It has been declared ‘the International Year of the Soil,’ but the year ahead, according to Dr. Vandana Shiva, will also see key developments in the global fight to overthrow corporate power with true democracy.

Last year, the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization officially declared that 2015 would be celebrated as the International Year of the Soil citing the threat to one of the key ingredients to the planet’s food and farming systems posed by “expanding cities, deforestation, unsustainable land use, pollution, overgrazing and climate change.”

“In the seed and the soil we find the answers to every one of the crises we face. The crisis of violence and war; the crisis of hunger and disease; the crisis of the destruction of democracy.” —Dr. Vandana Shiva

Though many recognize the FAO declaration as a largely symbolic gesture, many advocates of organic food and sustainable agricultural are planning to seize the designation as a way to push forth their message that the health of the planet’s soil should not be relegated as a metaphorical issue, but rather one that should be at the very heart of serious conversations and policy changes humanity must begin in order to transform its economic systems, its democracies, the way it generates power, and the way it feeds itself.

Dr. Shiva says that within ‘the soil lies the answer to the problems oil has created’ and that ‘organic gardens of hope everywhere’ and ‘farms that grow real food’ can be a powerful enough force to help upend the march of globalized neoliberalism that is taking the planet towards the brink of destruction. (Image: Magnus Franklin/flickr/cc)

Summarizing the issues at stake and the fight ahead, one of the world’s most prominent advocates for democracy and organic agriculture, Dr. Vandana Shiva, an Indian activist and founder of the seed-saving organization Navdanya, has posted an impassioned New Years message to those battling on behalf of food sovereignty, economic egalitarianism, agroecology, climate action, and social justice.

In the video posted to the website of Seed Freedom, Shiva applauded all those who have stood up for the the rights of people and Mother Earth against the greed and disregard perpetrated by corporate power and the neoliberal economic model which is ravaging economies, human rights, and the planet’s ability to sustain life.

Looking back on 2014, Shiva celebrated that it was a year in which the phrase ‘We Are All Seeds’ rang out in resonance aross the world and described how “for a while we might lie underground, but at the right moment we germinate and burst forth with our full potential.”

At the dawn of 2015, however,  she welcomed global activists to look forward to this coming ‘Year of the Soil’ and called it a year that will commemorate “earthiness… groundedness… [and] rootedness” of individuals and organizations that make up the global movement for climate, economic, and social justice.

The year ahead, she said, will be a year in which the seeds—”of hope and love” and “of abundance and creativity”—that activists and well-meaning citizens from around the world have sown and will sow, shall be political and cultural seeds that “will multiply and show the way forward.”

“In the Year of the Soil,” Shiva continues, “let us celebrate the connections between Mother Earth and ourselves. We are, afterall, made of the earth. We are made of soil.”

She said, “In the seed and the soil we find the answers to every one of the crises we face. The crisis of violence and war; the crisis of hunger and disease; the crisis of the destruction of democracy. We will not allow corporations to allow everyone to believe that they are persons. Corporations are legal constructions—that’s where their place is. People, through democratic processes,  give permission to what sort of business activity is sustainable, what business activity is equitable, what business activity respects, with dignity, the life of this planet, the life of all beings, and the lives of all human beings.”

Shiva cited recent lawsuits filed by corporations against places like Vermont and Maui, Hawaii for citizen-led efforts to ban GMO crops or label GMO ingredients as examples of an illusionary charade in which business interests masquerade as people. The movement she is speaking to, she said, will instead “create a reality in which reality rules—the reality of the living ecological processes of the planet.” She offered that such a reality would be shaped by the ordinary lives of citizens by democratic rule, not fabricated by corporate pr campaigns and disinformation.

The challenge of fighting for true democracy, according to Shiva, “is going to be the single biggest challenge throughout 2015.”

Within that challenge and amid the context of the ‘Year of Soil’ ahead, Shiva finally reminded her listeners that it is organic farming and ecological agriculture (frequently called agroecology) which offers the “answer to the havoc that’s being created by fossil fuels.” Quoting from her book, Soil Not Oil, Shiva argued that “in the soil lies the answer to the problems oil has created” across the planet.

“The joint crises of climate change and biodiversity erosion can both be addressed by planting gardens everywhere—full of biodiversity; full of the celebration of life, well-being, and abundance. Gardens of hope everywhere. Farms that give real food. We will continue to create the other world that we are sowing—seed by seed, inch-by-inch of soil, person by person, community by community—until all of this planet is embraced in one circle of a resurgent life and resurgent love. We will not give up.”


Alumni of Elite Israeli High School Call for Army Draft Refusal

January 4th, 2015 by Maureen Clare Murphy

A new letter urges young Israelis to refuse to serve in Israel’s occupation army. (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

Dozens of alumni and former staff members of an elite Jerusalem high school havestated their refusal to serve in the Israeli military, and call on future graduates of the Israel Arts and Sciences Academy to reject the draft.

Conscientious objectors face prison time for refusing compulsory Israeli military conscription orders.

“Refusing to serve in the Israeli military is not an easy choice, but a moral stance against a collective mood manifested in racism and violence on every street these days,” the letter, published yesterday, states.

The racism and violence of this “collective mood” in Israel, encouraged by lawmakers who called for genocidal measures against Palestinians, reached a fevered pitch this summer as Israel’s bombs rained down on Gaza. Entire families were erased there under the command of Israeli colonels like the Givati Brigade’s Ofer Winter, who told his soldiers that they were engaged in a war to “wipe out” an “enemy who defames” God.

The letter calling for refusal to serve in the army takes a stand against the “pressure coming from one’s home, friends, professional environment and the media, and to not take part in the crimes done in our name.

“The refusal to serve means also resisting the militaristic indoctrination process we all went through since our childhood in schools, youth movements, national ceremonies, in high school — and which continues in our adult lives,” the statement adds.

“System of discrimination”

The letter’s nearly sixty signatories, as of the time of publication, include both Palestinians and Jewish Israelis.

In addition to Israel’s oppression in the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank, the statement criticizes the “separation-regime based on the notion of an ethnic superiority of Jews over Palestinians” which has “institutionalized a system of ethnic-based discrimination in the ‘48 territory,” referring to present-day Israel.

The signatories also mention “oppression mechanisms” used against “Mizrachi, Ultra-Orthodox, Ethiopians, women, residents of the periphery and the poor wherever they are” in Israel.

“Backed by the military, Israeli governments are exploiting the weakened populations for ethnic cleansing and dispossession projects across the Green Line, in the Negev and the Galilee, using them to fight the so-called ‘demographic war,’” the letter states in regard to Israel’s violent efforts to maintain a Jewish demographic majority.

The letter implies that some of the signatories have previously served in the army.

“When we were teenagers some of us did not have the knowledge, the courage or the proper networks of support to allow such an act” of refusal, the signatories state, “and we want you to know that there are voices like ours as well as different frameworks that support those who refuse or consider refusing.”

The intervention against militarism from the Israel Arts and Science Academy graduates comes amid growing efforts from the Palestinian community in Israel to confront mandatory conscription and voluntary recruitment to the army.


The recent Refuse — Your People Will Protect You campaign endeavors to give legal and financial support to conscientious objectors from the Druze community so they havealternatives to the many state and private benefits conditioned on army service.

Young people from the Druze religious minority, unlike the majority of the estimated 1.7 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, are required to serve in the military.

Druze youth Omar Saad was imprisoned last year for refusing to serve and spent 190 days in detention as punishment.

Students and faculty at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem protest attempts to recruit Palestinian Christians to Israel’s army in May. (Ryan Rodrick Beiler / ActiveStills)

Saad’s mother was one of many speakers, including prominent community leaders and political figures, who spoke at a conference organized by Palestinians in Israel this summer to push back against the state’s new sectarian efforts to voluntarily recruitChristians into the army.

The Electronic Intifada reporter Sawsan Khalife’ described the June meeting as “one of the largest assemblies of Palestinian community leaders inside Israel in the last decade.”

Refusal to serve

Earlier this year, fifty Israeli youths sent an open letter to the prime minister stating their refusal to serve in the army in protest of the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where Palestinians’ human rights are violated “on a daily basis.”

One of the youths, Uriel Ferera, was finally exempted from serving in the military on 21 December after serving 177 days in military prison for his conscientious objection.

Another refuser, Udi Segal, went on hunger strike in November to protest his imprisonment.

Uriel Ferera, photographed in April, was exempted from the army this month after serving 177 days in prison. (Yotam Ronen / ActiveStills)

Israel’s summer campaign of violence in Gaza, which claimed more than 2,200 Palestinian lives, also generated protest within one corner of the military.

A group of reservists serving in the military’s elite intelligence apparatus known as Unit 8200 declared in an open letter to Netanyahu their refusal to “take part in actions against Palestinians” and “continue serving as tools in cementing the military’s control over the Occupied Territories,” as The Washington Post reported in September.

As The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah noted at the time, “What generated particular outrage was the letter-writers’ revelation that Unit 8200 eavesdrops on Palestinians in order to use personal information to coerce them into collaboration with Israel.”

“While such extortion – for example against Palestinians from Gaza needing to travel for life-saving medical treatment — has long been documented by human rights organizations, it has been rare for it to be acknowledged in this manner by those tasked with doing the extorting,” Abunimah added.


Like it did following the reservists’ letter, and after the fifty youths’ pledge to refuse, Israel’s political establishment has lashed out in response to the Israel Arts and Sciences Academy alumni statement.

Deputy Education Minister Avi Wortzman accused the signers of “using the name of the school to gain media attention” and claimed that the Israeli military “has been and remains the most moral army in the world.”

One of the tasks of this “most moral army” is the arrest and imprisonment of Palestinians living under Israeli military rule in a bid to suppress any efforts to resist the occupation.

Referring to statistics compiled by the United Nations monitoring group OCHA, Ali Abunimah commented for The Electronic Intifada last week: “Israel carried out an average of 96 ‘search and arrest’ raids every week during the year, up from 75 per week in 2013. These assaults often take the form of night raids on homes, terrorizing entire families and communities.”

There were 6,500 Palestinians in Israeli prison as of 1 October, according to the Palestinian human rights and prisoner advocacy group Addameer.

In response to those who took exception with his claims that the Ukrainian crisis involved “outside agitators,” Oliver Stone took to social media to advance his argument, saying that Ukrainians are the victims of a US strategy akin to Cold War 2.0.

This week, Stone stirred a political firestorm with his views on what he believed sparked the Ukrainian crisis, following a private interview with Viktor Yanukovich, the former Ukrainian president who was ousted in the February 2014 coup.

“It seems clear that the so-called ‘shooters’ who killed 14 policemen, wounded some 85 and killed 45 protesting civilians, were outside, third-party agitators,” Stone said, following his four-hour conversation with Yanukovich in Moscow. “Many witnesses, including Yanukovich and police officials, believe these foreign elements were introduced by pro-Western factions – with CIA fingerprints on it.”

According to the American-born filmmaker and writer, Ukraine is just the latest country in a long list to fall prey to “America’s soft power technique called ‘Regime Change 101.’”

Stone’s comments reverberated like an earthquake on both sides of the Ukrainian divide, prompting him to elaborate on his original statement. Stone’s follow-up post began with him explaining that he has no particular sympathy for Yanukovich.

“For those of you angry with my analysis of Ukraine yesterday, please try to understand the bigger picture I’m offering,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “I have no brief for Viktor Yanukovich, he may well be the most corrupt president Ukraine’s ever had. Ukraine has a dramatic history of corruption. That is not my point.”

However, he went on to argue that there is “ample evidence of pro-Western, third-party interference” in Ukraine, specifically mentioning Victoria Nuland and John McCain, two high-ranking American officials who appeared on the streets of central Kiev at the height of the Maidan showdown between police and protesters.

He also mentioned specific US government organizations, such as USAID, which has been operating in Ukraine since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the National Endowment for Democracy, which he remarked “apparently organize very well on Facebook and Twitter,” suggesting a possible method of organizing the protesters for an anti-government rally.

Supporters of European integration of Ukraine clash with the police in the center of Kiev January 25, 2014 (RIA Novosti)

Supporters of European integration of Ukraine clash with the police in the center of Kiev January 25, 2014 (RIA Novosti)

Stone asked the question why so many Ukrainian policemen were killed and wounded during the occasionally violent rallies, “Yet no one has investigated this in the new government?”

Indeed, there has been much speculation that the so-called Maidan snipers were working in the pay of those who were trying to orchestrate the protests, and it was their aim to shoot members from both sides to trigger deeper social unrest.

To emphasize his point that the US has been playing games in Ukraine for a long time, Stone made a historical reference to 1949, when Defense Secretary James Forrestal, together with the cooperation of the CIA, created a guerrilla force codenamed ‘Nightingale’ that was comprised of ultra-nationalist Ukrainians.

For five years, according to Stone, the CIA was parachuting Ukrainian infiltrators into the country.

Stone implored his audience to see the “big picture,” which is that the United States “has never given up on using Ukraine as a launching pad to the underbelly of the Soviet Union, now a reduced Russia.”

“This Cold War 2.0 policy continues in a most deadly fashion, and whether they know it or not, the Ukrainian civilian population in the middle has suffered greatly from this ideological crusade,” Stone said.

Washington’s meddling across Asia has grabbed headlines recently in Hong Kong where US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funded opposition leaders attempted to trigger a “color revolution” targeting the government of Beijing and Hong Kong’s local administrators. Its spectacular failure was owed to the almost immediate exposure of the protesters as foreign-backed proxies serving foreign interests.

Additionally, political chaos has plagued Thailand amid a half-year struggle to oust Wall Street-Washington-backed dictator Thaksin Shinawatra and his subversive, well-funded proxy political front and various faux-rights advocates all extensively funded by Washington. Malaysia has likewise fought carbon-copies of US-backed opposition fronts in Hong Kong and Thailand, with its own battle against “Berish” led by Wall Street and Washington’s Anwar Ibrahim.

Popular support, despite reports by the Western media, in each respective country, has been exposed as extremely small. In Thailand, for instance, even at the height of Shinawatra’s bid to seize back power in 2010, his “red shirt” movement represented a paltry 7% of Thailand’s 70 million citizens – a minority that has only shrunk since then.

In Myanmar, US-British creation, Aung San Suu Kyi has also expended her credibility and illusion of popular support. Her bid to work her way into Myanmar’s political order has left even her own supporters disillusioned – not mentioning her support of Myanmar’s brutal and infinitely racist, “saffron monks” who regularly lead machete wielding mobs amid riots of mass murder against Rohingya refugees.

However, US meddling is not limited to these countries. Indeed, the familiar template of “pro-democracy” fronts backed by NED and the Western media can be seen manifesting itself, if to a lesser degree, across the under-reported political landscape of Vietnam.

In a rare episode, US meddling has broken the surface recently with complaints across NED’s network of faux human rights advocates and the Western media over the arrest of Nguyen Dinh Ngoc, described by the Associated Press in their article, “Nguyen Dinh Ngoc, Blogger, Detained In Vietnam,” only as a “blogger.” AP would report:

Blogger Nguyen Dinh Ngoc, 48, was taken into custody and his house was searched in the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday. The Ministry of Public Security said in a statement that police were investigating and will deal with Ngoc in accordance with the law, but did not elaborate.

Over the past month, police in Ho Chi Minh City detained two other bloggers for alleged anti-government postings.

Anti-government postings alone are certainly no reason to lock up a “blogger.” However, NED would reveal in its own hand-wringing over the detainment of various “bloggers” in Vietnam that many are recipients of NED funding and support – meaning they are not simply critics of the Vietnamese government, but rather foreign-backed agents of sedition making their subsequent detainment justified.

In 2013, NED would also decry the detainment of “bloggers” in Vietnam. In a post titled, “Democracy blogger arrested in Vietnam,” NED would claim:

In a letter to the Prime Minister of Vietnam, the National Endowment for Democracy has expressed its deep concern over the Dec. 27 arrest of prominent human rights lawyer and blogger Lê Quốc Quân in Vietnam.

Quân, who was a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow (2006-2007) at NED in Washington, DC, has written extensively on human rights abuses in Vietnam and has been detained by authorities multiple times on account of his pro-democracy views.

NED shamelessly admits the arrested blogger was working on their behalf and with their extensive support. NED is behind nearly every “human rights” advocate in Vietnam opposing the government – with many reporting diligently on NED’s activities in the country – though never posting publicly their financial and political ties to Washington. For example, “Vietnam Human Rights Defenders” who recently condemned the above reported detainment of Nguyen Dinh Ngoc, regularly praises and reports on NED and USAID programs, but nowhere in its “about us” section does it disclose any of its funding, let alone its ties to NED and USAID itself. There is, however, an extensive “links” list leading off to NED and every other imaginable rights advocacy front created by Wall Street and Washington behind which their agenda is peddled.

In one article, it praises Dr. Cu Huy Ha Vu, a literal “fellow” at the National Endowment for Democracy.  In an article by “Vietnam Human Rights Defenders,” Vu is reported to claim pressure from the US is essential for the “peaceful democratization of Vietnam.” Pressure, no doubt, including armies of NED-funded bloggers, opposition fronts, and street demonstrations as seen in Thailand, Malaysiaand more recently in Hong Kong.

US Meddling in Vietnam Amid Greater Regional Bid for Hegemony

NED’s official page describing its support for groups in Vietnam is particularly ambiguous – a pattern seen when NED refuses to admit association with any particular nation’s most prominent trouble-makers – as seen in Hong Kong recently. Under a subheading titled, “Human Rights,” NED states:

To build the expertise and skills of Vietnamese civil society organizations and activists in their efforts to support and defend human rights. The project will train lawyers and other activists on human rights advocacy, project management, and community organizing as well as link them to their counterparts in other ASEAN countries in an effort to strengthen an emerging grassroots civil society movement in Vietnam.

Linking them with their “counterparts in other ASEAN countries” indeed – because NED’s bid to overturn the political order in Vietnam is linked directly to Wall Street and Washington’s bid to turn all of Southeast Asia into a unified proxy front to wield against China. Identical campaigns of political subversion in Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar to install into power Thaksin Shinawatra, Anwar Ibrahim, and Aung San Suu Kyi respectively, would yield a regional bloc led by a collection of client states and puppet dictators propped up by and in the service of the West.

With corporate-financier hegemony ensured via economic “free  trade” agreements like the unpalatable ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), China would not only be politically isolated from Southeast Asia, but economically as well. As with NATO in Europe, the US plans to create an ASEAN military alliance it itself leads, meaning in addition to political and economic isolation, Beijing will be militarily encircled as well.

Meddling in Vietnam Part of Washington’s Long-War Against China 

656666As early as 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.

Three important quotes from these papers reveal this strategy. It states first that:

“…the February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China.”

It also claims:

“China—like Germany in 1917, like Germany in the West and Japan in the East in the late 30′s, and like the USSR in 1947—looms as a major power threatening to undercut our importance and effectiveness in the world and, more remotely but more menacingly, to organize all of Asia against us.”

Finally, it outlines the immense regional theater the US was engaged in against China at the time by stating:

“there are three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China (realizing that the USSR “contains” China on the north and northwest): (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.”

While the US would ultimately lose the Vietnam War and any chance of using the Vietnamese as a proxy force against Beijing, the long war against Beijing would continue elsewhere.

This containment strategy would be updated and detailed in the 2006 Strategic Studies Institute report “String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China’s Rising Power across the Asian Littoral”where it outlines China’s efforts to secure its oil lifeline from the Middle East to its shores in the South China Sea as well as means by which the US can maintain American hegemony throughout the Indian and Pacific Ocean. The premise is that, should Western foreign policy fail to entice China into participating in Wall Street and London’s “international system” as responsible stakeholders, an increasingly confrontational posture must be taken to contain the rising nation.

This proxy war has manifested itself in the form of the so-called “Arab Spring” where Chinese interests have suffered in nations like Libya that have been reduced to chaos by US-backed subversion and even direct military intervention. Sudan also serves as a proxy battleground where the West is using chaos to push Chinese interests off the continent of Africa.

With continued US meddling in Vietnam more recently, it can be seen that America’s strategy of encirclement and containment is still very much in play. Vietnam has once again, if even only subtly, become a proxy battleground between Washington and Beijing.

The Vietnamese, historically fiercely independent, may attempt to balance themselves between Beijing’s regional rise and Washington’s plans for a united ASEAN front against that rise. And while the US openly admits it is trying to link its various subversive fronts together across ASEAN, the Vietnamese government and its counterparts in Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar would be wise to link their efforts to confound this hegemonic endeavor.

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

When the U.N. Security Council resolution to end the Israeli military occupation of the occupied territories and establish a Palestinian state by 2017 was defeated, not a single human with a pulse was surprised. The resolution received eight votes in favor, with the United States and Australia against and five countries abstaining. Even though the measure was one vote shy of adoption, the United States decided to exercise its veto power anyway just to make its rejectionist stance abundantly clear. But the bill would not have led to a fair settlement anyway. If it led to a settlement at all it would have been an unjust one for Palestinians. A just settlement would mean assuming the goals of the resolution as a starting point, not as an end point.

Explaining why she put a kibosh on the resolution, United States Ambassador Samantha Power said the bill was “imbalanced” and addressed “only one side.” It did address only one side – Israel’s. It was imbalanced because it sought legal rights already due to Palestinians since 1967 as its objective while ignoring other Palestinian rights like the right of return and equal rights inside the 1948 borders. And it rewarded Israeli for 47 years of atrocious criminality – ethnic cleansing, land and water theft, destruction of thousands of homes and olive trees – without any consequences.

The insistence on maintaining the status quo was explained by Power saying that “we firmly believe the status quo between Israelis and Palestinians is unsustainable.”

Power also made multiple references to negotiations between the parties. “The United States every day searches for new ways to take constructive steps to support the parties in making progress toward achieving a negotiated settlement,” she said. By this, she apparently meant that the United States searches for ways to force Palestinians negotiate how many of their rights they are willing to forfeit, while Israel demands they don’t have to give up anything.

The only acceptable outcome for Israel is maintaining control of all of Mandate Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Sea, by de facto annexation. The United States knows this and has enabled them to do so, by giving them $3 billion per year in aid and vetoing 43 resolutions meant to hold them accountable since 1972, among other things.

If Power was not being dishonest and deceitful, the only other explanation for her statement is that she is clinically insane. The definition of insanity is “a mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality.” The idea that Israel has ever for one second been interested in a negotiated settlement since its foundation in 1948 is more of a fantasy than Game of Thrones. And to think the U.S. has done anything other than aid and abet Israel’s conquest of Palestine through ideological, financial and diplomatic support would require an unfathomable level of historical amnesia.

If Israel was interested in an actual settlement they would have to admit that they cannot bargain with what does not belong to them – namely any land beyond the Green Line. Palestinians don’t need another resolution to clarify that Israel needs to remove its military occupation from the lands that were conquered in the 1967 war. This has already been the law for 47 years. 

UN Security Council Resolution 242 declared that “the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East … should include” the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” and “termination for all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area.”   

This was reiterated six years later with the demands in Resolution 338 to implement 242 “in all of its parts” and that “negotiations shall start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace.”

By proposing a new resolution that would achieve at best what is already guaranteed by Resolutions 242 and 338, Palestinians would be forced to surrender the rest of their rights – namely the right of return of the 1948 refugees and their ancestors displaced during the Nakba, and the end to discrimination of Palestinians within Israel who are second-class citizens in the Jewish State.

Israel could not practically dismantle all the illegal settlements they have built in the West Bank and move 500,000 settlers back inside the Green Line, much less absorb possibly millions of refugees, many who still hold the keys to their ancestral homes inside Israel. There is no possibility of a two state solution. It is as much as a fantasy as Ambassdor Power’s claim that the U.S. doesn’t believe in the status quo.

Once this two-state scam is exposed for what it is, the only possibility left is a binational state where Palestinians enjoy equal rights with Jews. It is the reason that Ali Abunimah, writing in the Electronic Intifada, said last month he hoped for the U.S. to veto the U.N.’s “terrible resolution.”

“It insists that the entire question of Palestine be reduced to the question of the 1967 occupation and that merely ending this occupation would effectively end all Palestinian claims,” Abunimah writes.

When the question of the occupation has already been resolved in existing law in favor of the Palestinians, why would they want to give away willingly the rest of what was stolen from them? Since Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Accords in 1993, Palestinian leadership has demonstrated their willingness to surrender the rights of the people they represent to placate Israel and the United States and be left with scraps.

With incredible foresight Edward Said called the Oslo Accords, with “so many unilateral concessions to Israel,” the “Palestinian Versailles.” Then, as now, Israel was not willing to give an inch toward recognition of Palestinian self-determination. Pretending that Palestinians can lure Israel into accepting a settlement if they just concede a little bit more is even more absurd now than it was 21 years ago in Oslo.

A news census shows that Palestinians will outnumber Jews in Greater Israel by 2016. Palestinians in the occupied territories and within the ’48 borders are expected to equal Jews with a population of 6.42 million before surpassing them. By the end of the decade, the census bureau estimates Palestinians will reach 7.4 million to 6.87 million Jews. This does not even include the estimated 5 million Palestinians living in the diaspora and prohibited by Israel’s Prevention of Infiltration Law from returning.

So by virtue of merely existing Palestinians will put an end to Israel’s hollow claims of being a democracy. Of course this is no small feat. Palestinians have been struggling for seven decades to maintain their existence in spite of dispossession, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and slow-motion genocide. How else to honor this heroic resistance than to prove definitively that Israel’s claims to being a democracy and Jewish state have never been anything more than a myth?

By demanding their rights outside of negotiations with Israel, as they did when they signed the Rome Statue this week, Palestinians are able to apply pressure unilaterally. With world opinion turning in favor of the Palestinian plight, it has become clear that isolation of Israel and forcing them to be accountable for their crimes is the only way for Palestinians to attain their rights.

Joseph Massad writes that “Palestinians must insist that those in solidarity with them adopt BDS [Boycott, Divest, and Sanction] as a strategy and not as a goal, in order to bring about an end to Israel’s racism and colonialism in all its forms inside and outside the 1948 boundaries.”

It is worth remembering that the only reason Israel exists at all is precisely because the colonial powers who created it acted against all concepts of democracy and human rights. If the newly formed World Court would have heard the case of Palestinians in 1948, when they owned nearly 90% of the land and consisted of about 66% of the population, they never would have permitted granting the country to a minority to rule over it.

No amount of negotiations will be able to force Israel to give up its racism and colonialism willingly – just as no negotiations were able to force the South African apartheid regime to do so. The only way for Palestinians to achieve peace will be in spite of the Israel and the United States, who will continue as they have for decades to do everything they can to prevent Palestinian self-determination. Palestinians must expose Israel and the U.S.’s  hypocrisy on democracy and human rights, not let them hide from it.

Matt Peppe writes about politics, U.S. foreign policy and Latin America on his blog. You can follow him on twitter.

(I) Interviewed Viktor Yanukovych (for) 4 hours in Moscow for new English language documentary produced by Ukrainians. He was the legitimate President of Ukraine until he suddenly wasn’t on February 22 of this year. Details to follow in the documentary, but it seems clear that the so-called ‘shooters’ who killed 14 police men, wounded some 85, and killed 45 protesting civilians, were outside third party agitators. Many witnesses, including Yanukovych and police officials, believe these foreign elements were introduced by pro-Western factions– with CIA fingerprints on it.

Remember the Chavez ‘regime change’/coup of 2002 when he was temporarily ousted after pro and anti-Chavez demonstrators were fired upon by mysterious shooters in office buildings. Also resembles similar technique early this year in Venezuela when Maduro’s legally elected Government was almost toppled by violence aimed at anti-Maduro protestors. Create enough chaos, as the CIA did in Iran ‘53, Chile ‘73, and countless other coups, and the legitimate Government can be toppled. It’s America’s soft power technique called ‘Regime Change 101.’

In this case the “Maidan Massacre” was featured in Western media as the result of an unstable, brutal pro-Russian Yanukovych Government. You may recall Yanukovych went along with the February 21 deal with opposition parties and 3 EU foreign minsters to get rid of him by calling for early elections. The next day that deal was meaningless when well-armed, neo-Nazi radicals forced Yanukovych to flee the country with repeated assassination attempts. By the next day, a new pro-Western government was established and immediately recognized by the US (as in the Chavez 2002 coup).

A dirty story through and through, but in the tragic aftermath of this coup, the West has maintained the dominant narrative of “Russia in Crimea” whereas the true narrative is “USA in Ukraine.” The truth is not being aired in the West. It’s a surreal perversion of history that’s going on once again, as in Bush pre-Iraq ‘WMD’ campaign. But I believe the truth will finally come out in the West, I hope, in time to stop further insanity.

For a broader understanding, see Pepe Escobar’s analysis “The new European ‘arc of instability,’” which indicates growing turbulence in 2015, as the US cannot tolerate the idea of any rival economic entity . You might also see “Untold History” Chapter 10 where we discuss the dangers of past Empires which did not allow for the emergence of competing economic countries.

Originally published by GR in August 2014

An absolutely monumental shift is in process that most have not recognized yet. The truth, or at least some truth, is about to be shown to the American masses about 9/11. I say American masses because everywhere I’ve gone in the world outside of the US, with few exceptions, almost everyone knows that the US government conspiracy theory on 9/11 is for people with tinfoil hats that are either completely zombified or are under mass hypnosis. Most of the rest of the world looks on the US like “The Truman Show” and can’t believe how many people in the show don’t realize it’s not real.

Before we delve into what is about to happen let’s just take one last look at the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 by one of the great freedom-minded investigative journalists on the planet, James Corbett … because this theory is about to evaporate in front of our very eyes:


It’s hard to believe but there are still millions of people in the US who believe that is what happened!

Two Major Events in Progress

The first event is a 40-minute broadcast that went out on C-SPAN on August 1st with Richard Gage, founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. This is an absolute must-see interview for the reasons I will explain.


C-SPAN is operated by the National Cable Satellite Corporation, the board of directors of which consists primarily of representatives of the largest cable companies. While you can’t call it “mainstream media” per se, it is available in 100 million households in the US and therefore this is significant.

For 40 minutes the truth about 9/11 was represented as not being crazy… instead, it was the exact opposite. It was positioned as highly credible and six of the seven callers thanked both C-SPAN and Richard Gage for finally bringing countless issues with 9/11 forward to the large segment of the US populace, which still thinks something isn’t real unless it is on their television programming.

This is the first time 9/11 has been presented in this way on a US-based network with a significant reach. The only other time the truth about 9/11 has been presented on TV in the US in this light was by RT (formerly known as Russia Today), which is a Russian government propaganda channel (which mostly distributes the truth about the US but in a pro-Russian light) that is beamed into 644 million homes worldwide and about 85 million homes in the US when they broadcast the truth about 9/11 on September 8, 2013.

Getting back to the C-SPAN broadcast, on its own it might not be incredibly significant but when put into context of other events there is clearly something going on … and we will discuss what may be going on below.

At the same time as this very blunt, pro-truth 9/11 broadcast aired in the US, on the very same day, in fact, news broke that a “Former Senator Says Huge Breakthrough Is Coming With Classified 9/11 Information.”

Former Senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who co-chaired a congressional inquiry into 9/11 — separate from the 9/11 Commission — stated, as though now it was obvious, “None of the people leading this investigation think it is credible that 19 people — most who could not speak English and did not have previous experience in the United States — could carry out such a complicated task without external assistance.”

Now, Graham says, a breakthrough may finally be around the corner with the upcoming declassification of 28 pages of the “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.”

Remember, as well, that Vladimir Putin threatened in May of this year that he had evidence that 9/11 was an “inside job” and was going to release it after NATO and the US government staged a coup and false-flag attack in the Ukraine.

This struggle continues on to this day with what appears to be another false-flag attack by NATO and the US government in concert with their puppet regime in the Ukraine to down a Malaysian airliner and blame it on Russia (as evidenced here “Evidence Is Now Conclusive: Two Ukrainian Government Fighter-Jets Shot Down Malaysian Airlines MH17“).

So, what is really going on and why does there appear to be a sudden opening of the American public’s eyes to some new information on 9/11?


Of course, with this many things going on, so many covert operations, so much propaganda and misinformation and so many actors involved it is hard to say. But something definitely is going on.

These are the three theories that we consider the main possibilities with the most likely being the final one.

But, to start, here is the most optimistic.

The Most Optimistic Theory

I have stated since the advent of the Internet, circa 1993, that this would result in the end of all major wars on Earth. It took twenty years to begin to come into fruition – but, of course, most people really did not start utilizing the full modern capabilities of the Internet until the mid-2000s – but it is finally beginning.

As Arthur Ponsonby wrote in 1928, “When war is declared, truth is the first casualty.” But with the Internet the truth is not so easy to hide. With the global human populace becoming aware and having access to all human knowledge at their fingertips, John Kerry summed up the result, “This little thing called the Internet makes it much harder to govern”.

It is clear that never before in recorded history have humans been able to so quickly transfer information and it is reaching a point where it is going exponential. Quickly after most false-flag attacks, within hours, private investigative journalists from around the world are dissecting the info and exposing the lies. This could be seen with the false-flag attack in Syria where Turkey, a member of NATO, staged the gas attacks in Damascus in August, 2013 killing more than 1,300. The US quickly tried to pin the gas attacks on the Syrian government but within days the global populace was aware that this was likely not what they said it was and with a dearth of public opinion to retaliate, the US government could not attack Syria as per its plans laid out by General Wesley Clark shortly after 9/11.

And so, the most optimistic theory about what is going on right now with soon-to-be-revealed information on 9/11 is that humanity has awoken and the rise of this consciousness amongst a large part of the human populace is finally driving the truth out and shining the light on The Powers That Be (TPTB) and the momentum is too big for even TPTB to hold back now.

The Most Pessimistic Theory

The most pessimistic theory, or the closest we can think up, is that this is all part of a greater script in which certain truths about 9/11 will be revealed and then quickly a massive event will so engulf the world in chaos that it will be wiped down the memory hole, much like Donald Rumsfeld announcing that $2.3 trillion was missing from the US Department of Defense on September 10th, 2001.

The next day something blew up the accounting department of the Pentagon as well three towers in New York City and few spoke of it again.

This time? Who knows. All of a sudden Ebola is the scare of the day (as we discussed yesterday) … perhaps Agenda 21′s population reduction is about to swing into full effect.

Or, if you want to go down the most extreme road, maybe the rumored Project Blue Beam is about to be unleashed.

According to what some believe, the infamous NASA Blue Beam Project has four different steps in order to implement the new-age religion with the Antichrist at its head. We’ll save you the gory details but it results in a gigantic ‘space show’ with three-dimensional optical holograms and sounds, laser projection of multiple holographic images to different parts of the world, each receiving a different image according to predominating regional national religious faith. This new ‘god’s’ voice will be speaking in all languages and the supposed purpose is to scare the world into a new world order.

We doubt this one but, as we said, we tried to think up the most pessimistic theory and this is it … so if you see some new god talking to you from outer space in the coming days …

The Most Logical Theory

Russia 9/11 Memorial

Image: Russia gifted the US this 9/11 Memorial in 2005.

Given everything that is going on between Russia and the US today this could be a massive power struggle between the two governments in which Putin is threatening to expose certain aspects about 9/11 and the US is attempting to front-run them with a more suitable version of events. In this theory, which is the most likely, given evidence to date, it is a massive chess match.

The US and NATO begin to surround Russia with military bases. Check. Putin threatens to release information that 9/11 is an inside job shaking the very foundation of many Americans’ beliefs in their own government. Check. NATO and the US try to take over the Ukraine in a coup. Check. Putin fights back. Check. NATO and the US down a Malaysian airliner and try to blame it on Putin. Check. Putin doesn’t back down and world opinion sides with him and the US begins to release a version of 9/11 to discredit Putin’s information. Check.

If this is the case, then our theory on what Congress is about to release about 9/11 will show a mostly fake Saudi Arabia connection, with a few fall guys in the Bush administration, orchestrated as a semi-”inside job” that will so infuriate and obsess the US populace that any evidence Putin releases will be lost in the noise as the US begins to go on war footing against Saudi Arabia, creating another war and further distracting the public and furthering the tentacles of the US empire in the Middle East. Check.

What is the checkmate of this game? We’ll have to wait and see. With this many pieces on the board anything can happen.


Something big is about to happen. Perhaps not in days … maybe not weeks but almost certainly in months. Whether it is the most optimistic scenario, the most pessimistic, the most logical, something in between or something completely unexpected is unclear.

No matter what happens there is going to be a definite period of chaos and uncomfortableness … to put it lightly. Even in the most optimistic scenario there will be chaos, especially in the US, as the US empire collapses, the dollar collapses and the world begins to pick up the pieces while tens of millions of brainwashed slaves, full of mind-altering pharmaceuticals and completely dependent on the government for survival, roam the streets like zombies. In the most pessimistic, well, let’s not even go there.

And, in the most logical scenario we are looking at continued global turmoil and more war, which will further bankrupt the US government and destroy the US dollar. Shorting the dollar by going long precious metals and bitcoin would be the play.

Buckle up. Here we go.

US foreign policy just jumped the shark: a few days after both the FBI and the US State department were humiliated when it was revealed that it wasn’t North Korea but a disgruntled, laid off Sony employee that was responsible for the “hack”, and when the best possible course of action would have been to simply let this latest embarrassing incident fade from memory, moments ago Obama – currently not working out next to a rainbow or flashing his support of “Shaka” -  just signed his first executive order of 2015, imposing even more sanctions against North Korea.

From Bloomberg:

President Obama signs order imposing additional sanctions on North Korea in response to country’s “efforts to undermine U.S. cyber-security and intimidate U.S. businesses and artists exercising their right of freedom of speech,” according to Treasury Dept statement.

Sanctions target 3 entities, 10 individuals

Including North Korea’s intelligence agency, arms dealer, North Korea’s representatives in Namibia, Sudan, Iran, Syria, China

“Even as the FBI continues its investigation into the cyber-attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment, these steps underscore that we will employ a broad set of tools to defend U.S. businesses and citizens, and to respond to attempts to undermine our values or threaten the national security of the United States,” Treasury Sec. Lew says in statement.

That this action is so stupid no amount of commentary would possibly do it justice is quite clear, which is why we patiently await North Korean TV to escalate its comedic feud with the “monkey in a tropical jungle.”

Perhaps the only silver lining is that Obama did not launch a nuclear attack on Pyongyang outright, although there is still a 2 year period until January 2017. And anything goes, especially once the NSA fabricates another YouTube clip.

Even a “deaf, blind and mute judge” knows that the Palestinians are responsible for the “indiscriminate murder of men, women, children and babies for the last 100 years” - Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman

Fresh off the Main-Stream Media’s (MSM) mixed reaction of President Barack Obama’s proposal on why the U.S. should lift Cuba’s economic embargo comes a new development, but this time in the Middle East.  There is a real possibility that Washington will impose new economic sanctions on the Palestinian Authority (PA) for joining the International Criminal Court (ICC) to appease Israel. The London-based news service, The Guardian published a report titled ‘Palestinian president signs up to join international criminal court’ and stated that “The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, dramatically moved to join the international criminal court on Wednesday, setting Palestinians on a diplomatic collision course with Israel and Washington, and risking imposition of US sanctions.” The only alternative to the Security Council (the U.S. is a permanent member) which has undermined the PA’s ambitions for an independent state with a U.S. and Australia “No Vote” has signed “the Rome statute governing the court and 19 other international agreements, potentially opening the way to Palestinians to pursue Israel for war crimes in the court of last resort based in The Hague.” It is understood by the international community that such actions undertaken by the PA would prompt Washington to react with economic sanctions that would further cripple the Palestinian economy. The report said that “The US also condemned the move which it described as “deeply troubling” with State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke saying it was “an escalatory step that will not achieve any of the outcomes most Palestinians have long hoped to see for their people.” Washington is most likely to move forward with new economic sanctions.  Last September, US Secretary of State John Kerry threatened the PA with sanctions when Abbas insisted on presenting a plan to end the Israeli occupation to the UN Security Council.

Washington and Israel are exploring the possibilities of new economic sanctions without inflaming world opinion especially when it comes to the Palestinians. President Abbas will examine what options to take in regards to war crimes and other human rights violations committed by Israel. “They attack us and our land every day, to whom are we to complain? The Security Council let us down — where are we to go?” Abbas told a gathering of Palestinian leaders in remarks broadcast on official television” the New York Times reported. President Abbas is hopeful that the process would lead to a course of action that would find the State of Israel guilty by the ICC.  It would solidify Israel’s legacy as a “Criminal State” that illegally occupied Palestinian lands. Israeli media including the Jerusalem Post was quick to criticize the PA’s actions when it said that

“The world is a different and much harsher place for Israel after the Palestinians signed the Rome Statute, which probably grants them access to the International Criminal Court.”Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Palestinian Authority has more of a reason to fear signing on to the ICC because of their political relationship with Hamas:

Netanyahu, in his initial reaction to the move, said the Palestinian Authority, which is in a unity government with Hamas, should be more concerned about the ICC than Israel. Netanyahu said that Israel would respond – though he did not give any indication of how it would do so – and would defend the soldiers of the IDF, which he called “the most moral soldiers in the world.”

By contrast, Netanyahu said Hamas was an avowed terrorist organization that – like Islamic State – commits war crimes. “We will rebuff this additional effort to impose a diktat on us, just as we rebuffed Palestinian efforts in the UN Security Council,” he said.

Washington’s influence in the UN Security Council will seek to impose sanctions on the Palestinians as they did to a number of countries that did not obey their policies.  Sanctions are an imperial tool of U.S. foreign policy that has imposed economic, political and military sanctions on various countries including Iran, North Korea (since 1950), Cuba (since 1960), Syria and most recently Russia for geopolitical reasons. With high poverty levels in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, economic sanctions will exacerbate whatever is left of the Palestinian economy. The western-dominated World Bank released a report in 2014 titled ‘Palestinian Economy in Decline and Unemployment Rising to Alarming Levels’ and stated their findings:

The deterioration of the Palestinian economy continued in 2014, particularly in Gaza where the situation was dire even before the recent conflict. The average yearly economic growth exceeded 8% between 2007 and 2011 but declined to 1.9% in 2013, and reached minus 1% for the first quarter of 2014. A quarter of the Palestinian population lives in poverty, with the rate in Gaza twice as high as that in the West Bank, as Palestinian businesses were crippled by the restrictions on movement of people and goods.

New economic sanctions will ignite an angry reaction from the Palestinian people in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Are Washington and Tel Aviv trying to instigate another conflict in the Palestinian territories?  The Obama administration will impose new economic sanctions once it submits the bill to the AIPAC controlled U.S. congress for approval, rest assured it will pass.  The Palestinian people will suffer the consequences of the US/Israel alliance. The Palestinians have been seeking a state of their own since the Zionist occupation, but with Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security, new economic sanctions on the Palestinian people will only push both sides further apart, making peace an impossible goal.

Mrs. Simone Gbagbo, the former first lady of Ivory Coast, made an appearance in court inside the country on Dec. 26. She is charged with alleged crimes in connection with the tenure of her husband, the ousted President Laurent Gbagbo, who is now under the custody of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

President Gbagbo was targeted by the former colonial power France and the United States for removal beginning in late 2010. French forces eventually put Gbagbo under siege and raided his hold-up residence in April 2011, taking him, his wife and other leading officials of the Ivorian government into custody.

A politician and functionary of international finance capital, Alassane Quattara, had opposed President Gbagbo in the 2010 elections. A dispute over the outcome and a less than adequate resolution by the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), lead to a political crisis and the French-led counterrevolution that imposed the candidate who was favored by the imperialist s.

Former First Lady Gbagbo, who has been held in northern Ivory Coast since the overthrow of the government, was transferred to the commercial capital of Abidjan for the court appearance. She sat in the dock alongside 83 other political and military opponents of the Paris-backed coup which extended over several months from late 2010 until April 2011.

The trial conducted by the existing pro-imperialist regime is expected to last for a month. Reports say that nine jurors will be impaneled to hear evidence and make a decision with respect to her guilt or innocence.

“If she is found guilty, she will get 20 years to life because we are talking about a crime against state security,” said prosecutor Soungalo Coulibaly.

Nonetheless, even within the imperialist camp there is controversy surrounding the highly-politicized trial. The ICC ordered on Dec. 11 that the former first lady be handed over for trial in the Netherlands along with her husband and his chief aide Charles Ble Goude.

In a judicial statement from the ICC it says that “After a thorough assessment… the Chamber concluded that the Cote d’Ivoire domestic authorities were not taking tangible, concrete and progressive steps aimed at ascertaining whether Simone Gbagbo is criminally responsible for the same conduct that is alleged before the ICC. (Dec. 11)

Since the French-U.S. supported counterrevolution against Gbagbo in 2010-11, the security situation inside the country has worsened particularly in the northern region where rebels were used in the plot to undermine the former government. The existing security forces appear incapable of addressing the lawlessness despite their endorsement by the West.

“People living, working, and travelling in northern Ivory Coast are being terrorized by armed men who appear to operate with little fear of being stopped, much less prosecuted,” Corinne Dufka, the West Africa director of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a press statement.

According to an article published by the French Press Agency (AFP), “Buses, cars and homes were being targeted in near daily attacks by gunmen armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, among other weapons, the report said. Many victims had said they had ‘given up reporting attacks because of the lack of response’ HRW added.” (Dec. 15)

Consequently, the counterrevolution against the Gbagbo government weakened the Ouattara regime’s ability to stabilize Ivory Coast as well as increasing the dependency of the post-colonial state. Only a reconsolidation of patriotic forces can provide hope for a better future.

Post Gaddafi Libya and the Anomaly of the So Called “Arab Spring” 

At the same time that Washington and Paris were effectively destabilizing the West African state of Ivory Coast, the imperialists led by the Obama administration moved rapidly to launch a counterrevolution against the Jamahiriya in Libya. On Feb. 17, 2011, a rebel war was launched in Benghazi against the central government in Tripoli, seeking to undermine its authority.

When the loyalist forces mobilized to repel the counterrevolutionaries, the U.S., France and Britain, engineered two United Nations Security Council resolutions. The first, UNSC 1970, placed an arms embargo on the government of Muammar Gaddafi but allowed large shipments of weapons and personnel through Benghazi and other areas that border waterways and contiguous states. The second resolution, UNSC 1973, provided pseudo-legal cover for the massive bombing of the North African country under the guise of establishing a “no-fly zone.”

After the Pentagon and NATO along with their allies bombed Libya from March 19 to Oct. 31, 2011, the destruction of the country was sealed. Millions were displaced in the aerial bombardments, estimates claimed that 50,000-100,000 people were killed and the terror carried out by the western-backed rebels took on a decisively reactionary and racist character.

Today Libya is in chaos with oil terminals being burned and population groups under direct assault from various rebel factions, two of whom are contesting the control of the capital and the coveted oil resources and revenues. The imperialist-recognized faction that has taken refuge in a Tobruk hotel after being driven out of the capital, have called in Egyptian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) warplanes which are carrying out airstrikes against the rival militias labelled as Islamists.

Both Tunisia and Egypt, considered the birthplaces of the “Arab Spring” from Dec. 2010 to Feb. 2011, border Libya. Even after the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt which toppled the regimes of longtime western-allied dictators Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, the military regimes that preempted a genuine people’s revolution allowed their military forces to be utilized in the imperialist war against Gaddafi.

Egyptian special forces were used as ground troops during the Pentagon-NATO bombings. Tunisian authorities allowed the counterrevolutionaries in Libya to take control of a key border crossing where arms and rebel forces were allowed to enter the theater of war.

Absent of an anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanist approach to the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt both countries were bound to revert to a neocolonialist reconfiguration of domestic state power and foreign policy. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political organization, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), although elected in June 2012, made no fundamental changes in Cairo’s relationship with the U.S. and the State of Israel.

Consequently, with the military overthrow of the government of President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, 2013, the “Egyptian Revolution” had come full circle. Even the temporary suspension of the regime of Field Marshall Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi by the AU, which mandates that any military seizure of power must be rejected by the continental organization, as soon as the general took off his military uniform and secured the presidency through an election where the FJP was excluded, Egypt was immediately restored to full status within the successor to the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

In Tunisia, the recent elections which saw the rise of a reformed party of Ben Ali, known as Nidaa Tounes (Tunisia Call), resulted in the ascendancy of 88-year-old Beji Caid Essebsi as president. The left parties, centrists and Islamists remained divided and unable to stave off the return of the career politicians who were stalwarts of the governments of Habib Bourguiba and Ben Ali.

Even the BBC admitted in a recent article that “His critics say his election victory marks the return of the former establishment, pointing out that he served under President Ben Ali, and was also interior minister under the country’s first president Habib Bourguiba. Essebsi’s emphasis has been on maintaining western influence in Tunisia in alliance with France and the U.S.

Lessons for 2015: From Uprisings to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism

Despite these challenges that have been outlined in this series of articles on developments in 2014 and their socio-historical context, there are clear indications that neocolonial dominance is not effectively guaranteed. Events in Burkina Faso provide an illustration of the potential for people to rapidly mobilize to overthrow a military-turned-civilian dictatorial regime operating in the interests of imperialism

In Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, who led a coup against Pan-Africanist and Marxist leader Capt. Thomas Sankara in Oct. 1987, remained in power for 27 years. His removal was swiftly countered with regional plans fostered by the West to derail any potential revolution led by the working class, farmers and youth of the country who had the most to gain in the uprising against the Compaore regime and its allies in parliament.

The existing interim coalition government in Ouagadougou is designed to dissuade the people and channel their energies into a multi-party political electoral campaign in 2015 that will not provide solutions to the massive unemployment, poverty and repression characteristic of neocolonialism in Africa. Popular organizations which championed the legacy of Sankara during the Oct. rebellion must consolidate their forces into a revolutionary alliance of political parties and worker organization to seize power in the name of the people.

Throughout the West Africa region, strikes have taken place over the recent period. In Ghana, public sector, educational and healthcare workers walked off the job during 2014 demanding better conditions of employment, the securing of their pensions and salary increases to guard against the social impact of the decline of the cedi, the national currency.

Also in Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone, workers have struck and protested in the similar sectors as in Ghana. Many of these states where strikes and rebellions have occurred are being labelled as examples of phenomenal economic growth in Africa. Nonetheless, the profits accrued as a result of the foreign direct investment driven policies are not being shared with the masses.

In Nigeria, which is now designated as having the largest economy on the continent, has not been able to effectively contain and eradicate the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast. The kidnapping of hundreds of high school girls in Chibok was indicative of the breakdown of the dysfunctional post-colonial political dispensation with regional divisions in the body politic that are reflected within the military and security forces.

All of these struggles aimed at winning a decent standard of living for workers, youth and farmers; the ideological and political campaigns to battle reactionary ideas and movements; the quest for genuine all-African unity; and the revolutionary imperative for the empowerment of the majority of the people within society, should be at the top of the agenda of all progressive forces on the continent and their supporters internationally.

With the decline in commodity prices on the global markets, many African states are already feeling the impact of this looming crisis. These post-colonial governments and the national bourgeoisies in these countries are more vulnerable than ever since they are largely dependent on the foreign exchange earnings from exports to ensure their dominance within these societies.

It is quite obvious that the neo-liberal agenda in operation for the last three decades is running its course. The only real solution to the crisis is socialist reconstruction and planning within a continental and global Pan-African framework.

Russia has accused the United States of having patronised the Islamic State radicals to grow into demonic proportions. Russia‘s chief of General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, on Wednesday lashed out at the U.S for being responsible in providing financial and technical assistance to the ISIS in Syria and elsewhere in the past.

The Russian general was speaking at a meeting of foreign military attaches in Moscow. Gerasimov correlated the rise of the ISIS with “Western interference in the region”. He said the USA and some “leading Western countries” had been seeding “disastrous consequences” in a number of countries, including Libya and Syria. Their game of overthrowing the legitimate authorities in those states has endangered deeper instability in the region, reported RFEL news.

The Russian military head said it was the agenda of Washington and European for a regime change in Syria that created the current turmoil. He said the U.S and allies were “pumping foreign aid to armed opposition groups, and applying international political and media pressure on the Syrian leadership.”

Free Syria Is Terror Group

Echoing the statement of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Gerasimov said there can be no distinction between the Islamic State group and Syrian armed opposition groups including the Free Syrian Army. He said Moscow’s position is that all armed opposition groups in Syria are illegal terror groups. Russia has been a strong ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and had been opposing efforts of the United States and allies to arm anti-Assad groups like Free Syrian Army.

Gerasimov noted that there were “up to 70,000 militants of various nationalities” fighting with Islamic State. The rapid growth of ISIS would not have been possible without the financial and technical assistance provided by the U.S. to fight and topple the Syrian government. The Russian general described the air strikes by Washington and allies in Syria and Iraq as inadequate and ineffective. He also expressed doubts about a hidden agenda behind the recent White House statements, harping on the need for a ground war to crush the ISIS group.

Baby Of West

Meanwhile, “End Times” broadcaster Rick Wiles also aired suspicion that there is a U.S hand behind the rise of ISIS. He said it is hard to believe that the U.S.-led coalition had carried out 1,000 airstrikes against ISIS. In his blog at the Right Wing Watch, he said, “I seriously doubt the theory that ISIS is being attacked because it is the creation of Western intelligence agencies and I will not be surprised to find the Israeli Mossad also having its hands in the creation of ISIS.”

Arrests of people making allegedly “threatening” statements towards local police throughout the country have continued. A teenager in Fort Worth, Texas was arrested for posting a Twitter photo of a rifle pointed at a police vehicle. In Chicago, Illinois a man was arrested after Facebook posts led police to search the place where he was staying, where a gun and ammunition were found.

These arrests come after the fatal shooting of two police officers the weekend before Christmas. They are part of increased nationwide surveillance of social media, criminalizing the rights protected in the free speech clause of the First Amendment in the name of national, state and city “security.”

The latest arrests follow several last week, including in New York, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Massachusetts and Vermont. While all the details of the cases are not clear, they have the character of punitive arrests as part of a general sweep aimed at suppressing all forms of opposition against police and police violence.

According to police reports, 17-year-old Montrae Toliver was arrested on Monday for making a Twitter post depicting him pointing a gun at a patrol car with the caption, “Should I do it? They Don’t Care For a Black Male Anyways.”

He is now being charged with making a “terroristic threat” against police, which by state laws is a felony. His bail is set at $500. If convicted, Montrae Toliver could face 80 days to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000. So far there has been no indication that the fact that he is a minor will be taken into consideration.

Reuters reports that there is no lawyer for Toliver listed in online jail records.

Toliver has said that a previous Twitter post clearly showed that the rifle was in fact an Airsoft pellet gun. “It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t a real gun. It was a threat against an officer,” said police spokesperson Tracey Knight at a news conference Monday. “The threats are real, they are taken real and you will be found and arrested.”

In Chicago, Aries Woodfin was arrested after making a December 8 Facebook post where he allegedly said he would “kill cops and innocent white kids.” No specific time frame was indicated in the post, which is required for the legal definition of “threat.” Despite this, police then used the post to get a search warrant.

The charges against Woodfin are not related to his Facebook post. Using the fact that police found a .45-caliber pistol, spent bullet casings and a makeshift gun range in the basement of the house, he was charged in Cook County Criminal Court with illegal gun possession, a felony, along with misdemeanor charges of assault, failure to have a valid firearm owner’s identification card and disorderly conduct. He was ordered held without bond.

The person whose house was raided, Beatrice Franklin, is disputing the charges, saying that while Woodfin sometimes stayed at her house, it was not his home and that he didn’t own the weapons. “That gun that they found belonged to me,” Franklin said in comments to ABC7 Eyewitness News. “I am a licensed FOID card holder and I have paperwork stating that it’s mine. So no, it’s not his.”

“He was speaking his mind,” she said, referring to Woodfin’s anger at the decisions not to indict the killers of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. “He was expressing how he felt, which is what everyone else was doing on Facebook as well, expressing themselves. They were ranting and they were raving.”

Amidst the popular uproar over police violence in the US, the near mutinous response of the New York Police Department continued this week, promoted by sections of the media and political elite.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was greeted with boos and jeers Monday as he addressed a ceremony for 900 graduating police cadets at Madison Square Garden. A section of the audience again turned their backs on the mayor, two days after hundreds of officers did the same at the funeral for one of the officers shot and killed last week.

As de Blasio remarked during a groveling speech Monday that the new officers will face problems they did not create, one heckler shouted, “you created them.”

The December 20 killing of two police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, by a mentally unstable man has been exploited by the media and political establishment, unleashing a wave of praise for the police and promoting the absurd notion that it is they who are under siege—not the workers and youth who are habitually harassed and brutalized by cops, or the estimated 500 to 1,000 civilians who are victims of police killings each year.

De Blasio praised the “heroic choice” of the newest officers Monday, saying “it takes a special kind of person to put their lives on the line for others.” US Vice President Joe Biden “thanked God” for the police during his eulogy at the Ramos funeral, calling the NYPD “the finest police department in the world.”

On Tuesday the NYPD confirmed reports that the number of arrests in the city plummeted for the week, down 66 percent from the previous week. Traffic citations were down 94 percent, and parking tickets dropped by 92 percent as officers reduced their activity in protest over de Blasio’s feigned sympathy with demonstrations against police violence.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head, Patrick Lynch, who has emerged as the leading mouthpiece for the police counter-offensive, issued the call for a slowdown and even open defiance of orders following the killing of Ramos and Liu. A memorandum from the police union declared that the NYPD is now a “wartime” department. Lynch has pinned the blame for the killing directly on the mayor and the tens of thousands who protested peacefully against police violence, threatening, “Those who allowed this to happen will be held accountable.”

Taken as a whole, the actions of the police department, a militarized force of 35,000, represent a direct challenge to civilian authority in an attempt to intimidate and criminalize any opposition to police violence.

The seriousness of this development is underscored by the fact that over the past decade, the NYPD has expanded its repressive apparatus, stockpiling an arsenal and building up a spying infrastructure worthy of an army. Police forces around the country have followed suit under the guise of the “war on terror,” a trend that is mirrored at the national level with continued expansion of the NSA, CIA and other military-intelligence agencies.

This process has had the full support of both political parties and the Obama administration.

In New York, the differences that have emerged among the ruling elite are entirely within the framework of defending the political instruments of the ruling class. De Blasio himself has responded coweringly to the ravings of Lynch and others, meekly calling for unity and the toning down of rhetoric.

The New York Times came to de Blasio’s defense Tuesday, with an editorial that began, “Mayor Bill de Blasio has spent weeks expressing his respect and admiration for the New York Police Department, while calling for unity in these difficult days, but the message doesn’t seem to be sinking in.”

The Times criticized Lynch and the NYPD for their “anti-de Blasio campaign.” By claiming to be above criticism, the editorial argued, the NYPD loses credibility and respect. The department should take notice that de Blasio seeks to “do right by the police department,” as evidenced by his appointment of Bill Bratton as commissioner, the increased financing of the department and the modernization of equipment.

The alliance between Bratton and de Blasio is particularly significant. After de Blasio’s election, which was in no small part due to popular opposition to “stop-and-frisk” policing, de Blasio immediately appointed Bratton in order to reassure the city’s elite that there would be no fundamental shift.

While the use of the stop-and-frisk tactic has declined, the underlying “broken windows” style of policing—that is, aggressively policing of petty, quality-of-life infractions—has continued unabated. In a city that is starkly divided along class lines, the police effectively occupy minority, working class neighborhoods.

In a lengthy piece appearing in the City-Journal magazine this week, Bratton defended the “broken windows” strategy, signaling that despite the upsurge of criticism following the police killings of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley, there will be no let up in aggressive police actions.

De Blasio has made similar signals. His professed sympathy and invocation of his bi-racial son notwithstanding, his remarks since Garner’s killing have always acknowledged the role that police play. “Police officers are called ‘peace officers,’ because that’s what they do—they keep the peace,” the mayor said on Saturday. “They help make a place that otherwise would be torn with strife a place of peace.”

De Blasio also issued a call to halt protests in the aftermath of the killing of the two cops, and joined in the vilification of protesters who failed to comply. “As I have said, it’s deeply divisive to hold political protests during this period of remembrance.”

De Blasio and Bratton understand full well the explosive conditions that exist within New York and around the country. “You need to understand this isn’t just about policing,” Bratton said on Meet the Press over the weekend. “This is about the continuing poverty rates, the continuing growing disparity between the wealthy and the poor.”

Backed by the Obama administration, both remain absolutely committed to building up the police force to defend the privileges of the ruling class.

Protesters march during a 24-hour general strike against austerity measures in Greece on November 28, 2014. (Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

As I have explained in prior articles, there is an excellent chance that the Troika’s infliction of austerity on the eurozone’s periphery could, as with the austerity inflicted under the Washington Consensus continue to produce such long-term rolling recessions that it creates a political dynamic that discredits such economic malpractice and brings to power leaders elected on the promise that they will adopt economically literate policies. The first case of this in the eurozone could be Greece. (Hollande won office on a platform of opposing inflicting austerity on France, but purged his government of those that most strongly opposed austerity and implemented policies that moved increasingly toward austerity. The French economy stagnated and Hollande’s approval ratings are dismal.)

Greece’s coalition government led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras failed, in multiple tries, to garner enough support to continue to rule. The result will be national elections on January 25, 2015. The results of the election are uncertain, but the leader in the polls is the Syriza party led by Alexis Tsipras, which is running on an anti-austerity platform.

The New York Times’ web version has four recent articles on Greece dated December 27-29, 2014. I’ll begin with the only one that is not a complete embarrassment, Suzanne Daley’s December 29 article titled “Greek Patience with Austerity Nears Its Limit.” While the journalist often does not select the article title, as I will show Daley either chose or inspired the title. Her title signals the central problem with the article. “Patience” has nothing to do with the issue and is most assuredly not a virtue in this context. The title suggests that if the Greeks were simply more German, more patient, all would be well. The reality is that the Greek people, as with their counterparts in much of the eurozone, have been far too patient with the economic equivalent of bleeding the patient (austerity). All other factors held constant, the longer austerity continues the slower the recovery and the greater the misery.

As Bill Mitchell always emphasizes, governments choose the level of unemployment – and the Troika and the Greek leaders who succumbed to its extortion have chosen to create catastrophic rates of unemployment in Greece that continue a full six years after the peak of the crisis. Greece is suffering from Great Depression levels of unemployment and lost GDP. Indeed, Greece suffered relatively less from the Great Depression, which reduced per capita GDP (peak-to-trough by approximately 6%). In the case of the Great Depression, Greece was able to return to pre-Depression GDP levels within four years. The troika, and the Greek leaders who gave to the troika’s threats condemned Greece to a crisis that is far more severe and far longer than was the Great Depression. No people worthy of being a Nation would be “patient” with seeing such horrors gratuitously inflicted on their fellow countrymen. They would rise up and put a stop to such depraved policies.

Greece has neither a sovereign currency nor any true sovereignty. The troika, at the insistence of the Germans, successfully extorted the Greek elites into cancelling the referendum on austerity and forced a de facto coup. Germany is the EU’s hyper-power. It dominates the EU’s political and economic policies and institutions. Syriza calls for the restoration of Greek sovereignty and ending the economic malpractice known as austerity. If it succeeds in the election, and if it holds true to its campaign promises, Syriza poses a grave threat to German rule. Germany openly opposes Syriza coming to power through democratic elections and any resumption of Greek sovereignty.

Germany’s hypocritical demand is that Greece must honor agreements that the troika extorted. Germany, after World War I, threw off reparation agreements extorted through foreign diktats that were economically self-destructive to Germany and Europe. Unfortunately, Germany delayed too long in repudiating those agreements, which helped spark the Great Depression. Germany launched World War I and much of the war was fought on French and Belgian soil. The moral case for reparations was substantial. Greece certainly had many flawed economic policies but the moral case for Germany inflicting a Greater-than-Great Depression on Greece was nonexistent.

Daley’s article demonstrates these points extensively in these passages.

“Nowhere have austerity policies been more aggressively tried — and generally failed to live up to results promised by advocates — than in Greece. After more than four years of belt tightening, patience is wearing thin, and tentative signs of improvement have not yet trickled down into the lives of average Greeks.

Last year, the national unemployment rate reached 27 percent, and the vast majority of out-of-work Greeks have not had a paycheck in more than two years.

In 2010, with Greece crippled by debt and threatening the survival of the euro, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank [the troika] began imposing German-inspired austerity on the country. The aim was to slash the budget deficit and address fundamental problems like corruption and a failure to collect taxes. Such policies, they promised, would get Greece back on its feet, able to borrow again on financial markets.

Greeks grudgingly went along, assured that painful reform would return the country to growth by 2012. Instead, Greece lost 400,000 jobs that year and continued on a decline that would see a drop in the gross domestic product since 2008 not much different from the one experienced during the first five years of the United States’ Great Depression.

Greece’s unemployment rate was supposed to top out at 15 percent in 2012, according to International Monetary Fund calculations. But it roared to 25 percent that year, reached 27 percent in 2013 and has ticked downward only slightly since.

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

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

Even if more recent optimistic projections are to be believed, and a steady rate of growth can be expected, it would take Greece perhaps 15 years to regain the jobs it has lost, said Panagiotis Liargovas, the director of the Greek Parliamentary Budget Office.

‘The mix was not right,’ Mr. Liargovas said of the austerity measures. ‘It was a cure that has almost killed the patient.’

[Austerity’s] failures have been striking, leaving millions of Greeks baffled and angry as their lives disintegrated while the elite often escaped, untaxed and unbothered, experts say.

In a wide-ranging review of the Greece program last year, the I.M.F. found that many of its predictions had failed. There was a sharp fall in imports, but little gain in exports. Public debt overshot original predictions. Predicted revenues from selling public assets were way off. The banking system, perceived as relatively sound at the beginning of the bailout, began having problems as the economy soured.

Over the last four years, the three lenders have demanded more than 800 actions a year, Greek officials say, requiring hundreds of new laws, sometimes changed and readopted within weeks or days.

The one bright spot in the economy has been tourism. But even on Greece’s most famous islands, such as Corfu, there is little sense of relief. Many tourists come on cut-rate or all-inclusive packages. The wages of hotel workers have been cut severely, and many are not paid for months, if at all, according to union officials and Corfu’s mayor, Kostas Nikolouzos.

Mr. Nikolouzos said he was worried that drastic budget cuts could affect the islands’ ability to attract tourists. The municipality once had a budget of 13 million euros a year for capital repairs. This year, it will be one million euros, though roads are buckling and some villagers can no longer drink their tap water.

Eleni Alexaki, 56, has worked as a hotel maid for more than 20 years. She was cleaning 20 rooms a day at the beginning of the crisis and now cleans 35, while her pay has gone from 1,600 euros a month to 985. She receives no holiday pay and fewer days off.

‘And they terrorize us,” she said. “They say, ‘There, the door is there.’’

Pericles Mastoras, 59, a cook in a different hotel, needs an M.R.I. for a kidney problem, but he has not been paid since October. As he sat in his union office recently, his cellphone rang, but the conversation with his boss was brief.

‘He said, ‘Call back tomorrow,’’ Mr. Mastoras said. ‘That means I won’t get the money for months.’”

This is one of the rare NYT articles about the eurozone that gives serious detail about the catastrophic costs and failures of austerity. But the perceptive reader will already note the key analytical flaws underlying the article – the same flaws that pervade the NYT’seurozone coverage. There is no recognition that economists have known for over 75 years that following pro-cyclical policies, i.e., policies that make the business cycle more severe is insane in response to a Great Recession, is economically illiterate and self-destructive. When demand is severely deficient (i.e., in a Great Recession) one does not further reduce demand by cutting net government outlays. None of the four NYT articles on Greece and its economic crisis even note the concept of economic “demand” or the fact that economists have known for a very long time that slashing demand when it is already inadequate is harmful. The discussion of IMF errors ignores the fact that IMF studies found that fiscal stimulus was even more effective than economists had thought – but the IMF continues to do Germany’s bidding and demand that the EU not engage in fiscal stimulus. Indeed, the article does not explain why Greece suffers from a Great Depression that exceeds in severity and length the original Great Depression or why Greece has long-term, massive unemployment. The article offers no explanation of why austerity could cause unemployment and a recession and no explanation of why and how counter-cyclical fiscal policies could have prevented these disasters.

Second, even if one is determined to bleed the economy via austerity as a quack “cure” for a Great Recession, why would one cause mass unemployment? Why not pay people to work on productive tasks? What is the point of sparking suicide, marriage discord (unemployed males do less homework, not more, as they become more depressed), and mass emigration of college graduates? What is the point of wasting the talent of people who are willing and able to work? It takes truly depraved decision-makers to choose mass unemployment as a policy that under the troika’s most optimistic assumptions require 21 years (the six years since 2008 plus “15 years”) just to “regain the jobs it has lost” (which is far from full recovery)? Not only has the troika’s Greek austerity assumptions consistently proved grossly over optimistic, but the idea that Greece should assume that there will be no future recessions for 15 years is fanciful. The troika’s optimistic scenario for Greece is that it will take Greece over five times longer to simply get back the jobs it lost (a very low bar for a “recovery”) in this crisis than it took Greece to achieve a far fuller recovery from the Great Depression.

Why would anyone in a nation with heavy tourist trade choose to ruin the infrastructure so that tourists will go elsewhere? Are they trying to prove the validity of Marx’s description of the role of the reserve army of the unemployed and how it gives the business owners the leverage to commit vicious abuses of workers? This is madness of such proportions that the only question is why it took the Greek people so long to rise up and say “we will no longer give in to your demands that we commit these acts of savagery against each other.”

The NYT is so hopeless in discussing the troika’s infliction of austerity that even in an article that shows that the policy is vicious and self-destructive the paper cannot really bring itself to quote economic experts explaining why austerity is the toxin rather than the “cure.” Instead, Daley claims that austerity succeeded at least partially even in Greece.

“[T]he austerity program has had some notable successes. When Greece was forced to ask for help, its deficit was more than four times the 3 percent of gross domestic product allowed under European Union rules. The financial markets had lost confidence in the country. Greece desperately needed money to pay its bills, but the cost of borrowing on the financial markets had become prohibitive.

Now, Greece is no longer spending far more than it receives, when debt payments are excluded, its officials say. It has remained in the European Union, and can again borrow in the bond markets, though at interest rates that have been creeping up again, indicating investors’ concern about the nation’s path.”

These two paragraphs reveal the depth of the NYT’s infatuation with austerity and economic illiteracy. No, these are budgetary failures not “successes” and the borrowing cost “successes” were not produced by “austerity.” The EU “rules” on deficits forbid any substantial use of countercyclical fiscal policies. The troika’s insistence on reducing Greece’s deficit rapidly represented a self-destructive fiscal policy that was a major contributor to the gratuitous infliction of misery that the NYT article describes. But theNYT’s reporters covering the EU economic crisis believe deep in their marrow that even sovereign nations with sovereign currencies that run budget deficits are “bad” while nations that run budget surpluses are “good.” They actually think that a sovereign nation with a sovereign currency is just like a household.

The small print on calculating Greece’s deficit shows the disingenuous nature of the NYTarticle. Yes, if you exclude debt repayments the budget deficit looks smaller, but that’s an accounting game. Greece’s deficit is still meaningfully above 3 percent because Greece’s economy is so weak due to austerity that its tax estimates are overestimates and its budget expenditures are underestimates.

Greece can borrow more cheaply today because the ECB provided an implicit guarantee of eurozone sovereign debt, not because of Greece’s budget. The ECB could have prevented the entire bond “crisis” in the eurozone by providing that guarantee years earlier. Thetroika, however, found the bond vigilante’s attacks useful to extort nations like Greece to give in to the troika’s demands, so the ECB delayed providing that guarantee. The troika’sbest weapon against Greece recovering its independence and sovereignty remains the threat to withdraw the ECB guarantee. Look for a series of threats in the run-up to the Greek election next month.

That is, by far, the best of the recent NYT articles about Greece. The next least bad articlebegins with this utterly dishonest attempt to portray austerity as a partial success in Greece.

“Governments and investors across Europe braced for renewed economic upheaval on Monday after the Parliament in Greece failed to avert an early general election, reviving the toxic debate over austerity as the way to cure the Continent’s economic woes.

Senior European Union officials immediately urged Greek voters — now headed to the polls on Jan. 25 — to focus on continuing the policies that have enabled the country to ride out its previous monetary crisis and remain part of the eurozone, and that have begun to restore the country’s battered reputation for fiscal management.”

To the NYT it isn’t austerity that is “toxic,” it’s “debat[ing]” austerity that’s toxic. If opponents of austerity – about seven-eighths of economists – would just stop criticizing austerity all would be well. Austerity is not a “cure” for inadequate demand; austerity is what is “toxic” as a response to a severe recession because it further reduces already inadequate demand for goods and services.

In the next sentence the NYT treats as undisputed fact the troika’s myth that Greece should “focus on continuing the policies that have enabled the country to ride out its previous monetary crisis and remain part of the eurozone, and that have begun to restore the country’s battered reputation for fiscal management.” As reality and the facts in the Daley article should have made clear to even the least competent journalist, the “Senior European Union officials” were (a) lying and (b) ignoring the catastrophic damage that austerity has done to the people of Greece.

But there is a fundamental question related to the sentence I’ve been discussing. Why are “Senior European Union officials” telling the Greek people how they should vote in an election? Here are the specifics.

“European leaders immediately began to warn of the possible consequences of a shift in Greek policies. The European Union’s economic commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, warned that a ‘strong commitment to Europe and broad support among the Greek voters and political leaders for the necessary growth-friendly reform process will be essential for Greece to thrive again within the euro area.’

And a top German official warned that continued European aid would be conditional on Greece’s continuing to make major cuts in public services and other changes to control spending.

‘We will continue to help Greece to help itself on its path of reforms,’ Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, said in a statement. But he added, ‘If Greece embarks on a different path, it could be difficult.’”

The word “Orwellian” was designed to describe Moscovici. I’ve explained what austerity did to the Greek people, but Moscovici has the nerve to call it “growth friendly.” Schäuble began the threats against the Greeks actually electing the leaders they supported.

The worst article is dedicated to explaining why the Germans don’t care if the ECB lets the bond vigilantes attack Greece. “Why Greece’s New Crisis Isn’t Spreading to the Rest of Europe.” The author reveals his politics early.

“Polls point to victory by a more extreme party, the left-wing Syriza, which is skeptical of the European Union.”

The party dedicated to ending the economic malpractice of austerity that has devastated the Greek people is the “extreme” party while the Greek parties who capitulated to the German threats and austerity demands and gratuitously forced Greece into a worse-than-the-Great Depression are what? How did understanding basic macroeconomic principles, taught to me 45 years ago as well settled fact, and supported by the next 45 years of experience become “extreme?”

The author then makes his own Orewellian statement, the unintentionally hilarious metaphor that the troika might force a Greece that regained its sovereignty to operate “outside the umbrella of the single European currency.” An “umbrella” protects one from the rain and extreme sun. Adopting the euro was a major factor in bringing the deluge to Greece.

Here’s the author’s bottom line.

“In other words, financial markets view Greece’s problems — and Greece’s future — as important for Greece alone. Since 2012, the European Central Bank has pledged to do ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent a crisis of confidence in European bonds (read: buy them as the lender of last resort if private markets dry up), and European governments have moved toward jointly guaranteeing the Continent’s banks.”

We can divine from this paragraph that the author agrees that the reason the bond vigilantes were defeated was not austerity, but the ECB’s implicit sovereign debt guarantee. Greek bonds will be fine as long as that guarantee is in place – which is why Germany is implicitly threatening to yank that guarantee if the Greeks vote for Syriza. Germany wants to be able to threaten to unleash the bond vigilantes to in order to intimidate the Greeks from voting to restore democratic rule.

There’s a more fundamental point though – it isn’t simply the “financial markets” that “view Greece’s problems – and Greece’s future – as important for Greece alone.” It’s thetroika that has decided that forcing the Greek people into a gratuitous second, more severe Great Depression is “important for Greece alone.” German odes to European solidarity have been exposed as pious platitudes. Germany didn’t act to bailout Greece, it acted to force the Greeks to aid in bailing out German banks.

The NYT columnist, however, ignores the worse-than-Great Depression that the troikapointlessly inflicted on Greece. To the columnist, “the great risk” is that Germany’s infliction of economic malpractice will be blocked by the election of Greeks dedicated to ending Germany’s latest assault on the Greek people.

“The great risk, of course, is that markets are wrong. The same political forces that appear poised to bring an extreme leftist party to power in Greece are bubbling in other parts of Europe.”

Yes, we can’t have democracy and competent economic policies spread to other parts of Europe – that is truly the “great risk” that the Germans and their journalistic apologists fear. The columnist comes back to that nightmare at the end of his piece.

“The risk is no longer that Greece’s problems will infect the rest of Europe. It is that the same dynamics of political economy causing unrest in Greece will soon enough arise in its bigger neighbors.”

Yes, just as the Washington Consensus’ austerity led to the election of leaders in many Latin American nations opposed to austerity, a similar dynamic could arise in Europe. Greece’s greatest tradition is bringing democracy to the world, so Greece is the ideal nation to lead Europe to the restoration of real democracy.

William K. Black, J.D., Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is also the author of the book “The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.”

Part I

Iran was always looking for rapprochement with Turkey. Iran wanted to be part of Nabucco, and made the offer as early as 2009 before the outbreak of hostilities, and now it looks like they will have that opportunity. Indeed Erdogan told a gathering of Nabucco partner countries and regional countries in that same year, which included Iraq and Georgia: “We desire Iranian gas to be included in Nabucco when conditions allow,”

But the US’s own special energy envoy Richard Morningstar was clear that Washington would not allow the Iranians to take part. The strangeness of the US opposition may have escaped the average American reader, here. Nabucco in no way involves the US directly, it is not a trans-Atlantic project. This is, at the very most, a question which only ought to be of concern to those countries that will be involved in the production, transport, and consumption of the goods and services provided.

What the US offered instead to Turkey was that it should throw its international reputation into the wind, and facilitate an ultimately failed attempt to make ‘regime change’ in Syria.

It was always known that the Nabucco plan and the South Stream plan, while pitched as competing plans, really seem to be the same project, pitched differently, involving different power blocs, but interestingly, some of the same project companies.

In theory, then, nothing will be different for Serbia or the other countries along the pipeline. In fact, this might even work better for Russia in that it now involves Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia as it re-routes to get back on its path which travels north through Serbia, into Hungary, Austria, etc. For the consumer states, price wise, we should not expect a tremendous difference. The discount that Turkey receives from Russia will allow for Turkish profitability with a savings that can be passed onto the consumer states.

This is not just about energy markets, but changing political and military partners.

Serbia has not made significant progress in moving towards the EU

Serbia has not made significant progress in moving towards the EU

Serbia, Austria, and Hungary are not only still on board with South Stream, or any other name this rose is called, but Hungary and Serbia have sworn off sanctions on Russia. Hungary has even threatened to leave the EU over South Stream, and has also refused to become entangled again in a problematic IMF loan, now after having paid off its debt. Russia is presently building the facility and military intelligence infrastructure, in what could soon become an actual military installation, in the south of Serbia near Nish. This is also an area where the South Stream, or by any other name, will travel through Serbia. Serbia has not made significant progress in moving towards the EU. It has still not recognized Kosovo, which is an unofficial condition for EU entry. Other matters such as the above mentioned Russian military intelligence hub, Putin’s presence and receiving the highest award at a distinctly Slavic style military parade, have emerged since, which have infuriated EU bureaucrats and NATO chiefs alike.

Thus, Hungary and Serbia, and because of details ironed out with OMV, Austria as well, are still on board with the project. With very minor adjustments, this Russian-Turkish stream will be the same for them as the South Stream. So, Russia’s December 1 announcement was not targeted at them. In fact, taken together with the Russian-Turkish Stream, it is a big sigh of relief.

Rather, certain sections of the Bulgarian establishment are the immediate target of this announcement.  It is very important to create the all-round sense that Bulgaria can be left out of the equation, if it doesn’t do something decisive, and quickly. If these matters were as simple to understand as the official statements made, then most people following the headlines would understand matters as they stand. The truth, however, is more complicated.

In bargaining, to say that a deal is off the table is actually part of the bargaining process. For those already familiar with this point, please forgive that we must belabor this for a moment. This is true all over the world, but is a particularly known bargaining tactic in Eurasia and the Middle-east. It is accurate to include that this tactic is used in the far west, even where business culture tends to be based more on the proclivities and sensitivities of those in the Anglosphere. Nevertheless, Slavs, Arabs,Turks, and Iranians do business differently. Saying that a deal is off the table is neither rude, nor is it a deal breaker. It is also not limited to business, but also informs other spheres of life such as romance and friendships. It is an often critical part of the deal making process. In a way which may seem counter-intuitive to westerners, this actually builds trust.

Concepts and legal norms against things like regressive bargaining still exist, but this is not a case of that. In the face of interesting, new, and creative interpretations of the Third Energy Package that was forced upon Europe under the influence of a semi-suicidal hypnotic trance, induced by the Trans-Atlantic power structure, Bulgaria reneged on its obligation to go forward with the plan.

And yet, to say that Bulgaria does not want to be included in a pipe-line project is not at all true.  Bulgaria still wants the plan, and on their end they insist there can still be one. It was Europe that placed Bulgaria into this situation. It was the EU that has interfered with Bulgaria’s electoral process, resulting in the present government.

Putin’s announcement was also aimed at the EU, and by extension, the US.

This is about calling Europe’s bluff. Europe assumed that it could then change the legal framework of doing energy business with Europe by interpreting the Third Energy Package in new and creative ways, even after its own member states had bent over backwards to meet the already onerous and cumbersome restrictions, derived from the last round of sabotage.

Europe then assumed that it could act with increased hostility to Russia, involving themselves in the training, arming, and equipping of neo-nazis in Ukraine, and staging a coup to frustrate Ukraine’s integration into the Eurasian Customs Union. Then Europe assumed that it could then proceed to impose on itself some serious self-inflicted wounds under the title “sanctions on Russia”, which have also not been a walk in the park for the Russians. Europe assumed that it could do all of this, and more, and that Russia would be so desperate that in light of all of this, in light of the TEP, Ukraine, sanctions, and more, that Russia would pay forward the costs of developing the project, but let Europe control the physical infrastructures, revenues, and other critical aspects.

n_75124_1Still, it is possible that the deal is off the table for Bulgaria. But no one can say definitively whether it is right now. Sections from the Bulgarian elite are saying there is still a deal. This means that they are doing one of two things. One, they are accurately interpreting this December 1st statement as being serious bargaining language, and are trying to figure out how to reorganize themselves politically, making a ‘civilizational’ decision regarding Russia vs. the EU in its Atlanticist incarnation, and looking to make a counter-offer. Or, they are unable to meet these demands. Thus they would be buying time by trying to give false assurances to the tremendous and powerful interests inside of Bulgaria involved in the South Stream project. As well, they would trying to placate the general populace who supported this, in order to stave off a rapid descent into political chaos.

Alexei Miller blames Bulgaria entirely, plays the role of bad cop, and says that the closing of the project had nothing to do with TEP. This is an important warning to Bulgaria that it needs to move quickly. Putin plays the role of good cop, and allows PR cover for the Bulgarian government, blaming the EU, and giving the Bulgarian government some face-saving wiggle room.

A Russian-Turkish line does not have to exclude Bulgaria. Russia has Bulgaria very concerned, for not only have they been told that the new line will exclude them, but that after it is complete, they will also be cut out of the line that runs from Ukraine. That is a major cause for concern for Bulgaria, one which can force them to make a ‘civilizational’ decision, one which will determine their alignment for the next number of decades to come, and beyond. Bulgaria may have been misled into thinking that they could play games. They may have believed that in the event of a South Stream collapse, the Nabucco project could be brought back to life, despite problems with the Shah Deniz energy consortium, and the failure for the Nabucco project to make headway in the Levant, in the wake of serious Turkish, US and Israeli defeats vis-à-vis Syria and Egypt.

People are wondering why Europe is making such a huge mistake with the way they are interpreting and enforcing the TEP. Yes, it can be said that Europe made a mistake here. Or, it can be said that Europe intentionally sabotaged this, and in so doing, sabotaged its own economy. This latter case is almost understandable with an understanding of the considerable pressure which the US exerts on Europe. The latter case makes more sense.

There are several critical factors facing Europe. We can look at a few of them.

One critical factor which is often ignored by analysts looking at the ‘Triangle’ of Atlanticist Europe, Eurasia, and the ‘Near East’ (the Balkans, Turkey, and Arab World) is that this is actually a ‘Square’. Europe is being threatened by the US that it will lose access to Latin America.

One point worth mentioning here is that the US has said that the age of the “Monroe Doctrine” is over. Of course, this statement was aimed at Russia regarding Georgia, but in a different way also at Europe. Today European investment in Latin America – considered in the 19th century to be within the US’s realm of influence by the Monroe Doctrine – is not insignificant. Formal institutions, aimed at coordination, like the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Latin American Investment Facility (LAIF) represent but a tip of the iceberg in this regard. There is also increasing investment from Latin American countries and firms into Europe. All countries in Western Europe are tied to investments in Latin America. The US tries to project to Europe that it has the capacity to effect coups or transitions of power in Latin America. It shows it can do this through its traditional means of the military coup, or new methods such as the Color Revolution and Arab Spring tactic.

Pink tide countries

Pink tide countries

Both of these methods have failed to effect change in the so-called ‘Pink Tide’ countries in Latin America. But a statistically improbably number of Pink Tide leaders either have cancer, or in the case of Chavez, have already died of it. Of course the US still does business with Pink Tide countries. But those terms are not as lucrative as they would be if those governments were mere puppets. A portion of US trade with Latin America is done through proxies in Europe, or through MNC’s and TNC’s whose governing boards are comprised of both US and European nationals.

The European elite are divided. Those who follow US dictates are tied to US interests in numerous ways. Others in this lot are heavily invested in Latin America, and have not been convinced that the Russians or Chinese can protect these European investments from the US, in the event of a US initiated change of government in most Latin American countries, as in, signifying a return to the Monroe Doctrine. On the other hand are those in Europe who are more connected to Eurasia. Right now they are both upset, and weakened. Perhaps the window of opportunity for them to effect a concerted effort to change the present course has passed. Perhaps it has not.

There is also another critical factor which revolves around other gas deals that had been in the works.

Indeed there is still yet another rational explanation, however, to Europe’s otherwise blundering arrogance. Europe, like Bulgaria, was also thinking that it had options, which the Russian-Turkish deal actually makes an end-run around.

The US was also excited about this, and it related to its efforts in the Middle-East. This was the so-called Southern Corridor plan, a part of Nabucco.

So, this partly explains the extraordinary efforts that the US has engaged in to overthrow the government of Syria. Syria was the best choice to host a branch for Egyptian and Israeli liquefied natural gas into the Nabucco pipeline network.

The Nabucco line was to be a Turkish project, but on the European side involved a number of the same firms that would later go over to the South Stream project. The Nabucco line also involved a number of the same countries as well. Critically; Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria.

The South Stream was different in its starting point, and its trans-Pontic route. Instead of Romania, it favored Serbia. Other than this, they were very similar projects. Because they involved many of the same project companies on the European side, and promised to deliver similar volumes, the final decision to go with South Stream was a product of Russian success in the realms of diplomacy and related areas of intrigue.

Additionally, the Nabucco project did not have the assurances on the eastern end, and would also have been a project that involved a number of companies and interests before arriving in Europe. This also increased the cost. Thus, the ease of doing business, and the superior form of coordination that comes from dealing with a single state-owned company, such as Gazprom, was another important factor. Keeping various and even conflicting multiple project companies all together, for ten years on a project that had not even broken ground, as was the case with Nabucco, was a lot like herding cats.

However, the Nabucco line was to get a good portion of its gas from the Azeri controlled Caspian offshore, a project under the control of the Shah Deniz energy consortium which works closely with BP. This was to rely on support from Azerbaijan, passing through it, and as well possibly Georgia, and then into Turkey.

For a number of reasons, which Nabucco was nixed when the Shah Deniz consortium decided to handle the project differently. Then it was resurrected with a different route. The background to this issue involves matters out of the scope of this report, but revolves around the complicated relationships between Russia and the post-Soviet states in the Caucuses, and the manner by which the latter have also made relationships with Turkey, within the context of constant meddling from the US and EU.

To state it clearly, time-frames notwithstanding, there were three projects. The South Stream, the Nabucco, and the Trans-Anatolian to Trans Adriatic (TANAP/TAP). But all three of them could not all go forward. Contradictions or overlaps not only between the project companies, but also the underlying broader geostrategic and geopolitical concerns meant that TANAP/TAP could not go forward without the Nabucco going forward as most plans have these merged, and Nabucco was less viable at any rate with South Stream going forward.

Upon closer inspection, the TANAP/TAP and the Nabucco are really one and the same. This is so even if  there were differences in project conceptions, involving some different project companies and minor differences in route. At a point last year, it looked as Nabucco would work with the Shah Deniz  consortium and actually take a Central European route, through the North-South corridor. This would have meandered up from Nabucco in Hungary, and towards the Baltic Sea cutting through both Slovakia and Czech Republic, and through Poland.

This would have undermined the importance of two Russian lines, through Ukraine and Nord Stream.  But changes in the Hungarian political landscape, towards an overtly pro-Russian position, made this route unlikely. To cut up from Romania through Ukraine would be a burdensome addition by way of kilometers of pipe, given the project always had funding problems and what were perceived as inflated costs.

What this boiled down to was the EU encouraged on by the US, having Turkey and Russia compete endlessly.

This is also why, since last week’s announcement, EU’s optimistic talk of the TANAP/TAP project revival can seem strangely out of touch with reality. Turkey, of course, is wise to diversify its sources, working with Azeri partners as well as Russian. The Shah Deniz fields are estimated at no more than 1 trln. cm as opposed to Russia’s 48 trln. cm. The Azeri estimated reserves are thus only about 2 % of the Russian.

Yes, the Azeris may produce, together with what they have and with the Shah Deniz II expansion, as much as 40 bcm per year. But with a realistic reserve quantity of 1trln. cm, this isn’t going to last very long in the scheme of things, especially if production is to be expanded further. So we can see that while Azeri contributions meant something, if the entire plan is to be worth the long term aims, always meant a combination with Nabucco.

This in turn substantively meant the Southern Corridor through the Levant.

The Southern Corridor is a critical piece. Azeri gas from the Shah Deniz field promised to make a new route viable. Without Nabucco and Turkey, the Azeri’s really could not fund this. Construction never began on Nabucco, and experienced all of the confusion between project companies, funding issues, and changed routes as described above. What it relied on, to work, was incorporating Egyptian, Israeli, and Syrian gas to make a Southern Corridor, into Turkey and connect with the rest of Nabucco.

TANAP/TAP cannot really work as a stand-alone project. Europeans are at best talking their book, at worst, sorely misinformed. Given the levels of ineptitude and nepotism which prevail in ‘Old Europe’, this last possibility is actually a great one.

This reality played a factor in the Arab Spring in Egypt and Syria. Turkey backed the Arab Spring in Egypt, and had their man, Morsi, installed. Morsi was not simply installed as part of the Arab Spring tactic by the US and Israel as part of a broader regional move against Iran. Of course, this much is true. But further, this in Egypt, was supposed to be a major development allowing for Egyptian natural gas to get to Turkey, through Israel and a Syria under a new western backed “FSA” leadership that favored Egypt, Israel, and Turkey over Iran and broadly speaking, Russia.

Still Turkey’s previous plans with the Southern Corridor can be combined with a new Russian-Turkish pipeline. This possibility may really underscore the significance of the Russian-Turkish deal, and the entire geostrategic and geopolitical realignment which may be underway.

Essentially, the position of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Israel as being firm pro-Western and anti-Russian natural gas interests meant that Egypt and Syria would have to experience ‘regime change’ for all the pieces to link up. While Egypt under Mubarak received western military aid and was an important US ally during the last decade of the cold war, and interpreting most generously could be said to have “looked the other way” on Israel-Palestine, he was opposed to regime change in Syria. Syria could not act in line with a Turkish and Israeli plan given its relations with Iran, and Turkish relations with Iran.

The stage was set, then to make a “regime change” in Egypt and Syria, thus angling out  Iran, and perhaps even forcing Lebanon to act in concert with Israel against Hezbollah.

But Iran and Russia, working with Syria and its SAA effectively pushed back the foreign mercenary and Salafist invasion of Syria. Yes, the US and Israel still push with its Saudi friends to finance a quasi-mythical ISIS, and even here in recent days we have seen a series of big defeats for ISIS. In fact, these three latest major events – The Turkish-Russian gas deal announcement, the defeats suffered by ISIS, and the Israeli air-force provocations on Syria, are all intimately connected.

In the course of the Turkish end of the war against Syria, the disorganization, losses, and problematic western led alliance were such that pre-existing tensions between the Sauds and Qataris were exacerbated. Turkey’s friendly Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt was subject to severe persecution in the pro-Salafist realm of peninsular Arabia. Turkey’s friendly MB front in Palestine, Hamas, was being actively courted by Iran.

In the last year of this conflict, in the wake of the failed western attempt to blame Syria for a chemical attack it staged itself, Iran-Turkey relations have in fact warmed, seeing a 400% increase in bilateral trade. Furthermore, Turkey reversed its decision on the convictions of leading Pro-Russian ‘Eurasianist’ leaders, some even in the military, who had been caught up in the so-called Ergenekon conspiracy. This included the prominent Worker’s Party leader, Dogu Perencek, and other of his ranking Maoist-Kemalist comrades. This last piece is significant in its symbolism more than anything else, but we live in a world of symbols and signs.

What we were left with, finally then, as a result, was the total fracturing of the US and Israeli led alliance against Syria. Russia worked with some partners in the region to reverse the Arab Spring in Egypt, seeing the ousting of Morsi and his replacement by Sisi. At first glance, this is a set-back for Turkey as well, and Russians may have either worked with, or fooled, the Saudis in helping with this. Analysis on Saudi-Russian bilateral relations are generally a nebulous cloud of disinformation and misinformation, and we will leave these and related questions out of this report.

Now there is a new reality, the situation has reversed.

1l-imageIran-Turkey relations have warmed, and so have Russian-Turkish relations. Egypt has committed itself in the area of foreign policy, to a good relationship with Ba’athist Syria of Assad. Egypt will maintain Mubaraks’ old arrangement with Israel with regard to Palestine, tunnels, and the like. But Egyptian natural gas will only make its way, now, through to Turkey’s ‘Russian Turkish Line’, replacing Nabucco, if it goes through the legitimate government of Syria.

If it is also to involve Israel, it may be possible to place some conditions on Israel. Besides ending its war against Syria, and ending its rhetoric on Iran, it could also include the recognition of Palestine and profit sharing with Palestine, whom the offshore Gazan resource legally belongs to. We should not be optimistic here, but as well it is possible for a new route for the Egyptian end, as the southern-most part of the ‘new’ Southern-Corridor project, to meander through the Sinai through Jordan, or go by sea to Syria. This may mean that if Israel wants to expand their market, it may need to work through its Netanyahu disaster period, and elect a Labor government with center-right instead of far-right social and economic policy, and policy on Palestine. All of this is entirely speculative, and probably unlikely.

But Israel needs this project more than the other parties need Israel. Israel will need to weigh, however, numerous factors which not only directly relate to energy markets. In reality, Israel finds itself increasingly isolated in the region. Experts have already explained for at least a decade, that the Israeli Zionist project may be unsustainable and could be winding down. Some have even pondered if the Zionist entity would be looking to relocate to the emerging rump-state of Western Ukraine, where, biblical lore aside, many Israelis can materially trace their recent history to. Nevertheless, Israel has reached a critical place, and has some difficult decisions to make.

Israel is going to be the most problematic piece, but the Azeris also have an opportunity to re-align their interests with the new plan. The fusion of Nabucco and South Stream with TANAP/TAP is still a possibility too. BP will not like this per se, but the Shah Deniz consortium is going to have to make some difficult decisions and work that piece out. This is doubly true if there is a serious policy change in Azerbaijan. Like with Israel, the Azeris need to be a part of this project more than the project needs them.

The Azeri’s only other option is the ever elusive White Stream. Yulia Tymoshenko herself proposed this to the EU as far back as 2008. There are numerous problems here, including that it was to cross from Georgia into the Black Sea and to Crimea. But Crimea is Russia now, and at present time it is truly up in the air if Ukraine will become a landlocked rump-state, or have regime change, long before such a project can be completed, let alone started. Romania, which has been removed from the Russian-Turkish proposal in its Nabucco form, may be the only viable partner. But this would mean extensive construction across the black sea from Georgia to Romania. These were the same obstacles which precluded the possibility of any kind of TANAP/TAP project that didn’t go through Turkey. In reality, if a project cannot pay by itself for a relatively limited supply (Azeri) to traverse the Black Sea, it will have  to work with Russia or Turkey, who have now teamed up.

With regard to the entire scope of the Russian-Turkish gas deal in general, we should be cautious in speculating much on the future course of it, or what it all may mean. We have attempted to sketch out what some of the primary factors are. We have given some details and the related background, of the natural gas contest and its primacy not only to Russia and Ukraine, and the Balkans. We have explained also how this collided and yet now coincides with a Turkish supported project.

We should still expect future public talk on this subject which places the new deal into question. This is all part of the process and the spectacle. It is even still possible that Israel will provoke such a response in Syria and Lebanon that Iran will be hard pressed not to react, increasing the bellicosity and instability in the region, making a Turkish re-orientation of the Southern Corridor more difficult.

Likewise, the West may still effectively divide Russian from Turkish interests. It will definitely make every attempt to. The Russians and Turks, if they are to stay together on this project, will likely entertain the illusion for the West that its disruptive efforts are working at times, because this is how it’s done.

It made little sense for Russia and Turkey to both have lines through roughly the same route, with the success of the Turkish one requiring instability in the Levant, the destruction of Syria, and a coup in Egypt. Now that Russia and Turkey have announced to the world that they will not have their interests placed at odds with each other through the manipulation of the US, EU, and Israel, we can see a geopolitical shift in the making, of tectonic proportions.

Again, this is not over for Bulgaria either, but as with Bosnia and Serbia, the conflict in Ukraine stands a good chance at spreading, especially as Balkans states could re-align in a decisively pro-Russian direction. Still, energy markets are huge, but they are not everything.

Russia’s future tasks are clear. If Bulgaria can come to its senses, Russia must help Bulgaria with its security apparatus, for example, helping to restructure its intelligence and secret police agencies. It must provide Bulgaria with these and other assurances. Russia must also, if is to build again with the EU, demonstrate that it can protect assets and investments in Latin America.

Europe must understand that the Balkans can only be a place where either both EU, Russia and Turkey can have an interest, or that it will be without Europe, with only Russia and Turkey having an interest. This would mirror an historical pattern, as well.

The EU should not be forced to commit suicide by cutting off its access to affordable energy resources from Russia and the Middle-East, at the threat of losing access to Latin American markets under conditions of increased US bellicosity in that region.

Some analysts have looked at the low prices and attractive terms which Russia have offered to its partners, including China, and now Turkey and India, regarding energy markets. Some have said that Putin is showing Russian weakness with such a low price. Others, more accurately have said that Putin is broad in thinking, and is focusing more on market share than market price. This is a fair point, and closer to the truth.

But all of these exciting adventures in capitalism are not going to mean very much on an irradiated earth primarily populated by cockroaches feeding off of highly adaptive bacteria. The bigger picture we can draw from all of this is a Russia that is thinking long term, and issues like stability are more important than quarterly fluctuations. It is committed to building a multi-polar world which will save the world from the US Empire, save Europe from itself, and enable conditions for sovereignty and development in whole regions like the Balkans, Middle-east, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Joaquin Flores is an American expat living in Belgrade. He is a full-time analyst at the Center for Syncretic Studies, a public geostrategic think-tank. His expertise encompasses Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and has a strong proficiency in Middle East affairs. Flores is particularly adept at analyzing the psychology of the propaganda wars, and cutting through the noise of ‘information overload’. In the US, he worked for a number of years as a labor union organizer, chief negotiator, and strategist for a major trade union federation.

Source Center for Syncretic Studies

US-Russia Reset in 2015? Putin Bashing Remains Intense

January 3rd, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

On New Year’s eve, Bloomberg’s Josh Rogin headlined ”Inside Obama’s Secret Outreach to Russia.”

Saying administration officials have been “working behind the scenes for months to forge a new working relationship with Russia…”

At a time Putin bashing remains intense. Blaming him wrongfully for US crimes.

Claiming he “has shown little interest in repairing relations with Washington or halting his aggression in neighboring Ukraine.”

Putin wants cooperative relations with all nations “on an equal basis,” he said at his yearend press conference.

“(O)n the condition that (Russia’s) national interests are respected, in the sphere of security and in the sphere of the economy.”

“The problem (with) international relations is that” Washington and EU nations have other ideas.

He defended Russia’s Ukraine policy. Going all out to resolve crisis conditions peacefully.

Debunking notions otherwise. Criticizing US hypocrisy. Saying “(t)o take Texas from Mexico is fair, but when we make decisions about our territories, it is unfair.”

“I believe we are right in the Ukrainian crisis and our Western partners are wrong.”

America’s empire of bases is everywhere, he said. “(A)ll over the world, and you’re trying to say that we’re being aggressive.”

America’s military budget is over tenfold greater than Russia’s. “Do we place our troops at US borders? Who is placing NATO troops, military infrastructure closer to us?”

“Does anyone listen to us, talk to us about it? No, nothing. There is always the same response. It’s not your business.”

Washington’s menacing missile defense system threatens Russia.

“They have been deploying strategic missile defense elements not only on Alaska, but also in Europe, in Poland and Romania, right at our borders,” said Putin.

Putin blamed Western countries for Ukrainian crisis conditions. “But for the West’s position, there wouldn’t be civil war in Ukraine,” he said.

The road to peace requires building common humanitarian space. Not walls, he stressed. “Russia pays the cost of remaining a nation, a civilization and a state.”

According to Rogin:

“Obama’s National Security Council finished an extensive and comprehensive review of US policy toward Russia that included dozens of meetings and input from the State Department, Defense Department and several other agencies, according to three senior administration officials.”

“At the end of the sometimes-contentious process, Obama made a decision to continue to look for ways to work with Russia on a host of bilateral and international issues while also offering Putin a way out of the stalemate over the crisis in Ukraine.”

One official told Rogin he sees no major reset coming. Washington wants to see what Moscow is “actually willing to do…Regardless of the likelihood of success.”

In other words, to what extent can America convince Moscow to bend to its will? Accept Washington rules. Sacrifice Russian interests in the process.

Putin is very clear. So are other key Kremlin officials. Russian sovereignty is inviolable. Too important to compromise.

Relations with other countries must be based on mutual respect for each other’s interests. Equal give and take. According to international law.

Not one nation dominating others. Longstanding US policy. Claiming what it says goes. Seeking unchallenged global hegemony.

Staging coups to install subservient regimes. Wars elevating handpicked stooges to power.

Wanting all independent governments ousted. Replaced by pro-Western ones. Especially key rivals China and Russia.

Rogin said John Kerry is Obama’s point man. Intended a fall meeting with Putin. Negotiations got to the point of scheduling.

Then “scuttled because (of) little prospect of demonstrable progress.” White House officials even approached Henry Kissinger to help, said Rogin.

It’s unclear what followed. On the one hand, Kerry and Sergey Lavrov meet often. Maintain ongoing diplomatic relations.

On the other, “Obama and Putin…are known to have an intense dislike for each other and very rarely speak,” said Rogin.

In discussions with Lavrov, Kerry floated notions about easing US sanctions, Rogin added. Provided “Russia adher(s) to September’s Minsk agreement and ceas(es) direct military support for the Ukrainian separatists.”

“The issue of Crimea would be set aside for the time being, and some of the initial sanctions that were put in place after Crimea’s annexation would be kept in place.”

Administration officials said Washington is “willing to isolate the issues of Donetsk and Lugansk from the issue of Crimea.”

“If there was a settlement on Donetsk and Luhansk, there could be a removal of some sanctions while maintaining sanctions with regard to Crimea. That represents a way forward for Putin.”

It bears repeating. Washington blames Russia for its own wrongdoing. Its imperial adventurism. Ousting Ukraine’s legitimate government. Elevating fascist putschists to power.

Co-opting Ukraine as America’s newest colony. A dagger pointed at Russia’s heartland. Threatening its security. Obama making outrageous statements.

Saying “Russian aggression in Europe recalls the days when large nations trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambitions.”

Polar opposite Moscow’s policies. Describing America’s longstanding agenda. “Trampl(ing)” over one nation after another.

Kerry is testing the waters. Can he get Moscow to bend? How far? Short of mutual cooperation between both nations on equal terms. What Washington never tolerates.

Believing US policies are working. Weakening Russia’s economy. Including sanctions. Market manipulated lower oil prices. Attacking the ruble.

One US official told Rogin “(w)e’ll see how they feel as their economy continues to deteriorate…”

Putin and Lavrov insist Russia won’t roll over for anyone. No nation ever defeated it. Not Napoleon. Not Hitler. Nor will America.

Its policies belie its rhetoric. Its word isn’t its bond. The Ukraine Freedom Support Act (UFSA) of 2014 targets Russia.

Authorizing lethal and non-lethal aid. Besides what’s already supplied. Approved more sanctions. Other measures targeting Russia’s economy.

In mid-December, Obama embargoed Crimea. By executive order “prohibit(ing) the export of goods, technology, or services to Crimea and prohibits the import of goods, technology, or services from Crimea, as well as new investments in Crimea.”

(A)uthoriz(ing) the Secretary of the Treasury to impose sanctions on individuals and entities operating in Crimea.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry called his action “politicized discrimination.” Against Russia and its people. Lavrov said:

“We have repeatedly stressed that attempts to speak to Russia using the language of ultimatums is totally unacceptable and will yield no results.”

“We are ready to develop mutual and equal relations with all those who show an oncoming willingness to do that.”

“…(E)very nation has the inalienable right to self-determination and the sovereign right to choose its own path of development.” Russia respects this choice.

Containment won’t work,” he stressed. “The White House has set a course for confrontation, blaming Russia for all sins in connection with the Ukrainian crisis that they had provoked to a significant extent.”

US-led NATO shows hostile intentions. “(S)trengthen(ing) (its) military capacity at Russia’s borders.”

Obama irresponsibly includes Russia on his list of global threats. Regime change is a longstanding US policy.

Reset is wishful thinking. Expect no easing of US relations toward Russia ahead.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Visit his blog site at Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

U.S. military conducting training for Afghan National Army Soldiers in 2010. (Photo: isafmedia/flickr/cc)

The U.S.-trained Afghan army was responsible for a New Year’s Eve attack on a wedding party that killed as many as two dozen people including women and children, local officials have said.

The incident took place in Sagin district in the southern province of Helmand, and was first reported on by the Associated Press.

Witnesses said the house where the wedding was taking place was hit after guests firedcelebratory shots into the air.

The incident sparked hundreds of people to travel from Sagin to the home of the governor in the provincial capital to demand justice, AP reports.

“What we know so far is that our soldiers fired mortar rounds from three outposts but we do not know whether it was intentional,” General Mahmoud, the deputy Commander of the Afghan 215 corps in Helmand province, told Reuters.

“We have launched our investigation and will punish those who did this,” he said.

The exact toll from the attack is still unclear; Agence-France Presse‘s latest reportingindicates that 17 people, all women and children were killed, and that 49 others were wounded in the shelling. Reuters reported Thursday that 26 people were killed and 41 others wounded.

According to reporting by AP on Friday, two soldiers have already been arrested, and eight more are under investigation.  Mahmoud told AP that there was “still a possibility of more arrests.”

In a statement issued Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack and urged the Afghan government to conduct a full investigation of the incident.

The deadly fire came at the end of what was the deadliest year for Afghan civilians, and just hours before Afghanistan formally took over security operations for the country, even as the U.S. is continuing its military role there for at least another year.

“I want to congratulate my people today that Afghan forces are now able to take full security responsibility in protecting their country’s soil and sovereignty,” Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said in a speech Thursday marking the transition.

US to Impose Sanctions on North Korea Over Sony Hack: White House

January 3rd, 2015 by Global Research News

by Sputnik

The US President issued an Executive Order, authorizing additional sanctions on North Korea in response to the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The United States will impose additional sanctions on North Korea in response to the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, the White House announced Friday.

“Today, the President issued an Executive Order, authorizing additional sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the White House said in a press release. “This executive order is a response to the Government of North Korea’s ongoing provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies, particularly its destructive and coercive cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.”

The order, signed by US President Barack Obama authorizes the US Treasury to impose sanctions on individuals and entities, connected to the North Korean government.

“We take seriously North Korea’s attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a US company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression,” the White House said.

Obama had said earlier the US would respond to the alleged North Korea-backed hacking of Sony Entertainment over the comedy film “The Interview,” in which two American journalists plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“As the President has said, our response to North Korea’s attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment will be proportional, and will take place at a time and in a manner of our choosing. Today’s actions are the first aspect of our response,” the White House said.

The FBI identified North Korea behind the November 24 cyber-attack at Sony, in which the hacking group called Guardians of Peace released confidential documents and emails causing an embarrassment to the filmmaker.

The FBI Got it Wrong? Cyber Experts Say Sony “Nuked from the Inside”

After Sony initially bowed to the hacker’s demands not to show the film, the entertainment giant reversed course and showed the film at select theaters for the Christmas Day opening. It also allowed viewers to watch the film online. North Korea has denied involvement in the hacking and several cyber security experts in the US have questioned drawing a quick conclusion North Korea was behind the attack.

Over the last week, more publications, including Zero Hedge, have started reporting on a still developing nuclear problem at the largest nuclear plant in Europe. This news has been widely circulated in Eastern Europe over the last few weeks.

The problem in Ukraine has been and remains verification: Ukrainian sources have not been forthcoming. When this first occurred I was contacted through a second party and told directly after the officially reported transformer incident that a radiation spike was observed in Crimea, which is 140km away from the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.

The spike was small against background radiation but noticeable on a geiger counter. I was also given hacked files of the emergency conversation that happened at the plant that day. They are included at the bottom of the article. The proximity to what is coming to light means they cannot be ignored.

Understanding Geiger Counters

The first thing most people don’t realize is that geiger counters are location sensitive. They are calibrated against the background radiation for a specific location. This means that if you take a geiger counter and move just a mile away, the background radiation itself could be different and the measurement inaccurate. Known background radiation is the Zero point on a calibrated geiger counter.

Second and as important is that all sensitive measurement tools need to be calibrated and certified to be useful. Sensitive tools go out of calibration by themselves over time. After Fukushima, a new normal needs to be considered.

What this means to Europe is the possibility of a larger than Fukushima event opening up in its own backyard, without anyone getting a handle on it – quite literally. Depending on which way the wind blows, without verification they are leaving their own countries futures in the hands of Ukrainian nationalists who are in the midst of trying to perpetrate a genocide in Donbas.

Ukraine reported an non-nuclear ‘incident’: a transformer short circuiting, while the term ‘accident’ is used for radiological issues. This report was carried across the nuclear industry forums that talked about it. The case was closed.

As reported at Zero Hedge- we reported of the odd coincidence of a 2nd emergency shutdown at Ukraine’s Zaporozhye Nuclear reactor - Europe’s largest nuclear power plant - following our earlier fears of disinformation. Today, we learn of a leaked report sourced from three different places - unconfirmed for now but which RT is trying to verify – that Ukrainian nuclear scientists misled the public and a radioactive leak has been detected - and citing the country’s emergency services claim that levels of radiation are 16.3 times the legally permitted norm.

What does 16.3 times the allowable norm mean? In a pre-Fukushima world, if any nuclear plant in the US were to report 1 times the allowable radiation/ steam contamination release, every major publication in the country would be focused on that event.

Allowable release at nuclear power plants falls under a Zero tolerance policy. At the Zaporozhye power plant, background radiation before the event registered at 10-12 counts per minute on a geiger counter. At 50 counts it does not cause an alarm but is something to monitor.

The threshold for alarm is 100 counts and radiological personal protective gear might be warranted. Zaporozhye is well beyond that threshold now.

Post Fukushima Norms

At 16.3 X the allowable count, the measurement is not 16.3 cpm (counts per minute) X 10-12cpm (known background) at Zaporozhye. The key to understanding this is knowing what the highest allowable radiation exposure(milli-rems, milli- seiverts, counts per minute) figure is in Ukraine. Ukraine is working with the MAX allowable figure, not the normal one. The terminology used and lack of measurement is the surest indicator of there being a problem.

Background to RAD work

First things first, I AM not a nuclear engineer, or nuclear scientist. These are the industry people that need to weigh in. However I used to have locked high rad clearance and what that means essentially is I know a bit more than the average person about what the slight of hand in the official figures could mean. As an example from Fukushima’s #3 sister plant I did some work at over 10 years ago, a few times I went into situations that because of the stage in the refueling, dose was very high.

Each assignment or job starts with a detailed briefing which includes where not to go in a room or what to touch. It included how long a person could be there before they had to leave or where to stand away from the work if there were any complications in order to lower the radioactive dose. This attention to safety is the norm in nuclear plants, not the exception.

Personnel are monitored by an HP (Health Physics) and Nuclear Hygienist that make sure they do not get into trouble. They monitor personal dosimetery (measuring personal radioactive dose and exposure) as well as local radiation levels.

The Hand can be Quicker that the Eye

I will recount one of several situations that stand out in my mind which make it impossible to believe Ukraine’s 16.3 X Allowable (legal) limit without independent verification. In certain rare situations the Allowable limit is a sliding scale. The one thing the world learned post Fukushima is that the Allowable limits can change hour to hour, day to day.

Exposure = Dose + Time

During a refueling at Fukushima #3 sister plant I was asked to go into a really high radiation location because I had the skill sets to get the job done quickly. I went into the containment area and the HP was there waiting. I took 2 steps beyond the HP and my dosimeter alarmed. He evacuated me and they raised the alarm level on my dosimeter a little. This was the new norm for me from that point.

I returned to the work area and went past the HP a 2nd time. I didn’t make it any further. The alarm sounded and I was told to leave. Again they raised the alarm level to my new norm. Simply put my norm was anything that allowed me to do what I needed to get done.

This happened a third time. On my way out I told the HP to call ahead and make sure it was sufficient for the work at hand this time. I was getting dosed every time I went in and the more time I spent going in and out the more radiation I would be hit with.

The point is that after a few tries, the new norm or allowable limit was established so I could do my work without interruptions.

While this sliding scale is necessary once in a while in a closely monitored and controlled situation it is perverse to impose it on an unknowing world such as was done with the lies before and after the Fukushima event. The new radiological norm for a post Fukushima world was illegal before the meltdown happened.

 What We Know about Zaporozhye

We now know that radiation was released and reports of a steam blow-off are starting to surface. Unfortunately this is in line with information I was given about a fire in the cooling system and a contaminated side steam pipe burst inside the containment (their word is sarcophagus). People who have left the area have reported that iodine tablets are being handed out to people who live close to the plant. We know that the plant shut down all social media for plant workers so they would not talk about the incident. This was a highly unusual move for a transformer problem.

A second reactor(#6) has been shutdown at the same plant and restarted on December 28thThis linked document shows that unit #6 is still down on December 29th. A third at South Ukraine Nuclear Power plant which has been testing Westinghouse fuel assemblies is in an abnormally long shutdown. Normal is 30-40 days. This is planned to be 120 days. This is also not the first time this year that Zaporozhye had unscheduled shutdowns.

In the spring Pravy Sektor tried unsuccessfully to storm nuclear power plants three times. Later the government of Ukraine ordered that they guard nuclear material, nuclear facilities, and even nuclear waste using, meaning that the Poroshenko government put the terrorists that tried to take nuclear plants by force in charge.

The Worst Possible Problem with the Information about Zaporozhye

This copy of a leaked letter from Westinghouse speaks of even larger problems at an undisclosed reactor in Ukraine on December 6th. It has not been reported until now.

Shortly after Unit #3 was reported as a non-nuclear incident, an anonymous bomb threat was given about Chernobyl. In the same time frame I was given the following files of a conversation hacked by an Anonymous style group called cyber-militia (КиберОполчение).

I really hate using the term false flag event. Given the nature of the leaked conversation below, an anonymous bomb threat would give Kiev cover in the event that they lost control over the reactor. The conversation unfortunately provides context to what we are now learning about the problem reactors and specifically a contaminated steam release. By including that text here, hopefully the issues at the plant can be identified by reliable and qualified sources. Ukraine has none.

The original text that made me aware of the files are from twitter- @VexhilvyStrimer after November 28th.

 Zaporozhye Leaked Accident Conversation-

The following leaked conversations that took place during the Zaporozhye incident are between Tyshenko (General Director of Nuclear Power Plant) and Torbayevsky ( Head of Emergency Readiness).

November 28th

Tyshenko 8:12 PM- Vasili what the hell is going on over there?

8:24- Tyshenko- Why aren’t you answering?

8:58- Torbayevsky- Vacheslav Alexaivich, forgive me for not answering. We have an emergency. The Third Unit shut down. I am already there. Ignatchencho is with me. Krasnogorov is coming.

Tyshenko- Fuck! Why the hell didn’t you tell me immediately? Do you understand the danger this will mean for us? We will be thrown in prison, you as well. Leaving now, will be there in ½ hour.

Torbayevsky- Need to contact Chech specialists from Skoda. Its their equipment.

November 29th

Tyshenko and Krasnogorov, head engineer at plant ZGD

20:34 Tyshenko- Fiador, how are things?

Krasnagorov- Things are not good. The casket on the upper unit cannot take the pressure. Seems we screwed around with this improper material long enough.

Tyshenko- Don’t whine. You need to understand that no one asked me about any of it.

Krasnagorov- Even back then I was saying that this is not going to end well. We needed to do testing first. Its not just the caskets that are the problem. Its with the fuel as well.

Tyshenko- I said don’t whine! These are the orders the ministry gave. They warmed their hands on it already (they made their money) and let this fuck them now (let them deal with the fallout).

Krasnagorov- Understood.

December 2nd

7:48 Tyshenko and Stefansky (Assistant Plant manager)

Stefansky- Vacheslav Alexaivich as soon as you left, journalists flooded us. They are hanging out at the security checkpoint. What do I say to them?

Tyshenko 8:01 am- Listen, I am fucking barely able to stay on my feet (tired). Can’t you come up with something? Say that it is an electrical short circuit or some other shit like that, but about the reactor not a word! Blab, and I will turn you inside out (skin you)! Thats it, out, I’m getting a few hours sleep and will be back.

December 2nd

8:53 Tyshenko and Torbayevsky

Torbayevsky- Vacheslav Alexaivich, we have a leak.

Tyshenko- Fuck! Where are you?

Torbayevsky- I’m at the station with the personnel, trying to fix it, but its a dead number (no use).

9:31 am Tyshenko- Ok, I called to the top. We need to be quiet now or we’ll be sent to Donbass as volunteers. Do You understand?

Torbayevsky- Understood.

12:17 Tyshenko- Vasili, I’ve been called to Kiev immediately. Figure this out without me.

Torbayevsky- What do we do with the personnel? We need to evacuate people, radiation is off the charts! And locals need to be warned. We already started dumping into the water supply from the cooling system. Very soon we will have a second Chernobyl.

Tyshenko- Don’t panic! We were told to be quiet. We’ll be quiet!

Torbayevsky- Vacheslav Alexaivich! Do you understand we can no longer keep silent? This is a catastrophe! Here in a 100 kilometer radius, nothing will be left alive! Fucking sky is already glowing! (inside joke about radiation)

Tyshenko- Listen! I am flying to Kiev. Wait for a call. For now don’t answer any questions and don’t talk to anyone.

The Russian Government’s Tass ‘news’ agency is alleging that “The US private military company Academi (formerly known as Blackwater) … has confirmed to the Kiev authorities its readiness to start training an experimental battalion of 550 men as of January at the request of Ukraine’s General Staff,” according to an unnamed source, which source is probably one of the few remaining anti-nazi bureaucrats still remaining in the Ukrainian Government. The reported price of this Blackwater (a.k.a. “Xe,” a.k.a. “Academi”) training contract is $3.5 million.

Furthermore, “‘Ukraine has said it is ready to pay the money on the condition of assistance from the Ukrainian association Patriot, providing technical and financial support for the project,’ the source said.”

That organization is Patriot of Ukraine. If this report in Tass is true, then the Ukrainian Government, which now is being funded almost entirely by U.S. taxpayers (inasmuch as it no longer meets the financial requirements of the IMF and EU, both of which receive funding from both U.S. and European taxpayers), and for which the U.S. Congress just passed and the U.S. President just signed into law in December authorization of a $450 million donation, is now co-funding this military training, along with — as wikipedia describes “Patriot of Ukraine” (but with wikipedia’s footnotes removed) —

a Ukrainian nationalist organization with racist and neo-Nazi political beliefs. It constitutes a paramilitary wing of the Social-National Assembly of Ukraine (S.N.A.), an assemblage of neo-Nazi organizations and groups founded in 2008 that share the social-national ideology and agree upon building a social-national state in Ukraine. Both the “Patriot of Ukraine” and the S.N.A. engage in political violence against minorities and their political opponents. The leader of the “Patriot of Ukraine” and of the Social-National Assembly is Andriy Biletsky.

The S.N.A. derived from “the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine,” whose name was derived from the National Socialist Party of Germany — the original Nazis. America’s CIA hides its longstanding support of nazis after World War II (see this and this), but the Bushes and Obama have continued it even decades after the Soviet Union and its communism ended. Consequently, in 2004, the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine was advised by the CIA to, and it did, change its name to the “Freedom Party,” or “Svoboda,” because that sounds better to Americans.

Biletsky has been kept out of high official authority in its post-coup Ukrainian Government, by the Obama Administration, but wikipedia’s article on Ukraine’s racist and overtly pro-Hitler “Azov Battalion” notes that Biletsky was placed in charge of the Azov Battalion, and also that Biletsky “was awarded by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko with a military decoration, ‘Order For Courage’,” so that the post-coup Ukrainian Government publicly honored this high nazi (‘nazi’ meaning racist-fascist, irrespective of any political party) operative, which Biletsky certainly has been, and is. Even the pro-U.S.-invasion Foreign Policy magazine has described the Azov Battalionas “fascist.” That propaganda-organ of the American aristocracy says “The conflict in eastern Ukraine has come, in some ways, to resemble a battle between Ukrainian and Russian nationalists,” condemning both sides equally, without even mentioning that this is an invasion by nazis into the Donbass region — as if whom the invaders are, and whom the defenders are, makes no difference (which is a very convenient underlying assumption for today’s United States Government to promote, especially since ours is now a fascist if not outright nazi government, despite the liberal rhetoric from Obama and some others, to fool suckers — and the American public are no longer represented in it).

In a youtube video (with English subtitles), Biletsky describes how he tortures residents in the separatist region (called “Donbass”), in order to extract confessions and other information from them; so, Obama’s conflict with the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee over the release of their torture-report might have relevance to his policies in Ukraine, especially since Blackwater-Academi is a U.S.-based mercenary firm, which Obama hires.

As a politician, Biletsky has switched back and forth between Ukraine’s two nazi Parties, sometimes being withRight Sector, sometimes with Svoboda. (By contrast, Germany never had more than one nazi party.)

According to the Tass report, the purpose of this training will be “marksmanship, operations by assault groups in urban conditions, … combat, and logistics support for the battalion.” In other words: the purpose is urban assaults against the residents in Donetsk, Luhansk, and other cities, and their surrounding villages. This street-fighting is necessary because merely bombing these people has failed to get them to surrender. But it has caused a vast exodus so that, in one town that was studied, “Before the war, there were 25,000 inhabitants; now there are less than 8,000. Most have fled into Russia.”

Meanwhile, any assistance that Russia provides to the residents, even food and other non-military aid, iscondemned and blocked by the nazis — the pro-ethnic-cleansing Western governments and press — who aresaying, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown little interest in … halting his aggression in neighboring Ukraine.” So: the Ukrainian Government is allowed to pillage, rape, and torture, but Russia would be committing ‘aggression’ to do anything about it.

If what Putin does is “aggression,” then the term that’s appropriate for what Obama does is — well, what is it? And since when is self-defense even “aggression” at all? (No wonder why Hitler called this technique, which since has been refined by the American Government, and which is now used by the Ukrainian and American Governments:“the Big Lie.” Hitler would probably admire Barack Obama, though his rhetoric was very different, and Hitler might have admired Obama as an even bigger liar — especially about himself and his beliefs.)

And when will Americans boycott the U.S. ‘news’ media, for their constant lying? Wasn’t the lying of America into George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq enough for us? Are we now to be lied into invading Russia too, with Ukraine being used as the proxy for the present stage, before NATO missiles start flying from there, at a surrounded Russia?

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

by  TML Weekly

THE YEAR 2014 concludes with the crisis in world politics deepening. The crisis is reflected in the issue of human rights with the politicization, selectivity and double standards practised by the United States, the European Union and various Commonwealth and NATO countries such as Canada. These countries are using the United Nations to push their so-called human rights agenda. For the peoples of the world this is not only worrisome but also reveals to them the urgent need for the renewal of the international arrangements to create a world order where such things cannot take place. The coming year is sure to see the demand of humanity for such a new world order as an expression of the striving of humanity to guarantee peace.

TML Weekly raises profound concerns over how a member state of the UN, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is being demonized by the U.S. and big powers of Old Europe. These imperialist powers are politicizing the issue of human rights to criminalize the DPRK and to replace much needed dialogue and a peace treaty between the DPRK and the U.S. with confrontation and warmongering.

On December 18, with many member states under threat and pressure from the U.S., the European Union and their allies, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution against the DPRK for its alleged human rights violations and so-called crimes against humanity, calling for the matter to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Of the 193 members of the UNGA, the non-binding resolution was passed by a vote of 116 votes to 20 with 52 abstentions. The imperialist politicizing of human rights was evident in the enormous pressure put on those countries that voted against the resolution at the Third Committee stage in November to change their vote, such as El Salvador, Grenada and South Sudan.

The DPRK’s Deputy UN Ambassador An Myong Hun told the UNGA that his delegation rejected the resolution. He pointed out that it is based on a fabricated report by authors who have never visited his country and who blocked all possibility for dialogue and cooperation. He further noted that the DPRK delegation rejected the use of human rights as a political weapon to justify regime change.

Additionally, and again as a result of U.S. maneuvering, the UN Security Council on a procedural vote on December 22 introduced for the first time the “human rights issue in the DPRK” as an agenda item of the 15-member Security Council. This was opposed by China and Russia while Chad and Nigeria abstained. The DPRK condemned the vote and rejected it, pointing out that the Security Council has no mandate to discuss human rights, only matters pertaining to security. Before the vote, China’s UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi said “the Security Council is not the forum to get involved in human rights issues” and urged the Council to “refrain from doing anything that might cause an escalation.”

Ambassador Liu said denuclearization, encouraging dialogue and maintaining stability on the Korean peninsula are the shared priorities of the global community and that “getting involved in the human rights situation will go against the above goals and can only bring harm instead of benefits.”

In concert with the manipulations in the UN, Sony Pictures and the U.S. government are orchestrating a fraud to promote a racist pro-war film full of hatred towards the DPRK, its leadership and people. From the get-go, the disinformation and accusations levelled against the DPRK for its alleged cyber attack on Sony Pictures were baseless. No evidence to justify these accusations has been presented by the U.S. state agencies or anyone else. The Foreign Ministry of the DPRK in a statement December 20 rejected these accusations as groundless attacks on the dignity of the country and its leadership, and proposed that the U.S. conduct a joint investigation with the DPRK.

The affair is all very murky. It can be seen that Sony Pictures stands to gain much publicity and revenue from these false accusations while the U.S. government is using them to increase its threats of war and regime change against the DPRK. It raises the possibility that the entire dirty business may have been engineered by the U.S. government and Sony itself to promote racist hatred of Koreans and war against the DPRK, and in passing boost sales of the movie. All this is a serious war crime.

TML Weekly calls on all peace-loving people in Canada and around the world to stand with the people of the DPRK and their leadership with a clear conscience by supporting the right to self-determination of all countries in the world and the right of the peoples to be and to determine their way of life. The politics of regime change in the name of high ideals are thoroughly exposed as imperialist takeover and have nothing to do with promoting freedom, democracy or human rights. This is the essence of the matter.

U.S. Imperialism stands condemned

The U.S. attacks against the DPRK are a continuation of the Korean War in another form. The U.S. has never accepted its defeat in the Korean War — an unjust war that began when the U.S. manipulated the UN Security Council in June 1950 to interfere in a civil war in Korea, which had erupted in the course of bringing to account those who had colluded with the cruel decades-long Japanese colonization of Korea. The U.S. war against Korea resulted in the deaths of over 4 million Koreans and the total destruction of the infrastructure of the DPRK. Far from making amends for these crimes, the U.S. continues to use its positions of power to demonize the DPRK and organize for regime change.

By confounding the issues on the Korean Peninsula using the so-called human rights agenda, and making a mockery of serious matters with constant propaganda and anti-Korean racist pro-war films, the U.S. wants to sow doubt about the DPRK and generate support for an agenda of U.S. aggression, war and regime change. It seeks to ensure nobody rises in defence of the just cause of the Korean people.

In opposition, the people should defend the principle that no power has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, and all nations should uphold the principles of peaceful coexistence, equality of nations, non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations and prohibition of the use of force to sort out conflicts between nations. On the Korean peninsula, the demand is that the U.S. sign a permanent peace treaty and remove all its troops and weapons. Also, the situation underlines the need for the renewal of the UN and the UN Security Council to guarantee the equality of nations and peoples, non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations, and the right of all nations and people to independence, self-determination and peace.

The recent example of the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States as a result of dialogue and diplomacy and the non-use of force is proof positive that conflicts between nations and peoples can be resolved peacefully. No matter what differences exist over matters that concern political, social, economic and other affairs, problems can be resolved through high level-talks and diplomacy, which the DPRK has consistently invited the U.S. to do.

TML Weekly calls on peace- and justice-loving people from Canada and around the world to defeat the blatant maneuvering within the UN by the U.S. — the biggest violator of human rights in the world, and its allies. This can be done by condemning this diversionary warmongering campaign targeting the DPRK. In 2015, the demand that the U.S. stop its criminal activity against the DPRK and sign a peace treaty with that country must be escalated. This is what will end the Korean War and favour the interests of all peoples.


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?

Traders Weigh In

Financial commentator, trader, and inventor of high-frequency trading Max Keiser has argued for months that QE’s failure can be explained by the following 4 steps:

(1) QE throws easy cash at the zombie banks

(2) The big banks use the easy cash to speculate instead of becoming more stable … or lending out to Main Street

(3) The speculation and lack of lending decreases the vitality of the real (Main Street) economy

(4) This leads to deflation, rather than inflation

There’s some evidence that Keiser is right.

Forecaster and trader Martin Armstrong writes today:

The evolution of the monetary system of Rome illustrates how empires rise. It also reflects that the dominant economy’s currency is ALWAYS used by surrounding nations. Consequently, history demonstrates WHY in fact QE1-3 failed to produce inflation for the dollars created were absorbed globally. Theories that only view the dollar from a domestic isolated perspective are incorrect and will always fail for that is not what history teaches us if we take the time to listen.

In other words, Armstrong argues that QE falsely assumes that printed money will stay in the national economy … but printed dollars end up abroad. He explained earlier this week:

The expansion of the money supply of dollar has FAILED to produce any inflation BECAUSE the old theories have failed to take into consideration the global nature of the world economy and its demand for the currency of the current Financial Capital of the World.


The US cannot print enough money to meet the world demands.

There’s some evidence that Armstrong is right.

Economists Weigh In

Neither Keiser nor Armstrong are trained economists.  But several high-powered economists haveweighed in on the question.

Ed Yardeni – a former Federal Reserve economist who held positions at the Fed’s Board of Governors and the Treasury Department, who served as Chief Investment Strategist for Deutsche Bank, and was Chief Economist for C.J. Lawrence, Prudential Securities, and E.F. Hutton – notes that economists including Ben Bernanke have known for 20 years that there is no transmission mechanism by which QE stimulates the real economy.

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 in November:

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 qe

Indeed, 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 ofinequality (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”.

Note: Financial experts have been debating since the start of the 2008 financial crisis whether inflationor 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.

The Secretary General of Al Wefaq Society was arrested on Monday 29th December and remained in custody for one week. He had been summoned by the Alkhalifa torturers and questioned for two days before the dictator decided to exact revenge from him by detaining him for one week. Sheikh Salman is known for his soft language and tone, and has steered Al Wefaq within the Alkhalifa laws. But the tyrant has been enraged by the decision of the political societies led by Al Wefaq to boycott the regime’s hollow elections in November. It was a strong slap on his face because it showed the lack of popular support or legitimacy to his rule. The Alkhalifa and their Saudi and British backers had hoped that those elections would provide a plausible exit from the political crisis that has engulfed the country since the eruption of the 14th February Revolution.

There have been angry reactions to the decision to detain Sheikh Ali Salman. The European Union called for respecting the rule of law with Sheikh Salman while the UN human Rights Commission has called for his immediate and unconditional release. It said in a statement: We are seriously concerned at the arrest of Sheikh Ali Salman, the leader of Bahrain’s main opposition movement, Al Wefaq, as well as the continuing harassment and imprisonment of individuals exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression in the country. It further added: We urge the Government of Bahrain to immediately release Sheikh Salman, as well as all other persons convicted or detained for merely exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

The Saudi king, Abdulla ibn Abdul Aziz, 91, has been transferred to hospital suffering from undisclosed ailment. The world is watching the internal situation of the ageing kingdom whose Al Saud leaders have not only failed to reform their political system but have acted decisively against the Arab Spring and caused it to collapse. Two Saudi women are being tried for driving their cars, which is against the Saudi laws. Women driving is treated with similar severity as terrorism.

Inside the country, there has been marked escalation of protests by the people who were angered by the continued policy of revenge and the illegal use of the state’s apparatus against the native Bahrainis. Shotguns were used extensively and several serious injuries were reported. Protests engulfed most of the towns and villages inhabited by the native Baharna who have been mercilessly targeted by the Alkhalifa tribal regime since occupying the islands in 1783. The British have always defended them against people’s revolts.

On Monday 29th December, Maitham Al Salatneh from Sanabis was detained and taken to the torture chambers of the CID. A 12- years old child was abducted by masked members of Death Squads.  Hani Ma’tooq Al Sanadi was snatched from Markoban area of Sitra. Hussain Mohammed Ali and Sayed Salman Mahdi were arrested after their homes were raided in Buri at dawn on Friday 26thDecember.  Mohammad Abdul Karim Al Khatam was abducted from the Bahrain-Saudi causeway on 26th December. Yesterday Hussain Shakir was detained in a raid on his house in Manama. Two brothers from Manama were also detained in the same way yesterday: Firas Al Hawwaj and his brother, Hussain.

On  Monday 29th December Alkhalifa court sentenced two native Bahrainis to death and handed a third a life sentence on charges related to alleged killing of a mercenary. Mohammad Ramadhan and Hussain Ali Moosa have now joined a long list of native Bahrainis on the death row after Alkhalifa dictators decided to exterminate the native Baharna inhabitants. Seven others were sentenced to jail terms. Six were given life in jail: Hassan Al Sanabsi, Waheeb Abdulla, Hakkem Al Ashiri, Mustafa Ahmad, Mohammad Yousuf Hassan and Mohammad Ahmad Abdulla. The seventh person, Isa Abdulla Rabi’ was sentenced to six years behind bars. Today ten young men from Aali Town were sentenced to five years imprisonment for taking part in anti-regime protests. Two other people were also given jail terms. Sayed Hussain Sayed Abbas has been given seven years and Qassim Hassan three years. Several young men from Duraz Town were given ten years jail terms for allegedly taking part in burning police car c arrying mercenaries who attacked the town. Yesterday five native Bahrainis from Tubli Town were sentenced to two years jail for taking part in peaceful anti-regime protests.

The Dangers of Nuclear War

January 2nd, 2015 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to fully comprehend the devastation which might result from a Third World War, using “new technologies” and advanced weapons, until it occurs and becomes a reality.

The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of world peace.

“Making the world safer” is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.

Nuclear war has become a multibillion dollar undertaking, which fills the pockets of US defense contractors. What is at stake is the outright “privatization of nuclear war”.

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.

Central to an understanding of war, is the media campaign which grants it legitimacy in the eyes of public opinion. A good versus evil dichotomy prevails. The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims. Public opinion is misled.

Breaking the “big lie”, which upholds war as a humanitarian undertaking, means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force. This profit-driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.



Order directly from Global Research

Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research Publishers, Montreal, 2011 and 2012

ISBN Number:978-0-9737147-5-3, 2012, Pages:102

also available in E-book format (2011)

The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The military deployment of US-NATO forces is occurring in several regions of the world simultaneously.  Towards a World War III Scenario

The object of this book is to forcefully reverse the tide of war, challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.


This book is a ‘must’ resource – a richly documented and systematic diagnosis of the supremely pathological geo-strategic planning of US wars since ‘9-11’ against non-nuclear countries to seize their oil fields and resources under cover of ‘freedom and democracy’.”
-John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy, Guelph University

“In a world where engineered, pre-emptive, or more fashionably “humanitarian” wars of aggression have become the norm, this challenging book may be our final wake-up call.”
-Denis Halliday, Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations

Michel Chossudovsky exposes the insanity of our privatized war machine. Iran is being targeted with nuclear weapons as part of a war agenda built on distortions and lies for the purpose of private profit. The real aims are oil, financial hegemony and global control. The price could be nuclear holocaust. When weapons become the hottest export of the world’s only superpower, and diplomats work as salesmen for the defense industry, the whole world is recklessly endangered. If we must have a military, it belongs entirely in the public sector. No one should profit from mass death and destruction.
-Ellen Brown, author of ‘Web of Debt’ and president of the Public Banking Institute

As we enter 2015, the global corporate system deepens and spreads in its eco-genocidal effects. But the dots are not joined in their common cause across domains. Money-value coordinates like GDP, commodity productivity and stock market indexes are still adopted as the measures of “economic performance” rather than life capital development which is systemically attacked rather than advanced.

More than any prior stage of history, we know not what we are doing at that macro level of life organization, nor why no uptick of American sales can remotely solve the problem of collapsing social and natural life support systems. Greece – the world’s emblem of the sacrifice of society to debt servicing – is now 45% more in debt than it was before the “austerity” programs started. Global social and ecological collapse proceed in lock-step with the ruling paradigm’s transnational corporate and bank prescriptions, and they increase in their demands the more they fail to provide for societies life needs and development. 

Fatal mind blocks now rule that no economists see from within received models of understanding and that no cognitive science lays bare. Unconnected spectacles of crisis are alone reported. Obviously, no recovery from the most wasteful and destructive economic disorder in history is possible so long as it is unseen. This is why we continue over the long cliff of catastrophe without an evident clue of what is happening at the macro level. As another new year opens with all degenerate trends deepening, a point-by-point resetting of our economic parameters to life reality is more than ever demanded. The fatally absurd economic box within which we have been conditioned to conform at a preconscious level remains life-blind at every step without knowledge of it.

Every one of the 10 points of re-framing the economy to life coherence is self-evident once seen. But every step is also revolutionary in paradigm shift from money-capital sequence to life-capital sequence as primary system decider. Once our thought is freed from the bars of the eco-genocidal disorder that now misrules, no step can be reasonably denied.

1. The One-Way Eco-Genocidal Trends

The evidence is now overwhelming that life on earth is in systematic decline towards collapse on all levels. But the meaning is nowhere recognized by any economic model. We have come to know that the climates destabilize to ever greater extremes, but do not connect this long denied reality to the deeper macro facts that the air, soil, forests and water sources are all cumulatively despoiled across the planet as the oceans themselves die back. Vertebrate species simultaneously become extinct at a spasm rate across cultures and continents, but no macro policy arrests their one-way collapse from song birds to coral reefs to pollinators to large animals all at once. Pollution cycles and volumes increase to endanger life systems at all levels, but no global system reduction has been made since the Ozone protocol over 25 years ago.

All the while, public sectors, services and regulators are defunded and dismantled to leave ever more tens of millions of people dispossessed, but tax evasion by the rich multiplies at the same time in one-way disastrous trend. The global food system produces more disabling and contaminated junk than it does food with nutritional value, while man-made non-contagious diseases from obesity to cancer escalate into the world’s biggest killer. Corporate state wars for the resources of the majority world never stop under false pretexts, while transnational corporate-rights treaties to the life capital of all societies multiply at the same time. At the core of the system, the global financial system ceases to function for productive investment in life goods, while the future of the next generations collapses towards 25-50% real unemployment, and a world where no birds sing. Yet nowhere is the common cause investigated or even conceived in the business press, education or high theory.

2. The Moral DNA of the Cancer Stage of Capitalism 

In fact, the underlying value code driving every degenerate trend is never defined. It is, rather, assumed without question or examination and set into mathematical disconnect as the sole meaning of economic inquiry. Bertrand Russell’s warning here is apposite. “Mathematics may be defined as the subject where we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we say is true”. The co-author of Principia Mathemtica thus nailed “neo-classical economics” over a century ago. Yet no-one knew what it would come to mean. An academically coded corporate rule in a completely life-blind “Economics” was instituted with its assumption drivers hidden in symbols and closed to disconfirmation by facts. Behind all the self-referential hocus-pocus incapable of predicting its predictable disasters, a ruling value code crystallized to drive the world to ruin with no-one knowing why. This moral DNA of globalization regulates beneath consciousness by four absolute equations assumed in every moment of what is now still masked as “the neo-liberal turn”.

Rationality = Self-Maximizing Choice

= Always More Money-Value for Self is Good

= Self-Multiplying Sequences of Ever More Money to the Top Under 1%

= the Ruling Growth System with No Committed Life Functions

= All Else is Disposable Means to this Multiplying Pathogenic Growth

One can test this ruling moral meta program on every degenerate trend. But because it is not seen, the greatest of all fatal confusions comes to be built into societies’ ruling meaning: that money-sequence growth = life value growth. No more malignant mutation of value and meaning has ever occurred. As on the micro level where the surrounding cell community does not recognise the multiplying gross cells eating the life-host alive, so too on the macro social level. Leading the mutant tides of hollowing-out dispossession and ruin of social and ecological life hosts is a private bank system creating tidal notes of bets, credit and debt without legal tender, and partnering with transnational corporations in predation of local economies across the world. It loots life and life bases as ‘necessary reforms’ everywhere it is allowed to move.

This is why there is not inflation while trillions of new dollars are printed for private banking operations with no life productive function. Endless slashing of life goods in wages, benefits, social security and environmental security take corresponding tides of money demand away from people’s lives and life support systems as money-demand powers multiply to the non-producing top. One can track back every step to the ruling value code at work that is taboo to see.

3. Contemporary Economics is a Pseudo-Science 

None of this can be seen by ‘Economics’ because it is a pseudo-science. Its ruling categories are disconnected from reality with no life coordinates, and its defining postulates are unfalsifiable by any facts of the world. All organic, social and ecological life requirements are assumed away a-priori. Infinite demand on finite resources is presupposed as sustainable. Reversibility of all processes is taken for granted in a nineteenth-century liquid mechanics model. Consequences follow in the long run that are predictably fatal to human and planetary life organisation.

Yet whatever does not fit this a-priori life-blind construction is heretical in graduate schools supplying economic advisers to governments and corporations, and taboo in the corporate press and media to the extent of its contradiction. It is not only a mechanical model, but is absurdly “freedom” and “well-being at the same time. Whatever deviates from it, conversely, is “irrational” or “despotic”. At the system-wide level of ruling story, the plot is universal for all societies. Purely self-maximizing atomic selves in the market are believed to necessitate the best of possible worlds by an invisible hand of competition ensuring lowest money costs. Life costs do not compute, and “economic growth” is consistent with destroying all life support systems.

We find here, in fact, the underlying form of a fanatic religion. Supra-human laws dictate commands across peoples, and no deadly consequences diminish certitude in its production of the optimal state for all by the perfect design of the system. With the supreme conceit of a just-so story of dyadic market exchange producing the best of possible worlds multiplied to infinity with no possibility of being wrong, we find the inner logic of the global disorder. It rules as a totalitarian creed blind to all but its own growth free of any life value, standard or regulator.

4. Knowledge Wins in the End, but Not Until It is Known

Societies have thus been everywhere ‘restructured’ as subordinate functions to the inexorable transformation of humanity and the world into ever more private commodities and profits. This mutant value system is malignant to the marrow with no consciousness of its derangement or ill consequences. It is taboo to recognize what is everywhere confirmed – deregulated borderless money sequences multiplying themselves by life-blind models, treaties and wars through all that exists on earth whatever their destruction of human and ecological life systems.

Alarm at the growing deadly symptoms increases across thoughtful people, but without decoding connection. Top-down embargo on any other economic view or reality – including by NATO wars – suppresses alternative at every level. Policies of ‘solution’ only extend the pathogenic system further. Even as the reversal of life evolution on earth becomes undeniable under the global rule of private money-sequence multiplication, life-coherent restructuring is anathema and prohibited a-priori by the unexamined value system. It all seems hopeless, but knowledge wins in the end if not suffocated. Behind every step of degeneration lie failures of social knowledge:

(1) failure to diagnose the regulating value mechanism at work;

(2) failure to connect across the domains of life despoliation as predictable from the system’s blind money-demand multiplications;

(3) failure to define or demand any public policies against its despoiling and devouring life support systems with the public increasingly financing the out-of-control feeding cycles;

(4) failure to recognise any life-value principle or ground of the real economy itself.

5. Re-Grounding in Real Capital and Goods, True Supply and Demand 

The failure to recognise the life ground and processes of “the economy” is built into the ruling paradigm in principle. As in the prior ruling religion, disconnection of categories and system from empirical reality and life needs rules out disbelief. But disconnect is in the name of “science” and “the invisible hand” rather than “God’s commands” and “divine design”. Adam Smith the founder of modern economics was a Deist, but doctrinal abdication of life ground and reality became totalized in so-called “neo-classical economics” which displaces the class divisions of classical economics and the possibility of any alternative social order.

Thus an absurd metaphysics comes to rule which cannot be decoded because its first principles and axioms are a-priori dictates not subject to critical examination. The first principle of this life-blind economics begins by disconnection from all life requirements, grounds and and needs – thus mutating the economy’s provision of otherwise scarce material life goods into an opposite meaning where life goods and life capital do not exist. Capital is assumed as private money-sequences multiplying themselves with life capital blinkered out. Private commodities are assumed to be ‘goods’ although they are in fact increasingly bads for organic, social and ecological life hosts.

The ‘laws of supply and demand’ are simultaneously reduced to self-maximizing private money exchanges indifferent to the real economy of providing life goods otherwise in short supply. Demand is not need or necessity as in any real economy. It is money demand minted by private banks without the legal tender to back over 97% of it: which is ever more unequally held by those serving no productive function, and which nowhere today stands for any life need whatever. The fatal metaphysic built into first principles does not end here. ‘Supply’ is not the life goods people need to survive and flourish, but increasingly the opposite – ever more priced commodities for profit now promoting ever more human and ecological ill-being across the world. Capital is not life wealth that can produce more life wealth without loss, but increasing transnational private money sequences hollowing out life capital on every plane.

6. Knowing Good from Bad as the Baseline of Life-Coherent Economics

At the normative level of this doctrine, a ludicrous and fatal doctrine of freedom rules the war and peace of nations beneath consciousness of it. Freedom = freedom for private money demand only = in proportion to the amount controlled = ever less freedom for those with less of it = no right to life for those without it.

Sane people, in contrast, recognise that life value matters more, the more coherently inclusive in self and world the better. But this ultimately self-evident value ground has been reversed without recognition. People called ‘pro-life’ usurp women’s choice of how they live. Nations assume that ‘standard of living’ is measured by private money spent. ‘Life sciences’ sacrifice billions of animal lives a year for the private money-sequence gains of big corporations. Animal rights theory itself has no criterion to tell the life value of a slug from a person. ‘New and better technology’ is the ruling panacea, but no life-value standard exists to decide better from worse.

What then are we to ground in as life value that the real economy must provide? The objective standard and measure can be stated in three incisive steps:

all value whatever is life value, (2) good versus bad equals the extent to which life is more coherently enabled versus disabled, by (3) greater/lesser ranges or capacities of thought, felt being and action through time.

This criterion of life value is no more a matter of opinion than people’s life necessities are. But what are these life needs that no economic paradigm – orthodox or revolutionary – defines? They are in every case that without which life capacities are reduced. Life capital, in turn, is that which produces and reproduces these life goods – from literacy and extending knowledge to the soil we grow in and air we breathe. The ruling value mechanism miscalled ‘the global economy’ is the opposite. It attacks life goods and capital everywhere as ‘externalities’ to its self-multiplying money-sequence and commodity cycles. But because such growth is assumed to be growing life value, the greatest value reversal in history is unseen.

7. Life Capital Base and Growth as the Real Economy Across Cultures 

The moving line of the war of liberation begins with what we are able to control, our own lives. Here we can recognise that every value we enjoy, lose or gain has a bottom line – its life capital, that is, the life wealth that produces more life wealth without loss and with cumulative gain. We defend it by life goods to ensure our life capacities are not reduced but grow through time. Most are unpriced – the sun and air, the learning, the home environment, the delight in nature, the play, the love, the raising of children, the fellow arts, and so on. On the social level, the same holds and any well-governed society provides for them in many ways. All may recognise the principle of life capital in their own lives as self-evident, and that all which lasts through time that is worthwhile is life capital. But life capital does not exist as a concept in received economics. It is ruled out a-priori by money capital, the social instrument made the lord without life function.

Addictive internalization is how the system disorder grows on. Knowledge of life goods and bads is how it is rooted out, the unrecognised through-line of human evolution. That is why we find we live far better without corporate-ad television, regular private gas-vehicle use, any junk food or beverage, any throwaway item, any new fashion or commodity not more life enabling than the old, any business with big private banks. The organizing principle is as old as the good life, but is forgotten. The life-capital code is not stated, but becomes ever clearer in our time: minimize market demand that disables life capacities to enable life capital to grow and flourish. This principle is unthinkable within the ruling thought system, but defines transformation to true economy and life emancipation on earth. It liberates life wherever it moves.

The underlying turning point is as old as human evolution itself. Every human advance is by knowing what enables life through time from what does not. Collective life advance is transmitting this life-and-death knowledge across selves and generations. The life capital code holds across cultures. Life goods are always that without which life capacities decline and die. All real needs, all real demand, all real supply, and all real economics are known by this criterion. The lost line between good and evil is found in this principle, and so too human freedom and well-being.

We can define the meaning more concretely as follows Every human life suffers and degenerates towards disease and death without breathable and unpolluted air, clean water and waste cycles, nourishing food and drink, protective living space, supportive love, healthcare when needed, a life-coherent environment, symbolic interaction, and meaningful work to perform. All are measurable in sufficiency across cases. All are now degraded, polluted or perverted by the self-multiplying money-capital system defined above.

8. Collective Life Capital the Missing Link across Divisions

Collective life capital is the long-missing principle of the common interest and collective agency. The life capital code goes deeper than gender, culture or individual differences, and includes past as well as future generations by definition. It is objective, impartial, and universally applicable. It is the ultimate regulator of the economic principles of efficiency, productivity and development. It grounds political legitimacy and supersedes ruinous man-nature, economy-environment splits and individual-social conflicts of interest. By its regulation, freedom is made responsible to its own conditions of possibility. Life capital defines an inner logic of life value which cannot in principle go wrong within or beyond economics.

Collective life capital is the missing common ground and measure across the lines of death itself. It is the this-worldly bridging concept across the impasse of global culture wars, economy-versus–environment thinking, present-versus-future interests, male versus female conflicts, and all other warring dichotomies wrenching us from our shared life ground beneath property lines and the mors immortalis of reality on earth.

The difference from received ultimate principles of value across time and theories is in the objective precision of meaning and direction when value judgement and decision are governed by its laws of: (1) life value regulator from start to finish, (2) production of more life value capacity through generational time, (3) life-value measure to tell greater from lesser in any domain by margins of capacity loss or gain, (4) cumulative life gain as the organizing goal of the process throughout, and (5) the meta principle: the more coherently inclusive any decision or action is in enabling life capacities, the better it always is for the world.

9. The Life-and-Death War of the World 

In fact, the global corporate commodity and money-sequence system usurps these life capital principles with impunity across continents, while captive corporate states increasingly subsidize, de-regulate, privatize and militarily enforce this life-blind rule over all ecological and human requirements and rights. But who sees the moving lines of the global life-and-death war?

Obviously a real economy would regulate for life capital conservation and advance with money sequences only as means – as is already is the case in a human way of life. Societies and individuals would transform to better lives if the paradigm revolution was enacted in their spheres of choice. Victory or loss in the war of the world lies as always in how we live. Knowledge of bads versus goods is always the inner logic of human evolution at individual and collective levels of action. It is the mark of being human, and begins in what we do not demand – for example, any new fashion or commodity not more life enabling than the old or the used.

The organizing principle of real economy is long anticipated by China’s Tao-te Ching and the West’s autarkia of human self-realization, and many prove it in their own lives. Minimal demand on short resources to enable maximum life capacities is the war of recovery on social as well as individual levels. While every corporate state now presses for ever more energy extraction and use with no limit of public and life costs at every imaginable level, the root of economic rationality – ration to need – is effectively taboo in official culture.

Once the life-capital system decider kicks in, the rules of selection for what compossibly enables rather than disables human and fellow life on earth become evident to reason and learning from mistakes – the ultimate incapacity of the now ruling global system. This is the transformation to true economy and life emancipation, and it can only proceed in accord with the life capital principle that holds across individual, social and environmental life hosts.

10. The Ultimate Choice Space of Humanity

Collective life capital is now fatally endangered on almost every plane across generational and ecological time. The common life interest has no meaning in the ruling global system because its sole law of growth is to multiply the very private commodities and money sequences without life function that mindlessly drive the end-game world disorder.

It follows that humanity’s very provision for the universal human life necessities that have evolved over millennia are blinkered out by the life-blind value measures of what is miscalled ‘the economy’. Everything that makes a society civilised or liveable is excluded from view – life-protective laws including sufficient minimum wages and environmental regulations, common water and sewage systems for all, free movement pathways and life spaces without cost to use, non-profit healthcare and disease-prevention by public institution, public income security from disemployment, old age and disability, primary to higher education without multiplying debts, family housing, food and life means assistance for children without sufficient parental money, and public libraries and arts facilities with accessible books, films and works of art and art creation. This is more or less a complete index of the collective life capital bases modern society has evolved, but all are dismantled by the global corporate disorder to maximally profit from.

In truth, the organizing principles of common life interest and human agency cross the lines of death itself in the life capital code of value that steers any real economy in any place through generational time. It is the system-deciding choice all societies face without knowing it. History is the record of successes and failures at what still remains unconscious in economic thought. It is nowhere defined beyond slogan even in communism, and ‘the public interest’ has no life coordinates or ground in known modern politics across the spectrum. Yet life goods and life capital denote the only true economic necessity and growth – that without which human life capacities degrade and die. ‘The economy’ is not run by natural or divine laws, as the modern paradigm assumes. It is a social construction of binding rules which directs towards how we live better by what is not otherwise there.

The ruling value code fails more momentously in world waste and destruction than all other systems in history, but beneath recognition. Its built-in contempt for all life requirements and indifference to life ruin multiplies its demands across the planet in a fanaticism beyond ISIL in attacking life capital and goods with no committed life functions. Yet no economics yet allows the recognition of its predictably rising catastrophe through time as a global economic system.

The life capital economy is opposite in its regulating value logic. It grounds in common life capital and produces more of it by life measure as its goal and moral science. Its logic of value is not utopian, but the ultimate through-line of human development since language and cooperative provision of human means of life. It lives in all the civil commons we are made human by in the life security of a free humanity. It is invaded wherever its life capital and goods are turned into more private money demand, resource depletion and waste without limits – the moral cancer of the ruling system. The ultimate choice space of humanity and society lies in this unrecognised life and death meaning.

John McMurtry is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and his work is published and translated from Latin America to Japan. He is the author and editor of the three-volume Philosophy and World Problems published by UNESCO’s Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), and his latest book is The Cancer Stage of Capitalism/from Crisis to Cure.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has signed the Rome Statute in a bid to join the ICC, prompting threats by the Israeli prime minister that he will instruct the U.S. congress to cut off all funding to the Palestinians in an attempt to protect themselves against criminal charges, by causing the collapse of the Palestinian Authority.

This is akin to an alleged murderer who, upon being apprehended, then endeavors to use his powerful family connections to damage the prosecution’s case in an abortive bid to change both the evidence and the law so as to avoid justice, whilst the corpses of his victims still lie piled on top of one another in the morgue. 


The International Criminal Court is an intergovernmental organization of 122 member states (excluding Israel, Sudan and the US) that sits in the Netherlands, within the European Union. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Washington é a causa do conflito que vem sendo promovido já a algum tempo. A Rússia estava muito fraca para fazer qualquer coisa a respeito de quando o governo Clinton começou a empurrar a OTAN para junto das fronteiras russas, assim como de quando ele ilegalmente atacou a Iugoslávia desmembrando o país em pedaços menores, mais fáceis a serem controlados.

A Rússia também ainda continuava muito enfraquecida para poder fazer alguma coisa de quando o governo de George W. Bush se retirou do acordo ABM, [Acordo regulamentando a quantidade e o uso dos mísseis anti-balísticos] e de quando o mesmo começou a organizar a colocação de bases militares americanas, contendo mísseis anti-balísticos, nas fronteiras russas. Washington mentiu para a Rússia dizendo que o objetivo da colocação dessas bases seria o de proteger a Europa dos não-existentes ICBMs nucleares do Irã. [ICBM sendo então um míssel intercontinental anti-balístico]

Entretanto, na Rússia compreendeu-se que o real objetivo dos Estados Unidos era o de degradar a capacidade retaliatória da Rússia, aumentando dessa maneira a capacidade de Washington para coagir o país a entrar em acordos que comprometeriam a sua soberanidade.

No verão de 2008 a Rússia já tinha o seu poder como que restabelecido. Por ordens de Washington o exército da Geórgia, equipado e treinado pelos Estados Unidos e Israel, atacou a separatista República da Ossécia do Sul na madrugada de 8 de agosto, matando 8 membros das forças da paz assim como pessoas da população civíl. Sectores dos militares russos reagiram imediatamente a isso e dentro de poucas horas o exército da Geórgia, treinados pelos acima mencionados, tinha sido completamente derrotado. A República da Ossécia do Sul, na Geórgia, estava novamente em mãos russas, como essa província sempre tinha estado, desde pelo menos desde os séculos 19 e 20.

Putin deveria ter deixado Mikheil Saakashvili – esse fantoche americano instalado no poder como presidente da Geórgia pela “Revolução Rosa” a qual foi instigada por Washington – ser enforcado. Entretanto, num erro estratégico, a Rússia retirou suas forças deixando o governo fantoche de Washington no lugar para causar futuros problemas para a Rússia.

Washington faz muita pressão para incorporar a Geórgia na OTAN e isso principalmente para poder pôr mais bases militares na fronteira russa. Tem-se entretanto também aqui que, na época do sucedido, Moscou via a Europa como bastante mais independente de Washington do que ela realmente era, acreditando que mantendo boas relações com a mesma iria impedir bases militares americanas a serem estabelecidas na Geórgia.

Hoje em dia o governo russo já não tem mais nenhuma ilusão quanto a Europa ser capaz de uma política exterior independente. O Presidente Vladimir Putin da Rússia declarou publicamente que a Rússia tinha compreendido que diplomacia com a Europa não fazia muito sentido, e isso porque os políticos europeus estavam representando mais os interesses de Washington do que os da Europa.

O Ministro dos Negócios e Relações Exteriores da Federação Russa, Sergei Lavrov, reconheceu recentemente que a categorização da Europa como uma entidade constituida por Nações Captivas tinha deixado claro para a Rússia que gestos de boa vontade da Rússia quanto a mesma não poderiam produzir, nessas circunstâncias, desejados efeitos diplomáticos.

Com o evaporar-se das ilusões de que diplomacia com o ocidente iria produzir soluções pacíficas, e com a realidade reafirmando-se, começou então a escalação da demonização de Vladimir Putin por Washington em conjunto com seus países vassálos. Tem-se Hillary Clinton nesse cenário até chamando Putin, de Hitler.

Enquanto Washington incorpora as ex-partes constituintes da Rússia e do império soviético no seu próprio império, e bombardeia sete outros países, Washington ao mesmo tempo vai declarando que Putin é militarmente muito agressivo, e que ele tem intenções de reconstruir o império soviético.

Washington arma o sistema neo-nazi, que Obama estabeleceu na Ucrânia, enquanto erradamente declara que Putin invadiu e anexou províncias ucranianas. Todas essas bramantes mentiras repetem-se, aos milhares, e em éco, pela mídia prostituta do ocidente. Nem mesmo Hitler teve a sua disposição uma tal complacente mídia como Washington.

Todos os esforços diplomáticos da Rússia tem sido bloqueados por Washington, acabando-se por se poder contar o resultado como zero e nada mais. Dessa maneira a Rússia foi forçada, pela realidade, a atualizar sua própria doutrina militar. A nova doutrina, aprovada em 26 de dezembro, afirma que os Estados Unidos e a OTAN constituem a principal ameaça militar para a existência da Rússia, como país independente e soberano.

O documento russo declara a doutrina de guerra de Washigton – na qual a aceitação da idéia de um ataque preventivo, a colocação de mísseis anti-balísticos [ditos de defesa mas na realidade de agressão], assim como a contínua construção das forças da OTAN, e a intenção dos americanos de colocarem armas no espaço – como uma clara indicação de que Washington está se preparando para atacar a Rússia.

Washington também está a conduzir guerra político-econômica contra a Rússia, tentando destabilizar a economia russa com sanções e ataques a moeda russa, o rublo. O documento russo reconhece que a Rússia enfrenta ameaças de mudança de regime [lê-se ameaças de golpe de estado] por parte do ocidente. Esse objetivo seria então conseguido através de “ações com a finalidade de violentamente mudar a ordem constitucional russa, com a destabilização da realidade político-social, da desorganização do funcionamento das instituições governamentais, e das principais e cruciais instituições civís e militares, assim como da infraestrutura informal da Rússia.”

As organizações não governamentais estrangeiras, ONGs, e a mídia russa, que é dirigida como propriedade de estrangeiros, são instrumentos nas mãos de Washington, que usam esses instrumentos para destabilizar a Rússia.

As agressivas e irresponsáveis diretivas políticas de Washington contra a Rússia fez por ressucitar a corrida de armamentos nucleares. A Rússia agora está desenvolvendo dois novos sistemas ICBM [de mísseis intercontinentais anti-balísticos] e em 2016 deverá colocar sistemas de armamentos designados a neutralizar os sistemas de mísseis anti-balísticos dos Estados Unidos. Em resumo, os instigadores de guerra que governam em Washington puseram o mundo a caminho do armageddon nuclear.

Tanto o governo da Rússia como o da China já compreenderam que suas respectivas existências estão sendo ameaçadas pelas ambições de hegemonia, ou seja de dominância, de Washington. Larchmonter apresentou relatórios que mostravam que, partindo do princípio de Washington ter planos para marginalizar os dois países, tanto a Rússia quanto a China decidiram-se por unificar suas economias, criando sectores de uma economia conjunta, conquanto também unificando seus comandos militares. Daqui por diante tem-se então que a Rússia e a China estarão andando conjuntamente, tanto no plano econômico como no militar.

Essa união do Urso Russo com o Dragão Chinês reduz o sonho dos conservativos americanos quanto a um “século americano” a um puro disparate. Larchmonter caracteriza isso assim: “Os Estados Unidos e a OTAN precisariam do Arcanjo Miguel para derrotar essa união Sino-Russa, mas ao que tudo indica o Arcanjo Miguel já está alinhado com o Urso Russo, e sua cultura ortodoxa. Não há armas, estratégias ou tácticas concebíveis que possam, num futuro próximo, conseguir causar maiores estragos a essas duas economias emergentes, agora que estão atuando em parceria.”

Larchmonter tem esperanças na nova geopolítica criada pela atuação conjunta da Rússia e da China. Eu não tenho nada contra essa sua conclusão, mas se os arrogantes conservativos compreenderem que as suas diretivas políticas para uma hegemonia mundial encontraram agora um inimigo que não poderão derrotar, eles irão pressionar para um ataque nuclear preventivo, antes que o comando unitário Russo-Chinês esteja operacional. Para se proteger contra um ataque à-surpresas, a Rússia e a China fariam melhor em operar em completa e total prontidão nuclear.

A economia dos Estados Unidos – na realidade a inteira ocidente-orientada economia indo do Japão a Europa – é um castelo de cartas. Desde que o declínio econômico começou, a cerca de 7 anos atrás, a inteira economia ocidental foi dirigida para o apoio de uns poucos bancos super-dimensionados, ao crédito soberano, e para o apoio do U.S. dólar. Em consequência disso as próprias economias assim como a capacidade das populações para manejar a situação foram se deteriorando.

Os mercados financeiros baseiam-se agora em contínuas manipulações e não em fundamentos sóbrios. Tem-se depois aqui que essas manipulações são insustentáveis. Com o débito explodindo os juros reais negativos não fazem sentido. Com a renda real do consumidor, assim também como o seu crédito real, e a real venda de produtos no comércio de varejo estagnados, ou em queda branta, o mercado de valores, fundos e ações, não pode ser outra coisa que uma bolha [a ser furada].

Com a Rússia e a China, assim como outros países, distanciando-se do uso do dólar no mercado internacional, e com a Rússia desenvolvendo uma alternativa rede bancária internacional SWIFT, enquanto os BRICS desenvolvem alternativas ao FMI e ao Banco Mundial, de quando outras partes do mundo desenvolvem seus próprios cartões de crédito e sistemas de Internet, o dólar americano, conjuntamente com as moedas do Japão e da Europa – que estão sendo imprimidas para sustentar o valor de câmbio do dólar – poderiam vir a experimentar uma dramática queda no mercado de câmbio, o que faria com que a economia de importação-dependente do ocidente se tornasse disfuncional.

Na minha opinião tomou muito tempo para que a Rússia e a China compreendessem a perversidade e malevolência que controla Washington. Por conseguinte, ambas estão a arriscar um ataque nuclear antes da total operacionalidade da implementação de sua defesa conjunta. Como a economia do ocidente é como um castelo de cartas, a Rússia e a China poderiam pô-la em colápso antes que os neoconservativos pudessem levar o mundo a guerra. Como a agressão de Washington contra os dois países é clara como cristal, não deixando nem sombras de dúvidas, tanto a Rússia como a China teriam todo o direito de tomar medidas defensivas.

Como os Estados Unidos estão conduzindo uma guerra financeira contra a Rússia, essa poderia reivindicar que arruinando a economia russa o ocidente a depravou da sua capacidade de pagar seus empréstimos aos bancos ocidentais. Se isso não fosse o suficiente para quebrar os fragilmente capitalizados bancos europeus, a Rússia poderia declarar que os países da OTAN – agora oficialmente reconhecidos pela nova doutrina de guerra da Rússia como inimigos do estado – tinham colocado a Rússia na situação de que ela não mais poderia apoiar a agressão da OTAN contra si, através de vender gás natural aos países membros dessa organização. Caso o fechamento de muitas das indústrias europeias, o aumento do desemprego e as quebras dos bancos não resultassem na dissolução da OTAN, e portanto ao fim das ameaças,os chineses poderiam começar a agir. [ênfases acrescentadas]

Os chineses tem um grande número de bens, valores e títulos denominados em dólares. Como os agentes da Reserva Federal [os denominados bancos de ouro ou bullion banks] inundam os futuros mercados com massivas quantidades de papéis de valor – “shorts”, em períodos de pouca atividade com a finalidade de abaixar o preço do ouro, a China poderia então inundar o mercado, em poucos minutos, com os seus papéis denominados em dólares com o equivalente a anos de flexibilização quantitativa, ou seja, massiva impressão de dólares.

Se a Reserva Federal, FED, [12 bancos particulares] rápidamente então criasse os dólares com os quais pudessem comprar essa massiva quantidade de papéis de valor da China, que no caso seriam os papéis denominados como “Treasuries”  - para que o castelo de cartas deles não se desmoronasse – os chineses então poderiam inundar o mercado de divisas, mas dessa vez com os dólares que se lhes pagam pelos títulos. Conquanto a Reserva Federal pode imprimir dólares com os quais comprar os papéis denominados Treasuries, a Reserva Federal (FED) não pode imprimir moedas estrangeiras com as quais comprar os dólares.

O dólar entraria em colápso e com ele o poder do “Hegemon” – do Dominador. A guerra teria acabado sem um único tiro, ou míssel deslanchado.

Do meu ponto de vista, e nessa situação, tanto a Rússia quanto a China teriam uma obrigação moral em relação ao mundo quanto a impedir a guerra nuclear, que os conservativos que controlam as diretivas políticas dos Estados Unidos tem a intenção de deslanchar, simplesmente através de responder, a altura, a guerra econômica de Washington.

Tanto a Rússia quanto a China não deveriam dar avisos prévios. Aqui exige-se ação determinada. Agir passo a passo não seria o suficiente. A descarga deverá ser solta de vez. Com 4 U.S. bancos mantendo os papéis denominados “derivados” – os quais totalizam em muitas vezes o PIB do mundo – a explosão financeira seria equivalente a uma nuclear.

USA estaria terminado e o mundo salvo.

Larchmonter tem razão. 2015 pode ser um muito bom ano.

Paul Craig Roberts


Paul Craig Roberts, “Washington Has Shaped 2015 to Be a Year of Conflict. The Conflict Could Be Intense”- Strategic Culture Foundation, 29-12-2014.

Traduzido e síntese por Anna Malm,, para

Referências e Notas:

The Outlook for the New Year. The Insanity of Nuclear War against Russia 

Tony Blair says he will “never” discuss the true nature of his relationship with Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wife, Wendi Deng. The media mogul filed for divorce in June 2013 amid speculation the former prime minister had been having an affair.

Middle East envoy Blair became irked when questioned on the subject, banging “his coffee cup so loudly into its saucer that it spills and everyone in the room jumps,” according to an interviewer for The Economist.

Godfather to one of the former couple’s daughters, Blair has always denied the sordid allegation. He told the magazine it is “not something I will ever talk about— I haven’t and I won’t.”

When asked whether he found himself in a tangle over his friendship with Deng, the Economist reported that “a large, dark pool of sweat has suddenly appeared under his armpit, spreading across an expensive blue shirt.”

Murdoch spoke publicly about the end of his third marriage for the first time in April.

In an interview with Fortune magazine, he said he was “shocked” when he read Deng’s alleged diary entries about other men.

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation, with ex-wife Wendi Deng.(Reuters / Lucy Nicholson)Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation, with ex-wife Wendi Deng.(Reuters / Lucy Nicholson)

Deng described her passion for Blair in a private note which was revealed by Vanity Fair in March.

“He has such a good body and he has really, really good legs… And he is slim, tall and [has] good skin. Pierc[ing] blue eyes which I love. Love his eyes. Also I love his power on the stage,” wrote Deng.

Murdoch filed for divorce a week after staff at his California ranch told him of their suspicions.

“I was in Australia. When I got back, I naturally asked the staff, and it opened up. That’s the story. And then, you know, a week later I filed. As soon as I could find a lawyer,” Murdoch said.

Blair and the press magnate fell out soon after the divorce was filed.

“According to sources at NewsCorp, Mr Murdoch pressed the ‘mute’ button during a confrontational phone call, informed colleagues that he was getting ‘politicians’ answers’ to his questions, and has never spoken to Mr Blair since,” The Economist said.

If Blair was uncooperative when asked about his relationship with Deng, he was defiant when asked about Iraq.

He denied responsibility for the instability and violence ravaging swathes of the Middle East, saying he would not concede “until my dying day” he was wrong to remove Saddam Hussein.

“What annoys people is my refusal to change my mind. I don’t shut up about it and I know that strikes some people as provocative,” Blair said.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a gram-negative organism associated with a myriad of diseases varying from mild cutaneous infections to complicated pulmonary complications of cystic fibrosis (Govan and Deretic, 1996). It is a free-living bacterium naturally occurring in water. Surface waters can be contaminated by glyphosate due to the overuse of herbicides and to rainfalls. Due to its similarity with amino acids, it is feasible to assume that exposure to glyphosate can interfere in bacterial metabolism with shifts in biological and/or virulence characteristics.

Given the significant medical importance of P. aeruginosa and the fact that it is a water-borne organism, it is justifiable a study to prospect the influence of this and other herbicides, as well as other classes of pesticides, in the biology of bacteria and in the pathogenesis of their related infections.


This study evaluated the impact of different concentrations of glyphosate (Rondup®) on planktonic and biofilm growth of P. aeruginosa. Aerobic and anaerobic cultures of P. aeruginosa ATCC®15442 inoculated in MHB + glyphosate (0.845 ppm, 1.690 ppm, 8.45 ppm, 16.90 ppm, 84.50 ppm, 169 ppm, 845 ppm, and 1690 ppm) and cultured in normoxia and anoxia, following their OD560nm every hour for 24 h. Biofilms of adapted cells were formed in the presence of glyphosate (0.845 to 1690 ppm) in normoxia and anoxia for 36 h. Glyphosate at concentrations higher than 84.5 ppm reduces the cell density of planktonic aerobic cultures (p < 0.05). However, these same concentrations favor the planktonic anaerobic growth (p < 0.05). On the other hand, the herbicide favors a slight growth of biofilms in a concentration-dependent manner up to 84.5 ppm (p > 0.05), and more pronounced over 169 ppm. Anaerobic biofilms have their growth more readily favored (p < 0.05), regardless of concentration. In a concentration-dependent manner, glyphosate interferes with the growth ability of P. aeruginosa ATCC®15442.

Keywords: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, glyphosate, growth, biofilm


Glyphosate (N-phosphonomethylglycine, CAS N° 1071-83-6) is a non-selective systemic herbicide that is widely used to control post-emergent weeds in plantations and commercial forests. Worldwide, the best known formulation is produced under the trade name Rondup®, although there are many generic products. In Brazil, the commercial formulation of Rondup® consists of 36% glyphosate isopropilaminic salt (active ingredient) and 18% polioxyethylenamin (POEA-surfactant, CAS N° 61791-26-2). Other formulations, such as Rodeo® do not have POEA in their formulation (Tsui et al., 2004).

Although the discussion about its role as a pollutant is relevant and there is a concern about possible risks of intoxication (Stella and Ryan, 2004) and genotoxicity (Dallegrave et al., 2007), very little attention has been directed to possible interactions with autochthonous human/animal microbiota, especially that with pathogenic potential. Studies to assess any influence of glyphosate or its associations on microorganisms are focused in soil and aquatic microbiomes showing a variable capacity to increase or decrease specific microbial groups (Araújo et al., 2003Means et al., 2007Pérez et al., 2007).

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a gram-negative organism associated with a myriad of diseases varying from mild cutaneous infections to complicated pulmonary complications of cystic fibrosis (Govan and Deretic, 1996). It is a free-living bacterium naturally occurring in water. Surface waters can be contaminated by glyphosate due to the overuse of herbicides and to rainfalls. Due to its similarity with amino acids, it is feasible to assume that exposure to glyphosate can interfere in bacterial metabolism with shifts in biological and/or virulence characteristics.

Given the significant medical importance of P. aeruginosa and the fact that it is a water-borne organism, it is justifiable a study to prospect the influence of this and other herbicides, as well as other classes of pesticides, in the biology of bacteria and in the pathogenesis of their related infections.

As studies evaluating the herbicide-pathogenic microbiota interactions of are virtually nonexistent, the proposition of this study was to assess the impact that the commercial product Rodeo® exerts on P. aeruginosa ATCC®15442 regarding to its cell viability, adhesion ability, and biofilm formation.

Material and Methods

Interference on planktonic growth

Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC®15442 was grown in 1:10 Mueller-Hinton Broth plus glyphosate (at 0.845 ppm, 1.690 ppm, 8.45 ppm, 16.90 ppm, 84.50 ppm, 169 ppm, 845 ppm, and 1690 ppm) in normoxia and anoxia (90% N2, 10% CO2) until an OD560 of 0.50. This step was repeated twice, to allow to cells to adapt to the distinct atmospheric conditions and to the xenobiotic presence. After adaptation, aliquots of 200 μL of suspensions containing ca. 1×107 cfu.mL−1 were subcultured into tubes containing 2 mL of 1:10 Mueller-Hinton Broth plus glyphosate (at 0.845 ppm, 1.690 ppm, 8.45 ppm, 16.90 ppm, 84.50 ppm, 169 ppm, 845 ppm, and 1690 ppm). The tubes were adapted to a blood rotative mixer and incubated at 37 °C and 10 rpm, in anoxic and normoxic conditions. Growth curves were built after spectrophotometric readings at 560 nm taken every hour for twenty-four hours without interruption.

The anoxic technique used was that of Wolfe (2011). Anoxic conditions were maintained by displacing all air in culture broth with CO2 made O2 free by passage over heated copper. Mueller-Hinton Broth used for anoxic cultures was not pre-reduced. It was autoclaved and, still warm, it was aseptically vacuum-degassed under vigorous shaking. Once at room temperature, flask’s headspace was filled with sterile N2 and sterile glyphosate was added. Broth was carefully transferred to sterile screw capped culture tubes bearing butyl rubber seals in which bacterium inocula were previously dispensed (200 μL of suspensions containing ca.1×107 cfu.mL−1).

To ascertain that turbidity was dependent only to cell density and not to extracellular polymeric substances, parallel anoxic/normoxic incubations were conducted with extra tubes. Each 4-h of incubation, 20 μL aliquots were harvested, streaked onto glass slides and stained with Congo Red. In all cases, optical microscopy revealed that no extracellular matter has been produced (data not shown).

Interference in the formation of biofilms

Aerobic or anaerobic cell suspensions of P. aeruginosa ATCC®15442 containing ca. 1 × 108 cfu.mL−1were adhered onto 96-well polystyrene wells coated with sterile 0.1% L-asparagine for 4 h at 37 °C. Polystyrene attached L-asparagine acts as anchoring points to bacterial fimbriae. Anoxic incubations were carried out in sealed jars connected to an in house evacuation-repletion gas system (1st and 2nd injections with N2 and 3th injection with 90% N2/10% CO2).

After the period of adhesion, supernatants were removed and wells were washed with sterile 145 mM NaCl to remove non-adhered weakly adhered cells. Wells received 200 μL aliquots of 1:10 Mueller-Hinton Broth plus glyphosate (at 0.845 ppm, 1.690 ppm, 8.45 ppm, 16.90 ppm, 84.50 ppm, 169 ppm, 845 ppm, and 1690 ppm). Wells were incubated in anoxic or normoxic atmosphere for 24 h and 37 °C. Wells filled with 1:10 Mueller-Hinton Broth plus glyphosate at different concentrations served as negative controls. Positive controls were wells with L-asparagine and 1:10 Muller-Hinton Broth without glyphosate in which bacterial cells have grown as biofilm.

At the end of incubations, wells were aspirated and washed with 145 mM NaCl. Biofilms were fixed with 200 μL of 99% methanol (15 min). Methanol was removed and plates were air dried. Aliquots of 200 μL of 0.5% crystal violet (CV) were added to the wells. After 20 min, excess of CV was removed by washing with water. Finally, the impregnated CV was released by adding 33% acetic acid (150 μL) and the OD590nm was determined. Negative controls were wells with L-asparagine and 1:10 Muller-Hinton Broth plus glyphosate (at 0.845 ppm, 1.690 ppm, 8.45 ppm, 16.90 ppm, 84.50 ppm, 169 ppm, 845 ppm, and 1690 ppm) but without bacterial cells. Positive controls were wells washed with L-asparagine and filled with 1:10 Muller-Hinton Broth without glyphosate in which bacterial cells were challenged to form biofilms. Absorbance values of the blanks were subtracted from values obtained in treatments to eliminate spurious results due to background interference.


All tests described above were carried out in triplicate in at least three different situations. Numeric data were tabulated in MSExcel® spreadsheets (Microsoft Co.). Obtained data were tested for normal distribution by the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test and for homogeneity of variance by Chi-square test. To determine the interference in biofilms formation, the statistical differences were assessed using Tukey HSD test. Comparisons in a same glyphosate concentration in different atmospheres were carried out by Tukey test. A threshold of 0.05 was used to determine differences. Statistical analyzes were conducted using the package BioEstat 5.0 (IDS Mamirauá).


The growth curves containing lag, log and early stationary phases were constructed with OD540nm values read at one-hour intervals, for a total period of twenty-four hours (Figure 1). Aerobic growth was superior to anaerobic one. In normoxia, lower glyphosate concentrations (0.845 ppm, 1.690 ppm, 8.45 ppm, 16.90 ppm) seemed to favor planktonic cell growth. The most interesting finding occurred in anoxic atmosphere, where positive-control cultures, although adapted to the lack of oxygen, did not show good growth and cultures in the presence of higher concentrations of glyphosate have markedly developed (cluster “c” in Figure 1).

Growth of P. aeruginosa ATCC®15442 in different concentrations of glyphosate and normoxic/anoxic conditions. Each point represents the arithmetical average of nine repetitions. Brackets arbitrarily group the final growths (i.e. after 24 h) which 

Regarding the aerobic growth, from 14–16 h post-inoculation, there were detected two clusters. Cluster “a” comprises of glyphosate at concentrations below 16.9 ppm; on the other hand, cluster “b” comprises treatments with 84.5 ppm to 1690 ppm and the glyphosate-free control.

Biofilms of P. aeruginosa ATCC®15442 had more cells when were formed in absence of molecular oxygen (p < 0.05); among the different treatments, the only exception occurred in 0.845 ppm glyphosate, where the means did not differ (p > 0.05), although there seems to be a trend of increase in anoxia (Figure 2). Above 169 ppm, biofilms formed in anoxia retained more crystal violet, indicating higher cell content (Tukey HSD, p < 0.05). The same occurred with biofilms formed in normoxia at concentrations above 845 ppm (Tukey HSD, p < 0.05). A greater range of variation between biofilms formed in different atmospheres occurred at 1690 ppm (Student’s t test, p = 0.0003).

Figure 2

Differential growth of 36 h-biofilms of P. aeruginosa ATCC®15442™ in different concentrations of glyphosate and in normoxic/anoxic conditions. Each bar represents the arithmetical average of nine repetitions with its respective 95% confidence 


Glyphosate is probably the herbicide most discharged into the environment. Due to its extensive use in the protection of crops, it is inevitable that it will reach surface and deep waters (Pournaras et al., 2007), especially after rainfalls. The concentrations of glyphosate used herein are slightly higher than those found in surface waters after rainfalls (Peruzzo et al., 2008); however, as it is not possible to establish a consensus in terms of concentration, once it depends on variations in the amount applied, rainfall intensity, and degradation, we assumed that such dissonance should not be a major factor.

Aerobic planktonic growth was superior to anaerobic one. This points to the possibility of P. aeruginosa, although a facultative organism (Davies et al., 1989Yoon et al., 2002), has its growth significantly favored by the presence of molecular oxygen. Continuous bacterial exposure to low concentrations of glyphosate leads to increased rates of aerobic growth, which is somehow in agreement with previously published findings (Fitzgibbon and Braymer, 1988). By the contrary, in conditions of inaccessibility of molecular oxygen, the bacterium started to grow better in a concentration-dependent manner. It is possible that this phenomenon results from the use of the molecule as a source of phosphorus, as previously reported for the genus Pseudomonas (Peñaloza-Vazquez et al., 1995Moore et al., 1983Talbot et al., 1984). Glyphosate could also serve as a carbon source, which would be processed by both aerobic and anaerobic metabolisms (Rueppel et al., 1977), with increased rates in presence of oxygen. To support such theory, it has been found that different bacterial genera may promote catalysis of glyphosate using C-P lyases (van Eerd et al., 2003). Once broken up this connection, Pseudomonas spp. can produce glycine (Kishore and Jacob, 1987), which can also enhance growth.

To our knowledge, no other group has evaluated the effects that glyphosate can exert on sessile bacterial communities, so-called biofilms. Our results revealed that the xenobiotic tends to favor the formation of biofilms of P. aeruginosa, especially those anaerobic and that such increase seems to be concentration-dependent. Results of anaerobic planktonic and biofilm growth deserve greater reflection. In a hypothetical situation in which P. aeruginosa come to adhere to surfaces under low oxygen tensions and constant challenge of glyphosate, the growth can be incremented.

As Muller-Hinton broth, even ten-fold diluted, still is a culture medium with a complex composition and we may not ignore the possibility of some constituent had influenced the growth rates. However, this medium has been used in studies similar to this one, successfully (Alandejani et al., 2009Pournaras et al., 2007).

The results from this study point to the fact that the indiscriminate use of agricultural formulations containing glyphosate may result in an increase in growth rates of planktonic and biofilm phenotypes of P. aeruginosain watercourses or reservoirs.


The authors thank Professor Luiz Alberto Kozlowski (The Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná, Brazil), who kindly provided the glyphosate used in this study.

Author information ► Article notes ► Copyright and License information ►


1. Alandejani T, Marsan J, Ferris W, Slinder R, Chan F. Effectiveness of honey on Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009;141:114–118.[PubMed]

2. Araújo AS, Monteiro RT, Abarkeli RB. Effect of glyphosate on the microbial activity of two Brazilian soils. Chemosphere. 2003;52:799–804. [PubMed]

3. Dallegrave E, Mantese FD, Oliveira RT, Andrade AJ, Dalsenter PR, Langeloh A. Pre and postnatal toxicity of the commercial glyphosate formulation in Wistar rats. Arch Toxicol. 2007;81:665–673.[PubMed]

4. Davies KJ, Lloyd D, Boddy L. The effect of oxygen on denitrification in Paracoccus denitrificansand Pseudomonas aeruginosa. J Gen Microbiol. 1989;135:2445–2451. [PubMed]

5. Fitzgibbon J, Braymer HD. Phosphate starvation induces uptake of glyphosate by Pseudomonas sp. strain PG2982. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1988;54:1886–1888. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

6. Govan JR, Deretic V. Microbial pathogenesis in cystic fibrosis: mucoid Pseudomonas aeruginosaand Burkholderia cepacia. Microbiol Rev. 1996;60:539–574. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

7. Kishore GM, Jacob GS. Degradation of glyphosate by Pseudomonas sp. PG2982 via a sarcosine intermediate. J Biol Chem. 1987;262:12164–12168. [PubMed]

8. Means NE, Kremer RJ, Ramsier C. Effects of glyphosate and foliar amendments on activity of microorganisms in the soybean rhizosphere. J Environ Sci Health B. 2007;42:125–132. [PubMed]

9. Moore JK, Braymer HD, Larson AD. Isolation of a Pseudomonas sp. which utilizes the phosphonate herbicide glyphosate. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1983;46:316–320. [PMC free article][PubMed]

10. Peñaloza-Vazquez A, Mena GL, Herrera-Estrella L, Bailey AM. Cloning and sequencing of the genes involved in glyphosate utilization by Pseudomonas pseudomallei. Appl Environ Microbiol.1995;61:538–543. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

11. Pérez GL, Torremorell A, Mugni H, Rodríguez P, Solange Vera M, do Nascimento M, Allende L, Bustingorry J, Escaray R, Ferraro M, Izaguirre I, Pizarro H, Bonetto C, Morris DP, Zagarese H. Effects of the herbicide Roundup on freshwater microbial communities: a mesocosm study. Ecol Appl. 2007;17:2310–2322. [PubMed]

12. Peruzzo PJ, Porta AA, Ronco AE. Levels of glyphosate in surface waters, sediments and soils associated with direct sowing soybean cultivation in north pampasic region of Argentina. Environ Pollut. 2008;156:61–66. [PubMed]

13. Pournaras S, Ikonomidis A, Markogiannakis A, Spanakis N, Maniatis AN, Tsakris A. Characterization of clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa heterogeneously resistant to carbapenems. J Med Microbiol. 2007;56:66–70. [PubMed]

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Articles from Brazilian Journal of Microbiology are provided here courtesy of Brazilian Society of Microbiology

The nightmarish toxicological profile of Roundup herbicide (glyphosate) continues to emerge within the peer-reviewed research, this time revealing its role in supporting the growth of a pathogenic bacteria of great medical significance.

A concerning new study published in the Brazilian Journal of Microbiology titled, “Influence of glyphosate in planktonic and biofilm growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa,” indicates that the world’s most widely used herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) may be contributing to the enhanced growth of the pathogenic bacteria P. aeruginosa in our environment.

The Brazilian team responsible for the study expressed concern over the “virtual nonexistence” of research evaluating glyphosate herbicide-pathogenic microbiota interactions, and conducted a series of microbial experiments to fill this data gap.  They noted:

“Glyphosate is probably the herbicide most discharged into the environment. Due to its extensive use in the protection of crops, it is inevitable that it will reach surface and deep waters (Pournaras et al., 2007), especially after rainfalls.”

P. aeruginosa is commonly found in watercourses and reservoirs in both oxygen (aerobic) and non-oxygen preferring forms (anaerobic), and can be a source of waterborne infection.

The results of the new study indicate that when exposed to varying concentrations of both glyphosate (a common contaminant found in GM agricultural runoff) and oxygen, both the aerobic the anaerobic and biofilm forming strains of this bacteria can thrive:

“Aerobic planktonic growth was superior to anaerobic one. This points to the possibility of P. aeruginosa, although a facultative organism (Davies et al., 1989; Yoon et al., 2002), has its growth significantly favored by the presence of molecular oxygen. Continuous bacterial exposure to low concentrations of glyphosate leads to increased rates of aerobic growth, which is somehow in agreement with previously published findings (Fitzgibbon and Braymer, 1988). By the contrary, in conditions of inaccessibility of molecular oxygen, the bacterium started to grow better in a concentration-dependent manner. It is possible that this phenomenon results from the use of the molecule as a source of phosphorus, as previously reported for the genus Pseudomonas (Peñaloza-Vazquez et al., 1995; Moore et al., 1983; Talbot et al., 1984). Glyphosate could also serve as a carbon source, which would be processed by both aerobic and anaerobic metabolisms (Rueppel et al., 1977), with increased rates in presence of oxygen. To support such theory, it has been found that different bacterial genera may promote catalysis of glyphosate using C-P lyases (van Eerd et al., 2003). Once broken up this connection, Pseudomonas spp. can produce glycine (Kishore and Jacob, 1987), which can also enhance growth.”

The researchers also focused on the ability of glyphosate to support the growth of so-called biofilms, a closely adhering colony of bacteria embedded in a self-produced matrix of a “slimy” extracellular polymeric substance (EPS), revealing:

“Our results revealed that the xenobiotic tends to favor the formation of biofilms ofP. aeruginosa, especially those anaerobic and that such increase seems to be concentration-dependent.”

This finding has significant medical implications, as P. aeruginosa biofilm colonies are far more virulent and exhibit the kind of antibiotic resistance found in serious infections in humans, such as skin infections and pulmonary complications associated with fatal conditions such as cystic fibrosis.[1]

The study concluded:

“The results from this study point to the fact that the indiscriminate use of agricultural formulations containing glyphosate may result in an increase in growth rates of planktonic and biofilm phenotypes of P. aeruginosa in watercourses or reservoirs.”

As Roundup – now a ubiquitous agrochemical contaminant found in our rain, air and water– continues to accumulate in larger amounts in the environment, concern grows that it may be upsetting the natural microbial balance upon which our own microbial health depends on.

Previously, we have looked at the way that Roundup herbicide is altering the microbial biodiversity of our environment by destroying soil microbes that have indispensable importance in the production of food. Research also now exists showing this agrochemical canshift the gut bacteria of animals towards pathogenic strains of bacteria, including the deadly botulism-associated Clostridium botulinum strain.  Also, a new study raises concern that as a water pollutant glyphosate may be contributing to the decline of the coral reefs, underscoring how profoundly this environmental contaminant may be affecting the future health of our planet as a whole.

As the public continues to rally behind the non-GMO movement, expending the bulk of its political efforts on labeling GMO-containing foods, it is important to also focus on the clear and present danger of Roundup herbicide, which a growing number of groups support banning entirely. When we understand the true extent of harm represented by this agrochemical (and which research now links to over 50 adverse health effects), then the argument that GM foods and non-GM (e.g. organic) foods are ‘substantial equivalent is immediately disproved.  GM foods are universally contaminated with glyphosate and AMPA (a glyphosate metabolite) residue and owing to the fact that infinitesimal (parts-per-trillion) concentrations of glyphosate may have endocrine disrupting/carcinogenic properties present regulations on glyphosate are not protecting the public or environment at large from its known risks. (Learn more by reading: EPA to the Public: Let Them Eat Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Cake’).

To get more involved follow the Global GMO Free Coalition.

Sayer Ji is the founder of, an author, educator, Steering Committee Member of the Global GMO Free Coalition (GGFC), and an advisory board member of the National Health Federation. 

He founded in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is widely recognized as the most widely referenced health resource of its kind.


[1] Antibiotic Susceptibilities of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Isolates Derived from Patients with Cystic Fibrosis under Aerobic, Anaerobic, and Biofilm Conditions J. Clin. Microbiol. October 2005 vol. 43 no. 10 5085-5090

Who is to blame for the staggering collapse of the price of oil?  Is it the Saudis?  Is it the United States?  Are Saudi Arabia and the U.S. government working together to hurt Russia?  And if this oil war continues, how far will the price of oil end up falling in 2015?  As you will see below, some analysts believe that it could ultimately go below 20 dollars a barrel.  If we see anything even close to that, the U.S. economy could lose millions of good paying jobs, billions of dollars of energy bonds could default and we could see trillions of dollars of derivatives related to the energy industry implode.  The global financial system is already extremely vulnerable, and purposely causing the price of oil to crash is one of the most deflationary things that you could possibly do.  Whoever is behind this oil war is playing with fire, and by the end of this coming year the entire planet could be dealing with the consequences.

Ever since the price of oil started falling, people have been pointing fingers at the Saudis.  And without a doubt, the Saudis have manipulated the price of oil before in order to achieve geopolitical goals.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Andrew Topf

We don’t have to look too far back in history to see Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter and producer, using the oil price to achieve its foreign policy objectives. In 1973, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat convinced Saudi King Faisal to cut production and raise prices, then to go as far as embargoing oil exports, all with the goal of punishing the United States for supporting Israel against the Arab states. It worked. The “oil price shock” quadrupled prices.

It happened again in 1986, when Saudi Arabia-led OPEC allowed prices to drop precipitously, and then in 1990, when the Saudis sent prices plummeting as a way of taking out Russia, which was seen as a threat to their oil supremacy. In 1998, they succeeded. When the oil price was halved from $25 to $12, Russia defaulted on its debt.

The Saudis and other OPEC members have, of course, used the oil price for the obverse effect, that is, suppressing production to keep prices artificially high and member states swimming in “petrodollars”. In 2008, oil peaked at $147 a barrel.

Turning to the current price drop, the Saudis and OPEC have a vested interest in taking out higher-cost competitors, such as US shale oil producers, who will certainly be hurt by the lower price. Even before the price drop, the Saudis were selling their oil to China at a discount. OPEC’s refusal on Nov. 27 to cut production seemed like the baldest evidence yet that the oil price drop was really an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and the US.

If the Saudis wanted to stabilize the price of oil, they could do that immediately by announcing a production cutback.

The fact that they have chosen not to do this says volumes.

In addition to wanting to harm U.S. shale producers, some believe that the Saudis are determined to crush Iran.  This next excerpt comes from a recent Daily Mail article

Above all, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies see Iran — a bitter religious and political opponent — as their main regional adversary.

They know that Iran, dominated by the Shia Muslim sect, supports a resentful underclass of more than a million under-privileged and angry Shia people living in the gulf peninsula — a potential uprising waiting to happen against the Saudi regime.

The Saudis, who are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims, also loathe the way Iran supports President Assad’s regime in Syria — with which the Iranians have a religious affiliation. They also know that Iran, its economy plagued by corruption and crippled by Western sanctions, desperately needs the oil price to rise. And they have no intention of helping out.

The fact is that the Saudis remain in a strong position because oil is cheap to produce there, and the country has such vast reserves. It can withstand a year — or three — of low oil prices.

There are others out there that are fully convinced that the Saudis and the U.S. are actually colluding to drive down the price of oil, and that their real goal is to destroy Russia.

In fact, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro openly promoted this theory during a recent speech on Venezuelan national television

“Did you know there’s an oil war? And the war has an objective: to destroy Russia,” he said in a speech to state businessmen carried live on state TV.

“It’s a strategically planned war … also aimed at Venezuela, to try and destroy our revolution and cause an economic collapse,” he added, accusing the United States of trying to flood the market with shale oil.

Venezuela and Russia, which both have fractious ties with Washington, are widely considered the nations hardest hit by the global oil price fall.

And as I discussed just the other day, Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to agree with this theory…

“We all see the lowering of oil prices. There’s lots of talk about what’s causing it. Could it be an agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to punish Iran and affect the economies of Russia and Venezuela? It could.”

Without a doubt, Obama wants to “punish” Russia for what has been going on in Ukraine.  Going after oil is one of the best ways to do that.  And if the U.S. shale industry gets hurt in the process, that is a bonus for the radical environmentalists in Obama’s administration.

There are yet others that see this oil war as being even more complicated.

Marin Katusa believes that this is actually a three-way war between OPEC, Russia and the United States…

“It’s a three-way oil war between OPEC, Russia and North American shale,” says Marin Katusa, author of “The Colder War,” and chief energy investment strategist at Casey Research.

Katusa doesn’t see production slowing in 2015: “We know that OPEC will not be cutting back production. They’re going to increase it. Russia has increased production to all-time highs.” With Russia and OPEC refusing to give up market share how will the shale industry compete?

Katusa thinks the longevity and staying power of the shale industry will keep it viable and profitable. “The versatility and the survivability of a lot of these shale producers will surprise people. I don’t see that the shale sector is going to collapse over night,” he says. Shale sweet spots like North Dakota’s Bakken region and Texas’ Eagle Ford area will help keep production levels up and output steady.

Whatever the true motivation for this oil war is, it does not appear that it is going to end any time soon.

And so that means that the price of oil is going to go lower.

How much lower?

One analyst recently told CNN that we could see the price of oil dip into the $30s next year…

Few saw the energy meltdown coming. Now that it’s here, industry analysts warn another move lower is possible as the momentum remains firmly to the downside.

“If this doesn’t hold, we could go back to price levels in late 2008 and early 2009 — down in the $30s. There’s no reason why it couldn’t happen,” said Darin Newsom, senior analyst at Telvent DTN.

Others are even more pessimistic.  For instance, Jeremy Warner of the Sydney Morning Herald, who correctly predicted that the price of oil would fall below $80 this year, is now forecasting that the price of oil could fall all the way down to $20 next year…

Revisiting the past year’s predictions is, for most columnists a frequently humbling experience. The howlers tend to far outweigh the successes. Yet, for a change, I can genuinely claim to have got my main call for markets – that oil would sink to $US80 a barrel or less – spot on, and for the right reasons, too.

Just in case you think I’m making it up, this is what I said 12 months ago: “My big prediction is for $US80 oil, from which much of the rest of my outlook for the coming year flows. It’s hard to overstate the significance of a much lower oil price – Brent at, say, $US80 a barrel, or perhaps lower still – yet this is a surprisingly likely prospect, the implications of which have been largely missed by mainstream economic forecasters.”

If on to a good thing, you might as well stick with it; so for the coming year, I’m doubling up on this forecast. Far from bouncing back to the post crisis “normal” of something over $US100 a barrel, as many oil traders seem to expect, my view is that the oil price will remain low for a long time, sinking to perhaps as little as $US20 a barrel over the coming year before recovering a little.

But even Warner’s chilling prediction is not the most bearish.

A technical analyst named Abigail Doolittle recently told CNBC that under a worst case scenario the price of oil could fall as low as $14 a barrel…

No one really saw 2014’s dramatic plunge in oil price coming, so it’s probably fair to say that any predictions about where it’s going from here fall somewhere between educated guesses and picking a number out of a hat.

In that light, it’s less than shocking to see one analyst making a case—albeit in a pure outlier sense—for a drop all the way below $14 a barrel.

Abigail Doolittle, who does business under the name Peak Theories Research, posits that current chart trends point to the possibility that crude has three downside target areas where it could find support—$44, $35 and the nightmare scenario of, yes, $13.65.

But the truth is that none of those scenarios need to happen in order for this oil war to absolutely devastate the U.S. economy and the U.S. financial system.

There is a very strong correlation between the price of oil and the performance of energy stocks and energy bonds.  But over the past couple of weeks this correlation has been broken.  The following chart comes from Zero Hedge

It is inevitable that at some point we will see energy stocks and energy bonds come back into line with the price of crude oil.

And it isn’t just energy stocks and bonds that we need to be concerned about.  There is only one other time in all of history when the price of oil has crashed by more than 50 dollars in less than a year.  That was in 2008 – just before the great financial crisis that erupted in the fall of that year.  For much, much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “Guess What Happened The Last Time The Price Of Oil Crashed Like This?…

Whether the price of oil crashed or not, we were already on the verge of massive financial troubles.

But the fact that the price of oil has collapsed makes all of our potential problems much, much worse.

As we enter 2015, keep an eye on energy stocks, energy bonds and listen for any mention of problems with derivatives.  The next great financial crisis is right around the corner, but most people will never see it coming until they are blindsided by it.

When Americans see charts like this one which illustrate that virtually all the food on grocery store shelves basically comes from no more than 10 megacompanies, or hear statements like this one from our own Attorney General Eric Holder who told the Senate Judiciary Committee that some banks are just too big to prosecute, or check out studies like this one out of Princeton which openly declare we are not a democracy but an oligarchy … it’s kinda hard to believe we aren’t an oligarchy (because we are).

Come on, even our Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen (you know, the lady that runs the place that prints our money and sells it to us with interest) has basically admitted it.

But are things really getting worse these days or is this just par for the course — the same course we’ve been on for over a century now?

Tinkering around in an old bookstore in a small Texas town, we came across a set of old books on democracy; we got the first seven volumes of a set entitled, The March of Democracy: A History of the United States written by James Truslow Adams — the guy who coined the term “The American Dream” — for a mere $20.

The first book’s copyright is 1932. The last book ends in 1958.

Fascinating stuff…

For example, in volume four America and World Power the book discusses how “Gradually and quite naturally, there grew up the belief in a great conspiracy on the part of the very rich to ruin the poor.”

Read this and tell me — does any of it sound even the least bit familiar to you?

Most strikingly in the public eye were the great Titans of the new business era, the coal and meat “barons” and the copper, railway, steel, and other “kings,” men of the type of the elder J.P. Morgan, of James J. Hill, William H. Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Frick, William H. Clark, and Rockefeller. Such men had certain broad traits in common, differ as they might from each other as individuals. They were men of wide economic but intensely narrow social vision, and of colossal driving power and iron wills. They could lay their economic plans with imperial vision in time and space, but for the effect of their acts on society they cared nothing whatever. They claimed the right to rule the economic destinies of the people in any way that would enure their own personal advantage. Illogically, they insisted upon the theory of laissez-faire for all except themselves, while they demanded and received every favor they wished in the way of special privileges from the government, as in the tariff and the silver purchase Act. The whole machinery of government must be at their disposal when desired — legislation, court decisions, and Federal troops. They combined their business units into “trusts” and combinations of almost unlimited power, yet they insisted on “freedom of contract” when dealing with labor, whose organization in any form they almost wholly refused to sanction.

They never taught you any of that back in school, did they?

That was written, by the way, in 1940; the author was discussing how America was run back in the late 1800s.

Not only is the emphasis on Democracy a distortion of the fact the nation was founded as a Constitutional Republic, where rights are preserved rather than subjected to the whims of the majority, but these passages demonstrate the familiar snow job surrounding the all-but-official banker’s oligarchy that has ruled this country and many others for some time.

In fact, in volume five, The Record of 1933–1941, Adams records the death of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., as the end of the era of this great wealth — never to occur again.

On May 23, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., died at the age of 97. Owner at one time of the largest fortune in the world, his lifespan had covered the entire history of American business from before the Civil War… Nearly $350,000,000 are handled by three of the Rockefeller Foundations for education, medical research and other uses. Whatever may be thought as to the methods of accumulating the beginnings of the fortune in a period of different business ethics and social outlook, no other man through his financial gifts has ever so widely benefitted mankind. With our income and inheritance taxes no other such fortune will ever again be accumulated, and his death marked the end of an era in American history.

And so that’s the end of the story, kids…

Everything ended happily ever after.

Well, not quite.

Despite appearances, the shift on the part of the Rockefellers and other Robber Barons of the day from outright monopoly to “philanthropic” “non-profit” charity work was not an end to the dominance by the super-rich of the early 2oth Century, but an intensification of their undue influence. The taxation of the wealthy as well as the anti-trust actions of the day, which included busting up megacorpses like Standard Oil and AT&T, were perhaps well meaning but fundamentally failed to rein in the disparity of power.

Instead, new tax laws, in reality, acted to restrict new wealth from reaching the heights of the oligarchy, allowing “the elite” to keep their own, and initiate new members as desired. The tax-free status of many institutions – including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Ford Foundation – allowed the incredibly wealthy to a) shield their fortunes from taxation, b) appear to do good works and boost public opinion of their principle members while c) influencing, writing and developing official public policy through the steering mechanisms of its own tax-free grant making, think tank and research powers. Much social engineering has taken place – with far too little public notice – through these bodies. Additionally, d) many of its directors and board members were in “respectable” positions to shift into official government positions through the revolving door without appearing to be acting on behalf of their corporate masters.

The Reece Committee Hearings, conducted in 1953, attempted to probe the role of tax-free foundations in public life and uncovered many outrageous and conspiratorial actions taking place, including very apparent agendas advancing a one-world corporate-dominated government. However, it did not succeed in a general public understanding of what was taking place, nor did it rein in their powers.

Yesterday, the markets in gold, silver, oil, steel and other commodities were successfully cornered by the Rothschilds and other top bankers. Under Wall Street direction, and through the powers of the then newly-created Federal Reserve, these titans were able to officially dominate nearly all the important areas of public life, including great expansions in consumer spending and government agency powers. The icons of this magnificent and terrible wealth were John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, E.H. Harriman, Cornelius Vanderbilt and a handful of others. Today, those icons of wealth are the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim, Larry Ellison, the Koch Brothers, Michael Bloomberg, Steve Jobs (now deceased), the Walton family descendants of Wal-Mart and, again, a handful of others who are largely known for their role in the age of computers, the Internet, telecommunications and electronic devices.

The real wealth, from older robber barons accumulated in land, resources, banking and investment and commodities are still there, but remain under reported on the Forbes’ list of the world’s richest, instead ruling largely from the shadows and influential but secretive groups such as Bilderberg.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the Gates-Buffett led billionaires’ “giving pledge” are keeping in stride with the groundwork laid and continued by the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation. Heavily funded initiatives to push vaccines, birth control, population control, Western-oriented “education,” GMO and corporate-dominated agriculture and the like remain some of the most consequential and troubling policies done in the name of “good” by tax-free entities wielding enormous, nearly incalculable wealth and power.

In short, the myth of “democracy” and freedom in the United States – the beacon around the world – perpetuates, despite a few blemishes. But in reality, the Oligarchy took hold some time ago, has not let up and perhaps never will.

Let that sink in, kids. Take a good look, and let it all sink in.

And don’t forget to read Charlotte Iserbyt’s revealing and TRUE work, loaded with documents and footnotes, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America.

It helps to explain why you don’t know this stuff, why the reins of power have been stolen from us, and why things are not soon going to get better.

Unfortunately, the late comedic genius George Carlin was all-too-right when he explained the owners of America and why the education system is broken:

And like Carlin said of James Truslow Adams’ American Dream,

The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.

Aaron and Melissa created, where this first appeared, as an outlet to examine the news, place it in a broader context, uncover the deceptions, pierce through the fabric of illusions, grasp the underlying factors, know the real enemy, unshackle from the system, and begin to imagine the path towards taking back our lives, one step at a time, so that one day we might truly be free…

“This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy,” begins Adam Curtis, as he describes the propaganda that Western governments and corporations have utilized stemming from Freud’s theories (and his nephew Bernays).

The business and political world uses psychological techniques to read, create and fulfill the desires of the public, to make their products or speeches as pleasing as possible to consumers and citizens. Curtis raises the question of the intentions and roots of this fact. Where once the political process was about engaging people’s rational, conscious minds, as well as facilitating their needs as a society, the documentary shows how by employing the tactics of psychoanalysis, politicians appeal to irrational, primitive impulses that have little apparent bearing on issues outside of the narrow self-interest of a consumer population.

The words of Paul Mazur, perhaps ironically working for Lehman Brothers at the time, sum it all up: “We must shift America from a ‘needs’ to a ‘desires’ culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed… Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.”

Episode 1: Happiness Machines (17 March 2002)

Episode 2: The Engineering of Consent (24 March 2002)

Episode 3: There is a Policeman Inside All Our Heads: He Must Be Destroyed (31 March 2002)

Episode 4: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering (7 April 2002)

On Monday, researchers from the Norse cybersecurity firm provided the FBI with evidence discovered in the course of their independent investigation into the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment which allegedly points towards a small group of individuals including a disgruntled former employee and away from North Korea.

A group known as Guardians of Peace has claimed responsibility for the hacking attack and issued threats against theaters which were to screen “The Interview,” a comedy about the assassination of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. In the face of the threats, Sony initially pulled the film from theaters throughout the US, but has since made the movie available online and in a limited number of theaters.

Pyongyang has officially denied any involvement in the hacking attack, and an offer by the regime to assist in any investigation into the leaks was rebuffed by the United States.

Kurt Stammberger, a senior vice president at Norse, told the Security Ledger that the company’s investigation uncovered six individuals directly involved in the hack including a former Sony employee who had been employed by the company for ten years before being laid off in May. The other suspects identified included two other individuals in the United States, one in Canada, one in Singapore, and a final suspect in Thailand.

Starting with the assumption that the attack was an inside job, the Norse researchers utilized leaked Human Resources data to identify recently laid-off Sony employees with the technical skills necessary to carry out the hack. They identified one possible suspect and followed her activity online, where they noted that she had made disgruntled posts on social media about Sony and the layoffs.

The Norse investigators also recorded conversations related to the Sony hacking attack on IRC (internet relay channel) forums where hackers communicate with each other online. The investigators were able to connect an individual involved in the IRC conversations with the former employee and a server on which one of the earliest known iterations of the malware used in the attack was assembled in July.

Norse’s allegations of an insider attack directly contradict the claims of the US government, which has explicitly blamed North Korea for the hack of Sony’s server network which resulted in the leaking of sensitive employee information and embarrassing emails from top executives.

The FBI released a statement on December 19 explicitly blaming the North Korean government for the hack. The agency claimed that its analysis of the malware used in the Sony attack “revealed links to other malware that the FBI knows North Korean actors previously developed.”

The statement also pointed to an overlap in the internet protocol addresses utilized in the attack and attacks previously connected to the North Korean government. It also claimed to have found similarities in the tools used in the Sony attack and attacks last year on South Korean banks and media firms.

The same day, President Barack Obama, in his final press conference of the year, blamed North Korea for the attack and promised that the US would carry out a “proportionate response” against the country “at the time and place of our choosing.”

Last Monday, several days after Obama’s warning, North Korea lost its connection to the Internet for several hours possibly as the result of a US cyber-attack. North Korean internet and mobile 3G network service went down again for several hours on Saturday.

The evidence put forward by the US government has been scrutinized by a number of internet security experts who argue that the government has not yet provided enough evidence to convincingly support its contention of North Korea’s responsibility.

Marc Rogers, principal security researcher for mobile security company CloudFlare, wrote in The Daily Beast that the evidence was “weak” and “flimsy.” He pointed to the fact that the malware shared source code with previous attacks is not unusual as hackers sell malware, and source codes often leak online.

Rogers noted that all but one of the IP addresses used in the attacks were public proxies utilized in prior malware attacks. Hackers often route their attacks through public proxies to avoid being traced back to their real IP address, meaning that it cannot be known exactly where the Sony attack originated.

According to Rogers, hard-coded paths and passwords in the malware indicated that whoever wrote the code had detailed knowledge of Sony’s servers and access to crucial passwords, things to which it would be much easier for someone on the inside to gain access.

Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer at Co3 Systems, writing in The Atlantic, expressed his deep skepticism about the evidence provided by the US government. According to Schneier, the evidence put forward by the FBI was “easy to fake, and it’s even easier to interpret it incorrectly.” He also pointed out that Korean language in the malware code would indicate Korean origin but would not directly implicate North Korea.

A linguistic analysis of online messages put out by Guardians of Peace published last week by the cybersecurity consultancy group Taia Global concluded that the nationality of the authors was most likely Russia and possibly, but not likely, Korean.

2014 has been a particularly bad year for air travel, not in terms of crashes but in terms of fatalities with 1,158 people killed in plane accidents, making it the worst year since 2005. In the latest crash, all 162 passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 perished.

The plane accident which caught the most attention was without a doubt the shoot down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, given its relation to the conflict in Ukraine. Without evidence, Washington has accused the Donbass militia supported by Moscow of having downed the aircraft.

What Ukrainians experienced in 2014 was the continuity of the 2004 Orange Revolution, another “color revolution” piloted by Washington, but this time with the help of neo-Nazis, a fact which has been the object of a complete media blackout when not discredited as “Kremlin propaganda”.

Here are the most important articles published on Ukraine and the shoot-down of MH17.

Click here to visit our in-depth report on Ukraine.

If you find this useful consider donating to Global Research

Ukraine: A US Sponsored Neo-Nazi Regime? 

There are No Neo-Nazis in Ukraine. And the Obama Administration does not support Fascists

The U.S. has Installed a Neo-Nazi Government in Ukraine

Who are the Nazis in the Ukrainian government?

Deleted BBC Report. “Ukrainian Fighter Jet Shot Down MHI7″, Donetsk Eyewitnesses

Spanish Air Controller @ Kiev Borispol Airport: Ukraine Military Shot Down Boeing MH#17

Malaysian Airlines MH17 Was Ordered to Fly over the East Ukraine Warzone

Revelations of German Pilot: Shocking Analysis of the “Shooting Down” of Malaysian MH17. “Aircraft Was Not Hit by a Missile”

Ukrainian Soldier Confirms: Ukraine’s Military Shot Down Malaysian MH17 Plane

In an unusually lengthy video interview with a soldier of the Ukrainian Government, he states why he wants to kill as many residents in the (ethnically Russian) separatist area as possible. This soldier, named Nazar, was interviewed by Ukraine’s Channel 5 TV, the current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s television station until he became President on May 25th. Poroshenko, as Ukraine’s President, no longer owns the station.

This interview was not aired, because the Ukrainian Government decided that it wasn’t appropriate for their purposes. Among other things, the soldier condemns Poroshenko for not being sufficiently devoted to the killing of Russians. However, this interview ended up being posted to the site liveleak, on December 31st. Here is an excerpt of the transcript:

Lady host:

- Does Ukraine belong to Europe?

Ukrainian trooper:

- Well, Ukraine is the best country in the world. It is a European country, but it is much better than Europe. Can you see what is going on there in Europe? Only gays, transvestites and other degenerates live there. We will not tolerate them here. Ukrainians will not become the nation of buggers. Ukraine only needs weapons, money and support from Europe. However, I do not see all these things coming. When I watch TV I only hear that they are “deeply worried” and bla-bla-bla and nothing else. In fact, I think Ukraine should be the leading European country. It must show the world that the Nation is above all. [Germany’s Nazis used to say, ‘Deutschland über alles,’ the same thing for that country.] A real powerful state can be built only on the basis of a nation, of a pure nation. We must show the Europeans how to build a real national socialist organization. When we have liberated Ukraine, we will go to Europe under our banners and will revive all national socialist organizations there.

Lady host:

- In what way do you exactly plan to do this?

Ukrainian soldier:

- I have already told you: it makes no difference, in what way. We will do it, we know how to do it.

Lady host:

- I got you. Nazar, what is your political stand, do you support the policy of the government in office now?

Ukrainian soldier:

- I am a member of “Patriots of Ukraine” organization since 2007. Our goal is the purification of the nation [Hitler frequently talked about that] and turning Ukraine into a powerful state. We know how to build a strong state. First of all, we ought to oust, and if they do not wish to leave, then to cut the throats of, all of the Muscovites, or kikes – we will exterminate all of them. [Hitler wanted to exterminate all Jews, and to enslave all slavs, but Ukraine’s nazis are focused more particularly against ethnic Russians.] Our principle is “One God, one country, one nation”. [That too came from Hitler.] As far as the current government is concerned, can you see that they are the same scum? Poroshenko is a kike, Yatsenyuk is a beast, and scoundrel Turchinov gave up Crimea to the Muscovites. Perhaps, he even sold it, I do not know. He is still there in Ukraine’s Supreme Council. And we are doing nothing. They all should be shot to death. We should build a country similar to Germany during the 1930s. That was a great country! Never mind those scums, we will liberate Crimea, and the rest of Ukraine, and march on Moscow; we will return Kuban and the Kursk region, and Voronezh, and Polish Galicia and Polissya.

For more of this soldier’s viewpoints, see the full interview and the transcript.

U.S. President Barack Obama chose to replace Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych with nazis in aFebruary coup because Yanukovych opposed Ukraine’s joining NATO and becoming a staging-area for U.S. nuclear missiles aimed against Russia. U.S. taxpayers are now the chief financial backers of Ukraine’s military campaign (such as that interviewed soldier) to exterminate the residents in the pro-Russian region of Ukraine, which had voted 90% for Yanukovych. U.S. President Obama and his financial backers are seeking to destroy Russia in order for the U.S. aristocracy to enjoy unchallengeable supremacy over the entire world — a goal that will require defeating the only nation that possesses a nuclear arsenal that competes with America’s.

Soldiers such as the one who was interviewed by Ukraine’s Channel 5 are the front-line troops in that American plan.

Even the founder of the American private CIA firm, Stratfor, acknowledges that the overthrow of Yanukovych was a coup (he called it “the most blatant coup in history”); and even Ukraine’s former, 1994-1998, U.S. Ambassador says that Ukraine’s war “is a prelude to World War III.”

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

U.S. Wars Continue in New Year

January 2nd, 2015 by Jack A. Smith

Militarily, the U.S. is entering 2015 with its hands full.

The U.S. war in Afghanistan was supposed to have ended after 13 years on Dec. 31, 2014, but it’s still going on and thousands of American troops are continuing the fight.

The U.S. war against Iraq ended officially Dec. 31, 2011, but it has now metamorphosed into Washington’s air war against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. There are increasing hints U.S. ground troops may be sent in this year. (3,000 American military advisers are already there and 1,500 allied troops are expected soon.)

The U.S., British, French war against Libya ended with regime change in 2011, but this oil-rich country is now engaged in civil wars, and is evidently falling apart. In addition, the Islamic State has established a foothold in Libya. It is likely the U.S. covertly or openly will intervene to safeguard its interests.

Washington has supported the regime-change war against Syria for three years, politically and financially. Allied Saudi Arabia and other powerful Sunni countries have paid for the jihadist fighters who lead the struggle. Now, the U.S. needs the Syrian government and opposition to help fight against IS, but the jihadists and their secular allies have joined forces to continue pummeling the Damascus regime. The U.S. has not physically entered the war yet, but key Democrats as well as Republicans have shown interest in doing so.

This accounting does not include President Barack Obama’s drone wars in Yemen, western Pakistan, Somalia or other countries, nor the provocative NATO expansion against Russia and the U.S. military buildup in East Asia against China.

All the wars against Muslim countries listed above have been launched since Sept. 11, 2001 — and each, so far, has turned out to be either a humiliating failure, a stalemate or has resulted in an undesired conclusion. The war against the IS may not be decided for years and it it seems doubtful it will end in a U.S. victory. Following is a look at these events as the new year begins:

1. The Afghanistan War Continues

The 13-year-old Afghanistan war has “ended” as a stalemate for the U.S., if not a defeat. Originally, the Pentagon was supposed to pull out of this terribly poor country entirely by the end of 2014. Several months ago an agreement was reached with newly elected President Ashraf Ghazi to permit some 12,000 American troops to remain until the end of 2015 in “non-combat roles.”

In November, responding to increased fighting by the Taliban, President Obama announced American soldiers would now serve mainly as a combat force augmented by U.S. air power, drones, the CIA and an unspecified number of contractors. It’s ludicrous to claim the war is over.

The conflict is becoming more intense. In 2014, according to the UN, 3,200 Afghan civilians were killed, as were more than 5,000 members of the Afghan security forces, the highest toll since 2001. The fighting is expected to increase considerably this year.

The U.S. had pressured former President Hamid Karzai to allow the troops to remain for 10 more years, but he wouldn’t even agree to one year. It is possible Washington will now work on Ghazi for permission to remain until 2024.

It was unnecessary, in the first place, to invade Afghanistan after al-Qaeda’s attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. After all these years there is nothing to show for the war but deaths and destruction, aside from the mystical reincarnation of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden into the Islamic State’s caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of Obama war number five.

Just before the October 2001 invasion, during a period of intense national hyper-patriotism, a section of the U.S. left (including this newsletter) strongly opposed launching a war, calling instead for international police action to bring al-Qaeda and its followers to justice. The ANSWER coalition organized a “No War” rally in Washington that attracted 25,000 people just days before President George W. Bush ordered the Oct. 7 bombardment of Afghanistan that began the war. The great majority of Americans first backed the war but that changed in a few years. The national activist left continued its opposition to the Afghan adventure, but in less than two years it was also leading the growing mass oppositioon to the Bush Administration’s plans to attack Iraq.

Had Bush relied on police action instead of war he would have saved the lives of 2,313 U.S. soldiers, 3,248 U.S. contractors, 1,114 allied troops, over 13,000 Afghan military and police plus tens of thousands of civilian lives, and probably over a trillion U.S. dollars — so far. Afghanistan was a troubled country when the U.S. invaded. Now it is a wreck except in a niche agricultural category: it produces 90% of the world’s opium, right under Uncle Sam’s obviously knowing nose despite the fact that opium-derived heroin makes its way as an addictive drug into the thriving U.S. illegal market.

2. The Fiascos In Iraq

The U.S.-initiated Iraq War, which lasted from March 2003 until the end of 2011, resulted in a humiliating stalemate for the White House, covered up with Obama’s praise for the role of the U.S. military the day they pulled out. A huge antiwar movement developed in the U.S. and the world months before the invasion but did not prevent the warmongering Bush Administration from launching an illegal and unjust military escapade — with Democratic Party approval, of course.

The neoconservative coterie running the Bush White House actually believed it would not only be victorious in a matter of months but would also pave the way for successful invasions of Syria, Iran and possibly some other Middle Eastern countries. Their pre-war estimates of the cost of invading, defeating, and occupying Iraq were $50-$60 billion. In reality, it cost at least $4 trillion with some estimates 50% higher when all costs are counted, including decades of interest payments.

Compounding this fiasco is the current U.S. war against the Islamic State, a direct derivative of the Iraq war. It is too early to label this conflict a fiasco, but it could well qualify after Obama or his successor sends in the ground troops, which seems inevitable in time. This is actually America’s third war of choice in Iraq in 24 years — 1990 (the Gulf War), followed by over 12 years of killer sanctions, followed by the 2003-11 conflict.

In 2003, Iraq posed no threat to the U.S., had no role in 9/11 and did not harbor even one member of al-Qaeda

in the country. But President Bush and his neocon handlers lied repeatedly to the American people about the “imminent danger” they faced from this small and distant country. The invasion and occupation cost the lives of 4,489 U.S. soldiers, 3,455 U.S. contractors, 318 allied troops, 12,096 Iraqi military and police. Up to one million Iraqis lost their lives and four million became internal and external refugees. The country is a shambles. Washington’s divide and conquer occupation strategy was a major factor in the subsequent escalation of the Sunni-Shi’ite religious sectarianism that abounds today.

Early last year, as a direct result of the U.S. stalemate in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (now the Islamic State) captured territory in both Syria and Iraq. This organization broke into the headlines last June when it captured the major Iraqi city of Mosul with a population of a million people. IS confiscated a huge supply of American military equipment and looted the city’s banks, becoming rich overnight. Suddenly the U.S. realized that the Iraq war hadn’t ended at all, especially when IS has continued to seize more land and towns.

Within a couple of months Washington organized a 60-state anti-IS alliance but in the absence of ground troops it may be a mile wide but it’s just an inch deep. None, led by the U.S., wanted to send troops. Obama is desperate for help on the ground from both the Syrian and Iranian governments — which he kept out of the alliance — but will not dare say so publicly.

So far the bulk of the Iraqi army has not played a major role. The U.S. foolishly dissolved the army it defeated in 2003 and decided in effect to build its own new Iraqi army at a cost to American taxpayers of $25 billion over the years in training and equipping. It turned out after the loss of Mosul that the new Iraqi officer corps and military bureaucracy was so extraordinarily corrupt that the army had to be retrained, a process still taking place, although a number of units are now in the field.

Iraqi Shi’ite militias and Iranian officers and troops have helped hold the fort on the ground. The Iranians are fighting IS in Iraq, but on their own. Both Tehran and Washington have stated they are not working together — a politically necessary decision on both accounts. The New York Times reported Nov. 22 “even American officials acknowledge the decisive role of Iranian-backed militias, particularly in protecting Baghdad from an assault by the Islamic State…. Iran’s increasingly public military role has proved essential in repelling the advances of the Islamic State.”

According to news reports Dec. 9: “Secretary of State John Kerry today called for Congress to keep the door open for ground deployments of troops to fight the Islamic State in not only Iraq and Syria, but also elsewhere in the Middle East.” This report is ambiguous but Pentagon generals have been suggesting the need for U.S. “boots on the ground” in Iraq and Syria. A number of Republicans in Congress, led by Sen John McCain, support sending U.S. ground troops to fight IS.

3. Libya Is Falling Apart

Over three years ago (as their sham part of the Arab Spring) the U.S. and its NATO partners, backed by reactionary Arab monarchies, decided to bring about violent regime change in oil-rich Libya to establish a government that would far better serve the interests of Western imperialism. Their alleged justification was to rid the country of Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, whom they termed termed a vicious dictator.

In reality, as Patrick Cockburn wrote in the Independent (UK) in March: “The NATO powers that overthrew Gaddafi did not do so because he was a tyrannical ruler, but because he pursued a nationalist policy which was at odds with Western policies in the Middle East.”

The U.S., UK and France — each of which repeatedly bombed and strafed the Libyan government and military on behalf of rebel forces supposedly seeking democracy — bragged about bringing “freedom” to the Libyan people when the regime fell and Gaddafi was tortured to death by a mob. What they actually delivered to Libya was the chaos of ethnic warlords, jihadists and racketeers. Libya has been without a functioning government, police force, or army since the Gaddafi regime fell.

The catastrophe resulting from Washington’s war for regime change was made clear in this Dec. 3 report from the BBC:

“Islamic State militants have set up training camps in eastern Libya, the head of the U.S. Africa command says. Gen David Rodriguez said there could be ‘a couple of hundred’ IS fighters undergoing training at the sites. He said the camps were at a very early stage, but the U.S. was watching them “carefully to see how it develops.

“Libya has been in turmoil since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011, with various tribes, militia and political factions fighting for power. Several Islamist groups are competing for power in the east of the country, with some militants recently declaring allegiance to IS…. In the aftermath of the revolution that ousted Gaddafi, many rebel fighters left to fight with militant groups in Syria, and some are believed to have returned home.

“The elected government has lost Libya’s three main cities amid the political crisis. Benghazi, the country’s second city, is in the hands of Islamist fighters, and the internationally recognized parliament is now based in the coastal town of Tobruk in the east.”

Writing Nov. 2 in the Independent, under the headline “The West is silent as Libya falls into the abyss,” Cockburn noted:

“Without the rest of the world paying much attention, a civil war has been raging in western Libya since July 13 between the Libya Dawn coalition of militias, originally based in Misrata, and another militia group centered on Zintan. A largely separate civil war between the forces of retired Gen. Khalifa Haftar and the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries is being fought out in the city. Government has collapsed. Amnesty says that torture has become commonplace with victims being ‘beaten with plastic tubes, sticks, metal bars or cables, given electric shocks, suspended in stress positions for hours, kept blindfolded and shackled for days.’”

Reuters reported Dec. 10:

“Amost 50 people have been killed in the past 10 days in fighting between Libyan pro-government forces and Islamist groups in the second-largest city, Benghazi. That brings the death toll to around 450 since army special forces and troops led by Haftar launched an offensive against Islamists in Benghazi.”

There was a seeming incongruity to the strenuous U.S./NATO effort to bring about regime change in Libya. To quote from Wikipedia:

“From 1999 Gaddafi encouraged economic privatization and sought rapprochement with Western nations, also embracing Pan-Africanism and helping to establish the African Union. In December 2003, Libya renounced its possession of weapons of mass destruction, decommissioning its chemical and nuclear weapons programs. Relations with the U.S. improved as a result while UK Prime Minister Tony Blair met with Gaddafi in the Libyan Desert in March 2004. The following month, Gaddafi travelled to the headquarters of the European Union (EU) in Brussels, signifying improved relations between Libya and the EU, the latter ending its remaining sanctions in October.”

Nothing seems to have changed between the Washington and Tripoli from that time to 2011 when the U.S. and its partners began bombing Libya to assist the faltering rebel factions who were running out of steam. President Obama, convinced that the new regime would quickly subordinate itself to Washington, suggested that democracy would flourish in the country as soon as the rebels took over. It was one more gross miscalculation.

The U.S. obviously must regret the outcome of its regime-change fiasco and will have little choice but to intervene in one way or another if matters are not resolved to its satisfaction.

4. Syrian Regime Still Struggles To Survive:

President Obama has been calling for the overthrow of the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad for over three years — another duplicitous attempt to demonstrate Washington’s backing for the Arab Spring when it was fashionable to do so in 2011. In this case, as in others, Obama sought regime change in the guise of democracy to bring about a government considerably more willing to satisfy U.S. regional interests than Assad, a strong ally of America’s two perceived opponents — Iran and Russia.

America’s interest in Syria is geopolitical — maintaining control of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Turkey and other regional Sunni states seek to weaken Shi’ite influence and neutralize Iran by getting rid of Assad’s Alawite regime (a branch of Shia theology).Most of the rebels seek to replace him with a Sunni-led government as religiously fundamentalist as they could get away with in a non-sectarian society where at minimum 35% were non-Sunni Muslims and Christians.

In the last two years and some months, various jihadist forces took over the bulk of fighting, but the White House still demanded the ouster of Assad. By doing so Obama conveyed the impression Washington supported the jihadist-led rebel campaign. Evident U.S. backing for the civil war further encouraged Saudi Arabia and Turkey, among others, to increase their political and material support for rebel jihadist fundamentalists.

Though somewhat muted today since going to war with IS last summer, the White House officially remains desirous of ousting Assad, despite the fact that the formidable Islamic State is the leading force in the anti-Assad rebellion as well as fighting to win power in neighboring Iraq. Now that it is preoccupied in a war with the Islamic State, Washington may have postponed the matter of Assad’s overthrow until subduing the religio-fascist IS, a far more formidable antagonist.

The civil war against the Assad government has taken a terrible toll in lives and infrastructure. It is estimated that between 160,000 and 191,000 people have been killed so far. A great many have been civilians. The U.S. government and news media consistently imply (but never actually state) that nearly all the deaths are of civilians killed by the Assad regime, which is untrue. Scores of thousands of Syrian government soldiers have been killed, along with a large number of rebels, substantially adding to the total. In addition, IS and its chief rival, al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front, have killed thousands of rebel fighters as well as government troops and civilians.

Obama should have ended his ill-advised anti-Assad regime change campaign in Syria as soon as it became obvious two years ago that dozens of big and small jihadi groups had taken over most of the fighting against the regime in Damascus. During these two years IS has become strong enough to control about one third of the territory of both Syria and neighboring Iraq.

In addition to continuing Islamic State attacks on Syrian government installations and territory, various other jihadist groups are continuing the fight to overthrow the Assad regime, even though the U.S. has appealed for them to temporarily postpone the war on Damascus and join the anti-IS fight. Last week Stratfor reported al-Qaeda’s “Jabhat al-Nusra and its allies in Ahrar al-Sham pose one of the biggest threats to loyalist forces…. Al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters have made their way to long-contested Daraa province, where they have maintained relatively friendly ties with operatives of the (U.S.-backed) Free Syrian Army. Together these forces have scored significant battlefield victories, claiming more than 80% of Quneitra province from loyalists.”

What Now?

The years have shown that Obama is a war president and (once again) the Democrats are a war party, not exactly as wretched as the Republican war party but bad enough. Both support a militarist and imperialist foreign policy intended to insure continued American world domination.

There is not even a small hint that the U.S. government intends to modify its war-making ways in 2015 or thereafter. Now that the right wing is about to control both houses of Congress this situation may well worsen. And the 2016 presidential election probably will be worse still with two warhawks competing for the White House.

In the absence of a large, viable progressive third party to fight against the war parties, it is up to the left and progressive movements and NGOs to step up their peace and justice activities.

Where is the U.S. antiwar movement in all of this? It certainly exists in the ANSWER coalition that protested against the new Iraq war and a few months ago organized a score of demonstrations across the U.S. in opposition to war in Gaza that brought out tens of thousands of people. There are a few other other national groups, largely of the left, such as World Can’t Wait, and a couple of groups that essentially live online and call occasional conferences. These organizations have opposed all the U.S. wars mentioned in this article — but there’s a problem:

The peace movement was massive during the eight-year Republican Bush Administration, and most of the rank and file were Democrats, even if the national leaderships were frequently aligned with the political left. Tragically, the antiwar movements began to decline markedly when Obama won the November 2008 presidential election and the peace forces virtually collapsed during the first months after he took office.

The Democratic base of the movement stopped attending peace rallies, even though many Democrats retained antiwar sentiments and public opinion turned against the wars. They didn’t want to take public action against a Democratic president, even as he not only continued but expanded Bush’s wars. It is to be hoped that peace Democrats have learned a lesson after these years of war under Obama.

It is certainly time for a revival of the mass antiwar movements. The two establishment parties are pro-war. Unless these movements get big enough to produce a multitude of truly mass protests and other actions including civil disobedience, the Washington warmakers will simply continue going from war to war.

Putin Approves New Russian Military Doctrine

January 2nd, 2015 by Clara Weiss

On December 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new military doctrine for the Russian armed forces. The document identifies the expansion of NATO and efforts to destabilise Russia and neighbouring countries as the biggest security threats.

As countermeasures, the paper advocates accelerating the development of the Russian army, the increased militarization of the whole of society, and the development of military cooperation with the other BRICS countries (Brazil, India, China, South Africa) and several Latin American states.

The new military doctrine is a response to the deliberate encirclement of Russia by NATO and the economic war against the country by the EU and US. Since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, which was deliberately provoked by Germany and the United States to increase pressure on Russia and to initiate a colonial-style redivision of the former Soviet Union, the geopolitical tensions between Russia and the NATO powers have steadily intensified.

Early last week, the Ukrainian Parliament voted to take the first step towards joining NATO by dropping the country’s formal non-aligned status—an open provocation against Russia. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov then threatened that if Ukraine joined NATO, Russia could break all relations with the military alliance.

The new military doctrine was developed by senior military and intelligence officials headed by Nikolai Patrushev. Between 1999 and 2008, Patrushev was director of the domestic intelligence agency FSB. Since 2008, he has been Secretary of the National Security Council. President Putin signed the document in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Russian armed forces. In leading Russian media, former generals and officers have praised the re-evaluation of national security.

According to the website of the National Security Council, the new strategy corresponds “the changing nature of military threats.” These threats were evidenced “in the situation in Ukraine” and “the events in North Africa, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The Russian leadership is responding to the growing pressure of NATO with a mixture of threats and offers of cooperation. In their tone, the new military directives are much sharper than the previous doctrine from 2010, but stress their defensive character. Military intervention should explicitly only come into question after exhausting all non-military means. The document emphasizes repeatedly the importance of the UN and stresses Russia’s willingness to cooperate with the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe).

At the same time, Russia retains the right of a preemptive nuclear strike, when a military attack—whether from nuclear or conventional weapons—immediately threatens the existence of the state. Russia has the second-largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world.

The Kremlin reserves the right to military intervention, both in the case of a military attack on Russia itself, as well as on a military alliance partner. The most important military allies of Russia currently include China, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The expansion of the NATO alliance is classified as a major threat to national security. The Ukraine crisis is not specifically named, but a number of points refer to the security danger posed by “destabilized” countries, as well as potential members of NATO on the Russian border.

The eastward expansion of NATO was also named as a security threat in the military doctrine of 2000. It hardly played any role 10 years later, at the time of the so-called “reset” of US-Russian relations when Moscow strongly sought a political and military rapprochement with the US. Instead, the focus was placed on the fight against “terrorism” in Russia and internationally—an area in which Moscow is still offering its cooperation with the US and the EU.

The “core military threats” listed by the document include the “dramatic worsening of the military-political situation (international relations) and the creation of conditions for the use of military force;” “Obstructing the work of the system of state and military administration of the Russian Federation,” and the impairment of the country’s nuclear weapons; the “building and preparation of illegal military formations” that are active in Russia and neighboring countries; and “the demonstration of military force in the course of exercises on the territory of states bordering on the Russian Federation and its allies”—a situation that has repeatedly occurred with the numerous provocative NATO exercises in 2014.

In a special section, measures preparing Russia for a wartime economy are proposed.

The military doctrine lists many areas within the Russian military to be upgraded. For example, in Crimea, given its strategic importance, both ground troops and the Black Sea Fleet are to be upgraded. In the Arctic, where Russia wants to extract mineral resources, the military potential of Russia will also be developed.

The doctrine also emphasizes that the military reforms promoted by Putin in 2013 should be implemented. Details on military rearmament will soon be announced in the new programme for the years 2016-2025.

The massive rearmament programme that is required by the doctrine means a further militarization of Russian society. In face of growing social tensions, this military build-up is aimed not least against the Russian working class. For example, the “military-patriotic education of Russian citizens” should be strengthened and every Russian citizen be prepared to participate in military service. As in the West, in Russia the “fight against terrorism,” which is also highlighted in the new military doctrine, serves as a pretext to increase state powers and expand the already extensive surveillance apparatus.

As one of Russia’s “main tasks” in “the mitigation and prevention of armed conflicts,” the document identifies increased military cooperation with the BRICS countries, and the countries of Central Asia and Latin America. Russia also wants to strengthen relations with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two regions whose secession led to a war with Georgia in 2008. The conflict is still one of the many ethnic and national conflicts in the post-Soviet space which could be provoked at any time and have the potential for a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia.

The defence of the so-called CSTO countries would be strengthened. These states, belonging to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) alongside Russia, include Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Belarus, and also as observers, Afghanistan and Serbia. Cooperation with the OSCE and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) would also be extended.

In this way, Russia wants to participate in “the creation of a new security model in the Pacific region.” In the last few years, this region has stood at the center of the so-called “pivot to Asia” by the United States, in which China is being systematically encircled militarily. The United States is building up its alliance with Japan, the Philippines and Australia, among others.

Russia and China have repeatedly held military exercises at sea in response. Reacting to the crisis in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia, Moscow and Beijing have moved closer together in recent months, both militarily and economically. (See also: China challenges US economic war against Russia ).

In accordance with the new military doctrine, Vice Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has made several trips to Southeast Asia in recent weeks. The Russian online magazine Gazeta.Ru commented: “The intensity of contacts with Vietnam, Malaysia, Burma and China speaks for the start of a turn to Asia.” One foreign policy observer told the magazine that Russia was responding to US moves in the region: “Russia is moving closer to China and other players, while the interests of the United States are concentrated in South Korea, the Philippines, Japan and Australia.”

Moscow also wants to expand its relations with Latin America. According to Antonov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is planning a trip to Latin America in the coming year. The re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Washington and Cuba is also a move to push Russia out of this region of the world. Russia had traditionally maintained close economic and political, as well as military relations, with Cuba.

Fireworks are exploding throughout Ramallah in celebration of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s surprise move to sign the Rome Statute along with 21 other international treaties, one day after his draft resolution seeking to end Israel’s occupation through negotiations failed to pass the United Nations Security Council.

Abbas had held off in the past on acceding to the Rome Statute, which allows the Palestinian government to present charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC). The signing tonight was unexpected.

The letters to join the conventions were inked in a meeting with Palestinian leaders at the Muqataa, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, at 6:45pm Jerusalem time. “We have a right to sign all of the international conventions and agreements,” said Abbas after a raising of hands from Palestinian leaders in favor of acceding to the Rome Statute and the other international treaties. Then Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat, a longtime advocate of joining the ICC, presented him with the letters and a pen. After the vote, the Palestinian leaders and media clapped, and copies of the documents were distributed to the committee members.

The signing of the letters followed a state ceremony also at the Muqataa to mark the 50 year anniversary of the founding of Abbas’s Fatah political party. But the announcement came after the thousands of Fatah supporters had cleared from the government compound.

Abbas said joining the convention was a result of yesterday’s vote at the Security Council where he sought, “A time limit for the negotiations, to end the occupation and to give us a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” he said in his address tonight.

“There was some pressure to delay this act,” continued the president, “we were expecting to have nine notes because we know who is with us and who is not and at the final moment one country withdrew.” An official with the Palestinian Authority said Nigeria had committed to vote in favor of the resolution and in a surprise move, changed their vote without notice. “We hoped that if we had nine votes that the Americans would not veto it,” Abbas added.

Abbas’s move to join the ICC opens the gate for Palestine to take Israel to the court over violations of the Fourth Geneva Conventions, specifically over Israel’s settler population living in the West Bank. Over 500,000 Israeli settlers reside in the occupied territory.

The State Department condemns the move. It

“will badly damage atmosphere with the very people with whom they ultimately need to make peace…”

AP’s Matt Lee reports, and:

“We strongly oppose #Palestinian action at the #ICC,” per @statedept. “Counter-productive” and does nothing for statehood aspirations.

Israel has also condemned. PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments:

“It is the Palestinian Authority – which is in a unity government with Hamas, an avowed terrorist organization that, like ISIS, perpetrates war crimes – that needs to be concerned about the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

“We will take steps in response and we will defend the soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world.

“We will rebuff this additional attempt to force diktat on us just like we rebuffed the Palestinian appeal to the UN Security Council.”

The New York Times characterizes Palestine’s action as a “provocative move” in defiance of Israeli and American warnings:

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority signed papers Wednesday to join the International Criminal Court, a provocative move that could lead to the prosecution of Israeli officials on charges of war crimes and risks severe sanctions from Washington and Jerusalem.

The Times doesn’t usually tell its readers what to think in such blatant manner. As for Israeli settlements? Earlier this year, settlements just seem provocative to some:

Critics of Israeli settlement policy see every push forward as a provocation that further hampers the prospects for a two-state solution.

On Monday, Republican Representative Steven Scalise, the House majority whip and third most powerful GOP member of Congress, confirmed through an advisor that he spoke at a Louisiana conference called by white nationalist and neo-Nazi leaders in 2002. The exposure comes a week after Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud and days before the new Republican majority takes control of the House.

Organized by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), the 2002 conference was led by ex-Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke. Duke “told reporters in 2000 that white people in America were facing a ‘genocide,’ and wrote in a letter to the Shreveport Times that European Americans were ‘internally displaced people’ deserving of refugee status and government protection,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Duke, who soon after the conference pleaded guilty to mail fraud, moved to Moscow in the early 2000s “to struggle against people of other colors and Jews,” the SPLC notes.

A writer for EURO’s now nonfunctioning website, Ian Mosley, wrote in 2007, “The beautiful Germany of the 1930s with blonde children happily running through every village has been replaced with a multi-racial cesspool. Out of work Africans can be seen shuffling along the same streets, which used to be clean and safe in the days of the National Socialists.”

EURO’s 2002 conference in Metairie, Louisiana was titled the “2002 National/International EURO Workshop on Civil Rights.” Duke addressed the conference from Europe. In Louisiana, Duke’s protégé, Vincent Breeding, led the proceedings.

According to the Louisiana politics blog, CenLamar, which first broke the story, Breeding, whose real name is Bruce Alan Breeding, was previously a member of National Alliance. National Alliance’s leader Dr. William Pierce wrote Hunter, a 1989 novel whose protagonists carry out a bombing nearly identical to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The book was found among Timothy McVeigh’s possessions and is purported to have influenced him.

The Washington Post reported that Scalise’s “political circle” was working around the clock Monday night trying to describe Scalise’s 2002 actions as the work of a “disorganized and ill-prepared young politician who didn’t pay close attention to invitations.” Scalise told the local Times-Picayune, “For anyone to suggest that I was involved with a group like this is insulting and ludicrous.” According to Scalise’s political team, Scalise would not have attended the event had he known its political content.

In fact, Scalise was a featured speaker at the event. A write-up on the white-supremacist site in 2002 , titled “A New Breeding of National Activism,” features Scalise’s speech prominently, not even mentioning Duke’s or Breeding’s remarks.

A large portion of the report discusses then-State Representative Scalise, who “brought into sharp focus the dire circumstances pervasive in many important, under-funded needs of the community at the expense of graft within the Housing and Urban Development Fund, an apparent give-away to a selective group based on race.”

This is a significant quote because it punctures whatever claim Scalise has to being innocent of the politics of the event. Scalise, according to this attendee, put forward a racialist understanding of state politics that supported the white-nationalist agenda of the conference. Later, EURO gave support for Scalise’s run for the 1st Congressional District of Louisiana, stating, “If Duke does not make the election for whatever reason, this gentleman would be a good alternative.”

The Washington Post reports that local organizations were well aware of the conference back in 2002, with a local sports team worried about staying at the same hotel as the conference, fearing for the safety of their African American members. In the words of Lamar White, who publishes CenLamar, “Unless Steve Scalise is totally incompetent, he knew exactly where he was headed when he parked his car in the lot in front of the Landmark Best Western.”

These revelations underscore a dirty secret of American politics, concealed by the mass media and both of the principal political parties, namely the intimate connections between the Republican Party and extreme rightwing and fascistic organizations.

In 1999 it was revealed that Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), a member of the house Judiciary Committee and one of the prosecutors in the Clinton impeachment trial, was a keynote speaker at a convention of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). The CCC is a white supremacist group with ties to the Ku Klux Klan and neo-fascist groups.

During this same exposure, Trent Lott, the Senate Majority Leader, and Republican from Mississippi, was revealed to also have links to the CCC. In the CCC’s publication, The Citizen Informer, various racist, anti-Semitic, and fascistic diatribes have been penned. One CCC columnist wrote in 1998, “Any effort to destroy the race by a mixture of black blood is an effort to destroy Western civilization itself.” In 2002, Lott expressed regret that Strom Thurmond, of the segregationist States Rights Party, did not win the 1948 presidential election.

A special report highlights the growing disparity in America, and the issues many are having in keeping up with payments, which can even lead to incarceration for failure to pay – in spite of constitutional protections.

Thanks in part to the growing trend of private collection agencies – including those who service fines and penalties assessed by government agencies – the inability or failure to pay debts is resulting in arrest warrants, mounting costs and, yes, jail time.

And things are only going to get worse:

The ACLU highlighted the growing issue of “Court-Sanctioned Extortion by Private Probation Companies.” On Debtors’ Prisons:

Across the country, in the face of mounting budget deficits, states are more aggressively going after poor people who have already served their criminal sentences and jailing them for failing to pay their legal debts. These modern-day debtors’ prisons impose devastating human costs, waste taxpayer money and resources, undermine our criminal justice system, are racially skewed, and create a two-tiered system of justice.

This case started with traffic violations and trouble with serious medical expenses:

PBS reported:

Cities across the country are increasingly turning to what are known as private probation companies to collect unpaid fines. But are indigent people ending up in jail because they can’t afford to pay? Since NewsHour Weekend’s first story on this issue aired last spring, the Childersburg Municipal Court issued a “standing order” stating that “In no case shall an indigent defendant be incarcerated … based solely on his or her inability to pay fines.” But the practice continues elsewhere in the country. Special correspondent John Carlos Frey takes an in-depth look at what some are calling the return of the debtors’ prison.

From the transcript:

In 1971 The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution prohibits imposing “a jail term solely because the defendant is indigent and cannot forthwith pay the fine in full.”

1,000 people every month are going to jail in Alabama because they cannot afford to pay a fine.”


TIM FUGATT: It was all at one time, just– just hit us all at once. And I explained it all to them. But we– you know, it was either pay or go to jail.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: Being threatened with a jail sentence, did that help you to come up with the money?

TIM FUGATT: It helped to try a little harder. But, you know, still. I mean, as the old saying goes, you know, you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: Over the next 8 months with JCS monthly fees adding up, the couple missed at least one court date each and were fined additional fees for failure to appear. Then a warrant for their arrest was issued. By the time of their arrest in February of 2012, the Fugatt’s had racked up $2,500 in additional court fines. Remember all this began with three traffic violations for which they were found not guilty.

Addressing citizens of Rwanda December 12, 2014, President Kagame promised an expensive war to proponents of freedom, human rights, justice and democracy in Rwanda, and peace in the Great Lakes region. Amplifying Kagame’s belligerent remarks, Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo dismissed FDLR as « bandits » and such proponents of freedom and peace as « children selling candy”

Théogène Rudasingwa

On December 30, 2014, U.S. Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region, Ambassador Russ Feingold, told reporters that military action should be taken against the Rwandan armed group FDLR. Ambassador Feingold added that the ‘United States stands ready’ to support such military action after the expiry of the January 2, 2015, deadline. Behind the scene there are frantic activities for Kagame and Museveni to by-pass SADC, and deploy the East African Stand-by Force, get Angola replace Tanzania and South Africa, thus qualifying for support by U.S. Special Forces.

Africa, you are forewarned of this new militaristic venture in our midst

The United States is wrong again in supporting and spearheading a policy choice with grave and potentially catastrophic consequences for Rwandans and people of the Great Lakes region. As in 1994, when President Clinton and his advisers chose to ignore the plight of Rwandans, ushering in genocide and suffering in the Great Lakes region, now his fellow Democrat, President Obama is calling for war in DRC. Those who advised President Clinton against helping Rwandans in 1994 now hold even senior positions in the Obama White House, and have now decided that the best option for Rwanda now is to shoot Rwandans.

First, FDLR has called for dialogue with the Kagame regime while accepting to lay down its arms. The Kagame regime has categorically stated it will not negotiate with FDLR because it comprises “genocidaires” ( despite the fact that over 20 years Rwanda has integrated thousands of such elements in its Rwanda Defence Forces).

The United States echoes the Rwandan position whole sale, by not differentiating those who should account for their crimes, from the rank and file who have legitimate demands regarding marginalization of the Hutu in the post-1994 political dispensation. Accountability for crimes among those in FDLR who are responsible is an important principle that should be upheld. Equally, Kagame and his clique, responsible for horrendous abuses in Rwanda, DRC and across the globe should be equally held accountable.

Second, unlike the M23, FDLR is NOT fighting UN peacekeepers, Rwandan or Congolese armies. Why should the United States and Rwanda think that a war of annihilation against this group of Rwandans will be a viable and just effort this time?

Third, another war effort in DRC may once again turn regional and expensive, as Kagame wants and has promised, with humanitarian consequences to Congolese people and Rwandan refugees in DRC. The human toll on Rwandans and Congolese in DRC, largely due to Kagame’s wars of impunity, enabled by US protective policies have left over six millions dead in the last two decades. There are over a quarter of a million Rwandan refugees languishing in the jungles of DRC. Is the United States ready to take responsibility of another and far worse humanitarian catastrophe?

Fourth, the main architects of the M23 defeat, notably South Africa, Tanzania and DRC are not keen on purely military solutions that do not take into consideration Rwanda’s domestic repression that requires a peaceful dialogue, not only with FDLR but also with Rwanda’s political opposition. Kagame has closed political space. He kills and imprisons his opponents. Unable to persuade SADC as to the rationale for war, the United States has resorted to big-sticks, a check book and  gunboats to woo Angola and isolate Tanzania and. South Africa.

Fifth, the United States push for war risks inflaming an already fragile and polarized situation in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since Kagame has ruled out any dialogue with armed or political opposition to his brutal and repressive regime, and it’s principal and powerful ally ( United States) calls for war, the voices for peaceful change will increasingly become marginalized as civil war becomes the only realistic option for regime change. As Kagame promised, this will be expensive for all Rwandans, including Kagame and his henchmen, for the Great Lakes region, and for international community. Just as President Clinton has lived with a guilt-laden conscience due to his failure to act in 1994, a U.S.-engineered Rwandan/DRC tragedy may indeed come to be included in President Obama’s fateful legacy in Africa.

Rwandans, Congolese, SADC, Africans and peace-loving members of the international community should resist calls for war by the United States and President Kagame. Instead, let Rwandans, supported by SADC, the African Unity, and the international community, push for a dialogue for peace between the Kagame regime and the FDLR as well as with the political opposition. 

The United States should move away from a  dangerous militaristic Kagame-centric policy that supports a brutal regime with horrendous human rights abuses in Rwanda, DRC and across the world. Such a policy may look good in the short term, but in the medium to long term it is counter-productive to U.S. national interests. Most importantly, it runs against the foundational principles of freedom, equality and pursuit of happiness upon which the United States is built, and which even wretched Rwandans as human beings demand and deserve.

Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa

Washington, D.C.

December 30, 2014

E-mail: [email protected]

Dr.Theogene Rudasingwa was formerly Ambassador of Rwanda to the United States, Chief of Staff to President Paul Kagame, and Secretary General of the Rwanda’s ruling party, the Rwandese Patriotic Front ( RPF). He is the Coordinator of the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), and author of Healing A Nation, and Urgent Call.

Even before the dissolution of the Greek parliament and the ensuing electoral campaign, International and European powers have launched a campaign of lies and threats aimed at cowering the Greek electorate away from voting for SYRIZA (United Social Front) in the upcoming general election to take place on 25 January. Seconded by the mainstream European media, the “leaders”, Juncker, Merkel, Hollande, Renzi, or Schäuble, are preparing yet another brutal intervention into Greece’s home affairs, a country they have already turned into a mess of social ruin through the inhuman and barbarous austerity policies they have dictated.

The result will be decisive in the social war against the vast majority of the European population!

The CADTM does not have the least doubt about the real intentions of those who have used Greece as a European testing ground for the most extreme neoliberal policies and used the Greeks as guinea pigs for social, political and economic shock therapies. We must be ready for an escalation of their campaign. They cannot allow that SYRIZA gain victory and be emulated throughout Europe! They will stop at nothing because they are well aware that the result of the Greek elections will be decisive in the social war they are waging against the vast majority of the European population!

It is because the stakes are so high that we can expect the “leaders” of Europe and of Greece to refuse to accept the result of the poll which, for the first time in Greek history, should bring victory to the Greek left. They will certainly try to stifle the left wing government that will be the democratic result, because its eventual success will be interpreted as tremendous encouragement, to the workers and peoples of Europe, to resist.

The CADTM, which has always been alongside the Greek people in their struggle against austerity and the grave infringements of their social and democratic rights, again calls on European and worldwide social movements and radical parties to unflinchingly support the resistance and struggle of the Greek people. The illegitimate, illegal and odious debt that the Greek people have been burdened with is not their debt. The CADTM considers that the creation of an international popular commission to audit Greece’s debt in order to identify the illegitimate, illegal and/or odious parts that should not be repaid, would set a precedent and nourish the debate on debt repudiation in all the peripheral European countries.

To support the Greek people and the Greek left in their struggle to liberate the country from the grip of creditors and from the dictatorship of the markets is now the duty, not only of grass roots activists, but also of every European citizen that refuses this Europe of austerity that produces misery, racism and barbarism.

CADTM Europe

On December 31st, Josh Rogin of Bloomberg ‘News’ headlined “Inside Obama’s Secret Outreach to Russia,” and his opening sentence ‘reported’ on “the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown little interest in … halting his aggression in neighboring Ukraine.” That ‘reporter’ from Bloomberg ‘News’ was ‘reporting’ from only sources inside the U.S. Administration — only from individuals who are hired by and who represent Barack Obama, none who are hired by and who represent Obama’s enemy Vladimir Putin; and so the question naturally arises as to whether Rogin and Bloomberg ‘News’ are ‘reporting’ propaganda, or are they instead reporting news (as is claimed by Bloomberg ‘News’)?

Documentation will be presented here to prove that Josh Rogin and Bloomberg ‘News’ were lying, and that the actual aggression has been by Obama, and against Putin — the exact opposite of what Bloomberg ‘News’ and their ‘reporter’ are claiming — and that they knew or ought to have known this reality that contradicts their false charge here. The documentation presented will be in the form of links to articles that are, or else that themselves link to, recorded or filmed events that constitute and display Obama’s aggression against Putin (i.e., against the nation that Putin leads), so that the reader becomes a viewer, of the actual historical events and documents, instead of (as in such fake ‘news’ ‘reporting’ during our new age of online news when people can actually see the truth and not merely read other people’s beliefs about what is true) being merely passive readers of lies — something that during the print age was unfortunately unavoidable for readers, because there were no links at that time.

The most important of these actual events was the February 2014 violent coup by Obama against the democratically elected President of Ukraine, which is a nation right next door to Russia, which coup is an event in history that is comparable to the Cold War event when the Soviet Union took over Cuba, right next door to the United States, and tried to install nuclear missiles there against the U.S. Consequently, if you, the reader, happen to think that when the Soviet Union tried to install nuclear missiles into Cuba, there was no real threat being posed against the national security of the United States, then you will not think that the installation of nuclear missiles into Ukraine constitutes a threat to Russia’s national security, in which case the argument that will be presented here about the fraudulence of Bloomberg ‘News’ can possess no merit at all to you; and any such reader would then be wasting time to read any further here. The following argument can hold valid only for readers who do consider at least the possibility of there being an analogy between Cuba then, and Ukraine now. This is being said in the way of a preface to the documentation, which will now be presented:

U.S. President Barack Obama chose to replace Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych with nazis in aFebruary coup because Yanukovych opposed Ukraine’s joining NATO and becoming a staging-area for U.S. nuclear missiles aimed against Russia. U.S. taxpayers are now the chief financial backers of Ukraine’s military campaign (such as here and here and here and here) to exterminate the residents in the pro-Russian region of Ukraine, which had voted 90% for Yanukovych. The U.S. President, Barack Obama, and his financial backers, are seeking to destroy Russia in order for the U.S. aristocracy to enjoy unchallengeable supremacy over the entire world — a goal that will require defeating the only nation that possesses a nuclear arsenal that competes with America’s.

Soldiers such as the one who was interviewed by Ukraine’s Channel 5 are the front-line troops in that American plan.

Even the founder of the American private CIA firm, Stratfor, acknowledges that the overthrow of Yanukovych was a coup (he called it “the most blatant coup in history”); and even Ukraine’s former, 1994-1998, U.S. Ambassador says that Ukraine’s war “is a prelude to World War III.”

The editors and reporters at Bloomberg ‘News’ have had access all along to every one of the news sources that have been linked to here, and to the news-sources that are linked to within those reports, because I have been submitting those news sources to them all along, and also because all of those authentic news sources have been available online and one can reasonably expect that the editors and reporters at Bloomberg ‘News’ knew about them even if individuals such as I had not been sending them those links.

It is up to the reader, and no one else, to determine whether Josh Rogin was the propagandist, or whether Eric Zuesse is. I shall state here for the record that nobody pays me for my news reports. I refuse to be paid as a journalist. My only obligation as a journalist is to the truth, as I see it — not to any individual or group, and it will always be that way.

Whatever you find, please pass it along on social media, so as to inform a broader public about what you have found. Spreading news this way is not mere gossip (such as Bloomberg ‘News’ and its many equivalents might charge); it is, instead, the only way to get beyond controlled ‘news’ determining what the public-at-large believes, in a democracy. This act of getting-beyond propaganda is essential in order to prevent our nation from becoming merely a ‘democracy’ (if it hasn’t degenerated to that already). So: your efforts can help, and this is the new way to become involved in building democracy — one person at a time.

The fight for $15, a movement that started two years ago with a walkout of fast food workers in New York, has been gaining momentum ever since. In early December 2014, workers staged one-day strikes in over 150 cities, creating what The New York Times called “the largest labor protests in the nation in years.”

Additionally significant is the fact that the movement has been reviving the principle of solidarity — a principle so often forgotten in the current labor movement — with home care aides and convenience store workers joining the protests. These workers fully grasp the principle that if they step up and help other workers in struggle, they will get support when they themselves are in need.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has played an indispensable role, helping crystallize the movement by supplying $10 million to help finance the organizing operations. By underwriting a struggle that not only benefits some of their own workers but those outside of its ranks as well, SEIU is embracing the finest principle of the union movement: Instead of pursuing their own narrow self-interests at the expense of everyone else, like those unions that support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, SEIU is championing the interests of the working class as a whole. Even workers who make more than $15 will benefit from a substantially higher minimum wage because the bottom will have been raised and expectations adjusted accordingly.

Yet, surprisingly, some on the left have been disparaging the fight for $15, basically calling it reformist or something that does not deviate from what the Democratic Party itself might endorse. They point to San Francisco, for example, where the Democratic mayor and the entire Board of Supervisors who are overwhelmingly Democrats all endorsed the November 2014 $15 ballot initiative in San Francisco.

However, the Democratic Party itself, while vaguely endorsing a higher minimum wage as a gimmick to help win elections, has certainly come nowhere near to endorsing $15. President Obama’s proposal for a federal minimum wage of $10.10 is pathetic in comparison. Democratic Governor Jerry Brown of California recently signed legislation that will raise the state minimum wage to $10 by 2016.

In San Francisco, the individual Democratic Party politicians who supported the $15 ballot initiative were clearly trying to cling to political relevance. Prior to its passage, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Advocates and pollsters were thrilled — and somewhat stunned —  at the level of support [the $15 minimum wage proposal received]…,” registering 59 percent. When the election actually occurred, it won an amazing 77 percent of the vote. Significantly, none of these Democratic Party stalwarts was responsible for initiating the fight for $15. Mayor Ed Lee tried to negotiate a lower version to placate business interests, but the unions refused to accept anything under $15.

In January 2014 the San Francisco Labor Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for $15 in San Francisco. And, SEIU 1021, the largest union in San Francisco, took full command of the campaign, creating the ballot initiative and leading it to victory.

Some on the left have argued that the $15 minimum proposal must be evaluated within the framework of the “objective needs” of the working class. By this they are referring to the needs of working people that can be inferred stemming from their class position in capitalist society and the exploitation they suffer for the sake of maximizing profits. And they have calculated that urging organized labor to break with the Democratic Party must prioritize over the fight for $15.

Certainly, any objective observer would have to agree that the Democrats have consistently sold out the interests of the working class in favor of the 1%, except when massive social movements have pushed them in a more progressive direction and they are intent on averting a real revolution. As long as the Democratic Party remains true to its historic roots and accepts financing from the 1%, it will at best support tepid raises to the minimum wage in order to feign support for working people, except when confronting massive public pressure. Shamefully, its current reluctance to embrace $15 occurs in a shocking context where 95 percent of all new income goes to the 1% and inequalities in wealth keep growing rapidly.

But the fight for $15 surely qualifies as an objective need of the working class. During the past four decades there has been a massive transfer of wealth from the working class to the rich. The fight for $15, however, represents a modest but significant shift in the opposite direction. It will actually transfer wealth from the rich to the working class. In San Francisco, for example, 23 percent of the workforce will receive a raise, at the expense of profits, thanks to the passage of the initiative. The fight for $15 is a small victory in the much larger class war.

Yet, the concept of the “objective needs” of the working class, when pursued independently of the needs actually embraced and articulated by working people themselves, becomes a sterile, academic category that risks isolating those who use it from those they are trying to lead. By brushing aside those issues that in reality resonate with working people and inspire them to action, the concept of “objective needs” harbors the danger of engendering a patronizing condescension by those who claim to champion the working class.

It is only when workers become activated in class struggle that their political consciousness begins to develop at a rapid pace. Workers experience first-hand the camaraderie of those who are fighting for a common cause and depend on one another’s commitment for success, an experience that serves as the foundation of working class solidarity. They quickly learn to distinguish their true friends and allies from those who pay lip service to their needs but find every opportunity to condemn workers who are actually putting up a fight. For this reason, every positive opportunity should be seized to encourage working people to engage in struggle, and this means choosing issues that will activate them.

Moreover, once workers have the experience of engaging in struggle and actually win significant victories, a new reality opens up. They quickly realize that by practicing the principle of solidarity on an ever-larger basis and engaging in common struggle, greater victories can be achieved, and hence victories have the potential to beget even bigger victories. But workers are not going to commit themselves to struggle for gains that are dictated to them by those who are devoted to theory. Working people will always insist on defining these issues themselves.

On the other hand, the concept of “objective needs” cannot be rejected either. Relying exclusively on the consciousness of working people as a compass for political prioritizing can be equally dangerous. Workers, after all, have at times exhibited “false consciousness” in such forms as racism, xenophobia, sexism, etc. In such cases, having an understanding of the objective needs of the working class that include, for example, the need for working class solidarity and class struggle in the fight to end exploitation, is indispensable in sorting out which struggles of workers should be supported and encouraged and which might deserve condemnation. And what would be the point of mastering revolutionary theory if one only followed the lead of the masses?

In actuality, both objective needs and subjective working class consciousness must be embraced in a dialectical synthesis to maximize the effectiveness of working class struggles. And the fight for $15 achieves such a synthesis. Aside from the fact that it represents an objective financial class victory, it has succeeded in inspiring an actual movement, unlike the call to run independent labor candidates for political office. Working people are becoming engaged and putting up a fight for a better life in a way that hasn’t been seen in decades, as The New York Times noted.  And this should not be surprising. The fight for $15 holds immediate and huge rewards for low-wage workers who wage this battle and win.

Further, little is accomplished by counterposing the fight for $15 and, for example, the running of independent electoral candidates, as some who have championed the latter have done.  In fact, the fight for $15 helps lay the foundation for the more advanced fight to win elections with independent labor candidates because working people, acting independently of the Democrats and Republicans, are struggling for their own class interests as they fight for $15. Here they are acting as a class “in itself,” as Marx observed. In other words, they are unconsciously defending their class interests. But this is a necessary step in the development of working class consciousness. The next step is to become conscious of themselves as a distinct class with opposing interests to those who exploit them. When working people begin to understand the necessity of establishing their own political party, they will be self-consciously defending their class interests, or as Marx said, they will be acting as a class “for itself.”

In Oregon, where the minimum wage can only be raised on a statewide basis, not in individual cities, union activists have launched a robust campaign to raise the state minimum wage to $15. They began by passing resolutions in their local unions and created a diverse steering committee for their “$15 Now” campaign where many unions and community groups were represented. Then they invited the political director of SEIU 1021 of northern California to come up and explain how they won the initiative in San Francisco. They also began a serious campaign to solicit union endorsements and have already assembled an impressive array, including over two dozen local unions as well as the state AFL-CIO and the Northwest Oregon Labor Council. They have drawn community allies into the struggle, such as Jobs With Justice. Next they are planning a huge rally in Salem to promote public awareness of the fight. This entire campaign is an example of working people relying on themselves rather than turning to the Democrats to beg for handouts and could be used as a model throughout the country.

The fight for $15 is a battle actually unfolding before us, the kind of battle we have not witnessed for decades. Right now it is the only battle on the horizon. The call for $15 has inspired low-wage workers and youth to act. To the degree that they achieve victories, they will open up the potential to change the course of history and trigger a resurgence of a working class movement. If they fail, then workers will lose their confidence, and the class struggle will suffer another serious setback. The stakes are high, and for this reason at this time the fight for $15 deserves all available support. Organized labor should schedule a national conference of union representatives and their working class community allies in order to strengthen and widen the national fight for $15 while insisting they will settle for nothing less.

Ann Robertson is a Lecturer at San Francisco State University and a member of the California Faculty Association. Bill Leumer is a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 853 (ret.). Both are writers for Workers Action and may be reached at

It is the accustomed practice of Western news media to refer to North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, as a propaganda outlet, by which is implied that it is a source of self-serving lies. It would be more accurate to say that KCNA propagates the point of view of the North Korean government, which is unquestionably self-serving, or at least intended to be. It is hardly likely that anyone would express a point of view that was deliberately self-damaging. And as far as lies go, while I have no evidence that the North Korean government lies, it would come as no surprise to discover that it has, from time to time, backed its point of view with deceptions, both deliberate and unintended. Humans, as a rule, are not unfailingly honest or free from cognitive biases that sometimes make it difficult for them to see what others see, and North Koreans are as human as anyone else.

All the same, were KCNA to carry reports completely devoid of deception, it seems very likely that it would still be the case that the Western news media would label the news agency a propaganda outlet, in the sense of passing off deliberate lies as truth. This is so because the North Korean view is so often at odds with the spin pumped out in Western capitals by officials of state and reported and passed along by Western news media that it must seem to the purveyors of the Western point of view than the North Korean alternative must be wrong and deliberately so.

If we define propaganda as propagating a self-interested point of view, then entirely absent in Western journalistic commentary on the official news agencies of the foreign states that Western governments are hostile to is any recognition that they, themselves, i.e., the Western news media, are indistinguishable from the foreign news agencies they discredit. As much as the KCNA, Western news media propagate the official viewpoints of states, in their case the points of view of Western states, expressed by presidents, prime ministers, secretaries of defense, Pentagon generals, heads of intelligence agencies, and so on, whose words are carefully reproduced and reported, almost always uncritically, in Western newspapers and TV and radio broadcasts. Asked by the journalist and film-maker John Pilger to explain how his news organization failed to challenge official deceptions about Iraq’s mythical weapons of mass destruction, the pretext for the 2003 Anglo-US invasion and occupation of Iraq, a senior news executive replied that it is not the job of the news media to question what state officials say, only to report their words. This amounts to admitting what left critics have long contended: that the Western news media are merely stenographers for those in power.

Moreover, the fact that Western news media are mainly privately-owned and not run by the state does not make them disinterested and neutral. For the most part, Western news media are owned by an ultra-wealthy business elite. Accordingly, these media promote positions that are compatible with and conducive to the interests of the larger corporate community to which they belong. The view that the news media reflect corporate community interests because they are part of the corporate community is almost axiomatic. There would be no controversy in the claim that a newspaper owned by labor unions would promote positions that are compatible with the interests of labor. Nor would there be much disagreement with the view that a news network owned by environmentalists would take a dim view of fracking. Clearly, then, we should expect media owned by wealthy business owners to reflect the viewpoint of wealthy business owners.

Indeed, it would be naive to accept the deception implied in the phrase “independent media” that media that are independent of the state are neutral, unbiased, and therefore uniquely authoritative. They may be independent of the state, but that does not make them independent; they’re still dependent on their owners. But concealing their dependency allows the news media’s business owners to smuggle their interests into the ways the news is reported behind a facade of journalistic neutrality. Hence, a pro-business point of view is seen to be common sense, since it is disseminated by news media which profess to be independent and therefore impartial, unbiased, and objective. However, the truth of the matter is that privately-owned news media have a point of view, i.e., that of the corporate elite which own them. The same corporate elite dominates the state and the public policy process through: lobbying; funding think tanks to prepare policy recommendations for governments; political campaign contributions; and over-representation relative to their numbers in the legislative, executive and bureaucratic branches of the state. This explains why the Western news media uncritically echo the viewpoint of state officials: they’re both working for the same masters.

The function of the Western news media in propagating a point of view that favors its owners is evident in its propagation of certain ideas about North Korea as incontestable truths, though which in fact are far from incontestable, but which have the congenial effect from the perspective of the corporate elite of seeming to uphold the superiority of the capitalist system and the necessity of governments catering to foreign investors if they’re to secure prosperity for their citizenry.

These ideas, or myths, come in two parts:

1. The idea that North Korea is desperately poor.
2. The attribution of its alleged poverty to the public ownership and central planning of its economy and failure to establish an attractive climate for foreign investment.

Visitors to Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city, are often struck by the contrast between the city as it is (clean, modern, and teeming with well-dressed and seemingly prosperous residents) and North Korea as it is portrayed by the Western news media (impoverished, rundown, gloomy, on the verge of collapse.) Pyongyang is not the horror of poverty that Western news media make it out to be.

A recent article in the South Korean newspaper The Hankyoreh paints a picture wildly at odds with the Western news media’s gloomy view.

Three years after Kim Jong-un came to power in North Korea, the streets of Pyongyang look much different. The streets of the city are lined with new 40-floor skyscrapers, and taxis drive down them. Before, they had been dark at night, but now they are illuminated by bright lights, while smartphone-toting women are dressed more smartly than before.

The Hankyoreh quotes a recent visitor to North Korea, Jin Zhe, Director of Northeast Asia Studies for the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences: “The economy appears to be moving briskly in Pyongyang these days. What particularly stood out were the large apartment buildings being built in various parts of the city and the bustling activity at the markets. You can really feel how much it’s thriving.”

The North Korean economy is growing and production of industrial and agricultural goods is on the rise [1]. Food scarcity, however, has been a problem (though a diminishing one), and conditions appear to be less favorable in the countryside than in Pyongyang. The existence of food scarcity is almost invariably attributed by Western reporters and editorial writers to the alleged inefficiencies of public ownership and planning or to North Korea’s investment in its military, allegedly at the expense of its people. Both attributions are facile.

Pyongyang. Source: Daily Mail, May 29, 2014

Until the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, North Korea experienced no food insecurity under an economic system based on public ownership and planning. It was only after the demise of communism in Eastern Europe that food security became a problem. As in Cuba, the crash of the Eastern European socialist states created an economic shock, as North Korea’s trading relationships and economic interconnections with these states broke down. Agricultural production suffered as inputs became scarce. Food production was further set back by a series of natural calamities.

The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe had two additional effects on North Korea’s economy.

First, it allowed the United States to ramp up its military intimidation of North Korea. In 1991, the top US military official at the time, Colin Powell, complained that “I’m running out of demons. I’m running out of villains. I’m down to Castro and Kim Il Sung.” [2] With the Warsaw Pact out of the way, the United States could now concentrate on eliminating other communist states. In February 1993, Lee Butler, head of the US Strategic Command, announced that the United States was retargeting hydrogen bombs aimed at the old USSR on North Korea (and other targets), though at the time, North Korea was a non-nuclear weapons state. One month later, North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. [3] Already on a permanent war footing—the Korean War had never officially ended and the United States had tens of thousands of troops garrisoned across the border in South Korea and in nearby Japan—North Korea was forced to devote a crushingly large part of its resources to its military and self-defense. Now the pressure on the North Korean economy was being ratcheted up further.

Second, the United States and its allies had maintained a wide-ranging system of sanctions on North Korea—more accurately described as a campaign of economic warfare, aimed at wrecking the North Korean economy. With the option open prior to 1990 of establishing economic ties and trading relationships with communist allies, North Korea was largely able to side-step the effects of the US-led campaign of economic warfare. However, after 1991 the door was closed, except for North Korea’s relationship with its neighbor China.

John Mueller and Karl Mueller explain:

During the Cold War the effect of economic sanctions was generally limited because when one side imposed them the other side often undermined them. Thus the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba was substantially mitigated for decades by compensatory Soviet aid. But in the wake of the Cold War, sanctions are more likely to be comprehensive and thus effective, in causing harm if not necessarily in achieving political objectives. So long as they can coordinate their efforts, the big countries have at their disposal a credible, inexpensive, and potent weapon to use against small and medium-sized foes. The dominant powers have shown that they can inflict enormous pain at remarkably little cost to themselves or the global economy. Indeed, in a matter of months or years whole economies can be devastated. [4]

Western news media almost never attribute the economic difficulties experienced by countries that have been subjected to campaigns of economic warfare to the effects of those campaigns. Instead, their economic difficulties are almost invariably imputed to economic mismanagement (which is equated to expropriation of privately-owned productive assets or failing to compete for, cater to, and indulge foreign investors) or to the targeted government’s socialist policies (and always, targeted governments pursue policies the US State Department would decry as socialist, though they’re often more accurately labelled as economically nationalist.) The aim of this deception is obvious: to discredit economic policy that fails to comport with the profit-making interests of the Western corporate community.

Much has been said by the political left about the devastating effects of the US embargo on Cuba and of the millions of Iraqis who died as a result of disruptions caused by Western sanctions throughout the 1990s. But very little has been said about sanctions in connection with North Korea, despite the reality that North Korea is the most heavily sanctioned country on earth and has been menaced by a campaign of unremitting US-led economic warfare since 1950. Policy-makers in Washington now despair of having any levers left to exert pressure on North Korea. The country is under such a heavy burden of sanctions, and so thoroughly menaced by military pressure, that there are few levers left to reach for.

In a December 26 Washington Post op-ed former US president Jimmy Carter opened a tiny crack in the near total embargo on mentioning sanctions and their effects on North Korea’s economy. Carter acknowledged that the “U.S. embargo, imposed 64 years ago at the start of the Korean War, has been more strictly enforced, with every effort made to restrict or damage North Korea’s economy.” Carter then went on to draw the link between US policy aimed at “destroying the (North Korean) economy” and “the plight of people,” arguing for economic warfare that didn’t attack “the living conditions” of North Koreans. [5] What he didn’t espouse (not unexpectedly, but which needs to be argued for) is the complete removal of sanctions on North Korea. The US-led campaign of economic warfare on the country has no legitimate grounds. Its ultimate aim, working in conjunction with US-led military pressure, is to force the North Korean government to jettison its system of public ownership and planning and to fold itself into South Korea, where it can become part of a larger US neo-colony. There are no legal or moral grounds for this policy. Its existence is rooted entirely in the profit-making interests of the West’s corporate elite. The more immediate goal of the campaign is to limit and disrupt the North Korean economy in order to discredit alternatives to capitalism and US free enterprise. Achieving this aim critically depends on the cooperation of the Western news media. They must ignore the effects of the sanctions (as well as US military pressure) and attribute North Korea’s economic difficulties to its economic and defense policies.

If propaganda amounts to the propagation of a self-serving narrative, the Western news media need look no further than themselves and their owners to find the perfect model. North Korea, according the propaganda system of the West, is desperately poor, when in fact, at least in Pyongyang, it is anything but. North Korea’s alleged poverty, according to the same model, is due to it military policies, with no mention made of how they are legitimate self-defensive measures taken to resist the very real military threat posed by the United States and its allies. Similarly, North Korea’s alleged indigence is imputed to its economic system, with the effect of economic warfare whose object is the destruction of the North Korean economy totally ignored.

What Western propaganda must miss is the most compelling story of all—how a country born off a guerrilla struggle against Japanese occupation holds on, and even, by some measures, has managed to thrive, despite being subjected to 64 years of economic warfare and military threat, including the threat of nuclear annihilation, by the most powerful and predatory state on the planet.


1. “After three years of Kim Jong-un, skyscrapers popping up on Pyongyang skyline,” The Hankyoreh, December 29, 2014.
2. Quoted in Carl Kaysen, Robert S. McNamara and George W. Rathjens, “Nuclear weapons after the Cold War,” Foreign Affairs, Fall 1991.
3. Bruce Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History, W.W. Norton & Company, 2005. p. 488-489.
4. John Mueller and Karl Mueller, “Sanctions of Mass Destruction,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 1999.
5. Jimmy Carter, “Cuba, North Korea, and getting sanctions right,” The Washington Post, December 26, 2014.

The Harvesting of Palestine. The Zionist Project Prevails?

January 1st, 2015 by Joanne Maria McNally

With the recent failed bid by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab League at the UN security council, to try and end Israelis’ occupation of Palestinian land and to create a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders, it seems an appropriate moment to review the situation for Palestinians since 1915.

What is the background to the demonization and brutalization of Palestinians? Most of all, why is the international community was assisting properly and why has it not assisted the Palestinians in protecting or restoring their inalienable rights over decades? Why is their situation so brutally upside-down almost a century after they were supposed to be independent and determining their own state affairs?

Some of my previous historical work and publications have explored aspects of the Weimar Republic, Hitler’s Germany and the Nazis’ prison and camp system from 1933 onwards, and also the Holocaust in some depth. Palestine and the Palestinians had absolutely nothing to do with the Holocaust; yet, the Israelis have been, and are treating them as if they had, and are using certain Nazi methods against them, including ghettoization in bantustans, random collective punishment and brutalization (such as “breaking the bones” strategy introduced by Yitzak Rabin in 1987), arbitrary detention without trial or charge, also against children. And of course, targeted assassinations and massacres. Why?

What are the key impulses, decision-making policies and legislation which have led to the destructive and poisonous harvesting of Palestine, and which has led to the appalling conditions for the indigenous population of today; to its brutally contained dots of existence? Of particular significance, is a reassessment of decisions and events leading to the “Balfour-Rothschild Letter” of 2 November 1917. This so-called agreement is not what the public at large have been led to believe.

Theodor Herzl, founder of Zionism, and whose portrait I was proudly shown in the Tel Aviv home of a well-known Israeli TV personality in February 2002, is the starting point for my recent publication ‘The Harvesting of Palestine’. In 2002, I had not concerned myself with Zionism or with the role of Theodor Herzl and his idea of the “restoration of the Jewish State” published in 1896. At the time of Herzl’s idea there were about 30,000 Jews in Palestine, and his idea, promoted early on by Chaim Weizmann (first President of the State of Israelis in 1948), completely ignored the 500,000 or so Palestinians whose forefathers had been living there for centuries. Herzl and Zionism continue to frame (directly or indirectly) current events in the Middle East and especially in Palestine.

The “Balfour-Rothschild Letter” is extremely unreliable and does not reflect minimum statutory requirements, let alone those of international law, no matter how many ‘legal public cloaks’ surround and adorn it. Yet it has continued to be referred to over the decades as if it does and as if it were a ‘fait accompli’, a “commitment”, albeit a very contradictory one (even as late as 1979 in a comprehensive United Nations’ study of Palestine in its historical perspective (Part II, p.1)).

This has deliberately distracted from the illegitimate and deceptive essence of “Balfour’s” conception, birth and being. Furthermore, the letter of 2 November 1917, produced after the conception (and which came to be referred to as the “Balfour Declaration”), was no legally-binding “Declaration” but rather a “declaration of sympathy” with “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”; and His Majesty’s Government “view(ed) with favour” such a development, but it did not go so far as to use the word “support” or to suggest a “reconstitution” of the Jewish homeland in Palestine. Nevertheless, monumental efforts have been sustained, bribes readily offered and threats made, to bend public law to support it.

It was the events that led up to this document, and its subsequent interpretations, that sowed the seeds for the tragedy that is the Middle East, and especially the Palestine of today. Leonard Stein, renowned historian on Zionism, former barrister, and director of the Jewish Agency in the 1920s, declared that “the real purpose of the Zionist movement was to detach Palestine from Turkey and turn it into a Jewish State” (The Balfour Declaration, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1961, p. 64).

The people deserve better; a lot better. The situation for Palestinians is something that the international community could easily solve by exposing this century-old fraud and stab in the back of the Palestinians which has been majestically and craftily cloaked in legal gobbeldy-gook. I believe one of the reasons why that has not happened, is because it was actually the arch-Zionist Lionel Brandeis, first Jewish US Supreme court Judge, who was secretly involved not only in the drafting of the text of the “Balfour letter” but also of the Mandate in the summer of 1917, and when he had absolutely no legal right or constitutional authority to do so. This was misuse of power and office for a private cause.

And, it is a massive abuse of power with continuing ramifications that was never, and has never been contested or rectified for the Palestinians; the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine. Thus, all legal entities after this date are actually not what they appear to be. The cart was put before the horse in 1917. This “Balfour-Rothschild letter” does not constitute unbiased “public law” endorsement; a consistent desired aim of the Zionists since they first began to “work on” various key figures for their territorial and nationalist ambitions.

The British realized that they had connived with an impossible situation for the indigenous population as early as 1921 (the US remained and have remained silent on their connivance), and a secret Government review of the matter, constituted in 1923, confirmed this. But it was only at the end of World War II, and as Zionist violence was erupting in a savage way against the Palestinians and against the British forces and personnel in Palestine, that they decided to entrust all matters with the newly formed (soon to be US-dominated) United Nations from February 1947 onwards. Eventually, in the face of fierce violence, the British withdrew on 14 May 1948, and three months before the negotiated date of 1 August 1948.

When Palestinians, with the support of the Arab States, rejected the United Nations’ grossly unfair partition and apartheid plans for Palestine of November 1947, the greatest tragedy in Palestinian history occurred: it is known as al-Nakbah (the Catastrophe): the catastrophic harvesting of all that the Palestinians possessed; the terrorization and ethnic cleansing of whole villages; and the massacres of babies, children, women and men, and also livestock.

Thus, the Zionists brutally and knowingly violated the British Mandate, the League of Nations Covenant, and the negotiations and the (albeit controversial) resolution of the international community for two (at that time, unnamed) independent states; they also breached their own promises. Instead of the United Nations holding the Israelis (as they became called) to account for their actions, they were granted the “State of Israel” in 1949 and after it was known that they had committed unprovoked massacres against men, women, children and elderly, such as at Deir Yassin, and had seized 80% of Palestine in total contravention of the United Nations’ resolution for the partition. This has set the trend for their subsequent non-compliant conduct towards the United Nations and their aggressive and pre-emptive actions and wars in the Middle East, and of course against Palestinians. This is the “Palestine problem”; this is why there is no peace in the Middle East. This is why the Palestinians were treated badly before 1946 (Lieutenant-Colonel Williams-Thompson’s assessment of the “Palestine Problem” in 1946). This is why the Palestinians have continued to be treated so badly for decades.

The fellahin (farming) families have very little, but are incredibly welcoming and generous. This would prove to be their downfall in the thirties and forties when they were infiltrated and betrayed ahead of the Zionists’ Plan Dalet, and when detailed records were kept on them in the “Village Files”.

The penultimate verses of Palestine’s fate appear like a Greek Chorus and a tragic farce: successive political leaders (propped up by so-called academics and their research) strut upon the world stage armed with their plans, maps and strategies, chant lip-service to peace and proclaim platitudes of appeasement, whilst allowing the Israelis to conduct a relentless and excessively prolonged campaign of aggression, brutalization, ethnic cleansing and land and property-grabbing against the Palestinians; the indigenous population, and a campaign of destruction, dismemberment and destabilization of countries in the Middle East in order to have a “clean break strategy” to “secure the realm” (Perle et al, 1996).

The harvesting of Palestine has taken on new twists, as the diminishing dots of fragile existence have become even more fragmented by the Israeli annexation wall (on 9 July 2004, it was declared illegal by the International Court, but the Israelis continued building), and as the actual plans and hidden agendas for the region begin to surface. The Entente’s assurances of almost a century ago, and carried personally by Commander David George Hogarth to Sherif Husein on 4 January 1918, continue to be remorselessly violated: “the Entente Powers are determined that the Arab race shall be given full opportunity of once again forming a nation in the world … So far as Palestine is concerned, we are determined that no people shall be subject to another”.

2014: Major Events, Big Lies and Censored News

January 1st, 2015 by Julie Lévesque

The major events of 2014 listed below and in the coming articles are probably the same as the ones recorded in the mainstream media year review. The difference is, as always, in the interpretation of events, in the lies repeated often enough to become “truths” and in the omission of important facts and media censorship.

In 2014, once again, the western mainstream media has shown its servility to the establishment and its mandate: control the public by managing perceptions, convey US-NATO war propaganda and protect the one percent. Once again, its failure to inform instead of propagandizing showed how essential independent media are in our societies to help us understand what is truly going on in the world and to remain free from mental slavery.

The German author Goethe once said: ”None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” 

We could easily say that none are more hopelessly misinformed than those who falsely believe the are informed by the mainstream media.

Help us fight mental enslavement and please share this 2014 independent media retrospective of major events and unreported news.
Since there is a lot to cover, there will be separate articles dealing with different issues.

This selection focuses on the Islamic State and related events in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. “withdrawal” from Afghanistan and Libya and the Benghazigate.

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The Islamic State (ISIS) and the War on Terror Redux 

Twenty-six Things About the Islamic State (ISIL) that Obama Does Not Want You to Know About

The Engineered Destruction and Political Fragmentation of Iraq. Towards the Creation of a US Sponsored Islamist Caliphate

ISIS “Made in USA”. Iraq “Geopolitical Arsonists” Seek to Burn Region

The Islamic State: Who Is ISIS? An Open Source Investigation

NATO and Turkey’s Genocidal War on Syria

Israeli Military Support to Syria Al Qaeda Terrorists, Operating out of the Golan Heights

United Nations Reveals Close Links Between Israel and Al Qaeda Affiliated Terrorist Organizations in Syria

The History of ISIS Beheadings: Part of the “Training Manual” of US Sponsored Syria “Pro-Democracy” Terrorists

Steven Sotloff Video Found by Group Connected to Homeland Security and Responsible for Releasing Fake Osama Bin Laden Video

Who is Behind the Islamic State (ISIL) Beheadings? Probing the SITE Intelligence Group

 The U.S. “withdrawal” from Afghanistan and the opium trade:

The Long Withdrawal: The Defeated Leave Afghanistan

The Growth of Opium Trade in Afghanistan is a Direct Result of the US Invasion

Indefinite Military Presence in Afghanistan: U.S. Wants Compliant Client Regime In Kabul

US Withdrawal from Afghanistan not to be Peaceful

Does Obama Want to Stay in Afghanistan to Harvest Its Opium?

Afghanistan, Garden of Empire: America’s Multibillion Dollar Opium Harvest

New York Times and Obama’s Afghanistan Draw Down: Selling the Never-Ending War on Terror

The Spoils of War: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade

Obama in Afghanistan – 12 and a Half Years of War that Left Millions Dead

Libya and the “Benghazigate”:

And The Benghazi Media Circus Plays On…

The Benghazi Scandal Is “Obama’s Watergate” But Worse

Worse than Iran-Contra? Why the White House is Desperate to Bury Benghazi

The CIA, and the War in Libya

The Destabilization of Africa and the Role of “Shadowy Islamists”. From Benghazi to Boko Haram

Confirmed: U.S. Armed Al Qaeda to Topple Libya’s Gaddaffi

The Secret War in Libya

“The Illegal War on Libya”

NATO’s “Humanitarian Intervention” in Libya: Transforming a Country into a “Failed State”

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In a military operation characteristic of the current phase of United States imperialist intervention in Africa, the Pentagon announced on Dec. 30 that it had killed a leading official of the Al-Shabaab Islamic resistance organization based in Somalia. This figure was one of several who the State Department had placed a $3 million bounty on their heads.

Reuters news agency reported that “The victim, identified as Abdishakur and also known as Tahliil, was the head of Amniyat, a unit believed responsible for suicide attacks in Mogadishu, Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency said in a statement. The U.S. Defense Department said on Monday it launched an air strike in Somalia that targeted a senior al Shabaab leader.” (Dec. 30)

Since 2007, the U.S. and its allies in Britain and France have carried out numerous execution-style attacks in Somalia. These search and destroy missions are an integral part of the U.S.-designed strategic and tactical framework of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) which at present has approximately 22,000 troops in the Horn of Africa state.

These troops come from numerous states including Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sierra Leone and others. It was recently announced that Sierra Leone would not be renewed by the United Nations mandated AMISOM due to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) pandemic which has impacted the country during the year. (, Dec. 24)

Sierra Leone troops participating in AMISOM were trained by the U.S. Army Africa, a component of AFRICOM. Most of the funding, supplies and coordination of AMISOM is carried out by the Pentagon, the CIA and private military and intelligence contractors associated with such occupations that have extended over the last thirteen years from as far east as Afghanistan to the Middle Eastern state of Iraq, where Washington has re-deployed 3,100 troops over the last few months ostensibly to fight the Islamic State, a group which grew out of the Obama administration’s war against the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

In neighboring Djibouti, AFRICOM has established a base at Camp Lemonnier where 4,000 troops and intelligence personnel are stationed. This military base is undergoing a major refurbishment indicating that the Pentagon and CIA penetration of the Horn of Africa is destined to continue for an extended period.

According to an article published by the New York Times on May 5,

The Obama administration said … that it had signed a 20-year lease on its military base in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, the only American installation on the continent and a staging ground for counterterrorism operations in Yemen and Somalia. Djibouti, a country of fewer than one million people the size of New Jersey that borders the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, has played an increasingly significant role in seeking to stabilize regional crises. The deal reflects the small country’s outsize strategic importance in helping the United States and other Western allies combat terrorists, pirates and smugglers in the region.

Nonetheless, despite this massive Pentagon and intelligence presence, security concerns are paramount. A series of strikes by guerrilla forces from Al-Shabaab have created tensions in both Djibouti and Somalia.

Several weeks after the announcement about the expansion of Camp Lemonnier on May 27, the Pentagon publication Stars and Stripes reported that

U.S. military personnel at Camp Lemonnier are locked down following a fatal bombing Saturday at a restaurant frequented by westerners in Djibouti, the strategic Horn of Africa nation that borders Somalia. No U.S. personnel were among the dead or injured, but, as a precaution, troops have been restricted to base, the U.S. military’s Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa said.

Later in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, in response to the targeted assassination of Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane on Sept. 1, on Sept. 8, a convoy of AMISOM troops accompanied by Pentagon, CIA and private military contractors was attacked resulting in the deaths of at least twelve people.

This attack by Al-Shabaab was largely covered up in the U.S. corporate media. The death of military and intelligence operatives in Somalia exposes the central role of Washington in the ongoing war in the Horn of Africa.

In addition to the official U.S. government personnel killed, this incident revealed the role of Bancroft Global Development, a security firm with close ties to the Pentagon. This outfit has been active in Somalia for a number of years.

The New York Times reported as early as 2011 that

The company plays a vital part in the conflict now raging inside Somalia, a country that has been effectively ungoverned and mired in chaos for years. The fight against the Al-Shabaab, a group that United States officials fear could someday carry out strikes against the West, has mostly been outsourced to African soldiers and private companies out of reluctance to send American troops back into a country they hastily exited nearly two decades ago. (Aug. 10)

Just four days prior to the targeted assassination against the Al-Shabaab leadership on Dec. 29, the AMISOM base in Mogadishu was attacked by the Islamic guerrilla organization. Xinhua wrote of the Dec. 25 attack on the AMISOM compound that “Al-Shabaab militants attacked the main base of the African Union peacekeeping force known as AMISOM in Mogadishu on Thursday, with explosions and gunfire heard inside the base.” (Dec. 25)

This same article continues noting “Explosions and gunfire were heard inside the AMISOM base, as fighters attacked the place. Al-Shabaab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab confirmed the attack, saying its fighters have entered the base by force and carried out attacks.”

These developments since Sept. illustrates clearly that the war in Somalia remains a major source of U.S. imperialist operations in the Horn of Africa and the entire eastern region of the continent. Even with some defections in the leadership of Al-Shabaab, the contradictions between the Somalian people and their foreign occupiers continue to deepen and intensify.

International Criminal Court (ICC): The Legal Arm of Imperialism in Africa

For several years the ICC has been subjected to harsh criticism in Africa. During the Jubilee anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 2013, the predecessor of the AU, much discussion was held around how to approach a Netherlands-based institution that exclusively focuses on pursuing and prosecuting African leaders.

Numerous African leaders have suggested that the AU member-states should withdraw from the ICC and renounced the Rome Statute which laid the ideological and judicial basis for the establishment of the court. Yet no concrete actions have been carried out by the AU Commission based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The ICC recently dropped the prosecution of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. However, it will continue to go after his deputy William Ruto.

Kenyatta was charged with crimes against humanity related to factional clashes over a disputed national election in Kenya during 2007-2008. ICC efforts aimed at the Kenyan government mobilized considerable verbal protests against the institution pointing out the racial bias in its pre-occupation with Africa.

For several years, the Republic of Sudan leader President Omer Hassan al-Bashir and other officials have been issued warrants by the ICC. These warrants and travel bans are related to the Sudanese government’s handling of the armed insurrection carried out by several rebel groups in the western Darfur region of the oil-producing state.

The partition of Sudan in 2011 was also related to the role of the ICC. The suggestion of genocide against the people of Darfur provided a rationale for imperialism to strongly advocate the division of the country.

Even with the division of Juba from Khartoum, the U.S. and its allies are still committed to the succession of Darfur. By weakening this key central African state bordering its neighbors in the north and east of the continent, it provides AFRICOM and NATO further room for expansion.

Sudan was emerging as a major oil-producing state on the continent. Now with the division and renewed tensions between the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan, both countries are facing economic turmoil.

This crisis in Sudan has been enhanced by the overall decline in oil prices on the global markets. All oil-producing states in Africa will experience the full impact of these economic changes in the coming year.

Africa Must Reject Imperialist Militarism and Judicial Racism

The Pentagon and NATO along with the ICC represent a double-pronged strategy aimed at maintaining neo-colonialism well into the 21st century. As the continent remains divided within the colonial inherited geographical boundaries and state structures, its capacity to address both internal and external threats are compromised.

All of the governments in Africa which have maintained military relations with AFRICOM and NATO countries are in no way more stable and secured from instability. After eight years of bolstered imperialist intervention in Somalia, the degree of tensions coupled with the burgeoning humanitarian crisis has not been alleviated.

Since the presence of the Pentagon-backed AMISOM operation in Somalia, millions of Africans have been dislocated due to hostilities between Al-Shabaab and the Federal Government which is propped-up by Washington and Brussels. While the ICC chases down African leaders both within state structures and without, the imperialist countries through their ruling classes have carried out illegal wars of occupation and regime-change resulting in the deaths of millions throughout Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

These U.S. and NATO wars of aggression move forward with the vocal and silent consent of the so-called international legal system at the UN and in The Hague. The AU must rapidly develop its own system of legal justice to address human rights violations and territorial disputes.

Until an All-Africa High Command is established to intervene in domestic and regional conflicts, the western-based military and intelligence apparatuses will continue their rampage across the continent, its waterways and islands. Such a politico-military institution will inevitably emerge from a renewed revolutionary program aimed at the abolition of neo-colonialism and imperialism from the continent.

A people’s army drawing cadres from across the region committed to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism represents the most viable solution to the crises of sovereignty, stability, genuine independence and unity.  Ongoing balkanization and western interventions through economic, military, political and legal means will only serve to maintain western hegemony fostering the continuing exploitation and underdevelopment of Africa.

In the UN Security Council yesterday the US voted against the resolution to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem thereby endorsing the continuation of the illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories that prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and an end to the devastating conflict. 

The resolution, in which Britain abstained, was supported by France and seven other members of the 15 strong Security Council and was a move by over half the world including Russia and China, to end the status quo.

The document called for Israel to fully withdraw from all occupied Palestinian territories by the end of 2017 and for a comprehensive peace deal to be reached within a year.

Yesterday’s vote by the U.S. specifically supports Israel’s violation of international law and sets the seal on one of the most ignominious American administrations of modern times. It gives Israel carte blanche to continue its program of illegal settlement that has, to date, moved over half a million of its own citizens onto Palestinian land.

The resolution had affirmed the urgent need to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peaceful solution to the violence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict within one year and had stipulated Dec. 31, 2017 as the deadline for an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It had called for the establishment of an independent state of Palestine within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and a just solution to thousands of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, the return of refugees and the re-allocation of vital water supplies.

All this has now been specifically rejected by the U.S. in a portent of the instability and violence to come. There is no other precedent in modern times of an American congress being held so completely subservient to the will of lobbyists acting in the interests of a foreign state.

2014 No Good! May All Good Forces Unite in 2015!

January 1st, 2015 by Prof. Johan Galtung

Here is a list of 15 current conflicts-violence relations, avoiding identifying conflicts with violent conflict arenas:

USA-Japan-South Korea vs North Korea vs China

USA-ASEAN vs China-Taiwan and Japan vs Korea over China Sea islands

USA-NATO-Japan vs China-Russia-SCO over encircling

USA-EU vs Russia over Ukraine-Georgia membership in NATO-EU

USA-led coalition/NATO vs Many, diverse parties in Afghanistan

USA-led coalition/NATO vs Many, diverse parties in Iraq

USA-Shia-Iran(?) vs Arabia-Sunni-caliphate/ISIS-Turkey(?)

Kurds vs Turkey-Syria-Iraq-Iran over autonomy

Israel vs Palestine over The Holy Land/Cana’an

USA-Israel vs Arab-Muslim countries over Israel vs Palestine

USA vs 134 states over terrorism using state torture-sniping-droning

USA-UK-Canada-Australia-New Zealand (“Five eyes”) vs the World, spying

USA vs China (USA-EU vs Eurasia) over the shape of geopolitics

USA-UK-France-Italy-Norway vs Libya-Mali-Sudan-Somalia etc. in Africa

USA vs Latin America/Caribbean over equality of the Americas

The most striking feature is, indeed, the presence of one country, USA, in almost all of them. Why? Well, that is what world hegemony is about. There could be resistance, and increasingly unwise and desperate US efforts to hang on.

The only bright point is the last one – normalizing relations with Cuba – if that could be followed by recognizing Palestine and North Korea and UN conferences over Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine it would help a lot. May it happen!

A remarkable feature is the US lack not only of clout, but of basic understanding; Washington doing a lousy job intellectually.

Take one, the “US-led coalition in Iraq”: from supporting Saddam to attacking-chasing him out of Kuwait and executing him, bombing more than a decade, sanctions, invading in 2003, withdrawing, ISIS, and so on.

International New York Times 23-12-2014: “Iraqis see little hope for uniting a divided land”. There are different flags all over; not strange as “modern Iraq was created nearly a century ago by the fusion of three Ottoman provinces–Basra, Baghdad and Mosul”. Not a word about the Sykes-Picot cancer and two UK foreign office civil servants doing the “creation”. Yes, the Ottoman empire had been crumbling for some time, was doomed; but that does not mean that one can pick up three pieces and glue them together into a country. Shame on anyone who did not predict this kind of break-up, from the beginning in March 2003.

What kind of glue across Sunni-Shia, Arab-Kurd divides do they offer, right now? “Promoting mixed marriages between Sunnis and Shias by offering cash incentives” and “mandatory military service bringing communities together”. Money, money, money; force, force, force: a US intellectual horizon, devoid of any respect, even understanding, of culture, religion, language, history, future together, dignity.

OK, the US leadership lives in a bubble of well filtered single-minded people. But how about the allies, many are carriers of such values as transparency and dialogue, creativity, democracy?

They have stomached not only the highest level of violence by any single state in history, now close to 250 military interventions since 1805 to bend others to their interests. Can anything make it snap, breaking that US-ally relation? Analytical mistakes like the one mentioned, present in all the other 14 conflicts above? No, to them USA has knowledge hidden to the rest of us, guided by values and force at a higher level – and the only one for protection against communism-terrorism-Islamism, Russia-China.

Does this remind us of something?

Oh yes, Germans and others in Nazi-Germany and its allies in 1933-1945. Many felt uneasy; very few – communists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, aristocrats worried about the fate of nobility should USSR not USA-UK conquer Germany – did anything. What the USA does is, in numbers, even worse. So West, watch yourself.

Of course, US democracy benefits from forgiveness for all sins, gets impunity, and dictatorships are wrong whatever they do. What matters is not whether the USA really is a democracy – with most of the population voting for parties with different world-social views – as long as it does not deny that it is; not whether countless civilian non-combatants are killed as long as it denies any intention – only collateral, “tragic”, damage. And the allies buy most US allegations against Russia-China-Islam, with no independent, public checking.

Washington knows this and uses it cleverly. They use professional killing at a distance – certainly not decapitating anybody on videos. Photos of torture of one or two are more dangerous to USA than killing one or two hundred thousand who remain anonymous; numbers! Giving them names, identity, like the USA does with the 9/11 victims, would change that.

And yet things happen: parliament votes, non-binding, recognizing Palestine; Sweden doing it. No doubt a number of allies are close.

Hitting Russia’s relation to the West will make Russians come closer together than ever, like the West creates ever more Islamism. The cards are stacked against the allies; there are many players.

The tragedy of 2014 was the lack of true friends telling USA: look, this is not going to work–better change; take better care of your own wonderful society, and your neighbors, retract.

The hope for 2015 is that many allies will do that. The problem is the same as for Israel: regime change is badly needed, reducing the violence, building the peace; entirely possible for all 15 conflicts above. The list shows very clearly that the world has one major problem: the USA.

With that, this column wishes all our readers a Good New Year. Good in the sense of being neither anti-American nor anti-Israeli, but bringing the best to both and their neighbors. New in the sense that a New Beginning, a New Start is needed. Year in the sense that it can all be done, and should be done, quickly.

May all good forces unite!

World financial markets enter 2015 with a series of potential triggers for the eruption of instability and turbulence.

The year has ended with Greece back in the spotlight following the calling of an early general election after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras failed in his third attempt to win parliamentary backing for his chosen candidate for president.

The election will be held on January 25, with polls predicting that the pseudo-left SYRIZA party (Coalition of the Radical Left) will win the ballot. It has led opinion polls consistently over past months, though the gap has narrowed more recently.

The new government’s central task will be to finalise a bailout and austerity agreement with the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission. The so-called troika has already dictated savage spending cuts that have resulted in a 25 percent fall in gross domestic product since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008.

In 2012 the prospect of a SYRIZA government and political instability caused considerable financial turbulence, raising the prospect of a Greek exit from the euro zone and financial contagion extending to other countries, most notably Spain, Portugal and Italy.

But financial markets appeared to take Monday’s announcement of a general election in their stride as SYRIZA has made it clear in repeated statements and assurances by its leader Alexis Tsipras that it is no threat to the ruling US and European financial elites. The party no longer talks about “debt default” but insists instead that it is for “debt renegotiation.”

Summing up the position of financial markets, the chief European economist of JPMorgan Chase in London, David Mackie, said: “Our judgment is that the region [meaning the troika] will take a tough line with the SYRIZA-led government. Ultimately SYRIZA, will trim its ambitions in order to ensure that it can remain in the monetary union.” Other analysts voiced the same opinion.

But there are concerns that all may not be smooth sailing. Bloomberg cited remarks by Holger Schmieding, the chief economist at the Berenberg bank in London, that there was “a risk of about 30 percent that Greece may descend into a new deep crisis with potential euro exit, beyond the inevitable bout of near-term uncertainty now.”

The ECB, which has played a central role in imposing poverty and misery on the Greek people through a series of diktats, responded to the election announcement with a cynical statement. “It’s now for the Greek electorate to decide about the future composition of the parliament and the government. We will not interfere in or comment on this democratic process,” it said.

While the prospect of a SYRIZA government in itself holds no fears for financial markets, there are concerns in ruling circles that its election could be the beginning of struggles by the working class, which SYRIZA would not be able to contain.

These concerns were voiced by Financial Times commentator Gideon Rachman in a column published on Monday describing the euro zone’s voters as its “weakest link.” He raised the prospect that if “voters revolt against economic austerity” then the “whole delicate house of cards of debt bailouts and austerity” could begin to wobble.

Another potential source of instability is the divergence between the policies of the world’s major central banks.

Next year, the US Federal Reserve is set to begin tightening official interest rates, although, as Fed chair Janet Yellen has made clear, it will be “patient” so as not to precipitously cut off financial speculators from their supply of ultra-cheap cash.

But while the Fed begins tightening, however slowly, the ECB and the Bank of Japan are moving in the other direction.

The ECB is due to meet on January 22, when it is expected to take further steps towards full-scale quantitative easing involving the purchase of government debt. The Bank of Japan will continue to expand its asset purchases—even higher relative to the size of the economy than those undertaken by the Fed—in line with the program of “Abenomics.”

Rising US interest rates are likely to be most keenly felt in “emerging markets” where dollar-denominated debt has risen sharply over the past five years. An increase in US rates and a rise in the value of the American dollar raises the real level of both debt and interest payments.

Bloomberg has reported that emerging-market distressed debt losses this month were at their worst level since the global financial crisis. An index compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch fell by 13.4 percent in its worst monthly performance since October 2008, with the decline in 2014 as a whole also the worst for six years.

The worst performing currency among emerging markets is the Russian rouble. It has declined 37 percent this year as a result of the halving of oil prices over the past six months and the impact of economic and financial sanctions imposed by the US and the EU.

The Russian economy contracted by 0.5 percent in November compared to the same month last year in what seems certain to be the start of a slide into recession. In the first 11 months of this year, the economy grew by only 0.6 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

The Russian central bank has forecast that the economy will contract by 4.5 percent if oil prices continue to remain at their present level of around $60 per barrel. And the recession will be even deeper if the oil price resumes its fall.

The chief economist at the ING Bank in Moscow, Dmitry Polevoy, told the Financial Times that the worsening situation was the result of sanctions, oil prices and the market panic, which saw a plunge in the rouble earlier this month. “There is no cause for optimism,” he said.

While there is something of an uptick in the US economy, the worsening situation in the rest of the world—continuing stagnation in Europe, recession in Japan and lower growth in China—coupled with financial instability in emerging markets could rapidly impact on both US and global markets in the near future.

“Ambush Recharges Debate,” declares the front page of USA Today (12/22/14), a headline over a story about the killing of New York police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. The “debate” being recharged is presumably linked to the national protests against police brutality–protests that are in no way connected to this brutal murder.

USA Today‘s contribution to this debate is to encourage readers to think that murders of police officers like these is becoming more common. A front-page graphic is titled “POLICE DEATHS ON THE RISE,” and it shows that overall police deaths increased from 100 last year to 123 this year. The increase is more dramatic when isolating police deaths by firearms: 31 deaths in 2013 and 49 this year.

The paper is very much invested in this storyline; on page 3 the paper runs astory headlined, “Ambush Killings Are Not Uncommon,” citing the same statistics.

But these statistics are highly misleading–in part because police deaths are not the same thing as police murders. As Vox (12/22/14) points out, data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report show that felonious killings of police officers average between 40 and 70 per year; in most years, slightly more officers are killed accidentally.

Vox‘s chart on police killings looks much different.

In the year 2013, Vox notes, many fewer officers were killed than usual–so using it as half of a two-year comparison gives a false view of the overall trend, which is basically steady.

Indeed, USA Today appears to know that comparing just two years is problematic. It notes that officer deaths “have been subject to dramatic swings over the years.”

USA Today zeroes in on the last two years to suggest a trend.

The FBI numbers differ from the data the paper is using from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. But the trend is the same; the group counted 100 officer deaths in 2013, which was the lowest total in 50 years.

USA Today could have averaged several recent years to see if there was a meaningful trend. But they would have determined that this year was not unusually deadly for police officers; in the 10 most recent years (2004-13), the average number of total deaths was 150.

But instead of doing that, the newspaper decided to make a front-page graphic that only feeds the narrative that police officers are under attack.

The massive upsurge of Israeli violence against Palestinians is invisible to The New York Times. (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

Two recent stories in The New York Times involve violence against Palestinian and Israeli children. But it is striking how differently the stories are treated based on the identity of the victim.

The first, from today, is headlined “Israeli Girl Severely Wounded in Firebomb Attack in West Bank.” The second, from November, is headlined “Palestinian Shot by Israeli Troops at Gaza Border.” Both are by Isabel Kershner.

Today’s report begins:

JERUSALEM — An 11-year-old Israeli girl was severely wounded on Thursday when a firebomb was thrown at the car in which she was traveling with her father in the West Bank, the Israeli military said.

Troops were searching for the assailants, believed to be Palestinians, in the area of the attack, near the Jewish settlement of El Matan.

The report names the girl – Ayala Shapira – and describes “third-degree burns on her face and upper torso” and says that her wounds were “life-threatening.”


Note how Kershner says the assailants are “believed to be” Palestinians – belief, not evidence. She also names the girl’s father and says he suffered light injuries, and quotes her mother.

The report then provides this, presumably as context:

There has been an uptick in Palestinian attacks against Israelis in recent weeks, including deadly assaults in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The violence has been fanned in part by a dispute over a revered holy site in Jerusalem.

Nowhere does the report state that there has been relentless violence by Israeli occupation forces and settlers against Palestinians.

The mention of a “revered holy site” also suggests the violence is religious and irrational in nature. It also erases the fact that Palestinians are subject to systematic Israeli violence, including ongoing home demolitions, forced displacement and land theft.

The tension over the “revered holy site” – Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque – is the consequence of incursions by Israeli extremists, backed by the government, whoseultimate goal is to destroy it.

Huge surge in Israeli violence

In fact, though you wouldn’t know it from The New York Times, there has been a huge surge in violence against Palestinians.

“Palestinian civilians across the [occupied Palestinian territories] continue to be subject to various threats to their life, physical safety and liberty,” says the United Nations monitoring group OCHA in a year-end summary.

This year “witnessed the highest Palestinian casualty toll since 1967, primarily due to hostilities in Gaza,” OCHA adds.

But in the West Bank, too, there was a huge increase in Israeli violence: this year to date 49 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, almost double the number from last year, OCHA reports.

Ten of those killed in the West Bank were Palestinian children shot with live ammunition by Israeli occupation forces.

A staggering 5,771 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces in the West Bank this year, two thousand more than last year.

According to OCHA, Israel carried out an average of 96 “search and arrest” raids every week during the year, up from 75 per week in 2013. These assaults often take the form of night raids on homes, terrorizing entire families and communities.

This huge “uptick” in Israeli violence is invisible to The New York Times.

Boy shot in face

On Wednesday, a Palestinian boy aged five was shot in the face by Israeli occupation forces with a rubber-coated steel bullet, causing serious injuries.

The shooting occurred when Muhammad Jamal Ubeid and his fourteen-year-old sister were getting off a school bus in the eastern occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiyeh.

This tweet by Russia Today correspondent Paula Slier shows the boy in hospital with his parents, following surgery:


Just as this post was about to be published, Kershner filed a second report today, on an alleged stabbing of two Israeli police by a Palestinian in occupied Jerusalem.

It repeats the assertion that there has been a “recent increase in Palestinian attacks against Israelis.”

But Kershner found no room to mention the shooting of Muhammad Jamal Ubeid. (Update: shortly before this post was published, the Times published an AP report on its website about the stabbing of the Israeli police – the second on the same topic – which does mention the shooting of Ubeid. But it still does not appear in Kershner’s reports.)

“Palestinian” shot

Now let’s look at the other New York Times headline. It dates from 16 November: “Palestinian Shot by Israeli Troops at Gaza Border.”

Kershner’s report begins:

JERUSALEM — Israeli forces patrolling the border with the Gaza Strip shot and wounded a Palestinian as he approached the border fence on Sunday and took him to an Israeli hospital, according to the military. A spokeswoman for the hospital said the Palestinian was a 10-year-old boy.

Israel’s border with Gaza has remained tense but relatively calm since Israel and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that dominates the Palestinian coastal enclave, agreed to an open-ended cease-fire in late August after a 50-day war.

When you read the report, you learn that the “Palestinian” is reported to be a young boy. But the headline doesn’t say “Palestinian boy” the way today’s headline states “Israeli girl.”

Kershner relays the myth – or lie, if you will – that the situation in Gaza had been “relatively calm” since the 26 August ceasefire. In fact, Israel has been violating the ceasefire and firing on Palestinians there almost every day.

The boy is anonymous and we do not hear from his mother or father. But we learn he was taken to a hospital in Israel. The report continues:

A military spokeswoman, speaking on the condition of anonymity under army rules, said the troops spotted “a suspicious figure” approaching the fence, called on him to stop, and when he ignored the warnings they fired in the air and then at his lower body.

Here’s what Kershner provides, again presumably, for context:

A number of Palestinians have been arrested after crossing the border in the months since the cease-fire came into effect, including one in September who was found to have a knife.

In Jerusalem on Sunday, the police said they were searching for the assailant who stabbed a 32-year-old Israeli man with a screwdriver. The Israeli was being treated at a hospital.

Searching in the weekly reports from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, I found this incident on 16 November, which seems to most closely match the New York Timesreport, except that the age of the boy is 15, not ten:

 At approximately 14:15, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, opened fire at Atiyah Fathi Atiyah al-Nabahin (15) living in the camp when he tried to infiltrate into Israel via the border fence. As a result, he was hit by a bullet to the neck and taken to Soroko Hospital in Beersheba. His injury was described as serious and he is still at the hospital receiving treatment.

Why Palestinians flee Gaza

It’s very likely al-Nabahin was trying to get across the fence to find work, or simply escape the dire situation in Gaza.

But The New York Times report places the entry attempt in the context of threats to Israel and attacks on Israelis and not the catastrophic and unprecedented violence that Israel has visited on Palestinians in Gaza.

The massive death and destruction and the economic depression caused by the ongoing siege are forcing Palestinians to risk their lives to flee Gaza in ever larger numbers, as the Israeli daily Haaretz has reported.

They risk their lives to flee by sea, where hundreds have perished or been deliberately drowned this year.

And increasing numbers risk their lives to flee across the Israeli fortifications – where like other escapees from history’s ghettos and internment camps – they risk being shot from watchtowers and patrols.

Indeed, reports state that two more Palestinians were shot trying to escape Gaza today.

None of this context was mentioned in The New York Times’ report.

The Times has to keep telling itself and its readers that Palestinians in general and those in Gaza in particular are the “threat” and Israel is playing defense.

That an entire population is being kept in a ghetto in Gaza, sealed off from the world and subjected to an incremental genocide, just to protect Israel’s alleged Jewish character, is, for many, a reality too awful to contemplate.

Those wishing to shield themselves from such truths should continue reading The New York Times.

U.S. President Barack Obama said in a December 30th Oval Office interview with Steve Inskeep of National Public Radio, that, “wherever we have been involved over the last several years, I think the outcome has been better because of American leadership.” This statement from him was part of his answer when Inskeep asked whether the President had regrets about “overthrowing the Gadhafi regime” in Libya.

Obama answered:

“We are hugely influential; we’re the one indispensable nation. But when it comes to nation-building, when it comes to what is going to be a generational project in a place like Libya or a place like Syria or a place like Iraq, we can help, but we can’t do it for them.” In other words: the Libyan people failed, and the Syrian people failed, and the Iraqi people failed, according to America’s President — but he himself and his predecessor Bush did not fail by bombing those countries under false pretenses as they did.

Obama then pivoted into a direct criticism of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. He started his attack here by praising himself for “having some strategic patience. You’ll recall that three or four months ago, everybody in Washington was convinced that President Putin was a genius.” Obama was suggesting that the real genius was himself, for his “strategic patience.”

Inskeep (who apparently was ignorant that the people of Crimea had always opposed the donation of Crimea from Russia to Ukraine by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954, and who was also ignorant that Crimeans in March 2014 were delighted to be reunited again with Russia and had not been “taken” by Russia but were instead saved by Russia from the fate that befell Donbass) interjected, there, for clarification to his listeners, that Obama meant that Putin was thought to be a “genius” “for taking Crimea.” Inskeep was here trying to help Obama by clarifying Obama’s anti-Putin reference in his “genius” term; and, by doing so, Inskeep falsely assumed that Crimea had been seized, against the will of Crimeans.

The President skillfully built upon Inskeep’s ignorance, and anti-Russian bias, here, by playing along with Inskeep’s false intrinsic assumption, and by continuing directly from it in such a way as to present himself as being the real “genius”; he asserted, “And he had outmaneuvered all of us and he had, you know, bullied and, you know, strategized his way into expanding Russian power. And I said at the time we don’t want war with Russia [even though his February 2014 anti-Russian coup in Ukraine and actions afterwards show otherwise] but we can apply steady pressure working with our European partners, being the backbone of an international coalition to oppose Russia’s violation of another country’s sovereignty [as if it weren’t the case that two recent Gallup polls in Crimea showed an overwhelming public support there for leaving Ukraine and for reuniting with Russia, and as if it weren’t the case that America’s takeover of Ukraine on Russia’s border hadn’t been the aggressive act here], and that over time, this would be a strategic mistake by Russia [when, in fact, Obama knows quite well that the people he installed in his February coup in Ukraine had already been initiating the process to kick out of Crimea, Russia’s crucial Black Sea Fleet, which had been stationed there since 1783, and that this reversal of Khrushchev's 1954 gift of Crimea to Ukraine was crucial for Russia's own national security]. And today, you know, I’d sense that at least outside of Russia [such as among the trusting listeners to NPR], maybe some people are thinking what Putin did wasn’t so smart [when Obama knows quite well that what Putin did by his re-absorbing Crimea back into Russia was actually vital to Russian national security under the circumstances of Obama’s February coup in Ukraine].”

Inskeep responded to Obama’s distortions, with what he perhaps hoped his listeners would think to be a challenging question to the President: “Are you just lucky that the price of oil went down and therefore their currency collapsed or … is it something that you did?” Inskeep was apparently quite ignorant there that Obama’s Secretary of State had met in Riyadh with the Saudi King on September 11th is widely viewed as having actually produced the King’s decision to flood oil markets in order to drive oil prices so low as to cripple Russia’s economy, so that Inskeep’s question here was assuming a non-existent polarity, in any case (between the sanctions from Obama, vs. the falling oil-price, which was supposedly not from Obama).

Obama answered Inskeep’s ignorance there by triumphantly bragging against Putin:

“If you’ll recall, their economy was already contracting and capital was fleeing even before oil collapsed. And part of our rationale in this process was that the only thing keeping that economy afloat was the price of oil. [Actually,Russia’s economy under Putin had been growing much faster than had the U.S. economy under the George W. Bush and Barack Obama regime.] And if, in fact, we were steady in applying sanction pressure, which we have been, that over time it would make the economy of Russia sufficiently vulnerable that if and when there were disruptions with respect to the price of oil — which, inevitably, there are going to be sometime, if not this year then next year or the year after [which also is a lie from him because the current low oil price is the engineered price, and even the Saudis will have to quit doing it within a few years] — that they’d have enormous difficulty managing it. I say that, not to suggest that we’ve solved Ukraine [by producing the civil war there?], but I’m saying that to give an indication that when it comes to the international stage, these problems are big, they’re difficult, they’re messy [like America’s coups were in Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Chile 1973, etc.]. But wherever we have been involved over the last several years, I think the outcome has been better because of American leadership.”

So, the particular instance in which America’s President feels proudest of having produced an “outcome [that] has been better because of American leadership” was in Ukraine, where Obama’s policy produced a takeover of the Ukrainian Government by racist anti-Russian fascists, or nazis who hate Russians — nazis who are ethnically cleansing ethnic Russians away from Ukraine’s Donbass region, the region that had voted 90% for the President, Viktor Yanukovych, whom Obama had overthrown with the crucial armed muscle of those nazi snipers who carried out his coup. (And virtually no U.S. ‘news’ medium has reported that the actual person whom Obama placed in control of Ukraine is a longstanding leader of Ukraine’s nazis.)

With ‘news’ coverage like this, it’s clear why, as Gallup headlined on December 29th, “Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton Extend Run as Most Admired.”

That sort of thing — respect for people who are actually war-mongers — has become routine in the United States.In 2001, the most-admired man was George W. Bush, and the most-admired woman was his wife. In 2002-2006, the most-admired man was President Bush, and the most-admired woman was former President Bill Clinton’s wife.(Hillary Clinton is a big backer of all invasions and coups by the U.S.)

And, without ‘news’ coverage like that, it’s also clear why people outside the United States consider the U.S. to be the biggest threat to world peace. Internationally, Russia is way down this list. However, America’s President won’t need to ask those foreigners whether to launch a nuclear attack against Russia. All that he will need to control is America’s press — and he (and the aristocrats who placed him into power) do.

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

2014: The Most Popular Global Research Articles

January 1st, 2015 by Global Research News

It has long been known that currency markets are massively rigged. And see thisthis, and this.

But the banks not only share confidential information with each other … they also shared it with a giant oil company.

Bloomberg reports this week:

With revenue of almost $400 billion last year and operations in about 80 countries, BP trades large quantities of currency each day. Traders at the company regularly received valuable information from counterparts at some of the world’s biggest banks — including tips about forthcoming trades, details of confidential client business and discussions of stop-losses, the trigger points for a flurry of buying or selling— according to four traders with direct knowledge of the practice.


“The Cartel” that was set up by Usher [the former JPMorgan Chase trader at the center of a global investigation into corruption in the foreign-exchange market] and included dealers at JPMorgan, Citigroup Inc. (C), Barclays Plc and UBS Group AG. (UBSN)

The information offered an insight into currency moves minutes, sometimes hours before they happened.


Usher participated in at least one chat room with [Andrew White, a currency trader at oil company BP].


In the clubby, lightly regulated world of foreign exchange, traders passed around tips to their circle of trusted contacts like candyThe victims: mutual-fund investors, pensioners and day traders who took the other side of a transaction at a lower price than they would have if they had the same information.


Within hours of regulators announcing probes, the chats between BP and the banks were shut down, people with knowledge of the matter said. Soon after, a compliance officer was placed on the desk for the first time, one of them said.


[BP’s] trading unit’s primary role is to manage the firm’s exposure to financial risks, including fluctuations in interest rates and foreign exchange, according to the company’s website. Unlike at most corporations, it also is run as a profit center, which means that in addition to hedging risks, traders can place their own bets on the direction of markets.


In an undated message seen by Bloomberg News, a trader at a bank told BP he would be buying U.S. dollars against Australian dollars at the WM/Reuters fix at 4 p.m. in London, the one-minute window during which traders around the world exchange billions of dollars of currency on behalf of pension funds and asset managers. The message was received at BP about 30 minutes before the fix. By tipping his hand, the sender was telling BP about a potential fall in the Australian currency.

At about 3 p.m. in London on a different afternoon, BP traders were informed that banks were selling dollars against the yen at 4 p.m. In a third message, this one arriving as the oil company’s traders drank their first coffee of the morning, a trader at a bank said he had just sold a quantity of an emerging-market currency, to whom and the price he received.

The four banks in the Cartel controlled about 45 percent of the global spot-currency market, according to a survey by Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc, so information about their plans was valuable. Some days they worked together to push around the 4 p.m. fix, settlements with the banks show.


Sometimes they also agreed to work together to push exchange rates around to boost their profits –- something they called “double-teaming.”

The collateral damage of their actions and those of other traders was the $30 trillion held in investment funds around the world whose daily value is calculated based on the 4 p.m. WM/Reuters benchmark. Passive funds managing $3 trillion transact at the fix, so their investors lost or gained depending on how much the rates were manipulated.

Derivatives Are Manipulated

Runaway derivatives – especially credit default swaps (CDS) – were one of the main causes of the 2008 financial crisis. Congress never fixed the problem, and actually made it worse.

The big banks have long manipulated derivatives … a $1,200 Trillion Dollar market.

Indeed, many trillions of dollars of derivatives are being manipulated in the exact same same way that interest rates are fixed (see below) … through gamed self-reporting.

Reuters noted in September:

A Manhattan federal judge said on Thursday that investors may pursue a lawsuit accusing 12 major banks of violating antitrust law by fixing prices and restraining competition in the roughly $21 trillion market for credit default swaps.


“The complaint provides a chronology of behavior that would probably not result from chance, coincidence, independent responses to common stimuli, or mere interdependence,” [Judge] Cote said.

The defendants include Bank of America Corp, Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup Inc , Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG , Goldman Sachs Group Inc, HSBC Holdings Plc , JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and UBS AG.

Other defendants are the International Swaps and Derivatives Association and Markit Ltd, which provides credit derivative pricing services.


U.S. and European regulators have probed potential anticompetitive activity in CDS. In July 2013, the European Commission accused many of the defendants of colluding to block new CDS exchanges from entering the market.


“The financial crisis hardly explains the alleged secret meetings and coordinated actions,” the judge wrote. “Nor does it explain why ISDA and Markit simultaneously reversed course.”

In other words, the big banks are continuing to fix prices for CDS in secret meetings … and have torpedoed the more open and transparent CDS exchanges that Congress mandated.

And today, the managing director at Graham Fisher & Co. (Joshua Rosner) said that the big banks arefrontrunning CDS trades … and manipulating decisions on whether a the party “insured” by CDS has defaulted on its obligations, thus triggering an “event” requiring payment on the CDS.

By way of analogy, whether or not an insurance company pays to rebuild a house which has burned to the ground may turn on whether it finds the fire was arson or accidental.

This is a big deal … while hundreds of thousands of dollars might be at stake in the home fire example, many tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars ride on whether or not a country like Greece is determined to have suffered a CDS-triggering event.

Rosner notes:

The potential use of CDS to artificially manipulate corporate solvency, the imbalances in the amounts of CDS outstanding relative to referenced debt and ongoing allegations that ISDA’s Determinations Committee is deeply conflicted and “operates as a quasi-Star Chamber or cartel”, are finally being scrutinized.

As one source recently suggested, “It would be a surprise if determinations of default, made by a committee of interested parties, don’t lead to findings of manipulation similar to those found in LIBOR and FOREX”.


The fact that Pimco’s Chief Investment Officer criticized the determination that Greece had not triggered its CDS, even though Pimco was part of the unanimous vote making that determination, is profoundly troubling to say the least.


The fact that the [ISDA’s Determinations Committees] has no obligation to “research, investigate, supplement or verify the accuracy of information on which a determination is based” and members “may have an inherent conflict of interest in the outcome of any determinations” only adds credence to suggestions that the “CDS market is being manipulated and gerrymandered by the all-powerful investment banks”.

Energy Prices Manipulated

Energy markets are manipulated as well …

For example, oil prices have been manipulated for many years.

And the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says that JP Morgan has massively manipulated energy markets in California and the Midwest, obtaining tens of millions of dollars in overpayments from grid operators between September 2010 and June 2011.

And Pulitzer prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston noted in May that Wall Street is trying to launch Enron 2.0.

Commodities Are Manipulated

The big banks and government agencies have been conspiring to manipulate commodities prices for decades.

The big banks are taking over important aspects of the physical economy – including uranium mining, petroleum products, aluminum, ownership and operation of airports, toll roads, ports, and electricity – to manipulate market prices.

And they are using these physical assets to massively manipulate commodities prices … scalping consumers of many billions of dollars each year. (More from Matt TaibbiFDL and Elizabeth Warren.)

Gold and Silver Are Manipulated

Last month, Switzerland’s financial regulator (FINMA) found “serious misconduct” and a “clear attempt to manipulate precious metals benchmarks” by UBS employees in precious metals trading, particularly with silver.

Reuters reports:

Swiss regulator FINMA said on Wednesday that it found a “clear attempt” to manipulate precious metals benchmarks during its investigation into precious metals and foreign exchange trading at UBS …

Gold and silver prices have been “fixed” in daily conference calls by the powers-that-be.

Bloomberg reported last year:

It is the participating banks themselves that administer the gold and silver benchmarks.

So are prices being manipulated? Let’s take a look at the evidence. In his book “The Gold Cartel,” commodity analyst Dimitri Speck combines minute-by-minute data from most of 1993 through 2012 to show how gold prices move on an average day (see attached charts). He finds that the spot price of gold tends to drop sharply around the Londonevening fixing (10 a.m. New York time). A similar, if less pronounced, drop in price occurs around the London morning fixing. The same daily declines can be seen in silver prices from 1998 through 2012.

For both commodities there were, on average, no comparable price changes at any other time of the day. These patterns are consistent with manipulation in both markets.

Interest Rates Are Manipulated

Bloomberg reported in January:

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc was ordered to pay $50 million by a federal judge in Connecticut over claims that it rigged the London interbank offered rate.

RBS Securities Japan Ltd. in April pleaded guilty to wire frauda s part of a settlement of more than $600 million with U.S and U.K. regulators over Libor manipulation, according to court filings. U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in New Haventoday sentenced the Tokyo-based unit of RBS, Britain’s biggest publicly owned lender, to pay the agreed-upon fine, according to a Justice Department statement.

Global investigations into banks’ attempts to manipulate the benchmarks for profit have led to fines and settlements for lenders including RBS, Barclays Plc, UBS AG and Rabobank Groep.

RBS was among six companies fined a record 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) by the European Union last month for rigging interest rates linked to Libor. The combined fines for manipulating yen Libor and Euribor, the benchmark money-market rate for the euro, are the largest-ever EU cartel penalties.

Global fines for rate-rigging have reached $6 billion since June 2012 as authorities around the world probe whether traders worked together to fix Libor, meant to reflect the interest rate at which banks lend to each other, to benefit their own trading positions.

To put the Libor interest rate scandal in perspective:

  • Even though RBS and a handful of other banks have been fined for interest rate manipulation, Libor is still being manipulated. No wonder … the fines are pocket change – the cost of doing business – for the big banks

Everything Can Be Manipulated through High-Frequency Trading

Traders with high-tech computers can manipulate stocksbonds, options, currencies and commodities. And see this.

Manipulating Numerous Markets In Myriad Ways

The big banks and other giants manipulate numerous markets in myriad ways, for example:

  • Engaging in mafia-style big-rigging fraud against local governments. See thisthis and this
  • Shaving money off of virtually every pension transaction they handled over the course of decades, stealing collectively billions of dollars from pensions worldwide. Details hereherehereherehere,herehereherehereherehere and here
  • Pledging the same mortgage multiple times to different buyers. See thisthisthisthis and this. This would be like selling your car, and collecting money from 10 different buyers for the same car
  • Pushing investments which they knew were terrible, and then betting against the same investments to make money for themselves. See thisthisthisthis and this
  • Engaging in unlawful “Wash Trades” to manipulate asset prices. See thisthis and this
  • Bribing and bullying ratings agencies to inflate ratings on their risky investments

The Big Picture

The experts say that big banks will keep manipulating markets unless and until their executives are thrown in jail for fraud.

Why? Because the system is rigged to allow the big banks to commit continuous and massive fraud, and then to pay small fines as the “cost of doing business”. As Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitznoted years ago:

“The system is set so that even if you’re caught, the penalty is just a small number relative to what you walk home with.

The fine is just a cost of doing business. It’s like a parking fine. Sometimes you make a decision to park knowing that you might get a fine because going around the corner to the parking lot takes you too much time.”

Indeed, Reuters pointed out recently:

Switzerland’s regulator FINMA ordered UBS, the country’s biggest bank, to pay 134 million francs ($139 million) after it found serious misconduct in both foreign exchange and precious metals trading. It also capped bonuses for dealers in both units at twice their basic salary for two years.

Capping bonuses at twice base salary? That’s not a punishment … it’s an incentive.

Experts say that we have to prosecute fraud or else the economy won’t ever really stabilize.

But the government is doing the exact opposite. Indeed, the Justice Department has announced it will go easy on big banks, and always settles prosecutions for pennies on the dollar (a form of stealth bailout. It is also arguably one of the main causes of the double dip in housing. And there is no change in the air.)

Indeed, the government doesn’t even force the banks to admit any guilt as part of their settlements. In fact:

The banks have been allowed to investigate themselves,” one source familiar with the investigation told Reuters. “The investigated decide what they want to investigate, what they admit to, and how much they will pay.

Wall Street has manipulated virtually every other market as well – both in the financial sector and thereal economy – and broken virtually every law on the books.

And they will keep on doing so until the Department of Justice grows a pair.

The criminality and blatant manipulation will grow and spread and metastasize – taking over and killing off more and more of the economy – until Wall Street executives are finally thrown in jail.

It’s that simple …

On New Year’s Eve Ukraine has in fact imposed an economic blockade on the Crimean Peninsula, which last March re-unified with Russia. Last week Ukraine cancelled all train and bus services to and from Crimea. Apart from the passenger traffic suspension all cargo shipments have been banned. The local people have to put up not just with transport blockade, but also with many other challenges, such as repeated blackouts and water supply disruptions. Crimea is 80% dependent on Ukraine’s water and electricity.

The international payment systems VISA and MasterCard have stopped servicing the cards of Russian banks in Crimea. The United States’ sanctions against the peninsula are the reason, MasterCard’s press-service has explained. This circumstance will greatly complicate life not so much for local residents as for the crowds of tourists, arriving in Crimea for New Year and winter holidays. “Some 200,000 vacationers will be celebrating New Year in Crimea,” the republic’s minister of health resources and tourism, Yelena Yurchenko, has said.

The authorities in Kiev have explained the cancellation of transport links with Crimea by security reasons. Speaking at a news conference on Monday Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, when asked about the blockade of Crimea, said: “There is no blockade, but just measures to protect Ukraine.” The speaker for the headquarters running the crackdown on restive south-eastern regions, which Ukraine has all the way described as anti-terrorist operation, Andrey Lysenko, claimed there were risks of some groups of saboteurs penetrating into Ukraine from Crimea. At the customs checkpoints Ukrainian border guards have been searching all private cars and trucks of commodity providers bound for Crimea, which have to wait in long lines on the border for 24 hours and more.

Experts suspect that Crimea’s blockade by Ukraine is a gesture of blackmail addressed to Russia. “One may assume that this is related with the problems of coal and electricity supply from Russia to Ukraine,” senior analyst at the International Centre for Advanced Studies, Alexander Zhelud, told

Last week Ukraine several times shut down power supply for Crimea. Russia agreed to make concessions and take certain steps in order to ease power shortages in Ukraine itself, which is experiencing a dire need for coal, as a majority of its mines are located in the territories of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics. In the near future Ukraine hopes to conclude a power supply agreement with Russia. In fact, the electricity is already being provided, President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday.

Russia will be supplying electricity to Ukraine at its domestic prices, and also up to one million tons of coal a month in order to ease energy problems, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said on December 27. The decision in favour of energy supplies was made in exchange for Kiev’s word of honour. It is to be hoped it will resolve problems with regular blackouts in Crimea.

Ukraine’s Energy and Coal Mining Ministry has said that his country is prepared to purchase electricity at Russia’s internal prices.

Ukrainian political scientist Igor Semivolos has told the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta that by blocking Crimea in various ways Kiev gets trump cards at negotiations on a settlement of the situation in Donbas. “Crimea is a very sensitive spot for Russia. It’s winter time and the weather is stormy … Those who wish to provide essential services and conveniences to the peninsula should be prepared to compromise on a wide range of issues, such as power supply, exchange of prisoners of war, ceasefire, etc.” Semivolos said.

An ex-speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, former Ukrainian parliament member Leonid Grach believes that the transport blockade is the most painful measure. He speculated that the idea of cutting Crimea from the outside world was prompted to Kiev by its US patrons. It is not accidental that Crimea’s transport and energy blockade happened alongside the termination of VISA and MasterCard payment services in the peninsula.

This is the sort of New Year gifts the West-backed authorities in Kiev have prepared for two million Crimeans – men and women, young and old. Too bad the gifts have very little to do with such universal values as humanism and tolerance.

A UN Security Council meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, Dec. 22, 2014. (Photo: AP)

A proposal that called for a full military withdrawal of Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank and international recognition of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders within three years was rejected by the UN Security Council  Tuesday evening.

Though its failure was not wholly unexpected, the proposal, put forth by the Jordanian delegation, failed to gain the nine affirmative votes needed to pass the council. While both the U.S. and Australia voted against the measure, the eight nations who voted in favor were: Argentina, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Luxembourg, and Russia. Five nations—the U.K., Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Rwanda and Lithuania—abstained.

As summarized by Al-Jazeera, the Jordanian proposal called for:

  • Two sovereign states living side by side; Israel and Palestine
  • End of Israeli occupation and establishing the Palestinian state within a time frame of no more than three years
  • East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine which will be established on 1967 borders
  • Settle the refugees’ question according to UN resolution 194
  • End settlement activities in West Bank and East Jerusalem and to release all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails

Riyad Mansour, Palestinian ambassador to the UN, chastised the council members for their collective failure to pass the resolution.

“The Security Council has once again failed to uphold its charter duties to address this crises and to meaningfully contribute to a lasting solution in accordance with its own resolutions,” Mansour said. “This year, our people under Israeli occupation endured the further theft and colonization of their land, the demolition of their homes, daily military raids, arrests and detention of thousands of civilians including children, rampant settler terrorism, constant affronts to their human dignity and repeated incursions at our holiest sites.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power defended her nation’s position by calling the proposal “deeply imbalanced” and said it did not do enough to address Israel’s ongoing “security concerns.”

As a permanent member of the Security Council the U.S. could have blocked the resolution’s  passage by asserting its veto power, but reporting indicates that intense lobbying preceding the vote as the U.S. attempted to convince enough nations to abstain so that such a move would not be necessary.

As the Guardian reports:

Palestinian officials and other observers had thought Nigeria would back a Jordanian-tabled resolution, thereby delivering a nine-vote majority on the council which would have required a US veto to be blocked. Washington had been working strenuously to avoid having to use its veto.

Until shortly before the vote on Tuesday, council diplomats had expected the resolution to get nine yes votes. But Nigeria abstained, with its ambassador, U Joy Ogwu, echoing the US position in saying that the path to peace lay “in a negotiated solution”.

One Palestinian source involved in the negotiations told the Guardian: “Even half an hour before the vote, Nigeria indicated it was committed to voting for the resolution. We knew that Rwanda, South Korea and Australia would not back it, but we believed Nigeria was on board.”

The apparent change by Nigeria, which is a rotating member of the council, came after both the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the US secretary of state, John Kerry, phoned the country’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, to ask him not to support the resolution.

Though a disappointment for those who supported the Jordanian plan, not all backers of Palestinian rights believed the proposal was the right approach.

As a consistent critic of the Palestinian Authority’s position on a lasting settlement and the concept of the so-called “two-state solution,” outspoken Palestinian activist and editor of the Electoronic Intifada Ali Abunimah is among those who have repeatedly condemned the resolution because it would codify within the United Nations the same failed mindset that has for so long blocked the full aspirations of the Palestinian people.

“This was a terrible resolution which was unanimously opposed by every major Palestinian faction, it contained so many compromises in an attempt to avoid a US veto that it was weaker than existing UN resolutions,” he told Al-Jazeera English following the vote.

And in a recent blog post, Abunimah explained:

This resolution tries to [undo the death of the “two-state solution”], except in a more legally binding and therefore dangerous manner. It makes the claim that “a just, lasting and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means, based on an enduring commitment to mutual recognition, freedom from violence, incitement and terror, and the two-state solution.”

It insists that the entire question of Palestine be reduced to the question of the 1967 occupation and that merely ending this occupation would effectively end all Palestinian claims.

The resolution uses vague, deceptive and in some places outright dishonest language that would enshrine in international law the “liberal” Zionist two-state solution and deal a devastating blow to Palestinian rights, particularly the right of return for refugees.

Following Tuesday’s failed effort, the Palestinian Authority immediately turned towards new avenues of seeking justice against what it calls international crimes perpetrated by Israel.

According to various sources, PA President Mahmoud Abbas may sign official documents as early as Wednesday to join the International Criminal Court, a move that would allow it to file official charges against the state of Israel for war crimes related to its occupation of the West Bank and its attack on the Gaza Strip this summer which resulted in the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians, a large majority of whom were children and other non-combatants.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters that Palestinian officials will hold a “very serious meeting” later on Wednesday in a bid to set a date for applying for membership to the ICC and other international agencies.

“There will be no more waiting, no more hesitation, no more slowdown,” Erekat said. “We are going to meet and make decisions.”

Last week, we saw how the U.S. Embassy hailed current Communications Minister Rudy Hériveaux’s evolution from a Lavalas Family deputy from Trou du Nord to a leader of a breakaway “moderate faction” of the Lavalas Family in 2005 which sought to move away from the party’s exiled leader Aristide and take part in U.S.-sponsored Haitian elections.

The first test of the “moderate Lavalas” politicians was the Feb. 7, 2006 election, the first polling after the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d’état against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Hériveaux ran for Senator in the West department against a crowded field of 54 candidates from 28 parties.

Despite running under the “Lavalas” banner, Hériveaux did very poorly in the first round, placing a dismal seventh place with only 68,781 votes. That was only 22% of the 310,188 votes tallied by first place winner, Jean Hector Anacacis of Préval’s Lespwa platform, and 25% of the 269,562 votes won by second place Mirlande Manigat of the Assembly of Progressive National Democrats (RNDP). He even finished behind fellow Lavalas candidate Evelyne Cheron, former Duvalierist and Aristide minister Stanley Théard, Marie-Denise Claude of FUSION, and even Luckner Désir of the obscure Mobilization for Haitian Progress (MPH).

Luckily for Hériveaux, Manigat dropped out of the race in solidarity with her husband, RNDP’s presidential candidate Leslie Manigat, who lost in the first round (under conditions that the Manigats protested) to Lespwa’s René Préval. This allowed Hériveaux to advance to sixth place and therefore just squeak into the run-off.

Somehow, in the run-off on Apr. 21, 2006, Hériveaux managed to place second with 45.81% of the vote behind Anacasis’s 75.13%. Fellow “Lavalas” candidate Cheron took third place with 41.28% of the vote. Hériveaux’s four-year Senate seat made him the highest ranking “Lavalas” official in Parliament.In a May 11, 2006 cable, U.S. Ambassador Janet Sanderson reported that Hériveaux, along with newly elected “Lavalas” deputies Jonas Coffy and Sorel François “complain that

Préval has excluded Lavalas in his outreach to other political parties and the development of his 25-year plan” even while they “recognize the negative impact Aristide’s return [from exile in South Africa] would have for the country.”

“Hériveaux stated that Lavalas wanted to promote a democratic Haiti alongside Préval,” Sanderson wrote, “but admitted that Préval has shown no sign that he is willing to work with Lavalas, despite the obvious Lavalas and L’Espwa [sic] connection. According to Hériveaux, Lavalas and L’Espwa are the same, characterizing L’Espwa as ‘simply the branch of the Lavalas root.’”

In her comment to Washington, Sanderson commended Hériveaux and his confederates for showing “personal courage in breaking with militant Aristide supporters in committing to the electoral process” although she noted that “none of them were model democrats in the past.” She also devined that “they surely assume that they are out of Aristide’s favor and that their political futures depend on his absence.”

Her guess was right, and on Jun. 2, 2006, “Hériveaux and the parliamentary group  within FL [Fanmi Lavalas] appear to have undertaken an ambitious political maneuver in attempting [to] reunify Lavalas and establish their leadership,” Sanderson wrote in a Jun. 12, 2006 cable.

She explained to Washington that Hériveaux led “an opportunistic grouplooking to reconnect with the FL base” but was blocked by more radical currents championing struggle against the coup and for Aristide’s return from exile.

“Hériveaux, as the senior elected Lavalas official, convened the meeting in order to pick a new FL chairman ad interim,” Sanderson explained, but the more radical Lavalas members disrupted the meeting and denounced Hériveaux and the “moderate Lavalas” parliamentarians, including deputy Jonas Coffy, former Aristide chief of staff Jean-Claude Desgranges, and former Senators Gérard Gilles and Yvon Feuillé, “as CIA spies and lackeys of foreign masters (MINUSTAH),” the then 9,000-soldier military occupation force known as the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti.

But Hériveaux did his best to disguise his treachery. When popular organization leader René Civil, one of the radical current’s leaders, was arrested on Aug. 25, 2006 and accused of carrying an unlicensed firearm, driving a stolen car, and “association with troublemakers,” Hériveaux protested the arrest, “much to [the U.S. Embassy’s] dismay,” wrote Deputy Chief of Mission Thomas Tighe in an Aug. 29, 2006 dispatch.

“Hériveaux is a close embassy contact who has stressed in conversations with emboffs [embassy officials] that he and other FL moderates in parliament are opposed to Civil and the FL’s militant faction,” Tighe wrote, pledging to “raise Hériveaux’s defense of Civil with him at the first opportunity.”

Hériveaux never made much headway in his bid to take over the party, Sen. Simon Dieuseul Desras, currently the Senate’s president, explained to the U.S. Embassy’s political counselor in a Dec. 6, 2006 meeting. Desras told the embassy that there was a “leadership battle” taking place between Hériveaux and the FL’s Executive Committee, which at that time was composed of singer/activist Annette Auguste (So An), former Aristide advisor Dr. Maryse Narcisse, former delegate Jacques Mathelier, former deputy Lionel Etienne, and Dr. Serge Louis.

Desras told the embassy that “the Executive Committee and a good majority of the party are miffed at Senator Hériveaux for his arbitrary claim to party leadership following Aristide’s departure,” according to Tighe’s Dec. 20, 2007 cable to Washington.

Desras explained to the embassy that the Fanmi “Lavalas endorsed Senator Hériveaux after the Senator approached them in 2000 following his second-place finish in the first round” of elections for deputy, and “correctly believing Hériveaux’s  chances were better than the Lavalas candidate, and also believing that Hériveaux would do Lavalas’ bidding, Lavalas threw their support behind him and withdrew their own candidate. Hériveaux won the second round, and Lavalas subsequently endorsed him for President of the Chamber of Deputies,” Tighe wrote.

This back story was what allowed Sen. Desras to tell the Embassy that “Senator Hériveaux’s history shows he is not a true Lavalassian and has never been recognized as such.”

(To be continued)