Dmitriy Yarosh is the founder and head of one of Ukraine’s two racist-fascist, or nazi, parties, Right Sector. [He was (until August 7)] officially the #2 Ukrainian national-security official, working directly under Andreiy Paribuiy, who heads Ukraine’s other nazi party (the party that used to call itself Ukraine’s “Social Nationalist Party,” after Hitler’s National Socialist Party, but which the CIA renamed “Svoboda,” meaning “Freedom,” so as to make it more acceptable to Americans).

However, Yarosh has turned out to be Ukraine’s actual leader, despite his not being officially at the top. His nominal boss, Paribuiy, had been appointed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was chosen on February 4th (18 days prior to the coup) to be Ukraine’s new leader, by Victoria Nuland, who was appointed by Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, who were appointed by Barack Obama (the actual ruler of the new Ukraine).

As Yarosh said this past March in an interview with Newsweek, he has “been training paramilitary troops for almost 25 years,” and his “divisions are constantly growing all over Ukraine, but over 10,000 people for sure.” More recently, in October, a pro-Government Ukrainian site interviewed Yarosh and he mentioned specifically a “DUC,” or Volunteer Ukrainian Corps of fighters. He was then asked “How many soldiers in DUC?” and he answered, “About seven thousand men.” These would be his real military force, by far the biggest private army in Ukraine. So, in his private files are everyone’s individual background and skill-level as a “paramilitary,” or far-right mercenary, and they all respect and obey him as the top man. He is the indispensable person in this new Ukraine.

Yarosh’s teams carry out the most violent operations for the CIA in Ukraine (including the coup). Since these are the people who actually specialize in this sort of political operation, Yarosh basically commands the country. Ukraine is now run on fear, and everyone fears Dmitriy Yarosh. Even Ukraine’s other leaders fear him. He is sometimes shockingly public with his threats against even the nation’s President. Yarosh is the only person who can afford to be.

Here you see Yarosh’s people do the coup in Kiev in February. Here you see them do the massacre in Odessa in May. Notice how similar these two operations are. Yarosh’s mind is actually on display in those operations. Yarosh is the person who gave the teams their instructions, and his followers carried these instructions out.

Here, in a news report, titled “Nazi NATO, but No War Crimes Tribunal? Why?” you can see photos, and can click onto youtube videos, of Dmitry Yarosh’s people executing his carefully planned atrocities (some in broad daylight), during the May 2nd massacre, and (via the links within a linked-to news report), also executing the February 22nd coup. You’ll additionally see there other such operations, carried out by Yarosh’s teams.

Yarosh hires only proud far-right mercenaries, who are paid by him from U.S. Government agencies (for example, see this), and from U.S. oligarchs such as George Soros (via his International Renaissance Fund) and Pierre Omidyar — people whose enormous wealth is matched by their intense hatred of Russians — and are also paid directly and indirectly by Ukrainian oligarchs, especially by the one who (along with Arsen Avakov) actually masterminded the May 2nd massacre of Russian-oriented Ukrainians: that’s the Obama White House’s friend, the Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky. (Kolomoysky offered $5,000 for every confirmed corpse produced at the May 2nd massacre.)

The May 2nd massacre was done specifically in order to get the residents in Ukraine’s pro-Russian southeast to fear this new Government so much as to refuse to be ruled by it. (Who wants to be ruled by people who are determined to kill you?) Until the massacre, those people didn’t want full independence from the new Government; but, after it, they did. It’s the reason for the massacre — to get them to demand fullindependence. Their refusal to be ruled by these people who had massacred so barbarically in Odessa people who were like themselves, made practically everyone in the southeast into “separatists.” This new Kiev Government could then call them “terrorists,” and (with acceptance from suckers in the U.S. and Europe) go to war to eliminate them — to make a free-fire zone of the entire area in which the people who had voted for the overthrown leader live. And that’s what it has been since: a free-fire zone, in which the UN and the West passively accept, when they do not outright endorse, their extermination.

Obama needed to eliminate the people in the areas of Ukraine who had voted around 90% for the man he overthrew on February 22nd. (That’s the area of the extermination.) Otherwise, Obama’s coup wouldn’t possess staying-power as a ‘democracy’; it wouldn’t survive future nationwide Ukrainian elections if these areas of almost exclusively pro-Russian voters weren’t ruthlessly destroyed. Those Ukrainian voters thus needed to be eliminated. They were doomed by Obama’s coup-plan, and their doom was Obama’s follow-through on his coup.

But, actually, both Right Sector and “Svoboda” had shared control over the ‘democratic’ “Maidan” demonstrations against the previous President, even prior to the coup that overthrew him. That person, Ukraine’s final President to be elected in a nationwide vote, Viktor Yanukovych, did not know that the U.S. would go so nazi as that. The U.S. had hired both of these nazi groups, from the get-go. As TIME reported, on 4 February 2014 (ironically on the very same day when Victoria Nuland chose Arseniy Yatsenyuk to lead the post-coup Government), “Yarosh and another militant faction [Paribuiy’s “Svoboda”], began a parallel set of negotiations over the weekend. On Monday, they claimed to be in direct talks with Ukraine’s police forces to secure the release of jailed protesters, including members of Pravy Sektor [the Ukrainian name for Right Sector]. Mainstream opposition leaders said they had not authorized any such talks. [They were just America’s suckers among the Maidan demonstrators, the people who thought that this was really about ‘joining Western democracy.’] At the same time, Yarosh has demanded a seat at the negotiating table with the President [Yanukovych]. Once again, he was flatly denied. His ideology, it seems, is just too toxic to let him in the room.” But it wasn’t “too toxic” for Obama to place Yarosh into control over the new Ukraine. (Of course, once the deed was done, this was the last time when one heard in the U.S. about the reality of whom these men were. The myth about ‘American democracy’ needed to be sustained, and so the U.S. ‘news’ media stopped covering that news, and instead focused only on pumping the U.S. Administration’s allegations against Russia, which is Obama’s real target here.)

Dmitriy Yarosh is the indispensable person for such a crucial political task as the elimination of Yanukovych’s voters — and that’s the reason why Yarosh now essentially rules Ukraine.

He says that the reason they need to be slaughtered is that they are “separatists” and “terrorists.” But Yarosh himself had fought alongside Chechen Moslems in Russia for Chechnia’s independence from Russia. He said that their battle is heroic. Bottom line on Yarosh is that what Jews were to Hitler, ethnic Russians, and all of Russia, are to him, and to the entire movement that he represents, which were Ukraine’s Hitler-supporting organizations during World War II. This anti-Russian form of nazism doesn’t go only back to the German Nazi Party; it’s indigenous to northwestern Ukraine, which is why Ukraine has two native nazi parties, not merely one.

Here are Yarosh’s people, marching.

Here they are as an elite battalion slaughtering people in the extermination-zone.

And here is Yarosh himself, the top person in Ukraine’s far-right, being interviewed on Ukrainian TV; in this, you meet Dmitriy Yarosh personally:

As you can see there, he’s quite a charming fellow. Perhaps even more so than Barack Obama. (Republicans don’t have anyone who is even nearly so charming as Yarosh.)

U.S. politicians are lucky that Yarosh doesn’t speak English, and wasn’t born in America. He’d probably win the Republican Presidential nomination (though with rhetoric that’s even milder than what he sports in Ukraine), and go on to win the U.S. Presidency, if he were an American, rather than merely being paid by U.S. taxpayers (and by some of America’s and Ukraine’s oligarchs), such as he is now.

In today’s world, charming people can be like Adolf Hitler, or Benito Mussolini, or Emperor Hirohito, none of whom was charming. After all, America is now on the fascists’ side ideologically, except that it’s for rule by U.S. oligarchs, not by German, Italian, or Japanese ones. It’s for America’s oligarchy to be the masters of other nations’ oligarchies, rather than for other nations’ oligarchies to be the masters of ours. The shoe’s on the other foot, now, that’s all. Fascism, even nazism, finally won.

The era of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ideology (which was opposed to all oligarchies) has been replaced by the era of Ronald Reagan’s ideology (favoring oligarchy, “Svoboda,” or “the free market,” and thus favoring the international dominance of America’s oligarchs). Oligarchy has become the American way now, and we even call this ‘democracy.’

Hitler, the admirer of “the Big Lie,” would get a big chuckle out of such a posthumous ideological victory. Especially since the people whom Obama placed into power in Ukraine are Hitler’s passionate followers in their wanting to subordinate or else destroy all Russians, which had likewise been an aspiration of Adolf Hitler.

Obama, however, is more tactful. Here’s what he said, on 28 May 2014, to the graduating cadets at West Point: “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed [he simply can’t spell ‘past’] and it will be true for the century to come. … America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is and always will be the backbone of that leadership.”

It’s supremacism, but for a different group of oligarchs, that’s all — America’s.

 The following address was delivered at the National Workers World Conference held in New York City on Nov. 15-16, 2014.

United States and NATO interventions in Africa and throughout the Middle East are increasing. From Egypt and Morocco in the North to Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and others to the West, right down through the Sudans, Uganda, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa in the Central, Eastern and Southern regions, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is increasing its efforts to thwart the development of Africa.

Africa is rich with mineral resources, agricultural commodities and a young, vibrant work force which the world capitalist system seeks to exploit at a maximum level. This phenomenon follows an historical process that extends back to the middle 15th century when Portugal and Spain began the Atlantic Slave Trade which led to colonialism and modern day imperialism and neo-colonialism.

This year represents the 90th anniversary of the transition of V.I. Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik tendency within Social Democracy that matured into the Russian Communist Party and the October Revolution, creating the world’s first socialist state initiating the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Viewing the organized working class and its natural allies within the peasantry and the nationally oppressed as the engine of revolutionary change in the present epoch, we recognize the paramount importance of the unity of the proletariat in the western industrialized states with the peoples of the world in the struggle against global dominance of the international finance capital.

In the final chapter of Lenin’s seminal work entitled “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism”, he says that “monopoly has grown out of colonial policy. To the numerous ‘old’ motives of colonial policy, finance capital has added the struggle for the sources of raw materials, for the export of capital, for spheres of influence, i.e., for spheres for profitable deals, concessions, monopoly profits and so on, economic territory in general. When the colonies of the European powers, for instance, comprised only one-tenth of the territory of Africa(as was the case in 1876), colonial policy was able to develop—by methods other than those of monopoly—by the ‘free grabbing’ of territories, so to speak. But when nine-tenths of Africa had been seized (by 1900), when the whole world had been divided up, there was inevitably ushered in the era of monopoly possession of colonies and, consequently, of particularly intense struggle for the division and the re-division of the world.”(1916)

Of course the African people have fought against the ravages of imperialism since its inception. The destruction of the slave system during the 19th century and the anti-colonial wars of the same century along with the emergence of independent African states on the continent and in the Caribbean during the 20th century, along with the movements for Civil Rights, Black Power, and Pan-Africanism in the U.S. and other western states, illustrates the heroic role of the African workers, farmers and youth. These contributions have informed and re-shaped the contemporary outlook and contours of the anti-imperialist and socialist movements around the world.

Neo-Colonialism, Imperialism and Militarism

Despite the existence of 54 independent states on the African continent, today the principal struggle is against a new and more insidious form of exploitation and oppression, neo-colonialism. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the leading strategist and tactician of the African Revolution to emerge during the post-World War II era, not only fought for the liberation of Ghana, Africa and the unity of the continent under socialism, he observed and recorded the working of neo-colonialism noting correctly that it was U.S. imperialism that posed the greatest threat to the genuine liberation, sovereignty and unity of the people.

Nkrumah wrote in his book “Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism” that “Foremost among the neo-colonialists is the United States, which has long exercised its power in Latin America. Fumblingly at first she turned towards Europe, and then with more certainty after World War II when most countries of that continent were indebted to her. Since then, with methodical thoroughness and touching attention to detail, the Pentagon set about consolidating its ascendancy, evidence of which can be seen all around the world.”

It is within this context that we must examine recent developments in Burkina Faso where the masses rose up against the puppet of neo-colonialism Blaise Compaore.  On Oct. 30 millions of people gathered throughout the capital of Ouagadougou and other cities around the landlocked state in West Africa demanding the ouster of Compaore, taking over the parliament and setting it on fire.

Nonetheless, the military comprador elites representing imperialism are still seeking to maintain control of the state on behalf of the mining interests and the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). In Burkina Faso, the country has been utilized as a rear-base in the so-called “anti-terrorism” programs conducted by the Pentagon.

This struggle of the workers and youth is not confined to Burkina Faso. To the south in Ghana, workers are emerging from a general strike where the public sector was paralyzed for two weeks, and the newly-emerging oil sector was hit by a work stoppage sending chills through petroleum industry worldwide.

From Nigeria and Egypt to Zambia and South Africa, workers are demanding a living wage, decent housing, quality education and a society devoid of environmental degradation.

Through Workers World newspaper these struggles are given not only prominence but they are placed within the context of the global class war encompassing the proletariat and the oppressed internationally. Our solidarity with the global fight against imperialism is the best policy in combating institutional racism and national chauvinism.

Revolutionary Cuban Solidarity in the Response to the EVD Outbreak

The most outstanding example of solidarity with Africa is exemplified by the Socialist Cuba since the early 1960s. As Fidel Castro said in 1976, Cubans are a Latin-African people opposed to colonialism, racism and imperialism.

Cuba has once again demonstrated its solidarity with the continent in practice by responding to the latest outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in three West African states. These are not acts of charity no more than Cuba’s intervention in defense of Algeria during early years of its independence; its campaign against neo-colonialism in Congo under the direction of Che Guevara in 1965; and its deployment of 350,000 internationalist volunteers in Angola between 1975 and 1989, playing a decisive role in the overall liberation of Southern Africa from white settler-colonialism.

Today Cuba sends thousands of healthcare workers throughout Africa and the world. The Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) trains physicians internationally, even those from nationally oppressed communities in the U.S.

Over the last few months Cuba has shown the way in responding rapidly to the outbreak of EVD in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where approximately 5,000 have died and twice as many have been impacted. Cuban officials recognized along with the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), that the EVD outbreak and its devastating social and economic effects is a direct result of the legacy of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism.

In order to reverse the lack of healthcare infrastructure and resources in far too many African states, it will require a decisive break with imperialism. Africa must move towards socialist development in order to ensure its future.

As historical materialists we understand the difference between quantitative and qualitative development. There can be quantitative growth without real development. Although African states have experienced escalating rates of foreign direct investment (FDI), it does not necessarily translate into qualitative development in the areas of addressing the social conditions of the majority of the populations.

It is only through a delinking with imperialism and the construction of socialism that Africa, and indeed the world, will realize the abolition of poverty, economic exploitation and imperialist militarism. Through the organization of the working class and nationally oppressed in the imperialist states we can build solidarity with Africa and the peoples of the globe.

The UN General Assembly has stated that the international community, through the United Nations has a legitimate interest, regarding the protection of Jerusalem’s unique spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions.

Its position on the question of Jerusalem is based upon General Assembly resolution 181 (II) November 29, 1947, which provides for the full territorial internationalisation of Jerusalem: “The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations.”

This position was restated in the wake of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War in UN General Assembly Resolution 303(IV) of 1949. According to a 1979 report prepared for and under the guidance of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the UN has maintained that until the final status of the city is agreed by the parties involved, the legal status of the city remains a corpus separatum.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) does not recognise Israel’s proclamation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which is, for example, reflected in the wording of General Assembly Resolution 63/30 of 2009 which states that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.”

The UN including the Security Council have consistently affirmed its position that East Jerusalem is occupied territory subject to the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The International Court of Justice in its 2004 Advisory opinion on the “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” described East Jerusalem as “occupied Palestinian territory.”

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling as he announced the new Energy East Pipeline during a news conference in Calgary, Alberta in 2013. (Photo: Reuters/Todd Koro)

Documents show that oil and gas companies are placing serious resources of time, money, and personnel into countering the growing climate justice movement. “What this speaks to is that they are losing,” says one campaigner whose group has been targeted by company strategy.

Internal strategy documents prepared by a public relations firm on behalf of Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada reveal details of an enormous and well-organized effort by the oil industry to neutralized the transnational grassroots movement which has grown up around the industry’s effort to expand tar sands mining and the building of huge infrastructure projects designed to get “the world’s dirtest fuel” to market.

Obtained by Greenpeace and given to The Guardian newspaper, the documents show that TransCanada—which has proposed building a pipeline called Energy East to bring tar sands from Alberta to New Brusnwick through the largest such pipeline ever built—is aligned with other oil and gas companies placing serious resources of time, money, and personnel into countering the growing climate justice movement which has so far successfully delayed building the Keystone XL pipelein and affirmed its commitment to stopping similar projects in the name of fighting global warming and the resulting threat of climate change.

“These tactics are as dirty as the oil the pipeline would transport,” said Mark Calzavara of Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut regional organizer with the Council of Canadians, one of the groups named in the corporate documents. “Filling Energy East would mean the climate pollution equivalent to adding 7 million cars to our roads. It threatens over 1000 waterways along the route with a devastating diluted bitumen spill.”

Read the complete strategy document here (pdf).

As the Guardian‘s Suzanne Goldenberg reports:

The company behind the Keystone XL project is engaged in a “perpetual campaign” that would involve putting “intelligent” pressure on opponents and mobilising public support for an entirely Canadian alternative, bypassing Barack Obama and pipeline opposition in the US.

Hours before a Senate vote to force US approval of the Keystone pipeline, the industry playbook to squash opposition to the alternative has been exposed in documents made available to the Guardian.

Strategy documents drafted by the public relations giant Edelman for TransCanada Corporation – which is behind both Keystone and the proposed alternative – offer a rare inside glimpse of the extensive public relations, lobbying, and online and on-the-ground efforts undertaken for pipeline projects. The plans call, among other things, for mobilising 35,000 supporters.

The documents were prepared for Energy East, a project designed to serve as an entirely Canadian alternative to Keystone that is the biggest tar sands pipeline proposed to date.

The New York Times, which also received the strategy plan, reports how Edelman proposes TransCanade create “a campaign directed at opposition groups like the Council of Canadians and the David Suzuki Foundation, as well as a small community group in Ottawa that usually fights for more bike lanes and park enhancements.”

Responding to the revelations, Andrea Harden-Donaghue, lead climate campaigner for the Council of Canadians, told the Guardian that the ambitious scale of strategy suggested TransCanada was concerned about growing opposition to the Energy East project. “What this speaks to is that they are losing,” she said. “What these documents reveal is that they are bringing Tea Party activists into the equation in Canada combined with a heavyhanded advertising campaign. They are clearly spending a lot of time and thought on our efforts. I’d rather see them address the concerns that we are raising.”

Other key sections of the document include (emphasis added):

  • Borrowing a page from the modern political playbook, we recommend a three-track approach to build the necessary campaign infrastructure. This approach strives to neutralize risk before it is leveled, respond directly to issues or attacks as they arise, and apply pressure-intelligently-on opponents, as appropriate.
  • It is critical to play offence, both to define the story ourselves and proactively manage issues. But if we place ourselves in a position where we are managing issues solely on a day-to-day basis, we may win the battle but lose the proverbial war. Therefore, we don’t consider this a response program but, rather, a perpetual campaign to protect and enhance the value of the Energy East Pipeline and to help inoculate TransCanada from potential attacks in any arena.
  • Add layers of difficulty for our opponents, distracting them from their mission and causing them to redirect their resources. We cannot allow our opponents to have a free pass. They will use every piece of information they can find to attack TransCanada and this project-attacks are part of a larger, modern oppositional effort to silence those on the other side. To make an informed decision on this project, Canadians need to have a true picture of the motivations not only of the project proponents, but of its opponents as well. This point should particularly be made in communication to supportive third parties, who can in turn put the pressure on, especially when TransCanada can’t.
  • One of the campaign’s most important steps involves developing a narrative that clearly tells the compelling Energy East Pipeline story and provides the opportunity for TransCanada to define the project on its own terms… the four agreed-upon campaign platforms of Safety; Environmental Stewardship; Economic Benefits & Jobs; and National (or Strategic) Interest. To do this, we will audit existing positive messaging and creative assets, and will meet with key members of the project team to develop an umbrella message and core messages about the pipeline
  • We will research the editorial calendars of key media and align our promotional efforts with them for long-lead opportunities especially.
  • Media will prove a critical player in conveying our messages. We will build upon existing relationships and foster new ones with key local/national media
  • Paid Media: Amplification of any promote efforts will be critical to expanding the people we reach with our stories. When positive earned coverage is published, we will amplify it using a content amplification vendor. In addition, we will use Paid Media to effectively deploy our narrative in highly contextual and targeted spaces to inform or engage the audience.
  • The identification of possible areas on web properties where “dark” content could be activated in response to issues that might arise, tied to our milestone calendar or other random flare-ups that require responses.
  • Detailed Background Research on Key Opposition Groups: We will prepare a research profile of key opposition groups by examining public records (including financial disclosures, legal databases and legislative records), traditional media sources (news databases such as Lexis-Nexis and Factiva) and social media (Facebook, Twitter and other relevant sites). All relevant findings will be compiled in a written, fully documented report, to include a summary of findings and an assessment of strengths and weaknesses.
  • We will begin with the Council of Canadians. Other possibilities include Equiterre, the David Suzuki Foundation, Avaaz and Ecology Ottawa.

U.S. plans to attack Iran with a mix of nuclear and conventional weapons have been in readiness since June, 2005, according to Michel Chossudovsky. a distinguished authority on international affairs.

“Confirmed by military documents as well as official statements, both the U.S. and Israel contemplate the use of nuclear weapons directed against Iran,” writes professor Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal.

The plans were formulated in 2004. The previous year, Congress gave the Pentagon the green light to use thermo-nuclear weapons in conventional war theaters in the Middle East and Central Asia, allocating $6 billion in 2004 alone to create the new generation of “defensive” tactical nuclear weapons or “mini-nukes”.

“In 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney ordered USSTRATCOM (Strategic Command) to draft a ‘contingency plan’ that included “a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons,” Chossudovsky writes. The plan went beyond the terms of reference outlined in the Pentagon’s 2001 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR),  which called for a ”preemptive” “first strike use” of nuclear weapons against Russia and China as well as Iran and North Korea.

The 2005 plan identified more than 450 strategic targets in Iran, including numerous alleged nuclear-weapons-program development sites. The plan, incredibly, was rationalized on a second 9/11 type attack on the US that Cheney believed Iran would allegedly support!

“President Obama has largely endorsed the doctrine of pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons formulated by the previous administration,” Chossudovsky writes in his new book, “Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War” (Global Research, 2012). His Administration “has also intimated it will use nukes in the event of an Iran response to an Israeli attack on Iran.”

Chossudovsky points out, “The new nuclear doctrine turns concepts and realities upside down. It not only denies the devastating impacts of nuclear weapons, it states, in no uncertain terms, that nuclear weapons are ‘safe’ and their use in the battlefield will ensure ‘minimal collateral damage and reduce the probability of escalation.’ The issue of radioactive fallout is not even acknowledged with regard to tactical nuclear weapons, neither is the issue of ‘Nuclear Winter’.”

“What is unfolding (in Iran) is the outright legitimization of war in the name of an illusive notion of global security. America’s mini-nukes, with an explosive capacity of up to six times a Hiroshima bomb, are upheld as a ‘humanitarian’ bomb, whereas Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons are branded as an indisputable threat to global security,” Chossudovsky writes.

He points out that a U.S.-Israeli strike against Iran would probably not be limited to Iran’s nuclear facilities but likely would be “an all-out air attack on both military and civilian infrastructure, transport systems, factories and public buildings.”

Employed would be “the entire gamut of new advanced weapons systems, including electro-metric weapons and environmental modification techniques (ENMOD),” Chossudovsky writes.

WWIII Scenario

He notes that the U.S. has stepped up its military shipments to Israel, its NATO allies, and to countries bordering Iran. Israel in 2004 took shipment of the first of 500 U.S.-made BLU 109 “bunker buster” bombs, and the U.S. has supplied thermonuclear bombs to Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Turkey, and Great Britain. Turkey alone, a partner in the U.S. anti-Iran coalition, has 90 thermonuclear B61 bombs at its Incirlik nuclear air base.

“It is not Iran and North Korea which are a threat to global security by the United States of America and Israel,” he adds. What’s more, Western European governments have joined the bandwagon and “have endorsed the U.S.-led military initiative against Iran.”

He goes on to say, “At no point since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, has humanity been closer to the unthinkable — a nuclear holocaust which could potentially spread in terms of radioactive fallout over a large part of the Middle East.”

It may also be noted the U.S. currently has several, nuclear-armed carrier task forces in waters near Iran and has built more than 40 military bases in the countries surrounding Iran. The U.S. reportedly has 20,000 nuclear bombs available to use and Israel reportedly has another 200, whereas Iran is not known to have one. U.S. military spending of $700 billion a year, moreover, is 100 times the rate of Iran’s $7 billion annual military outlay.

For further information and/or interviews with Michel Chossudovsky, contact Sherwood Ross Associates, Public Relations Consultants, Miami, Florida, 305-205-8281
[email protected]

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Britain and the Global Economy in Crisis

November 19th, 2014 by Bill Holter

David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain wrote an article which was published in The Guardian yesterday .  The headline “Red lights are flashing on the global economy” in my opinion is very true  what followed the headline with was not.  In this article which was penned after leaving the G-20 summit, Mr. Cameron went on to mostly tell the truth about the global woes but was very careful to exclude Great Britain.  To me, this sounded like some sort of “whistle stop” campaign about how well Britain is being managed and their risk is the possibility of being tipped over by global events.

“Well managed” he purports?  This is not even close to being so and the “austerity” he speaks of is only a pipe dream and no longer even an option.  I would ask him a few questions were he willing to take any, such as “didn’t Britain try austerity for 6 months or so only to find out it cannot be implemented without an economic and financial implosion”?  I might even ask him how he feels now that Britain sold 60% of their gold reserves at the worst prices possible since 1979 …but that wouldn’t be a gentlemanly question would it?

In any case, let’s look at the headline ..”red lights are flashing on the dashboard of the global economy”.  This is true nearly all over the world.  As a matter of fact, the “engine” for global growth just announced one of their diesel tanks as empty.  It’s been discovered that China’s “shadow banking system” had a huge increase in bad debt .  Understand that this is not the “core” banking system but this did add to China’s growth acting as an afterburner of hot and easy credit.  A reversal of this credit will surely drag on the economy and will probably even surprise the complacent as to where it shows up.  “Where” being further news on hypothecated, re hypothecated and re re re hypothecated commodities.  We still don’t know fully how the warehouse frauds uncovered earlier in the year will fall, a decline in credit from the shadow banking system can only reveal more fraud!

So David Cameron “covered his butt” with the headline, when the time comes he can now say “I told you so, you should have listened to me”.  Unlike David Cameron who is still in office and trying to cover his reputation, there are two ex U.S. government officials who are and have been telling you the truth for years, Paul Craig Roberts and David Stockman.  Mr. Roberts was asst. Treasury Secretary from 1975-1978 and David Stockman was the Director of OMB under Reagan.  When I read or first heard their opinions I can remember thinking “WOW, this guy is from the government and telling the truth!”.  This is still so today and both of these men seem to be getting louder and much more urgent in their warnings.  Neither hedges nor flip flops in their opinions which I respect as much as I do their logic.  They have been and are telling you the absolute truth and doing so in my opinion out of pure “character”!  They both say “it’s over” from a mathematical standpoint, I don’t understand why anyone even questions what they say?

Another ex “federal” employee who has been boisterous lately is Alan Greenspan.  I have recently written how he is out selling books and trying to clean up his legacy.  Part of this has been to admit gold in fact is money, it is better than any fiat ever and that there will be “great financial difficulties” at some point.  Mr. Roberts and Mr. Stockman, unlike Alan Greenspan, are not out on the speaking circuit trying to clean up their legacies, they are firmly and cleanly intact.  They I believe are trying to help anyone who would listen while Alan Greenspan’s motive in my opinion is one of “don’t blame me, I warned you”.

There are others of course but these four will suffice for what I am trying to get across to you.  “why don’t people believe them”?  Yes I know, if you are reading this then you probably do believe them but why don’t the masses?  I have an opinion on this, I think most people know “something” is wrong, VERY wrong.  Many don’t really know what it is and wouldn’t really understand it unless handed to them on a platter.  Most people are not “wired” to understand economics or finance.  Some, many, are just too worn down by daily life to bother “figuring it out” while others (MANY) just want to bury their heads in the sand …because the truth is just too ugly to bare!

I do understand the concept of the masses being slowly and methodically being “dumbed down” over the years.  Notice I used the word “methodically” which in my mind includes “intent”.  I say this because a knowledgeable and well informed population is hard to pull the wool over their eyes …a dumbed down population on the other hand will (has) stand by and accept things the “way they are”.  This is important because our “money” system is fake and fraudulent, sadly only one or two out of 100 in the West understands this.  The rest of the world still “gets it” which is why Western vaults are being raided by Eastern buyers.

Once all is said and done, the majority in the West will finally get it but unfortunately this will be too late.  I have always said that “one second too late is equal to a lifetime”, unfortunately this is the case.  “We” cannot save the masses as they will not listen for whatever their personal reasons.  What we can do is try.  I would urge anyone reading this to pass my writings along to friends and loved ones that you care about.  When you come across Paul Craig Roberts or David Stockman’s writings or anyone else “who makes sense” …forward it!  Yes I know, you have tried this and either lost friends or became the “black sheep fool of the family”.  All you can do is try!  Time is very short now, we know this because the Achilles Heel, gold supply, has become very tight.  We know this because even career politicians like David Cameron have told you.  We know this because many Western nations have already proposed and signed “bail ins” where bank balances will be stolen upon the financial collapse.  We know this for so many various reasons, not the least of which is your own common sense.

To finish, I want to link to Mr. Roberts and Stockman’s latest work.  Does it sound like things are a “little bad”?  Or does it sound like the system is hopelessly broken?  Please understand this if nothing else,  Stockman and Roberts have no ax to grind whatsoever. They worked in government during a time when “serving your country” was still the mindset.  Please read their latest,  here  and here  these are their honest opinions!  It’s over …and only a matter of time until our world reflects this fact!

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper took the lead in the hostile reception accorded to Russian President Vladimir Putin at last weekend’s G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.

In an incident widely reported in the Canadian and international media, Harper grudgingly accepted Putin’s offer of a handshake and declared, “You need to get out of Ukraine.” Harper’s aggressive pose set the tone for the conference, where the western powers worked to further isolate Russia, including discussing plans to step up economic sanctions over Ukraine.

Harper’s provocative gesture illustrates Canadian imperialism’s ever more aggressive role in global geopolitical conflicts.

Ottawa gave its full backing to the fascist-led coup in Kyiv last February that led to the overthrow of the elected president, Victor Yanukovitch, and the installation of the pro-western regime under current President Petro Poroshenko. Harper was the first foreign leader to visit Kyiv in the wake of the coup.

This was part of a long-standing Canadian intervention in Ukraine. In close alliance with the US National Endowment for Democracy, Canada has long funded pro-western Ukrainian “civil society” groups and political parties using a government-supported network of Ukrainian-Canadian businessman and ethnic organizations. Many of the latter hail the ultranationalists who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II and their leader Stepan Bandera.

When Ukrainian President Poroshenko paid a visit to Ottawa in September, he complimented Canada’s Conservative government and the entire political establishment for their firm backing for the Kyiv regime. In a speech to parliament, he hailed Canada’s supply of nonlethal military equipment to the Ukrainian army and its diplomatic efforts on the international stage, declaring, “No one, with the possible exception of Poland, was so straightforward and earnest in sending a signal across the world to the Russians.”

This “signal” has included Canada assuming a major role in NATO’s efforts to encircle Moscow by positioning air power in the Baltic region and carrying out military exercises in Eastern Europe. Canadian aircraft based in the Baltic were involved in the interception of Russian military aircraft last month when they were in international airspace.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Harper government has moved to place Canada in the frontline in the US-led drive to contain and strategically encircle China. Last November, Ottawa concluded a secret agreement with Washington on military collaboration in the Asia-Pacific region, the “Asia-Pacific Defence Policy Cooperation Framework.” The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is also seeking to establish “forward bases” in Asia, including in South Korea and Singapore.

Harper arrived at the G-20 summit fresh from a visit to New Zealand, the first by a Canadian prime minister in 19 years. According to a report of his visit, topics discussed included security sharing—like Canada, New Zealand is one of the US National Security Agency’s “Five Eyes” surveillance allies— and issues surrounding the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The US-led TPP aims to exclude China from closer Pacific economic cooperation and place the US and its allies in the driver’s seat in establishing the rules of the capitalist world economic order in the 21st century. A week prior to his G-20 trip, Harper provocatively met with US President Barack Obama and other TPP participants in the US embassy in Beijing.

Canada’s increasingly aggressive posture, alongside that of the US and the other imperialist powers, is being driven by the ongoing capitalist crisis. Six years after the 2008 economic crash, economic conditions today are even more fragile.

In spite of the signs of growing recessionary and deflationary tendencies around the world, Harper hailed the G-20’s empty commitment to boost global growth in coming years, a commitment that even the IMF has raised doubts over. Referring to the measures the G-20 leaders agreed on, Harper said, “It basically has to do with things like the capitalization of banks, rescue plans in place before you have bankruptcies, things that would avoid a financial collapse like we had in 2008.”

Defending the G-20’s record, he went on, “We know from the ’08-’09 crisis that there are times when no national government, no matter how important—not even the biggest in the world—are going to be able to deal with macroeconomic developments at the global level.”

Harper’s comments on economic conditions could not be further from the truth. Not only have none of the fundamental problems which led to the 2008 crisis been resolved, they have intensified over the past six years. And his attempt to promote the G-20 as a body promoting global cooperation in contrast to the narrow interests of national governments was thoroughly undermined by events at last weekend’s summit, dominated as it was by the attempts of the imperialist powers to isolate Russia.

In Canada, Harper’s calculated insult to Putin was universally hailed by the media and opposition parties. Paul Dewar, foreign affairs spokesman for the trade union-aligned New Democratic Party (NDP), berated Harper from the right for restricting his protest to mere words. “To be direct is fine, but it’s a matter of what you follow it up with. I’m not sure beyond the handshake and the chastisement from Harper what was achieved,” he told the Globe and Mail.

For the Liberals, MP Chrystia Freeland commented, “There has been in the past few days a really worrying escalation of the Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine. Strong rhetorical support for Ukraine is essential and strong action in support of Ukraine is essential too.”

Media reaction was similarly enthusiastic. CBC carried a report describing the positive response in the Australian press to “the Prime Minister’s bold admonishment to Putin.” The article went on to note a report in Australia’s Business Insider which claimed that Harper had shown Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot how to “shirtfront” Putin, an Australian expression meaning to knock someone to the ground.

Harper’s aggressive intervention at the G-20 summit came just weeks after Canada joined the US military in its latest war of aggression in the Middle East. Since November 2, Canadian CF-18 fighter jets have been dropping bombs on ISIS targets within Iraq. Although Canada’s deployment is formally restricted to six months, there are open discussions that the conflict will last many years, with one of its ultimate goals being the overthrow of Syria’s Assad regime, a close ally of Russia and Iran.

Although Ottawa is moving in close alliance with the United States on all major geopolitical issues, there are serious and mounting tensions between the two countries.

This was illustrated in comments made by Obama just prior to the G-20 summit on the Keystone-XL gas pipeline, a project designed to transport Canadian oil from the tar sands in Alberta to the US Gulf Coast. Responding to a question about the likelihood of the project going ahead now that the Republicans have won control of congress, US President Barack Obama signaled that were the US House of Representatives and Senate to pass a bill for the pipeline to be built, he would veto it.

“Keystone XL just gets Canadian oil to world markets, it doesn’t help the US consumer,” said Obama. “Understand what this project is: it is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf, where it will be sold everywhere else.”

Harper has made the approval of Keystone a top priority, declaring that its benefits are “a no brainer.” The energy sector is one of the most significant sources of economic growth in Canada, which is why Keystone has been heavily promoted by Canadian big business and the Conservative government.

If you still think the United States government would never harm its own citizens for the benefit of federal agencies, then I would direct your attention to a formerly classified black ops program launched by the US government starting way back in 1945. With the goal of testing highly radioactive substances on overall healthy patients through secret injections administered by government agents, the program has still been widely ignored since being released to the public in recent years.

In the covert program that is now admitted to be true, the United States government injected unknowing human ‘participants’ with highly toxic substances like plutonium. It sounds like a bizarre torture scenario that you’d expect to see blamed on illegal terror organizations, but the individuals behind this crime are actually doctors working for the United States government. Disregarding the health of innocent citizens, the government testers were eager to see how unknowing participants suffered as a result of the injections.

That’s right, they were testing the lethal effects of radioactive isotope injection on citizens. And not that it would make it any more ethical, but they didn’t even choose terminally ill patients who were most likely going to pass away anyway. Instead, they chose patients who sometimes were only suffering from ailments like broken bones.

Injecting Unknowing Patients With Uranium

It began in 1945, when an employee at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Facility was in a car accident. Ebb Cade survived, but was taken in as a human participant in a disturbing study he did not consent to. It is important to note that this man was a fifty-three-year-old African American, as previous government trials have singled out African Americans and other minorities. The racist sterilization programs occurred between 1929 to 1974 under an admitted eugenics programs that officials claimed were ‘creating a better society’. Most victims were poor, black women who were ‘deemed unfit to be parents’. Individuals as young as 10 were sterilized simply for not getting along with schoolmates or being promiscuous, and many parents were misled into sterilizing their children.

Ebb Cade was taken and bound to a bed with a broken arm and leg, where doctors interviewed him regarding his current state of health. After determining he was in a state of proper health, doctors secretly injected him with 4.7 micrograms of plutonium on Aptil 10th. It is still unknown who exactly ordered the program within the U.S. government, as they have managed to disassociate themselves with the entire nefarious program. At the time of the injection, scientists were perfectly aware of the negative effects associated with radiation. With cancers and radiation sickness on the rise, these scientists knew exactly what they were doing — examining the effects of plutonium isotopes on living beings.

Prior to the tests on Cade, the scientists injected animals with plutonium and noted the severe adverse effects. In some cases, animals were even fed radioactive waste. In fact, one scientist received a face full of gas and required his stomach to be pumped along with a full face scrub in an attempt to eliminate the threat. The scientists made sure that they were given the full treatment after the exposure. Meanwhile, they were injecting individuals with plutonium.

Scientists took excretions from Cade over the next five days to see how much plutonium retained in his body. They also refused to set his broken bones until April 15th, and cut samples from the bone before doing so to examine the plutonium content in his bone tissue. Fifteen of his teeth were pulled for testing. After all of this, they never informed Cade what they were doing. One nurse said that the tortured Cade escaped in the middle of the night, and he was later found to die in 1953 of heart failure.

Sadly, Cade was not the last test experiment.

Three human experiments followed, all cancer patients seeking treatment. Instead of treatment, the patients were injected with deadly plutonium in order for government scientists to see the effects. A man in his sixties with lung cancer, a woman in her fifties with breast cancer, and a “young man” with Hodgkin’s lymphoma were all given the poison. Conveniently, the third patient’s records are not available. He was injected with fifteen times more than any other individual, at 95 micrograms.

What followed is further widespread testing. The University of Rochester joined the program, injecting patients with not only plutonium but radioactive isotopes like polonium and uranium. Other institutions like the University of California soon followed suit.

Perhaps most concerning is the fact that this disgusting disregard for human health is not an isolated incident. The Tuskegee syphilis experiment is but one example of secret government human experiments that have run rampant throughout recent history. Taking place between 1932 and 1972,  Tuskegee, Alabama, the U.S. Public Health Service knowingly infected poor black men with syphilis in order to test the effects. These men thought that they were receiving free healthcare by the U.S. government.

The list goes on, targeting minorities and the disabled in particular. From forced sterilizations to incognito injections, there is a lengthy history of government testing that shows the blatant disregard for your health by the United States government and elsewhere. With this in mind, is it any wonder why the FDA keeps toxic substances like mercury unregulated among the food supply?

Anthony Gucciardi is the Founding Director of NaturalSociety, whose writings on the subject of health and wellness have reached tens of millions of readers worldwide. A proponent of an organic lifestyle, the growth of alternative news, and a dedication to aiding various non-profit organizations, NaturalSociety was Anthony’s next step in what he calls “highlighting what you won’t be hearing about on the major news networks.” Anthony has appeared on both grassroots and established platforms alike, including routine appearances on Drudge Report, Daily Mail, RT, The Blaze, Infowars, Michael Savage’s Savage Nation, Coast to Coast AM, and many others.

The US Defense Department (DOD) is developing domestic espionage and covert operations targeting “the general public” in coordination with the intelligence establishment and police agencies, according to a New York Times report.

“The Times analysis showed that the military and its investigative agencies have almost as many undercover agents working inside the United States as does the F.B.I,” the newspaper wrote.

“While most of them are involved in internal policing of service members and defense contractors, a growing number are focused, in part, on the general public as part of joint federal task forces that combine military, intelligence and law enforcement specialists,” the Times continued.

Taken at face value, the report amounts to an acknowledgment by the leading media organ of the US ruling class that the American government is deploying a vast, forward-deployed counter-insurgency machine to target the US population at large.

Coming directly from the horse’s mouth, the Times report makes clear that espionage, deception, and covert operations are now primary instruments of the US government’s domestic policy and are actively deployed by the military and security agencies against the civilian population. In preparation for a massive upsurge in the class struggle, the US ruling class is mobilizing the entire federal bureaucracy to carry out systematic and targeted political repression against the working class in the US and around the world.

In addition to the DOD, at least 39 other federal security and civilian agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), have developed increasingly ambitious forms of covert operations involving the use of undercover agents, which now inhabit “virtually every corner of the federal government,” according to unnamed government officials and documents cited by the New York Times.

New training programs to prepare agents to conduct Internet-based undercover sting operations have been developed by the DOD, Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI, according to the report.

DHS alone spends at least $100 million per year on the development of undercover operations, an unnamed DHS intelligence official told the Times. Total costs for operations involving undercover government agents likely total at least several hundred millions of dollars per year, the Times reported.

The US Supreme Court trains its own security force in “undercover tactics,” which officers use to infiltrate and spy on demonstrators outside the high court’s facilities, the Times reported.

IRS agents frequently pose as professionals, including as medical doctors, in order to gain access to privileged information, according to a former agent cited by the report. IRS internal regulations cited in the report state that “an undercover employee or cooperating private individual may pose as an attorney, physician, clergyman or member of the news media.”

Teams of undercover agents deployed by the IRS operate in the US and internationally in a variety of guises, including as drug money launderers and expensive luxury goods buyers.

The Department of Agriculture (DOA) employs at least 100 of its own covert agents, who often pretend to be food stamp users while investigating “suspicious vendors and fraud,” according to the Times .

Covert agents employed by the Department of Education (DOE) have embedded themselves in federally funded education programs, unnamed sources cited by the report say.

Numerous other federal bureaucracies are running their own in-house espionage programs, including the Smithsonian, the Small Business Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the report stated.

This sprawling apparatus of spying, disruption and manipulation implicates the state in a mind-boggling range of criminal and destructive activities.

Covert operations using undercover agents are conducted entirely in secret, and are funded from secret budgets and slush funds that are replenished through the “churning” of funds seized during previous operations back into the agencies’ coffers to fund the further expansion of secret programs.

Secret operations orchestrated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) on this basis are increasingly indistinguishable from those of organized crime syndicates, and give a foretaste of what can be expected from the ongoing deployment of counter-revolutionary undercover agents by military-intelligence apparatus throughout the US.

In 2010, the ATF launched a series of covert operations that used state-run front businesses to seize weapons, drugs, and cash, partly by manipulating mentally disabled and drug addicted individuals, many of them teenagers, according to investigations by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel .

While posing as owners of pawnshops and drug paraphernalia retail outlets, ATF agents induced cash-desperate and psychologically vulnerable individuals to carry out criminal activities including the purchase and sale of stolen weapons and illegal substances.

A number of the ATF-run fake stores exposed by the Sentinel were run in “drug free” and “safe” zones near churches and schools. Youths were encouraged to smoke marijuana and play video games at these locations by ATF agents. In one instance reported by the Sentinel, a female agent wore revealing attire and flirted with teenage targets while inciting them to acquire weapons and illegal substances to sell to an ATF-run front business, the Sentinel found.

The ATF was notorious for its operations in the 1980s where it used agents provocateurs to frame up and jail militant workers involved in industrial strikes. In one infamous case in Milburn, West Virginia an ATF informer was exposed after he tried unsuccessfully to convince striking coal miners to blow up an abandoned processing facility.

The US government has steadily escalated its domestic clandestine operations in the years since the September 11, 2001, attacks. The New York Police Department (NYPD) intelligence section deployed hundreds of covert agents throughout New York City, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

As part of operations coordinated with the CIA and spanning more than a decade, the NYPD paid informants to spy on and “bait” Muslim residents into manufactured terror plots. The security and intelligence agencies refer to this method as “create and capture,” according to a former NYPD asset cited by the Associated Press .

It is now obvious these surveillance and infiltration programs, initially focusing on Muslim neighborhoods, were only the first stage in the implementation of a comprehensive espionage and counter-insurgency system targeting the US population.

Large numbers of informers and FBI agents infiltrated the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011.

Historically, secret police groups targeted the political and class enemies of the capitalist state using the pretext of defending the nation from dangerous “foreign” elements.

Among the first covert police sections established by the imperialist powers were the British “Special Branch,” originally established as the “Special Irish Branch” in 1883 to target groups opposed to British domination of Ireland. “Special Branch” police intelligence forces were subsequently set up throughout the commonwealth to run cloak-and-dagger missions in service of British imperialism.

Similarly, in an early effort by the US ruling class to develop a secret police force, New York City police commissioner established “Italian Squad” in 1906 to carry out undercover activities against socialist-minded workers in the city’s immigrant and working class areas.

Moscow does not plan on “begging” the West to lift sanctions against Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

“Sanctions are not our choice at all, but we are not planning on begging Western countries to lift these sanctions, though sometimes they do hint about it [by saying] ‘let’s agree on certain criteria, we’ll tell you what you need to do and then we’ll lift sanctions.’ We’re not going to play those games,” Lavrov said during a joint press conference with Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei in Minsk.

Russia’s top diplomat pointed out that “sober-minded judgments and pleas to learn from its own mistakes” have started to appear in the European Union.

According to Lavrov, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini ”urged exactly for that.”

“[Mogherini] urged [the European Union] to pay more attention to the assessment of the situation, to forecast the consequences of the steps the European Union has made, such as pushing Ukraine toward an association agreement a year ago and said that a more balanced estimation of EU plans is better than imposing sanctions,” Lavrov said.

Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated following Crimea‘s reunification with Russia in March.

The European Union, the United States and their allies have introduced several rounds of economic sanctions against Russia over its alleged interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The sanctions mainly targeted the country’s banking, defense and energy sectors, as well as a number of high-ranking officials.

Russia has repeatedly called the restrictions counterproductive and warned that sanctions may backfire on those who imposed them.

In August, Moscow introduced a one-year embargo on certain food exports from the countries that imposed the restrictions.

The United States has attempted to claim that the only way to stop the so-called “Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq is to first remove the government in Syria. Complicating this plan are developments in Libya, benefactor of NATO’s last successful regime change campaign. In 2011, NATO armed, funded, and backed with a sweeping air campaign militants in Libya centered around the eastern Libyan cities of Tobruk, Derna, and Benghazi. By October 2011, NATO successfully destroyed the Libyan government, effectively handing the nation over to these militants. What ensued was a campaign of barbarism, genocide, and sectarian extremism as brutal in reality as what NATO claimed in fiction was perpetrated by the Libyan government ahead of its intervention. The so-called “rebels” NATO had backed were revealed to be terrorists led by Al Qaeda factions including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The so-called “pro-democracy protesters” Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was poised to attack in what NATO claimed was pending “genocide” were in fact heavily armed terrorists that have festered for decades in eastern Libya.Almost immediately after NATO successfully destroyed Libya’s government, its terrorist proxies were mobilized to take part in NATO’s next campaign against Syria. Libyan terrorists were sent first to NATO-member Turkey where they were staged, armed, trained, and equipped, before crossing the Turkish-Syrian border to take part in the fighting.

Images: Same convoy, different flag. Even in 2011, it was painfully obvious the so-called “rebels” fighting with NATO assistance in Libya were in fact members of long-standing Al Qaeda franchises including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Their strongholds in eastern Libya served as the “revolution’s” cradle, meaning the “revolution” was merely cover for a NATO-assisted Al Qaeda uprising. In other words, NATO handed Libya over to Al Qaeda, and is attempting to do likewise with Syria.

CNN Admits ISIS is in Libya  

CNN in an article titled, “ISIS comes to Libya,” claims:

The black flag of ISIS flies over government buildings. Police cars carry the group’s insignia. The local football stadium is used for public executions. A town in Syria or Iraq? No. A city on the coast of the Mediterranean, in Libya.

Fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are now in complete control of the city of Derna, population of about 100,000, not far from the Egyptian border and just about 200 miles from the southern shores of the European Union.

The fighters are taking advantage of political chaos to rapidly expand their presence westwards along the coast, Libyan sources tell CNN.

Only the black flag of Al Qaeda/ISIS has already long been flying over Libya – even at the height of NATO’s intervention there in 2011.  ISIS didn’t “come to” Libya, it was always there in the form of Al Qaeda’s local franchises LIFG and AQIM – long-term, bitter enemies of the now deposed and assassinated Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Images: While CNN claims the “black flag of ISIS” is just now flying over Libya, in reality, the black flag of Al Qaeda and US-Saudi funded global terrorism has flown over Libya for years. Just weeks after US Senator John McCain was in the terrorist capital of Benghazi pledging funds and weapons to the militants, overt public demonstrations in support for Al Qaeda took place right on the doorsteps of the courthouse McCain appeared at.

CNN’s latest article is merely the veneer finally peeling away from the alleged “revolution” it had attempted to convince readers had taken place in 2011.

ISIS Didn’t “Come to” Libya, It Came From Libya

Even amid CNN’s own spin, it admits ISIS’ presence in Libya is not a new phenomenon but rather the above mentioned sectarian extremists who left Libya to fight in Syria simply returning and reasserting themselves in the eastern Cyrenaica region. CNN also admits that these terrorists have existed in Libya for decades and were kept in check primarily by Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. With Qaddafi eliminated and all semblance of national unity destroyed by NATO’s intervention in 2011, Al Qaeda has been able to not only prosper in Libya but use the decimated nation as a spingboard for invading and destroying other nations.

Image: Libyan Mahdi al-Harati of the Al Qaeda affiliate LIFG, leading Libyan terrorists in Syria. LIFG terrorists would pass through NATO territory in Turkey on their way to Syria’s border. ISIS “coming to” Libya is simply LIFG terrorists returning from their NATO-backed expeditionary mission.

Worst of all, Al Qaeda’s rise in Libya was not merely the unintended consequence of a poorly conceived plan by NATO for military intervention, but a premeditated regional campaign to first build up then use Al Qaeda as a mercenary force to overthrow and destroy a series of nations, beginning with Libya, moving across North Africa and into nations like Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and eventually Iran. From there, NATO’s mercenary force would be on the borders of Russia and China ready to augment already Western-backed extremists in the Caucasus and Xinjiang regions.

In 2011, geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley in his article, “The CIA’s Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq,” noted that the US strategy was to:

…use Al Qaeda to overthrow independent governments, and then either Balkanize and partition the countries in question, or else use them as kamikaze puppets against larger enemies like Russia, China, or Iran.

Dr. Tarpley would also note in 2011 that:

One of the fatal contradictions in the current State Department and CIA policy is that it aims at a cordial alliance with Al Qaeda killers in northeast Libya, at the very moment when the United States and NATO are mercilessly bombing the civilian northwest Pakistan in the name of a total war against Al Qaeda, and US and NATO forces are being killed by Al Qaeda guerrillas in that same Afghanistan-Pakistan theater of war. The force of this glaring contradiction causes the entire edifice of US war propaganda to collapse. The US has long since lost any basis in morality for military force.

In fact, terrorist fighters from northeast Libya may be killing US and NATO troops in Afghanistan right now, even as the US and NATO protect their home base from the Qaddafi government.

Indeed, the very terrorists NATO handed the entire nation of Libya over to, are now allegedly prime targets in Syria and Iraq. The “pro-democracy rebels” of 2011 are now revealed to be “ISIS terrorists” with long-standing ties to Al Qaeda.

US Long-Planned to use Al Qaeda as Mercenaries 

Not even mentioning the fact that Al Qaeda’s very inception was to serve as a joint US-Saudi mercenary force to fight a proxy war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, the terrorist organization has since played a central role in the Balkans to justify NATO intervention there, and as a divisive force in Iraq during the US occupation to blunt what began as a formidable joint Sunni-Shia’a resistance movement.

In 2007, it was revealed by Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh that the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia were conspiring to use Al Qaeda once again, this time to undermine, destabilize, and destroy the governments of Syria and Iran in what would be a regional sectarian bloodbath.

Hersh would report (emphasis added):

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

Hersh would note that Iran was perceived to be the greater threat and therefore, despite a constant barrage of propaganda claiming otherwise, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates were “lesser enemies.” Even in 2007, Hersh’s report would predict almost verbatim the cataclysmic regional sectarian bloodbath that would take place, with the West’s extremists waging war not only on Shia’a populations but also on other religious minorities including Christians.

His report would note:

Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites.

And this is precisely what is happening, word for word, page by page – everything warned about in Hersh’s report has come to pass. In 2011, geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley and others would also reiterate the insidious regional campaign Western policymakers were carrying out with Al Qaeda terrorists disguised as “rebels,” “activists,” and “moderate fighters” for the purpose of arming, funding, and even militarily intervening on their behalf in attempts to effect regime change and tilt the balance in the Middle East and North Africa region against Iran, Russia, and China.

CNN’s attempt to explain why ISIS is “suddenly” in Libya is one of many attempts to explain the regional rise of this organization in every way possible besides in terms of the truth – that ISIS is the result of multinational state sponsored terrorism including the US, UK, EU, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel as its chief backers.

NATO Handed ISIS Libya, Wants to Hand ISIS Syria

Inexplicably, amid allegedly fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the United States now claims it must first overthrow the Syrian government, despite it being the only viable, secular force in the region capable of keeping ISIS and its affiliates in check. CNN, in an article titled, “Sources: Obama seeks new Syria strategy review to deal with ISIS, al-Assad,” would report:

President Barack Obama has asked his national security team for another review of the U.S. policy toward Syria after realizing that ISIS may not be defeated without a political transition in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, senior U.S. officials and diplomats tell CNN.

Neither CNN, nor the politicians it cited in its article were able to articulate just why removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power would somehow diminish the fighting capacity of ISIS. With CNN’s recent article on ISIS’ gains in Libya despite US-led NATO regime change there, after decades of Libyan leader Qaddafi keeping extremists in check, it would appear that NATO is once again attempting not to stop Al Qaeda/ISIS, but rather hand them yet another country to use as a base of operations.

The goal is not to stop ISIS or even effect regime change in Syria alone – but rather hand Syria over as a failed, divided state to terrorists to use as a springboard against Iran, then Russia and China.

Clearly, ISIS’ appearance in Libya negates entirely the already incomprehensible strategy the US has proposed of needing to first depose the Syrian government, then fight ISIS. The Syrian government, like that of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, is the only effective force currently fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda’s many other franchises operating in the region. Deposing the government in Damascus would compound the fight against sectarian terrorists – and the West is fully aware of that. Therefore, attempts to topple the secular government in Damascus is in every way the intentional aiding and abetting of ISIS and the sharing in complicity of all the horrific daily atrocities ISIS and its affiliates are carrying out.

The morally bankrupt, insidious, dangerous, and very genocidal plans hatched in 2007 and executed in earnest in 2011 illustrate that ISIS alone is not the greatest threat to global peace and stability, but also those that constitute its multinational state sponsors. The very West purportedly defending civilization is the chief protagonist destroying it worldwide.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently announced that Russia will no longer import GMO products, stating that the nation has enough space, and enough resources to produce organic food.

If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.” –Medvedev

Russia has been considering joining the long list (and continually growing) of anti-GMO countries  for quite some time now. It does so after a group of Russian scientists urged the government to consider at least a 10-year moratorium on GMOs to thoroughly study their influence on human health.

“It is necessary to ban GMOs, to impose moratorium (on) it for 10 years. While GMOs will be prohibited, we can plan experiments, tests, or maybe even new methods of research could be developed. It has been proven that not only in Russia, but also in many other countries in the world, GMOs are dangerous. Methods of obtaining the GMOs are not perfect, therefore, at this stage, all GMOs are dangerous. Consumption and use of GMOs obtained in such way can lead to tumors, cancers and obesity among animals. Bio-technologies certainly should be developed, but GMOs should be stopped. We should stop it from spreading. ” – Irina Ermakova, VP of Russia’s National Association for Genetic Safety

(RIA Novosti/Ekaterina Shtukina)

A number of scientists worldwide have clearly outlined the potential dangers associated with consuming GMOs. I recently published an article titled “10 Scientific Studies Proving GMOs Can Be Harmful To Human Health,” you can read that in full here.  These are just a select few out of hundreds of studies that are now available in the public domain, it seems that they continue to surface year after year.

Russia completely banning GMOs, such a large, developed nation is a big step forward in creating more awareness with regards to GMOs. Ask yourself, why have so many nations banned GMOs and the pesticides that go with them? It’s because evidence points to the fact that they are not safe, they are young, and we just don’t know enough about them to safely consume them. They just aren’t necessary, so why produce them?

Within the past few years, awareness regarding GMOs has skyrocketed. Activism has played a large role in waking up a large portion of Earths population with regards to GMOs. People are starting to ask questions and seek answers. In doing so, we are all coming to the same conclusion as Russia recently came to.

In February, the State Duma introduced a bill banning the cultivation of GMO food products. President Putin ordered that Russian citizens be protected from GMOs.  The States Agricultural Committee has supported the ban recommendation  from the Russian parliament, and the resolution will come into full effect in July 2014.

This just goes to show what we can do when we come together and demand change and share information on a global scale. Change is happening, and we are waking up to new concepts of our reality every day. GMOs are only the beginning, we have many things to rid our planet of that do not resonate with us and are clearly unnecessary. We are all starting to see through the false justifications for the necessity of GMOs, no longer are we so easily persuaded, no longer do we believe everything we hear and everything we’re presented with. Lets keep it going!

Sources:

http://rt.com/news/russia-import-gmo-products-621/

http://rt.com/news/gmo-ban-russian-scientists-293/

http://www.gmo-free-regions.org/gmo-free-regions/russia/gmo-free-news-from-russia/news/en/28934.html

Unfree Trade Agreements: The Abdication of Democracy

November 19th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

Dogmas, by their nature, are impervious to the fresh air of questioning revision. The dogma of free trade, much to the misfortune of non-corporate beings, is all to representative of this.  As Richard Denniss points out, “Like buying a house, it’s easy to get a free trade agreement if you don’t care what you get or how much you pay.”[1]  The principle of swapping a technology or a product one has with another country that does not have it, is a dandy thing, provided it takes place in the theorised control room of an economist’s vacuous world.  The legal and politics side of things tends to be left danglin, if, indeed, it is considered at all.

The cult of free trade was given voice in the UK Prime Minister’s recent address to the Australian parliament.  While David Cameron was also talking about subtracting freedoms from various UK citizens returning back from Syria and Iraq, he was also having a good go at sentiments of “protectionism”. “One of the greatest threats to our values and to our success is the spectre of protectionism.”[2]  We should resist it in “the modern integrated global economy”.

To that end, Cameron and other EU leaders are mulling over plans for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which, he has decided, “is a deal we want”.[3]  The EU member states engaged the European Commission to start negotiating a free trade agreement with the United States in June 2013.

To that end, Cameron is dismissive about domestic erosions and challenges provided by such arrangements.  “Some people argue in some ways that this could damage the NHS.  I think that is nonsense. It’s our National Health Service. It’s in the public sector, it will stay in the public sector.”  How could those flat-earth theorists assume that Britain’s NHS could be weakened by such a deal?  Len McCluskey of the Unite union certainly thinks so, suggesting that the NHS is “being taken over by Wall Street”.[4]

He has a point.  The Health and Social Care Act 2012 increased the number of private providers in the NHS system.  Since coming into force, the act has seen 70 percent of health services put out to private tender.  Suggesting that the NHS is an untouchable creature in a world of back door and overt privatisation is itself the nonsense behind the supposedly beneficial effects of a free trade arrangement.  Medical policy invariably spills over into corporate conduct, or corporate recalcitrance, if the market line refuses to play with the political one.  McCluskey’s point is simple: exempt it, or there will be union inspired blood.

Nor is McCluskey alone.  The EU itself is examining responses to a consultation on problems with the TTIP, garnering 149,399 online contributions, with 38.4 percent coming from the UK alone.[5]  In the words of the Consultation, completed on July 13 this year, “The key issue on which we are consulting is whether the EU’s proposed approach for TTIP achieves the right balance between protecting investors and safeguarding the EU’s right and ability to regulate in the public interest.”[6]

It is questionable whether the balance struck can ever be appropriate in such cases.  For one, it vests a barnstorming power in the hands of foreign investors if they feel the government in question has broken rules contrary to company interests.  This process is given a legal veneer of an international tribunal, which sounds much like validating an act of international pilfering.  The language in the agreement is never framed so bluntly – diplomats have termed this “investment protection” and “Investor-to-state dispute settlement” or ISDS.

George Monbiot suggests that this is a crumpling blow to the credentials of democracy, which goes to show that free trade deals of monumental proportions tend to undermine the role of parliament and the voices of the voting public.  They also suggest the abdication of public duty, where parliamentarians become empty projections and silent underminers of the public interest.  “Remember the referendum about whether we should create a single market with the United States?  You know, the one that asked whether corporations should have the power to strike down our laws?  No, I don’t either.”[7]

Such arrangements are becoming habitual, forming the euphemistic argot of political discourse.  Australia’s Abbott government is rushing pen to paper regarding a host of free trade agreements that will have similar effects.  Such pacts are being pursued with only the slightest murmur of protest, largely because the policy toffs are convinced that free trade is actually free of cost.  One such example is the impeding FTA with Beijing, lauded on the just concluded visit to Australia by President Xi Jinping.

Only the Greens have ventured to remind legislators that Chinese private and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) stand to profit in legal actions against the Australian government over ISDS provisions.  According to Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens spokesman for Trade, “This is a new era in Australian governance.”  The ISDS provisions “opened a Pandora’s Box that will leave a lasting legacy of doubt over the Australian Parliament’s ability to make laws in the national interest without fear of litigation from a Chinese investor.”[8]

Canberra’s enthusiasm in this regard is misplaced, given the consequences of allowing the corporate beast into Parliament’s sacred domain.  Tobacco giants Philip Morris used the trade agreement between Hong Kong and Australia in 2011 to target Canberra’s decision that cigarettes be sold in plain packets marked by morbidly graphic health warnings.  Their argument was that the tobacco maestros be awarded money for diminishing the value of their trademarks.[9]  Philip Morris spokeswoman, Anne Edwards, anticipated “that the compensation would amount to billions.”

Cameron is simply dismissive of such cases, choosing to consider trade deals as minor adjustments with major benefits.  “We’ve signed trade deal after trade deal and it’s never been a problem in the past.”  Trade deals are one thing, but the free trade deal is a legal creature that seeks to transform domestic markets with a heavy corporate code fanged by legal sanctions. It removes citizens from the process, and privileges companies as private persons who can raid public purses when their products fall foul of domestic legislation.  Like similar agreements on the tables, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, it takes place in hermetic conditions.  There is minimal scrutiny.

The final unedifying feature of such pacts is that they tend to be so loaded with such heavy exemptions and dispensations, they sink.  Running into hundreds of pages, they are fodder for specialists in international trade litigation, putting pay to Cameron’s fantasy that trade “enables the specialisation that can enrich us all.”  Lawyers and companies muse even as domestic political systems vanish.  Be wary, then, of the hefty costs of any free trade agreement.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected]

Notes:

For years, the corporate media was reluctant to admit that it even existed. But the special court system designed to handle vaccine injury cases — and ultimately sweep them under the rug as quickly as possible — has hit the mainstream news for its failure to adequately and propitiously compensate families of vaccine-injured children.

An Associated Press (AP) investigation has revealed that many cases evaluated through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) leave families hanging, sometimes for years or even decades. During this time, injured parties suffer without the support and financial assistance that they need to survive, and that they deserve under the program.

After conducting hundreds of interviews and analyzing nearly 15,000 vaccine injury cases, AP investigators determined that the vaccine court system is overloaded with cases that aren’t being paid out in a timely manner. And less than 5 percent of these cases are being resolved within the 240-day resolution period.

“A system intended to speed help to vaccine-injured Americans has instead heaped additional suffering on thousands of families,” explains the AP report. “Most non-autism cases take at least two and a half years, with the average case length more than three years, not including cases unresolved at the end of 2012. Hundreds have surpassed the decade mark. Several people died before getting any money.”

Vaccine attorneys get paid even if their cases lose

Part of the problem is that, unlike typical civil court cases, vaccine court cases do not have to rule in favor of the plaintiffs for vaccine attorneys to get paid. Because of this, the vaccine court system is clogged with cases, some of which lack even basic evidence of harm caused by vaccines — who cares when you’re getting paid, right?

Some vaccine attorneys also intentionally over-bill for their time since they receive payments directly from the government, a.k.a. taxpayers, rather than plaintiffs. This is necessary since, technically speaking, the vaccine injury court is an illegal kangaroo court designed to shield vaccine manufacturers from liability. But it also leaves wide open the potential for fraud.

Government stacks defense with pro-jab shills to avoid public skepticism of vaccines

Another problem is who the government brings in to defend vaccine injury cases. According to the AP, federal “doctors” are concerned about one thing and one thing only: promoting a positive public perception of vaccines, and avoiding any admissions that might cast doubt about their safety.

This is obviously a huge conflict of interest when navigating vaccine injury cases, as the government is more prone to declare a vaccine safe, and thus keep the vaccination rate high, rather than admit that a vaccine caused an injury and risk seeing vaccination rates decrease. As a result, many vaccine injury cases end up being settled, effectively neutralizing liability for the government and the vaccine manufacturers it represents.

“The system is not working,” said Richard Topping, a former U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) attorney who used to handle vaccine injury claims but has since resigned citing perpetual disinterest among his superiors to try to fix any of these problems. “People who need help aren’t getting it.”

The very existence of the vaccine court, which the AP admits was created to shield vaccine companies from liability and jury verdicts, proves that vaccines injure and kill children. The AP even uses the phrase “vaccine-injured Americans” to describe those for whom the court exists. And yet the basic premise is still that vaccines are safe and necessary, and thus the system operates in defense of this, at the expense of public health.

Sources:

http://hosted.ap.org

http://abcnews.go.com

http://www.ageofautism.com

Currently trending alongside Kim Kardashian’s photo shoot, a Missouri declaration of a State of Emergency, and Charles Manson’s marriage, is the news of the recent alleged beheading of an American citizen by Western-backed ISIS terrorists in Syria.

The latest beheading video to allegedly emerge from ISIS reportedly shows the beheading of Peter Kassig, an “American aid worker” who was captured by the Western-backed fundamentalists in October of last year. Kassig was an Iraq veteran and former U.S. Army Ranger who later became an “aid worker” in Lebanon and Syria, according to USA Today.

Kassig’s family states that, while overseas, Kassig converted to Islam and changed his name to Abdul Rahman.

The video, which was released Sunday, is over 15 minutes long and contains a rather long propaganda buildup before showing the beheading of 12-18 Syrian soldiers.

The beheading of the Syrian soldiers, it should be noted, has received virtually no reporting except for an occasional line or two describing the lead up to Kassig’s beheading.

Kassig’s beheading is not actually shown, however. Toward the end of the video, “Jihadi John,” the ISIS member who has acted as the star of the series of beheading videos is pictured standing next to a severed human head which he claims belonged to Kassig.

If Kassig was indeed beheaded then his murder is without a doubt a tragedy and an act of savage brutality. But there is one thing lacking in the narrative provided by Western governments and their media mouthpieces regarding the beheading – evidence.

Unlike the staged Foley beheading which attempted to depict, albeit poorly, the first few moments of a decapitation, the Kassig beheading video is not a beheading video at all, but simply footage of a man standing next to a severed head that he claims belonged to Peter Kassig.

With the exception of Jihadi John’s word, we are left with nothing with which to confirm that the severed head was actually Kassig’s. Considering the track record of Western governments and the recent trail of beheading videos, however, we would be well within reason to question the veracity of the claims.

At this point, it is impossible for us to know whether or not the head shown in the video truly belonged to Kassig or even if Kassig was actually beheaded. Likewise, we cannot know for sure whether or not the victims preceding Kassig were truly beheaded, although we can say for sure that the depiction of the beheading shown on film was entirely staged.

What we do know, however, is that Kassig and his predecessors are being used for open propaganda purposes. In fact, all of the beheadings that have transpired beginning with the Foley video have been so conveniently timed to the needs and desires of the NATO agenda so as to preclude any reasonable suggestion that the videos themselves were anything other than propaganda.

Remember, when the United States was “debating” the idea of becoming more directly involved in Syria and Iraq, particularly in the form of bombing civilian and government infrastructure and openly funding the death squads they claim to be fighting, a video allegedly showing the beheading of James Foley was released resulting in widespread anger and indignation amongst a general public who were temporarily yanked away from reality TV long enough to view it.

Likewise, when the British seemed hesitant to directly join the imperialist bombing coalition, a video was released allegedly showing the beheading of a British citizen, Alan Henning, also causing widespread indignation amongst the public and shoring up support for British military involvement in Iraq and Syria.

When the French seemed hesitant to join the bombing, ISIS releases a third video of an alleged beheading of a Frenchman, which provided justification for French involvement.

Such convenient timing was also present when NATO was considering “targeted airstrikes” in Syria but were concerned about Assad’s sophisticated air defense systems. Shortly thereafter, ISIS managed to capture Taqba air base in Raqqa, Syria, eliminating the air defense systems in the entirety of the eastern part of the country.

This timing was present yet again when NATO once again began calling for a “No-Fly Zone,” “Buffer Zone,” or “Safe Zone.” Interestingly enough, during the debate over the possibility of the establishment of a “no-fly zone,” even members of Congress were beginning to question why a “no-fly zone” would be necessary in order to combat ISIS since ISIS had no air force. Conveniently, ISIS immediately seized a number of planes left over in the Syrian air fields and allegedly began flying them off the runway.

Either ISIS has the absolute dumbest public relations personnel in world history, or the actions of ISIS are directly controlled by NATO for propaganda, geopolitical, and military purposes. The timing of ISIS’ actions – always in line with the goals of the NATO faction of the world oligarchy – is clearly the result of the latter.

In addition, it is also important to point out that Kassig’s “humanitarian aid work” involves his founding of Special Emergency Response and Resistance, an NGO that is allegedly focused on “delivering aid” to areas that “larger organizations could not operate in.” Remember that NGOs havenot only been responsible for a significant portion of the organization of death squads but also for the provision of medical help and other logistical assistance need to organize and facilitate the destabilization campaign.

That being said, one must mention that the SERR has received a large portion of funding from the NGO Conscience International, an international “aid” organization that receives its own funding from the National Endowment for Democracy.

It is also important to point out that Kassig himself has expressed sentiment that some would consider sympathetic to death squad fighters in Syria. In an interview with Syria Deeply, Kassig stated

Sometimes rebels want to know if I will help train people or if I will join the fight. I always tell them no. It is of course not that I do not feel terrible for the civilians that are suffering in Syria, but… for an American young man in my position that would be foolish, and regarded as such by pretty much everyone, including the opposition.

I can either be in a position to deliver tens of thousands of dollars of antibiotics for women and children, or I can be another young man with a gun.

Noting that he feels “terrible for the civilians that are suffering in Syria” and that his choices are essentially providing medicine or picking up a gun and joining the rebels, Kassig’s political leanings are relatively clear in that they express obvious sympathy for the death squads painted as “rebels” by the Western media.

Thus, one must ask the question of whether or not Kassig was yet another agent of Western destabilization working under the guise of an NGO and “aid organization.” From what little information is available, it appears that this possibility has fairly high odds of being true.

In the end, this video, which has been used to browbeat the American people and drum up support for yet another foreign military adventure, is set to be used to justify Western military invasion against Syria in the near future. Real or otherwise, it is hoped that the American people do not allow primitive propaganda to fool them into rushing to war on yet another occasion.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 300 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.

Cancer Deaths Double in Argentina’s GMO Agribusiness Areas

November 19th, 2014 by Lawrence Woodward

Sharply increased levels of crop spraying in Argentina’s most intensively farmed areas have resulted in a public health disaster, writes Lawrence Woodward, with large increases in cancer incidence. And it’s all the result of the widespread use of GMO crops engineered for herbicide resistance.

A report by the Ministry of Health in Córdoba, Argentina reveals that deaths from cancerous tumours are double the national average in areas where genetically engineered crops are grown and agro-chemicals are used.

This comprehensive report documented five years of information on cancer cases in the province.

It provides more evidence that, far from being the miracle it is claimed to be, industrial, GMO driven cropping is turning into a public health hell.

The highest rate of death occurs in the ‘pampa gringa’ area, where most GMO crops are grown and most agrochemicals are used.

The ‘pampa gringa’ makes up the whole of the east of Córdoba province and is its premier agricultural region.

The provincial average for cancer deaths is 158 per 100,000 inhabitants but in four of the ‘pampa gringa’ departments the death rates are much higher – ranging from 216 to nearly 230.

Other intensive agriculture regions in Córdoba also have cancer deaths well above the provincial and national average – ranging from 180-201 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Cancer multiplying ‘as never before’ through pesticide link

The ‘Report on Cancer in Córdoba 2004-2009‘ is the culmination of an official investigation and was prepared by the Provincial Tumour Registry and the Department of Statistics and Census.

But its recent publication has reignited criticism from doctors and researchers about the government delays and unwillingness to take action.

Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez of the University Network for Environment and Health (Reduas) said:

“What we have complained about for years was confirmed and especially what doctors say about the sprayed towns and areas affected by industrial agriculture. Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides.”

Dr. Fernando Manas of the Genetics and Environmental Mutagenesis Group at the National University of Rio Cuarto, is investigating the effect of agrochemicals. He doesn’t think the cancer cases in agricultural areas are a coincidence.

Researchers at Río Cuarto have studied the people of Córdoba for eight years and have confirmed, in fifteen scientific publications, that people exposed to pesticides suffer genetic damage and are more prone to cancer.

Manas points out that glyphosate – the herbicide that underpins most GMO cropping – and its major degradation product, AMPA have been detected in lakes, soils, and even in rainwater in these most affected regions.

Government and industry refuse to act

Damian Verzeñassi, a doctor and professor of social and environmental health at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Rosario, says:

“The study of Córdoba matches the surveys we conducted in eighteen industrial agriculture areas. Cancer has skyrocketed in the last fifteen years.”

He is scathing about the failure of government and industry to take preventative action:

“They keep demanding studies on something that is already proven and do not take urgent measures to protect the population. There is ample evidence that the agricultural model has health consequences, we are talking about a production model that is a huge public health problem.”

Avila Vasquez demands urgent government action to prohibit aerial spraying, ensure that no terrestrial applications are made within 1,000 meters of houses, and to prohibit the use of agro-chemicals and spraying machinery in urban areas.

But these could only be initial measures to curb the excessive and extreme use of pesticides which is blighting the health of Argentina.

The only real long term solution is to change the GMO driven, intensive, industrial agricultural system that Argentina and other countries have become wedded to and to put in place a genuinely sustainable, agro-ecological alternative.

Lawrence Woodward is founder and director of GM Education, where this article was originally published.

Sources:

http://gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2014/15506-cancer-deaths-double-where-gm-crops-and-agro-chemicals-used

http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/sociedad/3-249175-2014-06-23.html

The Missouri National Guard deployed to the St. Louis region on Tuesday, one day after Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency.

Military vehicles were seen in St. Louis City and in West County.

CERFP Enhanced Response Force Package assets were spotted in Chesterfield in West County. The vehicles are used for CBRNE events: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosive events.

The Missouri Guard owns several of these vehicles and that’s what they chose to call up for the State of Emergency. About ten states own these vehicles, Missouri being one of them. The ten states correspond to the 10 FEMA regions. The program was funded by the Feds.

Hopefully, they will not actually need these vehicles.

As a national uprising grows with the approach of one-man rule, fissures within Haiti’s ruling clique began to appear this week, auguring tumult in the days ahead.

On Nov. 18, police fired on a massive march of anti-government protesters in Port-au-Prince, killing two and wounding four.

Thousands of demonstrators also marched in other Haitian cities including Aux Cayes, Jérémie, Petit-Goâve, Cap-Haïtien, and Jacmel, calling for the government of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe to step down.

In Port-au-Prince, the demonstration stepped off at 10 a.m. and traveled through La Saline, along Rue Saint Martin to the Péan intersection in Belair, and then to the Delmas Road. But at Delmas 32, uniformed government forces – some say policemen, others say National Palace security agents, still others say pro-government thugs dressed as policemen – fired on the demonstrators, killing two men and wounding four others: Jocelyn Virgil, Réginald Sinace, Pétion Reynel, and Hérard Adner. The names of the two killed were not confirmed at press time.

The men who fired the fatal shots were in a jeep with government plates marked SE 02570 and a Toyota Land Cruiser.

The demonstration, which had been turning to go to the National Palace, dispersed after the shootings.

Significantly, and to the surprise of many, Kiko St. Rémy, Martelly’s brother-in-law, joined the marchers in the capital to demand the resignation of Lamothe, whom he accuses of corruption and ordering the arrest of about 20 demonstrators in the past month.

St. Rémy’s presence among the protestors reveals the power struggle now occurring between two cliques in the Martelly regime. The schism corresponds to the traditional rivalry between Haiti’s bourgeoisie and big landowners or grandon (often called, in reference to their armed expression, Macoutes), the two feuding sectors of Haiti’s ruling class over the past two centuries.

Dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, who died on Oct. 4, was the first modern Haitian ruler to fuse the rival ruling groups into a “Macouto-bourgeoisie” during his reign from 1971 to 1986. He married a bourgeois princess, Michèle Bennett, and gave her family and sector lots of favors, primarily through promoting the growth of Haiti’s assembly industry.

But Baby Doc also kept a foot in the camp of his mother, Simone Ovide Duvalier, and the Duvalierist “dinosaurs,” who were partisans of his father François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, a true representative of grandon rule. Jean-Claude tolerated and took part in many of their feudal ways, like dipping into the millions of dollars in international development aid then being sent to Haiti by the U.S. government and its agencies like the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. This corruption is partly why Washington ditched Baby Doc in 1986.

Today, Martelly straddles the same divide, with a new but equally fragile version of Baby Doc’s “Macouto-bourgeois” alliance. Lamothe, his long-time business partner, is a pure bourgeois, trained in U.S. schools and management techniques. Lamothe, who built a telecommunications empire in Africa and Latin America, is a darling of the U.S. Embassy, and of U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela White in particular.

On the other hand, Martelly’s wife, Sofia, is from the St. Rémy family, who are Gonaïves-based grandons. According to reliable sources close to the family, who wish to remain anonymous, Charles “Bébé” St. Rémy, Sofia’s father, used to be a lieutenant of famed Haitian drug trafficker Jean Eliobert Jasmé, known as ED-One. According to the sources, Kiko St. Rémy has taken over his father’s role as king-pin trafficker.

Brothers Gregory and Thierry Mayard-Paul are also part of the Macoute pole of the Martelly regime. When Lamothe became Martelly’s Prime Minister after the resignation of Garry Conille, Thierry was quickly pushed out of his post as Interior Minister in August 2012, having to settle for a more back-seat role, albeit with about the same salary, as one of Martelly’s legion of “advisors.”

Lawyer Gervais Charles, now an attorney for former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after previously serving as one for Martelly, says that his former boss “wants to establish a political dynasty.” The idea is to have Martelly pave the way for a Lamothe presidency in 2016, Lamothe a second Martelly presidency in 2021, and then Martelly a second Lamothe presidency from 2026 to 2031.

The principal obstacle to this scenario has been six senators in the Parliament – Moïse Jean-Charles (North), Wesner Polycarpe (North), Jean-Baptiste Bien-Aimé (Northeast), Francky Exius (South), John Joël Joseph (West) et Jean William Jeanty (Nippes) – who have withheld their vote on a rigged electoral law and electoral council that would ensure an election victory for Martelly’s candidates (what Haitians call a “selection”). Martelly has refused any compromise on the electoral law and council with opposition legislators during his three and a half years in power, leading to the current stand-off.

But the game of chicken comes to an end on Jan. 12, 2015, when the terms of another third of the Senate and all of the Deputies expire, thereby dissolving Parliament by default. From then on, Martelly has indicated, he will rule by decree, an outcome many say he has sought since the beginning of his term.

However, as the Kreyòl saying goes, “Ayiti se tè glise,” Haiti is slippery ground. Just as Martelly sees one-man rule within his reach, a popular uprising of disgust at his regime’s corruption and repression, which has been simmering and sputtering for years, is erupting.

Meanwhile, Lamothe has openly begun his presidential campaign on social media and in tours around Haiti, thereby alarming his Macoute sector rivals that they will soon become even more marginalized.

“For a revolution to take place, it is not enough for the exploited and oppressed masses to realize the impossibility of living in the old way and demand changes,” wrote Vladimir Lenin, the leader of Russia’s 1917 revolution. “For a revolution to take place, it is essential that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way.”

A conflict within the ruling class, like that which Lenin foretold and which is emerging in Haiti today, provides precisely the kind of historic opportunity for the masses to bring political change. Although popular and opposition forces have been kept down and off-balance until now by Martelly’s money, guns, and propaganda, the days and weeks ahead will tell whether the masses’ superior numbers can perhaps win the day.

Since 2006, the GEAB has analyzed the development and anticipated the next steps of what our teams have called, from the beginning, a “global systemic crisis”. No one can doubt the fact that we have really been in a “crisis” since 2008. That this “crisis” is “global” is also commonly accepted. But has the world really got the measure of the “systemic” dimension of this crisis? 

The visible part of this change of system on which everyone now agrees is the emergence of new very large international players challenging the world order established by the US during the collapse of the Soviet bloc. 

Thus, in the GEAB, for a long time we have been speaking of this strong trend of the world’s multipolarization demanding reform of the existing international authorities and/or, in case of failure on this point, inventing a new world governance (a process of invention in which we consider that Europe has an historic role to play given its unique experience of integrating state entities of different sizes and kinds).

But it’s another strong trend, the Internet, of which everyone will admit its deeply restructuring character, which beyond its contribution to the facilitation of trade and economies’ globalization, de facto connects the whole of humanity in one organic social body thanks to a network “system” profoundly different from the pyramid systems inherited from the 19th century which founded, yet always officially, our national, international and supranational socio-politico-institutional “systems” (1)

These two combined major trends helped to give an idea of what tomorrow’s world would look like: a global social networking body largely self organized and for which the institutional-political model of governance remained to be invented. One perceives from this statement the problem which confronts the world that the model will consist of small, flat, political coordination structures (2) integrated with human networks matching their administrative expertise (3).

But before this system is formalized, the challenge is to integrate these dynamics of the future with the old pyramid system… or get rid of it. Our team believes that the world is currently witnessing this combat: the tenets of empire versus the combination of mutually independent political entities, representative democracy versus direct organized citizen participation, pyramids versus networks, militarized colonization versus globalized regulated trade, national systems versus post-national ones, oil versus renewable energy, a cumbersome economy versus a digital one, banks versus financial flows, employment versus online professional activity, UN institutions versus the BRICS club, etc.

The players of the world before, mainly due to a complete misunderstanding of the motivating features of tomorrow’s society, currently fall back on all the classic tools of domination (finance, military, religion or ideology) to block the world’s “natural” evolution. This fight is doomed to failure, that is certain, but according to the speed at which these players blend in to the new style of organization, the damage inflicted on humanity could be considerable.

It’s in this landscape of the world’s systemic transformation that our team wanted to plant its usual analysis of recent news: China and the BRICS’ influence on economic and geopolitical news, the end of the Euro-Russian stalemate in the middle of the Ukrainian arsenal, nation-states’ heart-attack in Europe, hope of resurrection through the European level.

Chinese-style globalization resumes

And it works! Last month our analysis was of a world that had become Chinese. This month a number of international events show us what this fact changes in terms of global governance:

  • For the first time, the US has agreed to reduce its carbon emissions by 28% by 2025 as part of a US – Chinese agreement on global warming (4) . We note in this agreement that it is actually much more restrictive for the Americans than for the Chinese who are only committed to reverse the growth of their emissions in 2030! Even if it’s likely that Congress refuses to vote for such a strategic change of course, this agreement constitutes the first of its kind where bilateral negotiations involving the US are concluded to the other’s advantage. This agreement also incorporates a principle of reality: the Chinese emit 7 tonnes of CO2 each year whilst the Americans emit 16. For a long time, everyone has known that it was for the US to make a real effort; but for a long time the US has preferred to put forward cumulative emission figures for the whole of China with the real objective of using the environmental agenda to lobby against China’s development and the explosion of its oil consumption (likely to push prices too high).
  • Last week, the APEC summit held in Beijing on 8 – 10 November marked significant progress in all areas and China’s leading role in these dynamics (5) : the US-China environmental agreement which we have just mentioned, but also the broad liberalization of trade with agreements on visas, currencies, security, the environment and trade between the US and China, a free trade agreement between China and South Korea (though a strategic ally of the famous US “pivot” in Asia), calming elements in the territorial disputes between China and various South East Asian countries (the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam) where, in some cases, Shinzo Abe’s goodwill calmed things down. De facto, the globalization agenda has resumed, led by China this time, which changes everything.
  • On the sidelines of the APEC summit, this time its China and Canada agreeing on $2.5 billion in contracts and Yuan currency trades. If, last month, Europe and Russia had been the object of the same charm offensive by China, this month it was North America’s turn… with the difference that the Chinese didn’t need to go to them, it was the latter who went to China.
  • Even the ASEAN summit of 9-13 November in Burma, a minefield for the Chinese given the importance of the territorial disputes in the China-ASEAN relationship, enabled the confirmation of important positions for resolution, starting with the recognition of the Chinese legitimacy to call for bilateral settlement of these disputes (6) , a China-ASEAN friendship treaty, all helped along by a $20 billion loan from China…
  • The G20 summit the 15-16 November in Brisbane, Australia has the declared challenge of finally initiating a reform of the international organizations as evidence of its usefulness. The G20, as the representative defence walls of the 21st century world, will not survive a failure on this point. With this fully legitimate ultimatum, the BRICS thus take control of the G20 agenda which is seeing itself dragged into a search for a solution to the US Congress blockade over IMF reform in particular (ahead of giving the emerging nations and increased role and doubling its capital (7) ). The method of solving this blockade is even planned: a clever division of the reform objectives instead of a bloc reform project will allow their voting in by a majority and bypass the US right of veto. The challenge is there, as well as the solutions; let’s wager that even the G20 is likely to finally produce results under BRICS steering at the end of 2014.
  • As regards the WTO, there is India’s resounding victory which managed to impose its views in the negotiations of the Bali agreements. Without even any need to rewrite the agreement, India has seen its conditions of non-questioning its food security programme accepted and can sign the agreement. It must be said that the WTO’s survival depended on this agreement (8) .
  • As regards Iran, the Russians and Chinese, as well as the Germans, played a strong role in the negotiations to obtain an agreement on the 24 November finally allowing the deadlock to be broken, lifting sanctions, and allowing Iran to make its entry on the international scene… and to play the role which behooves it in Middle East pacification. We anticipate that, despite the difficulties (9) , agreement will be well and truly reached on the 24 November.

All this in just one month! The world seems to have restarted, led by the dynamics of the emerging nations. It’s multipolar, peaceful, open, and the West has its place there too.

Notes: 

(1) In this terminology we note that the nation-state always constitutes the final institutional-political reference point. 
(2) Whose democratic legitimacy remains to be invented. 
(3) By way of example, the European Community’s Secretariat for political coordination could be a small decentralized entity (made up of a handful of individuals who don’t even need to have a common workplace) working on a network to coordinate the implementation of the actions agreed within the framework of a legitimate, decision-making system (our aim here is to show how the system in 2030 would be different to the current one, not to give a picture of how it will be exactly). 
(4) Source : EUObserver, 12/11/2014 
(5) This article in the The Economist (15/11/2014), which follows the same lines as we do, is worth reading. 
(6) Sealing off US interventionism (especially) in this area. Source : Reuters,13/11/2014 
(7) Source : China Post, 09/11/2014 
(8) Source : Deccan Chronicle, 14/11/2014 
(9) The GEAB September issue in particular gave a detailed analysis of the importance of integrating Iran into the Middle East peace strategy. 

A new report by the Ministry of Health in Cordoba, Argentina, has documented a disturbing trend for those who live in areas where pesticide-intensive GM crops are grown — specifically, a dramatic spike in cancer deaths.

The report covered five years of collected data. The average cancer deaths in the province is 158 per 100,000 individuals. And yet, four of the “Pampa Gringa” districts have much higher death rates — between 216 and 230. “Pampa Gringa” is considered the premier agricultural region of the Cordoba province.

The Report on Cancer in Cordoba 2004-2009 is the official investigation which links the use of pesticides — especially glyphosate — to the staggering increase in cancer deaths.

‘Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides’

“What we have complained about for years was confirmed and especially what doctors say about the sprayed towns and areas affected by industrial agriculture. Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides,” said Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez of the University Network for Environment and Health, as reported by The Ecologist.

Dr. Fernando Manas of the Genetics and Environmental Mutagenesis Group at the National University of Rio Cuarto, agrees. He doesn’t believe that the increasing number of cancer cases in agricultural areas are a fluke.

After studying the population of Cordoba for eight years, researchers at Rio Cuarto have confirmed —in 15 scientific publications — that individuals exposed to pesticides have a much greater risk of genetic damage and cancer.

Manas notes that glyphosate — the herbicide used mainly on genetically modified crops — has shown up in samples from lakes, soils and rainwater.

Slow response from the government inflames scientists

According to the article “Cancer deaths double in Argentina’s GMO agribusiness areas,” Damian Verzenassi, a doctor and professor of social and environmental health at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Rosario, is livid about the failure of the government to take quick and effective action.

“The study of Cordoba matches the surveys we conducted in eighteen industrial agriculture areas. Cancer has skyrocketed in the last fifteen years. They keep demanding studies on something that is already proven and do not take urgent measures to protect the population. There is ample evidence that the agricultural model has health consequences, we are talking about a production model that is a huge public health problem.”

Suggestions on how to safeguard the public include immediately prohibiting aerial spraying, banning terrestrial pesticide applications that are within 1,000 meters of houses and discontinuing the use of agro-chemicals in urban areas.

But as Lawrence Woodward, author of the article and founder of GM Education, points out:

“[T]hese could only be initial measures to curb the excessive and extreme use of pesticides which is blighting the health of Argentina. The only real long term solution is to change the GMO driven, intensive, industrial agricultural system that Argentina and other countries have become wedded to and to put in place a genuinely sustainable, agro-ecological alternative.”

Article Sources:

http://www.theecologist.org

http://gmwatch.org

http://www.gmeducation.org

http://www.pagina12.com.ar

http://science.naturalnews.com

http://truthwiki.org

Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision. Follow Carolanne on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Please note: this article by Carolanne Wright first appeared on Natural News.

Al Qaeda affiliates are suddenly now Islamic State (ISIS) affiliates, and entire groups of militants the US has been arming, funding, and training are “surrendering” to Al Qaeda, bringing along with them a large number of US weapons. Is this a failure of US foreign policy? Or is this simply a rhetorical means to explain away what appears to be an immense army of extremists the US is once again building up to direct at one of its enemies, just as it did in Afghanistan in the 1980’s? 

Al Qaeda Morphs into ISIS

In late September, just in time to aid the US in its fumbling justification for bombing Syria, terrorists allegedly beheaded a French tourist kidnapped in the North African nation of Algeria. The timing, as with previous ISIS executions, was impeccable, lending maximum propaganda value, not to the terrorist organization, but to the United States which has utilized each grisly murder as a means for direct and continued military intervention on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The BBC in their article, “French hostage Herve Gourdel beheaded in Algeria,” would report that:

The beheading, the spokesman says, is to “avenge the victims in Algeria… and support the caliphate” proclaimed by IS in Iraq and Syria.

Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate) pledged allegiance to IS on 14 September.

Until then it had been known as part of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which grew out of an Algerian militant group and is now active across North and parts of West Africa.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, was directly associated with terrorist groups armed and backed by NATO in the 2011 invasion and bombardment of Libya in efforts to overthrow the government of Muammar Qaddafi in Tripoli.

In a 2007 West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) report and a 2011 CTC report, “Are Islamist Extremists Fighting Among Libya’s Rebels?,” AQIM is specifically mentioned as working closely with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and it was predicted most notably by geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley, that even before NATO began dropping bombs on Libya that by doing so, they would be thrusting not only LIFG into power, but empowering a regional network of extremists, including AQIM. AQIM’s presence shortly thereafter in northern Mali, flush with weapons from Libya and a new sense of purpose as well as the fact that AQIM continues to menace the region years later is the complete fulfillment of this prediction.

Both AQIM and LIFG are listed by the US State Department as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) but were in fact leading the fight against the Libyan government in 2011 with NATO weapons and air support. It would be France itself that would drop weapons into the country illegally to bolster their fighting capabilities during the conflict, and clearly, after the conflict both inside Libya’s borders and beyond them.

In 2011, the Guardian would report in its article, “Nato reviews Libya campaign after France admits arming rebels,” that:

Nato is reviewing the conduct of its military campaign in Libya after France admitted arming rebel fighters in apparent defiance of the UN mandate.

Besides the propaganda value of the September execution by AQIM terrorists now operating under the ISIS banner, the atrocity illustrates perfectly that ISIS itself is not a “new” threat, but rather a very old and familiar threat simply repackaged and marketed anew.

ISIS is clearly a conglomeration of existing terrorist organizations apparently from as far as North Africa to the Caucasus Mountains of southern Russia and everything in between. In addition to AQIM, Al Nusra and many other extremist factions either allied with or fighting alongside what the US calls the Syrian opposition, are also affiliated with and fighting in support of ISIS. This is basically what Al Qaeda was, before what can only be described as a marketing gimmick “ISIS” was coined.

US Arms Extremists Openly Affiliated with Al Qaeda/ISIS  

Almost daily reports surface of ISIS obtaining weapon systems first handed over by the US and its allies to this “Syrian opposition.” The most recent were anti-tank missiles supplied to this opposition by the United States. The International Business Times would claim in its article, “Syria: Al-Nusra Jihadists ‘Capture US TOW Anti-Tank Missiles’ from Moderate Rebels,” that:

Weaponry supplied by the US to moderate Syrian rebels was feared to have fallen into the hands of jihadist militants affiliated to al-Qaida after clashes between rival groups.  

Islamist fighters with Jabhat al-Nusra seized control of large swathes of land in Jabal al-Zawiya, Idlib province, at the weekend, routing the US-backed groups the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SFR) and Harakat Hazm, activists said.  

Washington relied on SFR and Harakat Hazm to counter Isis (Islamic State) militants on the ground in Syria, complementing its air strikes.

This, however, is completely false. It was only in September that the Daily Beast would report in its article, “Al Qaeda Plotters in Syria ‘Went Dark,’ U.S. Spies Say,” that rebels armed by the United States, and in particular with the above mentioned anti-tank missiles, condemned US airstrikes on ISIS and Al Nusra. The Daily Beast would claim:

One Syrian rebel group supported in the past by the United States condemned the air strikes on Tuesday. Harakat Hazm, a rebel group that received a shipment of U.S. anti-tank weapons in the spring, called the airstrikes “an attack on national sovereignty” and charged that foreign led attacks only strengthen the Assad regime.The statement comes from a document, purportedly from the group, that has circulated online and was posted in English translation from a Twitter account called Syria Conflict Monitor. Several Syria experts, including the Brookings Doha Center’s Charles Lister, believe the document to be authentic.

Before the official statement, there were signs that Harakat Hazm was making alliances in Syria that could conflict with its role as a U.S. partner. In early Septemeber a Harakat Hazm official told a reporter for the L.A. Times: “Inside Syria, we became labeled as secularists and feared Nusra Front was going to battle us…But Nusra doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”

Another falsehood emerging is why the weapons were handed over to this group in the first place. Originally, the missiles were given to the rebels to fight the Syrian government not ISIS terrorists, as mentioned by NPR in April of 2014.

Groups the US was arming fought alongside, if not directly under, the banner of Al Qaeda. Claims now that Harakat Hazm “surrendered” to US State Department-listed FTO Al Nusra are clearly lies.

It is only a matter of time before the claim “the rebels surrendered to Al Nusra” becomes “Al Nusra surrendered to ISIS.” The question will then be, how will the US manipulate the narrative once all that is left is Al Nusra, and it still refuses to effectively neutralize the organization and sanction its sponsors abroad.

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

The Swedish military has confirmed a “Russian” aircraft that entered Swedish airspace on Saturday was actually French. The Expressen newspaper had falsely reported a Russian plane was “a couple of kilometers on the wrong side of the border.”

The military plane actually turned out to be from France and Jesper Tengroth, a press officer for the Swedish military said they are now going to investigate what the plane was actually doing there. Speaking to The Local news website, he was unable to give any further details about the French aircraft and added the Expressen publication would, “have to take responsibility for their sources.”

The French Embassy in Stockholm says they are currently investigating the air violation. “I do not have any information right now. We are in contact with Paris to understand what is happening,” said Lionel Fabre, who is the embassy’s press officer, as reported by Expressen.

However, Janzen made no mention of the mix-up on his Twitter page, preferring to continue condemning Moscow for testing Europe’s air defenses.

The claims about a possible Russian violation of Swedish airspace came just a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin had appeared on German television to say that his country had not violated international airspace.

“Our exercises exclusively take place in international waters and international airspace,” he told the German broadcaster ARD.

Russia does send military patrols towards other nations, but the aircraft are instructed to stay in international airspace. NATO usually scrambles its fighter jets to shadow Russian planes, just as Russia does when NATO warplanes are spotted close to Russian borders.

Reports of Russian incursions into national airspace regularly appear in the media, but they are often not officially confirmed or are disproved later.

Even Washington – which doesn’t typically hesitate to accuse Russia of wrongdoing with little to no evidence – says Moscow complies with international law when flying close to American borders. The US can only say that it doesn’t see “the security environment as warranting international activity,” in the words of State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki.

The false allegations of a Russian plane entering Swedish airspace come just weeks after Stockholm believed a Russian submarine had strayed into Swedish waters, not far from the country’s capital.

Reports of a Russian distress signal and a grainy-picture were enough to deploy the navy, while the media concluded the vessel had to be a Russian submarine spooking the Scandinavian country. The whole operation set Sweden back to the tune of $2.8 million.

However, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, cited a Swedish Intel source who confessed there was no distress call.

Citing freedom of information requests and its own sources, the paper said Sweden’s signal intelligence agency knows nothing about the alleged distress calls, and registered no spikes in communication with Kaliningrad at the time.

“I’d be glad to read about that emergency call myself. But it didn’t happen, this information is incorrect,”the newspaper cites a source as saying.

A former self-described Al-Qaeda collaborator serving a life sentence in prison now says he wants to testify in court about what he claims to know about a Saudi Arabian prince’s alleged role in financing the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen convicted in 2006 for charges related to his admitted role in the 9/11 attacks, wrote in a letter received this month by a federal court in Oklahoma that he wants to take the stand and explain supposed links between the terrorist plot and Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud.

According to a letter sent by the man known as the “20th hijacker” to the Oklahoma Western District Court dated October 23, 2014, the 46-year-old maximum security inmate says the prince assisted with his “Islamic terrorist activities in Norman” – a reference to the Midwestern town where Moussaoui received flight lessons in 2001, as did 9/11 hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi.

The prince financed Moussaoui’s own flight classes, he asserts, “and was doing so knowingly for Osama bin Laden.”

Zacarias Moussaoui (Reuters/Sherburne County Sheriffs Office)

Zacarias Moussaoui

“I am ready to testify about all the above and more in your court in an Open Hearing that I request,” he added.

But while his claim is being labeled “incredible” by the likes of the Associated Press, some critics are concerned that the allegations Moussaoui wants to make come from a convicted criminal with questionable credibility. Moussaoui was originally apprehended in August 2011 and charged with immigration violations, and federal authorities had him in custody as the 9/11 attacks unfolded. Shortly after, Moussaoui was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with six felony counts related to those events. He was sentenced to six life terms in prison in 2006, but an audio recording attributed to former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden reportedly dismissed connections between the individual and the infamous plot.

Last month’s letter is without any connection to current cases being considered in United States federal court. “However,” a magistrate judge wrote in response, “… the gist of Plaintiff’s complaint to be his desire to testify or be deposed regarding a long list of persons allegedly involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.”

According to that response from US Magistrate Judge Shon T. Erwin, though, Moussaoui’s claims – not withstanding his credibility – shouldn’t be considered in Oklahoma on account of venue.

“Even if his testimony pertains to acts that occurred at the same time he was taking flight classes in Norman, Oklahoma, there is no reason—at least not one apparent from his complaint — why he must testify in the Western District of Oklahoma,” the judge wrote. “His criminal prosecution took place in the Eastern District of Virginia, and the multi-district civil litigation for personal and commercial damages suffered by the 9/11 victims is pending in the Southern District of New York.”

Moussaoui writes that he already laid forth his claims concerning the Saudi prince in a deposition he provided recently pertaining to a compensation fund for the families of 9/11 victims.

Osama bin Laden.(Reuters / Handout)

Osama bin Laden.(Reuters / Handout)

“Even if he somehow got to the point where he could testify, there would be a credibility issue,” Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, told the Daily Mail“Would his testimony be valuable? That’s doubtful.”

Nevertheless, the paper also reports that in order to hear further about his allegations, federal attorneys have since met with Moussaoui at the Colorado facilities he’s slated to spend the rest of his life in.

Earlier this year, lawyers for Saudi Arabia insisted in court filings that the kingdom “had no role in the attacks of September 11, 2001,” and that the US government “has said often and vigorously that Saudi Arabia is an important ally in the fight against terrorism.”

Why Quantitative Easing (QE) May Lead to Deflation

November 19th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

“If [They're] Right, Everything The Fed Has Been Doing To Try To Stimulate The Economy Isn’t Just Useless — It’s Backward”

Preface: Financial experts have been debating since the start of the 2008 financial crisis whetherinflation or deflation is the bigger risk.   That debate is beyond the scope of this essay.  However, it might not be either/or. We might instead have “MixedFlation” … inflation is some asset classes and deflation in others.

Quantitative easing (QE) was supposed to stimulate the economy and pull us out of deflation.

But the third round of quantitative easing (“QE3″) in the U.S. failed to raise inflation expectations.

And QE hasn’t worked in Japan, either.  The Wall Street Journal noted in 2010:

Nearly a decade after Japan’s central bank first experimented with the policy, the country remains mired in deflation, a general decline in wages and prices that has crippled its economy.

***

The BOJ began doing quantitative easing in 2001. It had become clear that pushing interest rates down near zero for an extended period had failed to get the economy moving. After five years of gradually expanding its bond purchases, the bank dropped the effort in 2006.

At first, it appeared the program had succeeded in stabilizing the economy and halting the slide in prices. But deflation returned with a vengeance over the past two years, putting the Bank of Japan back on the spot.

So why didn’t quantitative easing work in Japan? Critics say the Japanese central bank wasn’t aggressive enough in launching and expanding its bond-buying program—then dropped it too soon.

***

Others say Japan simply waited too long to resort to the policy.

But japan has since gone “all in” on staggering levels of quantitative easing … and yet is still mired in deflation.

The UK engaged in substantial QE. But inflation rates are falling there as well.

And China engaged in massive amounts of QE.  But it’s also falling into deflation.

Indeed, despite massive QE by the U.S., Japan and China, there is now a worldwide risk of deflation.

So why hasn’t it worked?

The Telegraph noted in June:

The question is why the world economy cannot seem to shake off this “lowflation” malaise, even after QE on unprecedented scale by the US, Britain, Japan and in its own way Switzerland.

***

Narayana Kocherlakota, the Minneapolis Fed chief, suggested as far back as 2011 that zero rates and QE may perversely be the cause of deflation, not the cure that everybody thought. This caused consternation, and he quickly retreated.

Stephen Williamson, from the St Louis Fed, picked up the refrain last November in a paper entitled “Liquidity Premia and the Monetary Policy Trap”, arguing that that the Fed’s actions are pulling down the “liquidity premium” on government bonds (by buying so many). This in turn is pulling down inflation. The more the policy fails – he argues – the more the Fed doubles down, thinking it must do more. That too caused a storm.

The theme refuses to go away. India’s central bank chief, Raghuram Rajan, says QE is a beggar-thy-neighbour devaluation policy in thin disguise. The West’s QE caused a flood of hot capital into emerging markets hunting for yield, stoking destructive booms that these countries could not easily control. The result was an interest rate regime that was too lax for the world as a whole, leaving even more economies in a mess than before as they too have to cope with post-bubble hangovers.

The West ignored pleas for restraint at the time, then left these countries to fend for themselves. The lesson they have drawn is to tighten policy, hoard demand, hold down their currencies and keep building up foreign reserves as a safety buffer. The net effect is to perpetuate the “global savings glut” that has starved the world of demand, and that some say is the underlying of the cause of the long slump. “I fear that in a world with weak aggregate demand, we may be engaged in a futile competition for a greater share of it,” he said.

The Bank for International Settlements [the "central banks' central bank"] says the world is suffering from addiction to stimulus. “The result is expansionary in the short run but contractionary over the longer term. As policy-makers respond asymmetrically over successive financial cycles, hardly tightening or even easing during booms and easing aggressively and persistently during busts, they run out of ammunition and entrench instability. Low rates, paradoxically, validate themselves,” it said.

Claudio Borio, the BIS’s chief economist, says this refusal to let the business cycle run its course and to purge bad debts is corrosive. The habit of turning on the liquidity spigot at the first hint of trouble leads to “time inconsistency”. It steals growth and prosperity from the future, and pulls the interest rate structure far below its (Wicksellian) natural rate. “The risk is that the global economy may be in a deceptively stable disequilibrium,” he said.

Mr Borio worries what will happen when the next downturn hits. “So far, institutional set-ups have proved remarkably resilient to the huge shock of the Great Financial Crisis and its tumultuous aftermath. But could (they) withstand yet another shock?” he said.

“There are troubling signs that globalisation may be in retreat. There is a risk of yet another epoch-defining and disruptive seismic shift in the underlying economic regimes. This would usher in an era of financial and trade protectionism. It has happened before, and it could happen again,” he said.

The Economist reported last year:

Is QE deflationary? Yes, quite obviously so. Consider:

  • A central bank that is deploying QE is almost certainly at the zero lower bound.
  • QE will only help get an economy off the zero lower bound if paired with a commitment to higher future inflation.
  • If a central bank is deploying QE over a long period of time, that means it has not paired QE with a commitment to higher future inflation.
  • Prolonged QE is effectively a signal that the central bank is unwilling commit to higher inflation.
  • QE therefore reinforces expectations that economic activity will run below potential and demand shocks will not be completely offset.
  • QE will be associated with a general disinflationary trend.

Don’t believe me? Here is a chart of 5-year breakevens since September of 2012, when the Fed began QE3, the first asset-purchase plan with no set end date:

(The article then goes onto say that QE can be deflationary or inflationary depending on what else the central bank is doing.)

Michala Marcussen – global head of economics at Société Générale – believes that QE may be deflationary in the long run because:

Excess capacity is deflationary and the means to deal with it is to shut it down. Indeed, we expect China [which also engaged in massive QE] for now to exert deflationary pressure on the global economy.

***

Unproductive investment is by nature ultimately deflationary. This is a point also worth recalling when investing in paper assets fuelled by QE liquidity and not underpinned by sustainable economic growth.

Prominent economist John Cochrane thinks he knows why. As he explained last year:

Here I graphed an interest rate rise from 0 to 5% (blue dash)  and the possible equilibrium values for inflation (red). (I used κ=1 ρ=1 ).

As you can see, it’s perfectly possible, despite the price-stickiness of the new-Keynesian Phillips curve, to see the super-neutral result, inflation rises instantly.

***

Obviously this is not the last word. But, it’s interesting how easy it is to get positive inflation out of an interest rate rise in this simple new-Keynesian model with price stickiness.

So, to sum up, the world is different. Lessons learned in the past do not necessarily apply to the interest on ample excess reserves world to which we are (I hope!) headed. The mechanisms that prescribe a negative response of inflation to interest rate increases are a lot more tenuous than you might have thought. Given the downward drift in inflation, it’s an idea that’s worth playing with.

Bloomberg noted earlier this month:

Now, the Neo-Fisherites [including Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota] have been joined by a very heavy hitter — University of Chicago economist John Cochrane. In a new paper called “Monetary Policy with Interest on Reserves,” he explains a mechanism by which higher interest rates raise inflation. Unlike Williamson’s model, Cochrane’s model obtains a Neo-Fisherian result without appealing to fiscal policy. In fact, he finds that in some cases, raising interest rates can even stimulate the economy in the short term! He concludes succinctly:

The basic logic is pretty simple: raising nominal interest rates either raises inflation or raises real interest rates. If it raises real interest rates, it must raise consumption growth. The prediction is only counterintuitive because for so long we have persuaded ourselves of the opposite[.]

Cochrane has a simple explanation of the model’s key predictions on his blog. He hypothesizes that now that the Fed pays interest on the reserves that banks hold with the Fed, monetary policy will be even more Neo-Fisherian — i.e., even more perverse.

***

Cochrane’s arguments are based on simple equations that are at the heart of most modern macroeconomic models. If the Neo-Fisherites are right, then everything the Fed has been doing to try to stimulate the economy isn’t just useless — it’s backward.

Now, the overwhelming majority of empirical studies tell us that QE, and Fed easing in general, tends to raise inflation in the short term. But what if that’s at the cost of lower inflation in the long term? Japan has been holding interest rates at zero for many years, and its economy has been in and out of deflation. Massive QE has noticeably failed to make the U.S. hit its 2 percent inflation target. What if mainstream macroeconomics has it all upside down, and prolonged periods of low interest rates trap us in a kind of secular stagnation that is totally different from the kind Harvard economist Larry Summers talks about?

It’s a disquieting thought.

One of the main architects of Japan’s QE program – Richard Koo – Chief Economist at the Nomura Research Institute – explains that QE helps in the short-run … but hurts the economy in the long run(via Business Insider):

Initially, long-term interest rates fall much more than they would in a country without such a policy, which means the subsequent economic recovery comes sooner (t1). But as the economy picks up, long-term rates rise sharply as local bond market participants fear the central bank will have to mop up all the excess reserves by unloading its holdings of long-term bonds.

Demand then falls in interest rate sensitive sectors such as automobiles and housing, causing the economy to slow and forcing the central bank to relax its policy stance. The economy heads towards recovery again, but as market participants refocus on the possibility of the central bank absorbing excess reserves, long-term rates surge in a repetitive cycle I have dubbed the QE “trap.”

In countries that do not engage in quantitative easing, meanwhile, the decline in long-term rates is more gradual, which delays the start of the recovery (t2). But since there is no need for the central bank to mop up large quantities of funds, everybody is no more relaxed once the recovery starts, and the rise in long-term rates is far more gradual. Once the economy starts to turn around, the pace of recovery is actually faster because interest rates are lower. This is illustrated in Figure 2.

costs of qeIndeed, things which temporarily goose the economy in the short-run often kill it in the long-run … such as suppressing volatility.

Postscript:   Quantitative easing fails in many other ways, as well …

The original inventor of QE  – and the former long-term head of the Federal Reserve– say that QE has failed to help the economy.  Numerous academic studies confirm this.  And see this.

Economists also note that QE helps the rich … but hurts the little guy. QE is one of the main causes of inequality (and see this and this).    And economists now admit that runaway inequality cripples the economy.  So QE indirectly hurts the economy by fueling runaway inequality.

A high-level Federal Reserve official says QE is “the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time”.  And the “Godfather” of Japan’s monetary policy admits that it “is a Ponzi game”.

The Rule of Lawlessness: The EU’s Mission to Kosovo

November 19th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

Foreign missions are ostensibly sent to monitor and correct perceived problems on the ground.  They are equipped with the language of appropriate righteousness, and the clothing of good will.  That, at least, is what the operation brief is meant to state.  Often, the language fades. 

The mission suffers metamorphosis.  Deals are done on the ground. Money changes hands. Favours are done.  It is not so much building Rome as becoming Rome that becomes important. Join what one cannot change – many local conditions simply resist transformation from the outside.

The EU’s rule of law mission in Kosovo, Eulex, was one such creation. It remains the EU’s biggest foreign crisis mission, despite a slimming operation that cut staff from 2,200 to 1,600. The Economist suggested, rather freely, that the deployment of Eulex in 2008 “delighted” Kosovars.  “Many hoped it would stamp out organised crime and corruption.”[1]  Certainly, the legal infrastructure on the ground proved sparse and susceptible to manipulation.  But the big fish were never going to enter Eulex’s nets. They were the political untouchables, at least without sufficient evidence for conviction.  The reputation of the group, as a result, waned.

Critics started gathering ammunition.  Andrea Capussela, formerly involved in the economic side of things in the EU’s policy in Kosovo, found Eulex indifferent, even timid, in getting the cores of corruption.  At worst, it proved craven.  The errors in the prosecution side of things started mounting.  Prominent local Kosovars, instead of facing a legal brief, found themselves in clover.

The prosecution process has also proven erratic.  Oliver Ivanovic, a Kosovo Serb noted for efforts of reconciliation in the north of the province, has been indicted for war crimes allegedly committed against Albanians whilst being a “Bridge Watcher”.[2]  In contrast Azem Syla, close to Kosovo’s prime minister, had the whistle blown on him in 2009 as being the hand behind several killings.  The case is still being investigated by Eulex staff (The Economist, Nov 15).

Gabriele Meucci, the head of the mission, stuck to the high ground at a press conference in Pristina on October 30.  His staff were trying to “make Kosovo a better place for its people and their children… they deserve to do their work and go home at night to their families free from the suspicion of corruption.”[3]  He makes the point that Eulex cannot abide corruption, having a “zero tolerance” policy towards it.  It conducts 100 internal investigations a year, which one would think suggests that both the fruits and barrel are rotten.

The British investigator, Maria Bamieh, is convinced by it.  She has come out with some material on the mission, and it is not pretty.  Bamieh herself has done a stint of whistleblowing that has gotten her former superiors riled up, notably those happy to go home and night, spending time with their families free from the suspicion of corruption.   She claims that she “suffered victimisation” from that most unfortunate of bureaucratic creations: the second line manager. (To deal with one is a terror; two, a monstrosity.)

The lid was blown off with the obtaining of internal Eulex files by Kosovo’s leading daily, Koha Ditore, though the paper denies that Bamieh was the direct source of the leaked material. The files made truly dirty reading.  Close links between suspects in criminal cases and Eulex officials were noted.  Bamieh herself alleged that the former chairman of Eulex’s Assembly of Judges, Francesco Florit, and chief prosecutor Jaroslava Novotna, had endeavoured to shut down cases in return for cash in 2012 and 2013.  The money offered was far from paltry – Florit is alleged to have received 350,000 Euros for dropping the murder case in question.[4]  He denies doing so.

A rather dark turn for the worst were efforts on the part of Eulex to issue Koha Ditore reporter, Vehbi Kajtazi, with veiled threats when he went to speak to officials prior to publishing the expose. According to the paper’s editor-in-chief, “when he [Kajtazi] went to meet them all they wanted to talk about was how difficult life could become for him… to give him the message that if he published the story, he might face criminal prosecution” (EU Observer, Oct 30).

During the course of her employment, Bamieh faced an assortment of practices in Eulex, some of which she duly noted.  Bureaucracy, paradoxically, doesn’t necessarily become impersonal and cold over time. It can become intimate, almost incestuously so, provided it exudes a certain public morality, keeping up appearances, doing the right paperwork.  Friends appoint friends, and the familiar face becomes the reliable face.  The dangerous face is one who doesn’t play along, who decides, rather, to remind the organisation about its operating script.

It was obvious that Bamieh had to go.  She had done a bit too much pissing in an already polluted pool.  The cleaners were coming in – for her.  In being interviewed for her own position, Bamieh claimed that the officious line manager was on the panel.  There was no batting of eyelids – this had become the unquestioned pro-forma, but Bamieh objected.  She then faced two senior colleagues who worked closely with the line manager.  Other candidates of considerable quality were ignored in selection.  Such refuse is hard to shake.

Bamieh also fears good, old fashioned retribution.  She is on record to the Gazeta Express that a certain “N.C.” may be on to her “because I am exposing some data.  He is a cold-blooded killer.”  While such fears might be far fetched, it is certainly not a stretch to presume that a mission undertaken in the name of law becomes indignant when its failure to achieve it becomes public.  A rule of law mission, when it becomes indifferent to its own code, is hardly a body worth taking seriously by the locals.  This is the rule of money in envelopes, protection, and sweet deals.

As for Eulex, an investigation has commenced under the auspices of Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign-policy chief. It is not set to be wide reaching, and will have to face the likes of senior Eulex official, Jonathan Ratel, who is also said to be a master disruptor of internal reviews. Whatever is found will not detract from the harm already done.  Trials of such figures as Ivanovic may well be shrouded in doubt, though the President of the Board of Banja Luka assisting Serbs in Kosovo, Milorad Arlov is confident of an acquittal.[5]  As the rule of law withers, the question being asked now is who is being left out of the dock?

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected]

Notes

CIA Targeted Assassinations by Induced Heart Attack and Cancer

November 19th, 2014 by Global Research News

Published in 2010 by Signs of the Times, first posted on GR on June 27, 2013

by Press Core

In 1975, during the Church Committee hearings, the existence of a secret assassination weapon came to light. The CIA had developed a poison that caused the victim to have an immediate heart attack. This poison could be frozen into the shape of a dart and then fired at high speed from a pistol. The gun was capable of shooting the icy projectile with enough speed that the dart would go right through the clothes of the target and leave just a tiny red mark. Once in the body the poison would melt and be absorbed into the blood and cause a heart attack! The poison was developed to be undetectable by modern autopsy procedures.

Can you give a person cancer?

If cancer in animals can be caused by injecting them with cancer viruses and bacteria, it would certainly be possible to do the same with human beings!

In 1931, Cornelius Rhoads, a pathologist from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, purposely infects human test subjects in Puerto Rico with cancer cells; 13 of them died. Though a Puerto Rican doctor later discovers that Rhoads purposely covered up some of the details of his experiment and Rhoads himself gives a written testimony stating he believes that all Puerto Ricans should be killed, he later goes on to establish the U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Fort Detrick Maryland (origin of the HIV/AIDS virus, the Avian Flu virus and the Swine Flu / A-H1N1 virus), Utah and Panama, and is named to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, where he begins a series of radiation exposure experiments on American soldiers and civilian hospital patients.

The answer to the question – Can you give a person cancer – is yes.  After nearly 80 years of research and development there is now a way to simulate a real heart attack and to give a healthy person cancer. Both have been used as a means of assassination. Only a very skilled pathologist, who knew exactly what to look for at an autopsy, could distinguish an assassination induced heart attack or cancer from the real thing.

Is death by heart attack, burst aneurysm, of cerebral hemorrhage a “natural cause”? Not if government agencies have found a way to influence your heart rate, blood pressure, or vascular dilatation. Neurological research has found that the brain has specific frequencies for each voluntary movement called preparatory sets. By firing at your chest with a microwave beam containing the ELF signals given off by the heart, this organ can be put into a chaotic state, the so-called heart attack. In this way, high profile leaders of political parties who are prone to heart attacks can be killed off before they cause any trouble. Jack Ruby died of cancer a few weeks after his conviction for murder had been overruled in appeals court and he was ordered to stand trial outside of Dallas – thus allowing him to speak freely if he so desired. There was little hesitancy in Jack Ruby killing Lee Harvey Oswald in order to prevent him from talking, so there is no reason to suspect that any more consideration would have been shown Jack Ruby if he had posed a threat to people in the US government who had conspired to murder the president of the United States – John F Kennedy.

Matt Simmons, an oil industry expert, was assassinated for turning whistle blower over the Obama administration coverup of the BP Gulf Oil Spill. Investment banker Matt Simmons, who died suddenly, was an energy industry insider and presidential adviser whose profile soared when he wrote that Saudi Arabia is running out of oil and world production is peaking. Simmons, 67, died at his vacation home in Maine. An autopsy by the state medical examiner’s office concluded Monday that he died from accidental drowning “with heart disease as a contributing factor.”

His 2005 best-selling book, Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, brought him a wider audience. The book argued that Saudi Arabia vastly overstated the size of its oil reserves and that the world was on the verge of a severe oil shortage as the largest oil fields become depleted. This revelation is backed up by Iran. Iran knows the Middle East oil supply is quickly drying up and for that reason it is now focusing on building nuclear reactors. Once the oil runs out Iran will be the only country in the Middle East that will be energy self-sufficient. All of the other Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia will become Third World impoverished states.

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was also assassinated. He was found dead in the detention center at The Hague tribunal. Mr Milosevic faced charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged central role in the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo during the 1990s. He also faced genocide charges over the 1992-95 Bosnia war, in which 100,000 people died.

Milosevic wrote a letter one day before his death claiming he was being poisoned to death in jail. An autopsy verified his claim as it showed that Milosevic’s body contained a drug that rendered his usual medication for high blood pressure and his heart condition ineffective, causing the heart attack that led to his death.

Former MI6 agent Richard Tomlinson told reporters that he saw documents in 1992 that discussed assassinating Milosevic by means of a staged car accident, where the driver would be blinded by a flash of light and remote controlled brake failure enacted to cause the crash. This exact same technique was utilized for real in the murder of Princess Diana.

If Milosevic was murdered, who would ultimately be responsible? NATO.

Why NATO?

Because, though the ICTY (or ‘Hague Tribunal’) presents itself to the world as a UN body, NATO officials have themselves made clear, in public, that it really belongs to NATO. NATO appointed the prosecutors, and the judges who ruled out investigating any war crimes accusations against NATO. It follows that Slobodan Milosevic, who was a prisoner of the Hague Tribunal’s Scheveningen prison when he died, was a prisoner of NATO. NATO had both motive and opportunity to kill him.

In March 2002, Milosevic presented the NATO controlled Hague tribunal with FBI documents proving that both the United States government and NATO provided financial and military support for Al-Qaeda to aid the Kosovo Liberation Army in its war against Serbia. This didn’t go down too well at the Pentagon and the White House, who at the time were trying to sell a war on terror and gearing up to justify invading Iraq.

During Milosevic’s trial for war crimes NATO alleged that the Serbs had committed a massacre of Albanian civilians in the Kosovo town of Racak. Evidence presented in the court showed that NATO’s claim was a hoax. This is especially embarrassing because the allegation of a massacre at Racak was the excuse that NATO used to begin bombing the Serbs on 24 March 1999 (the carpet bombing were done by the United States Air Force -authorized by then president Bill and Hillary Clinton). Then NATO claimed that the Serbs had supposedly been murdering 100,000 Albanian civilians. However, NATO’s own forensics reported that they could not find even one body of an Albanian civilian murdered by Milosevic’s forces. The failure to find any bodies eventually led to NATO’s absurd claim that the Serbs had supposedly covered up the genocide by moving the many thousands of bodies in freezer trucks deep into Serbia (while Bill Clinton was carpet bombing the place) without leaving a single trace of evidence. But the Hague tribunal showed these accusations to be entirely fraudulent as well.

Milosevic made several speeches in which he discussed how a group of shadowy internationalists had caused the chaos in the Balkans because it was the next step on the road to a “new world order.”

During a February 2000 Serbian Congressional speech, Milosevic stated,

“Small Serbia and people in it have demonstrated that resistance is possible. Applied at a broader level, it was organized primarily as a moral and political rebellion against tyranny, hegemony, monopolism, generating hatred, fear and new forms of violence and revenge against champions of freedom among nations and people, such a resistance would stop the escalation of modern time inquisition. Uranium bombs, computer manipulations, drug-addicted young assassins and bribed of blackmailed domestic thugs, promoted to the allies of the new world order, these are the instruments of inquisition which have surpassed, in their cruelty and cynicism, all previous forms of revengeful violence committed against the mankind in the past.”

Evidence linking Milosevic to genocides like Srebrenica, in which 7,000 Muslims died, was proven to be fraudulent. In fact, Srebrenica was a ‘UN safe zone’, yet just like Rwanda, UN peacekeepers deliberately withdrew and allowed the massacre to unfold, then blamed Milosevic. Milosevic’s exposure of UN involvement in the Srebrenica massacre was another reason why tribunal transcripts were heavily edited and censored by NATO, and another contributing factor for NATO to murder him while he was in their custody.NATO’s Hague Tribunal was clearly a kangaroo court whose sole purpose was to convince ordinary people all over the world that NATO’s destruction of Yugoslavia was justified. Since NATO failed to show this in its own court (a total absence of evidence did make this difficult), there is indeed a powerful NATO motive to murder Milosevic – to prevent his acquittal. In this way, NATO can continue to claim that Milosevic was guilty, and nobody would begin to look into the mountain of evidence that showed that it was NATO leaders (particularly US president Bill Clinton) who committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Yugoslavia.

So many people have been done in by cancer at a convenient time in history that it is now time to ask the question “who is assassinating people by giving their target cancer or inducing a massive heart attack”? Who ordered the hits and why?

Mr. Charles Senseney, a CIA weapon developer at Fort Detrick, Maryland, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in September 1975 where he described an umbrella poison dart gun he had made. He said it was always used in crowds with the umbrella open, firing through the webing so it would not attract attention. Since it was silent, no one in the crowd could hear it and the assassin merely would fold up the umbrella and saunter away with the crowd.

Video footage of the assassination of John F Kennedy shows this umbrella gun being used in Dealey Plaza. Video evidence of the events of November 22, 1963 shows that the first shot fired on the fateful day had always seemed to have had a paralytic effect on Kennedy. His fists were clenched and his head, shoulders and arms seemed to stiffen. An autopsy revealed that there was a small entrance wound in his neck but no evidence of a bullet path through his neck and no bullet was ever recovered that matched that small size.

Charles Senseney testified that his Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick had received assignments from the CIA to develop exotic weaponry. One of the weapons was a hand-held dart gun that could shoot a poison dart into a guard dog to put it out of action for several hours. The dart and the poison left no trace so that examination would not reveal that the dogs had been put out of action. The CIA ordered about 50 of these weapons and used them operationally.

Senseney said that the darts could have been used to kill human beings and he could not rule out the possibility that this had been done by the CIA.A special type of poison developed for the CIA induces a heart attack and leaves no trace of any external influence unless an autopsy is conducted to check for this particular poison. The CIA revealed this poison in various accounts in the early 1970s. The CIA even revealed the weapon that fired those darts that induces a heart attack at a congressional hearing.

The dart from this secret CIA weapon can penetrate clothing and leave nothing but a tiny red dot on the skin. On penetration of the deadly dart, the individual targeted for assassination may feel as if bitten by a mosquito, or they may not feel anything at all. The poisonous dart completely disintegrates upon entering the target. The lethal poison then rapidly enters the bloodstream causing a heart attack. Once the damage is done, the poison denatures quickly, so that an autopsy is very unlikely to detect that the heart attack resulted from anything other than natural causes.

A former CIA agent disclosed that the darts were made of a frozen form of the liquid poison. She disclosed that the dart would melt within the target and would only leave a very tiny red dot at the entry point – the same type of small entrance wound that was found during the autopsy of John F Kennedy.For over 50 years assassinations have been carried out so skillfully as to leave the impression that the victims died from natural causes. Details of some of the techniques used to achieve this were brought to light in 1961 when professional KGB assassin Bogdan Stashinskiy defected to the West and revealed that he had successfully performed two such missions. In 1957 he killed Ukrainian emigré writer Lev Rebet in Munich with a poison vapor gun which left the victim dead of an apparent heart attack. In 1959, the same type of weapon was used on Ukrainian emigré leader Stepan Bandera, although Bandera’s death was never fully accepted as having been from natural causes.

Among the witnesses, important people and conspirators who might have been eliminated by induced heart attack and cancer are: Jack Rudy (died of a stroke due to an undiagnosed form of aggressive cancer, just weeks after he agreed to testify before Congress about the JFK assassination), Clay Shaw, J. Edgar Hoover, Earlene Roberts (Oswald’s land-lady), Marlyn Monroe, Slobodan Milosevic, Kenneth Lay (former CEO of ENRON – the largest political campaign contributor of George W Bush and Dick Cheney), Matt Simmons, Mark Pittman (a reporter who predicted the financial crisis and exposed Federal Reserve misdoings. Pittman fought to open the Federal Reserve to more scrutiny), Elizabeth Edwards (suddenly diagnosed with cancer while her husband was campaigning against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States.

During a campaign speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in May 2007, Edwards called the War on Terrorism a slogan that was created for political reasons and that it wasn’t a plan to make the United States safe. He went further to compare it to a bumper sticker and that it had damaged the US’s alliances and standing in the world.), … enter here the names of every politically outspoken person, whistle blower or witness who died unexpectedly of a heart attack or who quickly died of an incurable cancer.

Montreal, a Model for Repression in Canada

November 18th, 2014 by William Ray

The video below is an examination of the strategy being used in one of Canada’s major cities to repress political dissent.

Brutal police tactics and military weapons being used against senior citizens, young people and the press in an effort to criminalize even the most basic exercise of civic and political rights.

This model is ready for export to the rest of Canada for use against anyone trying to peacefully impact government or corporate agendas through the use of violence and economic pressure.

Coming soon to a town near you…

We have recently been hearing a lot about information wars, propaganda and bullhorns. The pitch of this kind of belligerent rhetoric has increased sharply since the advent of the western-induced crisis in Ukraine.

The mainstream media’s echo chamber claim about Russian media goes something like this: “Russian media is powerful and effective because it is well-funded propaganda.” Really? Having worked in Russian media for well over a decade, I observe it focussing on foreign audiences in a very different way: it challenges the West’s hegemonic grip on shaping and controlling the global media agenda.

Up until recently, western media outlets enjoyed near monopoly in defining the news agenda. It also worked in lockstep with the powers that be. Reading the op-ed pages of the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times one will quickly notice they closely mirror the foreign policies of western governments. It has been a cozy arrangement too. A pliant media whitewashed foreign policy adventurism. In return, major media outlets were given a front row seat to cover wars to be packaged as the West saving the world. This model worked reasonably well until the power of the Internet made itself felt, and until the financial crisis hit, failed wars were exposed, and new and alternative media began to emerge.

I am often asked why new outlets like RT are so popular with audiences around the world. There may be many reasons for this but the short answer is that they offer a refreshingly different perspective.

I believe it important to understand how western media beat the drum of war on behalf of George W. Bush. The echo chamber demonstrated it could be counted on to back acts of aggression around the world with impunity. How many people in media lost their jobs when lying about Bush’s Wars (or Obama’s war for that matter)? We are told to “get over Iraq.” But there is a strong sense today that western media lied to their audiences.

Then there is the great financial crisis of 2008-09.  The bulk of western media is corporate media. How many bankers from Wall Street went to jail? There has been some very good investigative journalism on the subject, but the mainstream is shy to pursue the story, telling us “to get over it.” Today there is a strong sense there is ‘state socialism’ to bail out the bankers and ‘capitalist austerity’ for the rest of us. The mainstream’s echo chamber prefers to dwell on meaningless “first world problems” like pouring buckets of ice water over our heads or the condition of Kim Kardashian’s butt. In the meantime, Wall Street and Washington policy makers are never held to account for their past and present actions.

We in alternative media (or non-western media) are often called propaganda merely because we say something different. Some of the people, institutions and governments making this claim are very afraid of those parting company with standard narratives that are cozy and comfortable for the powers-that-be and their media friends. Our mission is different: we exist to challenge the conventional wisdom and to break western media hegemony. We are interested in hearing so many more and differing voices.

The tragedy being played out in Ukraine is very important for us in alternative media. This story is very clear-cut and those who have done wrong (and continue to do so) are obvious. There is plenty of conclusive evidence that Washington and Brussels backed an illegal coup against a democratically elected government in Ukraine. The West is in complete denial, and its official narrative that there was a people’s revolution is itself propaganda.

The media are even worse. The violent events that ended the constitutional order in Kiev included snipers killing over 90 people. Western media took little interest in the story when it began to appear that those pulling the triggers were associated with anti-government forces. A massacre occurred in the city of Odessa. An ample amount of video available on YouTube shows the culprits were fascistic elements aligned with the coup government. Western media has taken little interest in the story.

Then there is MH-17. For a few weeks it was treated as one of the biggest stories in media history. But then, MH-17 disappeared from the headlines. Why? Common sense dictates western intelligence should know who shot the plane out of the sky. The information is not being disclosed but the media line is of course that ‘the Russians did it’. And western media is not interested in asking any further questions. But those of us who do or who put forward alternative scenarios are called propagandists.

The ultimate trick question when it comes to western coverage of Ukraine is to ask: “When did Russia invade Ukraine?” There is no answer because there has never been an invasion (and most likely never will be either). At the same time western audiences are fed 24/7 wall-to-wall dis- and misinformation about Ukraine. Anyone who challenges this is called a propagandist.

We in the alternative media don’t always get stories right. But why should one be called a propagandist for simply asking questions that challenge those in power? Traditionally, this has been the core mission for journalism to exist. The West’s echo chamber has forfeited its moral right in this regard. It is time the echo chamber made some more space for the rest of us.

It seems as though, with each day that passes, yet another health and environmental hazard is identified as being linked to hydraulic fracking, the process of injecting more than 200 chemicals at high pressure into the ground, shattering rock and releasing one America’s most valued resources, natural gas.

Hydraulic fracking continues to be proven more dangerous than scientists imagined, with the latest research unmasking unthinkable health effects in residents living near a fracking site.

Only through observation have scientists begun to learn exactly which chemicals are being injected at high pressures into the earth, as the industry believes proprietary rights trump the public’s right to know about which chemicals make up fracking mixtures.

Scientists have observed eight poisonous chemicals near fracking wells in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wyoming, all of which have exceeded the federal recommended limit. Benzene, a known carcinogen, as well as formaldehyde, were the most common. Hydrogen sulfide, responsible for a range of health effects including death, was also found.

High levels of benzene, formaldehyde and hydrogen sulfide detected in air samples near fracking sites

A study conducted by Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany-State University of New York tested air samples taken by trained volunteers living near fracking wells.

The measurements were taken during “heavy industrial activity” or when the volunteers experienced symptoms such as dizziness, nausea or headaches, according to U.S. News. Other samples were taken during designated periods to monitor for formaldehyde.

Slightly less than half of the samples exceeded recommended limits, according to lab results. Samples that exceeded recommended limits did so by very high margins, with benzene levels ranging from 35 to 770,000 times greater than normal concentrations, comparable to a driver being exposed to 33 times the amount they would be while fueling their car.

Hydrogen sulfide levels were 90 to 60,000 times higher than federal standards, while formaldehyde levels reached 30 to 240 times higher than normal.

“This is a significant public health risk,” said the study’s lead author. “Cancer has a long latency, so you’re not seeing an elevation in cancer in these communities. But five, 10, 15 years from now, elevation in cancer is almost certain to happen.”

Benzene, one of the four chemicals in diesel, produces known health complications in people, prompting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require permits for any drilling involving diesel. However, an FDA loophole known as the “Halliburton Loophole” exempts fracking companies from restrictions set by the Safe Drinking Water Act and federal Clean Water Act.

“I was amazed,” said Carpenter. “Five orders of magnitude over federal limits for benzene at one site — that’s just incredible. You could practically just light a match and have an explosion with that concentration.”

Benzene is known to cause leukemia and cancers of other blood cells, as well as short-term effects like headaches, tremors, sleepiness and vomiting, according to Cancer.org.

Hydrogen sulfide, which carries a rotting egg smell, is linked to asthma, headaches, poor memory and eye irritation. Formaldehyde, also a known carcinogen, is linked to nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia, among other health effects.

Residents near fracking wells report sudden asthma, cognitive difficulties and nose polyps

Deb Thomas, a Wyoming woman who helped collect air samples while living across the road from a fracking well, reported the sudden onset of asthmatic symptoms. “I had an asthmatic episode — I’ve never had any asthma, I don’t have a history of asthma. I ended up at the hospital where they gave me breathing treatments. I’ve had really bad rashes.”

Thomas reported similar symptoms while taking air samples from unconventional oil and gas sites across the U.S. that are affecting low-income families.

“We see a lot of cognitive difficulties. People get asthma or breathing difficulty or nose polyps or something with their eyes or their ears ring — the sorts of things that come on very subtly, but you start to notice them.”

Sources:

http://www.usnews.com

http://www.usnews.com

http://www.dispatch.com

https://www.osha.gov

http://www.cancer.org

http://www.cancer.gov

http://science.naturalnews.com

Recession in Japan Sends Shares Tumbling

November 18th, 2014 by Mike Whitney

Japanese stocks suffered their biggest one-day plunge in more than four months following an announcement that the world’s third biggest economy had slipped back into recession. The two consecutive quarters of negative growth were triggered by an increase in the sales tax that was implemented by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in April. The VAT tax was designed to put more of the costs of running the government on working people who have been forced to reduce their personal spending due to higher taxes, 23 consecutive months of falling wages, steadily shrinking incomes, and a sharp decline in full-time employment. At present, 38 percent of Japan’s labor-force work at part-time jobs that pay less than fulltime positions, and that provide no benefits, security or retirement. (Note: the economy contracted at a 1.6 percent annual pace in the July-September quarter, preceded by a 7.1 percent drop the quarter before.)

In Japan, consumer spending accounts for more than 60 percent of GDP. Thus, when the government raises taxes, spending declines, deflationary pressures build, and the economy goes into a slump. Quantitative Easing– which involves the purchasing of government bonds by the Central Bank– has negligible impact on the real economy. The Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) extraordinary monetary easing–which includes the buying of ETFs and J-REITs as well as Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs)–has helped to buoy stock prices and lift corporate profits to record highs, but has had a damaging effect on the economy. The weaker yen has lifted import fees on oil and other essentials making it more expensive for working people and retirees to scrape by. Even so, Abe pushed ahead with his tax increase determined to prove his loyalty to his constituency of financial speculators, fatcat corporatists and other wealthy elites, all of who have made out like bandits due to zero rates and QE.

It’s worth noting that the BoJ’s gigantic liquidity injections have had almost no impact on inflation which is still running below the BoJ’s target of 2 percent. That fact holds true in the US too, where a $3.5 trillion increase in the Fed’s balance sheet has failed to lift inflation to the Fed’s target. The reason for this is easy to understand. While QE adds to base money in the financial system, that money has no where to go without a transmission mechanism. In other words, there must be demand for funds (loans-credit) for borrowers to get their hands on that money and use it for additional consumption. But since the private sector (businesses and consumers) are still net savers in Japan, borrowing is minimal and insufficient to produce robust growth. This is why raising the sales tax from 5 percent to 8 percent was such a bad idea, because credit was already weak when Abe decided to remove even more fiscal stimulus from the economy. Now Japan is back in recession and the options for pulling the economy out of the ditch are limited. (Monetary policy is already at its highest setting.) This is from Bloomberg:

“No part of Japan’s economy looks encouraging,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, who had the weakest forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, with a 0.8% growth estimate for real GDP. “Today’s data will leave another traumatic memory for Japanese politicians about sales tax hikes.”

It may be a “traumatic memory” as Shinke says, but that doesn’t mean the politicians are calling for a repeal of the VAT tax. Heck, no. Nor are they demanding higher taxes on corporations, financial institutions, and high-income elites who can afford to pay-down Japan’s enormous debt-load without curtailing their own Gucci lifestyles. These are the people who benefit the most from government policy, but who are never asked to pay their fair share.

Japan suffers from a chronic lack of demand that stems from the fact that wages haven’t kept pace with increases in production. If workers got their fair share of the profits, Japan’s economy would be firing on all cylinders and there’d be no problem. But since corporate bosses like to keep their employees as close to starvation as possible, workers have to slash their spending to make ends meet. This, in turn, weakens demand even more further exacerbating the slowdown. It’s a circle. Check this out from the CFR’s magazine Foreign Affairs:

“Imagine the predicament currently facing a growing number of Japanese men in their early 30s. Despite having spent years cramming in high school and attending good colleges, many can’t find a full-time job at a good company. Since Japan’s rigid labor laws make it nearly impossible to lay off permanent employees in downtimes, companies now tend to fill open slots with part-time or temporary workers, and they typically pay them a third less. Today, 17 percent of Japanese men aged 25 to 34 hold such second-class jobs, up from four percent in 1988. Low-paid temps and part-timers now make up 38 percent of Japanese employees of all ages and both sexes — a stunning figure for a society that once prided itself on equality.” (Voodoo Abenomics, Richard Katz, Foreign Affairs)

See what I mean? How are you going to maintain strong growth when 38 percent of your workforce is plugging away at shitty-paying part-time service-sector jobs? It’s can’t be done. And here’s another important fact that’s worth mulling over:

“But all the gains have been for irregular work; regular jobs have fallen by 3.1 percent. Consequently, the average wage per worker in real terms has fallen by two percent under Abe. No wonder consumer spending is anemic.” (Foreign Affairs)

So wages in the aggregate are falling. And if wages are falling, then households have no choice but to reduce their spending which means personal consumption is going to tank, which it has. Unfortunately, the BoJ’s “weak yen” policy has accelerated at the same time wages are tumbling. According to analyst Wolf Richter: .”under the economic religion of Abenomics, inflation has roared higher. In September, prices were up 3.2% compared to a year ago, with goods prices up 4.6% …..(At the same time) Average monthly inflation-adjusted consumption expenditures by two-or-more-person households plunged 5.6% from a year ago. It’s the sixth month in a row that expenditures and incomes have plunged in this manner.” (Bank of Japandemonium Resorts to “Monetary Shamanism,” and all Heck Breaks Loose, Wolf Street)

So prices are up, but wages are down. It’s the double whammy!

So how is QE supposed to change this situation? How is buying financial assets going to raise wages, boost hiring, put more money in the pockets of people who will spend it and pull the economy out of its 20 year deflationary funk?

It won’t. All it will do is trigger a currency war (by slashing the value of the yen) and create conditions for a bond market meltdown. Think I’m kidding? Take a look at this eye-popper from Bloomberg:

“In announcing that it will boost purchases of government bonds to a record annual pace of $709 billion, the central bank has just added further fuel to the most obvious bond bubble in modern history — and helped create a fresh one on stocks. Once the laws of finance, and gravity, reassert themselves, Japan’s debt market could crash in ways that make the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers look like a warm-up. Worse, because Japan’s interest-rate environment is so warped, investors won’t have the usual warning signs of market distress. Even before Friday’s bond-buying move, Japan had lost its last honest tool of price discovery. When a nation that needs 16 digits in yen terms to express its national debt (it reached 1,000,000,000,000,000 yen in August 2013) sees benchmark yields falling, you’ve entered the financial Twilight Zone.” (Japan Creates World’s Biggest Bond Bubble, William Pesek, Bloomberg)

A bond market crash that could make “the collapse of Lehman Brothers look like a warm-up”?

Indeed. The possibility of a sovereign default by the world’s third biggest economy can no longer be excluded. Any rise in interest rates (even if the BoJ reaches its 2% inflation target) will make it virtually impossible to roll-over Japan’s mountainous debtpile. The wacky BoJ has created a doomsday machine that will have catastrophic implications for the people of Japan.

And that’s why Japan’s $1.2 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF)–the largest in the world–announced that it plans to rebalance its portfolio away from Japanese Government Bonds.(JGB). It’s because JGBs can no longer be considered “risk free”, so the pension fund is going to reduce its position now and put more of its resources into stocks where the rewards for risk-taking are more attractive.

Even so, that hasn’t stopped the harebrained BoJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda from adding more fuel to the fire. Kuroda remains convinced that bigger injections of liquidity via QE will end Japan’s “deflationary mindset” and spark a splurge of spending that will simultaneously boost inflation and beef up GDP. After more than five years of non-stop QE in three separate countries, there’s no evidence that the theory works. Economic stagnation prevails wherever QE has been used.

John Maynard Keynes explained why “increasing the quantity of money” in the financial system would not revive an economy stuck in a balance sheet recession. Here’s what he said 80 years ago in his “Open Letter to President Roosevelt”:

“Rising output and rising incomes will suffer a set-back sooner or later if the quantity of money is rigidly fixed. Some people seem to infer from this that output and income can be raised by increasing the quantity of money. But this is like trying to get fat by buying a larger belt. In the United States to-day your belt is plenty big enough for your belly. It is a most misleading thing to stress the quantity of money, which is only a limiting factor, rather than the volume of expenditure, which is the operative factor.”

Bingo. The amount of money in the economy doesn’t matter. What matters is spending. Without spending there’s no hiring, no investment, no growth. But people can’t spend what they don’t have. And what they don’t have is money, which is why they need higher wages. Unfortunately, corporate bosses aren’t going give away any more than they absolutely have to, which means that workers need to get their act together and fight for what’s theirs.

Let the battle begin.

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].

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday and mobilized the National Guard, claiming that this was necessary to “keep members of the public safe and protect property” in anticipation of a grand jury decision on whether to bring charges against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August.

Calling in the National Guard is a deliberate move on the part of state officials to silence and intimidate political opposition to the heavily manipulated grand jury proceeding against Wilson. A decision on whether or not to indict Wilson is expected any day.

As Nixon, a Democrat, announced the state of emergency, the streets of Ferguson, Missouri were entirely devoid of protesters, much less violence and looting. Nixon was in effect declaring that even the possibility of protests is sufficient to prepare the Armed Forces for deployment on the streets of an American city. The move is historically unprecedented, and marks a new stage in the deliberate and systematic destruction of democratic rights.

In his executive order authorizing the state of emergency, Nixon insisted that “regardless of the outcomes of the federal and state criminal investigations, there is the possibility of expanded unrest.”

“As part of our ongoing efforts to plan and be prepared for any contingency, it is necessary to have these resources in place in advance of any announcement of the grand jury’s decision,” Nixon said in a separate statement. He added that the National Guard will “support law enforcement’s efforts to maintain peace and protect those exercising their right to free speech.”

Nixon’s claim that deploying the military to crack down on protesters is a means to protect the “right to free speech” is Orwellian. The arguments deployed—based on “protecting property,” “ensuring public safety” and stopping “unrest” in a “state of emergency”—are the standard tropes of every police state.

They are being implemented by a government that routinely cites “democracy” and “human rights” as its principle justifications for militarism and violence all over the world. If similar steps were taken in Russia or Iran, they would be accompanied by howls of protest from the political establishment and the media. But in the United States they have evoked no opposition from the representatives of the ruling class.

The declaration of a state of emergency sets a pseudo-legal framework for the ripping up of key democratic rights protected under the Constitution. The last time Nixon declared a state of emergency, during the initial protests over the killing of Brown, police effectively suspended the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly by declaring that demonstrators be arrested unless they kept walking. This so-called “five-second rule” was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge.

The move by Nixon follows the imposition of de facto martial law last year in Boston, where residents were told to “shelter in place” following the Boston Marathon bombing, as heavily armed police conducted house-to-house warrantless searches similar to those used in the occupation of Iraq. Both Boston and Ferguson have the character of test runs aimed at conditioning public opinion for an even further militarization of American society.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, also a Democrat, made clear that the Armed Forces would not be confined to the suburb of Ferguson. He said the National Guard will be deployed to protect “various locations within the city of St. Louis,” adding that the military units would be used for “visibility, deterrence, and early warning.”

“It is my understanding that they will be armed,” said Slay, adding that National Guard units could be deployed at shopping centers, strip malls and government buildings.

These moves are being carefully coordinated with the Obama administration. Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson and held meetings with local and state officials. According to one news report, “the feds are playing an unusually hands-on role in preparing for grand jury protests.”

On the same day as the announcement of the state of emergency, ABC News released an FBI intelligence bulletin issued to local police departments in “recent days,” warning, “The announcement of the grand jury’s decision…will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure.”

The FBI said that such “infiltration” could “occur both in the Ferguson area and nationwide.” The report adds that individuals with “intent to incite and engage in violence could be armed with bladed weapons or firearms, equipped with tactical gear/gas masks, or bulletproof vests to mitigate law enforcement measures.”

The memo expresses the degree to which language and concepts developed under the framework of the “war on terror” are being applied to domestic opposition to social inequality and the attack on democratic rights. The “extremists” planning to carry out “attacks” against “critical infrastructure” are not foreign Islamic fundamentalists, but social and political opposition within the United States.

The use of supposed emergency situations as part of the “war on terror” has long been the justification of the US government in its drive to gut every basic democratic protection guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

The Obama administration, under the pretense of protecting public safety, has asserted the right to assassinate anyone it chooses, including US citizens, and has presided over the expansion of a military/intelligence apparatus that records, analyzes and reads the day-to-day communications of millions of people.

It is notable that both Nixon and Mayor Slay are Democrats, and that the deployment of the National Guard against peaceful protests was not met with condemnation from any section of the Democratic Party.

The events in Ferguson are an expression of the disintegration of democracy in the United States. A tiny ruling elite dominates all aspects of economic, social, and political life, while the great majority of the population, facing increasingly precarious economic conditions, sees itself entirely marginalized and alienated—revealed in the mass abstention in the midterm elections earlier this month. Under these conditions, the ruling elite responds to any manifestation of political opposition on the part of the population with massive police violence and intimidation.

Okinawa Elects All Anti-U.S.-Bases Candidates

November 18th, 2014 by David Swanson

Some news of more resistance in Okinawa from Hiroshi Taka:

“I am writing this email to all the friends who have sent warm messages of solidarity to the people of Okinawa, who fought for a military base-free, peaceful Okinawa in the last weekend through the simultaneous elections at four levels: Governor of Okinawa, Mayor of Naha, three Prefectural Assembly members from Naha, Nago, and Okinawa City, and a member of Naha City assembly.  They won the governor election, the mayoral election, the prefectural assembly elections in Naha and Nago. The result demonstrates that the Okinawans are undaunted, that the close-down of the Futemma Base and non-construction of a new base in Nago are an actual consensus of the whole prefecture.

“On Thursday last week, with your messages and Japanese translation, I went to Okinawa, held a press conference, visited the election campaign headquarters of Takeshi Onaga, the then candidate for the governor, and the election campaign headquarters of Ms. Shiroma, the then candidate for the mayor of Naha.  I handed over your messages to Takeshi Onaga personally, at the midst of campaign when all those candidates were preparing to make speeches in the center of Naha City.

“Your messages were taken up by a major local paper Okinawa Times on Friday, Nov. 14 issue, and a number of other media.  At the campaign headquarters of Onaga, the top leaders of the campaign kindly took time to listen to my presentation of the messages.  At the campaign office of Shiroma, all campaign staff there stood up and with big applause, listened to my presentation.  And at the speech rally of Onaga, Shiroma, and the other candidates standing against the Bases, most speakers, including Susumu Inamine, the mayor of Nago, referred to your messages, saying that the whole world was with them.

“Through these visits, I felt first-hand how powerfully and greatly your messages encouraged those who deserved your encouragement.

“Great though their successes are, the struggle for a bases-free Okinawa and peace in the region and the world continues.  I hope you will continue to support their struggle, as we living in the mainland Japan will.

Hiroshi Taka

Data: (* = elected)

   For the Governor

     * ONAGA Takeshi (Anti-base)      360,820

       NAKAIMA Hirokazu (former Governor)  261,076

   For the Mayor of Naha, prefectural capital

      * SHIROMA Mikiko (Anti-base)    101,052

       YONEDA Kanetosh (supported by LDP-Komeito)   57,768

   For the Prefectural Assembly member from Naha

       * HIGA Mizuki (Anti-base)  74,427

        YAMAKAWA Noriji (LDP)  61,940

  For the Prefectural Assembly member from Nago

        *GUSHIKEN Toru (Anti-base)    15,374

         SIEMATSI Bunshinmatsu Bunshin (LDP)     14,281″

____________

I should note that the Mayor of Okinawa is already anti-base and recently came to Washington, D.C. with that message. I wrote this prior to his visit:

Imagine if China were stationing large numbers of troops in the United States.  Imagine that most of them were based in a small rural county in Mississippi.  Imagine — this shouldn’t be hard — that their presence was problematic, that nations they threatened in Latin America resented the United States’ hospitality, and that the communities around the bases resented the noise and pollution and drinking and raping of local girls.

Now imagine a proposal by the Chinese government, with support from the federal government in Washington, to build another big new base in that same corner of Mississippi.  Imagine the governor of Mississippi supported the base, but just before his reelection pretended to oppose it, and after being reelected went back to supporting it.  Imagine that the mayor of the town where the base would be built made opposition to it the entire focus of his reelection campaign and won, with exit polls showing that voters overwhelmingly agreed with him.  And imagine that the mayor meant it.

Where would your sympathies lie? Would you want anyone in China to hear what that mayor had to say?

Sometimes in the United States we forget that there are heavily armed employees of our government permanently stationed in most nations on earth.  Sometimes when we remember, we imagine that the other nations must appreciate it.  We turn away from the public uproar in the Philippines as the U.S. military tries to return troops to those islands from which they were driven by public pressure.  We avoid knowing what anti-U.S. terrorists say motivates them, as if by merely knowing what they say we would be approving of their violence.  We manage not to know of the heroic nonviolent struggle underway on Jeju Island, South Korea, as residents try to stop the construction of a new base for the U.S. Navy. We live on oblivious to the massive nonviolent resistance of the people of Vicenza, Italy, who for years voted and demonstrated and lobbied and protested a huge new U.S. Army base that has gone right ahead regardless.

Mayor Susumu Inamine of Nago City, Okinawa, (population 61,000) is headed to the United States, where he may have to do a bit of afflicting the comfortable as he tries to comfort the afflicted back home.  Okinawa Prefecture has hosted major U.S. military bases for 68 years.  Over 73% of the U.S. troop presence in Japan is concentrated in Okinawa, which makes up a mere 0.6% of the Japanese land area.  As a result of public protest, one base is being closed — the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.  The U.S. government wants a new Marine base in Nago City.  The people of Nago City do not.

Inamine was first elected as mayor of Nago City in January 2010 promising to block the new base.  He was reelected this past January 19th still promising to block the base.  The Japanese government had worked hard to defeat him, but exit polls showed 68% of voters opposing the base, and 27% in favor of it.  In February U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy visited Okinawa, where she met with the Governor but declined to meet with the mayor.

That’s all right. The Mayor can meet with the State Department, the White House, the Pentagon, and the Congress.  He’ll be in Washington, D.C. in mid-May, where he hopes to appeal directly to the U.S. government and the U.S. public.  He’ll speak at an open, public event at Busboys and Poets restaurant at 14th and V Streets at 6:00 p.m. on May 20th.

A great summary of the situation in Okinawa can be found in this statement: “International Scholars, Peace Advocates and Artists Condemn Agreement To Build New U.S. Marine Base in Okinawa.”  An excerpt:

“Not unlike the 20th century U.S. Civil Rights struggle, Okinawans have non-violently pressed for the end to their military colonization. They tried to stop live-fire military drills that threatened their lives by entering the exercise zone in protest; they formed human chains around military bases to express their opposition; and about a hundred thousand people, one tenth of the population have turned out periodically for massive demonstrations. Octogenarians initiated the campaign to prevent the construction of the Henoko base with a sit-in that has been continuing for years. The prefectural assembly passed resolutions to oppose the Henoko base plan. In January 2013, leaders of all the 41 municipalities of Okinawa signed the petition to the government to remove the newly deployed MV-22 Osprey from Futenma base and to give up the plan to build a replacement base in Okinawa.”

Here’s background on the Governor of Okinawa.

Here’s an organization working to support the will of the public of Okinawa on this issue.

And here’s a video worth watching:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzAw-jOQwME#t=0

And here’s a video of the Mayor’s visit to DC:

What could be more routine than saving seeds from one season to the next? After all, that is how we grow crops on our farms and in our gardens. Yet from Guatemala to Ghana, from Mozambique to Malaysia, this basic practice is being turned into a criminal offence, so that half a dozen large multinational corporations can turn seeds into private property and make money from them.

But people are fighting back and in several countries popular mobilisations are already forcing governments to put seed privatisation plans on hold.

GRAIN has produced an updated dataset on how so-called free trade agreements are privatising seeds across the world.

Guatemala’s trade agreement with the US obliges it to adhere to the UPOV Convention. But popular resistance forced the government to repeal a national law passed for this purpose. (Photo: Raúl Zamora)

Trade agreements have become a tool of choice for governments, working with corporate lobbies, to push new rules to restrict farmers’ rights to work with seeds. Until some years ago, the most important of these was the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Adopted in 1994, TRIPS was, and still is, the first international treaty to establish global standards for “intellectual property” rights over seeds.1 The goal is to ensure that companies like Monsanto or Syngenta, which spend money on plant breeding and genetic engineering, can control what happens to the seeds they produce by preventing farmers from re-using them – in much the same way as Hollywood or Microsoft try to stop people from copying and sharing films or software by putting legal and technological locks on them.

But seeds are not software. The very notion of “patenting life” is hugely contested. For this reason, the WTO agreement was a kind of global compromise between governments. It says that countries may exclude plants and animals (other than micro-organisms) from their patent laws, but they must provide some form of intellectual property protection over plant varieties, without specifying how to do that.

Image right: In Costa Rica, the fight against the Central American Free Trade Agreement was very much a fight to prevent the patenting of the country’s unique wealth of biodiversity and against UPOV – the Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties. (Photo: Fighting FTAs)

Trade agreements negotiated outside the WTO, especially those initiated by powerful economies of the global North, tend to go much further. They often require signatory countries to patent plants or animals, or to follow the rules of the Geneva-based Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV) that provide patent-like rights over crop varieties. Whether in the form of patent laws or UPOV, these rules generally make it illegal for farmers to save, exchange, sell or modify seeds they save from so-called protected varieties.2 In fact, in 1991 the UPOV convention was modified to give even stronger monopoly powers to agribusiness companies at the expense of small and indigenous farming communities. This 1991 version of UPOV now gets widely promoted through trade deals.

Onslaught of FTAs

The North America Free Trade Agreement – signed by Mexico, Canada and the US, at about the same time TRIPS was being finalised – was one of the first trade deals negotiated outside the multilateral arena to carry with it the tighter seed privatisation noose. It obliged Mexico to join the UPOV club of countries giving exclusive rights to seed companies to stop farmers from recycling and reusing corporate seeds. This set a precedent for all US bilateral trade agreements that followed, while the European Union, the European Free Trade Association and Japan also jumped on the same idea.3

A nonstop process of diplomatic and financial pressure to get countries to privatise seeds “through the back door” (these trade deals are negotiated in secret) has been going on since then. The stakes are high for the seed industry. Globally, just 10 companies control 55% of the commercial seed market.4

But for these corporations, that market share is still not enough. Across Asia, Africa and Latin America, some 70-80% of the seeds farmers use are farm-saved seeds, whether from their own farms or from neighbours or nearby communities. In these unconquered territories, the agribusiness giants want to replace seed saving with seed markets and take control of those markets. To facilitate this, they demand legal protections from governments to create and enforce corporate monopoly rights on seeds. This is where free trade agreements come in as a perfect vehicle to force countries to change their laws.

Latest trends

GRAIN has been tracking how trade deals signed outside the multilateral system are coercing countries to adopt the industry’s wish-list of intellectual property rights for seeds, and ratchet up global standards in that process, since 15 years. A recent update of our dataset shows that this trend is not letting up. In fact, there are worrisome signs on the horizon.

◦ The most important recent gains for Monsanto, Dupont, Limagrain and Syngenta – the world’s top seed companies – have come from new trade deals accepted by Latin American states. In 2006, the US (home to Monsanto and Dupont) closed major deals with Peru and Colombia forcing both countries to adopt UPOV 1991. The EFTA states (home to Syngenta) did the same in 2008 and the EU (home to Limagrain) in 2012.5In Central America, a similar pattern occurred. The US secured a very powerful Central America Free Trade Agreement in 2007, forcing all countries to adhere to UPOV 1991. EFTA did the same last year.

March Against Monsanto in Accra, Ghana – Under a clause included in an interim Economic Parternship Agreement concluded with the EU, Ghana’s government will have to negotiate rules on intellectual property, including traditional knowledge and genetic resources.

◦ An important step towards stronger proprietary seed markets was recently taken in Africa. After ten years of talks, Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) were concluded between the EU and sub-Saharan African states in 2014. Most of them “only” liberalise trade in goods for now, but also contain a commitment to negotiate common intellectual property standards with Brussels. The expectation is that those standards will be based on what the Caribbean states already agreed to in their 2008 EPA: an obligation to at least consider joining UPOV. This is significant because until now African states have been under no obligation to adopt UPOV as a standard, and actually tried to come up with their own systems of plant variety protection.6 And while it’s true that African entities like the anglophone African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) and the francophone African Intellectual Property Organisation (OAPI) are already joining UPOV, under the EU trade deals, countries themselves would be the ones to join. Further towards the horizon, Africa is harmonising within itself as its subregional trade blocs merge and unite to form a single continental free trade zone, supposedly by 2017. This is expected to bring with it an internal harmonisation of intellectual property laws across the continent, likely tightening the noose even further.

◦ The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is possibly the scariest FTA under negotiation right now in terms of what it may do to farmers’ rights to control seeds in Asia and the Pacific. This is because the US, which is leading the talks with 11 other Pacific Rim countries, is playing hardball. Leaked negotiating text from May 2014 shows the US calling not only for UPOV 1991 to be applied in all TPP states but also for the outright patenting of plants and animals. We don’t yet know whether these demands will also appear in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated between the US and the EU, as the text remains inaccessible to the public.

◦ While the extent of what has to be privatised expands, so do the penalties for disrespecting these norms. Under numerous FTAs, countries like the US require that farmers who infringe on these new intellectual property rights on seeds face punishment under criminal law instead of civil law. In some cases, like the recently concluded EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the mere suspicion of infringement could see a farmer’s assets seized or have their bank accounts frozen.7

Big battles heating up

Image right: Solidarity march in Melbourne, Australia: even Colombians far from home were shocked to learn how the US and EU trade deals have pushed Bogotá to criminalise farmers’ seeds. (Source: Erik Anderson/Flickr)

The good news is that social movements are not taking this sitting down. They are becoming very active, vocal, bold and organised about this. In 2013, Colombians from all walks of life were shaken up when they saw firsthand how US and European FTAs could result in their own government violently destroying tonnes of seeds saved by farmers who did not know what the new rules were. The outrage, breaking out in the midst of a massive national agrarian strike, was so strong that the government actually agreed to suspend the law temporarily and re-examine the issue directly with farmers’ representatives.8

In 2014, it was Guatemala’s turn to be rocked when the general public realised that the government was pushing through the adoption of UPOV 1991 without proper debate because of trade deals like CAFTA.9People were furious that indigenous communities were not consulted as is required, especially when the purpose of the law – ultimately – is to replace indigenous seeds with commercial seeds from foreign companies like Monsanto or Syngenta. After months of pressure, the government backed down and repealed the law.10 But – as in Colombia – this retreat is only temporary while other measures will be looked at. In yet other parts of Latin America, like in Chile and Argentina, new laws to implement UPOV 91, often dubbed “Monsanto Laws”, are also being intensely and successfully resisted by social movements.

In Africa too, waves of public protest are rising against the plant variety protection regimes which countries are now going into. In Ghana, a vibrant campaign is under way to stop the country from adopting UPOV 1991 legislation.11

September 2013 protest against FTAs: in Thailand, popular movements are resisting the possibility that talks over a free trade agreement between Thailand and the EU will result in UPOV being imposed on the nation’s farmers. (Photo: FTA Watch)

Elsewhere, civil society networks like the broad based Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa are filing appeals to stop ARIPO from adopting UPOV-based legislation and joining the union.12

Corporate interest groups have pushed too far trying to privatise what people consider a commons. This is not limited to seeds. The same process has been going on with land, minerals, hydrocarbons, water, knowledge, the internet, even important microorganisms, like avian flu a few years ago or the Ebola virus today. People are fighting back to stop these things falling under the exclusive control of a few corporations or defence ministries. A good way to take part in this battle is to join the campaigns to stop important new trade deals like TTIP, CETA, TPP and the EPAs – and to get old ones like the US and European deals with Mexico, Central America, Colombia or Chile rescinded. Trade deals are where a lot of these rules do get written and that is where they should be erased.

For a closer look at the status of trade agreements that impose seed privatisation, download GRAIN’s November 2014 dataset, “Trade agreements privatising biodiversity”.

Going further

- GRAIN, “Seed laws in Latin America: the offensive continues, so does popular resistance”, December 2013. (EN, ES, FR)

- Biodiversidad, “Leyes de semillas y otros pesares”, September 2014. (ES only)

- Daily updates on trade deals at http://bilaterals.org or @bilaterals_org orhttps://www.facebook.com/bilaterals.org (EN, ES, FR)

Notes

1 “Intellectual property” is a government enforced monopoly right. It serves to ensure that people pay for the right to use something for a certain period of time, so that whoever invented it can recoup his or her investment. “Plant variety” means seeds which will grow into a specific kind of plant with specific characteristics.

2 Under the UPOV system, farmers can sometimes save seeds from protected varieties to use them again. It depends on which version of the UPOV Convention a country signs and whether the government exercises this option. Sometimes it is restricted to farmers’ replanting the seeds on their own farm or to only certain crops or to payment of a licence. Under the patent system, it is simply illegal to use patented seeds without paying for them – even if a bird drops them onto your field!

3 EFTA is composed of Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

4 ETC Group, “Who owns nature?”, 2008.

5 Ecuador is also now negotiating with the EU, based on the text signed with Colombia and Peru.

6 For example, the Organisation of African Unity drafted its own model law on plant variety protection based on community rights.

7 See National Farmers’ Union, “CETA + Bill C-18 = too much power for seed companies”, June 2014.

9 Perhaps not very visible to the public eye was the 2013 EFTA-Central America FTA, which makes the same demands as CAFTA.

10 See EFE, “Guatemala repeals plant breeder rights law”, 5 September 2014.

11 See the websites of Food Sovereignty Ghana and Panafricanist International.

12 Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, “AFSA appeals to ARIPO, AU and UNECA for protection of farmers’ rights & right to food”, 2 July 2014.

Prime Minister David Cameron has outlined further draconian “anti-terror” legislation.

Under the guise of cracking down on British “jihadists” fighting in Syria and elsewhere, the Conservative-led coalition government is to strip British citizens of their right to leave and return to the UK. This includes under-18-year-olds.

Cameron made his announcement in Australia on the eve of the G20 summit of world leaders. Outlining plans for another “counter-terrorism bill”, he promised to give police new powers “at ports to seize passports, to stop suspects travelling and to stop British nationals returning to the UK unless they do so on our terms.”

Presently, only the home secretary—using the royal prerogative—can prevent British citizens from travelling. Twenty-five people have had their passports confiscated since April 2013.

The new legislation will enable police to seize passports at ports for up to 30 days, if a senior officer has “reasonable suspicion” to believe travel is for terror-related activities. The same person’s passport can be seized multiple times.

New rules will be put in place requiring airlines to provide details of passenger lists or be banned from landing in the UK. Currently, some 10 percent of airline arrivals from Europe to the UK do not post passenger lists in real time, including most German airlines.

Home Secretary Theresa May will have the power to cancel passports and impose a “temporary exclusion” order for two years, to prevent a citizen returning to Britain if there is “reasonable suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity”. The order could be extended at the end of that period.

Any return to the UK will be dependent on the individual first being vetted overseas by the security services and agreeing to an escort home by UK authorities. They will have to agree that they could face prosecution on return, and will be placed on a terrorism prevention and investigation measure (TPIM), subject to strict bail-like conditions that include police monitoring and a “deradicalisation” course.

Anyone attempting to return in secret will face five years imprisonment.

Cameron outlined the measures in a 20-minute speech to the Canberra parliament in which he praised the shared values of “freedom” and “democracy” as the “bedrock” of British and Australian society.

His assertion was framed as part of increasing imperialist provocations against Russia and China, who were the target of much of the discussions at the G20.

Cameron claimed that it was necessary to stand against an “incipient creeping threat to our values” from “those who say that we will be outcompeted and outgunned by countries that believe there is a shortcut to success, a new model of authoritarian capitalism that is unencumbered by the values and restrictions we impose on ourselves. In particular, an approach that is free from the accountability of real democracy and the rule of law.”

In fact, it is the British and Australian governments that are dispensing with democracy and the “rule of law”. The fact that Cameron chose to outline the measures in Canberra, not Westminster, is indicative of this approach. The legislation has been approved behind closed doors between the Conservative leader and his Liberal Democrat coalition partners and is expected to become law in January.

The plans to effectively strip selected Britons of their citizenship are an unprecedented breach of international laws, to which the UK is a signatory, which prevents a person from being made stateless. By deeming the exclusion order as “temporary” the government claims suspects will not be stateless as they will still have the right to return, although on grounds dictated by UK authorities.

Human rights organisations have described such assertions as bogus as it will mean individuals being without travel documents for an extended period. Shami Chakrabarti, for Liberty, a human rights advocacy organization, said, “Dumping suspect citizens like toxic waste, abdicating your responsibilities to the international community, is a very strange way of promoting the rule of law.”

The Islamic “counter-extremism” think tank, the Quilliam Foundation, said the planned bill was a breach of international citizenship laws. “We should not develop legislation that assumes individuals are guilty until proven innocent,” a spokesperson said.

The government claims the moves are necessary to deal with 500 Britons thought to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the bloody civil wars. Some 23 Britons are estimated to have died in the fighting, with an average age of 23.5 years.

In his speech, Cameron denied that the rise of Islamic extremism had anything to do with western foreign policy. Yet the fact remains that British actions in the Middle East, and the indiscriminate targeting of Muslim’s in the UK under current “anti-terror” measures, have indeed fuelled Islamic extremism. Moreover, just one year ago, the British government—along with the US—was casting the opposition to Syria’s Bashar Assad as a legitimate popular uprising that must be supported by all means, including with western military intervention.

The western powers were covertly helping arm the Syrian opposition and by extension, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Britain’s supposed allies in the “war on terror” include Saudi Arabia and Qatar, two of the major financial and political backers for ISIS.

The fact that the British government is not proposing any measures against ISIS’ backers in the Gulf States makes clear that the proposed legislation has nothing to do with the fight against terrorism. Once again, the threat of “jihadism” is being used to severely curtail democratic rights.

Claiming that the problem is an “extremist narrative” that must be “rooted out,” Cameron outlined new measures to further erode free speech by censoring anything deemed to be “extremist material.”

“We must ban extremist preachers from our country, we must root out extremism from our schools, universities and prisons,” he said.

“We must not allow the Internet to be an ungoverned space,” he went on, citing plans for the UK’s major Internet service providers (ISPs) to “strengthen” filters blocking material deemed to be “extremist.” This includes adding a “public reporting button.” BT and Sky have confirmed that they are working with the government to this end.

The Metropolitan Police have established a Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit, to remove “terror” related material. According to reports, it has removed 34,000 items considered to fall into this category in the last year.

Last month, May pledged that the Conservative manifesto for the 2015 general election will include a commitment to introduce “extremism disruption orders.”

Current legislation only enabled action against “extremists” advocating violence, May said. The proposed disruption orders would apply to anyone deemed to “spread hate” based on grounds of gender, race or religion, but who is not in breach of existing laws.

The orders would also apply to those undertaking “harmful activities” for the “purpose of overthrowing democracy.”

They would enable police to apply for a court order restricting the activities of anyone deemed involved in “harmful activities”, the definition of which includes the risk of “harassment, alarm or distress” or which constitutes a “threat to the functioning of democracy.”

May said that “extremism” covered those who consider “a woman’s intellect as ‘deficient’,” and who denounce “people on the basis of their religious beliefs.”

According to the Guardian, a successful order would include a ban on appearing on TV, radio, or a public forum and publishing on the Internet. It would impose “a requirement to submit to the police in advance any proposed publication on the web, social media or in print. Taking part in public protests or speaking at any public event would also be banned.”

Political language can be used, George Orwell said in 1946, “to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” In order to justify its global assassination program, the Obama administration has had to stretch words beyond their natural breaking points. For instance, any male 14 years or older found dead in a drone strike zone is a “combatant” unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving him innocent. We are also informed that the constitutional guarantee of “due process” does not imply that the government must precede an execution with a trial.  I think the one word most degraded and twisted these days, to the goriest ends, is the word “imminent.”

Just what constitutes an “imminent” threat? Our government has long taken bold advantage of the American public’s willingness to support lavish spending on armaments and to accept civilian casualties in military adventures abroad and depletion of domestic programs at home, when told these are necessary responses to deflect precisely such threats. The government has vastly expanded the meaning of the word “imminent.” This new definition is crucial to the U.S. drone program, designed for projecting lethal force throughout the world. It provides a legal and moral pretext for the annihilation of people far away who pose no real threat to us at all.

The use of armed remotely controlled drones as the United States’ favored weapon in its “war on terror” is increasing exponentially in recent years, raising many disturbing questions. Wielding 500 pound bombs and Hellfire missiles, Predator and Reaper drones are not the precise and surgical instruments of war so effusively praised by President Obama for “narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us and not the people they hide among.” It is widely acknowledged that the majority of those killed in drone attacks are unintended, collateral victims. The deaths of the drones’ intended targets and how they are chosen should be no less troubling.

Those deliberately targeted by drones are often far from conflict zones, often they are in countries with whom the U.S. is not at war and on some occasions have been U.S. citizens. They are rarely “taken out” in the heat of battle or while engaged in hostile actions and are more likely to be killed (with anyone in their vicinity) at a wedding, at a funeral, at work, hoeing in the garden, driving down the highway or enjoying a meal with family and friends. These deaths are counted as something other than murder only for the curious insistence by the government’s lawyers that each of these victims represent an “imminent” threat to our lives and safety here at home in the U.S.

In February 2013, a U.S. Department of Justice White Paper, “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa’ida or an Associated Force,” was leaked by NBC News. This paper sheds some light on the legal justification for drone assassinations and explains the new and more flexible definition of the word “imminent.” “First,” it declares, “the condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

Before the Department of Justice lawyers got a hold of it, the meaning of the word “imminent” was unmistakably clear. Various dictionaries of the English language are all in agreement that that the word “imminent” explicitly denotes something definite and immediate, “likely to occur at any moment,” “impending,” “ready to take place,” “looming,” “pending,” “threatening,” “around the corner.” Nor has the legal definition of the word left room for ambiguity. After World War II, the Nuremberg Tribunal reaffirmed a 19th-century formulation of customary international law written by Daniel Webster, which said that the necessity for preemptive use of force in self-defense must be “instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” That was in the past. Now, any possible future threat – and any person on earth arguably might pose one – however remote, can satisfy the new definition. As far as the Justice Department is concerned, an “imminent” threat is now whomever an “informed high-level U.S. government official” determines to be such, based on evidence known to that official alone, never to be made public or reviewed by any court.

The breadth of the government’s definition of “imminent” is murderous in its enormity. It is all the more ironic that the same Department of Justice will also regularly define the word so narrowly as to convict and imprison law abiding and responsible citizens who act to defend the innocent from genuinely imminent harm by the actions of the U.S. government. On example especially relevant to the issue of killing by drone is the case of the “Creech 14.”

14 activists enter Creech Air Force Base, April, 2009

After the first act of nonviolent resistance to the lethal use of unmanned and remotely controlled drones in the United States took place at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada back in April, 2009, it took more than a year before the 14 of us accused of criminal trespass had our day in court. As this was the first opportunity for activists to “put drones on trial” at a time when few Americans were aware they even existed, we were especially diligent in preparing our case, to argue clearly and cogently, not in order to keep ourselves out of jail but for the sake of those who have died and those who live in fear of the drones. With coaching by some fine trial lawyers, our intention was to represent ourselves and drawing on humanitarian international law, to offer a strong defense of necessity, even while we were aware that there was little chance that the court would hear our arguments.

The defense of necessity, that one has not committed a crime if an act that is otherwise illegal was done to prevent a greater harm or crime from being perpetrated, is recognized by the Supreme Court as a part of the common law. It is not an exotic or even a particularly unusual defense. “The rationale behind the necessity defense is that sometimes, in a particular situation, a technical breach of the law is more advantageous to society than the consequence of strict adherence to the law,” says West’s Encyclopedia of American Law “The defense is often used successfully in cases that involve a Trespass on property to save a person’s life or property.” It might appear, then, that this defense is a natural one for minor infractions such as our alleged trespass, intended to stop the use of drones in a war of aggression, the crime against peace that the Nuremburg Tribunal named “the supreme international crime.”

In reality, though, courts in the U.S. almost never allow the necessity defense to be raised in cases like ours. Most of us were experienced enough not to be surprised when we finally got to the Justice Court in Las Vegas in September, 2010, and Judge Jensen ruled in lockstep with his judicial colleagues. He insisted at the onset of our case that he was having none of it. “Go ahead,” he said, allowing us to call our expert witnesses but sternly forbidding us from asking them any questions that matter. “Understand, it is only going to be limited to trespass, what knowledge he or she has, if any, whether you were or were not out at the base. We’re not getting into international laws; that’s not the issue. That’s not the issue. What the government is doing wrong, that’s not the issue. The issue is trespass.”

Our co-defendant Steve Kelly followed the judge’s instructions and questioned our first witness, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, about his firsthand knowledge of trespass laws from working at the Department of Justice during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Steve specifically guided the witness to speak of “the cases of trespass … of lunch counter activities where laws stated you were not to sit at certain lunch counters” in the struggle for civil rights. Ramsey Clark acknowledged that those arrested for violating these laws had not committed crimes. Steve pushed his luck with the judge and offered the classic illustration of the necessity defense: “A situation where there is a ‘no trespassing’ sign and there is smoke coming out of a door or a window and a person is up on the upper floor in need of help. To enter that building, in a real narrow technical sense, would be trespass. Is there a possibility, in the long run, it wouldn’t be trespass to help the person upstairs?” Ramsey replied, “We would hope so, wouldn’t we? To have a baby burn to death or something, because of a ‘no trespass’ sign would be poor public policy to put it mildly. Criminal.”

Judge Jensen by this time was obviously intrigued. His ruling to limit the testimony to trespass held, but as his fascination grew, so his interpretation of his own order grew more elastic. Over the repeated objections of the prosecution team, the judge allowed limited but powerful testimony from Ramsey and our other witnesses, retired US Army Colonel and former diplomat Ann Wright and Loyola Law School Professor Bill Quigley that put our alleged trespass into its context as an act to stop a heinous crime.

I had the honor of making the closing statement for the accused, which I ended with, “We 14 are the ones who are seeing the smoke from the burning house and we are not going to be stopped by a ‘no trespassing’ sign from going to the burning children.”

Our appreciation for a judge’s extraordinary attention to the facts of the case aside, we still expected nothing but an immediate conviction and sentencing. Judge Jensen surprised us: “I consider it more than just a plain trespass trial. A lot of serious issues are at stake here. So I’m going to take it under advisement and I will render a written decision. And it may take me two to three months to do so, because I want to make sure that I’m right on whatever I rule on.”

When we returned to Las Vegas in January, 2011, Judge Jensen read his decision that it was just a plain trespass trial, after all and we were guilty. Among several justifications for convicting us, the judge rejected what he called “the Defendants’ claim of necessity” because “first, the Defendants failed to show that their protest was designed to prevent ‘imminent’ harm.” He faulted our case for not presenting the court with “evidence that any military activities involving drones were being conducted or about to be conducted on the day of the Defendants’ arrest,” seeming to forget that he had ordered us not to submit any such evidence, even if we had it.

Judge Jensen’s verdict was amply supported by the precedents he cited, including a 1991 appellate court ruling, U.S. v Schoon, that concerned a protest aimed to “keep US tax dollars out of El Salvador” at an IRS office in Tucson. In this protest, the Ninth Circuit ruled, “the requisite imminence was lacking.” In other words, because the harm protested was taking place in El Salvador, a trespass in Tucson cannot be justified. So, Judge Jensen reasoned, burning children in a house in Afghanistan cannot excuse a trespass in Nevada.

The NBC leak of that Department of Justice White Paper wouldn’t happen for two more years (call it suppression of evidence?) and as far as Judge Jensen knew, the dictionary definition of “imminent” was still operant. Even so, had we been allowed to testify beyond the narrow confines set at trial, we would have shown that with new satellite technology, the lethal threat we were addressing there is always imminent by any reasonable definition of the word. Although the victims of drone violence on the day of our arrest were indeed far away in Afghanistan and Iraq, those crimes were actually being committed by combatants sitting at computer screens, engaged in real-time hostilities in trailers on the base, not so far at all from where we were apprehended by Air Force police.

The government does not believe that it needs to have “clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future” to establish an imminent threat and so carry out extrajudicial executions of human beings anywhere on the planet. Citizens who act to stop killing by drones, on the other hand, are required to have specific “evidence that any military activities involving drones were being conducted or about to be conducted,” in order to justify nonviolently entering into government property. The government’s position on this lacks coherence, at best. Even after the publication of its White Paper, the Department of Justice continues to block defendants accused of trespass from even mentioning the fact that they were arrested while responding to an imminent threat to innocent life, and the courts obligingly accept this contradiction.

The defense of necessity does not simply justify actions that technically violate the law. “Necessity,” says West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, is “a defense asserted by a criminal or civil defendant that he or she had no choice but to break the law.” As Ramsey Clark testified in a Las Vegas courtroom five years ago, “to have a baby burn to death because of a ‘no trespass sign’ would be poor public policy to put it mildly.” In a time of burning children, the “no trespassing” signs attached to the fences that protect the crimes executed with drones and other instruments of terror hold no potency and they do not command our obedience. The courts that do not recognize this reality allow themselves to be used as instruments of governmental malfeasance.

There have been many more trials since the Creech 14 and in the meanwhile, many more children have been incinerated by missiles fired from drones. On December 10, International Human Rights Day, Georgia Walker and Kathy Kelly will go to trial in U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Missouri, after they peacefully brought their grievance and a loaf of bread onto Whiteman Air Force Base, another in the growing number of stateside remote control killer drone centers.

Two years ago in that same court in a similar case, Judge Whitworth rejected the necessity defense offered by Ron Faust and me, subsequently sentencing Ron to five years of probation and sending me to prison for six months. It is to be hoped that Judge Whitworth will take advantage of this second chance that Kathy and Georgia courageously offer and exonerate himself and his profession.

Brian Terrell lives in Maloy, Iowa, and is a co-coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

The continuation of the Cold War 1.0 or the beginning of the Cold War 2.0 created a number challenges and threats for Europe and for the Russian Federation, in particular.

Nowadays, more and more experts underscore that a new Cold War really exists: some experts claim that the new Cold War is the continuation of the previous one known as the Cold War 1.0 that counterproductively embraced the globe during last century for a quite a long time; while others argue that the new war has acquired a qualitatively new phenomena – in the form of the Cold War 2.0.

The proponents of the second theory argue that the current crisis really has a new dimension that its previous pattern in the form of the Cold War 1.0 vanished in the haze officially in November 1990 when European nations in their Charter for a New Europe signed in Paris solemnly heralded its official end.

Personally, I am of opinion that the Cold War 1.0 has ended in 1990 – at least between major global powers and at least politically. The radical difference between the Cold War 1.0 and 2.0 is that the first one had a global dimension while the second one is actually in a bilateral mode – between the USA and Russia, and NATO and Russia.

But unfortunately, a new Cold War 2.0 emerged in 2014 – or 24 years after the first ended. It is per se a great contemporary challenge for Europe. It appeared very quickly and intentionally, though some real and objective factors have gradually created a solid ground for its rebirth. In spite of the end of the Cold War some 24 years ago, the old dividing lines remain discernible there.

What are these major “old” threats and challenges?

First, vast NATO enlargement took place in the Eastern direction: from the Cold War 1.0 to the beginning of the Cold War 2.0 the number of the Alliance member states has nearly doubled (from 1999 to 2009 12 states or 43% have been added to the list). Moreover, NATO is still committed to its expansion: four more states are in the waiting list, including Georgia and Ukraine. NATO official representative Robert Pzschel has confirmed at the end of October that both Georgia and Ukraine can become full-fledged members of NATO. The new NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during his inauguration ceremony October 1st, 2014 declared that the Alliance signed agreements with Finland and Sweden that would enable it to have even closer cooperation with the Western military bloc.

October 15, 2014, while addressing the Association of the US Army (AUSA) Symposium, the Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel criticized Russia for standing on the doorstep of NATO.1 As if Russia has moved further West in the direction of NATO. But the reality is that on the contrary the alliance from its inception was getting closer to the Russian territory, to Russia’s doorstep. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu says that such statement is a proof that the USA is preparing a scenario for military actions near Russian borders.

Actually, the USA has been always striving to maintain “robust shaping forces forward”, as the US Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work admitted at the Council on Foreign Relations, in Washington, D.C., September 30, 2014, even while Pentagon was fighting two big wars, namely in Iraq and Afghanistan. The term “forces forward” in the US terminology means permanently “forward-stationed forces” at the US bases overseas, and “rotationally forward-deployed forces” scattered around the globe: 80,000 in the Pacific, 20,000 in South Korea, 40,000 under the Central Command, 28,000 in Europe plus in Africa and Latin America, etc. Nowadays, as Chuck Hagel has put it at the AUSA Symposium, the US soldiers either deployed or forward-stationed in nearly 150 locations around the world. Not only on the doorstep of many countries, but really, directly on their soil.

Second, a unilateral withdrawal of the USA from the ABM Treaty in mid 2002 – the treaty that all previous US Administrations have qualified as “a cornerstone of the global strategic stability”.

Third, a decision of the previous and current US Presidents to deploy global ballistic missile defense system aimed at a number of states: the basic stages are December 2002 (Presidential directive on the US “limited” BMDS deployment), February 2005 (creation of the US Joint Functional Command for Integrated Missile Defense), in February 2007 (when the USA officially presented is the details for BMDS in Poland and the Czech Republic), and in September 2009 (Barack Obama’s announcement about the US EPAA BMD plan).

Fourth, the beginning of the first phase of the US European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) implementation in 2011, and launching its preliminary capabilities the same year, continuation of the 2nd phase, and commitment to bring about all four phases till 2022 and beyond.

Fifth, a broad-based decision made in 2010 by Washington to modernize the USair-based tactical nuclear weapons namely B-61 type, including those deployed in four countries in Europe and in the Asian part of Turkey, while enhancing its penetrating capabilities to hit hardened targets.

Sixth, this challenge is linked with the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty orCFE-1 and its adaptive version CFE-1A that ceased to be de facto in 2007 because all NATO participants in these arrangements refused to ratify them and to define a key term “substantial conventional forces”.

Seventh, NATO solidarity with Georgia when it attacked South Ossetia in August 2008 (Operation “Empty Field”).

Eighth, for the first time a creation of the “Chicago triad” – “an appropriate mix of nuclear, conventional and missile defense weapons” at

NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012 and its confirmation at the recent NATO Summit, held last September in Newport, the UK.

And, finally, ninth, when in February 2014 the USA engineered the unconstitutional coup in Ukraine that has empowered an ultra-nationalist and anti-Russian regime in Kiev which has carried out mass war crimes against peaceful citizens in Donbass – de facto and de jure Ukrainian citizens

– by using heavy weapons, including the MRLS “Grad”, “Smerch” and “Uragan”, white phosphorus and cluster bombs prohibited by two international Conventions. The Human Rights Watch acknowledged that in October Ukrainian troops again used cluster bombs against peaceful civilians. These military crime against humanity have already led to nearly 4,000 people killed and 9,000 wounded in Donbass in the last 6 months, as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in its report released October 8th, 2014.

The hostilities ushered in by Kiev created negative results: The Kiev’s aggressive behavior has prompted too many people to flee from the country: 280,000 internally displaced persons moved to the rest of Ukraine, and nearly 900,000 settled in Russia. Despite a ceasefire accord announced in Minsk September 5th and

reiterated September 19th 2014, the Kiev troops are systematically violating the relevant agreements: 330 more people have been killed after the announced ceasefire. After the ceasefire the Kiev’s regular troops and irregular formations have nearly completed their regrouping in the south- east. The Western powers are still acting illegally in a way that encourages Kiev to look for military solutions that can only lead to a dead end.

The cost of Kiev’s military crackdown will weigh heavily on the besieged region of Donetsk and Lugansk, with war damage having been estimated by the freedom fighters in Novorossia by the first week of October at about US $ 1 billion. The figure is very close to Kiev’s own estimates. According to the Ukrainian Government’s figures, it will take about US $ 911 million to rebuild war-hit cities in Donbass. 65% residential buildings and 10% of schools and kindergartens have been destroyed there. No buffer zones have been created by the Ukrainian army with Donbass. 40,000 medium sized enterprises in the region have stopped functioning. The level of unemployment in Ukraine has reached 40% of its workforce. Currently, Ukraine has $ 35-80 billion-worth of external debt. Kiev cannot pay for gas because it spends too much for war against its own people. As the Ukrainian

ex-Primier Julia Timoshemko put it, the post-Maidan corruption has exceeded the level of the pre-Maidan corruption.

Due to the Ukrainian army drive to southeastern regions of the country in April the area still witnessing a severe humanitarian catastrophe, as many citizens have struggled without clean water, electricity and other basic necessities.

A new United Nations report on human rights situation in Ukraine released at the beginning of October says there are continuous violations of international humanitarian law by armed groups and volunteer battalions under control of the Ukrainian armed forces. “During the reporting period, international humanitarian law, including the principles of military necessity, distinction, proportionality and precaution continued to be violated by armed groups and some units and volunteer battalions under the control of the Ukrainian armed forces,” the report reads. Fourth mass grave has been found in a village in the eastern Ukraine.

The site was located a couple of days after the OSCE Monitoring Mission confirmed the discovery of three mass burial sites in areas recently abandoned by Kiev forces. In all more than 400 corpses have been found there with severe wounds and shots in the head from point-blank range. Unfortunately, manywell-known European and international NGOs turn a blind eye to the gross violations of the human rights in Ukraine. POWs that are returned by Ukrainian authorities to Donbass are in a very bad physical condition, sometimes without IDs. Kiev frequently arrests innocent people in the streets to show them up as “rebels” and to exchange them as bona fide POWs.

Another challenge related to Ukraine: the Ukrainian authorities still prevent the Malaysian experts to the visit the MH17 crash site in order to conceal the evidence in the area intentionally heavily shelled and plowed by Ukrainian MRLSs soon after the disaster took place July 17th. The challenge is that there is no proper investigation so far. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have prevented all the time not to let international investigation teams to visit the crash site. Kiev still conceals a real truth: its Air Forces deliberately downed the MH17. A Ukrainian tycoon Igor Kolomoiskiy who at the same time is the Governor of Dnepropetrovsk Region recently confessed that namely Ukrainian Armed Forces who initially wanted to destroy another airliner July 17th, ‘unintentionally’ as he put it knocked down Malaysian Boeing 777 with nearly 300 people.

There is yet another factor related to Ukraine: massive spread of fascist and die-hardultra-national ideology hostile to non-Ukrainians and other nations. The major setback in this respect is: the young Ukrainian generation is actively involved in absorbing these ideologies with the advice and consent of the supreme authorities of that country. Glorification of the German Nazi and recognition of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in Ukraine which has been accused of war crimes including massive

killings of Jews and Poles in Ukraine, as war veterans are alarming bells for Europe that had suffered immensely during the WWII from Nazi. Unfortunately, no European nation or the USA or Canada have ever denounced such phenomena. It looks like the remedy to combat and eradicate a “fascist virus’ – the remedy produced by the Nuremberg Tribunal held in 1945-1946 – in the present-day environment has become non- effective.

What are the potential implications of all these nine challenges and threats listed above? After 2014 the European security and stability as a whole have actually ceased to be – with no room for amelioration in the immediate and even in a far-away future. That is why the window of opportunity for building even modest trust and confidence in Europe is being definitively a closed chapter in the current European history.

Who is responsible for unleashing the Cold War 2.0 and new threats and challenges?

Western optimism associated with the end of the Cold War 1.0 was too exaggerated. Actually, the “Cold Peace” emerged in Europe between the Cold War 1.0 and the Cold War 2.0. The USA and NATO have mistakenly regarded their military build ups during this period as if they are not seen or are innocent entertainment.

So, the new Cold War is the main challenge and threat for European stability and security. It is intentionally initiated by President Barack Obama for obvious reasons: to increase NATO military expenditures, to create more pro-Western states along the perimeter with the Russian territory, to topple the Russian President, to undermine Russia’s military and economic potential and to ruin European economy and security as its main rival. Unfortunately, all 28 NATO and the EU member-states have seconded his option. Currently such a new war is in full swing.

The EU with all of its Washington leaning has its voice to be heard, has the potential to act independently. This, however, remains almost totally unused. That is very sad, because the EU’s own voice could have added real balance to international discussions and efforts to resolve various problems.

The Cold War 2.0 and its threats and challenges deteriorate the global political, military, economic and financial climate. It is very close to the Russian land. It affects many European nations. It affects the Russian Federation. As Stephen Cohen, an open-mindedAmerican scholar, puts it last summer at the in international gathering in Washington: “The epicenter of the new Cold War is not in Berlin, but on Russia’s borders, in Ukraine, a region absolutely essential in Moscow’s view to its global security and even to its civilization”.

The Cold War 2.0 really has its own new unique challenges and threats that will have a future-oriented impact.

What are new challenges and threats in the arms control?

It has completely frozen arms control process. While during the Cold War 1.0 the USA and the Soviet Union and Russia have reached a number of bilateral and multilateral agreements in arms control domain (7 accords on SOA limitation and reductions, nuclear missiles de-targeting agreements, the INF and the Open Skies Treaties, the CFE Treaty, etc.), nowadays the arms control process between the USA/NATO and Russia has been completely stalled, with no immediate chances for its resurrection. There are 15 unresolved issues between Moscow and Washington – in some areas of a paramount importance. They constitute both threats and challenges for the regional and the global stability.

Amongst them: there is uninterrupted US global missile defense deployment; conversion of the US SSBN (strategic submarines equipped with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles) into SSGN (strategic submarines equipped with cruise missiles); there is no desire of the USA to count SOA (strategic offensive arms) warheads stored in active reserve; the USA has dismissed proposals to control long-range nuclear-tipped SLCM (sea- launched cruise missiles); the USA still has tactical nuclear weapons in Europe – outside its territory; the USA has no intention to proliferate INCSEA accord(incidents-at-sea-prevention agreement) on strategic nuclear-powered submarines (12 collisions have been recorded so far between American and Soviet/Russiannuclear-powered submarines); the USA still has an offensive nuclear doctrine based upon general nuclear deterrence and extended nuclear deterrence – with the first nuclear strike provisions in the form of preventive and preemptive strikes; there is no US intention to draft a qualitatively new CFE (CFE-2); there is no US wish to reach accord on PAROS (prevention of arms emplacement in the outer space); the USA has no plans to sign ASAT accord (anti-satellite agreement); the USA is violating of the INF Treaty by testing missile defense interceptors by using medium-range (1,000-5,500 km) and “intermediate- range” ballistic missiles (3,000-5,500 km); the USA and NATO are conducting Air Force Operation “Baltic Air Policing” during 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with DCA(dual-capable aircraft) that can carry nuclear free- fall bombs; Washington still deviates from the ratification of the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) – 18 years have elapsed since it was signed; the USA has no wish to limit armed UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and still uses them against civilians, especially in Pakistan, Afghanistan and

other nations, and finally, the USA has no desire to enforce ceilings on hypersonic conventional weapons with pin-point accuracy to be launched under the “Prompt Global Strike” strategy.

The following new threats and challenges will prevail in many years to come, if they are not contained.

In nuclear forces: The USA will completely replace its SOA traditional triad – it will create new ICBMs, new SLBMs and new heavy strategic bombers. Their warheads will be modernized. New fuel for updated ICBMs will be developed, thrust power for the newly-builtICBMs and SLBMs engines will be enhanced and their target hitting accuracy increased. The Pentagon plans to develop a new long-range ALCM and to convert extra SSBNs into SSGNs (4 “Ohio” class submarines have been already converted). There are far-reachingintentions inside the Pentagon to modernize SOA assets till the end of the current century, and TNW at least till 2075.

In missile defense: currently the US Navy has 30 “Aegis”- capable combat ships, some of them are deployed on a permanent basis in the Black and Mediterranean Seas as well as in the Baltic and Barents Seas. In 2015 the US BMD operational complexes will be launched in Romania, and in 2018 – in Poland. The Pentagon wishes to bring about the EPAA beyond 2030. No doubt, the US BMD program will go on indefinitely. At the latest NATO Summit in Wales its leaders have encouraged more states to join the BMD project. But, if the number of the US strategic interceptors exceeds the number of SOA launchers the already fragile global stability will weaken further, because it will increase a temptation to deliver the first nuclear strike and to protect the attacker with the BMD “shield”.

In conventional forces: Possessing totally 24,000 combat aircraft and 800 blue- water naval vessels, NATO at its latest Summit in Newport last September has announced its intention to enhance its combat capabilities of the forward- deployed forces, especially in the areas adjacent to the Russian borders. The Summit approved the

Readiness Action Plan that will enable the transatlantic military bloc “to respond even faster to fast-moving crises”. NATO will maintain a continuous presence and activity in the Eastern part of the Alliance, on a rotational basis. Its air patrols over three Baltic nations (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) and naval deployments in the Baltic and Black Sea will be expanded. Rotation of forces throughout Eastern Europe for exercises will also acquire a routine pattern. NATO will set up the Spearhead Force – so that its troops stand ready to deploy “within days”. Next February NATO defense ministers will agree on the design, the composition and the size of the Spearhead Force.

The USA has opened 8 new military bases in Europe: including 2 Naval bases in Bulgaria and Romania, and 6 Air-Force bases in Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Poland. 2 new NATO C3 I centers will be opened in Poland and Lithuania. The USA uses European landmasses for deployment of its BMDS alongside with the NATO enlargement further East. Two more BMDS bases will be opened soon– in Romania and Poland. Undoubtedly, these bases or any others will be automatically targeted by the Russian BMDS and other weapon systems.

Deterioration of Russia’s relationship with the NATO alliance, particularly regarding the Ukraine crisis, has made too obvious the inability of the alliance to change its geneticmilitary-political code it embedded during the Cold War 1.0 era. NATO military capabilities’ build up in the vicinity of the Russian land and Russian shores can be qualified as the demonstration of hostile intentions and as the scheme for provocative power projection. It is NATO that really moved on Russia’s doorstep.

One more challenge: hostile accusations and war-flagging rhetoric

Hostile statements coming from the White House and addressed to Russia, like “to teach it a lesson”, “Russia will pay a huge price for its military intervention into Ukraine”, “annexation of Crimea”, and, finally, that Russia ranks second place between Ebola disease and “Islamic State”, as Barack Obama put it at the recent UN General Assembly session in September 2014 are completely unfounded. Vladimir Putin’s response to this was in a clear-cut form: together with the sanctions against entire sections of the Russian economy, this approach can be called “nothing but hostile”.

Moscow has never launched any military intervention either in Crimea or in Donbass though there have been many voices to send Russian military contingents in Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (16%). As for Crimea, Russian troops were stationed there a long time ago before the Crimean Republic decided to reunite with Russia – they have stayed there under several bilateral accords with Ukraine on the Black Sea Fleet division and never exceeded the overall limit of 25,000 men. No single shot was fired in Crimea before it reunited with Russia. Crimea has been (from 1783) and will be the Russian land forever. It will never be returned to anybody as a gift or as incentive to expand “friendly ties”.

Russia will not accept the term “annexation” in this respect. After “annexation” only 3,500 Crimeans decided to move to Ukraine for good. On the other hand, nearly all Ukrainian servicemen in Crimea took oath to serve in the Russian Armed Forces. Its reunification with Russia took place peacefully, as the result of democratic referendum held last March.

For Washington it was the easiest thing to do: to recognize the Crimean reunification with Russia. But among the two states – Ukraine and Russia – Washington unfortunately has chosen a failed, unpredictable, dangerous ultra-nationalistic state, a state whose statements are full lies, a state that steals gas and coal without any payment and does not pay back credits and loans.

As to the developments in Donbass, there is no need to send Russian troops there, simply because the number of freedom fighters operating in the area is sufficient to repel Kiev genocide in the form of “Anti-Terror Operation”. Russia has not occupied an inch of the Ukrainian land, and does not have any intention to do so. True, 10 Russian military men that once lost their way and appeared on the Ukrainian territory. Was it an “aggression”? There was no fighting. All of them have returned to Russia. If it is an “aggression”, what term one might use in case when about 460 Ukrainian servicemen crossed the Russian border in several groups? Is it a “super aggression”?

The dramatic developments in Ukraine have revealed a large-scale crisis in terms of international law, the basic norms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. We see numerous violations of Articles 3, 4, 5, 7 and 11 of the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of Article 3 of the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of December 9, 1948.

Unbiased experts are witnessing the application of double standards in the assessment of crimes against the civilian population of southeastern Ukraine, violations of the fundamental human rights to life and personal integrity. People are subjected to torture, to cruel and humiliating punishment, discrimination and illegal rulings.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said on the sidelines of the recent NATO summit in Newport, Wales, that he was promised arms supplies by various NATO countries. So far, five of them openly admitted this, including the USA that have agreed to deliver even lethal arms to Kiev, as the Pentagon official stated October 9th. If so, such deal will be illegal, because it will violate official declarations of the EU and OSCE (of which practically all the NATO states are also members) that expressly prohibit arms supplies to parties involved in a conflict.

Nothing the West can do will change that. Instead of recognizing this reality, the West’s illegal and miscalculated military support for Kiev risks entrenching a regime which will continue to wage the aggressive war on its own people.

Another challenge: economic and financial sanctions

Economic and financial sanctions versus Russia and a number of high- ranking Russian officials outnumber similar restrictive measures imposed upon the Soviet Union in the past, e.g. due to involvement in Afghanistan, or against Russia when Georgia attacked South Ossetia in 2008.

Russia does not understand why these sanctions have been imposed against it. Moscow has done nothing wrong to be punished. But at the same time there is a strong feeling amongst Russians that West’s colonial-style sanctions on Russia have little to do more to resolve the Ukrainian crisis. The true goals of these restrictions are to alter and to reshape Russia, to change its positions on key international issues that are the most fundamental for it, and make it to accept the unacceptable visions of the West. “That is the last century, the past epoch, colonialist thinking linked with inertia”, – said Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Ministry, October 19th. These sanctions are unlikely to divert Russia from its current stance. But the more anti-Russian sanctions are used, the stronger will be moral support of Ukraine from the West in Kiev’s “blundering into a disaster”, as Robert McNamara, the ex- US Defense Secretary, once entitled his famous memoirs.

President Vladimir Putin has recently called the present-day Western economic and financial measures as “full foolishness” and added that they would produce no harm to the state and national social and economic programs. 94% of Russians have said that they are not afraid of any US and the EU sanctions and would tolerate them even if they might have any negative effect. For Russians these sanctions are “not so hot, and not so cold”, as they used to say. Russian Central Bank admitted that Western sanctions have affected only operational activity of some Russian banks, but had no negative impact at all. On the contrary, the trust of clients for “Russia” Bank and SMP Bank that have been included into the sanction list has increased: the deposits went up by 20%.

Sanctions are already undermining the foundations of world trade, the WTO rules and the principle of inviolability of private property.

Sanctions will not produce a deep-seated effect on Russia’s economy as their creators have thought. Russia’s industrial output for the last eight months grew by 2,5% (last year, industrial output grew by only 1.5% during the same period). Last year, Russia’s agriculture sector grew by 2.5% during the first eight months of the last year, whereas this year, we had 4.9% growth for the same period of time. This year national budget will have positive surplus more than 1 trillion Roubles or around Euros 200 billion. Russia still posseses US $ 450 billion in gold and hard currency reserves.

On the other hand Western sanctions are as sharp double-edged tools: so far European countries have lost US $ 1 trillion after they imposed sanctions against Russia.

Besides obvious economic consequences, the EU sanctions versus Russia have political implications that are harmful to the Europeans themselves. It is known that sanctions have inflicted to Russia’s economy a certain damage. But at the same time the European economy also has suffered harmful consequences. A number of European companies representing different branches of industry have been cooperating with the Russian business community. After sanctions have been introduced such cooperation became impossible, and the Western partners’ investments into Russia might not come back in the way it has been expected. No doubt, the medium and small businesses that have been oriented directly linked with such cooperation, have suffered most. Naturally, their bankruptcy will entail mass layouts as well. And, as a result, one may witness the growth of unemployment, mass discontent over state policy and lowering of trust amongst the population. During last several years namely in these conditions “the colored revolutions” or “revolutions caused by controlled chaos” have swept many countries. And nowadays, all these represent additional threat to the European security.

Western sanctions are flying as a boomerang. For example, Poland introduced sanctions against Russia and immediately lost huge Russian apples market: every year Poland sold 900,000 tons of apples to Russia or 90% of all its export volume in apples. Currently Russia buys apples from Serbia, New Zealand and South Africa, but not from Poland. Polish apple industry has been ruined by the Poles themselves. Nobody wants to by buy Polish apples for 10 Eurocents per kilogram.

Some Western sanctions look irrelevant, like a sanction against Nikolai, a 10-year son of the Byelorussian President Aleksander Lukashenko or against Russian MP Elena Mizulina who is opposing gay marriage. Some sanctions are simply laughable, like a sanction versus a horse from a stable belonging to the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. 2

The USA and European nations who have used the mechanism of sanctions will find it difficult to recover from reputational damage inflicted by their own sanctions. Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund said October 9, 2014: “While the impact of the conflict in Ukraine has been relatively contained to date, further escalation could generate significant negative spillovers, both regionally and globally.”

A new package of the US sanctions versus Russia is a primitive attempt to revenge at a time when the situation in Ukraine is not developing along the scenario written hastily in Washington. Whatever their scope, it is useless to talk to Russia in the language of sanctions. In the atmosphere of massive anti-Russian sanctions stemming from the West, Moscow has the right to impose uninterruptedly its own sanctions against the USA in every domain in response. But, as you see Moscow has not embarked upon the entire list of sanctions against those nations who have decided to use them first and for nothing special.

Instead of paying all debts it recognizes, Kiev has stockpiled the Stockholm Arbitrary Court with dubious and irrelevant files and launched various sanctions against Russia first. In general terms, one may put a fair question: “How can we talk about the de-escalation the situation in Ukraine while decisions on new sanctions against Russia are introduced almost simultaneously with agreements on the peace process?”

Ukraine still unpaid 11,5 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia and 100.000 tons of coal from Poland. Including a number of previous debts Ukraine owes to Russia totally $ 9,8 billion. It has not returned this money yet. But Russia is not a charity organization to supply Ukraine with gas free of charge or to give money without return. From 1991 to 2014 Russia gave Ukraine nearly $ 200 billion. So, currently Ukraine is a rather risky and dangerous client in the world economy. As Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia, has said in October 2014:”I have a feeling that Ukraine is waiting for resolving its own difficulties by all others, but not by itself”.

It would be fair if such sanctions would have been imposed versus current Ukrainian regime for its atrocities against its own citizens, for the fact that Ukraine has never been and will never be as a fair economic and financial counterpart. If Russia, the EU and the USA have imposed sanctions against Ukraine, Kiev would have immediately stopped its massive war crimes in the South-East against its own citizens.

 

Imposing sanctions is, as a rule, the result of political disagreements. However, the policy of pressure through sanctions is bearing an exclusively counter-productive nature. When sanctions are imposed, there will be no winners. In this particular case Russia is located in one camp, and the USA, Europe and the other pro-Western states are occupying the other. Obviously, somebody will suffer most, and others will suffer less. The USA being far away from Russia in terms of its geographic disposition, is conducting its foreign policy independently from the EU. At the same time, moving into economic and political confrontation with Russia, the White House demands from Europe the relevant support and in so doing first and foremost emplaces the EU member-states in a rather awkward situation.

Moreover, witnessing obvious negative economic and political consequences, the activity of the US intelligence community that inflicts direct losses to the European security interests, pours oil on the flames. The US special services are manipulating the world public opinion via the global mass media. Suffice it to recall at least Iraq where the CW agents have been allegedly found.

One more threat: Color Revolutions & Hybrid Wars

The number of cases of direct intervention of the USA and its closest allies into sovereign states have intensified. Washington has openly declared its right to unilateral use of force anywhere to uphold its own “vital interests”. Military interference has become a norm — even despite the dismal outcome of all power operations that the USA has carried

out over the last 70 years. Whenever the USA appears militarily – everywhere one may witness instability, calamity, hostility and bloodshed. Washington has created more failed states than there have been before during the Cold War 1.0.

Madam Sharon Tennison, the president of the Center for Citizen Initiatives, the USA, urged the US leaders not to wage more proxy wars, not to destabilize more the other elected governments, not to demonize more other leaders and countries and to stop using military might to intervene all across the globe. She made an eloquent remark:”All of the countries we [the United States] invaded in the past dozen years are worse off now than before we put boots and weapons on their soils”. In her letter to Nancy Pelosi, a former candidate for the US presidency, Sharon Tennison also confessed that she has never seen anything so egregious, wrong-headed and dangerous as the current Washington’s policy toward Russia. She put quite some logical questions – what the USA will do if Russia put Warsaw Pact armed forces and missile installations along Mexico and Canada’s borders, what the USA will do when there was a possibility of weapons being put in Cuba?

Besides using strong military power to replace “unfriendly governments” like in Libya, Iraq and some other countries in the past (e.g. Guatemala, Cuba, Northern Vietnam and Northern Korea, etc. ), the USA also widely uses its secret services whenever it feels that the use of military force will be too costly or too risky from the prism of the international law. A number of attempts to stage various “colored revolutions” in the former Soviet space is a graphic example of such schemes. It was reported recently that the USA are ready to wage secret and undeclared wars by using rebels against various governments and by exploiting political, economic, military and psychological methods upon the any adversary, as it was stated in the announcement of the US Special Operations Command.

One method was exploited by the USA was to replace the existing governments through elections when substantial amount of money was allocated to bribe potential voters, election commissions at the polling stations and upwards, via carefully calibrated and specifically trained journalists, mass media agencies, through faked voting bulletins and distorted calculation of voters’ returns who supported the opposition being unhappy with the current authorities and their policies.

Such method was vividly described by then the US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul prior to his appointment in that capacity and before his selection for the position of US National Security Adviser – that is when he was a Stanford University professor studying Russia. In his public lecture in a West European country some years ago Michael McFaul openly revealed to the audience the number of the US agencies (e.g. USAID) that have been given moneys to various Ukrainian NGOs and Ukrainian mass media bodies to bring to power a pro-Western President Viktor Youschenko in 2004 who advocated the immediate entry of Ukraine into NATO. The specific amounts of money have been identified by Michael McFaul that have been channeled to the existing and specifically set up Ukrainian NGOs prior to the 2004 presidential elections under the motto to enhance “the civil society” in that country. Substantial resources have been given by the CIA to the Russian opposition via Russian and foreign NGOs implanted in Russia to prevent the election of President Vladimir Putin in 2012.

The latest pattern in this list is Ukraine where using of an air power to topple President Viktor Yanukovich has never been debated in the Pentagon. But it was the major task of the CIA and other US secret services to replace him through different pattern of actions, including via the cover up operations staged inside Ukraine. The latest method of the government change was through inciting massive “Maidan riots” (or “riots in the main square”) by paying lump amounts of money to “peaceful demonstrators” that assembled to initially criticize corruption, poor social welfare system, violations of law etc. When peaceful protests in the Maidan Square and adjacent streets in Kiev turned to be on the verge of exhausting, the US secret services with the direct assistance of the Ukrainian SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) arranged indiscriminate snipers’ fire at innocent people on the either side of barricades: both policemen and demonstrators.

The USA secret services have been broadly involved in implanting a failed, butpro-Western regime in Kiev last February: open sources claim that US$ 10 billion have been spent for this aim, and much more moneys secretly brought to Kiev in the diplomatic pouch at the end 2013-early 2014. A critical remark to the US CIA: the Agency can engineer a coup, but it is not able to forecast – what would happen afterwards. Ukrainian tragedy is a vivid example of this.

Washington has masterminded the Maidan riots last February and has brought to power rather nonprofessional personalities in Kiev. A retired CIA officer confessed last summer that at least a year of planning is needed before a covert operation of this sort can succeed. The West has not given itself that year, and now seems unable to understand that the people of the Donbass have had enough. They will never join Ukraine again. Too much blood of them has been spilt, too many houses have been destroyed, and too muchdeep-seated antipathy has been accumulated. They do not want to live under the Ukrainian yoke and in the Ukrainian shackles. They want a separate state within the administrative boundaries of their own land.

By implanting its “closest ally” as the current President of Ukraine, the US secret services continued to make the entire Ukraine as 100% pro-NATO and pro-American. To maintain anti-Russian mood and pro-Western feelings amongst the general public in that country the US secret services that nowadays have their own “instructors” and “advisers” in almost every Ukrainian state ministry and department and are actively participating in the information war versus Russia and other countries that have not supported a bloody unconstitutional takeover in Kiev and the rest of Ukraine. The gimmick is simple as that: they hammer out in the Internet any type of false or dubious piece of news, and later by referring to it make a far-reaching conclusions and supply them to the US leaders or to the general public as a reality. A recent example: there was a claim by the Ukrainian Security Service that the cadets of the Russian Artillery College took part in artillery fires in Donbass, but such college has been disbanded six years ago. Another story: false Russian IDs have been presented to the mass media as a proof that Russian troops are conducting an “aggression against Ukraine”. But Ukrainian SBU and the US CIA simply do not know that such type of IDs have been cancelled many years ago. Last summer the SBU revealed the story that Vasiliy Geranin, allegedly the GRU officer, had a telephone talk with the freedom fighter in Donbass named Igor Bezler. But I saw the photo of the alleged “Vasiliy Geranin” I realized that the man is actually Musa Khamzatov whom I know personally due to our contacts at MGIMO – the Moscow State Institute for International Relations.

Witnessing obvious negative economic and political consequences, the activity of the US intelligence community that inflicts direct losses to the European security interests, pours oil on the flames. The US special services are manipulating the world public opinion via the global mass media. Suffice it to recall at least Iraq where the CW agents have been allegedly found.

In general terms the CIA manipulates the public perceptions of what is going in this world, it interferes into a private life of rank and file citizens and world leaders. In thepresent-day environment and in the future the USA secret services should stop infiltration into internal affairs of the other nations and single individuals, and better serve its natural goal – to maintain and guarantee the security of its nation. In this context listening of phone calls and readinge-mails of almost every citizen in the USA and more than 30 world leaders should be prohibited because such practice is a threat to individual liberties and runs counter to the basic human rights and the international law.

What are the ways from the impasse of the Cold War 2.0?

Addressing the Valdai discussion club meeting in Sochi October 24th, 2014, Vladimir Putin observed that the world is becoming less safe and more unpredictable, and the risks are increasing everywhere. The security system has become seriously weakened, fragmented and deformed. A unilateral diktat and imposing one’s own models produces the opposite result. Instead of settling conflicts it leads to their escalation, to the growing spread of chaos, to a very dubious support for open neo-fascists to Islamic radicals. The world is witnessing new efforts to fragment the entire global situation, to draw new dividing lines and put together coalitions directed against others having different views, to create the image of an enemy as was the case during the Cold War years, and to impose a convenient model for perpetuating the USA leadership.

The United States, having declared itself the winner of the Cold War, instead of maintaining order and stability, took steps that threw the current security system into deep imbalance. The so-called ‘victors’ in the Cold War have decided to reshape the world to suit their own ‘vital’ needs and interests.

A Report prepared by the Polish Institute of International relations in October 2014 made it clear that the reasons for the Russia–West crisis run much deeper than a deficit of trust or inadequate channels of communication between the parties. The mistrust itself is not a product of misunderstanding of the motives of the other side, but rather it reflects fundamental differences in the sphere of values and conceptualization of interests between the West and Russia.3 But, unfortunately, the Report puts a blame for this exclusively upon Russia.

Сurrently, there is little or even zero chance of rebuilding trust between the West and Russia without tackling the fundamental differences between them.

As Jeffrey Tayler, an editor of “The Atlantic”, recently observed: “America embarks on this road to confrontation [with Russia] without sure, seasoned hands at the wheel in the White House; in modern history, no US administration has proved more inept at dealing with Russia…. Americans are being marched off to a new war—a cold one for now—with no idea of what the outcome will be. They need to demand of the Obama administration: “Tell us, how this ends.” Really: how this will end? 4

First. The USA and its NATO allies should stop any military build-up near Russia’s borders. The US tactical nuclear weapons with relevant infrastructure and the BMD assets must be removed from Europe and brought to the continental USA. A new multilateral ABM Treaty limiting the number of the strategic interceptors should be developed. A qualitatively new CFE has to be elaborated and signed between all NATO member-states, including new entrants, and Russia. An international treaty banning arms deployment in outer space should be accepted by all states. And de facto and de jurenuclear-weapon states have to assume commitments not to use nuclear weapons in the first strike. The next New US-Russian START (START-4) may be debated provided all previous arrangements are implemented. The USA and NATO have to regard Russia as their permanent ally, rather than permanent foe.

Second. Economic and financial sanctions versus Russia should be lifted for good and in full as unfair and illegitimate arrangement undermining the WTO principles and norms of a fair trade. At the same time Russia will not tackle any conditions aimed at lifting off these sanctions as a trade-off for changing its stance on the Ukrainian crisis created not by it.

Third. Ukraine will have to declare its pledge to retain its non-nuclear and non-aligned status for ever.

The people of Donbass will have the right to determine their own future – without any aggression and punitive actions within its own administrative borders within the rest of Ukraine. A peaceful solution to the Ukrainian crisis requires not merely a ceasefire, but a complete withdrawal of all Ukrainian regular troops and irregular formations from the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics. Kiev authorities should sign a non-aggression pact with them. Kiev should also compensate all human and material losses for Novorossia – promptly and without delays.

The US military and political elite have to realize that Ukraine is a kind of geopolitical andmilitary-political Rubicon that the Russian Federation will never step back or give up its core principles. Nobody must interfere with the upcoming elections in Donbass that fully correspond to the Minsk accord, scheduled for November 4, 2014 – likewise nobody has interfered with the recent Parliamentary elections held in Ukraine.

Fourth. In general terms, the time has come to prohibit from the international life the use of threats under dubious pretexts and vague explanations. Vladimir Putin recently observed: “We hope that our partners will realize the futility of attempts to blackmail Russia and remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability”.5 The world community at large must firmly oppose the attempts to revive the results of the WWII and consistently combat any forms and manifestations of racism, xenophobia, aggressive nationalism and chauvinism.

A special US-Russia’s summit is badly needed to tackle all these issues. But not with Barack Obama. It is impossible to convene such a meeting during his presidency.

Conclusion

The world we are living in and where the successive generations will live should be built upon the principle of multipolar world and “mutually assured security”, upon the reduced number of weapons rather than on “mutually assured destruction” – the basic motto invented by the USA and NATO during the Cold War 1.0. But, unlike the Cold War 1.0 that proliferated around the globe, the new Cold War has been imposed so far between the USA and Russia, and NATO and Russia. It has a potential to spill over, if it is not stopped. It can create a lot of troubles to many countries. That is why the Cold War 2.0 should not proliferate into other areas of the globe.

At the same time any hybrid-type warfare in its modern connotation meaning conventional wars plus cyber and information wars, and infiltrations into domestic affairs of the other states in the form of the “controlled chaos” or “proxy wars” should be eradicated.

If these measures are not implemented there is a great probability that the Russian Federation will have to rethink its responsive measures especially in relation to the USA and NATO and their policy, and make necessary changes to its updating Military Doctrine that will replace the one enacted in 2010 and in the White Book on Defense that will be released early next year by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Final brush: there is the urgent need to carry out a rational reconstruction of the present-day situation and adapt it to the new realities in the system of international relations.

Instead of imposing the Cold War 2.0 that has already been initiated by the USA and NATO, and producing qualitatively new threats and challenges the entire Europe and the world at large really will have to initiate a really global detente that was developing quite successfully during last century.

Notes

1 “But we also must deal with a revisionist Russia – with its modern and capable army – on NATO’s doorstep.” Association of the United States Army (AUSA).As Delivered by the US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, October 15, 2014// http://www.defense.gov/Speeches/Speech.aspx?SpeechID=1894

2 In late August and early October 2014, horse called Zazu won 5,000 Euros and 2,000 Euros inBaden-Baden and Dusseldorf horse races, respectively. The German Government, however, banned the horses’ owner from receiving price money, saying Kadyrov was subject to EU sanctions. The authorities also banned the horses from further participation in races till sanctions on Kadyrov are lifted. See:<http://rt.com/politics/197396-kadyrov- horses-sanctions-apology>.

3 Is a New Cold War Inevitable? Central European Views on Rebuilding Trust in the Euro- Atlantic Region Warsaw: PISM. 2014. October. P. 5. http //www.pism.pl/files/?id_plik=18495.

4 Jeffrey Tayler. The Seething Anger of Putin’s Russia//The Atlantic. 2014.September 22.http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/09/russia-west-united-states-past-future-conflict/380533/2/

5 Vladimir Putin. Interview to the Serbian daily “Politika”, October 15, 2014 //http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/23099.

Vladimir P. Kozin is Chief Adviser and the Head of the Group of Advisers to the Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Presidential Administration Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Professor of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences.

America Truly Is Becoming A “1984 Society”

November 18th, 2014 by Michael Snyder

If only George Orwell could see us today.  When he wrote “1984” back in 1948, he probably never imagined that the “totalitarian, bureaucratic world” that he imagined would ever actually become a reality.  But that is precisely what is happening.  We live at a time when the government monitors billions of our phone calls and emails and hardly anyone gets upset about it.  We live at a time when corporations systematically collect our voiceprints and our televisions watch us.  We live at a time when reporters that try to dig into the misdeeds of the government have their computers hacked, and when nearly one out of every three Americans has a file in the FBI’s master criminal database. 

The control freaks that run our society are absolutely obsessed with watching, tracking, recording and monitoring virtually everything that we do.  We truly are becoming a “1984” society, and if we continue on the path that we are currently on eventually our world will be transformed into something more hellish than anything that George Orwell ever imagined.

These days, virtually every type of government surveillance is taken to the extreme.  For example, there is definitely nothing wrong with normal undercover police work.  But these days, almost every single federal government agency conducts extensive undercover operations.  At this point, even the IRS and the Department of Agriculture rely on undercover operatives to spy on ordinary citizens.  So the next time you are visiting a tax preparer, buying a yacht or attending a peaceful political protest, the person standing next to you just might be a government spy

The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show.

At the Supreme Court, small teams of undercover officers dress as students at large demonstrations outside the courthouse and join the protests to look for suspicious activity, according to officials familiar with the practice.

At the Internal Revenue Service, dozens of undercover agents chase suspected tax evaders worldwide, by posing as tax preparers, accountants drug dealers or yacht buyers and more, court records show.

Government undercover work has become so extreme that sometimes undercover agents from one agency end up investigating undercover agents from another agency.  In fact, there have been times when agents from different government agencies have pulled weapons on each other without even realizing it

The extent of those secret operations within the departments can be so high that it leads to severe overlap, such as one undercover agent investigating an alleged criminal, who also turns out to be a fed on duty, law enforcement officials said.

“There are all sorts of stories about undercover operations gone bad,” Jeff Silk, a longtime undercover agent and supervisor at the Drug Enforcement Administration, said in an interview. “People are always tripping and falling over each other’s cases.”

Silk added that in some instances, agents even draw weapons on each other before realizing they are on the same side.

The government also uses a vast array of electronic methods to spy on all of us.

For instance, it has recently been revealed that the Justice Department places devices that emulate cell phone towers on Cessna airplanes and flies them around major cities.  These devices are then used to trace the phones of potential targets…

The U.S. Department of Justice is putting devices that emulate cellphone towers in Cessna aircraft and flying them around the country to track the locations of cell phones, a practice that targets criminal suspects but may also affect thousands of U.S. citizens, according to a news report Thursday.

The program is run by the Department of Justice’s U.S. Marshals Service and has been in operation since at least 2007, according to the report in the Wall Street Journal, which cited two unnamed sources. The aircraft are flown out of at least five metropolitan-area airports and can cover most of the U.S. population, it said.

Cell phones are programmed to connect to whichever nearby cell tower has the strongest signal. The fake cell towers trick phones into thinking they have the strongest signal, then read the devices’ unique registration numbers when they connect, the Journal report says.

And of course this is just one example of how the government uses technology to monitor us.  For quite a few more examples, please see my previous article entitled “15 Signs That We Live During A Time Of Rampant Government Paranoia“.

At this point things have gotten so bad that even our public schools are training our children for life in a “Big Brother” police state.

When I was growing up, it would have been unthinkable for men with guns to come storming into a classroom.  But now it is a regular occurrence all across the nation.  And sometimes the students are not even told that a drill is taking place.  The following is an excerpt from a news story about one of these drills that just took place down in Florida

Lauren Marionneaux, a seventh-grade student at Jewett Middle Academy, said it was about 9 a.m. Thursday when the principal announced the school was going on lockdown.

Students huddled into classrooms waiting for further instructions. Instead, they started hearing voices in the hallway.

“A lot of people started getting scared because we thought it was a real drill,” Lauren said. “We actually thought that someone was going to come in there and kill us.”

Two police officers burst into Lauren’s classroom with their guns drawn — one carrying, what Winter Haven police said, was an AR-15 rifle.

Would you want your little girl to feel like she is about to die?

I certainly would not.

But this kind of thing is done to condition our young people to life in a police state.  They are going to grow up thinking that it is normal for heavily armed men in dark suits to storm in and lock everything down.

Even though we are not in prison, we are being systematically trained to act as if we were.  Our police forces are being increasingly militarized, and all law enforcement authorities are now trained to bark orders at the general public and treat them like dirt.  Most of the population fears those in authority these days, and that is precisely how those in power want it.

And as John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute has pointed out, anyone that dares to resist this brutality is squashed like a bug…

For example, police arrested Chaumtoli Huq because she failed to promptly comply when ordered to “move along” while waiting outside a Ruby Tuesday’s restaurant for her children, who were inside with their father, using the bathroom. NYPD officers grabbed Huq, a lawyer with the New York City Public Advocate’s office, flipped her around, pressed her against a wall, handcuffed her, searched her purse, arrested her, and told her to “shut up” when she cried out for help, before detaining her for nine hours. Huq was charged with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Oregon resident Fred Marlow was jailed and charged with interfering and resisting arrest after he filmed a SWAT team raid that took place across the street from his apartment and uploaded the footage to the internet. The footage shows police officers threatening Marlow, who was awoken by the sounds of “multiple bombs blasting and glass breaking” and ran outside to investigate only to be threatened with arrest if he didn’t follow orders and return inside.

Eric Garner, 43 years old, asthmatic and unarmed, died after being put in a chokehold by NYPD police, allegedly for resisting arrest over his selling untaxed, loose cigarettes, although video footage of the incident shows little resistance on Garner’s part. Indeed, the man was screaming, begging and insisting he couldn’t breathe. And what was New York Mayor Bill De Blasio’s advice to citizens in order to avoid a similar fate? Don’t resist arrest.

Yes, we still have a bit more freedom than the poor souls in George Orwell’s “1984“, but our liberties and freedoms are eroding a little bit more with each passing day.

And just like in “1984”, most of the population has come to accept the status quo as the new “normal”.

So is there any hope that we will wake up, or will our society continue to march toward oblivion?

The MH-17 Satellite Photos – Who Can Be Trusted?

November 18th, 2014 by Xavier Lerma

In the West anything coming out of Russia is false, fake and a lie. Minutes after Malaysian MH17 crashed Russia was to blame. So, when Channel One comes out with a video it was slammed as a lie by a country who voted for a communist president not once but twice. A photo was sent anonymously by email November 12th to the Russian Union of Engineers claiming that MH-17 was shot down by a Ukrainian jet. It was only shown as possible evidence not as absolute truth. However, I do not even have to see it because I know who the liar is.

Russia never said it was their satellite photo. “All versions have to be considered” Channel One said. Ivan Andrievskiy, the first vice-president of the Russian Union of Engineers, said the photo was made by a foreign spy satellite either American or British. In August, he goes on to say, “Russian Union of Engineers published its report on the possible causes of the accident citing that rocket and cannon was used by armament of another aircraft. There is no credible evidence of it being hit by a missile from the ground.”

“I fully agree with the results of your analysis of the causes of destruction of the “Boeing”- says a man using the alias name of George Bilt, a graduate of MIT, air expert with decades of experience. The “Boeing” was shot down by a fighter jet chasing him. At first the jet fired an air cannon, then the cabin [of MH-17] was struck by an air to air missile, then the right engine and the right wing were damaged by a missile with a thermal homing system.”

CIA monitors the media like hawks and went to work with their army of bloggers contradicting the obvious. Reuters, head of the propaganda machine based in the UK wrote, “Several commentators who have examined the photographs have described them as forgeries.” America’s CBS shovels more crap by pointing out, “the plane was shot down by a mixed team of rebels and Russian military personnel who believed they were targeting a Ukrainian military plane.” The BBC proudly proclaims,”Web users debunk Russian TV’s MH17 claim” where they show a photo of the wreckage with bullet holes but still say “Western investigators say the plane was likely hit by shrapnel from a surface-to-air weapon”. Denial!

In a supposed interview Saturday with BuzzFeed , the man calling himself George Bilt said, “I had no knowledge or means of proving and researching if this was an authentic satellite photo or not (it was clearly available online since mid October – not really such a new discovery too)”. Buzzfeed titles their article, “Russian TV Airs Clearly Fake Image To Claim Ukraine Shot Down MH17″ and goes on to claim the photos are fake without calling Bilt a fake and not admitting his name is not real. If you know they are fake why an interview? FYI, Buzzfeed has plagiarists like Benny Johnson.

Of course the US, Britain and Kiev’s puppet government call it fake. They are the ones who started the war in Ukraine. No offers from Obama or NATO to cooperate with Russia over this issue like Reagan and Gorbachev did in the past when their negotiations led to a nuclear treaty. Instead we get a statement from Admiral “I barely got a history degree at the University of South Florida” who explained the reason Russia is close to NATO today is because of Putin and has nothing to do with the expansion of NATO towards Russia - Rear Adm. John Kirby.

Unless you are in denial or have been asleep this century you must know of the wars America has started in the Middle East and Ukraine. How many wars has Russia started? How many troops has she sent overseas? None. Russia is close to Europe and offered Ukraine cheap gas and financial aid. That’s bad business for Chevron and other firms in the West. Ukraine Deal with the Devil: The Chevron Deal. The US overthrew the Kiev government and installed their long time friend Pudgy Poroshenko.

Obama supports his puppet and Jackass Joe Biden’s son was conveniently appointed to the board of directors at Ukraine’s Largest Gas Co. Remember when Cheney was attacked by the media for his ties with Halliburton? Bad then but OK now. Bad for Russia to help in Ukraine but OK for US to interfere. USA hypocrisy and greed growing exponentially. Yet this is old news. Read Rothbard’s book about US economic conquest in “Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy”

“Of course, Obama himself is deeply in the pocket of the finance industry. Goldman Sachs accounted for over $994,000 of Obama’s war chest. Lehman Brothers was the origin of $395,600, a record amount for the company second only to what Hillary Clinton received…in 2008 that Obama’s fat-cat donors included top executives from Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan, Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Countrywide.”

“Hope and Change” meant new hopes and riches for the elite who like Gruber calls American people stupid. Jonathan Gruber, the creator of Obama Care feels it is necessary to deceive the stupid American people. Keep in mind Obama prides himself in being the most transparent government in history. Liars to the core. Wake up America. Your government cannot be trusted. It is run by the corporate elite and yourcomputer voting will not get it done. The Republican’s compromise brings no hope because they are bought and paid for as well.

I will never believe news from a country that is after a “New World Order” and starts wars and violence around the world. Recently, General Numbnuts McNeely of the Pentagon, freely admitted in this video by Vovan222prank that he will send instructors to train Kiev Ukrainian troops. Those same troops have been attacking priests and innocent people of SE Ukraine who want independence. The US even has a bill S2277 to overthrow Russia and support NATO. Should I believe a country and her media that is hostile not only to Russia and her interests but the world itself?

Can I believe someone who still commits the Soviet mistake like Obama? CNBC anchor Geoff Cutmore said,”President Obama has accused you, as you know, of untruths when it comes to supporting some of the separatist groups in Ukraine…” President Vladimir Putin responded, “Who made him a judge? He’s not a judge. Why doesn′t he get a job in the judicial system then and work there? I don′t think Mr. Obama is accusing me of anything. He has his own perspective on certain processes, I have mine.” “He has his own perspective” means Obama has a reason to lie about the situation in the Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin has encouraged foreigners to investigate the crash site and the OSCE did go there. He has asked foreign observers to monitor Russia’s voting process and they have come. Putin has helped the Church and defends it and is free to speak of his Christianity. We are free here in Russia where whistleblowers like Snowden find refuge. So it does not matter if the recent photos are fake. I know what the US is after in Ukraine and they are not sending humanitarian convoys like Russia did into Donbass. I have never believed a liar especially a greedy one. “The Land of the Free” is no more. The “Land of the Tsars” is where Christ still reigns.

Xavier Lerma Contact Xavier Lerma at [email protected]

New report, America’s Youngest Outcasts, looks at child homelessness nationally, ranks the states, and examines causes of child homelessness and the solutions. (Image: National Center for Family Homelessness)

The annual levels of homelessness among children have never been higher in the United States, according to a new comprehensive report released on Monday.

Prepared by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the report—America’s Youngest Outcasts (pdf)—shows that with poverty and inequality soaring in recent years, approximately 2.5 million children in 2013 found themselves without a roof over their head or place to call home. That number equals one in 30 American children nationally, and constitutes an 8 percent increase over the previous year.

“Child homelessness has reached epidemic proportions in America,” said Dr. Carmela DeCandia, director of the NCFH, in a statement. “Children are homeless to night in every city, county and state — in every part of our nation.”

 

Based on federal and other available data and broken down by state, the analysis shows that homelessness among children varies widely depending on geography. The report includes an index ranking based on four basic criteria: 1) the extent of child homelessness (adjusted for population); 2) general well-being of the children; 3) risk for family homelessness; and 4) state policies designed to combat the problem. Ranked from 1-50, the states with the best scores were Minnesota, Nebraska and Massachusetts. The worst states for homeless children were Alabama, Mississippi and California.

 

The report cites the major drivers behind the crisis, which include: 1) the nation’s high poverty rate; 2) a lack of affordable housing across the nation; 3) the continuing impacts of the Great Recession; 4) racial disparities; 5) the challenges of single parenting; and 6) the ways in which traumatic experiences, especially domestic violence, precede and prolong homelessness for families.

According to a fact sheet (pdf)released alongside the study:

Research shows that homeless children are hungry and sick more often. They wonder if they will have a roof over their heads at night and what will happen to their families. Many homeless children struggle in school, missing days, repeating grades, and drop out entirely. Up to 25% of homeless pre-school children have mental health problems requiring clinical evaluation; this increases to 40% among homeless school-age children.

The impacts of homelessness on the children, especially young children, may lead to changes in brain architecture that can interfere with learning, emotional self-regulation, cognitive skills, and social relationships. The unrelenting stress experienced by the parents may contribute to residential instability, unemployment, ineffective parenting, and poor health.

Dr. DeCandia notes that federal policies seeking to address the problem of homelessness among veterans and other chronically vulnerable adults have showed that improvements can be made, but says specific federal action to fight child homelessness has not been adequate to address the growing national crisis of homeless youth.

“Living in shelters, neighbors’ basements, cars, campgrounds, and worse — homeless children are the most invisible and neglected individuals in our society,” she said. “Without decisive action now, the federal goal of ending child homelessness by 2020 will soon be out of reach.”

If the situation does not change soon, she said, the society is “going to pay a high price, in human and economic terms.”

On November 14th, German Economic News (which this writer has found to be the world’s most honest, non-propagandistic, newspaper) published two articles about, and they also posted to the Internet, the first independent study of the likely impacts of the Obama-proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This study, by an American economist, concludes:

“TTIP appears to favor economic disintegration, rather than integration, in Europe. At a minimum, [the] official studies do not offer a solid basis for an informed decision on TTIP. …

“TTIP would lead to losses in terms of net exports after a decade, compared to the baseline ‘no-TTIP’ scenario. …

“TTIP would lead to net losses in terms of GDP. …

“TTIP would lead to a loss of labor income. …

“TTIP would lead to job losses. …

“TTIP would lead to a reduction of the labor share [and increase in the capital or stockholders’ share]. …

“TTIP would lead to a loss of government revenue [less money for infrastructure, law-enforcement, social welfare, etc.]. …

“TTIP would lead to higher financial instability [higher risk of economic crashes].”

The report starts by pointing out that the official analyses are based upon the same macroeconomic assumptions that had produced the 2008 economic crash and the subsequent increased concentration of wealth among the super-rich and stagnation for everyone else. This report, by contrast, applies a set of assumptions that, if they had been applied prior to the crash, would have averted the crash; and, moreover, that are in accord with the large and mounting body of empirical research findings in economics, which show that the prior assumptions are simply, and rather consistently, false.

The study notes that, consistent with the now existing massive body of empirical findings in economics, “any viable strategy to rekindle economic growth in Europe would have to build on a strong policy effort in support of labor incomes.” By contrast, the Obama plan (TTIP) would focus instead upon increasing benefits to stockholders at the expense of workers and of everyone else. The reason for the “higher financial instability” is that by lowering consumers’ incomes, corporate sales ultimately must go down. The super-rich do not spend enough on their yachts and mansions for the economy to be able to keep on rising. Ultimately, the increased take by the super-rich ends up harming even themselves (though only after they’ve already taken their enormous cuts and socked those away in offshore accounts, etc.). The old economics ultimately fails for even the super-rich, except that they get bailed out by everybody else once the old Ponzi-economy has crashed and the “Too Big To Fail” institutions get restored to economic health. (This is why income and wealth are becoming increasingly concentrated: the super-rich get bailed out when the economy crashes; workers and consumers do not.)

Basically, the Obama plan, which, in the United States, is supported by Republicans in Congress, and also by conservative Democrats such as President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden, would further sink Europe.

The study focused only upon Europe, because this deal is being proposed to Europe.

The study was performed by Jeronim Capaldo at Tufts University, and is titled: “The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: European Disintegration, Unemployment and Instability.”

I  spoke with Dr. Capaldo by phone, on November 16th, about what he expects the effects would likely be on Americans; and he said that while he cannot comment in detail upon that (because he hasn’t performed all of the necessary calculations), the deal is even more favorable to U.S.-based international corporations than to EU-based ones, and so it would probably boost profits for U.S.-based firms. However, since the deal is heavily slanted against workers everywhere, in favor of investors, U.S. workers would likely experience further wage-cuts, and an even larger share of income would go to stockholders, if this deal were to be accepted by the EU and passed in Congress. (The chances of its being actually passed in Congress soared when Republicans were elected this month into control of the U.S. Senate, because opposition by Senate Democrats is what had previously blocked its chances. The only thing that could block its chances now is rejection by the European Union.)

In short, then: the Obama plan is designed by and for the billionaires who control large international corporations (especially U.S.-based ones); it’s more of the same economics that had produced the 2008 crash, only now imposed internationally. Official Europe (representing Europe’s oligarchs) is supporting it, but the economic data indicate that European economies would actually be greatly weakened by it. The question for Europe is whether they’ll continue being controlled by their oligarchs. And that’s the same question in America (where it seems to have been answered in the affirmative on November 4th).

Washington doesn’t merely lack the legal authority for a military intervention in Syria. It lacks the moral authority. We’re talking about a government with a history of using chemical weapons against innocent people far more prolific and deadly than the mere accusations Assad faces from a trigger-happy Western military-industrial complex, bent on stifling further investigation before striking.

Here is a list of 10 chemical weapons attacks carried out by the U.S. government or its allies against civilians.

1. The U.S. Military Dumped 20 Million Gallons of Chemicals on Vietnam from 1962 – 1971

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military sprayed 20 million gallons of chemicals, including the very toxic Agent Orange, on the forests and farmlands of Vietnam and neighboring countries, deliberately destroying food supplies, shattering the jungle ecology, and ravaging the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Vietnam estimates that as a result of the decade-long chemical attack, 400,000 people were killed or maimed, 500,000 babies have been born with birth defects, and 2 million have suffered from cancer or other illnesses. In 2012, the Red Cross estimated that one million people in Vietnam have disabilities or health problems related to Agent Orange.

2. Israel Attacked Palestinian Civilians with White Phosphorus in 2008 – 2009

White phosphorus is a horrific incendiary chemical weapon that melts human flesh right down to the bone.

In 2009, multiple human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and International Red Cross reported that the Israeli government was attacking civilians in their own country with chemical weapons. An Amnesty International team claimed to find “indisputable evidence of the widespread use of white phosphorus” as a weapon in densely-populated civilian areas. The Israeli military denied the allegations at first, but eventually admitted they were true.

After the string of allegations by these NGOs, the Israeli military even hit a UN headquarters(!) in Gaza with a chemical attack. How do you think all this evidence compares to the case against Syria? Why didn’t Obama try to bomb Israel?

3. Washington Attacked Iraqi Civilians with White Phosphorus in 2004

In 2004, journalists embedded with the U.S. military in Iraq began reporting the use of white phosphorus in Fallujah against Iraqi insurgents. First the military lied and said that it was only using white phosphorus to create smokescreens or illuminate targets. Then it admitted to using the volatile chemical as an incendiary weapon. At the time, Italian television broadcaster RAI aired a documentary entitled, “Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre,” including grim video footage and photographs, as well as eyewitness interviews with Fallujah residents and U.S. soldiers revealing how the U.S. government indiscriminately rained white chemical fire down on the Iraqi city and melted women and children to death.

4. The CIA Helped Saddam Hussein Massacre Iranians and Kurds with Chemical Weapons in 1988

CIA records now prove that Washington knew Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons (including sarin, nerve gas, and mustard gas) in the Iran-Iraq War, yet continued to pour intelligence into the hands of the Iraqi military, informing Hussein of Iranian troop movements while knowing that he would be using the information to launch chemical attacks. At one point in early 1988, Washington warned Hussein of an Iranian troop movement that would have ended the war in a decisive defeat for the Iraqi government. By March an emboldened Hussein with new friends in Washington struck a Kurdish village occupied by Iranian troops with multiple chemical agents, killing as many as 5,000 people and injuring as many as 10,000 more, most of them civilians. Thousands more died in the following years from complications, diseases, and birth defects.

5. The Army Tested Chemicals on Residents of Poor, Black St. Louis Neighborhoods in The 1950s

In the early 1950s, the Army set up motorized blowers on top of residential high-rises in low-income, mostly black St. Louis neighborhoods, including areas where as much as 70% of the residents were children under 12. The government told residents that it was experimenting with a smokescreen to protect the city from Russian attacks, but it was actually pumping the air full of hundreds of pounds of finely powdered zinc cadmium sulfide. The government admits that there was a second ingredient in the chemical powder, but whether or not that ingredient was radioactive remains classified. Of course it does. Since the tests, an alarming number of the area’s residents have developed cancer. In 1955, Doris Spates was born in one of the buildings the Army used to fill the air with chemicals from 1953 – 1954. Her father died inexplicably that same year, she has seen four siblings die from cancer, and Doris herself is a survivor of cervical cancer.

6. Police Fired Tear Gas at Occupy Protesters in 2011

The savage violence of the police against Occupy protesters in 2011 was well documented, and included the use of tear gas and other chemical irritants. Tear gas is prohibited for use against enemy soldiers in battle by the Chemical Weapons Convention. Can’t police give civilian protesters in Oakland, California the same courtesy and protection that international law requires for enemy soldiers on a battlefield?

7. The FBI Attacked Men, Women, and Children With Tear Gas in Waco in 1993

At the infamous Waco siege of a peaceful community of Seventh Day Adventists, the FBI pumped tear gasinto buildings knowing that women, children, and babies were inside. The tear gas was highly flammable and ignited, engulfing the buildings in flames and killing 49 men and women, and 27 children, including babies and toddlers. Remember, attacking an armed enemy soldier on a battlefield with tear gas is a war crime. What kind of crime is attacking a baby with tear gas?

8. The U.S. Military Littered Iraq with Toxic Depleted Uranium in 2003

In Iraq, the U.S. military has littered the environment with thousands of tons of munitions made from depleted uranium, a toxic and radioactive nuclear waste product. As a result, more than half of babies born in Fallujah from 2007 – 2010 were born with birth defects. Some of these defects have never been seen before outside of textbooks with photos of babies born near nuclear tests in the Pacific. Cancer and infant mortality have also seen a dramatic rise in Iraq. According to Christopher Busby, the Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, “These are weapons which have absolutely destroyed the genetic integrity of the population of Iraq.” After authoring two of four reports published in 2012 on the health crisis in Iraq, Busby described Fallujah as having, “the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied.”

9. The U.S. Military Killed Hundreds of Thousands of Japanese Civilians with Napalm from 1944 – 1945

Napalm is a sticky and highly flammable gel which has been used as a weapon of terror by the U.S. military. In 1980, the UN declared the use of napalm on swaths of civilian population a war crime. That’sexactly what the U.S. military did in World War II, dropping enough napalm in one bombing raid on Tokyo to burn 100,000 people to death, injure a million more, and leave a million without homes in the single deadliest air raid of World War II.

10. The U.S. Government Dropped Nuclear Bombs on Two Japanese Cities in 1945

Although nuclear bombs may not be considered chemical weapons, I believe we can agree they belong to the same category. They certainly disperse an awful lot of deadly radioactive chemicals. They are every bit as horrifying as chemical weapons if not more, and by their very nature, suitable for only one purpose: wiping out an entire city full of civilians. It seems odd that the only regime to ever use one of these weapons of terror on other human beings has busied itself with the pretense of keeping the world safe from dangerous weapons in the hands of dangerous governments.

Vladimir Putin answered questions from Hubert Seipel of the German TV channel ARD. The interview was recorded on November 13 in Vladivostok.

HUBERT SEIPEL (retranslated from Russian)Good afternoon, Mr President.

You are the only Russian President who has ever given a speech at the Bundestag. This happened in 2001. Your speech was a success. You spoke about relations between Russia and Germany, building Europe in cooperation with Russia, but you also gave a warning. You said that the Cold War ideas had to be eradicated. You also noted that we share the same values, yet we do not trust each other. Why were you being a little pessimistic back then?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: First of all, I gave no warnings or admonitions and I was not being pessimistic. I was just trying to analyse the preceding period in the development of the situation in the world and in Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union. I also took the liberty of predicting the situation based on different development scenarios.

Naturally, it reflected the situation as we see it, through the prism, as diplomats would put it, from Russia’s point of view, but still, I think it was a rather objective analysis.

I reiterate: there was no pessimism whatsoever. None. On the contrary, I was trying to make my speech sound optimistic. I assumed that having acknowledged all the problems of the past, we must move towards a much more comfortable and mutually advantageous relationship-building process in the future.

HUBERT SEIPEL: Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, which would not have been possible without the Soviet Union’s consent. That was back then. In the meantime, NATO is conducting exercises in the Black Sea, near the Russian borders, while Russian bombers conduct exercises in Europe’s international airspaceThe Defence Minister said, if I’m not mistaken, that they fly as far as the Gulf of Mexico. All of this points to a new Cold War.

And, of course, partners exchange harsh statements. Some time ago, President Obama named Russia as a threat on a par with Ebola and the extremiststhe Islamic extremists. You once called America a nouveau riche, who thinks of himself as a winner of the Cold war, and now America is trying to shape the world according to its own ideas about life. All of this is very reminiscent of a Cold War.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: See, you mentioned 2001 and I said that my perspective was rather optimistic.

We have witnessed two waves of NATO expansion since 2001. If I remember correctly, seven countries – Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and three Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – joined NATO in 2004. Two more countries joined in 2009. Those were significant geopolitical game changers.

Furthermore, the number of military bases is growing. Does Russia have military bases around the world? NATO and the United States have military bases scattered all over the globe, including in areas close to our borders, and their number is growing.

Moreover, just recently it was decided to deploy Special Operations Forces, again in close proximity to our borders.

You have mentioned various exercises, flights, ship movements, and so on. Is all of this going on? Yes, it is indeed.

However, first of all, you said – or perhaps it was an inaccurate translation – that they have been conducted in the international European airspace. Well, it is either international (neutral) or European airspace. So, please note that our exercises have been conducted exclusively in international waters and international airspace.

In 1992, we suspended the flights of our strategic aircraft and they remained at their air bases for many years. During this time, our US partners continued the flights of their nuclear aircraft to the same areas as before, including areas close to our borders. Therefore, several years ago, seeing no positive developments, no one is ready to meet us halfway, we resumed the flights of our strategic aviation to remote areas. That’s all.

HUBERT SEIPEL: So, you believe that your security interests have not been accommodated.

Let me return to the current crisis and to its trigger. The current crisis was triggered by the agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. The title of this agreement is relatively harmless. It is called the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. The key point of this agreement is to open the Ukrainian market to the EU and vice versa. Why is it a threat for Russia? Why did you oppose this agreement?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: In reality the economy follows almost the same path as security. We preach the opposite of what we practice. We say that a single space should be built and build new dividing lines instead.

Let us look at what the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement stipulates. I have said this many times, but it appears I have to repeat it once again: it eliminates the import duties for the European goods entering Ukrainian territory, brings them down to zero. Yet as Ukraine is a member of a free trade zone within CIS, zero customs tariffs have been introduced between Russia and Ukraine. What does that mean? It means that all European goods will flow through Ukrainian territory directly to the customs territory of the Russian Federation.

There are many other things that may not be clear for people who are not informed regarding these matters, but they do exist. For example, there are technical regulations that are different in Russia and in the EU, we have different standards. Those are standards of technical control, phytosanitary standards and the principle of determining the origin of goods. By way of an example I would cite the component assembly of cars in Ukrainian territory. According to the Association Agreement, the goods manufactured in the territory of Ukraine are intended for our market within the framework of the Russian-Ukrainian free trade zone. Your companies that invested billions of euros in factories in Russia (Volkswagen, BMW, Peugeot, Citroen, the US Ford, and others) entered our market on completely different terms, on condition of deep localisation of production. How could we accept that? So we said from the outset, “We agree, but let us proceed step by step and take into consideration the real problems that can emerge between Russia and Ukraine.” What were we told in response? “It is none of your business, so get your nose out of these affairs.”

HUBERT SEIPEL: I would like to turn to the past. When the EU‑Ukraine Association Agreement was discussed, the negotiations took quite a while. This caused rallies on Maidan in Kiev. I refer to the protests during which people demanded a better life within the European Union. But they were also protesting against the Ukrainian system. In the end all that resulted in a wave of violence.

After the then president failed to sign the Agreement, it provoked an outbreak of violence, and people were killed on Maidan. Then the German Minister of Foreign Affairs arrived and tried to find a compromise between the protesters and the government, and managed to do that. An agreement was made providing for a government of national unity. It remained in force for about 24 hours and then it disappeared.

You followed closely the developments of September 21 and you remember how you talked with Mr Obama and Ms Merkel.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes. Indeed, on February 21, not only the German Minister of Foreign Affairs but also his counterparts from Poland and France arrived in Kiev to act as guarantors of the agreement achieved between the then President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition. The agreement stipulated that the only path the process would take was the peaceful one. As guarantors, they signed that agreement between the official authorities and the opposition. And the former assumed that it would be observed. It is true that I spoke by telephone with the President of the United States that same day, and this was the context for our conversation. However, the following day, despite all the guarantees provided by our partners from the West, a coup happened and both the Presidential Administration and the Government headquarters were occupied.

I would like to say the following in this regard: either the Foreign Ministers of Germany, Poland and France should not have signed the agreement between the authorities and the opposition as its guarantors, or, since they did sign it after all, they should have insisted on its implementation instead of dissociating themselves from this agreement. What is more, they prefer now not to mention it at all, as though the agreement never existed. In my view, this is absolutely wrong and counterproductive.

HUBERT SEIPEL: You acted promptly. You, so to say, annexed Crimea and justified it at the time based on the fact that 60 percent of Crimea’s population were Russians, that Crimea has a long history of being part of Russia and, lastly, that its fleet is stationed there. The West saw that as a violation of international law.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: What is your question exactly?

HUBERT SEIPEL: Did you underestimate the reaction of the West and the possible sanctions, which were later imposed on Russia?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We believe that this sort of reaction was totally disproportionate to what had happened.

Whenever I hear complaints about Russia violating international law I am simply amazed. What is international law? It is first of all the United Nations Charter, international practice and its interpretation by relevant international institutions.

Moreover, we have a clear recent precedent – Kosovo.

HUBERT SEIPEL: You mean the International Court of Justice ruling on Kosovo? The one in which it stated that Kosovo had the right to self‑determination and that the Kosovars could hold a vote to determine the future of their state?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: (In German.) Exactly. (Continues in Russian.) But not only that. Its main point was that when making a decision concerning their self-determination, the people living in a certain territory need not ask the opinion of the central authorities of the state where they presently live. They do not need the approval by the central authorities, by the government, to take the necessary measures for self-determination. That is the central point.

And what was done in Crimea was not in any way different from what had been done in Kosovo.

I am deeply convinced that Russia did not commit any violations of international law. Yes, I make no secret of it, it is a fact and we never concealed that our Armed Forces, let us be clear, blocked Ukrainian armed forces stationed in Crimea, not to force anybody to vote, which is impossible, but to avoid bloodshed, to give the people an opportunity to express their own opinion about how they want to shape their future and the future of their children.

Kosovo, which you mentioned, declared its independence by parliamentary decision alone. In Crimea, people did not just make a parliamentary decision, they held a referendum, and its results were simply stunning.

What is democracy? Both you and me know the answer well. What is demos? Demos is people, and democracy is people’s right. In this particular case, it is the right to self-determination.

HUBERT SEIPEL: It shows immediately that you are a lawyer.

But you know the arguments of the West as well. The West says that the elections were held under the control of Russian military. This is the reasoning of the West.

Let me touch upon the next issue. Today, Ukraine is more or less divided. Four thousand people have died, hundreds of thousands have become refugees and fled, among other places, to Russia. In the east of the country, Russian-speaking separatists are demanding broad autonomy, some want to join Russia. In accordance with the Minsk agreement, ceasefire was declared, but people are dying every day. The country is bankrupt. Basically everybody lost in the conflict. Ukraine seems to have lost the most, but Europe and Russia did as well. How do you see Ukraine’s future?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Ukraine is a complex country, and not only due to its ethnic composition, but also from the point of view of its formation as it stands today.

Is there a future and what will it be like? I think there certainly is. It is a large country, a large nation with the population of 43–44 million people. It is a large European country with a European culture..

You know, there is only one thing that is missing. I believe, what is missing is the understanding that in order to be successful, stable and prosperous, the people who live on this territory, regardless of the language they speak (Hungarian, Russian, Ukrainian or Polish), must feel that this territory is their homeland. To achieve that they must feel that they can realise their potential here as well as in any other territories and possibly even better to some extent. That is why I do not understand the unwillingness of some political forces in Ukraine to even hear about the possibility of federalisation.

We’ve been hearing lately that the question at issue should be not federalisation but decentralisation. It is all really a play on words. It is important to understand what these notions mean: decentralisation, federalisation, regionalisation. You can coin a dozen other terms. The people living in these territories must realise that they have rights to something, that they can decide something for themselves in their lives.

HUBERT SEIPEL: The central question in the West as follows: will Ukraine remain an independent state? It is the central question now on the agenda. The second question is whether Russia can do more? Maybe Russia has more opportunities to expedite this process in Ukraine, in particular with regard to the Minsk agreements?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: You know, when someone tells us that we have some special opportunities to solve this or that crisis it always troubles and alarms me. We have heard many times that Russia has a key to the solution of the Syrian problem, that we have some special opportunities to solve some other problem or the Ukrainian crisis. I always begin to suspect that there is an intention to pass on the responsibility to us and to make us pay for something. We do not want that. Ukraine is an independent, free and sovereign state. Frankly speaking, we are very concerned about any possible ethnic cleansings and Ukraine ending up as a neo-Nazi state. What are we supposed to think if people are bearing swastikas on their sleeves? Or what about the SS emblems that we see on the helmets of some military units now fighting in eastern Ukraine? If it is a civilised state, where are the authorities looking? At least they could get rid of this uniform, they could make the nationalists remove these emblems. That is why we have fears that it may all end up this way. If it happens it would be a catastrophe for Ukraine and Ukrainian people.

The Minsk agreements arose only because Russia became actively involved in this effort; we worked with the Donbass militias, that is the fighters from southeast Ukraine, and we convinced them that they should settle for certain agreements. If we had not done that, it would simply not have happened. There are some problems with the implementation of these agreements, it is true.

What are those problems? Indeed, self-defence fighters, for example, were supposed to leave some of the towns they had surrounded, are yet they haven’t left. Do you know why not? I will tell you plainly, this is no secret: because the people fighting against the Ukrainian army say, “These are our villages, we come from there. Our families and our loved ones live there. If we leave, nationalist battalions will come and kill everyone. We will not leave, you can kill us yourselves.” You know, it is a difficult problem. Of course, we try to convince them, we talk, but when they say things like that, you know, there is not much that can be said in response.

And the Ukrainian army also has not left some of the towns it was supposed to leave. The militias – they are the people who are fighting for their rights, for their interests. But if the central Ukrainian authorities choose not just to determine the demarcation line, which is very important today in order to stop the shelling and killing, but if they want to preserve the territorial integrity of their country, each particular village or town are not significant; what is important is to immediately stop the bloodshed and shelling and to create conditions for starting a political dialogue. That is what is important. If it this is not done, there will be no political dialogue.

I apologise for such a long monologue, but you make me go back to the essence of the problem.

What is the essence? The coup took place in Kiev. A considerable part of the country supported it, and they were happy partly because they believed that after the signing of, say, the Association Agreement there will be open borders, job opportunities, the right to work in the European Union, including in Germany. They thought that it will be like that. In fact, they have nothing of the sort. The other part of the country, the southeast, did not support it and said, “We do not recognise you.” And instead of starting a dialogue, instead of explaining to people that the central authorities in Kiev are not going to do anything bad, and on the contrary, they will propose various forms of coexistence and development of a common state, they are ready to grant them their rights, instead of that they begin making arrests at night. Once the night arrests began, people in the southeast took up arms. Once they took up arms, instead of stopping (the authorities should have the wisdom to do that) and starting this dialogue they sent the army, the air force, tanks and multiple rocket launchers. Is this a way to solve problems? And ultimately everything came to a deadlock. Is it possible to get out of it? I am sure that it is possible.

HUBERT SEIPEL: The question or, more properly, the claim made by Kiev today is that Russia supplies weapons to the separatists and sends its servicemen there.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Where did they get the armoured vehicles and the artillery systems? Nowadays people who wage a fight and consider it righteous will always get weapons. This is the first point.

But I would like to stress that this is not the issue. The issue itself is entirely different. The issue is that we can’t have a one-sided view of the problem.

Today there is fighting in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian central authorities have sent the armed forces there and they even use ballistic missiles. Does anybody speak about it? Not a single word. And what does it mean? What does it tell us? This points to the fact, that you want the Ukrainian central authorities to annihilate everyone there, all of their political foes and opponents. Is that what you want? We certainly don’t. And we won’t let it happen.

HUBERT SEIPEL: After the Crimea joined Russia, the West expelled Russia from the Group of Eight, this exclusive club of industrial states. At the same time the USA and Great Britain imposed sanctions against Russia. Now you are heading to a G20 summit of the most important industrial states on the planet. The focus there will be on economic growth and employment. They say, there is no more growth and unemployment is set to increase; the sanctions are starting to have an effect; both the ruble and the oil price have set anti‑records. The forecast of attaining 2 percent growth in Russia is unfeasible. Other countries are in the same situation. This crisis has a counter‑productive character, including for the upcoming summit, wouldn’t you say?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: You mean the Ukrainian crisis?

HUBERT SEIPEL: Yes.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Of course, who could benefit from it? You wanted to know how the situation is evolving and what our expectations are. Of course we expect the situation to change for the better. Of course we expect the Ukrainian crisis to end. Of course we want to have normal relations with our partners, including in the United States and Europe. Of course, the situation with the so-called sanctions is damaging for the global economy (it is damaging for us and it is damaging for global economy as well) and it is damaging for the Russian‑EU relations most of all.

However, there are some advantages as well: the restrictions imposed on some Russian companies on purchasing certain  goods from Western countries, from Europe and the United States, have induced us to produce these goods ourselves. The comfortable life, when all we had to do was produce more oil and gas, and to buy everything else, is a thing of the past.

With regard to growth, we should note that this year growth was modest but it was present nevertheless at about 0.5–0.6 percent. Next year we are planning to achieve 1.2 percent growth, the year after that 2.3 percent and 3 percent in three years. Generally, these are not the figures we would like to have but nevertheless it is growth and we are confident that we will achieve these figures.

HUBERT SEIPEL: Another theme to be discussed in Brisbane will be financial stability. The situation in Russia may also be complicated because Russian banks can no longer obtain refinancing on world markets. Moreover, there are plans to close for Russia the international payments system.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Russian banks have currently extended a $25 billion loan to the Ukrainian economy. If our European and American partners want to help Ukraine, how can they undermine the financial base limiting our financial institutions’ access to world capital markets? Do they want to bankrupt our banks? In that case they will bankrupt Ukraine. Have they thought about what they are doing at all or not? Or has politics blinded them? As we know eyes constitute a peripheral part of brain. Was something switched off in their brains?

The bank that I mentioned is Gazprombank, which only this year, this calendar year, has extended a loan of $1.4 plus $1.8 billion to the Ukrainian energy sector. How much is that in total? $3.2 billion. This is the sum it has allocated. In one case, it issued a loan to Ukrainian Naftogaz, which is a public company; in the other case, it allocated $1.4 billion to a private company in order to support Ukraine’s chemical industry. In both cases, today this bank has the right to demand early repayment because the Ukrainian partners have violated their loan agreement.

HUBERT SEIPEL: The question is if they are paying or not?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: (In German.) They are paying at the moment. (Continues in Russian.) They are servicing the loan. Naftogaz is servicing one of the loans. However, there are some conditions that are being violated. Therefore, the bank has the formal right to demand early repayment.

But if we do it, the whole Ukrainian financial system will collapse. And if we don’t do it, our bank may collapse. What should we do?

Moreover, when we extended a $3 billion loan a year ago, there was a condition that if Ukraine’s total debt exceeded 60 percent of GDP, we, the Russian Ministry of Finance, would be entitled to demand an early repayment. Again, if we do it, the whole financial system will collapse. We have already decided that we will not do it. We do not want to aggravate the situation. We want Ukraine to get on its feet at last.

HUBERT SEIPEL: Do you intend to propose ways to resolve the crisis in Ukraine?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Madam Chancellor is very much aware of all the nuances of this conflict. As for the energy problem, she has done a great deal for its solution.

As for the security issues, I would say that in this area our viewpoints and approaches do not always coincide. What is clear is that Russia and the Federal Republic of Germany want the situation in this region to be settled. We are interested in this and we will work for the observation of the Minsk agreements. There is just one thing that I always pay attention to. We are told again and again: pro-Russian separatists must do this and this, you must influence them in this way, you must act in that way. I have always asked them: “What have you done to influence your clients in Kiev? What have you done? Or do you only support Russophobic sentiments?” This is very dangerous, by the way. A catastrophe will happen if somebody surreptitiously supports Russophobia in Ukraine. It will be a real catastrophe! Or shall we seek a joint solution? If so, let’s bring the positions of the parties closer together. I am going to say something that some people in this country may not like. Let’s try to achieve a single political space in those territories. We are ready to move in this direction, but only together.

HUBERT SEIPEL: It is very difficult to correct the mistakes made by others. Sometimes it is only possible to correct one’s own mistakes.

I would like to ask you: have you made mistakes?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: People always make mistakes. Every person makes mistakes in business, in private life. Does it really matter? The question is that we should give a rapid, timely and effective response to the consequences of such mistakes. We should analyse them and realise that they are mistakes. We should understand, correct them and move on towards the solution of problems rather than an impasse.

It seemed to me that this is the way we acted in our relations with Europe as a whole and the Federal Republic of Germany in particular over the past decade. Look at the friendship that has been established between Russia and Germany in the past 10–15 years. I don’t know if we had ever enjoyed such relations before. I don’t think so. I see it as a very good base, a good foundation for the development of relations not only between our two states, but also between Russia and Europe as a whole, for the harmonisation of relations in the world. It will be a pity if we let it go to waste.

HUBERT SEIPEL: Mr President, thank you for the interview.

Burkina Faso is Not Alone as Strikes Escalate in West Africa

November 18th, 2014 by Abayomi Azikiwe

A new transitional leader was announced for Burkina Faso on Nov. 17 in the aftermath of a nationwide uprising creating the conditions for the ouster of longtime neo-colonial dictator Blaise Compaore. Coup leader Lt. Col. Isaac Zida has been largely rejected by the masses inside the mineral-rich landlocked former French colony.

A previous foreign minister and United Nations representative, Michel Kafando, was appointed interim president until national elections can be held during 2015. Kafando served for thirteen years under the imperialist-backed regime of ousted President Blaise Compaore.

On Oct. 30, millions of Burkinabe took to the streets demanding the resignation of Compaore who was seeking through political manipulation within the parliament to extend his 27-year-old rule. After thousands entered the parliament shutting it down and setting the building on fire, Compaore fled to neighboring Ivory Coast.

The appointment of Kafando may not calm the social unrest inside the country if there are no genuine reforms implemented to alleviate the mass poverty, unemployment and lack of food security. This interim leader was favored by the military which has been castigated by most Burkinabe who want a return to what they perceive as democratic civilian rule.

Lamine Konkobo of the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) Afrique service wrote on Nov. 17 that “Reaction to Mr Kafando’s appointment has been lukewarm among the youth who were instrumental in ousting Mr Compaore.”

It was contingents of working class youth wearing t-shirts and carrying placards evoking the revolutionary legacy of martyred Marxist leader Thomas Sankara, who ran Burkina Faso between 1983-87, that led the mass demonstrations against the neo-colonial system supported by France and the United States.

Konkobo went on to assert that “All this leaves many with the feeling that they have been sold short with Mr Kafando’s appointment. Many youths would have preferred Josephine Ouedraogo. She served in the government of Thomas Sankara, the post-independence leader whose mysterious killing opened the way for Mr Compaore to seize power in 1987.”

Strikes and Unrest Spreading Throughout West Africa Region

The workers, farmers and youth of Burkina Faso are by no means alone in their struggle against neo-colonial rule. In Ghana, Niger and Nigeria, strikes and mass demonstrations are occurring on a weekly basis.

In Ghana, tens of thousands of public sector and education workers went on strike during Oct. demanding higher wages and better conditions of employment. The government of President John Mahama took the unions to court and secured an order forcing the workers back on the job.

Nonetheless, the unions threatened to resume their work stoppage if the government did not meet demands for pay raises and the guaranteeing of pensions. The strike actions also impacted the burgeoning oil producing industry in Ghana where workers refused to unload barrels of oil until their grievances were adequately addressed.

In an article published by starafrica.com it says “A request by the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) for the Finance Minister tell the true state of the economy in the 2015 budget speech and the clash between the labor unions and the government in court, are some of the stories making headlines in Ghana on Wednesday (Nov. 12). The Daily Graphic newspaper reported that the TUC has called on the government to introduce policies that will strengthen domestic industries and create employment in both the private and public sectors.”

Niger is one of the world’s largest producers of uranium yet the mines are controlled by a French firm, Areva. At the same time, as in Burkina Faso, Niamey is an outpost of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) where Pentagon troops are stationed in these states carrying out aerial surveillance, drone station construction and surveillance in the so-called “war on terrorism” in the region.

On Nov. 13 Mayor Assane Seydou of Niamey fired the entire municipal police force due to their strike and protests over the lack of security and decent wages. The national police arrested twenty striking municipal officers who had been accused of setting up a blockade at the entrance of the city hall on Nov. 10.

In the Federal Republic of Nigeria, designated as having the largest economy on the African continent, labor unrest has accelerated over the last several weeks. In the education, oil and healthcare sectors there have been strikes and threats to walk off the job due to poor working conditions.

The Joint Health Sector Workers Union of Nigeria (JOHESU) has embarked on an indefinite strike. JOHESU is an umbrella federation of healthcare workers who are demanding that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan honor a previous agreement on wages signed over two years ago.

As a result of the JOHESU strike, codewit.com reported “Now healthcare services in hospitals are grounded, patients are suffering, the sick cannot obtain care and lives are on the line. Nigerians are suffering, and those without the means to patronize private hospitals or travel abroad are the hardest hit.” (Nov. 16)

Nigeria depends on the revenue generated by oil sales for the bulk of its foreign exchange earnings and consequently the government and petroleum industry are concerned over threats by workers to shut down production. The country is the largest exporter of oil from the continent into the U.S.

The Nigerian Leadership newspaper reported that “The two major oil workers union in the country, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) on Oct. 31 in Abuja threatened to shut down the oil and gas industry in Nigeria if the constant victimization of its leaders is not stopped forthwith. The unions issued the federal government a 14-day ultimatum to address what it described as precarious working conditions in the oil sector and victimization of its members by Total Corp., failure of which will lead to withdrawal of its services.” (Nov. 1)

World Capitalist Crisis Will Prompt More Industrial Unrest

These developments illustrate clearly that despite the substantial increases in foreign direct investment in these West African states as a result of the extraction and export of oil, gold and other natural resources, the workers are not being justly compensated for their labor power. With the decline of oil and other important commodity prices, the impact on mineral-producing states is enormous.

All of these states are subject to the terms of trade and finance controlled by the major imperialist political and economic capitals of the western world in Washington, New York, London, Paris, Ottawa, Brussels, and others. Until African states take control of their resources collectively in order to establish a system of equal trade, the workers will be subject to declining wages and living standards even though the profits margins of the transnational corporations continue to rise.

With the spread of worker unrest throughout several economically significant states in West Africa, the potential for broader and more politically directly uprising will escalate. These mass demonstrations and strike actions must be consolidated through the formation of a united front of labor organizations and political parties that seek to link the struggles of workers, youth and farmers all across the West Africa region and beyond.

The declining wages and conditions of labor for workers and farmers across the region reveal that the current international division of labor and economic power still favors the ruling classes of the imperialist states. Transnational corporations and banks can only be effectively fought through the united action and organization of the most exploited and oppressed.

On the day that Adolph Hitler took his own life in a Berlin bunker, Binyamin Netanyahu had yet to be born. He only arrived in a Tel Aviv maternity unit five years after the end of WW2 and the Holocaust. When, after completing his education in America, he returned to be an officer in the Israeli army, he was to become a better soldier than he was ever to be as a peace-maker – a good soldier being one who endeavours to destroy his enemy in order to expand and consolidate territorial gains.

Netanyahu has followed in the footsteps of Sharon, Begin and other Likud leaders whose avowed aim was, and is, to ‘transfer’ all Muslims and Christians out of all of the former land of Palestine – an operation known today as ‘ethnic cleansing’, in order to develop a ‘Greater Israel’ and become sole occupier of the Holy City of Jerusalem.

The core of Likud’s policy has always been to extend its illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem. This is carried out under the pretext of ‘state security’ but which the international community universally condemns as a violation of the Geneva Conventions and of international law.

However, Netanyahu is not only the Prime Minister of Israel and leader of the Likud party but also the unofficial power behind the Israel lobby in Washington known originally as the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs. This is a lobby that exerts a disproportionate influence upon Congress and the Executive Branch of the United States, particularly in regard to foreign policy and the Middle East. Which is, no doubt, why its critics have stated that it acts as an ‘agent of the Israeli government with a stranglehold on the United States.’

So it becomes clearer why Mr Netanyahu labours under the delusion that because as he has such influence over the President of the United States – through his lobby in Washington – then obviously real global power rests with him and his Likud government.  A delusion that, unfortunately, has some small vestige of fact.

However, the Hebrew word for Messiah is ’Mashiach’, ‘used to denote one with a special relationship with God who will rule the united tribes of Israel and herald the Messianic Age of global peace.’

But, Binyamin Netanyahu is, unfortunately, the exact opposite as illustrated by the current EEAS document that reportedly recommends to all of the EU’s 28 member states, punitive action against the Netanyahu government for its continued seizure of Palestinian land.

Notes

After decades of rearing hogs, Danish farmer IbBorup Pedersen was alarmed at the growing incidence of malformations and biological defects among his newborn piglets. Deformities included gaps in piglets’ skulls, deformed bones, missing limbs and even a female piglet with testicles. Never having witnessed such large numbers of deformed pigs before, Pedersen realized that it was after switching three years earlier to Monsanto’s GMO feed– which had been grown with glyphosate–that these birth defects began to appear. Pedersen had the piglets’ bodies sent to a Danish laboratory for analysis. The results were clear; there were high concentrations of Monsanto’s glyphosate pesticide, commonly known as Roundup, in the piglets’ organs.[1] The analyses’ findings were subsequently published in a recent Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology.[2]

Pedersen’s experience is another blow against Monsanto’s public relations campaign to convince governments, farmers and consumers that Roundup is one of the world’s safest pesticides and poses no risk to animal and human health. For many years Monsanto has stood by this myth with fanatical religious fervor against all existing independent evidence to the contrary.

While there are an increasing number of studies in the scientific literature identifying the health risks associated with GMO consumption and glyphosate independently, no research has yet been conducted to assess the combined synergistic adverse effects of GMOs and pesticides in animal models and humans. The original foundation of agricultural biotechnology was to advance sales of pesticides by engineering crops to become immune to toxic spraying. While weeds and insect pests would be eradicated, targeted crop would be spared, thereby allowing farmers to spray massive amounts of chemicals on soy, corn, cotton, sugar beets and other agricultural foods without injury. This was the assumption that led to the agro-genetic revolution. Only during the past decade with more and more GM products in our diets, and more and more farm acreage being sprayed with glyphosate and other toxic pesticides and herbicides, are the long term health risks to animals, humans and the environment being more fully recognized within the scientific community.

Annual runoffs of pesticides into rivers, streams and reservoirs have complicated the extent to which humans are being exposed to life threatening chemicals on a daily basis. It was never the mission of Monsanto and the cartel of agro-chemical seed companies to increase yields and produce drought resilient crops. The evidence of higher GM crop yields was an aftereffect. However, data are now coming in from independent agro-science community showing that the years of higher GM yields are short lived and drop dramatically thereafter to levels far below those yields harvested from traditional, organic farming methods.

Glyphosate’s adverse effects on Pedersen’s piglets is only one example of the pesticide’s health risks. In a major paper published by Earth Open Source, “GMO Myths and Truths: An Evidence-Based Examination of the Claims Made for the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops,” Kings College molecular geneticist Michael Antoniou, molecular biologist John Fagan and GM Watch’s Claire Robinson outline the known health risks now shown to be associated with glyphosate:

  • DNA damage
  • Premature births and miscarriages
  • Birth defects including neural tube defects and anencephaly (absence of large parts of the brain and skull
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Disruption of neurobehavioral development in children, including attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder[3]

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Since the release of the study in the journal Entropy, a researcher at MIT and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists have discovered that glyphosate is in fact taken up by plants from the soil and found in our food—an accusation Monsanto continues to deny. The study says that the negative impact of glyphosate accumulation “is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.” In addition to being linked with problems ranging from cancer to infertility, a connection may also be made to the rising number of adults acquiring Parkinson’s Disease.[4] A couple earlier studies on individual cases found a correspondence between glyphosate exposure and the onset of Parkinson’s.[5] There are now growing concerns that glyphosate consumed by mothers and infants in GM tainted foods might be giving rise to the autism epidemic that continues to worsen each year and now stands at almost 1 in 50 children.

With each passing year, the body of scientific data challenging the safety of glyphosate expands. In several peer-reviewed studies conducted by researcher Andres Carrasco of the University of Buenos Aires, glyphosate was observed to cause teratogenic impairment of neural signaling and microcephaly, leading to craniofacial malformations.[6]

In early 2014, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study linking glyphosate runoff in Sri Lanka’s water systems to an epidemic rise in a fatal unknown chronic kidney disease or CKDu. Until recently scientists were unable to offer up evidence of what has been causing this new form of illness affecting the kidneys. Similar observations have been made in El Salvador and Nicaragua where more men die of CKDu than AIDS, diabetes and leukemia. However, in each regional population studied, Roundup exposure is rampant. Sri Lankan scientists hypothesize that glyphosate, originally discovered to act as a chelating chemical in 1964, takes up toxic heavy metals and binds them in the kidney without the body’s detection. According to the researchers, the buildup of these heavy metals ultimately leads to kidney failure and death.[7]

In early 2014, the Ministry of Health in Cordoba, Argentina noted a dramatic rise in deaths from cancerous tumors– twice the national average. It just so happens that the elevated rates of malignancies were being reported in those regions where GM crops and toxic agrochemicals are most readily used.[8]

GMOs’ health risks to animals and humans are also being reported more frequently in the scientific literature. Corporate agro studies claiming GMOs are safe will generally rely upon a research methodology that employs a variety of so-called “reference” diets to the animals under investigation. These convoluted studies are designed intentionally to produce an abundance of data without any standard reference control group. This enables corporate scientists to conflate and distort results. This common industry practice was recently exposed by Claire Robinson at GM Watch regarding a published DuPont study on the safety of its Roundup Ready canola. Robinson points out that “poor experimental design” is intentionally utilized to cover over toxic effects.

A new study in rats conducted by Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini at the University of Caen identified changes in gene expression in sperm cells capable of altering androgen and estrogen sex hormones. The study suggests that glyphosate may be altering human reproduction. The rate of male fertility in the US has been dropping steadily since GM foods started to saturate the average American diet. Today, according to the American Pregnancy Association, 1 out of every 6 men in couples is infertile. [9]

Another major blow against Monsanto has been the republication of Dr. Seralini’s earlier paper showing a correlation between severe kidney and liver damage, advanced tumors and pre-mature death in rats fed Monsanto’s NK603 maize in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe. Seralini’s paper has undergone more scientific review and scrutiny than any other study either proving or disproving GMO safety. With its republication, the paper should officially replace Monsanto’s flawed safety study purporting the health safety of its NK603 corn.[10]

Monsanto must rely on a veil of secrecy, claiming to protect its proprietary information, in order to avoid revealing to the public its actual data about GMO safety. In the absence of credible science to engage in an honest debate with the scientific community opposing the proliferation of GMOs, the company must resort to the lowest and most vicious tactics. Attacking the integrity of scientists, launching smear campaigns against GMO labeling advocates, organic farmers, cyber attacks on anti-GMO organizations, and threats of lawsuits against state governments and media outlets advocating or even suggesting mandatory labeling are becoming more frequent. For example, supporters of GMOs have recently pressured Reuters to fire veteran journalist Carey Gillam for reporting fairly on GMOs.[11] With approximately 50% of its revenues generated from the sale of GM seeds, it is highly unlikely that Monsanto will ever admit defeat. Rather it will use whatever means necessary, except acknowledging scientific evidence, to silence its enemies. Today Monsanto is scared to death over its future. Like any psychopathological madman or Wall Street banker, it will use whatever means available to preserve and expand its revenue markets, even if it means inflicting pain, suffering and even death upon Indian and Filipino farmers, rather than acknowledge its technology is a curse to humanity and the environment.

Fortunately during the past six months there has been a dramatic turning of the tide against Monsanto and other GM seed companies. Around the world the Big Ag giant is recognized as the most dangerous, most-hated corporation on the planet. The good news is that Big Agriculture’s imperial strategy for global food domination has been hit with setback after setback as national and local governments realize that genetically modified foods pose serious dangers to human and environmental health as well as national food security. Local populations and farmers who switched to GM seeds are becoming more vocal about the failure of GM promises and want to hold these private companies accountable. Already ninety percent of UN member nations, including most of Europe, either require GM labeling or have banned GM crops. Hungary officially prohibits GMOs in its national Constitution. In Brazil, the world’s largest producer of GM soy, the country’s leading conglomerate of soy traders, the Association of Vegetable Oil Industries, will no longer accept Monsanto’s Itacta soybeans.[12] Without having the blessing from the US government and the WTO, Monsanto’s sphere of markets would dry up. Therefore, the GMO industry, in collusion with the US State Department, has had to focus its attention on Africa and South and Southeast Asia, those regions that appear to be the most susceptible to accepting GMO myths.

As nations take a step back and reconsider the threats of climate change and global warning to future food supplies, GMOs are steadily failing to hold up to their promises of higher yields and drought resistance. To the contrary, study after study lean towards the conclusion that GMO-based agriculture may be the most dismal failure since humans first started sowing seeds and harvesting crops. In June, the Guardian reported that the introduction of Monsanto’s Roundup Btbrinjal eggplant into Bangladesh is facing widespread collapse, with a failure rate of four out of five farms.[13] GMO soy and corn are rapidly losing their pest resistance. Bugs and weeds are turning into mega-threats to the future of yields of staple crops, which the industrial makers of processed foods depend on. Farmers in Latin America are demanding compensation from Big AG companies such as Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and Dow for unexpected financial duress and being forced to purchase larger quantities of pesticides in order to sustain their harvests. In Brazil, after only three years of GM Bt cultivation, pest resistance has been observed. Similar observations are being reported in Btmaize in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Philippines, South Africa and US, and in Bt cotton in Australia, China, India and the US. Last month American scientists confirmed that rootworms destroying corn fields are no longer resistant to GMO corn.[14]

An article in India’s Hindustani Times states that “There are over 500 research publications by scientists of indisputable integrity, who have no conflict of interest, that establish harmful effects of GMO crops to human, animal and plant health, and on the environment and biodiversity… On the other hand, virtually every paper supporting GM crops is by scientists who have declared conflict of interest or whose credibility and integrity can be doubted.[15] Monsanto’s Bt cotton in India has been particularly disastrous to hundreds of thousands of farmers. Aside from the oft-reported epidemic of farmer suicides who fall into debt and poverty after buying into Monsanto’s GM cotton—farmer suicides have now reached over 270,000—pest resistance is rampant, further weakening the natural immunity of GM plants and predisposing them to less serious pests. India is also witnessing record numbers of cattle die-offs after grazing on post-harvest cotton plants. Regions with higher proportions of Bt cotton farming are confronting grim water futures because GM agriculture requires more irrigation than traditional farming methods. Last March the Indian state of Karnataka banned Bt cotton seeds following pervasive crop failures.[16]

One of the most massive GMO failures, spanning a decade, has been the deplorable collapse of the introduction of GM corn in the Philippines. The decimation of Filipino corn farmers came to world attention following the release of the film “Ten Years of Failure” which follows the lives of farmers whose families fell into debt and poverty after the introduction of GM corn by the Philippine government in cooperation with the US government and Monsanto.[17] Intent on avoiding a similar fate to Brazilian corn farmers, a Brazilian court banned the release of Bayer’s GM corn. The ruling now establishes a new precedent that will make the approval of future GMOs in that country more difficult.[18] And China’s recent rejection of GMO corn importation has agro-giants further worried as one of their largest potential markets takes a step back to reevaluate the safety and environmental impact of GMOs.

An association between the rapid demise of bee populations and the neonicotinoid class of pesticides has already been proven in the scientific literature. European nations are now banning the use of neonicotinoids to protect domestic bee and other pollinator populations. Recent studies reveal that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicideis likewise are contributing to the decline of honeybee populations. During the first week of August, Mexican beekeepers in the state of Yucatan won a victory to halt Monsanto’s plans to plant thousands of acres of Roundup ready soybeans. After a careful review of the science, a Mexican judge ruled that GMO soy agriculture is an economic threat and incompatible with the state’s honey production, home for 25,000 families involved in producing 40% of Mexico’s honey exports. The ruling is having a rippling affect across other Mexican states involved in honey production.[19]

Big Ag’s only response to the failures of its genetic experimentation has been to increase the development new GM seeds to compensate for the failures of the old ones. In addition to genetically engineering seeds to withstand every higher levels of pesticides, new traits are being genetically engineered to withstand other toxic chemicals. In the US, millions of acres of farmland growing GM corn, cotton and soy are experiencing invasions of super weeds resistant to over-pesticide use. As pesticide use increases, soil quality is further depleted and yield per acre drops dramatically. The economic costs to farmers are becoming unsustainable as expenditures to fight pests and weeds increase and harvests diminish. A recent trend among farmers to revert back to traditional or organic methods is gradually taking hold. This aligns well with the last UN Commission on Trade and Development report warning against corporate dominated monoculture farming methods and promoting farm diversity and small scale organic farming as the most sustainable way to feed to the world’s population.[20]

Aside from glyphosate, other pesticides are being genetically engineered into new lines of GM Seeds. New varieties of GM cotton and soy are in Monsanto’s pipeline and will likely pass with minimal review through the USDA and FDA. These new GM strains now include resistant genes to the pesticide dicamba. In addition to glyphosate’s long list of human health risks, dicamba, a known neurotoxin, has been linked to adverse reproductive and mental development effects. Against strong public opposition, the US government will also likely approve Dow Agroscience’s new Enlist corn and soy strains, a toxic cocktail of glyphosate and the herbicide 2-4 D, best known as a major toxic ingredient in Agent Orange that “has been linked to cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, kidney/liver damage and birth and developmental effects.”[21] Agent Orange contamination has resulted in genetic abnormalities and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Its use as a bioweapon in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos is a sad reminder of the extremes the US willing to take at the cost of innocent lives to reach its foreign policy objectives. And now, out of desperation to preserve agro-chemical agriculture and the GM corporations revenues, the US government will resurrect one of the most toxic agrochemicals known and introduce it into America’s food supply.

American acceptance of GMOs has been based upon unproven hypothesis of “substantial equivalence” for over two decades. This ruling by the USDA during the early years of the Clinton White House gave GM seed companies a free pass to avoid submitting evidence provingGM food safety. Since the ruling claims that GMOs are identical to non-GMOs no compliance of safety regulations would apply. Therefore Big Ag firms do not have to worry over strict regulatory hurdles, which otherwise apply to other products such as pharmaceutical drugs, processed foods, pesticides, cosmetics and chemical additives. However, a recent flurry of research is now showing “substantial equivalence” is patently false. Alexandria University in Egypt, the Permaculture Research Institute and the Norwegian Center for Biosafety each found GMO crops to be fundamentally different to their natural counterpart. In addition, new studies are also showing that nutrient levels in traditional and organically raised crops are substantially higher than GM varieties.

Aside from the scientific evidence and popular blowback condemning GMOs, the agro-chemical industry is facing other challenges. If the US government is unable to assume a leading role in the endeavor to save American agriculture from a major systemic collapse, nor support the agricultural sustainability and food security in other regions of the world, perhaps other nations will.

In recent months, Russia has assumed an international leadership role to confront the remaining uncertainties in the debate over GMO safety. Russia has already placed a 3-year moratorium ban on GMO imports. Prime Minister Medvedev is on record stating that Russia can be “self sufficient” with only organic farming. The government is now requesting the UN General Assembly to create an international GMO watchdog organization to monitor Big Agriculture’s activities to influence other nations to accept GM seeds and support independent research into the long term impacts of GMOs. Unlike the US, the Russian government values the voice of its people with over 75% of Russians preferring organic produce.[22] On the other hand, over 90% of Americans support GMO-labeling, yet Washington prefers to protect corporate interests.

However, the most important initiative Russia plans to undertake is the creation of an international and independent team of researchers from the US, UK, France, China and Russia to conduct long term studies to determine once and for all GMO risks to human health, and whether or not GMO crops might be used as genetically engineered bioweapons to destroy ecosystems and threaten the lives of populations. The project is being launched by a Russian NGO, Genetic Safety Public Association, after it noted that a 2004 meeting of the NATO Committee on the Challenges to Modern Society discussed the topic ofGMOs’ potential use as “genetic weapons.” If properly funded, this would be the most thorough international effort, without support from Big Ag corporations, to provide transparent, publicly available data to settle the question over GM safety.[23]

In conclusion, the good news is that GMO propaganda is increasingly being exposed as fallacious. As time passes, more and more research will inevitably emerge to further damn Monsanto and the GM experiment. It is only a matter of time before the false promises of GMOs will be exposed as orchestrated by Big Ag and the US government to control the world’s food supply.

This is not to suggest that GM foods will disappear. Rather we can expect an increase in a new volley of propaganda coming from private industry and the US government tclaiming GM industrial agriculture is an urgent solution to combat climate change and global warming, a global threat worrying national economies throughout the world. We can expect to hear more scientific denialism and junk science promulgated by the White House, the small gangs of scientific determinists funded by Big Ag and the pharmaceutical industry, and major media presstitutes. We can expect to hear ever wilder and more irrational claims about how GMO-based agriculture might reduce CO2 greenhouse pollution and save humanity. In fact this was Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent drivel at the US-African Leaders Summit in early August, urging African nations to “concentrate on existing farmlands to make them more productive” rather than expanding and developing new lands for agriculture. Kerry, who has repeatedly proven to be a worthy successor to Monsanto’s former mouthpiece Hillary Clinton, frequently regurgitates Monsanto propaganda during his foreign policy circus roadshows. And expect new trade agreements, written by corporations such as Monsanto to be rammed through the international community by the US and its allies that espouse the Washington Consensus to enforce international acceptance of GMOs.

In short, out of desperation to reach global food dominance, the agro-chemical industry and the US government will be declaring a full food war against the peoples of the world.

Richard Gale is the Executive Producer of the Progressive Radio Network and a former Senior Research Analyst in the biotechnology and genomic industries. Gary Null PhD is the host of the nation’s longest running public radio program on nutrition and natural health and a multi-award-winning director of progressive documentary films, including Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs, which is available for free viewing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUd9rRSLY4A#t=24

Notes 

[1] Jeff Ritterman, One Little Piggy Had Birth Defects: Is Monsanto’s Roundup to Blame? Truthout.org August 8, 2014

[2] Monika Krüger1, Wieland Schrödl1, Ib Pedersen2 and Awad A Shehata Detection of Glyphosate in Malformed Piglets J Environ Anal Toxicol 2014, 4:5 2014 http://omicsonline.org/open-access/detection-of-glyphosate-in-malformed-piglets-2161-0525.1000230.pdf

[3] M Antoniou, J Fagan, C Robinson “GMO Myths and Truths: An Evidence-Based Examination of the Claims Made for the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops,” Earth Open Source. June 2012 p. 66

[4] “Roundup, An Herbicide, Could be Linked to Parkinson’s, Cancer and Other Health Issues, Study Shows” Reuters. April 25, 2013

[5] Gang Wang, Xiao-Ning Fan, Yu-Yan Tan, Qi Cheng, Sheng-Di Chen Parkinsonism after chronic occupational exposure to glyphosate. Parkinsonism RelatDisord. 2011 Jul;17(6):486-7. Epub 2011 Mar 2 

[6] Alejandra Paganelli , Victoria Gnazzo , Helena Acosta , Silvia L. López , and Andrés E. Carrasco Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Produce Teratogenic Effects on Vertebrates by Impairing Retinoic Acid Signaling Chem. Res. Toxicol., 2010, 23 (10), pp 1586–1595

[7] ChannaJayasumana , SarathGunatilake and PriyanthaSenanayake Glyphosate, Hard Water and Nephrotoxic Metals: Are They the Culprits Behind the Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Sri Lanka? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(2), 2125-2147 

[8] Dario Aranda “Cancer Danger in the GMO Fields” Pagina 12 (Argentina), June 23, 2014

 [9] http://americanpregnancy.org/infertility/maleinfertility.html

[10] Claire Robinson. “Republication of the Seralini Study: Science Speaks for Itself.” GMOSeralini.org June 24, 2014 http://www.gmoseralini.org/republication-seralini-study-science-speaks/

[11] Ken Roseboro. “Biotech’s Assault on Balanced Journalism” Huffington Post, June 4, 2014 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ken-roseboro/biotechs-assault-on-balan_b_5432699.html

[12] ABIOVE, 30 July 2014 
http://www.abiove.org.br/site/_FILES/Portugues/30072014-154637-30_07_2014_release_soja_intacta.pdf

[13] Guardian Newspaper Report Admits Widespread Failure of GM Btbrinjal” GMWatch June 5, 2014

[14] Deirdre Fulton, GMO Corn No Longer Resistant to Bugs Common Dreams 30 July 14

[15] Pushpa M Bhargava
 US is trying to control our food production Hindustan Times, August 7, 2014
 http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/analysis/us-is-trying-to-control-our-food-production/article1-1249456.aspx

[16] “Karnataka bans Mahyco’s Cotton Seeds” Business Standard (india) March 28, 2014

[17] “Ten Years of Failure, Farmers Deceived by GM Corn” MASIPAG (Philippines) October 16, 2013

[18] “In Historic Ruling, Brazilian Court Prevents the Release of Transgenic Corn from Bayer” Terra de Direitos (Brazil) March 13, 2014

[19] Sweet victory for Mexico beekeepers as Monsanto loses GM permit” The Guardian, August 8, 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/aug/08/sweet-victory-beekeepers-monsanto-gm-soybeans

 [20] UN Report Says Small Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World.” Technology Water. December 14, 2013 http://www.technologywater.com/post/69995394390/un-report-says-small-scale-organic-farming-only-way-to

[21] New Wave of Herbicide-Tolerant Crops Awaiting Likely U.S. Approval eNews Park Forest August 8, 2014 http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/54647-new-wave-of-herbicide-tolerant-crops-awaiting-likely-u-s-approval.html

[22] “World Needs UN GMO Watchdog – Russia” RT June 5, 2014 http://rt.com/news/163852-russia-un-gmo-watchdog/

[23] Christina Sarich. “Russian Activists Conduct Independent Studies Proving GMOs Could be Genetic Weapons.” Natural Society 2014

As the corporate-controlled media in the city of Detroit continues to champion the massive theft of healthcare programs, pension funds and public assets, totaling over $6 billion, the majority African American population is being completely disenfranchised by the bank-led so-called “plan of adjustment.”

Despite these claims of a “rebirth” of the municipality through a forced and illegal bankruptcy proceeding, the overall conditions within Detroit have declined over the last twenty months since the appointment of Kevyn Orr as emergency manager. Deliveries of public transportation, lighting, water resources, education and emergency medical services have worsened.

There are two select areas within the city which the ruling class interests have lauded as prime centers for investment. In downtown, billionaires Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans and Mike Illitch, the owner of the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, and other corporations, are attempting to reshape the development agenda for the entire municipality.

Also in the Midtown district encompassing Wayne State University, the Detroit Medical Center, the Institute of Arts, etc., efforts have been underway to encourage people to move into these areas for both residential and business purposes. Nonetheless, the working class, poor and senior residents of Midtown are being targeted for removal through the astronomical raising of rents and law-enforcement sweeps that target street people and the economically disadvantaged.

There is an increasing demand for rental units in Detroit but this has more to do with the impact of the foreclosure crisis which has plagued the city for nearly a decade. Whole neighborhoods throughout the east, west and southwest districts of the city have been devastated due to the predatory actions of banks, insurance firms, the monopoly utility company DTE Energy and the deeply distressed Detroit Water & Sewerage Department (DWSD).

The state and local governments failed to place a moratorium on bank foreclosures which could have saved tens of thousands of households from the bank seizures of their properties and therefore stem the precipitous decline in tax revenues and public school enrolments. Massive electrical, heating and water services shut-offs also serve to drive people from neighborhoods since it is almost impossible to live in homes without these essential necessities of modern life.

Federal Bankruptcy Court Endorses Draconian Policies of the Banks

Two major efforts were made through the legal and political actions of the Moratorium NOW!

Coalition and other organizations to bring in the questions of predatory bank lending and water shut-offs into the considerations for how the plan of adjustment would be structured. During the bankruptcy trial, there were hundreds of rank-and-file workers, retirees and homeowners who filed legal objections to both the eligibility for municipal bankruptcy as well as the series of eight drafts of the plan of adjustment.

Jones Day law firm, which misrepresented the interests of the city through the emergency manager and Gov. Rick Snyder, rejected any mention of the role of foreclosures and evictions in relationship to the financial ruin of Detroit. To ignore such an obvious fact of history and its causative effect on the decline of the population, the destructions of housing stock and municipal services is a clear recipe for disaster in formulating a plan for the revitalization of the city.

The class action lawsuit filed by victims of the massive water shut-offs impacting over 30,000 households since Jan. 2014 sought to bring recognition of the broken DWSD system which has been strangled by usurious bond issues and loans that have drained at least $537 million from the city over the last two years. Nonetheless, Federal Judge Steven Rhodes refused to impose a moratorium on the termination of water services despite the fact that the effects of these policies negatively impacted people throughout the city.

Can the Capitalist Rebuild Detroit Amid the Ongoing Economic Crisis?

Even though the ruling class is saying that they will reconstruct the city of Detroit in their own image, it remains to be seen whether the investment capital is actually available to make a significant dent in reversing the blight and underdevelopment. A key element of the development plan for the city is centered on the construction of a new hockey arena and entertainment district by Illitch Holdings.

In addition, the building of a light rail system on Woodward Ave. from downtown through Midtown to the New Center area is taking place as well. However, similar efforts during the late 1990s and early 2000s with the opening of two stadiums and three casino hotels failed miserably as it relates to ensuring financial stability.

Anywhere between 60,000-150,000 tax foreclosures could take place by the spring of 2015. Unemployment within the Detroit and the surrounding region of southeast Michigan remains high. The only real jobs being created are in the low-wage category that lack benefits and stability.

Since the financial crisis of 2007-2009 and the bailing out of the banks, insurance firms and auto companies, the corporations have failed to reinvest their trillions of dollars of capital in job creation and infrastructural improvements since such efforts would not guarantee the rate of profits that these entities are seeking. The phasing out of Quantitative Easing (QE) could prompt rises in interest rates and further stall growth spurring a renewed decline in the overall economy.

Of course when these plans fail to create the desired results, the ruling class and their agents in government will initiate a new round of austerity measures through lay-offs, the further driving down of wages and therefore creating additional hardships for the majority African American working class in Detroit. Only a program of development that empowers the working people can provide any realistic hope of improving the conditions of the people.

Any shift in policy that could benefit working people will only be the result of mass struggle and anti-capitalist organization. Consequently, the only real solutions to the problems facing the people of Detroit will out of necessity emerge through a direct challenge to the banks demanding a payback of the billions they have expropriated from the people through seizures of homes, jobs, pension benefits and public assets.

By Nancy L. Swanson,  Andre Leu,  Jon Abrahamson, and Bradley Wallet 

Abstract

A huge increase in the incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases has been reported in the United States (US) over the last 20 years. Similar increases have been seen globally. The herbicide glyphosate was introduced in 1974 and its use is accelerating with the advent of herbicide-tolerant genetically engineered (GE) crops. Evidence is mounting that glyphosate interferes with many metabolic processes in plants and animals and glyphosate residues have been detected in both. Glyphosate disrupts the endocrine system and the balance of gut bacteria, it damages DNA and is a driver of mutations that lead to cancer.

In the present study, US government databases were searched for GE crop data, glyphosate application data and disease epidemiological data. Correlation analyses were then performed on a total of 22 diseases in these time-series data sets. The Pearson correlation coefficients are highly significant (< 10-5) between glyphosate applications and hypertension (R = 0.923), stroke (R = 0.925), diabetes prevalence (R = 0.971), diabetes incidence (R = 0.935), obesity (R = 0.962), lipoprotein metabolism disorder (R = 0.973), Alzheimer’s (R = 0.917), senile dementia (R = 0.994), Parkinson’s (R = 0.875), multiple sclerosis (R = 0.828), autism (R = 0.989), inflammatory bowel disease (R = 0.938), intestinal infections (R = 0.974), end stage renal disease (R = 0.975), acute kidney failure (R = 0.978), cancers of the thyroid (R = 0.988), liver (R = 0.960), bladder (R = 0.981), pancreas (R = 0.918), kidney (R = 0.973) and myeloid leukaemia (R = 0.878).

The Pearson correlation coefficients are highly significant (< 10-4) between the percentage of GE corn and soy planted in the US and hypertension (R = 0.961), stroke (R = 0.983), diabetes prevalence (R = 0.983), diabetes incidence (R = 0.955), obesity (R = 0.962), lipoprotein metabolism disorder (R = 0.955), Alzheimer’s (R = 0.937), Parkinson’s (R = 0.952), multiple sclerosis (R = 0.876), hepatitis C (R = 0.946), end stage renal disease (R = 0.958), acute kidney failure (R = 0.967), cancers of the thyroid (R = 0.938), liver (R = 0.911), bladder (R = 0.945), pancreas (R = 0.841), kidney (R = 0.940) and myeloid leukaemia (R = 0.889). The significance and strength of the correlations show that the effects of glyphosate and GE crops on human health should be further investigated.

Full Text: Journal of Organic Systems

Excerpts from the Introduction 

Within the last 20 years there has been an alarming increase in serious illnesses in the US, along with a marked decrease in life expectancy (Bezruchka, 2012). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the cost of diabetes and diabetes-related treatment was approximately $116 billion dollars in 2007. Estimated costs related to obesity were $147 billion in 2008 and cardiovascular diseases and stroke were $475.3 billion in 2009. Health care expenditures in the US totaled 2.2 trillion dollars in 2007 (CDC, 2013a). The onset of serious illness is appearing in increasingly younger cohorts. The US leads the world in the increase in deaths due to neurological diseases between 1979-81 and 2004-06 for the 55-65 age group (Pritchard et al., 2013). These mental disorder deaths are more typical of the over 65 age group. There have been similar findings for obesity, asthma, behavior and learning problems, and chronic disease in children and young adults (Van Cleave et al., 2010). Type II diabetes in youth is being called an epidemic (Rosenbloom et al., 1999). The rate of chronic disease in the entire US population has been dramatically increasing with an estimated 25% of the US population suffering from multiple chronic diseases (Autoimmunity Research Foundation, 2012). These findings suggest environmental triggers rather than genetic or age-related causes.

During this same time period, there has been an exponential increase in the amount of glyphosate applied to food crops and in the percentage of GE food crops planted (Benbrook, 2012). We undertook a study to see if correlations existed between the rise of GE crops, the associated glyphosate use and the rise in chronic disease in the US.

Genetic engineering

To genetically modify a plant for herbicide tolerance, genes are identified which convey tolerance of the active chemical in the herbicide to the organism. In the case of glyphosate, glyphosate-tolerant genes were isolated from a strain of Agrobacterium. These were inserted into the genome of the plant via a multi-step process resulting in a plant that can withstand the direct application of the herbicide. Genetic modification is also utilised for developing insect resistant plants by using insecticidal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt toxin. The promoter used to drive the expression of the foreign genes is generally the 35S promoter from the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV). Not only are the virus and bacteria genes themselves potentially harmful (Ho, 2013; Ewen & Pusztai, 1999), but the plants are sprayed directly with herbicides. The herbicide-tolerant plants absorb the poisons and humans and domestic animals eat them.

The GMO industry claims that genetic engineering is no different than plant hybridisation, which has been practiced for centuries (FDA, 1992). It is the reason they gave, which the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted, for not having to submit GE food to rigorous safety testing to obtain FDA approval. This distortion of the facts needs to be corrected. One critical issue is that multiple genes are being transferred across taxonomical kingdoms in ways that do not occur by natural breeding methods (Bohn et al., 2014).

All living things are classified according to a ranking system that starts with species and sub species. Closely related species are grouped together under a rank that is called a genus. Closely related genera are grouped together under the rank of family. There are seven ranks. Starting with the highest they are: kingdom, phylum or division, class, order, family, genus, species.

Plants, animals, fungi, viruses and bacteria belong to separate kingdoms. Natural inter-breeding can take place between some species that belong to the same genus and very occasionally between species of different genera. However, species that belong to different families do not inter-breed and definitely species that belong to different kingdoms such as plants, animals, fungi, bacteria and viruses do not inter-breed in nature. Plants, for example, do not inter-breed with animals, bacteria or viruses. Genetic engineering allows for the transfer of genes between kingdoms in a way that does not occur naturally.

The other great misconception is that only one gene with the desired trait is inserted. At this stage, science is not sophisticated enough to insert a single gene and get it to work. To overcome this problem, scientists have to combine the gene with the desired trait (such as herbicide tolerance or pesticide production) with other genes that will make it work, such as promoter genes and marker genes. The result is a complex construction of transgenes that can come from bacterial, viral, fish, plant and other sources. This is completely different from natural hybridisation.

The stance taken by Monsanto, Dow, Bayer and the other purveyors of both chemicals and genetically engineered seeds is that GE food is “substantially equivalent” to non-GE products. According to the US FDA, “the substances expected to become components of food as a result of genetic modification of a plant will be the same as or substantially similar to substances commonly found in food, such as proteins, fats and oils, and carbohydrates” (FDA, 1992, Section I). The FDA maintains that it is up to the biotech companies that manufacture GE seeds to research and determine the safety of their products.

But Bohn et al. (2014) were able to discriminate between organic, conventional and GE soybeans without exception, based on vitamin, fat and protein content. Furthermore, they were able to distinguish GE soybeans from both conventional and organic by their glyphosate and AMPA (glyphosate degradation product) residues, as well as substantial non-equivalence in numerous compositional characteristics of soybeans. The researchers stated, “Using 35 different nutritional and elemental variables to characterise each soy sample, we were able to discriminate GM, conventional and organic soybeans without exception, demonstrating ‘substantial non-equivalence’ in compositional characteristics for ‘ready-to-market’ soybeans” (p. 207).

Exponentially increasing use of glyphosate world-wide

Since glyphosate was introduced in 1974 as the active ingredient in Roundup® it has become the most widely used herbicide for urban, industrial, forest and farm use (Monsanto, 2010). Pre-harvest application of glyphosate to wheat and barley as a desiccant was suggested as early as 1980, and its use as a drying or ripening agent 7-10 days before harvest has since become routine. It is now used on grain crops, rice, seeds, dried beans and peas, sugar cane and sweet potatoes (Monsanto, 2010; Orgeron, 2012; Orson & Davies, 2007). According to the Canadian Pulse Growers Association (PGA pamphlet, 2012), “Desiccants are used worldwide by growers who are producing crops that require ‘drying down’ to create uniformity of plant material at harvest. These products may also assist in pre- harvest weed control. In Canada, products such as diquat (Reglone) and glyphosate (Roundup) have been used as desiccants in pulse crops in the past, and there are new products on the way.” In 2012, 98% of spring wheat, 99% of durum wheat and 61% of winter wheat were treated with glyphosate or glyphosate salts in the US (USDA:NASS, 2013c). The glyphosate plots in this study include all formulations of glyphosate.

Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup®, states, “Since its discovery in the early 1970’s the unique herbicidal active ingredient glyphosate has become the world’s most widely used herbicide because it is efficacious, economical and environmentally benign. These properties have enabled a plethora of uses which continue to expand to this day providing excellent weed control both in agricultural and non-crop uses to benefit mankind and the environment. Glyphosate has an excellent safety profile to operators, the public and the environment. … It is approved for weed control in amenity, industrial, forestry and aquatic areas. Roundup Pro Biactive and ProBiactive 450 can be used at any time of the year as long as weeds are green and actively growing” (Monsanto, 2010, p.1).

The Monsanto document outlines use areas including vegetation control on agricultural land, on GE Roundup Ready Crops and on non-agricultural land. By 2006, glyphosate became used routinely for both agricultural and non-agricultural weed control and pre-harvest treatment. Since 1995, glyphosate use has rapidly increased with the planting of GE glyphosate-tolerant crops. Glyphosate and its degradation product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) have been detected in air (Majewski et al., 2014, Chang et al., 2011), rain (Scribner et al., 2007, Majewski, 2014), groundwater (Scribner, 2007), surface water (Chang, 2011; Scribner, 2007; Coupe et al., 2012), soil (Scribner, 2007) and sea water (Mercurio et al., 2014). These studies show that glyphosate and AMPA persist in the soil and water, and the amounts detected are increasing over time with increasing agricultural use. Chang et al. (2011) reported that glyphosate was frequently detected in water, rain and air in the Mississippi River basin with concentrations as high as 2.5 μg/L in agricultural areas in Mississippi and Iowa.

Because glyphosate is in air, water and food, humans are likely to be accumulating it in low doses over time. Glyphosate residues of up to 4.4 parts per million (ppm) have been detected in stems, leaves and beans of glyphosate-resistant soy, indicating uptake of the herbicide into plant tissue  (Arregui et al., 2004). Reports from Germany of glyphosate in the urine of dairy cows (Kruger et al., 2013b), rabbits and humans (Kruger et al., 2014) ranged from 10-35 ppm. According to the study (Kruger, 2014, p. 212), “Chronically ill humans had significantly higher glyphosate residues in urine than healthy humans.” Furthermore, the cows were dissected and glyphosate residues in the tissues of the kidney, liver, lung, spleen, muscles and intestines were comparable to that found in the urine. This means that the glyphosate is not being passed through the urine without affecting the organism and that meat and dairy are an additional source of dietary glyphosate for humans.

Industry and lobbyists claim that GE crops reduce the amount of pesticides used on crops, resulting in a more sustainable agriculture. This has proved not to be the case. Since the introduction of GE seeds in 1996 the amount of glyphosate used on crops in the US has increased from 27 million pounds in 1996 to 250 million pounds in 2009 (US Geological Survey pesticide use maps, 2013). Charles Benbrook (2012) showed that there was a 527 million pound (239 million kilogram) increase in herbicide use in the United States between 1996 and 2011. Furthermore, Benbrook states that the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds has brought about substantial increases in the number and volume of herbicides applied. This has led to genetically engineered forms of corn and soybeans tolerant of 2,4-D, which he predicts will drive herbicide usage up by approximately 50% more.

In the US, glyphosate residues allowed in food are some of the highest in the world. In July of 2013 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, 2013) raised the maximum allowable residues of glyphosate. An abbreviated list is provided in Table 1 and Table 2.

Full Text: Journal of Organic Systems

In reality, nothing was intended to be decided during US President Barrack Obama’s visit to Beijing, China. US policy regarding China has been more or less set for decades and only superficial, rhetorical changes are made year-to-year for a variety of shorter-term political reasons. 

And despite the language used to market America’s foreign policy both at home and abroad, what US President Obama is bringing with him to Beijing is yet another attempt to reassert geopolitical, military, and economic hegemony over China not only directly, but within China’s growing sphere of influence in Asia.

This includes attempts to sell the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – which in reality has nothing to do with “partnership” at all and is merely an attempt to erase national sovereignty as an obstacle to Wall Street and London’s Fortune 500 and their desire to expand their markets into the heart of Asia. Though China is not included in the TPP, a similar bilateral deal is being proposed by the US to open up Chinese markets to these same Western monopolies. Additionally, US domination of Asian markets through the TPP’s implementation will compliment economically, the geopolitical and military encirclement the US is attempting to achieve against China.

The Brush Fires 

As Air Force One touched down in Beijing, the US State Department’s ongoing political subversion in China’s special administrative region of Hong Kong continued. With the leaders of the so-called “Occupy Central” movement fully outed both by critics and even by many supporters of the movement as US-backed, Beijing labors under no delusions regarding the true nature or intentions of the United States and its perception of where China falls within what Washington policymakers and pundits call their “international order.”

In addition to Hong Kong, there is the restive region of Xinjiang where the United States is openly backing militant separatists who have been carrying out progressively more violent and widespread attacks across not only the troubled western province, but across all of China.

Beyond Hong Kong and Xinjiang, there is also a general campaign headed by the US State Department and its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to sow chaos and sociopolitical division wherever and however it can across all of Chinese society – and within nations China is working hard to establish its influence economically, including across all of Southeast Asia.

Imagine a guest invited to one’s house, lighting the front lawn and backyard ablaze before crossing the threshold, and one begins to understand US foreign policy – a combination of threats, pressure, and “incentives” that constitute the now infamous “carrots and stick” policy the US has attempted to use against nations around the world.  One also begins to understand the infinite patience of China’s ruling political order as they host representatives from the West in Beijing in an attempt to avoid an escalating confrontation.

US Intent Versus Beijing Unchanged for a Century 

Despite US rhetoric of a “partnership” with China, it is clear by reading through decades of US policy papers regarding its intentions toward China that containment and eventually the co-opting of China’s political order is the only goal of everything the United States has been doing in the Pacific since the end of World War II. Before that, China served as a colonial enclave for the United States and many European interests. Today’s policy is little more than a polished version of the overt, racist imperialism that attempted to empty out China’s wealth and oppress its people before the outbreak of the World Wars.

During the Vietnam War, with the so-called “Pentagon Papers” released in 1969, it was revealed that the conflict was simply one part of a greater strategy aimed at containing and controlling China.

In 1997, US corporate-financier sponsored policymaker Robert Kagan would summarize US foreign policy versus China in a piece titled, “What China Knows That We Don’t: The Case for a New Strategy of Containment.” In title alone, America’s game of containment is revealed yet again.

The policy centers around the belief that there exists a “world order” which Kagan describes as follows:

The present world order serves the needs of the United States and its allies, which constructed it.

In 1997, Kagan appeared to believe this order was something immovable that China chaffed against. Today, we see a very different reality – a world order crumbling out from under the West’s ruling elite amid increasingly desperate attempts to reassert it where it has diminished or altogether vanished.

Kagan would define in detail, plans to contain China’s rise. Kagan would claim (emphasis added):

In truth, the debate over whether we should or should not contain China is a bit silly. We are already containing China — not always consciously and not entirely successfully, but enough to annoy Chinese leaders and be an obstacle to their ambitions. When the Chinese used military maneuvers and ballistic-missile tests last March to intimidate Taiwanese voters, the United States responded by sending the Seventh Fleet. By this show of force, the U.S. demonstrated to Taiwan, Japan, and the rest of our Asian allies that our role as their defender in the region had not diminished as much as they might have feared. Thus, in response to a single Chinese exercise of muscle, the links of containment became visible and were tightened.

The new China hands insist that the United States needs to explain to the Chinese that its goal is merely, as [Robert] Zoellick writes, to avoid “the domination of East Asia by any power or group of powers hostile to the United States.” Our treaties with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia, and our naval and military forces in the region, aim only at regional stability, not aggressive encirclement.

But the Chinese understand U.S. interests perfectly well, perhaps better than we do. While they welcome the U.S. presence as a check on Japan, the nation they fear most, they can see clearly that America’s military and diplomatic efforts in the region severely limit their own ability to become the region’s hegemon. According to Thomas J. Christensen, who spent several months interviewing Chinese military and civilian government analysts, Chinese leaders worry that they will “play Gulliver to Southeast Asia’s Lilliputians, with the United States supplying the rope and stakes.”

Indeed, the United States blocks Chinese ambitions merely by supporting what we like to call “international norms” of behavior. Christensen points out that Chinese strategic thinkers consider “complaints about China’s violations of international norms” to be part of “an integrated Western strategy, led by Washington, to prevent China from becoming a great power.

Kagan would also note (emphasis added):

The changes in the external and internal behavior of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s resulted at least in part from an American strategy that might be called “integration through containment and pressure for change.”

Such a strategy needs to be applied to China today. As long as China maintains its present form of government, it cannot be peacefully integrated into the international order. For China’s current leaders, it is too risky to play by our rules — yet our unwillingness to force them to play by our rules is too risky for the health of the international order. The United States cannot and should not be willing to upset the international order in the mistaken belief that accommodation is the best way to avoid a confrontation with China.

We should hold the line instead and work for political change in Beijing. That means strengthening our military capabilities in the region, improving our security ties with friends and allies, and making clear that we will respond, with force if necessary, when China uses military intimidation or aggression to achieve its regional ambitions. It also means not trading with the Chinese military or doing business with firms the military owns or operates. And it means imposing stiff sanctions when we catch China engaging in nuclear proliferation.

A successful containment strategy will require increasing, not decreasing, our overall defense capabilities. Eyre Crowe warned in 1907 that “the more we talk of the necessity of economising on our armaments, the more firmly will the Germans believe that we are tiring of the struggle, and that they will win by going on.” Today, the perception of our military decline is already shaping Chinese calculations. In 1992, an internal Chinese government document said that America’s “strength is in relative decline and that there are limits to what it can do.” This perception needs to be dispelled as quickly as possible.

obama_Xi_2014

 

Careful examination of this 1997 piece, representing a compilation of US foreign policy objectives regarding China, reveals that it not only was being implemented then, but the US is still attempting to implement it today.

Kagan would later end up a policy adviser to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who in late 2011 would pen an op-ed in Foreign Policy magazine titled, “America’s Pacific Century.” Despite being dressed up in diplomatic parlance, it is almost verbatim the same strategy of establishing regional hegemony in the Pacific and containing China described by Kagan over a decade beforehand. It includes overt admissions that the United States seeks to “play an active role in the agenda-setting” of regional institutions like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Since the US is not a Southeast Asian nation, one must question what legitimacy such a desire holds beyond consolidating a regional bloc, then using it as Kagan noted as “Lilliputians, with the United States supplying the rope and stakes.”

Neo-Imperialism Vs. Partnerships 

Ultimately, between Kagan’s 1997 analysis, US Secretary of State Clinton’s remarks in 2011 almost certainly ghostwritten by Kagan, and US President Obama’s agenda in Beijing this month with US-stoked chaos inflicting Hong Kong and Xinjiang among other places, it is clear the US is still pursuing an aggressive campaign of encirclement and containment versus Beijing.

The strategy versus China is multidimensional. It entails threats, political destabilization, and even armed terrorism within Chinese territory, as well as proxy wars around the planet designed to drive out Chinese interests – such as in Libya, Sudan, and Myanmar. There is also a push-pull strategy aimed at certain segments among China’s political and business elite. The West works ceaselessly to establish and cultivate institutions, networks, and agendas within China alongside certain Chinese interests, while it simultaneously works to undermine and uproot those Chinese interests that ultimately oppose Western hegemony both in Asia and within China itself.

The complexity of America’s current campaign of neo-colonization in the Asia-Pacific can be overwhelming, but with history as a guide, and consistency in US foreign policy papers transcending decades it should be clear that ultimately the US seeks to establish and maintain hegemony across Asia both directly and through a series of proxy regimes.

While the West will “partner” with those interests willing to put their own personal advancement ahead of China’s survival as a sovereign state, it is ultimately unable to enter any sort of “partnership” with China as a whole because it is unable to respect nations as equals. It is an exercise of the same racist, overtly imperial ambitions it pursued before the World Wars in Asia, and the same racist, overtly imperial ambitions the British Empire pursued before that.

China’s leadership, on the other hand, has exercised a resilient patience spanning decades and has exhibited a sociopolitical and cultural maturity unseen in Western foreign policy.

Moderation both domestically and abroad ensures enduring prosperity. Compared to the West’s limitless hunger for conquest – a hunger that has already outpaced its means – China needs only to wait and weather the West’s attempts to reassert itself in Asia, while sustainably advancing its own interests. Maturity includes temperance – an acknowledgment of limitations. While Beijing’s current political order is far from ideal, it understand that unlimited, unchecked greed and ambition may appear of maximum benefit to the individuals involved in the short-term, but is a death sentence for all involved in the long-term. Rampant corruption at home and overreaching ambitions abroad opens any given political order to predictable weaknesses that can invite disaster all on their own, or be exploited by enemies within and abroad.

Sustainably for China means not only resisting wasteful races with the West in response to geopolitical, military, and economic provocations, but also in terms of sabotaging the division the West is attempting to sow across Asia to build its united front to encircle and contain China. This can be done by ensuring not through words, but through actions, a commitment to the national sovereignty of its neighbors particularly in Southeast Asia, non-interventionism that will stand in stark contrast to the West’s perpetual meddling, and the continuation of infrastructure projects that provide mutual, tangible benefits politically and economically across the region.

In this regard, China already has a substantial head-start in a race it appears the United States is unaware even started. America’s brand of political meddling, economic manipulation, and “carrot and stick” geopolitics are the tired remnants of European imperialism. While not impossible for the US to retool its foreign policy, it is highly unlikely – and thus the inevitability of the West’s retreat from Asia is all but assured.

This may be why Beijing graciously allows the US to start fires upon its lawn before crossing the threshold for a visit – they know the US is a hegemon of diminishing menace.

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

China’s Renewable Energy Revolution: What Is Driving It?

November 17th, 2014 by John A. Mathews

Alongside its enormous “black” energy system, China is building a renewables energy system that is now the largest in the world. Following our previous articles on this topic in the Journal, we continue to report the latest trends in development of this renewables-based system, again focusing principally on the electric power system, and utilizing three sources of data from Chinese and international sources – capacity data (GW), electrical energy generation data (TWh) and investment data. We highlight that while the Chinese energy system as a whole is shifting in a green direction, at its leading edge (where new capacity is being added, and fresh electrical energy generated) it is turning green very rapidly. This provides a foundation for predicting future directions for the system as a whole, and eventual reductions in absolute carbon emissions. We note that China’s increasing reliance on renewables is consistent with a concern to enhance energy security, based on the observation that renewables are products of manufacturing rather than of extractive activities.

China is known as the world’s largest user and producer of coal, and the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This is China’s “black face”. But less well known is China’s “green face”: the country is building the world’s largest renewable energy system – which by 2013 stood at 378 GW and generated just over 1 trillion kilowatt hours, by far the largest in the world. In terms of generating capacity, by 2013 China’s WWS sources (water, wind and solar) accounted for more than 30% of capacity (exceeding the unofficial 2015 target of 30%) and in terms of electrical energy generated, the WWS total was close to 20% of energy generated — exceeding the combined total of electrical energy produced by the power systems of France and Germany.1 The question arises: what are the drivers and implications of this extraordinary commitment towards renewables?

China’s drive to create the world’s largest renewable energy system is widely recognized by specialists. Dr James Hansen, prominent climate scientist, in a posting in early 2014 asserts that “China is now leading the world in installation of new hydropower, wind, solar and nuclear electricity generation.”2

The most recent data for 2013 lends support to Dr Hansen’s assertion, as well as very new data for the first half of 2014. Three sources of data may be drawn on: installed capacity (measured in gigawatts of power); generation of electrical energy (measured in billion kWh or TWh), where different sources are utilized with different capacity factors; and investment data. Together, these sources provide a realistic and multi-faceted assessment of China’s renewable energy revolution, and the progress made in accomplishing the goals laid out in the 11th and most recent 12th Five-Year Plan (FYP) covering the years 2011 to 2015.

1) Installed capacity

In terms of installed capacity, China now has the largest electric power system in the world, rated at 1.25 trillion watts (TW), exceeding the US power system’s capacity at 1.16 TW (and German at 175 GW).3 Renewables (water, wind, solar) accounted for around 30% of China’s capacity by 2013, while fossil fuels, mainly coal, still accounted for 69% — it is still a very black system (Mathews & Tan 2014a).

The year 2001 was the inflection point – which coincides with China’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO). This signalled to the world that China was “open for business” and manufacturing started to migrate to China in a big way – calling for drastic expansion of the energy system. In the time-honored way, replicating the actions of the West in the 19th century and Japan in the 20th century, what was expanded initially was the coal-burning system.4

The leading edge in capacity expansion is demonstrably getting greener. In 2013 China added about 100 GW of new capacity, of which 58% came from renewable (hydro, wind, solar PV) sources and just less than 40% from thermal (mostly coal) sources. China also added just 2.2 GW nuclear capacity in 2013. So China added more capacity in 2013 sourced from WWS than from fossil fuels and nuclear sources combined.5 In 2014 1H these proportions have dipped slightly, with 20 GW being added from WWS and just 15 GW being added from fossil fuels (or 53% from WWS) – with WWS still a majority of the new capacity added.

2) Electricity generation

Installed capacity is one thing; actual electrical energy generated is another. By 2013 China was generating a total of 5,361 billion kWh (or TWh), including 4,196 TWh from thermal power stations and 1056 TWh – or just under 20% – from renewable WWS sources. If the share of WWS in electricity generation continues to increase with its average growth (about 5% per year) since 2007 when China adopted a lower carbon strategy, then WWS would account for more than 26% of the electricity generation mix by 2020.

In this case the leading edge is also getting greener. For the year 2013, of the additional electrical energy generated (according to the 2014 BP Statistical Review) year-on-year, amounting to 373 TWh, 280 TWh came from thermal sources and 82 TWh from WWS – or WWS amounting to 22% of new additional energy generated. This is a higher proportion for WWS in additional energy generated than in the system as a whole.

Now it is true that large hydro has been the dominant component of this WWS category, driven by huge projects like the Three Gorges Dam. Large hydro accounted for 912 TWh of renewable electrical energy generated in 2013, compared with 132 TWh for wind and 12 TWh for solar PV – but the latter two sources are increasing rapidly. Of the additional electrical energy generated from WWS sources in 2013, more than half came from wind and solar PV. [39.5 TWh for hydro; 35.9 TWh for wind; and 5.7 TWh for solar PV] Solar and wind power are widely anticipated to be the dominant (combined) renewable sources by 2020.

3) Investment

The most revealing sign of the renewable energy revolution is from the investment data. Since 2007 the share of investment in renewable electric generation has increased steadily, from 32% of the total in 2007, passing 50% in 2011 and reaching 52% in 2013. Adding the investment in nuclear power, the proportion of investment in all non-fossil fuel-based electric generation increased from 37% in 2007 to 75% in 2013 while investment in thermal power plants declined from 62% to 25%. Here too then investment in green sources consistently outranks investment in fossil fuels and nuclear.

Thus our conclusion is that in 2013, China’s leading edge of change in its electric power system is moving in a green direction, away from fossil fuels dependence. We have demonstrated that this is so in terms of capacity added and in terms of investment, while in terms of generation of electrical energy the new WWS sources account for a higher proportion of new energy generated than for the system as a whole. Our argument is that these leading edge changes are consistent with trends towards renewables that are visible over several years, as shown in the Supplementary material, and place China in a leadership position. What we are demonstrating is that China’s ambitious goals to build a “green” renewables-based energy system alongside its “black” coal-fired system over the course of the 12th FYP is on track; indeed it is exceeding expectations.6 The most recent target from the National Development and Reform Commission (ND&RC) issued in March 2014, namely that China should have reduced the share of coal in total energy consumption to less than 65% by 2017, is likely to be fulfilled.7

“Leading edge” versus total system change

We emphasize that we are making a clear distinction between the state of China’s total energy system (in particular the electric power system) and its leading edge of change, as captured in the 2013 full-year data. China’s is a very large electric power system – as noted, now larger than that of the US. In terms of the slow-moving total system, China now has around 20% of its total electrical energy generated sourced from renewables, while around 30% of its generating capacity is built on renewables. (The difference is due to the lower capacity factors of renewable generating sources – themselves improving year by year.) The leading edge is clearly greener than the total system, which is why we can predict the direction of change of the total system as moving towards greater reliance on renewables.

The sources that are most widely discussed are wind power and nuclear. In terms of capacity, wind overtook nuclear by 2008, and by 2013 had grown to 91 GW, compared with less than 15 GW for nuclear – so that wind capacity exceeded nuclear capacity sixfold. In terms of actual electrical energy generated, wind drew level with nuclear in 2012, and has remained ahead as the preferred source since then (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Electricity generation: Wind power vs. nuclear in China Source of primary data: the electricity generation data for wind and nuclear and the capacity data for wind is available from the 2014 BP Statistical Review of World Energy; the capacity data up for nuclear up to 2011 are available from the EIA International Energy Statistics database.

 

What are the likely future trends of these two sources? China is allowing the construction of four AP-1000 nuclear reactors by Westinghouse, with the first due to come on-line in 2014 and all four expected to be operational by 2016. The ND&RC envisages a target for growth in nuclear capacity to reach 50 GW by 2017 (generating 280 TWh), by which time wind plus solar are targeted to reach 220 GW. By 2017 the ND&RC expects China to have built 150 GW of capacity in wind power. How much electrical energy is this likely to generate? If we take the historic capacity factor of 20%, this would be expected to generate 255 TWh. But if we take the recently completed Salkhit wind farm in Mongolia as best practice example (50 MW, construction cost $120 million, output 168.5 GWh or capacity factor of 40%) then the 150 GW by 2020 should be adding 500 TWh of electricity in a year – around a fifth of China’s current needs. If we take the mean between these two extremes, and assume a capacity factor of 30% for wind, then the 150 GW target should be generating 375 TWh of electrical energy – comfortably exceeding the amount expected from nuclear. These are the trends in China.

Based on China’s abundant wind power resources, McElroy et al (2009) projected that China could build 640 GW of wind power by 2030. This is entirely consistent with recent trends, which have seen a doubling of capacity every two years, and with an anticipated target of 300 GW by 2020. Thus, while we agree with Dr Hansen’s assertion that China is building the world’s largest low-carbon energy system, it is difficult to agree with his follow-up assertion that China can only continue to do this by relying on nuclear power.8 On the contrary, China appears to be banking on a variety of low-carbon sources for its energy revolution – with the capacity to build a system based on manufacturing that can scale to grow with the country’s expanding economy, without impinging too aggressively on other countries’ fossil fuel resources.

What are the implications?

The common assumption is that it is concern over climate change (global warming) that drives China’s shift to renewables. Carbon emissions are certainly a topic of great concern to the Chinese leadership, as well they should; statements going back to 2009 and the Copenhagen conference indicate that by 2020 China is aiming to reduce carbon emissions as a proportion of GDP (carbon intensity) by 45% from 2005 levels. Our calculations shown in Fig. 2 reveal that this appears to be a realistic target.

Figure 2. China’s declining carbon emission intensity with target set for 2020 Sources of primary data: Carbon intensity data up to 2010 is available from US EIA; carbon intensity figures in 2012 and 2013 are estimated by authors based on the real GDP growth data available from Euromonitor and the carbon emissions data from BP 2014Statistical Review.

Important as this motive of reduced carbon intensity might be, we believe it is the least likely of the explanations for China’s shift. We believe the more plausible explanation for China’s new trajectory – and for the determination with which it is being pursued – is energy security (Mathews & Tan, 2014b).

All countries face a choice between, on the one hand, continued reliance on fossil fuels, with their geopolitical implications, including threat of military entanglements, and on the other an increasing reliance on renewables, which are based on manufacturing activities. So long as China is able to tap renewable sources of energy for manufactured devices to work on (solar and wind energy) it appears that it would be able to generate superior energy security through renewables than it would through continuing (or deepening) its reliance on fossil fuels. This appears to be well understood by the Chinese leadership. It is also reflected in China’s broader goals to reduce dependence on fossil fuels (particularly oil) in the transport sector, by increasing reliance on high-speed rail systems (where China leads the world) and on electric vehicles, including the charging infrastructure for EVs. These are seen as highest priority national infrastructure goals in China.

The other motivator for China’s push towards renewables is of course the scandal of the smog-blackened skies that are making the air unbreathable and life unliveable in the major cities. Scarcely a week goes by without some new story of terrible air pollution in Beijing, or Shanghai or Tianjin or some other major industrial centre. The Chinese leadership have to breathe the same air – at least up to a point. And this is clearly a powerful motivator in the drive to develop an energy system that is becoming less reliant on ‘black’ fossil fuels and more on ‘green’ renewables.9 It is notable that in 2013 China enacted several moves to cap coal consumption, particularly in coastal cities and in Beijing. The ND&RC policy noted above has banned construction of new coal-fired power stations in China’s most advanced regions including the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, and Beijing and its surrounding areas; a decline of the total coal consumption by 2017 is required as a performance indicator of the local governments in those areas.10

Manufacturing is the platform upon which China’s shift towards low-carbon sources of energy (and renewables in particular) is based, which in turn provides a platform for reducing costs due to learning curve effects. While the US is swinging behind an “energy revolution” based on alternative fossil fuels (shale oil, coal seam gas), China is clearly shifting towards greater independence of extractive activities and greater reliance on manufacturing for its growing appetite for power supplies.11 Manufacturing generates increasing returns, and can be expanded almost indefinitely – particularly if it works off recirculated materials, consistent with China’s goal of building a Circular Economy. By contrast, extractive activities are faced with eventual diminishing returns. This is why China’s swing towards renewables is good for China, and for the world.

John A. Mathews is Professor of Management, Macquarie University, Australia, and Eni Chair of Competitive Dynamics and Global Strategy at LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome. His research focuses on the competitive dynamics of international business, the evolution of technologies and their strategic management, and the rise of new high technology industries. He researches the development of the institutional capacities of firms and governments in the Asia-Pacific, internationalisation processes of firms and the theoretical explanations for latecomer firms’ success. His work has focused in recent years on the emergence of the ‘green economy’ and the transition to renewable energies, and the institutional changes needed to provide industrial capitalism with genuine long-term sustainability. He is the author of Strategizing, Disequilibrium, and Profit. Recent articles include “Knowledge flows in the solar photovoltaic industry: insights from patenting by Taiwan, Korea, and China,” (with C.Y. Wu) Research Policy, 2012, 41(3); and “Fast-follower industrial dynamics : the case of Taiwan’s emergent solar photovoltaic industry,” (with M.C. Hu and C.Y. Wu) Industry and Innovation, 2011, 18(2), 177-202. Email [email protected]

Hao Tan is a Senior Lecturer in International Business at the Newcastle Business School, University of Newcastle, Australia. He also serves as a Convenor for the Master of International Business Program. Dr. Tan’s current research interests are in the interplays of international business strategy, innovation and economic geography, with a focus on the energy, resource and renewable energy sectors. Since 2009 he has published over 20 scholarly journal articles and book chapters. Email [email protected]

Their article “Economics: Manufacture renewables to build energy security,” appears in Nature, Vol 513, Issue 7517, 10 September 2014; their article “The Transformation of the Electric Power Industry in China” appears in Energy Policy, Vol. 52, January 2013.  

Recommended citation: John A. Mathews and Hao Tan, “China’s renewable energy revolution: what is driving it?”, The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 43, No. 3, November 3, 2014.

References

Hong, L., Zhou, N., Fridley, D. and Raczkowski, C. 2013. Assessment of China’s renewable energy contribution during the 12th Five Year Plan, Energy Policy, 62: 1533-1543.

McElroy, M.B., Lu, X., Nielsen, C.P. and Wang, Y. 2009. Potential for wind-generated electricity in China, Science, 325 (11 Sep 2009): 11378-1380.

Malakoff, D. 2014. The gas surge, Science, 344 (6191) (27 June 2014): 1464-1467.

Mathews, J. A. and Tan, H. 2014a. China’s Continuing Renewable Energy Revolution: Global Implications, The Asia-Pacific Journal, 12(12).

Mathews, J. A. and Tan, H. 2014b. Manufacture renewables to build energy security. Nature, 513 (11): 166-168.

Yuan, J., Xu, Y., Zhang, X., Hu, Z. and Xu, M. 2014. China’s 2020 clean energy target: Consistency, pathways and policy implications, Energy Policy, 65: 692-700.

Notes

1 In 2013 China produced 1056 billion kWh of renewable electrical energy, from hydro, wind and solar PV sources. In the same year Germany produced 579 billion kWh from all sources, and France produced 476 billion kWh from thermal and nuclear sources – giving total electrical energy produced in France and Germany of 1055 billion kWh, or what China produced from renewables alone.

2 See James Hansen, “Renewable energy, nuclear power and Galileo: Do scientists have a duty to expose popular misconceptions?”, 21 February 2014, here.

3 It is worth noting that US data is for “net” electrical energy generated, while for China it is “gross” energy generated. The difference is minor, amounting to around 5%; in any case thermal power stations use more electrical power (to load fuel supplies, remove ash and monitor operations) than renewables devices.

4 Note that the Chinese leadership appears to have “capped” the expansion of coal consumption at 3.5 Gt – with important implications for carbon emissions.

5 See also Mathews & Tan (2014a).

6 For recent scholarly discussion of China’s progress in the energy sphere, see Hong et al (2013) and Yuan et al (2014).

7 See the statement (in Chinese) here.

8 In his 2014 testimony to Congress, “Climate and Energy: Fundamental facts, responsibilities and opportunities,” Dr Hansen asserts: “Non-hydro renewables provide only a tiny fraction of global energy and do not appear capable of satisfying the large energy requirements of developing nations such as China and India.” See James Hansen, Testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 13 March 2014, here.

9 Christina Larson was certainly on the mark with her comment on the paradox of China’s “green energy and black skies”.

10 See “Beijing to ban coal use to curb pollution” (5 August 2014), here.

11 In the US, dependence on fossil fuels is being prolonged by the revolution in alternative fuels production, particularly coal seam gas and shale oil (Malakoff 2014). Overall, US generation of electrical energy from WWS sources has grown from 7.1% in 2003 to 10.6% in 2013, in a fairly even progression (Fig. A2 in Supplementary material). The shift to dependence on renewables has been much more pronounced in China.

It may well have been one of the more successful operations of silencing in Australia’s political history, a classic of “strategic incapacitation”, but the G20 summit could not contain the crass behaviour of its hosts.  Journalists and state representatives were treated to a spectacle of prosaic complaint, the cringe whinge fest that ranged between the puzzling and bizarre.

The chair of any summit, or session, sets the tone, even if it might be distant and hollow.  The opening speech of the Australian Prime Minister , Tony Abbott, made it plummet.  “What was he thinking?” asked Mike Reddy in a letter to The Age. “Did he expect a standing ovation from the other 19 leaders for stopping the boats and repealing the carbon tax?  Did he expect Barack Obama, who has struggled with an obstructionist Congress for six years, to a tear because he can’t get all is budget through the Senate?”[1]

Abbott did try to add salve to the wounds in winding up matters, suggesting that the G20 leaders had achieved something, even if it was a mere communiqué.  Over 800 reform measures were suggested, among them the establishment of a Global Infrastructure Initiative and pushing up participation rates of females in the workforce by 25 percent by 2025.

Tax evasion was also covered, with a proposal to prevent the use of anonymous shell companies to facilitate evading financial flows.  How this will be practically addressed is quite another matter.  (Governments and corporations, in this day and age, may be erratic bed mates, but they still remain bed mates.)  Naïve commentators ran with the lotus eating sentiment, suggesting that the communiqué spells an end to the prospects of another “Lux leaks” scandal.[2]  But the unilateral incentive remains too strong.

Then come the climate change pointers the Australian hosts were dreading: the enhancement of fuel quality, the reduction of carbon emissions from heavy-duty vehicles; healthier additions to the Green Climate Fund.  Abbott, finding himself cornered, could only speak about all countries wanting “to take strong and effective action against climate change”, achieved in ways “which build our growth and particularly strengthen our employment because that in the end is what it’s all about.”

There in lies a fundamental problem.  Growth has been the mania for most of the leaders gathered in Brisbane. But the convenient linking of climate change to the fetish for growth denies a fundamental contradiction.  In the words of Christopher Wright, “Economic growth, rising affluence and a growing world population are the major contributors to the current environmental crisis.”[3]

For all these monumental cleavages in the debates and the aspirations, it was perhaps fitting that these should be demonstrated with some vulgarity in the antipodes.  “The adolescent country.  The bit player. The shrimp in the school yard,” noted Robyn Dixon of the Los Angeles Times.[4]

Australia’s distance from the big game has not always been tyrannous. Prior to the dark depressions brought on by its calamitous involvement in the First World War, Australia proved more than a bit player in the progressive stakes.  In 1902, Australia became the second country after New Zealand to enfranchise women.  The country’s labour movement proved sprightly and enthusiastic in its campaign for Robert Owen’s vision of “Eight hours’ labour, Eight hours’ recreation, Eight hours’ rest”, making considerable gains throughout the nineteenth century.

Then came the ill-health that distance can breed.  Such sentiment oscillates between megalomania and indifference.  Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald got it down pat – the pathology of parochialism that screams across summit and meeting has become the modus operandi. It is a “provincial reflex” that hampers the making of policy. But Hartcher is also unduly glowing about the transformation of Australia’s bumpkin Weltanshauung as seen through the current prime minister.  “In the course of a year, Abbott has been transformed.  His provincial reflex has been replaced by an international inclination.”

Not quite, as the G20 antics have served to prove. Why push the constipated lament before fellow G20 leaders that he could not get efforts to make Australians pay $7 to see a doctor for each visit?  In the words of opposition leader Bill Shorten, “This was Tony Abbott’s moment in front of the most important and influential leaders in the world, and he’s whinging that Australians don’t want his GP tax.”

The maxim of “all politics is local” has seemed awkward and spiked with mediocrity.  Loftiness is avoided for mud ground pronouncements.  “The party room,” noted a pessimistic Nick Bryant in a Lowy Institute dispatch, “has trumped the halls of international summitry.”  So much so, in fact, that national priorities are determined by “the latest polling from the western suburbs of Sydney” rather than “diplomatic dispatches from Washington or Beijing.”[5]

Perhaps some of this is far more representative that we would wish. The G20 summits tend to be promoted as worthy gatherings that aspire to stratospheric goals with global scope.  They are the chatterer’s dream.  But Abbott’s behaviour has also shown that behind every grand hope for global worth lies a local provincial waiting to get out.  The globe is mere fantasy, while the locality of here and now matters above all, notably in terms of votes.  The shallowness of profligate junketing is all too evident, and continues to prove punishing for public treasuries.

The obvious point on the communiqué is that each country will, in its own way, take the parochial plunge on various points.  Some of the leaders will have no choice.  The vice of domestic politics can prove strong, restraining an ambitious executive.  The parochial plunge, however, comes easier to some.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected]

Notes

The Iraqi forces have found out that the US aircraft usually airdrop arms and food cargoes for ISIL militants who collect them on the ground, Asia news agency quoted Iraqi army’s intelligence officers as saying.

“The Iraqi intelligence sources reiterated that the US military planes have airdropped several aid cargoes for ISIL terrorists to help them resist the siege laid by the Iraqi army, security and popular forces,” added the report.

On Saturday, Iraqi security sources disclosed that the ISIL terrorist group is using the state-of-the-art weapons which are only manufactured by the US and each of their bullets are worth thousands of dollars.

“What is important is that the US sends these weapons to only those that cooperate with the Pentagon and this indicates that the US plays a role in arming the ISIL,” an Iraqi security source told FNA.

The source noted that the most important advantage of the US-made weapons used by the ISIL is that “these bullets pierce armored vehicles and kill the people inside the vehicle”.

He said each of such bullets is worth $2,000, and added, “These weapons have killed many Iraqi military and volunteer forces so far.”

The crisis in Iraq escalated after the ISIL militants took control of Mosul in a lightning advance on June 10, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) Northwest of the capital, Baghdad.

Soldiers of the Iraqi army, popular forces and Kurdish Peshmarga troops have been engaged in heavy fighting with the militants on different fronts and have so far been able to push them back in several areas.

With the launch of a new U.S.-led war in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State (IS), the United States has engaged in aggressive military action in at least 13 countries in the Greater Middle East since 1980. In that time, every American president has invaded, occupied, bombed, or gone to war in at least one country in the region. The total number of invasions, occupations, bombing operations, drone assassination campaigns, and cruise missile attacks easily runs into the dozens.

As in prior military operations in the Greater Middle East, U.S. forces fighting IS have been aided by access to and the use of an unprecedented collection of military bases. They occupy a region sitting atop the world’s largest concentration of oil and natural gas reserves and has long been considered the most geopolitically important place on the planet. Indeed, since 1980, the U.S. military has gradually garrisoned the Greater Middle East in a fashion only rivaled by the Cold War garrisoning of Western Europe or, in terms of concentration, by the bases built to wage past wars in Korea and Vietnam.

In the Persian Gulf alone, the U.S. has major bases in every country save Iran. There is an increasingly important, increasingly large base in Djibouti, just miles across the Red Sea from the Arabian Peninsula. There are bases in Pakistan on one end of the region and in the Balkans on the other, as well as on the strategically located Indian Ocean islands of Diego Garcia and the Seychelles. In Afghanistan and Iraq, there were once as many as 800 and 505bases, respectively. Recently, the Obama administration inked an agreement with new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to maintain around 10,000 troops and at least nine major bases in his country beyond the official end of combat operations later this year. U.S. forces, which never fully departed Iraq after 2011, are now returning to a growing number of bases there in ever larger numbers.

In short, there is almost no way to overemphasize how thoroughly the U.S. military now covers the region with bases and troops. This infrastructure of war has been in place for so long and is so taken for granted that Americans rarely think about it and journalists almost never report on the subject. Members of Congress spend billions of dollars on base construction and maintenance every year in the region, but ask few questions about where the money is going, why there are so many bases, and what role they really serve. By one estimate, the United States has spent $10 trillion protecting Persian Gulf oil supplies over the past four decades.

Approaching its 35th anniversary, the strategy of maintaining such a structure of garrisons, troops, planes, and ships in the Middle East has been one of the great disasters in the history of American foreign policy. The rapid disappearance of debate about our newest, possibly illegal war should remind us of just how easy this huge infrastructure of bases has made it for anyone in the Oval Office to launch a war that seems guaranteed, like its predecessors, to set off new cycles of blowback and yet more war.

On their own, the existence of these bases has helped generate radicalism and anti-American sentiment. As was famously the case with Osama bin Laden and U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, bases have fueled militancy, as well as attacks on the United States and its citizens. They have cost taxpayers billions of dollars, even though they are not, in fact, necessary to ensure the free flow of oil globally. They have diverted tax dollars from the possible development of alternative energy sources and meeting other critical domestic needs. And they have supported dictators and repressive, undemocratic regimes, helping to block the spread of democracy in a region long controlled by colonial rulers and autocrats.

After 35 years of base-building in the region, it’s long past time to look carefully at the effects Washington’s garrisoning of the Greater Middle East has had on the region, the U.S., and the world.

“Vast Oil Reserves” 

While the Middle Eastern base buildup began in earnest in 1980, Washington had long attempted to use military force to control this swath of resource-rich Eurasia and, with it, the global economy. Since World War II, as the late Chalmers Johnson, an expert on U.S. basing strategy, explained back in 2004, “the United States has been inexorably acquiring permanent military enclaves whose sole purpose appears to be the domination of one of the most strategically important areas of the world.”

In 1945, after Germany’s defeat, the secretaries of War, State, and the Navy tellingly pushed for the completion of a partially built base in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, despite the military’s determination that it was unnecessary for the war against Japan. “Immediate construction of this [air] field,” they argued, “would be a strong showing of American interest in Saudi Arabia and thus tend to strengthen the political integrity of that country where vast oil reserves now are in American hands.”

By 1949, the Pentagon had established a small, permanent Middle East naval force (MIDEASTFOR) in Bahrain. In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy’s administration began the first buildup of naval forces in the Indian Ocean just off the Persian Gulf. Within a decade, the Navy had created the foundations for what would become the first major U.S. base in the region — on the British-controlled island of Diego Garcia.

In these early Cold War years, though, Washington generally sought to increase its influence in the Middle East by backing and arming regional powers like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Iran under the Shah, and Israel. However, within months of the Soviet Union’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan and Iran’s 1979 revolution overthrowing the Shah, this relatively hands-off approach was no more.

Base Buildup 

In January 1980, President Jimmy Carter announced a fateful transformation of U.S. policy. It would become known as the Carter Doctrine. In his State of the Union address, he warned of the potential loss of a region “containing more than two-thirds of the world’s exportable oil” and “now threatened by Soviet troops” in Afghanistan who posed “a grave threat to the free movement of Middle East oil.”

Carter warned that “an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America.” And he added pointedly, “Such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

With these words, Carter launched one of the greatest base construction efforts in history. He and his successor Ronald Reagan presided over the expansion of bases in Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the region to host a “Rapid Deployment Force,” which was to stand permanent guard over Middle Eastern petroleum supplies. The air and naval base on Diego Garcia, in particular, was expanded at a quicker rate than any base since the war in Vietnam. By 1986, more than $500 million had been invested. Before long, the total ran into the billions.

Soon enough, that Rapid Deployment Force grew into the U.S. Central Command, which has now overseen three wars in Iraq (1991-2003, 2003-2011, 2014-); the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan (2001-); intervention in Lebanon (1982-1984); a series of smaller-scale attacks on Libya (1981, 1986, 1989, 2011); Afghanistan (1998) and Sudan (1998); and the “tanker war” with Iran (1987-1988), which led to the accidental downing of an Iranian civilian airliner, killing 290 passengers. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan during the 1980s, the CIA helped fund and orchestrate a majorcovert war against the Soviet Union by backing Osama Bin Laden and other extremist mujahidin. The command has also played a role in the drone war in Yemen (2002-) and bothovert and covert warfare in Somalia (1992-1994, 2001-).

During and after the first Gulf War of 1991, the Pentagon dramatically expanded its presence in the region. Hundreds of thousands of troops were deployed to Saudi Arabia in preparation for the war against Iraqi autocrat and former ally Saddam Hussein. In that war’s aftermath, thousands of troops and a significantly expanded base infrastructure were left in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Elsewhere in the Gulf, the military expanded its naval presence at a former British base in Bahrain, housing its Fifth Fleet there. Major air power installations were built in Qatar, and U.S. operations were expanded in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.

The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and of Iraq in 2003, and the subsequent occupations of both countries, led to a more dramatic expansion of bases in the region. By the height of the wars, there were well over 1,000 U.S. checkpoints, outposts, and major bases in the two countries alone. The military also built new bases in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan (since closed),explored the possibility of doing so in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, and, at the very least, continues to use several Central Asian countries as logistical pipelines to supply troops in Afghanistan and orchestrate the current partial withdrawal.

While the Obama administration failed to keep 58 “enduring” bases in Iraq after the 2011 U.S. withdrawal, it has signed an agreement with Afghanistan permitting U.S. troops to stay in the country until 2024 and maintain access to Bagram Air Base and at least eight more major installations.

An Infrastructure for War

Even without a large permanent infrastructure of bases in Iraq, the U.S. military has had plenty of options when it comes to waging its new war against IS. In that country alone, a significant U.S. presence remained after the 2011 withdrawal in the form of base-like State Department installations, as well as the largest embassy on the planet in Baghdad, and a large contingent of private military contractors. Since the start of the new war, at least 1,600 troops have returned and are operating from a Joint Operations Center in Baghdad and a base in Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital, Erbil. Last week, the White House announced that it would request $5.6 billion from Congress to send an additional 1,500 advisers and other personnel to at least two new bases in Baghdad and Anbar Province. Special operations and other forces are almost certainly operating from yet more undisclosed locations.

At least as important are major installations like the Combined Air Operations Center at Qatar’s al-Udeid Air Base. Before 2003, the Central Command’s air operations center for the entire Middle East was in Saudi Arabia. That year, the Pentagon moved the center to Qatar and officially withdrew combat forces from Saudi Arabia. That was in response to the 1996 bombing of the military’s Khobar Towers complex in the kingdom, other al-Qaeda attacks in the region, and mounting anger exploited by al-Qaeda over the presence of non-Muslim troops in the Muslim holy land. Al-Udeid now hosts a 15,000-foot runway, large munitions stocks, and around 9,000 troops and contractors who are coordinating much of the new war in Iraq and Syria.

Kuwait has been an equally important hub for Washington’s operations since U.S. troops occupied the country during the first Gulf War. Kuwait served as the main staging area and logistical center for ground troops in the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. There are still an estimated 15,000 troops in Kuwait, and the U.S. military is reportedly bombing Islamic State positions using aircraft from Kuwait’s Ali al-Salem Air Base.

As a transparently promotional article in the Washington Postconfirmed this week, al-Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates has launched more attack aircraft in the present bombing campaign than any other base in the region. That country hosts about 3,500 troops at al-Dhafra alone, as well as the Navy’s busiest overseas port.  B-1, B-2, and B-52 long-range bombers stationed on Diego Garcia helped launch both Gulf Wars and the war in Afghanistan. That island base is likely playing a role in the new war as well. Near the Iraqi border, around 1,000 U.S. troops and F-16 fighter jets are operating from at least one Jordanian base. According to the Pentagon’s latest count, the U.S. military has 17 bases in Turkey. While the Turkish government has placed restrictions on their use, at the very least some are being used to launch surveillance drones over Syria and Iraq. Up to seven bases in Oman may also be in use.

Bahrain is now the headquarters for the Navy’s entire Middle Eastern operations, including the Fifth Fleet, generally assigned to ensure the free flow of oil and other resources though the Persian Gulf and surrounding waterways. There is always at least one aircraft carrier strike group — effectively, a massive floating base — in the Persian Gulf. At the moment, theU.S.S. Carl Vinson is stationed there, a critical launch pad for the air campaign against the Islamic State. Other naval vessels operating in the Gulf and the Red Sea have launched cruise missiles into Iraq and Syria. The Navy even has access to an “afloat forward-staging base” that serves as a “lilypad” base for helicopters and patrol craft in the region.

In Israel, there are as many as six secret U.S. bases that can be used to preposition weaponry and equipment for quick use anywhere in the area. There’s also a “de facto U.S. base” for the Navy’s Mediterranean fleet. And it’s suspected that there are two other secretive sites in use as well. In Egypt, U.S. troops have maintained at least two installations and occupied at least two bases on the Sinai Peninsula since 1982 as part of a Camp David Accords peacekeeping operation.

Elsewhere in the region, the military has established a collection of at least five drone bases in Pakistan; expanded a critical base in Djibouti at the strategic chokepoint between the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean; created or gained access to bases in EthiopiaKenya, and the Seychelles; and set up new bases in Bulgaria and Romania to go with a Clinton administration-era base in Kosovo along the western edge of the gas-rich Black Sea.

Even in Saudi Arabia, despite the public withdrawal, a small U.S. military contingent has remained to train Saudi personnel and keep bases “warm” as potential backups for unexpected conflagrations in the region or, assumedly, in the kingdom itself. In recent years, the military has even established a secret drone base in the country, despite the blowback Washington hasexperienced from its previous Saudi basing ventures.

Dictators, Death, and Disaster

The ongoing U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia, however modest, should remind us of the dangers of maintaining bases in the region. The garrisoning of the Muslim holy land was a major recruiting tool for al-Qaeda and part of Osama bin Laden’s professed motivation for the 9/11 attacks. (He called the presence of U.S. troops, “the greatest of these aggressions incurred by the Muslims since the death of the prophet.”) Indeed, U.S. bases and troops in the Middle East have been a “major catalyst for anti-Americanism and radicalization” since a suicide bombing killed 241 marines in Lebanon in 1983. Other attacks have come in Saudi Arabia in 1996, Yemen in 2000 against the U.S.S. Cole, and during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Research has shown a strong correlation between a U.S. basing presence and al-Qaeda recruitment.

Part of the anti-American anger has stemmed from the support U.S. bases offer to repressive, undemocratic regimes. Few of the countries in the Greater Middle East are fully democratic, and some are among the world’s worst human rights abusers. Most notably, the U.S. government has offered onlytepid criticism of the Bahraini government as it has violently cracked downon pro-democracy protestors with the help of the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Beyond Bahrain, U.S. bases are found in a string of what the Economist Democracy Index calls “authoritarian regimes,” including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Yemen. Maintaining bases in such countries props upautocrats and other repressive governments, makes the United States complicit in their crimes, and seriously undermines efforts to spread democracy and improve the wellbeing of people around the world.

Of course, using bases to launch wars and other kinds of interventions does much the same, generating anger, antagonism, and anti-American attacks. A recent U.N. report suggests that Washington’s air campaign against the Islamic State had led foreign militants to join the movement on “an unprecedented scale.”

And so the cycle of warfare that started in 1980 is likely to continue. “Even if U.S. and allied forces succeed in routing this militant group,” retired Army colonel and political scientist Andrew Bacevich writes of the Islamic State, “there is little reason to expect” a positive outcome in the region. As Bin Laden and the Afghan mujahidin morphed into al-Qaeda and the Taliban and as former Iraqi Baathists and al-Qaeda followers in Iraq morphed into IS, “there is,” as Bacevich says, “always another Islamic State waiting in the wings.”

The Carter Doctrine’s bases and military buildup strategy and its belief that “the skillful application of U.S. military might” can secure oil supplies and solve the region’s problems was, he adds, “flawed from the outset.” Rather than providing security, the infrastructure of bases in the Greater Middle East has made it ever easier to go to war far from home. It has enabled wars of choice and an interventionist foreign policy that has resulted in repeateddisasters for the region, the United States, and the world. Since 2001 alone, U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Yemen have minimally caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and possibly more than one million deaths in Iraq alone.

The sad irony is that any legitimate desire to maintain the free flow of regional oil to the global economy could be sustained through other far less expensive and deadly means. Maintaining scores of bases costing billions of dollars a year is unnecessary to protect oil supplies and ensure regional peace — especially in an era in which the United States gets only around 10% of its net oil and natural gas from the region. In addition to the direct damage our military spending has caused, it has diverted money and attention from developing the kinds of alternative energy sources that could free the United States and the world from a dependence on Middle Eastern oil — and from the cycle of war that our military bases have fed.

David Vine,TomDispatch regular, is associate professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia. He has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, andMother Jones, among other publications. His new book, Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, will appear in 2015 as part of the American Empire Project (Metropolitan Books). For more of his writing, visit www.davidvine.net.

 

Roundup Is Dumped On Crops Right BEFORE Harvest … to Save a Buck

Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (technically known as “glyphosate”) has been linked to many diseases.

However, farmers appear to be dumping it on crops right before harvest.

Specifically, Monsanto International published a paper in 2010 touting the application of Roundup to kill crops right before harvest, in order to dry out the crops in advance and produce a more uniform and earlier harvest (starting on page 28):

Benefits of using glyphosate:

***

Uneven maturity and green tissue delays harvest. Spraying glyphosate desiccates green foliage & stems. The photograph (below left) shows the uniform dessication of sunflower by the use of glyphosate (Roundup Bioaktiv) applied by helicopter in Hungary (Czepó, 2009a). The photograph (below right) shows complete foliar desiccation of grain maize on the right side 14 days after application of glyphosate (Roundup Bioaktiv) at 0.54kg ae/ ha in 7 0L/ ha applied by helicopter using Reglojet nozzles and including Bandrift Plus at 0.1 % at 34% grain moisture in Hungary, with the untreated visible on the left-hand side.

Lower drying costs

Monsanto trials in Hungary on grain maize and sunflower clearly show the effect of the use of glyphosate on % grain moisture ….

At harvest glyphosate treated maize had moisture content some 4% lower than untreated maize. Glyphosate treated sunflower seed moisture was 10+°/0 lower than untreated sunflower. Treated grain was at 19 and 7% respectively in these trials.

The requirement to further dry the seed/ grain to 14-16% for stable storage of maize, or 8-10% for sunflower, was thus either reduced or eliminated.

***

Earlier harvest to get higher price

Harvest management is an important management technique enabling earlier harvest, particularly important for the ‘stay-green’ hybrids. Increased levels of ‘stay-green’ trait may result in such desiccation practice becoming ever more common in sunflowers (Larson et al, 2008). Some commercial trials on grain maize in Hungary, as above, commented on earlier harvest bringing a higher price. Work on sunflower in by North Dakota State University department of Plant Science show that glyphosate brought harvest earlier by 5-10 days (Howatt, 2007). Sunflower harvest was brought forward 2-3 weeks by glyphosate treatment in Hungary (Monsanto, 2009a).

***

By bringing harvest date forward 2-3 weeks growers can more often meet the optimum planting date for winter wheat establishment so maximising yield (Czepó, 2009b).

Given that enough Roundup is applied to full-grown plants to completely kill them, much higher quantities of Roundup are obviously being applied than would be required simply to keep away insects (while keeping the plants alive).

Similarly, the plants don’t have time to metabolize or otherwise get rid of the Roundup, and there is not time for rains to wash away the Roundup before harvest. Instead, Roundup is dumped on the plants to dry them out, and then they are immediately harvested … with high levels of Roundup still present.

Big agribusiness may save a buck … but we may all be paying with our health.

H/t Dr. Stephanie Seneff.

We are joined by Dr. Graeme MacQueen, co-editor of The Journal of 9/11 Studies, for an in-depth discussion on his important new book, The 2001 Anthrax Deception : The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy.

Shortly after 9/11, the US was once again gripped by fear as letters containing anthrax were sent through the post to news media offices and two US Senators, killing five and infecting perhaps dozens of others. Initially widely blamed on Al Qaeda and Iraq, the attacks were used to justify and accelerate the USA PATRIOT Act. But as evidence grew that the anthrax spores had originated in laboratories embedded in the US military-industrial complex, attention was diverted to looking for the “lone nut”, a quest that ended with a convenient suicide.

But what, asks Dr. MacQueen, should we conclude from all the “intelligence” that supposedly pointed towards Al Qaeda and Iraq in the first place? Was it all error? Or was it, as he persuasively argues, a nexus of “faulty” intelligence, “prescient” media reports, “tips”, and astonishing “coincidences” that inescapably points towards a group of insiders within the US state apparatus itself? And if so, argues Dr. MacQueen, the evidence heavily suggests that this group was also responsible for planning the 9/11 attacks.

Original Audio  music148    Interview Notes  Open-folder-info48   

Transcribed by Michael Cornelius

(Please Note: In this transcript the capitalised word “Hijacker” denotes “alleged hijacker”, following the convention employed by Dr. MacQueen in his book.)

Julian Charles:  Hello everyone, Julian Charles here of The Mind Renewed.com, coming to you as usual from the depths of the Lancashire countryside here in the U.K.  Today is the 9th of October 2014, and it is my privilege to welcome to the programme, Dr. Graeme MacQueen.  Dr. MacQueen holds a PhD in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University.  He taught for 30 years in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where he was a founding director in 1989 of McMaster’s Center for Peace Studies.  He has co-directed projects in four war zones, and written articles and contributed to several books in Peace Research.  He’s also written several peer-reviewed articles on 9/11 anomalies, served on the steering committee of the Toronto Hearings into 9/11, is a member of the Consensus 9/11 Panel, and is co-editor with Kevin Ryan of the Journal of 9/11 Studies.  Dr. McQueen, thank you very much indeed for joining us on The Mind Renewed.

Graeme MacQueen:  Thank you for having me, Julian – my pleasure.

JC:  Now, we’re going to be talking today about your new book, The 2001 Anthrax Deception : The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy, which takes a critical look at the events and circumstances surrounding the so-called “Anthrax Attacks” of 2001 in the U.S., a little bit after 9/11. It examines them from the vantage point of 13 years of hindsight in a way that I think is very revealing; indeed I would say it dismantles the official explanation of those attacks and provides further erosion of the official 9/11 narrative.  (And for anyone who has not read it yet, let me say that although it is clearly an academic work with all the rigour, footnotes and references that one might expect, it’s nevertheless very readable. I think it’s a compelling read; a bit like a crime novel in some ways.) So that’s the subject of our conversation.

Let me start, Dr. MacQueen, by asking you about your background in Peace Studies, and what part that may have played in the kind of work you’re doing now.  Could you give us an idea of Peace Studies as an academic discipline, and how you got into that area of research?

GM:  Yes, I’ll do my best.  Peace Studies and Peace Research really began in the 1950s with a few individuals like Johan Galtung, from Norway, and subsequently a number of people, including people from Britain, such as Adam Curle.  Programmes were established around the world. The University of Bradford, in England, had one of the strongest.  There’s no generally-accepted official definition of Peace Studies, but it obviously has to do with war and peace; some would say, more generally, violence and peace.  Some people say: “It has to do with the causes of war and the conditions for peace,” which is not bad, except that that implies a rather conventional view of what war is.  One of the [most significant] contributions of some of the greatest Peace Studies intellectuals has been to formulate a quite different view of what war is: War is not an event; war is a system. That has many implications, and it even has implications for the work I do in studying 9/11 and anthrax.

But what you need to know is that initiatives for peace often flourish at the very times when war is most prominent, and that’s because people react against war; they’re disgusted by it, and they try to think of alternatives.  This has happened repeatedly in history.  So, for example, the US involvement in Vietnam in the 1960s led to quite a few developments in Peace Studies in the United States as a reaction to that: “We shouldn’t be doing this; this is wrong; it doesn’t make sense intellectually; it’s certainly not worthy of us morally.  What could we do that would be an alternative to that?” and so on.  And as the Cold War went on and people began to worry about nuclear annihilation, again people said: “This is absurd; we need to do something about this; universities aren’t challenging conventional thinking nearly enough; they can’t leave this to international relations experts and diplomats; we need new methods, new thinking, new institutions.” And this led to a flowering of programmes internationally.

I call it “a flowering,” even though those who’ve been involved in establishing and maintaining those programmes may not react to that metaphor very well, because it’s often more like rolling a stone up a hill.  In other words, you often don’t get a lot of support either from the institution itself (universities) or from governments.  The Thatcher Government went after the University of Bradford programme. These programs, if they are going to be worth anything at all, have to be willing to criticise governments, the military-industrial complex, and corporations that make money out of war; therefore the odds that they’re going to get a wonderfully huge grant are very slim.

JC:  So, this research is not looking at war as an event, but rather as a whole set of conditions, circumstances and processes that lead to war.

GM:  Yes, I don’t want to pretend to speak for all of Peace Studies.  Like any discipline, still in the early stages of developing its concepts, there’s much dissent and disagreement; so there’s no one view in this.  I’m just saying that, for me, one of the greatest insights in thinking about peace is to approach war as an institution.  Forget about events; forget about, “The war broke out here”, or “What is the cause of war?” Think rather that war is an enduring, but theoretically dispensable, institution that human beings resort to.  And it’s solidified internationally through what we call “the military-industrial complex,” and through certain cultural views.  But it isn’t eternal; it’s not necessary; it’s not essential to human beings; and it may be that it’s time we reined it in.

JC:  Can I ask you what made you start questioning 9/11 itself?

GM:  Yes, my answer could go on too long, so I’ll give you the short version. When the event happened I was certainly not convinced that it had been done by so-called “Al Qaeda”, but that doesn’t mean I was brilliantly seeing through the event. I was simply waiting for evidence that they had done it, and I assumed that would eventually be provided to us.  I was pretty sceptical initially, but like most people I kind of fell asleep. After a while we thought: “Oh well, I guess they must have done it.  Everybody seems to accept that, so, even though I haven’t actually seen the evidence myself, it must be true.”  I had a period of what I think of as my dogmatic slumber from late-2001 till about 2005.  I became aware during that period that there were people who questioned the event, and I certainly never ridiculed them or excluded that possibility.  But I was too busy, I thought, with other things to look into it properly:  I was busy trying to stop an invasion of Afghanistan, initially, then I was busy trying to stop an invasion of Iraq—naturally, I failed with all those things.  Then, eventually in 2005, I was challenged by somebody who said to me: “You haven’t looked into this.  You don’t realise 9/11 was a fraud because you don’t know anything about it.”  I realised he was right.  Sometimes, it’s good to be challenged.  So I did look into it, and in late 2005 I began to clear my desk of other materials and decided to figure out what was going on.  And I decided rather rapidly that this appears to have been a fraudulent event; it doesn’t hang together at all.  And by 2006, I was doing my own research in primary sources and publishing an article, and so on.  And the more research I did—and this has continued to the present day—the more I became convinced that this is not simply an event about which we should ask questions.  This is not merely a government account that has problems or a few difficulties.  This was one of those, perhaps, rare cases in history when we could actually say the official story of 9/11 is wrong, and we can prove it—we can prove it.  That’s the position I eventually reached.

JC:  Your book certainly contributes to that conclusion, and we’re going to delve into some of the detail of the book in a moment. But I think we need a short recap on the events of the Anthrax Attacks, because the media has pretty much shelved this whole business, and I suspect our collective memory of those days is pretty hazy, especially here in the U.K.  So could you give us a recap on the main events of those Attacks, and perhaps a flavour of how they were portrayed by the media at the time?

GM:  Yes, when I first began looking into the Anthrax Attacks a few years ago, I didn’t remember much about them either.  They weren’t a huge deal in Canada – though probably even less in the U.K. – but I did remember that shortly after 9/11 there was this scare: spores of this bacteria called “anthrax” were put into envelopes and sent around through the mail.  So I decided to look into it.

What happened was this: Approximately one week after the 9/11 attacks, somebody—individual or group, and in my view a group—put spores of the bacteria anthrax (which causes the disease that we also call anthrax) into envelopes and sent them around.  The first wave went mainly to news agencies.  There were also written notes in those envelopes conveying rather crude threats. By late September, people were beginning to get ill at various of these news agencies, but it wasn’t initially diagnosed as anthrax; it took a while.  It was not diagnosed until October 3rd, when a man in Florida by the name of Robert Stevens was officially diagnosed as having pulmonary anthrax, which is the most deadly form.  It’s what you get when you breathe it in.  He died two days later, October 5th.  The anthrax scare, then, as a kind of official event that happened after his death, lasted from about October 5th till well into November.  During that period, there was a series of deaths – not a lot of deaths, certainly not compared to 9/11 -  but five people died of anthrax, and about 22 are generally said to have become ill from it.  Some people think that’s an underestimate, and that it was as high as 50 or so.  Some of the people that got ill simply had a few symptoms, got over it and went back to normal, but not all did.  Sometimes, anthrax can leave you permanently disabled.  So, it was pretty serious stuff.

What people have to realise is that, while these Anthrax Attacks were happening – and while the American population was increasingly coming to think that this was the second blow of a one-two punch strike at America (9/11 being thought of as the first blow and anthrax the second blow by the same terrorist perpetrator) – a number of other really important things were happening in the United States.  The bombing of Afghanistan began just a couple of days after the first anthrax death. Preparations, which were now quite overt and public, began for attacking Iraq. The USA PATRIOT Act, which seriously ate into the civil rights of Americans, was passed during the Anthrax Attacks, and there are all sorts of direct connections between the two. (You might say Congress was frightened into passing the PATRIOT Act, in part by the Anthrax Attacks.) And the NSA began its infamous mass-spying on the US population during the early part of this period as well.  So yes, a lot of important things were happening during the Anthrax Attacks.

JC:  Is it right that two senators were targeted at this time—two Democratic Senators, Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy? And was that done, do you feel, in order to persuade them to come on board with the PATRIOT Act?

GM:  Yes, they were attacked; and yes, that’s why it was done – I’m quite certain.  They were part of what we might call “the second wave of anthrax letters.”  The preparation of anthrax spores used in this case was even more refined and more lethal than in the first wave.  So, figuring out what the meaning of the Anthrax Attacks might be requires looking at the intimidation of Congress and specifically at the letters sent to those two senators.

JC:  But I understand from your book that they weren’t actually against the PATRIOT Act; they were sort of dragging their heels on the issue.

GM:  That’s right.  In fact, when I first began exploring the anthrax letters sent to these two senators, I thought that the common view that they were sent these letters to help get the PATRIOT Act passed didn’t seem to work, because they weren’t putting up much resistance to the PATRIOT Act.  They’re two very prominent and crucial Democratic Senators; I mean, if they didn’t agree with the PATRIOT Act, it wouldn’t have gone through.  But when I looked at their views, I thought they had been successfully intimidated by the 9/11 attacks.  They had come around to thinking that the PATRIOT Act was necessary; they had agreed to work with the Government to get it passed.  So, initially, I thought: I don’t think the anthrax letters could have been sent to them for that reason.  But the more I looked into it, the more I realised that they were sent to intimidate them, and that is because, although they approved of the PATRIOT Act in general and wanted to work to get it through, they were slowing things down.  There was a particular event on October 2nd when they really put their feet down and said: “You know, this isn’t working for us; you must give way a little bit.”  It’s at that point that the anthrax letters were sent to them.

JC:  So, this was all part of creating a climate of fear, and generally in the population too, in order to get support for the PATRIOT Act, and for the NSA to start collecting on everybody.

GM:  That’s correct.  As I say in the book, as the Anthrax Attacks began there were many references in the mass media to “anxiety”, “fear” and “panic”, terms used repeatedly to describe the state of mind of the US population as these Anthrax Attacks proceeded.  There were similar references to the state of mind of Congress.  In my view, causing the panic was part of the operation, but also talking about it a lot through the mass media was part of the operation.  I do think the mass media permitted themselves to be used shamelessly in this operation, and spreading fear was part of their job.

JC:  You mentioned that the two senators were attacked with a very refined form on anthrax.  Now, I believe this is sometimes referred to as “weaponised anthrax.”  Could you tell us what that is?

GM:  Right, well, we won’t find everybody agreeing on the definition of “weaponised.”  The FBI eventually took the position that the anthrax was not weaponised, that none of the anthrax used in the attacks was weaponised.  In my view, that’s clearly false, even if you accept their definition of weaponised; but I don’t accept their definition.  They try to make it a very special kind of technical definition.  Basically, to weaponise anything is to prepare it such that it becomes a more effective weapon; that’s all “weaponised” really means.

What we’re talking about is a naturally occurring bacterium. It’s especially common among herbivores, it’s parasitic, and it can cause disease and death. But if someone wants to make it into an effective weapon, they can’t rely upon natural anthrax; it’s not going to do the job well enough.  So, it’s been known for years that it has to be prepared in special ways.  Some of the things that happen in nature have to be prevented.

In nature, it’s quite common for bacteria to form what’s called endospores when, for example, nutrients are scarce. You might say they ‘sleep’ in this condition, which is typically a very durable form of the bacterium. Then, when nutrients are provided, they will ‘awaken’ again.  This is what happens with anthrax.  If you breathe in one of these anthrax endospores, it gets into your lungs, finds itself in a perfect environment, and ‘awakens’ – turns into a more active form, and does its lethal job.  So, in order to make it into a weapon, one requirement is to prevent the clumping that tends to happen in nature. You see, anthrax is most lethal when it’s breathed in.  You can get cutaneous anthrax through the skin if you have an open wound; you can get an intestinal form if you eat, say, anthrax-infected meat; but by far the most dangerous form – which humans therefore choose to weaponise – is pulmonary or inhalation anthrax, where you breathe it in. That’s deadly; about 90% of the people that get inhalation anthrax will die from it.  So, it’s very lethal, and people who like thinking up exotic weapons will say: “Wow, look at that! Look at how lethal it is!”  But they’re also going to say: “In nature the spores clump together, so they don’t float around very well. We want a beautiful aerosol of tiny anthrax spores floating around in a cloud, almost like smoke.  So, if somebody opens the letter in a building, it floats out of the letter and contaminates the whole building.”  That’s exactly what happened, by the way, when Tom Daschle’s secretary opened the letter on October 15th in the Hart Senate Building; it was like smoke.  It came out of the envelope, floated around and contaminated the whole building – partly because it got transferred around on people’s clothing and entered the air ducts.  The whole building had to close down for months, and be cleaned out.  Imagine that, just from a tiny little bit of anthrax in an envelope!

So, how do you solve that?  Well, one way is to coat the anthrax spores.  What’s needed is a very fine and even product of tiny spores, without much refuse, just the right size to enter through the nasal passages and to become lodged in the lungs.  If they’re too big, they’ll get caught in the nasal passages; if they’re too small, they’ll be breathed right out again. Then the anthrax spores need to be coated with a substance that turns them into an aerosol; it gets rid of this tendency towards static clumping.

The point is, we have very strong evidence that all those things were done to the anthrax used in the Anthrax Attacks, and especially in the letters to the senators.  So when I say it was weaponised, I say it had had several things done to it to change it from the natural form of anthrax to a very lethal form of anthrax that could be used as a weapon.

JC:  Yes, and actually the sophistication of that material turns out to be an essential component in your argument, and no doubt we will come back to that in a few minutes. Let’s turn to the main arguments of your book.  In Chapter One, you give a list of statements that you’re going to argue for throughout the rest of the book. (You do make it quite clear that you’re not presenting a comprehensive account or a comprehensive analysis of the attacks; you are just alerting us to key pieces of evidence that support the following propositions.)  I’ll paraphrase your list if I may, the we’ll go from there.

GM:  Sure.

JC:  You say:

A: The Anthrax Attacks were carried out by a group of people, not a lone wolf
B: This group of criminals included deep insiders within the US executive branch
C: These people were linked to, or indeed identical with, the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks
D: The Anthrax Attacks were the result of a conspiracy aimed at redefining the enemy of the West away from the Cold War paradigm towards the Global War on Terror
E: This Global War on Terror paradigm has enabled the US executive branch to reduce civil liberties in the US, to attack other nations, and to weaken the rule of law both domestically and internationally.

Okay, so what I want to do is to look at your first two points: that this was a group of people, not a lone wolf, and that this group involved US government insiders. Now, in reaching these conclusions, you lay out four, I think, very helpful “quadrants” (as you call them in the text), and in these quadrants you have various hypotheses (“perpetrator hypotheses,” as you call them).  You describe them like this:

Q1: It could have been a foreign individual
Q2: It could have been a foreign group
Q3: It could have been a domestic individual
Q4: It could have been a domestic group

And you track the history of how the officially-preferred hypothesis (which was ‘a foreign group’), gradually shifted along to become ‘a domestic individual’ as difficulties arose for the explanation.  So, could you talk us through how and why that shift happened from the foreign-group-preferred hypothesis through to the domestic-individual one?

GM:  I’ll do my best.  All the options were on the table when the anthrax was first discovered.  That is to say, when it first became clear that anthrax was in play on October 3rd, 2001, people began brainstorming: “What going on? Is this a lone perpetrator, some insane individual in the United States?  Is it somebody from abroad?  Is it connected to the 9/11 attacks?”, and so on.  But pretty rapidly the most popular hypothesis in the US became that it was done by the same group, or a connected group, that perpetrated the 9/11 attacks. We know this because a survey conducted in mid-October showed that over 60% of the US population thought that Al-Qaeda was involved in some way.  So, that was the most successful hypothesis.  But another hypothesis was meanwhile making its way around, which was that Iraq was responsible for the anthrax. There were lots of reasons for people to choose Iraq.  After all, who’s Al-Qaeda? – a small, poorly-funded group with caves and crude training camps in Afghanistan.  There’s no evidence that they had ever produced anthrax, and they especially couldn’t have come up with the kind of sophisticated product that seemed to be going around.  Iraq, on the other hand, had had an anthrax programme at one point in the past; and this was known. A state has laboratories, production facilities and finances that a little group like Al-Qaeda doesn’t have.  So, the idea formed: “Well, we don’t like Iraq, and we’ve been worried about their weapons of mass destruction for some time; maybe this has got their fingerprints.”  Then, by mid-October, a slightly more sophisticated hypothesis came about, that they were both involved; which is what I call The Double Perpetrator Hypothesis.  According to this, the anthrax came from Iraq, but Iraq provided it to Al-Qaeda, who then acted as the foot soldiers – the people on the ground who took the stuff, put it in the envelopes, wrote the little notes, and sent it off.  That hypothesis went from strength to strength in October of 2001, and was believed by enough people to help the PATRIOT Act go through, which was signed into law by George Bush on October 26th.

JC:  What kind of justification was offered for linking Iraq to Al-Qaeda, apart from what you’ve already said?

GM:  Linking Iraq to Al-Qaeda was one of the major projects of what I broadly call the neoconservatives in the United States.  There was a group that had been wanting to get Iraq for years.  Wolfowitz was an example of somebody in that camp; James Woolsey, former head of the CIA, was another.  These people had been angry that Bush, Sr. had not gone in, finished the job in Iraq, thrown out Saddam Hussein and put in somebody they liked.  They had never ceased campaigning to get rid of Saddam, and they had looked for every opportunity.  One of the arguments they were making was that Iraq and Al-Qaeda were connected.  So: “If this terrible Al-Qaeda has done the 9/11 attacks, and is connected to Iraq… wow, we’ve got to go after Iraq!”
They gave us various stories, Julian. There was a story that the head of the Hijackers, Mohammed Atta, had met with an Iraqi diplomat in Prague.  That was an example.  There were other stories of this kind, some of which supposedly came from Iraqi dissidents and expatriates.  To make a long story short, it was all baloney.  Iraq did not support Al-Qaeda; they had very different ideologies, very different views of the world.  They didn’t work together, and the CIA knew they didn’t work together. So did British intelligence, by the way; we know this from the Downing Street Memo.  It was well-known in the intelligence community that they didn’t work together.  But, that didn’t prevent the proponents of this double-perpetrator thing from trying, over an extended period, to claim that they were working together.  This was one of several stories that fell apart.

JC:  It doesn’t seem extremely likely to me that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden would have been the best of mates.

GM:  They weren’t working together; they definitely weren’t.

JC:  Do you think what really sold this 9/11 connection to the general population were the notes that appeared with some of these attacks?  I have one in front of me here. Reading from the top, it says: “9/11/01.  You cannot stop us.  We have this anthrax.  You die now.  Are you afraid?  Death to America.  Death to Israel.  Allah is great.”  Do you think those were the things that really made people believe that there was an Al-Qaeda connection here?

GM:  Sure, that was part of it.  The Al-Qaeda hypothesis was already making the rounds before the text of the letters was discovered, but there’s no doubt that the letters, briefly at least, helped to implicate Al-Qaeda.  I mean, there it is—9/11, the date, given right at the top of each one of these letters, and then, as you say, this kind of crude, almost Hollywood caricature of an Islamic extremist—death to this, death to that—obviously made to look like Al-Qaeda.  So yes, that had an effect; that helped frame Al-Qaeda. Meanwhile the framing of Iraq was going on in a somewhat separate way.  So, for example, at the end of October, ABC news claimed that experts had discovered a substance in the anthrax that coats the spores, namely Bentonite.  And they said: “Oh, my gosh, you’ve got three (and then it became four) independent expert sources telling us there’s Bentonite helping to weaponise this anthrax.  And Bentonite is Saddam Hussein’s signature.  It’s a particular substance that only Iraq uses to weaponise its anthrax.”  So there you go: you’ve got the letters which seem to point to Al-Qaeda, you’ve got the Bentonite pointing to Iraq – there you have the double-perpetrator.

JC:  Did the Bentonite thing hold water?

GM:  The Bentonite thing did not hold water. It’s just another story or scenario; it’s another cooked-up fiction that we were all supposed to buy.  Bentonite, by the way (and this amuses me), was described in one of these ABC reports as “the powerful additive.”  You kind of want to tremble at this horrible Bentonite.

JC:  It sounds like Kryptonite in the Superman comics.

GM:  Yes, exactly.  Actually it’s clay, and it’s used in Kitty Litter, so it’s not a particularly scary thing. But the point is that there wasn’t any in the anthrax, and ABC news had to back off pretty quickly and say, “Well, actually, it looks now as if maybe there isn’t any Bentonite.”  The whole story of the double-perpetrator collapsed quite quickly.

Your basic question to me was how do we get from ‘foreign group’ to ‘domestic individual’, and I’m slowly struggling to get there.  Once the idea that Iraq was involved fell apart, there was not a shred of evidence Iraq had anything to do with it.  And finally people started to admit that: “Al-Qaeda without Iraq? How does Al-Qaeda fit in?  Al-Qaeda couldn’t have made this substance; there’s no way.  This was really refined anthrax spore.”  So, as soon as the Iraq hypothesis died, the Al-Qaeda hypothesis was twisting in the wind; it didn’t make sense.

JC:  You say another mistake was made in choosing the Ames strain of anthrax. That also didn’t fit with Iraq.

GM:  That’s correct.  I’m not sure why they chose the Ames Strain; there are various hypotheses.  In any case, the anthrax used was a particular genetic strain of anthrax, which had first been isolated in Texas, and which was used mainly in American labs, especially military labs.  The US had shared it with a few allies, but there wasn’t the slightest evidence that Iraq or Al-Qaeda had ever gotten hold of the Ames strain.  So, here you have the Ames strain, which is common in relevant military labs in the United States as part of the US bioweapons program; and then then you’ve got it weaponised through this very sophisticated “micro-encapsulation process” with the addition of silicon (which is also characteristic of the US program).  So, by the end of October, there are people saying: “This looks like something from one of our own programmes.”  Finally, the FBI sees it has no alternative but to admit that, and that’s how the ‘domestic individual’ becomes the top hypothesis. Because once you’ve admitted, which they had by the end of 2001—the White House, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and all of them by the end of 2001—that this anthrax doesn’t come from any foreign Muslims, this comes from one of the United States’ own programmes… Once you’ve admitted that, what are you going to do if your job is containing this disaster?  You’re going to try and blame it on the famous “lone nut.”

JC:  Yes.

GM:  You’re going to say: “Well, it must be an individual in some lab here.  We just have to find him or her.  We can never rule out such  individuals. They’re probably crazy; that’s why we use the term ‘lone nut’. And, you know, that doesn’t reveal anything about our system, or our Government.  We’ll just find this individual and then it will all be over. You don’t have to worry.”  So this, in my view, was clearly an attempt at damage control; that’s what the Domestic Individual Hypothesis was. I don’t think there’s ever been any good reason to believe it was an individual that did this.  As I say in the book, it’s clear it was a group.

JC:  The picture you paint is one of the FBI, as it were, thrashing around to find somebody to blame for this. First, they seemed to go for this guy Steven Hatfill, and then Bruce Ivins. And I want to ask you about those two in just a second, but there’s just one thing that comes to my mind here: As this Iraq and Al-Qaeda thing dropped out of the picture, weren’t questions being asked about that at the time?  I mean, wasn’t anybody saying: “Why is this being dropped? Was this due to faulty intelligence?”

GM:  I can’t answer that in a very confident and comprehensive way, but I have been through hundreds – I suppose it’s thousands – of newspaper articles from that period, because this is one of the main methods I use to figure out what people were thinking at the time.  We do have a record of major newspapers, and it’s actually remarkable to me how few people asked the obvious questions.  You know, you’d think there would be a big editorial in The New York Times or something similar (as far as I know there never was), saying: “Something’s deeply disturbing here. We’ve been led to believe that foreign Muslims carried out an attack with a weapon of mass destruction on the United States, including Congress (which is a huge claim), and now, suddenly, we’re being told they didn’t.  Well, if they didn’t, what were all those stories about? Who created the Bentonite story? Who wrote those darned letters claiming to be Al Qaeda?  There’s something deeply disturbing; we should be very worried, and we should carry out a major investigation to get to the bottom of this.”  There’s relatively little about that. People seemed to assume: “Oh, well, we made our best guess and were wrong; on to the next thing.”

JC:  It’s quite disturbing looking back at that and seeing that process go on.  It makes you think: Is that going on today?  Are we missing things in the present situation?

GM:  Exactly, I think we are.  If you’ve spent years of your life, as I have, studying these fraudulent actions—whether it be 9/11, or anthrax, or any of the others; and there’s a whole string of them—then you do become extremely sceptical when you look at the mass media. You ask: “What are they trying to get us to do now?”  You will remember, in 2003, and actually for a couple of years before that, we were all told that there was an emergency: “What are we going to do about Iraq?” – and eventually, “Well, I guess we’ll have to invade them.”  You look back at this now, and you ask yourself, “What was the emergency?” Some of us, of course, were saying that at the time; in fact quite a large peace movement was saying it. There was no emergency.  Iraq hadn’t done anything new.  Iraq had destroyed its weapons of mass destruction years ago, and there had never been any evidence that they still had them and were trying to develop them. They were a poor, impoverished country; they were going down the drain; they’d suffered terribly from sanctions.  There simply was no emergency, and yet we were led to believe by our media that there was, and that we’d better invade.  Somehow, of course, the same thing is happening about Syria, and people are being beheaded—“Oh, my goodness! What are we going to do? We’d better invade. We’d better start bombing Syria,” supposedly in order to get ISIS, but I think many of us know that ISIS isn’t the real target here; they want to unseat the Assad regime.

JC:  Yes, memories do seem to be very short in some cases. Coming back to these two individuals, my understanding is that the FBI’s first suspect was this scientist called Steven Hatfill, which proved unsuccessful, and he was awarded substantial damages for harassment. Then they turned to Bruce Ivins, and that was successful  in the sense that the case was closed.  But you, along with many others, maintain that that case was extremely flimsy, almost to the point of non-existence. Could you give us an idea of how implausible that case was against Dr. Ivins?

GM:  I will do my best.  You’re right, in a sense, that the FBI was, at least in the short term, successful in going after Ivins, meaning that they convinced a fair number of people, and they felt sufficiently confident in their case that they closed the case.  However, he was not convicted; he was never tried; he was never even formally charged.  They were saying that they were about to charge him with the crime, and then he suddenly died.  This was in 2008.  He apparently took his own life through an overdose of Tylenol; friends who have looked into this more deeply than I have, say that appears to be true. He had emotional and mental problems; the FBI had put him under tremendous stress, visiting him at work, visiting him at his home, staking out his home, talking to his children—he was under enormous pressure.  He himself wrote a note to someone saying something like this: “The state demands its blood sacrifice, and it appears I am to be that sacrifice.”  So, here’s a man under great pressure who probably takes his own life.  Because of that, he’s not charged; he’s not tried; he’s not convicted.  So the FBI then has a field day: “Oh well, the fact that he took his own life just shows his guilty conscience”, and they write a document in which the case against Ivins is made. (I think it’s something like 90 pages long; you can find it on the Internet). You have to realise how outrageous this is. The man is dead, and you’re making a case against him, a case on the most flimsy, circumstantial evidence, slander, and all the rest of it.  He has no chance to rebut this. He had a lawyer, but the lawyer really has no function anymore because Ivins is dead.  This, by the way, is part of a common pattern that we find in fraudulent events. This is the Lee Harvey Oswald phenomenon. Remember that Oswald supposedly killed Kennedy, and then just happened to be murdered in the presence of 70 Dallas police officers. Well, that meant, of course, that he would never be able to tell his story; he would never be tried; he would be convicted by slander, not by a legal process. I believe this is a fairly common pattern with these things. So, here we have Ivins dead: “Wow! So we don’t have to worry about being sued for 5 million dollars,” which is what Hatfill was successful in his suit for. (I forget, but it was something like 5.1 or 5.3 millions dollars.)  “We don’t have to worry because he’s dead, so we’ll call him ‘the anthrax killer,’ and we’ll say the case is closed.”  And that’s the official FBI position now.  But I, and many other people, have been saying for years now: There’s no way; you’re evidence is hopelessly weak.

JC:  What kind of weaknesses were there with the evidence?  Can you drag up a couple of things to give us an idea?

GM:  Well, the FBI claims that he had the capacity, the requisite tools and equipment, and presumably some motivation to make this product, and so on.  All of this is unsupported by the evidence. He did work with anthrax; he worked at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), a US military lab.

JC:  Was that at Fort Detrick?

GM:  Yes, Fort Detrick, Maryland. He was a serious scientist. He had published a lot on anthrax and was developing an anthrax vaccine.  He had co-operated with, and had volunteered to help, the FBI in the early years of this, trying to figure out who had done this.  Anyway, the point is, he didn’t work with the kind of anthrax that was sent, especially the anthrax sent to the senators; he worked with it in a liquid form.  They got a highly-refined dried form of anthrax.  There’s no evidence he knew how to do that; there’s no evidence that he had the equipment to produce this product, which was not merely refined and dried, but which had also, as I said before, undergone this micro-encapsulation process—tin added and silicon. There’s no evidence that Ivins could have done that, or that he had the equipment to do that.  So, from a scientific point of view, this is very far-fetched.  And, by the way, colleagues of his – a former boss of his – have come out and said this.  They’ve also said, “Where do you think he made it?  Do you really think he made it in his lab at Fort Detrick?  I mean, we would have noticed.  And furthermore, it would have taken him something like 10,000 hours, not the couple of dozen hours that you’re claiming.”

JC:  Yes, and there’s that very good documentary by CBC, that I looked at again recently, called “Anthrax War”, in which a former Deputy Commander at Fort Detrick, a man called Richard Spertzel…

GM:  Oh, yes.

JC:  In the documentary he said something like: “No, it’s far too sophisticated for Ivins to have produced with the equipment that was available at Fort Detrick.”

GM:  Right, Fort Detrick was badly equipped to produce this product.  The two most likely suspects are laboratories at either Battelle Memorial Institute, which does a tremendous amount of work for the US intelligence agencies, and specialises in aerosols, and so on.  And, the other would be the Dugway Proving Ground.  Dugway also works for the US military; it’s part of the military-industrial complex, and it’s also possible that Dugway and Battelle worked together on this. Ivins had nothing to do with them; he didn’t have access to their equipment.  Over the years I’ve referred to a number of quite technical articles on the anthrax spores used in the attacks, and it’s looking increasingly as if this product was taken from the US bioweapons programme.  It was probably taken from stores that already existed; it wasn’t created specially for the Anthrax Attacks.  This was most likely anthrax that was kept either at Dugway or Battelle.

JC:  So, looking at the logic of your argument, the two quadrants of the ‘foreign group’ and the ‘foreign individual’ seem to be pretty much unlikely, and this going after a ‘domestic individual’ doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  So, that seems to leave us with the ‘domestic group’.  And, a major way in which you go about pinning down this group as very probably including US establishment insiders, is your exploration of the many warnings about Anthrax Attacks from official sources, in the media, and indeed a quite widespread taking of Cipro.  Is that how you pronounce it?

GM:  Yes, I guess so.

JC:  That was in the days leading up to the attacks themselves. However, and would have thought that there should have been no apparent foreknowledge of this.  So could you tell us something about these indications of possible foreknowledge, and what you think this tells us?

GM:  Yes, this is another thing to look for when you’re looking for a fraudulent event.  You look to see if there’s foreknowledge, if there’s advance knowledge that looks really fishy, because if there is it may be that it comes from the perpetrators—that their plans either leaked out inadvertently, or in some cases were deliberately leaked out, for various reasons.  The Anthrax Attacks are a good example of this.

The way that I often start off on this is to say: At the time, Cipro, or Ciprofloxacin was the antibiotic of choice to treat anthrax. We would not be surprised if we were to discover that there was a run on this particular drug, and that a lot of people were running out and buying it after it was revealed that Robert Stevens was suffering from anthrax, and especially after he died on October 5th.  So, if we were looking at a chart of how many people were buying Cipro, we would not be surprised to see that the sales went way up after his death; and, as a matter of fact, they did go way up.  So far, so good. However, we would be surprised if sales started going up before his death; in fact, a couple of weeks before he was diagnosed as having anthrax, which is to say mid-September, when nobody is supposed to have known that anthrax was in play. (Okay, there were some letters in the mail, but nobody had been diagnosed as having anthrax.) At that point, the run on Cipro begins.  And it reached quite large proportions, to the point where it was being talked about in The New York Times. It was called an “anthrax scare.”  There were druggists being quoted as saying: “I can’t keep it in stock.  People are worried about anthrax.”  This is happening before there is any public knowledge, or any legitimate public knowledge, about anthrax.  So, you have this strange situation where somebody puts anthrax in the mail, then there’s an anthrax scare, and then the anthrax put in the mail is discovered.  Well, hello folks, something looks wrong here!  So, then we look more deeply, and we find, for example, that George W. Bush, President of the United States, and Richard Cheney, Vice-President of the United States, were put on Cipro; they started a course of Cipro on 9/11 itself.  And you might think: “Well, that seems a little odd.”  But then somebody answers you: “Well, no, this is protocol. After all, there was a major terrorist attack; it could be followed up with a bioweapons attack, so naturally enough, you put your chief executive officers on Cipro.”  Now, if someone said that to me, I would say, “Okay, I guess so.  I haven’t seen the written protocol, but it makes sense to me. But that explanation starts to fall apart when we consider that other people were going on Cipro as well.”  So, for example, we have a Washington Post journalist by the name of Richard Cohen, who’s in print as saying this years later: “Oh, I was told in a roundabout way – I was given a tip by a government official – that I should procure Cipro.”  Now, he said this happened shortly after 9/11; he said it happened well before most people had even heard of Cipro.  So, when we try to figure out what period he’s talking about, it has to be between 9/11 and, let’s say, September 25th (because by that time everybody knows about it;  it’s being reported in The New York Times). So, at some point in mid-September, Richard Cohen, journalist, is given a tip—now, what on earth does this mean?—by a government official, that he should start taking the antibiotic required for anthrax.  And so, we’ve got all these things happening.  We’ve got the President, the Vice-President; we’ve got Cohen; we’ve got all kinds of other people talking about it; we’ve got druggists saying there’s a run on it.  At this point, we have to say that this is looking very fishy indeed.

JC:  Absolutely, but could you argue something like the following? Well, perhaps they had intelligence that there might have been, say,  unsophisticated anthrax coming from Al-Qaeda, and they didn’t want to alarm the population, so they just told certain people?

GM:  Well, you could say that, and I do explore that option in the book, but I don’t think it’s true.  Part of the reason is that this was not good intelligence, because Iraq, in fact, had destroyed its stocks of anthrax years ago, and Al-Qaeda never had any, as far as we know.  So, the idea that these foreign Muslims were going to spread anthrax in the United States shortly after the 9/11 attacks is not good intelligence; in my view it’s not even faulty intelligence—it’s fraudulent intelligence.  I think that US intelligence were perfectly aware that Iraq and Al-Qaeda didn’t have it and had no motivation anyway; certainly Iraq didn’t have any motivation.  So, was there intelligence?  Well, it depends on what you mean by intelligence.  There was fraudulent intelligence. Fictional stories were being given to people before and after 9/11, having to do with Al-Qaeda and Iraq being possibly about to carry out an anthrax attack. So, in that sense, you could say people were taking Cipro because they heard these stories, but the point is the stories were deliberately false stories; they were fictions.

JC:  As part of the kind of foreknowledge background to all of this, you mentioned something called Dark Winter, a project of the American Government that I believe was a simulation of an anthrax attack.  That was obviously before these attacks took place.  Could you tell us something about Dark Winter?

GM:  Yes, Dark Winter was a simulation; you could call it a war game if you like. (Governments carry out these all the time, so there’s nothing particularly suspect about it in itself.) They were war-gaming bioweapons attacks on the United States, not anthrax actually, but smallpox.  They do mention anthrax as a possibility during this simulation, but the emphasis is on smallpox.  This Dark Winter exercise takes place in June of 2001; in other words, several months before the actual Anthrax Attacks.  The reason it’s interesting is because of the parallels between this exercise and what then unfolds several months later.  And I’ve discussed, I believe, 10 parallels in the book.  But I suppose the single most interesting one is that, as the Dark Winter simulation unfolds, it becomes clear that: “Gee whiz, bin Laden may be involved.”  And then people say: “Oh gee, but he may have a state sponsor.”  And finally, by the end of the exercise, it has become clear that the smallpox attacks were carried out by a terrorist group based in Afghanistan – in other words, something like Al-Qaeda – and the actual smallpox was provided to them by Iraq.  So, in other words, the same double perpetrator that later gets blamed for the real Anthrax Attacks is already being framed in this smallpox simulation, even though it’s already silly and nonsensical in June of 2001.  It’s already known, in other words, that Iraq does not have the capacity to provide this material. Yet, already they’re framing Iraq; they’re setting things up for this.  And there are all kinds of other parallels that I mention.  So, for example, in the simulation in June, you have a need to curtail the civil rights of Americans; it’s talked about very overtly: “Okay, I guess we’ll have to suspend habeas corpus, and so forth.” And that’s exactly what happens a few months later with the PATRIOT Act curbing the civil rights of Americans.  We also have during the simulation the US population getting angry about these foreign Muslims, and so they start attacking Muslims in the streets.  That happens; it happens especially after 9/11, but also the Anthrax Attacks help to cement this notion of the “evil foreign Muslims.”  And there’s a range of attacks happening in the United States in the fall, including murder.  I mean, it’s a really major wave of recrimination against anybody who looks like they might be Muslim.  This is already prefigured in June.  So, you have all these things in the simulation: a high state official being targeted and coming down with smallpox, later you have two senators being targeted, and smallpox being sent to the media in envelopes.  That’s exactly the way the Anthrax Attacks begin.  So, you see the point; it’s almost as if you have a group practising, and then doing the real thing a few months later.

JC:  Yes, so it looks like a kind of template. But can you locate any individuals who were involved with Dark Winter, who then sort of float to the surface with respect to the anthrax scene?

GM:  (laughter) Yes.  I like the image of them floating to the surface.

JC:  Sorry.

GM:  No, there are indeed people who float to the surface.  Judith Miller plays the part of a reporter in the Dark Winter simulation. Of course, she was a reporter; she was a major journalist at The New York Times, and at the time of the Dark Winter simulation she was completing a book called Germs, in which Iraq especially would be called “the great fear” in terms of bioweapons.  Also, she and her co-authors say in the book: “They may, of course, have used an intermediary, a group like Al-Qaeda to help them.”  This is the same Judith Miller.  She shows up in the simulation, and her book comes out in October just as the Anthrax Attacks are happening.  On October 12th, she herself receives a threat letter at The New York Times, which turns out to have fake powder in it; but it allows her to write an article, it promotes sales of her book, and helps to get Iraq in the crosshairs.  So, Judith Miller is a participant in both the June simulation and in the real attacks in October.

Then we have James Woolsey, former head of the CIA; he’s in the simulation and then he becomes a participant during the Anthrax Attacks. He’s very vocal in making sure Iraq’s name is brought up all the time. He goes after Iraq; he thinks Iraq was involved in both 9/11 and the Anthrax Attacks.  So, this becomes one of his main functions in the real world, not just the simulation.

And we have this strange character, Jerome Hauer, who is in the simulation; he’s a key figure in the 9/11 attacks, and then he becomes involved in the anthrax thing because he’s a bioweapons expert.  In my view, he’s a deeply fishy character, but let’s just say he’s a dark player in both the simulation and the reality.

And when we look at all the parallels between the simulation and reality, we may be led to ask the following question, (a question I briefly ask in the book, and explore elsewhere in a paper at an academic conference): Where’s the line between simulation and reality?  Do we have simulations in June followed by reality in the fall?  Or is what happened in the fall Stage Two of the simulation?  Could it be thought of that way?  Admittedly, a lethal simulation, but nonetheless something that has many of the features of a simulation; which is to say it’s fiction, it’s limited in its scope, it’s got highly defined rules, and so on.

JC:  You’ve been talking about these various personnel “coincidences” (that may, or may not, deserve inverted commas), and certainly the Hijacker connection that you bring up in the book is absolutely full of such “coincidences”.  This has to do with one of the other contentions of your book – Point C in your Chapter One list -  that the people who were behind the Anthrax Attacks were linked to, or indeed identical with, the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks.  And it’s in Chapter 7 that you really pinpoint this, where you discuss the alleged 9/11 Hijackers and their very surprising connections to this anthrax affair. This was news to me – a very eye-opening chapter indeed.  So, could you tell us how some of these alleged 9/11 Hijackers turn out to be connected to this anthrax narrative?

GM:  I will do my best.  This is an intricate issue, and it’s sometimes difficult to explain in an interview. Let me start by saying that when the Anthrax Attacks became public knowledge in October of 2001, it was a very common belief that the U.S. had been subjected to what we might call a “one-two punch,” in which Punch One was the 9/11 attacks, and then, before people really have a chance to recover, Punch Two comes in with the Anthrax Attacks.  That was pretty widely assumed to be true.  Now, once the anthrax narrative fell apart, and it became clear – which it did pretty quickly – that this wasn’t foreign Muslims, but rather this was coming from within the U.S. bioweapons programme itself, then the “one-two punch” story also fell apart.  That is, it was swept down the “memory hole”.  The FBI was now spending a lot of energy saying that there was no connection between 9/11 (which they maintained was carried out by real Muslims) and the Anthrax Attacks, because they were carried out by fake Muslims, or a fraudulent Muslim, who then wanted to kill Americans; they had nothing to do with each other.  So, one of the main things my book is  trying to do is to say that the original idea is correct: it was a one-two punch. They are connected; we need to see that. But they aren’t connected in the way that we were originally told.  It wasn’t a one-two punch by foreign Muslims; it was a one-two punch by people within the United States.  They were both inside jobs.  We can even say that we should talk about the 9/11-Anthrax Attacks – the 9/11-Anthrax Operation.  That’s the way I would like to call it: they were two parts of the same operation.  Now, I know that’s not quite what you asked, but I wanted to make that clear because that’s one of the main themes of my book.

Now, let’s turn to how we get there – why we conclude, perhaps to our surprise, that the famous 19 Hijackers who supposedly hijacked planes on 9/11 and flew them into this and that building are involved in the anthrax story. (This was a surprise to me as well when I first began researching the Anthrax Attacks in 2010; I had somehow missed that, but that’s a really important point, of course.)

The connections are many, but the most obvious one, I suppose, is  Florida, where about 15 out of 19 of the Hijackers lived for quite a while.  They didn’t just hang out there; they took flying lessons and various things there.  Some of these guys were directly connected, or pretty directly connected, to the first anthrax death.  For example, the woman who was the real estate agent of Robert Stevens (the first person to die of anthrax) was also the real estate agent of two of the 19 Hijackers—which is kind of weird—Hamza Alghamdi and Marwan al-Shehhi.  Marwan al-Shehhi, by the way, she clearly knew; it wasn’t that they simply passed in the hall.  She said: “Oh yeah, I remember them really well.  Marwan would phone me and laugh, and then he wanted me to drive them around town, and I did that, you know; I hung out with them.”  So, she remembered him very clearly.  So, here she is, finding two apartments for 19 Hijacker guys, and each apartment is then occupied by two of the 19 Hijackers; so at this point we’ve got four Hijackers involved.  And at one point, the St. Petersburg Times says that US intelligence has now linked nine of the Hijackers to a particular apartment in Florida, which this woman, Gloria Irish, found for them.  So, Gloria Irish is connected to the Hijackers.  And Gloria Irish is also connected to Robert Stevens.  In fact, her husband, Mike Irish, is the editor of the newspaper that Stevens works for.  She and her husband had known Stevens for years.  So what does this mean?

JC:  So, Robert Stevens is the first guy to be sent an anthrax letter.  Is that right?

GM:  Well, he’s not necessarily the first one to be sent it, but he’s the first one whose disease is diagnosed as anthrax. He’s diagnosed on October 3rd, dies on October 5th, and the building in which he works, America Media Incorporated, gets contaminated with anthrax.  He works as a photo editor for a publication called The Sun.  The editor of The Sun is Mike Irish, whose wife is the real estate agent.  So, in other words, there’s a connection.  Now, if this was the only connection, I suppose we might say: “Well gee, coincidences happen.”  But it isn’t; we find a variety of connections between the 9/11 Hijackers and anthrax, including the fact that the so-called head of the Hijackers, Mohammed Atta, is going around shortly before 9/11 trying to get a crop-duster plane…

JC:  I do want to ask you about that in a moment, because that’s another incredible thing.  But I don’t want to distract us from the improbability of what you’ve just been talking about. From everything you’ve just said, we now know that those alleged Hijackers wouldn’t have been sending the anthrax out, and yet it’s Robert Stevens, who’s closely linked into that whole situation, who receives this anthrax letter.  That’s incredible.  Out of the 350 million Americans who could have been targeted with this, how come he ends up being targeted?  That is absolutely astonishing.

GM:  It is, and I don’t think it’s coincidence.  So then, if it’s not  coincidence, then we’re left saying: “Well gee, the 19 Hijackers are quite closely connected to the Anthrax Attacks.” There’s plenty of evidence that they are connected. So then we’ve got to decide which direction to go with this. We can say: “Well, the Hijackers were obviously authentic—after all, they carried out the 9/11 attacks—so maybe the Anthrax Attacks have to be authentic, after all.”  That’s one direction we could go.  The other direction, which is what I believe the evidence overwhelmingly suggests, is that the Anthrax Attacks were fraudulent; they came from within the US. And if the Hijackers are connected, then the Hijackers are fraudulent, and the 9/11 attacks are fraudulent.  That’s the direction that I think we are forced to go in.

JC:  So, you’re saying, presumably, that the whole thing was set up so that the FBI would make a connection between Stevens and the Hijackers; they would then make the link with Al-Qaeda and give credence to the official story. But in reality, you’re saying, the whole thing was manufactured.

GM:  Exactly, and this is the part that people sometimes find confusing.  So, for example, if you look at the Dark Winter simulation I mentioned, in June of 2001, you’d find that, as the simulation goes on, people are discovering this, and they’re discovering that: “Oh gee, maybe bin Laden’s involved. Oh gee, maybe Iraq’s involved.” The perpetrators become clear over time.  Exactly the same thing, I believe, was designed to happen in the actual attacks in the fall.  You could see it in the media.  Somebody would say: “Gee, these anthrax letters are coming from the parts of the country where the Hijackers were active, like Florida.”  And then the next day someone would say: “Wow, it’s not just that! There’s this Gloria Irish person involved.”  And then someone says: “Well yeah, and Mohammed Atta went and talked to an Iraqi diplomat.”  All these little leads are being discovered, and I believe the leads were being discovered because they were planted there, and we were supposed to all discover them.  We were supposed to come to the conclusion, throughout the fall of 2001, that these Anthrax Attacks were an attack on the United States, using weapons of mass destruction, carried out by Al-Qaeda and Iraq.  That, obviously, would justify invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

JC:  And now we’re left with the situation where we’re supposed to believe that these 9/11 Hijackers had nothing to do with it, but rather it was Bruce Ivins who sent it. And it just so happens that he sent it to somebody closely connected with these Hijackers. Quite extraordinary.

GM:  That’s right. The FBI today doesn’t want to talk about the Hijackers in connection with the anthrax. To the extent that they have an official position, it is that there was nothing but coincidence.  I hope I’ve made the case strongly in the book that that’s extraordinarily unlikely.

JC:  You have indeed. You’ve also backed it up with what you were just about to say about Mohammed Atta, which is almost equally extraordinary; so let me not stand in your way of telling us about that as well.

GM:  Well, this is a story that was mentioned in the press shortly after 9/11. (It was mentioned in its original form before the Anthrax Attacks had become public, although the long form of the story didn’t come out until 2002.)  Anyway, here’s the story basically, in the long form, as reported by ABC news.  Mohammed Atta, the so-called ringleader of the 19 Hijackers, has just come to the United States from Hamburg in Germany. While in Hamburg he’s supposedly being followed by US intelligence, and is seen purchasing chemicals, which he may then use to carry out biological or chemical warfare attacks in the United States.  So, he leaves Hamburg after doing all that fishy stuff, comes to the United States and apparently decides: “Well, now I need a delivery vehicle. We can manufacture anthrax, or have it supplied to us, but how are we going to kill a lot of people? Well, the ideal way, apparently, would be to get a crop duster plane.” (It’s one of these little planes that flies over the fields and disperses substances – pesticides or whatever.)  “If we could get one of those planes with all the little nozzles and stuff, and load our liquefied anthrax (or maybe even dry form) onto the plane, imagine how many people we could kill forming this vast aerosol.”  That appears to be his thought, because he shows up at a US Department of Agriculture loan office in Florida, and talks to a loan officer by the name of Johnelle Bryant.  Supposedly, this is all happening in the spring of 2001; that’s what Johnelle Bryant tells ABC news.  And Atta says to her: “I’m originally from Egypt, but I’ve come to the United States via Afghanistan, and my dream is to fly planes. I’d like to dust American crops, and to that end I would like a loan, because I know you give out loans for agricultural purposes. And I want to make a special kind of crop-duster. I don’t want one of those little planes that you have to keep landing and reloading; I want a biggie, with a huge tank, so that I can do all the spraying I need in one go.”  And the story goes from one ridiculous assertion to another.  Bryant says to him fairly early on: “Well, I’m sorry, but you’re not an American citizen, so you’re not eligible for this.”  And he becomes agitated and says: “Well, who’s to say I couldn’t just walk over and cut your throat, and then take the $650,000 that I want?  I’ll take it from the safe.” So then, of course, she says: “You don’t scare me; I know karate.”  I mean, the whole story is silly, but it gets worse.  He then notices on her wall an aerial photograph of Washington D.C., and gets excited saying: “Oh, I’ve never seen a better view of Washington from the air.  That’s really great; I would like to have that”, and he begins throwing cash on her desk to buy it. At some point in the conversation he points out the Pentagon and says: “How would you like it if people came to your country and destroyed your buildings and your monuments?”  He goes on to say to Johnelle Bryant that he’d like to visit the World Trade Center, and asks: “Do you know what the security is like there?  I’d really like to get in and check it out.”  And he mentions Al-Qaeda, saying: “There’s a wonderful man in the world you may not have heard of called Osama bin Laden.  Someday, he’ll be very well-known.” He actually implies that he’s associated with bin Laden in this ridiculous conversation. This is reported by Brian Ross of ABC news in detail in 2002; the story is given in very short form shortly after 9/11. And we are then supposed to believe that this is Mohammed Atta, the chief Hijacker, the ringleader of the Hijackers, the man who flew a plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11.  Here he is, trying to buy a plane in order to carry out a biological attack on the United States. So, this is just of many false scenarios, obvious fictions, we were told to help set the stage so that we would believe the Iraq-Al-Qaeda story.

JC:  So, Atta would be going about his secret mission by alerting everybody to what it’s about and who he is; it’s incredible.

GM:  Exactly, and as I point out in the book, that’s not the only absurd Mohammed Atta story.  There’s a whole cycle of stories: Mohammed Atta is bitten by a dog; Mohammed Atta leaves his plane on the runway; Mohammed Atta is pulled over for speeding and has an arrest warrant issued when he refuses to show up in court; Mohammed Atta threatens somebody in a drug store and scares somebody – on and on. I mean, it’s absurd.  If this man was actually the ringleader who carried out one of the most lethal and sophisticated criminal operations in US history, there’s no way he would lay a trail like this, which is exactly what these 19 Hijackers are said to do.

JC:  Well, we are getting towards the end of our time here, and obviously, in order to get a full picture of how this all hangs together, people really need to read the book. I do highly recommend that people get a copy it and read it. As I said before, it’s very easy to read; you’ve gone to a lot of effort to make it easily understandable.
But before we close, I’d like to ask you, finally, if you would comment on the legacy of these attacks.  I have in mind here the way they played their part in shifting us away from the Cold War, towards this War on Terror paradigm that we’re in now, with all that means for war across the globe and surveillance at home.  So, how important do you see these attacks as bringing about that shift from the Cold War to this new War on Terror?

GM:  Well, as I say, I see the attacks on the US, or perhaps I should say the attacks that took place in the US in the fall of 2001, as forming one operation. So, rather than separate 9/11 and anthrax, I’d say the 9/11-Anthrax Operation was crucial in – if not creating the Global War on Terror, because we can argue it was already in place – at least creating a huge upsurge in this Global War on Terror.  Now, if we look at US military spending, and indeed global military spending, after the end of the Cold War, we find that it was indeed dropping. We may not have gotten the so-called peace dividend that we wanted, but it was going down. The attacks in the fall of 2001 changed all that, both in the US and in the world more generally; of course, they’re closely connected. The US at that time took up about 50% of the world’s military spending, so obviously if it goes up in the US, it’s automatically going to go up in the world as a whole.  But it went way up – I mean, just another huge peak. If you look, you see World War II was a peak; the Korean War was a peak; the Vietnam War was a peak; the late-Cold War was a peak; and now we’ve got the latest peak, the so-called Global War on Terror. The military-industrial-complex is happy; the US gets to control as much of the oil production as it can in the world during this dramatically important phase of world history when we are losing our energy resources.  There appears to be an effort by the sole remaining superpower to control the last drops of oil; this is a huge historic thing that’s happening here.  “Who cares?” these guys seem to say. “Who cares how many hundreds of thousands or even millions of people die? We are going to use the system we know, which is war; it’s called war.  We’re going to use it to solve the problems of oil scarcity, or energy scarcity more generally.  We’re going to use it, because that’s what we’re good at; we’re really good at war.”  And of course, this is so dangerous for humanity.  War is not a sustainable solution; it’s not a humane solution; and it’s certainly not a solution for humanity as a whole.  You cannot solve the problem of the world’s rapidly disappearing energy resources through this brutal system.  You can put off the day of reckoning, but you cannot solve it.  And that’s where we are right now, and that’s why some of us feel we must unmask these perpetrators if we can, so that the world may begin in a more enlightened and humane way to co-operate to solve the genuine environmental problems we face.

JC:  And I think what’s so worrying about this present phase is that this “War on Terror” is painted as being an eternal war.  I mean, people talk about it, saying: “It’s not going to be won in this generation.  It’s going to take generations”, as if the military-industrial complex has actually generated something that is in perpetual motion.

GM:  I think that’s what they are trying to create; they are trying to create what you might call a war machine, meaning a machine that keeps war going, no matter what people may think.  And I think this so-called ISIS threat is just the latest in a whole series of threats that they intend to keep creating and promoting as long as necessary.  And we need to start taking the mask off.

JC:  And do you feel that the clamping down at home – the surveillance state and the loss of freedoms – is part of that picture as well; that as people become more aware of what’s going on, then people’s consciences have to be stepped on to allow this war to continue?

GM:  Absolutely, and I try to make that point, however succinctly, in the book, by saying that the clamping down on civil rights and the promotion of wars abroad have often in history been two aspects of the same move.  When you want to mobilise people for war, you get them to think the same; you force them, if necessary, to think the same as the war leaders.  You begin clamping down on all forms of dissent; we’ve seen this throughout history.  And the Global War on Terror, therefore, if it’s going to be successfully kept going by these people, involves both the creation of outward war triggers, like ISIS, pretexts for war, and at the same time an inward movement.  And of course in the U.K., this is very strong, too.  And the London Bombings helped to create this. That is, you have to make the police into kind of paramilitary forces; you have to decrease people’s sense that they have civil rights that are inviolable; and you have to be willing to control the population.  And that’s what we’re seeing, unfortunately.

JC:  Yes, indeed.  And I think this came out very starkly just very recently with David Cameron’s speech at the UN, where he talked about people who say 9/11 was a “Jewish plot” (that’s very carefully worded), that 7/7 was staged, or that the West has a war on Islam. People who say things like that are now extremists, part of the narrative that is somehow connected to ISIS which needs to be combated.  And I think a lot of people have thought just how appalling that statement was. I don’t know to what extent David Cameron realises what he’s doing there, but he’s mouthing words that have presumably been given to him by somebody else, and it seems to be all part of this dynamic that you’ve just been talking about.

GM:  I think you’re absolutely right. I don’t know who wrote his speech, but I think the move comes from very dark and very powerful forces.  We have to remember that they’ve shown their hand.  When the Prime Minister gets up in the UN and somehow manages, through complete propaganda and nonsense, to weave together this brutal and terrifying force that beheads people with people like us who are raising questions about criminal acts that took place in our countries—we’re all somehow in the same category.

JC:  Absolutely.

GM:  They’re really showing where they’re going there, and I think we need to react to that.

JC:  Absolutely, very frightening times, but we shouldn’t be frightened; indeed, we should continue to talk about and question these things, because otherwise in a sense they’ve won. So, Dr. MacQueen, thank you ever so much indeed for being with us, and, as I say, your book is a must read.  I guess people can get it through Amazon, but can it be purchased through the publisher in some way?

GM:  Yes, the most direct route at the moment is to look up Clarity Press on the Internet; that’s the publisher, and you’ll find the book advertised there.  If you click through, you’ll get a web page which allows you to order the book directly from there.

JC:  Great, and obviously, as I said before, there’s so much more detail in the book than we can possibly cover in an interview like this. So, do go and get a copy; it’s an important book. It’s not a long book; you’ve written it to be understood and easily followed, and I think it makes its case extremely persuasively. I think it’s a major contribution to this area of study, including 9/11 studies.  So, thank you very much, indeed, Dr. MacQueen for writing it and for setting this time aside to be with us on The Mind Renewed.

GM:  Thank you, Julian.  I appreciate you giving me this opportunity.

JC:  It’s a pleasure. Thank you ever so much for coming on.

GM:  All the best.

JC:  Bye-bye.

GM:  Bye-bye.

Obama’s Pivot to Asia: Can China Contain America?

November 17th, 2014 by John V. Walsh

“Can America Contain China?” it is often asked in the West. But given America’s endless wars and assaults on the developing nations of the world, the question ought to be, “Can China Contain America”? Or at least, can China restrain the U.S. from doing more damage in East Asia and perhaps elsewhere in the developing world?

Last week Obama went to Beijing for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit as the representative of the West and its centuries old grand project in East Asia. And what has that project been? History tells us that the West with its missionaries and soldiers, Obama’s predecessors, bathed the region in suffering and bloodshed there – from the Opium Wars on China, to the war on the Philippines, to the nuclear bombing of Japan, to the assault on China’s Maoist Liberation movement, to the Korean and Vietnam wars and the bombings that laid waste Laos and Cambodia, as well as the bloody CIA coup in Indonesia and the military assault on the Korean movement to overthrow the Park dictatorship.

And that thumbnail history merely recounts the Anglo-American contribution to the European rape of East Asia. For centuries, every two bit Western European power with a little bit of advanced military technology was in on the plunder in the Western Pacific.

Obama went to East Asia to say (in substance only): “We are not finished yet. The Indispensible Nation must dominate everywhere. We departed when the Vietnamese humiliated us and drove us from the neighborhood. But we are back. We are pivoting.”

Even before Obama departed the U.S., his “pivot” to the Western Pacific has for the most part come a cropper because the U.S. is nostril deep in the swamp of the Middle East, thanks to the Israel lobby, and because the U.S. has driven Russia into an embrace with China by engineering a fascist-enabled coup in Ukraine. True to form, just before climbing aboard the imperial 747 bound for Beijing, Obama could not resist wading a little deeper into the Middle East swamp and dispatched another 1500 ground troops to the killing fields of Iraq.

On the eve of the APEC summit, the Russia-China connection came alive as Presidents Putin and Xi closed a major petroleum pipeline deal that will bring into China the supply of natural gas that the U.S. has managed to deny Europe by its coup in Kiev. This pipeline, the so-called Western or Altai line, is the second from Russia to China, the first one having been agreed upon last May, with much fanfare. These land routes provide China with abundant petroleum resources that cannot be interdicted at sea by the massive U.S. Navy. This enhances the security of the Middle Kingdom in the face of the pivot. Thus, the deal goes far beyond symbolism. With it the American naval behemoth becomes less relevant as an instrument of U.S. dominance, although it is not one wit less burdensome to the U.S. taxpayer for that.

The talk at APEC was all about economics, which is going to determine the shape of the world to come. China’s economy is now slightly larger than that of the U.S. in terms of Purchasing Power Parity and on its way to become the equal of the U.S. in absolute terms within a decade. China relentlessly pursues economic growth and the overall stability that it demands. What did Obama have to offer? There he was peddling his Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which is to include Japan and 10 other Pacific nations but to exclude China. He says with a straight face that its purpose is not to contain or isolate China although that is precisely what it is designed to do. The TPP, however, is not making much headway, because it is written in secret by and for U.S. corporate and financial monoliths. Other countries will not take the TPP bait if there is little or nothing in it for them.

Some Western commentators saw the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FAATP) as a Chinese riposte to the TPP. But although China pushed hard to move the FAATP forward at the APEC meeting and won approval for it among all 21 attendees, it is not a new idea, nor even a Chinese idea. It was there from the beginning when APEC was created in 1989, according to Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien who praised China for pushing for the next step to realize the pact, which is a study that will take two years. Lee said that when the FAATP is finally created, it will benefit all countries in the region and be one of the largest free trade areas in the world.

Similarly China has taken the lead in forming the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which will provide capital for badly needed investment in the region. The need for investment is estimated at $8 trillion; China has put in the first $100 billion and will host the headquarters in Beijing. The bank was formally inaugurated in October just a few weeks before the APEC meeting and included 21 countries: China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Australia, Indonesia, South Korea did not join despite the interest they expressed a year earlier – a turnaround that was due to U.S. pressure. It is hard to believe that the U.S. is not trying to isolate and weaken China, that is, “contain” it by yanking other countries out of an arrangement that would benefit them.

But whatever the U.S. may attempt at this point, China has sufficient military strength to repel an attack by the West – although not to launch one. With that and its economic strength, China should be able to provide to the world alternatives to the diktats of the West. The BRICS may be the first sign of that. And China’s economic and infrastructure projects in Asia extending all the way to Europe herald a new and welcome multipolar world as outlined here.

In summary, the U.S. is busy in many corners of the world bombing, sanctioning and generally sowing misery and discord – most especially in the Middle East. In East Asia it has so far been pursuing a policy of isolating China and building military alliances against it. China, in contrast, has been busy getting rich and encouraging others to do the same. The U.S. is all guns, and China is all butter. Which is better for humanity?

John V. Walsh can be reached at [email protected].

In yet another example of how the actions of death squad terrorists in Syria conveniently seem to benefit the agenda of NATO and the United States, new reports suggesting that ISIS and the al-Nusra Front are now working together to defeat the elusive “moderate rebels” fighting against Assad are timed right alongside reports of Obama’s decision to refocus his Syria strategy to openly pursue the ouster of Assad as a part of his plan to “defeat ISIS.” These new reports will ultimately be used to justify NATO and America’s plan to openly overthrow Assad even while claiming to be fighting ISIS and extremists.

The mainstream media’s accounts of the “new alliances” between Nusra and ISIS are compelling indeed, as good narratives always are, regardless of whether or not they are true.

For instance, as Deb Reichmann of the Associated Press writes,

Militant leaders from the Islamic State group and al-Qaida gathered at a farm house in northern Syria last week and agreed on a plan to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents, a high-level Syrian opposition official and a rebel commander have told The Associated Press.

Such an accord could present new difficulties for Washington’s strategy against the IS group. While warplanes from a U.S.-led coalition strike militants from the air, the Obama administration has counted on arming “moderate” rebel factions to push them back on the ground. Those rebels, already considered relatively weak and disorganized, would face far stronger opposition if the two heavy-hitting militant groups now are working together.

Of course, what the Associated Press neglects to mention is that while, admittedly, ISIS and Nusra have engaged in battle against one another on several occasions [such is the nature of fanaticism], the fact is that the two are actually the same organization.

For instance, it is important to remember the genealogy of ISIS which can be discovered through observing the career of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. As Voltaire Net writes,

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is an Iraqi who joined Al-Qaeda to fight against President Saddam Hussein. During the U.S. invasion, he distinguished himself by engaging in several actions against Shiites and Christians (including the taking of the Baghdad Cathedral) and by ushering in an Islamist reign of terror (he presided over an Islamic court which sentenced many Iraqis to be slaughtered in public). After the departure of Paul Bremer III, al-Baghdadi was arrested and incarcerated at Camp Bucca from 2005 to 2009. This period saw the dissolution of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, whose fighters merged into a group of tribal resistance, the Islamic Emirate of Iraq.

On 16 May 2010, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named emir of the IEI, which was in the process of disintegration. After the departure of U.S. troops, he staged operations against the government al-Maliki, accused of being at the service of Iran. In 2013, after vowing allegiance to Al-Qaeda, he took off with his group to continue the jihad in Syria, rebaptizing it Islamic Emirate of Iraq and the Levant. In doing so, he challenged the privileges that Ayman al-Zawahiri had previously granted, on behalf of Al-Qaeda, to the Al-Nusra Front in Syria, which was originally nothing more than an extension of the IEI.

Note also that Voltaire Net describes al-Nusra, a documented al-Qaeda connected group, as merely an extension of the IEI (Islamic Emirate of Iraq) which itself was nothing more than a version of Al-Qaeda In Iraq. Thus, from Al-Qaeda in Iraq, came the IEI, which then became the Islamic Emirate of Iraq and the Levant. IEIL then became ISIS/ISIL which is now often referred to as IS.

In other words, Nusra=Al-Qaeda-IEI=IEIL=ISIL=ISIS=IS.

Although too lengthy of a study to be presented in this article, it is important to point out that al-Qaeda is entirely a creation of the West, created for the purpose of drawing the Soviets into Afghanistan in the 1970sand a host of other geopolitical goals in the Middle East and around the world, 9/11 being the most memorable instance of Western intelligence al-Qaeda mobilization.[1]

As for the “moderate rebels,” the reality is that the so-called “opposition” in Syria is anything but moderate. As Tony Cartalucci wrote in his article, “In Syria, There Are No Moderates,”

… there were never, nor are there any “moderates” operating in Syria. The West has intentionally armed and funded Al Qaeda and other sectarian extremists since as early as 2007 in preparation for an engineered sectarian bloodbath serving US-Saudi-Israeli interests. This latest bid to portray the terrorists operating along and within Syria’s borders as “divided” along extremists/moderate lines is a ploy to justify the continued flow of Western cash and arms into Syria to perpetuate the conflict, as well as create conditions along Syria’s borders with which Western partners, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey, can justify direct military intervention.

Indeed, even the New York Times has been forced to admit that there are, as Cartalucci expertly argues in his article, no moderates in the ranks of the Syrian death squads. As Ben Hubbard wrote in April, 2013,

In Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, rebels aligned with Al Qaeda control the power plant, run the bakeries and head a court that applies Islamic law. Elsewhere, they have seized government oil fields, put employees back to work and now profit from the crude they produce.

Across Syria, rebel-held areas are dotted with Islamic courts staffed by lawyers and clerics, and by fighting brigades led by extremists. Even the Supreme Military Council, the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government.

Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.[emphasis added]

Even one of the FSA commanders, Bassel Idriss, recently admitted to openly collaborating with ISIS and al-Nusra, revealing yet another example of the fact that the “moderate rebels” are not moderate at all.

In an interview with the Daily Star of Lebanon, Idriss stated “We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in . . . Qalamoun . . .  Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values.”

Idriss also admitted that many FSA fighters had pledged allegiance to ISIS. He said, “[ISIS] wanted to enhance its presence in the Western Qalamoun area. After the fall of Yabroud and the FSA’s retreat into the hills [around Arsal], many units pledged allegiance [to ISIS]”.

Abu Fidaa, a retired Syrian Army Colonel who is now a part of the Revolutionary Council in the Qalamoun, corroborated Idrisss’ statements by saying that “A very large number of FSA members [in Arsal] have joined ISIS and Nusra. In the end, people want to eat, they want to live, and the Islamic State has everything.”

Not only the FSA, but also the Syrian Revolutionary Front has also openly admitted to working with Nusra and al-Qaeda. The leader of the SRF, Jamaal Maarouf admitted that his brigades coordinate with Nusra and al-Qaeda regularly.

Salem Idriss, one of the men seen in the photograph with John McCain, is the commander of the FSA, the “opposition group” touted as a “moderate rebels.” In reality, of course, the FSA is nothing of the sort. As Daniel Wagner wrote for the Huffington Post in December, 2012,

In the outskirts of Aleppo, the FSA has implemented a Sharia law enforcement police force that is a replica of the Wahhabi police in Saudi Arabia — forcing ordinary citizens to abide by the Sharia code. This is being done in a secular country which has never known Sharia Law. This type of action is currently also being implemented in northern Mali, where the West has officially declared its opposition to the al-Qaeda government that took control earlier this year. If what is happening near Aleppo is representative of what may happen if the FSA assumes control of Syria, the country may become an Islamic state. Is that really what the U.S. and other Western countries are intending to tacitly support?

[...]

Indeed, the FSA has also been targeting the infrastructure of the country. One of the main power plants in Damascus was knocked out for three days last week, impacting 40 percent of the city’s residents. Do ‘freedom fighters’ typically attack critical infrastructure that impacts ordinary citizens on a mass scale? The FSA long ago stopped targeting solely government and military targets.

The FSA is no stranger to atrocities. The FSA is the “moderate opposition” that was filmed forcing a young child to behead a Syrian soldier. It is also the “moderate opposition” that maintained “burial brigades,” a system of mass murder and mass executions against soldiers and those who support the Syrian government. The burial brigades were only one small part of a much wider campaign of terror and executions implemented by the Free Syrian Army.

Of course, the Free Syrian Army is merely the umbrella group of death squads carefully crafted to present a “moderate” face on what is, in reality, nothing more than savage terrorists. Thus, the FSA encompasses(d) a number of smaller “brigades” of al-Qaeda terrorists in order to cover up the true nature of its own ranks.

One such brigade was the Farouq brigade, to which Abu Sakkar was a member. Sakkar, also seen in photographs with John McCain, was the famous rebel videotaped cutting the heart out of a Syrian soldier and biting into it.

It is thus necessary to understand that there is no difference between the “moderate rebels,” ISIS, and Nusra in order to understand the deceptive nature of the narrative being promoted by mainstream media outlets regarding the recent “alliance.”

As it is, the story provided by Western media outlets will be used to justify NATO military invasion in Syria based on the lie that the poor “moderate rebels” and “peaceful democracy-loving ‘activists’” are being overwhelmed by both ISIS/Nusra extremists on one side and brutal dictator Assad on the other. If America does not step in on the side of the moderates, the story goes, the poor “moderates” will be eradicated and America left with the choice between Islamic extremists or a civilian-killing dictator.

Of course, the very notion that America deserves any options in the internal affairs of a foreign nation is an expression of gross arrogance. It is also absurd to paint Bashar al-Assad as a brutal dictator who kills his own people when there has been no shred of evidence to indicate that Assad has intentionally targeted civilians during the entire conflict.

Even more absurd, however, is to paint the FSA, SRF, and other “moderate rebels,” as moderate in an effort to pretend that there is such a thing as a desirable faction of the “rebellion,” in Syria. In reality, it is nothing more than a false narrative cooked up in order to justify American and NATO involvement on behalf of Western-backed death squads.

Also note that the clever script regarding the plight of the poor “moderates” comes on the heels of a White House announcement that America cannot continue its fictitious war on ISIS without removing Assad from power. As Reuters reported on November 12,

President Barack Obama wants his advisers to review the administration’s Syriapolicy after determining it may not be possible to defeat Islamic State militants without removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, CNN reported on Wednesday.

Citing senior U.S. officials, the network said Obama’s national security team held four meetings in the past week that were driven by how the administration’s Syria strategy fit into its campaign against Islamic State, which has seized large parts of Syria andIraq.

“The president has asked us to look again at how this fits together,” CNN quoted one senior official as saying. “The long-running Syria problem is now compounded by the reality that to genuinely defeat ISIL, we need not only a defeat in Iraq but a defeat in Syria.” ISIL is another acronym for Islamic State.

The Times of Israel was somewhat more forthcoming in its own report which stated,

US President Barack Obama has instructed his national security advisers to review the administration’s policy on Syria and make removing embattled President Bashar Assad from power a key element in defeating the Islamic State group in Iraq, CNN reported Thursday.

According to a report from the American news network, the US administration is moving away from its previous strategy of confronting IS in Iraq first and then dealing with Assad in Syria.

Officials now see replacing the Damascus regime as a necessary step to success in Iraq.

[...]

In Syria, where the administration was planning on waiting to confront the Islamic State and Assad, the Pentagon is now considering expanding and speeding up its program of vetting and training moderate rebels.

Obama had wanted $500 million to train 5,000 Syrian rebels within a year on condition that they are vetted first to ensure their intentions are aligned with US interests. The vetting process has proved to be tricky and not yet even begun, the report said.

Including the ouster of Assad will also allow Washington to firm up its coalition, whose members have been irritated at the less enthusiastic attitude of the US when it comes to removing Assad.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is said to be in talks with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Russia to look at a diplomatic ousting of Assad. However, officials say that while Russia, which has backed Assad in the civil war, has said it is ready to see him leave office, Moscow has not taken any practical steps to that end.

Obama has announced plans to double the number of American troops in Iraq to up to 3,100 as US-led efforts against the jihadists enter what he called a “new phase.”

In other words, in order to defeat ISIS, we must remove the person fighting ISIS so that we will be able to bring ISIS into power, all while stating our resolute opposition to ISIS.

Such logic would be staggering in its stupidity if it were truly being applied.

In the end, the claims surrounding the plight of the death squads presented to the American people as “moderates” against the death squads presented to the American people as extremists is nothing more than theatre, albeit mindboggling at times. The United States and NATO have funded, armed, trained, and directed the terrorists rampaging across Syria from the very beginning of the crisis and continue to do so today. We must not allow ourselves to be fooled by propaganda and false narratives designed to stampede us to war.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 300 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

The true “affordability” of Obamacare has been called into question by a new study, which found that average premium costs across the board have skyrocketed from what they were before the unconstitutional tax dubbed “healthcare reform” became law in 2010.

The health insurance aggregate site HealthPocket found that, among three different non-smoking age groups, 23, 30 and 63, insurance premiums jumped significantly as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The worst age category was 23-year-old men, who saw their premiums increase by an average of 78 percent.

Similarly, 30-year-old men saw their premiums increase by an astounding 73 percent, while 63-year-old men witnessed a 22.7 percent increase, on average. Women in the younger age groups also saw premium increases, though less severe.

According to the report, 23-year-old women will pay, on average, 45 percent more for health insurance under Obamacare, while 30-year-old women will pay 35 percent more. The only age group where women fared worse than men was the 63-year-olds, which saw a nearly 38 percent premium increase compared to pre-Obamacare days.

“It’s very eye-opening in terms of the transformation occurring within the individual health insurance market,” stated Kev Coleman, head of research and data at HealthPocket, as quoted by The Washington Times.

“I was surprised in general to see the differences in terms of the average premiums in the pre-reform and post-reform markets. It was a higher amount than I had anticipated.”

Even with premium subsidies, Obamacare recipients still paying more for health insurance

Obamacare apologists would claim that these higher premiums are offset by government subsidies that help those who otherwise could not afford to pay them. But the data shows that many folks, especially younger ones, don’t even qualify.

“[Y]ou still have this issue of health insurance rising for that very young group and, depending on where they are with respect to income and premium, they may not qualify for a subsidy,” explained Coleman to the media. “That’s what we like to refer to as a subsidy gap.”

And as anyone with even a cursory understanding of economics understands, even if a policyholder isn’t directly paying for a subsidy, someone else in the system is. This means that, all subsidies considered, the cost of health insurance under Obamacare is still higher across the board now than it was prior.

“[T]he subsidized portion of the premium still must be paid by the government through the money it collects from the nation,” reads the study. “In other words, the subsidized costs of health insurance do not disappear but instead change payers.”

Healthy young people expected to shoulder financial burden of covering sick folks with pre-existing health conditions

The only way Obamacare can even work is if healthy younger people agree to purchase overpriced insurance, the premiums of which cover all the unhealthy folks, many of whom have pre-existing health conditions that weren’t covered under the old insurance model.

But many of the younger people who need Obamacare in the first place likely couldn’t afford health insurance prior to its implementation, and even more so can’t afford it now due to its significantly higher premium costs.

“If you’re expanding the services you’re covering, and you’re increasing the number of less healthy people in your risk pools, that’s going to increase costs,” said Coleman, noting that Obamacare insurance has the added costs associated with 10 “essential health benefits” that are required with every plan.

These benefits include things like pediatric, dental and vision care, maternity care and newborn care, even for policyholders who don’t or can’t have children or whose children are already adults.

“Attendant to that would be an increase in premiums to be able to appropriately cover those costs,” added Coleman.

Sources:

http://www.prnewswire.com

http://www.washingtontimes.com

http://www.bna.com

It is no secret that Monsanto is making life difficult for countless farmers in America with its parented seeds. After all, the biotech giant has already filed 145 lawsuits, or on average about 9 lawsuits every year for 16 straight years, against farmers who have “improperly reused their patented seeds.” But did you know that Monsanto is also leading hundreds of thousands of farmers to suicide?

Biotech has attempted dismiss the rise in farmer suicides in India due to the introduction of genetically modified crops, but the problem is too pervasive to wipe under the rug. While there are numerous contributing factors to farmer suicides in India, debt is the largest concern, which is largely fueled by non-viable crops.

Biotech sells seeds that either don’t grow or lead to the development of unstoppable superweeds and superbugs. Subsequently, biotech urges and nearly forces farmers to purchase RoundUp and other herbicidal chemicals which the farmers can ill afford. Thus, the mind-numbing cycle begins. Read this post for more in-depth information.

What’s worse is that after a farmer commits suicide, the debt falls on the remaining family members. Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, and other suicide seed sellers have essentially created a generational slave economy based on their toxic chemical and seed monopolies.

According to figures outlining farmer suicide rates, 17,638 Indian farmers committed suicide in 2009 — about one death every 30 minutes. Oftentimes, the farmers would commit the act by drinking the very same insecticide that Monsanto supplied them with — a terrible end in which Monsanto has wrecked the lives of independent and traditional farmers.

Many families are now ruined thanks to the mass suicides, and are left to economic ruin and must struggle to fight off starvation:

‘We are ruined now,’ said one dead man’s 38-year-old wife. ‘We bought 100 grams of BT Cotton. Our crop failed twice. My husband had become depressed. He went out to his field, lay down in the cotton and swallowed insecticide.’

Now, Monsanto has caused a massive 291,000 suicides in India with its GMOs, chemical creations, and shameless business practices.

“. . . the motivations for these suicides follow a familiar pattern: Farmers become trapped in a cycle of debt trying to make a living growing Monsanto’s genetically engineered Bt cotton. They always live close to the edge, but one season’s ruined crop can dash hopes of ever paying back their loans, much less enabling their families to get ahead. Manjusha’s father, like many other suicide victims, killed himself by drinking the pesticide he spreads on his crops.”

In the video below, Dr. Vandana Shiva talks about the current situation in India and how GMO’s have affected farmers there. Dr. Shiva is an Indian environmental activist and anti-globalization author.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced a multi-billion dollar overhaul of US nuclear forces after reviews uncovered serious flaws.

Hagel told reporters on Friday at the Pentagon that there had been a “consistent lack of investment and support” over “far too many years”.

He said the Defense Department will increase spending on the management of the US nuclear arsenal by about 10 percent a year for the next five years. The nuclear weapons forces reportedly cost over $15 billion annually.

“The internal and external reviews I ordered show that a consistent lack of investment and support for our nuclear forces over far too many years has left us with too little margin to cope with mounting stresses,” said Hagel.

“The root cause has been a lack of sustained focus, attention and resources, resulting in a pervasive sense that a career in the nuclear enterprise offers too few opportunities for growth and advancement,” he added.

Earlier this year, Hagel ordered two reviews of the nuclear arms program following a series of media reports revealed lapses in leadership, morale, safety and security at America’s several nuclear air force bases.

Earlier this month, the US Air Force dismissed two senior commanders from its nuclear missile corps on the grounds of indiscipline and misconduct.

Commenting on the news, an American activist and expert on military affairs said the US Air Force’s frustrated, demoralized and alcoholic officers have their fingers on the nation’s nuclear buttons.

“And it’s frightening when you think about the people that are manning the nuclear weapons infrastructure in the United States are in such a bad condition. It is very frightening,” said Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, from Bath, Maine.

GJH/GJH

I want to take just a few minutes of your time because this  is really important. Please read this article, watch the videos and check out the documentaries linked below. If you’ve got any friends in the army or know anyone considering joining up please share it with them.

“Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.” - Henry Kissinger, former U.S. National Security Advisor and Secretary of State.

War is part of human history, we have fought each other for millennia. In most cases wars have been waged to take territories and resources. All major nations have won their power through blood and iron.  Not a lot has changed today. Big players still try to dominate the world by playing out a grand chess game. They conspire to deceive and manipulate the public through propaganda campaigns and false flag operations, they often invent non-existent threats to justify their actions. Soldiers are led to believe that they are fighting for a just cause to protect their countries but in many cases this is a travesty of the truth.

The Iraq war began in 2003 but it was merely one of a legion of conflicts involving the US in the last 200 years.  The pretext for invasion was the supposed threat to international security raised by Iraq allegedly possessing weapons of mass destruction. These were never found in the end. Initially, the American Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed that military intervention would cost no more than $60 billion and predicted that the war would not last longer than 5 months. In fact, the American-led occupation lasted for 9 years and may well have to return following the rise of Islamic State. Brown University has estimated that it has cost the US more than $2 trillion, over 40 times the initial projections and it could go beyond a staggering figure of $6 trillion.  Some sources suggest the death toll has exceeded more than one million people.

So what were the real reasons for this war?

Just take a moment and watch this testimony by General Wesley Clark:

Some of the countries he mentioned  experienced  American military intervention . Not everything happened according to plan, but let’s focus on Iraq in this instance . The US and its allies hoped to benefit from this war in several respects but the main prize was oil. Iraq has one of the largest oil reserves in the world and the US had already planned to take control of its supplies much earlier.

The following statement made by Dick Cheney in 1990 before the Senate Armed Services Committee can be seen to reveal the true purpose of the invasion: “Whoever controls the flow of Persian Gulf oil has a stranglehold not only on our economy but also on the other countries of the world as well.”

The Project For A New American Century

In September 2000 the policy paper entitled “Rebuilding America’s Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century” was composed by the neoconservative think tank Project For The New American Century (PNAC) of which Dick Cheney was a member.  Established in 1997 its main goal was “to promote American global leadership”.

The report explains:

‘The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.’ The PNAC document supports a ‘blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests’.

This ‘American grand strategy’ must be advanced for ‘as far into the future as possible’, the report says. It also calls for the US to ‘fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars’ as a ‘core mission’.

The PNAC report also: refers to key allies such as the UK as ‘the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership’;

Switching  from the dollar to the euro.

In late 2000 Saddam Husain switched oil trade from dollars to euros, which infuriated Washington. They decided to do so since they didn’t want to trade “in the currency of the enemy.”

The dollar is a fiat currency, it is not backed by anything, it can only maintain its position because it is used for trading worldwide. If more countries  chose to switch to another form of payment it could have catastrophic consequences for the American economy.

Other puppets played their part.

In this video from 2003, Stephen Harper, a Canadian politician who later became prime minister, and Australian Prime Minister John Howard delivered largely identical speeches urging their nations to join George W. Bush’s Coalition to invade Iraq.

The official explanation was that it was the speechwriter who was responsible for this imitation and that Stephen Harper was unaware of this “plagiarism”

Whatever the truth of this matter, when a political leader makes such a critical decision like sending their soldiers to war they should have the moral integrity to act in the interests of their own people independently.

Mike Sygula is a blogger and activist promoting alternative ideas to raise public consciousness of the important issues facing humankind. He is currently involved in establishing Awe Academy, an open source learning and teaching platform which he is now crowdfunding for. You can learn more about Awe Academy by visiting his Indiegogo: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/awe-academy-the-revolution-in-education/x/4690696 campaign. Click here: http://truththeory.com/?s=mike+sygula to read more articles by Mike Sygula, or follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mike.sygula