Russian energy giant Gazprom’s 30 year, 400 billion dollar gas deal with China is set to impact global geopolitics in many profound ways. To understand the future impact of the deal, it is important first to understand the geopolitical conditions that face both Russia and China today that helped seal it.

The Russian Imperative 

For Russia, diversifying its markets away from the European Union is of vital importance. Persistent economic decline is effecting demand, while special interests within the EU have become increasing belligerent toward Russia as the supranational conglomerate seeks to expand into Russia’s traditional spheres of influence. The EU and NATO’s insistence on continued eastward expansion, “integrating” nations along Russia’ peripheries, is now clearly aimed at the encirclement of Russia proper. The current crisis in Ukraine, and the brief conflict of 2008 on the Russian-Georgian border are both direct results of this expansion. US and EU sanctions aimed at Russia, and Russia’s response by leveraging the EU’s dependence on its natural gas have reminded both of this vulnerable interdependencies.

For Russia, it will be difficult to find another market in which to sell the 160 billion cubic meters of natural gas it exported to Europe last year. The new deal with China is expected to begin at 38 billion cubic meters of gas per year, or about a quarter of what it exports to Europe. Additional pipelines are in the works, and the amount of gas routed to China can surely be expanded to meet future demand.

While the new deal will not be a substitute for European markets, the ability for Russia to shut off 40 billion cubic meters of gas to the EU may become a persuasive bargaining chip, one US shale gas will be unable to compensate for well into the foreseeable future, if ever.

The new deal will take effect in 2018, so may not immediately compensate for US-EU sanctions leveled against Russia in the latest Ukraine row. However, many of these sanctions have had either disappointing effects, or have all together failed to bite. Sanctions aimed at Russia’s aerospace industry for instance, fell flat, both because Russia is indispensable to the United States (its astronauts entirely depend on Russian launch systems) and Western alternatives are years from implementation. By the time these sanctions do begin to bite, Russian gas will be flowing into China, and Chinese capital will be flowing into Russia’s economy.

The Chinese Imperative 

For China, its immense population has likewise immense energy requirements. As the world’s largest oil importer, its sources in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) require a long and vulnerable logistical line known to many geopolitical analysts and policy planners as China’s String of Pearls. The United States, in a bid to reassert itself in the Pacific and maintain both regional and global hegemony, has committed to years of disrupting China’s oil lifeline and in theory, strangle China’s growth. The US has sown chaos across MENA and attempted to carve off the entire Pakistani province of Baluchistan. This is an attempt to disrupt China’s plans to establish a port in Gwadar to receive Middle Eastern oil, and a pipeline across Pakistani territory into China to deliver it to Chinese markets. Similar meddling is taking place in Myanmar to disrupt a Chinese port and planned pipeline in Rakhine state.

While coal accounts for most of China’s energy production, with oil coming in second, China is planning to replace these and other hydrocarbon sources with natural gas in the near future. When Russian gas begins flowing into China, not only will it allow for the expansion of markets where it is currently being used, but will enable China to begin reducing its dependency on oil via its long, vulnerable logistical lines from MENA, and coal it is now beginning to import in greater quantities from Australia.

The Net Impact

Beginning in 2018, Russia will have an alternative market in China for its natural gas that will grow steadily and perhaps even eclipse its current markets in Europe. This will allow Russia to better counter attempts by the EU and NATO to expand into its traditional spheres of influence, and prevent the geopolitical encirclement of its territory by the West. With Russia’s pipelines in the east running through relatively stable regions of its territory directly into China, vulnerabilities such as US-backed terrorism (as is present in Russia’s Caucasus region) and US-EU destabilization in countries through which Russian gas must move through in the west, will be nonexistent, providing a stable and reliable source of economic growth for decades to come.

China likewise will benefit from the proximity within which Russian gas will be delivered. US-backed separatists in China’s western provinces, and attempts to destabilize nations in which China’s logistical infrastructure must be located to ensure the steady flow of oil to its markets will have no effect on this new and expanding source of energy.

The net impact is the circumvention of decades of geopolitical maneuvering, alliances, and conflicts the US, UK, and EU have bled themselves dry in terms of resources and political legitimacy arraying against Russia and China. Through a direct energy partnership that will pave the way for future expansion, both Russia and China are hedging risks they face due to a dependency on both direct dealings with the West, and in regions the West is able to project military, economic, and political influence upon.

In the short-term, the significance of the deal will be primarily political, rendering US-EU sanctions leveled against Russia that will take years to bite, virtually moot and thus meaningless amid the current crisis in Ukraine. EU member states will begin entering Russia’s impending leverage into their calculus when considering how much support politically and materially to lend Washington, London, and Brussels in their support of pro-Western Kiev.

For China, the deal will confound America’s current “pivot to Asia” strategy of encircling and containing China, as Beijing opens up energy corridors immune to Washington’s meddling.

Finally, Russia and China’s constructive energy partnership, concluded without territorial, economic, or legal integration, will lend further credibility toward a future multipolar global order, while simultaneously exposing the shortcomings, even follies, of the West’s unipolar system of pursuing hegemony through costly and ultimately unsustainable global integration.

Ulson Gunnar is a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook

Hedge Fund Managers Still Making Billions

May 22nd, 2014 by Pratap Chatterjee

David Tepper, the founder of New Jersey-based Appaloosa Management, was the world’s highest earning hedge fund manager for the second year in a row, according to the Rich List published earlier this month. Tepper earned $3.5 billion in 2012, a major increase on his $2.2 billion take home income in 2012.

All told, in 2013, the highest paid 25 hedge fund managers collectively earned $21.5 billion, also a big leap from $14.14 billion the previous year, according to the annual list compiled by Institutional Investor magazine.

Critics say that these sky-high salaries are a major cause of increasing poverty. “Once upon a time, you might have been able to argue with a straight face that all this wheeling and dealing was productive, that the financial elite was actually providing services to society commensurate with its rewards,” writes Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economist. “But, at this point, the evidence suggests that hedge funds are a bad deal for everyone except their managers; they don’t deliver high enough returns to justify those huge fees, and they’re a major source of economic instability.”

Following close on the heels of Tepper is Steve Cohen of SAC Capital in Connecticut who was paid $2.4 billion, also a big jump from his $1.4 billion salary in 2012. Cohen’s firm pleaded guilty to insider trading last November and paid out $1.8 billion in fines. SAC Capital was also required to return money to all outside investors, effectively turning it into a personal fund which Cohen has renamed Point72 Asset Management. (Some of Cohen’s employees are allowed to invest also)

Joining Tepper and Cohen in the multi-billion dollar league are John Paulson who made $2.3 billion with his New York-based Paulson & Co’s Recovery Fund in 2013 and James Simons of Renaissance Technologies (also based in New York state) who made $2.2 billion.

In 2011, Raymond Dalio of Bridgewater Associates was paid an estimated $3 billion while Carl Icahn of Icahn Capital Management earned $2 billion. That year, the 25 highest-paid hedge fund managers made $14.4 billion.

Hedge funds are a publicity-shy sector of the financial industry which claim to make above-average profits. They are regulated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Investment Company Act of 1940 which restrict how much the fund managers are paid and what they do in order to protect naïve investors. Many hedge funds are designed to get around these restrictions by raising money only from the super wealthy.

For example, most big hedge funds are only open to “qualified purchasers” – who have at least $5 million in money – making them exempt under section 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Securities Exchange Act. Smaller hedge funds seek as many as 100 “accredited investors” – those with a net worth of over $1 million (not including their houses) or a minimum annual income of $200,000 (or $300,000 for married couples) – under the 3(c)(1) of the Investment Company Act of 1940.

Why do hedge fund managers get paid so much? According to Sebastian Mallaby, author of “More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite,” the average hedge fund makes some 11 percent profit, more than double other investment vehicles. This allows fund managers to ask for higher fees than regular bankers – typically they take between one and four percent of the investment every year as well as between 10 and 50 percent of profits in return for attempting to beat the stock market.

Mind you, not everyone agrees that hedge funds are as profitable. A KPMG study concluded that the average hedge fund made a little over 9 percent profit a year, while in “’The Hedge Fund Mirage,” Simon Lack, a former JP Morgan banker, writes that his calculations show that between 2007 and 2011, hedge funds earned just two percent a year. In fact, in 2008, hedge funds lost over 20 percent of their value – rough $450 billion!

But regardless of that little blip in their annual profits, hedge funds are slowly and surely helping the very rich get richer and slowly impoverishing everyone else, helping prove the theories of French superstar economist, Thomas Picketty. “U.S. inequality in 2010 is quantitatively as extreme as in old Europe in the first decade of the twentieth century,” Picketty wrote in his new book, Capital in the 21st Century. The reason, he says, is the rise of  “supersalaries” for “supermanagers.”

Mientras las violencias mortíferas que golpean el país desde febrero de 2014 son actuaciones de la oposición, los medios informativos occidentales persisten en acusar al Gobierno democrático de Nicolás Maduro.

Desde 1998, la oposición venezolana siempre ha rechazado los resultados de las elecciones democráticas, con una excepción: reconoció la legitimidad de su victoria en el referendo constitucional del 2 de diciembre de 2007, que ganó con un margen inferior al 1%. Así, la derecha se ha opuesto resueltamente a los gobiernos de Hugo Chávez de 1999 a 2013 y de Nicolás Maduro desde abril de 2013. Ha utilizado todos los métodos para derrocarlos: golpe de Estado, asesinatos políticos, sabotaje petrolero, guerra económica, llamados a la sublevación y campañas mediáticas de desprestigio.

Efe (16/05/2014)

Integrantes de la PNB (Policía Nacional Bolivariana) observan un vehículo patrulla después de ser incinerado en Caracas

Desde febrero de 2014, Venezuela es víctima de violencias mortíferas que costaron la vida a más de 40 personas, entre ellas 5 miembros de la guardia nacional y un fiscal de la República. Más de 600 personas resultaron heridas entre ellas 150 policías y los daños materiales superan los 10.000 millones de dólares: autobuses quemados, estaciones de metro saqueadas, una universidad –la UNEFA– completamente destrozada por las llamas, decenas de toneladas de productos alimenticios destinados a los supermercados públicos reducidos a cenizas, edificios públicos y sedes ministeriales saqueados, instalaciones eléctricas saboteadas, centros médicos devastados, instituciones electorales destruidas, etc. 1

Frente a este intento de desestabilización destinado a provocar una ruptura del orden constitucional, las autoridades venezolanas  han dado una respuesta enérgica y procedieron a arrestar a varios líderes de la oposición que lanzaron llamados a la insurrección o promovieron actos de vandalismo, y a casi de mil personas implicadas en las violencias. 2 Como todo Estado de Derecho y en el estricto respeto de las garantías constitucionales, la justicia venezolana enjuició a los acusados y aplicó las sanciones previstas en el Código Penal para semejantes actos. 3

Los medios informativos occidentales, que se han alineado con la oposición golpista y antidemocrática, han denunciado atentados contra los derechos humanos. Al mismo tiempo omiten cuidadosamente señalar los asesinatos que cometieron los manifestantes, los allanamientos de armas y explosivos por parte de la policía entre esos grupos presentados como pacíficos y las destrucciones de propiedades públicas y privadas. 4

De hecho, la indignación mediática es de doble rasero y no se aplica de modo universal. En efecto, la prensa observa un sorprendente silencio cuando los países occidentales toman medidas mucho más draconianas por disturbios mucho menos graves que los que golpean Venezuela.

Timothy Krause (15/11/2011)

Anciana es detenida por la policía de Nueva York en el 2011, en la época de las protestas del movimiento Occupy Wall Street

El caso de Francia es revelador. El 27 de octubre de 2005 estallaron revueltas urbanas en los barrios populares de París y de las grandes ciudades del país, tras la muerte accidental de dos adolescentes perseguidos por la policía. La importancia de las violencias –que no causaron ninguna muerte – era menor que las que han golpeado a Venezuela en las últimas semanas.

No obstante, a partir del 8 de noviembre de 2005, el Presidente Jacques Chirac decidió declarar el estado de excepción en todo el país e instaurar un toque de queda mediante el decreto 2005-1386, durante varios meses, aplicando así la ley de 3 de abril de 1955 adoptada durante… la guerra de Argelia. Esta legislación, que no se utilizaba desde 1961, suspende las garantías constitucionales y atenta gravemente contra las libertades públicas pues permite “prohibir el tránsito de personas”, “instituir zonas de protección o de seguridad donde se reglamenta la estancia de personas” y declarar “arresto domiciliario en una circunscripción territorial o una localidad territorial para toda persona que resida en la zona fijada por el decreto”. 5

Del mismo modo, “el Ministro de Interior, para todo el territorio donde está instaurado el estado de excepción, y el prefecto en la provincia, pueden ordenar el cierre provisional de las salas de espectáculos, bares, restaurantes y lugares de reunión de todo tipo en las zonas determinadas por el decreto previsto en el artículo 2. Pueden también prohibirse, a título general o particular, las reuniones cuya naturaleza pueda provocar o alimentar el desorden”. 6

La ley de 3 de abril de 1955 confiere “a las autoridades administrativas señaladas en el artículo 8 el poder de ordenar registros de domicilio día y noche” y habilita “a las mismas autoridades a tomar todas las medidas para asegurar el control de la prensa, de las publicaciones de toda índole así como de los programas de radio, de las proyecciones cinematográficas y de las representaciones teatrales”. 7

Esta legislación da el poder a la justicia militar de sustituir a la justicia civil. Así, “puede autorizar a la jurisdicción militar a encargarse de crímenes, así como de los delitos que les son conexos, que incumben [normalmente] al tribunal provincial”, en detrimento de la jurisdicción de derecho común. 8

Para justificar semejantes medidas que contravienen la Convención Europea de los Derechos Humanos (CEDH), París evocó el artículo 15 de la CEDH que autoriza “en caso de guerra o de peligro público que amenace la vida de la nación” a derogar a las obligaciones a las cuales se había suscrito Francia. 9

Gabriel Vinicius de Moraes

Soldados de la policía militar disparan hacia un grupo de manifestantes en la Avenida Paulista, em São Paulo, el 13 de junio del 2013

En ningún momento Venezuela –golpeada por violencias más severas que las de 2005 en Francia– ha instaurado el estado de excepción, ni ha suspendido las garantías constitucionales, ni ha atentado contra las libertades públicas, ni ha impuesto la justicia militar en detrimento de la justicia civil.

Un ejemplo más reciente es también ilustrativo. Tras los disturbios que ocurrieron en la ciudad de Amiens el 14 de agosto de 2014, que causaron daños materiales (una escuela y varios edificios públicos incendiados) e hirieron a 17 policías, la justicia francesa sancionó severamente a los autores de esos delitos. Seis personas fueron condenadas a penas de uno a cinco años de prisión. 10 El tribunal de menores de Amiens incluso condenó a cinco adolescentes de 14 a 17 años a penas de hasta 30 meses de prisión. 11

Sería fácil multiplicar los ejemplos. Cuando la policía de Nueva York arrestó arbitrariamente a más de 700 manifestantes pacíficos, los cuales fueron víctimas de brutalidades por parte de las fuerzas del orden, los medios informativos occidentales no acusaron al gobierno de Barack Obama de violar los derechos humanos. 12

Del mismo modo, cuando la policía brasileña reprimió violentamente a los manifestantes pacíficos en Sao Paulo y procedió al arresto de 262 personas en un solo día, agrediendo al mismo tiempo a varios periodistas, los medios informativos, con razón, no pusieron en tela de juicio, la legitimidad democrática de la Presidenta Dilma Roussef. 13

Los medios informativos occidentales son incapaces de mostrar imparcialidad cuando se trata de abordar la compleja realidad venezolana. La prensa se niega a cumplir su deber que consiste en difundir todos los hechos y se mofa de Carta de Deontología Periodística. Prefiere defender una agenda política bien precisa, la cual va contra los principios elementales de la democracia y de la voluntad del pueblo venezolano expresada múltiples veces en las urnas.

Salim Lamrani

Doctor en Estudios Ibéricos y Latinoamericanos de la Universidad Paris Sorbonne-Paris IV, Salim Lamrani es profesor titular de la Universidad de La Reunión y periodista, especialista de las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos. Su último libro se titula Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, con un prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

Contacto: [email protected] ; [email protected]
Página Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel

1. Agencia Venezolana de Noticias, “Violencia derechista en Venezuela destruye 12 centros de atención médica y electoral”, 27 de marzo del 2014.
2. Salim Lamrani, “Se a oposição venezuelana fosse francesa… “, Opera Mundi, 11 de abril del 2014. (sitio consultado el 20 de mayo de 2014)..
3. EFE, “Lilian Tintori expone el caso de Leopoldo López ante autoridades españolas”, 18 de mauo  del 2014.
4. Paulo A. Paranagua, « Leopoldo Lopez, prisonnier politique numéro un du président vénézuélien Maduro », Le Monde, 22 de abril del 2014. (sitio consultado el 20 de mayo de 2014)..
5. Loi n°55-385 du 3 avril 1955 relatif à l’état d’urgence. (sitio consultado el 20 de mayo de 2014)..
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Convention européenne des droits de l’homme, article 15. (sitio consultado el 20 de mayo de 2014)..
10. Le Monde, « Emeutes d’Amiens : jusqu’à cinq ans de prison ferme pour les violences », 16 de mayo de 2014. (sitio consultado el 20 de mayo de 2014)..
11. Le Monde, « Emeutes d’Amiens : jusqu’à 2 ans de prison ferme des mineurs », 13 de mayo de 2014. (sitio consultado el 20 de mayo de 2014)..
12. Sandro Pozzi, “La policía detiene a 700 indignados por ocupar el puente de Brooklyn”, El País, 2 de octubre del 2011.
13. María Martin, “Ativistas denunciam brutalidade policial durante o ato contra a Copa de São Paulo”, El País, 14 de febrero de 2014. (sitio consultado el 20 de mayo de 2014).

Apesar de a violência mortífera que ataca o país desde fevereiro de 2014 ser resultado de ações da oposição, os meios de comunicação ocidentais insistem em acusar o governo democrático de Nicolás Maduro.

Desde 1998, a oposição venezuelana tem rejeitado os resultados das eleições democráticas, com uma exceção: reconheceu a legitimidade de sua vitória no referendo constitucional de 2 de dezembro de 2007, o qual ganhou com uma margem inferior a 1%. Assim, a direita se opôs resoluta aos governos de Hugo Chávez de 1999 a 2013 e ao de Nicolás Maduro desde abril de 2013. Utilizou todos os métodos para derrubá-los: golpe de Estado, assassinatos políticos, sabotagem petroleira, guerra econômica, convocações a revoltas e campanhas midiáticas de desprestígio.

Efe

Membros da PNB (Polícia Nacional Bolivariana) observam veículo da corporação incinerado por opositores em Caracas

Desde fevereiro de 2014, a Venezuela é vítima de uma violência mortífera que custou a vida de mais de 40 pessoas, entre elas 5 membros da guarda nacional e um promotor da República. Mais de 600 pessoas ficaram feridas, entre elas 150 policiais, e os danos materiais superam os 10 bilhões de dólares: ônibus queimados, estações de metrô saqueadas, uma universidade —a UNEFA — completamente destroçada pelas chamas, dezenas de toneladas de produtos alimentícios destinados aos supermercados públicos reduzidos a cinzas, edifícios públicos e sedes ministeriais saqueados, instalações elétricas sabotadas, centros médicos devastados, instituições eleitorais destruídas etc. 1

Frente a essa tentativa de desestabilização destinada a provocar uma ruptura da ordem constitucional, as autoridades venezuelanas deram uma resposta enérgica e começaram a prender vários líderes da oposição que fizeram apelos à insurreição ou promoveram atos de vandalismo, e quase mil pessoas envolvidas com a violência. 2 Como todo Estado de Direito e no estrito respeito às garantias constitucionais, a Justiça venezuelana julgou os acusados e lhes aplicou as sanções previstas no Código Penal para atos semelhantes. 3

Os meios de comunicação ocidentais denunciam atentados contra os direitos humanos. Ao mesmo tempo, omitem cuidadosamente os assassinatos que os manifestantes cometeram, as apreensões, por parte da polícia, de armas e explosivos entre esses grupos apresentados como pacíficos e as destruições de propriedades públicas e privadas. 4

De fato, a indignação midiática tem dois pesos e duas medidas e não se aplica de modo universal. Efetivamente, a imprensa observa um surpreendente silêncio quando os países ocidentais tomam medidas muito mais draconianas por distúrbios muito menos graves que os que atacam a Venezuela.

Timothy Krause (15/11/2011)

Idosa é detida pela polícia de Nova York em 2011, durante os protestos do Occupy Wall Street na cidade norte-americana

O caso da França é revelador. No dia 27de outubro de 2005, estouraram revoltas urbanas nos bairros populares de Paris e das grandes cidades do país, depois da morte acidental de dois adolescentes perseguidos pela polícia. A importância da violência — que não causou nenhum morte — era menor que a que atingiu a Venezuela nas últimas semanas.

Entretanto, a partir de 8 de novembro de 2005, o presidente Jacques Chirac decidiu declarar o estado de exceção em todo o país e instaurar um toque de recolher mediante o decreto 2005-1386, durante vários meses, aplicando assim a lei de 3 de abril de 1955 adotada durante… a guerra da Argélia. Essa lei, que não era utilizada desde 1961, suspende as garantias constitucionais e atenta gravemente contra as liberdade públicas já que permite “proibir o trânsito de pessoas”, “instituir zonas de proteção ou de segurança onde se regulamenta a permanência de pessoas” e declara “prisão domiciliar em uma circunscrição territorial para toda pessoa que resida na zona determinada pelo decreto”. 5

Da mesma maneira, “o ministro do Interior, para todo o território onde está instaurado o estado de exceção, e o prefeito da província, podem ordenar o fechamento provisório de salas de espetáculos, bares, restaurantes e locais de reunião de todo tipo nas zonas determinadas pelo decreto previsto no artigo 2. Podem também proibir, a título geral ou particular, as reuniões cuja natureza possa provocar ou alimentar a desordem.” 6

A lei de 3 de abril de 1955 confere “às autoridades administrativas apontadas no artigo 8 o poder de ordenar registros de domicílio dia e noite” e habilita “as mesmas autoridades a tomarem todas as medidas para assegurar o controle da imprensa, das publicações de toda índole, assim como dos programas de rádio, das projeções cinematográficas e das representações teatrais”. 7
Essa lei dá o poder à Justiça Militar de substituir a Justiça Civil. Assim, “pode autorizar a jurisdição militar a se encarregar de crimes, assim como dos delitos que lhe são conexos, que competem [normalmente] ao tribunal regional”, em detrimento da jurisdição de direito comum. 8

Para justificar semelhantes medidas que contrariam a Convenção Europeia de Direitos Humanos (CEDH), Paris evocou o artigo 15 da CEDH que autoriza “em caso de guerra ou de perigo público que ameace a vida da nação”, suspender as obrigações às quais a França tinha se comprometido. 9

Gabriel Vinicius de Moraes

Soldados da polícia militar atiram em direção de manifestantes na Avenida Paulista, em São Paulo, em 13 de junho

Em nenhum momento a Venezuela — atacada por uma violência mais severa que a de 2005 na França — instaurou o estado de exceção, nem suspendeu as garantias constitucionais, nem atentou contra as liberdades públicas, nem impôs a Justiça Militar em detrimento da Justiça Civil.

Um exemplo mais recente é também ilustrativo. Depois dos distúrbios que aconteceram na cidade de Amiens, no dia 14 de agosto de 2012 que causaram danos materiais (uma escola e vários edifícios públicos incendiados) e feriram 17 policiais, a Justiça francesa sancionou severamente os autores desses delitos. Seis pessoas foram condenadas a penas de um a cinco anos de prisão. 10 O tribunal de menores de Amiens, inclusive, condenou cinco adolescentes de 14 a 17 anos a penas de até 30 meses de prisão.11

Seria fácil multiplicar os exemplos. Quando a polícia de Nova York prendeu arbitrariamente mais de 700 manifestantes pacíficos, os quais foram vítimas de brutalidades por parte das forças da ordem, os meios de comunicação não acusaram o governo de Barack Obama de violar os direitos humanos. 12

Da mesma maneira, quando a polícia brasileira reprimiu violentamente os manifestantes pacíficos em São Paulo e prendeu 262 pessoas em um único dia, agredindo ao mesmo tempo vários jornalistas, os meios de comunicação, com razão, não colocaram em julgamento a legitimidade democrática da presidenta Dilma Roussef. 13

Os meios de comunicação ocidentais são incapazes de mostrar imparcialidade quando se trata de abordar a complexa realidade venezuelana. A imprensa se nega a cumprir seu dever, que consiste em difundir todos os fatos e zomba do Código de Ética Jornalística. Prefere defender uma agenda política bem precisa, a qual vai contra os princípios elementares da democracia e da vontade do povo venezuelano expressada múltiplas vezes nas urnas.

Salim Lamrani

Doutor em Estudos Ibéricos e Latino-americanos, Salim Lamrani é professor-titular da Universidade de la Reunión e jornalista, especialista nas relações entre Cuba e Estados Unidos. Seu último livro se chama Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, com prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

Contato: [email protected] ; [email protected]
Página no Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalimLamraniOfficiel

1. Agencia Venezolana de Noticias, “Violencia derechista en Venezuela destruye 12 centros de atención médica y electoral”, 27 de março de 2014.
2. Salim Lamrani, “Se a oposição venezuelana fosse francesa… “, Opera Mundi, 11 de abril de 2014. (site consultado no dia 20 de maio de 2014).
3. EFE, “Lilian Tintori expone el caso de Leopoldo López ante autoridades españolas”, 18 de maio  de 2014.
4. Paulo A. Paranagua, « Leopoldo Lopez, prisonnier politique numéro un du président vénézuélien Maduro », Le Monde, 22 de abril de 2014. (site consultado no dia 20 de maio de 2014).
5. Loi n°55-385 du 3 avril 1955 relatif à l’état d’urgence. (site consultado no dia 20 de maio de 2014).
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Convention européenne des droits de l’homme, article 15. (site consultado no dia 20 de maio de 2014). 10. Le Monde, « Emeutes d’Amiens : jusqu’à cinq ans de prison ferme pour les violences », 16 de maio de 2014. (site consultado no dia 20 de maio de 2014). 11. Le Monde, « Emeutes d’Amiens : jusqu’à 2 ans de prison ferme des mineurs », 13 de mayo de 2014. (site consultado no dia 20 de maio de 2014). 12. Sandro Pozzi, “La policía detiene a 700 indignados por ocupar el puente de Brooklyn”, El País, 2 de outubro de 2011. 13. María Martin, “Ativistas denunciam brutalidade policial durante o ato contra a Copa de São Paulo”, El País, 14 de febrero de 2014. (site consultado el 20 de mayo de 2014).

Enquanto a OTAN convoca amanhã em Bruxelas os seus 28 ministros da defesa para a realização de uma força antirussa ao mesmo tempo em que ela intensifica o treinamento de militares e paramilitares de Quieve, o que inclue então os esquadrões que tentaram assassinar o secretário do Partido Comunista ucraniano, e a União Européia lança novas sanções contra a Rússia, a resposta vem não de Moscou, mas de Pequim. O presidente Vladimir Putin da Rússia inicia hoje a sua visita oficial a China, durante a qual se assinará cerca de uns trinta acordos bilaterais, dos quais o primeiro efeito será o de frustrar o plano de Washington, que tem em vista o “isolar a Rússia de Putin enfraquecendo seus elos econômicos e políticos com o mundo exterior”.

O abrangimento do acordo é estratégico. Um contrato no valor de 270 bilhões de dólares entre a companhia estatal russa Rosneft e a companhia chinesa “National Petroleum Company” estipula que a Rússia deverá fornecer a China, nos próximos 25 anos, mais de 700 milhões de toneladas de petróleo, enquanto um outro contrato estabelece que a companhia estatal russa Gazprom fornecerá a China, até 2018, 38 bilhões de metros cúbicos de gás por ano, ou seja, cerca de ¼  -um quarto- do que a Rússia fornece hoje a Europa. Tendo também em conta investimentos chineses previstos para 20 bilhões de dólares, os quais tem o seu foco na infraestrutura, Moscou está projetando para fornecer a China, a realização de um óleoduto entre a Sibéria oriental e o oceano Pacífico, ao lado de um gasoduto de 4 000  km. Pequim também está interessado em fazer investimentos na Criméia, e isso especialmente para a produção e exportação do gás natural liquefeito, a modernização da agricultura e a construção de um terminal para a cultura de cereais. Ao mesmo tempo, tanto Moscou como Pequim estão pensando em abandonar o dólar como moeda de intercâmbio na Ásia. Tem-se aqui também que a Rússia está em andamentos para um novo sistema de pagamentos, semelhante ao modelo chinês Union Pay, sistema esse que deverá ser usado em mais de 140 países, colocando-se assim no segundo lugar mundial, depois do sistema Visa.

A cooperação russo-chinesa não se limita ao campo econômico. O presidente Xi Jinping e o presidente Vladimir Putin, fontes diplomáticas anunciaram, irão fazer uma “declaração substancial” sobre a situação internacional. A convergência de seus interesses estratégicos será demonstrada com um exercício conjunto que a marinha da Rússia e da China farão no Mar Chinês Meridional, exatamente depois de nas Filipinas ter sido desenvolvido o grande exercício aero-naval dos Estados Unidos. Também está praticamente concluido o acordo militar no qual a Rússia fornecerá a Pequim o jato de caça de múltiplas funções, o Sukhoi Su-35, submarinos de classe Lada, e ainda os mais avançados sistemas de defesa missílica S-400.

Para sublinhar a convergência de interesses entre Moscou e Pequim, o presidente Putin também age na Conferência sobre as medidas de interação e reforçamento da confiança e lealdade na Ásia, CICA, que presidida por Xi Jinping se realiza em Changai, em 20-21 de maio, com a participação, entre outros, do primeiro ministro iraquiano Nouri al-Maliki, do presidente afegão Hamid Karzai e do presidente iraniano Hassan Rouhani. Essa é uma bofetada na cara dos Estados Unidos depois desse ter gasto nas guerras do Iraque e Afeganistão seis mil bilhões de dólares para ver agora a China economicamente presente nesses países. No Iraque a China compra cerca da metade do produto bruto, ou seja da matéria prima, e faz grandes investimentos na indústria petrolífera; no Afeganistão a China investe sobretudo no sector da mineração, depois dos geólogos do Pentágono terem descoberto ricas jazidas de litio, cobalto, ouro e outros metais. E, entende-se que, quanto ao ferir o Irã, aqui abre-se a possibilidaade do desenvolvimento do mesmo ao leste, enquanto a Rússia e a China invalidam de-facto o embargo feito pelos Estados Unidos, e a União Européia.

As coisas não vão melhor para os Estados Unidos na frente ocidental. O prospecto da administração de Obama quanto a uma possibilidade de reduzir de uns 25%, dentro de um decênio, o fornecimento do gás russo a Europa, para ser substituido pelo gás liquefeito natural fornecido pelos Estados Unidos, está se revelando como um bluff. Isso se confirma pelo fato de que não obstante as sanções anunciadas por Berlim, as companhias alemãs continuam a investir na indústria energética russa. A Rma Pipeline Equipment, produtora de válvulas para oleo-e-gasodutos, está fazendo a sua maior planta na região do Volga, na Rússia enquanto a companhia russa Gazprom já assinou  contratos, dos quais entre eles, um de 2 bilhões de euros com a italiana Saipem, Eni, para a realização do gasoduto South Stream-Torrente Sul, que desviando-se da Ucrânia, levará o gás russo através do Mar Negro até a Bulgária e depois a União Européia. Mesmo se os Estados Unidos sucedessem em bloquear essa “Torrente do Sul”, a Rússia continuaria a poder exportar esse gás a China. O caminho para a China já está agora aberto. Esse é através da “Torrente Leste”.

 Manlio Dinucci

Edição de terça-feira, 20 de maio de il manifesto

http://ilmanifesto.it/controffensiva-sul-fronte-orientale/

Tradução Anna Malm, artigospoliticos.wordpress.com, para Mondialisation.ca

The kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in Chibok town some three weeks ago has drawn widespread global opprobrium. Instinctively, Nigerians and people globally, pricked by human feeling, have seen the latest barbaric onslaught on poor Nigerians by the murderous Boko Haram terrorists, as an assault on human dignity and safety. To most people, this terror sect has reached its crescendo with the abduction of innocent schoolgirls.

Jonathan Government’s Stunning Callousness

Ironically, the Nigerian government, led by Goodluck Jonathan did not see reason why it must be bothered about kidnap of schoolgirls. For it, the logic that this is not the first time justifies its lukewarm attitude. This explains government’s careless attitude to the plight of the pupils and their parents. Even at the peak of the outcry by the parents to the government, the Jonathan government did not issue a single statement, at least to console the parents. On the contrary, it exploited the issue for its political interests. For instance, while the government did not sanction senior security chiefs who misled the nation by claiming that most of the schoolgirls have been rescued, many protesters, especially in the north were illegally arrested.

Tragic-comically, the president’s wife, Patience Jonathan, whose husband could hardly lift a finger for two weeks, was quick to issue ‘order’ for the immediate release of the schoolgirls. She even arranged a tear-shedding session with journalists. Interestingly, the following day, two of the selfless and concerned parents, leading the campaign for the release of the girls were clamped into detention, because they ‘embarrassed’ the government of the madam’s husband.

The President, at a media chat, was busy asking journalists to help him find the missing girls, because they (the journalists) know more about security and defence of the country than the Commander-in-Chief does! The same president that budgeted close to a trillion naira for defence last year was asking journalists to guide him on national security! Prior to this time, the President, in a show of pure callousness attended a political rally in Kano dancing, while in the nation’s capital city, Abuja, more than seventy lives were burning to ashes in a terrorist bomb blast. Surely, Nigeria is in deep shit, when it comes to governance.

Imperialist Intervention: An Assured Failure

Consequent upon these official shenanigans, not a few people will be ready to accept any means possible to rescue these kids and reunite them with their parents. However, in our quest for immediate release of the girls and end to terrorism, we must spare thought for the kind of solutions on offer. The current messianic status being accorded western imperialist governments of the United States (US), Britain, France, etc as being expressed in major newspapers in the country and internationally, is misplaced and indeed dangerous. Of course, behind the latest imperialist intervention is Nigeria’s bankrupt, corrupt capitalist ruling class, through is rotten politics, which has failed Nigerians in all areas. While the western governments claim that only a few military and intelligence forces will be involved, the reality is that the country is in a protracted foreign military hostage.

The US and other western government’s military involvement in the Boko Haram issue will not guarantee peace in the northern Nigeria or elsewhere. In fact, it has the capacity to draw in stronger forces of global terrorist network into Nigeria, as the country will be seen as another outpost of western imperialism against terrorism (a seed capitalist imperialism sowed in the first instance). Whether the Chibok schoolgirls are found or not, the US and western imperialist militaries will use the opportunity to seek a permanent base in the country, and play more roles in the internal security policies. With this will be deeper involvement of western imperialism in the politics and economics of the country. He, who controls the defence, dictates the pace of the politics and by extension controls the economy. A review of western media editorials and reports suggests that there is a conclusion being drawn that Nigeria is a failed state, and the government is incapable of addressing not just security situation but also the problems confronting the polity. This is a background to placing western capitalist governments as savior of Nigeria.

Already, western militaries, with US African Command in the lead, are playing decisive roles in the Gulf of Guinea, with the possibility of building military bases in the coast of Nigeria around Lagos. This is being done under the guise of combating oil bunkering and piracy. The Nigerian government, under Goodluck Jonathan, has already surrendered Nigeria’s coastal defence to the western imperialist forces. With the latest involvement in northern Nigeria, in the name of fighting terrorism, the cycle may be complete. Moreover, the US drone bases have been situated in Niger, which borders Nigeria, while France has presence in Mali and other francophone African countries. There have also been previous attempts to set up a drone base in Nigeria without success. Just few years ago, Nigerians rejected citing of US African Military Command (AFRICOM) base in Nigeria; but today, western militaries may have achieved more than they dreamt. Nigerians must reject western military intervention.

This is in addition to gross human rights abuses this will engender. For instance, while one of the excuses of western imperialism in Afghanistan is the need for women liberation, the country, thirteen years after, has seen further degeneration of women’s conditions with abduction, rape, etc being the order of the day. In Nigeria, half of over 1500 deaths in the first quarter of this year alone in the terrorist campaign were attributed to Nigerian military’s indiscriminate killing, with many of those killed by the military suspected to be innocent people or detainees awaiting trials, according to Amnesty International report. Should we forget that the same Nigerian military razed a whole town sometimes last year, killing hundreds of people (the Baga massacre). Indeed, western intervention can only worsen these situations. The drone killings in Afghanistan and Pakistan are clear examples.

By helping to find the schoolgirls, western imperialisms will become an important factor in the counter-terrorism policy of the government, and the overall defence system of Nigeria. On the contrary, if the girls are not found, it will justify protracted involvement in Nigeria’s internal security. Already, according to the UK Guardian, the British foreign policy experts and politicians are discussing using the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle, a 2005 principle agreed to at the UN, which has been used by imperialism for predatory interventions in Darfur, Libya, Yemen, Mali, etc. Also, some sections of US security and diplomatic corps are considering the Yemen option. This means having unfettered right to locate and destroy enemies (potential and real), using lethal weapons including drones, without approval or oversight from local government. It will also involve control of a country’s intelligence network, which will mean direct profiling of citizens. Why these may not be on immediate agenda, they are open options depending on how far western imperialisms are allowed by Nigerians. For instance, without strong opposition from the working people, western imperialism will be mired in deeper engagement with terrorists, not only in Nigeria but throughout the continent, using Nigeria as a launch pad.

The #BringBackOurGirls Campaign

The current social media campaign, especially the #BringBackOurGirls twitter campaign, while playing vital role in drawing international attention to the terror campaign in Nigeria, without clear background to the underlining causes, may be feeding the imperialists’ interventions with confidence and authority. A one-line slogan hides a lot of information about the role of western governments in the germination and growth of terrorism itself. It, on the contrary, makes open-ended what kinds of solutions are needed to rout terrorism, thus leaving the initiative to the imperialist forces. A parallel can be drawn with the #Kony2012 campaign, which allowed imperialist forces to invade not just Uganda, but other countries like DR Congo, South Sudan, etc under the guise of finding Joseph Kony of the LRA (the Uganda rebel group, which has unleashed murderous terror on children and women).

While Kony has not been found, the US and other European military forces are still domiciled in the continent. With this, the US AFRICOM has been able to secure semi-permanent bases in many east African countries. In other parts of the continent, especially North Africa, US and European forces, under the guise of fighting terrorism and stopping genocide have secured bases in such countries as Mali, Djibouti, Niger, CAR, etc. While terrorism, genocide and piracy have not stopped, western forces are still present in Africa than ever. Therefore, the current social media campaigns, which may lose steam without clear mass mobilization campaign, need a class-conscious analysis to determine what solutions are needed and who should provide them. It is surprising that discredited capitalist politicians like David Cameron (who wanted to wage bloody war against Syria), Gordon Brown, Tony Blair (who, alongside George Bush, was the architect of the imperialist wars in Afghanistan and Iraq), Hillary Clinton, etc are now using the campaign to rescue the girls as a whitewashing and image laundering tool. Moreover, this campaign, without a clear-cut slogans as the tendency to gloss over worse atrocities being perpetrated. For instance, just few days ago, over 300 lives were again wasted in Gamboru Ngala, in Borno State. This definitely cannot be covered by a #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

What is the way forward?

Consequently, Nigerian working people must understand that the capitalist classes, whose policies provided the breeding ground for terrorism to thrive, cannot genuine end terrorism. At best, they can only replace one terror with another. In ending terrorism, capitalists have created more problems than solution. Therefore, the genuine solution can only come from the working people themselves. As immediate measure:

1.  NLC and TUC must call a 48-hour general strike with mass protests across the country, to mobilize popular mass movement against terrorism, and the flippant manner the Jonathan government is handling it. Such mass movement must also reject imperialist intervention but mobilize for working class and community based defence committees. This strike and mass movements should be linked with all the other basic socio-economic demands of the people. By mobilizing mass movement across the country, Boko Haram will be isolated, and Jonathan government will need to justify its continued existence.

It is important to note that where mass of working and oppressed people are united in their collective struggle against anti-people policies, divisive tendencies of terrorism and fascism are easily subsumed. This is because, as stated earlier, divisive tendencies like terrorism are product of suffering wrought by globalised capitalism. Therefore, only mass movements of working and oppressed people can detach and erode the base of these divisive groups. Throughout the January 2012 protests and strike against hike in fuel price in Nigeria, no single bomb was thrown, neither was there any terror attack. However, a day after labour leaders botched the protests; a terror attack killing scores of people was carried out in the city of Kano. Indeed, the defeat of sit-tight regimes in the Arab world was not accomplished by bombs but by mass movements of workers, youth and the oppressed. Indeed, where mass movements develop, terror forces are isolated.

2. Democratic community and workplace defence committees should be set up across the country, especially in the north, as a counterweight to brutality of the terrorists and the Nigerian military. These defence committees should organize defence of communities, including intelligence gathering, searches, armed resistance, etc. The excuse that people will be killed does not suffice, as people are already being killed senselessly and without opportunity of self-defence. In fact, Chibok community people, including women organized a search and rescue team in the wake of the military’s pusillanimity. According to a Dr. Manaseh, whose sister was among the abducted, “after the incident, over 204 people including volunteers from Chibok mobilized a day after the attack and stormed Sambisa forest with many contributing N15, 000 each for fuel to be used in their motorcycles for the rescue…” (Vanguard, 11 May 2014). Who says working and poor people cannot organize?

Will such self-defence committees not be abused? This is why there is need to put such committees under democratic control of communities, with every household involved in the formation and control of such committees. These committees will be different from the so-called Civilian JTF currently existing in Borno State, which has become an appendage of the deadly military forces, aside not being under democratic control of communities. It is nevertheless important to emphasize that the spontaneous rise of the Civilian JTF (a form of community defence committee), though not on democratic basis, shows the potential for independent organization by working and community people, if there is a national lead. The leadership of the labour movement, youth movement and the Left, in such initiative can make such committee serve as revolutionary platform.

3. Working and oppressed people must organize to bring down this bankrupt Jonathan capitalist regime and the rotten, neo-colonial capitalist system it superintends over. This system is the root cause of terrorism. How do you convince a 20 year old that book is not haram when all he ever saw in the past 14 years of civil rule is poverty, hunger, joblessness, oppression, injustice and obscene display of wealth by a rich few? How will you convince a young Nigerian who has not seen the wonders of chemical reaction or the importance of electromagnetism that book is not haram? The last 14 years of civil rule has seen unprecedented wealth accumulation in the country, which can take Nigerians to the Space more than 20 times, yet it is a miracle for Nigerians to have safe transit from Lagos to Kano. A government that can commit a trillion naira to defence, but can hardly spend less than a quarter of this on education and healthcare is a government of social terror.

Conclusion

We must end capitalism before it ends us all. Build revolutionary workers’ party now! Workers should take over their unions and rebuild them on democratic, anti-capitalist and revolutionary basis! Build democratic revolutionary committees linked up from grassroots to the national level to replace this corrupt regime. Working people need a revolutionary socialist government that will put mainstay of the economy under democratic public ownership. With this, the enormous resources of the country, rather than being cornered by the rich few and multinational corporations, will be committed to developing infrastructures, creating decent and secure jobs, educating the youth, providing adequate  healthcare, and industrializing the country. This is the only way divisive and deadly forces of religious fundamentalism, ethnic chauvinism and social annihilation can be ended.

With the economy of the country under democratic ownership, control and management of the working people, communities, professionals, etc, we can plan how the resources and wealth of the country will be best utilized, on an environmental sustainable basis, to secure decent and fulfilled lives for all Nigerians and incoming generations. This will also require the working people in Africa, and globally to rise to defeat globalised capitalism, and enthrone a democratic, revolutionary working peoples’ governments. For instance, with revolutionary working people’s governments in West Africa alone, enormous resources – human, material, natural, etc – can be harnessed to develop the region, as a prelude to forming a Socialist Federation (or Confederation) of Africa. That terrorism is fast spreading in Africa, and the world, underscores the fact that only an internationalised united working class struggles to end capitalism can permanently defeat terrorism. This is why the working people in Nigeria must build mass movements across borders to defeat both terrorism and globalised capitalism that is at the root of terrorism. The current wave of solidarity protests across continents shows that it is possible to build a trans-continental movement against capitalism.

Even if the Boko Haram sect is defeated, without working class revolutionary and socialist alternative, other divisive forces will tear society apart based on the present rotten arrangement. We need a working class political platform to lead the struggle for a socialist revolution.

 Kola Ibrahim is a freelance writer, author and activist based on Osun State, Nigeria.

[email protected]

Ukraine and Syria are both going to the polls in less than two weeks, but the election that is legitimate (Syria) is painted as a fraud by the West, and the actual fraudulent election (Ukraine) is promoted as legitimate. Comparing both of these cases back-to-back most strongly illustrates the hypocrisy behind the West’s position. By keeping in mind that it is the West that supports the Ukrainian junta and Russia and China (the leaders of ‘the Rest’) that support the legitimate Syrian government, the dichotomy over democratic practice becomes more acute, and not surprisingly, this illustrates the growing moral and normative authority that the Rest has over the West.

There are three main categorical comparisons, and the juxtaposition of the Ukrainian and Syrian scenarios will demonstrate the lack of democracy in the former and the vibrance of it in the latter.

The Population:

Syrians citizens waving national flags and holding photos of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a pro-government rally in Aleppo province, Syria, April 29, 2014 In Ukraine, there are hardly any rallies in support of the occupying junta, and in the ones that do occur, there is violence and the fostering of extreme and exclusive nationalism. It is more common to see concentrated public opposition to the “authorities”, not support, especially in the eastern part of the country. In Syria, the situation is reversed. There are countless peaceful pro-government rallies all throughout the country and abroad, and people even gather to support the army’s anti-terrorist successes. In Ukraine, the politicians have realized that their “anti-terrorist” operation is a disaster. Sensing the tidal wave of populism surging against them, the Rada recently voted to immediately halt the military suppression in the east. Whether or not the junta listens to its stooges is another story…

The situation with the extremists wreaking havoc in each country is also different. The Ukrainian militants are native Ukrainians influenced by Neo-Nazi ideologies, but in Syria, they’re largely Islamic fundamentalists from abroad. There are about 8,000 foreign fighters in Syria, a ten-time increase from last year, hailing from nearly 80 different countries. Quite clearly, the extremism in Ukraine is homegrown, while in Syria it is exported from abroad.

The Electoral Process

This section can be subdivided into three parts:

Structure:

The Ukrainian “elections” are an attempt to legitimize the coup’s militant takeover de-jure, but in Syria, they are to show the people’s opposition to a coup attempt. As such, the US has had a guiding influence over the junta’s activities, but in Syria, it has no such influence over the government or presidential candidates. This gives each voting exercise a completely different structure and helps explain the US’ discrepancies in labelling one legitimate and the other not. The Ukrainian one is to solidify servitude to the outside-supported elite, while the Syrian one is to safeguard the country’s successful resistance to such chains of despondence.

Yulia Timoshenko and Petro Poroshenko - implacable rivals in ongoing farse presidential campaign in Ukraine.

Choices:

The people of Ukraine don’t really have a choice in the upcoming elections – it’s basically one oligarch versus another. Petro Poroshenko, one of the most prominent oligarchs in the country, is the current front-runner, with disgraced politician and former Western darling Yulia Tymoshenko, also a ruthless oligarch, trailing far behind. Mikhail Dobkin, representing the Party of Regions, isn’t involved in corruption and scandal like the other two candidates, but it is impossible for him to win under the current circumstances. Besides, the Communist Party is boycotting the vote and will not recognize its results, and Oleg Tsarev, an anti-junta candidate from the east, has withdrawn his candidacy. Political intimidation of voters and candidates has also been prevalent in Ukraine since the coup.

In Syria, however, none of the presidential candidates are oligarchs or Western agents of influence. All of the candidates are safe and none of them have been attacked by vicious antagonistic mobs, unlike Tsarev.It is important to note that there are no extremists running for president in Syria, as the Syrian government is adamant about stomping such vile influences out of society. This is in stark contrast to Ukraine, where Dmitro Yarosh, the extremist leader of Pravy Sektor, is running for president. Russia has placed a warrant for his arrest with Interpol, accusing him of inciting extremism and having fought with international terrorist gangs in Chechnya in the past. The fact that such an individual can aspire to become president in Ukraine (no matter how distant his chances of success), and the West’s support of such a “democracy”, speaks volumes about what “democracy” currently means to them.

Practice:

In practice, the vote in Ukraine is null and void before it has even begun. This is because Lugansk and Donetsk, collectively representing nearly 6 million people and having just voted for their self-determination, will be boycotting it. Incidentally, the West still seems to think that 6 million people boycotting the ballot (and more Ukrainians outside of those two regions may likely boycott as well) doesn’t affect the legitimacy of the results. On the other hand, in Syria, citizens are so enthusiastic to vote, that even those currently outside of the country are clamoring to participate. For all of its democratic rhetoric, some Western countries are suppressing these voters’ aspirations. The Syrian Foreign Ministry accuses France and Germany in particular of not allowing Syrians there to vote in the upcoming elections. This adds credence to the earlier claim that the West is against elections that it cannot influence and control.

The Political Context:

A civilian victim of Ukrainian "counter-terrorist operation" in Mariupol, May 9, 2014.

The political context is drastically different in each election theater. In Ukraine, unresolved atrocity investigations over the Maidan sniper attacks, the Odessa burnings, and the Mariupol massacre completely discredit the ruling regime. In Syria, the former atrocity accusations have been resolved and the government absolved of any complicity. The chemical weapons attack and the Houla Massacre were revealed to be false flag attacks by the extremists, not the authorities. Even the US gave up its misinformation campaign after their proxies were implicated as the true culprits.

Ukraine right now is not territorially unified, as the southeastern areas of Lugansk and Donetsk had recently voted for their self-determination and are boycotting the vote. The ruling figures in Kiev refuse to acknowledge their choice, yet they want to impose the election results on these individuals anyway. This is all done with the support of the US government. Syria, on the other hand, does not have any territorial unification issues. Territorial integrity is important because it allows elections to have legitimacy over the entire country and represent everyone in it. Syria has this, Ukraine does not.

Concluding Thoughts:

Both countries provide case studies of Western-sponsored regime change attempts, with Ukraine as the success and Syria as the failure. Syria’s identity as a resistance state has been reinforced by the Western- and Gulf-led militant mayhem within the country, but it was able to successfully fend off the fiends through its strong identity as the only consistently resistant state in the region. Ukraine, on the flip side, did not establish any such solid unifying identity since its independence (Syria’s was accelerated as a result of its wars with Israel), and this has led to the downfall of the state and its (permanent?) internal division. Syria provides a strong example of why resistance is not futile and how a strong understanding of purpose can hold a society together amidst outside centripetal attempts to tear it apart.

 With all of this in mind, the elections most importantly signify the Rest’s moral and normative authority over the West. By supporting the Ukrainian junta’s electoral stunt and rejecting true democracy in Syria, the West has decimated its own democratic rhetoric. It will recognize the results of the Ukrainian “election” but not that of Syria’s proper one, and the Rest, led by Russia and China, will rightfully spearhead the diplomatic support of Syria’s while rejecting Ukraine’s. This coordination of Russo-Sino policy, in line with what was recently agreed upon by both countries’ presidents, further confirms the development of a resistant configuration to the West’s “New World Order” of unipolarity.

Andrew Korybko is the American Master’s Degree student at the Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO).

Democrats in labor unions and figures like former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and others were justly outraged at Barack Obama’s latest wet kiss to Wal-Mart earlier this month. But First Lady Michelle Obama has been in bed with the giant retailer for years. Is this a nasty bug in the Obama presidency, or a corrupt core feature?

Earlier this month President Obama visited a Bay Area Wal-Mart to praise the world’s largest and most anti-union retailer for its supposed environmental responsibility. The fact is that Wal-Mart’s maintenance of diesel-fueled supply chains between its stores and wherever on the planet wages are lowest and environmental restrictions are totally absent make it a major ongoing contributor to runaway climate change. The president’s appearance therefore, was simply a hypocritical exercise ingreenwashing for Wal-Mart.

Though it was an insult to working people and to many of his abject and fervent supporters, it should have been no surprise. It wasn’t President Obama’s first wet kiss to Wal-Mart and with almost three more years in office to go it won’t be his last. Still the willingness of the Obama Administration to do the bidding of Wal-Mart shows just how hollow has become the pretense of elected black Democrats to representing the poor and oppressed.

There was a time when Democrats in the White House did not dare openly shill for the giant retailer. Hillary Clinton served on Wal-Mart’s board of directors through most of the 1980s, while her husband Bill was governor of Arkansas. Even then, Wal-Mart was notorious for overworking and underpaying its workers, violating labor laws to thwart unions, and sopping up prodigious amounts of corporate welfare in the forms of tax breaks and subsidies of all kinds. Being in bed with those crooks wasn’t just an embarrassment, it was a hypocritical affront to Democratic voters, so somewhere on the 1992 road to the White House, Hillary resigned from Wal-Mart’s board. Similarly in 2007 with her husband on the way to the White House, Michelle Obama felt compelled to resign from the board of TreeHouse Foods,a major Wal-Mart vendor. “I won’t shop there,” said presidential candidate Barack Obama when questioned about Wal-Mart at an AFL-CIO labor forum.

Of course labor audiences in 2007 and 2008 were where Obama pledged to renegotiate NAFTA, andimmediately raise the minimum wage as soon as he took office. The president never mentioned raising the minimum wage again till about 2012 when Republicans were safely in control of the House of Representatives, and instead of renegotiating NAFTA, President Obama is engaged in secret negotiations to extend it across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Evidently the Obama that promises is a different guy, and far less powerful, than the Obama that acts.

Safely in office, Michelle and Barack Obama have enthusiastically embraced Wal-Mart. The first lady allowed the unscrupulous retailer to leverage her personal image as an advocate of exercise and healthy eating in her “Let’s Move” initiative, and spouting the company line that the best solution to urban “food deserts” is opening more Wal-Mart neighborhood grocery stores. Michelle Obama’s many appearances at and pronouncements around Wal-Mart have done the retailer more good than she and Hillary could ever have done in another decade or two apiece on its board of directors.

Right now Wal-Mart is approaching 30% of the US retail grocery market, with far lower wages, fewer hours, skimpier benefits, and longer and dirtier supply chains than its major competitors. As I said a couple years ago in an article about Michelle Obama’s cynical embrace of Wal-Mart:

Wal-Mart’s business model of corrupting public officials, lying about job creation numbers, rampant sex and race discrimination, relentlessly low wage and benefit levels, and aspirations to monopoly control of local markets across the country make it a bad neighbor, a worse boss, an unfair competitor and sometimes a criminal enterprise.

Wal-Mart has been a leader in the corporate practice of weaponizing its charitable giving, turning it into a lever to open new markets in urban America, to neutralize and isolate opposition, and to curry favor with local political figures. Wal-Mart made it rain on selected charities and ministries in areas like Newark and Chicago when it needed to colonize those new markets. President Obama recognized this “achievement” in the corruption of Democratic party politics in March 2014 by nominating Wal-Mart’s chief of charitable giving to head up his Office of Management and Budget.

Wal-Mart was even allowed, along with McDonalds and other large, low-wage employers, to shape the drafting of regulations governing Obamacare, in ways that exempted the retailer from having to ensure large numbers of its workers for the first several years.

The fiction that elected Democrats represent poor and working people and stand for safeguarding the environment is just that – a fiction. There is a new neoliberal paradigm that allows Democrats to mumble a few words about raising the minimum wage when the other party controls Congress, that claims the moment they took office was the day the oceans stopped rising. If these were curable bugs in the political system, votes and advocacy would wake enough people up to change them. But what if they’re not bugs in the system at all. What if these are its core and immutable features? What then? Isn’t it time to step outside their two-party, capitalist box, to dream and begin to build something else?

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works in Marietta GA and can be reached via this site’s contact page or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

The #BringBackOurGirls campaign has become the loudest voice for U.S. imperialism and military domination of Africa. It’s only message is that the U.S. “do something” – as if America is not already responsible for the death of millions of Africans in Congo, Somalia and elsewhere. #BringBackOurGirls masks the reality that Washington’s real mission is to protect corporate theft of Nigeria’s wealth.

When tragedies occur, questions arise. If a close relative is injured in a car accident, the affected family may ask a number of questions for both clarity and guidance. One question certain to come up is “who or what is responsible for the accident?” Most people wouldn’t accept an answer to this question from just anyone. Instead, concerned family and community members would probably seek verifiable evidence that leads to logical conclusions about the nature of the incident.

The #BringBackOurGirls campaign doesn’t appear interested in asking the difficult questions necessary to understanding the forces behind the kidnapping of 300 young girls in Nigeria. The campaign instead calls for US intervention to track down the so-called “terrorist” organization, Boko Haram. US imperialism responded quickly by sending marines to Nigeria, escalating US militarization in a country already dominated economically and politically by the West. #BringBackOurGirls supporters achieved their objective of further US militarization at the expense of African people. The #BringBackOurGirls campaign is thus not a social movement at all, and it must be clearly understood that there is much more to the kidnappings in Nigeria than the campaign is willing to address.

The motives of the #Bringbackourgirls campaign are unclear. The US corporate media is focusing most of its attention on hand selected US-based Nigerians demanding US intervention. Is the campaign’s main objective to bring the young Nigerian women back to their families, as it claims? Or is it to enhance US militarization and neo-colonialism in Africa? So far, the campaign’s use of social media and street outreach only reinforces public confusion around US imperialism in Africa.

US imperialism built its foundation by enslaving Africans within its own borders, and did so into the later half of the 19th century. However, it was not until the middle of the 20th century that the corporate masters of US imperialism set their direct sites on the African continent. During this period, the European colonial powers were severely weakened from WWII. European colonialism relinquished settler status in response to national liberation movements in Africa and domestic financial crisis from post WWII destruction. Washington saw the exit of European settler colonialism from Africa as the perfect opportunity to exploit the great wealth of the continent through US military intelligence (CIA) and Bretton Woods institutions (IMF and World Bank).

Kwame Nkrumah, the first revolutionary President of independent Ghana, was deeply critical of US imperialism in Africa. Nkrumah wrote in “Class Struggle in Africa that Washington aided neo-colonialism by financially and militarily supporting the development of an African bourgeoisie. Political leaders and freedom fighters who envisioned an economically independent and unified Africa were assassinated or overthrown by the CIA, such as Patrice Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nkrumah himself. After propping up compliant African states and fueling internal strife, Washington exerted its influence in the IMF and World Bank to establish friendly “trade” deals that transferred Africa’s wealth straight to US multinational corporations and those of allied nation-states. In such favorable conditions, US capitalism profited from the neo-colonial exploitation of Africa into the 21st century.

Today, US economic hegemony is increasingly being challenged both in the region and the world by socialist China. US imperialism’s response is to further entangle Africa into its war machine. The US African Command (AFRICOM) currently has relations with all but two African countries (Eritrea and Zimbabwe). In every corner of Africa, AFRICOM has vastly increased its footprint through drone surveillance, weapons distribution, and the training of African security forces in friendly states. AFRICOM’s purported mission is to protect US “national security” interests, a euphemism for the protection of plundered resources. The agency does this by arming and training African armies to serve the interests of US imperialism.

US imperialism has been conducting military operations in Nigeria since at least 1999. AFRICOM, officially established in 2007, became involved in the training and deployment of security forces in the Niger Delta. It is in this resource rich region where Shell Corporation exports much of Nigeria’s vast oil reserves to the West. The Shell Corporation is responsible for the mass impoverishment of Nigerian farmers and workers. The #BringBackOurGirls support for further intervention from the US puppet state in Nigeria masks the reality that US imperialism is protecting the corporate theft of the country’s wealth from the Nigerian people.

This reigns true in every region of Africa. In the east, the US and AFRICOM backed Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia in 2006, destabilizing the nation’s government and leaving millions to starve from withheld food-aid and fend for themselves against CIA sponsored death squads. In central Africa, the US and AFRICOM armed and financed proxies in Uganda and Rwanda, which proceeded to loot the Congo’s coltan, cobalt, and lithium for US and Western multinational corporations. In this ongoing conflict, six million Congolese have been murdered since 1996. In southern Africa, The ANC-led South Africa remains a neo-colony where the profits of US and Western capital are protected at the expense of the Black majority. Further, the US and EU imperialist alliance strapped economic sanctions on Zimbabwe in hopes that the country will reverse its land reform and indigenization policies.

And in 2011, the US-NATO armed foreign terrorist insurgents in Libya responsible for toppling one of the last economically independent countries in Africa. The Libyan Jamahiriya nationalized oil wealth and provided Libyans with free healthcare, education, and housing. Chairman Muammar Gaddafi was a staunch supporter of African liberation movements. He also supported Palestinian resistance against Zionism and Israeli settler colonialism. For his opposition to US hegemony, Gaddafi was murdered without trial and Libya was bombed to bits. In NATO’s 2011 bombing campaign, an estimated 100,000 Libyans were murdered and 50,000 were reported disappeared. In cities like Sirte, Black Libyans were lynched and driven into exile by racist, Western-backed terrorists. Since the fall of independent Libya, evidence of terrorist elements causing chaos across Northern Africa has become impossible to ignore. Seymour Hersh’s revelation that Libya was a virtual supply station for US-NATO backed terrorists in the campaign to destabilize Syria exposes US imperialism’s role in the proliferation of terrorism in Africa.

US imperialism is the real terrorist for African people and the root of terrorism in Africa. The vision of a liberated and decolonized Africa promoted by Kwame Nkrumah cannot occur if US imperialism is allowed to exist in Africa, but the #BringBackOurGirls campaign appears not to care. The rhetoric emanating from the mainstream, corporate campaign reinforces US imperialism in Africa, which essentially is a continuation of hundreds of years of Western colonialism, white power, and neo-colonialism on the continent. US military intervention finds ideological justification in the Western worldview that claims Africa, and in this case Nigeria, is ungovernable without “aid” from US imperialism. Yet “aid” from US imperialist interests has been happening for years in Nigeria and all that has come from it is more poverty, internal conflict, and land theft. So, while some may tweet #BringBackOurGirls, the movement we really need to build is one that demands US imperialism out of Africa all together.

Danny Haiphong is an activist and case manager in the Greater Boston area. You can contact Danny at: [email protected]

Showdown in Ukraine

May 21st, 2014 by Mike Whitney

“Comrade Wolf knows who to eat, and he eats without listening to anyone.”

- Russian President Vladimir Putin referring to the United States

The Ukraine crisis has its roots in a policy that dates back nearly 20 years. The origins of the policy can be traced to a 1997 article in Foreign Policy magazine by Zbigniew Brzezinski, titled “A Geostrategy for Eurasia.” The article makes the case that the United States needs to forcefully establish itself in Central Asia in order to maintain its position as the world’s only superpower. While many readers may be familiar with Brzezinski’s thinking on these matters, they might not know what he has to say about Russia, which is particularly illuminating given that the recent uptick in violence has less to do with Ukraine than it does with Washington’s proxy-war on Russia. Here’s what Brzezinski says:

“Russia’s longer-term role in Eurasia will depend largely on its self-definition…Russia’s first priority should be to modernize itself rather than to engage in a futile effort to regain its status as a global power. Given the country’s size and diversity, a decentralized political system and free-market economics would be most likely to unleash the creative potential of the Russian people and Russia’s vast natural resources. A loosely confederated Russia — composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic — would also find it easier to cultivate closer economic relations with its neighbors. Each of the confederated entitles would be able to tap its local creative potential, stifled for centuries by Moscow’s heavy bureaucratic hand. In turn, a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, A Geostrategy for Eurasia, Foreign Affairs, 76:5, September/October 1997.

So is this the goal of US policy, to create “A loosely confederated Russia” whose economy can be subsumed into America’s market-based system?

Notice how easily Brzezinski chops Russia into smaller, bite-size statelets that pose no threat to US imperial expansion. Brzezinski undoubtedly envisions a Russia that will sell its vast resources in petrodollars and recycle them into US Treasuries further enriching the corrupt rent-skimmers in Washington and Wall Street. He foresees a Russia that will abdicate its historic role in the world and have no say-so in shaping global policy. He imagines a compliant Russia that will help facilitate US imperial ambitions in Asia, even to the point where it will pay to police its own people on behalf of US oligarchs, weapons manufacturers, oil magnates, and 1 percenters. Here’s the paragraph in Brzezinski’s piece that sums up Washington’s objectives in Ukraine, Russia and beyond. It is fittingly headlined with the following words in bold print:

“TRANSCONTINENTAL SECURITY

“Defining the substance and institutionalizing the form of a trans-Eurasian security system could become the major architectural initiative of the next century. The core of the new transcontinental security framework could be a standing committee composed of the major Eurasian powers, with America, Europe, China, Japan, a confederated Russia, and India collectively addressing critical issues for Eurasia’s stability. The emergence of such a transcontinental system could gradually relieve America of some of its burdens, while perpetuating beyond a generation its decisive role as Eurasia’s arbitrator. Geostrategic success in that venture would be a fitting legacy to America’s role as the first and only global superpower.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, “A Geostrategy for Eurasia,” Foreign Affairs

Translation: The United States will police the world, dispatch troublemakers, and eliminate potential threats wherever it finds them. It will impose its neoliberal dogma (Austerity, privatization, structural adjustment, anti labor reforms, etc) across-the-board and on all participants. Also, minor partners–”Europe, China, Japan, a confederated Russia, and India”–will be expected to provide security for their own people at their own expense in order to “relieve America of some of its burdens.”

Nice, eh? So you even have to pay for your own jailers.

And what is “Transcontinental Security” anyway? Isn’t it just a fancy way of saying “one world government”?

Indeed, it is. It’s the very same thing. Here’s more from Brzezinski:

“Failure to widen NATO…would shatter the concept of an expanding Europe… Worse, it could reignite dormant Russian political aspirations in Central Europe.”

This is an oddly convoluted statement. In the first sentence, Brzezinski supports the idea of an “expanding Europe”, and then in the next breath, he worries that Russia might want to do the same thing. It’s another case of the pot calling the kettle black.

What’s clear, is that –in Brzezinski’s mind– EU and NATO expansion will help Washington achieve its hegemonic aspirations. That’s all that matters. Here’s what he says:

“Europe is America’s essential geopolitical bridgehead in Eurasia…A wider Europe and an enlarged NATO will serve the short-term and longer-term interests of U.S. policy… A politically defined Europe is also essential to Russia’s assimilation into a system of global cooperation.”

“Bridgehead”? In other words, Europe is just a means to an end. But what would that “end” be?

Global domination. Isn’t that what he’s talking about?

Of course, it is.

What makes the Ukrainian crisis so hard to understand, is that the media conceals the policy behind the impenetrable fog of daily events. Once the fog lifts though, it’s easy to see who’s causing all the trouble. It’s the party that’s calling the shots from abroad, the good old US of A.

Putin doesn’t want this war and neither do most Ukrainians. The whole thing was conjured up by Uncle Sam and his minions to stop the flow of Russian gas to Europe, to push NATO further eastward, and to break the Russian Federation into little pieces. That’s what it’s really all about. And these madmen are willing to raze Ukraine to the ground and kill every living organism within a 3,000 mile radius of Kiev to get their way. After all, isn’t that what they did in Iraq? They sure did. And did I mention that, according to this week’s Wall Street Journal, “Iraq’s Oil Output Surged to Highest Level in Over 30 Years” with all the usual suspects raking in hefty profits.

The point is, if they’d did it in Iraq, they’ll do it in Ukraine too. Because what Washington cares about is constituents not carnage. Carnage they can handle.

Brzezinski is not the only one supporting the current policy either. There’s also fellow traveler, Hillary Clinton. In fact, it was Secretary of State Clinton who first used the term “pivot” in a 2011 article in Foreign Policy Magazine titled “America’s Pacific Century”. Clinton’s op-ed described a “rebalancing” plan that would open up new markets to US corporations and Wall Street, control the flow of vital resources, and “forge a broad-based military presence” across the continent. Here’s an excerpt from the text of Clinton’s seminal speech:

“The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action.

As the war in Iraq winds down and America begins to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivot point. Over the last 10 years, we have allocated immense resources to those two theaters. In the next 10 years, we need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy, so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values. One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment — diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise — in the Asia-Pacific region…

Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama. Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology…..American firms (need) to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia…The region already generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade. As we strive to meet President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2015, we are looking for opportunities to do even more business in Asia…

…as I talk with business leaders across our own nation, I hear how important it is for the United States to expand our exports and our investment opportunities in Asia’s dynamic markets.” (“America’s Pacific Century”, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton”, Foreign Policy Magazine, 2011)

“Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama”?

Does that sound like someone who wants to cultivate a mutually-beneficial relationship with their trading partners or someone who wants to move in, take over and run the show?

Washington’s plan to shift its attention from the Middle East to Asia is all about money. Clinton even says so herself. She says, “The region generates more than half of global output and nearly half of global trade…Asia’s markets … provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and…a vast and growing consumer base.”

Money, money, money. The upside-profit potential is limitless which is why Madame Clinton wants to plant Old Glory right in “the center of the action”, so US corporations can rake in the dough without fear of reprisal.

Brzezinski says the same thing in his magnum opus “The Grand Chessboard” Here’s an excerpt:

“A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania (Australia) geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.” (Zbigniew Brzezinski, “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And It’s Geostrategic Imperatives”, page 31)

Get the picture? It’s a gold rush! Having successfully looted every last farthing from the battered US middle class and left the economy in a ghastly shambles, Brzezinski, Clinton and Co. are headed for greener pastures in Central Asia, home of the world’s largest oil producing nation, boundless reserves in the Caspian Basin, and zillions of voracious consumers who’ll need everything from I Pads to leisure wear, all graciously provided by US-owned corporations. Cha-ching!

So don’t get tripped up on the daily events in Ukraine. This isn’t a clash between pro-government forces and anti-government activists. This is the next big phase of Washington’s plan to conquer the world, a plan that will inevitably pit Moscow against the amassed military power of the United States of America. This is David vs. Goliath, Mother Russia vs. the Great Satan, Vladie Putin vs. Comrade Wolf.

Ukraine is just Round 1.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

It has been happening all over the earth where pristine nature supports indigenous peoples that for eons of time have lived in isolative bliss and symbiotic harmony with their idyllic surroundings. Primal cultures and their natural habitats have too often been overrun by cultures and technologies from the West, that by their very human nature exploit other humans and nature for profit and greed. It is the history of humankind, one group of invading humans believing themselves to be superior in their mistreatment toward others. Under the false pretense that might makes right, and the false presumption that since they are believed to be more civilized, they therefore are entitled to lay claim to what is not rightfully theirs.

For centuries Western nations from Europe and North America have been invading far-off Third World lands, bringing with them bigger guns and more money to “negotiate” and buy their way into drilling and mining, extracting and stealing whatever precious natural resources they desire from the earth, primarily oil and minerals. Justifying their power grabbing with a self-serving rationale is always accompanied by the hideously false promise that they will bring increasing number of jobs and wealth into the poorer nations and their local populations. And so this recurring cycle of deception, exploitation and theft begins and never ends ad nauseum throughout human history. Unfortunately this very sad old story has been endlessly playing itself out in every corner of the globe ever since the dawn of man.

And though there remain few places on the planet where Western powers have not yet come, have not yet seen, and have not yet conquered, today this pattern is still unfolding in numerous remote regions. Once again so called progress and civilization are colliding with indigenous cultures and the last precious, unspoiled lands on earth. An examination of the native Arctic population of the Inuit Eskimos and their stake in the offshore undersea oil drilling can shed some important light on how indigenous groups in other places may not be faring so well.

Estimates from the US Geological Survey maintain that the Arctic contains some 90 billion barrels of oil and 44 billion barrels of natural gas, totaling 30 percent of the world’s untapped gas reserves. The Beaufort and Chukchi Seas have the potential to produce 500,000 barrels of oil each day. These are tantalizing numbers for prospective oil companies just itching to explore the vast underwater seabed reserves that promise even higher profits than their already record breaking pace in recent years.

With global warming and the polar icecap meltdown, 30 percent of the Arctic sea ice has melted away from 1979 to 2003. This has only enticed oil companies to lust for the Arctic drilling go-ahead with even more enthusiasm and determination. Despite a campaign promise to leave the Arctic region alone for the native Inuit people who have inhabited northern Alaska, Canada and Greenland since 800 B.C. as the longest running human inhabitants in North America, Obama the oil-friendly president has turned his back on them and in 2012 granted licenses for big oil drilling rights in both the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The harsh, austere conditions in the Arctic environment pose much greater dangers than offshore drilling in much warmer waters like the Gulf of Mexico. Plus, with the nearest Coast Guard stations 1000 miles away and no ports in the Arctic, oil drilling is especially problematic throughout the entire region.

Yet just two short years after the most costly and damaging oil spill in history with BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 when nearly 5 million gallons of crude oil leaked into the Gulf, throwing all caution to the wind and the native Inuits he promised to protect under the bus, Obama opened up the Arctic Ocean to the greedy oil companies. With complete disregard for the native people in the Arctic, Obama knew that risking another oil spill in Alaska like the one in the Gulf would be a catastrophic death trap to the Inuits.

When he invited the oil companies to resume carving up the Arctic floor in 2012 after over two decades of non-activity, Obama was well aware of the fact that the Gulf is now an ecological dead zone with mostly all of its marine wildlife gone. The remaining shrimp are still coated in oil, half with serious deformities. Moreover, Obama knew that the toxic chemical dispersant aerially sprayed saturating the entire Gulf coast with unprecedented amounts was a desperate attempt to simply contain the oil by literally sweeping it under the seabed rug at the ocean floor and thereby allow BP to falsely declare all is well. Neither the deceptive BP propaganda blitz nor Michelle Obama heading to the Gulf on vacation could conceal the overwhelming and devastating damage to the entire region.

Meanwhile, by 2012 Obama also knew that the combination of oil and the 2 million gallons of the chemical Corexit used in the cleanup has a synergistically toxic effect that makes the combo 52 times more poisonous and lethal than either the chemical or oil by themselves. A congressional report said as much yet the oil and chemical company lobbyists have ensured that four years later not a single change or recommendation has yet to be enacted. Even the chemical manufacturing plant that produces Corexit also located in Louisiana remains open and unchanged despite the known health hazards. In the meantime, serious skin rashes and lesions along with a plethora of extremely severe respiratory and central nervous diseases and impairments are now beginning to kill Americans living along the Gulf coast waters. This horrendous scandal is yet one more among many criminal and sinister Obama administration cover-ups piling up during his final term in office.

Meanwhile back at the polar Arctic icecap, with so much sea ice already melted and gone, the native population along the Arctic coast struggles to maintain its traditional lifestyle that includes ice fishing, now severely limited since the ocean ice is no longer thick enough in many areas for humans much less dog sleds or polar bears to traverse. Hunting walrus and seals is also much more difficult. Travel to other villages located across the bay is also made much more distant and time-consuming.

With the additional presence of offshore oil rigs drilling wells deep into the seabed, the Inuits fear both their food supply and traditional culture will be cut off and eliminated. 80 percent of the natives’ food source is caught in their coastal waters. And with the local marine wildlife – the bowhead whale in particular – so vital to their survival, the delicate eco-system balance that has sustained them for thousands of years is perilously threatened by Big Oil interests. A steady flow of icebreaker tankers and rigging ships in and out of the area would produce a major lasting negative impact on their environment. Still another critical concern would be the short narrow window of only the three warmer months each year to respond to any serious mishap or spill if it was to occur. After the Gulf leak, time-wise the Arctic stakes would be much higher. Finally, a third of that three to four month period when conditions are viable for production, the Arctic is under the cover of darkness.

One of the Inuit tribes in Alaska, the Inupiat, preserves a traditional ritual that illustrates the ecologically sound practice of respecting their natural environment. They are only allowed to catch 10 bowhead whales a year. The first nine boats to harpoon a whale each receive equal shares with the lead whaling crew dividing the head between them. The butchered skull is then given back to the sea in a gesture that symbolizes the ancient regenerative cycle of life and death making for life anew. Obama and the oil companies are oblivious to such foreign constructs, which explains why so much of life under their dominance and control is utterly unsustainable.

Despite receiving the green light from governmental regulators five years ago after investing 2 billion dollars on leases to drill, not unlike Obama, Shell Oil blundered by simply ignoring the needs and well-being of the local native population, never consulting or working with them just as the BP debacle began unfolding. The Inuit Alaskans then applied pressure on Washington to place an immediate federal moratorium on all offshore drilling, thus derailing Shell’s plans for the Arctic. Then to Shell’s rescue came Obama’s 2012 decision to reopen the Arctic corridor. By the time the short season in 2012 came to a close, Shell had just started drilling with only two wells up and running.

But then Shell’s floatable Kulluk rig suddenly washed aground in January 2013 and had to undergo costly repairs after the Shell barge also was damaged while being tested in the state of Washington. Five billion dollars later, Shell Oil still has nothing to show for itself in the Arctic. And with another 5 billion needed to drill deep enough, extract and transport the crude oil out of the Arctic, Shell’s future in the region is still very uncertain. Because of Shell’s recent problems and the federal regulators’ response that began tightening up requirements, ConocoPhillips has foregone drilling in the Chukchi Sea in 2014 because of “the uncertainties of evolving federal regulatory requirements.” Of course it turns out Shell’s costly floundering was a break for the locals whose interests and concerns were never taken into consideration.

One positive development in recent decades is the Inuit people from Alaska, Canada and Greenland have formed an alliance on a unified front called the Inuit Circumpolar Council, (ICC), a body created in 1977. The ICC can contest and exercise some control over the wholesale extraction of natural resources from their traditional lands and seas. As a result, the estimated 160,000 in the Arctic region wield a degree of autonomous power. Inuits from Greenland as a territory of Denmark in 2009 became independent. In northern Arctic Canada the Nunavut territory was established by the Inuit population there. The indigenous people of the Arctic are not entirely opposed to development, but want to make sure that it does so under their control of protecting their living environment while receiving fair financial compensation.

Earlier this week Exxon Mobil affiliate Imperial Oil announced its plans to dig more than four miles deep drilling in the Canadian Arctic in the Beaufort Sea, which would become the deepest well within the Arctic circle. It might take an estimated three years just to drill that deep given the short iceberg-free season. Again if another Exxon Valdez tanker spill that ravaged the Alaskan shoreline a quarter century ago or worse yet, another BP-like disaster were to occur where in the warm Gulf waters it took months to finally seal the leak, in the Arctic the consequences of a major oil spill would become far more devastating and long term.

Exxon learned from its relatively recent past in 2005 after spending nearly a quarter billion dollars on drilling over 30,000 feet deep in the shallow warm Gulf waters that the high pressure and gas leaking into the well bore produced too much stress on the equipment. Blackbeard as it is called became the most expensive abandoned dry hole ever. But another company took over using heavier equipment in 2008, and drilled another 3000 feet down to hit pay dirt. A second nearby well indicates that the underwater oil field may hold 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This year production is expected to go on line. Though these deep offshore wells carry risks and costs far greater than onshore shale fracking, which in itself is guilty of polluting the environment and causing serious health risks, the long term dividend of deep offshore wells is banking on the notion that natural gas can be produced for many years to come. In contrast after only one year, shale wells lose at least 50 percent of their output.

Fortunately the Inuit population of Nunavut will be prepared to play an active role in overseeing and negotiating the proposed Exxon affiliate Imperial Oil’s plan to embark on an ambitious drilling operation creating the deepest wells in their Arctic backyard. Whether the risks for catastrophe will be too high and the native political council of the ICC will ultimately oppose the plan remains to be seen.

Unfortunately the current land grab occurring in the South Pacific island jungle of Papua New Guinea offers another tragic cautionary tale. In December 2009 Exxon Mobil made a deal with the corrupt Minister of Community Development that totally excluded the poor local population living in the southern highlands. Exxon’s invested 15 billion dollars on its liquefied natural gas operation and hired largely foreign nationals and not local New Guinean residents as employees. Under increasing tensions Exxon walled off the entire complex like a colonial fortress in the middle of the jungle. The local residents left out in the cold understandably blamed both its corrupt minister and Exxon Mobil. Violence has frequently erupted that is threatening to escalate into civil war. This is a very typical frequent scenario where Big Oil exploits another oil rich Third World nation and gives back nothing but strife and conflict to the nation’s impoverished people.

Another recent development in the Amazon rainforest of South America has the indigenous tribe of the Achuar people in southeastern Ecuador fearing that their culture and habitat will soon be destroyed by Big Oil. They cite the 2012 ruling of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in favor of the Sarayaku people that determined that the national government of Ecuador violated Sarayaku people’s rights initiating oil development in their territory “without first executing free, prior, and informed consultation with the community.”

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa campaigned on the apparent false promise (not unlike Obama) to protect indigenous peoples’ rights and their rainforest. The Secretary of Hydrocarbons has targeted eight indigenous leaders who have dedicated their lives to protecting their sacred Amazon lands. The Ecuadorian government was ready to auction off fourteen tracts amounting to ten million acres occupied by the native Achuars to oil companies. Fortunately for now only three tracts received bids. The Sierra Club along with the Ecuadorian Pachamama Alliance are mobilizing an international effort to come to the aid of the Achuar people and other indigenous populations facing similar fascist threats from governments and Big Oil. Citizens of the world must come together to fight for our common human rights against oppressive regimes around the world that are owned and operated by the powerful interests of the corporate elite.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former Army officer. His written manuscript based on his military experience examines leadership and national security issues and can be consulted at http://www.redredsea.net/westpointhagopian/. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in psychology and became a licensed therapist working in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now focuses on writing.

Apparently, the results of the national general election in India mark a turning point. We are told that the nation has spoken and has given the new Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP party a ‘landslide victory’. Despite the euphoria, however, only 31% of votes cast were for the BJP. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement. But it was enough to give the BJP a ‘landslide’ in terms of parliamentary seats. No party in India has ever won over half the seats with such a low share of the vote. The previous lowest vote share for a single-party majority was in 1967, when Congress gained 40.8% of the votes polled.

With calls from some of Modi’s advisors for a Thatcherite-style, pro-privatisation revolution in India (1), it is worth recalling how successive Thatcher-led governments in Britain brought immense damage to the social and economic fabric of the country to profit her rich backers on the back of similar ‘landslide’ victories based on similar shares of the vote (2).

 There was never a ringing endorsement in Britain for the policies of Thatcher. The opposition was weak and split and many bought into to her platitudes about privatisation, the feckless poor, the virtues of the free market and rolling back the state as a proxy for Britain’s woes at the time. Similarly, notwithstanding a fragmentation of the vote which has helped the BJP into power, disillusionment with the Congress Party in India has led many voters to buy into the rhetoric of the charismatic Modi who is regarded by many as someone that can get things done. Like Thatcher, he is seen as a strong leader who will act when others have fudged and procrastinated.

The type of ‘development’ being pushed through in India is underpinned by unconstitutional land takeovers, cronyism, corruption, violence and the trampling of democratic rights (3,4,5). And for all the talk of the wonders of opening up markets and economic neo-liberalism, the poverty alleviation rate in India remains around the same as it was back in 1991 (0.8 percent), while the ratio between the top and bottom ten percents of the population has doubled during this period (6).

In Gujarat, which has fully embraced the neo-liberal model of ‘development’ under the leadership of Chief Minister Modi, hundreds of thousands of farmers, fishermen, pastoralists and agricultural workers have been displaced from their land. Since 2001, some 16,000 farmers and workers have committed suicide due to economic distress (7). Gujarat has the highest prevalence of hunger and lowest human development indices among states with comparable per capita income. The high level of malnutrition is a consequence of extremely low wage rates, malfunctioning nutrition schemes and lack of potable water supplies and sanitation. Over two thirds of households defecate in the open, resulting in high levels of jaundice, diarrhoea, malaria and various other diseases (8). Unregulated pollution has destroyed farmers and fishermen’s livelihoods and has subjected local populations to diseases and death (9). Moreover, GDP ‘growth’ in Gujarat is underpinned by debt. The state’s debt increased from approximately 7,716 million US dollars in 2002 to 23,672 million US dollars in 2013 (10).

 Hand in hand with privatisation, Gujarat has also witnessed massive corruption (this is not unique to Gujarat, it is a symptom of neo-liberalism: since 1991, when India began to embrace neo-liberalism, the outflow of illicit money from the Indian economy has accelerated, 11). Writer Rohini Hensmen provides details about the levels of “stupendous” corruption and argues that those who have campaigned against it have “not fared well” (12). He goes on to state that Gujarat’s growth has been achieved at the cost of handing over complete control over the economy to private interests. Economist Shipra Nigram agrees:

“Key sectors – traditionally held to be the preserve of the state – such as ports, roads, rail and power have been handed over to corporate capital. This has meant, inevitably, that the government has abdicated all decision making powers, as well as functional and financial control over such projects. Nowhere else in the country has this abdication of responsibility been so total, nowhere else has the state given over the economy so entirely to the corporates and private investors.” (13)

Fast-tracking plunder

With a new national BJP administration headed by Narendra Modi coming to power and the backing of India’s ruling corporate elite, is this the type of ‘development’ we can expect to see being fast tracked? Can we also expect to witness an accelerated ‘restructuring’ of agriculture in favour of Western agribusiness and more farmers to be forced from their land? Can we expect ever increasing population displacement on behalf of commercial interests and rich resource-extraction companies?

Environmentalist Vandana Shiva has argued that what has been happening constitutes the biggest forced removal of people from their lands in history. According to a 2009 report commissioned by the rural development ministry and chaired by the then minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, it involves the biggest illegal land grab since Columbus.

 It is no secret that officialdom wants to depopulate rural areas. In 2008, the then Finance Minister P.Chidambaram envisaged 85% of the population living in cities (14). That would entail at least 600 million being displaced from rural India. And it is no secret who is driving this and who would benefit. US corporate agriculture interests have been granted license to influence key aspects of agriculture and food policy in India via not only controlling seeds and chemical inputs, but by also funding, controlling and thus distorting the scientific biotech research agenda in Indian universities and institutions (15) as a result of it having secured a pivotal role in negotiations between India and the US, not least the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (16).

Can we also expect to see the current corporate-driven, undemocratic free trade agreement being hammered out behind closed doors between the EU and India gain added impetus? As it stands, that agreement would see powerful trans-national corporations by-passing national legislation that was implemented to safeguard the public’s rights. We could see the Indian government being sued by multinational companies for billions of dollars in private arbitration panels outside of Indian courts if national laws, policies, court decisions or other actions are perceived to interfere with their investments. This is already a reality in many parts of the world whereby legislation is shelved due to even the threat of legal action by corporations. Such agreements cement corporations’ ability to raid taxpayers’ coffers via unaccountable legal tribunals, or to dictate national policies and legislation (17). Even the threat of legal action can compel governments to shelve legislation.

 Is this now to be India’s future? One that mirrors what we have seen in the US, Britain and elsewhere – an unmitigated corporate heist and increased state surveillance via the all pervasive Central Monitoring System to help dampen dissent from those at the sharp end of the full-frontal assault of fast-tracked neo-liberalism and cronyism – because history shows that whenever a state spies on its own people, this is usually the reason why (18).

 Can we expect ever more industrial developments built with public money and strategic assets, such as energy sources, ports, airports and infrastructure support for agriculture to be sold off ?

Hostage to neo-liberalism 

Do people really believe India’s future lies in tying itself to a corrupt, moribund system that has so patently failed in the West and can now only sustain itself by plundering other countries via war or lop-sided ‘free trade’ agreements, which have little if anything to do with free trade?

 Neo-liberalism (the paradigm for modern day ‘globalisation’) is by its very nature designed to fail the majority and benefit the relative few. And its outcome is and will continue to be endless conflicts for fewer and fewer resources. Globally, expect more Syrias, more Iraqs, more Libyas, more Congos and more threats, bullying, sanctions and military encirclements of states like we see happening to Iran, Russia or China, courtesy of the US.

 Its outcome is also environmental destruction and an elitist agenda by rich eugenicists who voice concerns over there being ‘simply too many mouths’ to feed(19). Those mouths would only take food from their rich bellies – bellies that long ago became bloated from the fat of the land, lucrative wars and the misery brought about by economic exploitation under guise of free market ideology.

 We must look behind the rhetoric of those who espouse the virtues of the free market or neo-liberalism. The US achieved its level of affluence by way of thuggery not free market economics. Major General Smedley Butler, the US’s most decorated marine, said as much and listed various corporations on whose behalf he fought for during his various military campaigns. Little has changed since Smedley wrote about his experiences in 1935, if we turn our attention to US-backed conflicts in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine and the banking, oil, gas and agri-tech firms that fuel and/or are intended to benefit from them.

 Corporate-backed politicians in India have also seen little wrong in using the machinery and violence of the state to work hand in glove with rich interests to secure access to the nation’s resources, while attempting to justify its brand of plunder, human rights abuses, killings and cronyism by hiding behind platitudes about ‘opening up’ this or that sector of the economy, ‘progress’ and baseless claims about the wonders of the ‘free’ market.

 Is this the type of ‘development’ that Indian people want to see fast tracked? Ultimately, this is what the minority who handed the BJP its landslide victory voted for. This is the type of ‘development’ they could well get.

 .. “Since the cross-ownership of businesses is not restricted by the ‘gush-up gospel’ rules, the more you have, the more you can have ,20corporations buy politicians, judges, bureaucrats and media houses hollowing out democracy, retaining only its rituals. Huge reserves of bauxite, iron ore, oil and natural gas worth trillions of dollars were sold to corporations for a pittance, defying even the twisted logic of the free market.

..

leading to the siphoning off of billions of dollars of public money. Then there’s the land grab – the forced displacement of communities, of millions of people whose lands are being appropriated by the state and handed to private enterprise.” Arundhati Roy

 Notes

1)http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/06/us-india-election-modi-insight-idUSBREA3500S20140406

 2)http://www.globalresearch.ca/britains-de-industralization-and-privatization-the-economic-and-social-legacy-of-margaret-thatcher-the-iron-lady/5329683

 3) http://www.countercurrents.org/peebles020514.htm

 4) http://www.countercurrents.org/peebles260113.htm

5) http://socialissuesindia.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/tribal-displacement-in-the-name-of-development/

 6) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-16064321

7) http://www.ahmedabadmirror.com/article/78/2011032820110328032129511f285d544/Whose-Gujarat-is-vibrant.html

 8) http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/not-vegetarianism-or-dieting-mr-modi/article3939379.ece

9) http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?289276#.UuN9mOADJFA.gmail

10) http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/no-model-state/1165249/0

11) http://india.gfintegrity.org/

12) http://www.countercurrents.org/rh190314.htm

13)http://kafila.org/2013/05/23/gujarat-and-the-illusion-of-development-shipra-nigam/

14)http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main39.asp?filename=Ne310508cover_story.asp

15)http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/07/monsanto-a-contemporary-east-india-company-and-corporate-knowledge-in-india/

16)http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/walmart-and-monsanto-on-indous-agriculture-initiative-board/article3176462.ece

17)http://www.globalresearch.ca/free-trade-agreements-the-bypassing-of-democracy-to-institute-economic-plunder/5354197

18)http://www.globalresearch.ca/500-years-of-history-shows-that-mass-spying-is-always-aimed-at-crushing-dissent/5364462

 19)http://www.globalresearch.ca/genetic-engineering-eugenics-and-the-ideology-of-the-rich/5329025

Justice Is Dead In America

May 21st, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Cecily McMillan is an Occupy protester who was seized from behind by a goon thug cop–a goon thug with a long record of abuse of authority–by her boobs.  One was badly bruised.  Cecily McMillan’s elbow reflexively and instinctively came up, and Cecily was arrested for assaulting a goon thug. The goon thug was not arrested for sexually assaulting a young woman.

False arrests of this sort are common in the US.  Indeed, they are more common than justified arrests.  The police and the courts are completely corrupted institutions that reek of injustice and evil.  

Cecily was locked up in Rikers Island without bail by the judge who sees his role as protecting the abuse of police and prosecutorial power. The judge would not allow evidence in behalf of Cecily to be presented to the jury.

Nevertheless, the jurors, or 75% of them, understood that something was wrong and although they were coerced into convicting the young woman they sent a letter to the judge requesting that no prison time be imposed on Cecily.  Nevertheless, the judge for whom all must stand in respect in the courtroom, gave the goon thug’s victim 90 days in prison and 5 years probation.  This was Amerika’s sendoff of an idealistic young woman who was about to receive a master’s degree from an important educational education.

I have been concerned as a main focus of my work since the 1990s with American injustice.  America’s injustice is a unique kind.  American injustice has actually managed to completely destroy the achievements dating from Magna Carta that made law a shield of the people instead of a weapon in the hands of the state. Today America is pre-Magna Carta England.

My concern with the destruction of Justice in America was shared by my colleague, Lawrence Stratton. Together in 2000 we produced a book documenting the destruction of the achievement of liberty and the accountability of government to law under the publisher’s title of “The Tyranny of Good Intentions” (our title was, “How The Law Was Lost”).  In 2008 a new edition was published. 

The book was cited a few times by federal district court judges but had no influence on law schools’ worship of unaccountable executive power or on the appointment  of Justice (sic) Department flunkies such as John Yoo and David Barron to prominent University law schools and federal courts. Yoo and Barron are the tyrants who justified in US Justice Department memos torture, despite US and international laws against it, and the murder of US citizens on suspicion alone without due process of law, an obvious violation of the US Constitution.

Judging from the legal arena’s response to our work, justice is no longer the purpose of US law and it is no longer thought necessary for the US government to be accountable to law. To insouciant Americans these might seem like extreme statements, but the conclusion is unavoidable.

In the United States there is no longer law.  There is only retribution.  Cecily McMillan by her non-violent protest against the looting of America and the world by Wall Street became  “an enemy of the people.”  The “people,” of course, are the one percent. The 99 percent do not count.

The jury in Cecily’s trial did not count. At least 75% of the jurors understood that they were being coerced into a conviction, which they sought to lighten by requesting the judge not to impose a prison sentence.  But the judge represents the repressive state, not justice.  The jurors were out to lunch. They had no idea of the corrupt nature of the criminal political system or else they lacked the courage to stand up to it.

This insouciance is true of the bulk of the American population.  They are sheeple, unaware that they have been stripped of constitutional protections and that they arepropagandized into supporting the evil actions of an unaccountable government. For example, as Gerald Celente demonstrates in the current issue of the Trends Journal, the onslaught of Washington’s propaganda against the Sochi Olympic Games, alleging terror attacks, a filthy city and hotel rooms, unsafe water, and so forth, resulted in a drop in TV ratings for the Olympics and in majorities of Americans acquiring negative attitudes toward Russia and Putin. Thus, when Washington set off the Ukraine crisis, “American minds had already been pre-programmed by propaganda. Facts would not get in the way. The stage for war and hate had been masterfully set.” 

As John Whitehead at the Rutherford Institute says,

If you have been paying attention to the news lately, you may have noticed that the building blocks for a police state are now in place: the surveillance networks, fusion centers and government contractors monitoring what is being said by whom; government databases tracking who poses a potential threat to the government’s power; militarized police, working in conjunction with federal agencies, coordinating with the federal government to round up troublemakers; and the courts which sanction the government’s methods, no matter how unlawful.“Indeed, the government has been maintaining a growing list of ‘dangerous’ opinions and activities that might classify someone as an enemy of the state — a.k.a. an extremist — a.k.a. terrorist or sympathetic to terrorist activities — and thus qualify you for detention.

“Included in that list of ‘dangerous’ viewpoints are advocating for states’ rights, believing the government to be unnecessary or undesirable, ‘conspiracy theorizing’ (this applies to those who believe 9/11 might have been an inside job), concern about the government’s efforts to build domestic internment camps, opposition to war, organizing for ‘economic justice,’ frustration with ‘mainstream ideologies,’ opposition to abortion, opposition to globalization, and ammunition stockpiling.“As you can see, anyone seen as opposing the government—whether they’re Left, Right or somewhere in between—is a target.”

When a sexually assaulted American citizen can be falsely arrested for assaulting a police officer, brought to trial by a corrupt prosecutor whose false case is endorsed by a corrupt judge and convicted by an insouciant jury, you know that justice is dead in America.

The death of Justice is a huge problem.  The US not only has the largest percentage of its population in prison of every country in the world, the US also has the largest absolute number of prison inmates, larger even than “authoritarian” China which has a population four times larger than the US. In China, despite Washington’s endless lies about “human rights abuses,” a citizen has a far lower chance of imprisonment than does a “freedom and democracy” American. 

Chris Hedges and Cecily McMillan bring the story home.  If you read their account below and do not weep, you are a brainwashed sheeple headed for the slaughter:

“the Occupy activist who on Monday morning will appear before a criminal court in New York City to be sentenced to up to seven years on a charge of assaulting a police officer, sat in a plastic chair wearing a baggy, oversized gray jumpsuit, cheap brown plastic sandals and horn-rim glasses. Other women, also dressed in prison-issued gray jumpsuits, sat nearby in the narrow, concrete-walled visitation room clutching their children, tears streaming down their faces. The children, bewildered, had their arms wrapped tightly around their mothers’ necks. It looked like the disaster scene it was.“It’s all out in the open here,” said the 25-year-old student, who was to have graduated May 22 with a master’s degree from The New School of Social Research in New York City. “The cruelty of power can’t hide like it does on the outside. You get America, everything America has become, especially for poor people of color in prison. My lawyers think I will get two years. But two years is nothing compared to what these women, who never went to trial, never had the possibility of a trial with adequate legal representation, face. There are women in my dorm who, because they have such a poor command of English, do not even understand their charges. I spent a lot of time trying to explain the charges to them.”McMillan says Grantley Bovell, who was in plainclothes and did not identify himself as a police officer, grabbed her from behind during a March 17, 2012, gathering of several hundred Occupy activists in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. In a video of the incident she appears to have instinctively elbowed him in the face, but she says she has no memory of what happened. Video and photographs—mostly not permitted by the trial judge to be shown in the courtroom—buttressed her version of events. There is no dispute that she was severely beaten by police and taken from the park to a hospital where she was handcuffed to a bed. On May 5 she was found guilty after a three-week trial of a felony assault in the second degree. She can receive anything from probation to seven years in prison.

“I am prepared mentally for a long sentence,” she told me this past weekend when I interviewed her at the Rikers Island prison in the Bronx. “I watched the trial. I watched the judge. This was never about justice. Just as it is not about justice for these other women. One mother was put in here for shoplifting after she lost her job and her house and needed to feed her children. There is another prisoner, a preschool teacher with a 1-year-old son she was breastfeeding, who let her cousin stay with her after her cousin was evicted. It turns out the cousin sold drugs. The cops found money, not drugs, that the cousin kept in the house and took the mother. They told her to leave her child with the neighbors. There is story after story in here like this. It wakes you up.”

McMillan’s case is emblematic of the nationwide judicial persecution of activists, a persecution familiar to poor people of color. Her case stands in contrast with the blanket impunity given to the criminals of Wall Street. Some 8,000 nonviolent Occupy protesters have been arrested. Not one banker or investor has gone to jail for causing the 2008 financial meltdown. The disparity of justice mirrors the disparity in incomes and the disparity in power.Occupy activists across the country have been pressured to “plea out” on felony charges in exchange for sentences of years of probation, which not only carry numerous restrictions, including being unable to attend law school or serve on a jury, but make it difficult for them to engage in further activism for fear of arrest and violating their probation. McMillan was offered the same plea deal but refused it. She was one of the few who went to trial.“I am deeply committed to nonviolence, especially in the face of all the violence around me inside and outside this prison,” she said in the interview. “I could not accept this deal. I had to fight back.

That is why I am an activist. Being branded as someone who was violent was intolerable.

”McMillan’s case is as much about our right to nonviolent protest as it is about McMillan. It is about our right to carry out such protest without being subjected to police violence intended to crush peaceful and lawful dissent. It is about our right to engage in political organization without our groups being monitored and infiltrated by the security and surveillance state. It is about our right of free speech and free assembly, guaranteed under the Constitution but effectively stripped from us in a series of judicial rulings and through municipal ordinances that make it impossible to protest in many U.S. cities.Judge Ronald A. Zweibel was caustic and hostile to McMillan and her defense team during the trial. He barred video evidence that would have helped her case. He issued a gag order that forbade the defense lawyers, Martin Stolar and Rebecca Heinegg, to communicate with the press. And, astonishingly, he denied McMillan bail.The judge also assiduously protected Bovell against challenges to his credibility. He refused to allow the jurors to hear about or see the excessive police violence that was used to clear the park the night McMillan was arrested—violence many activists say was the most indiscriminate and abusive ever inflicted during the Occupy movement.

He hid Bovell’s history of misconduct as a police officer from the jury. Bovell has been investigated at least twice by the internal affairs section of the New York City Police Department, the Guardian newspaper reported. Bovell and his police partner, in one of the cases, were sued for allegedly using an unmarked police car to strike a 17-year-old fleeing on a dirt bike. The teenager said his nose was broken, two teeth were knocked out and his forehead was lacerated. The case was settled out of court for a significant amount of money. There is also a video that appears to show Bovell relentlessly kicking a suspect on the floor of a Bronx grocery. In addition, Bovell was involved in a ticket-fixing scandal in his Bronx precinct. And Austin Guest, 33, a Harvard University graduate who was arrested at Zuccotti Park on the night McMillan was assaulted, is suing Bovell and the NYPD because the officer allegedly intentionally banged his head on the internal stairs and seats of a bus that took him and other activists in for processing. The judge barred the running down of the teenager on the dirt bike and Bovell’s alleged abuse of Guest from being discussed in front of the jury.The case has galvanized many activists, who see in McMillan’s persecution the persecution of movements across the globe struggling for nonviolent democratic change. McMillan was visited in Rikers by Russia human rights campaigners of the group Pussy Riot. Hundreds of people, including nine of the 12 jurors and some New York City Council members, have urged Judge Zweibel to be lenient. Some 160,000 people have signed an online petition calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to intervene on her behalf. But so far pleas like these have failed to mollify the corporate state’s determination to use the McMillan case as a tool to prevent any new mass movements.“I am very conscious of how privileged I am, especially in here,” McMillan said. “When you are in prison white privilege works against you. You tend to react when you come out of white privilege by saying ‘you can’t do that’ when prison authorities force you to do something arbitrary and meaningless. But the poor understand the system. They know it is absurd, capricious and senseless, that it is all about being forced to pay deference to power. If you react out of white privilege it sets you apart. I have learned to respond as a collective, to speak to authority in a unified voice. And this has been good for me. I needed this.”“We can talk about movement theory all we want,” she went on. “We can read Michel Foucault or Pierre Bourdieu, but at a certain point it becomes a game. You have to get out and live it. You have to actually build a movement. And if we don’t get to work to build a movement now there will be no one studying movement theory in a decade because there will be no movements. I can do this in prison. I can do this out of prison. It is all one struggle.”

McMillan has been held in Rikers’ Rose M. Singer Center, Dorm 2 East B, with about 40 other women. They sleep in rows of cots. Nearly all the women are poor mothers of color, most of them black, Hispanic or Chinese. McMillan is giving lessons in English in exchange for lessons in Spanish.

McMillan has bonded with an African-American woman known as “Fat Baby” who ogled her and told her she had nice legs. Fat Baby threw out a couple of lame pickup lines that, McMillan said, “sounded as if she was a construction worker. I told her I would teach her some pickup lines that were a little more subtle.”McMillan, who is required to have a prison activity, participates in the drug rehabilitation program although she did not use drugs. She is critical of the instructor’s feeding of “positive” and Christian thinking to the inmates, some of whom are Muslims. “It is all about the power of positive thinking, about how they made mistakes and bad choices in life and now they can correct those mistakes by taking another road, a Christian road, to a new life,” she said. “This focus on happy thoughts pervades the prison. There is little analysis of the structural causes for poverty and oppression. It is as if it was all about decisions we made, not that were made for us. And this is how those in power want it. This kind of thinking induces passivity.”McMillan was receiving 30 to 40 letters daily at Rikers but during the week before the interview was told every day that she had none. She suspects the prison has cut off the flow of mail to her.Because my pens and paper were confiscated during the two-hour process it took to enter the prison, after the visit I had to reconstruct the notes from our conversation, which lasted an hour and a half. The entry process is normal for visitors, who on weekends stand in long lines in metal chutes outside the prison. My body was searched and my clothing was minutely inspected for contraband, and I had to go through two metal detectors.During the interview a guard asked McMillan to roll down her sleeves and admonished her once for crossing her legs. “You scratch a hole in the crotch,” McMillan said, running a fingernail up and down the crotch seam of her jumpsuit. “You make a small hole. And when the visitor slips you a cigarette you push up your vagina. I am learning a lot in prison. I have gotten very good at hiding books on my way to medical and stealing food to bring back to the dorm.”“It is hard to read, it is hard to write,” she went on. “There is constant movement and constant noise.”She was working Sunday on the statement she would read in court Monday. She said it draws heavily from Leo Tolstoy’s “The Kingdom of God Is Within You.”McMillan had just finished writing a message to supporters who planned to rally in her support Sunday afternoon in New York City. She told them:

I came to New York the summer of 2011 to go to school—Rikers Island was definitely not on my list of intended experiences. Though I did call myself “a radical” that title stretched only as far to include plans to start a socialist student chapter and study welfare policy with aims of improving it. Within 1 week, these plans were railroaded by the Occupy Wall Street Movement—and for the following 3 months, I did little else.

Like many, the eviction of Zuccotti left me lost, searching for that infectious energy that bound so many together in efforts to transform the world. Like many, I’ve spent the time since trying to understand what we had & striving to get back to it.Like many I point to a lack of militancy in our movement—a commitment of one’s entire being—personally, politically, emotionally & physically—to the greater good. But I examined what action those beautiful words entailed, I exchanged “militancy” for the concept of “love ethic”—a distinction born of the belief that fights between “usses and thems” run counter to the collective “we”. “We” being human society with each person as an integral part—that must be seen, heard, felt & loved—in order to transform the whole.Like many, I found my beliefs easy to come by but difficult to act on. I always strived, but often struggled, to see, hear, feel, to love—even as I expected as much in return. I began to question, “If it is such a struggle to solidify amongst a few, how can we hope to strengthen love ethic across the many?”Unlike most, when my trial began: friends formed a support structure, comrades came to court, journalists reported injustices. When the verdict was read, cries of outrage were heard, the news spread, & sympathy was shared from around the world.Unlike most, during my weakest hour, I had never felt more supported. Though I had never ever felt more oppressed, I had never felt so loved. I stand resolved to keep fighting, because your love ethic props me up and allows me to do so.Unlike most, I am blessed with the support of so many. And though I am thankful, I am also thoughtful of the many forced to face such oppression alone. I know you have already done so much, but I’m going to ask for one thing more:If you feel safe enough to share, please raise your hand if you have suffered police violence? If you have suffered sexual violence? If you have suffered the violence of the justice system? If you have suffered the violence of the prison system?Oppression is rampant. Take a moment to try & really see, hear, feel the suffering of the many around you. Now imagine the power of your collective love ethic to stand against it.Only through the pervasive spread of such a love ethic by the many for the many—not just the privileged few—will we finally have ourselves a movement.McMillan takes comfort from her supporters and her family and from those of her heroes who endured prison for a just cause. She reads and rereads the speech Eugene V. Debs made to a federal court in Cleveland before he went to prison for opposing the draft in World War I. His words, she said, have become her own.“Your honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth,” Debs said. “I said it then, as I say it now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”  May 19, 2014:  “Truth Dig” – RIKERS ISLAND, N.Y.—Cecily McMillan,)

Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.

On 2 May 2014, there was a massacre that was initially reported as being of 116 anti-Kiev (or independence) demonstrators at the Trade Unions Building in Odessa. The latest reliable report (from an American, George Eliason, who lives in that area) indicates it to be instead “now counted at 272 people that were tortured, gassed …, bludgeoned, …, etc.,” above and beyond the numbers who had been incinerated there by the firebombing of the building. Western news-media unfortunately seem to be doing all they can to keep the public ignorant of what went on there, and of why.

For example, despite the many youtube videos that were posted on the night of May 2nd showing the actual massacre, and making clear that this was a massacre of anti-Kiev, pro-independence, demonstrators by pro-Kiev (pro-central-government) thugs, here is what came up on May 20th in a google search at Huffington Post of the two terms “Ukraine” and “Odessa” (all suggesting that Russia’s Vladimir Putin was behind this, not that America’s Barack Obama, who had actually installed the Kiev Government, was):

Reuters:

“Ukraine: Odessa Unrest Planned And Financed From Abroad”

“Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Engineering Deadly Clashes”

Associated Press:

“Ukrainian unrest spreads; dozens dead in Odessa”

“Ukraine offensive sparks deadly clashes in Odessa”

And here are some news reports of the reality, reports which were offered to Huffington Post, the Guardian, Salon, and virtually all other major Western news sites, but which were turned down by them all:

“The Key Man Behind the May 2nd Odessa Ukraine Trade Unions Building Massacre: His Many Connections to the White House”

“Our People Massacre Civilians in Odessa, and Politico Blames Putin”

“Civil War Has Begun in Ukraine; U.S. Backs Neo-Nazis against the Democrats; U.S. Media Suppress that News”

And here is why this is important:

As the reformed former CIA operative Ray McGovern documented on 15 May 2014, headlining “How NATO Jabs Russia on Ukraine,” a historic end of the Cold War was agreed to at the Malta Summit on 3 December 1989, and finalized in February 1990, between George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, but was violated by Bill Clinton, and is now being utterly trashed by Barack Obama via his Ukraine gambit.

Russia doesn’t want to be surrounded by NATO missiles and troops in the adjoining countries of Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and now, especially, Ukraine (the latter being especially important as the pipeline route for transit of Russia’s gas supplies to Europe, as well as the long-established base for Russia’s Black Sea fleet). Here is McGovern’s account of the agreement between G.H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev:

“According to Jack Matlock, then-U.S. ambassador to the U.S.S.R. who took part in the Malta summit, the most basic agreement involved (1) Gorbachev’s pledge not to use force in Eastern Europe where the Russians had 24 divisions (some 350,000 troops) in East Germany alone, and (2) Bush’s promise not to ‘take advantage’ of a Soviet withdrawal from Eastern Europe.

In early February 1990, Bush sent Secretary of State James Baker to work out the all-important details directly with Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. Ambassador Matlock again was there and took careful notes on the negotiations, which focused on German reunification.

From memory, Matlock told me that Baker tried to convince Gorbachev that it was in Moscow’s interest to let a united Germany remain in NATO. Matlock recalled that Baker began his argument saying something like, ‘Assuming there is no expansion of NATO jurisdiction to the East, not one inch, what would you prefer, a Germany embedded in NATO, or one that can go independently in any direction it chooses.’ [emphasis added]

The implication was that Germany might just opt to acquire nuclear weapons, were it not anchored in NATO. Gorbachev answered that he took Baker’s argument seriously, and wasted little time in agreeing to the deal.

Ambassador Matlock, one of the most widely respected experts on Russia, told me ‘the language used was absolute, and the entire negotiation was in the framework of a general agreement that there would be no use of force by the Soviets and no ‘taking advantage’ by the U.S.”

He added, ‘I don’t see how anybody could view the subsequent expansion of NATO as anything but ‘taking advantage.’”

U.S. President Obama is so determined to tie a noose around the neck of Russia, that he has no hesitation about allying himself with supporters of Adolf Hitler in order to achieve it. And, so, this is the result, and it was sparked by this.

Just imagine that you are a Russian-speaking Ukrainian who had voted for the winner of the last Presidential election in Ukraine (Viktor Yanukovych won overwhelmingly in the eastern half of the country), and that he was ousted in a coup on 22 February 2014, and the Obama-Administration-imposed interim government had perpetrated that massacre in Odessa against supporters (like yourself) of that ousted President, and now of independence from the fascists who (after $5 billion+ of U.S. preparation, plus sending U.S. mercenaries) had ousted him and installed the neo-Nazis who organized and perpetrated the May 2nd massacre of former supporters of that now-ousted President, and instigated Ukrainian civil war. Would you feel safe, being ruled by those people? Would you want to be ruled by people who are committed to your destruction?

But is this what you’ve been hearing from the Western press?

How is the Western press any more trustworthy now than it was in the lead-up to the 19 March 2003 invasion of Iraq to destroy “Saddam’s WMD”?

It’s not that the reporters are corrupt. It’s that no major news media will hire them if they’re not. The owners, the controlling families, do not want the public to understand what’s going on; and this is why they’ve bought control of major news media. That, for example, is why such deceptions as this are so common.

For example, on 28 February 2014, the great investigative journalist Mark Ames bannered “Pierre Omidyar co-funded Ukraine revolution groups with US government, documents show,” and he documented that the founder of ebay, Omidyar, had hired some of the leading investigative journalists — including Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill, and Marcy Wheeler — and was himself heavily invested in the Ukrainian coup that had culminated on February 22nd.

When are we going to acknowledge that democracy in the U.S., and in at least some other so-called “democratic” countries, has become a hoax? It’s now more like George Orwell’s novel 1984 than like democracy.

And, under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, it’s virtually as bad as it was even under George W. Bush.

Before a problem can be solved, it must first be acknowledged.

What you have just read is samizdat: banned. We don’t have communism; it’s not the communist version of samizdat. We don’t have democracy, where there is no samizdat. We have fascism, where the samizdat is carried out by the aristocracy, the oligarchs, controlling “democracy” and using and abusing the public, by setting one faction of it (racially, religiously, or ethnically) against another, and everyone against some hyped or even fictitious foreign “threat,” in order to distract from those aristocrats’ own ongoing rape of the public.

The Axis powers have finally won: their model, fascism, has now taken over in the United States — now, even more than before, the land of inequality.

Democracy is in desperate straits.

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

A new crusade appears to be underway to target independent research and analysis available via alternative news media. This March saw the release of “cognitive infiltration” advocate Cass Sunstein’s new book, Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas. In April, the confirmed federal intelligence-gathering arm, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), released a new report, “Agenda 21: The UN, Sustainability, and Right Wing Conspiracy Theory.” Most recently, Newsweek magazine carried a cover story, titled, “The Plots to Destroy America: Conspiracy Theories Are a Clear and Present Danger.”

As its discourse suggests, this propaganda campaign is using the now familiar “conspiracy theory” label, as outlined in Central Intelligence Agency Document 1035-960, the 1967 memo laying out a strategy for CIA “media assets” to counter criticism of the Warren Commission and attack independent investigators of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. At that time the targets included attorney Mark Lane and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, who were routinely defamed and lampooned in major US news outlets.

Declassified government documents have proven Lane and Garrison’s allegations of CIA-involvement in the assassination largely accurate. Nevertheless, the prospect of being subject to the conspiracy theorist smear remains a potent weapon for intimidating authors, journalists, and scholars from interrogating complex events, policies, and other potentially controversial subject matter.

As the title of Newsweek’s feature story indicates, a primary element of contemporary propaganda campaigns using the conspiracy theory/ist label is to suggest that citizens’ distrust of government imperatives and activities tends toward violent action. The “conspiracy theorist” term is intentionally conflated with “conspiracist,” thus linking the two in the mass mind. Images of Lee Harvey Oswald, Timothy McVeigh, and Osama bin Laden are subtly invoked when the magic terms are referenced. In reality, it is typically Western governments using their police or military who prove the foremost purveyors of violence and the threat of violence—both domestically and abroad.

In his Newsweek article, author and journalist Kurt Eichenwald selectively employs the assertions of the SPLC, Sunstein, and a handful of social scientists to postulate in Orwellian fashion that independent research and analysis of the United Nations’ Agenda 21, the anti-educational thrust of “Common Core,” the dangers of vaccine injury and water fluoridation, and September 11—all important policies and issues worthy of serious study and concern—are a “contagion” to the body politic.

In a functioning public, honest academics and journalists would uninhibitedly delve into these and similar problems–GMOs, state-sponsored terrorism, the dangers of non-ionizing radiation– particularly since such phenomena pose grave threats to both popular sovereignty and self determination. Such intellectuals would then provide important findings to foster vigorous public debate.

Absent this, segments of the populace still capable of critical thought are inclined to access and probe information that leads them to question bureaucratic edicts and, in some cases, suggest a potentially broader political agenda. In today’s world, however, such research projects carried out by the hoi polloi that are expressly reserved for government or foundation-funded technocrats “’distort the debate that is crucial to democracy,’” says Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan.

With the above in mind, a simple yet instructive exercise in illustrating the psycholinguistic feature of the conspiracy theory propaganda technique is to replace “conspiracy theories/ists” with the phrase, “independent research and analysis,” or “independent researchers.” Let us apply this to some passages from Eichenwald’s recent Newsweek piece.

For example, “Psychological research has shown that the only trait that consistently indicates the probability someone will believe in conspiracy theories independent research and analysis is if that person believes in other conspiracy theories independent research and analysis,” Eichenwald sagely concludes.

“One of the most common ways of introducing conspiracy theories independent research and analysis is to ‘just ask questions’ about an official account,’’’ says Karen Douglas, co-editor of the British Journal of Social Psychology and a senior academic … at Britain’s University of Kent.”

In fact, substituting the phrases accordingly throughout the article significantly neutralizes its overall propagandistic effect.

Researchers agree; independent research and analysis are espoused by people at every level of society seeking ways of calming the chaos of life, sometimes by simply reinforcing convictions.

While the growth in the number of news outlets has helped spread independent research and analysis, it doesn’t compare to the impact of social media and the Internet, experts say.

9/11 conspiracy theorists independent researchers protest outside the World Trade Center in 2011 [Photo caption]

“If you have social networks of people who are talking with one another, you can have independent research and analysis spread in a hurry,’’ says Cass Sunstein, a professor at Harvard Law School … “It literally is as if it was contagious.”

While some may dismiss independent researchers as ignorant or unstable, research has shown that to be false. “The idea that only dumb people believe this stuff is wrong,’’ says Dartmouth’s Nyhan.

People who more strongly believed in independent research and analysis were significantly less likely to use sunscreen or have an annual medical checkup.

According to a just-released report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the independent research and analysis flowed in April at a hearing before Alabama’s Senate Education Committee about legislation to allow school districts to reject Common Core.

It’s true. Since September 11, 2001 the internet has increasingly allowed for everyday people to retrieve, study, and share information on important events and phenomena as never before. And as a recent study published in the prominent journal Frontiers of Psychology suggests, tendering “alternative conspiracy theories” to the government-endorsed explanations of September 11, 2001 is a sign of “individuation,” or psychological well being and contentment.

Such a condition is a clear danger to those who wish to wield uncontested political authority. Indeed, the capacity to freely disseminate and discuss knowledge of government malfeasance is the foremost counterbalance to tyranny. Since this ability cannot be readily confiscated or suppressed, it must be ridiculed, marginalized, even diagnosed as a psychiatric condition.

The recent abandonment of network neutrality may eventually further subdue the nuisance of independent research, thought, and analysis. Until then, the corporate media’s attempts to bamboozle and terrify the American public with the well-worn conspiracy theory meme will be a prevalent feature of what passes for news and commentary today.

The BBC Supports Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis

May 21st, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Under the title:

“Profile: Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist Right Sector”

The BBC tacitly praises the Right Sector and its role in the Maidan movement [BBC, April 28, 2014].

“The Right Sector played a leading role in January’s violent anti-Yanukovych protests in Kiev”

“The Right Sector is the most radical wing of Ukraine’s Maidan protest movement that toppled President Viktor Yanukovych in February.

….

They are not Neo-Nazis.  According to the BBC, that misleading designation is part of a propaganda ploy by Moscow to demonize bona fide Ukrainian nationalists.

“Critics at home say the party’s inflammatory rhetoric and violence is helping Russian media to depict Ukraine as overrun with “neo-Nazis” who threaten the Russian-speaking population.”

The BBC is Lying to Itself

It is worth noting that the BBC contradicts its earlier March 7, 2014 BBC Newsnight report with Gabriel Gatehouse entitled, “Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine,” which says exactly the opposite: “xenophobic Jew-hating nationalists, armed and leading the mobs in Kiev”. “I asked them about their political beliefs”: National Socialism was the answer. “Not Like Hitler, in our own way”.

According to Prince Charles’ timely statement “Now Putin is doing [in Ukraine] just about the same as Hitler”, which intimates that Moscow rather than Kiev has embraced a neo-Nazi Agenda.

Look at the photos displayed  in the BBC’s report.  The BBC suggests that these Right Sector thugs are acting responsibly.

Right Sector activists outside parliament in Kiev, 28 Mar 14

The party symbol of "Svoboda" Is it me or does it share more than a passing resemblance to a swastika?

“In late March the Right Sector – seen here outside parliament – clashed with the new Kiev authorities” [BBC image above included in the original article. In fact these militants of are Svoboda Party wearing the revived Nazi S.S.'s “Wolfsangel” (wolf's hook) insignia]. [see right]

The Right Sector is trying to portray itself as a responsible party, but enough doubts remain about its attitude and intentions to cause unease in both pro-Kiev and pro-Moscow camps.” [emphasis added]

 A masked man protects the entrance of a building transformed into a barracks in Kiev's Independence Square

[BBC Photo of a Right Sector Good Guy, included in the original article]

According to the BBC, the Right Sector has no Nazi roots, it was formed as an umbrella group in November 2013:

“Originally set up as an alliance of ultra-nationalist groups in November 2013, the Right Sector is now a party and its leader, Dmytro Yarosh, is running for president…”

The BBC report fails to mention the names of the constituent organizations of Pravy Sektor: They are Trident (Tryzub), led by Dmytro Yarosh and Andriy Tarasenko, and the Ukrainian National Assembly–Ukrainian National Self Defence (UNA–UNSO), a terrorist paramilitary organization supported covertly by NATO (see image below) and several other right wing paramilitary groups.

UNA-UNSO Paramilitary

Trident (Tryzub) (Тризуб) is an overtly Nazi paramilitary organization founded in 1993 by the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists. The latter was set up by former members of the notorious OUN-B, which collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II.  

Trident (Tryzub) (Тризуб) acknowledges the legacy of Stepan Bandera, the World War II Ukrainian Nazi collaborator. Its full name is the “Stepan Bandera All-Ukrainian Trident Organization [Всеукраїнська організація ″Тризуб″ імені Степана Бандери).

The BBC mentions the name of Stepan Bandera, but fails to acknowledge that he was instrumental in the killings of Jews, Poles pro-Soviet Ukrainians and Russians at the behest of the Third Reich. According to the BBC, his alleged links to Nazi Germany are part of Russian propaganda:

"Dmytro Yarosh calls himself a follower of Stepan Bandera, a nationalist leader who fought Polish and Soviet rule in the 1930s and 1940s but is seen in Russia and eastern Ukraine as a Tryz.pngNazi collaborator.

Mr Yarosh rejects accusations of racism, saying he regards anyone who fights for Ukraine as a comrade. Right Sector leaders have recently assured the Israeli ambassador that they reject anti-Semitism along with other forms of chauvinism and xenophobia." [emphasis added]

Moscow is demonizing Right Sector and Svoboda, according to the BBC.

In chorus, the Western media is categorical, they are not Neo-Nazis: Right Sector is casually described as a “Ukrainian nationalist group”. Various other designations are presented: “umbrella organization of far-right groups” (TIME), “radical right-wing group,  “coalition of militant ultra-nationalists”,”nationalist group”, “coalition of once-fringe Ukrainian nationalist groups”(NYT), “umbrella group for far-right activists and ultranationalists” (WSJ). The word neo-Nazi is a taboo.

Meanwhile, Right Sector has been involved in a hate campaign against Kiev’s Jewish Community, an issue which neither the BBC nor the Israeli media consider newsworthy. There is no history in the BBC’s narrative. There is deliberate distortion and omission, with a view to misleading public opinion.

Stepan Bandera’s links to World War II atrocities are well documented by scholars and historians.  Jews were the target of the Third Reich’s Einsatzgruppen (Task Groups or Deployment Groups) which were supported by Stepan Bandera’s OUN-B.

Under the militant leadership of Stepan Bandera in World War II, the ultra-nationalists organized the Ukrainian Waffen SS Galician, Nichtengall, and Roland Divisions that collaborated with the Nazis and were responsible for the genocide of over 500,000 people. Following the war, however, Ukrainian Nazis were the only group to escape trial at Nuremburg for crimes against humanity. See  Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis. Stepan Bandera and the Legacy of World War II. George Eliason, Global Research March 17, 2014)

By ignoring the World War II legacy of Stepan Bandera’s OUN-B and casually describing him as a anti-Soviet Nationalist, the BBC is tacitly involved in what might be described as “holocaust denial”. The OUN-B was complicit in the crimes of Nazi Germany.

 Source: Dennis Nilsson  wikimedia.org

 While the Western media including the BBC has not covered the issue, the contemporary Neo-Nazi threat against the Jewish community in the Ukraine is real.

The contemporary Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party as well the Right Sector follow in the footsteps of the OUN-B, which was responsible for acts of genocide directed Jews, Poles, Russian and pro-Soviet Ukrainians.

Reuters / Gleb Garanich

Contemporary Neo-Nazis Honoring Stepan Bandera

The war of words between Russia and the United States is soaring these days over the sovereignty of the Crimean peninsula, and the White House officials are constantly directing accusations and excruciating verbal attacks against Kremlin in what seems to be the most serious dispute between Moscow and the West in the recent years.

The United States has pulled out all the stops to defeat and isolate Russia diplomatically, and has even gone so far as to impose economic sanctions against the Russian individuals and companies, and excluding Russia from the G8 group of the industrialized nations. The 40th G8 summit was slated to be held in Sochi, Russia on June 4-5, but following the suspension of Russia’s membership in the G8, the summit relocated to Brussels, Belgium, and it would be the first time that a G8 leaders’ convention is going to take place in a non-member state country. Some of the Western media outlets have even started to refer to G8 as G7, implying that Russia does not have any position in this influential group of the affluent, developed nations.

But as always, when it comes to flexing the muscles and showing political prowess, the United States and its partners are behaving in an intolerant, duplicitous and hypocritical manner. In a statement, the newly-termed G7 leaders reaffirmed that Russia’s “occupation of the Crimea” was against the principles of the G7 and contravened the United Nations Charter.

It’s interesting that the innumerable violations of the international law, the UN Charter and Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in time of War by the United States in the recent years have never caught the attention of the G8 leaders and never compelled them to at least consider warning the United States to behave more responsibly and respect the internationally recognized conventions and regulations or refraining from destroying and annihilating other nations through its “humanitarian” missions!

If Russia should be punished for sending troops to Crimea, while it’s legally entitled to do so, and if its military intervention in Crimea represents a violation of the UN Charter in the eyes of the Western leaders, then it will be taken for granted that all violations of the international law and the United Nations Charter should be reprimanded and responded appropriately and the wrongdoers should be penalized in a fair manner. If Russia has occupied a sovereign entity – which is of course not the case, and should bear the burden of sanctions and diplomatic isolation, it’s ok, but why shouldn’t the United States be castigated and prosecuted for the same reason? What makes the military intervention of Russia different from the wars the U.S. offhandedly wages across the world?

For those of us who willfully ignore the historical facts, it’s noteworthy that the Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet signed between Russia and Ukraine on May 28, 1997, permits Russia to lawfully maintain up to 25,000 troops, 24 artillery systems, 132 armored vehicles and 22 military planes on the Crimean peninsula. This agreement will be effective until 2017, and so it can be the most convincing logical justification for Russia’s military action in Crimea.

So, what has happened is not an “occupation” as the U.S. leaders claim, but that Russia has exercised its legal right for sending troops to a geographical area where the majority of inhabitants are ethnic Russians and don’t want to remain under the Ukraine autonomy and are overwhelmingly inclined to join Russia.

What every neutral and unbiased observer of the international political developments can easily note is that it’s the United States which is renowned for its hegemonic policies and its imperialistic modus operandi, not Russia. Russia’s intervention in Crimea took place after it felt that its national interests are being seriously endangered on its borders, where 58% of the population is consisted of indigenous Russians who prefer to be reunited with Russia, rather than being seen as an asset and prize for the United States under the leadership of a new government in Ukraine which has neo-fascist backgrounds.

The prominent American syndicated columnist and journalist Ted Rall has recently written on his website that there are traces of neo-fascism and neo-Nazism in the government of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk who has just come to power: “There’s no doubt that a Ukrainian nationalist strain runs deep in the new regime. It has been estimated that roughly 1/3 or more of the supporters of the new government come out of xenophobic, anti-Semitic, neo-fascist movements that draw much of their ideological heritage from the Nazi puppet regime that governed Ukraine under German occupation during World War II.”

So, on March 16, the Crimean parliament and the local government of Sevastopol held a public referendum in Crimea to give the citizens two choices for the future of their territory; either to remain associated with Ukraine or reunite with Russia. With a high turnout of 83.1% of the eligible voters, 96.77% of the participants in the plebiscite voted in favor of joining the Russian Federation. The United States and its allies didn’t hesitate to call the referendum as rigged and invalid, as they usually does with the elections in countries with which they are at odds. Washington even drafted a resolution in the United Nations Security Council to call the referendum null and void, but Russia used its veto power, while China abstained, and the United States simply pushed the General Assembly member states to pass a non-binding resolution, declaring the referendum invalid, which doesn’t seem to have any certain impact on the future of Crimea.

The policy of de-Russanization was long underway in the Crimean peninsula, and many other former Soviet Union republics, as Ted Rall elaborately details. Perhaps the fact that the Ukrainian Parliament Verkhovna Rada voted on February 23 to repeal the 2012 language law that had declared Russian an official language in Ukraine and allowed it to be used in the schools, media and official correspondence, was a driving force for the Crimean people to rise up and call for independence from Ukraine that they believed didn’t respect their cultural and lingual background.

The future of Crimea and the prospects of the marred relations between Russia and the West remain blurred and unknown, but the United States’ accusations that Russia is “occupying” Crimea and exerting military aggression and so should be punished with economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation sound gravely outrageous and entirely hypocritical. The United States has the biggest war machinery in the world, has been directly or indirectly involved in more than 50 wars and military strikes on other countries without the approval of the UN Security Council, and has incontestably perpetrated war crimes and crimes against humanity.

As the prominent American lawyer and legal expert Marjorie Cohn has noted in a recent article, the United States is the largest user of unconventional and forbidden chemical weapons in the illegal wars it has waged across the globe. “The U.S. militarily occupied over 75% of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques for 60 years, during which time the Navy routinely practiced with, and used, Agent Orange, depleted uranium, napalm and other toxic chemicals and metals such as TNT and mercury. This occurred within a couple of miles of a civilian population that included thousands of U.S. citizens,” wrote Prof. Cohn.

“The use of any type of chemical weapon by any party would constitute a war crime. Chemical weapons that kill and maim people are illegal and their use violates the laws of war,” she added.

She also goes on to explain the use of chemical weapons by the United States in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria and also underlines that the majority of wars in which the United States has taken part were not ever approved by the Security Council. Aren’t these crimes a contravention of the UN Charter? Why don’t the G7 leaders and European Council and European Commission officials ever react to these violations? Does the United States have the prerogative to attack other countries and maim their people without any legal or moral justification and then get away with its crimes?

The United States is imparting a clear message by adopting this insincere and hypocritical approach toward Russia, which is also a message to other countries: We can invade your countries, we can kill your citizens, we can rule you tyrannically, we can behave in any way we desire, but if you do something which doesn’t please us, we will impose sanctions on you, we will banish you from international organizations, and we will come down on you like a ton of bricks. This is how the American hypocrisy works…

Kourosh Ziabari is an award-winning Iranian journalist and media correspondent. His articles and interviews have appeared on Global Research, Tehran Times, Press TV, Foreign Policy Journal, International Policy Digest, Your Middle East, Turkish Weekly Journal, Strategic Culture Foundation, Iran Review and Counter Currents. He has interviewed more than 300 prominent world leaders, politicians, diplomats, academicians, public intellectuals and Nobel Prize laureates. You can read his works at www.KouroshZiabari.com

 

Cyberwarfare: Irresponsible China Bashing

May 21st, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

China bashing reflects official US policy. Washington does it numerous ways.

It’s reprehensible. It’s confrontational. It’s potentially belligerent. Rogue states operate this way.

No nation spies on more nations than America. None more intrusively. None more aggressively. None more lawlessly.

None for more reasons. None in more ways. None more duplicitous about it. None more involved in cybercrime. More on this below.

China is a major US economic, political and military rival. Washington wants it marginalized, weakened and isolated.

It wants its sovereign independence eliminated. It want pro-Western puppet governance replacing it.

It wants its resources plundered. It wants its people exploited. Bashing China risks open conflict. So does pursuing America’s overall imperial objectives.

On May 19, Washington declared unprecedented cyberwar on China.

The Justice Department headlined ”US Charges Five Chinese Military Hackers for Cyber Espionage Against US Corporations and a Labor Organization for Commercial Advantage”

“First Time Criminal Charges Are Filed Against Known State Actors for Hacking”

A federal grand jury indicted five Chinese Peoples Liberation Army officials. Doing so was unprecedented. It was provocative.

Individuals charged didn’t matter. Washington confronted the People’s Republic of China directly. It did so by targeting its military.

Charges include “computer hacking, economic espionage and other offenses directed at six American victims in US nuclear power, metals and solar products industries.”

They allege conspiracy “to hack into American entities, to maintain unauthorized access to their computers and to steal information from those entities that would be useful to their competitors in China, including state-owned enterprises (SOEs).”

Attorney General Eric Holder claimed “economic espionage by members of the Chinese military and represents the first ever charges against a state actor for this type of hacking.”

“The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stolen in this case is significant and demands an aggressive response,” he said.

FBI Director James Comey claimed “(f)or too long, the Chinese government has blatantly sought to use cyber espionage to obtain economic advantage for its state-owned industries.”

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin said:

“State actors engaged in cyber espionage for economic advantage are not immune from the law just because they hack under the shadow of their country’s flag.”

Third Department Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Unit 61398 officials named include Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu, and Gu Chunhui.

Alleged companies targeted include Westinghouse, SolarWorld subsidiaries, US Steel, Allegheny Technologies, Alcoa, “the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, (and) Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW).”

Charges include:

  • One count of “conspiring to commit computer fraud and abuse.”
  • Eight counts of “accessing (or attempting to access) a protected computer without authorization to obtain information for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain.”
  • Fourteen counts of “transmitting a program, information, code, or command with the intent to cause damage to protected computers.”
  • Six counts of “aggravated identify theft.”
  • One count of “economic espionage.”
  • One count of “trade secret theft.”

Xinhua is China’s official press agency. It’s a ministry-level department. It provides electronic and print news and information.

On May 20, it headlined ”China strongly opposes US indictment against Chinese military personnel,” saying:

“China lodged protests with the US side following the announcement, urging the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistake and withdraw the indictment.”

“(T)he position of the Chinese government on cyber security is consistent and clear-cut. China is steadfast in upholding cyber security.”

“The Chinese government, the Chinese military and their relevant personnel have never engaged or participated in cyber theft of trade secrets.”

“The US accusation against Chinese personnel is groundless with ulterior motives.”

Evidence shows “terminals of Chinese military access to the internet have suffered from great number of foreign cyber attacks in recent years, and a considerable number of such attacks originated from the United States.”

“China demands that the US side explain its cyber theft, eavesdropping and surveillance activities against China and immediately stop such activities.”

America is “the biggest attacker of China’s cyber space.”

US attacks “infiltrate and tap Chinese networks belonging to governments, institutions, enterprises, universities and major communication backbone networks.”

“Those activities target Chinese leaders, ordinary citizens and anyone with a mobile phone.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said:

“This US move, which is based on fabricated facts, grossly violates the basic norms governing international relations and jeopardizes China-U.S. cooperation and mutual trust.”

Nine or more major online companies cooperate with lawless NSA spying. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, Skype, YouTube and others are involved.

They do so through NSA’s Prism. It gains access to search histories, emails, file transfers and live chats.

It’s gotten directly from US provider servers. Doing so facilitates mass surveillance. NSA spies globally. Its activities reveal rogue agency lawlessness.

NSA targets China intensively. It lawlessly hacks its computer and telecommunications networks.

It focuses on strategically important information. It does so through its ultra-secret China hacking group.

It conducts cyber-espionage. Huang Chengquing is Beijing’s top Internet official. China has “mountains of data,” he said.

It reveals widespread US hacking. It’s designed to steal government secrets. NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) in involved.

It’s ultra-secret. Most NSA personnel and officials know little or nothing about it. Only those with a need to know have full access.

TAO operations are extraordinarily sensitive. They penetrate Chinese computer and telecommunications systems.

They’ve done so for nearly 16 years. They generate reliable intelligence. They learn what’s ongoing in China.

They obtain what Washington most wants to know. It’s done by surreptitious hacking.

It cracks passwords. It penetrates computer security systems. It decrypts successfully. It steals hard drive data.

In October 2012, Obama authorized cyber-attacks. He did so by secret presidential directive.

His Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) “offer(s) unique and unconventional capabilities to advance US national objectives around the world with little or no warning to the adversary or target and with potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging.”

Washington “identif(ies) potential targets of national importance where OCEO can offer a favorable balance of effectiveness and risk as compared with other instruments of national power.”

Domestic spying works the same way. Anything goes defines policy. Constitutional protections don’t matter. Or US statute laws. Or international ones. Or relations with other nations.

Washington rules alone apply. TAO’s mandate is penetrating, destroying, damaging, or otherwise compromising targeted sites.

It’s the largest, most important NSA Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate component.

Well over 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers are involved.

Their job is identifying sensitive computer systems and supporting telecommunications networks. Their mandate is penetrating them successfully.

They exceed the capability of other US intelligence gathering agencies. Their activities expand exponentially.

China knows what’s going on. So do Russia and other nations. They’re acutely aware of NSA activities. They knows the threat. They take appropriate countermeasures.

Cyber-attacks constitute war by other means. Doing so compromises freedom. It risks confrontation. It threatens world peace.

It doesn’t matter. America operates solely for its own self-interest. For control. For economic advantage.

For being one up on foreign competitors. For information used advantageously in trade, political, and military relations. NSA’s get it all mandate explains.

June 5 is a landmark date. It marks the first anniversary of Edward Snowden revelations. He connected important dots for millions.

He revealed lawless NSA spying. He did so in great detail. He’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Western nations collaborate irresponsibly. They do so with major corporations. Privacy no longer exists.

There’s no place to hide. Big Brother watches everyone. Spying goes way beyond protecting national security.

All electronic communications can be monitored, collected and stored. Legal restraints are absent.

Obama heads the most rogue administration in US history. He exceeds the worst of his predecessors. Congress and American courts permit the impermissible.

Mass US surveillance is standard practice. It’s global. It’s all- embracing. It targets world leaders. It’s after everything and everyone of possible interest.

No constraints exist. No standards. Rogue states operate this way. America is by far the worst.

Bashing China turns a blind eye to US high crimes. They’re too egregious to ignore.

America is a pariah state. It exceeds the worst in world history. It risks global confrontation. Stopping it matters most.

It bears repeating what previous articles stressed. Today is the most perilous time in world history. World peace hangs in the balance.

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

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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

Fiat money is at base a form of indirect wealth transfer from those forced to hold the money to those issuing the money.

I describe the pernicious servitude created by debt as debt serfdom, as serfdom implies a neofeudal arrangement that requires serfs’ acceptance of this financial yoke of servitude. In other words, debt is freely accepted as the line of least resistance in a system that incentivizes debt and places high barriers to debt-free independence from a Status Quo operated to benefit the owners and issuers of debt, not the debtors.

Correspondent Jeff W. has identified an even more insidious form of monetary servitude that he calls fiat slavery, as the servitude is enforced by fiat (unbacked government-issued) money.

In other words, being forced to use state-issued fiat currency is a form of servitude, as fiat money is at base a form of indirect wealth transfer from those forced to hold the money to those issuing the money.

Beyond this state-enforced wealth transfer from citizens to the state, there is a secondary wealth transfer going on in any fiat-money system: the neofeudal financial nobility who are closest to the money spigot get to buy whatever real-world assets and income streams offer the best return before the money trickles down to the debt-serfs paying interest and taxes.

For example, the financial nobility can borrow billions of dollars at near-zero interest from the Federal Reserve, and use this nearly-free fiat money to buy student loans that pay 7+% annually. They can also snap up houses for cash that the nobility then rents to debt-serfs who have been outbid by those with the extraordinary advantage of unlimited access to the Fed’s nearly-free fiat money.

Here is Jeff’s commentary and analysis:

In a world where every country prints fiat money, the entire human race today, except for its money masters, is subjected to fiat slavery.

Almost everyone understands what it means to be a tax slave. It means that people must work several months of the year for the benefit of the taxing authorities. Taxes in the U.S. today are several times higher than they were 100 years ago, and at present-day tax levels, today’s Americans are rightly called tax slaves.

What it means to be a debt slave is also easy to understand.

It means that one must spend a large fraction of one’s time to earn money to pay creditors. Millions of Americans today are mired deeply in debt, but today’s America is also a country where if you personally stay out of debt, the government will go into debt for you.

Each American taxpayer is on the hook for his or her share of over $17 trillion in debt that government admits to; the real debt total is much higher. Government leaders are eagerly plunging us ever deeper into debt each year.

Most Americans also have personal experience of being a wage slave.

It means that a person has no way to make a living except by selling his labor into a glutted market. Thomas Jefferson hoped that most Americans could own their own farms and thereby profit from capital improvements that they made through their own efforts. Such Americans could be their own bosses and escape wage slavery. But today we live in an age of huge factory farms, and it is more difficult than ever to establish or run any small business. Thus wage slavery is the norm for Americans today.

But few people understand what it means to be a fiat slave.

Being a fiat slave means that one lives in a country where the machinery of money printing is used to maximize wealth extraction from its citizens.

How do they maximize the wealth they can extract through money printing? First of all, it is done by increasing of the volume of transactions that take place in a given fiat currency. Each newly-printed unit of fiat is a drop in the bucket in terms of the inflation it creates, and more fiat can be printed without causing serious inflation if a country has a bigger bucket.

For example, Canada’s GDP is about 11% the size of America’s. At first glance this might be taken to mean that Americans can print nine times more dollars than Canadians. But we must also remember that U.S. dollars circulate throughout the world, and Eurodollars and petrodollars also add to the total of U.S. dollar transactions.

Because of extraterritorial dollar circulation, the U.S. might actually be able to print 20 times more than Canada without causing serious (in terms of causing political problems for the money printers) inflation. From this we see why money printers may want to fight wars to protect America’s dollar circulation areas in the Middle East or in Afghanistan, where much of the opium trade is transacted in dollars.

But a country’s fiat transaction volume is only part of the equation. A more important part of the equation is the inflation level. Imagine two countries: Country A with an annual fiat transaction volume of 100 trillion units per year and Country B with a volume of 50 trillion. Everything else being equal, Country B can only print half as much fiat each year to give to its government and its banking elite.

But suppose further that the inflation rate in Country A is 5% absent any money printing, and the inflation rate in Country B is negative 2% due to global wage arbitrage, regulatory suppression of small businesses, and high unemployment. Suppose further that a real inflation rate of 5% is the money printers’ upper limit because it is the maximum asset erosion that wealthy bondholders will tolerate. Now we see that potential money printing in Country A is reduced to zero, while potential money printing in Country B is 3.5 trillion units (50 trillion times seven percent).

American money printers thus have trillions of dollars in incentive to support deflationary policies, which may include global wage arbitrage (sending work to the country where labor is cheapest), suppression of job creation by small businesses, suppression of private-sector labor unions, support for open borders immigration, commodity price suppression through market interventions, support for genetically modified seeds so as to push agricultural prices down, support for owners taking a larger share of corporate revenues so as to reduce labor’s share, and support for high levels of consumer debt so as to dampen inflationary pressure in a nation of demoralized debt slaves. All of these oppressive policies enrich the money printers at the citizens’ expense.

Tax slavery, debt slavery, wage slavery, and fiat slavery are four methods that elites employ to extract wealth from the people.

To this list we should also add their encouragement of Ponzi gambling. Ponzi asset bubbles are constantly being created and citizens are encouraged to go into debt to “cash in” on bubble profits (or get wiped out in bubble crashes). Those five methods are the major wealth extraction methods they use.

Those who support the cause of human freedom must resist tax slavery by insisting on a government that keeps its spending down to the bare basics. Free people must also support a culture that discourages people from getting into debt and encourages them to get out of debt and stay out. They must demand that government debt be rolled back to zero.

Policies that favor capital accumulation in families and a supportive legal environment for small businesses are the antidotes to wage slavery, and free people must also demand that there be zero wealth extraction from the citizens through money printing. That can best be done by requiring 100% gold backing for currency and eliminating fractional reserve banking. Eliminating the inflation that comes from money printing will also go a long way toward eliminating asset bubbles and Ponzi gambling on asset bubbles.

Older Americans have watched as a once-free people have been reduced to slave-like conditions. Not only has wealth been ruthlessly extracted from the people, but today’s surveillance state is more intrusive than ever, and the police are increasingly insolent and imperious.

What are we going to do? A necessary first step is to take the blinders off and to see clearly how elites are victimizing you. A second step is to figure out what practical steps you can take as an American to secure the blessings of liberty for yourself and your posterity. Freedom is not free, as the saying goes, and the price of freedom is not only eternal vigilance, but also intelligent action. We should begin this work today.

Awareness of the sources of wealth transfer and monetary servitude is the first step forward.

The annual rich list published by the Sunday Times has revealed a staggering rise in wealth for Britain’s super-rich.

The headline story, made public a week prior to the release of the list on May 18, was that the number of billionaires in Britain had surpassed 100 for the first time. With a total of 104 billionaires, Britain has witnessed the emergence of more than 20 new billionaires over the past year and has the highest concentration of billionaires of any country.

In its entirety, the list reveals that the richest 1,000 people in Britain possess combined wealth of £519 billion, equivalent to a staggering one third of the country’s GDP. This is a rise of 15.4 percent from the 2013 list, when the super-rich held total wealth of £449 billion. Since 2008, the year of the global financial crisis and the implementation of a multi-billion-pound bailout of the banks, the wealth of the super-rich in the UK has doubled.

As well as being the product of speculation and outright criminality, the rapid rise of such obscene levels of wealth over the past five years confirms the true purpose of the austerity policies of successive governments since the financial crisis. While for the vast majority the near collapse of the financial system has meant the deepest assault on living standards, jobs and public services since the Second World War, an oligarchy has gorged itself on state sponsored bailouts to enrich themselves to a degree without precedent.

The wealth required to be even considered for the list, £85 million, was more than that at the peak of the pre-crisis boom in 2008, when the figure was £80 million. A place in the top 500 could only be secured with total wealth of £190 million, more than double the £80 million in 2004 and almost 20 percent more than the £160 million in 2013.

London, one of the world’s leading centres of financial swindling, has established itself as a global destination of choice for the oligarchy, with 72 billionaires residing there. This is more than double the total of British-based billionaires from just 10 years ago. But the explosion in wealth is not confined to the capital. In Scotland, the richest 100 people saw their combined riches rise by 19 percent in the past year to top £25 billion.

The vast accumulation of wealth at the pinnacle of society was further illustrated by government figures released just days before the rich list.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the top 1 percent of Britain’s population now controls more wealth than the bottom 55 percent, i.e., the richest 600,000 individuals possess more wealth than the poorest 33 million. Another report from the charity Oxfam revealed that just five billionaire families controlled more wealth than the bottom 20 percent of the population.

The concentration of wealth in a few hands contrasts ever more horrifically with worsening impoverishment for a growing proportion of the population. A report released by the European Union statistics agency Eurostat earlier this month revealed four poverty black spots in Britain where the standard of living was comparable or worse than that in areas of the eastern European countries Lithuania, Poland and Hungary. According to the report, poverty-stricken areas such as Cornwall and the Welsh valleys have average annual incomes of just £14,300.

A letter signed by 170 medical professionals in the Lancet compared the living conditions and diets of many with the Victorian era. “The spectre of Oliver Twist is back. Children are going hungry in the UK: they may not be eating gruel but their parents are having to choose cheap food that is filling but not nutritious,” the letter stated. One of the letter’s authors, Professor John Ashton, described the situation as “a public health emergency.”

Even Phillip Beresford, who has worked to compile the rich list since its inception in 1989, was somewhat taken aback by the rapidity with which the wealth of the super-rich had expanded over the past year. He commented, “I’ve never seen such a phenomenal rise in personal wealth as the growth in the fortunes of Britain’s richest 1,000 people over the past year.” He added, “The richest people in Britain have had an astonishing year. While some may criticise them, many of these people are at the heart of the economy and their success brings more jobs and more wealth for the country.”

It is a measure of the control enjoyed by such fabulously wealthy layers, and the utter subservience of the press to them, that Beresford’s outrageous remarks were reported in the media with virtually no comment. The classic Thatcherite “trickle down” theory is still treated as if it were a self-evident truth by a ruling elite desperate to find justifications for its crumbling social order, even after it has been wholly refuted by actual events.

Typical was the reaction of the Times, which remarked in an editorial that tens of thousands should seek to emulate the rich list 1,000. “Britain needs to be seen as a place where success is applauded,” the paper intoned.

The reality is that the vast wealth of the oligarchy is accumulated at the direct expense of the rest of society in the form of savage wage cuts, the decimation of public services, shifting the tax burden onto working people and handing over billions to the banks.

The vast quantities of wealth hoarded by the super-rich have been invested in the financial sector and property. On the same day the rich list was released, an interview with the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, was cited by a number of newspapers. In it, he warned about the danger of exploding property prices, particularly in London where they have risen by 25 percent since 2008 due to speculative investment.

Labour made some timid criticism of the list, with shadow treasury secretary Chris Leslie commenting, “No wonder the super-rich have got much richer over the last year when David Cameron has given millionaires a huge tax cut.” He claimed that “Labour is determined to ensure all working people feel the benefit of economic growth, not just a few at the top.”

While the Conservative-Liberal Democrat decision to cut the top income tax rate was undoubtedly a handout to the wealthy, to claim that a reduction in the top rate of tax from 50 to 45 percent can account for such astronomical increases in wealth is a fraud. The reality is that the multi-billion bailout of the banks, initiated by Labour in 2008, and the policies which have followed—including the Bank of England’s quantitative easing and the cuts to public services—have resulted in billions of pounds flowing into the coffers of Britain’s super-rich. Labour intends to continue with these austerity measures if it takes power after next year’s election, as it seeks to defend the interests of Britain’s modern-day aristocracy.

According to new documents made public yesterday by Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency records the content of every phone call made to, from, and within the Bahamas and at least one other country.

An internal NSA document explains that the content-recording program, codenamed SOMALGET, is “deployed against entire networks ”to allow the US government to record“over 100 million call events per day” from the two countries. SOMALGET is part of a broader program, called MYSTIC, which monitors metadata from several other countries, including Mexico, the Philippines and Kenya.

Details of the program were first reported on Glenn Greenwald’s the Interceptweb site. The Intercept writes that the NSA “appears to have used access legally obtained in cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration to open a backdoor to [the Bahamas’] cellular telephone network…”

A 2012 internal NSA memo explains that “SOMALGET collection systems forward full-take metadata in real time and buffer full-take audio for nominally 30 days. It makes possible the selection of audio content against the buffered data after the fact, in near real-time, or up to 30 days later.”

Even if claims by the administration that the NSA only stores the content of calls for 30 days are true, that means that at any given time, the NSA can trawl through the content of three billion phone calls accumulated from the Bahamas and the unknown country. This far surpasses the alleged economic surveillance committed by members of the Chinese military, against whom the Department of Justice filed criminal charges earlier this week. The Interceptdecided not to publish the name of the second country where 100 percent of phone calls are recorded on the grounds that the authors have “specific, credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence.” In a subsequent post on Twitter, Greenwald said that the NSA and Director of National Intelligence “urged us aggressively” to suppress the names of all countries in question. Greenwald further claimed that the journalists at The Intercept were convinced that “innocent people would die” if the name of the fifth country was released.

In response to The Intercept’s abstention from publishing the second country, however, WikiLeaks announced yesterday that it would reveal the name within the next days. WikiLeaks wrote that the population of the world should be apprised of the details of the government’s spying operation, regardless of specious claims by the NSA that leaks put human life at risk.

“We will reveal the name of the censored country whose population is being mass recorded in 72 hours,” read a message posted Tuesday morning on WikiLeaks’ twitter account. Another tweet added: “It is not the place of Firstlook [ the Intercept ] or [the Washington Post ] to decide how a people will chose to act against mass breaches of their rights by the United States.”

Both MYSTIC and SOMALGET, as well as countless other spying programs, are carried out without the knowledge of the governments in the targeted countries. Although the Bahamas granted the US Drug and Enforcement Agency the ability to install wiretap equipment, the Bahamian government told the Intercept that it “was not aware of” the storage of every call on the island.

The accumulation of phone conversation audio is not limited to only two countries, moreover. In March, John Inglis, then serving as NSA Deputy Director, told the Los Angeles Times that the NSA tracks and records every email, text, and phone-location signal sent in Iraq.

That same month, the Washington Post published internal NSA slides showing that the government is working towards “full-take audio” in six countries—which presumably include the countries cited in the Intercept .

“With proper engineering and coordination there is little reason this capability cannot expand to other accesses,” an NSA document published by the Postreads. Faced with coercion from the Obama administration, the Postobediently refused to name those countries targeted for SOMALGET expansion.

The installation of “collection devices” requires close cooperation between the US government and its corporate collaborators. An internal NSA document revealed that in regards to the MYSTIC program, the US sells the need to access foreign telecommunication systems by claiming that “the overt purpose” is “for legitimate commercial services for the Telco’s themselves.” The document also explains that “[O]ur covert mission is the provision of SIGINT [Signals Intelligence].”

The NSA also relies on major corporations to help process the data. For example, the weapons manufacturer General Dynamics has an eight-year $51 million contract to process “all MYSTIC data and data for other NSA accesses.” The company also aids with processing SOMALGET data.

Further internal documents show that the MYSTIC programs are carried out as part of integrated operations led by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Signals Directorate, an Australian intelligence agency.

Once more, President Obama’s avowal that “people around the world, regardless of their nationality, should know that the United States is not spying on ordinary people who don’t threaten our national security” has been shown to be an unambiguous lie.

The fact that the NSA has targeted the Bahamas, just 150 miles off the coast of Florida, is further proof that the threat of “terrorism” is simply a curtain behind which the framework of a police state is being constructed. What’s more, the absence of Islamic fundamentalists in the small tropical island nation has forced the government to use the threat of drug dealing as justification for widespread state surveillance of an entire nation’s population—as well as its visitors, many of whom are US citizens.

This expansion of the constitutional exception to the prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures to standard narcotics prosecution is significant. The government now claims that the need to prevent ordinary crimes justifies widespread warrantless state surveillance. By this measure, nothing is unconstitutional.

Although the true depth and extent of the SOMALGET and MYSTIC programs are as yet unknown, one thing is clear: what has been revealed so far provides further confirmation that the US government is in the process of building a global surveillance apparatus in the hope it will one day be able to read and listen to every communication made throughout the world.

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin reasserts the Russia-China bilateral decision to settle “mutual payments in national currencies,” i.e. without the use of US Dollar.

He also emphasised that other financial steps are being implemented between the two countries to optimize the “cooperation between [Russia and China] banks.

” Other surprises are in store as Putin stressed. “We intend to consider new financial instruments…”

In terms of trade it appears that China and Russia have established mechanisms which undermine the economic sanctions regime directed against the two countries:

we also considered ways of diversifying trade and reducing its dependence on the global economic situation…”

See http://eng.kremlin.ru/transcripts/7200#sel=5:1,6:35

Vladimir Putin press statement following Russian-Chinese talks

May 20, 2014, 10:30 Shanghai People’s Republic of China

Excerpt

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: President Xi Jinping, ladies and gentlemen, friends,

“…In the course of the meeting, we also considered ways of diversifying trade and reducing its dependence on the global economic situation. We will promote cooperation in technology-intensive areas, such as civil aviation.

We have good prospects here, projects to create wide-bodied aircraft and civil heavy-lift helicopters. We are also developing cooperation in car manufacturing.

Cooperation between banks is also growing, and we will continue developing the financial infrastructure. Work is underway to increase the amount of mutual payments in national currencies, and we intend to consider new financial instruments…”

 

 

Black propaganda is revealed immediately by its motto.  ‘Nation shall speak Truth unto Nation’; it strangles truth in most minutes of every day.  It is the outfall for united corporate and government power (Il Duce’s summary of fascism), the monarchy, Zion and endless war.  It is the instrument for the projection of British power, such as remains.  It is benign in its brand and malign in its purpose.  And it gets steadily worse although there are windows through which truth can be glimpsed.  The other night at 3am on the World Service, Heart and Soul, John Laurenson reported from Bethlehem. (1)  It was the blessed truth.  Selin Girit, a Turkish lady reporter for the BBC, has told clear truth about the mining disaster at Soma; she said how safety has fallen to profit in privatised mines.

The new Pearl Harbour that Cheney said they needed within 10 days of ‘gaining office’ is a good starting point for considering the BBC’s central role in setting the scene for terrible human suffering.  When that Pearl Harbour arrived in its full cinematographic horror, was it not a BBC lady journalist who forecast the collapse of Tower 7 (in its own footprint) 30 minutes before the event occurred.  When the western barbarians started bombing the poorest people on earth in ‘Ghan on the 9/11- OBL pretext, one can be sure the BBC did not film those dying of cold and hunger as many thousands fled to the mountains in that winter.

Although this massive corporation never mentions PNAC, the Project for the New American Century, it has promoted its aims in every way.  In 2002, we had a succession of Zio-Cons on our screens in the ‘news’ and ‘discussion’ programmes.  Perle, Wolfowitz, Edelman, Bolton – aagh, Cristol ad infinitum.  The removal of the new Hitler, Saddam Hussein was essential.  Their blood brothers in the UK war machine joined in.  The US/UK/Zionist entity axis was revving up to kill; the ‘Nation Speaks Truth unto Nation’ outfit was revving in synchrony.  It is a tribute to the common sense of the British people that a majority opposed that ‘war’ on a disarmed nation that had already been ruined by draconian sanctions and repeated bombings, in spite of megawatts of ‘prop’.

The systematic and all invading nature of BBC black propaganda will be described in following articles.  Among current pressing ‘news’ reports like the abduction of school girls by Boka Haram, ‘barrel bombing’ by the Syrian ‘regime’ looms large.  One could allude to that early terrorist Guy Fawkes and fellow conspirators who plotted to blow up the House of Lords in 1605.  Fawkes was found in the cellars with 36 barrels of gunpowder.  Many today would relish success of the same if both Houses were propelled skywards when no dissimulating denizens were present!

Barrel Bombs

‘Auntie Beeb’ has been pushing Assad’s barrel bombs out of ‘regime’ helicopters.  A recent report by Ian Pannell of the ‘Speak Truth’ brigade stuck in the craw. (2)  Pannell has form in Libya and an alleged attack on a school that he reported earlier this year has been subject to minute and withering analysis by Robert Stuart.(3)

So I wrote to the laughably named complaints department.  This is but one speck of black sand on the beach of BBC lies.  Here is one instance of the BBC speaking untruths to its people and the world.

  1. Title – Today programme – today 28 April. The Syrian ‘regime’ – barrel bombs – Aleppo Online complaints BBCDear BBC,It was evident from early in this programme that there was to be a sustained barrel bombing of the listener, both here and abroad. One might guess that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was involved in this assault. There was also the possibility that it locked in nicely with the continued isolation/belittlement of Putin and Russia, the latter being an erstwhile ally critical to the defeat of the Third Reich (by massive sacrifice).There was the insinuation, yet again, that the Assad government had been responsible for the nerve gas attacks. I have not heard from the BBC that the evidence, from Mother Agnes to Seymour Hersh, was against this source. And neither have I heard the BBC pose cui bono against this accusation. Did not the 100 plus little victims not perish shortly before the Syrian government representatives attended the Geneva conference?
    My central complaint. You alleged, via Ian Pannell, that ‘barrel bombs’ were being dropped indiscriminately from 6000ft from helicopters, by day and night. On the other hand, when Sirte was being ‘pounded’ by HE, Hellfire and Cruise missiles, you probably inferred there was discrimination; the estimated 50,000 Libyan civilian deaths were ‘collateral’ damage. YOU BROADCAST NO STATEMENT FROM THE SYRIAN GOVERNMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE VERY SERIOUS ALLEGATIONS TRANSMITTED BY MR PANNELL TODAY. WHY NOT? I add that I did not hear the later segment, but in any event, a Syrian response should have accompanied each of the earlier segments thus meeting accepted journalistic rules.yours faithfully

The reply came within 3 days, most unusually -

Dear Mr Halpin

Reference CAS-2680921-9W74H4

Thanks for contacting us regarding BBC Radio 4′s ‘Today’ broadcast 28th April 2014.

We understand you feel a recent report concerning Syria was biased and failed to look at all aspects of the situation.

We can assure you of our commitment to impartial reporting. We seek to provide the information which will enable listeners to make up their own minds; to show the political reality and provide the forum for debate, giving full opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard.

It is not always possible or practical to reflect all the different opinions on a subject within individual reports. Editors are charged to ensure that over a reasonable period they reflect the range of significant views, opinions and trends in their subject area.

The BBC does not seek to denigrate any view, nor to promote any view. It seeks rather to identify all significant views, and to test them rigorously and fairly on behalf of the audience. Among other evidence, audience research indicates widespread confidence in the impartiality of the BBC’s reporting.

We regret on this occasion you felt the need to complain and be assured that we’ve registered your concerns on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that’s made available to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, programme makers, channel controllers and other senior managers.

The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

Tanya McKee

BBC Complaints

www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

The vacuity is typical, as well as the failure to answer the question.  Licence paying listeners are insulted all ways round.

A short e-mail was sent to me by a man of Syrian birth along with a misty picture.  Barrel bombs were spoken of, and their first use by Zionist terrorists in Palestine was recalled.  Then they were rolled down into markets to terrorise the locals.  These barrels are gas cylinders.  Closer examination of those at the rear of the load confirms there are fins welded to stems which are in turn fixed to the base of the cylinders.  A likely fuse can be seen on the ‘nose’ of one or two cylinders.

Do the operatives look like Syrian army or air force personnel?

Is it likely that these are to be used as car bombs, which is what my informant believes?

Is it not more likely, indeed certain, that these weapons were designed for aerial use?  Given the crudity of shape, there would be no chance of pinpoint accuracy, but the fins would stop them tumbling as they fell to earth.  That would ensure the fuse on its nose triggered its deadly load.

If we assume, and I believe rightly, that these two men are ‘rebels/jihadists’ supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and many other dictatorships at all points west, to what air strip or helicopter pad are they taking their lethal load in obedience to their version of Allah’s will?

They will not be selling them to the president’s forces who will then use their remaining helicopters to drop them ‘day and night’ from 6000ft as per Pannell.

There is the possibility that one or some of the many factions have a helicopter or two.  There are reports and images showing them capturing an air base in the north, with at least one apparently intact helicopter to be seen.   And there is also the possibility that helicopters are being provided by the jackal states across the borders.  It is likely that Syrian radar air defences have been ‘degraded’, as well as air to air and ground to air attack capability.  ‘Israeli’ jets have attacked weapon trains at least six times; advanced Russian missiles were destroyed we were told.  Whether government, ‘rebels’ or both possess ground to air missiles, any helicopter will stay high.

Another image showing the same ‘cottage industry’ bombs was found via the Google search engine.(4&5)  The operative is inserting a fuse.  Again, the clothes, shoes and place put him and the weapons outside the Syrian forces.  But is he manufacturing barrel bombs for the government?  That seems unlikely.

Let us imagine these indiscriminate weapons are somehow being dropped by the enemy factions or their surrogates.  What purpose is being served?  Certainly urban populations  are being terrorised by the continued risk of death, maiming and homelessness.  And these bombs are now ingrained in the consciousness of many abroad.

Many nations, with their psychopathic leaderships, are determined that Bashir Assad should at least be toppled.  Many want him dead, thus pre-empting the craven ICC which they also threaten him with.  Alistair Burt MP is a Christian Zionist who served until last Autumn in the Foreign and Commonwealth under that psychopath with the shining bald head and the double bass voice, Mr William Hague.  He was tickled to speak from the podium aged 15 at a Conservative Party conference and to announce a year later that he was a Zionist.  Burt was quoted in the Guardian as saying

Burt insisted the British government “knew exactly what would happen if there was not a strike against Assad over chemical weapons. He goes on. And the only thing that would deflect this man and this regime is if they fear they are going to end up in a storm drain with a bayonet up their backside. If they don’t fear that, they will go on killing as many people as they need to stay in power.”

My complaint about this barbarism was taken step-wise through ”standards” committees and quickly ended in the House of Commons. There are no standards, no discipline, and no principle.(6&7)  The realm is rotten to the core.

On the 15th of this month, the ‘Friends of Syria’ held their first meeting since January.  Hague announced the evil conclusions of this cabal in the gilded nest of British cunning, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.(8)  The conspirators represented Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and of course, the US in the shape of Kerry – hair and all. (8)

Hague – ‘… the ruthless utter disregard for human life‘, ‘to… do everything we can to hold the Assad regime accountable for the terror it is perpetrating.”

Kerry commented on France’s claim that the Assad government has used chemical weapons at least 14 times since October.  And ‘Out of today’s meeting, every facet of what can be done is going to be ramped up – every facet.’

Now, you would not know from the press releases that two others were present in London.  A successor to Madeleine Albright, Ms Tzipi Livni, and Ahmad Al-Jarba, head of the Syrian National Council.  Although Kerry attacks the upcoming presidential elections in Syria as being undemocratic, he called Al-Jarba ‘President’ in his speech within the FCO.(9)  We can be sure that all devices were discussed.  This would include the pretexts for a NATO attack leading to the killing of President Assad and many other loyal Syrians.  These entities remain utterly determined to destroy Syria and its people.

The ‘barrels’ and a claimed major loss of life are one possible pretext but of course there are others.  Some have described oil barrels filled with explosive and metal fragments.  The images above are plainly of aerial bombs, and unlike oil barrels, would be easy to handle in helicopters.  The methods for decimating all the Arab states were outlined by Oded Yinon in Ralph Schoenman’s little book, The Hidden History of Zionism – Chapter 12.(10)  Note ‘Fragmenting Syria’.

The decimation is well advanced.  Some barrel bombs might later prove to be false flags with that over familiar blue star painted on the cylinder.  We can be sure that the BBC and many other broadcasters will be ready to paint a resulting attack in shades of pink.

Notes

(1)   http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01yvy2r

(2)   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27180006

(3)   http://bbcpanoramasavingsyriaschildren.wordpress.com/

(4)   http://images.says.com/uploads/story_source/source_image/228752/495a.jpeg    from

(5)   http://says.com/my/news/syrian-helicopter-bomb-raids-kill-42-in-aleppo

(6)http://dhalpin.infoaction.org.uk/2-articles/correspondence-with-politicians/158-letter-to-standards-and-privileges-committee-of-the-house-of-commons

(7)http://dhalpin.infoaction.org.uk/2-articles/correspondence-with-politicians/159-a-complaint-about-a-barbarous-statement-made-by-mr-alistair-burt-mp

(8)http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27419552

(9) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czrEmbWh7uE&feature=share&list=UU6ZhpmNnLxlOYipqh8wbM3A

(10) http://www.marxists.de/middleast/schoenman/ch12.htm

May 20, 2014, 10:30 Shanghai

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: President Xi Jinping, ladies and gentlemen, friends,

Today in a traditionally friendly and business-like atmosphere, we have covered a broad agenda of Russian-Chinese cooperation and set ourselves ambitious goals and established long-term milestones. We have signed a number of important bilateral documents. Relations between Russia and the People’s Republic of China are developing successfully and have reached a new level of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation.

During our negotiations, we paid special attention to economic issues. China is Russia’s leading foreign trade partner. Last year, trade turnover between our countries amounted to almost $90 billion, and we will work to bring it to $100 billion. We have everything we need to achieve this.

A Russian-Chinese Investment Committee has been set up to continue efforts to expand mutual investment. There are a number of major business initiatives in the energy sector. We are working in all areas, and we are making progress everywhere.

In the course of the meeting, we also considered ways of diversifying trade and reducing its dependence on the global economic situation. We will promote cooperation in technology-intensive areas, such as civil aviation. We have good prospects here, projects to create wide-bodied aircraft and civil heavy-lift helicopters. We are also developing cooperation in car manufacturing.

Cooperation between banks is also growing, and we will continue developing the financial infrastructure. Work is underway to increase the amount of mutual payments in national currencies, and we intend to consider new financial instruments.

Cooperation in military technology, supervised by our countries’ defence ministries, is a separate issue. This is an important factor of stability and security in the region and the world at large.

We see a great future in expanding cooperation between individual regions of our countries. A number of Russian regions, including such metropolitan cities as Moscow and St Petersburg, as well as the Volga Region and others, are cooperating directly with partners in China.

Humanitarian ties are becoming ever more important. In March, we launched reciprocal Youth Friendly Exchanges years. We also resolved to create a Russian-Chinese University on the basis of Moscow State University and Beijing University of Technology.

Mr President has already said that the historical memory of the great heroism of our peoples in World War II brings Russia and China even closer. We have agreed to hold joint celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory.

In the course of our detailed exchange, we also covered international issues. I will note that the positions of Russia and China largely coincide. We share the same priorities both on a global and regional scale. We have agreed on closer coordination of our foreign policy actions, including those made within the framework of the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, BRICS, APEC and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, which begins its meeting tonight.

I am grateful to the President of China and to all our Chinese friends and partners for a very constructive meeting held today and earlier as we prepared the visit. Thank you for the invitation to visit the People’s Republic of China and to attend the coming events. I am happy to accept.

Thank you.

Ukraine and Syria: Elections at Barrels of US-NATO Guns?

May 20th, 2014 by Felicity Arbuthnot

“Hypocrisy, the most protected of vices.” (Moliere, 1672-1673.)

On Sunday 11th May, Ukraine’s referenda in the country’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk provinces were met with verbal condemnation from the US – accusations of the electorate voting “at the barrel of a gun”, in reportedly a near 90% turn out, nearly 90% in Donetsk voting for political independence from Kiev and 96.2% in Luhansk in favour of self rule.

Many did indeed vote at the barrels of guns – held by those sent by the US-UK-EU-NATO allies in the $5 Billion US coup in the capital, Kiev, which replaced the elected government. Their actions “resulted in several deaths.” (1)

The two regions followed Crimea, which on 16th March, voted by near 93% to cede to Russia in an over 80% turnout.

However, as barrels of guns go, they surely don’t get bigger than those focused on the voters in the Ukraine national election on Sunday 25th May.

The US war ship the Vella Gulf is expected to arrive in the Black Sea: “on the eve of Presidential elections”, with American diplomats stressing: “that the United States wanted to support the actions of the new Ukrainian authorities through the presence of US warships in the Black Sea.”

In “support” of the elections: “The Vella Gulf is armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, ACPOK, and antisubmarine and anti-aircraft Standard-2 and Standard-3 missiles. The ship carries the total of 122 missiles on board. The vessel also has two multipurpose helicopters.” (2)

It is also: “ a guided missile cruiser built for open-ocean warfare and long-range attacks on targets inland …”(3) That should bring the voters out.

Further:

“The American Aegis guided missile cruiser will be in the Black Sea in time for the Ukrainian presidential elections on May 25 …”

Additionally:

“… the French Navy’s intelligence ship, Dupuy de Lome, (is) currently in the waters off Bulgaria’s port city of Varna. (It is) designed for radar monitoring and capable of intercepting communications, including phone calls and e-mails …”(4)

However, if the people of Ukraine survive US missile driven backing for “democracy”, the people of Syria may face an even bigger challenge as they hold their Presidential election just nine days later.

On the day of the Ukraine elections, Operation “Eager Lion” kicks off in Syria’s neighbour, Jordan, in a “military training drill” involving twenty four countries: “organized by the Jordan Armed Forces, in co-operation with the US Army.”(5) Read: organized by the US at every level. The “training drill” just happens to run from 25th May to 10th June, thus taking in the day of Syria’s elections on 3rd June. The distance between Jordan’s capitol, Amman and Syria’s capitol Damascus is a mere 109 miles. The Jordan-Syrian border is a mere hop, skip and jump away.

Of the same named exercise last year, Natowatch.org called it: “A NATO exercise in all but name.”

Equipment to be utilized this year seems unavailable, but in last year’s smaller exercise, with eighteen nations taking part, just some major equipment included: “amphibious assault ships (and numbers of) AV-B Harrier II, C130 Hercules, F18 Hornet, F16 Falcon, Patriot missile system and the V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft … “(6)

This year though, we do learn (mark carefully) that: “The land component includes a mixture of special operations forces and Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which played a role in Operation Odyssey Dawn to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya in March 2011.”(7) We know what happened to Libya.

“Ground, air and naval forces” will be deployed. The US also now has one thousand troops (including special operations?) deployed in Jordan long term.

In April last year in another eighteen country silly named operation in Qatar, operation Eagle Resolve, according to the US Department of Defence, included every country in the region except Syria and Iran. “Everyone else had representation.”(8) Syria and Iran of course, were on the Pentagon list, after 11th September 2001 of: “Seven countries” to be “taken out in five years.”(9) They are behind, but clearly still working on it under the Nobel Prize winning and more recently the “Ambassador for Humanity” awarded US President.(10)

Search engines explain that the names of US military exercises and operations are long pondered over to make them meaningful, assertive, ringing of authority, control and dominance. “Eager Lion” has all the authority of a bully taunting in a reception class school playground. “Assad” in Arabic translates as “Lion.” To quote Peter Ustinov again: “When we were five, we all wanted to be Generals.” Pathetic.

Notes

1.http://rt.com/news/158276-referendum-results-east-ukraine/

2,http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/19-05-2014/127595-vella_gulf-0/

3.http://hamptonroads.com/2009/03/whats-name-vella-gulf-norfolkbased-ship

4.http://rt.com/news/159876-us-missile-cruiser-black-sea/

5.http://jordantimes.com/eager-lion-to-kick-off-next-week

6.http://jordantimes.com/eager-lion-kicks-off-with-8000-army-personnel-participants

 7.http://www.stripes.com/news/us-participating-in-international-eager-lion-exercise-in-jordan-1.225511

 8.http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=120434

9.http://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166

 10.http://www.globalresearch.ca/president-obama-receives-ambassador-for-humanity-award-not-satire/5382118

 

An Executive of a major shale gas development company has conceded what scientists have been saying for years: global shale gas development has the potential to wreak serious climate change havoc.

Best known for his company’s hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) activity, Southwestern Energy Executive Vice President Mark Boling admitted his industry has a methane problem on the May 19 episode of Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously” in a segment titled, “Chasing Methane.”

“I think some of those numbers, they certainly concern me,” Boling says on the show. “How could you say that that methane emission rate was one and a half percent – very, very difficult to there from here for that.”

Boling goes toe to toe in the segment with Cornell University Professor Anthony Ingraffea, who co-authored the 2011 paper now best known as the “Cornell Study.”

That study was the first to say that over its entire lifecycle, shale gas production is dirtier than coal due to the greenhouse gas trapping capacity of leaking methane. Numerous studies since then have depicted high leakage rates throughout the production lifecycle.

Cornell University Professor Anthony Ingraffea; Photo Credit: Cornell University

Brendan DeMelle, DeSmogBlog Executive Director and Managing Editor, is also a featured guest on tonight’s episode. He discusses the well-funded climate change denial machine and attacks on renewable energy development in a segment titled, “Against the Wind.”

The Years of Living Dangerously episode coincides with the release of a new paper on fracking’s climate change impacts by Cornell Study co-author Professor Robert Howarth.

Howarth’s latest paper is titled, “A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas,” a wordplay on the industry’s self-promotional pitch about gas being a “bridge fuel” to a clean energy future.

“Smoking is Addictive” Redux

Over 16 years ago, then Philip Morris chairman Geoffrey Bible testified before Congress that “tobacco is a risky product,” “plays a role in lung cancer” and that “cigarette smoking is addictive.”

It was a watershed moment for Big Tobacco. Only four years before that hearing, several tobacco industry CEOs testified under oath to Congress that nicotine is not addictive.

While not stated under congressional oath, Boling’s statement depicts the reality of shale gas development. That reality is denied by those such as former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon, who says shale gas is “clean” and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who once said gas is both “clean” and not even a fossil fuel.

Put another way, history has repeated itself, with Mark Boling serving as fracking’s Geoffrey Bible. But does that mean Southwestern Energy plans to stop fracking? Hardly.

“No question, there’s work to be done,” he said on the show. “But we can all waste our time about ‘is it 4%, is it 8%, is it 1%’ or we could all just say ‘I don’t care what anyone thinks it is, let’s go out and fix the problem.’”

“Green Completions” the Fix?

Boling, along with others such as industry front group Energy in Depth and the Environmental Defense Fund, believe “green completions” of wells during the fracking process are the fix to the problem of methane leakage and accompanying climate change impacts.

“The old way we used to do it, like this, we would vent probably 16 million cubic feet of gas on average from each well that we are now capturing,” Boling told “Years of Living Dangerously.” “Multiply that by the amount of money you make per thousand cubic feet, it pays for itself.”

But as segment host and New York Times reporter Mark Bittman pointed out, all of the claims the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) makes about how “green” the “green completions” are come straight from the industry itself. EPA would not discuss the issue with Bittman for the episode.

But a former EPA employee did. John C. Bosch, Jr., Senior Engineer and Program Advisor for the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, told Bittman that “All these emission inventories, by the way, are derived from industry supported data.”

Bosch compared it to the fox guarding the henhouse.

Or as Bittman put it in closing the segment, “From everything I’ve seen, it seems like right now natural gas could be making our climate problem worse, not better. I think we need to ask ourselves if that’s a risk worth taking.”

The US/CIA/NATO have stepped up their military operations and continue to actively wage their secret war in Ukraine against the Ukrainian people in an extremely dangerous poorly planned operation that is failing and carries with it the real threat of sparking off a full-fledged war, if not World War III, against an unwilling Russian Federation which continues to attempt to deal with the aggressive-in-your-face-threat to its security through diplomacy and peaceful means. The recent capture and killing of 25 CIA officers in Ukraine only shows the desperation of the US effort and the complete disregard for not only international law and the people of Ukraine but also for the lives of their own CIA personnel.

The facts are as follows (backed up by dozens of reports, eyewitness statements and visual evidence): on the 18th of May the People’s Mayor of Slavyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomaryovannounced that: ”Kiev-controlled troops and ‘law enforcers’ had sustained heavy losses during a so-called ‘counter-terrorist’ operation in the east of the country.”

“At least 650 servicemen were killed, wounded or taken prisoner in the past ten 10 days,” he said.

“There are 70 foreigners among them and of those 13 agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were killed and 12 others were wounded”, Ponomaryov told reporters.

The Mayor also said that the self-defense forces afflicted heavy losses on Right Sector/Ukrainian army forces and also completely wiped out the junta’s “Alpha” operatives.

According to media and television reports Mayor Ponomaryov stated that with regard to the “…foreign mercenaries in the ranks of Ukrainian executioners, they also suffered losses. According to Ponomarev, a private military company Analizy Systemowe Bartlomiej lost 6 people, Greystone – 14 people, Academi – 50 people. CIA and FBI have lost 25 employees, of which 13 – killed.”

“Furthermore, killed or injured 40 soldiers of the 95th airmobile brigade of Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as 20 members of the MUP . Loss Donetsk militias from May 2-12 8 were killed and 3 wounded.”

US Denies

The Voice of Russia also reported that the CIA denied the claims on a Twitter post, which of course is to be expected: ”The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has denied reports of a number of CIA agents allegedly killed in clashes between forces loyal to the Kiev authorities and self-defense units in eastern Ukraine.”

“A CIA official claimed on the US embassy in Berlin’s official Twitter page of the that no such incidents had taken place and that allegations by pro-Russian activists did not correspond to reality.”

Plausible Deniability

Plausible Deniability is a phrase coined by the CIA itself ”to describe the withholding of information from senior officials in order to protect them from repercussions in the event that illegal or unpopular activities by the CIA became public knowledge.”

Due to the fact that the denial comes through a Twitter post and not from an official CIA or FBI statement, or from the White House for that matter, and that the CIA/FBI is heavily involved in illegal operations in Ukraine and has been for decades, I would argue that it is a given that the CIA has lost officers, agents, mercenaries and support staff in Ukraine. That is almost a given, the only question is how many.

Illegal Operation

Due to the huge flow of information and the massive amount of reports, leaks and revelations there is little debate in the media about one simple fact and that fact is what is most troubling about the entire US/CIA/NATO/EU meddling in the sovereign affairs of Ukraine. To make matters worse the US/CIA/NATO/EU undeniably now have blood on their hands, not only that of Ukrainian civilians, Tatars and Russians but also of citizens of other countries.

The fact that is being ignored is that US/CIA/NATO/EU “operations” and meddling in Ukraine are ILLEGAL. From the overthrowing of the democratically elected government, to the shooting and murder of police, to the killing of anyone who is against the junta, to the backing and training of the Right Sector, and finally to the importing of US/CIA/Greystone and other mercenaries to kill Ukrainians, the entire “mission” is illegal.

The United States of America is involved in a dirty illegal war in a country it had no business in being in in the first place. The Ukrainian operation serves no us security interest, it is no “protecting American lives” and it does nothing for the American people, to advance democracy or human rights or anything else. US/NATO want missiles in Ukraine to further threaten Russia which has done nothing but to try to be friends and simply do business. CIA operations in Ukraine are illegal. Period. End of discussion.

Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_05_19/CIA-FBI-agents-dying-for-illegal-junta-in-Ukraine-8655/

In response to our account of the mysterious large rise in Belgium’s Treasury purchases, it was suggested that the transaction would show up on the Fed’s balance sheet. However, the Fed is under no obligation to show the transaction.

The $141.2 billion in Treasuries purchased into the Belgium account represents 3.2% of the total current size of the Fed’s balance sheet.  The Fed is a private corporation and is therefore not beholden to GAAP accounting standards.  However even with GAAP standards applied, a corporation does not have to itemize and disclose the details of any event that represents less than 5% of its assets.  In other words, the Fed can easily bury a 3% transaction in its financial statements.

There is evidence of mismatch in Federal Reserve financial statements. For example, at year-end 2013,  the size of the Fed’s balance sheet was  $4.024 trillion.   According to its latest report as of May 14, 2014, the size of the Fed’s balance sheet is $4.360 trillion.  Based on its QE bond purchase schedule since the beginning of 2014, the Fed’s balance sheet should only have grown to $4.316 trillion by mid-May.  In other words, the Fed’s balance sheet as stated is $44 billion larger than it should have been had it been strictly following its QE schedule. (This assumes that 50% of May’s QE purchase is reflected in the May 14 balance sheet report.)

There’s also a “Flow of Funds” Statement that is connected to the balance sheet.  It’s a 167 page PDF report.  But on page 20 of the PDF file, there’s a table called “Total Credit Market Borrowing and Lending” (Table F.1).  This table is defined as:  “credit market borrowing and lending for all sectors, including domestic financial and nonfinancial sectors, and rest-of-the-world borrowing and lending with these sectors. Credit market borrowing or lending is defined as the transfer of funds between sectors through the following financial instruments: open market paper, Treasury securities, agency- and GSE-backed securities, municipal securities, corporate and foreign bonds, depository institution loans not elsewhere classified, other loans and advances, mortgages, and consumer credit.”

The Rest Of The World line item under “credit market borrowing” (line 8) jumps up in Q4 2013 from Q3 2013 by $142 billion.   While it might be coincidental that this line item happens to match the amount by which Belgium’s Treasury holdings spiked up, it is a good example of areas on the Fed’s operating statements where the type of transaction required to fund Belgium’s purchases can be hidden.

Again, we emphasize, at just 3% of total Fed assets, the funding of the purchase of Belgium’s bond purchases can be easily hidden, just like any big corporation, especially big banks, hide the details of significant portions of their assets off-balance-sheet.  Moreover, opaque methods abound, and the $141 billion is tiny compared to the flow of funds. For example, the Fed does $4 trillion in overnight repo funding.

What is Operation New Normal?

It’s a question without an answer, a riddle the U.S. military refuses to solve. It’s a secret operation in Africa that no one knows anything about. Except that someone does. His name is Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee Magee. He lives and breathes Operation New Normal. But he doesn’t want to breath paint fumes or talk to me, so you can’t know anything about it.

Confused? Stay with me.

Whatever Operation New Normal may be pales in comparison to the real “new normal” for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The lower-cased variant is bold and muscular. It’s an expeditionary force on a war footing. To the men involved, it’s a story of growth and expansion, new battlefields, “combat,” and “war.” It’s the culmination of years of construction, ingratiation, and interventions, the fruits of wide-eyed expansion and dismal policy failures, the backing of proxies to fight America’s battles, while increasing U.S. personnel and firepower in and around the continent.  It is, to quote an officer with AFRICOM, the blossoming of a “war-fighting combatant command.” And unlike Operation New Normal, it’s finally heading for a media outlet near you.

Ever Less New, Ever More Normal

Since 9/11, the U.S. military has been ramping up missions on the African continent, funneling money into projects to woo allies, supporting and training proxy forces, conducting humanitarian outreach, carrying out air strikes and commando raids, creating a sophisticated logistics network throughout the region, and building a string of camps, “cooperative security locations,” and bases-by-other-names.

All the while, AFRICOM downplayed the expansion and much of the media, witha few notableexceptions, played along.  With the end of the Iraq War and the drawdown of combat forces in Afghanistan, Washington has, however, visibly “pivoted” to Africa and, in recent weeks, many news organizations, especiallythose devoted to the military, have begun waking up to the new normal there.

While daily U.S. troop strength continent-wide hovers in the relatively modest range of 5,000 to 8,000 personnel, an under-the-radar expansion has been constant, with the U.S. military now conducting operations alongside almost every African military in almost every African country and averaging more than a mission a day.

This increased engagement has come at a continuing cost.  When the U.S. and other allies intervened in 2011 to aid in the ouster of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, for instance, it helped set off a chain reaction that led to a security vacuumdestabilizing that country as well as neighboring Mali.  The latter saw its elected government overthrown by a U.S.-trained officer.  The former never recovered and has tottered toward failed-state status ever since.  Local militias have beencarving out fiefdoms, while killing untold numbers of Libyans — as well, of course, as U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in a September 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the “cradle” of the Libyan revolution, whose forces the U.S. had aided with training, materiel, and military might.

Quickly politicized by Congressional Republicans and conservative news outlets, “Benghazi” has become a shorthand for many things, including Obama administration cover-ups and misconduct, as well as White House lies and malfeasance.  Missing, however, has been thoughtful analysis of the implications of American power-projection in Africa or the possibility that blowback might result from it.

Far from being chastened by the Benghazi deaths or chalking them up to a failure to imagine the consequences of armed interventions in situations whose local politics they barely grasp, the Pentagon and the Obama administration have used Benghazi as a growth opportunity, a means to take military efforts on the continent to the next level.  “Benghazi” has provided AFRICOM with a beefed-up mandate and new clout.  It birthed the new normal in Africa.

The Spoils of Blowback

Those 2012 killings “changed AFRICOM forever,” Major General Raymond Fox, commander of the II Marine Expeditionary Force, told attendees of a recent Sea-Air-Space conference organized by the Navy League, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and the Merchant Marine.   The proof lies in the new “crisis response” forces that have popped up in and around Africa, greatly enhancing the regional reach, capabilities, and firepower of the U.S. military.

Following the debacle in Benghazi, for instance, the U.S. established an Africa-focused force known as Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response (SP-MAGTF CR) to give AFRICOM quick-reaction capabilities on the continent.  “Temporarily positioned” at Morón Air Base in Spain, this rotating unit of Marines and sailors is officially billed as “a balanced, expeditionary force with built-in command, ground, aviation, and logistics elements and organized, trained, and equipped to accomplish a specific mission.”

Similarly, Benghazi provided the justification for the birthing of another rapid reaction unit, the Commander’s In-Extremis Force.  Long in the planning stages and supported by the head of the Special Operations Command, Admiral William McRaven, the Fort Carson, Colorado-based unit — part of the 10th Special Forces Group — was sent to Europe weeks after Benghazi.  Elements of this specialized counterterrorism unit are now “constantly forward deployed,” AFRICOM spokesman Benjamin Benson told TomDispatch, and stand “ready for the commander to use, if there’s a crisis.”

The East Africa Response Force (EARF), operating from the lone avowed American base in Africa — Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti — is another new quick-reaction unit.  When asked about EARF, Benson said, “The growing complexity of the security environment demonstrated the need for us to have a [Department of Defense]-positioned response force that could respond to crises in the African region.”

In late December, just days after the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, out of Fort Riley, Kansas, arrived in Djibouti to serve as the newly christened EARF, members of the unit were whisked off to South Sudan.  Led by EARF’s commander, Lieutenant Colonel Lee Magee, the 45-man platoon was dispatched to that restive nation (midwifed into being by the U.S. only a few years earlier) as it slid toward civil war with armed factions moving close to the U.S. embassy in the capital, Juba.  The obvious fear: another Benghazi.

Joined by elements of the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response and more shadowy special ops troops, members of EARF helped secure and reinforce the embassy and evacuate Americans.  Magee and most of his troops returned to Djibouti in February, although a few were still serving in South Sudan as recently as last month.

South Sudan, a nation the U.S. poured much time and effort into building, is lurching toward the brink of genocide, according to Secretary of State John Kerry.  With a ceasefire already in shambles within hours of being signed, the country stands as another stark foreign policy failure on a continent now rife with them.  But just as Benghazi proved a useful excuse for dispatching more forward-deployed firepower toward Africa, the embassy scare in South Sudan acted as a convenient template for future crises in which the U.S. military would be even more involved.  “We’re basically the firemen for AFRICOM. If something arises and they need troops somewhere, we can be there just like that,” Captain John Young, a company commander with the East Africa Response Force, toldStars and Stripesin the wake of the Juba mission.

The New Normal and the Same Old, Same Old

A batch of official Army Africa documents obtained by TomDispatch convinced me that EARF was intimately connected with Operation New Normal.  A July 2013 briefing slide, for instance, references “East Africa Response Force/New Normal,” while another concerning operations on that continent mentions “New Normal Reaction Force East.”  At the same time, the phrase “new normal” has been increasingly on the lips of the men running America’s African ops.

Jason Hyland, a 30-year State Department veteran who serves as Foreign Policy Advisor to Brigadier General Wayne Grigsby, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), for instance, told an interviewer that the task force “is at the forefront in this region in implementing U.S. policy on the ‘new normal’ to protect our missions when there are uncertain conditions.”

A news release from CJTF-HOA concerning the Juba operation also used the phrase: “While the East Africa Response Force was providing security for the embassy, additional forces were required to continue the evacuation mission. Under the auspices of ‘the new normal,’ which refers to the heightened threat U.S. Embassies face throughout the world, the SP-MAGTF CR arrived from Morón, Spain,” wrote Technical Sergeant Jasmine Reif.

Earlier this year in Seapower magazine, the commander of Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response, Colonel Scott Benedict,described the “new normal” as a world filled with “a lot of rapidly moving crises,” requiring military interventions and likened it to the Marine Corps deployments in the so-called Banana Wars in Central America and the Caribbean in the early twentieth century.

On a visit to Camp Lemonnier, Marine commandant General James Amos echoed the same sentiments, calling his troops “America’s insurance policy.”  Referencing the Marine task force, he invoked that phrase in an even more expansive way.  Aside from “winning battles” in Afghanistan, he said, the creation of that force was “probably the most significant thing we’ve done in the last year-and-a-half as far as adjusting the Marine Corps for what people are now calling the new normal, which are these crises that are happening around the world.”

In March, Brigadier General Wayne Grigsby explicitly noted that the phrase meant far more than simple embassy security missions.  “Sitting in Djibouti is really the new normal,” the CJTF-HOA commander said. (He was, in fact, sitting in an office in that country.)  “It’s not the new normal… as far as providing security for our threatened embassies.  It’s really the new normal on how we’re going to operate as a [Department of Defense entity] in supporting the national security strategy of our country.”

Operation New Normal and the Incredible Disappearing Lee Magee

With so many officials talking about the “new normal” and with documents citing a specific operation sporting the same name, I called up AFRICOM’s media chief Benjamin Benson looking for more information.  “I don’t know the name new normal,” he told me. “It isn’t a term we’re using to define one of the operations.”

That seemed awfully curious.  An official military document obtained by TomDispatch explicitly noted that U.S. troops would be deployed as part of Operation New Normal in 2014. The term was even used, in still another document, alongside other code-named operations like Juniper Micron and Observant Compass, missions to aid the French and African interventions in Mali and to degrade or destroy Joseph Kony’s murderous Lord’s Resistance Army in central Africa.

Click here to see a larger version

From a 2013 U.S. Army Africa briefing slide referencing Operation New Normal.

Next, I got in touch with Lieutenant Colonel Glen Roberts at CJTF-HOA and explained that I wanted to know about Operation New Normal.  His response was effusive and unequivocal: I should speak with Lee Magee — that is Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee Magee, a West Point graduate, third-generation Army officer, and commander of the East African Response Force who had deployed to South Sudan as the nation shattered on the rocks of reality.  “He lives this concept and has executed it,” was how Roberts put it.

Was I available to talk to Magee the next day?  Yes, indeed.

On March 27th, the day of the proposed interview, however, a lower-ranking public affairs official got in touch to explain that Lieutenant Colonel Magee could not speak to me and Lieutenant Colonel Roberts was out of the office.  I asked to reschedule for the next day.  The spokesman said he didn’t know what their calendars looked like, but that Roberts was expected back later that day.  I left a message, but heard nothing.

The next morning, I called the press office in Djibouti and asked to speak to Magee.  He wasn’t there.  No one was.  Everyone had left work early. The reason? “Paint fumes.”

That was a new one.

Another follow-up and Roberts finally got back in touch.  “Apologies, but I am no longer able to arrange an interview with Magee,” he informed me.  “Thanks for understanding.”

But I didn’t understand and told him so.  After all, Magee was the man who lived and executed the new normal.  I thought we were set for an interview.  What happened?

“He has simply declined an interview, as is his privilege,” was the best Roberts could do.  Magee had been dropped into the hot zone in South Sudan to forestall the next Benghazi, and had previously spoken with other media outlets about his work in Africa, but conversing with me about Operation New Normal was apparently beyond the pale.  Or maybe it had something to do with those paint fumes.

On March 31st, Roberts told me that he could answer the questions by email — questions that I had already sent in on March 17th.  But no response came.  I followed up again.  And again.  And again.  I sent the questions a second time.

As of publication, almost two months after my initial inquiry, no word yet.  That, evidently, is the new normal, too.

The Real New Normal

Quite obviously, the U.S. military isn’t eager to talk about Operation New Normal, which — despite Benjamin Benson’s contentions, Lee Magee’s silence, and Glen Roberts’ disappearance — is almost certainly the name for a U.S. military mission in East Africa that, U.S. documents suggest, is tied to the Benghazi-birthed East African Response Force.

More important than uncovering the nature of Operation New Normal, however, is recognizing the real new normal in Africa for the U.S. military: ever-increasing missions across the continent — now averaging about 1.5 per day — ever more engagement with local proxies in ever more African countries, the construction of ever more new facilities in ever more countries (including plans for a possible new compound in Niger), and a string of bases devoted to surveillance activities spreading across the northern tier of Africa.  Add to this impressive build-up the three new rapid reaction forces, specialized teams like a contingent of AFRICOM personnel and officials from the FBI and the departments of Justice, State, and Defense created to help rescue hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by members of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram, and other shadowy quick-response units like the seldom-mentioned Naval Special Warfare Unit 10.

“Having resources [on the continent] that are ready for a response is really valuable,” Benson told me when talking about the Djibouti-based EARF.  The same holds for the U.S. military’s new normal in Africa: more of everything valuable to a military seeking a new mission in the wake of two fading, none-too-successful wars.

The Benghazi killings, unrest in South Sudan, and now the Boko Haram kidnappings have provided the U.S. with ways to bring a long-running “light footprint in Africa” narrative into line with a far heavier reality.  Each crisis has provided the U.S. with further justification for publicizing a steady expansion on that continent that’s been underway but under wraps for years.  New forces, new battlefields, and a new openness about a new “war,” to quote one of the men waging it.  That’s the real new normal for the U.S. military in Africa — and you don’t need to talk to Lieutenant Colonel Lee Magee to know it. 

Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch.com and a fellow at the Nation Institute.  A 2014 Izzy Award winner, his pieces have appeared in theNew York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Nationat the BBC andregularly at TomDispatch. He is the author most recently of the New York Times bestseller Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam(now out in paperback).

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook and Tumblr. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Ann Jones’s They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America’s Wars — The Untold Story.

Back in mid-March, there was a brief scare after the start of the Ukraine conflict, when Fed custody holdings plunged by a record $104.5 billion (if promptly bouncing back the following week), leading many to believe that Russia may have dumped its Treasurys, or at least change its bond custodian. We noted that we wouldn’t have a definitive answer until the May TIC number came out to know for sure how much Russia had sold, or if indeed, anything. Moments ago the May TIC numbers did come out, and as expected, Russia indeed dumped a record $26 billion, or some 20% of all of its holdings, bringing its post-March total to just over $100 billion – the lowest since the Lehman crisis.

But as shocking as this largely pre-telegraphed dump was, it pales in comparison with what Zero Hedge first observed, is the country that has quietly and quite rapidly become the third largest holder of US paper: Belgium. Or rather, “Belgium” because it is quite clear that it is not the country of Begium who is engaging in this unprecedented buying spree of US paper, but some account acting through Belgian custody.

This is how we explained it last month:

… to clarify for our trigger-happy Belgian (non) readers: it is quite clear that Belgium itself is not the buyer. What is not clear is who the mysterious buyer using Belgium as a front is. Because that same “buyer”, who to further explain is not China, just bought another whopping $31 billion in Treasurys in February, bringing the “Belgian” total to a record $341.2 billion, cementing “it”, or rather whoever the mysterious name behind the Euroclear buying rampage is, as the third largest holder of US Treasurys, well above the hedge fund buying community, also known as Caribbean Banking Centers, which held $300 billion in March.

In summary: someone, unclear who, operating through Belgium and most likely the Euroclear service (possible but unconfirmed), has added a record $141 billion in Treasurys since December, or the month in which Bernanke announced the start of the Taper, bringing the host’s total to an unprecedented $341 billion!

Make that an unprecedented $381 billion because as we just learned “Belgium” bought another $40 billion in March!

Curiously, this happened as Japan sold $10 billion in TSYs, and as China remained unchanged. Further, foreign official accounts actually declined from $4.069 trillion to $4.054 trillion, which means this is what the US Treasury would classify as a “Private” buyer.

So to summarize, of the total $60 billion increase in foreign Treasury holdings, which rose from $5.89 trillion to $5.95 trillion, “Belgium” accounted for two thirds, most likely doing the purchases under the guise of a “private”, unofficial account!

And once again, it is Belgium in “”, because whoever is buying through the tiny European country, whose GDP is just double its reported total TSY holdings, is neither its government nor its people.

The question remains: who? Who has bought a whopping $200 billion in Treasurys using Belgium as a proxy since October?

The Globalization of Special Forces

May 20th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Special Forces have been designed to use military means to conduct unconventional warfare operations, mainly to cause riots and murder political opponents. Washington already secretly used them in 78 countries, while denying the very existence of their missions, although their budget exceeds 10 billion dollars annually. The globalization of these forces should enable it to expand its invisible dictatorship.

An accident, sometimes, permits the discovery of a “secret war”. This is what happened in Yemen, where, at Sana, a member of U.S. Special Forces and CIA shot two men and killed them. According to the official version, these were simply two Al Qaeda terrorists they wanted to remove. The incident, far from simple, sparked a wave of protests against the government, already under indictment because it allows CIA drones to operate in Yemen starting from a Saudi base.

The Pentagon ­ confirms the New York Times - has intensified the actions of its special forces in Yemen. Yemen is a country of great importance for its strategic position on the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb between the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, crossed by major oil and trade routes linking Asia and Europe. Djibouti, in front of Yemen, 30 kms away on the African coast, is where Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa is parked, consisting of approximately 4,000 men of the U.S. Special Forces. With helicopters and special aircraft, they carry out night raids, particularly in neighboring Somalia and Yemen, flanked by elite contractors and technical experts of the assassination shooter category. Special forces available to the Africa Command (AFRICOM) operate in Nigeria and many other African countries. They are part of joint operations Command (USSOCOM ), which, after being used by the Republican Bush especially in Afghanistan and Iraq, has now taken on a new importance with the Democratic Obama.

The Obama administration – wrote the Washington Post - “prefers covert action rather than the use of conventional force.” USSOCOM commander, Admiral William McRaven, declared a month agot to a Senate committee that U.S. special operations forces operate in 78 countries worldwide, either by direct action or by training local units.

The admiral did not specify which countries, indicating only that in Afghanistan was established a new Special Forces Command, also including those of NATO. So Washington’s war in Afghanistan has not stopped, but has become “covert”.

Other official sources confirm that special forces were deployed in Jordan and Turkey to train and lead armed groups for the “secret war” in Syria (as had been done in Libya).

Special Forces are increasingly used in Eastern Europe. Especially to train the neo-Nazis used during the coup in Kiev, as confirmed by photographic documentation that shows Ukrainian neo- Nazis from Uno-Unso trained in Estonia starting in 2006. [1]

But USSOCOM looks beyond : in its “Vision 2020″, it foresees “building a global network of special operations forces ,” including those of allied countries, including Italy, placed under U.S. command. In this way, the decision to go to war becomes the more exclusive domain of power cliques, and parliaments lose the little decision-making power they have left. And war will disappear more and more in the eyes of public opinion, already widely accustomed to believing that what we see is all there is, or rather, what we are seeing in the mainstream media distorting and falsifying reality.

So it is with the campaign by the White House for the release of abducted young Nigerian girls while in Yemen, controlled by U.S. special forces, thousands of girl children and young girls from Africa are reduced each year to the state of sex slaves for wealthy Yemenis and Saudis, allies of Washington.

Manlio Dinucci

http://ilmanifesto.it/la-scoperta-della-guerra-coperta/, 13 of May 2014

Translation : Roger Lagassé, voltairenet.org

 

As the unelected Western-backed regime in Kiev prepares to hold presidential elections on May 25, right-wing and fascistic forces are attacking and murdering members of opposition parties. This underscores the entirely fraudulent character of the elections arranged by the imperialist powers in an attempt to give the government in Kiev a veneer of democratic legitimacy.

Information about the repression and murder of political opponents of the regime in Kiev is freely available, yet it is systematically covered up and ignored by the media, desperate to give the government set up by the US and European powers the fig leaf of democratic legitimacy.

The fascist militias who led the February 22 putsch are focusing their attacks on parties they see as left-wing. One group that has been targeted is the “Borotba” (“Struggle”) group, which has focused its agitation against fascistic forces in Ukraine. The group published a statement on its website drawing attention to the murder and intimidation of its members.

Andrew Brazhevsky, a member of Borotba was murdered during the May 2 massacre in Odessa. Since the Odessa massacre, according to the statement, the Kiev regime has seized the group’s office in Kharkov, threatened to arrest its Odessa mayoral candidate Alexey Albu, and searched the Kiev residence of Borotba member Andrew Manchuk.

“The central headquarters of Borotba calls on all activists and sympathizers to go underground if it is possible and not to appear at your residence, change your phone numbers, and take other precautions. All regional offices of Borotba must discuss methods of secret work,” the statement read.

The Kiev regime is also attacking members of the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU), including the 32 KPU legislators in the national parliament. The KPU was refounded after the Stalinist bureaucracy restored capitalism in the USSR; it allied with pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. It won 13.2 percent of the vote in the 2012 legislative elections, three percent more than the fascist Svoboda party that now plays a key role in the Kiev regime.

On May 6, the legislature expelled the KPU legislative group from parliament in a closed-door parliamentary hearing. Legislator Oleksandr Bryhynets of the ruling Fatherland Party denounced the KPU for allegedly supporting pro-Russian forces that are now protesting the Kiev regime in eastern Ukraine, criticizing “separatist statements made by [KPU leader Peter] Symonenko.”

On May 16, Symonenko announced during a debate on public television that he was withdrawing his presidential candidacy to protest threats against his party since the Kiev putsch. He also criticized the crackdown on pro-Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine.

According to reports in international media, Symonenko was subsequently attacked by fascist gangs.

On Monday, the Kiev regime’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, again asked the Justice Ministry to evaluate evidence of “illegal activities” by the KPU and consider banning it. Turchynov said the KPU has backed pro-Russian fighters in eastern Ukraine, acting “to the detriment” of Ukraine’s interests.

The repression of opposition parties in Ukraine is utterly reactionary. The WSWS has extensively documented elsewhere its political differences with Stalinist forces like the KPU. As for Borotba, it has worked with the Left Front in Russia, which includes liberal and pseudo-left groups like the Russian Socialist Movement, the Russian affiliate of the pseudo-left International Viewpoint magazine.

Despite these political differences, the WSWS condemns the fascist acts of murder, assault, and political intimidation perpetrated against them by the Western puppet regime in Kiev.

It is particularly significant that International Viewpoint (published by the United Secretariat and affiliated with the French New Anti-capitalist Party) continues its policy of glorifying the Maidan protests that led to the Kiev putsch, however, even as the fascists attack Borotba.

The NPA recently posted a piece by Zakhar Popovych on its English-language web site International Viewpoint, excusing the Kiev government’s role in the Odessa massacre and claiming that “pro-Russian activists provoked violence” that day.

Popovych explicitly promoted the Kiev regime as democratic: “We cannot consider it a military junta. Not yet. Unfortunately, the junta is not in Kiev, but in Slavyansk [a center of pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine]. In Kiev, you can easily have demonstrations with red flags and distribute leaflets of any kind.”

As the experience of Borotba and the KPU show, Popovych’s statement onInternational Viewpoint is a blatant falsification, designed to cover for the right-wing regime in Kiev.

US Pushes Cyber-war Confrontation with China

May 20th, 2014 by Patrick Martin

A federal grand jury has indicted five officers of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army on computer hacking, economic espionage and other charges, officials of the US Department of Justice announced at a press conference Monday morning.

The indictment is unprecedented under international law, as it aims to criminalize actions allegedly carried out not by individual hackers, or “rogue” elements, but by serving officers in the armed forces of a major country. It is calculated to provoke a confrontation between the US and Chinese governments.

“These represent the first ever charges against known state actors for infiltrating US commercial targets by cyber means,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at the press briefing, emphasizing that the Obama administration was undertaking a major escalation in its anti-China policy. “The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stolen in this case is significant and demands an aggressive response.”

The five men, named as Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu, and Gu Chunhui, are said to be officers in Unit 61398 of the Third Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, based in Shanghai. Each faces 31 counts of computer and economic crimes. While none is in US custody, the charges would carry lengthy prison sentences.

The alleged targets of the hacking include Westinghouse Electric Co., United States Steel, Alcoa Inc., Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI), U.S. subsidiaries of SolarWorld AG, and the United Steel Workers union, which represents some workers at those companies.

Westinghouse is the major US builder of nuclear power plants, and built four such facilities in China in 2010-2011. The other companies entered into production agreements with Chinese companies during that time, or were engaged in trade litigation, as was the USW. The Chinese officers supposedly used cyber-warfare techniques to gain access to internal e-mails and other confidential materials at all six organizations.

The indictment is an act of monumental cynicism. The revelations of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, which began almost exactly one year ago, have demonstrated that the US government is by far the world’s largest “hacker,” with tens of thousands of employees and tens of billions in resources devoted to invading computer systems all over the world and stealing e-mails, text messages, communications metadata, address books and every other form of electronic data.

The US government collects the content of the voice, text and e-mail communications of nearly everyone on the planet. It has engineered back-door entry into the business activities of Internet service providers and e-mail providers like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to bypass their security and encryption and conduct illegal surveillance of their customers. It has broken into corporate servers, either electronically or physically, to install monitoring devices.

The NSA particularly targets for surveillance strategic companies like Huawei, the Chinese manufacturer of servers and routers, aiming to use Huawei machines as a vehicle for spying on the company’s customers, corporations and governments throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

The US television networks gave enormous play to the indictments in their Monday evening broadcasts, without a hint of the grotesque contradictions in the US government action. One can only imagine the reaction in Washington, and in the American media, if China were to indict NSA director Keith Alexander, who recently retired, or his successor Admiral Michael Rogers, on charges of espionage, hacking and information theft.

President Obama has admitted the near-universal scale of US electronic surveillance, and has refused to discuss “no-spying” agreements even with close US allies like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose cellphone the NSA tapped for more than a decade.

At the press conference yesterday, Holder tried to justify indicting China for actions that pale in comparison to those of the vast US intelligence apparatus. Spying on American corporations “is a tactic that the US government categorically denounces,” Holder said. “As President Obama has said on numerous occasions, we do not collect intelligence to provide a competitive advantage to US companies, or US commercial sectors.”

Even if this were true—and there is no reason to believe it is—Holder’s suggestion that spying for competitive business advantage is worse than spying for reasons of “national security” is sheer nonsense. In the next sentence, moreover, he conceded that the two were inextricably entwined, declaring, “Our economic security and our ability to compete fairly in the global marketplace are directly linked to our national security.”

In effect, the indictment is a declaration by Washington that all other countries are to be judged by one standard (and judged by the United States), while the US government is above the law.

Holder is already notorious for his declaration last year that the president of the United States has the right to order the drone-missile assassination of any person on the planet, without any judicial review and regardless of international law.

Even the compliant American press admitted that the indictment of the five PLA officers was fraught with contradictions.

The New York Times noted, “The United States spies regularly for economic advantage when the goal is to support trade negotiations; when the United States was trying in the 1990s to reach an accord with Japan, it tapped the Japanese negotiator’s car. It is also widely believed to be using intelligence in support of major trade negotiations now underway with European and Asian trading partners.”

The Washington Post wrote that Snowden’s revelations undermined the US campaign against alleged Chinese hacking: “Beijing has pointed to disclosures by Snowden of vast NSA surveillance activities — including spying on Chinese companies — to assert that the United States is the greater aggressor in the area.”

The heavily publicized espionage indictments are part of an escalating campaign of US political, diplomatic and military provocations against China, begun by Obama in 2011 with his declaration of the “pivot” to Asia. The United States would begin moving the bulk of its military forces to this region, he announced, shifting its focus after more than a decade of wars in the Middle East.

Over the past six months, the anti-China campaign has intensified. Washington has encouraged China’s neighbors, including Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam, to press their claims in conflicts over small and uninhabited islets in the East China Sea and the South China Sea more aggressively.

Last month US defense secretary Chuck Hagel made his fourth trip to the region since he took office a year ago, baiting China with threats that the US would back Japan militarily in the event of a conflict over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.

Soon afterwards, President Obama made a similar trip, stopping in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, where he signed off on an agreement giving the US military virtually unlimited access to facilities in the country.

US officials leaked a detailed account of stepped-up military options against China for publication by the Wall Street Journal. The measures include B-2 bomber flights along the Chinese coast, naval exercises just off coastal waters with aircraft carrier task forces, and increased surveillance operations.

While the Obama administration and the US media portray China as an aggressive and threatening power, the US military budget remains nearly five times as large, US bases ring China’s Pacific Coast, while the US arsenal of nuclear warheads and intercontinental ballistic missiles dwarfs China’s nuclear capability.

As the secretive group gears up for its annual confab in Copenhagen next week, Italian Member of the European Parliament Mario Borghezio has slammed the Bilderberg group as being “the root of all evil,” blaming the organization for Italy’s economic crisis.

Borghezio, who is a member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament and a prominent Italian politician, appears in a video in which he denounces Bilderberg as “the root of all evil that afflicts Italy,” blaming the group for causing unemployment, poverty, and high taxes.

Borghezio is supported by Italian lawyer Alfonso Luigi Marra, who last year requested that the Public Prosecutor of Rome investigate the Bilderberg Group for its role in “criminal activity.” Marra accused the group of plotting to install Mario Monti as Prime Minister of Italy at Bilderberg’s 2011 meeting in Switzerland, labeling the organization a “unique, illegal brotherhood” of elitists who consider themselves to be “above the law.”

In the video, Borghezio, who is running in the EU Parliamentary elections, takes a swipe at Italy’s political class, asserting, “(Mario) Monti and (former Italian Prime Minister Enrico) Letta are members of the Bilderberg, while (current Prime Minister Matteo) Renzi is their puppet.”

Counter to clichés peddled by the mainstream media that Bilderberg merely represents a “talking shop,” there are innumerable examples of the clandestine group formulating the consensus for policy which is implemented soon after.

In 2010, former NATO Secretary-General and Bilderberg member Willy Claes admitted that Bilderberg attendees are mandated to implement decisions that are formulated during the annual conference of power brokers. If this is the case, it would violate laws in numerous countries that forbid politicians from being influenced by foreign agents in secret.

In 2009, Bilderberg chairman Étienne Davignon even bragged about how the Euro single currency was a brainchild of the Bilderberg Group.

Borghezio’s charge that Bilderberg had a hand in wrecking Italy’s economy is also noteworthy given that the group conspired to set the stage for the housing market and economic collapse at their 2006 meeting in Ottawa Canada, two years before the 2008 financial crisis.

In 2011, Borghezio attempted to enter the site of the Bilderberg meeting in St. Moritz, Switzerland but was beaten and arrested by Bilderberg security.

The 2014 Bilderberg Group meeting will take place at the 5 star Marriott Hotel in Copenhagen from May 29-June 1. Infowars reporters will be live on the scene throughout the week.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

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Mentre la Nato convoca domani a Bruxelles i 28 ministri della difesa per potenziare le sue forze in funzione anti-Russia, intensificando anche l’addestramento di militari e paramilitari di Kiev (compresi gli squadristi che hanno tentato di assassinare il segretario del Pc ucraino), e la Ue vara nuove sanzioni contro la Russia, la risposta viene non da Mosca ma dalla lontana Pechino. Il presidente Putin inizia oggi la sua visita ufficiale in Cina, durante la quale verrà firmata una trentina di accordi bilaterali, il cui primo effetto sarà quello di vanificare il piano di Washington mirante a «isolare la Russia di Putin recidendo i suoi legami economici e politici col mondo esterno».

La portata degli accordi è strategica. Un contratto del valore di 270 miliardi di dollari tra la compagnia statale russa Rosneft e la China’s National Petroleum Company prevede che la Russia fornirà alla Cina nei prossimi 25 anni oltre 700 milioni di tonnellate di petrolio. Un altro contratto prevede che la compagnia statale russa Gazprom fornirà alla Cina, entro il 2018, 38 miliardi di metri cubi di gas all’anno, ossia circa un quarto di quello che fornisce oggi all’Europa. Avvalendosi anche di investimenti cinesi previsti in 20 miliardi di dollari, concentrati nelle infrastrutture, Mosca progetta di potenziare l’oleodotto tra la Siberia orientale e il Pacifico, affiancandolo con un gasdotto di 4000 km per rifornire la Cina. Pechino è interessata a effettuare investimenti anche in Crimea, in particolare per la produzione ed esportazione di gas naturale liquefatto, per l’ammodernamento dell’agricoltura e la costruzione di un terminal cerealicolo. Allo stesso tempo Mosca e Pechino stanno pensando di abbandonare il dollaro quale moneta per gli scambi nella regione asiatica. E la Russia sta progettando un proprio sistema di pagamenti, sul modello di quello cinese Union Pay, le cui carte di credito possono essere usate in oltre 140 paesi collocandosi al secondo posto mondiale dopo le Visa.

La cooperazione russo-cinese non si limta al campo economico. I presidenti Xi Jinping e Valdimir Putin, preannunciano fonti diplomatiche, faranno una «sostanziale dichiarazione» sulla situazione internazionale. La convergenza di interessi strategici sarà esemplificata dall’esercitazione congiunta che le marine dei due paesi effettueranno nel Mar Cinese Meridionale, proprio dopo che nelle Filippine si è svolta una grossa esercitazione aeronavale Usa. Ed è praticamente concluso l’accordo militare, nel cui quadro Mosca fornirà a Pechino caccia multiruolo Sukhoi Su-35, sottomarini della classe Lada e i più avanzati sistemi di difesa missilistica S-400.

Per sottolineare la convergenza di interessi tra Mosca e Pechino, Putin interviene alla Conferenza sulle misure di interazione e rafforzamento della fiducia in Asia (Cica) che, presieduta da Xi Jinping, si tiene a Shanghai il 20-21 maggio, con la partecipazione tra gli altri del primo ministro iracheno Nouri al-Maliki, del presidente afghano Hamid Karzai e di quello iraniano Hassan Rouhani. Uno schiaffo agli Stati uniti che, dopo aver speso nelle guerre in Iraq e Afghanistan 6mila miliardi di dollari vedono ora la Cina economicamente sempre più presente in questi paesi. In Iraq, essa compra circa la metà del greggio prodotto ed effettua grossi investimenti nell’industria petrolifera; in Afghanistan, investe soprattutto nel settore minerario, dopo che geologi del Pentagono hanno scoperto ricchi giacimenti di litio, cobalto, oro e altri metalli. E, aprendo all’Iran sbocchi ad est, Russia e Cina vanificano di fatto l’embargo effettuato da Usa e Ue.

Non vanno meglio le cose per Washington sul fronte occidentale. La possibilità, prospettata dall’amministrazione Obama, di ridurre di oltre il 25% entro il decennio le forniture di gas russo all’Europa per sostituirle con gas naturale liquefatto fornito dagli Stati uniti, si sta rivelando un bluff. Lo conferma il fatto che, nonostante le sanzioni annunciate da Berlino, società tedesche continuano a investire nell’industria energetica russa: la Rma Pipeline Equipment, produttrice di valvole per oleodotti e gasdotti, sta aprendo il suo più grosso impianto nella regione del Volga. E la Gazprom ha già firmato tutti i contratti, tra cui uno da 2 miliardi di euro con l’italiana Saipem (Eni), per la realizzazione del gasdotto South Stream che, aggirando l’Ucraina, porterà il gas russo attraverso il Mar Nero fino in Bulgaria e da qui nella Ue. Anche se gli Usa riuscissero a bloccare il South Stream, la Russia potrebbe dirottare il gas fino alla Cina. Ormai è aperto l’«East Stream».

Manlio Dinucci

New York Times Editors Defend the Indefensible

May 20th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

Jill Abramson is gone. Dean Baquet replaced her as executive editor. Deplorable policy remains unchanged.

It’s featured daily. It’s done so in articles, commentaries and editorials. Disgraceful op-eds are standard practice.

Misinformation rubbish is featured. What readers most need to know is buried.

Lies, damn lies and Big Ones infest Times pages. Yulia Tymoshenko is a former illegitimate Orange Revolution prime minister.

She’s billionaire mega-thief. She accumulated wealth the old-fashioned way. She stole it.

She was imprisoned for embezzlement and serious “abuse of public office.”

Charges included illegally diverting $425 million meant for environmental projects into pension funds. A second case involved stealing around $130 million for personal use.

Putschists freed her. They did so lawlessly. She has presidential aspirations. She enjoys weak support.

Earlier she had dozens of secret offshore bank accounts in over two dozen countries. Reportedly most are closed.

At least 13 worldwide remain open. They hide her ill-gotten wealth. She conspired with former prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko among others.

From the mid-1990s, enormous funds were stolen. They disappeared. They did so when Tymoshenko ran United Energy Systems (UES).

Lazarenko awarded it monopoly rights to import Russian natural gas. In 2004, a US court convicted him of money laundering, theft, and hiding funds in foreign accounts.

His indictment called his crime “part of a conspiracy (related to) receiv(ing) money from companies owned or controlled by Tymoshenko, including United Energy Systems, in exchange for which (he) exercised his official authority in favour of (her) companies.”

US prosecutor Martha Moerosch cited “evidence that companies controlled by Tymoshenko took part in the schemes for transferring money to Lazarenko’s accounts.”

“There were bank statements” proving it, she said. Prosecutors found Tymoshenko funds worldwide.

As Orange Revolution prime minister, “she did nothing to reform the economy and establish rule of law,” she explained.

“Instead, she focused her attention on infighting inside the Orange Revolution in order to prepare her presidential race.”

“Most (Euromaidan protesters) were not demanding her release.” Her shady business practices earned her the nickname “gas princess.”

On May 18, she headlined her NYT op-ed “A Vote for Ukrainian Freedom.”

She lied about Ukraine’s upcoming sham May 25 elections. She called fascist governance democratic.

She ludicrously cited “threats of invasion and sabotage by fifth-column separatists.” She outrageously suggested putschist-run Ukraine resembles America under Lincoln.

She quoted his 1864 reelection comment, saying:

“We cannot have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forgo, or postpone, a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.”

“Like Lincoln, we Ukrainians are resolved to go to the polls to choose a new president, in defiance of every threat.”

“We will not grant victory to those who would discredit and dismember our country by allowing the May 25 vote to be canceled.”

“Our election must go ahead if only to prove that the 100 and more men and women who died for our liberty in the protests around Maidan, Kiev’s Independence Square, did not die in vain.”

Fact: Coup-appointed putschists rule Ukraine.

Fact: They’re lawless fascists.

Fact: Washington elevated them to power.

Fact: They include neo-Nazi militants.

Fact: They’re Obama’s new friends.

Fact: He pretends they’re democrats.

Fact: They have no legitimacy whatever.

Fact: So-called May 25 elections exclude democracy from ballots.

Fact: Fascist putschists intend anointing likeminded ideologues.

Fact: They murdered scores of Maidan civilians and special Berkut police in cold blood.

Fact: They planned it well in advance.

Fact: Shots came from nearby Philharmonic Hall windows. Its rooftop.

Fact: Ukraine’s toppled legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych was wrongfully blamed.

Fact: Police died doing their job.

Fact: They showed remarkable restraint.

Fact: Washington’s dirty hands bore full responsibility.

Fact: Stooge putschists shared it.

Fact: Right Sector thugs were trained to commit what happened.

Fact: CIA operatives were involved.

Fact: Tymoshenko represents the worst of Ukrainian society.

Fact: She belongs in prison serving hard time.

She lied claiming Putin intends “transform(ing) our democratic country into a Russian vassal state.”

“No one should doubt that Mr. Putin’s primary aim is to hollow out our democracy.”

“But Americans, and free people everywhere, must not be deceived by Russia’s aggression, or by Mr. Putin’s current peace offensive.”

“The separatist cause fomented by Russia would never win on its merits in any free and fair vote of Ukrainians.”

“Russia’s separatist mafia can win only sham elections of the type that Mr. Putin has imposed on Russia since he came to power 14 years ago, and which he recently forced upon our fellow citizens, now hostages, in Crimea.”

Fact: Putschist-run Ukraine excludes democracy.

Fact: Putin represents responsible geopolitical leadership.

Fact: He’s polar opposite Obama.

Fact: He believes rule of law principles are inviolable.

Fact: He respects sovereign self-determination.

Fact: Democracy in Russia shames America’s sham process.

Fact: Crimeans voted near unanimously for reunification with Russia.

Fact: They reject Kiev fascists.

Fact: They want fundamental democratic rights.

Fact: They want what everyone deserves.

Fact: They merit universal support.

Tymoshenko lied called Putin Russia’s “strongman.” He’s overwhelmingly popular. He enjoys over 85% support.

It’s for good reason. He governs democratically. He opposes imperial lawlessness. He’s polar opposite Kiev fascists.

Tymoshenko lied claiming “Ukraine’s liberty is a mortal threat to the authoritarian, state-capitalist system that Mr. Putin has unleashed on Russia’s citizens.”

“If Ukrainians…can build an open society and a free economy…then ordinary Russians may recognize the scale of the liberties and the economic opportunities that have been stolen from them under Mr. Putin’s misrule.”

Fact: Putschist-run Ukraine is polar opposite Tymoshenko’s Big Lie.

Fact: Times editors are complicit.

Fact: They embrace it.

Fact: They featured it.

Fact: It’s longstanding Times policy.

Fact: Reprehensible rubbish substitutes for what readers most need to know.

“(W)e must man the barricades of freedom…if Ukraine is to remain free,” Tymoshenko claimed.

She turned truth on its head saying so. She wants more Western aid. She wants weapons and other military aid.

She wants it straightaway.

She wants democracy supporters crushed. She wants hardline fascist rule solidified.

She wants greater opportunities for more grand theft. She wants her share of plundered Ukrainian resources.

She wants her own people exploited. She wants freedom entirely crushed. She wants what most Ukrainians reject.

Perhaps it’s just a matter of time before thousands, maybe millions, of Ukrainians nationwide realize they were had.

Perhaps they’ll rebel and demand better. Real democracy replacing illegitimate putschist power.

Maybe they’ll defeat Obama’s imperial ambitions. Maybe handing him another defeat.

Maybe preserving rights too precious to lose. Maybe saving Ukraine at the same time. Maybe achieving real change.

Maybe inspiring others to emulate them. Maybe people everywhere wanting to live free.

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

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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

Russia has some of the most precious uncontaminated top soil on the planet and if it is rigorously controlled to stay GMO-free and free from chemicals its productivity would increase as Europe declines, geopolitical analyst William Engdahl told RT.

Russian PMs have pondered a draft bill outlawing GMOs. A draft bill submitted to the Russian parliament likens GMO production and distribution to terrorism. After entering the World Trade Organization, Russia was expected to allow GM food production and distribution within its market. However, in March Russia’s President Putin said the country would stay GM-free without violating its obligations to the WTO.

RT: What do you think about this latest bill in Russia’s parliament, which equates GM producers who flout the rules with terrorists. Is that a bit over the top?

William Engdahl: The language on Russian media blogs is [that] punishment for knowingly introducing GMO crops into Russia illegally should have a punishment comparable to that given to terrorists for knowingly hurting people. The direction of this is anything that stops, and puts the genie back in the bottle called genetic manipulation of plants and organisms is to the good for the future of the mankind. The comment about 20 percent of harvest increase in some GMOs is absolute rubbish. There is no long-term harvest gain that has been proven for GMO crops anywhere in the world because they are not modified to get harvest increases. So this is just soap bubbles that Monsanto, Syngenta and GMO giants are putting out to loll the public into thinking it is something good.

RT: Will this measure, if adopted, reduce the number of GM products on the market?

WE: I hope it does. I haven’t got access to the paragraphs of legislation but I think the direction that Prime Minister Medvedev indicated two-three months ago in terms of making this U-turn against GMO that seemed to have a green light after WTO. A year ago it was looking like GMO was a common thing in Russia which would be a catastrophe. I think the point is Russia has some of the most precious non-destroyed top soil on this planet and the richness of this top soil, if it is rigorously controlled to be GMO-free, to be free from chemicals, from Roundup or Atrazyne which is Syngenta’s favorite poison, and is marketed on the world markets as certified organic. Russia has a huge export market in Germany, in Western Europe, the European Union and elsewhere because there is a tremendous lack of it. So anything that Russia does to block GMO, keep in mind, the EU has not certified for commercial planting any GMO for years. There is such a great popular opposition in the EU that Monsanto, despite all the proclivities of the corrupt European Commission in Brussels to go with it, or even some people in the German government. The population is absolutely adamant here, they do not want this in their food.

RT: How can consumers be better protected from inadvertently buying genetically modified food?

WE: They can quite easily. First of all, they can do what the State of California tried, and Monsanto spent millions of dollars to block it and will try again. The State of Washington tried it and the same thing with Monsanto spending millions of dollars to create false lobbying campaigns [ensued]. The State of Vermont tried and succeeded in getting labeling on products that contain above 0.9 percent of GMO, which is similar to the EU. That is labeled on the shelves, when you buy this box of Kellogg’s Cornflakes you make sure to look and see if this is not GMO corn in my Cornflakes that my child is going to eat or is it this GMO garbage that Kellogg’s would so lovingly like to get rid of. That is one step. The other thing is for people to become informed about what we eat. Support local farmers, it is not against technology. I have seen it directly in Germany and elsewhere in Europe that properly done organic farming creates greater harvest yields than industrialized agriculture. The productivity is better, the quality is finer. The animals that are range fed, grass fed cows, chickens, they are real cows and chickens, they are not these synthetic pseudo-meat that we buy on the supermarket shelves in the big chains in Europe and in the US. So that is something that Russia has a great positive contribution to make.

The Fed Is The Great Deceiver

May 20th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Is the Fed “tapering”? Did the Fed really cut its bond purchases during the three month period November 2013 through January 2014? Apparently not if foreign holders of Treasuries are unloading them.

From November 2013 through January 2014 Belgium with a GDP of $480 billion purchased $141.2 billion of US Treasury bonds. Somehow Belgium came up with enough money to allocate during a 3-month period 29 percent of its annual GDP to the purchase of US Treasury bonds.

Certainly Belgium did not have a budget surplus of $141.2 billion. Was Belgium running a trade surplus during a 3-month period equal to 29 percent of Belgium GDP?

No, Belgium’s trade and current accounts are in deficit.

Did Belgium’s central bank print $141.2 billion worth of euros in order to make the purchase?

No, Belgium is a member of the euro system, and its central bank cannot increase the money supply.

So where did the $141.2 billion come from?

There is only one source. The money came from the US Federal Reserve, and the purchase was laundered through Belgium in order to hide the fact that actual Federal Reserve bond purchases during November 2013 through January 2014 were $112 billion per month.

In other words, during those 3 months there was a sharp rise in bond purchases by the Fed. The Fed’s actual bond purchases for those three months are $27 billion per month above the original $85 billion monthly purchase and $47 billion above the official $65 billion monthly purchase at that time. (In March 2014, official QE was tapered to $55 billion per month and to $45 billion for May.)

Why did the Federal Reserve have to purchase so many bonds above the announced amounts and why did the Fed have to launder and hide the purchase?

Some country or countries, unknown at this time, for reasons we do not know dumped $104 billion in Treasuries in one week.

Another curious aspect of the sale and purchase laundered through Belgium is that the sale was not executed and cleared via the Fed’s own National Book-Entry System (NBES), which was designed to facilitate the sale and ownership transfer of securities for Fed custodial customers. Instead, The foreign owner(s) of the Treasuries removed them from the Federal Reserve’s custodial holdings and sold them through the Euroclear securities clearing system, which is based in Brussels, Belgium.

We do not know why or who. We know that there was a withdrawal, a sale, a drop in the Federal Reserve’s “Securities held in Custody for Foreign Official and International Accounts,” an inexplicable rise in Belgium’s holdings, and then the bonds reappear in the Federal Reserve’s custodial accounts.

What are the reasons for this deception by the Federal Reserve?

The Fed realized that its policy of Quantitative Easing initiated in order to support the balance sheets of “banks too big to fail” and to lower the Treasury’s borrowing cost was putting pressure on the US dollar’s value. Tapering was a way of reassuring holders of dollars and dollar-denominated financial instruments that the Fed was going to reduce and eventually end the printing of new dollars with which to support financial markets.The image of foreign governments bailing out of Treasuries could unsettle the markets that the Fed was attempting to sooth by tapering.

A hundred billion dollar sale of US Treasuries is a big sale. If the seller was a big holder of Treasuries, the sale could signal the bond market that a big holder might be selling Treasuries in large chunks. The Fed would want to keep the fact and identity of such a seller secret in order to avoid a stampede out of Treasuries. Such a stampede would raise interest rates, collapse US financial markets, and raise the cost of financing the US debt. To avoid the rise in interest rates, the Fed would have to accept the risk to the dollar of purchasing all the bonds. This would be a no-win situation for the Fed, because a large increase in QE would unsettle the market for US dollars.

Washington’s power ultimately rests on the dollar as world reserve currency. This privilege, attained at Bretton Woods following World War 2, allows the US to pay its bills by issuing debt. The world currency role also gives the US the power to cut countries out of the international payments system and to impose sanctions.

As impelled as the Fed is to protect the large banks that sit on the board of directors of the NY Fed, the Fed has to protect the dollar. That the Fed believed that it could not buy the bonds outright but needed to disguise its purchase by laundering it through Belgium suggests that the Fed is concerned that the world is losing confidence in the dollar.

If the world loses confidence in the dollar, the cost of living in the US would rise sharply as the dollar drops in value. Economic hardship and poverty would worsen. Political instability would rise.

If the dollar lost substantial value, the dollar would lose its reserve currency status. Washington would not be able to issue new debt or new dollars in order to pay its bills.

Its wars and hundreds of overseas military bases could not be financed.

The withdrawal from unsustainable empire would begin. The rest of the world would see this as the silver lining in the collapse of the international monetary system brought on by the hubris and arrogance of Washington.

Did the Fed Take Drastic and Covert Action to Hide a Large Country Dumping U.S. Bonds?

That’s what former Assistant Treasury Secretary and Wall Street Journal editor Paul Craig Roberts alleges:

Is the Fed “tapering”? Did the Fed really cut its bond purchases during the three month period November 2013 through January 2014?

***

From November 2013 through January 2014 Belgium with a GDP of $480 billion purchased $141.2 billion of US Treasury bonds. Somehow Belgium came up with enough money to allocate during a 3-month period 29 percent of its annual GDP to the purchase of US Treasury bonds.

Certainly Belgium did not have a budget surplus of $141.2 billion. Was Belgium running a trade surplus during a 3-month period equal to 29 percent of Belgium GDP?

No, Belgium’s trade and current accounts are in deficit.

Did Belgium’s central bank print $141.2 billion worth of euros in order to make the purchase?

No, Belgium is a member of the euro system, and its central bank cannot increase the money supply.

So where did the $141.2 billion come from?

There is only one source. The money came from the US Federal Reserve, and the purchase was laundered through Belgium in order to hide the fact that actual Federal Reserve bond purchases during November 2013 through January 2014 were $112 billion per month.

In other words, during those 3 months there was a sharp rise in bond purchases by the Fed. The Fed’s actual bond purchases for those three months are $27 billion per month above the original $85 billion monthly purchase and $47 billion above the official $65 billion monthly purchase at that time.

***

Why did the Federal Reserve have to purchase so many bonds above the announced amounts and why did the Fed have to launder and hide the purchase?

Some country or countries, unknown at this time, for reasons we do not know dumped $104 billion in Treasuries in one week.

 

And see this:

Thailand: Intervention of Armed Forces

May 20th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

The Royal Thai Army (RTA) has announced that it is taking over responsibility for national security from the current regime’s so-called “Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order” (CAPO). The move came after nearly six months of terrorism carried out by pro-regime militants the regime itself has failed categorically to either condemn or counter with its sweeping, self-granted security powers. As recently as last Thursday, an M79 grenade attack on anti-regime protesters left 3 dead and many more maimed, including an elderly woman who lost her eye.

Additionally, stockpiles of weapons have been stumbled across by police, who in fact are loyal to the current regime. This indicates that so many weapons have been brought into Bangkok or readied elsewhere by the regime to carry out a concerted terrorist campaign, that their own police are stumbling over them by accident while on routine calls. 

Regime’s Premeditated Campaign of Deadly Violence

The RTA’s move comes after over 70 armed attacks on anti-regime protesters since demonstrations began in October of 2013 that have left 24 dead, and many more injured, some seriously with amputations, missing eyes, and other permanent disfigurements. Deaths also include women and children. The attacks are part of a concerted campaign by the regime to cling to power. In TIME Magazine’s January 2014 article, “Bangkok Shutdown: Yingluck Supporters Prepare to Fight for Democracy,” it states (emphasis added): 

As Thailand’s anti-government protests enter their fourth day, observers say prospects for violent confrontation are increasing, with reports of government supporters stockpiling weapons in case of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s ouster.

According to the Bangkok Post, radical members of the Red Shirts — diehard champions of Yingluck and her notorious brother Thaksin Shinawatra — are readying a cache of arms in case the 46-year-old premier is forced from office by either military or judicial intervention.

The paper quoted a Red Shirt source as saying “There are strong anti-coup and anti-court sentiments among the red-shirt mavericks who are familiar and experienced with weapon use.”

The threats cited by TIME were carried out in earnest. The day after TIME published its article, the attacks began. The first was a grenade attack on peaceful marches lead by protest leader Suthep Thuangsuban, which killed one and injured 39. Suthep Thuangsuban was only 30 meters away from the blast, indicating it was a likely assassination attempt. When protesters stormed the building they believed the attacks came from, a stockpile of weapons, as described by TIME was found. The location was in close proximity to a rally site which had  been attacked almost nightly by gunfire. 


The regime’s “red shirt” street front would continue both threats and acts of violence over the next several months including: 

The regime has promised violence, carried it out, and has been caught with the implements of its deadly terrorist campaign in the hands of its own supporters and politicians. Calls for “revolution” against the “elite” are regularly howled upon the stages of the regime’s increasingly diminutive rallies. After one grisly attack that left a child dead in Trat province, the regime’s “red shirt” leaders would openly and abhorrently praise the attack.

Not only has the regime failed categorically to condemn the violence, it is clear its ”Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order” serves as a means to lopsidedly apply the colors of law against its political opponents while turning a blind eye, or worse yet, facilitating deadly violence that targets anti-regime protesters. Its intentional unwillingness to reign in violence it itself is helping facilitate and the state of increasing political instability left by the hobble regime leaves little choice but for the military to intervene, if only to root out and disarm terrorists staging across the country.  

Regime Has Not Been Ousted – No Coup 

It should be noted that the Royal Thai Army’s move has in no way forced the current regime from power. The “caretaker government” is still in office. The RTA’s stated intention is stemming violence the regime has cateogrically failed to condemn or confront. The regime in fact has prepared a campaign of widespread terrorism for the day it finally is dismissed from power – after an anticipated series of court cases targeting overt corruption, nepotism, abuse of power, and other acts of criminality are concluded. Initial court cases have already led to the dismissal of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra - the nepotist-appointed stand-in for her brother Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thaksin Shinawatra is at the center of Thailand’s current political crisis. A convicted criminal, fugitive, accused mass murderer, and billionaire, Shinawatra still openly runs both his political party “Peua Thai” (PTP), as well as the current regime from abroad – primarily in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Despite Shinawatra hiding abroad, he openly contested elections in 2011, with his party’s campaign slogan literally “Thaksin Thinks, Peua Thai Does.” The slogan is full acknowledgement that a convicted criminal hiding abroad from a 2 year jail sentence, multiple arrest warrants, and a growing list of pending legal cases is running both the campaign and the subsequent government by proxy.

In no other country would such an arrangement be perceived as “legal.” In Thailand, it is likewise illegal. Shinawatra’s immense wealth and unwarranted influence has allowed him to circumvent even the most basic precepts of rule of law to advance his agenda and maintain his grip on Thai politics. Recent protests and the failure of his proxy regime to implement lofty campaign promises made in 2011 have left him with a dwindling support base. With his impunity weakened, court cases are now proceeding. 

Called by the regime a “judicial coup,” court cases in fact involve overt criminality, including the removal of the prime minister for making a series of appointments in 2011 upon taking office to make way for her brother-in-law to become national chief of police. The application of the law in the face of overt nepotism and abuse of power is surely not a “judicial coup.” 

The political longevity of Thaksin Shinawatra and his proxy regime is owed predominately to the support of special interests on Wall Street and in the City of London. In the past decade, Shinawatra has served these interests well, including: 

  • In 2001 Shinawatra privatized Thailand’s resources and infrastructure including the nation’s oil conglomerate PTT while raising the amount of shares foreigners could hold. This led to big-oil giants such as Chevron and Hess siphoning out billions in revenue from Thailand’s natural gas and oil supplies. 

These special interests will continue supporting Thaksin Shinawatra and his embattled regime, regardless of the violence and criminality it is sowing across Thailand as it clings precariously to power. However, this support is countered by growing dissidence within Thailand across all segments of the population. The Western media’s repeated mantra of “class war” fails to acknowledge that union workers, farmers, and middle class make up the vast majority of the growing protests not only in Bangkok but in provinces in all directions beyond. 

Reports of mutinies within the army mount while tensions escalate

A conference on the security concerns of the most populous state in Africa was not held on the continent but in France, a former colonial power in the region.

Nigeria, which has recently been designated as having the largest economy in Africa, is the focus of the governments of the United States, Britain and France as it relates to the rising conflict in the northeast of the country where the government of President Goodluck Jonathan has been unsuccessfully battling the Boko Haram sect. Since 2009, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict between the military, the state security forces and Boko Haram.

With the abductions of nearly 300 high school girls in the village of Chibok in Borno State on April 14, the leaders of the western states have made the rescuing of the students a priority militarily. Offers by Boko Haram leaders to exchange the students for members of their organization held by the Nigerian government have been publicly rejected by the Jonathan administration.

Nigeria is the largest exporter of sweet crude oil into the U.S. The country also has substantial natural gas reserves.

Since 1956, the Nigerian oil industry has been dominated by firms from Britain, the U.S. and Europe. In recent years the People’s Republic of China has signed agreements with Abuja to increase its investments in the Nigerian oil industry.

In addition to the participation of France, Britain and the U.S., four African states, Chad, Benin, Niger and Cameroon, also attended. Jonathan in a press conference in Paris on May 18 attempted to place the internal security crisis in Nigeria within the context of a broader “war against terrorism.”

Jonathan said that “Boko Haram is no longer a local terrorist group it is operating clearly as an Al-Qaeda operation. It is an Al-Qaeda of West Africa,” Jonathan said during a news conference in Paris. (Rt.com, May 19)

“We have shown our commitment for a regional approach. Without West African countries coming together we will not be able to crush these terrorists,” the president said.

Presidents Paul Biya of Cameroon and Idriss Deby of Chad went even further to proclaim that “we are declaring war on Boko Haram.” Biya noted that the problem of Boko Haram was no longer just regional with the abduction of two Italian priests and a Canadian national during April.

President Francois Hollande of France said after the conference that fighting Boko Haram would be a priority for his government. He said that the conference would result in a “global and regional action plan.”

“Boko Haram is a major threat for all of western Africa and now central Africa, with proven links to AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) and other terrorist organizations,” said Hollande. France already has troops deployed in the West African states of Mali and Niger as well as in the Central African Republic, all of which are former colonies of Paris.

Reports of Mutiny in the Nigerian Army

Since the targeting of Boko Haram by the Nigerian government, many politically informed people have alleged that there are elements in the northern regional elites both within the administration and military which provide covert support to the insurgent group. Many members of the officer corps of the Nigerian army are from the North which is heavily dominated by Muslims.

Jonathan is from the South of Nigeria and there is concern that the Boko Haram attacks in the northeast of the country are a reflection of the regional power struggle inside the country. The president’s lack of ability to command authority within the military may also be related to the deep divisions even within his own People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which is facing a tough re-election campaign in 2015.

Reports have surfaced in recent weeks of unrest within the military in the North of the country. Aspects of these stories indicate that lower-ranking soldiers are dissatisfied with the character of the operations being carried out against Boko Haram in three of the northeastern states that are now under a state of emergency.

In an article published by Star Africa on May 15, it says that “The Nigerian army has announced it is opening investigations into a mutiny in the main barracks in the city of Maiduguri involving soldiers of the seventh division. A group of soldiers in Maiduguri opened fire on a convoy carrying army commander Maj-Gen. Ahmed Mohammed as it entered the Maimalari barracks.”

This article goes on to report of the Maj-Gen. Mohammed that “He was unhurt, witnesses say. The defense headquarters confirmed on Thursday that it was questioning those involved over the circumstances surrounding Wednesday’s incident in the capital of Borno State in the northeast of the country. The army has sought to allay fears that Maiduguri remained tense in the wake of the shooting, claiming that the situation had been brought under control.”

Nigeria has a history of military intervention in political rule. In 1966 there were two military coups which led to a civil war between 1967-70.

During the years between the 1960s and the 1990s there were periodic military seizures of power. After the return to civilian rule in 1979, a military coup was carried out in late 1983 and again in mid-1985. A scheduled election in 1993 was halted while another military leader took power and held it for five years.

In 1999, former military leader Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo came out of retirement and successfully ran for president as a civilian candidate. Over the last fifteen years the country has been under civilian rule.

However, the advent of the Boko Haram conflict has created speculation that the military is playing a significant role in the destabilization of the Jonathan government in Abuja. Although Boko Haram has been linked with Al-Qaeda, this same so-called “terrorist” network has been supported by the U.S. in recent years in Libya and Syria.

Nigerian Political Economy and the Intensifying Class Struggle

Even though Nigeria has been deemed as an economic powerhouse for the continent, these designations are leading to a scenario where there will be increased military and intelligence interventions on the part of the imperialist states. The conference in Paris is representative of the burgeoning militarization of the continent led by the Pentagon and NATO forces.

There is still considerable poverty and underdevelopment in Nigeria. The profits accrued from the exploitation of oil and natural gas has not been sufficiently reinvested to boost the social wages of the working class and poor of the country.

The political weaknesses of the Jonathan government are being utilized to further infiltrate the Nigerian state. However, these measures that are being taken by the present government in Abuja will not improve the security and well-being of the workers, farmers and youth of the country.

Strikes and other industrial actions have been occurring in Nigeria at an escalating pace over the last two years. The working class and youth who have been demanding better jobs, educational opportunities and environmental justice must take control of the political future of the country.

The security of young girls and women cannot be achieved by forming closer ties with the imperialist states but only through the organization and mobilization of the Nigerian masses. If the government of Nigeria cannot provide the necessary security for the youth of the country then it will be up to the majority working class and farmers to self-organize to put an end to imperialism and their collaborators inside the country.

Capitalism and “The Universal Religion”

May 20th, 2014 by Peter Dudink

 Almost everyone belongs to the universal religion. Some call it capitalism, or the global economy, or—still more preposterously—the “real world.” A more fitting name is American Dreamism. Today, corporate symbols like McDonald’s golden arches are more widely recognized than the Christian cross, but what goes on in our corporate world is virtually identical to what goes on in our holy places: superstition, deception, and profiteering.

People sacrifice their time, their health and ultimately their lives to the American Dream, and the American Dream gives them nothing but empty hopes, empty symbols of wealth, bloody crusades, myths, lies, and the daily media mass. Of course, American Dreamism isn’t a recognized religion, and it has no official scriptures, but in fact its scriptures are our national anthems, constitutions, amendments and bills of rights—and its idols and holy icons are our celebrities, advertisements and brand names. Capitalists want everyone to think capitalism is rational and intelligent, but in fact it is the ultimate and universal religion.

A New Definition of Government

Never mind the absolute myth that capitalism is a recent ‘development’ in economic relations. Capitalism is as old as greed. Ancient kings and emperors were the earliest capitalists. They capitalized on any opportunity to conquer foreign markets—I mean foreign peoples. Perhaps they used more violence and less cunning than modern capitalists, but that is hardly a positive development.

Kings and conquerors were the first businessmen. They made profits through violence, deception and exploitation. Often they struck deals and allowed the conquered people to live if and only if they agreed to pay a regular tax or tithe. That was the first business interaction: the profiteer granted you the right to live in return for profits.

But over time, conquerors developed new, more subtle but equally immoral methods. Consider the methods employed by the British Crown chartered Hudson’s Bay Company in the North American fur trade. When it traded British pots and knives for local furs, you can be sure the company profited enormously by underpaying the laborers who produced, shipped and traded pots and knives; and made still more profit by taking advantage of the indigenous people’s ignorance of the true value of their furs in the European market. Thus the company profited, and of course some of those profits went to the supreme authority over all business dealings, the British government, so the government was and is a business.

In fact, all monarchs are capitalists and all governments are businesses. They are businesses because they are constantly expanding and capitalizing on opportunities to extract wealth from people and resources. They are the world’s top economic predators. Governments and nations are the most successful business models ever invented. Over the last hundred years, they have expanded their services beyond conquering, policing, legislating and mailing. Today governments provide almost every imaginable service and resource: prisons, pensions, healthcare, housing, water, and electricity are just a few. And they offer these services in return for handsome profits as mandated taxes pour into the pockets of civil servants, or as taxes pour through the government and into the pockets of its taxpaying and favored corporations.

Perhaps the main difference between a traditional business and a government is that governments charge for most of their services whether you want their services or not.

Like any business, governments become powerful by conquering competitors. This is traditionally done through violence. Even when land and/or resources are taken by stealth, intimidation or corruption, the threat of military confrontation usually lurks in the background. The recent business deals in the Ukraine, for example, between the Ukrainian government and American corporations like Exxon and Monsanto, were made possible only after various branches of the U.S. government helped violent revolutionaries overthrow a government unwilling to do business with the West. Similarly, Chinese politicians are usually covert businessmen—which is another way of saying that they are capitalists. Granted, such politicians are corrupt, but my point is that governing is always a form of profiting at the expense of the governed. That, to me, is obvious. No government would ever be established if it were not profitable.

Of course, much has changed since the old days of the old conquer and pillage strategy. Even the early Roman conquerors had to invent excuses to appease nobles who might not be keen to send their sons into another warzone. And, thanks in part to the spread of shipping, mail, and the printing press, people became increasingly aware of their government’s actions, and they grew hostile and critical of the Church and of the aristocrats who wielded supreme political power. So, the ruling elites invented representative democracy in order to give people the illusion of justice, freedom and self-determination while the government continued to extract profits from citizens who remained stuck in a system that extorted money from them through taxation and dependency on landlords.

The creation of the U.S. government is quite similar. Because early white, male, American settlers enjoyed freedom and access to firearms, the founders of the U.S. government wisely decided to appease such citizens by installing an electoral system. This system gave the settlers the illusion of freedom and co-governance. Of course, initially taxes were kept low in order to avoid comparisons to the defeated British colonial government, but even then, the U.S. government devised ways to profit, and gradually more and more taxes were deployed and defended as necessary for maintaining peace and economic order.

One of the challenges to perpetuating this system of business through governance is that, thanks to technology, if the government is not careful to spread lies and propaganda, people can become increasingly informed and critical.

In medieval times, laborers protested against their exploitation, but they understood little about how their governments and banks exploited them through financial schemes or how they waged wars for profit in foreign lands. The Roman Catholic Church was already in the business of using its network of churches, scribes and priests to spread propaganda and rally crusades for profit. This system of spreading propaganda for profit was not surpassed until the dawn of the 20th century. Before that, Western governments cared little about what the public thought about its foreign ‘adventures.’ Thus, without holding a referendum, without even poling the public, Western governments unilaterally and militarily squashed the Boxer Rebellion in China in order to defend their business interests there.

 Now that the media has developed the ability to report quickly to the masses, governments and media outlets controlled by capitalists are busily spinning their greedy conquests into righteous crusades. We have progressed from a world in which the Church told gullible Europeans that foreign wars were righteous and God’s will, to a world in which Western governments and media tell gullible Westerners that their foreign ‘interventions’ are righteous and humanitarian. Of course, we know it’s really all about the money.

If the world’s most powerful nations sincerely wanted to bring freedom and democracy to the world, and knew how to do it, then the world would now be free of prisons and tyrants. Instead, the U.S. government’s most favored allies include totalitarian monarchs and rulers of sham-democracies.

The West’s efforts to ‘civilize’ the world is a profit strategy. Here civilizing means forcing countries to play by their business rules: to open their borders to Western corporations, to sell their resources cheaply, to buy overpriced military hardware, and to let cheap agricultural imports from the West destroy small farm economies so that bankrupt farmers are forced to leave their land and work like slaves in Western-owned factories.

But don’t get me wrong; to some extent, our governments are not coercive bullies and sometimes compete fairly for profit. Just consider the arms trade. Here our governments truly shine, as they compete amongst each other for profit. Government funded research and marketing experts in the arms industry must compete with others working just as hard to sell death and destruction to foreign governments. Of course, sometimes our governments try to wash their hands of this filth and they outsource the production of military hardware to corporations, but even then, government remain in charge of peddling the weapons and signing the contracts for profit.

Now, I think you will agree that for libertarian capitalists to argue that governments should shrink and meddle less in business affairs is nonsense because governments are businesses.

In fact, governments even compete for good ‘employees’ and customers—just like any other business. The difference is that governments call their customers and employees ‘citizens.’ In order to keep wages low, and in order to offset low birth rates, Western governments aggressively recruit ‘good’ citizens—just as any profitable company must recruit good employees.

What can you do if you don’t approve of your government-corporate world? Well, you can take your shopping and your talents elsewhere, to some lesser or smaller evil. Similarly, you can emigrate, but that means you will pay taxes to another degrading and blood-sucking government. And yes, you can refuse to pay your taxes, but then you will ‘pay’ more in prison. In short, in a world monopolized by nation states and mega-corporations, we are all hostages.

How can we tolerate this state of affairs? Isn’t it time we abolished the government-corporate prison state? Isn’t it time we establish a new world order devoted to sharing, play, timelessness and goddamned idleness? Isn’t it time we applied the principles of the revolution?

America’s Totalitarian God

Not only are governments essentially businesses, but the traditional distinction between religion and business is arbitrary and imaginary. Some of the first ‘great’ conquerors considered themselves immortal gods, and today our governments are so powerful they seem to be incarnations of God on Earth who reign supported by hosts of angels—corporate leaders and business elites.

Why are God and the State so similar? They both trace their roots to the same moment in history. The first all-powerful governments were ruled by kings and pharaohs, and, not coincidentally, while those all-powerful kings and pharaohs reigned, humanity invented the first all-powerful gods. These imaginary gods simply reflected the reality on the ground. In fact, the religious world always evolves to reflect the political reality, especially when political rulers are in charge of religions, as they were in ancient and medieval times.

Older, more ‘primitive’ societies were ruled by no one; therefore, they did not believe in a god or gods who ruled over everyone. But, wherever people believe in all-powerful ruling gods, wherever religion is monotheistic, you can be sure the people are living under a monarchy or under some other form of political tyranny that centralizes power in the hands of one or more godlike men. Monotheistic religions always reflect a world controlled by political and economic monopolists, and kings are the oldest monopolists.

The ancient Egyptians were perhaps the first to invent the totalitarian god, and this simply reflects the fact that in Egypt political power was concentrated in one man, the pharaoh.

Muslims, Jews and Christians also created and embraced a belief in an all-powerful god because they were ruled by all-powerful Shahs, Czars, Kaisers, Emperors, Sultans, and so on.

Religion mirrors reality. According to the West’s dominant religion, if you do not please your imaginary all-powerful God you go to an imaginary Hell of pain and suffering; and according to Western governments, if you break their laws you deserve to suffer in their prisons and penitentiaries. The real and the imaginary are mirror images.

Modern, technologically advanced corporations and fascist states are more God-like than any king or czar. Every year their power increases—and the only obstacle they face is the growing public awareness that ‘civilization’ always creates a world of gods and ‘angels’ ruling over a powerless majority.

Every government and every corporation wants to become an all-powerful god. Absolute market dominance is the goal of every corporation and government; therefore, our leaders rarely grant any group, province or territory the right to secede or declare independence. They insist on keeping everyone hostage in their web of profit.

Wherever people are forbidden from separating, a monopoly exists, and wherever a monopoly exists, an all-powerful, godlike tyrant dominates.

The United States of America is a monopoly created by monopolistic men who wrested power away from British monopolists. The men who wrote the U.S. Constitution were aspiring monopolists. They were slave owners and land owners motivated by the lure of profit to become the ruling gods of the New World. To promote war with Britain they spoke of winning freedom from British tyranny and taxation, but to deceive their fellow European settlers they hid their own desire to rule, tyrannize, and tax.

Today, the U.S. government boasts of separating religion from politics, and yet it is also an incarnation of God. It is as omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient as any god ever imagined.

The U.S. government is omnipresent: its laws dictate every aspect of life, including where you can loiter, what you can build, what you can grow on your property, what can women do with their pregnancies, how we should raise our children, and so on.

The U.S. government is omniscient: its ears and eyes are everywhere. It hears, it watches and it reads everything without your knowledge. It knows everything but it understands nothing, just like God.

Finally, today the U.S. government is omnipotent: it has the power to do any evil it wants, and it only restrains itself when it fears losing the people’s support. Within and beyond its borders, it assassinates citizens extra-judicially. It feeds poisons to its citizens and it takes their wealth by stealth and by taxation. It has granted itself a license to steal and kill. What can’t it do? It cannot create peace, it cannot feed itself, and it lacks the power to do any good. How God-like is that?

How long before people wake up and abolish all their gods and masters?

The Holy Mirrors

Religion is a rose colored mirror for capitalism. The Bible glorifies wars by portraying them as acts of divine justice; it excuses prostitution by refusing to condemn the causes of it, and it ignores unjust class and caste systems that enrich the 1% and impoverish the 99%. But older religions like Confucianism are only half as shameless and corrupt, which suggests that they reflect less corrupt worlds.

All our religions are as unoriginal as the images in our mirrors. Their morals, values, gods, angels and saints are always glorified reflections of the real world. If they preached that a modest poverty is good, they does so only because the authors knew that poverty was common and that people had to be persuaded to love it or, at least to accept it.

Why didn’t our Paleolithic, Stone Age ancestors have hierarchies of gods and gods who gave commands? They did not have such gods because they lived in a world without hierarchies, without ruling, god-like tyrants who issued commands to their equals, to their fellow human beings. Our Paleolithic ancestors worshipped spirits that represented elements of the natural world.

But, once tyrants created political power for their benefit, miraculously new religions arose that reflected this unnatural reality. These religions came with supreme gods who ruled over other gods and demigods. Thus these religions made injustice seem divine.

After the greedy, power-mad psychopaths rose up and declared war on nature and on the forests inhabited by free, forest-dwelling peoples, they invented gods who inhabited the clouds and lived apart from nature.

The Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Hindu empires were ruled by leaders; therefore, their people believed that one almighty god ruled over all other gods and all living beings. Again, their religious beliefs mirrored their political reality.

The Hindu pantheon was ruled by Vishnu, the Greek by Zeus, the Roman by Jupiter and the Egyptian by Aten and at other times others gods—all because this reflected the reality that the people in these empires were ruled by tyrants.

Other socio-economic realities are also reflected in our religions. The Egyptian god of writing, Thoth, mirrored the existence of a class of scribes; Brahma, the Hindu god responsible for dictating the Veda scriptures, is a reflection of the literate Brahmin caste; Hermes, the Greek messenger god, reflected the Hellenic tradition of using messengers to communicate between oracles and political leaders.

Greeks, Romans, and early Christians all had many gods, demigods, angels and saints whose duties were tied to economic and political functions. Ganymede, the cup-bearer of the Greek gods, for he was a merely a glorified slave and table servant. Saint Nicholas was a Christian patron saint of sailors and merchants, and this historical function is still evident in modern times, as Saint Nicholas, now largely known as Santa Claus, travels by boat in the Dutch legend and by sled in the Anglo-Saxon legend, and in the widely celebrated Christmas season, he is still associated with merchants and merchandize buying and selling.

Political hierarchies are also reflected in the Christian and Jewish religions, where angels and archangels have specific functions and are ranked in a complex class-system. However, as power became increasingly concentrated in the hands of totalitarian rulers, state-sponsored religions become increasingly monotheistic or ruled by one dominant deity to the exclusion of all others.

Again and again, we see that our religions are creatively bankrupt mirrors of the economic and political world.

 The world of capitalism has high priests, gods, rituals, scams, and superstitions—therefore capitalism is a sacred religion and therefore we can never keep religion out of politics or economics.

Modern governments are religious institutions: they do not preach the gospel of immortality, but they certainly praise people who forget their mortality and sacrifice their lives in the name of their profits.

Modern corporations are religious institutions: they do not preach the gospel of immortality, but good corporate leaders encourage everyone to live as if mortality did not exist. Yes, they gave us seatbelts, but they did not give us soft cars that run on non-toxic food and water.

Our religious leaders used to claim a monopoly on morality, but now our governments are our churches. They think they represent morality, but like the priests before them, they do nothing substantial to stop poverty, unemployment, landlessness, corruption, runaway greenhouse gas emissions, or usury, and they do nothing to promote the arts, improve national diets, or defend small businesses. Now, everything has to be sacrificed and crucified to our god, Profit.

Like our governments, the high priests of the business world and their marketers boldly tell us that they know what is good for us and good generally. They say competition is good, buying their shit is good, and so on and on.*

The evolution of our religions mirrors the rise of hierarchies and of gods that possess absolute power. This evolutionary fact reflects the reality that over the past 10,000 years society has evolved to create an increasingly powerless majority that is subject to the supreme authority of a few totalitarian rulers.

To my horror and disgust, the growing concentration of power in the hands of the few is continuing into the present ‘democratic’ age.

The U.S. government and its formidable military power is not a democratic institution; it in no way protects or serves its citizens. Instead it provokes others to attack it in order to have excuses to go to war. And, almost every U.S. citizen wants to cut funding to the military, but the funding continues because the military serves the interests of a few wealthy elites who control the government and use its military and economic power to promote their economic interests.

Likewise, NATO is not a democratic institution; it only responds to the economic interests of the capitalist goons who operate above the law and beyond democracy. Wherever a nation refuses to bow to the capitalist agenda, Western elites decide to corrupt or destabilize its government, and if that does not work, NATO comes, or the US military comes alone. Every military organization wants people to perceive it as a godlike force for justice and life, but in reality they always serve the political and economic interests of the ruling capitalists.

Finally, the ridiculous and frankly laughable international peace keeping force known as the United Nations is about as effective at peace-keeping as the filthy-rich Popes have been at stopping poverty.

The UN wants the world to consider it a well-organized team of holy angels of peace, but in reality it has done almost nothing to create peace anywhere. Even if such a pack of idiots knew anything about peace, they would not be permitted to establish peace anywhere because peace is not good for business.

The kind of peace that our rulers call peace is peace enforced by guns and unjust laws. This kind of peace is good for business. True peace is terrible for business because it would require a good conscience, and a good conscience would require that we share the planet’s land and resources. This, however, is precisely what the gods of the world do not want.

Everything in this world mirrors or serves the economic interests of the gods of capitalism, but the revolution abandons the universal religion of profit, and it rejects the global economy of misery and environmental suicide; instead, it establishes what people are hardly able to imagine.

God’s Robots

Unquestioning obedience to one’s master or god is the message of the Universal Religion. Defying and questioning religious and secular authority is never encouraged—even though any authority that imposes the authority of one adult on another is tyranny.

God, as his dreamers envision him, is the ‘good’ tyrant who only tells you to do what’s good for you, and yet someone he never encourages you to seek your independence from your human masters. Instead, he encourages obedience to authority and trust in authority, or, as is the case with all religions, the believer is never encouraged to even think about the injustice that all ‘authority’ represents, whether political, economic or military—though these three always work together, as an unholy trinity.

Blind obedience is cultivated, and when our schools boast of promoting critical thinking, they are lying. The only critical thinking happening in our schools is directed at spelling and addition errors. Never will they encourage the children to criticize how we spell words or what purpose all our numbers serve.

Blind obedience is what all imperial cultures seek. They domesticated animals because they want blind obedience. They attempt to domesticate humans by killing independent-minded people and by ‘training’ our children.

Now, to liberate humanity from mind-numbing labor and degrading obedience, our engineers are building robots! Hurrah! They will replace human robots with artificial robots, leaving the millions of people unemployed and redundant. What will we do? Will we, perhaps, find something else to do?

God would be proud of our robots, both human and mechanical, for he loves his sheep. But even sheep can turn into lions, and lions into children of laughter.

The Daily Mass

In centuries past, the most devout well-to-do Christians attended church services every day and many, many Christians understood nothing because church services were conducted in Latin. Well, nothing has changed. The well-to-do are still drowning themselves in what they do not understand. We encourage our children to recite national anthems, read books and watch shows and movies they do not understand. If they did, they would know that they are being polluted with stupid vanity, irrational fear, and thoughtless hope and imagery.

Once upon a time Europe celebrated the death and resurrection of its hero each and every day, in churches and houses. Today, we worship a new religion, the religion of religions. Today, a million people and a billion characters die on our screens and pages. The fictional ones virtually resurrect. They miraculously survive mortal wounds and rise up to star in another movie or to play another game.

As in the past, the new faithful do not know the meaning of our mortality.

What’s the difference between a poor North Korean and a supposedly wealthy North American? North Americans spend more money and more time brainwashing themselves. And the danger of being wealthy—I mean industrially developed—is that people who possess this wealth usually consider everyone else ignorant. Thus they bow and kneel before their own reflections.

In the media-rich environments of developed countries, children have little chance to think for themselves, and the great celebration of capitalism never ends as shopping is a holy ritual, consumerism is a religion, cultural narcissism spells salvation and our sugar-coated news and movies wash away our guilt.

The revolution will end the daily destruction of our intelligence. It will decentralize communication and stop psychopaths and idiots from colonizing and monopolizing our minds. The revolution will turn all of us into the greatest entertainers, teachers and reporters the world has ever seen.

Of Priests and Presidents

More than any other religion, Christianity is a form of hero-worship. Unlike other religious sages, demigods and prophets, Jesus is billed as a one-man world saviour. With this in mind, we can hardly be surprised to find that Christians generally love hero-worship. They have a long history of idolizing saints, conquerors, celebrities, politicians, athletes and superheroes. This manifest idiocy is nowhere more pronounced than in Europe and the Americas, continents dominated by the holy hero worship of Christianity.

A culture that teaches children to idolize and frankly worship heroes is a culture that forgets the common people, forgets the children, the elders, and the unfortunate.

What all religions have in common: none of them dared to promote democracy—let alone true democracy: anarchy. Thus far not one leader, not one president or prime minister, has represented the people, for none of them have even dreamed of destroying the land monopolists and giving everyone their own land to live on.

The world will not be saved until it is freed of leaders, and the best leaders are those that serve to destroy the world’s dependence on leaders. President Barack Obama is doing his part by destroying what little faith Americans have left in politicians.

If American politicians are so great, why aren’t international scouts recruiting them? Why aren’t they leading other nations to greatness and why haven’t they volunteered to do so? Former British prime minister Tony Blair is not an exception; he merely specializes in advising foreign tyrants on how to profit.

Well, at least President Obama recognized the fact that “millions of Americans” who courageously fight against poverty “have not yet been rewarded…. for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.” That’s quite an admission, even if it is an understatement. But what kind of rewards should every American expect? The president was not clear about this, so let me clarify: everyone can expect more cancer, more tornados, more Crone’s disease, more Alzheimer’s, more hurricanes, more drugs, more gangs, more corruption… But good Christians and Muslims love their latest hero—especially if they think he—like Christ—has come to save them.

President Obama was right about one thing, America is an experiment. America is an experiment in insanity. It’s an experiment that tests the world’s tolerance for hypocrisy, injustice and meddling. This experiment has been committed many times before. Fiat money, staggering debts, military expansionism, and the wholesale deregulation of economic predators—this is an old experiment that has provoked violent protests and revolutions in the past.

If President Obama is the 44th president devoted to helping Americans pursue happiness, why do Americans spend so little time being happy? Do they think their neurotic little fits of excitement qualify as happiness?

Imagine Obama talking about his nation’s pursuit of smiles and laughter and you’ll understand the absurdity of America’s claim to pursuing happiness.

America does not lead the world in producing happiness and laughter. Its biggest clowns aren’t funny: they get their kicks cheating, defrauding and killing.

After Martin Luther declared that Rome’s priests were useless, priests merely transformed into pastors and ministers, so the West put the old problem in new robes. Neither did the shift from monarchy to democracy change reality for the common man. All our democratically elected heroes promote policies that increase our dependency on them and on all the pricey goods and services we think we must have. Democracy was always window dressing for imperialism, and now that Western imperialists are running out of foreign markets to conquer, they are turning their teeth with renewed wrath on their own populations and devouring the middle class, civil rights, and the free press. Former president Jimmy Carter has already announced that democracy is dead in the U.S.

Something must be done, but I’m not running for the presidency. Indeed, I’m running from the presidency. I have no interest in national politics. I am overqualified—and we are all overqualified for a post that demands heartlessness and ignorance. Besides, I don’t have a New Deal for any country; I have a New Deal for the world. Millions of people want this new deal. Millions of tax-rejecters, communitarians, subsistence farmers, homesteaders, urban squatters, illegal gardeners and environmentalists have already voted for the revolution.

Let us all begin the work of creating a world in which we are our own presidents—presidents of a planet of gardens. Our elected and unelected heroes can have their bloody streets and capitals; we will go off road, like wild savages, straight into the backyards and backwoods of the world where humanity can still enjoy life, liberty and land.

The Profit Center

Slowly, the lords of (the) capital conquer the world. With every generation, the inequality between the poor and the rich grows more extreme. Over the millennia, hundreds of millions of people have traded their land for a state of landlessness and debt, polluted air, water scarcity and urban slavery. Presently, the 85 richest men in the world own as much as 3.5 billion people—and that is a conservative estimate that fails to consider that the bottom 3.5 million people own nothing but the shirts on their backs. At the current pace, the whole world will belong to one man by the year 2041.

Wealth centralization is the logic of capitalism (imperialism). It is relentless. But we are living in a time of falling profits. Former colonies and hostage states are rejecting their exploitation, and the planet’s resources are growing scarce. So, over the past 40 years Western leaders have begun squeezing their formerly privileged workers for more profits. Orwell’s 1984 predicted this much.

How do the structures of our economies centralize wealth? Modern banking practices are crucial. They are some of the most cunning mechanisms for centralizing wealth away from workers and taxpayers. Nearly all central banks, as well as the Fed, the BIS, the IMF and the WB centralize profits by dumping debt onto taxpayers and handing wealth over to a few bondholders and banksters.

For centuries worker productivity has increased, and what is the worker’s reward? Home ownership is declining. Lifespans are declining. And the price of American bread has multiplied a hundredfold over the span of a century, outstripping the pace of wage increases. Now husbands and wives must work for employers in order to keep their families afloat. Thus, more and more people are stripped of their time and energy. Human beings are being mined for the profits of the few.

Industrialization and mechanization also rob people and centralize wealth. Cars have helped millions of people transcend the limits of their legs and lungs, and I’m sure people appreciate that, but the car’s primary purpose is to centralize labor and to bring labor to managers and overlords.

To understand the disturbing power of technology, consider the horse. Once upon a time horses provided transportation, and although they were not cheap, anyone who had a bit of land could feed one for free. And if you possessed a female horse, you could easily get her pregnant and have yourself a second horse. Now, when you switch from horse to car, the industrial model places the power of reproduction in the hands of a few wealthy car manufacturing barons, and feeding your cars means you must make wealthy oil barons wealthier. Consequently the power to create new wealth is now centralized and the profits flow into the pockets of a few industrialists.

The miraculous cell phone also centralizes wealth. Before the age of the phone, no one made money from anyone’s need to communicate by voice, but the few people who own the telephone lines, radio waves and the microchip factories are now fabulously rich. So, while phones help us transcend the limits of our voices, they centralize wealth.

More evidence of centralization is the fact that today we have fewer newspapers in America than we did a century ago. And even the much-celebrated democratizing power of the Internet has not revived small businesses. Instead, small bookstores and small publishers have perished, and larger ones have become enormous. Newspapers of all sorts are dying, but internet giant Google and other search engines are thriving. Before the age of mass production, musicians and other artists were common in every village, but the internet can make one musician available to the whole world, so technology again causes wealth to collect in the hands of a few.

In defense of economic insanity, American businessman Peter Schiff argued that civilization stops working if business leaders don’t have a profit motive. According to his reasoning, since most people are cowards, brave business leaders must take all the risks involved in starting a business, and for their bravery they should be rewarded. Excuse me, employees also take plenty of risks: they are not protected from losing their jobs and homes when profits fall and lays offs begin. In contrast, wealthy business owners have a million tricks to avoid risk and personal bankruptcy. Schiff would have us believe that when a company loses money the wealthy owner bravely suffers the loss, but in the real world falling profits usually result in salary reductions and dismissals for hapless employees. So, who needs more courage and who faces more risk, the employer or the employee?

And I dislike the premise of Schiff’s argument. Why must we assume that we need a culture that rewards risk taking? People who understand neither morality nor mortality think taking risks is heroic. Today they are heroically risking the liveability of the whole planet in return for profits siphoned from customers across the planet.

Economic hierarchies also serve to centralize profits. Fair-trade coffee will never exist because capitalists never trade, not if trading implies that we exchange items of equal value and no one makes a profit. The capitalist always wants to give you less than what you give him. From field to store, workers in the coffee business always ‘trade’ their time and energy for rewards that free indigenous peoples would have mocked and avoided. In fact, the more civilization progresses, the more we sacrifice. What evidence do I have for this tragic conclusion? Look for yourself! Year by year, the parents and children enjoys less time together and less political power. Year by year, our health and environment deteriorate because we are trading them for illusory profits.

Trade, hierarchies and technological developments all serve to centralize profits and impoverish citizens, workers and consumers. The Mennonites and the Amish understood a part of this when, four hundred years ago, they vowed not to use advanced technologies. By refusing to use advanced technologies and by working on the land, they avoided unemployment and all the debts, fees and taxes that technology incurs.

Well, I may not be ready to join the Mennonites, however, I’m losing track of all the reasons to abandon civilization. If you think that makes me a quack, please reread some old American classics such as Tom Sawyer and To Kill a Mockingbird and look for their revolutionary message, if you dare. Both novels praise the spirit of rebellion and freedom. So, you can be a communitarian anarchist or you can be an obedient cog in giant wealth centralization scheme. The choice is yours.

Economic Crusades

The more corrupt a religion is the greater the enemy that it imagines, and Christianity is the religion most obsessed with devils, Satan, and other enemies. This fundamental psychopathy reflects the attitude of most Christians, but also that of Jews and Muslims, who likewise believe in Satan, though to a lesser extent. The Judeo-Christian obsession with enemies is reflected in America’s movies, which teach the world to look for enemies everywhere.

The sheep ignores the facts and imagines everyone is his friendly shepherd; the psychopath ignores the facts and imagines enemies everywhere. Today, no nation state imagines more ‘enemies’ than the U.S. First, the indigenous peoples of North America were the enemies of America’s white imperialists, then Spain and Britain were its enemy, then Mexico, then slave owners, then Canada, then Communist and now terrorists. The psychopaths in power have a manifest destiny to create enemies, avoid peace and kill anyone who opposes their empire.

Perhaps Communism was the most powerful enemy western imperialism has thus far faced. While indigenous peoples were not opposed to trading with wealthy capitalists, Communism spells death for wealth centralization lovers. Communism mandates wealth distribution—making it a close ally of indigenous cultures and an appealing alternative model for millions of educated and uneducated people from South America to North America, from Cuba to Russia, from Egypt to China.

A tidal wave of interest in Communism swept Europe in the first half of the 20th century, and western elites were terrified. In response, they began massive campaigns to censor and suppress Communism and persecute Communists. Thanks to censorship, the concept of class war, which is crucial to understanding Communism, was eliminated from our schools, from the media, and from most of our heads.

When Communism was stamped out, westerners turned to liberalism and civil rights, to women’s rights, gay rights, and rights for minorities. Sadly, this meant that everyone fought for their right to be treated fairly in a system that is inherently unfair and destructive. But on the fringes of capitalism, a new class of enemies arose, the environmentalists.

Every capitalist is a ruthless economic warrior. Capitalists conquer markets by lowering prices, by lowering wages, by underpaying suppliers and by compromising the environment. Fair play is not really relevant in business or in war.

Economic war has become so refined and so insidious that the victims rarely understand that they are being raped. The West’s great lending institutions, the IMF, BIS and the World Bank, are victimizing billions of people, most of whom hardly know what is happening. These financial engines of economic warfare have degraded the living conditions of billions of people from Canada to Uganda.

Capitalism is a state of perpetual war. Someone is always being conquered, recruited into a new ‘company’ or ‘killed’ by bankruptcy and unemployment. The slaughter is relentless. Its end game is a world in which one victor rulers the monopoly board of the global economy. And if absolute monopoly isn’t possible, conspirators will create an oligopoly.

The lower ranks are tired of leaping into an economic war that rewards the generals and commanders who condemn them to die in the trenches of exhaustion and cower with fear of unemployment.

We blithely call our economic war mere “competition.” But it is not euphemistic enough for me. I know quite well that competition does not improve life for human beings. Competition is a source of stress and strife.

Do you need competition to become a good human being? Millions of parents are excellent parents without ever competing. We take care of our children, and we give them the best possible lives we can simply because we love them. Millions of artisans and artists create excellent work because they love their work, not because they love competing.

The revolution has no time for war, competition or conflict. The revolution is contentment, abundance and generosity incarnate.

Hope for Change

The more hopeless life seems, the more hopes we invent. Traditionally, to the extent that economic and political reality appears hopeless, our religions have invented hopes. Today, as our religions cease to be the primary sources of hope, the state has become the primary purveyor of all hope-inspiring lies.

All empires create feelings of hope because they destroy happiness, and that makes hope necessary. Citizens of the most developed countries experience the highest levels of stress. We invented nervous breakdowns, midlife crises and heart attacks. But—we live with the false hope that the world will improve, or we live with the false hope that our leaders will do the right thing, or that the economy will improve, or we just grow cynical, careless and even proud of our own stupidity.

Why don’t pre-imperial religions—the religions of indigenous peoples—show any concern with hope? Because they suffered too little fear, stress, and worry.

Hopes and hope-inspiring promises are endemic to imperialism. Promises create and reinforce hope. Hope is rampant in our politics, economics, and sciences. The poorer, sadder, greedier and blinder you are, the more susceptible you are to feeling hope.

In an age without a rational plan, blind hope infects everything. So long as hope exists, knowledge is lacking.

In the past, hope was rare. But as empires extended their brutal power over free peoples, poverty grew and militarily-imposed social orders became widespread and people quelled their despair with hope.

Pre-imperial tribes certainly feared war and violence, but these problems were always short-lived and not traumatic enough to inspire a lifetime obsession with hope. Wherever so-called advanced civilizations imposed permanent or long-term slavery, crushing taxation, ruinous usury, and a permanent class system all meant almost endless suffering for victims. So, in Europe and Asia, where slavery and class and caste systems were well established by the Middle Ages, religions became obsessed with hope.

The creators of the Confucian religion never developed the opium of Hope, but when life became unbearable, Taoism’s magical thinking came to the rescue. I refer to the Yellow Turban Rebellion of 184-205, during which a rebel Taoist general swore he would lead everyone to Heaven, and instead hundreds of thousands died. Almost two thousand years later, the leaders of the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901) gave oppressed Chinese people the hope that they could fight, with their bare hands, all the bullets and cannonballs of their European oppressors. The consequences were gruesome. It is the wages of hope.

Today the preachers of hope are politicians, economists, technophiles and a variety of so-called experts. State funded economists give exhausted people the hope they need to continue committing suicide while enduring another year of being swindled.

Central bankers and economic planners never weary of encouraging people to invest hope that the economy will improve. They ignore the reality that the economy is designed to create poverty through rents, interest rates, fractional reserve banking and currency inflation.

Millions of people invest their hope in savings, real estate, stocks and other assets whose dollar value is often manipulated by white collar thieves.

Today billions of people depend for their survival on the industrial economy that pollutes the air they breathe, the food they eat, and the water they drink. But they hope it won’t kill them. This is stupid. This is hope at its most suicidal.

As Jesus offered hope in the kingdom of God in order to pacify the ruled, so every U.S. president extends the wreath of hope to those who believe in democracy and in America’s power to reward hard work with prosperity. Now, at this late stage in the Empire of Death, when a double dose of hope is needed to buttress the crumbling psyche, Barack Obama has made hope his slogan, his motto and his rallying cry. With hope he won the election, with hope he was resurrected, and with hope (and a dash of fear) he hopes to prevent citizens from losing hope in him, in America, even in civilization.

But hopeful people cannot be reasoned with. Hope knows no limits. It can be used in vain by rebels fighting against their imperial masters, or it can be used by imperialists to pacify the oppressed. Recently, Obama’s Hope for Change campaign appealed to everyone—that is, it appealed to human weaknesses, to ignorance and to desperation.

Barack’s first presidential election campaign motto was Hope for Change. How clever! How seductive! No plan, just empty promises and hopes.

Forget Hope for Change! The reality is that change will happen whether you hope for it or not. You’ll see it in the mirror as you age, and you’ll see it in your health as air quality and soil (food) quality declines, and you’ll see it in your wallet as prices and taxes mysteriously rise. You might even see the value of your money collapse, as it’s collapsing in Iran, Turkey, Argentina, India, Poland, South Africa, Venezuela, and elsewhere. Historians predict that the U.S. dollar will not survive the decade. Other changes are not hard to notice either: welfare and healthcare systems are shrinking around us, consumer prices are rising, debts are deepening, big banks are bloating and weakening, unemployment rates are worsening and real estate and stock markets are tottering. And more menacing changes loom on the horizon. But, we have hope. Hoorah!

In 2004 Barack, the nation’s premiere hope pusher, gave the following rallying cry, “Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!”

Excuse me, what do you know of difficulty? Please, tell us about your childhood. Tell us how it was stolen from you. Tell us about the difficulty of living with your pain and your guilt. And keep your opium to yourself! Your hope only keeps Americans happy to pay taxes to the biggest war-mongering nation the world has ever seen. And, at home Barack gives the nation’s wealth to the military, to industrial farms, to pharmaceutical giants and to America’s banks. Under such conditions, Americans need an enormous amount of hope.

Forget all your hopes! Hope in the face of difficulty is the enemy of the revolution. The revolution dispenses with hope and despair. The revolution redeems knowledge and action.

Hope in the face of uncertainty is nothing but ignorance. There is no uncertainty about America’s status as an imperial monstrosity. And, there is no uncertainty that the revolution is the solution.

If you’re disappointed with your politicians, let me tell you a little secret: the American Dream was never designed to satisfy everyone’s pursuit of happiness, it was only designed to profit the gods of capitalism, the demigods of the capitals and the ruling criminals. Fortunately, it was not designed to last. It is always crumbling. It always leads humanity towards the unnegotiable death and catastrophe.

Still, people are clinging to hope. Five years after Barack’s auspicious first election, in his February 12, 2013 State of the Union Address, he once again sold his ratty old hope to a slightly disillusioned populace. And voters fell for it again. A public without knowledge of the revolution will always be helpless to resist hope.

The whole 2013 speech—which he did not write—is an amazing example of motivational speaking and cheerleading. But, after investing a little intellectual effort I was able to summarize it as follows: “I can do it! You can do it! Together we can do it! America can do it! America is doing it!”

Bullshit. That’s an even better summary. The only thing the U.S. is doing is sinking into debt, bloodshed, and corruption while it deceives, intimidates and bribes (with its counterfeit crap) a world of fools into being its victims and mercenaries.

Isn’t it time we put hope to rest?

The revolutionary has no hope. Wherever the revolution begins, hope vanishes and the celebration begins. Therefore, I have no hope for the revolution. What I have is a will and a rational plan.

Imaginary Love

Religions such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism offer everyone imaginary love and divine compassion because, at the time these religions were invented, the ruling elites had already created a world without love or compassion—a world of prostitution, rape, sex slavery, labor slavery and violence.

Religious love and actual cruelty are two sides of the same sick coin.

Imperialism annihilates warmth, compassion and friendship. Friendship is an endangered luxury. People with a hundred Facebook friends have few real friends, and in developed countries many people have no friends, and the average is decreasing and in some places the average number of friends per person is approaching less than two. So, what do you do? Fill the void with TV characters and romantic novels?

Today, women in the rich West remain the largest consumers of imaginary love. The romance genre has remained the most popular genre among women of the upper and middle classes—especially wherever the influence of religion and its cocktail of religious love and hope is absent or weakening.

The United States is by far the largest consumer of imaginary romance. This isn’t surprising, since love is usually absent in the wealthiest places. The author of The Great Gatsby testified to this.

Exactly how sick is America? Consider that its most popular genre is the romantic novel and that over 65% of its music for teens and adults is obsessed with romantic or sexual love. This is depressing—because it proves that American’s are not getting enough love. Worse yet, judging from their novels, movies and songs, they no longer know what love is. Their artists merely cater to shameless vanity, wallow in lovesickness, put lust in the robes of music, and create the great illusion that happiness lies in finding that special someone.

Ugh!

Equally revealing is the fact that of the remaining 35% of pop songs, perhaps only 1% deals with parental love, and most of them deal with child abuse and child neglect. In a healthy culture, songs would never express an unsatisfied need for love of any kind. So, in the revolutionary community, because real love is abundant, our love songs and romantic stories will only inspire laughter. Healthy and rational artists don’t bleed the heart; instead, they fill consciousness with the power to love and laugh. 

Imaginary Freedom

The degree to which people obsess with freedom is always proportional to the degree to which they lack freedom.

During the Roman Empire, freedom was crushed and Latin speaking rulers enslaved much of Europe. The natural response was to create a cult of imaginary freedom. Christianity was that freedom cult. Christ was the redeemer, and a redeemer literally meant a freer of slaves. So, Jesus brought freedom—but only imaginary freedom. Obviously Jesus could not free slaves, so a meaningless sort of freeing had to be invented, and the Church said that Jesus freed sinners from their guilt.

Today, the word freedom is most commonly abused by Americans. Who do they think they are kidding? They have less freedom then King George’s subjects had in 1776. They are hemmed in by a million laws, and their leaders pursue liberty by creating more laws. They sign over 40,000 new laws per year, and even 35 years ago they already had 23,000 pages of federal law in 50 volumes of criminal code. Plus, the Internal Revenue Code is nearly 74,000 pages long. With so many obscure and ill-written laws, no one knows what their rights or freedoms are—and that is in part the intention of the lawyers and rulers who know what suckers and loopholes to exploit. And yet, Americans stunningly imagine that they are the world’s freest people! How sad and laughable.

Freedom should mean the right to do whatever agrees with a rational and sustainable culture—and without needing to have permission from so-called authorities. Where does such freedom exist? Nowhere! In some countries, I won’t name names, children are force-fed public education for twelve years and children must be injected with state-approved drugs, and every newborn must be registered, and no one may have an abortion, and no woman may have two husbands, and no one may have a chicken in their back yard or grow corn and bamboo in their front yard, and no one may use harmless cannabis under any circumstances, and no one may walk naked in public, and no one may bury a loved one on private property, and no one may build an unconventional home, and no one may leave one damned country for a slightly better damned country without the authorization of some idiotic bureaucrat.

And yet, this world dares to brag that it has given people unprecedented rights and freedoms? ­

Damn all your laws and regulations! A single page of life-giving principles can do infinitely more good than all of this world’s suffocating laws.

The revolution offers true freedom: freedom from authorities and freedom from onerous work. Never mind the fools who boast of freedom; the day we cease to talk of freedom, then freedom will be as free as the air we breathe.

Divine Plans

Many religious people imagined that life is determined by stars, constellations, and other astronomical and mundane omens. Early Christianity rejected these mythologies and insisted that humans were free to determine their own fates. While partly true, this was an attractive lie that served to distract Christians from the fact that their lives were determined by extremely oppressive social, political and economic orders.

Then came Protestantism, and it revived the old belief in predestination, It emphasized providence, or God’s plan, a concept that had always competed with the notion of freedom in Christian theology. Providence, or God’s plan, was an attractive idea because it created the illusion that however badly the world was managed by its leaders, one could take consolation in thinking that God had a plan.

The concept of providence also mirrored the political reality that governments were increasingly in the business of planning everything. Even as more Europeans became citizens and considered themselves free, the reality is that citizens are subject to much more planning and control than slaves.

Today, governments plan and control almost everything we do in order to extract wealth from us. Thanks to government that will not share the land with the people they claim to represent, we live in rented and mortgages homes for their profit—for the first governments were always ruled by landowners.

In China, the national birthrate is planned. Around the world, governments plan population growth through immigration policies and family incentives. Next, they plan and they require all children to attend schools in which we learn to obey and work for their profit.

When they plan secretly, we say they conspire, and if you like conspiracies, study American history. President Lincoln sometimes blushed over his nation’s ways, and while he planned its future, more powerful (I mean insane) people planned his assassination and determined the future. His assassination wasn’t personal; it was a business decision.

Here is another conspiracy of planners and profiteers: the Civil War was planned for profit. When industrialists in the North couldn’t get enough slaves in their factories to compete with those who had lots of slaves, they decided to make slavery illegal. They did not think slavery was immoral, they merely considered slavery unfair to them because they didn’t have enough slaves. So, slavery was abolished. This is why they invited a flood of European immigrant laborers to work in America’s dehumanizing factories.

But European immigrants were not interested in picking cotton and receiving miniscule wages for their field labor, so abolishing slavery was not popular in the south. The problem of labor forced secession-loving, slave-owning plantation moguls to lose their businesses and to submit to the authority of the suddenly almighty federal government, which soon collected higher taxes and tariffs to pay for the war.

Why didn’t the North and South end slavery peacefully, as other nations did? War was needed because war was and war remains profitable for the weapons makers and financiers. Slavery—or formal slavery—is easy to abolish without war; landowners simply need to pay their former slaves a little money for their labor, and they can get all their money back by charging their ‘free’ slaves for food and living quarters. You see how easy it can be to abolish slavery and leapfrog into the ‘free’ world of mortgages, rents, and taxes?

 Anyway, the war planners destroyed the formal slave economy and created the clandestine slave economy otherwise known as the employment economy.

To believe America’s leaders actually went to war because they cared about human beings—is to be absurd. It’s like believing the U.S. went to war against Iraq’s leader because they cared about Iraqis. The U.S. created Saddam Hussein, but when he defended his country from U.S. profiteers, the U.S. turned against him. Every war is planned for profit; the only difference between now and antiquity is that nowadays our governments invest more effort into whitewashing their wars.

Was America’s Revolutionary War fought for liberty—liberty from British taxation tyranny? That’s how the planners sold it to the public, but in reality the leaders wanted Britain’s freedom for themselves. That is, they wanted to be the taxation tyrants and they wanted to be the top economic predator. So, they sent young men to war so that they could establish their empire. 

Shortly before the Revolutionary War, America’s elites were busy conquering the western half of the continent, and to the southeast they were busy annexing Florida in the so-called Seminole Wars. Of course, to call those wars “wars” is rather dishonest. The enemy was hardly armed and organized, and the enemy was largely comprised of Native American refugees and African-slave refugees and other people who just wanted to be left alone by America’s white psychopaths. But, the psychopaths had other plans.

Florida at the time belonged to Spain, and Spain had tried to create a presence in Florida by offering generous land grants to settlers of any color, a thing unheard of among the British and American elites. Those elites even resisted giving free land to fellow European settlers. In any case, Florida was settled by refugees who came there for freedom, so America’s annexation of Florida destroyed one of the few places where people still found freedom. And yet, historians treat the Seminole Wars as fulfilling God’s plan and America’s manifest destiny!

The psychopaths are still planning our lives for us. They plan what we buy and what price we pay. And wars are still being planned; wars on every inhabited continent have been deliberately planned and provoked by American and European psychopaths and their various inhuman departments, ministries, NGOs, foreign tyrants, mercenaries and secret operatives. Since before the 20th century, U.S. elites have had their eyes on ruling a global empire, and this ‘plan’ has made steady progress that has hardly slowed.

What else have the world’s masters planned? The Gulf of Tonkin incident and the bombing of Pearl Harbor were planned. They were planned by the war mongers who needed excuses and public support for another war.

The 9/11 attacks were planned and staged for a host of reasons. The planners wanted to destroy documents in Building Seven, they wanted to kill critics in the Pentagon, and they mostly wanted an excuse to start a war in the Middle East and force Americans to give up what little freedom they still had. Is it a conspiracy? No, it’s almost careful planning.

Country after country has been invaded and destabilized to profit a few. The recent coup d’etat in Ukraine was aided by Washington’s money, and its motivations are not hard to detect, The new Ukranian president has already accepted an IMF loan that will profit the people behind the IMF and further devastate the country. And U.S. agricultural behemoth Monsanto has already signed agreements to begin profiting from Ukraine, and the son of the U.S. Vice President has already found a profitable chair in Ukraine’s largest gas company. Do you think, perhaps, these people had motives for funding the recent coup?

Local municipal governments and their civil engineers are also masters of divine planning. They design wonderfully unsustainable infrastructures that will require taxpayers to pay for flushing their own shit down municipal pipes! Can you think of anything more degrading? Ha-ha-ha! ­No—what could be more degrading?

Of course, corporations have plenty of their own divine plans. And, many of their strategies and techniques are ‘business secrets,’ so they are masters of conspiracy. The ex-governor of Minnesota recently revealed evidence that BP’s eco-catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was planned—planned for profit—because the people behind BP were also in the business of accepting government moneys to clean up after oil spills. Aren’t they clever? If they could make money selling swords to their executioner, they would do it.

Well, honestly, all capitalism is a stupid conspiracy to profit at your expense and ultimately at the expense of the profiteers, too. They make money by slowly poisoning themselves—figuratively and literally. When their scientists produced too much fluoride in their labs, they decided fluoride was healthy and good for teeth, but instead of taking the trouble to sell fluoride to consumers, they persuaded municipal governments to buy their chemical and dump it into people’s drinking water without asking the people for permission! How infinitely civilized!

The human body has been finely engineered by Nature. Over millions of years, she designed us to eat the ‘food’ Nature produces. Millions of years perfected our teeth, eyes, hands, minds, and digestive systems. But now scientists think they can do better—for their profits. Nature does not profit them, so they are planning and engineering foods and medicines that Nature would never create, and people—especially Americans—are lapping it up with little concern for their declining health.

Now, even the weather is secretly being planned—geo-engineered for short-term profits. Does anyone notice the strange cloud patterns in our skies? Eighty years ago, did any German wonder where to the Jews packed in trains were going? If someone had told them the truth, they might have called him a paranoid conspiracy nut. But, you’d have to be crazy not to be a little paranoid in this day and age.

What is God’s divine plan to profit? First, he makes people unable to feed, house, clothe and entertain themselves, and then he sells them everything they must have and much they don’t need. That is God’s plan. As for God’s intelligent design—well, you can see it for yourself: he put tails on donkeys so they could swat flies, he put psychopaths among us so we could learn to love one another, and he gave us the power to create Hell. 

Fortunately, some of us have a plan to create Heaven, and we are not alone, we are (or will be?) the majority.

The Myth of Equality

I believe in equality! I believe that a black, homosexual woman can rule with the same iron fist used by any white, heterosexual male tyrant. True, the man’s fist can be harder, but when power is expressed politically, through armies, prisons, taxes, debts and legislation all founded on a system of land theft, the woman’s fist can be equally hard.

Equality? Will women, blacks, Hispanics as well as the physically and mentally disadvantaged ever achieve equal success in the capitalists, dog-eat-dog system? Excuse my stupid question! Let’s be serious: being mentally disadvantaged is a prerequisite to succeeding in this system! The system was invented and refined by psychopaths over thousands of years, and we merely inherit it. But perhaps I oversimplify. Perhaps they weren’t all psychopaths. Perhaps the history of inequality all began with ignorance, as humanity accidentally overexploited its environment, made agriculture necessary, and producing food became so onerous and exhausting that nice people just felt compelled to create inequality by forcing slaves to do the work. Yes, perhaps that’s how it went. Some idiots painted themselves into a corner and they merely needed others to help them.

Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

So, this system of inequality has evolved very nicely. Today billions of people must pay others for the right to live and die on this planet! And in our most civilized countries, this fundamental inequality is never challenged. Instead, people are supposed to imagine that the system can be improved and prisons made more humane. They are dreaming of the day when everyone plays nice in the sandbox of capitalism when everyone has a castle and equality wins the day. Imagine the day when even the single black, amputee (a war vet) mother will have her own poison-spewing car and a lovely adjustable rate compound interest mortgage. Oh, magnificent vision! Magnificent dream!

What kind of idiotic idea of equality are we pursuing? Ha-ha-ha! We want political and economic equality! With all respect to the suffragettes and the civil rights fighters, there’s no dignity in having the equal right to elect ignoramuses and criminals to be your rulers you’re your unequals. There’s no dignity, either, in hoping that a fair and just political system will reward you with the opportunity to own as much trash as anyone else.

But maybe you do want refrigerators, computers, telephones and cars for everyone on the planet. I know our corporations would like that. But look, your lungs, your heart, your physical and mental health and your children might abhor it.

Equality without quality—that’s the best this civilization can provide and only if it imposes a socialist or communist model. But most nations are too corrupted to be capable of even that kind of second-rate revolution.

So, where do we go from here? Even if I had the answer, I wouldn’t tell you. I’m not malicious; I just don’t want to deny you the chance to enjoy the search equally as much as I did.

The Myth of Progress

If you’re concerned about discrimination, consider the discrimination our ancestors suffer. Sometimes we think our parents or grandparents were luckier than we, but generally speaking we think our ancestors, I mean our medieval, ancient and prehistoric ancestors were barbarians and ignorant cavemen. We actually imagine that our public schools and computers make us better human beings! Please, stop me from laughing!

This prejudice against our ancestors is the oldest of all prejudices. All the major religions insist that their rituals and gods represent progress over the religions they overthrew and displaced. Today, when religions are mere hobbies, the lie of progress is mostly trumpeted in the political and economic realm. Thus, today the myth of material progress is nearly universal.

But let us consider a few facts. Over the last 10,000 years we have learned to work more and more, and machines multiply the amount of work we do a hundredfold, and yet, the greatest wealth of all—free time—is scarcer than ever, and even though more people than ever are rich in false wealth, sadly real wealth—land and resources—is quickly being destroyed and claimed by an ever shrinking percentage of people.

The belief that we are becoming wealthier is an old superstition. Presently, America, long considered the wealthiest nation on Earth, is in fact the most indebted nation on Earth, and its real wealth pales beside the wealth of ‘poorer’ nations. America has only a fraction of the biological wealth of more southern nations and has some of the worst weather on the planet. Plus, its diet is atrocious, its soils are rapidly being degraded and its homes and clothes are poisonous. Who dares to go there looking for wealth?

Moreover, much of the false wealth of the world is created through monetary fraud. America’s dollars are the world’s reserve currency, which means everyone is trading real wealth for mere toilet paper promises. But foreigners respect U.S. toilet paper because they are coerced, intimidated and gullible.

Progress?

Go to China and see the people suffocating on their own pollution.

Go to India’s slums and weep at the sight of more misery than India has ever seen.

Go to Brazil and weep over the man-made fires and droughts destroying the world’s largest herbal and botanical resource, the Amazon rainforest.

Go to the oceans and add another toxic tear to their dying waters.

Go to any city in the developed world and weep at the sight of mothers preparing children for miserable jobs.

Go anywhere and weep at the sight of families that gave up their land to live in servitude paying landlords and banks for the right to live.

Go to any city and weep at the sight of children, once free to roam and play like Huckleberry, now marching off to schools that stuff their heads with war dates and numeracy skills that will help them pay their bills.

But why worry about any of this if you believe in progress? Why worry about the state of the world if you believe a good God or President is in control? Politicians, like some of religions, will even swear that war is a temporary necessity, and that the age of peace will soon be established. This lie serves to pacify people and to prevent violent and peaceful revolutions.

Ours can be the peaceful revolution, the revolution that terminates our history of regress by installing awareness of death and the principles of rational living.

The New Heaven and Hell

 Have you been to New York? To Paris? To Libreville? Oh—they’re Heavens for people who care for towers and merchandise. Our cities are so shiny and geometric and inorganic they seem to be on another planet. And they are full of imaginary gods, flying vehicles and no place for children, no place for life. Even their life-destroying foods and fashions must be shipped in from Hell’s factories and fields to be consumed by the fires of Capitalism.

Excuse me for asking a stupid question, but why did the gods replace horses with two-ton boxes of metal that travel at ten times the speed of a trotting horse? Do you think their divine inventors were interested in safety? Even seatbelts were not required until decades after cars ruled the roads. Did the inventors think about what they were starting? Were they rational and caring people, or were they greedy, stupid psychopaths intent on creating a profitable Hell on Earth? I know, horses can kill a man too, but cars globally and annually harvest over a million lives, and that’s only counting human lives, and that’s only counting human lives lost to collisions. We’re not counting deaths by emissions.

Of course, pedestrians are even safer than horses, and the health benefits of walking are still being discovered by scientists.

What do I think of making pedestrian-friendly cities? This is such a quaint idea! It’s like putting dancing shoes on a dragon.

The primary problem is not that cities are car-centered or lacking public places; the problem is that cities are cities.

So, after you remove the cars, please also remove the office towers that block my morning and evening sunlight, and fill in all the rat-filled sewers that pollute our waterways, and don’t forget to shut down the electric grid and the natural gas pipelines that impoverish the many, pollute everything, and generally give the dragon life.

Paradise could not be less like your cities.

Symbolic Wealth

All religions speak of imaginary spiritual wealth and all empires promise false material wealth. Real wealth has hardly been discovered—because there is too little money in providing it.

Money is not wealth. All currencies gradually or suddenly lose their value. Even if you trade your money for goods or for capital, you cannot buy real wealth.

Mansions, money, fast cars and nearly every product in our shops and showrooms are forms of imaginary wealth. A Ferrari does not represent wealth; it represents your power to destroy the real wealth of the world. It fuels destroy the environment when they are produced and after they are burned, and the car puts you on the road to obesity, doctor’s appointments and, if you’re disciplined, your car forces you to get regular exercise. Every high-tech product can likewise be exposed and demolished.

Perhaps you think Christmas is the season of wealth and abundance, but look at them—all their short-lived smiles and nervous excitement betrays the poverty of their wealth.

Some people imagine that presents and full closets make happiness. Who still knows how to make happiness with their own bodies and minds? A good laugh and a little orgasm are priceless.

Midas and Rothschild think they possess real wealth, but listen to them speak and you will hear the desert winds howling. How could they taste happiness when their minds are rotting from a lifetime of fear and greed? To be truly happy, they would need to overcome their fear of losing everything, and that would mean learning to give everything away.

What kind of happiness does our false wealth produce? It makes those who possess it feel superior to others. But all the pride, contempt and sneers does not happiness make.

The thrill of driving fast is the thrill of a suicidal psychopath. Neither a private jet nor a helicopter can provide the deep, calming pleasure and health benefits our legs provide.

And look, their mansions are toxic and flammable; their toxic rugs are ruinous to health; their balustrades, stairs and corners are hazards for children; their attics and nooks and crannies welcome rodents; and their landscaping is only for show. The modern estate could not be more unlike the true wealth of the revolution.

 ‘Beautiful’ partners are more symbols of wealth, especially when they are decorated like Christmas trees with jewelry, shiny watches and designer labels. The fact is that such dolls and suits are vapid shells of human beings.

Art collectors are garbage collectors; they spend less time thinking about their art than about their suits and boots. A painting by Hoffman is a jewel in their crowns and nothing more.

Art should consume us in extended moments of solitude. Great art is a playground for creative minds able to find and make complex patterns where none appear to exist.

Great art is always invisible, as great music is always silent. They come from the visible and audible, but they are not visible and audible.

The revolution makes real wealth abundant, and the human body is real wealth, a treasure of pleasure we need very little education to enjoy, and with a little practice we could all be sharing more good humor and joy than we have ever possessed.

God’s Disease

 Every advanced imperial culture believes in a creator god that makes the world in his image, and that is precisely what the psychopaths who rule the world have done.

Ten thousand years ago, the world was populated with imperfect but largely free peoples who mostly shared and mostly lived in peace. Then God’s disease began to infect the population. People—I mean psychopaths—began to rule with bronze and iron over others. They did not share; they took, pillaged, exploited, raped and killed. Originally, these were isolated disasters, but gradually these disasters became self-perpetuating and passed down from generation to generation. By force of arms and violence they expanded their influence. They established dynasties, oligarchies, monarchies and so-called republics.

But, not content with seizing wealth by pure violence, they also found ways to corrupt the great tradition of giving and that lesser tradition of trading. With the help of many slaves who sacrificed their lives in their gold and silver mines, they made shiny coins that people really didn’t want until the tyrants commanded farmers, tradesmen and landlords to accept their coins as fair payment. Thus, with the help of money, the tyrants turned the fine tradition of trading goods between honest people into a tradition of trading honest goods for corrupt and essentially worthless fiat money (indeed, all money is fiat money).

Thanks to money, civilization created the illusion of a good and rational civilization that had no connection to the millions of poor slaves and serfs upon whose backs the business world was actually founded. Today, nearly the whole world has been infected and drawn into this imperial system of deception and illusion. Now every man and woman is a conqueror who seeks to conquer or exploit others for profit. The millions of poor and miserable people who work in the world’s mines, factories, fields and so on are out of sight and out of mind. More skilled or fortunate laborers compete against each other for promotions, salaries and bonuses. And the owners of capital and companies are no longer interested in trading; they only seek to extract maximum profits from clients, customers, employees and taxpayers.

Now we are all rabid dogs and vampires biting each other and biting and grinding everything between our teeth, forcing the mountains themselves to give us their blood. Thus, over time, humanity has been transformed, reshaped in the image of the first master and slave—our true Adam and our Eve.

Do I want to create humanity in my image? Ah, but it is already striving to become like me and, hopefully, much better than me.

The Daily Sacrifice

Our religions have become quite a bit more civilized since the age when human sacrifices were offered on altars on every inhabited continent. Several millennia ago, such sacrifices were replaced by penal codes and justice systems. Instead of sacrificing to imaginary gods because one needed a good harvest or a victory over enemies, now sacrifice was always tendered to the state. Rebel slaves and serfs were executed—sacrificed in order to preserve the system of exploitation.

Clever Catholic priests pretended that the Roman cross of state violence represented progress over ritualistic sacrifice, but this is not progress, state violence merely replaces religious superstition with state superstition.

Now, instead of imagining that we appease the gods, we imagine that we create justice by punishing anyone who refuses to follow the rules of a civilization designed to produce civilized slaves and slave masters. Today the myth of civilization is so complete that the daily sacrifices we endure are considered good, normal and necessary. Of course, they are none of these.

Granted, we do not sacrifice fellow human beings on bloody altars; instead, we sacrifice our own lives. We sacrifice our time, our family time, our freedom, our health and finally our capacity to imagine and reason. We live in a world in which all the thinking and imagining is done by a few leaders, script writers and game designers. The vast majority can go through life without thinking or imagining. Thus we sacrifice our minds on the altar of specialization.

Capitalism is always a system of decapitating.

Our religions mirror this system. I ask you, did any religion ever promote a culture of free speech and imagination? Ha-ha-ha! I’m sorry, but that was a comedian’s question!

Does capitalism promote free-speech and imagination? Or, let us ask an even more absurd question: does Disneyland stimulate your imagination? Ha-ha-ha! It is a cultural wasteland full of fake TV laughter, well-rehearsed lines and hollow smiles. You can leave your imagination at the gates—all the imagining has been done for you. And so it is with all our books and shows: their creators had some imagination, but their consumers need only see and listen.

Please, feel free to laugh at this next comical question: Do any of our religions encourage artists, musicians and poets to develop those forms that produce optimal intellectual health?

Shouldn’t someone apologize to the world for drowning generations of children in a wasteland of boredom, kitsch and thoughtless awe?

Today the destruction begun by priests and pompous emperors is done by the state, by advertisers, by music execs, and by the pompous promoters of our oh-so-serious art. We lock serious art in cathedral-like galleries to be worshipped on special occasions and forgotten as we march back into the real world, forgotten—just as all our holy teachings are the soap with which we wash away the blood, guilt and misery of the day.

All our fine art, symphonies and literatures are frivolously worshipped by students, professors, and pompous connoisseurs who get only marginally more or less intellectual stimulation from their high culture than the churchgoer gets from visiting a hocus-pocus temple.

I would rather be a child giggling in a circus than a child visiting a temple or museum, and better yet to be a child running free in a meadow among the birds and the bees.

Today, pop culture is nearly omnipresent. It stimulates emotions and hormones and sensory receptors, but it avoids knowledge of the world and all its prepackaged images and thoughts do nothing to stimulate anyone to imagine anything for themselves. Thus, the mind rots on the altar of pop culture.

Thanks to pop culture and public education, we are all consumers of other people’s thoughts and images and we do not think beyond our shopping carts or imagine more than a new outfit. Indeed, we are now so intellectually unfit that discussing serious topics leads to anger, cruelty and flying saucers. As for our imaginations, they are so un-developed that we can’t imagine being dead, living differently, or being wrong.

America might be the world’s most intellectually and culturally bankrupt country, but foreigners still love its junk, its junk foods, its junk justice, and its junk entertainment and junk education. Fortunately, a careful prospector can find a cultural treasure or two buried in the global cultural wasteland. Unfortunately, the wasteland is spreading. Even as the revolutionary finds a foothold and creates a little paradise for the mind, the emperors of civilization doggedly promote everyone’s degradation.

Can we even imagine what a healthy culture looks and sounds like? In a healthy culture, we are not decapitated. In the revolutionary culture, everyone is at least the equal of Picasso and Plato—indeed, far more vibrant, creative and honest than they ever were.

Idiotic Miracles

Creation was the first miracle … and whatever God created, he declared to be good; yes, of course he praised his own work, all psychopaths are narcissists. And the authors of the Bible understood so little about real work that their God created the whole universe in a few days, without trial and error, editing and revising! But could God create a pizza? Maybe he could, but could he create an ethical pizza, an environmentally friendly pizza? Of course not! Only a miracle could create an ethical pizza.

But seriously, do you know what it would cost to create ethical pizzas? Such pizzas would need to be grown, harvested, shipped and prepared without spewing and craping more pollution into nature than nature knows what to do with. Plus, the workers would need to receive wages with which they could buy property and send children to university. In short, a moral pizza would cost hundreds if not millions of dollars.

The top five world religions all promote belief in miracles—because their creators were idiots! Jesus cured a few sick people, but like a true idiot, he forgot to remove the causes of sickness. Did he banish those nasty little organisms that cause leprosy and plague? He did not—because if he eliminated all sicknesses and diseases, how would he become famous and how would priests earn money selling sham cures? Our scientists are compromised by the same profit motive. Thus, they will never attempt to eliminate the causes of cancer and Alzheimer’s because that would mean starting the revolution, and there is no money in the revolution.

Every day a new miracle product is pushed on the unsuspecting consumer, and all along these products serve to bring us nearer to ruination. But the universal religion claims that it is a ticket to a Heaven on Earth, and the dream lives on. To this day, people still believe that railways, cars, rockets and bubble gum and other miracle products can make them happy.

To preserve independence and life, the revolutionary avoids dependency on the Church of Goods and Services. We divest from the system that turns our body and blood into another’s profits and turns life-sustaining Nature into money and capital.

If you want ethical food you must first build an ethical economy, and that means building an economy based on revolutionary principles. If you want to eliminate the need for miracles and expensive medical treatments (they are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S.), simply start the revolution.

Beyond sAynt Rand

Ayn Rand was an ice and brimstone prophet of Capitalism. She was also blind, like Tiresias, to beauty in our children, and blind to imperialism, blind to the dangers of industrialization, and blind to the environmental suicide. She was so blind to her own mortality that—like Marx—she smoked most of her life, but unlike Marx she had lung surgery and died of a heart attack. That’s a fair warning to the apostles of the smokestack.

Ayn Rand understood little about the plague of banking and money and even less about agriculture, the most environmentally destructive industry of all. Thus it is with almost all our academics and prophets: they know their little ‘fields’ and books, but what do they know of the fields that feed them and of the money they receive in exchange for their ‘work’?

Ayn thought so highly of herself she named herself Ayn—pronounced Eyn, in German means one, though she was too cowardly to admit this origin of her little creativity. One is certainly a suitable pseudonym for a woman who thought herself the one and never believed in community, children, garden or being one with the world. She was in all respects the bewitching tyrant.

And, she was fundamentally a coward. Fearful of being recognized as a Russian Jew and identified with Communism, she changed her name. Since she feared discrimination in her beloved America, perhaps she could have written a few words against discrimination, but she didn’t have the moral fiber to help people who, unlike herself, cannot hide behind a name.

Ayn Rand baptized herself into the religion of Capitalism and gave herself a good Capitalist name.

How did this prophet and preacher of Capitalism defend her religion? She did as any other one-eyed prophet: she whitewashed imperial aggression and blamed any ‘excess’ on a few bad apples. Well, that’s a funny metaphor, isn’t it? Thanks to Capitalism, all our apples are bad and getting worse.

Oh, Aynie really cracks me up. She does. She was so creative (or funny) she even imagined that genius and industry made happy bedfellows. If that were the case, you’d expect the Koch brothers to write profound novels or musical compositions, and you’d expect artists and composers to write panegyrics and odes to smelters and telephones, but they don’t, and for good reason. Indeed, for all his interest in technology, if Leonardo da Vinci were alive today, he would be horrified at what technology has meant for humanity.

Ayn Rand became a one-woman propaganda mill for a breed of naïve optimists who call themselves libertarians and patriots of the land of the free slaves. The promise of fame and success lured her to pose as the nation’s foremost preacher, and since her parents had said she would become famous in America, she took the easiest route and became America’s premiere flatterer. Her legions of followers happily embrace her portraits of boring, greedy, inhuman, industrialists and entrepreneurs. Let us thank her for illuminating the fact that the world’s shakers and movers are people who do not know how to be parents, how to love, how to enjoy the arts, how to enjoy nature, how to make others laugh, and how to profit from an honest recognition of our mortality.

Who stands beyond Saint Rand? Already millions of people are objecting to Capitalism, Materialism, and the Universal Religion of the One.

Beyond Parker and King

I love and respect Martin Luther King for opposing Satan and for accepting death at his hands. With courage Martin defied the most powerful psychopaths of his time: the U.S. government and its military-industrial complex. He defied them and refused to desist even when he knew his assassination was being plotted. But for all his sacrifice, the racism and the wars did not stop; instead, racism became discreet and the wars became discreet, secretive, ‘economical’ and global.

Dorothy Parker and many other brave souls won civil rights for all, but winning the right to sit on buses as an equal among Caucasians is an absurd victory when that bus is serves to transport underpaid workers to exploitative employers, kills pedestrians, pollutes the air and destroys the climate.

We can fight for equal opportunity and we can fight for decent wages, but why demand respect from a civilization designed to lead everyone to ruin?

The revolutionary prophet does not want a seat on the bus or to jostle with cops on the streets. He calls the world’s gods and goddesses down from their towers and clouds and invites them to join him in the countryside, where a New Paradise is waiting for creative feet, hands and minds.

Religion and Public Education

The following parallels demonstrate that all the basic problems present in religion are also present in secular public education, and this supports, once again, the argument that no fundamental difference exists between our supposedly secular culture and our traditional religions.

First Mirror

Religions are profoundly life-threatening and dangerous because they teach people to believe in immortality. This belief tempts us to live recklessly, wage wars, build nuclear power plants, defy death on the roads, seek out extreme sports, consume harmful drugs, refuse to stop climate change, and so on. The belief in immortality, augmented with the belief that justice comes after death, tempts and indeed persuades many to tolerate far too much injustice in this life.

Although schools don’t teach children to believe in immortality or in post-mortem justice, schools certainly avoid acknowledging mortality. Students might learn how many people died in this or that war, but they never think what it means to be dead or mortal. Ignorance of mortality exists in education despite widespread paranoia about child safety. Although schools avoid lawsuits by monitoring child safety on school properties, schools happily teach children to participate in a culture of recklessness. Even when schools preach environmentalism and draw a child’s attention to other life-endangering issues, children can hardly understand the gravity of our situation because they do not understand that they are mortals.

Second Mirror

Religions and schools are dangerous because they promote trust and faith in all authorities, which is precisely the kind of attitude that sets us up to be exploited by governments, bankers, advertisers, employers, and so on. Religions and schools have an obligation to teach everyone to study and understand the real world, not to trust it. They should teach us the truth about fractional reserve banking, fiat currencies, the history of taxation, the arms trade, the causes of cancer, and other leading causes of misery and death. Instead of being taught to trust leaders, we should be taught how to live without rulers, politicians, bosses, and without all the luxuries we cannot make independently.

To be practical and truly critical, our schools and religions must teach children to think critically about our religions and our schools, as well as about all our irrational fears and taboos and all the basic components of our civilization.

Third Mirror

Religions and schools are dangerous because they are boring. Billions of faithful Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians are so bored by their religions that they daily supplement religious practices with bouts of shopping, collecting, possessing, hoarding, competing, controlling and other unhealthy and destructive pleasures.

Most of our schooling is so boring that billions of children cannot focus on their studies and get more satisfaction bullying, fighting, smoking, drinking, car surfing, f-ing without protection and so on. Granted, part of the problem is that our dysfunctional civilization spoils and damages children so badly that their tolerance for boredom vanishes, but why should we expect them to tolerate boredom? Since the adults who run our schools and temples are themselves products of boredom, perhaps they will never recognize the problem, or perhaps they are afraid of what that recognition would mean for their world.

Conclusion

Presently, cowardice is the defining spirit of our civilization, and instead of making us safer it is making us more reckless. But I know that our children are full of untapped potential, and the human brain—however old and deluded it might be (some limits might apply)—always has the ability to become active and revolutionary.

A New Definition of Science

Today, science has turned into a new religion and yet claims to be utterly unlike a religion. But the people who worship science think science is a god: they think science and its products (technology) will solve all our problems and lead us to a heaven on Earth or on some other planet. But the reality is that that science is leading us deeper into a Hell on Earth

To debunk our religion of science, simply examine its long history. It was already in action when our clever ancestors discovered the laws or principles of fermenting plant matter to help improve digestion and to make beer. It existed thousands of years ago when our ancestors observed patterns in nature and used this understanding to make weapons and domesticate plants and animals.

Our ancestors were Paleolithic scientists. They watched bronze melt and drip out of the rocks and into their fires. With keen observation they discovered the scientific law that copper and tin drip out of rocks at high temperatures and harden into new shapes at cool temperatures. Using this natural and scientific law, they learned to forge metal swords and spear heads, and with these weapons they conquered less scientific ancestors.

The Romans were quite a bunch of scientists, too. They understood the natural law that adding lead acetate (a poison) to their wine (another poison) makes the wine taste sweeter. They understood this law and they applied it, which means they were also gastronomic engineers.

According to legend, a falling apple inspired Newton, a much later scientist, to discover the law of gravity. Now, thanks to Newton’s discovery, modern governments can launch rockets into space, missiles into the sky and satellites into orbit. So, now we can enjoy unparalleled military dominance, satellite TV, mobile phones and the Internet.

The discovery of each new law of nature is exploited by engineers to spread and strengthen the imperial pathology, but those who worship science think it is a form of divine intelligence. They admit that their science has a created a few problems, but they insist it’s nothing that their science cannot solve. The most deluded dreamers even imagine that once the next natural law is discovered, we will enjoy a third Industrial Revolution—as if the planet would survive that.

The high priest of science, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku, claims to possess the supreme law of nature, a law engineers he imagines engineers will one day exploit to everyone’s benefit. He calls his theory “the theory of everything.” He believes it could one day help humanity escape—not the threat of Climate Change, Poverty or Insanity—but the danger that millions of years from now the universe will collapse. Excuse me, but what kind of moron worries about an even that might happen in a billion years while we are ruining our little planet today? I’m all for long term planning, but can we deal with our immediate problems on Earth and leave the rest to the clowns?

Albert Einstein was and remains our most respected high priest of science. His work contributed to the creation of a weapon God would have envied, the atomic bomb, and afterwards he retreated from the world and wasted the last 30 years of his life chasing Kaku’s unified theory of everything. On this theme, he wrote, “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction [to simplicity].” But, let us consider the facts: over the past thousand years science has made life overwhelmingly more complicated. In fact, science always finds ways to make simple things complicated. The old family horse could be set outside to feed, groom and relieve itself, but fueling and maintaining a car is much more complicated. Scientists need to recognize the fact that their ‘science’ never sets out to find simple solutions because simple solutions like the revolution would put them all out of business.

Besides making life more complicated, science and technology are also continually finding ways to make us consume more energy. Forget all our little energy-saving devices; generally the history of science shows that we are constantly developing new ways to use more energy, more human energy, more domestic animal energy and more fossil fuel or other elemental energies. Just consider how our ancestors, the great apes, invest little energy in feeding and sheltering themselves, and after them the first humans invested slightly more energy in hunting and gathering, and the first agricultural societies invested far more energy into surviving and even recruited the help of oxen and horses. Next, the Industrial Revolution added coal and other elemental energies to help humans profit. To summarize: our ancestors invested very little energy into feeding themselves, but now ten calories of fossil fuel energy are needed to produce one calorie of food energy. Is this line of progress sustainable and intelligent?

Fortunately, the revolution will make surviving for humans even easier than it is for the apes.

A few scientists insist that there’s no contradiction between religion and science, and I quite agree. Although scientists can be quite devoted atheists, most scientist have profoundly religious instincts. Many look with a sort of religious awe and wonder at the universe.

The priest thinks the universe is proof of God’s wisdom, and the scientist thinks the universe is proof of nature’s wisdom. Both men feel the same sense of awe.

Religious people pray to end world hunger, and scientific people develop new Frankensteins with which to fight hunger. But, after thousands of years, neither one has eradicated hunger, poverty and disease. In fact, they actually unwittingly promote them.

Science and religion are one—or two faces of the same god, Imperialism.

People worship their gods and gadgets equally. If a good god exists he should have saved all the children, and if science is good it would have stopped hunger, war, and cancer long ago. They have no excuses for failing. They have been around long enough.

What is the last word on religion and science? The people who believe in them think gods and technologies are needed to improve and save our minds and our bodies. They do not know how to pursue happiness, and they use reason and imagination to create suffering and to excuse or even glorify suffering.

Can we revolutionary thinkers salvage religion and science? Well, doesn’t the revolution represent their final unification and perfection?

Can you trust anything I’ve written or have I issued lies for profit? Of course you can trust me—a revolutionary never deceives others in order to take from them what belongs to Us. If I ever lie, you can be sure I only do so to entertain you.

Peter Dudink, has a Masters of Literature degree from the University of Waterloo. He has worked as a teacher, self-employed tutor and editor in Canada. He is the author of several books available on Amazon. 

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“Europe whole and free” and the “reconstruction and enlargement” of Europe.

That is how the corporate-funded Atlantic Council – NATO’s defacto public relations front and think tank – is describing the current agenda of the “transatlantic community” during their celebration of the “25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 15th anniversary of NATO’s first post-Cold War enlargement, and the 10th anniversary of the “big bang” enlargements of both the European Union and NATO.” 

Readers might notice that the EU and NATO’s “big bang” enlargements occurred long after the Cold War ended – in other words, long after NATO’s alleged reason for existing expired. Yet it not only continued to exist, it in fact expanded and continues to expand to this very day. Its presence in Ukraine and Georgia via proxy regimes installed through now admitted US-backed subversion is reminiscent to Nazi Germany’s aggressive pre-war expansion. Russia then, as it does now, realized that with Nazi Germany nearing its borders, buffers against what was an existential threat were necessary.

Buffers Vs. Empire Building

While Russian leader Joseph Stalin was a brute, and his seizure of Polish territory undoubtedly an act of aggression, it was one of several factors that helped slow the Germans down long enough for the Soviets to turn the tide and eventually win the war.

Today, similarly, Russia seeks buffers. Rather than construct them from seized territory, it has attempted to maintain its neighbors within its sphere of its geopolitical influence rather than within its own territorial borders. Nations like Belarus, Ukraine, and even Georgia all share close historical, economic, and cultural ties with Russia, much more so than with Western Europe. The arrangement Russia has sought has so far avoided the socioeconomic, military, and legal integration of its neighbors as the European Union requires, and unlike the Atlantic Council’s bold intent to “enlarge Europe,” Russia has yet to declare an agenda to “enlarge Russia.”

Yet in the latest row in Ukraine, it has been portrayed as the “aggressor.”

A recent episode of RT’s CrossTalk titled, “Containment 2.0” concluded that NATO’s continued expansion after the Cold War in the 1990′s and early 2000′s was designed specifically to encircle and contain the rise of any possible future Russian superpower. While CrossTalk’s guests believed this stemmed from a belief across Washington that the US was a benevolent superpower that held the responsibility of policing the world and determining who could and couldn’t wield power, there is a much simpler explanation backed by the summation of human history.The US is engaged in empire building.

Arrogance Drives America’s Self-Destruction

RT’s CrossTalk guests were perplexed over Washington’s decision to pursue containment against Russia after the Cold War. The decision could only have resulted in Russia uniting and rebuilding itself upon the lessons of its failures in the Cold War and returning as a superpower with renewed vigor. In retrospect, this is all but too clear.

In reality, Western policies makers are driven by the same arrogant mentality that drove all empires before it. They labor under the delusion that they are invincible, particularly after the fall of the Soviet Union, believing that their military prowess, grip on the hearts and minds of the global population, and economic wizardry were such that no power, however determined to rebuild and reassert itself, could ever challenge them. Additionally, just as all empires before it, the American-led “international order” was built on a geopolitical and economic model of perpetual expansion. “Living and letting live” was simply not an option for Washington, Wall Street, and the City of London.

Combined, this arrogance and need for perpetual expansion has resulted in the one and only possible outcome for any pyramid scheme financial or geopolitical – collapse. The Wall Street-London international order is now in irreversible decline. It has lost credibility, war after war, and is now suffering diplomatic and strategic humiliations it will never recover from. The loss of faith across its own population in its invincibility and “right” to rule as global arbiter alone pose an insurmountable problem Western policy makers have so far found no solution to.

What Russia Learned

It appears that Russia has learned much after the fall of the Soviet Union. It realizes, just as the West does, that winning and keeping the hearts and minds of people is essential for the legitimacy of any given geopolitical endeavor. What Russia has learned that apparently the West hasn’t, is that actually earning that legitimacy through consistent merit and substance, rather than multimedia smoke and mirrors, ensures a certain degree of longevity that no amount of money or media trickery can make up for.

For now, Russia is winning because it has history on its side. It is standing up against a superpower that has overstayed its welcome, abused the good faith and intentions of a global population led to believe in it, and has literally destroyed one nation after another in its quest for geopolitical and financial hegemony. Russia’s measured reach means it can profit from its international influence, but not to the point where it poisons those it is trying to influence. For it to continue its success, and for any nation trying to grow in the “age of information” where lies are stripped away faster than they can be told, it must continue to occupy the moral highground.

Viewers of RT aren’t swayed by the fancy sets its well dressed anchors occupy – for these are the same fancy sets and well dressed anchors the West uses. Instead, they are swayed by a message that not only resonates with them on principle, but resonates with them factually. Should RT stray from this winning formula, it will only find itself in the same sinking boat as the West.For both the West and the East, there is no real choice between a unipolar hegemony and a measured, multipolar coexistence. The world cannot be convinced to accept a unipolar hegemony – a paradigm that is quickly becoming antiquated as technology renders many of the corporate-financier interests that constitute it irrelevant and obsolete. By choosing a unipolar international order, one chooses eventual and irreversible decline and inevitable collapse.

As Russia, and even China, seek to counter Western sanctions, encirclement, and containment, they must resist the temptation to construct their own empires. Instead, they must look inward toward socioeconomic and technological development that renders restrictions placed upon them moot while reinforcing a multipolar world order of independent but collaborating nations rather than a unipolar order that demands centralized interdependence.

For the West, avoiding the pitfalls that await all empires will require purging the arrogance that fills the diplomatic and political circles among its respective centers of power. This includes eliminating self-destructive policies like “the reconstruction and enlargement of Europe” and the belligerent expansion of unnecessary military alliances like NATO. For those who acquaint themselves with the policy makers and “scholars” that fill the halls of think-tanks like the Atlantic Council, they will know this is unlikely to occur. Thus, the East is given an opportunity – to either choose a new path forward into a multipolar world, or to repeat the blunders of the West.

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

As Forças Especiais Globalizadas

May 20th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

As vezes se descobre por acaso uma “guerra encoberta”, como foi o caso em Iémen, onde em Sanaa um membro da Força Especial dos Estados Unidos e um agente da CIA dispararam contra um homem matando-o. De acordo com a versão oficial tratava-se de um terrorista da Al Qaeda que os queria raptar. O fato muito mal esclarecido levantou uma onda de protestos contra o governo que é acusado de permitir que os drones assassinos da CIA possam operar no Iémen a partir de uma base militar saudita.

O Pentágono – confirma o New York Times – intensificou as ações de suas forças especiais no Iémen. Esse é um país muito importante pela sua posição geoestratégica no Estreito Bab-El-Mandeb o qual está localizado entre o Oceano Índico e o Mar Vermelho. Esse estreito é a principal rota comercial, assim como petrolífera, entre a Ásia e a Europa. Bem em frente ao Iémen, a apenas 30  km da costa, do outro lado do estreito, encontra-se Jibuti onde então está estacionada a Força de Ocupação conjunta para o Chifre da África, formada por cerca de quatro mil homens da Força Especial dos Estados Unidos. Com helicópteros e aeronaves especiais se estão efetuando incursões noturnas, e isso então especialmente na vizinha Somália e no Iémen, com a ajuda de empreiteiros em contrato, como atiradores para alvos determinados, ou escolhidos ao acaso, e especialistas na técnica de assassinatos. Forças especiais foram postas a disposição do Comando África, o qual está operando na Nigéria, e em muitos outros países do continente. O Comando África faz parte do Comando das Operações Especiais, USSOCOM, que depois de ter sido usado pelo republicano Bush, especialmente no Afeganistão e Iraque, e correntemente pelo democrata Obama, assumiu agora ainda maior importância. A administração de Obama – diz o Washington POst – “prefere mais o uso da ação camuflada e emcoberta do que o uso da força convencional” – «preferisce l’azione coperta piuttosto che l’uso della forza convenzionale»

O comandante do USSOCOM [ comando de operações especiais dos Estados Unidos ] o almirante William McRaven, declarou a um mês atrás, para uma comissão do senado dos Estados Unidos, que as forças do país para operações especiais estavam agindo em 78 países, fosse em ações diretas ou em instrução e treino de forças locais. O almirante não especificou em que países, dizendo sómente que no Afeganistão tinha sido estabelecido um novo comando das forças especiais, o que incluiria então as forças da OTAN. Isso significa que a guerra US/OTAN não está a terminar, mas a se transformar numa guerra “encoberta”.

Outras fontes oficiais confirmaram que forças especiais foram deslocadas para treinar e dirigir grupos armados para a “guerra encoberta” na Síria (como também já se tinha feito na Líbia). Seguindo sempre mais empenhadas tem-se as forças especiais na Europa do Leste, como confirma uma documentação fotográfica que mostra ucranianos neonazistas da Uno-Unso que já tinham sido treinados em 2006, na Estónia. Mas, o USSOCOM ainda tem mais uma a ser apresentada: na sua visão para 2020 -  «Visione 2020» – ele prevê a “construção de uma rede global de forças para as operações especiais”, o que incluiria aquelas dos países aliados, entre os quais se encontra a Itália, postas abaixo do comando dos Estados Unidos.

Dessa maneira, a decisão de ir a guerra se tornará tarefa de um domínio ainda mais exclusivo posto agora mais firmemente abaixo do poder das elites [o que entre muitos outros fatores faz parte do atual processo da privatização do uso da força militar ]. Tem-se aqui então que os parlamentos, ou seja a democracia, perderá ainda mais do pouco poder de decisão que ainda lhe resta, enquanto a guerra irá desaparecendo das vistas da opinião pública, que já acredita que só o que se vê existe realmente. Isso pode-se ver claramente em relação as vertentes principais da mídia, distorcendo e falsificando a realidade.

Tem-se aqui, por exemplo,a atual campanha conduzida pela Casa Branca para a libertação das meninas e jovens nigerianas raptadas. Isso enquanto no Iémen, controlado pelas Forças Especiais dos Estados Unidos, um muito grande número de crianças e jovens provenientes da África, a preços reduzidos e a cada ano, são jogadas na escravidão sexual por ricos iemenitas e sauditas, aliados de Washington.

Manlio Dinucci

ilmanifesto.it, 15 de maio de 2014

Tradução Anna Malm, artigospoliticos.wordpress.com, para Mondialisation.ca

 

Boko Haram’s strategy, contrary to all civilization, is to destabilize Nigeria and to destroy the fundamental principles of human dignity,…More than 200 young girls threatened with slavery is the proof.”  French President François Hollande, [1]

Founded in 2002, Boko Haram is identified as a militant ‘Islamist’ organization that rejects Western cultural values including western education. It promotes embracing Sharia Law based on strict interpretation of Islamic teachings from the Qu’ran. [2]

 

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In recent years, it has intensified its efforts in the northern parts of Nigeria, Camaroon, as well as in Chan and Southern Niger.

It has engaged in numerous bomb blasts and attacks on schools, churches, mosques and police stations.

Now in the wake of the high profile kidnappings of over 200 schoolgirls in the community of Chibok, the world’s attention seems to have been engaged. [3]

Public demonstrations against the group have erupted all over the world, many of them appealing for a military intervention to free the girls and stop this militant organization. There has even been a social networking campaign which goes by the label ‘#bringbackoursisters.’

As regular listeners to the Global Research News Hour, and consumers of independent media generally have come to realize, whenever mainstream agenda-setting media ramp up and amplify messaging around the Middle East or Africa, it is likely that some kind of propaganda campaign is in the works.

So, the question arises, are the kidnappings from last April being used as a humanitarian cover for a pre-planned military invasion? This week’s Global Research News Hour examines the Boko Haram kidnappings in the context of wider geo-political manouevring.ers to the Global Research News Hour, and consumers of independent media generally have come to realize, whenever mainstream agenda-setting media ramp up and amplify messaging around the Middle East or Africa, it is likely that some kind of propaganda campaign is in the works.

Geo-political analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya opens up the discussion in the first half hour by examining the history of the US using ‘deviant’ Islam as part of its strategy of imperial conquest which is in evidence from Yugoslavia to Libya to Syria and beyond.

In the second half hour, Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of PanAfrica Newswire examines in depth the history of Boko Haram, the cultural and political characteristics of this West African country, and ulterior motives for a possible foreign military intervention.

 

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

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

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

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

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

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

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border. It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

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

 

Notes: 

1) http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/African+leaders+Paris+coordinate+strategy+with+West+against/9850405/story.html
2)http://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/resources/SR308.pdf
3)Perkins, Anne (23 April 2014). ”200 girls are missing in Nigeria – so why doesn’t anybody care?”. The Guardian.  

William Shakespeare, born 23 April 1564 (unconfirmed), baptised 26 April 1564, died 23 April 1616

We celebrate the 450th anniversary of the birth of of William Shakespeare. who taught us never to despair in our resolve to Seek the Truth and Confront the Lie, 

“to unmask falsehood and bring truth to light”.

Signs of our times: war criminals in high office are celebrated as messengers of peace:

And thus I clothe my naked villany, … And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.” (King Richard III)

Those committed to “security by military means” have taken charge of the Nobel Peace Prize… “Lawless are they that make their wills their law”.

The Lie becomes the Truth.

Realities are turned upside down.

War becomes Peace.

“Humanitarian wars” are waged with the most advanced weapons systems to come to the rescue of those who suffer oppression.

“The international community” is the repository of  the “Truth”, which can no longer be challenged.  The American inquisition prevails.

An unbinding political consensus is imposed.

Those who dare oppose ”Peace” and NATO’s “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) are branded as terrorists.

Bad guys are lurking. Evil terrorists with kalashnikovs are threatening the security of the United States of America and its trillion dollar arsenal of “peace-making” nuclear weapons, which according to expert scientific opinion on contract to the Pentagon, are “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”.

A good versus evil dichotomy prevails: a “Clash of Civilisations”.

The West has a “Mission”: “We must fight against evil in all its forms as a means to preserving the Western way of life.” The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims.

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.

In Shakespeare’s words regarding the architects of the New World Order: 

Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” 

Our indelible task is to send the “devils” of our time, the self-proclaimed architects of democracy and the “free market”, down to where they rightfully belong.

“One may smile, and smile, and be a villain!”

Challenge the “smiling” 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.

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

Bring home the troops.

WWIII Scenario

 

In the dozen plus years since 9/11, the US government has rapidly moved from democracy to fascism. When government acts on behalf of a corporate oligarchy as declared by the Princeton-Northwestern study last month, state fascism is the result. And First Amendment rights in America have been obliterated in this morphing process. 

Obama has declared war on whistleblowers, those individuals who recognize corporate or governmental wrongdoing and are ethical and courageous enough to tell the truth in order to try and stop it. Nobel Peace Prize nominee Chelsea Manning as Private Bradley Manning witnessed US military occupiers committing heinous war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and went public with it on Wikileaks and last year was sentenced to 37 years in prison. Last June Edward Snowden revealed the massive violation and invasion of our privacy rights perpetrated by invisible NSA occupiers in our homes and he was promptly charged with violating the espionage act and forced as a fugitive to live his life in exiled peril.

News journalists daring to accurately show the Obama administration in an unfavorable light are customarily harassed and threatened with litigation. In reality those who are standing up to evil are public heroes yet the government is bent on destroying their lives. The bold young journalist Michael Hastings who wrote unflattering Rolling Stone articles on powerful Generals McChrystal and Petraeus and was gathering evidence of wrongdoing by the FBI, CIA and NSA was more than likely assassinated by remote hacking of his crashed vehicle last June. Clearly just in this last year alone, the US government’s war against truth has been stepped up in sinister reckless abandon.

Under this growing tyranny and oppression comes the loss of American liberty and freedom. Citizens’ right to peacefully assemble and make their views known in public protest have been under systematic and insidious attack by those in power in both Canada and the United States. The Occupy Wall Street movement protesting the mounting inequality and injustice between the 1% haves and the 99% have not’s who were further burdened with bailing out the unscrupulous and corrupt corporate criminals of Wall Street was brutally squashed with police clubs and tear gas. The orders in cities across the nation to brutally suppress the movement from spreading and growing any larger were clearly orchestrated and issued from Washington DC. Obama and corporate America had had enough of the mounting civil unrest and so the militarized police state moved into violent, unlawful action beating, abusing and arresting thousands of peaceful activists attempting to legally express both their rights as well as their increasing disgust with corporatized America.

As if government betrayal, hostility and harassment were not enough travesty of justice, Obama went for overkill ordering his justice department to aggressively pursue hundreds of federal lawsuits filed against protesters for assault and resisting arrest while in actuality they were merely reacting to the police aggressors brutally attacking them.

Of the 2,644 people arrested during the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City, Cecily McMillan may be the only demonstrator tried in a court of law and found guilty of felony assault two weeks ago for elbowing a police officer on March 17, 2012. From Rikers Island Prison where she has since been awaiting her sentence, she stated last week, “My lawyer has told me to expect two years.” Today Judge Ronald Zweibel that told the courtroom that “she must take responsibility for her conduct,” announcing that the 25-year old graduate student is sentenced to three months prison time, plus community service and five years probation. Cecily had maintained throughout her ordeal that the policeman grabbed her breast from behind and in a knee jerk reflex, she inadvertently elbowed the officer in the eye.

Though McMillan could have been sentenced to seven years imprisonment, the judge was barraged by media pressure that included a recent visit and show of support from two members of popular Russian girls rock band Pussy Riot that gained worldwide attention serving several months in prison for protesting against Putin’s Russia. An online petition was circulated and submitted as well. But perhaps the letter written by nine of twelve jurors asking that the judge not send Cecily to prison was taken most into consideration.

After the nine jurors found Cecily McMillan guilty of assaulting a police officer over two years ago based primarily on their viewing a grainy youtube video, they felt so remorseful over their verdict and McMillan’s potentially going to prison for seven year that they wrote the judge strongly recommending that Ms. McMillan be placed only on probation. Actual evidence proving Cecily had suffered injury due to police assaulting her was never even permitted inside the courtroom.

The injustice in this case was hardly some isolated fluke. Many firmly believe it is simply a grossly unjust, over-the-top policy and strategy implemented by the Obama regime to set a high profile example demonstrating to the rest of America what happens to citizens brave and principled enough to risk assembling in peaceful protest to assert their no longer recognized rights in police state America. This apparent reality is what our nation has degenerated into under Obama in the face of his and Bush’s systematic assault on all of all US constitutional liberties.

The exact same aggressive federal tactics are recently being utilized for the first time to criminalize protests by environmentalists, charging demonstrators with acts of domestic terrorism. Five months ago in Oklahoma City two college students placed a banner objecting to the local company Devon Energy’s participation in the Keystone XL pipeline project inside its Devon Towers building. In an attempt to raise awareness of the severe detrimental effects to human health that fracking causes on the environment, the two protestors were jailed and charged with a terrorism hoax, an apparent state law felony subject to ten years imprisonment.

Activists Stefan Warner and Moriah Stephenson had used black glitter on their unfurled banner and apparently some of it was falling from their banner draped from the second floor. Falling glitter then became the basis by which the dispatched police accused them of unleashing a toxin used in their “biochemical assault.” Twisted irony would have the polluter-for-profit oil company that has no qualms about poisoning the environment and killing humans conveniently using trumped up, grossly exaggerated false charges that two harmless young protestors acting in the public’s best interest would be using toxins to potentially poison the oil company polluters.

The arrested protesters’ attorney, Doug Parr, who has been practicing law since the 1970’s, stated that he saw this kind of reactionary oppression coming. In his words:

“Based upon the historical work I’ve been involved in, I know that when popular movements that confront the power structure start gaining traction, the government ups the tactics they employ in order to disrupt and take down those movements…” not unlike the Occupy Wall Street movement earlier.

The two activists were working in conjunction with two other protesters also arrested at the site who are members of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance organization. Its website states:
“These industries poison countless communities, often deceive and coerce folks into signing contracts, and when that doesn’t work, they use eminent domain to steal the land. Texas and Oklahoma have long been considered sacrifice zones for the oil and gas industry, and people have for the most part learned to roll over and accept the sicknesses and health issues that come with the temporary and unsustainable boost in employment.”

Last year the environmental group Bold Nebraska obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act indicating that the huge and powerful tar sands giant TransCanada methodically trained the FBI, numerous US police forces and prosecutors on how to effectively charge environmentalist protesters with terrorism.

Lauren Regan, executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center and legal coordinator for the environmental group the Tar Sands Blockade, explained:

“These documents expose the truth that the government is giving the nod to unlawful corporate spying. By slinging false allegations against peaceful activists in this presentation, TransCanada puts them at risk of unwarranted prosecution.”

This overwhelming evidence proves collusion between the privately owned foreign Canadian corporation and US law enforcement, pushing their agenda to ruin innocent American lives merely standing up against malevolent forces bent on destroying the planet by peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights. Once again the real criminals acting as corporatized fascists are systematically demonizing civic-minded individuals and groups acting for the greater good of humanity by declaring war on their dissent and peaceful protest.

Clearly the real environmental terrorists are the North American coal, oil and gas polluters that have been systematically poisoning and killing off life on earth for over a century. But when the governments and corporations merge to become one and the same entity as they clearly have in both Canada and America, it is the agents operating on behalf of corporate governments who are the fascist criminals turning on their own decent law abiding citizens in order to eliminate them and all opposition and resistance to their global theft and destruction.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former Army officer. His written manuscript based on his military experience examines leadership and national security issues and can be consulted at http://www.redredsea.net/westpointhagopian/. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in psychology and became a licensed therapist working in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now focuses on writing.

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Militarist Bunkum. Arrogance and Hubris that Lead to War

May 19th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Did you know that 85 to 90 percent of war’s casualties are non-combatant civilians? That is the conclusion reached by a nine-person research team in the June 2014 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The deaths of soldiers who are fighting the war are a small part of the human and economic cost. Clearly, wars do not protect the lives of civilians. The notion that soldiers are dying for us is false. Non-combatants are the main victims of war.

Keep that in mind for July 4th, which is arriving in six weeks.

July 4th is America’s most important national holiday celebrating American independence from Great Britain.  On July 4th, 1776, America’s Founding Fathers declared that the Thirteen Colonies were no longer colonies but an independent country in which the Rights of Englishmen would prevail for all citizens and not only for King George’s administrators. (Actually, the Second Continental Congress voted in favor of independence on July 2, and historians debate whether the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4 or August 2.)

In this American assertion of self-determination citizens of Great Britain were not allowed to vote.  Therefore, according to Washington’s position on the votes in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine–the former Russian territories of Donetsk and Luhansk–America’s Declaration of Independence was “illegitimate and illegal.”

On July 4th all across America there will be patriotic speeches about our soldiers who gave their lives for their country.  To an informed person these speeches are curious.  I am hard pressed to think of any examples of our soldiers giving their lives for our country.  US Marine General Smedley Butler had the same problem. He said that his Marines gave their lives for United Fruit Company’s control of Central America. “War is a racket,” said General Butler, pointing out that US participation in World War I produced 21,000 new American millionaires and billionaires. 

When General Butler said “war is a racket,” he meant that war is a racket for a few people getting rich on the backs of millions of dead people.  According to the article in the American Journal of Public Health, during the 20th century 190 million deaths could be directly and indirectly related to war.

190 million is 60 million more than the entire  US population in the year that I was born.

The only war fought on US territory was the war against Southern Secession.  In this war Irish immigrants fresh off the boat gave their lives for American Empire. As soon as the South was conquered, the Union forces were set loose on the Plains Indians and destroyed them as well.

Empire over life. That has always been Washington’s guiding principle.

America’s wars have always been fought elsewhere–Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, Philippines,  Japan, Germany, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Somalia.  Washington even attacks countries with which the US is not at war, such as Pakistan and Yemen, and engages in proxy wars.  The article cited above reports: “The United States launched 201 overseas military operations between the end of World War II and 2001, and since then, others, including Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Not a single one of these wars and military operations had anything whatsoever to do with defending the US population from foreign threats.

Not even Japan and Germany posed a threat to the US.  Neither country had any prospect of invading the US and neither country had any such war plans.

Let’s assume Japan had conquered China, Burma, and Indonesia.  With such a vast territory to occupy, Japan could not have spared a single division with which to invade the US, and, of course, any invasion fleet would never have made it across the Pacific.  Just as was the fate of the Japanese fleet at Midway, an invasion fleet would have been sitting ducks for the US Navy.

Assume Germany had extended its conquests over Europe to Great Britain, Russia and North Africa.  Germany would have been unable to successfully occupy such a vast territory and could not have spared a single soldier to send to invade America.  Even the US superpower was unable to successfully occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, countries with small land areas and populations in comparison.

Except for its wars against the South, the Plains Indians, Haiti, Spain, Panama,  Grenada, and Mexico, the US has never won a war.  The Southern Confederates, usually outnumbered, often defeated the Union generals. Japan was defeated by its own lack of military resources. Germany was defeated by the Soviet Union.  The allied invasion of Normandy did not occur until June 6, 1944, by which time the Red Army had ground up the Wehrmacht.

When the allies landed in Normandy, three-fourths of the German Army was on the Russian front.  The allied invasion was greatly helped by Germany’s shortage of fuel for  mobilized units. If Hitler had not allowed hubris to lead him into invading the Soviet Union and, instead, just sat on his European conquests, no allied invasion would have been possible. Today Germany would rule all of Europe, including the UK. The US would have no European Empire with which to threaten Russia, China, and the Middle East.

In Korea in the 1950s, General Douglas MacArthur, victorious over Japan, was fought to a standstill by third world China.  In Vietnam American technological superiority was defeated by a third world army. The US rolled up mighty Grenada in the 1980s, but lost its proxy war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

Is there anyone so foolish as to think that Grenada or the Sandinistas were a threat to the United States, that North Korea or North Vietnam comprised threats to the United States?  Yet, the Korean and Vietnam wars were treated as if the fate of the United States hung in the balance.  The conflicts produced voluminous dire predictions and strategic debates. The communist threat replaced the Hitler threat.  The American Empire was at risk from third world peoples. Dominoes would fall everywhere.

Currently Washington is at work overturning President Reagan’s accomplishment of ending the Cold War. Washington orchestrated a coup that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine and installed a stooge government. Washington’s stooges began issuing threats against Russia and the Russian speaking population in Ukraine.

These threats resulted in those parts of Ukraine that were formerly part of Russia declaring their independence. Washington blames Russia, not itself, and is stirring the pot, demonizing Russia and recreating the Cold War with military deployments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. Washington needs to reinvent the Cold War in order to justify the hundreds of billions of dollars that Washington annually feeds the military/security complex, some of which recycles in political campaign donations. In contrast to Washington’s propaganda, an honest view of the events in Ukraine can be found here:

In the United States patriotism and militarism have become synonyms. This July 4th find the courage to remind the militarists that Independence Day celebrates the Declaration of Independence, not the American Empire.  The Declaration of Independence was not only a declaration of independence from King George III but also a declaration of independence from unaccountable tyrannical government.  The oath of office commits the US officeholder to the defense of the US Constitution from enemies ”foreign and domestic.”

In the 21st century Americans’ worst enemies are not al Qaeda, Iran, Russia, and China. America’s worst enemies are our own presidents who have declared repeatedly that the orchestrated “war on terror” gives them the right to set aside the civil liberties guaranteed to every citizen by the US Constitution. Presidential disrespect for the US Constitution is so extreme that Obama has nominated David Barron to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Barron is the Justice (sic) Department official who wrote the memos fabricating a legal justification for the Office of President to murder US citizens without due process of law.

Having stripped US citizens of their civil liberties, executive branch agencies are now stocking up vast amounts of ammunition, and the Department of Agriculture has placed an order for submachine guns. The Department for Homeland Security has acquired 2,717 mine-resistant armored personnel carriers.  Congress and the media are not interested in why the executive branch is arming itself so heavily against the American people.

During the entirety of the 21st century–indeed, dating from the Clinton regime at the end of the 20th century–the executive branch has declared its independence from law (both domestic and international) and from the Constitution, Congress, and the Judiciary. The executive branch, with the help of the Republican Federalist Society, has established that the office of the executive is a tyranny unaccountable to law, domestic or international, as long as the executive declares a state of war, even a war that is not conducted against another country or countries but a vague, undefined or ill-defined war against a vague stateless enemy such as al Qaeda, with which the US is currently allied against Syria.

Al Qaeda now has a dual role. Al Qaeda is Washington’s agent for overthrowing the elected Assad government in Syria and al Qaeda is the evil force against which US civil liberties must be sacrificed.

The illegitimate power asserted by the Office of the President is not only a threat to every American but also to every living being on planet earth.  As the article cited above reports: “Approximately 17,300 nuclear weapons are presently deployed in at least 9 countries, many of which can be launched and reach their targets within 45 minutes.”

It only takes one fool–and Washington has thousands of fools–and all life on earth terminates in 45 minutes. The neoconservative belief that the United States is the exceptional, indispensable country chosen by history to rule the earth is a belief full of the arrogance and hubris that lead to war.

Keep your likely fate in mind as you watch the military bands and marches on July 4th and listen to the hot air of militarism.

The GMO biotech sector is involved in a multi-pronged campaign to influence governments and the public about the benefits of its products. It uses various means.

 It sets up or infiltrates institutions and co-opts prominent political and scientific figures to do its bidding (1).

It hijacks regulatory and policy making bodies (2,3). With help from the US Government, it assumes strategic importance in international trade negotiations and is then able to set a policy and research agenda, as has been the case in India with the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture and the funding of agricultural research within the country (4,5).

It is shaping ‘free’ trade agreements to its own advantage (6). It mounts personal attacks on and tries to discredit key scientists who question its claims (7,8). And it arguably regards contamination as a means of trying to eventually render the whole debate about GMOS meaningless (9).

 With its huge financial resources and the full backing of the US State Department (10), the sector is a formidable force.

 However, despite all its wealth and influence, it is turning out to be a bad week for the GMO biotech industry.

 When is good science bad science and bad science good science? When the industry says so

 In 2012, a study led by Professor Gilles Seralini called into question the safety of GMOs and Round Up herbicide. The paper that conveyed the results was last year retracted by a prestigious scientific journal (11). The publisher of Food and Chemical Toxicology (FCT), Elsevier, has now compelled the journal editor A. Wallace Hayes to publish a right of reply by the Séralini team.

 According to the Séralini team, the editor of FCT uses double standards when it comes to publishing in favour of the industry. Hayes retracted the study despite the fact that he found neither fraud nor conscious misinterpretation. In a new article published in FCT, the scientists explain why they do not accept his conclusion. They denounce the lack of scientific validity of the reasons given for the retraction, explain why the Sprague-Dawley rat strain used is appropriate and describe the statistical results in depth concerning the blood and urine parameters affected, proving that the liver and kidney pathologies and the mammary tumours are solidly based.

 Hayes justified his retraction by arguing that it is impossible to conclude a link between GMO and cancer, even though the word cancer was never used in the paper. Not all the tumours were cancers but they nevertheless brought death through internal haemorrhages and compressions of vital organs. Hayes also argued that ten rats per group, of the Sprague-Dawley strain, did not allow the level of statistical strength to conclude about the toxicity of the GMO and Roundup. But FCT has published two studies (Hammond & al., 2004; and Zhang & al., 2014) measuring the same number of rats of the same strain, without calling into question the strength of the statistics, let alone their conclusion – that the GMOs tested were safe.

 The recent study by Zhang et al, like the study by Séralini et al, measures the potential chronic effects of the consumption of a GMO (transgenic rice producing a modified Bt insecticide). It uses the same strain and measures the same number of rats. The only substantive difference was in the results: Zhang and colleagues concluded that the GMO under test was safe.

 Professor Séralini says:

“We are forced to conclude that the decision to withdraw our paper was based on unscientific double standards applied by the editor. These double standards can only be explained by pressure from the GMO and agrochemical industry to force acceptance of GMOs and Roundup. The most flagrant illustration is the appointment of Richard Goodman, a former Monsanto employee, onto the FCT editorial board, soon after the publication of the NK603 study. Worse, this pro-industry bias also affects regulatory authorities, such as EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), which gives favourable opinions on risky products based on mediocre studies commissioned by the companies wishing to commercialize the products, as well as systematically dismissing the findings of independent scientists which cast doubt on their safety.”

Genetically modified crops and foods are neither safe nor necessary to feed the world

On the same day that the Seralini team issued its press release on the matter (19 May), a new report was released saying that genetically modified crops and foods are neither safe nor even necessary to feed the world.

The second edition of GMO Myths and Truths, co-authored by genetic engineers Dr John Fagan and Dr Michael Antoniou and researcher Claire Robinson, has been published as a free online download by the sustainability and science policy platform Earth Open Source (12).

John Fagan, one of the report’s authors, said:

“The GMO debate is far from being over, as some GMO proponents claim. Instead the evidence of risk and actual harm from GM foods and crops to health and the environment has grown in the two years since we brought out the first edition. The good news is that GMOs are not needed to feed the world. The report shows that there are far better ways of ensuring a safe and sustainable food supply.”

The report’s main findings are as follows:

1) The report debunks the claims by pro-GMO lobbyists that 1,700 studies show GM foods are as safe. The studies show nothing of the sort. Many of them not only show evidence of risk, but the review also excludes or glosses over important scientific controversies over GMO safety issues. (See page102 of the new report.)

2) A review purportedly showing that GM foods are safe on the basis of long-term animal studies actually shows evidence of risk and uses unscientific double standards to reach a conclusion that is not justified by the data. (p. 161)

3) A laboratory study in human cells shows that very low levels of glyphosate (the main chemical ingredient of Roundup herbicide, which most GM crops are engineered to tolerate) mimicked the hormone estrogen and stimulated the growth of breast cancer cells. The level of glyphosate that had this effect was below the level allowed in drinking water in Europe and far below the level allowed in the USA. It was also below the level found in GM glyphosate-tolerant soy, which is imported into Europe for animal feed and human food. If confirmed in animal studies, this finding would overturn regulatory assumptions of safe levels of glyphosate. (p. 221)

4) Séralini’s study is far stronger and more detailed than many industry studies that are accepted as proof of safety for GMOs. The European Food Safety Authority had to reject the study in order to protect its own previous opinions on this and other GMOs, for reasons explained in the report. The findings of this study, if confirmed, would overturn regulatory assumptions of safe levels of glyphosate and Roundup. (pp. 94, 147)

5) Claims that an EU-funded research project shows GMOs are safe are not evidence-based, since the project did not even test the safety of any commercialized GMOs. Some animal testing data gathered by the project actually reveal health risks from the GMOs tested. (p. 166)

 6) Claims that Europe is becoming a “museum” of farming because of its reluctance to embrace GM crops are shown to be nonsensical by research showing that Europe’s mostly non-GM agriculture out-yields the USA’s mostly GM agriculture with less pesticide use. The USA is falling behind Europe in terms of productivity and sustainability. (pp. 232–233)

 7) Risks from an important new type of GMO that is designed to silence genes are not being properly assessed by regulators. (p. 78)

 8) Contrary to claims by GMO proponents, the real reason GM golden rice isn’t available has nothing to do with anti-GMO activists and everything to do with basic research and development problems. (p. 197)

9) Conventional breeding continues to outstrip GM in delivering crops that yield well, resist disease, are nutritious and tolerate drought and other types of extreme weather. (pp. 284, 318–321)

 10) Crop genetics are only part of the solution to our food and agriculture challenges. The other part is agro-ecological farming methods that build soil and focus on growing a diversity of naturally healthy and resilient crops. (p. 303)

Author Michael Antoniou said:

“There is evidence that Roundup, even at the low levels permitted in food and drinking water, could lead to serious effects on health over time, such as liver and kidney toxicity. Based on this evidence, it appears that the levels of exposure currently held as safe by regulators around the world are questionable.”

Author Claire Robinson said:

“The GMO industry is built on myths. What is the motivation behind the deception? Money. GM crops and foods are easy to patent and are an important tool in the global consolidation of the seed and food industry into the hands of a few big companies. We all have to eat, so selling patented GM seed and the chemicals they are grown with is a lucrative business model. GMO Myths and Truths offers a one-stop resource for the public, campaigners, policy-makers, and scientists opposing the GMO industry’s attempts to control our food supply and shut down scientific and public debate.”

The report’s authors are not alone in doubting the safety of GMOs. In late 2013, nearly 300 scientists and legal experts signed a statement affirming that there was “No scientific consensus on GMO safety.” (13)

It all raises the question: if there is no consensus, and there clearly is not, if double standards exist, and they certainly do, then why are we, the public, and for that matter the environment, being used as guinea pigs in a massive experiment?

We know why. It is an agenda that is based on arm-twisting, deception, false promises, duplicity and flawed science to benefit the bottom line of a handful of commercial enterprises and the wider geo-political aim of controlling the planet’s food supply.

Notes

1)http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsanto-syngenta-and-bayer-cropscience-the-gmo-biotech-sector-cant-win-the-scientific-debate-the-options-are-co-option-deception-and-collusion/5381725

2) http://rense.com/general33/fd.htm

3)http://corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/publications/conflicts_on_the_menu_final_0.pdf

4) http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/walmart-and-monsanto-on-indous-agriculture-initiative-board/article3176462.ece

5) http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/07/monsanto-a-contemporary-east-india-company-and-corporate-knowledge-in-india/

6) http://www.citizen.org/documents/TAFTA-GMO-factsheet.pdf

7) http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/smeared-gm-expert-vindicated-737891.html

8)http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-researchers-attacked-evidence-denied-and-a-population-at-risk/5305324

9) http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/contamination-and-bio-pollution-criminality-gm-biotech-industry

10) http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/14-2

11)http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2013/15184-journal-retraction-of-seralini-study-is-illicit-unscientific-and-unethical

12)http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/gmo-myths-and-truths

13)http://www.ensser.org/increasing-public-information/no-scientific-consensus-on-gmo-safety/

Eastern Ukrainians do not want to be part of Nulandistan. They gathered in droves and waited in long lines to vote, even though the the unelected US-supported Yatsenyuk regime tried to disrupt the voting by sending its militias into their cities.

The Yatsenyuk junta and its foreign backers, and much of the mainstream media in North America and the European Union are distorting the facts about the referenda that took place in Eastern Ukraine on May 11, 2014. The US and the European Union, two entities that support an undemocratic regime that came into power with violence and force, have hypocritically also declared that actual democratic voting in Eastern Ukraine has “no democratic legitimacy.”

Regardless of what one thinks about the legitimacy of the referendums, ironically when real “people power” is at play in places like Eastern Ukraine or Bahrain, where ordinary people are struggling for their rights, the US government and European Union always oppose them. The US government and its allies only hide behind human rights and democracy.

You be the judge if the referendums in Eastern Ukraine were democratic or not….

For further reading and videos about the events in Ukraine, consult GR’s UKRAINE REPORT

GRTV Video Production

 

 

 

Another American vessel, the Vella Gulf, is traveling towards the Black Sea. It is expected that the ship will go through the straits of the Black Sea on May 23. The  cruiser will enter the sea on the eve of presidential elections in Ukraine, scheduled for May 25. American diplomats stressed that the United States “wanted to support the actions of the new Ukrainian authorities” through the presence of US warships in the Black Sea.

The Vella Gulf is armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, ACPOK, and antisubmarine and antiaircraft Standard-2 and Standard-3 missiles. The ship carries the total of 122 missiles on board. The vessel also has two multipurpose helicopters.

In accordance with the Montreux Convention, warships of non-coastal states can not stay in the Black Sea for more than 21 days. Thus, in case the Vella Gulf enters the Black Sea on May 23, she will have to leave the region no later than June 13. Noteworthy, American ships have violated the Montreux regime before.

Lars Schall talks with former senior Wall Street banker Nomi Prins about her latest book, “All the Presidents’ Bankers.”

Prins points out how an elite group of men transformed the American economy and government throughout the 20th century, dictated foreign and domestic policy, and shaped world history.

The discussion spans from the panic of 1907 and the creation of the Federal Reserve through 2 World wars, the decoupling of the dollar from gold in 1971, and the question whether American financial power today is in decline.

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 EDITED TRANSCRIPT – Finance is a Power Game

LS: Hi Nomi, Let’s talk about your new book. What was the motivation to write the book and what is the main idea behind it?

Nomi Prins: My motivation stemmed from a novel I had written before this book, which was called ‘Black Tuesday’, a work of historical fiction about the 1929 crash. In order to do the research for that book, which was not as substantial as the research I wound up doing for ‘All the Presidents’ Bankers’ I discovered this meeting that took place at the Morgan Bank on 23 Wall Street, just a quick little walk from the back of the New York Stock Exchange on October 24th, 1929. This was when the stock market was beginning its initial decent, after which it bumped up and down a few times but ultimately lost 90 percent or so of its value over the next few years.

But on that day, there were six bankers, the big six bankers of the time that convened at the house of Morgan under the request of a man named Tom Lamont, who was the acting chairman of Morgan. Jack Morgan, the actual chairman, was over in Europe traveling. Lamont called the five main bankers of the city to come and after a 20-minute meeting they decided after 20 minutes to each put in 25 million dollars to save the stock markets. They all had these secrets that they were hiding in that room, aside from the fact that the market was spinning out of their control. One of the men was Al Wiggin; the head of Chase; he was shorting Chase shares while he was talking about buying them to save the markets. Charles Mitchell was another fellow in that room, who ran National City Bank, which is now part of Citigroup. He had this deal that he wanted to do – the biggest merger of the time would go through if he could keep his shares up which would be used to pay for the merger. So he really had other reasons to save the markets besides helping the general population from spill-out or the economic fall-out.

That whole meeting and drama of the scene and the way in which these big six decided what to do, and the way that they were supported by president Herbert Hoover was fascinating. After their decision, they were touted in the press, in the New York Times and so forth as having saved the markets again and there was so much congratulation. All of that really stuck with me. And so for the book ‘All the Presidents’ Bankers’ I followed this idea of the big six; the today we have big six banks again, as well as we did before the crash of 1929. Six banks in the US controlled much of the financial markets, and not just from a wealth and power perspective; for there was a political financial line that could be drawn around bankers and presidents during that time, and today.

I started examining this through the presidents’ perspective – which bankers they had relationships with, that they trusted to fix the country, that they hung out with socially, that they went yachting with, that they were in clubs with, that they went to Ivy League universities with and so forth. This is how I further shaped the idea and research for this book, which took me to all the presidents’ archives around the country, from Teddy Roosevelt, who was the president during the panic of 1907, which is where I start the book, through Barack Obama who does not have an archive yet because he is still in office, and all the documents in between I could find.

LS: You have mentioned 1907, and the most dominant banker back then was John Pierpont Morgan. Was he basically the representative of the City of London and British banking on Wall Street?

NP: He was the one who had the closest ties, both from a personal standpoint and from the fact that the Morgan Bank had ties with the City of London as well as Paris. At the time they had companies that they were associated with in both of those cities. As for the background to the panic of 1907, it was a huge bank panic in the United States, people particularly in New York were rushing the banks to get their deposits out because there was a confidence problem and a larger banking crisis brewing. Teddy Roosevelt was scared that that it would spill into a larger economic crisis for the country. He called upon J. P. Morgan to fix the situation; this was in 1907, 22 years before the crash in 1929 where his bank was also at the center. Morgan certainly represented international interests with respect to the US financiers; he was the most powerful, most international of the US financiers, but he was also very deeply concerned about his growth in status in the United States. After that point there was much more growth for the Morgan bank after World War I and World War II.

Even before the panic in 1907, in the 1890s, it was the Morgan family – and this is one of the other large themes of my book, that not just individuals controlled the political/financial alliances and policies of the US domestically and globally, but these are a small handful of elite families that have retained power for decades, for over a century, whose legacies continue to maintain that influence and power. The Morgan family was certainly one of the main families that did that. In the 1890s one of the Morgan’s, J.S. Morgan had helped save the City of London financially when the Bank of England could not do it. So this idea of the private banker saving other private bankers, both internationally as well as domestically, was born a little bit before my book but certainly continued into the 20th century.

LS: If I asked you related to the panic of 1907 cui bono, what would be your answer?

NP: The real benefactor of the panic of 1907 was J. P. Morgan, of course, who ran the Morgan Bank at the time and was the key influencer and economic confidante of president Teddy Roosevelt, who gave him the power and the decision making ability backed by the White House and the Treasury Department to decide which banks would live and which banks would die during the bank panic of 1907, which is what Morgan did. He chose to support the banks that were related to him in some manner, whether they were run by his friends or associates or relationships or in which he just had financial interests. After the panic of 1907 it was really the Morgan family, the Stillman family, who were running National City Bank, the Bakers, who were running First National City Bank, (and those two banks ultimately became what we know today as Citigroup, which is one of the big six banks today, as of course Morgan still exists today in the form of J.P. Morgan Chase, another of the big six banks.) The benefit was really to Morgan and helped make him confident to steer the ship for the establishment of what became the Federal Reserve that became THE bank for the big banks.

LS: How was the panic of 1907 used by Morgan and Rockefeller interests to create the Federal Reserve?

NP: That is a very interesting question. What happened was – even before the panic – these financiers; the new power league in America, wanted to find a way to push forward into what I call the age of financial capitalism – though they did not call it that. The idea was that you could make money now out of money as opposed to just having it be connected to industrial interests like steel and oil – although the Rockefellers had made a substantial amount of money and would continue to do so with the Standard Oil Company and other interests. But they, particularly William Rockefeller was looking for a way of making money for the sake of making money and becoming part of one of the “money trusts” in the early 1900s.

After the panic of 1907 J. P. Morgan and to a lesser extent Rockefeller – the Rockefellers were not involved in the actual meeting that took place at Jekyll Island although William Rockefeller did have a membership at the Jekyll Island Club at the time. There in a meeting that took place in 1910, six men met to bang out the blueprints for the Federal Reserve. They included a fellow from the United States Government, Senator Nelson Aldrich, who was a Rhode Island senator and very connected to the banking community. He knew Morgan; he knew the Rockefellers and so forth. And he and one of his assistant treasury secretaries met with four bankers, Frank Vanderlip, Henry Davison, Paul Warburg and Benjamin Strong, all whom were connected to Morgan. It was J. P. Morgan’s membership as I talk about in the book that allowed them to even meet at Jekyll Island. It was a very exclusive club at the time; you needed to be a member. None of these people were members and J. P. Morgan was not at the meeting that took place.

In fact, and this is sort of where the Rockefeller contingent comes in on the outside of that, Nelson Aldrich was not even planning on going or asking about going to Jekyll Island; he wanted to have these meetings in his Rhode Island estate to still get away from the public but also to be in his own estate, which was north of New York and certainly north of Georgia, which is where Jekyll Island is. But he wound up getting hit by a trolley car in Manhattan, in New York City, while he was visiting there to talk to Morgan and some other people about this whole idea. So he was convalescing; he was not sure he was going to go anywhere and that was when J. P. Morgan suggested he go to this area to get this done, and gave the invitation. A lot of arrangements were made on Jekyll Island to have these people come because it was still November; it was not in season yet. Jekyll Island was into season in December and January, when all the rich families would come down for the holidays and all the rich men would talk and all the rich ladies and children would sort of hang out and play.

But this meeting happened because of J. P. Morgan and also Nelson Aldrich, whose son Winthrop Aldrich became a head of Chase Bank for two decades, and whose great-nephew, David Rockefeller, became also the head of Chase for two decades, and whose other great-nephew, Nelson Rockefeller, became the four-time governor of New York City. So this family line that started from this Federal Reserve period was evident more recently as well.

The bankers’ interests were to make sure that in a panic situation there would be a Federal Reserve that would back the banks so that there would not be a greater crisis, and that they would not have to put up their own money or scrounge around to figure out how to save themselves or to save their system. That was the impetus for the Fed – to have a consolidated entity that could also create currency that could back them in times of panic. And from the American government perspective, from William Taft, who was the president after Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, who was the president after him – they both believed that a Federal Reserve was required to basically – and this is not what is discussed in history so much but it is in my book – to promote American power into the new century. This idea of having a competitive central bank that was aligned with the private banks was something that was very important to these presidents of both parties; both of whom had very strong personal connections to the Morgan’s, to the Aldrich’s and to the Rockefellers and to other families that were operating the money trusts at the time.

LS: Was the creation of the Fed a conspiracy?

NP: It is not a conspiracy, but a fact that Wall Street was behind the Fed; these are real people from real Wall Street who had a real meeting who worked with Nelson Aldrich, the head of the Senate Finance Committee for two years, gathering information together and traveling in Europe to determine how the make-up of the banks in England and in France in particular could be used for the blueprints for the Federal Reserve. James Stillman, who was one of the money trust leaders and a friend of Morgan and the Rockefellers and running National City Bank, which was one of the largest banks in the country at the time, (Citigroup today) traveled for months with Nelson Aldrich in Europe over a period of two years, before that Jekyll Island meeting. So it is not a conspiracy; this is documented fact.

The fact that there were four bankers and two people from Washington at the Jekyll Island meeting itself is also not a conspiracy; it is fact. Also it is a fact that– because as I mentioned, Nelson Aldrich had been hit by this trolley car and he was still not in the best of health after the Jekyll Island meeting; when he was supposed to present the report of that meeting to Washington, it was instead presented by two bankers – Frank Vanderlip, who was the number two guy at National City Bank, who worked for James Stillman, as well as Henry Davison, a senior partner at the Morgan Bank. This is not a conspiracy, this is just what happened.

LS: Yeah, but did those people at the meeting at Jekyll Island conspire with each other to get the Federal Reserve created?

NP: There was nothing to conspire about, it was far easier than that in practice. These men worked together to create the Federal Reserve because they wanted it: Washington wanted it, so did the leaders of Wall Street. They were all on the same page, so there was no need for anything conspiratorial; they collaborated.

LS: But the public was not allowed to know this, right? And they were very careful that the public did not find out about it.

NP: Oh yes, absolutely. But I think when the term ‘conspiracy’ gets batted around, you know, it has this darker context like did this happen this way, did it not happen this way, were they trying to get together to take something away from the public? But no, they were not; they were just trying to protect their own interests because they could. The public was not involved politically in any manner that would get in the way of the design of the Fed, but the public generally isn’t allowed into decisions of Washington or Wall Street or anything related to these power relationships.

What I write in the book is that there were a lot of conversations that took place under the Taft administration, in the 1910 period and towards 1913, when the Federal Reserve was passed and signed upon in December 1913. During the later years under the Woodrow Wilson administration, many conversations happened about the Fed make-up occurred in Washington as they do today where senators and bankers and presidents have conversations, have midnight meetings, decide how structures should be implemented and what is going to get signed, and how it is going to get spun to the public. So if you think of that as a conspiracy, all of government is a conspiracy.

But the reality is, this is how these men operate because they could. The idea was mainly how it would succeed and in what format. And when after the Federal Reserve Act was passed by Woodrow Wilson, he sold it to the public as a Reserve Bank that would help provide credit to the general public, to small farmers, to small banks, that would help America in general by providing credit to the system when there are negative financial situations going on.

But the reality is that from its beginning the Fed was fashioned to protect the largest, which also happened to be the most powerful politically, socially and personally connected institutions in the United States, and that is how it has continued to operate. That is why it has preserved all the mergers that have happened over the century since; that is why it has provided liquidity at a benefit towards the largest banks; and that is why today the big six banks are larger – they are not all the same six banks as back then, but they are larger derivations of them – and they are larger than they have ever been before, and they have more Federal Reserve subsidies than they have ever had before; and the Federal Reserve has a larger book than it has ever had before. All this has culminated over a century; some of it has been open in that we see the results.

LS: Does the US need the Fed?

NP: The US banking system needs the Fed because without its subsidies it would have probably failed many times over the years, certainly over the recent years. But again it is really important to know that this is one of the main themes of the book that … from the beginning of the Fed, they needed the Fed. So the Fed is as much a bank for the banks as it is a political instrument of financial power for the government. The government believes it needs the Fed to subsidize and to save the largest institutions that are integrated in so many different ways with the government as well. These banks deal with the public, we give them our deposits, taxpayers subsidize their failures and their bailouts. But at the same time the philosophies of the political and financial elite members of America are aligned behind the Fed.

So do we need the Fed? The public does not need the Fed. The activities that the Fed provides that relate to the public such as maneuvering interest rates or so forth could be done by the Treasury Department, although the Treasury Department is equally subsidizing and has politically, personally, socially, and financially supporting the big banking institutions as well. Yeah, it is useful to have one entity to maintain rates but that is not really what the Fed does as its full job; what it does and what it has done is subsidize a faulty banking system in disguise of regulating that banking system and protecting the overall credit availability to the country, over which it really has had no power. That was one of the lies under which it was created back 100 years ago.

LS: And has the Fed not become an international bailout bank?

NP: Well yes, because of the whole globalization of finance, in different ways, over the past century. The American banks are not the only banks that are at risk, for financial crises. These crises are increasingly global and will be so in the future. So when the Fed decides to protect the big American banks, it has to protect their largest counter-parties which due to the nature of globalized finance include European banks, they are going to include Asian banks, they basically include any of the major counter-parties of the big six banks. But not only that – the policies of the Fed themselves – aside from the subsidies, but the idea of subsidizing and philosophy behind it has globalized, too.

The Fed has pushed its policies, as we have seen over the last few years, into Europe. So now you have effectively zero interest rate policy throughout Europe along with the subsidizing and bailing out and artificial fortification of all the larger institutions at the expense of the smaller institutions and fortification of the larger countries at the expense of the smaller countries. This is an institutionalized policy that the Fed is promoting, so is the Treasury Department and the government of the United States. You know this is a collaborative promotion that has become global as well.

LS: Because it is 100 years now since the outbreak of World War I, what has to be said about big banking on Wall Street and the slaughter that went on in Europe?

NP: Again it ties back to the Morgan Bank and the Morgan family. When Woodrow Wilson was contemplating not involving the US in the war originally, he had a meeting at the White House, and it was a very interesting meeting because he had campaigned on a platform of being separate from the big banking interests, which were called the Money Trust at the time. But he was really friends with the Morgan’s; the family had supported him before he became president and into his presidency as well.

This meeting that he had in July of 1914 at the White House was criticized by the press because it was odd to them that Morgan was visiting the White House after Wilson had publicly campaigned against the banking interests. But it turned out that Morgan was talking to Wilson about financing a war. And in fact, when the war started, and the United States immediately was financing the French and the British, it was because of the push of the Morgan Bank to do that, and through the course of the war, the Morgan Bank financed or directed the financing of 75 percent of all the private moneys and investments that went into the US war effort and to the allies of the US. There was a very strong collaboration at that point between the Morgan Bank organizing the other banks and Woodrow Wilson into the war. They are very directly related because without money countries do not tend to be able to go to war.

LS: Was the Treaty of Versailles beneficial to big banking on Wall Street?

NP: What happened in the Treaty of Versailles, and there was a Morgan partner who was active with Woodrow Wilson when the treaty was being negotiated and signed, a man named Tom Lamont, who was involved in the Morgan Bank for decades afterwards as well. In 1919, he was instrumental in negotiating reparations that would become part of the Treaty of Versailles. One reason for that was that it was important for the banks, the big banks in particular, to have some sort of stability in Europe so that they could basically get involved in investments, in rebuilding infrastructure in Europe. And they would finance infrastructure and reconstruction on all sides of the participants in the World War.

They benefitted from that because they were able to expand their reach and their business into Europe in a way they would not have been able to do before the war; so the treaty itself in the end of the war was very helpful. Now of course the treaty ultimately was not helpful enough, because we did have a second war after that, after the great 1929 crash and the great depression, through which the bankers continued to push the US government to help fund some of the countries with whom they also were doing private financing in order to continue to do that private financing. There was a series of agreements after the Treaty of Versailles that the bankers were involved in because the Treaty of Versailles was not really working well enough, where they were still able to push for US government financing of certain restructuring in Europe so that they could piggy-bank upon that and again increase their own financial reach into Europe.

LS: Was the Federal Reserve a crucial factor in creating the Great Crash of 1929?

NP: It was not as great a factor then as the Fed pushing cheap money into Wall Street today. But it was a factor; in fact, one of the Big Six bank heads, Charles Mitchell was also a New York Federal Reserve Class A director, and chairman of National City Bank. While the markets were starting to falter in the early part of 1929, he pushed the whole Fed to reduce interest rates to allow for cheaper money and liquidity into the system because he knew from his own bank’s books, and from his business dealings that things were deeply problematic.

So in a way the Fed’s moves might have exacerbated the intensity of the crash but it was really the maneuvers of the largest banks that were the main cause. They had been getting involved in all sorts of speculation after World War I, because the three presidents in the United States after World War I, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover, had a very hands-off policy to the types of speculation these bankers could engage in and they definitely engaged in a lot. So was the Treasury Secretary at the time, Andrew Mellon, who was himself a crook; he was a millionaire, an industrialist, and had run a bank as well. He ultimately left in disgrace from the Hoover administration because of allegations of various types of tax evasion and using the tax policies he was creating to help himself in this whole bubble of speculation. So really everyone was involved.

LS: Did the policies of the Fed do any good during the Great Depression?

NP: Again not really. The main policy that helped during the great depression was the Glass-Steagall Act, and the confidence it instilled with the US population for the banking system because that act separated speculative activities from depositors’ money as well as the potential for people in the country, for tax payers, to have to shoulder additional risks with respect to what the banking industry was doing.

The Federal Reserve today talks about the Federal Reserve back then as being involved in helping the great depression (though Ben Bernanke contended it should have helped more quickly) but the reality is, it was not as evolved as it has become today; it was not quite mature enough, the Fed. So a lot of what was going on had to come from legislation, it had to come from leadership, it had to come also from the ground up and one bank leader in particular, the chairman of Chase, under FDR, Winthrop Aldrich, was a friend of FDR’s and worked with FDR to push and promote and endorse the Glass-Steagall Act because he believed it was important for the nation and for confidence in banking in general to have a more safe and stable system.

LS: Why has there been a power shift from Morgan to Rockefeller taking place during and after World War II?

NP: As I mentioned that before, the Morgan Bank had been the pre-eminent financer, commanding 75 percent of private financing, into World War I, and very closely connected to Woodrow Wilson and to the Treasury Secretary at the time. It was very involved in the decisions that Washington made on financing the war bond effort throughout the United States to raise additional funds and so forth. But by the time World War II came along – Chase (which was more of a Rockefeller bank) because of Winthrop Aldrich, the chairman of Chase who was friends with FDR, pressed a shift to financing the war from the Morgan Bank.

So the Liberty Bond effort, or the War Bond effort for World War II in the United States, really was led by Aldrich, as well as National City Bank, the other big bank, lead by chairman James Perkins, and after he died, by a couple of other executives including a man named Randolph Burgess, who had been a New York Fed director before becoming a senior vice president at National City Bank had a very close relationship with FDR’s Treasury Secretary Morgenthau.

These stronger relationships with the FDR administration, and the Truman administration, and the Eisenhower administration started to tilt toward Chase and National City. Also, those banks had a different model than the Morgan Bank, which is they use individual people’s money in the war drive and they would ask people to open accounts with them and also to buy war bonds at the same time. Thus, throughout the war they were gaining customers, which also helped their strength afterwards since it gave them more capital for the future as well as being intricately involved with Washington, the war bond effort, and private financing efforts. And so the balance tilted from a relationship as well as due to the philosophy of getting individuals on the ground to participate more.

LS: How did financial power shape the world order after World War II?

NP: After World War II when Truman was president and the World Bank had just been created through the Bretton Woods Agreement along with the IMF and so forth, there was a man named John McCloy who had been the Assistant Secretary of War under FDR, and has also been a private lawyer and worked very closely with the Rockefeller family, with Nelson Rockefeller and later David Rockefeller. After World War II, he was asked to become the second president of the World Bank. When he accepted that position he did it with one stipulation – that Wall Street would be the engine that distributed bonds that funded many World Bank initiatives. So he requested something outside of legislation because of conversations he had with Truman’s Treasury Secretary – that Wall Street would be really the decider of what countries the World Bank would support.

These countries were capitalist countries and into the Cold War the capitalist countries got better deals. The Eisenhower administration would fund the countries that were most aligned with the ideals of John McCloy who became the chairman of Chase later on, as well as other bankers of the time. So a lot of what happened militarily as well as financially in terms of America’s expansion after World War II and through the Cold War was this alignment of financiers having military backing from the United States and this ideological backing in the United States government wanting the bankers to expand branches into the countries in which they had footholds as well. There was this mutual alignment as America was growing its super power status, politically and financially, after the war. The World Bank and IMF were just components, or instruments, in that growth.

LS: One part of the Bretton Wood system was that the US Dollar was almost as good as gold. Why did so many prominent US bankers advocate ending the gold standard in the late 1960s, early 1970s? Could it be that the gold standard serves as an effective check on the growth of excessive financial sector growth and abusive banking practices??

NP: Oh, gold absolutely was a more effective check on excessive financial growth and abuses. Gold was effectively a regulation in a way. It did restrain bankers’ expansion because they had to have a certain reserve amount set aside and with a real asset that other World participants were involved in as well. Because of this, US bankers’ had less control of the movement of gold in and out of their firms. Once they convinced the US government to get off of the gold standard and away from this requirement that gold back transactions or speculations or expansions, they then had access to a whole new level of expansion.

That is why today, they much prefer having zero interest rate money, cheap money, so they have less barriers to their activities. This is part of the same pattern and logic of getting off the gold standard – they prefer the less constrained path to speculation. There was a tremendous expansion globally of the US banking interests, which had already started, after the wars, but increased after the gold standard was eliminated because it was just easier to do. There just less barriers for the bankers. They advocated very publicly that the gold standard be removed and in fact, when Nixon finally announced this in ’71 he did not come up with the idea himself; it was something that Walter Wriston, who was chairman of National City Bank and David Rockefeller, who was chairman of Chase and advocated very strongly through letters and correspondence and other types of personal conversations that I discuss in my book.

LS: Do you think that gold will have a future in the monetary system?

NP: I think there is certainly a ground full of people who want that in countries outside the US because of how the financial system has evolved globally; the US banks in particular have so much power, politically and financially. Politically because of their alliance with the US government and financially, because of how much they leveraged cheap capital without reserves like gold behind it.

But that is also the reason why I think it is going to take a very major shift in power, political and financial power, to have gold really … have that kind of future -because these bankers are going to be fighting it tooth and nail. These institutions, these relationships that they have with leadership in Washington, with the Federal Reserve, reveal how a tremendous amount of might has gone into not having gold backing speculative transactions and expansions throughout the world.

So I think it is going to be a very tough battle for gold to make a comeback as an actual requirement to back speculation. It is going to be a very long haul if it is possible at all, given the opposition from a very strong concentrated and powerful political and financial alliance in the US.

LS: One thing that sustained the US Dollar after the early 1970s was the fact that oil was only sold in US Dollars. How did the petro dollar change in the 1970s the relationship between Wall Street and Washington??

NP: That is an excellent question because the history that I traced back from the early 1900s through the 70s is a history of very close relationships, family ties and societal associations between bankers on Wall Street and leaders in Washington being primarily on the same page policy wise. But by the time the bankers discovered that they could be involved in recycling petro dollars, the money that was made in dollars off of the oil profits in the Middle East, they started to fragment from having to even pretend to be aligned with US policies that helped the national population at home or people globally.

All of a sudden they had this outside source of tremendous profitability and capital that they then recycled into debt into Latin American countries where they had wanted to expand but now they had this additional capital with which to do it. They started to detach from aligning with the government, except where it suited their own interests exclusively, even though they still have tight ties with the elite members of the US government and continue to push for their own interests today. Additionally, the pre-1970s accountability has declined as recklessness has increased in the most powerful Wall Street banks and bankers.

LS: Yeah. One illustration might be the following: In your book you are writing about the revolution in Iran in 1979 and how that was caused in part by very selfish action undertaken by David Rockefeller. Could you tell us about this please??

NP: Yes, I spent a lot of time at all the libraries of the presidents in my book, but at Jimmy Carter’s archives, in Atlanta, Georgia, they have a system called the RAC system, which has many files, particularly national security files that have recently been unveiled. Through tracing those it was evident that there was a lot of tension in Washington over the relationship that David Rockefeller had had with the Shah of Iran before the Iran crisis, during the Iran hostage crisis, but also after that, when Chase unilaterally chose to do something very ballsy, at the bequest of David Rockefeller, which was to not accept an interest payment from the Central Bank of Iran. Chase decided this without consulting a syndicate of lenders for this loan, including European lenders as well as US lenders, and after not accepting that interest payment, they then declared the bank in default.

This was the first default that had ever occurred for the Iranian Central Bank, it really heightened the tensions over what was happening with the hostage crisis and in general relationships between the US and Iran. Even at the end of the hostage crisis the agreement to release the hostages came down to receiving a lot of the moneys back that had been sequestered by Chase and other banks and this continued in the last moments before the release of the hostages, which happened under Ronald Reagan’s administration and not Carter’s. There was a lot of activity between the banks involved about changing numbers and not trusting numbers on one side from the US relative to Iran and so forth.

It is a very intricate story but basically it does show that David Rockefeller’s relationship with the Shah was part of why the hostage crisis even happened, and the fact that it went for so long, in particular the negotiations at the very end that came down to money. These were problems caused by Chase and other banks that delayed the entire thing.

LS: Let’s go fast forward. Do you see the US financial power on the globe in decline?

NP: I don’t because – and this is different from what a lot of my contemporaries are saying – because of this power alliance that exists, because of the tightness and the historical connections between the White House and the most powerful players and institutions and legacies on Wall Street. There is so much at stake for both sides, and there are such epic subsidies thrown at keeping the financial system as it is because it reinforces the power of the Washington government and vice versa.

This is why the government allows these major bankers and institutions to get away with what they do and subsidizes them to the extent that it does. These banks are being artificially propped up because of subsidies and not by their own inherent profitability. This is a very dangerous position that they are in, and that they place all of us in. The Fed hold 4.2 trillion dollars of securities on its book, due to an epic level of bond purchasing, in addition to pursuing a zero interest rate policy for nearly six years now in the wake of the 2008 crisis.

This is just another indication of how much might, how much power, how many dumb, but real decisions, are being made in Washington to maintain this power alliance. I don’t think there is any other nation in the world right now who has such a strong and historic connection between its politics and its banking system, and that is why the US continues to do what it does and make these decisions and allow impunity for these individuals in this power game. I think that as long as there is so much subsidization and so little accountability of the banking system, US financial power will be maintained. It is a bad way of maintaining power, but I think that is what we are seeing right now and will be.

LS: One spontaneous question: Do you think the intelligence agencies of the US are also involved in this; in sustaining the financial system in the US?

NP: It is not really something I researched in my book and it is really a whole other can of worms. But intelligence systems in the US form part of the glue between – from a technology perspective – the glue between finance and government. National security policies in general have been aligned with the policies of expansion of banks for decades. And as I mentioned before regarding analyzing the 70s, those were national security records that I was looking at, not Treasury records, to figure out what had really gone on during the Iran hostage crisis; so I am sure as the years go on we will see more documents, that will show a strong alignment of more recent national security initiatives with political and financial elite.

LS: What do see as the end game of the ongoing financial crisis and how can people prepare for it?

NP: That is also an excellent question. The end game is the game that we are in now. The major financial players, have in the wake of the 2008 crisis, been ridiculously subsidized by governments, predominantly in the US as we have been talking about, but also in Europe – the ECB has made some record types of decisions to maintain the largest banks in Europe and to help them.

I see this continuing, and the result will be more concentration and consolidation at the hands of the biggest banks and the biggest bank leaders than we have never had before. In the US, for example, the big six banks today have more assets, more deposits, and control more derivatives than in any other time in US history. As such a small group of individuals and institutions control so much capital and implicitly those connections to the political elite as well, this game continues; this concentration of greater power and capital continues.

Where does that goes? I mean it has so far continued to go in the wrong direction with respect to a stabilizing situation for individuals. So how do we protect ourselves? We can minimize the money that we keep in the largest banks. Even if we have mortgages in those banks, we can try and still minimize the other amounts of capital that we involve because that is a way to at least be partly outside of this rigged system a little bit. I think that is important. We have to realize that the euphoria of this supposed recovery that we have been hearing about since 2009 is really a manufactured recovery on the back of zero percent interest rates and epic bond buying program and all the other things that are going on behind the scenes between political leaders and bank leaders that maintain the appearance of health but are really a manipulated appearance.

LS: One final question: Why did you give up your career in banking, Nomi?

NP: I was done with it and this was over twelve years ago now. For me it was a decision that had been brewing already and in 2001, it was a combination of the Enron scandals, WorldCom, 9/11, you know, I had been in banking for a while and seen a lot of things change in the time that I had been there, that fueled my own disillusionment with the types of people that were rising in the institutions. It was all deeply distasteful: the level of secrecy, the level of just sheer – not just greed – but this denial of transparency to costumers or clients or investors of the transactions and securities being created and what the downsides of those transactions were. When I first started on Wall Street it was more important for us to show clients what the downside of any particular trade would be. You know, if you buy this, if you sell this, if you do this combination, this could happen in an adverse scenario. But that became something of less and less interest within banking. The credit derivatives market, of course, was blowing up at the time that I was leaving the industry.

I warned about what would happen when I became a writer; in my very first book, ‘Other People’s Money’ that came out in 2004, in the wake of Glass-Steagall appeal if we did not get Glass-Steagall back, if we continued on the path of credit derivatives and CDOs and using loans to line faulty securities – that it was going to create a large crisis, and it did. I still believe it will again. What I do now is try to do is alert people as to what is happening using the experiences that I gained while I was there. The disillusionment and criticism that I felt when I left, I have kept. And I think I have been proven right publicly as well. Plus, I have a much better life as a writer than I did as a banker because I am much clearer with my own conscience as well.

For the new book by Nomi Prins, “All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power,“ April 2014, Nation Books.

Nomi Prins, who grew up in the US state of New York, worked after her studies in mathematics and statistics for Chase Manhattan, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns in London and as a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street. After she left the financial industry in 2001/02, she became an outstanding financial journalist who has written by now five books including: “It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bailout, Bonuses, and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street,” that was published in September 2009 by Wiley. Furthermore, she is a Senior Fellow at “Demos” in New York City, gave numerous interviews to international outlets such as BBC World, BBC, Russia Today, CNN, CNBC, CSPAN and Fox, and her articles appear in The New York Times, Fortune, The Nation, The American Prospect and The Guardian in Britain. The website of Nomi Prins can be found here: http://www.nomiprins.com/. She lives in Los Angeles, USA.

Click the link to see the 2011 interview from Lars Schall with Nomi Prins on behalf of Gold Switzerland, “Market Manipulation and the Second Great Depression”.

The nuclear disaster in Fukushima which followed in the wake of the 3/11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami has given rise to one of the most significant public health crises in modern world history, with profound implications for how nuclear energy is perceived. This paper analyzes the most dire phase of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, showing how the level of risk was assessed by nuclear experts and state-level actors who worked largely out of view of public scrutiny. In addition to examining how the accident progression in the reactors was addressed and conveyed to the general public, the paper addresses how the exclusionary zones were determined by Japanese and foreign governments in Japan.

As the crisis unfolded and efforts to bring the reactors under control were initially proving ineffective, concerns increased that the dispersion of radioactive fallout was unmitigated, and with radiation monitoring by the U.S. military indicating levels significantly beyond TEPCO’s conservative assessments, the United States broke with Japan, recommending an 80km exclusionary zone, and initiating military assisted departures for embassy staff and Department of Defense dependents from Japan. These actions deviated significantly from Japan’s assessments (which had established a 30km evacuation zone), creating a dynamic where the U.S. provided technical consultation for the nuclear response while striving to maintain a delicate diplomatic balance as they attempted to impose a qualitatively different crisis management response. Because this crisis had significant implications for Japan’s international relations, diplomatic considerations have helped to suppress the complex, often fractious relations between Japan and foreign governments – especially the United States – whose collective efforts eventually turned the tide from managing the nuclear meltdowns to ameliorating their long-term consequences. Based on interviews with political officials in both the Japanese government and foreign embassies in Japan, and nuclear experts and military officers who worked the crisis, the paper analyzes how technical assessments drove decision making and were translated into political policy.

Introduction

This paper analyzes institutional response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, looking at how experts and key decision-making elites in the United States assessed the crisis and set policies as representatives of their organizations. In particular, it examines two related issues: the reactor meltdowns and the dispersion of radioactive fallout, and analyzes the political consequences of the divergent interpretations which developed in the first few days of the crisis around these issues. The framing of these central issues helped construct the general perception of risk that prevailed in this phase of the crisis, and provides a reference point against which to measure subsequent views as the crisis evolved over the longer term. The paper touches on the differences in perception between various foreign governments and examines the political implications of the crisis for international alliances in Japan.

In addition to examining how the accident progression in the reactors was addressed and conveyed to the general public, the paper will discuss how the exclusionary zones and evacuations from areas in close proximity to the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) were determined by Japanese and foreign governments in Japan. As the crisis unfolded and efforts to bring the reactors under control were initially proving ineffective, concerns increased that radiation dispersion was significantly beyond what TEPCO was indicating, and as a result, the United States recommended an 80km exclusionary zone and initiated military-assisted departures for embassy staff and Department of Defense dependents from Japan. These actions deviated significantly from Japan’s assessments (which had established a 30km evacuation zone), creating a dynamicin which the U.S.providedtechnical consultation for the nuclear response whilestriving tomaintain a delicate diplomatic balance as it attempted to impose a qualitatively different crisis management response.

This analysis is based primarily on in-depth interviews with diplomats in foreign embassies, military officials, journalists, nuclear scientists, and scholars, and examines how their collective narratives evolved in interaction with public sentiment as the crisis unfolded. The scope of the analysis is focused on the reflective perceptions of actors as they attempted to make sense of the crisis retrospectively after the 3.11 disasters. Because of diplomatic sensitivities and because some of the experts whose perspectives are represented in this analysis are constrained by organizational obligations that preclude them from revealing their identity, some of the sources remain confidential. In each case in which the identity of a source has been withheld, the information has been verified by independent sources.

“Meltdown” at Fukushima Daiichi

In the fitful hours after Japan experienced its largest ever recorded earthquake on March 11, 2011, the coastline of Tohoku lay in ruins from a tsunami that swept entire towns out to sea, resulting in the death of almost 20,000 people. As the world stood transfixed by the scale of devastation wrought by the tsunami, Japan ramped up its disaster management assets to address this crisis, coordinating its efforts with foreign governments and humanitarian relief organizations. While the international community initially mobilized to offer support for tsunami relief efforts in Tohoku, attention soon turned to the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima.

In retrospect, the condition of the Daiichi plant in the most dire phase of the crisis seems readily transparent, as an unending litany of bad news has cast the situation in such continuing negative connotations that, like Chernobyl, Fukushima has taken on talismanic connotations to serve as a symbol of nuclear dread. But in the first few days of the crisis, with little meaningful information being provided amidst the disorienting impact of the earthquake and tsunami, and TEPCO offering assurances that were uncritically passed on by the government and a docile press, hope remained that the situation could be brought under control. This wishful thinking was soon made irrational by the explosion of the outer containment structure of reactor #1, which was so powerful (the explosion broke windows 3km from the plant) that both plant workers inside the Daiichi complex and nuclear experts watching from afar initially believed that the reactor core itself had exploded.

With the explosion of the reactor #1 building there was no doubting the significance of this crisis, but calibrating the actual risk and danger that this presented to the general public was a moving target, with competing risk narratives that developed almost immediately after the initial news reports were released that the Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants in Tohoku were in trouble. In the first few days of the nuclear crisis the information made available to the public was confusing, contradictory and frustrating. Despite a massive explosion that destroyed the outer, secondary containment structure of the Daiichi reactor #1 building, soon to be followed on the next day by a similar explosion of the reactor #3 building, TEPCO insisted that the primary reactor core containment was intact and that there were no releases of radiation that posed a threat to public health. Initially, conjecture held sway, with the foreign media challenging the Japanese press corps, who did little more than pass along TEPCO’s announcements, essentially serving as a PR agency for the utility.

By this time, the Japanese and foreign media reportage characterized the situation as dire, even as the TEPCO officials and government were staging press conferences that offered platitudes of assurance while conveying facts that contradicted these statements. For the reporters who covered the crisis, the information provided by the utility was incoherent, contradictory and alarming. At the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) offices in Tokyo, senior editors debated how to characterize the crisis. When the government spokesman Edano Yukio conceded on March 13th that one of the reactors might be in “meltdown,” the WSJ editors noted that the nomenclature of “meltdown” as a label to describe the situation was culturally distinct, with different nuances of meaning between the Japanese term “炉心溶融  and the Western notion of a “meltdown,” which carried more ominous connotations than the straightforward transliteration of the word “meltdown” into Japanese.1

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term “meltdown” as including “[1] the accidental melting of the core of a nuclear reactor; [2] a rapid or disastrous decline or collapse; [3] a breakdown of self control, (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2012), and the Oxford English Dictionary explains that “a meltdown was originally a catastrophic accident in a nuclear reactor, but this literal meaning has been swamped by the figurative sense of ‘a disastrous collapse or breakdown’. The term is now used metaphorically to refer to a chaotic loss of control, which is derived from the accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, where the reactors “ran away” from operator control, releasing significant amounts of radiation as a result of their errors. These accidents are now widely regarded as being the result of institutional failure, and TEPCO’s parsing of the term may have been a way to skirt the issue of responsibility by placing the emphasis only on the melting of nuclear fuel, rather than their own loss of control of the plant.

Although the term “meltdown” is in common usage, and was invoked by the press almost immediately after the crisis began, within the scientific community this term is not recognized as a scientifically meaningful description. The term is not included in the International Atomic Energy Association’s 224 page “Safety Glossary” which enumerates terminology used in nuclear safety and radiation protection, and the term “partial core melt” is used only once to describe a Level 4 “Accident With Significant Off-site Risk,” as indicated by the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), which charts the levels of magnitude of nuclear “events”. The scale is an indication of the inherent industry bias of technical description, denuded of adjectives or critical phraseology that might be construed as danger, emphasizing the more neutral notion of relative risk. The International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) refers to this as “a simple scale, designed for promptly communicating to the public in consistent terms the safety significance of events at nuclear facilities” (my emphasis).

On May 24, 2011 on the eve of a visit by an IAEA delegation, TEPCO officials announced that their data indicated that three of the reactors had in fact experienced meltdowns within hours of the loss of power following the tsunami. At this press conference, the issue of how this was previously characterized was revisited, with TEPCO now claiming that the meltdowns could only then be confirmed, and that they had previously suggested this possibility in reactor #1 on May 14, 2011. The media coverage of this revelation challenged TEPCO’s motives for revealing this information months after the fact, suggesting that this was in deference to international pressure, as a face-saving gesture directed toward the visiting delegation of IAEA ministers. Alternate media and independent reporters had been asserting the possibility of multiple meltdowns from the beginning, and while this possibility was presented by mainstream press as well, these stories were tempered by the acknowledgement that with no ability to see within the reactors, these scenarios were speculative at best.

For nuclear experts, the debate over whether or not meltdowns had occurred was largely a political controversy being played out in the echo chamber of the mass media, as it was taken as a given that significant meltdowns had started early in the trajectory of the reactor accident progression (TEPCO would late specify that within 8 hours after the loss of power, meltdowns had occurred). In the scientific community it has long been recognized that at high temperature the zirconium alloy cladding that holds the fuel rods melts, leading to a chemical disassociation of the water molecules surrounding the fuel rods, releasing hydrogen and oxygen, which combines to form a highly volatile gas. Despite the venting of radioactive gases in the Three Mile Island (TMI) accident, the most ominous threat that the accident posed was a hydrogen explosion that could have blown the reactor out, leading to a catastrophic release that would have been much more severe than what actually transpired. Through intense scrutiny it was determined that the infamous hydrogen bubble that built up inside the reactor #2 building at TMI could not explode due to a lack of oxygen, and remedial efforts were able to reduce the size of the bubble until it was no longer a threat. But in Fukushima, the powerful explosions that destroyed the buildings housing the Daiichi reactors could only have happened if a core melt was significant enough to release high levels of hydrogen gas, and the subsequent explosions were proof positive that catastrophic meltdowns had already occurred. As a result, while the media debated the relative chances of a meltdown and quibbled over the nomenclature, the nuclear experts who worked the crisis knew early on unambiguously that the Daiichi plant was in deep trouble, and mobilized their resources accordingly.

As the Daiichi plant’s condition rapidly deteriorated, it became clearly evident that the situation was beyond the control of the TEPCO administrators, which undermined their authority, lending credence to the widespread perception that they were not forthcoming with information. Government officials and TEPCO spokesmen claimed that they had been withholding this information in order to prevent panic in the early days of the crisis, but this revelation was taken as evidence that officials were deceiving the public and that TEPCO was more concerned about protecting its investments than it was in ensuring public safety.

For the foreign press, the devastation of the tsunami was the initial focus of coverage, diverting attention from the nuclear crisis, which in the first few days remained opaque, while the implications of the tsunami were clearly evident. Although major media conglomerates such as Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press had the resources to divide coverage between the two conjoined disasters, other major media organizations such as the New York Times, The Times of London, the BBC and CNN have scarce resources on the ground in Japan (most of the Asia bureaus for major media outlets have moved from Japan to China in the last decade), and the senior editors for these publications were mobilized to the coastland of Tohoku to cover the tsunami.

The media followed a pattern that played out in the foreign embassies in Japan as well, in which nuclear experts in their home countries provided consultation for assessing the situation. But while these authorities may have had considerable experience dealing with nuclear issues, they had virtually no culturally contextualized knowledge of Japan, and in the short-term had no access to more nuanced local information of what was transpiring at the Daiichi plant. Organizational elites, both in the diplomatic corps and in the foreign media, relied primarily on the Japanese mainstream media for more specific information, tempering this with the widely divergent, often random reports that were filtering out through social media, which, being less constrained by organizational vetting and mainstream considerations, tended to be more alarmist, amplifying the analysis to interpretations that often were dismissed because they were at the time unwarranted by the facts (which, after all, were not available at that time). In retrospect, many of these reports have been vindicated by information that has gradually become available as a series of revelations by disgruntled former industry officials, retired government authorities and scholars has given credence to views that had previously been seen as overwrought.

Radiation Plume Politics

At Three Mile Island, it was not until three years after the accident that plant managers were able to look into the reactors and determine that the core of reactor #2 had melted down. At Fukushima, with a station blackout and the plant in disarray as staff frantically tried to recover power, the situation in the first days of the crisis remained fluid, with little meaningful information to convey. If the actual situation was unclear to workers inside the plant, it was entirely opaque to those outside, including the diplomatic corps at embassies in Japan and nuclear authorities from abroad, who were pressing the Japanese government to provide specific information. In addition to concerns about what was developing inside the reactors, a central issue of risk assessment – and trust – was related to the spread of radioactive materials disseminating from the plant. After a frustrating delay in venting reactor #1 that pitted Prime Minister Kan against a recalcitrant TEPCO management that was internally divided and uncooperative, evacuations from nearby the plant commenced with little government guidance and no information made available that could help guide prefectural authorities in their actions.

The Japanese government had established a computer modeling “System for Prediction of Environment Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI)” in 1980, following the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, to provide detailed computer modeling projections of how weather patterns dispersed radioactive fallout into the environment. Although the system was operative throughout the Fukushima crisis, it was not properly utilized for its intended purpose. Technically, the system relies on data from the source of a radioactive release to determine the amount of radioactive materials that are escaping into the environment, which is then modeled through computer algorithms to indicate where the radioactive plume will be dispersed by the weather into the surrounding area. This is a complex assessment, relying on an estimate of the level and composition of radioactive isotopes that must somehow escape containment (via venting or, in the Daiichi crisis, hydrogen explosions), and a calculation of where this radioactive plume will be carried by shifting winds and modulated by precipitation effects. Under laboratory conditions, precise values may be factored into the equation, but in the chaos of the Daiichi crisis, little information was available to factor into the equation. Although fixed station radiation monitoring posts continued to stream data throughout the duration of the crisis, with the loss of instrumentation due to the station blackout, the most important data of radiation readings in close proximity to the Daiichi plant was not made available in a timely manner that could have been factored into the SPEEDI system to make it functionally operable. Stunned into inaction by the severity of the accident and the ensuing chaos, and unwilling to stake their claims on a system that was deemed to be untrustworthy due to incomplete information, Japanese authorities did not utilize SPEEDI to factor its results into evacuation orders.

As fears about the reactors heightened and TEPCO prepared to vent reactor #1, on March 12 the government evacuated four towns located nearby the reactors, increasing the evacuation zone from 2km, as decided in the evening of the previous day, to 10km (6.2 miles, cf. Table 2). Two of the towns – Futaba and Okuma – were assisted in the evacuation, with the government providing buses to transport citizens. Despite this initial support, refugees from Namie and Tomioka, who were in evacuation areas initially only 8km (4.4 miles) from the plant, were thereafter left to fend for themselves with neither direction nor support offered by the Japanese government, and fled northwest, right into the path of the radioactive plume, just where SPEEDI, had it been implemented, would have predicted the fallout would go. This scandal firmly linked the Japanese government to TEPCO as corrupt and incompetent on fundamental issues of radiation assessment. Whereas the hapless handling of the reactors had been attributed to a lack of regulatory oversight that prefigured TEPCO’s chaotic response to the disaster, the SPEEDI scandal was seen as being the result of incompetence at the highest levels of government, betraying a lack of concern for the people most at risk from the nuclear disaster.

Despite having elaborate evacuation plans that previously had been coordinated with TEPCO, Baba Tomatsu, the mayor of Namie, initially learned of the nuclear disaster by watching it on TV and was bitterly resentful of the lack of consideration that put his village at risk:

There was no coordination with the Japanese Government. Nothing. They didn’t tell us where to evacuate. Nothing. Namie machi did everything by ourselves. And, disappointingly, because we didn’t hear anything from the government – no advisories – we used anything that we had—school buses and such—to move people out of the area. People’s cars were destroyed by the tsunami so we placed those people in those buses. At that time, the people who had ways to evacuate had already evacuated, to Miyagi, or Yamagata prefecture. So the 21,000 people were all scattered like a bee’s hive.2

Because we had no information we were unwittingly evacuating to an area where the radiation level was high so I’m very worried about the people’s health. I feel pain in my heart but also rage over the poor actions of the government… 
It’s not nice language but I still think it was an act of murder. What were they thinking when it came to the people’s dignity and lives? I doubt that they even thought about our existence.3

The New York Times helped break this story in the foreign media in a critical analysis of how officials withheld information and the subsequent influence this had on Japanese public opinion toward the government. Onishi Nori, one of the reporters who worked the story, emphasized the qualitative shift in orientation that this brought to Japanese politics:

In the first couple of months after 3.11, the public inclination was to still trust what the government was saying and what the media was describing, but that started to breakdown by May, and that was reflected in public opinion polls at that time.

The recognition of the meltdown was big. When the Japanese government finally acknowledged that there was a meltdown in mid-May, the Japanese people said, “what does this mean?” The foreign media had written about the meltdown in the first week of the disaster, and the Japanese government had criticized the foreign media for being alarmist, and here they were a few months later saying ‘oh yeah, I guess there were meltdowns.’

That was a key moment, as was the SPEEDI issue. That breakdown in trust toward the government, toward the media – you never really saw that before last year. For the first time, I had many people say to me ‘thank God for the foreign media, they are the only ones telling the truth’.4

Elements of this story had already been covered in the Japanese media, dating to April, 2011, when Kosako Toshiso, a former professor at the University of Tokyo and member of the government’s impromptu advisory group on radiation, resigned in protest over the government’s mishandling of SPEEDI, linking it to subsequent arbitrary loosening of radiation danger threshold standards. Kosako’s resignation was the first significant crack in the public façade being maintained by the government, and this story increased in significance as it was associated with government deception and collusion. By April, an Asahi Shimbun public opinion poll indicated that only 21% supported the Kan administration with 60% opposed, and in response to the question “Do you think the government’s dissemination of information about the accident in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was appropriate?” only 16% answered in the affirmative, with 73% saying that it was inappropriate.

With the SPEEDI data, it appears that social media was instrumental in making the system known outside a small circle of bureaucrats who were reluctant to act on the information, and who themselves were not initially aware of the database because this information was compartmentalized in other offices and no one was discussing it. With no one asking the right questions to the right people, the information lay dormant. The SPEEDI data was not initially conveyed to local officials in Fukushima, but was known to some Japanese government officials in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the government office under which SPEEDI is administered. Although the staff who were compiling the information for the SPEEDI computer modeling had data in-hand by the first day of the accident, they withheld the predictions, claiming a lack of certainty about its accuracy due to incomplete data (the model depended in part on data from the nuclear plant, but with the power supply down, this was not available to factor into the overall assessment).

Suzuki Kan, the Vice Minister of MEXT, the agency in charge of radiation assessment, did not know about SPEEDI and learned of it only when Hayano Ryugo, a particle physicist and Chairman of the Department of Physics at the University of Tokyo, approached him to inquire how the SPEEDI data was being utilized and to request access to the data so that he could run an analysis. Minister Suzuki thereafter made internal inquiries and confirmed on March 19th that the system was operative but not being properly utilized, but in the interim, Professor Hayano began Tweeting about SPEEDI, drawing attention to the issue.5

Yahoo Japan had recommended Hayano on their top-page as a person of note shortly after the nuclear crisis began, and thereafter, his following grew exponentially to reach a broader public audience. These Twitter posts also came to the attention of Shikata Noriyuki, who at the time of the nuclear accident was Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs and Director of Global Communications at the Prime Minister’s Office. Secretary Shikata informed Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuyama Tetsuro on March 15 and information about SPEEDI was then conveyed to the U.S. Embassy and military through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. SPEEDI was not revealed officially to the general public until March 23, but by then, information about this system was spreading through social networks and into the mainstream media.

This information flow became an important feedback loop, providing information to MEXT officials about their own system. Shikata, who after being approached had started following Hayano’s tweets, and began consulting with him about technical matters to assess the accuracy of the scientific data they were attempting to convey at governmental press conferences. Shikata then asked Hayano to help him inform the foreign media because of his bilingual language proficiency and his ability to communicate about technical issues clearly and efficiently.6

It is by now a common belief that the confusion that reigned in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami and nuclear crisis was due to a lack of information. While this may have been the case for the general public who lacked access to meaningful information and were relying on media reports, TEPCO and the Japanese government had multiple sources of information that could have helped contextualize and explain the efforts they were taking to address the situation. Rather, TEPCO was initially reluctant to acknowledge the seriousness of the crisis and instead of explaining the situation, simply provided raw data without an interpretative frame that would have allowed non-specialists to make sense of the information and assess their claims. William Sposato, the Deputy Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal in Tokyo characterized the reaction of many of the foreign journalists who were working the crisis at this time:

I don’t know of an instance where they lied deliberately, but their news conferences went on forever, they were filled with useless information, and they were unwilling to distill that information. They knew more about this than anyone else, and they could have taken the body of information they had and said ‘this is what we think is the most significant information that you need to know – this is the line we think you should look at’”. Unbelievable amounts of data, and the data would keep shifting: ‘today we have becquerels per square meter 100 yards from the plant. Tomorrow, we have millisieverts per hour a mile away from the plant.’ Is it getting better or is it getting worse? Their data gathering was just all over the map.7

Ironically, while TEPCO was “drowning journalists with data” (as Christoph Neidhart, the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung Tokyo bureau chief who attended their daily press conferences put it),8 Hayano’s Twitter posts reached a large and diverse audience, and was all the more persuasive because of its brevity. Where it not for Hayano, cogently encapsulating complex technical information into 100 character tweets and talking with the appropriate officials, the information may not have come out.

The SPEEDI contretemps, as with the divergent interpretations about the condition of the reactors previously discussed, indicates the complexity of how information develops and is utilized in complex, “normal accidents”. The multiple government and embassy offices, rather than being integrated under a common chain of command as part of an integrated crisis management system, compartmentalized information in silos, not only ineffectively communicating outside their respective bureaucracies, but often not discussing important facts even among themselves. The press helped link these together, as it pushed and prodded for information, compelling officials to explain their actions and account for their policies.

While the Japanese press attempted to burrow down into the details of the organizational chaos, the foreign press continued to amplify the crisis, framing it in terms that would appeal to foreign viewers who were distracted from the tsunami because of the crisis and disinterested in the internecine politics of obscure bureaucratic officials. Taken together, these combined into a compelling narrative arch, as the Japan-based journalists revealed bureaucratic ineptitude that provided a grounding in reality to the more critical views that were gaining traction. Lacking contextual perspective, and with scarce information available in any case, the foreign press played up fears of apocalyptic doom. Lacking information about what was really transpiring at the Daiichi plant and living through the uncertainty and chaos in those early days after the earthquake, the local press looked for explanation in the actions of specific organizational elites, and found little of worth. These views aligned in the assessment of foreign authorities, who, doubting the information they were receiving, began to distrust the leaders who were providing it.

The controversy over the SPEEDI data was later compounded by the disclosure that on March 14 this data, which had been withheld from local Japanese officials and those in the path of the fallout (the Japanese public did not find out until 9 days later), had been released in hourly reports to the U.S. embassy and military who were working on relief efforts in the area. For many, this hardened views that TEPCO and the Japanese government were more concerned about vested interests and state-level political concerns than they were about the well-being of their most vulnerable citizens. It also raised questions about what was really transpiring behind the scenes while these entities ineptly attempted to manage the story and project an increasingly implausible facade of control.

Negotiating Risk: International Divergence in Radiation Assessment

In the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, an unprecedented relief effort comprised of domestic and international NGOs, unaffiliated citizen volunteers, and government associated organizations from 116 countries descended on Japan to provide disaster relief in the Tohoku region. This impressively international outpouring of support demonstrated genuine humanitarian concern, and it cast the most unambiguously positive light on the 3.11 crises disaster response. While initially these tsunami relief efforts stood as a salutary example of international cooperation, as the nuclear crisis unfolded and eclipsed attention on the aftermath of the tsunami, this narrative turned toward one of confusion, suspicion and deceit, with TEPCO – and, by association, the Japanese government – being cast in a negative light, not only by Japanese citizens, who were increasingly feeling misled by government authorities, but by foreign governments, who were frustrated by the lack of information being provided by TEPCO and Japanese government officials about what was actually transpiring at Fukushima Daiichi.

Because of its long-standing strategic political alliance with Japan, buttressed by the largest array of military bases outside the continental U.S. and the only forward-deployed nuclear aircraft carrier group in the U.S. military, the United States was the most significant foreign responder in tsunami relief efforts and provided the most meaningful consultation and logistical support in the nuclear crisis. The U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), working in coordination with USAID and other federal agencies, was intimately involved in relief efforts in Tohoku from the beginning, and working closely with the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF), were significant first-responders to coastal villages that had been swamped by the tsunami. These joint operations in total involved 140 U.S. aircraft, 19,703 personnel and over 20 American naval ships, which represented a significant portion of the U.S. 7th fleet Naval Forces. U.S. troops participating in Operation Tomodachi (Friendship) worked in close coordination with the Japanese Ministry of Defense and SDF, a rare moment in the often fractious relations the U.S. military has experienced in Japan. Japanese public sentiment toward the U.S. soared as a result, with 84% of Japanese polled in the Cabinet Office’s annual report saying they had friendly feelings toward the United States, the highest tally by far since the survey began in 1978. These findings were replicated in a poll commissioned on June 9 by Japan’s Foreign Ministry (84% approval), and in a Pew Global Attitudes poll (85% approval) taken on June 1, 2011 which found similar results.

The U.S. government and military support for tsunami relief efforts through Operation Tomodachi have garnered considerable attention, but less is known about the role the U.S. military played in helping to respond to the Fukushima nuclear crisis. With the Sendai airport rendered inoperable by the tsunami, the U.S. Navy’s Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier group, parked off the coast of Fukushima, served as a fueling platform and staging area for tsunami relief, at which time military personnel were exposed to radiation emanating from the reactors. As the wind was blowing out to sea for the first couple of days after the onset of the crisis, aside from local communities near the Daiichi facility, servicemen on this nuclear powered aircraft carrier were among the first to be exposed to the radiation plume from the explosion of the Reactor 1 building on March 12. The exposure levels both on the ship and on the shoes of US servicemen who had temporarily landed on a Japanese command ship at 50 nautical miles from the plant were unexpectedly high, provoking the carrier group to back off from 60 to 180 nautical miles from the plant.

In transcribed telephone conversations between U.S. based federal government officials, nuclear authorities, U.S. embassy officials in Tokyo and military staff in the Pacific Command (PACOM) made available through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the U.S. government response to the nuclear crisis can be seen in real-time as it played out over the course of the first month of the crisis:

ADMIRAL DONALD: (…) Earlier this evening, as the USS Ronald Reagan was operating off the coast of Japan, we – the ship just arrived. We had given the ship some guidance as far as positioning was concerned to stay clear of the area of the potential plume, basically told her to stay 50 miles outside of the radius of the — 100 miles — excuse me — 50 miles radius outside of the plant and then 100 miles along the plume with a vector of 45 degrees. The ship was adhering to that requirement and detected some activity about two and a half times above normal airborne activity using on-board sensors on the aircraft carriers. So that indicated that they had found the plume and it was probably more significant than what we had originally thought. The second thing that has happened is we have had some helicopters conducting operations from the aircraft carrier and one of the helicopters came back from having stopped on board the Japanese command ship in the area, and people who had been on — were on the helicopter who had walked on the deck of the ship, were monitored and had elevated counts on their feet, 2500 counts per minute. But I wanted to get you guys on the line and my expert on the line so we can get the data and then the proper people notified.

MR. PONEMAN: Okay, I have a couple of questions. Number one, in terms of the level of radiation that you are picking up, what’s the delta between that and any information we have from the Japanese or other sources of what the level of radiation would be, given the venting and so forth that we know has occurred?

MR. MUELLER: So — this is Mueller — the sample that was taken and then what we detected, we were 100 nautical miles away and it’s — in our terms it’s — compared to just normal background it’s about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out at sea. And so we thought — we thought based on what we had heard on the reactors that we wouldn’t detect that level even at 25 miles. So it’s much greater than what we had thought. We didn’t think we would detect anything at 100 miles.

MR.. PONEMAN: You didn’t think you’d detect anything at 100 miles. Okay, and then in terms of the regulations and so forth of people operating in these kinds of areas, I forget some you know, acronym for it, PAG (Protective Action Guidelines) or something, how do the levels detected compare with what is permissible?

MR. MUELLER: If it were a member of the general public, it would take — well, it would take about 10 hours to reach a limit, a PAG limit.

MUELLER: Right. For a member of the public.

PONEMAN: Right. You mean, at the level you detected?

MR. MUELLER: Yes sir. But 10 hours, it’s a thyroid dose issue.

MR. PONEMAN: Okay, but the net of all this is that the amount of release that is detected by these two episodes whatever you would call them, is significantly higher than anything you would have expected what you have been reading from all sources?

MR. MUELLER: Yes sir. The number specific number we detected was 2.5 the times 10 to the 88 minus nine microcuries per milliliter, airborne, and that’s particulate airborne. It is — we did not take radioiodide samples so I don’t know that value, but this is particulate airborne…

MR. PONEMAN: Tell me again exactly how you picked up these two forms of samples.

MR. MUELLER: We have automatic detectors in the plant that picked up — picked up the airborne, and all of our continuous monitors alarmed at the same level, at this value. And then we took portable air samples on the flight desk and got the same value.

ADMIRAL DONALD: These are normally running continuous detectors, continuous monitors that run in the engine room all the time, monitoring our equipment.

MR. PONEMAN: These are detectors on the Reagan?

ADMIRAL DONALD: On the Ronald Reagan, correct.

MR. MUELLER: Yes sir.

MR. PONEMAN: On the Ronald Reagan. They are there because you have got equipment there that you know, it could emit stuff and while you were there, you picked up stuff that was ambient which indicated that you actually were in the plume?

MR. MUELLER: That’s correct.

MR. PONEMAN: And this was — this was 30 times higher than what you would have expected?

MR. MUELLER: Yes sir.9

With the Daiichi plant still a black box, and only spotty data to indicate the radiation dispersion, the U.S. quickly set up an independent parallel process of acquiring data, utilizing their vast array of military and governmental resources. These included the Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Monitoring System (AMS), on the ground radiation measurement surveys, fixed station radiation monitors, the RQ-4 Global Hawk military drone and classified military surveillance (the Lockheed U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and the P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft) and the nuclear aircraft carriers to help with the assessment. In order to make sense of this data, the U.S. relied on Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) administrators, who coordinated with the Department of Energy and the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, analysis by Naval Reactors’ experts at their research labs (comprised of approximately 6,000 staff), and an ad hoc collection of loosely affiliated former government specialists, retired military officers (nuclear engineers), scholars and former NRC staff. In order to consolidate these resources into an integrated command structure, the U.S. embassy in Tokyo conceived a “Bilateral Assistance Coordination Cell” (BACC), which met daily and included all USG agencies.

Through diplomatic channels, with U.S. Ambassador John Roos representing the State Department, the U.S. attempted to coordinate its response with the Japanese government. This had started soon after the onset of the crisis, focusing on tsunami relief efforts as the Japanese Self Defense Forces (SDF) and the United States Forces Japan (USFJ) developed joint operations using both U.S. and Japanese military bases as staging grounds for mounting their operations. With a keen eye on the diplomatic implications of the crisis, state-level actors took pains to highlight mutual cooperation, despite frustrations that developed backstage as the power outage at the Daiichi plant developed into a full-blown crisis. Until the U.S. nuclear authorities who were deployed to Japan were able to establish a working relation with TEPCO, they relied on information filtered through the Japanese government, which in the first few days was scarcely available: the only real-time information the U.S. had access to was a data stream on the MEXT website, and second-hand reports from NISA and other Japanese government agencies. At this time even the Japanese government did not know how bad the situation was, since TEPCO was downplaying the magnitude of the crisis even while the situation at the Daiichi plant continued to deteriorate.

Prime Minister Kan Naoto would eventually lose his job to the crisis, as confidence in the government plummeted, but in the early days of the crisis, he was notable for challenging the TEPCO officials, chastening them to be more forthcoming with information, and demanding action in the face of their intransigence. In June 2011 it was revealed that even though he had ordered them to dump seawater into the reactors, the TEPCO officials defied this order, realizing that the saltwater would render the reactors unusable, and the plant a total loss.The reactors were brought under tenuous control only when Yoshida Masao, the plant manager, ignored orders from his superiors and inundated the reactors.

The conflict between the Kan administration and the TEPCO officials reached an apex on March 15th, when TEPCO’s president Shimizu Masataka announced that TEPCO intended to withdraw from the plant due to the increasing radiation exposure to its employees. Kan’s insistence that TEPCO maintain operational control at the plant site may have prevented a much larger catastrophe. When TEPCO asked permission to withdraw from the plant, they may have been indicating that they were merely relocating to an operational center outside the plant, with a skeleton staff of workers to remain at the Daiichi Facility to monitor equipment and implement actions that could only be done on-site.10But to Kan, who had already endured TEPCO’s inordinate delay in venting reactor #1 and defiance in putting saltwater on the reactors, this alleged strategic disencampment to a facility off-site was the culmination of conflict that had started within hours of the plant blackout, and was taken as an abandonment of responsibility.

The question of whether TEPCO intended to entirely abandon the plant or only partly withdraw remains unresolved. The March 2012 “Rebuild Japan” independent report on the Fukushima crisis by a group of former government officials discusses this issue at length, and while they note that various parties indicated that they thought TEPCO was signaling total withdrawal, TEPCO officials contest this claim and after careful consideration, the report – and other subsequent governmental and independent reports -leave this matter unresolved. In retrospect, the true intentions of TEPCO remains obscure, but this dispute was important because it demonstrated that PM Kan did not trust TEPCO to fulfill their duties, and it established a dynamic of accusation and distrust between the principal players and organizations at the center of the crisis.

In subsequent reports both governmental and independent panels accused Kan of micro-managing the crisis, by intruding on the plant administrators charged with handling the situation, blurring the chain of command and unduly complicating decision-making at the worst possible time.Had the situation been under even tenuous control, such accusations might seem warranted, but there was scant indication that TEPCO had the situation in hand, and even with their active involvement, the situation continued to deteriorate and appeared to be sliding toward a catastrophic disaster that threatened the entire country.

Irrespective of the validity of these competing claims, both the Kan administration and the U.S. government experts who were monitoring the situation were convinced that TEPCO was intending to withdraw from the site, and exerted considerable pressure on TEPCO to remain, with Kan essentially requiring them to maintain sufficient staff to manage the operation. The implications for this were dire for the TEPCO staff, as the magnitude of the nuclear accident was growing more ominous, with no resolution in sight, and the remaining staff faced the prospect of lethal doses should they remain. Given the stakes involved, and as a way to provide legal cover for the implications of consigning plant workers to die on the job, the Japanese government simply raised the official threshold standards – the maximum legally allowable dose – for radiation workers at the plant. By utilizing deeply rooted sentimental notions of obligation, the “Fukushima Fifty” (actually there were seventy five workers who remained; the “Fukushima Fifty” was a snappy media created alliteration that helped sell the story) who remained were enlisted in service of a heroic trope that put a human face on TEPCO and allowed the Japanese government to claim the moral high ground (at least over TEPCO), while providing a means of addressing the crisis at the most crucial moment.

It was into this fracas that the U.S. and the other principle players involved in the crisis entered as they futilely attempted to glean information upon which they could make an assessment that would productively orient their actions. Foreign entities who were frantically trying to gather information saw a demoralizing situation: a utility who had lost control of the plant, who seemingly were incapable of taking effective remedial action and who were fighting with the Japanese government while the plant reactors fell like dominos, with no end in sight.

On the morning of March 16, a surveillance helicopter flying over the Daiichi reactors measured 4 sieverts per hour, a reading that alarmed the U.S. nuclear experts, giving further evidence that the spent fuel pool 4 was compromised and the pool was dry. A U.S. government nuclear expert who was directly involved in the U.S. government’s radiation assessment of this situation said:

At 100 meters away it (the helicopter) was reading 4 sieverts per hour. That is an astronomical number and it told me, what that number means to me, a trained person, is there is no water on the reactor cores and they are just melting down, there is nothing containing the release of radioactivity. It is an unmitigated, unshielded number. (Confidential communication, September 17, 2012).11

Within hours of this, the U.S. authorities became convinced that TEPCO was intending to leave the plant.

The prospect of TEPCO withdrawing from the plant focused everyone’s attention, as this would have truly been the nightmare scenario that alarmist pundits had been suggesting. Had TEPCO withdrawn operational staff from the Daiichi facility, all the reactors and spent fuel pools would have eventually melted down, releasing such severe levels of radiation that eventually the staff at the Daini facility (located 11.5 kilometers south of the Daiichi NPP) would also be forced to withdraw, with the result being that all the reactors and spent fuel pools at this plant would also have melted down. Given the fact that the spent fuel pools contain approximately 5 – 6 times more radionuclides than a working reactor, this would have been orders of magnitude more severe than the Chernobyl accident. It was with this in mind that the Japanese government discussed evacuating Tokyo. Alarmed at this possibility, in the U.S. embassy planning began to put thousands of Americans on the decks of the aircraft carriers to get them out immediately.

For the U.S. government, this would have jeopardized their ability to maintain the military base structure in Japan in the long term, an unthinkable prospect that would have compelled them in the short term to fully engage in the task of sorting the reactor crisis (despite the prospect of incurring lethal doses in the process), in coordination with the Japanese Ministry of Defense. Despite PM Kan’s rage at TEPCO’s defiance, from the vantage point of American radiation experts who were looking at the dramatically rising radiation levels, neither TEPCO nor the Japanese government fully appreciated the implications of TEPCO’s announced withdrawal. Although this has not yet been revealed to the public due to diplomatic sensitivities, backstage a series of contentious communications passed in short order between the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), the U.S. State Department (via U.S. Ambassador Roos), the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister’s office and TEPCO about the implications of TEPCO leaving the plant. In response to diplomatic pressure from the U.S., along with the recognition of what this might forebode for the SDF and the American military forces in Japan (and therefore the US-Japan Alliance), Kan flatly demanded that TEPCO officials remain at the plant.

This was an extremely sensitive diplomatic moment in the history of US-Japan relations. As an autonomous state, Japan could not be compelled to heed the U.S. government’s desires, even if they were scientifically grounded and pragmatically necessary. From the beginning of the crisis, the NRC, as a U.S. government federal agency whose scientific expertise is always modulated against its political influence, took pains to remain neutral and only offer advice when called upon, serving as a resource to the Japanese government. The NRC staff who arrived in Japan were directed to work through the appropriate diplomatic channels and deal cautiously with their counterparts in the Japanese nuclear industry. On March 14th, just a day before the U.S. learned TEPCO was planning on leaving the Daiichi plant, the NRC sent a missive to its staff and other U.S. nuclear experts in Japan that defined the parameters within which U.S. agencies were expected to operate in Japan:

1) This remains a Japanese response and NRC’s role will be to support the Japanese Emergency Responders in a manner that is appropriate.

2) NRC needs to be the primary contact with NISA and JNES because of our long-standing relationship

3) Public statements we make going forward will have enormous credibility, extreme caution will be necessary

We have now been asked by Japan to provide assistance to their Regulatory authorities and other emergency responders. This was undoubtedly an extremely difficult decision for the Japanese who had up to this point been among the top nuclear leaders in technical expertise, especially in seismic and tsunami matters.

The Japanese are now in their fourth day of responding to these emergencies and will remain the best informed about the current technical, legal, cultural, and regulatory issues. NRC can be of enormous assistance taking into consideration that we can help augment their already burdened staff. We must be sensitive to their needs and not interfere with their decision-making.

Recognizing that if we interfere, rather than assist, the consequences could be enormous.

It will be essential to help the Japanese maintain trust in their leaders to promote ongoing civil order in response to the nuclear crisis. Any inconsistencies or statements that undermine Japanese authority or expertise will have lasting affects as it could hamper current emergency efforts and their future ability to respond to these issues, long after international assistance recedes. Any interactions with the Japanese, other nations or public communication should take this into consideration.

It remains crucial that we build upon our long-standing cooperative relationship with the Japanese regulators. The NRC has a vast amount of expertise working with the Japanese program and personal relationships that should be used as a basis for strengthening, rather than shaking the confidence of the Japanese responders.

There should be sensitivity to not question the past actions, as there will be ample time to learn from these experiences.

Direct confrontation will also not be helpful. Multiple agency questions and interactions are an unnecessary distraction.

The NRC should remain the primary representative to communicate with NISA and JNES. Ultimately, our actions should not interfere or distract them. It also remains the best way culturally to approach the issue.12

While the U.S. diplomats and government agencies finessed the need to maintain good diplomatic relations while taking measures to protect U.S. citizens in Japan that eventually diverged from the Japanese response, the U.S. military was less concerned about political niceties than it was about force protection and defending their nuclear interests in the region. Had Kan not forced TEPCO to stay, an entirely different political dynamic would have ensued, with the U.S. government taking on a more central role in coordination with the Ministry of Defense and the SDF. Despite having some of the most sophisticated military assets in the world, the SDF is not a nuclear force: they have neither the experience nor corresponding expertise to sort such a complex nuclear disaster. The U.S. Navy, by comparison, owns approximately half of all the operational hours of nuclear reactors in history (approximately 6200 reactor years of operation), having been the first military force to deploy nuclear carriers and submarines – laden with nuclear weapons – with all the expertise that entails. And, they are there: the infrastructural footprint of U.S. military bases in Japan has been the bane of US-Japan public relations since the Pacific War, but these bases would have provided the U.S. with the necessary resources to mount the campaign, had it proved necessary. As a result, the U.S. would have undoubtedly taken technical lead in the crisis, having the SDF serve as proxy in order to protect the notion of Japanese state autonomy and in order to avoid throwing American soldiers on the nuclear pile. The Japanese Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department were well aware of these political implications and strove to avoid a public diplomatic row. By convincing TEPCO to remain, the U.S. and Japanese governments were able to have it both ways, with the U.S. providing crucial technical consultation but at an appropriately delicate diplomatic distance that allowed Japan to save face while taking the appropriate mitigating actions without the U.S. appearing to be puppet-master over a dependent client state.

In the first week of the crisis, a series of setbacks upped the ante, making it difficult for the NRC to remain in a passive, exclusively advisory role. Having just arrived in Japan a couple of days after the crisis began, and thus not being initially privy to the level of disagreement between TEPCO and the Japanese government, they engaged the situation at the worst possible moment, just as TEPCO announced its plans to leave the plant, and only shortly after TEPCO had defied orders to vent the reactors and put water into the cores to prevent the reactors from spinning entirely out of control.

The 16th of March was the longest day of the nuclear crisis. After the reactor #4 building exploded, debate centered on the condition of the spent fuel pool (SPF), which was worrisome because the spent fuel rods that had recently been cycled into storage were especially toxic. The condition of SPF 4 became a major source of contention between TEPCO and the NRC, as the Japanese authorities insisted that water remained in the pool, based on inferred technical information and on a video taken during a helicopter fly-by, which seemed to show reflection off water. The NRC experts were not persuaded: the video was scarcely one frame on a monochromatic screen that could have been a reflection off of materials that had been scattered when the building that contained the pool exploded. And in any case, this was not a firm enough basis to wager U.S. strategic regional interests and the safety of U.S. citizens living in Japan.


Table 1. Source: Briefing by NRC Chaiman Gregory B. Jaczko to U.S. Senator Jim Webb, June 17, 2011.

Weighing against this optimistic view based on a transient “shimmer” off water that could barely be seen were a number of more objective indicators that led the NRC to believe the pool had either leaked dry or that whatever water remained after the explosion had evaporated from the residual heat from the spent fuel rods. Like the explosions that destroyed the outer containment structures of reactors #1 and #3, the explosion in the reactor #4 building blew the building apart, and with the Spent Fuel Pool (SFP) positioned on the top floor, it defied logic to imagine that this pool (which is less robust than we would hope to imagine) would remain intact while much of the building was destroyed. When heavy moving equipment was brought in to clear a path to put water on the building, the radiation levels on the ground just outside the structure dropped by approximately 70%, indicating that high levels of radiation had dispersed from the pools. Thermal imagery from aerial surveillance showed hotspots – what could be fires breaking out in the building – a seeming impossibility if the pool contained water. Adding to this was the fact that steam had been seen rising from the building initially, but later stopped, suggesting that the water in the pool had evaporated, and when the infamous helicopter sorties over the reactors dropped water on the building, steam flashed out, which would be consistent with water falling on a hot, dry surface.13

By this time the TEPCO officials who were pressing the case had lost much of their credibility and despite their protestations and efforts to maintain a facade of control, operational staff – hands-on engineers – fearing reprisals from their superiors, privately conceded that they too believed the pool had run dry. At best, TEPCO was sending mixed messages to the NRC, not only about the condition of the Spent Fuel Pool #4 but also about their willingness to share information and resources to develop a coordinated response. After inviting the NRC to join them at their Emergency Operations Center, an invitation that was acted on by the NRC, who mobilized staff to set up shop at TEPCO headquarters, senior TEPCO officials then pointedly withdrew the invitation, providing yet more evidence that TEPCO was internally divided and disorganized, calling into question their assessments.

While this drama over the condition of Spent Fuel Pool #4 was playing out between the NRC and TEPCO (the first open disagreement between the US and Japan), the U.S. continued with their radiation surveys throughout the Tohoku region. The United States played an inordinately important role in measuring and compiling radiation data that nuclear authorities could use for assessing the Fukushima nuclear disaster. For the U.S., the organizations that initially played the most significant role in assessing the nuclear crisis were the NRC, which assigned over 200 staff stateside and sent a core team of 16 staff to Japan and Naval Reactors, which administers military platform nuclear reactors for the U.S. Navy, working in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy. From the beginning of the crisis, Japan-based foreign embassies and their supporting governments overseas sought to establish lines of communication with TEPCO via the Japanese government, but they were often rebuffed and even when lines of communication had been established, there was little to relate, as even the Japanese government could not attain meaningful information from TEPCO, who continued to downplay the severity of the situation. Until a working relationship was developed with TEPCO, the only source of real-time meaningful information available to external entities that would allow for radiation assessment was a live stream of data on the MEXT website from fixed monitoring posts.

In short proximity to the explosion of the reactor #4 building that was believed to destroy the spent fuel pool, higher than expected readings at the reactor site and TEPCO’s announcement that it was leaving, the DOE/USFJ radiation surveys measured a radiation hotspot at 38 kilometers distance from the Daiichi plant that was in excess of US Protective Action Guidelines (PAG). These PAG guidelines are utilized by the U.S. Department of Energy in coordination with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for siting commercial nuclear reactors and are the fundamental reference point for public health impact during a nuclear disaster (See Table 1).

Deploying to Japan from March 14 to March 28, THE U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration’s DOE/NNSA) Aerial Measuring System (AMS) conducted 100 survey flights, comprising 525 flight hours, using UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, C-12 Huron airplanes and eventually transferred special detector pods that are mounted on the airplanes to ground teams for vehicle-based ground surveys. Along with these assets, the U.S. relied on ground surveys by teams of military personnel using specially equipped radiation monitoring backpacks in “picket fences” that were mapped onto the air and ground vehicle surveys.

The U.S. government conducted more comprehensive radiation surveys than the Japanese government at this time, and crucially, the data was coalesced into integrated databases that could be assessed by their radiation authorities in Japan and abroad. While TEPCO authorities continued to put what increasingly appeared to be an implausibly optimistic spin on events, dissembled and stalled, fought with the Japanese government, frustrated and confused journalists with technically indecipherable data, the U.S. provided data to its various governmental agencies, shared this data with allies (including the Japanese government) and with TEPCO itself. They were not on the same page.

Based on assessments of this data, which was more specific and nuanced than the information being provided by the Japanese authorities, the U.S. broke with Japan, expanding its evacuation zone out from the 20km (12 miles) threshold which it had temporarily shared until these discrepancies came to light, to 80km (50 miles). Japan had already moved the evacuation zone area several times in the first few days of the crisis, and incrementally continued to ratchet up the response, eventually stabilizing at 30km distance from the reactors, with specially designated non-concentric zones included to incorporate hotspot areas that were over the radiation threshold standard. These seemingly less conservative zones had been determined before 3.11, based on protocols established by the IAEA in 2007, which allowed discretionary zones to be established within these limits, based on the power-rating of the reactor, the nature of the accident, and other event-specific contingencies.

In a report written in October of 2011, the NRC provided a more detailed account for why the zone was expanded:

The decision to expand evacuation of U.S. citizens out to 50 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi facility was a conservative decision that was made out of consideration of several factors including an abundance of caution resulting from limited and unverifiable information concerning event progression at several units at the Fukushima Daiichi facility. The NRC based its assessment on information available at the time regarding the condition of the units conditions at Fukushima Daiichi that included significant damage to Units 1, 2, and 3 that appeared to have been a result of hydrogen explosions. Prior to the earthquake and tsunami, Unit 4 was in a refueling outage and its entire core had been transferred to the spent fuel pool only 3 months earlier so the fuel was quite fresh. Radiation monitors showed significantly elevated readings in some areas of the plant site which would challenge plant crews attempting to stabilize the plant. Based on analysis results, there were indications from some offsite contamination sampling smears that fuel damage had occurred. There was a level of uncertainty about whether or not efforts to stabilize the plant in the very near term were going to be successful. Changing meteorological conditions resulted in the winds shifting rapidly from blowing out to sea to blowing back onto land.14

This report avoids discrepancies between what TEPCO was contending and the U.S. assessment, skirting differences between the Japanese government and the U.S. response. In the press, though, such interpretations were provided. New York Times reporter Onishi, who helped break this story in the foreign press, stated:

In the first few days, basically the crux of the disagreement was that the foreign experts who were assessing the situation had a much more severe assessment of the seriousness of the accident compared to what the Japanese were saying publically. The American government was getting information from its experts in the NRC and also the military that was sharply at odds with what the Japanese government authorities and TEPCO were saying publically, sharply at odds. What made matters worse, was that there was complete confusion inside the Kan administration, no communication with TEPCO, and barely any communication with the bureaucracy. And so the Americans were faced with a situation where the Japanese government was in complete chaos, essentially; unresponsive, not providing information.15

Although the U.S. had dramatically expanded the evacuation zone and recommended to its citizens that they stay outside this 50 mile radius, this had little meaning outside the military: there were very few civilian American citizens living in Tohoku before the 3.11 disasters and what few remained soon left the region after the nuclear crisis developed. But for the military, this had implications for their strategic assets in Tohoku, where Japanese Self Defense Force bases are arrayed and linked into the USJF as joint task forces, from which tsunami relief efforts were being staged. In recognition of the threat the nuclear fallout posed to troops in this region, the U.S. distributed Potassium Iodide (KI) to its forces, monitored their troops’ exposure to make sure they did not exceed the protective action guideline limits and limited their time within the exclusion zone. U.S. military personnel working in the region were required to submit GPS data to indicate they had not strayed into the exclusionary zone unless specifically tasked to do so.

In association with these near-term protective measures, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, working in coordination with Naval Reactors, developed a comprehensive “Tomodachi Registry,” which was designed to provide dose estimates for U.S. military personnel in Japan. In consideration of the history of open-air nuclear bomb testing that exposed military personnel to high levels of radioactive fallout, from the beginning of the nuclear crisis the U.S. Navy was concerned to develop a radiation exposure database that could be used for dose reconstructions of military personnel and their dependents in Japan. Seeking to avoid Fukushima “Downwinders” who would bring litigation against the government and to allay fears of their families, the U.S. military methodically compiled a comprehensive registry that could serve as an objective reference point for assessing radiation exposure during the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Since 3.11, class-action lawsuits have been brought by U.S. sailors who served on the USS Ronald Reagan nuclear aircraft carrier during the crisis, but these suits have been filed against TEPCO, which may be legally vulnerable to such claims because of their international holdings.16

Through the Tomodachi Registry, the U.S. government has provided specific information on dose exposures and, irrespective of its designed application, it provides publically available radiation measurement readings at specific rates, and at specific locales. By making this information publically available, it stands in stark contrast to how Japan has (not) made radiation data available to its own citizens. Although MEXT developed a radiation registry and made it available online, after a meeting of Fukushima prefectural authorities was convened to discuss this, the Mayor of Fukushima raised concerns that it would provoke fears by an uneducated public and the registry was taken down. Months later, the IAEA, perhaps as a compensation for this (the director of the IAEA is Japanese) and as a way to establish its authority in contrast to the Japanese ministries, made a similar radiation registry available online.

In its official announcements, throughout the crisis the U.S. Embassy continued to assert that for those outside the Tohoko region, the situation was relatively safe. This position was called into question by the military’s recommendation on March 15, 2011 that personnel at Yokosuka Naval Base and Naval Air Facility Atsugi stay indoors (shelter in-place), and by the authorization on March 16 for the “voluntary military assisted departures” of government and Department of Defense dependents in specified areas. The U.S. government accounted for its advisories as “best-practices” recommendations made “out of an abundance of caution, and in order to enable U.S. government officials and the uniformed military to concentrate on the tasks at hand” (U.S. Department of State 2011). At the embassy and on the military bases, families were starting to panic after word filtered out that radiation levels were triggering alarms on the carriers, and as they heard their spouses relating backstage discussions that were fraught with tension and uncertainty about the public health implications of the crisis. At the Yokosuka naval base, a delegation of concerned mothers confronted the base officials, demanding that they be more thoroughly informed and be given support to leave, an eventuality that soon happened, but may have been accelerated by these public demands. Initially the plan to move the D.O.D. dependents was conceived as a recommendation with no direct financial support, but it quickly became evident that this would reflect class divisions and embitter those who could not afford the predatory pricing that developed as demand soared (at this time taxis were charging $2,000 for a ride from Yokosuka to Narita airport; plane tickets were going for up to $20,000).

Thus, while the official stated position maintained that radiation was near background levels in these locations and thus no danger to public health, D.O.D. dependents, including the families of embassy officials in Tokyo and at the U.S. Consulate in Nagoya were given support (the flights were free of charge) to leave Japan. Through a mission named “Operation Pacific Passage” approximately 7,800 D.O.D. dependents (including about 1,200 families) left Japan, the most significant movement of U.S. citizens in Japan since the Pacific War.

Within the social networks of expats in Japan, the “voluntary departures” were controversial. The D.O.D. dependents who took advantage of this opportunity to depart without cost were labeled “Fly-Jin” (a contraction variant of the Japanese word “Gaijin,” a derogatory slang for a foreigner) and were accused of using the crisis as an occasion to take a paid holiday while waiting out the crisis. This label had originated on Twitter feeds as a sarcastic pun, and came to be used more generally to describe foreigners who had abandoned Japan out of fear for personal safety.

For the government and military authorities who arranged these departures, the operation was a pragmatic compromise that appeased the concerns of the panicked citizens under their protection. But by taking this step, the government was unambiguously demonstrating that they did not have confidence that these citizens were safe in Japan and thus needed to be hastily removed, irrespective of the cost or diplomatic implications. This perspective had gradually developed over the first week of the crisis, based on unexpectedly high readings coming from radiation surveys, which was compounded by the experience of dealing with the Japanese authorities. At J-Village, the staging ground in Fukushima for the crisis management of the disaster, the U.S. nuclear experts were encountering a chaotic environment, were witness to a lack of coordination among agencies, and were seeing indication that neither TEPCO nor the Japanese government fully appreciated the magnitude of the crisis and had a viable plan to effectively address it. While the U.S. military was recommending that several thousand staff be tasked to work on getting water on the reactors, using heavy equipment in a coordinated response between the military and civilian workers, TEPCO was devoting less than one hundred staff to diverse tasks and were taking remedial actions in response to a cascading series of setbacks, failing to anticipate events as they developed and only begrudgingly accepting help after their efforts had proved lacking.

Well into April of 2011, the situation at the Daiichi plant continued to deteriorate. Even after water was put on the reactor cores, radiation continued to plume out of the plant: for fully three months this water continued to boil, releasing radioactive steam into the environment, while the area around the reactors was turned into a swamp, with contaminated water spilling into the ocean. On the front side of the accident TEPCO had downplayed the significance of the disaster, but even after the actions that would eventually prove effective were taken, the situation remained unstable. By the middle of May, 2011 TEPCO was able to demonstrate that despite evidence to the contrary, the water in the Spent Fuel Pool of reactor #4 remained intact, but by their own calculations, it had continued to decrease until the end of April, coming perilously close to uncovering the fuel rods (See Table 3).

Table 3 

Throughout this time the reactors continuously plumed out radiation into the environment. When seen through the refracted gaze of the media, it seemed as though the radioactive plumes that escaped the Daiichi plant were severe, but episodic and limited. In fact, the plumes that made their way into the atmosphere after the venting and hydrogen explosions were peak releases, but they were merely steps above an already elevated level that fluctuated but never stopped. One way to visualize this is to imagine the plume as a spotlight that swept back and forth, continuously pluming out radioactivity in the direction that light was shone: as the wind shifted the plume would move, but it never stopped. The plume was unrelenting (and, arguably, still is today in another mode, as contaminated water leaks into the ocean), and as this radioactivity has been released into the environment, it has incrementally distributed cumulative doses whose consequences for public health were terrifying in the early days of the crisis and remain unclear and worrisome but may well be even worse in the long-term.

We may never fully know the magnitude of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in this early phase of the crisis. For much of this time, the wind blew out to sea, diffusing the fallout into the air and the water, making it difficult to measure directly and with any certainty. In time we may infer from contaminated seafood the level of contamination, but even this is imprecise, as migratory fish and the bias of government ministries inclined to withhold or downplay bad news, and strict food standards remove contaminated foodstuff from the marketplace. Had the prevailing winds blown inland, it would have been an entirely different disaster: the plume that rendered the area Northwest of the Daiichi plant uninhabitable (where Namie and other evacuated villages are located) was only part of one afternoon on one day. The high levels of contamination in these isolated hotspots are by now well known and much measured; what is not generally recognized is what radiation monitoring was revealing to government agencies that were mapping the plume elsewhere, including at distances much farther from the plant into the Kanto plain and Tokyo: the U.S. Embassy is located in Tokyo.

With an eye on the spent fuel pool #4 and in consideration of alarming hotspot readings that were higher than expected and in excess of their Protective Action Guidelines, the U.S. government commissioned a “Supercore” analysis of a hypothetical worst-case scenario that might track to Tokyo, and South to the military bases in Yokosuka and Yokota. Using the NRC’s “Radiological Assessment System for Consequence Analysis” (RASCAL), the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC), operated by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, issued a report on March 20, 2011 concerning Plume Model Dose Projections in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. This analysis was based on a “Source Term” (the source term is the known inventory of radionuclides in a given reactor) assuming Daiichi Unit #2 reactor release to the environment, 50% of the total spent fuel pool from Reactor #3 and 100% of the total spent fuel from Reactor #4 being released into the environment. Although this analysis estimated radiation exposure levels of less than 25% of maximum allowable doses for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, the NARAC model simulations used release times of distinct 48-hour periods of time, dating from March 14 and going until March 18 (multiple confidential sources 2013).17

Taken as a snapshot of a moment in time, the numbers were reassuringly well below the maximum allowable protective action guideline dose set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. What this analysis could not account for, however, was the long-term impact of continuous releases from multiple reactors. Although the NRC’s RASCAL program and NARAC’s plume projection models – as with SPEEDI, a comparable system – are important tools used within the U.S. nuclear industry, they have inherent limitations that could not accommodate the multiple contingencies of shifting weather patterns disseminating fallout from multiple sources. Using source-term assumptions, the system estimates where a given release will go once it is out in the environment, but these models are not derived from actual radiation measurements taken in situ where the actual depositions reside. Ultimately these models are diagnostic tools using sophisticated computer software programs that are based on a number of inferential assumptions, and are correspondingly imprecise, ambiguous and open to interpretation.

In the Fukushima nuclear crisis, atmospheric modeling systems were useful, but had inherent limits that could not accommodate a multiple-day, multiple-release scenario. For a single reactor accident such as Three Mile Island, the system can more accurately model a release such as the venting of a reactor over a limited period of time, or a catastrophic release such as the hydrogen explosions that happened at the Daiichi facility. But beyond such a limited time frame, the system is overwhelmed: for the Supercore analysis, NARAC compressed longer-term releases into 24 hour periods of time, and completely disregarded food ingestion pathways, which require longer-range analysis that includes agriculture areas and a more comprehensive array of different isotopes.

Alongside the NARAC/NRC runs, similar atmospheric modeling was conducted by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and by France, Canada and the United Kingdom,18 but as with the NRC/NARAC systems, these agencies all used source-term derivatives and did not conduct actual on-the-ground radiation measurement. Given the changing situation at the Daiichi plant and a range of variation on what these atmospheric modeling programs were indicating as they were updated to account for the constant shift in weather patters, this led to ongoing debates among even the most experienced radiation experts within the government agencies about just how bad the crisis had become, and where it was headed. The U.S. military and Department of Energy, however, continued to compile real-world measurements throughout the crisis, not only in the Tohoku region, but in Tokyo and at the military bases throughout Japan. These measurements indicated a more ominous outcome than the source-term models were suggesting.

On March 21st, shortly after PACOM initiated the military assisted departures for D.O.D. dependents at the bases, a hotspot reading half-way between Fukushima and the Yokosuka military base was so high that Naval Reactors, in this context one of the primary organizations responsible for radiation assessment for the Department of Defense, recommended that military and civilian dependent personnel within a 200 mile (322km) radius be offered KI and be included in military assisted departure (essentially, the recommendation was to support KI distribution and evacuations of D.O.D. dependents up to 200 miles distance from the Daiichi Plant). This drove decision making at this crucial moment, giving reason for the distribution of Potassium Iodide (KI) and further reinforcing the rationale for the military assisted departures (Yokosuka is 163 miles from the Daiichi NPP). With only hours before the plume would hit Yokosuka, the debate focused on the immediate necessity of distributing KI to D.O.D. dependents.

While this debate continued, it was determined after putting the data through a peer review process and comparing this to the radiation survey data in Tohoku (extrapolating readings from near the reactors to correlate with more distant readings as in Yokosuka), that this unexpectedly high reading was an unrepresentative outlier, owing to a measurement error or a transient spike from random particulate fallout. As had been the case with the reactor venting, the hydrogen explosions and the spent fuel pool debate, this unexpectedly high reading alarmed the U.S. authorities and provoked them to action. Even though this particular reading was found to be in error, it highlighted the prospect of exposing, especially, pregnant and lactating females, infants and small children to thyroid dose rates above the established DOE Protective Action Guideline threshold. Despite ultimately being proven incorrect, this dramatic reading profoundly influenced the decision making and plicy priorities of the U.S. Pacific Command at this crucial period of time.

The fundamental point pushed by the Navy to warrant its more conservative recommendations was the cumulative dose rates that were accruing over time. Even 10 days into the disaster, the situation was continuing unabated, exposing D.O.D. personnel and their dependents to incrementally accumulating dose rates that would conceivably pass the maximum PAG threshold for public health over an extended period of time. With this in mind, the U.S. government decided to distribute KI and support departures because even if the dose rates at this time were still inside the DOE guidelines, if the exposure rates continued as measured they would eventually hit and pass the PAG limit, and perhaps continue to accumulate even further thereafter. Despite the cost and inconvenience, civilian expats might find their way to Western Japan to wait out the crisis, or leave Japan altogether, but the military were parked at the bases and not going anywhere: in a long-term nuclear event they faced the prospect of continuous exposure.

As a result of these concerns, the U.S. military in Japan implemented preconceived “Emergency Action Plan(s),” in the U.S. Embassy and at the military bases. These formally scripted plans are invoked to protect classified documents that cannot be left behind from disclosure. At the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, industrial grade shredders were used continuously for four days, destroying classified documents dating back a decade19. At the military bases burn bags were used to destroy documents and equipment such as classified servers and cryptography machines were physically destroyed.20 The initiation of Emergency Action Plans at the bases and in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo was a stepped procedure of ascending priority, beginning with destruction of materials handled by non-essential staff who were allowed to leave as part of Operation Pacific Passage. As a first step in the potential withdrawal of U.S. military and diplomatic staff from Japan, this would have escalated to include documents and materials utilized by essential personnel, had they eventually been required to exit Japan in a worse case scenario.

As ominous as this may seem, Emergency Action Plans are commonplace within the military culture: every branch employs this protocol as a means to prevent confidential and classified materials from being compromised when situations develop that compel departure from a location where military and intelligence assets are arrayed. In the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the fact that Emergency Action Plans were implemented at the military bases and the embassies at the height of the crisis emphatically demonstrates two things: that for a period of several days the U.S. government believed that departure from Japan was imminent and secondly, that the situation was so volatile that they thought it prudent to take immediate action to protect their assets.

At this same time, inside the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo a team was tasked to draw up plans to put tens of thousands of American citizens on the decks of the aircraft carriers to get them out within hours (there were not a sufficient number of available flights to get such a large number of citizens and Department of Defense dependents out quickly if it had proved necessary). The German government and other embassies in Japan have been subjected to criticism for moving their diplomatic corps and embassy operations to Western Japan while other foreign embassies held the line in Tokyo,20 but backstage and out of view of public scrutiny, the U.S. Embassy made specific plans to move to Osaka (two staff from each section were assigned to support embassy functions if this were to have proved necessary). This was not unique to the U.S. government: at the same time international cooperation was ramping up for tsunami relief, foreign embassies in Japan began to discuss evacuation of foreign nationals to escape the nuclear fallout while managing the perceptions of their staff and Japan-based constituents as the situation continued to deteriorate with no respite in sight. This was a tricky balance, and it took considerable finesse to implement procedures out of line with the Japanese official response while seeking to avoid the diplomatically troubling insinuation that these policies were an implicit critique of the Japanese government’s crisis management procedures.

In retrospect, the various protective measures taken by the U.S. Government – to distribute KI to its citizens, to pay for assisted departures of D.O.D. dependents and possibly relocate the embassy and perhaps leave Japan altogether – may seem to have been an over-reaction based on miscalculation. For critics of these decisions they may even be seen as a species of ill-advised panic mongering characteristic of anti-nuclear activists and tailor-made for the tabloid press. This was not, however, the way this was conceived by the most experienced and knowledgeable U.S nuclear authorities who were the most influential voices at the height of the crisis, and whose recommendations were translated into policy. With the clarity of hindsight, the grave concern and subsequent political contretemps that accompanied them might have been avoided if the press of events at the time did not compel immediate action. But from the vantage point of the U.S. military and government authorities, the situation at the time was so uncertain, and the stakes of inaction so high, that “getting in front” of the worst case possibility and being proactive to take these controversial actions was seen, ironically, as the most cautious response.

Conclusion

As we look to the early days of the crisis, it is tempting to place a shelf life on panic-oriented risk discourses and fix these frameworks of interpretation in time, to conclude that after a somewhat hysterical first few weeks, the crisis abated, taking with it these unreasonable claims. However, over time critical media coverage has led to a gradual amplification of risk about nuclear danger that has given credence to claims previously taken as an over-reaction and panic. These adjustments have happened incrementally as stories have broken in the media that were previously known only to insiders, and as various government agencies and independent panels have submitted reports, all of which reveal more nuanced information about particular episodes in the crisis. This information has provided ammunition to critics (and little comfort to industry supporters), as the overall picture that emerges is one of inadequate preparation, well-intentioned ineptitude, poor communication and tone-deaf politics. These evaluations, coming from various parties distributed across the political spectrum, map onto anti-government political agendas, lending credence to anti-nuclear activists, who had anticipated such a crisis.

Although the tsunami may well have resulted in greater immediate impact on Japanese society in terms of the environmental and economic effects, the meaning and significance of the nuclear crisis for Japan remains uncertain. Because this was a uniquely international event, projecting fears of radiation exposure implausibly far beyond Japan’s borders, cultural frames of reference came into play, leading to selective perception about the nature of the accident and its presumed effects. The media guided these discourses down characteristically narrow paths, filtering information to construct notions of risk, which shaped public perception and influenced the action of decision-making elites. The crisis stoked fears of nuclear energy run amok, and the media helped construct a narrative arch that amplified perceptions of risk in the most melodramatic terms.

Given the magnitude of this crisis, it seems that in the aftermath of 3.11 all roads run through Fukushima, as scholars attempt to untangle the web of associations related to this unprecedented series of events. As a means of studying Japan, the Fukushima nuclear crisis affords opportunities to examine cultural traits that are embodied in institutional structures, and find expression in public politics. Public policy is based on political discourse, and in this crisis, perception drove decision-making, creating a politics of fear, which has transformed Japan. The media helped construct this interpretative frame through its coverage of the nuclear crisis, and after a bad start, has become more critical of corporate malfeasance and political corruption.

The foreign press has been alarmist and at times histrionic about the nuclear crisis in Japan, but it has brought issues of political corruption to the forefront and helped focus the debate on politics in a way unfamiliar to the Japanese domestic press. This has influenced the Japanese media’s coverage, which has altered its tone and perhaps even changed its priorities. The “Kisha-Club” press system in Japan, whereby reporters pool information and rely on official public statements as the primary basis for their stories, is increasingly being seen as complicit in the nuclear crisis, since it disregarded critical information when it most counted and failed to hold the authorities accountable for their actions. Although the Japanese press echoed the statements made by TEPCO and the government in the days immediately after the crisis began, as more troubling information leaked out, it gradually aligned with the foreign press on a number of issues central to this experience. These include a withering indictment of the collusion between the Japanese political bureaucracy and the energy utilities, questions about the truthfulness of government and industry spokesmen, challenges to assurances about food safety, and an increasingly critical assessment of the viability of nuclear energy.

Now that enough time has transpired for watchdog agencies to make their assessments and for previously hidden information to come out (via investigative journalism and disclosure by disgruntled former employees), the Japanese media are retrospectively framing events in the more strident terms that we have associated with the panic-driven foreign press. By summer of 2011, with information in hand that the reactors had melted down, and former government officials confirming their worst fears, a consensus emerged that Japanese government authorities, and especially TEPCO, did not have control as they had asserted, and the situation was much worse than these reassurances indicated. This picture gradually started to gain focus and achieve official mainstream sanction through independent reports and interviews with government officials, but in the first few weeks of the crisis, as fears were at their peak, there was still a highly contentious debate about the magnitude of risk.

Any notion that these concerns were irrational would seem to be unfounded, based on the available evidence. Now that the situation has relatively stabilized, people in Japan remain anxious, especially in Tohoku, about important and entirely reasonable concerns related to health and well being, and those who have been displaced from their homes because of the nuclear accident may never return. It is difficult to overstate the impact this dual crisis will have on Japan in this generation. Now that the initial crisis phase has passed, the focus has turned to reconstruction and reform, but on the ground in the Tohoku region people face chronic uncertainty about the safety of food and the long-term effects of low-level radiation exposure. The government’s initial response was discouraging, and the nuclear village, when all is said and done, may remain substantially intact. But social activism is on the rise, bringing previously disengaged citizens into political movements that were previously the domain of activists, who are now being vindicated by recent events.

The author wishes to thank Maho Cavalier, Drake Crane and Millie Nishikawa for their assistance in the research that helped produce this paper.

Kyle Cleveland is Associate Professor of Sociology at Temple University’s Japan Campus in Tokyo and was the founding Director of TUJ’s Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies (now Associate Director), for which he organizes a lecture series, academic conferences and symposia. As TUJ’s Study Abroad Advisor, he was involved in the university’s crisis management, serving as a liaison to U.S.-based study abroad providers, and at the height of the nuclear crisis chaperoned an emergency evacuation flight out of Japan with international students. He is writing a book on the political dimensions of radiation assessment in the Fukushima nuclear crisis, examining how foreign governments in Japan responded to the crisis.

Related articles

This article (updated and revised here on May 19 2014) is part of 3.11 + 3: Special Issue on Japan’s Triple Disaster Three Years On edited by Paul Jobin and David McNeill. Other articles include:

David McNeill and Paul Jobin, Introduction

Philip C. Brown, Call it A ’Wash’? Historical Perspectives on Conundrums of Technological Modernization, Flood Amelioration and Disasters in Modern Japan

Shineha Ryuma and Tanaka Mikihito, Mind the Gap: 3.11 and the Information Vulnerable

Yasuhito ABE, Safecast or the Production of Collective Intelligence on Radiation Risks after 3.11

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Funabashi, Harutoshi (2012). Why the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster is a Man-made Calamity. International Journal of Sociology. No. 21. The Japan Sociological Society.

Gardner, Eric (2011, March 17). Military Dependents Voluntary Evacuation from Japan Announced. Naval Air Facility, Atsugi Japan, Press conference. Commander Fleet Activities, Okinawa.

Grange, Arnaud de La (2011, March 21). The Japanese Surprised by the Exodus of French Expatriates. Le Figaro.

Greenpeace International (2012, February). Lessons from Fukushima.

Hayashi, Yuko (2011, August 16). How Japan Stumbled in Forecasting Fallout in One Town. The Wall Street Journal.

International Atomic Energy Agency (2007). IAEA Safety Glossary: Terminology Used in Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection. Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency.

Itabashi, Hiroyoshi and Hidefumi Nogami (2013, January 28). U.S. frustrated with Japan’s initial response to Fukushima. Prometheus Trap: Asahi Shimbun.

Izumi, Tanaka (2011, May 1). 20 Millisierverts for Children and Kosako Toshiso’s Resignation. Japan Focus.

Kelly, Tara (2011, March 15). U.S. Military Exposed to Radiation in Japan, though Officials Say Danger is Minimal. Time Inc.

Kemeny, John G. (1979, October). Report of The President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island: The Need for Change: The Legacy of TMI. Washington, D.C.

Kingston, Jeff (2011). Ousting Kan Naoto: The Politics of Nuclear Crisis and Renewable Energy in Japan. The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.

Kurokawa, Kyoshi (2012, July). The Official Report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission. The National Diet of Japan.

Kushida, Kenji E. (2012). Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: Narrative, Analysis, and Recommendations. Shorenstein APARC Working Paper. Stanford University.

Lochbaum, David and Edwin Lyman (2014). Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster. New Press.

Lyons, C. and Colton D. (2012). Aerial Measuring System in Japan. Health Physics. Vol.102, No. 5.

Moroney, Jennifer D. P., et. al. (2013). Lessons from Department of Defense Disaster Relief Efforts in the Asia-Pacific Region. The Rand Corporation: National Security Research Division.

Nogami, Hidefumi (2013, February 1). Prometheus Trap (3): Japanese Ambassador Felt Something Not Right Before State Department Meeting. The Asahi Shimbun.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2011, March 13). Freedom of Information Act document NRC-944.

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Notes

1 Sposato, William (2011, October 22). Media Reporting and Risk Management After the March 11 Disaster. Japan Echo Symposium. Tokyo: Japan Echo Foundation.

2 Baba, Tomatsu (2013, July). Personal Communication. As mayor of Namie, one of the towns most affected by the radiation fallout, Baba-san remains embittered toward the national government and has threatened litigation due to the public health implications for his community. At the same time, he fields continuous demands by citizens who blame him for not providing Pottasium Iodide at the crucial moment, even though this was available for distribution. But as with the SPEEDI data, with no government directive nor timely intervention by knowledgeable authorities, he remained – like many prefectural authorities in Fukushima – without guidance or support and was left to improvise in a chaotic environment.

3 Willacy, Mark (2012, January 20). Japan ‘Betrayed Citizens’ Over Radiation Danger. Australian Broadcasting Company. 

4 Onishi, Nori (2012, February 20). Personal Communication.

5 Hayano, Ryugo (2012, March 3). Personal Communication.

6 Shikata, Noriyuki (2011, April 17). Personal Communication.

7 Sposato, William (2012, February 9). Personal Communication.

8 Neidhart, Christoph (2012, February 7). Personal Communication.

9 Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2011, March 13). Freedom of Information Act document NRC-944.

10 Suzuki, Tatsujiro (2012). Personal Communication.

11 Multiple sources in the USFJ/Pacific Command. Confidential Personal Communication.

12 Doane, Magaret (2011, March 14). OIP Analysis/Guidance No. 2. Enformable Nuclear News. 

13 Casto, Charles A. (2012, July 7). Personal Communication. As the lead person tasked with overseeing the U.S. response in Japan, Casto was uniquely suited for the Fukushima crisis. At the time of the accident, he was deputy regional administrator of the NRC’s Center of Construction Inspection, and earlier in his career had worked in five units with a General Electric Mark 1 design (there are 23 U.S. reactors with this Mark 1 design), and he was plant manager of the Browns Ferry site in Alabama, a three unit site similar in design to the Fukushima Daiichi plant. After spending 11 months in Japan working the Fukushima crisis as the chief representative of the U.S. government for the nuclear industry and the nuclear response team leader, Casto was appointed the regional administrator of the NRC’s Midwest office, responsible for regulating 16 commercial power plants in seven states. Before retiring from the NRC in 2013, he received the Presidential Distinguished and Meritorious Rank Awards from President Obama, for his contribution to the U.S. government during the nuclear crisis.

14 United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2011, October). Expanded NRC Questions and Answers related to the March 11, 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami. Washington: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

 15 Onishi, Nori (2012, February 20). Personal Communication.

16 Cooper et al v. Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. et al. (2013, April 1). Case Number: 3:2013dcv00773. California Southern District Court: San Diego Office. Since the onset of the nuclear crisis, the number of U.S. Navy plaintiffs against TEPCO has grown, claiming personal injury directly related to radiation releases in the first few days of the crisis. Although the initial case was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, no finding was made on substantive merit, thus leaving open the possibility of appeal and future litigation. 

17 Although source term analyses are qualitatively different from those based specifically upon measured radiation levels, the ultimate interpretation of these various sources used by the organizational elites who made the final call and translated this into policy were a composite of all available sources of information. This meta-analysis was complicated by political concerns, organizational priorities and differences in perception among the select handful of elites who ultimately made the final determination.

18 Beddington, John (2013, February 27). Personal Communication. As the chief scientific advisor to the British government during the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Sir John Beddington’s briefings at town hall meetings quickly went viral in social media networks to reassure the expat community in Japan that the public health risk was not as ominous as the mainstream media was asserting. Alongside U.K. Ambassador to Japan, Sir David Warren, Beddington’s public statements were the model of diplomatic acumen, but they were based on source-term analyses and did not track with the assessments being made by the U.S. military and Department of Energy’s on-the-ground radiation surveys, which indicated a more ominous possible outcome.

19 It is important to note that the content and relevance of these materials specifically to the Fukushima nuclear crisis has not been established as a matter of public record, due to their inherent status as confidential and classified materials: the documents may have been comprised of historical documents, intra-office communication and other materials that are classified, but not necessarily directly (or exclusively) related to this particular crisis and series of events.

20 Multiple confidential sources in the USFJ/PACOM. This decision was made as the result of consultation with nuclear authorities in Washington, D.C. (including former military officers with high-level nuclear expertise) who comprised an ad hoc group of advisors to the State Department and President Obama, with input from the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Pacific Command.

21 Stanzel, Volker (2012). Personal Communication. As German Ambassador to Japan during the crisis, Dr. Stanzel was embattled by a more strident public than most of the foreign embassies endured at this time. The German reaction to the nuclear crisis was considered an outlier among the other foreign embassies, a response that was influenced by domestic anti-nuclear sentiments back in Germany, which compelled the ruling government to accelerate recently announced plans to discontinue the use of nuclear energy. These domestic pressures contributed to the Tokyo embassy’s decision to move to Osaka, causing some resentment among the other foreign embassies, who maintained a diplomatic facade during the first few days of the crisis. Fully six months after the crisis began, the German Embassy remained understaffed due to concerns about the nuclear situation, with ten posts (about one fourth of its diplomatic staff positions) remaining unfilled, as existing staff fled to Germany and refused to return, and prospective candidates refused to come while the situation was still uncertain. To help allay concerns, the German Embassy installed a full-time radiation expert in the Tokyo embassy (rotating in several experts over the following year).

by Action AWE (Atomic Weapons Eradication)

£2 billion project going ahead, but Parliament has not yet voted on further nuke development.

That’s what you call “democracy”. But it is all for a good cause.  Nuclear weapons are an “instrument of peace”.

Daring dawn blockade of Berkshire’s nuclear weapons factory

This morning at 7.20, a group of people began blockading the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) site at Burghfield, near Reading. The protesters, acting as part of ActionAWE [1], a campaign of nonviolent direct action, are trying to disrupt construction of a new nuclear warhead factory on the site.

The new development at AWE Burghfield is being built at a cost to the tax payer of almost £2 billion, despite the fact that parliament has yet to vote on replacing the current generation of nuclear warheads that the site would build.

The eight protesters, aged between 19 and 40, are locked together using handcuffs inside ‘lock-on’ devices – made from drainpipes, and vegetable oil drums filled with concrete in order to block the gate to the construction site to prevent further work on the site. Traffic is now queued up, unable to enter the facility. The Christians amongst the protesters are singing hymns.

Catherine Bann, 40, mother of two from Todmorden, said:

“The money we would spend renewing Trident could pay for all A & E hospital departments in the country for the next 40 years! It’s a huge waste of public money to be investing in nuclear weapons, and people like us must make a stand now, so that future generations do not have to bear the cost.”

Joanna Frew, 35, a member of the United Reformed Church living in London but originally from Scotland, said

“Trident is illegal, immoral and a waste of money. It is the opposite of everything that Jesus teaches us about being co-creators of life and loving your enemies. Political and religious leaders in Scotland are opposed to retaining Trident at Faslane. We have a real opportunity over the next year to say that it is no longer acceptable , and that we don’t want an illegal renewal.”

Phil Wood, 20, a student at Bradford University added

“To be spending millions of pounds and planning to spend billions more on nuclear weapons while cutting back on essential public services that people rely on is unforgivable”.

Matt Fawcett, 39, from Yorkshire CND said

“This ‘do as we say, not as we do’ policy of telling other countries they can’t develop nuclear weapons while we spend billions developing new weapons of our own, not only undermines attempts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons but also discredits Britain on the world stage. Polls show 87% of the British public are against spending on new nukes at a time of such drastic cuts, yet the construction goes on at Burghfield without any parliamentary debate”.

The UK government has an armed nuclear submarine on patrol and ready to fire at all times, with the ability to wipe out cities almost anywhere on earth within 15 minutes[2]. The UK government has a stockpile of around 225 nuclear warheads[3], each with eight times the explosive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 [4] that killed an estimated 140,000 to 200,000 people. Running the Trident nuclear weapons system currently costs £2 billion a year[5], and has not seen any of the cutbacks facing other government spending and public services. The government will vote in 2016 to decide whether to invest in the UK’s Trident nuclear weapon system for another 30 years.

Operated by a consortium of Jacobs Engineering Group, Lockheed Martin and Serco, AWE Burghfield plays an integral part in the final assembly and maintenance of nuclear warheads for use in the Trident system[6]. In 2011 Peter Luff, the then Minister for Defence Equipment, announced £2 billion of spending for redevelopment of the Burghfield and Aldermaston weapons factories[7]. The total spending on Weapons of Mass Destruction in the UK will soar to over £100 Billion should the government take the decision to renew Trident in 2016 [8].

Action AWE (Atomic Weapons Eradication) is a grassroots campaign of nonviolent action dedicated to halting nuclear weapons production at the Atomic Weapons Establishment factories at Aldermaston and Burghfield.

Notes

[1] http://www.actionawe.org/

[2]http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/peace/trident-the-uks-nuclear-weapons-system

[3]Stockholm International Peace Research Institute:www.sipri.org/research/armaments/nuclear-forces

 [4]http://www.cnduk.org/information/briefings UK warheads are thought to have a yield of 80-100kt.

[5] http://fullfact.org/factchecks/cost_trident_nuclear_deterrent-28864

[6] www.awe.co.uk/aboutus/the_company_eb1b2.html

[7]http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm111122/text/111122w0002.htm#111122114002933

[8] http://www.cnduk.org/information/briefings/trident-briefings

Understanding the U.S. War State

May 19th, 2014 by Prof. John McMurtry

The following article was first published by GR in May 2003

“It is easy. All you have to do is tell the people they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” -Hermann Goering

Genocide used to be a crime without a name. Although the most heinous of all crimes, the concept was not introduced into international language until after World War 2. Until then, military invasion and destruction of other peoples and cultures masqueraded under such slogans as progress and spreading civilisation.

I was shocked many years ago when I heard Noam Chomsky say that genocide was America’s defining political tradition. Then I realised that the United States (like Canada to a much lesser extent) was based on destroying the lives and cultures of the 25 million or so first peoples who had lived in America for millennia. In the case of the U.S., the story continued with the forcible seizure of Texas in 1845 from Mexican farmers and indigenous peoples, and Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, California and other state territories shortly afterward in 1849. U.S. troops under the slave-owning General Zachary Taylor unilaterally invaded its southern neighbour under the false pretext of avenging American blood, and General Taylor soon vaulted into the White House as a presidential war hero. Even though a young Congressman, Abraham Lincoln, exposed the pretext, and connected it to a Anglo-British business strategy to impose free trade on the regions by financing the prior president, James Polk, into the White House as General Taylor’s commander.

In 1898, once again under the false pretext of self-defence (when the U.S.S. Maine sank from an internal explosion), the Philippines, Guam, Cuba in part, and Puerto Rico were seized from their peoples by another unilaterally provoked war. This war of aggression and occupation, like so many U.S. interventions since, was preceded by a media campaign of whipping up public hysteria and war fever. Media baron Randolf Hearst made the famous remark, “You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war,” not unlike the U.S. cable and network media daily drum-beat in recent months for war on Iraq. War is a major violence entertainment, and in close partnership with the Pentagon it can go on for months to divert the masses.

The tradition of misleading the American people by false pretexts for aggressive wars is an old one in U.S. history, but since the fascist interregnum war criminal invasions of other countries have not been accepted by public opinion. The U.S. under the control of the corporate war party now seeks to reverse this trend. By dint of the permitted 9-11 plane attacks on the World Trade Centre, an open presidential blank-cheque has been granted by Congress for attacking third-world countries so as to occupy their countries and control their resources. The now known blueprint of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and others written in September of 2001 as the Project for the New American Century is clear on the plan to shape the international security order in line with American principles and interests. Armed domination of the Gulf region transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Oil looms large in this plan to rule the world for American interests. According to a report sponsored by oil corporations from the Washington Centre for Strategic and International Studies, oil is no longer a commodity to be bought and sold within the confines of the traditional supply and demand balances, but a determinant of national security and international power.

The U.S. state military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in under two years are expressions of this new supra-market policy. Before we pass over the pattern of facts at work as merely realpolitik, we should note that this armed-state project resembles fascism: not only in war criminal attacks on other countries in violation of international law, but in repudiating market relations to seize others valuable goods by armed force.

Facing Facts

As demagogic glorification of genocidal invasion once again escapes naming by a flood of falsehoods and projections onto the latest U.S. Enemy, we need to remind ourselves of facts that no mass medium once discussed [the period] from October of 2002 to March of 2003. As we lay bare the ruling deceptions here, we should keep in mind the unifying principle which is not seen. U.S. state justifications always project onto the designated Enemy what the U.S. security state is doing itself. If it loudly condemns another weaker states weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological weapons, violation of international laws, or attempts to impose its will on the world by terror, then we can deduce that this is exactly what the U.S. is planning more of, but is diverting attention from by accusing others. Test this underlying principle with every international accusation the U.S. makes next, and you will find that it is invariable confirmed.

The tactic works wonderfully with a lapdog press and political class who are excited into a kind of collective delirium by choral denunciations of the foreign demon who is the designated Enemy of the Day. (I will explain why in my analysis ahead of the ruling group-mind.) So exactly does the U.S. security state project its own violent policies onto others that one can tell what vicious policy it is about to escalate next by by the intensity with which the Other is accused of the crime. This is how we can best understand the endless accusation of the Soviet Union of a plot to rule the worldbefore 1991, and how we can best make sense of the official U.S. fixation on global terrorism today. Both predications disclose the inner logic of the U.S. war states own pattern of behaviour. I sometimes wonder whether this is a deliberate strategic tactic of diversion, or a structure of paranoid delusion built into the mind-set of U.S. culture.

Let us in this light examine the principal claims and concealments of the Bush Jr. administration in its pursuit of Iraq:

The Bush administration has tirelessly claimed to be upholding international law in its pressuring of the Security Council into action regarding Iraq’s violation of U.N. resolutions and international law. In fact, since its entry into office the Bush Jr. administration has sabotaged laws, covenants and monitoring protocols to protect individuals and peoples against nuclear weapons, biological weapons, chemical weapons, landmines, small arms, international ballistic missiles, torture, racism, discrimination against women, arbitrary seizure and imprisonment, mistreatment of prisoners, crimes against humanity and war crimes, military weather distortions, biodiversity loss, and international climate destabilisation. Its latest overriding of international law and due process has been the forcible usurpation of the Security Council inspections of Iraq. No rogue state in modern history has remotely matched this continuous and systematic violation of international law and procedures to implement international law.

The Bush administration’s preparation and threat of military invasion against a country thousands of miles from its borders is unequivocally a war crime under international law, including Principles 1, 2 and 6(a)1of the Nuremberg Charter and Article 54 of the Geneva Convention. The fact that this war crime of preparing for and planning an invasion of Iraq by U.S.-led armed forces whatever the UN decides has never been openly discussed promoted the very aggression which the U.N. is constituted to prevent.

It is not as if there were any doubt about the Bush administration’s clear intention to put itself above the law as it incessantly accused Iraq of doing so. It declared from the beginning that it would go it alone with whoever was willing, and yet not a word of this declared threat to international peace and security issued from any U.N. ambassador, including Canadas Bill Graham, that this was a lawless intention and plan.

The effect on Iraqi citizens of the long-planned U.S. war of aggression against Iraq is said to be their liberation. The targeted victims since the first war on Iraq have, however, been most of all infants and children. The Bush administration’s planned Operation Shock and Awe is a self-imagery of Godlike power which is more blind in hubris than in 1991 when the U.S. military assault caused mass infectious disease, child dysentery and birth mutilation by deliberate bombing of civilian electricity sources, sewage and water treatment facilities and by the deployment of nuclear waste in shells and weapons. Over 500,000 children in Iraq have already died as a consequence of the last war according to UNICEF-a figure predicted in 1991 by the New England Journal of Medicine, and substantiated in 1999 by the leading British medical research, Lancet.

Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction about which the Bush regime has most pervasively trumpeted its concern were sold to Saddam at great profit by the U.S., Britain and other Security Council members. This is why Bush officials took the original Iraq report to the U.N. from the Council chair (then the military client state, Colombia), and deleted all the pages documenting these military sales before distributing the text to non-permanent members. Secretary Rumsfeld, meanwhile, has refused to work with the relevant Senate committees to expose and ensure against continued military sales to Iraq or its middlemen by U.S. armament manufacturers.

U.S. demands for Iraq’s compliance with U.N. resolutions are not and have not been its true concern since far more U.N. resolutions over far more years have been ignored by the U.S. military partner, Israel. Thus continuing war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israeli administrations are still perpetrated with impunity in the illegally occupied territories of Palestine-for example, by land and property seizures and continuous enlargement of the illegal occupation, collective punishments of the population, increasing assassinations, and destruction of civilian infrastructure and homes. Twelve to eighteen UN resolutions prior to the inspections were said to have been violated by Iraq during its years of living with militarily enforced destruction of its society. Israel before, and since, has violated 64 UN resolutions with impunity. No double standard of international law has been so long-term, blatant and systematic, except by the U.S. itself.

The regime change all along demanded by the Bush administration cannot benefit the Iraqi people as promised because the projected U.S. military occupation has not been about getting rid of Saddam (who the U.S. armed and supported into power), but has ever more directly been the forced takeover of Iraq’s publicly owned and controlled oil reserves. These reserves since the 1950′s have (despite Saddams U.S.-supported coup detat) financed the most advanced social infrastructure in the Arab world, free education, and universal health care. During the demonization of Iraq over the last 6 months, its public oil revenues have enabled a government program of guaranteed food for all citizens by a publicly run distribution system which the U.N. World Food Program described as the most efficient in the world. With oil as with all else, the greatest enemy to this empire is the civil commons of publicly owned resources which obstructs corporate market control. That the Iraqi government has, moreover, put a run on the U.S. dollar by converting its oil revenues into Euros instead of dollars is another unspeakable fact which is blocked out of all corporate media reports.

Watching the War Crime Unfold

The ultimate target of the U.S. war party has long been the greatest and most accessible high-quality oil reserves on the planet. The Bush oil party has long coveted it, and U.S. military invasion has been the favoured blitzkrieg method for getting it over years of planning – with no response by the Security Council. But world public opinion has not covered its eyes like governments and the corporate media. Turkey’s people were 96% against invasion of Iraq as its government considered large bribes, and Spain’s people were over 90% opposed as its Falangist prime minister joined Tony the War Poodle in barking for the invasion. Over 30 million citizens from across the world demonstrated against a U.S.-led invasion in one weekend, an historically unprecedented event.

The U.S. president’s response to all this has been revealing. He has told the world throughout that the U.N. itself is on trial, with him as God’s judge. The Security Council has been told for months that it either agrees to a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, or it is irrelevant. If it fails, the Bush administration will take the law into its own hands and invade distant and weak Iraq as America’s sovereign right. Try to remember when you heard this kind of demagoguery and defiance of international law before.

The difference has been most clearly in the use of the U.N. Pervasive aerial and ground inspections of Iraq’s territory, soften-up bombings of defences in the North and South, and successful commands to destroy short-range missiles which together had largely stripped Iraqs meagre defences by mid-March. During this process, U.S. and allied demands merely escalated from immediate abolition of weapons of mass destruction to-without any media noticing-demands for total disarmament. Best to have a helpless victim. Has history ever witnessed such a corruptly one-sided scheme to destroy and loot a defenceless country?

The Ruling Group-Mind

As I watched the Security Council Meeting on March 19 after military inspections of Iraq were forcibly terminated by the Bush Jr. administration’s decision to take the law into its own hands, I was struck by the intimidation of the Council members. They were in thrall to a ceremony of avoidance. The hard fact that the U.S. administration had just stopped the U.N.’s due process by its decision for lawless armed attack of Iraq was blocked out of view as if it had not been decided. That this massive armed military invasion was a grave violation of international law, the supreme international crime under the Nuremberg Charter, was never mentioned. The ritual of sacrifice prevailed instead as if in collective submission to the implacable ordinance of Fate.

Formal pieties and aversion of the facts ruled. The Secretary-General was congratulated for removing the inspection teams on the instruction of the U.S. adminstration so that they would not be harmed by its illegal invasion. The inspectors were again and again praised for inspecting Iraq’s military possessions before the full-scale illegal invasion forcibly prevented the completion of their work. Much angst was displayed for the humanitarian catastrophe about to unfold, with none mentioning that the lawless usurpation of U.N. process by the blitkrieg invasion of a suffering poor country would cause the mass terror. The long genocide was diplomatically sanitised by abstractions. In the case of the U.S., Britain and Spain, Saddam Hussein was held solely responsible.

Repeated ritual mantras of concern for international peace and security, alleged Iraq government violations not substantiated by the inspectors, official regrets, collective self- blaming, and much talk of rebuilding the society about to be destroyed were limned in a sleepwalk of official euphemisms. The theme that bound them all was the silence on the U.S. planned war-criminal attack in violation of the will and the legal process of the U.N. Security Council itself. Kofi Annan almost spoke out when he advised that a belligerent country is responsible under law for the costs of occupation. But the U.N. and Canada were soon ready to pay for picking up the pieces of another mass destruction of a poor society by U.S.-led forces.

I remembered all the history and accounts I had read of the Third Reich and the cowardice of official appeasement that enabled every step. The appeasement now was on the level of the mind itself. No-one dared to say what was happening. Threats and bribes by the U.S. had for months saturated the proceedings of the Council’s judgement, but there were to their great credit few takers of the blood money. The Security Council had repudiated the U.S.-led war by an overwhelming rejection of any motion for it. For the U.S. now to still lead an invasion was self-evidently against the Security Council’s will and decision, and thus wholly illegal. Yet there was a strange refusal to name the crime, the supreme international crime of a war of aggression against another state. One listened in vain for one explicit reference to the violation of the U.N. Charter, of the Nuremberg Charter, of international criminal law, of the Secretary-General’s own previous statement that a U.S. attack without Security Council support would be illegal, and of the usurpation of the will and process of the U.N. Security Council itself.

On the contrary, Iraq was being held accountable to obey the Council’s every demand to strip its meagre defences as huge U.S. and British armed forces formed on its borders. Ever louder U.S. threats of armed invasion outside the law and against Security Council vote was left to proceed as if it was a natural event. Everywhere in the media, the inevitable war was bowed before as an ordinance of destiny. It was only now a question of viewers watching U.S. forces destroy a society at will and with impunity, an ideal mass market site for the entertainment of lawless power. No-one thought to notice from within the Security Council Chamber and official global culture that every step of the mass terror against an essentially defenceless people was planned, chosen and executed in defiance of all international law by a sitting member state.

The monstrous construction had no author. Responsibility fell only on the victim. The U.S. became another onlooker at the inevitable war. Once it invaded, it became magnanimous in assigning the costs to others to pay for its mass destruction. It was now ready to co-operate with its international partners in the rebuilding of the country that it destroyed. No-one inside official society outside thought to hold the U.S. accountable for what it did. There is “no alternative” took another meaning. Now the no-alternative world the U.S. rules means criminal war invasion as an act of God.

The New Fundamentalism: America is God

As you observe the criminal war invasion of Iraq, the round-the-clock commentary and pictures, and the aftermath, watch for a silent general fact. There will no end of detailed discussion of the military operations of attack and occupation of a country rendered defenceless by Security Council demands, with much admiration and vicarious self- congratulation at the new weapons and strategic moves of the American Superpower. There will be no end of experts and commentators communicating adoringly to audiences about the high-tech assault instruments which are being tested on a third-world people to see how they work. Its a little like a high-school science experiment, advised the Pentagon Joint Chief of Staff to the militarily embedded CNN medium of public news.

The fact at the centre of the whole conflict and long in dispute will, however, soon be put down the memory hole with no one noticing. No one in the media or government will point out that the biological and chemical weapons that Iraq was declared to be hiding are not used, and did not in fact exist. No one will think to notice that this, the main justification of the war, the weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam, was from start to finish a vast and criminal big lie. No one will wonder at their own cowardly complicity in the long train of destructive deceit and war crime even as the invading armies sweep across the country and the 3000 sorties of bombs fall with no hint of a chemical or biological weapon or nuclear device. Least of all will servelings of the ruling group-mind connect back to the Third Reich’s prototype of aggressive war. It is the Formula. Blame terrorists as the cause of the country’s police state measures. Accuse every country attacked of being an imminent threat to it to justify the invasion. Denounce all resistance as unpatriotic. Attack and occupy the weak country with total weaponry. The formula repeats as long as it is not called out.

The group-mind cannot compute what does not fit its fixed presuppositions. So predictable outcomes follow as if prescribed by the laws of nature. The inevitable war occurs like el Nino. Only the terrible infliction of damages are thought worth perceiving or talking about. The moral debate is silenced, left to the world’s peoples in the streets where only passing painted signs can speak. The co-ordinates of international law and the rogue war party in control of the White House are blocked of every discussion as if they did not exist. There will, in particular, be no discussion of this administration’s illegal presidency, its ever more ruinous failure to govern effectively at any level of the U.S. economy, the environmental meltdown which it leads, or the unprecedentedly pervasive corruption of its lead corporate gang-from all of which the latest orchestrated war is the ongoing system of violent diversion. The distraction and attack rhythm of one war after another will, if it is not seen through, continue to succeed with the Formula until the world is subjugated across its civilisations. As long as the self-evident can be denied, there is nothing to stop it. Discharges of condemnation of Saddam Hussein can occupy the mind instead, until the next Enemy is wheeled into the war theatre to extend the U.S. war states rule.

In Canada, the CBC and its retinue of U.S. explainers and apologists will report the world to us so we cannot see the meaning of what is happening. The local academy will occasionally provide the choral affirmation on cue. Thus Janice Stein of the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre will reassure us on CBC News coverage on March 20, the day that the U.S. crime against peace began, that We are targeting Iraq’s leadership and not its civilians. All are one in Americas view of the world as itself. What cannot be discussed is the U.S. war crime itself, even to deny it. It is unspeakable – so long as the ruling group-mind remains the invisible prison of our collective life.

The moral syntax of the American group-mind is the inner logic of the problem. In this era, the group-mind is American. All its principles are presupposed as the way that God is presupposed by the religious fundamentalist – an all-powerful, all-knowing and jealous ruler of the world, which none may doubt without social opprobrium and attack. U.S. witch-hunts of those who oppose the religion of America is the creed’s fanatical mode. But the creed is not confined to expression within America’s church of self-adoration. It is on a crusade across the world’s continents, with ruinous destabilization or armed attack of those who do not submit to its will for freedom.

The God of America is primitive. It worships itself. But there are a set of silently regulating principles at work through all the phenomena of its rule which together constitute the ruling group-mind which has imprisoned global culture within its premises since 9-11 .

Presupposition 1 of this ruling group-mind is that the U.S. national security state is America.

This assertion is never directly stated because that would reveal the absurdity of the equation. But the assumption nevertheless underlies every statement that has proceeded from U.S. government offices since 9-11. This preconscious equation explains, for example, why even the U.S. government’s official opposition, the Democratic Party, has abdicated from political responsibility in its fear of appearing to oppose unjustified wars against essentially defenceless third-world societies in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are incarcerated within the ruling structure of mind, more paralysed than 1930 Germans in their dread of being named as unpatriotic. This is a fear that can only be explained by the equation of the state military command and its apparatus with America. Beneath the surface phenomena of party politics rules the instituted group-mind in terms of which perception itself is constructed.

Thus the equation of America to its armed state apparatus is never publicly challenged in the official culture of the West because the equation is assumed a priori across the official leaderships of American allies. No-one who houses the false equation can tell them apart. They cannot see the demonstrable falsehoods of the war state, the overthrow of the Republic’s democratic traditions, and least of all the safety of millions of innocent civilians in other countries: because they assume America and its national security apparatus are one and the same. Since they love America, and America is it, they cannot distinguish their beloved country from the criminal gang institutions of the National Security Council, the Pentagon and the CIA. As these rogue secret societies rule across the world by the force of armed terror, mass disinformation, secret narco-links and political bribery and coercion at every level, lovers of America are obliged to defend this criminal global domination as America. This absurd equation obliges them to be, in short, blind dupes. It then further misleads them into supposing that anyone who opposes a gangster state rule of the world is anti-American. One absurdity builds onto another. The disorder ends as a paranoid mass cult characterised as patriotism, just as in the 1930′s with the worlds most powerful industrial state. It is in this false equation at the baseline of the group-mind that we find the kernel of the worlds problem – America’s self- definition as absolutist armed force unbound by fact or international law.

Presupposition 2 is that America is the ultimate source and moving line of the world’s freedom and goodness, God’s material embodiment on earth.

This assumption too is presupposed as true by definition, the prime article of faith of a fanatic religion. Full-spectrum dominance and pre-emptive attack of threats before they appear are not merely clinically paranoid delusions of power and persecution. They follow from the underlying and increasingly absolute assumption that America is God, the source of all Freedom and Goodness on the planet. The expressions of this deranged presupposition are evident in every speech of the former alcohol and cocaine addict occupying the White House, and there is no evident opposition from the parishioners of U.S. official culture.

Any indirect questioning or challenge of this first moral premise of the group-mind is attacked as a betrayal of the country and what it holds dear. American freedom comes to mean, then, only what establishes and maximizes the absolute right of the U.S. to command the world – specifically, to command as inevitable that all societies adopt an American-style market, American values and culture, and American military dominance in all areas of the globe as its vital interests. How do we test the rule of this fanatic basis of thought? It is expressed in Bush Doctrine policy documents throughout. But we can more easily discover its ruling principle at work by asking whether there is any limit placed anywhere on what the U.S. and vassal corporate states have the right to demand of other peoples and societies – including unconditional support of full-scale war against destitute societies over ten thousand miles from American borders.

Anything may go in the way of attack-dog journalism, but one hint of question of this ruling assumption that America is the moving line of the world’s freedom is heresy. The assumption is thus internalised prior to censorship. Self-censorship is this regime’s centre of gravity, and holds the group-mind in its prison. Those who oppose it hate freedom. Loyalty to this ultimate premise of social and political thought is what regulates the mind at a preconscious level prior to statement. It is the identity structure of the mob-mind across the world.

Principle 3 follows as a logical consequent from Principle 2. America is always and necessarily right in all conflicts with other nations or peoples or social forces.

This is not a truth which facts can disprove, because it is true by definition in the ruling group-mind. Disproving facts are irrelevant or of no consequence, even if by some chance they make it through the gates of the corporate media. This third regulating assumption explains why even the hardest facts soon disappear from sight if they throw doubt on America’s infallible moral superiority in cases of international conflict – for example the conviction of the U.S. by the International Court for its war criminal actions against Nicaragua, along with the $13.2 billion damages which were never paid.

Beneath the selection and exclusion of facts and perspectives which regulate editorial offices and policies, this third principle of the ruling group-mind too regulates perception and conversation beneath direct control. Before an exposing word is spoken, it is ruled out from within. It is an intersubjective operation, like the thought-field of playing a game. Any fact or argument which calls into question America’s moral superiority to any adversary is known to be hostile to freedom and the good in advance of consideration.

Principles 4 and 5 follow suit as ultimate moral imperatives for all Americans and their allies.

Any people or nation or social force which does not side with or opposes the U.S. government is evil (Principle 4), and so must, as an Enemy of world freedom and justice, be attacked by all means available-including pre-emptive armed force before the Enemy presents a threat (Principle 5).

Principles 4 and 5 have sharpened into patriotic absolutes with the Bush Jr. regime. Not even fabricated evidence – like the Gulf of Tonkin attack off Vietnam or the electricity cut-off of infant incubators in Iraq in 1991 – are thought any longer essential necessary to justify a military attack on another people’s territory and society. As George Bush Jr. said to a West Point audience this year: “If we wait for threats to materialise, we will have waited too long.” There is, therefore, no need for the threat to be real. Threats only need to be declared. That is is why the attack on Iraq by U.S. and British armed forces did not require anyone else to confirm that there was, in fact, a threat from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction being used by terrorists against America. The evil is known, as with witchcraft, by the accusation itself. Once accused, the Enemy becomes such by definition – because materialisation by fact is too late. Those who question the designation side with the Enemy. You are with us, or for the terrorists. Bush’s rage against French opposition to the war of aggression against Iraq thus follows necessarily. The logic of the ruling group- mind prescribes reality prior to its construction.

A self-evident baseline of entitlement is thus instituted for the rest of the world which is not spoken. America can go to war against accused enemies as it chooses on the basis of the self-propelling operations of its ruling group-mind alone. All one has to do is trigger the known stimuli which activate its value-set and its attendant emotions of rage. Since 9- 11, majority opinion support for Americas New War in any form follows from this lockstep of the group-mind. It is predictable so long as it remains unexposed to view.

Two leaked tapes have emerged on the internet where Kiev-appointed governor allegedly threatens an ex-presidential candidate who called for a referendum. The official may also be behind the Odessa massacre and Mariupol shootings, the leak adds.

On the first tape, which appeared on May 14, an oligarch and governor of the city of Dnepropetrovsk in southeastern Ukraine, Igor Kolomoisky, allegedly called ex-presidential candidate Oleg Tsarev and started threatening him. He told Tsarev to leave Ukraine immediately, saying it was in connection with the killing of Bogdan Shlemkevich, a soldier from Ukraine’s National Guard on May 9 in Mariupol, southeastern Ukraine. He was shot in clashes between anti-government protesters and soldiers sent by Kiev in an ‘antiterrorist’ operation in eastern Ukraine.

Ihor Kolomoisky, Oleh Tsarev.(RIA Novosti / Natalia Seliverstova / Mikhail Markiv)

Ihor Kolomoisky, Oleh Tsarev.(RIA Novosti / Natalia Seliverstova / Mikhail Markiv)

Tsarev, a Dnepropetrovsk businessman and People’s Deputy of Ukraine, submitted his candidacy as self-nominee for the presidential election scheduled for May 25. He is standing for federalization of the country as well as for referenda in all parts of Ukraine. He withdrew his presidential candidacy on 29 April in a protest against Kiev.

“We prayed for [Bogdan] Shlemkevich who was killed in Mariupol and they say that Tsarev is guilty,” Kolomoisky told the ex-candidate.

The Dnepropetrovsk governor says that now Tsarev and his family will be hunted down and killed.

“They put $1 million for your head, they will go after you everywhere,” Kolomoisky told him. “Tomorrow they will look for your people and relatives,” said the Ukrainian oligarch.

The second leaked conversation, which also emerged on May 14, was between Oleg Noginsky, the president of the Suppliers of Customs Union, an organization which aims at increasing the turnover between Ukraine and the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia, and someone whom he called Yan Borisovich. Noginsky said that Kolomoisky’s actions are mad.

“Besides, it was he [Kolomoisky] who hired the guys in the Odessa [massacre]… the situation went out of control. Their task was to beat them [anti-government protesters] so they would be taken to hospital and to destroy the camp [on Kulikovo Pole Square] completely,” he said.

Kolomoisky is still in Odessa and the result of his actions is that 16 of those who survived the House of Trade Unions bloodshed in Odessa were killed during the next three days, the man who is believed to be Noginsky accuses the Dnepropetrovsk governor.

According to him, it’s not the first time the Dnepropetrovsk governor has threatened politicians. He also allegedly threatened Igor Markov, a deputy of the Ukrainian parliament.

RT could not confirm the veracity of the tapes, and Oleg Tsarev was not available for comment at the time of publication. However, he confirmed to the website of Russian TV show, ‘Man and Law’, that this conversation took place.

In Odessa violent clashes erupted on May 2 between anti-government protesters and radicals supporting the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev. The confrontation led to a tragedy that left 48 people dead and over 200 injured as nationalists burnt the protester camp and then set fire to the Trade Unions House with anti-Kiev activists trapped inside. According to witnesses, many of those who managed to escape the flames were then strangled or beaten with bats by radicals. Several victims reportedly died of gunshots, while others burnt alive or jumped out of windows in a desperate attempt to escape the deadly flames.

Although the unrest in southeastern Ukraine has already resulted in dozens of deaths, the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev are continuing their crackdown on anti-government activists following pro-autonomy referenda in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

The Crisis in Ukraine. GR Dossier of More than 300 Articles

May 19th, 2014 by Global Research News

There is no doubt that incumbent President Bashar al Assad remains hot favourite for Syria’s June 3 elections. Even NATO’s advisers put his support at around 70%.

 However the country’s first competitive presidential elections in recent times threatens to add a ‘normality’ to Syria’s previously one party system, a normality the western powers are desperate to avoid.

Hence Washington’s decision to deliver new weapons systems (like anti-tank missiles) to the al Qaeda-style ‘rebel’ groups, even when it has become clear that the Government and national army are prevailing in most parts of the country.

Let’s be clear about these elections, it is not some simple political choice to hold them at this time. They are required by Syria’s constitution, before the end of President Bashar’s term in July. To ignore this requirement, to suspend the constitution, would have deepened rather than help resolve the crisis.

Of course, a major test will be voter turn-out. Prospects for participation have improved strongly with the recent elimination of armed groups from Homs, Syria’s third largest city. A turn-out rate that exceeded that of 2012 would be a good sign for Syria’s democratic process.

Turnout in the 2012 Assembly and constitutional reform votes was estimated at a little over 51%; not high, but higher than the 2010 US Congressional elections participation rate of 41.6%. Remember, at that time, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed ‘Free Syrian Army’ was threatening and delivering death to those who participated in the voting.

No doubt the FSA’s al Qaeda-style successors are making the same threats now. But Syria’s army has backed them into a few corners. The last thing these sectarian fanatics want is any sort of democracy.

It is precisely because of the constitutional changes in 2012 that Syrian voters now have presidential choices, apart from the incumbent. The other candidates are Maher Hajjar, an independent communist from Aleppo, and businessman Hassan al-Nouri.

All three candidates have accepted a set of ‘national principles’ which include support for the  Syrian Arab Army as ‘the protector of Syria against any foreign aggression and internal sabotage’. There is no Washington or Paris-backed candidate calling for an Islamic state; such sectarianism remains banned under the constitution.

However neither Hajjar nor al-Nouri can be dismissed as simple patsies for President Bashar.  Under current rules each had to secure the support of at least 35 MPs in the current 200+ parliament; and MPs can only back one candidate. That means there is substantial electoral support for the two non-Ba’ath Party candidates, albeit support for those who back a ‘secular’ or pluralist nation.

Getting over the 35-MP hurdle, the new candidates still face the fact that President Bashar counts not only on the backing of the 60% of MPs who belong to the Ba’ath Party. The Syrian Social National Party (SSNP) and the Communist Party have also thrown their weight behind him. Bashar is increasingly seen as a symbol of resistance and national unity, and essential to winning the war.

In actual policy terms some more conventional themes have emerged. Hajjar, as the left candidate, remains a pan-Arabist and backs redistributive policies alongside huge capital works, to address unemployment. He also aims to attack corruption, probably the key complaint of the wider reform movement in recent years.

For his part, Al-Nouri, as the right-wing candidate, stresses a type of ‘modernization’ called the ‘smart free economy’, with emphasis on public-private partnerships. Indeed many of the major investments in Syria in recent years, like the large tourist hotels, have been joint venture operations. The small business sector, of course, is extensive.

As a candidate, Bashar al Assad sits at the centre left of this new configuration. His government has maintained free health and education, throughout economic hard times and war and, if anything, the conflict has deepened Bashar’s commitment to state investment. He was always seen as a reformer and moderniser but now, importantly, he is seen as a ‘rock’ which has successfully defended Syria against the western-backed sectarian Islamists. That is what will clinch the vote for him. He seems likely to get a higher vote than his Ba’ath party colleagues did in the Assembly elections of 2012.

By failing to engage with the reform process at the Geneva 2 talks in January (when there still existed the possibility of constitutional change) the exiled, Muslim Brotherhood-led ‘opposition’ have effectively shot themselves in the collective foot.

Rather like the pro-coup opposition in Venezuela, ten years ago, they rejected ‘normal’ politics in the hope that backing from the big powers would deliver them government by violence and deception. They rejected dialogue and reform for attacks on schools, hospitals, and ordinary people, blaming the government for their own sectarian massacres. That strategy backfired and they have now excluded themselves from Syrian political life for many years.

Syria’s democratic reform process is advancing, despite the ongoing terrorist war, and it threatens to derail the western ‘regime change’ agenda. The al Qaeda-style groups have served to unite the reform movement with pro-government forces. For these reasons, Syria’s June 3 vote will be a patriotic election.

Originally published on May 5, 2014

The following text and photos were sent to Global Research. They indicate a carefully planned agenda to burn people alive inside the Trade Unions building.

The images as well as reports suggest that the death toll was significantly higher than that published by the media.

The Western media has been involved in acts of coverup and distortion, describing the self-proclaimed Neo-Nazi Brown shirts as nationalists and “honest patriots”. Western governments have casually blamed the atrocities in Odessa on “pro-Russian paramilitaries”.

The Neo-Nazi thugs are directly supported by the Right Sector and Svoboda which play a central role in the coalition government. The Right Sector is supported by Washington.

The Neo-Nazi mobs in Odessa bear the hallmarks of  US sponsored terrorism (e.g Syria) trained to commit atrocities against civilians.  America’s Neo-Nazi Government in Kiev is a reality. Confirmed by Germany’s Bild: “Dozens of specialists from the US Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation are advising the Ukrainian government”

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research Editor, May 5, 2014

A Great tragedy happened to the port city of Odessa at Friday, May 2nd, 2014.

Supporters of federalism were chased to the Trade Unions House by Right Sector mob. The building caught fire soon afterwards, which resulted (by official reports) in 42 deaths.

Originally posted by frallik at Как убивали одесситов в Доме Профсоюзов – детали сценария… +18

Уже понятно, что в Доме Профсоюзов в Одессе было убито много более 42 человек. Провокаторы увлекли людей в здание, где их можно было убивать безнаказанно, с наслаждением и без свидетелей. Пожара внутри здания не было – была постановка пожара, чтобы списать на него массовое уничтожение граждан Украины.

It’s clear that the number of casualties in the Trade Unions House is far greater. Provocateurs captivated people into the building where it was possible to kill them with impunity, with great relish, and without witnesses. Fire inside the building was directed in order to hide mass murdering of Ukrainian citizens.

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Сначала поджог палаток на площади и организация значительного по площади открытого пламени на фоне здания. Людей увлекают под защиту массивных дверей Дома Профсоюзов. У сторонников федерализма на площади не было заранее заготовленных бутылок с зажигательной смесью. Откуда же возник пожар внутри здания?

Firstly, the tents on the square were set on fire which resulted in appearance of large open fire areas close to the building. People were captivated to hide behind massive doors of the Trade Unions House. Federalism supporters had no Molotov’s cocktails prepared in advance. From where has fire inside the building appeared?


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Люди, спрятавшиеся за дверями на первом этаже, были атакованы боевиками Правого Сектора, которые находились там задолго до начала экзекуции. На первом этаже люди сгорели до костей. Сначала у одного выхода…

People behind the doors of the ground floor have been attacked by the Right Sector thugs who got in there long before the execution has begun. Those people were burned to the bones, first at main entrance…

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… потом у всех трёх.

…Then at rest of them.

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… пожарные прибыли, когда уже сгорели даже массивные входные двери.

Firefighters only appeared when massive entrance doors were burned through.

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В солидном пятиэтажном здании с потолками за 3 метра открытый огонь был ещё только в одном кабинете.

Only in a single room in a five-storey building with ceilings over 3 meters high had fire visible from outside.

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Кто мог пробраться на крышу административного здания федерального значения? Наверно те, кто заранее получил ключи от замков, запирающих стальные решётки, ведущие к дверям на крышу.

Who could get onto the roof of the administrative building of nationwide significance? Perhaps those who in advance got the keys to locked steel gratings protecting the roof doors.

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Этих боевиков следует найти. Они могли бы рассказать много интересного о том, когда начался осуществляться план по массовому уничтожению одесситов, и как они заранее заготовили запасы горючей смеси в Доме Профсоюзов.
На нижнем фото клоуны из массовки изображают сторонников федерализма. Типичная голливудская (США/Израиль)подстава под “чужим флагом”.

These thugs must be found. They could tell a lot about when the murdering plan implementation has started, and how in advance they brought supplies for Molotov’s cocktails to the Trade Unions House.

On the picture below stunt [above pic] clowns play a role of federalism supporters. Typical Hollywood (USA/Israel)-style false flag action.

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Полностью сгоревшие трупы на первом этаже у входных дверей.

Charred bodies on the ground floor, near the entrance doors.

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Откуда обгоревшие трупы оказались выше первого этажа – там где не было открытого огня?

Why charred bodies appeared on higher floors where there was no open fire?

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То же фото с другого ракурса :
- деревянная панель на батарее, деревянные поручни на лестнице и лист дсп не сгорели
- синий овал – баррикада из столов, стульев и тумбочек. Она даже не затронута пламенем, хотя мы видим обгоревшие тела
- откуда баррикада? Скорее всего она была сооружена боевиками ПС, чтобы заблокировать пути к спасению на этажи выше

The same bodies from other viewpoint:
- Wooden battery panel, wooden railings on the stairs and chipboard sheet don’t look burnt;
- Blue oval points to the barricade made of tables, chairs and cabinets. It hadn’t even touched by fire, unlike the charred bodies lying nearby;
- From where has the barricade appeared? It was built by the Right Sector thugs in order to lock people trying to save themselves on the above floors.

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- женский труп тащили по полу с места реальной смерти. Кто и зачем?

Female corpse was dragged across the floor space from the real place of her death. Who and why did it?

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- мужчина убит выстрелом в голову
-ранение навылет – под головой натекло

This man was shot in the head. Judging from clearly visible blood puddle, the murderer fired at point-blank so the bullet passed through the skull.

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Вы уже обратили внимание, что у погибших сгорели головы и плечевой пояс? Одежда от груди и ниже огнём не затронута – людей поливали сверху горючей жидкостью и поджигали.  Могли ли сохраниться солнцезащитные очки на лице, когда человек пытается стряхнуть с головы напалм?
От того сгорали кисти рук и запястья до кости.

На этом, как и на предыдущих фото, странная “белая побелка” на полу. Это порошёк из огнетушителей. Их использовали каратели после того, как люди погибали… чтобы самим не сгореть или пострадать от угарного газа.

Have you noticed already that some dead people had burnt heads and shoulders only? That clothing under chest is not affected by fire? Somebody poured flammable stuff onto upper body of those people and set them ablaze. Could sunglasses stay on the face when a man tries to shake the napalm off his head? Notice that hands and wrists of those people burned to the bones, too.

On this and previous pictures, a strange “whitewash” can be seen on the floor. That is the powder from extinguishers used by the punishers after people died…in order not to burn themselves or suffer from carbon monoxide.

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Юноша и девушка. Они не сгорели и не задохнулись – нет признаков открытого огня на паркете (ему лет 50 и он должен был вспыхнуть как солома) и копоти от дыма на стенах. Их убили другим способом. Скорее всего обоим сломали шеи – профессионалы развлекались.

Young man and young woman. They have neither burned nor suffocated – there are no signs of an open fire on the hardwood floor (it seems to be made 50 years ago so it should have catch fire as a straw) and soot from the smoke on the walls. They were killed by other means. Most likely, somebody broke their necks – “professionals” entertained themselves here.

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Баррикады были и на этажах. Кровь на паркете, Сгоревшая голова.
Вполне возможно, что каратели менялись верхней одеждой с убитыми. Знакомая фишка – простая и эффективная.

Barricades were on the other floors as well. Blood on the floor. Burnt head.

The red arrow: it’s possible that the killers were “borrowing” their clothing with victims. Well known stuff, simple and effective.

Note: according to one of the main versions of what happened on May 2 in Odessa, the Right Sector thugs performed a false flag operation. They put St. George’s Ribbons (symbols of anti-Maidan federalism supporters) and organized violent provocation against Maidan supporters (i.e. against their own allies), in order to later blame federalism supporters and make them look responsible for death of many people.

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Женщина у лифтовой шахты без одежды ниже пояса. Скорее всего её изнасиловали, а потом облили голову горючей смесью и сожгли.

Dead woman near the elevator with clothes absent below her waist. Most likely, she was raped, then doused with a flammable mixture and set aflame.

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Убитые выстрелами в голову.

People shot in the head.

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Всё та же картина – сожжённые головы, кисти рук и плечевой пояс, нетронутая огнём нижняя часть тела.

The same picture again: burnt heads, hands and shoulders, lower body untouched by fire.

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Убитый выстрелами в голову.

Man with multiple headshots.

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Самая страшная картина. Скорее всего беременная сотрудница. Есть такие, кто убирают в кабинетах и поливают цветы в дни, когда учреждения не работают. Её задушили электропроводом. Она пыталась сопротивляться – на полу сброшенный цветок…

The scariest picture. Most likely it is a pregnant woman, who was one of the employees working on holidays, cleaning offices and watering flowers. She was strangled by an electric wire. She tried to resist – one can see discarded flower on the floor.

The following video recorded how this woman cried and called for help while being murdered (“HELP ME! HELP ME!” cries start at 0:20).

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… убийца.

…probably, that’s her killer.

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Радость “патриота Украины” – он сам указывает на жертву, на убийцу и на место преступления. Будущая мать и Одесса-мама убиты. Убита и Украина.

The sign of above demotivator that points on victim, murderer and the crime scene reads: “We offed Mommy! Glory to Ukraine!”. This demotivator has been joyfully posted by one of the Ukrainian “patriots”.

Note: “Mommy Odessa” is an affectionate nickname for Odessa, similar to “Big Apple” for New York, or “Emerald City” for Seattle.

Future mother (strangled woman) and Mommy Odessa are killed. As the whole Ukraine.

Свидетельство очевидца -

On the following video, an eyewitness says about more than one hundred victims killed inside the Trade Unions House (in Russian).

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p.s. Убитых может быть до 300. Большую часть, особенно детей и женщин, рубили топорами и забивали палками в подвале - http://vlad-dolohov.livejournal.com/ 876486.html

P.S. The number of killed people can be as high as 300. Most of people, especially children and women, were hashed with axes and clubbed to death with wooden sticks in the basement of the Trade Unions House: http://vlad-dolohov.livejournal.com/ 876486.html

Как убивали одесситов в Доме Профсоюзов – детали сценария… +18

С переводом на английский (includes English version).

Note: the English version has been corrected, thanks to skydigger, panchul, Иван Крамской ,

 

Turkish media sources revealed that around 100 Syrians, who were displaced from Syria, were killed in Soma mine disaster, the worst in Turkey’s history as it claimed the lives of more than 300 miners.

Asya news agency quoted journalist Ali Tezel, who works for Haber Turk TV channel, as saying that 100 Syrians working illegally were left underground as the rescue teams took out the bodies of the Turkish miners only.

Tezel added the rescue workers covered the bodies of the Syrians under coal water inside the mine to erase any sign of them.

Turkish authorities have not made any reference to the dead Syrian miners, leaving their bodies buried under debris, in an explosion that has stirred outrage against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government over negligence of the workers’ safety and indifference to their fate.

Angry protesters who took to the streets have been met with tear gas and rubber bullets by the Turkish police.

An evidence of the Turkish authorities attempting to conceal any trace of the Syrian miners was made evident through them refusing the participation of European rescue teams.

Sources stressed that the total number of the Syrians working in the mine was 450, most of them have been working illegally and unregistered in social security.

The statements provide new evidence on the mistreatment and negligence the displaced Syrians are subjected to under Erdogan’s government. Media reports showing how those are being treated as slaves with the women forced into prostitution and the children pushed to work under inappropriate conditions.