Baroness Warsi the highly regarded, former Conservative Party chairman has indicated, that in a written complaint on January 20th of this year, she drew the attention of her then successor, Grant Shapps, now International Development Minister, to a very serious matter of alleged bullying within the Party and yet no action was taken by the officials concerned notwithstanding the allegedly connected suicide by a young party activist, Elliott Johnson.

David Cameron’s ‘oldest political friend’ Lord Feldman of Elstree, current party chairman; so­-called ‘Tatler Tory’, Robert Halfon deputy chairman, plus former Party organiser and aide, Mark Clarke, in addition to government minister, Grant Shapps, are just some of the other names that have been mentioned in connection with this matter, which it is understood, is now the subject of serious, if belated, official investigation.

It has been reported that the resignation of specific individuals has already been called for, notwithstanding protestations of innocence and the rejections of all allegations currently made.

Mr Cameron is said to be aware of the seriousness of the situation that apparently calls into question his judgement on a number of very important issues related to the alleged bullying, harassment and blackmail that now seemingly taints his administration.

e & o e

‘cabal’ noun

1. a usually secret exclusive organisation of individuals gathered for a political purpose and/or

2. a secret plot

etymology: from the Hebrew ‘Kabbala’ ‘something received’.

synonym: ‘conspiracy’



The Killers Are Everywhere, But Love Endures. Remembering JFK

November 28th, 2015 by Prof. Edward Curtin

I am writing this on the afternoon of the anniversary of the cold-bloodied murder of President John F. Kennedy by a conspiracy organized and led by the CIA on November 22, 1963.

I try to understand these people, how they could so lack human feeling, how they could blow a man’s head apart without hesitation. I can’t. I see his wife and small children at his funeral.

I think of the drone attacks chosen by President Obama that kill so many innocent people. I try to comprehend his heart. I can’t.

I am sickened by the killers everywhere, terrorists of every stripe who have no hesitation at extinguishing lives. I keep picturing the young Palestinian boys blown apart on a beach by Israeli soldiers as they kicked a soccer ball. What did those Israeli soldiers feel? What do they feel now? Do they feel remorse? Are they disturbed?

All over the planet, the killers are at their trade. What did those killers feel as they pumped bullets into so many innocents in Paris?

I try to fathom their minds and hearts. The French government, blood dripping from its hands, savages Libya and Syria; the Americans, more countries than I can count. Their leaders give speeches in their crisp shirts and suits; speeches about more killing of those they’ll never see. They seem like zombies to me. How can they do it? Bombs blow up in shopping malls and marketplaces all over the world. Planes with innocents are blown out of the sky. Hooded men execute people. What do the perpetrators feel? I am at a loss as the deadly beat goes on. And I seek hope everywhere.

Do all these killers feel anything? Is it indifference or hate? Am I an innocent who is missing something? I know I am sick at heart.

Here in the United States we live in a systemic bubble of denial, pretending that we, through our government, aren’t killing innocent people throughout the world, that we are not a terrorist state, that we have not created terrorists by our systematic violence around the world. We wallow in our innocence and await change through elections. But our elections are about choosing the lesser of two killers.

People talk about elections as if killers weren’t involved. Americans care about their candidates. But what about the victims of their candidates—can they picture them dead? They think the lesser of two evils is not evil, as if Hillary Clinton is different from a Republican rival, Obama different from George W. Bush. All the while we spread deadly violence around the world and create its reciprocation in the process. I think of Fr. Daniel Berrigan’s words after the burning of draft files by the Catonsville Nine on May 17, 1968, to protest the American savagery in Southeast Asia.

Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house. We could not, so help us God, do otherwise. For we are sick at heart; our hearts give us no rest for thinking of the Land of Burning Children. . . . We say: Killing is disorder; life and gentleness and community and unselfishness is the only order we recognize.

And then I think of the lovers. Hope rises in my heart. I need hope. I need the love, as I think you do. I think of all the lovers who have gone before us and the witnesses of abiding faith whose cloud trails behind them. Those who chose life over death, love over killing. Gandhi, King, and all the many other martyrs for love and non-violence. Witnesses all. Those who knew that the circle of violence would remain unbroken until all lovers united in an upsurge of non-violent resistance to the killers everywhere.

I understand the politics of the killers, the political machinations. I know why they kill, but not how they can. Do monsters roam the earth? Where has humanity gone? What are the killers trying to kill—their own deaths?

These thoughts were prompted by remembering JFK and a message sent by a young Parisian, Antoine Leiris. Antoine’s wife was killed by gunmen at the Bataclan concert venue in Paris, leaving him with a 17-month-old son and a grieving heart for the love of his life. Rather than returning hatred to her killers, he penned this extraordinary message on Facebook:

On Friday evening you stole the life of an exceptional person, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred. So no, I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you. You want it, but to respond to hatred with anger would be to give in to the same ignorance that made you what you are. You would like me to be scared, for me to look at my fellow citizens with a suspicious eye, for me to sacrifice my liberty for my security.

You have lost. The player still plays. I saw her this morning. At last, after nights and days of waiting. She was as beautiful as she was when she left on Friday evening, as beautiful as when I fell head over heels in love with her more than twelve years ago. Of course I am devastated with grief; I grant you this small victory, but it will be short-lived. I know she will be with us every day and we will find each other in the heaven for free souls to which you will never have access. Us two, my son and I, we will be stronger than every army in the world. I cannot waste any more time on you as I must go back to [my son] who has just woken from his sleep. He is only just seventeen months old, he is going to eat his snack just like any other day, then we are going to play like every other day and all his life this little boy will be happy and free. Because you will never have his hatred either.

No doubt there are those who will think that those are nice sentiments, but to focus on the response of one Frenchman to his loss is to play into the hands of those in the West who generated the original violence and who are waging a fabricated war on terror to spread their dominion globally. Perhaps some might think that this is Western propaganda aimed at eliciting sympathy for Western Europeans at the expense of the millions who’ve died at the Empire’s hands. I don’t think so. Antoine Leiris’s response is a cri de coeur of such human love and tenderness that it should awaken in us all the urge to turn from hate to love and embrace the only path that will ever end the cycle of violence—non-violent resistance.

Tolstoy put it thus: “As soon as men live entirely in accord with the law of love natural to their hearts and now revealed to them, which excludes all resistance by violence, and therefore hold aloof from all participation in violence—as soon as this happens, not only will hundreds be unable to enslave millions, but not even millions will be able to enslave a single individual. . . . The law of violence is not a law, but a simple fact that can only be a law when it does not meet with protest and opposition.”

The personal is the political. By showing us that love is stronger than hate, that he and his son “will be stronger than all the armies of the world,” Antoine Leiris, one man grieving for his one woman, has sent a universal message that we avoid at our peril.

When thinking about JFK, his love of poetry, and Leiris’s beautiful sentiments, I was reminded of a poem by another Frenchman, Jacques Prevert, the poet beloved by Parisians after the barbarism of WW II. I think he speaks to the deepest part of us all.


This love
So violent
So fragile
So tender
So hopeless
This love
Beautiful as the day
And bad as the weather
When the weather is bad
This love so true
This love so beautiful
So happy
So joyous
And so pathetic
Trembling with fear like a child in the dark
And so sure of itself
Like a tranquil man in the middle of the night
This love that made others afraid
That made them speak
That made them go pale
This love intently watched
Because we intently watch it
Run down hurt trampled finished denied forgotten
Because we ran it down hurt it trampled
it finished it denied it forgot it
This whole entire love
Still so lively
And so sunny
It’s yours
It’s mine
That which has been
This always new thing
And which hasn’t changed
As true as a plant
As trembling as a bird
As warm as live as summer
We can both of us
Come and go
We can forget
And then go back to sleep
Wake up suffer grow old
Go back to sleep again
Awake smile and laugh
And feel younger
Our love stays there
Stubborn as an ass
Lively as desire
Cruel as memory
Foolish as regrets
Tender as remembrance
Cold as marble
Beautiful as day
Fragile as a child
It watches us, smiling
And it speaks to us without saying a word
And me I listen to it, trembling
And I cry out
I cry out for you
I cry out for me
I beg you
For you for me for all who love each other
And who loved each other
Yes I cry out to it
For you for me and for all the others
That I don’t know
Stay there
There where you are
There where you were in the past
Stay there
Don’t move
Don’t go away
We who loved each other
We’ve forgotten you
Don’t forget us
We had only you on the earth
Don’t let us become cold
Always so much farther away
And anywhere
Give us a sign of life
Much later on a dark night
In the forest of memory
Appear suddenly
Hold your hand out to us
And save us.

Edward Curtin is a sociologist and writer who teaches at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and has published widely.

How to Stop Terrorism – Stop Committing It

November 28th, 2015 by David Miller

The first thing for Western nations to do if they want to stop terrorism is to stop committing it. Rendition, torture, selective assassination by drone or hit squad and mass killing of civilians cause terror and create terrorists. We know that Daesh is the progeny of the Blair Government’s disastrous invasion of Iraq.

The architects of that war now admit the Government’s case was based on – at best – a false prospectus. Today, the Government continues to use spin to foster the fear it needs to gain support for military action.

David Cameron claims “all seven terror plots in the UK this year” have been “directed by Isil or inspired by the group’s propaganda”. Look closely, he means terror plots, alleged by the intelligence services to have taken place, details of which have not been made public.

  1. We know that when details of terror plots do emerge, there is evidence that they are not all they are made out to be. Those of us who remember the “ricin plot” will know there was no ricin and no plot. There was a chemical factory in East London which did not exist and the same applied to the alleged “potential Glasgow bomber” of August this year. And look closer: “inspired by the group’s propaganda”. Or, in other words, with no actual connection to Daesh. The manipulative use of language is also evident in the claim that it would be a “publicity coup” for Daesh should MPs make the sensible decision to vote against Cameron’s adventurism.

The idea that the ideology of “Islamic extremism” is what drives Daesh and others is not supported by evidence from the front line. Lydia Wilson of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict at Oxford University reports the experience of interviewing Daesh prisoners in Iraq.

She quotes one who put his reasons for fighting as follows: “The Americans came,” he said. “They took away Saddam, but they also took away our security. I didn’t like Saddam, we were starving then, but at least we didn’t have war. When you came here, the civil war started.”

David Miller is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bath and co-director of Spinwatch

In the spirit of the New Cold War and following on its success in snuffing out South Stream, the US has prioritized its efforts in obstructing Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline, and for the most part, they’ve regretfully succeeded for the time being. The first challenge came from the May 2015 Color Revolution attempt in Macedonia, which thankfully was repulsed by the country’s patriotic citizenry.

Next up on the destabilization agenda was the political turmoil that threatened to take hold of Greece in the run-up and aftermath of the austerity referendum, the ideabeing that if Tsipras were deposed, then Balkan Stream would be replaced with the US-friendlyEastring project. Once more, the Balkans proved resilient and the American plot was defeated, but it was the third and most directly antagonist maneuver that snipped the project in the bud and placed it on indefinite standby.

‘Lucky’ Number Three:

The climactic action happened on 24 November when Turkey shot down a Russian anti-terrorist bomber operating over the Syrian skies, and the nascent project became a victim of the predictable chain reaction of political deterioration between both sides. Given how obvious it was that energy cooperation would be one of the casualties of simmering Russian-Turkish tensions, it stands to reason that the US purposely egged Turkey on in order to provoke this domino reaction and scuttle Balkan Stream. Be that as it may (and it surely looks convincing enough to be the case), it doesn’t mean that the project is truly canceled, as it’s more strategically accurate to describe it as temporarily shelved. Russia understandably doesn’t want to enhance the position of a state that’s proven itself to be so blatantly aggressive against it, but this feeling extends only towards the present government and in the current context. It’s certainly conceivable that a fundamental shift in Turkey’s position (however unlikely that may appear in the short-term) could lead to a détente of sorts that resurrects the Balkan Stream, but a more probable scenario would be if the disaffected masses and/or distraught military representatives overthrew the government.

Turkish Reversal?:

Both of these possibilities aren’t that improbable when one takes note of the growing resentment to Erdogan’s rule and the precarious position he’s placed the armed forces in. It’s well-known how dissatisfied a significantly growing mass of Turks have become (especially amidst an ever-growing Kurdish Insurgency), but what’s less discussed is the strategically disadvantageous situation facing the military right now. As the author wrote about in October, the Turkish forces are spread thin between their anti-Kurdish operations in the broad southeast, securing the heartland from ISIL and extreme left-wing terrorist attacks, occasional interventions in Northern Iraq, and remaining on alert along the Syrian border. This state of affairs is already almost too much for any military to handle, and one of the last things that its responsible leaders need right now is to balance against an imaginary and completely unnecessary Russian ‘threat’ cooked up by Erdogan. This pressure might prove to be too much for them, and in the interests of national security and properly fulfilling their constitutional role in safeguarding the territorial integrity of the state, they might band together in overthrowing him in spite of the systemic changes he’s enacted in the past decade to defend against such an event.

The Path Forward:

There’s a very real chance that Balkan Stream will be unfrozen and the project allowed to move forward one day, as it’s too strategically important for Russia, and even Turkey, to be kept on the backburner indefinitely. It’s entirely possible that an internal political change will take place in Turkey, be it in the mindset of the current leadership or more likely with the installment of a new revolutionary/coup government, meaning that it’s much too premature for Russia or the US to give up on their respective policies towards Balkan Stream. Therefore, both Great Powers are proceeding forward with a sort of geopolitical insurance strategy, and in each case, it’s centered on China’s Balkan Silk Road.

From the American perspective, the US needs to continue unabated with the destabilization of the Balkans, since even if the Russian project is successfully stopped, then it still needs to do the same thing to China’s. So long as the Balkan Silk Road continues to be built, then Russia will retain a multipolar magnet through its premier strategic partner on which it can concentrate the influence that it’s cultivated thus far. In the event that Balkan Stream is unfrozen, then Russia can immediately jump back into the mix as if it never left and rejoin strategic forces with its Chinese ally like it originally planned, and this nightmare scenario is why the US is resorting to Hybrid War in its desperate bid to destroy the Balkan Silk Road.


As has already been similarly mentioned, the Russian approach is to focus more on the economic, military, and political diversifications that were supposed to accompany the energy-based physical infrastructure it was planning to build. Instead of the gas pipeline forming the spine of a New Balkans, it looks as though the Balkan Silk Road high-speed rail will take this role instead, but either way, there’s a multipolar megaproject that acts as a magnet for Russian influence. In the present configuration, Russia has relatively less influence in directly deciding the course of the infrastructure’s construction, but at the same time, it becomes indispensable to China.

Beijing has close to no preexisting ties with the Balkans outside of purely economic relations (and even those are relatively new), so Russia’s privileged involvement in supporting the project and investing along the Balkan Silk Road route (which was supposed to run parallel with the Balkan Stream and bring in the said investment anyhow) helps to reinforce regional and local support for it by presenting a friendly and familiar face that decision makers are already accustomed to working with. It’s not to suggest that China can’t build the project on its own or that there isn’t legitimate support in the Balkans for such an initiative, but that Russia’s front-row participation in it reassures the local elite that a civilizationally similar and ultra-influential partner is there alongside them and is also placing visibly high stakes in the process out of a show of confidence in its hopeful success.

Beijing Is The Balkans’ Last Hope

It’s thus far been established that the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership intended to revolutionize the European continent with an infusion of multipolar influence along the Balkan Corridor, which was supposed to support Balkan Stream and the Balkan Silk Road. Regretfully, however, the US has temporarily succeeded in putting the brakes on Balkan Stream, thus meaning that the Balkan Silk Road is the only presently viable multipolar megaproject envisioned to run through the region. On that account, it’s China, not Russia, which is carrying the torch of multipolarity through the Balkans, although Beijing is of course partially depending on Russia’s established influence there to help secure their shared geostrategic objective and assist in making it a reality. At any rate, the Balkan Silk Road is arguably more important than the Balkan Stream for the time being, and as such, it’s worthy to pay extra attention to its strategic details in order to better grasp why it represents the Balkans’ last multipolar hope.

Institutional Foundation:

The concept for the Balkan Silk Road was a couple of years in the making, and it owes its genesis to China’s One Belt One Road (“New Silk Road”) policy of constructing worldwide connective infrastructure. This endeavor was thought up in order to solve the dual problems of creating opportunities for Chinese outbound investment and complementarily assisting geostrategic regions in their liberating quest to achieve multipolarity. Relating to the area under study, the Balkan Silk Road is the regional manifestation of this ideal, and it’s actually part of China’s broader engagement with the Central and Eastern European countries.

The format for their multilateral interaction was formalized in 2012 under the first-ever China and Central and Eastern European Countries (China-CEEC) Summit in Warsaw, and the event two years later in Belgrade produced the idea for a Budapest-Belgrade-Skopje-Athens high-speed rail project (the author’s colloquial description of which is the Balkan Silk Road) aimed at deepening both sides’ economic interconnection. The 2015 Summit in Suzhou produced a medium-term agenda for 2015-2020, which among other things, proposes the creation of a joint financing firm to supply credit and investment funds for this and other projects. It also officially described the Balkan Silk Road as being the “China-Eurasia Land-Sea Express Line” and suggested that it be integrated into the New Eurasian Land Bridge Economic Corridor sometime in the future, implying that Beijing would like to see the countries cooperative more pragmatically with Russia (first and foremost in this case, Poland). Importantly, Xinhua reported that the participants agreed to complete the Budapest-Belgrade stage of the project by 2017.

Strategic Context:

What all of this means is that China has accelerated its diplomatic, economic, and institutional relations with Central and Eastern Europe in the space of only a couple of years, astoundingly becoming a premier player in a region located almost half the world away from it and partially a formal component of the unipolar bloc. This can be explained solely by China’s attractive economic appeal to the CEEC that transcends all sorts of political boundaries, as well as to the complementary ambition that the East Asian supergiant has in deepening its presence worldwide.

Together, these two factors combine into a formidable component of China’s grand strategy, which strives to use inescapable economic lures in leading its partners (especially those representing the unipolar world) along the path of tangible geopolitical change over a generational period. To refer back to the Balkan Silk Road, this represents Beijing’s primary vehicle in achieving its long-term strategy, and the geo-economic rationale for how this is anticipated to function will be explained in the below section. Before proceeding however, it’s relevant to recall what was referenced earlier about the US’ hegemonic imperatives, since this explains why the US is so fearful of China’s economic engagement with Europe that it plans to go as far as concocting destructive Hybrid Wars to stop it.

Geo-Economic Underpinnings:

The geo-economic justification for the Balkan Silk Road is evident, and it can be easily explained by examining the larger Central and Eastern European area that it’s envisioned to connect. The Southeastern European peninsula directly segues into each of these two regions, and the Hungarian hub of Budapest is geographically located in the center of this broad space. As it presently stands, there’s no reliable north-south corridor linking Hungary and the markets around it (namely Germany and Poland) to the Greek Mediterranean ports, thus meaning that Chinese maritime trade with these leading economies must physically circumnavigate the breadth of the entire European peninsula. The Balkan Silk Road changes all of that and cuts out days of unnecessary shipping time by bringing Central and Eastern European goods to the Greek port of Piraeus and within convenient reach of Suez-crossing Chinese vessels. This saves on time and money, thus making the route more profitable and efficient for all parties involved.

In the future, the Central and Eastern European economies could ship their goods through Russia en route to China via the Eurasian Land Bridge, but while that might be beneficial from the perspective of producer-to-consumer relations, it’s hardly advantageous for resellers who plan on re-exporting the said goods elsewhere in the world. To take advantage of the dynamic economic developments currently underway in East Africa and South Asia (be it in selling to those markets or in physically building up a presence there), it’s best for either party’s entrepreneurial actors to connect with one another at a maritime node that enables them to efficiently and quickly load or offload their predetermined transshipped goods. Geo-economically speaking, there’s no better place for this than Piraeus, as it’s the closest European mainland port to the Suez Canal which needs to be traversed in order to access the aforementioned destinations, with or without any transshipping involved (i.e. if EU entrepreneurs decide to directly export their goods there and not use a Chinese middleman).

In order to connect to Piraeus, the high-speed rail corridor known as the Balkan Silk Road is an infrastructural prerequisite, and its successful completion would lead to a significant sum of European trade being profitably redirected towards China and other booming non-Western locations like India and Ethiopia. The US fears losing its position as the EU’s top trading partner, knowing that the slippery strategic slope that could soon follow might lead to the rapid unraveling of its hegemonic control.

Viewed from the reverse perspective, the Balkan Silk Road is the EU’s last hope for ever having a multipolar future independent of total American control, which is why it’s so geopolitically necessary for Russia and China to see the project completed. The inevitable New Cold War clash that this represents and the extraordinarily high stakes that are involved mean that the Balkans will remain one of the main flashpoints in this dangerous proxy struggle, despite the hierarchical switch of its multipolar protagonists.

Andrew Korybko is the American political commentaror currently working for the Sputnik agency.  This posting is a select chapter from his second book that will focus on the geopolitical application ofHybrid Wars. The chapter was updated to reflect the latest news about Turkish Stream’s apparent suspension.

The end of the negotiations on the principal points of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), after six years of negotiation and two additional years for its complete consolidation, marks a new configuration of free trade zones in 2015. The free trade zones currently under negotiation do not only consist in the elimination of commercial barriers, but also represent economic wars between the big powers led by the United States and China that will define the new world order.

The North American strategists moved forward in the economic containment of China in Pacific-Asia, excluding China from the TPP which would be the free trade zone with the biggest flows of trade and international investment. The support of the strategic allies of Washington in Southeast Asia was decisive in order to finalize the negotiations of the TPP, but the price paid by the US strategists was to cede part of the US market to the Asian countries, opening up an economic conflict between Asia and Latin America.

Thus, the members of the Pacific Alliance who are part of the TPP will be the principal competitors in the new economic competition with the Asian countries, dominating significant portions of the US market. The strategy of the members of the Pacific Alliance was to join the TPP to defend the US markets dominated by their transnational companies, meaning that the impact on their economic growth will be too weak, situated in a range between 0.8% and 1.5% during the first years.

The economic struggle precipitated by the US market intimidates the transnational companies of the Pacific Alliance, given the economic strength of the Asian corporations and the strategic relation that they maintain with China. The Asian companies possess strategic natural resources produced by state companies, well administered by the Asian authorities, a factor that makes them serious rivals to dispute new markets.

In consequence, the member countries of the Pacific Alliance asked for the suppression of export subsidies, preferential credits and state support in order to weaken companies belonging to the Asian states [1]. The response of the Asian members was that they can bring on the elimination of state support in non-strategic sectors but they then ask that their state companies, with greater levels of competitiveness and income, remain outside the rules of the TPP.

The discourse of the Latin American negotiators has two sides since they exert pressure to impose intellectual property rights on various sectors (pharmaceutical, biological, agro-chemical) in order to counter the competition that their big companies face in the creation of technological innovations [2]. The result of the negotiations on intellectual property rights takes into account the demands of the Asian negotiators who hope to obtain transition periods before the application of measures tied to the protection of technologies of multinational companies.

The transition periods for intellectual property rights will allow the Asian members to realize large inversions in strategic sectors that reinforce their technological innovation before they have to compete with the transnational companies of the Pacific Alliance [3].The members of the Pacific Alliance are preparing a counteroffensive to the technological innovations given that they can implement procedures to shorten the transition periods and the application of property rights with which they can attack the Asian companies without mechanisms of defense and protection.

On the other hand, the strong investments of China to the benefit of Asian companies will be the weapon deployed to definitively defeat the Pacific Alliance with the regional financial initiatives of the Asian Investment Bank and the Development Bank of BRICS. The investments coming from the regional financial initiatives will concentrate on the construction of large works of infrastructure that will strengthen the value chains of the Asian continent, which will end up establishing even closer economic relations of the Asian countries with China.

The deepening of Asian integration will ensure high competitiveness of Asian exports given that the goods produced will utilize a great variety of inputs from China with extremely low costs. Nevertheless, the rules of origin already present in the free trade agreements with the United States favor the Pacific Alliance, since they stipulate that preferential customs duties will be applied to products whose inputs come from countries that are part of the free trade zone.

The offensive of the Asian members was quick to follow, demanding that the institutional framework of the TPP would function in accord with a new commercial principal that accepts inputs of commercial partners from outside the economic community but demands a certain minimal percentage of regional content in the goods produced [4]. The response of the Latin American countries was to increase the minimal percentage of regional content in order to resist the competitiveness of products coming from China, but they ended up leaving out some of their sectors that import an enormous quantity of products.

On the other hand, the disadvantage for the Asian members is that the investments of China do not go beyond the regional borders of Asia to cover European markets through the construction of the maritime route from China to Europe through the countries of Southeast Asia, due to territorial disputes against China. The member countries of the Pacific Alliance will be forced to find new markets due to the disadvantage of the Asian countries but their conquest will demand greater investments under different conditions than those received in the free trade agreements.

The greater financing will come from the United States that maintains a strategic relationship with the members of the Pacific Alliance as their principal international investor but will end up obliterating their national sovereignty in the economic and financial plane. The new rules referring to investment flows among members of the TPP will not allow for public policies that support economic growth, regulate the main economic activities and stimulate the creation of jobs with high cost economic sanctions applied by international tribunals [5]. The interests of Washington’s foreign companies are concentrated in the greater extraction of profits in the big companies of the Pacific Alliance, a factor that is not compatible with the increase of competitiveness of strategic sectors and with the ability to dispute markets with the Asian corporations.

On the other hand, the foreign policy of China tends to promote the industrial development of Asian countries, signing bilateral free trade agreements, pacts of joint financing of infrastructure, agreements for the mobility of the work force in order to convince them to strengthen their relationships with China. In addition the sources of finance of the Asian countries will be diversified with Chinese investment that will rival that of the United States and will establish a zone of reference in order to counter the attacks of international tribunals manipulated by Washington.

The absence of strategic allies on the part of the members of the Pacific Alliance will facilitate the onslaught of US companies that will take advantage of the unfavorable position of the Latin American countries against the decisions of international tribunals. The work force of companies of the Pacific Alliance will lose out on better labor positions in their wage levels, social benefits and state protection in order to promote international competitiveness and increase their profits with the possible loss of markets in the United States.

On the other hand, the Asian countries of the TPP can also count on a financial centre based in Singapore that can channel investments from advanced economies to invest massively in emerging Asian countries. The loans of Asian banks will multiply exponentially in the Asia-Pacific region creating various areas of cooperation with the support of infrastructure projects, the promotion of the use of local currencies and the application of regional financial norms [6].

On the contrary, the members of the Pacific Alliance will continue to situate themselves in a financial structure that is highly dependent on domination by transnational banks, anchored in the dollar in order to finance their investment projects and unregulated in opting for the application of international financial norms.The US aspiration to regulate the investment flows in the financial sector of the members of the TPP under the domination of the dollar and the norms of financial deregulation will make the financial fortress of the Asian members disappear and give the members of the Pacific Alliance a chance to dismantle their financial structure.

To resume, the significant absence of regulatory mechanisms in the free trade zone of the TPP may unleash an economic struggle that could lead to the unravelling of the less competitive and more vulnerable sectors in the face of the employment of destructive arms between Asia and Latin America.

Translation: Jordan Bishop


[1] Congressional Research Service. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Negotiations. Publication date: 20/03/2015.

[2] Wikileaks. Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. Publication date: May, 2015.

[3] Public Citizen. TPP Transition Periods on Pharmaceutical Intellectual Property Rules. Publication date: 09/10/2015.

[4] New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade. Rules of origin and Origin procedures of TPP. Publication date: November, 2015.

[5] Wikileaks. Analysis of Leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership Investment Text. Publication date: 25/03/2015.

[6] Bank for International Settlements. The rise of regional banking in Asia and the Pacific. Publication date: September, 2015.

Ulises Noyola Rodríguez collaborator of the postgraduate division of economics of UNAM in Mexico


On Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron stood up in Parliament and told all the MPs how very important it was that the United Kingdom joined the orgy of bombing Syria. He is closely following Tony Blair’s path to Iraq, using fear of ‘terrorism’, exaggerating so-called ‘intelligence’ and wanting desperately to be seen as a tough leader. In a few days MPs will hold a vote on this and he’s sent them all home to ‘think it over’ during the weekend.

There are many reasons why Members of Parliament should not vote in favour of bombing Syria. The most obvious reason is that it would simply be immoral, if only because totally innocent civilians would be killed, injured, maimed, made homeless, parentless or childless. But ‘voting with your conscience’ often seems to include military might.

Those who favour military action will immediately talk about precision targeting, an impossibility where missiles and bombs are concerned. On a drone operator’s screen or in a smaller screen in a fighter jet way up in the air, you cannot guarantee that the building is empty of people, or that the ‘terrorist’ base only houses militants. Where people are, there will necessarily also be civilians, supposedly protected by international law.

And there is the temptation to use too much of the power at your disposal, like the Americans using a Cruise missile to ‘take out’ a Taliban leader travelling in a car through an Afghan market square. Just possibly the ‘intelligence’ was correct and the said Taliban leader was blown to bits. The other shredded people are just ‘collateral damage’. But – a whole Cruise missile to assassinate one man?

Another reason is that joining in the bombing crusade would make it more likely that Britain would suffer retaliatory attacks on its home soil. This is not something most MPs want to consider. They will go on denying that the West’s violent interference in the Middle East and other majority Muslim states has caused much of the terrorism they say bombing Syria will protect us from. But few politicians like to take responsibility for past actions.

And make no mistake, the word ‘crusade’ is an apt one for that is certainly, initiated by George W Bush, what the West is fighting. So too is IS/Daesh/ISIS/ISIL. When they first appeared on the horizon their stated aim was to reach back into the origins of Islam and create a grand caliphate. And why do you think one of their names is ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant? The Levant is what the medieval Crusaders called the Middle East.

Where are the MPs who are wise enough to bring an end to this silliness? But no, they’ll happily swallow David Cameron’s ‘intelligence’ that claims there are 70,000 ‘moderate’ rebels in Syria, a figure disputed by all those better informed about the region than Cameron. I suppose we should be glad he has not yet told us ISIS can reach us in 45 minutes.

He speaks of the ‘rebels’, but as almost all the fighters have come from other countries (the majority apparently from Europe), they really can’t be said to be rebelling against a government that is not theirs. Nor is it, as he claims, a ‘civil war’, the whole sorry mess having been engineered by William Roebuck from inside the US Embassy in Damascus back in 2006 because, according to Roebuck, President Assad was too popular, not just in Syria but in “the region”, all fully documented in the leaked cables between Damascus and Washington.

Then there are legal reasons why the UK should not bomb Syria. Cameron has repeatedly insisted that ‘Assad must be removed’. But President Assad is the democratically elected leader. Despite the difficulties an election was held last year and delegates from more than 30 countries said the election was “free, fair and transparent” (he had been voted in for a second term back in 2007).

International law has this to say about interfering in another state’s business or removing its leader:

1970 UN Declaration on Principles of International Law’ Point 6;

“No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. Consequently armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements are in violation of international law.”

That is clear enough. The UK was illegal in Afghanistan, illegal in Iraq, illegal in Libya and now it wants to be illegal in Syria too. The US and France are illegally acting in Syria. ISIS and all the other ‘rebel’ fighters are there illegally. Apart from Syria’s own military forces, the only forces that have a legal presence there are the Russians and the Iranians – because President Assad invited them.

We also cannot wage ‘war’ on terrorists. Terrorism is not an act of war but a crime which, legally, the police should deal with, not armies. Cameron claims that bombing Syria (an act of war upon another state) will “keep our country safe”. But one state can only go to war with another state if that state has physically attacked the first. Syria has attacked no one, for which good and neighbourly policy it is being bombed out of existence.

Further, we would, according to him, be ‘defending our values’. Cameron’s big on British values. I presume that includes the ability to bomb other countries and their poor terrified civilians. That is a value I for one can do without.

Cameron is also relying heavily on the UN Resolution recently passed that “ urges UN member states to take all necessary measures to combat ISIL/Daesh in Iraq and Syria because of the unprecedented threat it represents to international peace and security.” However, ‘all necessary measures’ does not automatically authorise military force; that needs a Chapter VII Resolution. It would not make UK airstrikes legal. But this is not the first, sixth, or twentieth time that our leaders have demonstrated how little they care for law.

And when will ‘all necessary measures’ include such things as diplomacy rather than turkey-strut braggadacio? Why should bombing be the one and only option? What good has bombing ever done, except to cause damage and grief?

For there are hundreds, no, many thousands of reasons why MPs should vote against bombing Syria – the countless children in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria, damaged by the West’s ‘precision targeting’. You can see some of them here, illustrating a song called Somewhere in Baghdad.* and it will tear your heart out.

Whatever else you do in the next few days, persuade your MPs, whatever their party, to watch this video. It will only take 4 precious minutes of their time, and if it doesn’t convince them that we must not bomb, then quite frankly, they are not fit to represent us.

* This song is part of a CD titled Not in Our Name, and it will be released on December 10. It came out of a ‘Project for Christmas’ organised by members of the Impeach Tony Blair Facebook Group. The writers, singers, musicians and everyone else who helped create this CD freely gave their time and talent and paid for the production of the album. All the proceeds will go to Blair’s victims in Iraq.


As reported two days ago, one of the first decisions a very angry Russia took in the aftermath of the shooting down of its Su-24 by a Turkish F-16 was to dispatch a Moskva guided-missile cruiser off the coast of Syria to provide air cover for its jets operating near Latakia, as well as send an unknown number of ultramodern S-400 (or SA-21 Growler in NATO designation) SAM batteries to Latakia to make sure that the tragic incident from Tuesday never repeats itself by sending Turkey a very clear message that the next time a Turkish warplane engages a Russian jet, Russia will immediate retaliate using ground forces.

Earlier today, Russia made a very explicit demonstration of the deployment of at least two S-400 batteries at Syria’sKhmeimim airbase, with the Russian Ministry of Defense promptly publicizing the arrival with the following clip.

With a range of 250 miles, the S-400 could easily strike Turkish targets, and as the map below shows, Russia could even take down targets over northern Israel. As cited by the Independent, Nick de Larrinaga, Europe editor of the defense magazine IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, said it would be “a significant increase” in the reach of Russian air-defense capacities. “The message that the Russians are trying to send is that they’re capable of defending themselves in Syria, should the situation escalate.”

Needless to say, the US was not enthused and earlier today the US embassy in Moscow said that the “Russian deployment of the S-400 air-defense system to Syria won’t aid the fight against the Islamic State, with the US diplomat adding that the US is hopeful Russia won’t use the system to target planes flown by international coalition since Islamic State doesn’t have air force.” Clearly a warning to Putin not to dare use the rockets against Turkish (or other coalition) jets.

So what is Putin’s intention by escalating the military deployment of Russian weapons in Syria? Conveniently he explained his thinking just a few hours ago during his press conference with Francois Hollande. In answering a question by a reporter from French Le Monde, Putin said the following:

 The S-400 is an air defense system. The reason we didn’t have the system in Syria is because we thought our planes were flying at high enough altitudes where a terrorist could not reach them; they don’t have weapons capable of downing our planes at the altitude of over 3 or 4 thousand meters. And We could never think that we could be stabbed in the back by a country we regarded as our ally. Our planes operated at altitudes of 5-6,000 meters and were completely unprotected against potential attacks from fighter jets – we could never imagine that that could be possible otherwise we would deploy such systems in the area protecting our bombers  against possible attacks.

We never did it because we regarded Turkey as our friend, we never expected an attack from that side.This is why we regard this attack as that of a traitor. But now we that this is possible, and we have to protect our planes. This is why we deployed a modern system, the S-400, it has a pretty long range and it’s one of the most effective systems of this kind in the world. We will not stop there: if we have to we will also deploy our fighter jets in the area.

Bottom line: another direct engagement by a Turkish fighter will be its last, and in fact now that Russia is prepared we would not be at all surprised to see Russia cross into Turkish airspace on purpose just to provoke Erdogan to repeat the events from last week, only this time with the Russian ready and prepared to retaliate to any engagement. In fact, the odds of Russia doing just that in the next few days are especially high.

But while the reason behind the S-400 deployment was largely known to most, where Putin’s press conference took an unexpected detour was what he said just around 20:30 in, when in not so many words, Putin effectively accused the US of leaking the coordinates of the Russian plane to Turkey, which was merely a hitman acting with the blessing of the Pentagon.

This is what Putin said:

 We told our US partners in advance where, when at what altitudes our pilots were going to operate. The US-led coalition, which includes Turkey, was aware of the time and place where our planes would operate. And this is exactly where and when we were attacked. Why did we share this information with the Americans? Either they don’t control their allies, or they just pass this information left and right without realizing what the consequences of such actions might be. We will have to have a serious talk with our US partners.

In other words, just like in the tragic bombing of the Kunduz hospital by US forces (which has now been attributed to human error), so this time the target was a Russian plane which the US knew about well in advance, was targeted however not by the US itself, but by a NATO and US-alliance member, Turkey.

And while the deployment of the Russian SAM missiles was already known, the real message from today’s presser, the one that will be the topic of a private and “serious talk with Russia’s US partners”, is that Putin indirectly blames Obama for what happened on Tuesday realizing that Erdogan was merely the “executor”, one who is simply motivated to protect his (and his son’s) Islamic State oil routes.

Full press conference below; the discussion of Russia’s S-400 deployment begins 17:30 in:

It’s rare to see physics being used as an effective tool to comment on current events, but astrophysicists Tom van Doorsslaere and Giovanni Lapenta of the Belgian KU Leuven used some simple Newtonian mechanics to show that both the Russian and Turkish accounts of what happened with the downed jet can’t be right.

Using video of the incident and the maps provided by Turkish and Russian officials, they show in a post on a blog run by KU Leuven that what went down couldn’t possibly have happened as both parties present it.

First, the “facts.” The downed jet was shot down by the Turkish military Tuesday because the pilot reportedly ignored several warnings about entering Turkish airspace. Turkish officials say the military warned the jets ten times in a period of five minutes. When these warnings went unheeded, the Turkish prime minister himself gave the command to take the jets down, according to several reports. Both jet fighters were in Turkish airspace for just 17 seconds, Turkish officials say.

And now, the science. In the video of the incident, which was posted online, it can be seen that one of the two jets got hit and starts crashing to the ground. The jet takes approximately 30 seconds to hit the ground. “Because the vertical movement is only dependent on gravity (g=9.81m/s², z=gt²/2), we can calculate that the plane was moving at a height of at least 4500 meters,” the phisicists write in their blog. “That number is consistent with the Turkish statement of the jets being at an altitude of 19,000 feet (5800 meters).”

Map provided by Turkish officials. Image via New York Times

Map provided by Turkish officials. Image via New York Times

On the map provided by Turkish officials, it can be seen that the plane crashed eight kilometers from the place it was hit. The jet traveled those eight kilometers from the time it was hit until the time it crashed. A simple division gives an initial speed of 980 km/h, a perfectly acceptable speed for an aircraft travling at that altitude. So far, so good.

Then, the physicists take that speed and compare it to the distance the jets traveled in Turkish airspace according to the Turkish map, around 2 kilometers. When flying at a speed of 980 km/h, an object would cover that distance in seven seconds, instead of the 17 seconds according to Turkish reports. To cross that distance in 17 seconds, the plane should have been traveling at a meager 420 km/h. The video shows this simply could not be true, if the crash site is accurate. Physics 1, Turkey 0.

The Turkish airforce says it warned the fighter jets ten times in five minutes. In five minutes, an aeroplane traveling at 980 km/h would cross a distance of about 80 kilometers. From these facts, the professors conclude: “How could the Turkish airforce predict that the Russian jets were about to enter Turkish airspace? Military jets are very agile, and in theory the Russian jets could have turned at the last moment to avoid Turkish airspace. The warnings issued to the Russian pilots were mere speculation at the moment they were made.”

According to those facts, the warnings couldn’t possibly have been issued in the time the jets were in Turkish territory. Unless Turkish air controllers can speak impossibly fast, issuing ten warnings in seven seconds seems kinda improbable. Physics 2, Turkey 0.

In issues like these, there’s never one party to blame. This is international geopolitics, a discipline in which the truth is as malleable as Play-Doh.

The map that was spread by Russian officials. Image via Ku Leuven Blogt

The map that was spread by Russian officials. Image via Ku Leuven Blogt

On the Russian map, it can be seen that the plane makes a ninety degree turn after it was hit, which is quite impossible. According to the physicists, the only way this could be achieved is if the momentum of the incoming rocket was so much larger than the momentum of the jet that the latter would be negligible. “A change of course of 90 degrees can only be achieved with an object that’s many times heavier or faster than the jet,” the physicists write. From this we can conclude that the jets were not actively trying to avoid Turkish territory, which is the Russian side of the story. Physics 3, Turkey 0, Russia 0.

You’re free to decide what political conclusions you arrive at with this information. The authors don’t mention the whole political situation, they just focus trying to distill facts out of the observable information: a rare and admirable thing in a time in which almost everything comes with some political spin.

This article originally appeared on Motherboard Netherlands.

State Terrorism: Franco-American Style

November 27th, 2015 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Michel Chossudovsky’s most recent research on the alleged ISIS terror in Paris, as well as the Radisson Hotel terror in Bamako, Mali, is discussed.

Analysis of current state sponsored terror in general, within a larger global geopolitical and economic framework, is addressed.

Topics include

The fundamental contradiction in the official narrative of the War on Terror versus the Islamic State or ISIS;

Islamic State a creation of U.S. intelligence;

The geopolitical agenda; the militarization of Africa; the Berlin Conference in the late 19th century;

Foreknowledge of the Paris terror;

French military escalation against Syria planned before the attacks;

Replication of the 9/11 discourse as a pretext to justify a new wave of bombing against Syria;

Attack by a foreign power justifies a state of war;

The Doctrine of Collective Security, Article 5 of NATO;

The Muslim community subjected to a witch hunt; the criminalization of the state and the financial system;

The end of the French Republic.

Full Transcript of Interview below (scroll down)

Aired: November 25, 2015


This is Guns and Butter.

“But the thing is that to enforce an imperial agenda, you scrap the republic. Now, Julius Caesar understood that perfectly well. I can’t remember the exact quote but he said you don’t build an empire with a republic. I think that in effect that is what’s happening is that the republic is being scrapped. It’s not only being scrapped in France; it’s being scrapped in America.”—Michel Chossudovsky

I’m Bonnie Faulkner. Today on Guns and Butter, Michel Chossudovsky. Today’s show, “State Terrorism : Franco-American Style.”

Michel Chossudovsky is an economist and is the founder, director and editor of the Centre for Research on Globalization based in Montreal, Quebec. He is the author of 11 books including The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, War and Globalization, The Truth Behind September 11th, America’s War on Terrorism and The Globalization of War : America’s Long War against Humanity. Today, we discuss his most recent articles on the alleged ISIS terror in Paris as well as well as the Radisson Hotel terror in Bamako, Mali, a former French colony. We analyze current state sponsored terror in general, within a larger global geopolitical and economic framework.

Bonnie Faulkner : Michel Chossudovsky, welcome.

Michel Chossudovsky : I’m delighted to be on Guns and Butter.

Bonnie Faulkner : On November 13th, 2015 shootings and suicide bombings were staged in five different locales in Paris, the capital of France. One hundred and thirty people were killed. Less than a week after the Paris gun and suicide bomb attacks a group of heavily armed gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali, a former French colony, in which 21 people were killed. There have been a string of recent high profile terror attacks, from bombings in Beirut and the downing of a Russian airliner over the Sinai Desert. Where do you think we should begin in trying to address all of these recent terror attacks?

Michel Chossudovsky : I think there’s a fundamental contradiction in the official narrative both of the United States and, of course, of France and its allies. The United States is leading a war on terrorism which is directed against the so-called Islamic State yet the evidence amply confirms that the Islamic State and the various al Qaeda related terrorist organizations are creations of US intelligence. They’re what are called in intelligence parlance “intelligence assets.”

The other dimension, of course, is that in effect Obama is not waging a campaign against the terrorists because these terrorists are in fact the foot soldiers of the Western Military Alliance in Syria and they are in fact protecting the terrorists. This is amply confirmed and it’s come to our attention since the onset of the Russian bombing, and the Russians are going after the real terrorists.

Click image to order Chossudovsky’s book directly from Global Research 

When an occurrence such as that of Paris or Bamako is presented then to the media or the media analyzes these events, what they do is simply copy and paste the official narrative without presenting an understanding of who is actually behind these terrorist organizations. Almost immediately in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris the French media went into overdrive stating unequivocally – and that was prior to the conduct even of a police investigation – that the Islamic State was indelibly behind these attacks.

Then the president, François Hollande, ordered by decree a national emergency, the suspension of civil liberties, the right to enter homes and arrest people without a warrant, and at the same time he closed down the borders. Now this, as I recall, was announced a few minutes before midnight on November 13th local time, prior to any consultation with his cabinet colleagues. He actually confirmed that the cabinet meeting was to take place subsequently. In his speech he says, “We know who they are.” Immediately the French media says, “This is a French-style 9/11.” In other words, in French it says “Le 11 Septembre à la Française.” Following from that, the official story prevails.

The official story is based, as I mentioned, with a fundamental contradiction. You can’t on the one hand say you’re the victim of Islamic State when, in fact, you’re the creator of Islamic State. It’s a non sequitur. You cannot say that the attacks – and he was very explicit – the attacks were from outside France, from Syria, originating from Syria. You can’t say that the attacks originated from Syria directed against the French republic and at the same time support covertly these same terrorists. There’s ample evidence that not only the United States and its allies have supported the ISIS and its affiliate groups such as the Libya Islamic Fighting Group – so has France – with weapons, with training, with financing and so on.

That is the situation and what the French public and Western public in general have been led to believe is that these terrorists are involved in crimes against humanity without realizing that, in fact, their intelligence services, which are under the auspices of an elected government, are manipulating these terror organizations, are supporting them, are providing them with weapons.

Bonnie Faulkner : You write that the Islamic State, ISIS, the alleged architect of the Paris attacks, was originally an al Qaeda affiliated entity created by US intelligence with the support of Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, ISI, and Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency, GIP. You write that, “From the outset of Obama’s bombing campaign in August/September 2014, the US led coalition has not bombed ISIS rebel positions.” Has the US counterterrorism campaign been fake?

Michel Chossudovsky : Well, absolutely. This is a self-proclaimed counterterrorism campaign, But in effect it is there to justify the bombing of a sovereign country in derogation of international law. The United States has been pressuring the government of Bashar al-Assad to step down. They want regime change and they have not been able to achieve that despite four years of intensive terrorist activities, which they sponsor, on the ground. In the last year, we’re talking about the bombing raid, which has lasted for 13 months or more and which is in effect supporting those terrorist entities.

Now, one can say, well, where do you get the information as to who is behind these terrorists? I can tell you that from day one, in March 2011, the terrorists were sent in with the support of the Western Military Alliance. In fact, this was reported in August 2011 by DEBKA, which is an intelligence online media. I’m not saying that I trust DEBKA but they acknowledged very clearly, and it’s corroborated by other reports, that the initiative of the Western Military Alliance was actually launched by NATO. It consisted in setting up a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Muslim countries, which would then be coordinated by NATO in Brussels and the Turkish high command. That is exactly what has happened.

It took a long time for Western public opinion to actually even realize that the so-called opposition forces against the government of Bashar al-Assad were actually terrorists. Then, when these atrocities were committed they’ll say invariably – and they probably still do – the Western media will accuse Bashar al-Assad of killing his own people.

Well, we have enough information to know that this so-called war on terrorism is fake. The United States and its allies are involved in a criminal undertaking in violation of international law against a sovereign country. It’s geopolitics, it’s economic conquests, and they’re using the war on terrorism as a pretext. Now the bombing campaign is really in response to the fact that government forces in 2014 actually had managed to pacify a large part of Syrian territory and the terrorist pockets had been eliminated, so they initiated the bombing campaign and then they fast-tracked the recruitment and training of terrorists out of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and so on, so forth.

All of this is known and the thing is that the Western media will actually acknowledge the fact that Turkey is responsible for this, that and the other, that Saudi Arabia, we can’t trust them; they’re supporting the terrorists. Qatar’s supporting the terrorists. But, of course, the Western countries are not supporting the terrorists even though their allies are obeying orders. Qatar is not really a country; it’s a proxy state in the Persian Gulf. It obeys orders. There’s a whole series of military and intelligence bases there close to Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Saudi Arabia’s the same. These are countries which are aligned with Washington. They receive military aid. They are told what to do. Historically, going back to the Soviet-Afghan War, we know that Pakistan’s military intelligence, Inter-Services Intelligence, ISI, and its Saudi counterparts were funding this operation, they were recruiting the terrorists. It’s corroborated by Brzezinski and so on so forth. All this is known and the CIA does not deny it. What they say, of course, is that in the wake of the Cold War they ceased their relationship with al Qaeda and then al Qaeda turned against us so to speak.

This is absolute nonsense because I can tell you, for one thing, the actual terrorists continue to be trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In fact, the proclaimed architect of the bombing of the hotel in Bamako, Belmokhtar, was recruited by the CIA in 1991. The Soviet-Afghan War was already over, the Cold War was over, and the CIA was continuing to recruit these people.

Who were they recruiting?

They were recruiting potential intelligence assets which could then be deployed in a number of countries – The former Soviet Union, of course the Russian Federation, Chechnya but also in the Middle East. It just so happens that BelMokhtar was trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan by the CIA and then he was sent back in1993 to Algeria. Today he is behind a fraction group of what is called Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, and the operation which was launched in Bamako allegedly was undertaken by his group on the one hand and the broader organization, which is called al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, AQIM, which is an affiliate of al Qaeda.

I should mention that AQIM is also very much integrated with the so-called Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which was supported by NATO during the NATO campaign against Libya in 2011, so that NATO supports the Libya Islamic Fighting Group which in effect has more or less merged with AQIM, the architect of the Bamako bombing, this mythical figure, Belmokhtar is actually trained by the CIA.

There’s CIA all over the place, and they cannot deny because the evidence is so compelling, that the intelligence services of Western countries are supporting the terrorists and at the same time, the governments of Western countries are waging a campaign allegedly against the Islamic State when in fact they’re also supporting the Islamic State. They’re using this as a pretext to bomb a sovereign country resulting in tens of thousands of casualties, a refugee crisis, the destruction of entire cities and so on, during a period of four years.

That is the picture and we don’t need to start engaging in any sort of conspiracy theories to underscore the fact that if the intelligence services of France and the United States are supporting ISIS, and ISIS is designated as the threat to the security of the French nation, there’s an obvious contradiction. Because you can’t support the ISIS and then make a speech at 12 :00 at night – I’m talking about President Hollande – and say, ‘We know who they are, they’re attacking us, they’re killing our people.’ I think to put it mildly, President François Hollande has blood on his hands.

I’m speaking with economist and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Michel Chossudovsky. Today’s show, State Terrorism : Franco-American Style. I’m Bonnie Faulkner. This is Guns and Butter. 

Bonnie Faulkner : Now, you’ve been referring to the Bamako, Mali attacks, the most recent terror attacks. News media report that the Bamako terror operation was coordinated by Mokhtar Belmokhtar, whom you have mentioned. What do you think is the significance of the Bamako attacks? And were the Mali attacks, in Bamako, related to the Paris terror? For instance, what was France’s role in the Libyan war and the takedown of Muammar Gaddafi? Is this all related?

Michel Chossudovsky : Let me put it this way. Both the Paris attacks as well as the Bamako attacks have geopolitical implications. First, with regard to Paris it’s worth noting that one week before these attacks occurred the Hollande government had ordered the deployment of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier group to the eastern Mediterranean and this was in support of the alleged campaign against terrorism in Syria. Even before these attacks occurred they’d already been preparing to send this powerful navy and air force deployment to the Middle East in support of Obama’s campaign against the ISIS.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, as we recall, the French air force went in and bombed the alleged headquarters of ISIS. The official declaration from the Ministry of Defence was that they had actually targeted the command posts. We got information from Syria that, in fact, what they targeted were health clinics, a museum and the stadium; in other words, the country’s civilian infrastructure. That has been persistent throughout the last year, since the United States started to bomb Syria.

Now, with regard to Bamako, the geopolitical agenda is essentially to create a pretext and a justification for the intervention of France and the United States in Sub-Saharan Africa. They would be directing their actions allegedly, of course, against terror organizations which threaten the partner governments in Africa – which is nonsensical because they control those terror organizations, whether it’s Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb or Boko Haram in Nigeria or the Libya Islamic Fighting Group. All these organizations are “intelligence assets”  and they’re being used to destabilize sovereign countries.

The Bamako attacks will no doubt also be used by France, by the United States to in a sense re-colonize Africa in terms of militarization of the entire continent, the control of the resources, the destabilization of post-colonial society, etc., which they’re doing through various mechanisms. I suspect that the geopolitics underlying the Bamako terror attack is the militarization of Africa. I should mention that USAFRICOM also sent in a contingent into Mali to assist the French and Malian special forces, which stormed the hotel. US Africa Command is the key to this militarization of Africa.

I should mention that François Hollande is in fact a US proxy. He acts on behalf of Washington. He has absolutely no concern in actually protecting the French spheres of influence in West Africa, for instance. The alliance with the United States – and it’s a subordinate alliance; France is a subordinate to Washington – is in fact to pave the way towards the US colonization of the African continent, which historically, as we recall, was really colonized by the Europeans. In the late 19th century they had a conference called the Berlin Conference where they carved up Africa into different sections and then divided the continent, but America was not included in that process.

Now what we see emerging is in fact the displacement of the former colonial powers in Africa. Portugal has already gone and so has Spain and so has Belgium, and France is ultimately being displaced by the United States. Francophone countries are becoming Americanized. The dollar will eventually replace the CFA franc, which is a proxy currency linked to the French treasury but tied into the euro.

I think that is the scenario. It’s the conquest of the African continent, which is supported by the self-proclaimed mandate of the Obama administration to go after the terrorists in Sub-Saharan Africa, Boko Haram, AQIM and so on. They’re doing that in all the various areas where they want to extend their zone of influence.

Of course, in Southeast Asia you have the Jamiya Islami (JI) in Indonesia and Malaysia, and then you’ve got of course various other jihadist organizations in the western part of China which are involved, again, in insurgencies and they’re also supported by Western intelligence via Pakistan’s ISI.

Bonnie Faulkner : It sounds like the United States and France are working very closely together and there is then evidence that French military escalation directed against Syria was planned before the November 13th terrorist attacks. What evidence is there, if any, of official foreknowledge of the Paris terror itself?

Michel Chossudovsky : You’re absolutely right . France has been participating in the bombing raids right from the outset. Ironically, they operate out of the United Arab Emirates, which in fact hosts the terrorist organizations or trains them and so on.

With regard to foreknowledge, I don’t want to necessarily tackle it in those terms but there were certain events which I considered revealing. The fact that about a month and a half before the Paris attacks, there was an article in Paris Match, which is a tabloid, a magazine which is widely read and very authoritative. In this Paris Match report it was stated that within a short period of time there would be an attack. They used the term “9/11 French-style,” “La 11 septembre à la française.” That was, in fact, the title of the article.

The Paris Match on October 2nd predicted a French-style 9/11. They said that the attacks on France will be on a scale comparable to 9/11. They also said that intelligence services fear a 9/11 French-style. Then you ask yourself, what was the purpose of this media report? Is it media disinformation? Is it there to create a hype or create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation prior to the actual events?

Ironically, when the events occurred, the media was actually simply restating what had been said about a month and a half ago. They said ‘this is a terrorist attack similar to 9/11.’ They also pointed immediately, without any evidence, to the fact that these attacks came from Syria. Then, of course, as we recall, subsequently a few days later the French president, after having declared a national emergency, stated “this is an act of war against us” despite the fact that this is not an act of war; it’s simply an event. It’s a terror event, not an act of war. But he said it’s an act of war because we’re being attacked by a foreign power, and that foreign power is allegedly in northern Syria somewhere in Raqqa.

It just so happens that we support these terrorists, but we have to invoke, in a sense, the fact that we’re being attacked from outside so that then we can also then claim with our coalition partners in NATO and the European Union the doctrine of collective security. That’s Article 5 of NATO, which says that an attack against one member of NATO is an attack against all members of NATO. That’s what they invoked on September 12, 2001 in the wake of 9/11, saying that it was an attack against the United States from abroad – although we didn’t witness any Afghani planes in the skies of New York.

They’re doing exactly the same. They’re replicating the 9/11 discourse, the fact that this is an attack from a foreign power; it just so happens that that foreign power is in northern Syria somewhere. They’re using this as a pretext to escalate the war against Syria, not against their proxy terrorists in Raqqa, and to justify a new wave of bombing by coalition forces. I think that is ultimately the agenda.

I’m speaking with economist and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Michel Chossudovsky. Today’s show, State Terrorism : Franco-American Style. I’m Bonnie Faulkner. This is Guns and Butter. 

Michel Chossudovsky : Then they have to confront Russia, because Russia is going after the real terrorist. I think that one of the dimensions of this particular Paris  attack is that they need now a mechanism or a pretext to undermine Russia’s endeavors, which consists essentially in destroying the foot soldiers of the Western Military Alliance, who are the terrorists – these various entities, which are supported covertly by the CIA, by MI6, by Mossad, and which are integrated by special forces in permanent liaison with the Western Military Alliance. These foot soldiers have their commanders and those commanders also liaise with NATO and the United States.

The fact is that Israel is also behind the terrorists and we don’t even need to speculate on that. They’ve actually said that they have a facility in the Golan Heights. They’re bringing wounded terrorists from Syria into the Golan Heights, with hospital facilities. They have Israeli advisors within the terrorist formations and so on. We have photo ops again of Netanyahu with terrorist commanders being given hospital treatment in the Golan Heights.

The issue is that what we’re discussing here will not be given coverage in the mainstream media and the public is drowned with a humanitarian discourse. Innocent people are being killed and it’s those events where terrorists attack innocent people which ultimately create within everybody this feeling of solidarity, this feeling of fear as well. Ultimately, when people die we feel it.

Then what we do is we side with the government. That’s what they’re doing. Everybody’s siding with the French government. Even people who hate François Hollande are siding with the French government because the French government is there to protect them and they are shocked and concerned about the loss of life.

That concept or that procedure there is well entrenched, in fact, in US military doctrine. I should remind listeners of what was called Operation Northwoods. It was during the Kennedy administration. It was a secret plan by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to start killing people in the Miami Cuban community as well as in Washington with a view to justifying a war of retribution against Cuba. I quote from the official document. They said, we kill people in Miami and that creates “a useful wave of indignation” – indignation of US public opinion, which is a normal thing. Everybody has indignation when people are killed.

Then they say, Cuba, Fidel Castro, has attacked America; we have to attack Cuba in retribution. That is the logic of these so-called false flags. The Operation Northwoods documents are there. People can go and consult them, because those secret documents have been declassified after half a century and we know that the US military were contemplating this. It was turned down by Kennedy and it was also turned down by the Defense Secretary McNamara, at the time. In effect, it was a plot from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, no doubt also supported by US intelligence at the time.

Just to mention one further element, the concept is what General Tommy Franks, who was US Central Comand (USCENTCOM)  commander responsible for the invasion of Iraq, called a “terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event,” which results in civilian casualties. He said that in effect these terrorist, massive casualty-producing events constitute an instrument which enables the government to militarize – in this case he was talking about the United States – to militarize the United States and in effect that’s exactly what’s happening in France. The massive, casualty-producing event in Paris is being used as a pretext to declare martial law, to suspend civil liberties. It is what I would call the end of the French Republic. It marks the end of the French republic and the potential transition to a totalitarian regime under the disguise of democracy or representative government.

Bonnie Faulkner : I’m glad you mentioned Operation Northwoods because we are actually recording this interview on November 22nd, which is the 52nd anniversary of the assassination of the president of the United States, John Kennedy. Of course, we have seen endless war ever since. In terms of the media coverage of the Paris terror attacks, it seems like the notion of revenge is being used as a motivating factor. Of course, this is a contradictory claim, right?

Michel Chossudovsky : You know, revenge – an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth – has been with us for several thousand years. You need a pretext to wage war and war in the modern context –and the political leaders know– that war is the ultimate crime under Nuremburg. Whatever the underlying motive, the only war that is allowed is a war of self-defense. You’re allowed to defend yourself against aggression, but under Nuremburg, any act of war against a foreign country is a criminal undertaking.

What these attacks and deaths of civilians are there to perform is to give a mandate to the [US or French] government to initiate a war of retribution against a foreign country – in this case Syria, even though they’re not even saying officially that the Syrian government is behind the terrorists. They’ll probably start saying that at one point – when in fact, we know that Bashar al-Assad has been combating terrorism from mid-March of 2011. It’s been a battle of government forces against terrorism and those terrorists are supported by foreign powers so that certainly Syria can invoke self-defense.

But for France to invoke self-defense on the grounds that it’s been attacked by some elusive entity in northern Syria is far-fetched, but it seems that people are buying it. They’re saying, yes, we have to act, in an act of revenge.

The other dimension is that throughout France the police are on a rampage. We have official figures as to the number of house searches and arrests and so on, but none of those official figures should be actually taken seriously because what’s happening now is that the Muslim community of France, which represents 7.5 percent of the population, is being subjected to a witch hunt, so we’re in a situation which might be called the Spanish Inquisition. I should mention, historically, the French Inquisition of the Middle Age was far worse.

This is an inquisitorial type of situation where you are going after people. The wave of anti-terrorism is coupled with Islamophobia and ultimately it’s quite logical from a geopolitical or economic standpoint to demonize Muslims because it just so happens that the Muslims are the inhabitants of countries which possess the world’s oil reserves.

I’ve made the calculations that up to 65 to 70 percent of the reserves of crude oil – I’m not talking about natural gas or other forms of oil like tar sands – between 65 and 70 percent of crude oil reserves are in Muslim countries, a large part of which is, of course, in that region extending form the tip of Saudi Arabia up to the Caspian Sea Basin. If those countries which have those oil reserves happened to be Buddhist, the whole campaign would be directed against Buddhists. They need to demonize the Muslims as a pretext to wage their battle for oil.

Bonnie Faulkner : And, of course, what begins as a demonization of Muslims, or whatever group, ultimately laps over into everybody else, the population at large. You’ve mentioned the state of emergency that has been declared in France. Drastic police state measures I would assume are a state of such a state of emergency, arbitrary arrests. You mentioned that we’re witnessing an end to the French republic.

Michel Chossudovsky : Absolutely, but the thing is what is implied there is that to enforce an imperial agenda, you scrap the republic. Now, Julius Caesar understood that perfectly well. I can’t remember the exact quote but he said you don’t build an empire with a republic. I think that in effect what’s happening is that the republic is being scrapped. It’s not only being scrapped in France; it’s being scrapped in America.

I just recall that Donald Trump in his election campaign is calling for police state measures directed against every single Muslim in the United States of America and establishing some kind of database to track Muslims in the US.

Now, he was rebuffed by his Republican cohorts but nonetheless, that type of political narrative, which is based on promoting hate, is becoming very popular and the promotion of hate is derived from these mass casualty-producing events by the propaganda, the demonization of Muslims and so on. People are being used to share this divisiveness when, in fact, people around the world, everybody is equal, ultimately. We’re all human beings and we should be in solidarity with one another.

If it weren’t for our leaders who have geopolitical and economic intents of building and extending the empire, most probably we would all be rejoicing together in a multicultural environment. But that’s not happening, and it’s particularly serious in countries like, I’d say, Britain and France. Britain is also becoming very sectarian, and in the United States as well, up to a point.

I’m speaking with economist and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Michel Chossudovsky. Today’s show, State Terrorism : Franco-American Style. I’m Bonnie Faulkner. This is Guns and Butter. 

Bonnie Faulkner : You’ve written that the global war on terrorism is a lie that provides legitimacy to police state measures. What do you think is behind the drive toward creating police states in what we might refer to as former republics?

Michel Chossudovsky : The police state is there to serve economic and geopolitical interests, strategic interests. It’s there to support major corporate interests, the oil companies, the military-industrial complex, the defense contractors, Wall Street. In effect, it’s still profit driven. War is an economic endeavor. War is good for business, so to speak. It provides business to the people that produce the weapons but it also extends the markets worldwide.

Then, of course, initiatives, these so-called trade agreements, TPP and others, are tied into the military agenda. They’re not isolated phenomena. There’s an interface. It’s not by accident that Paul Wolfowitz, for instance, went from the US Defense Department to the World Bank and back and forth and so on. There’s an interface in Washington between the military and civilian entities, between the Treasury and the Pentagon. Then, of course, all these organizations such as the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, are part and parcel of that broader agenda. What it really means ultimately is that politicians are no longer politicians. They’re instruments of lobby groups. I think we understand that. In an American context we understand that. They’re lobby groups which own the politicians.

Then ultimately, those politicians are incited by their corporate sponsors to commit criminal acts.

Obama, in waging a campaign against Syria, is involved in a criminal act. It’s against the law to go and bomb a sovereign country on whatever pretext.

It brings forth the notion of the criminalization of the state, namely the fact that the state is no longer there representing citizens but it’s representing corporations. Those corporations in turn are also involved in criminal undertakings. The financial system is fraudulent; it’s criminalized. They get away with it.

To maintain appearances there’s an occasional lawsuit against Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan Chase but there’s no actual confiscation of financial assets, as occurred let’s say in Iceland where in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis they actually confiscated the assets of one of  banks and now they are actually redistributing the wealth to citizens.

This is a rather unique occurrence. It’s not to say that this means a complete change in structure. But you don’t see governments protecting the rights of citizens against powerful corporations. Corporations are running the world. The trade agreements override the Constitution. We know that.

war on terrorism globalresearch.caThere’s an imperial agenda, which is ultimately an economic agenda. The irony is that the United States has now set up a whole series of alliances with countries which were the victims of US war crimes. I’m thinking of Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia. They’re all allies of the United States and that alliance is now directed against the People’s Republic of China, which constitutes an encroachment to global hegemony.

Click image to order America’s “War on Terrorism”, directly from Global Research

Not to say that China is necessarily an alternative; I don’t think it is. But from a geopolitical standpoint there are certain countries which the United States wants to get rid of including the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, Iran, and, of course, North Korea.

Those are the four countries that are encroachments. There may be others but they’re of less importance.

It’s not by accident that these four countries are being threatened simultaneously. In fact, the US has negotiated an agreement with South Korea which threatens North Korea. I should mention North Korea lost  30 percent of its population during the Korean War and this is something which is well understood, because General Curtis Lemay actually said in a speech we must have killed something of the order of 20 percent and destroyed something like 90 percent of the country’s cities during the bombing raids which they implemented. These atrocities have been committed in various parts of the world – Indonesia – 500,000 to a million so-called communist sympathizers were killed on orders of the CIA. It’s documented because we actually have the declassified documents of the CIA on that event.

I would call this the criminalization of the state. The criminalization of the state is totalitarian because it goes against the rights of citizens. It has an interest in retaining a democratic façade, a two-party system, the institutions of representative democracy. But we know that whoever comes into the White House, whether it’s Hillary or Donald Trump or Jeb Bush, will ultimately be a public relations figureheads who will support dominant economic interests in the United States.

Bonnie Faulkner : You write that, “The evidence amply confirms that while Russia is targeting ISIS strongholds in Syria, the Western Military Alliance is supporting the Islamic State terrorists.” The Russian Federation is bombing ISIS while the Western Military Alliance is supporting the terrorists but publicly, everyone claims to be fighting ISIS. Is there an undeclared war going on between the Russian Federation and the Western Military Alliance?

Michel Chossudovsky : Ultimately, yes there is an undeclared war and it could evolve in different directions, because the Russians are in fact targeting the foot soldiers of the Western Military Alliance and they’re destroying the endeavors of the United States and its intelligence services, its military. Within the ranks of those terror terrorists are Western military advisors. We know that.

But at the same time, the US and its European partners have to play the game, so to speak. They can’t simply say to the Russians, “Well, you’re not actually going after ISIS…” because it’s so obvious even to the broader public that Obama’s campaign has so to speak failed where the Russian campaign, with limited air facilities, in the matter of a few weeks has actually managed to undermine this terrorist presence inside Syria.

The apologists will say – or some people on the Left will say, “Obama’s made a mistake. He screwed up. He doesn’t know how to coordinate these attacks,” etc., etc. as if.

They have these terror terrorists in Toyota pickup trucks. If they’d wanted to eliminate them they could have done it very easily right at the beginning when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq. The purpose was not to destroy them; the purpose was actually to protect them. So the US has been very effective in protecting them and also in dispelling and understanding by public opinion that they actually were involved in supporting the terrorists rather than going after them.

Now, of course, the ball game is different because the Russians are there and ironically, they have established channels of cooperation, let’s say, between France and Russia with regard to counterterrorism. But Putin is a very astute diplomat as well as he’s, of course, former intelligence, a former KGB official, and he knows how to play that kind of game. The Russian media isn’t accusing François Hollande of being complicit of these attacks. Quite the opposite, they’re saying, “Buddy, Buddy.” Putin comes up to François Hollande and says, ‘Let’s cooperate. Let’s collaborate.’ Then Hollande is going to go to Moscow.

That, of course, in a sense may create some divisiveness within the Western Military Alliance. It may also uphold the legitimacy of François Hollande because he’s not being bashed by the Russians, and there’s a very careful game which is ongoing.

But if you look at the broader picture, namely the fact that US-NATO is at Russia’s doorstep in Eastern Europe, in the Baltic states, for instance, both with conventional weapons as well as with the air defense shield.

They say that the defense shield is directed not against Russia but against Iran, which is nonsensical. It’s directed against every single major Russian city, so they’re targeting them.  Then, of course, they’re supporting an illegal government in Ukraine which is integrated by Neo-Nazis. That is ongoing. And they are intent on destabilizing the Russian economy through sanctions, through financial mechanisms. That’s also ongoing.

In turn, what has happened, what has emerged, is that Russia’s actions in the military sphere have shown Americans that ‘we can do what you can do. We have advanced capabilities,’ which everybody knows they have. It is ultimately appears to be the source of tremendous diplomatic embarrassment that the Russians have been able to liquidate the terrorists in a matter of months and the United States has been so inept – But in fact, they haven’t been inept because they never intended to actually go after the terror terrorists.

Bonnie Faulkner : Michel Chossudovsky, thank you very much.

Michel Chossudovsky : Thank you very much.

* * * *

Bonnie Faulkner : I’ve been speaking with Michel Chossudovsky. Today’s show has been “State Terrorism : Franco-American Style.” Michel Chossudovsky is the founder, director and editor of the Centre for Research on Globalization based in Montreal, Quebec. The Global Research website,, publishes news articles, commentary, background research and analysis. Michel Chossudovsky is the author of 11 books including The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, War and Globalization : The Truth Behind September 11th, America’s War on Terrorism, The Globalization of War : America’s “Long War” Against Humanity as well as co-editor of the anthology The Global Economic Crisis : The Great Depression of the 21st Century. All books are available at 

Guns and Butter is produced by Bonnie Faulkner, Yarrow Mahko and Tony Rango. To leave comments or order copies of shows, email us at [email protected]. Visit our website at to sign up for our email list and receive our newsletter. Follow us at GandB Radio.

On the Post War Reconstruction of Syria

Michel Chossudovsky: I’d like to say something else, which is absolutely fundamental. President Bashar al-Assad in an interview this week stated something very important. This has to do with what happens in the wake of the Russian bombings of terrorist strongholds and what happens next. The Syrian government is talking about reconstruction, and hopefully that will take place. The country is decimated, part of the population has fled, people have been impoverished, the economy is in a shambles, but there is an objective on the part of the Syrian people to rebuild. They are now approaching potential partners, particularly out of China, to assist in the rebuilding process.

Now, if this process goes ahead, I think the issue of war reparations, damages, should also be raised against the state sponsors of terrorism, and certainly they should be raised in relation to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey. It’s much easier to document because even the Western media will concur that the Turks and the Saudis have supported the terrorists but, of course, we know that ultimately the main sponsors of terrorism are the United States of America, NATO and Israel.

This, I think, from the point of view of our understanding but also our solidarity, is that we should be supportive of the post-war reconstruction of this country if that is to occur, and we should also start talking about the damages which have been incurred by the United States and its allies against the various countries which it has destroyed. In this case specifically it’s Iraq and Syria, but also Yemen and also Afghanistan and also Sudan, the various countries around the world which have been literally wiped out, transformed into territories with no compensation whatsoever.

One country which won the war was Vietnam – and I recall that one of the conditions for the normalization of economic relations with Vietnam back in the ‘90s was that they pay back their debt to the Paris Club – in other words, the club of official Western creditors – the money which was owed to them by the Saigon regime. In other words, that money was actually money there to finance the US-led war and then, Vietnam was obliged to actually pay war reparations to the countries which were behind the Vietnam War, namely the United States and its allies.

Bonnie Faulkner : Wow. That’s shocking. Vietnam had to pay reparations to the people that attacked it?

Michel Chossudovsky : Absolutely. There was a secret agreement of the Paris Club and the bad debts of the Saigon regime had to be repaid. Those were debts that went back to the 1960s and we know that the Saigon regime was ultimately also the recipient of US military aid so that in effect Vietnam never negotiated war reparations. It should have, because it won the war – well, it threw the US forces out – but there was never any compensation.

In fact, for the lifting of the sanctions it had to come to terms with the external creditors, both the Paris Club and also the International Monetary Fund. I was in Vietnam at the time and I interviewed the person who was responsible for conducting those negotiations, and what happened with the IMF is they wanted to normalize relations with the IMF but there was money owed from the period of the Saigon regime to the IMF and they said, ‘You have to pay it back before we normalize.’

Then what happened: the Vietnamese said, ‘We don’t have the money.’ They said, ‘No problem.’ They set up a friends of Vietnam group which was made up of France and Japan – which happened to be the former colonial powers going back to the 1940s – and France and Japan lent the money to Vietnam and with that money Vietnam paid back the IMF. In fact, none of that money actually entered Vietnam, with a view to normalizing Vietnam in relation to the Bretton Woods institutions.

Now, the end game of that process is today, Vietnam is another cheap labor frontier of the global economy, an impoverished population, it’s whole social infrastructure undermined, a luxury goods economy, fraudulent banking operations and so on. The same thing occurred in Cambodia. All these countries, which are now allies of the United States, were destroyed. They never got war reparations.

In this particular case, war reparations to Syria and Iraq should be debated at least and the issue of reconstruction should be also on the agenda, particularly of people that are concerned within the anti-war movement.

Bonnie Faulkner : In the historical context that you have been describing, it sounds like Syria would be owing war reparations to the Western Military Alliance.

Michel Chossudovsky : That’s not entirely clear right now, as to the nature of normalization. But I can say that with regard to Iraq, the Iraqi debt, which is under the auspices of a United Nations Compensation Commission, administered out of Geneva, there have been various claims of creditors based on alleged damages. Some of them are corporations, individuals and so on, but the claims against Iraq are in the billions. That means that Iraq’s resources, its oil, are ultimately earmarked for debt servicing for years to come.

That’s the whole purpose. It’s the purpose of a war but it’s also the purpose of the debt conditionalities which follow the war and which often involve the intervention of the World Bank, the IMF and so on. They’re there essentially to ensure that these countries, which have lost everything, are not allowed to even reconstruct. And if they reconstruct it will be reconstruction which creates debt.

That’s what’s happening in Iraq at this very moment. Whatever investments are taking place in Iraq by foreign companies and so on will be ultimately used to increase the debt, which means that ultimately that debt will have to be paid back using the revenues of Iraq’s oil economy.

Bonnie Faulkner : Shocking.

Selected Articles: Oil Money, Dirty Wars, and Media Disinformation

November 27th, 2015 by Global Research News

carte-MaliTerror in Mali: An Attack on China and Russia? One Third of the Victims were Russians and Chinese

By Eric Draitser, November 27 2015

At least nine of the 27 killed in the attack were Chinese and Russian. While this alone would indeed be curious, it is the identities and positions of those killed that is particularly striking.

erdogan-poutineImpacts of Turkey’s Aggression against Russia. The “Turkish Stream” is Dead. Disruption of Gas Pipeline Routes to the EU. Russia’s Economy in Crisis?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, November 27 2015

In January following the abandonment of the South Stream, the Turkish Stream was announced as the “sole route”. Today, the Turkish Stream (sponsored by Moscow) is in jeopardy.

oil trucckThe “ISIS Rockefellers”: How Islamic State Oil Flows to Israel

By Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, November 27 2015

IS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and Turkish smuggling networks and mafias, who label it and sell it on as barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government. It is then most frequently transported from Turkey to Israel, via knowing or unknowing middlemen, according to al-Araby’s investigation.

dirtyThe Dirty War on Syria

By Prof. Tim Anderson, November 27 2015

Although every war makes ample use of lies and deception, the dirty war on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory.

Pentagon (1)Media Disinformation: Pentagon Indebted for “The Thanksgiving Turkey” The Washington Post Gave Its Readers

By Jim Naureckas, November 27 2015

Here’s something for the US government to be thankful for this Thanksgiving: propagandistic war coverage from the Washington Post.

America’s “War on Terrorism”: The Truth will Prevail

November 27th, 2015 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Amply documented but rarely mentioned in mainstream news, ISIS is a creation of US intelligence, recruited, trained and financed by the US and its allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel and Jordan.  

Those who ordered the bombing campaign are those who are behind the Caliphate Project. The Islamic State militia, which is currently the alleged target of  a US-NATO bombing campaign under a “counter-terrorism” mandate, is  supported covertly by the United States and its allies.

What this means is that the ISIS terrorists are the foot soldiers of the Western alliance. While America claims to be targeting ISIS, in reality it is protecting ISIS. The air campaign is intent upon destroying Syria and Iraq rather than “going after the terrorists”. 

To understand the background of this complex web of deceit aimed at luring the American people and the rest of the world into accepting a military solution which threatens the future of humanity, get your copy of the international bestseller:

America’s “War on Terrorism”
by Michel Chossudovsky

“The livelihood of millions of people throughout the World is at stake. It is my sincere hope that the truth will prevail and that the understanding provided in this detailed study will serve the cause of World peace. This objective, however, can only be reached by revealing the falsehoods behind America’s “War on Terrorism” and questioning the legitimacy of the main political and military actors responsible for extensive war crimes.”
–Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

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SYNOPSIS: America’s “War on Terrorism”

America's War on TerrorismIn this expanded edition of Michel Chossudovsky’s 2002 bestseller, the author blows away the smokescreen put up by the mainstream media, that 9/11 was an attack on America by “Islamic terrorists”. Through meticulous research, the author uncovers a military-intelligence ploy behind the September 11 attacks, and the cover-up and complicity of key members of the Bush Administration.

The this special edition, which includes twelve additional chapters focuses on the use of 9/11 as a pretext for the invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq, the militarization of justice and law enforcement and the repeal of democracy.

According to Chossudovsky, the “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalization is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

September 11, 2001 provides a justification for waging a war without borders. Washington’s agenda consists in extending the frontiers of the American Empire to facilitate complete U.S. corporate control, while installing within America the institutions of the Homeland Security State.


“Chossudovsky starts by dispelling the fiction that the US and Al Qaeda have been long-term adversaries. [He] also probes US oil policy, which is obviously of particular concern to George W. Bush. Chossudovsky argues that the US has a much different relationship between Russia and China than is ever indicated in the mainstream (or progressive) press. Simply put, the US is moving into the countries which neighbor Russia and China in order to plunder natural resources and expand the reach of the US Empire. Pakistan?s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been playing a key role in destabilizing the region as well as offering support in other intelligence matters… War and Globalization is full of surprises, even for those of us who consider ourselves well-informed. Chossudovsky is examining the true nature of US foreign policy and arguing that the terrible events of 9/11/01 have changed little of it… Material this provocative and well-researched is ignored by the left at great peril.”
- Scott Loughrey, The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel

“Canadian professor of economics Michel Chossudovsky contains that rare gift of a writer who can compile massive documentary evidence, then propound it in a succinct, lucid manner. In this illuminating work the host of the critically acclaimed Global Research website takes widely acclaimed and often repeated media assumptions and sharply refutes them, providing a chronology and road map behind 9-11 and related events… A large part of the book involves a necessary topic area that has been nervously glossed over by conventional American media sources for good reason; it hits too close to home and indicts the largest international energy conglomerates. The author spends much time examining the link between big oil and public policy. In terms of providing vital information, this compact volume provides more valuable information in one chapter than so many contemporary volumes do with many pages on 9-11 and related events… Chossudovsky demonstrates that the frequently repeated and fallacious Bushie shibboleths of getting Saddam before he gets us are rhetorical sallies designed to inflame public opinion by skirting around the important truths that only a few courageous authors such as himself dare reveal… Its bullseye clarity cuts through the morass of Bush verbage, daring readers to examine the pure, unvarnished truth of a nation using its military and intelligence capabilities to control the global oil market on the pretext of making the world a safer place.”
- William Hare, Florida United States

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Special: America’s “War on Terrorism” + Globalization of Poverty (Buy 2 books for 1 price!)

The corporate media don’t like Donald Trump. They used to like him a lot; in fact, Big Business Media are responsible for making this minor multi-millionaire into a household name. But Trump is on their hit list, nowadays, because the Republican presidential candidate insists on telling his own lies, rather than sticking to the list of official lies parroted by corporate media every minute of every day.

Donald Trump told a really “HUGE” – as he would put it – lie when he claimed to have watched thousands of Muslims cheering in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the World Trade Center came down on 9/11. Every corporate news outlet in the country rushed to debunk Trump’s fictitious account. The Washington Post [2] offered psychological theories for why Trump gets away with telling fantastic lies. The New York Times [3] said there was no evidence that Jersey City Muslims cheered the destruction on 9/11. CNN said it never happened. And, they were right.

However, by making only a partial correction of Donald Trump’s prevarication, the corporate media were telling their own lie about what happened on 9/11. There was, in fact, celebration in Jersey City on that fateful morning, and the incident did, briefly, make a major news splash. But the people doing the cheering weren’t Muslims: they were five young Israelis in a white moving van, who were observed in Liberty Park ecstatically taking pictures of themselves framed against the smoking ruins of the Twin Towers. As ABC News [4] reported, the five were later arrested at gunpoint near the New Jersey Giants football stadium. Most U.S. intelligence sources believed the men were Israeli spies, and that their “moving company” was an Israeli intelligence cover. They were detained for a while, and then deported.

“Who is the biggest liar?”

In the year before 9/11 scores of young Israelis posing as “art students” were arrested after penetrating U.S. Defense Department and other classified sites. Both stories made national news. The corporate media could not have avoided running across articles on the “cheering Israelis” when they set about debunking Donald Trump’s “cheering Muslims” account. But, not one of them dare to mention that, yes, some people were seen celebrating 9/11 at Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

I was in a different part of the park on 9/11 morning, alone except for two young Israelis [5] with very expensive cameras, carrying phony New Jersey press credentials, who claimed to be Polish but spoke Hebrew to each other. The two young men were giddy with joy at the destruction that the three of us were observing across the Hudson River.

Later that day, I learned from local and national news outlets about the five Israelis who were dancing with delight [6] about a mile upriver from me and the two other Israelis. Articles about Israelis celebrating 9/11 would have come up in any search to correct Donald Trump’s tall tale – but the corporate media kept that part of the story from the public. They censored their own correction of Donald Trump. So, who is the biggest liar? Trump, who lies to advance his own personal interests, or the U.S. corporate media, who lie to the people on behalf of the State of Israel, and Zionism.

Listen to the audio here

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected] [7].

[7] [email protected]

Here’s something for the US government to be thankful for this Thanksgiving: propagandistic war coverage from the Washington Post.

The Post‘s Karen DeYoung offered the Pentagon this Thanksgiving turkey:

The United States has also claimed that Russia has caused numerous civilian casualties with unguided munitions: gravity bombs dropped from the sky. Warren said that tallies by unnamed human rights groups of “upwards of 1,000 civilian casualties . . . including over 100 kids” are “probably fairly accurate.”

“This is sloppy military work,” Warren said. “This is the reckless and irresponsible, imprecise and frankly uncaring approach to operations in Syria that the Russians have taken on.”

In a report issued late last week, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had documented 403 civilians, including 166 women and children, killed in Russian airstrikes, more than the 381 fighters from both rebel and terrorist forces it said had been killed.

The US military has acknowledged two instances where airstrikes against the Islamic State resulted in civilian deaths.

So here we have US claims that Russian airstrikes are killing civilians backed up by statistics from a presumably independent human rights group. Meanwhile, when the US government claims to killed almost no civilians in its air attacks, the Post just takes the Pentagon’s word for it.

Boy in rubble, Syria

The Washington Post illustrates a story contrasting Russian and US bombing of Syria with a slideshow of photos of the results of Russian bombing (or, as in this case, Syrian government bombing)–but no images of the consequences of US bombing. (photo: Alaa Al-Faqir/Reuters)

It would not have been at all difficult for the Post to find independent tallies on how many civilians have been killed by bombs dropped by the US and its allies. For example, the British Guardian (8/3/15) was able to do it:

Airwars, a project by a team of independent journalists, is publishing details of 52 strikes with what it believes are credible reports of at least 459 non-combatant deaths, including those of more than 100 children.

That was in August; more recent tallies by Airwars have the US-led coalition killing at least 680 civilians, and possibly as many as 975.

People who subscribe to the Post are indirectly paying DeYoung to inform them about the world. By reporting the civilians killed by the official enemy while concealing those killed by US airstrikes, she’s instead doing unpaid volunteer work as a Pentagon PR agent. I hope they save her an extra slice of pumpkin pie.

Jim Naureckas is the editor of Follow him on Twitter:@JNaureckas.


Coming on the heels of the terrorist attack in Paris, the mass shooting and siege at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, the capital of the African nation of Mali, is still further evidence of the escalation of terrorism throughout the world. While there has already been much written about the incident in both western and non-western media, one critical angle on this story has been entirely ignored: the motive.

For although it is true that most people think of terrorism as entirely ideologically driven, with motives being religious or cultural, it is equally true that much of what gets defined as “terrorism” is in fact politically motivated violence that is intended to send a message to the targeted group or nation. So it seems that the attack in Mali could very well have been just such an action as news of the victims has raised very serious questions about just what the motive for this heinous crime might have been.

International media have now confirmed that at least nine of the 27 killed in the attack were Chinese and Russian. While this alone would indeed be curious, it is the identities and positions of those killed that is particularly striking. The three Chinese victims were important figures in China’s China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), while the Russians were employees of Russian airline Volga-Dnepr. That it was these individuals who were killed at the very outset of the attack suggests that they were the likely targets of what could perhaps rightly be called a terrorist assassination operation.

But why these men? And why now?

To answer these questions, one must have an understanding of the roles of both these companies in Mali and, at the larger level, the activities of China and Russia in Mali. Moreover, the targeted killing should be seen in light of the growing assertiveness of both countries against terrorism in Syria and internationally. Considering the strategic partnership between the two countries – a partnership that is expanding seemingly every day – it seems that the fight against terrorism has become yet another point of convergence between Moscow and Beijing. In addition, it must be recalled that both countries have had their share of terror attacks in recent years, with each having made counter-terrorism a central element in their national security strategies, as well as their foreign policy.

And so, given these basic facts, it becomes clear that the attack in Mali was no random act of terrorism, but a carefully planned and executed operation designed to send a clear message to Russia and China.

The Attack, the Victims, and the Significance

On Friday November 20, 2015 a team of reportedly “heavily armed and well-trained gunmen” attacked a well known international hotel in Bamako, Mali. While the initial reports were somewhat sketchy and contradictory, in the days since the attack and siege that followed, new details have emerged that are undeniably worrying as they provide a potential motive for the terrorists.

It is has since been announced that three Chinese nationals were killed at the outset of the attack: Zhou Tianxiang, Wang Xuanshang, and Chang Xuehui.

Aside from the obviously tragic fact that these men were murdered in cold blood, one must examine carefully who they were in order to get a full sense of the importance of their killings. Mr. Zhou was the General Manager of the China Railway Construction Corporation’s (CRCC) international group, Mr. Wang was the Deputy General Manager of CRCC’s international group, and Mr. Chang was General Manager of the CRCC’s West Africa division. The significance should become immediately apparent as these men were the principal liaisons between Beijing and the Malian government in the major railway investments that China has made in Mali. With railway construction being one of the key infrastructure and economic development programs in landlocked Mali, the deaths of these three Chinese nationals is clearly both a symbolic and very tangible attack on China’s partnership with Mali.

In late 2014, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita traveled to China to attend the World Economic Forum in Tianjin. On the sidelines of the forum the Malian president sealed a number of critical development deals with the Chinese government, the most high-profile of which were railway construction and improvement agreements. Chief among the projects is the construction of an $8 billion, 900km railway linking Mali’s capital of Bamako with the Atlantic port and capital of neighboring Guinea, Conakry. The project, seen by many experts as essential for bringing Malian mineral wealth to world markets, is critical to the economic development of the country. Additionally, CRCC was also tapped to renovate the railway connecting Bamako with Senegal’s capital of Dakar, with the project carrying a price tag of nearly $1.5 billion.

These two projects alone were worth nearly $10 billion, while a number of other projects, including road construction throughout the conflict-ridden north of the country, as well as construction of a much needed new bridge in gridlock-plagued Bamako, brought the cumulative worth of the Chinese investments to near (or above) the total GDP for Mali ($12 billion in 2014). Such massive investments in the country were obviously of great significance to the Malian government both because of their economically transformative qualities, and also because they had solidified China as perhaps the single most dominant investor in Mali, a country long since under the post-colonial economic yoke of France, and military yoke of the United States.

It seems highly implausible, to say the least, that a random terror attack solely interested in killing as many civilians as possible would have as its first three victims these three men, perhaps three of the most important men in the country at the time. But the implausible coincidences don’t stop there.

Among the dead are also six Russians, all of whom are said to have been employees of the Russian commercial cargo airline Volga-Dnepr. While at first glance it may seem irrelevant that the Russian victims worked for an airline, it is in fact very telling as it indicates a similar motive to the killing of the Chinese nationals; specifically, Volga-Dnepr is, according to its Wikipedia page, “a world leader in the global market for the movement of oversize, unique and heavy air cargo…[It] serves governmental and commercial organizations, including leading global businesses in the oil and gas, energy, aerospace, agriculture and telecommunications industries as well as the humanitarian and emergency services sectors.” The company has transported everything from gigantic excavators to airplanes, helicopters, mini-factories, and power plants, not to mention heavy machines used in energy extraction.

This fact is significant because it is quite likely, indeed probable, that the airline has been transporting much of the heavy, oversized equipment being used by the Chinese and other developers throughout the country. In effect, the Russian crew was part of the ongoing economic development and foreign investment in the country. And so, their killing, like that of the CRCC executives, is a symbolic strike against Chinese and Russian investment in the country. And perhaps even more importantly, the attack was a symbolic attack upon the very nature of Sino-Russian collaboration and partnership, especially in the context of economic development in Africa and the Global South.

It would be worthwhile to add that Volga-Dnepr has also been involved in military transport services for NATO and the US until at least the beginning of the Ukraine conflict and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Whether this fact has any bearing on the employees being targeted, that would be pure conjecture. Suffice to say though that Volga-Dnepr was no ordinary airline, but one that was integral to the entire economic development initiative in Mali. And this is really the key point: China and Russia are development partners for the former French colonial possession and US puppet state.

China, Russia, and Mali’s Future

China and, to a lesser extent, Russia have become major trading and development partners for Mali in recent years. Aside from the lucrative railroad and road construction projects mentioned above, China has expanded its partnerships with Mali in many other areas. For instance, in 2014 China gifted Mali a grant of 18 billion CFA (nearly $30 million) and an interest-free loan of 8 billion CFA (nearly $13 million). Additionally, China established a program that offers 600 scholarships to Malian students over the 2015-2017 period. Also, the Chinese government announced the construction of a training and educational center focused on engineering and the construction industry, as well as the completion of the Agricultural Technical Center in the city of Baguineda in Southern Mali, not far from the capital and population center of Bamako.

Of course, these sorts of Chinese offerings are only the tip of the iceberg as Beijing has also expanded its contracts with Mali in the transportation, construction, energy, mining, and other important sectors, including an agreement for China to construct at least 24,000 affordable housing units, making ownership of a decent home possible for many who would otherwise never have such an opportunity. Going further, as African Leadership Magazine reported in 2014:

Mali also relies on China to invest in new power plants to break the electricity crisis that is affecting the country. This is supposed to make available cheaper electricity for the industrial development…A hydroelectric dam will be built in the area of Dire in the North of the country; a hybrid power plant in Kidal in the North-East and another one in Timbuktu, which is in the North as well. Solar power plants will also be created in other parts of the country and all those infrastructures will be connected to the national grid of electricity… A factory of medicine production that is being constructed in the outskirts of the capital will be enlarged to be the largest in West Africa…More than 95 percent of the factory has been completed and it will be operating on January, 2015…Chinese banks that are not yet present in Mali are supposed to contribute to create small-scaled companies and industries.

To be sure, China is not offering such deals to Mali solely out of altruism and in the spirit of generosity; naturally China expects to enrich itself and ensure access to raw materials, resources, and markets in Mali now and in the future. This is the sort of “win-win” partnership forever being touted by China as the cornerstone of its aid and investment throughout Africa. Indeed, in many ways, Mali is a prime example of just how China operates on the continent. Rather than a purely exploitative investment model (the IMF and World Bank examples come to mind), China is engaging in true partnership. And, contrary to what many have argued (that China is merely a rival imperialist power in Africa), China’s activities in Africa are by and large productive for the whole of the countries where China invests, a few egregious bad examples aside.

China is a friend of Africa, and it has demonstrated that repeatedly throughout the last decade. And perhaps it is just this sort of friendship that was under attack in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako.

Likewise Russia has been engaged in Mali, though certainly nowhere near the extent that China has. Russia was one of the principal contributors to the humanitarian relief effort in Mali after the 2012 coup and subsequent war against terror groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Russia provided much needed food, clothing, and basic medical aid, while also supplying more advanced, and essential, medical equipment to Malian hospitals desperately trying to cope with the flood of wounded and displaced people.

Additionally, Moscow became one of the major suppliers of weapons and other military materiel to Mali’s government in its war against terrorism in 2013. According Business Insider in 2013, Anatoly Isaikin, head of Russia’s state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport, “revealed that Moscow had recent military contacts with the government of Mali…He said small amounts of light weapons were already being delivered to Mali and that new sales were under discussion. ‘We have delivered firearms. Literally two weeks ago another consignment was sent. These are completely legal deliveries…We are in talks about sending more, in small quantities.’”

Finally, Mali has a longstanding cultural connection with Russia through the Soviet Union’s sponsorship of thousands of Malian students who studied in Soviet universities from the early 1960s through the 1980s. As Yevgeny Korendyasov of the Center for Russian-African Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences explained, “We have had very close ties to Mali throughout recent history…Though overall financial estimates of Soviet aid received by Mali are hard to come by, Moscow’s involvement with the country was all-encompassing.” Indeed, the Soviets educated Malian officials and intelligentsia, as well as their children, developed local infrastructure, and mapped the country’s abundant natural resources. Such long-standing ties, moribund though they may seem today, still have a lasting legacy in the country.

While the world has been transfixed by terrorism from the downing of the Russian airliner in Egypt, to the inhuman attacks in Paris and Beirut, not nearly enough attention has been paid to the attack in Mali. Perhaps one of the reasons the episode has not gotten the necessary scrutiny and investigation is the seemingly endless series of terror attacks that have transfixed news consumers worldwide. Perhaps it is simply good old fashioned racism that sees Africa as little more than a collection of chaotic states constantly in conflict, with violence and death being the norm.

Or maybe the real reason almost no one has shined a light on this episode is because of the global implications of the killings, and the obvious message they sent. While media organizations seem to have deliberately ignored the implication of the attacks of November 20th in Mali, one can rest assured that Beijing and Moscow got the message loud and clear. And one can also rest assured that the Chinese and Russians are well aware of the true motives of the attack. The question remains: how will these countries respond?

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

David Cameron and Syria – A Tale of Deception and Hypocrisy

November 27th, 2015 by Adeyinka Makinde

David Cameron wanted to bomb Syria two years ago but suffered a humiliating defeat in a vote before Parliament. Let us be clear about one thing: if Cameron and others had got their way two years ago, the so-called Islamic State and a range of Jihadi groups would be in control of Syria today.

And if ‘control’ is too strong a word, it would be in as much chaos as Libya is today. The Libyan enterprise by NATO to overthrow Gaddafi was firmly backed by Cameron who used British Special Forces to train and guide Islamist rebels in attaining this objective.

After the chemical attack in Ghouta, a dubious event which was likely perpetrated by either Saudi or Turkish intelligence in order to provoke President Obama to make good on his ill-fated assertion about “red lines”, the idea was to bomb and ‘degrade’ the capabilities of the Assad government which the West and its Middle East Sunni allies were keen to blame.

Now Cameron wants to bomb Islamic State insurgents.

A few British fighter jets have been part of the patently phony war waged against Islamic State for over a year by the US and its Middle East allies. The Russian effort in two months has shown this to be the case.

Need it be reminded that it was Cameron who one day was supporting the Mubarak regime and then when it was toppled, visited the newly installed junta to sell it military weapons.

But it is not only about the hypocrisy of Cameron the man and politician. It is about the hypocrisy and double-dealing of the Western powers specifically in regard to Syria and generally to the Middle East and North Africa geo-political theatre.

The turmoil in Syria was the creation of the Western powers acting in concert with Turkey and the Sunni Gulf monarchies who seek to overthrow the secular government of Bashar al Assad. This is the bottom line reason why the Islamic State and other Jihadi groups have grown so powerful.

But after the tragedy of Paris, Cameron is confident that the United Kingdom’s public outrage along with the media’s whipping up of the drums of war will get him the Parliamentary rubber stamp to intervene in a conflict which according to former French foreign minister, Roland Dumas, was planned and orchestrated years in advance by British officials along with other Western powers.

Cameron’s motives are far from benign. They bear the vestiges of the ‘humanitarian bomber’ with an insidious agenda. He wants to be part of a campaign which would justify a British presence in Syria which along with French involvement would be utillised in a manner that would in the future attempt to effect the desired overthrow of Assad as well as the dismantling of the Syrian state.

The unquestioning media along with the gullible electorate are complicit in allowing leaders like Cameron to continually get away with such fundamental dishonesty.

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Names Of The 101 Palestinians Killed By Israeli Fire Since October 1st

November 27th, 2015 by International Middle East Media Center

The Following is a list of names of the 101 Palestinians shot and killed by Israeli fire in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, including one in the Negev, in the period between Thursday October 1st and Thursday November 26th, 2015, as confirmed by the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The 17 Israelis killed in the same time period are listed below.

Body of Samer Saresi, lying where he was shot and left to bleed to death (image from Said Shoub – Twitter)

1. Mohannad Halabi, 19, al-Biereh – Ramallah. Shot after allegedly grabbing gun and killing two Israelis. 10/3

2. Fadi Alloun, 19, Jerusalem. Israeli claim of ‘attack’ contradicted by eyewitnesses and video. 10/4

3. Amjad Hatem al-Jundi, 17, Hebron.

4. Thaer Abu Ghazala, 19, Jerusalem.

5. Abdul-Rahma Obeidallah, 11, Bethlehem.

6. Hotheifa Suleiman, 18, Tulkarem.

7. Wisam Jamal Faraj, 20, Jerusalem. Shot by an exploding bullet during protest. 10/8

8. Mohammad al-Ja’bari, 19, Hebron.

9. Ahmad Jamal Salah, 20, Jerusalem.

10. Ishaq Badran, 19, Jerusalem. Israeli claim of ‘attack’ contradicted by eyewitnesses. 10/10

11. Mohammad Said Ali, 19, Jerusalem.

12. Ibrahim Ahmad Mustafa Awad, 28, Hebron. Shot at protest by rubber-coated steel bullet in his forehead. 10/11

13. Ahmad Abdullah Sharaka, 13, Al Jalazoun Refugee camp-Ramallah.

14. Mostafa Al Khateeb, 18, Sur-Baher – Jerusalem.

15. Hassan Khalid Manassra, 15, Jerusalem.

16. Mohammad Nathmie Shamasna, 22, Qotna – Jerusalem. Allegedly grabbed gun of Israeli soldier on bus and killed two. 10/13

17. Baha’ Elian, 22, Jabal Al Mokaber-Jerusalem.

18. Mutaz Ibrahim Zawahra, 27, Bethlehem. Hit with a live bullet in the chest during a demonstration.

19. Ala’ Abu Jammal, 33, Jerusalem.

20. Bassem Bassam Sidr, 17, Hebron. Killed in Jerusalem after Israeli shoted that he ‘had a knife’ – but no knife was present.

21. Ahmad Abu Sh’aban, 23, Jerusalem.

22. Riyadh Ibraheem Dar-Yousif, 46, Al Janyia village Ramallah( Killed while harvesting olives)

23. Fadi Al-Darbi , 30, Jenin – died in Israeli detention camp.

24. Eyad Khalil Al Awawdah, Hebron.

25. Ihab Hannani, 19, Nablus.

26. Fadel al-Qawasmi, 18, Hebron. Shot by paramilitary settler, Israeli soldier caught on film planting knife near his body.

27. Mo’taz Ahmad ‘Oweisat, 16, Jerusalem. Military claimed he ‘had a knife’. 10/17

28. Bayan Abdul-Wahab al-’Oseyli, 16, Hebron. Military claimed she ‘had a knife’, but video evidence contradicts that claim. 10/17

29. Tariq Ziad an-Natsha, 22, Hebron. 10/17

30. Omar Mohammad al-Faqeeh, 22, Qalandia. Military claimed he ‘had a knife’. 10/17

31. Mohannad al-‘Oqabi, 21, Negev. Allegedly killed soldier in bus station in Beer Sheba.

32. Hoda Mohammad Darweesh, 65, Jerusalem.

33. Hamza Mousa Al Amllah, 25, from Hebron, killed near Gush Etzion settlement.

34. Odai Hashem al-Masalma, 24, Beit ‘Awwa town near Hebron.

35. Hussam Isma’el Al Ja’bari, 18, Hebron.

36. Bashaar Nidal Al Ja’bari, 15, Hebron.

37. Hashem al-’Azza, 54, Hebron.

38. Moa’taz Attalah Qassem, 22, Eezariyya town near Jerusalem. 10/21

39. Mahmoud Khalid Eghneimat, 20, Hebron.

40. Ahmad Mohammad Said Kamil, Jenin.

41. Dania Jihad Irshied, 17, Hebron.

42. Sa’id Mohamed Yousif Al-Atrash, 20, Hebron.

43. Raed Sakit Abed Al Raheem Thalji Jaradat, 22, Sa’ir – Hebron.

44. Eyad Rouhi Ihjazi Jaradat, 19, Sa’er – Hebron.

45. Ezzeddin Nadi Sha’ban Abu Shakhdam, 17, Hebron. Shot by Israeli military after allegedly wounding soldier, then left to bleed to death.

46. Shadi Nabil Dweik, 22, Hebron. Shot by Israeli military after allegedly wounding the same soldier, then left to bleed to death.

47. Homam Adnan Sa’id, 23, Tal Romeida, Hebron. Shot by Israeli soldiers claiming ‘he had a knife’, but eyewitnesses report seeing soldiers throwing a knife next to his

dead body. 10/27

48. Islam Rafiq Obeid, 23, Tal Romeida, Hebron. 10/28

49. Nadim Eshqeirat, 52, Jerusalem. 10/29 – Died when Israeli soldiers delayed his ambulance.

50. Mahdi Mohammad Ramadan al-Mohtasib, 23, Hebron. 10/29

51. Farouq Abdul-Qader Seder, 19, Hebron. 10/29

52. Qassem Saba’na, 20, shot on motorcycle near Zaatara checkpoint. 10/30

53. Ahmad Hamada Qneibi, 23, Jerusalem. Soldiers claimed ‘he had a knife’.

54. Ramadan Mohammad Faisal Thawabta, 8 month old baby, Bethlehem. Died of tear gas inhalation.

55. Mahmoud Talal Abdul-Karim Nazzal, 18, al-Jalama checkpoint near Jenin. Israeli troops claim ‘he had a knife’, but eyewitnesses contradict that claim. 10/31

56. Fadi Hassan al-Froukh, 27. Beit Einoun, east of Hebron. 11/1.

57. Ahmad Awad Abu ar-Rob, 16, Jenin.

58. Samir Ibrahim Skafi, 23, Hebron. Shot by Israeli soldiers after his car hit a soldier who was on the street – it is unknown if he hit the soldier intentionally or accidentally. 11/4

59. Malek Talal Sharif, 25, Hebron, shot dead after the army claimed he attempted to stab a settler. 11/5

60. Tharwat Ibrahim Salman Sha’rawi, 73, shot dead by the army in Hebron.

61. Salman Aqel Mohammad Shahin, 22, Nablus.

62. Rasha Ahmad Hamed ‘Oweissi, 24. Qalqilia. Carried suicide note and knife, but did not attempt to attack anyone.

63. Mohammad Abed Nimir, 37, Jerusalem.

64. Sadeq Ziyad Gharbiyya, 16, Jenin.

65. Abdullah Azzam Shalalda, 26, Hebron.

66. Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Shalalda, 22, Sa’ir, Hebron.

67. Hasan Jihad al-Baw, 22, Halhoul, Hebron.

68. Lafi Yousef Awad, 22, Budrus, Ramallah.

69. Laith Ashraf Manasra, 25, Qalandia

70. Ahmad Sobhi Abu al-‘Aish, 30, Qalandia.

71. Mohammad Monir Hasan Saleh, 24, Aroura – Ramallah.

72. Shadi Zohdi Arafa, 28, Hebron.

73. Mahmoud Sa’id ‘Oleyyan, 22, Ramallah.

74. Ashraqat Taha Qatanany, 16, Nablus. Rammed by car & shot under questionable claim that “she had a knife”.

75.Shadi Mohammad Mahmoud Khseib from al-Bireh. Shot by Israeli settler after car accident.

76.Issa Thawabta, 34, Gush Etzion. Shot after allegedly stabbing Israeli. 11/22

76. Hadeel Wajeeh ‘Awwad, 16, Jerusalem. Shot to death after allegedly stabbing and wounding elderly Palestinian man. 11/23

77. Ahmad Jamal Taha, 16, Ramallah. Shot to death after allegedly stabbing an Israeli settler at a gas station. 11/23

78. Alaa Khalil Sabah Hashah, 16, Huwwara checkpoint, Nablus. Shot to death with more than 10 bullets, Israeli troops claimed ‘he had a knife’ but eyewitnesses contradicted that claim. 11/23

79. Mohammad Ismael Shobaki, 19, south of Hebron. Shot multiple times after allegedly stabbing an Israeli soldier. 11/25

80. Ibrahim Abdul-Halim Daoud, 16, died of wounds sustained two weeks earlier when he was shot in the heart by Israeli soldiers while at a protest. 11/25

81. Yahya Yosri Taha, 21, Qotna, near Ramallah. Shot by live rounds from Israeli forces at demonstration. 11/26

82. Samer Hasan Seriesi, 51, Za’atara checkpoint. Shot by Israeli soldiers and left to bleed to death as Israeli medics joked and laughed nearby.

Gaza Strip:

83. Shadi Hussam Doula, 20.

84. Ahmad Abdul-Rahman al-Harbawi, 20.

85. Abed al-Wahidi, 20.

86. Mohammad Hisham al-Roqab, 15.

87. Adnan Mousa Abu ‘Oleyyan, 22.

88. Ziad Nabil Sharaf, 20.

89. Jihad al-‘Obeid, 22.

90. Marwan Hisham Barbakh, 13.

91. Khalil Omar Othman, 15.

92. Nour Rasmie Hassan, 30. Killed along with her child in an Israeli airstrike. 10/11

93. Rahaf Yahya Hassan, two years old. Killed along with her mother in an Israeli airstrike. 10/11

94. Yahya Abdel-Qader Farahat, 23.

95. Shawqie Jamal Jaber Obeid, 37.

96. Mahmoud Hatem Hameeda, 22. Northern Gaza.

97. Ahmad al-Sarhi, 27, al-Boreij.

98. Yihya Hashem Kreira.

99. Khalil Hassan Abu Obeid, 25. Khan Younis. Died from wounds sustained in protest earlier in the week.

100. Salama Mousa Abu Jame’, 23, Khan Younis.

Non-Palestinian killed by Israeli mob:

101. Eritrean asylum-seeker Haftom Zarhum killed in Beer Sheva bus station by angry mob who mistook him for a Palestinian- 10/18

Names of known Israeli casualties during the same time period:

1 & 2. 10/1 – Eitam and Na’ama Henkin, both aged around 30 years old, killed in drive-by shooting near Itamar settlement.

3. 10/3 – Nahmia Lavi, 41 – Rabbi for Israeli military. Killed in Jerusalem stabbing attack near Lion’s Gate when he tried to shoot the attacker but had his weapon taken.

4. 10/3 – Aaron Bennet, 24. Killed in Jerusalem stabbing attack near Lion’s Gate.

5. 10/13 – Yeshayahu Kirshavski, 60, bus shooting in East Jerusalem

6. 10/13 – Haviv Haim, 78, bus shooting in East Jerusalem

7. 10/13 – Richard Lakin, 76, bus shooting in East Jerusalem (died of wounds several days after the attack)

8. 10/18 – Omri Levy, 19, Israeli soldier with the Golani Brigade, had his weapon grabbed and turned against him by an Israeli resident.

9. 11/13 – Rabbi Yaakov Litman, killed in shooting attack on car south of Hebron.

10. 11/13 – Litman’s son Netanel, 19, killed in shooting attack on car south of Hebron.

11. 11/19 – Reuven Aviram, 51, killed in stabbing attack in Tel Aviv.

12. 11/19 – Rabbi Aharon Yesayev, 32 killed in stabbing attack in Tel Aviv.

13. 11/19 – Yaakov Don, 49, killed in shooting attack near the settlement of Alon Shvut.

14. 11/19 – Ezra Schwartz, 18, a U.S. national, killed in shooting attack near the settlement of Alon Shvut.

15. 11/19 – Shadi Arafa, 24, of Hebron, killed in shooting attack near the settlement of Alon Shvut.

16. 11/23 Hadar Buchris, 21, killed in stabbing attack near Gush Etzion settlement

17. 11/23 Ziv Mizrahi, 18, Soldier. Killed at gas station near illegal West Bank settlement.

An additional 2 Israelis that were initially claimed to have been killed in attacks were actually killed in car accidents.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said it is time for Britain to join air strikes against Islamic State in Syria (ISIS). After the killing of 130 people in Paris, he feels the tide has now turned in favour of military action against ISIS. Cameron has told the British public that such action is vital to protect Britain from similar attacks.

Although in 2013 Cameron lost a vote in parliament on air strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces (based on the lie that government forces had used chemical weapons), he is now arguing that Britain does not have the luxury of being able to wait any longer to launch attacks on Syrian territory, this time supposedly on ISIS.  Some anticipate that Cameron might push for a vote on the matter in parliament within the coming week.

However, any talk about attacking Syria to make Britain ‘safer’ is based on hollow rhetoric, as Graham Vanbergen writes:

“In the 12 years preceding the Invasion of Iraq, 65 people in Europe were killed by various ‘terrorist’ attacks, mainly in France, Italy and Greece. In the 12 years since that fateful invasion, the terrorists kill rate has increased by nearly 600%. Far from making its citizens safer, politicians have achieved the opposite.”

For all Cameron’s seemingly high-minded utterances about protecting Britain by attacking the territory of a sovereign state thousands of miles away, it is worth reflecting on Felicity Arbuthnot’s observation that what he is advocating is wholly illegal:

“David Cameron is morphing in to his pal, alleged war criminal Tony Blair and is attempting to persuade Parliament that Britain must join those illegally in Syrian air space and equally illegally drop its own bombs with no UN mandate for such action. The Cameron backing media is beating the war drums along with America’s partisan hacks…”

Like Blair before him, Cameron is using a good old dose of fear mongering and a grab for the moral high ground in an attempt to disguise the illegal nature of what he is advocating. The hypocrisy is palpable.

Earlier this year, in response to Syrian refugees arriving in Europe, Cameron said that he felt deeply moved by the image of a Syrian boy dead on a Turkish beach. As pressure mounted on Britain to take in more of those fleeing to Europe, he added that the country would fulfil its moral responsibilities.

Anyone who had been following the Syrian conflict at that point could not have failed to detect the hypocrisy. Former French foreign minister Roland Dumas has stated that Britain had planned covert action in Syria as early as 2009. He told French TV:

“I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business… I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria.”

Writing in The Guardian in 2013, Nafeez Ahmed discussed leaked emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor, including notes from a meeting with Pentagon officials, that confirmed US-UK training of Syrian opposition forces since 2011 aimed at eliciting “collapse” of Assad’s regime “from within.”

According to retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense just a few weeks after 9/11 revealed plans to “attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years,” starting with Iraq and moving on to “Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.” Clark argues that this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.

In 2009, Syrian President Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar that would run a pipeline from the latter’s North field through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets in direct competition with Russia and in the hope of further undermining and helping to break the energy-dependent Russian economy. Russian ally Assad refused to sign and instead pursued negotiations for an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan with Iran crossing Iraq and into Syria that would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe. Thus Assad had to go.

Last year, Cameron told the United Nations that Britain was ready to play its part in confronting “an evil against which the whole world must unite.” He also said that that “we” must not be so “frozen with fear” of repeating the mistakes of the 2003 Iraq invasion. He was attempting to drum up support for wider Anglo-US direct military action against the Syria under the pretext of attacking ISIS.

A year on, it’s the same story with added impetus due to the attacks in Paris. Cameron is again trying his hand again at pushing Britain into war: one that it is already covertly involved up to its neck in and one that Britain has already ‘subcontracted’ out to a bunch of anti-Assad terror groups, the foot soldiers of US-led imperialism in the region.

Cameron’s call for an urgent military response by Britain comes on the back of the events in Paris, which occurred at a highly convenient time as Russia’s (wholly legal and UN-backed) actions in Syria were severely undermining the anti-Assad militias – trained, funded and supported by the West, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others (see the forthcoming book ‘The Dirty War on Syria’ by Tim Anderson). Russian intervention has turned the tide against the West’s proxy forces in the region, including ISIS.

David Cameron is manipulating a war-fatigued public into getting behind yet another military intervention disguised as yet another component of the bogus ‘war on terror’. Whether it involves rhetoric about ‘Russian aggression’ or it involves a US-backed coup in Ukraine, the destruction of Libya or NATO-Saudi-backed terror in Syria, these components are not for one minute to be regarded by the public as the planned machinations of empire with the aim of destroying or at least severely weakening Russia. The public must be kept confused and most of all fearful of the designated bogeyman of Washington’s choice.

If Cameron is serious about defeating ISIS, he would do better to join with Russia and help sever the logistics that enable ISIS to function as a fighting force in Syria. All roads lead to Turkey (quite literally) and Saudi Arabia. But Cameron’s role is to dance to the neocon’s tune in Washington, to deceive the public, to lie to it and to push the world ever closer to a major conflict with Russia.

His sidekick, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon is also on cue. Speaking on Britain’s Radio 5, he stated the need

“to spend less on some things like the welfare system and to spend more on things that really matter to keep our country safe.”

With a £12 billion saving on cuts to the welfare budget, Fallon was attempting to justify a £12 billion increase to the military budget to help pay for eight BAE warships, nine Boeing maritime patrol crafts, surveillance drones and Lockheed Martin jets.

Add on the cost replacing the Trident nuclear programme put at around £31 billion, with another £10 billion being set aside for contingencies, and it is clear where Britain’s priorities lie: not with ordinary people whose jobs have been sold to the lowest bidder abroad and who now see their liberties and welfare state being dismantled under the lies of ‘austerity’ (a manifestation of ‘class war’, as Noam Chomsky correctly states) and tackling terrorism but with arms companies and militarism.

Cuts to welfare, increases in military spending and events in Syria form part of an ongoing war on working people. That’s because militarism is but one arm of a neoliberal agenda that seeks to bend all working people and regional elites – whether Assad, Putin, Saddam or Gaddafi – to the will of Western capital. It is ordinary working people who ultimately pay the price, whether refugees fleeing from conflict, civilian deaths in war zones or those subject to the types of structural violence that ‘austerity’ or other forms of economic warfare brings courtesy of the IMF, World Bank, WTO or trade agreements like NAFTA, TPA and TTIP. And, ultimately, it is the Lockhead Martins, the Blackwaters (XE Services) and the BAEs, the Chevrons and Occidental Petroleums, the Halliburtons and Monsantos and the financial interests on Wall Street and in the City of London that benefit.

As the media get ready to cheer lead Cameron into war with the unstated aim of removing Assad from power, this fact should not be lost on anyone, not least the British public.

The government shut down two Arabic-language outlets last week, leaving nearly 30 journalists jobless. The Union of Israeli Journalists: ‘Shutting down media outlets is nearly unheard of in democratic regimes.’

The Union of Journalists in Israel sent a letter to Prime Minister and Communications Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday, protesting the shutting down of two Arabic-language media outlet last week.

As reported on the media watchdog site The Seventh Eye, police and Shin Bet agents raided and shut down the newsroom of veteran newspaper, Sawt al-Haq wa Al-Hurriya, as well as the news website PLS48, while confiscating computers and other equipment. The raids were conducted due to the fact their publishers belong to a corporation owned by the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, which was made illegal last week. Approximately 30 journalists lost their job in one fell swoop.

The letter, which was signed by union chairman Yair Tarchitsky and was approved by the secretariat, stated that “The shutting down of media outlets by security forces is a drastic step that is nearly unheard of in democratic regimes, specifically in Israel. We see this move as a direct threat to both freedom of speech and freedom of the press in Israel — two cornerstones of democracy — which must only be carried out in the most extreme cases.”

The letter further quotes the head of the Government Press Office (GPO), Nitzan Chen, who spoke last Monday at a Knesset hearing about his discomfort with the decision to close down the outlets.

According to Chen, the GPO — which is under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office and works directly with the Shin Bet intelligence services — actively tracks Sawat al-Haq and PLS48, adding that years ago the two outlets were found to have included inciting messages in their articles (after which journalists from both organizations were denied government-issued press cards). However, the organizations have since changed their ways, paving the way for employees to, once again, obtain press cards.

“In our view, even if a text is published that contains incitement, the proper way to deal with it is to punish the inciters through the criminal justice system, rather than by closing down entire news outlets, firing dozens of journalists who did absolutely nothing wrong, and silencing public discourse,” continued the letter, which was also sent to the public security minister, the interior minister (who is in charge of issuing licenses to newspapers), the head of the GPO, and others.

The letter clarifies that the organization does not call into question the government’s decision to outlaw the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, but rather the closing down of associated media outlets, an act that harms both journalists and freedom of speech. The letter ends by calling on Netanyahu to clarify the factors that led to the shutting down of the outlets.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

The “ISIS Rockefellers”: How Islamic State Oil Flows to Israel

November 27th, 2015 by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed

(Pictured left: The Islamic State group’s oil earns the ‘caliphate’ $19 million a month through international markets [source: al-Araby]

GR Editor’s Note: Some of the details of this report are fully corroborated.

Oil produced by the Islamic State group finances its bloodlust. But how is it extracted, transported and sold? Who is buying it, and how does it reach Israel?

Oil produced from fields under the control of the Islamic State group is at the heart of a new investigation by al-Araby al-Jadeed. The black gold is extracted, transported and sold, providing the armed group with a vital financial lifeline.

But who buys it? Who finances the murderous brutality that has taken over swathes of Iraq and Syria? How does it get from the ground to the petrol tank, and who profits along the way?

The Islamic State group uses millions of dollars in oil revenues to expand and manage vast areas under its control, home to around five million civilians.

IS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and Turkish smuggling networks and mafias, who label it and sell it on as barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government.

It is then most frequently transported from Turkey to Israel, via knowing or unknowing middlemen, according to al-Araby’s investigation.

The Islamic State group has told al-Araby that it did not intentionally sell oil to Israel, blaming agents along the route to international markets.

Oil fields

All around IS-controlled oil fields in northern Iraq and eastern Syria, there are signs that read: “Photography is strictly forbidden – violators risk their safety.” They have been signed in the name of the IS group.

These oil fields are in production between seven and nine hours a day, from sunset to sunrise, while production is mostly supervised by the Iraqi workers and engineers who had previously been running operations, kept on in their jobs by IS after it captured the territory.

IS is heavily dependent on its oil revenues. Its other income, such as from donations and kidnap ransoms has slowly dwindled. Workers in IS oil fields and their families are well looked after, because they are very important to the group’s financial survival.

IS oil extraction capacity developed further in 2015 when it obtained hydraulic machines and electric pumps after taking control of the Allas and Ajeel oil fields near the Iraqi city of Tikrit.

The group also seized the equipment of a small Asian oil company that was developing an oil field close to the Iraqi city of Mosul before IS overran the area last June.

IS oil production in Syria is focused on the Conoco and al-Taim oil fields, west and northwest of Deir Ezzor, while in Iraq the group uses al-Najma and al-Qayara fields near Mosul. A number of smaller fields in both Iraq and Syria are used by the group for local energy needs.

According to estimates based on the number of oil tankers that leave Iraq, in addition to al-Araby‘s sources in the Turkish town of Sirnak on the border with Iraq, through which smuggled oil transits, IS is producing an average of 30,000 barrels a day from the Iraqi and Syrian oil fields it controls.

The export trek

has obtained information about how IS smuggles oil from a colonel in the Iraqi Intelligence Services who we are keeping anonymous for his security.

The information was verified by Kurdish security officials, employees at the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, and an official at one of three oil companies that deal in IS-smuggled oil.

The Iraqi colonel, who along with US investigators is working on a way to stop terrorist finance streams, told al-Araby about the stages that the smuggled oil goes through from the points of extraction in Iraqi oil fields to its destination – notably including the port of Ashdod, Israel.

“After the oil is extracted and loaded, the oil tankers leave Nineveh province and head north to the city of Zakho, 88km north of Mosul,” the colonel said. Zakho is a Kurdish city in Iraqi Kurdistan, right on the border with Turkey.

“After IS oil lorries arrive in Zakho – normally 70 to 100 of them at a time – they are met by oil smuggling mafias, a mix of Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, in addition to some Turks and Iranians,” the colonel continued.

“The person in charge of the oil shipment sells the oil to the highest bidder,” the colonel added. Competition between organised gangs has reached fever pitch, and the assassination of mafia leaders has become commonplace.

The highest bidder pays between 10 and 25 percent of the oil’s value in cash – US dollars – and the remainder is paid later, according to the colonel.

The drivers hand over their vehicles to other drivers who carry permits and papers to cross the border into Turkey with the shipment, the Iraqi intelligence officer said. The original drivers are given empty lorries to drive back to IS-controlled areas.

According to the colonel, these transactions usually take place in a variety of locations on the outskirts of Zakho. The locations are agreed by phone.

Before crossing any borders, the mafias transfer the crude oil to privately owned rudimentary refineries, where the oil is heated and again loaded onto lorries to transfer them across the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing into Turkey.

The rudimentary refining, according to the colonel, is performed because Turkish authorities do not allow crude oil to cross the border if it is not licensed by the Iraqi government.

The initial refining stage is conducted to obtain documents that would pass the oil off as oil by-products, which are allowed through the border.

According to the intelligence officer, border officials receive large bribes from local Iraqi smuggling gangs and privately owned refineries.

Once in Turkey, the lorries continue to the town of Silopi, where the oil is delivered to a person who goes by the aliases of Dr Farid, Hajji Farid and Uncle Farid.

Uncle Farid is an Israeli-Greek dual national in his fifties. He is usually accompanied by two strong-built men in a black Jeep Cherokee. Because of the risk involved in taking a photo of Uncle Farid, a representative drawing was made of him.

Once inside Turkey, IS oil is indistinguishable from oil sold by the Kurdistan Regional Government, as both are sold as “illegal”, “source unknown” or “unlicensed” oil.

The companies that buy the KRG oil also buy IS-smuggled oil, according to the colonel.

The route to Israel

After paying drivers, middlemen and bribes, IS’ profit is $15 to $18 a barrel. The group currently makes $19 million on average each month, according to the intelligence officer.

Uncle Farid owns a licensed import-export business that he uses to broker deals between the smuggling mafias that buy IS oil and the three oil companies that export the oil to Israel.

Al-Araby has the names of these companies and details of their illegal trades. One of these companies is also supported by a very high-profile Western official.

The companies compete to buy the smuggled oil and then transfer it to Israel through the Turkish ports of Mersin, Dortyol and Ceyhan, according to the colonel.

Al-Araby has discovered several brokers who work in the same business as Uncle Farid – but he remains the most influential and effective broker when it comes to marketing smuggled oil.

A paper written by marine engineers George Kioukstsolou and Dr Alec D Coutroubis at the University of Greenwich tracked the oil trade through Ceyhan port, and found some correlation between IS military successes and spikes in the oil output at the port.

In August, the Financial Times reported that Israel obtained up to 75 percent of its oil supplies from Iraqi Kurdistan. More than a third of such exports go through the port of Ceyhan, which the FT authors describe as a “potential gateway for IS-smuggled crude”.

Kioukstsolou told al-Araby al-Jadeed that this suggests corruption by middlemen and those at the lower end of the trade hierarchy – rather than institutional abuse by multinational businesses or governments.

According to a European official at an international oil company who met with al-Araby in a Gulf capital, Israel refines the oil only “once or twice” because it does not have advanced refineries. It exports the oil to Mediterranean countries – where the oil “gains a semi-legitimate status” – for $30 to $35 a barrel.

“The oil is sold within a day or two to a number of private companies, while the majority goes to an Italian refinery owned by one of the largest shareholders in an Italian football club [name removed] where the oil is refined and used locally,” added the European oil official.

“Israel has in one way or another become the main marketer of IS oil. Without them, most IS-produced oil would have remained going between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Even the three companies would not receive the oil if they did not have a buyer in Israel,” said the industry official.

According to him, most countries avoid dealing in this type of smuggled oil, despite its alluring price, due to legal implications and the war against the Islamic State group.

Delivery and payment

has discovered that IS uses a variety of ways to receive payments for its smuggled oil – in a manner similar to other international criminal networks.

First, IS receives a cash payment worth 10 to 25 percent of the oil’s value upon sale to the criminal gangs operating around the Turkish border.

Second, payments from oil trading companies are deposited in a private Turkish bank account belonging to an anonymous Iraqi person, through someone such as Uncle Farid, and then transferred to Mosul and Raqqa, laundered through a number of currency exchange companies.

Third, oil payments are used to buy cars that are exported to Iraq, where they are sold by IS operatives in Baghdad and southern cities, and the funds transferred internally to the IS treasury.

IS responds

Hours before this investigation report was concluded, al-Araby was able to talk via Skype to someone close to IS in the self-acclaimed capital of the “caliphate,” Raqqa, in Syria.

“To be fair, the [IS] organisation sells oil from caliphate territories but does not aim to sell it to Israel or any other country,” he said. “It produces and sells it via mediators, then companies, who decide whom to sell it to.”

- See more at:

Here are direct quotes, ladies first:

Hillary Clinton:

“I personally would be advocating now for a no-fly zone and humanitarian corridors to try to stop the carnage on the ground and from the air.”

Carly Fiorina:

“This is a tricky maneuver, it’s a dangerous maneuver, but it’s a maneuver that we must undertake. The Russians do not get to move into the Middle East and become the dominant outside power.”

Jeb Bush:

“We need to have no fly zones. The argument is, well we’ll get into the conflict with Russia, maybe Russia shouldn’t want to be in conflict with us. I mean, this is a place where American leadership is desperately needed.”

John Kasich:

“You enter that no-fly zone, you enter at your own peril. No more red lines, no more looking the other way. If any hostile aircraft should enter that, there will be a great consequence to them.”

Ben Carson:

“We need to stand our ground with the airspace. I would establish a no-fly zone along the border with Turkey. In no way would I back off.”

Chris Christie:

“My first phone call would be to Vladimir, and I’d say to him, listen, we’re enforcing this no-fly zone,” adding that he would shoot down Russian warplanes that violate the no-fly zone.

Lindsey Graham:

“I don’t know if there’s anybody left to train, but a no-fly zone would be a great relief to the Syrian people.”

Marco Rubio:

“The United States should work with our allies, both Arab and European, to impose a no-fly zone over parts of Syria.”

Before the Paris massacre that meant shooting down Russian planes flying over Syria either by U.S. military or by providing surface to air missiles like Stinger to “moderate” rebels.

Now, when France is working closely with Russia, will these presidential hopefuls flip-flop, or they will advocate shooting down French planes as well?

To be fair, some of the Republican and Democratic candidates opposed a no fly zone even before the French got into action.

Ted Cruz:

“Look, we have no business sticking our nose in that civil war”

Rand Paul:

“Setting up a no-fly zone is a recipe for disaster. It’s a recipe for confrontation.”

Donald Trump:

“I Support Russia Bombing ‘The Hell Out Of ISIS’ In Syria.”

Bernie Sanders:

“I oppose, at this point, a unilateral American no-fly zone in Syria which could get us more deeply involved in that horrible civil war and lead to a never-ending U.S. entanglement in that region.”

Martin O’Malley:

“This could lead to an escalation of Cold War proportions (!) because of an accident, and I don’t think that’s in the best interest of the United States.”

Of course, there are more U.S. politicos in high places like Senator John McCain who want to escalate this conflict even further, and they have the enthusiastic support of the mainstream media.

At the same we hear more voices of reason urging the White House to join the real anti-terror coalition headed by Russia and France.

If only Obama could make up his mind!

The Dirty War on Syria

November 27th, 2015 by Prof. Tim Anderson

The following text is the introductory chapter of  Professor Tim Anderson’s forthcoming book entitled The Dirty War on Syria

Although every war makes ample use of lies and deception, the dirty war on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory. The British-Australian journalist Philip Knightley pointed out that war propaganda typically involves ‘a depressingly predictable pattern’ of demonising the enemy leader, then demonising the enemy people through atrocity stories, real or imagined (Knightley 2001). Accordingly, a mild-mannered eye doctor called Bashar al Assad became the new evil in the world and, according to consistent western media reports, the Syrian Army did nothing but kill civilians for more than four years. To this day, many imagine the Syrian conflict is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolt’ or some sort of internal sectarian conflict. These myths are, in many respects, a substantial achievement for the big powers which have driven a series of ‘regime change’ operations in the Middle East region, all on false pretexts, over the past 15 years.

Dr. Tim Anderson

This book is a careful academic work, but also a strong defence of the right of the Syrian people to determine their own society and political system. That position is consistent with international law and human rights principles, but may irritate western sensibilities, accustomed as we are to an assumed prerogative to intervene. At times I have to be blunt, to cut through the double-speak. In Syria the big powers have sought to hide their hand, using proxy armies while demonising the Syrian Government and Army, accusing them of constant atrocities; then pretending to rescue the Syrian people from their own government. Far fewer western people opposed the war on Syria than opposed the invasion of Iraq, because they were deceived about its true nature.

In 2011 I had only a basic understanding of Syria and its history. However I was deeply suspicious when reading of the violence that erupted in the southern border town of Daraa. I knew that such violence (sniping at police and civilians, the use of semi-automatic weapons) does not spring spontaneously from street demonstrations. And I was deeply suspicious of the big powers. All my life I had been told lies about the pretexts for war. I decided to research the Syrian conflict, reading hundreds of books and articles, watching many videos and speaking to as many Syrians as I could. I wrote dozens of articles and visited Syria twice, during the conflict. This book is a result of that research.

Dirty wars are not new. Cuban national hero Jose Martí predicted to a friend that Washington would try to intervene in Cuba’s independence struggle against the Spanish. ‘They want to provoke a war’, he wrote in 1889 ‘to have a pretext to intervene and, with the authority of being mediator and guarantor, to seize the country … There is no more cowardly thing in the annals of free people; nor such cold blooded evil’ (Martí 1975: 53). Nine years later, during the third independence war, an explosion in Havana Harbour destroyed the USS Maine, killing 258 US sailors and serving as a pretext for a US invasion.

The subsequent ‘Spanish-American’ war snatched victory from the Cubans and allowed the US to take control of the remaining Spanish colonial territories. Cuba had territory annexed and a deeply compromised constitution was imposed. No evidence ever proved the Spanish were responsible for the bombing of the Maine and many Cubans believe the North Americans bombed their own ship. The monument in Havana, in memory of those sailors, still bears this inscription: ‘To the victims of the Maine who were sacrificed to imperialist voracity and the desire to gain control of the island of Cuba’ (Richter 1998).

The US launched dozens of interventions in Latin America over the subsequent century. A notable dirty war was led by CIA-backed, ‘freedom fighter’ mercenaries based in Honduras, who attacked the Sandinista Government and the people of Nicaragua in the 1980s. That conflict, in its modus operandi, was not so different to the war on Syria. In Nicaragua more than 30,000 people were killed. The International Court of Justice found the US guilty of a range of terrorist-style attacks on the little Central American country, and found that the US owed Nicaragua compensation (ICJ 1986). Washington ignored these rulings.

With the ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011 the big powers took advantage of a political foment by seizing the initiative to impose an ‘Islamist winter’, attacking the few remaining independent states of the region. Very quickly we saw the destruction of Libya, a small country with the highest standard of living in Africa. NATO bombing and a Special Forces campaign helped the al Qaeda groups on the ground. The basis for NATO’s intervention was lies told about actual and impending massacres, supposedly carried out or planned by the government of President Muammar Gaddafi. These claims led rapidly to a UN Security Council resolution said to protect civilians through a ‘no fly zone’. We know now that trust was betrayed, and that the NATO powers abused the limited UN authorisation to overthrow the Libyan Government (McKinney 2012).

Subsequently, no evidence emerged to prove that Gaddafi intended, carried out or threatened wholesale massacres, as was widely suggested (Forte 2012). Genevieve Garrigos of Amnesty International (France) admitted there was ‘no evidence’ to back her group’s earlier claims that Gaddafi had used ‘black mercenaries’ to commit massacres (Forte 2012; Edwards 2013).

Alan Kuperman, drawing mainly on North American sources, demonstrates the following points. First, Gaddafi’s crackdown on the mostly Islamist insurrection in eastern Libya was ‘much less lethal’ than had been suggested. Indeed there was evidence that he had had ‘refrained from indiscriminate violence’. The Islamists were themselves armed from the beginning. From later US estimates, of the almost one thousand casualties in the first seven weeks, about three percent were women and children (Kuperman 2015). Second, when government forces were about to regain the east of the country, NATO intervened, claiming this was to avert an impending massacre. Ten thousand people died after the NATO intervention, compared to one thousand before. Gaddafi had pledged no reprisals in Benghazi and ‘no evidence or reason’ came out to support the claim that he planned mass killings (Kuperman 2015). The damage was done. NATO handed over the country to squabbling groups of Islamists and western aligned ‘liberals’. A relatively independent state was overthrown, but Libya was destroyed. Four years on there is no functioning government and violence persists; and that war of aggression against Libya went unpunished.

Two days before NATO bombed Libya another armed Islamist insurrection broke out in Daraa, Syria’s southernmost city. Yet because this insurrection was linked to the demonstrations of a political reform movement, its nature was disguised. Many did not see that those who were providing the guns – Qatar and Saudi Arabia – were also running fake news stories in their respective media channels, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. There were other reasons for the durable myths of this war. Many western audiences, liberals and leftists as well as the more conservative, seemed to like the idea of their own role as the saviours of a foreign people, speaking out strongly about a country of which they knew little, but joining what seemed to be a ‘good fight’ against this new ‘dictator’. With a mission and their proud self-image western audiences apparently forgot the lies of previous wars, and of their own colonial legacies.

I would go so far as to say that, in the Dirty War on Syria, western culture in general abandoned its better traditions: of reason, the maintenance of ethical principle and the search for independent evidence at times of conflict; in favour of its worst traditions: the ‘imperial prerogative’ for intervention, backed by deep racial prejudice and poor reflection on the histories of their own cultures. That weakness was reinforced by a ferocious campaign of war propaganda. After the demonisation of Syrian leader Bashar al Assad began, a virtual information blockade was constructed against anything which might undermine the wartime storyline. Very few sensible western perspectives on Syria emerged after 2011, as critical voices were effectively blacklisted.

In that context I came to write this book. It is a defence of Syria, not primarily addressed to those who are immersed the western myths but to others who engage with them. This is therefore a resource book and a contribution to the history of the Syrian conflict. The western stories have become self-indulgent and I believe it is wasteful to indulge them too much. Best, I think, to speak of current events as they are, then address the smokescreens later. I do not ignore the western myths, in fact this book documents many of them. But I lead with the reality of the war.

Western mythology relies on the idea of imperial prerogatives, asking what must ‘we’ do about the problems of another people; an approach which has no basis in international law or human rights. The next steps involve a series of fabrications about the pretexts, character and events of the war. The first pretext over Syria was that the NATO states and the Gulf monarchies were supporting a secular and democratic revolution. When that seemed implausible the second story was that they were saving the oppressed majority ‘Sunni Muslim’ population from a sectarian ‘Alawite regime’. Then, when sectarian atrocities by anti-government forces attracted greater public attention, the pretext became a claim that there was a shadow war: ‘moderate rebels’ were said to be actually fighting the extremist groups. Western intervention was therefore needed to bolster these ‘moderate rebels’ against the ‘new’ extremist group that had mysteriously arisen and posed a threat to the world.

That was the ‘B’ story. No doubt Hollywood will make movies based on this meta-script, for years to come. However this book leads with the ‘A’ story. Proxy armies of Islamists, armed by US regional allies (mainly Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey), infiltrate a political reform movement and snipe at police and civilians. They blame this on the government and spark an insurrection, seeking the overthrow of the Syrian government and its secular-pluralist state. This follows the openly declared ambition of the US to create a ‘New Middle East’, subordinating every country of the region, by reform, unilateral disarmament or direct overthrow. Syria was next in line, after Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. In Syria, the proxy armies would come from the combined forces of the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi fanatics. Despite occasional power struggles between these groups and their sponsors, they share much the same Salafist ideology, opposing secular or nationalist regimes and seeking the establishment of a religious state.

However in Syria Washington’s Islamists confronted a disciplined national army which did not disintegrate along religious lines, despite many provocations. The Syrian state also had strong allies in Russia and Iran. Syria was not to be Libya Take Two. In this prolonged war the violence, from the western side, was said to consist of the Syrian Army targeting and killing civilians. From the Syrian side people saw daily terrorist attacks on towns and cities, schools and hospitals and massacres of ordinary people by NATO’s ‘freedom fighters’, then the counter attacks by the Army. Foreign terrorists were recruited in dozens of countries by the Saudis and Qatar, bolstering the local mercenaries.

Though the terrorist groups were often called ‘opposition, ‘militants’ and ‘Sunni groups’ outside Syria, inside the country the actual political opposition abandoned the Islamists back in early 2011. Protest was driven off the streets by the violence, and most of the opposition (minus the Muslim Brotherhood and some exiles) sided with the state and the Army, if not with the ruling Ba’ath Party. The Syrian Army has been brutal with terrorists but, contrary to western propaganda, protective of civilians. The Islamists have been brutal with all, and openly so. Millions of internally displaced people have sought refuge with the Government and Army, while others fled the country.

In a hoped-for ‘end game’ the big powers sought overthrow of the Syrian state or, failing that, the creation of a dysfunctional state or dismembering into sectarian statelets, thus breaking the axis of independent regional states. That axis comprises Hezbollah in south Lebanon and the Palestinian resistance, alongside Syria and Iran, the only states in the region without US military bases. More recently Iraq – still traumatised from western invasion, massacres and occupation – has begun to align itself with this axis. Russia too has begun to play an important counter-weight role. Recent history and conduct demonstrate that neither Russia nor Iran harbour any imperial ambitions remotely approaching those of Washington and its allies, several of which (Britain, France and Turkey) were former colonial warlords in the region. From the point of view of the ‘Axis of Resistance’, defeat of the dirty war on Syria means that the region can begin closing ranks against the big powers. Syria’s successful resistance would mean the beginning of the end for Washington’s ‘New Middle East’.

That is basically the big picture. This book sets out to document the A story and expose the B story. It does so by rescuing some of the better western traditions: the use of reason, the maintenance of ethical principle and the search for independent evidence in case of conflict. I hope it might prove a useful resource. Here is a brief overview of the chapters.

Chapter 2, ‘Syria and Washington’s ‘New Middle East’’ puts Syria in context of the US plans for a ‘New Middle East’, the latest chapter in a longer history of US attempts to dominate the region.

Chapter 3, ‘Barrel Bombs, Partisan Sources and War Propaganda’ addresses the problem of reporting and reading the Syrian crisis. Media channels have shown a hyper-reliance on partisan sources, committed to the war and denigrating the Syrian Army. This is the key barrier to understanding the controversies around chemical weapons, civilian massacres and the levels of support for or opposition to President Assad.

Chapter 4, ‘Daraa 2011: Another Islamist Insurrection’ reconstructs, from a range of sources, the Saudi-backed Islamist insurrection in Daraa in March 2011. Those armed attacks were quite distinct from the political reform rallies, which the Islamists soon drove off the streets.

Chapter 5, ‘Bashar al Assad and Political Reform’ explains the political reform movement from the time Bashar assumed the presidency in the year 2000 to the beginning of the crisis in 2011. From this we can see that most opposition groups were committed to reform within a Syrian context, with virtually all opposing attacks on the Syrian state. The chapter then reviews the role of Bashar as a reformer, and the evidence on his popularity.

Chapter 6, ‘The Empire’s Jihadis’ looks at the collaboration between Salafist political Islam and the imperial powers in the Middle East. Distinct from the anti-imperial Islamic currents in Iran and south Lebanon, Salafist political Islam has become a sectarian force competing with Arab nationalism across Egypt, Palestine and Syria, and drawing on long standing collaborative relations with the big powers. This history provides important background to the character of Syria’s Islamist ‘revolution’, and its various slogans.

Chapter 7, ‘Embedded Media, Embedded Watchdogs’ identifies the propaganda techniques of media channels and the network of ‘human rights’ bodies (Human Rights Watch, Avaaz, etc) which function as megaphones and ‘moderators’ for the Washington agenda. Many have become fierce advocates for ‘humanitarian war’. A number of newer western NGOs (e.g. The Syria Campaign, The White Helmets) have been created by Wall Street agencies specifically for the dirty war on Syria. A number of their fabrications are documented here.

Chapter 8, ‘The Houla Massacre Revisited’ considers in detail the evidence from the first major massacre designed (following success of the technique over Libya) to influence UN Security Council consideration of military intervention. While the first UN inquiry group, actually in Syria, found contradictory evidence on this massacre, a second UN group outside Syria and co-chaired by a US diplomat, tried to blame the Syrian Government. Yet more than a dozen witnesses blamed Farouq FSA Islamists, who killed pro-government villagers and took over the area, holding it for some months. Several other ‘false flag’ massacres are noted.

Chapter 9, ‘Chemical Fabrications: the East Ghouta Incident’ details the second major ‘false flag’ incident of international significance. This incident in August 2013, which nearly sparked a major escalation involving US missile attacks on Syria, was used to accuse the Syrian Government of killing hundreds of civilians, including children, with chemical weapons. Within a fairly short time multiple sources of independent evidence (including North American evidence) disproved these accusations. Nevertheless, Syria’s opponents have repeated the false accusations, to this day, as though they were fact.

Chapter 10, ‘A Responsibility to Protect and the Double Game’ addresses a recent political doctrine, a subset of ‘humanitarian intervention’ popularised to add to the imperial toolkit. The application of this doctrine in Libya was disastrous for that little country. Fortunately the attempts to use it in Syria failed.

Chapter 11, ‘Health and Sanctions’ documents the NATO-backed Islamist attacks on Syria’s health system, linked to the impact of western economic sanctions. These twin currents have caused great damage to Syrian public health. Such attacks carry no plausible motive of seeking local popular support, so we must interpret them as part of an overall strategy to degrade the Syrian state, rendering it more vulnerable to outside intervention.

Chapter 12 ‘Washington, Terrorism and ISIS: the evidence’, documents the links between the big powers and the latest peak terrorist group they claim to be fighting. Only evidence can help develop informed opinion on this contentious matter, but the evidence is overwhelming. There is little ideological difference between the various Salafi-Islamist groups, and Washington and its allies have financed and armed every one of them.

Chapter 13, ‘Western Intervention and the Colonial Mind’ discusses the western cultural mindset that underlies persistent violations of the rights of other peoples.

Chapter 14 ‘Towards an Independent Middle East’, considers the end-game in the Syrian crisis, and its implications for the Middle East region. At tremendous cost the Syrian Arab Republic, its army and its people, have successfully resisted aggression from a variety of powerful enemies. Syria’s survival is due to its resilience and internal unity, bolstered by support from some strong allies. The introduction of Russian air power in late September 2015 was important. So too were the coordinated ground forces from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, in support of an independent Syria.

When the attacks on Syria abate the Middle East seems set to be transformed, with greater political will and military preparedness on the part of an expanded Axis of Resistance. That will signal the beginning of the end for Washington’s 15 year spree of bloodshed and ‘regime change’ across the entire region.


Edwards, Dave (2013) ‘Limited But Persuasive’ Evidence – Syria, Sarin, Libya, Lies’, Media Lens, 13 June, online:

Forte, Maximilian (2012) Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa, Baraka Books, Quebec

ICJ (1986) Case concerning the military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America) Merits’, International Court of Justice, Judgement of 27 June 1986, online:

Knightley, Phillip (2001) ‘The disinformation campaign’, The Guardian, 4 October, online:

Kuperman, Alan J. (2015) Obama’s Libya Debacle’, Foreign Affairs, 16 April, online:

Martí, Jose (1975) Obras Completas, Vol. 6, Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, La Habana

McKinney, Cynthia (Ed) (2012) The Illegal War on Libya, Clarity Press, Atlanta

Putin, Vladimir (2015) ‘Violence instead of democracy: Putin slams ‘policies of exceptionalism and impunity’ in UN speech’, RT, 28 September, online:

Richter, Larry (1998) ‘Havana Journal; Remember the Maine? Cubans See an American Plot Continuing to This Day’, New York Times, 14 February, online:

Dr Tim Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He researches and writes on development, rights and self-determination in Latin America, the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. He has published many dozens of chapters and articles in a range of academic books and journals. His last book was Land and Livelihoods in Papua New Guinea (Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2015).

Since the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, new revelations have provided more evidence that Islamist elements who launched the attack were well known to the intelligence services before the attack that killed 130 people.

These details are of the greatest political significance. They contradict official claims that the attackers evaded the attention of French and European intelligence, and that the only way to prevent new attacks is to accept a permanent state of emergency and police-state measures. If the terrorists were able to plan and execute such a massive, coordinated attack, it was because intelligence agencies did not use the powers they already have to prevent attacks that were carried out by Islamist terrorist forces with which they have close political ties.

On November 25, the New York Times reported that Belgian authorities had a list of suspected Islamists that included the Belgian residents who were involved in the Paris attacks. It wrote, “a month before the Paris terrorist attacks, Mayor Françoise Schepmans of Molenbeek, a Brussels district long notorious as a haven for jihadists, received a list with the names and addresses of more than 80 people suspected as Islamic militants living in her area.”

Citing sources inside Belgium’s security services, the Times wrote, “the list included two brothers who would take part in the bloodshed in France on Nov. 13, as well as the man suspected of being the architect of the terrorist plot, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Molenbeek resident who had left for Syria to fight for the Islamic State in early 2014.”

Schepmans said, “What was I supposed to do about them? It is not my job to track possible terrorists.” She noted that this is “the responsibility of the federal police.”

Abaaoud, who died in the massive police raid in Saint-Denis last week and was believed to have orchestrated the attacks, lived in Molenbeek. Known to police since 2002, he received multiple prison sentences between 2006 and 2012. He came to the attention of the intelligence services in February 2014, when he appeared in an Islamist video driving a truck dragging the corpses of nonbelievers. Six months later, international arrest warrants were issued for him.

The two brothers cited by the Times, Brahim and Salah Abdeslam, also lived in Molenbeek. Brahim blew himself up on the boulevard Voltaire and his brother, Salah Abdeslam, is currently on the run.

Police also had a file on Omar Ismaïl Mostefai, a suicide bomber at Bataclan theater, even before he travelled to Syria in 2013, while Sami Amimour, a gunman at the Bataclan, had been detained in 2012 due to suspected terrorist links.

Already before the Times report, numerous media outlets had revealed that most Islamists involved in the November 13 attack were known to security forces. Since the Paris attacks, a growing number of experts on French Islamism have expressed amazement that such figures were allowed to operate in France and prepare the attacks.

When Abaaoud was identified as a possible orchestrator of the attack, David Thomson, a journalist specializing in jihad in France and author of French Jihadists, wrote: “if this report is substantiated, what would be involved would be far more than astonishment at a meltdown of the security services.”

Thomson explained, “One must understand who this man is. He is the public face of the French-speaking jihadi world. His face was displayed for several days last year round-the-clock on all France’s major news channels. In 2013 and 2014, on his own Facebook page, under his true identity, he posted videos of himself on the Syrian front, grenade launcher in hand, calling for people to join him.”

Abaaoud’s ability to travel in Europe and plan and obtain supplies for a major terrorist attack can only be explained by the close ties between Islamist terrorist circles and French intelligence, who uses them to go fight in the imperialist war for regime change in Syria. Under these conditions, the Paris attackers were able to exploit what amounted to official protection for their operations from sections of the French state.

The Socialist Party (PS) government’s claims about the attacks are rapidly being discredited, among rising disputes inside the state apparatus and the security services. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve had claimed, “A zero-risk situation faced with such actors, who have declared war on our country and on Europe … that doesn’t exist.”

In fact, amid deep divisions inside French imperialist circles over how to proceed, sections of French intelligence are criticizing the PS’ all-out support for regime change in Syria for blocking police operations in France. “Since the arrival of [PS Foreign Minister] Laurent Fabius at the Quai d’Orsay, all contacts with Damascus have been cut, because Paris is betting on the fall of the regime. … All the French jihadists are going there,” said Bernard Squarcini, a top intelligence official under conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Squarcini told Valeurs actuelles that Prime Minister Manuel Valls refused an offer from Syrian intelligence, passed through Squarcini, to provide more details on French jihadists fighting in Syria. Valls’ refusal was motivated by “ideological reasons,” Squarcini said.

This policy is rooted not only in the aggressive foreign policy of French imperialism and its NATO allies, including the United States, but the escalating social and economic crisis of European capitalism. The ruling elites are happy to rely on Islamist terrorist groups as instruments of their foreign policy overseas, while using their operations to justify massive assaults on democratic rights at home. This makes a mockery of the so-called “war on terror.”

The PS, whose austerity policies obtained a 3 percent approval rating in one poll last year, is handing over sweeping powers to police in a 3-month state of emergency, and planning to write a permanent state of emergency into the French constitution.

After the Paris attacks, the right-wing Belgian government of Prime Minister Charles Michel declared a security emergency last weekend citing an imminent terrorist threat, ordered the shutdown of entire neighbourhoods, and launched vast police-military operations, ostensibly to arrest Islamist suspects. In fact, only one individual was detained.

This led to broad charges, including within sections of the political establishment, that the government was manipulating events for its own political purposes. (See: “Official justifications for Brussels lockdown unravel”)

If you want to know how Monsanto gets trade agreements in foreign countries without a truly democratic or legal process, you can look no further than South America for answers. Using antiquated laws and the North American Free Trade Agreements (NAFTA), one of the ‘most hated companies’ in the world has forced its wares into multiple South American countries without considering farmers’ rights, indigenous seed, or food sovereignty for millions of people.

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, or UPOV (and colloquially known as “The Monsanto Law” in South America), was initially established in 1961. It was likely never meant to protect companies like Monsanto in the way that it is today, though it was originally intended as a means of imposing common rules for recognizing and protecting the ownership of new plant varieties by plant breeders.

Latin American farmers see Monsanto as nothing more than an imperialist opportunist. From Chile to Columbia to Mexico, there have been demonstrations, often resulting in changed laws that protect local farmers instead of biotech corporations. As explains:

“The history of UPOV is that of an ongoing and apparently limitless expansion of seed company rights along with a concomitant shrinkage of farmers’ rights and freedoms. The original convention only granted property rights over varieties developed by the party requesting them; itgranted little more than an exclusive right to market a private variety and did not establish specific sanctions.

With its subsequent revisions, UPOV now grants monopoly rights over “discovered” varieties and the production, marketing, export and import thereof. In addition, it allows property owners to apply for the confiscation of crops, plantations, harvests, and products derived from the harvest. It even allows companies to file criminal complaints, which can lead to prison terms for farmers.

UPOV 91 is the version of the convention now being imposed around the world under the pretext of “protection.” However, it has been clearly demonstrated that UPOV 91 violates farmers’ individual and collective right to save seed for replanting and allows corporations to monopolize biodiversity. These provisions give the “corporations total commercial control over seeds and knowledge that were once owned collectively by whole communities.”

So, while Monsanto is ‘technically’ within the law, it still violates farmers’ rights because the laws are outdated, and not meant for biotech seed monopolies, as the company utilizes them. Laws like these, as well as our own within the US, allow biotech corporations to steer trade towards forced GM cultivation – even when farmers don’t want to grow GM crops.

Turkey’s attack on the Russian bomber is the first such incident between a NATO country and Moscow in half a century.

Across the media, there are concerns that relations between the Alliance and Russia could worsen and see a return to Cold War times. 



Western press and officials now warn that the Rwandan massacres of 1994 are close to a replay in Rwanda’s neighbor Burundi, which shares its Hutu-Tutsi-Twa demographic. Prominent Western voices blame Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza for seeking and winning a third term in office, but critics of US and EU foreign policy say that their real issues are Western firms’ loss to Russian and Chinese firms in the scramble for Burundi’s natural resources, most notably its nickel reserves, and Burundi’s geostrategic border with the the resource rich Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

In “Burundi’s dangerous neighbor,” a letter to the Washington Post, former UN official Jeff Drumtra argues that the Rwandan government’s conscription of Burundian refugees to fight in a new, so-called “rebel force” is a grave danger that the international community should recognize before it’s too late.

Drumtra returned several weeks ago, from five months work in Rwanda’s Mahama Refugee Camp for Burundian refugees near the Rwandan Burundian border. I spoke to him on 11.14.2015. He stressed that his employment contract with the UN had been completed several weeks before and that he was not speaking in any official capacity.

Ann Garrison: Jeff Drumtra, in your Washington Post letter, “Burundi’s dangerous neighbor,” you said that you worked for five months as a UN official in Rwanda’s Mahama Refugee Camp for Burundian refugees. Could you tell us what your responsibilities there were?

Jeff Drumtra: Well, Mahama Camp in Rwanda had about 45,000 Burundian refugees. It was created in April. I was part of the UN emergency team that went in there to respond to the massive Burundian refugee influx that was coming into Rwanda. And on an emergency team, you do whatever needs to be done in the first weeks and months of an emergency.

So, my primary responsibilities were to deal with journalists coming to the camp, and it was a very high profile camp. Also, facilitating visits by diplomats, representatives of other governments who would come to the camp. Their money is going into paying for the international assistance that the UN was providing.

I was also filing daily reports for the UN team. These were internal reports, within the UN system, things that were going on in the camp every day. Progress being made to deal with health issues, nutrition, food distribution, shelter, water, sanitation. All of this has to be set up in the first weeks and months of creating a refugee camp.

But another part of my responsibilities was to do what we call “protection,” which means to try to monitor the physical safety of refugees in the camp and also make sure that their legal rights are not being violated, and doing that kind of protection work really gets you into some of the more subtle issues that go on in a refugee camp.

AG: And how did you experience what you called, in your Washington Post letter, “the intimidating power of the military recruitment effort by the Rwandan government” there?

JD: Well, the military recruitment, much of it would happen at night, when international staff like myself were not in the camp. Under UN security restrictions, we’re required to leave the camp before nightfall every evening. And so a lot of this would happen at night but we would gradually piece together what was happening, as refugees who were very afraid of being forced into a rebel army, forced to go into combat, would come to talk to us with their fears, their concerns. And we gradually pieced together the story of what was happening, and various eyewitness accounts from the refugees themselves, of who was involved in this massive recruitment effort and it gradually became clearer and clearer to us that this was not just a few refugees who were trying to recruit a rebel force, but that there was the hand of the Rwandan government involved. Police officers, intelligence officers.

And certainly I felt the effects of that. I had refugees coming to me who were extremely afraid, very much afraid of what might happen to them.

AG: Do you mean what might happen to them if they refused the recruitment?

JD: What might happen to them if they refused to be recruited. They did receive death threats, telling them that “you really have no choice, you must agree to join the force that’s being created. So they had death threats. Some of them were afraid to sleep in their tents at night and would spend the night in the latrines, trying to escape because a lot of this would happen at night, and so they would sometimes be afraid to go into their tents at night. And so the ones who were most afraid took the risk of talking to a UN team, which itself was a risk because the UN team, including myself, was under constant surveillance in the camp by Rwandan government officials. And so we certainly felt the effects of that surveillance and it made our work more difficult, but gradually we did piece together what was happening in terms of recruitment, usually refugee young males, middle aged males being moved out of the camp, presumably for military training and then onward for whatever the eventual mission was meant to be.

AG: And these were Burundian refugees being drafted by the Rwandan army for some kind of mission in Burundi. Right?

JD: They were Burundian refugees being conscripted by Rwandan officials to form their own rebel force. We saw no evidence that these individuals, these refugees, were integrated into the Rwandan military. That’s not what we think was happening or is happening. Instead it was the creation of a new rebel force that was being put together under the guiding hand of Rwandan officials.

AG: You also wrote that “UN officials and the US government are aware of the Rwandan government’s recruitment campaign.” Could you explain how UN officials and the US government know, and how you know that they know?

JD: Well, UN officials know because they were receiving the regular reporting that was coming from my team, and we were reporting on a daily and then a weekly and a monthly basis. And we would analyze this and we would report this up the chain, and so we know that UN officials at higher levels knew about this because they had access to the internal reporting that we were generating.

US officials and officials of other governments who visited the camp knew about this eventually because they said they did. They would ask about it. They had heard about it.

There was some coverage of this issue as early as late July by some members of the international media. Not the US media, but the international media. And so close observers of the situation in Rwanda and Burundi began to understand what was happening as early as late July. Now those of us working in the camp every day began to understand in early June.

But foreign diplomats would come to the camp because, again, their governments were providing financial support to the humanitarian assistance effort, so they would come to the camp and want to look around and see how their money was being used. And inevitably, during their visit, this issue would come up. They would ask about it. So they knew.

They oftentimes did not know how the recruitment was happening or how pervasive it was, but, by midsummer, some of the more astute governments paying close attention had figured out that some kind of military recruitment was happening in Mahama Refugee Camp.

AG: And why is it significant that the UN and the US government are aware of this?

JD: Well, it’s significant that governments are aware of this because, if they are aware of it, then they can exert pressure. They can exert diplomatic pressure either behind the scenes, quietly, on the Rwandan government to cease this activity, or if that doesn’t work, they can go more public.

My impression is that, up to this point in time, the pressure that they have exerted has been more behind the scenes. Constructive diplomacy, if you will. And it has not stopped the recruitment. At times perhaps it slowed down the recruitment but it most certainly has not brought the military recruitment to a stop. And, ultimately, some of the governments, including the US government could always take a stronger position, going beyond just quiet diplomacy or even public diplomacy but getting to the point of considering sanctions against the Rwandan government.

So those are all tools that the US government has and whether they are ready to use those tools or not, I don’t know. I don’t have access to their internal discussions. But it’s significant that they know it, because they can’t come back – governments can’t come back – months from now when it’s too late and say they didn’t know about this. They do know about it. We know they know about it. They’ve asked about it. And I think some governments have other methods to monitor the situation and collect information on this kind of activity. So, it’s not a secret, and it needs to be talked about more openly to try to impose some accountability.

AG: Did you see any sign that the US is actually encouraging the recruitment?

JD: That the US is encouraging the recruitment?

AG: Yes, the US has a historically very close relationship with the Rwandan military, and there are many people who believe this. But, that doesn’t mean it’s true.

JD: No, I saw no signs of that, and this is the first time that notion has ever even been presented to me. Every indication that I ever had, both when I was in Rwanda, as well as since returning from Rwanda, a couple weeks ago, is that the US government is extremely concerned about military recruitment in Rwanda and in Mahama Camp. I’ve never had any sense that the US government would support that. But I’m not inside the US government, so I can’t speak authoritatively on that.

AG: Is it possible that easing the tension is best left to Rwandans and Burundians?

JD: I think this is an issue that needs international diplomatic attention, including by the US government, and it is possible that diplomatic pressure by the UN and others has already had some beneficial effect. There is not as yet a full blown rebel invasion into Burundi.

There is violence, perhaps there are things going on, but there were periods of time when the recruitment in the camp did slow down. We can only guess about the reasons, but perhaps diplomatic pressure played a role. But there was always the sense that the recruitment network remained in place and that the recruitment network would continue to function, and I think that’s proven to be the case right up to the current time.

AG: Today, Agence France Presse reported that Burundian insurgents, quote unquote “Burundian insurgents,” boasted of firing mortars at the presidential palace in Bujumbura. That is, at President Nkurunziza’s residence. Do you have anything to say about what this could mean?

JD: Well, it’s hard for me to analyze that because that happened inside Burundi. I was on the other side of the border in Rwanda, but I can say, having worked on issues of Rwanda and Burundi on and off for more than 20 years, that we know, historically, that the violence gets worse and the risk of mass atrocities becomes much more serious when both sides feel that they have been victimized. And so, a mortar attack on the presidential palace. . . if it were to hit its mark and actually create a large number of deaths, or even the death of a president . . . would certainly create a situation where the ruling party and everyone who voted for the ruling party in Burundi would feel victimized at a whole new level. And if something like that were to happen, that’s when, historically, violence in Burundi becomes much worse, and that’s what everybody fears here.

Up to this point, the violence in Burundi has largely been political in nature. There’s always an ethnic tinge to it, but it’s largely political. But everyone’s fear is that the violence in Burundi could flip into wholesale ethnic violence. And, if that were to happen, then all bets are off, because we’ve seen back in the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s, Burundi can produce tens of thousands of refugees in a single weekend. It can produce hundreds of thousands of new refugees in a matter of weeks. It can produce tens of thousands of deaths of innocent people in a short period of time, if the violence escalates to a whole new level. The violence in Burundi now is bad but it is not as bad as it could get, and if both sides see themselves as victims, then they lash out very strongly at each other.

KPFA: By both sides, you mean Hutu and Tutsi?

JD: If it gets to that, yes.

KPFA: If it gets to that.

JD: If it becomes totally ethnic in character. Right now, as I said, there’s an ethnic undercurrent but it seems largely politically oriented. There are plenty of Hutu in Burundi who oppose the ruling party and the third term of the president. But if you were to have a wholesale invasion of Burundi by an army organized by the government of Rwanda and sent into Burundi – Burundian refugees – that would tilt the dynamics of the violence in Burundi instantaneously. And that’s what everybody fears.

AG: OK, is there anything else you’d like to say?

JD: Yes. This is an issue that has not gotten attention in the media. The attention it has gotten has largely been from European media. It does need more attention here in the United States and I’m encouraged that you’re looking at this and I hope that it will stimulate more coverage from other American media because there is potential for this to get out of hand very quickly.

It oftentimes felt very lonely, and very isolated there at Mahama Camp. It’s a remote area anyway, and you always wonder who’s really paying attention. You file your reports but sometimes you wonder who’s reading them. But, little by little, I think that, hopefully, pressure’s being put on the government.

AG: Well, it’s courageous of you to speak. It’s courageous of you to have even filed the reports there, because the Rwandan government is known to disappear people. I think you’re pretty safe here in Maryland, but in Mahama Refugee Camp, they could just say, “He’s gone and we don’t know where. We can’t be responsible for everybody.”

JD: It’s something that we thought about and we talked about at critical moments. We were aware. Like I say, you’re weighing risks every single day, on things large and small. Risk to yourself, risk to the refugees, risk to your co-workers. Every step you take, in a way, has to be thought through in advance. So, it continues here in the States. I feel like I’ve brought Rwanda back with me for better or worse.  

Update: On Monday, 11.23.2015, President Obama issued an Executive Order imposing sanctions on two Burundian military officers and two former Burundian military officers who have joined the current insurgency. The order did not sanction any Rwandan officers and made no mention of Rwanda’s role in the conflict.

British Austerity: Cutting One’s Own Backyard

November 27th, 2015 by Binoy Kampmark

“Have you ever wondered how the prime minister sleeps at night?” George Monbiot, The Guardian, Nov 11, 2015

David Cameron assumed a different hat earlier this month when writing a letter of protest about cuts to his local council in Oxfordshire. This provided endless opportunities of biting satire, but it also provided one ample illustration about power and distance. When his Tory hat appears, with all its blue bold vengeance, the slasher of services is what manifests. Deficits are demonic reminders of a poor economy (this has proven false constantly in so far as deficit spending rationales are concerned, but leave that aside), while the expenditure by government for such services is treated is an inconvenient variation of modern bread and circuses.

On going home to his constituents in Oxfordshire – something he does so less these days, his feeling is that of local resident, affected by the council’s own range of services (or not, as the case may be). This may also be the usual exceptionalism shown by a local member – the Westminster system gives us that most quirky of ideas that the prime minister is himself a member of the Commons rather than a separate arm of government. Not insulating the executive function from the legislative one produces its own host of problems.

The leaked letter that came out earlier this month in the Oxford Mail showed the prime minister expressing disappointment at the reductions to a range of services in the constituency. Addressed to the Tory-run Oxfordshire county council, notably Ian Hudspeth, its leader, he admonished the members for what was, essentially, an accepted Tory practice, hewn in granite. The latest cuts were extensive, and go deep into “frontline services” – elderly day centres, libraries and museums. “This is in addition to the unwelcome and counter-productive proposals to close children’s centres across the county.”[1]

Cameron, after ticking Hudspeth off for his zeal in application, suggested that savings might be made in back-office functions and the sharing of services. Why not, chided the PM, “generate savings in a more creative manner”?

The prickly reply was that the council had already taken the shears to such back-office functions and considered savings back in 2006. The effects had been devastatingly effective, reducing staff numbers by the thousands (2800 to be more exact), and the disposition of property.[2] Oxfordshire was truly lean, and heading for fiscal anorexia.

As for the latter, disposing of available property “is neither legal, nor sustainable in the long-term since they are one-off receipts.” If you sell the family silver, you are unlikely to come across them again, accept in someone else’s cabinet.

Then followed a lesson of fiscal realities, one delivered with point blank lecturing. “Excluding schools, our total government grants have fallen from £194m in 2009/10 to £122m a year in 2015/6, and are projected to keep falling at a similar rate. I cannot accept your description of a drop in funding of £72m or 37% as a ‘slight fall’.”

Figures are constantly disputed, with Cameron obviously reading from a different brief, supplied with severe alterations from the Osborne fantasy machine. In one instance, he claims that the total value of cumulative savings in the county since 2010 come to £204m. Not so, shoots back Hudspeth. That total is an annual, not cumulative one. The savings, in fact, have amounted to a staggering, eye-watering £626m.

This bruising revelation was a constant reminder that throughout Cameron’s tenure, cuts have taken place even as grants from a centralised funding structure have fallen. In the jaundiced world of the chancellor, George Osborne, these come across as “small” reductions, really nothing to fuss over. Effectively, councils are being savaged on two fronts even as local government becomes more impoverished. With no where else to go for the slashing platoons doing their bit for balanced budgets, frontline services are up for the chop. Local government emaciation is here to stay.

Hudspeth was also saving up a little reminder for the PM. He had been, he pointedly noted, a suitable warrior for Cameron’s cause, a true ideologue who “worked hard to assist you in achieving a Conservative majority.”

The battles of funding and services in British councils should not be breezily dismissed as the candy of first world problems. These are the expectations that have grown up in a State where certain services do matter. And the bifurcated world Cameron straddles in this case is significant in more ways than one. As George Monbiot suggested, the prime minister “hasn’t the faintest idea how deep his cuts go. This letter proves it.”[3]

The anti-austerity shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, could not resist pouncing on the revelation. “I’m backing David Cameron on this one. He is absolutely right that his chancellor’s cuts to local government are seriously damaging our communities and have to be opposed. I welcome the prime minister as another Tory MP joining our campaign against George Osborne’s cuts.” The campaign of reality, if you will.

Cameron’s indignation is a brilliant, if somewhat ghastly example of distance between planning and effect, a form of remote policy that takes root in cult and fantasy. Having seen the devilry of his own handiwork, the Osborne architecture of doom, he has recoiled. The mirror has spoken.

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






Jeremy Corbyn has thrown down the gauntlet to his Shadow Cabinet and Labour MPs after declaring he will not back David Cameron’s call to launch airstrikes in Syria.

Triggering what looks like a huge power struggle at the top of the Labour Party and the prospect of resignations, Mr Corbyn has written a letter to Labour MPs and peers saying he “cannot support” the proposal outlined today for bombing to get rid of ISIL.

His position is at odds with many of his Shadow Cabinet and comes on the same day as his Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn said there was a “compelling case” to join the air raids.

Members of the Shadow Cabinet told HuffPost UK how the letter was not mentioned at a meeting just a few hours before, where just a handful spoke up in support of the their leader’s line.

The letter comes ahead of the weekend where Mr Cameron, who argued the UK “will never be safe” unless ISIL is defeated, has encouraged MPs to consider his proposal for the UK to join the US and France in bombing missions to wipe out the extremists.

Labour MPs sympathetic to airstrikes could now feel pressure from grassroots Corbyn supporters to support their leader. One Shadow Minister said MPs were “not going to be bounced” by the letter.

The Huffington Post UK this morning revealed how the Labour leader had been briefed by the UK’s top national security advisers on risks to the UK ahead of Mr Cameron making the case to the House of Commons.

The full letter reads:

The Prime Minister made a Statement to the House today making the case for a UK bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria. A copy of my response has already been circulated.

We have all been horrified by the despicable attacks in Paris and are determined to see the defeat of ISIS.

Our first priority must be the security of Britain and the safety of the British people. The issue now is whether what the Prime Minister is proposing strengthens, or undermines, our national security.

I do not believe that the Prime Minister today made a convincing case that extending UK bombing to Syria would meet that crucial test. Nor did it satisfactorily answer the questions raised by us and the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

In particular, the Prime Minister did not set out a coherent strategy, coordinated through the United Nations, for the defeat of ISIS. Nor has he been able to explain what credible and acceptable ground forces could retake and hold territory freed from ISIS control by an intensified air campaign.

In my view, the Prime Minister has been unable to explain the contribution of additional UK bombing to a comprehensive negotiated political settlement of the Syrian civil war, or its likely impact on the threat of terrorist attacks in the UK.

For these and other reasons, I do not believe the Prime Minister’s current proposal for air strikes in Syria will protect our security and therefore cannot support it.

The Shadow Cabinet met today for an initial discussion and debated the issues extensively. We will meet again on Monday, when we will attempt to reach a common view.

I will get in touch again when we know the timing of the debate and vote.

The Prime Minister will now give MPs time to consider the contents of the detailed dossier, and will only call on MPs to vote on whether to go-ahead with airstrikes when he can get a “clear majority”.

Much hinges on whether Labour MPs will support the action given the Government’s slim majority and Mr Corbyn’s reluctance to back military action.

The letter was released after the Shadow Cabinet met following the PM’s Commons statement to discuss the party’s position.

One Shadow Cabinet minister told HuffPost UK: “People are going to stand firm, definitely.

Colleagues who have made their minds up are not going to be bounced into supporting Jeremy by a load of emails from (left-wing grassroots group) Momentum members over the weekend.

Asked about the fact that Mr Corbyn had not discussed his letter at the Shadow Cabinet meeting, one shadow frontbencher said: “It’s amazing. But nothing surprises me any more.

“The Shadow Cabinet was left with the impression that this was just an adjourned discussed and would resume on Monday.”

One Shadow Minister said several colleagues had made clear their backing for military action in the meeting, but it was opened by Mr Corybn reading out a prepared text listing his reservations.

When the meeting ended, Mr Corbyn didn’t sum up or react to the points made but simply said ‘see you next week’.

“It was a normal, grown up discussion, but started very oddly with him reading out his position and ended very abruptly,” said one.

Mr Corbyn was – for the first time at a Shadow Cabinet meeting – accompanied at the meeting by all of his inner circle of advisers, including communications chief Seumas Milne, adviser Andrew Fisher, chief of staff Simon Fletcher and senior aide Neale Coleman.

cameron syria


Jeremy Corbyn: “The Prime Minister has been unable to explain the contribution of additional UK bombing to a comprehensive negotiated political settlement of the Syrian civil war.”

Just a handful of shadow ministers spoke up to support Mr Corbyn’s opposition to military action, including Jon Trickett, Diane Abbott and PLP chair John Cryer.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell did not speak at the meeting, but earlier today he signalled that his mind had not been changed on the problems of Western intervention.

HuffPost understands that among those to argue for RAF joining the bombing of ISIL in Syria were deputy leader Tom Watson – who stressed he had voted against the Libya air strikes – and Mr Benn, Vernon Coaker, Michael Dugher, Lucy Powell and Angela Eagle.

The shooting down of the Russian Su-24 bomber was a planned attack and a trap set by the Turkish Air Force, Dr. Mark Galeotti, the Professor of Global Affairs at the New York University, told Radio Sputnik.

“What it in fact seems to be, as many are saying, it was more of an ambush than anything else,” Galeotti told Sputnik.

By downing the Russian plane, Turkey had two things in mind. First of all, Ankara wants to assert itself as a powerful regional actor, especially considering Russia’s active participation in Syria. The Turkish government thought that by shooting down its plane Turkey would make Russia take Ankara more seriously in the future.

Secondly, the Turkish government wanted to protect its allies, whom Russia’s currently bombing in Syria, Galeotti, an expert in Russo-Turkish relations, explained.

Turkey intends to protect ISIL, as it has direct financial interests involved in the delivery of oil extracted from ISIL-controlled territories. Various estimates place oil revenues generated by ISIL somewhere between $40 and $50 million a month. A day prior to the downing of the Su-24, Russian airstrikes destroyed over 1,000 semi-truck tankers carrying crude oil to ISIL refineries, a large oil storage facility and an oil refinery in Syria.

Interestingly, back in 2012, when the Syrian Air Force shot down a Turkish plane for repeatedly violating Syrian airspace, Erdogan was furious and said that a brief violation of a country’s airspace shouldn’t be a pretext to shoot down a plane.

And now, we can see double-standards at their best. Even if the Russian plane hypothetically violated Turkish airspace for a short period of time it wasn’t a reason to shoot it down. There definitely were other options to solve the problem, the US expert told Radio Sputnik.

The Russian Su-24 Fencer bomber was shot down by two Turkish F-16s Tuesday morning while conducting operations over Syria.One of the pilots from the downed Su-24 was rescued by the Syrian Army Tuesday morning. The other pilot was killed by fire from the ground after ejecting from the plane. A Russian naval infantry soldier also lost his life after an Mi-8 chopper was downed during a rescue operation.

The Turkish president said that Ankara acted in line with its sovereign right to respond to threats, claiming that the Russian jet had violated Turkish airspace.

However, flight data released by the Russian Ministry of Defense shows that the Su-24s never entered Turkey, and were attacked while performing legitimate maneuvers over Syria.

On Wednesday morning, the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Al-Nusra” supported by Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Jund Al-Aqsa and Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen launched a powerful assault on the Al-Zahra Association Quarter in the Aleppo province’s western countryside. The Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions near the Great Prophet Mosque and the Air Force Intelligence (AFI) building were hit.

Following a series of intense firefights, the terrorists temporarily captured the Great Prophet Mosque. But, they were unable to advance forward after the Russian Air Force’s warplanes conducted air raids against them. Then, the SAA launched a counter-assault to recapture the territory around the western sector of the Al-Zahra Association Quarter that was lost to the terrorists.

In northern Aleppo, Jaysh Al-Mujahiddeen and Al-Nusra conducted a full-scale offensive on the town of Bashkoy. Unfortunately, for the terrorists, they were unable to advance into the Al-Afghani Farms and retreated to the nearby village of Rityan. According to the local sources, about 60 terrorists were killed in these clashes.

The SAA in coordination with the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) imposed full control over Katf Al-Ghanimah and Point 1154 around Kabani last night. 25 terrorists from Al-Nusra and its allied groups of the Free Syrian Army and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham were killed.

The Syrian forces mop-up operations in areas to the East of the recently-recaptured Marj al-Sultan airbase in the Damascus province. Al Nusra positions in Douma and near Adam gas station in Aliya farms were destroyed, the reports said.

The SAA, the NDF and Hezbollah advanced against ISIS near al-Hayyal and deployed their units in the Southern side of Palmyra. According to the pro-government forces, the Syrian warriors are preparing to launch a final advance on the city, while the Russian Air Force strikes the Palmyra Military Airport and the road leading to the East district.

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The air navigator of the SU-24: „ I have a debt to repay for the Commander”

Two hours ago at the Latakia air base Konstantin Murakhtin, an air navigator of the Russian SU-24 frontline bomber which was shot down by the Turks, gave his first interview with Russian media, in which he stated that there is no way that his plane violated Turkish airspace.

No. It is not possible, not even for one second. Especially because we were flying at around 6.000 meters, the weather was clear, as we say in our jargon a day in a million, our whole flight up to the moment that the rocket hit us was completely under my control. I saw the border and our exact location perfectly both on the map and on the surroundings.

There was not even the threat of crossing over into Turkey – he told reporters. We have carried out combat missions there many times, we know the area inside out, we perform combat missions and return on the reverse route to the air base. As the navigator, I know practically every elevation over there. I can even navigate without instruments – he said.

The pilot said that the Turkish missile hit the plane suddenly and it was not possible for the crew to avoid it and there was no advance warning from the Turkish side.

In fact there were no warnings at all – not by radio traffic and not visually, there was just no contact. For this reason we went on combat course in regular mode. You need to understand how fast a bomber is and how fast a F16 fighter is. If they had wanted to warn us, they could have shown themselves, by holding a parallel course, but there was nothing like that. In effect, the missile suddenly came at the tail of our plane anyway. We didnt even observe it visually, which might have allowed us to carry out an anti-missile maneuver, said the pilot.

Captain Murakhtin added that he himself feels all in all ok now.

I wait impatiently for them to discharge me to return to duty immediately. I will ask command headquarters to leave me at this airbase, I have a debt to repay for the commander.

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Turkey is a Pawn on the Chessboard for US-NATO War against Russia

November 27th, 2015 by Timothy Alexander Guzman

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way”, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Turkey’s provocation towards Russia is not surprising at all. Washington’s Fingerprints are at the Scene of the Crime. Let’s consider the facts. Syrian government forces along with Russia have turned the tide against ISIS. It is a known fact that the U.S., France, the U.K., Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar had been arming, funding, training or provided safe havens for ISIS at some point in time. Turkey was implicated in a 2012 Reuters report stating that “Turkey has set up a secret base with allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar to direct vital military and communications aid to Syria’s rebels from a city near the border.” The report also said:

News of the clandestine Middle East-run “nerve centre” working to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad underlines the extent to which Western powers – who played a key role in unseating Muammar Gaddafi in Libya – have avoided military involvement so far in Syria.  “It’s the Turks who are militarily controlling it. Turkey is the main co-ordinator/facilitator. Think of a triangle, with Turkey at the top and Saudi Arabia and Qatar at the bottom,” said a Doha-based source

“It’s the Turk’s” who are controlling the situation in Syria under Washington’s direction in an attempt to remove Assad.  Now Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 fighter jet because it claims that it violated its airspace. One important fact to consider is that Turkey created a “buffer zone” five miles inside Syria since 2012, a report said:

Turkey has maintained a buffer zone five miles inside Syria since June 2012, when a Syrian air defense missile shot down a Turkish fighter plane that had strayed into Syrian airspace. Under revised rules of engagement put in effect then, the Turkish air force would evaluate any target coming within five miles of the Turkish border as an enemy and act accordingly

Creating a buffer zone five miles inside Syria will of course will lead to confrontations between Russian and Turkish fighter jets along the border.  Ankara can know claim its airspace (five miles from the actual Turkish border) has been violated.  An article titled ‘Russia “Violated” Turkish Airspace Because Turkey “Moved” Its Border’ details Turkey’s border policies produced by the Free Syrian Press and published by Global Research.

Turkey Warned Russia about Violating it’s newly “Created Airspace”

Threats made by Turkey against Russia became the norm on the main-stream media circuits preparing for the eventuality.  On October 6th, a report by Reuters confirmed Turkish President Erdogan’s warning to Russia if it violated it airspace:

“Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan warned Russia on Tuesday that it would lose a lot if it destroyed its friendship with Ankara and said Turkey would not remain patient in the face of violations of its air space by Russian warplanes. “An attack on Turkey means an attack on NATO,” Erdogan told a joint news conference in Brussels with the Belgian prime minister.  “Our positive relationship with Russia is known. But if Russia loses a friend like Turkey, with whom it has been cooperating on many issues, it will lose a lot, and it should know that,” he said

A report by Foreign Policy titled ‘Turkey Slams Russia for Syria Attacks, Warns Could Sever Energy Ties’ on October 8th regarding Erdogan’s warnings that concern energy cooperation since Russia intervened on the side of the Syrian government against anti-Assad forces:

“We can’t accept the current situation,” Erdogan told Turkish reporters on his way to Japan. Russia is using military force to back the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and is targeting anti-Assad rebels whom Turkey has backed. And Russian jets have violated the airspace of Turkey, a NATO member. Such antics, Erdogan said, could drive Turkey to find other energy suppliers. “If necessary, Turkey can get its natural gas from many different places,” he said

Russia has been targeting ISIS militants with Syrian government forces on the ground. Washington’s failure to remove Assad by backing ISIS (moderate rebels) would be quick and decisive but it was not. ISIS has grown. Washington is now pushing Ankara into a conflict with Russia to disrupt Russia’s success. Since the SU-24 was shot down, Ankara can now say conveniently “I told you so.”

Turkey and its Past Genocidal History

Turkey is a U.S. vassal state and a former empire (Ottoman and the Byzantine Empires) and the 3rd largest buyer of U.S. weapons behind Saudi Arabia and India (a U.S. made F-16 was used to shoot down a Russian ‘Sukhoi SU-24) in 2014 according Bloomberg news. The shooting down of Russian aircraft because it allegedly crossed into Turkish borders for 17 seconds while Turkey has entered Greek airspace more than 8,693 times since 2008 although Turkey is a member state of NATO. A 2014 chart produced by the University of Thessaly from data obtained from the Greek military proves the number of violations below:

Turkey is no stranger to aggression.  Under the Ottoman Empire the ‘Armenian genocide of 1915’ took place killing more than 1.5 million Armenians and other minority groups including Assyrians and the Ottoman-Greeks. Turkey has committed numerous human rights abuses of various minorities.  There has been conflicts for more than two centuries between the Turkish government and various Kurdish groups (a minority group) who want an independent Kurdistan or an autonomous state within Turkey that will allow political and civil rights for the Kurdish people. One of the main groups is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party known as the PKK has been at odds with Turkey due to cultural discrimination and large scale massacres since the establishment of Turkey in 1923.

Greece and Turkey have fought multiple wars and had disputes over Cyprus territory since the 1950’s which escalated in 1974 when Turkey invaded Cyprus after the Cypriot coup d’état led by the US-backed Greek Junta and the Cypriot National Guard that resulted in acquiring 40% of the land and expelled more than 180,000 Greek Cypriots despite objections from the UN security council. A ceasefire line was established in August 1974 which became the United Nations Buffer Zone referred to today as the Green Line. What was the reason behind Turkey’s invasion? To restore the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus that was dismantled by the coup plotters and for the protection of Turkish-Cypriot minority on the island, which was less than 18% of the population. But in reality, as illegal the coup was, it was used as a pretext to justify their invasion. In other words, the Turkish government has its own dirty hands in international affairs for a very long time.

What Happens Next?

Turkey has supported ISIS on behalf of Washington’s strategic goal to oust Assad and has been profiting from Syria’s stolen oil. Turkey follows the dictates of Washington. Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 to provoke Russia into a war with NATO who is under Washington’s control. It is certain that Turkey got its green light from the Obama administration. Putin said “Turkey stabbed Russia in the back.” Of course, what did Putin expect from a US vassal state? Good relations in terms of trade and tourism do not matter. Besides the European Union followed Washington’s lead to sanction Russian businesses which has angered Europeans who actually do business with Russia. The consequences of Washington’s policies have backfired for the European Union, now businesses have been in decline since then.

It seems like the Turkish political elites can trace their DNA to the old days of the Ottoman Empire. Maybe they want to reestablish a mini-empire right next to Israel’s mini-empire supported by Washington. It will become a grave mistake for Turkey if a conflict against Russia with NATO’s backing were to take place, which I doubt at this point in time. Russia is a world power that has one very important factor on its side and that is fighting numerous terrorist organizations that was created by the West and its criminal allies. Ankara is clearly on the wrong side of history and should reconsider its foreign policy that could drag its nation into World War III orchestrated by Washington.

A Turkish prosecutor asked a court to imprison the editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper pending trial for espionage and treason. In May, the outlet published photos of weapons it said were then transferred to Syria by Turkey’s intelligence agency.

Besides the editor, Can Dündar, the prosecution said it is seeking the same pre-trial restrictions for Cumhuriyet’s representative in Ankara, Erdem Gül.

Dündar arrived at an Istanbul court on Thursday, saying that he and his colleague “came here to defend journalism.”

“We came here to defend the right of the public to obtain the news and their right to know if their government is feeding them lies. We came here to show and to prove that governments cannot engage in illegal activity and defend this,” Dündar was cited by Today’s Zaman.

The articles, published on Cumhuriyet’s front page in May, claimed that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) is smuggling weapons in trucks into Syria and was caught doing so twice in 2014. The trucks were allegedly stopped and searched by police, with photos and videos of their contents obtained by Cumhuriyet.

According to the paper, the trucks were carrying six steel containers, with 1,000 artillery shells, 50,000 machine gun rounds, 30,000 heavy machine gun rounds and 1,000 mortar shells. The arms were reportedly delivered to extremist groups fighting against the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad, whom Ankara wants ousted from power.

The Turkish authorities denied the allegations, saying that the trucks were carrying aid to Syrian ethnic Turkmen tribespeople and labeled their interception an act of “treason” and “espionage.”

Pelin Batu, Ba Turkish TV presenter who worked alongside those who were detained, said that all they had done “was done in the interests of the country … because our involvement in Syria needed to be brought into question.”

“I don’t think this could be judged as treacherous in any way,” Batu told RT, adding that Dundar was always a “pacifist.”

Batu says the editor-in-chief fought for freedom of speech which has been under threat in Turkey since Erdogan took power.

“For the last year or so the freedom of press has been axed in so many ways,” she told RT.

A 2014 report by Human Rights Watch warned that under Erdogan’s rule Turkey has seen the erosion of human rights via a crackdown on media freedom, dissent and a weakening of the rule of law.

Many journalists in the country are facing harsh prison terms for exposing corruption in the government and surveillance by the Turkish state.

Egdogan’s regime has also attempted to silence social media by blocking YouTube and Twitter on a number of occasions.

Prior to November’s general election, Turkish police stormed the offices of opposition media group Koza Ipek.

Video: Showdown in Turkey, Who Instigates Global War

November 27th, 2015 by South Front

On November 24, a Russian Su-24 frontline bomber was shot down near the Turkish border in Syria by two intercepting Turkish F-16s. SU-24 was attacked insidiously and unexpectedly.

The Turkish officials can’t prove with facts that the downed warplane was warned. The two pilots ejected: 1-st pilot was killed in a savage way on the ground by jihadists in the area. According to reports, 2-nd pilot was managed to esape. He was picked up by the Syrian Army. The Russian military carried out a search-and-rescue operation involving two Mi-8 helicopters. One helicopter was shot down by fire from the ground, one naval infantry soldier of contract service was killed. The personnel annd crew were evacuated to the Russian base at Hmeymim. Thus, Russia lost 1 SU-24, 1 MI-8, 1 pilot and 1 mariner yesterday. The fate of 1 pilot is questionable.

The Syrian sources report that last night the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces struck with massive attacks on the positions of militants, including Turkomans, in the region where the Russian Su-24 was shot down. Guided missile cruiser «Moskva» joint with escort ships is taking location at the shore zone of Northern Latakia near Turkish border to defend the Russian Air Forces from any air threats. The Russian General Staff is currently developing additional measures to ensure the Russian air base’s security:

1) All attack aircraft operations will be on have fighter cover.
2) The air defenses are strengthened.
3) Russia ends military-to-military contacts with Turkey.

Separately, the US puppets in Kiev have made a strike at another front. As result of a terrorism act near the border with Russia, the four main transmission lines between Ukraine and Crimea were blown up. About 1,7 million people in Crimea are cut from the power supplies. Some experts believe that the terrorism act was conducted by Turksih intelligence services in concurrence with the US. The goal is to prevent a growth of the Russian influence due to the successful operations in Syria. Formally, the terrorism act was made by Crimea Tatar extremists and the “Right Sector” terrorist group.

The Turkish actions in Syria are a direct violation of international law norms and a direct violation of the Memorandum on Preventing Incidents and Ensuring Safe Flight in the Syrian Arab Republic which we entered into with the United States and which applies to all coalition members, including Turkey. This event coordinated with the Crimea’s blackout could be described as a clear war provocation against Russia. At the moment, we could observe an escalation in a diplomatic sphere and military build up of the all sides involved in the Syrian crisis. If the US and its allies continue their provocative and shallow policy, there is a serious threat of an open military escalation in the region.

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Lt. General Tom McInerney is an expert on handling threats from fighter jets.

McInerney served as:

  • Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) – the military agency responsible for protecting the United States and Canada from foreign jet attacks – for the Alaska region
  • Commander of the Alaskan Air Command
  • Commander of 11th Air Force in Alaska
  • Commander of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Clark Air Base, Philippines
  • Commander of the 313th Air Division, Kadena Air Base, Japan
  • Commander of 3rd Air Force, Royal Air Force Station Mildenhall, England
  • Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force
  • A command pilot with more than 4,100 flying hours, including 407 combat missions

In his role as Norad commander for Alaska, McInerney dealt with more Russian fighter jet incursions (which he calls “bear penetrations”) than anyone else in the world.

So McInerney knows how to tell innocent from hostile incursions by foreign fighter jets, standard rules of engagement of foreign fighter jets, how to read radar tracks, and the other things he would need to know to form an informed opinion about the shootdown of a foreign jet.

Yesterday, McInerney told Fox News – much to the surprise of the reporter interviewing him – that assuming the Turkish version of the flight path of the Russian jet is accurate, Russia wasn’t threatening Turkey, and that Turkey’s shoot down of the Russian jet “had to be pre-planned”, as the jet wasn’t in Turkish air space long enough for anything other than a premeditated attack to have brought it down.

McInerney is right … especially given that a U.S. official told Reuters that the Russian jet was inside of Syria when it was shot down:

The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Regime change” in Ukraine engineered by the US State Department was largely responsible for the collapse of the “South Stream” gas pipeline project. Washington’s intent was to establish a de facto blockade which would prevent the flow of Russian gas to the European Union. 

“The South Stream gas pipeline worth €15.5 billion was intended to pump 67 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas to Europe annually.

The pipeline’s underwater section 900 km (559 miles) long was intended to run along the bed of the Black Sea from the Russkaya compressor station on the Russian shore to the Bulgarian coast.” (TASS, January 14, 2015)

On December 1, 2014, President Vladimir Putin announced that the project to build the South Stream gas pipeline “was closed due to the European Union’s unconstructive approach to cooperation, including Bulgaria’s decision [pressured by the US] to stop the construction of the pipeline’s stretch on its territory.”

South Stream Pipeline Route Options, source TASS

The South Stream was replaced by the “Turkish Stream”. The scrapping of the South Stream was coupled with the signing in Ankara of a historic December 2014 deal between presidents Vladimir Putin and Recyyp Erdogan.

Under the Russian-Turkish agreement pertaining to gas pipeline routes, Turkey was slated to become a major hub and transit route for the export of Russian natural gas to both Southern and Western Europe.

Russia’s Gazprom in a historical announcement by CEO Alexey Miller in January 2015 confirmed that: The Turkish Stream gas pipeline project was considered “the sole route for Russia’s future supplies of 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Western Europe… The Gazprom head made this statement in response to a question about the fate of Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline project.” (Tass, January 14, 2015)

“The [South Stream] project is closed. The Turkish Stream is the sole route, which can deliver 63 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas. … There are no other options,” Miller said. (Ibid)

 November 24 2015: Turkey’s Act of Aggression against Russia marks the Disruption of the Turkish Stream Project

Back in January, the Moscow-Ankara deal was considered to be a slap in the face for Washington.  Today, the Turkish Stream (sponsored by Moscow) is in jeopardy.

The downing of the SU-24 plane engineered by US-NATO has contributed to destabilizing the Russia-Turkey deal. It was by not means the only objective.

In January following the abandonment of the South Stream, the Turkish pipeline was announced as the “sole route”.

What next?

Following the downing of Russia’s SU-24 plane and the collapse of diplomatic relations between Moscow and Ankara,  that “sole route”  is no longer there, leading not only to a potential crisis in the supply of natural gas to the European Union, but also a major blow to Russia’s national economy, which depends heavily on the energy sector.

From the point of view of Washington, Wall Street and the Pentagon: “War is good for business”.

Erdogan-angry-510x255An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness

By Dave Lindorff, November 26 2015

Turkey’s action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey’s vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

140227-map-crimea-1250_5f00f6012cf34480d5b588e14677df11 (1)US-NATO Launch New Proxy War Front in Crimea: Neo-Nazis Bomb Electrical Grid Causing National Blackouts

By 21st Century Wire, November 26 2015

In 2014, US and EU installed its own hand-picked puppet regime in Kiev, Ukraine. This caused a chain of epic failures that have made many ardent cheerleaders for ‘regime change’ to question whether or not tipping over the elected government in 2014 was a very good idea.

isr_Erdogan_Netanyahu_jta_03222013-584a_539_332_c1Guess Who is Behind the Islamic State? Israeli Colonel “Caught with IS Pants Down”

By F. William Engdahl, November 26 2015

It seems that an Israeli military man with the rank of colonel was “caught with IS pants down.” By that I mean he was captured amid a gaggle of so-called IS–or Islamic State or ISIS or DAESH depending on your preference–terrorists, by soldiers of the Iraqi army.

israel-palestineUnited Nations Committee Calls for End to Israeli Occupation. US, Canada Voted against Resolution

By World Bulletin, November 26 2015

The UN General Assembly committee responsible for human rights has adopted a resolution urging Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories. In the Third Committee, 170 countries voted in favor of the non-binding resolution, “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination”.

Citizens’ Economic Stimulus Plan: Stop Paying Credit Card DebtDrone Pilots have Bank Accounts and Credit Cards Frozen by Feds for Exposing US Murder

By William Norman Grigg, November 26 2015

For having the courage to come forward and expose the drone program for the indiscriminate murder that it is, 4 vets are under attack from the government they once served.

Logistics 101: Where Does ISIS Get Its Guns?

November 26th, 2015 by Tony Cartalucci

Note: Article originally published in June 2015

Since ancient times an army required significant logistical support to carry out any kind of sustained military campaign. In ancient Rome, an extensive network of roads was constructed to facilitate not only trade, but to allow Roman legions to move quickly to where they were needed, and for the supplies needed to sustain military operations to follow them in turn.

In the late 1700′s French general, expert strategist, and leader Napoleon Bonaparte would note that, “an army marches on its stomach,” referring to the extensive logistical network required to keep an army fed, and therefore able to maintain its fighting capacity. For the French, their inability to maintain a steady supply train to its forces fighting in Russia, and the Russians’ decision to burn their own land and infrastructure to deny it from the invading forces, ultimately defeated the French.

Nazi Germany would suffer a similar fate when it too overextended its logical capabilities during its invasion of Russia amid Operation Barbarossa. Once again, invading armies became stranded without limited resources before being either cut off and annihilated or forced to retreat.

The other half of the war is logistics. Without a steady stream of supplies, armies no matter how strong or determined will be overwhelmed and defeated. What explains then ISIS’ fighting prowess and the immense logitical networks it would need to maintain it?

And in modern times during the Gulf War in the 1990′s an extended supply line trailing invading US forces coupled with an anticipated clash with the bulk of Saddam Hussein’s army halted what was otherwise a lighting advance many mistakenly believed could have reached Baghdad had there been the political will. The will to conquer was there, the logistics to implement it wasn’t.

The lessons of history however clear they may be, appear to be entirely lost on an either supremely ignorant or incredibly deceitful troupe of policymakers and news agencies across the West.

ISIS’ Supply Lines

The current conflict consuming the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria where the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) is operating and simultaneously fighting and defeating the forces of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran, we are told, is built upon a logistical network based on black market oil and ransom payments.

The fighting capacity of ISIS is that of a nation-state. It controls vast swaths of territory straddling both Syria and Iraq and not only is able to militarily defend and expand from this territory, but possesses the resources to occupy it, including the resources to administer the populations subjugated within it.

For military analysts, especially former members of Western armed forces, as well as members of the Western media who remember the convoys of trucks required for the invasions of Iraq in the 1990s and again in 2003, they surely must wonder where ISIS’ trucks are today. After all, if the resources to maintain the fighting capacity exhibited by ISIS were available within Syrian and Iraqi territory alone, then certainly Syrian and Iraqi forces would also posses an equal or greater fighting capacity but they simply do not.

And were ISIS’ supply lines solely confined within Syrian and Iraqi territory, then surely both Syrian and Iraqi forces would utilize their one advantage – air power – to cut front line ISIS fighters from the source of their supplies. But this is not happening and there is a good reason why.

Recent maps showing ISIS’ territory show obvious supply lines leading from Jordan and Turkey. Should Syria and its allies manage to cut these supply lines, one wonders just how long ISIS’ so-far inexplicable winning streak would last.

ISIS’ supply lines run precisely where Syrian and Iraqi air power cannot go. To the north and into NATO-member Turkey, and to the southwest into US allies Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Beyond these borders exists a logistical network that spans a region including both Eastern Europe and North Africa.

Terrorists and weapons left over from NATO’s intervention in Libya in 2011 were promptly sent to Turkey and then onto Syria – coordinated by US State Department officials and intelligence agencies in Benghazi – a terrorist hotbed for decades.

The London Telegraph would report in their 2013 article, “CIA ‘running arms smuggling team in Benghazi when consulate was attacked’,” that:

[CNN] said that a CIA team was working in an annex near the consulate on a project to supply missiles from Libyan armouries to Syrian rebels.

Weapons have also come from Eastern Europe, with the New York Times reporting in 2013 in their article, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” that:

From offices at secret locations, American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive, according to American officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.

And while Western media sources continuously refer to ISIS and other factions operating under the banner of Al Qaeda as “rebels” or “moderates,” it is clear that if billions of dollars in weapons were truly going to “moderates,” they, not ISIS would be dominating the battlefield.

Recent revelations have revealed that as early as 2012 the United States Department of Defense not only anticipated the creation of a “Salafist Principality” straddling Syria and Iraq precisely where ISIS now exists, it welcomed it eagerly and contributed to the circumstances required to bring it about.

Just How Extensive Are ISIS’ Supply Lines? 

While many across the West play willfully ignorant as to where ISIS truly gets their supplies from in order to maintain its impressive fighting capacity, some journalists have traveled to the region and have video taped and reported on the endless convoys of trucks supplying the terrorist army.

Were these trucks traveling to and from factories in seized ISIS territory deep within Syrian and Iraqi territory? No. They were traveling from deep within Turkey, crossing the Syrian border with absolute impunity, and headed on their way with the implicit protection of nearby Turkish military forces. Attempts by Syria to attack these convoys and the terrorists flowing in with them have been met by Turkish air defenses.

Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) published the first video report from a major Western media outlet illustrating that ISIS is supplied not by “black market oil” or “hostage ransoms” but billions of dollars worth of supplies carried into Syria across NATO member Turkey’s borders via hundreds of trucks a day.

German national broadcaster DW reported on convoys of hundreds of trucks per day crossing into Syria from NATO-member Turkey with impunity, enroute to ISIS terrorists, finally explaining the source of the terrorist army’s fighting capacity. The trucks were reported by DW to have originated from deep within Turkish territory – most likely NATO air bases and ports.

The report titled, “‘IS’ supply channels through Turkey,” confirms what has been reported by geopolitical analysts since at least as early as 2011 – that ISIS subsides on immense, multi-national state sponsorship, including, obviously, Turkey itself.

Looking at maps of ISIS-held territory and reading action reports of its offensive maneuvers throughout the region and even beyond, one might imagine hundreds of trucks a day would be required to maintain this level of fighting capacity. One could imagine similar convoys crossing into Iraq from Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Similar convoys are likely passing into Syria from Jordan.

In all, considering the realities of logistics and their timeless importance to military campaigns throughout human history, there is no other plausible explanation to ISIS’s ability to wage war within Syria and Iraq besides immense resources being channeled to it from abroad.

If an army marches on its stomach, and ISIS’ stomachs are full of NATO and Persian Gulf State supplies, ISIS will continue to march long and hard. The key to breaking the back of ISIS, is breaking the back of its supply lines. To do that however, and precisely why the conflict has dragged on for so long, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and others would have to eventually secure the borders and force ISIS to fight within Turkish, Jordanian, and Saudi territory – a difficult scenario to implement as nations like Turkey have created defacto buffer zones within Syrian territory which would require a direct military confrontation with Turkey itself to eliminate.

With Iran joining the fray with an alleged deployment of thousands of troops to bolster Syrian military operations, overwhelming principles of deterrence may prevent Turkey enforcing its buffer zones.

What we are currently left with is NATO literally holding the region hostage with the prospect of a catastrophic regional war in a bid to defend and perpetuate the carnage perpetrated by ISIS within Syria, fully underwritten by an immense logistical network streaming out of NATO territory itself.

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

“And the Billionaires Are Laughing Somewhere in America”

November 26th, 2015 by Felicity Arbuthnot

“If I could shed a tear for every home that bombs destroy, 

I’d never stop crying

“If I could hold each shattered body, each baby stilled at birth, 

I’d have no time for loneliness, 

I’d spend all my days embracing the people of this savaged earth, 

“And the billionaires are laughing somewhere in America.”

(Song for Basra, David Rovics.)

If you have ever mentally yelled at the screen, radio or hard copy when looking for truth, fact and balance in the news and wondered how much of the mainstream media is bought or biased, the answer is simple.

Just two examples, the US and UK. In the US six corporations own 90% of the media – but these corporations in turn must satisfy their shareholders – each one who holds them financial hostage to the tune of million of dollars.

The list of investors is long (1) but a few examples (2013 figures):

*  Oppenheimer funds Inc  $67,258,000

*  BlackRock Institutional  $89,631,000

World’s largest asset manager; also owns 4.7 million shares NY Times

*  Mellon Capital Management Corp. $50,205,000

*  JPMorgan Private Bank $47,750,000

Gannett owns USA Today and local newspapers & TV stations in 37 US states including the Detroit Free Press, Indianapolis Star and Cincinnati Inquirer. Just one of many mega investors is JP Morgan Asset Management  who hold  21,915,328 shares at a 2013 value of $330,702,000.

In the UK there are twelve major newspaper groups:

“Over a quarter (27.3 per cent) of the press is owned by Lord Rothermere and 24.9 per cent by Rupert Murdoch  – between them these two men have over 50 per cent of the printed press.” (2) Figures are also from 2013.

Nine of these groups are supporters of David Cameron’s Tory Party which enjoined in murdering Libya’s Leader, near all his family and small grandchildren, reducing the formerly flourishing country to a ruined, failed state – with large swathes of the British public buying into the murderous carnage thanks to the war fever drummed up by the Cameron backing media.

This pattern of ownership is broadly replicated throughout the West where now the same misrepresentation of Syria is in journalistic overdrive.

The BBC is vying to be leader of the pack talking of “civil war” with one Middle East correspondent even dropping the last vestige of “impartiality” and declaring “Assad must go.” The entire organization long abandoned any pretense of professionalism and impartiality even ditching his status and title of “President.”

Consider Donating to Global Research

In contrast to the Mainstream media, Global Research has no $multi-million donors, but as the world again reaches yet another manufactured and most dangerous crisis, truly independent analysis is the vital weapon for the non-partisan truth, knowledge and a tool for prevention from repeating the tragedies of the past. It is, as Dr Binoy Kampmark, distinguished GR contributor and lecturer at RMIT University, Melbourne has said: “a vital democratic forum.”

Of course, as Global Research writers pointed out (3) there is no “civil war” in Syria, the country’s nightmare was plotted from inside the US Embassy in Damascus in 2006 with terrorists from over ninety countries committing unspeakable atrocities, then returning to their own countries with impunity, as recent events in Paris demonstrated.  

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Recent Developments in Syria and Turkey

Global Research has provided extensive coverage of the US-led war against Iraq and Syria. Obama’s fake humanitarian campaign consists in protecting the “moderate terrorists” while going after the ISIS “bad guys” who happen to be supported covertly by the CIA.

Now a further excuse for another illegal onslaught against Syria is being plotted after a Russian fighter jet was shot down on Tuesday, allegedly having strayed into Turkish air space which Russia emphatically denies; moreover, the two pilots who ejected both landed in Syria. Further, as Global Research published last month (4) Turkey, incredibly, unilaterally redrew it’s border declaring five miles of Syria it’s very own “buffer zone.”

The “international community” and NATO might do well to remember, that even if there were a few seconds of Russia’s aircraft in Turkish air space, a US-led “coalition” has been illegally invading Syrian air space and bombing murderously and mercilessly for the last fifteen months. Russia of course has been invited but is bombing terrorists supplied and protected by the US and their allies.

In the UK David Cameron is morphing in to his pal, alleged war criminal Tony Blair and is attempting to persuade Parliament that Britain must join those illegally in Syrian air space and equally illegally drop it’s own bombs with no UN mandate for such action. The Cameron backing media is beating the war drums along with America’s partisan hacks as above.

By the end of yesterday, incisive commentary was already questioning the official rhetoric – but as the year ends, the funds for this ground breaking site need replenishing.

If you appreciate Global Research, Dear Reader, please consider putting something, however small into the Global Research Christmas stocking.   [click stocking to donate]

As the excellent “Ants and Grasshoppers” (see 1) points out:

“Just like a politician is likely to push laws onto the books that represent his/her biggest campaign donors, newspapers will push ideologies that are the most friendly and agreeable to their shareholders.”

Global Research does it in unwavering passion and commitment to a saner world.

Season’s Greetings and peace to all.

Consider donating to Global Research so that this project can continue.

Felicity Arbuthnot is a distinguished author, veteran war correspondent and Global Research contributor






If the government has anything to do with it, privacy just got a whole lot worse. What the draft Investigatory Powers Bill holds for everyone is exactly what all the criticism was about in the first place – except it attempts to make it lawful.

The Bill proposes that instead of deceiving every citizen in the UK it will now simply admit to carrying out mass collection of our data and still hack into and bug our personal devices such as computers and smart phones. It’s the Snoopers Charter but as previous attempts were rejected, the Home Secretary is having another stab at it. Same thing, different words.

We already knew that the security services were doing this but instead of storing all this information, they now propose that ISP’s or internet service providers capture, or steal – depending on your view, every single online movement you make and hand it over to whoever, whenever. Specifically, the security services, the police and “other public bodies”.

We are talking about every single internet user as well, no exceptions; your mum, aunty, granny and your little daughter. Well, just one lucky little category escapes this Orwellian occupation of personal space …. politicians. Of course! And who is the only person who can authorise the hacking of their data – the prime minister. Sounds ominous doesn’t it!

Theresa May went as far as to say that she had ‘engaged’ prior to preparing the draft with certain civil liberty groups. Who exactly, because all the civil liberties groups in the UK have gone to great efforts to bring back some of our hard fought-for liberties that were stolen whilst the perpetrators were hiding from public view.

The UK not now only has the worlds most sophisticated mass surveillance system, confirmed by the fact that the US uses it because it cannot legally do the same on its own territory, but we now have a system that every despot and dictator since Augustus Caesar founded the Roman empire would aspire to having – literally.

The draft Bill provides the power to require ISPs to retain data, but a warrant with judicial oversight is required before that data can be handed over, or for an ISP to assist in a targeted interception. That would be fine but the government didn’t seek to have warrants when it was legally required before it got found out – why does anyone think they should be trusted in future. And why would anyone trust Judicial oversight. One only has to think of judges such as Baroness Butler-Sloss and government stooges like Fiona Woolf and the wide-ranging inquiry into child abuse claims, along with those conveniently lost documents and other such cover-ups.

And what of the ISP’s and communication providers. The non stop data breaches of so-called secure servers was called heavily into question not by the huge data losses by many structural corporate suppliers such as banks and utility companies but by TalkTalk, who astonishingly, have managed not only to be hacked three times in one year, but couldn’t be bothered to protect their customers from a bunch of bored teenagers using a rudimentary security hack who took the personal details of 160,000 customers (again).

Vodafone was hacked only last month. Again customers bank details were stolen. In February, GCHQ and the US National Security Agency hacked into the internal network of the largest makers of mobile phone SIM cards in the world in order to steal encryption keys and compromise the security of mobile phones on the Vodafone, EE and O2 networks. BT phone lines have been hacked, and if you want to learn how to hack Sky routers HERE’s the information freely available online. Frankly, if you’re not a hacker or not been hacked, you’re a no-one nowadays.

Special protections are supposedly provided for certain professions such a journalists, whose need to protect their sources is recognised. But that didn’t stop two police forces breaching a new revised code of practice into protection of journalists’ sources a few months back, this according to a report by the interception of communications commissioner as reported by the Guardian.

Surprisingly, there is little of David Cameron’s efforts to completely ban encryption. There’s a reason (apart from the one where they’ve already stolen all the encryption keys).

It clearly states that there will be no additional requirements in relation to encryption beyond those in the existing RIPA legislation, which it defines as requiring Communication Service providers (CSP’s) “to maintain permanent interception capabilities, including maintaining the ability to remove any encryption applied by the CSP“.

Presumably, maintaining a ‘permanent interception capability’ simply means that ‘back doors’ to encrypted data must be maintained by the CSP’s. There is no good argument for encryption backdoors and they won’t make us safer from terrorism. They might do the opposite and many technical experts agree.

As civil liberties group Liberty points out – “Under RIPA hundreds of public bodies have access to the last three types of surveillance (covert surveillance, informants, undercover operatives, communications including emails, calls and websites) including over 470 local authorities. Surveillance can be authorised for a wide range of purposes which includes such vague purposes as preventing ‘disorder’ or collecting tax.”

To put this into perspective, the 470 local authorities and public bodies that used the RIPA laws, laws designed to catch terrorists, used them to hunt down the non payment of BBC licence fees. In also emerged that more than half of councils in England were using anti-terror laws to spy on families suspected of “bin crimes“. In another, Poole Borough Council admitted to spying on a family for nearly three weeks to find out if they were lying about living in a school catchment area using RIPA laws.

So extreme have these ‘public bodies’ become that in Scotland, the anti-terror legislation has been used hundreds of times over the last 3 years for minor offences like parking breaches, dog fouling and even monitoring for underage sun-bed use.

This total abuse of laws by government ‘bodies’ is being used for nothing more than population control. The system that the government seeks to adopt does not go much less than the most repressive regimes in the world would attempt to achieve.

If it was not for the likes of Edward Snowden, we would not be having this debate as the government would not have allowed it in the first place and therefore any oversight should be independent of government influence.

In the 12 years preceding the Invasion of Iraq, 65 people in Europe were killed by various ‘terrorist’ attacks, mainly in France, Italy and Greece. In the 12 years since that fateful invasion, the terrorists kill rate has increased by nearly 600%. Far from making its citizens safer, politicians have achieved the opposite.

If the escalation of terrorism in Europe says anything at all, it is that draconian mass population surveillance such as these proposals do not work. With all the surveillance in the world, the so-called Paris mastermind is still on the loose. Don’t forget it took 8 years for the might of the USA to hunt down an old man with a beard living in a normal house next to a military base suffering from kidney problems, low blood pressure, an enlarged heart and serious case of dry skin – called Osama Bin Laden. Was it because, as the worlds most hunted terrorist of all time, he decided not to use the internet? Clever him.

It does however, say an awful lot about how our politicians are thinking when it comes to our safety, security, freedom and democracy though, all of which are compromised by powers such as these being given to the authorities.

The small apartment my wife and I rented for a month-and-a-half four years ago in the Marais district of Paris was eighty-one stairs up from ground level.

Our kitchen windows looked north across the leaded rooftops—among which, just over a hundred metres away, was the roof of the Bataclan music hall, in which on the evening of November 13 eighty-nine people were massacred by terrorist gunmen, and a larger number grievously injured.

Our favourite restaurant, the Bistrot Melac, is a short stroll to the southeast along Boulevard Voltaire, and a block from the Rue de Charonne and the Café Belle Équipe, where on the same evening another nineteen Parisians were murdered by ISIS terrorists. These and other Paris attacks were part of a series, including bombings of a market and mosque in Baghdad, the destruction by ISIS of a Russian airliner on October 31, killing 224, and ISIS attacks in Beirut on November 12 that killed forty-three people and wounded another 239.

How best to honour the victims, and the grief of the bereaved? I have friendships in France going back decades, and have lived there for some two years in all, but claims of identity would ring false: I would prefer to seek an understanding of the community the murderers hoped to terrorize.

The staircase from our apartment descended into a courtyard, around which there were spaces mostly used for storage, though one housed an auto mechanic’s shop, and another a furniture-repair atelier. Along with similar artisanal businesses in the district (dressmakers’ shops, a luthier, a wrought-iron workshop), these were a sign that the neighbourhood retained some elements of its traditionally working-class character. Its ethnic mix was evident in the staff and clientele of the grocery store around the corner on Rue Alphonse Baudin, and of the Cour de Lions swimming pool and Saint-Sébastien primary school on the opposite side of the street.

Another local quality—communal solidarity—may be suggested by an anecdote that does not flatter me. Returning one evening from dinner at the Melac, my wife and I were accosted on Rue Saint-Sébastien by a somewhat unsteady elderly man who said: “Mademoiselle, do not go with this man: he has wicked intentions!” For a couple married nearly forty years, it was amusing to be taken for an ingenue and a roué—even if in my case the error confirmed George Orwell’s adage that after a certain age every man has the face that he deserves. I remain unsure whether the episode testified to a serious social problem in the neighbourhood, or rather to a subtle Parisian sense of irony.

Some aspects of the neighbourhood seemed idyllic: the stroll down Rue Vieille du Temple to our favourite boulangerie, across from one of Paris’s finest synagogues; the street markets that filled the wide median of Boulevard Richard Lenoir twice a week with booths for cheap clothing and excellent food; the Canal Saint-Martin, which emerges magically from under that same boulevard some distance north of the Bataclan, and along whose grassy banks I jogged several mornings a week; and the beautiful symmetries of the Place des Vosges, whose little park provided another oasis of greenery.

But the neighbourhood also contains reminders of a sometimes violent history. The final fighting during the suppression of the Paris Commune in May 1871 took place in this district, and one of the defensive street barricades stood just south of the Bataclan (which dates from 1864), at the intersection of Voltaire and Lenoir.1 Several blocks further south along Voltaire is the Gymnase Japy, where in 1941-42 Parisian Jews were interned before being deported to Auschwitz. The gymnasium was again used for detention in October 1961, when the Paris police arrested 11,000 people following a demonstration against the Algerian war, and killed over 200, mostly by drowning them in the Seine.2 Four months later, at the nearby Charonne métro station, the police killed nine trade unionists who had demonstrated against the terrorist Organisation de l’armée secrète (OAS); and in 1996 they brutally suppressed a two-day occupation of the Gymnase Japy by “sans-papiers,” illegal immigrants protesting against their limbo status.

On the morning of May 1, 2011 I was drawn from my writing desk by the sound of the annual May Day demonstration descending Boulevard Voltaire from the Place de la République.

To which radical group should a visiting scholar lend his support? I chose to march with the Archivistes et Bibliothécaires, whose numbers were swelled by my presence to a round dozen.

France was heavily involved at that time in the bombing of Libya, against which many of the May Day banners protested. The Socialist Party, though not in office, supported the bombing: my archivist-librarian companions spoke of this in acid tones, and the other participants in the march expressed their disapproval by leaving wide gaps on both sides of the Socialist contingent.3

NATO’s illegal regime-change operation, which was not remotely envisaged by the UN Security Council’s no-fly-zone resolution, destroyed Libya’s infrastructure and produced a chaos of jihadi factions—just as the US’s illegal regime-change operation in Iraq had done. But since coming to office in 2012, François Hollande’s Socialist government has pursued the same pitiless policy in Syria.

In December 2012 Hollande’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said of the al-Nusra Front jihadis that “sur le terrain, ils font du bon boulot” (“they’re doing a good job on the ground”)—while in May 2014 Hollande proclaimed that France wants to establish a Syrian government, excluding the current president, Bashar al-Assad, that would incorporate “all opposition groups.” As Hugh Roberts observes in the London Review of Books, that would include ISIS, as well as al-Nusra.4

The folly of this is staggering. Al-Nusra, a 2011 Syrian offshoot of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), has since the spring of 2013 been largely re-absorbed into that entity, which in June 2013 added “and Syria” to its name, becoming ISIS—and then in June 2014 proclaimed itself a worldwide Caliphate. The central operational principles followed by ISIS and al-Nusra alike were outlined a decade earlier by one Abu Bakr Naji in a book, Management of Savagery,5 which French intelligence agents have undoubtedly read.

But France joined the US and Britain in a policy that involved unleashing theocratic murderers on the people of Iraq and Syria6—re-describing them where possible as “moderates”; winking at the financial and logistical support provided to them by Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Turkey, our NATO ally; and making no serious attempt (until very recently) to interfere either with their military columns driving over open desert, or with ISIS’s main economic lifeline, the columns of oil trucks delivering stolen oil north to the Turkish border.7 As Russia’s President Putin has noted, these are activities that people who possess spy satellites and aircraft can observe.8

When we mourn the victims of ISIS, then, we need to include the millions of Syrians and Iraqis who, in flight from their ruined cities, are seeking places of safety.

And when we think about state sponsorship of terrorism, we should perhaps ask some Western leaders, in words from the refrain of an old union song: “Which side are you on, boys, which side are you on?”


1 A photograph of this barricade is reproduced in the Wikipedia article “Paris Commune.” The last part of Paris to be overwhelmed during the “semaine sanglante” of May 21-28, 1871, during which some 20,000 people are said to have died in street fighting or summary executions, was the district of the third and eleventh arrondissements, with a final skirmish occurring in the Père Lachaise Cemetery. The execution of a group of Communards or Fédérés there is commemorated by the Mur des Fédérés in the cemetery.

2 The Prefect of the Paris police responsible for this massacre and for the Charonne métro station killings was the infamous Maurice Papon, who was responsible during World War II for the deportation of Jews from Bordeaux to the Nazi death camps, and who as Prefect of the département of Constantine in Algeria from 1956 to 1958 was responsible there for the torture of civilians.

3 The philosopher, journalist, and multi-millionaire Bernard-Henri Lévy (BHL), who has been an influential figure within the Socialist Party, was instrumental in establishing a Libyan government-in-exile, and lobbied very forcefully for French military action against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. For samples of the criticisms inspired by that intervention, and by BHL’s role in it, see Alex Lantier, “Bernard-Henri Lévy pour un bombardement ‘humanitaire’ de la Libye,” World Socialist Web Site (31 March 2011),; Daniel Salvatore Schiffer, “Migrants morts: on paie le désastre de la politique de Sarkozy et BHL en Libye,” Nouvel observateur (21 April 2015),; “Libye/Syrie. Après avoir brocardé BHL, Michel Onfray qualifie Sarkozy et Hollande de ‘criminels’ sur BFM TV (video),” Le-Blog-Sam-La-Touch (4 September 2015),

4 Hugh Roberts, “The Hijackers,” London Review of Books (16 July 2015), My quotations from Fabius and Hollande are derived from this article.

5 Abu Bakr Naji [pseud.], The Management of Savagery: The Most Critical Phase Through Which the Umma Will Pass, trans. William McCants, John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, Harvard University (23 May 2006), available at An instructive section entitled “Using Violence” begins on p. 31. For some useful commentary, see Scott Atran, “Mindless Terrorists? The truth about ISIS is much worse,” The Guardian (15 November 2015),; and the Wikipedia articles “Management of Savagery” and “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” Graeme Wood, “What ISIS Really Wants,” The Atlantic (March 2015),, is of interest for its argument that the Wahhabi-Takfiri theology of ISIS reveals something important about Islam-in-general. (This is no more valid than it would be to blame Judaism-in-general for the genocidal statements of some Israeli ultra-orthodox rabbis, or Christianity-in-general for the dominionist extremism of American neo-Calvinists.)

6 See “Newly-Declassified U.S. Government Documents: The West Supported the Creation of ISIS,” Washington’s Blog (24 May 2015), The documents were produced by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), whose former head, Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, was interviewed on the subject by Mehdi Hassan on Al Jazeera’s Head to Head program: see Mehdi Hassan, “Who is to blame for the rise of ISIS?” Al Jazeera (29 July 2015),; and also “US ex-intelligence chief on ISIS rise: It was ‘a willful Washington decision’,” RT (11 August 2015), See also See also Martin Chulov, “France funding Syrian rebels in new push to oust Assad,” The Guardian (7 December 2012),

7 See Patrick Cockburn, “Whose side isTurkey on?” London Review of Books (6 November 2014),; David Graeber, “Turkey could off Islamic State’s supply lines. So why doesn’t it?” The Guardian (18 November 2015),; Nafeez Ahmed, “NATO is harbouring the Islamic State,” Insurge Intelligence (19 November 2015),; and “ISIS survives largely because Turkey allows it to: the evidence,” UndercoverInfo (20 November 2015),

8 “ISIL Financed by 40 Countries, Including G20 Member States – Putin,” Sputnik News (16 November 2015),

The UN General Assembly committee responsible for human rights has adopted a resolution urging Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories.

In the Third Committee, 170 countries voted in favor of the non-binding resolution, “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination”.

Six nations that voted against the measure include Israel, United States, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau. Four other countries abstained.

The resolution stressed ”the urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.”

It reaffirmed the right of Palestinians to statehood, and urged all countries and international organizations “to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.”

Palestinians have long sought to establish an independent state. Recently, the General Assembly adopted a resolution that allowed non-member observer states to hoist their flags alongside those of full member states.

The 193-nation assembly upgraded the status of Palestinians to that of a ”non-member observer state” in 2012.

Meanwhile, Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour called for an immediate end to Israeli occupation and ”Israeli actions and measures aimed at Judaization of East Jerusalem and at altering or eliminating the Palestinian Christian and Muslim presence in and the identity of the Holy City”.

“The continuation of the Israeli occupation and its persistence with colonial settlement activities … affirm Israel’s arrogance and intransigence, its violations of international law, its rejection of peace and its adherence instead to the ideology of colonial expansion, subjugation and greed,” Mansour told a special meeting ahead of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, marked annually on Nov. 29.

He said Israel’s recent moves “risk turning the conflict from a political and legal one to a religious conflict, which will have disastrous consequences for everyone.”

The region has been rocked by frequent clashes since September, when Israel began imposing restrictions on Muslim worshipers at East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Since the beginning of October, at least 96 Palestinians have been killed — either after alleged knife attacks against Israelis or during clashes with Israeli security forces, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Speaking at the same meeting, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said security in Gaza and in the occupied West Bank “remain at a very low point”.

“We continue to witness illegal settlement activities and settler-related violence,” Eliasson said. ”Demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures have continued, including punitive demolitions. Such policies and actions are directly contrary to the government of Israel’s stated intention to pursue a two-state solution,” he added.

A UN-proposed two state model envisages the creation of an independent Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders, alongside Israel.

For having the courage to come forward and expose the drone program for the indiscriminate murder that it is, 4 vets are under attack from the government they once served.

“My drone operators went public this week and now their credit cards and bank accounts are frozen,” Radack lamented on her Twitter feed (the spelling of her post has been conventionalized). This was done despite the fact that none of them has been charged with a criminal offense – but this is a trivial formality in the increasingly Sovietesque American National Security State.

Michael Haas, Brandon Bryant, Cian Westmoreland and Stephen Lewis, who served as drone operators in the US Air Force, have gone public with detailed accounts of the widespread corruption and institutionalized indifference to civilian casualties that characterize the program. Some of those disclosures were made in the recent documentary Drone; additional details have been provided in an open letter from the whistleblowers to President Obama, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and CIA Director John Brennan.

“We are former Air Force service members,” the letter begins. We joined the Air Force to protect American lives and to protect our Constitution. We came to the realization that the innocent civilians we were killing only fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS, while also serving as a fundamental recruiting tool similar to Guantanamo Bay. This administration and its predecessors have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”

Elsewhere the former drone operators have described how their colleagues dismissed children as “fun-sized terrorists” and compared killing them to “cutting the grass before it grows too long.” Children who live in countries targeted by the drone program are in a state of constant terror, according to Westmoreland: “There are 15-year-olds growing up who have not lived a day without drones overhead, but you also have expats who are watching what’s going on in their home countries and seeing regularly the violations that are happening there, and that is something that could radicalize them.”

By reliable estimates, ninety percent of those killed in drone strikes are entirely harmless people, making the program a singularly effective method of producing anti-American terrorism. “We kill four and create ten,” Bryant said during a November 19 press conference, referring to potential terrorists. “If you kill someone’s father, uncle or brother who had nothing to do with anything, their families are going to want revenge.”

Haas explained that the institutional culture of the drone program emphasized and encouraged the dehumanization of the targeted populations. “There was a much more detached outlook about who these people were we were monitoring,” he recalled. “Shooting was something to be lauded and something we should strive for.”

Unable to repress his conscience or choke down his moral disgust, Haas took refuge in alcohol and drug abuse, which he says is predictably commonplace among drone operators. At least a half-dozen members of his unit were using bath salts and could be found “impaired” while on duty, Haas testifies.

Among the burdens Bryant now bears is the knowledge that he participated in the mission that killed a fellow U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki. Identified as a radical cleric and accused of offering material support for al-Qaeda, al-Awlaki was executed by a drone strike in Yemen. His 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, was killed in a separate drone strike a few weeks later while sitting down to dinner at the home of a family friend. Asked about the killing of a native-born U.S. citizen – who, at age 16, was legally still a child – former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs appeared to justify that act by blaming it on the irresponsibility of the innocent child’s father.

As Bryant points out, as a matter of law the elder al-Awlaki was innocent, as well.

“We were told that al-Awlaki deserved to die, he deserved to be killed as a traitor, but article 3 of section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states that even a traitor deserves a fair trial in front of a jury of his peers,” Bryant notes, lamenting that his role in the “targeted killing” of a U.S. citizen without a trial was a violation of his constitutional oath.

Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill has produced evidence suggesting that the White House-approved killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s son may have been carried out as retaliation against the family for refusing to cooperate in the search for the cleric. There are indications that the government has tried to intimidate the whistleblowers by intimidating their families.

In October, while Brandon Bryant was preparing to testify about the drone program before a German parliamentary committee, his mother LanAnn received a visit in her Missoula, Montana home from two representatives of the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations. The men claimed that her personal information was in the hands of the Islamic State, which had placed her name on a “hit list.” She was also told not to share that disclosure with anyone – a directive she promptly ignored by informing Ms. Radack, who represents Brandon and the other whistleblowers.

According to Radack, a very similar episode occurred last March in which the stepparent of another whistleblower received a nearly identical visit from agents of the Air Force OSI. “This is the US government wasting taxpayer dollars trying to silence, intimidate and shut up people. It’s a very amateurish way to shut up a whistleblower … by intimidating and scaring their parents. This would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening.”

Given the role played by the U.S. government in fomenting, equipping, and abetting the growth of ISIS, such warnings have to be perceived as credible, albeit, indirect death threats.

In 2014, US and EU installed its own hand-picked puppet regime in Kiev, Ukraine. This caused a chain of epic failures that have made many ardent cheerleaders for ‘regime change’ to question whether or not tipping over the elected government in 2014 was a very good idea.

The worst part of the whole operation was that US and EU central planners thought it prudent to activate and partner with NeoNazis and proto-fascist militants in order to achieve their short-term regime change goals. Once the coup d’etat had taken place in February 2014, western agents of change were stuck with a horrific political Frankenstein they had created.

While the battles have been raging in Syria and elsewhere, few in the west have been aware that the architects of instability have been busy opening up a new front for proxy, asymmetric warfare – in Crimea. To add to the shock and awe, western agents have brought together two of the worst groups of miscreants the world has ever known.

reports on the western media and government collusion in recent attacks on Crimea:

“Ever since the Maidan coup of February 2014, Western media and governments have all but incited violent actions by extremists against the Crimean people. Unknown to people in the West is the aforementioned, food transport blockade, ongoing since September 20. Western media has self-censored reports of that, including the central role played by the neo-Nazi Right Sector group.”

That’s not all…

Ever since then, Crimea has been the focal point of the NATO strategic offensive against Russia in the region. Most disturbingly recently, a GLADIO-style terror campaign seems to have targeted Crimea, and like clock-work, western media outlets in the process of inventing a tidy narrative in order to package what is clearly new campaign of terror that’s currently being unleashed in the region.

WASHINGTON’S PROXY: US planners would refer to working with Ukraine’s Nazis as a ‘necessary evil’ in order to achieve geopolitical objectives in the region.

After putting NeoNazi paramilitary groups to work terrorizing the Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine, even Kiev struggled to get them back under control. It seems someone has decided to put them to work doing another ‘off-the-books’ operation which requires a lot of deniability – terrorizing the population of newly independent Crimea peninsula.

On Monday,the Crimea government declared a “State of Emergency” this week when Kiev-backed ‘nationalists’ blew up the country’s electrical infrastructure causing mass blackouts, with “Crimea is completely cut off,” says Director of Crimea Energy, Viktor Plakida, .

In what appears to be a true-to-form, classic false flag attack – a ‘Crimean Tatar’ flag was placed at the site of explosion. It’s more likely that the guiding hand of NATO Intelligence is active behind the scenes to intensify the situation.

Naturally, western media outlets are trying to frame the narrative as a ‘internal dispute’ between ethnic Tartars and ‘Russian speakers in Crimea’ (as part of the western media’s ongoing effort to isolate and demonize Russia at every turn). Still, a number of likely CIA-run editorial desks, and Mockingbird-type media outlets still refer to the Crimean referendum in winter of 2014 as “Russia’s bloodless invasion in February and March 2014”.

The reality on the ground is everyone’s worst nightmare come true: fighting has now begun between US-backed proxy militants and ethnic Russian and Russian-speaking forces as Washington and NATO continues to arm-up a flagging Ukrainian military, and supply their new ‘deniability brigades’, NeoNazis paramilitary platoons, Right Sector and Tatar militias, some of whom have been implicated in terrorist attacks in recent months.

CIA-NATO Dream Team: Nazis and ISIS Fighting Side-By-Side in Ukraine

Other US State Department-aligned foreign policy blogs have even admitted that US military Special Forces have been training new Ukrainian special forces, and seem to be ramping-up the rhetoric in the hopes of trigger more instability in the region.

Another disturbing development which has been all but blacked-out by US TV media, is that either CIA or NATO Intelligence (or both) appear to have drafted in Islamic Battalions, stocked with militant Chechens (likely many of the same fighters rotating through Syria fighting for ISIS), to help the US-backed regime in Kiev defeat Russian-speaking Rebels in eastern Ukraine.

So it’s another US-NATO proxy war beginning in Crimea.

As the US hasn’t done enough damage by funding and creating ISIS and other Jihadist terrorists in Syria.

Looks like Washington is really keeping busy these days…

This article argues that the democratic ideals espoused by Australia and Indonesia fall short in application to West Papua and West Papuans, and notes that such shortcomings are legitimated by mainstream media’s exoticist portrayals of West Papuans, particularly in Australia.

The antidemocratic policies and processes of each government with regard to West Papua actually enable the (by and large) “good” bilateral relations at the state level to remain intact. However, this article contends that democracy, as practiced by civil society actors at the grassroots and digital network level in Australia and West Papua, creates cracks in the official Australia-Indonesia state relationship. Australian concerns over Indonesian human rights abuses in West Papua have traditionally been overlooked at the state level in favor of pursuing an amicable bilateral relationship.

However by forging digital activist networks locally and internationally—including building West Papuan-indigenous Australian partnerships, West Papuans are participating in a grassroots democratization process with global outreach, refusing to be sacrificed on the altar of regional realpolitik. The article concludes with a cautionary account of an apparent attempt by an opportunistic Australian political movement to hijack West Papuan democratization for its own ends, a threat West Papuan and Australian civil society activists are currently moving to contain.

Map showing West Papua on the island of New Guinea in relation to Australia and Indonesia.

West Papuans: cannibals or the sacrificed?

Who isn’t fascinated by a cannibal story – particularly one about a cannibal act purportedly planned in the past decade? In 2006, a weekly current affairs television show hosted by a popular Australian network aired a program introducing Wawa, a then six-year old boy its television crew met during a so-called first contact encounter with West Papua’s Korowai people. Wawa, the program alleged, was facing imminent cannibalization by his tribe for suspicion of witchcraft. A media fiasco followed in which the television network and its main rival raced to produce a “rescue Wawa” story. The rival’s controversial presenter was deported from West Papua for using a tourist visa, and Wawa was eventually taken from his home by the original network’s Sumatran tour guide to live in Jayapura and, later, Sumatra.

Earlier this year, a staffer of the first-mentioned current affairs program informed me that a follow up story on Wawa and the Korowai was being considered. The plan was to take Wawa on a return visit to Korowai land, ask him to compare his new school and city life with that of his village of origin, and assess how Korowai ways of life, including the practice of cannibalism, had changed since 2006.

This program concept illustrates the entrenched ignorance that pervades the mainstream Australian imaginary of West Papua and other parts of Melanesia. Anthropologist Rupert Stasch, the world’s preeminent scholar on the social relations of the Korowai, visited Wawa’s people after the media maelstrom and, through conversation with those who knew Wawa, found out that “there was a predictably wide gulf between the representations that had circulated in the international media and the boy’s actual history as understood by his kin and co-villagers (who were unaware of the media coverage)”1. Further, “almost all persons [Stasch] spoke with said that the exclusive reason the first film crew’s guide had been approached by villagers about taking the orphan to town was so that he would go to school, become literate in Indonesian, and return as a teacher, nurse, or government official. These numerous persons matter-of-factly denied […] suggestions that the boy had been rumored to be a witch, or had been in danger of being killed”2.

Wawa in 2006

“First contact” tourism and journalism are sensationalist, essentialist and, with regard to the Korowai, misleading – European missionaries have lived with the Korowai since the 1970s and the Korowai are knowing, if far from equal, agents in the marketing of their “culture” to outsiders. The removal of children from their families of origin by Western journalists chasing television ratings is of course ethically highly dubious. Yet, despite the informed criticism directed towards the current affairs program after its 2006 West Papua foray, it has contemplated revisiting the Wawa story. West Papua has, for a long time, threatened the stability of the Australia-Indonesia relationship but Australian citizens have pressured their government not to let the Indonesian government escape criticism for the crimes its military forces commit in West Papua. In portraying West Papuans as less than civilized, mainstream Australian media fabrications such as the “Wawa story” serve to uphold Indonesia’s ongoing colonial occupation of West Papua. They also support an Australian media-military complex—providing a veneer of justification for Australian training of Indonesian security forces,3—which in turn “keeps in check” the “violent” peoples of “Stone Age” Papua. Such portrayals4 feed into one of two broad narratives that surround military and government bilateral relations between Australia and Indonesia in which West Papua is treated by Australia as either a pawn or a liability. In the first narrative, that of “primitive and unpredictable Papuans”, the Australian public gaze is momentarily averted from the violence of the Indonesian military in West Papua, and the pressure on the Australian government to hold Indonesia accountable is relieved. The second narrative will be dealt with in the remainder of this article.


This second narrative presents Indonesia as a “normal”5 country – that is, democratizing, not subject to military excesses, and accountable to the rule of law. The Indonesian government frequently asserts that these apparent attributes also extend to its rule in West Papua. Yet, upon examination, they appear to be observed more in the breach than otherwise. The Australian government’s willingness to pay lip service to Indonesian claims, for the sake of harmonious relations with Jakarta, silences West Papuans’ grievances at the official, bilateral level.

The Australia-Indonesia relationship itself is often portrayed as one incrementally strengthening due to Indonesia’s supposedly increasing democratization. What is rarely considered, however, is the extent to which Australian democratic principles are applied to, and what relationship the democratic credentials of either government has with, the political plight of West Papuans. Each of these concerns has important implications for the civil societies and governments of both countries, as well as their bilateral relationship. Indeed, it appears that it is mutual complicity in the antidemocratic processes being enacted in Indonesia and Australia with regard to West Papua that tends to strengthen the bilateral relationship at the state level. Simultaneously, that “good” relationship is threatened by the alternative processes of digital networking and grassroots democratization which ignore state borders and bring civil society in Australia and West Papua closer together.

For example, much has been made of Indonesia’s democratization since the fall of Suharto in May 1998, and the implementation of electoral reforms from 1999 onward. However, democratic reforms have had a limited reach in West Papua. For example, in 2003, the province of Papua was divided into two, “Papua” and “West Papua”, by the central government, contrary to local wishes and national law. Local Papuan political parties are banned6. The Freeport mine (see Figure 3), controlled by an American company that pays huge royalties and taxes to Jakarta, exploits West Papuan natural resources, wreaks havoc on the environment and local communities, yet yields negligible benefits to Papuan people7.

Freeport’s Grasberg mine in West Papua. Image credit: Radio New Zealand International

And the Indonesia military operates with near impunity in West Papua. In December 2014, four unarmed West Papuan youth were killed and 17 more injured in Paniai when the Indonesian army and police opened fire on a group of protesters. Although an investigation into this massacre was opened, it has been compromised by police involvement. Military and police violence has also been a mainstay around Freeport’s mines in Timika since the company began operations in the 1970s as security forces vied with each other for lucrative “protection” contracts for the company. There is strong evidence suggesting that security forces also orchestrate violent conflict around the mine (for example, ambushes along the road leading to the mine) and then blame such violence on the guerilla-led Free West Papua movement, legitimating their own presence in the process8.

High hopes were held for democratic improvements in West Papua when Joko Widodo became Indonesia’s president in 2014. In his most recent visit to the region, Widodo released five political prisoners and announced that the ban on foreign journalists visiting West Papua would be lifted. However West Papuan activists claim that the release of the five prisoners, who were required to ask for clemency, was tokenistic since some 500 more protesters were subsequently arrested in May and June this year9. Papua observers in Indonesia, such as Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch, also doubt the President’s power to carry out a dramatic reversal to the longstanding international media blackout on West Papua kept in place by 18 central government agencies whose permission is required to visit the territory and who profit from their visa vetting role10. Scholar of Papua, Budi Hernawan, observes that Widodo is rapidly losing credibility within his own government. The military is agitating for a presidential decree to mandate control of public order by the army and for an amendment to the law that requires such a decree in the first place11. In other words, according to Hernawan, the army is working towards bypassing Presidential checks and balances in order to once more practice, unfettered, the fomentation of conflict that justifies its existence in the far reaches of Indonesia—particularly West Papua12.

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo

Australian democracy and West Papua

In recent years, as democratic processes have been rolled out in other parts of Indonesia, the Australian government has legitimated the charade that those same processes are reaching West Papua. In fact, Australia has maintained a “pragmatic complicity”13 in Indonesia’s treatment of West Papua since Indonesia invaded the territory in 1962 (shortly after West Papua’s previous colonizers, the Dutch East Indies, had made preparations with West Papuans for an independent West Papua), and has done little to protest the litany of human rights crimes committed by the regime. These include widespread instances of torture and rape of West Papuans, forced removal from traditional lands, environmental devastation, curtailment of civil and political rights, starvation, assassinations and disappearances14. Such concerted violence has stemmed from Indonesian expansionist and resource exploitation endeavors in West Papua, attempts to eradicate West Papua’s independence movement (formed in protest to Indonesian occupation and fuelled by ongoing Indonesian violence), and longstanding racism against West Papuan people.

In 1962, when West Papua’s future political status was under negotiation, Australia’s external affairs minister Garfield Barwick asserted that it was not in Australia’s strategic interest to counter Indonesia’s expansionary designs on West Papua; Australia would be better served forging diplomatic ties with a non-communist Indonesia15. The Australian government therefore supported the US-brokered 1962 New York Agreement that bequeathed the territory to Jakarta, and the subsequent rigged 1969 Act of Free Choice that formalized West Papua’s ongoing annexation by Indonesia.

Despite the fact that West Papua’s status as part of Indonesia has been contested ever since, Canberra’s position has been unwavering. As recently as 2006 Australia and Indonesia negotiated the Lombok Treaty which contained a “Papua Clause” committing the Australian government to “not in any manner support or participate in activities by any person or entity which constitutes a threat to the stability, sovereignty or territorial integrity of the other Party, including by those who seek to use its territory for encouraging or committing such activities, including separatism, in the territory of the other Party”16. Signing this agreement signalled the Australian government’s willingness to curtail the democratic freedom of its own citizens to support persons involved in West Papua’s independence struggle; this, in order to assure Indonesia of its unconditional recognition of Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua.

When Mako Tabuni, a West Papuan independence activist, was murdered in the street in Jayapura in 2012, eyewitnesses and, later, Australian investigative journalists, asserted that the murder was committed by the partly Australian funded and trained Indonesian anti-terror police squad, Detachment 8817. The following year three West Papuan men climbed the walls of the Australian consulate in Bali immediately prior to an anticipated visit by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, seeking refuge and calling for the release of political prisoners in West Papua. Australian academic Clinton Fernandes, who was on the telephone to the consulate at the time of the incident, overheard an Australian voice threatening to bring in the Indonesian military and police to remove the Papuan men. The latter were forced to flee the consulate, fearful for their lives18.

In the aftermath of this incident Abbott stated his desire to convey “in flashing neon lights” that attempts to “grandstand” against Indonesia by involving Australia were “not welcome”. Asserting, as Australian leaders regularly do, that Australia respected Indonesia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, Abbott added, following the lead of Indonesian leaders, that “the situation in West Papua was ‘getting better, not worse’”19.

The combined efforts of the Indonesian and Australian governments to whitewash ongoing brutalities in West Papua are under constant pressure, however. Moreover, since most Australian statements regarding relations with Indonesia are prefaced with references to the Australian national interest, Indonesia knows Australian policy on West Papua is strategically and, at times, legally contingent. Indeed, precedents exist for Australian support of human rights and self-determination in contested Indonesian territories. In addition to Australia’s about face from support for Indonesian sovereignty in East Timor in 1999 to rejecting it, Australia also recognized 43 West Papuans who arrived in Australia in 2006 as legitimate asylum seekers and granted them temporary protection visas, prompting Jakarta to recall its ambassador from Canberra in protest.

There have been other hints that Canberra’s continued acquiescence over West Papua has its limits. After allegations emerged in 2013 that Australia had been spying on Indonesian officials, and Indonesia responded by threatening to cease cooperation on managing “people smuggling”, Abbott reminded Jakarta that Australia had attempted to dissuade Australian-based West Papuan activists from traveling by boat to West Papua, effectively implying that Australian support for Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua was tied to cooperation from Indonesia on issues of Australian national concern20.

All of this demonstrates that, at a state level, both Australia and Indonesia are willing to exaggerate the bona fides of Indonesian democracy in West Papua and collude to cover up direct violations of democracy and human rights in the territory. As a result neither country is acting altruistically with regard to West Papua. Indonesia is vested financially in occupying West Papua, and Australia is vested financially in appeasing Indonesia and thus condoning its occupation of West Papua21. Nevertheless, there is hope that significant shifts in Australia’s approach to West Papua might be possible. At present though, it appears that the strength of Australia-Indonesia ties in relation to West Papua is in inverse proportion to the degree of democracy and human rights respect afforded West Papuans and their Australian supporters.

Grassroots democracy and digital networks

By contrast, transformative democratization, in essence coordinated purposeful action by and for the affected people, is occurring at grassroots activist and digital network levels, linking West Papuan, other Melanesian, and Australian civil society communities in solidarity against state-centric oppressive concepts of sovereignty. This is expressed in a burgeoning genre of West Papua independence music being created by West Papuans and their Melanesian and Australian supporters and distributed digitally via YouTube, Soundcloud, iTunes, Bluetooth and SD cards through ever expanding digital networks22. While evidently the digital revolution has not impacted all populations equally, it has had the effect of spreading music, foundational to Melanesian cosmology and the life force of West Papua’s independence movement23 widely and lifting the regional profile of the West Papuan struggle. Moreover, social media has also elevated the perceived urgency of the struggle in mainstream Australia and internationally, propelling the circulation of mobile phone videos such as those depicting the torture of West Papuans24, and attracting the intervention of internet activist hacker group Anonymous on behalf of West Papuans25.

A grass roots activist movement—recognizing a shared history between indigenous Papuans and indigenous Australians of settler colonial violence and cohabitation of the prehistoric continent Sahul (a Pleistocene era landmass that included mainland Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea, Seram and possibly the island of Timor)—has emerged over the past two years, most dynamically in the initiative of the West Papua Freedom Flotilla26. This project has involved two maritime missions, with West Papuan and Aboriginal activists using Aboriginal “passports” and West Papuan “visas” in an effort to carry water from Lake Eyre to West Papua—a form of nonviolent direct action highlighting West Papua’s violent occupation and symbolizing Oceanic indigenous articulations.

Freedom Flotilla poster featuring West Papuan, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags

Two other events are notable with regard to West Papuan-oriented activism in Australia. In April 2014 an office opened in Perth to carry out the work of Oxford-based West Papuan refugee and independence activist Benny Wenda and his Free West Papua campaign27. Soon after, in June 2014, the author attended the opening of the Federal Republic of West Papua’s Department of Foreign Affairs Immigration and Trade office headed up by Foreign Minister, Jacob Rumbiak, a former West Papuan political prisoner living in exile in Melbourne. The office was located in an architecturally slick, eco-friendly complex in Melbourne’s central business district and its opening was officiated by various local government officials, indigenous Australian leaders, and a university representative. Both of these offices were established in contravention of the Lombok Treaty and remain in operation, demonstrating that grassroots, people-led movements can thrive in the interstices of top down, anti-democratic power.

Supporters of the West Papuan rights movement in Australia include artists, academics, people of faith, lawyers and environmental and indigenous rights activists who are often loosely aligned with the several city-based Australia West Papua Associations and who work in tandem through these networks. In July 2013, the West Papua Project at The University of Sydney produced a citizens tribunal, the first of its kind in Australia, weighing evidence and hearing testimonies from survivors of the 1998 Biak Massacre in which Indonesian security forces murdered up to 200 West Papuans peacefully demonstrating on the West Papuan island of Biak28.

The Indonesian military has never been held accountable for this massacre, and notable Australian legal personalities, concerned academics from institutions across Australia, and other activists cooperated in an effort to bring a degree of justice and closure to the victims even in the absence of a legal remedy. In March 2015, several of the tribunal team led by Justice John Dowd and academic Eben Kirksey presented the evidence brief to Liberal, Labor and Greens party politicians in federal parliament and met with a favorable tripartisan reception, further evidence that small initiatives can reach the halls of power, if not yet the decision-making chambers.

Australian academics—some of whom are affiliated with the West Papua Project at The University of Sydney—have also been involved with West Papuan efforts to make their political presence known in the Melanesian region, assisting the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) to develop its latest submission for membership to the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG). The MSG, a political bloc comprised of the four Melanesian countries – Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and Fiji—was formed in 1986, in part to lobby France for New Caledonian independence. As such, the indigenous Kanak independence party, the Kanak and Socialist National Liberation Front (French: Front de Libération Nationale Kanak et Socialiste, FLNKS), has been an integral member of the MSG from its inception. And West Papua has for several years sought membership on the same basis. A limited victory was celebrated in June 2015 by West Papuans and their supporters when West Papua was granted observer status in the MSG, although at the same meeting Indonesia was granted associate membership, a higher level, which somewhat dampened West Papuans’ celebrations.

These community-initiated activities of West Papuans in Australia, and of Australians working in solidarity with them, demonstrate that steps toward positive change in West Papua are being pushed from the bottom up rather than the top down. These actions in Australia and West Papua suggest possibilities for a brighter, more democratic future for West Papuans, in spite of Indonesian and Australian government efforts to stymie them.

Reclaim Australia and the Free West Papua Party

A sobering phenomenon has recently cast a shadow over the usually progressive Australia-West Papua solidarity movement.  A political party calling itself the Free West Papua Party has been launched from Perth29, which appears to be capitalizing on the Free West Papua Campaign “brand” created by dynamic West Papuan activist Benny Wenda. The party combines anti-Islamic ideology and unrealistic goals,30 claiming to possess “the potential to quickly free West Papua through the next Federal Election”31. In July 2015 its leader delivered a speech at an ultra-nationalist Reclaim Australia rally purporting to support West Papuan freedom in an era of Islamization. Campaigning for West Papua at such events conveys the impression that the fight for the independence of West Papua is primarily religious (i.e. a Christian versus Muslim struggle), which it is not, although at times it does assume a religio-cultural tone. In fact, many West Papuans, including some independence leaders, are Muslim32. Both Australian supporters of West Papuan rights and West Papuans residing in Australia have moved quickly to distance themselves from the Free West Papua Party and its ideological tenets and implications33.

Further, indigenous Australians are protesting against the Reclaim Australia movement34. If what Reclaim Australia supporters are really trying to do is “reclaim” Australia for a majority “caucasian [sic] and Christian”35 population (and those with “assimilationist” aspirations), then it hardly seems appropriate for an Australian political party to drag indigenous West Papuans into the movement. Finally, as previously mentioned, indigenous West Papuans and indigenous Australians are already working together in a dynamic movement to recognise indigenous sovereignty in their respective lands with the Freedom Flotilla initiative. This is an internally organized, organic movement that represents a positive reclamation and an indication, among others (for example the progress made within the MSG, the tabling of West Papuan grievances at the Pacific Islands Forum36, and the rise of Pacific-wide solidarity for West Papua37) that the West Papuan independence movement is garnering increasing international awareness.

Yet despite this forward momentum, West Papua is in the grip of a serious demographic crisis. A history of Indonesian state-sponsored transmigration and continuous, rapid and spontaneous migration from other parts of Indonesia to West Papua, coupled with high mortality and morbidity rates for West Papuans compared with non-Papuans38 has meant that indigenous West Papuans, since 2010, have become a demographic and cultural minority in their homeland39. Even though many West Papuans campaign for a referendum on independence, in statistical terms, if this becomes an option for them as it did for the East Timorese in 1999, it is unlikely to deliver the result hoped for by indigenous independence-seekers. The future is likely to be bloody, as West Papuans have demonstrated since the 1960s that they will not back down, even in the face of military terror, from their pursuit of independence.

When the Suharto-era general and notorious strongman Prabowo Subianto was Widodo’s challenger for the position of Indonesian president leading up to the last election, predictions for the status of West Papuans should his campaign be successful were “apocalyptic”40. Yet Widodo’s apparent inability to stand up to pressure from military forces lobbying to sit above civilian authority may still have apocalyptic consequences for West Papuans should the military subsequently be given freer reign in West Papua. If the result of increased militarization in West Papua is a showdown like that of East Timor’s 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in which 250 protesters were murdered, international civil society pressure might occasion a multilateral intervention. Although the second of these possible futures is West Papuans’ most immediate hope for independence, both are grim. Their most promising option, and the one in which most efforts are currently being channelled, is the strengthening of grassroots democratic networks and forging of regional solidarity. Time, however, is of the essence. Demographic transition in West Papua is the key challenge.


This article has attempted to demonstrate that it is important that the Australian public not take too narrow a view of Australian national interest – the Australian government has already made that mistake with regard to West Papua. Indeed, the Australian government should remember that what it considers to be in its best interest can change dramatically and rather suddenly, as its 1999 intervention into East Timor revealed. The Australian public would do well to follow the lead of indigenous West Papuans and indigenous Australians in lobbying the Australian government and demonstrating to mainstream media that democracy in Indonesia and in Australia should not be solely for the benefit of privileged ethnicities and the already rich. Rather, democracy ought to encompass politico-legal ethics and processes that facilitate the meaningful self-determination of each society’s most vulnerable groups. A healthy relationship between the two countries—one that valued democracy in each—would acknowledge both in law and in practice the traditional custodians of the various territories comprising the two countries. It would be committed to fostering peaceful explorations of self-determination engaging indigenous peoples as primary actors. It would consider unacceptable the circulation of tired, clichéd and frankly dehumanizing portrayals of West Papuans as cannibals, as subjects for entertainment on Australian television. Given the tragedy of Australia’s own Stolen Generations from indigenous people, further Australian media interventions in the life of Wawa, an already traumatised indigenous child, should certainly be off limits.


Comments by Adam Stott, Peter King and Michael Webb helped to improve an earlier version of this manuscript, for which I am most grateful.

Camellia Webb-Gannon is a Research Fellow with the Digital Humanities Research Group at Western Sydney University and is the Coordinator of the West Papua Project at The University of Sydney. Her PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies from The University of Sydney examined the dynamics of unity and conflict within West Papua’s independence movement. Recent research considers the impact of digital technologies and the arts on human rights advocacy as well as local interpretations of Melanesian indigenous rights, Melanesian self-determination movements, and concepts and mechanisms of justice in Oceania.

Related articles

• Camellia Webb-Gannon and Jim Elmslie, MSG Headache, West Papuan Heartache? Indonesia’s Melanesian Foray

• David Adam Stott, Would An Independent West Papua Be A Failing State?

• David Adam Stott, Indonesian Colonisation, Resource Plunder and West Papuan Grievances


1 Rupert Stasch, 2014, ‘Powers of Incomprehension: Linguistic Otherness, Translators and Political Structure in New Guinea Tourism Encounters’, Hau Journal of Ethnographic Theory 4:2.

2 Ibid.

3 Hayden Cooper and Lisa Main, 2012, ‘Australia Faces Links to West Papua Torture’, ABC’s 7:30.

4 Other examples (not Australian) of such media portrayals of West Papuans include the following: Carl Hoffman, 2014, Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art, Text Publishing; Milt Machlin, 1972, The Search for Michael Rockefeller, Putnam; Robert Norton, 2015, ‘Ambushed: Escaping the Cannibals of West Papua, Indonesia’, Yahoo Travel; and Paul Raffaele, 2006, ‘Sleeping with Cannibals’, Smithsonian Magazine.

5 Andrew MacIntyre and Douglas E Ramage, 2008, ‘Seeing Indonesia as a Normal Country: Implications for Australia’, Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

6 Jason MacLeod, 2010, ‘Papuan Struggle Enters New Phase’, Open Democracy.

This curtailment of political freedom extends into all provinces of Indonesia with the exception of Aceh which alone has been able to successfully lobby (as part of its 2005 peace negotiations with Jakarta) for the formation of its own political parties.

7 Freeport is Indonesia’s largest revenue contributor – in 2014 alone it paid the Indonesian government US$1.5 billion in tax (Nithin Coca, 2015, ‘West Papua: Mining in an Occupation Forgotten by the World’, Equal Times). It operates the world’s largest gold mine and third largest copper mine in Timika, West Papua, and the untold environmental devastation it has wreaked during its tenure in West Papua prompted the Norwegian government, in 2008, to divest AU$1 billion

from Rio Tinto, Freeport’s partner in West Papua (Benny Wenda, October 12, 2011, ‘Everyone profits from West Papua, except for West Papuans’, The Guardian). Papuan miners are paid unconscionable wages, the local peoples – the Amungme and Komoro tribes – have lost ancestral lands of sacred, economic, and social significance, resultant internecine violence abounds, and the military and police wage an ongoing war over ‘security’ contracts for the mine (see Coca and Wenda, this note).

8 For an excellent exposition of the politics of security around Freeport, see Eben Kirksey and Andreas Harsono, 2008, ‘Criminal Collaborations? Antonius Wamang and the Indonesian Military in Timika,’ South East Asia Research 16:2, pp. 165-197.

9 ‘May 2015: While Jokowi Releases Five, Nearly 500 are Arrested’, Papuans Behind Bars.

10 Andreas Harsono, June 12, 2015, ‘Jokowi, Human Rights in Indonesia and Peace in West Papua’, Special Forum hosted by the Centre for Peace and Conflict and the Department of Indonesian Studies at The University of Sydney. See also Coca, above n. 7.

11 Budi Hernawan, November 3, 2015, ‘The Rise of Pacific Solidarity for West Papua,’ Special Forum hosted by the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at The University of Sydney.

12 Ibid.

13 Stuart Rollo, 2013, ‘Ending Our Pragmatic Complicity in West Papua’, The Drum.

14 See John Wing and Peter King, 2005, ‘Genocide in West Papua? The Role of the Indonesian State Apparatus and a Current Needs Assessment of the Papuan People’, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney;

Jim Elmslie and Camellia Webb-Gannon, 2013, ‘A Slow-Motion Genocide: Indonesian Rule in West Papua’, Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity 1:2, pp. 142-166; Elizabeth Brundige, Winter King, Priyneha Vahali, Stephen Vladeck and Xiang Yuan, 2004, ‘Indonesian Human Rights Abuses in West Papua: Application of the Law of Genocide to the History of Indonesian Rule’, Allard K Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic Yale Law School.

15 Richard Chauvel, 2012, ‘50 Years On, Australia’s Papua Policy Is Still Failing’, Inside Story.

16 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2006, ‘Agreement Between the Republic of Indonesia and Australia on the Framework for Security Cooperation (“The Lombok Treaty”)’.

17 Hayden Cooper and Lisa Main, 2012, ‘Australia Faces Links to West Papua Torture’, ABC’s 7:30.

18 Clinton Fernandes, 2013, ‘West Papuans in the Consulate’, Right Now: Human Rights in Australia.

19 Lauren Wilson, October 8, 2013, ‘Abbott Warns West Papuan Activists, The Australian.

20 Michael Bachelard, December 6, 2013, ‘Lines Crossed on Indonesia-Australia Spy Agreement’, The Sydney Morning Herald.

21 As mentioned in note 7, the Indonesian economy relies heavily on revenue raised through Freeport’s mines in West Papua. In 2013, Australia’s two-way trade with Indonesia amounted to nearly $3.7 billion, and its investment in Indonesia was “$10.9 billion, up from $6.2 billion in 2012. Indonesian investment in Australia was around $959 million in 2013” (Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, n.d., ‘Indonesia Country Brief’).

22 Many of these songs have been collated on the author’s YouTube channel.

23 Julian Smythe, 2013, ‘The Living Symbol of Song in West Papua: A Soul Force To Be Reckoned With’ Indonesia 95.

24 Asian Human Rights Commission, 2010, ‘The Indonesian Military Ill-treat and Torture Indigenous Papuans’.

25 Papua Merdeka, 2014, ‘Anonymous Message to the Indonesian Government About West Papua Genocide’, YouTube.

26 See the Freedom Flotilla website.

27 Free West Papua Campaign, April 25, 2014, ‘Free West Papua Campaign to Open New Office in Perth, Australia’, Free West Papua Campaign.

28 See the Biak Massacre Citizens Tribunal website.

29 Free West Papua Perth Australia, May 6, 2015, ‘Membership for Free West Papua Party’.

30 Suresh Rajan, July 21, 2015, ‘“There Are Many Causes I Would Die For. There Is Not A Single Cause I Would Kill For”. Mahatma Gandhi”, The Stringer,

31 See the “FWPP Response to the West Papua Solidarity Movement Rejection of Reclaim Australia Public Statement”.

32 Indigenous West Papuans are predominantly Christian but a Papuan Muslim minority resides primarily in the western coastal regions of West Papua in Fak Fak, Sorong, and Manokwari (cities with a long history of trade with other parts of Muslim Indonesia), and, to a lesser extent, in the eastern cities of Merauke and Jayapura. Independence leader Thaha Al Hamid, originally from Kaimana on the west coast of West Papua but now residing in Jayapura, is Muslim. The number of indigenous Muslim Papuans is difficult to ascertain given that Papuan censuses are infrequent and unreliable.

33 A statement by activists to this effect with the signatures it has acquired has been posted to the Australia West Papua Association blog site.

34 Amy McQuire, August 4, 2015, ‘Father of the Aboriginal Flag Slams Reclaim Australia for “Idiotic” Appropriation’, New Matilda.

35 See the home page of the Reclaim Australia website.

36 Pacific Beat, September 7, 2015, ‘West Papua Human Rights and Climate Change Top Pacific Islands Forum Agenda’, ABC News.

37 Examples include protests for West Papuan independence by New Zealand based activist collective Oceania Interrupted (view their website here); the recent launching of a pan-Pacific solidarity group for West Papua by Benny Wenda in London (view his website here); and calls in October 2015 by Tonga’s prime minister at the United Nations to take action on West Papua (ABC News, October 1, 2015, ‘Tonga’s Prime Minister Calls on UN to Take Action on West Papua’, ABC News.

38 Susan Rees, Remco van de Pas, Derrick Silove and Moses Kareth, 2008, ‘Health and Human Security in West Papua’, The Medical Journal of Australia, 189 (11): 641-643.

39 Jim Elmslie, 2010, ‘West Papuan Demographic Transition and the 2010 Indonesian Census: “Slow Motion Genocide” or Not?’ CPACS Working Paper 11/1, Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, The University of Sydney.

40 Sally White, July 8, 2014, ‘Prabowo an ‘Apocalypse’, Jokowi a False Promise: West Papuans Opt Out’, Crikey.

State of Emergency in Crimea

November 26th, 2015 by Roger Annis

Late on November, 21, right-wing extremists in Ukraine severed the four electricity lines which transmit electricity from Ukraine to Crimea. The terrorist attacks, using explosives, cut domestic electricity service to much of Crimea’s population of 2.3 million.

Two of the transmission lines were damaged during the night of November 20-21. The coup de grace cutting all service to Crimea was delivered to the other two lines the following night. Photos of downed pylons with Ukrainian or Crimean-Tatar flags hanging on them have been posted online.

“Crimea has been completely cut off,” Viktor Plakida director of Crimea’s state energy company, Krymenergo, told TASS Russian news service.

A state of emergency has been declared in Crimea. Reserve electricity production using portable gas turbines and diesel generators is assuring electricity service to public institutions, including the national airport at Simferopol, bus and train service and television and radio broadcasting. But most Crimean citizens were left without power at home.

Extremists supporting the blasts blocked crews from conducting repairs in the days following. In Kyiv, hundreds of right-wing protesters gathered at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (police) on the evening of the 21st, demanding that a full electricity blockade be instituted against the people of Crimea (video report here).

The Ukrainian National Guard did secure at least one of the damaged lines, during the day on Nov 20. Guardsmen confronted violent protesters; a five-minute video on the right-wing, ATR YouTube channel shows some of the confrontation that took place. But the government soon bowed to the extremists and backed off.

The government refused offers of assistance from Russia to restore electricity transmission, even though the blasts deprived the Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Nikolayev in Ukraine of electricity and Yuriy Katich, deputy director of Ukraine’s energy company Ukrenergo, said that the interruptions have placed two of Ukraine’s nearby nuclear energy stations in “very dangerous” territory. Nuclear and coal each generate approximately 40 per cent of Ukrainian domestic electricity production.

On Nov 23, the Ukrainian government declared a total ban on cargo traffic to and from Crimea. The Wall St. Journal reported that day that the measure was a concession to extremists in exchange for them standing aside to allow repairs to the damaged electrical system. In other words, the government in Kyiv is now officially hostage to right wing and neo-Nazi extremists. The Journal cites President Petro Poroshenko its Nov 23 report:

“We are not satisfied with today’s status quo, when an occupying power [Russia] neglects the basic rights of the Crimean Tatar people,” said President Petro Poroshenko after a meeting with three European foreign ministers.

“Crimea is Ukrainian territory. We will defend the rights of the Crimean Tatar people and all Ukrainians who are living on occupied territory.”

According to the UK Telegraph, Ukraine’s police (interior) minister, Arsen Avakov, wants the country’s national security council to annul contracts for power supply to Crimea in response to Russia’s decision to ban Ukrainian food imports as of January 1. Russia took that action when the European Union and Ukraine decided their “economic association” agreement would proceed on January 1. There have been no negotiations with Russia over the consequences, even though Ukraine and Russia presently have free exchange of food trade and the European agreement turns Ukraine into an uncontrolled transit point into Russia for food from anywhere in the EU.

The announced transport blockade by the Kyiv regime builds on a food transport blockade of Crimea which Ukrainian extremists have conducted with impunity since September 20.

One of the electricity pylons servicing Crimea sabotaged on Nov 20, 2015 (TV Rezda image on Twitter)

One of the electricity pylons servicing Crimea sabotaged on Nov 20, 2015 (TV Rezda image on Twitter)

Consequences of the terrorist attacks

According to a report earlier this month on Krymedia, there are four electricity routes from Ukraine to Crimea, respectively: Melitopol (Ukraine)-Dzhankoy (Crimea) (330 kV), Kakhovka-Ostrovskaya (330 kV), Kakhovka-Dzhankoy (330 kV) and Kakhovka-Titan (220 kV).

Ukraine’s state-run energy firm, Ukrenergo, initially said it could repair the damaged lines within four days. Ukraine’s Energy Ministry said one of the four damaged power lines could be repaired within 24 hours if workers were allowed safe and unfettered access to the site. But that was not to be.

Russia’s Energy Ministry says emergency electricity supplies have been activated in Crimea. Mobile gas turbine generators as well as some 1,000 diesel generators have been mobilized

Crimea’s first vice premier, Mikhail Sheremet, told journalists that Crimea can mobilize some 600 megawatts of electrical production whereas peak daily demand is 1,200 MW. Another Crimean news report said average daily consumption is 850 MW at this time of year.

The Crimean state utility Krymergo says the region’s reserve fuel supply to operate generators could last up to 25 days. Deputy Crimean government chairman Dmitry Kozak is cited in the Wall St. Journal that Crimea is meeting 30 per cent of its normal electricity needs through its emergency generation.

Crimea is planning on energy independence from Ukraine. An electricity cable from mainland Russia to Crimea is under construction and due to begin full service in 2016, delivering app 800 MW of power. The first stage will begin to deliver 400 MW by the end of this year.

A state-owned gas pipeline capable of carrying four billion cubic meters of natural gas to Crimea from Russia is under construction. It will power two gas generation stations under construction, which will bring Crimea’s daily electrical production capacity up to 950 MW. A road and rail bridge connection, also under construction, will open in 2019 and be fully operational in 2020.

Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov has branded the destruction of the pylons “a terrorist act”. He is reported in TASS news agency as saying, “Crimeans will not be brought to their knees or spoken to in the language of blackmail” (reported in The Moscow Times).

Aksyonov warned that Ukrainian electricity providers on whom Crimea currently depends can expect to lose access to the Crimean market as the territory is integrated into Russia’s unified power grid, reported RIA Novosti on Sunday. “If the governing entities of Ukraine think they don’t need the [Crimean] market, then they are going to lose it forever. Just as has happened with food imports.”

The chairman of the of the Committee on International Affairs of the Council of the Russian Federation, Konstantin Kosachev, says the sabotage and the Ukrainian government response constitute “a gesture of final farewell” to Crimea. Noting the hanging of Ukrainian flags on destroyed electricity pylons, he said, “For the first time ever, I’ve seen state flags displayed as tokens of solidarity with terrorists.”

Nonetheless, Kosachev says, he hopes that “Crimea, Ukraine and all of us” will now take a sober look at the situation.

Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported on Monday the results of a survey of Crimeans conducted November 13-16 by the Levada Center, an independent Russian pollster. It shows 87 per cent of respondents believe Crimea should be part of Russia, compared with 73 per cent in August this year. Only three per cent thought the peninsula should be part of Ukraine.

These latest survey results are consistent with results published by several Western-funded polls in late 2014.

The right-wing forces mounting the food blockade have been threatening for several months to cut Crimea’s electricity supply. Last month, on October 6, an electricity pylon in Kherson was damaged by an explosive device (photo and story).

The attacks against Crimea’s electricity supply coincide with increased violations of the Minsk-2 ceasefire in Donetsk and Lugansk regions of eastern Ukraine, as documented by the daily reports of the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and in the Novorossiya Today news outlet.

Western media and government collusion in attacks on Crimea

Ever since the Maidan coup of February 2014, Western media and governments have all but incited violent actions by extremists against the Crimean people.

Unknown to people in the West is the aforementioned, food transport blockade, ongoing since September 20. Western media has self-censored reports of that, including the central role played by the neo-Nazi Right Sector group.

The food blockade is stressful and an inconvenience for the people of Crimea, but for farmers, truckers and traders on both sides of the border, it has dealt a harsh economic blow in a country already enduring near-to catastrophic economic hemorrhaging.

Last month, Ukraine withdrew takeoff and landing rights of Russian airlines, provoking Russia to respond in kind. Again, this was a measure far more detrimental to Ukrainian people and interests than to those of Russia.

On the rare occasion when the food blockade is mentioned in Western media, it is presented as an action waged by “Crimean Tatars”. For example, a November 23 report in Bloomberg writes, “Ethnic Tatars from [Crimea]… have blocked trucks from entering [Crimea] since last week.” The Bloomberg writer shows he is especially misinformed when he reports the Sept 20 food blockade as having commenced “last week”.

The “Crimean Tatars” referred to in Bloomberg and other Western news reports are Mustafa Djemilev and Refat Chubarov, Tatar figureheads who aligned themselves with the government in Kyiv years ago. Both have received appointments as deputies to the Rada (Parliament).

Lenur Islyamov, who served briefly as deputy premier of the Republic of Crimea following the March 2014 secession, has joined their ranks. He is identified in an interview on as the “coordinator” of the “Tatar” protests blocking repairs to the blown up transmission lines. Islyamov is a wealthy businessman. His holdings include the diminished ATR television and radio media network. Earlier this year, a spectacle erupted over broadcast license renewals of ATR. The network refused to apply through established channels for renewals of its licenses and then cried ‘censorship’ when its broadcast rights expired.

The West’s own embargo of Crimea

If the big imperialist governments of Europe and North America are concerned about extremists using food and now electricity as a political weapon against a civilian population, they haven’t said so. That’s not so very surprising because they operate their own food and economic embargo against Crimea. That was imposed in April 2014 after a large majority of the Crimean population voted to secede from Ukraine.

Last week at the G20 summit meeting in Turkey, Western leaders met briefly and extended by another six months their embargo against Crimea and sanctions against Russian political and business leaders. Reuters reports:

U.S. President Barack Obama, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Britain’s David Cameron, Italy’s Matteo Renzi and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who represented President Francois Hollande at the summit, attended the brief meeting near the conclusion of the G20 meeting in Antalya.

The story of electricity ties between Ukraine and Russia is more complicated than Western media bothers to report. Ukraine obtains a significant portion of its electricity and its coal for generating electricity from Russia.

According to an agreement reached nearly one year ago, Ukraine sells electricity to Crimea and, in exchange, Russia sells electricity to Ukraine. Russia has done so at preferred prices, no less, the price of Russian-generated electricity being cheaper than what Ukraine produces.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian Energy Minister Vladimir Demchishin announced that agreement had been reached to extend electricity supply from Ukraine to Crimea through 2016. He spoke against those advocating interruption to service or cutting it altogether. It seems his sentiments did not carry too far in the halls of power in Kyiv.

The latest attack on electricity transmission has sparked a pro forma statement of concern by the German government. Sputnik News reports German Foreign Office spokesman Martin Schaefer as stating, “Attacks on Ukraine’s public infrastructure, including that providing Crimea with electricity, are criminal acts. We expect them to be perceived as such and investigated by Ukrainian officials.”

Ukrainian terrorism and the West

The latest brazen action by Ukrainian extremists raises questions anew about their financial and military ties in the West. Western governments and media have backed, or turned a blind eye to, the prominent role which the extremists have been played in Ukraine’s military intervention in eastern Ukraine. Kyiv’s ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’ has killed more than 8,000 people, severely damaged the economy and infrastructure of the entire country, and displaced more than two million people from their homes.

Significant fundraising is taking place in Canada, the U.S. and western Europe for the extremist cause. Earlier this year, two of Canada’s largest newspapers—the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mailfavourably reported such fundraising, singling out for praise and support the agency called ‘Army SOS‘ which uses funds to purchase supplies for the Ukrainian army and paramilitaries.

This past summer, at the urging of Western governments and as a cautionary move to limit public relations damage, Ukraine began integrating into its National Guard entire units of the extremist paramilitaries. The measure was prompted by the decision of the U.S. Congress in June–and the media reporting which followed–to prohibit training or other support to one of the paramilitary units, the Azov Battalion.

The fundraising for Ukrainian extremists has eerie parallels to the long history of covert backing and financing by Western governments and regional allies of extremist forces in the Middle East. One week before the attacks against Crimea’s electricity supply, vigilantes of the Daesh (so-called ISIS) movement based in Iraq and Syria killed 130 people in a murderous attack in Paris.

Like Daesh, many extremists in Ukraine hold to arcane, pseudo-religious views. These views are also deeply racist, advocating a ‘white’ Ukraine that could lead the rest of Europe out of a political and moral “degeneracy” caused by the presence of large numbers of non-Caucasian citizens.

Canada’s new, governing Liberal Party has been a strong backer of the government in Kyiv and the civil war it has waged in eastern Ukraine. The new minister of international trade, Chrystia Freeland, is one of the most vocal ideologues in Canada of the Kyiv regime and its allied, paramilitary ‘freedom fighters’.

Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with a delegation of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress last month on October 13, six days before the national election won by the Liberals. The UCC advocates that Canada increase its military support to Ukraine, including advanced, heavy weaponry.

The UCC reported on the October 13 meeting, “We were pleased to be able to have a full, frank and productive exchange with Mr. Trudeau and are pleased to have had the opportunity to hear Mr. Trudeau address the issues and explain the Liberal Party position in person. Following this meeting, I am pleased that Mr. Trudeau and his candidates Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Chrystia Freeland, Arif Virani and James Maloney have committed to ensure that Ukraine is a top policy priority for the Liberal Party of Canada,” said [UCC President Paul] Grod.

“We are pleased that the Liberal Party will press for increased sanctions against Russia including the SWIFT payments system for its illegal occupation of Crimea and ongoing terrorist war in eastern Ukraine.”

Trudeau made brief, ill-informed comments about Crimea to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit meeting earlier this month in Turkey. Trudeau signalled that the harsh, anti-Russia, pro-Kyiv policies of the previous Conservative government would continue. And in a similar foreign policy vein, Canada’s new defense minister said on Nov 22 that Canada would remain part of the U.S.-led ‘regime change’ chorus for Syria.

Three days ago at the United Nations, Canada and three other countries—the U.S., Ukraine and Palau—voted against a resolution condemning racism in all its forms, including the ideology of neo-Nazism. The resolution was approved by 126 countries, including India and China. Fifty three countries abstained, including all the member countries of the European Union.

The myth of a Russian “annexation” of Crimea in March of 2014 is an inaccurate but powerful narrative underlying the ongoing aggression against the Crimean people. Large swaths of liberal and even left-wing opinion in Western countries have bought into this myth. This latest chapter in Ukraine-Crimea relations will hopefully serve to open new eyes as to who are the aggressors in Ukraine-Crimea relations.

The Crimean people have the right to live free of threats and aggression. Crimea’s vote to secede from Ukraine in March 2014 was conducted by the elected, constitutional government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and was approved overwhelmingly. Kyiv’s war in eastern Ukraine and now against Crimea, on the other hand, is being waged by an illegal coup regime. The Crimean people’s right to self-determination should be respected and the provocative and dangerous embargo against them by Western powers should end.

Roger Annis is an editor of the website The New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond. On June 12, he gave a talk in Vancouver, Canada reporting on his visit to Donetsk, eastern Ukraine in April 2015 as part of a media tour group. A video broadcast of that talk is here: The NATO offensive in eastern Europe and the class and the national dynamics of the war in eastern Ukraine.

As details continue to emerge about the downing of a Russian bomber along the Turkey-Syria border on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has admitted to personally giving the order to fire on the aircraft, Canadian news outlet ThinkPol reported.

Hours after the incident which destroyed a Russian Su-24 bomber and left one pilot dead, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went on the defensive, blaming an alleged incursion of Turkish airspace.

“We did not want this situation to happen, but everybody has to respect Turkey’s right to defend its borders,” he told reporters, adding that the military’s actions were “fully in line with Turkey’s rules of engagement.”

Many of the Turkish claims have already been called into question, raising doubts that the incident was a mere in-the-moment misunderstanding. Adding to that doubt are comments made by Davutoglu on Wednesday, in which he took direct responsibility for the crash.

“Despite all the warnings, we had to destroy the aircraft,” he said during a meeting with his party, according to Canadian news site ThinkPol. “The Turkish Armed Forces carried out orders given by me personally.”

Given the speed with which the incident occurred, it’s hard to know what to make of Davutoglu’s claim. According to the Turkish government’s own letter of explanation written to the United Nations Security Council, the military gave the Russian jet a series of warnings during a five-minute stretch, warning the pilots to move away from the border.

While the Russian Ministry of Defense has provided video evidence proving that the bomber never entered Turkish airspace, Ankara’s claim alleges that the incursion occurred for only 17 seconds.

It’s hard to imagine military personnel getting through to such a high-ranking government official, explaining the situation, and still having time to fire in a 17-second time frame.

Davutoglu’s statements seem to back up comments made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier on Wednesday, suggesting that the incident had been premeditated.

“We have serious doubts that it was unintentional, it looks like a planned provocation,” he said. “We are not planning to wage a war against Turkey, our attitude towards the Turkish people has not changed. We have questions only to the Turkish leadership.”

In response, Turkey’s Western allies in NATO have urged for calm.

“What we are calling for now is calm and de-escalation,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday. “Diplomacy and de-escalation are important to resolve this question.”

This was also echoed by US President Barack Obama, who told reporters “It’s very important for us right now to make sure both the Russians and the Turks are talking to each other to find out exactly what happened and take measures to discourage any kind of escalation.”

While one of the pilots was killed by ground fire after ejecting from the aircraft, the other, Captain Konstantin Murahtin, was rescued. Murahtin also denied that his plane ever entered Turkish airspace, and also refuted claims that Turkey had given multiple warnings.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the incident as a “stab in the back by accomplices of terrorists.”

This was definitely not supposed to happen. It seems that an Israeli military man with the rank of colonel was “caught with IS pants down.” By that I mean he was captured amid a gaggle of so-called IS–or Islamic State or ISIS or DAESH depending on your preference–terrorists, by soldiers of the Iraqi army. Under interrogation by the Iraqi intelligence he apparently said a lot regarding the role of Netanyahu’s IDF in supporting IS.

In late October an Iranian news agency, quoting a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, reported the capture of an Israeli army colonel, named Yusi Oulen Shahak, reportedly related to the ISIS Golani Battalion operating in Iraq in the Salahuddin front. In a statement to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency a Commander of the Iraqi Army stated, “The security and popular forces have held captive an Israeli colonel.”

He added that the IDF colonel “had participated in the Takfiri ISIL group’s terrorist operations.” He said the colonel was arrested together with a number of ISIL or IS terrorists, giving the details: “The Israeli colonel’s name is Yusi Oulen Shahak and is ranked colonel in Golani Brigade… with the security and military code of Re34356578765az231434.”

Why Israel?

Ever since the beginning of Russia’s very effective IS bombing of select targets in Syria on September 30, details of the very dirty role of not only Washington, but also NATO member Turkey under President Erdogan, Qatar and other states has come into the sunlight for the first time.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that at least a faction in the Obama Administration has played a very dirty behind-the-scenes role in supporting IS in order to advance the removal of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and pave the way for what inevitably would be a Libya-style chaos and destruction which would make the present Syrian refugee crisis in Europe a mere warmup by comparison.

The “pro-IS faction” in Washington includes the so-called neo-conservatives centered around disgraced former CIA head and executioner of the Iraqi “surge” General David Petraeus. It also includes US General John R. Allen, who since September 2014 had served as President Obama’s Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and, until she resigned in February 2013, it included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Significantly, General John Allen, an unceasing advocate of a US-led “No Fly Zone” inside Syria along the border to Turkey, something President Obama refused, was relieved of his post on 23 October, 2015. That was shortly after launch of the highly-effective Russian strikes on Syrian IS and Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front terrorist sites changed the entire situation in the geopolitical picture of Syria and the entire Middle East.

UN Reports cites Israel

That Netanyahu’s Likud and the Israeli military work closely with Washington’s neo-conservative war-hawks is well-established, as is the vehement opposition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Israel regards the Iranian-backed Shi’a Islamist militant group, Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, as arch foe. Hezbollah has been actively fighting alongside the Syrian Army against ISIS in Syria. General Allen’s strategy of “bombings of ISIS” since he was placed in charge of the operation in September 2014, as Russia’s Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov have repeatedly pointed out, far from destroying ISIS in Syria, had vastly expanded their territorial control of the country. Now it becomes clear that that was precisely the intent of Allen and the Washington war faction.

Since at least 2013 Israeli military have also openly bombed what they claim were Hezbollah targets inside Syria. Investigation revealed that in fact Israel was hitting Syrian military and Hezbollah targets who are valiantly fighting against ISIS and other terrorists. De facto thereby Israel was actually helping ISIS, like General John Allen’s year-long “anti-ISIS” bombings.

That a faction in the Pentagon has secretly worked behind-the-scenes to train, arm and finance what today is called ISIS or IS in Syria is now a matter of open record. In August 2012, a Pentagon document classified “Secret,” later declassified under pressure of the US NGO Judicial Watch, detailed precisely the emergence of what became the Islamic State or ISIS emerging from the Islamic State in Iraq, then an Al Qaeda affiliate.

The Pentagon document stated, “…there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition [to Assad-w.e.] want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).” The supporting powers to the opposition in 2012 then included Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the USA and behind-the-scenes, Netanyahu’s Israel.

Precisely this creation of a “Salafist Principality in eastern Syria,” today’s territory of ISIL or IS, was the agenda of Petraeus, General Allen and others in Washington to destroy Assad. It’s what put the Obama Administration at loggerhead with Russia, China and Iran over the bizarre US demand Assad must first go before ISIS can be destroyed. Now the game is in the open for the world to see Washington’s duplicity in backing what the Russian’s accurately call “moderate terrorists” against a duly-elected Assad. That Israel is also in the midst of this rats’ nest of opposition terrorist forces in Syria was confirmed in a recent UN report.

What the report did not mention was why Israeli IDF military would have such a passionate interest in Syria, especially Syria’s Golan Heights.

Why Israel wants Assad Out

In December, 2014 the Jerusalem Post in Israel reported the findings of a largely ignored, and politically explosive report detailing UN sightings of Israeli military together with ISIS terrorist combatants. The UN peacekeeping force, UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), stationed since 1974 along the Golan Heights border between Syria and Israel, revealed that Israel had been working closely with Syrian opposition terrorists, including Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front and IS in the Golan Heights, and “kept close contact over the past 18 months.” The report was submitted to the UN Security Council. Mainstream media in the US and West buried the explosive findings.

The UN documents showed that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were maintaining regular contact with members of the so-called Islamic State since May of 2013. The IDF stated that this was only for medical care for civilians, but the deception was broken when the UNDOF observers identified direct contact between IDF forces and ISIS soldiers, including giving medical care to ISIS fighters. Observations even included the transfer of two crates from the IDF to ISIS forces, the contents of which have not been confirmed. Further the UN report identified what the Syrians label a “crossing point of forces between Israel and ISIS,” a point of concern UNDOF brought before the UN Security Council.

The UNDOF was created by a May, 1974 UN Security Council Resolution No. 350 in the wake of tensions from the October 1973 Yom Kippur War between Syria and Israel. It established a buffer zone between Israel and Syria’s Golan Heights according to the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement, to be governed and policed by the Syrian authorities. No military forces other than UNDOF are permitted within it. Today it has 1,200 observers.

Since 2013 and the escalation of Israeli attacks on Syria along the Golan Heights, claiming pursuit of “Hezbollah terrorists,” the UNDOF itself has been subject to massive attacks by ISIS or Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front terrorists in the Golan Heights for the first time since 1974, of kidnappings, of killings, of theft of UN weapons and ammunition, vehicles and other assets, and the looting and destruction of facilities. Someone obviously does not want UNDOF to remain policing the Golan Heights.

Israel and Golan Heights Oil

In his November 9 White House meeting with US President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu asked Washington to reconsider the fact that since the 1967 Six-Days’ War between Israel and the Arab countries, Israel has illegally occupied a significant part of the Golan Heights. In their meeting, Netanyahu, apparently without success, called on Obama to back formal Israeli annexation of the illegally-occupied Golan Heights, claiming that the absence of a functioning Syrian government “allows for different thinking” concerning the future status of the strategically important area.

Of course Netanyahu did not address in any honest way how Israeli IDF and other forces had been responsible for the absence of a functioning Syrian government by their support for ISIS and Al Nusra Front of Al Qaeda.

In 2013, when UNDOF began to document increasing contact between Israeli military and IS and Al Qaeda along the Golan Heights, a little-known Newark, New Jersey oil company, Genie Energy, with an Israeli daughter company, Afek Oil & Gas, began also moving into Golan Heights with permission of the Netanyahu government to explore for oil. That same year Israeli military engineers overhauled the forty-five mile border fence with Syria, replacing it with a steel barricade that included barbed wire, touch sensors, motion detectors, infrared cameras, and ground radar, putting it on par with the Wall Israel has constructed in the West Bank.

Interestingly enough, on October 8, Yuval Bartov, chief geologist from Genie Energy’s Israeli subsidiary, Afek Oil & Gas, told Israel’s Channel 2 TV that his company had found a major oil reservoir on the Golan Heights: “We’ve found an oil stratum 350 meters thick in the southern Golan Heights. On average worldwide, strata are 20 to 30 meters thick, and this is 10 times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities.” As I noted in an earlier article, the International Advisory Board of Genie Energy includes such notorious names as Dick Cheney, former CIA head and infamous neo-con James Woolsey, Jacob Lord Rothschild and others.

Of course no reasonable person in their right mind would suggest there might be a link between Israeli military dealings with the ISIS and other anti-Assad terrorists in Syria, especially in the Golan Heights, and the oil find of Genie Energy in the same place, and with Netanyahu’s latest Golan Heights “rethink” appeal to Obama. That would smell too much like “conspiracy theory” and all reasonable people know conspiracies don’t exist, only coincidences. Or? In fact, to paraphrase the immortal words of Brad Pitt in the role of West Virginia First Lieutenant Aldo Raine in the final scene of Tarantino’s brilliant film, Inglorious Basterds, it seems that ‘Ol Netanyahu and his pecker-suckin pals in the IDF and Mossad just got caught with their hands in a very dirty cookie jar in Syria.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

When Sonoma State University professor Carl Jensen started looking into the new media’s practice of self-censorship in 1976, the internet was only a dream and most computers were still big mainframes with whirling tape reels and vacuum tubes.

Back then, the vast majority of Americans got all of their news from one daily newspaper and one of the three big TV networks. If a story wasn’t on ABC, NBC, or CBS, it might as well not have happened.

Forty years later, the media world is a radically different place. Today, Americans are more likely to get their news from several different sources through Facebook than they would from CBS Evening News. Daily newspapers all over the country are struggling and, in some cases, dying. A story that appears on one obscure outlet can suddenly become a viral sensation reaching millions of readers at the speed of light.

And yet, as Jensen’s Project Censored found, there are still numerous big, important news stories that receive very little exposure.

As Project Censored staffers Mickey Huff and Andy Lee Roth note, 90 percent of U.S. news media—the traditional outlets that employ full-time reporters—are controlled by six corporations. “The corporate media hardly represent the mainstream,” the staffers wrote in the current edition’s introduction.

“By contrast, the independent journalists that Project Censored has celebrated since its inception are now understood as vital components of what experts have identified as the newly developing ‘networked fourth estate.’”

Jensen set out to frame a new definition of censorship. He put out an annual list of the 10 biggest stories that the mainstream media ignored, arguing that it was a failure of the corporate press to pursue and promote these stories that represented censorship—not by the government—but by the media itself.

“My definition starts with the other end, with the failure of information to reach people,” he wrote. “For the purposes of this project, censorship is defined as the suppression of information, whether purposeful or not, by any method – including bias, omission, underreporting, or self-censorship, which prevents the public from fully knowing what is happening in the world.”

I’ve been writing about Project Censored for 25 years, and I think it’s safe to say that the stories on this year’s list are credible, valid and critically important. And, even in an era when most of us are drunk with information, overloaded by buzzing social media telling us things we didn’t think we needed to know, these stories haven’t gotten anywhere near the attention they deserve.

1. Half of global wealth owned by the 1 percent

We hear plenty of talk about the wealth and power of the top 1 percent of people in the United States, but the global wealth gap is, if anything, even worse. And it has profound human consequences.

Oxfam International, which has been working for decades to fight global poverty, released a January 2015 report showing that, if current trends continue, the wealthiest 1 percent, by the end of this year, will control more wealth than everyone else in the world put together.

As reported in Project Censored, “The Oxfam report provided evidence that extreme inequality is not inevitable, but is, in fact, the result of political choices and economic policies established and maintained by the power elite, wealthy individuals whose strong influence keeps the status quo rigged in their own favor.”

Another stunning fact: The wealth of 85 of the richest people in the world combined is equal to the wealth of half the world’s poor combined.

The mainstream news media coverage of the report and the associated issues was spotty at best, Project Censored notes: A few corporate television networks, including CNN, CBS, MSNBC, ABC, FOX, and C-SPAN covered Oxfam’s January report, according to the TV News Archive. CNN had the most coverage with about seven broadcast segments from Jan. 19 to 25, 2015. However, these stories aired between 2 and 3 a.m., far from primetime.


Larry Elliott and Ed Pilkington, “New Oxfam Report Says Half of Global Wealth Held by the 1%,” Guardian, Jan.19, 2015
Sarah Dransfield, “Number of Billionaires Doubled Since Financial Crisis as Inequality Spirals Out of Control–Oxfam,” Oxfam, Oct. 29, 2014
Samantha Cowan, “Every Kid on Earth Could Go to School If the World’s 1,646 Richest People Gave 1.5 Percent,” TakePart, Nov. 3, 2014

2. Oil industry illegally dumps fracking wastewater

Fracking, which involves pumping high-pressure water and chemicals into rock formations to free up oil and natural gas, has been a huge issue nationwide. But there’s been little discussion of one of the side effects: The contamination of aquifers.

The Center for Biological Diversity reported in 2014 that oil companies had dumped almost 3 billion gallons of fracking wastewater into California’s underground water supply. Since the companies refuse to say what chemicals they use in the process, nobody knows exactly what the level of contamination is. But wells that supply drinking water near where the fracking waste was dumped tested high in arsenic, thallium and nitrates.

According to Project Censored, “Although corporate media have covered debate over fracking regulations, the Center for Biological Diversity study regarding the dumping of wastewater into California’s aquifers went all but ignored at first. There appears to have been a lag of more than three months between the initial independent news coverage of the Center for Biological Diversity revelations and corporate coverage.

In May 2015, the Los Angeles Times ran a front-page feature on Central Valley crops irrigated with treated oil field water; however, the Los Angeles Times report made no mention of the Center for Biological Diversity’s findings regarding fracking wastewater contamination.”


Dan Bacher, “Massive Dumping of Wastewater into Aquifers Shows Big Oil’s Power in California,” IndyBay, Oct. 11, 2014
“California Aquifers Contaminated with Billions of Gallons of Fracking Wastewater,” Russia Today, Oct. 11, 2014
Donny Shaw, “CA Senators Voting NO on Fracking Moratorium Received 14x More from Oil & Gas Industry,” MapLight, June 3, 2014
Dan Bacher, “Senators Opposing Fracking Moratorium Received 14x More Money from Big Oil,” IndyBay, June 7, 2014

3. 89 percent of Pakistani drone victims not identifiable as militants

The United States sends drone aircraft into combat on a regular basis, particularly in Pakistan. The Obama administration says the drones fire missiles only when there is clear evidence that the targets are Al Qaeda bases. Secretary of State John Kerry insists that, “the only people we fire a drone at are confirmed terrorist targets at the highest levels.”

But the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which keeps track of all the strikes, reported that only 4 percent of those killed by drones were Al Qaeda members and only 11 percent were confirmed militants of any sort.

That means 89 percent of the 2,464 people killed by U.S. drones could not be identified as terrorists.

In fact, 30 percent of the dead could not be identified at all.

The New York Times has covered the fact that, as one story noted, “most individuals killed are not on a kill list, and the government does not know their names.” But overall, the mainstream news media ignored the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reporting.


Jack Serle, “Almost 2,500 Now Killed by Covert US Drone Strikes Since Obama Inauguration Six Years Ago,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Feb. 2, 2015,
Jack Serle, “Get the Data: A List of US Air and Drone Strikes, Afghanistan 2015,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Feb. 12, 2015
Steve Coll, “The Unblinking Stare: The Drone War in Pakistan,” New Yorker, Nov. 24, 2014
Abigail Fielding-Smith, “John Kerry Says All those Fired at by Drones in Pakistan are ‘Confirmed Terrorist Targets’—But with 1,675 Unnamed Dead How Do We Know?” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Oct. 23, 2014
Jack Serle, “Only 4% of Drone Victims in Pakistan Named as al Qaeda Members,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Oct. 16, 2014
Jeremy Scahill, “Germany is the Tell-Tale Heart of America’s Drone War,” the Intercept, April 17, 2015

4. Popular resistance to corporate water grabbing

For decades, private companies have been trying to take over and control water supplies, particularly in the developing world. Now, as journalist Ellen Brown reported in March 2015, corporate water barons, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, the Carlyle Group, and other investment firms “are purchasing water rights from around the world at an unprecedented pace.”

However, over the past 15 years, more than 180 communities have fought back and re-municipalized their water systems. “From Spain to Buenos Aires, Cochabamba to Kazakhstan, Berlin to Malaysia, water privatization is being aggressively rejected,” Victoria Collier reported in Counterpunch.

Meanwhile, in the United States, some cities—in what may be a move toward privatization—are radically raising water rates and cutting off service to low-income communities.

The mainstream media response to the privatization of water has been largely silence.


Ellen Brown, “California Water Wars: Another Form of Asset Stripping?,” Nation of Change, March 25, 2015
Victoria Collier, “Citizens Mobilize Against Corporate Water Grabs,” CounterPunch, Feb.11, 2015
Larry Gabriel, “When the City Turned Off Their Water, Detroit Residents and Groups Delivered Help,” YES! Magazine, Nov. 24, 2014
Madeline Ostrander, “LA Imports Nearly 85 Percent of Its Water—Can It Change That by Gathering Rain?,” YES! Magazine, Jan. 5, 2015

5. Fukushima nuclear disaster deepens

More than four years after a tsunami destroyed Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant and causing one of the worst nuclear accidents in human history, radiation from the plant continues to leak into the ocean.

But the story has largely disappeared from the news.

As Project Censored notes: The continued dumping of extremely radioactive cooling water into the Pacific Ocean from the destroyed nuclear plant, already being detected along the Japanese coastline, has the potential to impact entire portions of the Pacific Ocean and North America’s western shoreline. Aside from the potential release of plutonium into the Pacific Ocean, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) recently admitted that the facility is releasing large quantities of water contaminated with tritium, cesium and strontium into the ocean every day.

We’re talking large amounts of highly contaminated water getting dumped into the ocean. The plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company, “admitted that the facility is releasing a whopping 150 billion becquerels of tritium and seven billion becquerels of cesium- and strontium-contaminated water into the ocean every day.” The potential for long-term problems all over the world is huge—and the situation hasn’t been contained.


“TEPCO Drops Bombshell About Sea Releases; 8 Billion Bq Per Day,” Simply Info: The Fukushima Project, Aug. 26, 2014
Sarah Lazare, “Fukushima Meltdown Worse Than Previous Estimates: TEPCO,” Common Dreams, Aug. 7, 2014
Michel Chossudovsky, “The Fukushima Endgame: The Radioactive Contamination of the Pacific Ocean,” Global Research, Dec. 17, 2014

6. Methane and arctic warming’s global impacts

We all know that carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are a huge threat to climate stability. But there’s another giant threat out there that hasn’t made much news.

The arctic ice sheets, which are rapidly melting in some areas, contain massive amounts of methane—a greenhouse gas that’s way worse than carbon dioxide. And, as the ice recedes, that methane is getting released into the atmosphere.

Dahr Jamail, writing in Truthout, notes that all of our predictions about the pace of global warming and its impacts might have to be re-evaluated in the wake of revelations about methane releases:

“A 2013 study, published in Nature, reported that a 50-gigaton ‘burp’ of methane is ‘highly possible at any time.’ As Jamail clarified, ‘That would be the equivalent of at least 1,000 gigatons of carbon dioxide,’ noting that, since 1850, humans have released a total of about 1,475 gigatons in carbon dioxide. A massive, sudden change in methane levels could, in turn, lead to temperature increases of four to six degrees Celsius in just one or two decades—a rapid rate of climate change to which human agriculture, and ecosystems more generally, could not readily adapt.”

Jamail quoted Paul Beckwith, a professor of climatology and meteorology at the University of Ottawa: “Our climate system is in early stages of abrupt climate change that, unchecked, will lead to a temperature rise of 5 to 6 degrees Celsius within a decade or two.” Such changes would have “unprecedented effects” for life on Earth.

A huge story? Apparently not. The major news media have written at length about the geopolitics of the arctic region, but there’s been very little mention of the methane monster.


Dahr Jamail, “The Methane Monster Roars,” Truthout, Jan. 13, 2015

7. Fear of government spying is chilling writers’ freedom of expression

Writers in Western liberal democracies may not face the type of censorship seen in some parts of the world, but their fear of government surveillance is still causing many to think twice about what they can say.

Lauren McCauley, writing in Common Dreams, quoted one of the conclusions from a report by the writers’ group PEN America:

If writers avoid exploring topics for fear of possible retribution, the material available to readers—particularly those seeking to understand the most controversial and challenging issues facing the world today—may be greatly impoverished.

According to Project Censored, a PEN America survey showed that “34 percent of writers in liberal democracies reported some degree of self-censorship (compared with 61 percent of writers living in authoritarian countries, and 44 percent in semi-democratic countries). Almost 60 percent of the writers from Western Europe, the United States… indicated that U.S. credibility ‘has been significantly damaged for the long term’ by revelations of the U.S. government surveillance programs.

Other than Common Dreams, the PEN report attracted almost no major media attention.


Lauren McCauley, “Fear of Government Spying ‘Chilling’ Writers’ Speech Worldwide,” Common Dreams, Jan. 5, 2015
Lauren McCauley, “Government Surveillance Threatens Journalism, Law and Thus Democracy: Report,” Common Dreams, July 28, 2014

8. Who dies at the hands of police—and how often

High-profile police killings, particularly of African American men, have made big news over the past few years. But there’s been much less attention paid to the overall numbers—and to the difference between how many people are shot by cops in the United States and in other countries.

In the January 2015 edition of Liberation, Richard Becker, relying on public records, concluded that the rate of U.S. police killing was 100 times that of England, 40 times that of Germany, and 20 times the rate in Canada.

In June 2015, a team of reporters from the Guardian concluded that 102 unarmed people were killed by U.S. police in the first five months of that year—twice the rate reported by the government.

Furthermore, the Guardian wrote, “black Americans are more than twice as likely to be unarmed when killed during encounters with police as white people.” The paper concluded that, “Thirty-two percent of black people killed by police in 2015 were unarmed, as were 25 percent of Hispanic and Latino people, compared with 15 percent of white people killed.”

And as far as accountability goes, the Washington Post noted that in 385 cases of police killings, only three officers faced charges.

Sources: Richard Becker, “U.S. Cops Kill at 100 Times Rate of Other Capitalist Countries,” Liberation, Jan. 4, 2015
Jon Swaine, Oliver Laughland, and Jamiles Lartey, “Black Americans Killed by Police Twice as Likely to be Unarmed as White People,” Guardian, June 1, 2015

9. Millions in poverty get less media coverage than billionaires do

The news media in the United States doesn’t like to talk about poverty, but they love to report on the lives and glory of the super-rich.
The advocacy group, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, analyzed the three major television news networks and found that 482 billionaires got more attention than the 50 million people who live in poverty.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who follows the mainstream media, or pays much attention to the world of social media and the blogosphere. The top rung of society gets vast amounts of attention, for good and for ill—but the huge numbers of people who are homeless, hungry and often lacking in hope just aren’t news.

“The notion that the wealthiest nation on Earth has one in every six of its citizens living at or below the poverty threshold reflects not a lack of resources, but a lack of policy focus and attention—and this is due to a lack of public awareness to the issue,” Frederick Reese of MintPress News wrote.

From Project Censored: “The FAIR study showed that between January 2013 and February 2014, an average of only 2.7 seconds per every 22-minute episode discussed poverty in some format. During the 14-month study, FAIR found just 23 news segments that addressed poverty.”


Steve Rendall, Emily Kaufmann, and Sara Qureshi, “Even GOP Attention Can’t Make Media Care about Poor,” Extra!, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, June 1, 2014
“Millions in Poverty Get Less Coverage Than 482 Billionaires,” Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, June 26, 2014
Frederick Reese, “Billionaires Get More Media Attention Than The Poor,” MintPress News, June 30, 2014
Tavis Smiley, “Poverty Less Than .02 Percent of Lead Media Coverage,” Huffington Post, March 7, 2014

10. Costa Rica is setting the standard on renewable energy

Is it possible to meet a modern nation’s energy needs without any fossil-fuel consumption? Yes. Costa Rica has been doing it.

To be fair, that country’s main industries—tourism and agriculture—are not energy-intensive, and heavy rainfall in the first part of the year made it possible for the country to rely heavily on its hydropower resources.

But even in normal years, Costa Rica generates 90 percent of its energy without burning any fossil fuels.

Iceland also produces the vast majority of its energy from renewable sources.

The transition to 100 percent renewables will be harder for larger countries—but as the limited reporting on Costa Rica notes, it’s possible to take large steps in that direction.


Myles Gough, “Costa Rica Powered with 100% Renewable Energy for 75 Straight Days,” Science Alert, March 20, 2015
Adam Epstein, “Costa Rica is Now Running Completely on Renewable Energy,” Quartz, March 23, 2015
Tim Redmond, a longtime editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, is the founding member of the San Francisco Progressive Media Center and editor of that nonprofit organization’s publication 48 Hills.

Is Turkey Collaborating with The Islamic State (ISIS)?

November 26th, 2015 by David L. Phillips

This Research Paper by David L. Phillips was first published by Columbia University, Institute for the Study of Human Rights in November 2014 and subsequently by the Huffington Post, under the title ISIS-Turkey Links. David L. Phillips also served as a Senior Adviser and Foreign Affairs Expert for the U.S. Department of State.

Is Turkey collaborating with the Islamic State (ISIS)?

Allegations range from military cooperation and weapons transfers to logistical support, financial assistance, and the provision of medical services. It is also alleged that Turkey turned a blind eye to ISIS attacks against Kobani.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu strongly deny complicity with ISIS. Erdogan visited the Council on Foreign Relations on September 22, 2014. He criticized “smear campaigns [and] attempts to distort perception about us.” Erdogan decried, “A systematic attack on Turkey’s international reputation, “complaining that “Turkey has been subject to very unjust and ill-intentioned news items from media organizations.” Erdogan posited: “My request from our friends in the United States is to make your assessment about Turkey by basing your information on objective sources.”

Columbia University’s Program on Peace-building and Rights assigned a team of researchers in the United States, Europe, and Turkey to examine Turkish and international media, assessing the credibility of allegations. This report draws on a variety of international sources — The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, BBC, Sky News, as well as Turkish sources, CNN Turk, Hurriyet Daily News, Taraf, Cumhuriyet, and Radikal among others.


Turkey Provides Military Equipment to ISIS

• An ISIS commander told The Washington Post on August 12, 2014: “Most of the fighters who joined us in the beginning of the war came via Turkey, and so did our equipment and supplies.”

• Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), produced a statement from the Adana Office of the Prosecutor on October 14, 2014 maintaining that Turkey supplied weapons to terror groups. He also produced interview transcripts from truck drivers who delivered weapons to the groups. According to Kiliçdaroglu, the Turkish government claims the trucks were for humanitarian aid to the Turkmen, but the Turkmen said no humanitarian aid was delivered.

• According to CHP Vice President Bulent Tezcan, three trucks were stopped in Adana for inspection on January 19, 2014. The trucks were loaded with weapons in Esenboga Airport in Ankara. The drivers drove the trucks to the border, where a MIT agent was supposed to take over and drive the trucks to Syria to deliver materials to ISIS and groups in Syria. This happened many times. When the trucks were stopped, MIT agents tried to keep the inspectors from looking inside the crates. The inspectors found rockets, arms, and ammunitions.

• Cumhuriyet reports that Fuat Avni, a preeminent Twitter user who reported on the December 17th corruption probe, that audio tapes confirm that Turkey provided financial and military aid to terrorist groups associated with Al Qaeda on October 12, 2014. On the tapes, Erdogan pressured the Turkish Armed Forces to go to war with Syria. Erdogan demanded that Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT), come up with a justification for attacking Syria.

• Hakan Fidan told Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Yasar Guler, a senior defense official, and Feridun Sinirlioglu, a senior foreign affairs official: “If need be, I’ll send 4 men into Syria. I’ll formulate a reason to go to war by shooting 8 rockets into Turkey; I’ll have them attack the Tomb of Suleiman Shah.”

• Documents surfaced on September 19th, 2014 showing that the Saudi Emir Bender Bin Sultan financed the transportation of arms to ISIS through Turkey. A flight leaving Germany dropped off arms in the Etimesgut airport in Turkey, which was then split into three containers, two of which were given to ISIS and one to Gaza.

Turkey Provided Transport and Logistical Assistance to ISIS Fighters

• According to Radikal on June 13, 2014, Interior Minister Muammar Guler signed a directive: “According to our regional gains, we will help al-Nusra militants against the branch of PKK terrorist organization, the PYD, within our borders…Hatay is a strategic location for the mujahideen crossing from within our borders to Syria. Logistical support for Islamist groups will be increased, and their training, hospital care, and safe passage will mostly take place in Hatay…MIT and the Religious Affairs Directorate will coordinate the placement of fighters in public accommodations.”

• The Daily Mail reported on August 25, 2014 that many foreign militants joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq after traveling through Turkey, but Turkey did not try to stop them. This article describes how foreign militants, especially from the UK, go to Syria and Iraq through the Turkish border. They call the border the “Gateway to Jihad.” Turkish army soldiers either turn a blind eye and let them pass, or the jihadists pay the border guards as little as $10 to facilitate their crossing.

• Britain’s Sky News obtained documents showing that the Turkish government has stamped passports of foreign militants seeking to cross the Turkey border into Syria to join ISIS.

• The BBC interviewed villagers, who claim that buses travel at night, carrying jihadists to fight Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, not the Syrian Armed Forces.

• A senior Egyptian official indicated on October 9, 2014 that Turkish intelligence is passing satellite imagery and other data to ISIS.

Turkey Provided Training to ISIS Fighters

• CNN Turk reported on July 29, 2014 that in the heart of Istanbul, places like Duzce and Adapazari, have become gathering spots for terrorists. There are religious orders where ISIS militants are trained. Some of these training videos are posted on the Turkish ISIS propaganda website According to CNN Turk, Turkish security forces could have stopped these developments if they had wanted to.

• Turks who joined an affiliate of ISIS were recorded at a public gathering in Istanbul, which took place on July 28, 2014.

• A video shows an ISIS affiliate holding a prayer/gathering in Omerli, a district of Istanbul. In response to the video, CHP Vice President, MP Tanrikulu submitted parliamentary questions to the Minister of the Interior, Efkan Ala, asking questions such as, “Is it true that a camp or camps have been allocated to an affiliate of ISIS in Istanbul? What is this affiliate? Who is it made up of? Is the rumor true that the same area allocated for the camp is also used for military exercises?”

• Kemal Kiliçdaroglu warned the AKP government not to provide money and training to terror groups on October 14, 2014. He said, “It isn’t right for armed groups to be trained on Turkish soil. You bring foreign fighters to Turkey, put money in their pockets, guns in their hands, and you ask them to kill Muslims in Syria. We told them to stop helping ISIS. Ahmet Davutoglu asked us to show proof. Everyone knows that they’re helping ISIS.” (See HERE and HERE.)

• According to Jordanian intelligence, Turkey trained ISIS militants for special operations.

Turkey Offers Medical Care to ISIS Fighters

• An ISIS commander told the Washington Post on August 12, 2014, “We used to have some fighters — even high-level members of the Islamic State — getting treated in Turkish hospitals.”

• Taraf reported on October 12, 2014 that Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, a founder of the AKP, said that Turkey supported terrorist groups and still supports them and treats them in hospitals. “In order to weaken the developments in Rojova (Syrian Kurdistan), the government gave concessions and arms to extreme religious groups…the government was helping the wounded. The Minister of Health said something such as, it’s a human obligation to care for the ISIS wounded.”

• According to Taraf, Ahmet El H, one of the top commanders at ISIS and Al Baghdadi’s right hand man, was treated at a hospital in Sanliurfa, Turkey, along with other ISIS militants. The Turkish state paid for their treatment. According to Taraf’s sources, ISIS militants are being treated in hospitals all across southeastern Turkey. More and more militants have been coming in to be treated since the start of airstrikes in August. To be more specific, eight ISIS militants were transported through the Sanliurfa border crossing; these are their names: “Mustafa A., Yusuf El R., Mustafa H., Halil El M., Muhammet El H., Ahmet El S., Hasan H., [and] Salim El D.”

Turkey Supports ISIS Financially Through Purchase of Oil

• On September 13, 2014, The New York Timesreported on the Obama administration’s efforts to pressure Turkey to crack down on ISIS extensive sales network for oil. James Phillips, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, argues that Turkey has not fully cracked down on ISIS’s sales network because it benefits from a lower price for oil, and that there might even be Turks and government officials who benefit from the trade.

• Fehim Taştekin wrote in Radikal on September 13, 2014 about illegal pipelines transporting oil from Syria to nearby border towns in Turkey. The oil is sold for as little as 1.25 liras per liter. Taştekin indicated that many of these illegal pipelines were dismantled after operating for 3 years, once his article was published.

• According to Diken and OdaTV, David Cohen, a Justice Department official, says that there are Turkish individuals acting as middlemen to help sell ISIS’s oil through Turkey.

• On October 14, 2014, a German Parliamentarian from the Green Party accused Turkey of allowing the transportation of arms to ISIS over its territory, as well as the sale of oil.

Turkey Assists ISIS Recruitment

• Kemal Kiliçdaroğlu claimed on October 14, 2014 that ISIS offices in Istanbul and Gaziantep are used to recruit fighters. On October 10, 2014, the mufti of Konya said that 100 people from Konya joined ISIS 4 days ago. (See HERE and HERE.)

• OdaTV reports that Takva Haber serves as a propaganda outlet for ISIS to recruit Turkish-speaking individuals in Turkey and Germany. The address where this propaganda website is registered corresponds to the address of a school called Irfan Koleji, which was established by Ilim Yayma Vakfi, a foundation that was created by Erdogan and Davutoglu, among others. It is thus claimed that the propaganda site is operated from the school of the foundation started by AKP members.

• Minister of Sports, Suat Kilic, an AKP member, visited Salafi jihadists who are ISIS supporters in Germany. The group is known for reaching out to supporters via free Quran distributions and raising funds to sponsor suicide attacks in Syria and Iraq by raising money.

• OdaTV released a video allegedly showing ISIS militants riding a bus in Istanbul.

Turkish Forces Are Fighting Alongside ISIS

• On October 7, 2014, IBDA-C, a militant Islamic organization in Turkey, pledged support to ISIS. A Turkish friend who is a commander in ISIS suggests that Turkey is “involved in all of this” and that “10,000 ISIS members will come to Turkey.” A Huda-Par member at the meeting claims that officials criticize ISIS but in fact sympathize with the group (Huda-Par, the “Free Cause Party”, is a Kurdish Sunni fundamentalist political party). BBP member claims that National Action Party (MHP) officials are close to embracing ISIS. In the meeting, it is asserted that ISIS militants come to Turkey frequently to rest, as though they are taking a break from military service. They claim that Turkey will experience an Islamic revolution, and Turks should be ready for jihad. (See HERE and HERE.)

• Seymour Hersh maintains in the London Review of Books that ISIS conducted sarin attacks in Syria, and that Turkey was informed. “For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbors, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.”

• On September 20, 2014, Demir Celik, a Member of Parliament with the people’s democratic party (HDP) claimed that Turkish Special Forces fight with ISIS.

Turkey Helped ISIS in Battle for Kobani

• Anwar Moslem, Mayor of Kobani, said on September 19, 2014: “Based on the intelligence we got two days before the breakout of the current war, trains full of forces and ammunition, which were passing by north of Kobane, had an-hour-and-ten-to-twenty-minute-long stops in these villages: Salib Qaran, Gire Sor, Moshrefat Ezzo. There are evidences, witnesses, and videos about this. Why is ISIS strong only in Kobane’s east? Why is it not strong either in its south or west? Since these trains stopped in villages located in the east of Kobane, we guess they had brought ammunition and additional force for the ISIS.” In the second article on September 30, 2014, a CHP delegation visited Kobani, where locals claimed that everything from the clothes ISIS militants wear to their guns comes from Turkey. (See HERE and HERE.)

• Released by Nuhaber, a video shows Turkish military convoys carrying tanks and ammunition moving freely under ISIS flags in the Cerablus region and Karkamis border crossing (September 25, 2014). There are writings in Turkish on the trucks.

• Salih Muslim, PYD head, claims that 120 militants crossed into Syria from Turkey between October 20th and 24th, 2014.

• According to an op-ed written by a YPG commander in The New York Times on October 29, 2014, Turkey allows ISIS militants and their equipment to pass freely over the border.

• Diken reported, “ISIS fighters crossed the border from Turkey into Syria, over the Turkish train tracks that delineate the border, in full view of Turkish soldiers. They were met there by PYD fighters and stopped.”

• A Kurdish commander in Kobani claims that ISIS militants have Turkish entry stamps on their passports.

• Kurds trying to join the battle in Kobani are turned away by Turkish police at the Turkey-Syrian border.

• OdaTV released a photograph of a Turkish soldier befriending ISIS militants.

Turkey and ISIS Share a Worldview

• RT reports on Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks detailing Turkish support to ISIS.

According to the Hurriyet Daily News on September 26, 2014, “The feelings of the AKP’s heavyweights are not limited to Ankara. I was shocked to hear words of admiration for ISIL from some high-level civil servants even in Şanliurfa. ‘They are like us, fighting against seven great powers in the War of Independence,’ one said.” “Rather than the [Kurdistan Workers' Party] PKK on the other side, I would rather have ISIL as a neighbor,” said another.”

• Cengiz Candar, a well-respected Turkish journalist, maintained that MIT helped “midwife” the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria, as well as other Jihadi groups.

• An AKP council member posted on his Facebook page: “Thankfully ISIS exists… May you never run out of ammunition…”

• A Turkish Social Security Institution supervisor uses the ISIS logo in internal correspondences.

• Bilal Erdogan and Turkish officials meet alleged ISIS fighters.

Mr. Phillips is Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. He served as a Senior Adviser and Foreign Affairs Expert for the U.S. Department of State.

Author’s Note: Information presented in this paper is offered without bias or endorsement.

In considering the terrifying but also sadly predictable news of a Russian fighter jet being downed by two Turkish fighters, let’s start with one almost certain assumption — an assumption that no doubt is also being made by the Russian government: Turkey’s action, using US-supplied F-16 planes, was taken with the full knowledge and advance support of the US. In fact, given Turkey’s vassal status as a member of US-dominated NATO, it could well be that Ankara was put up to this act of brinksmanship by the US.

What makes the downing of the Russian jet, and the reported death of at least one of its two pilots (the other was reportedly captured alive by pro-turkish Turkmen fighters on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkish border, and will presumably be returned to Russia) so dangerous is that as a member of NATO, supposedly a “mutual assistance” treaty that binds all members to come to the defense of one that is attacked, if Russia were to retaliate by downing a Turkish military plane, NATO countries including the US would be obligated to come to Turkey’s defense.

Russia knows this, and that is why so far the Russian response to the downing has been muted. Had it been a Jordanian, Saudi or Kuwaiti jet that downed the Russian SU-24, Russia’s response would have been instantaneous. The guilty party would have had some of its planes shot down, or perhaps even bombed on the ground. But President Putin so far has limited himself to demanding a meeting, to warning that Russian-Turkish economic relations would be threatened, etc.

This restraint is good, but clearly, Vladimir Putin will not stop there. Even putting aside domestic considerations (imaging the public clamor for a military response here in the US if some small country shot down a US plane!), he will have to respond or his whole project — so far stunningly successful — of restoring Russia to its pre-USSR-collapse position as a global power, would be a failure.

Putin’s options are actually quite broad, though some carry considerably more risk for everyone, not just for Russia and Turkey. He could have his own air

force in Syria, where Russia is legally acting at the request of the Syrian government to defend it against rebel forces of ISIS and Al Nusra, some of which are backed by both Turkey and the US, calmly wait for a Turkish military jet to cross into Syrian airspace. At that point it could be downed by Russian planes or missiles. No doubt Turkey will be extraordinarily careful going forward to have its pilots keep well away from Syrian air space too avoid that, but it could happen. My guess is that Russian fighter pilots and anti-aircraft batteries in Syria already have their marching orders to take that action, which probably would not activate NATO confrontation with Russia and lead to World War III, as long as there was reasonable evidence that Turkey’s plane was in Syrian airspace.

But should no such opportunity present itself, Russia has plenty of other opportunities to counter Turkey. Remember, Russia is also defending Syria’s coastline, and could sink or capture a Turkish ship that entered Syrian waters (or Russian waters in the Black Sea, which borders both countries).

Russia — knowing that this is really not about Turkey, but about push-back by the US against growing Russian power and influence, both globally and in the Middle East region — could also choose to respond in a venue where it has more of an advantage, for example in Ukraine, where it could amp up its support for the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, perhaps by downing a Ukrainian military plane, or more broadly, providing air cover to protect those regions. Russia could also, less directly, provide aid to Kurdish rebels in both Syria and in Turkey itself who are fighting against Turkish forces.

I’m sure there are plenty of other options available to Russia also to turn the screws against both Turkey and NATO, without openly pushing buttons that could lead to a direct confrontation with the US and its NATO fiction. Working in Russia’s favor is that the US aside, the European nations of NATO have no desire to be at war with Russia. There are clearly hotheads in the US Congress, the Pentagon, and perhaps even within the neo-con-infested Obama administration, who are pushing for just such a mad showdown. But in Europe, where the actual fighting would mostly occur, and where memories are still strong of the destructive power of war, there is no taste for such insanity. It could, in fact, have been a big error in the long run for the US to push Turkey into such a deadly provocation, if it leads to more anti-American sentiment among the citizens of such key NATO countries as France, Germany, Italy and Britain.

It should be added that Russia and China have become much closer in recent years, economically, politically and militarily. This means there is also the possibility that the two countries could, in concert, step up pressure on the US in the western Pacific, for example by forcing down one of the provocative US flights near China’s new island projects in the South China Sea. That would force an already stretched US military to shift more forces to Asia from Europe and the Middle East.

It is all terribly dangerous and it is hard to predict where things will lead. One thing seems certain, though. This outrageous shootdown of a Russian plane that was in no way posing a threat to Turkey or Turkish forces, will not end here, because Russia and President Putin cannot allow Turkey and NATO to so blatantly act against Russia and its pilots and go unpunished, particularly as it is Russia that is acting legally in Syria, while the US, Turkey and other nations backing rebel forces there are in all acting blatant violation of international law.

Unless saner heads start prevailing in Washington, this could all quickly spiral into the kind of situation in 1914, where a lot of ill-conceived treaties led to a minor incident in the Balkans turning inexorably into World War I.

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

The navigator of the Russian Su-24 shot down by a Turkish fighter jet on Tuesday insists that his plane did not cross into Turkey’s airspace, and says he was given no visual or radio warning before being fired at.

It’s impossible that we violated their airspace even for a second,” Konstantin Murakhtin told RT and other Russian media.

We were flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters in completely clear weather, and I had total control of our flight path throughout.

As well as denying Ankara’s assertions that the plane was in Turkey’s airspace, Murakhtin, who says he knows the mission area “like the back of my hand,” also refuted Turkish officials’ claims that the pilots were warned repeatedly. “

In actual fact, there were no warnings at all. Neither through the radio, nor visually, so we did not at any point adjust our course. You need to understand the difference in speed between a tactical bomber like a Su-24, and that of the F16. If they wanted to warn us, they could have sat on our wing,” said Murakhtin, who is currently recuperating at Russia’s airbase in Latakia, northern Syria. “As it was, the missile hit the back of our plane out of nowhere. We didn’t even have time to make an evasive maneuver.” READ MORE: Leaked Ankara UN letter claims Su-24′s ‘air space violation’ lasted 17 seconds As the plane was hit and went down in Syria, the two pilots ejected. Captain Sergey Rumyantsev was killed, with a rebel Turkmen brigade claiming they shot him to death while he was still parachuting. Murakhtin was extracted in a 12-hour joint operation by Russian and Syrian special forces, in which a Russian marine died.


The 39-year-old airman, who won the Top Navigator award at Russia’s biggest military flying competition last year, says he will ask to return to front-line service as soon as he is declared fit.

I must ‘pay back’ the debt for my captain,” said Murakhtin.

The incident has led to Russia accusing NATO member Turkey of a “planned provocation,” as military co-operation has been suspended between the two states. Both sides, however, have vowed to avoid further escalation, with a meeting planned between foreign ministers.

Turkey has been supporting anti-government forces in Syria since a rebellion broke out against Bashar Assad in 2011. Russia has staunchly backed Assad, and has been conducting an airstrike campaign at his request since September.

Both Russia and Turkey have condemned Islamic State, but have also accused each other of enabling its progress, with Vladimir Putin calling the downing of the Russian jet “a stab in the back by the accomplices of terrorism.”



Needless to say, Moscow and Ankara are at odds over precisely what happened on Tuesday when a Russian Su-24 was shot down near the Syrian border.

The two pilots ejected and attempted to parachute to safety but Turkmen FSA-allied Alwiya al-Ashar militiamen shot at them as they fell before posting a video purporting to show rebel soldiers celebrating over one of the bodies.

It only got worse from there when the FSA’s 1st Coastal Brigade used a US-made TOW to destroy a Russian search and rescue helicopter.

Clearly, this was a marked escalation and indeed it was the first time a NATO member had engaged a Russian or Soviet warplane in more than 60 years.

The Kremlin was not happy as Vladimir Putin – who was meeting with King Abdullah in Jordan – proceeded to brand Erdogan a “backstabber” and an ISIS supporter.  Sergei Lavrov subsequently canceled a planned trip to Turkey.

At issue now, is whether the Russian fighter jet did indeed, as Turkey claims, venture into Turkish airspace or whether the Turks actually engaged Moscow’s warplane in the skies over Syria.

Here’s Russia’s version of the story, presented via a video released by the Defense Ministry:

And here’s Turkey’s account:

Finally, here’s The New York Times with a compare and constrast visual:

In the wake of an emergency NATO meeting this afternoon, new information has come to light. First, there’s Ankara’s letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the 15 members of the UN Security Council. Here it is:

The highlighted passage reads: “Disregarding these warnings, both planes, at an altitude of 19,000 feet, violated Turkish national airspace to a depth of 1.36 miles and 1.15 miles in length for 17 seconds from 9:24:05 local time.”

So, as RT notes, even if we buy Turkey’s story (i.e. if we accept that Russia actually did violate Turkish airspace), then it would appear that Ankara has something of an itchy trigger finger. That is, Turkey was apparently willing to risk sparking a wider conflict between NATO and Russia over a 17 second incursion.

But something doesn’t sound right.

In other words, as Sputnik put it earlier this evening, “according to those numbers, the Su-24 would have had to be flying at stall speed.

The Su-24′s max speed is 1,320 km/hour.

So if we assume the Su-24 was actually going much faster, was 17 seconds more like 5 seconds? Or perhaps even less?

It’s important not to forget the context here. Ankara is fiercly anti-Assad and in addition to being generally displeased with Russia’s efforts to support the regime, just four days ago, Turkey summoned Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov over the alleged bombing of Turkish villages near the border. “Turkey has asked Russia to ‘immediately end its operation,’” AFP reported, adding that “Ankara warned bombing villages populated by the Turkmen minority in Syria could lead to ‘serious consequences.’”

Of course Russia wasn’t just bombing Turkish civilians for the sheer hell of it. It’s likely Moscow was targeting the very same FSA-affiliated Alwiya al-Ashar militiamen who shot and killed the parachuting Russian pilot earlier today.

In short, it looks like Ankara saw an opportunity to shoot down a Russian jet in retaliation for strikes on Turkish rebel fighters who are operating alongside anti-Assad forces. Erdogan is essentially gambling that Russia will not retailiate militarily against Turkey because doing so would open the door for a direct confrontation with NATO.

Time will tell whether that gamble pays off or whether Moscow decides that the next time a Turkish F-16 gets “lost” over Latakia, a little payback is in order.

Selected Articles: Update on the Situation Around Turkey

November 25th, 2015 by Global Research News

 NO_NATOThe Downed Russian SU-24. Turkey Is Lying: “NATO Governments Lie Every Time They Open Their Mouths”

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, November 25 2015

Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge has posted the flight paths of the Russian aircraft according to Turkey and to Russia. We know that Turkey is lying for three reasons.

su700Russian Air Force Annihilated Militants In Area Where Su-24 Was Shot Down. Erdogan Ordered Turkish Air Force Planes Be Grounded

By South Front, November 25 2015

Information has come from  Syrian sources that last night (24.11) the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces struck with massive attacks on the positions of militants (including Turkomans) in the region where the Russian Su-24 was brought down.

turkey-natoUS-Dominated NATO Supports Turkish Aggression Against Russia

By Stephen Lendman, November 25 2015

Make no mistake. Downing Russia’s aircraft was provocative Turkish aggression – a clear act of war against a nonthreatening nation. It’s inconceivable that President Erdogan acted alone, unilaterally deciding to attack the Russian plane – then lying about it entering Turkish airspace, warning “10 times” (an absurdity on its face) before downing it with one or more air-to-air missiles.

From the Cold War to NATO's "Humanitarian Wars" - The Complicity of  the United NationsUN Backs Russia’s War against ISIL / Da’esh

By Alexander Mercouris, November 25 2015

Russia’s diplomats have been as busy as Russia’s military. They have now obtained UN Security Council as well as Syrian government approval for Russia’s military campaign. They have also got the UN Security Council to scotch the myth of the “moderate jihadis” once and for all.

jet-SU24-MK-FencerRussia-China Relations and the Downing of Russia’s Jet Fighter by Turkey

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, November 25 2015

The US Navy held friendly military exercises with China’s PLA Navy less than a week prior to a blatant act of military aggression against the Russian Federation, which is China’s closest ally.

Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge has posted the flight paths of the Russian aircraft according to Turkey and to Russia.

We know that Turkey is lying for three reasons.

One reason is that NATO governments lie every time that they open their mouths.

A second reason is that Turkey’s claim that the SU-24 was in Turkey’s airspace for 17 seconds but only traveled 1.15 miles means that the SU-24 was flying at stall speed!  

The entire Western media was too incompetent to do the basic math!

A third reason is that, assuming Turkey’s claim of a 17 second airspace violation is true, 17 seconds is not long enough for a Turkish pilot to get clearance for such a serious and reckless act as shooting down a Russian military aircraft. If the SU-24 was flying at a normal speed rather than one that would be unable to keep the aircraft aloft, the alleged airspace vioation would not have been long enough to be noticed.  A shootdown had to have been pre-arranged. The Turks, knowing that the Russians were foolishly trusting to the agreement that there be no air to air encounters, told pilots to look for an opportunity.  In my recent article, I gave a reason for this reckless act:

Turkey’s explanation to the UN Security Council  gives itself away as a lie. The letter states:

“This morning (24 November) 2 SU-24 planes, the nationality of which are unknown have approached Turkish national airspace. The Planes in question have been warned 10 times during a period of 5 minutes via ‘Emergency’ channel and asked to change their headings south immediately.”

As SU-24 are Russian aircraft, as Turkey is able to identify that the aircraft are SU-24s, how then can the nationality of the aircraft be unknown?  Would Turkey risk shooting down a US or Israeli aircraft by firing at an unknown aircraft? If the SU-24 takes 17 seconds to fly 1.15 miles, the SU-24s would have only traveled 20.29 miles in five minutes. Does anyone believe that a supersonic aircraft can fly at stall speed for 17 seconds, much less for five minutes?

Do not expect any truth from any Western government or from any Western media.  Governments and media know that the Western populations are uneducated, unaware, and can be relied upon to accept any preposterous story.  In the West the Matrix has a firm grip.  The Russians need to wake up to this fact.

NPR this morning confirmed that the media is a government propaganda organ.  The Diane Rehm show on NPR presented us with a group of talking heads.  Only one was informed, a professor at the Middle East Institute of the London School of Economics.  The rest of the “experts” were the typical dumbshit Americans.  They repeated all of the lies.  “Russia is attacking everyone except ISIS.”  How can there be anyone but ISIS to attack when the US general overseeing the area recently told Congress that “only 5” of our trained “rebels” remained?  Yet the myth of “moderate rebels” is kept alive by these liars.

“The refugees are fleeing the brutal Assad.”  Notice that it is always Assad who is brutal, not ISIS which has cut out opponents hearts and eaten them and routinely cuts off peoples heads and commits the most atrocious atrocities.  Here we have “experts” blaming Assad. The “experts” said that the refugees are fleeing from Assad not from ISIS.  The refugee problem is Assad’s fault, not the faut of ISIS.  It is all Assad’s fault because he doesn’t give up and turn Syria over to Washington’s ISIS henchmen.

There was no acknowledgement from the “experts” that ISIS is a Washington creation or that until the Paris attack Washington was strongly backing ISIS with both words and weapons against  the Russian air attacks that caught both Washington and ISIS off guard.  This is extraordinary considering the fact that US responsibility for ISIS was acknowledged on TV by the former head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency.

Gullible Americans who give money to NPR are supporting lies and propaganda that have resulted in the deaths and dislocation of millions of peoples and that are leading to WWIII. The Western media whores are complicit in the crimes, because they fail their responsibility to hold government accountable and make it impossible for valid information to reach people. The Western media serves as cheerleaders for death and destruction.

Russia on Wednesday confirmed the rescue of the second pilot of the downed Russian Su-24 warplane, while air defense missile systems would be deployed in Syria.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed the rescue of the second pilot by Russian and Syrian forces.

The 12-hour rescue mission ended successfully with all participants “taking great risks all night long,” Tass news agency quoted Shoigu as saying.

Two pilots ejected from the downed Su-24 on Tuesday. A senior Russian military official said Tuesday evening that preliminary reports showed one pilot was killed by ground fire in Syria.

The Russian Defense Ministry also announced that new-generation S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft missile systems would be deployed in the Hmeimim airbase on the orders of President Vladimir Putin.

Shoigu said Russia’s Moskva missile cruiser is ready at new combat duty position near Syria’s Latakia.

“We have taken the high priority measures … Moskva is ready to destroy any air target of potential danger to our aircraft,” Shoigu said.

All further operations of Russian aircraft in Syria would be conducted only under the cover of fighter jets, while all military contacts with Turkey would be frozen, Shoigu stressed.

A Russian Su-24 warplane was shot down by Turkish air force on Tuesday as Ankara claimed the aircraft violated Turkish airspace.

Turkey said two of its F-16 fighters took action after many warnings against the Su-24 while Russia has claimed that its bomber posed no threat to Turkey and had not intruded Turkey’s airspace.

Putin criticized the action as “stab in the back from accomplices of terrorists” and warned of serious consequences.

Rescued co-pilot from the downed Russian Su-24 jet said there were no visual or radio warnings issued by Turkey.

“There were no warnings. Not via the radio, not visually. There was no contact whatsoever. That’s why we were keeping our combat course as usual. You have to understand what the cruising speed of a bomber is compared to an F-16. If they wanted to warn us, they could have shown themselves by heading on a parallel course. But there was nothing. And the rocket hit our tail completely unexpectedly. We didn’t even see it in time to take evasive maneuvers.”

Rescued co-pilot Captain Konstantin Murahtin said there was no violation of the Turkish airspace.He also said the crew of the downed Russian bomber jet knew the area of the operation “like the back of their hands.”"Of course, having carried out numerous flights there we knew the region like the backs of our hands. We were conducting our sorties and returning back to base following the predetermined route. I’m a navigator, I know every altitude there. I can guide the aircraft there blindfolded,” co-pilot said.The co-pilot added that he wants to continue serving in the Russian aviation group in Syria.

“I can’t wait until I get the all-clear from the medics, so that I can step back into the ranks. I’m going to ask our command to keep me on this base — I have a debt to repay, for my commander.”

On Tuesday, a Russian Su-24 bomber jet crashed in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the plane was downed by an air-to-air missile launched by a Turkish F-16 jet over Syrian territory, falling 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the Turkish border.

The crew of the plane ejected and one pilot was killed by fire from the ground, according to the Russian General Staff. The co-pilot survived.A pilot killed by fire from the ground after ejecting from a Russian Su-24 jet downed by Turkey in Syria was posthumously awarded with a Gold Star medal, Russia’s highest honorary title.

Why’s The US Hanging Turkey Out To Dry?

November 25th, 2015 by Andrew Korybko

Turkey’s shooting down of the Russian anti-ISIL aircraft was an unprecedentedly direct aggression against Moscow that trumps even the tense and hostile militarism of the Old Cold War era. The world stands on edge in the immediate aftermath of this attack, with tabloid-esque commentators warning that the beginning of World War III awaits. President Putin, for his part, has been much more measured in responding to the incident, but still couldn’t contain his shock at having received this “stab in the back delivered by accomplices of the terrorists.”

The question now comes down to how Russia will respond to what happened, but perhaps even more important for observers to ponder is why the US is unofficially distancing itself from its ally’s aggression. Despite both NATO and Obama giving full backing to Turkey’s fateful decision, Reuters has quoted an anonymous American military official that purposely leaked that the Russian plane was downed while over Syrian airspace, basing the assessment on heat signature detection. This raises questions about why the US is playing both sides of the fence – on one hand, publicly supporting Turkey, while on the other, strategically releasing information that conflicts with Turkey’s official depiction of events.

The Setup:

This dichotomy is suggestive of a Machiavellian plan whereby the US manipulates both Turkey and Russia into behaving according to what it has already forecast as their most likely responses, knowing full well that these could be guided into supporting grander American strategic interests. For starters, the US likely intimated to Erdogan that not only does he have the ‘legal’ right to shoot down any Russian aircraft he chooses, but that the US would actually prefer for him to take this course of action sooner than later. This is reminiscently similar to how the US put Sakkashvili up to bombing Tskhinval and invading South Ossetia – it may not have directly issued an official, on-paper order for this to occur, but it left no ambiguity as to how it wanted its proxy to act in each situation.

According To Plan:

For the most part, this explains the public pronouncements of NATO and the US’ support for Turkey’s actions, and it also goes a long way in soothing Erdogan’s nerves and reassuring him that he did the right thing. The predicted aftereffect of the plane’s downing was an immediate deterioration of Russian-Turkish relations, with the full consequences potentially affecting the diplomatic, military, economic, and energy spheres. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cancelled his upcoming trip to Turkey and advised Russian tourists to refrain from visiting the country due to the terrorism level being similar to Egypt’s. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has spoken about the possibility of barring Turkish companies from the Russian market and cancelling planned nuclear and gas projects with the country.

All of these prospective actions are fully justifiable and grounded in the self-respect that Russia feels in not aiding what has proven itself to be a militantly hostile state no matter the economic stakes involved, but at the same time, one can’t help but wonder whether this is exactly what the US wanted. There’s no doubt that Russia would react this way, as even a cursory glance of its potential ‘response toolkit’ indicates that these are the most likely to be taken amidst any deterioration of relations. Therefore, it can’t be discounted that the US put Erdogan up to shooting down the Russian jet precisely to provoke the predictable Russian response in threatening to cancel its forthcoming energy projects with Turkey, the core of the strategic partnership between the two. If this is the case, and it certainly seems likely, then it shows exactly how far the US is willing to go to make sure that Russian energy (and subsequently, all of the soft power and multipolar advantages that come with it) doesn’t enter the Balkans through the Turkish Stream megaproject, likely because it understands the transformative impact that this would eventually have on the entire region.

The Curveball:

Thus far, everything seems reasonable and well within the realm of predictability, but the curveball comes with the Reuters revelation that an unnamed American military source is essentially saying that the Russian position is justified. Unexpectedly, it now seems as though the US is also playing to Russia’s side to an extent, and this raises questions about what it really wants. After all, it’s been proven beyond any doubt that American-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles were used to down the Russian rescue helicopter that attempted to retrieve the two pilots. With this indisputable evidence of indirect American aggression against Russia, it certainly is a curious fact that the US establishment would purposely leak a statement saying that the Turkey downed the Russian plane in Syrian airspace, and basically take Russia’s side on this behind the scenes.

Playing The Kurdish Card:

Explaining this diplomatic twist requires knowledge about the popular response that Russian citizens and global supporters worldwide are requesting to Turkey’s aggression. They quite reasonably propose that Russia intensify its arms shipments to anti-ISIL Kurdish fighters, with the wink-and-a-nod approval that some of them would be siphoned off to the PKK and be used against the Turkish military. This is an effective and pragmatic plan, and in reality, it actually doesn’t even require a policy shift from Moscow because support is already being rendered to some Kurdish groups as part of their joint cooperation in the anti-ISIL struggle. The Kurdish Insurgency hasn’t gone away since Erdogan unwittingly unearthed it this summer as an electioneering tool, and the fact that it’s still going strong even after the elections has scared him so much that he might have been the one who ordered the recent assassination attempt against pro-Kurdish HDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas. Thus, if Russia chooses to inflict an asymmetrical response to Turkey by beefing up its indirect support for the PKK and other Turkish-based anti-government Kurds or disrupting Blue Stream gas supplies in order to provoke an intensified rebellion, then it could certainly inflict a heavy amount of strategic damage to Erdogan and increase the likelihood either of a military coup in Turkey (explained more in detail as part of a different article accessible here) and/or the creation of an independent Kurdistan.

That being said, the US has traditionally been the out-of-regional power that has the greatest interest in Kurdistan, seeing the possible state as a ‘geopolitical Israel’ from which it can simultaneously exert influence on the rump portions of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The strategic trajectory of a theorized Kurdish state has been complicated by the anti-ISIL campaign, however, since many Kurds have shown themselves to be pragmatic in cooperating with Russia and Iran against this shared threat. The positive multipolar cooperation that each of these countries has engaged in with the Kurds challenges the US’ planned hegemony over them and their territory, and it thus means that any forthcoming independent Kurdish political entity could theoretically go either towards the multipolar or the unipolar camps. At this point in time, and given all of the dynamic military and diplomatic developments of the past couple of months, the loyalty of a future Kurdish state (no matter if its boundaries are confined only to present-day Turkey and/or Iraq) is totally up for grabs, and it’s impossible to accurately forecast which way it will go.

The strategic ambiguity that this entails means a few things to the US and Russia. For the US, it indicates that the time is now for it to bunker down and support Kurdistan’s independence before it loses the strategic initiative to Russia, which might be moving in this direction (whether formally or informally) out of grand geopolitical spite for Turkey. Moscow, as was just mentioned, seems inclined to hit Ankara where it hurts most, and that’s through supporting the Kurdish Insurgency in one way or another. However, it’s not yet known how far this would go, and whether Russia would pursue this strategy as a form of short-term vengeance or if it would resolutely go as far in recognizing Kurdish Independence if it could ever be de-facto actualized. Of course, Russia wouldn’t do anything that could endanger the territorial integrity of its Syrian, Iraqi, and Iranian allies, but if the Turkish-based Kurds contained their ambitions solely within the borders of Russia’s historical rival, then it might be able to rectify itself with this reality, especially if they even refrain from legal independence and instead seek a sort of broadly de-facto independent federative or autonomous status within a unified Turkey (which could only realistically be brought about by an intensified insurgency and/or a coup in Ankara).

Joining Hands For Kurdistan:

Having explained all of this, it’s now clear that a remarkable convergence of strategic interests has developed between the US and Russia focusing on Turkish-administered Kurdistan. Understanding the changing calculations that Russia may now be having towards this topic as a response to Turkey’s aggression against it, one can’t necessarily preclude the possibility that the Reuters leak was actually a strategic overture to Russia. Washington might be sending a signal that it wants to speak to Moscow about ways to cooperate in this regard, knowing that each of them possibly have an interest now in seeing the proto-state rise to the fore of the global arena. A shared understanding has likely developed by now that a New Cold War competition for Kurdistan’s loyalty could be fought after the entity is legally formalized (whether as an independent state or a de-facto independent sub-state entity modeled off of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq), and that the two Great Powers need to put aside some of their differences in joining hands to see this happen first.

Such a strong signal could have been discretely and secretly communicated to Russia via secure diplomatic and intelligence channels, but the reason it was so publicly broadcast via Reuters, the global newswire service, is because the US also wants to send a signal to Turkey as well. Despite taking its side on the matter before the global eye, the US is also “stabbing its ally in the back”, to channel President Putin, by purposely leaking the information that the Russian jet was shot down over Syrian airspace. It’s not news that the US has been unhappy with Erdogan for not behaving more submissively in the past and refusing to blindly go along with the previous plans to invade Syria (rendered useless after Russia’s anti-terrorist military intervention there), so it might be trying to convey the message it’s had enough of his games and is now playing their own in return. Of course, the US has always been manipulating Turkey ever since it joined NATO and allowed the Americans to operate out of Incirlik airbase, but this time, the treachery is being taken to a higher level by implicitly throwing out suggestions to Russia, Turkey’s new foe (and only because the US manipulated Turkey into taking aggressive action against it), that it might want to team up in undermining Ankara’s control over its volatile southeast.

Concluding Thoughts:

It can safely be assumed that the US influenced Turkey into shooting down the Russian jet over Syrian airspace, predicting quite accurately that this would immediately lead to the deterioration of ties between the two states. An elementary forecast of the specific counter-measures that Russia may take stipulates that these will likely relate to the diplomatic, economic, and energy sectors, which is just what the US wants. Because of Turkey’s aggression against Russia, the strategic partnership between the two is now broken (although not necessarily irreversibly), and Ankara has become the fourth and perhaps most geopolitically significant member of the anti-Russian Intermarum coalition. Furthermore, Turkish Stream looks to be indefinitely put on hold, thus delaying Russia’s game-changing pivot to the Balkans. While the ‘unintended’ consequence of the crisis has been Russia’s foreseeable and absolutely legitimate decision to deploy the S-400 SAM system to Syria, this in a way also plays to the manipulated Turkish-Russian rivalry that the US wanted to produce in order to solidify the completion of the Intermarum project and simultaneously counter Russia’s growing influence in the Mideast.

The reaction that no one could have predicted, however, is the US purposely leaking comments to Reuters that support the Russian version of events, namely, that the anti-terrorist jet was shot down while flying over Syrian airspace. This completely conflicts with what the US and NATO have said in public, but it shows that the US has had enough time to game out the plane-shooting scenario well in advance, and that it’s playing a sinister divide-and-conquer game against Turkey and Russia. Put in the position where its decision makers are scrambling for responses to the unprecedented aggression against them, Russia can now more easily be led into supporting the Kurdish struggle for sovereignty (whether formally independent or de-facto so) in Turkey, which coincides with one of the US’ premier geopolitical projects.

From an American perspective, a divided Turkey is doubly useful for its grand strategic designs, as the large pro-NATO Turkish military would remain mostly intact, while the US could gain a major base for force projection (both hard and soft) right in between some of the most important states in the region. It can’t, however, go fully forward with this project unless it has the support of the diplomatic leader of the multipolar world, Russia, otherwise Kurdistan will be just as illegitimate as Kosovo is and might not even come to geopolitical fruition if Moscow and Tehran work to stop it.

Seen from the Russian standpoint, the US’ intimations actually seen quite attractive. An increase of Russian support to anti-ISIL Kurdish fighters would be a plausibly deniable but strategically obvious way to funnel weapons and equipment to anti-Turkish PKK insurgents. Weakening Turkey from within would be a strong asymmetrical response to a country that has lately been a major thorn in Moscow’s side, and it might create the conditions either for a military coup against Erdogan, a divide between him and Davutoglu (which could be used to Russia’s diplomatic advantage so long as the constitution remains unchanged and Davutoglu legally remains more powerful than Erdogan), or a weakening of Erdogan and a tempering of his anti-Russian and anti-Syrian positions.

Importantly, the emergence of an independent or semi-independent Kurdish entity in Turkey could create a tempting piece of geopolitical real estate in the New Cold War, but of course, it would then be contested between the multipolar and unipolar worlds. Still, however, it would represent a positive multipolar development in the Mideast, since under the present state of affairs, the entirety of Turkish territory is under unipolar control. If a large chunk of it suddenly became the object of competition between both blocs, then it would definitely signify a strategic advancement at the expense of unipolarity. Of equal importance, this would also significantly impact on the Turkish state and whatever government is in power by that time, and it could possibly make it more amenable to returning to the previously pragmatic relationship with Russia and perhaps even resurrecting Turkish Stream.

Therefore, Russia surprisingly has nothing to do lose and everything to gain by covertly supporting the Kurdish cause in Turkey, no matter if it’s full-out independence or relatively more restrained autonomy, and even if this is objective is shared by the US and done in semi-coordination with it. Turkey would immediately be put on the defensive (although it could try desperately responding by supporting Tatar terrorists in Crimea), the multipolar world have a chance at competing for the loyalty of an ultra-strategically positioned entity, and the consequences that this has for the Turkish government (whether it remains the same or is changed via a [military] coup) could recreate the political conditions for Turkish Stream’s feasibility.

Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently working for the Sputnik agency, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Developing countries’ economies face being crushed under the double burden of climate change adaptation costs of almost $800 billion and more than twice that in economic losses every year by 2050 if pledges to cut emissions are not improved, Oxfam warned today.

In a new report released for COP21: Game-changers in the Paris climate deal, Oxfam sets out seven steps to a Paris deal that will better protect poor people from climate change.

The international agency reveals that in a world warming to 3 degrees developing countries are set to face an additional $270 billion more a year in adaptation costs by 2050, taking the total to $790 billion. That means more than 50 per cent more could be needed for developing countries to protect themselves from climate change than in a 2 degree scenario, which leaders meeting at the UN climate talks in Paris are aiming for.

Developing countries also face losing $1.7 trillion annually to their economies by the middle of the century if global average temperatures rise by three degrees. This is $600 billion more than if warming was contained to 2 degrees – four times more than rich countries gave in development aid last year.

Oxfam’s Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said: “We are seeing growing momentum for a climate deal but what is on the table so far is not enough. Our report today shows the scale of the challenge facing the world’s poorest people as a result of climate change – which they have done very little to cause.

 “World leaders need to step up. We need further cuts to emissions and more climate funding so vulnerable communities – who are already facing unpredictable floods, droughts and hunger – can adapt to survive. The human cost of climate change must be central to discussions in Paris so we get a better climate deal for poor people.”

Even now, if all of today’s public adaptation finance were to be divided among the 1.5 billion small-holder farmers in developing countries, they would get the equivalent of just $3 a year to protect themselves from floods, severe droughts and other climate extremes – the cost of a cup of coffee in many rich countries.

The pledges by more than 150 countries to cut emissions, known as INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) are expected to be the cornerstone of a Paris deal. But even if these targets are met, the world is likely to experience devastating warming of around 3 degrees. This could come despite the UN’s goal of 2 degrees, let alone the 1.5 degrees that more than 100 developing countries and Oxfam is calling for.

Currently, climate funding commitments to help poor countries adapt and develop in a low carbon way only run until 2020. At the same time, little progress has been made in agreeing how much will be available after this date, which needs to be urgently addressed in Paris.

More funding is also needed if the promise of $100 billion a year by 2020 made six years ago in Copenhagen is to be kept. More of this needs to go towards adaptation, which remains woefully short. Oxfam estimates that public climate finance was around $20 billion on average in 2013-2014 but only around $3-5 billion was dedicated for adaptation – less than the 50 per cent minimum that Oxfam says is needed.

In its new report, Oxfam shows how the international context has changed since the ‘failed’ talks in Copenhagen. This includes a US / China deal on climate change breathing new life into the talks, spectacular growth in renewables, and interventions from high profile figures like Ban Ki-moon, Pope Francis and Islamic clerics. The INDCs have also been important in shaping the deal, but it has been most of the developing countries – including India and China – that have either met or done more than their fair share in pledging to cut their emissions. The world’s richest countries need to do more.

The report also pin-points what developments are possible in Paris to make the deal a better one for poor people.  This includes:

-       Addressing the lack of finance to help countries adapt by either agreeing that at least half of all public finance should go for adaptation, or setting a fixed target of at least $35 billion by 2020 and at least $50 billion by 2025

-       New contributors of climate finance beyond the traditional rich countries need to step up, including Russia, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Singapore

-       Agreeing to a strong review mechanism that commits governments to increase the overall ambition of emission cuts from 2020, and every five years thereafter so that  runaway climate change can be avoided

-       Agreeing a long-term goal where rich countries lead the way in phasing out fossil fuels

-       Improving the predictability of scaled up climate finance so developing countries can develop adaptation and development plans knowing what funding they can expect

-       Announcing new sources of climate finance, such as the EU  Emissions Trading Scheme, to stop diverting aid to climate finance budgets

-       Provisions for loss and damage, which will ensure that poor people get the support they need where adaptation is no longer possible.

Byanyima said:

“The Paris deal needs to be a solid foundation for further global action to tackle climate change, and the more we see poor people at its heart, the stronger it will be.”

Oxfam is calling for progress on climate finance, especially for adaptation and women who need it most, and greater ambition to cut emissions.

Over the past few centuries, Western countries embarked on a road to material affluence at the expense of the environment and other peoples across the globe who were subjugated, killed or left to live in poverty. And while offering more of the same and selling unfettered capitalism to the rest of the world, Washington as the now dominant imperial power is doing all it can to destroy any rivals, not least Russia and China. It alone thinks it should be the sole beneficiary in a resource-depleting race towards a barren-wasteland finish.

Imagine every nation attempting to emulate US levels of material consumption. Consider that US citizens constitute 5 percent of the world’s population but consume 24 percent of global energy. Now consider the consequences of a US-style model of ‘development’ rolled out across the world. It would be unsustainable for the planet to have a dozen ‘Americas’. Indeed, one alone is too much. The model of ‘development’ based on endless GDP growth being sold to the world via the neoliberal globalisation agenda is a cynical, unattainable con-trick and is leading to environmental devastation, conflict, war and poverty.

Treasury bond imperialism and the petrodollar

The US is able to consume at such a level because the dollar serves as the world reserve currency, which means high demand for it is guaranteed as most international trade (especially oil) is carried out using the dollar. US global hegemony depends on it maintaining the dollar’s leading role.

The international monetary system that emerged near the end of the Second World War was based on the US being the dominant economic power – after it watched and let its rivals destroy one another – and the main creditor nation, with institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund eventually being created to serve its interests.

Since coming off the gold standard in the early seventies, Washington has been able to run up a huge balance of payments deficit by using the paper dollar as security in itself and engaging in petro-dollar recycling and treasury-bond super-imperialism. Washington has developed a system to hitch a free ride courtesy of the rest of the world.

With its control and manipulation of the World Bank, IMF and WTO, the US has been able to lever the trade and the financial system to its advantage by various means (for example, see this analysis of Saudi Arabia’s oil money in relation to African debt). Washington will not allow its global hegemony and the role of the dollar to be challenged. Given Russia’s reemergence on the global stage and China’s rise, we are witnessing a sense of urgency to destabilise and undermine both countries, especially as they are now increasingly bypassing the dollar when doing business.

US Strategic Objectives and Agribusiness

The only real alternative to avoid ecological meltdown due to the massive consumption of the planet’s finite resources and ultimately what appears to be an increasingly likely nuclear conflict with Russia (or China) is to move away from militarism and resource-gabbing conflicts by reorganising economies so that nations live within their environmental means.

Key to this involves a major shift away from the petro-chemical industrial model of agriculture and food production, not only because it leads to bad foodpoor health and environmental degradation and is ultimately unsustainable but also because this model has underpinned a US resource-grabbing, food-deficit producing foreign policy agenda for many decades.

It is essential we get off the parasitical and poisonous chemical treadmill.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky illustrates point with reference to Ethiopia:

“The “economic therapy” imposed under IMF-World Bank jurisdiction is in large part responsible for triggering famine and social devastation in Ethiopia and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, wreaking the peasant economy and impoverishing millions of people. With the complicity of branches of the US government, it has also opened the door for the appropriation of traditional seeds and landraces by US biotech corporations, which behind the scenes have been peddling the adoption of their own genetically modified seeds under the disguise of emergency aid and famine relief. Moreover, under WTO rules, the agri-biotech conglomerates can manipulate market forces to their advantage as well as exact royalties from farmers. The WTO provides legitimacy to the food giants to dismantle State programmes including emergency grain stocks, seed banks, extension services and agricultural credit, etc.), plunder peasant economies and trigger the outbreak of periodic famines.” See here.

US agribusiness must be regarded as being part of the US financial-military-industrial complex (see this and this). Agriculture and agribusiness remain integral tools for US geopolitical objectives, and agribusiness is essential for colonising indigenous agriculture, whether on the back of trade deals, ‘aid’ programmes, war or indeed Washington-backed coups, as in Ukraine:

“… within two to three years, as the relevant provisions of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU go into effect, Monsanto’s lobbying efforts will transform the Ukrainian market into an oligopoly consisting of American corporations.” - Oriental Review

The ‘green revolution’ was exported courtesy of the oil-rich Rockefeller family, and poorer nations adopted agribusiness’s petrochemical-dependent agriculture that required loans for inputs and infrastructure development. This was underpinned by the propaganda that these countries would earn dollars to prosper (and repay the loans) by adopting mono-crop, export-oriented policies. It entailed uprooting traditional agriculture and trapping nations into a globalised system of debt bondage, rigged trade relations and the hollowing out and destruction of national and local economies. GMOs, the control of seeds and further corporate-controlled inputs represent the second coming of the green revolution.

From Mexico to India, we can see how traditional food production and retail sectors are being hijacked by mainly US corporate interests and can witness the subsequent impacts on health, food security, environments and farmers’ livelihoods. NAFTA set the framework for plunder in Mexico, the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture is playing a similar role in India and various bilateral trade agreements will do it elsewhere.

In India, Monsanto and Walmart had a major role in drawing up the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture. Monsanto now funds research in public institutions and its presence and influence compromises what should in fact be independent decision and policy making bodies.

Its has effectively been called the modern day East India Company.

Monsanto is a driving force behind what could eventually lead to the restructuring and subjugation of India by the US. 

As alluded to earlier, the IMF and Monsanto are also working to ensure Ukraine’s subservience to US geopolitical aims via the capture of land and agriculture. The capture of agriculture (and societies) by rich interests is a global phenomenon.

Only the completely naive would believe that big agribusiness and its backers in the US State Department have humanity’s interests at heart. At the very least, their collective aim is profit. Beyond that and to facilitate it, the need to secure US global hegemony is paramount.

Although the globalized hijack of food and agriculture by powerful corporations results in poverty, dependency and food insecurity, we are deceitfully informed that we must have more of the same if we are to feed an increasing global population and eradicate poverty. We are told that the solutions for feeding a projected world population of nine billion are more technical fixes: more petrochemical-dependent agriculture, more GMOs and more unnecessary shifting of food across the planet. Such a ‘solution’ is bogus.

The current economic system and model of globalisation and development serves the interests of Western oil companies and financial institutions (including land and commodity  speculators), global agribusiness and the major arms companies. These interlocking, self-serving interests  have managed to institute a globalized system of war, poverty and food insecurity and have acted to devastate economies.

The solution

The Oakland Institute has just released research showing the tremendous success of agroecology across Africa. Instead of prioritising an inappropriate Gates-Monsanto corporate-led petro-chemical industrial model of agriculture, priority should be given to agroecology, as stated in numerous official reports in the last few years, not least the IAASTD report.

This would entail supporting and investing in highly productive (see this data on output per country) smallholder/peasant agriculture, which is the backbone of global food production but is being marginalised, criminalised and squeezed onto lessand less land.

People want solutions for hunger, poverty and conflict but are too often told there is no alternative to what exists. The solution ultimately lies in taking manipulated markets and rigged trade rules out of farming and investing in and supporting indigenous knowledge, agroecology, education and infrastructure, instead of inappropriately diverting funds to underperforming sectors. This involves rejecting big agritech’s current agenda and resisting the US strategy of using agriculture as a geopolitical tool. It involves challenging the corporate takeover of agriculture, supporting food sovereignty movements and embracing sustainable agriculture that is locally owned and rooted in the needs of communities.

On a more general level, we should also embrace what environmentalist Barry Commoner advocated: substituting green energy for fossil and nuclear fuels, substituting electric motors for the internal combustion engine, substituting organic farming for the chemical variety and using more metal, glass, wood and paper – recyclables, renewables and durables – instead of petrochemical products.

Crucially important is moving towards a system centred on the common ownership of land and capital to serve the public good, rather than elite interests.

If there is to be an alternative to capitalism, endless war and poverty, this is where it is to be found. But as A.L. Morton’s classic text ‘A People’s History of England’ indicates, at no point whatsoever will it be handed on a plate courtesy of the bloodsuckers that are bleeding us all dry. We will have to struggle for it.  

Information has come from  Syrian sources that last night (24.11) the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces struck with massive attacks on the positions of militants (including Turkomans) in the region where the Russian Su-24 was brought down.

The source reported that most likely nothing remains of the militants who shot down the Russian MI-8 .

No detailed information has arrived yet.

Meanwhile, there has appeared information that the Turks are not putting their fighters in the air after the majority of them were lit up by Russian radar (the S-300 and, according to early reports, possibly the S-400). After the statement of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, Turkey is afraid that their planes can be destroyed when approaching the border.

In this regard the Syrians reported that the Russia air-space forces can begin the full-scale destruction of camps in the border territory, and also annihilate the retreating militants and the fuel trucks which are moving towards Turkey.

Erdogan did not receive the hoped-for support from NATO. Erdogan has acknowledged that if the Russian plane even violated the border of Turkey, this was for only for 17 seconds, which means that the Turkish Air Force, on purely physical grounds, could not have reacted to it if the provocation was not prepared in advance. This figure of 17 seconds appears in NATO reports.

Members of NATO have been ambiguously treating Erdogan’s action. At present it is difficult to judge how the situation will develop. While it is obvious that Erdogan is attempting to back off, it is already too late, as Vladimir Putin gave to understand at a meeting with the king of Jordan.

Most likely Turkey did not expect such a severe reaction from Russia.

Article originally appeared at, translated by Caraptho-Russian exclusively for SouthFront