This article by the late Dr. Ilya Perlingueri was first published on GR in May 2010

For decades, we have known that heavy metals and chemicals can cause grave physical harm. Going back to Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” we have known and been amply warned of the serious consequences of using or being exposed to these poisons in our daily activities. Thousands of these are well-documented carcinogens.

Building on Carson’s ground-breaking research, we also know that certain kinds of chemicals can and do disrupt human [and other animals’] entire immune system. Going back 30 years, researchers were investigating what became known as endocrine [hormone] disrupting chemicals and how they were affecting frogs [who sometimes had five legs or hermaphroditic characteristics], other aquatic animals, and mammals. These animals were the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. In another pioneering book, “Our Stolen Future,” authors Dr. Theo Colburn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers clearly demonstrate that 1 + 1 hormone-disrupting chemicals did not equal 2.

Rather, in a nightmare of mathematical proportions, these poisons acted synergistically; and 1+1 could equal up to 1,600 times the original dose. We are also exposed to more than 100,000 chemicals regularly. Most of them have never been tested for human safety. So, almost nothing has been done to reduce human exposure to a myriad of hazardous chemicals. In fact, over the past decade, the Bush administration dismantled many environmental laws in existence for 30 years, to let corporations off the proverbial hook. [Just look at what’s unfolding in the Gulf with the BP oil spill.]

Although this information, on the dangers of hormone disruption, is now more widely available on Internet sites, it still is not well known by the average person who gets news mostly from mainstream media.(1) Most of these highly toxic chemicals are invisible; and, therefore, are easily off our collective radar. With the high stress level created by the deliberately orchestrated financial crisis –where millions have lost their jobs and homes– a degraded/collapsing environment or serious health problems are not priorities –especially, if very little is reported in mainstream news. This disaster scenario is part of the larger picture of what Naomi Klein writes about in her book “The Shock Doctrine.” We have so many major crises, one after another, that it is hard just to keep up with one’s daily routine –let alone have time to read and consider the toxicological health ramifications of massive amounts of thousands of heavy metals and chemicals that have poisoned our entire food chain and, thus, our own supposed “health.” We are at the very top of this wrecked food chain.

Now, however, there is another far more insidious layer of toxicity that is not being addressed at all in any mainstream, corporate-controlled news, and it is affecting our very survival. It is, however, being addressed more and more by independent researchers who have supporting evidence to back up their Internet reports.

For more than a decade, first the United States and then Canada’s citizens have been subjected to a 24/7/365 day aerosol assault over our heads made of a toxic brew of poisonous heavy metals, chemicals, and other dangerous ingredients. None of this was reported by any mainstream media. The US Department of Defense [DOD] and military have been systematically blanketing all our skies with what are known as Chemtrails (also known as Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering).(2) These differ vastly from the usual plane contrails that evaporate rather quickly in the sky.  Chemtrails do not dissipate. Rather, planes (fitted with special nozzles) release aerosols “lines” in the sky that do not evaporate. Multiple planes are deployed, flying parallel (or often “checkerboard” patterns) overhead; and soon the sky is blanketed with many grayish-white lines [miles and miles long, although this is changing]. At first, these lines are thin; but soon they expand and, in a short time, merge together. Our once-blue sky has vanished and has been replaced by a grayish-white toxic haze that blots out and greatly diminishes our usual sunshine.

Military and commercial planes are involved in more than 60 secret operations. Last year, when I flew across the country, I saw a United Airlines jet (flying below us at about 37,000 feet) spraying a black aerosol that went for miles and miles across the sky. This clandestine program now includes aerosol-spraying planes in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand [all NATO countries]. Hundreds (if not thousands) of people have called and written their public officials to get answers. Replies from US and Canadian officials are not forthcoming; or, if they do reply, queries are dismissed. This remains an ongoing, deliberate cover-up. No one is held accountable, while we continued to be poisoned daily. This is not the first time, however, that citizens are being used as experimental laboratory test subjects. The US government and its military have a very long and sordid history of using us, without informed consent, in this illegal manner. As Carole Pellatt notes:

The U.S. military has been spraying chemical and biological weapons in open air testing over civilian populations since the 1940’s. They are called “vulnerability tests”. This is not a controversial statement. The military has admitted to this practice on many occasions and there’s plenty of documentation from the government to corroborate it. There is also documentation of intentional, experimental releases of radiation on civilian populations. Unfortunately, this information tends to surface long after it could have saved lives, or eased the suffering of victims.(3)

Over the past decade, independent testing of Chemtrails around the country has shown a dangerous, extremely poisonous brew that includes: barium, nano aluminum-coated fiberglass [known as CHAFF], radioactive thorium, cadmium, chromium, nickel, desiccated blood, mold spores, yellow fungal mycotoxins, ethylene dibromide, and polymer fibers. Barium can be compared to the toxicity of arsenic.(4) Barium is known to adversely affect the heart. Aluminum has a history of damaging brain function. Independent researchers and labs continue to show off-the-scale levels of these poisons. A few “anonymous” officials have acknowledged this on-going aerosol spraying.(5)

Numerous tests have been done to verify that these poisons are off the scale in their toxicity. They are documented in our water, in our soil, and in our air. For more than 10 years, researcher Clifford Carnicom has been valiantly and systematically reporting on the various detrimental aspects of these aerosols –and what they are doing to our entire environment, as well as our blood.(6) Various “sky watch” groups also have been carefully documenting and diligently reporting about these daily assaults.(7)

With all these poisons surrounding our every breath, it is not surprising to see a dramatic increase in illnesses. There are numerous reports of the increase in cardiac deaths and upper respiratory illnesses (asthma, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, and often multiple chronic illnesses). Chemtrails toxicity has already dramatically affected our deteriorating “collective health.” The significant increase in heart disease and various upper respiratory illnesses has been linked to a vast increase in “particulate matter” in our air. This can be seen by some revealing statistics:

1. Coronary heart disease is now the leading cause of death in the US. According to the CDC, in 2006, 631,636 died of heart disease. This means 1 out of every 5 Americans are affected.(8)

In Canada, every seven minutes someone dies of heart disease.(9)

2. Asthma and upper respiratory illnesses. Between 100-150 million people suffer from asthma worldwide. In the US, 16.4 million adults have asthma and 7 million children have it. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema: 9.8 million Americans were diagnosed with chronic bronchitis this past year; for emphysema the figure is 3.8 million.(10) Total: 37 million Americans afflicted.

In Canada, 2.4 million have been diagnosed with asthma.

3. Particulate matter in air pollution. Particulate matter [PM] consists of tiny particles 10 microns or less. [1 micron is about 1/70 the thickness of a single human hair.] These particles can lodge in the deepest part of your lungs; and over a period of time, they can damage lung function. This kind of pollution, that we breathe daily, can and does cause various upper respiratory illnesses, coronary heart disease, and premature aging and death. Particulate matter can also exacerbate any existing illness.(11) Unanswered questions: Does hazardous particulate matter act in synergistic ways in human bodies (as do endocrine disrupting chemicals)? How does PM affect millions who already have multiple chronic illnesses?

Brain Injury

Even with the increases in preventable illnesses, the issue that has not been linked or addressed –with what Clifford Carnicom rightly calls “aerosol crimes”– is the deterioration of cognitive function. Our immune system is already under siege daily; and this has resulted in millions (possibly billions) of people with not just one illness, but often multiple ones. The skin, the largest organ in our body, is a permeable membrane. This means that invisible toxins in our air, including Chemtrails and other highly dangerous chemicals, go right into our skin. Poisoned rainwater (or snow touching our skin) does the same thing. When the air we breathe is filled with a dangerous assortment of toxins, with each breath we take, these poisons assault our entire immune system. These poisons also affect our brain and, thus, our cognitive function.

Aluminum is a major component in these aerosols. Although it is our planet’s most abundant metal, our body has no biological need for it. Pesticide Action Network North America [PANNA] lists it as “toxic to humans, including carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, neurotoxicity, and acute toxicity.”(12) Yet, aluminum is commonly used [this is a very short list] in vaccines, deodorants and anti-perspirants, over-the-counter medications, soft drink and beer cans [aluminum leeches from the cans], baking powder, cake mixes, processed cheeses, and other food products and additives. Over years, aluminum accumulates in the brain, tissues, and to a lesser amount the bones. It causes brain degeneration, dysfunction and damage –due to the blockage and reduced blood flow and oxygen of brain arteries. The brain shrinks, as brain cells die. This causes dementia. Symptoms include: emotional outbursts, paranoia, forgetfulness and memory loss, speech incoherence, irritability, diminished alertness, changes in personality, and poor/bad judgment. All these are on the rise, as more than 4-million Americans are afflicted. Brain deterioration and dementia take decades to cause serious and visible harm. Eventually, however, dementia is fatal. “Alzheimer’s” is now being used incorrectly as a catch-all term for all kinds of dementia. Just a few days ago, the front page of the New York Times had a headline: “More with Dementia Wander from Home.”(13) People afflicted with, what the Times terms “Alzheimer’s” were interviewed. One person mentioned he “has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.” This is patently wrong. Alzheimer’s dementia can only be accurately diagnosed after death when a post-mortem can be done. However, heavy metals poisoning can be diagnosed through lab testing; but this is rarely done for basic check-ups.

What is not addressed in this increase in dementia is the more than 10 years of breathing Chemtrails with nano aluminum-coated fiberglass. Billions of tons have been sprayed on us.

With all these sources of aluminum added to the air we breathe with each breath, the cumulative toxicity is very high. Even in daily events, it is obvious –to anyone who is paying attention– that many people are behaving oddly. While it may be considered “anecdotal” reporting, there are millions of people whose behavior is strange. There have been numerous times in just the past year when I have asked someone a question and received an answer that is totally unrelated. There have been more and more uncontrolled outbursts in public areas: someone “snaps” for no apparent reason. Violence levels are up. Look at all the shootings on school campuses. There are more unexplained auto accidents that never should have happened. In just one day a few weeks ago, I witnessed three traffic accidents that need not have happened. The news is full of these stories.

Add to this already highly toxic body burden is the US military’s use of aluminum in its aerosols. It is used because of its electrical conductivity, durability, and light weight. The US Air Force reported in 1997 that it released “2 million, 6-7 ounce bundles of CHAFF.” These are laid by military aircraft form 15-50 miles in length.(14) Another unanswered question: Why is the USAF not releasing up-to-date figures?

A 2002 report notes that: “over the last 25 years, the US Navy [has released from planes] several hundred thousand pounds of aluminized chaff during flight operations over a training area on the Chesapeake Bay.”(15) If the Navy used hundreds of thousands of pounds in just this small area of the US, what could be extrapolated for the release of possibly billions of tons of nano aluminum by all the military divisions throughout the US and Canada more recently than 2002? CHAFF is being stored that has lead in it. Has that been released, without our knowledge, and added to these aerosols? What enormous, yet invisible, harm has that created for all of us?

Dr. Hildegarde Staninger reported last year that “exposure to aerial emissions of nano composite materials resulted in cholinesterase inhibition.”(16) The human body has three kinds of cholinesterase: for the brain, for plasma (manufactured by the liver), and red blood cells. Some pesticides and nerve gases (such as VX, an organophosphate) inhibit cholinesterase. The chronic inhibition of this enzyme (that normally circulates in red blood cells), caused by the spraying of these Chemtrails aerosols [for weather modification, but also used for mosquito and other insect eradication], causes chronic poisoning. This exposure causes severe neurological disorders, including paralysis in humans.

In a ground-breaking 2003 online essay, Dr. Kaye Kilburn, asks: “Why is Chemical Brain Injury Ignored?”(17) His article lists 13 concealed factors that affect our willingness to believe that dangerous chemicals do affect the brain. They include: 1. “It’s all in your head” [meaning real symptoms are ignored by allopathic medicine].

2. Resistance to vulnerability [individuals, and society collectively, cannot believe the brain is at risk].

3. The acceptance of mind-altering prescription drugs [such as Paxil] that can and do affect the brain [millions are on anti-depressants –what long-term damage does that also do to cognitive thinking?].

4. Chemical brain injury is considered not to be “an imminent threat.”

5. Competition from other serious threats [causing indifference or denial];

6. Delay in acknowledging health risks.

7. Economic interests [delaying tactics by big corporations are well known –delay continues profits and ignores taking responsibility –We are all expendable for corporate profits].

8. The field of neurology has been slow to consider causes [how many independent researchers are left who do not have any ties to the pharmaceutical/chemical companies?].

In  all these valuable reasons for not addressing this human crisis, the one that Dr. Kilburn has not addressed directly is the chronic assault of breathing/absorbing these now billions of tons of hazardous aerosolized chemicals and heavy metals over more than a decade without our informed consent. When one does not look for or address primary causes, then other issues can be blamed. This, on top of a government’s silence or refusal to respond and the corporate media’s complicity, make for an extremely dangerous combination that puts us all at grave and daily risk. As brain function is diminished, and other things are blamed for it, any population is easier “to control.”

Dr. Kiburn’s research clearly shows that chemicals do affect and seriously harm the brain [and, thereby, cognitive function]. Chemicals –especially a daily onslaught of toxic chemicals over many years– can damage our ability to think clearly. Even if we find this hard to believe, the evidence is there. Dr. Kilburn has expanded this essay into the first book to research this: “Chemical Brain Injury” (published in 1998). Dr. Kilburn notes:

The brain’s preservation represents the only possibility of survival for mankind. To find in many parts of the country and in many individual patients that its function is eroded seriously by chemicals, chemicals that have been introduced into the environment basically in the last 50 years, is bad news indeed.(18)

It seems almost unbelievable that millions/billions of people could look up at the sky and not notice the dramatic changes that have occurred from what it was, for instance, in the mid-1990s. Then our sky was a gorgeous, deep blue. Clouds were a beautiful assortment of shapes. The sun was glorious. But people under 30, may not have a real sense of recollection about looking up every day and seeing this panoramic magnificence. Most of them are too busy texting or chatting on their cell phones. There are other issues to consider, as well: People are in their own comfort zones; and denial is a very powerful human emotion. In the hustle and bustle (now quite out of hand, for reflective time), how many people look up at the sky? It also takes huge courage, a very deep, internal willingness to examine politically motivated corporate controlled media spin, and search for the real answers. Humans like their regular routines. To re-examine what we think we know, based on new evidence, takes a willingness to think outside the proverbial box; to want to find out the truth –not the pervasive Orwellian doublespeak that pervades our society. If everything in our daily routine belies what is truly going on, it requires fortitude to explore the unknown –to question the litany.

Another courageous person is Dr. R. Michael Castle who continues to address the Chemtrails toxicity issue. He is a noted polymer chemist who has been interviewed frequently and has written articles about the extreme hazards of Chemtrails. Dr. Castle has also written a ground-breaking document, the Universal Atmospheric Preservation Act [UAPA]. This document has been in Congress since 2008; but is tied up in committee. The only way to have this vital piece of legislation passed is to have real congressional representatives actually representing us (instead of the corporate lobbyists). See:

http://anticcorruptionsociety.files.wordpress.com/22010/04/the-unified-atmospheric-preservation-act.pdf

Given these issues, since our collapsing society has so many different levels of deceit –the financial debacle, the lies and deceit of government and the Federal Reserve blaming people for the housing/mortgage nightmare, the emerging police state, the disasters that envelope our fragile environment– it becomes increasingly difficult just to maintain a daily routine and survive the economic depression and its daily fallout. Mainstream media does its supporting role and deceives us. Millions, like the proverbial lemmings, hasten to join the group demise. There are countless historical instances of this collective insanity. We Homo sapiens [sic, wise men?] have never learned the lessons of 5,000 years of history. This is because each new generation of corrupt political leaders (often tied historically to previous ones) never has the real interest of their constituents as a basic part of their political practice. Further, there is no Precautionary Principle in place.(19) It’s not the way the political game of deception works. Precaution is not part of an equation that is broken from the beginning. Humans are gullible and want to believe the Orwellian deceptions.

To add to this already heavy burden, to ask uninformed, although supposedly “well educated” [What does that actually mean, given that much of our higher education has omitted much of what Prof. Peter Dale Scott calls “deep political events” that never get into our history books?] people to reconsider what they think they know about what is really going on –this takes enormous internal strength. It requires profound courage. The basis of this “courage” actually means creating new synaptical pathways in the brain. Without them, we feel scared, nervous…because those new synapses have not yet been created. It takes repeated effort, and, thus, an emerging sense of ease, to create these new synapses.

If, however, millions of people are already on prescription pharmaceuticals to “calm them down” [long term, what is this doing to their ability to think clearly?] and, in addition, are breathing poisoned air rife with mind-distorting chemicals, then how clearly (if at all) is anyone able to think? How can anyone feel well and safe, if the very air we breathe is deliberately poisoned and is affecting our ability to think cogently? It is already evident that no one in any official capacity is willing to tell the truth. It is like Diogenes, the ancient Greek, searching for a truthful individual. No one seems to have the desire, or courage, or authority to stop this massive poisoning, because it is the secret plan of the elite insiders to deliberate destroy everything we once knew.

Our BASIC human rights, constitutional and international laws are mere paper. These rights and laws have all been torn asunder by those in charge. It has been done by stealth. We must organize peacefully. PEACEFULLY is the operative word. If these many-pronged aerosol attacks by military and commercial planes can spray these horrific toxins on us, year after year with impunity –against all laws– then it is absolutely imperative that we organize peacefully. As Peter Dale Scott notes in Jason Bermas’ new DVD “Invisible Empire”: we must use the Internet and our peaceful intellectual powers to come together and shut this nightmare down. It is possible to do this.

 

Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri is author of the highly acclaimed book, “The Uterine Crisis.”

Notes

1. See: www.ourstolenfuture.org

2. See Michael J. Murphy. “What in the World Are They Spraying?” March 3, 2010: www.countercurrents.org/murphy030310.htm ; and G. Edward Griffin. “Chemtrail vs. Contrail” April 14, 2010: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsWpSPBwA-w

3. Carole Pellatt. Connections. “What’s going on in the air? Yes, we are being sprayed.” Aug. 8m 2007:

 http://homepage.mac.com/carolepellatt/yeswearebeingsprayed ; and

http://homepage.mac.com/carolepellatt/MATRIX/INDEXCHEMTRAILS.html

4. See Pesticide Action Network North America [PANNA]: http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC41174

5. March 12, 2010:

www.lightwatcher.com/chemtrails/text/faa_confirms_Chemtrails. An interesting conference at the University of California, San Diego [UCSD], “Atmospheric Aerosols: Health, Environment, and Climate Effects” addresses some of the cardio-vascular increases due to “atmospheric aerosols” but these academics never use the word Chemtrails. Yet, satellite photos they show clearly indicate the atmospheric impact of Chemtrails. See: Jan. 31, 2008: UCSD: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztHV5RF-xyw

6. For numerous detailed reports, see: www.carnicom.com; www.carnicominstitute.org; www.bariumblues.com; and Dr. Marijah McCain. “Chemtrails and Barium Toxicity.” April 6, 2002: www.rense.com/general21/tox.htm ; Material Safety Data Sheet, University of Utah: www.chemtrails911.com/docs/bariumhealth.htm. This last cited website is very outdated. It does not address the increased amounts of barium now found in our air. Additional info: “Local News Station Confirms Barium in Chemtrails.” Nov. 10, 2007: www.youtube.com/watch?v=okB-489l6MI

7. See: www.newyorkskywatch.com; www.californiaskywatch.com ; www.arizonaskywatch.com

8. Heart Disease Facts. CDC; www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

9. www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.3483991/k.34A8/Statistics.htm#heartdisease

10. Asthma. CDC: www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/asthma.htm; and chronic bronchitis and emphysema: CDC: www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/copd.htm

11. Rosalind Peterson’s report: “The impacts of air pollution on health.” www.californiaskywatch.com/health_issues.htm  

12. PANNA: www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC33881

13. May 4, 2010: www.nytimes.com/2010/05/05/us/05search.html?hpw

14. [14. See: Rosalind Peterson. “Public and federal agencies concerned about the potentially harmful or undesirable effects of chaff on the environment.” www.californiaskywatch.com/documents/htmldocs/chaff_goa_dod.htm]  

15. “Effects of Navy chaff release on aluminum levels in an area of the Chesapeake Bay.” PubMed. US National Library of Medicine. June 2002: www.ncbi.nl.nih.gov/pubmed/12061831

16. Sept. 7, 2009: www.hildegarde-staninger.com/exposure-to-aerial-emissions-html  

17. Kaye H. Kilburn. “Why is Chemical Brain Injury Ignored. Pondering Causes and Risks.” Editorial. Archives of Environmental Health. March 1, 2003: www.mindfully.org/Health/2003/Chemical-Brain-Injury1mar03.htm

18. www.neuro-test.com/aboutKilburn/aboutKilburn.html  

19. Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri. “Worldwide Environmental Crisis. Gone Missing: The Precautionary Principle.” Global Research. Feb. 11, 2009: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=12268   

Istorija ima običaj da se ponavlja. Argentina prolazi kroz sličan proces kroz koji je prolazila Rusija nakon što ju je Vladimir Putin preuzeo od Borisa Jeljcina početkom 21. veka. Federalna vlast u Buenos Ajresu se sada bori da utvrdi svoju ekonomsku i političku moć.

Nažalost, Buenos Ajres je suočen sa opozicijom koju čine stari režim i oligarsi koji sarađuju sa SAD. Ove sile se protive većim nacionalnim projetkima, renacionalizaciji većih kompanija i jačanju izvršnog ogranka vlasti. Što se toga tiče, okršaji argentinske predsednice Kristine Fernandez de Kirhner sa njenim protivnicima podsećaju na Putinove okršaje sa ruskim oligarsima i političarima koji su želeli da potčine Rusiju Vol Stritu i Vašingtonu.

Svaka moguća prilika se koristi za oslabljivanje argentinske vlasti. Predsednica Fernandez de Kirhner je čak javno optužila svoje domaće protivnike i SAD da sarađuju kako bi promenili režim. Kada je ISIS pretio da će je ubiti 2014. godine, ona je tvrdila da u stvari Vašington pokušava da je ubije jer Vašington kontroliše ISIS.

Smrt Alberta Nismana

Poslednji okršaj argentinske vlasti je počeo u januaru 2015. godine istog dana kada su Izraelci ubili iranskog revolucionara, brigadnog generala Muhameda Alahdadija u Siriji. Tada je specijalni tužilac Alberto Nisman pronađen upucan u glavu u kupatilu svog zaključanog apartmana 18. januara 2015. godine.

Nisman je istraživao eksploziju zgrade koja je pripadala Argentinskoj izraelskoj zajedničkoj asocijaciji (AMIA) iz 1994. godine narednih 10 godina. Njemu je zadatak ponovo poverio predsednik Nestor Kirhner, pokojni muž trenutne argentinske predsednice 2003. godine.

On je par dana pre ubistva objavio tvrdnje protiv argentinske predsednice Kristine Fernandez de Kirhner i ministra spoljnih poslova, Hektora Timermana, koji je i sam Jevrej. Nisman je naveo da su „iranski zvaničnici isplanirali i finansirali napad, da je Hezbolah, saveznik Irana u Libanu, izveo napad, a da je predsednica de Kirhner sve to zataškala kao deo ugovora o isporuci iranske nafte u Argentinu“.

Jevrejski novinar, Damjan Pahter, koji je pobegao iz Argentine nakon Nismanove smrti, dodao je ulje na vatru, iskritikovavši argentinsku vladu iz Izraela. Pahterov članak je Argentinu uporedio sa nacističkom Nemačkom.

Pre nego što nastavimo dalje, važno je dodati da za deset godina istrage Alberto Nisman nije uspeo zvanično da optuži Iran niti Hezbolah. Takođe je otkriveno da se Nisman često konsultovao sa SAD povodom slučaja i da ga je Roland Nobl, bivši šef Interpola, optužio da je lagao o optužbama u okviru slučaja AMIA.

Nismanova smrt je označena kao samoubistvo. Međutim, tajming Nismanove smrti je veoma sumnjiv. On je umro samo nekoliko sati pre nego što je trebalo da svedoči pred argentinskim Kongresom. Argentinska vlast je izjavila da je njegova smrt iscenirana kako bi poljuljala vlast. Ova tvrdnja je u potpunosti tačna.

Peta kolona u Argentini

Guardian je objavio članak 27. januara 2015. godine u kojem se izveštava da je smrt Alberta Nismana nastavak borbe između argentinske vlasti i argentinskih obaveštajnih agencija.

U njemu je rečeno da su vladini zvaničnici okrivili špijune za saradnju sa Nismanom, među kojima je glavni bio Antonio Stiuso, koji je do nedavno prisluškivao političke neprijatelje predsednice. On je optušten nakon što je Fernandezova otkrila da sarađuje sa Nismanom i SAD.

Fernandezova je takođe iskritikovala Dijega Lagomarsina, koji je u ponedeljak optužen da je ilegalno pozajmio oružje Nismanu.

Gore navedene činjenice ukazuju na to da su unutrašnja bezbednost Argentine i obaveštajci radili na tome da svrgnu sopstvenu vlast na čelu sa Fernandezovom.

U Argentini postoji peta kolona. Treba napomenuti da ovi kolaboratori potiču iz vremena vojne diktature u Argentini, koja je usko sarađivala sa SAD. Upravo zato je argentinska vlada pokrenula istragu o aktivnostima nekoliko agenata federalne policije koji su pratili Nismana i odlučila da zameni Obaveštajni sekretarijat sa novom federalnom obaveštajnom agencijom.

„Moramo reformisati argentinski obaveštajni sistem kako bismo dobili sistem koji služi nacionalnim interesima“, rekla je predsednica Argentine. Ona je takođe navela da je Obaveštajni sekretarijat radio na tome da potkopa vladu i uništi sporazum sa Iranom.

AMIA je izgovor, a Argentina učestvuje u globalnom ratu

Slučaj AMIA je politizovan na dva fronta. Jedan su domaći problemi, a drugi su međunarodni odnosi. Grupa argentinskih oligarha koristi slučaj AMIA da preuzme kontrolu nad državom, dok ga SAD koriste za nešto drugo – da postave pritisak na argentinsku vlast i da se umešaju u poslove Argentine.

Smrt Alberta Nismana se koristi za demonizaciju argentinske vlasti od strane političkih protivnika. Opozicija čak navodi Nismana kao mučenika u borbi za demokratiju i slobodu u državi koju vodi autoritativni režim.

Iran nije jedina meta u ovom slučaju, niti se on svodi na traženje pravde za žrtve eksplozije. Kina, Rusija, Kuba, Brazil, Venecuela, Ekvador, Bolivija i mnoge druge države takođe su mete u ovoj globalnoj borbi između SAD i koalicije nezavisnih država koje se opiru uticaju SAD.

Konačni cilj jeste ponovno uspostavljanje američkog uticaja nad Argentinom i njenom spoljnom politikom. Tu spada i obustavljanje mera koje je Buenos Ajres započeo radi pridobijanja kontrole nad Folklandskim ostrvima od Britanaca, a koja se nalaze u energijom bogatom južnom Atlantiku.

Pored rata oko energetskih rezervi, SAD se spremaju i na poljoprivredni napad koji podrazumeva destabilizaciju cena hrane u Argentini, pošto je Argentina velika poljoprivredna sila.

The Road to Moscow Goes Through Kiev

February 21st, 2015 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) did not object to the appointment of new UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nikolay Mladenov, although he was described by Tayseer Khaled, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, as “persona non grata” — not trusted by the Palestinians and nor qualified for the job.

The 15-member UN Security Council unanimously voted to appoint Bulgarian Mladenov, 42, to succeed Holland ’s Robert Serry. He would also be the representative of the UN secretary general to the International Quartet (the UN, US, EU and Russia ), and personal representative of the UN chief to the PLO (the State of Palestine) and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Although protocol allows the PLO the right to reject diplomatic representatives to the organisation, observers cannot understand why it accepted Mladenov. There is no convincing answer except a futile desire by the PLO to appease the UN and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, at a time when PLO diplomatic efforts are focused on the UN and its agencies.

Mladenov not only failed in a similar mission as UN envoy to Iraq and resigned, he is someone who describes himself — and is described by the leaders of the Israeli occupation — as “a good friend of Israel ”. As Bulgarian foreign minister, Mladenov suggested a “military alliance” between Bulgaria and Israel . He has often spoken about his bias towards “ Israel ’s right to exist” and its right “to defend itself” against Palestinians resisting Israeli occupation. He even admitted to being a Free Mason, and publicly advocated the US ’s “constructive chaos” policies in the Arab world. In fact, his Jewish origins may be the least controversial aspect of him.

Meanwhile, the occupation state does not hesitate in ignoring the UN, its resolutions and representatives, disregarding and even assassinating them when necessary. Most recently, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to “expel” Mladenov’s predecessor Serry as “persona non grata”. Shortly before that, William Schabas, the head of the UN commission investigating the occupation’s recent war on the Gaza Strip, resigned after Israel refused to cooperate with him or allow him to enter the country.

After the UN tolerated the assassination of its first envoy to Palestine , Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte in 1948, at the hands of the Zionist Stern Gang led by Yitzhak Shamir (who later became prime minister of the occupation state), Israel was emboldened to adopt a permanent policy of disregarding the UN without deterrence so far.

In fact, over the past two years the occupation state has carried out a proxy war against the UN. It has facilitated logistics, intelligence, firepower and medical assistance to allow the domination of militias fighting the Syrian regime on its side of the disengagement zone between the liberated and occupied Arab Syrian Golan. This compelled the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) to withdraw after its positions were attacked, dozens of its troops kidnapped and their weapons and equipment seized. Until today, the UN has not dared to rectify the situation, which resulted in the collapse of the UN-sponsored ceasefire and rules of engagement between Syria and Israel .

The Middle East is teeming with international peace envoys. The UN has one, so does the US , the EU, Russia , China and the Quartet. Their names change without anything on the ground in occupied Palestine changing. Except for expanding the occupation through settlements under the “peace” umbrella these envoys provide, without any hope that the international community they represent will be able to effect any real tangible change for the present and future of the Palestinian people on the ground.

So what can Mladenov do that his predecessors, the UN, the Quartet, the Arab League and others, couldn’t?

Khaled believes the real test, to remove Palestinian doubts about Mladenov’s role and mission, will be his position on the siege on Gaza and reconstruction there. However, Mladenov’s track record does not indicate there is cause for optimism. Nor does the track record of “UN special coordinators” since the creation of the position in 1994 and the subsequent expansion of its role, as well as the extensive history of choosing UN and US envoys of Jewish origins or related in the first degree to Jews, such as Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, John Kerry, Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk and Quartet representative Tony Blair.

On 6 February, the secretaries general of the UN and Arab League issued a joint statement expressing “deep concern” about conditions in Gaza . They urged Arab and international donors to honour their financial pledges made at the Cairo Conference last October “as soon as possible”, in order to rebuild the Gaza Strip and end the siege there. A few days ago, James Rowley, UN coordinator for humanitarian affairs in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, sent out an “urgent call” for these commitments to be fulfilled and an “immediate” lift of the siege on Gaza, because he is “very concerned another conflict will break out” if not.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry described the statement by the Quartet on 8 February after it met in Munich , Germany , as “short of expectations” because it ignored “all the old-new and evolving truths” of the occupation state.

The Quartet also said it is “deeply concerned” about the “difficult conditions in Gaza where reconstruction needs to be quicker” and urged donors to “pay their financial pledges as soon as possible”. However, it linked this to encouraging both sides to “restart negotiations as soon as possible”.

Restarting talks “as soon as possible”, nonetheless, must await the outcome of general elections in Israel and the US . This means the Palestinian people must wait for another two years in the vain hope of reconstructing Gaza . It is obvious the occupation state is enjoying the luxury of time, making easy the occupation without resistance, as well as building settlements without deterrence.

Before handing over the reins to Mladenov, Serry described the failure of donors to pay their dues as “scandalous” and warned “if there is no progress in the coming months” — not two years — towards a two-state solution, “the reality will be a one state [solution]”: the single state of Israel . Former UN coordinator Terry Rod Larsen said in 2002, “the Palestinian patient is dying in the interim.”

Last December, Serry warned in his report to the Security Council that a war in Gaza “could re-ignite if conditions on the ground do not change” in the besieged Gaza Strip. It is clear that what Serry described as a “deadly diplomatic vacuum” coupled with the ongoing siege on rebuilding Gaza, are an explosive recipe in the besieged Gaza Strip, the outcome and ramifications of which are unpredictable.

The “scandal” of donors not paying their dues to rebuild Gaza , as Serry described it, under the pretext that the PLO government does not control the Gaza Strip, is a green light given by the international community to the occupation state to carry out another military assault on national resistance forces in Gaza .

The scandal of Arabs not paying their pledges at Arab summits to provide the PA with a financial “safety net” amounts to flagrant Arab pressure on the PLO to accept the Quartet’s proposal to restart talks with the occupation state “as soon as possible”.

This is Mladenov’s dual mission as the new UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process. PLO negotiators continue to wait for a breakthrough by “peace” envoys that are imposed on them and appointed by the US and the UN, although they represent the occupation state. Mladenov is the most recent. He will not change anything on the ground.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories ([email protected]). This article was translated from Arabic and first published by Al-Ahram Weekly on 20 February 2015.

A small community in Uganda is challenging a UN-backed international oil palm venture that has expropriated small farmers and obliterated an entire forest on a Lake Victoria island to establish a vast plantation. Three years after the grab, Friends of the Earth groups are backing the islanders legal action, which is launched today.

Fighting a land grab can seem like a hopeless cause: the odds are hardly even when farmers without land or a source of income pitted against multinational corporations, European banks and UN Agencies. However in Uganda, one community is fighting back.

Four years ago, an oil palm plantation partly operated by the oil palm giant Wilmar International began on Bugula, a highly biodiverse island on Lake Victoria. Then home to about one hundred small-scale farmers, the project was sold to them with extravagant promises of employment and development.

Yet today, 3,600 hectares of pristine forest have been destroyed, replaced with a vast swathe of oil palm, and many farmers and their families find themselves destitute with little compensation – if any – awarded to them for the loss of their land.

Finding themselves in increasingly desperate circumstances, three of them are today launching their legal action on behalf of the rest of the community against the oil palm company, Oil Palm Uganda Limited (OPUL), demanding the restitution of their land and compensation for lost crops and income.

Although nominally independent, OPUL is 90% owned by Bidco Uganda, itself a joint venture between the oil palm giant Wilmar International, Josovina Commodities and Bidco Oil Refineries, a Kenya-based company. Wilmar International holds at least 39% of the shares in OPUL and is providing technical expertise for the project.

In launching the legal action in Masaka today, the Bugula islanders are taking on more than just these mighty corporations.

The oil palm project is backed by the Ugandan government, which even helped to finance it, and by a United Nations agency: the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which is “directly overseeing” the project after providing a $52 million loan.

So this is ‘improving access to land and tenure security’?

Established in 1974 after the World Food Conference, IFAD’s ‘motto’ is “Enabling poor rural people to overcome poverty”. Its Financing Policies and Criteria state that the projects it finances should incorporate “engagement with indigenous peoples” and“improving access to land and tenure security”.

The Bugula project is carried out under IFAD’s ‘Vegetable Oil Development Project – Phase 2‘ which claims to be aimed at “increasing the domestic production of vegetable oil and its byproducts, thus raising rural incomes for smallholder producers and ensuring the supply of affordable vegetable oil products to Ugandan consumers.”

According to IFAD, “Oil palm activities are carried out on Bugula Island in Kalangala District (Ssesse islands) and Buvuma Island in Mukono District. In the course of the project, about 3,000 smallholder farmers will directly benefit from oil palm development and 136,000 households from oilseed development. The project is directly supervised by IFAD.”

It records a total project cost of $146.2 million, to which it is contributing a $52.0 million loan repayable in 2018, co-financed with SNV Netherlands Development Organization, which is contributing $0.3 million. It claims to benefit 139,000 households.

The Ecologist spoke today with Alessandro Marini, IFAD’s Country Representative for Uganda by telephone, but he repeatedly refused to comment at that time because he was“on his way into a meeting”. He has since failed to respond to our email requesting his views.

The UK is the single biggest contributor to IFAD.

John Muyiisa’s story

In January, Anne van Schaik of Friends of the Earth Europe joined NAPE / Friends of the Earth Uganda in a fact-finding mission to Bugula Island, Kalangala, and visited the house of John Muyiisa, one of the plaintiffs (see photo).

John saw his 43-acre plot taken for the palm oil project, and has since not stopped fighting to get it back. John showed us the state of his house, which is about to collapse because he doesn’t have the resources to repair it. The foundations of the new house he was planning to build for his family have been left abandoned since the project began.

When he showed us the small plot that was left to him, John said: “We all depended on this land. My land was not only my income but also a secured future income for my children. It would have provided me with the money I needed to buy a new house. Now I have lost my land and our plans are shattered.” These concerns have found little sympathy among local government officials.

We also visited the nearby island of Buvuma, where IFAD has financed another oil palm project. When we expressed our interest to hear from the local community about the effects of the island’s palm oil project, they exhausted themselves by explaining the benefits of the project.

“There will be electricity, employment, new roads, and extra income for local palm oil growers”, officials told us. This sounded all-too familiar to what we heard during a visit in 2013, but two years on, these promises seem emptier than ever.

Once we had finished speaking with the officials, we joined them at a community meeting at the district house to discuss compensation for lost land. When the chairperson gave farmers the floor to talk about the effects of the project, many raised their hands.

They talked about how the compensation had been inadequate, how it is totally unclear to them how it had been calculated, and how some of them didn’t want to leave their land but were given no choice. Clearly embarrassed and annoyed, a local official responded and corrected them. “People should not first sign an agreement and then complain after”, he said.

His unsympathetic stance was mirrored by other government officials on both islands. Often we heard jokes about how farmers drank away their compensation money in bars, got themselves a second wife or otherwise managed to fritter it away.

This indifference, although unspoken, is implicitly shared by IFAD, BIDCO, OPUL and Wilmar. Indeed, the chain of responsibility stretches back further – to banks in Europe and the USA whose financial support sets the wheels in motion for these devastating land grabs.

Europe’s mega-banks financing palm oil explosion

Taking the case of Wilmar International, in 2014 US and EU financiers had a total of €371 million of shares in the corporation, and 1.1 billion Euro in loans outstanding to them.

For instance in the Netherlands, ING held more than €26 million in shares; the British bank HSBC held €298 million in loans, while BNP Paribas and Dutch Rabobank held €189 million and €111 million respectively. Deutsche Bank held €4 million in shares and €12 million in outstanding loans.

Like Wilmar, many of these financiers have adopted policies to address the environmental, social and governance impacts of their investments. However, there is no accountability mechanism in place for most of these commitments, and so there is no financial or legal incentive for financiers to follow through.

This means that many European financial institutions, through their investments in agribusiness projects, are supporting a significant number of what are in fact land grabs in the global South. Such incidents are widespread and growing: new cases are reported to civil society organisations on a near-weekly basis in countries from Cambodia and Papua New Guinea to Indonesia, Myanmar and Nigeria.

Europe needs to take action at the political level. Both by ensuring financial institutions on its soil are not complicit in land grabs, and by voting this year to finish reforms to halt the expansion of agrofuels which compete for cropland.

UN-IFAD must hang its head in shame

And clearly IFAD is an organization crying out for abolition. Its financing of the Bugula Island land grab is in clear violation of its financing principles and criteria, indeed the very purpose of its existence - “Enabling poor rural people to overcome poverty”

While IFAD speaks of community-driven development approach to fighting rural poverty, “improving access to land and tenure security”dynamic and inclusive rural development“food and nutrition security for all”“inclusive growth and poverty eradication”, and “sustainable smallholder agriculture” it is actually financing land-grabbing projects that achieve the precise reverse of all its empty rhetoric.

Indeed it is robbing poor farmers and farming communities of their land and livelihoods, leaving them destitute, and handing over their wealth for plunder by foreign corporations and profiteering financiers.

As for John and the rest of the former farmers of Bugula, the next steps in their fight for justice will be taken in court in Masaka. With pressure coming at them from both sides, the message to oil IFAD, palm companies and financiers alike is clear: the battle against land grabs is on.

Action: to support John Muyiisa’s struggle in his search for legal redress for the farmers of Kalangala, please visit our crowdfunding page.

Anne van Schaik campaigns for accountable finance at Friends of the Earth Europe, and works with Friends of the Earth groups in Europe, South East Asia and Africa against landgrabbing for palm oil plantations. In coalition with FERN, Global Witness, ActionAid and others, she works to establish regulation measures for financiers at the EU level.

Oliver Tickell edits The Ecologist.

The Impact and Significance of the Assassination of Malcolm X

February 21st, 2015 by Abayomi Azikiwe

A strong force for the liberation of Africans, African Americans and oppressed people throughout the world was gunned down on Feb. 21, 1965.

At the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights section of Harlem, New York, Malcolm X, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was preparing to address an audience of some 400 people at a weekly meeting of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) at 3:15 p.m. when he was interrupted by an apparent diversionary tactic. Then several men stood up and began firing shotguns and pistols at Malcolm X striking him at least six times in the face, chest and other parts of his body.

This act of public premediated murder deriving from a conspiracy was not surprising to many people. Just one week before, the home of Malcolm X was firebombed in Elmhurst, Queens Long Island where he lived with his pregnant wife and four children.

Malcolm had received countless threats since his departure from the Nation of Islam 11 months before. Members of the NOI security force, the Fruit of Islam, had made attempts to attack him on several occasions since early 1964.

In the aftermath of his assassination the corporate media proclaimed that his death was a direct result of political struggle between Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam led at the time by Elijah Muhammad who was based in the city of Chicago. However, what is often overlooked and not thoroughly examined is the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in conducting surveillance and other counter-insurgency operations against the NOI as well as two other organizations Malcolm X formed during the last year of his life, the Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the OAAU.

What the FBI Files Reveal

The FBI kept extensive files on Malcolm X and the NOI over a period of years. Malcolm joined the NOI at the aegis of his family members who had been recruited while he was in prison.

Even prior to Malcolm’s conversion, he had read extensively on numerous topics including history and philosophy while incarcerated in the Norfolk Prison Colony in Massachusetts. By the time he joined the NOI in 1948 he was well versed in logic, historical studies and politics.

Some of the earliest FBI files which have been released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) contain a letter written by him to the-then United States President Harry S. Truman at the beginning of the U.S. intervention in Korea where he stated that “I have always been a communist.” Malcolm expressed his opposition to the invasion of Korea and said during the last war he had attempted to enlist in the Japanese army.

This letter was written even after he had joined the NOI. Malcolm spent over six years in prison for petty crimes such as burglary and larceny during 1946-1952. He had been scheduled for parole in 1951 but was denied.

After his parole he came to live in Inkster and Detroit, Michigan where he had family members. After working in a retail outlet and a factory in Inkster and Wayne, he would soon become a full-time organizer for the NOI.

The files reveal that the FBI in conjunction with the Detroit police monitored his activities thoroughly. They noted in the files that he resided on Williams Street in Inkster and Keystone in Detroit.

Meetings taking place at Temple No. 1 in Detroit on Frederick Street where Malcolm was in attendance and spoke were recorded in the files. It was noted when he travelled to Chicago to meet with Elijah Muhammad and when Malcolm was sent to Philadelphia and Boston to takeover operations there.

In 1954 it is shown that he became the minister at No. 7 in Harlem. The content of his sermons were recorded in the files as well. Efforts were underway to determine whether he was in violation of his parole so that he could possibly be locked up again by the authorities in Michigan or other states.

An office memorandum from the Detroit Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI to the-then Director J. Edgar Hoover, dated May 10, 1954, says “On May 7, 1954 SA (presumably Special Agent whose name is redacted), contacted the Michigan parole authorities, at which time (redacted) advised that captioned subject was discharged from his parole by the Michigan parole authorities on May 18, 1953 and thus is not currently in violation of his parole.”

By 1955 it is noted in the FBI files that Malcolm was approached and interrogated by at least two government agents. According to the report on the Jan. 10, 1955 “Interview of Malcolm Little”, it says that “The subject was very uncooperative in this interview. He refused to furnish any information concerning the officers, names and members, to furnish doctrines or beliefs of the MCI (Muslim Cult of Islam, the NOI as described and labelled by the FBI) or family background data on himself.”

Malcolm maintained as reported by the agents that “he believes in all the teachings of Elijah Mohammed of Chicago, Illinois, and that Elijah Mohammed was his leader and that he considered Elijah Mohammed superior to all. Subject considered the ‘Nation of Islam’ higher and greater than the United States Government. He claimed that Allah is God, the supreme being, and that Elijah Mohammed is the greatest prophet of all, being the last and greatest Apostle.” (NY 105-8999)

The report went on to describe the physical characteristics, names and aliases of Malcolm X. Little or Malachi Shabazz. It also recorded that in 1943 Malcolm had been turned down by the draft board for induction in the military saying that he had a “Psychopathic Personality and sexual perversion.”

Malcolm X Splits With the NOI and is Assassinated Within One Year

Surveillance of Malcolm X and the NOI continued throughout the late 1950s and 1960s. At the time of the suspension of Malcolm X by Elijah Muhammad, his departure to form two other organizations, the Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the OAAU, the FBI files indicate that close monitoring of both organizations intensified.

One year prior to the departure of Malcolm X from the NOI it was stated in a book by African American journalist Louis Lomax that John Ali, National Secretary of the NOI based in Chicago, was a former FBI agent. The book entitled “When the Word is Given: A Report on Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X and the Black Muslim World” focuses heavily on the role of Malcolm X inside the organization.

Later FBI director Hoover approved a directive to Lomax saying that Ali had never been an agent. However, it did not categorically deny that Ali worked for the Bureau as an informant or operative. Lomax never refuted the claim and repeated it in a subsequent book entitled “To Kill a Black Man” written after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.

The federal government was concerned that Malcolm’s advocacy of armed self-defense would prompt violent activity on the part of African Americans. In one memorandum from the New York field office it details an investigation by the bureau and the city police surrounding the purchase of arms by a suspected member of the MMI.

The files from April-June 1964 contain copies of newspaper articles written about Malcolm X’s activities as well as a transcript from a radio interview in Cleveland. Later during a visit to Boston and Chicago, the full text of interviews or summations aired over several radio stations were transcribed by FBI agents.

In a memorandum from the SAC in New York to FBI Director Hoover dated July 2, 1964, its states “Basically, Malcolm X as chairman of the OAAU espouses the same line that he follows as leader and spokesman of the MMI. He continues to have an overtone of black nationalism; continues to criticize non-violence in the civil rights field and urges a policy of self defense; and desires to internationalize the racial movement and affiliate with African nations.”

This same document goes on to note that “The third confidential source used is (redacted). The LHM (letter head memorandum) is classified ‘Confidential’ to protect this source since revelation of information therefore might reveal this source which could have an adverse effect on the national defense interests…. The NYO (New York Office) will continue to closely follow the activities of Malcolm X, the MMI and the OAAU. Close liaison in this regard is being maintained with BSS (Bureau of Security Services), NYCPD (New York City Police Department).”

It then goes on to say “Any information coming to the attention of the NYO indicating that Malcolm X or his MMI/OAAU are planning any racial type demonstration or activities anywhere will be promptly furnished to the Bureau and interested offices.”

At the time of Malcolm X’s assassination at least one BSS or BOSS agent was present in the person of Gene Roberts, an undercover police officer. Roberts had been told by his superiors to go down to the OAAU headquarters and get to know the members, then win their confidence and apply for membership.

Roberts was eventually placed on security and was assigned on numerous occasions to protect Malcolm X. He admitted in several interviews that he saw what he thought was a “dry run” of the assassination on Feb. 15, the day after Malcolm’s home was bombed in Queens. During a meeting and later press conference at the Audubon Ballroom, Roberts says two men got into an argument during the meeting.

The BOSS agent said that he reported this to his superiors but does not reveal their response. On the day of the assassination when a similar argument erupted, Roberts left the stage at the Audubon and headed towards the area where the two men were supposedly arguing when one ran down the aisle firing while two or three others close to the front stood up and fired several shots into Malcolm’s body, wounding him mortally.

Roberts is then seen supposedly applying mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Malcolm on the stage. He reportedly told Betty Shabazz, his wife, that Malcolm was dead.

After the shooting it took uniformed police a considerable amount of time to arrive inside the ballroom. One of the assassins, who later plead guilty, Talmadge Hayer or Thomas Hagin, was caught by Malcolm’s supporters and was being beaten outside the location of the assassination. Hayer had been wounded in the leg reportedly by one of Malcolm’s bodyguards.

There were subsequent newspaper reports and eyewitness accounts that at least one other man, possibly two, were taken away from the scene as suspects by the New York City police. They later vanished without being charged in the assassination.

Later during the late 1970s, Hayer in an affidavit and interview with journalist Tony Brown gave up the names of four other individuals who were a part of the assassination squad. He had refused to reveal these facts during his trial in 1966, although he stated that Thomas 15X Johnson and Norman 3X Butler, also convicted in the assassination, were not accomplices.

One of the assailants named by Hayer was William Bradley, a resident of Newark, New Jersey. In fact Hayer said that all of the members of the assassination squad were from the Newark mosque.

Bradley is reportedly seen in a film clip outside the Audubon the day of the assassination involved in the brawl surrounding the rescue of Hayer by the New York City police. He is then seen walking away from the scene.

Reports have also surfaced that NOI National Secretary John Ali met with Hayer and members of the assassination team the night prior to the murder of Malcolm X. Johnson, who spent over twenty years in prison for a crime he and Hayer both said he did not commit, reported in a filmed interview that John Ali had come to New York days before the assassination to admonish the mosque there for not taking decisive action against Malcolm X.

A recent article published in the New York Daily News stated that “In the late 1970s, Hagan provided some tantalizing clues. In two affidavits filed in 1977 and 1978, he provided partial names for his four accomplices.” (Feb. 15)

Continuing, the article says “Hagan identified the shotgun-toting man who was the first to open fire on Malcolm as Willie X. Hagan’s lawyer, the famed William Kunstler, determined that Willie X was a man named William Bradley. But the case quickly went cold. More than three decades passed before Bradley was identified as the towering Newark man living under the name Al-Mustafa Shabazz.”

How could these assassins avoid law-enforcement scrutiny and prosecution for five decades? It was well known that both the FBI and the NYPD hated Malcolm X and his organizational work.

In addition, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) closely monitored Malcolm’s travels in Africa, the Middle East and Europe during the last year of his life. Yet the official version of the assassination promoted by the authorities and the corporate media is that his death was exclusively the result of a dispute between Malcolm and members of the NOI.

Bradley refused to make any comments to the New York Daily News and referred inquiries to his attorney. He maintains that he was not at the Audubon on the day of the assassination even though numerous researchers have identified him as being both inside and outside the ballroom.

Continuing Implications of the Assassination of Malcolm X

During the course of the 1960s numerous leading public figures and officials in the U.S. were assassinated including President John F. Kennedy, Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., former Attorney General and Senator Robert Kennedy, Illinois Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark as well as others. Researchers and journalists examining these murders have expressed dismay over the failure of law-enforcement and the U.S. Congress to fully investigate and pursue those involved.

The assassinations of African American liberation leaders and organizers coupled with police frame-ups, imprisonment, psychological warfare campaigns and other forms of counter-insurgency had a devastating impact on the struggle against racism and national oppression. Even today this same pattern continues with the mass incarceration along with widespread brutality and murder of African Americans.

During 2014, unrest swept the country in response to the police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and others. Nonetheless, none of the law-enforcement agents responsible in these incidents have been prosecuted by local authorities or the U.S. Justice Department.

When Barack Obama took office in 2009, there were efforts made to have his Attorney General Eric Holder re-open the investigation into the assassination of Malcolm X. This was never done as the Justice Department has neither pursued federal charges against the police and other racists for the killing of African Americans across the country.

These developments reveal clearly that the U.S. is still a racist state where the lives of African Americans do not matter. From the killings of pioneering leaders in the Civil Rights and Black Liberation Movements to working class and poor youth, the actions of the government on all levels speak to the need for a fundamental transformation of the capitalist system of exploitation and national oppression.

The US military will direct a major military offensive against the Iraqi city of Mosul beginning as early as April, an official with the Pentagon’s Central Command (CENTCOM) told reporters in a conference call Thursday.

The plan calls for the US military forces in Iraq to prepare air, artillery and ground attacks against the densely populated city of 1.4 million, where an estimated 2,000 fighters affiliated with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are reported to be entrenched.

The main body of the US-overseen Iraqi expeditionary force will be comprised of five brigades of Iraqi recruits, who will receive training at US-run camps before the operation begins, the CENTCOM official said.

US military advisors and special operations detachments will accompany the Iraqi troops, the official said.

The offensive will mark a bloody new phase of Operation Inherent Resolve, which has organized nearly 2,500 US and coalition strikes against Iraq and Syria and deployed some 2,600 US ground troops to Iraq since it began in August 2014.

Mosul fell to ISIS in June of last year, when a force of approximately 1,500 Islamist fighters routed Iraqi government forces with 15 times as many troops. Many residents, who had faced sectarian-based repression by the US-backed regime in Baghdad, welcomed the expulsion of its forces from the city. In a debacle for US policy in the region, ISIS extended its grip over at least a third of the country as US-trained and equipped security forces melted away.

Prior to the invasion by ISIS, Mosul, a city of more than a million people, had already been devastated by the US war and occupation that began in 2003. Approximately half of the city’s population, more than 500,000 people, fled as ISIS consolidated its control over northern Iraq last summer.

Washington’s plan to retake the city with some 25,000 Iraqi government troops directed and led by US “advisors” and backed by American fire-power threatens to unleash the kind of barbaric siege that was inflicted upon the population of Fallujah under the US military occupation.

The plans for US ground forces to fight alongside front-line Iraqi troops, directing strikes and providing combat support, stands in direct contradiction to President Barack Obama’s assurances last year that his administration “will not be sending US troops back into combat in Iraq.”

US and allied forces launched a fresh round of some 25 airstrikes against targets across Iraq and Syria on Wednesday and Thursday, pummeling targets near Haditha, Kirkuk, Mosul, Sinjar, Tal Afar, Al Hasakah and Kobani.

Even as the Pentagon was unveiling the plans for a siege of Mosul, the US and Turkey announced an agreement to arm and train new battalions of “moderate” Syrian “rebels” at the rate of 5,000 fighters a year.

While Washington claims that these forces are being prepared to combat ISIS, both Turkey and the so-called “rebels” are preparing another sectarian-based offensive aimed at overturning the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Whatever differences exist between Washington and Ankara, the move threatens a further escalation of the US imperialist intervention in the region and of the bloodbath in Syria.

An initial deployment of more than 400 US troops will oversee the training programs, Pentagon spokesman Admiral John Kirby confirmed, adding that the total may increase into the thousands.

The Syrian militants will receive instruction in light arms and “more sophisticated” military specialties at US-run camps in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan, in preparation for operations backed by US air and ground support. The Obama administration has already begun the delivery of pickup trucks mounted with machine guns and equipped with radios for calling in US airstrikes.

Anthony Cordesman, a former Pentagon official and leading strategist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, has placed the coming Iraq offensive within the context of a strategy for a wave of US military operations in the Middle East, Africa and beyond, in a paper published last week, titled “Boots on the Ground, The Realities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.”

Cordesman argues that the US military must learn from the experiences of the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, in which large US occupation forces won tactical victories while failing to enable local militaries to “stand on their own.”

The US must turn to lighter, more flexible deployments to maintain control over urban centers and vital natural resources, as central governments fragment and rebel militias increasingly dominate the hinterland, Cordesman argues.

“The ability to rapidly insert small cadres of ‘stiffeners’ like Special Forces, Rangers, and Marine combat teams may be more critical than to try to move large U.S. combat units,” he writes.

Such “high mobility strike forces” would bolster the conventional armies of “host countries” with logistical support, airstrikes and tailored use of the most advanced weapons systems, thus insuring a modicum of stability in countries of critical importance to the US government.

Indicating possibilities being considered inside the Obama administration for future interventions in Iraq and Syria, Cordesman argues that the US must develop joint forces capable of “controlling populations” and securing “key parts of the economy” amid conditions of “lasting attrition,” praising the recent success of operational, mentor and liaison teams (OMLTs) in Afghanistan in providing “forward assistance in urban warfare tactics.”

Syriza Capitulates to the EU

February 21st, 2015 by Robert Stevens

The Greek government has repudiated its election pledges, agreeing Friday to a four-month extension of the existing loans and austerity programme dictated by “troika” of the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

After nearly a month of negotiations with the political representatives of the European banks, Syriza has accepted the conditions demanded by the troika. The Eurogroup statement noted the agreement remained conditional on Greece presenting, on Monday, a “first list of reform measures, based on the current arrangement.”

Syriza’s proposals must be approved the following day by the Eurogroup and the troika, who will “provide a first view whether this is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of the review.”

April was set as a deadline for Greece to complete a final list of austerity measures, which will be “further specified and then agreed” by the troika.

The statement asserts the

“Greek authorities commit to refrain from any rollback of measures and unilateral changes to the policies and structural reforms that would negatively impact fiscal targets, economic recovery or financial stability, as assessed by the institutions”.

Without Greek compliance with these orders it will not receive billions of euros in further loans it requires in order to avoid defaulting on its debt of €320 billion.

Opening the press conference following five hours of talks, Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Greece had given “their unequivocal commitment to honour their financial obligations” to creditors. He stressed, “Economic recovery cannot be put in danger, fiscal stability cannot be put in danger, financial sector stability cannot be put in danger.”

Before the Eurogroup meeting began, German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a press conference with French President François Hollande. She insisted that the Greek government had still not moved far enough in accepting the brutal cuts agreed to by the previous New Democracy-led government.

Merkel warned, “There is a need for significant improvements in the substance of what is being discussed so that we can vote on it in the German Bundestag, for example next week.”

As negotiations were taking place, at least a billion euros were withdrawn from Greece’s banks due to fear that no agreement would be reached. A reporter from Greece’s SKAI TV commented, “They came here determined to have a political solution, otherwise on Tuesday it would have been necessary to enforce capital controls [on Greek banks].”

Syriza’s agreement to continue enforcing austerity measures under the dictate of the European banks is the inevitable outcome of its class position and social interests.

Commenting on the political and social backlash Syriza will face, Pavlos Tzimas, a Greek political commentator, said, “Very heavy concessions have been made, politically poisonous concessions for the government. It’s going to be a crash test on the domestic front for the government.”

Immediately following the press conference German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble spoke in similar terms: “The Greeks certainly will have a difficult time to explain the deal to their voters. As long as the programme isn’t successfully completed, there will be no payout.”

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis earlier signalled that Syriza was ready to accept virtually anything. Athens had “gone not an extra mile [but] an extra 10 miles” in its proposal for the extension, he said. Other euro zone nations would have to meet Greece “not half way, but one-fifth of the way” in order to reach agreement.

The announcement on Friday followed by only one day the German governments’ emphatic rejection Thursday of a proposal by the Greek government for an extension of its previous credit agreement with the EU.

In that proposal, presented by Varoufakis, Greece insisted that the “new government is committed to a broader and deeper reform process aimed at durably improving growth and employment prospects, achieving debt sustainability and financial stability.” In the vaguest terms, it called for “enhancing social fairness and mitigating the significant social cost of the ongoing crisis.”

As soon as the text of the proposal from Varoufakis was made public, the German Finance Ministry rejected it. Financial Times writer Peter Spiegel pointed out that Germany took particular exception to language that “seems to leave main points open to negotiation” by stating that the “purpose of the requested six-month extension of the Agreement’s duration” is “to agree the mutually acceptable financial and administrative terms…”

For Europe’s ruling elite, there are no “mutually acceptable financial and administrative terms,” only an unconditional surrender.

Reuters published a document it said, “describes Germany’s position” in response to Varoufakis’s letter. It states that Greece’s request “opens immense room for interpretation” and includes no clear commitment to successfully conclude the current programme, and it falls short of a clear freeze of Greek measures.”

The document spelled out the precise wording that would be acceptable. It stated,

“We need a clear and convincing commitment by Greece, which may just contain three short and well understandable sentences: ‘We apply for the extension of the current programme, making use of built-in flexibility. We will agree with the institutions any changes in measures from the existing MoU. And we aim at successfully concluding the programme’.”

In the end, this is what Syriza agreed to. It balked only at returning with an agreement that explicitly called on it to impose the hated “Memorandum of Understanding”—the list of austerity measures originally agreed to as part of the loan agreement. Syriza was allowed to have the “troika” renamed as the “institutions” and the “Memorandum of Understanding – MoU” recast as the “Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement” (MFAFA)

However, the MFAFA, the official name of the loan agreement, includes language requiring that Greece “comply with the measures set out in the MoU,” that is, with the austerity measures dictated by the European banks.

The abject capitulation of the Syriza government exposes the utter political bankruptcy of the myriad petty-bourgeois pseudo-left organizations throughout the world who just a few weeks ago hailed the electoral victory of Tsipras as an earth-shaking event. Far from denouncing Syriza’s betrayal, these groups will work overtime conjuring up excuses and justifications. But broad sections of the Greek working class will see the agreement for what it is: a cynical and cowardly act of political treachery.

The Saker web site reports rebel forces in total control of Debaltsevo. It cites Russian sources saying about 1,000 troops didn’t surrender.

Sputnik News reported Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) military spokesman Eduard Basurin estimating about 3,000 junta troops remaining.

Rebels intend simply waiting them out to succumb to hunger, cold and recognition that continued fighting is futile. They can’t last much longer. They’re virtually out of ammunition and food.

Debaltsevo represents the “catastrophic collapse of combat capability of the junta forces,” said The Saker. It’s why Poroshenko is desperate for Western help. He wants NATO doing his fighting for him.

Kiev’s military is a spent force. The Saker said it reached its “breaking point.” Debaltsevo represents a Ukrainian Stalingrad. Engaging rebels head-to-head assures more catastrophic defeats.

Especially since Ukrainian conscripts don’t what to wage war on their own people. Rebels are determined to prevail in their freedom struggle from fascist rule.

It’s just a matter of time before conflict resumes full-force. Perhaps this time with US-led NATO doing Kiev’s fighting.

Poroshenko Bloc MP Vadim Denisenko urged NATO air strikes on rebel held areas. The Alliance “is very slow in acting,” he said.

Only now are there public discussions about Kiev’s open secret. Washington and other NATO countries have been supplying heavy weapons throughout months of conflict covertly.

On Tuesday, Putin said “(a)ccording to our information,” Western countries are already delivering arms.”

They accomplish nothing but more death and destruction. The don’t change the balance of things on the ground.

Supplying more heavy weapons means “(t)he result will remain the same as it is today.,” Putin stressed.

“(T)his is an inevitability, since the vast majority of the personnel of Ukraine’s armed forces, in my opinion, has no desire to participate in a fratricidal war, far away from their own homes, while the Donbas militia have the great motivation of protecting their families.”

“(T)he next step will obviously be air strikes,” said Denisenko. Maybe by spring. “(T)here is no possibility for a political compromise on the matter of solving the conflict in eastern Ukraine.”

“(A)ll that’s left to do is to formally declare (full-scale) war.” Junta forces need all the help they can get. A previous article said they’re outmaneuvered, outsmarted, outfought and soundly defeated.

Obama so far wages proxy war in Ukraine. Once Congress authorizes unconstrained use of military force, will he deploy US troops to Donbass?

Will he order air strikes on rebel held areas? Will he pressure other NATO countries to wage war? Will he end up ravaging and destroying another country? Will millions more Ukrainians be affected?

Poroshenko’s call for Western peacekeepers is a thinly veiled request for NATO help.

Kiev’s national security and defense council wants it. NSDC head Akekandr Turchinov said “(w)e hope (parliament) will support this this decision regarding an appeal to the UN and EU on the deployment of a peacekeeping contingent to Ukraine.”

Its parliament is rubber-stamp. Fascist regimes operate this way. Turhinov wants NATO forces positioned along the entire demarcation line as well as so-called “uncontrolled” parts of the Russian/Ukrainian border.

Imagine US and other NATO combat troops deployed meters from Russian territory. Imagine hugely flashpoint conditions.

Turchinov ludicrously calls it a way to “provide real steps for the peaceful settlement of conflict in Ukraine.”

Poroshenko says it’s “the most effective and optimal solution…” Deploying peacekeepers requires Security Council authorization. Russia justifiably expressed opposition.

Moscow’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said Poroshenko’s proposal indicates a “lack of determination” to observe Minsk II provisions.

“I think it’s a little bit disturbing, because they just signed the Minsk agreements on February 12,” said Churkin.

“And the Minsk agreements provide for” OSCE monitors only. “There is nothing about the UN or European Union.”

“So for them to start talking immediately about something else…I think instead of coming up with new ideas they should really work harder on implementing what they agreed on.”

Poroshenko and Turchinov proposing Western combat troops in Donbass masquerading as peacekeepers flies in the face of wanting real conflict resolution.

On February 18, Foreign Policy (FP) published a report explaining Kiev’s military dire state.Ukrainian youths reject war, it said.

They’re “making themselves scarce.” Growing numbers ignore conscription notices. A young man identified as Roman said he’s “against every war, but especially this (one) because it’s meaningless.”

It was “created artificially. The Ukrainian mass media helped this along by spreading this patriotic hysteria.”

Earlier, Ukrainian military sources said 85,792 summoned for service in 13 regions last year didn’t report as ordered.

“Now young men with views like Roman’s are on the run as the government tries to stem a rash of reported draft dodging and is cracking down on anti-war sentiments,” said FP.

Mass avoidance of service “raised questions about whether Ukraine will…be able to recruit the manpower it needs to defend itself against (nonexistent) Russian aggression.”

The Big Lie persists despite clear evidence debunking it. FP operates like other media scoundrels. Presstitution is national MSM affliction.

Truth-telling on issues mattering most is strictly verboten. Big Lies substitute ad nauseam.

FP blames Russia and rebels for US planned, implemented and directed Kiev aggression against its Donbass citizens.

It said nothing about lawless putschists running things. Neo-Nazis masquerading as democrats. Fully supported by Washington. Jointly planning their next moves against rebels wanting freedom from fascism.

Poroshenko serves at Washington’s discretion. His days may be numbered. Obama officials, Kiev hardliners and militant oligarchs may want him replaced.

Rumors circulated last September after earlier defeats. Talk was about replacing his fumbling administration with new leadership.

It surfaced again as junta forces faced defeat in Debaltsevo. The German publication Der Tagesspiegel discussed it.

Saying “in Kiev…an open power struggle (rages) between” Poroshenko and prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

When Poroshenko announced Minsk ceasefire terms, “some of the large Ukrainian TV channels turned away.”

“Even the 5 channel (he owns) did not show his speech.” Observers see an ongoing power struggle he may lose.

Ultimately things will be decided in Washington. Obama installed Poroshenko. He’s a convenient US stooge. If no longer useful, he’s out.

Yatsenyuk is a Washington favorite. He’s virulently anti-Russian. He wants Donbass freedom fighters crushed.

Perhaps he’ll be Ukraine’s next president – tasked with waging greater than ever full-scale aggression on his own people.

Maybe this time with US-led NATO help? Will Ukraine be another Libya?

Will Obama use congressionally authorized unconstrained war-making powers to unleash US-led NATO force like before?

Will Southeatern Ukraine be ravaged and destroyed in the process? Will millions more Ukrainians be harmed? Countless thousands killed or maimed. Enormous greater numbers displaced.

How much more criminality will Obama add to his rap sheet in his remaining 23 months in office? He’s already a war criminal multiple times over.

His lust for mass slaughter and destruction appears insatiable. Perhaps he’ll attack Russia after Ukraine.

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

 Gene therapy involves identifying and replacing faulty or missing genes, or engineering augmentations for existing genes to permanently cure a wide number of conditions and illnesses ranging from cancer and diabetes, to regenerative processes like rebuilding hearts or storing sight and hearing.

A breakthrough clinical trial in 2012 saw several patients stricken with incurable leukemia put into permanent remission using gene therapy. The actual process of creating re-engineered cells taken from a patient and reintroducing them costs approximately $15,000, and such procedures are still in the experimental phase. While this cost does not include the required intensive care required to bring a patient from the brink of death back into full health, it is likely the costs in the near future will be drastically lower than current and far less effective cancer treatments are today.

The transformative power of this new technology spells the end of big pharmaceutical monopolies who wallow in billions in profits year to year, enabling them to continue dominating modern medical practice through the skewing of regulatory bodies, the stacking of academic studies, and even the expansive, global bribery of doctors and other medical practitioners to push big pharma’s products.

As gene therapy enters into mainstream medicine, big pharma has attempted to control it. In order to continue reaping the unwarranted profits, influence, and power big pharma has accumulated over the decades, they plan to compensate for the drastic drop in prices and the fact that many conditions will now be permanently curable, cutting patients off from a lifetime of dependency on big pharma’s cocktails.

Essentially, they have announced that patients will be placed essentially into lifetime debt in exchange for single treatments that will cure them – cures that will be priced at around $1 million.

Indeed, Reuters would report in an article titled, “Insight – Paying for gene therapy: are annuities the next big thing?,” that:

Drugmakers contend that a one-time cure, even at a price of more than $1 million, would save money over the long term. But there are concerns that health insurers will balk at covering that kind of upfront cost.

The therapies do not cost $1 million, keeping big pharma a monopoly does. Reuters also includes in their article insurers demanding exorbitantly priced medications be discounted, and under pressure, big pharma was able to cut prices by as much as 50% and still stay in business.

The Solution – Decentralize Healthcare
Gene therapies are a focus of a much larger, emerging field of applied science called “synthetic biology.” Synthetic biology is the use of synthesized DNA rather than the mere cutting and pasting of it to engineer biological solutions much more precisely. There is also a dimension of greater standardization, which is being done by organizations and institutions driven by an ethos of open source information, software, and hardware.While many institutions and corporations are involved in synthetic biology, it is not as inaccessible as biotech has thus far been. In fact, universities, high schools, and independent local “do-it-yourself” labs are engaged in practicing and contributing to the field of synthetic biology.

For those that believe big pharma is a problem, the solution is not merely vocally opposing their business models and practices, but also directly challenging them and undermining them by contributing to and building up an open synthetic biology movement.
For readers, their first step should be looking up more information online - Wikipedia is a good starting point. For those lucky enough to live near a DIYbio lab, they should stop by and see about participating in their next workshop. Universities are also involved in public outreach and may have workshops or classes available.
For those who feel they are unable to directly contribute, simply helping to raise awareness is the next best thing. The more people that understand this new emerging technology, the more voices there will be calling for it to be driven in the right direction for the right reasons.
Gene therapy and other breakthroughs driven by a greater understanding of our genome belong to everyone. That big pharma stands now before humanity, dangling life and death over our heads for an arbitrary $1 million like a cartoon-style villain, shows that we have terribly misplaced our trust and this responsibility in their hands. It is time to take it back, and do with it what should have been done long ago – use it to save lives and improve humanity, not merely feed off of it.

Seeking the Truth about Ukraine

February 21st, 2015 by Walter C. Uhler

February 20, 2015, marks the one-year anniversary of the heinous slaughter of protesters and police by neo-Nazi snipers who transformed a relatively peaceful protest against Ukraine’s democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, into a violent anti-Russia coup. To this day, the illegitimate regime ruling in Kiev has done virtually nothing to bring their sniper allies to justice.

Many political actors in the West, including the Obama administration’s CIA and State Department, as well as members of the European Union were accomplices in the anti-Russia coup. Foolishly, they supported a coup in Kiev that provoked anti-Kiev mobilizations among Russians living in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Thus they recklessly courted the civil war that ravages Ukraine today, as well as the justly deserved devastating defeats suffered by coup regime forces in Ilovaisk and Debaltseve.

Nevertheless, like thieves caught in broad daylight, the Obama administration, the EU, and NATO have attempted to deflect the blame on to Russia. Russophobes within the West’s think tanks and mainstream news media have embraced their lies. Thus, so has Boobus Americanus. Consequently, the civil war that now threatens to dismember Ukraine also threatens to spark World War III.

Why? Because, Russia’s TV news has been equally successful in convincing the overwhelming majority of Russians that the U.S. provoked regime change in Kiev in order to weaken Russian influence in the region. Consequently, support for President Putin and anti-American sentiment have grown enormously.

Sakwa_DVFortunately — for readers who suspect that the relentless Western demonization of Russia and its leader, President Vladimir Putin, is a crudely hysterical, self-serving cover for the relentless U.S., EU, and NATO expansion that, finally, has met its Waterloo in Ukraine — we now have Richard Sakwa’s detailed and thoughtful new book, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands.

According to Professor Sakwa, the crisis had its origins in: (1) “structural contradictions in the international system” (p. 5), and (2) “the profound tensions in the Ukrainian nation and state-building processes since Ukraine achieved independence in 1991” (p. 2). Russia has played a secondary role in both, but largely in reaction to steps taken in Washington, Brussels and Kiev.

Professor Sakwa correctly claims, “The groundwork of the Ukrainian conflict has been latent for at least two decades. It was laid by the asymmetrical end of the Cold War, in which one side declared victory while the other was certainly not ready to ‘embrace defeat’” (Ibid). He might have added that America’s declaration of victory, called “triumphalism,” is just another strain of our relentless and obnoxious boasting, called “American Exceptionalism,” which dates back, at least, to the post-Revolutionary War period. Then, victory over the British moved the president of Yale College, Ezra Stiles, to proclaim America to be “God’s New Israel” and to compare George Washington to “Joshua commanding the armies of the Children of Israel and leading them into the Promised Land.” (Richard M. Gamble, The War for Righteousness: Progressive Christianity, the Great War, and the Rise of the Messianic Nation, p. 10–11.)

Triumphalism, as politics, reared its ugly head when America’s conservatives, with the support of the military-industrial complex, attempted to credit President Reagan (especially his military buildup) for the collapse of the Soviet Union. The inconvenient fact that Reagan left office in January, 1989, while the collapse did not occur until almost three years later, in late December, 1991, did nothing to temper their claim. More difficult to gloss over, however, was the scathing criticism of Reagan made by conservatives, just as he was leaving office.

It was then that William Safire, Howard Phillips and George Will claimed that Reagan had been duped by Mikhail Gorbachev. Mr. Will, for example, went so far as to assert: “Reagan has accelerated the moral disarmament of the West – actual disarmament will follow – by elevating wishful thinking to the status of political philosophy” (See Francis Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End of the Cold War, p. 467).

The triumphalists also needed to bury the contrary assertions made by Reagan’s own Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Jack F. Matlock. Ambassador Matlock denied that Reagan sought either the disintegration of Communist rule or the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But, the most fateful failure of the triumphalists, was their refusal to recognize, let alone credit, Mikhail Gorbachev for the conceptual breakthroughs that led to the peaceful conclusion of the Cold War. For example, it was Gorbachev who advanced the concept of “mutual security.” His foreign policy advisor, Anatoly Chernyaev, explained “mutual security” as follows: “We are by no means talking about weakening our security. But at the same time we have to realize that if our proposals imply weakening U.S. security, then there won’t be any agreement.” (See Walter C. Uhler, “Gorbachev’s Revolution,” The Nation, Dec. 31, 2001, p. 44)

That conceptual failure had fateful policy implications for post-Cold War Europe. After all, when the West commenced its relentless expansion of the European Union and NATO, it dismissively lectured Russia that such expansion was no threat to Russia – even if the Russian leaders thought otherwise!

In addition to displaying insufferable arrogance, the West’s dismissive lectures demonstrated that the triumphalists were in no mood to operate according to Gorbachev’s concept of mutual security. They were still playing by zero-sum Cold War ground rules that, in their closed minds, had won the Cold War. But, by doing so, they virtually guaranteed that Russia eventually would reintroduce such Cold War ground rules as well.

It was President George H.W. Bush’s sense of triumph – as will be shown below — that compelled him to persuade West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl to renege on his crucial promise to Mikhail Gorbachev: no eastward expansion of NATO. And it was the triumphalism of Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Richard Cheney, as well as his assistant, Paul Wolfowitz, that led to the promulgation of the infamous Defense Planning Guidance, which became known as the “Wolfowitz Doctrine.”

Writing in the September/October 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs, Mary Elise Sarrote noted that, at their meeting on February 10, 1990, Kohl assured Gorbachev that, in return for Moscow’s permission to begin the reunification of Germany, “naturally NATO could not expand its territory to the current territory of [East Germany].” “In parallel talks, [West German foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich] Genscher delivered the same message to his Soviet counterpart, Eduard Shevardnadze, saying, ‘for us, it stands firm: NATO will not expand itself to the East.’”

According to Professor Sarrote, “After hearing these repeated assurances, Gorbachev gave West Germany what Kohl later called ‘the green light.’” Kohl “held a press conference immediately to lock in his gain.” However, he did not mention the quid pro quo — no eastward expansion of NATO.

(The Soviet Union lost some 27,000,000 men, women and children before defeating Nazi Germany in World War II. By comparison, the U.S. lost some 400,000 during that war. Consequently, permitting the reunification of Germany in return for West Germany’s assurance of no NATO expansion eastward was an enormous concession by Gorbachev.)

Professor Sakwa believes, “There was no deal prohibiting NATO’s advance since it had appeared utter insanity even to conceive of such a thing” (p.45). But, I’m not so sure. After all, when Kohl met with Bush at Camp David on February 24-25, he was persuaded to back away from his informal agreement with Gorbachev. “Bush made his feelings about compromising with Moscow clear to Kohl: ‘To hell with that! We prevailed and they didn’t. We can’t let the Soviets clutch victory from the jaws of defeat.’” (See “A Broken Promise,”Foreign Affairs, p. 93-94 in print edition)

In May 1990, Gorbachev exposed the bad faith of the Americans and Germans, when he told Secretary of State James Baker: “You say that NATO is not directed against us, that it is simply a security structure that is adapting to new realities. Therefore, we propose to join NATO.” Baker refused. (Ibid. p. 95)

The worst consequence of arrogant American triumphalism in the first Bush administration was the “Wolfowitz Doctrine.” It came to light in early March 1992, when the New York Times reported the details of Paul Wolfowitz’s Defense Planning Guidance (DPG), which had been leaked to the newspaper. Mr. Wolfowitz urged that the United States:

“must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.” In a word, Mr. Wolfowitz had drafted a plan for everlasting American global hegemony. According to Professor Sakwa, “this has been the strategy pursued by the U.S. since the fall of communism” (p. 211).

According to the Times, the DPG stipulated that:

“the United States should not contemplate any withdrawal of its nuclear-strike aircraft based in Europe and, in the event of a resurgent threat from Russia, ‘we should plan to defend against such a threat’ farther forward on the territories of Eastern Europe ‘should there be an Alliance decision to do so.’”

As the Times correctly notes: “This statement offers an explicit commitment to defend the former Warsaw Pact nations from Russia.” The DPG also suggested:

“that the United States could also consider extending to Eastern and Central European nations security commitments similar to those extended to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab states along the Persian Gulf. And to help stabilize the economies and democratic development in Eastern Europe, the draft calls on the European Community to offer memberships to Eastern European countries as soon as possible.” (See “U.S. Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals develop,” New York Times. ) Thus, the DPG proposed aggressive policies that would keep Russian from “even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”

Yet, the reality proved to be much more aggressive than Wolfowitz’s DPG. Taking advantage of a weakened, inward looking Russia, the Clinton administration urged Warsaw Pact nations to apply for membership in NATO. Thus, not only did aggressive NATO expansion occur long before Russia became a “resurgent threat,” aggressive NATO expansion actually provoked Russia into becoming a resurgent threat.

(The triumphalism of the Clinton administration was best expressed by a proponent of NATO expansion, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: “[I]f we have to use force it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and see further than other countries into the future…” (Sakwa, p. 227)).

In addition to NATO’s relentless territorial expansion came a second type of expansion that was totally consistent with Wolfowitz’s DPG. NATO expanded its strategic concept to include offensive war, not only in self-defense of member states that had been attacked, but also to guarantee European security and uphold democratic values within and beyond its borders. In fact, the new strategic concept was put into practice a month before it was announced, when, for the first time, NATO used military force against a sovereign state (Yugoslavia) that had not attacked a NATO member. Russians of every class and political persuasion were livid, but nobody in the West paid much attention.

Russia’s compassion and support for the U.S after al-Qaeda’s heinous attacks on 9/11 quickly evaporated when President George W. Bush authorized American troops to invade Iraq. Vice President Cheney and Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz — the scoundrels behind the DPG — played critical roles in fostering the worst war crime of the 21st century. According to Professor Sakwa, “after the Iraq war of 2003 Russia became increasingly alienated and developed into what I call a ‘neo-revisionist’ power, setting the stage for the confrontation in Ukraine.” (p.30)

Also setting the stage for the confrontation in Ukraine was the further expansion of NATO. On March 29, 2004, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania Slovenia, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania joined Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic (which had been admitted in 1999) as members of NATO.

In 2005, after a protest against crooked elections in Ukraine resulted in the so-called Orange Revolution, the Bush administration hurriedly dispatched Daniel Fried, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs to the new government in Ukraine. According to WikiLeaks, Mr. Fried not only communicated the U.S. Government’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, but also “emphasized U.S. support for Ukraine’s NATO and Euro-Atlantic aspirations” (Sakwa, p.52-53). He emphasized America’s support for joining NATO, notwithstanding the fact that Ukrainians overwhelmingly opposed joining NATO.

On February 12, 2007, while the United States was still conducting its criminal assault on Iraq, President Putin aired his grievances about NATO expansion at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy. He said: “I think it is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernization of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them. But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: ‘the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee’. Where are these guarantees?”

Clearly, Western aggression and double-dealing were on Putin’s mind – just as it had been on the mind of every Russian leader since Gorbachev. As the grievances mounted, yet another threat arose — the eastward expansion of an “Atlanticized” European Union. EU expansion was not an explicit threat to Russia, until the very day that the Treaty of Lisbon was signed, 13 December 2007. Why? Because, under the new treaty, all countries joining the EU must “align their defense and security policies with those of NATO” (Sakwa, p. 30).

Yet, another provocation occurred at the Bucharest NATO summit in April 2008, when the military alliance recognized the aspirations of Georgia and Ukraine to become its next members. According to Professor Sakwa, it took protests by Russia, as well as “the combined efforts by the French and Germans to dissuade President George W. Bush from starting the process of Ukrainian and Georgian accession then and there.” (p. 54-55)

Then, there was the provocation that began in May 2008, when Poland pressured the EU to develop the Eastern Partnership (EaP) program, which targeted six former Soviet states (including Ukraine) on the EU’s borders. Although the EaP “was not considered a step toward EU membership for its participating states, … [it] sought to create a comfort zone along the EU’s borders by tying these countries in to a Western orientation.” (Sakwa, p. 39)

According to Professor Sakwa, “The EaP was the brainchild of foreign minister Radoslaw (Radek) Sikorski,” – called “another East European fruitcake” by “one perceptive commentator” (Sakwa, p. 40) – but he then drafted in his Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt to give the idea greater heft in intra-EU negotiations.” (p. 39)

The EaP became the EU’s method of forcing states to choose between the West and Russia. According to Professor Sakwa, “Its partisans insisted on the sovereign right of those states to join the alliance system of their liking. The concept of ‘choice’ thus became deeply ideological and was used as a weapon against those who suggested that countries have histories and location, and that choices have to take into account the effect that they will have on others.” (p. 40)

(The concept of choice was meant to negate Russia’s national security claims to a sphere of influence in Ukraine. But, as noted scholar John Mearshreimer recently observed, “the United States does not tolerate distant great powers deploying military forces anywhere in the Western hemisphere, much less on its borders” (Sakwa, p. 236, quoting from “Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s fault,” Foreign Affairs, September-October 2014, p. 78))

Thus, “the EaP represented a qualitatively different level of interaction that effectively precluded closer integration in Eurasian projects, and indeed had a profound security dynamic that effectively rendered the EU as much of a threat in Russian perceptions as NATO.” (p. 41)

Many pundits in the West, including Tom Friedman and Trudy Rubin, have decried Russia’s decision to upset the world’s peaceful “end of history” liberal economic world order by resorting to such revolting twentieth-century geopolitical tactics as invading another country. Their views deserve contempt, not only because NATO’s expansion has been geopolitical from the start – as was the U.S. invasion of Iraq — but also because the EaP “had a profound geopolitical logic from the first” (Sakwa, p. 40). It is worth adding that, by precluding “closer integration in Eurasian projects,” the EaP violated the very principles of the liberal economic world order that advocates like Friedman and Rubin supposedly hold dear.

On top of all of these provocations came the provocation that finally incited a Russian military response – Georgia’s military invasion of the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, in August 2008. Russia responded to Georgia’s attack by sending troops into South Ossetia, bombing Gori, occupying part of Georgia and recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It was a well-deserved humbling of Georgia’s reckless ruler, Mikheil Saakashvili, and a well-deserved smack across the collective faces of the U.S., the EU, and NATO.

Clearly, asserts Professor Sakwa, Russia’s counterattack in Georgia “was a response to the threat of NATO enlargement” (p. 40). Unfortunately, the Georgia crisis failed to make clear to everyone that Russia “is prepared to use force when its national interests are at stake” (Mikhail Margelov, quoted by Sakwa, p.5). Now, the world faces a possible World War III over Ukraine, because triumphalists in the West ignored Russia’s growing outrage over relentless and provocative eastward expansion by the EU and NATO.

In 1991, the U.S. commenced its investment in a democracy promotion program in Ukraine, which, according to obnoxious neocon Victoria Nuland, cost American taxpayers $5 billion by 2013. In 1992, as we have seen, Paul Wolfowitz drafted a Defense Planning Guidance that aimed at perpetual U.S. hegemony over the world.

In 1997, Zbigniew Brzezinski — who later became a foreign policy advisor to the Obama administration – had published a book titled The Grand Chessboard, which was:

“translated into Russian and is part of everyday political discussion” (Sakwa, p.215). According to Mr. Brzezinski, “Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.”

“However, if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia” (See Chris Ernesto, “Brzezinski Mapped Out the Battle for Ukraine in 1997,” March 15, 2014, anti-war.com. )

Between 2004 and 2013, the EU spent 496 million euros, in order to subsidize Ukrainian “front groups” (Sakwa, p. 90). In September 2013, Carl Gershman, the president of the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, declared that Ukraine represented “the biggest prize,” because it not only would cause Putin to lose the “near abroad,” but also might lead to the overthrow of Putin himself (Ibid, 74-75). In a word, the EU and the US had been waging a war against Russia by other than military means.

As Professor Sakwa put it, “The Ukrainian border at its closest is a mere 480 kilometers from Moscow and thus the whole issue assumed an existential character. Ukraine matters to Russia as an issue of survival, quite apart from a thousand years of shared history and civilization, whereas for Brussels or Washington it is just another country in the onward march of ‘the West’” (p. 75)

As should be clear, from the evidence presented above, Professor Sakwa devotes much attention to the “structural contradictions in the international system” that led to the “Ukraine crisis.” But, he also closely examines the role that the “Ukrainian crisis” played in the “Ukraine crisis.” The “Ukrainian crisis” is Professor Sakwa’s term for “the profound tensions in the Ukrainian nation and state-building processes since Ukraine achieved independence in 1991, which now threaten the unity of the state itself” (p. ix).

He notes three distinct and irreconcilable social and political tendencies that have undermined the state-building processes in Ukraine — the Orange, Blue and Gold. The first, which he calls Orange and “monist,” is largely based in Galicia and western Ukraine. It is ultra-nationalistic and wallows in its victimization at the hands of Russians. It fosters support for nation-building by focusing its attention on an external evil that has kept Ukrainians down. Thus, it is virulently Russophobic. But, “externalization means that inadequate attention is devoted to finding negotiated domestic solutions to domestic problems” (p. 70).

The Orangists seek to create a culturally autonomous state for Ukrainians, largely by constructing myths about its history and by purging itself of the Russian language. For example, they demand that Holodomor be recognized as genocide, notwithstanding the fact that Stalin’s viciously engineered famine of 1932-33 “was not restricted to Ukraine alone, with millions dying in the Kuban and the lower Volga.” (p. 19) Worse, in 2010, the Orangists outraged much of the civilized world when it awarded the notorious Nazi collaborator, Stepan Bandera, the title of “Hero of Ukraine” (p. 19).

The Orange tendency also can be credited for ensuring that the 1996 constitution recognized Ukrainian as the sole national language and described Russian as the language of a national minority — notwithstanding the fact that 80% of Ukraine’s population uses Russian as its language of daily communication, and notwithstanding the fact that, according to 2012 data, “60 percent of newspapers, 83 percent of journals, 87 percent of books and 72 percent of television programs in Ukraine are in Russian” (p. 59) As one correspondent put it: “Is there any other country on earth where a language understood by 100% of the population is not a language of state?” (Sakwa, p. 149) Clearly, it was a move made by a people with a huge inferiority complex when it comes to Russian culture.

The Blue and “pluralist” tendency, like the Orange, has been “committed to the idea of a free and united Ukraine” (p. x). But, it “recognizes that the country’s various regions have different historical and cultural experiences, and that the modern Ukrainian state needs to acknowledge this diversity in a more capacious constitutional settlement” Unlike the Orange tendency, the Blue tendency insists that “Russian is recognized as the second state language and economic, social and even security links with Russia are maintained” (p. x)

Finally, Professor Sakwa describes the Gold tendency; the tendency of powerful and corrupt oligarchs to use their dominant political and economic power to create chaos, suck the lifeblood out of its people, and make a joke of Ukrainian democracy ever since the state achieved independence. As Professor Sakwa puts it, “While the two models of Ukrainian state development, the monist and pluralist, quarreled, the bureaucratic-oligarchic-plutocracy ran off with the cream” (p.60). In reality, Ukraine has been a basket-case since its independence.

“One hundred people control some 80-85 percent of Ukraine’s wealth” (p. 61). Name the oligarch. Whether it has been Kuchma, Yushchenko, Tymoshenko, Akhmetov, Taruta, Firtash, Poroshenko, Kolomoisky, Yanukovych or others, the oligarchs have alternately competed or cooperated with one another, through bribes and political favors, to make Ukraine one of the most corrupt countries in the world (See “Welcome to Ukraine: One of the ‘Biggest Kleptocracies in the World’.”).

As a consequence, Ukraine is one of two post-Soviet countries whose GDP has yet to reach its 1991 level. One person in three lives below the poverty line and, in 2014, inflation reached 20 percent. Unemployment in the first quarter of 2014 was 9.3 percent – and that was after milions of Ukrainians had left the country to seek work on the EU and Russia (Sakwa, p.72-73).

Professor Sakwa is correct to note that “endless oligarch war and self-enrichment of the elite” was accompanied by “declining living standards” and the “onset of ‘stealth authoritarianism’” (p. 73). He also is correct when he concludes that the rule of Viktor Yanukovych was the most corrupt, self-enriching and authoritarian of all of. “Crude methods of physical coercion were applied, of the sort that Yanukovych had long practiced in Donetsk but which were new to Ukraine as a whole, and exceeded anything in Putin’s Russia” (p. 74)

The fact that the EU and Russia found Yanukovych an acceptable partner with whom to do business, did not prevent “the growing gulf between an irresponsible elite and the mass of the people,” which “was the crucial precipitating factor for the protest movement from November 2013. The ‘European choice’” – made by the protesters after Yanukovych backed away from signing the Association Agreement on November 21st — “acted as the proxy for blocked domestic change” (Sakwa, p. 67).

Professor Sakwa credits neo-Nazi Right Sector (Pravy Sektor) for taking the lead in organizing the defense of Kiev’s Independence Square (known as Maidan) during the protest against Yanukovych’s decision to accept aid from Russia. He also credits Right Sector and neo-Nazi Svoboda for preventing the collapse of the revolt on the Maidan.

But, he blames Right Sector and Svoboda, among other protesters, for the sniper fire on February 20th that proved decisive in achieving the coup that took place two days later. He also blames the “high degree of U.S. meddling in Ukrainian affairs,” and notes that Victoria Nuland’s infamous “fuck the EU” actually referred to “the hesitancy of the EU to go along with American militancy on the Ukraine crisis” (p. 87).

Professor Sakwa makes mincemeat of the claims, made by members of the coup regime and its supporters in the West, that by fleeing from Kiev, President Yanukovych had, in effect, abdicated. In fact, at least four attempts to assassinate Yanukovych occurred after his security service deserted him. (p. 89)

Finding the counter-mobilizations in Crimea and eastern Ukraine to be as justified (or unjustified) as the one that occurred in Kiev, Professor Sakwa observes:

“The forcible seizure of power by radical nationalists represented a breakdown of the constitutional order in Kiev; and if the constitutional order had been repudiated in the center, then on what basis could it be defended in the regions?” (p. 109)

Professor Sakwa also believes that Putin’s decision to annex Crimea was not part of a long-term plan to reconstitute the Soviet Union – as many fools in the West believe – but a “counter-coup” in response to the coup in Kiev. It proved to be enormously popular in Russia.

When attempting to assess what happened in eastern Ukraine, Sakwa concludes that:

“two elements developed in parallel: a genuine regional revolt adopting the tactics of the Maidan against the ‘Ukrainizing’ and anti-Russian policies pursued by the Kiev authorities; and the strategic political considerations of Moscow, which exploited the insurgency to exercise leverage against the Kiev government to achieve defined goals – above all a degree of regional devolution, initially called federalization – as well as to ensure that the strategic neutrality of the country was maintained” (p. 156). He adds that these goals might actually be in the best interests of Ukraine itself.

He reaches two conclusions about events in eastern Ukraine that this reviewer would dispute: (1) Russia probably supplied the SA-11 Buk missile-launcher that unintentionally shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and (2) Russia’s military had little to do with the devastating defeat that separatist forces inflicted on Kiev’s army at Ilovaisk. But, I’m in no better position to defend my conclusions than he.

In seeking to explain the accord in U.S. politics that unites liberals and conservatives, Sakwa goes beyond kneejerk U.S. Russophobia, which he dates to the failed Polish uprising of 1830, and quotes David Bromwich, who observed:

“The state apparatus which supports wars and the weapons industry for Republican yields welfare and expanded entitlements for Democrats” (p.226). Thus, for liberal universalists and geopolitical realists alike, the Ukrainian crisis of 2013 offered an opportunity to complete the ‘unfinished revolution’ of the Orange administration from 2004, pushing aside more cautious Europeans to consolidate U.S. hegemony (‘leadership’) and to punish Russia – for its temerity in upstaging the U. S. over the Syrian chemical weapons crisis in mid-2013, for giving refuge to the whistle-blower Edward Snowden…, and in general for its refusal to kowtow in the appropriate manner.”

When it all blew up in America’s face, the U.S. imposed sanctions, “the hubristic application of the instruments of hegemonic power” (p. 183). Noting Vice President Biden’s admission that the U.S. forced EU members to impose sanctions, he concludes that Europe demonstrated “it was incapable of mastering the very basic principle of modern statecraft – the independent solution of problems” (p. 204).

Professor Sakwa approvingly quotes Seumas Milne, who asserted:

“It’s not necessary to have any sympathy for Putin’s oligarchic authoritarianism to recognize that Nato and the EU, not Russia, sparked this crisis – and that it’s the Western powers that are resisting a negotiated settlement that is the only way out, for fear of appearing weak” (p. 222 from “Far from keeping the peace, Nato is a constant threat to it,” The Guardian, 4 September 2014).

Unfortunately, that was not Professor Sakwa’s final word on the matter. On the penultimate page of his exceptionally judicious and comprehensive book, he proceeds to undermine virtually everything he said about the Wolfowitz Doctrine, America’s hegemonic war party, and the threat NATO posed to Russia by asserting: “Russia’s stance of resentment and self-exclusion… needs to be modified to encompass the fact that neither NATO nor the EU is systematically hostile to Russian’s interests” (p. 255). Say what?

Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including Dissident Voice, The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also is President of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA). He can be reached at: [email protected]Read other articles by Walter C., or visit Walter C.’s website.

Obama’ recent visit to India netted a trove of economic, military, and nuclear power agreements with India. The visit – and the agreements -  underscored the attempt by the U.S. state to utilize its ‘pivot to Asia’ to create military and economic alliances with other Asian nations in order to encircle and isolate China.  

The military wing of the ‘Asian Pivot’ is called ‘Air-Sea Battle Plan’. It involves progressively moving up to 60% of  U.S. military forces into the Asian area, alongside the placement of new and advanced military equipment and new military bases and alliances with countries like the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan.

The economic wing of the pivot is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It’s a proposed regional regulatory and investment treaty which would exclude and which currently involves negotiations between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.

This military and economic encirclement strategy confronts, however, a very  large obstacle. The U.S. state may for now remain the worlds sole military super-power, based on its enormous expenditures for military, security, and online monitoring of the worlds’ people. But China has emerged in the past seven years as the worlds’ leading industrial super-power. In a shift – unprecedented historically for its speed – China has ,moved at warp speed in the past seven years to replace the U.S. as the world’s largest industrial producer.  As recently as 2007, China produced a mere 62% of U.S. industrial output.  But by 2011, China’s  output was 120% of U.S. output, and the gap continues to grow.  This displacement of the U.S. by China is the fastest shift in the balance of world industrial output in recorded economic history.

In the same period in which Chinas’ industrial production essentially doubled, US industrial output shrank by one percent,, EU industrial output  declined by nine percent  and Japans output shriveled by seventeen percent..

This historic shift of industrial power to China has immense consequences. To begin with, we need to recognize that real wealth is not money, stocks, bonds, or the  manipulation of exotic financial instruments such as derivatives as found on Wall Street.  Real wealth is the result of ability to produce goods and services which have value for human beings.

In China the hundreds of thousands of industrial workers churning out products in just one province – Guangdong – outnumber the entire industrial workforce of the U.S. An ever-increasing proportion of the worlds manufactured goods are produced:  each year in China: hundreds of millions of socks to cover the worlds feet; the majority of clothing worn in the U.S. while most-often bearing U.S. brands, is China-made; computers and mobile phones such as  the Apple products are primarily produced in China, as are the notebook computers sold worldwide by Chinese computer company Lenovo. The largest annual production of Chinese state-owned, joint state-private, and solely private  companies.  And the largest annual production of cars in any country  in the world now also takes place in China. And there are the high speed Chinese-made magnetic trains which increasingly crisis-cross the country, and which are being sold and erected in varoius other countries.

The notion that China’s rise can be ‘contained’ or encircled is dubious not only because of China’s industrial prowess, but also because of the international trade it engenders.

As the Economist magazine observed: “China’s international trade in goods did indeed lead the world in 2013. Its combined imports and exports amounted to almost $4.2 trillion, exceeding America’s for the first time.”  In fairness, it should be added that when international trade in services is added to trade in manufactured goods, the U.S. was still ahead.  U.S. industry also retains the lead in hi-tech production methods, though that lead is being narrowed.

China’s trade relationships with other Asian nations – nations the U.S. stare is attempting to woo – constitutes a particular barrier to isolating China. The China–ASEAN Free Trade Area is a free trade area among the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the People’s Republic of China.  Implemented in 2010, the China-Asian free trade zone  reduced tarrifs or import duties on 90% of goods to zero.

Prospective participants in the U.S.-sponsored TPP are still engaged in complex negotiations. Even if successful TPP will be primarily a regulatory framework and not an actual free trade zone. By contrast, China-Asian is already the largest free trade area in terms of population, and third largest in nominal GDP, in the world. Besides China, it includes Vietnam, Thailand,, Laos, Cambodia Myanmar, Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia.and Singapore.

Chinese trade with the other member nations is growing at a healthy 10% per year; and currently stands at about 500 billion (U.S.) per year. China is furthering economic integration with its neighbors by providing financial and technical support for construction of railways linking Chinese cities with key points in neighboring countries like Vietnam and Thailand.

As the worlds’ new industrial super-power, trying to encircle or catch China is at best an arduous task. “The train.” one might say, “has already left the station.”

The fliers touted new ballfields, science labs and modern classrooms. They didn’t mention the crushing debt or the investment bank that stood to make millions. — Melody Peterson, Orange County Register, February 15, 2013  

Remember when Goldman Sachs – dubbed by Matt Taibbi the Vampire Squid – sold derivatives to Greece so the government could conceal its debt, then bet against that debt, driving it up? It seems that the ubiquitous investment bank has also put the squeeze on California and its school districts. Not that Goldman was alone in this; but the unscrupulous practices of the bank once called the undisputed king of the municipal bond business epitomize the culture of greed that has ensnared students and future generations in unrepayable debt.

In 2008, after collecting millions of dollars in fees to help California sell its bonds, Goldman urged its bigger clients to place investment bets against those bonds, in order to profit from a financial crisis that was sparked in the first place by irresponsible Wall Street speculation. Alarmed California officials warned that these short sales would jeopardize the state’s bond rating and drive up interest rates. But that result also served Goldman, which had sold credit default swaps on the bonds, since the price of the swaps rose along with the risk of default.

In 2009, the lenders’ lobbying group than proposed and promoted AB1388, a California bill eliminating the debt ceiling requirement on long-term debt for school districts. After it passed, bankers traveled all over the state pushing something called “capital appreciation bonds” (CABs) as a tool to vault over legal debt limits. (Think Greece again.) Also called payday loans for school districts, CABs have now been issued by more than 400 California districts, some with repayment obligations of up to 20 times the principal advanced (or 2000%).

The controversial bonds came under increased scrutiny in August 2012, following a report that San Diego County’s Poway Unified would have to pay $982 million for a $105 million CAB it issued. Goldman Sachs made $1.6 million on a single capital appreciation deal with the San Diego Unified School District.

Green Light to Exploit

In a September 2013 op-ed in SFGate.com called “School Bonds Are a Wall Street Scam,” attorney Nanci Nishimura wrote:

. . . AB1388, signed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009, [gave] banks the green light to lure California school boards into issuing bonds to raise quick money to build schools.

Unlike conventional bonds that have to be paid off on a regular basis, the bonds approved in AB1388 relaxed regulatory safeguards and allowed them to be paid back 25 to 40 years in the future. The problem is that from the time the bonds are issued until payment is due, interest accrues and compounds at exorbitant rates, requiring a balloon payment in the millions of dollars. . . .

Wall Street exploited the school boards’ lack of business acumen and proposed the bonds as blank checks written against taxpayers’ pocketbooks. One school administrator described a Wall Street meeting to discuss the system as like “swimming with the big sharks.”

Wall Street has preyed on these school boards because of the millions of dollars in commissions. Banks, financial advisers and credit rating firms have billed California public entities almost $400 million since 2007. [State Treasurer] Lockyer described this as “part of the ‘new’ Wall Street,” which “has done this kind of thing on the private investor side for years, then the housing market and now its public entities.”

Gullible school districts agreed to these payday-like loans because they needed the facilities, the voters would not agree to higher taxes, and state educational funding was exhausted. School districts wound up sporting shiny new gymnasiums and auditoriums while they were cutting back on teachers and increasing classroom sizes. (AB1388 covers only long-term capital improvements, not daily operating expenses.) The folly of the bonds was reminiscent of those boondoggles pushed on Third World countries by the World Bank and IMF, trapping them under a mountain of debt that continued to compound decades later.

The Federal Reserve could have made virtually-interest-free loans available to local governments, as it did for banks. But the Fed (whose twelve branches are 100% owned by private banks) declined. As noted by Cate Long on Reuters:

The Fed has said that it will not buy muni bonds or lend directly to states or municipal issuers. But be sure if yields rise high enough Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan will be standing ready to “save” these issuers. There is no “lender of last resort” for muniland.

Debt for the Next Generation

Among the hundreds of California school districts signing up for CABs were fifteen in Orange County. The Anaheim-based Savanna School District took on the costliest of these bonds, issuing $239,721 in CABs in 2009 for which it will have to repay $3.6 million by the final maturity date in 2034. That works out to $15 for every $1 borrowed.

Santa Ana Unified issued $34.8 million in CABs in 2011. It will have to repay $305.5 million by the maturity date in 2047, or $9.76 for every dollar borrowed.

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified issued $22.1 million in capital appreciation bonds in 2011. It will have to repay $281 million by the maturity date in 2049, or $12.73 for every dollar borrowed.

In 2013, California finally passed a law limiting debt service on CABs to four times principal, and limiting their maturity to a maximum of 25 years. But the bill is not retroactive. In several decades, the 400 cities that have been drawn into these shark-infested waters could be facing municipal bankruptcy – for capital “improvements” that will by then be obsolete and need to be replaced.

Then-State Treasurer Bill Lockyer called the bonds “debt for the next generation.” Butsome economists argue that it is a transfer of wealth, not between generations, but between classes – from the poor to the rich. Capital investments were once funded with property taxes, particularly those paid by wealthy homeowners and corporations. But California’s property tax receipts were slashed by Proposition 13 and the housing crisis, forcing school costs to be borne by middle-class households and the students themselves.

The same kind of funding shift has occurred in college education nationally. Tuition at public universities and colleges was at one time free. But in successive economic downturns, states have made up for shortfalls in educational budgets by raising tuition. By 2012, tuition was covering 44% of the operating expenses of public higher education. According to a March 2014 report by Demos, 7 out of 10 college seniors now borrow, and their average debt on graduation is over $29,000.  The result nationally is a student debt that has grown to $1.5 trillion.

The State that Escaped: North Dakota  

According to Demos, per-student funding has been slashed since 2008 in every state but one – the indomitable North Dakota. What is so different about that state? Some commentators credit the oil boom, but other states with oil have not fared so well. And the boom did not actually hit in North Dakota until 2010. The budget of every state but North Dakota had already slipped into the red by the spring of 2009.

One thing that does single the state out is that North Dakota alone has its own depository bank. The state-owned Bank of North Dakota (BND) was making 1% loans to school districts even in December 2014, when global oil prices had dropped by half. That month, the BND granted a $10 million construction loan to McKenzie County Public School No. 1, at an interest rate of 1% payable over 20 years. Over the life of the loan, that works out to $.20 in simple interest or $.22 in compound interest for every $1 borrowed. Compare that to the $15 owed for every dollar borrowed by Anaheim’s Savanna School District or the $10 owed for every dollar borrowed by Santa Ana Unified.

How can the BND afford to make these very low interest loans and still turn a profit? The answer is that its costs are very low. It has no exorbitantly-paid executives; pays no bonuses, fees, or commissions; pays no dividends to private shareholders; and has low borrowing costs. It does not need to advertise for depositors (it has a captive deposit base in the state itself) or for borrowers (it is a wholesale bank that partners with local banks, which find the borrowers). The BND also has no losses from derivative trades gone wrong. It engages in old-fashioned conservative banking and does not speculate in derivatives. Unlike the vampire squids of Wall Street, it is not motivated to maximize its bottom line in a predatory way. Its mandate is simply to serve the public interest.

North Dakota currently has a population of about 740,000, or the size of Santa Ana and Anaheim combined. If a coalition of several such cities were to form a municipally-owned bank, they too could have their own low-cost capital funding mechanism, allowing them to escape the budget-sucking tentacles of Wall Street’s vampire squids.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her blog articles (nearly 300) are at EllenBrown.com.

War or Peace? Greece and Ukraine. Tomorrow’s World on the Horizon

February 21st, 2015 by Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB)

The terrible 2014 Ukrainian crisis should be understood as an absolute limit beyond which the “world before” disappears no matter what. It will either disappear in the chaos and radicalization of the system which, in doing so, will cease to be itself, or it will disappear by opening up to the new characteristics of the “world afterwards”… the whole question can simply be summarized as this: war or peace? But in any case, the world-before is over!

And the fact is that as soon as the dust of battle settles a little, we are finally beginning to see the landscape of tomorrow’s world in the distance and the paths leading to it, sometimes again demonstrating the appearance of real highways. Even if our team remains very concerned about the obstacles which may arise on the way to these paths, we believe that the gradual revelation of the future landscape is something good. Indeed, the great dramas of history often happen when people or systems see no way out of their difficulties.

Thus, in this issue, at risk of seeming seriously naive, our team has decided to focus on these parts of the future appearing on the horizon. The object of political anticipation is also to downplay the future. The fight in which we are engaged and of which the Ukrainian crisis is the most emblematic concrete expression, only opposes the forces wishing to commit themselves to these paths and those wishing to prevent them.

Our team has chosen to make the part of this GEAB issue devoted to the analysis of Syriza’s victory in the Greek Parliamentary elections available to the public.

Syriza: Catalyst for Europe’s politico-institutional reform

We have already mentioned the great change which Juncker’s arrival at the head of a Commission which he himself calls that of “the last chance” means[1], as he clearly expressed the idea that if the institution failed to connect with European citizens (or “democratize”), it is the whole of the European construction project as intended by the founding fathers[2] which will fail.

Now combined with this political will at the highest European structure, is that resulting from the election of a non-institutional party in Greece, Syriza[3], on the basis of a clear mandate: put European institutions at the service of Greek citizens’ interests, interests the extent of which we can already see overlap those of citizens of all the countries facing austerity, Spain and Portugal primarily, but well beyond. The feeling of a lack of control of the tools to resolve the crisis by all Eurozone citizens is slowly seeing the light of day and Tsipras clearly represents a political hope for whole sections of citizens throughout the Eurozone[4].

Syriza’s arrival, like a dog in a game of skittles, in the cozy atmosphere of the European politico-institutional system is a real catalyst for reform. And the fact is that if the community system feared Tsipras’ election (with, for example, Merkel’s threats to exclude Greece from the Eurozone[5]), one can only be surprised at the welcome currently reserved for him[6]. In fact, Tsipras seems capable of triggering a change that all the categories of European players are now expecting:

. In spring 2014, Jean-Claude Juncker’s campaign programme included a proposal on the need to “replace the troika with a more legitimate democratic structure and more accountable for its acts, based around the European institutions, with greater parliamentary control, both at European as well as national level”. But would it have happened at the top of the European Commission? Probably not. Therefore, Tsipras comes as a saviour, finally making reform of the mechanism of the crisis’ management and Eurozone governance possible[7].

. We have talked about Draghi and his covered call for a mandate reconnected to the reality of the crisis rather than the application of obsolete Treaties.

. The major European bureaucratic malfunctioning of recent months, judged to be the result of the limits reached by the so-called “intergovernmental” method[8], equally puts civil servants in agreement with Tsipras, likely to give more political direction to their institutional structure.

. The limits also reached by a financial system gorged on liquidity but incapable of injecting it into an economy at a standstill, allowing it to clearly see the opportunity personified by Tsipras to revive public investment which it contributed itself to stopping professing the ultra-liberalism[9].

. National politics stuck in technocratic governments or national union for the last six years, are back to life as we have seen with Renzi’s second political “coup d’état”, putting an end to the alliance with Berlusconi by reinforcing his political group with the appointment of a socialist head of state[10].

. And, of course, citizens who are finally hearing talk of a Europe which debates, thinks and which is looking for solutions which speak an understandable language this time instead of the incessant technocratic-financial rot to which they have been entitled until now.

The only problem is, once again, the media. Not that they are so buoyed up as one might believe against Syriza, but rather because they have a very limited understanding of the size of the stakes in the current negotiations between Greece and the rest of the Eurozone and the complexity of the reform project developing between all these players (ECB, Eurozone, Greece, European Commission, national governments).

The only reading to which we are entitled is to define if what happens brings us closer or distances us from a Eurozone rupture. But, we repeat once again: there will be no Eurozone rupture! No Grexit (nor Brexit as well probably)[11]): we are all embarked in a boat which can go far from the moment that we give ourselves the means to occupy the cockpit. History hasn’t been given a “rewind” button in which only ideologues and demagogues try to make their flock believe: the boat has left the bank and those who disembark will drown and capsize the rest[12].

The process triggered by Tsipras is nothing less than a complete change in the way the Eurozone operates. The troika system (IMF, ECB, Commission) has been revoked; Tsipras insists on negotiating with the Eurozone’s elected representatives[13]; a new more legitimate governance mechanism of the Eurozone will have to be invented, in addition to solutions to the Greek crisis. Such aims are unlikely to be reached in a jiffy, no more than peace in the Ukraine and between Europe and Russia. We are witnessing the slow and painful birth of Europe and the world of tomorrow, with all the risks that a birth without medical help (absent all anticipation) entails.

The main obstacles to negotiations are basically as follows: the ECB, which clearly has no mandate to agree to a single state’s request and therefore is waiting for a collective decision by the whole Eurozone; and Germany which is losing its domination – all relative by the way – that it had of the Eurozone (in the knowledge that this dominant position embarrasses it more than anything else and that it will abandon it with pleasure as soon as the next mechanism puts its mind at rest); the structural incapacity of the current politico-institutional straitjacket for the slightest reform (which requires going right up to rupture); the influence of countless hidden agendas which will inevitably lose influence in the framework of the current system placed under political control[14].

What concerns the Germans, just like the French as a recent opinion poll proved[15], and much more than Merkel imagines, they are certainly easy to convince of the putting in place of a solidarity system to exit Greece from the rut, aware as they are that the resolution of the Greek crisis wouldn’t only be good news for the Greeks. Moreover it’s this Eurozone here which has to be invented: a real Euroland based on solidarity and win-win reasoning.

It is something which hasn’t been discussed much in Syriza’s victory: here where our media passes its time analyzing the economic problems experienced by the Eurozone these last six years will raise political extremism, xenophobia, the rejection of Europe and democracy, we are seeing with Syriza or Podemos, for example, that European public opinion is holding up remarkably well under the shock, refusing as far as possible to opt for radical solutions[16] and, on the other hand, beating a path to anything which seems to be a sure alternative, but reasonable above all. Our team gives credit for this great collective reliability of the European people to the ideological opening up due to the internet and “direct” access to information. Politicians or the media can no longer take interconnected public opinion hostage[17], a fact which we will henceforth take into account in our anticipations… To read more, subscribe now and have access to the entire bulletin.

Notes:

[1] Source : Euractiv, 22/10/2014

[2] Being, according to the community of States’ principles, the objectives of peace and shared prosperity, and through democratic governance.

[3] Source : BBC, 25/01/2015

[4] Source : Euractiv, 04/02/2015

[5] Source : Le Figaro, 04/01/2015

[6] 2014 taught caution to our team which now knows that good news causes sudden breakouts of bad news. As regards Syriza, in this issue we are concentrating on the potential to exit the crisis that its election conveys but we are completely clear about the attempts that certain obscure interests or bureaucratic reflexes could make to block the developments taking place. This ranges from the system’s inability to agree to Tsipras’ requests to the risks of attempts to destabilize the country. Source : Club Newropeans, 04/02/2015

[7] Source : Le Monde, 02/02/2015

[8] “We are being killed by intergovernmentalism” a Eurozone leader told us recently. The “intergovernmental” method refers to the decision-making system of the 28 on a rationale of national interests, as opposed to the “community method” which would put decision-making solely at European level, both methods hoping to economize on democracy, which would be to base the European decision-making system on the will of the European people.

[9] Thus the Bank of England referred to the necessity of exiting the austerity policy a few days after Tsipras’ election. Source : The Guardian, 28/01/2015

[10] Source : Bloomberg, 30/01/2015

[11] Here again, contrary to what the media understand, a UK referendum on an EU exit would end in a refusal (as the opinion polls have already shown) and any UK blackmail leverage over the EU will end. Source : EUObserver, 23/10/2014

[12] The prospect of leaving the Euro is a bargaining tool rather than anything else. When we see the extent to which the political, institutional and financial system lives in fear of any decision likely to cause a stock exchange fall, we can’t really imagine them excluding one of its members! The good news is that they will therefore have to reach an agreement.

[13] Source : BBC, 30/01/2015

[14] ON this last aspect, we already remarked that a dysfinctional institutional system cannot even serve lobbies. The stake thus become common to relaunch the machine.

[15] “Only 15% of respondents were in favour of keeping the current Greek debt and repayment schedule”. Source : Les Echos, 04/02/2015

[16] Apart from the inevitable minorities and the effects linked to the absence of an alternative between the institutional and extremist parties… as in France or England, for example.

[17] Also seen in the Western media coverage of the Ukrainian crisis, not at all objective and extremely warlike, which has left people septic call at the very least

On February 10, Defence of Children International Palestine (DCIP) headlined “Palestinian children victims of Israeli abuse designed to coerce confessions.”

Virtually always offenses weren’t committed or were too minor to matter. Guilt by accusation is official Israeli policy.

Palestinian children are treated as mercilessly as adults. Most troubling are brutal beatings, other forms of torture and prolonged isolation in solitary confinement.

On average for interrogation purposes is 15 days, said DCIP. For one child it was nearly twice as long.

“Between 2012 and 2014, Israeli military, police and security agents held 54 Palestinian children in solitary confinement for interrogation purposes prior to charging them with any offense,” DCIP explained.

Most abused children were between ages 12 and 17. The vast majority had to fend for themselves alone with no outside contacts.

Unlike Jews, Palestinian parents can’t accompany their children when interrogated.

“In 93 percent of cases, children were deprived of legal counsel, and rarely informed of their rights, particularly their right against self-incrimination,” said DCIP.

Children even younger than 12 arrive at interrogation centers shackled, blindfolded, and sleep-deprived.

Most experience physical abuse amounting to torture before, during and after interrogation.

“Almost all children confess regardless of guilt to stop further abuse,” said DCIP.

Often they’re forced to sign confessions in Hebrew they can’t read or understand.

According to DCIP’s Accountability Program director Ayed Abu Eqtaish:

“The Israeli military detention system subjects Palestinian children to several days of prolonged interrogation and isolation with the apparent goal of obtaining a confession at all costs.”

Israel is the only nation “automatically and systematically” prosecuting children in military courts with no due process or judicial fairness whatever.

Each year, as many as 700 Palestinian children endure horrific Israeli brutality. Most often they’re charged with stone-throwing – whether true or false, whether any damage or harm was done.

Military courts are used exclusively for Palestinians. Jews get civil justice. Palestinians get none, including young children.

DCIP denounced Israeli barbarism. It “demands (it) end night arrests, prohibit the use of solitary confinement, and ensure that evidence obtained by force or coercion during interrogations is excluded by the Israeli military courts.”

It explains Palestinians are systematically denied justice. Including brutalized young children. Some too young to understand what’s going on.

On December 31, DCIP asked ”(h)ow was 2014 for Palestinian children?” Like experiencing a wide-awake nightmare for many.

Israel’s summer war murdered hundreds of children. In some case infants or newborns. Many others were injured. Some maimed for life.

Brutalizing Palestinian children wasn’t during Protective Edge alone. They “pay the heaviest price for the ongoing military occupation,” said DCIP.

Systematic Israeli barbarism includes:

“(w)holesale violations of children’s rights across the Occupied Palestinian Territory led to numerous fatalities and injuries, as well as psychological trauma resulting from collective punishment policies that affected children, such as house raids and demolitions.”

Palestinian children don’t know each day if they’ll live, die, be arrested, stay free, or be subjected to various forms horrific Israeli persecution.

Extremist settlers are as violent as security forces. Children are attacked at home, in school, going to and from school or at play.

There’s no place to hide. They’re victimized by whatever savage treatment Israel decides to inflict. Accountability doesn’t exist.

Young Palestinian children can be brutally beaten or otherwise mistreated with impunity. They’re fair game for all forms of Israeli ruthlessness. With no recourse for justice.

In 2014, Israeli murdered at least 11 Palestinian children – using live ammunition just societies wouldn’t tolerate.

Israeli forces routinely use excessive force. Palestinian fatalities and injuries follow. Incidents occur regularly.

Israeli soldiers and police operate any way they wish with impunity. Despite military regulations prohibiting live ammunition use except in instances of mortal threats posed.

DCIP found no evidence suggesting murdered Palestinians threatened anyone at the time of their shootings.

Lawless collective punishment is longstanding Israeli policy. Young children suffer most of all.

Arabs are criminalized for not being Jews.Their lives and welfare don’t matter.

They’re fair game for whatever horrific treatment Israel decides to inflict. It bears repeating. They have no recourse for justice.

On February 19, the Palestine News Network (PNN) headlined “Child Prisoners in Israeli Jails Tortured by Electric Shocks & More.”

Citing new testimonies from tortured Palestinian children. Palestinian Detainees Committee attorney Hiba Masalha visited Palestinian children in HaSharon prison.

They’re subjected to incredibly savage treatment and brutality amounting to torture, he said.

Last November, 16-year-old Muhammed Zidani was detained. On January 19, he was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment.

He said he was electro-shocked to force him to confess despite his having committed no crime. Soldiers arrested him at 2AM.

They “overwhelm(ed)” his home, terrorized family members, “dragged him to the Mascoubiya detention center…”

Soldiers beat him savagely en route. He suffered painful bruises and contusions over large parts of his body.

During interrogation, he was forced to kneel, put his head between his legs blindfolded with his hands shackled from behind.

He was kept in this position for four hours. Interrogation lasted half a day. He got no food or water. Was denied bathroom privileges.

“(I)nvestigators beat him on the face and stomach,” he said. During one session, “a stick shaped machine” was put on his foot.

“(U)nbearabl(y) pain(ful) electro-shocking followed. Two more times to “pull confessions out of him.”

He screamed in pain. Israeli brutality continues until forced confessions are gotten.

Child prisoner Kathem Annous (aged 15) experienced horrific Israeli torture. Last November he was detained. He remains in HaSharom prison.

He was treated as brutally as Mohammed Zidani. One soldier beat him with an iron-soled shoe.

During interrogation, he was forced to kneel with his head toward a wall shackled from behind.

During hours of interrogation, he was “constantly beaten and slapped in the face. He was held at Mascoublya detention center for 12 days.

He was beaten en route to military court for a hearing. In a waiting room, his head was violently slammed against a wall for no reason whatever.

Hundreds of Palestinian children endure this type treatment annually. Some under age 10.

Fourteen-year prisoner Klaled Al-Sheikh remains in prison after 55 days on unsubstantiated stone-throwing charges with no parental contact allowed.

Whenever Palestinian children participate in peaceful demonstrations, they’re vulnerable to false charges like stone-throwing.

Khaled belongs with his family and friends at home and in school, not in prison. He’s anemic in need of medical treatment not provided.

He’s a 10th grade student guilty only of not being Jewish. He faces possible months in prison following hanging judge sentencing. So do other brutally treated Palestinian children.

“Child abuse in Israeli prisons is on the increase,” said PNN. Israeli ruthlessness considers young Palestinian children as fair game to abuse as adults. Racist regimes operate this way.

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

On Saturday, March 21 the ANSWER Coalition is taking a lead role, as part of a broader coalition, in organizing a National March in Washington, D.C., to oppose the policy of “endless war” in Iraq, Libya, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. The March 21 National March will gather at the White House at 12:00 Noon and will be the culmination of four days of actions in the Capitol. The events are being organized under the banner of Spring Rising.

This is a critical moment as the Obama administration seeks Congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the Middle East and perhaps beyond.

I hope you will participate in these actions, spread the word and show your support.

This message is written to explain why we consider the situation now to be of critical importance.

A grave moment

We are on the eve of what is being planned as a decades-long war — a war that will expand and grow. Although there was a promise by the President to “limit” the war, that should be understood as merely a talking point to soothe a skeptical public. If Obama had said that he was ordering a new “surge” of tens of thousands of troops to Iraq there would be massive anti-war protests in the streets of this country.

The President couldn’t risk that. Neither could the chest-thumping Republicans who always depict Obama as a weak leader. They too are afraid to tell the public that this is just the start and that the commitment will lead to a huge number of troops in Iraq — that military advisers and trainers will not succeed in defeating the Islamic State and that their failure will result in a steady expansion of U.S. troops to the battlefield.

Despite the initial promise of “No Boots on the Ground” we now see several thousand more U.S. troops in Iraq. On February 14, the Pentagon announced that it is sending a 4,000-strong brigade equipped with heavy weaponry to Kuwait. Massive U.S. airpower is deployed on bases and ships in the region. Iraqi cities and towns will be bombed again but the “limited war” will not succeed any more than it did in Vietnam and thus there will be a call for more and then more troops.

The U.S. Army has set up a Division Headquarters in Iraq. The only reason to establish such a Headquarters is for it to lead a Division. The Division hasn’t arrived yet but it will. A Division consists of 20,000 troops.

The problems in Iraq and Syria today are the consequences of U.S. military action. More U.S. military action now will strengthen the Islamic State, not weaken it. The catastrophe of an open-ended U.S. war will impact not only the people of the region, but the entire globe. To say that the stakes are high does not capture the magnitude of the possible disaster.

Now is the time for people to go into the streets to say NO to Congressional authorization for endless war.

U.S. military action broke up Iraq, Syria and Libya

There is a great deal of confusion about what the Obama administration is doing and why they are doing it. The confusion is caused by the deceptive presentation about the U.S. military struggle against the so-called Islamic State.

The Islamic State has established a formidable military presence in Iraq, Syria and Libya, and its influence is growing in other countries as well.

We must tell the truth, expose the lies and help the people of this country understand how they are being deceived by the Pentagon and the leadership of both the Republicans and Democrats.

The U.S. military strategy in the Middle East has been and is the primary catalyst for the growth of the Islamic State. Now, fighting the Islamic State is the public rationale for authorization for an open ended war by the Pentagon in the Middle East. That will require military bases, thousands of troops, fighter jets and hundreds of billions of dollars in military expenditures.

The Pentagon destroyed the secular governments and state apparatus in Iraq and Libya that created the political space for the rise of the Islamic State and other right-wing Islamic militias. The CIA, through Jordan and Turkey, coordinated the massive foreign arms flow into Syria to those the State Department and the mainstream media labeled “freedom fighters” from 2011 to 2014. Flush with arms and funding from abroad, and their victory in Libya, these armed units successfully captured large areas of Syrian territory from the government. These spaces have been used to create the so-called Islamic State Caliphate.

In August/September 2013, Secretary of State Kerry and his neo-conservative friends in Congress were demanding that the United States start the massive bombing of the Syrian Army. That was prevented only by the grassroots anti-war opposition in the United States, Britain and elsewhere. Kerry and McCain led the charge for the bombing of the Syrian Arab Army at that time and not once during that entire episode did they call for military action against the Islamic State. By then (August/September 2013) the Islamic State and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra were the dominant military force in the armed opposition in Syria and would have been the prime beneficiary of U.S. military action.

The rise of the Islamic State is the direct outcome of U.S. military policies

Without the criminally destructive actions of U.S. politicians and the Pentagon high command, the Islamic State would not exist today except perhaps as a very small entity.

Under the direction of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, the Pentagon invaded Iraq. U.S. authorities immediately dissolved the national government and the national army. Since the UN would not authorize this action, the Bush White House premised the “legality” of its actions on the spineless Congressional Authorization of October 2002.

As a direct result of this premeditated act of aggression, the nation of Iraq fragmented along ethnic and sectarian lines. Bush and Cheney, after ordering the dissolution of the Iraqi government, established their own military dictatorship in Iraq under the control of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Led by an American, L. Paul Bremer, who did not even speak Arabic, the CPA tore up Iraq’s Constitution and set about to re-create Iraq under the tutelage of American military occupation. From the beginning, the U.S. occupation, both wittingly and unwittingly, fragmented Iraq along ethnic and religious lines.

In response to the Iraqi armed resistance – unanticipated by Washington – against the occupation that began in the summer of 2003, U.S. officials consciously re-organized and funded Iraqi political life and the government on a strictly sectarian basis: A Shiite would be Prime Minister, a Kurd would be President, a Sunni would be the Speaker of the National Assembly. And then, starting in 2004, in an effort prevent the emergence of unified, nationwide Iraqi resistance front, U.S. occupation officials and the Pentagon and CIA started funding militias whose identity was anchored in religion or ethnicity. It was a classic divide-and-conquer tool that British colonialism had employed in the Indian sub-continent and throughout its far-flung empire.

It was precisely U.S. policies that fragmented Iraq. And today, Iraq as it existed up until 13 years ago is no more. That is why the Islamic State exists as a force in Iraq.

The areas that the Islamic State now control are the population centers that were bombed and occupied by U.S. military forces, marginalized and brutalized by the U.S.-created central Iraqi government and the sectarian militias who supported the government.

The urgent task of the anti-war movement in the United States

As we know — and knew then — the invasion of Iraq was based entirely on lies. It was an aggression based on power alone.

The criminals who ordered the invasion and occupation of Iraq were not arrested nor are they demonized in the U.S. media. In fact, both Bush and Cheney are making large sums of money giving speeches, engaged in partisan fundraising, and writing and selling books while they appear on television talk shows to render their opinion on this or that issue.

For those who argue that the “United States must do something” in Iraq, it must be pointed out that the “something” is the bombing of the very cities and towns in Iraq that the U.S. military bombed and brutally occupied during the Bush years. The “something” is the arming and directing of sectarian militias and the national Iraqi army that for the past years has carried out a reign of terror against the population centers that are now under the control of the Islamic State.

It is important to think through the contradictory public positions adopted by the U.S. government — again, including both its Democratic and Republican wings.

U.S. foreign policy is an imperialist policy. Having wreaked so much destruction and suffering on the peoples of the Middle East, it is either crudely naive or an act of unabashed cynicism to assert that the Pentagon can be the agency to bring justice in the same countries it violently destroyed. The growing strength of the Islamic State and other such reactionary political forces is a dominant problem for progressive people in the Middle East and throughout the Muslim world. For the past half century, the U.S. foreign policy and military strategy has been to destroy leftist and secular anti-imperialist movements and governments that constituted the leadership of the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements in the region. Having fulfilled that agenda, the officialdom in United States should not act surprised that loathsome organizations like the Islamic State have risen to fill the void.

Progressive forces in the Middle East are locked in a life-and-death struggle for the leadership of society against brutal reactionaries like the Islamic State. U.S. military action is not designed to nor can it help them. We, in the West, can offer political support and solidarity for their struggle to rescue the region from imperialism, the reactionary monarchies, the Israeli military machine and the revanchist reactionaries like the Islamic State.

For our part, progressive people in the United States have to mobilize now against the policies of our “own” government that has created a firestorm of destruction in the Middle East and now seeks “authorization” for decades more of war in the same countries and against the same peoples. Authorized by an imperial establishment, the policy of endless war that will be carried out by the Pentagon military machine can only lead to more suffering – neither peace nor liberation for the targeted peoples.

It is urgent that we revive the broad anti-war movement. Let’s start with the March 21 National March gathering at 12:00 Noon at the White House and by joining in the other actions scheduled in the days before in Washington, D.C.

Click here for a detailed list of the March 18-21 Spring Rising events.

Statement of Brian Becker, Director of the ANSWER Coalition

For more info go to: http://www.ANSWERCoalition.org.
Click this link to make an urgently needed donation to build the anti-war movement.

From street hustler to powerful orator, Malcolm X’s life was cut short when he was brutally murdered in front of family, friends and supporters. Fifty years on he is still at the forefront of political debate, but his legacy as a towering revolutionary pan-Africanist with important messages for our time is not in doubt.

Many people are aware that 21 February 2015 will commemorate 50 years since the brutal assassination of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz – Malcolm X – in front of hundreds of supporters, including his wife and children. There has certainly been much said and written about Malcolm over the last 50 years. There is the several-hundred-page controversial biography from Manning Marable that spawned two counter-position books as well as a number of other biopic works, which focused on Malcolm’s ideas, actions and influences on the activism that developed after his murder.

In the course of this dialogue, many from other ideological and political frameworks have worked to proclaim Malcolm as their own. The white Left, starting with the Socialist Workers Party in the 1960s, claim Malcolm as a Marxist/Leninist and even Trotskyist. Elements within the Nation of Islam have suggested for years that Malcolm’s true desire was to re-join their organisation. And, within recent years there’s even been a push to reframe Malcolm as a Barack Obama supporter. In fact, even his daughter IIyasah Shabazz has stated as much, although she has also admitted her very limited understanding of her father’s actual political work.

A cursory study of Malcolm’s life quickly illustrates the reasons behind his popularity and the desire of so many to move him into their political camps. Malcolm’s well-documented journey from street hustler to world renowned spokesperson and organiser for African liberation reflects the hard work and determination that many of us can only dream about. His fearlessness in articulating the problems of white supremacy and capitalism and his unique ability to take difficult political and economic concepts and break them down for common consumption and understanding were skills that motivated millions since Malcolm first joined the Nation in the 1950s.

His organising skills are often overlooked; however, he built two organisations after leaving the Nation of Islam – the Muslim Mosque Inc. and the Organisation of Afro-American Unity (OAAU). Most of us have a difficult enough time just belonging to and participating in one organisation. Even with including discussions about Malcolm’s personal shortcomings, such as his occasional ruthlessness towards some Mosque persons when he was a leader within the Nation of Islam and his patriarchal attitudes towards his wife Dr. Betty Shabazz, we are still impressed with Malcolm’s ability to acknowledge those shortcomings and to grow from them.

So it’s easy to understand why and how Malcolm was so attractive to so many people. His sincerity and honesty were qualities that all of us who are just loving people strive to reach in our own work and lives. His commitment, discipline, and determination were all characteristics that define the level of greatness required in order for our people to be propelled forward. Of course, the only proper way to pay homage to those qualities within Malcolm is to properly acknowledge who he was as a person and what ideals he dedicated his life towards. This is important because we believe it was his dedication to those particular ideals that ultimately cost him his life.

We believe that understanding Malcolm X means understanding his growing commitment to and relationship with Africa. The book The Final Speeches of Malcolm X (not to be confused with The Last Speeches of Malcolm X) provides a vision of where Malcolm’s head was. Those last twelve speeches were those he gave leading up to that Sunday meeting on February 21st, 1965 where his life came to an abrupt end. In all of those final speeches Malcolm’s focus was specifically on Africa. Much of what Malcolm had to say about Africa in those last two weeks of his life has been edited out and eliminated from the public discourse on what drove Malcolm’s evolving thinking but those final speeches give much insight into this question.

It was during those last two weeks that Malcolm began to clearly spell out his developing understanding that the struggle for African freedom and self-determination within the US was only part and parcel of the worldwide struggle for African liberation, freedom and socialism and that this struggle was in fact the struggle for Pan-Africanism, which was properly defined as one unified, socialist Africa.

Malcolm’s final speeches are filled with invectives for Africans in the US to stop expecting freedom in the US, while Africa was subjugated because Africa’s freedom was dependent upon releasing the very same forces that keep Africans in the US oppressed. Malcolm characterised this reality with his statements that Africa “is at the centre of our liberation” and that socialism is “the system all people in the world seem to be coming around to”.

The writing on the wall had been provided to Malcolm by his meeting Pan-Africanists like Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure. For anyone who doubts the impact these meetings had on Malcolm’s thinking all one has to do is read his own words in his autobiography. Malcolm described his meetings with Nkrumah as “the highlight of my travels” and “the highest honour of my life”. These words are true despite those meetings being ignored in Spike Lee’s 1992 biopic film and in pretty much everything else portrayed about Malcolm’s life.

Still, Malcolm illustrated his commitment to those statements by returning to the US and starting the OAAU, which was to be patterned after the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which Nkrumah started in Africa the previous year. In Malcolm’s mind, as he articulated in speeches during those last two weeks, the OAAU was to be the US branch to the OAU since the ideas both men were developing were focused on organising the African masses worldwide towards the Pan-Africanist objective.

Also, it should be understood that Malcolm and Nkrumah’s relationship extended far beyond a few meetings. Nkrumah had designs on building a political relationship with Malcolm around doing Pan-Africanist work and if one knows anything about Nkrumah’s history in Ghana, this shouldn’t be difficult to fathom. With Ghana’s independence came Nkrumah’s call for Africans all over the world to come to Ghana to help build Africa (Pan-Africanism).

George Padmore, the Pan-Africanist from Trinidad, heeded the call and moved to Ghana to become Nkrumah’s advisor. Both Shirley Graham DuBois and her more famous husband, W. E. B. DuBois also heeded that call along with many other noteworthy Africans (Louie Armstrong and Maya Angelou). Nkrumah’s book of letters The Conakry Years, which consisted of all of Nkrumah’s personal letters written and received while he was in Guinea after the Central Intelligence Agency’s sponsored coup that overthrew his government on February 24, 1966 (almost a year to the day after Malcolm was assassinated) contains letters Nkrumah wrote to Malcolm and to others about Malcolm, detailing Nkrumah’s efforts to persuade Malcolm to stay in Ghana and become a part of Nkrumah’s staff to work on their Pan-Africanist objective. Nkrumah’s letters to others indicate that Malcolm weighed the offer before indicating he could not just pick up and leave his work in the US and that it was unlikely that his wife would be willing to suddenly move to Africa anyway. Nkrumah’s letters mention that he confided in Malcolm that Ghanaian intelligence forces had revealed that Malcolm would be killed within months if he returned to the US but according to Nkrumah, that revelation seemed to spark Malcolm’s desire to return to the fire-hot situation against him in the US. Still, Malcolm collaborated in his recently published diary his intense desire to become a part of this network of Pan-Africanists in West Africa.

Malcolm’s personal notes point to a dinner discussion he had with Sekou Toure in Guinea-Conakry where Toure praised his work and told him that Africans need dignity, not money. The way Malcolm recalls that conversation in his diary entry indicates great affection and respect for Sekou Toure’s commitment to African self-determination as well as the extent to which Malcolm was being continually influenced and broadened by the thinking of revolutionaries like Nkrumah and Toure.

It’s also worth noting that three short years later another African revolutionary from the US ended up accepting Nkrumah’s offer to move to Guinea-Conakry and become his political secretary. Kwame Ture – then known as Stokely Carmichael – left the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Black Panther Party and agreed to accept the task of building the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP). The A-APRP is the political formation that Nkrumah birthed in his Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare in 1968, a book Nkrumah wrote as a response to his developed understanding of the role neo-colonialism played in Africa and the reasons why the OAU, a government top-down organisation, would never bring about any true liberation in Africa. The thesis of the handbook was that the A-APRP would be the mass revolutionary alternative to the OAU.

Before Kwame Ture emerged and decided to dedicate himself to Nkrumah’s Pan-Africanist vision, it’s clear that Nkrumah had designs on Malcolm X as the person to step into that role and the writings of Nkrumah and Malcolm confirm that. Perhaps, if Malcolm had been in the same situation that Kwame Ture i.e. was younger, single and childless history would have taken us in a completely different direction but either way, the point is that Malcolm clearly had developed a commitment to African unity, the primacy to Africa in our fight and an understanding that there is no freedom for African people in the Western world as long as Africa is not free, liberated and socialist.

Finally, it is necessary to talk about the assassination of Malcolm X. Recently, a white writer wrote an article about Malcolm X’s influence on US politics. In that essay the writer casually mentions that the Nation of Islam killed Malcolm X. Although this theory is widely accepted by white scholars, even the ones supposedly on the Left, within Pan-Africanist and African/Black nationalist circles, it has been repudiated ever since the day Malcolm was murdered.

There’s little question that people within the Nation had some involvement. The antagonism between Malcolm and the hierarchy of the Nation of Islam at the time, including National Secretary John Ali, Elijah Muhammad Jr. (son of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad), Minister James Shabazz from New Jersey, Clarence X Gill the Fruit of Islam Captain from New Jersey and others, is well documented.

The troublesome statements against Malcolm made at the time by Minister Louis Farrakhan (then Louis X) are also well documented. Still, writing that the Nation of Islam killed Malcolm X is no different than writing that James Earl Ray killed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing John F. Kennedy when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The same is true of the murder of Malcolm X. It may be easier for white scholars and activists to casually write that the Nation killed Malcolm because they had no affection for an organisation that had historically been known to refer to white people as a race of grafted devils but that doesn’t change history.

There’s no refuting that Malcolm was diagnosed as being poisoned in Egypt and his recollection of the experience in his diary will make your own stomach tighten up. There’s also no doubt that the French Government, which had no policy of rejecting entry to persons, refused Malcolm entry into their country shortly before his murder while the rumours swirled that their decision was based on their desire to not permit Malcolm to be killed on French soil.

This is especially triggering when remembering Nkrumah’s harrowing admonition to Malcolm. The US Government had the same interest in neutralizing Malcolm that Nkrumah had in recruiting him. Imagine a respected and articulate African revolutionary who came from the streets of the America being on the world stage criticising US racism. Then think about it in the context of the relationships being forged at the time between African revolutionaries like Nkrumah and Toure and other revolutionaries like Nguyen Al Thoc (Ho Chi Minh) from Vietnam, Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara from Cuba and Mao Tse Tung in China.

Malcolm was to become a central player in that alliance. He was to be the African voice from the belly of the beast. Something the US certainly could not risk happening. Thus, it comes as no surprise that files released under the Freedom of Information Act provide proof. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report indicates a still un-named top-level informant for the FBI was paid a “bonus” of $300.00 USD and congratulated “for a job well done” immediately after Malcolm was murdered.

So, in quoting an often stated comment within the African liberation movement: “they (the Nation) may have pulled the trigger but they didn’t buy the bullets!” And, to write that they did without putting all of that in context does no service to African people or our movement for liberation.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that we have to explain these things about Malcolm; we have spent the last 50 years dispelling half-truths and miss-representations about Malcolm. Even his daughter’s comments about her dad and Obama are not surprising despite the fact nothing in Malcolm’s history would suggest he would even consider supporting any candidate for US president. My own daughter loves me as her father. She’s a conscientious young woman but she doesn’t possess a deep understanding of my Pan-Africanist work because she’s not involved in it. So although Malcolm’s daughter would be a great person to ask about how he was around the house (if she remembers), she isn’t the best person to ask about his political ideology.

Malcolm X was without question at the point where he was a Pan-Africanist and being so means he understood that the total liberation of Africa under scientific socialism is the solution to the problems facing Africans everywhere. Nothing about anything he said, did or suggested indicated that he felt the capitalist system could be reformed or that anything short of revolutionary struggle could bring us what we need.

And nothing indicated that he was confused about the primary, not secondary, not cursory but primary role Africa will always play in our liberation struggle. We are completely aware that it is the job of our enemies to confuse people about whom we are and who our leaders are, so the Malcolm X postage stamp and every other way the capitalism system makes a concession to recognising the revolutionary Malcolm is only happening because they want to frame his image before we do.

It won’t work. Sekou Toure was correct when he said “truth crushed to Earth shall rise a thousand times”. Malcolm was a Pan-Africanist, that’s why there are as many, if not more, tributes to him outside of the US as there are inside. The people of Ghana expressed their understanding of this phenomenon in 1964 when they named him Omawale – “the son who has returned home”.

Ahjamu Umi is an organiser for the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party. He’s the author of The Courage Equation and the soon to be released ‘Mass Incarceration; It’s about Profit, Not Justice’.

Ukrainegate: NATO Weapons for Truce

February 21st, 2015 by Oriental Review

Initially it seemed surprising that on the first day of the negotiations marathon in Minsk a bill to “provide lethal weapons to the Government of Ukraine in order to defend itself against Russian-backed rebel separatists in eastern Ukraine” would be introduced in the US Congress. However, it soon became clear that its sponsor, Sen. James Inhofe (left), simply harbors no illusions about his Ukrainian partners’ competence or ability to comply with their obligations. He understands that Kiev will inevitably violate the cease-fire and that Washington will soon have to explain why the militias in the devastated region of what is known as the “Debaltsevo cauldron” are in possession of such a vast number of captured weapons originating from NATO countries.

And there can be no doubts whatsoever that this will happen. The militia continues to provide documented evidence of Kiev’s use of NATO-standard weapons, such as Paladin M109 self-propelled howitzers, portable Javelin anti-tank weapons systems, and small arms (M16 rifles and much more).

Video taken in Gorlovka on Feb.1, 2015. Life News reports that the Christian cathedral in the centre of town was shelled by 155mm cannons of a US-made Paladin howitzer.

Video taken at Donetsk airport on Jan 18, 2015 presenting piles of NATO light weapons left by the Ukrainian soldiers.

Ukrainian TV report (Sept 2014) on Western military assistance to Ukraine. Javelin anti-tank weapons and other systems presented.

The age and condition of these weapons suggests that the West is simply selling Ukraine military equipment that was already destined for the recycling bin. For example, Britain first produced its Saxon armored personnel carriers in 1983, and they were removed from service in 2008. Now they are being shipped through the port of Odessa to the company Ukroboronprom, which will adapt them to the needs of the Ukrainian army. The Ukrainian government is spending about $51,000 on each Saxon AT-105. It is worth noting that due to the all-out crisis situation there, the Ukrainians have vetoed the idea of producing their own Dozor-B armored carrier.

Image: Ukrainian Pres. Petro Poroschenko touches the Saxon’s thin armor. Photo via Accidents News

According to official statistics, before 2007 the German army possessed 570 M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzers. But not a single one remains. Where do you think those tanks went? The answer is simple – in December 2014, Ukrainian officials suddenly closed the airports in Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, and Kharkov because of the ostensible threat of Russian paratroopers (!), while several of NATO’s C-17B Globemaster and C-130 Hercules military transport planes landed there. Eyewitnesses in Zaporozhye and Dnepropetrovsk saw four self-propelled Paladin howitzers (and boxes of their ammunition) being unloaded. Witnesses in Kharkov claim two RomanianLAROM MLRS and a Spanish Teruel-3 were transported there.

Military convoys that have been regularly crossing the Polish-Ukrainian border since the summer of 2014 are arriving at the 169th Training Center of the Ukrainian ground forces in the Chernihiv region, where instructors from NATO countries are conducting workshops with soldiers serving in Ukraine’s security forces, in order to train them on NATO weapons and equipment.

Polish General Bogusław Pacek is leading the group of NATO advisers in Ukraine since September 2014.

The incompetence of the Ukrainian army, as well as the question of provisioning them, is a very serious problem. NATO weapons systems are difficult to operate and require large quantities of the proper ammunition, which is not manufactured in Ukraine. But channels for delivering such ammunition to Ukraine have already been established. For example, in early February the cargo ship Yasar Abi sailed from Burgas (Bulgaria) to the port of Oktyabrsk (the Mykolaiv region, Ukraine) carrying a load of 680 tons of NATO and old Soviet ammunition.

So Senator Inhofe’s bill is not about rendering military assistance to the puppet government in Kiev, but is rather a way to legitimize the shipments that are already being sent. As usual, only the most aged, decrepit weapons are ending up in the region where the anti-terror operation is underway – meaning that Ukrainian officials are re-exporting everything that is worthy of resale to third countries, including Syria. No one can guarantee that the weapons that will pass to Ukraine legally will not soon be used against America’s interests in global hot spots. However, it seems that this threat is the last thing on the minds of US senators.

 Update #1 Feb 20, 2015; 4pm msk:

Militias in Debaltsevo after liberation of the city. DNR and LNR fighters came upon a large number of weapons left by retreating Ukrainian military, American armored Humvee vehicle among them.

The Terrorism Statistics Every American Needs to Hear

February 21st, 2015 by Washington's Blog

This article was first published on May 19, 2014.

 Calm Down … You Are Much More Likely to Be Killed By Boring, Mundane Things than Terrorism

McClatchy reported in 2010:

There were just 25 U.S. noncombatant fatalities from terrorism worldwide. (The US government definition of terrorism excludes attacks on U.S. military personnel). While we don’t have the figures at hand, undoubtedly more American citizens died overseas from traffic accidents or intestinal illnesses than from terrorism.

The March, 2011, Harper‘s Index noted:

Number of American civilians who died worldwide in terrorist attacks last year: 8 — Minimum number who died after being struck by lightning: 29.

Indeed, the leading cause of deaths for Americans traveling abroad is not terrorism, or murder … or even crime of any type.

It’s car crashes.

In fact:

With the exception of the Philippines, more Americans died from road crashes in all of the 160 countries surveyed than from homicides.

The U.S. Department of State reports that only 17 U.S. citizens were killed worldwide as a result of terrorism in 2011. That figure includes deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and all other theaters of war.

In contrast, the American agency which tracks health-related issues – the U.S. Centers for Disease Control – rounds up the most prevalent causes of death in the United States:

Comparing the CDC numbers to terrorism deaths means (keep in mind that – from here to the end of the piece – we are consistently and substantially understating the risk of other causes of death as compared to terrorism, because we are comparing deaths from various causes within the United States against deaths from terrorism worldwide):

– You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

– You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack

Wikipedia notes that obesity is a a contributing factor in 100,000–400,000 deaths in the United States per year. That makes obesity 5,882 to times 23,528 more likely to kill you than a terrorist.

The annual number of deaths in the U.S. due to avoidable medical errors is as high as 100,000. Indeed, one of the world’s leading medical journals – Lancet – reported in 2011:

A November, 2010, document from the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services reported that, when in hospital, one in seven beneficiaries of Medicare (the government-sponsored health-care programme for those aged 65 years and older) have complications from medical errors, which contribute to about 180 000 deaths of patients per year.

That’s just Medicare beneficiaries, not the entire American public. Scientific American noted in 2009:

Preventable medical mistakes and infections are responsible for about 200,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to an investigation by the Hearst media corporation.

And a new study published in the Journal of Patient Safety says the numbers may be up to 440,000 each year.

But let’s use the lower – 100,000 – figure. That still means that you are 5,882 times more likely to die from medical error than terrorism.

The CDC says that some 80,000 deaths each year are attributable to excessive alcohol use. So you’re 4,706 times more likely to drink yourself to death than die from terrorism.

Wikipedia notes that there were 32,367 automobile accidents in 2011, which means that you are 1,904 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack. As CNN reporter Fareed Zakaria wrote last year:

“Since 9/11, foreign-inspired terrorism has claimed about two dozen lives in the United States. (Meanwhile, more than 100,000 have been killed in gun homicides and more than 400,000 in motor-vehicle accidents.) “

President Obama agreed.

According to a 2011 CDC report, poisoning from prescription drugs is even more likely to kill you than a car crash. Indeed, the CDC stated in 2011 that – in the majority of states – your prescription meds are more likely to kill you than any other source of injury. So your meds are thousands of times more likely to kill you than Al Qaeda.

The number of deaths by suicide has also surpassed car crashes, and many connect the increase in suicides to the downturn in the economy. Around 35,000 Americans kill themselves each year (and more American soldiers die by suicide than combat; the number of veterans committing suicide is astronomical and under-reported). So you’re 2,059 times more likely to kill yourself than die at the hand of a terrorist.

The CDC notes that there were 7,638 deaths from HIV and 45 from syphilis, so you’re 452 times more likely to die from risky sexual behavior than terrorism.

The National Safety Council reports that more than 6,000 Americans die a year from falls … most of them involve people falling off their roof or ladder trying to clean their gutters, put up Christmas lights and the like. That means that you’re 353 times more likely to fall to your death doing something idiotic than die in a terrorist attack.

The agency in charge of workplace safety – the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration – reports that 4,609 workers were killed on the job in 2011 within the U.S. homeland. In other words, you are 271 times more likely to die from a workplace accident than terrorism.

The CDC notes that 3,177 people died of “nutritional deficiencies” in 2011, which means you are 187 times more likely to starve to death in American than be killed by terrorism.

Scientific American notes:

You might have toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the microscopic parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which the CDC estimates has infected about 22.5 percent of Americans older than 12 years old

Toxoplasmosis is a brain-parasite. The CDC reports that more than 375 Americans die annually due to toxoplasmosis. In addition, 3 Americans died in 2011 after being exposed to a brain-eating amoeba. So you’re about 22 times more likely to die from a brain-eating zombie parasite than a terrorist.

There were at least 155 Americans killed by police officers in the United States in 2011. That means that you were more than 9 times more likely to be killed by a law enforcement officer than by a terrorist.

The 2011 Report on Terrorism from the National Counter Terrorism Center notes that Americans are just as likely to be “crushed to death by their televisions or furniture each year” as they are to be killed by terrorists.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that Americans are 110 times more likely to die from contaminated food than terrorism. And see this and this.

The Jewish Daily Forward noted last year that – even including the people killed in the Boston bombing – you are more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist. And see these statistics from CNN.

Reason notes:

[The risk of being killed by terrorism] compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has just published, Background Report: 9/11, Ten Years Later [PDF]. The report notes, excluding the 9/11 atrocities, that fewer than 500 people died in the U.S. from terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2010.

Scientific American reported in 2011:

John Mueller, a political scientist at Ohio State University, and Mark Stewart, a civil engineer and authority on risk assessment at University of Newcastle in Australia … contended, “a great deal of money appears to have been misspent and would have been far more productive—saved far more lives—if it had been expended in other ways.”

chart comparing annual fatality risksMueller and Stewart noted that, in general, government regulators around the world view fatality risks—say, from nuclear power, industrial toxins or commercial aviation—above one person per million per year as “acceptable.” Between 1970 and 2007 Mueller and Stewart asserted in a separate paper published last year in Foreign Affairs that a total of 3,292 Americans (not counting those in war zones) were killed by terrorists resulting in an annual risk of one in 3.5 million. Americans were more likely to die in an accident involving a bathtub (one in 950,000), a home appliance (one in 1.5 million), a deer (one in two million) or on a commercial airliner (one in 2.9 million).

The global mortality rate of death by terrorism is even lower. Worldwide, terrorism killed 13,971 people between 1975 and 2003, an annual rate of one in 12.5 million. Since 9/11 acts of terrorism carried out by Muslim militants outside of war zones have killed about 300 people per year worldwide. This tally includes attacks not only by al Qaeda but also by “imitators, enthusiasts, look-alikes and wannabes,” according to Mueller and Stewart.

Defenders of U.S. counterterrorism efforts might argue that they have kept casualties low by thwarting attacks. But invvestigations by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies suggest that 9/11 may have been an outlier—an aberration—rather than a harbinger of future attacks. Muslim terrorists are for the most part “short on know-how, prone to make mistakes, poor at planning” and small in number, Mueller and Stewart stated. Although still potentially dangerous, terrorists hardly represent an “existential” threat on a par with those posed by Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.

In fact, Mueller and Stewart suggested in Homeland Security Affairs, U.S. counterterrorism procedures may indirectly imperil more lives than they preserve: “Increased delays and added costs at U.S. airports due to new security procedures provide incentive for many short-haul passengers to drive to their destination rather than flying, and, since driving is far riskier than air travel, the extra automobile traffic generated has been estimated to result in 500 or more extra road fatalities per year.”

The funds that the U.S. spends on counterterrorism should perhaps be diverted to other more significant perils, such as industrial accidents (one in 53,000), violent crime (one in 22,000), automobile accidents (one in 8,000) and cancer (one in 540). “Overall,” Mueller and Stewart wrote, “vastly more lives could have been saved if counterterrorism funds had instead been spent on combating hazards that present unacceptable risks.” In an e-mail to me, Mueller elaborated:

“The key question, never asked of course, is what would the likelihood be if the added security measures had not been put in place? And, if the chances without the security measures might have been, say, one in 2.5 million per year, were the trillions of dollars in investment (including overseas policing which may have played a major role) worth that gain in security—to move from being unbelievably safe to being unbelievably unbelievably safe? Given that al Qaeda and al Qaeda types have managed to kill some 200 to 400 people throughout the entire world each year outside of war zones since 9/11—including in areas that are far less secure than the U.S.—there is no reason to anticipate that the measures have deterred, foiled or protected against massive casualties in the United States. If the domestic (we leave out overseas) enhanced security measures put into place after 9/11 have saved 100 lives per year in the United States, they would have done so at a cost of $1 billion per saved life. That same money, if invested in a measure that saves lives at a cost of $1 million each—like passive restraints for buses and trucks—would have saved 1,000 times more lives.”

Mueller and Stewart’s analysis is conservative, because it excludes the most lethal and expensive U.S. responses to 9/11. Al Qaeda’s attacks also provoked the U.S. into invading and occupying two countries, at an estimated cost of several trillion dollars. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have resulted in the deaths of more than 6,000 Americans so far—more than twice as many as were killed on September 11, 2001—as well as tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans.

***

In 2007 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that people are more likely to be killed by lightning than terrorism. “You can’t sit there and worry about everything,” Bloomberg exclaimed. “Get a life. Actually, according to Mueller and Stewart, Americans’ annual risk of dying from lightning, at one in seven million is only half the risk from terrorism.

Indeed, the Senior Research Scientist for the Space Science Institute (Alan W. Harris) estimates that the odds of being killed by a terrorist attack is about the same as being hit by an asteroid (and see this).

Terrorism pushes our emotional buttons. And politicians and the media tend to blow the risk of terrorism out of proportion. But as the figures above show, terrorism is a very unlikely cause of death.

Indeed, our spending on anti-terrorism measures is way out of whack … especially because most of the money has been wasted. And see this article, and this 3-minute video by professor Mueller:

Indeed, mission creep in the name of countering terrorism actually makes us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

Note: The U.S. is supporting the most extreme and violent types of Muslims. Indeed, the U.S. has waived the prohibitions of arming terrorist groups in order to topple the Syrian government … even though the head of the Syrian rebels has called for Al Qaeda to carry out new attacks on America.

Indeed – as counter-intuitive as it may sound- stupid government policy may be more dangerous than terrorism.

Why Does America Keep “Losing” Its Wars?

Below, we demonstrate that the U.S. keeps “losing” war after war.

There are 3 potential reasons this might be happening:

  • Or is this a sign of the decline of the American empire … and we just can’t win a war anymore?

We’ll let you decide why you think this keeps happening. But if you don’t believe that the U.S. has been losing its recent wars, read on …

U.S. Keeps Messing Up

We noted last year:

Since 2001, the U.S. has undertaken regime change in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

All 3 countries are now in chaos … and extremists are more in control than ever.

Iraq

In Iraq, hardcore Islamic jihadis known as ISIS have taken over much of the country – shown in red as the new “Islamic State” or self-described caliphate – using captured American weapons:

USA Today notes: “Iraq is already splitting into three states“.

Christians are being rounded up and killed, and Christian leaders in Iraq say the end of Christianity in Iraq is “very near”. But as we documented in 2012, Saddam Hussein – for all his faults – was a secular leader who tolerated Christians.

Libya

Libya has also descended into absolute chaos. We reported in 2012:

Al Qaeda is now largely in control of Libya. Indeed, Al Qaeda flags were flown over the Benghazi courthouse once Gaddafi was toppled.

(This is – again – in contrast to toleration of Christians under Gadaffi.)

The Guardian noted in March:

According to Amnesty International, the “mounting curbs on freedom of expression are threatening the rights Libyans sought to gain“. A repressive Gaddafi-era law has been amended to criminalise any insults to officials or the general national congress (the interim parliament). One journalist, Amara al-Khattabi, was put on trial for alleging corruption among judges. Satellite television stations deemed critical of the authorities have been banned, one station has been attacked with rocket-propelled grenades, and journalists have been assassinated.

***

Ever since the fall of [Gadaffi’s] dictatorship, there have been stories of black Libyans being treated en masse as Gaddafi loyalists and attacked. In a savage act of collective punishment, 35,000 people were driven out of Tawergha in retaliation for the brutal siege of the anti-Gaddafi stronghold of Misrata. The town was trashed and its inhabitants have been left in what human rights organisations are calling “deplorable conditions” in a Tripoli refugee camp. Such forced removals continue elsewhere. Thousands have been arbitrarily detained without any pretence of due process; and judges, prosecutors, lawyers and witnesses have been attacked or even killed. Libya’s first post-Gaddafi prosecutor general, Abdulaziz Al-Hassadi, was assassinated in the town of Derna last month.

***

When residents of Benghazi – the heartland of the revolution – protested against militia rule in June last year, 32 people were killed in what became known as “Black Saturday”. In another protest in Tripoli last November, 46 died and 500 were injured.

Under militia rule, Libya is beginning to disintegrate. Last summer forces under the command of the warlord Ibrahim Jadran took control of eastern oil terminals …. These forces which hijacked a oil tanker this month, prompting threats from Libya’s prime minister that it would be bombed until US forces captured it this weekend. Clashes have broken out in Jadran’s home town of Ajdabiya. In painful echoes of Iraq’s nightmare, a car bomb exploded at a Benghazi military base last week and killed at least eight soldiers, and Libya’s main airport was shut on Friday after a bomb exploded on its runway.

One of the great perversities of the so-called war on terror is that fundamentalist Islamist forces have flourished as a direct consequence of it. Libya is no exception, even though such movements often have little popular support. The Muslim Brotherhood and other elements are better organised than many of their rivals, helping to remove the prime minister, push through legislation, and establish alliances with opportunistic militias.

Ominously, Libya’s chaos is spilling across the region. The country is awash with up to 15 million rifles and other weapons, and a report by the UN panel of experts this month found that “Libya has become a primary source of illicit weapons“. These arms are fuelling chaos in 14 countries, including Somalia, the Central African Republic, Nigeria and Niger.

***

There is a real prospect of the country collapsing into civil war or even breaking up. Unless there are negotiated settlements to its multiple problems, Libya will surely continue its descent into mayhem, and the region could be dragged into the mire with it.

No wonder western governments and journalists who hailed the success of this intervention are so silent. But here are the consequences of their war, and they must take responsibility for them.

28-year CIA veteran Paul Pillar – who rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts – wrote in May:

Just when one might have thought the mess in Libya could not have gotten worse, it has.

***

Saudi Arabia and several other Arab states have evacuated their diplomats from Libya, the United States is preparing for possible evacuation of U.S. personnel, and the country appears on the brink of a larger civil war.

***

Those in Libya closest to being called secular liberals seem to be associated with military officers of the old regime.

***

The intervention already has negatively affected U.S. interests, particularly in providing a disincentive to other regimes to do what Gaddafi did in negotiating an end to involvement in terrorism and an end to production of unconventional weapons.

And things have only gotten worse since then … and Benghazi has fallen to the jihadis.

(It should be remembered that the U.S. helped sew the seeds of chaos in several ways. Not only did we engage in direct military intervention against Gadafi, but also – as confirmed by a group of CIA officersarmed Al Qaeda so that they would help topple Gaddafi.)

Afghanistan

Opium production is at an all-time high under the American occupation of Afghanistan.

And the New York Times reports this week that the Taliban are currently making huge gains in Afghanistan … in some cases expanding even beyond their traditional areas of influence prior to 2001:

The Taliban have found success beyond their traditional strongholds in the rural south and are now dominating territory near crucial highways and cities that surround Kabul, the capital, in strategic provinces like Kapisa and Nangarhar.

U.S. troops are just now leaving, and so the worst may be still to come. In addition – as we discuss below – the U.S. previously imposed regime change on Afghanistan … and the results were bad.

History repeats

The U.S. carried out regime change in Iran in 1953 … which led to radicalization in the country. Specifically, the CIA admits that the U.S. overthrew the moderate, suit-and-tie-wearing, Democratically-elected prime minister of Iran in 1953. (He was overthrown because he had nationalized Iran’s oil, which had previously been controlled by BP and other Western oil companies). As part of that action, the CIA admits that it hired Iranians to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its prime minister.

If the U.S. hadn’t overthrown the moderate Iranian government, the fundamentalist Mullahs would have never taken over. Iran has been known for thousands of years for tolerating Christians and other religious minorities.

Hawks in the U.S. government been pushing for another round of regime change in Iran for decades.

Hillary Clinton and then-president Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser have both admitted on the record that the U.S. previously carried out regime change in Afghanistan in the 1970s by backing Bin Laden and the Mujahadin … the precursor to Al Qaeda.

And look how that turned out.

Syria

The U.S. has heavily backed the Islamic rebels in Syria in an attempt to implement regime change in that country. The result?

As shown by the map above, they’ve taken a third of the country as part of their “caliphate”

And the jihadis are now busily crucifying, beheading and slitting the throats of Christians. (Yup, Syria was previously known for tolerating Christians.)

***

We can probably add Ukraine to the list of regime changed countries falling into chaos and murderous extremism, given that:

Since then, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Ukraine have descended into still more hellish levels of chaos.

The U.S.-backed government in Ukraine is starting to lose the civil war.

Many of the U.S.-backed rebels in Syria have joined ISIS. And most of the weapons given to the “moderate” rebels have ended up in ISIS and Al Qaeda’s hands.

Mother Jones adds Yemen to the list:

So here’s my scorecard for American military interventions since 2000:

  • Afghanistan: A disaster. It’s arguable that Afghanistan is no worse off than it was in 2001, but after losing thousands of American lives and spending a trillion American dollars, it’s no better off either. [Since the government has put a gag order on all military information, it’s hard to know what’s really going on.]
  • Iraq: An even bigger disaster. Saddam Hussein was a uniquely vicious dictator, but even at that there’s not much question that Iraq is worse off than it was in 2003. We got rid of Saddam, but got a dysfunctional sectarian government and ISIS in return.
  • Libya: Another disaster. We got rid of Muammar Qaddafi, but got a Somalia-level failed state in return.
  • Yemen: Yet another disaster. After years of drone warfare, Houthi rebels have taken over the government. This appears to be simultaneously a win for Iran, which backs the rebels, and al-Qaeda, which may benefit from the resulting chaos. That’s quite a twofer.

What a sorry track record …

Within the space of a few hours, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) rejected outright written requests by the Greek government on Thursday for an extension of its previous credit agreement with the EU. Schäuble wants to create a precedent for all of Europe by completely humiliating the Syriza government.

“The letter from Athens is not a substantial proposal towards a solution,” declared Schäuble’s spokesman Martin Jäger in Berlin on Thursday, adding that the application took the form of a request for a bridge loan and did not meet the requirements of the program. “The letter does not meet the criteria agreed upon in the Euro group on Monday.”

In fact, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has made far-reaching concessions in his letter to the head of the euro group of euro zone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The letter describes the European Union’s (EU) brutal austerity program as “remarkable efforts in economic adjustment” that had to be brought to a “successful conclusion.”

Varoufakis recognized the “financial and administrative terms” of the loan agreement with the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and applied for its six-month extension. The so-called Memorandum is part of this agreement, but is not explicitly mentioned in the letter.

The letter expressly welcomes the monitoring of measures by the institutions of the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Commission and the IMF, i.e. the “troika” which is so deeply hated by the Greek population. Following its election, Syriza had declared it would not work with this body.

Finally, Varoufakis said he was ready to work “closely with our European and international partners” and refrain “from unilateral action that would undermine the fiscal targets, economic recovery and financial stability” of Greece.

The letter’s far-reaching relinquishing of national sovereignty was masked only by a few vague formulations, such as proposing “flexibility in the existing arrangement” and avoiding any direct reference to the “troika” and the “memorandum”.

But for Schäuble, even these concessions by Syriza are not enough. He is demanding unconditional surrender. Already on Tuesday, Schäuble had demanded that Athens explicitly recognize the Memorandum and pledge not to reverse any of the cuts and mass layoffs previously imposed under its terms. Schäuble believes that concessions to Greece will serve to legitimize demands from other European countries—especially Italy and Spain—for a moderation of EU austerity policies.

At this point, as he negotiates the terms of surrender, Varoufakis is not being allowed even the mildest verbal concessions that are desperately needed by Syriza to maintain some small degree of political credibility. The situation confronted by Varoufakis and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resembles that once faced by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. In 1988, after having already repudiated his organization’s core principles, Arafat was pressured by the US to make still more humiliating concessions to Israel. He asked, “Do you want me to striptease?”

There remains some possibility that Germany may decide to pull back slightly from its ultimatum. Schäuble’s demands on Athens had been unanimously supported by the representatives of the Euro group at its Monday meeting. On Thursday, however, some representatives urged more negotiations with the Greek government.

Germany’s social-democratic Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel criticized his cabinet colleagues, demanding that Varoufakis’ letter “be used as a starting point for negotiations and not publicly rejected out of hand.” At the same time, he agreed with Schäuble “that what was in the letter was insufficient to reach an agreement.”

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the letter from Athens could pave the way for a “reasonable compromise in the interest of financial stability in the euro area as a whole.” However, he was not prepared to comment further on the proposals.

Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said Athens’ proposals must be “taken seriously.”

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called Syriza’s plans “very encouraging” and indicated that a solution could be reached quickly. Schäuble’s own stance was supported by the Finnish and Latvian governments.

Greek government sources said that Tsipras and the German chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on the phone on Thursday for 50 minutes. The telephone conversation took place in a positive atmosphere, German television channel n-tv reported.

On Friday, the euro group is due to meet to discuss the Greek application. A Greek government spokesman announced on Thursday that the finance ministers could “accept or reject” Greece’s request, but no other option was on the table. He said the meeting would show “who wants a solution and who does not.”

But these are words without substance. Even if the euro group engages in further negotiations on Friday, the only issue will be how to phrase the terms of Syriza’s capitulation. Less than four weeks after its election victory, Syriza’s strategy of petty maneuvers with the EU lies in tatters.

Syriza hoped to exploit differences between the European powers and policy differences between Germany and the United States to obtain some political leeway.

In another development, Syriza’s subordination to the ruling elite within Greece was confirmed, with the election of the new President.

The government nominated right-winger Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who received the votes of 233 of the 300 seats in the Greek parliament. This vast majority was not necessary to secure Pavlopoulos’ election; just 151 votes would have been enough in the final round of voting.

The 64-year-old Pavlopoulos sits on ND’s central committee. He has repeatedly held high state and government posts, including most recently that of Minister of the Interior from 2004 to 2009.

In this latter position, Pavlopoulos in 2008 sent in police to brutally attack protesters after the police shooting of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos. Hundreds of people were arrested in the ensuing police crackdown.

Pavlopoulos’ election has already sparked off conflicts inside Syriza. European MP Manolis Glezos described the election as blatant disregard for the will of the people. One member of parliament refused to vote for Pavlopoulos. The adoption of a deal with the EU on the terms demanded by Schäuble could rapidly provoke a major government crisis.

Nato Prepares For War With Russia In Europe

February 20th, 2015 by Kurt Nimmo

Stars and Stripes reports that NATO’s Allied Land Command is using techniques used against the Taliban in Afghanistan to prepare its ground forces for a war with Russia in Europe.

Citing “Russian aggression in Ukraine and concerns along NATO’s southern flank.” Stars and Stripes says the alliance is enacting “improvements to readiness and responsiveness” and dispatching combat evaluators.

“The political guidance has lined up. The military structure is lined up, and the focus and energy is all lined up,” Lt. Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander Allied Land Command, told the newspaper. “These threats to the stability of the world around us, especially to the east and the south, have clearly energized the political and military leadership of the alliance to enact these improvements to readiness and responsiveness of the alliance.”

A Bold New Plan: Sending Weapons to Ukraine

Roll Call, a newspaper covering legislative and political developments on Capitol Hill, reports that “security in Europe requires a bold new plan: accelerating NATO force modernization initiatives in Eastern Europe and immediately delivering its surplus Cold War equipment to Ukraine.”

Benjamin Jensen, a scholar-in-residence at American University’s School of International Service and runs the Advanced Studies Program for the USMC Command and Staff College, writes that the “next National Defense Authorization Act should include language that fast tracks foreign military sales for Eastern European members of NATO. These countries need firm guarantees the United States is committed to NATO and willing to replenish weapons stockpiles they send to defend Ukrainian sovereignty.”

Defense Establishment: Russia a Threat to Baltic States

On Thursday, the UK defense secretary Michael Fallon said he believes Russia presents a “real and present danger” to the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Fallon said it is imperative NATO be prepared for aggression from Russia “in whatever form it takes.” He said Russia will use what the BBC describes as “covert tactics” top undermine the sovereignty of the Baltic states.

On February 24 NATO will use Estonia’s independence celebration to parade troops 300 meters from Russian territory, a move the Russians consider a provocation.

Russian General: We Are at War

Earlier this month Gen. Leonid Ivashov, the former foreign relations head of the Russian Ministry of Defense and current president of the Academy of Geopolitical Studies, said Russia is at war with NATO and the West.

“Apparently they officials of the European Union and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have dedicated themselves, and continue to do so, to deeply and thoroughly studying the doctrine of Dr. Goebbels… They present everything backwards from reality. It is one of the formulas which Nazi propaganda employed most successfully… They accuse the party that is defending itself, of aggression. What we are seeing in Ukraine and in Syria is a western project, a new kind of war: in both places you see a clear anti-Russian approach, and as is well known, wars today begin with psychological and information warfare operations.”

“I assume that the Foreign Ministry understands that we are at war,” Ivashov said.

President Barack Obama, on both Wednesday and Thursday, addressed sessions of a summit on “countering violent extremism” convened in Washington and attended by representatives of 65 countries.

While repeatedly insisting on the need to talk “squarely and honestly” about “root causes” of terrorism, the American president’s remarks amounted to a string of barely coherent banalities—including quotations from a Valentine’s Day card from a 12-year-old—all aimed at covering up the incontrovertible causal connection between terrorism and the chain of catastrophes unleashed by US wars of aggression over the past decade.

The three-day talk shop involved no decisions, commitments or changes in policy. Threadbare rhetoric about religious inclusion was joined with laughable tips on how to recognize a young person being swung to “radical extremism” that seemed to have been cribbed from a Drug Enforcement Administration brochure on warning signs that your child may be using marijuana.

To the extent that the gathering had a discernible purpose, it was to bolster propaganda justifications for continuing war abroad and police state measures at home.

Obama vowed that the US would remain “unwavering in our fight against terrorist organizations,” outlining plans to continue and expand US military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria and beyond.

He argued that the crusade against “violent extremism” was to be waged not just against “terrorists who are killing innocent people,” but also at the “ideologies, the infrastructure of extremists—the propagandists, recruiters, the funders who radicalize and recruit or incite people to violence,” a category so broad and ill-defined as to potentially include virtually anyone who condemns the supposedly “moderate” policies of US imperialism.

The contradictions underlying the propaganda exercise were beyond glaring. Obama proclaimed in his speech that the struggle against terrorism required “more democracy” and “security forces and police that respect human rights and treat people with dignity.” Yet Washington counts as its closest allies in this struggle the tyrannical monarchy in Saudi Arabia and the military-controlled regime that rules Egypt, infamous for their repression, beheadings and mass killings.

Obama absurdly attempted to present terrorism as the product of “twisted ideologies” of groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS along with mistaken “ideas,” “notions,” and “strains of thought” among broader sections of the Muslim world.

“The notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie,” Obama insisted in his remarks. Indeed, Washington is an equal opportunity aggressor. It is preparing even bigger wars against non-Muslims from Eastern Europe to East Asia.

This “notion” may have arisen from the fact that the populations residing in countries containing some of the world’s greatest energy reserves as well as pipeline routes for their extraction happen to be majority Muslim, and therefore have borne the tragic brunt of Washington’s drive to militarily assert hegemony over these lands.

The struggle against terrorism, Obama stated, requires confronting the fact that too many people

“buy into the notion that the Muslim world has suffered historical grievances—sometimes that’s accurate—… buy into the the belief that so many of the ills in the Middle East flow from a history of colonialism or conspiracy …”

Historical grievances? Who does Obama think he’s kidding? Millions throughout the Arab world do not have to harken back to French and British colonialists in pith helmets when it comes to grievances. In recent decades, US imperialism has laid waste to one predominantly Muslim country after another.

It thrust Afghanistan into never-ending carnage that has killed millions since the US-sponsored mujahideen war of the 1980s. In Iraq, it carried out an illegal war of aggression that claimed over a million lives. In Libya it backed a war for regime change that left the society in ruins and ravaged by armed conflict between rival militias. And in Syria, it has stoked a civil war that has killed nearly 200,000 and turned millions into refugees.

In Iraq, Libya and Syria, Washington has carried out interventions to overthrow secular Arab regimes, acting as the catalyst for the growth of Islamist forces like Al Qaeda and ISIS. In the last two countries, it actually armed and supported these elements, using them as proxy forces.

If the top officials in the Bush and Obama administration had been paid agents of Osama bin Laden, they could not have done a better job at promoting the rise of those ostensibly targeted by the US-sponsored summit against “violent extremism.”

All of the hypocrisy, deceit and self-delusion on display at this week’s summit could not mask the fact that the policies pursued by Washington over more than a decade have resulted in a debacle.

In the wake of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, US imperialism embarked on a series of escalating interventions based on the conception that it could use its military superiority to offset its economic decline. The end result has been havoc and destruction.

This extends now to Ukraine which has been plunged into a civil war that has torn the country in two as its economy implodes and its army disintegrates, and which threatens to draw the US and nuclear-armed Russia into military confrontation. Washington’s fostering of a fascist-led coup to effect regime change in Kiev, portrayed as a master stroke a year ago, has only produced another disaster.

In any functioning democracy, there would be consequences for global catastrophes on the order of those produced by the last two US administrations. They would not only be the subject of public debate and congressional hearings, but the cause of forced resignations and criminal prosecutions.

In the US, there is nothing. There is no mechanism for any criticism of a government that only continues lying to the public and lying to itself. No one takes responsibility, and no one is held accountable.

With next year’s presidential campaign taking shape, the front-runners are Republican Jeb Bush, whose brother oversaw the criminal war in Iraq, and Democrat Hillary Clinton, who as secretary of state hailed the savage lynch-mob murder of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi by an Islamist militia, declaring amid gales of laughter, “We came, we saw, he died.” There could be no clearer measure of the sclerotic character of the US political system.

Responsibility extends beyond the White House, Congress and the two major parties to the media, whose “terrorism experts” continuously churn out lies and drivel justifying US militarism, and to academia, which remains either directly complicit or silent.

That every section of the US ruling establishment is deeply implicated in these crimes and catastrophes is symptomatic of profound economic, social and political crises gripping a capitalist system that is fully subordinated to the enrichment of a tiny minority engaged in financial parasitism at the expense of working people, the vast majority of the population.

With no progressive solution to these crises, the American ruling class is driven toward even more bloody military adventures, posing the increasing threat of the ultimate act of “violent extremism,” a Third World War.

The terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo has resulted in a huge wave of sympathy and opposition to terrorist attacks. These just actions are positions of principle, as are the demonstrations of Muslim peoples demanding that the Prophet Muhammad not be caricatured. Blasphemy is a social act – an act directed toward someone else and their beliefs, which all persons whether religious, atheist or agnostic must respect. Without this respect, there is no discussion possible.

As with any event, the ruling elite advances its pawns. It presents itself as democratic, defending of freedom of speech, for peace, etc. In reality, it is doing the exact opposite. It muzzles scientists, cuts subsidies to organizations critical of its policies, militarizes the police against its own people, engages more and more in military adventures, etc.

The bourgeoisie is presented as the successor of the Enlightenment and Voltaire who reportedly said, “I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Philosophers, who claim to have grown up on a diet of Voltaire, have come forward to support this assertion. But this sentence was never uttered by Voltaire. It is Evelyn Beatrice Hall, who falsely attributed it to Voltaire in an article, as she herself admits.[1]

Voltaire wrote his 1763 “Treatise on Tolerance” about the case of the death sentence and execution of Jean Calas, father of a Huguenot family, on March 10, 1762, to oppose the religious massacres of the time, especially those carried out by the Jesuits against the Huguenots. In Toulouse especially, this story caused all sorts of slanders and insults against the family, including calls for the death of the mother, the son, the parents and even the servant of the Calas family. After a lengthy analysis of religions throughout history and civilizations, he concluded that intolerance is not the fruit of religion, but of property. He said, among other things, “Seek not to vex the hearts of men, and they are yours.”[2] He also wrote other books that dealt with blasphemy as a social act.

This is a far cry from the way the bourgeoisie uses Voltaire in the present and today’s reality.

Another thing that the elites say to justify the existence of a magazine like Charlie Hebdois that cartoons are the means of expression of the people, that they have existed forever in France, during the French Revolution, etc. As always, the bourgeoisie presents things as absolute, beyond classes and the future of society. During the French Revolution, there were cartoonists on both sides. The monarchy had its own, such as James Gillray or Boyer de Nimes.

One of the finest examples of the class character of caricature is the newspaper Der Stürmer, a Nazi weekly newspaper published by Julius Streicher starting in 1923. Der Stürmerused very entertaining content, pornography, cartoons and anti-capitalist appeals. In addition, in each paper and in each of its editions, Der Stürmer included in large letters at the bottom of the first page: “Die Juden sind unser Unglück” meaning “The Jews are our misfortune.” He worked on building what Jeffrey Herf calls an anti-Semitic consensus.

Although Julius Streicher was not involved in the Nazi government apparatus or in the German armed forces, he was tried by the Nuremberg Tribunal where he was convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death on October 1, 1946. The judgment reads in part,

“In his speeches and articles, week after week, month after month, he infected the German mind with the virus of anti-Semitism, and incited the German people to active persecution. […]

“Streicher’s incitement to murder and extermination at the time when Jews in the East were being killed under the most horrible conditions clearly constitutes persecution on political and racial grounds in the context of war crimes, such as defined by the Charter, and constitutes a crime against humanity.”

Can we then mock anything? Jokes against minorities, those who are persecuted (such as Muslims today), the downtrodden, desperate, destitute and the homeless are barbarism, not satire. The same goes for jokes against women, which seek to drag society back to a time when women were not equal to men.

To mock everything, as Charlie Hebdo claims it does today, amounts to sowing divisions amongst the peoples of the world. Such activity gives credibility to the bourgeois theory of the “clash of civilizations” promoted during the U.S. imperialist aggression against the peoples of the Middle East launched under Bush that has done so much harm to humanity.

Notes

1. See: http://rue89.nouvelobs.com

2. Toleration and Other Essays 1775, Chapter “Whether Toleration Is Dangerous, and Among What Peoples It Is Found.”

Translated from original French by TML Weekly Information Project, January 31, 214, in which this article first appeared in English.

The U.S. and Turkey have signed an agreement to openly train and arm Syrian rebels, the majority of whom have ties to ISIS.

The deal was signed Thursday by U.S. ambassador John Bass and a senior Turkish official, according to the Associated Press, and the support could begin as early as next month.

But moderate rebel groups in Syria which are independent of ISIS are practically extinct and the main belligerents in the ongoing Syrian Civil War are ISIS affiliates and the Syrian government.

“Armed groups qualified as ‘moderate’ are closely coordinating their activities with terrorist groups,” Alexey Borodavkin, the Russian Federation ambassador to the U.N., said to a Human Rights Council, adding that Syria is facing a “huge army of trained, armed terrorists.”

A “moderate” rebel commander confirmed Borodavkin’s statement back in Sept.

“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in… Qalamoun [in Syria],” Bassel Idriss, the commander of a Free Syrian Army rebel brigade, told the Lebanese Daily Star.

Idriss also mentioned the FSA’s dwindling power as many of his U.S.-backed fighters continue to “pledge allegiance” to ISIS.

“ISIS wanted to enhance its presence in the Western Qalamoun area,” Idriss said. “After the fall of Yabroud and the FSA’s retreat into the hills, many units pledged allegiance to ISIS.”

Another rebel, Abu Khaled, also said they were willing to collaborate with ISIS and its affiliates.

“Fighters feel proud to join al-Nusra [an ISIS affiliate] because that means power and influence,” Abu Ahmed, the commander of an FSA brigade near Aleppo, told the Guardian.

He later told the Daily Star that al-Nusra “is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun” and that the FSA would collaborate on any mission al-Nusra launches as long as it “coincides with their values.”

Recently Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, was caught shipping arms to al-Qaeda and ISIS via Syria-bound trucks operated by the country’s intelligence agency, according to Turkish military officials.

“The trucks were carrying weapons and supplies to the al-Qaeda terror organization,” a report by the Gendarmerie General Command stated.

The centuries-old conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims and the trillions of dollars in potential oil and gas revenue in Syria are both key factors motivating the Sunni Turkish government to support ISIS and its allies in a proxy war to overthrow the Shia Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, and the U.S. State Dept. admitted last year it also wants to overthrow Assad.

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War party bigotry and hate may be enough to drive neo-Nazis leading Kiev in the Ukraine civil war. But the reverse blame of Putin and Russia by corporate media and states has a deeper interest. It propels the geostrategic economic and military war of movement through East Europe to Russia. It is the indispensible big lie to mask their set up for foreign financial predation. A big pay-off matrix looms in Ukraine for US-led arms corporations and military services, agribusiness and GMO’s, speculator funds on debts and currency, monopoly providers of privatized social services, Big Oil frackers for newly discovered rich deposits, junk food suppliers like Poroshenko in US-frankenfood alliance, and – last but not least – the IMF money party waging a war of dispossession by financial means. 

The IMF enforces the global money-sequence cancer system by its defining policy commands on debt-impoverished countries to open them up to foreign feeding on their domestic markets and fire-sale enterprises, drastically reduced workers’ wages and benefits, stripped public pensions, healthcare and education, sell-off of historic infrastructures to pay ever more bank-created debts, and – in general- multiplying transnational money demand and profit invading their life functions at all levels. The IMF and Wall Street have been cumulatively hollowing out Africa, Latin America, South-East Asia, South Europe and the US itself in these ways over 35 years. Now it is the turn of the once social democratic Europe, state by state, beginning with the most indebted and helpless. Ukraine on the outskirts of Europe next to Russia is where the military option has been required to strip it and its former Slavic economic union with Russia. This historic relationship has been the last line of life defence in the way, a conservative but sharing ethos of resource-rich societies with Putin as a superior leader facing the US-EU’s many-times more powerful economic levers and lethal arms to bully him and Russia into submission.

To take the naturally rich Ukraine for transnational bank and corporate looting, the public must be sold the story of Putin as the villain. Only then can debt screws be applied and the country opened to long-term and full-spectrum financial, foreign and oligarch control beneath the people’s notice. The IMF is already in motion to ensure that the Kiev coup state provides all of this. Few observe the underlying fact that the crushing bank debt eating societies alive across the world is all debt money created by big private banks with no legal tender to back 97% of it. Ukraine is the latest nation to fall into the deadly trap without a sound. Here public money for public need is ended, although it created the US itself. As Ben Franklin has testified, to regain public money issue was the prime reason for the American Revolution. Public banking was also what made modern Canada from 1938 to 1974 by public investment money without private debt-servicing loaned by the public Bank of Canada for construction of Canada’s material and social infrastructures from the St Lawrence Seaway to public pensions and universal healthcare.

The same is true of almost every society that has economically succeeded in the modern world. . The Depression and the War especially taught the world’s real leaders something about public banking as the only thing that works for real social development. Germany in peace, China, India, Japan in their most prosperous periods have all relied on public investment banking in some form. But the Wall Street counter-revolution happened invisibly in 1974 by Bank of International Settlements policy to stop governments from lending their own money for their public investments – the BIS being a coterie of bank heads meeting in Switzerland led by Wall Street bankers and with no accountability to any public interest or body. On the contrary, against their constitutional rights, all governments have been made accountable to the Wall Street system which runs the US Treasury and the IMF by the revolving door method.  This silent BIS policy destroyed public investment free of the self-multiplying debt charges now eating away at every level of the Western economy including sovereign public investment. Ukraine, with few noticing, has just been privatized at the bank debt and investment level by the US-led coup state. Its arrangements with the IMF now loaning money on Wall Street permanent debt-servicing terms have replaced the $20 billion it had from Russia on payable public terms along with 30% cut-rate oil and gas.

This most far-reaching change of all has been erased from view by the official story – the delivery of Ukraine by the US-led coup into the ever-devouring funnels of the Wall-Street-and-company private banking system. With all the permanent new debt servicing of an already broken country spending its future debt on fighting a US-manufactured civil war fueled by neo-Nazi war thugs, Ukraine will be bled dry. A revealing example of how IMF debt bondage leverages transnational corporate control of Ukraine’s greatest resources is the new IMF $17 billion loan on the condition that Ukraine opens up its peerless vast stretches of black soil and fertile lands to the biotech cycles of Monsanto, Dupont, Deere and factory looting of the earth. Similar plans are also in motion for Big Oil racking of Ukraine’s large newly discovered gas deposits (fracking is prohibited in Russia).

The transnational corporate and bank looting of Ukraine is the shadow reason for the US  block against any reasonable truce in the civil war that it has created. This is why a jackal government like Canada’s Harper’s refuses to respond to any diplomatic correspondence from Russia, blocking information flows, and proclaiming inflammatory falsehoods. The profound common life interests at stake are exactly what the war party is out to make impossible to act on. Ukraine is a prime agricultural land source of the world and Europe’s biggest landmass, and it is set for US-EU financial and corporate takeover. Ukraine is also facing the same ultimate crisis as every country and people – its government being mutated into a corporate satrap to ensure the country as an unlimited profit site at least costs and accountability for foreign corporate and local oligarch profit. It is a paradigm case of the carcinomic global dispossession that knows no growth but its own. But it is also the leading current case of armed resistance against this takeover. Donbas, Putin and Russia are alone in stopping the life-devouring system’s advance East, with Syriza in Greece the newly elected resistance within Europe.

All face the same stripping of collective life capital bases to grow the global money sequences of the apical few with no life function. Ukraine is the new major feeding zone opening towards Russia. Here as much as Greece, public assets are on the privatization block. Slash-and-burn budgets are set to service new unpayable debts to foreign banks, with far more rich natural and soil wealth to marketize and expropriate for debt servicing. Ukraine also has large and untapped fossil-fuel deposits, and it provides new strategic military control up to Russia’s main border and colossally rich natural resources on the other side.

Yet the operation of reverse blame goes from Iraq to Libya to Syria to Ukraine to Russia in one society destruction to the next.  With one-way pervasive media abuse, cumulatively destructive sanctions, and incremental arming of neo-fascist-led Ukrainian forces, vast global power, treasure and most of all direction are at stake which affect all humanity. The line is drawn on the global disorder’s runaway aggression and trail of social ruin. Or it is stopped by intelligent mass resistance that does not let up.

This resistance has grown stronger. A new truce was formed for February 15 by the EU, Kiev-Ukraine and Russia for this reason. Predictably all voices of the official story warn that “Russia and the separatists” will not obey its terms. Yet when we examine the record of international law and agreements, life-protective promises and agreements, who always overrides them at will?  The track record tells us very plainly, but the record is always excluded from the ruling story. What is presupposed instead is the most inane of all moral equations unconsciously assumed as first principle of judgement in international affairs: the US = Good and its Enemy = Evil. Search for any exception to this inner logic of the official narrative in any major conflict across the globe in 50 years. What is never stated are the actual facts of “lawless aggression”, “gross violations of international law” and “innocent civilians terrorized and murdered”.  That the US is by far the knock-down leader on all counts of war crime, killing, terror and, in general, violence against human life of every kind is taboo to understand. While always accusing others of violating “the international laws and norms of the community of nations”, it repudiates and sabotages them without evident exception.

Consider the systemic violations and subversions across the spectrum. The US government has refused to ratify the International Criminal Court to uphold the law against war crimes and crimes against humanity, and it has publicly repudiated the Court’s right to investigate US criminal violations including the “supreme crime” of initiating a war of aggression. While it perpetually invokes international laws to accuse others, it repudiates any life-protective law whatever in its actions. In truth, the US (and its  key ally Israel) has systematically undermined virtually all international laws to protect human life – treaties and conventions against landmines, against biological weapons, against international ballistic missiles, against small arms, against torture, against racism, against arbitrary seizure and imprisonment, against military weather distortions, against biodiversity loss, against climate destabilization, and even international agreements on the rights of children and of women.

The big-lie system runs to the moral DNA of the US state. Its record of continual war crimes and crimes against humanity by direct or proxy violation should be foremost in the minds of those observing what happens next in Ukraine. It can only continue if NATO-country public opinion does not join the dots in the ultimate failure of Western civilization.

Dees_Smart_Grid

David Dees

Over the past several years a conspiracy of silence has surrounded the implementation of the Smart Grid across the United States, perhaps with good reason. If the public were aware of what lay behind this agenda there would likely be considerable outcry and resistance.

“Smart meters”–the principal nodes of the Smart Grid network–are being installed on homes and businesses by power utilities across the United States under the legal and fiscal direction of the United States government. In December 2007 both houses of the US Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).

This 310-page piece of legislation employs the dubious science of anthropogenic CO2-based climate change science to mandate an array of policies, such as fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and “green” energy initiatives. Tucked away in the final pages of this law is the description and de facto mandate for national implementation of the Smart Grid that the Bush administration promised would result in “some of the largest CO2 emission cuts in our nation’s history.”[1]

The bill unambiguously lays out the design and intent behind the Smart Grid, including surveillance, tiered energy pricing, and energy rationing for all US households and businesses through round-the-clock monitoring of RFID-chipped “Energy Star” appliances.[2] Congress and “other stakeholders” (presumably for-profit utilities and an array of Smart Grid technology patent holders[3] whose lobbyists co-wrote the legislation) describe the Smart Grid’s characteristics and goals via ten provisions.

(1) Increased use of digital information and controls technology to improve reliability, security, and efficiency of the electric grid.
(2) Dynamic optimization of grid operations and resources with full cyber-security.
(3) Deployment[4] and integration of distributed resources and generation, including renewable resources.
(4) Development and incorporation of demand response, demand-side resources, and energy efficiency resources.
(5) Deployment of “smart” technologies (real-time, automated, interactive technologies that optimize the physical operation of appliances and consumer devices) for metering, communications concerning grid operations and status, and distribution automation.
(6) Integration of “smart” appliances and consumer devices.
(7) Deployment and integration of advanced electricity storage and peak-shaving technologies, including plug-in electric and hybrid electric vehicles, and thermal-storage air conditioning.
(8) Provision to consumers of timely information and control operations.
(9) Development of standards for communication and interoperability of appliances and equipment connected to the electric grid, including the infrastructure serving the grid.
(10) Identification and lowering of unreasonable or unnecessary barriers to adoption of smart grid technologies, practices, and services [emphases added].[5]

Less than two years after EISA’s enactment President Barack Obama directed $3.4 billion of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to Smart Grid development. Matching funds from the energy industry brought the total initial Smart Grid investment to $8 billion.[6] The overall completion of the Smart Grid will cost another $330 billion.[7] Today a majority of energy delivery throughout the US is routed to homes equipped with smart meters that monitor power consumption on a minute-to-minute basis.

As noted, the American public remains largely unaware of the numerous designs and monied interests behind the Smart Grid–not to mention how smart meters themselves pose substantial dangers to human health and privacy. This is because the plan for tiered energy pricing via wireless monitoring of household appliances has been almost entirely excluded from news media coverage since the EISA became law on December 19, 2007.

A LexisNexis search of US print news outlets for “Energy Independence and Security Act” and “Smart Grid” between the dates December 1, 2007 to January 31, 2008 yields virtually no results.

An identical LexisNexis search of such media for the dates December 1, 2007 to February 18, 2015 retrieves a total 11 print news items appearing in US dailies (seven in McClatchey Tribune papers; one article appearing in each of the following: New York Times 8/14/08, Santa Fe New Mexican, 5/12/09, Providence Journal, 2/24/11, Tampa Bay Times, 12/13/12).[8]

Even this scant reportage scarcely begins to examine the implications of the EISA’s Smart Grid plan. The New York Times chose to confine its coverage to a 364-word article, “The 8th Annual Year in Ideas; Smart Grids.” “It’s a response to what economists would call a tragedy of the commons,” the Times explains.

[P]eople use as much energy as they are willing to pay for, without giving any thought to how their use affects the overall amount of energy available … Enter Xcel’s $100 million initiative, called SmartGridCity, a set of technologies that give both energy providers and their customers more control over power consumption … Consumers, through a Web-enabled control panel in their homes, are able to regulate their energy consumption more closely — for example, setting their A.C. system to automatically reduce power use during peak hours.[9]

News in far more modest papers likewise resembles the promotional materials distributed by the utilities themselves. “There will soon be a time when homeowners can save electricity by having appliances automatically adjust power for peak-demand times and other periods of inactivity by a signal sent through the electrical outlet,” an article in Sunbury Pennsylvania’s Daily Item reads. “‘Right now, it’s at the infant stage,’” a power company executive observes. “‘We didn’t worry about this until two years ago. Nobody cared when electricity was five cents per kilowatt hour. People just bit the bullet and paid the bill.’”[10]

Hoffman_Smart_Grid_Czar

Smart Grid Czar Patricia Hoffman

Along these lines, the Department of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Patricia Hoffman, is charged under the EISA with federal oversight of nationwide Smart Grid implementation. In other words, Hoffman is America’s “Smart Grid Czar.” Yet despite heading up such a dubious program since 2010, she has almost entirely escaped journalistic scrutiny, having been referenced or quoted in only four US daily papers (Washington Post, 2/8/12, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 4/26/12, Palm Beach Post, 5/12/13, Pittsburgh Tribune Review 11/13/13) since her tenure began.

In an era where news media wax rhapsodic over new technologies and fall over each other to report consumer-oriented “news you can use,” the Smart Grid’s pending debut should be a major story. It’s not. Indeed, almost the entire US population remains in the dark about this major technological development that will profoundly impact their lives.

When one more closely examines the implications and realities of the federally-approved Smart Grid scheme—from the adverse health effects of electromagnetic radiation to surveillance and energy rationing—there should be little wonder why this degree of silence surrounds its implementation. Such a technocratic system would never be freely accepted if subject to an open exchange and referendum.

 

Notes

[1] “Fact Sheet: Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007,” whitehouse.gov, December 19, 2007.

[2] “ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR program was established by EPA in 1992, under the authority of the Clean Air Act Section 103(g).” http://www.energystar.gov/about

[3] Jeff St. John, “Who’s Got the Most Smart Grid Patents?” greentechmedia.com, August 5, 2014.

[4] The word “deployment,” commonly used in government and technical plans for the Smart Grid’s launch, is a military term. From the Latin displicāre, “to scatter,” the modern definition is “[t]o distribute (persons or forces) systematically or strategically.”

[5] Public Law 110-140, Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Title XIII, Section 1301, Washington DC: United States Congress, December 19,2007.

[6] “President Obama Announces $3.4 Billion Investment to Spur Transition to Smart Energy Grid,” energy.gov, October 27, 2009.

[7] Jon Chavez, “Expert Sees $2 Trillion Benefit For Country in Smart Grid,” Toledo Blade, January 16 2013.

[8] In contrast, seven times as many articles (78) appeared in law journals over the same seven year period.

[9] Clay Risen, “”The 8th Annual Year in Ideas; Smart Grids,” New York Times, December 14, 2008.

[10] Jaime North, “Devices Will Soon Monitor Themselves,” Daily Item, October 4, 2008.

David Hicks and the Death of a Legal System

February 20th, 2015 by Binoy Kampmark

In the annals of obscene legal history, that of David Hicks, whose terrorism conviction was just quashed by the United States Court of Military Commission Review, must rank highly.[1]  It is also instructive on various levels: what is says about his treatment by the US legal system; and what it reveals about the attitudes of the Australian government. 

Australians tend to demonise or sanctify their legal villains, casting a social net around them that either protects, or asphyxiates them.  If one is an Irish scribbling horse thief with murderous tendencies and eccentric battle dress sense, then one is bound to get a spot in the hero’s pantheon.  The book collecting, education promoting judge who sentenced him to death receives the opposite treatment: snubbed by the juggernaut of historical folklore.

Hicks, from the start, was not quite that horse thief, Ned Kelly.  But he did engage in the mischief that would earn him demerit points after September 11, 2001.  He travelled to Pakistan. He spent time at al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.  He drank of that radicalisation soup that has gotten Europe, Australasia and the United States worried.

In the scheme of grand power politics, he found himself involved with an organisation that did not always have the official designation of terrorism – after all, elements of al Qaeda, and their hosts, the Taliban, had been recipients of US-funding during and in the aftermath of the Cold War.  The Taliban’s opponents, the Northern Alliance, captured Hicks, and surrendered him to the US in late 2001.

In confinement within the Guantánamo camp system, subject to around the clock artificial light, inedible food, forced drugging, beatings and a range of other indignities, Hicks received the brunt of juridical inventiveness.  The US Military Commissions, designed to specifically target non-US citizens, was born.  Being neither courts-martial nor civilian courts, they amputated due process and merged the role of jury and judge.  The rule on hearsay was thrown out.  The commissions restricted the accused’s right to hear all the evidence. Appeals to any other court, foreign or US, would be cut. And the death penalty might well be applied.

In 2006, the US Supreme Court in Hamdan v Rumsfeld held that the Bush administration did not have the power to create such commissions without Congressional authorisation, a feature that ran foul of such instruments as the Geneva Conventions.[2]  Not to be deterred, the then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard kept insisting that “I do not want [Hicks] to come back to Australia without first facing trial in the United States.”  Let the Americans do it, “because if he comes back to Australia he can’t be tried”. Hicks, in other words, was already guilty in the minds of Australia’s top officials.  “Of what?” posed his military defense lawyer Michael Mori. “Howard didn’t know.  How should he be tried?  Howard did not know.”

Hicks became the first, and most dubious scalp, of the reconstituted commission system.  Much of the account of his defence is discussed by Mori, a freshly recruited defence lawyer who was rapidly blooded in the byzantine legal labyrinth being constructed around his client.  His account, discussed in In the Company of Cowards (2014) reflects, not merely on Hicks defence, but the atrophying of a legal system.

Two vital issues came up in Hicks’s attempt to seek his ultimately successful appeal.  The first central legal disfigurement here lay in the pre-trial machinations that placed Hicks on the road to conceding guilt for a lesser sentence.  In accepting this “Alford plea”, the hope was to insulate the entire treatment of his plight, and by implication those in similar cases, from further legal scrutiny.

On March 30, 2007, Hicks pleaded guilty to the dubious charge of providing material support “from in or about December 2000 through in or about December 2001,… to an international terrorist organisation engaged in hostilities against the United States, namely al Qaeda, which the accused knew to be such an organization that engaged, or engages in terrorism”. The rather inventive, and retrospective charges, had been brought in February 2007, with the attempted murder charge subsequently dropped.

He was then sentenced to confinement for seven years, with the question on what would count to time already served. (The latter point is important: the prosecutors were reluctant to budge on the issue, but conceded to the balance of nine months.)   On May 20, 2007, Hicks returned to Australia, serving time at Adelaide’s Yatala prison, and was out by December.

What was significant in this case was that Hicks, his defense counsel and the convening authority had signed a pre-trial agreement indicating that the appellant had offered to plead guilty to the first charge provided he “voluntarily and expressly waive all rights to appeal or collaterally attack my conviction, sentence, or any other matter relating to this prosecution whether such a right to appeal or collateral attack arises under the Military Commission Act of 2006, or any other provision of the United States or Australian law.”

Then comes a good deal of legal stumbling.  The review commission, after accepting it had jurisdiction over the appeal, attacked the verdict in a very specific way.  The first waiver was deemed to have been made knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily.  Hicks’s pre-trial agreement was deemed favourable.  He was granted concessions.  But failure to resubmit “his appellate waiver within 10 days after the convening authority provide notice of action invalidated his appellate waiver.”

“There is insufficient indication… that the appellant reiterated his desire to not appeal within 10 days.”  In other words, Hicks had not given sufficient grounds to show that he had waived his right of appeal. “Thus we hold the waiver is invalid and unenforceable.”  The result: “The findings of guilty are set aside and dismissed and the appellant’s sentence is vacated.”

The second point noted by the review commission, citing the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit case of Al Bahlul (2014) was that “it was a plain ex post facto violation” to try a person for the offense of providing material support to terrorism after the fact.  It was a “prejudicial error” that required a vacation of the conviction.  While Al Bahlul’s plea was different from Hicks, “those differences do not dictate a different result.”  Hicks, in other words, had been bludgeoned by unlawful retrospective punishment.

In a most conspicuous way, the treatment offered to Hicks did not merely violate every sacred canon of presumed innocence, it suggested a new legal order, one stacked with ghastly, Kafka-like qualifications.  In the sinister legal purgatory of Guantánamo, Hicks could suffer Washington’s own version of a disappearance, with connivance from a subservient Canberra.

Australia’s political authorities continue that line, trumpeting a view that validates outsourcing torture, detention and confinement of its own citizens.  (They can’t even be patriotically indecent enough to inflict cruelties on their own people.)  Showing a continuing tendency to ignore evidence placed before him, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was resolute about the quashed sentence.  “David Hicks was up to no good and I’m not in the business of apologising for the actions the Australian government takes to protect our country.”  (The statement would better read “inaction” in the name of Australian security.)

Others have preferred to ignore the procedure as a trifle.  Commercial radio stations such as Sydney’s 2UE suggested that the quashing of terrorism convictions did not imply he was a “saint”.[3]  “He may be legally innocent, but not absolved of the guilt he did [sic].”  Guilt has many shades, and such arguments fittingly ignore the one critical issue in all of this: that of the law.  In the realms of such debate, a sober middle ground is nigh impossible.

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, proved surprisingly qualified in his statements.  “There is no doubt on one hand David  Hicks was probably foolish to get caught up in that Afghanistan conflict, but clearly there has been an injustice done to him” (The Daily Telegraph, Feb 19).

The troubling feature of the findings by the review commission is that, at its heart, little is made of the plea bargain system itself.  Nor is the entire military commission process examined in its crude corrosion of judicial protections.  The conviction was quashed because it violated a procedural requirement, and a judicial requirement.  Invalidating a badly understood waiver is one thing; invalidating the entire process of how he was dealt with, quite another.  We can at least take heart from the fact that the judges were aware of ex-post facto nastiness.

For that reason, the fate of Hicks remains the greatest affirmation of fiendish legal inventiveness, the sort of cleverness that threw the law book out in favour of gossip, arbitrariness and political judgment. It is one the US legal system has, and continues, to pay dearly for.  The Australian citizen, on the other hand, can always rely on his or her own government to surrender liberties at the drop of the judicial hat, an anaemic form of patriotism if ever there was one.  Washington, right or wrong, will have its day.

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

War in Ukraine: The Wise Men, Please Step Forward

February 20th, 2015 by Edward Lozansky

The guns in Ukraine have not cooled down yet but the Minsk 2 peace accord is already being predictably assailed in Washington by liberal and conservative hawks alike.

Headlines like “Vlad Putin Wins Again,” “The new Ukrainian peace deal may be worse than no deal at all,” or “Why Is Putin Smiling About Ukraine?” and the likes are all over the US media.

Never mind that the Minsk Agreement offers at least a brief, fragile window of opportunity for the world to step back from the brink of a nuclear confrontation that would destroy the entire northern hemisphere of the earth. If nothing else, at least it could save some Ukrainian lives. But who cares?

Such negative reactions from US policymakers and media are understandable since the whole Ukrainian mess was concocted to fulfill the ultimate goal of Russia’s geopolitical weakening and Putin’s regime change under the noble banner of spreading freedom and democracy. So far this goal is far from an achievement so why give peace a chance?

The saddest part of this story is that such a policy totally contradicts US long-term strategic security interests by turning a potential important ally into adversary.

It did not have to be that way. After the collapse of Communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, both Russian elites and the overwhelming majority of the Russian people were ready to join the family of the Western alliance. It was President George Herbert Walker Bush who talked in 1990 about a “Europe whole and free,” and the new “security arch from Vancouver to Vladivostok.”

Yes, there is no written document confirming his often-quoted pledge to Gorbachev not to expand NATO to the East but there are many credible and trustworthy witnesses who present compelling evidence testifying to Washington’s reneging on key oral commitments to Moscow.

According to then-US Ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock, who took part in both the Bush-Gorbachev early-December 1989 summit in Malta and the Shevardnadze-Baker discussions in early February 1990:

 “The language used was absolute, and the entire negotiation was in the framework of a general agreement that there would be no use of force by the Soviets and no ‘taking advantage’ by the US … I don’t see how anybody could view the subsequent expansion of NATO as anything but ‘taking advantage,’ particularly since, by then, Russia was hardly a credible threat.”

There are other reliable witnesses to these historical events. And there is no doubt that it was Bill Clinton and his administration that made the sharp turn from the movement, albeit slow, towards an US – Russia alliance, to deep division and the current dangerous state of affairs.

George Kennan, one of the most distinguished of American diplomats, later told the New York Times he believed the expansion of NATO was “the beginning of a new cold war…I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves.”

Some 19 US Senators, including John Ashcroft (R-MO), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), Harry Reid (D-NV), Arlen Specter (R-PA) and John Warner (R-VA) voted against the bill permitting the expansion of NATO. Some of them said the expansion would “dilute NATO’s self-defense mission, antagonize Russia, jeopardize several Russian-American arms-control negotiations and draw a new dividing line – a new Iron Curtain – across Europe.”

”We’ll be back on a hair-trigger,” said Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York Democrat, warning that enlargement would threaten much worse than a new cold war. ”We’re talking about nuclear war.”

This relentless record of broken promises continued when Russia was ravaged by economic crisis through the 1990s. This was a direct result of the catastrophic crash privatization urged on it by the Clinton team when Russia’s population shrank disastrously and the hardship of ordinary folks was comparable to what they had experienced during World War II.

Russia’s unexpected recovery in the 2000s from this total devastation caught its antagonists by surprise, but George W. Bush and Barack Obama followed the same failed Clinton policies by continuing NATO expansion, unleashing “color revolutions” on former Soviet republics from Ukraine and Georgia to Kyrgyzstan. Under their reckless leads, the United States pressed to break historical and economic ties between Russia and Ukraine going back many centuries using the same slogans of promoting Western values.

Joint press conference by Soviet Communist Party leader, Soviet Supreme Council Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev (right) and US President George Bush in Malta.(RIA Novosti / Yuryi Abramochkin)Joint press conference by Soviet Communist Party leader, Soviet Supreme Council Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev (right) and US President George Bush in Malta.(RIA Novosti / Yuryi Abramochkin)

The Ukrainian people have not benefited from this policy which the February 2014 violent coup in Kiev and the openly manipulated sham of a democratic election then imposed upon them. The new rump government of President Petro Poroshenko first accepted an association agreement with the European Union under terms certain to impoverish scores of millions of Ukrainians. It has nothing to do with helping Ukraine’s economic development but only dangles mythical carrots of unlimited Western aid that neither the US nor the EU in reality have the resources to provide.

Finally, some European leaders are slowly coming to their senses. Merkel and Hollande rightly want to retreat from the brink and such conservative-right leaders like former President Nicolas Sarkozy and National Front leader Marine Le Pen have both made clear their own determination to reestablish good ties with Moscow.

Yet in Washington, the only voices allowed to be heard in the mainstream media unanimously call for the rapid arming of Ukraine as quickly and recklessly as possible. Arch-hawk Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) is predictably in the forefront of this pack, yet incredibly President Obama has allowed senior figures in his own administration and the top US generals to encourage such madness too.

During the most dangerous periods of the Cold War, the dangers were fully realized by the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan administrations. However, there is not the slightest hint of such awareness and responsibility among US policymakers today, either among the incumbent Democrats or the opposition Republicans, who are trying to outdo each other by competing who is more hawkish on Russia. Needless to say that America needs a drastic change in its foreign policy.

There are a few wise men who can make a significant contribution to this cause; one is former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the man who did more than any other single person to end the Cold War. He must come to Washington and meet with the surviving veterans of the Reagan and George Bush, Sr. administrations he worked so courageously and constructively with back in the 1980s. Together, their voices desperately need to be heard to revive the severed lines of communication between Washington and Moscow and start the process of bringing the world back from the brink of nuclear destruction.

The huge experience and unmatched diplomatic skills of such Americans as George Herbert Walker Bush, Henry Kissinger, James A. Baker III, Brent Scowcroft, Jack Matlock, Pat Buchanan, David Stockman, Dana Rohrabacher and some others make them the obvious partners to take seats at the round table with Gorby.

It is not too late for the voices of reason and sanity to be heard. But the alarms on the Doomsday Clock are already ringing.

Edward Lozansky and Martin Sieff for RT.

Edward Lozansky is President of the American University in Moscow and head of the US-Russia Forum. He is a former Soviet nuclear scientist.

Martin Sieff is a senior fellow of the American University in Moscow. He is the former Chief Foreign Correspondent for The Washington Times.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

In a foreign-policy address today, Jeb Bush, potential candidate for the 2016 presidential elections, will try to convince people that he’s not his father or—probably more importantly—his brother. Literally, his prepared remarks have him saying:

I love my father and my brother. I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make.

But I am my own man — and my views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences.

In light of that claim, it’s interesting to consider the foreign policy advisers with whom Jeb Bush has, as his own man, chosen to surround himself. Like Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, George W.’s two homeland security secretaries. And Porter Goss and Michael Hayden, two of George W.’s CIA directors. And Iraq War architects Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Hadley, and Meghan O’Sullivan. The list goes on.

The independence and his-own-man-ness doesn’t just ooze from every one of Jeb Bush’s pores, it crackles and pulses in the air around him like an aura of flames.

Greece’s new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has been mandated by the leftist Syriza government to negotiate new conditions with the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) for the continuation of Greece’s desperately needed bailout. He has just written a smashing op-ed forThe New York Times that forcefully outlines his government’s approach to the negotiations. It deserves a standing ovation.

Currently Greece has been receiving a bailout in stages, but only on the condition that it imposes brutal austerity measures on the Greek working class and poor, including laying off state workers, lowering the minimum wage, imposing regressive taxes, and weakening labor union rights. These measures have produced what Varoufakis has called a “humanitarian crisis” in Greece with hunger spreading and many losing such basic amenities as electricity. One might think that the bailout would bring money into Greece that could then be used to help the most desperate. But in fact, the bailout money never stops in Greece; it goes directly to Greece’s creditors at the expense of the Greek people. It has amounted to a massive transference of wealth from those who are struggling to get by to those who are rich. Now the troika wants even more severe austerity as a condition for continuing the bailout.

The new Syriza government has announced that enough is enough. It campaigned and won the elections on the clear platform that the austerity measures must stop, not only because of the humanitarian crisis, but they simply do not work. They have caused Greece’s economy to slide into a depression. The economy has shrunk 25 percent, and unemployment has spiked to 25 percent – 50 percent for young people. More austerity will simply cause further shrinking of the Greek economy with seemingly no hope for an exit. If Syriza were to betray its mandate to stop the austerity, it would amount to political suicide because the Greek working class is prepared to fight to end austerity.

Yanis Varoufakis wrote his op-ed to assure everyone concerned, including Greece’s creditors, that while the Syriza government is prepared to pay back its debts, although not on the same scale as before, it will not bend on its rejection of austerity. He put it unambiguously:

“I am often asked: What if the only way you can secure funding is to cross your red lines and accept measures that you consider to be part of the problem, rather than of its solution? Faithful to the principle that I have no right to bluff, my answer is: The lines that we have presented as red will not be crossed.”

Convinced that the Europeans and Greece can find a win-win compromise where both can emerge victoriously, although creditors will suffer some form of a “haircut,” Varoufakis argued that Syriza is not motivated by some “radical-left agenda,” but invoked the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, perhaps as a sop to the Germans, to explain the Greek government’s concern for everyone’s welfare:

“One may think that this retreat from game theory is motivated by some radical-left agenda. Not so. The major influence here is Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher who taught us that the rational and the free escape the empire of expediency by doing what is right.”

Kant’s ethics were dazzling in their simplicity. His fundamental contention was that doing the right thing coincided with doing the rational thing, which was the same as acting freely, as opposed to being driven by selfish passions. For example, if we wanted to know if stealing could ever be ethically justified, Kant counseled that we pose this question: What if everyone stole? In other words, would it make sense for someone to want stealing to become a universal code of conduct? And, of course, people who steal certainly do not want others to follow their example, for they do not want to become victims of stealing themselves. Hence, they adopt a rationally flawed, self-contradictory code: everyone should abstain from stealing except them.

But Kant’s abstract ethical doctrine does not do justice to Mr. Varoufakis’ political philosophy. Elsewhere in his op-ed he put it this way:

“The great difference between this government [the new Syriza government] and previous Greek governments is twofold: We are determined to clash with mighty vested interests in order to reboot Greece and gain our partners’ trust. We are also determined not to be treated as a debt colony that should suffer what it must.”

This is not the philosophy of Kant where all are treated as equal, atomized individuals, it is the philosophy of Marx. It is raw class war. The Syriza government is out to defend the working class majority at the expense of the rich, who have been shirking on paying their taxes and are waist-deep in corruption. “No more ‘reform’ programs that target poor pensioners and family-owned pharmacies while leaving large-scale corruption untouched,” Varoufakis insisted in his op-ed. In an interview with the BBC he put it this way: “We are going to destroy the basis upon which they [the Greek oligarchy] have built, for decade after decade, a system and network that viciously sucks the energy and the economic power from everybody else in society.”

Marx argued that in class societies, there is no single ethics that can bridge class divisions. Rather, our ethical outlook is deeply defined by our class position. Many in the working class, for example, are convinced of the ethical imperative that the rich pay higher taxes, that their businesses be tightly regulated, that people who fall on hard times through no fault of their own be helped, etc. But many who are rich are equally convinced that such policies are examples of “the politics of envy” and that nothing could be more morally depraved than to transfer money from the good, hard-working wealthy people to the lazy poor.

And because this is a class war, it becomes all the more significant that leaders of major German unions have courageously come out in opposition to their own government to support Syriza’s anti-austerity platform. This is the real reason why European leaders, who represent their respective capitalist classes, refuse to budge on Greece’s debt. They are perfectly aware that in war one must not display weakness; it will only embolden and strengthen “the enemy.” But success also breeds success. Thanks to Syriza’s electoral victory in Greece, Podemos, which also rejects austerity, has surged in Spain, as was evidenced by its recent rally in Madrid of hundreds of thousands. Any small victory of Syriza in its confrontation with its troika opponents will be a victory for Podemos and all the other anti-austerity parties throughout Europe. More European governments could possibly fall. The class struggle could intensify.

Varoufakis has described himself as an “erratic Marxist.” He is far more of a Marxist than a Kantian. It’s the only moral thing to be.

Ann Robertson is a Lecturer at San Francisco State University and a member of the California Faculty Association.

Bill Leumer is a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 853 (ret.). Both are writers for Workers Action and may be reached at [email protected].

Why There’s Too Much Hope Over Minsk-II

February 20th, 2015 by Andrew Korybko

The Minsk II accords are nothing more than a tenuous ceasefire in a tense regional neighborhood, and the sincerity of France and Germany’s intentions is dubious, at best. While the US has yet to formally commit to arming Ukraine, it still holds the option open and can unilaterally do so with or without EU support or ongoing hostilities.

Unravelling The Layers Of EU Thought

While much has been made of France and Germany’s ‘natural’ interests in having peace in Ukraine and the prospects of a major ‘split’ with the US on the issue, scarcely anything has been written about the enormous benefits each gets from their privileged relationship with the US. Let’s take a brief look at both:

France:
While Paris competes with Germany ‘domestically’ within the EU, it complements it in terms of regional foreign policy in order to piggyback off of Berlin and acquire an increased profile and some residual prestige. Be that as it may, France closely cooperates with the US in West/Central Africa, and this relationship is not worth abandoning in order to all-out reject American designs in Ukraine, which Paris sees as being more within Germany’s sphere of influence/responsibility anyhow.

Germany:
Most observers are already aware of Germany’s enormous trade ties with Russia, so it’s not necessary to rehash them at this point. Instead, attention should be drawn to Merkel’s rumored personal ambitions to be the next UN Secretary General, which could help explain her near-useless, albeit symbolic, merry-go-round diplomacy to Kiev, Moscow, Munich, and Washington.Aside from that, Berlin cynically appreciates the US’ anti-Russian fear mongering that has resulted in devastating counter-sanctions against eastern/southeastern EU member states, since it makes their economies more dependent on Germany and thus entrenches its power even deeper in the union’s poorer and more peripheral states.

US Weapons: With Or Without War

Minsk-150212The narrative that the EU can somehow prevent the US from equipping Ukraine with lethal weapons, either through its political resistance to such a plan or by ‘bringing peace’ to Ukraine first, is unequivocally false. It’s the US that tells the EU what to do, not the other way around, and the US will deliver weapons to Kiev regardless of what the EU thinks about the issue. As proof of America’s unilaterally aggressive actions in the face of the EU’s diplomatic rhetoric, the commander of US Army Europe, Ben Hodges, announced on the eve of the Minsk II talks that the US military will be training 600 members of Kiev’s armed forces, showing that it could care less about whatever the EU is doing for ‘peace’.

Even if such a distant scenario developed where the EU attempted to pressure the US on the issue and was resolute with its stance, it would in reality only be France, Germany, and a handful of others who would engage in this resistance, since Poland, the Baltic States, and Romania are completely supportive of the US’ anti-Russian policies in the region. With the EU already torn between north and south, it’s not likely that Merkel would want to risk dividing it into east (anti-Russian) and west (pragmatic towards Russia), too.

A Rough, Russophobic Neighborhood

This brings one to the final point, which is that Russia’s western neighborhood is absurdly hostile to it and openly embracive of Russophobic policies. Be it Poland, the Baltic States, or Romania, these countries’ elites feel they have a bone to pick with Moscow and are intent on drawing the US into their spats. By internationalizing their bilateral problems and getting a superpower involved on their side, ‘minor-league’ states and their regional foreign policies become caught up in Great Power politics and are thus elevated to global significance, which ultimately serves their subjective, self-interested goals. It goes both ways, however, since the US also uses them to achieve its own objectives in the region, which in this case, may be about using Poland and Romania as proxies for arming Kiev. Thus, so long as the zeitgeist of those states remains as radically anti-Russian as it is today, then they will always be involved with instigating some level of conflict with Russia and requesting the US’ assistance in resolving it.

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

President Obama’s proposed AUMF seeks retroactive congressional approval for wars he has been conducting for six months. Even if Congress does not oblige him, Obama will continue to bomb Iraq and Syria, falsely claiming that the 2001 AUMF gives him that authority.

As President Barack Obama presented his proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to Congress, he declared, “I do not believe America’s interests are served by endless war, or by remaining on a perpetual war footing.” Yet Obama’s proposal asks Congress to rubber-stamp his endless war against anyone he wants, wherever he wants. Obama has launched 2,300 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since August 8, 2014. In his six years as president, he has killed more people than died on 9/11 with drones and other forms of targeted killing in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – countries with which the United States is not at war.

Obama’s proposed AUMF contains some purported limitations, but their vagueness amounts to a blank check to use US military force in perpetuity.

“Associated Persons or Forces”

The president’s proposal authorizes force against the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) and its “associated persons or forces.” They are defined as “individuals and organizations fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside ISIL or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”

This proviso contains no geographical limitation. It would authorize the use of military force anywhere in the world. “[T]he executive branch could interpret this language to authorize force against individuals far from any battlefield with only some remote connection to the group – potentially even in the United States itself,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

No “Enduring Offensive Operations”

Obama’s AUMF “does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.” This provision contains no definition of “enduring.” Does this mean one month? One year? Three Years? Or perhaps six months with a break, then another six months?

Under Obama’s AUMF, the United States could deploy thousands of US troops and call it a defensive operation.

This provision is riddled with exceptions. The 3,000 US military personnel currently in Iraq are exempted from the limitation. So are special operations forces, as well as those collecting intelligence, involved with “kinetic strikes, or the provision of operation planning and other forms of advice and assistance to partner forces.” These exemptions are so vague, they can justify just about any US troops.

Nor is the term “offensive” defined in the proposal. By labeling operations defensive, Obama or his successor could use increasing numbers of ground troops. What if any of the US personnel currently serving in Iraq are attacked? Under Obama’s AUMF, the United States could deploy thousands of US troops and call it a defensive operation.

2001 AUMF Still in Force

The three-year sunset provision in Obama’s proposal is rendered meaningless by the continued existence of the AUMF Congress gave President George W. Bush in 2001. Obama claims he already has authority to wage his wars under the 2001 AUMF, which authorizes the president to use “force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

Even if Congress were to authorize Obama’s wars in Iraq and Syria, those wars would still violate the UN Charter.

But the 2001 AUMF’s license is limited to those connected with the 9/11 attacks. In fact, when Bush asked for authority “to deter and preempt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States,” Congress refused. Yet Obama has used the 2001 AUMF to justify his ongoing drone war and his invasion of Iraq and Syria, in spite of the absence of any connection with the 9/11 attacks.

Without repealing the 2001 AUMF, “any sunset of the new authorization will be ineffectual, since the next president can claim continued reliance on the old one,” according to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California).

On February 13, 2015, a group of Democratic senators introduced a bill to repeal the 2001 AUMF in three years. This bill would note that Congress “never intended and did not authorize a perpetual war” when it passed that AUMF.

Bipartisan Opposition to Obama’s Proposed AUMF

Some Democrats think Obama’s proposed AUMF is too broad. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) wrote in The Huffington Post that the language prohibiting “enduring offensive ground combat operations” is “vague, overly broad and confusing.”

Many Republicans think Obama’s proposal constrains his ability to use US ground troops against ISIS. Ironically, the GOP, which consistently seeks to reign in Obama’s authority, wants to grant the president more power to use military force.

It is likely that Congress will ultimately agree on a reworded AUMF to give Obama congressional cover to pursue his wars.

Violation of UN Charter

But even if Congress were to authorize Obama’s wars in Iraq and Syria, those wars would still violate the UN Charter. The charter requires all states to settle their disputes peacefully, and to refrain from the use of armed force except when acting in self-defense or with the blessing of the Security Council.

The Syrian government has not consented to Obama’s bombing in Syria. And although the Iraqi government has blessed Obama’s bombing campaign, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi “is a puppet government that Obama installed and therefore has no authority under international law to consent to U.S. military operations in Iraq,” according to law professor Francis Boyle. “It is like in Vietnam when we had our puppets there asking us to conduct military operations there.”

Indeed, ISIS is a direct outgrowth of the US invasion and installation of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite Muslim who viciously killed, disappeared and tortured Sunni Muslims after most US troops pulled out. Many Sunnis in Iraq see ISIS as preferable to US bombs.

Pursue Diplomacy, Not Permanent War

Obama’s drone strikes have killed large numbers of civilians; only 2 percent of those killed have been high-level al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders. They have also created increased resentment against the United States. When people see their loved ones felled by US bombs, they are more susceptible to recruitment by extremist groups that seek to do us harm.

Likewise, “[b]ombing different groups who live in the same area as ISIS has helped unite ISIS with more moderate groups, more reasonable groups, who could have been persuaded to rejoin the political process,” according to Raed Jarrar of the American Friends Service Committee. Sarah Lazare reports that in December 2014, a US coalition bomb hit a jail operated by ISIS in al-Bab, Syria, killing at least 50 civilians.

We need to stop using military force as a solution to everything – indeed, it is a solution to nothing.

We need to stop using military force as a solution to everything – indeed, it is a solution to nothing. We must focus on diplomacy, including, as Phyllis Bennis advocates, pressuring our allies such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE to stop allowing ISIS to cross their borders and stop financing and arming all groups who claim to oppose President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

There are groups pursuing nonviolent solutions in Syria, Damascus-born author and poet Mohja Kahf notes. We should support the Organization of Women’s Freedom and the Federation of Workers Council and Trade Unions in Iraq.

We must also push for the repeal of the 2001 AUMF and prevent the passage of a new AUMF.

We cannot rely on Congress or the president to reverse the course of rampant US militarism. It is up to us to make our voices heard. Mass opposition in the United States to Obama’s proposed airstrikes on the Assad regime in 2013 was instrumental in preventing those strikes. Congress and the White House do respond to popular pressure. We must call, write, email and demonstrate, write letters to the editor and op-eds, and voice our disapproval of Obama’s perpetual war.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.

Bashing Russia and Rebels for Kiev Crimes

February 20th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

The same Big Lies repeat since conflict began last April. No letup whatever followed the latest attempt to resolve things diplomatically in Minsk on February 12.

Russia and rebels are consistently blamed for naked Kiev aggression, brutal atrocities, and post-Geneva/Minsk I and II violations.

Joe Biden spoke to Poroshenko following rebel forces routing junta troops in Debaltsevo. Thousands were forced to surrender.

Kiev abandoned them. Rebel forces won a strategic victory. German intelligence says Kiev’s military is disintegrating. They’re outmaneuvered, outsmarted, outfought and soundly defeated.

Biden and Poroshenko condemned Russia and rebels for junta crimes. A White House press secretary statement lied saying “if Russia continues to violate the Minsk agreements, including the most recent (one) signed on February 12, the costs to Russia will be high.”

Canada marches in lockstep with Washington. Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement saying “(i)n coordination with our EU and US partners, Canada is once again intensifying its response to the situation by announcing further sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian individuals and entities.”

Its blacklist includes 37 Russian and Donbass officials, 17 Russian and Donbass entities, as well as oil giant Rosneft and industrial/defense company Rostec’s CEO.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said “Canada’s bet on sanctions will definitely be answered.”

“However, we hope that Ottawa will think about the consequences of its actions, which in fact fuel the further armed standoff in Ukraine, and realize that pressing Russia with sanctions has no perspectives.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg bashed Russia and rebels irresponsibly. On February 18, he said “(t)oday I am deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in and around Debeltsevo.”

“The refusal of the separatists to respect the cease-fire threatens the agreement.”

“As does their denial of access to the area for the OSCE monitors.

Russian forces, artillery and air defence units as well as command and control elements are still active in Ukraine.”

“Russia has supported the separatists with forces, training and advanced weapons.”

“And there has been a steady buildup of tanks and armoured vehicles across the border from Russia to Ukraine.”

“I urge Russia to end its support for the separatists.

And withdraw its forces and military equipment from eastern Ukraine in accordance with the Minsk agreement.”

“The separatists should halt all attacks immediately.”

Fact: No Russian troops operate in Ukraine. No evidence proves otherwise.

Fact: None threaten its territory.

Fact: No Russian buildup near its border exists.

Fact: Or rebel support with “forces, training and advanced weapons.”

Fact: No Russian or rebels violations of Minsk occurred. Its terms didn’t mention Debaltsevo. Rebels respond in self-defense when fired on. It’s their universal right under international law.

Fact: Lots of junta violations occurred post-Geneva, Minsk I and II. Stoltenberg didn’t explain.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini bashed Russia and rebels. She lied saying their actions in Debeltsevo “are a clear violation of the ceasefire.”

“The EU stands ready to take appropriate action in case the fighting and other negative developments in violation of the Minsk agreements continue.”

Clearly threatening more sanctions on Russia. What little hope followed Minsk seems on a fast-track toward collapse.

Reuters reported continued fighting around Debeltsevo despite surrender.

Its correspondent “saw black smoke rising over the town and heard loud blasts hours after the withdrawal began.”

Junta commanders abandoned their troops. Some likely kept fighting, not knowing surrender was ordered. Rebels responded in kind.

AP reported junta forces leaving in trucks or on foot – “unshaven and visibly upset.”

“One soldier spoke of heavy government losses, while another said they had not been able to get food or water because of the intense rebel shelling.”

“A third spoke of hunkering down in bunkers for hours, unable to even go to the toilet because of the shelling.”

“We’re very happy” to get out, a hungry soldier told AP. “We were praying all the time and already said goodbye to our lives a hundred times.”

Retreating troops said they got no help from Kiev. They weren’t sure if they were surrendering or being rotated.

“I don’t know,” said one. “Our commanders didn’t tell us” anything. “They just told us to change our positions because our unit had been staying there for quite a long time and we had sustained big losses.”

Rebel commander Viktor Ponosov said Kiev forces apparently ran out of ammunition and food.

“We heard they were calling their friends and relative saying: “Please help us because they are killing and destroying us.”

Rebel forces consistently say they won’t fire on Kiev troops unless fired on.

The New York Times lied claiming junta forces “fought their way out of (Debaltsevo), choosing a risky overnight breakout rather than surrender…”

Poroshenko ordered surrender. He called it withdrawal. RT International reported Kiev forces “surrendering en masse.”

Sputnik News and other Russian media reported the same thing. Junta ranks were routed, shattered. They had two choices – surrender or die.

The Times portrayed junta forces as heroes, courageous rebels as villains.

It quoted Poroshenko ludicrously saying “(t)oday, the world must stop the aggressor.”

Donbas self-defense forces fight for democratic rights everyone deserves. They reject fascist rule. So should everyone.

They deserve universal support. Don’t expect The Times or other media scoundrels to explain.

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

The announcement by the Obama administration that it will seek congressional authorization to expand the war on ISIS in Syria and possibly send more heavy weapons to its client government in Ukraine did not generate the kind of muscular opposition and sense of urgency that one would expect from the anti-interventionist liberals and significant sectors of what use to be the anti-imperialist and anti-war left.

Outside of a few articles written by some of us confined to the marginalized and shrinking left, the reports that the administration was considering both of these courses of action were met with passing indifference. It is as if the capitalist oligarchy’s strategy of permanent war has been accepted as a fait-accompi by the general public and even significant numbers of the left.

The fact that the U.S. President could launch military attacks in Syria, supposedly a sovereign state and member of the United Nations, for six months without any legal justification and not face fierce criticism in the U.S. and internationally demonstrates the embrace of lawlessness that characterizes the current epoch of Western imperialist domination.

And the acquiescence of much of the left in the U.S. and Europe on the issue of Syria and the U.S. supported coup in Ukraine reveals the moderating and accommodating forces within the faux left that attempts to bully and intimidate anti-imperialist critics.

To oppose the dismemberment of Syria or criticize the dangerous collaboration between the U.S. and racist neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine was reduced to the silly and intellectually lazy arguments that one was “pro-Assad” or a dupe for Putin!

However, the current ideological environment did not evolve by accident or by the particular confluence of historical events. The disappearance of anti-imperialism among the cosmopolitan left in the U.S. and Western Europe is reflective of a monumental ideological accomplishment by the propagandists of empire. The professional propagandists of empire and Western dominance were able to adroitly “introject” into the center of the radical world-view and consciousness a liberal ideological framework that privileged “anti-authoritarianism over anti-imperialism.

The political consequence of this shift in consciousness has been disastrous for oppositional left politics throughout the West but particularly in the U.S. As the U.S. increasingly turned to lawless violence to advance its interests over the last seven years of the presidency of Barack Obama, “leftists” in the U.S. objectively aligned themselves with the U.S./EU/NATO axis of domination through their silence or outright support in the name of opposing authoritarian regimes.

The human consequence of this collaboration with U.S. and Western militarization by progressive forces in the U.S. and Europe has translated into unrestrained violent interventions from Libya to Syria and back to Iraq. Along with the escalations of direct military interventions, economic warfare and subversion directed at the state and people of Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and other progressive states in Latin America has resulted in the unnecessary suffering of millions.

And while the left and millions of Europeans will mobilize to condemn the 17 lives lost in the incident in Paris and defend “Western values,” there is no massive moral outrage from the Western public for the millions that have died at the hands of Western imperialism and the death and destruction that is promised with policies being considered for Syria and the Ukraine by the ruling elite in the U.S.

Fortunately, despite the political confusion of many leftists and the moral duplicity of liberals, signs of growing opposition to U.S. war-mongering are emanating from a historically familiar place – African American young people.

Similar to what occurred in the 1960s when opposition to the Vietnam war was catalyzed by the student organizers of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) working on the frontlines of struggle in the deep South, “Black Lives Matter” activists and the many other formations and tendencies crystalizing out of the Ferguson and anti-police violence movements are making the connection between violence and militarization in the internal colonized areas of the U.S. and the state violence being waged by the U.S. state beyond its’ borders.

Resistance to the logic of white supremacist colonialist/capitalist domination on the part of these young activists is leading them to a resolute anti-imperialist and anti-war stance, just like the young black activists of SNCC some fifty years ago.

Alicia Garza one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement offers a welcomed lesson to the faux left:

“There is absolutely a link between the militarization and the use of force to police black communities in the US and the role of the military to police people of color and Black people in the global South. In both scenarios, the police and the military are used to protect private property and the interests of the elite, but are also used to dampen and or eliminate any resistance to the status quo.”

The experiences of these activists in the U.S. and their increasing connections with struggling peoples’ throughout the world is making it clear to them that the slogan “to protect and serve – capital, ” not only applies to the occupation forces that police the racialized colonies inside the U.S. but also the role of the U.S. military abroad.

“Black against empire,” is not only a title to a book; it also captures the radical stance that conscious black radicals in the U.S. must assume.

The systemic degradation that characterizes the social experiences of African American workers, the marginalized poor, and working class of all of the oppressed and colonized nations and peoples’ by the U.S. empire, strips away the pretense of a benevolent hegemon. The lived experience of oppression means that African American radicals – unlike many white radicals – cannot afford the luxury of being unclear about the nature and interests of the white supremacist, patriarchal, colonial/capitalist order. It is and will be the primary enemy.

On Sept. 12, 2001, the day after the attack in New York city and before it was clear what forces were behind the attack, neoconservative punditsrevealing the pre-determined strategy that was to guide U.S. policy in the 21st century, were forcefully arguing that the U.S. must be prepared to use force in the world and in the immediate period to declare war on “militant Islam.” The counties identified for immediate attack included Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Iran, with China thrown in as well.

Permanent war and lawless gangsterism to protect and advance U.S. global economic and political interests was codified in the National Security Strategy (NSS) issued by President Bush on Sept. 21, 2002.

And while the pursuit of that strategy made President Bush the symbol of U.S. arrogance and generated vociferous liberal and progressive opposition, Barack Obama has faithfully carried out that very same neocon strategy becoming the smiling brown face of U.S. polices as morally repugnant as his predecessor – but without progressive, popular opposition.

The lack of moral outrage and political opposition to the reactionary policies of Barack Obama is changing and will change even more rapidly as the new generation of black activists shift the center of oppositional politics back to the radical black tradition.

When/if that happens, there will be a much needed rebirth of the anti-war and anti-imperialist movement and radical activism in the U.S. will take a qualitative leap forward.

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. He is a contributor to “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence” (Counterpunch Books, 2014). He can be reached at [email protected] and www.AjamuBaraka.com

America’s top military official – the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey – and Senator Lindsey Graham admitted last September in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that America’s closest allies are supporting ISIS:

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA, MEMBER OF ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE:   Do you know any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL?

GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I know major Arab allies who fund them.

GRAHAM: Yeah, but do they embrace them? They fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn’t fight Assad. They were trying to beat Assad. I think they realized the folly of their ways.

4-Star General Wesley Clark – who served as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO – agrees:

And Turkish politicians say that the Turkish government is also supporting ISIS. Some also allege that Israel is directly or indirectly supporting ISIS. And see this.

And the U.S. itself has been taking actions that – intentionally or not – appear to be strengthening ISIS.

Maybe a good start for defeating ISIS would be to stop funding them and their BFFs?

The Novorussians are in control of most of Debaltsevo.  There is no more organized resistance.  Russian sources say that about 1000 junta soldiers have refused to surrender and are hiding in the outskirts or have fled to the south end of the cauldron.  The Novorussians are not even bothering to hunt them down or return their sporadic (and inaccurate) fire: they are waiting for hunger and cold to force them to give up.  A spokesman for the Novorussians has reported that all communications between the junta forces in the cauldron and their commanders have been suppressed.  Russian TV stations are showing footage of Novorussian soldiers raising their flag over the center of the city.

That the forces in the Debaltsevo cauldron were doomed was pretty clear for a while already, but what is still amazing is the speed at which the collapse has taken place.  Clearly, we are dealing with a catastrophic collapse of combat capability of the junta forces.

Novorussian flag over Debaltsevo

The Russian media is also showing many footages of surrendering junta soldiers in and around Debaltsevo.  Those who surrender are treated for their wounds, washed, clothed, fed and they will be sent home as soon as possible.

During his recent press conference in Hungary, Vladimir Putin has confirmed that the Ukrainian forces in Debaltsevo has been defeated.  He also confirmed that the US has been sending weapons to the junta and he added that he was absolutely sure that while this could kill more people, it would make no difference at all because the Ukrainian soldiers have no desire to fight whereas the morale of the Novorussians was extremely strong.

The most amazing event of the day though is Petro Poroshenko’s continual denial that there is any Debaltsevo cauldron at all.  Apparently the junta is in such a shock from the recent events that the freaks in Kiev has decided to simply completely deny the reality of it all.  This is an extremely misguided strategy because even though the Russian media has now been banned on Ukrainian cable and radio stations, and the entire Russian press corps has had its accreditation in the Ukraine canceled, it is still accessible on the Internet and information about the current events is easily transmitted simply by phone (including phone calls from junta forces inside the cauldron).  So while the freaks in the Rada and the government can go into the “deep denial” mode, the population is informed about the reality and rumors will, if anything, only amplify the magnitude of the disaster.

[I would not be most surprised at all if the hardcore crazies à la Iarosh & Co. now turn against Poroshenko.  It will be interesting to see how "Iats" and Turchinov will position themselves - my feeling is that they will all turn against Poroshenko next.]

I think that what we are witnessing these days is truly a historical event.  While the defeat in Debaltsevo is tactical in its dimension, it will most definitely have serious operational consequences and possibly even strategic ones.  Though I cannot say that with any degree of confidence I am getting the strong feeling that the entire Ukrainian military has reached the famous “breaking point” I often mentioned here in the past: the point were regardless of your remaining capabilities the entire organization of your military suddenly and rapidly breaks down.  Yes, I know, the rest of the front is currently stable, but I think that the defeat in Debaltsevo will have a crippling effect on the morale of all the junta forces.  Not only that, but as soon as the cauldron is fully eliminated, the Novorussian forces who took it will be available for operations elsewhere.

Think about it: a number of key locations absorbed a huge amount of Novorussian forces, especially the Donetsk airport (which was used to shell Donetsk),  the Debaltsevo pocket (which was used to shell Gorlovka, which threatened the Donetsk-Gorlovka-Lugansk axis and which could be used to mount an attack on either Donetsk or Lugansk) and the town of Peski which was used to support the junta forces at the Donetsk airport.  They are now all in Novorussian hands.  The question now is where can they turn next?

For the time being, the Novorussians are playing it very “good boys”.  They have even begun to withdraw their heavy weapons even though the junta has not (they were supposed to do that simultaneously).  But let’s not be naive here: they are doing so because they know that it is safe for them to do it, not because they have any trust in the Minsk Agreement 2 (MA2) or, even less so in the junta.  The Novorussian infantry (and armor) is so superior to the junta’s that they can afford to do so at very little cost to themselves.  But since everybody understands that MA2 is impossible to comply with, it is obvious for all the parties involve that the conflict will resume.  When that happens, it will be in a dramatically different context from the one this winter.

First, the Novorussians are, for the first time, adequately armed, equipped and supplied.  Second, the Debaltsvo operation has shown that for the first time the LNR and DNR forces are capable of working together.  Even Mozgovoi, who has less then good things to say about Zakharchenko or Plotnitsky in political terms, is playing it by the same book militarily and all the Novorussian forces appear to have finally been placed under a single command.  Third, the two major weaknesses of the Novorussian positions have now been removed and that is freeing a lot of crack troops for other fronts.

Take the case of Mariupol for example.  The junta forces there have tried to built an attack in the general direction of Novoazovsk.  All they did was to penetrate a couple of kilometers into the no mans land between the two sides and then they were rather easily stopped.  Now that Novorussian crack forces will soon become available, a Novorussian counter-offensive in Mariupol becomes a very real threat to the junta forces in the city.  Until now, any such attack by the Novorussians was risky due to the possibility of a junta flanking maneuver the the danger to be cut off from the rest of the Novorussian forces, but that danger has now receded not only due to the availability of Novorussian forces, but also due to the crushed morale of the junta units.

An other interesting option has been mentioned by anti-maidan’s (very good) military specialist Andrei Basketok who predicts a Novorussian attack along the M4 and N20 in the direction of Karlovka and Avdeevka followed by a pincer attack to surround the junta forces once again (shown in red on this map):

Possible Karlovka-Avdeevka offensive

The real problem for Kiev is that more or less all of the current line of contact can become a potential counter-offensive point for the Novorussians who, by the way, have never concealed their desire to get back all of the historical Novorussian lands.  So while the current (relative) cease-fire is all nice and dandy, I think that by this spring, when the Novorussians will have reinforced their infantry with up to 100’00 more men the situation for the Kiev regime will become absolutely horrific and no amount of US weapon deliveries will change that.  This might well be the beginning of the end for the Nazi experiment in Kiev.

The implications for the AngloZionist empire are rather clear: if the 1%ers have any kind of sense of reality left, they should toss out Poroshenko and the rest of the crazies and foster some kind of government of technocrats in charge of drafting a new constitution and organizing a referendum on federalization simply because the folks in Kiev better negotiate while there still is something left to negotiate then to way to be hiding in a surrounded bunker like their hero Hitler did.  Alas, I don’t think Uncle Sam or the Eurocretins have any common sense left in them.

Whatever may be the case, by the ballot or by the bullet, but we *are* winning.

The Saker

PS: to fully measure the level of delusional insanity of the junta in Kiev here is the full transcript of the latest statement by Poroshenko about the Debaltsevo situation:

I can inform now that this morning the Armed Forces of Ukraine together with the National Guard completed the operation on the planned and organized withdrawal of a part of units from Debaltsevo. We can say that 80% of troops have been already withdrawn. We are waiting for two more columns. Warriors of the 128th brigade, parts of units of the 30th brigade, the rest of the 25th and the 40th battalions, Special Forces, the National Guard and the police have already left the area.

We can assert that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have fulfilled their tasks completely. This position and success were urgently necessary for us in the course of the Minsk negotiations and after them. We managed to show to the whole world the true face of bandits-separatists backed by Russia, which acted as guarantor and direct participant of the Minsk negotiations.

We were asserting and proved: Debaltseve was under our control, there was no encirclement, and our troops left the area in a planned and organized manner with all the heavy weaponry: tanks, APCs, self-propelled artillery and vehicles.

Commanders are working with their personnel. We are waiting for one more column, one more company. Having withdrawn the combat patrol posts to the new defense line, we have preserved the bridgehead for the defense of the state.

It is a strong evidence of combat readiness of the Armed Forces and efficiency of the military command. I can say that despite tough artillery and MLRS shelling, according to the recent data, we have 30 wounded out of more than 2,000 warriors. The information is being collected and may be clarified.

I would like to say that Russia, which yesterday required the Ukrainian warriors to lay down arms, raise the white flag and surrender, was put to shame by the given actions. Ukrainian warriors honorably approved the high rank of the Ukrainian Defender of the Homeland. As I promised, they repelled those who tried to encircle them and left Debaltsevo pursuant to my command, which I gave yesterday, when Russian servicemen forbade the OSCE representatives to come to Debaltsevo to reaffirm our readiness to begin the withdrawal of heavy weaponry and demonstrate the absence of encirclement. They knew it was not true. We demonstrated and proved that with our operation.

We are holding the new defense lines. In the course of my negotiations with leaders of the United States and the EU, I demanded a firm reaction from the world to Russia’s brutal violation of the Minsk agreements, the ceasefire regime and the withdrawal of heavy weaponry. We will prepare organized and coordinated actions together.

I have convened the NSDC meeting for this evening. Now, I am departing to the front to meet those who left Debaltsevo. I am honored to shake hands and thank Ukrainian heroes.

Today, my Decree on awarding the high title of Hero of Ukraine to commander of the 128th Mukacheve mining-infantry brigade Serhiy Shaptala will be proclaimed. Ukraine is proud of such heroes. Internal stability will not be undermined by the battalions “everything is lost” and “this is the end”, lies about a lot of soldiers murdered yesterday, encircled roadblocks and Ukrainian warriors without ammunition, food and water. It is not a Ukrainian scenario. I am confident that those who were spreading it expected a different result. Fortunately, we successfully completed the operation and will have an opportunity to further defend the state.

UPDATE: interestingly, the NYT had a very different view of what has really taken place. In an article entitled “A Bloody Retreat From Debaltsevo as Ukrainian Forces Suddenly Withdraw“ the NYT wrote that “Mr. Poroshenko sought to cast the retreat in a positive light, but the loss of the town was clearly a devastating setback for the army. The fact that even the NYT has a more realistic assessment of what happened then Poroshenko is a powerful indicator of how totally out of touch the junta propaganda really is.

On 24 December 2014, ISIS reported and the US-led coalition confirmed that a Jordanian fighter pilot, Mu‘ath al-Kassasbeh, had crashed in Syria and was now in ISIS custody. On 3 February 2015, ISIS released a video showing its own members murdering the pilot by immolation. The Jordanian regime vowed revenge. Some Jordanians took to the streets in grief and anger. The Jordanian Armed Forces, for its part, intensified its bombing campaign in Syria.

Media outlets and Middle East analysts have expended considerable energy assessing whether and how Jordan’s war on ISIS in the aftermath of the Kassasbeh capture and death represents a game changer. It is difficult to find a sustained critique of this war on ISIS in the local Jordanian media, whether in the mainstream or the more critical online venues. This is not surprising. After all, Jordan is an authoritarian state. Both historically and in the contemporary moment, the regime has carefully drawn red lines around public speech and political opposition.

Manufacturing Silence

Immediately after al-Kassasbeh’s capture, the Jordanian regime put the general public and the local media on notice. On 25 December, the day after al-Kassasbeh’s capture, the kingdom’s attorney general announced that the (re)publication of ISIS-issued news or media could result in prosecution. He also prohibited any “military analysis” of the Jordanian Armed Forces. That same day, the Jordanian Armed Forces issued a communiqué calling on local media to “not publish any information that harms national security,” in reference to news of the Kassasbeh capture. Any discussion or debate of the ISIS capture of al-Kassasbeh and the Jordanian Armed Forces’ response was now impossible. There would be little tolerance for any questioning or debate of the broader context, specific details, and future (regime) military policy.

The absence of a substantial and publicized local critique of the regime is not an indictment of Jordanians but of the Jordanian regime’s silencing of dissent. Representing Jordanians as consensual and acritical subjects, as several articles that laud the regime’s policies have, is a drastic misreading. This misreading legitimates the regime at a time when regional protest movements have challenged authoritarian rule in new ways.

The public discussion that does exist in Jordan focuses on the nation’s purported readiness for war. One main theme focuses on Jordan’s military capacity and fears of a long war of attrition with unintended consequences. Another emphasizes the potential rifts within Jordanian society. For some, there is limited yet real support for ISIS within Jordan, which could undermine the stability of the country.

In all of these discussions, what “winning” this amorphous war means is unaddressed. Many questions remain unasked (if not intentionally silenced, as Lamis Andoni points out). Are the methods of the war—even if winnable—justified? What responsibility does the Jordanian regime have in terms of international standards of state conduct? Why do Jordanians find themselves grieving the brutal murder of one their own in the first place? Is there room for Jordanians to oppose both ISIS and the regime’s war on terror? The public discourses in both Jordan and the United States foreclose these questions, though for different reasons. They effectively combine expert commentary on authoritarian states with the lexicon of the war on terror to manufacture the appearance of consent. The regime, it appears, is waging a war of necessity.

Unanswered Questions

ISIS threatens the many civilians who find themselves under its rule, in its path, or on the receiving end of its military onslaughts. ISIS is capable of killing all of its prisoners, whether military or not. ISIS is capable of setting someone on fire, filming their death, and releasing the video. This is all condemnable.

In the aftermath of the video’s release, the Jordanian Armed Forces have waged an intensified bombing campaign on alleged ISIS strongholds. Spokespersons for the regime have reported degrading twenty percent of the military strength of ISIS. Media outlets and Middle East analysts have taken such reports at face value. A closer look would reveal some exaggeration and uncritical celebration.

US-led bombings of ISIS positions began in August 2014 and have expanded since. By September 2014, media were reporting over 204 US-led coalition air strikes against ISIS. That number would grow to over 1300 strikes by December 2014 and then 1600 strikes by January 2015. Throughout these strikes, not once was it credibly reported that coalition forces accomplished anything approximating a twenty percent degrading of ISIS capacities.

We are now expected to believe that in less than one week, Jordanian air strikes have degraded more ISIS capacity than in the previous six months of coalition bombings. Why has revenge been the only explanatory variable for these disparate set of facts? The danger of not going beyond the “revenge factor” ultimately produces a heroic (but hardly believable) presentation of the regime. Such presentation is not benign. It manufactures legitimacy for an authoritarian regime that has denied transparency, accountability, and social justice for the majority of its population.

Furthermore, who is speaking for civilians living under ISIS rule and currently subject to the “shock and awe” and “wipe them off the face of the planet” policy of the regime’s bombing campaign? A cursory reading of reporting on Kayla Mueller’s death shows that the media is undecided (and perhaps uninterested) in exploring whether ISIS or Jordanian strikes killed Mueller. Mueller is not more important than the many unnamed that Jordanian airstrikes killed. Mueller’s death is exceptional only in that she is the only person that Jordanian and US mainstream media have named and acknowledged. Despite this, the lack of regard to the cause of her death reveals US and regime interests, rather than the general wellbeing of Syrians, Jordanians, or any other civilians, are driving policy. Civilians in Raqqa have attempted on numerous occasions to name their dead as a result of US and Syrian bombing of ISIS targets in Raqqa (see, for example, here and here). When a military force (i.e., the Asad regime, the US-led coalition, or the Jordanian air force) claims it is going to bomb the “capital” (i.e., Raqqa) of their enemy (i.e., ISIS), the over 200,000 civilians living under that enemy’s rule are subject to untold horrors in addition to the devastating reality of living under ISIS rule.

Have we forgotten about the “precision strikes” and “smart bombs” of the United States invasion, occupation, and counter-insurgency policies in Iraq? Have we forgotten about the drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere? We all know full well that the war on terror has killed more civilians than al-Qa‘ida and ISIS operatives. The Jordanian regime, for its part, does not even bother to claim that it is using “precision strikes” or “smart bombs.” Clearly, that same core of an international military coalition we saw in 2001, 2003, 2011, and now in 2014 (despite the very different contexts) has not learned the lessons of Iraq and the broader war on terror. Those lessons are that foreign intervention, militarization, and short-term thinking invariably breed long-term problems. Those lessons also include the fact that the brutalization of a civilian population in the name of freedom breeds deep-seated discontent, alienation, and extremism. The refusal to learn these lessons explains in part the US administration’s support of Arab military policy. Barack Obama has deployed the rhetoric of “this is your problem, you deal with it.” With this move, the US administration has in the eyes of some shielded its “smart” military intervention from critiques that highlight infrastructural destruction, civilian death toll, and their sociopolitical ramifications.

There certainly are differences between the Jordanian war on terror, the US war on terror, and the Egyptian war on terror. Yet there is one factor that unites all of them. No one speaks for those civilians caught in the crossfire between ISIS rule and coalition strikes. Where is the disgust and disdain for the civilian deaths, incinerated bodies, and social dislocation for which US, European, and Arab states are responsible for? Where is the condemnation by these very same voices at mangled and severed bodies of Palestinians in Gaza? Why is the incineration of Mu‘ath al-Kassasbeh in Raqqa any more abhorrent than the US incineration of an entire family by Hellfire missile in Yemen or a boy by white phosphorous in Falluja? Why is it more abhorrent than the daylight fatal police shooting of Shayma’ al-Sabbagh in Cairo? Who speaks for those civilians in Raqqa and elsewhere that are dying under the rain of Jordanian-launched second-hand US bombs?

We should all condemn al-Kassasbeh’s death. However, that condemnation should be just as harshly directed at the United States and its regional allies. To focus on the performative aspect of ISIS brutality is to miss the crucial connection between the two. ISIS is producing videos of its brutality as a strategy. The United States does not pursue this strategy (and US media play along). Yet US soldiers have in various ways celebrated brutality, torture, and killing sprees since the inception of war in Afghanistan. Hollywood has done this work as well through the unadulterated heroizing and celebration of US brutality in recent films such as American Sniper and Zero Dark Thirty.

Historic Complicity

ISIS is a problem for the region and a threat to those civilians caught up in its networks. But ISIS is part of a much longer story that we have to rigorously take stock of. ISIS is the product of several legacies. It is the child of Saddam Hussein’s prisons, torture, and murder. It was also raised amidst the crucible of the US destruction of Iraqi state and society during US sanctions, invasion, and occupation. ISIS was nourished by the sectarian politics and militia sponsorship of the US counter-insurgency policy in Iraq. It was inaugurated amidst the carte blanche the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey gave to anyone that wanted to fund or arm opposition to Bashar al-Asad in Syria. Some of us know this history.

It is that history that we must return to as we assess the Jordanian regime’s policy. It is this history we must begin with. To forget this history, and the Jordanian regime’s part in it, is to position al-Kassasbeh’s murder in the mutually dependent relationship of Arab authoritarianism and US imperialism.

Proposals to use geoengineering to fight global warming are in the news.   Indeed, humans have been intentionally modifying weather for climate control for decades.  But geoengineering has not always been thought of as a way to fight global warming 

In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, scientists and presidents considered geoengineering to stop a new iceage and create more warming.

On April 28, 1975, Newsweek wrote an article stating:

Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.

Here is a reprint of the article in the Washington Times, and here is a copy of the 1975 Newsweek article.

Why were scientists considering melting the arctic ice cap?

Because they were worried about a new ice age.

Newsweek discussed the 1975 article in 2006:

In April, 1975 … NEWSWEEK published a small back-page article about a very different kind of disaster. Citing “ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically,” the magazine warned of an impending “drastic decline in food production.” Political disruptions stemming from food shortages could affect “just about every nation on earth.” Scientists urged governments to consider emergency action to head off the terrible threat of . . . well, if you had been following the climate-change debates at the time, you’d have known that the threat was: global cooling…

Citizens can judge for themselves what constitutes a prudent response-which, indeed, is what occurred 30 years ago. All in all, it’s probably just as well that society elected not to follow one of the possible solutions mentioned in the NEWSWEEK article: to pour soot over the Arctic ice cap, to help it melt.

Obama’s senior science adviser – John Holdren – was one of those warning of a catastrophic ice age.

The Boston Globe reported in 2005:

The grandest climate engineering schemes came from the Soviet Union. The most Promethean among them was a late 1950s proposal to dam the Bering Strait and, by pumping water from the Arctic Ocean into the Pacific, draw warm water northward from the Atlantic to melt the polar ice packmaking the Arctic Ocean navigable and warming Siberia. The leading Soviet climatologist, Mikhail I. Budyko, cautioned against it, arguing that the ultimate effects were too difficult to predict (though he himself had played with the idea of warming the Arctic by covering it in soot to decrease its reflectivity). John F. Kennedy, as a presidential candidate, suggested the United States look into collaborating on the project. While the two countries continued desultory discussions of the Bering Strait plan into the 1970s, the American government was by then losing interest in the whole field of weather modification.

Similarly, the American Institute of Physics notes:

Around 1956, Soviet engineers began to speculate that they might be able to throw a dam across the Bering Strait and pump water from the Arctic Ocean into the Pacific. This would draw warm water up from the Atlantic. Their aim was to eliminate the ice pack, make the Arctic Ocean navigable, and warm up Siberia. The idea attracted some notice in the United States — presidential candidate John F. Kennedy remarked that the idea was worth exploring as a joint project with the Soviets, and the discussion continued into the 1970s.

Soot is a major cause of ice warming and melting in the Arctic and in the Himalayas.  As NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has shown, soot in the upper atmosphere ends up on the surface of ice sheets and glaciers, such as Arctic ice cap:

South Asia is estimated to have the largest industrial soot emissions in the world, and the meteorology in that region readily sweeps pollution into the upper atmosphere where it is easily transported to the North Pole.

If scientists had convinced policy-makers to pour soot over the Arctic ice cap in the 1970s, we might have had real problems. Damning the Bering Strait would have been disastrous.

First, Do No Harm

I have previously pointed out numerous decisions regarding the environment which have caused more harm than good, such as the government forcing a switch from one type of chemical to a chemical which turned out to be 4,470 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Here’s another one. The mongoose was introduced to Hawaii in order to control the rats (which were eating the sugar cane used to make rum). It didn’t work out very well – mongeese are daylight-loving creatures while rats are nocturnal – and the mongeese trashed the native species in Hawaii.

My whole point is that we should make sure that our actions do not cause more harm than good.

For example:

And see this.

Barack Obama has Installed a Dictatorship In Haiti

February 20th, 2015 by Ezili Dantò

Since January 12, 2015, Michel Martelly has ruled Haiti by decree with US-UN guns backing up his dictatorship. The UN Security council, led by Samantha Powers, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, recently visited Haiti to legitimized and reinforce their commitment to Martelly over the objections of the people of Haiti.

Twenty-nine years ago, on February 7, 1986 Haiti ousted the bloody, US-supported Duvalier dictatorship and swore never to allow dictatorship in Haiti ever again.

Today, February 7, 2015, tens of thousands of demonstrators in Haiti swarmed the streets to mark this anniversary, commitment and again to boycott and demand an end, not to another US-supported Haiti dictatorship, but worse, a US-installed dictatorship and an 11-year military occupation of Haiti.

For eleven years, outraged Haitians against dictatorship and occupation have, in various waves, taken to the streets to demand an end to the US-UN occupation behind NGO false benevolence. Since the 2010 doctored elections, Haiti demonstrators have demanded the removal of the puppet Martelly government. As carnival time approaches, this February month is slated to see more anti-dictatorship and anti-corruption demonstrations. More recently, as world gas prices go down, with Haiti prices remaining high; as the Haiti elites continue to block natural desires for sovereignty and a participatory Haiti democracy, the demonstrators are also boycotting businesses, agitating against the high cost of living, low wages and high gas prices.

Haiti protest against US occupation, Martelly dictatorship, high cost of living - Feb 7, 2015

Haiti boycott against US occupation, Martelly dictatorship, high cost of living – Feb 7, 2015

Each time Haitians take to the streets, they know that the powerful, US-trained militarized police will teargas, shoot and even kill unarmed demonstrators, as they’ve done before. According to eyewitnesses and reports found here and here, after the February 7th march, militarized CIMO/police vehicle #1-608 in Haiti opened fire on protest leaders who went to the home of two journalists.  Yet, Haiti fights on, will demonstrate again, with no weapons, except their bodies, songs, slogans, the divine within and the certainty that their call to the Ancestral powers and universal force for goodness shall not return void.

The corporate media, human rights industry, charitable industrial complex, and other Ndòki forces for empire remain silent about the outsourced US occupation of Haiti. The colonial narrative and racism at play is that the Internationals are “helping” Haiti,  have no partisan interests. They’re effective at using this false credibility to get funding, legitimize themselves and the foul acts and lies of the US Ambassadors to Haiti, the US State Department, the OAS and the UN.

The Internationals reinforce each other. The US State Department freely funds and uses the human rights industry, like the UN, Amnesty International, Paul Farmer’s Partners in Health and others in the crisis caravan, to give credibility to the neocolonial tyranny in Haiti.
For instance, the Haiti protestors are demanding the removal of the Martelly dictatorship, the US occupation, a stop to white supremacy, arbitrary arrests, corruption and an accounting of what former president Bill Clinton and his crew did with the $10 billion collected in earthquake monies.When former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threatened dissenting Haiti officials with lost of visas if Michel Martelly was not allowed into the second round during the “elections” (though he didn’t have the votes), the human rights industry said nothing. For 11-years, the international human rights industry and corporate media have remained fairly mute about the outsourced US occupation, the US false aid that’s money laundering, the widespread military rapes of Haiti children, the UN shooting live ammunition at peaceful demonstrators and killing unarmed Haitians. When they touch on these subjects, it’s to obfuscate the real issue, minimize the foreign savagery as if these are not criminal acts in need of fair and independent scrutiny. Mostly, when the international human rights industry mentions Haiti, it’s to promote the occupation and the US-installed dictatorship.

But Amnesty International recently sent an open letter, not to ask the UN to stop shooting at unarmed demonstrators, nor to ask Bill Clinton why donation monies meant for homeless people were used to build luxury hotels. No. Amnesty International, sent a letter to Martelly’s newly appointed prime minister. The pretext is that Amnesty International wants to influence the new prime minister and non-government to provide housing for homeless Haiti quake victims and to respect the demonstrators’ right to peacefully protest. The sudden concern is suspect to say the least because the protestors have been in the streets for years and pushed alone to get political prisoners released.

Martelly has ruled by decree informally for three years and besides the quake victims being abandoned, evicted and abused, has steadily taken away peasant lands for the corporatocracy. Where’s the Amnesty International concern that Martelly stop making more homeless Haitians by taking their lands, offshore islands through presidential decree to give to luxury resort developers? The real effect of the strategically timed “Open Letter” was to immediately put the weight of Amnesty International behind the defacto Prime Minister. Publicly signalling to any squeamish cohort that Martelly, formally ruling by decree and his unilateral appointment of a prime minister, even after Parliament was dissolved, is legitimate governance. The people on the streets want the usurpers gone. The Internationals are writing to them, recognizing their authority, providing firepower to them and receiving them in the halls of power with UN Security Council visits. (See, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Paid to Destabilize Eritrea ;  Bombshell proof! Hillary paid Amnesty International to prepare coup d’état: US taxpayers looted to destroy sovereign nations; Leaked Memo: Amnesty International paid to destabilize Eritrea, The Hypocrisy of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International in Peru.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After 300 years of direct European enslavement in Haiti and 200 years of unremitting US-Euro tyranny,  containment-in-poverty, abuse and exploitation, Haiti is without hate and still rated the least violent nation in the entire Caribbean. It demonstrates peacefully. Suffers interminably the rape, abuse and atrocities of power elites with the faces of Samantha PowerBarack ObamaBill Clinton, George W. Bush, Hillary ClintonPaul FarmerAmnesty International and Hollywood celebrities.

In myriad ways, Haiti lives are swapped around and cashed in, while the colonial bullies circulate in polite company as if nothing will unveil them. As if their impunity, degeneracy and gross corruption is the newest, shiniest hit record or song.

Haiti protest against US occupation, Martelly dictatorship, high cost of living - Feb 7, 2015

Haiti protest, Feb. 7, 2015. Calling the Ancestors for strength to combat and end US occupation and its newly minted Martelly dictatorship.

Haiti demonstrators call and put the Ancestors forth. Starting the protest march with traditional prayers that reMEMBERed the lives and generations lost before the February 7, 1986 end to the Duvalier dictatorship and to demand an end to the new Martelly dictatorship. The photos here show their drawn sounds - vèvè - calling forth Ogou and Dantò – the energies, vibration or irreducible essence for raw power, a will of steel, the warrior mother, warrior father, justice defenders, healing, love and creation.

Just like their foreparents, Haitians are deeply committed to liberty and justice. Death is not the worse fate. To live as a slave zombie, is.

Dantò, manman mwen. Ogou, papa mwen: Nou se Ginen depi Lè Marasa, Lè Mò e Lè Mistè. San yo se san nou. Nou fè yon sèl kò. Inyon nou ak Zansèt e TiMoun yo fè fòs nou. Pouvwa Zansèt yo se pouvwa nou. Papa Legba, souple, ouvrè pòt la pou yo. Ohh, mwen wè yo monte anwo, soti Anba Dlo, monte sou tèt dlo a, rale soti lan venn nou, kè nou. Lasous nou rive. Nou wè yo- soti lan lamè, soti lan gròt Ayiti yo, twou wòch yo, anba tè sakre Ayiti Toma a, lan syèl la… Zansèt yo e Timoun yo vini. Nou la. Toupatou. San yo se san nou. Pouvra yo se pouvra nou. Se fòs Bon Dye Zansèt nou yo kap kondwi bra nou pou nou ranpòte la viktwa.– Ezili Dantò, Free Haiti Movement, February 7, 2015

“Grenadye alaso sa ki mouri n’ap vanje yo!” –Indigenous Army of Ayiti, 1791

Here we go again. The US Empire does what it does best, exporting more death, destruction and terror around the world. On Tuesday the Obama administration disclosed that it plans to export killer drones to its allies from Turkey to Italy to Saudi Arabia. And we already know how that song goes. In recent years the Islamic extremists have managed to invariably get their hands on countless weapons and arms shipments intended for our so called allies. Be it in Iraq or Syria, arms that were supposed to go to the Iraqi army or allied Kurds or moderate rebels in Syria somehow always get delivered to the Islamic State extremists, the latest US-Israeli-Saudi created terrorist monster-on- steroids.

As an example last October an airdrop of weapons that was purported to go to the Kurds in the besieged town of Kobani in Syria to fight the Islamic State forces ended up in the wrong hands. As recently as last month it was discovered and reported that the US was regularly air dropping arms and supplies to the waiting Islamic State on the ground below in Iraq. Obama’s huff and puff rhetoric about hunting down the Islamic State in Syria in reality is merely another effectively deceptive ploy to commit air strikes on Assad’s Syria that he couldn’t get away with the year before right after the false flag chemical weapons attack committed by US backed rebels (that were later renamed ISIS). So now both Israeli and US military air strikes are taking out infrastructure inside Syria that hurts the Syrian people, destroying oil refineries and food storage silos.

Any true military strategist would know that if the United States actually wanted to destroy the so called big bad enemy terrorists, the most modern and lethal killing machine on the planet has the means to accomplish this mission within a month. But the truth is the Islamic State serves the megalomaniacal purpose of the Empire and for that reason alone, they must survive and be allowed to continue killing Western journalists and causing deaths of humanitarian aid workers as well as engaging in ongoing Christian cleansing throughout the Middle East and beyond. Terror strikes deep into the psyche when dumbed down masses are manipulated into a frenzied, frothy hate of Islam worldwide that only serves the Zionist-Empire-NATO unholy alliance all too well.

In between making and placing their beheading videos online, the same enemy found the time to undergo training inside our close ally Turkey’s border. With this latest announcement selling drones to US allies, the world is supposed to feel safer now that our “trusted” friends in Turkey and Saudi Arabia will be receiving Obama’s personal favorite form of state-sponsored terrorism from the sky. Using the same preferred modern warfare method that our president has envisioned killing Americans on US soil, he now plans to let others also use it to kill yet more innocent humans.

A recent study from November 2014 revealed that less than 4% of those killed by drones in Yemen and Pakistan were actually the targeted bad guys while over 96% of the 1,147 dead people killed in this latest sample were innocent civilians. The January 28, 2015 tally by the Journal of Investigative Journalism brings the total number of drone deaths in Pakistan alone to be estimated near 4,000 victims. If the sloppy aim of the most experienced and trained drone pilots on the planet from the CIA and US military can’t efficiently kill the enemy, what makes anyone believe that these other nations with fewer trained pilots will produce any better results? It’s another disaster waiting to happen.

All we are doing by spreading terror from the skies in yet more hands around the world is increasing more innocent victims whose family members will justifiably hate the US (and its allies) even more. But then the Empire’s forever war on terror will be just that, with a permanent supply of fresh new jihadist recruits signing up to kill Americans to avenge the loss of their loved ones. And of course because history by design is locked into a forever do-loop pattern repeating itself, our enemies will get a hold of these made in-the-USA drones and be using them in no time on us made-in-the-USA Americans, that is when Obama’s not already using them on us. One can easily see the false flag scenario of a drone attack one day killing Americans in America and then blaming it on the Moslem terrorists who “accidentally on purpose” managed to acquire one of our own “misdirected” killer drones. And the suicidal madness increases exponentially.

A number of America’s so called allies have rather dubious track records when it comes to aiding and abetting our enemy. On the one hand, Obama in his most fluent doublespeak is quick to regard Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan as our allies in the Empire’s war on terror, yet on the other hand reality has repeatedly proven that these same “friends” regularly supply and support terrorism. For that matter, so does the United States. The bottom line is the US Empire created and has been regularly using our so called enemies al Qaeda/ISIS as our mercenary proxy-war boots on the ground in 1980’s Afghanistan against the Soviets, 1990’s Balkans against the Serbs, 9/11/2001 against our own American peoplein 2011-12 Libya against Gaddafi and illegally smuggle arms from Benghazi, 2010 to the present in Syria against Assad and last year against puppet fallen-out-of-favor al-Maliki in Iraq. While Obama has continued claiming al Qaeda and ISIS as the US enemy, at the same time he is treasonously using our taxpayer dollars to train, arm and deploy them on the ground wherever he sees fit. The American people are finally realizing Obama cannot have it both ways any more.

Perhaps that’s why a year ago after the CIA-induced overthrow of the democratically elected government in Ukraine, the US decided it was time to declare a new enemy in cold war, part II. Once Putin reclaimed its Crimean naval base after the Crimean people voted overwhelmingly to become part of Russia again, it’s been a propaganda war ever since. Obama and the West have been demonizing Russia once again as the enemy through nonstop lies and false flags. But it’s not working. With far more at stake in making Putin the enemy, Europe is currently attempting to arrive at peace in Eastern Ukraine through diplomacy, much to Obama’s chagrin.

The truth is the United States manufactures allies and enemies according to its fickle, self-serving, propagandizing purpose and has absolutely no moral high ground to stand on in a single aspect of its foreign policy. Whatever suits global hegemony for gaining more power and control while reaping more profit for transnational corporations and the central banking cabal is the common thread behind everything the US government does anywhere and everywhere on earth. That’s why America’s insane, convoluted, chaotic chessboard policy makes allies into enemies and enemies into allies at its fleeting, imperialistic will, amounting to pure schizoid madness. And aside from making more money for the ruling elite, by design its intended purpose is to create conflict and war to destabilize, destroy and impoverish every nation it touches, a la the King Midas-in-reverse effect. And what does this demonic foreign policy have to show for itself? Failed states in Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan along with a faltering, choking, bankrupt US economy on the verge of total collapse. Stay tuned for the fall of the American Empire.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed.blogspot. com/.

Libya, Egypt and ISIS: Could World War III Start With a Video?

February 20th, 2015 by Patrick Henningsen

What’s happened this week in Libya should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention over the last four years. 

Geopolitically speaking and considering its proximity to Europe, this viper’s nest has the potential to be even more perilous than Syria. At the beginning of the new year, we predicted that Libya would be the next major ISIS theater, paving the way for an eventual US or NATO intervention. 21WIRE’s end-of-year feature article Game Changers: 2015 Predictions explains:

“Of all the emerging potential conflict fronts for central planning at NATO, this one looks by far the most promising. In classic Hegelian fashion, the Libyan disaster which NATO created back in 2011 is now ripe for a second clean-up round. Like Iraq, the country has been effectively split into 3 separate regions. Warlords and terrorist gangs have seized the power vacuum left by NATO’s sloppy decapitation of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, and already NATO’s puppet government has run for the hills, using what’s left of their airforce to bomb their own cities.”

From the onset, coverage of Libya has been riddled with misdirection and obfuscation. The warning signs have been visible since late 2011 (below).

How did they get it so wrong? Most of what happened in Libya over the last 4 years was known in the alternative media, but blacked-out by the mainstream media (MSM). As it was then, so it is today. The reason for this is simple. Due to the fact that they gave up on doing any investigative reporting, the MSM has only reacted to the official story. When the event happens, Washington issues its talking points, newspapers repeat, intelligence operatives embedded within the mediakeep to the script, the State Dept. holds its press briefings, while the CIA dispatches its pundits to panels on CNN, FOX and others. The narrative becomes streamlined. Any subsequent information or theme which counters the official line is summarily dismissed and suppressed, and in most cases – completely ignored.

In early 2013, 21WIRE reported how Chris Stevens was overseeing a US gun-running program out of Benghazi and into Syria, and as early at 2011, I also reported how Libyan Islamic fighters were being transferred to the next proxy war in Syria. If only the MSM had done the same back then.
1-ISIS-Libya-3
Is ISIS really in Libya? Well, yes and no. ISIS has become a kind of open-source brand, complete with an entire seasonal fashion line, a logo and a full range of merchandise. In fact, absolutely anyone who fancies it can simply fly the ISIS flag, or print out an A4 page and blue-tac it to the wall while filming a martyrdom video – like Amedy Coulibaly did in Paris.

In Libya, they splurged a little, and printed large decals to stick on the hoods of their Toyota pick-up trucks, and showed off their new ISIS flags with a gold fringe. It seems that ISIS/ISIL has no hierarchical structure or organization and exists in Syria and Iraq as a confederation of radical paramilitary and al Qaeda groups many of whom receive various degrees of funding and weapons from NATO allies and from the GCC oil monarchies. There’s also a number ofseasoned mercenaries and western special forces who are training rebel and ISIS fightersheading into Syria. Otherwise, terrorist brigades function much more like a gang syndicate or Sand Pirate privateers than they do a bona fide terrorist organization. So in theory, anyone can be ISIS, and ISIS can be anywhere. It looks like the pretext for the ultimate open-ended and unregulated international war.

We were primed for this week’s official ISIS PR launch event in Libya back in January when a minor false flag operation was carried out – a “shooting attack” at the Corinthia Hotel, accompanied by a car bombing. This event was brought to us via Pentagon’s media outlet SITE Intelligence Group, who said the attack was the work of the “Tripoli branch of ISIS”, and we are meant to trust SITE 100% and not question the provenance of their many ‘terror exclusives’..

ISIS ‘Video Wars’

Most sane people are in agreement that the terror video genre is now officially out of control. To some degree the public are becoming desensitized to it, but on the other hand, politicians and media producers have embraced it because it makes their jobs easier. If it scares the public, then it serves a corporate fascist agenda, and the media too. Our world has been transformed into a cinematic merger of Batman meets Iron Man 3 featuring The Mandarin.

Back in September, 21Wire reported how most of the early edition ISIS beheading videos were likely fakes, and filmed against a green screen, completely with props, wardrobe and voice overs. It turns out that at least two of the US major networks – CNN and FOX News finally admitted this three weeks ago. Here’s one example, reported by Dahboo77:


So if the MSM got that wrong for so long, why should we believe anything they are claiming in relation to the ISIS movie productions?

Another amazing thing about these videos is how effective they seem to be in getting other Middle East nation states to bomb their neighbors. The formula resembles a pure Hegelian dialectic, introduced by a problem – a horrific ISIS video appearing on the internet, followed by a predictable reaction – which is public outrage and a demand for blood atonement, and finally followed by the solution – a bombing campaign against the alleged faceless enemy.


Jordanian pilot Kasasbeh stands in front of members ISIS, in what appears to be a staged scene. Notice the shadowing of the picture plane from front to back. (counterjihadnews.com)

First came Jordan. Immediately after the public release of a highly suspect ‘ISIS’ movie production allegedly showing a Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, being burned up in what appears to be a ‘prop’ cage, the King of Jordan responded by launching a series of high-profile ‘revenge’ airstrikes inside neighboring Syria. The media were told that these sorties were against ‘ISIS targets’. In reality, we may never know if that’s true or not. Judging by the media hype, it’s more likely that this was a symbolic airstrike designed to bolster public opinion for a regime which wasn’t very popular the week before. To add to the confusion, someone conveniently threw in the alleged American female hostage Kayla Mueller into the mix, with ISIS claiming that the Jordanian airstrike killed her, and Washington and Amman claiming that ISIS killed her – and in the great ISIS tradition of no forensic evidence, the western media validates without any question and then accepts that the JPEGS emailed by ISIS to Kayla’s family – were perfectly legitimate. Surreal.

ISIS-Egypt-beheading

ISIS in LIBYA: Still image from the latest ISIS production, showing the execution of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians being murdered by masked ISIS militants wearing identical Ninja robes, with prisoners wearing standard-issued Guantanamo Bay orange jump suits.

Then came Egypt. Like his fellow dictator in Jordan, Egypt’s supreme leader General Abdel Fatah El Sisi has his own problems at home. Somehow, he managed to garner 98% of the votein this past summer’s election, but many believe this result was achieved by locking up any opposition and scaring opposition voters away from the polls (he’s looks a shoe-in to be the next Hosni Mubarak, destined to rule for another 25 years). Suddenly, another gruesome ISIS video appeared yesterday, depicting a mass beheading of 20 Egyptian Coptic Christians who happened to be in Libya and hanging out (so we’re told) in an ISIS hot spot along Libya’s northern Mediterranean coast. Within a few hours of the video’s release, El Sisi orders airstrikes against Libya, and news clips of Egyptian-owned, US-made F16 fighters scrambling in formation towards their new target, a civilian neighborhood in the coastal city of Derna, in Libya – exacting revenge for the horrific ISIS movie production. Was the movie really filmed in Derna? There is no way to know in fact. All we know is that it was filmed on a beach, somewhere on earth.

The US or UK media will not report on any civilians killed in these glorious “air raids”, and if there are any then it’s simply “collateral damage”. But that dark PR generated in places like Syria and Libya only guarantees more extremism will take root on the ground, feeding back into the Hegelian loop. This equation is the very reason (coalition airstrikes anyone?) why Libya is infested with extremist paramilitaries in the first place, but you’ll never hear that admitted by the MSM brain trust, or CNN’s panel of “national security experts”.

Just imagine – a global arms industry driven by YouTube videos? We’re practically there. Washington hardly has to lift a finger, just cue up the videos and watch them all bomb each other back to the Ottoman Era.

Meanwhile the western media falls into hysteria, calling it an “ISIS attack on Europe’s Doorstep”. Even the Italian press is in a panic, fearing that ISIS is “making inroads” into Italy and could hit Rome and other major cities.

Sensationalist reporting by British newspapers are also screaming-up new fears of “boat loads of ISIS” sailing across the Med and on to the beaches of Europe. These stories are placed in the media in order to push public opinion further towards accepting a permanent war.

In all of these ISIS ‘beheading’ videos, besides many of them not even showing the deaths of the on-screen victims, there has been zero forensic evidence to verify the murders; no murder weapon, no location, no time of death, and no body. We are told by our political establishment and media to accept the videos on face value. What makes these highly produced videos any different from a Hollywood production? Answer: Nothing. In the end, there is no real crime scene, only a YouTube video.

Perfect Timing For New US Declaration of War

The timing of this week’s latest ISIS video-on-demand episode in Libya is almost uncanny, if not dubious, considering the constitutional debate which is currently unfolding in the United States. Is it just another odd coincidence that just 24 hours before Egypt launched its airstrikes in Libya, US President Barack Obama proposed a new congressional authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIS which beltway pundits were touting as “a rare moment of unity among congressional Democrats and Republicans”?

By using this latest installment of the ISIS Crisis, the US government is attempting to re-write and even redefine the whole process of declaring war. 21WIRE’s Shawn Helton explained the historical significance of this executive move yesterday:

“The War Powers Resolution of 1973 has been a source of sharp debate with US leadership since it was passed, and the ‘constitutionality’ of the joint Congressional law has been questioned by every US President since its establishment.”

“While the AUMF was not an official “declaration of war”, it does provide the legislative grease needed to allow more authority to be used by a US president.”

Pre-ISIS in Libya

It should be clear by now to anyone with even a cursory grasp of recent history, that Washington DC and its NATO partners Britain and France had hoodwinked the world just long enough to fast-track the dodgy UN Resolution 1973 ‘No-Fly Zone’ which gave NATO jets a clear run of the country to provide air cover for their insurgency, effectively opening the gates of hell in Libya, quickly transforming the country nearly overnight into the globe’s most al Qaeda-infested cauldron at that time. The exact same scenario is now unfolding in Syria, only there is no ‘official’ no-fly zone, only a de facto one. This arrangement was more or less formalized this week when Obama signed off on allowing “Moderate” Syrian Rebels to now call in US B-1B bomber airstrikes. If that’s not a war, I’m not sure what is.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, backed strongly by the US (and now we know why) stayed in power just long enough to fulfill their function for the US-NATO operation in Libya. They played a crucial role at that time in shipping arms and fighters over their border into Libya, and also later on in the networking and recruitment through Brotherhood branches in Libya, Tunisia and Syria – to help flood Syria with foreign fighters – many of whom are flying the ISIS flag today.

Once the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was executed in late Oct. of 2011 by armed al Qaeda (and soon to be ISIS) street mobs (we’re told – with ex-US special forces standing by in a ‘supervisory’ capacity only yards away) – Libya was destined to be the warlord-ridden Somalia-on-the-Med that it is today.

Between NATO’s bombing and the new warlords, after it was all said and done an estimated 30,000 Libyans had been killed as a result of the artificial uprising and bombing campaign. Tribal divisions grew and instability with it. Only weeks after Gaddafi’s death, the black al Qaeda flag (same as ISIS) could be seen flying over the old court house in Benghazi. We said it at the time, and so did many other alternative media pundits. Meanwhile, US and European news networks were still musing about “the birth of democracy in Libya” ad nauseum. In the end, the US and its NATO gang lied about the UN Resolution and changed the mission to regime change. Back in Oct 20, 2011, Pepe Escobar explained what the NATO plan was all along, as well as accurately predicting the civil war chaos “for years to come”:


The bottom line here is: if you are expecting the mainstream media to get Libya right again, after getting so wrong before, then I’d like to offer you a half-price deal on London’s Tower Bridge. Buy now, pay later.

The other key point which the US government, NATO and the corporate media are desperate to leave out of this story is the revolving door between Guantanamo Bay prison and Libya’s Islamic and al Qaeda groups. The US cannot rightly complain about al Qaeda or ‘ISIS’ in Libya when at least two of its top leaders were repatriated into Libya for the sole purpose of leading the spiritual and militant insurgency to remove Gaddafi and permanently destabilize the country.

As 21WIRE reported back in 2013, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, was imprisoned at Guantanamo Baycirca 2002, after being captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He was released and filtered back into fighting regions to organise Al-Qaeda-type Islamist groups in Libya. After the fall of Gaddafi, Bejhaj was rewarded with the position of Libya’s military ‘Governor’ of Tripoli. He still commands the same terrorist (ISIS?) forces today which swept him into power behind NATO in Oct. 2011.

The other key Gitmo graduate previously reported by 21WIRE in Jan. 2014, is named Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a former detainee from Libya, who played a role’ in the Benghazi attack, according to witness accounts confirmed by U.S. officials. At the same time, the United States State Department claimed it was to ‘designate’ the three branches of Ansar al-Sharia, as foreign terrorist organizations, who were positioned at locations including  Darnah, Benghazi in Libya, and Tunisia. Ansar al-Sharia is stated to have been led by Qumu. Intelligence sources had implicated Qumu in the Benghazi attack, within two weeks of the incident, naming him as one of their prime suspects. Qumu was also involved with Belhaj’s Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), the group largely responsible for toppling Gaddafi in 2011 alongside NATO. Like US asset Belhaj, fellow Gitmo alumni Qumu still commands the same forces today which he led in 2011.

Those two examples are not the only ones, but at least you can draw your own conclusions here about what Guantanamo is in reality.

Sam Bacile’s enraging “Mohammed film” entitled ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ caused an uproar throughout the Middle East region, but in reality it was just an expensive piece of neoconservative ‘clash of civilizations’ PR financed to the tune of $5 million dollars, and according to the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Beast  money was provided by ’100 Jewish-American donors’. It turns out that Egyptian-Christian ‘filmmaker’ Bacile was actually 55-year-oldNakoula Basseley Nakoula, a California Coptic Christian convicted of federal bank fraud charges, likely a FBI informant working with a pretty extensive cast of characters in the background helping to produce and distribute the provocative film.

Innocence-of-Muslims
BAD B MOVIE: Sam Bacile’s howler was lauded by both Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton as the inspiration for the Benghazi debacle. 

Innocence of Muslims – was a fake video, in other words, the final product had nothing to do with the original production. Bacile had essentially taken an old production about an unrelated subject and plot, re-edited the film, added voice overs, and then changed the title. Despite thelies by Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton at the time in 2012, the film was not the reason why the CIA’s villa in Benghazi was raided by armed insurgent mobs which left US Ambassador Chris Stevens and  3 others dead. However, the media hype received by this film (thanks in part to Ben Rhodes and Susan Rice) did spark a series of global anti-American protests which quickly cascaded around the globe in real-time. As we’ve demonstrated, the film was designed as aprovocation, and just like the Charlie Hebdo Magazine – it fulfilled its function.

I was asked to comment on the film by global news channel RT just two days after the Benghazi Raid on Sept 11, 2012, and I stated then that the film was a giant PR stunt. I was right, even though it took the mainstream media months to catch up to the real story. The same goes with the ‘ISIS Box Set’ – it’s pure PR and it’s designed to speed-along public opinion in order for the major players to nudge their agendas forward.

In the end, after the hype subsides and the tear gas clears, the final object of PR stunts like this, and those produced by ‘ISIS’ too, is a furtherance of an Anglo-American dominated international policy of ‘divide and rule’.

Is it all fake? Is any of it real? It’s hard to tell for sure, but as we’ve shown you – it is highly stylized, and some of it has been clearly shown to be fake – all the more reason to question and scrutinize every frame which is being held up in public as “evidence” of a terrorist incident.

If, as some analysts suggest, the ISIS crisis is pushing us into a multi-front war, then it’s more  likely that World War III will be started by a YouTube video – and the saddest part is that it won’t even matter whether or not it’s real or fake. It might as well be a cartoon.

Terrorism is not the biggest threat to modern civilization. Humanity is standing at the edge of a cliff called sanity.

Unless we can cure ourselves of this mass obsession with religious propaganda videos, we don’t stand a chance in this digital hall of mirrors.

The European Court of Human Rights today confirmed that the Polish government was complicit in the CIA’s secretive programme of rendition, detention and interrogation.

The Court in Strasbourg today rejected a challenge from the Polish government to a landmark ruling from last July, a decision which now makes that original judgement final.

July’s judgment said that two current Guantánamo inmates, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, were held in a CIA prison in Poland, that they had been subject to torture, and that Poland failed in its duty under European human rights law to protect them or investigate what happened.

Poland had requested a referral to the Court’s grand chamber, effectively appealing the decision, which could not become final while the request was pending.

The grand chamber today refused the request, but did not give any reasons.

It means that the Polish government now faces a substantial bill for damages and legal costs.

In the July judgment, both men were awarded €100,000 in damages and Abu Zubaydah another €30,000 in legal costs.

However, Abu Zubaydah’s US lawyer confirmed to the Bureau that if the money was made available they would not claim the legal costs, and that Abu Zubaydah would be donating the full €100,000 in damages to victims of torture.

Poland is the first EU member state to be found guilty of complicity in the CIA’s secret detention programme and responsible for multiple violations of the detainees’ rights.

The case concerned the treatment of the two detainees, who were held by the CIA in Poland and subjected to torture, incommunicado detention and secret transfer to other CIA black sites.

Both men were secretly rendered to Poland on December 5 2002. Al-Nashiri was taken to Morocco on June 6 2003. Abu Zubaydah was transferred from Poland to a black site in Guantánamo Bay on September 22 2003.

Helen Duffy, European lawyer for Abu Zubaydah, told the Bureau the decision means that “Poland is required to finally conduct a thorough and effective investigation, make public information concerning its role and hold those responsible to account”.

She added: “This is an opportunity for Poland to reengage constructively, to address the crimes of the past and reassert its position as a supporter of the rule of law.”

The decision comes after the Senate intelligence committee published an executive summary of its investigation into the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme last December. Al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah were among the 119 detainees named in that summary report.

The European Parliament last week voted to resume investigating the complicity of EU member states in the CIA programme, in the wake of the new information revealed by the Senate’s summary.

The new information included confirmation of previous suspicions that the CIA paid the Polish government to continue hosting the black site, after the government refused to accept the planned transfer of new detainees, who the summary said included Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 2001 attacks on US cities.

Joe Marguiles, US lawyer for Abu Zubaydah, told the Bureau: “We are gratified but not surprised that the Court held to its prior judgment.  The evidence was overwhelming when the Court ruled the first time, and now it’s irrefutable.  The only question is whether Poland is sufficiently committed to the rule of law that it will conduct a meaningful investigation.  So far, the evidence on that score is not promising.”

The Polish government claimed when requesting referral to the grand chamber that the presence of a CIA black site in Poland was not proven, and that Polish officials were unaware of what happened within the confines of the alleged black site.

In its letter to the ECHR requesting a referral, which has been seen by the Bureau, the Polish government said: “It is not enough to make an overall negative assessment of the HVD [High Value Detainee] programme and to make the respondent state’s cooperation under this programme plausible.”

The Polish government had also questioned the court’s finding that Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri were actually in Poland. In the letter, the government said that al-Nashiri’s allegations contained “unrebutted fact”, and that the body of evidence which suggested the two men were detained in Poland was “mostly circumstantial”.

Following the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s report into CIA rendition and “enhanced interrogation” techniques last December, former Polish president Alexander Kwasniewski admitted that he had allowed the US to operate its black site in Poland, but claimed he did not know torture was being carried out there.

Abu Zubaydah was the first detainee of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme. He and al-Nashiri were two of around 17 so-called high value detainees.

Both al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah were subjected to the torture technique known as waterboarding, with US government documents showing Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in one month.

Documents filed by Abu Zubaydah’s lawyers show he was transferred by the CIA on December 5 2002 to the village of Stare Kiejkuty in Poland from Thailand.

Abu Zubaydah is a stateless Palestinian who was born in Saudi Arabia. He was captured by the CIA from a house in Faisalbad, Pakistan, on March 28 2002 and held in detention by the CIA until September 2006, when he was transferred to US military custody at Guantanamo Bay.

Al-Nashiri is a citizen of Saudi Arabia. He has been charged with war crimes.

Abu Zubaydah also remains in indefinite detention in Guantánamo Bay and has never been charged with any crime, either before a military commission or in a civil court.

This report is part of a joint investigation with The Rendition Project and is being supported by the Freedom of the Press FoundationTo support the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s fundraising appeal for this investigation, please click here.

Follow Victoria Parsons on Twitter. Sign up to email updates from the Bureau here.

Germany holds the key to where Europe goes next. A fragile deal may have been reached on Ukraine, but there’s still no deal with Greece. In both cases, there’s much more than meets the eye.

Let’s start with the grueling Eurogroup negotiation in Brussels over the Greek debt.

Greek officials swear they never received a draft of a possible agreement leaked by Eurogroup bureaucrats to the Financial Times. This draft, crucially, referred to an agreement “amending and extending and successfully concluding,” the current austerity-heavy bailout.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble cut off “amending”. This is the draft that was leaked. But then Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called Prime Minister Tsipras – and the statement, still not signed, was rejected. So this was a top Tsipras decision.

Tsipras could not possibly balk – not after previously raising the stakes – as in promising to boost the Greek minimum wage and halt privatizations. He’s still betting the house that the Troika won’t allow a ‘Grexit’. Yet he may be wrong; the possibility of ‘Grexit’ is hovering around 35 percent to 40 percent, and it will be much higher if no deal is reached on the next crunch meeting, Monday.

Tsipras and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem at least agreed that Greek officials and the Troika (EC, ECB, IMF) should start talking “at a technical level.” Translation: they will be comparing the current austerity nightmare with new Greek proposals.

Athens essentially has only two choices. Either the Troika accedes to some form of debt repudiation – real or as a sleight of hand (that’s Syriza’s proposal – an arrangement that fosters growth); or ‘Grexit’ ensues, with Athens creating its own central bank and currency as an independent nation. There’s no third choice; a debt of 175 percent of Greece’s GDP is totally unpayable.

As much as the Troika and its institutional derivatives spin ‘Grexit’ won’t be a big deal, the fact is a Greek debt default could have a more devastating effect than the Lehman Brothers case. It was not the fundamentals at Lehman that caused widespread panic when it went down; but the fear that their derivative exposures would bring down the system.

And cutting through all the spin, what remains, essentially, is what European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Le Figaro a few days ago; it’s out of the question to suppress the Greek debt and, most of all, “there can be no democratic option against European treaties.” There it is, crystal clear: EU institutions work against democracy.

Plan B remains a distinct possibility. Moscow has already invited Tsipras to meet with Putin. And Beijing has invited Tsipras to meet with Prime Minister Li Keqiang. These are the “R” and the “C” in BRICS in action.

It’s worth remembering Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos when he articulated if not a majority view, at least a substantial perception among Greek public opinion; “We want a deal. But if there is no deal, and if we see that Germany remains rigid and wants to blow Europe apart, then we will have to go to Plan B… We have other ways of finding money. It could be the United States at best, it could be Russia, it could be China or other countries.”

Alea jacta est. Troika or RC?

And it’s all about NATO

Then there’s Minsk. What was achieved after nearly 17 hours of a grueling marathon is not exactly, in French President Francois Hollande’s words, a “global” agreement and a “global ceasefire” in Ukraine.

There’s every possibility the ceasefire will be nullified only a few minutes after its implementation at midnight this Saturday – irony of ironies, at the end of Valentine’s Day. Significantly, the final statement bears no important signatures: Putin, Merkel, Hollande and Poroshenko.

German Foreign Minister Steinmeier was cautious, warning Minsk 2.0 is not exactly a breakthrough, but at least de-escalates matters. Merkel preferred to spin that Putin had to pressure the Eastern Ukraine federalists of the DNR and the LNR to agree to the ceasefire.

Predictably, like clockwork, even before the ceasefire, the IMF – under Washington’s orders – suddenly announced it would continue to rape, sorry, help bailout bankrupt, failed state Ukraine with a tranche of $17.5 billion, part of a large $40 billion, four-year “rescue” package. Translation: Kiev’s goons now have fresh cash to throw at a war they don’t want to give up on.

Poroshenko himself took no time to torpedo the ceasefire – spinning there’s no autonomy granted to the areas controlled by the federalists, and refusing to confirm Putin’s assertion that Kiev has agreed to terminate the vicious economic blockade of Donbass.

The precise contours of the demilitarized zone – bordering one frontline in September and a very different frontline five months later – remain a mystery. And Washington immediately turned the “withdrawal of foreign forces” clause into a joke. The Pentagon has already announced it will begin training Ukraine’s National Guard next month.

Minsk 2.0 hardly qualifies as a band-aid. Ukraine is unredeemable. It would only come back from the dead if a tsunami of cash – almost equivalent to the cost of German reunification – were poured in. Needless to add, no one in Europe wants to dish out even a few devalued euro.

This was, remains, and will continue to be, essentially about NATO expansion. Washington and the Kiev marionettes will never allow any constitutional reform that lets the Donbass block NATO embedded in Ukraine. So the ‘Empire of Chaos’, in a nutshell, won’t cease from using Ukraine to bully Russia. The ‘Empire of Chaos’ is not exactly in the business of nation building – quite the contrary.

Crossing the German bridge

And that brings us to the crucial role played by Germany – with France as sidekick.

Chancellor Merkel had to go to Moscow to negotiate with Putin because she saw which way the wind was blowing – counterproductive sanctions; Ukrainian economy in free fall; Kiev’s goons defeated on the battlefield. That was as much an imperative as a crucial demarcation away from the imperial NATO expansion obsession.

As Immanuel Wallerstein has observed Moscow is pursuing “a careful policy. Not totally in control of the Donetsk-Lugansk autonomists, Russia is nonetheless making sure that the autonomists cannot be eliminated militarily. The Russian price for real peace is a commitment by NATO that Ukraine is not a potential member.”

So Merkel may have defused the Obama administration’s drive to weaponize Kiev – but only for a moment. There’s no evidence – yet – that the Obama administration and its embedded neo-con cells have admitted that the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) are essentially “lost” to Kiev’s influence.

Hollande provided the perfect cover for Merkel. It was Hollande who publicly supported autonomy – as in federalization – for the DPR and the LPR. At the same time, both Merkel and Hollande know that Kiev will never de facto accept it (and even a substantial portion of the Donbass only accepts federalization as a stepping stone to eventual secession and union with Russia.)

Merkel – at least in terms of German public opinion – did manage to achieve her goal, emerging as a victor (“The world chancellor,” as the tabloid Bild coined it) after her frequent-flyer marathon. Putin also emerged a victor of sorts – as Merkel essentially rehashed proposals he made months ago. So yes, whichever angle we look at it, this was in fact a Moscow-Berlin deal. It’s easy to see who is extremely disgruntled and will do everything to bomb it; Washington, Kiev, London, Warsaw and the hysterical “Russia is invading” Baltic states.

Last but not least, let’s call attention to the monumental white elephant in the room. Minsk 2.0 was conducted in the total absence of the ‘Empire of Chaos’ and the (increasingly irrelevant) “special relationship” British minions.

Slowly but surely, public opinion across Europe – and especially Germany – is experiencing a tectonic shift. The obsession by the ‘Empire of Chaos’ to further weaponize Kiev has horrified millions – resurrecting the specter of a war in Europe’s eastern borderlands. Not only in Germany but also in France, Italy, Spain, there is a growing continental consensus against NATO.

Even at the height of a vicious Russia demonization campaign unleashed by virtually the whole German corporate media, a Deutschland Trend survey revealed that most Germans are against NATO troops in Eastern Europe. And no less than 49 percent would rather see Germany position itself as a bridge between East and West. The leadership in Beijing definitely took note.

So it’s tempting to hop on the Merkel/Hollande peace train as the heart of Europe finally exercising their sovereignty and frontally defying the ‘Empire of Chaos’. Perhaps that could be the embryo of a German-French partnership for peace in Europe and even beyond, from the Middle East to Africa.

That would frontally antagonize NATO’s screenplay – which implies the ’Empire of Chaos’ ruling uncontested over Europe, the Middle East and even across Eurasia, with continental European powers, especially Germany, France and yes, Russia, at the margins.

Sooner or later European politicians will have to wake up and smell the coffee; the notion of a German-French-Russian pan-European peace/trade partnership is way more popular than reflected in failed corporate media.

Now it’s up to Germany to clean up its act on Greece. The choice is stark. The EU may embark on a quadruple-dip recession as the ECB further destroys what is left of the European middle class. Or Germany, reflecting the thinking among its captains of industry, may tell the EU – Troika included – that the way to go is to shift the strategic, trade and political focus from West to the East. That would start by stuffing the corporate US-devised TTIP treaty – that’s NATO on trade. After all, this is going to be the Eurasian century – and this train has already left the station.

Gli incendiari gridano al fuoco

February 19th, 2015 by Manlio Dinucci

La guerra che divampa in Libia miete sem­pre più vit­time non solo sulla terra ma sul mare: molti dei dispe­rati, che ten­tano la tra­ver­sata del Medi­ter­ra­neo, anne­gano. «Da sotto il mare ci chie­dono dove sia finita la nostra uma­nità», scrive Pier Luigi Ber­sani. Dovrebbe anzi­tutto chie­dersi dove sia finita la sua uma­nità, e con essa la sua capa­cità etica e poli­tica, quando, il 18 marzo 2011 alla vigi­lia della guerra Usa/Nato con­tro la Libia, in veste di segre­ta­rio del Pd escla­mava «alla buon’ora», sot­to­li­neando che «l’articolo 11 della Costi­tu­zione ripu­dia la guerra, non l’uso della forza per ragioni di giu­sti­zia». Enrico Letta, che con Ber­sani si appella ora al senso uma­ni­ta­rio, dovrebbe ricor­darsi quando il 25 marzo 2011, in veste di vice­se­gre­ta­rio del Pd, dichia­rava «Guer­ra­fon­daio è chi è con­tro l’intervento inter­na­zio­nale in Libia e non certo noi che siamo costrut­tori di pace». Una «sini­stra» che nascon­deva le vere ragioni – eco­no­mi­che, poli­ti­che e stra­te­gi­che – della guerra, soste­nendo per bocca di Mas­simo D’Alema (già esperto di «guerra uma­ni­ta­ria» in Jugo­sla­via) che «in Libia la guerra c’era già, con­dotta da Ghed­dafi con­tro il popolo insorto, un mas­sa­cro che doveva essere fer­mato» (22 marzo 2011).

Sostan­zial­mente sulla stessa linea per­fino il segre­ta­rio del Prc Paolo Fer­rero che, il 24 feb­braio 2011 a guerra ini­ziata, accu­sava Ber­lu­sconi di aver messo «giorni per con­dan­nare le vio­lenze di Ghed­dafi», soste­nendo che si doveva «smon­tare il più in fretta pos­si­bile il regime libico». Lo stesso giorno, gio­vani «comu­ni­sti» del Prc, insieme a «demo­cra­tici» del Pd, assal­ta­vano a Roma l’ambasciata di Tri­poli, bru­ciando la ban­diera della repub­blica libica e issando quella di re Idris (la stessa che sven­tola oggi a Sirte occu­pata dai jiha­di­sti, come ha mostrato il Tg1 tre giorni fa). Una «sini­stra» che sca­val­cava la destra, spin­gendo alla guerra il governo Ber­lu­sconi, all’inizio restio (per ragioni di inte­resse) ma subito dopo cinico nello strac­ciare il Trat­tato di non-aggressione e nel par­te­ci­pare all’attacco con basi e forze aeronavali.

In sette mesi, l’aviazione Usa/Nato effet­tuava 10mila mis­sioni di attacco, con oltre 40mila bombe e mis­sili, men­tre veni­vano infil­trate in Libia forze spe­ciali, tra cui migliaia di com­man­dos qata­riani, e allo stesso tempo finan­ziati e armati gruppi isla­mici fino a poco prima defi­niti ter­ro­ri­sti. Tra cui quelli che, pas­sati in Siria per rove­sciare il governo di Dama­sco, hanno fon­dato l’Isis e quindi invaso l’Iraq. Si è così disgre­gato lo Stato libico, pro­vo­cando l’esodo for­zato – e di con­se­guenza l’ecatombe nel Medi­ter­ra­neo – degli immi­grati afri­cani che ave­vano tro­vato lavoro in que­sto paese. Pro­vo­cando una guerra interna tra set­tori tri­bali e reli­giosi, che si com­bat­tono per il con­trollo dei campi petro­li­feri e delle città costiere, oggi in mano prin­ci­pal­mente a for­ma­zioni ade­renti all’Isis. Il mini­stro degli esteri del governo Renzi, Paolo Gen­ti­loni, dopo aver riba­dito che «abbat­tere Ghed­dafi era una causa sacro­santa», lan­cia l’allarme per­ché «l’Italia è minac­ciata dalla situa­zione in Libia, a 200 miglia marine di distanza». Annun­cia quindi che gio­vedì rife­rirà in Par­la­mento sull’eventuale par­te­ci­pa­zione ita­liana a un inter­vento mili­tare inter­na­zio­nale «in ambito Onu». In altre parole, a una seconda guerra in Libia pre­sen­tata come «pea­ce­kee­ping», come già richie­sto da Obama a Letta nel giu­gno 2013, cal­deg­giata dalla Pinotti e appro­vata da Ber­lu­sconi. Siamo di nuovo al bivio: che posi­zione pren­de­ranno quanti lavo­rano per creare una nuova sini­stra e, al suo interno, l’unità dei comunisti?

Manlio Dinucci

A coup plot against the Venezuelan government has been foiled, with both civilians and members of the military detained, President Nicolas Maduro revealed Thursday, Feb. 12, in a televised address.

Those involved were being paid in U.S. dollars, and one of the suspects had been granted a visa to enter the United States should the plot fail, Maduro said.

Venezuela’s president stated that the coup plotters already had a “transitional” government and program lined up once the plan, which included bombings on the Miraflores Palace and the teleSUR offices in Caracas, as well as assassinations of members of the opposition, Maduro and others, was carried out.

Maduro explained that a video of masked military officials speaking out against the government had been recorded, which was set to be released after the planned assassination was carried out.

Venezuelan Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino Lopez stated via his Twitter account that the armed forces remain loyal to the constitutional government.

“The Bolivarian National Armed Forces remain resolute in their democratic beliefs and reject coup schemes that threaten the peace of the republic,” said Padrino.

According to Maduro, one of the suspects was already under surveillance and had been suspected of plotting against the government during last year’s violent demonstrations, but was not charged. Nevertheless, he continued plotting against the democratically-elected government.

The four-stage plan involved creating an economic assault on the country, creating an international debate around a supposed humanitarian crisis, a political coup involving officials who would turn on the government, and finally a military coup that would lead to the installation of the transitional program.

Maduro stated that the plot, which was scheduled to coincide with anti-government demonstrations planned for the one-year anniversary of the start of violent, opposition-led demonstrations which began last Feb. 12, was uncovered after military officials who had been approached to participate reported the schemes to authorities.

Maduro called on the Venezuelan people to be on alert and prepared to maintain peace in the country in the face of continued attempts by sectors of the right wing who seek to overthrow the democratically-elected government.


Timeline of planned coup

Below is a timeline of how the coup plotters hoped their plan would play out provided by TeleSUR Engish, Anatomy of a Coup.

January 6-8: Coup plotters planned to conduct nationwide operations aimed at creating unrest in the streets. Queues outside commercial stores such as supermarkets were set to be among the primary targets, where operatives hoped to set off violence. Elsewhere, various groups planned to engage in other activities aimed at fomenting destabilization in the streets.

January 9-February: Over the weeks, plotters hoped the country would descend into a state of turmoil, paving the way for the violent overthrow of the Maduro administration.

February 3: Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas tried to bribe people in strategic positions to participate in a coup, said President Nicolas Maduro at the time.

February 12: The coup was scheduled to begin this day. Chavista and opposition rallies commemorating Youth Day were slated as the first targets. Coup plotters planned on attacking the marches to provoke panic in the streets. Then, strategic sites across the capital were to be bombed in a series of coordinated attacks, carried out using a Tucano attack aircraft. The Tucano is a small, highly maneuverable military aircraft manufactured in Brazil, though the U.S. military has purchased a handful for counterinsurgency operations. The sites targeted for bombing included public transport, government offices, mass media and open areas, such as the grandiose Plaza Venezuela. The full list of targets included:

– teleSUR headquarters (east Caracas)

– Headquartes of the Military Intelligence (DIM)

– Plaza Venezuela

– Metro station Zona Rental (center of Caracas)

– Ministry of Defense (center of Caracas)

– Caracas municipality building (west)

– Miraflores palace (national government and presidential headquarters)

– Public Prosecutor’s office (center of Caracas)

Members of both the opposition and the government – including Maduro – were expected to be assassinated during the ensuing chaos.

Amid the turmoil, media outlets would be forced to broadcast a statement announcing the collapse of the government.

February 13: The coup government was expected to be firmly in control of the country and free to begin rolling back Venezuela’s socialist revolution.

Uruguay in Haiti: The Poorest President of a Mercenary Army?

February 19th, 2015 by Fernando Moyano

“Uruguayans participate with 13% to 15% of our armed forces in peace missions. For years and years, we have always accepted the places assigned to us. But however you decide and allocate resources, do not consider us to be there just to serve coffee.” Uruguayan President José Mujica, United Nations General Assembly, Sep, 25, 2013.

Ten years ago, a leftist party came to power for the first time in Uruguay, the Frente Amplio (Broad Front). Five years ago, the party won again, and it has recently won for the third time. In all three elections, the Frente Amplio (FA) won an absolute parliamentary majority. José Mujica (“Pepe”), the president elected five years ago, is stepping down to make way for his FA successor, Tabaré Vázquez.

Mujica has been termed, “the poorest president in the world.” He drives a 1967 Volkswagon Beetle, is a former guerrilla and was a political prisoner of the civilian/military dictatorships that ruled Uruguay from 1973 to 1985. His outgoing government has legalized marijuana, abortion rights and gay marriage and has welcomed refugees from Syria as well as six foreign prisoners from the US gulag in Guantanamo, Cuba.

Mujica donates his salary to a voluntary plan for housing construction by a militant labor association of workers. The Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica is making a film about him titled The Last Hero. But there is another side.

Uruguay and the phenomenon of UN military missions

For 10 years, Uruguay has maintained troops in Haiti as part of the United Nations police and military occupation force known as MINUSTAH (1). Uruguay not only participates in MINUSTAH, it is the second-largest component of the force, by numbers, after Brazil. Latin American countries are a key pillar of this occupation, contributing about half of its foot soldiers. The Latin American participants in MINUSTAH contribute an average of 10 soldiers per one million inhabitants. But at the peak of its participation, Uruguay, a country of 3.4 million, had 330 soldiers per million of its population!

UN “peacekeeping missions” are becoming ever more clearly the “colonialist screen” that was denounced long ago by Patricio Lumumba, the first, post-colonial leader of Congo. He was assassinated in January 1961, only eight months after being elected prime minister of that country of fabulous natural wealth.

These missions are not neutral forces. They typically support one side against another in times of political and social conflict with imperialism or its local representatives. This was the case in Congo in 1960-61 and it is the case today in Haiti and more recently in Mali. Their function is not “peace” but, rather, to maintain imperial order in points of disturbance on the global, capitalist periphery.

“Peacekeeping” missions of the UN Security Council have a twofold function. One, they are shrouded in the legitimacy of the UN name, and they assist the imperialist powers from becoming overextended in their military efforts to maintain their world order. They also confer a seeming legality to the maintenance of an imperialist order of permanent war. The United States is the prime beneficiary of this service.

Haiti is a special case. There was no armed conflict there in 2004, when MINUSTAH was established (in June of that year). There has been no armed conflict for the 10-plus years of MINUSTAH’s presence. But the “possibility” of violence is used as a convenient pretext for intervention and containment by military means against an eminently political and social conflict.

This aspect of Uruguayan foreign policy – enthusiastic participation in foreign military adventures – requires some explanation.

On the one hand, in common with other leftist Latin American governments participating in MINUSTAH, the government in Uruguay has not broken with imperialism. It and other soft-left governments in Latin America today, including Brazil and Argentina, are still beholden to capitalism. One expression of this is their participation in the occupation of Haiti.
>Even Bolivia and Ecuador have participated in MINUSTAH, although with smaller forces compared to others. Ecuador has recently withdrawn from the force, but its military base in Haiti was transferred to the authoritarian government of Haitian President Michel Martelly, and in 2013, Ecuador provided training to some 40 Haitian paramilitaries, whom Haitians fear will form the nucleus of a revived Haitian army. The reviled, human rights-violating former army was disbanded in 1995 by the pacifist president of the day, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay have played major roles in MINUSTAH. Chile joined with the United States, Canada and France in landing troops in March 2004 to consolidate the violent overthrow of Aristide, then serving his second, elected term as president. Brazil uses these missions to train its troops in military control of its civilian population. For several years, the Brazilian army has militarily occupied the favelas (poor districts) of Rio de Janeiro. The World Cup tournament of 2014 prompted the extension of that occupation to other cities in Brazil.

This contrasts with the attitude of Cuba and Venezuela, which have no military presence in Haiti but, instead, have provided very substantial humanitarian assistance, before and after the devastating earthquake in 2010. Cuba has extensive medical brigades in Haiti and has also assisted with agriculture, fishing and road construction. Venezuela has also assisted with construction and is a key energy supplier. These two countries operate without military support from MINUSTAH, thus refuting the claims of other foreign governments, particularly those of Europe and North America, that armed protection from the Haitian people is required for large aid efforts.

Why Uruguay?

The Mujica period in Uruguay has been characterized by a deepening of the capitalist, extractive economic model and a continual search for foreign, direct investment. The accompanying, mercenary foreign policy is not new. What is new, for several decades now, is the degree to which the military institution and its wishes shape that foreign policy.

For geographic and historical reasons, the Uruguayan bourgeoisie is weaker than others in the region. It has always been drawn toward close ties with whatever empire is dominant. That is an historical constant.

In an earlier era, Uruguay exported agricultural products needed by English industry. But in the Yankee era, the United States does not need or desire such products. Increasingly, Uruguay has resorted to the export of “political goods” that can assist “democratic colonialism.” That is today’s “Product of Uruguay” commercial stamp.

To understand further the new militaristic aspect of Uruguayan foreign policy, it is necessary to understand the historical role of the military in this country.

Uruguay is a small country without great resources. It is surrounded by much larger, friendly countries. Its only borders are with Argentina and Brazil. It has no national conflict hypothesis, no history of wars and no need for armed forces for territorial defense. In any event, armed forces would be useless in the case of real war with its much larger neighbors.

But this small country, pacifist and without enemies, is one of the most militarized in Latin America. Its army counts eight soldiers per 1,000 inhabitants, triple the proportions of Argentina and Brazil.

The bloated and useless army has played a vital role historically in intimidating and deterring social rebellion, despite seeming to be much more passive than elsewhere on the continent. The system of social domination in Uruguay cannot run without the army. This is the counterpoint to democratic political rule in Uruguay – what is termed the “buffer society.” (2) But the cost of the armed forces is a heavy burden on the government’s budget. As armaments become outmoded, it is very costly to modernize them. Participation in “peacekeeping” abroad is a way to share these costs with the imperialist world system, by providing a mercenary police service as a commodity. It also promotes an international image of a country committed to world peace, all the while obtaining direct financial benefits and indirect political ones from militarism.

The full scale (and cost) of Uruguay’s overseas missions includes the soldiers who are serving, those preparing to replace them, and returnees who are in recovery. To this must also be added the permanent staff of logistics services and again, their replacement and recovery. Fully 40 percent of the armed force is thus engaged at any one time. Ninety percent of Uruguay’s armed forces have passed through a foreign mission at some time.

Uruguay has outsourced its armed forces to the point where they would not be present for the country should a real war arise.

The country depends on its foreign roles even to pay the salaries of its soldiers. It receives $50 million per year for the missions in which it participates, including $18 million for Haiti. Eleven million of that pays for salaries; the remainder is supposed to pay for ammunition and equipment maintenance. It’s an inexpensive army, but the costs of maintaining it are inflated by corruption in the spending of its resources. In one renowned case, it cost more to sail two naval vessels to Haiti than the cost of the vessels themselves. There have been several prosecutions of military officials, but the exact degree of corruption and diversion of funds by officials is difficult to quantify.

Uruguay must purchase its own weapons and equipment. The UN pays for the maintenance of equipment during its time in operation. The remainder of the revenue Uruguay earns is used by the Ministry of Defense, whose budget is about $300 million. A Uruguayan soldier earns $400 per month; if he goes abroad on a mission, he earns a total of $1,000 thanks to the stipend paid by the UN. The financial incentive for soldiers to volunteer abroad is thus very considerable. An added incentive is the right to travel to Europe or North America on UN-issued visas.

Military officers, who already earn very high salaries, pensions and additional funds, also boost their salaries when they go on missions. They are already an inflated, upper segment of an inflated army.

It is shameful to hear arguments that have been made by Frente Amplio parliamentarians or senators that participation by Uruguayan soldiers in UN missions allows the soldiers to then buy a small house. Or worse, they argue that missions provide opportunities in actual combat, conveniently overlooking who it is (i.e. local populations) that are killed or injured by such “opportunities.”

Haiti threatens a good thing

This comfortable business in foreign military missions has always been challenged by the MINUSTAH mission in Haiti for a host of reasons:

  • The Haitian people have consistently rejected foreign occupation of their country.
  • The government of President Martelly is increasingly taking shape as a dictatorship.
  • The Uruguayan social organizations, including the national trade union center, have always demanded complete and immediate withdrawal of Uruguayan troops from Haiti. Each year, Parliament must approve the extension of Uruguay’s participation in MINUSTAH (the Security Council itself must approve the mission in a vote each year). In these annual votes, the Frente Amplio has imposed a military discipline on its parliamentary bloc (the notorious, “hand in a cast” votes). (3) This has led to the resignation of three FA deputies in the recent period, who refused out of principle, to vote for keeping troops in Haiti. This is the only issue in the FA over which internal differences have come to such a point. (4)
  • On top of all this, Uruguayan forces in Haiti have displayed the worst forms of conduct. There has been corruption in military purchases and ineptitude of military aviators, causing a crash with fatal consequences (the ministry of defense falsified the record of flying hours of pilots serving in Haiti to have their credentials accepted by the UN). The whole world viewed on the internet the scandalous images of Uruguayan soldiers anally raping a young Haitian at a Uruguayan naval base in Haiti. That has turned out to be the lasting image of Uruguay in Haiti.

Faced with all these difficulties, the Mujica government is attempting an intermediate solution. It is conducting a gradual withdrawal, in stages, already completed in part. From its peak of 1,100 soldiers, the number is now 240. To deal with the increasingly embarrassing evidence of the authoritarian drift of the government of Martelly, Uruguay is joining with other foreign powers to pressure Martelly into an agreement with the political opposition in Haiti for the holding of elections to the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. The electoral mandates of deputies and senators have expired, and Martelly threatens to rule by decree.

Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro has virtually extorted Martelly with the threat of immediate withdrawal of the Uruguayan troops if the political deadlock is not solved, a rather unusual diplomatic style for a small country, to say the least. Meanwhile, President Mujica has stated emphatically that Uruguay “will not be a praetorian guard of a dictatorship.”

Uruguayans who are truly anti-colonialist do not agree with any “imposition of liberty” on Haiti from abroad. They are demanding unconditional and unilateral withdrawal of troops. But even if we treat the gestures of Mujica and Almagro as signs of good intention, these have failed. Why? Because Martelly does not govern Haiti.

Martelly and his government are nothing more than Yankee puppets. What’s more, they have lost control of the situation. They no longer have anything to offer to Haitians short of Martelly’s resignation. This is what the Haitian people are now demanding in street protests and in other forms of struggle, day after day.

Prospects for Haiti, for MINUSTAH, and for Uruguay’s role

So what is happening in Haiti? There is no agreement between the government and the political opposition. The Parliament [Senate] is no longer functional because there have been no elections as the mandates of senators and deputies expired. Martelly’s government now rules by decree as [is] a dictatorship; the people are demanding his resignation as well as the departure of foreign occupation troops. Popular mobilizations are growing.

In Uruguay, Mujica’s government now faces a very big dilemma: to act as a praetorian guard of a dictatorship, or use the law approved by Parliament in December (proposed by Mujica himself) which contains the option of a complete withdrawal of the troops.

Mujica’s government will end at end of February. His successor Tabaré Vázquez, also FA, will return to the presidency, having served from 2005-10. He wants a political rapprochement with the United States. The situation in Haiti has provoked internal tension and debate in the government.

There is still no Uruguayan decision on withdrawal from Haiti. The government is “watching” to see if a dictatorship becomes installed in Haiti or whether this can be averted. Defense Minister Fernandez Huidobro defends the position of keeping the troops. Like Mujica, he is a former guerrilla of the Tupamaros movement. But in the early 1970s, after he was captured and imprisoned and while the Tupamaros were still operating under the command of its legendary founder Raul Sendic, Huidobro began negotiations with the military. He said he wanted the military government to adopt a “nationalist agenda” and accord better treatment of prisoners. In exchange, he would advocate that the guerillas give up their arms. No accord materialized, and Huidobro’s efforts served to camouflage the ongoing military dictatorship. Today, Huidobro is a strong supporter of maintaining the status quo with the military, including leaving its privileges untouched and not to lift the impunity it was granted for the crimes of the military dictatorships of the 1970s and 80s. There are only a half dozen military officials who were convicted for past crimes, and they are residing in a luxurious “VIP prison” built with funds remaining from overseas “missions.”Huidobro (and also Mujica) wants them freed in deference to their advanced age.

There are at least 400 military personnel implicated in past torture and murders who remain unpunished. Unlike the luxurious conditions of genocidal military officers, overcrowding of common prisoners in Uruguay’s prisons is a serious problem that has been reported by the UN’s special rapporteur against torture.

Huidobro has just been through a bruising controversy with human rights organizations who accuse him of obstruction of justice by not providing information files. A recent report of the International Commission of Jurists (an office of the UN) says the same.

Huidobro’s argument in favor of MINUSTAH is that it is preferable to have an “anti-imperialist intervention” instead of a “Yankee invasion.” When the 2010 earthquake happened, 10,000 additional US soldiers, including 2,000 marines, entered Haiti unilaterally. Within days of the 2010 earthquake, 20,000 US troops were amassed in Haiti. The “anti-imperialist” MINUSTAH did nothing to stop that, of course. MINUSTAH’s own forces swelled from 9,000 to 12,000.

The Uruguayan army has a keen interest in keeping the money earned from foreign missions flowing. The challenge facing the government in a withdrawal from Haiti is to first get a pledge from the UN for “new work for the guys.”

Uruguay has just received the support of the countries of Latin America for one of the 10, nonpermanent, rotating seats on the Security Council. Foreign Minister Almgro is a strong candidate for a posting as General Secretary of the Organization of American States. What policies will Uruguay pursue though in these institutions? Will the country vote for an end to the occupation of Haiti and for the UN to take responsibility for the damage of cholera that it brought to the country? Or will it be there “just to serve coffee” while others make the decisions?

The business of praetorian guards requires customers to be successful. That means serving dictatorships, of course. Democratic and popular regimes, on the other hand, do not require such a service. It’s not only in Haiti that “peacekeeping” serves the worst national and social interests. It’s also in Uruguay.

As Frederick Engels once wrote, “A people which oppresses another cannot emancipate itself.”

This article was first published by Truthout on Feb. 11, 2015.

Fernando Moyano is a Marxist political activist in Uruguay and a longtime writer and editor in left-wing media in Latin America media, including the journal of Marxist theory Alfaguara. He began his political activity in the late 1960s in the Proletarian Socialist Unification Movement, a detachment of the Socialist Party. He joined other political organizations, including the Popular Participation Movement, led today by outgoing Uruguayan President José Mujica. He was a founder of the Coordination of Social Organisations for Withdrawal of Troops in Haiti and a member of the Uruguay Free of Strip Mining movement.

Notes

1. MINUSTAH is the French acronym for “United Nations International Mission for Stability in Haiti.”

2. The “buffer society” is a term coined by Carlos Real Azúa (1916-1977), a lawyer, professor of literature and aesthetics, literary critic, historian and essayist. He is considered the foremost pioneer of political science in Uruguay. His term is a metaphor for Uruguay and its people in which social and political changes do not explode; they are contained by social commitments and nonviolent forms of domination.

3. The “hand in a cast” (mano de yeso) is a metaphor used in Uruguay to refer to a party imposing a rigid discipline on its parliamentary deputies in voting on matters deemed vital to the interests of the party hierarchy.

4. When MINUSTAH was created in June 2004 and Uruguay joined in, the Frente Amplio was in opposition and voted against it. One of those MPs who was emphatic in rejecting the mission was current defense minister, Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro. A year later, the FA was in government, and it voted to continue Uruguay’s participation. A veteran socialist deputy and leading figure on the political left in Uruguay, Guillermo Chifflet, refused to vote in favor and gave up his seat. In the following years, no one challenged the party discipline. But in 2012, another deputy, Esteban Pérez, like Mujica a former guerrilla and political prisoner of the military dictatorship, refused to vote in favor during the annual vote to extend participation, and he was forced to leave the FA. Last December, a third rebel deputy, Luis Puig, came out in opposition. He is a leader of a small political organization affiliated to the FA with deep roots in the labor movement.

Related stories: Haiti’s promised rebuilding unrealized as Haitians challenge authoritarian rule, by Roger Annis and Travis Ross, Truthout, Jan. 12, 2015.
Uruguay takes on London bankers, Marlboro mad men and the TPP, by Michael Meurer, Truthout, Dec. 12, 2014.

Firstly even though we have heard the word bandied about for 60 years what does National Security substantively mean and what would actually be a threat to it? The accepted definitions of National Security all encompass three main points. The protection of a nation’s basic Sovereignty, very simply to ensure that the recognized government of the country retains full authority throughout their territory. The defense of a nation’s territory, international trade and foreign policy, ensuring it can maintain open trade while defending itself from espionage or undue influence of foreign entities or governments. Keeping its People and the infrastructure that sustains them and serves their interests safe and secure.

So if the RCMP is looking diligently for threats to national security then it should be looking in foreign boardrooms not Canadian coffee houses. Because even surface analysis by any reasonable professional shows that the real threat to our sovereignty, our defense and most importantly our people emanate from the boardrooms of the multinational resource companies that do business here. Let’s do the comparative threat assessment point by point.

Sovereignty, in the sense of democracy, is the ability of a people through their government to conduct their own affairs within their defined geographical territory.

An obviously violent 84 year old B. Grant arrested by our vigilant security forces Burnaby Mountain 2014

Activists have certainly broken civil and sometimes minor criminal law and will likely continue to do so. The nature of these offenses from all the available data are property crimes, contempt of civil legal injunctions, and failing to follow the orders of police. The vast majority of the offenses are against private companies that are almost always multinational. This would meet some of the conditions for interfering with a government’s sovereign power within its territory. It is not however the goal of activists to fundamentally wrest power from the government control of its resources. As a point of fact all of the major organizations call for the government to take more power over its resources in the form of legislation and, in the case of some smaller groups, nationalization of resource extraction. While some case could be made that they temporarily interfere with the sovereign right of the people through their government to benefit from the extraction of its resources, two factors would mitigate this. Firstly the interruptions, when they do occur, are of very short duration and, when compared to the resource industry in Canada’s daily operations, meaningless in size.  In 99% of cases they are non destructive to infrastructure. Secondly the amount of economic loss to the state is lessened by the fact that these companies pay very little in taxes or extraction fees so the amount of economic disruption to the population is minimal.

Resource companies tend not to openly defy government power but rather through influence simply gut it. They do this using the vast sums of capital at their disposal. Resource companies occupy most of the top positions in size and economic clout, some of them having bottom line far larger than 3/4 of the nation states in the world. This is not an internet conspiracy theory. It has been noted by enough academics in the last 40 years to fill a library. The RCMP routinely investigates corruption on a personal level but not on a national one in terms of resource companies. In other countries there are documented examples of resource companies literally overthrowing sovereign governments quite openly. Resource companies also regularly deny the use of Canada’s sovereign territory when they leave it in a condition unusable for anything else. Perhaps no better example of the influence Resource companies have on the sovereignty is the fact that due to the influence they now have in our economy the Minister of Finance of the government of Canada is unwilling to drop his budget due to fluctuations in the price of one resource. Viewing this in any other sense than a fundamental attack on sovereignty would be ludicrous.

Defense of the nation’s territory, trade and foreign policy

Activists in this area are mainly attacking on the fronts of foreign policy and trade. They want generally to decrease the trade in resources across borders and to insure that foreign policy does not give undue attention to control and trade in resources. Exclusively the tactics employed are large demonstrations against government policy in this area and legal action brought by groups to try and limit or change government activity. We will not assess the tactics of legal action for what one hopes are obvious reasons. In the area of protest there have been few examples of violent anti-resource protests in Canada and when this was not the case property damage was minor and far less serious than damage usually caused by Vancouver losing a hockey game. There has to this point been no documented espionage, actual acts of sabotage and at this time the possibilities of a ground invasion by Greenpeace or the Sierra club seem minimal.

Resource companies by their very nature are indeed looking to take physical control of a nation’s territory and resources for their own use. They do this by literally staking claim to huge swaths of territory and in the case of Alberta 70% of the water rights.

Denial of Territory, the oil sands

In the area of foreign policy and trade these companies are legally mandated to do everything in their power to maximize profits. Restrictions on trade and tariffs are interference and are actively removed leaving the nation in a position where it no longer controls the resources that would be needed in the event of conflict with another state. Their influence on our foreign policy are almost always to the detriment of Canada’s traditional foreign policy. Where once we led on trying to implement global policies to deal with pollution and climate change under their direct influence we have abandoned these positions and now indeed actively fight any international efforts in this area. Where once we had trade policies designed to protect Canadian companies and workers the resource companies have led the charge in gutting these legislation. One only need look to the decimated remnants of manufacturing in Canada to see the results on our security.

Activists in Canada have no history of threatening human life in an organized way. There is no record of them committing actions like bombings of natural gas pipelines.  There have been clashes between demonstrators and police over anti-resource extraction actions but I can find no credible reports of police or extraction workers being injured. Activists actions are generally designed to deny the use of equipment or territory. I will use the example of the Mk’mac residents of Elsipogtog near Rexton, New Brunswick. They successfully disrupted the activities of SouthWest Energy, an American company conducting fracking activities on their territory. They did this by blocking the workers from moving their heavy equipment out of a yard. They at all times allowed the workers to go freely and even shared food with them. Despite this the RCMP evicted them in a ridiculously dangerous paramilitary operation. (The new face of the RCMP, image right)

Resource companies pose multiple and widely demonstrated threats to Canadian citizens. The health risks posed to the Canadian population by resource extraction are too numerous to mention but very well documented.  If the life expectancy and health of huge segments of your population don’t qualify as a threat to ‘National Security” then the term is meaningless. A recent glaring example is the fate of Lac Magantic in Quebec. Virtually the entire center of the town and 47 Canadian citizens were wiped off the map . There was another “oil train” derailment on Friday near Timmins that is still burning as I write this.  The pipelines resource companies are pushing across the country will endanger huge segments of the population. Witness the suburbs full of crude oil in the U.S. Even more alarmingly they have, in collusion with the RCMP, committed the very acts they say they need to defend against. The RCMP has admitted carrying out bombings in Alberta B.C. under the influence of resource company Encana. 

So by all rubrics for defending Canada’s National Security the RCMP needs, one supposes, first to stop committing terrorist acts themselves, then stop their tradition of putting Big Business in front of their lovely sounding Moto and “Uphold the Right” for the Canadian population. Instead they have been working for years to change terminology and definitions to laughingly try to present activists that chain themselves to equipment as a fundamental threat to the Canadian state.  They have been meeting openly and often in recent years directly with resource company security executives to plan strategies to wipe out a movement of peaceful Canadian citizens. Perhaps like in many industrialized western nations we the people should be regarding the security services like the RCMP as the real threat to our National Security.

Gill McGowan head of the Alberta Federation of Labor speaks frankly about the real politics of resource extraction in Canada

A film By Clifton Nicholas on the brutal end to a peaceful occupation by MK’Mac in New Brunswick

Article Cover image ; Warrior Publications. much thx

About William Ray: I am a ten year veteran of the Canadian Forces. I was with the 2nd Battalion PPCLI in Croatia in 1993 when they were awarded the Governor General’s commendation for bravery. I started with community radio and writing articles. In 2009 I began working with CUTV Montreal. During the student strikes and subsequent social unrest I helped manage the Livestream ground teams. I am also a co-founder of 99media.org and The founder of 3RTV, both citizen media groups. I also collaborated with Michelle Moore on the documentary film Déception Durable which was selected for the 2014 Montréal International Film Festival, and Films That Matter in Calgary on resource extraction in Quebec. I am a member of the Canadian Journalists Association.

Ukraine Finance Minister’s American ‘Values’

February 19th, 2015 by Robert Parry

Image: Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko.

Ukraine’s new Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, who has become the face of reform for the U.S.-backed regime in Kiev and will be a key figure handling billions of dollars in Western financial aid, was at the center of insider deals and other questionable activities when she ran a $150 million U.S.-taxpayer-financed investment fund.

Prior to taking Ukrainian citizenship and becoming Finance Minister last December, Jaresko was a former U.S. diplomat who served as chief executive officer of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), which was created by Congress in the 1990s and overseen by the U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. AID) to help jumpstart an investment economy in Ukraine.

But Jaresko, who was limited to making $150,000 a year at WNISEF under the U.S. AID grant agreement, managed to earn more than that amount, reporting in 2004 that she was paid $383,259 along with $67,415 in expenses, according to WNISEF’s public filing with the Internal Revenue Service.

Later, Jaresko’s compensation was removed from public disclosure altogether after she co-founded two entities in 2006: Horizon Capital Associates (HCA) to manage WNISEF’s investments (and collect around $1 million a year in fees) and Emerging Europe Growth Fund (EEGF) to collaborate with WNISEF on investment deals.

Jaresko formed HCA and EEGF with two other WNISEF officers, Mark Iwashko and Lenna Koszarny. They also started a third firm, Horizon Capital Advisors, which “serves as a sub-advisor to the Investment Manager, HCA,” according to WNISEF’s IRS filing for 2006.

U.S. AID apparently found nothing suspicious about these tangled business relationships – and even allowed WNISEF to spend millions of dollars helping EEGF become a follow-on private investment firm – despite the potential conflicts of interest involving Jaresko, the other WNISEF officers and their affiliated companies.

For instance, WNISEF’s 2012 annual report devoted two pages to “related party transactions,” including the management fees to Jaresko’s Horizon Capital ($1,037,603 in 2011 and $1,023,689 in 2012) and WNISEF’s co-investments in projects with the EEGF, where Jaresko was founding partner and chief executive officer. Jaresko’s Horizon Capital managed the investments of both WNISEF and EEGF.

From 2007 to 2011, WNISEF co-invested $4.25 million with EEGF in Kerameya LLC, a Ukrainian brick manufacturer, and WNISEF sold EEGF 15.63 percent of Moldova’s Fincombank for $5 million, the report said. It also listed extensive exchanges of personnel and equipment between WNISEF and Horizon Capital. But it’s difficult for an outsider to ascertain the relative merits of these insider deals and the transactions apparently raised no red flags for U.S. AID officials.

Bonuses for Officers

Regarding compensation, WNISEF’s 2013 filing with the IRS noted that the fund’s officers collected millions of dollars in bonuses for closing out some investments at a profit even as the overall fund was losing money. According to the filing, WNISEF’s $150 million nest egg had shrunk by more than one-third to $94.5 million and likely has declined much more during the economic chaos that followed the U.S.-back coup in February 2014.

But prior to the coup and the resulting civil war, Jaresko’s WNISEF was generously spreading money around. For instance, the 2013 IRS filing reported that the taxpayer-financed fund paid out as “expenses” $7.7 million under a bonus program, including $4.6 million to “current officers,” without identifying who received the money.

The filing made the point that the “long-term equity incentive plan” was “not compensation from Government Grant funds but a separately USAID-approved incentive plan funded from investment sales proceeds” – although those proceeds presumably would have gone into the depleted WNISEF pool if they had not been paid out as bonuses.

The filing also said the bonuses were paid regardless of whether the overall fund was making money, noting that this “compensation was not contingent on revenues or net earnings, but rather on a profitable exit of a portfolio company that exceeds the baseline value set by the board of directors and approved by USAID” – with Jaresko also serving as a director on the board responsible for setting those baseline values.

Another WNISEF director was Jeffrey C. Neal, former chairman of Merrill Lynch’s global investment banking and a co-founder of Horizon Capital, further suggesting how potentially incestuous these relationships may have become.

Though compensation for Jaresko and other officers was shifted outside public view after 2006 – as their pay was moved to the affiliated entities – the 2006 IRS filing says:

“It should be noted that as long as HCA earns a management fee from WNISEF, HCA and HCAD [the two Horizon Capital entities] must ensure that a salary cap of $150,000 is adhered to for the proportion of salary attributable to WNISEF funds managed relative to aggregate funds under management.”

But that language would seem to permit compensation well above $150,000 if it could be tied to other managed funds, including EEGF, or come from the incentive program. Such compensation for Jaresko and the other top officers was not reported on later IRS forms despite a line for earnings from “related organizations.” Apparently, Horizon Capital and EEGF were regarded as “unrelated organizations” for the purposes of reporting compensation.

Neither AID officials nor Jaresko responded to specific questions about WNISEF’s possible conflicts of interest, how much money Jaresko made from her involvement with WNISEF and its connected companies, and whether she had fully complied with IRS reporting requirements.

Shared Values?

Despite such ethical questions, Jaresko was cited by New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman as an exemplar of the new Ukrainian leaders who “share our values” and deserve unqualified American support. Friedman uncritically quoted Jaresko’s speech to international financial leaders at Davos, Switzerland, in which she castigated Russian President Vladimir Putin:

“Putin fears a Ukraine that demands to live and wants to live and insists on living on European values — with a robust civil society and freedom of speech and religion [and] with a system of values the Ukrainian people have chosen and laid down their lives for.”

However, Jaresko has shown little regard for transparency or other democratic values, such as the right of free speech when it comes to someone questioning her financial dealings. For instance, she has gone to great lengths to block her ex-husband Ihor Figlus from exposing what he regards as her questionable business ethics.

In 2012, when Figlus tried to blow the whistle on what he saw as improper loans that Jaresko had taken from Horizon Capital Associates to buy and expand her stake in EEGF, the privately held follow-on fund to WNISEF, Jaresko sent her lawyers to court to silence him and, according to his lawyer, bankrupt him.

The filings in Delaware’s Chancery Court are remarkable not only because Jaresko succeeded in getting the Court to gag her ex-husband through enforcement of a non-disclosure agreement but the Court agreed to redact nearly all the business details, even the confidentiality language at the center of the case.

Since Figlus had given some of his information to a Ukrainian journalist, the court complaint also had the look of a leak investigation, tracking down Figlus’s contacts with the journalist and then using that evidence to secure the restraining order, which Figlus said not only prevented him from discussing business secrets but even talking about his more general concerns about Jaresko’s insider dealings.

The heavy redactions make it hard to fully understand Figlus’s concerns or to assess the size of Jaresko’s borrowing as she expanded her holdings in EEGF, but Figlus did assert that he saw his role as whistle-blowing about improper actions by Jaresko.

In a Oct. 31, 2012, filing, Figlus’s attorney wrote that

“At all relevant times, Defendant [Figlus] acted in good faith and with justification, on matters of public interest, and particularly the inequitable conduct set forth herein where such inequitable conduct adversely affects … at least one other limited partner which is REDACTED, and specifically the inequitable conduct included, in addition to the other conduct cited herein, REDACTED.”

The filing added: “The Plaintiffs’ [Jaresko’s and her EEGF partners’] claims are barred, in whole or in part, by public policy, and particularly that a court in equity should not enjoin ‘whistle-blowing’ activities on matters of public interest, and particularly the inequitable conduct set forth herein.” But the details of that conduct were all redacted.

Free Speech

In a defense brief dated Dec. 17, 2012 [see Part One and Part Two], Figlus expanded on his argument that Jaresko’s attempts to have the court gag him amounted to a violation of his constitutional right of free speech:

“The obvious problem with the scope of their Motion is that Plaintiffs are asking the Court to enter an Order that prohibits Defendant Figlus from exercising his freedom of speech without even attempting to provide the Court with any Constitutional support or underpinning for such impairment of Figlus’ rights.

“Plaintiffs cannot do so, because such silencing of speech is Constitutionally impermissible, and would constitute a denial of basic principles of the Bill of Rights in both the United States and Delaware Constitutions. There can be no question that Plaintiffs are seeking a temporary injunction, which constitutes a prior restraint on speech. …

“The Court cannot, consistent with the Federal and State Constitutional guarantees of free speech, enjoin speech except in the most exceptional circumstances, and certainly not when Plaintiffs are seeking to prevent speech that is not even covered by the very contractual provision upon which they are relying.

“Moreover, the Court cannot prevent speech where the matter has at least some public interest REDACTED, except as limited to the very specific and exact language of the speaker’s contractual obligation.”

Figlus also provided a narrative of events as he saw them as a limited partner in EEGF, saying he initially “believed everything she [Jaresko] was doing, you know, was proper.” Later, however, Figlus

“learned that Jaresko began borrowing money from HCA REDACTED, but again relied on his spouse, and did not pay attention to the actual financial transactions…

“In early 2010, after Jaresko separated from Figlus, she presented Figlus with, and requested that he execute, a ‘Security Agreement,’ pledging the couple’s partnership interest to the repayment of the loans from HCA. This was Figlus first realization of the amount of loans that Jaresko had taken, and that the partnership interest was being funded through this means. …By late 2011, Jaresko had borrowed approximately REDACTED from HCA to both fund the partnership interest REDACTED. The loans were collateralized only by the EEFG partnership interest. …

“Figlus became increasingly concerned about the partnership and the loans that had been and continued to be given to the insiders to pay for their partnership interests, while excluding other limited partners. Although Figlus was not sophisticated in these matters, he considered that it was inappropriate that HCA was giving loans to insiders to fund their partnership interests, but to no other partners. …

“He talked to an individual at U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington D.C., because the agency was effectively involved as a limited partner because of the agency’s funding and supervision over WNISEF, but the agency employee did not appear interested in pursuing the question.”

A Spousal Dispute

Meanwhile, Jaresko’s lawyers mocked Figlus’s claims that he was acting as a whistle-blower, claiming that he was actually motivated by a desire “to harm his ex-wife” and had violated the terms of his non-disclosure agreement, which the lawyers convinced the court to exclude from the public record.

The plaintiffs’ brief [see Part One and Part Two] traces Figlus’s contacts with the Ukrainian reporter whose name is also redacted:

“Figlus, having previously received an audit from the General Partner, provided it to REDACTED [the Ukrainian reporter] with full knowledge that the audit was non-public. Also on or about October 2, 2012, REDACTED [the reporter] contacted multiple Limited Partners, informed them that he possessed ‘documented proof’ of alleged impropriety by the General Partner and requested interviews concerning that alleged impropriety.”

The filing noted that on Oct. 3, 2012, the reporter told Figlus that Jaresko “called two REDACTED [his newspaper’s] editors last night crying, not me, for some reason.” (The Ukrainian story was never published.)

After the competing filings, Jaresko’s lawyers successfully secured a restraining order against Figlus from the Delaware Chancery Court and are continuing to pursue the case against him though his lawyer has asserted that his client will make no further effort to expose these financial dealings and is essentially broke.

On May 14, 2014, Figlus filed a complaint with the court claiming that he was being denied distributions from his joint interest in EEGF and saying he was told that it was because the holding was pledged as security against the loans taken out by Jaresko.

But, on the same day, Jaresko’s lawyer, Richard P. Rollo, contradicted that assertion, saying information about Figlus’s distributions was being withheld because EEGF and Horizon Capital “faced significant business interruptions and difficulties given the political crisis in Ukraine.”

The filing suggested that the interlocking investments between EEGF and the U.S.-taxpayer-funded WNISEF were experiencing further trouble from the political instability and civil war sweeping across Ukraine. By last December, Jaresko had resigned from her WNISEF-related positions, taken Ukrainian citizenship and started her new job as Ukraine’s Finance Minister.

In an article about Jaresko’s appointment, John Helmer, a longtime foreign correspondent in Russia, disclosed the outlines of the court dispute with Figlus and identified the Ukrainian reporter as Mark Rachkevych of the Kyiv Post.

“It hasn’t been rare for American spouses to go into the asset management business in the former Soviet Union, and make profits underwritten by the US Government with information supplied from their US Government positions or contacts,” Helmer wrote. “It is exceptional for them to fall out over the loot.”

Earlier this month, when I contacted George Pazuniak, Figlus’s lawyer, about Jaresko’s aggressive enforcement of the non-disclosure agreement, he told me that “at this point, it’s very difficult for me to say very much without having a detrimental effect on my client.” Pazuniak did say, however, that all the redactions were demanded by Jaresko’s lawyers.

Unresponsive Response

I also sent detailed questions to U.S. AID and to Jaresko via several of her associates. Those questions included how much of the $150 million in U.S. taxpayers’ money remained, why Jaresko reported no compensation from “related organizations,” whether she received any of the $4.6 million to WNISEF’s officers in bonuses in 2013, how much money she made in total from her association with WNISEF, what AID officials did in response Figlus’s complaint about possible wrongdoing, and whether Jaresko’s legal campaign to silence her ex-husband was appropriate given her current position and Ukraine’s history of secretive financial dealings.

U.S. AID press officer Annette Y. Aulton got back to me with a response that was unresponsive to my specific questions. Rather than answering about the performance of WNISEF and Jaresko’s compensation, the response commented on the relative success of 10 “Enterprise Funds” that AID has sponsored in Eastern Europe and added:

“There is a twenty year history of oversight of WNISEF operations. Enterprise funds must undergo an annual independent financial audit, submit annual reports to USAID and the IRS, and USAID staff conduct field visits and semi-annual reviews. At the time Horizon Capital assumed management of WNISEF, USAID received disclosures from Natalie Jaresko regarding the change in management structure and at the time USAID found no impropriety during its review.”

One Jaresko associate, Tanya Bega, Horizon Capital’s investor relations manager, said she forwarded my questions to Jaresko last week, but Jaresko did not respond.

Jaanika Merilo, an Estonian brought into the Ukrainian government to oversee foreign investments. (A photo released by Merilo onto the Internet via Dances with Bears)

Further showing how much Jaresko’s network is penetrating the new Ukrainian government, another associate, Estonian Jaanika Merilo, has been brought on to handle Ukraine’s foreign investments. Merilo’s Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA), which is committed to “representing interests of private equity investors to policymakers and improving the investment and business climate in Ukraine,” included Jaresko’s Horizon Capital as a founder.

In a way, given Jaresko’s background of parlaying U.S. taxpayer’s money into various insider investment deals, perhaps she does have the experience to handle the incoming $17.5 billion in aid from the International Monetary Fund.

But the question remains whether Jaresko’s is the right kind of experience – and whether the money will go to help the impoverished people of Ukraine or simply wind up lining the pockets of the well-heeled and the well-connected.

–With research by Chelsea Gilmour

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

When pro-vaccine scientists and skeptics claim that they believe what they believe because of “science,” it’s important to remember that much of what is assumed to be science today is actually pseudoscience for the promulgation of special interests. Concerning vaccines, it continues to come to light that many of the studies and research projects upon which regulators bought into the vaccine agenda were manipulated, faked or otherwise tampered with to push an agenda.

This is especially true about the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, which currently dominates news headlines amidst widespread fears over measles. Government spokespersons, media correspondents, celebrities and others are urging everyone, young and old alike, to march down to their local pharmacy and get an MMR vaccine, which they insist will provide protection against the threat of infection.

But is this actually true? Both the safety and efficacy of the MMR vaccine have been called into question on numerous occasions, including late last summer when U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) whistleblower Dr. William Thompson came forward with information about how the MMR had been shown to cause autism in children, and particularly African American children. The government tried to conceal this data from the public, but Thompson bravely brought it to light in a move that could cost him his career.

More recently, it was brought to our attention that a lawsuit had been filed against Merck & Co., the maker of the MMR II vaccine currently administered to U.S. children as part of the CDC’s official vaccination schedule. Filed under the False Claims Act, the shocking suit by two former Merck scientists alleges that Merck manipulated early trial data on the MMR to make it appear safe and at least 95 percent effective, allowing it to receive a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) endorsement.

Time and time again, vaccine manufacturers have been caught massaging the numbers, altering study criteria and even tampering with study subject matter, including blood samples and test subjects, in order to achieve a desired outcome. It doesn’t matter if a vaccine actually works or is safe — as long as the data can be adjusted or changed to create the illusion, the government and the public seem to have no problem accepting the official narrative.

“It cannot be denied that today’s mandatory childhood vaccine programs are little more than blind experiments with the possibility of unthinkable and irreversible consequences for our children’s physical, mental, and emotional health in the future,” wrote Dr. Harold E. Buttram, M.D., and Catherine J FrompovichCatherine J FrompovichCatherine J. Frompovich about the issue. “The time is long overdue for a complete reevaluation of the current vaccine formulations and programs.”

Vaccines directly spread the diseases they are claimed to prevent, science shows

The MMR vaccine has long been a source of controversy ever since gastroenterologist Dr. Andrew Wakefield reported on an unusual bowel condition that he and his colleagues observed in direct conjunction with the jab. The study, which was originally published in The Lancet, sparked a global debate in which the vaccine establishment has ever since had to aggressively brainwash the public just to stay in business.

But there’s simply no denying that the MMR isn’t nearly as safe as Merck and the government claim it is. This is evidenced not only by previously concealed information about its dangers brought to light by Dr. Thompson and the two former Merck scientists but also by Merck’s own admissions in the MMR II package insert that the vaccine can cause serious, life-threatening conditions like:

• Vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels)
• Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
• Diabetes
• Thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count)
• Chronic arthritis
• Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
• Panniculitis (inflammation of the subcutaneous fat layer)

Several of these conditions are directly brought about by the live viruses contained in the MMR, including encephalitis, which is also a marker of autism. Even the mainstream media is now acknowledging measles encephalitis as a risk factor, though sources are associating this condition with wild measles as opposed to atypical vaccine-induced measles.

Then there’s the issue of permanent, lifelong immunity, something that can’t be achieved with any vaccine. In fact, vaccines eliminate all possibility of a person developing lifelong immunity to infectious diseases like measles because they circumvent innate immunity, the body’s first line of defense against disease, exposing the adaptive immune system to viral components that it would never otherwise encounter.

This causes permanent damage to the immune system and helps explain why many people today are stricken with autoimmune disorders that prior to vaccines were virtually nonexistent. What the media isn’t telling you is that natural exposure to measles, for instance, is generally mild and imparts permanent immunity — it is nature’s vaccine, without all the chemicals and heavy metals.

“Whereas natural recovery from many infectious diseases usually stimulates lifetime immunity, vaccines only provide temporary protection and most vaccines require ‘booster’ doses to extend vaccine-induced artificial immunity,” said National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) President Barbara Loe Fisher.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.naturalnews.com[PDF]

http://naturalnews.com[PDF]

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.fda.gov[PDF]

http://www.npr.org

http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org

http://healthimpactnews.com

http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org

Ironman Varoufakis’s Revolutionary Plan for Europe

February 19th, 2015 by Mike Whitney

“The ongoing dispute between the German and Greek governments is nothing less than a democratic revolution against German hegemony and the attempt of the Germans and their paladins in the EU to dictate Greek domestic policy.”

–Mathew D. Rose, It’s a revolution, Stupid! Naked Capitalism

“Germany is eating itself over Greece. It is eroding its moral authority, and seems prepared to destroy the eurozone’s integrity just to make a point.”

–Paul Mason, Germany v Greece is a fight to the death, a cultural and economic clash of wills, Guardian

If you haven’t been following developments in the Greek-EU standoff, you’re really missing out. This might be the best story of the year. And what makes it so riveting, is that no one thought that little Greece could face off with the powerful leaders of the EU and make them blink. But that’s exactly what’s happened. On Monday, members of the Eurogroup met with Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, to decide whether they would accept Greece’s terms for an extension of the current loan agreement. There were no real changes to the agreement. The only difference was semantics, that is, the loan would not be seen as a bailout but as “a transitional stage to a new contract for growth for Greece”. In other words, a bridge to a different program altogether.

In retrospect, Varoufakis’s strategy was pure genius, mainly because it knocked the EU finance ministers off balance and threw the process into turmoil. After all, how could they vote “thumbs down” on loan package that they had previously approved just because the language was slightly different? But if they voted “thumbs up”, then what?

Well, then they would be acknowledging (and, tacitly, approving) Greece’s determination to make the program less punitive in the future. That means they’d be paving the way for an end to austerity and a rethink on loan repayment. They’d also be conceding that Greece’s democratically-elected government had the right to alter the policies of the Eurogroup. How could they let that happen?

But, then again, how could they vote it down, after all, it was basically the same deal. As Varoufakis pointed out in a press conference on Monday:

“We agree to the terms of our loan agreements to all our creditors”. And we have “agreed to do nothing to derail the existing budget framework during the interim period.”

See? It’s the same deal.

This is the conundrum the Eurogroup faced on Monday, but instead of dealing with it head-on, as you would expect any mature person to do, they punted. They put off the loan extension decision for another day and called it quits. Now maybe that was the smart thing to do, but the optics sure looked terrible. It looked like Varoufakis stared them down and sent them fleeing like scared schoolchildren.

Now, remember, Monday was the absolute, drop-dead deadline for deciding whether the Eurogroup would approve or reject the new terms for Greece’s loan extension. That means the Eurogroup’s task could not have been more straightforward. All they had to do was vote yes or no. That’s it.

Instead, they called ‘Time Out’ and kicked the can a little further down the road. It was not a particularly proud moment for the European Union. But what’s even worse, is the subterfuge that preceded the meetings; that’s what cast doubt on the character of the people running EU negotiations. Here’s the scoop: About 15 minutes before the confab began, Varoufakis was given a draft communique outlining the provisions of the proposed loan extension. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the document met all his requirements and, so, he was prepared to sign it. Unfortunately, the document was switched shortly before the negotiations began with one that backtracked on all the crucial points.

I’m not making this up. The freaking Eurogroup tried to pull the old switcheroo on Varoufakis to get him to sign something that was different than the original. Can you believe it? And it’s only because Varoufakis studiously combed through the new memo that he was able to notice the discrepancy and jam on the brakes. As it happens, the final copy was just a rehash of the same agreement that Varoufakis has rejected from the onset. The only difference was the underhanded way the Eurogroup tried to slip it by him.

Now you tell me: Would you consider people who do something like that “trustworthy”?

Of course not. This is how people behave when they don’t care about integrity or credibility, when all that matters is winning. If the Eurogroup can trick the Greeks into signing something that’s different than what they think they’re signing; then tough luck for the Greeks. “Caveat emptor”. Buyer beware. The Eurogroup has no problem with that kind of shabby double-dealing. That’s just how they play the game.

But their trickery and bullying hasn’t worked, mainly because Varoufakis is too smart for them. And he’s too charismatic and talented too, which is a problem for the EU bigwigs who resent the fact that this upstart Marxist academic has captured the imaginations of people around the world upsetting their little plan to perpetuate Greece’s 6-year long Depression. They never anticipated that public opinion would shift so dramatically against them, nor had they imagined that all of Europe would be focused laserlike on the shady and autocratic workings of the feckless Eurogroup. That’s not what they wanted. What they wanted was carte blanche to impose their medieval policies on the profligate Greeks, just like the good old days after Lehman Brothers tanked. After all, that’s how a “anti-democratic imperialist project” like the EU is supposed to work, right?

Right, except now Varoufakis and his Marxist troopers have thrown a wrench in the Eurogroup’s plans and put the future in doubt. The tide has turned sharply towards reason, solidarity and compassion instead of repression, exploitation and cruelty. In just a few weeks, the entire playing field has changed, and Greece appears to be getting the upper hand. Who would have known?

If you look at the way that Varoufakis has handled the Eurogroup, you have to admire the subtlety, but effectiveness of his strategy. In any battle, one must draw attention to the righteousness of their cause while exposing the flaws in the character of their adversary. The incident on Monday certainly achieved both. While David never really slayed Goliath, Goliath is certainly in retreat. And that’s alot better than anyone expected.

As for the “cause”, well, that speaks for itself. The Greek bailout was never reasonable because the plan wasn’t designed to create a path for Greece to grow its way out of debt and deflation. No. It was basically a public relations smokescreen used to conceal what was really going on behind the scenes, which was a massive giveaway to the banks and bondholders. Everyone knows this. Check this out from Naked Capitalism:

“According to the Jubilee Debt Campaign, 92% of €240 billion Greece has received since the May 2010 bailout went to Greek and European financial institutions.” (Naked Capitalism)

Yep, it was all just one big welfare payment to the moocher class. Meanwhile, the Greeks got zilch. And, yet, the Eurogroup wants them to continue with this same program?

No thanks.

As far as Greece’s finances are concerned, they’ve gotten progressively worse every year the bailout has dragged on. For example, Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio has gone from 115 percent in 2010 more than 170 percent today. The country is headed in the wrong direction, which is what makes Varoufakis’s remedies so compelling. It’s because everyone knows that ‘if you are already in a hole, stop digging’. That’s the logic behind Varoufakis’s position; he simply wants to “stop digging.” But that can’t be done by borrowing more money to repay debts that only get bigger with each new bailout. And it can’t be done by implementing excruciating belt-tightening measures that increase unemployment and shrink the economy. It can only be done by reducing one’s debts and initiating programs that help to grow the economy back to health. This isn’t rocket science, but it is anathema to the retrograde ideology of the European Union which is one part bonehead economics and one part German sanctimony. Put the two together and you come up with a pre-Keynesian dystopia where one of the wealthiest regions in the world inches ever-closer to anarchy and ruin for the sole purpose of proving that contractionary expansion actually works. Well, guess what? It doesn’t, and we now have six years of evidence to prove it.

It’s worth noting that the Eurogroup hasn’t budged one inch from its original position. In other words, there really haven’t been any negotiations, not in any meaningful sense of the word. What there has been is one group of pompous blowhards reiterating the same discredited mantra over and over again, even though austerity has been thoroughly denounced by every reputable economist on the planet. Of course that doesn’t matter to the ex-Goldman swindlers at the ECB or their hairshirt counterparts in Berlin. What they want is to extract every last drop of blood from their Greek victims. That’s their game. And, of course, ultimately what they want to do is annihilate the entire EU welfare state; crush the unions, eviscerate pensions, wages and health care, and privatize everything they can get their greasy hands on. That’s the real objective. Greece’s exorbitant debts are just a means to an end, just a way to decimate the middle class in one fell swoop.

Keep in mind, the EU just narrowly avoided a triple-dip recession in the third quarter, which would have been their third slump in less than six years. How do you like that track record? It just illustrates the stunning mismanagement of the Union’s economic affairs and the incompetence of the bureaucrats making the decisions. Even so, these same leaders have no qualms about telling Greece to step in line and follow their diktats to the letter.

Can you believe the arrogance?

Fortunately, Greece has broken from the herd and set out on a new course. They’ve disposed of the mealy-mouth, sellout politicians who used to run the country and put the A-Team in their place. And, boy, are they happy with the results. Syriza’s public approval ratings are through the roof while Varoufakis has become the most admired man in Europe. The question is whether this new troupe of committed leftists can deliver the goods or not. So far, there’s reason for hope, that is, if we can agree about what Varoufakis’s strategy really is.

In earlier writings, Varoufakis said that he wants a New Deal for Greece. He said:

“Unless we have a new deal for Europe, Greece is not going to get a chance….It’s a necessary condition that the eurozone finds a rational plan for itself…. until and unless the eurozone finds a rational plan for stopping this train wreck throughout the European Union, throughout the eurozone, Greece has no chance at all.” Naked Capitalism)

Okay, so Varoufakis wants to stay in the EU, but he wants a change in policy. (Reducing the debts, ending austerity, and boosting fiscal stimulus.) But he also has more ambitious plans of which no one in Brussels, Frankfurt or Berlin seems to be aware. He wants to change the prevailing culture of the Eurozone; gradually, incrementally, but persistently. He wants a Europe that is more democratic and more responsive to the needs of the member states, but he also wants a Europe that is more united via institutions and programs that will strengthen the union. He believes that success will only be achieved if concrete steps are taken “to unify the banking system”, mutualize debt (“the Federal Government having its own debt over and above states.”) …”And thirdly we need an investment policy which runs throughout the Eurozone… a recycling mechanism for the whole thing. Unless we have these things,… I’m afraid there is absolutely nothing to avert the continuation of this slow motion derailment.” (Naked Capitalism)

So, there you have it. Nationalize the banking system, create a Euro-wide bond market, and establish mechanisms for fiscal transfers to the weaker states like we do in the US via welfare, food stamps, gov contracts, subsidies etc. to create some balance between the very rich and productive states like California and New York and the poorer states like South Dakota and Oklahoma. That’s what it’s going to take to create a viable United States of Europe and escape these frustratingly recurrent crises. Varoufakis knows this, but of course he’s not pushing for this. Not yet at least.

Instead, he’s decided to take it slowly, one step at a time. Incremental change, that’s the ticket. Just keep plugging away and building support until the edifice cracks and democracy appears.

That’s Varoufakis’s plan in a nutshell: Revolution from within. Just don’t tell anyone in Berlin.

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

CIA Looking Into Weather Modification as a Form of Warfare

February 19th, 2015 by Washington's Blog

The U.S. – and Presumably Russia – Have Researched Weather Modification As Warfare For Many Decades

This week, a top American climate researcher – Professor Alan Robock from Rutgers – says that the CIA is looking into weather modification as a form of warfare.

The Independent reports:

A senior American climate scientist has spoken of the fear he experienced when US intelligence services apparently asked him about the possibility of weaponising the weather as a major report on geo-engineering is to be published this week.

Professor Alan Robock stated that three years ago, two men claiming to be from the CIA had called him to ask whether experts would be able to tell if hostile forces had begun manipulating the US’s weather, though he suspected the purpose of the call was to find out if American forces could meddle with other countries’ climates instead.

During a debate on the use of geo-engineering to combat climate change, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose, California, Prof Robock said: “I got a phone call from two men who said we work as consultants for the CIA and we’d like to know if some other country was controlling our climate, would we know about it?

”I told them, after thinking a little bit, that we probably would because if you put enough material in the atmosphere to reflect sunlight we would be able to detect it and see the equipment that was putting it up there.

“At the same time I thought they were probably also interested in if we could control somebody else’s climate, could they detect it?”

Professor Robock, who has investigated the potential risks and benefits of using stratospheric particles to simulate the climate-changing effects of volcanic eruptions, said he felt “scared” when the approach was made.

“I’d learned of lots of other things the CIA had done that haven’t followed the rules and I thought that wasn’t how I wanted my tax money spent. I think this research has to be in the open and international so there isn’t any question of it being used for hostile purposes.”

***

Professor Robock’s concerns come as a major report on geo-engineering is to be published this week by the US National Academy of Sciences. Among the report’s list of sponsors is the “US intelligence community”, which includes Nasa, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the US Department of Energy.

The professor alleges that the CIA told a colleague of his that it wanted to fund the report, but claimed that it did not want this fact to be too obvious – he added that the CIA is “a major funder” of the report which “makes me really worried about who is going to be in control”.

He claimed the US government had a proven history of using the weather in a hostile way, citing the action of seeding clouds during the Vietnam War to muddy the Ho Chi Minh foot-trail and attempt to cut it off, as it was used as a supply route but the north Vietnamese.

He claimed the CIA had also seeded clouds over Cuba “to make it rain and ruin the sugar harvest”.

Professor Robock may sound like a nutcase … but he’s actually sane, and his concerns are well-founded.

The Guardian reported in 2001:

During the Vietnam war, the Americans launched Project Popeye, a secret mission to seed the tops of monsoon clouds and trigger phenomenal downpours that would wash away the Ho Chi Minh Trail used for ferrying supplies.

For five years Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were sprayed during the monsoons, and military intelligence claimed that rainfall was increased by a third in some places. It only came to an end in March 1971 when [Washington Post] journalist Jack Anderson exposed the project and caused such a public furor that the UN general assembly approved a universal treaty banning environmental warfare.

Interestingly, U.S. weather modification efforts during the Vietnam war were revealed as part of the Pentagon Papers.

The Washington Post reported on July 2, 1972:

Indochina – by the evidence of a long-ignored passage in the Pentagon Papers – has been a test battleground, the site of purposeful rain-making along the Ho Chi Minh trails.

***

Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) is prominent among members of Congress who believe it has become a reality. “There is very little doubt in my mind,” he says. Rep. Gilbert Gude (R-Md.) states: “There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s going on in Vietnam.”

“I think there’s no doubt rain-making was used in Laos on the trail,” says a Senate committee aide well versed in defense affairs.

***

It is a “successful” pre-1967 use which is documented in the “senator Gravel” version of the Pentagon papers. In late February, 1967, this document discloses the Joint Chiefs of Staff prepared a list of “alternative strategies” for President Johnson.

One, titled “Laos Operations”, read:

“Continue at present plus Operation Pop Eye to reduce trafficability along infiltration routes … authorization required to implement phase of weather modification process previously successfully tested and evaluated in same area ….

In 1967 — according to columnist Jack Anderson, who published the first allegation of Indochina rain-making — U.S. forces started secret Project Intermediary Compatriot “to hamper enemy logistics” … (with) claimed success in creating man-made cloudbursts … and flooding conditions” along the Ho Chi Minh trails, “making them impassable.”

The Post makes clear that cloud-seeding wasn’t limited to the Vietnam war theater:

The Defense Department freely reports that it has “field capacities” for making rain. It used them in the Philippines in 1969, in a six-month “precipitation augmentation project” at the Philippines request; in India in 1967, at a similar invitation; over Okinawa and Midway Islands, and in June, July and August, 1971, over drought-stricken Texas, at the urgent request of Gov. Preston Smith.

***

Navy rain-makers are currently involved in two long-range California programs — one over the Pacific off Santa Barbara, an attempt to increase rainfall over a national forest; the other over the Central Sierras to try to increase the snow-pack for electric utilities that depend on water power.

The Post also quoted high-level scientists warning that enemies could modify weather as a direct form of warfare, for example, by flooding coastal areas where one’s enemy resided.  And – as the Post notes – even in 1972, the government was studying the affect of counter-measures to weather warfare:

ARPA Director Stephen J. Lukasik told the Senate Appropriations Committee in March: “Since it now appears highly probable that major world powers have the ability to create modifications of climate that might be seriously detrimental to the security of this country, Nile Blue [a computer simulation] was established in FY 70 to achieve a US capability to (1) evaluate all consequences of of a variety of possible actions … (2) detect trends in in the global circulation which foretell changes … and (3) determine if possible , means to counter potentially deleterious climatic changes …”

“What this means,” Lukasik explains, “is learning how much you have to tickle the atmosphere to perturb the earth’s climate. I guess we’d call it a threat assessment.”

The Boston Globe noted in 2005:

A few years ago, a team led by the late Edward Teller [the creator of the nuclear bomb] suggested creating a similar effect by launching a million tons of tiny aluminum balloons into the atmosphere.

***

The US military, unsurprisingly, was intrigued by the possibility of a godlike meteorological arsenal. According to Spencer Weart, a physicist and historian of science at the American Institute of Physics, the thinking in the Defense Department was “maybe we’ll give the Russians a real Cold War, or maybe they’ll give us one, so we should be ready.” Pentagon money funded much of the era’s climate research, helping to create the weather models we now use in forecasting. War gamers dreamed up climatological warfare scenarios like laying down a blanket of fog over an airfield or visiting drought upon an enemy’s breadbasket.

***

A 1996 Air Force report entitled “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025,” argued that “the tremendous military capabilities that could result from this field are ignored at our own peril.”

Here is a copy of the Air Force study “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025″.

The Technology Has Advanced Far Beyond Seeding Clouds With Silver Iodide

The technology has advanced a long way since the early 1970s.

For example, the Telegraph reported in 2011 that Abu Dhabi ‘creates man-made rainstorms’ by “using giant ionisers, shaped like giant lampshades, to generate fields of negatively charged particles, which create cloud formation.” “There are many applications,” Professor Hartmut Grassl, a former institute director, is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying. “One is getting water into a dry area. Maybe this is a most important point for mankind.”

The Guardian reported in 2001:

The US air force planners recently came up with new proposals to launch new weather weapons. Instead of silver-iodide, the idea is to shower fine particles of heat-absorbing carbon over clouds to trigger localised flooding and bog down troops and their equipment. Lasers on aircraft would also trigger lightning onto enemy aircraft, whilst other lasers could be fired at fog to clear a path over enemy targets on the ground.

Former secretary of defense William Cohen told a conference on terrorism on April 28, 1997:

Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.

The American Institute of Physics (the organization mentioned above in the Boston Globe article) provides an interesting overview of the history of weather modification:

From 1945 into the 1970s, much effort went into studies of weather modification. American entrepreneurs tried cloud-seeding to enhance local rainfall, Russian scientists offered fabulous schemes of planetary engineering, and military agencies secretly explored “climatological warfare.”

***

At the close of the Second World War, a few American scientists brought up a troublesome idea. If it were true, as some claimed, that humans were inadvertently changing their local weather by cutting down forests and emitting pollution, why not try to modify the weather on purpose? For generations there had been proposals for rainmaking, based on folklore like the story that cannonades from big battles brought rain.

Now top experts began to take the question seriously…. At the end of 1945 a brilliant mathematician, John von Neumann, called other leading scientists to a meeting in Princeton, where they agreed that modifying weather deliberately might be possible. They expected that could make a great difference in the next war. Soviet harvests, for example, might be ruined by creating a drought. Some scientists suspected that alongside the race with the Soviet Union for ever more terrible nuclear weapons, they were entering an equally fateful race to control the weather. As the Cold War got underway, U.S. military agencies devoted significant funds to research on what came to be called “climatological warfare.”

***

In 1953 a President’s Advisory Committee on Weather Control was established to pursue the idea. In 1958, the U.S. Congress acted directly to fund expanded rainmaking research. Large-scale experimentation was also underway, less openly, in the Soviet Union.

Military agencies in the U.S. (and presumably in the Soviet Union) supported research not only on cloud seeding but on other ways that injecting materials into the atmosphere might alter weather. Although much of this was buried in secrecy, the public learned that climatological warfare might become possible. In a 1955 Fortune magazine article, von Neumann himself explained that “Microscopic layers of colored matter spread on an icy surface, or in the atmosphere above one, could inhibit the reflection-radiation process, melt the ice, and change the local climate.” The effects could be far-reaching, even world-wide. “What power over our environment, over all nature, is implied!” he exclaimed. Von Neumann foresaw “forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined,” perhaps more dangerous than nuclear war itself. 

As such, it is vital that weather warfare not be allowed to spiral out of control.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble denounced a new Greek proposal for a six-month loan extension with the naked ultimatum, “It’s not about an extension of the loan programme, it’s about whether this program is fulfilled, yes or no.”

He was reiterating Germany’s demand that Greece honour Greece’s commitment to impose savage austerity measures to the hilt, irrespective of the dire consequences for millions of working people.

A further indication of German opposition came Wednesday evening, with the decision of the European Central Bank (ECB) to grant a further extension of only €3.3 billion to Greek banks accessing the ECB’s Emergency Liquidity Assistance fund.

At the current rate of deposit outflows from Greek banks, this sum is estimated to cover just one week of funding. Even this sop revealed divisions on the ECB board, with the Bundesbank’s Jens Weidmann opposing even a token increase.

Greece’s current loan agreement with the so-called “troika” (European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) expires at the end of this month. Without further loans, it will rapidly default on its foreign debt of €320 billion and be plunged into state bankruptcy, a massive run on the banks and a forced exit from the euro-zone.

If any agreement is reached between the Eurogroup and Greece, the essential demand being made is that it will be based on a continuation of austerity and that Syriza will enforce this agenda.

Even then, the growing scale of Greece’s foreign debt is such that it cannot be paid off. More and more commentators are concluding that Greece is edging toward default and a “Grexit.”

The Guardian warned in its editorial Wednesday that Greece’s application for an extension “would be only a temporary, if welcome, respite to the underlying problem.” The editorial continued: “It would be foolish to assume that it represents a conclusive step back from the brink.”

Yet such an appeal for a “temporary respite” of just six months, one made after a month of often bitter discussions, is considered to be impermissible. Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told Germany’s ZDF, “We should extend the credit programme by a few months to have enough stability so that we can negotiate a new agreement between Greece and Europe.” But Schäuble responded by declaring, “I don’t have any new information, but there is no loan agreement, it’s an assistance programme. And in this seemingly unimportant detail lies the key: Greece would like to receive credit, but not fulfil the conditions to allow Greece to recover economically.”

Germany, leading behind it the other European powers, is determined that an example is set in Greece to make clear that there is no alternative to the brutal attacks waged on workers in Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Italy and throughout the continent.

Schäuble has gone out of his way to crack the whip and display contempt for Syriza, exhibiting the arrogance and indifference of the bourgeoisie for the suffering of the masses, in the quest to make Greece an object lesson on the futility of challenging the power of capital. But, every government is imposing austerity on their own politically and socially restive populations, and fears that even the most minor “concession” to Athens can stimulate opposition. The Financial Times reported, for example, “No European leader has poured more scorn on the radical aspirations of the Syriza-led government in Athens than the prime minister of Portugal,” Pedro Passos Coelho, who “dismissed Syriza’s bid to rewrite the rules on debt repayment and bailout conditions as a ‘fairytale’…”

These essential realities of class relations in Europe and internationally have exposed the political bankruptcy of Syriza. In coalition with the right-wing Independent Greeks, Syriza, which speaks for sections of the bourgeoisie and privileged upper-middle class layers, has based its entire perspective on appealing for a more reasonable and manageable repayment agenda–while pledging to defend Greek capitalism and its place in the EU and Eurozone.

According to press reports, Greece’s latest request was scheduled to be submitted on Wednesday, but was held back by Athens in order to ensure that it was worded in a manner acceptable to the Eurogroup.

According to sources, it is based on the document authored by Pierre Moscovici, economic chief of the European Commission, which Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Monday he was prepared to sign.

At Monday’s meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Brussels, the Moscovici document was withdrawn and replaced with another from Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem demanding that Greece remain within the previous austerity agreement and impose further cuts.

On Wednesday, Varoufakis spoke by telephone with US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew seeking support. But Lew only called on Greece to “find a constructive path forward in partnership” with its creditors.

To back up its case, on Wednesday, the Greek government released documents outlining its negotiating positions and citing statements made by Varoufakis at the last two Eurogroup meetings.

In his presentation to the February 11 Eurogroup meeting, Varoufakis stressed that Syriza understood the austerity measures already in place in Greece would be permanent. “Greece has made a vast adjustment over the past five years at immense social cost” he said. “The new government takes this adjustment as its point of departure.”

Addressing concerns that Syriza might implement a few reforms partially reversing austerity measures in place involving privatisations, the firing of public sector workers, the slashing of pensions and cuts in the minimum wage, Varoufakis explained that, regarding privatizations, “we are ready and willing to evaluate each and every project on its merits alone.” He went on to insist that “foreign direct investment will be encouraged.”

On the promised reinstatement of laid-off state employees, Varoufakis told the Eurogroup meeting that just 2,013 workers would be rehired, and promised that this “tiny number” would “have no adverse effect on competitiveness and no fiscal bearing as [the reinstatements] will be paid for entirely by other savings in the state budget.”

He said the “restoration of the pension cuts we announced concern pensioners living at or below the poverty line and comes up to less than 2 euros per day per eligible pensioner—a grand total of around 9.5 million.”

On the minimum wage, Syriza is proposing only a return to the level prior to the launching of austerity measures, but he assured the finance ministers the “government will phase in its restoration to the 2012 level gradually, from September onward,” and only “after consultation with employers and trades unions.” It would apply, moreover, “only to the private sector.”

“Some of you… were displeased by the victory of a left-wing, a radical left-wing party. To them I have this to say: It would be a lost opportunity to see us as adversaries. We are dedicated Europeanists.”

The Eurogroup rejected these miserable proposals because it will not allow anything to be legislated in Greece, or anywhere else, that impinges on the ongoing transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. The Daily Telegraph summed up the position of the ruling elite when it lauded Lithuania, calling it “the euro zone’s newest member… where the minimum wage is €300 per month,” contrasting this with Syriza’s pledge to “increase the Greek minimum wage to €751 per month.”

Mounting Violence against Muslims in America

February 19th, 2015 by Tom Carter

A series of attacks on Muslims in the US have occurred in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in France and executions carried out by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. These events have been seized on by governments around the world, including the Obama administration, to promote anti-Islamic sentiment so as to justify expanded military interventions in the Middle East and stepped up domestic repression.

On February 10, three Muslim-American students—Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19—were found shot in the head, execution-style, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The two young women were wearing traditional hijabs when they were killed.

The man who turned himself in to authorities in connection with the murders had previously brandished guns at the victims and threatened them. Before the shooting, Yusor Abu-Salha told her father, “Daddy, I think he hates us for who we are and how we look.”

On February 12, an Arab-American man was brutally attacked by two white men at a Kroger supermarket in Dearborn, Michigan. The attackers also taunted his daughter, who wears a hijab, making references to ISIS and Muslims. The attackers called the man and his daughter “r–head” and said, “Go back to your country.”

On February 13, the Quba Islamic Institute in southeast Houston, Texas was the target of an arson attack that destroyed a substantial portion of the building and caused an estimated $100,000 in damage. On February 17, police in Austin, Texas arrested a man for threatening to bomb an Islamic center as well as a Middle Eastern restaurant.

Last month, a “Texas Muslim Capitol Day” event (the declared purpose of which was to “engage American Muslims in the political process”) was attacked and disrupted by anti-Muslim thugs. Another attack was organized on “Muslim Day” in Oklahoma City. The attacking group’s Facebook page screamed, “Get Islam Out of America.”

The rate of hate crimes against Muslims in the United States stands at five times what it was before September 2001. A recent poll found that out of all religions, Americans harbor the most negative feelings towards Muslims.

The American political and media establishment bears a significant portion of the responsibility for these trends.

A recent report by the Center for American Progress entitled “Fear, Inc. 2.0, The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America” exposes a veritable “Islamophobia industry” operating on the periphery of the American state. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent over the past decade to promote anti-Muslim bigotry through a shady network of politicians, journalists, foundations, “activists” and “experts.”

This Islamophobia network enjoys close ties with police departments and the intelligence agencies. Anti-Muslim bigotry, the report indicates, can often be found “masquerading as law-enforcement counterterrorism training.” The training materials and “experts,” according to the report, encourage police and intelligence agents to see “a terrorist plot in every mosque.”

The intentional whipping up of anti-Muslim bigotry has intensified internationally in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks last month. As the World Socialist Web Site has explained, the campaign to vilify Muslims serves definite political ends.

Anti-Muslim hysteria provides a justification for imperialist mayhem abroad as well as a wedge with which to attack democratic rights at home. Policies can be pursued in the climate of such hysteria that would otherwise be unthinkable. And, as with all such campaigns against racial and religious minorities throughout the twentieth century, murderous and fascistic elements are mobilized that, in a crisis, can be unleashed against the working class as a whole.

In cultivating the conditions for an intensification of anti-Muslim violence within the United States, a particularly reprehensible role has been played by the racist, homicidal film American Sniper. The film features an elite US soldier heroically slaughtering Iraqi “savages” for God and country.

Chris Kyle, the real-life sniper behind Clint Eastwood’s pro-war propaganda film, boasted of killing more than 300 people. (He was apparently also a pathological liar who bragged about having shot and killed dozens of “looters” in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and to have participated in other events that are unlikely ever to have happened).

During a military investigation of allegations that Kyle killed an unarmed civilian in Iraq, Kyle said, “I don’t shoot people with Korans. I’d like to, but I don’t.”

In the current toxic social climate, and in the absence of any progressive outlet for social discontent, American Sniper has met with a certain and disturbing response. “American sniper makes me wanna go shoot some f—ing Arabs,” wrote one individual on Twitter. “Nice to see a movie where the Arabs are portrayed for who they really are,” wrote another, “vermin scum intent on destroying us.”

Another individual wrote, “Great f—ing movie and now I really want to kill some f—ing r–heads.” And another: “American sniper made me appreciate soldiers 100x more and hate Muslins (sic) 1000000x more.”

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee described a “drastic increase” in hate speech on social media following the film’s release. It is not difficult to see how these kinds of responses can translate into real violence.

A revealing episode was provided by the “National Prayer Breakfast” on February 5. Bowing to pressure from the right, Obama utilized the occasion (a reactionary spectacle under any circumstances) to denounce “ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism, terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.” Obama also mentioned the Crusades and the Inquisition as examples of “terrible deeds” committed in the name of religion.

Obama’s appearance fueled an ongoing campaign by the Republican right denouncing the White House for not going far enough in vilifying Muslims. Obama was criticized on the grounds that his invocation of the Crusades and the Inquisition “throws Christians under the bus.”

“The words ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ do not come out of the president’s mouth,” declared Republican Senator Ted Cruz. “The word ‘jihad’ does not come out of the president’s mouth. And that is dangerous.”

“The president’s comments… at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore told reporters. “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”

The engines of anti-Muslim agitation in the United States do not include only the usual suspects: the Republican Party, the military, AM talk radio, police, the intelligence agencies, Fox News, the Murdoch Press, religious zealots, billionaire reactionaries, the Tea Party and so forth.

Instead, anti-Muslim prejudice has been lent a certain respectable gloss by so-called “liberal” and “left” sections of the political establishment. These layers either endorse the vilification of Muslims, acquiesce to it, or make hand-wringing scholarly inquiries into whether or not Islam is “inherently violent.”

“The rash of horrific attacks in the name of Islam,” read a front-page article in the New York Times on January 9, “is spurring an anguished debate among Muslims here in the heart of the Islamic world about why their religion appears cited so often as a cause for violence and bloodshed.” The article then weighs arguments—for and against—the proposition that Islam is “inherently more violent than Judaism or Christianity.”

No significant section of the political establishment in any of the imperialist countries has shown itself capable of taking a principled stand in opposition to the promotion of anti-Muslim sentiment. That task falls to the socialist movement, which stands for the international unity of the working class, defends its democratic achievements, and rejects all attempts to whip up national, ethnic or religious bigotry.

U.S. Government Demands Social Media Censorship

February 19th, 2015 by Kurt Nimmo

Congress and the White House are leaning on Twitter to censor Islamic State posts on its network.

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, the chair of a House foreign affairs subcommittee on terrorism, has singled out Twitter for allowing supposed IS operatives to recruit and propagandize on the social media platform.

“This is the way (the Islamic State) is recruiting — they are getting people to leave their homelands and become fighters,” Poe said.

He added “there is frustration with Twitter specifically” over its refusal to censor tweets the government claims promotes terrorism.

Poe and other members of Congress will send a letter to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo this week demanding the popular social media platform shut down tweets attributed to IS.

Costolo admitted earlier this month “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years.“

Poe said the government wants Twitter “to treat this the same as child pornography,” Yahoo News reports.

Twitter has responded to the accusations by saying it provides user tracking information on alleged IS members to the FBI.

The White House, however, has complained that Twitter will not respond to inquiries.

The company “wouldn’t even return (White House officials’) phone calls,” a former U.S. official said, citing a complaint by Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser. “They were really pissed off.”

Twitter says it follows similar policies used by other social media sites like Facebook.

“Like our peer companies, we do not proactively monitor content,” a Twitter spokesman said. “We review all reported content against our rules, which prohibit unlawful use and direct, specific threats of violence against others. Users report potential rules violations to us, we review their reports and take action if the content violates our rules.”

Twitter has actively shut down IS accounts since July.

Over the last year, however, Twitter has suspended a large number of IS accounts. It has suspended nearly 800 suspected accounts since last autumn, but this “may be the tip of the iceberg,” as almost 18,000 accounts “related” to the Islamic State were suspended over the same time period, according to JM Berger, a fellow at the Brookings Institution who tracks Islamists on social media.

The Brookings Institution has promoted a number of neocon positions on terror and is linked to the “conservative” wing of the Democrat Party.

In addition to funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Rockefeller Foundation, the Brookings Institution is supported by the Ford Foundation, which has links to the CIA.

One of the brains behind Tesla motors and Paypal, Tesla Motors CEO and entrepreneur Elon Musk has a new invention up his sleeve that will help power homes at low cost, and it will make living off-grid easier than ever.

A Florida woman had to stand up to a local judge to continue living off grid when he declared it illegal, but if millions of people start to live more self-sufficiently and sustainably, what will the corrupt judiciary say then?

Musk’s new invention is based on Tesla’s lithium-ion battery technology, and the new battery is expected to help the company become a leader in the growing home energy-storage market.

“We are going to unveil the Tesla home battery, the consumer battery that would be for use in people’s houses or businesses fairly soon,” Bloomberg quoted Musk as saying.

Not only does this mean that people could tell their electric company (and their high bills) good-bye, better lithium-ion storage also means that even solar arrays would work better. Soon, clean energy could be powering everything from our ovens to our computers and lights with more ease.

If homesteaders were ever concerned about having a sufficient supply of on-demand energy, Musk’s technology would put those worries to bed. Many solar panel manufacturers won’t currently warranty their goods for off-grid living because of storage issues, but the new battery changes that problem considerably.

“We are trying to figure out what would be a cool stationary (battery) pack,” Forbes had quoted Musk as saying at the time. “Some will be like the Model S pack: something flat, 5 inches off the wall, wall mounted, with a beautiful cover, an integrated bi-directional inverter, and plug and play.”

A Nissan Leaf battery pack – similar to what you might expect for a home battery.

The production of the battery is set to begin in the next 6 months. Lithium-ion technology is popular because the “li-on” batteries are great with energy density; a LIB setup can pack a lot of power into a very small space. According to MIT researchers, “Li-on” batteries offer sufficient charge times and a high number of discharge cycles before they die.

“The long-term demand for stationary energy storage is extraordinary,” JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technical officer, said. “We’ve put in a huge amount of effort there.”

Overall, the “system” is built to discourage any lifestyle, which would make one sovereign – that is, sustainable, and not dependant on government plutocracies. This threatens our very independence, and in a time when our water and soil is being poisoned, forces us to partake of a disenfranchising system, which causes ill health to the masses.

Anything that helps us live a more self-sufficient life untied from government-led living systems could very well help us survive in the not-so-certain future.

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Game with No Rules: “Legal Imperialism” against Russia

February 19th, 2015 by Valentin Katasonov

The term legal imperialism was coined in relation to the Argentina’s public debt. A New York court admitted a number of private claims to hand down a verdict. By a stroke of hand a judge increased the country’s debt up to $120 billion, according to experts’ estimates. The essence of legal imperialism is the support rendered by Anglo-Saxon legal system to financial vultures. 

Financial vultures vs. Argentina under the cover of American Themis

It all started in 2001. Argentina had to declare a sovereign default on around $130 billion. It was the biggest default on sovereign debt in history. The talks on restructuring started. As a result, the lenders agreed to write off the bulk of it (75%) and alter the conditions for paying off the rest. Some bondholders in possession of around $4 billion of Argentinian bonds refused to comply with the agreements’ terms. This included a small group of hedge funds holding over $1, 3 billion bonds headed by Elliott Management Corp. of billionaire Paul Singer. The hedge funds had already obtained the reputation of financial vultures. They acquired the bonds of the states that were on the verge of sovereign default or the ones already in default and then demanded 100% payments refusing to accept any compromises.

The audacity is supported by the fact that they normally win the trials demanding 100% payments on the bonds. The vultures went to the New York court to sue Argentina for the whole amount without restructuring. In October 2012 the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York) ruled on the pari passu clause that required they receive full payment. Moreover it forbade Argentina to pay off its restructured debts till it complies with the court’s decision. It was an uphill struggle for Argentina as it realized that other lenders would demand full payments too. The country was a hostage because its bonds were issued in compliance with the laws of the state of New York. According to the court’s decision, Argentina faced the June 31, 2014 deadline when it was supposed to pay the next installment of interest to all bondholders. No settlement had been reached so the leading rating agencies greatly lowered the country’s investment rating. The regular payments by Argentina to comply with the conditions of restructured debt were blocked by the court’s ruling. Argentina refuses to comply while the fines keep on growing each passing day…

Yukos case – first large-scale operation conducted by legal imperialism against Russia

The decision handed down by the Hague-based International Arbitration Court in the Russian oil giant Yukos case upon the claim of foreign shareholders is the example of how the legal imperialism works. Yukos ceased to exist as a legal entity in November 2007. For many years it avoided paying taxes. The taxes debts were to be paid in accordance with the court’s decision taken ten years ago. The company failed to comply. The bigger part of Yukos assets went to Russian oil producer Rosneft. Yukos foreign shareholders were disgruntled and went to courts abroad. Finally the claims were consolidated and sent to the Hague International Court. Initially the claimed sum was $114 billion (much more than the Yukos assets at the time of company’s liquidation). The Court let the claims be suspended, it was waiting for something. Finally it got what it was expecting. The West imposed sanctions against Russia in the spring of 2014. The court went back to the Yukos case and made public its verdict: Russia was to pay investors of the now non-existent company $50 billion – the largest compensation ever paid to shareholders upon an international arbitrary tribunal. According to the Court’s decision, Russia allegedly violated the Energy Charter Treaty and expropriated the company taking it from legal owners. A peculiar ruling in view that Russia never ratified the Charter. It is even more peculiar that the acquisition of the Yukos assets by another company is called «expropriation». In fact the verdict was an informal way of imposing sanctions by the West against Russia or the legal imperialism in force. As they say Russia was «put on the counter». After the ruling was announced Russia was given 180 days to comply. It did not. From January 15, the deadline set by the Court in the Hague for Russia to pay its fine, the fine will attract interest equal to the yield on a 10-year US Treasury bond. On January 15 the rate measured 1.91 percent. It means that the first year the sum of the debt will increase to $956, 6 million. That’s why over one billion dollars will surely be added to the $50 billion in 2015.

The Hague Court ruling: what does it mean for Russia?

The appeals made by Russian lawyers brought about no result. The Hague Court’s decision was not taken into account in the 2015 budget. The opposite side is very active. Right after the Court’s decision the former Yukos shareholders were involved in interesting activities – they started to look for Russian assets to be used to pay the debt. Russia’s state foreign assets could be confiscated. The Rosneft assets are to be arrested first, other companies with state participation (VTB, Gasprom, Aeroflot, VAB etc.) second and state agencies third. Embassies have immunity unlike ships visiting foreign ports.

Nobody cares about the fact that there are few companies with 100% state participation. There are non-state minority shareholders and the expropriation of companies’ assets would constitute a violation of their property rights. This is a classic game without rules. Actually there is one – punish Russia at any cost.

Legal imperialism as effective informal sanction against Russia

There have been three packages of sanctions introduced against Russia. Experts believe that the fourth will also come into effect. I don’t think so. The matter is – informal sanctions are more effective. There will be new claims to Russia, its companies and banks. Russian individuals and legal entities will be blacklisted; Western courts will hand down decisions on expropriating their foreign assets. The «case of Rotenberg» will be repeated. In the spring of 2014 Russian entrepreneur Arkady Rotenberg was blacklisted during the first wave of sanctions. In September Italian courts handed down a decision to arrest and confiscate his €30m assets. The March sanctions envisioned a ban on entering the territories of the countries that imposed sanctions and seizing the bank accounts of blacklisted persons. In the case of Rotenberg they took away his real estate that had no relation to business. I emphasize it to show that legal imperialism is a war without rules waged to satisfy the desire to plunder. In general, that’s how the algothytm of legal marauding works:

1) A Western vulture chooses an asset that belongs to a Russian legal entity of individual;

2) The vulture makes the Russian owner blacklisted;

3) A Western court hands down a decision to seize the asset;

4) The court’s decision is carried out; the asset becomes the property of the vulture.

Black lists as an instrument of legal imperialism

There are different grounds for being included into black lists: «suspicion of corruption involvement», «complicity in the annexation of Crimea and aggression against Ukraine», «the violation of human rights», «ties with terrorists» etc. The US has already introduced special laws, for instance, «the Magnitsky Act» allowing making lists of those who had connection to the death of lawyer Sergey Magnitsky. The lawyer represented the investment advisory firm Hermitage Capital Management. In 2008 he was arrested accused of few billion roubles tax evasion. He died in a prison cell. The West made him a martyr and responded with black lists.

Not the United States is mulling a possibility to turn the Magnitsky Act into a universal instrument of fighting Russia under the banner of defending human rights. It is planned to include into the list not only those who did anything wrong to Magnitsky, but also Alexey Navalny and his associates in «the struggle against totalitarianism». Washington wants to kill two birds with one stone: a) to exert political pressure on Russia; b) to reap benefit by seizing the assets of the persons included into the black lists (the Magnitsky Act envisions a ban on entry into the country and arrest of bank accounts). They want to get more out of it. It is considered to go beyond seizing the bank accounts but also spread the sanctions on bonds and equity.

(To be continued)

Since August 2014, the US Air Force with the support of a coalition of 19 countries has relentlessly waged an intensified air campaign against Syria and Iraq allegedly targeting  the Islamic State brigades.  

According to Defense News, over 16,000 airstrikes were carried out from August 2014 to mid January 2015.  Sixty percent of the air strikes were conducted by the US Air Force using advanced jet fighter and bombing capabilities  (Aaron Mehta, “A-10 Performing 11 Percent of Anti-ISIS Sorties”Defense News, January 19, 2015.)

The airstrikes have been casually described by the media as part of  a “soft” counter-terrorism operation, rather than an act of all out war directed against Syria and Iraq.  

Aerial view of jet aircraft, carrying cylindrical fuel tanks and ordnance, overflying desert

F-16 Fighting Falcon

This large scale air campaign which has resulted in countless civilian casualties has been routinely misreported by the mainstream media. According to  Max Boot, senior fellow in national security at the Council on Foreign Relations. ”Obama’s strategy in Syria and Iraq is not working… [ because] the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS has been remarkably restrained”.  (Newsweek, February 17, 2015, emphasis added).

Americans are led to believe that the Islamic State constitutes a formidable force confronting the US military and threatening Western Civilization. The thrust of media reporting is that the US Air Force has failed and that “Obama should get his act together” in effectively confronting this  ”Outside Enemy” of America.

According to CFR Max Boot, military escalation is the answer: what is required is for the president “to dispatch more aircraft, military advisers, and special operations forces, while loosening the restrictions under which they operate.” (Ibid)

What kind of aircraft are involved in the air campaign? The F-16 Fighting Falcon,(above right),  The F-15E Strike Eagle (image below) , The A-10 Warthog, not to mention Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor stealth tactical fighter aircraft.

Question for Our Readers

Why has the US Air Force not been able to wipe out the Islamic State which at the outset was largely equipped with conventional small arms not to mention state of the art Toyota pickup trucks?

F-15E Strike Eagle.jpgFrom the very outset, this air campaign has NOT been directed against ISIS.  The evidence confirms that the Islamic State is not the target. Quite the opposite.

The air raids are intended to destroy the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria.

The USAF-15E Strike Eagle

We call on our readers to carefully reflect on the following image, which describes the Islamic State convoy of pickup trucks entering Iraq and crossing a 200 km span of open desert which separates the two countries.

This convoy entered Iraq in June 2014.

What would have been required from a military standpoint to wipe out an ISIS convoy with no effective anti-aircraft capabilities?

Without an understanding of military issues, common sense prevails.

If they had wanted to eliminate the Islamic State brigades, they could have “carpet” bombed their convoys of Toyota pickup trucks when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq in June. 

The answer is pretty obvious, yet not a single mainstream media has acknowledged it.

The  Syro-Arabian Desert is open territory (see map right). With state of the art jet fighter aircraft (F15, F22 Raptor, F16) it would have been  –from a military standpoint–  ”a piece of cake”, a rapid and expedient surgical operation, which would have decimated the Islamic State convoys in a matter of hours.

Instead what we have witnessed is an ongoing drawn out six months of relentless  air raids and bombings, and the terrorist enemy is apparently still intact.

(In comparison, the NATO bombing raids of Yugoslavia in 1999 lasted about three months (March 24-June 10, 1999).

And we are led to believe that the Islamic State cannot be defeated by a powerful US led military coalition of 19 countries.

The air campaign was not intended to decimate the Islamic State.

The counter-terrorism mandate is a fiction. America is the Number One “State Sponsor of Terrorism”.   

The Islamic State is not only protected by the US and its allies, it is trained and financed by US-NATO, with the support of Israel and Washington’s Persian Gulf allies. 

 

The Right Reverend Andrew Watson

The Bishop of Guildford

Willow Grange

Guildford, GU4 7QS

Dear Reverend Watson,

As the Bible says about God, “His throne is built on a foundation of justice and righteousness”. Does the Church of England stand by that statement and support it with their actions? I refer to the Church of England’s seemingly inconsistent and racist approach to the issue of 9/11 in relation to the recent announcement of your decision to ban Reverend Stephen Sizer from using social media due to his posting a link and a comment raising questions about who committed 9/11.

I have an interest in this issue as I am the UK Coordinator for the international organisation ‘Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth’ (AE911Truth). This is an organisation made up of more than 2,300 qualified and professional Architects and Engineers from around the world who believe that the scientific and forensic evidence they have gathered proves that the collapse of the three towers on 9/11 could only have occurred through controlled explosive demolition and are asking for a new and independent inquiry, with subpoena power. This evidence has now been presented in over 30 countries around the world and in over 80 cities across the US. The reaction from the audiences to this evidence has been overwhelmingly supportive everywhere it has been presented. So much so that the Washington Journal news network (C-SPAN) in the US recently ran a 40 minute live and in depth interview with Richard Gage, the CEO of AE911Truth, which was shown live to millions of American citizens.

I must say that I find the decision to ban Reverend Sizer from all social media a little difficult to understand and I find it an extremely inconsistent approach by the Church of England, especially following so closely on the heels of the Charlie Hebdo event in Paris. In Paris we had 3 million people gathered in the streets in a quite amazing show of public unity and public strength behind a common cause of peace and freedom of speech. Those who gunned down the innocent victims in Paris sought to quash freedom of speech when they didn’t agree with the message. While the Church of England has not fired any physical bullets of terrorism or racism with this decision, the principle is the same. Why has the Church of England not also publicly condemned the allegations by our government officials and mainstream media about alleged Muslim involvement in 9/11? These are allegations that have been made with absolutely no evidence to support them. But yet any mention of possible Israeli involvement is met with instant condemnation by the Church of England. No group or nationality should have the finger of blame pointed at them for anything unless there is clear evidence to support the allegations, so where is the consistency by the Church of England with regard to Muslims?

More than one million innocent people have so far lost their lives in the Middle East since the US and UK launched their military attacks on the back of 9/11. More than half a million of these victims have been innocent children. In addition, most people in the UK are not aware that millions more in the Middle East will die or be deformed at birth in the coming decades and for centuries to come from the massive amounts of depleted Uranium shells that have poisoned Iraq and surrounding regions. Iraq and the wider Middle East have now had their own holocaust, and it is still ongoing right now as we speak. This holocaust was launched on the back of totally baseless allegations that 9/11 was committed by 19 Muslim hijackers.

Instead of banning your staff from attempting to ask questions about who was really responsible for 9/11, the Church of England should instead be supporting the hundreds of thousands of courageous and peace loving individuals around the world who have been campaigning tirelessly for new investigations into what really happened on that day of 9/11, and exactly who was involved. Because the one thing that is absolutely certain about 9/11 is that we have not been told the truth by our governments and our military officials.

I have no idea if Israel was involved or not, and I have no idea if Muslims were involved or not, but I do know that we have not been told the truth and that very serious questions and very serious investigations need to be carried out which could potentially alter the course of history in a positive manner. Any hatred towards another specific sector of the community such as Anti-Semitism is a terrible thing. But could you please explain to me how this is any different from accusing Muslims of committing 9/11? Muslims have been blamed for 9/11 and as a result of this there has been a massive global backlash against the Muslim community. Are you aware that despite what we have been told by our government officials, there is not one shred of any evidence that 19 Muslim hijackers were the perpetrators of 9/11? None. And yet Muslims have been blamed for committing this horrendous crime and a holocaust has been unleashed in Iraq and the Middle East. Has the Church of England ever asked our government officials and media to provide evidence of their allegations against Muslims, or if they can’t provide this evidence then to stop spreading these false allegations about Muslims being the perpetrators of 9/11? The silence from the Church of England on this has unfortunately been deafening, despite attempts made by the public for the Church of England to look at this issue.

Are you aware that there is no video footage of the alleged Muslim terrorists getting on board the airliners that day, and no evidence of their names being on the passenger lists? Are you aware that many of the 19 alleged Muslim hijackers on 9/11 have been confirmed to be still alive and well today, and as such they are wondering why they are on a list of alleged suicide terrorists who died on 9/11? This is a quite incredible fact that has even been highlighted on BBC documentaries. Are you aware that Osama Bin Laden was never put on the FBI wanted list for 9/11 because the FBI stated themselves that they had absolutely no evidence to implicate him with 9/11, despite what the US government was saying? Muslims have been accused of this horrendous crime with literally not one shred of evidence. They are just baseless allegations by our government officials which we are told to believe while they launch a holocaust on the Middle East. That is racist in the extreme. Why is the Church of England not seriously challenging this situation instead of quashing the freedom of speech to raise some very difficult questions about 9/11? You have said to Reverend Sizer that his Facebook posting was racist. But it is also racist for the Church of England to condemn allegations against Israel but not to condemn allegations against the Muslim community when there is zero evidence to support those allegations?

Are you aware of the incontrovertible scientific and forensic evidence and eye-witness evidence which proves conclusively that the three towers on 9/11 collapsed as they did not because of fire from the airliners, but because of explosive, controlled demolition? This evidence has been provided and supported by thousands of professional experts as well as eye-witness testimony from 118 of the first responder fire fighters on 9/11. Are you aware that World Trade Centre Building 7, the third tower to completely collapse on 9/11, was a 47 storey sky scraper not struck by a plane and yet it collapsed totally, in near perfect symmetry, in less than 7 seconds, and achieved free fall (gravitational) acceleration during its descent? As our 2,300 professional architects and engineers will confirm with you, the ONLY way that this can occur in a high-rise tower is through controlled demolition using perfectly placed and perfectly timed explosives. There is no other possible explanation within the known laws of physics. It is as simple as that, despite what our government officials and media try to tell us. As we speak, NIST, the official US government investigators into the collapse of the three towers on 9/11, have a major legal action against them for criminal fraud on the basis of their fraudulent investigations and fraudulent findings into the collapse of those towers.

This raises extremely difficult and psychologically challenging questions about who could have been responsible for making those towers come down in that manner, because it certainly wasn’t Muslim terrorists who would have had the ability to make that happen. In further support of what I have just stated here, are you aware that 100,000 citizens of New York have just signed a petition in support of the ‘High-Rise Safety Initiative’, which calls for a new investigation into the free fall collapse of World Trade Centre Building 7? These calls for new investigations are also supported by numerous family members of victims of 9/11 who want the truth about who killed their loved ones. President Obama is under extreme pressure at the moment from many members of US Congress to release the 28 redacted pages from the 9/11 Commission Report. The two members of US Congress who have been granted special permission to view those 28 pages have demanded they be released to the public because they say the content will shock the nation, and the public needs to know.

Here in the UK, we have Matthew Campbell who lost his brother in the North Tower on 9/11. He has been campaigning tirelessly with British and US officials to have his questions answered about his brother’s murder. All he has asked for are some answers to some very basic and straightforward questions that would be a standard part of any proper investigation into someone’s death. In effect, there has been absolutely no investigation into his brother’s murder and he has not been able to get one single answer or positive development on this situation from the British Embassy, the US Embassy, President Obama, or the coroners involved. Consequently he is still tormented by the fact that his brother has been murdered and that no one is willing to investigate that murder in any way or answer even the most basic of questions about how he died. If a major organisation such as the Church of England were to provide some support to Mr Campbell’s endeavours to find a little peace of mind and justice then that would be a noble cause worthy of such an establishment. Is this something that you would be willing to assist Mr Campbell with? I am copying him on this letter for his reference. If so, I can provide you with his contact details. I am sure he would be most grateful for some support from the Church of England.

To finish with here, I repeat my earlier point about freedom of speech and having the freedom and courage to be allowed to ask what can sometimes be extremely difficult and unpleasant questions in the pursuit of truth. We don’t know who committed the atrocities of 9/11 and exactly how they did what they did. What we do know is that what we have been told happened on 9/11, and who did what, is incontrovertibly false and that there were other unknown entities that must have been involved. Those unknown entities have been responsible for unleashing the most horrific carnage/holocaust imaginable in parts of the Middle East which will continue to cause terrible human suffering for a very long time to come. Reverend Sizer may perhaps have been a little misguided, but well intentioned, in raising his questions about 9/11 in the way he did. The Church of England has made the decision to supress this type of questioning towards a specific sector of the community, and that is fair enough if that questioning cannot be backed up sufficiently with clear and incontrovertible evidence. But has the Church of England done anything to support the global Muslim community against the terrible baseless accusations that have been made against them about 9/11, and which have led to them suffering their own horrendous holocaust?

Perhaps you were not previously aware of the abundant scientific and forensic evidence and eye-witness evidence that I have mentioned here. Perhaps this is why you and the Church of England have not previously rallied to the support of the Muslim community as you are now rallying to the support of Israel. If that is the case then there is still an opportunity for the Church of England to have a positive impact here and help change the course of history in a direction more aligned with peace, as should be the mission of the Church of England, according to the Bible. The Church of England could take a proactive approach to helping to put forward to the public the abundant and incontrovertible scientific evidence and eye-witness evidence that challenges the official story of 9/11.

This doesn’t have to point the finger at anyone, as Reverend Sizer has done to some extent. The Church of England could take exactly the same stance as ‘Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth’, which is to help allow the public to see the true evidence that is being covered up, call for independent investigations into this evidence, and then let the cards fall where they fall in terms of where those investigations lead to and who is found to be responsible. The Muslim community and the millions of victims in the Middle East deserve that evidence and information to be put forward, and they deserve those investigations to be conducted.

I am sure that the Church of England supported the Nuremburg trials, so will the Church of England also support this request to help bring forward the true evidence about 9/11? The current holocaust must be stopped/mitigated and the true cause identified. Reverend Sizer may not have approached this issue in quite the right way, but he was certainly correct in his belief that there are very serious questions to be asked about 9/11 and he has shown great courage to at least be prepared to put his head into the line of fire and try to raise some questions about what really happened on 9/11 and try to help address the ongoing Middle East holocaust.

I believe that Reverend Sizer’s intentions, if not his methodology, were consistent with my opening message about the Bible’s stated mission of the Church of England…..“His throne is built on a foundation of justice and righteousness”. Will the Church of England honour those words of the Bible and support justice and righteousness being sought for the victims of 9/11 and the victims of the Middle East holocaust?

Thank you for considering what I have said here, and I would be more than happy to provide further information about anything here and to provide contact details for Mr Campbell if you would be interested in following that up.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Drew (MSc)

UK Coordinator – Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth

Curious is the United Nation and NATO’s sudden interest in peace. Both organizations are suing for truces on two separate battlefields, one in Ukraine in Eastern Europe, and another in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo amid a regional conflagration in the Middle East. It is curious because talks of “truces” were completely absent just as recently as 2011, when both organizations, the UN and NATO, backed hordes of terrorists sweeping across Libya, committing abhorrent atrocities including the systematic, genocidal extermination of Libya’s black communities.

 

Image: No “ceasefire” or “truce” was proposed by the UN or NATO, because the terrorists they were backing were winning. Such calls are meant not to alleviate human suffering, but to preserve, buy time for, and rebuild forces committed to expanding such suffering. 

There was also the encirclement, intentional starvation, and denial of humanitarian aid, along with the bombardment of Libyan cities like Sirte, which also saw no protests or calls for “ceasefires” by the UN or NATO. In fact, as terrorists enforced blockades on the ground to starve residents to death, NATO bombed the encircled cities relentlessly from the air for weeks. The eventual fall of Sirte, for example, would leave behind an utterly devastate city and a decimated, scattered population. Other cities, like Tawarga, had their entire populations, down to the last resident, either killed or forced to flee.

To explain the transparently hypocritical change in policy, the UN and NATO are now witnessing a change in fortunes for forces backed by the very special interests that have hijacked and upturned the mission statements of both organizations.

Forces that were afforded absolute impunity from the UN and were backed, armed, and provided air cover by NATO in Libya, are now encircled and facing destruction in Syria. Likewise, a similar proxy conflict in Ukraine has seen thousands of NATO-backed militants encircled. A desperate attempt to broker a ceasefire through the so-called “Minsk accord” fell apart before the ink dried, with NATO-backed militias openly declaring they had no intention of giving up the fight.

The Only Terms That Could Be Acceptable 

For Syria in particular, Aleppo only still serves as a battlefield for the sole reason that NATO is to this day still funding, arming, and transferring terrorists to the battlefield through NATO-member Turkey. Any “ceasefire” or “truce” brokered in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and a national commercial hub, should be accompanied by international peace keepers stationed in Turkey to ensure the regime in Ankara is no longer harboring, arming, and supplying terrorists within its territory.

With the streaming of terrorists across Turkey’s border with Syria abated, the existential threat to Aleppo and the rest of northern Syria would likewise cease to exist, making calls for Syrian troops to stand down a much more reasonable proposition. To ask them now, while hordes of invaders flow into their country for the sole purpose of dividing and destroying it, is an unimaginable absurdity.

Should invading militants be blocked from crossing into Syria permanently, an amnesty could be arranged for Syrian militants.

The total and complete restoration of peace and stability in Syria, with its territory fully intact, can be the only terms accepted in any deal with the UN. Anything less is ploy by the UN and NATO to buy time for an increasingly defeated army of proxy militants and a last ditch effort to arrange a “settlement” that will leave swaths of Syrian territory in the hands of NATO’s proxy forces where they can rebuild and relaunch their destructive campaign in the near future.