrest you for resisting arrest.” Tillotson responds, “Please do,” and is promptly handcuffed and walked away.

Immediately after Tollitson is arrested, Stansbury resumes taking pictures of her clients. The Public Defender’s Office has noted that officer Stansbury was the subject of a 2013 federal civil rights lawsuit filed by a black SFPD officer alleging racial profiling.

“I was arrested for what we do as public defenders every day,” Tillotson said at a news conference Wednesday. “I asked questions. I talked to my client and explained to him his rights. At that point, I was told I was interfering and taken into custody.”

“It was very clear to me that I hadn’t been doing anything illegal,” she added. “I was challenging him, telling him that you know that I know that I did not violate the law. He moved it forward.”

“This is not Guantanamo Bay,” said Public Defender Jeff Adachi at a Wednesday news conference. “You have an absolute right to have a lawyer with you when you’re questioned. Ms. Tillotson was simply doing her job.”

By Theodoros Christoudias 1,*, Yiannis Proestos 1 and Jos Lelieveld 1,2

2
Max Planck Institute of Chemistry, Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1, Mainz 55128, Germany
External Editor: Erich Schneider

Received: 24 October 2014; in revised form: 4 December 2014 / Accepted: 5 December 2014 /
Published: 12 December 2014

Abstract

We estimate the contamination risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radionuclides released by severe nuclear power plant accidents using the ECHAM/Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy) atmospheric chemistry (EMAC) atmospheric chemistry-general circulation model at high resolution (50 km). We present an overview of global risks and also a case study of nuclear power plants that are currently under construction, planned and proposed in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, a region prone to earthquakes. We implemented continuous emissions from each location, making the simplifying assumption that all potential accidents release the same amount of radioactivity. We simulated atmospheric transport and decay, focusing on 137Cs and 131I as proxies for particulate and gaseous radionuclides, respectively. We present risk maps for potential surface layer concentrations, deposition and doses to humans from the inhalation exposure of 131I. The estimated risks exhibit seasonal variability, with the highest surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter.

Keywords:

nuclear power plant accidents; radioactivity transport modeling; deposition and inhalation risks

1. Introduction

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) defines a nuclear accident as an event that releases radioactivity with significant consequences on a nuclear facility and the environment, including harmful doses to humans and soil contamination. Nuclear power plant accidents can have significant impacts on society and the environment, fueling the debate on the security of facilities and materials, planning and sustainability. Risk assessment for radioactivity contamination is necessary for mitigation strategy formulation and potential impact precautions by stakeholders, the development of policies by decision makers and public information at global, regional and national levels.

The radiological significance of nuclear events is categorized by the IAEA on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) with a numerical rating from one to seven. The INES categorization takes into account the impact on people and the environment and the degree of contamination by the emitted radioactivity. There have been two major accidents categorized at the most severe level of INES 7 that occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine and the meltdown of three reactors at Fukushima, Japan, and a total of more than 20 accidents at the level of INES 4 or higher, categorized as accidents with at least local consequences.

Following previous studies [13], we have included all nuclear power plants worldwide that are currently operational (OP), under construction (UC) and planned or proposed (PL), based on the nuclear power plant (NPP) database compiled and published by the World Nuclear Association (WNA) [4]. In our simulations, we implemented constant continuous emissions from each NPP location and computed atmospheric transport and removal over a period of 20 years to warrant climatological representativeness. We used boundary conditions prescribed by a future intermediate climate change scenario in order to produce global overall and seasonal risk maps for near-surface concentrations and ground deposition of radioactivity from hypothetical nuclear power plant accidents. Furthermore, we estimated worldwide potential human doses from the inhalation of gaseous radioactivity and the exposure to deposited radionuclides transported in aerosol particles. The risk posed from nuclear power plant accidents is not limited to the national or even regional level, but can assume global dimensions. Many nations may be subjected to great exposure after severe accidents, even ones that are not pursuing nuclear energy as a means of power production [4].

The present paper both extends and complements the work of these previous studies by using higher resolution modeling and focusing on a test case in a particular region of interest, the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME), where earthquakes are recurrent, being a risk factor for nuclear facilities. No assumption is made on the type, capacity or reactor core count to assess the probability of an accident happening at each particular location or the total emission magnitude. By employing unit emission sources, we assess the comparative potential risk and provide a scale for the absolute magnitude of any accident. It should be noted that we aim to capture the risk patterns related to the ensemble of meteorological conditions over the 20-year simulation rather than individual events, i.e., taking a probabilistic approach. If an event were to happen, the absolute risks can be calculated by scaling our unit emissions by the real release of radioactivity, and by also accounting for the actual meteorological conditions during the accident, the concentrations and exposure can be calculated following a deterministic approach.

2. Methodology

The ECHAM/Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy) atmospheric chemistry (EMAC) model is a numerical chemistry and climate simulation system that includes sub-models describing tropospheric and middle-atmosphere processes and their interaction with oceans, land and human influences [5]. It uses the second version of the Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy2) to link multi-institutional computer codes. The core atmospheric general circulation model is the fifth generation European Centre Hamburg general circulation model, ECHAM5 [6].

For the present study, we applied EMAC (ECHAM5 version 5.3.02, MESSy version 2.42p2) at the T106L31 resolution, that is, with a spherical truncation of T106 (corresponding to a quadratic Gaussian grid of approximately 1.1 by 1.1 degrees in latitude and longitude, ~110 km at the equator) and at the T255L31 resolution, i.e., with a spherical spectral truncation of T255 (corresponding to a quadratic Gaussian grid of approximately 0.5 by 0.5 degrees in latitude and longitude, ~50 km at the equator), with 31 vertical hybrid pressure levels up to 10 hPa [7].

The surface (skin) temperatures and sea ice distribution for the AMIP II simulations [8] between the years 2003 and 2009 were used as boundary conditions for the higher resolution run (7-year simulation) and from the IPCC [9] SRESA2 emissions scenario for the period 2010–2030 for the lower resolution run (20-year simulation). The applied model setup comprises the submodels, RAD4ALLfor radiation and atmospheric heating processes, CLOUD for cloud formation and microphysical processes including precipitation and CONVECT for the vertical transport of trace species associated with shallow, mid-level and deep convection. The DRYDEP (dry deposition) [10] and SCAV (scavenging) [11,12] submodels were used to simulate aerosol dry and wet deposition processes, respectively. The SEDI (sedimentation) submodel was used to simulate particle sedimentation, of which the results will be presented below as part of the simulated dry deposition. The TREXP (tracer release experiments from point sources) submodel [5] was used to define tracers and emission sources.

The EMAC model uses a hybrid system for specifying atmospheric vertical levels. The system combines the constant pressure level system with the sigma level system based on surface pressure, such that closer to the surface of the Earth, the levels more closely resemble a pure sigma level, while higher up, the levels are close to constant pressure surfaces [13].

The model setup was evaluated using a real test case using emission estimates from the accident that occurred at the Fukushima Dai-ichi NPP. Radionuclide surface layer concentrations were compared with station measurements taken by a global monitoring network of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) [14]. The modeling skill was evaluated using the radionuclide 133Xe, a noble gas that behaves as a passive tracer, showing very good agreement with station observations. The modeling skill for aerosols, using 137Cs as a proxy, was reduced, but no systematic bias was observed within the uncertainties related to the higher complexity of modeling the removal processes. For both xenon and cesium isotopes, emission source estimates derived by inverse modeling were used [15]. For 131I, there was systematic model underestimation of station observations, but within the high uncertainty introduced by the emission source estimate used [16]. Since 131I is removed from the atmosphere by radioactive decay rather than deposition processes and the test with 133Xe indicated good agreement for the transport processes, the systematic underestimate of modeled 131I was likely related to underestimated 131I sources in the model, which were based on literature data. The study confirmed the applicability of our global chemistry circulation model for simulating radionuclide transport from NPP accidents, as performed in the present study.

2.1. Emissions

All currently operational (189), under construction (16) and planned or proposed (36) nuclear reactors worldwide are included, based on the World Nuclear Association (WNA) reactor database (241 sites in total). Figure 1 shows the geographical distribution of potential emission locations. The distribution by country is listed in [4].

Figure 1. Geographical distribution of emission sites corresponding to nuclear power plants that are operational (red circles), under construction (green crossed circles) and planned or proposed (blue squares), adapted from [4]. Source: World Nuclear Association (WNA) Reactor Database. Click here to enlarge figure

Due to the limited availability of computational resources, the latter being tremendous for a high-resolution global model, it was not feasible to simulate varying emission height profiles. The graphite core material that burned in an open fire in Chernobyl, Ukraine, is meanwhile deprecated technology. Accidents that are lower on the INES scale and much more frequent in occurrence are more likely associated with radioactive leaks at the surface level. To account for different likelihoods, we use a point source at 1,000 hPa, equivalent to a mean height of approximately 100 m above the surface.

2.1.1. Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East

The Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME) are made up of two dozen countries with approximately 400 million inhabitants. A number of countries in the region have planned or proposed the construction and operation of nuclear power plants.

A list of sites that are planned or proposed as locations for nuclear power plants in the EMME region is given in Table 1 and can be seen in Figure 2. We have selected the countries in the EMME region for a high resolution risk evaluation test case due to the high regional seismic risk, a potential cause of accidents. The Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Program (GSHAP) [17] and, in particular, the compilation of the GSHAP regional seismic hazard for Europe, Africa and the Middle East [18] report enhanced seismic hazard along the African Rift zone and across the Alpine-Himalayan belt, where there is a general eastward increase in hazard, with peak levels in Greece, Turkey, Caucasus and Iran (Figure 2). Figure 2 also illustrates that 5 out of 6 NNPs in the EMME are planned in moderate seismic hazard locations, while 3 NPPs will be situated within a few dozen kilometers from high hazard regions.

Figure 2. Geographical distribution of emission sites corresponding to nuclear power plants that are under construction or planned in the EMME region (black circles, source: WNA Reactor Database), superposed on a map of the regional seismic hazard to peak ground acceleration (50-year 10% exceedance probability), adapted from the Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Program (GSHAP) [17,18]. Blue regions indicate no data available. Click here to enlarge figure

Table Table 1. Countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME) region, where nuclear power plants are under construction or being planned, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA) database.Click here to display table 

2.2. Atmospheric Dispersion

The iodine and cesium radionuclides are emitted as gases and partition into ambient aerosol particles at the relatively low temperatures in the ambient atmosphere, depending on the volatility of the gases.

The low solubility of iodine is based on publicly-available reported measurements [19]. Thus, 131I (half life: 8.025 ± 0.002 days) is treated as being purely in the gas phase in our model and is largely removed from the atmosphere via radioactive decay. This allows for the reduction of computational complexity and for the direct comparison of gaseous and aerosol components of radioisotopes and is a valid approximation, as the atmospheric gaseous to particulate fraction is estimated to be close to a factor of four by a number of relevant measurements: the RadNet station network, operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), finds 81% of the ambient 131I in the gas phase and 19% in the particulate phase [1]. The informal network of European national authorities, known as the Ring of Five (Ro5), comprising more than 150 high volume sampling systems, measures an average ratio of gaseous/total 131I of 77.2% ± 13.6% [20]. Both of these values are in agreement with the average values reported for the Chernobyl accident [21] and for the Fukushima site during the period spanning from March 22 to April 4, 2011 (ratio of 71% ± 11%) [22]. Therefore, a factor of 4 gaseous to particle phase partitioning would be appropriate. Dry deposition and particle sedimentation remove only up to 5%–10% of the emissions. We are not taking into account particle resuspension, expected to affect a negligible fraction of the deposited and sedimented quantities considered here.

The low-volatile 137Cs (half-life: 30.17 ± 0.03 years) is modeled as a water-soluble aerosol with a standard lognormal distribution of mean radius 0.25 μm, Henry’s coefficient of 1.0 mol L−1 atm−1 and a density of 1,000.0 kg m−3. The mean radius used is representative of the distribution of atmospheric aerosol in the accumulation mode size and most influenced by washout and rainout effects. It is consistent with the measurements of radioactivity after Chernobyl [23]. 137Cs is removed from the atmosphere predominantly through small-scale convective and large-scale stratiform precipitation (90%–95% combined) and through dry deposition and sedimentation (5%–10% combined). The removal of accumulation mode particles by wet and, to a much lesser extent, by dry deposition is not sensitive to the assumed mean radius, as the scavenging efficiency of the accumulation mode particles in our model is not size dependent. The radioactive decay of 137Cs is not taken into account in the simulation due to the long half-life of 137Cs compared to the atmospheric residence time [24].

3. Results and Discussion

Our study uses a constant emission rate for the simulations, so that we obtain representative concentrations for all meteorological conditions, over which we subsequently average to derive the integral risks. Our results do not realistically represent the impact of any individual NPP accident under specific meteorological conditions, which would require a deterministic approach to represent an actual accident, but rather, aim to estimate the risk associated with all possible atmospheric states.

It is noted that, for the purposes of our study, the overall concentration and deposition magnitudes are renormalized, so that in each case, the highest risk corresponds to unity (arbitrary scale), i.e., the relative geographical risk and equivalent dose are displayed. This allows for the scaling of the results to any accident severity level (defined by emission quantity) and also provides results for the subsequent application of morbidity and mortality estimation models by other research groups that could provide such expertise.

3.1. Global Risk

The global mean (for the period 2010–2030) gaseous 131I concentration relative risk from operating, under construction and planned nuclear power plants is shown in Figure 3. Presented are the mean global concentrations for the model surface layer (centered at around 30 m above the Earth’s surface). The Southern Hemisphere concentration risk is found to be much lower, attributed to the low number of NPPs and the relatively short tracer half-life in combination with the relatively slow interhemispheric exchange in the atmosphere (characteristic time scale: about one year).

Figure 3. Combined total (operating, under construction, planned or proposed) relative risk by 131I and equivalent daily effective dose to the public from inhalation over the 2010–2030 period; after [4]. Click here to enlarge figure

Figure 4 shows the global total cumulative surface deposition of 137Cs over the period 2010–2030. The peak levels of deposition and, hence, the highest risk of ground contamination and population doses are expected in the eastern and central United States, across the European continent and along the Pacific coast of China, where most of the NPPs are located. The high rates of precipitation in the moist tropics result in enhanced risk due to wet deposition processes. This explains the relatively high risks in central Africa and southeastern Asia, where no or few NPPs are located, being downwind of NPPs in the EMME and western Asia, respectively.

Figure 4. Combined total (operating, under construction, planned or proposed) relative risk by cumulative dry and wet deposition and sedimentation of 137Cs at the surface from nuclear accidents and equivalent effective dose risk to the population from exposure-related ground contamination over the 2010–2030 period; after [4]. Click here to enlarge figure

It should be emphasized that aerosol removal processes occurring at the sub-grid scale are not explicitly simulated, but are parameterized [11,12] and, therefore, less well-resolved than processes affected by atmospheric dynamics and transport at the scale of the model resolution.

Changes in the global nuclear energy sector are decided at the national level. Results for the relative concentration, deposition and equivalent human population dose at the individual country level are provided in [4] and the accompanying supplement. The geographical distribution of the human population is also taken into account by defining a risk index as the relative risk in our model (from concentration and deposition separately) times the density of the population that can potentially be exposed for each country.

3.2. EMME Region

The regional mean gaseous 131I concentration from proposed and planned nuclear power plants in the relatively high seismic hazard EMME region is shown in Figure 5. To estimate the concentration risk, we present the surface layer concentration based on the continuous uniform release of radionuclides from each NPP. For all plants, the concentrations in more remote locations are much lower, because of the relatively short half-life of 131I (~8 days), which does not allow it to be transported over long distances and mix globally. Next, we briefly address the planning of NPPs in individual countries within the EMME region.

Figure 5. Individual and combined bottom relative surface level gaseous 131I concentration and human population dose risk from potential nuclear power plant (NPP) accidents in the EMME region stations. Click here to enlarge figure

Jordan imports most of its energy and seeks greater energy security, as well as lower electricity prices. It is aiming to have a 1,000 MWe (Megawatt electric) nuclear power unit in operation by 2021 and a second one by 2025.

Turkey has been developing plans for establishing nuclear power generation for many decades. Meanwhile, nuclear power is a key aspect of the country’s economic growth objectives. Recent developments have been supported by Russia, taking a leading role in financing and building 4,800 MWe of capacity. Applications are in progress for construction and operating licenses for the first plant at Akkuyu. A Franco-Japanese consortium is expected to build a second nuclear plant in Sinop.

Iran is currently operating a large nuclear power reactor, after many years of construction, and a second one is planned, though not formally according to the WNA database. Iran has not suspended its enrichment-related activities, nor its work on heavy water-related projects, as required by the UN Security Council.

Egypt has advanced plans, but commitments are pending. In April, 2013, Egypt approached Russia to renew the nuclear cooperation agreement, aiming for the construction of a nuclear power plant at El Dabaa. In November, 2013, the Russian Foreign Minister announced that Russia is prepared to finance and help construct an Egyptian nuclear plant.

Figures 3 and 4 show that the relative risk in the Mediterranean region, due to the prevailing northerly and westerly winds, is relatively large due to atmospheric transport of contaminants from Europe. This meteorological regime will also affect radioactivity emissions from Akkuyu in southern Turkey, which will predominantly affect the island of Cyprus (Figure 5). The monthly mean relative 131I surface concentration and associated dose risk from the Akkuyu NPP for the cities of Mersin, Turkey, and Nicosia, Cyprus, can be seen in Figure 6. Despite the relatively large uncertainties associated with the variable meteorological conditions at particular locations, Figure 6 illustrates that the risks are comparable in the two major cities closest to the NPP in neighboring countries. Unilateral decisions by countries to build NPPs do not do justice to the international consequences of potential reactor accidents. Figure 5 shows that the risks associated with the El Dabaa NPP (northern Egypt) are largest in Egypt and of Sinop (northern Turkey) in Turkey, while the other operational and planned NPPs in the EMME region are associated with significant trans-boundary risks.

Figure 6. Monthly mean relative 131I surface concentration and associated dose risk from a potential accident at the Akkuyu NPP for the cities of Mersin, Turkey (a), and Nicosia, Cyprus (b). Click here to enlarge figure

The model-calculated risk from the climatological mean surface level concentration of radionuclides (Figure 7) exhibits strong seasonal variability.

Figure 7. Relative seasonal risk by 131I (mean surface layer concentration) from potential NPP accidents and equivalent effective dose to the public from inhalation in the EMME region for the winter (a) and summer months (b). Click here to enlarge figure

Our model shows increased surface-level concentrations throughout the Northern Hemisphere during the boreal winter months (DJF) compared to the summer months (JJA). Not only the expected risk magnitude is higher, but the geographical extent of the high concentrations of transported radionuclides is more pronounced towards the north over parts of Europe and Russia and towards the east over Asia. Horizontal advection is more efficient in winter due to relatively stronger winds, and the concentrations are highest near the surface, because of the lower vertical development of the atmospheric planetary boundary layer. As a result, the surface level concentrations in the summer tend to be more localized in the emission region, whereas dilution by turbulent mixing and vertical transport by deep convective clouds is more efficient. This is in line with our previous work examining the global combined total seasonal variation for all stations [4], where the aerosol radionuclide deposition was also assessed. The total mass of aerosol 137Cs in the atmosphere was similarly found to be lower in winter and higher during summer, due to more efficient removal by wet deposition processes.

3.3. Uncertainty

To quantitatively assess the uncertainty of the risk estimates from the simulated temporal variability, we use the coefficient of variation (the local standard deviation σ over the mean μ) for individual NPPs in the EMME region and their combined total, shown in Figure 8. The equivalent uncertainty analysis for all NPPs globally can be found in [4].

Figure 8. Individual and combined bottom relative risk coefficient of variation (σ/μ) for NPPs in the EMME region. Click here to enlarge figure

The regional variability does not exceed 15% (typical values around 7%), with the highest values found in close proximity of the region of interest and further northeast in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as over the continent of Africa in the Southern Hemisphere, notably in the vicinity of Madagascar. This is understood as the effects of the trade winds, causing equatorward transport of radionuclides and convective overturning in the intertropical convergence zone to the south of the EMME region, followed by subsidence in the subtropical Southern Hemisphere. This effect is most pronounced for the Darkhovin NPP in Iran. Elsewhere, the coefficient of variation is well within 5%, signifying adequate coverage for our analysis sample size and appropriate representation of the temporal circulation variability effects, especially considering the associated uncertainties of the global representation of modeled processes.

4. Conclusions

The EMAC atmospheric chemistry-general circulation model was used to assess the global risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from potential accidents at nuclear power plants (years 2010–2030, 11-km equivalent horizontal grid resolution). We also performed a particularly high model resolution case study encompassing NPPs that are under construction, planned or proposed to be operated in the EMME region (meteorology of the years 2003–2009, ~50-km equivalent resolution), a region with a relatively high seismic hazard. The model simulations were driven by boundary conditions from the AMIP II simulations for the recent past and the IPCC SRES A2 scenario for the future projections. This paper both complements and extends our previous study of the global risk from all nuclear power stations that are in operation, under construction and planned or proposed.

We have calculated the relative surface concentrations for the gaseous radionuclide 131I and surface deposition for particulate 137Cs, which correspond to equivalent risks for the human population to be exposed to radioactivity from hypothetical accidents at NPPs. Reporting the relative exposure allows scaling of the results to any individual NPP accident based on the real or estimated magnitude of radionuclide emissions, which can be used to project morbidity and mortality risks by using our findings as input to impact assessments for particular levels of radioactivity.

As can be expected, the areas in the vicinity of the individual NPPs in the EMME region are at the highest risk, while the medium- and long-range transport through the atmosphere does not exhibit uniform dispersion. Land masses to the south and east of the region show a significantly higher risk expectation, in particular from the combination of all NPPs in the region. Our results illustrate that accidents at many of the operational or planned NPPs in the region could have significant trans-boundary consequences.

The risk estimate for all planned stations in the EMME region and their combined total risk exhibit strong seasonal variability, with increased surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter and a larger geographical extent towards the north and the east for the higher-risk affected areas. This is related to the relatively shallow boundary layer in winter that confines the emitted radioactivity to the lowest part of the atmosphere close to the surface.

The coefficient of variation, defined as the simulated local temporal standard deviation relative to the mean (σ/μ), was used as a measure of the uncertainty in the risk estimates for individual NPPs and the combined total for our study. For all cases, outside the vicinity of the NPPs, the regional variability does not exceed 15% (with typical values around 7%), signifying adequate temporal coverage by the simulation period and being climatically representative.

It is the view of the authors that it is imperative to assess the risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from potential NPP accidents, particularly for regions with high seismic, as well as other natural and human activity-related hazards in order to facilitate preparedness and emergency response planning on national and international levels.

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013)/ERCGrant Agreement No. 226144. This work was supported by the Cy-Tera Project, which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus through the Research Promotion Foundation. The Climate Data Operators (CDO) [25], netCDF operators (NCO) [26] and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Command Language (NCL) [27] were used for data processing and visualization.

Author Contributions

Theodoros Christoudias and Yiannis Proestos: Model Development, Data Analysis, Manuscript Writing; Jos Lelieveld: Manuscript Writing, Study Overview.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Abbreviations/Nomenclature
EMME Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East
NPP nuclear power plant
IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency
INES IAEA International Nuclear Event Scale
CTBTO Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
WNA World Nuclear Association
GSHAP Global Seismic Hazard Assessment Program
SRES Special Report on Emission Scenarios
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Income Inequality Soars in Every US State

January 30th, 2015 by Andre Damon

Income inequality has grown in every state in the US in recent decades, according to a new study published this week by the Economic Policy Institute. The report, entitled The Increasingly Unequal States of America, found that, even though states home to major metropolitan financial centers such as New York, Chicago, and the Bay Area had the highest levels of income inequality, the gap between the rich and the poor has increased in every region of the country.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at Hawaii or West Virginia or New York or California, there has been a dramatic shift in income towards the top,” said Mark Price, an economist at the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and one of the study’s co-authors, in a telephone interview.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

The report noted that between 2009 and 2012, the top one percent of income earners captured 105 percent of all income gains in the United States. This was possible because during this period the average income of the bottom 99 percent shrank, while the average income of the top one percent increased by 36.8 percent.

To varying degrees, this phenomenon was expressed throughout the country. In only two states did the income of the top one percent grow by less than fifteen percent.

The enormous concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent was even further concentrated in the top .01 percent. In New York, for instance, someone had to make $506,051 per year to be counted in the top one percent, but $16 million to be in the top .10 percent. The average income within the top .01 percent in New York was a staggering $69 million.

“Most of what’s driving income growth are executives in the financial sector, as well as top managers throughout major corporations,” said Dr. Price. “Those two together are the commanding heights of income in this economy.”

Source: Economic Policy Institute

Dr. Price and his co-author, Estelle Sommeiller, based their study on the methods of Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, whose widely-cited research analyzed the growth of income inequality for the United States as a whole. Using state-by-state data from the Internal Revenue Service, much of which had to be compiled from paper archives dating back almost a century, Price and Sommeiller were able to make a state-by-state analysis of income inequality since 1917.

Nationwide, the average income of the top one percent of income earners is 29 times higher than the average income of the bottom 99 percent. But in New York and Connecticut, the average income in the top 1 percent is 51.0 and 48.4 percent higher than the average for the rest of earners, respectively.

New York City is the home of Wall Street and boasts more billionaires than any other city in the world. Connecticut is home to many of the largest hedge funds in the world. Ray Dalio, the founder of Westport, Connecticut-based hedge fund Bridgewater Associates earned $3 billion in 2011 alone.

While the average income of the bottom 99 percent of income earners in New York state was $44,049, the income of the top one percent was $2,130,743. For the United States as a whole, the top one percent earned on average $1,303,198, compared to the average income of $43,713 for the bottom 99 percent.

In California, the most populous US state, the top one percent received an average income of $1,598,161, which was 34.9 times higher than the average pay of the bottom 99 percent. In 2013, four of the highest-paid CEOs in the United States were employed by technology companies, which are disproportionately located in California. At the top of the list was Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, with a current net worth of $53.4 billion, who made $78 million in pay that year.

The study shows that the average income for the bottom 99 percent of income earners is relatively consistent across states, with no state showing an average income of more than 33 percent above or below the average for the whole country.

The average incomes of the top one percent varied widely, however: from $537,989 for West Virginia to $2.1 million in New York. According to Forbes, the wealthiest resident of West Virginia is coal magnate Jim Justice II, who, with a net worth of $1.6 billion, is the state’s only billionaire. New York City, by contrast, has four residents worth more than $20 billion, including chemical tycoon David Koch, with a net worth of $36 billion; former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with a net worth of $31 billion; and financiers Carl Icahn and George Soros, worth $20 billion apiece.

Yet despite the broad disparity in the relative concentration of the ultra-rich, every single state showed a pronounced and growing chasm between the wealthy few and the great majority of society. In Alaska, which has relatively high wages and few billionaires, the incomes of the top one percent were on average more than fifteen times higher than the bottom 99 percent.

The report noted that exploding CEO pay has set “new norms for top incomes often emulated today by college presidents (as well as college football and basketball coaches), surgeons, lawyers, entertainers, and professional athletes.”

Price added,

“As the incomes of CEOs and financiers are rising, you’re starting to see that pull, almost like a gravity starting to pull up other top incomes in the rest of the economy.

“A University president might claim, ‘I run a big institution, you expect me to raise money from some of the wealthiest people in the country, you’ve got to pay me a salary that helps me socialize with them.’”

Price said that, while inequality figures are not available nationwide on the local level, his work on income inequality in the state of Pennsylvania shows that income inequality is growing in counties throughout the state, in both rural and urban centers.

Nationwide, the income share of the top one percent fell by 13.4 percent between 1928-1979, a product of the New Deal and Great Society reforms, as well as higher taxes on top earners. These measures were the outcome of bitter and explosive class struggles. But in subsequent years, that trend has been reversed.

As a result, income inequality in New York State was even higher in 2007 than it was in 1928, during the “roaring 20s” that gave rise to the Great Depression. In the period between 1979 and 2007, every state had the income share of the top 1 percent grow by at least 25 percent.

Citing a previous study by the Economic Policy Institute, the report noted that “between 1979 and 2007, had the income of the middle fifth of households grown at the same rate as overall average household income, it would have been $18,897 higher in 2007—27.0 percent higher than it actually was.”

The enormous growth of social inequality is the result of an unrelenting, decades-long campaign against the jobs and living standards of workers. Under the Obama administration, the redistribution of wealth has escalated sharply, through a combination of bank bailouts and “quantitative easing,” which has inflated the assets of the financial elite.

These policies have been pursued by both parties and the entire political establishment which is squarely under the thumb of the corporate and financial oligarchy that dominates American society.

France is in a state of “collective hysteria,” says Sefen Guez Guez, the lawyer for a second grader questioned by police in France. (via BFMTV)

Just when it seemed that the crackdown on free speech in France could not get worse, French police today questioned a second grader on suspicion of “defending terrorism.”

BFMTV says that administrators at a primary school in Nice reported the child to police on 21 January after the boy allegedly said that he “felt he was on the side of the terrorists.”

“A police station is absolutely no place for an eight-year-old child,” the boy’s lawyer Sefen Guez Guez told BFMTV. He said that the incident showed that France was going through a state of “collective hysteria.”

Guez Guez said that on 8 January, the day after two French gunmen attacked the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, the boy, whose name has been reported as Ahmed, was in class when he was asked if he was “Charlie.”

“He answered, ‘I am on the side of the terrorists, because I am against the caricatures of the prophet,’” the lawyer said.

Since the murders of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and the lethal attack by a third French gunman on a Jewish supermarket, French government officials and media have adopted the slogan “Je Suis Charlie” – I am Charlie – to indicate social conformity and support for official policies, all under the guise of supporting free speech.

The Collective Against Islamophobia in France, which has taken up Ahmed’s case, provided these additional details: “On 8 January, Ahmed, a second grader, was called on by his teacher who asked him if he was Charlie. Being of Muslim religion and aged only eight, he opposed Charlie Hebdo because of the caricatures of the prophet, and responded naively that he was on the side of the terrorists. Angered, the teacher sent him to the principal, who was in the class next door, and who asked him three times in front of the whole class, ‘Are you Charlie?’”

The child’s parents were called in and “played an educational role, explaining to him what terrorism really was and why one should be on the side of the Charlie Hebdo victims,” Guez Guez said.

Principal calls police

Instead of leaving the matter there, on 21 January, the school principal lodged two complaints with police, one against the child for “defending terrorism,” and another against the child’s father for trespassing.

According to the lawyer, the child had been deeply upset and isolated after what happened, so his father accompanied him to the school playground on three occasions after 8 January, before being told he was not allowed to do so.

Fabienne Lewandowski, a spokesperson for the Alpes-Maritimes regional police, confirmed to BFMTV that they received the complaints. Lewandowski revealed that the school principal claimed that the child had said “French people should be killed,” “I am on the side of the terrorists” and “the journalists deserved to die.” The child then allegedly refused to take part in a government-decreed minute of silence.

“During our interview, the child indicated that he had said some of these words, but did not really understand what they meant,” the police spokesperson said. “The purpose of this interview was to understand exactly what had happened, and what could have led him to say this.”

“We can regret that this took the form of an official police interview,” Lewandowski said, “but under the circumstances, we could have gone even further.”

According to the police spokesperson, the father “showed regret for his son’s words.”

The Collective Against Islamophobia in France said that his interview by police “was an additional trauma that illustrates the collective hysteria that has ensued since the beginning of January.”

Prosecutors in Nice have yet to decide how to proceed in the case.

Victim of bullying?

Ahmed has said that he was a victim of bullying by the school principal, according to his lawyer, BFMTV reported. On one occasion, the child was playing in a sandbox. According to the child’s account relayed by the lawyer, the principal told the boy, “stop digging in the sand, you won’t find a machine-gun in there.”

On another occasion, Ahmed, who is diabetic, alleges the principal deprived him of his insulin, saying, “Since you want us all to die, you will taste death.” The principal has denied the accusation.

Guez Guez said that Ahmed’s parents planned to lodge a complaint about the school’s behavior.

According to Le Figaro, the French education ministry confirmed that the school principal had also made a report about Ahmed to child protective services.

Government crackdown

While Ahmed’s case may seem extreme, the complaint against him is enabled by an atmosphere of intolerance and authoritarianism fostered by the French government.

Since the attacks in Paris, the government has launched an unprecedented crackdown,condemned by Amnesty International as well as French civil rights groups, in which it has jailed dozens of people for things they have said, under the vague charge of “defending terrorism.”

Previously, as The Electronic Intifada reported, one of those arrested was a sixteen-year-old high schooler, for allegedly posting a caricature mocking Charlie Hebdo.

Yesterday, French President François Hollande used an International Holocaust Memorial Day speech to confirm that his government plans to tighten its control over what people are allowed to say online and stiffen penalties for illegal speech.

The One Belt and One Road initiative is a long-term macroscopic program of strategic development for the entire State.” - Zhao Xijun, Deputy Dean of School of Finance, Renmin University, Global Times, Dec 28, 2014

The Chinese flag hangs in fraternal union with Serbia as one crosses the Zemun-Borča bridge, completed last month, and now named Pupinov most.  It was yet another infrastructure gem in what is becoming typical of Beijing’s global investment push, a policy typified by big spending and the reiteration of connectedness.  Where a country is short of cash in terms of the big projects, a Chinese loan is peeking around the corner to cover the cost.

Not that this is done out of heart warming altruism. The visionary functionaries in Beijing have been dreaming of revivals and resurrections over what has come to be known as the “one belt, one road” policy.  The language of the New Silk Road, more than a patch on the ancient Silk Road strategy of the Han Dynasty, has become something of an accelerant drive in planning, the hallmark of President Xi Jinping’s still early tenure.

Former UN under-secretary general and current Indian MP, Shashi Tharoor, dipped into his history books in examining the visions of the current Chinese leadership.  The old Silk Road had both overland and maritime routes.  Goods and ideas snaked along them, be they tea, gunpowder, paper, Buddhist scripture, and music. China itself obtained access to plants, medicines, astronomy, and the Buddhist and Islamic faiths (Project Syndicate, Oct 14, 2014).[1]

Tharoor sees in Xi a historical echo, that of the Chinese Ming Admiral and eunuch, Zheng He, who moved across the Indian Ocean over the course of seven times in the early fifteenth century.  He did so with a vast armada that would have dwarfed its European contemporaries.  Women in Kerala could thank the Admiral for his efforts – the wok became a vital cooking instrument; innovative fishing techniques were introduced – all before the Portuguese got their vessels wet.

Others, such as the retired submarine commander Gavin Menzies, see in Zheng the origins of world discovery, putting forth a theory so stretched it suggests that the intrepid eunuch was in Australasia and the Americas well ahead of either Christopher Columbus or James Cook.[2]  Chinese silk road romanticism is a vast and variable creature – and everyone is wanting to cash in on it.

Near the Sri Lankan coastal town of Galle, Zheng erected a stone tablet, translated into Tamil, Persian and Chinese with a grand aspiration: that Hindu deities bless his efforts to forge global trade and commerce, all for peace and prosperity.

In September 2013, when speaking at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, Xi spoke of the creation of a “New Silk Road Economic Belt” that would run from China through Central Asia.[3]  Zheng’s maritime business is coming home to roost.

“To forge closer economic ties, deepen cooperation and expand development in the Euro-Asia region, we should take an innovative approach and jointly build an ‘economic belt’ along the silk road.”  Xi saw this as a “great undertaking” that would benefit “all countries along the route”. Invariably, however, the context is overwhelmingly based on a development rationale: trade is good and infrastructure should be established for that end.

The economic belt, as Xi terms it, features such concrete manifestations as high-speed rail lines, highways, bridges, and Internet connectivity. These, in turn, will be complemented by port development that is already seeing a presence in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.

The second component to the strategy was put forward to the Indonesian parliament in October.   China’s economic ties on land would be met by a “Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century”, a venture that seeks to interlink Eurasia.  In doing so, China will seek greater cooperation with ASEAN countries “to make good use of the China-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation Found set up by the Chinese government” (China Daily, Oct 4, 2013). The subtext here: placate neighbours over territorial disagreements with trade incentives and cash.

There are a few consequences in this vast push.  There is a large and looming currency angle.  China is seeking to push renminbi in its transactional value and encourage currency swap arrangements between the People’s Bank of China and other central banks. Then comes the culture side of things, a dividend that will supposedly be richer the more money is invested in the various regional economies along the belt and maritime routes.

Spearheading the drive are China’s state-owned enterprises, incarnated, modern Silk Road emissaries and vessels.  “Chinese enterprises,” explained Zhang Jianwei, deputy chairman of the Shanghai International Chamber of Commerce, “are in urgent need of financial support to help them expand in overseas markets” (Global Times, Dec 28, 2014).  Such overseas expansion is required to develop Western Chinese markets, left behind by the growing cities and economic zones that have privileged the east.

As if to demonstrate the illusion of free markets and unsupported corporate agents, Jianwei noted how overseas economic expansion required sweetening government assistance.  “The US did so in the 1950s and Japan followed suit in the 1960s and 1970s.”

The latest promise in terms of huge infrastructure visions comes in the form of a promise to fund a high speed rail line between Moscow and Beijing.  The announcement came on Weibo, and is promised to cost in the area of 1.5 trillion yuan ($242 billion).  Jon Stone, a journalist formerly working for Buzz Feed UK had a prediction: “New speed railway between Moscow and Beijing announced; it’ll be finished before HS2 (High Speed 2) gets to Birmingham.”  Could be, given that developers will first have to deal with a very much in the way and treasured 200-old pear tree that is proving more than a snare (BBC News, Jan 29).[4]

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

Notes

Now we finally come to the real agenda of the vaccine industry. After vaccines have been repeatedly documented by the Natural News Lab to contain neurotoxic chemicals such as mercury, formaldehyde and MSG; after vaccine shots have been repeatedly shown to kill people who take them; and after flu shots have been exhaustively shown to be based on no science whatsoever – with vaccine manufacturers openly admitting there are no clinical trials to show they even work – the rabid vaccine pushers are unveiling their end game: throw vaccine resistors in prison.

This is the call by USA Today columnist Alex Berezow. “Parents who do not vaccinate their children should go to jail,” he writes in this USA Today column.

And just to be clear, what Berezow means is that parents who do not vaccinated their children no matter how toxic the vaccine ingredients really are should be thrown in prison. There is no exemption being discussed or recommended that would allow parents to object to vaccines because of the neurotoxic chemicals they contain (such as the heavy metal mercury, still found in flu shots given to children in America). There is also no discussion that informed parents might reasonably object to vaccines based on the recent confession of a top CDC whistleblower who reveals how the CDC committed scientific fraud to bury scientific evidence showing a link between vaccines and autism.

But continuing with the imprisonment idea now being touted by USA Today, it begs the practical question: What exactly should happen after the parents are thrown in prison? Well, of course, the state will take custody of the children because they are now parentless.

So the suggestion that parents who seek to protect their children from toxic vaccine ingredients should be thrown in jail is simultaneously a call for the state to seize custody of all children who are not yet vaccinated with Big Pharma’s toxic vaccines.

Vaccine skepticism to be criminalized in America?

Let’s all be perfectly clear about the crux of this argument published by USA Today. Because police resources in U.S. cities are finite at any given time, Berezow is essentially arguing that law enforcement officers — who are already spread dangerously thin almost everywhere — should be diverted from stopping real criminals such as rapists, murderers and child molesters, and instead should fan out across U.S. cities, going door to door to handcuff and arrest vaccine skeptics while demanding Child Protective Services seize their children.

This argument, dutifully printed by the blindly obedient mainstream media, represents the total abandonment of scientific reasoning and the desperate invocation of the very same policies espoused by Mao, Pol Pot, Mussolini and Adolf Hitler: If the People can’t be persuaded to do what you want through reason, then force them to do so at gunpoint.

Compliance problem solved!

This is, by definition, the very essence of a medical police state. To find that such a policy is boldly called for in the pages of USA Today demonstrates just how treacherously far we have now ventured into the all-too-familiar territory of the world’s past dictatorial regimes which routinely violated human rights in the name of compliance.

And yet this column in USA Today is actually a tremendous victory for vaccine skeptics. There is no greater admission of the failure of vaccine “science” than this call for vaccines to be enforced at gunpoint. It is the wholesale abandonment of any philosophy that might respect human freedom, dignity or choice. Instead, this pronouncement equates intelligent, informed vaccine skeptics with murderers and rapists, implying they should share the same fate, if not the same prison cell.

It is an admission, ultimately, that the vaccine pushers have run out of reasonable ideas and must now resort to force as their last remaining weapon against common sense.

Medical tyranny lives in America

Berezow, like most vaccine promoters, is a medical tyrant. He openly calls for government to use the threat of violence to destroy families, ripping them apart at gunpoint and seizing their children, in order to achieve a level of vaccine compliance that Berezow claims is based on irrefutable evidence of safety and efficacy.

That evidence, of course, is entirely imagined by the vaccine industry itself — the same industry that includes printed inserts in its own vaccines which openly admit things like, “…there have been no controlled trials adequately demonstrating a decrease in influenza disease after vaccination with FLULAVAL.”

Here’s the photo of the vaccine insert so you can see it for yourself:

As Natural News has exhaustively documented, many vaccine inserts openly admit they don’t work. Vaccine virologists working for Merck even went public with detailed admission that Merck faked vaccine clinical trials and committed scientific fraud. Beyond that, all vaccine inserts openly admit to a shockingly long list of side effects which include seizures, skin disorders, neurological problems and more:


To make a broad claim that all vaccines are “safe and effective” is to label yourself hopelessly ignorant of medical reality and utterly unqualified to comment on vaccine safety in the first place. To say “vaccines are universally safe and effective” is as cognitively incompetent as saying, “the Earth is flat” or that mercury is also good for children when it’s installed in their teeth. (That’s the official position of the American Dental Association, by the way, a chemical-pushing industry front group still hopelessly stuck in the chemical denials of the 1950′s.)

And the yet the tremendous appeal of government coercion — from the point of view of a medical tyrant — is that it no longer requires consent. This “miracle of compliance” is of course the science method of choice in North Korea, Communist China and the old U.S.S.R. The basis of the idea of coercion is that “people should be free to make their own choices, but only as long as those choices are the ones we demand they make.”

When American media outlets begin to print opinion pieces that resemble the logic of Kim Jong-Un, you know something has gone terribly awry.

No one can threaten your safety… except US!

In his USA Today column, Berezow argues that “no person has the right to threaten the safety of his community,” yet he personally threatens millions of Americans with arrest and imprisonment in his own column. He alone has the right to make such threats, you see, because his threats of taking away your children and imprisoning you as a parent are conducted under the contrived banner of “science.”

His threats don’t count as threats in exactly the same way the Obama administration’s murder of over 3,000 civilians with drone strikes don’t count as civilian casualties, either. Or how the national debt of $18 trillion — most of it accrued under Obama alone — doesn’t count either because “the federal budget is balanced!” (Hint: it isn’t.)

Speaking of civilian casualties, in the name of “science,” Berezow obviously wants to see an armed medical Gestapo going house to house, taking children away from parents and turning them over to the state while those parents are incarcerated in a prison system that’s already bursting at the seams.

This picture imagines what a future vaccine enforcement police team might look like:


The same government that Berezow hopes would use armed police to enforce vaccine compliance has, of course, already granted absolute legal immunity to vaccine manufacturers. So children who are harmed by vaccines have no legitimate legal recourse.

The obvious catch-22 is damning to the industry: Here, take these vaccines at gunpoint, but if your child is harmed or even killed by these vaccines we’ve forced upon you, that’s your problem, not ours. Even the Associated Press recently conducted an investigation into the kangaroo vaccine court system in the United States and concluded it was a comedy of justice that denied payouts to parents for ten years or more.

This imprisonment argument by Berezow also begs the question: Does Mr. Berezow support government coercion and the threat of violence against the citizens of America solely in the arena of vaccines? Or does he also think government should arrest and imprison people who don’t comply with the government’s wishes in all other areas, too?

By Berezow’s own logic, people who refuse to purchase Obamacare health insurance should also be arrested and imprisoned. Probably even people who write about vaccine dangers should be arrested and imprisoned too, by simply legislating that pesky First Amendment out of existence. And why stop there? Why not arrest and imprison people who refuse to testify against themselves, refuse to quarter government soldiers in their private homes, refuse to submit to illegal searches and seizures or refuse to remain silent in their own defense?

Perhaps one day the government will demand that everybody eat Soylent Green. Those who refuse will not merely be arrested, but scooped up and “processed” into more Soylent Green to force-feed to the obedient, ignorant masses.


USA Today promotes a medical police state

The fact that USA Today would even run a column like this shows the late hour of the medical police state which the American people have apathetically allowed to emerge under their watch. In an era where the U.S. government now openly spies on all our phone calls, emails and phone texts — and where the Obama administration has prosecuted more truth-telling whistleblowers than any other administration in U.S. history — the systems of oppression, propaganda and control have reached a tipping point of public revolt.

The mass militarization of local police forces across the country is a screaming red alert that civil liberties are being crushed while the government itself seems to be arming for war against the American people. Local police departments now possess mine-resistant armored cars, automatic military weapons, surveillance drones and even futuristic thermal vision devices that can see through walls. If vaccine skepticism is criminalized, all these weapons of war — many transferred to police departments after returning from the front lines of battle in the Middle East — will be turned against citizens who refuse to inject their children with the toxic chemical poisons still found in vaccines.

The next simple step is to declare vaccine skeptics to be “domestic terrorists.” From that point, all varieties of government coercion, violence, torture and murder of these people is “ethically justified” according to the vaccine pushers.

Rather than removing the toxic chemicals, the vaccine industry wants to force them on you at gunpoint

Public trust in the government is at an all-time low. Public trust in the lying mainstream media continues to plummet by the day. Public trust in toxic vaccines continues to fall as well, and this trend will never be reversed until the vaccine industry decides to remove toxic heavy metals and chemicals from its vaccines (if ever).

Rather than cleaning up its own products, the vaccine industry turns to people who call for government violence against citizens in order to achieve involuntary compliance.

We’ve seen these kind of people before, of course. They are the same kind of people who shoved Obamacare down our throats, hitting us all with hefty fines if we refuse to purchase an insurance product that the government totally lied about with claims that it would be “affordable.” Remember, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?” It’s the same kind of malicious lie uttered by vaccine poisoners who claim vaccines are “totally safe and effective.”

But in his USA Today column, Berezow ups the ante. He does not merely call for vaccine skeptics to be fined. That financial coercion tactic is apparently too mild for a man who is so sure he’s 100% correct that he’s willing to bet YOUR family on it. No, Berezow calls for vaccine skeptics to be arrested and imprisoned. If you do not get your children vaccinated, he unabashedly argues, you are an enemy of the state.

He’s sure of it. In fact, he knows far better than you what should be injected into your children. You are too stupid to know the right answer, he implies, so leave it to the pharma companies that conduct deadly drug experiments on children to tell you what to do with your own children.

Inform yourself of the facts about Big Pharma’s ongoing chemical child abuse by reading about The top ten medical conspiracies that actually happened.

I want to thank Berezow for finally removing all doubt about the true agenda of the vaccine pushers. I’m sure it won’t be long before non-vaccinated children and adults will be required by law to wear Scarlet-letter shame symbols much like the Jews in 1939, and at some point people like Berezow will no doubt call for parents who don’t vaccinate their children to be rounded up and sent to “re-education camps” where they will be subjected to PowerPoint presentations dreamed up by GlaxoSmithKline, the same company found guilty of felony bribery crimes by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

Medical freedom was almost written into the U.S. Constitution

Berezow has done us a service in all this, however. He has made the argument for a national “medical freedom” amendment to the United States Constitution.

It is because of tyrant-minded people like Berezow that America’s founders created a First Amendment, Second Amendment, Third Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment and so on. All of these Constitutional amendments grew out of systematic government abuses of civil liberties and human freedoms.

Interestingly, a “medical freedom” amendment was also considered at the time by Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Over 230 years ago, he warned:

“Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of Men and deny equal privileges to others; the Constitution of the Republic should make a Special privilege for medical freedoms as well as religious freedom.”

Dr. Rush, in other words, foresaw precisely the kind of medical tyranny now published by USA Today. “Medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship” is exactly what we’ve seen happen. That dictatorship, argues Berezow, should be enforced at gunpoint by the government itself. This is the definition of fascism: a corporate-government partnership to force obedience onto the population through coercion dished out under the threat of violence and incarceration.

USA Today should be ashamed that it has published a medical dictatorship propaganda piece that would have made Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels proud.

When the facts don’t support the agenda, turn to government guns instead

The call to imprison vaccine resistors is an open admission that the SCIENCE behind vaccines isn’t compelling and must therefore be replaced with GUNS.

How else will you arrest people, take their children away and imprison them unless you bring men with guns and badges to the “guilty” households, anyway? Where junk science fails, government guns are clearly the answer. And if guns alone don’t work, they always have tanks, too.

In essence, the argument being made in the USA Today column is that guns should be used to force vaccine compliance. It’s not even a leap, as guns in the hands of government goons are already being used to force children into toxic chemotherapy treatments against their will.

Click here to read the list of government-sponsored medical kidnappings taking place in America right now. This list will, of course, never be published by USA Today for the simple reason that these real medical facts are not consistent with the mainstream media’s vaccine propaganda agenda.

Why stop at vaccines? Why not threaten to arrest anyone who disagrees with a doctor on anything?

If total medical compliance — at any cost to human freedom and dignity — is the goal, then why not launch a whole new domestic army called D.M.S.; the Department of Medical Security. Declare that all who oppose Big Pharma’s medical advice are “threats to national security” and ship them all to Gitmo where the U.S. government continues to run torture operations.

Once you start down the road of medical tyranny, it doesn’t end well for humanity. Just ask the victims of the Nazi chemical conglomerate IG Farben, which was later split into chemical corporations, one of which is now known as Bayer. Under the guidance of the “science” of Nazi Germany, heinous chemical crimes were committed against countless Jews, including gassing them to death and using Jewish prisoners for medical experiments.

The former chairperson of Bayer, for the record, was convicted of Nazi war crimes at the Nuremburg tribunals and sentenced to prison. Today, pharma executives routinely commit felony crimes yet go free, even while USA Today calls for parents to be imprisoned for saying no to Big Pharma’s deadly chemicals.

No doubt the vaccine promoters of today who demand the arrest and imprisonment of American vaccine resisters would also approve of using those prisoners for their medical experiments. See the full history of U.S. medical experiments herehere and here. Most of these inhumane medical experiments were carried out against prisoners, minorities or soldiers.

It’s quite clear that the very same ethically-perverse medical system that’s right now calling for the imprisonment of vaccine skeptics would, of course, have no hesitation using those people for “important medical research in the interests of the public good.”

This is how crimes against humanity are born. You are watching it unfold right before your very eyes, right in America today, in the pages of USA Today. This is history in the making, and it is a history that will march us all right down the road of state-sponsored medical terrorism that’s openly supported by the mainstream media.

Some people learn from the mistakes of history. But Berezow is determined to repeat them.

Sources for this story include:
http://www.naturalnews.com/045418_flu_shots_…
http://www.naturalnews.com/037653_vaccine_ad…
http://www.naturalnews.com/047841_flu_vaccin…
http://www.naturalnews.com/048422_flu_shot_s…
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/0…
http://www.naturalnews.com/046630_CDC_whistl…
http://www.naturalnews.com/048383_measles_ou…
http://www.naturalnews.com/048402_measles_va…
http://www.naturalnews.com/047702_vaccine_co…
http://www.naturalnews.com/026685_Pfizer_chi…
http://www.naturalnews.com/044385_medical_co…
http://www.naturalnews.com/036417_Glaxo_Merc…
http://www.naturalnews.com/034892_Benjamin_R…
http://www.naturalnews.com/048348_medical_ki…
http://www.naturalnews.com/045939_ig_farben_…
http://www.naturalnews.com/036484_Bayer_Nazi…
http://www.naturalnews.com/019189_human_medi…
http://www.naturalnews.com/019187_human_medi…
http://www.naturalnews.com/048032_US_governm…

The existence of nuclear weapons makes Armageddon possible. If there were no nuclear weapons on the planet the human race would have a dire threat lifted and could focus on the other, less instantaneous, threats to the survival of our species.

In certain cops and robbers films a scene arises when protagonists are lined up opposite each other, both factions pointing weapons at their opponents. Obviously this is a highly risky scenario which typically ends badly – in a bloodbath.  One of the protagonists decides he can win if he fires first; a passing waiter drops a tray of glasses and a gunman thinks the shooting has started; someone can’t stand the tension, panics, and starts the slaughter. Occasionally sanity prevails and everyone carefully puts down their weapons. Such a confrontation is the posture adopted on a nuclear scale by our leaders to make us feel safe! All the nuclear states resist an agreement to give up their nuclear weapons. In fact they are all renewing them.

On Tuesday 20th January, 2015, the UK parliament debated the renewal of its Trident nuclear ‘deterrent’. The debate was called by the Scottish and Welsh national parties and the Green Party. It took place to the great discomfort of the Conservative and Labour parties for obvious reason when we consider that the vast majority of Conservative MPs and most Labour MPs want to renew the UK’s Trident fleet of nuclear submarines. A fully armed Trident submarine has the destructive power to incinerate over 76 million human beings1, extrapolating from the number killed at Hiroshima. It is contended that preparing the ability to carry out this crime against humanity is for our security (which raises the question ‘How many people are you prepared to exterminate to keep you safe?).

Our country is not threatened by any major power. In fact the only threat is from terrorists who seek revenge for our illegal and immoral wars in the Middle East so this degree of Armageddon-scale nuclear belligerence on the part of the Tories and Labour is puzzling to many and various explanations have been attempted. An article in The Guardian suggests that if we as much as run down our nuclear arsenal ‘..Washington would not be happy’2. The reasons suggested for Labour’s position include that it would be threatening jobs and would be seen as weak on ‘security’; jobs for building mass extermination machines and security by threatening to participate in nuclear Armageddon.

The government is well aware that UK citizens do not want this threat of instant annihilation hanging over them at all times. The panic over Scottish independence made that abundantly clear (the Scottish people want the Westminster nuclear arsenal removed from their country). Further evidence is the way the Ministry of Defence (War is Peace) submitted a written statement about Trident to the House of Commons the very day its Christmas break started. The government has said it will not make a decision about Trident renewal until 2016. Yet it has already allocated more than 3 billion pounds of our money to the project for ‘long lead items’2. Moreover it has just earmarked an additional 261 million pounds for Trident. This is treating the public with contempt. Further evidence, if such is needed, that the government has already decided to renew its instruments of Arnageddon, is the exclusion of Trident costs from the Strategic Defence and Security Review planned for after the general election. This is in spite of the fact that the Trident project is predicted, by the early 2020s, to cost around 35% of the defence equipment budget2.

If the government really had the security of its citizens as its first priority it would be spending the billions of Trident pounds on making the world free of the curse of nuclear weapons. So why is the government’s agenda so at variance with the wellbeing of the UK’s citizens?

Sir Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat’s former defence minister told the House of Commons it is‘inconceivable’ that ‘any sane person could press the button’.  Can he really be unaware of the possibility of a not- sane person, or someone otherwise incapacitated, getting their finger on the nuclear button? Is he unaware that in 1995 the heavy drinking Boris Yeltsin had his finger on the nuclear button when the Russian black box was opened because their early warning system (falsely) told of an incoming nuclear strike3? Russian policy at the time was ‘launch on warning’. Global nuclear war was only avoided because one man, Boris Yeltsin, had the good sense to wait in spite of the electronic notice that a nuclear attack on Russian was under way. Does Harvey not know that since 1945 there have been a large number of other terrifying occurrences where the human race has very narrowly escaped a global nuclear war because of accidents and misunderstandings; all of which would have been impossible if the arsenals had not existed? Is he unaware that, thanks to the proliferation encouraged by the nuclear states, the repressive dictatorship in North Korea has an arsenal of nuclear weapons and that other non-nuclear states in the Middle East and elsewhere have the capability to build nuclear weapons?

In fact the government has its own agenda and it is not to do with the security of citizens. It is about prestige, power, saving face, pleasing the Americans. Mr Blair the globe-wandering multi-millionaire ex UK Prime Minister gave the game away in his memoires when he wrote, referring to Trident renewal, “the expense is huge and the utility … non-existent in terms of military use”. In the end he thought giving it up would be “too big a downgrading of our status as a nation”2 What distorted sense of values attaches ‘prestige’ to a nation by its preparing for the incineration of millions? And what kind of representatives of the people are willing to put the survival of the people at risk in order to inflate their egos and boost their ‘prestige’? Of the 193 states in the United Nations there are only 9 who have built nuclear weapons. The UK, to its shame, is one of them. The nuclear states not only put their own citizens at risk but also the citizens of the non-nuclear states. Nuclear radiation does not respect national boundaries.

The government tells the public the UK must have its ‘minimal, independent, nuclear deterrent’. It is not minimal, it is not independent and it is not a deterrent. What is minimal about destroying 76 million people? An All-party Trident Commission, set up by the British American  Security Information Council last year stated that Britain’s deterrent is ‘a hostage to American goodwill’2. What is independent about that? It is not a deterrent because it does not deter the only threat to our safety, namely that from terrorists.

In the foreword to the UK 2007 White paper, ‘The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent’, the then prime Minister Mr Blair wrote that we cannot foresee what will happen in the next 50 years, thus implying that the UK should keep its nuclear arsenal for that length of time. This was tantamount to saying the British government was not going to honour its commitment to ‘..pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its forms…’. This was the obligation, according to the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, of all those governments who had signed and ratified the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. It was therefore the obligation of the UK government. And on 15 January 2007, as the Defence Select Committee began its inquiry into the government’s White Paper on Trident replacement, a new opinion poll showed that the vast majority of the British public supports a convention banning all nuclear weapons4; more evidence that the agenda of the politicians is different from that of the citizens.

The time has come for our ‘prestige’-obsessed politicians to abandon their attachment to their instruments of Armageddon; time for Britain’s politicians to honour the wishes of its citizens and declare the United Kingdom a nuclear free zone.

Notes

  1. During the House of Commons debate on 20.1.15 the Scottish Nationalist MP Angus Robertson informed the House that ‘at present, a UK Trident submarine remains on patrol at all times, and each submarine carries an estimated eight missiles, each of which can carry up to five warheads. In total, that makes 40 warheads, each with an explosive power of up to 100 kilotons of conventional high explosive—eight times the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, killing an estimated 240,000 people from blast and radiation. See: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150120/debtext/150120-0001.htm#15012040000001
  2. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/defence-and-security-blog/2015/jan/20/trident-uk-s-nuclear-arsenal-commons-debate
  3. http://www.globalissues.org/issue/67/nuclear-weapons
  4. http://www.cnduk.org/cnd-media/press-releases/trident/item/88-new-poll-uk-public-  wants-nuclear-weapons-banned

J’accuse!: The Elephant in the Room of Anti-Semitism

January 30th, 2015 by Anthony Bellchambers

The Holocaust in Europe was the extreme distillation of the essence of evil. It was prepared, as are all genocides, by first engineering the dehumanisation of its victims. The ‘Final Solution’ of the Nazis then progressed to the wholesale killing of millions, mostly Jews, on an industrial scale, that established a terrifying precedent in the history of man’s inhumanity to man.

Seventy years on, there is tragically now a resurgence of anti-Semitism driven in large part by the policy of the Israeli government in its brutal treatment of the five million indigenous Muslim Arabs whose lands it still occupies – much of which it has expropriated in violation of international law.

To omit this causal factor in the increase of antipathy towards those who openly support current Israeli government policy, is to collude in its agenda, either deliberately or otherwise. There has been much media comment this week that has correctly condemned the rise in anti-Semitic invective but virtually no acknowledgement of that which is undoubtedly a key driver to its growth.

Until such time that the policies of the Netanyahu government, in illegally settling 500,000 of its citizens on occupied land in order to prevent self-determination for the indigenous Palestinians, are condemned outright and positive action taken by those Western governments who have diplomatic and commercial relations with Israel’s Likud coalition, then anti-Semitism will continue to increase exponentially to the danger of European society, in general.

It is self-evident that when democratic integrity is jettisoned and human rights are abused – not in legitimate defence of the state but in order to achieve economic profit and political and military advantage, then such a society is corrupted as are those who contract with it.

For those UN states who are signatories to the Geneva Conventions, to allow any maverick UN member to continuously violate international agreements by treating the law and the United Nations itself with contempt, then such tacit collusion bodes ill for future world peace and for the international community.

International law and human and civil rights must be respected today if the Western world is not to experience mass murder again, tomorrow.

Hon. Paul Hellyer

The Globalization of War is an extraordinarily important book. It tags the origin of a long series of wars and conflicts, from the end of World War II to the present, as being direct products of U.S.  Foreign Policy. Nothing happens by accident. U.S. provocateurs, usually agents of the CIA, incite one conflict after another in what Michel Chossudovsky labels America’s “Long War” against Humanity.

It comprises a war on two fronts. Those countries that can either be “bought,” or destabilized by a corrupt international financial system, are easy targets for effective conquest. In other cases insurrection, riots and wars are used to solicit American military intervention to fill the pockets of the military-industrial complex that General Eisenhower warned us about. The “End Game” is a New World Order embracing a dual economic and military dictatorship prepared to use atomic weapons and risk the future of the entire human species to achieve its ends.

Michel Chossudovsky is one of the few individuals I know who has analyzed the anatomy of the New World Order and recognized the threat to the entire human species that it is.

The Globalization of War is a must read for anyone who prefers peace and hope to perpetual war, death, dislocation and despair.

Hon. Paul Hellyer, former Canadian Minister of National Defence

Michel Chossudovsky’s Book The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity can be ordered directly from Global Research Publishers or Amazon.  Click image above to order

Bolivian President Evo Morales weighed in on the controversy over remarks made earlier this month by Andrew Lack, the new chief executive of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

The BBG is noteworthy for its connection to the CIA’s effort to control media and dispense white propaganda. The United States government agency controls the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Marti and TV Marti. CIA control of these organizations is well documented.

BBG is also associated with the United States Information Agency and the National Endowment for Democracy. “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,” Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, said in 1991.

“When the media turns into the voice of the people, especially in the voice of revolutionaries, there are those people and the media, who will judge them and falsify the truth,” Morales told RT, the Russian state-funded cable and satellite television channel. “This media is the voice of the developing countries, the voice of the peoples of the world, and it deserves our admiration.”

During an interview with The New York Times, Lack said it is the job of the BBG to confront news organizations not under the control of the U.S. government.

“We are facing a number of challenges from entities like Russia Today which is out there pushing a point of view, the Islamic State in the Middle East and groups like Boko Haram, “ said Lack, the former president of NBC News. “But I firmly believe that this agency has a role to play in facing those challenges.”

Lack’s comments were so transparently over the top, even the State Department felt obliged to distance itself from them:

Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura told RT Lack and the BBG are calling alternative media to be censored.

“There should be no Big Brother telling us what we can or cannot see,” Ventura said. “If someone desires to watch RT TV and takes the opinion they don’t like, well then they merely don’t have to put it to that station.”

Michael Krieger, the editor of Liberty Blitzkrieg, points out that RT is popular in the United States and thus a challenge because Americans are fed up with news coverage offered by the corporate media.

“RT’s success was not because the Russian state poured so much time and money into the network,”Krieger writes. “It’s success was a direct result of the U.S. mainstream media being so childish and useless. By spewing a mind-numbing amount of inane celebrity gossip, sports drama and cartoonish American propaganda, a massive audience yearning for a different perspective was already present and underserved. RT merely came along and filled that void.”

Comments made by Daniel Russel, a representative of the US State Department, condemned the current Thai government’s legal proceedings against deposed prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the nepotist proxy of her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, also deposed in a military coup in 2006, and guilty of mass murder, serial corruption and abuse of power, terrorism, and backing armed insurrection in 2009 and 2010.

Russel’s comments were verbatim the talking points used for years by the Shinawatra regime to fend off attempts to check its autocratic despotism, and were again repeated by the remnants of Shinawatra’s political front in Thailand after Russel’s comments, prompting Thai authorities to summon 3 senior members of Shinawatra’ political party.

During Shinawatra’s short term in office, her political party bankrupted the country and devastated its rice industry, jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of farmers. Nearly one million farmers went unpaid for over half a year after a government subsidy scheme collapsed amid rampant corruption and theft. The rice scheme in particular led to Shinawatra’s impeachment from office, an impeachment the US maintains is “politically driven.”

Also during Yingluck Shinawatra’s tenure in office, amid growing protests against the regime she posed as head of, her brother’s political network employed heavily armed terrorists wielding M16s, AK47s, M79 grenade launchers, pistols, and hand grenades, killing nearly thirty unarmed protesters and bystanders including women and children, and maiming over 800 more.

Image: The Shinawatra regime has employed heavily armed terrorists throughout its time in power, including in 2010 (above) where militants murdered soldiers, police, protesters, and by-standers alike – caught openly brandishing war weapons. Despite the depravity of the Shinawatra regime throughout its time in power, the US State Department is still defending it, and condemning those attempting to remove its destructive influence from Thailand’s political landscape. 

 

Confirmation of Shinawatra’s role in the terrorism aimed at breaking the will of protesters and maintaining his grip on political power in Thailand, came from one of his most stalwart foreign media supporters, ex-senior Reuters editor Andrew McGregor Marshall, who fled Thailand and has worked as part of Shinawatra’s lobbying and public relations efforts since 2011. Marshall claims to have spoken directly with the killers and has confirmed that they were indeed “red,” the term used to describe members of Shinawatra’s political machine.

The US then, in addition to defending a deposed prime minister guilty of immense, overt criminality and corruption, is also defending a deposed regime that employed terrorism and mass murder against its own people. If Marshall’s story is true, Russel should perhaps be questioning why the new Thai government is only impeaching Yingluck Shinawatra, and not trying her for treason or for supporting terrorism.

If Marshall’s story is not true, perhaps networks like the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and papers like the Guardian should stop deferring to him as an “expert” on Thai politics.

Regardless, that the narrative employed by both the US State Department and Shinawatra’s political machine, echoes similar US-backed sedition seen recently in Hong Kong, and documented in other nations including Libya, Syria, and Egypt where protests led to wide scale violence and even full-scale war.

Call it one of many US dirty secrets. Washington covertly recruits, funds, arms, trains, and directs extremist Islamic State and other Takfiri terrorists.

The same ones it lies about waging war on. Uses them as proxies against its adversaries.

Notably during Obama’s tenure against Libya’s Gaddafi. Currently against Assad in Syria. Ahead against future enemies to be named later.

Iran very much in Washington’s cross hairs. Longstanding US regime change plans remain firm.

RT InternationalFars News and LiveLeak reported the same story.

Calling Yousaf Al Salafi an IS Pakistani commander.

In detention in Pakistan, he admitted getting funds from America. On January 22, he and two associates were arrested in Lahore, said AFP.

According to the English language newspaper The Express Tribune:

“During investigations, (Al Salafi) revealed that he was getting funding – routed through America – to run an organization in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria.”

The information came from its sister Urdu language Daily Express. From a source close to Pakistan’s investigation on condition of anonymity. Saying Al Salafi was arrested in December.

Admitted getting $600 per recruit. Worked with at least one accomplice. Reportedly a Pakistani imam. According to the unnamed source:

“The US has been condemning the IS activities but unfortunately has not been able to stop funding of these organizations, which is being routed through the US.”

“The US had to dispel the impression that it is financing the group for its own interests, and that is why it launched offensive (actions) against the organization in Iraq but not in Syria.”

Its oil facilities, infrastructure, grain silos and other non-military sites are targeted. Scores of civilians were killed.

IS fighters remain largely unscathed. New ones enter Syria through Turkey, Jordan and Israel’s Golan.

According to a Pakistani security source, recruiting IS fighters “was raised several several times (by) local media” reports.

“(E)ven in the diplomatic corridors between US and Pakistan…(M)edia reporters here suggest(ed) that hundreds of recruits have been exported from Pakistan.”

The issue was discussed with John Kerry on his recent Islamabad visit.

“The matter was also taken up with CENTCOM (US Central Command) chief, General Lloyd Austin, during his visit to Islamabad earlier this month,” an unnamed source said.

Reuters was told Al Salafi is a Pakistani-Syrian. Came to Pakistan via Turkey. Arrived five months ago. Established a Pakistani-based IS group.

Local media report growing internal IS influence. Citing incidents in Lahore and Multan. Where IS flags and graffiti are clearly visible.

Last year, Obama began bombing claimed IS sites in Iraq and Syria. Washington wants unchallenged regional control.

Fear-mongering is longstanding US practice. Obama nonsensically calls IS “unique…If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond (the) region, including to the United States,” he claims.

Washington’s objectives include controlling regional oil. Installing pro-Western puppet regimes.

Balkanizing Iraq into the Kurdish north, Baghdad center and Basra south. Controlling the country more effectively this way.

Ousting Assad. Eliminating a key Israeli rival. Replacing him with a US-friendly stooge. Isolating Iran. Its turn awaits US regime change plans.

America’s dark side threatens world peace. Obama wants congressional authority for unconstrained war. Billions of dollars in funding.

America’s longstanding business is war. Obama calls it US “leadership.” International law calls it naked aggression.

Based on Big Lies. With no just cause. No existential or other threats. No legal standing regardless of congressional action.

Security Council members alone may authorize war. Every US post-WW II one was illegal. Including ongoing direct and proxy ones. New ones planned.

War is America’s strategy of choice. Permanent ones. Dirty ones. Waged without mercy. Against nations US forces can easily roll over.

How many more countries will America ravage and destroy? How many more victims will die?

Wars won”t end when Obama leaves office. Whoever replaces him will continue them seamlessly. Wage new ones.

Expect no end to mass slaughter and destruction. Not as long as lunatics run the Washington asylum.

The only solution is nonviolent revolution. The alternative is continued death, destruction and growing homeland repression.

Tyranny by any standard. Masquerading as democracy works only for so long. America’s dark side is to ugly to hide.

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. 

Israeli politicians responded with outrage to Hizballah’s attack on Wednesday on an Israeli military convoy close to the Lebanese border. Anti-tank missiles killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven more.

With Israel and Hizballah at the closest point to a major confrontation since their month-long war in 2006, Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called for a “very harsh and disproportionate” response.

Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, echoed him. “To those who are challenging us in the north, I suggest you look at what happened in the Gaza Strip,” he said, referring to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge last summer that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians.

Following the soldiers’ deaths, Israel struck southern Lebanon, killing a United Nations peacekeeper. It is unclear if or what further action Israel intends to take.

But the truth is that Hizballah’s attack was the very minimum retaliation Israel could realistically expect following an air strike earlier this month on one of Hizballah’s convoys in southern Syria.

That attack, on January 18, killed six Hizballah commanders and several members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, including a general.

Israel’s offensive could not have been timed to inflict greater humiliation on Hizballah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Two days before, he had made a speech in which he warned Israel against launching attacks into Syria and threatened that Hizballah would respond with long-range rockets.

Hizballah appears to want this episode to draw to a close. Israel’s defence minister, Moshe Yaalon, confirmed on Thursday that he had received such a message from Hizballah delivered through UN peacekeepers. Iran, however, may be planning its own retaliation.

The more pressing question is whether Israel will let the matter drop.

On Thursday, Netanyahu sought to place the blame on Iran rather than Hizballah: “It is Iran that stands behind the attack on us yesterday from Lebanon.”

Opportunistic attack

There are grounds for suspecting that Israel’s original January 18 strike had little or nothing to do with its stated aim: to prevent an imminent attack on Israel.

More likely, it was partly opportunistic – according to Israeli media reports, the Iranian general left on a cell phone, revealing his location – partly driven by Netanyahu’s personal calculations as he faces elections, and partly strategic.

As ever, Netanyahu is desperate to cast Iran in the role of bogeyman, in the hope of upsetting the talks between Tehran and the western powers on Iran’s nuclear energy programme – his own political hobby horse. Those negotiations have shown signs of progress.

Netanyahu has already mobilised much of the US Congress to his side, with US legislators threatening to impose tougher sanctions on Iran.

The emphasis Netanyahu places on subverting the negotiations can be inferred from his decision to infuriate the White House by engineering an invite to address the Congress in early March to further his cause.

Hizballah and Iran are therefore keen to avoid stepping into Netanyahu’s trap. Wednesday’s deadly attack was carefully calibrated to make it hard for him to escalate matters further.

The anti-tank missiles were fired into an area known as the Shebaa Farms, a seven-mile strip of mountainous territory between Lebanon and Syria. Sovereignty over the area is disputed.

Lebanon claims it as Lebanese, a position traditionally backed by Syria. But Israel argues it is part of the Syrian Golan Heights and was therefore illegally annexed to Israel along with the Heights back in 1981. Under much pressure from Israel and Washington, the United Nations has backed Israel’s claim.

In practice, however, the Shebaa Farms is territory no one controls. Israel Ziv, the former head of Israeli army operations, explained to Israeli journalists on Wednesday the “gentleman’s agreement” with Hizballah. “Generally, what happens in Shebaa, stays in Shebaa,” he said.

Playing it cautious

That was obviously Hizballah’s working assumption as it launched its strike on Wednesday.

Had it hit from Syria, it risked opening the door to more Israeli attacks on Syrian army positions, further weakening the regime as it struggles against opposition forces trying to topple it.

And had it launched the missiles into Israel from Lebanon, it would have justified a stiffer Israeli response against Lebanon, drawing Beirut into the Syrian war and unleashing a wave of domestic criticism of Hizballah.

The Shia militia also indicated its desire to close the matter by firing precise missiles at a military target rather than, as Nasrallah had suggested before Israel’s attack on January 18, by launching rockets at Israeli communities in the north.

Further, no effort appears to have been made to capture any of the surviving soldiers, as Hizballah did in 2006, triggering the war with Israel. Certainly a captured soldier would have raised the pressure on Netanyahu considerably to escalate hostilities.

In truth, the Israeli elections may actually stay Netanyahu’s hand. Should he seek a major escalation, Israeli military analyst Ron Ben Yishai noted, his opponents would accuse him of waging a “political war”, and one that would inevitably result in Hizballah rocket fire on Israel.

Influential columnist Ari Shavit concluded similarly: “The Israeli people will neither forgive nor forget the one who brings missiles to Ben-Gurion Airport, to the Kirya government and IDF compound, and to Tel Aviv’s skyscrapers.”

More likely, Netanyahu will seek to contain events for the time being.

Confrontation looming

Nonetheless, sooner or later Israel can be expected to push for a major confrontation with Hizballah and Iran in Syria.

Israel’s generals are concerned that the two may gain a permanent foothold in Quneitra province, the region on the other side of the ceasefire line