Remember Pearl Harbor, remember the Gulf of Tonkin…

Throughout history, America has sought to provoke its enemies into ‘initiating a war”, with a view to justifying the launching of an all out out war using the pretext of “self defense”.

America’s war on Pakistan is already de facto. It is a war of stealth. The “war on terrorism” allegedly directed against Al Qaeda, the illusive “outside enemy” (created by the CIA) is is an obvious smokescreen.

What is required is to portray Pakistan as “the aggressor” rather than the victim of US military aggression.

US military planners have examined all possible scenarios. Military escalation is on the drawing board of the Pentagon.

US “counter-terrorism” operations are carried out with a view to inciting the enemy as well as triggering a process of military escalation.  

Is the objective of the drone attacks to provoke a response by the Pakistani military, thereby justifying  a formal declaration of war by the US and its allies? 

In this regard, the recent decision taken by Pakistan to “shoot down any US drone that intrudes its airspace as per new directives”, could be the prelude to an all out war between Pakistan and US-NATO forces. 

Pakistan’s defence policy states that:  “Any object entering into our airspace, including US drones, will be treated as hostile and be shot down,” 

“The policy change comes just weeks after a deadly NATO attack on Pakistani military checkpoints killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, prompting Pakistani officials to order all US personnel out of a remote airfield in Pakistan.

The government had told the United States to vacate the Shamsi airbase by December 11. The Frontier Corps took control of the Shamsi airbase on Saturday evening after most US military personnel left, sources said.

Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani had issued multiple directives since the November 26 NATO attack, which included orders to shoot down US drones, senior military officials confirmed to NBC News.

It was unclear whether orders to fire upon incoming US drones were part of the initial orders. The Pakistani airbase had been used by US forces, including the CIA, to stage elements of a clandestine US counter-terrorism operation to attack militants linked to al Qaeda, the Taliban and Haqqani network, using unmanned drone aircraft armed with missiles. Since 2004, US drones have carried out more than 300 attacks inside Pakistan. (See  dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\12\12\story_12-12-2011_pg1_5)

In the wake of this incident, ”Pakistan has closed supply routes that allow U.S. and coalition military convoys to cross into Afghanistan”. Also of significance, on December 11, Pakistan took possession of the Shamsi air base in Balochistan on the the border with Iran. While the base was leased to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it had been used by US air force personnel.

The downing of a US drone would be used by Washington as a propaganda ploy. 

It would contribute to triggering a “useful wave of indignation” across America. It would be heralded by the US Congress as an act of aggression, as an encroachment in the conduct of America’s “War on Terrorism”. Pakistan would be accused of “siding with the terrorists”, thereby providing Washington with a justification to intervene.

The broader repercussions of this staged confrontation between the US and Pakistan must be understood. 

US-NATO military deployments in Afghanistan and Pakistan are coordinated with ongoing war plans and covert operations directed against Iran. They also have a bearing on relations between the US and China.

It should be noted that in a recent meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Moscow called for Pakistan to become a full member of the SCO. Pakistan has the status of an Obsever in the SCO.

Military confrontation in Pakistan could contribute to a process of military escalation in the broader Middle East Central Asia South Asia region.  

Doomed to Fail: Wrecking Europe’s Monetary System to Fix It

December 12th, 2011 by Stephen Lendman

From its inception, the Eurozone monetary union was an idea doomed to fail. Nonetheless, it was engineered fraudulently to look workable.

In 1979, Europe’s Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) was introduced as part of the European Monetary System (EMS) to propel the continent to one European currency unit (ECU).

ERM never worked. ECU is failing. At issue is duplicity, conflicts of interest, and uniting 17 dissimilar countries under rigid euro straightjacket rules. Doing so usurps their monetary and fiscal autonomy disastrously.

Nonetheless, banking giants partnered with EU, ECB and IMF Troika power decide everything. Policies require lowering living standards, sacking public workers, and selling off state assets lock, stock and barrel at fire sale prices.

Today, the euro corpse only awaits its obituary to be written. Successive bailouts and fixes haven’t worked. Troubled Eurozone economies are drowning in debt. Adding more makes bad conditions worse.

So do forced austerity measures, layoffs, and higher working household taxes. Lost purchasing power means less spending, fewer jobs, and greater public anger than today’s high levels.

Nonetheless, Germany and France pressured other EU members (except Britain) closer to economic collapse. Sweden, the Czech Republic and Hungary said their parliaments would decide whether or not to agree. Nonetheless, they went along.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said:

“It’s interesting to note that 20 years” to the day after the Maastricht Treaty was drafted, “we have succeeded in creating a more stable foundation for (its) economic and monetary union, and in so doing we’ve attended to weaknesses that were included in the system.”

“I’m very happy with the result,” she stressed. Germany becomes an arrogant domineering leader. Britain refused to go along. A new treaty will be drafted. Merkel wants it done by March 2012.

However, it won’t be a treaty. On December 13, 2007, the Lisbon Treaty amended Masstricht. EU member unanimity was required to consummate it. The same requirement holds for changes.

All member states must agree. Constitutional changes may be required. In some cases, referendum approval may be needed. Internal divisions could take years to resolve.

At issue is imposing budgetary discipline on member states. Violators face sanctions. The European Court of Justice will have final say over national budgets. Short-term measures to prevent contagion are also planned.

An alternative is two pacts – one for 17 Eurozone countries with restrictions, and a second for the other 10 EU members without them.

Hours before the Brussels summit, French President Nocolas Sarkozy said, “Europe has never been in so much danger….An agreement….is crucial.” Otherwise there’s a “risk that Europe will explode.”

Britain opted out. At issue are new regulatory proposals UK banks oppose. They include an EU-wide financial transactions tax, bans on short-selling, and requirement that all financial business be conducted in the Eurozone, not London.

At the same time, a provision protects banks and bondholders from losses incurred by bailouts. Worker households will bear the burden.

Other differences remain to be resolved, including between Germany and France. Sarkozy wants less stringent fiscal oversight and more expansive ECB policies. Merkel wants more centralized control, enforced EU austerity, and tighter ECB reigns imposed.

Without Britain, whatever’s agreed will be illegal under Lisbon. The December 9 deal solves nothing. Switzerland is preparing for a euro collapse. Capital controls and negative interest rates may be imposed for protection.

A tsunami of euros would inflate the Swiss franc, devastate its export economy, and devalue its overseas wealth. The price for troubled Eurozone countries is economic collapse. It’s just a matter of when.

At the same time, the agreement requires 26 EU nations to surrender their monetary and fiscal powers to Brussels. Violators will be punished. Political, economic and legal issues impose immense burdens and uncertainties.

In addition, final details aren’t yet worked out. Another summit will follow next year. Europe and America face worsening Depression-level problems. China, India, Brazil and other emerging economies are slowing. A global train wreck approaches.

Recent economic data show why. In November, French business confidence fell for the eighth consecutive month. In October, Japanese machinery orders dropped 6.9%, following an 8.2% plunge in September.

South Africa just reported a 5.6% drop in manufacturing activity. Britain recorded a 0.7% decline. China’s October exports fell 1.7% after dropping 3.8% in September.

Korea’s exports are down three consecutive months. Singapore’s were off in September and October. Indonesia’s plunged 8.5% in October after slipping 2% in September. India’s imploded 18.3% after being flat in September.

Commodity markets also are being hammered. Copper was down almost 5% in September and 20% in 2011. Since June, aluminum is off 25%. European refinery margins dropped 30% this year.

Representing about 20% of global GDP, Europe is the world’s largest economic unit. It accounts for 25% of global oil and nickel consumption, and nearly 20% of other commodities like copper. As it goes, so do countries everywhere, and it’s heading south.

Longer-term realities will throw cold water on duct tape solutions. Italy must refinance almost 20% of its sovereign debt (400 billion euros) next year at interest rates punitive enough to push it over the edge. Economic weakness is spreading globally.

In 2012, Spain has to refinance 150 billion euros. Its fate may be similar, especially given spreading global economic weakness. Comments from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand echoed other central bank sentiments, saying:

“Tightness in international markets means funding costs for New Zealand banks will increase to some degree over the coming year.” Global uncertainty signals “risk(s) that conditions (will) weaken further.”

The Reserve Bank of Australia was just as glum, saying:

“Financing conditions have become much more difficult, especially in Europe.” It suggests “further material slowing in global growth has increased.”

The Bank of Canada concurred, saying:

“Conditions in the international financial system have deteriorated significantly since” June 2011, “owing to three interconnected developments:

“sharp(ly) escalat(ed)” Eurozone sovereign debt crisis conditions;

“a much weaker outlook for global economic growth;” and

far less risk-taking globally.

As a result, conditions are expected to remain weak, uneven, and uncertain. Contagion’s also at issue. Core Europe is affected. French and German economies look much weaker. In fact, Germany’s banking sector is in much worse shape than earlier thought.

Progressive Radio News Hour regular Bob Chapman says six troubled Eurozone countries can’t compete “and more may follow.” Debt levels keep rising. “This was known and evident from the very beginning, but the experiment went ahead anyway.”

Bankers, politicians and bureaucrats want world government. Competitive nations want profits. It took a decade to destroy the infrastructure of weak economies. The euro’s “on its way out – another failed experiment.”

If stronger countries opt out, “governments, banks, insurance companies and pension plans would very well be wiped out by the bad debt.”

Moreover, Eurozone disintegration will take America, Britain and global economies with it. Twelve years ago, Chapman predicted it. It’s now a reality, he says. He sees stopgap measures delaying its eventual demise.

“History tells us involuntary acceptance of profligate credit expansion and unpayable debt leads to total catastrophe for the entire financial system.”

Troubled Eurozone economies need $6 trillion to avoid collapse. Whatever they get won’t offset needing more help down the road.

Moreover, Friday’s “grand bargain” achieved nothing. ECB monetary policy won’t be expansive. Britain and many EU countries won’t follow budget deficit restrictions. All of them have poor track records keeping promises.

Greater trouble lies ahead. Bailouts and agreements beget new ones. Final resolution only is delayed. Contagion spreads Eurozone problems everywhere.

The longer crisis conditions persist, the worse they’ll be when day of reckoning time arrives. It’s just a matter of time.

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

Also visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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

The grim face of totalitarianism is emerging in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) now before Congress

This bill is the last mile post on America’s sad, well-traveled road to the butcher shop of dictatorship. We have been headed that way for some time and, with a little help from Congress, we’ll arrive there shortly, putting an ugly end to the American experiment. The Senate December 1st passed the bill by a vote of 93-7.

In the name of “defense,” NDAA underwrites $662-billion for continued U.S. aggression in our many foreign wars while, on the domestic front, it incinerates the last surviving shreds of the Bill of Rights. According to the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU), it authorizes presidents “to order the military to pick up and imprison people, including U.S. citizens, without charging them or putting them on trial.” (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) So much for Amendment VI to our Constitution that “the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.”

Just destroying your protection against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment means the bill’s authors Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and John McCain of Arizona don’t have to bother with junking anything else. Once you’re imprisoned you won’t need any other “stinkin’ rights.”

The ACLU charges the provisions of NDAA “were negotiated by a small group of members of Congress, in secret, and without proper congressional review (and), are inconsistent with fundamental American values embodied in the Constitution….(our) fundamental freedoms are on the line.”

A few years back, President Carter denounced the Patriot Act for authorizing federal agents “to search people’s homes and businesses secretly, to confiscate property without any deadline or without giving notice that the intrusion had taken place, and to collect without notice personal information on American citizens including their medical histories, books checked out of libraries, and goods they purchase.” The NDAA is far worse than that.

According to Noam Chomsky, the arbitrary arrest philosophy in this country dates back to the Bush regime. “The current (Bush) government,” he writes in “Imperial Ambitions”(Metropolitan Books, 2005), “has claimed rights that go beyond any precedents, including even the right to arrest citizens, hold them in detention without access to their family or lawyers, and do so indefinitely, without charges.”

“What the American People are witnessing now with this new legislation is the further development of an American Police State into a Military Dictatorship, a process that was started by the so-called USA Patriot Act in 2001,” says Professor Francis Boyle, the constitutional law authority at the University of Illinois, Champaign.

“If it is enacted into law, America will lose all pretense of having our Military subjected to the control of democratically elected civilian leaders as originally envisioned and required by the Constitution. Our experiment in 1776 will have failed,” adds Boyle, author of “Tackling America’s Toughest Questions”(Clarity Press.)

President Obama is already exercising his kingly right to rain Hellfire missiles from drone assault planes down on any human being anywhere on the planet without a legal authorization. This is called assassination as it is utterly devoid of any semblance of rudimentary justice. Unfortunately, the president appears to have no qualms about his actions. Will such a man hesitate to arrest Americans on suspicion and imprison them for years, or worse, without trial?

Adds the prescient Paul Craig Roberts, “The (Obama) regime’s objection to (the) military detention (provision in NDAA) is not rooted in concern for the constitutional rights of American citizens. The regime objects to military detention because the implication of military detention is that detainees are prisoners of war…(and) detainees treated according to the laws of war have the protections of the Geneva Conventions. They cannot be tortured. The Obama regime opposes military detention, because detainees would have some rights. These rights would interfere with the regime’s ability to send detainees to CIA torture prisons overseas.”

Perhaps this is a good time to remind swindled American taxpayers that totalitarianism is what comes of funding a perpetual warfare state that spies on all global communications, builds the greatest military in human history, assassinates foreign leaders, overthrows elected governments, invades small nations based on lies to seize their natural resources, and threatens the world from its 800 military bases.

The NDAA perpetuates all this and now endows the criminal leadership in Congress and the White House with the weapons to turn upon their own.

The only senators with guts to oppose the bill were Democrats Tom Harkin of Iowa; Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon; Republicans Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky; and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont. As Sen. Paul asked during the debate, “Under the provisions, wouldn’t it be possible, then, that an American citizen could be declared an enemy combatant and sent to Guantanamo Bay and detained indefinitely?”

If you don’t call your congressperson today to stop the NDAA, you are not likely to enjoy the blessings of liberty tomorrow. The light in the torch of the Statue of Liberty has already been snuffed out by our illegal foreign wars. The final disgrace will be to imprison the beautiful lady behind the barbed wire of the NDAA.

Sherwood Ross is a public relations consultant for good causes who also writes on urgent public issues. Reach him at [email protected]

VIDEO: Earth… Alive, Beautiful, Finite, Hurting

December 11th, 2011 by Vivek Chauhan

War Tour : Salidas y Llegadas

December 11th, 2011 by Manlio Dinucci

n el Pentágono lo llaman «repositioning», reposicionamiento de fuerzas militares. Es el gran Tour de la guerra, cuyas principales etapas se encuentran en Asia y en África. En la línea de salida de Irak, se encuentran las tropas de Estados Unidos. Emmanuel Wallerstein califica esa salida de «derrota comparable a la sufrida en Vietnam», ya que «los dirigentes políticos iraquíes obligaron a Estados Unidos a retirar sus tropas» y «la retirada ha sido una victoria para el nacionalismo iraquí». Según Wallerstein, después de dos guerras, de los años de embargo y de 8 años de ocupación que han dejado millones de muertos y una destrucción enorme, Irak parece ahora más fuerte e independiente en la medida en que ha logrado imponer su voluntad a la principal potencia mundial.

Durante la ocupación, la CIA y el Departamento de Estado trabajaron a fondo a favor de «una solución política en Irak basada en el federalismo», según la enmienda que el actual vicepresidente estadounidense Joe Biden logró hacer adoptar en el Senado, en 2007. Esa enmienda prevé «la descentralización de Irak en tres regiones semiautónomas: kurda, sunnita y chiíta», con un «gobierno central limitado a Bagdad». La «descentralización», que en realidad es un desmembramiento del Estado unitario, ya existe en el sector energético, con poderes locales que concluyen acuerdos directos con las multinacionales, entre las que predominan las de Estados Unidos. Pero las tropas estadounidenses que se van de Irak no regresan a casa sino que son, en gran parte, «reposicionadas» en otros países del Golfo, donde Estados Unidos ya tiene un contingente de 40 000 militares, de los que 23 000 se encuentran en Kuwait, contingente que cuenta por demás con el apoyo de poderosas fuerzas navales y aéreas. Además, en los Emiratos Árabes Unidos está naciendo un ejército secreto que se encuentra a la disposición del Pentágono y de la CIA. «Esta robusta presencia militar en toda la región demuestra la continuación de nuestro compromiso con Irak», asegura Hillary Clinton.

El plan tiene previsto potenciar militarmente a las monarquías de la región mediante la creación de una especie de «OTAN del Golfo» y utilizarlas también en África, como ya sucedió con la participación de Qatar y de los Emiratos Árabes Unidos en la guerra contra Libia. Mientras tanto, tropas iraquíes participarán, en Jordania, en la maniobra regional antiguerrilla Eager Lion, en 2012.

Esa –sostiene Washington– es la nueva forma de hacer la guerra que se puso a prueba durante la operación contra Libia y que ha demostrado que, sin enviar tropas ni sufrir bajas, «los dirigentes de ciertas potencias de mediana importancia pueden ser derrocados por control remoto», mediante el uso de las fuerzas aéreas y navales y haciendo que sean los aliados quienes asuman el peso más importante.

Entre estos últimos se encuentran los nuevos dirigentes libios, quienes –según fuentes dignas de crédito– han propuesto a la OTAN la creación en Libia de una gran base militar permanente. El plan, que en realidad se decidió en Washington, prevé la presencia allí de entre 15 000 y 20 000 militares, entre los que se encontrarían 12 000 europeos, y de considerables fuerzas aéreas y navales, esenciales para la «seguridad interna» y que estarán disponibles para otras guerras contra Irán y Siria.

Todo ello debe ser del agrado de Uri Avneri, quien acaba de otorgar su bendición a la guerra de la OTAN contra Libia, a pesar de que afirma al mismo tiempo que «Libia se liberó sola». Y Farid Adly, quien dice estar convencido de que «la bandera del rey Idris, la de la independencia, no es un síntoma de regreso al pasado», seguramente se sentirá complacido de verla flotar en una nueva gran base militar extranjera, que reemplazará la de Wheelus Field, la base que el «soberano ilustrado» Idris concediera a Estados Unidos y que fue cerrada por el «tiránico» Kadhafi.

Texto original en italiano :
http://www.ilmanifesto.it/area-abbonati/in-edicola/manip2n1/20111108/manip2pg/14/manip2pz/312972/

Traducción : voltairenet.org

At the Pentagon, it is call it “repositioning” of military forces. In fact, this is the great war tour, whose choice spots are in Asia and Africa. There are U.S. troops departing from Iraq. Immanuel Wallerstein qualifies this departure as a “defeat comparable to that suffered in Vietnam,” because “Iraqi political leaders forced the U.S. to withdraw its troops” and “their withdrawal represents a victory for Iraqi nationalism.” According to him, after two wars, a crippling embargo and eight years of an occupation that caused millions of deaths and inestimable destruction, Iraq comes out stronger and more independent, since it succeeded to impose its will on the world’s largest power.

During the occupation, the CIA and State Department worked exhaustively for “a political solution in Iraq based on federalism,” according to the amendment that current Vice-President Joe Biden obtained from the Senate in 2007. It contemplates “the decentralization of Iraq into three semi-autonomous regions: Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite,” with a “limited central government in Baghdad.” “Decentralization“, which actually amounts to the disintegration of the unitary state, is already underway in the energy sector, with local authorities entering into agreements directly with the multinationals, the majority of which are dominated by the United States. U.S. troops leaving Iraq are not going home, but are largely “repositioned” in other Gulf countries, where the United States has a contingent of 40,000 men, including 23,000 in Kuwait, buttressed by naval and air power. Moreover, in the United Arab Emirates a secret army is emerging at the beck and call of the Pentagon and the CIA. “This robust military presence in the region proves that our commitment to Iraq continues,” says Hillary Clinton.

The plan aims to beef up militarily the monarchies of the region, by creating a kind of “NATO of the Gulf.”

To be used also in Africa, as was already the case with the participation of Qatar and the Emirates in the Libyan war, whereas Iraqi troops will take part in the 2012 regional anti-guerrilla operation Eager Lion in Jordan.

This is the new way of waging war – it is argued in Washington – on the strength of operation in Libya, which has shown how, without sending troops or suffer losses, “the leaders of certain medium-sized powers can be reversed from a distance“, using air and naval weapons and by having our allies bear the heaviest burden.

Among them are the new Libyan leaders who, according to reliable sources, have proposed to NATO the creation of a large permanent military base. The plan, which was in fact concoted in Washington, provides for the presence of 15 to 20 000 troops, including 12,000 from Europe, as well as sizable air and naval contingents, essential for “internal security” and on stand-by for other wars against Iran and Syria.

All this will hit the spot with Uri Avnery, who “blessed” the NATO war in Libya, arguing however that “Libya had liberated itself.” And Farid Adly, who is convinced that “the flag of King Idris, that of independence, is not a symptom of a return to the past,” will be happy to see it floating on a new major foreign base, which will replace that of Wheelus Field granted to the United States by Idris, the “enlightened ruler”, but shut down by Gaddafi, the “brutal tyrant”.

Article in italian :

http://www.ilmanifesto.it/area-abbonati/in-edicola/manip2n1/20111108/manip2pg/14/manip2pz/312972/

Translation : voltairenet.org

Stephen Lendman Receives Mexico Media Award

December 11th, 2011 by Global Research

Author Stephen Lendman who has written extensively for the alternative media including Global Research was granted the international award of the Mexican Press Club on December 8. 

“Distinguished guests attended, including Mexican and foreign journalists, media representatives, and others. A representative of Mexican President Filipe Calderon was present to deliver his prepared remarks, congratulating recipients. The event was extraordinary in all respects. Someone called it the truth-telling journalistic equivalent of Hollywood’s Oscars. All recipients got a certificate and medal draped over our heads like an Olympiad winner. Mostly Mexican and other Latin American journalists were honored. Two North Americans only were invited – Stephen Lendman from America and Mahdi Nazemroaya from Canada. They both got a chance to speak briefly on international television to all Latin America. Their remarks were translated. Stephen’s opening comment was:

Today, this gringo from north of the border is proud to call himself a periodista. Translated it means journalist. But for the Mexican Journalist Club it’s much more. They hold annual events. Next year will be their 60th anniversary. Each year they honor journalists for their contribution to truth. Stephen says he is truly overwhelmed, deeply honored, and extremely humbled to have been invited to participate. He’ll treasure what happened forever, won’t ever forget its meaning, and will try always to live up to it.

Lendman attended the event in Mexico City together with Global Research Associate Mahdi Darius Nazemoraya, who was granted an award for his work as War Correspondent for the alternative media.

Global Research extends its congratulations and best wishes to Stephen Lendman and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya.

Michel Chossudovsky, December 10, 2011

The Core of the Patriot Act Was Drafted in 1995 … By Joe Biden

Everyone knows that the Patriot Act was drafted before 9/11.

But few know that it was Joe Biden who drafted the core provisions which were included in that bill … in 1995.

CNET reported in 2008:

Months before the Oklahoma City bombing took place, Biden introduced another bill called the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. It previewed the 2001 Patriot Act by allowing secret evidence to be used in prosecutions, expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap laws, creating a new federal crime of “terrorism” that could be invoked based on political beliefs, permitting the U.S. military to be used in civilian law enforcement, and allowing permanent detention of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review.* The Center for National Security Studies said the bill would erode “constitutional and statutory due process protections” and would “authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and assocblank Joe Biden Drafted the Core of the Patriot Act in 1995 ... Before the Oklahoma City Bombingiations.”

Biden himself draws parallels between his 1995 bill and its 2001 cousin. “I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill,” he said when the Patriot Act was being debated, according to the New Republic, which described him as “the Democratic Party’s de facto spokesman on the war against terrorism.”

***

Biden’s proposal probably helped to lay the groundwork for the Bush administration’s Patriot Act.

The Center for National Securities reported in 1995:

On February 10, 1995, a counterterrorism bill drafted by the Clinton
Administration was introduced in the Senate as S. 390 and in the House of
Representatives as H.R. 896.

The Clinton bill is a mixture of: provisions eroding constitutional and
statutory due process protections, selective federalization — on political
grounds — of state crimes (minus state due process rules), discredited
ideas from the Reagan and Bush Administrations, and the extension of some of
the worst elements of crime bills of the recent past.

The legislation would:

1. authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to
investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations;

2. repeal the ancient provision barring the U.S. military from civilian
law enforcement;

3. expand a pre-trial detention scheme that puts the burden of proof on
the accused;

4. loosen the carefully-crafted rules governing federal wiretaps, in
violation of the Fourth Amendment;

5. establish special courts that would use secret evidence to order the
deportation of persons convicted of no crimes, in violation of basic
principles of due process;

6. permit permanent detention by the Attorney General of aliens convicted
of no crimes, with no judicial review;

7. give the President unreviewable power to criminalize fund-raising for
lawful activities associated with unpopular causes;

8. renege on the Administration’s approval in the last Congress of a
provision to insure that the FBI would not investigate based on First
Amendment activities; and

9. resurrect the discredited ideological visa denial provisions of the
McCarran Walter Act to bar foreign speakers.

* Note: The CNET article contains a typographical error, using the word “detection” instead of “detention” in the sentence: “allowing permanent detection of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review”. Not only does this make no sense, but a review of the bill confirms that it provided for permanent detention.

Human Activity Driving Extremes of Weather

December 11th, 2011 by Sherwood Ross

“Human activity has driven not just global warming but also increases in some extreme weather and climate events around the world,” the American magazine, “Science,” reports in its Nov. 25th issue.

“It is likely that” human influences have raised the highest and lowest temperatures in a day on a global scale,” says the magazine, summarizing the new special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), an organization founded by the UN’s World Meteorological Organization(WMO).

As the greenhouse intensifies, “Tropical cyclone maximum wind speeds are likely to increase, the report says, droughts will intensify in some regions, and sea level will continue to rise, flooding low-lying coastal areas,” writes Richard Kerr of “Science.”

The IPCC report finds it is likely that the number of cold days and nights has decreased since 1950. “In many regions,” Kerr writes, again citing the report, “there is medium confidence that the length or number of warm spells, or heat waves, has increased.”

At present, 2011’s heat is the equal of the 10th highest year on record—and the 13 warmest years have all occurred between 1997 and 2011, the WMO says.

In China, says a related article in the same issue, glaciers have receded 10% over the past 60 years, while average land surface temperatures rose by 1.38 degrees centigrade between 1959 and 2009.

“Future prospects are even grimmer,” says “Science,” as “Sea levels off the coast of Shanghai are predicted to rise up to 148 millimeters by 2050.”

The IPCC report says that so far it is not global warming but the

concentrations of people in harm’s way that is pushing up economic losses. “More and more people have been living in the path of disastrous weather, whether poor people with nowhere else to live but low-lying deltas or the rich flocking to the coastlines,” Kerr writes.

Author and environmental activist William deBuys, who warns that an “Age of Thirst” is coming to the American Southwest, points out that the recent wildfires have set all-time records in Texas, (3.6 million acres), Arizona, (538,000 acres) and New Mexico (156,000 acres).

Author of “A Great Aridness,”(Oxford University Press) deBuys writes, “The simple rule of thumb for climate change is that wet places will get wetter and dry places drier. One reason the dry places will dry is that higher temperatures mean more evaporation. In other words, there will be ever less water in the rivers that keep the region’s cities (and much else) alive. Modeling already suggests that by mid-century surface stream-flow will decline by 10% to 30%.”

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the nonprofit science advocacy headquartered at Cambridge, Mass., “Sea levels are rising and glaciers are melting; record high temperatures and severe rainstorms and droughts are becoming increasingly common.”

The IPCC panel recommends “low-regrets measures,” Kerr writes, across a broad spectrum ranging from improved drainage systems to better early warning systems to improving water supplies. He quotes Thomas Wilbanks of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, a lead author of the report, as saying, “there are things that we can—and should—be doing now to increase our resilience.” Is Corporate America listening? Is Washington listening? 

Sherwood Ross has worked for major dailies and wire services and now heads a public relations firm in Miami for good causes. Reach him at [email protected]

With encampments being closed across the country it is important to remember the end goal is not to occupy public space, it is to end corporate rule. We seek to replace the rule of money with the rule of people.  Occupying is a tactic but the grand strategy of the Occupy Movement is to weaken the pillars that hold the corporate-government in place by educating, organizing and mobilizing people into an independent political force.

The occupations of public space have already done a great deal to lift the veil of lies.  People are now more aware than ever that the wealth divide is caused by a rigged economic system of crony capitalism and that we can create a fair economy that works for all Americans.  We are also aware that many of our fellow citizens are ready to take action – extreme action of sleeping outside in the cold in a public park.  And, we also now know that we have the power to shift the debate and force the economic and political elites to listen to us. In just a few months we have made a difference

Occupying public space involves a lot of resources and energy that could be spent educating, organizing and mobilizing people in much greater numbers.  There is a lot to do to end corporate rule and the challenges of occupying public space can divert our attention and resources from other responsibilities we have as a movement.

When we were organizing the Occupation of Washington, DC – before the occupation of Wall Street began – we were in conversation with movements around the world.  The Spanish Indignados told us that an occupation should last no more than two weeks.  After that it becomes a diversion from the political objectives.  The occupation begins to spend its time dealing with poverty, homelessness, inadequately treated mental illness and addiction – this has been experienced by occupies across the country.

Occupying for a short time accomplishes many of the objectives of holding public space – the political dialogue is affected, people are mobilized and all see that fellow citizens can effectively challenge the corporate-state.  Staying for a lengthy period continues to deepen these goals but the impacts are more limited and the costs get higher.

What to do next?  The Occupy Movement needs to bring participatory democracy to communities.  Occupiers should develop an aggressive organizing plan for their city.  Divide the city and appoint people to be responsible for different areas of the city.  Depending on how many people you have make these areas as small as possible.  Develop plans for house-to-house campaigns where you knock on doors, provide literature, ask what you can do to make their lives better.  Do they need snow removed?  Clothes?  If so, get the occupy team to fulfill their needs, find used clothes, clean their yard – whatever you can do to help.  This shows community and builds relationships.

Plan a march through the different communities in the city.  Make it a spectacle. Have a marching band.  Don’t have one – reach out to local school bands. Organize them.  Create floats, images and signs.  Display yourselves and your message.  Hand out literature as you march. Let people know what the occupy stands for they should join us in building a better world for them and their families.

Plan public General Assemblies in communities across the city.  Teach people the General Assembly process, the hand signals, how to stack speakers, how to listen and reach consensus.  Learn the local issues.  Solve local problems.  Again, build a community that works together to solve problems.

Let people know about the National Occupation of Washington DC (NOW DC), the American Spring beginning on March 30th.  Organize people to come, share rides, hire buses, walk, ride a bike – get people to the nation’s capital to show the united force of the people against the rule of money.  This will be an opportunity to display our solidarity and demand that the people, not money, rule.

How rapidly a movement makes progress is hard to predict. It is never a constant upswing of growth and progress. We may be in for a sprint, or more likely, a marathon with hurdles. If you are hoping for a sprint, note that the deep corruption of the government and the economy has left both weaker than is publicly acknowledged. It may be a hollowed out shell ready to fall.

But, this may also take years to accomplish.  Take the timeline of the Civil Rights movement: 1955 Rosa Parks sits in the front of the bus, not until five years later in 1960, do the lunch counter sit-ins begin. Not until three years later in 1963 does Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lead a march on Washington for the “I have a Dream” speech.  No doubt the time between Rosa Parks and the lunch counter sit-ins and Civil Rights Act passing in 1964 seemed slow to those involved.  Looking back it was rapid, transformational change.  In fact, the movement grew in fits and starts and had roots decades of activity before the 1950s.  In those times of seeming lull, work was being done, to educate and organize people that led to the big spurts of progress. 

Older movements, when communication was slower, have taken even longer. The women’s suffrage movement held its first convention in 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY.  Twenty years later, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed the National Woman Suffrage Association. In 1913, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns formed the National Women’s Party to work for a constitutional amendment to give women the vote. Finally, in 1919 the federal woman’s suffrage amendment, originally written by Susan B. Anthony and introduced in Congress in 1878, was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, sent to the states for ratification and signed into law one year later.

With mass media, and especially the new democratized media of social networks, the Internet, anonymous leaks and independent media, it is very likely the end of the rule of money will come more quickly.  If we focus on our goal, act with intention and use our energy and resources wisely victory will come sooner.

Our challenge to corporate power has roots.  The Project on Corporations Law and Democracy was founded in 1995.  In 1999 the protests against the World Trade Organization occurred in Seattle. In 2000, long-time crusader against corporate power, Ralph Nader, ran his first full presidential campaign and continues to challenge corporatism.  This decade has been called the “Great Turning,” which Joanna Macy has defined as “the shift from the Industrial Growth Society to a life-sustaining civilization.” “America Beyond Capitalism” by Gar Alperovitz, just printed its second edition, five years after the first, documenting the evolution of the developing democratized economy. These are some of the foundations on which the Occupy Movement is building as the unfairness and insecurity of corporate capitalism becomes evident to all. Our roots are deeper than the few months of our existence.

The elites are foolish to think they will stop this movement by closing occupations.  The Occupy Movement will evolve in new and unpredictable ways that will make the elites wish for the days of mere public encampments. The 1% should know they will be held accountable. The people have found their voice and will not be silenced. The era of the rule of money is nearing its end. 

Kevin Zeese is an organizer of Occupy Washington, DC and co-director of It’s Our Economy.

 

Who will watch the watchdog?
 

On December 2, the Geneva-based UN Watch welcomed that day’s “strong condemnation” of Syria by a UN Human Rights Council emergency session, and its establishment of a special rapporteur to monitor the situation therefollowing what it called“a global campaign to create the post by a coalition of prominent democracy dissidents and human rights groups” led by UN Watch itself. The non-governmental organization, whose self-appointed mandate is “to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter,” expressed regret, however, that the UNHRC resolution “paid special deference” to Syria’s “territorial integrity” and “political independence,” decrying the provision as “a clear jab at NATO’s intervention in Libya, and a pre-emptive strike against the principle of the international community’s responsibility to protect civilians under assault.”

On the same day, UN Watch delivered a speech to the Human Rights Council plenary session in which it denounced the UN Security Council’s “shocking silence on Syria’s atrocities,” calling on it to take “urgent action to protect the civilian population before thousands more are beaten, tortured and killed.”It also urged UNESCO to reverse its recent decision to elect Syria to two human rights committees. Submitting that day’s UNHRC resolution to UNESCO’s Executive Board, the NGO demanded that they “expel the Assad government from those panels immediately.”The statement went on to berate the UNHRC for its “longtime policy, and that of the old Commission, of turning a blind eye to Syria’s gross and systematic violations.” Also “wrong and harmful,” in UN Watch’s view, was the UN body’s “policy of supporting Syria’s cynical and transparent ploy each year to condemn Israel for alleged violations of human rights, which should not be repeated this March.”

For those familiar with the NGO’s unmistakable governmental ties, it will come as no surprise that UN Watch could downplay Israel’s extensively documented human rights abuses as “alleged” while at the same time confidently asserting that “the facts are clear” regarding Syria’s “gross and systematic violations of human rights.”As Ian Williams, a former president of theUnited Nations Correspondents Association, wrote in a 2007 Guardian opinion piece, “UN Watch is an organization whose main purpose is to attack the United Nations in general, and its human rights council in particular, for alleged bias against Israel.”

Founded in 1993 under the chairmanship of Ambassador Morris B. Abram, the former US permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, UN Watch is affiliated with the American Jewish Committee. Described by one expert on US-Israeli relations as “the foreign policy arm of the Israel lobby,”the AJC also takes a keen interest in the UN’s alleged bias against Israel. According to a 2003 article in the Jewish Daily Forward, a “sustained effort” by the lobby’s foreign policy arm resulted in the United States “embarking on the most comprehensive campaign in years to reduce the number of anti-Israel resolutions routinely passed by the United Nations General Assembly.”

In February, UN Watch organized 70 “rights groups” to send a letter to President Obama, EU High RepresentativeCatherine Ashton, and UN Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon demanding international action against Libya by invoking the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine. Speaking to the Jerusalem Post at the time, the NGO’s executive director,Hillel Neuer, said that “the muted response of the US and the EU to the Libyan atrocities is not only a let-down to the many Libyans risking their lives for freedom, but a shirking of their obligations, as members of the Security Council and the Human Rights Council, to protect peace and human rights and to prevent war crimes.”Despite the unsubstantiated nature of its allegations,”UN Watch’s “Urgent Appeal to Stop Atrocities in Libyaproved sufficient to get Libya suspended from the Human Rights Council before being referred to the Security Council, and ultimately provided the spurious justification for NATO’s eight-month “humanitarian” bombing of the country.  

Undoubtedly the most significant signatory of the UN Watch-sponsored letter was Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy. Funded by American taxpayers but outside Congressional oversight, the Endowment has been meddling in other countries’ internal politics since its inception in 1983. As Allen Weinstein, NED’s architect and first acting president, famously told the Washington Post in 1991, “a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

A lot of what NED does today can also be understood by observing its longtime president’s career path. A former head of the neo-Trotskyite Social Democrats-USA who steadily evolved into neoconservatives, Gershmanis no stranger to the pro-Israel lobbying,having worked in the research department of the Anti-Defamation League in 1968 and served on the governing council of the American Jewish Committee in the early 1970s.

Although the UN Watch purports to believe in the United Nations’ mission to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” the pro-Israel NGO bears significant responsibility forinducing a devastating war on the current generation in one Arab countryalready this year and is clearly determined to repeat the carnage in another. As long as UN Watch’s motto of “Monitoring the United Nations, Promoting Human Rights” continues to obscure its real mission of “Manipulating the United Nations, Promoting Israel’s Interests,” the warning of a Roman poet becomes increasingly pertinent: “Quiscustodietipsoscustodes?”

 

Maidhc Ó Cathail is a political analyst and editor of The Passionate Attachment.

Introduction

After suffering major military and political defeats in bloody ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, failing to buttress long-standing clients in Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia and witnessing the disintegration of puppet regimes in Somalia and South Sudan, the Obama regime has learned nothing: Instead he has turned toward greater military confrontation with global powers, namely Russia and China. Obama has adopted a provocative offensive military strategy right on the frontiers of both China and Russia .

After going from defeat to defeat on the periphery of world power and not satisfied with running treasury-busting deficits in pursuit of empire building against economically weak countries, Obama has embraced a policy of encirclement and provocations against China, the world’s second largest economy and the US’s most important creditor, and Russia, the European Union’s principle oil and gas provider and the world’s second most powerful nuclear weapons power.

This paper addresses the Obama regime’s highly irrational and world-threatening escalation of imperial militarism. We examine the global military, economic and domestic political context that gives rise to these policies. We then examine the multiple points of conflict and intervention in which Washington is engaged, from Pakistan , Iran , Libya , Venezuela , Cuba and beyond. We will then analyze the rationale for military escalation against Russia and China as part of a new offensive moving beyond the Arab world ( Syria , Libya ) and in the face of the declining economic position of the EU and the US in the global economy. We will then outline the strategies of a declining empire, nurtured on perpetual wars, facing global economic decline, domestic discredit and a working population reeling from the long-term, large-scale dismantling of its basic social programs.

The Turn from Militarism in the Periphery to Global Military Confrontation

November 2011 is a moment of great historical import: Obama declared two major policy positions, both having tremendous strategic consequences affecting competing world powers.

Obama pronounced a policy of military encirclement of China based on stationing a maritime and aerial armada facing the Chinese coast – an overt policy designed to weaken and disrupt China ’s access to raw materials and commercial and financial ties in Asia . Obama’s declaration that Asia is the priority region for US military expansion, base-building and economic alliances was directed against China , challenging Beijing in its own backyard. Obama’s iron fist policy statement, addressed to the Australian Parliament, was crystal clear in defining US imperial goals.

“Our enduring interests in the region [Asia Pacific] demands our enduring presence in this region … The United States is a Pacific power and we are here to stay … As we end today’s wars [i.e. the defeats and retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan]… I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia Pacific a top priority … As a result, reduction in US defense spending will not … come at the expense of the Asia Pacific” (CNN.com, Nov. 16, 2011).

The precise nature of what Obama called our “presence and mission” was underlined by the new military agreement with Australia to dispatch warships, warplanes and 2500 marines to the northern most city of Australia ( Darwin ) directed at China . Secretary of State Clinton has spent the better part of 2011 making highly provocative overtures to Asian countries that have maritime border conflicts with China . Clinton has forcibly injected the US into these disputes, encouraging and exacerbating the demands of Vietnam , Philippines , and Brunei in the South China Sea . Even more seriously, Washington is bolstering its military ties and sales with Japan , Taiwan , Singapore and South Korea , as well as increasing the presence of battleships, nuclear submarines and over flights of war planes along China ’s coastal waters. In line with the policy of military encirclement and provocation, the Obama-Clinton regime is promoting Asian multi-lateral trade agreements that exclude China and privilege US multi-national corporations, bankers and exporters, dubbed the “Trans-Pacific Partnership”. It currently includes mostly smaller countries, but Obama has hopes of enticing Japan and Canada to join …

Obama’s presence at the APEC meeting of East Asian leader and his visit to Indonesia in November 2011 all revolve around efforts to secure US hegemony. Obama-Clinton hope to counter the relative decline of US economic links in the face of the geometrical growth of trade and investment ties between East Asia and China .

A most recent example of Obama-Clinton’s delusional, but destructive, efforts to deliberately disrupt China ’s economic ties in Asia, is taking place in Myanmar ( Burma ). Clinton ’s December 2011 visit to Myanmar was preceded by a decision by the Thein Sein regime to suspend a China Power Investment-funded dam project in the north of the country. According to official confidential documents released by WilkiLeaks the “Burmese NGO’s, which organized and led the campaign against the dam, were heavily funded by the US government”(Financial Times, Dec. 2, 2011, p. 2). This and other provocative activity and Clinton ’s speeches condemning Chinese “tied aid” pale in comparison with the long-term, large-scale interests which link Myanmar with China . China is Myanmar ’s biggest trading partner and investor, including six other dam projects. Chinese companies are building new highways and rail lines across the country, opening southwestern China up for Burmese products and China is constructing oil pipelines and ports. There is a powerful dynamic of mutual economic interests that will not be disturbed by one dispute (FT, December 2, 2011, p.2). Clinton’s critique of China’s billion-dollar investments in Myanmar’s infrastructure is one of the most bizarre in world history, coming in the aftermath of Washington’s brutal eight-year military presence in Iraq which destroyed $500 billion dollars of Iraqi infrastructure, according to Baghdad official estimates. Only a delusional administration could imagine that rhetorical flourishes, a three day visit and the bankrolling of an NGO is an adequate counter-weight to deep economic ties linking Myanmar to China . The same delusional posture underlies the entire repertoire of policies informing the Obama regime’s efforts to displace China ’s predominant role in Asia .

While any one policy adopted by the Obama regime does not, in itself, present an immediate threat to peace, the cumulative impact of all these policy pronouncements and the projections of military power add up to an all out comprehensive effort to isolate, intimidate and degrade China’s rise as a regional and global power. Military encirclement and alliances, exclusion of China in proposed regional economic associations, partisan intervention in regional maritime disputes and positioning technologically advanced warplanes, are all aimed to undermine China ’s competitiveness and to compensate for US economic inferiority via closed political and economic networks.

Clearly White House military and economic moves and US Congressional anti-China demagogy are aimed at weakening China ’s trading position and forcing its business-minded leaders into privileging US banking and business interests over and above their own enterprises. Pushed to its limits, Obama’s prioritizing a big military push could lead to a catastrophic rupture in US-Chinese economic relations. This would result in dire consequences, especially but not exclusively, on the US economy and particularly its financial system. China holds over $1.5 trillion dollars in US debt, mainly Treasury Notes, and each year purchases from $200 to $300 billion in new issues, a vital source in financing the US deficit. If Obama provokes a serious threat to China ’s security interests and Beijing is forced to respond, it will not be military but economic retaliation: the sell-off of a few hundred billion dollars in T-notes and the curtailment of new purchases of US debt. The US deficit will skyrocket, its credit ratings will descend to ‘junk’, and the financial system will ‘tremble onto collapse’. Interest rates to attract new buyers of US debt will approach double digits. Chinese exports to the US will suffer and losses will incur due to the devaluation of the T-notes in Chinese hands. China has been diversifying its markets around the world and its huge domestic market could probably absorb most of what China loses abroad in the course of a pull-back from the US market.

While Obama strays across the Pacific to announce his military threats to China and strives to economically isolate China from the rest of Asia, the US economic presence is fast fading in what used to be its “backyard”: Quoting one Financial Times journalist, “China is the only show [in town] for Latin America” (Financial Times, Nov. 23, 2011, p.6). China has displaced the US and the EU as Latin America’s principle trading partner; Beijing has poured billions in new investments and provides low interest loans.

China’s trade with India , Indonesia , Japan , Pakistan and Vietnam is increasing at a far faster rate than that of the US . The US effort to build an imperial-centered security alliance in Asia is based on fragile economic foundations. Even Australia , the anchor and linchpin of the US military thrust in Asia, is heavily dependent on mineral exports to China . Any military interruption would send the Australian economy into a tailspin.

The US economy is in no condition to replace China as a market for Asian or Australian commodity and manufacturing exports. The Asian countries must be acutely aware that there is no future advantage in tying themselves to a declining, highly militarized, empire. Obama and Clinton deceive themselves if they think they can entice Asia into a long-term alliance. The Asian’s are simply using the Obama regime’s friendly overtures as a ‘tactical device’, a negotiating ploy, to leverage better terms in securing maritime and territorial boundaries with China .

Washington is delusional if it believes that it can convince Asia to break long-term large-scale lucrative economic ties to China in order to join an exclusive economic association with such dubious prospects. Any ‘reorientation’ of Asia, from China to the US , would require more than the presence of an American naval and airborne armada pointed at China . It would require the total restructuring of the Asian countries’ economies, class structure and political and military elite. The most powerful economic entrepreneurial groups in Asia have deep and growing ties with China/Hong Kong, especially among the dynamic transnational Chinese business elites in the region. A turn toward Washington entails a massive counter-revolution, which substitutes colonial ‘traders’ (compradors) for established entrepreneurs. A turn to the US would require a dictatorial elite willing to cut strategic trading and investment linkages, displacing millions of workers and professionals. As much as some US-trained Asian military officers , economists and former Wall Street financiers and billionaires might seek to ‘balance’ a US military presence with Chinese economic power, they must realize that ultimately advantage resides in working out an Asian solution.

The age of Asian “comprador capitalists”, willing to sell out national industry and sovereignty in exchange for privileged access to US markets, is ancient history. Whatever the boundless enthusiasm for conspicuous consumerism and Western lifestyles, which Asia and China’s new rich mindlessly celebrate, whatever the embrace of inequalities and savage capitalist exploitation of labor, there is recognition that the past history of US and European dominance precluded the growth and enrichment of an indigenous bourgeoisie and middle class. The speeches and pronouncements of Obama and Clinton reek of nostalgia for a past of neo-colonial overseers and comprador collaborators – a mindless delusion. Their attempts at political realism, in finally recognizing Asia as the economic pivot of the present world order, takes a bizarre turn in imagining that military posturing and projections of armed force will reduce China to a marginal player in the region.

Obama’s Escalation of Confrontation with Russia

The Obama regime has launched a major frontal military thrust on Russia ’s borders. The US has moved forward missile sites and Air Force bases in Poland, Rumania, Turkey, Spain, Czech Republic and Bulgaria: Patriot PAC-3 anti-aircraft missile complexes in Poland; advanced radar AN/TPY-2 in Turkey; and several missile (SM-3 IA) loaded warships in Spain are among the prominent weapons encircling Russia, most only minutes away from it strategic heartland. Secondly, the Obama regime has mounted an all-out effort to secure and expand US military bases in Central Asia among former Soviet republics. Thirdly, Washington , via NATO, has launched major economic and military operations against Russia ’s major trading partners in North Africa and the Middle East . The NATO war against Libya , which ousted the Gadhafi regime, has paralyzed or nullified multi-billion dollar Russian oil and gas investments, arms sales and substituted a NATO puppet for the former Russia-friendly regime.

The UN-NATO economic sanctions and US-Israeli clandestine terrorist activity aimed at Iran has undermined Russia ’s lucrative billion-dollar nuclear trade and joint oil ventures. NATO, including Turkey , backed by the Gulf monarchical dictatorships, has implemented harsh sanctions and funded terrorist assaults on Syria , Russia ’s last remaining ally in the region and where it has a sole naval facility (Tartus) on the Mediterranean Sea . Russia ’s previous collaboration with NATO in weakening its own economic and security position is a product of the monumental misreading of NATO and especially Obama’s imperial policies. Russian President Medvedev and his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mistakenly assumed (like Gorbachev and Yeltsin before them) that backing US-NATO policies against Russia ’s trading partners would result in some sort of “reciprocity”: US dismantling its offensive “missile shield” on its frontiers and support for Russia ’s admission into the World Trade Organization. Medvedev, following his liberal pro-western illusions, fell into line and backed US-Israeli sanctions against Iran , believing the tales of a “nuclear weapons programs”. Then Lavrov fell for the NATO line of “no fly zones to protect Libyan civilian lives” and voted in favor, only to feebly “protest”, much too late, that NATO was “exceeding its mandate” by bombing Libya into the Middle Ages and installing a pro-NATO puppet regime of rogues and fundamentalists. Finally when the US aimed a cleaver at Russia’s heartland by pushing ahead with an all-out effort to install missile launch sites 5 minutes by air from Moscow while organizing mass and armed assaults on Syria, did the Medvedev-Lavrov duet awake from its stupor and oppose UN sanctions. Medvedev threatened to abandon the nuclear missile reduction treaty (START) and to place medium-range missiles with 5 minute launch-time from Berlin , Paris and London .

Medvedev-Lavrov’s policy of consolidation and co-operation based on Obama’s rhetoric of “resetting relations” invited aggressive empire building: Each capitulation led to a further aggression. As a result, Russia is surrounded by missiles on its western frontier; it has suffered losses among its major trading partners in the Middle East and faces US bases in southwest and Central Asia .

Belatedly Russian officials have moved to replace the delusional Medvedev for the realist Putin, as next President. This shift to a political realist has predictably evoked a wave of hostility toward Putin in all the Western media. Obama’s aggressive policy to isolate Russia by undermining independent regimes has, however, not affected Russia ’s status as a nuclear weapons power. It has only heightened tensions in Europe and perhaps ended any future chance of peaceful nuclear weapons reduction or efforts to secure a UN Security Council consensus on issues of peaceful conflict resolution. Washington , under Obama-Clinton, has turned Russia from a pliant client to a major adversary.

Putin looks to deepening and expanding ties with the East, namely China , in the face of threats from the West. The combination of Russian advanced weapons technology and energy resources and Chinese dynamic manufacturing and industrial growth are more than a match for crisis-ridden EU-USA economies wallowing in stagnation.

Obama’s military confrontation toward Russia will greatly prejudice access to Russian raw materials and definitively foreclose any long-term strategic security agreement, which would be useful in lowering the deficit and reviving the US economy.

Between Realism and Delusion: Obama’s Strategic Realignment

Obama’s recognition that the present and future center of political and economic power is moving inexorably to Asia , was a flash of political realism. After a lost decade of pouring hundreds of billions of dollars in military adventures on the margins and periphery of world politics, Washington has finally discovered that is not where the fate of nations, especially Great Powers, will be decided, except in a negative sense – of bleeding resources over lost causes. Obama’s new realism and priorities apparently are now focused on Southeast and Northeast Asia, where dynamic economies flourish, markets are growing at a double digit rate, investors are ploughing tens of billions in productive activity and trade is expanding at three times the rate of the US and the EU.

But Obama’s ‘New Realism’ is blighted by entirely delusional assumptions, which undermine any serious effort to realign US policy.

In the first place Obama’s effort to ‘enter’ into Asia is via a military build-up and not through a sharpening and upgrading of US economic competitiveness. What does the US produce for the Asian countries that will enhance its market share? Apart from arms, airplanes and agriculture, the US has few competitive industries. The US would have to comprehensively re-orient its economy, upgrade skilled labor, and transfer billions from “security” and militarism to applied innovations. But Obama works within the current military-Zionist-financial complex: He knows no other and is incapable of breaking with it.

Secondly, Obama-Clinton operate under the delusion that the US can exclude China or minimize its role in Asia, a policy that is undercut by the huge and growing investment and presence of all the major US multi-national corporations in China , who use it as an export platform to Asia and the rest of the world.

The US military build-up and policy of intimidation will only force China to downgrade its role as creditor financing the US debt, a policy China can pursue because the US market, while still important, is declining, as China expands its presence in its domestic, Asian, Latin American and European markets.

What once appeared to be New Realism is now revealed to be the recycling of Old Delusions: The notion that the US can return to being the supreme Pacific Power it was after World War Two. The US attempts to return to Pacific dominance under Obama-Clinton with a crippled economy, with the overhang of an over-militarized economy, and with major strategic handicaps: Over the past decade the United States foreign policy has been at the beck and call of Israel ’s fifth column (the Israel “lobby”). The entire US political class is devoid of common, practical sense and national purpose. They are immersed in troglodyte debates over “indefinite detentions” and “mass immigrant expulsions”. Worse, all are on the payrolls of private corporations who sell in the US and invest in China .

Why would Obama abjure costly wars in the unprofitable periphery and then promote the same military metaphysics at the dynamic center of the world economic universe? Does Barack Obama and his advisers believe he is the Second Coming of Admiral Commodore Perry, whose 19th century warships and blockades forced Asia open to Western trade? Does he believe that military alliances will be the first stage to a subsequent period of privileged economic entry?

Does Obama believe that his regime can blockade China , as Washington did to Japan in the lead up to World War Two? It’s too late. China is much more central to the world economy, too vital even to the financing of the US debt, too bonded up with the Forbes Five Hundred multi-national corporations. To provoke China , to even fantasize about economic “exclusion” to bring down China , is to pursue policies that will totally disrupt the world economy, first and foremost the US economy!

Conclusion

Obama’s ‘crackpot realism’, his shift from wars in the Muslim world to military confrontation in Asia , has no intrinsic worth and poses extraordinary extrinsic costs. The military methods and economic goals are totally incompatible and beyond the capacity of the US , as it is currently constituted. Washington ’s policies will not ‘weaken’ Russia or China , even less intimidate them. Instead it will encourage both to adopt more adversarial positions, making it less likely that they lend a hand to Obama’s sequential wars on behalf of Israel . Already Russia has sent warships to its Syrian port, refused to support an arms embargo against Syria and Iran and (in retrospect) criticized the NATO war against Libya . China and Russia have far too many strategic ties with the world economy to suffer any great losses from a series of US military outposts and “exclusive” alliances. Russia can aim just as many deadly nuclear missiles at the West as the US can mount from its bases in Eastern Europe .

In other words, Obama’s military escalation will not change the nuclear balance of power, but will bring Russia and China into a closer and deeper alliance. Gone are the days of Kissinger-Nixon’s “divide and conquer” strategy pitting US-Chinese trade agreements against Russian arms. Washington has a totally exaggerated significance of the current maritime spats between China and its neighbors. What unites them in economic terms is far more important in the medium and long-run. China ’s Asian economic ties will erode any tenuous military links to the US .

Obama’s “crackpot realism”, views the world market through military lenses. Military arrogance toward Asia has led to a rupture with Pakistan , its most compliant client regime in South Asia . NATO deliberately slaughtered 24 Pakistani soldiers and thumbed their nose at the Pakistani generals, while China and Russia condemned the attack and gained influence.

In the end, the military and exclusionary posture to China will fail. Washington will overplay its hand and frighten its business-oriented erstwhile Asian partners, who only want to play-off a US military presence to gain tactical economic advantage. They certainly do not want a new US instigated ‘Cold War’ dividing and weakening the dynamic intra-Asian trade and investment. Obama and his minions will quickly learn that Asia ’s current leaders do not have permanent allies – only permanent interests. In the final analysis, China figures prominently in configuring a new Asia-centric world economy. Washington may claim to have a ‘permanent Pacific presence’ but until it demonstrates it can take care of its “basic business at home”, like arranging its own finances and balancing its current account deficits, the US Naval command may end up renting its naval facilities to Asian exporters and shippers, transporting goods for them, and protecting them by pursuing pirates, contrabandists and narco-traffickers.

Come to think about it, Obama might reduce the US trade deficit with Asia by renting out the Seventh Fleet to patrol the Straits, instead of wasting US taxpayer money bullying successful Asian economic powers.  

VIDEO: US Government Ignores Imprisoned Palestinian Protester

December 10th, 2011 by Global Research

On the Apparent Suicide of Georgia State Senator Robert Brown

December 10th, 2011 by Cynthia McKinney

Statement of Cynthia McKinney on the death of State Senator Robert Brown

9 December 2011

“We all are diminished by Robert’s irreplaceable absence.  And I have lost a dear friend.”

It was with shock and disbelief that I received a phone call yesterday evening around 6:18 informing me that State Senator Robert Brown had been found dead in his home.  Later, I learned that the coroner reported that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  I am still stunned and dazed and confused.  I don’t understand this at all.  State Senator Brown and I were working on a project to infuse Georgia politics with a much-needed added dimension:  that is, independent voting.  Due to Georgia ballot access and other election laws, it is veritably impossible for voters to declare their independence from both the Democratic and Republican parties’ monopoly over Georgia politics.  State Senator Robert Brown came to see how the current political landscape could be improved in our State by widening the political discourse to include voters who consider themselves as “independents.”

Robert and I talked for hours at a time approximately once a month about the progress of various projects in addition to our independent voter project.  We had also discussed putting a newspaper together for Middle Georgia that catered to the independent voter.  And the unresolved situation of Black Farmers was also a part of our conversation.  Due to travel commitments, I was late with my “check-in” with Robert and had just mentioned to family and friends last week that I needed to check in with Robert.  This news is just devastating.

The loss to Georgia is unmeasurable.  State Senator Robert Brown loved Georgia.  He loved Macon.  I endorsed him in his recent run for that city’s Mayor.  The media demonization of him was such that I received a call during his campaign from a supporter saying that “they [the media] were treating Robert worse than” the media treat me!  I checked in with Robert and we had a laugh about it.  It is no laughing matter, however.  Despite Robert not winning the Mayor’s race, with me he continually discussed his commitment to changing the level of engagement in Georgia politics, particularly of Georgia’s Black voters.

Robert was a servant leader, never thinking of himself, but always of the people of this State and their needs. 

I am still in a state of shock and am searching for information and answers. 

We all are diminished by Robert’s irreplaceable absence. 

And I have lost a dear friend.

Drone incursion proves U.S. Afghan bases are threat to region

An Iranian Foreign Ministry official says the United States’ military bases in Afghanistan are a serious threat to security in the region, MNA reported.

Mohsen Pak-Aeen, who is the director of the Foreign Ministry department for Afghan affairs, commented on the U.S. spy drone that was recently downed by the Iranian Armed Forces.

The incident proves Iran’s claim that the U.S. bases in Afghanistan are a serious threat to security in the region.

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

To subscribe for individual e-mails or the daily digest, unsubscribe, and otherwise change subscription status:
[email protected]

BREAKING NEWS: Russia warns Israel not to attack Iran

December 10th, 2011 by Global Research

    
During his upcoming visit to Moscow, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman will hear warnings against an attack on Iran.

Appearing on Russian TV Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said the problems concerning Iran’s nuclear energy programme must be sorted out by diplomatic means, and any attack on Iran would trigger a region-wide conflagration.

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

To subscribe for individual e-mails or the daily digest, unsubscribe, and otherwise change subscription status:
[email protected]

Stop NATO Editor Rick Rozoff has put together a compendium of  antiwar essays,  poems and literary excerpts.  

Joseph Addison: Already have our quarrels fill’d the world with widows and with orphans

Aeschylus: Ares, father of tears, mows the field of man

Aesop: The lies of lupine liberators

Conrad Aiken: Vast symphonic dance of death

Alain: Why is there war?

Richard Aldington: Pools and ponds of blood, the huge black dogs of hell

Yehuda Amichai: Knowledge of peace passes from country to country, like children’s games

Amiel on war

Leonid Andreyev: The Red Laugh

Louis Aragon: The peace that forces murder down to its knees for confession

Aristides on the two types of war: Bad and worse

Aristophanes: Rescuing Peace

Edwin Arnold: My chariot shall not roll with bloody wheels till earth wears the red record of my name

Arrian: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the fate of conquerors

W.H. Auden: A land laid waste, its towns in terror and all its young men slain

Henri Barbusse: Under Fire

Julien Benda: Military mysticism

Walter Benjamin: Self-alienated mankind experiences its own destruction as aesthetic pleasure

Ambrose Bierce: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Alexander Blok: The kite, the mother and endless war

Boethius: Provoking death’s destined day by waging unjust and cruel wars

James Boswell: On War

Randolph Bourne: The War and the Intellectuals

Georg Brandes: An Appeal Against Wholesale Murder

Bertolt Brecht: German Miserere

Thomas Campbell: The snow shall be their winding-sheet, every turf a soldier’s sepulchre

Thomas Campion: Then bloody swords and armour should not be

Karel Čapek: The War with the Newts

Ernesto Cardenal: They speak of peace and secretly prepare for war

Thomas Carlyle: What blood-filled trenches, and contentious centuries, may still divide us!

Catullus: Appalled by fratricide, gods turned from man

Cervantes: Everything then was friendship, everything was harmony

Coleridge: All our dainty terms for fratricide

Joseph Conrad: Men go mad in protest against “peculiar sanity” of war

Homo homini lupus: William Cowper on war and man’s inhumanity to man

Stephen Crane: War Is Kind

Rubén Darío: You think the future is wherever your bullet strikes

John Davidson: Blood in torrents pour in vain, for war breeds war again

Austin Dobson: Before Sedan

John Donne: War and misery are one thing

John Dos Passos: Three Soldiers

1862: Dostoevsky on the new world order

Theodore Dreiser and Smedley Butler: War is a Racket

W.E.B. Du Bois: Work for Peace

Georges Duhamel: The Fleshmongers, War’s Winnowing Basket

Paul Laurence Dunbar: Birds of peace and deadened hearts

Eça de Queiroz: Afghanistan

Paul Éluard: True law of men despite the misery and war

Erasmus: The Complaint of Peace

Euripides: The crown of War, the crown of Woe

William Faulkner: There is only the question: When will I be blown up?

Fénelon: War is the most dreadful of all evils by which heaven has afflicted man

Fichte: The inexorable law of universal peace

Henry Fielding: On the condign fate of Great Men and conquerors

Gustave Flaubert and George Sand: Monstrous conflicts of which we have no idea; warfare suppressed or civilization perishes

Anatole France on war

Ivan Franko: Even the dove has the blood of men on its snowy white wings

John Galsworthy, 1911: Air war last and worst hideous development of the black arts of warfare

Rasul Gamzatov: For women war is never over

Gabriel García Márquez: Five wars and seventeen military coups

Vsevolod Garshin: Four Days

André Gide: Transformation of a war supporter

William Godwin: Inventions of a barbarous age, deluging provinces with blood

Maxim Gorky on Romain Rolland, war and humanism

Remy de Gourmont: Getting drunk at the dirty cask of militarism

Robert Graves: Recalling the last war, preparing for the next

Thomas Gray: Clouds of carnage blot the sun; weave the crimson web of war

Jorge Guillén: The monsters have passed over

Nicolás Guillén: Come, dove, come tell me the tale of your woe

Thomas Hardy: All-Earth-gladdening Law of Peace, war’s apology wholly stultified

Frank Harris: Henri Barbusse and the war against war

Nathaniel Hawthorne on war: Drinking out of skulls till the Millennium

William Hazlitt: Systematic patrons of eternal war

Ernest Hemingway: Combat the murder that is war

José-Maria de Heredia: Drunk with dreams that brutal conquests bring

Miguel Hernández: Wretched Wars

Herodotus: No one is fool enough to choose war instead of peace

Robert Herrick: The olive branch, the arch of peace

Alexander Herzen: War and “international law”

Hesiod: Lamentable works of Ares lead to dank house of Hades

Nazim Hikmet: Sad kind of freedom, free to be an American air base

Friedrich Hölderlin: Celebration of Peace

Oliver Wendell Holmes: Hymn to Peace

William Dean Howells: Editha

William Dean Howells: Spanish Prisoners of War

Victor Hugo: The face of Cain, hunters of men, sublime cutthroats

Leigh Hunt: Captain Sword and Captain Pen

Leigh Hunt: Some Remarks On War And Military Statesmen

Aldous Huxley: Rhetorical devices used to conceal fundamental absurdity and monstrosity of war

Avetik Issahakian: Eternal fabricators of war, erecting pyramids with a myriad skulls

William James: The Moral Equivalent of War

Samuel Johnson on war

Attila József: War stirs its withering alarms, I shudder to see hatred win

Juvenal: Mighty warriors and their tombs are circumscribed by Fate

Immanuel Kant: Prescription for perpetual peace

Nikos Kazantzakis: Francis of Assisi

Keats: Days innocent of scathing war

Ellen Key: Overcoming the madness of a world at war

Karl Kraus: The Last Days of Mankind

La Bruyère on the lust for war

La Fontaine: When shall Peace pack up these bloody darts?

Selma Lagerlöf: The Fifth Commandment. The Great Beast is War.

Lamartine: The republic of peace

Sidney Lanier: Death in Eden

D.H. Lawrence: All modern militarism is foul

D.H. Lawrence: Future War, Murderous Weapons, Refinements of Evil

Halldór Laxness: In war there is no cause except the cause of war. A bitter disappointment when it turned out they could defend themselves

Richard Le Gallienne: The Illusion of War

Stephen Leacock: The war mania of middle age and embonpoint

Sinclair Lewis: It Can(‘t) Happen Here

Li Bai: Nefarious War

Livy: On the political utility of starting unprovoked wars

Jack London: War

Federico García Lorca: War goes crying with a million gray rats

James Russell Lowell on Lamartine: Highest duty of man, to summon peace when vulture of war smells blood

Lu Hsün: Ballads among bushes of bayonets, hungry dove amid crumbling walls

Lucan: Over all the world you are victorious and your soldiers die

Lucian: War propaganda and its hyperbole

Hugh MacDiarmid: A war to save civilization, you say?

Bernard Mandeville: How to induce men to kill and die

Heinrich Mann: Mission of letters in a world in rubble with 10 million corpses underground

Thomas Mann: Dirge for a homeland wasted by war

Christopher Marlowe: Accurs’d be he that first invented war!

José Martí: Oscar Wilde on war and aesthetics

Roger Martin du Gard: From Nobel Prize in Literature speech

Andrew Marvell: When roses only arms might bear

Edgar Lee Masters: The Philippine Conquest

Edgar Lee Masters: “The honor of the flag must be upheld”

Herman Melville: Trophies of Peace

H.L. Mencken: New wars will bring about an unparalleled butchery of men

George Meredith: On the Danger of War

Adam Mickiewicz: The transient glory of military conquerors

Milton: Men levy cruel wars, wasting the earth, each other to destroy

Eugenio Montale: Poetry in an era of nuclear weapons and Doomsday atmosphere

William Morris: Protecting the strong from the weak, selling each other weapons to kill their own countrymen

Nikolai Nekrasov: In War

Pablo Neruda: Bandits with planes, jackals that the jackals would despise

Novalis: Celebrating a great banquet of love as a festival of peace

Alfred Noyes: The Wine Press

Vladimir Odoevsky: City without a name, system with one

Kenzaburō Ōe: Categorical imperative to renounce war forever

Wilfred Owen: Arms and the Boy and Disabled

Pascal on war: An assassin if he kills in his own country, a hero if in another

Charles Péguy: Cursed be war, cursed of God

Petrarch: Wealth and power at a bloody rate is wicked, better bread and water eat with peace

Pindar: The arts versus war

Harold Pinter: Art, Truth and Politics

Plutarch: On war and its opponents

J.B. Priestley: Insane regress of ultimate weapons leads to radioactive cemetery

Propertius: Elegy on war

Marcel Proust: Every day war is declared anew

Salvatore Quasimodo: In every country a cultural tradition opposes war

Arthur Rimbaud: Evil

Yannis Ritsos: Peace

Romain Rolland: Above The Battle

Romain Rolland: Ara Pacis and Ave, Caesar, Morituri Te Salutant

Ronsard: Far away from Europe and far from its wars

Rousseau: The State of War

Carl Sandburg: Ready to Kill

George Santayana on war and militarism

Friedrich Schiller: Oh, blessed peace, may the day of grim War’s ruthless crew never dawn

Albert Schweitzer: On nuclear weapons in NATO’s hands

Senancour: Lottery of war amid heaps of the dead

Seneca on war: Deeds punished by death when committed by individuals praised when carried out by generals

Militarist myopia: George Bernard Shaw’s Common Sense About the War

Juvenilia: Percy Bysshe Shelley on war

Taras Shevchenko: The civilizing mission…at sword’s point

Sophocles: War the destroyer

Robert Southey: The Battle of Blenheim

Wole Soyinka: Africa victim, never perpetrator, of theo/ideological wars

Stephen Spender: Ultima Ratio Regum

Stendhal and Byron: Military leprosy; fronts of brass and feet of clay

Jonathan Swift on war

Theocritus: May spiders spin their slender webs over weapons of war

Dylan Thomas: The Hand That Signed the Paper

James Thomson: Peace is the natural state of man; war his corruption, his disgrace

Thucydides: Admonitions against war

Tibullus: War is a crime perpetrated by hearts hardened like weapons

Alexei Tolstoy: The one incontestable result was dead bodies

Leo Tolstoy: Two Wars and Carthago Delenda Est

Georg Trakl: Night beckons to dying soldiers, the ghosts of the killed are sighing

Kurt Tucholsky: The White Spots

Mark Twain: The War Prayer

Lesya Ukrainka: Do you understand that word called war?

Paul Vaillant-Couturier: The Song of Craonne

Paul Valéry on global conflicts, Europe governed by American commission

César Vallejo: So much love and yet so powerless against death

Paul Verlaine: The joy of sweet peace without victory

Virgil: Age of peace

Voltaire: War

Franz Werfel: To a Lark in War-Time

John Greenleaf Whittier: The Peace Convention at Brussels

Oscar Wilde: Antidote to war

Oscar Wilde: Crimson seas of war, Great Game in Central and South Asia

Wordsworth: We felt as men should feel at vast carnage

Xenophon: Socrates’ war sophistry; civil crimes are martial virtues

Edward Young: Draw the murd’ring sword to give mankind a single lord

Emile Zola on war mania: A blind and deaf beast let loose amid death and destruction, laden with cannon-fodder

Zuhair: Accursed thing, war will grind you between millstones

Arnold Zweig: Education Before Verdun

Stefan Zweig: The fear of opposing military hysteria

The Financial Crisis Was Entirely Foreseeable

December 10th, 2011 by Washington's Blog

Foreseeable or Not?

I noted in April:

Whenever there is a disaster, those responsible claim it was “unforeseeable” so as to escape blame.

For example:

  • It happened with 9/11

The big boys gamble with our lives and our livelihoods, because they make a killing by taking huge risks and cutting costs. And when things inevitably go South, they aren’t held responsible (other than a slap on the wrist), and may even be bailed out by the government.

But surely the financial crisis was different. After all, Wall Street executives and politicians say that the financial crisis wasn’t foreseeable. And see this.

Actually, it might have been slightly foreseeable for a little while before the financial crisis.

We’ve Known for Thousands of Years

We’ve known for literally thousands of years that debts need to be periodically written down, or the entire economy will collapse. And see this.

We’ve known for 1,900 years that that rampant inequality destroys societies.

We’ve known for thousands of years that debasing currencies leads to economic collapse.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that the failure to punish financial fraud destroys economies.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that monopolies and the political influence which accompanies too much power in too few hands is dangerous for free markets.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that trust is vital for a healthy economy.

We’ve known since the 1930s Great Depression that separating depository banking from speculative investment banking is key to economic stability. See this, this, this and this.

We’ve known since 1988 that quantitative easing doesn’t work to rescue an ailing economy.

We’ve known since 1993 that derivatives such as credit default swaps – if not reined in – could take down the economy. And see this.

We’ve known since 1998 that crony capitalism destroys even the strongest economies, and that economies that are capitalist in name only need major reforms to create accountability and competitive markets.

We’ve known since 2007 or earlier that lax oversight of hedge funds could blow up the economy.

And we knew before the 2008 financial crash and subsequent bailouts that:

  • The easy credit policy of the Fed and other central banks, the failure to regulate the shadow banking system, and “the use of gimmicks and palliatives” by central banks hurt the economy
  • Anything other than (1) letting asset prices fall to their true market value, (2) increasing savings rates, and (3) forcing companies to write off bad debts “will only make things worse”
  • Bailouts of big banks harm the economy
  • The Fed and other central banks were simply transferring risk from private banks to governments, which could lead to a sovereign debt crisis

Given the insane levels of debt, rampant inequality,  currency debasement, failure to punish financial fraud, growth of the too big to fails, repeal of Glass-Steagall, refusal to rein in derivatives, crony capitalism and other shenanigans … the financial crisis was entirely foreseeable.

US Covert Operations Threaten War with Iran

December 10th, 2011 by Chris Marsden

The United States is waging a sustained covert campaign of destabilisation against Iran, focusing on efforts to disrupt its nuclear program. Among a growing list of incidents are:

• Two nuclear physicists were killed by bombs and the head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, was wounded after bombs were attached to their cars or detonated near them in 2010.

• The Stuxnet computer worm infected Iranian nuclear facilities in 2010, damaging computers used in industrial machinery; numerous reports suggest this was a US-Israeli attack to cripple Iranian nuclear centrifuges.

• On November 12 this year, an explosion destroyed the Revolutionary Guard base at Bid Kaneh, killing 17, including a founder of Iran’s missile programme.

• On November 28, an explosion in the western Iranian city of Isfahan badly damaged a uranium enrichment facility.

• On December 4, Iran shot down a US RQ-170 Sentinel drone after it illegally crossed the eastern border. The “Beast of Kandahar,” which has a wingspan of about 65 feet and can fly at around 50,000 feet, was, according to the New York Times and the Washington Post, part of an increased US surveillance effort monitoring suspect nuclear sites. The Wall Street Journal stated that the US had considered sending in covert missions to Iran to recover a drone or to blow it up with an air strike, but decided that this would be considered an act of war.

• On December 5, the State Department’s arms adviser Robert Einhorn said: “Iran is violating international obligations and norms. It is becoming a pariah state… The timeline for its nuclear programme is beginning to get shorter, so it is important we take these strong steps on an urgent basis.”

• The list of sanctions against Iran imposed by the US, Europe and other powers is too long to list and is getting longer.

The drums of war are being beaten loudest by potential Republican challengers to President Barack Obama in 2012. On Wednesday, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said, “Ultimately, regime change is what’s going to be necessary” in Iran, calling for “covert and overt” efforts to support opposition to leaders in Tehran.

Former House speaker and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said he would use “covert capability” to bring about “regime replacement” in Tehran. He proposed that the US kill Iranian scientists and disrupt Tehran’s suspect nuclear program, “all of it covertly, all of it deniable.”

Former Senator Rick Santorum said, “There have been scientists turning up dead in Russia and in Iran. There have been computer viruses. There have been problems at their facility. I hope that the United States has been involved with that.” Foreign scientists working on Iran’s nuclear program would be “termed an enemy combatant” and “taken out by the United States.”

Such grandstanding produced the bemused response of one retired US official, who told the National Journal, “Everything that Mitt Romney said we should be doing—tough sanctions, covert action and pressuring the international community—are all of the things we are actually doing.”

President Barack Obama’s own reaction was to issue a bellicose statement threatening possible military action: “No options off the table means I’m considering all options,” he said.

A senior Western intelligence official commented to Israel News, “There is deep concern within the senior leadership of the Iranian regime that they will be the target of a surprise military strike by either Israel or the US.”

Iran, like its main regional ally Syria, has responded to the threat of US-backed regime change by staging military manoeuvres. Gen. Mohammed Ali Jaafari has placed Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on a war footing. The Iranian air force has formed “rapid reaction units,” which have carried out exercises practising a response to an enemy air attack. Jaafari has ordered all long-range Shahab missiles to be moved to secret locations in preparation for a retaliatory attack against Israel.

On Thursday, Israel’s Home Front Command held its own nationwide drill, simulating missile attacks. Air raid sirens were sounded in Jerusalem and across northern Israel.

Israel Today commented, “Fears of a regional war have been driven by Israel’s public debate over whether or not to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear program…”

The Arab states are being lined up behind regime change in Iran, following their initiative to isolate Syria and supply the opposition Syrian National Council and Free Syria Army with arms and money.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Sunni-ruled Gulf states such as Bahrain, have accused Iran of backing Assad’s repression of opposition forces and, without evidence, of stirring unrest in their own Shi’ite communities.

Peter Apps, conflict analyst for Reuters, warned of “proxy wars in Iraq and Syria,” with “Saudi or other Arab backing for the increasingly armed opposition… potentially producing a sectarian civil war lasting years and spilling across borders into neighbouring states.”

Alain Gresh, vice chairman of Le Monde diplomatique, wrote of how the Middle East “has been divided into two camps: the resistance camp—Iran, Syria and their allies Hamas and Hizbullah—and the pro-West camp dominated by Egypt and Saudi Arabia.”

Media reports are warning that the present covert conflict with Iran could end in a full-scale war, with devastating consequences for the Middle East and the world. Many have pointed to the obvious parallels with the campaign over “weapons of mass destruction” that paved the way for war with Iraq in 2003.

Britain’s Daily Mail asked bluntly, “Has the West’s war with Iran already begun? Mystery explosions at nuke sites, ‘assassinated’ scientists and downed drones fuel fears covert conflict is under way.”

Writing in the Guardian, Seamus Milne was less equivocal. “War on Iran has already begun. Act before it threatens all of us,” ran his comment. “For months the evidence has been growing that a US-Israeli stealth war against Iran has already begun, backed by Britain and France.”

Paul Vallely, in the Independent, was equally blunt, declaring, “War on Iran has begun. And it is madness.”

The motive behind the “madness” is the on-going effort by the US to secure its hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East and Caspian Basin.

Eliminating the regime of Saddam Hussein had the effect of strengthening Iran as a regional power. The US has long been determined to end Iran’s challenge to US strategic interests—a policy it has pursued in a far more reckless fashion after the working class uprisings of the “Arab Spring” and the downfall of long-time US allies Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.

Working with the official “opposition” movements—a motley collection of pseudo-liberals, Islamist and ex-regime loyalists— to maintain close relations with Tunis and Cairo allowed NATO to launch war against Libya and the on-going destabilisation of Syria. In every case a similar collection of political forces is backed by regional powers that are deemed to be amenable to US dictates—Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Egypt and Turkey.

What is being attempted is no less than redrawing the political map of the entire Middle East. It threatens not only region-wide conflict, but to involve those major powers Washington is trying to exclude from this area of vital geostrategic concern: Russia and China.

The experience of the mass anti-war movement that erupted in 2003 testifies to the impossibility of opposing this development on the basis of moral appeals and pressure on the imperialist powers. Everything depends upon the building of a world-wide political movement of the working class on the basis of a socialist programme to bring an end to capitalism and the domination of the world by predatory imperialist powers and their local stooges.

Inside Romania’s secret CIA prison

December 10th, 2011 by Matt Apuzzo

WASHINGTON — One of the CIA’s most important secrets in the war on terrorism was hiding in plain sight, on a leafy residential street along a busy set of train tracks in Romania’s capital. There, tucked in the basement of a government building, the CIA ran a clandestine prison, former U.S. intelligence officials said.

For years, the building — codenamed Bright Light — housed some of the CIA’s most important terror suspects, including Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the mastermind of 9/11. Even after the detainees were shipped off to Guantanamo Bay in 2006 and reports about the prison began to surface, the Romanian government repeatedly denied any knowledge of its existence.

A joint investigation by The Associated Press and German public television, ARD Panorama, however, located the former prison and unearthed details of the facility where harsh interrogation tactics were carried out.

The Romanian prison was part of a network of so-called black sites that the CIA operated and controlled overseas in Thailand, Lithuania and Poland. All the prisons were closed by May 2006, and the CIA’s detention and interrogation program ended in 2009.

Unlike the CIA’s facility in Lithuania’s countryside or the one hidden in a Polish military installation, the CIA’s prison in Romania was not in a remote location. The building is used as the National Registry Office for Classified Information, which is also known as ORNISS. Classified information from NATO and the European Union is stored there. Former intelligence officials both described the location of the prison and identified pictures of the building.

In an interview at the building in November, senior ORNISS official Adrian Camarasan said the basement is one of the most secure rooms in all of Romania. But he said Americans never ran a prison there.

“No, no. Impossible, impossible,” he said in an ARD interview for its “Panorama” news broadcast, as a security official monitored the interview.

The CIA prison opened for business in the fall of 2003, after the CIA decided to empty the black site in Poland, according to former U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the detention program with reporters.

Shuttling detainees into the facility without being seen was relatively easy. After flying into Bucharest, the detainees were brought to the site in vans. CIA operatives then drove down a side road and entered the compound through a rear gate that led to the actual prison.

The detainees could then be unloaded and whisked into the ground floor of the prison and into the basement.

The basement consisted of six prefabricated cells, each with a clock and arrow pointing to Mecca, the officials said. The cells were on springs, keeping them slightly off balance and causing disorientation among some detainees.

The CIA declined to comment on the prison.

During the first month of their detention, the detainees endured sleep deprivation and were doused with water, slapped or forced to stand in painful positions, several former officials said. Waterboarding was not performed in Romania, they said.

After the initial interrogations, the detainees were treated with care, the officials said. The prisoners received regular dental and medical check-ups. The CIA shipped in Halal food to the site from Frankfurt, Germany, the agency’s European center for operations. Halal meat is prepared under religious rules similar to kosher food.

Former U.S. officials said that because the building was a government installation, it provided excellent cover. The prison didn’t need heavy security because area residents knew it was owned by the government. People wouldn’t be inclined to snoop in post-communist Romania, with its extensive security apparatus known for spying on the country’s own citizens.

Human rights activists have urged the eastern European countries to investigate the roles their governments played in hosting the prisons in which interrogation techniques such as waterboarding were used. Officials from these countries continue to deny these prisons ever existed.

“We know of the criticism, but we have no knowledge of this subject,” Romanian President Traian Basescu said in a September interview with AP.

The CIA has tried to close the book on the detention program, which Obama ended shortly after taking office.

“That controversy has largely subsided,” the CIA’s top lawyer, Stephen Preston, said at a conference earlier this month.

But details of the prison network continue to trickle out through investigations by international bodies, journalists and human rights groups. “There have been years of official denials,” said Dick Marty, a Swiss lawmaker who led an investigation into the CIA secret prisons for the Council of Europe. “We are at last beginning to learn what really happened in Bucharest.”

During the Council of Europe’s investigation, Romania’s foreign affairs minister assured investigators in a written report that, “No public official or other person acting in an official capacity has been involved in the unacknowledged deprivation of any individual, or transport of any individual while so deprived of their liberty.” That report also described several other government investigations into reports of a secret CIA prison in Romania and said: “No such activities took place on Romanian territory.”

Journalists and human rights investigators have previously used flight records to tie Romania to the secret prison program. Flight records for a Boeing 737 known to be used by the CIA showed a flight from Poland to Bucharest in September 2003. Among the prisoners on board, according to former CIA officials, were Mohammad and Walid bin Attash, who has been implicated in the bombing of the USS Cole.

Later, other detainees — Ramzi Binalshibh, Abd al-Nashiri and Abu Faraj al-Libi — were also moved to Romania. A deceptive Al-Libi, who was taken to the prison in June 2005, provided information that would later help the CIA identify Osama bin Laden’s trusted courier, a man who unwittingly led the CIA to bin Laden himself.

Court documents recently discovered in a lawsuit have also added to the body of evidence pointing to a CIA prison in Romania. The files show CIA contractor Richmor Aviation Inc., a New York-based charter company, operated flights to and from Romania along with other locations including Guantanamo Bay and Morocco.

For the CIA officers working at the secret prison, the assignment wasn’t glamorous. The officers served 90-day tours, slept on the compound and ate their meals there, too. Officers were prevented from the leaving the base after their presence in the neighborhood stoked suspicion. One former officer complained that the CIA spent most of its time baby-sitting detainees like Binalshibh and Mohammad whose intelligence value diminished as the years passed.

The Romanian and Lithuanian sites were eventually closed in the first half of 2006 before CIA Director Porter Goss left the job. Some of the detainees were taken to Kabul, where the CIA could legally hold them before they were sent to Guantanamo. Others were sent back to their native countries.

Associated Press writer Desmond Butler contributed to this report.

RQ-170 Sentinel drone

There has been intense media coverage of the downing of a US drone in Iran over the past week.  Iran has previously claimed that it has shot down ‘Western drones’ (as we reported here) but they have never provided proof despite saying they would.

Initially the US denied any of their drone had been downed and then said that the drone may have been one lost in Afghanistan previously.  Within days  however the CIA was saying – through the usual ‘unnamed sources’ – that it was one of their drones that had crashed inside Iran.

The drone concerned is a RQ-170 Sentinel.  It was dubbed the ‘Beast of Kandahar’ when the then unknown drone was first spotted by the press in 2007 and 2009. It’s existence was officially confirmed – and its name officially revealed –  in late 2009. However little detail about the drone has been revealed.  All that is known about the drone is that it is stealthy, jet powered and unarmed.

The Beast – tamed

On December 8, Iranian TV showed  video footage of the drone and claimed that they had electronically hijacked it and brought it down.  This seems improbable and its far more likely the drone simply crash landed.  The fact that bottom of the drone was covered and it appeared to have no landing gear also points towards a crash.  When contact with a drone is lost, the drone is programmed to go into a holding pattern until contact is recovered.  Perhaps the drone did this until it simply ran out of fuel. However the drone, which flies at a high altitude, would have been much more damaged if it had crashed in this manner so many questions remain. Some have questioned whether the drone displayed by Iran was in fact a fake.

In a protest letter about the incursion of the drone on to it territory, Iran has called on the United Nations to condemn the  “violation of international rules by the U.S. government.”

Meanwhile other drone ‘beasts’ continue to rampage.  There has been two days of violence in Gaza following an Israeli drone strike.  According to the Irish Times “Gaza residents said a 42-year-old civilian was killed in an Israeli air strike on Hamas training facility. Seven members of the man’s family were wounded, including his father, wife and five of his children.”

And no doubt, US and UK drone strikes in Afghanistan continue completely unreported.  Time these drone ‘beasts’ were caged too.

New US strategy brings risk of new arms race

-After the 9/11 attacks, the US waged a 10-year war against terrorism, but now it considers China’s anti-access and area denial capabilities the main threat to its interests in the West Pacific. Its attention has shifted from non-traditional threats such as terrorism back to traditional threats from countries like Iran and China.

The possible battlefields may be shifted from Middle East and Southeast Asia to the West Pacific. In a future war, the US may fight against opponents simultaneously in the space, cyberspace, air and maritime theaters.

“AirSea Battle (ASB)” is a US strategic plan that envisions China as the main opponent. In a recent press conference, Spokesman of China’s Ministry of National Defense Geng Yansheng stated that the plan is nothing new and is the result of a cold war mentality. Why has the US developed such a plan? How should China respond? Global Times (GT) reporter Yu Jincui talked to Fan Gaoyue (Fan), a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army and research fellow at the PLA Academy of Military Science, on these issues.

GT: How do you interpret the ASB concept?

Fan: According to the 2010 US Quadrennial Defense Review, the ASB concept is intended to defeat adversaries across the range of military operations, including adversaries equipped with sophisticated anti-access and area denial capabilities. The concept will address how air and naval forces will integrate capabilities across all operational domains to counter growing challenges to the US.

Although there is no official statement that the plan mainly targets China, the intention is obvious. Confronted by a rising China, the US is panicky. It worries China may replace it as the biggest economy and challenge its global leadership.

GT: What are the prospects of the ASB plan, given US defense cuts?

Fan: Land forces and the US Marine Corps played a major role in US anti-terrorism wars, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Land forces also have the upper hand in resource allocation.

From 2007 to 2010 the number of soldiers in land forces were increased by 38,000 soldiers, compared to 3,000 in the air force and 11,000 in the navy.  Due to budget cuts, the air force and navy need to emphasize their importance in future possible wars. That’s why they are promoting the ASB concept.

Generally speaking, the ASB concept could reduce expenditure, since it concentrates on equipment rather than soldiers. Equipment is less costly than human resources in the long run. Therefore, the concept is favored by the Pentagon.

GT: The US is enhancing its deployment in the Asia-Pacific region, including setting up a military base in Darwin, Australia and strengthening its alliances. Is this linked to the ASB plan?   

Fan: Yes. The US is constantly expanding air and navy bases in Guam and increasing military presence there. It deployed the USS George Washington, an extremely advanced aircraft carrier, to the Yokosuka base in Japan to check Chinese air and navy forces.

The US also shifted the headquarters of its land forces’ first army from Washington State to Japan to enhance the command and management abilities of the US Pacific Command.

The US is increasing its combat capacities in the coastal regions of East Asia as well as building or renting new military bases in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and Australia to improve its rapid response ability.

Due to the economic crisis, the US has become unable to deal with opponents with strong anti-access and area denial capability by itself, nor is it willing to. So the US has managed to get its alliances involved. It highlights the “China threat” and China’s increased military strength by taking advantage of the Diaoyu Islands disputes and the South China Sea disputes to seduce its allies to join its ASB plan. 

GT: What changes will the ASB bring?

Fan: The ASB concept symbolizes that the US now sees anti-access and area denial capabilities as its main threat rather than terrorism and extremism.

After the 9/11 attacks, the US waged a 10-year war against terrorism, but now it considers China’s anti-access and area denial capabilities the main threat to its interests in the West Pacific. Its attention has shifted from non-traditional threats such as terrorism back to traditional threats from countries like Iran and China.

The possible battlefields may be shifted from Middle East and Southeast Asia to the West Pacific. In a future war, the US may fight against opponents simultaneously in the space, cyberspace, air and maritime theaters. Ensuring free US movement in the West Pacific and containing China’s rise will become the top US goal.

GT: What challenges it will bring to China?

Fan: As a matter of fact, nowadays, the political implications of the concept are bigger than its military ones. The ASB concept hypes the “China threat,” satisfying the US domestic demand to contain China. The concept helps build US credibility in protecting its alliances by targeting China and it also satisfies the interests of US military groups.

However, it damages China’s interests. Promoting such a concept will have a negative influence on building strategic mutual trust between China and the US, and it will result in an escalation of tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

More severely, it may risk a new round of an arms race. Besides the US, countries like Japan and Australia are all involved. They have to upgrade their military power to narrow the gap between them and the US.

In a future war, the US may fight against opponents simultaneously in the space, cyberspace, air and maritime theaters.

These countries are active participants while China and other countries in the region are passive ones. Under the threats of the US ASB plan, they have to make some preparations, such as increasing military funding, developing new joint operation theories and new type of weapons, and enhancing military strength to avoid being on the back foot if a war occurs.

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

To subscribe for individual e-mails or the daily digest, unsubscribe, and otherwise change subscription status:
[email protected]

Argentina: Da Crise ao Sucesso

December 9th, 2011 by Francisco Roland Di Biase

O regime militar da Argentina entrou em crise por causa de problemas econômicos e a derrota na Guerra das Malvinas o que levou a eleições em 1983. Raúl Afonsín foi eleito presidente e apesar de consolidar as instituições democráticas, estabelecer controle civil sobre as forças armadas e processar os membros das três juntas militares, que foram condenados à prisão perpétua, falhou em lidar com a economia. O regime anterior tinha deixado uma dívida externa de 43 bilhões que o novo governo foi obrigado a assumir, e devido a pressões de credores privados e do FMI (Fundo Monetário Internacional) deu prioridade ao pagamento da mesma que apenas os juros eram superiores aos 3 bilhões de excedente do comércio internacional. Sem fundos para obras de infra-estrutura e crédito interno a situação econômica piorou até que a crise de 1989 causou um aumento de 15 vezes nos preços obrigando-o a deixar o cargo cinco meses antes do previsto.

O recentemente eleito presidente Carlos Menem assumiu e começou a implantar as políticas neoliberais que assolaram a América Latina nas décadas de 1980 e 1990. (Digo América Latina porque apesar de Ronald Reagan ser considerado o promotor do neoliberalismo, ou do livre mercado, nos EUA ele foi o maior presidente protecionista desde a década de 1930[*] [1]). Mas com um segundo pico inflacionário em 1990 ele acelerou as privatizações, desmantelou regulamentações e barreiras protecionistas do mercado interno e impôs uma taxa de câmbio fixa entre o peso e o dólar. Apesar dessas medidas contribuírem para um aumento de investimentos externos e um crescimento razoável isso só foi possível inundando o mercado interno com dólares resultando em mais dívida externa, deixando o país vulnerável ao mercado externo. Com as crises financeiras internacionais do final da década de 1990 (Ásia, Brasil e Rússia) o peso ficou supervalorizado devido à taxa de câmbio fixa e o país entrou em recessão e gradualmente em uma nova crise econômica. O sentimento de estabilidade e bem-estar social erodiram rapidamente tornando Menem muito impopular no final de seu mandato em 1999.

O novo presidente, Fernando de la Rua, assumiu em dezembro de 1999 um país com graves problemas econômicos e mesmo seguindo a cartilha do FMI (corte de programas sociais, redução de gastos governamentais e diminuição de serviços públicos para dar preferência ao pagamento de credores externos) culminou em 2001 na retirada de capital do país, resultando em até alguns empresários a abandonar suas fábricas, e o congelamento das contas bancárias gerando um clima de descontentamento popular. Houve protestos nas ruas e enfrentamento com a polícia que resultaram em diversas mortes. O clima caótico em meio a saques foi acompanhado de gritos de “¡Que se vayan todos!” (Saiam todos) que levou a renuncia do presidente em 20 de dezembro de 2001, que teve de sair da Casa Rosada (sede presidencial) de helicóptero. Como o vice-presidente tinha renunciado em outubro de 2000 assumiu o presidente do senado Ramón Puerta simplesmente para convocar a Assembléia Legislativa (senadores e deputados) que escolheria o novo presidente dentre eles e os governadores. Adolfo Rodríguez Saá tornou-se o novo presidente mais renunciou antes do ano novo e mais uma vez a Assembléia foi convocada e desta vez foi escolhido Eduardo Duhalde que assumiu em janeiro de 2002.

A Argentina declarou moratória de sua dívida e acabou com a taxa de câmbio fixa gerando a depreciação do peso e mais um pico na inflação com uma rápida contração da economia e um encolhimento do PIB[†] (Produto Interno Bruto) de 5% no primeiro quadrimestre de 2002. O desemprego chegou a 25% e o valor real dos salários era o menor em 60 anos, quase metade da população ficou em condições de pobreza e um quarto em condições de pobreza extrema, a desigualdade de renda chegou ao extremo em que aqueles que estavam na 95ª posição do percentual de renda ganhavam 32 vezes mais que aqueles que estavam na 5ª posição[4]. No final de 2002 a economia começou a estabilizar e em dezembro o congelamento das contas bancarias foi suspenso. Se beneficiando de uma taxa de câmbio desvalorizada o governo implementou novas políticas baseadas em re-industrialização, substituição de produtos importados por nacionais e aumento da exportação que gerou excedente no comércio internacional.

Em maio de 2003 Néstor Kirchner foi eleito com a promessa de colocar a Argentina de volta nos trilhos ou correr o risco de ser obrigado a renunciar como seus antecessores. Ele expandiu as políticas anteriores com o foco em consumo interno e exportação de produtos manufaturados, ampliou as políticas sociais e reestruturou a dívida. Com Néstor e depois Cristina Fernandez, que era sua esposa e senadora e o sucedeu, a Argentina entrou em uma era de rápido crescimento econômico, o maior do hemisfério ocidental e um dos maiores do mundo que de acordo com projeções do FMI para 2011 chegará a 8% e contabilizará 94% no período de 2002 a 2011[5]. Mais que o dobro do crescimento do Brasil no mesmo período.

Como podemos ver na figura 1, o PIB da Argentina voltou ao nível pré-recessão depois de apenas três anos de crescimento em 2005 e olhando a tendência de crescimento pré-recessão atingiu o nível esperado em 2007. Houve apenas uma pequena retração em 2008-2009 devido à crise econômica dos EUA, mas logo após continuou com seu forte crescimento.

 

 Figura 1: PIB real da Argentina e projeção antes da recessão[6]

Neste momento é bom lembrar que a recuperação e o crescimento foi alcançado sem a ajuda das IFI (Instituições Financeiras Internacionais) que como resultado da moratória e recusa da minoria dos credores de aceitar o eventual acordo de reestruturação em 2005 e o subseqüente processo legal por esses credores, dificultou a Argentina conseguir empréstimos nos mercados internacionais nos últimos nove anos. Na verdade o oposto ocorreu as IFI retiraram um montante de 4% do PIB da economia argentina em 2002 enquanto o FMI pressionava o governo a pagar mais a seus credores internacionais recomendando políticas fiscais mais rigorosas e opondo-se a várias políticas que foram úteis para a recuperação econômica e idealizadas para aliviar o fardo da crise nos setores mais necessitados da população. O Investimento Externo Direto nesses últimos oito anos permaneceu limitado sendo em média 1.7% do PIB.[7]

Em 2005 o governo da Argentina criou o plano de reestruturação da dívida externa onde os credores de títulos do tesouro argentino trocariam seus antigos títulos por novos títulos com valores nominais de 25% a 35% do original e com datas de vencimento mais distantes. 76,2% dos títulos foram trocados restando pouco menos de ¼ que não aceitaram as condições. O FMI ficou do lado desses credores fazendo pressão no governo argentino, mas com o pagamento antecipado da dívida que a Argentina tinha com o FMI em janeiro de 2006 a pressão praticamente se tornou vazia. Em 2010 o governo mais uma vez abriu o programa de troca de títulos fazendo 69,5% dos credores que ainda detinham títulos antigos a trocarem elevando o total da reestruturação da dívida para 92,6%.[8]

O crescimento da Argentina muitas vezes é explicado como uma resposta rápida, um “ricochete”, da recessão (depois de uma grande queda tem-se uma grande subida) e/ou a explosão do mercado de commodities[‡]. Mas como mostrado em apenas três anos o PIB voltou para o nível pré-recessão e, além disso, a crise financeira de 2008 mostrou que a maioria dos países estão se recuperando com taxas de crescimento muito baixas. Já o fator commodities que representaria um aumento nas exportação, como mostrado na tabela 1, não representa uma parte muito significativa do PIB, chegando ao máximo de 1.8%  em 2005 e 2010 e totalizando 7.6% durante o período de expansão.

 

Tabela 1: Contribuições por gastos para o crescimento real (ajustado pela inflação) do PIB[10]

Como podemos ver nas figuras 2 e 3 apesar das exportações terem aumentado em valores absolutos (valores em dólar) em relação ao PIB diminuíram. E no caso de commodities que seria as exportações de produtos agrícolas caiu de 5% em 2002 para 3.7% em 2010 e como esses valores são em relação ao dólar eles refletem o grande aumento dos preços das commodities de 2005 a 2008. Os gráficos deixam claro que não são os produtos agrícolas que estão levando ao crescimento do PIB e consequentemente da economia argentina.

 

Figura 2: Valores de Exportação por Categoria e Valor (em dólares)[11]

  


Figura 3: Valores de Exportação por Categoria e Valor (em % do PIB)[12]

Aspectos Sociais

As taxas de pobreza, desigualdade de renda e desemprego melhoraram consideravelmente desde a crise econômica e a declaração de moratória pelo governo. No período anterior a crise (era neoliberal), no governo Menem e posteriormente no de La Rua, tanto a pobreza, a desigualdade de renda quanto o desemprego começaram a subir atingindo o pico na crise. Então com a entrada de Duhalde e posteriormente Néstor e Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner começaram a cair para atualmente terem voltado para os níveis do início da década de 1990, antes da consolidação das políticas neoliberais no país.

A desigualdade de renda diminuiu consideravelmente, enquanto no auge da crise chegou ao extremo em que aqueles que estavam na 95ª posição do percentual de renda ganhavam 32 vezes mais que aqueles que estavam na 5ª posição atualmente essa taxa encontra-se em 17. Isso ocorreu devido ao aumento de renda entre os pobres e não devido à diminuição da mesma entre os ricos. Mas olhando o período anterior à crise vê-se que em 1992 ela estava em 15 e em 1998, com as políticas de “livre mercado” consolidadas, tinha subido para 23.[13]

O mesmo pode ser observado para a taxa de desemprego, enquanto no período da crise atingiu o máximo de 18.4% atualmente encontra-se em 8%, próximo dos 6.8% do início da década de 1990. Mas como a desigualdade de renda, teve um aumento substancial no período antes da crise chegando a 17.7% em 1996, um aumento de mais de 150%. Depois caiu para 12.5% em 1998 para atingir o pico em 2002.[14]

Já a taxa de pobreza tem o mesmo comportamento, um aumento durante o período pré-crise chegando ao pico na crise e então caindo. Como se observa na figura 4 os níveis atuais de pobreza e pobreza extrema voltaram para os do início da década de 1990. Durante a crise a pobreza (pessoas com renda de até 4 dólares por dia) atingiu quase metade da população (45.5%) e atualmente caiu para 1/7 (14.3%). Já a pobreza extrema (renda de até 2,50 dólares por dia) atingiu quase 1/3 da população (29.2%) e agora apenas 1/15 (6.6%) é afetada.

 

 Figura 4: Pobreza e Pobreza Extrema em % da População[15]

O governo da Argentina depois da crise presidiu sobre um grande aumento de gastos sociais e receitas em relação ao PIB. A maior parte desse aumento nas receitas ocorreu depois de 2005 quando a economia já tinha voltado para seu nível pré-recessão e não devido a recuperação logo após a crise. Em 2002 as receitas eram de 15% do PIB chegando a 23.4% em 2009, e como a economia estava em rápido crescimento esse foi um aumento considerável que praticamente triplicou em valores reais. Já os gastos sociais também chegaram quase a triplicar em termos reais, um aumento de 10.3% para 14.2% do PIB. No começo foi apenas uma resposta à recessão como o programa criado que supria 150 pesos mensais ao chefe de família com crianças abaixo de 18 anos (ou deficiente em qualquer idade) e estavam desempregados ou também quando o mesmo estivesse doente. O auge do programa, em 2003, atingiu 20% de todas as famílias com 97.6% dos beneficiários abaixo da linha de pobreza. Em 2009 o governo lançou o programa “Asignación Universal por Hijo” (Alocação Universal por Criança) similar ao Bolsa Família do Brasil, muito elogiado internacionalmente, mas com a diferença de ser significantemente maior atingindo 0.6% do PIB enquanto no Brasil atinge 0.4%. Ainda é cedo para observar os efeitos desse programa, mas quando os dados começarem a serem divulgados, provavelmente vão ser consideráveis.[16]

Inflação 

A inflação na Argentina é geralmente o principal aspecto da economia reportado pela imprensa que frequentemente aponta sendo uma das maiores do hemisfério (de acordo com o índice IPC-7 e estimativas privadas). O IPC-7 é o índice de inflação medido pela CENDA (Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Argentino – um grupo de reflexão, “think tank”, da Argentina), o índice oficial do INDEC (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos) é o IPC (Índice de Precios al Consumidor). Enquanto o IPC-7 mede a variação dos preços em sete diferentes províncias o IPC mede apenas na grande Buenos Aires. Talvez seja por isso que estimativas privadas estejam mais próximas do IPC-7. Na figura 5 estão presentes os dois índices e podemos observar que devido à desindexação do peso ao dólar e conseqüente desvalorização do peso em 2002 houve um pico que retraiu rapidamente. Em 2007-2008 vemos outro aumento considerável (31%), mas devido à crise financeira de 2008 que levou a Argentina a uma pequena recessão em 2009 houve uma queda significativa (13.2%) para aumentar de novo no começo de 2011 (27%) e logo em seguida declinar.[17]

 

Figura 5: Variação Anual da Inflação em Porcentagem, IPC-GBA (oficial) e

CPI-7 (independente)[18]

A inflação pode ser um pouco alta na Argentina, mas o importante para o bem-estar da grande maioria da população é o crescimento real e distribuição de renda. Desse ponto de vista, como mostrado acima, o governo parece ter tomado a decisão correta de não sacrificar o crescimento para combater a inflação como muitos países da Europa estão fazendo. Um bom exemplo comparativo é a Coréia do Sul que na década de 1970 e início da de 1980 registrou taxas anuais de inflação similares a essas da Argentina enquanto fazia a transição de um país pobre para um de alta renda.[19]

Lições da Crise Argentina

O caso da Argentina pode ser usado como modelo por vários países porque apesar das condições externas adversas da última década apresentou um crescimento econômico extraordinário. Isso serve de contra partida para aqueles que seguem o modelo neoliberal como recomendado pela imprensa de negócios e dizem que políticas favoráveis ao mercado e investimentos internacionais devem ser as mais importantes de países em desenvolvimento. A experiência argentina sugere que essa entrada de capitais, apesar de em certas circunstâncias levar ao crescimento, não é tão essencial como se acredita e põe em cheque a questão do mito popular que só é possível sair de recessões, causadas por crises financeiras, através de uma recuperação lenta e dolorosa.  

A crise argentina foi tão severa quanto à de qualquer país nas décadas recentes e, no entanto, levou apenas quatro meses depois de declarada a moratória para começar uma rápida e sustentável recuperação. E isso não foi apenas por causa da desvalorização e melhores políticas macroeconômicas, mas principalmente devido ao não pagamento da dívida (renegociada posteriormente) que libertou o país de ficar paralisado pelo fardo incapacitante da mesma. Juntando esse aspecto com o ultra-conservadorismo de bancos centrais, como o Banco Central Europeu, que geralmente leva em consideração a experiência histórica de recuperações lentas depois de crises financeiras, surgem os problemas vivenciados hoje em vários países da Europa.  

O governo argentino mostrou que esse triste cenário é apenas uma das soluções existentes e que uma rápida recuperação em produção, empregos, redução de pobreza e redução de desigualdade é outro caminho possível que pode ser escolhido.

Referências:

- Figuras (1 a 5) e a tabela 1 foram retiradas de [4] e adaptadas para o português pelo autor.

- Argentina. Wikipedia, 17 de novembro de 2011:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentina

- Filme documentário: Memoria del Saqueo de Fernando E. Solanas de 2004:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0400647/

Notas:

[1] Sheldon L. Richman, The Reagan Record On Trade: Rhetoric Vs. Reality, 17 de novembro de 2011: http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa107.html  

[2] Noam Chomsky, The Passion for Free Markets, 17 de novembro de 2011: http://www.chomsky.info/articles/199705–.htm   

[3] Produto interno bruto. Wikipédia, 17 de novembro de 2011: http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/PIB

[4] Mark Weisbrot, Rebecca Ray, Juan A. Montecino e Sarah Kozameh, The Argentine Success Story and its Implications. cepr (Center For Economic and Policy Research), outubro de 2011: http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/argentina-success-2011-10.pdf

[5] ibid.

[6] ibid., (adaptada para o português pelo autor)

[7] ibid.

[8] Argentine debt restructuring. Wikipedia, 17 de novembro de 2011: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentine_debt_restructuring

[9] Commodity. Wikipédia, 17 de novembro de 2011: http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodity

[10] Mark Weisbrot et al., op. cit. (adaptada para o português pelo autor)

[11] Mark Weisbrot et al., op. cit. (adaptada para o português pelo autor)  

[12] Mark Weisbrot et al., op. cit. (adaptada para o português pelo autor)  

[13] Mark Weisbrot et al., op. cit.

[14] Mark Weisbrot et al., op. cit.

[15] Mark Weisbrot et al., op. cit. (adaptada para o português pelo autor)

[16] Mark Weisbrot et al., op. cit.

[17] Mark Weisbrot et al., op. cit.

[18] Mark Weisbrot et al., op. cit. (adaptada para o português pelo autor)

[19] Mark Weisbrot et al., op. cit.   

[*] Como diz Chomsky: “Quanto ao ‘vigoroso individualismo Reaganesco’ e sua adoração pelo mercado, talvez seja suficiente citar a análise da revisão dos anos Reagan na Foreign Affairs por um Membro Sênior de Finanças Internacionais do Conselho de Relações Internacionais, observando a ‘ironia’ que Ronald Reagan, ‘o chefe do executivo do pós-guerra com a mais apaixonada afeição pelo laissez faire, presidiu sobre o maior movimento para o protecionismo desde os anos 1930’ – não é uma ‘ironia’, mas o funcionamento normal da ‘afeição apaixonada pelo laissez faire’: para você, disciplina de mercado, mas para mim não, a menos que o ‘campo do jogo’ esteja inclinado a meu favor, geralmente como resultado de grande intervenção do Estado [2].  

[†] PIB representa a soma (em valores monetários) de todos os bens e serviços finais produzidos em um determinado país durante um período determinado [3]. 

[‡] Commodities é um termo da língua inglesa que significa mercadorias, é utilizado nas transações comerciais de produtos de origem primária nas bolsas de valores. Ex.: café, trigo, soja, peixes, ouro, petróleo, minério de ferro, água, ene

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) was granted The Prize of the Mexican Press Club (Club de Periodistas de Mexico) for his outstanding achievements and writings as a War Correspondent for the Independent media. 

Nazemroaya was a witness to the “Arab Spring” in action in North Africa. While on the ground in Libya during the NATO bombing campaign, he reported out of Tripoli for several Western media. He was Special Correspondent for Global Research and Pacifica’s investigative radio program Flashpoints, broadcast out of Berkeley, California. 


Mexico City, December 8, 2011. Mexican Press Club. Club de periodistas

In the course of his endeavors, his life was threatened for telling the truth, for exposing NATO war crimes.

During his stay in the Rixos hotel in Tripoli,  Mahdi Nazemroaya challenged the very foundations of war propaganda, he revealed the devastation of NATO bombings.

The mainstream media operating out of the Rixos hotel in Tripoli had direct links to NATO, the Transitional Council and Rebel Forces. They were serving NATO interests in a direct way through massive media distortion.

The few independent journalists within the Rixos Media Centre committed to the truth were the object of veiled threats.

Those who say the truth are threatened. Those who lie and accept the NATO consensus, their lives will be protected. NATO special forces operating within rebel ranks will ensure their safety.

The ceremony in Mexico City was held on December 8.

For further details see  http://www.debate.com.mx/eldebate/Articulos/ArticuloGeneral.asp?IdArt=11583936&IdCat=6108

Michel Chossudovsky, December 9, 2011

Efforts by European leaders to shoe-horn a range of diverse countries into a rigid financial cage are doomed to fail. But that’s all part of a long-term plan for a global super-currency which can only bring more hardship to ordinary working people.

A question that more and more people are asking nowadays is, “What on Earth were the Europeans thinking when they agreed to have just one currency for all of Europe?”

In Greek mythology, Procrustes was the son of Poseidon, God of the deep blue seas. He built an iron bed of a size that suited him, and then forced everybody who passed by his abode to lie on it. If the passerby was shorter than his bed, then Procrustes would stretch him, breaking bones, tendons and sinews until the victim fitted; if he was taller, then Procrustes would chop off feet and limbs until the victim was the “right” size…

This ancient story of “one size fits all” seems to have made its 21st Century comeback when Europeans were coaxed into imposing upon themselves an oxymoron; a blatant and conceptual contradiction they call “the euro”.

This common supranational currency invented by the French and Germans, boycotted by the UK, ignored by the Swiss, managed by the Germans and accepted by the rest of Europe in blissful ignorance, has finally dropped its mask to reveal its ugly face: an impossible mechanism that only serves the elite bankers but not the working people.

It masked gross contradictions as large, far-reaching and varied as the relative sizes, strengths, profiles, styles, histories, econometrics, labor policies, pension plans, industries, and human and natural resources of the 17 Eurozone nations, ranging from Germany and France at one end of the scale, to Greece, Portugal and Ireland at the other.

As we said in a recent article, the euro carries an expiry date; perhaps the eurocrats who were its midwives a decade ago expected that it would live a little longer, maybe even come of age… But they certainly knew that, sooner or later, the euro would die; that it was meant to die.

Because the euro is not an end in itself, but rather a transition, a bridge, an experiment in supranational currency earmarked for replacement by a far more ambitious and powerful global currency issued by a global central bank, controlled by a cabal of global private bankers, obeying a New World Order blueprint emanating from a private Global Power Elite.

The problem today is that what impacted Europe as a financial ripple effect in 2008 has now grown into a veritable financial tsunami threatening to swamp the whole euro system… And more big trouble lies ahead!

In fact, today’s euro-troubles are nothing more than one of many variations of sovereignty-troubles. Because when a country’s leaders irresponsibly cede a part or all of its sovereignty – whether monetary, political, financial, economic, judicial or military – it had better take a really good look at what it is doing and what the implications are for the medium and long term.

Ceding national sovereignty means that somebody else, somewhere else, will be taking decisions based on other people’s interests. Now, as long as everyone’s interests coincide, then we are OK. But as soon as the different parties’ interests diverge, then you are confronted with a power struggle. And power struggles have one simple thing in common: the more powerful win; the weaker lose.

Now, we have a huge power struggle inside the eurozone. Who do you think will win? Who will impose new policies – Germany or Greece? France or Portugal? Britain or Spain? Germany or Italy?

And that is just on the public scene. You also need to look at the more subtle, less media-highlighted private scene, which is where the real global power decisions are made.

Will the new Italian PM, Mario Monti, cater for the needs of the Italian people or for the mega-bankers’ lodge sitting on the powerful Trilateral Commission of which he himself is European chairman? The same question goes for Greek president Lucas Papademos, also a Trilateral member. The same question goes for all the governments of the EU member states where the real power brokers are the major bankers, industrialists and media moguls sitting on the Trilateral, Bilderberg, World Economic Forum and Chatham House think-tanks and private lobbies.

Global elites will do everything to keep the euro on its transitional path towards a global currency that will eventually replace both the euro and the US dollar. This entails engineering the controlled collapse of both currencies, whilst preparing the yellow brick road for a “Global Dollar” or some such new oxymoron.

The US dollar will be easy to collapse: all that is needed is for the mainstream media to yell, “The dollar is hyper-inflated!!” and the Naked Emperor Dollar will fall swiftly. The euro, in turn, will simply break up as its member nations revert to the old days of pesetas, lire, francs, escudos and drachmas…

Is the time ripe for that? Maybe not… yet. So, no doubt we will still see more “emergency treatment,” more “financial chemotherapy” to “bail out the euro” just as we’ve seen them “bail out the banks,” even though most banks and the Oxymoron Euro cannot be salvaged but just kept artificially alive, like the “Living Dead…”

So, here’s a question for Greeks, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Irish, even the French and Germans: will you accept the invitation by your Procrustean Leaders in Brussels to lie down on their bed?

­Adrian Salbuchi is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina. www.asalbuchi.com.ar

US Condemned for Arming Egyptian Regime

December 9th, 2011 by Bill Van Auken

Documents made public by Amnesty International show that Washington repeatedly shipped additional arms and munitions to the regime in Egypt even as it hypocritically deplored “excessive force” by police and troops and called for an end to “violence.”

The human rights group condemned the US State Department for issuing successive arms export licenses for the purpose of shipping crowd control munitions to Egypt. These shipments were approved in the middle of violent repression of demonstrators fighting for the ouster of US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak and, subsequently, during protests calling for an end to rule by his successors in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

The latest of these shipments arrived at the port of Adabiya, near Suez, on November 26, just a day after millions of Egyptian workers and youth took to the streets demanding an end to the SCAF military junta. Over the course of the previous week, security forces had carried out a bloody crackdown, killing at least 40 people and wounding thousands. In a number of cases demonstrators were killed with live ammunition, while in others, so-called “less-lethal” weapons were used in such a way, such as firing tear gas canisters at head level and close range, as to take lives.

The November 26 shipment, according to Amnesty, included at least seven tons of “ammunition smoke,” which includes tear gas and other riot control munitions. The repressive materials came from Combined Systems, Inc. (CSI) in Jamestown, Pennsylvania, which, in addition to CS tear gas grenades, markets numerous other “less-lethal” munitions ranging from rubber baton rounds to flash-bang grenades and pepper spray.

The human rights group reported that the shipment was organized by the defense logistics company Nico Shipping, with the munitions loaded onto a Danish ship, the Marianne Danica, at the US Military Ocean Terminal in Sunny Point, North Carolina on October 13.

It also cited two previous shipments. On April 8, Combined Systems, Inc. shipped 21 tons of repressive gear from the port of Wilmington, Delaware to Suez. And on August 8, it sent another 17.9 tons of ammunition from the port of New York to Port Said in Egypt.

The two shipments were listed under the product code of bullets, cartridges and shells, with the additional description of “ammunition smoke,” which includes tear gas and other chemical agents used for crowd control.

Brian Wood, Amnesty International’s arms control manager, described the State Department’s licensing of the weapons shipments to Egypt as “irresponsible.”

“These licenses were authorized during a period where the Egyptian government responded to protests by using excessive and often lethal force,” he said. “It is inconceivable that the US authorities did not know of evidence of widely documented abuses by the Egyptian security forces. These licenses should not have been granted.”

Wood added, “The Egyptian security forces have a reputation for violations against human rights. The US should be suspending these supplies pending proper changes in the way they deal with crowd control.”

In response to questions about the Amnesty report, State Department spokesman Mark Toner dismissed evidence that so-called “less-lethal” munitions supplied by the US were used to kill protesters as “anecdotal.” “We haven’t seen any real concrete proof that the Egyptian authorities were misusing tear gas,” he said.

The State Department spokesman also defended the shipments by asserting that the kind of tear gas sent to Egypt “is used by police forces in many countries around the world including our own.” Indeed, the Egyptian regime has itself pointed to the brutal crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations—in which an Iraq war veteran in Oakland, California suffered near-fatal injuries when a tear gas canister broke his skull—to justify its own repression.

In the course of the lethal repression in Egypt last month, as dozens of unarmed demonstrators were being murdered in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities, the White House issued a statement urging “restraint on all sides,” effectively placing equal blame on those killed and their military and police killers.

The State Department went somewhat further in its statement, which read: “We strongly urge the Egyptian government to exercise maximum restraint, to discipline its forces and to protect the universal rights of all Egyptians to peacefully express themselves.”

Whatever the words mouthed in Washington, however, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and his fellow generals in the ruling junta were well aware that the Obama administration was continuing to resupply their repressive apparatus—38 tons worth of munitions in just seven months—and remained committed to providing the same $1.3 billion worth of military aid that had gone to Mubarak when he was still in power.

All of its rhetoric about supporting democracy and embracing the “Arab Spring” notwithstanding, the US government is determined to uphold the power of the military, which has been the backbone of the capitalist state in Egypt. It has served as the principal defender of the profit interests of the native elite—of which its top brass forms a substantial element—and transnational banks and corporations, as well as the guarantor of American strategic interests in the region, centered on Egypt’s treaty with Israel.

The Obama White House and the State Department have continued to voice support for the SCAF-led “democratic transition,” even as the military repeatedly makes it clear it is not prepared to cede power.

Thus Washington praised the military’s appointment Wednesday of a new “interim government” headed by Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri, who previously served as a prime minister under Mubarak. SCAF’s head, Field Marshal Tantawi, claimed that this puppet body would have full executive power, with the exception of issues related to the military and the judiciary, thus leaving the full repressive powers of the state—along with the vast economic holdings accumulated by the military—in the hands of the armed forces command.

The new cabinet is packed with former Mubarak officials and is drawn virtually exclusively from the ranks of his National Democratic Party, which was supposedly dissolved after his ouster.

Ahram Online provided profiles of those named to the cabinet. Among them was Mohamed Youssef Ibrahim, a career police official under Mubarak, as minister of interior. He is best known for leading the violent repression of a 2005 demonstration of Sudanese refugees in which 27 refugees were killed and hundreds injured. The bloody incident became known as the “Mostafa Mahmoud massacre” after the square in Cairo where it took place.

Adel Abdel Hamid, a 40-year prosecutor and judge tapped by Mubarak to head the Egyptian Court of Appeals, was named as minister of justice.

Gamal El-Arabi, a 35-year functionary in the regime’s education ministry was named minister of education. Egypt’s Independent Union of Teachers charged him with corruption and vowed to hold mass demonstrations to prevent him from entering the ministry.

Named minister of finance was Momtaz El-Said, formerly deputy to Mubarak’s finance minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali; the latter fled the country after the revolutionary upheavals last January to escape a corruption indictment.

El-Ganzouri, the new prime minister, gave a glimpse of his priorities by spending his first day after being appointed visiting the Police Academy headquarters for a meeting with interior ministry officials on a plan to “restore security, order and stability to the Egyptian street.”

El-Ganzouri and his cabinet have been thus far unable to enter the cabinet building on Cairo’s Kasr Al-Aini Street because of an ongoing sit-in there by protesters demanding an end to military rule.

There is no doubt that the regime is preparing to once again employ the vast quantities of “less-lethal” munitions—along with live ammo—that Washington has poured into the country.

A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) senior official has reiterated the alliance’s keenness to reinforce its cooperation and relations with individual members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), through the Istanbul Cooperation Inititiave (ICI).

Brussels: A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) senior official has reiterated the alliance’s keenness to reinforce its cooperation and relations with individual members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), through the Istanbul Cooperation Inititiave (ICI).

He clarified that no decision on ideas circulating for the deepening ICI, such as for example a Nato-ICI centre in the region, have been taken.

“We do want to deepen our engagement with our Gulf partners, throught the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative,” James Appathurai, Nato’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, said. “I do stress that our enegagement with Gulf partner countries is a two-way street. The moment has come for us to work more closely with our partners in the Gulf and we are confident there will be opportunities to deepen our political and practical cooperation,” he said.

Dialogue, consultations

Plans include more regular dialogue and political consultations to promote a better mutual understanding with the region and engaging in shared strategic analyses, he said.

“We can see how we can enhance military-to-military cooperation, interoperality and public diplomacy so that we can better explain Nato and what it does and we at Nato can better understand the region,” he told Gulf News.

Appathurai said that ideas could be floated in the meetings between Nato and ICI countries to boost the culture awareness.

“We will have a series of meetings and several ideas will be discussed, in coming months with our ICI countries. No decision on a specific proposal has been taken. There has never been a formal discussion or a formal decision about establishing any kind of a centre in the Istanbul Conference Initiative (ICI) states. There is no formal paper. There are just a number of ideas, but there is nothing concrete yet,” said Appathurai who was Nato’s spokesperson from 2004 until 2010.

The ICI was launched at the Alliance’s Summit in the Turkish coastal city in June 2004 to contribute to long-term global and regional security by offering Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries practical bilateral security cooperation with Nato. The ICI with Gulf States is complementary and yet distinct from the Mediterranean Dialogue NATO launched in December 1994, with countries in North Africa and Eastern Mediterranean.

Kuwait joined the Istanbul Cooperation Inititiative (ICI) in December 2004, followed by Bahrain and Qatar in February 2005 and the UAE in June 2005.

Arab countries who have conttributed to Nato operations in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya have been invited by Nato to attend and “witness very frank and open discussions and how policies are shaped or endorsed,” he said.

“Libya is a good illustration of what we can do together to promote international security and restore peace,” he said. “There was invaluable understanding and remarkable interoperality between Nato and Arab partner countries who participated in the UN mandated and Nato-led operation in Libya. It was plug and play and Arab pilots were flying wing to wing with our airmen from Nato countries, to protect the civilian population of Libya,” he said.

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

To subscribe for individual e-mails or the daily digest, unsubscribe, and otherwise change subscription status:
[email protected]

Russian Foreign Minister considers inadmissible ABM covers large part of Russian territory 

BRUSSELS: It is inadmissible for Russia NATO’s missile defence to cover the part of its territory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a session of the Russia-NATO Council on Thursday.

At the same time, Lavrov said that a new radar, which would be deployed in Turkey within missile defence, would control the most part of the Russian territory.

“If this radar was necessary to monitor the south and an area to the south of the territory of NATO members, such radar exists – it functions and watches the area from where the threat comes from, according to American and NATO colleagues,” the minister noted.

He stressed, “When a radar is deployed in Turkey, it will double the existing radar and watch a considerable part of Russian territory.”

Turkey and the United States signed a memorandum on the deployment of a radar in Turkey within missile defence in September. The radar will be deployed in Kurecik, south-east of Turkey. Kurecik in Malatya province lies 435 miles west of the Iranian border.

In September, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan said the U.S. hoped to have the radar deployed there by the end of the year.

NATO members agreed to an anti-missile system over Europe…at a summit in Lisbon, Portugal last year…

Under the NATO plans, a limited system of US anti-missile interceptors and radars already planned for Europe – to include interceptors in Romania and Poland as well as the radar in Turkey – would be linked to an expanded European-owned missile defences. That would create a broad system that protected every NATO country against medium-range missile attack.

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

To subscribe for individual e-mails or the daily digest, unsubscribe, and otherwise change subscription status:
[email protected]

Almost the whole world, except a very few populations around the globe, seem DO NOT KNOW anything about the consecutive JAPANESE governments’ CONTINUED but HIDDEN COLONIAL Discrimination against certain groups of Korean People for more than 60 years. 

Many Koreans themselves both in the South and about 8 million Koreans in overseas’ communities around the world have little or nbo knowledge of this process.

In fact, neither do the Japanese know about their own governments’ continued discrimination against Koreans, particularly against about Half a million Koreans (in 1940s and 50s), called “Chongryon” living in Japan. 

The Chongryon means a nationwide organization in Japan which has been persistently nationalistic, i.e., anti-imperialistic, self-determined and independent Korean organization which has identified their national affiliation not with Japan but Korea, particularly with the North. 

The history of this discrimination also applies to the 25 million population of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.[i] 

More specifically it applies to about 750,000 Koreans living in Japan.  

VIOLATION OF UN HUMAN RIGHTS DECLARATION 

According to the PREAMBLE and most of the 30 ARTICLES of the UN Human Rights Declaration, the consecutive governments’ continued but hidden racial discriminations against Koreans in Japan should have been condemned as flagrant violations of the UN Human Rights Declaration! 

By anyone’s open-minded observations and objective readings on the history of Chongryon people, those racially-motivated, legally-forced, and systematically-institutionalized discrimination policies by Japanese governments are similar to those of Jpan’s half century colonial rule of Korea.  

For over 60 years, Japanese governments have particularly violated the UN Human Rights Declaration Articles 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 15, 19 and 20. 

However, what stands out more specifically is the violation of Article 26 pertaining to the Right to Education.[ii]

These violations of funamental human righs have affected several hundred thousand  Chongryon Koreans who have had to pay an extremely high price, Several generations Chongryon Koreans are the vitims of these discriminatory policies instrumented by the Japanese “post-imperial” government  

What we are dealing with is outright racism directed against the Chongryon Koreans. 

The Japanese government has excluded Korean students from receiving educational (financial) support which is granted to all other schools in Japan except those Chongryon-affiliated schools. 

Again this is a flagrant violation of one of the most fundamental human rights regarding the “Right to Education.”  

The former colonial state Japan has repeatedly discriminated against a formerly colonized population which was brought by force either to Japan or to imperialist’s loosing battle grounds, to their military factories (such as Mitsubishi), to their mines, or even to their infamous “military brothels” as “forcibly-conscripted imperial army (Korean) soldiers,” “slave laborers” or “military sex slaves” until the demise of Imperial Japan in mid 1945.

As mentioned above, the world seems to have assumed those heinous colonial crimes committed by Japan more than a half century ago ceased at the end of Imperial Japan in August 1945. 

The “high price” the Chongryon Koreans have had to pay must be understood. It constitutes a Imperial Japan’s colonial crimes not only against Koreans for almost a half century back also against many Chinese and other East Asian populations in the 1930s and 40s. 

Dr. Kiyul Chung who is Editor-in-chief at the 4th Media is also a Visiting Professor at School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. He is also a political commentator at CCTV-9.

NOTES 

[i] Its acronym should be “DPRK.” However, it’s been known hitherto as “North Korea” in most parts of the world. This name North Korea, together with South Korea, denotes and further implies the continued DIVISION of Korean peninsula. So the whole population in north and many self-determined reunification-oriented population in south don’t use these divisive names.

[ii] UN Human Rights Declaration Article 26:

•(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

•(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

•(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children

CIA ‘secret prison’ found in Romania – media reports

December 9th, 2011 by Global Research

The CIA operated a secret prison in the Romanian capital Bucharest where terrorism suspects were interrogated, an investigation by the Associated Press and German media has found.

Former CIA operatives identified the building where, they said, detainees were held and tortured.

The building belongs to a Romanian agency, Orniss, which stores classified information from the EU and Nato.

Orniss has denied hosting a CIA prison and the CIA has refused to comment.

The investigation, by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and the German TV network ARD, said those held in the secret prison included Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, who has admitted organising the 9/11 attacks.

He was seized in Pakistan in March 2003 under the US programme known as “extraordinary rendition” – the extra-judicial detention and transfer of terrorism suspects.

He has been in the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay since 2006, where he is awaiting trial.

‘Bright Light’

The building identified in the German investigation houses the Office of the National Register for Secret State Information, or Orniss.

Orniss has denied all claims that its premises were used as a CIA prison.

Asked whether the building was ever used to hold Islamist terrorism suspects, Orniss deputy head Adrian Camarasan told the Sueddeutsche: “Here? No!”

The building, at 4 Mures Street, was codenamed “Bright Light”, the Sueddeutsche reported.

One former CIA operative who said he visited the site frequently was quoted as saying: “It was very discreet there. It was not as though Romanian officials came out to greet me.”

Allegations of a network of CIA “black sites” in countries including Romania first surfaced in 2005 but were denied by Washington.

In 2007, an investigation by the Council of Europe accused Romania of operating a secret prison – accusations denied by Bucharest. The CIA called the report “biased and distorted” and said it had operated legally.

Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty on Thursday welcomed the new report.

“The dynamic of truth has run its course and we are at last beginning to learn what really happened in Bucharest,” he said in a statement.

However, he criticised the lack of what he called a “serious judicial inquiry” in Romania.

In 2006, then-US President George W Bush admitted that terror suspects had been held in CIA-run prisons overseas, but he did not say where the prisons were located.

A BBC investigation in 2010 alleged the CIA used a secret Polish prison where Khaled Sheikh Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning – the practice known as waterboarding.

The Associated Press news agency, which worked with the Sueddeutsche and ARD on their investigation, says the alleged prison in Romania opened in 2003 after the CIA decided to empty the black site in Poland.

It quoted former US officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

The basement consisted of six prefabricated cells, each with a clock and arrow pointing to Mecca, the officials told AP.

Waterboarding was not used in Romania, they said.

Other detainees of intelligence value to the US held in Romania included Ramzi Binalshibh and Abu Faraj al-Libi, AP reported.

The Romanian foreign minister told the Council of Europe at the time of its investigation: “No such activities took place on Romanian territory.”

A “Soft Revolution” is developing in Pakistan

December 9th, 2011 by Liaqat Toor

Zardari treads safe passage to avoid treason charges, Bilawal takes over party leadership, Gilani trying to control situation

Islamabad—A soft revolution is developing in Pakistan as President Asif Ali Zardari, who suddenly departed from the President House to avoid treason charges in the Memogate Scandal on Tuesday evening has been silently replaced by his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who took over the charge of PPP without wasting any time.

The next 72 hours are very crucial as more changes and developments are expected in the disturbed rank and file of the government, shaken by the Memogate issue, NRO verdict by apex court, deepening economic issues and departure of stalwarts from the ruling party.

According to sources privy to the developments said President Zardari was under great stress over the Memogate issue, particularly after issuing of notice to him by the apex court to reply in fifteen days. Such notices were also issued to Army Chief and head of ISI and alleged key player Husain Haqqani to respond in two weeks on the issue relating to sovereignty and security of Pakistan.

The verdict was issued on December 1 and replies are expected by Dec. 15. Zardari, smelling something wrong in this situation decided to choose a safe passage by departing from President House on health grounds to avoid treason charges.

He has been admitted to a Dubai hospital for examination. The gap was immediately filled and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is chairman of PPP, was summoned immediately who took over the command of party. He chaired very important meeting of party seniors on Wednesday night taking stock of the latest developments and took important decisions.

This a soft revolution taking place in the country, the sources said. The sources were of the view that if “danger’ for Zardari is averted, he can come back. But, the situation at present is very disturbing for him, the sources said. On Thursday, hectic activities were witnessed in the capital as sources further said the four governors can also be changed besides recalling of Wajid Shamsul Hassan, ambassador of Pakistan to UK.

Major changes in bureaucracy, diplomatic missions and the Cabinet are also expected. The President’s address to the joint session of the Parliament has already been postponed.

A panic-like situation existed in the capital throughout the day as rumours were rife about the government and its future. Conflicting statements being made by the ruling party leaders are also generating speculations and confusion while coalition partners are witnessing the situation as spectators.

Prime Minister Gilani is trying to control the situation but it is slipping out of his hand.

The Destruction of Canada’s Family Farm

December 9th, 2011 by Arthur W. Macklin

Open Letter To Environmental Groups from an Alberta grain farmer, November 27, 2011

I am a Canadian wheat and barley producer; who values and respects democratic process. I want to protect the environment, preserve wild life habitat and I am very concerned about climate change

The Harper government is intent on destroying our Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) (BillC-18) before Canadians have time to become aware of the negative effects this fundamental change to grain marketing will have on the environment and many other aspects of Canadian life and our food.

IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT

1. Trees will be bulldozed and burnt, wind breaks taken out, fence rows cleared, wetlands drained as larger farm operations take over control of the land.

2. Wildlife and water fowl habitat will be lost.

3. Energy consumption and climate changing emissions will increase in grain transportation.

4. More climate changing nitrous oxide will be produced.

5. Genetically modified, glyphosate resistant wheat and other genetically modified crops will be licensed for production and more super weeds will develop requiring combinations of even stronger chemicals to control.

6. The genetically modified crops will cross pollinate with other crops and make organic production difficult if not impossible as has already happened with canola.

7. Corporate controlled factory farms will increasingly take over production and control of land with the associated problems of water and air pollution.

8. Genetic diversity of food crops will decrease.

OTHER AREAS OF CONCERN

1. Rural depopulation as family farms become less economically viable.

2. Increased taxes to maintain roads as more rail lines are abandoned.

3. More concentration of wealth in a small group and less equality in society.

4. Erosion of democracy and parliamentary process.

5. Loss of collective bargaining for farmers and workers.

6. Investor groups, both domestic and foreign, buying farmland.

7. Increased multinational control of the world’s food.

AND RATIONALE

Bill C-18 will remove the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) single desk selling authority and fire the ten farmer-elected directors on the fifteen person CWB Board.

Currently the CWB is a democratic, farmer controlled marketing agency with marketing strength because all farmers are selling as one and are not under cutting each other. The CWB sells directly to customers in over 70 countries and returns 100% of the sales revenue minus operating costs of 2% back to producers.

Local food local processing

Canadians consume about 30% of our annual grain production so you can be confident all the flour for bread products, pasta and much of the beer comes from wholesome Canadian grain.

Our CWB has a policy of providing equitable prices for domestic processors both large and small. Without the CWB smaller Canadian processors would have to compete against the large processors who would be demanding volume discounts on their inputs. Smaller processors would either be forced out of business or they would have to attempt to source cheaper, low quality grains from other parts of the world to compete against the giants, changing our food system.

Economic justice

The CWB sells about one quarter of our annual 20 million tonnes of grain production in premium markets in Japan, the U.S., and Europe by being careful not to flood these markets, undercut prices and hurt local producers. These premiums are worth a minimum of 500 million dollars annually to Canadian grain farmers.

Our CWB is also about economic justice. The CWB provides fair and equal treatment to all farmers both large and small. Small producers get their fair share of delivery opportunity, access to producer rail cars and their fair share of the premium markets.

Bill C-18 creates a situation of 60,000 individual producers competing against each other for sales to three or four dominant grain traders. These middlemen make their profit on volume times margin and are not concerned about maintaining the premium markets which they will bid away. Bill C-18 and so called “Marketing Freedom” will bestow all the market power from farmers to multinational grain traders and speculators.

Common sense would indicate that passage of Bill C-18 will put more economic pressure on grain producers and many smaller family farmers will be forced out of production. The larger farmers that remain will be attempting to lower their cost of production by using bigger machinery on bigger fields, using no-till farming practices, and using more chemicals and fertilizers to increase yields.

Political dishonesty

Prior to the May 2nd federal election Agriculture Minister Ritz stated publicly that there would be no changes to the CWB’s mandate without a farmer vote. Under section 47.1 of the CWB Act a farmer vote is required before any grain can be added or subtracted from CWB marketing. Some farmers would have voted Conservative with the assurance that they would have the opportunity to have a specific vote on the future of the CWB. In any event, farmers are only 2% of the population spread over 57 western ridings.

After the election the Harper government stated that the federal election was the vote and there would be no vote for wheat and barley producers. The CWB held its own vote and 62% of wheat producers and 51% of barley producers voted to maintain the CWB single-desk selling authority.

The government has dismissed the farmer vote and is proceeding to force Bill C-18 through Parliament without public hearings in the country, and by using closure to limit debate in the House of Commons. They are also making inaccurate statements about the CWB.

CONSEQUENCES:

Farms have been getting larger; however the CWB has helped to keep many smaller family farmers in production and in control of their land. The demise of the CWB will hasten the exit of small family farms and turn control of the food producing land over to large vertically integrated corporations, investor groups, and large corporate farms.

These larger operations will clear the trees and drain the wetlands to accommodate their large equipment and lower their costs. It is unlikely they will keep the trees, wind breaks, wetlands and wild life habitat when their shareholders can make money by destroying them to make crop land.

There is also the development of investors, both domestic and foreign, buying farmland. They do not live in the rural community and are not concerned with stewardship of the soil, air, and water but rather they want a monetary return on their investment. They will bulldoze and burn the trees and drain the wetlands. Climate change, environment and wildlife habitat are of no concern to them.

Thousands of small, independent family farms will tend to produce a large variety of crops and there is a greater chance of maintaining genetic diversity. There are less than a handful of vertically integrated, multinational grain companies that dominate the global grain market. They provide the inputs such as seed, fertilizer and chemicals and they purchase the production. In many cases they will contract with the farmer to provide the inputs and purchase the production. This tends towards fewer varieties, monoculture and less genetic diversity.

Transportation

As a farmer advocate on rail transportation policy, the CWB has been instrumental in maintaining affordable rail service to many communities on the prairies. The railways have pushed to abandon rail service on branch lines and transfer more trucking costs to farmers and road maintenance costs to municipalities. Bill C-18 eliminates the CWB as a strong advocate on behalf of farmers. Trucks are several times less energy efficient than rail in moving bulk commodities such as grain. Bill C-18 will put more trucks on the highways hauling longer distances. Energy consumption and climate changing emissions will increase. The CWB has been the only organization with the expertise, the resources and the incentive to challenge the railways. The CWB has an incentive because they are democratically controlled and paid for by farmers. The private grain companies will not challenge the powerful railways, they will merely pass on all costs and risks to farmers.

Genetically modified crops

Because the CWB is customer oriented it listened to farmers and other people and was instrumental in blocking the introduction of Monsanto’s genetically modified, Roundup Ready wheat. Monsanto is now preparing another attempt at introduction of genetically modified glyphosate resistant wheat.

This will lead to the selection of super weeds that are also resistant of glyphosate and require even higher applications of more toxic chemicals and combinations of chemicals to control the super weeds. Studies have been done in some U.S. states and every sample of water from every stream tested positive for traces of glyphosate. Air samples also showed traces of glyphosate.

What is the long term effects on the environment and human health of this chemical? Genetically modified wheat would also contaminate and destroy organic production of wheat just as has happened with canola.

Global warming

A recent scientific study reported in the Western Producer newspaper and published in the Journal of Environmental Quality documents that no-till farming puts 60% more nitrous oxide into the atmosphere than conventional tillage per unit of yield and that nitrous oxide “is a potent greenhouse gas with the ability to trap heat in the atmosphere 300 time greater than that of carbon dioxide.” Most large farm operators use no-till farming practices because it simplifies management requirements and skills. Another recent study questions the assumption that no-till sequesters more carbon in the soil than conventional tillage.

Food security

Big business believes they have succeeded in eliminating the CWB and that they will control and capture the profit from the 6 billion dollar western Canadian wheat and barley production. We are now seeing them putting the supply management sector of dairy and poultry production in their sights. Although the Harper government has stated that they support supply management, they have just applied to join a Pacific trading block that would require that they end supply management. This would destroy many more small family farms. Their production might be replaced with production from corporate controlled factory farms in the U.S. or from low cost producers in Mexico, New Zealand, and Argentina.

All may be well so long as there is a world surplus and there are no extreme weather events, natural disasters or political disruptions to production and transportation. In a private market the lowest cost producer and the weakest seller sets the price when there is surplus. However, can the lowest cost producer feed the world’s population?

When producers are forced to leave farming because of low prices not only is their expertise lost but it takes a long time to re-establish the production unit. Is society better off with a corporate controlled, vertically integrated, centralized food production system that sources and transports food all over the globe, or is it better to have a de-centralized food production system with many thousands of local producers producing food for local consumption even if the cost is somewhat higher? Harper’s actions will firmly entrench the corporate system.

Energy efficiency

I have read that the type of agricultural production practiced in “developed countries” consumes ten units of non-renewal fossil fuel energy to produce one unit of energy in the form of food. If this ratio is correct, then clearly our type of food production is not sustainable in the long term. There was an international conference a few years ago entitled “What Will We Eat When the Oil Runs Out” that dealt with this issue and the concept of peak oil. Cheap energy is not so cheap anymore and it will very likely become more expensive in the future. We need to be developing food production systems that are far less dependant of fossil fuel and more in tune with nature. We need more farmers and not less. The Harper government is determined to head in the wrong direction.

Public policy

The dismantling of the CWB is more than just an economic question for 2% of Canadians. The consequences of this Bill will have an impact on many other areas of Canadian and international life. The Harper government has done no credible research on any of the impacts of this irreversible legislation. They want to get it proclaimed before the broader public becomes aware of the ramifications of this Bill. It is expected that it will pass third reading in the House of Commons this coming week and then go to the Senate, which Harper has stacked, for speedy passage. It will take determined involvement and political pressure by urban Canadians, who are concerned about food quality, climate change, the environment, and wild life to stop the Harper steamroller on Bill C-18. Calling for Senate hearings all across Canada to give all citizens an opportunity to understand the consequences of this legislation would be a positive first step.

Our Family Farm

Our farm is in the Peace River area of Alberta and my brother and I homesteaded this land in the mid 1960s. At that time, climate change was not a concern. None the less, when we cleared the trees we left two, ten rod (50 meter) wide windbreaks of trees on every quarter section and many areas we did not clear. There are several hundred acres of trees and wetlands remaining on our farm providing habitat for moose, elk, deer, bear, birds and much other wildlife. My son has taken over the operation of the farm and I am helping him.

The CWB adds $10,000 to $20,000 to our farm income annually through its single-desk selling authority. Farmers can save $1200 per car (producer cars) in handling and elevation charges by loading their own rail hopper car. In the case of our farm we might ship 6 or 7 cars a year. This is a significant saving for our farm. Without the CWB to ensure car supply, port terminal space for unload and a sale, producer cars will be history. Approximately 12,000 producer cars were shipped last year from the prairies and many originated off of farmer owned short line railways which will also be history.

The destruction of the CWB will force many smaller family farm operations to sell or rent to a larger operator who wants big fields for big, wide equipment. The farm operation next to ours is a prime example. They farm many thousands of acres. As smaller farmers exit farming they buy or rent the land and proceed to clear off all the trees from corner to corner. They have done this with thousands of acres in the vicinity of our farm within the last few years.

The destruction of the CWB will have an impact in a number of other areas such as biodiversity, energy consumption, and control of the global food system by a small number of private multinationals, rural depopulation, elimination of collective bargaining, undermining democratic process, increasing inequality in society, and food sovereignty.

Grain producers make up less than 2% of voters in western Canada and unless urban Canadians weigh in on this, Bill C-18 will be passed before Christmas and the CWB will be dismantled. The multinational grain traders, agri-chemical companies and the railways will be getting the Christmas present and farmers along with most Canadians will be receiving the lump of coal.

I served as the elected representative to the CWB Advisory Committee for three terms (11 years). When the CWB Act was amended in 1998 I was elected by farmers to two terms as a CWB Director (8 years). I was Chairman of the Canadian International Grains Institute. I was the Vice President of the National Farmers Union for three years and I served as President of the NFU for two years.

Sincerely:

Arthur W. Macklin: [email protected]  

Grande Prairie, Alberta

Pakistan Reviews Ties With U.S. After Deadly NATO Strike

December 8th, 2011 by Muhammad Tahir

-The November 26 attack was the 8th NATO strike on Pakistani posts in the last three years, according to the Pakistan army. A total of 72 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in such NATO strikes, but the latest strike has prompted an unprecedented angry reaction from the Pakistani military and civilian leadership…

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani says parliament will meet soon to reassess its relations with the United States in the wake of the November 26 deadly attack by NATO fighter jets and helicopters on two border posts, killing 24 soldiers.

The attack had caused widespread anger across Pakistan and the country’s top civil and military leadership took unexpected and important decisions to review its future relationship with the U.S., close supply lines for NATO forces in Afghanistan, vacate a strategically important airbase in Balochistan province from the U. S. military and to boycott the December 5 Bonn Conference on Afghanistan’s future.

The decisions are considered as a major setback in worsening Pakistan-U.S relations, which had been under stress since February this year when an undercover CIA agent, Raymond Davis, shot dead two Pakistani nationals in the eastern city of Lahore. The documents and mobile phone data of Raymond Davis mobile had unearthed a secret U.S. spy network in Pakistan, which prompted a call from Pakistan to seek details about all American secret agents and their activities in the country. Pakistan then had also asked the U.S. to withdraw its spies and U.S. trainers.

The unilateral U.S. military raid to kill Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in May proved to be another serious setback for the already strained relationship. Pakistan had described the U.S. raid as a violation of the country’s sovereignty.

The U.S. had been trying to put its relationship with Pakistan on track over the past few months but last month’s U.S.-led NATO strike on border posts on Pakistani soil near the Afghan border has caused a severe blow to the uneasy relations.

The November 26 attack was the 8th NATO strike on Pakistani posts in the last three years, according to the Pakistan army. A total of 72 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in such NATO strikes, but the latest strike has prompted an unprecedented angry reaction from the Pakistani military and civilian leadership, which they have never shown before.

Apart from closing the supply lines for nearly 150,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, this time Pakistan has also asked the U.S. to vacate the Shamsi airbase in southwestern Balochistan province, which is near the border with Afghanistan and Iran. The U.S. military has reportedly been using the airbase for nearly 10 years to carry out military operations in Afghanistan and for drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions.

President Asif Zardari reportedly rejected a request from the Foreign Minister of the UAE, who flew to Islamabad just a few days after the NATO strike, to withdraw the vacation decision or postpone the 15-day ultimatum for the withdrawal from the air base.

Expecting no change in Pakistan’s decision, U.S. security personnel have now started to evacuate the Shamsi airbase and a couple of days ago an American plane arrived at the air base to bring back the U.S. personnel and equipment deployed there. The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan has confirmed the evacuation.

The Pakistani leadership seems deeply perturbed over the refusal so far by the U.S. and NATO to tender an apology over the deaths of the 24 soldiers. Pakistani leaders are now openly saying that future relations with the U.S. will be reviewed and new terms will be set for future cooperation with the U.S./NATO and ISAF. Pakistan has rejected the “regret” by the U.S. and NATO over the deaths of Pakistani soldiers as insufficient. Pakistan says the NATO strike was intentional as they violated a defined “Red Line”.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani warned the United States in a CNN interview last month that “business as usual (with the U.S.) will not be there” now. Gilani also said that the only scenario in which the two countries could continue their relations was if they worked on the principles of mutual respect, which he said that Pakistan was not getting from the Americans at the moment.

Pakistan had never been so tough on the U.S., but the NATO killing of Pakistani soldiers in “unprovoked” raids brought the government under tremendous pressure to review its relations with the U.S. as enough is enough. The stand Pakistani leaders have shown since the November 26 NATO strikes is very clear, one in which they now have a mind to review what the majority in Pakistan considers an unnatural alliance with the U.S.

Pakistan’s decision to close the NATO supply line, order the U.S. to vacate its airbase, boycott the Bonn Conference and reject the U.S. regret reflect the country’s seriousness to review its relationship with the United States. There has been a long-awaited call from political parties, former diplomats, retired army generals, members of civil society and the media to review the country’s foreign policy towards Washington.

President Barrack Obama called President Asif Zardari on Sunday and Secretary of State Hilary made calls to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to soothe angry Pakistani leaders, but the efforts have not worked. Despite phone calls by President Obama and Clinton, several influential U.S. lawmakers are sending negative messages and are calling for a review of U.S. relations with Pakistan.

Now Pakistan is set to start a review of its relations with the U. S. in the coming days and parliament will be summoned for this purpose. Important decisions after the NATO attack have set the tone for a review for a review of ties with the U.S. Foreign Ministry sources say that Pakistan has called ambassadors from several important capitals to seek their input for the new foreign policy and new relationship with the U.S.

It is the hope of the majority of the Pakistanis that the parliament will chalk out a relationship with the U.S. on the basis of mutual respect in real terms and that Pakistan will never bow before U.S. pressure.

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

To subscribe for individual e-mails or the daily digest, unsubscribe, and otherwise change subscription status:
[email protected]

Pearl Harbor: 70 Years on, Is Iran the New Japan?

December 8th, 2011 by Finian Cunningham

Is Iran the new Japan – 70 years after the Pearl Harbour incident that led to a US declaration of war and an unspeakable nuclear nightmare?

Two concurrent articles on Global Research deserve close reading because taken together they suggest that history is in danger of repeating itself, with even greater catastrophic consequences.

Firstly, Patrick Buchanan’s historical review of the run-up to the “surprise” attack by Japan on the US Navy at Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941 indicates that it was in fact no surprise to Washington planners [1]. Indeed, the evidence presented by Buchanan shows (not for the first time) that the attack by the Japanese air force was a carefully laid trap engineered at the highest level in Washington with the coldly premeditated aim of precipitating US entry to World War II.

As Buchanan notes the Japanese “provocation” at Pearl Harbour was preceded by of a series of US provocations against imperial Japan, including severing Tokyo’s oil economy and isolating the country into a diplomatic corner.

“The question was how we should maneuver them [Japan] into firing the first shot…” then US secretary of war Henry Stimson is quoted in records from November 1941.

Such contrivance of casus belli by the US is not without historical parallel, before or after: the sinking of USS Maine in Havana Harbour in 1898, triggering the American-Spanish War; the torpedoing of the Lusitania in 1915, prompting US entry into World War I; the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964, escalating America’s genocidal war on Vietnam; and the 9/11 “terror attacks” in 2001, presaging Washington’s ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In this historical context of Washington’s contrived wars, the present day provocations against Iran take on a much more urgent significance.

In a separate Global Research article, Tom Burghardt makes a convincing case that the US (and Israel) are conducting a covert war inside Iran, including deadly explosive attacks on Iranian military sites – two in the past month alone which claimed the lives of more than 30 Iranian personnel. As the headline of Burghardt’s article puts it: War with Iran – a Provocation Away?

The author quotes an Iranian military official saying that Iran’s armed response to suspected US/Israeli sabotages “would not be limited to our borders”.

The latest US provocation-for-a-provocation is the intrusion of a CIA stealth drone some 140 miles inside Iran’s eastern territory [3].

It is now clear that the sophisticated RQ-170 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – which can fly at 50,000 feet undetected by radar – was on a deliberate spying mission over Iranian territory, most probably with a view to target Iranian installations for the preemptive air strikes – the very kind of air strikes that Washington and its allies have for months been threatening the Islamic Republic with.

The Washington Post described the revelation of the latest CIA drone intrusion of Iranian territory as marking the Obama administration’s “shift toward a more confrontational approach – one that includes increased arms sales to Iran’s potential rivals in the Middle East as well as bellicose statements by US officials and key allies”.

Included in the category of “bellicose” statements is that from US defence secretary Leon Panetta who last week cited contingency plans for “a wide range of military options” against Iran.

Bear in mind that the decade-long confrontation with Iran is premised on the wholly unproven assertion that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons – a claim that Iran has repeatedly denied and which years of intrusive inspections of its legitimate civilian nuclear energy facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency have failed to verify, even in spite of Western intelligence and mainstream media manipulation.

The Washington Post again tells us: “The sharpened [US] tone [against Iran] comes against a backdrop of increased diplomatic efforts in ratcheting up the economic pain for the Iranian regime, as Washington enlists European and Asian allies in coordinated efforts to choke Iran’s economy.”

Reading that last paragraph again and we could easily, and frighteningly, substitute Japan in 1941 for Iran in 2011.

Then the words of secretary of war Henry Stimson echo with sinister contemporary meaning: “The question is how we maneuver them into firing the first shot.”

And recall too that Washington’s war machinations with Japan led to a conflagration that engulfed the Asia-Pacific hemisphere and the unleashing of perhaps history’s single worst barbarity – a nuclear holocaust.

Only this time around, the much more advanced technological means to utterly destroy would make that nuclear barbarity appear as a mere shadow of what could be unleashed in the present day.

Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa correspondent

[email protected]

Notes

[1] http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28088

[2] http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28045

[3] http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28082

A Union is Born: Latin America in Revolution

December 8th, 2011 by Eva Golinger

While much of the world is in crisis and protests are erupting throughout Europe and the United States, Latin American and Caribbean nations are building consensus, advancing social justice and increasing positive cooperation in the region. Social, political and economic transformations have been taking place through democratic processes in countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil throughout the past decade, leading to a massive reduction in poverty and income disparity in the region, and a substantial increase in social services, quality of life and direct participation in political process. 

One of the major initiatives of progressive Latin American governments this century has been the creation of new regional organizations that promote integration, cooperation and solidarity amongst neighboring nations. Cuba and Venezuela began this process in 2004 with the founding of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), that now includes Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, St. Vincent’s and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda. ALBA was initially launched in response to the US government’s failed attempt to impose its Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) throughout the region. Today ALBA is a thriving multilateral organization with member nations that share similar political visions for their countries and for the region, and includes numerous cooperation agreements in economic, social and cultural areas. The fundamental basis of trade amongst ALBA nations is solidarity and mutual benefit. There is no competition, exploitation or attempt to dominate amongst ALBA states. ALBA even counts on its own currency, the SUCRE, which allows for trade between member nations without dependence on the US dollar. 

In 2008, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) was formally established as a regional body representing South American states. While ALBA is much more consolidated as a unified political voice, UNASUR represents a diversity of political positions, economic models and visions for the region. But UNASUR members share the common goal of working towards regional unity and guaranteeing the resolution of conflicts through peaceful and diplomatic means. UNASUR has already played a key role in peacefully resolving disputes in Bolivia, particularly during an attempted coup against the government of Evo Morales in 2008, and has also successfully moderated a severe conflict between Colombia and Venezuela, leading to the reestablishment of relations in 2010. 

Two hundred years ago, South American Independence hero Simon Bolivar, a native of Venezuela, dreamed of building regional unity and creating a “Patria Grande” (Grand Homeland) in Latin America. After achieving independence for Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia, and fighting colonialists in several Caribbean nations, Bolivar attempted to turn this dream of Latin American unity into reality. His efforts were sabotaged by powerful interests opposing the creation of a solid regional bloc, and eventually, with the aid of the United States, Bolivar was ousted from his rule in Venezuela and died isolated in Colombia several years later. Meanwhile, the US government had proceeded to implement its Monroe Doctrine, a decree first declared by President James Monroe in 1823 to ensure US domination and control over the newly-freed nations in Latin America and the Caribbean.  

Nearly two hundred years of invasions, interventions, aggressions, coup d’etats and hostilities led by the US government against Latin American nations shadowed the 19th and 20th centuries. By the end of the 20th century, Washington had successfully imposed governments in every Latin American and Caribbean nation that were subordinate to its agenda, with the exception of Cuba. The Monroe Doctrine had been achieved, and the US felt confident in its control over its “backyard”. 

The unexpected turn at the beginning of the 21st century in Venezuela, formerly one of Washington’s most stable and subservient partners, came as a shock to the US. Hugo Chavez had been elected President and a Revolution had begun. A coup d’etat attempt in 2002 failed to subvert the advancement of the Bolivarian Revolution and the spread of revolutionary fever throughout the region. Soon Bolivia followed, then Nicaragua and Ecuador. Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay elected socialist presidents, two of them former guerrilla fighters. Major changes began to occur throughout the region as the peoples of this vast, diverse and rich continent assumed power and made their voices heard.

Social transformations in Venezuela that gave voice to people’s power became exemplary for others in the region, as did President Chavez’s defiance of US imperialism. A powerful sentiment of Latin American sovereignty and independence grew stronger, even reaching those with governments aligned with US interests and multinational control. 

On December 2-3, 2011, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was born and the overwhelming force of a continent nearly 600 million strong, achieved a 200-year dream of unity. The 33 member nations of CELAC all agree on the unquestionable necessity to build a regional organization that represents their interests, and that excludes the overbearing presence of the US and Canada. While CELAC will take time to consolidate, the exceptional commitment evidenced by the 33 states present at its launching in Caracas, Venezuela, cannot be underestimated.  

CELAC will have to overcome attempts to sabotage and neutralize its expansion and endurance, and the threats against it and intents to divide member nations will be numerous and frequent. But the resistance of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean who have resumed this path of unity and independence after nearly two hundred years of imperialist aggression, demonstrates the powerful force that has led this region to become an inspiration for those seeking social justice and true freedom around the world.

Week in Review: Top Stories of the Week

December 8th, 2011 by Global Research


This Holiday Season, Remember: Peace comes through Awareness
- 2011-12-13


Libya and “The Arab Spring”: Neoliberalism, “Regime Change” and NATO’s “Humanitarian Wars”
ONLINE INTERACTIVE READER
- by Michel Chossudovsky, Finian Cunningham, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-12-10


Pakistan Reviews Ties With U.S. After Deadly NATO Strike
- by Muhammad Tahir – 2011-12-08


Israeli Intelligence Report: US Drone downed by Iran Cyber Attack
- 2011-12-08


VIDEO: Engineering the Eurozone Collapse
- by F. William Engdahl – 2011-12-08


The Saudi Arab Spring Nobody Noticed
- by Russ Baker – 2011-12-08


Clinton Lectures Russia On Elections, NATO Chief On Missiles
U.S not in a position to criticize Russian elections
- by Rick Rozoff, John Robles – 2011-12-08


Pulling Back the Curtain on the Wall Street Money Machine
- by Ellen Brown – 2011-12-08


The Militarization of the American Police, the Shredding of Our Constitutional Rights
It Started At Least 30 Years Ago
- by Washington’s Blog – 2011-12-08


OWS: Reform or Revolution… and the Lessons from Egypt.
- by Ghada Chehade – 2011-12-08


The West’s Most-Cherished Desire: The Disintegration of the Russian Federation
- 2011-12-08


VIDEO: Russia Slams Clinton Over Election Criticism
Explore the irony on GRTV
- by Pepe Escobar – 2011-12-07


VIDEO: Occupation Nation: The Militarization of Police
New report now on GRTV
- by Maria Portnaya – 2011-12-07


WAR ON IRAN. HAS IT ALREADY STARTED? US, Israeli Covert Ops Targeting Iran
- 2011-12-07

Romanian Senate Ratifies U.S. Interceptor Missile Deployment
- 2011-12-07


US-NATO Missile Shield directed against Russia spawning New Arms Race – Russia military chief
- 2011-12-07


Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?
- by Patrick J. Buchanan – 2011-12-07


President of Côte d’Ivoire to Stand Trial in the International Criminal Court
- by Alexander Mezyaev – 2011-12-07


No People No Problem: “The Baltic Tigers” False Prophets of Economic Austerity
- by Prof. Jeffrey Sommers, Prof. Arunas Juska, Prof. Michael Hudson – 2011-12-07


The European Debt Crisis: Unstable Currency Markets.
- by Bob Chapman – 2011-12-07


BREAKING NEWS: Downed CIA Stealth Drone Marks Another Step Towards America’s War On Iran
- by Finian Cunningham – 2011-12-07

Israel Brandishes Drones Amid Reports Of Impending Attack On Iran?
- by Gur Salomon – 2011-12-07


A New Cold War in Asia? Obama Threatens China
The Energy Equation
- by Michael Klare – 2011-12-07


BOMBSHELL: US Caught Meddling in Russian Elections!
Putin compares US funded NGOs to Judas the betrayer
- by Tony Cartalucci – 2011-12-06


70 Years Ago, December 1941: Turning Point of World War II
The victory of the Red Army in front of Moscow was a major break…
- by Jacques R. Pauwels – 2011-12-06


VIDEO: Italy’s Welfare Minister In Tears Over Austerity Sacrifices
See the statement on GRTV
- 2011-12-06

NATO To Open Centers In Kuwait, Other Gulf States
- by Habib Toumi – 2011-12-06


Debt and Democracy: Has the Link been Broken?
- by Prof. Michael Hudson – 2011-12-06


The End of Reset: Towards the New Cold War. “The New World Order to be built on the Wreckage of Russia”
- by Gen Leonid Ivashov – 2011-12-06


Using Arable Land for Bio-fuels: Carbon Credits in the ‘Valley of Death’
The ugly effects of U.N.-backed ‘clean development’ in Honduras.
- by Jeremy Kryt – 2011-12-06


Missile Defense: A New Arms Race Looms between Russia and America
- by Matthias Schepp – 2011-12-06


The Nixon Administration and the Indian Nuclear Program, 1972-1974
- by National Security Archive – 2011-12-06

Antagonizing Pakistan And Russia, US-NATO Supply Routes into Afghanistan in Jeopardy?
- 2011-12-06


Latin American Integration: Creation of CELAC, Trend Toward Multipolar Global Governance?
- by Prof. Sun Hongbo – 2011-12-06


Implosion of Contemporary Capitalism: Audacity, More Audacity in Formulating an Alternative to the Existing System.
- by Dr. Samir Amin – 2011-12-06

The Real Reason for Obama’s Threat to Veto the Indefinite Detention Bill (Hint: It’s Not to Protect Liberty)
- by Washington’s Blog – 2011-12-05


VIDEO: Bush and Blair Guilty of War Crimes
Learn more on GRTV
- 2011-12-05


VIDEO: The Dangers of Nuclear War and Threats Against Iran
See the speech from the Perdana Global Peace Forum on GRTV
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-12-05


Bringing the ‘War on Terror’ Home
- by Coleen Rowley – 2011-12-05


Human Costs of War and Violence
Censored News Cluster From Censored 2012 Chapter 1
- by Prof. Peter Phillips, Craig Cekala – 2011-12-05


Bahrain: Car Bomb in Capital Follows Appointment of American and British Police Chiefs to Lead ‘Reforms’
- by Finian Cunningham – 2011-12-05


George W. Bush cancels visit to Swiss charity gala over fears he could be arrested on torture charges
- 2011-12-05


US-NATO Aggression against Pakistan
- by Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg – 2011-12-05


Study Documents Desperate Conditions Facing the Unemployed in America
- by Andre Damon , Barry Grey – 2011-12-05


THE CLOCK IS TICKING: “Shadow War” Heating Up. War With Iran: A Provocation Away?
- by Tom Burghardt – 2011-12-05

Amid conflicting reports that a huge explosion at Iran’s uranium conversion facility in Isfahan occurred last week, speculation was rife that Israel and the US were stepping-up covert attacks against defense and nuclear installations


Arrest George W. Bush for Crimes against Peace, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity !
- by Dirk Adriaensens – 2011-12-05


After Fukushima: Enough Is Enough
- by Helen Caldicott – 2011-12-05


The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Challenge to US Hegemony in Western Hemisphere?
- by Federico Fuentes – 2011-12-05


Defense Minister: Pakistan Has Nuclear Arms, Can Defend Borders Against NATO
- 2011-12-05

Syria carried out large military exercises, The Middle East “will burn” in the event of a military intervention against Syria
- 2011-12-05


Misreading the Fight over Military Detention: The Obama Regime Has No Constitutional Scruples
The amendment permits indefinite detention of US citizens by the US military
- by Paul Craig Roberts – 2011-12-05


NATO’s Role in the Murder of Muammar Gaddafi
October 2011 Interview
- by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-12-05


Global Warfare: Where will Obama Strike Next? “Preplanned Wars” will lead to “Preplanned “Results”
- by Rev. Richard Skaff – 2011-12-04


VIDEO: Condoning Torture: Republican Party is a Gestapo Party
See the interview on GRTV
- by Paul Craig Roberts – 2011-12-04


World War III and the “Rumours of War” on Iran
- by William Bowles – 2011-12-04


World War III: The Launching of a Preemptive Nuclear War against Iran
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-12-04

World War III is not front-page news. The mainstream media has excluded in-depth analysis and debate on the implications of these war plans.


Pakistan: U.S. And NATO Have Licence To Kill
- by Andleeb Abbas – 2011-12-04


Western Hemisphere: 33 Latin American countries to form a New Bloc. U.S. and Canada not invited
- by Timur Zolotoev – 2011-12-04


Israeli Intelligence: US Israeli led “Covert Wars” on Iran and Syria
Western-Arab plan to bisect Syria into pro-and anti-Assad entities
- 2011-12-03


VIDEO: The Fed Grants $7.77 Trillion in Secret Bank Loan
Learn more on GRTV
- by Dennis Kucinich – 2011-12-03


VIDEO: Al Qaeda and the Global War on Terrorism
New interview available on GRTV
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-12-03


Moscow Confronts US-NATO-Israel. Russia supplied ship killer missiles to Syria
Russia dispatching a flotilla of three warships to Syria.
- 2011-12-03


Some Thoughts that OCCUPY my Mind: USrael and Iran. The Next Gala Performance of D&D, Death and Destruction
- by William Blum – 2011-12-03


China Media Condemns US-NATO War Plans. Calls on Russia and China to “Take Countermeasures”
- 2011-12-03


America’s War on Pakistan is Now Official: Anti-NATO Protests across Pakistan
- 2011-12-03


The Constitution Is Dead: The Gradual Transition towards an Orwellian Police State
Americans denied their First and Third amendment rights…
- by Devon DB – 2011-12-03


Africa Lies Naked to Euro-American Military Offensive
The US and its Allies are Positioned to “Take” Much of the Continent
- by Glen Ford – 2011-12-02


War Criminals: Blair And Bush
- by Margaret Kimberley – 2011-12-02

Russia: U.S.-NATO Missile Plans Upsets Global Balance Of Power
- 2011-12-02


Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire on Palestine, Political Prisoners and Nuclear Weapons
- by Mairead Maguire – 2011-12-02


Have You Heard About The 16 Trillion Dollar Bailout The Federal Reserve Handed To The Too Big To Fail Banks?
- 2011-12-02

The Israeli intelligence news outlet Debka report confirms that Iran has downed a US drone ”undamaged”.  “Its almost perfect condition confirmed Tehran’s claim that the UAV was downed by a cyber attack”.

The drone was not shot down, as previously reported. It was brought down through an Iranian cyber attack which disabled its communications system.

Debka states in this regard that both US and Israeli intelligence are “shocked” by these developments, suggesting possible Command and Control weakenesses. ”The state of the lost UAV refutes the US military contention that the Sentinel’s systems malfunctioned. If this had happened, it would have crashed and either been wrecked or damaged.”:

“Iran exhibited the top-secret US stealth drone RQ-170 Sentinel captured on Sunday, Dec. 4. Its almost perfect condition confirmed Tehran’s claim that the UAV was downed by a cyber attack, meaning it was not shot down but brought in undamaged by an electronic warfare ambush. This is a major debacle for the stealth technology the US uses in its warplanes and the drone technology developed by the US and Israel.” 

The condition of the RQ-170 intact obliges the US and Israel to make major changes in plans for a potential strike against Iran’s nuclear program.

The Obama administration’s decision after internal debate not to send US commando or air units into Iran to retrieve or destroy the secret RQ-170 stealth drone which fell into Iranian hands has strengthened the hands of the Israeli faction which argues the case for striking Iran’s nuclear installations without waiting for the Americans to make their move.

Senior Israeli diplomatic and security officials who followed the discussion in Washington concluded that, by failing to act, the administration has left Iran not only with the secrets of the Sentinel’s stealth coating, its sensors and cameras, but also with the data stored in its computer cells on targets marked out by the US and/or Israeli for attack.

debkafile’s military sources say that this knowledge compels the US and Israel to revise their plans of attack for aborting the Iranian nuclear program. Like every clandestine weapons system, the RQ-170 had a self-destruct mechanism to prevent its secrets spilling out to the enemy in the event of a crash or capture. This did not happen. Tehran was able to claim the spy drone was only slightly damaged when they downed it. The NATO spokesman claimed control was lost of the US UAV and it went missing, a common occurrence for these unmanned aircraft. The enigmas surrounding its capture continue to pile up. How did Iran know the drone had entered its airspace? How was it caused to land? Most of all, why did the craft’s self-destruct mechanism which is programmed to activate automatically fail to work? And if it malfunctioned, why was it not activated by remote control?

Thursday, Dec. 8, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported that from Sunday, Dec. 4, when Tehran announced the stealth drone’s capture, the Obama administration weighed sending special commando forces into Iran from bases in Afghanistan to bring the downed aircraft back to Afghanistan or blow it up to destroy the almost intact secret systems – either by a sneak operation or by an air strike.

Iranian officials said the drone was detected near the Iranian town of Kashmar, 200 kilometers from the Afghan border and presumably moved to a military or air base inside the country. The NYT disclosed that the special force would have used “allied agents inside Iran” to hunt down the missing aircraft, the first time Washington has admitted to support from “allied agents” operating covertly in Iran.

In the end, the paper quoted a US official as explaining that the attack option was ruled out “because of the potential it could become a larger incident.” If an assault team entered the country, the US “could be accused of an act of war” by Tehran. The Obama administration’s internal discussion on how to handle the loss of the high-value reconnaissance drone was followed tensely in Jerusalem. The decision it took against mounting a mission to recover or destroy the top-secret Sentinel was perceived in Israel as symptomatic of a wider decision to call off the covert war America has been conducting for some months against Iran’s drive for a nuclear bomb – at least until the damage caused by RQ-170 incident is fully assessed. A senior Israeli security official had this to say: “Everything that’s happened around the RQ-170 shows that when it comes to Iran and its nuclear program, the Obama administration and Israel have different objectives. On this issue, each country needs to go its own way.” (For further details see Debka, December 8, 2011)

VIDEO: Engineering the Eurozone Collapse

December 8th, 2011 by F. William Engdahl

The Saudi Arab Spring Nobody Noticed

December 8th, 2011 by Russ Baker

Hear the one about the Arab Spring in Saudi Arabia that nobody noticed?

No, this is not a joke. It is a real situation—and a cautionary example of what happens when Western governments and their media are more favorable to some “revolutions” than others.

With the Syrian regime, long out of favor with the West, we heard about the uprising from the beginning. The drumbeat has grown dramatically, along with Western condemnations and moves to isolate the regime for its crackdown on dissent.

In the case of Libya, run by the fiercely independent and eccentric Qaddafi, much of the world’s press credulously rushed to print every rumor about regime excesses, many of them never verified and seemingly  untrue. (For more on that, see this and this and this.)  The press portrayed the rebels as heroes, and featured almost daily coverage. As NATO launched a creeping intervention which ended with wall to wall bombing, the media accepted its claim that the intervention was to stop Qaddafi from harming or further oppressing his people.

The media quickly took to—and stayed with— the uprising in Egypt, one of the poorest countries in the region, where the West lost an ally but quickly found a new collaborator in  a similarly-inclined military junta.

In the case of the mother of all petro-allies, Saudi Arabia, however, protests have been met with near silence by the media and no expressions of sympathy for the dissenters by Western governments.

THE SAUDI STRUGGLE

Here’s the background: On November 21, government troops opened fire on demonstrators in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, killing at least four and injuring more. Given the general paucity of demonstrations in a country where dissent is dealt with fiercely, the unrest and violence seemed a highly newsworthy development.

The next day, the Middle-East-based Al Jazeera English, the “best” Western source of news from the region, punted. Instead of getting direct eyewitness accounts that might anger the Saudi leadership (close allies of the Emir of Qatar, who owns Al Jazeera), the network used an old trick. It quoted a Western news agency, the French outfit Agence France Press, which merely reported the Saudi government’s version of events.  (For more on blatant inconsistencies in how Al Jazeera covers different uprisings in the region, see this WhoWhatWhy article)

Two days after Al Jazeera, the Associated Press had its own report, also based on the Saudi spokesman. The article did note “a series of clashes between police and protesters in the country’s Shiite-dominated eastern region, starting in the spring.” It noted:

The Interior Ministry previously blamed what it described as “seditious” residents, saying they attacked security forces with guns and firebombs with the backing of a foreign enemy — an apparent reference to Shiite power Iran.

The ministry statement Thursday said the deaths in the new unrest were the result of exchanges of fire since Monday with “unknown criminals,” who it said fired on security checkpoints and vehicles from houses and alleyways.

The purported context comes in the final paragraph:

There is a long history of discord between the kingdom’s Sunni rulers and the Shiite minority concentrated in the east, Saudi Arabia’s key oil-producing region. Shiites make up 10 percent of the kingdom’s 23 million citizens and complain of discrimination, saying they are barred from key positions in the military and government and are not given a proportionate share of the country’s wealth.

The salient point in Saudi Arabia, however, is not really ethnic discrimination, which exists throughout the world. It is the story of the avarice and brutality through which one extended family dominates a country.

In Libya, the uprising was dominated by a distinct tribal opposition, yet it was quickly characterized as representing broad national sentiment, with a kind of nobility and inevitability. Not so (up to now) with reporting on the Saudi protests. In truth, dissatisfaction with the Saudi royal family is hardly limited to the Shiites, and the levels of anger are probably as great and perhaps greater than that felt by the average Libyan toward Qaddafi.

ANOTHER VIEW

Those wanting a closer look at what is going on in Saudi Arabia can go to the site Liveleak, where there’s highly disturbing video accompanied by this text:  “Qatif—Firing live bullets at the demonstrators November 21, 2011: Video shows the brutal style Saudi security forces in dealing with the demonstrators by firing live bullets.” Another source is a blog called “Angry Arab News Service,” which features video in which a large and vocal group in Qatif are apparently chanting “Death to the House of Saud”:

That kind of material seems to warrant worldwide attention. And with that, we might reasonably expect the protests to grow. But the coverage has not come, nor the greater uprising.

New York Times

Who’s to blame? Everyone, really. But based on its claim to be the gold standard, we focus on the New York Times. According to a search of the database Nexis-Lexis, the Times ran nothing at all on Qatif until Sunday November 27, when it featured a survey of turmoil throughout the region. A reference to Qatif was buried deep toward the end of the piece, where it would go almost unnoticed.

Yet the Times should have realizing that it was looking at a pattern. After all, the paper did cover a previous incident in Qatif—back in March. It was a single article, with a Beirut dateline.

Saudi police officers opened fire at a protest march in a restive, oil-rich province on Thursday, wounding at least three people, according to witnesses and a Saudi government official.

[Snip]

Witnesses described the small protest march in the eastern city of Qatif as peaceful, but an Interior Ministry spokesman said demonstrators had attacked the police before the officers began firing, Reuters reported.

[Snip]

The clash with protesters in Qatif, located in a heavily Shiite region, underscored longstanding tensions in Saudi society: there is a sense among the Shiite minority that it is discriminated against by a government practicing a zealous form of Sunni orthodoxy.

No emphasis on the self-dealing, greed and barbarity that characterize the Saudi dictatorship. Ironically, that was when demonstrations in Libya were all over the news, with constant emphasis on Qaddafi’s infamy. Here are some New York Times headlines from Libya in the Spring:

Photographs Offer Graphic Evidence of Abuses Under Qaddafi

Time’s Up, Qaddafi (an opinion piece)

Libyan Rebels Complain of Deadly Delays Under NATO’s Command

Rape Victim Describes Her Ordeal

Qaddafi Forces Said to Lay Land Mines at City

THE REAL STORY

So, what’s the real story in Saudi Arabia? December brought a report from the human rights group Amnesty International, covered as follows by BBC:

Saudi Arabia accused of repression after Arab Spring

Amnesty International has accused Saudi Arabia of reacting to the Arab Spring by launching a wave of repression. In a report, the human rights group said hundreds of people had been arrested, many of them without charge or trial.

Prominent reformists had been given long sentences following trials Amnesty called “grossly unfair”. So far unrest has largely been confined to the Shia minority in the east of the country.

….In its 73-page report published on Thursday, Amnesty accuses the Saudi authorities of arresting hundreds of people for demanding political and social reforms or for calling for the release of relatives detained without charge or trial.

The report says that sinceFebruary, when sporadic demonstrations began – in defiance of a permanent national ban on protests – the Saudi government has carried out a crackdown….

Since March, more than 300 people who took part in peaceful protests in Qatif, Ahsa and Awwamiya in the east have been detained, Amnesty says. Most have been released, often after promising not to protest again. Many face travel bans.

Last week 16 men, including nine prominent reformists, were given sentences ranging from five to 30 years in prison. Amnesty said they were blindfolded and handcuffed during their trial, while their lawyer was not allowed to enter the court for the first three sessions.

“Peaceful protesters and supporters of political reform in the country have been targeted for arrest in an attempt to stamp out the kinds of call for reform that have echoed across the region,” said Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director, Philip Luther.

[Snip]

Amnesty says that the government continues to detain thousands of people on terrorism-related grounds. Torture and other ill-treatment in detention are widespread, it says – an allegation Saudi Arabia has always denied.

[snip]

Amnesty says the government has drafted an anti-terror law that would effectively criminalise dissent as a “terrorist crime” and allow extended detention without charge or trial.

Questioning the integrity of the king would carry a minimum prison sentence of 10 years, according to Amnesty.

[snip]

“Rather than deal with legitimate demands, the government is taking the easy route and blaming everything on a conspiracy by the Iranians,” said the activist, who asked not to be named for fear of repercussions.

The takeaway from the Amnesty report is that demonstrators have been active in Saudi Arabia just as long as in Libya and elsewhere, and as consistently—and, as elsewhere, have been dealt with harshly by their government. Somehow, though, this is not deemed a sufficiently important story to cover.

Could it have something to do with Saudi Arabia’s indispensability as an ally and supplier of oil? In which case, traditional news reporting standards do not apply?

And did anyone ask the US government, so quick to condemn Qaddafi for his crackdown on demonstrators, if it had any reaction to the Saudi crackdown on demonstrators? Doesn’t look like it.

Meanwhile, what of this scapegoating of Iran for what seems to be authentic Saudi dissent? How does this dovetail with the overall western effort to characterize Iran as behind every nefarious act, even the ludicrous-sounding plot announced months ago by the White House, in which the Iranians were purportedly trying to recruit Mexican drug gangs to kill the Saudi ambassador to the US? 

What of the buildup to an attack on Iran, through the rightwing government of Israeli prime minister Netanyahu— decried even by the heads of Israel’s own intelligence agencies as unjustified and dangerous?

How much of this larger play is about keeping the Saudi royal family in power, and taking care of the Western oil industry, and the “western way of life”?

Consider Libya vs Saudi Arabia. Two oil producers, one unpredictable and unreliable, one tight with the West. Heavy coverage of dissent in one, almost none in the other.

SAUDIS AREN’T WAITING

Saudis know better than to wait for the establishment media to get into the act.  One outlier that tends to be ahead of the pack, McClatchy Newspapers, just ran a piece on how Saudi dissidents are turning to YouTube to get their message out. Though Saudi Arabia’s high standard of living is a chestnut in media coverage, the dissidents highlight the disparities in the Kingdom in a homemade video:

One Saudi man he interviews has 11 children to feed and a net monthly income of $1,200, half of which goes to rent. The family has enough money left over only for flour and one meal a day. The imam at the local mosque reveals that in order to raise money for the household, the parents are sending out young sons to sell drugs, and the women engage in prostitution.

[snip]

While the film doesn’t explicitly explain the “Monopoly” of its title, a leading Saudi human rights activist said in an interview that it comes down to one thing: “All the land is owned de facto and de jure by the royal family.”

The article notes that uprising hasn’t begun yet—in part because of apathy.

But how much is apathy, and how much is Saudis realizing that no one will come to their aid if they risk throwing off their shackles?  They cannot count on the handy boost the West gave to revolutions in nearby countries. Nor can they count on the Western media, which brays about its independence and initiative, but, increasingly, shows neither where the West’s precious oil supplies are involved.

 

 
http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/11/chants-death-to-house-of-saud-in-qatif.html

Russ Baker is an award-winning investigative reporter with a track record for making sense of complex and little understood matters-and explaining it to elites and ordinary people alike, using entertaining, accessible writing to inform and involve. he is Editor in Chief of  www.WhoWhatWhy.com

Serben im Kosovo: »Ständig politischer Gewalt ausgesetzt«

December 8th, 2011 by Benjamin Schett

Benjamin Schett studiert in Wien Osteuropäische Geschichte und beteiligt sich an Solidaritätsaktionen für die Serben im Kosovo

Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel hat am vergangenen Freitag mit Blick auf die Auseinandersetzungen im Kosovo konstatiert, Serbien sei nicht reif für EU-Beitrittsverhandlungen. Das Land werde den Anforderungen des Prozesses »nicht gerecht«. Sie sehe bei Serbien keinen Kandidatenstatus. Wie ist die Nachricht bei der serbischen Bevölkerung angekommen?

Diejenigen, die ihr Vertrauen in die Heilsamkeit eines EU-Beitritts bereits verloren haben oder ein solches noch nie hatten, dürften dies vor allem als einen weiteren Beweis dafür ansehen, daß von den NATO-Staaten nichts anderes als Erpressung zu erwarten ist – und dies nicht erst seit heute. Das geht so seit 20 Jahren. Jene, die nach wie vor auf einen EU-Beitritt hoffen, werden ihren Ohren nicht getraut haben: Seit dem Sturz des jugoslawischen Präsidenten Slobodan Milosevic vor elf Jahren hat Serbien dem Westen so ziemlich jeden Wunsch von den Lippen abgelesen, unter völliger Preisgabe seiner nationalen Souveränität. Von ungehemmter Privatisierung bis hin zur Auslieferung seiner Staatsbürger an ein »Tribunal«, welches von den NATO-Staaten finanziert wird, um derem Version der Ereignisse in den jugoslawischen Bürgerkriegen quasi rechtskräftig werden zu lassen. Doch all das reicht nicht aus: Obwohl nicht einmal alle EU-Staaten die »Republik Kosovo« anerkannt haben, wird dies von Serbien verlangt, um »Europa-tauglich« zu werden.

Daß die Kritik aus Deutschland kommt, macht die Sache nicht gerade besser: Von einem Land, das Serbien im 20. Jahrhundert dreimal angegriffen hat und eine Tradition der Zusammenarbeit mit Rechtsaußenkräften in Kroatien pflegt, will man sich ganz sicher nicht belehren lassen.

Von Belgrad aus starten Busse mit Unterstützern zu den protestierenden Serben im Norden des Kosovo, die sich der von Pristina 2008 proklamierten Sezession verweigern. Was ist das Ziel dieser Solidaritätsfahrten?


Die Kosovo-Serben fühlen sich von der prowestlichen Regierung im Stich gelassen. Premier Boris Tadic hat unlängst sogar die Beseitigung der Straßensperren gefordert. Es geht also nicht zuletzt um moralische Unterstützung und darum, auf die Belange der Menschen, die dort für ein Leben in Würde kämpfen, aufmerksam zu machen, in Serbien und weltweit. Außerdem werden humanitäre Güter – warme Kleidung, Öl, Mehl etc. – in die Region transportiert. Eine Gruppe serbischer Schriftsteller hat unlängst 3000 Bücher für die Bibliothek in Kosovska Mitrovica beigesteuert.

Sind weitere Fahrten geplant?


Ja. Reisebusse werden kostenlos zur Verfügung gestellt. Die Fahrt beginnt in Belgrad und endet in Kosovska Mitrovica, von wo aus diverse Barrikaden besucht werden. Die Teilnahme von Personen aus dem Ausland ist ausdrücklich erwünscht und würde helfen, die Aufmerksamkeit für das Thema über die Grenzen Serbiens hinaus auszudehnen. Wer sich dafür interessiert, kann sich an John Bosnitch ([email protected]) wenden, der die Fahrten organisiert.

Wie sind die Lebensbedingungen der serbischen Bevölkerung im NATO-kontrollierten Kosovo?


Schlecht, so wie in den meisten Teilen Serbiens. Selbst in Belgrad hört man die Leute sagen, Tadics Regierung sei die unsozialste, die das Land je gehabt habe. In Kosovska Mitrovica gibt es nur unregelmäßig Strom. Verhungern muß keiner, aber viel mehr ist nicht drin. Hinzu kommt die permanente Anspannung. Man muß sich vor Augen halten, daß diese Menschen seit mehr als zwölf Jahren ständig, mal mehr mal weniger, politischer Gewalt ausgesetzt sind, und eine dramatische Verschlechterung der Lage jederzeit möglich ist.

In der vergangenen Woche wurde eine Delegation der kosovo-albanischen Regierung aus Pristina im Deutschen Bundestag empfangen, darunter Politiker, die Kriegsverbrechen begangen haben sollen bzw. Prozesse gegen Kriegsverbrecher blockieren, jW berichtete. Hat das in Serbien eine Rolle gespielt?


Die staatlichen und somit prowestlichen Medien halten sich natürlich zurück, den Unmut in der Bevölkerung noch zu vergrößern und berichten wenig über diese Vorgänge. Abgesehen davon glaube ich, daß solche Ereignisse die Menschen in Serbien zwar nach wie vor sehr aufregen, aber als überraschend kann man sie ja nicht mehr bezeichnen. Man denke nur daran, wie der mutmaßliche Organhändler und Terrorist ­Hashim Thaci von sämtlichen Politikern des Westens gehätschelt wurde und so vom Banditen zum Kosovo-»Premier« aufsteigen konnte.

Audio interview

Interview with Rick Rozoff, the manager of the Stop NATO website and mailing list and a contributing writer to Global Research.ca

Rozoff worked against the Chicago political machine for 25 years, 1976-2000, including as a ward-wide voter registration coordinator, founder and leader of an independent ward organization, congressional district coordinator for Mayor Harold Washington’s 1987 reelection bid, campaign manager in two state representative and an alderman election, and third party candidate for state office.

What’s the reaction there to the Russian elections? We’ve heard a lot of statements that I think are a way out of line from the U.S. State Department, in particular Hillary Clinton. What’s your opinion of these statements?

They are outrageous. They are unwarranted. Regardless of what the actual details are about the recently concluded Duma elections, parliamentary elections, in Russia, the statements, emanating as you mentioned from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others, are arrogant to a degree. If the situation were reversed and Russian and other major political figures in other nations commented similarly on U.S. elections, which are not without their flaws as we can talk about, I hope, there would be as strong as possible protests from the State Department and the White House.

The statements by Clinton, for example, include the fact that she has serious concerns about the elections on Sunday, presuming to speak on behalf of the Russian people, stating that Russian voters deserve, and I quote her, “a full investigation of electoral fraud and manipulation.”

This is somebody who is from the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge. And like her commander-in-chief, Barack Obama, who is from Chicago and is a product of the Chicago political machine, she is hardly in a position to complain about electoral fraud and manipulation and ballot box stuffing. They are products of the political machine that all but invented the process.

I’ve spoken with fellow Chicagoans who had lived in the former Soviet Union and they talked about the fact that when elections were held election days were holidays so that people were off work and could not only vote but could participate in the political process, including in the polling place, which is not a luxury accorded to Americans, though we hold ourselves up, of course, as being the model for democratic processes, including elections…She made this statement about the recently concluded parliamentary elections in Russia, for the State Duma, and mentioned, again in her own words, “electoral fraud and manipulation.”

What are some of the other flaws in the US system? Can you tell us something about foreign observers? Why aren’t they allowed into the US?

The second question is particularly fascinating. As to the first, “Their name is legion”, to use the line from the Gospels. That is, there are so many flaws in the American electoral system, not the least of which is that next year several billion dollars are going to be spent by lobbyists and others to choose their candidates or buy their candidates into office, what is politely put an auction block. I’ll give you the best example I can think of. Today at work in Chicago most everyone was glued to television sets to learn which sentence was going to be passed on former governor Rod Blagojevich on 18 counts of corruption. He was sentenced to 14 years, as it turns out. We have to recall his major transgression was trying to sell the senate seat of at the time incoming U.S. president Barack Obama. During the course of the initial trial, Blagojevich mentioned that he had had several phone calls with Rahm Emanuel – he is now the mayor of Chicago; at the time he was Chief of Staff of the White House – about just that, about selling the Senate seat, selling the right to appoint the successor to the incoming president of the country that President Obama in December of 2009 referred to as “the world’s sole military superpower.”

But it’s tolerated in the United States simply because the United States is the United States, what’s referred to as “American exceptionalism,” so that we have an electoral system tainted by billions of dollars changing hands as though all offices go to the highest bidder. As to foreign observers, the U.S. will not tolerate any intrusion on its own sovereignty – but will interfere in the grossest fashion imaginable in other peoples’ internal political processes.

NATO?

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has recently presumed again to lecture Russia, just as Hillary Clinton does on how Russia should conduct its elections. Rasmussen is telling Russia, though he is in no formal position to do so, how to defend itself, saying for example that Russia should not follow up on the pledges and on some of the actual commitments made by President Medvedev to increase radar and other surveillance installations in Northeast Russia and to reposition tactical missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave, in Northeast Russia, and so forth.

But the statement by Rasmussen was particularly condescending and patronizing, at one point basically telling the Russian government it had better take care of its own people first, or words to that effect. Again, just reeking of arrogance and contempt. The sort of talk one expects from a NATO chieftain and Rasmussen, though less abrasive than some of his predecessors, feels empowered evidently to tell nations – major nations – like Russia what they ought to or ought not to do in terms of defending the borders of their own country. I should add that the current U.S. permanent representative to NATO, Ivo Daalder, made a statement two days ago where he said the US and NATO are forging ahead with the interceptor missile system in Europe – and I believe I’m quoting him word for word – “whether Russia likes it or not.”

If anything, we are hearing more and more ambitious plans. For example, the upper house of the Romanian parliament, their Senate, yesterday ratified the agreement with the U.S. to station 24 Standard Missile-3 interceptors in Romania, which as we know is immediately across the Black Sea from Russia. This is in conjunction with the comparable deployment of missiles in Poland in addition to the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles that are already present in Poland; the missile defense, so-called, radar facility that will be placed in Turkey. And there is discussion now about maybe in the dozens, perhaps in the scores, of NATO nations’ warships being converted to what’s called the Aegis Combat System so that they could be equipped with either radar or in most instances missiles, Standard Missiles-3s, for what’s called the European Phased Adaptive Approach, U.S.-NATO missile system. So they are forging ahead on all fronts, at the same time the secretary general of NATO is lecturing Russia on what it should or should not do in terms of self-defense. And the U.S. ambassador to NATO, who is a pretty influential person in his own right – he is a former senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, I’m talking about Daalder, of course – who could make such a curt and arrogant statement as the one I just cited, that the U.S. and NATO are going ahead with the missile shield “whether Russia likes it or not.”

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

To subscribe for individual e-mails or the daily digest, unsubscribe, and otherwise change subscription status:
stopnato-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

On November 27, Bloomberg News reported the results of its successful case to force the Federal Reserve to reveal the lending details of its 2008-09 bank bailout.  Bloomberg reported that by March 2009, the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion in below-market loans and guarantees to rescuing the financial system; and that these nearly interest-free loans came without strings attached. 

The Fed insisted that the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, but the Bloomberg report said the banks reaped a $13 billion windfall in profits; and “details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.”

The revelations provoked shock and outrage among commentators.  But in a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Committees focused on the financial services industry, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke responded on December 6th that the figures were greatly exaggerated.  He said the loans were being double-counted: short-term loans rolled over from day to day were counted as separate cumulative loans rather than as a single extended loan. 

Bloomberg was quick to rebut, denying any exaggerated claims.  But either way, the banks were clearly getting perks not available to the rest of us.  As Alan Grayson observed in a December 5th editorial:

The main, if not the sole, qualification for getting help from the Fed was to have lost huge amounts of money. The Fed bailouts rewarded failure, and penalized success. . . .

During all the time that the Fed was stuffing money into the pockets of failed banks, many Americans couldn’t borrow a dime for a home, a car, or anything else. If the Fed had extended $26 trillion in credit to the American people instead of Wall Street, would there be 24 million Americans today who can’t find a full-time job?

All in the Name of Liquidity

It was all explained, said Grayson, with “the Fed’s all-time favorite rationale for everything it does, ‘increasing liquidity.’” In 2008, bank liquidity dried up after Lehman Brothers collapsed, and the banks could not get the cheap, ready credit on which their lending scheme depends.  The Fed then stepped in as “lender of last resort,” doing what it had to do to keep the banking scheme going. 

Left unexplained is why the banks’ need for “liquidity” justifies such extraordinary measures.  Why do banks need cheap and ready access to funds?  Aren’t they the lenders rather than the borrowers of funds?  Don’t they simply take in deposits and lend them out?

The answer is no.  Today when banks make loans, they extend credit FIRST, then fund the loans by borrowing from the cheapest available source.  If deposits are not available, they borrow from another bank, the money market, or the Federal Reserve. 

Rather than loans being created from deposits, loans actually CREATE deposits.  They create deposits when checks are drawn on the borrower’s account and deposited in another bank.  The originating bank can then borrow these funds (or others created by the same process at another bank) at the Fed funds rate—currently a very low 0.25%.  In effect, a bank can create money in the form of “bank credit,” lend it to a customer at high interest, and borrow it back at very low interest, pocketing the difference as its profit. 

If all this looks like sleight of hand, it is.  The process has been compared to “check kiting,” defined in Barron’s Business Dictionary as:

[An] illegal scheme that establishes a false line of credit by the exchange of worthless checks between two banks. For instance, a check kiter might have empty checking accounts at two different banks, and B. The kiter writes a check for $50,000 on the bank account and deposits it in the bank account. If the kiter has good credit at bank B, he will be able to draw funds against the deposited check before it clears, that is, is forwarded to bank for payment and paid by bank A. Since the clearing process usually takes a few days, the kiter can use the $50,000 for a few days and then deposit it in the bank account before the $50,000 check drawn on that account clears.

Setting Things Right

As suspicious as all this appears, the economy actually needs an expandable credit system, and an expandable credit system needs a lender of last resort.  What is wrong with the current scheme is that it discriminates against Main Street in favor of Wall Street.  Banks can borrow very cheaply, while individuals, corporations and governments pay “whatever the market will bear.”  The banker middlemen take their cut in a scheme in which money is actually manufactured in the process of lending it.  The profits are siphoned off to the 1% at the expense of the 99%. 

To fix the system, the profits need to be returned to the 99%.  How that could be done was suggested by Thom Hartmann in a recent editorial:

Have the central bank owned by the US government and run by the Treasury Department, so all the profits . . . go directly into the Treasury and you and I pay less in taxes . . . .

For a model on the local level, he pointed to the Bank of North Dakota:

The good people of North Dakota . . . established something very much like this—the Bank of North Dakota—and it’s kept the state in the black, and kept its farmers, manufacturers and students protected from the predations of New York banksters for nearly a century. It’s time for every state to charter their own state bank, just like North Dakota did, and for the Treasury Department to either buy the Fed from the for-profit banks that own it, or simply nationalize it.

We have been distracted here and in Europe by a sudden panic over our “sovereign debt” crises, when the real crisis is that our debt is NOT sovereign.  We are indentured to a Wall Street money machine that creates our money and lends it back to us at interest, money our sovereign government could be creating itself, with full democratic oversight and accountability to the people.  We have forgotten our roots, when the American colonists thrived on a system of money created by the people themselves, debt-free and interest-free.  The continued dominance of the Wall Street money machine depends on that collective amnesia.  The fact that this memory is surfacing again may be the machine’s greatest threat—and our greatest hope as a nation.

Ellen Brown is an attorney and president of the Public Banking Institute, http://PublicBankingInstitute.org. In Web of Debt, her latest of eleven books, she shows how a private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back.  Her websites are http://WebofDebt.com and http://EllenBrown.com.

Police Being Militarized Nationwide

Journalists from across the spectrum have documented the militarization of police forces in the United States, including, CNN, Huffington Post, the Cato Institute, Forbes, the New York Times, Daily Kos, Esquire, The Atlantic, Salon and many others.

Many police departments laugh at and harass Americans who exercise their right to free speech:

 

Indeed – especially since police brutality against protesters has been so blatant in recent months, while no top bank executives have been prosecuted – many Americans believe that the police are protecting the bankers whose fraud brought down the economy instead of the American people:

iVjUA The Militarization of American Police   and Shredding of Our Constitutional Rights   Started At Least 30 Years Ago

Some are comparing police brutality towards the Occupy protesters to that used by Israeli forces against Palestinian protesters. Indeed, numerous heads of U.S. police departments have traveled to Israel for “anti-terrorism training”, and received training from Israeli anti-terrorism experts visiting the U.S. See this, this, this, this, this.

Militarization of Police Started in 1981

Most assume that the militarization of police started after 9/11. Certainly, Dick Cheney initiated Continuity of Government Plans on September 11th that ended America’s constitutional form of government (at least for some undetermined period of time.) On that same day, a national state of emergency was declared … and that state of emergency has continuously been in effect up to today.

But the militarization of police actually started long before 9/11 … in the 1980s.

Radley Balko testified before the House Subcommittee on Crime in 2007:

Militarization [of police forces is] a troubling trend that’s been on the rise in America’s police departments over the last 25 years.

***

Since the late 1980s, Mr. Chairman, thanks to acts passed by the U.S. Congress, millions of pieces of surplus military equipment have been given to local police departments across the country.

We’re not talking just about computers and office equipment. Military-grade semi-automatic weapons, armored personnel vehicles, tanks, helicopters, airplanes, and all manner of other equipment designed for use on the battlefield is now being used on American streets, against American citizens.

Academic criminologists credit these transfers with the dramatic rise in paramilitary SWAT teams over the last quarter century.

SWAT teams were originally designed to be used in violent, emergency situations like hostage takings, acts of terrorism, or bank robberies. From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, that’s primarily how they were used, and they performed marvelously.

But beginning in the early 1980s, they’ve been increasingly used for routine warrant service in drug cases and other nonviolent crimes. And thanks to the Pentagon transfer programs, there are now a lot more of them.

(And see this.)

Huffington Post notes:

Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper published an essay arguing that the current epidemic of police brutality is a reflection of the militarization (his word, not mine) of our urban police forces, the result of years of the “war on drugs” and the “war on terror. Stamper was chief of police during the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999, and is not a voice that can be easily dismissed.

And Jamie Douglas notes:

Ever since Ronald Reagan in 1981 helped draw up the Military Cooperation With Law Enforcement Act, quickly passed by a very cooperative congress, effectively circumventing the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 by codifying military cooperation with law enforcement, the military has been encouraged to give any and all law enforcement agencies unfettered access to all military resources, training and hardware included. The military equipment was designed to be used by American fighting forces in combat with “the enemy,” but since a law was passed in 1994, the Pentagon has been able to donate all surplus war materiel to America’s police departments. The National Journal has compiled a number of statistics showing that in the first three years after the 1994 law came into effect, the “Department of Offense” stocked police departments with 3800 M-16 assault rifles, 2185 M-14’s, 73 grenade launchers, and 112 armored personnel carriers, as well as untold number of bayonets, tanks, helicopters, and even some airplanes.

Regardless who will be in power in the future, the militarization of the police will continue. After all, who wants to appear as being soft on crime? These days, a chief of police’s office is like a doctor’s office, but instead of getting swamped with drug salesmen, they have very congenial visits with the merchants of popular oppression, the salesmen of weapons, various chemical agents, Tasers, body armor, and all kinds of tracking software, surveillance gear, and anything else the department may need for crowd control and to infiltrate dissidents, which are no more than US citizens wanting to restore the republic to its rightful place.

Numerous Other Assaults on Liberty Started Prior to 9/11 As Well

Numerous other assaults on our liberty started before 9/11.

For example, the Patriot Act was planned before 9/11. Former Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke told Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig:

After 9/11 the government drew up the Patriot Act within 20 days and it was passed.

The Patriot Act is huge and I remember someone asking a Justice Department official how did they write such a large statute so quickly, and of course the answer was that it has been sitting in the drawers of the Justice Department for the last 20 years waiting for the event where they would pull it out.

(4:30 into this video).

The government’s spying on Americans also began before 9/11 (confirmed here and here. And see this). Indeed, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumseld and other government officials who held high positions in the George W. Bush administration pushed for wiretaps without approval by a judge … in the 1970s.

(And because the “temporary” crackdown on civil liberties within America is being justified by the “War on Terror”, the fact that that war was planned 20 years ago is arguably relevant. Especially since we are in a perpetual war – see this, this, this and this – and so our liberties will never be restored unless we demand it.   Take another look at the cartoon above.)

Government Targeting Grandmas … Instead of Actually Working to Reduce Terrorism

The militarization of police forces throughout the United States cannot be taken in a vacuum, but is part of the ongoing drift towards a police state. The government has said for years that American citizens on U.S. soil may be targets in the war on terror, and is using anti-terrorism laws to crush dissent.

Indeed, you can be labeled as or suspected of being a terrorist simply for questioning war, protesting anything, asking questions about pollution or about Wall Street shenanigans, supporting Ron Paul, being a libertarian, holding gold, or stocking up on more than 7 days of food. Government agencies such as FEMA are allegedly teaching that the Founding Fathers should be considered terrorists. So perhaps that means that any people who like American values are “terrorist sympathizers”.

Instead of doing the things which could actually make us safer, the Bush and Obama administrations have been harassing innocent grandmothers and other patriotic Americans (and doing things which increase the risk of terrorism).

 The Militarization of American Police   and Shredding of Our Constitutional Rights   Started At Least 30 Years AgoImage by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com

Background concerning the image: Here and here

Sadly, this trend is not just limited to the U.S.

OWS: Reform or Revolution… and the Lessons from Egypt.

December 8th, 2011 by Ghada Chehade

The mass, momentum and potential of the Occupy Wall Street Movement are very exciting. As the “occupy” protests spread, we need to ask some very important questions about the movement. The main question is what is the long-term goal and aim of the movement with respect to the current politico-economic system. As this movement bravely confronts the many socio-economic and political ills of capitalism and the capitalist state, is its ultimate aim to reform and/or improve the capitalist system/capitalist state or is the goal one of all-out revolution and abolition of the system?

The debate over reform or revolution dates back to the early twentieth century. Though tactically in opposition these two positions share “a basic point of agreement: both approaches focus on the state as the vantage point from which society can be changed.” [1] Reform achieves a gradual transition to socialism through parliamentary means while revolution achieves a much more rapid transition through the taking of state power and the swift introduction of radical change by the new state. [Ibid.] It should be stressed that mine is an altogether different understanding of revolution, which sees the state as a central problem rather than the means through which populist change can occur. Thus when I speak of revolution I refer to a type of social change that seeks, among other things, to do away with the formal Sate and replace it perhaps with a type of “collective power” or shared (i.e. rotational) governance by citizens committees or collectives, to give just one possible example. [2] That said, and notwithstanding different definitions and understandings of revolution, it is important to ask whether the OWS movement is aimed at reformation/rehabilitation of the system or at overall transformation.

Because the OWS movement is so broad, spread out and ad hoc, this can be hard to discern. Those participating in the occupy protests in North America—“the other 99 %”—come from every walk of life and have myriad grievances. Participants include the unemployed, the underemployed, the homeless, the poor, indigenous peoples, impoverished racial and ethnic minorities, indebted university students, people opposed to imperialist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan etc., and many other individuals. While they come from diverse backgrounds, collectively they/we can be said to represent a single class—the underclass; the “have nots.” It remains to be seen if “the other 99%” share a common long-term goal(s) and agenda and what that long-term goal(s) is. Do the majority want to completely transform the capitalist system and change it outright or do they want to reform capitalism, so that it is more humane, inclusive and generous? Are the majority of individuals participating in the “occupy” protests anti-systemic or are they upset and/or disappointed that the system failed them and let them down in a particular way (i.e. no jobs, not enough money to live, high tuition fees, etc)? If particular grievances are addressed (jobs created, tuition decreased, housing ensured), will they continue to have faith in and support the system? In other words, do they want to abolish neo-liberal capitalism (and the forms of politics and power that exist to support and perpetuate it,) or do they want greater inclusion and representation within it. These are questions worth asking and distinctions worth making.

Naming the System, Naming the Problem

One must stress that the OWS does have specific demands.  These include kicking Obama out of power and reinstating The Glass-Steagall Act (HR 1489), immediately. [3] These demands are a very good starting point, but also reflect a reformist or at the very least remedial position. While there are a plurality of issues and grievances, it is important that we never lose sight of the reality that all of these ills are symptoms of a common problem or cause— which is the current global system of economic and political power, exploitation and oppression, namely, militarized global capitalism.

Many OWS protestors are naming capitalism explicitly. Does the movement articulate the role that the US government, and all governments, plays in bolstering and facilitating this system (be it through taxes and austerity measures at home or the use of tax dollars and human resources to fund and wage imperialist wars and occupations abroad)?

In naming particular symptoms and problems, does the movement implicate the capitalist state as much as the financial sector and the banks? Any system that changes in name but retains the same structure of exploitation, oppression and impoverishment ought to be problematized and resisted in its totality. This entails resistance against more than just the symbols or symptoms of societal ills, but also naming and ousting their causes. This means that it is equally as important to “occupy” capital hill as it is to “occupy” the financial district, since the two (the economic and political power structures) act in concert and are increasingly made up of the same cabal of business and policy elites.  Indeed this has very recently begun to happen [4], with US protesters storming Congress, which is a positive sign about the direction of the movement.

With respect to the OWS movement it is my personal view that those participating in the massive numbers of street protests are performing a necessary and commendable act that is ultimately a potentially positive facilitator for much needed change.

Moreover, it is a way to open up dialogue on how to keep the momentum going, and how to channel this momentum into long-term transformation and deep systemic change. Some of the questions that arise are: can reformists and revolutionaries effectively co-exist in the same uprising? Can and/or will desires for reform evolve into a desire for revolution? Will and/or can reform eventually lead to anti-systemic revolution?

Lessons from Egypt

Inspired by the Egyptian revolution, the OWS movement(s) must be careful not to suffer the same fate as the Egyptian revolution. The populist Egyptian revolution appeared to be a success, so much so that several countries in the region followed suit. The dynamic of the ouster of Mubarak entailed a major victory and much deserved jubilation on the part of the Egyptian people. As the dust settled and the months passed, the people’s victory turned sour, as the deep rooted control structure refused to relinquish power.

With the foreign-backed military still very much in power in Egypt, and elections being carried out in the midst of resurgent popular insurrection and military violence, Egyptians have to contend with the bitter sweet possibility that while they succeeded in ousting Mubarak, his exit may have been as much a result of foreign and military coordination (i.e. placating the populace while maintaining indirect control through Tantawi and the military). With Mubarak hiding out in a fancy resort town while the military continues to brutally “rule” the people, one might reflectively and depressingly interpret his exist as being a type of forced retirement with ongoing benefits (i.e. he is still alive, is not in jail, and is not in exile).

One of the lessons the OWS must take from Egypt is that an uprising cannot be solely a reactionary mode, and cannot consist only of street movements. Behind the uprisings on the street there must be serious and on-going analysis, planning and long-term strategizing by movement members and/or revolutionaries in order to determine what comes after the popular revolt(s). In other words, there must be serious organization and planning for both the revolution as well as the post-revolutionary scenario, for as is well known, where there is revolution there is always the risk of counter-revolution. Moreover, Street-based movements alone cannot create an entirely new system and may be vulnerable to short-term success. As James Petras explains:

“It is the nature of mass street movements to fill the squares with relative ease, but also to be dispersed when the symbols of oppression are ousted.  Street-based movements lack the organization and leadership to project, let alone impose a new political or social order.  Their power is found in their ability to pressure existing elites and institutions, not to replace the state and economy.  Hence the surprising ease with which the US, Israeli and EU backed Egyptian military were able to seize power and protect the entire rentier state and economic structure while sustaining their ties with their imperial mentors” (i.e. US). [5]

It should be noted that the bulk of this article was formulated before the current Egyptian elections, which themselves are highly controversial and have been criticized internally and externally for being ill-timed and a potential means for maintaining the military/ systemic intransience.  As a result, some of the points raised here may not fully reflect the fluid situation in Egypt.

Looking Back to Go Forward

Overall, it is not enough to oust or replace the face of exploitation and oppression; we must go deeper. To do this, all popular uprisings ought to be bolstered and underpinned by some level of historically grounded socio-political, economic and geo-political analysis, and must be capable of long-term planning and “leadership” (in an informal and collaborative sense of the word). While we react and rise up against the current global crisis of exploitation and impoverishment, we need to look historically at the broader picture and ask—analytically—how did we get to this current state? What historical lessons can we drawn on to move beyond it? What are our goals and plans for an alternative? As Chomsky observed back in 1971,

“It is of critical importance that we know what impossible goals we’re trying to achieve, if we hope to achieve some of the possible goals. And that means that we have to be bold enough to speculate and create social theories on the basis of partial knowledge, while remaining very open to the strong possibility…that at least in some respects we’re very far off the mark.” [6] 

Resistance movements and uprisings require both practical, concrete resistance activities on the streets and intellectual work and planning behind the scenes. Otherwise, they may risk being stuck in a reactionary mode, and opening themselves up to possible manipulation, co-optation and/or post-revolutionary dissipation and stagnation. Revolutionary analysis (which can be guided and served by tools such as Marxist capitalist critique and political economy) helps us to historically ground our grievances and locate their source and cause.

“As Marx demonstrated, theory can have enormous power…to guide the practice of   movements, to provide people with the courage derived from seeing their struggles as historically meaningful, to offer a vision of a social alternative—an alternative made credible because it seems to flow out of the potentialities of the present.” [7]

Historically based analysis situates and connects current revolutionary struggles to what came before, and helps us “predict” and/or steer the likely outcome of our struggles. Without some level of historically grounded, theoretical (and perhaps even ideological) analysis and leadership, revolutionary movements may risk fighting the same battles over and over, with potential surface victories and cosmetic changes, which leave the historically entrenched system of power largely intact. Ultimately, long-term social transformation requires a broad and multi-faceted approach—which must include situated analysis and praxis in conjunction with historical and theoretical analysis—to understand the root of the problem and thus the optimal remedy. This approach can help us plan for the future–for the post-revolutionary scenario; and begin to formulate alternatives to the current system and develop plans and strategies for actually building these alternatives. In other words, it can lead us closer towards achieving social and systemic transformation rather than mere reformation of an inherently corrupt and unworkable system.

Ghada Chehade is an independent social and political analyst, PhD Candidate, poet, and activist living in Montreal. www.ghadachehade.com

 

Notes

[1] John Holloway. (2002). Change the World without Taking Power, p. 11.

[2] The State cannot be the vehicle of long-term change because, by its very nature, the State (regardless of whether it is capitalist or “communist” etc.) largely exists to protect (through its laws and regulations, or lack there of) the power structure—which it is a part of—and business and policy elites. While I do not have the exact answers and blueprint  for a better world, my limited impression is that it ought to be one without a formal, hierarchical, power-based State.

[3] http://www.larouchepac.com/node/19779

The Glass-Steagall Act, passed by Congress in 1933 and dismantled in 1999 during the Clinton administration, prohibited commercial banks from collaborating with full-service brokerage firms or participating in investment banking activities.

Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/glass_steagall_act.asp#ixzz1fdbrdCtJ

[4] See http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/take-back-the-capitol-protesters-swarm-congressional-offices/2011/12/06/gIQAUf7maO_gallery.html

 http://www.nationofchange.org/occupy-dc-protesters-hold-mock-committee-hearing-1320942499

[5] http://alethonews.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/roots-of-the-arab-revolts-and-premature-celebrations/

[6] http://www.chomsky.info/debates/1971xxxx.htm

[7] Flacks, R. (2004). In R.F. Levine (Ed.), Enriching the sociological imagination: How radical sociology changed the discipline (pp. 19-36). Boston: Brill

 

 

Old bear does not dance to Western tunes

-Should a “revolution” take place, the primary target of shock will be Russia itself. The worst nightmare would be the disintegration of the Russian Federation. This is the result the West most desires to see most.

-Personal trust is the reason that facilitated the strategic relations between China and Russia. However, the foundation of these ties is built upon a mutual dream of national revival which outstripped the interests that connected the West and Russia. China wants a stable Russia. The West is on the opposite side.

Will a “Russian Spring” occur? Russian police have arrested hundreds of protestors recently. But the pro-liberal protestors claimed that they will not succumb to such moves and continue to hold protests every day. This scenario is similar to the initial phrase of the Arab Spring, where the revolutionary movement was triggered by small- scale protests. It is hard to predict the outcome of the current protest on Russia’s election scandal, but everything is possible.

Vladimir Putin’s rule will face increasing scrutiny and it will become much harder for him to withstand the challenges. However, this is not a victory for the West. Putin losing authority will not automatically gain the West influence in Russia.

The future of Russia will be shaped according to its own interests. This is the principle set by its democratic environment. Putin’s own authority came because he put the country back to track. He saved Russia from the confusion and chaos when the USSR disintegrated two decades ago.

The relation between election and a candidate’s authority is complicated. However the latest State Duma elections did not suggest that Russia’s understanding of its national interests has become obscure, as during the Yeltsin era.

Ballots lost by the United Russia are now in the pocket of the Communists and the Liberal Democrats, which does not reflect the expanding of the West’s ideology.

Russian interests are dominated by a combination of geopolitics, culture and ambition. The differences and even the hostility between the West and Russia will persist if these interests contradict each other, no matter who sits in the Kremlin.

Should a “revolution” take place, the primary target of shock will be Russia itself. The worst nightmare would be the disintegration of the Russian Federation. This is the result the West most desires to see most.

Russian society does not want to undergo this nightmare again. This concern has partly resulted from Putin’s lasting authority. The unity United Russia can bring to this country is limited, but unity under democracy is not that convincing either. The painful lessons of the past will make Russians more reluctant to give up their trust in strongman politics to its democratic peers.

Personal trust is the reason that facilitated the strategic relations between China and Russia. However, the foundation of these ties is built upon a mutual dream of national revival which outstripped the interests that connected the West and Russia. China wants a stable Russia. The West is on the opposite side.

Russia has undergone many tough challenges. The “revolutions” in the Middle-East is a cakewalk compared to the movements the former communist state experienced. The country has made several twists and turns in choosing its own path.

Russia is not similar to the countries swept by the Arab Spring. It is a unique state and will remain so.

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

To subscribe for individual e-mails or the daily digest, unsubscribe, and otherwise change subscription status:

VIDEO: Russia Slams Clinton Over Election Criticism

December 7th, 2011 by Pepe Escobar

VIDEO: Occupation Nation: The Militarization of Police

December 7th, 2011 by Maria Portnaya

The United States and the Israeli regime have been engaged in a full-fledged undercover war against Iran, political analyst Mark Dankof has told Press TV.

“The war has actually started. It is just the question of when the wider shooting war begins,” Dankof said in an interview with Press TV.

Dankof cited the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists by Israeli-backed agents, the violation of Iranian airspace by US surveillance drones, and the new US-led economic sanctions imposed on Iran as examples of this undercover war.

He said the Mossad and the CIA have conducted these covert operations in collusion with terrorist groups such as the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), and Jundallah militants.

Citing essays written by M.J. Rosenberg and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Dankof said the hostile policy of Israel and the US toward Iran has little or nothing to do with Tehran’s alleged nuclear program but is meant to help the Tel Aviv regime maintain its military supremacy in the Middle East.

Describing the Israel regime as a political and economic “liability” on US taxpayers, he said the United States is being dragged into a war with Iran by the influential Zionist lobby.

On November 12, during a debate among a number of Republican presidential hopefuls, calls ranging from executing covert operations such as terrorism and assassinations to launching a military strike on Iran to subvert Tehran’s nuclear program were made.

The calls for assassinations and terrorist acts directed at Iran are not idle threats as a number of Iranian scientists have been assassinated over the past few years, including Professor Majid Shahriari and Professor Masoud Ali-Mohammadi, who were both killed in 2010.

On Nov. 4, 2011, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, announced that Tehran has irrefutable evidence that proves the US government has been involved in anti-Iran conspiracies and has dispatched elements to carry out acts of sabotage and terrorism in Iran and other regional countries.

The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program and have used the false charge as as pretext to push for the imposition of sanctions on the country and to call for an attack on the country.

Iran argues that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology meant for peaceful purposes.

Iranian officials have promised a crushing response to any military strike against the country, warning that such a measure could spark a war that would spread beyond the Middle East.

Romanian Senate Ratifies U.S. Interceptor Missile Deployment

December 7th, 2011 by Global Research

The Romanian senators, in a unanimous vote on Tuesday, approved a draft law on the ratification of the Agreement between Romania and the United States on placing the U.S. missile defence system in Romania signed on this Sept. 12 in Washington. Ninety senators cast their vote for the bill.

In the beginning of the upper Senate house plenary debates, Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi stressed the Agreement is ‘the first legal instrument fully negotiated and closed by the U.S. as part of the new concept of the ballistic missile defence’.

‘The value of the Agreement also consists in that it is for the first time the Romanian-U.S. strategic partnership is written in a legally binding bilateral document. Placing U.S. anti-missile system elements represents a very important contribution to the security of Romania, of the United States and of the entire Alliance. The Agreement text contains clear reference to the strategic partnership with the U.S., clear guarantees regarding the shield conformity to the international standards’, Baconschi said.

The minister underscored that the United States, in the Agreement Article No. 3, firmly pledges to defend Romania against a missile attack or against a threat.

‘The Agreement provisions also stipulate that Romania’s jurisdiction and sovereignty are not affected and they also stipulate the U.S. forces’ obligation to observe the Romanian laws. /…./ The legal responsibility regarding the shield rules out Romania’s responsibility for possible damages inflicted outside its territory’, he pointed out.

All the costs rest with the U.S., Baconschi added. The Senate is the decision-making house on this matter. The draft law on the ratification of the Agreement between Romania and the United States on placing the U.S. ballistic missile defence system in Romania was adopted by the Deputies’ Chamber in a 261 to 4 vote and an abstention on Nov. 15. 

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

To subscribe for individual e-mails or the daily digest, unsubscribe, and otherwise change subscription status:
[email protected]

Russia’s Chief of General Staff says Moscow is being pushed into a new arms race, although it has repeatedly stressed that it does not want this.

In his speech at an annual meeting with foreign military representatives on Wednesday, General Nikolai Makarov noted that at last year’s NATO-Russia summit in Lisbon, President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia could take part in Europe’s own missile defense system, but this suggestion was rejected.

Moscow then offered another option – if NATO countries wanted to build their own defense system, they could simply ensure that Russia falls outside its effective radius, and the effective radius of similar Russian weapons would then remain within the country’s borders. The second plan was also rejected, Russia’s military chief said at the Moscow meeting.

“We are ready for other options, but no one is suggesting anything. We hear nothing but empty statements that the missile defense systems in Europe are of no danger to Russia’s strategic nuclear forces,” Makarov stressed.

The general noted that a number of analysts in the US and Europe have proved that the existing components of European missile defense are already affecting Russia’s nuclear potential. He also stressed that European countries must be more active in discussing the problem. “Missile defense creation in Europe can complicate our relations. The Russian President, Defense Minister and myself, as Chief of General Staff have held talks with our colleagues in most European countries. Many of them said that we should decide this issue with the US, but we are talking about Europe. Why are they separating Europe and Russia? Who needs that? We are ready to cooperate, to build missile defense together. Why are they not answering our requests? Someone must be benefitting from this,” Makarov said.

The chief of staff also noted that his country has had to act in response to the foreign moves on missile defense. “The actions defined by the President’s statements are already being realized,” Makarov said.

“But we do not need this, and we are saying it again. Instead of trust, we are getting suspicion and mistrust in return. Europe will not benefit from this,” he added.

The Russian general also said that the assurances that the defense shield is just a remote prospect for 2018 – 2020 do not stand up to criticism. “We see at what rate the missile defense is being introduced in Europe and we see that the directions are different – not against the Southern threat, as it had been declared. It puts us on alert. Naturally, we must take measures now and not in 2018 in order not to find ourselves in a losing situation,” General Makarov said.

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

To subscribe for individual e-mails or the daily digest, unsubscribe, and otherwise change subscription status:
[email protected]

Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?

December 7th, 2011 by Patrick J. Buchanan

On Dec. 8, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt took the rostrum before a joint session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war on Japan.

A day earlier, at dawn, carrier-based Japanese aircraft had launched a sneak attack devastating the U.S. battle fleet at Pearl Harbor.

Said ex-President Herbert Hoover, Republican statesman of the day, “We have only one job to do now, and that is to defeat Japan.”

But to friends, “the Chief” sent another message: “You and I know that this continuous putting pins in rattlesnakes finally got this country bit.”

Today, 70 years after Pearl Harbor, a remarkable secret history, written from 1943 to 1963, has come to light. It is Hoover’s explanation of what happened before, during and after the world war that may prove yet the death knell of the West.

Edited by historian George Nash, Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath is a searing indictment of FDR and the men around him as politicians who lied prodigiously about their desire to keep America out of war, even as they took one deliberate step after another to take us into war.

Yet the book is no polemic. The 50-page run-up to the war in the Pacific uses memoirs and documents from all sides to prove Hoover’s indictment. And perhaps the best way to show the power of this book is the way Hoover does it — chronologically, painstakingly, week by week.

Consider Japan’s situation in the summer of 1941. Bogged down in a four-year war in China she could neither win nor end, having moved into French Indochina, Japan saw herself as near the end of her tether.

Inside the government was a powerful faction led by Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoye that desperately did not want a war with the United States.

The “pro-Anglo-Saxon” camp included the navy, whose officers had fought alongside the U.S. and Royal navies in World War I, while the war party was centered on the army, Gen. Hideki Tojo and Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka, a bitter anti-American.

On July 18, 1941, Konoye ousted Matsuoka, replacing him with the “pro-Anglo-Saxon” Adm. Teijiro Toyoda.

The U.S. response: On July 25, we froze all Japanese assets in the United States, ending all exports and imports, and denying Japan the oil upon which the nation and empire depended.

Stunned, Konoye still pursued his peace policy by winning secret support from the navy and army to meet FDR on the U.S. side of the Pacific to hear and respond to U.S. demands.

U.S. Ambassador Joseph Grew implored Washington not to ignore Konoye’s offer, that the prince had convinced him an agreement could be reached on Japanese withdrawal from Indochina and South and Central China. Out of fear of Mao’s armies and Stalin’s Russia, Tokyo wanted to hold a buffer in North China.

On Aug. 28, Japan’s ambassador in Washington presented FDR a personal letter from Konoye imploring him to meet.

Tokyo begged us to keep Konoye’s offer secret, as the revelation of a Japanese prime minister’s offering to cross the Pacific to talk to an American president could imperil his government.

On Sept. 3, the Konoye letter was leaked to the Herald-Tribune.

On Sept. 6, Konoye met again at a three-hour dinner with Grew to tell him Japan now agreed with the four principles the Americans were demanding as the basis for peace. No response.

On Sept. 29, Grew sent what Hoover describes as a “prayer” to the president not to let this chance for peace pass by.

On Sept. 30, Grew wrote Washington, “Konoye’s warship is ready waiting to take him to Honolulu, Alaska, or anyplace designated by the president.”

No response. On Oct. 16, Konoye’s cabinet fell.

In November, the U.S. intercepted two new offers from Tokyo: a Plan A for an end to the China war and occupation of Indochina and, if that were rejected, a Plan B, a modus vivendi where neither side would make any new move. When presented, these, too, were rejected out of hand.

At a Nov. 25 meeting of FDR’s war council, Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s notes speak of the prevailing consensus: “The question was how we should maneuver them [the Japanese] into … firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.”

“We can wipe the Japanese off the map in three months,” wrote Navy Secretary Frank Knox.

As Grew had predicted, Japan, a “hara-kiri nation,” proved more likely to fling herself into national suicide for honor than to allow herself to be humiliated

Out of the war that arose from the refusal to meet Prince Konoye came scores of thousands of U.S. dead, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the fall of China to Mao Zedong, U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam, and the rise of a new arrogant China that shows little respect for the great superpower of yesterday.

If you would know the history that made our world, spend a week with Mr. Hoover’s book.  

President of Côte d’Ivoire Laurent Gbagbo who had been displaced  as a result of the French intervention appeared before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague on December 5. With several other country leaders already facing ICC charges, the fresh case could fit into a steady trend apart from a significant circumstance – unprecedentedly, Gbagbo was taken into custody based on a secret indictment. In contrast, indictments were released prior to all previous ICC probes. It became known recently that an arrest warrant for Gbagbo had been issued already on November 23, but the ousted president of Côte d’Ivoire was extradited to the Hague only on November 30 despite having been held in his home country for over nine months. 

Gbagbo faced the ICC pre-trial chamber headed by Argentinian judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi. The panel also includes Elizabeth Odio Benito from Costa Rica, the country’s former vice president who also served as a judge with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and Adrian Fulford from Great Britain. Asked about his living conditions in custody, Gbagbo replied that the conditions were decent but stressed that the circumstances of his arrest had been abnormal. He said he was seized under fire from French tanks, with the shellings continuing for weeks, a death toll rising, and the presidential palace being left in ruins. Gbagbo also mentioned witnessing how his government’s minister of the interior was killed. Gbagbo’s account of his transfer to the Hague similarly highlighted the legal irregularities abundantly present in  the case.

According to the arrest warrant, Gbagbo is charged with  crimes against humanity – murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution, and other inhuman acts – related to the conflict which erupted in Côte d’Ivoire in the wake of the disputed November, 2010 elections. The charges do not imply that the crimes were personally perpetrated by Gbagbo – the responsibility for them is supposed to lie with his defense and security forces along with pro-presidential youth militias and mercenaries who operated across Côte d’Ivoire1.

The arguments submitted by the ICC prosecutor to the pre-trial chamber as the motivation behind the inquiry actually show what level of objectivity can be expected in future. His description of the developments in Côte d’Ivoire reads: “On 2 December, the Chair of the Independent Electoral Commission announced the provisional results of the second round of the presidential elections, declaring that Alassane Ouattara had garnered 54.1 per cent of the votes, and Laurent Gbagbo 45.9 per cent. Later that day, the President of the Constitutional Council, overturned the decision of the Independent Electoral Commission and declared Gbagbo victorious. Soon after, the two candidates simultaneously declared themselves President of Côte d’Ivoire. Ouattara was quickly backed by the international community as the sole legitimate president…Despite the repeated and sustained mediation efforts of the international community, Laurent Gbagbo refused to relinquish power. On 11 April, following military operations conducted by forces loyal to President Alassane Ouattara, backed by UNOCI and French Licorne troops, Laurent Gbagbo was arrested and placed in the custody of President Ouattara’s Government”2. The prosecution thus deceives the Court into believing that Ouattara was the country’s legitimate president. The key point here is not even that, judging by the text, the international community’s backing appears to be among the criteria of legitimacy of a claim to presidency. The prosecutor obviously equates the verdict of the Independent Electoral Commission in favor of a presidential candidate to the legitimacy of his presidency, though in fact the constitution of Côte d’Ivoire gives the constitutional council, not the electoral commission, the authority to rule who won the race if the elections outcome is called into question. In other words, the prosecutor chose to conceal from the court the information that should cast a different light on the legal aspect of the events in Côte d’Ivoire and on the status of the accused. It has to be realized that Gbagbo, not Ouattara, is the legitimate president of Côte d’Ivoire according to the country’s constitution.

Interestingly, Côte d’Ivoire recognized the ICC jurisdiction under Gbagbo when, on April 18, 2003, the country’s foreign minister signed a declaration pledging full cooperation with the court. Gbagbo’s administration made a huge mistake in the process by allowing the jurisdiction to apply to unspecified crimes and without any kind of a time framework: the declaration simply said the country would cooperate in investigating crimes committed on the territory of Côte d’Ivoire after September 19, 20023. Côte d’Ivoire became dependent on the ICC as a result of the recognition granted on such loosely defined terms as it gave the Court unlimited freedom to decide whom and over what to to put on trial. For seven years – from 2003 till 2011 – the ICC stayed indifferent to the situation within its expanded jurisdiction to carry out a snap investigation in a matter of weeks when Côte d’Ivoire’s legitimate president was forcibly removed and an IMF protégé – installed. 

The countries recently enthusiastic about international justice – especially the African countries which naively expected justice from “the white people’s Court” and rushed to ratify  and enact the ICC statute – will likely draw a serious lesson from the Gbagbo case…

Notes

1. Warrant Of Arrest For Laurent Koudou Gbagbo //  www.icc-cpi.int.

2. Situation in the Republic of Cote-d’Ivoire. Request for Authorization of an Investigation Pursuant to Article 15, 23 June 2011,  //  www.icc-cpi.int.

3. Declaration de reconnaissance de la competence de la Cour Penale Internationale. Republique de Cote d’Ivoire, //  www.icc-cpi.int.

 

 

The Baltic states have discovered a new way to cut unemployment and cut budgets for social services: emigration. If enough people of working age are forced to leave to find work abroad, unemployment and social service budgets will both drop.

This simple mathematics explains what the algebra of austerity-plan advocates are applauding today as the “New Baltic Miracle” for Greece, Spain, and Italy to emulate.  The reality, however, is a model predicated on economic shrinkage as a result of wage cuts. In the case of Latvia, this was some 30 percent for Latvian public-sector employees (euphemized as “internal devaluation”). With a set of flat taxes on employment adding up to 59% in Latvia (while property taxes are only 1%), it would seem hard indeed to present this as a success story.

But one hears only celebratory praise from the neoliberal lobbyists whose policies have de-industrialized and stripped the Baltic economies of Lithuania and Latvia, leaving them debt-ridden and uncompetitive. It is as if their real estate collapse from bubble-level debt leveraging that left their basic infrastructure in the hands of kleptocrats, is a free market success story.

What then does a neoliberal “free market” mean?

After a half-century struggle for independence, the Balts emerged in a world where neoliberal policies were the global fashion, and where the dress code and face control were initially enforced by the world’s international financial institutions–and later even more aggressively internalized by Baltic policymakers themselves.  Twenty years of neoliberal policy after emerging from Soviet rule have left the Baltics a mess.  On the lead up to the 2008 global economic crisis and the world’s biggest collapses the financial press was praising the Baltic Tigers for dutifully imposing rule by bankers.

Now, after the storm has quieted in the Baltics, Anders Aslund and other apologists are at it again as they promote the Baltic model.  Aslund did so most recently with his Petersen Institute banking industry funded book on Latvia’s “remarkable” rebound.   The only thing he failed to mention was that Latvians were voting with their feet in record numbers.  Latvians were exiting at a rate of roughly 1% of the population per month in an exodus of Biblical proportions. Indeed, Latvian’s census makers were horrified when they discovered that that the country’s population had decreased from 2.3 to 1.9 million people from 2001-2011.

The situation was close or even worse in neighboring Lithuania where a massive outward migration triggered by the start of global economic recession and collapse of the housing bubble in 2008 now threatens the future viability of this nation state. As the economic crisis intensified, unemployment grew from a relatively low level of 4.1% in 2007 to 18.3% in the second quarter of 2010 with a concomitant increase in emigration from 26,600 in 2007 to 83,200 in 2010. This was the highest level of emigration since 1945 and comparable only with the extensive the depopulation of the country during World War II. Since the restoration of independence in 1990, out of a population of some 3.7 million 615,000 had left the country; three fourths were young persons (up to 35 years old), many of them educated and with jobs in Lithuania. By 2008, the emigration rate from Lithuania became the highest among the EU countries (2.3 per 1,000), and double that of the next highest country, Latvia (1.1 per 1,000).

Forecasts for the period 2008-35 suggest a demographic decline by a further 10.9%, one of the highest rates in the EU (following Bulgaria and Latvia). The 2011 population census seemed only to confirm these grim prognostications. Demographers previously proved to have been too optimistic in their forecasts (the latest issued in 2010) and had overestimated the size of the Lithuanian population by about 200,000. Instead of the forecasted 3.24 million, the census found that by 2011 Lithuania’s population was only just over 3 million (3.054 ml)

These grim numbers suggest a kind of euthanizing taking place of the small Baltic nations.  This, ironically, after having survived two World Wars, two occupations, and several economic collapses in the 20th century.  Indeed, at the end of the Soviet occupation, Latvians and Lithuanians were replacing themselves through natural reproduction.  By contrast, today, the twin forces of emigration and low births have conspired to create a demographic disaster.

Enter Anders Aslund again, desperately seeking to resuscitate his reputation after the disastrous failures ensuing from his policy advice in the 1990s in the former USSR.  Just this week on Monday, Aslund rhapsodized about the success of Lithuania’s harsh austerity regime in the EUObserver.  His article had both the upbeat tone of Joseph Stalin’s famous “dizzy with success” speech, while simultaneously reciting a droll set of statistics of a kind of “Five Year Plan achieved in Four” report proving that the economy and country are in better shape than ever.

Let’s look at his most important argument by his own word: that of Lithuania’s “impressive” economic rebound and its high World Bank ease of doing business index rating.  Aslund reports that through harsh medicine and free-markets this Baltic Tiger is back.  Whether by ignorance or intention, let’s assume the former, Aslund gets the facts wrong.  He rightly explains that this Baltic Tiger’s economy crashed by a whopping 14.7% in 2009 (although failing to mention further contractions in 2008 and 2010 on top of that).  But, he asserts that this year’s current annualized growth rate is some 6.6%, thus suggesting this neoliberal country is not on the road to economic perdition. This might sound impressive to some, but Aslund ignores that just last week the massive Lithuanian Snoras bank just presented Lithuania (and Latvia) with an exploding cigar that will wipe out most of Lithuania’s economic growth for this year. Furthermore, even if there was a resumption economic growth, IMF estimates that its rates will remain sluggish at best indicating that probably a decade or more will be needed to return to pre-recession levels of economic activity. Thus, according to IMF projections by 2015 Lithuanian GDP as measured in $US was projected to remain 12% less (as measured in current prices) than in 2008, with unemployment at 8.5%

Finally, we need to contrast anemic IMF economic growth forecast for the next 6-8 years with disastrous social consequences of internal devaluation policies. Consider that Lithuania almost tripled its level of unemployment in Lithuania from 5.8% in 2008 to 17.8% in 2010. Although by 2011 unemployment began to decline to 15.6%, this happened not as much because of creation of new jobs, but because of mass outmigration from Lithuania. Public sector wages were cut by 20-30% and pensions by 11 percent, which in combination with growing unemployment let to dramatic increasing in poverty. If in 2008 there were 420 thousand or 12.7% of population living in poverty, by 2009 poverty rate increased to 20.6%. Although by 2010 there was a .4% decrease in the number of poor to 670 thousand, the decrease was caused mostly by downward change in measuring the poverty. Various measures of quality of life and well-being deteriorated even further indicating prevalence of deep pessimism, loss of social solidarity, trust, and atomization of a society.

The extremely high social and demographic costs of such policies put the very future of sustainable economic growth in the region into question. Investments in education, infrastructure, and public services that are preconditions of the “high,” knowledge-based and higher productivity based economic development were slashed, while brain drain intensified. Although Prime Minister Kubilius was promoting his administration’s economic development strategy based on knowledge and innovations, the very austerity measures implemented by his government were relegating to Lithuania to the “low road” of economic development based on low standards in salaries and labor conditions.

The mood on the ground is sour as well.  Lithuanians have emigrated in massive numbers and like their Baltic brethren in Latvia, this has mostly been from people of talent, education, and of childbearing age.  Indeed, like Latvia, Lithuania’s latest census shows a hemorrhaging of people out of the country.  A kind of gallows humor prevails on the ground too.  Recently, a Lithuanian couple in Vilnius reported to the authors: Husband to wife, “we should go back to Norway to work in the canneries.  There, you could leave a thousand euros on the ground, return in a year, and it would be still there.”   Wife, “nah, no way, too many Lithuanians there.”  Their humor is intact, but their sense of desperation grows.

These people deserve better than to have another failed ideology imposed on them.  Let’s hope they and others liberate themselves from the experiments of ideologues and stop being pawns in their game.  To the rest of Europe, we counsel caution.  Joseph Stalin’s maxim, “no people, no problem” is no way to solve an economic crisis.  Euthanizing larger nations in southern Europe through large-scale emigration would be as undesirable as it is impossible to achieve.  Where would the people go?

 

Jeffrey Sommers is an associate professor of political economy in Africology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and visiting faculty at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga.  He publishes regularly in outlets such as Counterpunch and the Guardian, and routinely appears as an expert guest in global news programs, most recently on Peter Lavelle’s CrossTalk.  He can be reached at: [email protected].

Dr. Arunas Juska is an Associate professor of sociology at East Carolina University, USA. He specializes and writes extensively on the Baltic region, with especial focus on rural development as well as policing in Lithuania.  He can be reached at: [email protected]

Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist. A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002) and Trade, Development and Foreign Debt: A History of Theories of Polarization v. Convergence in the World Economy. Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, forthcoming from AK Press.  He can be reached via his website, [email protected]

The European Debt Crisis: Unstable Currency Markets.

December 7th, 2011 by Bob Chapman

Even the middle of the road journalists are beginning to question Europe’s elected and appointed leadership. This past Monday the plan for the euro zone was laid out for a final capitulation to world government. The financial crisis has been handled from behind the scenes by the Fed, so that Germany’s Chancellor Merkel and France’s President can concentrate on more important matters, namely the final federalization of the euro zone to be followed by the entrapment of the remainder of the European Union.

The calls for major changes to the current treaties have little to do with the debt crisis. What these two emissaries of the world elitists are up to is to tear down the legal strength of monetary and political union of this unnatural association, and replace it with a stricter budgetary discipline known as the ESM, the European Stabilization Mechanism, this ostensibly to support countries in difficulty. Within this major change is a complete shift away from the original Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties, which is being done without the consent of the public in these countries. There is one exception to that in the case of Germany that must approve the changes.

On the 9th the final proposals will be laid out and agreed upon by various heads of state, some elected and some appointed. This “leadership” could care less what the people of these countries think. There are no trappings of democracy here, just the iron fist of Illuminist world ambitions. Any thinking, sophisticated person has to look on in disbelief at what is about to take place.

The plan is to have a committee of 8, assisted by 17 immunized finance ministers control the budgeting and fiscal policies of these 17 nations, which strips them of their sovereignty.

We read writer after writer and they do not have a clue as to what is being done to the people of these nations. They don’t know these appointments are all members of the Trilateral Commission, Bilderbergers and former Goldman Sachs employees. If they do know they are ignoring its significance. This is where Messrs. Draghi, Monti and Papademos all came from appointed to take the euro zone and eventually the EU into world government.

We have studied these characters for more than 50 years and we know exactly what they are up too. It is the job of these 3 Sherpas to continue to advertise the increased risk to financial and economic conditions, if such treaty changes are not made. This is a charade to mislead and misdirect the people offering them the only way out. Unfortunately, as far as we know, our voice is the only one being heard in exposing the real intent of what is being pulled off. There is no question that there is an economic and financial debt crisis, but these treaty changes have little to do with that. Their key phrase is price stability when real EU inflation is running more than 7%.

Since July the ECB has refused to expand money and credit. A month ago control passed from the hands of Trichet to Draghi, who immediately lowered interest rates, which we predicted he would do – no one else made such a call. The ECB still hasn’t printed euros, but the Fed is going so in its stead. The ECB is buying Italian and Spanish bonds, but only about $20 billions worth. The ECB, known to few, has been sterilizing its sovereign debt buying by draining an equivalent amount of euros from the banking system. This is the antithesis what central banks do. The Trichet ECB wanted their actions not to create inflation. This is why inflation has held so well in Europe. That is all about to change as the FED takes over. The funds to purchase bonds and supply liquidity will be available to jump start Europe as inflation climbs.

All of the players knew austerity plans play well and eventually work to tear down an economy, but short term they are a loser. The only thing that works is more and more money and credit. Who wants to stop economic growth. Up until Draghi took over the euro has not been wantonly destroyed. Just be patient Draghi will end all that.

We know it’s hard to believe, but debt is not taken seriously. Many things today were similar to 19th century England, where government workers, attorneys, politicians and moneyed people made six times more that a skilled worker. That should sound familiar in today’s economy. In those days those who did not pay went to debtor’s prison, or worked off their debt. Today, few care about debt; it is usually just discharged. We mention this because since WWII the whole attitude regarding debt has changed. Accumulate it and simply walk away from it. This has become the attitude of nations, companies and individuals.

The call comes each day for the ECB to lend to sovereign states when in fact those who request these loans know under Article 101, that the ECB is prohibited from lending to any government.

We now have 5 and perhaps 6 nations that cannot service their debt and the ECB cannot legally lend to them. During the past two years, with the exception of bond purchases, which had been off set by the purchase of euros, Mr. Trichet had refused to break the rules. He is gone now and the Federal Reserve has filled the ECB’s place. It had to happen sooner or later. That is the Fed becoming banker officially to the world. The process really began more than three years ago, as we have been in the process of finding out just what the Fed was up too. They were responsible for the disbursement of trillions of dollars, which they withheld from the public. That is exactly what America needs, a privately owned central bank, that operates in secret and when asked what it is doing we are told it is a state secret.

These insolvent sovereigns are now paying yields over 7% on 10-year bonds and we know that kind of debt is unpayable, and it is a sure sign they’ll eventually default. In order to extend the time line the Fed has become the lender of last resort, and that bill will be paid for by dollar holders, as the value of their dollars depreciates in value.

The object, as we are seeing, is the repudiation of the EU treaty, for rules allowing the ECB to create money and credit out of thin air, and act like the Fed and other central banks. Illuminist Mario Draghi will do his best to see that this happens. Of course, thrown in for good measure will be the stripping of sovereignty from the 17-euro zone members.

These solutions will negatively affect both the euro and the US dollar, both for now the best of the worst. The migration, the flight to quality, will of course lead to gold and silver, as it has been over the past 12 years, as we predicted it would. Gold is the only viable alternative from a monetary viewpoint, and it will continue to be so. In spite of US government intervention, and manipulation of many markets, including silver and gold, they relentlessly increase in value, because they are the only real money. Every time they knock gold and silver down all they do is give buyers the opportunity to buy more at artificially reduced prices. We have news for the elitist what they are doing is not going to work, and they know that, but we also know it as well. We know that almost all costs to sovereign nations today are debt services, and Italy is a good example. Who wouldn’t want to dump currencies for real money – gold and silver.

Direct monetization does not solve the problem; it just extends the time line. You cannot solve debt by adding more debt. The problem is always liquidity, when in fact the problem is systemic insolvency. No matter how much money is thrown at the problem it is not going to work. The Fed is not cooperating with foreign central banks to undertake liquidity swaps. The other foreign banks are just a cover; the Fed is doing all the swaps. The other foreign banks are just a cover the Fed is doing all the swaps. Why do you think Treasury Secretary Geithner will be in Europe this week to explain to leaders how the Fed will run the show and all they will have to do is implement budget cuts and increase taxes, and to concentrate as well on relieving 17 countries of their sovereignty If anyone ever needed an execute to audit the Fed fully this is it. This is 2008 all over again; only this time it is foreign governments that are the focus of attention. The Fed will proceed to create trillions of dollars, which in turn will create higher inflation to go along with that, which is already in the pipeline. Any semblance of sound money is history. One thing is for sure today’s central banking and Keynesian corporate policies are failures.

As a gauge of currency strength the US dollar index, USDX, loses status each day. All it shows you on any given day, which major currency is the best of the worst. The only true measure can be the value of each currency vs. gold and silver.

The squeeze in lending is not as bad as in 20008, but banks are reluctant to lend to one another. This tells us that banks are very skeptical that the latest swap arrangements will work. Bankers understand higher taxes and austerity underlie recession and falling tax revenue, which translate into inability to service debt. What is almost never mentioned is political challenges to sitting heads of government, both elected and appointed. Thus far no congress has balked. If they should, say in Germany, that would throw all the elitist plans upside down. It should be noted that 65% of Germans are opposed to what has been taking place under their government.

The bottom line for Europe is they have not chosen selective default, allowing the weak members to phase out of the euro zone. They really cannot allow that because if they do the euro zone would begin to break apart. Unfortunately, for them it is going to happen anyway.  

The latest bailout by the Fed of European banking interests smacks of moral hazard, but do not be concerned the elitist could care less. Of course, the European elitist answer to the ESM, which has little to do with solving the insolvency crisis and lots to do about removing the sovereignty of euro zone countries and eventually that of all 27 EU members. Do not forget the original Maastricht Treaty had a maximum of public debt of 3% of GDP. If you exceeded that you were to be fined. No one was ever fined and these countries all went over the limit. Why are we to believe that it will be any better this time?

At least for the moment selective default is off the table since the Fed is now really running the show. Although we believe they know Greece’s exit from the euro is inevitable. That will make it easier for Portugal and Ireland to exit as well. That should begin in March. Now the Fed will again inflate Europe into an extended time line. The elitists believe they can balance the problem of imbalance by allowing the strong countries to subsidize the weak indefinitely via the European Stability Mechanism.

The revelation that a US unmanned drone aircraft downed in eastern Iran was on a CIA secret surveillance operation raises troubling questions about the immediacy of Washington’s war plans on the Islamic Republic.

Initial reports of the lost drone at the weekend quoted US military officials claiming that the aircraft had strayed into Iranian territory while on a routine manoeuvre over Afghanistan as part of NATO’s occupation in that country.

However, now it emerges that the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is a sophisticated surveillance model operated by the CIA, according to the Washington Post. Iran claims that its forces shot down the drone, and is now in its possession.

The CIA has declined to comment on why the RQ-170 Sentinel was in Iranian airspace. But the aircraft is known to possess state of the art surveillance equipment and is designed to evade radar detection. It is understand that this model of spy drone is used for “highly sensitive operations”.

It appears that the drone was deliberately being flown over Iranian territory and was not the usual type of spy plane that is used by NATO in neighbouring Afghanistan, nor was it simply off course by accident.

As the Washington Post reports: “The disclosure that the drone apparently recovered by Iran was being flown by the CIA comes after previous signals from US officials that had created the impression that the plane was being flown by the US military on a more mundane mission over Afghanistan and had simply strayed into Iranian territory.”

The newspaper adds: “The RQ-170 has special coatings and a batwing shape designed to help it penetrate other nations’ air defences undetected. The existence of the aircraft, which is made by Lockheed Martin, has been known since 2009, when a model was photographed at the main US airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan.”

Clearly, the use of such advanced technology in Iranian airspace indicates a more than usual sinister purpose.

The disturbing implication is that such an infringement by US military of Iranian territory is tantamount to an act of war. It has to be placed in the context of months of ratcheting-up of war rhetoric from the Obama administration towards Iran, repeatedly asserting that all “options are on the table” in confronting the Islamic Republic over its alleged nuclear weapons programme. It is understood that this is a thinly veiled threat by the US and its Western allies to use pre-emptive military strikes against Iran. Israeli politicians have talked openly in recent months about pre-emptive air strikes against Iranian targets.

The belligerent rhetoric has accompanied equally aggressive moves by the US and Europe to choke Iran diplomatically, financially and economically – the latest move seeing Washington pressurising South Korea to cancel energy contracts with Iran. The stepping-up of sanctions by Britain against Iranian financial institutions and the subsequent diplomatic row over attacks by Iranian students on the British embassy in Tehran are also apiece with the building pretext for war.

Furthermore, the latest CIA drone infringement follows a spate of sabotage attacks on Iranian installations, including an explosion at a military base near Tehran on 12 November in which one of Iran’s top missile experts was killed. The involvement of Israel’s Mossad has been implicated in assassinations and kidnappings of other Iranian scientists. The US and Israel are also known to have carried out cyber attacks on Iranian military facilities over the past year.

The assiduous Western campaign to isolate and weaken Syria – Iran’s key ally in the region – can also be seen as an integral part of the long-held plans for an all-out military strike on Iran.

Despite the West’s best efforts to strangulate Iran, the country is believed to have developed formidable anti-aircraft and anti-missile defences. The CIA drone incursion into Iranian territory suggests that preparations are well underway to destroy such defences in advance of concerted air strikes against the Islamic Republic.

Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa correspondent

[email protected]

-[Major Gil, deputy commander of the 200th Squadron] declined to comment on the unconfirmed reports that Israel also deploys missile-launching drones and kamikaze craft that explode upon impact. But independent experts said Israel has used such hardware on numerous occasions, including for striking targets far beyond its borders.

Israel, a powerhouse of UAV technology, has already sold drones to some 30 militaries worldwide, many of whom dot the skies over Afghanistan, Iraq and other U.S.-led operational theaters.
-Three weeks ago, a huge explosion that destroyed a major missile-testing site near Tehran was attributed to a weapon possibly fired from a drone loitering overhead. Israeli and U.S. intelligence officials said the incident, in which the chief of Iran’s missile program was killed, was a major setback for the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

PALMACHIM AIR BASE, Israel: In an unusual move, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) on Monday invited media for a briefing on its secret drone program, allowing a rare glimpse of one squadron that deploys some of the most sophisticated surveillance technology available.

The tour of the seaside air base, south of Tel Aviv, comes against the backdrop of local media reports in recent weeks that Israel is poised to strike Iran’s nuclear sites.

Major Gil, deputy commander of the 200th Squadron, flatly declined to discuss Iran specifically.

“All I can say is that we can get anywhere we want and need to, ” he told reporters who assembled at the squadron’s headquarters.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly referred to as drones, officially entered service with the IAF in 1971, making Israel’s military the world’s first operator of pilotless aircraft for gathering real-time battlefield intelligence.

Since then, the IAF’s drones, all of them locally produced, have evolved into a refined fleet of long-range surveillance platforms that are ever-present in the skies over Israel’s borders.

Though outfitted with sophisticated hardware ranging from smart bombs to satellites, the Israeli military presently relies on no technology more heavily than the drones of the 200th Squadron.

Gil said that drones have been shouldering the bulk of the IAF’s reconnaissance missions over the past decade, logging more flight hours annually than all of its manned aircraft combined.

The 200th Squadron’s pilots, whose full names cannot be divulged due to censorship regulations, would only provide scarce details of the craft they guide from innocuous, windowless, metal sheds. The operators fly the Heron 1, a drone with a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet that can stay airborne for up to 45 hours. Another squadron based here operates the Hermes 450, a medium- altitude aircraft.

Last February, the IAF inaugurated its flagship drone, the Heron TP II. Developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, the all- weather TP II can reach 45,000 feet high, carry a maximum payload of 1 ton, and remain aloft for 36 hours.

The number of IAF drone squadrons, the range of the aircraft and most other technical specifics are closely guarded secrets.

If Israel were to attack Iran’s suspected nuclear facilities, the drones at Palmachim, some of whom are said to be equipped with stealth technology, would be sent well ahead of bomber pilots, transmitting back images of the designated target areas, and would subsequently assess the damage caused by the strike.

While such plans are still confined to the drawing board, remotely controlled drone aircraft are heavily used by the Israeli army in daily operations.

Gil said that his drones’ main mission is to provide support to ground troops by relaying bird’s-eye views of a combat zone to field commanders.

Mission specialists said there is no ground encounter without a UAV flying overhead. Gil also briefly described how drones often “paint” targets for strikes by manned aircraft.

In the 2006 Lebanon war, for instance, UAVs flying from Palmachim scoured the ravines and villages in southern Lebanon, constituting a critical element in the IAF’s efforts to destroy Hezbollah’s rocket launchers and to evacuate injured troops.

Outfitted with cameras that can transmit high-resolution images in total darkness, drones have also proved indispensable in the Israeli military’s operations against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip in recent years. They are regularly tasked with overflying the coastal territory to hunt for rocket and mortar launchers and lead helicopter gunships to the locations of hidden arms caches, and they are also reportedly involved in the periodic targeted killings of militants.

Like all the drone operators here, many of whom began their military service in the IAF’s prestigious flight academy, Gil wears flight overalls with sewed-on squadron patches.

He declined to comment on the unconfirmed reports that Israel also deploys missile-launching drones and kamikaze craft that explode upon impact. But independent experts said Israel has used such hardware on numerous occasions, including for striking targets far beyond its borders.

Israel, a powerhouse of UAV technology, has already sold drones to some 30 militaries worldwide, many of whom dot the skies over Afghanistan, Iraq and other U.S.-led operational theaters.

On Sunday, Iran claimed to have shot down an advanced American RQ-170 spy drone in an eastern province…

Three weeks ago, a huge explosion that destroyed a major missile-testing site near Tehran was attributed to a weapon possibly fired from a drone loitering overhead. Israeli and U.S. intelligence officials said the incident, in which the chief of Iran’s missile program was killed, was a major setback for the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Iran’s state-run media dismissed the reports of suspected sabotage, declaring the explosion an accident.

While drone pilots are spared the dangers of a real battlefield, their workload remains among the heaviest in the IAF. Gil said the fact is unlikely to change in the near future.

“I can’t tell you how many drones we operate, but I can say that we don’t have enough of them,” he said.

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

To subscribe for individual e-mails or the daily digest, unsubscribe, and otherwise change subscription status:
[email protected]

A New Cold War in Asia? Obama Threatens China

December 7th, 2011 by Michael Klare

When it comes to China policy, is the Obama administration leaping from the frying pan directly into the fire?  In an attempt to turn the page on two disastrous wars in the Greater Middle East, it may have just launched a new Cold War in Asia — once again, viewing oil as the key to global supremacy.

The new policy was signaled by President Obama himself on November 17th in an address to the Australian Parliament in which he laid out an audacious — and extremely dangerous — geopolitical vision.  Instead of focusing on the Greater Middle East, as has been the case for the last decade, the United States will now concentrate its power in Asia and the Pacific.  “My guidance is clear,” he declared in Canberra.  “As we plan and budget for the future, we will allocate the resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this region.”  While administration officials insist that this new policy is not aimed specifically at China, the implication is clear enough: from now on, the primary focus of American military strategy will not be counterterrorism, but the containment of that economically booming land — at whatever risk or cost.

The Planet’s New Center of Gravity

The new emphasis on Asia and the containment of China is necessary, top officials insist, because the Asia-Pacific region now constitutes the “center of gravity” of world economic activity.  While the United States was bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, the argument goes, China had the leeway to expand its influence in the region.  For the first time since the end of World War II, Washington is no longer the dominant economic actor there.  If the United States is to retain its title as the world’s paramount power, it must, this thinking goes, restore its primacy in the region and roll back Chinese influence.  In the coming decades, no foreign policy task will, it is claimed, be more important than this.

In line with its new strategy, the administration has undertaken a number of moves intended to bolster American power in Asia, and so put China on the defensive.  These include a decision to deploy an initial 250 U.S. Marines — someday to be upped to 2,500 — to an Australian air base in Darwin on that country’s north coast, and the adoption on November 18th of “the Manila Declaration,” a pledge of closer U.S. military ties with the Philippines.

At the same time, the White House announced the sale of 24 F-16 fighter jets to Indonesia and a visit by Hillary Clinton to isolated Burma, long a Chinese ally — the first there by a secretary of state in 56 years.  Clinton has also spoken of increased diplomatic and military ties with Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam — all countries surrounding China or overlooking key trade routes that China relies on for importing raw materials and exporting manufactured goods.

As portrayed by administration officials, such moves are intended to maximize America’s advantages in the diplomatic and military realm at a time when China dominates the economic realm regionally.  In a recent article in Foreign Policy magazine, Clinton revealingly suggested that an economically weakened United States can no longer hope to prevail in multiple regions simultaneously.  It must choose its battlefields carefully and deploy its limited assets — most of them of a military nature — to maximum advantage.  Given Asia’s strategic centrality to global power, this means concentrating resources there.

“Over the last 10 years,” she writes, “we have allocated immense resources to [Iraq and Afghanistan].  In the next 10 years, we need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy, so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership [and] secure our interests… One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment — diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise — in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Such thinking, with its distinctly military focus, appears dangerously provocative.  The steps announced entail an increased military presence in waters bordering China and enhanced military ties with that country’s neighbors — moves certain to arouse alarm in Beijing and strengthen the hand of those in the ruling circle (especially in the Chinese military leadership) who favor a more activist, militarized response to U.S. incursions.  Whatever forms that takes, one thing is certain: the leadership of the globe’s number two economic power is not going to let itself appear weak and indecisive in the face of an American buildup on the periphery of its country.  This, in turn, means that we may be sowing the seeds of a new Cold War in Asia in 2011.

The U.S. military buildup and the potential for a powerful Chinese counter-thrust have already been the subject of discussion in the American and Asian press.  But one crucial dimension of this incipient struggle has received no attention at all: the degree to which Washington’s sudden moves have been dictated by a fresh analysis of the global energy equation, revealing (as the Obama administration sees it) increased vulnerabilities for the Chinese side and new advantages for Washington.

The New Energy Equation

For decades, the United States has been heavily dependent on imported oil, much of it obtained from the Middle East and Africa, while China was largely self-sufficient in oil output.  In 2001, the United States consumed 19.6 million barrels of oil per day, while producing only nine million barrels itself.  The dependency on foreign suppliers for that 10.6 million-barrel shortfall proved a source of enormous concern for Washington policymakers.  They responded by forging ever closer, more militarized ties with Middle Eastern oil producers and going to war on occasion to ensure the safety of U.S. supply lines.

In 2001, China, on the other hand, consumed only five million barrels per day and so, with a domestic output of 3.3 million barrels, needed to import only 1.7 million barrels.  Those cold, hard numbers made its leadership far less concerned about the reliability of the country’s major overseas providers — and so it did not need to duplicate the same sort of foreign policy entanglements that Washington had long been involved in.

Now, so the Obama administration has concluded, the tables are beginning to turn.  As a result of China’s booming economy and the emergence of a sizeable and growing middle class (many of whom have already bought their first cars), the country’s oil consumption is exploding.  Running at about 7.8 million barrels per day in 2008, it will, according to recent projections by the U.S. Department of Energy, reach 13.6 million barrels in 2020, and 16.9 million in 2035.  Domestic oil production, on the other hand, is expected to grow from 4.0 million barrels per day in 2008 to 5.3 million in 2035.  Not surprisingly, then, Chinese imports are expected to skyrocket from 3.8 million barrels per day in 2008 to a projected 11.6 million in 2035 — at which time they will exceed those of the United States.

The U.S., meanwhile, can look forward to an improved energy situation.  Thanks to increased production in “tough oil” areas of the United States, including the Arctic seas off Alaska, the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and shale formations in Montana, North Dakota, and Texas, future imports are expected to decline, even as energy consumption rises.  In addition, more oil is likely to be available from the Western Hemisphere rather than the Middle East or Africa.  Again, this will be thanks to the exploitation of yet more “tough oil” areas, including the Athabasca tar sands of Canada, Brazilian oil fields in the deep Atlantic, and increasingly pacified energy-rich regions of previously war-torn Colombia.  According to the Department of Energy, combined production in the United States, Canada, and Brazil is expected to climb by 10.6 million barrels per day between 2009 and 2035 — an enormous jump, considering that most areas of the world are expecting declining output.

Whose Sea Lanes Are These Anyway?

From a geopolitical perspective, all this seems to confer a genuine advantage on the United States, even as China becomes ever more vulnerable to the vagaries of events in, or along, the sea lanes to distant lands.  It means Washington will be able to contemplate a gradual loosening of its military and political ties to the Middle Eastern oil states that have dominated its foreign policy for so long and have led to those costly, devastating wars.

Indeed, as President Obama said in Canberra, the U.S. is now in a position to begin to refocus its military capabilities elsewhere. “After a decade in which we fought two wars that cost us dearly,” he declared, “the United States is turning our attention to the vast potential of the Asia-Pacific region.”

For China, all this spells potential strategic impairment.  Although some of China’s imported oil will travel overland through pipelines from Kazakhstan and Russia, the great majority of it will still come by tanker from the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America over sea lanes policed by the U.S. Navy.  Indeed, almost every tanker bringing oil to China travels across the South China Sea, a body of water the Obama administration is now seeking to place under effective naval control.

By securing naval dominance of the South China Sea and adjacent waters, the Obama administration evidently aims to acquire the twenty-first century energy equivalent of twentieth-century nuclear blackmail.  Push us too far, the policy implies, and we’ll bring your economy to its knees by blocking your flow of vital energy supplies.  Of course, nothing like this will ever be said in public, but it is inconceivable that senior administration officials are not thinking along just these lines, and there is ample evidence that the Chinese are deeply worried about the risk — as indicated, for example, by their frantic efforts to build staggeringly expensive pipelines across the entire expanse of Asia to the Caspian Sea basin.

As the underlying nature of the new Obama strategic blueprint becomes clearer, there can be no question that the Chinese leadership will, in response, take steps to ensure the safety of China’s energy lifelines.  Some of these moves will undoubtedly be economic and diplomatic, including, for example, efforts to court regional players like Vietnam and Indonesia as well as major oil suppliers like Angola, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia.  Make no mistake, however: others will be of a military nature.  A significant buildup of the Chinese navy — still small and backward when compared to the fleets of the United States and its principal allies — would seem all but inevitable.  Likewise, closer military ties between China and Russia, as well as with the Central Asian member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan), are assured.

In addition, Washington could now be sparking the beginnings of a genuine Cold-War-style arms race in Asia, which neither country can, in the long run, afford.  All of this is likely to lead to greater tension and a heightened risk of inadvertent escalation arising out of future incidents involving U.S., Chinese, and allied vessels — like the one that occurred in March 2009 when a flotilla of Chinese naval vessels surrounded a U.S. anti-submarine warfare surveillance ship, the Impeccable, and almost precipitated a shooting incident.  As more warships circulate through these waters in an increasingly provocative fashion, the risk that such an incident will result in something far more explosive can only grow.

Nor will the potential risks and costs of such a military-first policy aimed at China be restricted to Asia.  In the drive to promote greater U.S. self-sufficiency in energy output, the Obama administration is giving its approval to production techniques — Arctic drilling, deep-offshore drilling, and hydraulic fracturing — that are guaranteed to lead to further Deepwater Horizon-style environmental catastrophe at home.  Greater reliance on Canadian tar sands, the “dirtiest” of energies, will result in increased greenhouse gas emissions and a multitude of other environmental hazards, while deep Atlantic oil production off the Brazilian coast and elsewhere has its own set of grim dangers.

All of this ensures that, environmentally, militarily, and economically, we will find ourselves in a more, not less, perilous world.  The desire to turn away from disastrous land wars in the Greater Middle East to deal with key issues now simmering in Asia is understandable, but choosing a strategy that puts such an emphasis on military dominance and provocation is bound to provoke a response in kind.  It is hardly a prudent path to head down, nor will it, in the long run, advance America’s interests at a time when global economic cooperation is crucial.  Sacrificing the environment to achieve greater energy independence makes no more sense.

A new Cold War in Asia and a hemispheric energy policy that could endanger the planet: it’s a fatal brew that should be reconsidered before the slide toward confrontation and environmental disaster becomes irreversible.  You don’t have to be a seer to know that this is not the definition of good statesmanship, but of the march of folly.

Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, a TomDispatch regular, and the author, most recently, of Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet. A documentary movie version of his previous book, Blood and Oil, is available from the Media Education Foundation. To listen to Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Klare discusses the American military build-up in the Pacific, click here or download it to your iPod here.

BOMBSHELL: US Caught Meddling in Russian Elections!

December 6th, 2011 by Tony Cartalucci

December 4, 2011 – What would Americans say if they found their polling stations and certain political parties entirely infiltrated by Chinese money, Chinese observers, and Chinese-backed candidates promoting China’s interests in an AMERICAN election? The answer ranges from incarceration, to trials featuring charges ranging from fraud, to sedition and even treason with sentences ranging from decades to life in prison, perhaps even death, as well as possible military action for what could easily be considered an act of war.

Indeed, the attempted subversion of a foreign nation and/or meddling in its elections are acts of war, an act of war the United States government through its various “Non-Governmental Organizations” (NGOs) have been committing on and off for decades around the globe. In fact, the very “Arab Spring” is a geopolitical conflagration tipped off by this vast network of Western backed NGOs.

The New York Times in its article, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” clearly stated as much when it reported, “a number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.”

The Times would continue by explaining, “the Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department.”

These same NGOs have also just recently played a central role in Myanmar, blocking the construction of a mega-dam that would have begun the development of the nation’s rural areas, provided electricity for export and domestic use, and help irrigate surrounding agricultural land. These NGOs are currently creating a social divide in Thailand to subvert an 800 year old independent political institution that has for centuries weathered Western encroachment. There is also documented evidence of these NGOs attempting to destabilize the government of Malaysia and reinstall IMF minion Anwar Ibrahim back into power.

In Russia’s neighboring country and ally, Belarus, this network of US-funded NGOs have attempted to start a “Belarusian Spring” to overthrow leader Alexander Lukashenko, who has adamently opposed NATO’s creep toward its, and Russia’s borders. And now Russia itself has just rooted out a plot by these very same NGOs creeping in and around the nation’s political institutions, in an attempt to subvert and replace them.

Russia’s Long Fight Against US-funded Subversion.

This is not the first time Russia has faced this insidious creep from abroad. After the fall of the Soviet Union, there proceeded a lawless free-for-all where foreigners began rushing in in an attempt to create their own order out of the chaos. Leading this charge was billionaire oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky who fashioned an “Open Russian Foundation” and even had western corporate-financier elitists Jacob Rothschild and Henry Kissinger chair its board of directors. In a now all too familiar scenario, Khodorkovsky and his networks of foreign-funded NGOs attempted to consolidate and transfer Russia’s wealth, power, and the destiny of its people into the hands of Wall Street and London’s global “corporatatorship.”

Image: Khodorkovsky, safely behind bars. In Russia, Wall Street and London’s mafia banksters go to prison.

….

Russia, however, was not entirely defenseless. In a devastating backlash, Khodorkovsky was thrown into a Siberian prison where he remains to this day, while other oligarchs serving Western interests scattered like cockroaches back to London and New York. In a hollow attempt to portray Russia’s efforts to preserve its national sovereignty as “human rights abuses,” Wall Street and London assembled a legal defense led by globalist lawyer Robert Amsterdam, who while still representing Khodorkovsky, is also defending another loser in Wall Street’s game to place their puppets in positions of power around the globe, Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand.

Most recently, as Russia’s elections approach, AFP has claimed that NGOs such as US NED-funded Golos and New Times’ slon.ru, which regularly features columns by the now jailed and above mentioned Khodorkovsky, were attacked in order to prevent the exposure of “mass election fraud.” Why opposition groups and foreign-funded NGOs who have a direct vested interest in preventing Putin’s United Russia Party from obtaining a clean victory at the polls, should be trusted to reveal “mass election fraud” in the first place, is never quite explained by AFP.

NED’s official website lists an astounding number of meddlesome NGOs conducting activities across the Russian Federation that no American in their right mind would allow on US soil. Golos is just one of many NGOs funded by the United States government, overseen by the US Embassy in Russia, and used to meddle in the sovereign internal affairs of their nation.

AFP reported, “Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose United Russia party has won Sunday’s polls but with a reduced majority, has denounced non-governmental organisations like Golos, comparing them to the disciple Judas who betrayed Jesus.” And indeed, Golos is certifiably betraying the Russian people by taking foreign money and pursing a foreign agenda, masquerading as “pro-democracy” crusaders.

Golos’ activities, mirroring those in the US-engineered Arab Spring, include an online “Map of Violations” site detailing “claims” of fraud across Russia, in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of upcoming elections Putin and is party are predicted to easily win. Golos’ Liliya Shibanova described their “Map of Violations” project as being a place where people could upload any information or evidence of election violations. This, being far from actual evidence, again mirrors the same tactics of manipulating public opinion in the midst of uprisings around the world, fueled by identical foreign-funded organizations where baseless claims of abuse, violence, and “human rights” violations made up the entirety of accusations then used by Western governments to diplomatically and militarily (in the case of Libya and now Syria) pressure targeted nations.

As in Belarus, where the the vice president of NED-funded FIDH, and ring leader of foreign-funded sedition within the Eastern European country, was imprisoned for over 4 years, in Russia, the government is openly exposing the enemy by name. This has also happened in Malaysia, where the ruling government has outed the “Bersih Clean and Fair Elections” movement as a conspiracy of foreign-corporate-financier interests aimed at destabilizing the country and installing a more favorable, proxy regime led by IMF minion Anwar Ibrahim.

Russian Subversion Coordinated by US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul.

Russia would also wisely turn their attention to the US Embassy and recently confirmed Ambassador Michael McFaul, who serves on the board of directors of Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy, both now implicated in directly interfering in Russia’s sovereign affairs.

Photo: Michael McFaul, confirmed in November as US Ambassador to Russia, immediately set out to work, not to represent the interests, aspirations, and good will of the American people, but to execute the agenda of corporate-financier oligarchs, who in October sang praises regarding his accomplished background in foreign agitation and the possibilities his presence in Russia could yield. It also should be noted that McFaul is a Senior Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, fully funded by the Fortune 500, Soros’ Open Society, and other corporate-funded foundations.

….

It was warned during October 2011 in “Agitator Nominated for Next US “Ambassador” to Russia,” as corporate-financier interests voiced their recommendations for McFaul that:

“The Brookings Institution recently published a “letter of recommendation” of sorts for McFaul, titled, “Give the Next Russian Ambassador a Powerful Tool to Guard Human Rights.” Already out of the gates, the article is disingenuously using the concept of “human rights” to leverage US interests over Russia. Written by Brookings’ own arch-Neo-Conservative Robert Kagan and Freedom House President David Kramer, the piece begins by immediately calling on the US Senate to confirm McFaul.

Kagan and Kramer claim the US should then arm McFaul with a bill to “sanction” Russian officials accused of “human rights abuses.” Judging from previous US-Russian relations, and in particular, Robert Amsterdam’s transparent, almost cartoonish crusade for his jailed client, Mikhail Khodorovsky, it can be assumed these “abuses” are referring to the jailing of political operatives for grave criminal activities while in the process of serving US corporate-financier interests.

The Brookings piece goes on to enumerate McFaul’s “merits” which include, “democracy promotion” (read: extraterritorial meddling), meeting with “civil society” representatives both in Russia and in neighboring nations (read: conspiring with US-funded NGOs and political opposition leaders), as well as having a good rapport with Russian opposition activists operating in Washington. Brookings notes in particular how important it is to have McFaul in Russia, on the ground to give his “assessment” of up-coming Russian elections. Unspoken, but sure to trickle through the headlines in coming months will be McFaul’s “democracy promotion” on behalf of select opposition parties in Russia’s political landscape.

As if to alleviate any doubt regarding just what Brookings means by “human rights abuses,” Kagan and Kramer then cite the case of UK financier operative Sergei Magnitsky of Hermitage Captial Mangement, an enterprise that while operating primarily in Russian markets, maintained its headquarters in the Cayman Islands.

Magnitsky was arrested and imprisoned over tax evasion and tax fraud, and would die of illness while in prison. The US and UK would predictably trump up the circumstances surrounding the death of Magnitsky, with corporate foundation-funded Redress (page 28) of the UK submitting a “report” to the UN in yet another classic example of leveraging issues of “human rights” against a target nation to serve Western interests. This is but a taste of what is to come with McFaul presiding over the next leg of Anglo-American global destabilization.

Brookings’ Kagan and Freedom House’s Kramer have nominated McFaul with the intention of further meddling in Russia’s sovereign affairs, as well as destabilizing its neighbors in a bid to hedge Russia’s reemergence as a sovereign world power, or perhaps even in an attempt to play a grand strategy of global tension, forcing the besieged developing world to consolidate under the West’s more overt attacks, only for the “union” to be co-opted and integrated into the Wall Street-London “international order” at a later point in time. Either way, McFaul does not represent the ideals, principles, or laws of the American people or the US Constitution, nor does he represent universal values of respecting national sovereignty.

His confirmation by the US Senate will indicate duplicity amongst the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and a further divergence between their actions and the will and aspirations of the American people who put them in office. McFaul represents a corporate-financier elite and their agenda of building an “international order” (read: empire) at the cost of yet more American treasure and lives, leaving an immensely wealthy elite lording over a destitute American majority.

By exposing both McFaul’s true “credentials” and intentions, as well as who he really works for and why, and by systematically boycotting and replacing the consumerist troughs that fuel this corporate-financier oligarchy we can rectify this obvious and ever-expanding divergence between what is best for America and what is pursued by the oligarchs that presume dominion over us.”

Russia and a growing number of other nations are openly exposing and holding accountable agents of sedition operating in their country, sent and funded by US tax payers’ money. It is time for the other shoe to drop, and for the people of the West to hold their governments accountable. As targeted nations begin exposing and jailing members of this global conspiracy, likewise the West must begin exposing the disingenuous peddlers of this agenda – namely the board of directors and trustees organizing these ploys and dolling out the funds used in this global destabilization, and hold them duly accountable for using tax payers’ money to fund political chaos abroad while economic and social decay consume Americans and Europeans at home.

VIDEO: “Svi na barikade”

December 6th, 2011 by Global Research

Косовска Митровица – Документарни филм „Сви на барикаде“, говори о родољубима из Београда и других места у Србији, као и из дијаспоре, који су 26. и 27. новембра отишли да пруже подршку браниоцима Србије на барикадама на северу Косова и Метохије.

Филм, чији су аутори Џон Боснић и Бранислав Паић, садржи снимке стања на барикадама, као и изјаве многобројних учесника овог подухвата, који су пренели своје утиске са првих линија одбране Србије на Косову и Метохији.

Филм „Сви на барикаде“: