Turmoil Rocks Egypt: Morsi is Out

July 3rd, 2013 by Stephen Lendman

Events are fast moving. Russia Today‘s live Cairo video shows huge Tahir Square crowds. They’re nonviolent. They’re expectant. The mood’s electric.

Egyptian troops control key sites nationwide. Large contingents are deployed around Cairo.

Unconfirmed reports suggest Morsi’s under house arrest. Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) gave him 48 hours to yield. Do so or step down, it said. The deadline came and passed.

Reuters reported that SACF said it’s “ready to die to defend Egypt’s people against terrorists and fools.” It did so in response to Morsi. It headlined “The Final Hours.”

It did so hours after Morsi rejected a power sharing ultimatum. It expired Wednesday morning. Reuters said Egyptian troops control state television. Shoukry Abu Amira heads it. He confirmed it. Armored vehicles patrol outside.

Publicly Morsi remains defiant. “If the price for legitimacy is my blood,” he said, “then I am prepared to sacrifice my blood to legitimacy and my homeland.”

Privately it’s anyone’s guess if he means it. Perhaps he yielded power. Ultimately he has no choice. SCAF has final say. Reuters suggested he’ll resign or be sacked.

Late reports said he’s out. SCAF forcibly removed him. Ahramonline is the government’s official English language web site. It said military officials told Morsi he’s no longer head of state.

Coup d’etat power rules. Opposition crowds expected it. Their numbers exceed anything Egypt before experienced.

SCAF head Abdul Fatah al-Sisi and key commanders have final say. They’ll decide how things turn out.

Senio Muslim Brotherhood official Mohamed el-Beltagy said “(a)ny coup of any sort will only pass over our dead bodies.” Perhaps he has other thoughts now.

On Monday, he called for “families in all Egyptian governorates and villages to be prepared to take to the streets and fill squares.” He said do so to support Morsi. He’s history. He no longer matters.

Crowds opposing him dwarf supportive ones. Millions upset with his rule left him no choice. He reflects leadership without authority.

Travel bans against Muslim Brotherhood officials were issued. Prime Minister Hisham Kandil and Morsi’s ministers abandoned their offices.

SCAF’s expected to install new provisional council officials. Interior Minister General Muhammad Ibrahim placed police, internal security and intelligence forces at SCAF’s disposal.

Coup d’etat authority rules. Events remain extremely fluid. Separate incidents claimed 16 lives. Many injuries were reported.

Reports suggest SCAF plans a new constitution. New elections will be called. They’ll be held soon as possible.

Morsi’s election was tainted. His fate is unknown. Perhaps he’ll remain a powerless figurehead. Maybe he’ll stay that way until someone replaces him. Post-Mubarak, SCAF took power. It did so again.

Obama tried to save Morsi. So did Joint Chiefs chairman General Martin Dempsey. They urged SCAF not to issue a 48-hour ultimatum. They proposed leaving him in office, stripping him of power, and installing a transitional government ahead of new elections.

Reports said SCAF head al-Sisi rejected Washington’s demands. Unconfirmed ones said Washington sent or plans sending hundreds of US troops to Egypt.

Perhaps special forces are there. On June 19, a Fort Hood press release headlined “6-9 Cav. to support peacekeeping in Sinai,” saying:

“The 1st Cavalry Division announced today a battalion task force from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team will deploy to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula this summer as part of the Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping force.”

A 40+ US battalion is involved. Perhaps greater numbers are now. Sinai deployment maybe shifted to Cairo.

A so-called Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) is composed of troops from 13 governments. It’s trained in riot control. It’s mandate is controlling violence. Its mission is serving US imperial interests.

Events continue fast moving. Updated reports follow others moments earlier. Tanks are deployed in central Cairo.

Morsi’s government is crumbling. On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr resigned. So did military advisor General Sami Anan.

Senior judges and police officials joined anti-Morsi protesters. SCAF promises intervention if he fails “to heed the will of the people.” His deadline passed to do so.

Muslim Brotherhood officials were arrested. Reports suggest they’ll be tried for crimes in office. Morsi’s last message was resist. He urged doing so peacefully.

Angry protesters want him out. They got what they asked for. The Military dictatorship replaced him. Expect final outcome to same old, same old.

Replacing Mubarak accomplished nothing. Expect nothing different this time. Democracy’s verboten. Popular needs aren’t addressed.

Nothing going forward looks promising. Expect festering anger to continue. In time it’ll again erupt. Perhaps much more violently.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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 Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Two and a half years after the Egytian uprising, the country is at a simultaneously perilous and exciting crossroads. The situation is immediately perilous because it appears that Egypt’s options for the immediate future are either a continuation of the quintessentially flawed governance by the Muslim Brotherhood or a military coup that would return the Mubarak era (and US-inclined) military to power. At the same time, the revolutionary fervour of the people is inspiring and optimistic. These are not the Egyptians of years past. While their initial revolution may have been co-opted (as evidenced by the rise to power of Morsi and the Brotherhood), that uprising awakened something in them that cannot be put down – an urgency and a defiance that will not stop, that will continue to pour out into the streets by the tens of millions, until their grievances are properly addressed and the country is transformed and governed to serve their needs.

The Morsi government does not serve the Egyptian people, which is no surprise. Morsi and the Brotherhood were not directly involved in the initial revolution of 2011. They waited in the wings and then high jacked the outcome. So let it be stressed that they are not the result of the revolution. Their principles and their post-revolution policies and practices are antithetical to any authentic revolutionary change in the service of the Egyptian people.

All efforts of the Brotherhood to divert attention to issues of religion notwithstanding, the main issues plaguing the Egyptian people internally are economic (i.e., unemployment, poverty) and politico-economic. And externally, Egypt has to begin to address the military and political stranglehold imposed upon it for decades by the US and Israel and their interests in the region.

Rather than effectively address real and pressing matters, Morsi has been creating and exasperating so-called religious and sectarian cleavages, while resurrecting centuries old (and diversionary) retrograde religious debates that have nothing to do with the current realities, grievances and desires of the Egyptian people. His government has refused to work in cooperation with other groups within the country. The Brotherhood has excluded other opposition movements and concentrated authority in its hands, filling several top government posts with its own members [1].

At the same time, the Brotherhood has assured western powers of its commitment to free-market capitalism [2] and is negotiating IMF loans. IMF loans always come with heavy conditions, known as structural adjustment programs (SAPs), which are ultimately bad for the local economy and people but prosperous for foreign interests and “investors.”

SAPs open up domestic markets to Western “direct investment” and privatization. This will ultimately serve to further enrich Western multinational corporations and private industries, while limiting access to much-needed public services (through privatization).

Overall, the Brotherhood is bad for Egypt and it will be great if they are made to step down. However, a military coup that sees many Mubarak-era, US-backed generals and military leaders hold power is also bad for the county and its people. Egypt is between a political rock and a hard place. While a military coup may sound like a “solution” compared to a Morsi government, that is not what Egypt needs for the long run. Military rule will bring Egypt back to where it was after the election when the military, under Tantawi, refused to hand power over to an interim civilian authority. Moreover, through the military, the US may eventually be able to ensure another puppet regime that does not serve the interests of the Egyptian people.

For western powers, it ultimately does not matter who rules Egypt—secular or Islamist—as long as the leadership allies with their economic and geo-political interests and agendas. It is likely that powerful western states were willing and happy to back an acquiescent Morsi government but are now waiting to see which way the popular winds will blow. If Morsi steps down or is forced out in the coming hours or days, then it is likely that the US and Israel will eventually attempt to influence the policies and direction of the nation through the military, and beyond.

In the face of this, Egypt needs a truly revolutionary, grass roots opposition; it requires a coalition of oppositional forces that can band together to address Egypt’s internal issues while avoiding the pitfalls of being Israel’s largest neighbour. What Egypt needs is an oppositional force that is truly revolutionary, is concerned with the poor, unemployed and the working class and is not beholden to, or a puppet of, western powers. Getting there will be no easy task but the people of Egypt have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate an unwillingness to go backwards. That is something to celebrate even if the immediate future is somewhat perilous.

Ghada Chehade is an independent political analyst, poet, and activist. She holds a PhD from McGill University www.ghadachehade.com

Notes

[1] http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m98786&hd=&size=1&l=e


[2] http://www.opendemocracy.net/fawaz-gerges/new-capitalists- islamists-political-economy

Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser – a key American foreign policy architect (Zbigniew Brzezinski) – wrote in 1970:

The [future] era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.

In 1975, the head of the Senate committee investigating illegal spying and harassment by the U.S. government – Senator Frank Church – said about the NSA:

I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

The NSA has operated outside the law and without supervision by either Congress or the courts.  And seethis and this.

Indeed, in 1991, a House intelligence committee report found “very limited internal oversight of the Agency [NSA] programs,” as well as no supervision of the agency by either the Defense Department Inspector General’s Office or the congressional watchdog agency, the General Accountability Office (GAO).

The same year, a report prepared by the Defense Department’s inspector general confirmed:

NSA did not have sufficient oversight mechanisms to ensure the Agency efficiently accomplished its mission.

Senator Church also warned in 1975:

[NSA's] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.  [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.

The NSA has, of course, turned its capability around on the American people.

Top NSA whistleblower William Binney – the former head of the National Security Agency’s global digital data gathering program – held his thumb and forefinger close together over a year ago, and said:

We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state

Another high-level NSA whistleblower – Thomas Drake – has also warned that mass surveillance is leading to tyranny.

And another NSA whistleblower – Russ Tice – agrees.

No wonder whistleblower Edward Snowden says:

[If people don't oppose the surveillance state now] it will be turnkey tyranny.

You might also want to listen to what a government official who actually worked for a tyrannical government thinks about the American spying program.  A lieutenant colonel in Stasi East Germany told McClatchy:

You know, for us, this would have been a dream come true.  So much information, on so many people.

The dark side to gathering such a broad, seemingly untargeted, amount of information is obvious.

It is the height of naivete to think that once collected this information won’t be used. This is the nature of secret government organizations.

Postscript: Mass surveillance doesn’t even help keep us safe.

Hands Off Snowden Campaign

July 3rd, 2013 by Stephen Lendman

Snowden acted heroically. He did so at great risk. He exposed lawless US spying. He represents a noble tradition. Others did before him. Allies do it now. Legions more are needed. Hopefully they’ll be emboldened to help.

Doing so exposes fascist state governance. People need to know. America’s by far the worst. Activists want Snowden helped. More on that below.

He released a statement, saying:

“One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth.”

“My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will.”

“I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.”

“On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic ‘wheeling and dealing’ over my case.”

“Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.”

“This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.”

“For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum.”

“Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country.”

“The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person.”

“Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.”

“In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless.”

“No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised – and it should be.”

“I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

Edward Joseph Snowden

Separately he said:

“I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest.”

“No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world.”

“While the public has cried out support of my shining a light on this secret system of injustice, the Government of the United States of America responded with an extrajudicial man-hunt costing me my family, my freedom to travel, and my right to live peacefully without fear of illegal aggression.”

Perhaps Obama’s intimidation campaign worked. Ecuador’s Rafael Correa backtracked. He did so disgracefully. He considers helping Snowden a mistake. He distanced himself from earlier comments. He’s not considering asylum.

“Are we responsible for getting him to Ecuador,” he asked? “It’s not logical. The country that has to give him a safe conduct document is Russia.”

“Mr. Snowden’s situation is very complicated, but in this moment he is in Russian territory and these are decisions for the Russian authorities.”

Initially Correa suggested support, saying:

“We will analyze very responsibly the Snowden case and with absolute sovereignty will make the decision we consider the most appropriate.”

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino criticized Washington, saying:

“The one who is denounced pursues the denouncer. The man who tries to provide light and transparency to issues that affect everyone is pursued by those who should be giving explanations about the denunciations that have been presented.”

Snowden expressed gratitude, saying:

“I must express my deep respect for your principles and sincere thanks for your government’s action in considering my request for political asylum.”

“There are few world leaders who would risk standing for the human rights of an individual against the most powerful government on earth, and the bravery of Ecuador and its people is an example to the world.”

“A temporary Ecuadorean travel document helped him. It substituted for his revoked US passport.”

“The decisive action of your consul in London, Fidel Narvaez, guaranteed my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong.

“I could never have risked travel without that. Now, as a result, and through the continued support of your government, I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest.”

Correa fell on his sword. He did so for Washington. He betrayed his alleged principles. Perhaps he lacked sincerity in the first place. Bending to America is shameless. Challenging it matters most.

Snowden remains unbowed. Few match his courage. He shames world leaders. He dares take on America courageously. Activists support him.

He applied to at least 21 countries for asylum. They include Ecuador (now denied), Iceland, Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Brazil, Nicaragua, Russia (now retracted), China, India, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Finland, and Switzerland.

Nine countries rejected him. They include Ecuador, Brazil, India, Poland, Italy, Spain, Norway, Finland, and Austria. Rejections reflected pro-Western subservience.

Excuses are easy to make. Profiles in courage require tough-minded support what’s right.

He’s in limbo. He’s a man without a country. He’s in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport’s transit area. He awaits word from one or more nations willing to accept him.

Maybe Venezuela will. On June 27, President Nicolas Maduro said:

“No one has requested us asylum for him, but if he wants, Venezuela is willing to protect this brave young man in a humanitarian way, so that humanity knows the truth.”

On July 1, the International Business Times headlined “Maduro Offers Asylum to Ed Snowden During Official Visit to Russia; Is The NSA Leaker Going to Venezuela?”

Maduro’s in Moscow. He’s attending the second Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF). He said:

“Nobody has asked us yet” for asylum. “(B)ut if he did, we would consider it very seriously.”

He deserves a “humanitarian medal. If this young man is punished, nobody in the world will ever dare to tell the truth.”

“Snowden is a man who told the truth and demands protection under international human rights law,” he added.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales said he’s “ready to give political asylum to people who expose spying activities….If we receive a request, we are willing to consider it.”

On July 2, RIA Novosti said Snowden withdrew his Russian asylum request. He did so in response to Vladimir Putin’s conditions. On Monday he said:

“If (Snowden) wants to go (to another country) and is accepted, he can. If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: He must stop his work aimed at harming our US partners, no matter how strange this may sound coming from me.”

According to The Hill, “high level” US/Russian discussions involve “find(ing) a solution over the extradition of Snowden.”

What’s ongoing isn’t clear. Earlier Putin said:

“Russia has never extradited anyone and is not going to do so. Same as no one has ever been extradited to Russia.”

Hopefully he means it. Challenging America matters. So does protecting Snowden. Activists are on board to help.

RootsAction.org‘s petition campaign headlined “Mr. President, Hands Off Edward Snowden!”

“I urge you in the strongest terms to do nothing to interfere with the travels or political asylum process of Edward Snowden.”

“The US government must not engage in abduction or any other form of foul play against Mr. Snowden.”

Doing the right thing is its own reward. RootsAction urges Snowden supporters to sign its petition in his behalf. It’s goal is 50,000 signatures. It has nearly 47,000. It’s almost there.

It won’t stop. Perhaps 100,000 or more is possible. Millions are needed. Signing shows support. We’re all Edward Snowden.

A separate petition demanding Obama pardon Snowden has over 120,000 signatures.

Washington seeks unchallenged world dominance. It’s waging global wars for it. It’s ravaging one country after another.

It ruthlessly persecutes opponents. It targets whistleblowers unconscionably. It wants truth-tellers silenced. It wants its message alone heard.

It mocks democratic values. It spurns rule of law principles. It operates secretly and intrusively. It wants independent governments toppled. It’s waging war on freedom. It’s ravaging humanity globally.

Stopping it matters most. Humanity’s survival depends on it. Restoring constitutional protections is essential. Freedom’s too precious to lose.

Fundamental First Amendment rights matter. Without them all others are at risk. On July 1, the Electronic Frontier Foundation headlined “Restore the Fourth Campaign Organizes Protests Against Unconstitutional Surveillance.”

On July 4, concerned Americans will mobilize on streets nationwide. They’ll do in support of Fourth Amendment rights. It protects against lawless searches and seizures.

Out-of-control spying threatens them. Restore the Fourth matters. Americans are on their own. If they won’t challenge US lawless, who will?

If they won’t mobilize for Fourth Amendment protections, no one will do it for them. On July 4 and every day, get involved for freedom.

Sign the Stop Watching Us petition. It states in part:

NSA spying “represent(s) a stunning abuse of our basic rights. We demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA’s spying programs.”

“This type of blanket data collection by the government strikes at bedrock American values of freedom and privacy.”

“This dragnet surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens’ right to speak and associate anonymously, guard against unreasonable searches and seizures, and protect their right to privacy.”

“We are calling on Congress to take immediate action to halt this surveillance and provide a full public accounting of the NSA’s and the FBI’s data collection programs.”

“We call on Congress to immediately and publicly:

1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the US is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court.

2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance.

3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.”

Nothing less is acceptable! Not now! Not ever!

A new update shows over 500,000 people signed the Stop Watching Us campaign. Perhaps over a million will.

A Final Comment

July 4 protests are scheduled in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont (July 3), Virginia (July 1), and Washington (on July 6).

Major city protests include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, Hartford, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Indianapolis, Boston, Louisville, Minneapolis, Kansas City, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Charlotte, Raleigh, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Portland, OR, Philadelphia, and Chattanooga.

Hopefully millions will mobilize across America. And not just on July 4.

It bears repeating. If ordinary people won’t fight for their rights, no one will do it for them! Precious ones are too important to lose. Restoring them matters most.

People power alone can do it. Doing so makes government of, by and for everyone possible. The alternative’s too grim to accept.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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 Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/hands-off-snowden-campaign/

The argument that the UK and the EU need GMO technology to increase production and improve its agriculture is flawed according to a new report. GM farming in the US is falling behind the UK and EU’s non-GM methods.

University of Canterbury (UC) researchers have found that the GM strategy used in North American staple crop production is limiting yields and increasing pesticide use compared to non-GM farming in Western Europe.

The team led by Professor Jack Heinemann analysed data on agricultural productivity in North America and Western Europe over the last 50 years.

Western Europe and North America are highly similar in types of crops grown, latitude, mechanisation and farmer education.

The findings have been published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability.

Non-GM leads the field

“We found that the combination of non-GM seed and management practices used by Western Europe is increasing corn yields faster than the use of the GM-led package chosen by the US,” said Prof. Heinemann.

The research showed rapeseed (canola) yields increasing faster in Europe without GM than in the GM-led package chosen by Canada; and is decreasing chemical herbicide and achieving even larger declines in insecticide use without sacrificing yield gains, all this whilst chemical herbicide use in the US has increased with GM seed.

Heinemann added that “Europe has learned to grow more food per hectare and use fewer chemicals in the process. The American choices in biotechnology are causing it to fall behind Europe in productivity and sustainability.”

GM hinders choice and progress

The report points out that; agriculture responds to commercial and legislative incentive systems which take the form of subsidies, intellectual property rights instruments, tax incentives, trade promotions and regulation.

It concludes that these incentive systems in North America are leading to a reliance on GM seeds and management practices that are inferior to those being adopted under the incentive systems in Europe.

This is also affecting non GM crops

US yield in non-GM wheat is falling further behind Europe, “demonstrating that American choices in biotechnology penalise both GM and non-GM crop types relative to Europe” according to Prof Heinemann.

“The decrease in annual variation in yield suggests that Europe has a superior combination of seed and crop management technology and is better suited to withstand weather variations. This is important because annual variations cause price speculations that can drive hundreds of millions of people into food poverty.”

Away from GM, towards diversity, resilience and productivity

Some frightening statistics are covered in the report, not just about GM, but of the general move toward depleted genetic diversity and the consequently potential catastrophic risk to staple food crops.

For example, according to FAO figures; ‘China, of the nearly 10,000 wheat varieties in use in 1949, only 1,000 remained in the 1970s . . . In the United States, 95 per cent of the cabbage, 91 per cent of the field maize, 94 per cent of the pea, and 81 per cent of the tomato varieties cultivated in the last century have been lost’.

GM and the control of seeds through patents, restricting farmer choice and preventing seed saving have exacerbated this problem.

Professor Heinemann, who was a lead author of the International Assessment of Agriculture Knowledge Science and Technology (IAASTD), concludes:

“We need more than agriculture; we need agricultures – a diversity of practices for growing and making food that GM does not support; we need systems that are useful, not just profit-making biotechnologies – we need systems that provide a resilient supply to feed the world well.”

Resources:

Jack A. Heinemann , Melanie Massaro , Dorien S. Coray , Sarah Zanon Agapito-Tenfen & Jiajun Dale Wen (2013): Sustainability and innovation in staple crop production in the US Midwest, International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, DOI:10.1080/14735903.2013.806408

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14735903.2013.806408

Global dominion over all borders? Indeed, it appears that Washington DC has that power now. Remember that great puppet show parody film?

That piece of comedy became reality yesterday when the Presidential plane of Bolivian leader Evo Morales was grounded in Austria on the orders of Washington DC, because it was suspected that ex-CIA analyst-cum-NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was being smuggled on board out of Russia.

But in this instance, TEAM AMERICA can only succeed with the full cooperation of its European cohorts.

TEAM AMERICAIf there is a global government in the works, then that new government would need the barriers of borders and national laws to be broken down so as to enable international dragnets, and border-less, total jurisdiction by a global police force. This latest event indicates that this threshold has already been passed. Their message is clear: that there is no safe haven on this planet for whistleblowers.

This reckless move by the Obama White House has already triggered an international reaction throughout South America:
“Everyone has gone insane. The head of state and his plane have total immunity. This level of impunity is unprecedented,” tweeted Argentine President Cristina Kirchner.

Ecuador suggested an emergency meeting of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) after the incident Tuesday. 

The question remains – where is Ed Snowden and where is he heading? We are told that he is still residing in Moscow International’s transit area, although no one in the international media has been able to visually ID him yet.

What we do know is that his PR is being handled by Iceland-based Wikileaks, and his father Lonnie Snowden has retained Neocon and AIPAC-linked lawyer Bruce Fein in a bid to negotiate his return to the US.

So far, Snowden’s asylum results are thus far as follows: 1 withdrawn, 9 denied, and 11 others pending.

The world waits with bated breath…

A hidden microphone has been discovered in the Ecuadorian ambassador’s office in London, said Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patino. He denounced the find as yet more evidence of the loss of ethics at an international level in government relations.

“We regret to inform that we have found a hidden microphone in the London embassy,” said Patino at a press conference He added that he had received intelligence that pointed at the origin of the security breach and would reveal it later on Wednesday.

The device itself had been discovered almost three weeks ago on June 16 in the office of the Ecuadorian Ambassador to the UK, Ana Alban, in a routine security check ahead of Patino’s visit.

“I did not bring this up before because I didn’t want my visit to London to hold talks on Julian Assange to be confused with accusations over this surveillance device found in the ambassador’s office,” he told press.

The head of the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry stated that he would have to consult with President Rafael Correa on the issue and they would require an explanation from the country responsible.

Moreover, Patino clarified that he was not insinuating this discovery had anything to do with the US spy network, revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Patino went on to voice his concerns that the Ecuadorian government was being “infiltrated from all sides.”

“This is a testament to the loss of ethics at an international level in the relations that we have with other governments,” noted Patino.

 

Ecuadorean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ricardo Patino speaks during a press conference in Quito on July 2, 2013. (AFP Photo/Rodrigo Buendia)

Ecuadorean Minister of Foreign Affairs Ricardo Patino speaks during a press conference in Quito on July 2, 2013. (AFP Photo/Rodrigo Buendia)

During his visit to London, Patino held negotiations with his British counterpart, William Hague, to push for the safe-conduct of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, to Ecuador where he has been granted asylum. Assange has now been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over a year as UK authorities threaten to arrest him if he sets foot outside the diplomatic mission. 

The British government refused to grant Assange safe passage to Ecuador and reiterated their commitment to extradite the whistleblower to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over accusations of sexual assault.

Ecuador is also currently assessing the asylum request of former CIA employee Edward Snowden, who is held up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. He is currently unable to travel as his passport is invalid.

Washington has issued an extradition order against Snowden under the espionage act and called for international cooperation in returning him to American jurisdiction.

The US threatened the Ecuadorian government with taking away a lucrative customs tax agreement if the Latin American country grants Snowden asylum.

The Ecuadorean government reacted with ire, stating that in the face of “insolence” and “threats,” Ecuador will renounce its trade benefits with the US.

Big Brother USA: Surveillance, Secrecy and Control

July 3rd, 2013 by Prof Rodrigue Tremblay

We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”(George Orwell, 1903-1950, Eric Arthur Blair, English novelist, essayist, and social critic, (author of the book “1984”)

“I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.” (Edward Snowden (1983- ), American patriot who revealed the Police State tactics of the U.S. government, (June 10, 2013)

In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material—and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an ‘executive coup’ against the U.S. Constitution.” (Daniel Ellsberg (1931- ) American economist and military analyst. (In 1971, during the Richard Nixon administration, he released a top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War)

“When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal. By definition.” Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994), (British reporter David Frost’s interview with President Richard Nixon broadcast in May 1977)

Some American presidents reveal their true character only during their second terms. Without the obligation to campaign for a re-election and with leaks of past misbehavior, the mask of pretense falls and the person’s true colors show. Then more inappropriate behavior and abuse of power follow and scandal tends to pile upon scandal. It happened to President Richard M. Nixon, also known as “tricky Dick”. It is now happening to President Barack H. Obama.

In the case of President Richard Nixon, his second term was mired by a series of events surrounding the Watergate Scandal and other allegations of political spying and sabotage conducted on behalf of his 1972 re-election. On October 20, 1973, Nixon used strong-armed tactics to have Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had been appointed to investigate the Watergate scandal and White House cover-ups, fired. Soon afterwards, impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives began, resulting in President Nixon’s resignation less than one year later, on August 9, 1974.

 President Barack Obama has begun his second term with a series of scandals. Just a few months after his re-election, instances of abuse of power began to surface at a fast pace. The most serious scandal is the revelation that the U.S. government is involved in warrantless surveillance, keeping track of telephone calls and Internet emails of Americans, including those of journalists and reporters.

 This revelation, in addition to the fact that the Obama administration has had the IRS targeting conservative groups—a throw-back to the Nixon administration targeting the income tax returns of Nixon’s “enemies”—is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizure, and of the First Amendment that prohibits the making of any law … infringing on the freedom of the press.

 It is very difficult for a police state-to-be to be respectful of the country’s constitution, because when a government gives itself the power to access private financial, medical, consumer sales records like book purchases, besides Toll records, phone calls and Internet communications and searches, without the consent of the law abiding individuals concerned and with no court order, it nearly automatically attacks the democratic rights of privacy of the people. When government officials secretly snoop on citizens and begin infringing on individual freedom and privacy, the worm is in the apple.

A country cannot be a totalitarian state and a democratic state at the same time. —It has to choose one way or the other. I would add that it cannot be both a military empire and a democratic republic, either. That is because an empire requires a high degree of centralization of power and information, while a democracy needs a decentralization of power and information. Historically, when a country became imperialistic and militaristic, like Germany in the 1930s, it also ceases being democratic even if for a while it keeps the trappings of democracy.

 What is troubling in the case of the Obama administration and in the case of the preceding Bush administration is the admission by surveillance officials that they were proceeding according to “secret laws” or “secret interpretations of laws”, that they were alone judge and jury.

 During the Nixon impeachment hearings, much was made about the crucial distinction between a “government of men” vs. a “government of laws“. If men in power can do whatever they want, irrespective of due process, the country is not a democracy. It may be a royalty, an empire or a dictatorship, but it is not a democratic republic.

 There would not be a new debate about these issues if some people had not stepped forward to provide information about what those men were doing in secrecy. Indeed, in June 2013, a young American named Edward Snowden, who can only be considered a true patriot since he has the U.S. Constitution on his side, rendered a tremendous service to his fellow Americans and to humanity in revealing the Police State tactics used by the U.S. government to follow the private whereabouts of law abiding citizens. For this courageous and deserving act, Edward Snowden should probably be awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, if that distinction has any meaning after a committee of Norwegian politicians wrongfully awarded it, in 2009, to Barack Hussein Obama who hardly deserved it, having done nothing to promote peace and freedom besides uttering vague pronouncements, and having instead increased drone killings of innocent people around the world.

 What we must realize, indeed, is that the government, politicians and bureaucrats never have enough information on the citizens they are supposed to serve, and they can be expected to use all the available techniques to obtain it.

Freedom and individual liberty are always threatened by governments that have force on their side, all the more so when the technology becomes available to watch individuals and would-be government critics, blackmail them, intimidate them and reduce them to silence and, ultimately, to de facto silent and docile robots. A truly respectable statesman would refrain from such practice, but ordinary politicians and their entourage can be expected to place the government agenda front and center and their personal interests and those of their allies above the common good.

 Indeed, while it is true that the moral ground of any administration is set by whoever is president at the time, it is his entourage, the permanent as well as the transient bureaucracy that wishes to extend its power to the limit. In any government, there will always be a John Yoo or a Kenneth Wainstein who will justify extending the Police State embrace to its utmost. There will always be a sycophant within the administration who is going to write a “legal” memo to justify torture, to install a warrantless snooping system on the private lives of individuals or to justify launching an illegal war of aggression against another country. That is to be expected.

That is why the character of the people we elect to the highest office is of paramount importance, because they choose what type of people will run the government. They even choose who sits on the Supreme Court. When people realize that they have been duped, it is usually too late. The damage is already done. The only recourse, when available, is to initiate costly impeachment proceedings.

 Now, thanks to Edward Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald, we know that the U.S. government, and the governments of four other “democratic” countries (the so-called “second-party partners”: U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand) have amassed tons of electronic information on the private lives of every citizen in their country, without the knowledge of the people themselves, thus opening the door to blackmail, intimidation, repression and any other abuse you can imagine. With a code and a name, they can zoom in on one individual and know everything about him or her. And you can be sure that once that information has been collected, the circle of those who will have access to such private information will get wider and wider. —Frightening stuff indeed.

 And don’t expect to get the truth from government officials, since the U.S. Director of National Intelligence apparatus, James Clapper, has admitted that he had given U.S. Senators “the least untruthful answer possible” during a hearing on the issue of secret warrantless surveillance of Americans. If U.S. Senators are lied to, imagine the fate of the ordinary citizen! For instance, officials or politicians will tell you that such and such illegal program has been stopped, without telling you that it is continuing under a new name.

 What is scary is not only the lying and the illegality, but the Gestapo-like tactics of character assassination that supporters of the Police State launch against those who only followed their duty and conscience in revealing the secret unlawful attacks against the people’s constitutional rights. This is a pattern that one finds in a totalitarian state, not in a true democracy, and it is another indication that the political and moral decay runs deep in the American society, especially in the nomenklatura of the U.S. military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us against some fifty years ago.

Not surprisingly, the revelation about the extent of the Obama administration’s secret surveillance program on Americans has resulted in Barack Obama dropping in the polls and has spurred demands for his impeachment—and this only six months after his re-election. This is somewhat reminiscent of the Nixon era. It would be ironic if the first black American president goes down in history as the new Nixon!

We thought the Internet would liberate people. Little did we know it is turning into an instrument of tyranny in the hands of “Big Brother” government! “Big Brother” has found a way to open your emails and keep records of people you have contacted and who have communicated with you and who have communicated with other individuals that you don’t even know.  With the knowledge of these so-called contact chains, “Big Brother” is now in a position to know more about you than you do yourself!

 The sad truth is that we increasingly live in a managed democracy where elections are rigged, where propaganda is rampant and where a money aristocracy runs most of everything, using old-fashioned Soviet-style techniques of control and propaganda. In the U.S., when the huge Utah data gathering center that the government is building is completed, the government will have all the information it wants on any individual, and things will likely get much worse. This is because a global militaristic empire naturally needs a worldwide net of information on people. That is why also it must keep enlarging its global electronic espionage programs.

One totalitarian state disappears; another quickly takes its place. Maybe President Thomas Jefferson was right when he said that “every generation needs a new revolution.”                                                                                                                 

Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay, a Canadian-born economist, is the author of the book “The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, and of “The New American Empire”)

 Please visit the book site about ethics at: www.TheCodeForGlobalEthics.com/  Or click Here.

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From early in one’s life, an American is taught the law and American institutions of justice are great equalizers within our society, ensuring that everyone is treated the same, no matter one’s class, race, or ethnicity. Yet, what has been happening quite recently, especially within the past decade or so, is that we have been seeing an increasing breakdown in the rule of law and the use of the justice system to enforce injustices.

President Obama rode in on a high horse in the 2008 presidential elections, specifically on his slogan of hope and change. He rightly criticized the Bush administration on a number of issues, from the economy to the wars abroad, as well as the use of drones.[1]

Yet, Obama subsequently went and not only increased the use of drones, but used them to kill Anwar Al-Awlaki, an alleged member of Al Qaeda who was legally an American citizen at the time of his death.[2] However, the story gets even more shocking as not only does such as act create a legal precedent where the President can kill any US citizen that he deems a terrorist[3], but the Obama administration’s attorney general argued that such assassinations of American citizens on US soil “would be legal and justified in an extraordinary circumstance.’”[4] Some would argue that Attorney General Eric Holder cleared the entire domestic drone debacle when he sent a letter to Senator Rand Paul which read:

It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?” The answer to that question is no.[5]

However, the problem with that answer is the vagueness of the phrase “engaged in combat.” While it may seem obvious to someone what that phrase means, it becomes murky when one sees that the Defense Department has labeled protests as a form of low-level terrorism[6] and that environmental activists are being prosecuted as terrorists.[7] Does this means that protesters and environmental activists are “engaged in combat on American soil” and thus it is OK to attack them with armed drones?

This is deeply problematic as it essentially nullifies the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment and paves the way for future Presidents to potentially label their political opponents as terrorists or an enemy combatant (both have vague definitions), assassinate them with a drone, and hide the evidence under the guise of national security.

The breakdown of the rule of law has been furthered in the economic sphere as the wealthy elites are able to crash the economy and receive no jail time whatsoever, even though crimes were committed.[8] These economic elites are so powerful that even “the Department of Justice fears bringing criminal charges against them because of the possible repercussions such proceedings would have on the greater economy.”[9] The fact that these corporate fatcats can crash the economy without fear of prosecution is only a testament to their political and economic clout. They have established institutions that are so firmly entrenched within the American economy that even the Department of Justice fears the effects of bringing them to court.

These corporations have cheated the government out of what they owe by using tax havens or shell companies, as was the case with Apple.[10] This corporate tax evasion does not only send money overseas, but these corporations can tap that money at will by “simply by taking out loans and using foreign cash as collateral.”[11] Activity such as this reveals our two-tiered justice system where individuals get prison time for tax evasion, while bankers run free.[12]

A final- and perhaps the most disturbing of all of these examples- in the breakdown of the rule of law in America is that those who reveal injustices are harshly punished. Bradley Manning revealed information of US war crimes and was demonized as a traitor even though he had a legal duty to tell of these war crimes as “in the US Army Subject Schedule No. 27-1 is ‘the obligation to report all violations of the law of war.’”[13] Manning was treated with such harshness that the UN Torture Chief classified Manning’s treatment as being in “violation of his right to physical and psychological integrity as well as of his presumption of innocence.”[14] More recently, Edward Snowden released information that the US has been spying on its citizens and he has been deemed a traitor even though

Treason is the only crime specified in the Constitution, and here is what our founding document says about it, from Article Three, Section Three:

 

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

 

The Supreme Court has interpreted this to mean that no one can commit treason unless it’s with a country against whom our Congress has declared war. This means that neither the Vietnam War nor the Korean War nor the War on Terror can yield treasonous Americans, as none of these wars were declared by Congress.[15] (emphasis added)

The actual law is being ignored in order to demonize and prosecute those who go against the state.

Yet, what does this the breakdown of the rule of law mean for the United States? For one it means that the US is a nation where “There are two sets of laws: one set for the government and the corporations, and another set for you and me,”[16] yet on a deeper level it signals that the US is becoming more and more of an authoritarian state. There are many characteristics of authoritarianism that the US is currently engaged in or has shown since the dawn of the 21st century. They include

  • Constraints on political institutions (Think the political constraints on third parties[17])
  • Constraints on the mass public
  • Ill-defined executive power[18]

The descent of the US to an authoritarian nation signals the destruction of the rule of law. Yet, there is hope. We the people can reverse this situation, but we will have to work outside the system. We are our only hope.

Endnotes
  1.  Tom Curry, “Obama Continues, Expands Some Bush Terrorism Policies,” NBC News, June 6, 2013 (http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/06/18804146-obama-continues-extends-some-bush-terrorism-policies?lite)
  2.  Joshua Keating, “Was Anwar Al-Awlaki Still A US Citizen?” Foreign Policy, September 30, 2011 (http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/09/30/was_anwar_al_awlaki_still_a_us_citizen)f
  3.  Adam Serwer, “Obama’s Dangerous Awlaki Precedent,” Mother Jones, September 30, 2011 (http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2011/09/al-awlakis-innocence-beside-point#13725235717251&action=collapse_widget&id=3279092)
  4.  Jon Swaine, “Barack Obama ‘has authority to use drone strikes to kill Americans on US soil,” The Telegraph, March 6, 2013 (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/9913615/Barack-Obama-has-authority-to-use-drone-strikes-to-kill-Americans-on-US-soil.html)
  5.  Amy Davidson, “Rand Paul Gets A Letter From Eric Holder,” The New Yorker, March 7, 2013 (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2013/03/rand-paul-gets-a-letter-from-eric-holder.html)
  6.  American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU Challenges Defense Department Personnel Policy To Regard Lawful Protests as “Low-Level Terrorism,” http://www.aclu.org/national-security/aclu-challenges-defense-department-personnel-policy-regard-lawful-protests-%E2%80%9Clow-le, June 10, 2009
  7.  Kevin Gosztola, Environmental Activist, Prosecuted as If He Was Terrorist, Was Held in Isolation for Political Speech, Firedoglake, http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/04/01/environmental-activist-prosecuted-as-if-he-was-terrorist-was-held-in-isolation-for-political-speech/ (April 1, 2013)
  8.  All Gov, Why No Prison for Banksters Who Caused Financial Crisis…Yet?, http://www.allgov.com/news/top-stories/why-no-prison-for-banksters-who-caused-financial-crisisyet?news=842515, April 15, 2011
  9.  Halah Touryalai, “The Real Reason Wall Street Always Escapes Criminal Charges? The Justice Dept Fears The Aftermath,” Forbes, June 3, 2013 (http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2013/03/06/the-real-reason-wall-street-always-escapes-criminal-charges-the-justice-dept-fears-the-aftermath/)
  10.  Brendan Sasso, “Senate report: Apple using shell companies to dodge taxes,” The Hill, May 20, 2013 (http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/300791-senate-report-accuses-apple-of-using-shell-companies-to-dodge-taxes)
  11.  Christopher Matthews, “The Next Big Thing In Corporate-Tax Avoidance,” Time, April 3, 2013 (http://business.time.com/2013/04/03/the-next-big-thing-in-corporate-tax-avoidance/)
  12.  Jamie Satterfield, Ex-lawyer Sentenced to Prison For Tax Evasion,” Knoxnews, June 24, 2013 (http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/jun/24/ex-lawyer-sentenced-to-prison-for-tax-evasion/)
  13.  Marjorie Cohn, “Bradley Manning’s Legal Duty to Expose War Crimes,” Truthout, June 3, 2013 (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/16731-bradley-mannings-legal-duty-to-expose-war-crimes)
  14.  Kim Zetter, “UN Torture Chief: Bradley Manning Treatment Was Cruel, Inhuman,” Wired, March 12, 2012 (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/manning-treatment-inhuman/)
  15.  Evan Puschak, “Lawrence O’Donnell: Why Edward Snowden Cannot Be A Traitor,” MSNBC, June 25, 2013 (http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/06/25/why-edward-snowden-cannot-be-a-traitor/)
  16.  John W. Whitehead, The Age of Neo-Feudalism: A Government of the Rich, by the Rich, and for the Corporations, The Rutherford Institute, https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/the_age_of_neo_feudalism_a_government_of_the_rich_by_the_rich_and_for_the_c, January 28, 2013
  17.  Roy L. Behr, Edward H. Lazarus, Steven J. Rosenstone, Third Parties in America 2nd edition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), Chapter Two “Constraints on Third Parties”
  18.  Gretchen Casper, Fragile Democracies: The Legacies of Authoritarian Rule (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995), pg 40

Has Washington’s Arrogance Undone Its Empire?

July 3rd, 2013 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

No one likes a bully, and Washington’s NATO puppets have been bullied for six decades. British prime ministers, German chancellors, and French presidents have to salute and say “yes sir.”  

They all hate it, but they love Washington’s money; so they prostitute themselves and their countries for Washington’s money.  Even a person of Winston Churchill’s stature had to suck up to Washington in order to get his bills and his country’s bills paid.

But what the bought European leaders are finding is that Washington doesn’t pay enough for the prostitution required.  One year out of office Tony Blair was worth $35 million dollars. But that’s not enough to get Blair on the waiting list for $50 million 200 foot yachts, to have a chalet in Gstaad, $50 million penthouses in Paris and New York, and a private plane to fly between them, or to wear a $736,000 Franck Muller watch on his wrist, sign his name with a $700,000 Mont Blanc jewel-encrusted pen, and drink $10,000 “martinis on a rock” (gin or vodka poured over a diamond) at New York’s Algonquin Hotel.

In a world in which every member of the Forbes Four Hundred is a billionaire plus or multi-billionaire, $35,000,000 just doesn’t cut it. In 2006 the manager of one hedge fund was paid $1,700,000,000 for one year’s thieving. Another 25 were paid $575,000,000 for their skills in front-running trades. $35 million is probably the annual budget for their household servants.

The British seem content in their role as Washington’s favorite lackey, but France and Germany have not enjoyed that role. France’s last real leader, General DeGaul, would have nothing to do with it and refused to join NATO.  Germany, dismembered with East

Germany occupied by the Soviets, had no choice. Germans’ gratitude to President Reagan for their unification resulted in re-unified Germany falling under Washington’s hegemony. 

However, if news reports from Berlin are true, Germany has had enough. The catalyst was Edward Snowden’s revelations that Washington spies on everyone including its allies, both Germany and the EU in particular.  Moreover, Washington uses Britain as the Trojan Horse within the EU as a backup spy in case NSA misses something.

According to news reports, the German, French, and EU governments are upset to find out that their extreme subservience to Washington has not protected them and their citizens from being spied upon.  Here they are, fighting Washington’s wars in far distant Afghanistan, the fate of which is completely unrelated to their own, and what does Washington do but embarrass them by spying on the personal lives of their citizens.

Who does the Merkel government represent, Germans are asking, Germans or the NSA?  Why does the Merkel government kowtow to Washington?  The next question will be: “what does Washington’s spies have on Merkel?”

With the German government put on the spot by Washington’s betrayal, news headlines are: “Germany Ready to Charge UK and US Intelligence Over Bugging Operations.”  

Little wonder Washington and its media whores hate Edward Snowden. “A spokesman for the [German] Federal Prosecutor said the office was preparing to bring charges against” the UK and US intelligence services.  In light of the Snowden affair, it will be wonderful if Germany issues arrest warrants and Washington and London refuse to extradite its NSA and UK spy operatives who have violated every law and every trust.

The German Justice Minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenburger, demanded an “immediate explanation” why Washington was applying to Germany policies “reminiscent of the actions against enemies during the Cold War.”

The president of France has said that France will not again cooperate with Washington on any issue until France receives “full assurances” that Washington will cease spying on France.

The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, and the EU Commissioner for Justice, Viviane Reding, demand Washington’s answer to Snowden’s revelations that Washington has betrayed its own allies.

The question that must be asked is: do any of these protests from politicians who are almost certain to be on Washington’s payroll mean anything, or are they just make-believe protests to quiet the domestic European populations who have been betrayed by their elected leaders? Why would the French president and the German justice minister think any reassurance from Washington meant anything?  When in human memory has Washington told the truth about anything?  When has Washington’s reassurance meant anything?

The Tonkin Gulf?  Iraqi weapons of mass destruction? Iranian nukes? Assad’s sarin gas attack? FBI orchestrated “terror attacks”?  It is a proven fact that the US government lies every time it opens its mouth.  Compared to Washington,  Stalin, Hitler, Tojo, Mao, Castro, Chavez, and Pol Pot were truthful.

Washington’s reply to Europe’s demands for explanation is: “We will discuss these issues bilaterally with EU member states,” but “we are not going to comment publicly on specific alleged intelligence activities.”

You know what that means. Bilateral means that Washington is going to talk with each EU country separately, using the information the NSA has obtained to blackmail each complainant into silence.  Whereas the EU together could stand up to Washington, separately the countries can be browbeat and offered more money or threats that illicit love affairs will be revealed to shut them up.  Washington is betting on its power to intimidate individual countries with the threat of isolation and being cut off from money.  If the EU countries agree to the secret bilateral explanations from Washington, the affair will end and the spying on Europe will continue while the EU politicians deny that the spying continues.

By now the entire world must know that Washington is not merely lawless, but also totally out of control, reveling in arrogance and hubris, driven by desires for hegemony over the entire world. Washington is so paranoid and distrustful that it doesn’t even trust its own citizens or the European puppet governments that it has bought and paid for.

Washington is the only government that has ever used nuclear weapons, and Washington used them against a defeated government that was trying to surrender.

Today the craziness in Washington is much worse.  Decision-making councils are

full of crazed neoconservative war-mongers, such as National Security Advisor Susan Rice, a threat to humanity.  Washington think tanks and media are over-represented by neoconservatives such as William Kristol who wants to know “what good are nuclear weapons if you can’t use them?”

The sleazy European politicians and media who took Washington’s money provided for their own economic security, but they betrayed the security of the entire world.  By enabling Washington’s hegemony, they unleashed Washington’s arrogance.  This arrogance now threatens not merely the independence of every country but life on earth.

Instead of meeting unilaterally alone with Washington, the European countries should stand together.  After all, supposedly there is an EU. If there is an EU, Washington should meet with the EU, not with its constituent parts individually, no one of which can stand up to Washington’s intimidation and bribes.

If thermo-nuclear war is to be avoided and life is to continue on earth, Europe must disband NATO. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in the aftermath of World War II.  Its purpose was to prevent the powerful Red Army, which defeated Nazi Germany, from overrunning all of Western Europe.

The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, 22 years ago.  Yet, NATO still exists.  Moreover, against President Reagan’s intentions, NATO has grown. NATO now includes former constituent parts of the Soviet Empire, such as Eastern Europe, and former constituent parts of the Soviet Union itself, such as Georgia, the government of which is bought and paid for by Washington. The NGOs that Washington funds might even deliver Ukraine into Washington’s fold.

Egged on by Washington, Georgia initiated a war with present day Russia, which superior Russian forces quickly ended.  In the opinion of many, the Russian government showed far too much tolerance for its defeated enemy, which is being rearmed by Washington and encouraged into new military adventures. Washington is working to make Georgia, located in Asia between the Black and Caspian seas, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  NATO membership would make Georgia a treaty protectorate of Washington and its NATO puppets. Washington thinks that this elevation of Georgia would result in Russia acquiescing to Georgian aggression in order to avoid war with the US and NATO.

China, also, has been amazingly abused by Washington, and instead of replying in kind, has taken it in stride. This magnanimity on the part of the Chinese has been misinterpreted by Washington as fear.  The fear that Washington imagines is causing China to quake in its boots has encouraged Washington to surround China with new naval, air, and troop bases. The fact that however numerous are Washington’s bases in the Pacific and South China Sea, Washington itself is an ICBM away has not registered on the ignorant scum that rules Amerika. Overwhelmed by its hubris, Washington threatens all life on earth. 

Reform, Revolution, Reaction (1919-1929, 1979-1992)

History of Afghanistan is full of war, conflict and violence. It is also filled with revolutions; the struggle of the oppressed against the oppressor; heroic struggles against (neo)-colonialism and imperialism.

The Saur Revolution of 28 April 1978 (7 Saur 1357 in Afghan calendar) is probably the most significant event in contemporary Afghan history. Its predecessor was a radical reform movement that engulfed Afghanistan after the third Anglo-Afghan war-Afghan-a heroic resistance against British colonialism. The reforms initiated under Amanullah Khan the “progressive” King were actually the demands of the Constitutional Movement of Afghanistan. The radical reforms almost shook the very socio-economic foundation of the country.

 The reforms and revolution were carried out only to be betrayed later by retreating from their proclaimed goals.

The Reforms

In mid-19th century Afghanistan, the productive forces of society had developed to a level relatively conducive to a social foundation based on capital. And yet capital did not exist as an independent force to affect a qualitative break against the dominant pre-capitalist formation in the Afghan society.

During the reign of Amir Sher Ali Khan (1863-1879) special attention was devoted to the modernization of Afghanistan and especially to the building of a modern army. Sher Ali Khan came to power after a first attempt by imperialist Britain had failed to colonialize Afghanistan (the first Anglo-Afghan war 1839-1842) but the danger of colonialism and imperialist conquest was still looming at the door of the country. This was the time of the Great Game between colonial Britain and tsarist Russia. Sher Ali Khan sensed that in order to face the mighty power of British imperialism, he needed to undertake measures to modernize his system of governance. As a result, the following measures were taken at this time: Postal and Telegraph Services were established, Lithographic Printing introduced, factories for manufacturing military armaments were built, road and other construction projects were initiated, financial and tax reforms necessary for the development of capitalism introduced, etc.

During the reign of Amir Abdur Rahman Khan (1880-1901) aka The Iron Amir additional measures were taken in the direction of the capitalist development of the country. The Amir is credited with establishing a strong centralized state by ruthlessly suppressing the rebellious tribes in different parts of the country fighting to maintain the independence of their fiefdoms. The centralization of society was essential for the development of capital and required by it; hence, the efforts. The centralization efforts continued under the Iron Amir’s son and successor, Habibullah Khan (1901-1919). The Amir was assassinated on February 20, 1919 while on a hunting mission in the eastern Laghman province in what is considered a “coup d’état from above by the court’s liberals”[1]. After the assassination, his son Amanullah Khan claimed the throne and a new page began in the Afghan history after the Third Anglo-Afghan war.        

The radical reforms initiated by Amanullah lasted a decade (1919-1929) and aimed at rooting out feudalism by attacking the rights and privileges of the big landlords, the nobility, tribal chiefs and the Islamic clergy. The reforms are divided into two phases: the first phase from 1919 to 1924 and the second phase from 1928 to 1929.

The reforms were debated in the Grand Assembly (Loya Jirga) convened in Jalalabad in January 1922 and adopted as “Fundamental Statute of the State of Afghanistan” considered to be the country’s first constitution. Some of its provisions that contradicted the Sharia as practiced were amended in the Loya Jirga of Paghman in 1924 forced by the reactionary uprising in Paktia in the same year. They were reintroduced in the Loya Jirga of 1928 (Paghman) after the King’s European tour. His seven-month long trip began in December 1927 during which he visited India, Egypt, Italy, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Britain, Poland, the Soviet Union, Turkey and Iran before returning to  Afghanistan in July 1928.

The most critical phase of the reforms began in 1928 when Amanullah returned from his European tour deeply influenced by the “progress” in European countries he visited. The reforms can be outlined as follows:

  • ·         Some measures were taken in the direction of industrialization of the country when some factories were built in Kabul and other places.
  • ·         A new set of statutes-Nizamnamas-became the cornerstone of law which, in some cases, marginalized the role of Sharia (Islamic law).
  • ·         Individual political freedoms were guaranteed in the constitution
  • ·         slavery and forced labor was abolished;
  • ·         science subjects were added to the syllabus and primary education made obligatory for boys and girls;
  • ·         girls’ education was especially emphasized and the first group of female students sent to Turky in 1928 for higher education;
  • ·         obligatory veiling and social seclusion of women was discouraged;
  • ·         equality of men and women before the law was proclaimed;
  • ·         a new legal code was enforced to discourage child marriages and polygyny and to prevent extravagant marriage and related festivities as well as male circumcision ceremonies;
  • ·         land reforms were introduced which directly challenged the interests of the feudal lords and regulated the relationship between the latter and the peasantry;
  • ·         tax reforms were introduced which challenged the privileges of feudal and tribal lords but undermined by corruption at the local government level;
  • ·         tax imposition on the peasantry was tolerated but when not supplemented with rapid implementation of the reforms proved burdensome; thus, things did not change for the better for the peasants and led to discontent on their part.       

However, the reforms were compromised by a number of caricatural and childish measures (forcing Afghans in Kabul, for example, to adopt western-style dressing code and replacing Friday [an important day of praying for Muslims] with Thursday, or forcing people to tip their hats as a gesture of greeting instead of shaking hands, etc.). The latter were taken advantage of by British colonialists and their Afghan stooges to generate resentment among the oppressed against the reforms which had already invited strong opposition from the feudal lords and the Islamic clergy. Moreover, Amanullah Khan appointed corrupt bureaucrats and British lackeys at the royal court prominent among the latter Mohammad Nader Khan who eventually captured the throne after the short-lived reactionary uprising of Habibullah Kalakani.

Moreover, the “progressive” King was not actually progressive enough and proved incompetent when it came to the decisive historical moment i.e. to deepen economic reforms, supplement them with political ones and defend the changes by force when the need arose. For instance, at a big gathering in Kabul, Amanullah Khan had referred to himself as a “revolutionary” king in his speech. Abdul Rahman Khan Ludin a prominent figure within the Constitutional Movement who was present there stated:

 “His Majesty called himself a “revolutionary King” in his speech; therefore, it is expected of him to accept revolution within the state apparatus. It has been ten years since His Majesty has personally assumed the office of the prime minister while revolution demands that another individual accountable [to a parliament] shall hold the office of the prime minister of Afghanistan.”[2]

The following day, Abdur Rahman Khan Ludin was summoned to the King’s court and ordered to resign from his governmental position as head of Kabul Customs Department.[3] It is worth mentioning that according to the first constitution of 1922, the King sat at the head of the cabinet and was not accountable to anybody. 

After the first phase of the reforms (1921-1924), the King withdrew some of the important radical measures in the face opposition from the big landlords and the clergy (at the Loya Jirga of Paghman 1924). Only after he had returned from his trip to Europe and the Soviet Union did he try to reintroduce and reinforce the reforms albeit in a mocking manner this time (like forcing the wives of his court’s bureaucrats to appear unveiled at official receptions, etc).

Availing themselves of the king’s mockery of the people, the British and their Afghan lackeys (the feudal lords and the clergy) spread rumors to the effect that the King was sowing the seeds of infidelity in society by means his reforms. The king himself was branded an “infidel” who had introduced human-made laws in contradiction to the divine laws. True to his “royal” blood, Amanullah left the country without a fight against the feudal lords, the Mullahs (Islamic clerics) and their British masters. His withdrawal from the scene of struggle resulted in the brutal and violent suppression of the Constitutional Movement of Afghanistan by the successive monarchs. The reforms he had initiated, nonetheless, continued locked within a conservative zeal and mostly state-driven.

 The reforms undertaken by Amanullah Khan dealt a strong blow to feudalist domination and facilitated the development of capitalism in Afghanistan which by that time was still in its most primitive stages. Capital in its embryonic stages co-existed with and outweighed by the feudalism but fighting its way to break the latter by establishing new relations of production on its own basis.

The political battle in the country reflected the above class contradictions between the antagonistic social forces. The royal court under Amanullah was divided into two camps: the reformists (bourgeois democrats who supported radical reforms that favored the rule of the bourgeoisie) and the conservatives (the feudal lords, the clergy and a part of the royal family who stood on the wrong side of historical development). That part of the king’s court (many of them members of the Constitutional Movement of Afghanistan) which represented the bourgeoisie was fighting for a bourgeois monarchist liberalism more than the king himself.

The reform movement was defeated because the Afghan bourgeoisie was not socially relatively strong to defeat the feudal class in the social battle and secure for itself political victory over the latter. Although the Afghan bourgeoisie was politically represented in the person of the king but subsequent developments proved that the feudal lords wielded enough social and political power to crush the reforms and temporarily maintain their position in society.   

It is worth recalling that Soviet Russia under Lenin was the first country to render diplomatic recognition to the newly-declared independent Afghanistan and offered economic, political, and technological assistance. Afghanistan and the Soviet Union signed a Treaty of Friendship in 1921 signifying a new era of independence as far as Afghanistan’s international affairs was concerned. . The young Soviet state had just come victorious out of a devastating civil war so it enthusiastically welcomed a strategically-located neighbor’s freedom from imperialist Britain’s influence.

In the intervening years between 1930 and 1979, Afghanistan underwent a slow state-driven transition towards capitalism under a succession of oppressive rulers. Perhaps the only generous exemption to this period is the decade 1963-1973 known in Afghan political literature as the “decade of democracy” aka “crowned democracy” or “democracy from above”. During this period a new constitution was promulgated (1964) replacing absolute monarchy with constitutional monarchy and guaranteeing basic political freedoms.

The Revolution

The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) was founded on 1 January 1965. Other leftist groups as well as Islamists founded their own parties. The leftist formations in Afghanistan reflected the Sino-Soviet split. PDPA declared Marxism-Leninism to be its official ideology. The advocates of the Chinese line of the split-the “New Democracy”-represented the Afghan Maoists who joined the counter-revolution after 1978.   

The “decade of democracy” was a short-lived “experiment in democracy” which finally came to an end on 17 July 1973 as a result of a coup d’état by Mohammad Daoud Khan. He had to leave his post as prime minister (1953-1963) to pave way for the proclamation of constitutional monarchy in 1964. With his coup d’état, Daoud Khan abolished the monarchy and proclaimed a Republic from above. 

PDPA helped Daoud Khan topple the monarchy. It also supported the progressive goals of the newly-established Republican government as announced in Daoud Khan’s first “Address to the People” speech. The Constitution of 1976 is full of leftist phraseology aimed at reflecting the demands and aspirations of the workers and peasants. There were several PDPA ministers in Daoud Khan’s cabinet.

Due to PDPA infiltration, the new government initiated socio-economic projects announcing a first five-year plan based on the Soviet model. The Daoud government also launched a persecution campaign against Islamists inspired by the extremist ideology of Muslim-Brotherhood. Some of the Islamist leaders fled to Pakistan where they were welcomed by the PPP-led socialist [sic] government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutoo and provided with sanctuaries to topple the regime in Kabul. The Islamists launched their first attack against the government of Daoud Khan in 1975. Lacking popular support, it was quickly crushed by the government.  

Daoud Khan later distanced himself from the Soviet Union to establish close relations with the United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other US cronies in the region. In the meantime, it turned hostile to PDPA expelling its ministers from his cabinet, resorted to establishing an authoritarian government, banned all political parties, announced a one-party system with his own “National Revolution” party as the only legal party in the constitution of 1975, etc.

Under these circumstances, a prominent leader of PDPA Parcham faction, Mir Akbar Khyber, was assassinated in Kabul on 17 April 1978. His funeral procession three days later, considered being the first political funeral in the history of the country in which thousands took part, was turned into a massive expression of hostility against the government. Daoud Khan arrested the top leadership of PDPA on 26 April.      

The ten days between Khyber’s assassination (whose mystery is yet to be solved) and the military uprising of PDPA army loyalists on 27 April 1978 shocked Afghanistan and the world. PDPA toppled the Daoud government and took power in a revolutionary military uprising which came to be known as the Saur (April) Revolution. Revolutionary Council of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan proclaimed a revolution from above-revolution by decree-but a substantial one which was immediately supported by millions of oppressed Afghans.

The most important of the decrees issued by the Revolutionary Council were decrees No. 6, 7, and 8. They dealt with the following:

Decree no. 6:[4] concerning cancelation of debts, loans, mortgages and revenues due from peasants to the usurers and big landlords (in most cases inherited debt from generation to generation of peasants). According to para 2 of this decree, the sliding scale of repayment (for peasants holding 10 jerib[5] or less land) was fixed thus:

Year of Mortgage

Percentage of mortgage money to be repaid

Period of Repayment

(after first year)

1978 (1357)

90 %

5 years

1977 (1356)

80 %

4 years

1976 (1355)

60 %

3 years

1975 (1354)

40 %

2 years

1974 (1353)

20 %

1 year

Before 1353

None

Para 3 of the decree fully exempted “landless persons who work on a landowner’s land as peasant or hireling [wage (day)-laborer]” from paying any dues and usury to the landowners and usurers.

Para 4 of the decree fully exempted “landless peasants and those owning 10 jerib or less land” who were in debt to one or more persons on basis of mortgage and usury before 1974 from paying any mortgage and usury.        

According to Para 5 of the decree, the sliding scale of repayment (for peasants holding 10 jerib or less land) of the original loan money-the interest due written off-was fixed thus:

Year of Loan

Percentage of loan money to be repaid

Period of Repayment

(after first year)

1978 (1357)

90 %

5 years

1977 (1356)

80 %

4 years

1976 (1355)

60 %

3 years

1975 (1354)

40 %

2 years

1974 (1353)

20 %

1 year

Before 1353

None

Decree no. 7:[6] concerning “Mahr” (“bride price”) and Marriage Expenditures. The introductory paragraph stated that the goal of the decree is “to ensure equality of rights between women and men in the domain of civil law, to eliminate unjust patriarchal feudal relations between wife and husband and to further strengthen good familial relations”.

Its most controversial provision was para 3 which fixed the price of mahr at 300 Afghanis. It also criminalized: 1-a girl’s marriage based on exchange for money and goods; 2-forced marriage; 3-acts that either prevent a widow, because of family or tribal kinship, from willfully re-marrying or forcing them to an unwanted marriage (in Afghanistan it is common practice that a brother may marry a dead or disappeared brother’s wife in order to provide their livelihood and protect the honor of the family). It further fixed the age for engagement and marriage at 16 for women and 18 for men, thus, effectively banning child marriage.

Decree no. 8:[7] concerning Land and Water Reforms. Confiscation of feudal lands and the lands owned by the deposed royal family and their redistribution among landless peasants and peasants with small land owning. Its aim was first and foremost “to eliminate feudal and pre-feudal relations from the social and economic order of the country”. In this decree the permitted ceiling for land ownership was fixed at 30 jeribs first grade arable land; more than that agricultural area was considered “excess land” or “surplus land” and, therefore, qualified for confiscation with no compensation and redistribution.    

Distribution of Land in Afghanistan, 1978[8]

Area of land

Percentage of landowners

Percentage of arable land

1-20

83

35

20-50

12

20

50-10,000

5

                        45

The figures above clearly demonstrate the distribution of land in Afghanistan and its concentration in the hands of a very tiny parasitic landlord minority in the year of the victory of the Saur Revolution. By the year 1984, however, the distribution of land looked like this:     

Distribution of Land after the Revolution, 1978-1984*

 

Total area of land

 

No. of landowners

 

Total No. of Beneficiaries

679,567 hectares

7000 big landlords

28,000 petty landlords

                   308,210

Some of the other radical programs undertaken by the PDPA are as follows:

  • agrarian reform aimed at just redistribution of land was implemented (by 1984 “679,567 hectares of land have been distributed to 308,210 peasant families” out of which “665,000 hectares of land that was distributed to 295,988 landless peasant families was taken from 7,000 big landlords who possessed more than 40 hectares of land each and from 28,000 petty landlords who possessed from 6.1 up to 40 hectares each”);[9] 
  • peasant’s loans and mortgages exempted (by 1984 “eleven million peasants have been exempted from the burden of interests on loans and mortgages they used to pay to feudal lords”)[10]
  • the revenue dues of the peasants were written off;[11]
  • water reforms were implemented;
  • peasant cooperatives were established;
  • literacy programs were launched (by 1984 one and half million people had finished literacy courses and in the same year 20,000 literacy courses were functioning throughout the country enrolling 377,000 people. It was planned to eradicate illiteracy by the year 1986 in urban areas and by 1990 all over Afghanistan).[12] In the period prior to the Saur Revolution, only 5,265 people had finished literacy courses.[13]

What happened to the fate of the land reforms introduced after the Saur Revolution? Well, here is what happened:

A new version of the LML [Land Management Law] in 1988 raised the ceiling to 100 jeribs (20 ha); ceilings were effectively abandoned in the laws of the 1990s and disappeared entirely in the Taliban-issued land law of 2000. At the same time, restitution of lands taken since the Saur Revolution of 1978 replaced legal commitments to redistribution. Allocation of land to landless thus became a right of the state, not a duty. This is retained in…the 2008 law.[14]

The US occupation was immediately followed by what is known in Afghanistan as land grabbing by the land mafia. The “parliamentary form of the robbery…decrees by which the landlords grant themselves the people’s land as private property, decrees of expropriation of the people”[15] -to borrow Marx’s words-is the so-called “Land Management Law” quietly adopted by the reactionary parliament in 2008. 

Articles 29-33, chapter Four titled “Restitution of Confiscated Land to the Landlords”, of the Law deals with the restitution of lands confiscated “in violation of Islamic Sharia” from feudal lords and the then royal family under decree No. 8 of the DRA Revolutionary Council. The law not only provides for the restitution of the confiscated lands to their “original owner or their heirs” but also takes the “culprit, their legal representative or heir” (i.e. the beneficiary of decree No. 8 above) accountable for paying compensation due to any change which may have reduced the “value or price” of the land.[16] The law is completely silent on questions of peasant mortgages and loans.  

 The reaction

Given the geostrategic location of Afghanistan, the Saur Revolution posed a significant threat to the region and beyond. Therefore, the revolution found itself surrounded by imperialism and a variety of hostile countries from the Middle East and South Asia to Iran and China. It was, therefore, simultaneously isolated and encircled within the geographical limits of Afghanistan and attacked from outside. History, thus, teaches that emancipation of the oppressed classes in Afghanistan from the chains of capitalism is bound with the emancipation of the oppressed classes in the region and the wider world. And that there will be no socialism on a world-scale without first destroying the world market founded on a capitalist basis.  

In the 80s, the US and its allies channeled billions of dollars to the counterrevolutionary mercenaries not only to fight the soviets and the soviet-backed Saur revolutionaries but to entirely uproot the only left movement in Afghanistan at that time. The intention was not just to drive the PDPA out of power; it was also to extinguish every left-wing force from the Afghan political scene once and for all. Why? Because the Afghan left was the only anti-imperialist force in the country. Even now, the west and their fundamentalist allies, fearing reemerging of the left, finance TV channels and other outlets inside and outside Afghanistan that are engaged in malicious propaganda against “communism”.

Islamist fundamentalists and extremists from the Middle East and North Africa (many of whom were convicted criminals released from jails on the sole condition to participate in the Jihad-similar to the release of criminals who accompanied Christopher Columbus on his genocidal “discovery” of the New World) as well as from madrassas run by the Pakistani ruling classes were used by western imperialism aided by “Communist” China as a surrogate army to crush the Saur Revolution.

Apart from the opposition of classes dispossessed by the revolution and imperialism, the Saur Revolution faced another reactionary opposition right at the heart of PDPA leadership. The antagonism between form and substance in the faction-ridden PDPA, whose very foundation was based on a shaky unity of antagonistic trends and had since seen few splits, was now to come out naked in the face of a clash between revolution and reaction, between revolution and imperialism. By the mid-80s the reactionary trend within the bureaucratically centralized PDPA was strong enough to assume leadership of the revolution and start a process of retreat from the revolutionary course both internally and internationally. It was by now certain that the “irreversible” Saur Revolution was really reversible. 

Moreover, its dependence for political, economic and military assistance on the Soviet Union, on the one hand, made its survival even more vulnerable since the Soviet bureaucracy did not have a genuine internationalist foreign policy; its foreign policy was rather based on a chauvinistic basis. They finally betrayed the Afghan revolution just when their support was most critical in defeating the counter-revolution. On the other hand, patron-client-like dependency of PDPA leadership on the Soviet bureaucracy severely undermined the independence of PDPA and prevented its spontaneous and healthy development as a popular mass movement. It helped identify it, in the eyes of the oppressed masses, with something alien and foreign-especially as a result of dogmatic attachment of PDPA to the official soviet ideology.  

While adhering to a principled attitude to internationalism, PDPA was mired with patriotism and Afghan nationalism. Following in the footsteps of Stalinism, it believed in the two-stage theory of revolution. Therefore, PDPA called the Saur Revolution a national-democratic revolution and its programs, therefore, were confined only to democratic changes. Socialism was a proclaimed strategic goal to be achieved at a distant future only once the bourgeois-democratic stage had been accomplished. The PDPA declared the character of the Afghan Revolution as “anti-feudalism, anti-pre-feudal relations, and anti-imperialism”. The radical reforms of the Amanullah period too had an “anti-feudalism, anti-pre-feudal relations, and anti-imperialism” character.

Part II of this article forthcoming

Food and the Walmartization of Agriculture

July 2nd, 2013 by Josh Sager

Walmart has become an icon of the corporate rush to keep costs low and profits high, regardless of the effects on society.

They sell cheaply made goods—often produced in deplorable conditions—for low prices and keep overhead costs low by refusing to pay their workers a livable wage. It is this business strategy that catapulted them to be among the largest corporate interests in the world and allowed them to spread into virtually every corner of the United States.

Currently, approximately 25% of the American grocery market is controlled by Walmart, making it the largest single grocery distributor in the United States. In some areas—including many rural and low-income urban locales—this control is far larger than 25%, as the low prices of Walmart have crowded out competition and created a local monopoly. As Walmart is so much larger than its competitors (ex. farmer’s markets), it is able to undercut the prices of their competition and squeeze them out of business.

Walmart_footprint

Walmart shops in the USA

The business model and sheer size of Walmart have caused their corporate practices to have huge impact on the global agricultural markets—they are so large that their choices lead to ripples in global agriculture markets.

The corporate decisions of Walmart have affected virtually every aspect of agriculture, including the growing practices of the producers, the conduct of other sellers, and the consumers of goods.

Food Sellers

The Walmartization of food sale has promoted the sale of cheap, processed, foods over that of the more expensive fresh produce and unprocessed foods. In addition to this, the massive need for cheap agricultural products has led to an increase in the prevalence of industrial “mono-crop” farms.

It is far easier and less expensive for food sellers to stock junk food and highly-processed, long-lasting foods than it is for them to stock fresh produce. Unlike produce, chips, pre-prepared meals, and many other processed foods do not spoil and require minimal labor to manage in a store—there is less of a need to have people spend time checking the freshness of the goods and less waste due to spoilage. To see this effect in action, you can simply go down to your local 7/11, Store 24, or Tedeschi’s and compare the prevalence of fresh products to non-perishable processed products.

When looking at this situation, it is important to note that healthy foods may be more expensive to sell, but they are ultimately, less expensive to the consumer. The leading cause of debt in the United States is medical care, and many of the severe long-term medical issues that we face can be addressed with a good diet. People who eat large amounts of processed, high calorie food suffer from increased health risks and are more likely to develop issues of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity-related disorders than those who eat a more healthy diet. In this case, junk food is cheaper to buy, but you may pay for in health consequences and medical bills later.

In many poorer areas of the country, “food deserts” have formed and people simply lack access to a supplier who sells healthy foods. A food desert is simply an area where poverty has driven out sellers of fresh, organic, and un-processed foods, leading to a situation where the only available foods are cheap, processed, pre-packaged, and unhealthy foods.

walmart1Walmart is large enough that these food deserts are a great place to set up shop (they can crowd out the already weak competition), and the company has already made attempts to move into existing food deserts. According to a recent study by the City of Manhattan, this encroachment into food deserts by Walmart will result in the destruction of most local food businesses (including those few which sell healthy food), and will not have any appreciable positive effect. Within a few years, the only “fresh” produce available in these places will come from the Walmart that took over the area’s grocery market.

Food Supply

If Walmart were to supply healthy, fresh and clean produce, their encroachment and takeover of food deserts would be a purely economic problem, but this is not the case. In recent years, Walmart has attempted to brand itself as a reliable supplier of not only snack food, but fresh produce. Unfortunately for them, this attempt has been marred by numerous situations that demonstrate that Walmart’s “fresh” produce is often of low quality and not really fresh. In fact, Walmart has a very bad history in regard to produce freshness and GMO labeling.

As reported by the news agency RT.com, Walmart is now selling Monsanto GMO produce, without warning labels, in their produce departments. Of particular note, Walmarts across the country are now selling Monsanto’s GMO corn on their shelves, while giving the consumer no warning whatsoever.

While Walmart claims to sell locally-sourced, organic foods, several scandals have questioned this claim. In a recent scandal in China, Walmarts were shut down for fraudulently selling port that was not organic, under the label that is was organic. Regardless of whether or not Walmart “organic” food is actually organic, Walmart gets most of its “organic” produce from suppliers in China and industrial farms—this means that regardless of which “organic food” a consumer may buy from Walmart, it is not likely to have come from a small, local farm.

Food Producers

corn

The massive demand for food by our planet’s population and the proliferation of processed foods in the Walmartization of agriculture, has led to an increase in industrial mono-crop farming, particularly in regard to corn. Small farms are simply unable to produce the volume of produce that is sold by Walmart, so it is larger industrial farms which get Walmart’s business. Monocrop farming may claim to be more efficient at growing food, but this is simply not borne out by the evidence; such farms are not sustainable and often utilize extremely powerful pesticides in order to control pests.

The industrial mono-crop farming of corn is a very important part of this situation, as much of the world sweet-corn farming is used in the creation of high fructose corn syrup for processed foods. Virtually every processed food contains some amount of high fructose corn syrup, thus huge amounts of corn need to be grown. To make matters worse, American corn that is intended for high fructose corn syrup is commonly made out of GMO corn—oftentimes Monsanto “Roundup Ready” corn.

Conclusion

In totality, the proliferation of Walmart as a primary grocery source and the Walmartization of the American food supply is undeniably a consequential phenomenon. Some claim that this will result in cheaper food for the poor, but many others are worried that food will decrease in quality and this will eventually lead to serious health consequences.

In our current hard economic times, an increasing number of people are forced to turn to Walmart as a source of cheap food (or are forced to as smaller stores go under). Because of this, the business practices of Walmart are very relevant to the health of the food supply of the United States. We must ask ourselves, do we want to create a situation where agriculture and food supplies conform to the cheap, low-quality products business model of Walmart?

Greece: Exit From the Eurozone

July 2nd, 2013 by Panagiotis Sotiris

 The elephant in the room or why we cannot have socialism based upon EFSF recapitalization

The report by Heiner Flassbeck and Costas Lapavitsas on the crisis of the Eurozone has been an important step in re-opening the euro debate within the European Left. The political significance of the report was made even more evident by the fact that it was published by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, and was endorsed by the leadership of Die Linke, especially after Oskar Lafontaine had also recently insisted on the need to consider the exit from the Eurozone as a potential solution for countries of the European South such as Greece. It follows the decision by AKEL the Cypriote left-wing party to propose Cyprus’ exit from the Eurozone, a proposition based upon scientific advice offered by amongst others Lapavitsas and Flassbeck.

Greek workers walk out to protest ban on teachers’ strike.

The report itself is not a radical or Marxist manifesto. Although Lapavitsas has a strong Marxist background, the report is marked by Flassbeck’s much more Keynesian approach. Moreover, it is not a report with an a priori hostility toward monetary union or currency coordination for Europe, nor is it filled with anticapitalist references. On the contrary it seems to take the internationalization of trade and capital flows as granted. However, it is exactly this kind of critique from within aspects of the dominant economic paradigm that makes it even more interesting.

This does not mean that it is not a radical critique of the dominant economic policies within the Eurozone. Rather, it is a devastating deconstruction of the contradictions, fallacies, and shortcomings of the economic and financial architecture of the Eurozone. Particularly important is the emphasis on the inability of inflation targets without real wage convergence to create a balanced common currency area. Moreover, the two writers highlight the direct causal connection between the imbalances in the Eurozone and trade deficits and also with increased public debt. This makes evident the fact that European leaders insist on denying: the euro itself as common currency is part of the problem of the economic crisis in the European South.

It is also interesting that the position the two writers take in regard to potential solutions within the Eurozone. They show convincingly that given the obvious inability to reach an actual political union in the EU it is not possible to have that kind of redistributive mechanisms that could tackle the problem of productivity and competitiveness divergence. At the same time they remind us that there is no point in thinking in terms of transfers between countries because this could lead in a certain form of dependence of the countries receiving this kind of transfer funding.

On the basis of these assumptions the two writers insist on the need for an orderly and prepared exit from the Eurozone and in this sense a dismantling of the current financial and monetary architecture of the Eurozone. To this end they also deconstruct the argument that such a move, which would necessarily include measures such as capital controls and restrictions to bank transactions, is not possible, by pointing to the developments in Cyprus where the EU accepted the imposition of capital controls as a means to avoid the complete implosion of the Cypriot banking system. In this sense the taboo has already been broken.

In light of the above it is really interesting to see the reactions of the Greek Left and especially SYRIZA regarding these positions. As with the case of the change of AKEL’s adoption of the exit from the Eurozone strategy, SYRIZA leadership chose to politely refuse such proposals, despite the appeal of this position in the large segments of the electorate of the Greek Left. In many instances representatives of the leadership’s position within SYRIZA have criticized the exit from the Eurozone as being nationalist and in opposition to class politics.

However, the problem is that the dominant narrative of SYRIZA leadership that the main target must be pan-European cooperation of the Left and social movements aiming at a break of austerity while remaining within the Eurozone, comes in contrast with the decision of other parties of the European Left to discuss the possibility of an exit from the Eurozone.

The argument from the part of SYRIZA leadership that opening the debate on the exit of the Eurozone would offer pro-austerity forces the chance to put pressure on SYRIZA, alienate segments of the electorate (who remain ideologically attached to the euro), and consequently jeopardize a possible election victory, misses the main point. As long as the Greek Left does not challenge the euro as the central node for the current particularly European version of the neoliberal “There Is No Alternative,” the political debate will remain cornered in a discursive terrain that is much more suitable to systemic pro-austerity forces than to social movements. This helps pro-austerity forces, both politically and electorally. In contrast, working toward the break with the Eurozone opens up the political space to work and experiment with radical economic and social alternatives that go beyond the limits of neoliberal capitalism and can help the Left emerge as an actual political alternative and not just an electoral outlet for protest. Moreover, it is not possible to have radical changes without some form of rupture with the current financial, monetary and institutional framework of the Eurozone and the dominant strategy within the EU.

In the long run, everyone would agree that we cannot have socialism based upon EFSF and ECB recapitalization. •

Three men, including a senior Vatican official and a police officer with ties to the Italian Secret Service, have been arrested on charges of plotting to smuggle millions of euros out of Switzerland. Among the men arrested by Italian police on Friday is Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a senior accountant at the Holy See’s Institute for the Works of Religion, which is the Vatican’s highest financial institution.

Along with Father Scarano, Italian authorities arrested Giovanni Maria Zito, an officer in theArma dei carabinieri, Italy’s national military police force, who was previously detailed to the country’s domestic intelligence service, the Agenzia Informazioni e Sicurezza Interna (AISI). The third accused co-conspirator is Giovanni Carenzio, a successful securities broker based primarily in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland. All three have been charged with corruption, for plotting to smuggle nearly €20 million ($26 million) in cash, from Switzerland into Italy.

According to Nello Rossi, chief prosecutor in the corruption investigation, evidence collected from targeted communications interceptions seems to indicate that the smuggled funds belonged to the d’Amico family of shipping magnates, owners of d’Amico International Shipping, which is based in Salerno, Italy. The plan, allegedly hatched last summer by the three men, was to hire a private airplane and use it to carry the €20 million in cash from Locarno, Switzerland, to Italy. The currency was to be carried in suitcases by Zito. As an intelligence officer with diplomatic credentials, Zito was not subject to searches at international borders, and thus would be able to evade financial regulations.

However, Italian prosecutors said the plan fell through when the three plotters “lost their nerve [and] began bickering” amongst each other. Financial corruption scandals are regular occurrences at the Vatican, whose banking institutions are notorious as secretive money-laundering centers frequently used by the Mafia and other crime syndicates. In a statement last week, the Holy See’s spokesman, Monsignor Federico Lombardi, said the Vatican was eager to “confirm its willingness for full collaboration” with Italian authorities and InterPol, and that it would “take the appropriate measures” to assist in any investigation into the matter.

Global Warfare. Preparing for World War III, Targeting Iran

July 2nd, 2013 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

This article was first published by Global Research in August 2010

Humanity is at a dangerous crossroads. War preparations to attack Iran are in “an advanced state of readiness”. Hi tech weapons systems including nuclear warheads are fully deployed.

This military adventure has been on the Pentagon’s drawing board since the mid-1990s. First Iraq, then Iran according to a declassified 1995 US Central Command document.

Escalation is part of the military agenda. While Iran, is the next target together with Syria and Lebanon, this strategic military deployment also threatens North Korea, China and Russia.

Since 2005, the US and its allies, including America’s NATO partners and Israel, have been involved in the extensive deployment and stockpiling of advanced weapons systems. The air defense systems of the US, NATO member countries and Israel are fully integrated.

This is a coordinated endeavor of the Pentagon, NATO, Israel’s Defense Force (IDF), with the active military involvement of several non-NATO partner countries including the frontline Arab states (members of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative), Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, among others. (NATO consists of 28 NATO member states  Another 21 countries are members of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), The Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative include ten Arab countries plus Israel.)

The roles of Egypt, the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia (within the extended military alliance) is of particular relevance. Egypt controls the transit of war ships and oil tankers through the Suez Canal. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States occupy the South Western coastlines of the Persian Gulf, the Straits of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. In early June, “Egypt reportedly allowed one Israeli and eleven U.S. ships to pass through the Suez Canal in ….an apparent signal to Iran. … On June 12, regional press outlets reported that the Saudis had granted Israel the right to fly over its airspace…” (Muriel Mirak Weissbach,  Israel’s Insane War on Iran Must Be Prevented., Global Research, July 31, 2010)

In post 9/11 military doctrine, this massive deployment of military hardware has been defined as part of the so-called  “Global War on Terrorism”, targeting “non-State” terrorist organizations including al Qaeda and so-called “State sponsors of terrorism”,. including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan.

The setting up of new US military bases, the stockpiling of advanced weapons systems including tactical nuclear weapons, etc. were implemented as part of the pre-emptive defensive military doctrine under the umbrella of the “Global War on Terrorism”.

War and the Economic Crisis

The broader implications of a US-NATO Israel attack on Iran are far-reaching. The war and the economic crisis are intimately related. The war economy is financed by Wall Street, which stands as the creditor of the US administration. The US weapons producers are the recipients of the US Department of Defense multibillion dollar procurement contracts for advanced weapons systems. In turn, “the battle for oil” in the Middle East and Central Asia directly serves the interests of the Anglo-American oil giants.

The US and its allies are “beating the drums of war” at the height of a Worldwide economic depression, not to mention the most serious environmental catastrophe in World history. In a bitter twist, one of the major players (BP) on the Middle East Central Asia geopolitical chessboard, formerly known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, is the instigator of the ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Media Disinformation

Public opinion, swayed by media hype is tacitly supportive, indifferent or ignorant as to the likely impacts of what is upheld as an ad hoc “punitive” operation directed against Iran’s nuclear facilities rather than an all out war. War preparations include the deployment of  US and Israeli produced nuclear weapons. In this context, the devastating consequences of a nuclear war are either trivialised or simply not mentioned.

The “real crisis” threatening humanity, according to the media and the governments, is not war but global warming. The media will fabricate a crisis where there is no crisis: ”a global scare” — the H1N1 global pandemic– but nobody seems to fear a US sponsored nuclear war.

The war on Iran is presented to public opinion as an issue among others. It is not viewed as a threat to “Mother Earth” as in the case of global warming. It is not front-page news. The fact that an attack on Iran could lead to escalation and potentially unleash a “global war” is not a matter of concern.

The Cult of Killing and Destruction

The global killing machine is also sustained by an imbedded cult of killing and destruction which pervades Hollywood movies, not to mention the prime time war and crime TV series on network television. This cult of killing is endorsed by the CIA and the Pentagon which also support (finance) Hollywood productions as an instrument of war propaganda:

“Ex-CIA agent Bob Baer told us, “There’s a symbiosis between the CIA and Hollywood” and revealed that former CIA director George Tenet is currently, “out in Hollywood, talking to studios.” (Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham, Lights, Camera… Covert Action: The Deep Politics of Hollywood, Global Research, January 31, 2009).

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The killing machine is deployed at a global level, within the framework of the unified combat command structure. It is routinely upheld by the institutions of government, the corporate media and the mandarins and intellectuals of the New World Order in Washington’s think tanks and strategic studies research institutes, as an unquestioned instrument of peace and global prosperity.

A culture of killing and violence has become imbedded in human consciousness.

War is broadly accepted as part of a societal process: The Homeland needs to be “defended” and protected.

“Legitimized violence” and extrajudicial killings directed against “terrorists” are upheld in western democracies, as necessary instruments of national security.

A “humanitarian war” is upheld by the so-called international community. It is not condemned as a criminal act. Its main architects are rewarded for their contributions to world peace.

With regard to Iran, what is unfolding is the outright legitimization of war in the name of an illusive notion of global security.

A “Pre-emptive” Aerial attack directed against Iran would lead to Escalation

At present there are three separate Middle East Central Asia war theaters: Iraq, Af-Pak, and Palestine.

Were Iran to be the object of a “pre-emptive” aerial attack by allied forces, the entire region, from the Eastern Mediterranean to China’s Western frontier with Afghanistan and Pakistan, would flare up, leading us potentially into a World War III scenario.

The war would also extend into Lebanon and Syria.

It is highly unlikely that the bombings, if they were to be implemented, would be circumscribed to Iran’s nuclear facilities as claimed by US-NATO official statements. What is more probable is an all out air attack on both military and civilian infrastructure, transport systems, factories, public buildings.

Iran, with an an estimated ten percent of global oil and gas reserves, ranks third after Saudi Arabia (25 %) and Iraq (11 %) in the size of its reserves. In comparison, the US possesses less than 2.8 % of global oil reserves. The oil reserves of the U.S. are estimated at less than 20 billion barrels. The broader region of the Middle East and Central Asia have oil reserves which are more than thirty times those of the U.S, representing more than 60% of the World’s total reserves. (See Eric Waddell, The Battle for Oil, Global Research, December 2004).

Of significance is the recent discovery in Iran of the second largest known reserves of natural gas at Soumar and Halgan estimated at 12.4 trillion cubic feet.

Targeting Iran consists not only in reclaiming Anglo-American control over Iran’s oil and gas economy, including pipeline routes, it also challenges the presence and influence of China and Russia in the region.

The planned attack on Iran is part of a coordinated global military road map. It is part of the Pentagon’s “long war”,  a profit driven war without borders, a project of World domination, a sequence of military operations.

US-NATO military planners have envisaged various scenarios of military escalation. They are also acutely aware of the geopolitical implications, namely that the war could extend beyond the Middle East Central Asia region. The economic impacts on the oil markets, etc. have also been analyzed.

While Iran, Syria and Lebanon are the immediate targets, China, Russia, North Korea, not to mention Venezuela and Cuba are also the object of US threats.

At stake is the structure of military alliances. US-NATO-Israel military deployments including military exercises and drills conducted on Russia and China’s immediate borders bear a direct relationship to the proposed war on Iran. These veiled threats, including their timing, constitute an obvious hint to the former powers of the Cold War era not to intervene in any way which could encroach upon a US-led attack on Iran.

Global Warfare

The medium term strategic objective is to target Iran and neutralize Iran’s allies, through gunboat diplomacy. The longer term military objective is to directly target China and Russia.

While Iran is the immediate target, military deployment is by no means limited to the Middle East and Central Asia. A global military agenda has been formulated.

The deployment of coalition troops and advanced weapons systems by the US, NATO and its partners is occurring simultaneously in all major regions of the World.

The recent actions of the US military off the coast of North Korea including the conduct of war games are part of a global design.

Directed primarily against Russia and China, US, NATO and allied military exercises, war drills, weapons deployments, etc. are being conducted simultaneously in major geopolitical hotspots.

-The Korean Peninsula, the Sea of Japan, the Taiwan Straits, the South China Sea threatening China.

-The deployment of Patriot missiles in Poland, the early warning center in the Czech republic threatening Russia.

-Naval deployments in Bulgaria, Romania on the Black Sea, threatening Russia.

- US and NATO troops deployments in Georgia.

- A formidable naval deployment in the Persian Gulf including Israeli submarines directed against Iran.

Concurrently the Eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea, the Caribbean, Central America and the Andean region of South America are areas of ongoing militarization. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the threats are directed against Venezuela and Cuba.

US “Military Aid”

In turn, large scale weapons transfers have been undertaken under the banner of US “military aid” to selected countries, including a 5 billion dollar arms deal with India which is intended to build India’s capabilities directed against China. (Huge U.S.-India Arms Deal To Contain China, Global Times, July 13, 2010).

“[The] arms sales will improve ties between Washington and New Delhi, and, intentionally or not, will have the effect of containing China’s influence in the region.” quoted in Rick Rozoff, Confronting both China and Russia: U.S. Risks Military Clash With China In Yellow Sea, Global Research, July 16, 2010)

The US has military cooperation agreements with a number of South East Asian countries including Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia, involving “military aid” as well as the participation in U.S.-led war games in the Pacific Rim (July -August 2010). These agreements are supportive of weapons deployments directed against The People’s Republic of China. (See Rick Rozoff, Confronting both China and Russia: U.S. Risks Military Clash With China In Yellow Sea, Global Research, July 16, 2010).

Similarly and more directly related to the planned attack on Iran, the US is arming the Gulf States (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates) with land-based interceptor missiles, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) as well as sea-based Standard Missile-3 interceptors installed on Aegis class warships in the Persian Gulf. (See Rick Rozoff,  NATO’s Role In The Military Encirclement Of Iran, Global Research, February 10, 2010).

The Timetable of Military Stockpiling and Deployment

What is crucial in regards to US weapons transfers to partner countries and allies is the actual timing of delivery and deployment. The launch of a US sponsored military operation would normally occur once these weapons systems are in place, effectively deployed with the implementation of personnel training. (e.g India).

What we are dealing with is a carefully coordinated global military design controlled by the Pentagon, involving the combined armed forces of more than forty countries. This global multinational military deployment is by far the largest display of advanced weapons systems in World history.

In turn, the US and its allies have established new military bases in different parts of the world.  “The Surface of the Earth is Structured as a Wide Battlefield”. (See Jules Dufour, The Worldwide Network of US Military Bases , Global Research, July 1, 2007).

The Unified Command structure divided up into geographic Combatant Commands is predicated on a strategy of militarization at the global level. “The US Military has bases in 63 countries. Brand new military bases have been built since September 11, 2001 in seven countries. In total, there are 255,065 US military personnel deployed Worldwide.” (See Jules Dufour, The Worldwide Network of US Military Bases , Global Research, July 1, 2007

Source: DefenseLINK-Unified Command Plan

World War III Scenario

“The World Commanders’ Areas of Responsibility” (See Map above) defines the Pentagon’s global military design, which is one of World conquest.  This military deployment is occurring in several regions simultaneously under the coordination of the regional US Commands, involving the stockpiling of US made weapons systems by US forces and partner countries, some of which are former enemies, including Vietnam and Japan.

The present context is characterised by a global military build-up controlled by one World superpower, which is using its numerous allies to trigger regional wars.

In contrast, the Second World War was a conjunction of separate regional war theaters. Given the communications technologies and weapons systems of the 1940s, there was no strategic “real time” coordination in military actions between broad geographic regions

Global warfare is based on the coordinated deployment of a single dominant military power, which oversees the actions of its allies and partners.

With the exception of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Second World War was characterized by the use of conventional weapons. The planning of  a global war relies on the militarization of outer space. Were a war directed against iran to be launched, it would not only use nuclear weapons, the entire gamut of new advanced weapons systems, including electrometric weapons and environmental modification techniques (ENMOD) would be used.

The United Nations Security Council

The UN Security Council adopted in early June a fourth round of sweeping sanctions against The Islamic Republic of Iran, which included an expanded arms embargo as well “tougher financial controls”. In a bitter irony, this resolution was passed within days of the United Nations Secrity Council’s outright refusal to adopt a motion condemning Israel for its attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters.

Both China and Russia, pressured by the US, have endorsed the UNSC sanctions’ regime, to their own detriment. Their decision within the UNSC contributes to weakening their own military alliance, the Shanghai  Cooperation organization (SCO), in which Iran has observer status. The Security Council resolution freezes China and Russia’s respective bilateral military cooperation and trade agreements with Iran. It has serious repercussions on Iran’s air defense system which in part depends on Russian technology and expertise.

The Security Council resolution grants a de facto “green light” to wage a pre-emptive war against Iran.

The American Inquisition: Building a Political Consensus for War

In chorus, the Western media has branded Iran as a threat to global security in view of its alleged (non-existent) nuclear weapons program. Echoing official statements, the media is now demanding the implementation of punitive bombings directed against Iran so as to safeguard Israel’s security.

The Western media is beating the drums of war. The purpose is to tacitly instil, through repeated media reports, ad nauseam, within people’s inner consciousness, the notion that the Iranian threat is real and that the Islamic Republic should be “taken out”.

A consensus building process to wage war is similar to the Spanish inquisition. It requires and demands submission to the notion that war is a humanitarian endeavor.

Known and documented, the real threat to global security emanates from the US-NATO-Israel alliance, yet realities in an inquisitorial environment are turned upside down: the warmongers are committed to peace, the victims of war are presented as the protagonists of war. Whereas in 2006, almost two thirds of Americans were opposed to military action against Iran, a recent Reuter-Zogby February 2010 poll suggests that 56 % of Americans favor a US-NATO military action against Iran.

Building a political consensus which is based on an outright lie cannot, however, rely solely on the official position of those who are the source of the lie.

The antiwar movement in the US, which has in part been infiltrated and co-opted, has taken on a weak stance with regard to Iran. The antiwar movement is divided. The emphasis has been on wars which have already occurred (Afghanistan, Iraq) rather than forcefully opposing wars which are being prepared and which are currently on the Pentagon’s drawing board. Since the inauguration of the Obama administration, the antiwar movement has lost some of its impetus.

Moreover, those who  actively oppose the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, do not necessarily oppose the conduct of “punitive bombings” directed Iran, nor do they categorize these bombings as an act of war, which could potentially be a prelude to World War III.

The scale of antiwar protest in relation to Iran has been minimal in comparison to the mass demonstrations which preceded the 2003 bombing and invasion of Iraq.

The real threat to global security emanates from the US-NATO-Israel alliance.

The Iran operation is not being opposed in the diplomatic arena by China and Russia; it has the support of the governments of the frontline Arab states which are integrated into the NATO sponsored Mediterranean dialogue. It also has the tacit support of Western public opinion.

We call upon people across the land, in America,  Western Europe, Israel, Turkey and around the world to rise up against this military project, against their governments which are supportive of military action against Iran, against the media which serves to camouflage the devastating implications of a war against Iran.

The military agenda support a profit driven destructive global economic system which impoverishes large sectors of the world population.

This war is sheer madness.

World War III is terminal. Albert Einstein understood the perils of nuclear war and the extinction of life on earth, which has already started with the radioactive contamination resulting from depleted uranium. “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

The media, the intellectuals, the scientists and the politicians, in chorus, obfuscate the untold truth, namely that war using nuclear warheads destroys humanity, and that this complex process of gradual destruction has already commenced.

When the lie becomes the truth there is no turning backwards.

When war is upheld as a humanitarian endeavor, Justice and the entire international legal system are turned upside down: pacifism and the antiwar movement are criminalized. Opposing the war becomes a criminal act.

The Lie must be exposed for what it is and what it does.

It sanctions the indiscriminate killing of men, women and children.

It destroys families and people. It destroys the commitment of people towards their fellow human beings.

It prevents people from expressing their solidarity for those who suffer. It upholds war and the police state as the sole avenue.

It destroys both nationalism and internationalism.

Breaking the lie means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force.

This profit driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.

Let us reverse the tide.

Challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.

Break the American inquisition.

Undermine the US-NATO-Israel military crusade.

Close down the weapons factories and the military bases.

Bring home the troops.

Members of the armed forces should disobey orders and refuse to participate in a criminal war.

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. he can be reached at the globalresearch.ca website

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Introduction

As President Obama enters his second term with a new Cabinet, the foreign policy legacy of the past four years weighs heavily on their strategic decisions and their empire-building efforts. Central to the analysis of the next period is an evaluation of the past policies especially in regions where Washington expended its greatest financial and military resources, namely the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa .

We will proceed by examining the accomplishments and failures of the Obama-Clinton regime.  We will then turn to the ongoing policy efforts to sustain the empire-building project.  We will take account of the constraints and opportunities, which define the parameters resulting from imperial military ambitions, Israeli-Zionist influence in shaping policy and the ongoing anti-imperialist struggles. We will conclude by examining likely polices and outcomes resulting from current strategies.

The Clinton-Obama Imperial Legacy:  The Accomplishments

The greatest success of the Obama-Clinton (OC) imperial legacy was the virtual elimination of organized domestic anti-war dissent, the demise of the peace movement and the co-optation of virtually the entire ‘progressive’ leadership in the US – while multiplying the number of proxy wars, overt and covert military operations and ‘defense’ spending.  As a result, the entire political spectrum moved further to the right toward greater militarization abroad and increased police-state measures at home.

Facing mass revolts and the overthrow of long-standing client regimes in Egypt , Tunisia and Yemen , the Obama-Clinton (OC) Administration moved rapidly to reconfigure new client regimes while preserving the state apparatus – the military, intelligence, police, judicial and civilian bureaucracy.  The empire dumped incumbent regimes in order to save the repressive state, the key guarantor of US strategic interests. Washington reminded its client rulers that ‘There are no permanent alliances, there are only permanent imperial interests’.  Washington successfully engineered a political pact between conservative Islamist leaders and parties and the old military elite.

The new political blocs in Egypt upheld Israeli annexation of Palestine , the brutal blockade of Gaza and the neo-liberal economic order.  Washington repeated the ‘reshuffle of clients’ in Yemen and Tunisia .  The OC intervention temporarily aborted the pro-democracy, anti-Zionist and anti-corruption popular revolt.  The OC policies secured a temporary respite, but the subsequent effort by Egypt to secure an IMF loan has led to a stalemate amid deteriorating economic conditions and rising political protest.  The successful imposition of new client regimes amenable to US hegemony in Egypt , Tunisia and Yemen , in the face of popular revolts, marked the beginning of a series of favorable political-military outcomes in the region for the OC regime.

Facing Israeli annexation of ever-widening swaths of Palestinian land and the end of any pretense of ‘peace negotiations’, Washington continued to provide Israel with massive military assistance, modern weapons systems and unconditional political support in the UN.  By submitting to Israel the OC regime succeeded in retaining the political support of the domestic Zionist power configuration (ZPC). The OC regime’s economic handouts supported the puppet Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as it policed the West Bank for Israel .  Despite losing the vote to seat the Palestinians as a non-voting member in the UN, Washington succeeded in blocking full membership.  The OC regime succeeded in fulfilling its role as Israel ’s handmaiden, despite opposition from the vast majority of UN members.

The OC regime succeeded in tightening sanctions on Iran , by securing Russian, Chinese and Arab League support, without provoking a potentially destructive war. The US sanction policy toward Iran is largely designed and implemented by key Zionist appointees in the Treasury (formerly Stuart Levy, now David Cohen) and in Congress, by legislators bought and directed by the powerful America-Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The US , under Obama-Clinton, destroyed the independent nationalist Gadhafi government via a joint air war with the EU and tried to set up a client regime.  In turn, Libya became a key recruiting ground for violent Islamist mercenaries invading Syria and weapons depot supplying Islamist terrorists. The OC regime’s military success in Libya was part of a general strategy to accelerate the expansion of US and European military operations in Africa .  This includes setting up drone bases and promoting African mercenary armies from Uganda , Kenya , and Ethiopia to expand imperial control in Somalia , Mali and elsewhere.

In the Gulf region the US succeeded in propping up the autocratic Bahrain monarchy, as it killed and jailed opponents and outlawed the mass pro-democracy social movement among its oppressed Shi’a majority population.  The OC regime successfully secured Gulf state financing for the Libyan and Syrian wars.

In Iraq , the US has succeeded in dividing the devastated nation into fragments of warring fiefdoms, Shi’a, Sunni, Kurd and subsets of each.  It succeeded in destroying a once modern and secular society, an advanced economy and independent nationalist regime.  Initially the OC regime hoped to establish a client outpost in Iraq from which to secure Washington ’s wealthy petro-clients in the Gulf, especially among the patrimonial dictatorships in Saudi Arabia , Qatar , Bahrain , Kuwait and United Arab Emirates .

Washington, in alliance with other NATO powers and its Gulf state clients, succeeded in converting a peaceful civilian protest movement in Syria into a full scale civil war and military invasion, increasingly dominated by armed Al Qaeda ‘internationalists’.  The US-EU-Gulf State-Turkey-Israeli alliance has armed, financed, trained and advised Islamist and mercenary terrorists to effectively destroy the Syrian state, society and economy, dispossessing and uprooting a million refugees across the border and resulting in the death and injury of hundreds of thousands. The US promoted invasion of Syria has seriously weakened one of the last governments defending the Palestinians, opposing Israeli colonization of the West Bank and providing a refuge for persecuted Palestinian leaders.

By virtually destroying the Syrian state, the OC regime has driven a wedge between Hezbollah, the leading nationalist force in Lebanon and its ally Iran , while tightening the military encirclement of Teheran and exerting cross-border pressure against Iraq .  A brutal Islamist regime in Syria will replace the secular state with prospects of massive ethnic cleansing against minority populations, especially Christians and Allevis.

Obama and Clinton successfully expanded the drone assassination program throughout the Middle East and South Asia, killing more civilian non-combatants than suspected adversaries especially in Pakistan , Afghanistan and Yemen .

The OC regime successfully imposed the presidential doctrine of killing of US citizens via drones with the support or acquiescence of the US Congress, judiciary and most of the mass media and without a shred of judicial due process.  Accompanying the license to assassinate civilians via drones, Obama/Clinton successfully expanded the use of Special Operations death squads, dispatching them to seventy countries to assassinate political adversaries, destabilize independent governments and bolster client regimes.

The OC regime has spent tens of billions of dollars and succeeded in building a 350,000 man mercenary army in Afghanistan to defend US strategic interests, sustain its military bases and destroy the nationalist-Islamic opposition (‘Taliban’).  OC hoped to cover Washington ’s retreat from the combat front.  Despite the military build-up and in the face of a sharply deteriorating military situation in Afghanistan, the OC regime has been negotiating with political sectors of the ‘Taliban’, to dump the current client ruler, Karzai, and ‘reshuffle the regime to save the state’, hoping to pull-off a coalition-collaborator Islamist-military regime such as has been shoe-horned in place in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.

Vulnerability and Failures of the Obama-Clinton Legacy

The apparent and real empire-building successes of the Obama-Clinton regime are fraught with vulnerabilities and are based on fragile political and socio-economic foundations.  Temporary tactical gains reveal strategic weaknesses and high military costs without commensurate imperial economic gains.

The Obama-Clinton counter-revolutionary offensive and its political military successes are driven by a military conception of empire building without a shred of economic thinking.  It is not surprising that many of the key decision-makers promoting military-driven empire building are militarist ideologues and Zionist policy-makers, who specialize in utterly destroying adversaries (of Israel) and not in promoting or protecting US imperial oil, manufacturing and service interests.

A telegraphic point-by-point analysis and critique of the major policy interventions of the Obama-Clinton regime highlights strategic weaknesses and failures, even in areas that the empire-builders currently celebrate as ‘successes’.

While the OC regime succeeded in procuring close to fifteen billion US tax payer dollars in tribute payments to Israel, they failed to secure a neo-colonial settlement of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, even one based on conceding a truncated part of the West Bank composed of disconnected enclaves (‘Bantustans’).  As a result of the total dominance of US Middle East policy by the Zionist power configuration (representing less than 1% of the US populace), the OC regime was repeatedly ‘humiliated’ by their Israeli overlords.  The supremely confident, beefy Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu launched and flaunted massive new exclusive Jews-only colonial settlements on Palestinian land, despite near universal condemnation, knowing he could count on the veto power of Washington in the United Nations and its political leverage over EU allies and Arab clients.

Strategically, the OC regime’s deep links to the Zionist power configuration includes the appointment of Israel Firsters to top positions in the US foreign policy establishment.  These appointments ensured that Israeli interests would continue to determine US policies in North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf region.  The Zionist appointees designated which political clients would be acceptable and which adversaries would be targeted for destruction.  The OC regime’s biggest failure as US empire-builders was their inability to achieve independence from the Zionist incubus and accommodate the emergence ofnew socio-political forces as well as its failure to reap economic gains commensurate with its budget-busting military expenditures.

The successful imposition of new client regimes in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula ( Yemen ) is a short-term victory, based on force and the continuation of the authoritarian repressive state apparatus.  The introduction of regressive neo-liberal policies will doom this short-term success.  If the US ‘won’ the first round in the ‘Arab Spring’, its client rulers face a more radical social upheaval, one which goes beyond the earlier anti-dictatorial struggle and which explicitly targets the US, EU and the IMF. The new clients’ prospects of achieving stability via economic recovery are virtually non-existent.  The full implementation of the OC-IMF agenda of ending popular food and fuel subsidies, increasing regressive taxation and wide spread privatizations will create a powder-key among the Arab masses.  Under pressure from new waves of mass uprisings against brutal neo-liberal economic policies, the Arab clients’ US-mandated complicity with Israel may end.

The OC regime’s successful overthrow and assassination of President Gadhafi was accompanied by the utter destruction of the Libyan nationalist state, its economy and social fabric.  The OC policy of total war has produced a miserable, lawless, chaotic society ‘headed’ by powerless expat neo-liberals at the top and run by local tribal chiefs, Islamist thugs and criminal gangs on the ground.  They specialize in running guns, dispatching armed mercenaries abroad (especially to Syria ), trafficking in migrant workers, drugs and sex slavery.  The oil industry enclave has partially recovered but few if any oil profits make it to the US .

Meanwhile, even US Embassy personnel (including the Ambassador) have been murdered and visiting US officials only travel in heavily armed conveys.  Instead of a political victory, Washington has lost a potential oil partner for its own extractive industry.  One might say the only real ‘beneficiary’ of the US-EU war to destroy Libya was Israel : Gadhafi had been a staunch ally and supporter of the Palestinian people.  The invasion of Libya led to the massive displacement of armed ethnic communities, which has exacerbated conflicts in resource-rich sub-Sahara neo-colonies.

The Zionist power configuration, embedded in Congress, Treasury and inside the OC regime, has succeeded in imposing new and harsher economic sanctions on 75 million Iranians in support of Israel’s goal of ‘regime change’ in Teheran.  However, the effect has been to strengthen the unity of the ethnically diverse Iranian population, especially when overt military threats, emanating from nuclear-armed Israel , are amplified by the White house and the Zionist-occupied US Congress.

Iran ’s peaceful nuclear program continues; oil and gas sales to China , Japan , India and Korea and Pakistan continue.  A new billion-dollar gas pipeline agreement with Pakistan has been signed.  Iran has replaced the US as the major foreign influence in Iraq .

In other words the Obama-Clinton diplomatic success (‘sanctions against Iran ’) have not enhanced US power nor achieved any strategic goals.  Moreover Zionist-designed sanctions have had a negative effect on US energy prices and oil company profits.  The OC regime’s policy toward Iran has ‘succeeded’ in maintaining Israel as the only nuclear power in the Middle East , a goal of Tel Aviv.

Obama and Clinton’s success in expanding outposts, missions, drone platforms and mercenary armies in Africa has been costly, politically destabilizing and has not prevented large-scale long-term Chinese economic penetration in the most lucrative resource sectors of the region.  The US may have closer ties with African generals and dictators; its bankers come and go; but capital flight out of Africa accompanies inflows of US foreign aid.  While the OC regime were building drone platforms, thousands of Chinese miners, investors, construction and transport companies were establishing an economic empire that over time will enhance China’s power, long after the US military empire has collapsed.

The OC regime claims ‘military victory’ in Iraq when, in fact, what we see is ‘defeat via retreat’ on the ground.  The US has spent $2 trillion dollars in order to overthrow and execute the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.   The Bush and Obama-Clinton regimes have made absolute fools out of the entire executive branch of the US government by justifying the war on the basis of crudely manufactured intelligence (falsely claiming the existence of weapons of mass destruction) through a series of lies cooked up by Israeli-collaborators in the Pentagon, White House and New York Times (especially the infamous propagandist Judith Miller).

The end result is a failed state:  savage ethnic-religious divisions, millions of dead, displaced and injured, daily terror bombings against a brutalized population, and a great leap backward in terms of Iraq’s economic, scientific and social development.  In political terms, Iraq is now ruled by a thuggish Shia elite closely tied to Iran – which is the biggest beneficiary of the US invasion of Iraq and principal adversary of US empire building.  The OC regime’s post-war Iraq is composed of an overwhelmingly hostile population, a divided and fragmented country pitting Arabs against Kurds, where the most qualified and educated have been driven out or assassinated and entire ancient Christian communities have been obliterated.  The OC regime claims to ‘success in Iraq ’, in fact, show a weakening of the overall US presence in the Gulf region.  Economically, Turkey has become Iraq ’s main trading partner with trade growing by double and triple digits each year.

In other words, the US invasion of Iraq destroyed an adversary of Israel , broke the US economy ($2 trillion and counting), increased the influence of Iran and handed Iraq ’s petro-dollar consumer market and lucrative reconstruction contracts over to Turkey .  The Obama-Clinton regime’s claims of military victory ring hollow in the empty coffers of the US Treasury – where are the ‘spoils of this imperial war’?  Most of the intellectual authors of the invasion of Iraq have departed from the US government and are now comfortably ensconced within Zionist think tanks (propaganda mills) in Washington or flaunt lucrative ‘consultant’ contracts in Wall Street and Tel Aviv.  Meanwhile, the American taxpayers are left to struggle with an enormous war debt and to grieve the several hundred thousand American casualties – soldiers who lost their lives, limbs and minds – all for a blatant lie perpetrated at the behest of a foreign power, Israel .

The people of Afghanistan , Iraq , Libya and now Syria – serial victims of the US-EU military machines and their Islamist mercenaries – face an increasingly militarized Middle East, North Africa and South Asia , out of which new wars are already emerging, like pus from festering wounds.  In Libya , the US and EU diplomats cringe in their bunkers and travel only in armed convoys, the consequences of their ‘humanitarian’ imperial-Islamist alliances.

As the US and EU supply arms to Islamist terrorists and murderous gangsters who plunder Syrian cities, decapitate captured government soldiers and execute civilian suspects (civilian government functionaries, such as school teachers), Syria ’s diverse secular society is on the brink of extinction. Islamist fanatics bristling with advanced weaponry bought by the Saudi monarch and Gulf petro-oligarchs capture sophisticated Syrian cities and impose medieval Sharia law on what was one of the region’s most diverse and sophisticated secular societies.

The large communities of Alawites, Orthodox and Syriac Christians, Kurds and educated secular Syrians face mass extermination or expulsion by Saudi-funded Wahhabi fanatics.  The EU-US backed ‘secular’ clients (mostly ex-pat Syrians with US or UK passports) serve as propaganda cover for the armed Islamists thugs and mercenaries.  Authoritarian Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, himself a ‘soft-core’ Islamist, provides bases, training, and logistical support for the Syrian invasion.  Turkey has become the Islamist pivot for fundamentalist power taking over Syria and the Levant .  Islamist terrorist violence is spilling over the border into Lebanon today, Jordan tomorrow and may eventually lead to multiple wars involving vulnerable Gulf clients.

Yes, the Obama-Clinton regime undermined an independent, secular, nationalist adversary in President Assad and by doing so they destroy an advocate of Palestinian self-determination, but the ultimate results will not favor US imperial military, economic or diplomatic interests.  The OC regime’s wars have destroyed US commercial prospects for decades ahead; the victory of their mercenary Islamist ‘rebels’ is setting in motion a more virulent armed version of Al Qaeda with a territorial base and access to immense quantities of modern weapons in areas contiguous to US client regimes.

The OC regime claim to have discovered a low-cost (in terms of American blood) technique to project US military power:  killing anti-imperial opponents by drone and Special Forces.  According to the OC regime’s strategists the advantages of assassination by drone warfare is that it would not result in the death of US combat soldiers and the Special Forces, whose high-intensity, low visibility operations are ‘off-budget’ would not elicit any public or legislative scrutiny.  But drones have become highly visible, even to the usually complacent and highly myopic US Congress and are routinely condemned even by client regimes in Pakistan and Afghanistan .  The United Nations has publically condemned drones as civilian casualties have far exceeded the number of so-called ‘terrorist’ targets.  Most experts agree that drone assassinations have vastly increased the number of opponents and facilitated the recruitment of resistance fighters.  Drone warfare has increasingly isolated client regimes like Yemen that permit US drone attacks against its citizens.  The strategy of foreign policy by ‘drone and death squad’ has not replaced the need for ground troops in the task of empire building.  Once US troops do withdraw, its mercenary armies have proved incapable or unwilling to obey US advisors, trainers or Special Forces.

The clearest expression of the failed strategy is the rising number of defections from Afghan security forces and the killing of NATO and US officers by Afghan soldiers and officers – even those with the highest security clearance.  This infiltration into the highest ranks of the Afghan military and police points clearly to the near-future demise of puppet Karzai regime.  The various ministers in the Afghan client regime and their banker cronies know they have no chance of surviving a post-US withdrawal situation:  they have multiple passports in hand and millions in stolen funds stashed in Gulf State bank accounts; their families are safely housed abroad; and their private planes are ready to take off at a moment’s notice.  We may witness the panic scenes at the US Embassy, reminiscent of the last days in Saigon ( Viet Nam ), with local ‘small-fry’ collaborators clamoring to board the ‘last flights out’ before the advancing Taliban insurgents – if our jaded media even bother to cover the debacle.  The current attempt by the US to strike a face-saving deal with the ‘political Taliban’ (under auspices of ‘our friends’, the Saudi autocrats) has infuriated our current puppet in Kabul , Hamid Karzai.  As a result he is publically condemning Special Forces operations and their arbitrary killing and torture of villagers, as well as US drone attacks against Afghan civilians.

The OC regime’s overtures to the Taliban have so far failed because the sine quo non-condition of the Islamist nationalists is the total withdrawal of all US military and civilian occupation forces: in other words an unconditional collapse of US power in Afghanistan .  The Taliban do not need to offer Obama a ‘face-saving’ formula allowing for a ‘residual’ US presence.  As the withdrawal proceeds, more and more Afghan military officers will switch sides, dumping the losers and building bridges toward the new rulers.  If the US decides to reverse course and retain ‘garrison bunkers’ in Afghanistan, they will face a continuing and deepening war of attrition under conditions of growing budgetary constraints and US electoral hostility.

Results and Perspectives:  The Obama-Kerry-Hagel (OKH) Era

The Obama-Kerry-Hagel (OKH) regime has few imperial assets with which to confront the next four years of US empire building and has powerful constraints against devising strategic innovations or even tactical advances, capable of limiting US losses.

The most significant obstacle to any shift from costly and ineffective military-driven empire building to economic and diplomatic informed policies is the influence of the Zionist power configurations (ZPC) influence over the ‘troika’ (OKH) and the Congress.  The new Israeli coalition regime is even more extreme and militarist, as indicated by the powerful presence of a radical settler-colonist party intent on violently annexing what remains of the Palestinian West Bank.  The effective Israeli veto over US foreign policy in the Middle East is enforced by the Presidents of the Major America (sic) Jewish Organizations (representing over 50 powerful Zionist groups) that exclude any possibility that the Obama-Kerry-Hagel regime can even paste a tiny fig leaf ‘peace process’ onto Israel ’s accelerating seizure of Palestinian land.  The OKH regime, under war-mongering ZPC tutelage, will never attempt any reasonable negotiations with Iran .

The OKH regime is openly committed to entering a war on Israel ’s behalf, if the Jewish state unilaterally decides to attack Teheran.  Obama’s visit to Israel , and his obligatory ‘consultation’ with leading Jewish-Zionist leaders prior to the trip, was designed ‘to fix’ the White House agenda:  US lock-step conformity with Netanyahu’s policy of provoking war against Iran and Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands. The Zionists have even dictated Obama’s own body language toward Netanyahu: no public spats, only smiles and handshakes, the lapdog US President agreed.  If anything, the OKH regime will be even more servile to Israeli demands over the next four years because the Zionist occupied US Congress has given Israel a ‘free hand’ in deciding US foreign policy in the Middle East , including the timing of war and the substance of negotiations.

Obama’s newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew are unconditional lifetime Zionists who can be expected to advance economic sanctions against Iran in hopes of strangling its economy and provoking a military confrontation.

Given Washington’s costly commitment to Israeli war plans and the constraints of US budget cuts, the new OKH regime will try to ‘coordinate’ policies with the other NATO powers, including sharing material resources and devising complementary strategies in counter-insurgency operations in sub-Sahara Africa, Islamist mercenary operations in Syria and managing ‘Muslim–neo-liberal’ regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.  Kerry’s visit to Europe was designed to strengthen inter-imperial efforts and especially to bolster French ‘Socialist’ President Hollande’s imperial war policies in Mali and Niger and the ‘Franco-Saudi’ efforts against Syria .

Under pressures from the puppet Syrian mercenary army invading Syria, British Prime Minister Cameron and French President Hollande, the OKH regime will step-up the flow of US arms in an attempt to forestall the advance of the Wahhabi Islamist terrorists who have effectively taken over regions of Syria with backing from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf petro-dictatorships.  The great fear in Washington is that its modern weapons will not just contribute to overthrowing the secular nationalist Assad regime but will put in power a new Al Qaeda-type regime on the borders of the most vulnerable client rulers in Jordan and Lebanon .

An Islamist fundamentalist Syria could serve as a ‘headquarters’ and trampoline for cross border attacks on US bases throughout the region.  Israel will finally annex the strategic Syrian ‘Golan Heights’, which it has occupied since 1967, on the pretext of protecting itself from the Islamist it worked hard to put in power.  The Kurds will try to seize regions of Northern Syria as part of ‘Greater Kurdistan’, to Ankara ’s consternation.  Turkey will traffic its ‘gentler’ version of ‘Islamist nationalism’.  Washington, London and Paris will be unable to enthrone their London-based ex-pat clients in Damascus … The OKH regime may have ousted the secular, nationalist President Assad but it will certainly reap the whirlwind of long-term bloody strife pitting regional powers, rival clients and Al Qaeda terrorists all intent on pillaging the war-ravaged Syria.

Faced with its dubious prospects in Syria, unable to secure a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan and impotent to regain influence over Shi’a Iraq, the new OKH regime will make an effort to bolster the military-Islamist regimes in Egypt and Tunisia by co-opting sectors of the liberal secular opposition.  This won’t be an easy task given the growing socio-political polarization.  Washington’s prospects for consolidating a new set of client regimes will be severely tested by its support for brutal IMF demands on Morsi to eliminate popular food and fuel subsidies  - a policy guaranteed to provoke large-scale rioting among impoverished Egyptians and even the threat of a mass national uprising, uniting secular leftists and poor Muslims.  The key concern in Washington is that the ouster of its Islamist client Morsi might jeopardize Egypt ’s subservient deal with Israel to enforce the economic blockade of millions of Palestinians in Gaza and to accept the Jewish State’s seizure of more Palestinian land in the West Bank .

So far the OKH regime has relied on the combined repressive power of the intact Mubarak military, police and intelligence services to prop-up its client Morsi. But in a pinch, if he falls, the US may try to reshuffle the deck and seek a new set of ‘liberal’ political clients or impose an outright military dictatorship on the Egyptians.

In Obama’s never-ending pursuit on behalf of Israeli interests, his new Secretary of State John Kerry made a point of directly attacking Prime Minister Erdogan for equating Zionism with fascism as soon as he landed in Turkey .

While his ham-fisted tirade made little headway in achieving a Turkish-Israeli reconciliation, Obama convinced Erdogan to accept a pro-forma apology from Netanyahu.  Erdogan now has to face the political reality that 90% of the Turkish people clearly oppose Israel ’s savage repression of the Palestinians.  In the meantime, Turkish capital has been the main beneficiary of the US military-imposed ‘partition’ of Iraq .

Turkish traders and oil speculators dominate the market in Iraqi ‘ Kurdistan ’.  The US may have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars in the invasion but the Turks have made many billions in profits from a war they did not support and immensely increased Turkey ’s regional influence.  The OKH regime can do nothing about Turkey , an opponent of Washington ’s Iraq invasion, reaping huge profits from that $2 trillion-plus investment of US treasure and blood.  The OKH regime may have secured Erdogan’s support for the violent overthrow of the Assad regime in Syria … but it will be for Turkey ’s own hegemonic interests.  Erdogan’s interest in overthrowing the secular-nationalist Assad is based on his plans to establish a compliant client Islamist regime in Damascus and market to be dominated by Turkish business leaders and policy makers.  Erdogan has taken a page from the Israeli playbook of manipulating the US military machine for its own regional interests and profit.

Washington will continue to rely on Saudi and Qatari financing of mercenary armies and Islamist terrorists to destabilize and invade anti-imperialist regimes but with the caveat that the battle-hardened mercenaries are also fanatics – profoundly hostile to the US and the EU.

Qatar’s billions of petro-dollars are like a venereal disease, ‘here, there and everywhere’, infecting a region through the funding and arming of Islamist terrorists in tandem with NATO missiles and bombs to destroy Gaddafi’s nationalist welfare state in Libya, savaging the independent secular government in Syria and providing billions of dollars to prop up the puppet Islamist regimes in Egypt and Tunisia (Financial Times, 3/19/2013, p.7).  Qatar ’s autocratic monarchy enriches its extended royal family and the foreign imperial protectors – namely the US and UK , in exchange for buying and distributing weapons to Islamist mercenaries attacking independent nationalist regimes.

The OKH regime will retain the presence of its naval armada in the Gulf and its training missions and military bases in order to prop-up the decadent Gulf petro-monarcho-dictatorships.  However, the entire Gulf-US complex could become the scene of a grisly military conflagaration if the extremist Israeli regime decides to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran and provoke a generalized regional war.  As it stands, the stability of the entire US-Gulf oil alliance rests on the whims of a ‘third party’ ( Israel ) and its Fifth Column embedded in the US Congress and Executive branch.

Conclusion

Obama’s second term depends on a precarious set of alliances, conditioned by the decisions of a fanatical ultra- militarist foreign power ( Israel ) and subject to a rising tide of mass pro-democracy movements in an arc extending from Tunisia , Egypt and Yemen over to Pakistan .

Moreover, many of the crucial outcomes are beyond the control of the US White House.  The OKH regime does not control the mass movements in North Africa and the mercenary Islamists currently taking over Syria are sworn enemies of both Washington and Damascus .  Washington may retain, within a shrinking budget and in concert with the EU, the power to brutally destroy independent regimes.  However, in the process they rip the very fabric of complex societies and shatter their economies, thus undermining their own capacity to reap the economic spoils of imperial conquest.  Indeed the main ‘booty’ extracted from Washington’s imperial wars has derived from the US Treasury, as rapacious contractors, corrupt politicians and US military officials pillage billions of US taxpayer dollars in ‘aid and reconstruction programs’ for themselves.

A 2011 report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that defense contractors had wasted or lost to fraud as much as $60 billion dollars – or $12 million a day since 2001 ( Financial Times, 3/19/2013, p. 4).  The biggest military contractor ($39.5 billion dollars) is Kellogg, Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton – formerly run by George W. Bush’s Vice President Richard Cheney.  Cheney was a co-architect of the Iraq war along with the Pentagon Zionists Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith.  Corrupt war profiteers and Zionist Fifth Columnists (for Israel) teamed up to pillage the US Treasury for self-enrichment and to destroy Iraq, a key ally of Palestinian liberation and consolidate what Obama hails as Israel’s military supremacy in the Middle East.

The legacy of the Bush regime and Obama’s first term is one of pyrrhic military victories:  an Iraq shredded by sectarian wars and the reversal of half a century of socio-economic, educational and scientific progress under a secular nationalist government.  The OKH regime cannot undo the growing ties between Iraq and Iran .  Nor can they reverse the growing commercial, gas and energy ties between Iran and Pakistan .  The US has secured greater Israeli military links with NATO and the European Union, but a growing popular European and North American boycott against Israeli good and investments is taking its toll on the Jewish state.  The Obama-Kerry-Hagel regime shows no sign of making even a partial break with costly policy of ‘military driven imperialism’ in the Middle East and North Africa .  Moreover, it lacks economic resources to prop up its new clients in North Africa .  While they scurry to fund the current brutal war against Syria , they will have to prepare for new wars against Lebanon and Iran .  The OKH regime will have to rely on low-cost, high-risk, mercenary warfare in Syria .  It will try to carve out defense perimeters around its political and petroleum enclaves in Libya .  It will have to concede even greater economic and Islamist ideological influence to Turkey .  Above all, it will need to appease the Jewish State’s annexation of the West Bank , under pressure from the ZPC!

The old RCA Victor Company marketed its Victorolas, ancient phonograph players with huge horn-like amplifiers, with the image of an attentive dog sitting before the machine in eager anticipation of ‘his master’s voice’.  The recent trip by the Obama to Israel evokes such an image.  Obama’s speech to Jewish students in Jerusalem included such ecstatic praise of everything Israeli or Jewish that he exceeded any propagandistic AIPAC press release, surpassed any fabrication by Netanyahu and embellished (almost to the point of caricature) every racist myth of Jewish superiority.

He lauded Israel as a ‘land of peace and democracy’ in the face of 45 years of brutal military rule and expropriation of 60% of the occupied Palestinian West Bank.  He spoke of ‘negotiations without conditions’, a euphemism for giving Israel the green light to annex what remains of Palestinian land in the West Bank .  He praised Israel ’s creativity and courage in founding the Jewish State, ignoring the violent ethnic cleansing and expulsion of over 850,000 Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians.  He spoke of Israeli technological genius, forgetting that Israel ’s main exports are weapons of massive destruction.

No US leader, past or present (or any other imperial ruler), has so faithfully echoed and embellished the lies of such a bloody colonial power and its US-based Fifth Column with greater fervor than Obama’s degrading effort to satisfy his Zionist handlers in Washington.  His performance far exceeded their highest expectations of US servility.  In style and substance he fulfilled and over-fulfilled their demands for unconditional US subordination to the Jewish state.  In fact, one might suspect that in doing so he set a new standard for the boot-licking belly crawl so familiar to observers of US Congressional servants to Israel .  Needless to say, the entire Zionist propaganda apparatus from neo-cons to liberals were ecstatic.  Here was a Shabbat goy out-Zionizing the most fanatical Zionist.

The day Obama spoke in Jerusalem will be remembered as a day of shame for all Americans who believe in freedom and dignity and peace with social justice .  To listen to the President of the United States grovel before a racist colonial power is degrading.  It was also a day of anger for the five billion people of the world who have broken their chains of colonial racist oppression.  Obama has made his choice:  His administration will have to live with this for the next four years.

The OKH regime’s attempt to penetrate Africa via military missions and the promotion of Pan-African mercenary forces will require an accommodation of France ’s rising imperial militarism.   It will have to acknowledge China ’s increasing economic supremacy in Africa ’s extractive sectors, infrastructure and trade.  The OKH regime’s ‘pivot to Asia’ involving trans-Pacific free trade agreements excluding China, military bases encircling Beijing and encouraging Japan’s provocation over disputed territory has had no impact on China’s economic growth and burgeoning trade relations.  China ’s trade with Asia now surpasses its trade with the US .  The two way flow of investments into and out of China trump all the OKH regime’s offshore war mongering.  The OKH regime’s Asian ‘pivot’ has failed to produce any imperial economic rewards for Washington ’s coffers.  However, it has incited greater military tensions between Japan and China and between North and South Korea .  This is occurring at a time when the Pentagon faces major budget cuts and US Treasury Secretary Lew is trying to drum up greater trade with China .

In sum, the past military commitments, the links to Israel , the legacies of political failures in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fragility of new client rulers mean that the OKH regime will play an increasingly marginal economic role in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia .  The Obama-Kerry-Hagel troika will do their best to salvage the US military bases and political influence among autocratic petro-states in the Gulf.

 

Mr Mel Stride  MP for Devon Central 

 Dear Mr Stride,

I need to define ‘treason’ as used below.

Firstly we start with the definition of a supreme war crime as defined at Nurnberg.  That is to engage or conspire to engage in aggressive war, ‘from which all other crimes flow’. 

The UK’s part in Iraq was exactly that.  So too is the ‘war’ in Afghanistan, and Libya since.  Not one of these wars were/are defensive.  In Syria, the war or rebellion, is being fought by surrogates, starting with those champions of democracy, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  That they are being fought by surrogates does not absolve us from the charge.
Secondly  

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations…   Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter.” UN Charter – 1: Purposes and Principles  


And now treason.

a.  Nothing that Messrs Hague and Cameron have said or done in regard to Syria can be construed as being in defence of the UK or its interests.  Given the threats made by them towards President Assad and Syria, that is treason.

b.  It is common knowledge (PNAC) and via Oded Yinon (adviser to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the ’80s) that Syria was to be destroyed or decimated, as the pathway to the same fate for Iran.  Netanyahu, who with many world leaders shows plain features of psychopathy, has spoken with other Israelis of a first strike on Iran if it continues its alleged attempts to add one atomic bomb in the ME where Israel has hundreds.  The steady escalation we see now with Russian S300 and S400 missiles on station or on their way threatens world war.  That Messrs Cameron and Hague are stirring this cauldron without any advantage for the UK, and every risk, is treason also.

yours sincerely

David Halpin MB BS FRCS

ps  I add a quotation from Milton Mayer which should give you pause for thought.  His German Jewish family emigrated from Germany to the US before the onslaught.  I want people healed, not burned, shredded or killed.



Dear Mr Stride,

Today in Helmand on the ‘front line’ -  Mr Cameron said the political process should mean “those people are prepared to give up the bomb, the bullet, can actually be part of that process, part of that future Afghanistan”.  Huffington Post  But the bomb, the bullet, the SAMs, the heavy machine guns, the mortars for the rabbles.

The rank hypocrisy we hear from this nation’s leaders causes millions of us to feel the deepest shame for the lack of principle and law in our nation.

You Mr Stride barred me from writing a second time to the FCO to find out what basis Britain in international law was using in its support for the rabbles and the armed rebellion within a sovereign country.  I had considered the letter from Mr Alistair Burt entirely insufficient in its response to me.  Perhaps the FCO had prevailed upon you in this.

I want you to recognise that in defending the FCO in its unlawful policies in Syria, you are complicit in that lawlessness.

You need to see this 9 minute film which shocked even this surgeon.  Some claim that it is black propaganda; if it is the deception is most elaborate.  One question mark is that the Arabic spoken is not as by a native tongue.  Another is that one leader in this most gruesome record is wearing traditional Afghan dress.  Another is an Uzbek face.

http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=51537     linked link to >

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ead_1372329728

I ask that you 1.  support Mr Baron in his demand for a debate and  2. that you confirm Mr Cameron’s statement that he does not think a Commons debate to be necessary is wrong.

For the PM to be using, in effect, the royal prerogative, in a lawless campaign is treason in my book.  I repeat – treason.

yours sincerely

David Halpin MB BS FRCS

cc to my web site to join the previous correspondence

by Matthew MacEgan

The 200 highest paid CEOs at US public companies with revenue above $1 billion received a median compensation package of $15.1 million in 2012, 16 percent higher than the previous year, according to a report published Sunday by the New York Times. The Times compiled its report based on data provided by the executive compensation analysis firm Equilar Inc.

The Times also published an adjoining article on the ongoing practice of granting retiring and even fired CEOs multi-million-dollar “golden parachute” retirement packages. The articles provide insight into the further enrichment of the corporate elite, under conditions of declining wages and mounting poverty for millions of workers and youth in the US.

Most of the money in the CEO compensation packages came from stock and option grants, which generally rose sharply in line with the rise on US and world stock exchanges. The boom in stocks prices was, in turn, driven by the policies of the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve Board, which flooded the financial markets with virtually free credit in order to drive up share values.

Overall, the stock prices of the 200 firms included in the Times survey rose 19 percent in 2012, just 3 percent higher than the median rise in CEO compensation. In some cases, however, CEO pay shot up even though the company’s stock fell.

At the top of the list is Lawrence Ellison, CEO of the software company Oracle, with compensation totaling $96.2 million, including $90.7 million in stock options. His pay package increased by 24 percent over 2011. Oracle’s total share value, however, decreased by 22 percent.

The second highest paid executive on the list was Robert Kotick of the software publishing firm Activision Blizzard (ATVI). He took in $64.9 million, a staggering 680 percent increase over his 2011 salary. Included in that figure were stocks estimated at $55.9 million. ATVI stock, however, was down 12 percent in 2012.

The fifth highest paid executive, James Crowe, of Level 3 Communications (LVLT), received $40.7 million in 2012, an increase of 261 percent, with over $37 million coming in the form of stock options.

The continuing rise in CEO pay five years after the 2008 financial crash points to the futility of calls for reforming the capitalist system. The growth of inequality and plundering of the social wealth by the financial aristocracy are intrinsic features of the system, not merely blemishes that can be removed. The massive sums pouring into the stock portfolios and bank accounts of a handful of people represent a colossal squandering of resources.

In 2012, the total federal budget for assistance to homeless people was $2.7 billion. This was less than the approximately $3 billion that went to the 200 highest paid CEOs.

The city of Detroit, with a population of 707,000, carries a recorded deficit of $327 million, which is less than the total compensation of the top 6 executives, who took in a combined $350.6 million in 2012. The wealth going to these six individuals would be more than enough to stop the wholesale destruction of jobs, services and living standards being carried out in Detroit on the grounds that “there is no money.”

Also in 2012, the entire budget for the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was $3.5 billion. This sum, the result of budget cuts enacted by the Obama administration, is only marginally higher than the personal pay packages of the 200 top CEOs.

Many workers at the Big Three US auto plants are now making $14 an hour. This means their annual income is about $28,000. The compensation awarded to Ellison would pay the wages of 3,435 of these auto workers, and the combined income of all 200 of the top paid executives would supply wages for 107,857 auto workers.

On top of the obscenely large salaries and stock options awarded to current officers, many executives are given multi-million-dollar severance packages when they choose to retire. In many cases, retiring chief executives continue to receive millions of dollars even years after their retirement. This also applies to many CEOs who have been fired.

The biggest package in 2012 went to James Mulva, who stepped down as CEO of ConocoPhillips after 10 years, taking $156 million as an exit package, most of which came from the market value of the stock gains he received. Edward Breen, formerly of Tyco International, received an exit package of $46 million in 2012, followed by $55.8 million in deferred shares in 2013. As chairman, he will receive $30 million more as a pension payment in 2016.

While there have been savage cuts in the wages and benefits of workers since 2008, nothing has been done to rein in the compensation of top corporate executives. The opposite is the case. Nor will anything be done so long as corporate America continues to exercise a de facto dictatorship by means of its two-party system.

In 2010, just months after Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake, the United States passed legislation allocating $651 million to USAID to support relief and reconstruction efforts. Three years later, just 31 percent of these funds have been spent as delays mount and goals are scaled back, according to anew Government Accountability Office (GAO) report [PDF] released yesterday. The report also criticizes USAID for a lack of transparency, especially in its reporting to Congress.

“This report shows a significant and sobering disconnect between what was originally promised for the Haitian people, and what it appears USAID is now prepared to deliver.  The Haitian people, as well as the US taxpayer, deserve better answers about our assistance than we have received to date,” according to Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The GAO found that inaccurate cost estimates and delays led to an increase in the amount dedicated to providing shelter from $59 million to $97 million while at the same time “decreased the projected number of houses to be built by over 80 percent, from 15,000 to 2,649.” Originally estimated to cost less than $10,000 for a completed house, actual costs have been greater than $33,000. USAID has awarded over $46 million to contractors for housing. Meanwhile, some 300,000 people remain in camps over three years after the earthquake. Overall, the humanitarian community has constructed just 7,000 new homes, about 40 percent of what is currently planned.

Further, the GAO report is critical of U.S. investments supporting the Caracol Industrial Park.  Randal C. Archibold of the New York Times reports:

A big portion of Agency for International Development money, $170.3 million, went toward a power plant and port for an industrial park in northern Haiti that was the centerpiece of United States reconstruction efforts and had been heavily promoted by the State Department and former President Bill Clinton.

But the project had mixed results. Although the aid agency completed the power plant under budget, the port, crucial to the industrial park’s long-term success, is two years behind schedule “due in part to a lack of U.S.A.I.D. expertise in port planning in Haiti,” the report said, and is now vulnerable to cost overruns.

The GAO also found that a lack of oversight of USAID operations in Haiti and that congressionally mandated reports “did not include” “detailed information on funding and sector activities” as required and that despite a significant amount of funds left to be disbursed, the reporting requirement has now ended.  “Congress lacks information on the amounts of funds obligated and disbursed and program by program progress of U.S. reconstruction activities,” concludes the report.

The findings echo those made by CEPR in a report released in April, “Breaking Open the Black Box: Increasing Aid Transparency and Accountability in Haiti” and should lead to increased support for the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act that is currently making its way through the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The bill (H. R. 1749), which requires detailed reporting on amounts obligated and spent by USAID, including use of contractors and subcontractors, was introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and has 29 cosponsors in the House. While all the cosponsors are currently Democrats, the GAO report was requested by former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and the former ranking Democrat on the Committee, Howard Berman,.  Yesterday, Ros Lehtinen, along with the current chairman of the Committee, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), and the current ranking Democrat, Eliot Engel (D-NY) released a joint statement registering concern about the GAO’s findings and calling for hearings on the issue, suggesting bipartisan support for greater transparency around U.S. assistance programs in Haiti.

While the international press plays up the information leaked by Edward Snowden as a revelation concerning the PRISM surveillance program, feigning to have discovered what everyone should already have known for a long time, Thierry Meyssan is particularly curious about the meaning of this rebellion.

From this perspective, he attaches more importance to the case of General Cartwright, who has also been indicted for espionage.

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Former commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former military adviser to President Obama, General James Cartwright is accused of spying: leaking to the New York Times information about the secret war against Iran in order to prevent an unnecessary war.

Are American public servants, civilian or military, who face a minimum of 30 years in prison for revealing U.S. state secrets to the press, “whistleblowers” exercising power in a democratic system or are they “resistors to oppression” at the hands of a military-police dictatorship? The answer to this question does not depend on our own political opinions, but on the nature of the U.S. government. The answer completely changes if we focus on the case of Bradley Manning, the young leftist Wikileaks soldier, or if we consider that of General Cartwright, military adviser to President Obama, indicted Thursday, 27 June 2013, for spying.

Here, a look back is needed to understand how one shifts from “espionage” in favor of a foreign power to “disloyalty” to a criminal organization that employs you.

Worse than censorship: the criminalization of sources

The President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Woodrow Wilson, tried to confer on the Executive branch the power to censor the press when “national security” or “the reputation of the government” are in play. In his speech on State of the Union (7th of December 1915), he said: “There are citizens of the United States … who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life, who tried to drag the authority and reputation of our government in contempt … to destroy our industries … and degrade our policy in favor of foreign intrigue …. We are without adequate federal laws …. I urge you to do nothing less than save the honor and self-respect of the nation. Such creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed.”

However, Congress did not heed him immediately. After the U.S. entry into the war, it passed the Espionage Act, taking in most of the British Official Secrets Act. It was no longer a matter of censoring the press, but of cutting off access to information by muzzling the custodians of state secrets. This device allows the Anglo-Saxons to present themselves as “defenders of freedom of expression”, though they are the worst violators of the democratic right to information, constitutionally defended by the Scandinavian countries.

Silence, not secrecy

Thus, the Anglo-Americans are less informed about what is happening at home than are foreigners. For example, during World War II, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada managed to keep under wraps something as big as the Manhattan Project, that created the first nuclear bomb, while it employed 130,000 people for 4 years and it was widely penetrated by foreign intelligence services. Why? Because Washington did not prepare the weapon for this war, but for the next, against the Soviet Union. As shown by Russian historians, the abdication of Japan was postponed until after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed as a warning to the USSR. If Americans had known that their country possessed such a weapon, their leaders would have had to use it to finish with Germany and not to threaten the Soviet ally at the expense of the Japanese. In reality, the Cold War began before the end of World War II [1].

In terms of secrecy, it should be noted that Stalin and Hitler were informed of the Manhattan Project from its inception. They indeed had inside agents. Meanwhile Truman was informed in his capacity as vice president, but only at the last moment, after the death of President Roosevelt.

The real utility of the Espionage Act

In any event, the Espionage Act deals only secondarily with espionage as shown by its jurisprudence.

In wartime, it is used to punish dissent. Thus, in 1919, the Supreme Court recognized in Schrenck v. United States and Abrams v. United States that calling for insubordination or non-intervention against the Russian Revolution fell under the Espionage Act.

In peacetime, the same law serves to prevent public officials from exposing a system of fraud or crimes committed by the state, even if their revelations are already known, but not yet proven.

Under the administration of Barack Obama, the Espionage Act has been invoked 8 times, a peacetime record. Let’s put aside the case of John Kiriakou, a CIA officer who revealed the detention and torture of Abu Zubaydah. Far from being a hero, Kiriakou is actually an agent provocateur funded by the Agency, whose role it was to delude the public regarding pseudo-confessions extorted from Zubaydah to justify, a posteriori, the “fight against terrorism” [2].

Let’s also eliminate the case of Shamal Leibowitz, since his revelations were never released to the public. There remain six cases instructing us about the U.S. military-police system.

Stephen Jin-Woo Kim confirmed to Fox News that North Korea was preparing a nuclear test regardless of U.S. threats; a confirmation that caused no harm to the USA other than pointing out their inability to be obeyed by North Korea. In another context, this information had already been released by Bob Woodward without provoking reactions.

Andrew Thomas Drake revealed the mismanagement of the Trailblazer program to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. He was alleged to have informed those congressmen tasked with keeping an eye on the intelligence agencies with regard to the billions that the NSA was secretly throwing out the window. Trailblazer sought to find a way to plant viruses on any computer or mobile phone. It has never worked.

In a similar vein, Edward Snowden, an employee of the Booz Allen Hamilton technology consulting firm, published various NSA documents attesting to U.S. spying in China as well as on the guests of the British G20. Above all, he has revealed the scope of the military phone tapping and internet spy system, which no one can escape, not even the President of the United States. U.S. politicians described Snowden as “a traitor to kill” only because his documents prevent the NSA from continuing to deny before Congress activities long known to all.

Bradley Manning, a simple soldier, sent to Wikileaks videos of two blunders by the army, 500,000 intelligence reports on military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, and 250,000 cables on the information gathered by U.S. diplomats in conversations with foreign politicians. None of this is of paramount importance, but the documentation projects a poor image of the gossip collected by the State Department to serve as the basis for its “diplomacy.”

Jeffrey Alexander Sterling is a CIA employee who revealed “Operation Merlin” to the New York Times. More surprisingly, General James Cartwright was number two man in the military, in his capacity as Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and so close an advisor to the President as to be dubbed “Obama’s general”. He supposedly revealed “Operation Olympic Games” to the New York Times last year and has been placed under investigation, according to CNN.

Sterling and Cartwright don’t buy into the Israeli myth of “the atomic bomb of the mullahs.” So they tried to defuse the war into which Tel Aviv is trying to plunge their country. “Operation Merlin” consisted in sending to Iran false information about the manufacture of the bomb. In reality, it was supposed to push Iran to engage in a military nuclear program to justify a posteriori the Israeli accusation [3]. As for “Operation Olympic Games,” it was meant to implant the Stuxnet and Flame viruses in the Natanz plant, to disrupt its operation, notably that of its centrifuges [4]. It was therefore intended to block Iran’s civilian nuclear program. None of these revelations damaged U.S. interests, but they hindered Israeli ambitions.

Resistance heroes

A salon opposition presents the men indicted under the Espionage Act as “whistleblowers”, as if the United States today were a real democracy and they were alerting citizens to the need to correct some errors. In fact, what they show us is that in the United States, from a common soldier (Bradley Manning) to the second in command (General Cartwright), men are trying as best they can to fight against a dictatorial system in which they discover themselves to be a cog. Faced with a monstrous system, they ought to be celebrated as major resistance figures such as Admiral Canaris or Count Stauffenberg.

Thierry Meyssan

Translation
Roger Lagassé

[1] “La Seconde Guerre mondiale aurait pu prendre fin en 1943” (The Second World War could have ended in 1943), “Si l’Armée rouge n’avait pas pris Berlin…” (If the Red Army had not taken Berlin …) and “La Conférence de Yalta offrait une chance qui n’a pas été saisie” (The Yalta Conference offered an opportunity that was not been seized), Viktor Litovkine interview with Valentin Faline, Ria-Novosti/Réseau Voltaire, 30 March, 1 and 6 April 2005.

[2] “Abu Zubaydah Poses a Real Threat to Al Qaeda” and “Forgetting Torture: Lee Hamilton, John Brennan, and Abu Zubaydah”, by Kevin Ryan, Voltaire Network, 19 January and 13 March 2013.

[3] State of War : The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, by James Risen, Free Press, 2006.

[4] “Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran“, by David E. Sanger, The New York Times, 1 June 2012. “Did America’s Cyber Attack on Iran Make Us More Vulnerable?“, by Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic, 5 June 2012. “The rewards (and risks) of cyber war“, by Steve Call, The New Yorker, 7 June 2012. “U.S., Israel developed Flame computer virus to slow Iranian nuclear efforts, officials say“, by Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller and Julie Tate, The Washington Post, 19 June 2012.

Previously Secret Documents Show That Canadian Intelligence Discovered That Israel Purchased Yellowcake from Argentines during 1963-1964

Information Later Shared with British and Americans, Who Accepted It after Hesitation

U.S. State Department Insisted that Uranium Sales Required Safeguards to Assure Peaceful Use but Israel Was Uncooperative and Evasive About the Yellowcake’s Ultimate Use

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 432

For more information contact:
William Burr: 
[email protected]
Avner Cohen
: [email protected]

For more documents on the Israeli nuclear weapons program, see “Israel and the Bomb,” documents edited by Avner Cohen.

William Burr, National Security Archive, and Avner Cohen, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, editors

Image: This and the three other photographs of the construction site near Dinoma in the Negev desert for Israel’s then-secret nuclear reactor were taken during 1960. It is difficult to identify precisely who took these photos, but information in a draft U.S. Intelligence Board post-mortem strongly suggests that British and U.S. military attachés took the photos. It is likely that these are the photographs described on pages 13 and 14 of that report. The plainly visible reactor dome undermined Israeli claims that a textile factory was under construction. These images of the reactor site, some of them classified secret or confidential, are located in State Department records at the National Archives. (Record Group 59, Records of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Atomic Energy and Outer Space, General Records Relating to Atomic Energy, 1948-62, box 501, Country File Z1.50 Israel f. Reactors 1960)


During 1963-64, the Israeli government secretly acquired 80-100 tons of Argentine uranium oxide (“yellowcake”) for its nuclear weapons program, according to U.S. and British archival documents published today for the first time jointly by the National Security Archive, the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey institute of International Studies (MIIS). The U.S. government learned about the facts of the sale through Canadian intelligence and found out even more from its Embassy in Argentina. In response to U.S. diplomatic queries about the sale, the government of Israel was evasive in its replies and gave no answers to the U.S.’s questions about the transaction.

These nearly unknown documents shed light on one of the most obscure aspects of Israel’s nuclear history-how secretly and vigorously Israel sought raw materials for its nuclear program and how persistently it tried to cultivate relations with certain nuclear suppliers. Yellowcake, a processed uranium ore, was critically important to Israel for fuelling its nuclear reactor at Dimona and thereby for producing plutonium for weapons. The story of the Argentine yellowcake sale to Israel has remained largely unknown in part because Israel has gone to great lengths to keep tight secrecy to this day about how and where it acquired raw materials for its nuclear program.

That Argentina made the yellowcake sale to Israel has already been disclosed in declassified U.S. intelligence estimates, but how and when Washington learned about the sale and how it reacted to it can now be learned from largely untapped archival sources. Among the disclosures in today’s publication:

    • French restrictions on Israel’s supply of uranium in 1963 made U.S. and British officials suspect that Israel would attempt to acquire yellowcake from other sources without any tangible restrictions to sustain its nuclear weapons program
    • A Canadian intelligence report from March 1964 asserted Israel had all of the “prerequisites for commencing a modest nuclear weapons development project.”
    • When the Canadians discovered the Argentine-Israeli deal they were initially reluctant to share the intelligence with Washington because the United States had refused to provide them with information on a recent U.S. inspection visit by U.S. scientists to Dimona.
    • U.S. and British intelligence were skeptical of the Canadian finding until September 1964 when U.S. Embassy sources in Argentina confirmed the sale to Israel.
    • The Israelis evaded answering questions about the transaction. When U.S. scientists visited the Dimona facility in March 1966 as part of the August 1963 secret agreement between Presiden Kenned and PrimeMinister Eshkol, they asked about the yellowcake but their Israeli hosts said that question was for “higher officials.”
    • In 1964 U.S. officials tried to persuade the Argentines to apply strong safeguards to future uranium exports but had little traction for securing agreement.
    • In 1965, while the CIA and the State Department were investigating the Argentine yellowcake sale, Washington pursued rumors that the French uranium mining company in Gabon had sought permission to sell yellowcake to Israel.

Ever since late 1960, when the CIA learned that the Israelis had been constructing, with French assistance, a major nuclear facility near Dimona in the Negev Desert, the United States and its close allies, Canada and the United Kingdom , and even its Soviet adversary, suspected that Israel had a nuclear weapons program under way.[1] Closely monitoring Israeli nuclear activities Canadian intelligence discovered the yellocake sale sometime in the spring of 1964 and soon shared this sensitive information with the British.

Convinced that the Canadian information confirmed Israel’s interest in nuclear weapons, a British diplomat calculated that the yellowcake would enable the Israelis to use their Dimona nuclear reactor to produce enough plutonium for its first nuclear weapon within 20 months. In light of these concerns, the British shared the information with the U.S. government; both governments were concerned about stability in the Middle East, which the Israeli nuclear program could threaten. Both wanted yellowcake sales safeguarded to curb the Israeli nuclear program and the spread of nuclear weapons capabilities worldwide.

According to the initial Canadian information-as well as additional details later gleaned by the U.S. State Department-in late 1963 Argentina had secretly negotiated a long-term contract with Israel to provide at least 80 tons of yellowcake. While the Americans and the British were initially somewhat skeptical about the accuracy of the Canadian report, subsequent investigations demonstrated that it was correct. Trying to ensure that uranium exports were safeguarded to prevent diversion into military programs, Washington complained to the Argentines about the unsafeguarded sale, then queried the Israelis, and applied intelligence resources to find out more about the transaction.

Washington found that the sale was irreversible and that it could learn nothing about its purpose, although it kept trying. The Argentines said they could only apply strong safeguards to future sales while the Israelis evaded all queries about the yellowcake, although as part of a high-level deal between President Kennedy and Prime Minister Eshkol from 1963 Israel had allowed U.S. government experts to visit their nuclear reactor at Dimona. The U.S. team apparently raised the Argentine yellowcake during a 1966 visit but the Israelis were not helpful in providing explanations. The CIA could not learn anything concrete about the transaction either.

As the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada had routinely acted with the utmost discretion when sharing intelligence information about the Israeli nuclear program, they kept the entire yellowcake sale secret. On this matter there were no leaks; the issue never reached the U.S. media then or later.

Israel’s interest in uranium is as old as the state itself. As early as 1949-50, Israel started with a geological survey of the Negev to determine whether and to what extent uranium could be extracted from the phosphates deposits there. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s Israel explored the viability of the phosphates option, some pilots plants were built, but finally it was determined that it would be too costly.  Israel, therefore, had to find uranium from overseas sources.

For the Dimona project the Israelis initially had gotten uranium from France, but in the early 1960s Paris began to restrict the supply and Israel sought to diversify its sources by securing uranium from Argentina, South Africa and elsewhere.[2] Conversely, because the United States was worried about the Israeli nuclear program and its implications for stability in the region, it made efforts to monitor closely Israeli purchases of nuclear material and investigated the Argentine-Israeli deal. While Washington was then exploring ways to establish a global safeguards system to regulate nuclear supplies through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), nothing yet was available with any teeth, such as the future Nuclear Suppliers Group, to check such sales, much less restrict the Israeli nuclear program.

Early on when American, British, and Canadian intelligence tried to uncover the secrets of the Israeli nuclear program, they clearly understood that Israel needed a reprocessing facility to transform its spent reactor fuel into weapons-grade plutonium. For example, according to an October 1964 National Intelligence Estimate on nuclear proliferation a “major deficiency, in terms of a weapons program, is the lack of a plutonium separation plant.” Although the Israelis had told both the US and Canada that the Dimona facility would include a pilot plant for reprocessing, the widespread assumption was that it was probably too small to produce enough plutonium for a weapons program. That the original French design for Dimona included a large underground reprocessing facility (Machon 2) was one of Israel’s deepest nuclear secrets, which Mordecai Vanunu later revealed.[3] To this day, it is unclear exactly how much Western intelligence knew about the facility and exactly when and how it learned it.

The documents in today’s publication are from the U.S. and the British National Archives. All of the U.S. documents were declassified in the mid-1990s but have lingered in a relatively obscure folder in the State Department’s central foreign policy files at the U.S. National Archives. They may never have been displayed in public before as the file appeared to be previously untouched. A few of the British documents have been cited by other historians, including ourselves, but the fascinating story of British-Canadian-United States intelligence cooperation and coordination has also been buried in relative obscurity. The juxtaposition of U.S. and British records makes a fuller account possible, although some elements of the story remain secret, such as the identity of the Canadian intelligence source on the yellowcake purchase. Only Israeli and Argentine documents, however, can provide the full story of the yellowcake sale.

Photo: Alan C. Goodison (1906-2006), trained as an Arabist, worked on Israeli nuclear matters at the British Foreign Office’s Eastern Department in the mid-1960s. He coordinated the analysis and distribution of the sensitive Canadian intelligence report on the Argentine yellowcake sale. Goodison is shown in 1983 when he became Ambassador to Ireland (Crown copyright image from collection of Foreign and Commonwealth Office history staff; reproduced under United Kingdom Open License provisions)


THE DOCUMENTS

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office documents in this collection are Crown copyright material and are published with the cooperation of the United Kingdom’s National Archives. To meet the National Archive’s concerns about unauthorized commercial reproduction of copyright material, the British documents are published with watermarks.

A. Overviews and Perspectives

Document 1: Memorandum from Benjamin Read, Executive Secretary, Department of State, for McGeorge Bundy, The White House, “Israel’s Assurances Concerning Use of Atomic Energy,” 18 March 1964, with “Chronology of Israel Assurances of Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy and Related Events,” Secret

Source: National Archives, Record Group 59, Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Records of Office of Country Director for Israeli and Arab-Israeli Affairs, Records Relating to Near Eastern Arms Initiative, box 1, Talbot in Spring 1964 & Exchange of Letters

This valuable chronology provides a record of the U.S. discovery of the nuclear reactor project at Dimona and the various pledges made by the Israelis, at various levels, in response to requests from the United States,that it was for peaceful uses only. Included in the chronology is an item about a meeting on 25 May 1963 where senior French diplomat Charles Lucet told CIA director John McCone that even though the French had helped build the Dimona reactor, “there might be a nuclear complex not known to the French.” Lucet further stated that the Israelis had tried to purchase “safeguard-free” uranium from Gabon but that the French government stopped the sale through preemptive purchases.

Documents 2 and 3:

2: Department of National Defence, Canada, Defence Research Board, Directorate of Scientific Intelligence, “Possible Israeli Nuclear Military Program,” by J. Koop, DSI Report 1/64, March 1964, Secret, enclosed with letter from A.R.H. Kellas to Allan Goodison, 8 October 1964, Secret

3: Letter from R.C. Treweeks, Defense Intelligence Staff, to Allen Goodison, 8 December 1964, Secret

Source: British National Archives, FO 371/175844

In the late winter of 1964, Jacob Koop, a career intelligence analyst at Canada’s Defence Research Board, prepared a detailed analysis of Dimona’s military potential.[4] Drawing on such intelligence sources as aerial photography, Koop’s basic conclusion was that the reactor had all of the “prerequisites for commencing a modest nuclear weapons development project.” According to Koop, once the Dimona reactor went “critical” it could produce enough plutonium for at least one implosion device by the end of 1965, and an increase in the thermal operating level would make it possible to produce one to two devices annually by 1966. A key question was how the Israelis would reprocess spent fuel into plutonium; Koop cited Israeli-Canadian discussions during Ben-Gurion’s visit in May 1961 when Israeli officials disclosed their intentions to build a “pilot-plant facility” apparently with a capability to produce around 300 grams of plutonium a year. To produce enough material for several weapons a year, however, the Israelis would need a larger reprocessing facility. They would also need a reliable supply of uranium, around 16 to 20 tons per year, to make it possible to change the reactor fuel annually or more often to ensure a steady supply of weapons-grade plutonium.

British officials found Koops’ analysis highly impressive. Arthur Kellas, a British diplomat in Israel, had acquired a copy of the study and in his forwarding letter observed that it was a “model of what these things should be.” Treweeks, with the Defence Intelligence Staff, later commended the Canadian intelligence study, declaring that “we agreed with what is said and with the conclusions.” Apparently the report had not been shared with U.S. intelligence because Treweeks asked that it be treated as “CANADIAN/UK EYES ONLY.”

B. France

Photo: Admiral Oscar A. Quihillalt (b. 1913), chief of the National Atomic Energy Commission, 1955-73, presided over the creation of Argentina’s nuclear establishment. In 1964, he bore the brunt of U.S. State Department inquiries about the yellowcake sale to Israel. This image shows him in 1967 when he was elected Chairman of the Board of Governors of the international Atomic Energy Agency (Image courtesy of Archives, International Atomic Energy Agency).

Document 4: US Embassy in France cable 3199 to Department of State, 8 January 1964, Secret

Source: National Archives Record Group 59, Department of State Records Subject-Numeric File, 1964-1966 (hereinafter SN 64-66 with file name) Inco-Uranium

This telegram, sent through the special “Roger Channel” used for intelligence subjects, refers to an earlier embassy message, number 2319, dated 12 Novembe 1963, which has yet to be found at the U.S. National Archives. That telegram may refer to French actions to halt the supply of uranium to Israel which were alluded to indirectly in this message. Much still needs to be learned about the details, but apparently in the spring of 1963, the French Foreign Ministry cut off the uranium supply to Israel in order to stop the nuclear program. [5] Jacques Martin, a French Foreign Ministry expert on nuclear matters, told U.S. embassy officials that the Israelis, who hadrefused to sign an agreement to purchase uranium exclusively from France, were looking for other sources, most likely Belgium and Argentina. Martin stated that the Dimona reactor could continue operations for only a few weeks without a supply of reactor fuel. It is worth noting that the U .S. government had recently learned that the reactor had just become critical and thus capable of producing plutonium.

Document 5: US Embassy in France cable 4529 to Department of State, 26 March 1964, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

According to another Roger Channel message, the Israeli yellowcake supply problem was continuing, with the Israelis demanding to know why the French were holding up uranium shipments. According to Jacques Martin, the French replied that until Israel was ready to purchase only from France, allowing France “some control over the situation” [in Dimona], the restrictions would continue.

Document 6: Peter Ramsbotham, British Embassy Paris, to William “Willie” Morris, Foreign Office, 11 June 1964, Secret and Guard, with Minutes Attached

Source: FO 371/175844

On 11 June 1964, Peter Ramsbotham, chief of the chancery at the British Embassy in France, met with George Soutou, a senior official at the French Foreign Ministry. Soutou was quite frank about French concerns over Israel, acknowledging that the French believed that the Israelis were, at the least, attempting to “put themselves in a position to make a nuclear bomb, if they wanted to.” According to Soutou, the French-Israeli agreement required the latter to return spent fuel to France, which was keeping “meticulous” records of inputs and outputs. The problem was that the agreement was “loosely drafted” and it did not proscribe the Israelis from using non-French uranium for Dimona, although the French believed that such a proscription was in the agreement’s “spirit.” [6] Therefore, to enforce it, they had already “prevented the sale” of uranium from a former French colony (see Document 1). France would regard any further attempt at uranium purchases a “breach” of the agreement that would lead to the “denial” of further aid. In light of these considerations, Ramsbotham wondered whether the French should be told about the Argentine-Israeli secret deal given their view that any such sale would violate the agreement.

According to the attached minutes, Arkell at the Defense Intelligence Staff was willing to tell the French about the Argentine sale, if the Canadians gave their approval, although it was doubtful whether French denial of further assistance would have any more than a “delaying” impact on the Israeli program. Whether the French were actually told anything is still unclear.

Document 7: US Embassy in France cable 6049 to Department of State, “Franco-Israeli Nuclear Relations,” 11 June 1964, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Apparently, Ramsbotham quickly passed to the Americans information from his talk with Soutou because that same day the U.S. Embassy in Paris provided some highlights of the meeting: the French by then did not want an Israeli weapons capability, but believed that the Israelis were seeking one. We say “by then” because it is clear that at earlier times, when Shimon Peres had negotiated and signed the original nuclear agreement with France in 1957, his French political counterparts, especially Prime Minister Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury, understood the nuclear deal as French assistance for Israel to create its own military deterrent regardless of the formal language, e.g., “peaceful use” reference, in the formal agreements aimed at providing France with political deniability. The uranium that France had supplied, under “loosely worded” safeguards, was formally agreed to be used for peaceful uses. The French had promised to terminate the agreement if they determined that Israel was circumventing it by finding a significant non-French source of supply.[7]

C. Argentina

Document 8: Letter from Alan C. Goodison, Eastern Department, Foreign Office, to A[rthur]R.H. Kellas, British Embassy, Tel Aviv, 29 April 1964, with minutes, Secret and Guard

Source: National Archives (Kew Gardens), FO 371/175843

In a highly classified (“Secret and Guard”) letter to Arthur Kellas, counselor at the British embassy in Tel Aviv, Alan Goodison of the Foreign Office’s Eastern Department disclosed the Argentina-Israel uranium deal. According to unconfirmed intelligence from Canada, Israel and Argentina had “signed an agreement for the sale of the entire Argentine production of uranium concentrate to Israel,” involving the transfer of 80-100 tons over 33 months. “This means that Israel now has virtually unlimited supplies of uranium free of safeguards.” Goodison was aware that the Dimona plant had already reached criticality and he further asserted, referring to recent intelligence (not further identified), that the Israelis already had plutonium reprocessing facilities. Given that, they would have enough plutonium for a weapon within 20 months. While Goodison had no proof that the Israelis planned to build nuclear weapons, “their anxiety to obtain such a large quantity of safe-guard free uranium suggests …sinister motives.”

The British were not aware that the Dimona initial design was based on having a reprocessing plant built underground from the very start, as Vanunu revealed in 1986, but Goodison was making an informed estimate about the trajectory of the Israeli program. He further reported that the Canadians were “reluctant” to provide the information about the Argentine-Israel deal to the Americans because Washington had “refused them information on their recent inspection of Dimona.”

The handwritten comments on the attached minutes are interesting in part because they highlight the extent to which British, like United States, intelligence did not realize how advanced and complete the Israeli commitment to a weapons capability was. According to one comment by one official (whose signature is difficult to read): “At least the Israelis wish to retain the option. At any fork in their nuclear road, when they are confronted with purely civil as against civil plus military paths, they will surely opt for the latter.” Evidently, he did not realize that Israel crossed that fork at the very beginning of its program. Career diplomat David Arthur Steuart Gladstone went further when he commented: “Also this surely throws light on recent Israeli pronouncements on the IAEA and safeguards. This only reinforces my earlier comments on that subject [and?] endorse the last sentence of Mr. Goodison’s letter,” That is, that the “circumstantial” evidence indicating a bomb project was “overwhelming.”

That Argentina had yellowcake to sell to Israel in the first place was the result of a nationalistic nuclear energy policy pursued by Admiral Oscar A. Quihillalt, the director of the National Atomic Energy Commission and an important player in the International Atomic Energy Agency. In 1956 Quihillalt signed a decree turning Argentina’s significant uranium resources into public property with the Commission controlling prospecting, production, and marketing. By the early 1960s, with the assistance of the U.S. Atoms for Peace program, Argentina had two research reactors, and plans for a power reactor.[8] In that context, a yellowcake production capability would be essential to accomplish future plans for reactors.

Document 9: Christopher Audland, British Embassy, Buenos Aires, to Alan Goodison, Eastern Department, Foreign Office, 4 June 1964, with minutes, Secret & Guard

Source: FO 371/175844

Christopher Audland, a political officer at the British embassy, learned from the Canadian chargé that the information on the Argentina-Israel uranium deal “did not originate in Buenos Aires.”[9] The Argentine National Atomic Energy Commission had also sold uranium concentrate to West Germany and made an earlier sale to Israel in 1962 (which the French learned about).[10] According to the minutes, the Canadians had asked the UK’s Defense Intelligence Service to pass the information to the CIA, but skeptical comments by the Agency were creating suspicions that the original report was “threadbare.”

Photo: Walworth Barbour (1908-82) was ambassador to Israel during 1961-73. He presided over the vain effort by U.S. diplomats and CIA officers to learn what Israel had done with the yellowcake. (Image from Still Pictures Branch, National Archives, RG 59-SO).

Document 10: RJ.T. McLaren, Eastern Department, Foreign Office, to British Embassy Bonn, 22 June 1964, Secret

Source: FO 371/175844

In this inquiry about West German purchases of unsafeguarded uranium from Argentina and a possible re-export to Israel, McLaren confirmed that the information about the Argentine-Israeli deal had been “passed to the Americans,” with Canada’s permission. Moreover, the U.S. State Department was also to be informed by Patrick Wright, with the British Embassy in Washington. The subject and the degree of Israeli-West German nuclear cooperation has been for years a matter of speculation, but firm factual knowledge about it is unavailable.

Document 11: Alan C. Goodison, Eastern Department, Foreign Office, to C. J. Audland, British Embassy, Buenos Aires, 22 June 1964, Secret

Source: FO 371/175844

Noting some inaccuracy in the Canadian report–Argentina could not have offered to sell its “entire production” of uranium if it was also selling concentrate to Germany and trying to sell it to Japan—Goodison asked Audland to “keep your ears to the ground” to find the “exact quantities” involved.

Document 12: D. Arkell, Defense Intelligence Staff, to R. J. T. McClaren, Eastern Department, Foreign Office, 1 July 1964

Source: FO 371/175844

While the British learned about 25 June that U.S. intelligence had information confirming the Canadian report, it must have been a shaky source. According to this letter from an official at the recently created Defense Intelligence Staff, [11] a skeptical reaction from Washington about the intelligence on the Argentine-Israeli sale led the Canadians-”our previous informants”-to “take a second look at the sources of the report.” Canadian intelligence was “now very doubtful about [its] reliability.” In handwriting, Arkell observed that this development “disposes” of the proposal to use the information to encourage the French to break off a supply relationship with the Israeli nuclear project.

Document 13:AR.H. Kellas, British Embassy, Tel Aiv, to Alan C. Goodison, 6 July 1964, Secret, excised copy

Source: FO 371/175844

Kellas in Tel Aviv was curious but somewhat skeptical of the claim in Goodison’s 29 April letter that the Israelis might have “facilities for plutonium separation.” The Embassy had “not seen such evidence and should be grateful to know what it is.” Whether Goodison wrote back about the evidence that he had mentioned in his 29 April letter is not clear. The existence of a plutonium separation facility was probably the crown jewel among Israel’s nuclear secrets, one that the U.S. inspectors did not uncover during all of their visits to Dimona through 1969.

Document 14: Department of State Airgram CA-528 to US Embassies in Israel and Argentina, “Israeli Purchase of Argentine Uranium,” 15 July 1964, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

With the doubts about the Canadian report, the U.S. government decided to look into it. This joint CIA-State Department message reported “unconfirmed” intelligence of an Argentina-Israel deal struck on 3 November 1963. According to the reports, Argentina would sell the entirety of its uranium concentrate supply to Israel for three years without safeguards. The Department of State instructed the embassies to mount an intelligence collection effort to provide, by 1 September, specifics on the arrangement: the amount to be sold, cost, schedule, and any safeguards attached.

Unlike the British communications, which were signed by individual officials, the U.S. documents published here were organizational products, generally signed by ambassadors or the secretary of state. Prepared in a variety of offices at the State Department, some were drafted by officials from more than one government agency.

Document 15: Alan C. Goodison, Eastern Department, to C. J. Audland, British Embassy Buenos Aires, 21 August 1964, Secret

Source: FO 371/175844

Goodison reported that U.S. officials have had a “skeptical reaction” to the Canadian report because they had no information about an Argentine-Israeli deal and the Argentines had not reported exports to Israel in their Official Bulletin. If correctly reported, this was a surprisingly narrow and naive response.

Document 16: R.C. Treweeks, Defense Intelligence Staff, to Alan C. Goodison, Eastern Department, Foreign Office, 26 August 1964, Secret Guard

Source: FO 371/175844

The Defense Intelligence Staff had no information to support the Canadian report, although the Israelis may have had “exploratory conversations” on a uranium deal with Argentina. Moreover, “little evidence” supported the argument that the Israelis had a chemical separation plant at Dimona. As the world learned from whistle blower Mordechai Vanunu in 1986, a building near the reactor designated by the Israelis as a “laundry” masked an underground separation facility with six separate floors. This was part of the original French plan. It appears that none of the seven or so U.S. inspection teams that visited Dimona in the period 1961-69 had ever positively detected that underground facility It is still a puzzle whether and when U.S. intelligence, especially the CIA, became aware of the reprocessing facility and, if it did, whether any information was shared with the AEC-led inspection teams. John Hadden, the CIA station chief, was instructed not to have any contact with, let alone brief, the inspection teams.[12]

Document 17: US Embassy in Argentina airgram A-230 to Department of State, “Israeli Purchase of Argentine Uranium,” 2 September 1964, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Whether the U.S. Embassy in Israel replied in time to meet the 1 September deadline assigned by the State Department in its 15 July directive is not clear (perhaps it was sent through CIA channels). Just past the deadline, however, the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires produced an “interim report” confirming the sale of Argentine uranium to Israel. The Argentines had authorized a total of 100 tons of “yellow cake,” at a minimum price of $15/kilogram, for sale to Israel. Sale contracts were permitted over a three-year period, beginning 1 January 1963 and shipments could be extended nine months from the end of that period. Proceeds of sales were to be used to purchase machinery and equipment for use in the atomic sector. According to a government decree, the uranium was to be used solely for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Document 18: D. Arkell, Defense Intelligence Staff, to Alan C. Goodison, Eastern Department, Foreign Office, 6 October 1964, Secret

Source: FO 371/175844

With the State Department receiving confirmation of the sale, U.S. intelligence was no longer skeptical about the Canadian report. According to a U.S. report which was made available to British intelligence, which in turn disseminated it to the Foreign Office, “an agreement was concluded between Argentina and Israel for the sale of at least 80 tons of U3O8.” Moreover, “recent … uranium exports had gone only to Israel.” The amount involved “is far in excess of that needed … to operate the Dimona reactor only for research purposes.” The Cordoba plant is “reported to be producing concentrate at the current rate of about 60 tons per year” and by 1966 Argentina should have no trouble “meeting contracts up to 100 tons of yellowcake.” Arkell agreed with the assessments but wanted to know how much uranium had actually been shipped.

Document 19: Department of State airgram CA-3992 to US Embassy in Argentina, “Israeli Purchase of Argentine Uranium,” 9 October 1964, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Responding to the Embassy’s report, the State Department asked it to obtain as much information as possible on the end-use of uranium sold to Israel, and in particular on the issue of safeguards. If Argentina was not requiring safeguards on uranium exports, the Department instructed the Embassy to approach Argentine officials as soon as possible and present them with an aide-memoire discussing the importance of safeguards. The results of the approach should be reported to a Working Group to Review the IAEA Safeguards System. Working within the IAEA, the U.S. government had been trying to establish a “common front” in support of the application of safeguards on the “transfer of significant quantities of nuclear materials.” [13] Therefore, the Department asked the Embassy to convey to the Argentines that a sale made without safeguards “would represent a most serious breach in the efforts the U.S. and other western suppliers have made over the last ten years” to assure that “atomic assistance” is “appropriately safeguarded.” Also sent was an explanation of the technical basis for IAEA safeguards on natural uranium.

Document 20: US Embassy in Argentina cable 555 to Department of State, 19 October, 1964, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Meeting with embassy officials, the chief of the National Atomic Energy Commission Admiral, Oscar A. Quihillalt, informed them that Argentine uranium sales agreements with Israel, or with any other country, had only general safeguard provisions stipulating that the uranium would be used peacefully. Argentina did not require reports, inspections, or any other independent verification that were loosely equivalent to Article XIII of the IAEA statute. Quihillalt observed that safeguards on natural uranium were impractical, and that other countries sold without safeguards. He had no definitive information on Israeli plans for use of the uranium.

Document 21: US Embassy in Argentina cable 578 to Department of State, 23 October, 1964, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

During a meeting with Foreign Office officials, a U.S. embassy officer left a copy of the aide-memoire and the note on safeguards. Emphasizing that the U.S. did not object to the sale as such and was not suggesting that Israel intended to use uranium for non-peaceful purposes, the officer stated that the U.S. sought cooperation because of the principle that significant nuclear assistance should only be provided in accordance with appropriate safeguards. The Argentine diplomat refrained from comment because it was necessary to discuss the matter with the Argentine Atomic Energy Commission.

Document 22: US Embassy in Argentina cable 591 to Department of State, 27 October 1964, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

During a discussion with Admiral Quihillalt and CNEA, Embassy officials provided the aide-memoire and the paper on IAEA safeguards. The Admiral was more receptive to the U.S. position than previously (he would later urge Argentina’s adherence to the NPT[14]) and was glad to know that Washington was not in touch with the Israelis about the sale.

Document 23: Department of State cable 549 to US Embassy in Argentina, 25 November 1964, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Expressing concern over the lack of a response to U.S. questions on the reported uranium sale to Israel, the Department asked the Embassy to relay concern to the Foreign Office. The State Department, ACDA, and the AEC were considering more “representations” to Argentina and possibly to Israel if the Argentines did not respond. If possible, Embassy should indicate U.S. government “apprehension” over nuclear proliferation and sales of unsafeguarded uranium.

Document 24: US Embassy in Argentina cable 749 to Department of State, “Sale of Uranium to Israel,” 30 November 1964, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

The Embassy had delivered a note urging a quick response to the U.S. aide-memoire on safeguards; while the Argentines had not replied, the Foreign Office appeared to support safeguards, because of the proliferation risk and also domestic political interests. Moreover, requiring safeguards would establish that Argentina was a seller of nuclear materials for peaceful uses only. Even if the Foreign Office view did not reflect overall government thinking, the Embassy believed that an internal Argentina dialogue should take place before Washington made further representations. The sale was not yet public knowledge in Argentina.

Document 25: Alan Goodison to R.Treweek, Defence Intelligence Staff, 22 December 1964, Secret

Source: FO 371/175844

The Defense Intelligence Staff’s positive evaluation of the Canadian intelligence analysis (see Document 3) prompted Goodison to write to Kellas in Tel Aviv about it. Goodison further noted that the “reservations” (hesitations?) that the Foreign Office had about a possible date for an Israeli nuclear bomb were “no longer valid and that we must accept the end of 1968 [sic] as the earliest possible date.” As the Canadian report suggested an Israeli test by 1966, either 1968 was a typo or the Defence Intelligence Staff provided more detailed comments than are available in the file.

Document 26: Department of State cable 729 to US Embassy in Argentina, 2 February 1965, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Months later, the State Department asked the Embassy to remind the Argentine government that it was awaiting a response to the U.S. aide-memoire on the uranium sale to Israel. The Department also asked the Embassy to review the “full extent” of Argentine exports of uranium so that the U.S. government had the opportunity to discuss any future transactions in advance.

Document 27: US Embassy in Argentina airgram A-691 to Department of State, “Argentine Sale of Uranium Oxide to Israel,” 3 February 1965, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

The Embassy had gotten the Argentine reply ten days earlier so the State Department message the day before served as a reminder to translate the reply and send it on. During a meeting, Admiral Quihillalt observed that the deal with Israel had been concluded before the IAEA had finalized protocols for safeguards measures; therefore, Argentina did not feel it practicable to include reporting and inspection requirements. Nevertheless, he indicated that safeguards equivalent to those of the IAEA’s would be placed on future sales. The Admiral also observed that without a “general agreement between Western governments” on the application of safeguards to sales of fissile material, bilateral agreements between a few governments would not have much of an impact. Noting that the official Argentine response did not include an assurance about future exports, the Embassy observed that it would not follow up that problem without instructions from the Department.

Document 28: Department of State airgram A-163 to US Embassy in Argentina, “Argentine Sale of Uranium Oxide to Israel,” 27 April 27 1965, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Responding to a request for instructions, the Department informed the Embassy that Washington had begun approaching other governments to establish a common policy on the mandatory application of IAEA safeguards to materials and equipment supplied to other countries. An approach to Argentina was to come in the future, when the IAEA was closer to an agreement. In the meantime, the Argentines should be requested to apply safeguards to future sales and if a deal with Israel was renegotiated the government should consider applying safeguards to uranium exports to that country.

Document 29: Department of State cable 7659 to U.S. Embassy in the United Kingdom, 3 June 1965, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

This cable reports on a conversation between a British Embassy officer and one or two State Department officials. The Embassy officer reported that Israel’s purchases of uranium added up to 190 tons—more than what was needed for research. They recalled statements by Israeli Prime Minister Eshkol that Israel would not be the first country to introduce an atomic weapon to the Near East, but that it must retain the capability. The Embassy officer proposed a joint U.S.-British approach to Argentina on safeguards; the State Department official replied that such approaches had not been successful but he would be in touch with the British on this problem.

Document 30: US Embassy in Argentina airgram A-160 to Department of State, “EXCON: Argentine Exports of Uranium Oxide,” 21 August 1965, Confidential

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

A request by an Argentine Congressman gave the yellowcake sale to Israel a public airing, but the publicity did not get reported internationally. The Congressman asked the government questions, including how much uranium had been exported and whether Argentina had sold uranium to other countries. The Embassy planned to watch the results of the inquiry closely to get details on the specifics of the deal. Unlike a U.S.-Argentina controversy in 1963 over oil company contracts, which became highly public on both sides, the yellow-cake transaction was unreported abroad.[15]

Document 31: Department of State airgram CA-2198 to US Embassies in Argentina and Israel, “Israeli Purchase of Argentine Uranium,” 24 August 1965, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Owing to discrepancies in the available data, the State Department requested, on an “alert basis,” several pieces of information: the total amount to be shipped under the 1963 contract, how much uranium had been shipped to Israel already, any information on a new agreement between the two countries, what safeguard controls did Argentina have in place, and the current status of operations at Argentine uranium processing plants. Citing a variety of diplomatic and intelligence reports from the previous year, the Department pointed out variations in the data on quantities shipped and terms of a new contract, among other issues.

Document 32: US Embassy in Israel airgram A-350 to Department of State, “Argentine Uranium,” 22 October 1965, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

The Embassy in Israel reported that it had no information on Israeli uranium imports. Suggesting that the only way to obtain information was through a high-level inquiry to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the Embassy requested specific instructions if the Department of State agreed. Signed by Embassy science officer Ralph Webber, the message received clearances from Ambassador Walworth Barbour, the military attachés, who reported to the Defense Intelligence Agency, and CIA station chief John L. Hadden.

Document 33: US Embassy in Argentina airgram 763 to Department of State, “Israeli Purchase of Argentine Uranium,” 10 April 1966, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Responding to questions in the Department’s August 1965 airgram, AEC representative Lester Rogers reported that the Embassy had no new information. As reported previously, language about safeguards in Argentina’s uranium sales agreements with Israel was very general. A table included data on annual production of uranium during 1958-1965, including dry tons of ore (U3O8/triuranium octoxide). Also provided was information on production capacities of the uranium processing plants at Cordoba and Malargue. A new facility planned for Cordoba would produce nuclear grade UO 2, used for reactor fuel rods, at 100 tons annually.

Document 34: Department of State cable 1250 to US Embassies in Argentina and Israel, “Israeli Purchase Argentine Uranium,” 11 May 1966, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

After making inquiries, the Department was unable to determine the location of the uranium sold to Israel by Argentina, but learned that it was in excess of Israeli requirements for peaceful use. A failure by the Israeli government to announce intended use could have an adverse effect on the political situation in region. Therefore, the Department would inquire at a high level about the location of the uranium. The Embassy in Argentina could inform the government if necessary, while the Embassy in Israel should await instructions.

Document 35: US Embassy in Argentina cable 1776 to Department of State, “Israeli Purchase of Argentine Uranium,” 26 May 1966, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

The Embassy did not believe it was advisable to inform the Argentine government of U.S. plans to ask the Israeli government about the location of the uranium.

Document 36: Department of State cable 1052 to US Embassy in Israel, 2 June 1966, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

The State Department directed Ambassador Barbour to advise the Israeli government that the Department was “generally satisfied” by the inspection of the Dimona plant. Barbour was further instructed to express concern over the lack of information supplied by technical personnel—implying these questions were posed to the Israelis during the U.S. inspection visit at Dimona—about the purchase and the location of the uranium ore from Argentina and to express hope that Israel would clarify the situation. According to the cable, in February 1966 Secretary Rusk had observed to Foreign Minister Eban that Israel apparently was following a policy aimed at creating “[nuclear] ambiguity” in the region, but in fact it created a great deal of “ambiguity” (uncertainty) in Washington about Israel’s nuclear intentions and its pledges for peaceful use. What Rusk meant was that that ambiguity undermined and eroded confidence in the pledges to the United States. Indeed, Rusk believed that Israel was playing dangerous games with its posture of nuclear ambiguity, signaling different messages to different players. Therefore as long as the Israelis were creating “apprehension” in Washington by not providing answers to questions about yellowcake, they should expect the U.S. to be “extremely clear and utterly harsh on non-proliferation.”

Document 37: US Embassy in Israel cable 1333 to Department of State, 15 June 1966, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Ambassador Barbour spoke with Foreign Minister Abba Eban along the lines of Department telegram 1052 [Document 36] and further asked about the location of the Argentine uranium concentrates. Eban remained noncommital and merely said he would inquire further among those who know (leaving the impression that as Israel’s foreign minister he knew little about atomic matters). This telegram is a bit cryptic because it refers to some unknown “attitude” issue on the part of Dimona director Yossef Tulipman and other managers ["technicians"] during the most recent Dimona visit by U.S. scientists. One may speculate that the attitude problem emerged when the Dimona managers were asked about the yellow cake and apparently refused to shed light on the matter. According to Israeli Foreign Ministry official Moshe Bitan, who served as a liaison with the American scientists, it was possible that the “technicians” were “unaware” of “such arrangements” because the information was for “higher officials” only. That Tulipman would not have full knowledge about an important supply of uranium to Israel is unlikely but Bitan had no incentive to clarify the situation to U.S. diplomats. Barbour further advised Eban that he would revisit safeguards in the future.

Document 38: US Embassy in Israel cable 7 to Department of State, 1 July 1966, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Barbour raised the Argentine uranium matter with Eban who said he would confer with Deputy Minister of Defense Zvi Dinstein “who keeps the store” [meaning: Dinstein now was Dimona' new political boss]. Eban said he would provide more information soon, but if he did so it has not yet surfaced in the archival record.

D. Gabon

Document 39: Department of State cable 131 to US Embassy in Gabon, 23 March 1965, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

While the State Department was making inquiries about the Argentine sale, it also pursued recent intelligence that the Compagnie des Mines d’Uranium de Franceville, the French mining company operating in Gabon, had requested permission to ship uranium ore to Israel.[16] The source of the intelligence was not mentioned; it is not known, for example, whether the Israelis had approached company managers or officials in the Gabonese government. But knowing that a similar incident had occurred in 1963 (see Document 1), the Department wanted to explore the issue and asked the Embassy for comment and related information.

Document 40: US Embassy in Gabon cable 364 to Department of State, 8 June 1965, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Belatedly responding to the Department’s query, the Embassy observed that uranium was a “most sensitive” matter in Gabon. Besides President Léon M’ba, only the Minister of the National Economy and Mines and his predecessor would know of any diversion and no information had come from those sources.Officials with the Compagnie de Franceville and French mining advisors, normally cooperative and helpful, were “evasive” and sometimes “hostile” when asked about uranium shipments to Israel. One official cited the difference in French and American nuclear policies, saying that no French official would divulge the information that the State Department sought. More information could come by formally raising the issue with the President of Gabon or the Foreign Minister.

Document 41: US Embassy in France cable 786 to Department of State, 11 August 1965, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

Commenting on the Embassy’s report, the U.S. Embassy in France observed that the French controlled production and export of Gabonese uranium, with about 440 tons of uranium metal produced annually. Therefore, any diversions would occur under French and not Gabonese authority. The Embassy deferred to its U.S. counterparts in Gabon on Gabonese ability to secretly divert uranium ore without French permission. That, however, was “unlikely” in view of France’s success in 1963 to thwart a diversion.

Document 42: US Embassy in Gabon cable 157 to Department of State, 10 November 1965, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

During a recent visit to the Nounona uranium mines, Ambassador Bane learned that the entire production of processed ore went to France for metal extraction by the government’s Atomic Energy Agency. Given total control, if the French wished to supply uranium to Israel, it could do so without disclosure to the Gabonese government.

Document 43: US Embassy in Gabon airgram A-49 to Department of State, “Reported Diversion of Gabonese Uranium to Israel,” 11 November 1966, Secret

Source: SN 64-66 Inco Uranium

The embassy reported that the Gabonese Government had recently asserted that France was the sole procurer of its uranium and that the uranium did not cover France’s consumption needs, thereby excluding the possibility that Gabonese uranium could be resold to a third country. An Embassy comment stated that this did not exclude the possibility of diversion to Israel, but the Gabonese statement was consistent with the Embassy’s November 1965 message.


NOTES

[1] For background on Israeli nuclear history, see Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb (New York, 1998) andThe Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain with the Bomb (New York, 2010). See also the documents in the “Israel and the Bomb” collection on the National Security Archive site.

[2] U.S. documents on the Israel-South African yellowcake connection have yet to surface, but Sasha Polakow-Suransky’s important book , The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa (New York, 2010) is invaluable on this and other matters; see 42-43.

[3] For a full account of the Vanunu revelations, see Frank Barnaby, The Invisible Bomb: The Nuclear Arms Race in the Middle East (London, 1989).

[4] Koop’s analysis, found in British records, has been previously discussed by Zachariah Kay in The Diplomacy of Impartiality: Canada and Israel, 1958-1968 (Waterloo, 2010), 41-42.

[5] Michael Bar-Zohar, Shimon Peres (New York, 2007), 252.

[6] Foreign Minister Couve de Murville had already acknowledged to President Kennedy that this was a problem. See Bar-Zohar, Shimon Peres, at 249.

[7] Bar-Zohar, Shimon Peres, 206-218; Avner Cohen, The Worst Kept Secret, 284 (note 6).

[8] Emanuel Adler, The Power of Ideology: The Quest for Technological Autonomy in Argentina and Brazil(Berkeley, 1987), 290-291. Typically, the Argentine military ran nationally-important industrial research and development organizations. See also Jacques E. C. Hymans, The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation: Identity, Emotions, and Foreign Policy (New York, 2006), 144.

[9] Audland wrote an interesting memoir, including a chapter on his diplomatic experience in Argentina, but it did not touch on the yellowcake episode. See Christopher Audland, Right Place – Right Time (Stanhope, 2004), 140-68.

[10] Bar-Zohar, Shimon Peres, 251.

[11] See Peter Davies, “Estimating Soviet Power: The Creation of Britain’s Defence Intelligence Staff, 1961-1965,” Intelligence and National Security 26 (2012): 818-841.

[12] Cohen, Israel and the Bomb, 175-94.

[13] See Astrid Forland, “Coercion or Persuasion? The Bumpy Road to Multilateralization of Nuclear Safeguards,” The Nonproliferation Review 16 (2009): 47-64, for a detailed account.

[14] Hymans, The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation, 144-145.

[15] Dustin Walcher, “Petroleum Pitfalls: The United States, Argentine Nationalism, and the 1963 Oil Crisis,”Diplomatic History 27 (2013): 24-57.

[16] For background on French uranium mining activities in Gabon and French-Gabonese relations,see Gabrielle Hecht, Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Nuclear Trade (Cambridge, 2012).


Former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas revealed that there’s a plot which was devised by several western countries – primarily Britain and France – to topple the Syrian the government even before the crisis started in Syria.

In an exclusive interview given to SANA’s correspondent in Paris, Dumas said that while he was in Britain before the crisis began in Syria, he was invited to a party where two people an Englishman and a Frenchman, asked him if he would like to participate in preparations for an attack on Syria to topple the government in it.

He said he refused this offer, but events proved that they were serious about what they said at that evening.
Dumas voiced surprise over the French government’s positions, saying that the paths chosen by the governments of former President Nicolas Sarkozy and current President Francois Holland aren’t the right paths that lead to peace in Syria.

On the west’s goals from toppling the Syrian state, Dumas said that he thinks the current international climate formed around the Syrian situation contentious the policies adopted several years ago to deal with the Arab world, stressing that the west’s policies in such issues aren’t policies of peace but rather of war, and that he personally is against war and supports the path that leads to peace.

Regarding the Syrian opposition, Dumas said that this opposition is multifaceted, and that countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia are involved in the fighting taking place in Syria against the legitimate government.

“A peaceful solution isn’t achieved by letting people fight,” he said, stressing that sending weapons will not solve problems in Syria.

Dumas pointed out that the legitimate government in Syria is reclaiming areas which gunmen seized, which is a good sign, noting that France had been opposing the suggestion of holding an international conference on Syria in a manner contrary to its traditional political creed, but eventually it admitted that the conference must be held as soon as possible and its position on Iran’s participation in the conference was altered.

He said that the most important point is the agreement between Russia and the US on holding this conference, noting that there mustn’t be any preconceptions about the conference.

On the G8 meeting in Ireland, Dumas said that it wasn’t the optimal place for discussing Syria because many countries interested in the Syrian issue weren’t there, which is why the conference due to be held in Geneva is important.

Regarding France sending advanced weapons to terrorist groups in Syria, Dumas said that sending weapons contradicts peaceful solutions because weapons are made for war, adding that it’s unfortunate that some sides want to send one side as this will prompt others to send weapons to the other side.

He noted that there were discussions on the issue of weapons because the west is concerned over who will receive the weapons, pointing out to Libya where weapons disappeared, asserting that sending weapons to Syria will exacerbate the conflict and make it more difficult to resolve.

Dumas said that international laws are only good for achieving peace when its time comes, and that there’s no hope of ending the crisis in Syria without having all countries participate in an international conference for this purpose.

He said that the allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria are very dangerous as they bring to mind the discussions which took place about Iraq in the past, when the US alleged that Iraq possessed chemical weapons but none were found, stressing that in legal terms, evidence is procured through judicial channels, not through journalists carrying small bottles which they claim they procured in Syria, as those individuals aren’t trustworthy.

Dumas went on to note that international law has items on destroying chemical weapons which raises concerns, saying it’s best to have the UN send impartial and reliable experts to look into this matter.

On France’s double standards in combating terrorists in Mali while supporting them in Syria, Dumas said that France says it will arm the “opposition” but it’s unknown what will happen to these weapons, and that there’s no way of knowing that these weapons won’t be turned against France, adding “this is a great risk… when we enter a conflict we know it can spread.”

He said that the traditional relations between Syria and France were good, particularly on the cultural level, but all that was undermined and now the two countries are enemies which doesn’t make sense, adding “it’s time to fix everything.”

Dumas pointed out that some sides have a desire to destroy strong Arab states, like what happened in Iraq and Libya before and what is being attempted in Syria, particularly given Syria’s special relations with Russia.

He said that Israel plays a role in what is happening in Syria, pointing out to the statements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said that if an agreement isn’t reached, then Israel will attack and destroy the governments that stand against it.

On the possibility of France and the west changing their position on Syria, Dumas said that this is possible, and that France’s position has shown some development recently which is a positive indicator and a move in the right direction.

Dumas stressed that there’s massive propaganda being spread regarding events in Syria, with all news, reports and images coming from one source, causing the French public which sees these images every day to form a terrible impression that there are “bad guys” represented by the Syrian government who are killing the people as they allege, and on the other side there are “good guys” represented by the armed groups, causing them to think that the bad guys must go and the good guys must stay, adding “but one day, the truth will come out.”

He said that conceptions must be corrected, and then those who support certain policies will see that they are mistaken, and then it’s possible to put an end to these policies.

Dumas concluded by saying that Syria and the Syrian people are great and that they will emerge from this crisis, adding “we must hope that they do not emerge from it too late… we wish that Syria doesn’t suffer many losses in lives and damages.”

Two major lawsuits were recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas against ExxonMobil, the “private empire” behind the March 2013 Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill of over 1.1 million gallons of diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) into the neighborhoods and waterways of Mayflower, AR, located in Faulkner County.

One is a class-action lawsuit filed by the Duncan Firm, Thrash Law Firm and Parker Waichman LLP on June 27. The other is a suit filed on June 13 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in concert with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, led by AG Dustin McDaniel.

Collectively, both lawsuits lay out the damning facts of the second biggest tar sands pipeline spill in U.S. history, caused by a 22-foot gash in the pipeline, second only to Enbridge’s “dilbit disaster” in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The cases also call for the spill’s victims – both people, government bodies and the ecosystem – to receive reparations.

Among other things, both suits clarify that ExxonMobil Pipeline Company dilbit has contaminated Lake Conway, the largest man-made lake in the United States, which serves as a tributary of the Arkansas River.

The class-action tort lawsuit slaps ExxonMobil with willful negligence under Arkansas state law, alleging Exxon knew Pegasus – built in the 1940′s far before the age of “extreme energy” and designed to carry light crude – would spill at some point. The suit also reveals for the first time that the spill was just the biggest of 13 other spills preceding it, meaning it was not just a spill out of the blue.

The joint EPA/Arkansas AG civil lawsuit cites Exxon for violating the Clean Water Act, Arkansas’ Hazardous Waste Management Act and Arkansas’ Water and Air Pollution Control Act.

Taken together, both suits keep the heat on ExxonMobil and on Alberta tar sands production at-large as the battle over the proposed northern half of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline heats up. U.S. President Barack Obama’s State Department is expected to make a decision on that pipeline’s fate in the next few months.

Class-Action Tort Lawsuit Lays Out Ecological Costs of Exxon’s Negligence

Arkansas’ class-action suit legally covers “all real property owners who have…property abutting Lake Conway…which has been physically contaminated and polluted by ExxonMobil’s toxic and dangerous Tar Sands released from ExxonMobil’s unsafe and deficient oil and gas pipeline.”

A major crux of the suit is that dilbit is more corrosive to pipelines than conventional crude, a fact ExxonMobil knew but allegedly disregarded for the sake of profit when proposing Pegasus’ flow reversal.

“Bitumen blends are more acidic, thick and sulfuric than conventional crude oil,” explains the suit. “[B]itumen contains 15 to 20 times higher acid concentrations than conventional crudes and five to ten times as much sulfur. Bitumen blends are 70 times more viscous…than conventional crudes. Additional sulfur, acid and viscosity in the bitumen leads to weakening or embrittlement of pipelines.”

In 2006, Pegasus underwent a transformation from a 20-inch pipeline carrying conventional light crude from Texas up to the northern U.S. into a dilbit line carrying Alberta’s tar sands from Patoka, IL to Nederlands, TX for refining on the Gulf Coast. The pipe wasn’t built to carry tar sands crude and was only meant to carry a maximum of 95,000 barrels of light crude per day, the suit explains, a fact Exxon allegedly knew but proceeded with the tar sands project anyway.

Exhibit A: Enbridge attempted to team up with Exxon in a joint venture partnership that would entail replacing the pipeline. Exxon turned down the deal and instead increased tar sands carrying capacity through the antiquated line to a level surpassing the maximum limit for light crude, an example the class-action cites as willful negligence.

“ExxonMobil discarded this joint plan for a new, safer and larger pipeline to replace the sixty-seven year old…Pegasus Pipeline,” write the plaintiffs. “Instead, ExxonMobil, in order to increase its profits at the expense of public safety, made a deliberate corporate decision to increase…Pegasus Pipeline by 50% [in 2009], from 66,000 barrels per day to 99,000 barrels per day.”

Rather than responding to the spill honestly, ExxonMobil tried to cover the situation up through its “command center,” also running the Federal Aviation Administration’s “no fly zone” on the FAA’s behalf. Thus, the class-action lawsuit also sues Exxon for its response to the spill, in which deployment of crisis communications public relations tactics were favored over a legitimate all-out on-the-ground crisis spill response effort.

“After the [spill], [ExxonMobil] gave false, inconsistent and misleading factual assurances to the media and public…Exxon’s suppression, concealment and omission of material facts gave a false impression to the public that the Pipeline had only experienced a three inch gash…and there was no bitumen in the oil,” the lawsuit filing explains.

The ecological hazards of the spill, which the lawsuit says Exxon actively attempted to cover up in wholesale fashion, are nothing short of catastrophic.

“The hazardous materials being transported through Arkansas and which Mayflower citizens were exposed to are known to pose serious health effects, including lung damage if aspirated, skin cancer, irritant to eyes, mucous membranes and lungs, nausea, unconsciousness, loss of coordination, central nervous system depression, narcosis and death,” the suit states.

The “Lake Conway Class” seeks absolute liability, nuisance, and negligence tort charges for ExxonMobil, demanding a jury trial. They seek tort repayment for damages suffered above $75,000 for each category as individuals and tort repayment for damages suffered above $5 million as a group.

 EPA/Arkansas Attorney General Civil Lawsuit

By comparison, the EPA/Arkansas AG civil lawsuit is much more straightforward, though it could end up with ExxonMobil doling out much more money at the end of the day. The two respective bureaucracies have demanded ExxonMobil pay fines for gross violations of bread-and-butter environmental laws, just as a citizen who got a ticket for speeding would have to pay a fine.

Main problem: ExxonMobil has yet to admit, as explained in the class-action case, that it’s done anything wrong. Exxon’s now caught in a bind, having to choose between settling out of court with the plaintiffs and claiming no wrong-doing, or duking it out in court and making its case that it did nothing wrong in Mayflower. 

EPA is holding ExxonMobil accountable for $1,100 per barrel of dilbit spilled if not willful negligence and $4,300 per barrel spilled if it was willful negligence. That equates to a steep fine ranging from between $29.7 million to $116.1 million. The state-level penalties could amount to another $4.23 million owed by ExxonMobil, as of July 1, 2013.

On the whole, ExxonMobil could owe the EPA and Arkansas AG between $33.93 million and $120.33 million if it loses the suit, at most a third of a percent of its 2012 annual profit, at minimum .0008 of its 2012 annual profit.

 Environmental Refugees: A Teachable Moment for Keystone XL?

The “Lake Conway Class,” put another way, are environmental refugees who may never be able to return to their homes again.
“Exxon’s Mayflower spill is a reminder of who bears the risks of fossil fuel development like the Keystone XL pipeline,” wrote Greeenpeace USA‘s Jesse Coleman in a recent blog post, summing up the situation. “[T]he residents of Mayflower must now live in a contaminated environment and many families will never be able to go back to their homes.”

Keystone XL proponents claim because it is a newer pipeline, it is safe and sound and another Mayflower or Kalamazoo would never happen. The facts defy this logic, though.

The southern half of Keystone XL - already over 75-percent complete via an Obama Administration March 2012 Executive Order - has been plagued by faulty welding and anomalies. Icing on the cake: the original Keystone pipeline has already spilled 14 times.

As the Mayflower lawsuits proceed and the Keystone XL northern half decision approaches, Mayflower can serve as a teachable moment as it applies to Keystone XL. Or it can serve as just yet another lesson not learned. Class begins now.

There’s anger amidst the apprehension in South Africa as the numbers of “journalists” on the Mandela deathwatch grows.  Members of his family have about had it, comparing what even the New York Times called a “media swarm” to African vultures that wait to pounce on the carcasses of dead animals.

 President Obama  was soon in South Africa, carrying a message that he hyped as one of “profound gratitude” to Nelson Mandela. The Times reported,

“Mr. Obama said the main message he intended to deliver to Mr. Mandela, “if not directly to him but to his family, is simply our profound gratitude for his leadership all these years and that the thoughts and prayers of the American people are with him, and his family, and his country.”

It doesn’t seem as if the South Africa’s grieving for their former president’s imminent demise are too impressed with Obama seeking the spotlight. Some groups including top unions protested his receiving an honorary degree from a university in Johannesburg.

Interestingly, NBC with its team buttressed by former South African correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault did not bother to cover the protest but relied on Reuters reporting “nearly 1,000 trade unionists, Muslim activists, South African Communist Party members and others marched to the U.S. Embassy where they burned a U.S. flag, calling Obama’s foreign policy “arrogant and oppressive.”

 ”We had expectations of America’s first black president. Knowing Africa’s history, we expected more,” Khomotso Makola, a 19-year-old law student, told Reuters. He said Obama was a “disappointment, I think Mandela too would be disappointed and feel let down.”

South African critics of Obama have focused in particular on his support for U.S. drone strikes overseas, which they say have killed hundreds of innocent civilians, and his failure to deliver on a pledge to close the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba housing terrorism suspects.” (Oddly, The South African police detained a local cameraman who used his own drone to photograph the hospital from above. He was stopped for “security” reasons.)

For symbolic reasons, as well as because of his global popularity, Nelson Mandela seems to be of special interest to the American media with the networks, nominally in an austerity mode, busting their budgets to have a dominant presence.

South African skeptic Rian Malan writes in the Spectator, “Every time Mandela goes into hospital, large numbers of Americans (up to 50) are flown here to take up their positions, and the South African network is similarly activated. Colin, (A cameraman who works for a US network) for instance, travels to Johannesburg, hires a car and checks into a hotel, all on the network’s ticket. Since last December, he’s probably spent close to 30 days (at $2000 a day, expenses included) cooling his heels at various poolsides. And he has yet to shoot a single frame.

As Colin says, this could be the worst disaster in American media history, inter alia because all these delays are destroying the story. When the old man finally dies, a lot of punters are going to yawn and say, Mandela died? Didn’t that already happen a year ago?”

Hostility to the this media is satirized in an open letter by Richard Poplak from the foreign media to South Africa that appears in The Daily Maverick:

As you may have noted, we’re back! It’s been four long months since the Oscar Pistorius bail hearing thing, and just as we were forgetting just how crappy the Internet connections are in Johannestoria, the Mandela story breaks.

We feel that it is vital locals understand just how big a deal this is for us. In the real world—far away from your sleepy backwater—news works on a 24-hour cycle. That single shot of a hospital with people occasionally going into and out of the front door, while a reporter describes exactly what is happening—at length and in detail? That’s our bread and butter. It’s what we do.

And you need to get out of the way while we do it.

Why all the fanatical interest? The US media loves larger than life personalities, often creating them when they don’t exist. Mandela has assumed the heroic mantle for them of Martin Luther King Jr. whose memory enjoys iconic status even as his achievements like Voting Rights Act was just picked apart by right-wing judicial buzzards in black robes. (Kings image was also sanitized with his international outlook often muzzled).

It wasn’t always like this. For many years, The US media treated Mandela as a communist and terrorist, respecting South African censorship laws that kept his image secret. Reports about the CIA’s role in capturing him were few and far between. Ditto for evidence of US spying documented in cables released by Wikileaks.

In the Reagan years, his law partner Oliver Tambo, then the leader of the ANC while he was in prison, was barred from coming to the US and then, when he did, meeting with top officials. Later, Dick Cheney refused to support a Congressional call for his release from jail.

In 1988, I, among other TV producers, launched the TV series South Africa Now to cover the unrest the networks were largely ignoring as stories shot by US crews ended up on “the shelf,” not on the air.

A 1988 concert to free Mandela was shown by the Fox Network as a “freedom fest” with artists told not to mention his name, less they “politicize” all the fun. When he was released in 2000, a jammed all-star celebration at London’s WembleyStadiumwas shown everywhere in the world, except by the American networks.

 Once he adopted reconciliation as his principal political tenet and dropped demands for nationalization anchored in the ANC’s “Freedom Charter,” his image in the US was quickly rehabilitated. He was elevated into a symbolic hero for all praised by the people and the global elite alike. Little mention was made of his role as the creator of an Armed Struggle, and its Commander in Chief,

 US networks also did not cover the role played by the US dominated IMF and World Bank in steering the economy in a market -oriented neo-liberal direction, assuring the new government could not erase deep inequality and massive poverty and that the whites would retain privleges.

The American press shaped how Mandela was portrayed in the US. The lawyer and anti-nuclear campaigner, Alice Slater, tells a story of her efforts to win Mandela’s support for nuclear disarmament.

 “(When)… Nelson Mandela announced that he would be retiring from the presidency of South Africa, we organized a world-wide letter writing campaign, urging him to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons at his farewell address to the United Nations. The gambit worked. At the UN, Nelson Mandela called for the elimination of nuclear weapons, saying, “these terrible and terrifying weapons of mass destruction –why do they need them anyway?” The London Guardian had a picture of Mandela on its front page, with the headline, “Nelson Mandela Calls for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.” The New York Times had a story buried on page 46, announcing Mandela’s retirement from the Presidency of South Africa and speculating on who might succeed him, reporting that he gave his last speech as President to the UN, while omitting to mention the content of his speech.”

 And so it goes, with his death seeming to be imminent, he has become reduced to a symbolic mythic figure, a moral voice, not the politician he always was. He became an adorable grandfather praised for his charities with his political ideas and values often buried in the either of his celebrity.  He has insisted that he not be treated as a saint or a savior. Tell that to the media.

 As ANC veteran Pallo Jordan told me,

“To call him a celebrity is to treat him like Madonna. And that’s not what he is. At the same time, he deserves to be celebrated as the freedom fighter he was.”

 Watch the coverage and see if that message is coming through, with all of its implications for the struggle in South Africa that still lies ahead.

 News Dissector Danny Schechter made six documentaries about Nelson Mandela. He blogs at newsdissector.net and edits Mediachannel.org. Comments to [email protected]

Globalization has reached its apogee– spying on European friends as well as usual foreign suspects, and you.

Recent revelations about NSA’s worldwide practices are globalization’s toxic perfect storm. Technology we celebrated as a life-changing and everyman’s (and child’s) tool, we now find applied to spying on everyone with a phone, computer, bank account. It’s chilling. In a country that historically prides itself for its civil liberties, led moreover by a constitutional lawyer whose election represented new heights in American civic consciousness, it’s also humiliating that this should happen under Barack Obama’s watch.

There’s no cold war motive behind today’s NSA spy plan; it’s routine management of data—any data, even that of political allies. Sobering news for the US public but for friendly European states too

Should we not have expected these data-mining practices to emerge from the fundamentals of globalization and the worldwide net? A massive electronic ‘net’ is what the US surveillance system is, capturing anything that’s swimming in our virtual rivers of data. Ask yourself: Why would any modern day CIA type spy machine limit itself to Chinese or Iranian targets?

Still, I like you am stunned by what’s emerged from Guardian newspaper reports on US and British surveillance revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowdon. Snowdon’s disclosures also detail how British spy agency GCHQ works with its American counterpart to target European allies. This revelation is bound to cause political fallout, if citizen outrage is not enough.

Pausing to reflect on how vast this cyber spy-net is, we would have to admit that it’s a logical if loathsome outcome of the interconnectedness of all of us today. If any child can so easily access friends and information through common search engines, why not a nefarious force with unlimited resources? If reporters can hack phones in search of scandals, why not governments? If young geeks can pierce a nation’s military files, why can’t the latter do the same through its super computers and by intimidating the private companies to whom we surrender data about personal habits and finances?

We thank people of conscience like Snowdon for alerting us that there is another side to our open access society. His disclosures complement the observations of longtime media critic Robert McChesney. In his prescient new book “Digital Disconnect, How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy”, McChesney points to the erosion of our democratic ideals by people-friendly companies that collect our data. Google and the like are the Fords and General Electrics of the modern era, as driven by capitalist ideals as those early pioneers. In “Digital Disconnect” McChesney warns us that contrary to our notion that internet access is a protected democratizing tool, in fact, it is turning out to be a modern way for corporate interests to control and exploit the public.

What can we do? We can self-censor, i.e. disconnect… somewhat. And we can unite. Communities across the board—educational, medical, media, legal, ethnic groups must comprehend our shared vulnerability and our common tools. Muslims need no longer view themselves as a select target of these odious systems; while the rest of the community must acknowledge that ‘Muslim danger’ is a pretext to sweep us all into the net.

Former Peace Corps volunteer Will Ruddick and several residents of Bangladesh, Kenya, face a potential seven years in prison after developing a cost-effective way to alleviate poverty in Africa’s poorest slums.  Their solution: a complementary currency issued and backed by the local community.  The Central Bank of Kenya has now initiated charges of forgery.

Complementary currencies can help eradicate poverty.

Proving that may be difficult in complex economies, due to the high number of factors influencing outcomes. But in an African slum with little of the national currency available, supplying residents with an alternative currency has a positive effect that is obvious, immediate and incontrovertible.

This was demonstrated when Will Ruddick, an American physicist, economist and former Peace Corps volunteer, introduced a complementary currency into a Kenyan slum called Bangladesh, near the coastal city of Mombasa. Will’s local development organization, Koru-Kenya, worked with over one hundred small business owners in Bangladesh, who agreed to give each other the equivalent of 400 shillings (about €3.5 or $4.60) in mutual credit in the form of business vouchers called Bangla-Pesa. Half of the vouchers would be available for spending on each others’ products and services, and half would be spent into the community on public projects such as waste collection and health services.  Allocation decisions were democratic and transparent, and the new currency was backed entirely by the community’s own resources and insured by a system of group guarantors, not by the Kenyan government or a development agency.

The project was launched on May 11, 2013.  The immediate effect was an increase in sales of 22%. That meant increasing incomes and purchasing power by 22%.  These exchanges were of goods and services that without the additional currency would have been thrown away or gone to waste, not because they were unmarketable but because potential customers did not have the money to buy them.  Introducing Bangla-Pesa worked to move the economy forward at full capacity, connecting the community to its own resources when the only things lacking were those slips of paper called “money.” A compelling video on the project is here.

The successful Kenyan experiment quickly earned endorsements from the United Nations, The Hague and  the International Reciprocal Trade Association. Indeed, no other poverty alleviation or local governance program can compete with the cost-effectiveness of this approach, which is easily replicable in poor communities across Africa. The plan was to expand it to other villages in a democratic grassroots fashion so that it could provide a local medium of exchange for people throughout the continent. This would be done via mobile phones with a system provided by Community Forge, an organization based in Geneva that supports the development of community currencies worldwide. 

But that plan was unexpectedly interrupted on May 29th, when Will and five other project participants were arrested by Kenyan police and thrown in jail.  Besides Will, who is married to a Kenyan aid worker and is a new father, the others include local community business owners who are parents and grandpa

The police at first accused the group of plotting a terrorist overthrow of the government, claiming that Bangla-Pesa was linked to the MRC, a terrorist secessionist group. When that link was easily disproven, the Central Bank of Kenya was called in and charges of forgery were formally placed.  Will and his fellow suspects have been released for now on a bail of EUR 5,000 and await trial on July 17th.  If convicted, they face seven years in a Kenyan prison.

 Despite these perilous circumstances, Will remains optimistic.  “The exciting thing,” he says, “is that these systems really do show a means of poverty reduction – and my hope is that after this case we’ll be allowed to spread them to slums across Kenya.  There have been years of precedent for Complementary Currencies as a solution to poverty, and today there is no doubting it.”

Successful Precedents from Switzerland to Brazil

Complementary currencies are endorsed by many governments worldwide. The oldest and largest is the WIR system in Switzerland, an exchange system  among 60,000 businesses – a full 20% of all Swiss businesses. This currency has been demonstrated to have a counter-cyclical effect, helping to stabilize the Swiss economy by providing additional liquidity and lending capacity when conventional credit for small businesses is scarce.

Brazil is a global leader in using the complementary currency approach for poverty alleviation. Interestingly, its experience began in much the same way as Kenya’s: Brazil’s most successful community currency, called “Palmas”, was nearly strangled at birth by the Brazilian Central Bank. How it went from criminal suspect to official state policy is told by Margrit Kennedy and co-authors in People Money:

After issuing the first Palmas currency in 2003, local organiser Joaquim Melo was arrested on suspicion of running a money laundering operation in an unregistered bank.  The Central Bank started proceedings against him, saying that the bank was issuing false money.  The defendants called on expert witnesses, including the Dutch development organisation Stro, to support their case.  Finally, the judge agreed that it was a constitutional right of people to have access to finance and that the Central Bank was doing nothing for the poor areas benefiting from the local currencies.  He ruled in favour of Banco Palmas.

What happens next shows the power of dialogue.  The Central Bank created a reflection group and invited Joaquim to join in a conversation about how to help poor people.  Banco Palmas started the Palmas Institute to share its methodology with other communities and, in 2005, the government’s secretary for “solidarity economy” created a partnership with the Institute to finance dissemination.  Support for community development banks issuing new currency is now state policy.

The Legal Debate: Mutual Credit or Counterfeiting?

If the Kenyan court follows the example of Brazil, this could be the beginning of a promising new approach to poverty reduction in Africa. The Bangla-Pesa is backed by local resources, and the villagers were very happy to have it in order to move their products and buy the surplus of others within their community.

Viewed as a case of counterfeiting, however, there is historical precedent for harsh punishment.  In the mid-eighteenth century, when the Bank of England was privately owned and had the exclusive right to issue the national currency, counterfeiting Bank of England Notes was made a crime punishable by death. That was the era of Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities and Bleak House, when supplementing the national currency might have helped relieve mass poverty; but it was in the interest of the Bank to control the market for currency and keep it scarce, in order to ensure a steady demand for loans.  When there is insufficient money in the system to cover the needs of exchange, people must borrow from banks at interest, ensuring the banks a handsome profit.

The converse is also true: when sufficient money is supplied to cover the needs of exchange, debt levels and poverty are dramatically reduced.  

 In this case, the physical Bangla-Pesa voucher looks nothing like the national currency, as it would need to in order to sustain a charge of forgery. The intent of complementary currencies, as their name implies, is not to imitate or compete with the national currency but to complement it, allowing for increased sales within the local community of existing goods and services that would otherwise go unsold. Today, the Bank of England itself acknowledges this role of complementary currencies.

The Bangla-Pesa experience demonstrates what policymakers often overlook: gross domestic product is measured in goods and services sold, not goods and services produced; and for goods to be sold, purchasers must have the money to buy them. Provide consumers with excess money to spend, and GDP will go up.  (In Kenya, where nearly half the population lives in poverty and mass unemployment, increases in GDP reflect extractive practices rather than local conditions.)  

The common perception is that increasing the medium of exchange will merely devalue the currency and increase prices, but the data show that this does not happen so long as merchandise and services remain unsold or workers remain unemployed. Adding liquidity in those circumstances drives up sales, productivity and employment rather than prices.

This was demonstrated in a larger experiment in Argentina, when the country suffered a major banking crisis in 1995.  Lack of confidence in the peso and capital flight ended in a full-scale run on the banks, which closed their doors. When the national currency became unavailable, people responded by creating their own. Community currencies at the local level evolved into the Global Exchange Network (Red Global de Trueque or RGT), which went on to become the largest national community currency network in the world.  The model spread throughout Central and South America, growing to seven million members and a circulation valued at millions of U.S. dollars per year. At the local government level, provinces short of the national currency also resorted to issuing their own money, paying their employees with paper receipts called “Debt-Cancelling Bonds” that were in currency units equivalent to the Argentine Peso.

Although these various measures increased the currency in circulation, prices did not inflate.  To the contrary, studies found that in provinces in which the national money supply was supplemented with local currencies, prices actually declined compared to other Argentine provinces.  Local exchange systems allowed goods and services to be traded that would not otherwise have found a market. 

This salutary effect was also observed in Bangladesh. “With Bangla-Pesa,” says Ruddick, “we’ve seen that a circulating community-backed interest-free credit is a low-cost, effective way to increase local liquidity and decrease poverty.”

The defendants just need to prove that in court. A crowd-funding campaign is being used to raise the money urgently needed for their defense. The link for contributions is here. To sign a petition begun by a delegation at The Hague supporting the Bangla-Pesa, click here

Jamie Brown contributed to this article.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books, including Web of Debt and the recently-published sequel The Public Bank Solution. Her websites are http://WebofDebt.com, http://PublicBankSolution.com, and http://PublicBankingInstitute.org

When the NSA spying scandal broke, so did the illusion that President Obama was significantly different than his predecessor, Bush Jr. Obama’s meticulously crafted image was specifically created as an alternative to Bush: Obama campaigned as a peace candidate who loved civil liberties and wanted to work with the UN instead of unilaterally launching wars.

But now that the president has been fully exposed as an aspiring Bush III, will he retreat back into the sheep’s clothing he wore as candidate Obama? Or will he shed any remaining pretense and fully adopt Bush’s international recklessness? The answer is that both are likely true: Obama will continue to perform his stale routine as a “pragmatist” while in reality acting out an even more dangerous foreign policy than Bush.

This is because Edward Snowden, Russia, and Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad have backed President Obama into a corner; all have exposed major weaknesses in the foreign power of the United States, and Obama will not allow himself — and more importantly “U.S. national [corporate] interests” — to appear weak while Iran, Russia and China are rising economically and/or politically. This dynamic will inevitably lead Obama to a more aggressive foreign policy, more Middle East wars, and more dangerous confrontations with Iran, Russia, and China.

Obama has never been so vulnerable to his domestic right wing, which has been successfully skewering him for the Snowden affair. The president’s “I don’t care” attitude is obviously an act, and is only further provoking his right-wing attackers, a good example of which comes from the Heritage Foundation:

“[China and Russia's] unwillingness to extradite…[Edward Snowden] is just the latest example of the waning of American global power and influence courtesy of Team Obama…The big question, naturally, is: With perceptions of [the United States’] plummeting power quite plausible, who might be the next to take pleasure in challenging our [U.S.] interests?”

This is not just the opinion of a right-wing pundit, but of the entire U.S. political establishment, Democrat and Republican alike. One need only remember that during the Obama-Romney debate on foreign policy in the last election, there was very little debating and much agreement on the need for U.S. “power” to be projected abroad.

To be fair to Obama, the right wing has been too hard on him for his “weak” foreign policy, since in reality Obama has acted incredibly hawkish internationally; the U.S. media simply did their best to hide his actions from criticism, as did the Republicans who he worked with in tandem.

For example, in Latin America Obama backed a military coup in Honduras against an elected government, and later backed a coup in Paraguay and funneled cash to the far right wing in Venezuela to undermine the Chavez government, while maintaining the cold war era embargo against Cuba. Consequently, Latin America now equates Obama’s foreign policy with Bush’s. The U.S. Republicans were in complete agreement with these policies of Obama.

The Middle East is another example of Obama already acting the scoundrel. His Bush-like “surge” tactic in Afghanistan extended a pointless war against the Taliban with whom he is now trying in vain to negotiate an “honorable” peace; Obama broke international law in Libya when he bombed the nation into regime change; in Syria Obama is continuing to escalate a devastating war by funneling even more guns and cash to a “rebel” group dominated by Islamic extremists, again without UN approval. Never mind his shameless support of Israel’s criminal policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and his “strong alliance” with the Persian Gulf Monarchy dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Up until now Obama has been able to implement these Bush-like policies with a nice guy label. But nice will no longer do— the international situation has changed. Edward Snowden and Syria’s president have humiliated President Obama on key issues, and Obama must now bare his teeth, lest other nations exploit his weakness.

Syria, for example, is crucially important to Obama because he has invested massive U.S. diplomatic capital in assembling a Bush-like “coalition of the willing” to topple the Syrian president, and if Obama fails in his attempt at regime change his coalition of lackeys will not follow the U.S.’s lead in future endeavors, and may look instead to follow Iran or Russia. With each step deeper into the Syrian morass Obama will find himself unable to retreat; and at this point a step backwards would significantly diminish U.S. power in the Middle East. When Obama said, “Assad must go,” he committed U.S. involvement to ensure that it happens.

More importantly, if Syria is able to defend itself from the U.S.-backed rebels — or possibly a direct U.S. invasion — other countries will no longer be scared into submission to accept U.S. foreign policy. This is crucial because as U.S. economic power wanes, its military becomes the foreign policy tactic of choice.

Obama would like his Syrian intervention to be as politically painless as Bill Clinton’s destruction of Yugoslavia, or Obama’s destruction of Libya. But Obama’s rebels are being crushed on the battle field, requiring that Obama become increasingly invested in directly toppling the Syrian president; Obama’s rebels are now to be directly armed with more sophisticated weaponry from the U.S., which will be funneled to them by the increasing amounts of U.S. troops on the Syria-Jordan border who are training the rebels, and where a sophisticated U.S. anti-aircraft missile system has been added “for defense.” Obama has already drawn up plans for an innocent sounding “no fly zone,” which in reality equals direct military invasion.

Obama now feels that he cannot back down in Syria, lest Russia and Iran advance. Geopolitics has reached a crescendo in the Middle East and the wider world, where one wrong step can equal a broader regional or even world war.

The ongoing global economic crisis is pushing U.S. corporations to demand that “their” political parties — Democrats and Republicans — act more “boldly” abroad to acquire new markets/consumers for corporate products, new vehicles for investment, and new sources of cheap raw materials and labor. Russia and China have similar aspirations.

Barely into his second term Obama’s corporate backers are demanding he bare his fangs and quit acting the lamb — U.S. “national” interests are at stake! In doing so Obama will expose the true nature of the U.S. two-party system, and thus funnel political activity into the streets and/or the creation of a new, mass party of working people to challenge the decrepit political status quo. The first black president was the last great hope of the American two-party system. His failure will herald a new era in U.S. politics.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org). He can be reached at [email protected]

Notes

http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/opinion/op_ed/2013/06/snowden_flap_bares_hapless_us#sthash.koyNXqUa.dpuf
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/middleeast/article3791863.ece
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/28/exclusive-barack-obama-asks-pentagon-for-syria-no-fly-zone-plan.html

With the Obama administration in full damage control mode over revelations of blanket surveillance of global electronic communications, new documents published by The Guardian, including the draft of a 2009 report by the NSA’s Inspector General marked Top Secret and a Secret 2007 Justice Department memo prepared for then US Attorney General Michael Mukasey, show that “a federal judge sitting on the secret surveillance panel called the Fisa court would approve a bulk collection order for internet metadata ‘every 90 days’.”

An unnamed “senior administration official” confirmed the existence of a Bush-era surveillance program which gobbled-up “vast amounts of records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans,” but claimed, without evidence, that “it ended in 2001,” according to The Guardian.

Early last month, the British newspaper began publishing documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, including a Top Secret FISA court order to Verizon Business Services, which requires the firm “on an ongoing, daily basis” to hand over information on all telephone calls within its system.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the NSA’s “monitoring of Americans includes customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web searches, and the agency also has cataloged credit-card transactions.” The secret state’s spying initiative “also encompasses phone-call data from AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp., records from Internet-service providers and purchase information.”

Days later, The Washington Post revealed that the Bush administration’s “warrantless wiretapping” program known as STELLAR WIND, had been succeeded by four “collection programs” two of which, MAINWAY and MARINA, “process trillions of ‘metadata’ records for storage and analysis.”

Additional programs, the Post reported, operating “on a much smaller scale, are aimed at content,” one of which “intercepts telephone calls and routes the spoken words to a system called NUCLEON.”

Although the news outlets principally responsible for bringing these stories to light, principally The Guardian, Washington Post, South China Morning Post, and now Der Spiegel, have not (as yet) published complete sets of NSA documents, and their reporting has barely scratched the surface of content-siphoning deep packet inspection (DPI) programs for internet and telephone surveillance (indeed, PRISM may be a subset of larger and more pernicious programs that collect, analyze and store everything), what we have learned so far is deeply troubling and pose grave threats to civil liberties.

New PRISM Slides, More Questions

Filling in some of the blanks, on June 29 The Washington Post published four additional PRISM slides from the 41-slide deck provided to The Guardian and Post by Edward Snowden.

Confirming what civil libertarians, journalists and political analysts have long maintained, NSA can and probably does “acquire” anything an individual analyst might request as Snowden averred. This includes, according to new information provided by the Post: chats, email, file transfers, internet telephone, login/ID, metadata, photos, social networking, stored data in the cloud, video, video conferencing.

If that isn’t a surveillance dragnet, then words fail.

Recall, that previous reporting disclosed that major US internet and high tech firms, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple gave NSA “direct access” to their systems.

“The program,” according to The Guardian, “facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.”

“It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants,” a near probability in this writer’s opinion.

In a report that appeared the same day, The Washington Post disclosed that NSA and the FBI “are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets,” and that the agency “s accustomed to corporate partnerships that help it divert data traffic or sidestep barriers.”

Although the firms all denied that they hand over customer data to the government, their self-serving claims are undercut by evidence that NSA-cleared company personnel, including “collection managers,” send “content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,” rather than directly to company servers.

“Under Prism,” the Associated Press reported, “the delivery process varied by company.”

“Google, for instance, says it makes secure file transfers. Others use contractors or have set up stand-alone systems. Some have set up user interfaces making it easier for the government, according to a security expert familiar with the process.”

“With Prism,” AP reported, “the government gets a user’s entire email inbox. Every email, including contacts with American citizens, becomes government property.”

“Once the NSA has an inbox, it can search its huge archives for information about everyone with whom the target communicated. All those people can be investigated, too.”

The slides published June 29 shed some light on how the process works. We learn for example that when an analyst “tasks” PRISM for information on a new “target,” it is automatically passed on to a supervisor who “who reviews the ‘selectors’ or search terms. The supervisor must endorse the analyst’s ‘reasonable belief,’ defined as 51 percent confidence, that the specified target is a foreign national who is overseas at the time of collection.”

Tasking orders can be sent to multiple sources, “for example, to a private company and to an NSA access point that taps into the Internet’s main gateway switches.” (for background see: Mark Klein, Wiring Up the Big Brother Machine, Klein’s affidavit in EFF’s lawsuit, Hepting v. AT&T and his groundbreaking 2006 piece for Wired Magazine).

The FBI “uses government equipment on private company property to retrieve matching information from a participating company, such as Microsoft or Yahoo and pass it without further review to the NSA.” (see Verizon whistleblower Babak Pasdar’s affidavit on how FBI “tasking” is accomplished via its Quantico circuit).

“For stored communications, but not for live surveillance” we’re informed that the Bureau’s Electronic Communications Surveillance Unit (ECSU) “consults its own databases to make sure the selectors do not match known Americans.”

If this is what the Bureau is now claiming, it is disingenuous at best. In fact, as Antifascist Calling reported back in 2009, the FBI’s Investigative Data Warehouse (IDW), a virtual Library of Babel, is a content management and data mining system with the ability to access and analyze aggregated data from some fifty hitherto separate datasets. That the Bureau would feel compelled to “minimize” domestic information it provides to a “sister” agency beggars belief.

In fact, one of the new PRISM slides reveal that from “the FBI’s interception unit on the premises of private companies, the information is passed to one or more ‘customers’ at the NSA, CIA or FBI.”

“Depending on the company,” Barton Gellman and Todd Lindeman report, “a tasking may return e-mails, attachments, address books, calendars, files stored in the cloud, text or audio or video chats and ‘metadata’ that identify the locations, devices used and other information about a target.”

Elapsed times from “tasking to response” from the above-named firms or other “partners” such as banks, credit card companies, etc. range from “minutes to hours.” An unnamed “senior intelligence official” told the Post, “Much as we might wish otherwise, the latency is not zero.”

“After communications information is acquired,” the data is “processed and analyzed by specialized systems that handle voice, text, video and ‘digital network information’ that includes the locations and unique device signatures of targets.”

We also learn how some of these code named systems function.

For example, PRINTURA is described as a tool “which automates the traffic flow.” The Post reports that “the same FBI-run equipment sends the search results to the NSA.” Once it is received, in bulk, “PRINTURA sorts and dispatches the data stream through a complex sequence of systems that extract and process voice, text, video and metadata.”

Once dispatched from PRINTURA, described as a “librarian and traffic cop,” SCISSORS and Protocol Exploitation “sort data types for analysis in NUCLEON (voice), PINWALE (video), MAINWAY (call records) and MARINA (internet records).”

While the Post claims that “systems identified as FALLOUT and CONVEYANCE appear to be the final filtering to reduce the intake of information about Americans,” information provided by NSA whistleblower William Binney dispute such assertions.

In fact, Binney told investigative journalist James Bamford for his Wired Magazine piece on NSA’s giant Utah Data Center, that the agency “could have installed its tapping gear at the nation’s cable landing stations–the more than two dozen sites on the periphery of the US where fiber-optic cables come ashore. If it had taken that route, the NSA would have been able to limit its eavesdropping to just international communications, which at the time was all that was allowed under US law.”

“Instead,” the former cofounder of the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center (SARC) told Bamford that NSA “chose to put the wiretapping rooms at key junction points throughout the country–large, windowless buildings known as switches–thus gaining access to not just international communications but also to most of the domestic traffic flowing through the US.”

“The network of intercept stations goes far beyond the single room in an AT&T building in San Francisco exposed by a whistle-blower in 2006. ‘I think there’s 10 to 20 of them,’ Binney says. ‘That’s not just San Francisco; they have them in the middle of the country and also on the East Coast’.”

In other words, NSA’s network of “secret rooms” were installed at key junctures that would facilitate, not “minimize” wholesale domestic surveillance.

Expanding on just how intrusive NSA “collection” programs are, Binney told The New Yorker in a Jane Mayer piece on the Obama regime’s prosecution of NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, that a surveillance program he helped design as SARC director, ThinThread, was “bastardized” after 9/11 and “stripped of privacy controls” that would filter out Americans’ communications.

“‘It was my brainchild,’ Binney told Mayer. “‘But they removed the protections, the anonymization process. When you remove that, you can target anyone.’ He said that although he was not ‘read in’ to the new secret surveillance program, ‘my people were brought in, and they told me, ‘Can you believe they’re doing this? They’re getting billing records on US citizens! They’re putting pen registers’–logs of dialed phone numbers–’on everyone in the country!’”

And they continue to do so today without one iota of oversight from a thoroughly compromised Congress.

New Programs Exposed

The programs described above all evolved from the Bush administration’s so-called President’s Surveillance Program, PSP, which has continued under Obama. As Antifascist Calling reported in 2009, citing a declassified 38-page report by inspectors general of the CIA, NSA, the Departments of Defense, Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the report failed to disclose what these programs actually do, claiming they are “too sensitive” for an “unclassified setting.”

Shrouded beneath impenetrable layers of secrecy and deceit, these undisclosed programs lie at the dark heart of the state’s war against the American people.

For example, the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General described FBI participation in the PSP as that of a “passive recipient of intelligence collected under the program.” Recent revelations by Edward Snowden expose such statements as bald-faced lies. And when the OIG claimed that Bureau efforts “to improve cooperation with the NSA to enhance the usefulness of PSP-derived information to FBI agents,” that too, is a craven misrepresentation given what we now know about the key role the FBI plays in NSA’s PRISM program.

However, the unclassified version of NSA’s Inspector General’s report on the PSP published by The Guardian paints a far-different picture.

A close reading of the document reveals that a federal judge sitting on the FISA would approve a bulk collection order for metadata “every 90 days,” as long as it “involved” the “communications with at least one communicant outside the United States or for which no communicant was known to be a citizen of the United States”.

“Eventually,” Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman reported, the agency “gained authority to ‘analyze communications metadata associated with United States persons and persons believed to be in the United States’.”

Although the administration now claims that specific program ended in 2011, online collection of data on Americans continues today.

Last week The Guardian reported that NSA’s Special Source Operations (SSO) directorate running PRISM is collecting and analyzing “significant amounts of data from US communications systems in the course of monitoring foreign targets.”

“The NSA,” Greenwald and Ackerman disclosed, “called it the ‘One-End Foreign (1EF) solution’.”

That program, code named EVIL OLIVE, was intended to broaden “the scope” of what it is able to surveil and relied, “legally, on ‘FAA Authority’, a reference to the 2008 Fisa Amendments Act that relaxed surveillance restrictions.”

“This new system, SSO stated in December, enables vastly increased collection by the NSA of internet traffic. ‘The 1EF solution is allowing more than 75% of the traffic to pass through the filter,’ the SSO December document reads. ‘This milestone not only opened the aperture of the access but allowed the possibility for more traffic to be identified, selected and forwarded to NSA repositories’.”

After EVIL OLIVE’s “deployment, traffic has literally doubled.”

Referencing another NSA collection program, this one code named SHELL TRUMPET, an SSO official wrote that the program had just “processed its One Trillionth metadata record.”

“Explaining that the five-year old program ‘began as a near-real-time metadata analyzer … for a classic collection system’, the SSO official noted: ‘In its five year history, numerous other systems from across the Agency have come to use ShellTrumpet’s processing capabilities for performance monitoring’ and other tasks, such as ‘direct email tip alerting’,” The Guardian reported.

These, and hitherto as yet unknown programs, are advancing by leaps and bounds due to technological breakthroughs, the result of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars showered on the agency in wake of the 9/11 provocation. As Greenwald and Ackerman reported, “almost half of those trillion pieces of internet metadata were processed in 2012, the document detailed: ‘though it took five years to get to the one trillion mark, almost half of this volume was processed in this calendar year’.”

“Another SSO entry,” this one dated February 6, 2013, “described ongoing plans to expand metadata collection. A joint surveillance collection operation with an unnamed partner agency yielded a new program ‘to query metadata’ that was ‘turned on in the Fall 2012′.”

Two additional programs, code named MOON LIGHT PATH AND SPINNERET, “are planned to be added by September 2013.” Curiously enough, this is when NSA’s Utah Data Center is slated to “go live.”

In fact, these programs and their siblings are useful not simply for harvesting metadata, but for “collecting” and storing all electronic communications, including their content; hence the rather circumspect reference to “direct email tip alerting.”

Fully a transatlantic affair, Greenwald and Ackerman noted that another SSO entry dated September 21, 2012 revealed that a program called TRANSIENT THURIBLE is “‘a new Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) managed XKeyScore (XKS) Deep Dive was declared operational.’ The entry states that GCHQ ‘modified’ an existing program so the NSA could ‘benefit’ from what GCHQ harvested.”

There is much we do not yet know about these programs, how “collected” data is exploited by government agencies, nor the present and future implications for civil liberties and privacy in the United States and globally. What we do know however, is that the Obama administration, including their national security spokespeople and their media and political apologists are lying.

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VIDEO: Political Turmoil and Chaos in Egypt – First Part

July 1st, 2013 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

A week prior to the protests in Egypt, the pan-Arab news station Al Mayadeen interviewed Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya about the direction that Egypt was heading towards. In sync with the protests across Egypt, the interview was aired on June 30, 2013.  Although the introduction is in Arabic, the interview is conducted in English with Arabic subtitles.

This is the first portion of the interview.

UK must come clean on whether GCHQ supports CIA drone strikes 

UK Government Communications Headquarters is the centre for Her Majesty’s Government’s Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) activities.

Speaking in Los Angeles yesterday, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said about  the UK’s policy on intelligence-sharing with the United States:

“We  operate under the rule of law and are accountable for it. In some countries secret intelligence is used to control their people. In ours, it only exists to protect their freedoms.”

His comments come as the UK government is locked in a battle to avoid revealing what GCHQs policy is on providing intelligence to support CIA drone strikes.

Commenting on Mr Hague’s speech, Cori Crider, Reprieve’s Strategic Director and attorney, said:

“Mr Hague says secret intelligence protects the freedoms of Britons – but is apparently happy for UK intelligence to strip the freedoms (and lives) of Pakistani and Yemeni victims of secret wars. Reprieve’s client Noor Khan, who lost his  father and over 40 others in a botched drone strike, would find this claim laughable. He has tried to get the UK to explain how sharing GCHQ spy data with the US to drone Pakistani villages is not illegal – so far in vain.   The UK government has fought tooth and nail in his case to keep judges from considering their role in supporting US drone strikes. Is this what you call transparency?”

Drone from beneath Although there have been reports that GCHQ supports the CIA’s covert drone programme in Pakistan, the Government has refused to either confirm or deny what its policy is.

A judicial review of British Government policy has been brought by Noor Khan, from North Waziristan, whose father was killed in a 2011 strike on a civilian meeting. However, ministers continue to fight the case, although it seeks only to clarify what the Government’s policy is on supporting drone strikes, and whether that policy is legal.

A recent decision by the Peshawar High Court (PHC) in Pakistan declared the CIA’s drone campaign to be a war crime, and ordered the Pakistani Government to take steps to put an end to it. By sharing intelligence in support of the campaign, GCHQ may have broken both domestic and international law.

Mr Hague’s speech comes as Reprieve has launched a parody video to highlight the issue of drones, in which “President Obama” adopts the so-called Shaggy Defence – just say it wasn’t you -against charges he has killed thousands of people in illegal drone strikes around the world.

The video – from human rights charity Reprieve and Lush Cosmetics, and produced by Don’t Panic London – premiered last night at an event at the Soho Hotel. Parodying Shaggy’s 2001 hit ‘It Wasn’t Me’. Featuring “President Obama”, “Shaggy” and “a drone”, the video is intended to raise awareness of Obama’s ongoing illegal drones programme in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – all countries with which the US is not at war.

 

VIDEO: Political Turmoil and Chaos in Egypt – Second Part

July 1st, 2013 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

A week prior to the protests in Egypt, the pan-Arab news station Al Mayadeen interviewed Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya about the direction that Egypt was heading towards. In sync with the protests across Egypt, the interview was aired on June 30, 2013.  Although the introduction is in Arabic, the interview is conducted in English with Arabic subtitles.

This is the second portion of the interview.

On June 27, federal grand jurors indicted him on 30 counts.
Charges include:
  • “use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and conspiracy;
  • bombing of a place of public use resulting in death and conspiracy;
  • malicious destruction of property resulting in death and conspiracy;
  • use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence;
  • use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death;
  • carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury;
  • interference with commerce by threats or violence; and
  • aiding and abetting.”

Tsarnaev also faces 15 Massachusetts charges.

Murder, Inc. is official US policy. Previous articles explained. State-sponsored assassins kill.

They include FBI, CIA, DEA, police, and private military contractor operatives.

They’re responsible for Boston Marathon bombings state terror. The official story’s false. It doesn’t wash. They killed killed Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He and Dzhokhar were set up. They were convenient patsies.

An image showed Tamerlan trying to surrender. He was lying prone with his arms outstretched. He held no weapon. None was near him. No blood was visible. He was murdered in cold blood. His body was riddled with bullets from head to toe.

Dzhokhar likely tried to surrender. Local and/or federal assassins tried to kill him. He was shot multiple times. He survived. A throat wound prevented him from speaking for weeks.

In late May, he did so for the first time. He called his mother in Dagastan. They had an emotional six-minute conversation. His wounds are healing. He can walk. He’s much better now. He said he and Tamerlan are innocent.

They were set up. Police, FBI, other federal agencies, and private military contractor firm Clarity International bear full responsibility.

Obama heads rogue US governance. Justice is a four-letter word. Attorney General Eric Holder subverts it. He shames the office he holds. He does so in defense of privilege.

He enforces police state harshness. He defends the indefensible. He persecutes innocent victims. He wrongfully charges them. He reflects gross injustice. He belongs in prison, not high office.

 

“This indictment is the result of exemplary cooperation between federal prosecutors and a wide range of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to investigate the horrific attacks on the Boston Marathon two months ago,” he said.

“The department is firmly committed to achieving justice on behalf of all who were affected by these senseless acts of violence.”

“And today’s action proves our unyielding resolve to hold accountable – to the fullest extent of the law – anyone who would threaten the American people or attempt to terrorize our great cities.”

“I would like to thank our law enforcement partners, the FBI, the Department’s National Security Division, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, and every investigator, agent, officer, attorney, analyst, and support staff member whose courage and commitment continues to make our communities and our nation safer.”

FBI head Robert Mueller exceeds the worst of J. Edgar Hoover. Rule of law principles don’t matter. They vanished entirely on his watch.

 

He’s involved in unprecedented mass surveillance. He’s perhaps responsible for all US terror plots. He entraps victims lawlessly. They’re falsely charged. They’re hung out to dry for state-sponsored crimes.

He wages war on Islam. He targeted numerous innocent Muslims.They’re convenient US “enemies.” They’re vulnerable. They’re guilty only of being in America at the wrong time. They committed no crimes. They’re falsely charged. They’re wrongfully imprisoned.

Praying to the wrong god is dangerous. In America, it’s not tolerated. It risks persecution, false charges, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment. Victims are tortured. Some are murdered in cold blood.

“Today’s indictment is the result of the dedicated and collective efforts of law enforcement and intelligence partners, working with a sense of urgency and purpose to find those responsible for these deadly attacks,” said Mueller.

“These continuing efforts reflect the pursuit of justice for those who lost their lives and for the scores of individuals who were injured.”

Dzhokhar’s indictment reflects police state injustice. It’s harsh and unconscionable. He’s wrongfully charged. Allegations claim he and Tamerlan “conspired to use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against people, property, and places of public use.”

It claims they did so among Boston Marathon spectators. Two bombs detonated moments apart. Three deaths resulted. Others were injured.

“The indictment alleges that the IEDs were constructed from pressure cookers, explosive powder, shrapnel, adhesives, and other items and were designed to shred skin, shatter bone, and cause extreme pain and suffering, as well as death.”

It falsely claims both brothers “armed with five IEDs, a Ruger P95 semi-automatic handgun, ammunition, a machete, and a hunting knife, drove in their Honda Civic to the MIT campus, where they shot MIT Police Officer Sean Collier and attempted to steal his service weapon.”

It charges them with Collier’s death. They had nothing to do with it. They’re falsely accused of “carjack(ing) a Mercedes and kidnapp(ing) the driver and forc(ing) him to drive to a gas station, robbing him of $800 along the way.”

Allegedly the driver escaped. How wasn’t explained. The entire story was invented. It’s untrue. It doesn’t wash.

 

It alleges both brothers drove to Watertown. Why there wasn’t explained. They lived in Cambridge. Police allegedly tried to arrest them.

Their allegations only are told. Truth and full disclosure’s suppressed. Lies, damn lies, and state-sponsored viciousness substitute. Media scoundrels go along. They repeat what demands condemnation. Doing so assures court of public opinion conviction.

 

DOJ claims both brothers fired at police and “used four additional IEDs against them.” They allegedly drove their vehicle “directly at” police. Claiming it reads like bad fiction.

 

You can’t make this stuff up. Authorities do out of whole cloth. It’s done repeatedly. It’s done to convict. Victims are hung out to dry. They’re made to pay for state-sponsored crimes.

 

It’s happens often. Thousands of political prisoners fill America’s gulag. It’s the world’s largest. It’s the shame of the nation.

It holds society’s most disadvantaged. Corporate crooks and state-sponsored ones remain free. They plunder, ravage and murder egregiously. They do so with impunity.

They do it with the full faith, blessing, and encouragement of government. They do so maliciously. They do it willfully. They do it shamelessly. They do it repeatedly. They do it unapologetically. Innocent victims face false accusations. It’s the American way.

Seventeen charges against Dzhokhar call for life in prison or capital punishment. Others authorize five years to life. On July 10, he’ll be arraigned. He’s already guilty by accusation.

US-style justice works that way. Trials are rigged. They’re pro forma. Hanging judges preside. Jurors are intimidated to convict. Innocent victims are helpless.

Justice is systematically denied. It’s a four-letter word. Police states operate this way. America’s by far the worst. Dzhokhar at best faces life imprisonment.

He’ll likely endure Supermax harshness. Perhaps in isolation. So-called “ultramax” cells have virtually no human contact, not even with guards.

They’re for prisoners called “the worst of the worst.” Allegedly they’re considered too dangerous for general population circulation. They’re for ones America imposes unconscionable harshness. It reflects monstrous viciousness.

DOJ’s National Institute of Corrections calls Supermax prisons “highly restrictive, high-custody housing units within a secure facility.”

They “isolate inmates from the general prison population and from each other due to grievous crimes, repetitive assaultive or violent institutional behavior, the threat of escape or actual escape from high-custody facilit(ies), or inciting or threatening to incite disturbances in a correctional institution.”

States have their own facilities. Florence, CO is America’s sole federal one. It’s called “the Harvard” of US prisons. It’s easier to get into. It’s virtually impossible to escape.

They cost two to three times more than conventional prisons. They feature high-tech security. Walls, floors, ceilings and doors are built out of reinforced materials.

State-of-the-art electronic systems minimize or prevent guard-inmate contact. Moving prisoners requires multiple officers.

They’re confined in windowless single cells 23 hours a day. They measure about 7 by 12 feet. They have a shower and concrete bed.

They have virtually no work, social contact, education, recreation, rehabilitation or personal privacy.

They’re electronically monitored 24 hours a day. Many have no human contact. Others have little. They spend years up to life this way.

It’s intolerable. It violates Eight Amendment protection. It’s cruel and unusual punishment. It destroys mind, body and spirit.

Prisoners experience severe anxiety, panic attacks, lethargy, insomnia, nightmares, dizziness, irrational anger, confusion, memory and appetite loss, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, paranoia, and profound despair and hopelessness.

They’re entombed. They’re caged like wild animals. Normal prisoners become sociopaths. Strong-willed ones break. Longterm isolation creates monsters. Many suffer irreversible trauma. Some go mad.

Dzhokhar’s future looks grim. Conviction is certain. He’ll join America’s living dead. He’ll do so out of sight and mind. Innocence can’t save him. US-style criminal injustice works this way.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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 Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/dzhokhar-tsarnaev-wrongfully-indicted/

A recent report in the New York Times (NYT) claims, through trusted “sources”, that Qatar began weapons shipments to opposition militants in Syria at the same time they “increased” support for Al Qaeda linked militants fighting Colonel Gaddafi in Libya in 2011. Gaddafi was ousted (murdered) in October 2011; one must assume that any “increase” in Qatari efforts to arm the militants in Libya were delivered long in advance of Gaddafi’s ouster, meaning the synonymous shipments to “rebels” in Syria also commenced well before October 2011.

 This information again sheds further light on a timeline of events in Syria that have been purposefully obscured within mainstream media to suit certain actors agendas, and to enable the false and misleading narrative of “Assad killing peaceful protesters” to become dominant in the discourse surrounding the Syrian conflict. As was revealed earlier this year – known by many for much longer – it has been Qatar at the forefront of efforts to arm and fund the insurgency in Syria.

As the resilience of the Assad regime and the Syrian Army prolonged the Syrian conflict far beyond the timeframe the backers of the insurgency foresaw; more and more evidence has become available as to the exact nature of this US-led proxy-war, and the ideologies of the militants fighting it. In turn, timelines have constantly been altered, misinformed and manipulated to suit the desired narratives of actors who claim to be on the side of “freedom and democracy”. In sum, previous to the aforementioned NYT article, there had been no reports – in mainstream press at least – of any arms shipments or covert state activity against Syria before “early 2012″. Now that timeline has once again been revised, to at least the same time of an “increase” of Qatari covert policy in Libya; which would have necessarily come before the fall of Gaddafi in October 2011.

The latest “revelation” in the NYT seems to be an intentional leak, designed to pass responsibility for the extremist dominated insurgency currently destroying Syria, onto Qatar’s doorstep. Considering the timing of this report, and several others in recent mainstream media that have pointed the finger at Qatar being the main sponsor of the Syrian insurgency, it also begs the question: was there more to the Qatari Emir’s, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (and his trusted and longtime Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani’s) recent departure and handover of power to his son Tamim than meets the eye? A slap on the wrist from the US for Qatar’s destructive foreign policy maybe? Who knows, it seems most knowledgable Middle East analysts  really have no clue as to why the Emir chose to suddenly step down and relinquish power. If there is one message coming from this unprecedented handover in the Western press it is this: “what goes on in Qatar, stays in Qatar”.

 The NYT cites a “Western diplomat” (anonymous of course) who states that Qatar: “punch immensely above their weight,… They keep everyone off-balance by not being in anyone’s pocket… Their influence comes partly from being unpredictable,” Again, this seems to be a desired caveat to remove culpability from Western actors, and is highly likely the same “source” that provided the leak on Qatar’s covert actions.

What is counterintuitive to the theory that Qatar acts of its own accord in such instance; is the fact that Qatar’s military and intelligence apparatus is entirely built and run by the United States. Qatar and the US have held an intimate relationship on all things military since the early 90′s. Qatar is also the Forward Operations center of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), and the US Combined Air Operation Center (CAOC).  The US enjoys the luxury of the use of three airbases in the tiny nation of Qatar, one of which (Al Udeid) is the prime location of Qatari arms flights to Syria.

Considering this close military relationship; it would be foolish to believe the United States would be unaware of Qatari covert activity, particularly when one also considers the broad and global spying and SIGINT powers we now all know the Pentagon, and US government have at their disposal. It should also be noted that Doha acts as a primary base in the region for US diplomacy, as the Taliban can happily attest to.

Furthermore – as covered extensively in a previous article – once Gulf covert arms shipments to Syrian “rebels” became public knowledge, the Obama administration made distinct efforts in the media to portray the CIA as the key “coordinator” and oversight of the shipments to allay concerns of weapons ending up in the “wrong hands”. The US, through the CIA has been using its logistic, diplomatic, and military power to bypass international laws and help to organise a multi-national covert arms supply chain to “rebels” in Syria. Furthermore, in a recent interview for The National Interest given by renowned former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, – a declared advocate of the US policy of arming Osama Bin-Laden and fellow ideologues in the Afghan-Soviet war of the 80′s – went as far as to openly admit the joint US-Saudi-Qatari policy of orchestrating the Syrian crisis, but refrained from revealing an explicit timeline: (my emphasis)

In late 2011 there are outbreaks in Syria produced by a drought and abetted by two well-known autocracies in the Middle East: Qatar and Saudi Arabia. He [Obama] all of a sudden announces that Assad has to go—without, apparently, any real preparation for making that happen. Then in the spring of 2012, the election year here, the CIA under General Petraeus, according to The New York Times of March 24th of this year, a very revealing article, mounts a large-scale effort to assist the Qataris and the Saudis and link them somehow with the Turks in that effort. Was this a strategic position?

Yet contrary to this long-revealed policy, the NYT claims: “The United States has little leverage over Qatar on the Syria issue because it needs the Qataris’ help on other fronts.” For the NYT to claim the US has no control of arms shipments from a key ally is disingenuous at best, outright propaganda at worst. Moreover, the CIA has been in direct “consultation” with Qatar on arms shipments, and who exactly those arms should be sent to, (vetted “moderates” of course!!) as Qatari officials stated in this Reuters article from May this year: (my emphasis)

“There’s an operations room in the Emir’s diwan (office complex), with representatives from every ministry sitting in that room, deciding how much money to allocate for Syria’s aid,” the Qatari official said. There’s a lot of consultation with the CIA, and they help Qatar with buying and moving the weapons into Syria, but just as consultants,”

Are we seriously supposed to believe that Qatar, a tiny resource-rich nation that is totally dependent on US militarism and diplomatic protection is acting of its own accord, without any US assistance, right under the US military’s nose? The NYT report goes on to state: (my emphasis)

Qatar’s covert efforts to back the Syrian rebels began at the same time that it was increasing its support for opposition fighters in Libya trying to overthrow the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi...The Obama administration quietly blessed the shipments to Libya of machine guns, automatic rifles, mortars and ammunition, but American officials later grew concerned as evidence grew that Qatar was giving the weapons to Islamic militants there.”

The Obama administration was fully aware of who Qatar were arming, and sending special forces to fight alongside in Libya. It was exactly the same variety of militants and extremist ideologues that are currently waging war upon the Syrian State. Islamic radicals had used Benghazi as a base since the very start of the Libyan “revolution”, and the US knew they formed the core of the militia Qatar were shipping arms to in efforts to oust Gaddafi. The Obama administration’s concern of MANPADS falling into the “wrong hands” (a la Afghanistan) is belied by Obama’s tacit approval of his Gulf allies’ policy of allowing tonnes of arms, explosives and military materiel to extremist dominated militia. A few MANPADS simply increases the likelihood of blowback upon a civilian target, and the consequent exposure; which is the Obama administration’s major concern. As the NYT report states, one of the shipments of MANPADS that has entered Syria, came from the very same former Gaddafi stockpiles of Eastern bloc weapons looted by Qatari backed militants in Libya.

In summary, the current media leaks on arms shipments to Syria can be construed as the Obama administration attempting to build plausible deniability. The constant revision of the Syrian timeline also points to the retroactive smoke-screen being applied to US-led covert policies that have already been exposed. Indeed, this tactic of using client states to gain deniability of US aggression is nothing new. The policy has provided the United States with the ultimate get-out-clause through decades of subversion and aggression upon sovereign nations.

If – as is the current trajectory in Syria – the militants that the United States ad its clients foment, fund and arm, become an uncontrollable monster and fail to achieve the desired short-term objectives; the US can simply disassociate and point the finger to one of its lesser allies, on this occasion, that finger seems to point directly at the former Emir of Qatar.

One wonders if in twenty years time US “diplomats” will portray the same vacant regret for their role in the creation of Jabhat al Nusra and fellow ideologues; as they do now for their role in the creation of Al Qaeda itself. As the United States continues its divisive and destructive policies to desperately cling to hegemony; the mantra of “lessons have been learned” is more hollow than ever.

Phil Greaves is a UK based writer/analyst, focusing on UK/US Foreign Policy and conflict analysis in the Middle East post WWII. http://notthemsmdotcom.wordpress.com/

Some mountaineers climb Everest simply because it’s there.  And some scientists play God simply because they can.  Then other independent and less well-funded scientists have to spend years doing the research that proves playing God was the wrong thing to do, only by then it is often too late.  Time and again man’s actions have had disastrous and irreversible effects

 His name was Ron.  In the 1950s he joined the Navy.  In October 1956 he found himself on a vessel sailing towards the Monte Bello Islands, off the northwest coast of Australia.  There were other ships making for the same destination – or being ordered out of a ‘no-sail-zone’.  They came to a halt some miles off the islands where they rested overnight.  It was only then that the crew, guinea pigs all, learnt they were there to witness the second British atom bomb test.  In the morning they assembled on the open deck facing the islands, although they couldn’t see them across the waves.  A short time before the expected explosion Ron and his mates were told to turn and face away because the intense light of the explosion could harm their eyes.  Nobody mentioned fall-out.

Ron was lucky.  Unlike so many of his companions that day, his health did not suffer from what he had been part of.  Many years later he told me what it had been like, the light, the noise, the blast wave.  And he told me something else.  If ever you have sailed the seas in a big ship you will know it is followed by seagulls that treat it as their home, flying above and around it, perching on its rails and masts – and waiting for the daily event of the waste food from the galley being dumped overboard.  Ron’s ship had its share of faithful followers and the air always rang with the cries of the gulls.  But on the morning of the test, when the crew came out onto the main deck, it was unnaturally quiet.  There were no birds to be seen.

Afterwards Ron asked around – he wanted to know if this had happened to the other ships.  It had.  Overnight all of the ships that were anywhere even remotely near the Monte Bello Islands had lost their birds.  Every single one had fled into the night.  Would that our scientists had been as wise as the birds.  Or the bees – which refused to leave their hives for days after the Chernobyl disaster, while the cows refused to drink from the stream and the worms burrowed deep into the ground.  But the people who witnessed these things weren’t scientists, just simple country folk.  What would they know?  What nature knows is that human cleverness has left life on earth with a deadly legacy of nuclear waste which we are incapable of dealing with.  All we do is create more – because we can.

 Since the invention of agriculture – which some see as the starting point for all the damage humanity has caused not just to itself but to its one and only home – all farmers have sought to improve their seeds or animals.  They do it by selective breeding, a slow process but the one that nature also uses.  It allows time to spot mistakes and dead ends.  And unlike modern man, nature doesn’t do things on an industrial scale; that produces deserts.  Endless acres of just one crop are as much of an ecological wasteland as miles of sand.  But, for the benefit of humanity, selective breeding is still producing new varieties, staple grains for instance, that are drought, flood, pest or disease resistant.

Enter GM science, the El Dorado of the biotech companies, with their vision of patenting nature and controlling the world’s supply of food.  Despite all the propaganda they haven’t yet succeeded in producing seeds that are genuinely better than those delivered by more conventional breeding.  The promised high yields of GM crops fail after a few years when conventional seeds bred for a higher yield maintain their increased yield.  Nor has GM technology produced reliable pest- or disease-resistant crops.  All it has really done is produce crops that can withstand heavy applications of pesticides and herbicides – made of course by the same biotech companies.

Nature fights back in its own way.  Weeds that are meant to be killed have become ‘super-weeds’ resistant to herbicides.  The discovery across the world of GM crops growing wild in places where no GM crops are grown, due to using GM animal feed and spillageof GM grain during transport, is increasing every day.  Rather than producing wonder-crops, the science that created GM plants simply because it can has left us with contaminated conventional crops, super-weeds and weed-killer in our urine.  And like the problem of nuclear waste, we may have got to the point of being unable to control the damage GM technology has done and is continuing to do to our bodies, our food supply, our environment and all the other forms of life that share our planet.

Not satisfied with manipulating genes, for years we have been trying to manipulate the weather, in particular creating rain by cloud seeding, something the UK was keen on from 1949 to 1955  Secret experiments were conducted by the MoD.  Their aim was to create artificial rain and snow; possible uses included “bogging down enemy movement” and “incrementing the water flow in rivers and streams to hinder or stop enemy crossings”.  They also saw rainmaking as having a potential “to explode an atomic weapon in a seeded storm system or cloud.  This would produce a far wider area of radioactive contamination than in a normal atomic explosion”.  A ‘normal’ atomic explosion sends radioactive fallout around the world.  How much further do you want to go?

It must feel wonderfully powerful to be able to create rain when you want to, but in any kind of experiment involving natural processes blinkered experimenters tend to look for (and see) only the results they want.  Little thought is given to the precautionary principle or to unforeseen damaging effects.  And no thought at all is given to the amazingly delicate balance of a living ecology, a balance that rules that any change, any loss or addition, affects everything else.  The butterfly flapping its wings in Tokyo is not just a pretty concept; it’s for real.  And although the MoD kept trying to deny it, documents show that the cloud seeding experiments code-named ‘Operation Cumulus’ was the cause of the terrible flash flood in Lynmouth in 1952.  People died and the heart of a community was ripped out – “because we can”.

But the early cloud seeding experiments are only a part of the efforts being made to control the weather, also known as EnMod – Environmental Modification.  One has to look at the whole worrying issue of chemtrails  (condensation trails from aircraft carrying substances that can alter cloud and weather patterns).  And HAARP.  Please don’t ignore HAARP.  The difficulty with all of this is that it can be so easily dismissed by the powers that be as paranoid conspiracy theory.  Except the planning, reports and discussions by military, government and research personnel are a matter of official record.

In 1987 the UN brought in the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques.  Yet in 2007, The (UN) World Meteorological Organisation published a statement that included ‘Guidelines for Planning of Weather Modification Activities.’  The spectre of climate change had made EnMod acceptable.  In November 2010 the UN imposed a ban on experiments in geo-engineering.  Whether those carrying out the clandestine experiments will take any notice is doubtful.

 The Case Orange report on chemtrails cites a number of US patents for the invention of a “Specific contrail generation apparatus for producing a powder contrail….”  It also cites evidence that Raytheon could develop the capacity to “exercise a form of complete “weather control”.  Raytheon?  Well, it goes without saying that the military are heavily involved, and although the stated purpose is to help combat climate change, one can’t help feeling that it is the control of the weather that is aimed for.  What a weapon that would be, but such control can, and will, have unforeseen effects on both humans and ecosystems.

What has worried me for a long time in all this is that, just as we believe we can control the weather, so, through science rather than moderating human activity, we can control climate change.  There are many enthusiasts for the geo-engineering solution to climate change – I’ve been present at some of their PowerPoint presentations.  And always I see two huge obstacles to their plans.  It isn’t that they dismiss those obstacles.  They simply don’t seem to take them into account.

The first thing is (and this applies particularly to governments and the military/industry complex) that absolutely no genuinely effective attempt will be made to halt climate change, let alone reverse it.  To do that would in their view completely destroy our politico-economic system, than which nothing is more important.  The second thing is that we are living on a planet with finite resources, resources that we are beginning to run out of, especially when it comes to such things as rare earths.  They were rare when we first discovered them; they are far more so now.  Put the two things together and this is the logical result:

As we go on using fossil fuels and leading lives that depend on energy and material consumption, climate change will go on evolving, and its effects will be ever greater.  The earth will go on warming and the climate system we know breaking down.  Any geo-engineering may control some of the process, but it requires resources and it will necessarily have to be renewed, updated and extended.  We will become dependent on it.  Its proponents say that using it will give us the time to do all the other, more painful things we need to do if the rise in global warming is to be kept within survivable limits.

But humanity will not alter its behaviour if it thinks it can rely on science to provide the answer and, as much as scientists will dislike this, science has been the cause of many of the problems we are now facing.  Once we start using geo-engineering to control climate change there will be no end – all geo-engineering systems will have to be kept in place until we no longer have the resources to maintain control.  No matter how strong our faith in our ability to control our world is, we will still run out of resources.  And we will still be living with the problems of climate change.  As will the rest of life on earth, because in this case, we can’t.

I’m not knocking science.  It has produced some wonderful things.  The knowledge it has gathered has helped us to lead cleaner, healthier lives.  It has given us vaccines and helped to eradicate killer diseases.  It has given us antibiotics – which, unthinkingly, we have used so enthusiastically that we have ended up with super-bugs that are resistant to most antibiotics.  It has produced methods of communication and transport that were unimaginable two hundred years ago.  It has enabled us to see far out into the universe and become aware of all the wonders it holds.  Yet, instead of making man feel truly humble in the face of such a rich immensity, there is always that desire to reach out further, to own and control as much as we can.

 But we can’t even control ourselves.  We seem blind to the fact we might be just about to walk off a cliff – because we can.

Death of a Whistleblower

Steven Carr joined the Reagan administration’s “secret” war against Nicaragua because he “wanted to fight the Sandinistas.” Too young to have served in Vietnam, he was hungry for adventure in an anti-communist crusade.

    As Carr later admitted, he and four other mercenaries met in Miami in March 1985. From there he drove a truck loaded with weapons to the Fort Lauderdale Airport. The weapons — M-16 rifles, .50 caliber machine guns, and 66-mm mortars — came from storage facilities belonging to various Cuban exile groups. Some may have been pilfered from National Guard armories.

     The recruits flew with the supplies to El Salvador, where, with official assistance, they transferred the shipment to another plane and went on to Costa Rica. There they found a Contra base coordinated from a ranch owned by John Hull, a US citizen who claimed to have CIA and National Security Council (NSC) connections.

     Over the next month Carr participated in a raid on a small Nicaraguan town, as well as plans to bomb power lines. He heard about other schemes, including the assassination of enemies and staging attacks that could be blamed on the Sandinistas. These were supposed to provide a pretext for further US involvement, and ultimately an invasion.

     To Carr, it looked like a sanctioned US operation. Hull talked often about his “buddies” in the NSC. When Carr went on a raid, Costa Rican Civil Guard troops accompanied the attacking force, he claimed. He also learned about cocaine shipments flowing through Hull’s ranch on their way to the US. For his various services, Hull claimed to be receiving regular $10,000 payments, which he ballooned by trading currency on the black market.

     It seemed like a soldier of fortune’s dream come true.

     But in April 1985, the Costa Rican government apparently turned sour on the “expeditionary” force, arresting Carr and his associates (not including Hull) for violating neutrality laws. The once gung-ho 27-year old, bitter about “being made the scapegoat for everybody else,” decided to talk. On videotape and later to US investigators, he spoke about moving weapons, assassination plots, and Contra assistance to drug smugglers. He recommended that others do the same.

     In a letter to Jesus Garcia, another witness with details about the Contra network’s “dirty tricks,” Carr wrote about his plans: “I’ve put all my marbles in their (the investigators’) corner hoping to get to the truth of things and show how our ‘wonderful’ CIA are a bunch of assholes, liars, cheats and murderers.  I’m an American all the way but I stop at killing other Americans for the sake of CIA war games.”

     After his release by the Costa Ricans, Carr came home and began to cooperate with officials in Florida and congressional investigators. He also became paranoid — with good reason. The US administration wanted to discredit his testimony about the arms shipments and another plot, devised at the urging of Colombian drug lords. The traffickers had offered a $1 million reward to the Contra network in Costa Rica, he claimed, for the murder of Lewis Tambs, former ambassador to Colombia, who had been attempting to crack down on drug smuggling.

     The pressure on Carr was intense. One of his companions, Peter Glibbery, still jailed in Costa Rica, had received a death threat from an employee of John Hull.

     On December 17, 1986 Steven Carr was found dead near Los Angeles. Local authorities were quick to label it suicide. He apparently had stumbled to his car at 2:30 a.m., foaming at the mouth, and dropped dead in the driveway, probably from a cocaine overdose. Medical reports were inconclusive and a coroner’s toxicity report failed to resolve the mystery.

The Contra-Cocaine Connection

During a televised speech on March 16, 1986, President Reagan displayed a photograph taken in Nicaragua and claimed that it proved top Nicaraguan officials were involved in cocaine trafficking. As it turned out, there was no real evidence and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) later issued a low-key “clarification.” But the smear was effective; it distracted attention from the ongoing investigation of Contra involvement in the drug trade.

     Barry Seal, the only person who might have told the true story about the grainy picture of men loading a plane near Managua, was already dead. A DEA informant and pilot, Seal had been murdered on February 19 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, reportedly on orders from the Colombian cocaine magnate who had arranged the shipments in association with the Contra network. One of the suspects, in federal custody on an unrelated charge, was Jose Coutin, a suspected drug dealer and Miami gunshop owner with links to John Hull’s ranch operations.

     Seal’s story, and the Contra-cocaine connection, were subsequently the subject of several investigations. In a report by the International Center for Development Policy, directed by former US Ambassador to El Salvador Robert White, Seal emerged as a dangerous pawn who knew too much. For example, he knew that the Colombians were using Hull’s ranch as a shipping point.

     He also knew that the famous incriminating photo had been taken on DEA orders, and that other US government figures were aware of the shipments. But when the White House leaked the story about the Sandinistas and drugs, along with the photo, Seal’s cover was blown. He’d taken the picture himself. The Colombians, according to White’s report, put a $2 million price on his head.

     Dan Sheehan of the Christic Institute, an interfaith law and policy center that independently dug into the private arms network fueling the Contras, concluded that the Seal shipments were merely a small part of the network’s deal to transport cocaine in exchange for funds to purchase arms. In 1983, Sheehan revealed, several anti-Castro Cubans and Hull agreed to provide refueling and packaging services on the Costa Rican ranch in exchange for up to $25,000 per shipment from the Colombians.

     ”As amazing as it sounds,” Sheehan claimed later, “the conspiracy is continuing to bring in about one ton or 1000 kilos of cocaine to the US each week.” The street value of such a shipment was more than $25 million. Some of the profits, he added, were deposited in Miami and Central American banks and later withdrawn to purchase weapons.

     The picture that emerged from these overlapping investigations was of an alliance stretching back years and providing smugglers with secure routes to the US in exchange for cash. According to Jesus Garcia, a former Dade County, Florida deputy sheriff who was part of the operation before he went to prison for illegal firearms possession, “It is common knowledge in Miami that this whole Contra operation in Costa Rica was paid for with cocaine. Everyone involved knows it. I actually saw the cocaine and weapons together under one roof, weapons that I helped ship to Costa Rica.”

     The same charge was leveled in a civil complaint filed by journalists Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey. They alleged that the network was responsible for a bombing in Costa Rica in which Contra leader Eden Pastora and several journalists were injured. Avirgan was one of those wounded. Several others, including one US reporter, were killed.

     Honey and Avirgan claimed that, in order to fund their operations, a deal had been struck between Hull, some Cuban-Americans, and Contra leaders hostile to Pastora, who refused to merge with other Contra forces. Drugs flowed freely through Costa Rica to various US points; profits paid for weapons from Florida, Israel and South Korea, according to the White Report. When Pastora remained uncooperative, the same group contracted with a Libyan professional assassin, Amac Galil, to eliminate him.

     Citing White House sources, the New York Times reported on January 20, 1987 that the DEA had known since at least the previous fall that US flight crews carrying arms to the Contras were smuggling cocaine on return trips to the US. When told about the investigation one crew member reportedly warned that he was under the protection of Lt. Col. Oliver North.

     ”The Contra operation,” emphasized White’s report, “like all covert operations, breeds criminality, attracts criminals, and results in the cover up of criminal activity. The most profitable criminal activity today is narcotics. It is not surprising to find Contra and Contra-related figures using the opportunities provided by the operation to enrich themselves in the name of a cause nor to find the US officials responsible for the operation either condoning their actions or not taking active measures to stop them.”

Bush in the Loop

Various researchers and investigations have established that Vice President George Bush and his national security advisers maintained close ties with the secret air-re-supply operation in El Salvador. In October 1986, a week after the Nicaraguan government shot down a plane carrying supplies for the Contras, front page press reports announced that the operation led to both the CIA and Bush.

      Resupply project Chief Felix Rodriguez met several times with Bush and a key aide, but the VP claimed they did not discuss Nicaragua. The trail also led to the vice president’s son Jeb Bush, who had “long acted as a liaison man with the fiercely pro-Contra, anti-Cuban and Nicaraguan settlers in Miami,” according to the Manchester Guardian.

     Such stories soon vanished, however, and Bush, heir apparent to Reagan, was insulated from further probing questions for the next two years. Nevertheless, he was the one person who connected the CIA, NSA and the mercenary forces on the ground.

     In 1984, when Congress cut off Contra aid, the administration privatized the war. Oliver North designed the plan, NSA chief Robert McFarlane approved it, and the President was briefed. The arrangement was summed up in a Miami Herald report: “The NSC recruited technical and logistical personnel retired from the CIA or the Army Special Forces to establish the network, and Bush’s staff concentrated on organizing Cuban exiles in Miami, many of them veterans of the CIA-organized Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.” Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams became “general strategist,” with CIA Director Bill Casey and North handling operations.

     Elliott Abrams was deeply involved in Contra activities, coordinating between the Department of State, NSC and CIA. But this was only part of a larger inter-agency program masterminded by CIA Director Casey. The Defense Department planned airdrops over Nicaragua and provided troops to build the Contra infrastructure. A private aid network, including John Singlaub’s World Anti-Communist League, various non-profit fronts, mercenary groups and CAUSA, the political wing of the Moonies, provided cover for an operation that ultimately led back to the Oval office.

     Rodriguez, both ex-CIA and a Bay of Pigs vet, coordinated the supply route from El Salvador after approaching an old CIA colleague, Donald Gregg, a Bush aide. With administration blessings, he established the Ilopango air base, which involved at least eight planes and hundreds of missions. But the cost was too high for the private organizations coordinated by Gen. John Singlaub, head of the World Anti-Communist League.

In 1985, after Honduras decided to hold up Contra supplies, Rodriguez met with Bush. Soon after their talk the Contra flights through Ilopango increased, according to witnesses and press reports. It was illegal to supply weapons, yet Rodriguez was able to maintain a direct line with both the US embassy and Don Gregg at the White House. The money, it turns out, was coming from Washington via Israel, Iran and a Swiss bank.

     Money also came from Saudi Arabia as part of a kickback for the sale of AWACs. According to the New York Times, the point man for this was Richard Secord, a retired Air Force general and Pentagon official who eventually led what became known as the Secret Team.

    Secord used money from Iran arms sales and other sources to acquire weapons and channel them to Central America, South Africa, and Angola. The team and the aid network worked with both the Ilopango airlift in El Salvador and the South Front, coordinated from Hull’s ranch. Drugs and guns moved back and forth. One beneficiary was the Nicaraguan Democratic Force, led by Adolfo Calero and former Somocistas.

Over 80 people, in and out of the US government, actively worked in this covert network, with additional financial support from Saudi Arabia and Brunei. President Reagan was aware of and approved most phases of this covert foreign policy.

Private Agents of Chaos

This was only one episode in a longer, even more convoluted tale. An earlier “Contra” war was mounted against Cuba under the direction of Richard Nixon, then vice president, beginning in the late 50s.

With the cooperation of Mafia don Santo Trafficante, a private “sub-operation” was developed to assassinate Cuban leaders. Members of the “shooter team” included Rafael “Chi Chi” Quintero, who later coordinated arms shipments to the Contras with Secord; Rodriguez, a CIA operative who headed the Ilopango operation and met with Bush; and several of the future Watergate burglers. The Cuban operation was supervised by Secord associates Theodore Shackley and Thomas Clines.

Secord was a key figure in both the Iran and Contra operations. Years before he had flown missions with another Major General, Singlaub, and, as a Pentagon official, embezzled millions while overseeing arms sales. One of his business partners was Shackley, who had been engaged in secret wars since the early 60s, becoming deputy director of covert operations during George Bush’s tenure as CIA chief. Clines, another ex-CIA man and a major Contra arms supplier, eventually pleaded guilty to overcharging the Pentagon in 1984.

The same group had directed CIA secret wars in Southeast Asia between 1965 and 1975. In Laos they backed up Vang Pao, a major opium trafficker. Drug money was used to train Hmong tribesmen in guerrilla war, resulting in the assassination of 100,000 non-combatant “communist sympathizers” in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Shackley and Clines also directed the Phoenix Program in South Vietnam, an effort resulting in the murder of 60,000 Vietnamese civilians. That operation was financed by Vang Pao heroin sold in the US by Trafficante.

     During the early 1970s, they were active in Chile, directing the CIA’s “Track II” project to overthrow the Allende government. In 1984, members of the Team recruited Amac Galil through the Chilean military to execute the bombing of Pastora’s press conference.

     After Vietnam, the Team moved on to Teheran to conduct private, non-CIA activities like helping the Shah’s secret police to identify and assassinate his opponents. Beginning in the mid-70s, Secord, who had become an Assistant Secretary of Defense, supervised the sale of US weapons to Middle East nations. Using middleman Albert Hakim, an Iranian-born US citizen, he purchased weapons at the manufacturer’s cost and sold them to countries at a profit, illegally depositing the proceeds into private Team bank accounts. The same practice was used later during the arms sales to Iran.
     The Secret Team’s activities stretched around the world. In Australia, they used opium money and weapons profits to help destabilize the Labour government in 1975. In Nicaragua, they assisted Somoza after Carter and Congress stopped further aid; after the dictator’s fall, they armed and advised ex-National Guardsmen until the CIA assumed control of the Contra war.

     When Congress cut off aid in 1984, Oliver North, who had worked under Singlaub in Laos, reached out to the Team to illegally recommence funding and re-supply the Contras. During the 1980s operations in Central America, they established major supply bases in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica. In the meantime, CIA Director Casey developed other Contra operations in Africa. In return for South African assistance in ferrying arms to Central America, for example, he arranged with Saudi Arabian King Fahd to provide aid to the South African-backed UNITA rebels fighting the Angolan government.Exposing the Team

Before his death, Steven Carr told an aide to Senator John Kerry that he had loaded an arms shipment bound for Costa Rica in broad daylight at the Fort Lauderdale airport. The weapons went to an Air Force base in El Salvador, where military personnel unloaded the plane. In an interview taped after his arrest, he argued that without CIA knowledge “it’s improbable that a private charter plane could land at an Air Force base. It’s not like we were going on vacation.”

     In a video report, “The Costa Rica Connection,” Carr and his British associate, Peter Glibbery, alleged their covert work had the full support of Costa Rican officials at first. They said John Hull presented himself as the chief CIA and NSC liaison for the operations. Glibbery claimed to have seen Hull with Robert Owen on the ranch when arms were arriving. Owen, a retired military officer and representative of a Nicaraguan “humanitarian” aid group, was North’s contact with the Contra network.

     Predictably, the State Department denied any knowledge of Contra involvement in cocaine deals, and the US Customs Service claimed to know nothing about arms shipments leaving Florida without official clearance. The evidence, however, indicated that the weapons and the drugs did get delivered, and the same network was involved in both operations.

     Avrigan and Honey exposed the private network behind much of this mayhem long before the Tower Commission and Iran-Contra Committee launched their investigations. Working with the Christic Institute, they eventually filed a lawsuit charging 29 US citizens with conspiracy. The specific instance spurring the suit was the bombing of Pastora’s press conference. 

     The Secret Team, which helped make that attempted assassination possible, had roots stretching back decades. Including figures such as Secord, Clines, Shackley and an assortment of Cuban exiles and ex-military men, this private military network had long been handling sensitive, often illegal operations at the behest of the US government. In fact, it was an instrument of US policy from the early days of Castro (when some members helped plot the leader’s death), in Laos and Vietnam, in the overthrow of Salvadore Allende in Chile, in propping up the Shah of Iran, and throughout Central America.

     After releasing their findings, the journalists were sued for libel in Costa Rica by Hull, the CIA contract agent named in the case. They won. But afterward they were the targets of a police raid, and one of their lawyers was arrested for accepting a package at the post office.

     Police claimed the package contained cocaine from a “T. Borge,” a desperate attempt to perpetuate the stale disinformation campaign connecting Sandinista officials such as Tomas Borge with drug smuggling. In reality, the evidence says that the so-called Southern Front, run in the 1980s by John Hull, Oliver North, head Contra Adolfo Calero and Cuban exiles — and sanctioned at the highest levels of the US government — was for a while a major shipping point for Colombian cocaine headed to US cities.

Greg Guma’s forthcoming novel Dons of Time, to be released by Fomite Press in October, explores the danger of privatized national security and the surveillance state.

Introduction

Recent disclosures have revealed the extreme level of surveillance of telephone and internet communications, as discussed separately with respect to the US National Security Agency, the UK GCHQ, and other members of the Five Eyes Anglosphere agreement (Vigorous Application of Derivative Thinking to Derivative Problems, 2013). There is therefore a case for exploring how such surveillance can be avoided, if that is considered desirable. The situation can be compared to that in any wilderness where predators deliberately create zones of fear through the manner of their engagement with potential prey — prior to any attack, as recently noted (Scared to death: how predators really kill, New Scientist, 5 June 2013, pp. 36-39).

Extensive use has been made in the past of carrier pigeons for secure communications, notably in arenas of threat, and most notably in World War I, continuing into World War II, but to a lesser degree. The founder of the news agency Reuters made use of carrier pigeons for the delivery of vital financial data in parallel with introduction of the telegraph. Other little-known examples are cited in what follows.

With the current development in the insecurity of computer and internet technology, there is a case for exploring alternative possibilities in the light of the threat of internet surveillance and the need for secure communications. Security agencies are effectively framing the “war on terrorism” as a global war in which independent governments and institutions are a source of potential security threat — as well as the world population at large.

It is to be expected that active consideration will be given to possibilities of secure communications by diplomatic services following the Wikileaks disclosures (Alleged Breach of UN Treaty Obligations by US, 2010). It is also to be expected that governments with any interest in preserving the confidentiality of their own communications, including developing countries and delegations to international conferences, will want to consider their need for such facilities — especially in the light of the recent disclosures regarding communications in such contexts (Ewen MacAskill, et al., GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians’ communications at G20 summits, The Guardian, 17 June 2013; GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world’s communications, The Guardian, 21 June 2013). Clearly use of internet facilities has become increasingly untrustworthy.

At the time of writing, new disclosures allege that EU facilities and communications in a number of locations, including the United Nations, have been a specific “target” of NSA surveillance (Attacks from America: NSA Spied on European Union Offices, Spiegel Online International, 29 June 2013; EU concern over Der Spiegel claim of US spying, BBC News, 30 June 2013; EU demands clarification over US spying claims, The Guardian, 30 June 2013; Key US-EU trade pact under threat after more NSA spying allegations, The Guardian, 30 June 2013; Washington Post releases four new slides from NSA’s Prism presentation, The Guardian, 30 June 2013; New NSA leaks show how US is bugging its European allies, The Guardian, 30 June 2013). There is now recognition of the manner in which major US internet companies used “locked mailboxes” through which to make available information to the NSA, despite earlier denials regarding such complicity (Tech Companies Concede to Surveillance Program, The New York Times, 7 June 2013). The companies allegedly included Google [YouTube, Gmail], Microsoft [Hotmail and Skype], Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Apple, and Paltalk.

Reports in The Guardian noted that:

The documents, seen by the Observer, show that — in addition to the UK — Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy have all had formal agreements to provide communications data to the US. They state that the EU countries have had “second and third party status” under decades-old signal intelligence (Sigint) agreements that compel them to hand over data which, in later years, experts believe, has come to include mobile phone and internet data.

Under the international intelligence agreements, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is defined as ‘first party’ while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy ‘second party’ trusted relationships. Countries such as Germany and France have ‘third party’, or less trusted, relationships…. On an average day, the NSA monitored about 20m German phone connections and 10m internet datasets, rising to 60m phone connections on busy days, the report said.

This exploration follows from recognition of transfer of information from one computer to another without use of a network linking them. Such transfer of electronic information, especially computer files, by physically moving removable media such as magnetic tape, floppy disks, compact discs, USB memory sticks, or external hard drives has been informally described as Sneakernet — a humorous contrast to transfer via Ethernet.

As discussed, it is clear that protective measures against invasive surveillance will need to take a different form and scale if they are to be viable. On the other hand the reassurance by the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague that If you have nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear… (9 June 2013) could now be offered to European institutions currently preoccupied by the matter.

Recognized competence of carrier pigeons

This argument is based on the innate homing capacity of so-called homing pigeons, selectively bred to find their way home over extremely long distances. The instinct derives from the capacity to return to one “mentally marked” point that they have identified as their home, as with returning to the nest to mate. As employed in competitive pigeon racing, flights as long as 1,800 km have been recorded by birds in competition at an average speed of 80 km/hour over moderate distances, such as 800 km, although higher speeds have been recorded for shorter distances.

As used to carry messages, they have been called carrier pigeons, especially in any system of “pigeon mail” or so-called pigeon post — with the sender holding the receiver’s pigeons prior to release. Messages have typically been written on thin paper rolled into a small tube attached to the bird’s leg. White homing pigeons are used in release dove ceremonies at weddings, funerals, and some sporting events. Homing pigeons, as extensively used in wartime, have been termed war pigeons. 

A range of innovations and adaptations were developed and tested by Julius Neubronner, including aerial photography with the aid pigeons — extensively used in World War I. These included invention of the mobile dovecote and training of unruly pigeons to get used to it. The problem of making carrier pigeons accept a displaced dovecote with only a minimum of retraining had however been tackled with some success by the Italian army around 1880. The French artillery captain Reynaud solved it by raising the pigeons in an itinerant dovecote. This circumvented the obvious problem of restriction to “one way” use of carrier pigeons.

Demonstrated non-military messaging capacity of carrier pigeons

In the 6th century BC, Cyrus, king of Persia, used carrier pigeons to communicate with various parts of his empire — which would necessarily include military preoccupations (as discussed below). Carrier pigeons are reported to have been used to communicate the names of victors of the Olympic games from 700 BC to 300 AD.

Indians, notably during the Mughal Empire, also used pigeons extensively, but mostly for exchanging messages among lovers (princes and princesses), especially when the women were denied the contact with their lovers due to varied reasons — caste differences, rich vs poor lovers, and the like.

There is a long history of use of a so-called pigeon post. Wikipedia offers accounts of use of the Pigeon Post of Paris (1870-1871), the Pigeon Post of Canada(1891-1895), the Pigeon Post of Catalina Island (1894-1898), and the Pigeon Post of Great Barrier Island (New Zealand) (1897-1908).

From 1847 through 1851, Paul Reuter, founder of the Reuters news agency, employed carrier pigeons between Brussels and Aachen to bridge a gap in telegraph stations on the route connecting Berlin to Paris, thereby providing a low-latency data feed for market-moving events.

In 1999, an 800-strong pigeon corps was still being used by a local police department in the Indian state of Orissa — as the only reliable link between the town and the district headquarters of Cuttack

Demonstrated non-messaging capacity of carrier pigeons

Aerial photography: Use of pigeons for aerial photography — so called pigeon photography — was developed by Julius Neubronner between 1907 and 1920, using miniature cameras designed to be attached to carrier pigeons via tiny leather harnesses. Although developed as a hobby, some of the inventions were patented and were recognized to have military uses (as noted below). In 2004, the BBC used miniature television cameras attached to falcons and goshawks to obtain live footage, and today some researchers, enthusiasts and artists similarly deploy crittercams with various species of animals.

Lockheed experiment in the USA (1982): The Lockheed Missile and Space Company in California has used carrier pigeons as the most cost-effective means of transferring copies of graphic design projects to workers 30 miles away over twisting mountain roads. The company had acquired a computer-linked machine that would transmit the needed designs between the two installations, but it was only used as a backup for the pigeons because of the expense. Whereas it cost $10 a print to use the machine, the pigeons cost $1 — with the claim that: ”Pigeons just need a little love, care, feed and water, about $100 a year.” (Carrier Pigeons Ferrying Lockheed Microfilm, The New York Times, 19 August 1982; Carrier Pigeons: newest “birds” for Lockheed, Lodi News-Sentinel, 18 June 1982). During the 16 months of the project the pigeons transmitted several hundred rolls of film, and only two were lost due to hawks.

Carriage of vital samples: Various cases of use of blood and tissue samples have been noted. In Plymouth (England) birds were fitted with tiny leather harnesses that were designed to hold blood samples taken from the city’s hospitals until the 1980s. Pigeons are still used to carry blood samples from remote regions of Britain and France (Mary Blume, The hallowed history of the carrier pigeon, The New York Times, 30 January 2004).

Search and rescue: In 1987, pigeons were trained in a search-and-rescue operation in the USA called Project Sea Hunt. Due to the pigeons superior eyesight and concentration – compared to that of humans – they proved very effective as spotters. During the training process, three pigeons were placed in a dome underneath a helicopter, each facing in a different direction. Trained to distinguish the colours of life jackets and rescue craft, the pigeons pecked at an indicator when such coloured objects were spotted, and the indicator directed the pilot to fly in that direction.

Demonstrated military capacity of carrier pigeons

The Romans used pigeon messengers to aid their military over 2000 years ago. Frontinus said that Julius Caesar used pigeons as messengers in his conquest of Gaul.

Messaging and photography: During the 19th-century Franco-Prussian War, besieged Parisians used carrier pigeons to transmit messages outside the city; in response, the besieging German Army employed hawks to hunt the pigeons. Before the advent of radio, carrier pigeons were frequently used on the battlefield as a means for a mobile force to communicate with a stationary headquarters.

Carrier pigeons were used in World I and in World War II, to transport messages back to their home coop behind the lines — as well as their use for aerial reconnaissance. A range of pigeon-related innovations and adaptations, including photography, that had been developed and tested by Julius Neubronner (as noted above) were extensively used in World War I. To that end, the German army used mobile dovecotes in the Battle of Verdun, and similar facilities were used on a larger scale in the Battle of the Somme. It has been estimated that some 20,000 pigeons were lost during that particular war.

Although war pigeons and mobile dovecotes were used extensively during the Second World War, it is unclear to what extent, if any, they were employed for aerial photography in that period. The trainers of war pigeons for the U.S. Army Signal Corp have been celebrated in a movie (The Pigeoneers, 2012).

Subsequent to World War II, pigeon photography has been employed by the US Central Intelligence Agency which developed a (still classified) battery-powered pigeon camera. The U.S. military used pigeons until 1957, long enough for pigeon-based equipment to be given its own communications system designation, such as AN/CBQ-1 for the “Air-transportable Pigeon Loft and Message Center”.

It was only in 1994 that the Swiss terminated their military use of pigeons after 77 years (Robert L. Kroon, Swiss Budget Cutters Clip Army’s Platoon of Carrier Pigeons, The New York Times, 23 December 1994). According to that report, the 266 private pigeon-keepers train their 23,000 birds for an annual two-week military refresher course.

That involves dispatching unaccompanied homing pigeons by train to some border destination, where the stationmaster releases the doves from their baskets. The birds then fly home at an altitude of 2,000 meters (6,500 feet), at speeds of about 75 kilometers an hour (47 miles per hour).

The Swiss army had however provisionally retained its own squadron of 7,000 “military liaison doves”. Although homing carrier pigeons mingle with other birds, they are held to be invulnerable to enemy countermeasures. The decision to terminate such use was questioned by some Swiss military commanders since modern military communications can be intercepted by the enemy or jammed by electronic countermeasures. It was recognized that “one or preferably two homing pigeons could be highly useful.”

As remarked by David Hambling (Spy Pigeons Circle the World, Wired, 25 October 2008), pigeons continue to be used for surveillance purposes. This was noted with respect to Iranian nuclear facilities (Iran arrests pigeons ‘spying’ on nuclear site, The Telegraph, 20 August 2008; Iran Nails ‘Spy Pigeons’ Near Nuke Site, Wired, 20 October 2008).

Consideration has been given in France to further use of pigeons as a low-tech response to certain challenges, as noted by Gabriele Parussini (In France, a Mission to Return the Military’s Carrier Pigeons to Active Duty, The Wall Street Journal, 11 November 2012):

And yet the French Defense Ministry still operates a military dovecote — Europe’s last — with 150 birds drafted into the 8th regiment for communication and transmission. The birds reside at the Mont-Valérien fortress in Suresnes, to the west of Paris. While a corporal sees to their upkeep and training, they are not ranked as a strategic asset.

There is a concern at the degree of development of carrier-pigeon expertise in China, which is alleged to maintain a platoon of 50,000 birds with 1,100 trainers for communication in border and coastal areas, according to the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.

German “unmanned camera pigeon” in World War I
(Reproduced from Wikipedia entry on war pigeon

Assessment of viability of data transfer by carrier pigeons

In contrast to the historically demonstrated capacity of message transfer by carrier pigeons (noted above), members of the computer networking community have sought to articulate this possibility formally — as a widely publicized “in-group” joke.

Initially this took the form of a so-called Standard for the transmission of IP datagrams on Avian Carriers (RFC 1149). This was produced by David Waitzman (1 April 1990) as a standard submission to the Wikipedia April Fools’ Day Request for Comments (RFC). This has been framed otherwise as IP over Avian Carriers (IPoAC) — namely as a proposal to carry Internet Protocol (IP) internet traffic by birds such as homing pigeons.

This memo describes an experimental method for the encapsulation of IP datagrams in avian carriers. This specification is primarily useful in Metropolitan Area Networks. This is an experimental, not recommended standard…. Avian carriers can provide high delay, low throughput, and low altitude service. The connection topology is limited to a single point-to-point path for each carrier, used with standard carriers, but many carriers can be used without significant interference with each other, outside of early spring. This is because of the 3D ether space available to the carriers, in contrast to the 1D ether used by IEEE802.3.

The carriers have an intrinsic collision avoidance system, which increases availability. Unlike some network technologies, such as packet radio, communication is not limited to line-of-sight distance. Connection oriented service is available in some cities, usually based upon a central hub topology.

The IP datagram is printed, on a small scroll of paper, in hexadecimal, with each octet separated by whitestuff and blackstuff. The scroll of paper is wrapped around one leg of the avian carrier. A band of duct tape is used to secure the datagram’s edges. The bandwidth is limited to the leg length. The MTU is variable, and paradoxically, generally increases with increased carrier age. A typical MTU is 256 milligrams. Some datagram padding may be needed. Upon receipt, the duct tape is removed and the paper copy of the datagram is optically scanned into a electronically transmittable form.

Multiple types of service can be provided with a prioritized pecking order. An additional property is built-in worm detection and eradication. Because IP only guarantees best effort delivery, loss of a carrier can be tolerated. With time, the carriers are self-regenerating. While broadcasting is not specified, storms can cause data loss. There is persistent delivery retry, until the carrier drops. Audit trails are automatically generated, and can often be found on logs and cable trays.

Security is not generally a problem in normal operation, but special measures must be taken (such as data encryption) when avian carriers are used in a tactical environment. (RFC 1149 – Standard for the transmission of IP datagrams on avia, FAQS.org, 1 April 1990)

Norwegian experiment (2001): In the spirit of the original proposal (RFC 1149), a “p-mail” experiment was successfully undertaken by members of the Bergen Linux User Group (Putting the Pigeon in IP. Geek, 11 May 2001).

… the CPIP (Carrier Pigeon Internet Protocol) to ping a two-computer network placed a few kilometers apart at 0.15 bps on April 28th…. The birds, bearing data packets on small rolls of paper strapped to their legs, were released at 7.5 minute intervals. The first set of DataPigeons took a side trip to hang out with a local flock of their brethren, but then made it to the other computer after about an hour. BLUG members at the destination computer scanned the data packets in using OCR software, then sent return packets back to the starting point. The first test yielded a transfer rate of 0.08 bits per second (bps), but other tests almost doubled that speed to 0.15 bps. CPIP could thus get a simple e-mail or webpage transferred in a couple of hours or so.

Israeli experiment (2004): A related experiment was undertaken in the presence of several dozen “Internet geeks and experts” (Pigeons’ Bandwidth Advantage Quantified, Slashdot, 31 March 2004):

During the test, 3 homing pigeons carried 4 GB (gigabytes) for 100 km distance, achieving, what apparently looks as pigeons’ world record in data transfer to a given distance. Bandwidth achieved by the pigeons was 2.27 Mbps…Transferring a similar volume of information through a common uplink of ADSL line would have taken no less than 96 hours..

South African experiment (2009): A widely noted experiment was undertaken in South Africa to highlight the inadequacies of internet rates in the Durban region (SA pigeon ‘faster than broadband’, BBC News, 10 September 2009; Pigeon transfers data faster than South Africa’s Telkom, Reuters, 9 September 2009; A Race to Send Data: Pigeon vs Broadband, Foo Forum, 10 September 2009).

A Durban company (Unlimited IT) pitted a carrier pigeon (Winston) against the largest South African ISP (Telkom) to transfer 4 GB of data 60 miles (97 km) from Howick to Durban. The pigeon, carrying the data on a memory stick, arrived in one hour eight minutes, with the data taking another hour to transfer off of the memory stick. During the same two-hour period, only about 4.2% of the data had been transferred over the ADSL link. Telkom said it was not responsible for the firm’s slow internet speeds.

United Kingdom experiment (2010): A similar experiment was conducted in England in September 2010; the “pigeonnet” also proved superior (Pigeon flies past broadband in data speed race, BBC News Technology, 16 September 2010; Jane Fae Ozimek, BT feathers ruffled over pigeon-based file transfer caper, The Register. 17 September 2010).

Ten USB key-laden pigeons were released from a Yorkshire farm at the same time a five-minute video upload was begun. An hour and a quarter later, the pigeons had reached their destination in Skegness 120km away, while only 24% of a 300MB file had uploaded.

Social and personal implications of use of carrier pigeons

Security implications: The recent disclosures regarding invasive internet surveillance will necessarily engender protective responses. Given the obvious power of those variously delivering and controlling internet communication facilities, it is clear that protective measures will need to take a different form and scale if they are to be viable. High-tech solutions are clearly vulnerable to those with technical expertise and resources to penetrate protective electronic measures as currently envisaged — as is obvious from the incidence of malware, backdoors, and the like (cf. NSA Built Back Door In All Microsoft Windows Software Since 1999, Washingtons Blog, 10 June 2013).

In considering use of alternative messaging facilities, it is clear that (although humorous) the examples and experiments noted above would need to be adapted and informed by the newly apparent security dimension — as a vital parameter in the assessment of the viability of pigeons in comparison with the security risks of the internet. This was already evident to a fairly obvious degree with respect to their use in war time. Although humorous, the experiments noted above with respect to the relative speeds of data transfer by carrier pigeons (in comparison with internet facilities), merit extension with respect to a focus on the relative security of the two modes of data transfer.

Clearly there is a case for recognizing the value of carrier pigeons in the event of those (civil defence) emergencies exacerbated by power blackouts and other failures. Given some predictions of the increasing likelihood of both emergencies and power blackouts (and their communication implications), there is a case for recognizing the need for a longer-term backup for conventional communication facilities — perhaps for much longer time periods. Some military authorities clearly have a degree of awareness of this.

These possibilities are all the more credible to the extent that secret provisions have allegedly been made for cutting off access to the internet in some manner in time of conflict between nations and across continents — potentially under conditions of all-out cyberwarfare. The geographical dispersion of domain registrars and web hosting facilities (server farms, etc), especially when concentrated within one country (as with the USA), increases vulnerability to any such shut-down.

More pernicious is the possibility of selective blocking of internet addresses and communications by security agencies (or at their instigation under security provisions), whether from a particular computer or from a particular location. This would be an extension of facilities already used for spam filtering or to create filter bubbles for a given user (with the aid of cookies and otherwise).

Forms of communication for which invasive surveillance is considered to be irrelevant or tolerable need necessarily to be carefully distinguished, namely communications where there is little concern at the possibility of problematic consequences of their being recorded and misused in some way. These facilities may however be placed at risk in the event of emergency. The concern here is with the particular attention required for more sensitive communications for which the internet is no longer viable in security terms.

Clearly any conventional data transfer is now usefully assumed to be insecure and untrustworthy, whereas that via avian carriers presents other security issues (to be assessed) — although for certain communications the risks involved may be preferable to those via the internet.

Use of carrier pigeons to ensure security of institutional systems: There is clearly an emergent concern for secure communications within any corporate system spread across space in a city or a region — especially to ensure the confidentiality of messages vital to ensuring competitive advantage. This may well be obvious in the case of the financial system. The same could be said for government agencies, as in a capital cities — or within cities favoured by a multiplicity of intergovernmental agencies (Geneva, Brussels, etc.). The issue may be significant for communications between embassies within such cities. The matter has become of great relevance to the European Union with the most recent disclosures (noted above).

Presumably the United Nations agencies have long been obliged to accept such surveillance.

The concern may similarly apply to some degree with respect to activist organizations articulating controversial views — or views which may be framed as “unacceptable” by government for whatever reason (Major online websites in Singapore to protest against licensing requirement, The Online Citizen, 30 May 2013; Singapore Clamps Down on News Web Sites, The New York Times, 9 June 2013; Spencer Ackerman and Dan Roberts, US army blocks access to Guardian website to preserve ‘network hygiene’, The Guardian, 28 June 2013).

Ironically, given reported hacker penetration of military internet facilities (notably those of the Pentagon), the military may well have early recourse to the use of carrier pigeons.

Use of carrier pigeons for community, neighbourhood and home security: There is clearly a great deal of scope for extending the occasional pattern of isolated use of homing pigeons as a hobby to variants in which they may be used more extensively for communications jeopardised by invasive internet surveillance (possibly by criminal gangs) — or by unforeseen restriction of access to such facilities. The sense of “homeland security” may then acquire a new dimension more meaningful to those at the local level.

The question to be explored is how use of pigeons could compensate for endangered internet communication in communities, over what range, and how sustainably. The question will no doubt be a particular concern for homes and communities with a survivalist focus — actively anticipating wider societal unrest and collapse. This may now take the form of a “cyberattack” rather than a “nuclear attack”.

Of particular interest is the development of civil defence provisions in countries with a long tradition of well-developed attention to such matters, as in the case of Switzerland or the Mormon communities of Utah.

Social networking facilitated by avian carriers: Coo-ee vs Twitter? Consideration could usefully be given to the possibility of adapting the facilities offered by “tweeting” (through Twitter) to an analogous mode based on avian carrier — perhaps to be framed as “cooing” (through “Coo-ee”?).

Imaginative innovation is clearly called for — as with the convocation of flash mobs, but especially in the case of demonstrations and protest movements currently relying on mobile phones. Such protests may now ironically be characterised by a remarkable number of message carrying pigeons.

Development, acquisition and private use of “drones”: It is readily forgotten the extent to which “drones” constitute a development of model aircraft technology, notably as controlled by wireless. It is to be expected that “drone technology” will give rise to commercially available low-cost “drones” — effectively a more sophisticated form of model airplane. As with model planes, some may well be developed by hobbyists.

This could lead to widespread private ownership of “drones” of some form — curiously equivalent to the current enthusiasm of some hobbyists for homing pigeons and pigeon racing. It may well be the case that this development offers a private business opportunity — through adaptation of the hobby — to provide secure messaging services within a community. A parallel is to be seen in private electricity generation for a community when the public service is no longer operational.

There is the further possibility that conventional security firms may offer carrier pigeon facilities.

Implications of carrier pigeon use for intelligence agencies and security

Invasive surveillance, framed by security and intelligence objectives, has a long history — with its electronic enhancement being but a consequence of more recent technical developments. Ironically it could be said that the “cover” of the intelligence agencies has now been completely “blown”. There is no activity involving computers or internet connectivity which can now be considered protected from such surveillance, whether passive or associated with data destruction possibilities. Declarations to the contrary are themselves now totally suspect and without the possibility of concrete proof as to their veracity.

Countermeasures: Intelligence agencies and security services are now faced with the need to develop countermeasures to alternative forms of data transfer and messaging. In the light of the proposal above, these clearly need to be framed as “avian countermeasures”. Of particular relevance to their development is the possibility that those framed as “terrorists” may well develop skills in the use of carrier pigeons, given the tactical opportunity they represent. These might include:

  • photographic surveillance and reconnaissance, as noted above in past wartime use — now extended to videocam possibilities
  • messaging, again as noted in past wartime use — and as a substitute for vulnerable mobile phones
  • dissemination of some form of small bombs, as noted with respect to past experimentation
  • dissemination of biological agents — dispersion of genetically modified organisms and bioweapons characteristic of bioterrorism

Learnings from aviation bird strike: Valuable insights into the nature of such countermeasures are offered by the extensive work on the problem of bird strike, most especially in the vicinity of airports. Experiments have been undertaken with high-tech forms of scarecrow, noise-making technology, use of predator birds (or their simulation), and lasers. In wartime other approaches have been considered including simply shooting down birds — a possibility which could now be automated, as with the use of lasers. Birds have however been noted for their adaptability and such control methods may not remain effective for long

One possibility for consideration is the use of AWAC-style facilities, perhaps with tethered balloons, to detect movement of pigeons in order to zap them with lasers from above.

Adaptation of falconry: An obvious possibility is breeding up the numbers of predators of carrier pigeons, notably hawks and falcons. There is some irony to the fact that a common descriptor of military aircraft favours their naming as “hawk” or “falcon”.

It is to be expected that those cultures with a tradition of falconry, notably a number of Islamic countries currently framed as havens of terrorists, could themselves develop their skills in order to use falcons to attack smaller drones designed to attack carrier pigeons.

“Turning” homing pigeons: Of particular interest in the case of enemy homing pigeons is the possibility of “turning them around” (or “diverting” them) in the light of more recent insights into the functioning of their navigation capacity — perhaps by engendering suitable magnetic fields. Use might be made of tethered balloons to hold the necessary equipment at an appropriate altitude — as with the use of such balloons during World War II (or even those of Google Project Loon)

Some of the experiments noted above recorded the extent to which the pigeons could be distracted enroute, if only temporarily, by the possibility of fraternising for mating purposes with others of their species. This suggests the development of attractors as decoys.

Use of drones: Recent technological developments suggest that the most obvious development, and probably the most economic, is the use of drones of smaller size adapted to attack pigeons — effectively substituting for the common predator of pigeons in nature. Presumably experiments to this end have already been envisaged in relation to the conventional aviation hazards of bird strike.

Legislation: An obvious countermeasure to be anticipated is the elaboration of a pattern of legislation regarding ownership and use of of carrier pigeons. This could be completely forbidden as a security risk, or as indicative of a potential threat to provisions for “homeland security” — perhaps citing “health hazards” as an excuse. As an example, Chicago has “pigeon law codes”. These cover banning, owning, and harboring pigeons, and managing or constructing any coop or cote for the sheltering of any live pigeon within any residential district — even the feeding of pigeons has been restricted. An interesting precedent is offered by controversial legislation in the USA governing the private growth of vegetables in a garden (Prohibition of Vegetable Gardens).

Irrespective of such legislation, clearly owners of carrier pigeons would merit registration on a (terrorist) “watch list”. With respect to security, ownership (or use) of pigeons could be framed in a manner analogous to tax evasion. There is a curious parallel to those cultures which deprecate the drawing of curtains, preventing a view inside by passers by implying they have “something to hide” — in the recent framing, noted above, offered by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. His argument raises valuable questions regarding the problematic nature of “official secrets”.

A more radical innovation for consideration is to follow the precedent of the Catholic Church for an imprimatur — the requirement for an official declaration by a Church authority that a book or other printed work may be published. The possibility of a digital equivalent has been envisaged in an article by John Walker (The Digital Imprimatur: how big brother and big media can put the Internet genie back in the bottle, Knowledge, Technology, and Policy, 2003). This would be compatible with the formalization of internet censorship — potentially to be ensured under the authority of the NSA.

Another innovation to be anticipated could be the requirement that birds be individually identified — by tagging or implantation of electronic chips — to enable tracking of their movement by security agency surveillance. Precedents are evident in the tagging of pets, cattle and sheep.

A further possibility is that birds “acceptable” to the security community, or even serving its purposes, could be bred to have clearly identifiable coloration (“security pigeons”) — in contrast to those which might have a camouflage coloration (for “under cover operations”).

Engagement of “birds” in advanced communication technologies of the future

Photography: The adaptation of technology to avian capacities has been noted above with respect to the original emergence of technologies such as photography — perhaps now to be understood as a precursor of satellite photography and Google street mapping. These could be extended to use of videocam facilities — possibly even implanted as a glass eye (as anticipated in 007-style movies).

Following the initiative by Julius Neubronner (noted above), The Brooklyn Pigeon Project, initiated by architects Ben Aranda and Chris Lasch, is described as:

An experiment in developing a satellite that records the city as seen by a flock of birds. Using trained pigeons and working with seasoned bird flyers, the project team equips pigeons that fly in regular spiral patterns over swatches of Brooklyn with wireless video cameras and microphones. Harnessed to these custom cameras and small battery packs, the birds become satellites carrying “earth-sensing” equipment that feeds images and sounds of the city back to a ground location. Their flight paths capture unconventional portraits both of the city below and of flock motions. This unique way to see Brooklyn contrasts directly with the way the city is increasingly recorded and represented today. The advent of geographic information technologies and the rise of network protocols have placed virtually all urban imaging and remote sensing systems “on the grid.” Using a flock of birds as one component of an imaging apparatus, this project attempts to confront the limits of this grid by creating an equally rich disclosure of the city: seeing the city as a flock would. (Now Urbanism: Mapping The City, 13 December 2011)

 

Brooklyn Pigeon Project
Pigeons with cameras Images from cameras

 

Project Orcon During World War II, Project Pigeon (later Project Orcon, for “organic control”) was the effort by behaviorist B. F. Skinner to develop a pigeon-guided missile. The control system involved a lens at the front of the missile projecting an image of the target to a screen inside, while a pigeon trained (by operant conditioning) to recognize the target pecked at it. As long as the pecks remained in the center of the screen, the missile would fly straight, but pecks off-center would cause the screen to tilt, which would then, via a connection to the missile’s flight controls, cause the missile to change course. Although skeptical of the idea, the US National Defense Research Committee nevertheless contributed $25,000 to the research. However, Skinner’s plans to use pigeons in Pelican missiles was considered too eccentric and impractical; although he had some success with the training, he could not get his idea taken seriously.

The program was canceled in 1944, because the military believed that “further prosecution of this project would seriously delay others which in the minds of the Division have more immediate promise of combat application”. Project Pigeon was revived by the Navy in 1948 as “Project Orcon” and canceled in 1953 when the reliability of electronic guidance systems was proven. (see also: C. V. Glines, Top Secret WWII Bat and Bird Bomber Program, Aviation History, May 2005; Jérôme Segal, The Pigeon and the Predictor: miscarriage of a cyborg in spite of foundations supports, In: G. Gemelli (Ed.), American Foundations and Large Scale Research: Construction and Transfer of Knowledge, Eds CLUEB, Bologna, 2001, pp. 131-157).

Cyborg development: Application of cybernetics to biology is the focus of biocybernetics and of the journal Biological Cybernetics. Recent developments of cybertechnology (most notably for humans) — involving artificial limbs and senses, as well as exoskeletons — suggest further possibilities with respect to avian carriers.

As reported by Jasper Humphreys of The Marjan Centre for the Study of Conflict and Conservation (Military Cyborgs, 31 May 2013), the first insect ‘cyborgs’, moths with integrated electronics in their thorax, have been demonstrated leading in the USA of the creation of the DARPA Hybrid-Insect-MEMS program (HI-MEMS). The goal, according to DARPA is to develop “tightly coupled machine-insect interfaces by placing micro-mechanical systems inside the insects during the early stages of metamorphosis”. Military research is now focused on the utilisation of ‘cyborg’ animals for the purposes of gaining tactical advantage. The intention is eventually to develop HI-MEMS for dragonflies, bees, rats and pigeons.

It may well be the case that pigeon-drone adaptations will come to be understood as a spectrum of possibilities — ironically suggestive of the possibility that some drones may even be controlled by “bird brains”, as suggested above by Project Orcon. Wired magazine has reported on developments by the Chinese (Noah Shachtman, Cyborg Pigeons Revealed! Wired, 27 February2007). Possibilities explored in the USA are noted by Jimmy Stamp (The Robot Revolution Is for the Birds, Smithsonian.com, 24 May 2013)

The possibility is also the theme of a song with lyrics starting as follows:

One Cybernetic Carrier Pigeon Said To Another…
song by Allen Ramenberg
Don’t let them go on
About the way it used to be
When your biology
Would determine your destiny
Your steel wings can take you
Through the eye of any storm
This surely is the best time
For those like us, to be, born

Encoding and encryptions: Encryption for communication of messages in wartime has notably extended to the use of microdots — significant in reduction of the weight of any message on paper. More recent developments have envisaged or explored:

In the use of carrier pigeons, these raise the further possibility of transmission of messages ingested as a constituent of the “chicken feed” by which pigeons are nourished. This suggests the exploration of replication of any message — then to be consumed by multiple birds — to insure against the possibility that one or more might be captured or destroyed in higher risk situations. This can be framed as a “shotgun” approach. Of course, for greater security, the same message could be split between several “seeds” to be carried by distinct birds — requiring that the recipient isolate and reintegrate those distinct parts.

Focusing on the “chicken feed” offers the option of enabling use of other bird species — possibly migrating over much longer distances — without the need to capture or house the birds, or to train them in any way.

All such options of course require that the bird shit be collected to isolate any message. Clearly security services would need to set up facilities in anticipation of such possibilities. Indication that vital messages were being transmitted in this way at any time (especially by those suspect of aiding terrorism) would then clearly trigger a massive collection program by such services — with the output transmitted for scanning and “analysis” to specialists (perhaps to be appropriately known as “security anal-ysts”).

Clearly there is the possibility that the process of dissemination via avian shit could be adapted for the aggressive dissemination of genetically modified organisms to destabilize ecosystems and spread disease — an extension of the process evident in the case of the avian flu virus.

Other possibilities are offered by use of memory chips implanted in the pigeons into which information could be “loaded” through an electrical connection or possibly by induction. The latter approach would open the way to rapid (“fly through”) uploading and downloading of information and the use of pigeon relays for transfer over longer distances.

Selective breeding: As discussed further below, the dynamics of the relationship between pigeons and drones is susceptible to modification from the conventional pattern of prey and predator. Possibilities include:

  • breeding of larger avian carriers constituting a greater challenge to smaller security drones
  • increasing the aggressivity of avian carriers, such as pigeons, to enable them to challenge security drones more effectively — as with the alleged early development of “attack rabbits

Revival of extinct species: Advances in genetic engineering have convinced some biologists that they will be able to re-create extinct species — using “de-extinction” or “resurrection” methodologies (De-extinction critics at Scientific American have missed the point, The Guardian, 7 June 2013). Genetic technology is moving so rapidly that amateurs may be able to revive extinct genelines within decades.

As reported by the Long Now Foundation, plans are underway in 2012 to revive the extinct passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius). One flock in 1866 in southern Ontario was described as being 1.5 km wide and 500 km long, taking 14 hours to pass, and composed of in excess of 3.5 billion birds. Of the billions that once dominated the forests of eastern America, the last remaining passenger pigeon died a century ago.

The reconstitution will be accomplished from the museum-specimen DNA (The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback, Revive and Restore; Bringing Back the Passenger Pigeon, Revive and Restore; Philip Bethge, The Second Cooing: Raising Passenger Pigeons from the Dead, Spiegel Online International, 12 April 2013; Antonio Regalado, An Unlikely Plan to Revive the Passenger Pigeon, MIT Technology Review, 19 March 2013; Greg Miller, Say We Really Do Bring the Passenger Pigeon Back From Extinction — Then What? Wired, 26 March 2013). Once the revival succeeds, the techniques will be applicable to hundreds of other extinct species. As noted by the Long Now Foundation:

The passenger pigeon was selected for its iconic status and its relative practicality. Its DNA has already been sequenced. Some of its fans among scientists have the technical capability to begin the miracle of resurrection. The work will proceed by stages over the coming months, refining the sequencing of passenger pigeon DNA and compare it with the DNA of the extinct bird’s closest living relative, the band-tailed pigeon.

The genomes of the two birds will be compared in close detail, to determine which differences are most crucial. The viable band-tailed DNA will then be converted into viable passenger pigeon DNA. Later stages in the project, involving techniques being developed to generate live passenger pigeons from the DNA, and the birds will proceed to captive breeding and eventual return to the wild.

Stewart Brand has suggested that the first campaign to bring back an extinct species will effectively frame, for good or ill, all subsequent attempts.  He has proposed that the ultimate goal be “deep ecological enrichment through extinct species revival.”

Greening the world wide web using migratory birds

The previously unrecognized level of invasive surveillance of internet communications occurs in a period in which there is also concern at various measures variously described as designed to “stop the internet”, “control the internet”, and the like. (James Hurley, Web Inventor Berners-Lee Warns Forces Are ‘Trying To Take Control’, The Telegraph, 23 June 2013; Stop the Internet Blacklist Bills, Electronic Frontier Foundation). Individual countries may have internal measures to that end.

Carbon footprint: Of interest in this respect, although still in the form of a “serious joke”, is the proposal by a Canadian MP to “reduce the carbon footprint” (Olivia Chow Going Green: Carrier Pigeons on the Hill Introduction of Avian Carriers, 1 April 2012):

In an effort to lower her office’s carbon emissions, MP Olivia Chow is taking the initiative to reintroduce carrier pigeons to facilitate communication. Equipped with SD memory cards, the pigeons replace courier mail shipments to the Toronto constituency office. A single pigeon is usually equipped with a data capacity of 64 gigabyte, the Member of Parliament explains. On average, one of the Ontario-bred and trained pigeons takes seven hours for the Trip Ottawa-Toronto. This results in a transmission rate of 2,500 bit/second – far exceeding the constituency’s office network connection to Parliament Hill. With the Toronto MP spearheading the initiative, the New Democrats are expecting more Parliamentarians to follow suit soon. The four homing pigeons are easy to maintain and a reliable in their courier services, the Official Opposition Transport Critic points out. Another advantage: being largely independent of the weather, the pigeons can be more reliable than road-bound transportation during inclement conditions, the Member for Trinity-Spadina concludes.

This example, despite its humorous context, points towards the possibility of “rewilding” endangered avian migration routes — with the reintroduction of species.

Also partially inspired by RFC 1149, Hiroki Kobayashi and Hiromi Kudo describe the theoretical underpinnings of the design of a Carrier Pigeon-like Sensing System (CPSS) for environmental care:

… a future-present computing archetype that will enable the human race to observe inaccessible natural spaces, such as the contaminated forests around the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The system aims to elucidate the scientific knowledge underlying the self-repair mechanisms of contaminated natural areas and allows users to maintain a connection with forests in the absence of any human intervention for future societies . This novel sensing system can be used to create a sustainable balance between humans and animals to ensure that the self-repairing process of contaminated natural areas can be applied anywhere in the future. (Carrier Pigeon-like Sensing System: beyond Human-Red Forest Interactions).

Songlines of the biosphere? Given the role of avian migratory pathways around the world, an instructive comparison could possibly be made with the migratory passenger pigeon and the processes which led to its extinction one century ago. With the decline of songbirds, reactivation of avian migratory pathways could be described metaphorically as rewilding the “songlines of the biosphere”. By comparison — for a knowledge-based civilization — any loss of internet pathways could be described metaphorically in relation to the noosphere (From Information Highways to Songlines of the Noosphere, 1996).

From a more general perspective, both could be understood as a source of human “nourishment” — potentially of a higher order. It might then be asked whether the evident human tendency effectively to destroy both reflects a tendency to civilizational self-harm. This is reminiscent of arguments raised by Jared Diamond (Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed., 2005) or with respect to civilizational energy systems by Thomas Homer-Dixon (The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization, 2006).

There is however very little sense of any correspondence between global information flow patterns and the patterns within the global environmental system, as discussed separately (Psychology of Sustainability: embodying cyclic environmental processes, 2002; Existential Embodiment of Externalities: radical cognitive engagement with environmental categories and disciplines, 2009). It might then be asked whether and how the former might possibly be “greened” by imaginative initiatives involving the latter, as discussed separately (Embodying the world as a strategic opportunity, 2013).

The arguments above for the transfer of “seeds of knowledge” by migratory birds recall the arguments for the creation of seedbanks protected against the possibility of environmental collapse with a view to subsequent “rewilding” of the natural environment. There is the ironic possibility that birds carrying such knowledge seeds, and “depositing” them at remote locations, might perfom an analogous role for civilizational knowledge. Wetlands as “internet server farms” of the future — conflating genetic and memetic functions? In the absence of other provisions for knowledge recovery from migratory bords, this could be seen as a conflation of the archaeological significance of middens and that of guano deposits — a strangely appropriate form of civilizational backup of cultural memory.

Engendering a pigeon-drone ecosystem: Curiously, but perhaps appropriately, development of drones (as “hawks”) to attack pigeons effectively engenders a strange form of ecosystem — a predator-prey relationship in which the former are “artificial” and the latter “natural”. Science fiction has speculated on such a pattern with the prey as humans.

The question of interest is then what thinking is required to gain insight into the potential functioning of such an ecosystem:

  • modification of parameters in the predator-prey dynamics (as suggested above)
  • development of modes of collaboration between drone predator and avian prey
  • population dynamics with respect to a cybernetically enhanced drone-avian ecosystem

The following two configurations originate with the efforts of Edward Haskell, notably in the light of interaction between species in any ecosystem in a coaction cardioid (Generalization of the structure of Mendeleev’s periodic table, 1972). The pattern has been further explored with respect to interactions in social systems by Timothy Wilken (UnCommon Science, 2001). Both have been used to explore sustainable relationships (Cardioid Attractor Fundamental to Sustainability: 8 transactional games forming the heart of sustainable relationship, 2005). These might be considered as indicative of a dynamic essential to health

Rewilding avian migratory pathways: Given the current interest in resurrecting the extinct passenger pigeon from genetic material (as noted above), of especial relevance to this argument is how the birds might then recover their requisite flying skills as these may be relevant to innate migratory instincts. The issue has been addressed with respect to endangered geese released from captivity into the wild with the aid of ultralight aircraft. (Fly Away Home, 1996; Flight with Birds, “Father Goose”, 2007; Bill Lishman, Flight with Birds). Current experiments are undertaken with the Whooping Crane.

There is a huge irony to the possibility that suitably adapted drones (“cyberpigeons”) might be used as “role models” to escort young passenger pigeons to enable them to reactivate their instinctual relationship to their migratory pathways — rather than specially trained homing pigeons, as currently envisaged:

But [Ben] Novak rejects the criticism. “Passenger pigeon parents were never incredibly involved in raising their young,” he says. He also plans to teach the chicks the basics of passenger pigeon life by dyeing carrier pigeons and essentially using them as flight controllers for the returning species. “We’ll ferry them with homing pigeons down to wintering grounds and back to the breeding area,” he says. “After a few years, we have passenger pigeons that fly the same (routes) as their forefathers.”

As the captive flock continues to grow, Novak plans to train homing pigeons as guides to teach the passenger pigeons to migrate along the flyways of their extinct ancestors. The idea would be to dye the homing pigeons so they look like passenger pigeons, allow young passenger pigeons to imprint on them, and then release them all and hope that the passenger pigeons follow their homing-pigeon guides. “We’ll get to see the passenger pigeon rediscover itself,” Novak said in his talk in Washington.

All this will take time. Novak estimates the first release is probably 20 or 30 years away, allowing 10 to 15 years to create the first pigeon, and a similar amount of time to grow the captive population. From that point, it could take another 50 to 75 years of captive breeding and successive releases to build up their numbers to the point at which giant flocks would once again darken North American skies.

There is considerable irony to the possibility that “passenger cyberpigeons” could be readily produced at this time — and even more ironic is the ease with which production of “billions” of drone emulations of passenger pigeons is now possible.

Thought might be usefully given to the role of any such variants in the transfer of plant seeds between distant locations, whether or not this is done for aggressive purposes, as noted above. Concerns will naturally be expressed regarding the accumulation of pigeon shit, already a source of complaint in some urban areas. Such complaints may extend to the noise associated with pigeons. In the case of very large numbers — potentially of passenger pigeons — this may merit attention with respect to their weight when perched on telephone lines

Carrier pigeons for security and peace vs. Drones for insecurity and war?

The implications of such actions merit reflection in a period of ever increasing use of drones. In particular it is comprehensible that humans should invest such pigeons with courage, as is often done with domestic animals who have contributed to saving the lives of their owners. It is difficult to imagine how values of courage and heroism could be invested in the pilots of unmanned aerial vehicles (“drones”) — perhaps more appropriately termed “unmanly aerial vehicles”. Are these perhaps to be understood as an embodiment of cowardice in contrast with an embodiment of courage? For what might they be honoured? The dynamic might even be reframed as “heroic pigeons” vs “cowardly drones” — or “fearless pigeons” vs. “fearful drones”. Are pigeons to be understood as offering a particular lesson in human values?

In a period of rapid extinction of species enabled by human activity, the rapid extinction a century ago of the passenger pigeon (which had numbered billions) also merits reflection in comparison with the extreme reduction in numbers of the bison in that period. The last passenger pigeon had been named Martha and died in 1914. Humans were almost exclusively accountable for the near-extinction of the American bison in the 1800s. At the beginning of the 19th century, tens of millions of bison roamed North America. Humans slaughtered an estimated 50 million bison, generally for their meat or pelts — reducing the population to hundreds. This pattern is curiously reminiscent of the extinction by genocide of the Aboriginal Tasmanians — of whom the last full-blooded, named Truganini, died in 1876.

Curiously the role of pigeons is much deprecated in modern urban environments. Ironically, however, they represent one of the few species which could be understood as sticking with humanity through all its disruptions to that environment — “companions on the evolutionary way” — as with dogs, cats, rats, cockroaches and fleas.

References

Andrew D. Blechman. Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird. Grove Press, 2007

 Jared Diamond. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Penguin Books, 2005

Thomas Homer-Dixon (The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization. Knopf. 2006

Hiroki Kobayashi and Hiromi Kudo. Carrier Pigeon-like Sensing System: beyond Human-Red Forest Interactions [text]

Hiroki Kobayashi. Basic Research in Human – Computer – Biosphere Interaction. PhD Thesis, University of Tokyo, 2010.

P. Lee, D. Cheok, S. James, L. Debra, W. Jie, W. Chuang and F. Farbiz. A mobile pet wearable computer and mixed reality system for human – poultry interaction through th e internet. Personal Ubiquitous Comput. 10, 2006, pp. 301-317.

Judith Janda Presnall. Carrier Pigeons. KidHaben Press, 2004

D. Waitzman. A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers. 1990 [text]

John Walker. The Digital Imprimatur: how big brother and big media can put the Internet genie back in the bottle. Knowledge, Technology, and Policy, 16, 2003, 3, pp. 24–77 [text]

 Timothy Wilken. UnCommon Science. TrustMark, 2001 [text]

Back in 1992, the academic Francis Fukuyama mistakenly informed the world that, with the apparent triumph of western capitalism and the downfall of the USSR, we had arrived at the end of history, the end of ideology. Fast forward a couple of decades and in 2011 Hilary Clinton announced the US was at war. She wasn’t talking about the US’s ongoing illegal invasions, occupations and mass slaughters, as if that wasn’t enough, but an ideological war for the hearts and minds of the global community.

While the likes of Voice of America were aggressively assertive during the Cold War, Clinton was lamenting the fact that, since then, US global ideological influence had weakened, especially with the advent of the internet as well as new kids on the block gaining influence, such as Russia Today.

Of course, Hollywood too has been a long-time cheerleader of the ‘great myth’: the propagator of the US as the beacon of freedom, as the flagship of democratic ideals. The great ‘American Lie’ of the great ‘American Dream’ whereby the individual can somehow miraculously overcome adversity and make it in life, just as long as s/he keeps his or her nose to the grind. No actual chains required. The suffocating clasp of popular culture will suffice. The ‘self-made man’ syndrome rammed down the collective throat by Hollywood, which magics away into thin air the debilitating effects of class-based structural inequalities (1). As the commentator and comedian once stated: “The American Dream, you have to be asleep to believe it.”(2)

And let’s not forget Uncle Sam the movie star, the liberator of the oppressed, the protector of universal good, the sweeper of its mass terror and atrocities away from the screen and conveniently under the carpet.

Enter some balance. Enter the internet, Press TV, RT and the ‘alternative media’. The media landscape has been transformed. In recent years, the US has had to face up to the harsh truth that it cannot dominate the global debate to the extent it once did when it comes to shaping the analysis and reporting of news through its compliant media outlets.

Trying to keep the lid on things 

Two years on from Clinton voicing her concerns about the US struggle to win the info wars, Edward Snowden has revealed what many of us had already strongly suspected – that people and foreign governments, including allies and the EU (3), are being heavily monitored by the US government. Before Snowden became public enemy number one, the US had set out to curtail WikiLeaks’ voice by shutting down its access to finance, notably by initially applying pressure on PayPal and MasterCard. 

The US state-corporate machine did almost everything in its power to curtail WikeLeaks’ influence. Most debilitating of all was the shutting down of WikiLeaks’ access to finance, notably via PayPal, MasterCard, the Swiss bank PostFinance, Moneybookers, Bank of America and Visa Inc.

Bank of America was accused as being especially strident in attempting to discredit and shut down WikiLeaks with various dirty tricks, including backing a smear campaign that involved the use of false documents, disinformation, and sabotage (4).

These actions along with demands that Snowden be ‘handed over’ by the countries the US has been caught red handed of spying on, come as little surprise. The US deems fit to break international laws with impunity, yet bleats about about legalities where Snowden is concerned. Such high-mindedness. But this is par for the course. Successive US administrations have shown a strong dislike of proper democracy, legalities or open debate, whether at home or abroad, and have done everything to stifle it or bomb it out of existence (5).

In exposing state-corporate secrets and challenging powerful institutions, Assange made many enemies in high places. US Attorney General Eric Holder has said that Assange put the lives of US citizens at risk by leaking diplomatic cables. Dick Cheney calls Snowden a ‘traitor’. Who are the real ‘traitors’? If anyone has placed US lives at risk or has attacked the rights and freedoms of US citizens, it’s not Assange. People like Holder and Dick ‘Halliburton’ Cheney should look at their own actions and unbridled support for and benefits accrued from the robber baron regime they are part of and which they seek to legitimize and protect (6)(7).   

The hegemony of an empire in decline

Central to this whole debate is the struggle to maintain hegemony, which involves the dominant class attempting to legitimize its position in the eyes of the ruled over – a kind of ‘consented coercion’ that disguises the iron fist of power. If state violence and outright oppression is to be avoided, people’s consent must be achieved via ‘ideological state-corporate apparatuses’, including the mass media. Former CIA boss General Petraeus is on record as saying US strategy is to conduct a war of perceptions continuously through the news media. According to the recently deceased journalist Michael Hastings, Petraeus was a master of duplicity and expert in manipulating the media and thus public perception (8). 

We therefore don’t have to imagine much that the prevailing view of world conveyed through the mainstream media and swallowed by many people is based on ‘a pack of lies’ carefully presented by men like Petraeus, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest to try to gloss over their corruption and sanctioning of mass killing and plunder. British MP George Galloway’s powerful performance in front of a US Senate committee in 2005 highlighted it as such (9). 

These days, despite state-corporate control and manipulation of the mainstream media, many see through the charade of today’s ‘liberal democracy’ and the ‘pack of lies’ which underpin it. The more the US lacks control over ‘the message’, the more it has to resort to violence and restrictions on freedoms. The more paranoid it becomes, the more penetrating and widespread the surveillance and ‘information gathering’ is. It is the type of insecurity that derives from an empire in decline. It is the type of oppression that derives from an empire that is ideologically and militarily fighting for its continued existence (10).

Notes

1) http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201209/the-myth-social-mobility-and-the-self-made-man-in-america

2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

3) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/30/nsa-spying-europe-claims-us-eu-trade

4) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-us-bank-and-the-secret-plan-to-destroy-wikileaks-2215059.html

5) http://www.whale.to/b/blum6.html

6) http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-cias-hollywood-release-zero-dark-thirty-or-how-people-lose-their-humanity/5318368

7) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4068.htm

8) http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/the-sins-of-general-david-petraeus

9) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkUu9-PEJpE

10) http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-us-will-continue-its-wars-as-long-as-the-dollar-remains-a-reserve-currency/5306003

Canada in Afghanistan: We Stand on Guard for Empire

July 1st, 2013 by Michael Welch

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In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, there was relatively little opposition to a military intervention in Afghanistan.

The motivation for the war initially was retaliation for the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. Operation Enduring Freedom, as it was called, was sold to the public as necessary to rout out the Al Qaeda terrorist networks active in Afghanistan which were fostered by the Taliban government.

Aided and abetted by the Northern Alliance, essentially a faction of warlords and opium gangsters with no particular commitment to democracy and human rights, NATO successfully overthrew the Taliban government and installed a new government in Kabul.

The motivation for the dispatch of foreign troops to this region was soon sold to the public as an “errand of mercy,” an effort to liberate women and institute democracy and safeguard freedom.

Rarely, if ever, did mainstream media or Canada’s political representatives ever question the aim of the mission.

The spectrum of the debate about Canada’s contribution to the war and occupation was restricted to questions about whether or not a military intervention was the best way to bring about change in the land-locked Central Asian country.

Jack Layton of the NDP, for example, speaking in debate in April of 2007 on the resolution to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan framed his argument in terms of the mission being “a George Bush style combat mission” which was failing to secure peace and security for the people of Afghanistan. He said, “It is unbalanced and overwhelmingly focused on aggressive counter-insurgency. The humanitarian situation is simply not improving and the effort cannot be won militarily.”[1]

A recent anthology of essays put out by the University of Toronto Press endeavours to challenge the dominant meme around the Afghanistan war and occupation. AS the title suggests, Empire’s Ally: Canada and the War in Afghanistan, edited by Jerome Klassen and Greg Albo, portrays the war as principally one of imperial conquest.

Utilizing recent research derived from media, government, and NGO reports, along with interviews from within the country, the book takes a critical look at the war effort with a particular emphasis on Canada’s role and how motives around capitalizing on Afghanistan’s resource wealth and the so-called “Silk Road Starategy” may better explain Canada’s involvement.

In this week’s programme, Researcher Michael Skinner of York University, author of the essay The Empire of Capital and the Latest Inning of the Great Game outlines his analysis of the imperial aims of the occupation. Invoking the writings of former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, he eloquently explains the geo-strategic significance of the war effort. Importantly, he explores how Canada’s corporate sector, particularly the infamous mining sector, stands to profit from this heavily propagandized Western intervention.

Retired University of Winnipeg Geography Professor John Ryan was one of the few Western academics to visit and report on his experiences in Afghanistan in a unique period in the late 1970s. AT this time, the short-lived Taraki government put in place social reforms that boosted rights for women and prospects for farmers. Ryan believes it was the involvement of the CIA that ultimately led to the collapse of Afghan social standards which is now being invoked as the leading reason for Canada’s continued involvement in the country. Ryan speaks to us in the second half hour.

Finishing off the programme, social justice and peace campaigner Derrick O’keefe, talks about the main obstacles for the peace movement in Canada, and how he thinks those obstacles can be overcome. He too contributed an essay to Empire’s Ally, entitled,  Bringing Ottawa’s Warmakers to Heel: The Anti-War Movement in Canada.

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The Global Research News Hour, hosted by Michael Welch, airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Thursdays at 10am CDT. The programme is now broadcast weekly (Monday, 5-6pm ET) by the Progressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.

Reference

1) Business of Supply, Opposition Motion- Afghanistan, Parliament of Canada, EDITED HANSARD, Number 136, April 19, 2007.

Canada Day July 1st is an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on issues of national sovereignty.

Territorial control over Canada has been part of Washington’s geopolitical and military agenda since the 1860s,  following the end of the American civil war.

In 1867, Canada became a nation, a federation, under the British North America Act,  largely in response to the threat of annexation by the United States as formulated in a bill adopted by the US Congress in 1866:

“A Bill for the admission of the States of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada East, and Canada West, and for the organization of the Territories of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia. (Annexation Bill)” (see map below)

Future Fast Forward:  The plan to annex Canada to the USA is still on the books.

In April 2002, upon the creation of US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put forth the concept of “Binational integration” of military command structures, alongside a major revamping in the areas of immigration, law enforcement and intelligence.

Rumsfeld also stated without consulting Ottawa, that the areas of territorial jurisdiction of USNORTHCOM on land and sea would extend into the Northwest territories and the Canadian Arctic.

Moreover, territorial integration under the proposed North American Union  and Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) (launched in 2005) would embody Canada (as well as Mexico) into the US Homeland Security apparatus. Broadly speaking, Washington would set the agenda for “integration” and would exert an overriding influence in developing the legal, political, economic, military and national security architecture of the proposed NAU.

What is at stake is de facto annexation, where Canada would cease to function as a sovereign nation, relegated to the status of a US protectorate.

The Conservative government in Ottawa has not only embraced the SPP, it is also actively supporting the US war agenda, its national security agenda and its “Global War on Terrorism”.

In the last few years “Securing the North American Security Perimeter” has been viewed by Washington as a means to “bringing Canada into Fortress America”.

Historical Background: US Bill to Annex Canada (1866)

President Andrew Johnson.jpgMost Canadians are unaware that a Bill to Annex Canada into the US was introduced and adopted by the US Congress in 1866 prior to the 1867 Alaska Purchase from Russia. The Complete text of the 1866 Bill is contained in Annex to this article.

The text of the bill is tantamount to an invasion plan. It was to come into force upon its proclamation by US president Andrew Johnson (left). It included the territories of British North America from Newfoundland and the Maritimes to British Columbia, extending North into the Hudson Bay territory and North West Territory bordering onto “Russian America”. (i.e Alaska) (See map below)

It consisted in the outright confiscation of public lands. It also implied US control over the trans Canada railway system, waterways, canals as well as control over the Saint Lawrence seaway.

The US government had also contemplated paying “compensation” to the Hudson Bay Company. This consisted essentially in a plan to confiscate the territories under H.B.C jurisdiction (see map), “in full discharge of all claims to territory or jurisdiction in North America, whether founded on the charter of the [Hudson Bay] company or any treaty, law, or usage.”

The United States will pay ten millions of dollars to the Hudson Bay Company in full discharge of all claims to territory or jurisdiction in North America, whether founded on the charter of the company or any treaty, law, or usage. (Article XI)

The territorial division of British North America is outlined in the bill.  The various constituent “Canadian states” would conform to US laws in setting up their legislature.

Map of British North America (1862)

US War Department Plan to Invade Canada (1930)

Herbert Hoover.jpgWhile the 1866 Annexation project was stalled upon the adoption of the British North American Act in 1867, US plans to annex and/or invade Canada militarily have to this date remained on the books.

In the late 1920s, Washington formulated a detailed plan to invade Canada, entitled “Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan — Red”. The plan was approved by the US War Department under the presidency of Herbert Hoover (right) in 1930. It was updated in 1934 and 1935 during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was withdrawn in 1939 following the outbreak of the Second World War.

Secretary of War Patrick J. Hurley (left below) was largely instrumental in the formulation and approval of Plan Red by the US administration.

The plan to invade Canada consisted of a 94-page document “with the word SECRET stamped on the cover. It had been formulated over a period of over five years (See text in Annex).

In February 1935, the [US] War Department arranged a Congressional appropriation of $57 million dollars to build three border air bases for the purposes of pre-emptive surprise attacks on Canadian air fields. The base in the Great Lakes region was to be camouflaged as a civilian airport and was to “be capable of dominating the industrial heart of Canada, the Ontario Peninsula” from p. 61 of the February 11-13, 1935, hearings of the Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives, on Air Defense Bases (H.R. 6621 and H.R. 4130). This testimony was to have been secret but was published by mistake. See the New York Times, May 1, 1935, p. 1.

In August 1935, the US held its largest peacetime military manoeuvres in history, with 36,000 troops converging at the Canadian border south of Ottawa, and another 15,000 held in reserve in Pennsylvania. The war game scenario was a US motorized invasion of Canada, with the defending forces initially repulsing the invading Blue forces, but eventually to lose “outnumbered and outgunned” when Blue reinforcements arrive. This according to the Army’s pamphlet “Souvenir of of the First Army Maneuvers: The Greatest Peace Time Event in US History” (p.2). ( Professor F.W. Rudmin Queen’s University Kingston, Ontario, Comments on “War Plan Red”, see complete text in Annex III)

One of the updates to the 1930 invasion plan was the use of chemical weapons against civilians:

In 1934, War Plan Red was amended to authorize the immediate first use of poison gas against Canadians and to use strategic bombing to destroy Halifax if it could not be captured.” (Ibid)

It is worth noting that in the course of World War II,  a decision was taken by the War Department to retain the invasion plan on the books. War Plan Red was declassified in 1974.

The Washington Post, which casually dismissed the historical significance of “Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan — Red”, nonetheless acknowledged the aggressive nature of the proposed military endeavor:

PJayHurl.jpg“A bold plan, a bodacious plan, a step-by-step plan to invade, seize and annex our neighbor to the north. …First, we send a joint Army-Navy overseas force to capture the port city of Halifax, cutting the Canadians off from their British allies.

Then we seize Canadian power plants near Niagara Falls, so they freeze in the dark.

Then the U.S. Army invades on three fronts — marching from Vermont to take Montreal and Quebec, charging out of North Dakota to grab the railroad center at Winnipeg, and storming out of the Midwest to capture the strategic nickel mines of Ontario.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy seizes the Great Lakes and blockades Canada’s Atlantic and Pacific ports.  … “(Raiding the Icebox; Behind Its Warm Front, the United States Made Cold Calculations to Subdue Canada, by Peter Carlson, Washington Post, 30 December 2005, emphasis added).

The original documents pertaining to the invasion of Canada including “War Plan Red” and “Defence Scheme No. 1.” are in the archives of the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.

The complete text of War Plan Red is contained in Annex III. The complete text of the Annexation Plan is contained in Annex I.

The  plan is detailed. It involves both military as well an intelligence components.

According to historian John Major “War, Plan Red” also consisted in “a series of possible pre-emptive American campaigns to invade Canada in several areas and occupy key ports and railways before British troops could provide reinforcement to the Canadians…”

Canada’s National Defense

The Canadian federal government and military were fully aware of these “Secret” US plans to invade Canada. In the 1920s, Lieutenant James “Buster” Sutherland Brown  had been appointed Director of Military Operations and Intelligence in Ottawa to address the issue of Canada’s national security.  His tasks consisted in developing contingency war plans in the case of a US attack against the Dominion of Canada.  Under the helm of “Buster” Sutherland Brown (subsequently promoted to Brigadier), Canada’s response to US threats was formulated under “Defence Scheme No. 1″, a counterattack contingency plan, in the case of a US invasion.

“Defense Scheme No. 1″ was abandoned in 1931 by Canada’s chief of the general staff, A.G.L. McNaughton (following the adoption of “War Plan Red” in 1930) , on the grounds that “the Americans would inevitably win such a war” and there was no use in acting upon a contingency plan.

Ottawa had caved in. The watershed decision by the Conservative government of Prime Minister R. B. Bennett which came to office in August 1930 to abandon a Canada national defense plan constituted a de facto recognition of  US hegemony in North America.  While the invasion of Canada  under  Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan — Red was never carried out, the military threat of an invasion plan served to oblige Canada to ultimately surrender to US political and economic pressures.

Let us remember on Canada Day, July 1st, that the greatest threat to Canadian national sovereignty emanates from US plans of “deep integration”, which are fully supported by the Harper proxy government.

Text revised on July 1st 2013


ANNEX I: (emphasis added)

TRANSCRIPT OF US BILL TO ANNEX CANADA INTO THE US (1866)

A Bill for the admission of the States of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada East, and Canada West, and for the organization of the Territories of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia. (Annexation Bill)

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States is hereby authorized and directed, whenever notice shall be deposited in the Department of State that the governments of Great Britain and the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Canada, British Columbia, and Vancouver’s Island have accepted the proposition hereinafter made by the United States, to publish by proclamation that, from the date thereof, the States of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada East, and Canada West, and the Territories of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia, with limits and rights as by the act defined, are constituted and admitted as States and Territories of the United States of America. SEC. 2 And be it further enacted, That the following articles are hereby proposed, and from the date of the proclamation of the President of the United States shall take effect, as irrevocable conditions of the admission of the States of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada East, and Canada West, and the future States of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia, to wit:

ARTICLE I.

All public lands not sold or granted; canals, public harbors, light-houses, and piers; river and lake improvements; railway stocks, mortgages, and other debts due by railway companies to the provinces; custom-houses and post offices, shall vest in the United States; but all other public works and property shall belong to the State governments respectively, hereby constituted, together with all sums due from purchasers or lessees of lands, mines, or minerals at the time of the union.

ARTICLE II.

In consideration of the public lands, works, and property vested as aforesaid in the United States, the United States will assume and discharge the funded debt and contingent liabilities of the late provinces, at rates of interest not exceeding five per centum, to the amount of eighty-five million seven hundred thousand dollars, apportioned as follows: To Canada West, thirty-six million five hundred thousand dollars; to Canada East, twenty-nine million dollars; to Nova Scotia, eight million dollars; to New Brunswick, seven million dollars; to Newfoundland, three million two hundred thousand dollars; and to Prince Edward Island, two million dollars; and in further consideration of the transfer by said provinces to the United States of the power to levy import and export duties, the United States will make an annual grant of one million six hundred and forty-six thousand dollars in aid of local expenditures, to be apportioned as follows: To Canada West, seven hundred thousand dollars; to Canada East, five hundred and fifty thousand dollars; to Nova Scotia, one hundred and sixty-five thousand dollars; to New Brunswick, one hundred and twenty-six thousand dollars; to Newfoundland, sixty-five thousand dollars; to Prince Edward Island, forty thousand dollars.

ARTICLE III.

For all purposes of State organization and representation in the Congress of the United States, Newfoundland shall be part of Canada East, and Prince Edward Island shall be part of Nova Scotia, except that each shall always be a separate representative district, and entitled to elect at least one member of the House of Representatives, and except, also, that the municipal authorities of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island shall receive the indemnities agreed to be paid by the United States in Article II.

ARTICLE IV.

Territorial divisions are established as follows: (1) New Brunswick, with its present limits; (2) Nova Scotia, with the addition of Prince Edward Island; (3) Canada East, with the addition of Newfoundland and all territory east of longitude eighty degrees and south of Hudson’s strait; (4) Canada West, with the addition of territory south of Hudson’s bay and between longitude eighty degrees longitude ninety degrees; (5) Selkirk Territory, bounded east by longitude ninety degrees, south by the late boundary of the United States, west by longitude one hundred and five degrees, and north by the Arctic circle; (6) Saskatchewan Territory, bounded east by longitude one hundred and five degrees, south by latitude forty-nine degrees, west by the Rocky mountains, and north by latitude seventy degrees; (7) Columbia Territory, including Vancouver’s Island, and Queen Charlotte’s island, and bounded east and north by the Rocky mountains, south by latitude forty-nine degrees, and west by the Pacific ocean and Russian America. But Congress reserves the right of changing the limits and subdividing the areas of the western territories at discretion.

ARTICLE V.

Until the next decennial revision, representation in the House of Representatives shall be as follows: Canada West, twelve members; Canada East, including Newfoundland, eleven members; New Brunswick, two members; Nova Scotia, including Prince Edward Island, four members.

ARTICLE VI.

The Congress of the United States shall enact, in favor of the proposed Territories of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia, all the provisions of the act organizing the Territory of Montana, so far as they can be made applicable.

ARTICLE VII.

The United States, by the construction of new canals, or the enlargement of existing canals, and by the improvement of shoals, will so aid the navigation of the Saint Lawrence river and the great lakes that vessels of fifteen hundred tons burden shall pass from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to Lakes Superior and Michigan: Provided, That the expenditure under this article shall not exceed fifty millions of dollars.

ARTICLE VIII.

The United States will appropriate and pay to “The European and North American Railway Company of Maine” the sum of two millions of dollars upon the construction of a continuous line of railroad from Bangor, in Maine, to Saint John’s, in New Brunswick: Provided, That said “The European and North American Railway Company of Maine” shall release the government of the United States from all claims held by it as assignee of the States of Maine and Massachusetts.

ARTICLE IX.

To aid the construction of a railway from Truro, in Nova Scotia, to Riviere du Loup, in Canada East, and a railway from the city of Ottawa, by way of Sault Ste. Marie, Bayfield, and Superior, in Wisconsin, Pembina, and Fort Garry, on the Red River of the North, and the valley of the North Saskatchewan river to some point on the Pacific ocean north of latitude forty-nine degrees, the United States will grant lands along the lines of said roads to the amount of twenty sections, or twelve thousand eight hundred acres, per mile, to be selected and sold in the manner prescribed in the act to aid the construction of the Northern Pacific railroad, approved July two, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, and acts amendatory thereof; and in addition to said grants of lands, the United States will further guarantee dividends of five per centum upon the stock of the company or companies which may be authorized by Congress to undertake the construction of said railways: Provided, That such guarantee of stock shall not exceed the sum of thirty thousand dollars per mile, and Congress shall regulate the securities for advances on account thereof.

ARTICLE X.

The public lands in the late provinces, as far as practicable, shall be surveyed according to the rectangular system of the General Land office of the United States; and in the Territories west of longitude ninety degrees, or the western boundary of Canada West, sections sixteen and thirty-six shall be granted for the encouragement of schools, and after the organization of the Territories into States, five per centum of the net proceeds of sales of public lands shall be paid into their treasuries as a fund for the improvement of roads and rivers.

ARTICLE XI.

The United States will pay ten millions of dollars to the Hudson Bay Company in full discharge of all claims to territory or jurisdiction in North America, whether founded on the charter of the company or any treaty, law, or usage.

ARTICLE XII.

It shall be devolved upon the legislatures of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Canada East, and Canada West, to conform the tenure of office and the local institutions of said States to the Constitution and laws of the United States, subject to revision by Congress.

SEC 3. And be it further enacted, That if Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, or either of those provinces, shall decline union with the United States, and the remaining provinces, with the consent of Great Britain, shall accept the proposition of the United States, the foregoing stipulations in favor of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, or either of them, will be omitted; but in all other respects the United States will give full effect to the plan of union. If Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick shall decline the proposition, but Canada, British Columbia, and Vancouver island shall, with the consent of Great Britain, accept the same, the construction of a railway from Truro to Riviere du Loup, with all stipulations relating to the maritime provinces, will form no part of the proposed plan of union, but the same will be consummated in all other respects. If Canada shall decline the proposition, then the stipulations in regard to the Saint Lawrence canals and a railway from Ottawa to Sault Ste. Marie, with the Canadian clause of debt and revenue indemnity, will be relinquished. If the plan of union shall only be accepted in regard to the northwestern territory and the Pacific provinces, the United States will aid the construction, on the terms named, of a railway from the western extremity of Lake Superior, in the State of Minnesota, by way of Pembina, Fort Garry, and the valley of the Saskatchewan, to the Pacific coast, north of latitude forty-nine degrees, besides securing all the rights and privileges of an American territory to the proposed Territories of Selkirk, Saskatchewan, and Columbia.


ANNEX II 

DETAILS OF “WAR PLAN RED” (1930)

The  plan is detailed (See annex III). It involves both military as well an intelligence components:

  • Nova Scotia and New Brunswick:
    • Occupying Halifax, following a poison gas first strike, would deny the British a major naval base and cut links between Britain and Canada.
    • The plan considers several land and sea options for the attack and concludes that a landing at St. Margarets Bay, a then undeveloped bay near Halifax, would be superior to a direct assault via the longer overland route.
    • Failing to take Halifax, the U.S. could occupy New Brunswick by land to cut Nova Scotia off from the rest of Canada at the key railway junction at Moncton.
  • Quebec and the valley of the Saint Lawrence River:
    • Occupying Montreal and Quebec City would cut the remainder of Canada off from the Eastern seaboard, preventing the movement of soldiers and resources in both directions.
    • The routes from northern New York to Montreal and from Vermont to Quebec are both found satisfactory for an offensive, with Quebec being the more critical target.
  • Ontario and the Great Lakes area:
    • Occupying this region gains control of Toronto and most of Canada’s industry, while also preventing Britain and Canada from using it for air or land attacks against the U.S. industrial heartland in the Midwest.
    • The plan proposes simultaneous offensives from Buffalo across the Niagara River, from Detroit into Ontario, and from Sault Ste. Marie into Sudbury. Controlling the Great Lakes for U.S. transport is considered logistically necessary for a continued invasion.
  • Winnipeg
    • Winnipeg is a central nexus of the Canadian rail system for connecting the country.
    • The plan sees no major obstacles to an offensive from Grand Forks, North Dakota, to Winnipeg.
  • Vancouver and Victoria:
    • Although Vancouver’s distance from Europe reduces its importance, occupying it would deny Britain a naval base and cut Canada off from the Pacific Ocean.
    • Vancouver could be easily attacked overland from Bellingham, Washington, and Vancouver Island could be attacked by sea from Port Angeles, Washington.
    • The British Columbia port Prince Rupert has a rail connection to the rest of Canada, but a naval blockade is viewed as easy if Vancouver were taken. (Wikipedia)

ANNEX III

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT OF  “WAR PLAN RED”

The original documents pertaining to the invasion of Canada including “War Plan Red” and “Defence Scheme No. 1.” are in the archives of the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.

A 1935 US Plan for Invasion of Canada

The following is a full-text reproduction of the 1935 plan for a US invasion of Canada prepared at the US Army War College, G-2 intelligence division, and submitted on December 18, 1935. This is the most recent declassified invasion plan available from the US archival sources. Centered pagination is that of the original document. The spelling and punctuation of the original document are reproduced as in the original document, even when in error by present-day norms.

This document was first identified by Richard Preston in his 1977 book, “The Defence of the Undefended Border: Planning for War in North America 1867-1939″ (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.) Preston’s reference citation (p. 277) identified this to be archived at the US Military History Collection, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., coded AWC 2-1936-8, G2, no. 19A. It was located by the US National Archives and supplied on microfilm.

The military planning context of this document is War Plan Red, which was approved in May 1930 by the Secretary of War and the Secretary of Navy. War Plan Red and supporting documents are available from the US National Archives on microfilm, in the Records of the Joint Board, 1903-1947, Roll 10, J.B. 325, Serial 435 through Serial 641. In War Plan Red, the US Army’s theatre of operations is defined to be: “All CRIMSON territory” (p.80), and the US Army’s mission, in bold type: ULTIMATELY, TO GAIN COMPLETE CONTROL OF CRIMSON (p. 84). CRIMSON is the colour code for Canada. In 1934, War Plan Red was amended to authorize the immediate first use of poison gas against Canadians and to use strategic bombing to destroy Halifax if it could not be captured.

In February 1935, the War Department arranged a Congressional appropriation of $57 million dollars to build three border air bases for the purposes of pre-emptive surprise attacks on Canadian air fields. The base in the Great Lakes region was to be camouflaged as a civilian airport and was to “be capable of dominating the industrial heart of Canada, the Ontario Peninsula” from p. 61 of the February 11-13, 1935, hearings of the Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives, on Air Defense Bases (H.R. 6621 and H.R. 4130). This testimony was to have been secret but was published by mistake. See the New York Times, May 1, 1935, p. 1.

In August 1935, the US held its largest peacetime military manoeuvres in history, with 36,000 troops converging at the Canadian border south of Ottawa, and another 15,000 held in reserve in Pennsylvania. The war game scenario was a US motorized invasion of Canada, with the defending forces initially repulsing the invading Blue forces, but eventually to lose “outnumbered and outgunned” when Blue reinforcements arrive. This according to the Army’s pamphlet “Souvenir of of the First Army Maneuvers: The Greatest Peace Time Event in US History” (p.2).

The following document is a declassified public domain document and may be freely reproduced. This should be of particular interest to people in the Halifx and Quebec City regions, then considered to be the most strategic cities in Canada.

F.W. Rudmin Queen’s University Kingston, Ontario

[page numbers oof original document are indicated]

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SUPPLEMENT NO. 3

TO

REPORT OF COMMITTEE NO. 8

SUBJECT:

CRITICAL AREAS OF CANADA AND APPROACHES THERETO _______________________________________________ .

Prepared by:

SUBCOMMITTEE NO. 3

Major Charles H. Jones, Infantry, Chairman. Lt. Col. H.W. Crawford, Engineers.

I. Papers Accompanying. ___________________ 1. Bibliography. (Omitted, filed in Rec.Sec.) 2. List of Slides. ” 3. Appendices (1 and 2). ” 4. Annexes. (Incl. A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,K, and L) ”

II. The Study Presented. ___________________ Determine under the geographical factor, the critical areas in Crimson (Canada) and the best approaches thereto for Blue. A critical area is assumed to be any area of such strategic importance to either belligerent that control thereof may have a material bearing on the out- come of the war.

III. Facts bearing on the study. __________________________ 1. General Considerations: An area in Crimson territory may be of strategic importance from the viewpoint of tactical, economic, or political considerations. In the final analysis, however, critical areas must be largely determined in the light of Red’s probable line of action and Crimson’s contribution to that effort. 2. Geographical Features of Canada. a. Location and extent. The location and extent of the Dominion of _ Canada is shown on the Map herewith (see Exhibit A). It comprises the entire northern half of the the North American continent, excepting only Alaska and the coast of Labrador, a dependency of the colony of New- foundland. The principal political subdivisions are those located along the border of the United States. These from east to west are: (1) The Maritime Provinces: Prince Edward Island. Nova Scotia. New Brunswick. (2) Quebec. (3) Ontario. (4) The Prairie Provinces: Manitoba. Saskatchewan. Alberta.

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(5) British Columbia. Newfoundland, while not a part of the Dominion of Canada, would undoubtedly collaborate in any Crimson effort. b. Topography. (Slide 14852) _ The great area in eastern Canada underlain by rocks of Precambrian age is known as the Canadian Shield. Its northern boundary crosses the Arctic archipelago; the eastern boundary lies beyond Baffin Island and Labrador, and reaches the depressed area occupied by the St. Lawrence, a short spur crossing this valley east of Lake Ontario to join the Adirondack Mountains of New York. The southern boundary runs from this spur west to Georgian Bay thence along the north shore of Lake Huron and Lake Superior, thence northwest from the Lake of the Woods to the western end of Lake Athabaska. Its average elevation does not exceed 1500 feet. The greatest known elevations are in the eastern part of Baffin Island and along the coast of northern Labrador. Peaks of the Torngat Mountains of Labrador have elevations of between 4000 and 5000 feet.

The coast is one of the boldest and most rugged in the world, with many vertical cliffs rising 1000 to 2000 feet high. Occasional exceptions occur in which there are reliefs of several hundred feet, as in the hills along the north shore of Lake Huron and Lake Superior. The area is dotted with lakes, large and small, and of irregular outline. A lowland of considerable extent stretches for some distance into Ontario and Manitoba from Hudson Bay. Extending south and west form the Canadian Shield, between the Ap- palachian Mountains on the east and the Cordilleras on the west, lies the Great North American plain.

The northeastern portion of this plain called the St. Lawrence lowlands occupies southern Ontario, south of a line ex- tending from Georgian Bay to the east end of Lake Ontario; eastern Ontario lying between the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers, and that part of Quebec lying adjacent to the St. Lawrence between Montreal and Quebec. The plain west of the Canadian Shield, known as the Interior Plains, stretches northward to the Arctic Ocean between a line approximately join- ing Lake Winnipeg and Lake Athabasca, Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake on the east, and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains on the west.

That part of the St. Lawrence Lowlands lying in the eastern angle of Ontario, and in Quebec south of Montreal and extending down the St. Law- rence is comparatively flat and lies less than 500 feet above sea level. On the lower St. Lawrence it is greatly narrowed by the near approach of the Appalachian system to the Canadian Shield. The part lying adjacent to Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron is of less even surface, has its greatest elevation of over 1700 feet south of Georgian Bay and slopes gently to the Great Lakes. The Interior Plains region is in general rolling country with broad undulations and a slope eastward and northward of a few feet per mile, descending from an elevation of 3000 to 5000 feet near the mountains on the west to less than 1000 feet at the eastern border. The rolling character of the area is relieved by several flat topped hills, by flat areas that formed the beds of extensive lakes, and by deep river valleys. The Appalachain and Arcadian regions occupy practically all that part of Canada lying east of the St. Lawrence, with the exception of the lowlands west of a line joining Quebec City and Lake Champlain. The Applachain region is a continuation into Quebec of three chains of the Applachain system of mountains. The most westerly of these ranges, the Green Mountains of Vermont, stretches northeast into the Gaspe peninsula, where it forms flat topped hills some 3000 feet high. The Acadian region, which includes

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New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island is an alternation of upland with hills and ridges rising 2500 feet and higher. Adjacent to the Bay of Fundy is a series of ridges rising in places to 1200 feet. Between these two New Brunswick uplands, which converge toward the southwest is a lowland forming the whole eastern part of the province. This lowland ex- tends east to include Prince Edward Island, the western fringe of Cape Breton Island and the mainland of Nova Scotia north of the Cobequid moun- tains, which have an elevation of 800 to 1000 feet. South of the Cobequid Mountains lies a long narrow lowland stretching from Chedabucto Bay to Minas Basin, and along the Cornwallis Annapolis valley between North and South Mountains. South of this lowland is a highland sloping to the Atlantic Coast.

The northern part of Cape Breton Island is a tableland 1200 feet high with its central part rising to an elevation of over 1700 feet. The Cordelleran region, a mountainous area bordering the Pacific extends from the United States through Canada into Alaska and embraces nearly all of British Columbia and Yukon and the western edge of Alberta and the Northwest Territories. The eastern part of the Cordillera is occu- pied by the Rocky Mountains, with peaks rising to 10,000 feet and 12,000 feet. They extend northwest and fall away towards the Liard River. The western part of the Cordillera is occupied by the Coast Range and the mountains of Vancouver and Queen Charlotte Islands.

The Coast Range rises to heights of 7000 to 9000 feet. Between the Rocky Mountains and the Coast Range lies a vast plateau 3000 to 4000 feet high and cut by deep river valleys. 3. Population. According to the census of 1931, the total population on June 1, 1931 was 10,376,786, of whom 5,374,541 were males. The inhabited areas of the Dominion are essentially confined to a narrow strip alolo the United States boundary, generally south of the 56th parallel of latitude west of the Lake Winnipeg, and south of the 49th parallel of latitude east of Lake Superior. Approximately 10% of the total population are found in the Maritime provinces, 61% in Quebec and Ontario, 23% in the Prairie Provinces and 6% in British Columbia. Of the present population, 51.86% are of British descent, 28.22% French, and the remainder of widely scattered nativity. 4. Climate. The climate of southern Canada is comparable to that of the northern tier of the states of the United States. The west coast of British Columbia tempered by the Pacific Ocean is mild and humid. The prairie provinces generally experience extreme cold weather from November to March, with heavy snow fall. The climate of southern Ontario, the St. Lawrence Valley and the Maritime Provinces is much milder that that of the prairie provinces, but freezing temperatures are general between the end of November and the first of April, and the ground is usually covered with between one and three feet of snow. Any extensive military operations in Canada between November 1st and April 15th would be extremely difficult, if not impossible. 5. Communications. a. Railways. _ There are only two railway systems in Canada, both crossing Canada east and west from the Atlantic to the Pacific. These lines generally parallel the United States border, in some instances crossing through the United States.

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(1) The Canadian national Railways system (See inclosure B) belonging to and operated by the government, has eastern terminals at Halifax, N.S., Portland, Maine (Grand Trunk), and through the Central Vermont, at Boston, New London and New York. Western terminals are Vancouver and Prince Rupert B.C. An extension from Cochrane, Ontario, to Moosonee, Ontario on James Bay, was completed by the Province of Ontario in July 1932, to connect with water routes to Churchill, Hudson Bay and with the northern route to Europe. (2) The Canadian Pacific system (see inclosure C) has its eastern terminus at Saint John, N.B. and it western terminus at Vancouver, B.C. As indicated by the systems maps, there are numerous branch lines serving the industrial and farming areas of the Dominion, and connecting lines ty- ing in with various railroads of the United States. From a military viewpoint, these railroads provide excellent trans- portation facilities for Blue, if invasion of Crimson is decided upon, and being located in close proximity to the border are, from the Crimson view- point, very liable to interruption. This is particularly true at Winnipeg some 60 miles north of Blues border, through which both transcontinental systems now pass. This fact probably encouraged Canada to construct the railroad from The Pass, Manitoba and develop the port at Churchill. Complete details concerning all railroads of Canada are contained in Appendix No. 1. b. Highways. _ In recent years Canada has greatly increased and improved her road con- struction and while there are enormous stretches of country, particularly in the northern portion of the Dominion, with few or no roads, the southern portion is well served with improved roads. A number of transcontinental motor roads are under construction or projected, the most important being the “Kings International Highway” from Montreal to Vancouver, via Ottawa, North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Winnipeg, MacLeod, Crow’s Nest Pass, Fernia and Cranbrook. Another highway is being constructed from Calgary to Vancouver. The principal roads in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces are shown on Inclosure D, herewith. Roads in the Prairie Provinces and British Columbia are shown on inclosure E. The majority of improved roads are classified as gravel; macadam and concrete construction amounting to only 7870 miles out of a total of some 95,000 miles improved. Gravel roads will require extensive maintenance under heavy motor traffic, especially during the spring. c. Water Transportation. _ (1) Inland Waterways. The Great Lakes, with the St. Lawrence River, is the most im- portant fresh water transportation system in the world. At the present time it affords a draft of 21.0 feet over all the Great Lakes and through the Welland Canal into the St. Lawrence. From the Atlantic Ocean to Mon- treal, the present head of ocean navigation on the St. Lawrence, a draft of 30.0 feet is available, adequate for the great majority of ocean shipping. For some distance above Montreal the present channel has an available depth of only 14.0 feet. The inland waterway is of prime importance to the economic life of both the United States and Canada for the transportation of bulk com- modities, especially for the movement of wheat from the western plains to shipping centers on the eastern seaboard; of iron ore from the mines in Minnesota to foundaries along Lake Ontario; and for coal from the mines of Pennsylvania and West Virginia to Ontario, Quebec and the northwest.

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The locks at Sault Ste. Marie, the boundary channels between Port Huron and Detroit and to a lesser degree the Welland Canal are the critical points on this waterway and effective control of such areas is vital to Blue. Navigation on the Great Lakes is generally closed by ice from about the end of November to the first of April. The St. Lawrence River is ordinarily ice bound for a similar period, but somewhat later about early in December to the latter part of April. While there are a number of Canadian lake ports of importance, Montreal is the only one which would not be automatically closed by Blue control of the Lakes. Montreal is also an important ocean port and will be considered along with other deep sea ports. (2) Ocean Shipping. The Dominion of Canada owns and operates a cargo and passenger carrying fleet consisting of some 57 cargo vessels and 11 passenger ships. The principal ocean ports and the magnitude of Canadian ocean traffic is indicated by the following tabulation:

A. Number and tonnage of sea-going vessels entered and cleared at the principal ports of Canada. (For year ending March 31, 1934.)

SEA-GOING VESSELS PORT arrived departed TOTAL TONS (REGISTERED) ____ _______ ________ _______________________ Halifax, N.S. * 1259 1484 7,540,990 Yarmouth, N.S. 535 519 1,102,191 St. John, N.B. * 684 688 2,924,822 Montreal, Quebec * 1078 907 7,266,569 Quebec, Que. * 397 308 3,388,829 Prince Rupert, B.C. 1141 1155 251,881 Vancouver, B.C. * 2332 2137 11,705,775 Victoria, B.C. 1927 1938 8,874,481 New Westminster, B.C. 678 700 3,123,606

IMPORTANT SECONDARY PORTS.

Churchill, Man. * 15 15 132,000 Three Rivers, Que 79 79 424,560 Windsor, N.S. 56 69 201,032

Note: The above figures do not indicate amount of commerce; Register tons ______ are gross tons. (Namely cubical contents in cubic feet divided by 100) less deductions for crews space, stores, etc.

A brief description of the above ports to indicate size, avail- able depths and important terminal facilities is included in Appendix No. 2. While the above tabulation lists the principal ports, it should be _________ realized that there are a large number of less desirable ports having available depths at low water of from 20 to 30 feet and provided with satis- factory terminal facilities, which can be used in an emergency for landing troops or supplies. Examples of this class of harbors are: Pictou, N.S. Sydney, N.S. Canso, N.S. Gaspe’, Quebec Sorel, Quebec

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The port of Montreal, favorably located at the head of ocean naviga- tion on the St. Lawrence and the foot of inland navigation of the Great Lakes, is a natural shipping and railroad center. The port of Quebec is less favorable situated economically being more than 100 miles northeast of Montreal. Strategically, however, Quebec controls the commerce of Canada moving to or from the Atlantic seaboard. Its possession by Blue would interrupt eastern rail and water communication between England and the Mari- time Provinces and the rest of Canada. The port of Halifax is one of the best harbors on the Atlantic Coast and the principal winter port of Eastern Canada. The harbor has been ex- tensively developed by the Dominion government as a modern ocean terminal and naval base. It is fortified, though much of the armament is obsoles- cent. In case of war with Red, Halifax would become of prime importance to Red as a naval base and as a debarkation point for overseas expeditions in case Blue controlled the St. Lawrence. However, the routes available for a Red advance from Halifax into northeastern United States or towards Quebec and Montreal are quite difficult. The port of Saint John, New Brunswick is similar in many respects to the port of Halifax. It is open throughout the year and equipped with the most modern terminal facilities, including one of the largest drydocks in the world. It is an important shipping center for grain and dairy products. Due to the proximity of the port to the United States border and the fact that the principal rail connections (C.P. Ry.) passes through the state of Maine, the port would be of little use to Crimson or Red, at least in the early stages of war, provided Blue made any effort to control this area. The port of Vancouver, B.C. came into prominence with the opening of the Panama Canal, providing an alternate route to that of the transcontinental railroads for grain, dairy, lumber and the other products of western Canada to Europe. The port of Victoria, on Vancouver Island, is similarly situated, but due to the absence of rail connection with the mainland is more concerned with passenger and mail traffic than with bulk commodities. Esquimalt, two miles west of Victoria, and the only Canadian naval base on the west coast, is equipped with a large modern drydock, and affords good anchorage for the largest vessels. Consequently this area is of prime importance to Crimson. With the closing of the Panama Canal to Red traffic and the presence of Blue naval forces based on Honolulu, its commercial value is largely des- troyed. Assuming that Blue controls the St. Lawrence and cuts Crimson’s eastern communication with Red, the areas importance is enhanced, although it remains a decidedly unsatisfactory outlet. If Red should win control of the Pacific steamship lanes, the area becomes of first importance to Red. All factors considered, it must be controlled by Blue. The port of Prince Rupert is a first class harbor with modern terminal facilities and excellent and extensive anchorages. It becomes of extreme importance to Crimson, if and when they are denied the use of the southwest British Columbia ports, although, as in the case of Vancouver, it affords a most unsatisfactory and hazardous route to Europe. Physical occupation of Prince Rupert harbor by Blue is not vital, but closing the port to ocean traffic should be effected. The port of Churchill, Manitoba now offers a good harbor and limited but modern terminal facilities, affording a back door to the Prairie Provin- ces and, by way of Moosonee, Ontario, and the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railroad, with central and western Ontario. Hudson Bay and James Bay are open to navigation only about 4 months of the year, but this condition is partially offset by the fact that the distance from the Prairie Provinces

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to Europe, via Churchill is from 500 to 1000 miles shorter than the rail- water route via Montreal. In case Red is denied the use of the Atlantic or Pacific ports, or both, Churchill will afford an outlet for grain and meat products from Ontario, Manitoba and Sasketchewan and an inlet for mili- tary supplies and troops from Europe unless the northern trade route through Hudson Strait is controlled by the Blue fleet, and this is improbable. d. Air Transportation (Civil). _ During 1933 there were 90 commercial aircraft operators in Canada. Their activities included forest file patrols, timber cruising, air photo- graphy, transportation of passengers, express and mail, etc. To encourage a more widespread interest and knowledge of aviation the Department of National Defense, since 1928, has issued two light air- planes and made certain grants to each of 23 flying clubs and a large air terminal has been built at St. Hubert, seven miles south of Montreal and a terminal airdrome at Rimouski, Quebec for the reception of trans-atlantic mails. At the close of 1934 there were 101 air fields of all types, 368 civil aircraft and 684 licensed pilots in Canada. Some details of airports in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are given in a letter from the Office of the Chief of Air Corps, herewith. (See inclosure F) e. Telephone and Telegraph. _ (1) Cables. Six transoceanic cables have termini in Canada, five on the Atlantic and one on the Pacific. The Atlantic cables are landed at Halifax, though several of them are routed through Newfoundland. The Pacific cable lands at Vancouver from whence a cable also leads to the United States. (2) Radio. A transoceanic commercial radio beam service is carried on by a station at Drummondville, Quebec, with Australia, Great Britain and the United States. In 1932 a direct radio telephone circuit with Great Britain was opened through the medium of this beam station. (3) General. Canada is well supplied with local telephone, telegraph and radio service. Interruption of Canada’s trans-oceanic telegraph and radio service will seriously handicap Red-Crimson cooperation. 6. Other Economic Factors. a. Agriculture. _ Agriculture, including stock raising and horticulture, is the chief single industry of the Canadian people. Canada is not only self-sustaining, as far as food is concerned, but has a large excess for export. Food pro- duction is varied and so distributed throughout the dominion that each section is practically self-sustaining and cutting her off from the outside would would mere serve to deny her people certain luxuries, such as coffee, tea, sugar, spices and tropical fruit. The Maritime Provinces are noted for their fruit and vegetable crop, particularly for the oat and potato crops of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick and apples in Nova Scotia. Quebec and Ontario are mixed farming communities with the Niagara peninsula specializing in fruit. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are the principal wheat producing centers, with other grains and stock raising of increasing importance. The rich valleys of British Columbia produce apples, other fruit and vegetables.

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b. Forests. _ The principal forests are in the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The manufacture of lumber, lath, shingles and other products such as paper pulp, is the second most important Canadian industry. c. Mineral Resources. _ Canada is one of the greatest mineral producing countries of the world. Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and the Yukon Ter- ritory contain the chief mining districts. The following summary notes pertinent facts concerning minerals of primary military importance. Aluminum. Aluminum was the 16th ranking Canadian export in 1934. Large quantities of bauxite, the principal source of supply were imported from the United States. Coal. There are enormous deposits of coal in Canada, largely in Nova Soctia and New Brunswick, in the east and in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia in the west. Due mainly to the distance of the fields from the manufacturing and industrial centers, about 50% of the coal consumed is imported from the United States, via the Great Lakes. Statistics for the calendar year 1933 show: Produced: Nova Scotia 6,340,790 tons New Brunswick 314,681 ” Manitoba 3,036 ” Saskatchewan 903,776 ” Alberta 4,748,074 ” British Columbia 1,484,653 ” Yukon Territory 638 ” Imported: From United States 8,865,935 tons From United Kingdom 1,942,875 ” Total – - – - – - ……………………….22,265,235 tons. (see slide 14855) In case of war with the United States, Canadas coal imports from this country would be cut off and her railroads and industrial activities seriously handicapped. If Blue controlled the Quebec area and Winnipeg, Canada’s railroads and industries dependent upon “steam power” would be crippled. Copper. The world production of copper in 1933 was (in short tons): Canada 149,992 Mexico 43,900 Rhodesia 144,954 Peru 28,000 Belgian Congo 73,409 Spain and ) Chile 179,200 Portugal ) 34,720 Japan 75,459 United States 196,190 Canada’s production was distributed approximately as follows: Province Tons ________ ____ Quebec 35,000 Eastern Townships Ontario 72,700 Sudbury area Manitoba 19,000 Flin Flon Saskatchewan 1,600 British Columbia 21,600 Western Manitoba

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Iron and Steel. Canada ranks seventh among the nations as a producer of iron and steel but only a small percentage of her production is derived from domestic ores, in view of the abundant supply of higher grade ores in Newfoundland and Minnesota. The Wabana section of Newfoundland contains the largest known single deposit of iron ore in the world. There are large iron ore deposits in Quebec, northern Ontario and British Columbia but for various reasons they are handicapped for blast furnace treatment. Iron and steel are produced in Nova Scotia (Sydney) and in Ontario. Iron ore is obtained from the Mesabi Range in Minnesota, via the Great Lakes and from Newfound- land. (See slide 14856) The bulk of iron and steel products, however, are imported, principally from the United States and the United Kingdom.

Lead. Lead is obtained in Canada largely from deposits in British Columbia, the largest porting being exported to England. Nickel. The world production of nickel in 1933 was about 50,736 tons, of which about 82% originated in the Sudbury district, north of Georgian Bay in Ontario. The remainder came chiefly from New Caledonia (Fr.). A new deposit of nickel was recently discovered in northern Saskatchewan but has not yet been worked. Nickel is necessary to industry and indispensable in war. Control of the Sudbury mines, in case of war, is therefor of vital importance. Petroleum. The production of crude oil or petroleum in Canada during 1934 amounted to 1,417,368 barrels, principally from the Turner Valley field in Alberta. A small amount is also obtained from wells near Monkton, New Brunswick and in southwest Ontario, between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. Considerable quantities are also imported from the United States. Zinc. Canada ranks fourth among the worlds producers of zinc. Her out- put in 1934 totaled 298,579,531 pounds.

The principal producing mines are located in the Kootenay district of British Columbia and near Flin-Flon in northwest Manitoba. Approximately 2/3 of the zinc exported goes to Great Britain. d. Manufacturing. _ (1) General. Canada is the second largest manufacturing country in the British Empire, with Ontario and Quebec the most important industrial centers. The relative standing of the various provinces during 1933, based on the value of products manufactured, was approximately as follows: Ontario $1,000,000,000. Quebec 650,000,000. British Columbia * 146,500,000. Manitoba 91,000,000. Alberta 55,000,000. Nova Scotia 53,000,000. New Brunswick 45,000,000. Saskatchewan 36,000,000. Prince Edward Island 3,000,000. *Includes Yukon Territory

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The principal industries ranked according to gross value of products (1932) are: Pulp and Paper $123,415,492. Central Electrical Stations 117,532,081. Non-ferrous metal smelting 100,561,297. Slaughtering and meat packing 92,366,137. Flour and food mills 83,322,099. Butter and Cheese 80,395,887. Petroleum Products 70,268,265. Bread and other bakery product 51,244,162. Cotton yarn and cloth 51,197,628. Printing and publishing 50,811,968. Clothing factory, women’s 44,535,823. Automobiles. 42,885,643. Rubber goods. 41,511,556. Hosiery and knitted goods 40,997,210. Sawmills. 39,438,057. (2) Munitions. (a) Aircraft.

There are at present six firms manufacturing aircraft as follows: Canadian-Vickers……………Montreal, Que. De Haviland………………..Toronto, Ont. Curtis Reid………………..Cartierville, Que. Fairchild………………….Longueuil, Que. Boeing…………………….Vancouver, B.C. Ottawa Car Mfg. Co………….Ottawa, Que. Aero engine factories have been established by: Armstrong-Siddeley Motors Co. at Ottawa, Que. Aero Engines of Canada at Montreal, Que. Canadian Pratt-Whitney Aircraft Co. at Longueuil, Que. (b) Miscellaneous. During the World War Canada demonstrated her ability to divert her peace time industries to the production of munitions, when she manufactured and exported large quantities of shells, fuses, cartridge cases, explosives, gun forgings, machine guns and small arms ammunition.

This production could not be obtained in case of war with Blue but some munitions could be produced if her factories were free to operate and raw materials were available. The government arsenal at Lindsey, Ont., is equipped to produce small arms ammunition and the arsenal at Quebec manu- factures some small arms and artillery ammunition. e. Commerce. _ Analysis of Canada’s industry and resources indicate that she has a sufficiency or surplus of certain raw materials but a deficiency of others. The more important of these materials are as follows: (1) Sufficiency or surplus; Arsenic, asbestos, cadmium, cobalt, copper, feldspar, fish oil, fluospar, foodstuffs, furs, gold, graphite, gypsum, lead, leather, magnesium, mica, nickel, silver, talc, wood and zinc. (2) Deficiency; Aluminium, antimony, bauxite, barytes, camphor, chromite, coal, cotton, flax, hemp, iron, jute, kaolin, manganese, mercury, nitrates, phosphate, petroleum, opium, quinine, rubber, silk, sugar, sulphur, tea, tin, tobacco and wool.

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7. Combat Estimate. a. All matters pertaining to the defense of Canada are under a Department _ of National Defense (Act of Jan. 9, 1923) with a minister of National De- fense at the head. A Defense Council has been constituted to advise the Minister. b. The Navy has an authorized complement of 104 officers and 812 men, a _ large majority serving under 7 year enlistments. In addition certain spec- ialists are loaned from the British Royal Navy. The Reserve consists of from 70 to 113 officers and from 430 to 1026 men recruited from sea-faring personnel. The ships of the Royal Canadian Navy are:

Built Class Displacement Name Location Status Armament 1931 Destroyer 1337 tons Saguenay Halifax, N.S. In comm. 4-4.7″ 1931 ” 1337 ” Skenna Esquimalt,B.C. ” ” 4-4.7″ 1919 ” 905 ” Champlain Halifax, N.S. ” ” 3-4″ 1919 ” 905 ” Vancouver Esquimalt,B.C. ” ” 3-4″ 1918 Mine Sweeper 360 ” Armentieres Esquimalt,B.C. ” ” 1918 ” ” 360 ” Festubert Halifax, N.S. ” reserve 1918 ” ” 360 ” Ypres Halifax, N.S. ” ”

c. Army. _ (1) Personnel: Estimated Strength (by G-2): Organized Forces. ________________ Active Reserve Total ______ _______ _____ Permanent Active Militia 403 403 Officers 403 403 Men 3300 3,300 Non Permanent Active Militia Officers 6,911 6,911 Men 44,962 44,962

Reserves, Non-active Officers 10,000 10,000 Men 30,000 30,000 __________________ Total Organized 3,703 91,873 95,576 * Note: The Canada Year Book, 1935, pp 1114, gives permanent and non-permanent active militia 1934: Permanent Officers and men——— 3,760 Non-permanent officers and men—– 135,184 _________ Total 138,941

The latest information concerning the distribution of the active militia is shown on the accompanying map. (Incl. G) (2) It is probable that the Non-permanent Active Militia can be brought to a strength of 60,000 at M plus 15 and to full strength of 126,000 in M plus 30 days. (Note: This estimate is approximately twice that of G-2, First Army.) New troops will begin to appear in 180 days at the rate of 50,000 monthly. d. Air Service. _ The Royal Canadian Air Force operates under a directorate in the office of the Chief of Staff of the Army. Strength (Dec. 1, 1934) Active: Officers 117 Men 664 Reserve: Officers 38 Men 236 _____ Total 1,055

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The equipment consists of some 84 combat planes with probably 20 on order. (G-2 estimate) The Armaments Year Book, League of Nations, gives a total of 166 planes of all kinds and the Statesman Year Book, 1935 gives 189 planes of all kinds. It is probable that about one squadron of pursuit and one squadron of observation could be organized for immediate service. e. Comment. _ The location of Canada’s industry and population along a narrow extent front facing the northern United States border and her relatively weak military and naval forces, widely dispersed, will necessitate a defensive role until Red forces are landed.

The promptness and effectiveness of British aid must depend upon suitable debarkation points on Canada’s east coast. The West Coast does not favor overseas operations unless Red controls the Pacific, and even then is too remote from critical Blue areas. f. Red Reinforcements. _ Various estimates have been made of the size, composition, and time of placing Red reinforcements in Canada. In any such estimate, the time factor is of prime importance but depends on an unknown quantity, viz, “the period of strained relations.” The following estimate is considered conservative: Probable Enemy Forces in Canada _______________________________Empire Days after Crimson (Less Crimson) Total M Day men Div. Men Div. Men Divisions 15 25,000 5 — — 25,000 5 30 50,000 5 — — 50,000 5 60 50,000 5 126,000* 8 176,000 13 90 50,000 5 203,000 13 253,000 13 120 50,000 5 238,000 16 288,000 21 150 50,000 5 255,000 16 305,000 21 180 90,000 6 255,000 16 345,000 22 *Under certain conditions this force might be landed in Canada by 30 M.

Air Forces. __________ Red has available at once 48 squadrons of 10 to 12 planes each. The following forces can probably be landed in Canada as indicated. 10 M 13 squadrons. 30 M 30 squadrons. 60 M 41 squadrons. 90 M 56 squadrons. 120 M 74 squadrons. f. Conclusion. _ Crimson cannot successfully defend her territory against the United States (Blue). She will probably concentrate on the defense of Halifax and the Montreal-Quebec line in order to hold bases of operation for Red. Important secondary efforts will be made to defend her industrial area and critical points on her transcontinental railroad lines.

8. Areas of Strategic Importance. Analysis of the above data and discussion indicates certain areas which would become of considerable military importance in the event of war with Red; namely, a. The Halifax Monkton St. John area, sometimes called the Martime _ Province area. b. The Montreal Quebec area, sometimes called the St. Lawrence Area. _

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c. The Great Lakes Area. _ (1) Niagara River Area. (2) Sarnia-Windsor Area. (3) Sault Ste. Marie Area. (4) Sudbury Area. d. Winnipeg Area. _ (1) Winnipeg City and vicinity. (2) Churchill, Manitoba Area. e. Vancouver-Victoria Area. _ (1) Ports of Vancouver and Victoria, area. (2) Prince Rupert area. f. The reasons why these various areas are strategically important may be _ briefly summarized as follows: (1) Halifax Monkton St. John Area. (Maritime Province) The port of Halifax is the key point in the area, for while the port of St. John affords excellent facilities for an overseas expedition, it is so close to the United States border that uninterrupted use by Red cannot be expected. At Monkton, the peninsula connecting Nova Scotia and the mainland narrows to 14 miles. With Halifax in possession of Crimson, this area affords the best defensive position to prevent any advance west- ward by Red. (a). Control of Halifax by Blue would: 1. Deny Red the only ice free port on the east coast and the _ only ports, other than the St. Lawrence River ports, suitable as an overseas base. 2. Deny Red a prepared naval base on the east coast, from which _ to operate against Blue naval forces or commercial shipping. 3. Disrupt transoceanic submarine cable service between Crimson _ and Red (except from Newfoundland) and between Crimson and the West Indies. 4. Deny Red the use of certain air bases from which to operate _ against northeastern United States. (b) The control of Halifax by Blue, renders the Port of St. John and the Monkton area of secondary importance. Failing to secure Halifax _______ control of the Monkton area by Blue would: ___________________________ 1. Deny Red the use of St. John Harbor. _ 2. Cut the lines of communication between the port of Halifax _ and St. John and the remainder of Canada. 3. Place Blue directly across the only line of advance (by _ Red) from Halifax, on the shortest possible defensive line. 4. Deny Red the use of certain air bases from which to operate _ against northeastern United States. 5. Give Blue the use of various small air fields at Monkton _ and St. John. (2) Montreal – Quebec Area (St. Lawrence River Area). The ports of Montreal and Quebec, while ice bound about four months of the year, still afford the best overseas base both as to facilities and location. In addition the area is of great commercial importance in that it controls all lines of communication, by land, sea and wire between in- dustrial and agricultural centers of Canada and the eastern seaboard. While Montreal has the larger and more commodius harbor and terminal facilities, Quebec, due to its physical location, is the key point of the area. Control of this area by Blue would: (a) Deny the use of all good St. Lawrence River ports to Red. (b) Cut all Canada, west of Quebec, viz. industrial, and agricult- ural centers from the eastern seaboard.

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(c) Deny Red and Crimson and make available to Blue, the principal air bases in eastern Canada. (d) Deny Crimson coal and iron from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland as well as all imports via the Atlantic. (3) The Great Lakes Area. This area comprises several critical points: (a) Niagara River crossings and Welland Canal. (b) The waters connecting Lake Huron and Lake Erie. (c) The great industrial area of Canada – that part of Ontario lying between Lake Huron and Lakes Erie and Ontario. (d) The waters connecting Lake Superior and Lake Huron, including the Soo Locks. (e) The Sudbury nickel-copper mines. Control of the Great Lakes waterway is vital to Blue, for the transporta- tion of iron ore, coal and grain and such control will necessitate occupation of a bridgehead covering the narrow boundary waters at and near the Soo Locks and in the Detroit Area. The bridges over the Niagara River and the Welland Canal, connecting Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are of importance to Blue for occupation of the Important industrial area of the Niagara-Ontario peninsula. The Welland Canal would become of importance as a line of communi- cation if Blue seized the peninsula. While control of that area is of importance in crippling Crimson industry, it is probably of greater importance in denying the enemy Crimson and Red, a most convenient base for operations against highly industrialized areas in the United States. (4)

Winnipeg Area. Winnipeg is the nerve center of the transcontinental railroad system. Control by Blue will effectively separate eastern and western Canada and block transportation on men, grain, coal, meat and oil to the east. The completion of the Canadian National Railroad to Churchill Manitoba on Hudson Bay and the development of the port at Churchill provide an alternate route to Europe via Moosonee, Ont., and the Tem. and Ont. Ry. to northeast Ontario. While the water route through Hudson Bay is only open about four months of the year, and the ports are supplied by single track railroads, a considerable amount of traffic could be developed in an emergency. (5)

Vancouver – Victoria Area. As pointed out above, the ports in this area are of secondary im- portance only under the conditions, which may reasonable be assumed. How- ever, the area has certain military importance, due to the naval base at Esquimalt, and is a possible outlet for the Canadian plan provinces and western Canada. Its control by Blue would deny the enemy any base or outlet on the West Coast; simplify the problem of protecting our shipping in the Puget Sound area; and interrupt cable communication with the far east. While Prince Rupert, B.C. has an excellent harbor and terminal facilities with good rail connections leading east, naval blockade of this port would be readily possible, once the Vancouver – Victoria area was in Blue control.

9. Routes of Approach to the Areas of Strategic Importance. a. Halifax – Monkton – St. John Area (Maritime Provinces) (Incls. D & H). _ Three possible routes of approach are considered, viz: (1) Via water from Boston or New York to Halifax or vicinity. (2) Via water from Boston or New York to ports in Western Nova Scotia and thence overland to Halifax.

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(3) From Eastern Maine, via St. John and/or Fredericton to Monkton – Amherst – Truro to Halifax. b. Discussion of Routes of Approach to the Halifax – Monkton – St. John _ (Maritime Province) Area. (1) The distance by water from Boston to Halifax is 370 miles and from New York 600 miles, or in time about 30 or 50 hours respectively. The Port of Halifax is fortified and would undoubtedly be mined. A frontal attack would require a large force and would involve undesirable delays. Other developed ports of Nova Scotia on the Atlantic are too distant from _________ Halifax and involve a long advance after a landing is effected and this advance would be over difficult terrain. A number of undeveloped bays along the east shore offer favorable conditions for landing operations and of these, St. Margarets Bay, the near- est, being some 16 miles by road west of Halifax, appears satisfactory. Deep water, with a minimum depth of 7 fathoms extends nearly to the head of the Bay, not far from Hubley and French Village, which are on an improved road and on the railroad from Yarmouth to Halifax. The bay is protected from all winds and seas, except those from the south and is of sufficient size to harbor any fleet required for the expedition.

Tidal range is the same as at Halifax, 6 to 6 1/2 feet. There are numerous small but adequate boat and barge landings on the west, north and east shore of the bay, from whence improved roads lead to the main highway. The highway Hubbard – French Village – Hubley – Halifax is 18 feet wide, of macadam, with east grades and with concrete bridges capable of carrying heavy artillery and tanks. The railroad is single track, standard gauge and parallels the road. It has rather heavy grades and is of light construction. Rocky wooded hills rise rather steeply to a height of 200 to 400 feet all around St. Margarets Bay, but the roads are within the 50 foot contour and the terrain between the roads and the water is greatly rolling. The main highway French Village – Halifax, runs through low rocky hills and movement off the roads by wheeled vehicles would be practically im- possible. (2) The ports on the western shore of Nova Scotia off the Bay of Fundy are subjected to extremely high tides – 20 to 25 feet, and generally afford only limited terminal facilities and have depths generally inadequate for docking transports. Tidal currents are strong. From Windsor, on the Avon River, to Halifax, there is one improved road and a branch of the Canadian Northern Railroad. The distance is about 50 miles, with high ground and good defensive positions in the center of the island. As a route of approach to Halifax it is considered inferior to the route from St. Margarets Bay. (3)

The All Land Route via Eastern Maine. This route involves an advance from the Maine border of approximately 320 miles over difficult terrain. The St. Johns River, rising near the border of northern Maine, flows south just east of the Maine – New Brunswick border to Woodstock, thence generally southeast through Fredericton to St. John. It is navigable from the mouth to the falls some distance above Woodstock, N.B. The average tidal range at St. John is 20 1/2 feet, decreasing up stream. The river is crossed by a highway and a railroad bridge at Fredericton, each nearly 1/2 mile long. Two other bridges, a cantilever railroad bridge and a suspension bridge span the river about one mile above the city of St. John. There are numerous ferries operating alone the river. It is apparent that the St. John River is a serious obstacle to any advance overland from Maine. While the St. John could be bridged, such operations would result in considerable delay.

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The railroad and road nets available are shown on Inclosures B, C and D. They are reasonably adequate for a force of the size probably required for this operation. (4) Conclusion. If Halifax is to be captured without the use of large forces and expenditure of considerable time and effort, it must be accomplished promptly before Red reinforcements can be landed or Crimson organize for its defense. Any advance overland from Maine would eliminate all elements of surprise and make the capture extremely difficult – a major operation. An overseas expedition is one of the most uncertain of military operations, and with the Red fleet on guard in the North Atlantic, with Red’s immediate military objective the retention of a base in eastern Canada for future operations against Blue, a joint operation against Halifax must be promptly and perfectly executed to assure any hope of success. This route is considered the best but existing conditions at the time, may make this route impracticable, and the all land route necessary. c. The St. Lawrence Area. (Quebec – Montreal) _

The only practicable routes of advance for Blue, into this area, are from northern New York, New Hampshire and Vermont and from northwest Maine. (See map) (Incl. K) (1) Rivers. (a) The St. Lawrence River flanks the left side of all routes of approach to Quebec. From Montreal to Three Rivers it flows through an alluvial plain, with the south bank 25 to 75 feet above the river. Below Three Rivers the banks increase steadily in height to Quebec, where they are 140 to 175 feet high. The normal rise and fall of the river above the tidewater is 10 feet but this maybe doubled by ice jams. Tidal range reaches a maximum of 18 feet at Quebec, and practically disappears at Richelieu Rapids 40 miles above Quebec. The river above Quebec is obstructed by ice from November to April but ice breakers can get through. The river from Quebec to Montreal, generally about 1/2 to 2 miles wide (except at Lake St. Peter) is navigable on a 30′ draft to Montreal. The distance from Quebec to Mon- treal is 160 miles. In the area south of the St. Lawrence, between Quebec and Mon- treal, are several rivers of importance which will naturally influence any plans for an advance on Quebec, viz: Richelieu River St. Francis River Nicolet River Becancour River Chaudiere River Etchemin River Other streams will create obstacles of lesser importance. (b) The Richelieu River flows north from Lake Champlain to enter the St. Lawrence about 35 miles north of Montreal. It is navigable on a 6 1/2 foot draft throughout its length. (c) The St. Francis River rises in St. Francis Lake some 50 miles northwest of Jackman, Maine. It flows southwest to Lennoxville, Quebec, where it turns sharply northwest to flow into the St. Lawrence (Lake St. Peter). Headwaters are controlled. The regulated flow is some 3000 feet per second or more, with an average fall of 6.6 feet per mile. It is not fordable below Sherbrooke.

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(d) The Nicolet River rises in Nicolet Lake, 8 miles west of Lake Alymer, and flows generally northwest to empty into the St. Lawrence at the east end of Lake St. Peter. The average low water flow is about 2000 feet per second. Banks in the upper reaches – hilly wooded terrain – are steep and from 200 to 500 feet higher. The average fall is about 21 feet per mile but there are a number of dams. From Arthabaska to Lake St. Peter the stream flows through a flat open country, with banks 25 feet high or less, except for a gorge starting about 4 miles north of St. Clothilda and ending 3 miles from Lake St. Peter.

The river is not a serious obstacle but there are many swampy areas between it and the Becancour River. (e) The Becancour River rises about 5 miles northwest of Lake St. Francis and flows north, then southwest, then northwest to enter the St. Lawrence a few miles below Three Rivers, Que. The lower reaches of the river, below the vicinity of Lyster, Que, flows through generally flat country of gentle slope. The stream averages 300 to 400 feet wide and is fordable at few places. From Maddington Falls to within 3 miles of the St. Lawrence the river flows through a narrow gorge 100 to 250 feet below the surrounding flat country.

The river is not a serious obstacle to an advance on Quebec, by reason of the general direction of flow in its lower reaches and the characteristics of the country. (f) The Chaudierre River rises in Lake Megantic, about 45 miles west of Jackman, Maine and flows generally north into the St. Lawrence, op- posite Quebec. From Lake Megantic to Hersey Mills, it flows swiftly between steep banks in a narrow valley. The adjacent terrain is rugged and heavily timbered. From St. George to Valley Junction the valley widens materially and the country is less rugged. Below Valley Junction the river flows through gentle undulating country between relatively low banks.

The Chaudiere is a strong swift stream with an average discharge of over 4000 feet per second. The width varies from 200 feet at St. George to 400 feet or more in the lower reaches. From St. Maxine to the St. Lawrence it is 600 to 1500 feet wide. This river must be considered a serious obstacle. (g) The Etchemin River rises in Lake Atchemin and flows northwest into the Chaudiere. It is 200 to 300 feet wide in the lower reaches, with banks generally high and steep. It forms a considerable obstacle. (2) Terrain. The southerly portion of the area bordering on the United States, east of the Richelieu River, is hilly verging on mountainous (up to 3000′). The Notre Dame Mountains extend the Green Mountains of Vermont in the form of a series of ridges, gradually decreasing in elevation from Lake Champlain northeast to the meridian of Quebec, thence northeast parallel to the St. Lawrence. From the St. Lawrence the terrain rises smoothly and gradually toward the southeast to the foothills of the Notre Dame Mountains. On the line Montreal Sherbrooke a serious of eight hills (wooded) rise sharply to heights varying from 800 to 1500 feet or more above the surrounding country. In general the hills of the Quebec theatre are wooded, those below the 500 foot contour and east of the Becancour River sparsely, while west of the river there are densely forested areas at intervals. (3) Roads. The main roads to Montreal lead north from Plattsburgh, New York and Burlington, Vermont. Quebec may be reached via routes No. 1 and 5, through Sherbrooke, Que; via route No. 3 along the south bank of the St. Lawrence; or via Montreal and the north bank of the St. Lawrence. The latter is the longest route and undoubtedly the most difficult. Another route is available from Jackman, Maine, via route No. 23 through Valley Junction. The road net available is shown on inclosure No. “D” and “K.”

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(4) Railroads. The railroads available are shown on inclosures “B” and “C.” They are entirely adequate for any probable movement against this area. (5) Discussion of routes. (a) Northern New York – Vermont to Montreal Roads: No. 9 from Plattsburgh to St. Lambert and South Mon- treal. Distance 69.2 miles, all paved. No. 7 from Burlington, Vt., via St. John, Que. to St. Lambert or South Montreal. Distance 94.2 miles, all paved. There is a bridge across the Richelieu River at St. Johns. There are two highway bridges across the St. Lawrence at Montreal. Railroads: Delaware and Hudson – Albany to Montreal. New York Central – Malone to Montreal. Rutland and C.P. – Burlington to Montreal. Central Vermont and C.N. Montpelier to Montreal. Comments: The terrain is favorable and no physical barrier to the advance as far as the St. Lawrence, except the crossing of the Rich- elieu River, for a force moving from Vermont. An advance on Quebec from Montreal is possible, but offers the longest route, with many rivers per- pendicular to the line of advance (down the St. Lawrence) which offer excellent defensive positions. (b) Northern Vermont and New Hampshire to Quebec. Physical features: The Richelieu River on the west and the Chaudiere and Etchemin Rivers on the east tend to delimit the zone of advance. Roads: No. 5 – Newport, Vt. to Sherbrook then No. 7 to Valley Junction to the highway bridge on the St. Lawrence and to Quebec, or via No. 23 from Scott Junction to Levis, Que and the ferry to Quebec. Distance 212.5 miles from Newport, Vt. All improved road, mostly gravel. Some of the road through the hilly country is paved. No. 5 from Sherbrooke via Victoriaville is an alternate route. No. 23, Jackman, Maine – Valley Junction – Levis. This dis- tance is 109 miles. The road is improved and about 50% paved. It is the shortest route. It crosses the Chauderie and Etchemin Rivers. There are numerous alternate routes and connecting roads. Railroads: Canadian Pacific – Newport to Quebec. Canadian Pacific – Jackman via Megantic to Quebec. Canadian National – Portland, Me., via Sherbrooke to Quebec. Comments: While the terrain in this sector is hilly verging on the mountainous, with several defiles and river crossings, it offers the short- est and best route of advance on Quebec.

d. The Great Lakes Area. _ This area must be considered under the following subdivisions, as the routes of approach vary, and approach must be made from all of these direc- tions. The Buffalo – Niagara River Area. The Port Huron – Detroit Area. The Sault St. Marie or Soo Locks – Sudbury Area. (1) The Buffalo – Niagara River Area. Bridges cross the Niagara River at Buffalo (Peace Bridge); at Niagara Falls (suspension Bridge) and the (lower Arch Bridge) and at Lewiston, New York. ” ” ”

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Roads: The road net approaching the Niagara River from the United States and leading across the river into southern Ontario and through Hamilton to Toronto and Montreal, is one of the best along the inter- national boundary and is entirely adequate for any probably movement. Railroads: The Canadian Pacific and the Canadian National rail- roads have a network of railways connecting Buffalo with Toronto and points east. Branch lines lead to all important parts of the Niagara peninsula. Comment: The crossings over the Niagara River should be promptly secured to assure a line of advance into the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario.

(2) The Detroit – Port Huron Area. This area has much the same characteristics as the Buffalo Niagara River Area but beyond securing the crossings over the boundary waters, sufficient area to cover the Great Lakes water routes against Crimson interference is essential. Crossings: Ambassador Bridge – Detroit – Windsor. Two tunnels (one railroad) Detroit – Windsor. Numerous ferries. Railroads and roads: There is an excellent railroad and road net available for any advance eastward from Detroit and Port Huron. Comment: The Ontario Peninsula is of great industrial importance to Canada and a military area of great strategic value, as a base for air or land operations against the industrialized areas between Chicago and Buffalo. Any Blue operations should advance via Buffalo – Niagara Falls and Port Huron – Detroit simultaneously.

(3) Sault Ste. Marie – Sudbury Area. The best route of approach to the Sudbury area, about 200 miles east of the Soo, is obviously via Sault St. Marie, along the north shore of North Channel. An operation along this route, automatically covers the Soo. The Canadian Pacific railroad and one good gravel road leads east from the Soo. These provide ample facilities for supply of the probable force required. The southern flank of this line is protected by North Sound and the north flank by rough heavily wooded terrain entirely devoid of roads or other communications suitable for the movement of armed forces.

(4) Winnipeg Area. The main route from the United States to Winnipeg is north from Grand Forks and Crookston through Emerson. A main road follows the west bank of the Red River, from Emerson into Winnipeg. A good hard sur- face road from Grand Forks and one from Crookston furnishes a suitable road net south of the border. There are several secondary roads on both sides of the border to supplement the hard surface roads. The Canadian Pacific has two main lines extending north from the border, one leading from Fargo through Gretna along the west bank of the Red River, and one from Thief River Falls, through Emerson along the east bank of the Red River. The Canadian Northern has a line from Grand Forks through Emerson Junction to Winnipeg on the west bank of the Red River and another line connecting with Duluth and extending through Warroad to Winnipeg. The best and only practicable route of approach is obviously north from Grand Forks and Crookston. The terrain is flat and open and offers no natural obstacles to an advance.

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Churchill, on Hudson Bay, has rail connection by the Canadian National system at Hudson Bay Junction about 325 miles northwest of Winni- peg. The best and only route of approach to cut this line is along the railroad from Winnipeg.

(5) The Vancouver Area (Vancouver – Victoria) (See Incl. E & L) (Omitted) The best practicable route to Vancouver is via Route 99 through Bellingham, a distance of 55 miles and over a paved highway, through wooded and farming country. A secondary and longer route lies about 15 miles fur- ther to the east running through Sumas to strike the highways running east from Vancouver at the meridian of Mission City. The Grand Trunk Railroad extending from Vancouver to Seattle fur- nishes a satisfactory rail service. Victoria and Esquimalt, on the island of Vancouver can be reached by water only. Ferry service is maintained between Vancouver and Nanaimo on the east shore of the island, some 50 miles north of Victoria and between Vancouver, Burlingham and Port Angeles and Victoria. The best route of ap- proach is by water from Port Angeles, Washington.

IV. Conclusions: ___________ a That the critical areas of Canada are: _ (1) The Halifax-Monkton-St.John Area (The Maritime Provinces). (2) The St.Lawrence Area (Quebec and Montreal). (3) The Great Lakes Area. (4) The Winnipeg Area. (5) The Vancouver Area (Vancouver and Victoria).

b. That the best routes of approach to these areas are: _ To (1) By joint operations by sea from Boston. (2) From Northern New Hampshire-Vermont area. (3) (a) From Sault St. Marie and the Soo Locks Area. (b) From Port Huron – Detroit Area. and (c) From the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Area. (4) From Grand Forks-Crookston through Emerson. (5) Along Puget Sound through Everett and Bellingham, supported by an attack by water in Puget Sound.

V. Recommendations. _______________ None.

VI. Concurrences. ____________ The committee concurs in the foregoing conclusions.

CHARLES H. JONES Major, Infantry, Subcommittee Chairman.


The Obama administration’s war on leaks has now ensnared General James Cartwright, a four-star general and a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a high-level body of military leaders. Cartwright is the target of an investigation over “a politically sensitive leak of classified information about a covert U.S. cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear program,” as NBC News’ Michael Isikoff reported last night. The cyber attack was developed in coordination with Israel.

National security blogger Marcy Wheeler raises an intriguing, albeit speculative, question in Salon today: is Cartwright being investigated for what he revealed about U.S. officials’ anger at Israel over a cyberwar program gone awry?

Wheeler is perhaps the smartest writer on national security and civil liberties issues out there, so her theory is worth listening to–even if it’s just a theory at this point. So here it is:

Cartwright

 

General James Cartwright is in the crosshairs of the Obama administration’s latest leak investigation. (Photo: D. Myles Cullen/U.S. Army/Wikimedia Commons

The New York Times ran an important front-page article last year by David Sanger on the Israeli-U.S. cyberwar on the Iranian nuclear program. Sanger reported that “President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons.”

But Sanger (and two other Times reporters) had already reported in 2011 that the U.S. and Israel had developed the Stuxnet virus–the name of the cyber weapon– to cripple Iran’s program. So why is the Obama administration investigating the 2012 story and Cartwright’s role in it, and not the 2011 story (as far as we know)?

Wheeler thinks it’s because of an explosive passage in the 2012 article pertaining to a 2010 meeting with the president after it was discovered that the Stuxnet “worm, which was never supposed to leave the Natanz machines, had broken free, like a zoo animal that found the keys to the cage.” Key players involved in the creation of Stuxnet and its use–including Cartwright–had to break this news to Obama. Here’s the passage:

“We think there was a modification done by the Israelis,” one of the briefers told the president, “and we don’t know if we were part of that activity.”

Mr. Obama, according to officials in the room, asked a series of questions, fearful that the code could do damage outside the plant. The answers came back in hedged terms. Mr. Biden fumed. “It’s got to be the Israelis,” he said. “They went too far.”

Cartwright was in that meeting. Here’s Wheeler’s speculation on why he’s now the target of the leak investigation:

Was it the diplomatically dangerous accusation from Biden —“It’s got to be the Israelis”— that DOJ now suspects Cartwright of sharing with Sanger, in addition to technical details that likely come from Sanger’s broad range of sources? (Sanger notes, as have others, that it remains unconfirmed who bears responsibility for the code that led StuxNet to escape.)

Whether or not this accusation against Israel is the big secret that might get Cartwright in trouble, it’s worth noting that just weeks before this StuxNet leak investigation started, the House tried to legally mandate investigations into leaks that “degrad[e] Israel’s ability to defend itself.”

“I recently traveled to the Middle East, where we met with senior Israeli officials,” said Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), who introduced the measure. “Their number one concern was that for the first time in our long relationship, United States was releasing classified operational information and capabilities, willfully putting at risk the lives of Israeli people.”

Have we gotten to the point where America’s most fiercely guarded secrets — the kind that could put a retired General in legal jeopardy — concern not America, but Israel?

 Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 Jeremy Herb writing in The Hill examines how Obama’s decision to fund the Al Nusrah has sparked a backlash in the US Congress from both side of the House.  Three bills have introduced “that would restrict funds for arming to the Syrian opposition and prevent the administration from intervening without congressional approval. … Two of the bills came from Republican Reps. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and one was bipartisan, with Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Rick Nolan (D-Minn.):

The flurry of legislative activity represents a new urgency from intervention opponents in the wake of Obama’s move to provide military support to the rebels.

“It’s being spurred by the fact that things area developing quite rapidly in Syria… and now folks are sounding the alarm,” said Adnan Zulfiqar, a fellow at the Truman National Security Project. “Up until now, the activity that you’ve mainly been seeing on the Hill has been really from the advocates for greater intervention.”

Obama changed course earlier this month and said he would provide military support to Syria’s opposition forces. McCain and Democrats like Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (Mich.) and Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez (N.J.) cheered the move but urged him to go further by creating a no-fly zone in Syria.

The administration is trying to keep out of the crossfire as it makes the pitch to Congress for increased involvement. Vice President Joe Biden briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee on Syria on Thursday.

While the debate in Congress is focused primarily on what the administration should do in Syria, it is also impacting legislation that isn’t explicitly aimed at limiting U.S. involvement. ..,

After a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is public opposition to participating in another war in the Middle East. A Pew Poll released last week found 70 percent of respondents opposed the United States and its allies arming the rebels, while just 20 percent supported it.

A majority of those opposed said the U.S. military was already “overcommitted” and expressed concerns that the rebel groups would be no better than the Assad regime once in power.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who joined his House colleagues at the press conference, said the U.S. is going to be providing weapons to those fighting on the same side as al Qaeda.

“The Use of Authorization of Force [AUMF] in 2001 said we could go after the Taliban, Al Qaeda and associated forces,” Paul said. “Now we will be arming forces who are actually associated and fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda.”

Many Democrats, meanwhile, have argued that U.S. military intervention will only make things worse and exacerbate the humanitarian crisis caused by the death of nearly 100,000 Syrians in two years.

“There is a humanitarian disaster. But that doesn’t mean that what we do in arming the rebels will be effective in achieving the goal,” Welch said. “It raises very serious questions about whether, in fact, we end up Americanizing a civil war.”

To read the complete article: 

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/308553-obama-faces-backlash-on-syria?utm_content=bufferd3a96&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer#ixzz2XjYg6RnC

Copyright The Hill 2013

US combs through half a billion of German phone calls, emails and text messages on a monthly basis and has classified its European ally on the same target level as China, a German news magazine revealed.

The NSA document leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden and published by Der Spiegel classified Germany as a “third-class” partner, on the same level as China, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, meaning that the US surveillance in Germany was stronger than in any other EU country.

“We can attack the signals of most foreign third-class partners, and we do it too,” the document states.

It revealed that NSA monitors phone calls, text messages, emails and internet chat contributions and has saved the metadata (connections and not the content) at its headquarters.


A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) in Bad Aibling south of Munich (Reuters / Michaela Rehle)

A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) in Bad Aibling south of Munich (Reuters / Michaela Rehle)

NSA snooped through 20-60 million German phone connections and 10 million internet data sets a day, Der Spiegel claims.

In comparison, US tapped around 2 million connection data a day in France.

The only countries exempt from the surveillance attacks were Canada, Australia, Britain and New Zealand.

 

Reuters / Pawel Kopczynsky

Reuters / Pawel Kopczynsky

Snowden’s documents already revealed that NSA had spied on EU, including Germany, but the extent of surveillance was not known.

Spiegel’s earlier report, which revealed that European citizens, employees of the EU diplomatic missions in Washington and the UN were under electronic surveillance from the NSA, was met with anger from EU policymakers.

Germany demanded an “immediate” US response over bugging allegations, adding that this kind of surveillance was reminiscent of the Cold War.

“It must ultimately be immediately and extensively explained by the American side whether media reports about completely disproportionate tapping measures by the US in the EU are accurate or not,” Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said in a statement.

The president of the European parliament has also demanded an explanation from US authorities over the latest revelation.

“I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices,” said Martin Schulz. “If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations.”

The whistleblower behind the leaked documents, Snowden, has left US for Hong Kong in May and currently remains in the transit area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport while Ecuador reviews his asylum request.

Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee and ex-staff member of a private contractor working for the NSA, disclosed secret documents revealing US surveillance program PRISM and British secret Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) sharing its intelligence with NSA, as part of the Tempora data collection project.

The US has charged Snowden with espionage and is trying to extradite him.

World War Z: Race, Gender and Geopolitics

June 30th, 2013 by Brandon Huson

Brad Pitt’s new film, World War Z is the latest in the recently emerging genre of Zombie films and movies to hit the big screen.   The anticipation of this movie stems from the recent popularity of TV shows and movies such as the Walking Dead, I am Legend, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland and many others.  

A common theme in these movies is the documentation of the human experience when confronted with a zombie apocalypse or the emergence of a dangerous virus in the human population that causes the dead to rise and attempt to eat the living.  Some, like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, take a humorous look at the experience while others, such as the Walking Dead, examine how real people make decisions under the most dire and horrific circumstances in an attempt to force the viewer into the psychology of these lose-lose situations.  World War Z takes a serious look at the zombie apocalypse scenario.  Yet it seems to do so while simultaneously reinforcing a white male, American, and militaristic view of society through images whose political undertones can hardly be mistaken.  

To begin, the entire optics of the movie is from the point of view of Gerry (Brad Pitt).  As the zombie apocalypse engulfs Manhattan it is Gerry who is able to get his family from the city and who keeps his family together and safe by calming his over-emotional daughter who is suffering from an asthma attack.  Gerry then makes contact with a high ranking official in the United Nations who informs Gerry that he is needed to understand and help solve the crisis that is causing entire cities throughout the world to be “lost”.  Gerry is portrayed as an American who, in efforts to save the dying “wretched of the earth”, has seen “some of the worst environments” and so is able to use his unique perception into conflict and violence to determine what the origins of the zombie outbreak are and to report back to the officials at the UN and presumably, the U.S. government who are in need of this intelligence to defeat the devastating pandemic. 

 The movie utilizes the mainstream American common sense of American foreign policy progressivitiy portrays Gerry’s work with the UN  as in “some of the worst environments” and then lists Sri Lanka.  The obvious erasure here is that the “worst” environments for humanitarian catastrophes in the last two decades have been in environments of US and UN activity.  It is assumed that the viewer is unaware of the US role in fomenting Paul Kagame’s rise to power in Rwanda that eventually led to civil war, or the US economic sanctions regime in Iraq that left around 500,000 Iraqi civilians dead due to malnutrition and untreated water, or the subsequent atrocities committed by Iraqi militias and paramilitaries supported by the US during the “sectarian war” phase of the Iraq conflict. 

The acceptance of these common sense notions could simply be written off as unimportant and unrecognized by most people.  it is significant to the way in which Gerry is passionately sought due to the perceived value his experience holds for a senior UN official.  A helicopter is sent to the roof of an apartment building in New York for his family while millions of untold others perish and are left to their own devices.  Additionally, throughout the movie soldiers die defending and protecting Gerry to secure his life and, so we are led to believe, securing his unique ability to problem-solve and figure out the true source of the virus.  Gerry and his survival are completely accepted as natural and deserved in this movie, with little self-reflection from anyone on the privilege that Gerry receives due to his unquestioned credibility for his humanitarian past.    

 Gerry’s role occupies the stereotypical burdened white man forced to do right by honor and dignity.  He first bristles at the notion of helping the UN find the source of the disease, but is then called to duty by a General who warns him of his family’s impending dismissal from the ship due to the fact that non-essential personnel will not be saved.  Gerry complies fully with this and submits himself to performing the task that only he apparently can complete.  

Gerry’s dutifulness is clearly illustrated when he is contrasted with Harvard doctor, Dr. Fassbach. Dr. Fassbach is played by Elyas Gabel, a British actor who has a dark complexion and who comes off as brash and intelligent, but un-savvy, naïve and cowardly in the face of danger.  In an exchange with Fassbach, Gerry warns him to not be afraid due to the bravery and courage of the soldiers protecting them.  Once on-site, it is immediately demonstrated how poorly Fassbach is prepared for a dangerous mission and how cool under fire Gerry remains when Fassbach confronts zombies exiting a plane in South Korea and subsequently trips and shoots himself.  Gerry is left standing the sober, military-respecting white male with calm courage and the fortitude to survive and solve a crisis in an environment where formal training and education no longer help. 

The role of Gerry’s wife is also of interest in reinforcing Gerry’s role as the patriarch.  It is Gerry who is the sole reason for the family’s survival as it is his expertise that leads the UN to save his and his family’s lives during the collapse of civilization.  Meanwhile his wife maintains the role of an overemotional woman, dependent on her husband’s wisdom for survival.  In one scene her emotion is shown for its true destructiveness when she becomes too emotional, missing Gerry, and decides to call him.  It just so happens that when she does there are zombies in the area and, zombies being zombies, they are immediately attracted to the noise and a few soldiers end up dying while protecting Gerry as a result.  Here the movie demonstrates the destructiveness of human sentiments such as missing a loved one or the urge to communicate with them. By linking death to the actions of an overemotional woman, the movie portrays these sentiments as destructive to human survival, while throughout the entire movie pointing to Gerry’s rationality and conflict-savvy as an aspect of human behavior that promotes survival. 

The last moment of intrigue for the social critic during this movie was the portrayal of Israel.  In the movie, it is discovered that Israel is the state that has avoided the catastrophe.  When Gerry goes to Israel he questions a government minister as to why Israel knew to complete its closure of its borders in the months before the zombie apocalypse.  The official informs him that it is a Jewish cultural tradition of deliberation that states in a room full of ten people, when nine of them agree on something it is the duty of the 10th person to disagree.  This cultural trait is shown to be the reason why relative peace exists behind Israel’s many walls.  

This cultural trait of savvy and protective intellect is reinforced when contrasted with Arab behavior within the confines of the walls.  As Gerry tours the camp, a group of Arabs begin singing what is portrayed as an Arab folk song. This singing gradually becomes louder and louder, and begins to attract zombies outside of the wall.  The singing eventually works the zombies into such a frenzy that, in one of the most visually captivating scenes in the movie, they begin scaling one another and begin to make it over the wall.  This results in the overrun of the camp and Israel itself.  The symbolism here is hard to miss as once again Israeli tolerance of Arab ways leads to their annihilation.  In addition, the unsophisticated and unwise Arabs who chose to celebrate and sing are the reason for the Jewish state’s erasure.  This ultimately preserves the myth that a large part of the problem with peace in the Middle East is the nature of those who live there and who are not Israeli. 

Ultimately, World War Z is typical of many Hollywood movies in that it reproduces the common sense of masculinity, white-superiority, and contains a pro-Israel (and pro-US support for Israel) slant.  It is not an unusual movie in this regard. However, its existence within the zombie genre and the anticipation for its release provides a disturbing trend for those who wish to see social change and critical examination of US foreign policy, gender roles, and racial patterns of life.  It reinforces the dominant common sense and can serve as a naturalization of existing power structures, both social and geopolitical, the very ones that billions of people on the Earth wish to overthrow.

Brandon Huson is a Ph.D Student in Political Science at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL.  His research interests are social movements and agroecology in Latin America and Race Issues in the Americas

Behind the Curtain of America’s Security State

June 30th, 2013 by William Boardman

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR:  “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper:  “No, sir.” 

On March 12, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence apparently committed perjury in his sworn testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  There is little likelihood of his being criminally charged, but we’ll get back to that.

If it doesn’t matter to you (1) that your government can maintain a massive data bank on your life and the lives of everyone you know, and (2) that there is no effective control on how the government uses its data, and (3) that your government lies about its capabilities, then there’s no point in reading further.

 Does Anyone Know the Full Scale and Scope of the U.S Surveillance State?

This issue is not just about the NSA, which is not the only surveillance agency within the Department of Defense, which is not the only federal cabinet department that gathers intelligence.   Intelligence-gathering agencies also exist within the Justice Dept., Treasury, Energy, State, and Homeland Security, as well as the CIA.

Officially, the United States Intelligence Community comprises the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (www.dni.gov) and 16 other intelligence entities, most of them military, a re-organization established in 2005.  The stated mission of the Director of National Intelligence is to “lead intelligence integration” of the other entities “that work both independently and collaboratively” to gather intelligence.

There is no easily available, reliable figure for the number of personnel in the intelligence community.  In addition to the unknown number of intelligence personnel, there is an unknown number of outside contractors with an unknown number of personnel.

Top Secret Security Clearance Held By 1.4 Million People

According to Office of DNI report on security clearances in January 2013, almost 5 million people held one of three levels of security clearance as of October 2012.  Access to the highest level of top secret information is limited to 1.4 million people.

In 2010, the Washington Post published a series of articles titled “Top Secret America” which described the intelligence community as “a hidden world, growing beyond control,” written by Dana Priest and William Arkin after a two-year investigation:

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.”

  Describing the intelligence establishment as “so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine,” the Post found that it comprised at least 1,271 “government organizations” and 1,931 private companies, operating at some 10,000 locations in the U.S. alone, with top-secret security clearances held by an estimated 854,000 people in 2010 (about three times the population of Washington, D.C.).

So the federal surveillance state is still growing, but that’s not all.

The American Security State Has an Office Near You 

Beyond the federal government there are more than 16,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, as well as perhaps 100 “fusion centers,” all playing “a critical role on securing the homeland,” according to a 200-page report in 2011 by the National Institute of Justice at Michigan State University.  Before 9/11 there were about 3,000 such agencies.

Among the many findings of the 2011 report was:  “Also, they were aware of key civil rights and privacy issues, but respondents reported there is considerable work that needs to be done in their agencies to ensure agencies are fully compliant.”

With unknown numbers of people on unknown numbers of agencies spending unknown billions of dollars on programs and products that are kept secret, with limited coordination or control, it’s little wonder government officials lie about it so often.  The truth might be too appalling.

That’s one way of understanding DNI Clappers March 2013 testimony:

Wyden: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?

Clapper: No sir.

Wyden: It does not?

Clapper: Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect—but not wittingly.

Sen. Wyden is not asking a simple question here, he’s a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he’s been briefed, and he presumably knows the answer to the question before he asks it.   But Wyden also objects to how much data the NSA collects on Americans, and was trapped by the secrecy laws that prevent him from telling the truth without risking prosecution.   So when he had the chance, he asked a question to which the only honest answer was, “Yes.”

And DNI Clapper said, “No.”  Presumably he understood the question, presumably he knew the right answer, presumably he chose to lie – and all these presumptions are supported by his later comments.

“It does not [collect any type of data at all…]?” Wyden asks, throwing Clapper a potential lifeline, a chance to expand his answer beyond its apparent raw perjury.

  Clapper grabs the line and says, “Not wittingly.” He tries to explain.  But “not wittingly,” we now know, is another lie.  There was nothing unwitting about the warrants the NSA sought from the secret court or the NSA’s secret orders to most of the major internet data companies.

“What I said was, the NSA does not voyeuristically pore through U.S. citizens’ e-mails. I stand by that.” – DNI Clapper, June 6 interview with National Journal 

This, too, is false, easily demonstrated by a review of the transcript or video of the March hearing, where Sen. Wyden chose not to pursue further questions.  By claiming that the NSA was not a voyeuristic snooper, Clapper’s comment was substantively irrelevant and, at the same time, a version of the misleadingly reassuring meme that others, including the President, are also using.

Two days later, in an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Clapper concluded a non-answer answer to a non-question with another version of the meme.   Mitchell had referred only to the NSA collecting phone numbers.

“So the notion that we’re trolling through everyone’s emails and voyeuristically reading them, or listening to everyone’s phone calls is on its face absurd. We couldn’t do it even if we wanted to, and I assure you, we don’t want to.” 

While it’s probably technically true that the NSA could not read everyone’s emails or listen to everyone’s phone calls, Clappers answer is obfuscating, since the NSA most likely does have the ability to voyeuristically troll through anyone’s emails and phone calls.  But Mitchell didn’t ask about that.

When Mitchell asked Clapper about his exchange with Wyden, Clapper characterized the inquiry, complete with Freudian slip, as a “ when are you going to start–stop beating your wife kind of question,” which is a clear mischaracterization.  More credibly, Clapper said Wyden’s question was not answerable with a simple yes or no.  Rather than explaining what the right answer should have been, Clapper basically admitted that he lied:

“I responded in what I thought was the most truthful or least most untruthful manner, by saying, ‘No.’ ”

The lengthy interview was considered friendly enough to the intelligence community that the full transcript is posted on the DNI website.  Mitchell does an admirable job of seeming to ask the tough questions while avoiding holding Clapper accountable.  She established this pattern at the beginning, first expressing concern for the intelligence community feeling “besieged” by “all these leaks” and then asking: “How has it hurt American intelligence?”

She doesn’t ask, “Has it hurt American intelligence,” she asks how.  Now that really is a when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife construction that assumes a fact not in evidence – that American intelligence was actually damaged.  Even Clapper doesn’t go there.  He only says, “it potentially has” and Mitchell seeks no further clarification.  That’s how a safe interview works.

On June 7, President Obama used a familiar meme in talking about the NSA’s data storing:

“When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. That’s not what this program is about. As was indicated, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. They are not looking at people’s names, and they’re not looking at content.”

Regarding the central issue of data storage on everyone, the President would have been just as responsive had he denied the NSA was painting American children blue.

And while it may be true that “they are not looking” at names or content now, it’s misleading – because they could do that any time they want to.

Four-star General Keith Alexander not only runs the NSA, he is also the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM), which includes elements of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and became fully operational October 31, 2010.  USCYBERCOM is designed to have “full spectrum military cyberspace” capability.

NSA expert James Bamford on Democracy NOW! expressed a dark view of Gen. Alexander:

“… he’s a very mysterious person, but he’s the most powerful person that’s ever existed in the American intelligence community. First of all, he runs the largest intelligence agency and the most secret intelligence agency on Earth, probably, which is the NSA, in charge of enormous numbers of people that do just amazing electronic spying, as we could see in the revelations just in the last week.

“In addition to that, he runs basically his own military. It’s the U.S. Cyber Command, which was just placed under his authority. The U.S. Cyber Command is an extremely powerful organization that’s already launched aggressive, what they call ‘kinetic attacks.’ Kinetic attacks means destructive attacks using cyber to actually destroy things. And they destroyed the centrifuges in the Iranian nuclear development plant using cyber. So, as is—as being commander of U.S. Cyber Command, he’s also got three branches of the military under him. He’s got the 2nd Army, the 24th Air Force and the 10th Navy Fleet. So you’ve got an enormously powerful person who’s enormously secret and who can do things without even members of Congress knowing about it.”

The first NSA head to appear at a hacker convention, Defcon 2012, Gen. Alexander was asked something about the NSA keeping files on every U.S. citizen.   He replied with a variation on the standard meme:

  “No, we don’t. Absolutely not. And anybody who would tell you that we’re keeping files or dossiers on the American people know that’s not true…. 

And I will tell you that those who would want to weave the story that we have millions or hundreds of millions of dossiers on people is absolutely false.”

Also in 2012, Gen. Alexander told Fox News that the NSA does not “hold data on U.S. citizens,” which is clearly false.  In May 2013 he told Reuters, “The great irony is we’re the only ones not spying on the American people.”   On June 12, Gen. Alexander admitted to the Senate Appropriation Committee that “we create a set of data” about American citizens, but promised that the NSA didn’t look at it except under very special circumstances that are secret.   “Then, given that, we can now look [at your phone records] and say, ‘Who was this guy talking to in the United States and why?’ ” the general explained.

Whatever the NSA Wants to Collect, It Collects and Hoards

Like a virtual hoarder, the NSA collects data compulsively, and when it runs out of space, it builds more space.  The NSA has not only been amassing data on pretty much everyone who uses the internet or a mobile device, its building a one million square foot data storage facility for $2 billion in Bluffdale, Utah.  According to 40-year NSA veteran William Binney, that facility will have the capacity to hold 100 years or more worth of data on everyone, in a searchable database.

Maintaining the useful confusion of the basic meme, the President told Charlie Rose on June 17: 

“What I can say unequivocally is that if you are a U.S. person, the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls, and the NSA cannot target your emails….  And have not. They cannot and have not, by law and by rule, and—unless they—and usually it wouldn’t be ‘they,’ it would be the FBI—go to a court and obtain a warrant and seek probable cause….” 

In other words, the President was saying that the government couldn’t do things that were against the law, and he was saying it on the anniversary of the Watergate Break-in of 1972.  The President may or may not know what people in the field are doing on his behalf and in the name of American security.

The National Security Strategy put out by the Dept. of Homeland Security in May 2010 offers this definition of “Fusion Center Priorities” — “To prevent acts of terrorism on American soil, we must enlist all of our intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security capabilities. We will continue to integrate and leverage state and major urban area fusion centers that have the capability to share classified information”

In March 2013, Richard Davis, director of the Arkansas State Fusion Center on Little Rock talked to KNWA-TV about fusion center training, including detailed explanations of privacy rights and civil rights:

“There’s misconceptions on what fusion centers are.  The misconceptions are that we are conducting spying operations on US citizens, which is of course not the fact. That is absolutely not what we do.”

Davis explained that in Arkansas they haven’t been called on to investigate international plots, but they do keep an eye on more local activity:

“We focus a little more on that, domestic terrorism and certain groups that are anti-government.  We want to kind of take a look at that and receive that information.”  

Davis did not explain how they kept track of domestic terrorists and anti-government groups without “conducting spying operations on US citizens” and probably violating their First Amendment right to be anti-government at the top ot their voices.

The implications of Arkansas policy would be serious if applied nationally.  Given the low esteem of the U.S. Congress, for example, perhaps 90% of Americans would qualify as anti-government.

Israel in Preparation for another War with Hezbollah

June 30th, 2013 by Timothy Alexander Guzman

As the Obama Administration is in preparation for a war in Syria, the state of Israel is deploying an Iron Dome anti-rocket battery to counter Hezbollah’s Katyusha rockets that landed on Israeli territory during the conflict between both Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon back in 2006, which resulted in Israel’s defeat.  The Jerusalem Post just reported the move by the Israeli Defense Forces Friday morning.  “The IDF deployed an Iron Dome anti-rocket battery in the Haifa area early Friday morning, amid heightened tensions in the North stemming from the ongoing Syrian civil war.”  The Chief of Staff of the IDF Lt. General Benny Gantz told newly trained pilots who were “receiving their wings” at the Hatzerim Air Base to be ready for war:

The region is shaking, from south to north. Syria is hemorrhaging blood, and in Lebanon, the fire has begun to catch the edge of Nasrallah’s robe. In the face of this changing reality, we must be prepared, coordinated and alert, more than ever. You, the graduates, have from now on an inseparable part in safeguarding our readiness against these challenges

Hezbollah fired over 3,000 Katyusha artillery rockets at Israel during the war.  Israel is ready to invade Lebanon full-force to remove them as an obstacle to their war plans against Syria and eventually Iran.  The Anti-Assad rebels recently have been also targeting Hezbollah territories with rockets fired from Syria and in Lebanon.

The United States and its allies have been using the “divide and conquer” strategy to ignite tensions between Sunnis and Shiites with the purpose of creating chaos in the volatile area between Israel and Syria.  If that were to succeed as planned then Israel could launch strikes against Hezbollah forces with the intention of assassinating key members and crippling their artillery.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said recently that “An exercise on the Golan Heights is not just a theoretical exercise,” Netanyahu said after watching a brief part of the multi-day drill on the central Golan. “The situation around us has changed swiftly. It is volatile and dynamic, and we need to be prepared accordingly.” With the Western backed rebels creating chaos in Lebanon, Israel can attack Hezbollah at a moments notice.  But Hezbollah is prepared for such an attack.  They have military capabilities that defeated one of the most powerful militaries in the world (Israel) back in 2006.

Israel is making all preparations possible including spying on Hezbollah members which was also reported by The Jerusalem Post ‘Inside the IDF Combat Unit: Monitoring Hezbollah,’ As the “Post’ joins intelligence battalion drilling for war in North; Unit collects crucial data for would be confrontation in Lebanon.”

IDF soldiers are collecting information on the activities of Hezbollah members so that they would be immediately targeted during a war.  “The battalion-the second largest in the IDF-this week completed a grueling five-week training drill in the upper Galilee, designed to prepare its members for all eventualities.  During continuous security missions, the battalion expands the IDF’s target list, which will be activated during a future outbreak of war.”

Targeted assassinations of key members of Hezbollah including its leader Hasan Nasrallah will be one of Israel’s key strategies.  Israel assassinated Hezbollah’s previous leader Abbas al Musawi  in 1992 when an Israeli Apache helicopter fired missiles killing al-Musawi and his family that included his infant son.  “Once hostilities erupt, the battalion provides an instant intelligence picture of developments in the field, enabling the IDF to quickly direct devastating , accurate firepower at enemy positions” the report said.  Lt. Col Yiftah Siboni, the battalion’s commander said “We monitor Hezbollah and update the list of targets for attack.  We’re continuously adding targets to the list.  This is the core aspect of our activities.”  As he continued “We are hunters, not fisherman.  We don’t wait around for something to bite, but rather seek out the targets.”  Israel is planning to attack northern Lebanon in the near future as the US and NATO allies plan an invasion of Syria if the Western-backed rebels fail to remove Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad.  Syria is the main target, but Hezbollah is the obstacle.

Is Israel’s plan to create war and chaos along with its Western allies in the Middle East that would last decades in its best interest? Do Israeli citizens want this war that can affect their way of life for generations to come?  Citizens in Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and elsewhere from all walks of life whether Sunni, Shiite, Christian, Jewish, rich and poor all understand the horrors of war.  If Israel and the West continue this path to war starting with Hezbollah and then Syria and eventually Iran, it will inflame the entire Middle East.  World War III is on the horizon.  Is the world ready for such a catastrophic event that is going to take place?  I hope we do not get to that point, but then again, we shall soon see.

Freedom Rider: The World Says Yes to Snowden, No to Obama

June 30th, 2013 by Margaret Kimberley

The United States is pitching an international fit, a super-tantrum over much of the refusal of much of the world to let Washington have its way with Edward Snowden. However, America’s “harangues and threats had the opposite effect of making Snowden sympathetic and irritating nations already angry with American arrogance.”

“Both China and Russia allowed Snowden to travel despite the government’s very public requests to prevent him from doing so.”

No one likes a bully and no one likes a liar. The United States government is surely both because other nations have no problem openly treating it with the disdain it deserves. The saga of Edward Snowden provides the latest proof of the disrespect that America has brought upon itself. Its tantrums and rants mean little to anyone outside of the USA bubble.

Snowden is the NSA whistle blower who presented proof to the world that the United States is a lawless nation which treats its own citizens as enemies. The response to his revelations proves that the American people have no friends in Washington, not in the White House or Congress or on either side of the political aisle.

After making his revelations public Snowden headed for Hong Kong apparently in the mistaken belief that there he would be protected from extradition. When the United States decided to charge him and suspended his passport he flew to Russia and officially asked Ecuador for asylum. After angry denunciations from the secretary of state, senators and butt kissing so-called journalists, Russian president Vladimir Putin made all their points moot when he announced that Snowden will not be turned over. He reminded the United States that Snowden has broken no Russian laws and that there is no extradition treaty between the two countries. Not content to merely say no, Putin got in a few digs of his own. Emphasizing that he didn’t wish to discuss the matter further he said, “It’s like shearing a piglet. There’s a lot of squealing and very little wool.”

“The United States is a lawless nation which treats its own citizens as enemies.”

 The Chinese government was equally dismissive. After Secretary of State John Kerry issued public warnings of “negative consequences” to U.S./China relations, Chinese government spokeswoman Hua Chunying also got in her digs and reminded the United States that Snowden revealed evidence of American espionage directed at China.  “I’d like to advise these people to hold up a mirror, reflect and take care of their own situation first.” Ouch.

It is striking that both China and Russia allowed Snowden to travel despite the government’s very public requests to prevent him from doing so. Both countries were quite happy to give America a very public comeuppance. It isn’t actually very surprising considering the belligerence with which our government has behaved.

In 2011 the United States connived and got both China and Russia to agree to a no fly zone in Libya, only to turn the measure into a license to overthrow Gaddafi and have him killed. Both countries were made to look like fools but like all bullies the United States hopes that they won’t mind getting fooled twice and will go along with a similar scenario in Syria or any other place on earth where America chooses to act like a gangster nation.

“Americans haven’t even been given the most basic information about what Snowden has revealed.”

 All talk of reboot and rests are just that, mere talk. The U.S. goes out of its way to impede China’s inevitable rise to worldwide economic supremacy with the “pivot” that is a way to intimidate China with military force. Demands to turn over an American whistle blower consequently fell on deaf ears.

Listen to us on the Black Talk Radio Network at www.blacktalkradionetwork.com

Unfortunately the lessons to be learned about the Snowden case are lost on a misinformed public. Americans haven’t even been given the most basic information about what Snowden has revealed or that the few members of congress who question the data sweep can’t reveal the nature of their concerns because the material they want to present is classified. When we should get genuine reporting we get derision and snark from “journalists” acting like mean kids in the high school clique.

Snowden may be thought of as heroic but isn’t necessary to idealize him in order to defend his actions. He is a whistle blower and prior to the Patriot Act and the Obama administration escalation of persecution, whistle blowers were protected. In 1971 Daniel Ellsberg released the classified pentagon papers to the New York Times but the Nixon administration had little legal recourse against him.

“Prior to the Patriot Act and the Obama administration escalation of persecution, whistle blowers were protected.”

Armed with the Patriot Act and a determination to hit dissenters with the heaviest sledge hammer possible, the Obama administration threatens Bradley Manning with life in prison. One thing is absolutely certain. If Snowden hadn’t flown to Russia he would be facing the same terrible fate.

In its zeal to get another whistle blower the government didn’t even know how to use the traditional diplomatic niceties which are used to get business done. The harangues and threats had the opposite effect of making Snowden sympathetic and irritating nations already angry with American arrogance.

It isn’t clear if Snowden will ever get to another country or if he will spend his life at Moscow’s airport. Whatever the outcome of this particular case, it is clear that when America’s military might isn’t a factor it is treated with all the respect any pariah deserves.

Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

 

On June 20, Oregon’s Portland City Council unanimously voted to approve a budget that had been one of the most grassroots-contested examples of austerity in recent memory.
Weeks earlier, in a vote to approve the framework of this budget on May 29, the City Council’s long-maintained show of consensus was broken when Commissioner Amanda Fritz voted “No.” (More on her vote later). However, by the final budget vote last Thursday she had been compelled to change her mind.
How has the 2013 budget developed? When the Portland Budget process began several months ago, newly elected Mayor Charlie Hales announced a $25 million deficit in the city’s General Fund. Each bureau was told to submit budgets with 10 percent cuts, signaling Hales’s determination to oversee mass lay-offs and the slashing or elimination of essential programs that many Portlanders have come to rely on.
This latest round of cuts promised to be the worst of several successive years of austerity measures. Each time city officials have told the public that “temporary” sacrifices need to be made now to enable the economy to turn around tomorrow. Each time there was no turn-around and more cuts were, predictably, peddled the next year despite this economic “tonic’s” miserable record.
We say “predictably” because you cannot build up a city while slashing away at its community members’ jobs and social safety net. Each job lost and each service cut results in less money for people to put into the economy. Without a thriving consumer base no economy can lift itself out of the crisis we have been suffering since 2008. Consequently, each year cuts in Portland and elsewhere damage the prospects of a recovery and contribute to a downward spiral.
Corporate politicians continue to aggressively impose this approach, regardless of its results, because they have a death-grip on a “logic” that has been proven dead wrong in both economic theory and experience. If their insane notion — that the road to recovery is paved with policies that enrich the wealthy and big business, while dismantling programs that serve public needs — were true, then we ought to have seen a real recovery by now. These officials’ budget “fixes” do the opposite, deepening the economy’s fundamental problems and inequality.
This is the fallacy of “austerity.” And the evidence is overwhelming. Throughout Europe, depressed economies have resulted from a blind commitment to implementing austerity measures.
So what worked in Portland to move things towards a better outcome? For starters, Mayor Hales and the City Council’s pursuit of austerity was met with a public outpouring of opposition at public budget hearings. The resistance culminated on April 11 when over 400 protesting participants surprised the City Council and overwhelmed their staff. Attending were members of the Metropolitan Youth Commission, Laborers International Local 483, Portland Community College, Friends of Trees, Portland Safety Net, SUN Schools, Eastside Action Plan, Elders in Action, AFSCME Local 189, and numerous others. They stunned the City Council with emotional and at times confrontational testimony. Many dressed in red to show solidarity and carried an array of signs in defense of threatened social programs.
Also attending were members of Jobs with Justice, the People’s Budget Project, and Solidarity Against Austerity. These groups saw the hearing as an opportunity to begin building unity among the majority of Portland’s working class communities to oppose all budget cuts and protest the City Council’s refusal to discuss alternatives to austerity. They posted a banner above the door of the meeting that read “COMMUNITIES UNITED TO STOP CUTS,” and passed out hundreds of stickers and signs with this message as well as “RAISE REVENUE – NOT UNEMPLOYMENT.” In their testimonials they frequently turned to address the audience, arguing why the cuts are destructive and unnecessary, pointing out that the money could be found in the hands of the 1%, and explaining how the City Council could use this money to serve Portland’s communities.
Council members were visibly displeased to see people in the audience respond in large numbers to requests from the activists to stand or raise their hands and signs in opposition to the cuts. There was vocal support from the audience, with loud objections when City Council tried to cut off anti-austerity testimony. Testifiers also spoke to how we will have more power if we unite against all cuts rather than beg the City Council not to cut individual programs. In contrast to previous public budget hearings, the event on April 11 took on the character of a fierce protest.
And this protest had an impact. The City Council had to adjust their tactics. Two more public hearings were added to those already scheduled. It was announced that the General Fund deficit was now reduced to $21.5 million rather than $25 million. City officials began to “find” funding for some of the popular programs on the chopping block.
Nevertheless, opposition to the City Council’s austerity measures continued at the next public budget hearing on May 16. Ahead of it, at a press conference outside City Hall, firefighters stood side by side with housing advocates from Right 2 Survive, city workers from AFSCME 189, and social workers focused on treating victims of human trafficking, demanding no cuts to their services. The press conference was accompanied by street theater, a pie giveaway and a banner saying “Bake a Bigger Pie!” — in reference to the need to raise revenue by taxing the wealthy and big corporations, who are currently being provided huge tax breaks rather than paying their fair share.
About an hour before the start of the budget hearing, the mayor announced they had devised new ways to lessen cuts by working with the Multnomah County Government. Many programs had their funding at least partially restored from the cuts they were expecting. SUN community schools, a domestic violence center and a needle exchange program were given a reprieve – for this year at least.
The lesson? Had it not been for the outpouring of opposition on April 11, combined with demands for an alternative to austerity, the City Council would not have been compelled to “find” additional sources of funding.
Results
This outcome was not what Mayor Hales wanted, but grassroots public opposition forced him to take a more flexible approach. Nevertheless, we are still left with a cuts-only budget. The Office of Healthy Working Rivers is gone. Firefighters and maintenance workers are being laid off. There will be at least $100,000 less for homeless shelters; $200,000 will be cut from Friends of Trees; $50,000 will be cut from Hillsdale and Alberta Street programs. Janus Youth, which works with human trafficking victims, will be cut 25 percent. These are just a few of the already underfunded programs taking a big hit.
The Portland city government has announced that there will only be 26 pink slips handed out as a result of cuts. However, at least 142 jobs are slated for elimination, the majority being currently unoccupied positions and new openings that come as a result of early retirements. These are jobs that should be filled, not disappeared. The City Council’s line that there will be only 26 pink slips handed out is an attempt to cover up the long-term damage their cuts will inflict on our communities.
The City Council has not even entertained the idea of raising revenue from the wealthy individuals and corporations who can most easily afford higher taxes. This is particularly scandalous since their wealth has been growing so rapidly while everyone else is losing ground. Without progressive tax measures, big corporations and the wealthy will continue gobbling up an obscene share of any economic gains that have been made in the age of austerity, and Portland will undoubtedly face additional cuts next year.
Other deep-rooted problems revealed themselves in this budget process. The non-profit non-partisan U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has given Portland’s budget a D- for its lack of transparency. Not even the City Commissioners have a full grasp of the budget, as was clear when Commissioner Dan Saltzman said of the newly found funding sources, “I’m glad these things were added, but I’m not sure where all that money came from.”
The lack of transparency is especially apparent when it comes to Portland’s Internal Service Funds (ISF) budget. The way the fund works is that city bureaus are charged for a range of administrative services that are centrally provided, such as facilities, fleet, printing, IT support, employee health insurance, liability, workers’ comp, and legal needs. It is set up as a money-in money-out fund, and therefore should remain at roughly the same amount every year. However, this fund has grown from $68.8 million five years ago to $106.7 million today.
According to the City’s own documents, the Internal Service Funds are unrestricted and available for any legal purpose. Opponents of austerity argued that the $21.5 million deficit in the General Fund could be filled by transferring money from the ISF. This one-time emergency measure could fix the immediate crisis and give the City Council time to develop revenue-raising measures. Yet at one of the last public budget hearings, the City Council announced that the ISF was not as “unrestricted” as they thought. The reasons for the ISF’s growth, what programs it funds and why these funds are restricted in contrast with what the city government’s own documents state have yet to be explained.
Of Transparency and Democracy
All in all, Portland’s budget process lacked any genuine democracy based on an informed public. At the budget hearings, attendees were told that there just wasn’t any money available and that they’d better explain why the particular programs they favored should not be cut — end of story. The City Council even went so far as to solicit ideas for cuts from the community. The false claim that Portland is broke was meant to rig the outcome of these hearings, push aside the issue of economic inequality in Portland, and leave Portland’s communities fighting among themselves for crumbs.
Even within the narrow world of the City Council, democratic processes fell far short of what would normally be expected. This was part of the motivation behind Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s “No” vote on the budget. Explaining her vote she said of the process:
“From my perspective, this has been a less collaborative Budget process than any of the past four years. Services that I consider highest priority for City funding have been dismissed as either not important, or someone else’s responsibility. Until today, the five members of the Council have not met as a ‘board of directors’ to discuss the information we heard in the Budget work sessions, or to set shared priorities. There wasn’t even one work session to air each Council member’s concerns. Since the release of the Mayor’s Proposed Budget, over half a million dollars of new money has appeared, yet there was no discussion about how to allocate this new money.”
Fritz’s statement gives the impression that budget priorities are being decided by Mayor Hales away from the oversight of the public and even other elected officials. Her remarks also stand in stark contrast to Hales’s prior public statements on the budgetary process. The Portland Mercury recently reported that the mayor rebuked Janus Youth workers for “embarrassing him” with their public testimony about human trafficking and “strongly urged them not to come to future hearings.” All of these accounts make us question Hales’s regard for democratic public participation.
Where To Go From Here
If long-term solutions are to be found for Portland’s budget and economic difficulties, they will come from a social movement independent of the politicians and their corporate backers. For too long Portland’s budget has benefited big business and the wealthy at the expense of the vast majority. For a budget that puts Portland’s communities first, these priorities will have to be reversed. That means that even Portland’s 1% will have to pay their fair share to make this “The City That Works” for the uplift of all, not the greed of a few.
In an Oregonian op-ed entitled “Austerity is not the way to fix Portland’s budget,” economics professors Robin Hahnel (Portland State University) and Marty Hart-Landsberg (Lewis & Clark University) put forward a number of concrete proposals that would start to do this. Their ideas include a progressive county income tax, changing the city’s flat business licensing tax to a progressive system, and restructuring the Portland Development Commission policies to make sure that gains from redevelopment are shared. These measures could raise enough revenue so that we would no longer be talking about filling holes in the budget but would instead be providing jobs, expanding social services, hiring more teachers, and sustainably rebuilding our infrastructure.
The grassroots struggle over the city budget in 2013 helped to spread the popularity of such an approach and established a network of union and community members who are willing to unite around it. By focusing on building unity around concrete revenue-raising proposals, by exposing how budget priorities are set and how they hurt our communities, and by organizing to expand our movement, we will be better able to face the challenges coming our way in 2014.

Obama in South Africa: “Hero’s Welcome”

June 30th, 2013 by Global Research News

If the first Black President of the USA thought he was going to get a hero’s welcome in South Africa,

It’s not going too well.

A mass protest movement has unfolded.

This is on the way to the US Embassy.

The posters  convey the forbidden truth: The US president is a war criminal

Stop the Plunder of Africa.

Meet the World’s Top Assassin.

Obama, Zionist Uncle Tom

Close Down Guantanamo

Africom out of Africa

 

 

 

Thousands in South Africa march on US Embassy to give Obama a different sort of greeting.

 

 

 

 

NObama Coalition Johannesburg South Africa press conf 062213