A revised map issued over the weekend by ISIS claims territory in Spain and parts of Europe. On Friday we reported on the ISIS five year expansion plan. It shows the Middle East, including Israel, the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia and India.

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the terror army supported by Saudi Arabia, the CIA and trained by the Pentagon, has declared a caliphate in the Middle East. It has changed its name to the Islamic State, dispensing with Iraq, Sham and the Levant.

 

The announcement was made on the first day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy day. An ISIS spokesman said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the leader of the declared caliphate reaching from Syria into Iraq.

The shadowy al-Baghdadi may actually be several people using the same nom de guerre, according to Lieutenant-General Sir Graeme Lamb, a former British special forces commander. He was reportedly held as a “civilian internee” at Camp Bucca in Iraq and released in December, 2004.

The spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, said all Muslims worldwide will be required to pay allegiance to al-Baghdadi. “The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph’s authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas,” explained al-Adnani. “Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day.”

He characterized the establishment of the caliphate as “a new era of international jihad.”

It is unlikely members of the world’s second largest religion, totaling 1.6 billion people, will recognize the caliphate and pay allegiance to al-Baghdadi.

More realistically, the move is intended to shore up support in the areas controlled by ISIS, now simply IS, and serve as propaganda for the incremental expansion of the jihadist movement into other areas of the Middle East, most notably Jordan, and Africa.

ISIS propaganda video capture shows plan to move into Jordan.

ISIS propaganda video capture shows plan to move into Jordan.

ABC World News (6/24/14) had a story this week about Al-Qaeda linked militants in Syria and Yemen teaming up “to develop a new generation of bombs” including “explosives-laden toothpaste tubes” that “could be smuggled aboard commercial planes.”

One problem with this story: Far from being a “new generation,” the toothpaste tube bomb has been around for almost four decades. In 1976, Cuban exiles reputedly led by Luis Posada Carriles used plastic explosives disguised in a tube of Colgate toothpaste to bring down Cubana Flight 455, killing all 73 people aboard the civilian Cuban airliner.

Luis Posada Carriles (Wikimedia)

Luis Posada Carriles in training at Fort Benning, Georgia, 1963.Too

Posada, a longtime CIA asset, escaped after being arrested for the bombing in Venezuela, surfacing in El Salvador, where he helped oversee the Reagan administration’s illegal efforts to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. Since 2005, he’s been living in the United States, whichrefuses to extradite him to either Venezuela or Cuba.

Though it remains the deadliest act of air terrorism in the Western Hemisphere, Cubana Flight 455 is rarely brought up as a precedent for threats against air travelers. Perhaps that’s because corporate media like to maintain thefiction that terrorism is always something done by “them” against “us.”

The Internet’s Own Boy (2014, Filmbuff/Participant Media), directed and produced by Brian Knappenberger, is a documentary film about Aaron Swartz (1986-2013), the open Internet activist and web technology prodigy who took his own life after being hounded by a vindictive criminal lawsuit orchestrated by the US federal government.

The film was recently presented at the American Film Institute’s AFI Docs film festival in the Washington, DC suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland. The film was released nationwide June 27.

The Internet’s Own Boy

In 2010, security cameras at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) caught Swartz using a laptop to download thousands of scholarly papers from the Internet subscription site JSTOR by hacking into the building’s computer system. Swartz was intending to make the documents free to all for downloading. This initiated a federal witch-hunt against Swartz, which threatened to send him to prison for nearly 50 years as well as force him to pay fines of up to $1 million for charges of wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer.

This vindictive attack on Swartz, for the crime of wishing to make information widely available through the Internet, was most famously captured in a statement by US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who said that “stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data, or dollars.”

In the film, one gets a sense of both how truly young Swartz was when he died, as well as how much he could have contributed to the world under different circumstances. Interspersed with footage of Swartz throughout his younger years are interviews with friends, associates and family, portraying the various aspects of his life and personality. Swartz’s ideals were informed by his genuine enthusiasm and preoccupation with the world around him.

At one point a clip is played of Aaron saying, “I think you should always be questioning, I take this very scientific attitude in which everything you’ve learned is just provisional, that it’s always open to recantation, refutation… I think the same thing applies to society.” (The film includes a clip relaying that a potential cure for pancreatic cancer had come about due to JSTOR documents Swartz had downloaded.)

Likewise, some of his personal achievements include co-founding the RSS web feed protocol at age 13, the creation of software company Infogami (which later merged with the link aggregator web site Reddit) before age 20, as well as his work for Condé Nast Publications, the owner of Wired magazine. Swartz would later turn his back on his career in Silicon Valley to pursue ideals closer to his heart. Swartz’s attitude toward corporate America is memorably captured by the commentary of an associate, who suggests that the young man had “climbed a mountain of shit” in order to “pluck a single rose, only to find that he had lost his sense of smell.”

The film turns toward Swartz’s involvement with activism and other social issues. This culminates in his role in organizing the protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills in 2012. These bills, which sought to implement a framework of legal censorship, were eventually abandoned after numerous companies came out against them on the grounds that they would impose undue financial burdens upon them. This episode is handled somewhat uncritically, portraying this essentially pro-corporate decision as a “victory” for grassroots activism.

Aaron Swartz

The section of the film dealing with the US government’s repression of Swartz is the film’s strongest, as various people recount the brutal persecution meted out by Assistant US Attorney Stephen Heymann, acting on behalf of the Obama administration. After initially being caught at MIT, Swartz and his family were placed under FBI surveillance. At one point, the surveillance became so intrusive that Aaron refused to leave his house. Upon being detained, Swartz was assaulted by police officers, as well as later being strip-searched and having his belt and shoelaces taken from him.

Swartz was initially charged with five felonies and offered a plea bargain, which would have placed him under house arrest and barred him from Internet usage if he admitted criminal guilt. After refusing this deal, eight more dubious felony counts were added to Swartz’s charges under the draconian 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Meanwhile, the film notes, JSTOR—the corporation that Swartz had allegedly stolen from—had sought to drop the lawsuit.

Robert Swartz, Aaron’s father, tells interviewers that Heymann sought to make a “case of deterrence” out of his son’s case. The elder Swartz contrasts this aggressive behavior to the kid gloves treatment the banks received from federal officials after the 2008 economic meltdown. Swartz’s father goes on to note that famous technology billionaires such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates achieved initial successes by creating devices that had undermined the profitability of communications companies in the US. “The only difference with Aaron,” his father states, was “he wanted to make the world a better place, not just make money.”

In another scene, Quinn Norton, Swartz’s former girlfriend, breaks down in tears as she details the US attorney’s attempts to make her inform on Aaron. When she pleaded with US federal prosecutors that they were “on the wrong side of history,” she says that the officials simply “looked bored” with her. Something of the shortsightedness and philistinism of the ruling class is captured in these scenes.

Eventually, the constant harassment and struggle to obtain funds for his defense overcame the young activist, who numerous friends and associates stated was tired of feeling like “a burden on those around him.” Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment from suicide on January 11, 2013. He was 26 years old.

To demonstrate the political nature of the persecution of Aaron Swartz, the film makes note of the historical setting of the prosecution. The film contains clips of both the Egyptian Revolution, which forced a US-backed dictator from office, as well as the Occupy Wall Street protests that swept the globe in that period. The film notes that both these phenomena relied heavily on the networking power of the Internet, of which Swartz was a known expert.

In various aspects of his story, Swartz bears similarity to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who gave up a highly lucrative career with the spy agency in order to reveal details of government surveillance programs carried out against and behind the backs of the world’s population. To his credit, the film features Swartz speaking out against the unchecked power of the federal government to spy, noting that it is primarily directed at the population itself.

The filmmakers make much of the CFAA, highlighting efforts to have the law repealed, as well as at one point inviting commentary from Democratic politicians—Senator Ronald Wyden of Oregon and Representative Zoe Lofgren of California—to denounce the bill. This narrow focus on the CFAA fails to note the deeply anti-democratic character of the US state itself. This is captured by one commentator who, in describing the SOPA and PIPA bills, correctly calls all legislative matches “just fights between different corporate interests.”

Still, this fairly predictable limitation does not fundamentally undermine the strength of the film, which serves to unmask the hypocrisy of the US federal government, whose functionaries view all creative and egalitarian impulses from the population with distrust and hostility, and are willing to go to criminal lengths to suppress it. For that reason alone, the film deserves a wide viewing.

America’s Paramilitary Police

July 1st, 2014 by Andre Damon

In June, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a report, War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing, which provides a chilling account of the role of the US military in arming “paramilitary police” squads throughout the country.

SWAT teams are now routinely deployed for regular police work—including the serving of warrants for nonviolent offenses. Raids by SWAT teams, typically carried out in the dead of night, often involve the use of military stun grenades, the wanton destruction of property, the killing of household pets, and, with increasing regularity, the deaths of “suspects” and their family members, including children. More than one hundred and twenty such raids take place in America every day.

Constitutional protections, including the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, are ignored with the now ubiquitous use of “no-knock” warrants.

A series of federal government programs have been set up to encourage the militarization of local police forces. The motto of one Defense Department program, which has transferred more than $4.3 billion in military hardware to police departments, sums up the intent: “From war fighter to crime fighter.” In other words, the tactics of military aggression abroad are being employed for domestic repression.

A shocking amount of military equipment has been recommissioned for use in the United States, without any political discussion or oversight. SWAT teams have been equipped with 500 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, which can withstand roadside bombs and are capable of mounting heavy machine guns and automatic grenade launchers. They have been provisioned with combat uniforms, night-vision goggles, sniper and assault rifles, belt-fed machine guns and military helicopters, including the infamous Black Hawk and Huey.

The militarization of domestic policing is one symptom of a deeply dysfunctional society. While the political establishment never loses the opportunity to declare there is no money for social needs—education, pensions, health care, nutrition—billions of dollars are made available to equip the police with the latest instruments of violence.

In the United States, every social problem is treated as a police matter. The United States imprisons more people than all other developed countries combined. This monstrous system, which sweeps up hundreds of thousands of people every year, is crowned by the continuing practice of capital punishment, which is banned throughout the rest of the developed world.

Police increasingly believe, with good reason, that they can act with impunity. Recent months have seen a spate of police killings. Those that happen to have been caught on video—like the March shooting of a homeless man in Albuquerque, New Mexico—have provoked widespread popular outrage. But such acts are regular occurrences in the United States.

The United States bears more and more the character of a garrison state. The border regions of the country have been turned into de facto military zones, where constitutional rights are a dead letter. Military drones have already made their appearance in American skies, and plans are in place for their much more widespread utilization. There is a concerted effort to accustom the American people to the presence of police and soldiers armed to the teeth—at airports, train stations, schools, sports stadiums, etc.

Militarized police are part of a massive state apparatus that operates largely outside of any legal or democratic supervision and tramples on the population’s constitutional and democratic rights every day. Domestic policing is increasingly integrated with the array of NSA spying programs that monitor the movements, communications and intimate personal details of the population.

The militarization of American society was most graphically revealed in the lockdown of Boston last year in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings—in which the city’s residents were told to “shelter in place” as squads of police in combat fatigues, armed with assault rifles, conducted house-to-house searches. This event—and the subsequent state murder of Ibragim Todashev—have passed without a note of protest from within the political establishment or media.

The buildup of an apparatus of mass repression is bound up with unrestrained military violence and extreme social inequality. Abroad, the American ruling class is in a state of permanent war. The invasion of country after country in the pursuit of the interests of the financial aristocracy cannot but reverberate at home.

The wars are carried out by a gigantic military apparatus—funded to the tune of $1 trillion a year—that has no more respect for the democratic rights of the population of the United States than it does for the populations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Syria. And presiding over the entire edifice is a president who is a self-acknowledged killer, having systematically planned and overseen the drone missile murder of at least four American citizens, in addition to thousands of others.

Plunder abroad has been accompanied by plunder at home. While the median household income plunged by 8 percent between 2007 and 2012, the wealth of the super-rich has more than doubled since 2009. The financial oligarchy that dominates American society derives its wealth largely through criminal and semi-criminal activities, including the types of speculation, fraud, and parasitism that led to the 2008 financial meltdown.

The creation of the framework of a police state in the United States reflects a ruling class that lives in perpetual fear over the preservation of its wealth and privilege. It is well aware that its policies— foreign and domestic—are creating mass hostility to its rule.

by Abdulrahman Al-Masri

The water level of the Euphrates Lake has decreased by six metres in the body of the dam, RMC reported.

Criticism of the Turkish government has been voiced by civil society activists in Northern Syria concerning Turkey’s control of the River Euphrates. In recent weeks, the Turks have stopped the flow of water into Syria from the mighty river, which has its source in Turkey’s Taurus Mountains before flowing into Syria and on into Iraq. The Euphrates is the main source of water for the Northern Syrian province of Raqqa.

“This threatens us with a real disaster within the next few days,” said Abu Mohamed, a local activist from Raqqa. He pointed out that half of the villages in the district currently have no water available for residential use or agricultural purposes.

Turkey's control of the Euphrates

The Euphrates has three main dams within Syria: Tishreen, Euphrates and Al-Baath. The Euphrates dam is considered the most important of the three. The water level in the Euphrates Lake (formerly known as Al-Assad Lake) has dropped significantly. It is the largest man-made lake in Syria at 85km long; until recently it held more than 14.2 billion cubic metres of water. The lake and hydro-electric power station on its dam is the source of water and electricity to Raqqa and eastern Aleppo.

Turkey initially cut the flow of water into Syria at the beginning of May for six days. In June, the government decreased the river flow gradually until it was stopped completely by the middle of the month.

According to a news report published by the independent Raqqa Media Centre (RMC), there are currently only three turbines working to generate electricity at the dam, instead of the usual eight, due to the low water level. The RMC also noted that the water level lake has dropped by 1.6 billion cubic metres; the report condemns Turkey for the suffering caused to the people of Raqqa. “Turkey is purposely not allowing the water to enter Syria for political reasons,” claimed the RMC report.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS), which controls Raqqa province, were also angered by Turkey’s control of the river. It issued a statement criticising the Turkish government for “cutting water to Al-Sham [Levant] prefectures.”

However, according to Abu Mohamed from Raqqa, ISIS has not expressed contempt about the issue, as the group is not concerned with the issues of the Syrian people; rather, it is concerned about maintaining control of the province. “ISIS provides water and electricity through generators for its own people,” he added, emphasising that the negative impact of extremist groups on the people of Raqqa is now compounded by Turkish control of the Euphrates.

A source close to ISIS told the pan-Arab daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi last week that the group called on the Turkish government to open the flow of the Euphrates River as a prerequisite for the release of the kidnapped Turkish consul in Iraq and his colleagues.

The Istanbul-based Syrian National Coalition, which is considered the most important opposition body, has not yet issued a comment on the dispute. “The coalition doesn’t have enough confidence to express an explicit stance on this issue,” said Ali Amin Al-Suwaid, a Syrian political analyst and a member of the General Authority of the Syrian Revolution. He explained that the coalition headquarters is based in Turkey and so it must maintain diplomatic relations with the Turkish government. “What is needed is to urge Turkey to return to the Syrian people the agreed share of the Euphrates,” he demanded.

Turkey’s decision to block the flow of the Euphrates also affects Iraq’s share, said Khaled Abu Al-Waled, a media activist from Raqqa City. “This is a flagrant violation of international water conventions,” he insisted. “No drop of the Euphrates now enters Syrian territory.”

Some villages have no safe drinking water, forcing locals to use water taken directly from the lake, despite the danger of disease.

The pro-opposition Violation Documentation Centre in Syria (VDC) also condemned Turkey’s behaviour, warning that the consequences will be negative. “This is a weird action,” said Bassam Al-Ahmad, the VDC spokesperson. He called on the Turkish government to reverse the decision. “Our demands are clear for the Turkish government to take immediate measures to stop this action.”

Historically, Turkey has been in conflict with Syria and Iraq over the control of the Euphrates. In the past, Turkey denied that the Euphrates is an international river and that Syria and Iraq had any rights over the control of the flow.

In 1994, an agreement between Syria and Turkey was registered at the United Nations to guarantee a minimum share of the water from the Euphrates to Iraq and Syria. “We can say that this measure is serving the interests of Turkey and embarrassing the Assad regime,” added Ali Amin Al-Suwaid.

Copyright Abdulrahman Al-Masri, Middle East Monitor, 2014

This article was published by Global Research on March 30, 2010.

Israel’s Mossad has regularly faked Australian passports for its spies, an ex-agent said on Thursday, as anger grew over the use of foreign travel documents for an alleged assassination.

Former Mossad case officer Victor Ostrovsky told ABC public radio that the spy agency had used Australian passports for previous operations before last month’s assassination of a top Hamas commander in Dubai that has been blamed on Israel.

He said agents had little trouble passing themselves off as Australians as few people in the Middle East have much knowledge about the country.

“Consider the fact that Australians speak English and it’s an easy cover to take, very few people know very much about Australia,” he said.

“You can tell whatever stories you want. It doesn’t take much of an accent to be an Australian or New Zealander, or an Englishman for that matter.

“And I know people had been under Australian cover not once (but) quite a few times. So why not use it (again)?”

Australia summoned the Israeli ambassador and warned that the countries’ friendly ties were at risk after Dubai police named three Australian passport-holders in a list of new suspects in the murder of Mahmud al-Mabhuh.

Britain, Ireland, France and Germany expressed similar outrage after people holding documents from their countries were also linked to the January 20 killing in a luxury Dubai hotel.

Israel has previously dismissed claims from Ostrovsky, who is now an author and has detailed various accusations against the country in his books.

He said Mossad prefers to use ”false flag” passports as Israeli papers frequently invoke suspicion in the Middle East.

“They need passports because you can’t go around with an Israeli passport, not even a forged one, and get away or get involved with people from the Arab world,” he said.

“So most of these (Mossad) operations are carried out on what’s called false flag, which means you pretend to be of another country which is less belligerent to those countries that you’re trying to recruit from.”

Ostrovsky said Mossad had a “very, very expensive research department” dedicated to manufacturing the fake documents which simulates different types of paper and ink.

“If they create a passport at a top level for use of that nature… I don’t think anybody will be able to find the difference,” he said, adding there was no chance any of the people named as suspects were Mossad agents.

“Except for James Bond, who actually pronounces or announces his arrival at the scene by saying, ‘I’m Bond, James Bond’, most people who work in the intelligence field don’t present themselves by their real name,” he said.

The Australian newspaper said Ali Kazak, a former Palestinian representative to Australia, had warned in 2004 that a Mossad agent in Sydney had obtained 25 false Australian passports.

In March 2004, two suspected Mossad agents were arrested in New Zealand and later convicted for fraudulently trying to obtain passports from the country, prompting diplomatic sanctions.

Copyright Middle East Online 2010

The US War Against Russia Is Already Underway

July 1st, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

How true is the spreading belief that President Obama has ruined US foreign policy, and how does it actually work? The Voice of Russia is discussing it with Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant secretary of the US Treasury, currently the chairman of The Institute for Political Economy.

VOR: The US media is pointing to a growing dissatisfaction with President Obama’s foreign policy, both among Republicans and Democrats.  Speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s conference in Washington Sen. Ted Cruz said “Abroad, we see our foreign policy collapsing and every region in the world is getting more and more dangerous”. According to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll has registered an increasing lack of faith in the president and his leadership, with 58 per cent of Americans disapproving of the way Obama is handling foreign policy. What is it that makes Americans unhappy? 

Paul Craig Roberts: Well, I think, perhaps, Americans are catching on to all of the lies. There are now other sources of information, other than the English-speaking Western media. And the account that the US gives, for example, of Ukraine is clearly a lie. And it takes a while before people catch on to the lies. I don’t think the majority will ever catch on, but enough will.

And then many Americans who are dissatisfied would be dissatisfied for domestic economic reasons. They would want the resources wasted on wars to be allocated to domestic needs and not used to pay for more wars. For example, the Iraq crisis has come back and there is so much talk about sending troops to the Baltics, eastern Europe in order to guard against the “Russian threat.”

So, this alarms people who’ve had no income growth, who can’t find a job, suffer from heavy debts from borrowed money to attend the universities, cut backs of unemployment compensation, the threats to the social security system, the threats to the public medical system (which is not much of a system, but still some people rely on it). So, most Americans, when they see more trouble abroad involving more wars, understand that the wars mean more economic hardship for them. The US has been in war for 13 years. It’s wasted trillions of dollars and achieved no result. And so, this is probably the main reason that people are dissatisfied, because they are suffering here for the sake of wars in which they no longer believe.

VOR: But what exactly is the rationale behind the never-ending wars?

There are several reasons that are mutually supportive. One is that the neoconservative ideology came to full power with the collapse of the Soviet Union. And this ideology says that history has chosen the US to prevail all over the world, that there is no alternative to the American political and economic system, and that this choice by history gives the US the responsibility to exercise hegemony over the entire world.

So, this is a very powerful ideology, a more powerful ideology than the US has ever before had. And it comes at a time when other ideologies are gone. The communist ideology is gone, the Marxist revolutionary movements are gone. And so, it leaves the US dominating on the ideological level.

Another reason is the military-security complex. It is an amazingly large and powerful private interest group with government elements, such as all the security agencies – the CIA, Homeland Security, FBI, the Pentagon. And it absorbs hundreds of billions of dollars, probably close to one trillion dollars annually.

And this money is very important to this interest group. Some of the taxpayers’ money is recycled, it comes back to Congress, it comes back to presidential candidates, as political campaign contributions, thus ensuring their elections and reelections. So, this is a second very strong force – a material interest that is very much benefited by wars and a threat of wars.

And the third very powerful interest group is the Israel lobby. Most of the neoconservatives are Jewish ethnics. Many of them are Israeli-US citizens. Almost all of them are closely tied to Israel. And so, the neoconservative ideology of American hegemony fits in very well with the 13 years of wars in the ME, because these wars also serve a subsidiary interest of disposing of the Arab states that are not aligned with the US and Israel, and that could serve as a check on Israeli policy or Israeli expansion in the ME.

So, these three come together, they are all mutually supportive and in many ways it is the same people. The neoconservatives are the same as the Israel lobby. The officials in the Pentagon, in the State Department, they are also neoconservatives. So, it is a very strong three-part foundation that holds together.

VOR: So, you are saying that the policy is largely defined by an Israeli lobby. But the US policies in the ME actually endanger Israel.

Yes, this is an unintended consequence of the policy. Some analysts tried to warn the neoconservatives that the borders in the ME are artificial, like the ones in Africa that were drawn up by the European colonists, principally the English and the French.

So, you have countries in which you have Shia majorities and Sunni minorities, and then you have countries in which there is a reverse, Sunni majorities and Shia minorities. And this is like the African boundaries that were drawn bringing into the same country two warring tribes, who traditionally were enemies. So, the boundaries of the states don’t make a lot of sense. The boundaries could only have been drawn by ignorant Westerners.

The Islamic confrontation between the different sects was prevented by very strong secular rulers, such as Saddam Hussein, who had a secular government, and Assad in Syria. These were secular, non-Islamic governments that kept the conflict suppressed. So, when you overthrow those governments , you release the conflict.

So, what we see happening on the part of what they are calling ISIS or ISIL is a reforming of borders. Parts of Syria and Iraq are becoming, if the Islamists succeed, a new state. Now, we don’t know whether they will be successful or not, but you can see that there is an impetus to create a life separate from the artificial one created for them by colonial imperialistic powers.

One of the reasons that the breakup of Iraq and Syria was not seen as a threat to Israel, was the Israeli and the neoconservative strategists, who reasoned – oh, this is good, if we break up these states and they are fighting internally, there won’t be any organized government to get in Israel’s way.

In place of Iraq, there will be these warring factions. In place of Syria – warring factions, just like in Libya today. And a state that has no central government is no threat to Israel. And, therefore, we favor this destruction of the political entities of these countries, because it releases us from any sort of organized government’s opposition to Israel’s theft of Palestine. Iraq no longer has a government, it has warring parties, like in Libya, like Washington is establishing in Syria.

So, this is the way the Israelis and the neoconservatives see it. They do not see the destruction of secular Muslim states as a threat, the fools see it as a destruction of a unified country, which would reduce the ability of that country to employ any sort of opposition to Israeli or American purposes.

VOR: But in that case, wouldn’t the government and governmental institutions be replaced by something like political and paramilitary organizations, which we now term as extremist groups with which we are dealing now? And wouldn’t those entities pose more threat, than individual governments? Or do those people believe that they would be able to control them somehow?

No, I don’t think they think they can control them. And yes, they do pose a threat, because they are not secular. That’s what I said. Some of us warned that this would be the outcome. But we were ignored and primarily ignored because the Israelis and the neoconservatives regarded the breakup of these countries as less threatening.

VOR: When you have been describing that neocon ideology with an idea of a global mission, doesn’t it seem strikingly similar to something like the Marxist ideology, to the communist ideology?

Yes, that’s exactly what it is. The US is chosen by history. In Marxism history chooses the proletariat. In the neoconservative ideology history chose Washington.

VOR: Does that imply that, perhaps, those two ideologies could have a common root?

No, I don’t think they have a common root, but their effect on the world is the same, because it gives the country that expresses that ideology an impetus to run over other countries and to establish itself, because it sees itself as the sole legitimate system. And in that sense, the Marxist and the neoconservative ideologies are the same, but the roots are quite different.

And I think as well, you know, the whole notion of the unipolar world, the American sole superpower, this fits the financial interests very well. I left them out of my three-part foundation that I spoke to you about, but in a way it is a four-part, because of the American financial hegemony that now exists. This financial hegemony is the reason Washington can put sanctions on countries.

If your currency is not the world currency and you don’t operate the world payment system, you can’t impose sanctions. And so, the power to impose sanctions is also a power for your financial institutions to prevail over the institutions of other countries. So, this ideology that I’m talking about also appeals to Wall Street, to the big banks, because it ensures their hegemony as well.

VOR: But in that case, I start wondering – was it an intended implication or, perhaps, unintended, again, that whatever the US has been doing for the past ten years or even more has been strengthening China, which the US seems to be identifying as its primary adversary. Now, you’ve been mentioning the financial system. The Chinese start talking about bringing their own currency into the world market as a new reserve currency. And this has been largely thanks to all those crises, which have been triggered off by the US.

What the US did that gave China its economic beginning, was to offshore the American manufacturing jobs. Industry and American manufacturing was moved offshore by the capitalists under the pressure of Wall Street in order to lower labor costs, in order to achieve higher earnings for shareholders, for Wall Street and for the managers through bonuses. And so, it was a very shortsighted policy from the standpoint of national interests, but it was in the interest of Wall Street and in the individual interests of the chief executive officers of the corporations.

Once China had the American technology and the American business knowhow, it was free of American economic predominance. And now, actually, China has a much more powerful economy, certainly in manufacturing, than the US has.

Another factor that contributed to weakening the American economic system was the rise of the high-speed Internet, because now it is possible for professional service jobs, such as engineering, software engineering, computers, any type of engineering, any type of work that does not have to be done on site, this work can be done anywhere in the world and sent in on the high-speed Internet.

This has given countries like India and China the ability to put their people into jobs that used to be filled by American university graduates. Again, it is a cost saving for the corporations, Wall Street likes it, it increases profits.

And so, this is where China’s rise came from. It was an unintended consequence of globalism. Again, some of us warned, I warned, I’ve been warning for ten or fifteen years, but they don’t listen. They say – oh, it is just free trade, we will benefit. Clearly, they were wrong, it is not free trade and we haven’t benefited.

VOR: But in that sense, does that imply that, perhaps, when we are talking about the interests of large corporations VS national interests, national interests are increasingly losing to the corporate?

In the real sense, there is no longer an American national interest. There is the interest of these powerful interest groups. And we’ve had these recent studies from scholars who have found that the American public has no input whatsoever into government decisions or into policy decisions. The conclusion of the recent study, which looked at thousands of government decisions, was that the American people have zero input into the formation of policy.

So, in terms of anything being done for the benefit of the people or the national interests in that sense, nothing is done. What is done is for the benefit of about 6 powerful interest groups. And I’ve told you about the four, which I think are the most powerful in terms of the foreign policy – the question that you raised.

So, in that sense, the US is sort of making itself vulnerable in many ways. For example, look at the economic policy. For years now, in order to support a handful of large banks the Federal Reserve is creating trillions of dollars, new dollars.

This creation of dollars devalues the existing dollars that are held by people around the world. They look and say – what are my dollar assets going to be worth, when the Federal Reserve is creating so many new dollars every year?

So, this has caused some thought about leaving the dollar as the world reserve system. When the threat to the real value of dollar denominated financial instruments comes on top of the suffering from Washington’s financial bullying of sovereign countries, the momentum grows for finding some other mechanism than the dollar as a way of settling international transactions.

And of course, the Chinese have said that it is time to de-americanize the world. And the Russians said recently that we need to de-dollarize the payment system. And so, we have this agreement with Russia and China on the large energy deal which is going to be outside the dollar payment system.

We see the BRICS, the five countries – India, China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa – and they are talking about settling their trade imbalances in their own currencies. And they are even talking about creating a bank between themselves, like an IMF or a World Bank.

So, those are the developments that come from America’s misuse of the dollar as world reserve currency. Washington uses the dollar to bully, they use it to sanction, they use it give their financial institutions hegemony over others. And over time, all of this creates animosity, worries. And then, when you add, on top of that, all the new dollars that the Federal Reserve has created since 2008, it creates a real financial worry. And so, I think, in that sense, the US has weakened its position.

VOR: But how far do you think the US might be prepared to go to protect the dollar? Or, perhaps, those interest groups are no longer interested to protect that particular currency. Perhaps, they have already taken some kind of precautions.

From the standpoint of Washington’s power, losing the world currency role would be devastating, because that’s the main basis for Washington’s power. That’s why Washington has financial hegemony, that’s why iWashington can impose sanctions on sovereign countries. So, if Washington loses this role, if the dollar ceases to be the world reserve currency, we’ll see a dramatic reduction in Washington’s power.

All of the interest groups that benefit from Washington’s power would find that a disadvantage. Of course, most of these corporations are now global or transnational. And they may have bank balances in many countries.

VOR: But still, how far is Washington prepared to go? Could it afford another war? When Saddam Hussein attempted to challenge the US Dollar back in 2000, he had to pay a price. And we all know what kind of price he did pay. Now, when China and Russia, and other countries are starting to mull the idea, what kind of risk are they running?

They are running a risk. We already know that the US has announced a pivot to Asia, reallocating 60% of the American navy to the South China Sea to control the flow of resources on which China depends. The US is contracting to build a series of new air and naval bases running from the Philippines to Vietnam in order to block China.

We have witnessed this century the US withdraw from the ABM treaty with Russia. We witnessed the US construct an ABM system and began deploying it on Russia’s borders. The purpose of an ABM is to neutralize the strategic deterrent of the other country.

We’ve seen the US change its war doctrine, nuclear weapons are no longer to be used only in retaliation to an attack. They are now a preemptive first-strike force. This is clearly directed at Russia. The Ukraine is directed at Russia. So, the war is already started, it is underway. That’s what the Ukraine is about. It is the war against Russia.

And the war against China is in preparation. The US takes the side of every country that gets into a dispute with China, even over small things that have nothing whatsoever to do with the US.

The US is surrounding both countries with military bases. The US wants to put Georgia, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin that was part of Russia for two or three hundred years, they want to put that into NATO. They are going to put Ukraine into NATO.

Washington broke all the agreements that Reagan and Gorbachev had about not taking NATO into eastern Europe. NATO is now in the Baltics. It is all across eastern Europe. The former members of the Warsaw pact are now members of NATO.

So, the war is already underway, it is clear. The US has been preparing for years. And the Russians, they must be aware of this. If they are not, they are in really deep trouble.

VOR: Can the US afford it?

Of course! Sure! The reserve currency can pay its bills by printing money. And that’s what Washington does. Washington prints the money.

VOR: But like you said, that creates a lot of risks.

Until the reserve currency role is lost, there is no limit. Recently I read that one of the advisors to Putin said that Russia needs to form some kind of alliance with other countries and bring down the dollar as the world reserve currency, that this is the only way to stop Washington’s military aggression. Of course, he is completely right. But the question is – can they organize something that quick enough that succeeds – because Europe is an American puppet state. Those European governments are not independent. They are no more independent than Hungary and Czechoslovakia and Poland were of the Soviet Communist Party. And Japan is a puppet state, it is not an independent country.

So, if you have the euro backing the dollar and you have the yen backing the dollar, that’s a fairly strong position to be in. And so, it is going to be difficult for Russia and China or whoever is interested to make inroads in any sort of a rapid way.

And yet, we can see… look what happened in Ukraine. Russia was focused on the Olympics and the US stole Ukraine. Russia was paying no attention, somehow the Sochi Olympics were more important. So, what happened – Washington reached in, stole Ukraine. Now, this is a tremendous problem for the Russian Government, for Putin, for his leadership.

Putin has asked the Russia Duma to rescind the permission to use the Russian troops in Ukraine. So, clearly, he is acting in a very restrained way. He is trying to avoid conflict. He probably realizes that the conflict will be much more dangerous to everybody than the neoconservatives in Washington think.

But the question is – will Putin be able to avoid conflict? What will Washington think? Will they think – oh, this is a very reasonable man, we can make a deal. Or will they think – look, he is scared, Russia is weak, lets’ push forward.

VOR: It is interesting! I remember that George W. Bush in an interview to the Wall Street Journal towards the end of his second term said something about Putin, which was rather surprising to hear from him. He said that Putin never failed him on any of his promises. So, the assessment was rather positive than negative.

I think that’s true. But you see, Washington’s propaganda has nothing to do with facts. There is no propaganda like Washington propaganda. Washington can control the explanation of anything. Putin can’t. Americans believe that all the trouble in Ukraine was caused by Putin, that he invaded, that he annexed, that he is behind all the trouble in southeastern Ukraine today and that it is all Russia’s fault, and that Russia is a threat, and that we have to arm ourselves against “the Russian threat.” Washington is recreating the Cold War that it had with the Soviet Union.

This is a very profitable way to supply the US military-security complex with the taxpayers’ money. And in some ways it is safer than a war, because the war in Afghanistan didn’t go well, the war in Iraq didn’t go well. But if you can have a Cold War and you don’t actually fight, you can keep it going for years, just like the Cold War with the Soviet Union. And the Cold War built the military-security complex in the US.

So, that’s at least the backup line for Washington. I’m not sure that we can rely on Washington to have the judgment not to push Washington’s takeover of Ukraine into a hot war. It seems preposterous to think that Washington would be in a hot war with China and Russia. These are two large powerful countries. They have nuclear weapons.

But a lot of preposterous things have happened. And governments often fall under the sway of their own propaganda. And clearly, somebody in Washington thinks that a nuclear war can be won, because otherwise, why would they change the war doctrine so that nuclear weapons cease to be a retaliatory force and become a first-strike weapon? Why would they build antiballistic missiles and put them on Russia’s border and on ships in the Black Sea and South China Sea.

It is clear that some people in Washington believe that the US can win a nuclear war. In fact, there was an article published several years ago in Foreign Affairs, which is the principle journal of the Council on Foreign Relations – an influential collection of strategic analysts and former government officials. And they said the US is so far ahead of Russia in nuclear weaponry, that we can very easily attack Russia and suffer no retaliation. So, you have people that think that way.

VOR: But that experiment could cost us a planet.

That’s exactly it! But look at WW I. Look how many empires it cost. It cost the Tsar — Russia and its empire. It cost the Austrian-Hungarians, it destroyed them. It destroyed the German ruling family. The war left Great Britain dependent on US financial support.

VOR: Yes, true. But there were no nuclear weapons at that time.

There is big propaganda that you can actually use nuclear weapons. I’m trying to combat that. I had recently on my site articles by various scientists pointing out that nobody wins.

VOR: I’m absolutely amazed at how the Department of State is handling its own propaganda, there is no real argumentation whatsoever. Why? Is it that they no longer care to look credible?

It is just the power. American foreign policy, how does it work? It is always based on coercion or threats, bribes. If a bribe doesn’t work, you use a threat. I mean, one of the main purposes of the NSA spying on the world is to be able to blackmail all the government leaders. And they do that very effectively. Everybody has got something they don’t want known. So, they use bribes, bags full of money. First of all, Washington buys the foreign leaders. If there is any holdout, they topple them, like Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi. There have been several in South America that they’ve simply just assassinated, because they wouldn’t obey. So, the foreign policy of the US is a policy based on force. It is not based on diplomacy or persuasion. It is based on brutal force.

What does the State Department tell people – do what we say or we will bomb you into the Stone Age. Remember? They told that to the Pakistani leader. Do what we say. Now!

So, if you have that type of attitude, it doesn’t matter whether you tell the truth or tell lies, because you are the ruler, you are the one, you are the Caesar. And what you say goes, true or false. And so, it is not important to you that it is true, because you are not working on a diplomatic level.

This is something that Putin and Lavrov – the Foreign Minister – don’t seem to understand. They keep thinking that they can work something out with Washington, if the Russian government is just reasonable enough and shows enough good will.

This is a Russian delusion. Washington has no good will.

VOR: Are there any unintended consequences to that strategy, the way you see it?

Only if people catch on and see at some point the reality–and this is what Putin is relying on. At some point, what happens in Germany and France? Will they realize and say – hey, look, the Americans are driving us into a mess. What do we gain from the American hegemony over the world? How do we gain from a conflict with Russia or China? Let’s stop this. Let’s pull out.

If some country were to pull out of NATO or pull out of the EU, then the cover up of Washington’s war crimes by “the coalition of the willing” would have dissenters. Washington has actually told the Congress that if the White House has NATO’s backing, the president doesn’t need the permission of Congress to go to war. The old quote – ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’ is attributed to Lord Acton. It is safe to conclude that Washington has been corrupted by power.

I think one unintended consequence of Washington’s brutal use of power is that it causes the NATO countries to realize that they are being driven towards a conflict by a government that is essentially insane and taking a fantastic risk with everyone’s life and with the planet.

So, perhaps, the realization by others of Washington’s danger to life is what Putin is hoping for. He is hoping that the more Russia is reasonable and not provocative, and doesn’t take provocative actions, the greater the chance that the German Government or the French Government will realize that Washington’s agenda does not serve mankind, and that Europe will take some steps to extract themselves and their countries, and their people from Washington’s control, in which case the American empire falls apart.

So, I think that’s what Putin is betting on. He is not a fool, certainly not, and he realizes the threat of a war, he can see it. And so, this is probably why he’s asked the Russian Duma to rescind the permission to use the Russian forces in Ukraine. He is trying to show the Germans, the French – look, it is not me, it is not us.

I hope he succeeds. The future of the world really depends on whether Putin’s use of diplomacy can prevail over Washington’s use of force.

Global climate change is profoundly reshaping the Arctic region, not only physically but also in international politics. Yet Arctic development is of concern to more than the Circumpolar states. The issues are global, and East Asia is no exception. Japan, South Korea and China in particular have been increasingly deepening their involvement in Arctic affairs. The evolving situation of the Arctic region could also have significant impact on political relations and the regional security architecture in East Asia, providing new opportunities for cooperation and additional sources of conflict. This paper considers security implications of the Arctic thaw to East Asia, where the structure of the regional Cold War confrontation profoundly shapes the geopolitical order to this day.

Unlike Europe, where the Cold War structure of the Yalta System was completely demolished by the early 1990s, the structure of the regional Cold War confrontation remains profoundly embedded in East Asia. It has gone through political “thaws” or détentes and other notable transformations over the years; yet the foundation of the “San Francisco System” laid in the early post-World War II years essentially continues in East Asia even to the present day. Meanwhile, rising temperatures leading to rapid thaw in the Arctic has been reshaping the world both physically and in international politics. Taking the San Francisco System as its conceptual grounding, the paper first traces notable developments of post-World War II regional political and security relations in East Asia, with particular attention to the regional conflicts including territorial disputes, considers possible impacts of the emerging Arctic thaw to the status quo, and concludes with some recommendations for the concerned states to prepare for the consequences of climate change in the security environment involving the East Asian and neighbouring Arctic states.1

THE SAN FRANCISCO SYSTEM IN POST-WORLD WAR II EAST ASIA

The Cold War structure of the post-World War II world order was often attributed to the Yalta System. This system originated from agreements over the construction of the postwar international order made at Yalta in February 1945 by the leaders of the three Allied powers (the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [USSR]). However, the San Francisco System — the postwar peace treaty between the Allied countries and Japan, signed in September 1951 in San Francisco, along with its associated political and security arrangements — largely determined the postwar regional order in East Asia and the Pacific (Hara 2007). The San Francisco System may be compared to the Euro-Atlantic’s Yalta System, in terms of the three major features of the Cold War: ideology as a fundamental value of social existence, military confrontation including security alliances, and regional conflicts as the frontiers of the Cold War confrontation.

Ideology: Ideologically, in the postwar decolonization movements, Asia was politically divided between “free world” and communist blocs, and economically divided between capitalist and socialist blocs under strong US or Soviet influence. The Cold War in Asia, however, developed somewhat differently than the bipolar Euro-Atlantic system in that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) emerged as another pole of the communist sphere.

Military and Security Alliances: The US-led post-World War II military structure in the region is called the San Francisco Alliance System. In East Asia and the Pacific, with little success in establishing large anti-communist multilateral security alliances like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United States formed a hub-and-spokes security system of separate arrangements with its regional allies.

Regional Conflicts: Regional conflicts are more characteristic of Asia than of Europe. Whereas Germany was the only divided nation in Europe, competition over spheres of influence created several Cold War frontiers in East Asia. The origin of such regional conflicts is deeply rooted in the postwar territorial dispositions of Japan, particularly the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Vast territories, extending from the Kurile Islands to Antarctica and from Micronesia to the Spratly Islands, were disposed of in the treaty. The treaty, however, specified neither their final devolution (i.e., to which state they belonged) nor their precise limits, thereby sowing the seeds of various “unresolved problems” in the region. The major regional conflicts in this region — including the territorial disputes over the Northern Territories/Southern Kuriles, Dokdo/Takeshima, Senkaku/Diaoyu, and Spratly/Nansha and Paracel/Xisha; the Cross-Taiwan Strait issue; the divided Korean Peninsula; and the so-called “Okinawa problem” — all derived from the postwar territorial dispositions of the former Japanese empire.

Strategic Ambiguity

Close examination of the Allies’ documents, particularly those of the United States (which was primarily responsible for drafting the peace treaty), reveals that some, if not all, of these problems were intentionally created or left unresolved to protect US strategic interests against the backdrop of the intensifying Cold War (Hara, 2007). During the postwar period leading up to the San Francisco Peace Conference of 1951, the United States carefully prepared the Allies’ peace settlement with Japan. Its early drafts were, as a whole, very rigid and punitive toward Japan, reflecting the spirit of the Allies cooperation. Those drafts also provided detailed and clear border demarcations specifically to prevent future territorial conflicts. However, as the Cold War intensified, particularly to the extent that it developed into a “hot” war in Korea, the peace terms changed to reflect new US strategic interests. Specifically, Japan and the Philippines had to be secured for the non-communist West and as pro-US allies in East Asia, whereas the communist states were to be contained. Accordingly, the peace treaty became “generous” and its wording “simple” — but thereby ambiguous, leaving the potential for conflicts to erupt among East Asian states. The peace treaty was the result of careful deliberations and several revisions; issues were deliberately left unresolved.

These regional conflicts — such as those noted earlier — have generally been treated as separate and unrelated issues, yet, they emerged as a result of the Japanese peace treaty, which was prepared when the US leadership seriously feared that both South Korea and Taiwan might be “lost” to, or unified by, their communist counterparts. Neither of the governments of China (PRC or ROC) nor Korea (ROK or DPRK) was invited to the peace conference. The Soviet Union participated in the peace conference but did not sign the treaty. Just as the Northern Territories/Kuriles Islands issue was left between Japan and the Soviet Union as an unresolved by-product of the Cold War, seeds of territorial disputes were left between Japan and its partial and mostly communist neighbours of “Korea” and “China” respectively.2 The San Francisco Peace Treaty also concerned the settlement of other past “history” issues, such as war crimes and reparations. These issues also remained owing to the US policy shift to a generous and ambiguous peace with Japan, or what some might call its “strategic ambiguity.” The unresolved problems, derived from the postwar disposition of Japan, continue to divide countries and people in East Asia even to this day.

COLD WAR “THAWS” AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE SAN FRANCISCO SYSTEM

During the 60 years since the San Francisco agreement, East Asia has undergone notable transformations. After alternating periods of East-West tension and the relaxation of tensions, such as the Cold War thaws of the 1950s and the 1970s, the Cold War was widely believed to have ended by the early 1990s. These changes also affected relations among neighbouring countries in East Asia, with important consequences for some lingering regional conflicts.

Cold War Thaw in the 1950s

Movement toward a thaw in East Asia began to be observed soon after Stalin’s death in 1953, with a cease-fire in the Korean War. Watershed events such as the Indochina ceasefire agreement and the US-UK­-France-USSR Geneva Conference in 1954, and the Bandung Conference in 1955 further strengthened this thawing trend. Against the backdrop of warming East-West relations, Japan and the Soviet Union began peace negotiations. In 1956, the two countries restored diplomatic relations and agreed, in a joint declaration, to the transfer of the Shikotan and the Habomai Islands to Japan following the conclusion of a peace treaty between them. However, Japan was pressed by the United States to demand the return of all four of the island groups in its so-called Northern Territories. Indeed, the United States warned that it would not return Okinawa to Japan if its claims to Kunashiri and Etorofu Islands were abandoned.

The US support for the four-island­return formula was made with full knowledge that it would be unacceptable to the Soviet Union, thus preventing Japan from achieving rapprochement with the Soviet and communist blocs. The United States feared the thaw working to the Soviet Union’s strategic advantage, and that a Japan-Soviet peace treaty would lead to the normalization of relations between Japan and communist China. Further, if Japan settled the Northern Territories dispute with the Soviet Union, there would be considerable pressure on the United States to vacate Okinawa, whose importance had significantly increased as a result of the United States’ Cold War strategy in Asia — especially during the Korean War.3

The PRC in the East Asian Cold War

In East Asia, the Cold War developed differently from the Euro-Atlantic bipolar system; rather, a tripolar system, consisting of the United States, the PRC and the USSR, emerged following the Sino-Soviet split. Communist China had been targeted by the US containment strategy since its intervention in the Korean War. With its nuclear development in 1964, China came to occupy the central position in the Asian Cold War.

Conversely, Sino-Soviet confrontations were initially confined to oral and written communications, but escalated into military clashes along the border, especially over ownership of Damansky Island on the Ussuri River in 1969. This frontier problem did not derive, and was therefore different, from those conflicts that emerged out of the postwar disposition of Japan. Nevertheless, it came to symbolize the height of Sino-Soviet tension that defined the Cold War in East Asia, setting the stage for the dramatic structural transformation during the 1970s thaw.

Thaw in the 1970s

The warming of East-West relations in the early 1970s was similar to that of the 1950s, in that peace was not necessarily achieved in an ideological sense and the relative influence of the United States was declining. Exploiting the Sino-Soviet difference, the United States took major initiatives to “break the ice” this time, with the Nixon administration entering office with normalizing relations with communist China as its top diplomatic agenda. During this period of détente, several major US allies, including Japan, opened diplomatic relations with the PRC government, which also replaced the ROC at the United Nations.

In parallel with these moves, the focus of the Sino-Japanese territorial dispute shifted to the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, where resource nationalism was accentuated by the new energy potential discovered in their vicinity. The United States returned Okinawa to Japan in 1972, realizing the previous administration’s promise, but took “no position on sovereignty” over the disputed islands4; it merely returned administrative rights to Japan. Again, the United States adopted a policy of strategic ambiguity. Leaving the dispute unsettled — by not taking sides with any disputant, and keeping the wedges between the neighbouring states — met US interests, helping to retain its military presence, particularly in Okinawa, and political influence in the region. Just as the wedge of the Northern Territories problem was set in place with the four-island-return claim between Japan and the Soviet Union during the thaw of the 1950s, the Senkaku/Diaoyu issue was another wedge left between Japan and China during the 1970s thaw.

Japan and the USSR also moved closer during this period, holding a second summit meeting in Moscow in 1971, 15 years after their first meeting in 1956. The emerging opportunity of the Siberian resource development was one of the biggest factors behind that move. However, before they reached the resolution of the territorial problem or a peace treaty, their relations began to sour, especially in 1978, with the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the PRC, incorporating an “anti-hegemony” clause directed against the USSR (at China’s insistence), and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The USSR began a buildup of forces in the Far East, including the disputed islands, which alarmed Japan. In the meantime, the unresolved problems that shared a common foundation in the San Francisco Peace Treaty continued to fester. In addition to a divided China, the newly independent countries — (South) Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei — joined the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Remaining Regional Cold War Structure

In the global thaw from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, the Cold War was widely believed to have ended. Both US-Soviet and Sino-Soviet rapprochement were achieved, and a remarkable relaxation of tension occurred in East Asia, where expectations soared for a solution to some of the most intractable frontier problems. The Sino­Soviet/Russian border negotiations, ongoing since the late 1980s, finally ended with mutual concessions in the 2000s. None of the regional conflicts that share the foundation of the San Francisco System, however, reached a fundamental settlement. In fact, compared to the Euro-Atlantic region, where the wall dividing East and West completely collapsed, the changes that took place in East Asia left fundamental divisions intact. With the exception of the demise of the Soviet Union, the region’s Cold War structure of confrontation basically continued. Today, more than 20 years later, and 60 years after San Francisco, China and Korea are still divided, with their communist or authoritarian parts still perceived as threats by their neighbours embracing alliance with the US. Accordingly, the US military presence and its associated issues such as the Okinawa military base problem continue. Whereas NATO lost its anti-communist drive when it accepted formerly communist Eastern European countries as members, there are no indications that the remaining San Francisco Alliance System will either dissolve or embrace North Korea or the PRC.

In retrospect, the term Cold War has been used largely in two ways: first to signal that confrontations between superpowers or conflicting systems are highly strained, and secondly to suggest the structure of such confrontations. The generally accepted view of the end of the Cold War in East Asia is based on the first perception. The relaxation of tension may be a necessary condition for ending the Cold War, but it is not sufficient unless accompanied by the demolition of its fundamental structure. To the extent that the fundamental structure of cold-war confrontation remains, the dramatic relaxation seen in East Asia since the late 1980s is more like the periodic thaws than the end of the Cold War per se. As the 1970s thaw rested in part upon the perceived achievement of Soviet military parity with the United States, China’s recent assertiveness in its aspiration to military strength cannot be ignored. The relaxation of tension seen in the Cold War thaws of the 1950s and the 1970s gave way to the deterioration of East-West relations. Similar phenomena have been observed in East Asia, such as US-China conflicts after the Tiananmen incident of 1989, military tensions in the Korean Peninsula and across the Taiwan Strait, the disruption of negotiations between Japan and North Korea to normalize their diplomatic relations, and political tensions involving Japan, China, and their neighbours over territorial disputes.

Deepening Interdependence in Economic and Other Relations

While countries and peoples in East Asia have been divided by politics, history and unsettled borders, they have nevertheless deepened their interdependence in economic, cultural and other relations. The economic recovery and transformation of East Asian countries for the last 60 years from the ruins of war are, in fact, remarkable. Beginning with Japan in the 1950s, followed by the so-called newly industrializing economies (NIES) in the 1970s and 1980s, and now with China’s rise, East Asia (with the exception of North Korea) has become the most expansive centre in the world economy. Economy is indeed the glue connecting the regional states.

Economic-driven multilateral cooperation and institution building developed notably in East Asia with the creation of multiple institutions, especially in the 1990s and the 2000s. This also paved the way for confidence-building measures (CBMs) among neighbouring states. Since the 1990s, progress in CBMs at both governmental and non-governmental levels constitutes a leap beyond the Cold War era, particularly in non-traditional security areas such as the environment, food, energy, terrorism and natural disasters. Nevertheless, in contrast to their deeply intertwined economies, the depth of institutional integration pales compared with that of Europe. While the European Community of the Cold War era has long since evolved into the European Union, even the idea of an “East Asian Community” (not an “East Asian Union”) is still a future aspiration. As yet, the East Asian countries do not have relationships of sufficient mutual trust. Their countries and peoples are strongly connected economically, but they remain divided politically, and are still in dispute over unresolved problems, notably those over territorial sovereignty and borders but also over historical memory issues that have proven similarly intractable (Hara 2012).

THE ARCTIC THAW:

POLITICAL AND SECURITY IMPLICATIONS

In the latter half of the twentieth century, the dramatic changes of the global political and security environment, such as the Cold War and its thaws, did not bypass East Asia. In the twenty-first century, the Arctic thaw is now reshaping the world both physically and in international politics. This section considers emerging and possible impacts of this Arctic thaw to the status quo in East Asia.

The Evolving Situation in the Arctic and East Asia

Global climate change is profoundly reshaping the Arctic region today, generating heated discussions on issues such as new marine transportation routes, resource development, border disputes and the environment. With the emerging new northern sea passages (the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage), the Arctic thaw is opening new opportunities to East Asian states. These northern transportation routes can significantly shorten the shipping distance from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Europe or the east coast of North America to East Asia, making possible reductions in shipping time, fuel costs and CO2 emissions.

Navigational safety could be yet another advantage. The existing maritime transportation route from Europe and the Middle East through the Suez Canal is not always safe, due to uneasy political conditions in the Middle East and piracy en route, especially near Somalia. The northern routes are, therefore, becoming attractive alternatives to East Asian states. Resource development and shipping from the Arctic region to Asia using the passage are becoming realistic as well. With the advancement of technology, resource development in the extremely cold Arctic environment (which used to be impossible) and transporting resources to Asia and other regions are becoming possibilities. Actual production is already underway in some coastal areas (see Figure 1). Melting ice in the Arctic is also an expanding fishing ground.

Figure 1: Resources in the ArcticThe map shows the main sites of gas and oil production, including infrastructure, mining and sea ice extent in the Arctic. Source: Nordregio, 2013. (Designer/Cartographer: Johanna Roto and José Sterling)

 

 

Major East Asian states — particularly the PRC, Japan and South Korea — are becoming increasingly interested in the evolving Arctic region. China is a growing economic giant, now the second largest economic power, surpassing Japan’s GDP in 2011. With the world’s largest population, it is also the world’s largest energy consumer, surpassing the United States. Following the March 2011 Fukushima disaster, Japan is reducing its dependency on nuclear power, expanding imports of oil and gas in the short run while by seeking alternative energy supplies. It is also seeking new transportation routes to boost trade as well as resource access. South Korea, which has a strong shipping industry, is also interested in the evolving Arctic situation. In fact, as non-Arctic states, the PRC, Japan, South Korea, the Taiwan (ROC) and even North Korea, would all potentially benefit quite significantly from shorter shipping routes and possible access to alternative energy sources and new fishing grounds. They also share environmental and scientific concerns in the Arctic region, as well.

New Opportunities for Cooperation and Reconciliation

If the Arctic thaw continues, as many scientists and media reports predict, the region’s geo-economic and strategic importance to East Asia will further increase and might also provide new opportunities for cooperation, competition, and confrontation among East Asian nations and other powers. By opening new shipping routes across the Arctic, marine traffic and trade volume from Europe and North America to East Asia and further down to Southeast Asia would increase. Associated economic effects, such as invigorating shipbuilding and its related industries, hub ports and coastal cities, could also be expected, thus further energizing the East Asian economy. The East Asian seas could then become vital marine passages. While this has a potential to intensify competition and conflict among East Asian states seeking to protect their respective sea lanes, cooperation among the neighbours could become more important and necessary to secure the safe passage of their ships cruising and engaging in commercial activities in this region, and establish stability in regional security environment.

The increased Arctic Passage marine transportation to Asia would also increase marine traffic near the disputed islands (Northern Territories/Southern Kuriles, Dokdo/Takeshima, Senkaku/Diaoyu, and Spratlys and Paracels) located in the sea lanes connecting the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan (East Sea), the East China Sea, and the South China Sea. This might motivate the concerned states to effectively manage and even to reach some settlement in their territorial and maritime border disputes.

Figure 2: Major Sea Lanes Connecting the Arctic and East Asia, and the Disputed Territories

Among the territorial and maritime border problems in East Asia, the evolving situation in the Arctic is likely to result in the largest impact on the Northern Territories/Sothern Kuriles problem between Japan and Russia. In recent years, Russia has successfully negotiated boundary demarcations with many of its neighbours, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been sending positive signals for resolving the territorial problems with Japan since his first presidency in the 2000s. The evolving situation in the Arctic may provide Japan further incentives to settle this territorial problem.

Japan’s negotiating position with Russia over the territorial issue has been reversed over the past two decades. In the early 1990s, with Russia still facing the economic and financial crisis inherited from the collapsed Soviet Union, Japan’s attitude, as the then second-largest economic power, can be described as rather condescending. Japan assumed that Russia was in desperate need of its economic assistance, and thus linked its economic aid to the territorial dispute, which eventually invited criticism even from its Western allies. One major criticism came from former US President Richard Nixon, who condemned Japan for “conditioning aid on Russia’s return of four tiny northern islands” (Nixon, 1993). Now, however, the inverse is true, as Russia is a resource-rich capitalist country and the world’s foremost oil-producing country. It is the biggest Arctic nation, and is active in resource development and production in the Arctic Circle. While Russia has regained its power and influence with the leverage of its rich resources, Japan has been in decline in its negotiating position since the collapse of the “bubble economy,” followed by the “lost decade” and the Fukushima disaster.

The opening of the Arctic Sea is one factor making Russia a very attractive neighbour to Japan. A report produced by Japan’s Ocean Policy Research Foundation (OPRF) proposes “measures which Japan should take immediately towards sustainable use of the Arctic Ocean,” and states that “Russia is the largest coastal country of the Arctic Ocean, and most of the Arctic-related matters in which Japan has interests involve Russia.” Further, while the report acknowledges that “there is a difficult problem in the Japan-Russia relationship,” it urges the Japanese government to work with Russia to deal with evolving Arctic problems (OPRF 2012). Japan’s present Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s administration appears to have been positively exploring points of compromise on the territorial issue with Russia. In April 2013, for example, Abe agreed with Putin to revive the island negotiations by increasing government contact, including reciprocal visits by the leaders and their foreign ministers.5 However, as past experience has proven, thaws and the potential for resources may not be enough to resolve the nations’ territorial disputes. In fact, their bilateral negotiations have stagnated in the complex international politics surrounding Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the crisis in Ukraine in 2014.

Japan’s relations with South Korea and China also deteriorated over the island disputes in 2005, and again in 2012-2014. Yet, all of these countries have track records of advancing their relations while shelving the territorial as well as historical memory disputes. As noted earlier, the economy is the glue connecting regional states. Once policy priority shifts to the economy or other common areas of interest, further cooperation and development may be possible in the areas surrounding the disputed islands. Russia has signed a historic 30-year gas supply deal with China in 2014, which may possibly pave its way for more energy cooperation with Korea and Japan as well. Russia and China have in fact been invigorating their cooperative investment and development in various areas, including the Rason Special Economic Zone and its Rajin port facing the Sea of Japan (East Sea) in North Korea since 2011, showing a potential to revive the early 1990s regional cooperation involving North Korea (Sankei News 2012; NNN News 24 2013). This move may be further facilitated by the opening of an operative shipping route in the Arctic.

The situation surrounding the nuclear development of North Korea has been one of the most destabilizing factors in the region. Instead of isolating and driving North Korea into a corner where there is no other option but further developing weapons of mass destruction — which would only serve to heighten military tensions — peaceful coexistence or stability of the region may be sought by engaging it and exploring and expanding areas of cooperation.

Cooperation Framework

Finding ways for East Asian neighbours to work together has the potential to create a genuine win-win situation for the states concerned. Some arrangements or governance cooperation may be possible to establish stable regional order in the areas where disputed islands and other flashpoints are. This could also be connected to development of the 2002 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, where China confronts its neighbours over the Spratlys and Paracel islands.

Most states have defence programs in order to be prepared for the contingency or development of undesirable security situations. The US military presence is indispensable for its regional allies and also contributes to regional security. This situation seems destined to continue for the foreseeable future. Existing security arrangements that can be applied to the areas covering East Asia and the Arctic include the US hub-and-spokes (i.e., San Francisco) alliance system in the Asia-Pacific and NATO in the Euro-Atlantic. While these systems can be collectively seen as security assurance for allied members, they can also serve as containment networks targeting non-members, specifically Russia, China and North Korea. However, there are other multilateral dialogue frameworks, including some or all of those countries, such as the Six-Party Talks, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the East Asian Summit.

Engagement in Arctic affairs is an emerging common interest among East Asian states and could be a new area of cooperation among them; however, states appear to be in a competing mode, as each country has been independently seeking its own way of engaging in Arctic affairs. Now that the PRC, Japan and South Korea are all Permanent Observers of the Arctic Council (since May 2013), a unified strategy may become their mutual interest. It seems worth investigating the possibility of establishing a new cooperative framework, combining the existing PRC-Japan-South Korea trilateral framework and the neighbouring three Arctic powers of Russia, the United States and Canada, or a similar framework with North Korea (i.e., the existing Six-Party Talks plus Canada). Canada, Russia and the United States have extensive commitments and long histories of engagement in the Arctic. These are the major Arctic nations with gateways to the Pacific, and also have long histories of engagement in East Asia. The combination of their northern responsibilities, geography and engagement in East Asia, and East Asia’s growing interest in the Arctic, make nations of both regions key players in determining the future direction of governance and development in the region.

The vulnerable character of maritime security makes it necessary to establish a practice of following and making common rules. That all the concerned states become signatories of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) will be a very important base to solve disputes. In this sense, the participation of the United States, which has not yet ratified UNCLOS, will be an important step.

From Thaw to the Next Cold War?

Whereas there may be good potential for cooperation among East Asian states in areas such as the development of resource and northern passages, there may also be a danger that tensions among the regional countries may increase, especially in the disputed areas. As seen in the past, similar tensions may rise again from the remaining structures of Cold War confrontation, where relations among neighbours, including their territorial problems, may be involved in a new power game. The Arctic thaw may become a new factor. As noted earlier, during previous periods of warming of East-West relations, the United States did not necessarily facilitate reconciliation or clear settlement of the territorial problems between Japan and its neighbours for reasons of realpolitik. Continued conflicts may still be seen by policymakers in Washington as meeting US interests, as long as they are manageable and do not escalate into a large-scale war. Although an accommodation between Japan and its neighbours is preferable for regional stability, it may not be viewed as beneficial to US interests if it is perceived as likely to reduce or exclude US influence. “Manageable instability” actually helps justify the continued substantial US military presence in the region, not only enabling the United States to maintain its regional influence, but also contributing to operations farther afield, such as in the Middle East and, in the future, possibly the Arctic.

The United States has redirected its strategic focus toward the Asia-Pacific in recent years. It is stepping up its naval presence in the Pacific by shifting the bulk of its naval fleet from the Atlantic as part of the so-called Asia “rebalancing” initiative. On June 2, 2012, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that “By 2020 the Navy will reposture its forces from today’s roughly 50-50 split from the Pacific and Atlantic to a 60-40 split in those oceans” (cited in Neisloss 2012). This includes a troop deployment in Darwin, Australia and military engagement with the Philippines and other ASEAN countries in the South China Sea. Many have explained this shift as counterbalancing China in the Asia-Pacific. However, it may also serve as a possible measure directed to its future defence of the north Pacific and the Arctic. The premise of conventional strategy — that the Arctic Ocean is frozen and the cruise of a naval fleet is impossible — now appears to be collapsing. There is a possibility that the Arctic may serve as a stage of military operation or become an arena of the marine power balance game.

In recent years, Russia has become active in its military activities in the Arctic Ocean, protecting its rights to seabed resources, controlling the Northeast Passage to prevent foreign intervention, and defending the sea lane to East Asia (OPRF 2012). A statement of principles, approved by then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2008, regards the Arctic as a strategic resource base of primary importance to Russia. Foreseeing the possible rise of tensions developing into military conflict, the document prescribes “building groupings of conventional forces in the Arctic zone capable of providing military security in different military­political conditions” (Rossiyskaya Gazeta 2009).

Artur Chilingarov, head of Russian expedition to the Arctic-2007, shows picture of Russian flag in the seabed below the North Pole in August 2007.

The Southern Kuriles/Northern Territories, located in the northern limit of the ice-free passage and at an important gateway to the Pacific Ocean, were once considered to have vital strategic importance, especially in the late 1970s and 1980s, when the Sea of Okhotsk became a bastion for Soviet missile firing of nuclear-powered submarines.6 As the southern limit of the ice-free passage moves north due to global warming, these disputed territories might become less important in this sense, but their strategic value might increase in another. For the purpose of basing the coast guard to protect sea lanes, port and military facilities may be strengthened or established. Japan is located in such a way as to block the advance of its neighbouring states—China, Russia and Korea—to the Pacific Ocean. In 1950, then US Secretary of State Dean Acheson announced the US Cold War defence perimeter to confront communism in the western Pacific, running along the Aleutians to Japan and then to the Philippines, which came to be known as “Acheson Line”. Now, China, having successfully demarcated its long northern border with Russia, has shifted the focus of its border defence to its ocean frontiers. It is no coincidence that the “First Island Chain” in the present Chinese defence doctrine overlaps with the Acheson Line.7

According to the OPRF (2012), “If melting ice progresses in the Arctic Ocean and the power game over the naval supremacy of the Arctic Ocean aggravates, along with the US military deployment, operation of the Marine Self Defense Force of Japan would also be affected, e.g. in dealing with the Chinese navy, the Russian Far East fleet near Hokkaido and surrounding ocean area of the Kurile islands.” This could mean that the importance of Japan in the US-Asia strategy, and the strategic importance of the Northern Territories and other disputed territories might increase. Thus, there is a possibility that the new security climate change created by the Arctic thaw may re-intensify the remaining structure of Cold War confrontation. Accordingly, the resolution of territorial problems may become yet more difficult.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The Cold War thaws provided opportunities for settling territorial problems and political rapprochement among East Asian neighbours. However, those chances were lost and no definitive settlements have been reached. Divisions in East Asia continue, as does the San Francisco System. Although the system has gone through notable transformations, with the structural foundation for its predominance still in place, the United States continues to hold the most important key to future direction of the political and security order in the region.

The Arctic thaw is likely to provide new opportunities for regional and intra-regional cooperation, as well as additional sources of conflict. Whereas the Arctic thaw and the opening of the northern sea routes might further stimulate the regional economy — especially in trade and associated industries in East Asia — they would also pose additional challenges in the security environment, especially in the defence of sea lanes from the Arctic to East Asia. Regional and intra-regional security may become a comprehensive concept covering multi-layered areas including the traditional, non-traditional, economic and energy security. The East Asian states (especially China, Japan and South Korea), the Pacific-Arctic states (the United States, Canada and Russia) are key players capable of contributing to regional and intra-regional security and stability. Although there are differences among them, these states all share broad areas of interests and cooperation.

Just as Cold War thaws did not lead to the collapse of the San Francisco System, the Arctic thaw alone may not be enough to bring fundamental change to the continuing structure of confrontation in East Asia. However, the promotion of CBMs in wide-ranging areas can contribute to expanding common interests and cooperation in regional and inter-regional security, as well as preventing misunderstandings and confrontations. To prepare for the possible changes that climate change may bring to the Arctic’s security environment, there are several measures and adjustments which the concerned states can take:

  • The vulnerable character of maritime security makes it necessary to establish common rules. That all concerned become signatories of the UNCLOS would be a very important base to solve disputes according to rule of law. The United States should ratify the UNCLOS.
  • In order to prevent a dangerous situation, such as an accidental military clash and escalation of conflicts thereafter, the concerned governments should build a system of governance cooperation, which would include arrangements of hotlines, regular diplomatic and defence/strategic dialogues, and joint exercises.
  • In addition to existing bilateral and multilateral frameworks, it is worth investigating a new multilateral framework involving coastal states ranging from the Arctic to East Asia, including Canada, the United States, Russia, Japan, China, South Korea and possibly North Korea.
  • The academic, NGO, and intellectual community can play a useful role in providing knowledge and ideas to concerned governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations and other international organizations. From the viewpoint of contributing to the prosperity and stability of the East Asia-Arctic region, further investigation of the topics covered East Asia-Arctic Relations: Boundary, Security and International Politics, should continue.

This paper, originally presented in March 2013 at a conference in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, is a slightly revised version of the author’s chapter that appears in a volume entitled East Asia-Arctic Relations: Boundary, Security and International Politics (Kimie Hara and Ken Coates eds., CIGI, 2014).

Kimie Hara(email) is the Director of East Asian Studies at Renison University College, the Renison Research Professor and a management team member of the Japan Futures Initiativeat the University of Waterloo (Canada), and an Asia-Pacific Journal associate. Her books include Northern Territories, Asia-Pacific Regional Conflicts and the Aland Experience: Untying the Kurillian Knot (with Geoffrey Jukes), “Zaigai” nihonjin kenkyusha ga mita nihon gaiko (Japanese Diplomacy through the Eyes of Japanese Scholars Overseas), Cold War Frontiers in the Asia-Pacific: Divided Territories in the San Francisco System and Japanese-Soviet/Russian Relations since 1945: A Difficult Peace.

Recommended citation: Kimie Hara, “From Cold War Thaws to the Arctic Thaw: The Changing Arctic and Its Security Implications for East Asia”, The Asia-Pacific Journal: Vol. 11, Issue 26, No. 3, June 30, 2014.

Related articles

•Lin Man-houng, Taiwan and the Ryukyus (Okinawa) in Asia-Pacific Multilateral Relations – a Long-term Historical Perspective on Territorial Claims and Conflicts

•John W. Dower, The San Francisco System: Past, Present, Future in U.S.-Japan-China Relations

•Yabuki Susumu with an introduction by Mark Selden, The Origins of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dispute between China, Taiwan and Japan

•Kimie Hara, The San Francisco Peace Treaty and Frontier Problems in the Regional Order in East Asia: A Sixty Year Perspective

•David Spratt, David Spratt, The Big Melt. Lesson From the Arctic Summer of 2007

Works Cited

Hara, Kimie. 2007. Cold War Frontiers in the Asia-Pacific: Divided Territories in the San Francisco System. London: Routledge.

———. 2012. “The San Francisco Peace Treaty and Frontier Problems in the Regional Order in East Asia A Sixty Year Perspective.” The Asia-Pacific Journal 10 (17).

Jukes, Geoffrey. 1993. “Russia’s Military and the Northern Territories Issue.” Strategic & Defence Studies Centre Working Paper No.277.

———. 2009. “Can the Southern Kuriles be Demilitarized?” In Northern Territories, Asia-Pacific Regional Conflicts and the Aland Experience: Untying the Kurillian Knot, edited by Kimie Hara and Geoffrey Jukes. 62–82. London: Routledge.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 2014. “Japan-Russia Relations.”

Neisloss, Liz. 2012. “U.S. Defense Secretary Announces New Strategy with Asia.” CNN, June 2.

Nixon, Richard. 1993. “Clinton’s Greatest Challenge.” The New York Times, March 5.

NNN News 24. 2013. “Speculation Match of Two Railway Connecting the North Korea and Russia.” [In Japanese.]. November 29.

Nordregio. 2013. “Resources in the Arctic.” OPRF. 2012. “The Measures that Japan Should Take Immediately Towards the Sustainable Use of the Arctic Ocean.” [In Japanese.] March.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 2009. “Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic up to 2020 and Beyond.” [In Russian.] Rossiyskaya Gazeta, March 27.

Sankei News. 2012. Hokkyokukai Kiho (“Seasonal Report of the Arctic Ocean”). [In Japanese.] No.14, June-August.

USA. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations, Okinawa Reversion Treaty: Hearings Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, 92d Congress, 1st Session, on Ex. J.92-1. The Agreement Between the U.S.A. and Japan Concerning the Ryukyn Islands and the Daito Islands. Oc. 27, 28 and 29, 1971, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1971.

Notes

1 This paper builds in part on the author’s earlier research and publication on the San Francisco System, and accordingly contains some overlapping content. See Hara (2007) and (2012).

2 The territorial dispute between Japan and China was originally over Okinawa. Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China (ROC) was demanding Okinawa’s “recovery” to China in the early post World War II years.

3 See Hara (2007), particularly chapters 4 and 7.

4 Okinawa Reversion Treaty Hearings, p.91.

5 For recent developments concerning Japan’s relations with Russia, see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan webpage (2014).

6 For an excellent analysis on Russia’s military and the strategic importance of the disputed territories, see Jukes (1993) and (2009, 62–82).

7 “The Second Island Chain,” running from the Japanese archipelago to the south along the Bonin and Northern Mariana Islands and along the western edge of Micronesia, which used to be called Nanpo Shoto and Nanyo respectively during the period of Japanese control, overlaps with the US defence line of the early post World World II (pre-Cold War) years, i.e. when the US still considered Japan as an enemy, based on which the US postwar defense strategy was being formulated. For details, See Hara (2007), particularly chapter 4

The European Union sees a new deadline on implementing economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis expire today, June 30, 2014. But Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is turning the tables on the United States to spur a global ‘de-dollarisation’, writes Professor Stefan Hedlund.

Russia is making a concerted attack on the status of the America’s greenback dollar as a global reserve currency and is in the process of abandoning the ‘petro-dollar’ as its trading unit for oil and gas.

Russian energy companies have been told to ditch the dollar and sign contracts in rubles and the currencies of partner-countries.

The desire to reduce the use of dollars is in line with China’s aim to promote international use of the Chinese yuan. Other emerging market nations would also like to see reduced American hegemony.

An attack by Russia on the US dollar would be devastating and could, in theory, trigger a stock market collapse in the United States. However, the status of the greenback as global reserve currency is not yet under serious threat, for the simple reason that the alternatives are worse. But the Russian attack may prod the global economy to take a further step on the road to a system without a designated reserve currency.

If Central Banks across the world were to sell off their holdings of US government bonds, then the US economy would be flooded with dollars, causing the currency to plummet, inflation to spike and interest rates to skyrocket.

The consequent rise in the cost of financing government debt would be monstrous, and having to return to fiscal balance would force the closure of so many social spending programmes that there would be rioting in the streets.

It is unlikely this will happen, but it does provide a sobering background to the game Russia is playing, and what may eventually happen if Washington persists in refusing to get its own house in order.

Over the past few decades, the world has become so used to viewing the greenback as the ‘natural’ global reserve currency that warnings about a possible end to this way of cheaply financing the US deficit have been routinely shrugged off. Measures to prepare for a declining role of the greenback are not being implemented.

In the aftermath of the subprime mortgage crisis which triggered the recession in 2008, and the humiliating 2011 downgrade of the US sovereign credit rating, warning voices have begun to question how long this can go on. Those who are the biggest holders of US debt, mainly the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), have begun looking for ways to move away from the dollar.

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has been addicted to US dollars. During the turbulent 1990s, the greenback all but replaced the collapsing ruble offering both a means of exchange and a store of value. With the spike in oil prices which began in 2001, the Russian Central Bank has been able to stabilise the currency, and the role of the dollar has receded.

But the Russian economy remains heavily intertwined with dollar circulation, ranging from large holdings of dollars in foreign exchange (forex) reserves, to banks and enterprises indebted in dollars, to substantial offshore holdings in dollars, and above all to energy exports being traded in dollars. When threats of economic sanctions were made by the West, the Kremlin felt truly vulnerable. And it has moved to reduce this vulnerability.

Russian banking and energy experts have discussed with government officials ways to eliminate the dollar from export operations. Economy minister Alexei Ulyukaev, has called on Russian energy companies to be ‘braver in signing contracts in rubles and the currencies of the partner-countries’.

There has been talk of introducing a ‘currency switch executive order’, whereby companies could be compelled to transact a percentage of their operations in, say, Russian rubles or Chinese yuans.

Rosneft has concluded a ‘goods-for-oil’ swap with Iran which provides 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day to sell on global markets. And Gazprom’s recent US$400 billion gas deal with China is viewed by both sides as a way of moving away from US dollar domination.

What will save the greenback for some time to come is that the alternatives are not good. A functioning global reserve currency has to be both liquid and ‘deep’, i.e. it must be possible to sell quickly and in large amounts without significant impact on price. Despite the gross mismanagement of the US economy, the US dollar still fits that bill. The euro has fallen far short of initial grand visions, but remains a second best. Neither sterling nor yen come close.

Stefan Hedlund is Professor and Research Director at the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, at Uppsala University, Sweden. He trained as an economist and has specialised in Russian …

Assigning blame for climate change that will happen with or without human activity on Earth constitutes a disingenuous discourse.

The climate changes, and nearly everything on Earth and beyond it effects that change.

From geological processes to biological evolution, to changes in the sun’s output, to yes, even human activity – absolutely everything has an impact on the climate for better or for worse.

The climate has been in a constant, linear state of change, long before human beings evolved, and even throughout the relatively short period of time humans have inhabited the Earth. This continuous change may have within it temporary cycles, but at no two points in Earth’s natural history has the climate been the same.

Image: Global warming in Antarctica, 65 millions years BC.

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65 million years ago, there were no ice caps. CO2 and temperatures were much higher than they are today, and Antarctica was covered with thriving temperate forests inhabited by dinosaurs. In an opposite and more recent extreme, our ancient ancestors struggled through a global ice age. Today, we live on a planet much warmer than inhabited by our cave-dwelling ancestors, but much cooler than anything the dinosaurs experienced.

Climate change happened, and is happening now. And even with the complete negating of all human activity on Earth, it will continue to change. This does not absolve humanity from addressing its impact on the environment. Quite the contrary. However it gives us a crucial imperative currently being ignored by policy makers and activists alike.

All the carbon credits, electric cars, and solar panels in the world will do nothing to prevent potentially hazardous climate change, natural or man-made. Tinkering with the climate through “geoengineering” could result in a catastrophic extinction-event unlike anything experienced in natural history. While human activity negatively impacting the climate should be addressed, measures must be taken to confront climate change that will come no matter what we do within the current false discourse now taking place.What’s Suggested and Why it Won’t Work

At the very center of this false discourse lies the most ridiculous of all suggestions, “carbon credits.” It is the modern equivalent of trying to clean New York City’s 19th century streets of horse manure by taxing it. Horse manure disappeared from New York’s streets when the car was invented. To eliminate the negative health, sociopolitical, and environmental impact of petroleum fueled cars, yet another novel innovation must be invented. Electric cars charged with renewable sources of energy would be a good start. The move to ahydrogen-based economy may be another worthwhile pursuit.

To eliminate CO2 and other emissions from power plants and factories, likewise, innovations must be made.And while these measures are welcomed, even with clean cars and renewable clean energy, climate change driven by other forces, both on Earth and beyond, and many of which are beyond our means to change or safely manipulate, will still continue. Carbon credits is an outright scam. Alternative forms of transportation and energy production are absolute necessities but will not stop natural climate change. But within the current false discourse, even these crucial necessities are not being approached with any serious focus, with schemes like carbon credits, progress-stunting resource rationing, and neo-eugenic population control taking center stage.

What Needs to Be Done 

Mitigating the impact of human activity on the planet, not only in terms of atmospheric conditions and composition, but in all terms including polluting our water and soil, and corrupting the genomes of plant and animal species through the proliferation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), must be addressed not politically but pragmatically. If governments cannot think of a particular technical solution to address each and every way modern society negatively impacts the environment, it should be investing in scientific, technological, and design-oriented education to produce a population of problem solvers that can devise appropriate and pragmatic solutions themselves.

It was the industrial revolution and a population capable of creating, inventing, and innovating during the 19th and 20th century that created solutions to the many health and environmental hazards that existed at the time. Of course, new hazards were created in the process. Why now do people believe that anything other than continued innovation can be used to solve these new problems? Technological progress and investment in all that drives it, should be the top priority of anyone genuinely concerned about climate change.

Image: Future agriculture taking place within an enclosed, protected, optimized environment allows food production to continue no matter what  the climate outside is doing.

However, even with our impact on the environment completely negated through technological innovation, climate change will continue regardless – just as it had long before humanity came into being.For humanity and the species it coinhabits the Earth with to survive inevitable climate change, we must build infrastructure and economies that are independent and immune from the climate no matter what it does.

Our cities, farms, homes, businesses, and even sanctuaries for ecosystems we seek to preserve must be designed and engineered to take whatever is going on outside, and make it work with what we need to survive and thrive on the inside.Urban and rural agriculture that takes place within self-contained systems that can conserve and reuse resources, including water and soil nutrients, as well as control atmospheric conditions for optimal growing environments – immense high-tech greenhouses in other words – could protect our crops from global heating or cooling. Architecture that is modular, flexible, mobile, and adaptable could adjust to sea levels, filling in space where land is exposed, or moved to higher grounds when land disappears. Cities and agricultural systems that float upon the sea would make rising and falling sea levels more or less irrelevant

Image: The ultimate expression of environmental mastery is constructing  ecosystems and civilizations where they naturally could not exist. Humanity has already permanently inhabited orbit in the form of the International Space Station for over a decade, we must simply take the  next step.

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And perhaps the ultimate expression of environmental mastery would be creating habitable ecosystems where none could ever exist naturally – beneath the waves, underground, or even in orbit above Earth. Environmental mastery of this level should be the ultimate goal of governments, organizations, and activists around the world who seek to preserve both our ecosystems and our civilization.

 Such a future is the realm of science fiction, but a future that does not look upward and outward, is not a future worth striving toward.

In the interim, there are already people experimenting and moving forward alternative models of decentralized high-tech agricultural, energy, and architectural solutions that will make weathering climate change more manageable. Perhaps the decentralized but collaborative nature technological progress is taking through local hackerspaces, urban agriculture, and cooperatives could create solutions far quicker and without the political baggage and meddling special interests impeding progress on national and international scales.For those frustrated by the lack of pragmatic solutions for issues such a climate change, genetic pollution, or the poisoning of our air, water, and soil, starting projects at your local hackerspace to create or improve technology to protect your food supply, energy, water, and air could be the beginning of a real environmental movement that actually solves problems rather than perpetually complain and argue about them.

Geoengineering and the “Moonraker Scenario” 

The other option is one of anti-human regression – where faux-environmentalists who harbor misanthropic hatred for humanity demand all progress stop, energy production be reduced, and instead of finding better alternatives to do more with less, demand that all do as little as possible with as little as possible. Such a mentality is at best putting human progress into “sleep mode.” At worst, it threatens our very survival, which has since the dawn of history itself, depended on exploration, innovation, and the ability to conquer adversity rather than surrender to it.Those like White House science adviser, John P. Holdren who suggests the planet be scoured of its populous human inhabitants, now toys with the idea of geoengineering, or extreme global climate manipulation. The likelihood that people like Holdren seek to do so for the continued progress of humanity, rather than to fulfill long desired “depopulation” is slim to none. The chances that people like Holdren seek to “accidentally” plunge the planet into conditions that devastate agriculture and starve hundreds of millions, or even billions to death, are somewhat greater.This would be the “Moonraker scenario” – referencing the 1979  James Bond movie Moonraker.

In the film, a deranged industrialist conspires to wipe out humanity and in the ruins repopulate it with what he perceives to be a “master race.” While a science fiction thriller, the movie reflects the darkest desires of tyrants throughout the ages – to erase what exists and build an empire of their own designs in its place. As human nature itself does not change, neither have the aspects of human nature that drive such dark desires. From the intentional and reckless genetic pollution perpetrated by huge agricultural and biotech monopolies through the proliferation of GMOs, to attempts to surveil, control, and even manipulate public perception, to the sabotaged false discourse regarding climate change itself and the consideration of geoengineering – it appears attempts to overwrite the planet’s climate, population, and culture is already underway, either by design or self-destructive ignorance.By exiting the false discourse on climate change – and other false discourses – and demanding and participating in pragmatic, technological progress, we can protect ourselves as much from the effects of inevitable natural climate change as we can from the delusions and designs of megalomaniacs.

An educated, informed, and technologically literate population has the ability to create a technologically driven future that serves the population’s best interests. Anything less leaves us at the mercy of an unpredictable elite that history has already many times warned us about.

War is Our Business and Business Looks Good

July 1st, 2014 by Edward S. Herman

It is enlightening to see how pugnacious the U.S. establishment, led by the Peace Laureate, has been in dealing with the Ukraine crisis. The crisis arguably began when the Yanukovich government rejected an EU bailout program in favor of one offered by Russia.

The mainstream media (MSM) have virtually suppressed the fact that the EU proposal was not only less generous than the one offered by Russia, but that whereas the Russian plan did not preclude further Ukrainian deals with the EU, the EU plan would have required a cut-off of further Russian arrangements. And whereas the Russian deal had no military clauses, that of the EU required that Ukraine affiliate with NATO. Insofar as the MSM dealt with this set of offers they not only suppressed the exclusionary and militarized character of the EU offer, they tended to view the Russian deal as an improper use of economic leverage, “bludgeoning,” but the EU proposal was “constructive and reasonable” (Ed., NYT, Nov. 20, 2014). Double standards seem to be fully internalized within the U.S. establishment.

The protests that ensued in Ukraine were surely based in part on real grievances against a corrupt government, but they were also pushed along by rightwing groups and by U.S. and allied encouragement and support that increasingly had an anti-Russian and pro-accelerated-regime-change flavor. They also increased in level of violence. The sniper killings of police and protesters in Maidan on February 21, 2014 brought the crisis to a new head. This violence overlapped with and eventually terminated a negotiated settlement of the struggle brokered by EU members that would have ended the violence, created an interim government and required elections by December. The accelerated violence ended this transitional plan, which was replaced by a coup takeover, along with the forced flight of Victor Yanukovich.

There is credible evidence that the sniper shootings of both protesters and police were carried out by a segment of the protesters in a false-flag operation that worked exceedingly well, “government” violence serving as one ground for the ouster of Yanukovich. Most telling was the intercepted phone message between Estonia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet and EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Upton in which Paet regretfully reported compelling evidence that the shots killing both police and protesters came from a segment of the protesters. This account was almost entirely suppressed in the MSM; for example, the New York Times never mentioned it once through the following two months. It is also enlightening that the protesters at Maidan were never called “militants” in the MSM, although a major and effective segment was armed and violent—that term was reserved for protesters in Eastern Ukraine, who were commonly designated “pro-Russian” as well as militants (for details see the tabulation in Herman and Peterson, “The Ukraine Crisis and the Propaganda System in Overdrive,” in Stephen Lendman, ed,, Flashpoint in Ukraine).

There is also every reason to believe that the coup and establishment of a right wing and anti-Russian government were encouraged and actively supported by U.S. officials. Victoria Nuland’s intercepted “fuck the EU” words express her hostility to a group that, while generally compliant and subservient, departed from neocon plans for a proper government in Kiev headed by somebody like “Yats.” So she would surely have been pleased when the EU-supported February compromise plan was ended by the violence and coup. The U.S. support of the coup government has been enthusiastic and unqualified, and whereas Kerry and company delayed recognition of the elected government of Maduro in Venezuela, and have strongly urged him to dialogue and negotiate with the Venezuelan protesters—in fact, threatening him if he doesn’t — Kerry and company have not done the same in Ukraine where the Kiev government forces have slowly escalated their attacks on the Eastern Ukraine, but not on “protesters,” only on “militants!”

The Kiev government’s military is now using jets and helicopters to bomb targets in the East and heavy artillery and mortars in its ground operations. Its targets have included hospitals and schools, and as of June 8 civilian casualties have been in the hundreds. A dramatic massacre of 40 or more pro-Russian protesters in Odessa on May 2 by a well-organized cadre of neo-Nazi supporters, possibly agents of the Kiev government, was an early high point in this pacification campaign. No investigation of this slaughter has been mounted by the Kiev government or “international community” and it has not interfered in the slightest with Western support of Kiev. In parallel the MSM have treated it in very low key. (The New York Timesburied this incident in a back page continuation of a story on “Deadly Clashes Erupt in Ukraine,” May 5, which succeeds in covering up the affiliation of the killers.) Kerry has been silent, though we may imagine his certain frenzy if Maduro’s agents had carried out a similar action in Venezuela. Recall the “Racak massacre,” where the deaths of 40 alleged victims of the Serb military created an international frenzy; but in that case the United States needed a casus belli, whereas in the Odessa case there is a pacification war already in process by a U.S. client, so MSM silence is in order.

It is an interesting feature of media coverage of the Ukraine crisis that there is a regular focus on alleged or possible Russian aid, control of and participation in the actions of the protesters/militants/insurgents in Eastern Ukraine. This was evident in the Times’s gullible acceptance of a claim that photos of insurgents included a Russian pictured in Russia, later acknowledged to be problematic (Andrew Higgins, Michael Gordon and Andrew Kramer, “Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia,” NYT, April 20, 2014); and in another lead article which was almost entirely speculation (Sabrina Tavernise, “In Ukraine Kremlin Leaves No Fingerprints,” NYT, June 1, 2014.). But this interest in foreign intrusion in Ukraine affairs, with the implication of wrong-doing, does not extend to evidence of U.S. and other NATO power aid and control. Visits by Biden, Cain, Nuland and intelligence and Pentagon figures are sometimes mentioned, but the scope and character of aid and advice, of U.S. “fingerprints,” is not discussed and seems to be of little interest. It is, in fact, normalized, so that as with the aid plans in which Russian proposals are “bludgeons” but U.S.-EU plans are “constructive and reasonable” the double standard is in good working order here as well.

Isn’t there a danger that Russia will enter this war on behalf of the pro-Russian majority of the eastern part of Ukraine now under assault? Possibly, but not likely, as Putin is well aware that the Obama-neocon-military-industrial complex crowd would welcome this and would use it, at minimum, as a means of further dividing Russia from the EU powers, further militarizing U.S. clients and allies, and firming up the MIC’s command of the U.S. national budget. Certainly there are important forces in this country that would love to see a war with Russia, and it is notable how common are political comments, criticisms and regrets at Obama’s weak response to Russian “aggression” (e.g., David Sanger, “Obama Policy Is put to Test: Global Crises Challenge a Strategy of Caution,” NYT,. March 17, 2014). But so far Putin refuses to bite.

In response to this pressure from the powerful war-loving and war-making U.S. constituencies, Obama has been furiously denouncing Russia and has hastened to exclude it from the G-8, impose sanctions and penalties on the villain state, increase U.S. troops and press military aid on the near-Russia states allegedly terrified at the Russian threat, carry out training exercises and maneuvers with these allies and clients, assure them of the sacredness of our commitment to their security, and press these states and major allies to increase their military budgets. One thing he hasn’t done is to restrain his Kiev client in dealing with the insurgents in eastern Ukraine. Another is engaging Putin in an attempt at a settlement. Putin has stressed the importance of a constitutional formation of a Ukraine federation in which a still intact Ukraine would allow significant autonomy to the Eastern provinces. There was a Geneva meeting and joint statement on April 17 in which all sides pledged a de-escalation effort, disarming irregulars, and constitutional reform. But it was weak, without enforcement mechanisms, and had no effect. The most important requirement for de-escalation would be the termination of what is clearly a Kiev pacification program for Eastern Ukraine. That is not happening, because Obama doesn’t want it to happen. In fact, he takes the position that it is up to Russia to curb the separatists in East Ukraine, and he has gotten his G-7 puppies to agree to give Russia one month to do this, or face more severe penalties..

This situation calls to mind Gareth Porter’s analysis of the “perils of dominance,” where he argued that the Vietnam war occurred and became a very large one because U.S. officials thought that with their overwhelming military superiority North Vietnam and its allies in the south would surrender and accept U.S. terms—most importantly a U.S. controlled South Vietnam—as military escalation took place and a growing toll was imposed on the Vietnamese (see his Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam). It didn’t work. In the Ukraine context the United States once again has a militarily dominant position. On its own and through its NATO arm it has encircled Russia with satellites established in violation of the 1990 promise of James Baker and Hans-Dietrch Genscher to Mikhail Gorbachev to not move eastward “one inch,” and it has placed anti-missile weapons right on Russia’s borders.

And now it has engineered a coup in Ukraine that empowered a government openly hostile to Russia and threatening both the well-being of Russian-speaking Ukrainians and the control of the major Russian naval base in Crimea. Putin’s action in reincorporating Crimea into Russia was an inevitable defensive reaction to a serious threat to Russian national security. But it may have surprised the Obama team, just as the Vietnamese refusal to accept surrender terms may have surprised the Johnson administration. Continuing to push the Vietnamese by escalation didn’t work, although it did kill and injure millions and ended the Vietnamese alternative way. Continuing and escalating actions against Russia in 2014 may involve a higher risk for the real aggressor and for the world, but there are real spinoff benefits to Lockheed and other members of the MIC.

In recent months, the Obama Administration has been intensifying pressure on South Korea to join its anti-ballistic missile defense system. As the United States expands that system across the Asia-Pacific as one component of its military buildup under the rubric of the Asia Pivot, Seoul is seen as having a key role to play.

The United States has posted anti-ballistic missile defense units in Eastern Europe and Turkey, and NATO membership has been extended to former Warsaw Pact countries, in an effort to tighten the military noose around Russia. The aim of the Asia Pivot is to adopt the same aggressive posture towards China and North Korea.

South Korea is building its own separate anti-missile system, structured for the defense of its own territory. That system is comprised of Patriot PAC-2 batteries, which are slated for replacement by the PAC-3. South Korea also plans to develop its own higher altitude anti-ballistic missiles.

The United States has wider ambitions when it comes to ballistic missile defense in South Korea. The goal is to integrate South Korea into the steadily expanding U.S. missile defense system in the Asia Pacific.

The United States is giving serious consideration to deploying a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea, a system that is capable of targeting short to intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

In any conflict with North Korea, the main risk to U.S. forces stationed on the peninsula would come from long-range artillery and cruise missiles. U.S. bases in Korea are scheduled to be relocated farther south by 2016, out of range of North Korean artillery. South Korea’s Patriot batteries are reasonably effective at countering short-range ballistic missiles. The deployment of a THAAD battery would provide an extra layer of defense, as incoming high altitude missiles could be targeted at an earlier point in their descent, with Patriot batteries acting as a backup for any missed targets.

A THAD battery is armed with 24 missiles, so unless the U.S launches a first strike on North Korea, a sizeable enough attack would soon exhaust its arsenal.

None of this matters much, as the primary motivation for installing a THAAD battery in South Korea would be to take advantage of its accompanying AN/TPY-2 X-band radar. Although deployed as part of a THAAD battery, the radar can also operate independently. The most effective approach in countering long-range ballistic missiles is to detect their launch as close to the source as possible. The AN/TPY-2 radar can be integrated into a wider missile defense system, passing tracking information to U.S. and Japanese ships armed with Aegis anti-ballistic missiles and to ground-based anti-ballistic missile systems stationed on U.S. territory.

No radar can see over the earth’s curvature, so to be effective the wider the area in which radar stations are dispersed, the more chance of success in shooting down a ballistic missile. The U.S has ground-based interceptors stationed in Alaska and a THAAD battery in Guam. An X-band radar has been placed in northern Japan, and second radar is scheduled for southern Japan by the end of the year. Another site under consideration is the Philippines. Placement of an AN/TPY-2 radar in South Korea would provide detection capability extending across much of eastern China.

The AN/TPY-2 radar can operate in two modes. In terminal mode, it feeds the THAAD battery, allowing it to target an incoming ballistic missile as it descends towards its target. In forward-based mode, it tracks missiles during their boost phase and feeds tracking information to the wider missile defense system. Those feeds can be linked to anti-missile systems thousands of miles away.

Any anti-missile system can be quickly overwhelmed by a full-scale launch by an enemy. The primary purpose of the system is to provide first-strike capability, in which enemy ballistic missiles could be taken out, and the anti-missile system would counter the response by the relatively few ballistic missiles that managed to survive the attack.

It takes only eight hours to switch from one mode of the AN/TPY-2 radar to the other, and radar stationed in South Korea would grant the United States more strategic flexibility. If the U.S. wanted to confront North Korea, the radar would be set to terminal mode. In seeking confrontation with China, it would be set to forward-based mode.

The U.S. military regards it a high priority to bring a THAAD battery to South Korea, and accordingly, it has already conducted a site survey to identify potential locations. Last October, South Korea and the United States signed an agreement that called for South Korea to “further the interoperability” of its anti-missile system with that of the U.S. The time has come, U.S. officials say, for South Korea to move beyond interoperability to integration.

Given the proximity of North Korea, a THAAD battery would make little sense from the South Korean perspective. As one Korean official explained on condition of anonymity, “In an environment like the Korean Peninsula where firing ranges are so short, the most effective missile defense system is low-altitude defense. We’re not participating in any system for high-altitude defense.”

Nor would a high-altitude ballistic missile be North Korea’s first weapon of choice, when low or medium-altitude missiles would be airborne for a far shorter period, thus making them more difficult to shoot down. A THAAD battery in South Korea, however, would make an inviting target for Chinese missiles in any conflict between the United States and China.

U.S. officials are urging South Korea to purchase a THAAD system, at the cost of nearly one billion dollars. Some American officials have indicated that if South Korea continues to balk, the U.S. could unilaterally move a system there, and once in place, pressure South Korea to purchase it. The Asia Pivot’s cost for militarizing the region is likely to be enormous, and the U.S. is seeking to offload as much of the expense as possible onto the shoulders of nations that have little or nothing to gain from it. In line with that policy, the U.S. has already persuaded South Korea to pay an additional $880 million per year for American bases, an increase of six percent over the amount Seoul had been providing to the U.S.

U.S. officials pressed their case to their South Korean counterparts at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on May 30-June 1. Among the main conference sponsors were Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, and Airbus Group. The conference is as much about arms sales as it is in pushing U.S. geopolitical goals.

Military contractors accompanied the U.S. government delegation, with an eye to netting new customers. Representatives from Lockheed Martin, contractor for the THAAD, joined U.S. officials in meetings with South Korean representatives.

At the conference, Washington succeeded in winning agreement from South Korea and Japan to share intelligence on North Korean missiles, and American officials regarded this as only the first step toward the integration of the two nations into the U.S. missile defense system. A Pentagon official commented, “That makes sense, you know, for where they sit right now, but the key is to get it interoperable and integrated into one system that is effective as possible.”

Ultimately, it may matter little what South Koreans want. The United States is committed to drawing South Korea into its missile defense system. Pentagon officials claim that the South Korean military is analyzing which high altitude anti-ballistic missile system to adopt. “They’ve made no national decision to this point,” said Peppino DeBiaso, director of missile defense policy at the Pentagon, so the U.S. is “trying to help” the South Koreans “reach a decision about the capabilities they would have.”  It is probable that this “help” is correctly perceived as pressure by those on the receiving end.

General Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of United States Forces Korea, remarked, “There was consideration being taken in order to consider THAAD being deployed here in Korea. It is a U.S. initiative, and in fact, I recommended it as the commander.” Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Pentagon official admitted that a THAAD battery is not necessary for South Korea. “But it would obviously help the defense of the United States. An alliance requires reciprocity.”

The Obama Administration attaches such importance to the issue that it nominated Mark Lippert to be its next ambassador to South Korea. Lippert is currently special assistant to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and one of his main areas of focus has been the U.S. anti-missile system.

China is South Korea’s top trading partner, so there is a solid basis for Seoul’s disinclination to antagonize the Chinese by binding itself to the U.S. anti-missile system. The United States, though, wields enormous power and has varied means of persuading recalcitrant partners to serve its needs. The U.S. military is not accustomed to being told ‘no’, and pressure on the South Koreans is not likely to relent unless they acquiesce.

Gregory Elich is on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute and on the Advisory Board of the Korea Policy Institute. He was a member of the collective that wrote The Murder of Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period, published in the Russian language.

This article was first published by Global Research on November 08, 2010.

Private military and security companies (PMSC) are the modern reincarnation of a long lineage of private providers of physical force: corsairs, privateers and mercenaries. Mercenaries, which had practically disappeared during the XIXth and XXth centuries, reappeared in the 1960’s during the decolonization period operating mainly in Africa and Asia. Under the United Nations a convention was adopted which outlaws and criminalizes their activities. Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions also contains a definition of mercenary.

These non-state entities of the XXIst century operate in extremely blurred situations where the frontiers are difficult to separate. The new security industry of private companies moves large quantities of weapons and military equipment. It provides services for military operations recruiting former militaries as civilians to carry out passive or defensive security.

However, these individuals cannot be considered as civilians, given that they often carry and use weapons, interrogate prisoners, load bombs, drive military trucks and fulfill other essential military functions. Those who are armed can easily switch from a passive/defensive to an active/offensive role and can commit human rights violations and even destabilize governments. They cannot be considered soldiers or supporting militias under international humanitarian law either, since they are not part of the army or in the chain of command, and often belong to a large number of different nationalities.

PMSC personnel cannot usually be considered to be mercenaries for the definition of mercenaries as stipulated in the international conventions dealing with this issue does not generally apply to the personnel of PMSCs which are legally operating in foreign countries under contracts of legally registered companies.

Private military and security companies operate in a legal vacuum: they pose a threat to civilians and to international human rights law. The UN Human Rights Council has entrusted the UN Working Group on the use of mercenaries, principally, with the mandate: “To monitor and study the effects of the activities of private companies offering military assistance, consultancy and security services on the international market on the enjoyment of human Rights (…) and to prepare draft international basic principles that encourage respect for human rights on the part of those companies in their activities”.

During the past five years, the Working Group has been studying emerging issues, manifestations and trends regarding private military and security companies.  In our reports we have informed the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly about these issues. Of particular importance are the reports of the Working Group to the last session of the Human Rights Council, held in September 2010, on the Mission to the United States of America  (20 July to 3 August 2009), Document A/HRC/15/25/Add.3; on the Mission to Afghanistan (4-9 April 2009), Document A/HRC/15/25/Add.2, and the general report of the Working Group containing the Draft of a possible Convention on Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) for consideration and action by the Human Rights Council, Document A/HRC/15/25.

In the course of our research, since 2006, we have collected ample information which indicate the negative impact of the activities of “private contractors”, “private soldiers” or “guns for hire”, whatever denomination we may choose to name the individuals employed by private military and security companies as civilians but in general heavily armed. In the cluster of human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by employees of these companies, which the Working Group has examined one can find: summary executions, acts of torture, cases of arbitrary detention; of trafficking of persons; serious health damages caused by their activities; as well as attempts against the right of self-determination. It also appears that PMSCs, in their search for profit, neglect security and do not provide their employees with their basic rights, and often put their staff in situations of danger and vulnerability.

Summary executions

On 16 September 2007 in Baghdad, employees of the US-based firm Blackwater[1] were involved in a shooting incident in Nisoor Square in which 17 civilians were killed and more than 20 other persons were wounded including women and children. Local eyewitness accounts indicate the use of arms from vehicles and rocket fire from a helicopter belonging to this company.

There are also concerns over the activities and approach of PMSC personnel, their convoys of armored vehicles and their conduct in traffic, in particular their use of lethal force. This particular incident was not the first of its kind, neither the first involving Blackwater.

According to a congressional report on the behaviour of Xe/Blackwater in Iraq, Xe/Blackwater guards were found to have been involved in nearly 200 escalation-of-force incidents that involved the firing of shots since 2005. Despite the terms of the contracts which provided that the company could engage only in defensive use of force, the company reported that in over 80 per cent of the shooting incidents, its forces fired the first shots.

In Najaf in April 2004 and on several other occasions, employees of this company took part in direct hostilities, as well as in May 2007, where another incident involving the same company reportedly occurred involving guards belonging to the company and forces belonging to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior allegedly exchanged gunfire in a sector of Baghdad.

Also in central Baghdad the shooting of employees of the PMSC, Unity Resources Group (URG)[2], protecting a convoy, left two Armenian women, Genevia Antranick and Mary Awanis dead on 9 October 2007 when their car came too close to a protected convoy. The family of Genevia Antranick was offered no compensation and has begun court proceedings against URG in the United States.

This company was also involved in the shooting of 72-year-old Australian Kays Juma. Professor Juma was shot in March 2006 as he approached an intersection being blockaded for a convoy URG was protecting. Professor Juma, a 25-year resident of Baghdad who drove through the city every day, allegedly sped up his vehicle as he approached the guards and did not heed warnings to stop, including hand signals, flares, warning shots into the body of his car and floodlights. The incident occurred at 10am[3].

Torture

Two United States-based corporations, CACI and L-3 Services (formerly Titan Corporation), were involved in the torture of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib. CACI and L-3 Services, contracted by the Government of the United States, were responsible for interrogation and translation services, respectively, at Abu Ghraib prison and other facilities in Iraq.

Seventy two Iraqi citizens who were formerly detained at military prisons in Iraq, have sued L-3 Services, Inc. (“L-3”), a military private contractor which provided civilian translators for United States military forces in Iraq and Adel Nakhla, a former employee of L-3 who served as one of its translators there under the Alien Tort Statute. They allege having been tortured and physically and mentally abused during their detention and that they should be held liable in damages for their actions. The plaintiffs assert 20 causes of action, among which: torture; cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; assault and battery; intentional infliction of emotional distress[4].

Arbitrary detention 

A number of reports indicate that private security guards have played central roles in some of the most sensitive activities of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) such as the arbitrary detention and clandestine raids against alleged insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan[5] and the involvement in CIA rendition flights[6] as well as joint covert operations[7]. Employees of PMSC would have been involved in the taking of detainees, from “pick up points” (such as Tuzla, Islamabad or Skopje) transporting them in rendition flights and delivering them to drop off points (such as Cairo, Rabat, Bucharest, Amman or Guantanamo) as well as in the construction, equipping and staffing of CIA’s “black sites”.

Within this context, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit in May 2007 against Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. (a subsidiary company of Boeing) on behalf of five persons who were kidnapped by the CIA disappearing in overseas prisons kept by USA secret services. Jeppesen would have participated in the rendition by providing flight planning and logistical support. The five persons were tortured during their arbitrary detention[8].

Health

The 2009 annual report of DynCorp International refers to four lawsuits concerning the spraying of narcotic plant crops along the Colombian border adjacent to Ecuador on behalf of 3 Ecuadorian Providences and 3266 plaintiffs[9].

From 1991, the United States Department of State contracted the private company DynCorp to supply services for this air-spraying program against narcotics in the Andean region. In accordance with the subscribed contract of 30 January 1998, DynCorp provides the essential logistics to the anti-drug Office of activities of Colombia, in conformity with three main objectives: eradication of cultivations of illicit drugs, training of the army and of personnel of the country, and dismantling of illicit drug laboratories and illicit drug-trafficking networks.

An NGO report indicated the consequences of the spraying carried out within the Plan Colombia had on persons living in the frontier region[10].  One third of the 47 women in the study exposed to the spraying showed cells with some genetic damage. The study established the relationship of the air fumigations of the Plan Colombia with damages in the genetic material. The study demonstrates that when the population is subjected to fumigations “the risk of cellular damage can increase and that, once permanent, the cases of cancerous mutations and important embryonic alterations are increased that prompt among other possibilities the rise in abortions in the area.

This example is particularly important given that Plan Colombia has served as the model for the arrangements that the United States would apply later to Iraq and Afghanistan. Plan Colombia provides immunity to the employees of the PMSC contracted (DynCorp) the same as Order 14 of the Coalition Provisional Authority did in Iraq.

Self-determination

The 2004 attempted coup d’état, which was perpetrated in Equatorial Guinea is a clear example of the link between the phenomenon of mercenaries and PMSCs as a means of violating the sovereignty of States. In this particular case, the mercenaries involved were mostly former directors and personnel of Executive Outcomes, a PMSC that had become famous for its operations in Angola and Sierra Leone. The team of mercenaries also included security guards who were still employed by PMSCs as was the case of two employees of the company Meteoric Tactical Systems providing security to diplomats of Western Embassies in Baghdad-among which to the Ambassador of Switzerland. It also included a security guard who had previously worked for the PMSC “Steele Foundation” and had given protection to President Aristide of Haiti and conducted him to the plane who took him to exile[11].

Trafficking in persons

In 2005, 105 Chileans were providing/or undergoing military training in the former army base of Lepaterique in Honduras. The instruction consisted in anti‐guerrilla tactics such as possible ambushes and deactivation of explosives and mortars how to avoid them. The Chileans had entered Honduras as tourists and were illegally in Honduras. They used high‐caliber weapons such as M‐16 rifles or light machine guns. They had been contracted by a subsidiary of Triple Canopy.

They were part of a group, which included also 189 Hondurans recruited and trained in Honduras. Triple Canopy had been awarded a contract by the United States Department of State. The strong contingent left the country by air from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, in several groups with a stopover in Iceland. Then reached the Middle East and were smuggled into Iraq[12].

The majority of the Chileans and Hondurans were engaged as security guards at fixed facilities in Iraq. They had been contracted by Your Solutions Honduras SRL, a local agent of Your Solutions Incorporated, registered in Illinois, United States of America, which in turn had been subcontracted by Triple Canopy, based in Chicago, United States of America. Some of the Chileans are presently working in Baghdad providing security to the Embassy of Australia under a contract by Unity Resources Group (URG).

Human rights violations committed by PMSC to their employees

PMSC often put the contracted private guards in situations of danger and vulnerability, such as the ‘private contractors’ of Blackwater, killed in Fallujah in 2004 allegedly due to the lack of the necessary safety means that Blackwater was supposed to provide in order to carry out the mission.

It should not be forgotten that this incident changed dramatically the course of the war and the occupation by the United States in Iraq. It may be considered as the turning point in the occupation of Iraq. This led to an abortive US operation to recapture control of the city and a successful recapture operation in the city in November 2004, called Operation Phantom Fury, which resulted in the death of over 1,350 insurgent fighters. Approximately 95 America troops were killed, and 560 wounded.

The U.S. military first denied that it has use white phosphorus as an anti-personnel weapon in Fallujah, but later retracted that denial, and admitted to using the incendiary in the city as an offensive weapon. Reports following the events of November 2004 have alleged war crimes, and a massacre by U.S. personnel, including indiscriminate violence against civilians and children.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallujah – cite_note-17 This point of view is presented in the 2005 documentary film, “Fallujah, the Hidden Massacre”. In 2010, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, a leading medical journal, published a study, which shows that the rates of cancer, infant mortality and leukemia exceed those reported in Hiroshima and Nagasaki[13].

The over 300 000 classified military documents made public by Wikileaks show that the “Use of Contractors Added to War’s Chaos in Iraq”, as has been widely reported by the international media recently.

The United States has relied and continues to rely heavily on private military and security contractors in conducting its military operations. The United States used private security contractors to conduct narcotics intervention operations in Colombia in the 1990s and recently signed a supplemental agreement that authorizes it to deploy troops and contractors in seven Colombian military bases. During the conflict in the Balkans, the United States used a private security contractor to train Croat troops to conduct operations against Serbian troops. Nowadays, it is in the context of its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular that the State is massively contracting out security functions to private firms.

In 2009, the Department of Defense employed 218,000 private contractors (all types) while there were 195,000 uniformed personnel. According to the figures, about 8 per cent of these contractors are armed security contractors, i.e. about 20,000 armed guards. If one includes other theatres of operations, the figure rises to 242,657, with 54,387 United States citizens, 94,260 third country nationals and 94,010 host-country nationals.

The State Department relies on about 2,000 private security contractors to provide United States personnel and facilities with personal protective and guard services in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Pakistan, and aviation services in Iraq. The contracts for protective services were awarded in 2005 to three PMSCs, namely, Triple Canopy, DynCorp International and the U.S. Training Center, part of the Xe (then Blackwater) group of companies. These three companies still hold the State Department protective services contracts today.

Lack of transparency

The information accessible to the public on the scope and type of contracts between the Government of the United States and PMSCs is scarce and opaque. The lack of transparency is particularly significant when companies subcontract to others. Often, the contracts with PMSCs are not disclosed to the public despite extensive freedom of information rules in the United States, either because they contain confidential commercial information or on the argument that non-disclosure is in the interest of national defense or foreign policy. The situation is particularly opaque when United States intelligence agencies contract PMSCs.

Lack of accountability

Despite the fact of their involvement in grave human rights violations, not a single PMSC or employee of these companies has been sanctioned.

In the course of litigation, several recurring legal arguments have been used in the defense of PMSCs and their personnel, including the Government contractor defense, the political question doctrine and derivative immunity arguments. PMSCs are using the Government contractor defense to argue that they were operating under the exclusive control of the Government of the United States when the alleged acts were committed and therefore cannot be held liable for their actions.

It looks as if when the acts are committed by agents of the government they are considered human rights violations but when these same acts are perpetrated by PMSC it is “business as usual”.

The human rights violation perpetrated by private military and security companies are indications of the threat posed to the foundations of democracy itself by the privatization of inherently public functions such as the monopoly of the legitimate use of force. In this connection I cannot help but to refer to the final speech of President Eisenhower.

In 1961, President Eisenhower warned the American public opinion against the growing danger of a military industrial complex stating: “(…) we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together”.

Fifty years later, on 8 September 2001, Donald Rumsfeld in his speech in the Department of Defence warned the militaries of the Pentagon against “an adversary that poses a threat, a serious threat, to the security of the United States of America (…) Let’s make no mistake: The modernization of the Department of Defense is (…) a matter of life and death, ultimately, every American’s. (…) The adversary. (…) It’s the Pentagon bureaucracy. (…)That’s why we’re here today challenging us all to wage an all-out campaign to shift Pentagon’s resources from bureaucracy to the battlefield, from tail to the tooth. We know the adversary. We know the threat. And with the same firmness of purpose that any effort against a determined adversary demands, we must get at it and stay at it. Some might ask, how in the world could the Secretary of Defense attack the Pentagon in front of its people? To them I reply, I have no desire to attack the Pentagon; I want to liberate it. We need to save it from itself.”

Rumsfeld should have said the shift from the Pentagon’s resources from bureaucracy to the private sector. Indeed, that shift had been accelerated by the Bush Administration: the number of persons employed by contract which had been outsourced (privatized) by the Pentagon was already four times more than at the Department of Defense.

It is not anymore a military industrial complex but as Noam Chomsky has indicated “it’s just the industrial system operating under one or another pretext”.

The articles of the Washington Post “Top Secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control”, by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin (19 July 2010) show the extent that “The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work”.

The investigation’s findings include that some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States; and that an estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances. A number of private military and security companies are among the security and intelligence agencies mentioned in the report of the Washington Post.

The Working Group received information from several sources that up to 70 per cent of the budget of United States intelligence is spent on contractors. These contracts are classified and very little information is available to the public on the nature of the activities carried out by these contractors.

The privatization of war has created a structural dynamic, which responds to a commercial logic of the industry.

A short look at the careers of the current managers of BAE Systems, as well as on their address-books, confirms we are not any longer dealing with a normal corporation, but with a cartel uniting high tech weaponry (BAE Systems, United Defence Industries, Lockheed Martin), with speculative financiers (Lazard Frères, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank), together with raw material cartels (British Petroleum, Shell Oil) with on the ground, private military and security companies[14].

The majority of the private military and security companies has been created or are managed by former militaries or ex-policemen for whom it is big business. Just to give an example MPRI (Military Professional Resources Incorporation) was created by four former generals of the United States Army when they were due for retirement[15]. The same is true for Blackwater and its affiliate companies or subsidiaries, which employ former directors of the C.I.A.[16]. Social Scientists refer to this phenomenon as the Rotating Door Syndrome.

The use of security contractors is expected to grow as American forces shrink. A July report by the Commission on Wartime Contracting, a panel established by Congress, estimated that the State Department alone would need more than double the number of contractors it had protecting the American Embassy and consulates in Iraq.

“Without contractors: (1) the military engagement would have had to be smaller–a strategically problematic alternative; (2) the United States would have had to deploy its finite number of active personnel for even longer tours of duty -a politically dicey and short-sighted option; (3) the United States would have had to consider a civilian draft or boost retention and recruitment by raising military pay significantly–two politically untenable options; or (4) the need for greater commitments from other nations would have arisen and with it, the United States would have had to make more concessions to build and sustain a truly multinational effort. Thus, the tangible differences in the type of war waged, the effect on military personnel, and the need for coalition partners are greatly magnified when the government has the option to supplement its troops with contractors”[17].

The military cannot do without them. There are more contractors over all than actual members of the military serving in the worsening war in Afghanistan.

CONCLUSIONS OF THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE impact of Private Security Contracting on U.S. Goals in Afghanistan[18]

Conclusion I: The proliferation of private security personnel in Afghanistan is inconsistent with the counterinsurgency strategy. In May 2010 the U.S. Central Command’s Armed Contractor Oversight Directorate reported that there were more than 26,000 private security contractor personnel operating in Afghanistan. Many of those private security personnel are associated with armed groups that operate outside government control.

Conclusion 2: Afghan warlords and strongmen operating as force providers to private security contractors have acted against U.S. and Afghan government interests. Warlords and strongmen associated with U.S.-funded security contractors have been linked to anti Coalition activities, murder, bribery, and kidnapping. The Committee’s examination of the U.S. funded security contract with ArmorGroup at Shindand Airbase in Afghanistan revealed that ArmorGroup relied on a series of warlords to provide armed men to act as security, guards at the Airbase.

Open-ended intergovernmental working group established by the HR Council

Because of their impact in the enjoyment of human rights the Working Group on mercenaries in its 2010 reports to the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly has recommended a legally binding instrument regulating and monitoring their activities at the national and international level.

The motion to create an open ended intergovernmental working group has been the object of lengthy negotiations, in the Human Rights Council, led by South Africa in order to accommodate the concerns of the Western Group, but primarily those of the United States and the United Kingdom and of a lot a pressure exerted in the capitals of African countries supporting the draft resolution. The text of the resolution was weakened in order to pass the resolution by consensus. But even so the position of the Western States has been a “fin de non recevoir”.

The resolution was adopted by a majority of 32 in favour, 12 against and 3 abstentions. Among the supporters of this initiative are four out of the five members of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa) in addition to the African Group, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Arab Group.

The adoption of this resolution opens an interesting process in the UN Human Rights Council where civil society can participate in the elaboration of an international framework on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies.  The new open ended intergovernmental working group will be the forum for all stakeholders to receive inputs, not only the draft text of a possible convention and the elements elaborated by the UN Working Group on mercenaries but also of other initiatives such as the proposal submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Montreux Document and the international code of conduct being elaborated under the Swiss Initiative.

However, the negative vote of the delegations of the Western Group indicates that the interests of the new staggering security industry – its annual market revenue is estimated to be over USD one hundred billion – have been quite well defended as was the case in a number of other occasions. It also shows that Western governments will be absent from the start in a full in-depth discussion of the issues raised by the activities of PMSC.

We urge all States to support the process initiated by the Council by designating their representatives to the new open-ended intergovernmental working group, which will hold its first session in 2011, and to continue a process of discussions regarding a legally binding instrument.

The participation of the UK and USA main exporters of these activities (it is estimated at 70% the industry of security in these two countries) as well as other Western countries where the new industry is expanding is of particular importance.

The Working Group also urges the United States Government to implement the recommendations we made, in particular, to:

support the Congress Stop Outsourcing Security (SOS) Act, which clearly defines the functions which are inherently governmental and that cannot be outsourced to the private sector;

rescind immunity to contractors carrying out activities in other countries under bilateral agreements;

carry out prompt and effective investigation of human rights violations committed by PMSCs and prosecute alleged perpetrators;

ensure that the oversight of private military and security contractors is not outsourced to PMSCs;
establish a specific system of federal licensing of PMSCs for their activities abroad;

set up a vetting procedure for awarding contracts to PMSCs;

ensure that United States criminal jurisdiction applies to private military and security companies contracted by the Government to carry out activities abroad; and

respond to pending communications from the Working Group.

The United Nations Human Rights Council, under the Universal Periodic Review, initiated a review in November 2010 in Geneva, focussing on the human rights record of the United States. The above article is an edited version of the presentation given by Jose L. Gomez del Prado in Geneva on 3 November 2010 at a parallel meeting at the UN Palais des Nations on that occasion.

Notes

[1] Blackwater Worldwide abandoned its tarnished brand name in order to shake its reputation battered by its criticized work in Iraq, renaming its family of two-dozen businesses under the name Xe’, see Mike Baker, ‘Blackwater dumps tarnished brand name’, AP News Break, 13 February 2009.

[2] URG, an Australian private military and security company, uses a number of ex military Chileans to provide security to the Australian Embassy in Baghdad. Recently one of those “private guards” shot himself, ABC News, reported by La Tercera, Chile, 16 September 2010.

[3]J.Mendes & S Mitchell, “Who is Unity Resources Group?”, ABC News Australia, 16 September 2010.

[4] Case 8:08-cv-01696-PJM, Document 103, Filed 07/29/10. Defendants have filed Motions to Dismiss on a number of grounds. They argue, among others, that the suit must be dismissed in its entirety because they are immune under the laws of war, because the suit raises non-justiciable political questions, and because they possess derivative sovereign immunity. They seek dismissal of the state law claims on the basis of government contractor immunity, premised on the notion that Plaintiffs cannot proceed on state law claims, which arise out of combatant activities of the military. The United States District Court for the district of Maryland Greenbelt Division has decided to proceed with the case against L-3 Services, Inc. It has not accepted the motions to dismiss allowing the case to go forward.

[5] Mission to the United States of America, Report of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries, United Nations document, A/HRC/15/25/Add.3, paragraphs 22.

[6] James Risen and Mark Mazzetti, “Blackwater guards tied to secret C.I.A. raids ”, New York Times, 10 December 2009.

[7] Adam Ciralsky, “Tycoon, contractor, soldier, spy”, Vanity Fair, January 2010. See also Claim No. HQ08X02800 in the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Binyam Mohamed v. Jeppesen UK Ltd, report of James Gavin Simpson, 26 May 2009.

[8]ACLU Press Release, UN Report Underscores Lack of Accountability and Oversight for Military and Security Contractors, New York, 14 September 2010.

[9] The reports also indicates that the Revenues of DynCorp for 2006 were of USD 1 966 993 and for 2009 USD 3 101 093

[10] Mission to Ecuador, Report of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries, United Nations document, A/HRC/4/42/Add.2

[11] A number of the persons involved in the attempted coup were arrested in Zimbabwe, other in Equatorial Guinea itself the place where the coup was intended to take place to overthrow the government and put another in its place in order to get the rich resources in oil. In 2004 and 2008 the trials took place in Equatorial Guinea of those arrested in connection with this coup attempt, including of the British citizen Simon Mann and the South African Nick du Toit. The President of Equatorial Guinea pardoned all foreigners linked to this coup attempt in November 2009 by. A number of reports indicated that trials failed to comply with international human rights standards and that some of the accused had been subjected to torture and ill-treatment. The government of Equatorial Guinea has three ongoing trials in the United Kingdom, Spain and Lebanon against the persons who were behind the attempted coup.

[12] Report of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries, Mission to Honduras, United Nations document A/HRC/4/42/Add.1.

[13] Wikipedia

[14] Mercenaries without borders by Karel Vereycken,  Friday Sep 21st, 2007

[15] Among which General Carl E. Vuono, Chief of the Army during the Gulf War and the invasion of Panama; General Crosbie E. Saint, former Commander in Chief of the  USA Army in Europe and General Ron Griffith. The President of MPRI is General Bantant J. Craddock.

[16] Such as Cofer Black, former Chief of the Counter Terrorism Center; Enrique Prado, former Chief of Operations and Rof Richter, second in command of the Clandestine Services of the Company

[17] Article published in the Spring 2010 issue of the University of Chicago Law Review, titled “Privatization’s Pretensions” by Jon D. Michaels, Acting Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law

[18] INQUIRY INTO THE ROLE AND OVERSIGHT OF PRIVATE SECURITY CONTRACTORS IN AFGHANISTAN, R E P O R T TOGETHER WITH ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF THE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES UNITED STATES SENATE, 28 September 2010

The ISIL or DAISH Caliphate in Iraq and Syria is a US Project

July 1st, 2014 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Press TV has conducted an interview with Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, author and geopolitical analyst from Montreal, about heavy clashes underway among foreign-backed insurgents in Syria and about the US government’s role in supporting them on June 30, 2014.

The following is an approximate transcript of the Press TV interview.

Press TVHeavy clashes are underway in Syria between a number of militant groups and ISIL terrorists for control of a border crossing with Iraq. That’s according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The clashes are taking place in the town of Boukamal. The ISIL insurgents who control some parts of northeastern Syria took control of Boukamal last week. The terrorist group is notorious for its fear campaign and ruthless crimes in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Mr. Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, author and geopolitical analyst, is with us … from Montreal. First of all, looking at the clashes taking place over control of a border crossing at Iraq – that brings us to the question of the objective of this group. They’ve said they want to create an Islamic State or Caliphate – in their own words – and their intention is to create this state in Iraq and Syria.

First of all tell us about that plan; what it means for the region; and also about those who are saying that Western countries including the US, and specifically the US, should be held to blame for supporting these groups and making them reach the stage that they’re currently in.

Nazemroaya: I think that’s an excellent question and let me be clear about this and very categorical. What is called DAISH [Arabic: Al-Dawlah Al-Islamiyah fe Al-Iraq wa Al-Sham] or the ISIL (the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is not the manifestation of the failure of US policy that the United States is trying to present; it is actually the manifestation of US policy.

This is the clear manifestation of what the United States and its allies, including Israel to the south of Syria, have been trying to do in this region for over a decade. For many years now, this is a manifestation of that. The ISIL in Syria want to integrate Syria with Iraq and basically the objective is to divide both countries and to create sectarian states that are homogenous and only reserved for Sunnis while other groups, such as Shiites, Christians, Druze, are all expelled.

This is why you have people in the Syrian anti-government forces – the insurgency – for several years now, since the insurgency started in 2011, saying “Alawites to the ground and Christians to Lebanon.” Because what they’re trying to do is and what they’ve been working to do is what some would call ethnic cleansing. I think that term is an oxymoron and actually camouflages genocide.

The Christians in Iraq are almost extinct and that’s because of the United States and Britain. During their occupation the Christians were persecuted.

And now in Syria this fighting is going on because the ISIL wants to integrate this area with Iraq. It calls this an Islamic Caliphate, but I want to be categorical; this has nothing to do with Islam. The idea of an Islamic Emirate now is something that the United States has been pushing. The Islamic Emirate when it was disbanded, the last Caliphate under the Ottomans, wasn’t even the authentic Caliphate. Anybody who talks about that isn’t aware of history or has no understanding of Islam.

And the United States has been pushing this as a camouflage. Many in the West believe the ISIL represents Muslims; it doesn’t represent Muslims or Sunnis at all.

In one of the most significant Fourth Amendment rulings ever handed down by the Supreme Court, all nine justices agreed in an opinion involving two companion cases, Riley v. California [PDF] and United States v. Wurie, that police generally need a warrant before reading data on the cell phone of an arrestee. This decision may well presage how the court will rule on the constitutionality of the National Security Agency (NSA) metadata collection program when that issue inevitably comes before it.

Warrants Needed to Search Cell Phone Data

There has always been a preference for search warrants when the police conduct a Fourth Amendment search or seizure. But, over the years, the court has carved out certain exceptions to the warrant requirement, including the search incident to a lawful arrest. The 1969 case of Chimel v. California defined the parameters of this exception. Upon a lawful arrest, police can search the person of the arrestee and areas within his immediate control from which he could secure a weapon or destroy evidence. Four years later, in United States v. Robinson, the court confirmed that the search incident to a lawful arrest is a bright-line rule. These types of searches will not be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. If the arrest is lawful, a search incident to it needs no further justification. It does not matter whether the officer is concerned in a given case that the arrestee might be armed or destroy evidence.

In Riley/Wurie, the court declined to apply the search incident to a lawful arrest exception to searches of data contained on an arrestee’s cell phone. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court that the dual rationales for applying the exception to the search of physical objects—protecting officers and preventing destruction of evidence—do not apply to the digital content on cell phones: “There are no comparable risks when the search is of digital data.”

Moreover, “[m]odern cell phones, as a category,” Roberts noted, “implicate privacy concerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a cigarette pack, a wallet, or a purse.” Responding to the government’s assertion that a search of cell phone data is “materially indistinguishable” from searches of physical items, Roberts quipped, “That is like saying a ride on horseback is materially indistinguishable from a flight to the moon.” Indeed, Roberts observed, the search of a cell phone would typically provide the government with even more personal information than the search of a home, an area that has traditionally been given the strongest privacy protection. Modern cell phones, Roberts wrote, “are now such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy.” Roberts was referring to the ubiquitous presence of cell phones appended to our ears as we walk down the street.

But the court held that while a warrant is usually required to search data on an arrestee’s cell phone, officers could rely on the exigent circumstances exception in appropriate cases. For example, when a suspect is texting an accomplice who is preparing to detonate a bomb, or a child abductor may have information about the child’s location on his cell phone, or circumstances suggest the phone will be the target of an imminent attempt to erase the data on it, police may dispense with a search warrant.

Metadata Collection Implicates Similar Privacy Concerns

The Riley/Wurie opinion provides insights into how the court will decide other digital-era privacy issues. Roberts was concerned that

“[a]n Internet search and browsing history, for example, can be found on an Internet-enabled phone and could reveal an individual’s private interests or concerns—perhaps a search for certain symptoms of disease, coupled with frequent visits to WebMD.”

The Chief Justice could have been describing the NSA metadata collection program, which requires telecommunications companies to produce all of our telephone communications every day. Although the government claims it does not read the content of those communications, it does monitor the identities of the sender and recipient, and the date, time, duration, place and unique identifiers of the communication. As Roberts pointed out in the cell phone case, much can be learned from this data. Calls to a clinic that performs abortions or visits to a gay website can reveal intimate details about a person’s private life. A URL, such as www.webMD.com/depression, can contain significant information, even without examining the content. Whether we access the Internet with our cell phones, or with our computers, the same privacy considerations are implicated.

Roberts quoted Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s concurrence in United States v. Jones [PDF], the case in which the court held that a warrant is generally required before police install and monitor a GPS tracking device on a car. Sotomayor wrote, “GPS monitoring generates a precise, comprehensive record of a person’s public movements that reflects a wealth of detail about her familial, political, professional, religious, and sexual associations.” US District Court Judge Richard J. Leon also cited that concurrence by Sotomayor in his 2013 decision that the metadata collection probably violates the Fourth Amendment (Klayman v. Obama).

And both Roberts and Leon distinguished the cell phone search and metadata collection, respectively, from the 1979 case of Smith v. Maryland, in which the court held that no warrant is required for a telephone company to use a pen register to identify numbers dialed by a particular caller. The Smith Court concluded that a pen register was not a Fourth Amendment “search,” and therefore the police did not need to use a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement. In order to constitute a “search,” a person must have a reasonable expectation of privacy that is violated. The court said in Smith that a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in numbers dialed from a phone since he voluntarily transmits them to a third party—the phone company.

Roberts stated in Riley/Wurie: “There is no dispute here that the officers engaged in a search of Wurie’s cell phone.” Likewise, Leon wrote that the issue of “whether a pen register constitutes a ‘search’ is a far cry from the issue in the [metadata collection] case.” Leon added,

“When do present-day circumstances—the evolution of the government’s surveillance capabilities, citizens’ phone habits, and the relationship between the NSA and the telecom companies—become so thoroughly unlike those considered by the Supreme Court thirty-four years ago that a precedent like Smith simply does not apply? The answer, unfortunately for the Government, is now.”

If the court is consistent in its analysis, it will determine that the collection by the government of all of our electronic records implicates the same privacy concerns as the inspection of the data on our cell phones. It remains to be seen if and when the metadata collection issue comes before the court. But the fact that the cell phone decision was 9-0 is a strong indication that all of the justices, regardless of ideology, are deeply concerned about protecting the privacy of our electronic communications.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her next book, “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues,” will be published in September.

On June 27 Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova signed association agreements with the EU. The move was presented as a decisive turn for democracy and human rights. But some issues related to the decision had been purposefully kept under the radar screen. Media assured the grassroots were not adequately provided information about some crucially important aspects of the step to be taken by their respective governments that have chosen the so-called European choice.

So one day the people of those states may wake up to find themselves facing raw awakening they have never expected. True, the economic transition period from associated status to membership is not going to be a bed of roses. And there is a specific feature here – if there is any social discontent you’d better conceal it and keep mum …or else!

The European Gendarmerie Force (EUROGENFOR) is a multinational initiative of six EU Member States – France, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Spain – established in 2006 by treaty with the aim to strengthen international crisis management capacities and contribute to the development of the Common Security and Defense Policy.

EUROGENDFOR can be considered as an integrated police tool designed to carry out police missions in different theatres, including destabilized ones, in support of the EU, the UN, the OSCE and NATO, or possible ad hoc coalitions. The main feature of this armed force is flexibility. It can intervene quickly in any high intensity conflict under any military command (formally under the control of civilians), acting jointly with other divisions or in a totally autonomous manner. It may also intervene at any time of the conflict in the initial phase to stabilize or restore the pre-existing order alongside or replacing the local police force. During the transition phase it will be called to serve a purely military mission in coordination with the local authorities, and in the final stage will facilitate the transfer of responsibilities from the military to the civilian chain of command.

The methods of intervention are the following: replacement of the local police forces in certain areas where the conduct of the normal civil activity is in crisis (read – it deprives the country of national sovereignty – author’s note) and building military facilities in an environment characterized by high levels of insecurity and crime due to the lack of an adequate rule of law (a pretext easy to invent – author’s note). There is the possible use during events considered to be particularly at risk such as the annual meetings of the G8 or the like. Once G8 has become G7 – the leading Western nations alone will decide the fate of sovereign states and make them do what they are supposed to.

The unit’s contingent is about 2,500 men able to intervene within thirty days in every corner of the world. Article 29 determined that the staff members of EUROGENFOR will not suffer any proceedings concerning the execution of a judgment against them in the host State, in the receiving State or in a case connected to the fulfillment of their service. (!) Whatever atrocity the operatives commit – no responsibility entails. So you go to Ukraine, for instance, and indiscriminately shoot around, there will be no consequences to face.

According to the Declaration of Intent and the Treaty, EUROGENDFOR is featured as an “Operational, pre-organized, robust and rapidly deployable” force contributing to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) even when deployed under non-European Union structures.

Non-European Union – that is not full-fledged members, please take notice. Are the people of Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova well informed about it? Are they aware of these facts? Anybody took the pain to inform and explain to them what it all means in practice? Hardly so! A vitally important aspect ignored on purpose! Tricky politics!

The international police presence may be mandated to perform the full range (or just some) of the police functions, thus being entitled to executive police powers, and should therefore be armed.

June 24 is the day the Council of the European Union adopted a decision on the rules and procedures for the implementation of the solidarity clause (Article 222 TFEU). (3) The solidarity clause provides for the Union and its member states to act jointly in assisting another member state being the object of a terrorist attack (Donetsk and Luhansk republics in the east of Ukraine?) or the victim of a natural or man-made disaster. The Union will mobilize all the instruments at its disposal. The Commission and the High Representative, assisted by the European External Action Service, will in particular identify all Union instruments and capabilities that can best contribute to the response to the crisis, and take all the necessary measures under their competence. The June 24 decision also provides for an immediate activation of the Integrated Political Crisis Response arrangements (IPCR), a mechanism approved in June 2013 by the Council. This will allow a rapid involvement of the political authorities across the EU in order for the Council to ensure the strategic direction of the response and to take appropriate action to the benefit of the member state affected.

“On Tuesday, the representatives of the EU Member States in the Council adopted a decision on the so-called ‘solidarity clause’. Were a disaster or a loosely defined crisis to occur, the organs of the European Union would be obliged to assist using all the instruments at their disposal. This includes military resources”,

warned Member of the Bundestag from German Left Party Andrej Hunko. According to him,

“The adoption at the General Affairs Council took place in secret: the point was not mentioned on the agenda of the meeting. The press was not informed. Yet this is one of the most controversial clauses contained in the EU treaties. That is precisely the reason why agreement on the details of the solidarity clause was postponed to a later point at the time of the signature of the Lisbon Treaty”.

According to Andrej Hanko, the clause strengthens the course towards militarization of home-affairs policy, since military personnel can be sent to another Member State on request. “I am concerned that this is about the home-affairs version of the Article 5 clause on mutual defence: it would apply in situations which may have an adverse impact on people, the environment or property”. Even politically motivated blockades in the areas of energy and transport and general strikes are covered.”

Remember Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP? Somehow the events make recall his warning. On May 15 he said,

“We face the prospect of mass civil unrest, even revolution in Europe

That’s when the situation in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia comes to mind. It’s an open secret that all these states face a threat of mass discontent on the way to the implementation of the agreement’s provisions.

Will people be happy with the living standards falling?

What if they start thinking and asking questions about where the countries are heading to?

Then EUROGENFOR is there for them.

The staff at GeoResonance are not prone to conspiracy theories, we all deal with facts and science. It appears some of  the authorities involved in the search have not been completely transparent with all of the facts. The MH370 tragedy has created more world interest than any event since 9/11, under those circumstances 100% transparency is a must. There are many unanswered questions.

The families and friends of those on board MH370 are dismayed that Inmarsat admitted the raw data released was only enough to prove their original model. Everyone was expecting all of the raw data to be released which would have allowed alternative models to be created. This could have shown up any errors that may exist in the original model which “assumes” MH370 ended up in the Southern Indian Ocean.

Many people are asking why the Australian over the horizon radar Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) did not see MH370. The map below showing the JORN range is taken from an Australian Air Force fact sheet on JORN (https://www.airforce.gov.au/docs/JORN_Fact_Sheet.pdf):

Figure 1. JORN radar locations and  coverage

On 26th of June 2014, the Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss presented the latest search area in the Southern
Indian Ocean:

Figure 2. New MH370 search zone

It is clear if MH370 did fly along or land on the assumed Inmarsat Southern arc flight path, then JORN would have seen it to the North/West and West of Australia. One report suggests the Laverton based radar may have been looking North for Asylum seekers arriving by boat. If this is reality it would have been looking to the North and West of Christmas Island as that is where nearly all boats head to or past when making for Australia from Indonesia. No matter which  direction the Laverton radar was looking whether North or West, it should have seen a large commercial aircraft on the assumed Southern arc. Angus Houston representing JACC and Martin Dolan Chairman of ATSB have stated numerous times the Inmarsat model of a Southern arc is a fact. Family members and experts are asking the Australian authorities why JORN did not see MH370 if the Southern arc is indeed a fact. They have been given flawed logic on radar direction, but mainly silence. Independent investigators will be asking the Australian Government many questions on this  topic.

The families are asking why some commercial cargo remains unidentified. Considering the scale of this tragedy all details must be released. The families want to  know why the Malaysian Government would withhold such crucial information.

The  families also would like to know why Rolls Royce will not release the data on pings sent from MH370 at: 2:25am, 2:27am and 8:19am. The pings at 2:25am and 2:27am are out of the ordinary, as pings should normally be sent every hour only unless there is a problem with an engine. The data would normally include engine performance details as well as other aircraft data.

GeoResonance stands by its claim that we have located what appears to be the wreck of an aircraft 190km South of the Bangladesh coastline in 1,000 to 1,100  metres of water. We have never claimed this to be MH370, however it is a lead that must be thoroughly followed through. It has been confirmed that the precise location supplied by GeoResonance to all authorities involved in the search for MH370 has not been searched. The main reason for ignoring the location is the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau (ATSB) Chairman Martin Dolan making a statement that GeoResonance methodology cannot do what we claim. This is  without ever having anyone contacting GeoResonance for a technical presentation. This slanderous and ignorant statement by a senior public servant is unfathomable when GeoResonance regularly produces accurate results for commercial clients around the globe.

GeoResonance staff wish all of the families and friends of those on board MH370 all the best in the continued search for their loved ones.

In a precedent-setting case decided today by the New York Court of Appeals, local communities have triumphed over the fracking industry. The court ruled that the towns of Dryden and Middlefield can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas production within municipal borders.

“Today the Court stood with the people of Dryden and the people of New York to protect their right to self determination. It is clear that people, not corporations, have the right to decide how their community develops,” said Dryden Deputy Supervisor Jason Leifer.

“This would not have been possible without the hard work of many of my friends and neighbors and our lawyers Deborah Goldberg of Earthjustice and Mahlon Perkins. Today’s ruling shows all of America that a committed group of citizens and public officials can stand together against fearful odds and successfully defend their homes, their way of life and the environment against those who would harm them all in the name of profit.”

Helen Slottje and Deborah Goldberg stand on the steps of the Court of Appeals in Albany on June 3 shortly before oral arguments. Photo credit: Earthjustice

Image: Helen Slottje and Deborah Goldberg stand on the steps of the Court of Appeals in Albany on June 3 shortly before oral arguments. Photo credit: Earthjustice

“This decision by the Court of Appeals has settled the matter once and for all across New York State and has sent a firm message to the oil and gas industry,” said Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg.

“For too long the oil and gas industry has intimidated and abused people, expecting to get away with it. That behavior is finally coming back to haunt them, as communities across the country stand up and say ‘no more.’ Earthjustice is proud to have stood with, and fought on behalf of, one such community.”

Deborah Goldberg argues before the Court of Appeals on June 3. Photo credit: Earthjustice

Image: Deborah Goldberg argues before the Court of Appeals on June 3. Photo credit: Earthjustice

Many other cities and towns in New York have been waiting for today’s decision to establish bans or moratoriums of their own. The victory also gives legal authority to the more than 170 New York municipalities that have passed measures against fracking in their communities. Today’s decision will also serve as inspiration for a growing number of localities in Colorado, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania and California that are hoping to stop the controversial drilling practice.

“Town by town, New Yorkers have taken a stand against fracking. Today’s victory confirms that each of these towns is on firm legal ground,” said Helen Slottje, an Ithaca-based attorney whose legal research inspired New York’s local fracking ban groundswell and who was honored with the 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize.

“The oil and gas industry tried to take away a fundamental right that pre-dates even the Declaration of Independence: the right of municipalities to regulate local land use. But they failed. The anti-fracking measures passed by Dryden, Middlefield and dozens of other New York municipalities are fully enforceable.”

Residents of Dryden smile, with Helen Slottje and Earthjustice’s Deborah Goldberg and Kathleen Sutcliffe, after the high court argument in Albany. Photo credit: Earthjustice

Image: Residents of Dryden smile, with Helen Slottje and Earthjustice’s Deborah Goldberg and Kathleen Sutcliffe, after the high court argument in Albany. Photo credit: Earthjustice

In response to the court’s 5-2 decision, John Armstrong of Frack Action and New Yorkers Against Fracking said,

”We applaud the court for once again affirming the right of New Yorkers to ban fracking and its toxic effects from their communities. As Chief Judge Lippman said, you don’t bulldoze over the voice of the people. But water and air contamination don’t stop at local boundaries, and Governor Cuomo must ban fracking statewide to protect our health and homes from the arrogant and inherently harmful fracking industry.”

The case in Dryden has attracted nation wide attention and taken on special significance. More than 20,000 people from across the country and globe sent messages to the town board, expressing support for the town through the course of its nearly three-year legal battle. An Earthjustice video depicting the town’s fight has garnered more than 80,000 views.

“We did it! This victory is for everyone who loves their town and will fight to the end to protect it,” said Dryden resident Deborah Cipolla-Dennis. “I’m proud of my town and I’m proud of the people in Fort Collins, CODenton, TX; Santa Cruz, CA; and all the others who are standing up to the oil and gas industry.”

As if Prime Minister David Cameron hasn’t got enough problems, the promised referendum allowing Scotland to vote on whether people want independence from the rest of the United Kingdom looms ever closer, and some polls show that the gap between the Yes and No camps is closing. 

It will be a tight race come September.  While staying within the UK still leads in the polls, over 50% of people believe an independent Scotland could be successful.

One reason for the increasing number of once-independent areas seeking to regain that independence is that people also want to recover their character, their heritage, their sense of belonging to that particular patch of the earth which defines who they are.

While most of us are happy to trade, to buy products from other countries, to take part in what is now a “global community”, we want to do it on our own terms.  We do not want to be governed by global corporations which have far too much influence on our governments.

Globalisation is a process of homogenisation.  We do not want to be mixed together until we are all the same tiny digits in the corporate balance sheet.  We want to be different, and we want to market that difference.  We want our contributions to the world to be recognised as ours, not swallowed up by some greater, faceless state.

Let me make it clear – I am English.  I am British in the sense of belonging (as did my ancestors) to the British Isles, which is not a nation but a geographic location, a part of which is England.  I come from a place, not a political entity.  And I am definitely not United Kingdom-ish.  I have huge loyalty to my land but little in the way of political “patriotism”.

When I visit Wales or Scotland I am conscious of entering countries separate from mine, full of Welsh and Scots – not Brits.  We define ourselves as Welsh, Scottish or English.  We belong to countries with different accents, idioms and languages, different histories and cultures, legends and customs, and ways of thinking and perception.  And I love it that way.

Therefore I respect the fact that many Scots want to return to being independent of the United Kingdom – not that any of our ancestors got to vote on the issue of being “United” back in the 17th century.  I also respect the fact that the Scots are holding a referendum on whether to regain their independence from Westminster, and that it is their referendum, not mine.

There’s another thing.  Although it has not been openly said, is it really Westminster that many Scots feel the need to separate themselves from?  Because there are quite a lot of us English folk who feel the same!

But as an Englishwoman, I am ashamed of some of the arguments put forward by the “Better Together” camp.  That title for a start.  And the launch of Better Together was used by ex-Chancellor Alistair Darling, himself a Scotsman, to make much of the fact that an independent Scotland would “lose its standing in the world”.

Even worse, a diminished United Kingdom would lose its “clout”.  Very important, clout is, to self-important politicians.  They don’t get to interfere in other countries’ affairs, something that other countries might consider a good thing.

How tediously long is the list of what Scotland would lose if it cut its ties with England.  Oh yes.  It is England that is all-important.  Little mention is made of Wales or Northern Ireland, but then they are not host to Westminster or the “financial capital of the world”.

Better Together said Scotland can’t be part of the EU.  Why not?  They can easily apply for membership or is Westminster going to have a hissy-fit and veto their entry?  But the ex-head of the EU Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said “it would be extremely difficult”.

Ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown threatens an independent Scotland with the loss of the EU rebate that we currently enjoy.  Where EU membership is concerned, would Scots be worse or better off?  How much do they really benefit from the UK’s rebate – compared to England?  Better Together says they would be worse off.  The Yes campaign says not, and points out that Gordon Brown, Scottish born and bred, didn’t negotiate a better deal for Scotland when he had the opportunity.

Up pops the Labour Party leader Ed Miliband saying that “Scotland may need border controls”.  Surely not if Scotland stays within the EU, where there is free movement across borders.  What next – a re-fortification of Hadrian’s Wall?

Scotland couldn’t possibly share our currency, although for many years Scottish banks have issued Scottish currency.  And the Committee of Scottish Bankers has this to say: “… no banknote whatsoever (including Bank of England notes!) qualifies for the term ‘legal tender’ north of the border and the Scottish economy seems to manage without that legal protection.”  So they could print their own, no problem.  Or, perish the thought, they could adopt the Euro.

There might be a problem with the banks themselves – the main Scottish banks are not Scottish owned.  How many UK financial institutions, utilities, insurance/pension funds and corporate businesses are solely UK-owned?  Ah, but so many businesses operating in Scotland would have to relocate.  Why?  Business locates at its convenience; where money is to be made or where there is a good labour force.  Big business these days doesn’t do nationalism or patriotism (if it ever did), despite what the CBI tried to maintain.

Gordon Brown feared Scotland would lose the BBC.  But they do have Scottish TV and satellite TV, and if I can receive Al Jazeera and Russia Today in rural England I daresay they won’t feel too cut off, although they might miss BBC Alba.  Even worse, Scotland wouldn’t be able to access any funding for local projects from our lottery money.

Some of these arguments are looking a little desperate, and the more ridiculous ones result in a few more people saying they’ll vote for independence – which must be why the big guns have been rolled out.  It started in January with Vladimir Putin on the Andrew Marr Show, although Education Secretary Michael Gove has just opined that Putin would use Scottish independence as an excuse to “dictate to the world”.  Seriously.  But if people like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Pope Francis and Chinese Premier Li can now stick their oars into the referendum debate, then so can I.  I am, after all, a rather nearer neighbour to the Scots than any of them.

This frothing and foaming at the mouth from Better Together always seems to boil down to one thing – money.  Sir William Patey claims that only by remaining a part of the UK will Scotland have access to the IMF and the World Bank.  Why would they want to since, should Scotland run into financial muddy waters, the IMF and the World Bank would be the first to come knocking at their door offering, as they have with other poor benighted countries, the kind of financial assistance that will pauper them for the foreseeable future.

Why not consider what we would lose if Scotland became independent, apart from what’s left of North Sea oil?  And Faslane.  With nowhere else to base them, the Trident missiles would have to go.

While relentlessly talking about what an independent Scotland would lose, how much poorer it might be in terms of money or power, Better Together has conveniently forgotten the impressive contribution Scotland has made, not just to the UK, but to the world.  That such a small part of “Great” Britain should have contributed so much to the way we live now is astonishing.  For instance:

James Watt, inventor and mechanical engineer, renowned for his improvements in steam engine technology.  The unit of measurement of electrical power – the watt – is named in his honour. Another engineer, John Logie Baird, invented television, without which the world would be a very different place.

The Scots not only invented the telephone (Alexander Graham Bell) and logarithms (John Napier), developed radar (Robert Watson-Watt), penicillin (Alexander Fleming), and antiseptics (Joseph Lister).  They also founded modern geology (James Hutton), invented the bicycle, the threshing machine, a reaping machine (forerunner of the combine harvester) the “Mac” raincoat (Charles Mackintosh), the vacuum flask (James Dewar) and our road surfacing (John McAdam).

They have produced great philosophers (David Hume), economists (Adam Smith), and chemists (Joseph Black), writers and poets (including the wonderful Hugh MacDiarmid and the hilarious William McGonagall), actors, sportsmen and women and artists/architects like Charles Rennie Mackintosh, recently in the news because of the disastrous fire at the Glasgow School of Art, one of the most inspiring buildings anywhere.  And perhaps I should mention another of my heroes, photography pioneer David Octavius Hill.

Whether in politics, medicine, science, engineering or the arts, Scotland has not only greatly altered the way we live but added to the way we think.  And some Scots have been very forward thinking:

In seeking to reform the Scottish Kirk, and backed by some lords who were in favour of reformation, John Knox wrote this wish list 450 years ago:

That all Church land should be used for three purposes, namely

  1. for the upkeep of the kirk
  2. for the support of the disabled and the aged poor and the provision of work for the unemployed
  3. for a public elementary school education for every child

Unfortunately the lords being lords and fond of owning as much as they could, they ended up with the land and the Kirk got the kirks.  But there, for some, is another reason for Scottish independence – the possibility that they will finally follow up on their Land Reform Act.

Looking at that small snapshot of Scotland’s richness of invention, capability and expertise, I think it sheer arrogance for Better Together to insist Scotland can’t exist without the rest of us.  The arguments for a No vote would be more impressive if they talked about how, in so many ways, the rest of us might be impoverished if Scotland chooses to leave us.

And whether Scotland becomes independent or remains within the UK, it will always be its unique Scottish self.  The Scots will see to that.

A senior official of the notorious private security company Blackwater allegedly threatened to kill a government investigator probing the firm’s Iraqi operation. The US embassy sided with him and forced the inspector to cut the visit short.

The shocking insight into the relations between the US State Department and the company hired to protect government employees in Iraq was reported by the New York Time on Sunday. The newspaper cites documents which were turned over to plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Blackwater, including a memo describing the incident submitted by the investigator, Jean C. Richter, to his superiors in Washington.

Diplomatic Security special agent Richter was part of the two-man team together with State Department management analyst Donald Thomas Jr. that arrived in Baghdad on August 1, 2007 to inspect Blackwater operations in the country. The company was awarded a $1 billion contract to provide security for the State Department and the CIA in Iraq.

According to the documents, the investigators found numerous violations, including changing of security details without the State Department’s approval, reducing the number of guard details and storing of automatic weapons and ammunition in Blackwater employees’ private rooms. There were also discipline problems, with guards having parties with heavy drinking and female visitors, including one episode in which an armored Blackwater car was requisitioned by four drunken employees, who drove to a private party and crashed the $180,000 vehicle into a concrete barrier.

As the probe continued, apparently it irritated some people in power in Iraq. On August 20, Richter was summoned by the embassy’s regional security officer, Bob Hanni, who said he had received a call asking him to document Richter’s “inappropriate behavior.” The investigator contacted Washington and was instructed to take his partner to all remaining meetings.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Members of the US Blackwater private security company fly a Hughes 500 helicopter over the Tigris river in Baghdad, during a patrol 05 May 2004 (AFP Photo / Marwan Namaani)

Image: Members of the US Blackwater private security company fly a Hughes 500 helicopter over the Tigris river in Baghdad, during a patrol 05 May 2004 (AFP Photo / Marwan Namaani)

The next day Richter and Thomas met Daniel Carroll, Blackwater’s project manager in Iraq, to discuss a complaint over food quality and sanitary conditions at a cafeteria in Blackwater’s compound. Carroll said Richter could not tell him what to do in his cafeteria and went on to threaten him.

The Blackwater chief said “he could ‘kill me’ at that very moment and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” Richter recounted in the memo. “I took Mr. Carroll’s threat seriously. We were in a combat zone where things can happen quite unexpectedly, especially when issues involve potentially negative impacts on a lucrative security contract.”

Thomas corroborated Richter’s account of the events in a separate statement, saying that Carroll’s comments were “unprofessional and threatening in nature.” He added that the investigators were told by people in Baghdad to be “very careful,” considering that their review could jeopardize Blackwater’s operations there.

Richter said the company officials showed little respect either to State Department officials like himself or to FBI agents present in Iraq.

“To me, it was immediately apparent that the Blackwater contractors believed that they were the de facto authority and acted accordingly, in an alarming manner,” the memo said. “Blackwater contractors saw themselves as ‘above the law’ and actually believed that they ‘ran the place’.”

He said he was shocked when the US embassy in Baghdad sided with Carroll and ordered the two investigators to leave Iraq immediately. In an August 23 email, Ricardo Colon, the acting regional security officer at the embassy, told Richter that their mission had become “unsustainably disruptive to day-to-day operations and created an unnecessarily hostile environment for a number of contract personnel.” The next day the inspectors cut short their probe and left Baghdad.

“The management structures in place to manage and monitor our contracts in Iraq have become subservient to the contractors themselves,” Richter stated in the memo.

The events happened just weeks before Blackwater guards killed 17 civilians, including a nine-year-old boy in Bahgdad’s Nisour Square on September 16, 2007. The incident sparked outrage with American presence in Iraq among the local population. The US is currently trying to prosecute four of the five guards involved in the incident after a first failed attempt to do it in 2009.

Blackwater was founded by former Navy SEAL Erik Prince and grew to a private security giant with billions worth of contracts from the US government. After a series of scandals marred the company name, Prince sold it. Blackwater was renamed three times eventually merging with its competitor Triple Canopy to form what is now called Constellis Holdings.  

Since February, continuing protests, many of them violent, against the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro have claimed more than 40 lives in Venezuela and injured more than 800 people. Most were victims of opposition supporters who have also set fire to universities, public buildings and bus stations – even the buses themselves have been burned. The scale of the protests has decreased since the start of April when the government and opposition leaders held talks to end the conflict. Much of the unrest had until then taken place in richer neighbourhoods, led by students attending private schools. But recently demonstrations have been restricted to opposition strongholds, such as Táchira state on the Colombian border. The protestors cite high inflation, and shortages of food and other goods as the source of their frustration. The latter is almost certainly the result of hording by opposition-owned and controlled distribution chains.

The demonstrations have been carried out by right wing political parties opposed to the Maduro government’s progressive program. Backing these parties, and several of the NGOs organizing protests, is the United States, which has been trying to overthrow the Venezuelan government since 2002 – the year former President Hugo Chavez, now deceased, was briefly removed in a CIA-orchestrated military coup. Since 1998, Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution has significantly redistributed wealth from the rich to the poor majority in Venezuela, bringing them free medical care and education, as well as subsidized food and housing, land reform and grassroots participatory democracy in the form of communal councils.

On the continental level, Chavez was the most prominent leader of the Latin American Revolution, or Pink Tide, which integrated and united left-leaning countries economically and politically, and substantially weakened U.S. influence in the region. For example, the former Venezuelan leader helped create several new Pan-American political, economic and development agencies, including the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), Bank of the South (Banco del sur), Telesur (Television network of the South) and PetroSur, a co-operative energy venture between several Latin American states. The idea behind all of these is to develop an entirely new socialist-oriented continental economy, one that does not function according to capitalist market rules but rather responds to the development needs of the Latin American people.

Such revolutionary domestic and regional policies have incurred the wrath of Washington and the Venezuelan elite, which has lost 18 out of 19 elections since the very popular Chavez first took office. The Venezuelan electoral process under Chavez and Maduro has been called “the best in the world” by ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter after observing the 2013 presidential elections. Chavez’s death that year transferred his popularity to Maduro, his chosen successor, who continues to win elections, compelling the opposition to resort once again to widespread violence to try to overthrow the government. At stake for the U.S. is control of Venezuela’s enormous mineral wealth. The country is estimated to have the world’s largest oil reserves.

President Maduro calls the protests “the revolt of the rich.” Asked by a Guardian U.K. reporter in April whether his government should accept responsibility for some of the killings, he proposed that 95 per cent of protest-related deaths were the fault of “right wing extremist groups” at the barricades. Maduro mentioned three motorcyclists who were beheaded by a wire strung across the road by protesters. In the same exclusive Guardian interview, Maduro, a former bus driver and unionist, emphasized the considerable increases in social services and reduction in inequality over the last 15 years.

“When I was a union leader there wasn’t a single programme to protect the education, health, housing and salaries of the workers,” he said. “It was the reign of savage capitalism. Today in Venezuela, the working class is in power: it’s the country where the rich protest and the poor celebrate their social well-being.”

Now Venezuela is facing an “unconventional war that the U.S. has perfected over the last decades” in a string of coups spanning from Brazil in the 1960s to Honduras very recently, continued Maduro. He told the Guardian that Venezuela’s opposition aims at “paralyzing the main cities of the country, copying badly what happened in Kiev, where the main roads in the cities were blocked off, until they made governability impossible, which led to the overthrow of the elected government of Ukraine.

“They try to increase economic problems through an economic war to cut the supplies of basic goods and boost an artificial inflation…to create social discontent and violence, to portray a country in flames, which could lead them to justify international isolation and even foreign intervention,”

he said.

Such tactics mirror those used by the CIA in Chile in 1973 to overthrow the elected socialist government of Salvador Allende. At the time, U.S. President Richard Nixon specifically instructed the CIA to make the Chilean economy “scream.” When this was not enough to unseat Allende, the Chilean military stepped in to finish the job. This option is not open to the U.S. in Venezuela where the military showed its loyalty in 2002 by returning Chavez to power. Washington is reduced to funding an ineffectual and violent political opposition that can neither win elections nor sustain large-scale demonstrations.

On April 23, Eva Golinger, an award-winning Venezuelan journalist and author of The Chavez Code, wrote on her Postcards from the Revolution blog:

Anti-government protests in Venezuela that seek regime change have been led by several individuals and organizations with close ties to the U.S. government. Leopoldo Lopez and Maria Corina Machado, two of the public leaders behind the violent protests, have long histories as collaborators, grantees and agents of Washington. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have channelled multi-million dollar funding to Lopez’s political parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular, and Machado’s non-government organization (NGO) Sumate and her electoral campaigns.

Golinger described the NED as a foundation created by the U.S. Congress in 1983 “to essentially do the CIA’s work overtly.” The NED has been “one of the principal financiers of destabilization in Venezuela” throughout the Chavez and Maduro administrations, she said.

The NED and USAID have given more than $14 million to opposition groups in Venezuela in the past year, including funding for political campaigns in 2013 and the current protests. Since 2001, the U.S. government has given anti-Chavez and anti-Maduro groups more than $100 million to undermine and overthrow both progressive governments, including financing the 2002 coup, added Golinger. All this despite the fact the Venezuelan National Assembly passed the Law of Political Sovereignty and National Self-Determination in 2010, which is supposed to ban foreign funding of political groups in the country.

Golinger explained that the NED directly violated this law by funding the opposition coalition Democratic Unity Table (MUD) through the U.S. International Republican Institute (IRI), with $100,000 going to share lessons learned with anti-government groups in Nicaragua, Argentina and Bolivia, and “allow for the adaption of the Venezuelan experience in these countries.” (The reference to the IRI project has been removed from the NED website but is still accessible as a cached page.)

Between 2013 and 2014, NED funds were also given to media groups that “run the campaign to discredit the government of President Maduro,” wrote Golinger. “Throughout the past year, an unprecedented media war has been waged against the Venezuelan government and President Maduro directly, which has intensified during the past few months of protests.”

This media war has been fanned by the Western mainstream press, which has re-broadcast images from Twitter that were actually from Egypt and Syria while claiming these came from Venezuela. The mainstream media has also shown Venezuelan state security forces that were disbanded two years ago. But unbiased accounts can be found. On April 8, reporting from Caracas, Guardian U.K. editor and columnist Seumas Milne wrote:

What are portrayed as peaceful protests have all the hallmarks of an anti-democratic rebellion, shot through with class privilege and racism. Overwhelmingly middle class and confined to wealthy white areas, the protests have now shrunk to firebombings and ritual fights with the police, while parts of the opposition have agreed to peace talks.

Milne said it is “hardly surprising” that President Maduro compares the situation in his country to Ukraine, where there is also evidence of U.S.- backed destabilization (see my article in the April 2014 Monitor).

“The U.S. claim that this is an unfounded ‘excuse’ is absurd,” he wrote. “Evidence for the U.S. subversion of Venezuela—from the 2002 coup through WikiLeaks-revealed cables outlining U.S. plans to ‘penetrate’, ‘isolate’ and ‘divide’ the Venezuelan government, to continuing large-scale funding of opposition groups—is voluminous.”

“We are witnessing in Venezuela the attempt by the undemocratic opposition to get by force what they could not attain through the ballot box: their hands on the government and control of the petroleum revenues,” said Venezuelan-Canadian sociologist Dr. María Páez Victor in an interview.

“The revolution is not in the street protest, it is with the revolutionary Bolivarian Government that still has the solid support of its people and its loyal armed forces. It is here to stay – it is the oligarchs and the United States and Canada that have turned their backs on democracy and history.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Canadian government has enthusiastically joined the U.S. in being hostile to Maduro, blaming him for the protests and, in March, suspending Air Canada’s flights to Venezuela. Machado, one of the two main opposition leaders in Venezuela, who has refused to negotiate with President Maduro and has incited violence in Venezuela during the protests, visited Canada in May. As reported by The Media Co-Op, she spoke to about 60 “staunch opposition supporters” at an event in Toronto organized by the Canadian Council for the Americas, which took place at the offices of law firm Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. Machado was also granted a private meeting in Ottawa with John Baird, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs.

“It is utterly shocking that this terrorist … is being received by the foreign minister of Canada,” commented Dr. Páez Victor.

Asad Ismi is the CCPA Monitor’s international affairs correspondent.

With Democratic Governor Jerry Brown in office since 2011 and the Democratic Party winning a supermajority in the state legislature in 2012, one might think that organized labor was secure and riding high. At least, that is the impression organized labor projects during campaign season. But the Democratic politicians have used their supermajority to serve up a cruel bill of fare to working people, who are still trying to digest it.

There are two public retirement systems in California, and with the drop in the return on investments during the Great Recession both became underfunded.  Governor Brown first targeted CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement System) and managed to push through reforms that included raising the age of retirement and raising the amount public workers contribute to the fund. Unions offered no significant opposition to these concessions.

This year Brown has tackled CalSTRS (California State Teachers’ Retirement System), which covers K – 12 and community college teachers. In addition to increasing the amount the state and school districts contribute, he has proposed that teachers pay an additional 2.25 percent of their salary to the retirement fund.

One might think that the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) would have strongly opposed Brown’s proposed concessions from teachers, given that it is one of the more “progressive” unions in the state and many of its members are covered by CalSTRS. Quite the contrary: it wrote Governor Brown, saying it “would like to thank you for proposing a solution to addressing the current unfunded liability of CalSTRS” and merely asked Brown to extend the timeline for the implementation of some of his proposals. CFT explained why it embraced Brown’s proposal in this way: “CFT believes that all stakeholders are responsible for solving the CalSTRS unfunded liability.”

Superficially and at first glance, one might agree with CFT that Brown’s proposal seems fair. All stakeholders should pay. But after taking a step backwards and surveying the entire context, a different conclusion emerges.

For example, a recent study found that in California

“public school teachers’ retirement benefits — at least the part taxpayers pay for — are smaller than those of virtually any other type of public employee, despite frequent claims that teachers’ pensions are excessive and diverting precious dollars from education and other essential government services.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/06/business/06pension.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Aw,%5B”RI%3A5″,”RI%3A12″%5D

Given that teachers’ pensions are lower, it is only reasonable that their current salaries should be higher so that they can prepare for this frugal future. Instead, Brown is proposing their salaries be reduced by diverting part of their salaries into the retirement fund. But this salary reduction comes on the heels of previous teacher salary cuts during the Great Recession when teachers were required to take furloughs (unpaid days off) and were denied salary increases to compensate for inflation.

Everyone benefits from public education. Businesses can hire people with the intellectual foundation to become productive workers, thanks to public education. Well-educated people are more likely to get higher paying jobs, pay higher taxes, and are less likely to commit crimes.

But not everyone is in an equal position to help pay for public education. In California inequalities in wealth have soared during the past three decades. The income of the wealthiest 1 percent of Californians grew by 81 percent while the income of the bottom 20 percent dropped by 11.5 percent. (http://www.sfgate.com/politics/joegarofoli/article/Californians-back-raising-taxes-on-state-s-wealthy-2377203.php)

So the wealthy are in a far better position to pay the taxes that underwrite public education and help pay for the pensions of the people who do the hard work of educating. After all, if one “stakeholder,” as CFT refers to teachers, has fallen overboard and is clinging desperately to a life jacket while another “stakeholder” (the rich) is lounging on deck with a large collection of life jackets, it would hardly be fair to demand that the stakeholder in the water give up their life jacket. Brown’s retirement proposal is basically asking those who are threatened with drowning to give up their life jacket while those comfortably situated on the deck are not asked to give up anything.

And the tax structure in California basically follows this same logic, thanks to aggressive lobbying on the part of the rich and the corporations. Shockingly, California’s lowest-income families pay state and local taxes at a higher rate than the very wealthy. The poorest people pay at a rate of 11.1 percent. The top 1 percent pays at a rate at a rate of 7.8 percent, lower than any other income bracket. The wealthier people are, the lower their tax rates. (The California Budget Project; http://www.cbp.org/pdfs/2011/110412_Who_Pays_Taxes.pdf)

Corporate taxes have followed a similar logic. Between the 1980s and 2003, for example, corporate taxes declined by a third. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/16/business/business-tax-shelters-a-drain-on-states-finances-study-says.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar,%5B”RI%3A5″,”RI%3A12″%5D

None of these trends should be surprising. They simply reflect the power of money. The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

“In a state with nearly 38 million people, few have more influence than the top 100 donors to California campaigns – a powerful club that has contributed overwhelmingly to Democrats and spent $1.25 billion to influence voters over the past dozen years. These big spenders represent a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands of individuals and groups that donated to California campaigns from 2001 through 2011. But they supplied about one-third of the $3.67 billion given to state campaigns during that time, campaign records show. With a few exceptions, these campaign elites have gotten their money’s worth, according to California Watch’s analysis of campaign data from state finance records and the nonpartisan National Institute on Money in State Politics, which tracks the influence of campaign money on state elections.”

All of this leads to the question why all “stakeholders” should take responsibility for underwriting the retirement fund, as CFT has argued, when some stakeholders (the rich and the corporations) are not paying anywhere near their fair share of taxes and when teachers have already suffered financially from the Great Recession, caused by reckless and lawless bankers and the politicians who do their bidding?

CFT knows full well how unjust the tax structure is in California and, to its credit, has led the campaign to raise the slogan of taxing the rich. It is not operating from a position of ignorance. However, it seems to operate from a position of cynicism. Despite Governor Brown’s anti-union record, CFT has endorsed him for re-election in 2014. And despite the Obama administration’s attack on public schools by promoting charter schools, merit pay, and the evaluation of teachers on the basis of students’ standardized tests scores, CFT’s parent affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), endorsed him for re-election. At best, the CFT and AFT will get a few crumbs tossed their way while their members continue to suffer a declining standard of living.

In other words, in response to a class war, where corporations and the rich are championing privatizing public education, reducing wages of workers, dismantling pensions, shredding the social safety net, cutting Social Security, avoiding single-payer health care, loosening environmental restrictions, and preventing federal and state governments from creating jobs — all programs that working people want defended or implemented — CFT, AFT and unions in general are allying themselves with Democratic Party politicians who are linked to the corporations that are spearheading these attacks. With this kind of battle strategy, there can be little wonder why unions are in a steady decline and why union members are so uninvolved with their own unions.

The Chicago Teachers Union proved that there is a winning strategy available, if unions would only take advantage of it. They acted independently of the Democrats and Republicans in order to unambiguously defend both their members and public education, and they actually took on Democratic mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was privatizing dozens of schools and refusing to pay teachers adequately. The Chicago Teachers Union mobilized their members, they solidified alliances with the community and won a majority of the public to their cause, they held huge mass rallies — tens of thousands participated — as a way of reaching out to the public about their grievances, and they organized a successful strike. But they could only do this because they put the members of the union in charge and kept them informed at all times of all important developments.

This strategy stands in stark contrast to how most unions operate: they only give the most vague reports to their members and focus exclusively on electing Democrats to office or weighing in on legislative measures. When rallies are organized, they bring out a few hundred or a few thousand at best. They are not seriously pursuing massive demonstrations but merely give the appearance they are fighting. After all, the last thing the Democratic Party wants are massive demonstrations that they don’t control. This approach amounts to unions subordinating the interests of their members to the interests of the politicians, and the Democrats are quick to punish unions who fail to toe the line.

As working people lose more and more ground while the rich get ever richer, they will eventually reach an explosive point where they have been pushed too far. Unions have the choice of continuing to elect sell-out, dead-end corporate politicians. Or they can create a real, politically independent grassroots movement, forging alliances between unions and the community, as the Chicago Teachers Union did, and build the necessary powerbase to counter the corporations and their politicians. Only such a grassroots movement, which aims at uniting all working people, will be capable of successfully confronting the class war that has been waged against them by the corporations and their politicians. The pressure is mounting on unions to adopt a new strategy and launch an all-out defense of their members.

 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].

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says:

No person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ….

So how did the legal memorandum “justifying” assassination of U.S. citizens by drone try to sidestep the Fifth Amendment?

It relied on reasoning from two countries that don’t have any constitution.

The New York Times reports:

One might have expected a thoughtful memo that carefully weighed the pros and cons and discussed how such a strike accords with international and Constitutional law.

Instead, the memo turns out to be a slapdash pastiche of legal theories — some based on obscure interpretations of British and Israeli law — that was clearly tailored to the desired result. Perhaps the administration held out so long to avoid exposing the thin foundation on which it based such a momentous decision.

Neither England nor Israel have a constitution.

Indeed, as the BBC notes, they are in a very small group of three:

In all but a handful of democracies in the world, the nation’s constitution can be found in a single document. The exceptions are Israel, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Nothing in the memo says that it only applies to U.S. citizens living abroad. Indeed, the government has claimed the right to assassinate or indefinitely detain any American citizen on U.S. citizen without any due process. And see this.

And – contrary to misleading statements to the contrary – the U.S. has never said that it won’t assassinate Americans living on U.S. soil.

Sadly, even though Americans have a constitution, we have lost virtually all of the rights contained in that document.

Postscript: While this article focuses on U.S. citizens,  assassinating non-citizens by drone has problems as well:

We’ve heard variations on the phrase “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” from the government for quite some time. It appears this may be true, at least if you are the government.

In the case of Stingray, a cell phone spying device used against Americans, the government does have something to hide and they fear the release of more information. Meanwhile, the Fourth Amendment weeps quietly in the corner.

Stingray

Cell phone technology is very useful to the cops to locate you and to track your movements. In addition to whatever as-yet undisclosed things the NSA may be up to on its own, the FBI acknowledges a device called Stingray to create electronic, “fake,” cell phone towers and track people via their phones in the U.S. without their knowledge. The tech does not require a phone’s GPS. This technology was first known to have been deployed against America’s enemies in Iraq, and it has come home to be used against a new enemy– you.

Stingray, also known as an International Mobile Subscriber Identity, or IMSI, catcher, works like this. The cell network is designed around triangulation and whenever possible your phone is in constant contact with at least three towers. As you move, one tower “hands off” your signal to the next one in your line of motion. Stingray electronically inserts itself into this process as if it was a (fake; “spoofed”) cell tower itself to grab location data before passing your legitimate signal back to the real cell network. The handoffs in and out of Stingray are invisible to you. Stingrays also “inadvertently” scoop up the cell phone data of anyone within several kilometers of the designated target person. Though typically used to collect location metadata, Stingray can also capture conversations, texts and mobile web use if needed.

Stingray offers some unique advantages to a national security state: it bypasses the phone company entirely, which is handy if laws change and phone companies no longer must cooperate with the government, or simply if the cops don’t want the phone company or anyone else to know they’re snooping.

This has led the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to warn

“A Stingray— which could potentially be beamed into all the houses in one neighborhood looking for a particular signal— is the digital version of the pre-Revolutionary war practice of British soldiers going door-to-door, searching Americans’ homes without rationale or suspicion, let alone judicial approval… [Stingray is ] the biggest technological threat to cell phone privacy.”

Trying to Learn about Stingray

Learning how Stingray works is difficult.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a FOIA request for more information on Stingrays, but the FBI is sitting on 25,000 pages of documents explaining the device that it won’t release.

The device itself is made by the Harris Corporation. Harris makes electronics for commercial use and is a significant defense contractor. For Stingray, available only to law enforcement agencies, Harris requires a non-disclosure agreement that police departments around the country have been signing for years explicitly prohibiting them from telling anyone, including other government bodies, about their use of the equipment “without the prior written consent of Harris.”

A price list of Harris’ spying technology, along with limited technical details, was leaked online, but that’s about all we know.

Though the non-disclosure agreement includes an exception for “judicially mandated disclosures,” there are no mechanisms for judges even to learn that the equipment was used at all, thus cutting off any possibility they could know enough demand disclosure. In at least one case in Florida, a police department revealed that it had decided not to seek a warrant to use the technology explicitly to avoid telling a judge about the equipment. It subsequently kept the information hidden from the defendant as well. The agreement with Harris goes further to require law enforcement to notify Harris any time journalists or anyone else files a public records request to obtain information about Stingray and also demands the police department assist Harris in deciding what information to release.

Something to Hide

An evolving situation in Florida shows how hard the government is working to keep the details of its Stingray spying on Americans secret.

The ACLU originally sought Stingray records in Sarasota, Florida after they learned a detective there obtained permission to use the device simply by filing an application with a local court, instead of obtaining a probable-cause warrant as once was required by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. It became clear that the Sarasota police had additionally used Stingray at least 200 times since 2010 without even the minimal step of even notifying a judge. In line with the non-disclosure agreement, very rarely were arrested persons advised that Stingray data was used to locate and prosecute them.

The ACLU, which earlier in 2014 filed a Florida state-level FOIA-type request with the Sarasota police department for information detailing its use of Stingray, had an appointment with the local cops to review documents. The local police agreed to the review. However, the June 2014 morning of the ACLU’s appointment, U.S. Marshals arrived ahead of them and physically took possession of the files. The Marshals barred the Sarasota police from releasing them. The rationale used by the federal government was that having quickly deputized a Sarasota cop, all Sarasota records became federal property.

“This is consistent with what we’ve seen around the country with federal agencies trying to meddle with public requests for Stingray information,” an ACLU spokesperson said, noting that federal authorities have in other cases invoked the Homeland Security Act to prevent the release of such records. “The feds are working very hard to block any release of this information to the public.”

The Cops are Lying in Court about Stingray

Yeah, it gets worse. According to emails uncovered by the ACLU, Florida law enforcement had concealed the use of Stingray in court documents. Specifically, one e-mail from Sarasota police to North Port police states, “In reports or depositions we simply refer to the assistance as ‘received information from a confidential source regarding the location of the suspect.’ To date this has not been challenged.” By hiding the fact from the court (and the defendant) that information used in the prosecution came from Stingray, the police effectively blocked any possibility that that information could be challenged in court. This appears in direct confrontation with the Sixth Amendment’s right to confront witnesses.

Russell Covey, a law professor at Georgia State University, stated

“The failure of law enforcement officials to disclose to courts the actual source of their information and to pretend that it came from a ‘confidential source,’ is deceptive and possibly fraudulent. Affirmatively misleading the courts about the source of evidence in sworn warrant applications would clearly constitute a constitutional violation.”

A Court Says the Feds Can Hide the Records

Following the feds’ seizure of the Stingray records, the ACLU filed an emergency motion with a Florida court that would require Sarasota to make its Stingray records available. However, in a decision issued June 17, 2014, a Florida state circuit court judge found that his court lacked jurisdiction over a federal agency, allowing the transfer of the Stingray documents to the feds and de facto blocking their release.

The ACLU plans further appeals. Unless and until they succeed, details of another way of spying on Americans will remain secret. The government does indeed have something to hide.

Peter Van Buren writes about current events at blog. His book,Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, is available now from from Amazon.

“The United States of America is not responsible for what happened in Libya, nor is it responsible for what is happening in Iraq today,” Secretary of State John Kerry declared at a Cairo news conference held in the midst of his recent crisis tour of the Middle East.

As Kerry spoke, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and a growing Sunni insurgency were consolidating their grip over the north and west of Iraq, including the country’s borders with Syria and Jordan. Upwards of a million Iraqis had been displaced by the fighting, and thousands had been killed in the mounting sectarian slaughter.

Libya is in a state of complete collapse, with continuous fighting between rival militias, a government that exists in name only, oil production down by at least 80 percent, and over a million people forced to flee the country’s violence. Many thousands are incarcerated in a network of prisons run by armed groups that practice systematic torture.

Kerry’s statement merely made official the steady drumbeat from the political establishment and the media since the situation in Iraq turned into a complete debacle: “The US bears no responsibility.”

Typical was the commentary by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, a “human rights” imperialist who was a vocal proponent of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. He wrote: “The debacle in Iraq isn’t President Obama’s fault. It’s not the Republicans’ fault… overwhelmingly, it’s the fault of the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.”

Maliki, the stooge put in power and kept there by the US occupation, is made the fall guy.

Thomas Friedman, the Times’ foreign affairs columnist, wrote Sunday that Maliki is an “arsonist,” who, “the minute America left Iraq,” deliberately unleashed mayhem. This is the same Friedman who in 2003 declared that the US invaded Iraq “because we could,” spoke proudly of US troops going house-to-house and ordering Iraqis to “suck on this,” and declared that he had “no problem with a war for oil.”

Listening to the chorus of statements insisting that the US has no responsibility for the deepening tragedy inflicted upon the people of Iraq and Libya, one is reminded of nothing so much as the Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, from Hermann Göring on down, rising one-by-one in the dock to declare themselves “not guilty.”

What are the crimes for which Kerry and so many others in the ruling establishment insist Washington bears no responsibility?

The description that they used for their own actions at the time was “shock and awe,” the unleashing of colossal destructive force upon a society already shattered by a decade of sadistic US sanctions. Killing hundreds of thousands of people and turning millions into refugees, the US war and occupation destroyed every institution of Iraqi society, while Washington deliberately fomented sectarian divisions as a means of overcoming Iraqi nationalism. The country’s deposed ruler, Saddam Hussein, was tried by a drumhead court and unceremoniously executed.

All of this was justified with warnings about the imminent threat from “weapons of mass destruction” and ties between Baghdad and Al Qaeda. As the whole world now knows, it was all lies.

There were no WMDs and there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq until US imperialism overthrew the country’s government and tore its social fabric to pieces. In fact, there was no Al Qaeda at all before Washington set about inciting a bloody war by right-wing Islamists in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

In Libya and now in Syria, the Obama administration abandoned the “war on terrorism” pretext for an equally cynical and fraudulent justification for regime-change: “human rights.” In Libya, the US and NATO heavily bombed the country while organizing and arming Islamist-led militias in a sectarian war that destroyed all of the existing governmental and social structures. As in Iraq, it ended its war with the brutal murder of the country’s secular leader, Muammar Gaddafi.

Washington is carrying out a similar war for regime-change in Syria, backing Sunni Islamist and sectarian militias that are led by ISIS, the same force that has overrun much of Iraq. The US hopes to end this war with the assassination of a third secular Arab head of state, Bashar al-Assad.

Just last week, Obama proposed to funnel $500 million in arms to the Syrian “rebels”—weapons that everyone knows will end up in the hands of ISIS, which the US is supposedly committed to defeating in Iraq.

As the contradictions and deceptions of Washington’s policy become ever more glaring, US officials simply act as though the American people won’t notice, or will believe anything. Or, for that matter, they won’t see that $500 million can be conjured up instantly to pay for a criminal war, while working people are being told “there is no money” for health care, education, housing or jobs.

The destruction that the US oligarchs have wrought in the Middle East, with all of its terrible human consequences, is the external manifestation of their destructive role within the US itself—smashing up the country’s manufacturing base, turning its economy into a gambling casino for financial parasites, destroying the jobs and living standards of millions of people. With no answers to the growing crisis at home, they turn to violence abroad, only compounding the catastrophes they have created overseas.

The “not responsibles” and “not guilties” from Kerry, Kristof, Friedman and the other advocates and apologists for American military aggression won’t wash. US imperialism is responsible for terrible crimes against humanity.

Yet no one has been held accountable. Not those in Washington—Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, et al.—who conspired to wage a war of aggression; not those in the current administration, from Obama on down, who conspired to shield their predecessors and continue the same predatory policies; not the military brass who carried out the war; not the private contractors who enriched themselves off of it; not the lying media that helped foist the war onto the American public; not the cowardly and conformist academics who justified and went along with it.

Together, they are responsible for the catastrophes that have been inflicted upon the peoples of Iraq, Libya and Syria.

The Palestinian resistance group Hamas in a letter to Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani asked for Tehran’s support against the intensified aggressive moves made by the Israeli regime.

“Given the tragic situation in the Middle-East region, unfortunately at present the situation of Palestine is not under the focus of political circles and is no longer a priority for the region and the world’s media,” the Hamas representative in Iran Khalid al-Qoddoumi said in a letter to Larijani on Sunday.

“Misusing the situation, the Zionist enemy has intensified its attacks against the Palestinians under different pretexts and is attempting to take advantage of the regional situation to its interests in the best possible form,” he added.

Qoddoumi pointed to some instances of the Zionist regime’s recent atrocities against the Palestinian people, and called for Iran’s increased support for them.

Also on Saturday, Hamas Politburo Chief Khalid Mashaal voiced his deep concern over the recent attacks by the Israeli security forces on innocent civilians in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and called on Tehran to continue extending its full support for the Palestinians.

In a letter to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Mashaal strongly criticized the mounting atrocities of Tel Aviv against the defenseless Palestinian civilians.

Mashaal further asked the Iranian president and nation to continue their support for the Palestinian nation to enable them to resist against the Zionist occupiers.

Over 300 Palestinians, including Hamas members and lawmakers, have been detained in recent days.

Tel Aviv accuses Hamas of being behind the disappearance of the three missing Israeli settlers. However, the group has denied any involvement.

Hamas says Tel Aviv’s allegations about the abduction of the three Israeli settlers by the Palestinian resistance movement are aimed at torpedoing the recent reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah.

In April, Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed an agreement to end years of rivalry and form a unity government. The move irked Washington and Tel Aviv.

Another Global Financial Crisis in the Making

June 30th, 2014 by Nick Beams

The Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements has stated that the current policies of central banks and monetary authorities could lead to another financial crisis, potentially bigger than that of 2008.

The warning is contained in the latest annual report of the bank, sometimes referred to as the central bankers’ bank, issued yesterday.

The report expressed concerns that the present low-interest rate regime, initiated to try to overcome the effects of the 2008 crash, has pushed financial markets to new highs while lowering the rate premium for many risky loans.

The BIS noted that markets had been “exuberant over the past year,” particularly in advanced economies. They were “dancing mainly to the tune of central bank decisions,” with volatility reaching historical lows and “market participants … hardly pricing in any risks.”

“Overall, it is hard to avoid the sense of a puzzling disconnect between the markets’ buoyancy and underlying economic developments globally,” the bank stated.

The “disconnect” is most clearly expressed in the United States, where the Federal Reserve’s policy of pumping trillions of dollars into financial markets has seen stock market indexes reach record highs, while the underlying economy stagnates and reverses. Last week, it was revealed that the US economy contracted almost 3 percent in the first quarter of 2014, but stock markets climbed even further in the belief that the on-going stagnation would lead to the provision of still more ultra-cheap money.

The BIS noted that despite an increase in economic growth, the world economy had not shaken off its dependence on monetary stimulus. Regardless of the euphoria in financial markets, investment remained “weak.” On a global scale, the total debt of private non-financial sectors had risen by 30 percent since the global financial crisis, pushing up the ratio of this debt to global output.

Moreover, a concentration on short-term growth figures ran the risk of ignoring the long-term dangers created by present monetary policies.

“Focusing our attention on the shorter-term output fluctuations is akin to staring at the ripples on the ocean while losing sight of the more threatening underlying waves,” the BIS head of economics Claudio Borio warned in a press briefing on the report.

The report stated that when viewed through the “financial cycle lens,” the current configuration of macroeconomic and financial developments raised a “number of risks.”

In countries that had been experiencing “outsized financial booms,” the risk was that “these will turn to bust and possibly inflict financial distress.” Indicators that had proved accurate in the past, such as the behaviour of credit and property prices, were exhibiting “worrying signs.” Though the BIS did not name the US, it is the leading example of a country with an ‘outsized financial boom.’

There were also dangers in so-called emerging market economies because of the disparity between the size of these markets and huge global investor portfolios, which the report likened to the effect of an “elephant in a paddling pool.” It was “far from reassuring” that flows to these countries had increased “on the back of an aggressive search for yield,” meaning they could reverse rapidly.

The report said that data indicating a sound financial position, together with so-called macro-prudential measures by financial authorities designed to try to prevent the build-up of risks, did not provide reassurance. “Time and again,” it noted, “in both advanced and emerging market economies, seemingly strong balance sheets have turned out to mask unsuspected vulnerabilities that surface only after the financial boom has given way to bust.”

The BIS warned that any crisis in emerging markets would have a major impact on the more advanced economies. Since the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the share of emerging market economies had risen to around one third of global gross domestic product and their weight in the international financial system had increased.

“The ramifications would be particularly serious if China, home to an outsize financial boom, were to falter. Especially at risk would be the commodity-exporting countries that have seen strong credit and asset price increases and where post-crisis terms of trade gains have shored up high debt and property prices.”

The BIS did not specifically name Australia but the description matches its economy exactly. Other commodity exporting countries that would suffer a major impact include Brazil and South Africa.

According to the report, it was “somewhat unsettling” to see growth patterns similar to those that preceded the crisis of 2008. Property prices in Britain had been “unusually buoyant,” while segments of the corporate lending market in the US were “even frothier than they were before the crisis.”

While it did not name the US Federal Reserve, the BIS report criticised its policy of quantitative easing on two fronts. While the benefits of “unusually easy money” policies may appear quite tangible in the short term, especially if assessed on the basis of the response of financial markets, “the costs … will become apparent only over time and with hindsight. This has happened often enough in the past.”

The BIS then took aim at the Fed’s policy of informing financial markets of its intentions.

“Seeking to prepare markets by being clear about intentions may inadvertently result in participants taking more assurance than the central bank wishes to convey. This can encourage further risk-taking, sowing the seeds of an even sharper reaction.”

In other words, the very policies being implemented, supposedly with the aim of preventing a financial crisis, may well be creating the conditions for one. The report noted that any policy model which relied too much on the increase of debt, as “financial booms sprinkle the fairy dust of illusory riches” over time “sows the seeds of its own demise.”

The BIS report is the latest in a series of warnings that the present financial boom is sowing the seeds for another crisis. It has a significant degree of credibility because the bank was one of the few official bodies that pointed to the unsustainable financial conditions leading up to the crisis of 2007–2008.

But the BIS, as with all the other economic authorities in the global capitalist economy, has no policies that can bring about a return to what were once considered “normal” patterns of economic growth.

Its central criticism of the easy money policies of the Fed and other central banks is that they have diverted attention from what it insists are necessary “structural reforms,” especially in labour markets. In other words, what is needed to pump life-blood back into the sclerotic arteries of the global capitalist system is an intensification of the offensive against the working class that began after 2008.

America’s Nazis in Kiev: “Russians are Subhuman”

June 30th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

Self-appointed prime minister of Ukraine, Arseny Yatsenyuk of the “Fatherland Party,” referred to Russians as “subhuman,” echoing the racist vitriol of Nazism Yatsenyuk and others in his regime subscribe to. It was a violent, armed coup spearheaded by Neo-Nazi militants that placed Yatsenyuk into power in the first place, along with the Neo-Nazi political front Svoboda, and paved way for fraudulent elections that predictably yielded a pro-US-EU client regime.

Yatsenyuk made his comments amid ongoing fighting in the east of Ukraine, where Kiev is waging war upon fellow Ukrainians, shelling and bombing cities in provinces that refuse to recognize the regime’s seizure of power during late 2013 – early 2014. After a significant loss of life during one of Kiev’s many ill-conceived military operations, Yatsenyuk stated:

They lost their lives because they defended men and women, children and the elderly who found themselves in a situation facing a threat to be killed by invaders and sponsored by them subhumans. First, we will commemorate the heroes by wiping out those who killed them and then by cleaning our land from the evil.

From fabricating an “invasion,” to claims of “threatened” lives, to the labeling of Russians as “subhuman,” Yatsenyuk has recited fully the script of Nazism used to justify its various historical crimes against humanity. Kiev’s forces in eastern Ukraine are not fighting an “invasion,” but constitute an invading force themselves, making incursions into eastern Ukraine and holding territory only through unmitigated brutality against local populations clearly collaborating with armed self-defense forces intent on resisting Kiev’s authority.

To glimpse into the mentality that wrought Yatsenyuk’s racist comments, one must refamiliarize themselves with the infamous Nazi pamphlet, “Der Untermensch,” (literally “the underman”). In it, it characterizes the Slavic people as barbarians, comparing them to “Attila and Gengis Khan.” Under the subtitle, “The subhuman has challenged humanity, thus began the terrible invasion of Attila and Gengis Khan!” the pamphlet states:

On their small ugly steppe horses, the subhuman hordes appearing as if they were part of the animal, growing out of its fur, descended onto Europe with their inhuman cry!Their narrow eyes shone with excitement and the greedy bloodthirsty desire to reign down fire and destruction on all in their path.

The cry “the Huns come” was heard for centuries and became synonymous with fear and loathing. Russia became the stepping stone for where the subhuman ideology and doctrine burst forth against the world of light.

Repeatedly these wild barbarians with sharpened spears, cursing and foaming at the mouth came to bring destruction to the cultured west.

This “horde” is directly compared to the Slavic people of Russia and of course “Jews” throughout the pamphlet, with the “Aryan race” seen as the “protectors” of Europe:

The German Aryan Knight stands as the bulwark against the subhuman horde, noble fighters for all that is good, keeping Europe from descending into the pit of savagery and stupidity.

The rants of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi propagandists echo clearly in the statements emanating from Kiev and even Washington and Brussels today – characterizing resistance to overt Nazis seizing power violently in Kiev as an “invasion” of “subhumans.” Weighing both the Nazi linage of Yatsenyuk’s political party and its allies in the Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party and their Right Sector militant front, side-by-side with “Der Untermensch,” it is difficult to conclude the rhetoric in Kiev originated from anywhere else but Nazism.

The Only Thing Worse Than Nazi Vitriol is Defending Those Who Spread It 

US State Department spokesperson Jennifer Psaki, was asked directly if she supported comments made by Kiev regarding both Russian President Vladimir Putin and racist comments made about the Russian people being “subhumans” themselves. Psaki would utterly fail to condemn the comments and instead excused them as efforts “in support of a peaceful resolution” – this even as Kiev strafes its own population with warplanes and pounds populated cities with artillery.

One must wonder what the West’s reaction would have been if an Iranian diplomat referred to Israelis as “subhumans.” Unlike the current regime in Kiev which are literal Nazis tracing their poisonous ideology back to Nazi-collaborators like Stepan Bandera, Iran has no sociopolitical link to Nazism. Its comments regarding Israel have generally been geopolitical, not racial or religious in nature – considering Iran is host to the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside of Israel. Still, comments made by the Iranian government over the years have been twisted, manipulated, portrayed as “Nazism,” and most certainly condemned by the West in every possible manner.

That the West has failed to condemn literal Nazi rhetoric today, lifted almost verbatim from pamphlets peddled by the very founders of Nazism, once again illustrates that the West is not a political order of ideals, but rather one of interests pursued behind a thin veil of “ideals.” These “ideals” are liberally abused and at times – such as now – completely and shamelessly abandoned. Psaki’s inability to condemn Kiev’s Nazi vitriol is part of a greater campaign of diversion attempting to cover up and spin Kiev’s growing list of atrocities and crimes against humanity.

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

A man with a long history of keeping big bank secrets safe from the public’s prying eyes has denied the appeal filed by Wall Street On Parade to obtain specifics about the worker deaths upon which JPMorgan Chase pockets the life insurance money each year.

According to its financial filings, as of December 31, 2013, JPMorgan held $17.9 billion in Bank-Owned Life Insurance (BOLI) assets, a dark corner of the insurance market that allows banks to take out life insurance policies on their workers, secretly pocket the death benefits, and receive generous tax perks subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer. According to experts, JPMorgan could potentially hold upwards of $179 billion of life insurance in force on its current and former workers, based on the size of its BOLI assets.

The man who denied Wall Street On Parade’s appeal is Daniel P. Stipano, who told us by letter on June 20, 2014 that he had 450 pages of responsive material but it was not going to be released to us or the public. (See OCC Response to Appeal from Wall Street On Parade Re JPMorgan Banker Death Bets.)

Stipano is, by title, the Deputy Chief Counsel of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the U.S. regulator of national banks, including those that were at the center of the 2008 financial collapse, mortgage and foreclosure frauds,  and which continue to violate the nation’s laws with regularity. According to Stipano’s current bio, he also functions as the supervisor of the OCC’s Enforcement and Compliance, Litigation, Community and Consumer Law, and Administrative and Internal Law Divisions. That’s a lot of hats for one man to wear at a regulator of serially malfeasant mega banks.

Read complete article at Wall Street on Parade

THE GLOBALIZATION OF NATO

Author:  Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Clarity Press (2012)
Pages:  411 with complete index

Now Available: Order directly from Global Research

The world is enveloped in a blanket of perpetual conflict. Invasions, occupation, illicit sanctions, and regime change have become currencies and orders of the day. One organization – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – is repeatedly, and very controversially, involved in some form or another in many of these conflicts led by the US and its allies. NATO spawned from the Cold War. Its existence was justified by Washington and Western Bloc politicians as a guarantor against any Soviet and Eastern Bloc invasion of Western Europe, but all along the Alliance served to cement Washington’s influence in Europe and continue what was actually America’s post-World War II occupation of the European continent. In 1991 the raison d’être of the Soviet threat ended with the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War. Nevertheless NATO remains and continues to alarmingly expand eastward, antagonizing Russia and its ex-Soviet allies. China and Iran are also increasingly monitoring NATO’s moves as it comes into more frequent contact with them.

Yugoslavia was a turning point for the Atlantic Alliance and its mandate. The organization moved from the guise of a defensive posture into an offensive pose under the pretexts of humanitarianism. Starting from Yugoslavia, NATO began its journey towards becoming a global military force. From its wars in the Balkans, it began to broaden its international area of operations outside of the Euro-Atlantic zone into the Caucasus, Central Asia, East Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Indian Ocean. It has virtually turned the Mediterranean Sea into a NATO lake with the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, while it seeks to do the same to the Black Sea and gain a strategic foothold in the Caspian Sea region. The Gulf Security Initiative between NATO and the Gulf Cooperation Council seeks to also dominate the Persian Gulf and to hem in Iran. Israel has become a de facto member of the military organization. At the same time, NATO vessels sail the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. These warships are deployed off the coasts of Somalia, Djibouti, and Yemen as part of NATO’s objectives to create a naval cordon of the seas controlling important strategic waterways and maritime transit routes.

The Atlantic Alliance’s ultimate aim is to fix and fasten the American Empire. NATO has clearly played an important role in complementing the US strategy for dominating Eurasia. This includes the encirclement of Russia, China, Iran, and their allies with a military ring subservient to Washington. The global missile shield project, the militarization of Japan, the insurgencies in Libya and Syria, the threats against Iran, and the formation of a NATO-like military alliance in the Asia-Pacific region are components of this colossal geopolitical project. NATO’s globalization, however, is bringing together a new series of Eurasian counter-alliances with global linkages that stretch as far as Latin America. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) have been formed by Russia, China, and their allies as shields against the US and NATO and as a means to challenge them. As the globalization of NATO unfolds the risks of nuclear war become more and more serious with the Atlantic Alliance headed towards a collision course with Russia, China, and Iran that could ignite World War III.


AVAILABLE TO ORDER FROM GLOBAL RESEARCH

The Globalization of NATO

Author:  Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
ISBN:  978-0-9852710-2-2
Clarity Press

Year:  2012
Pages:  411 with complete index

Price: $22.95

Click to visit the Global Research ONLINE STORE


Global Research Editor’s Note

We bring to the attention of our readers this important and timely book by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, award winning author, geopolitical analyst and Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

This book analyses in detail the historical evolution of NATO’s post-Cold War mandate and military interventions.

The author takes the reader across the Eurasian geopolitical chessboard, from the Balkans and Eastern Europe, to Central Asia and the Far East, through the “military corridors” of the Atlantic Alliance, the Pentagon and the Washington think tanks, where the new post-Cold War military doctrine of global warfare is decided upon.

And from the formulation of military doctrine,  Nazemroaya examines NATO’s mandate, its military campaigns, focusing on the geopolitical regions where Global NATO has extended its Worldwide grip.

The book from the outset examines the economic dimension of NATO’s military undertakings, how the latter support the imposition of deadly macroeconomic reforms on sovereign countries. War and globalization are intricately related.  Economic globalization under the helm of Wall Street and the IMF is endorsed by a global military agenda.

Nazemroaya explores how dominant economic interests are supported by the “internationalization” of NATO as a military entity, which has extended its areas of jurisdiction from the European-North Atlantic region into new frontiers. “The Globalization of NATO” endorses and sustains the Worldwide imposition of neoliberal economic doctrine.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a man of tremendous courage and conviction. Having lived through the extensive NATO bombing raids of Tripoli at the height of NATO’s humanitarian” war on Libya, the lives of others within his entourage were always more important than his own life.

It is within this frame of mind and commitment, having witnessed firsthand the horrors of NATO’s “Responsibility to Protect”, that upon returning from Libya in September 2011, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya started working relentlessly on his manuscript.

While the conclusions of Nazemroaya’s detailed analysis and investigation are by no means optimistic, this globally military agenda can be reversed when people around the world, in the true spirit of internationalism and national sovereignty, join hands in dismantling the NATO killing machine and its corporate sponsors.

That is why this book is an important landmark, a handbook for action.

Through commitment, courage and truth at all levels of society, across the land, nationally and internationally, this process of “global militarization” described by Nazemroaya, can be forcefully reversed.

At this critical juncture in our history, “the criminalization of  war” is the avenue which must be sought, as a means to instating World peace.

Can the objective of World peace be achieved? In the words of former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, read Nazemroaya’s book “before it is too late.”

Michel Chossudovsky, Montreal, October 8, 2012


REVIEWS

“The Globalization of NATO by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is simply magnificent, erudite and devoid of the ethnocentrism to which one has become so accustomed from Western authors. The book deals with what doubtless are the most important and relevant issues of the day for all those committed to saving life and protecting Mother Earth from rampant human irresponsibility and crime. There is no other book that, at this particular time, I would most heartily endorse. I think Africans, Near Eastern peoples, Iranians, Russians, Chinese, Asians and Europeans generally and all the progressive Latin American countries of today will find a much needed reinforcement and support for their peaceful ideals in this excellent must-read book.”
MIGUEL D’ESCOTO BROCKMANN, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua (1979-1990) and President of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (2008-2009): Managua, Nicaragua.

“We are far away from the principles and objectives for which the United Nations was created and the decisions of the Nuremberg Tribunal stipulating that some state actions can be considered crimes against peace. Nazemroaya’s book, in addition to reminding us that the role of the United Nations has been confiscated by NATO, elaborates the danger that the North Atlantic Treaty represents to world peace.”
JOSÉ L. GÓMEZ DEL PRADO, Chairman of the United Nations Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries (2005-2011): Ferney-Voltaire, France.

“Through carefully documented research, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya analyzes the historical and geopolitical evolution of NATO from the Cold War to the post 9/11 US- led “Global War on Terrorism.” This book is a must read for those committed to reversing the tide of war and imperial conquest by the world’s foremost military machine.”
MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG): Montréal, Canada.

“A very timely book. Yes, US-led NATO is globalizing, like the US-led finance economy. No doubt also for it to protect the latter, the “free market.” It is a classical case of overstretch to help save the crumbling US Empire and Western influence in general, by countries most of whom are bankrupt by their own economic mismanagement. All their interventions share two characteristics. The conflicts could have been solved with a little patience and creativity, but NATO does not want solutions. It uses conflicts as raw material it can process into interventions to tell the world that it is the strongest in military terms. And, with the help of the mainstream media, it sees Hitler everywhere, in a Milosevic, a bin Laden, a Hussein, a Qaddafi, in Assad, insensitive to the enormous differences between all these cases. I hope this book will be read by very, very many who can turn this morbid fascination with violence into constructive conflict resolution.”
JOHAN GALTUNG, Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies and Sociology at the University of Oslo and Founder of the International Peace Research Institute in Oslo (PRIO), the Galtung- Institut, and the Transcend Network: Oslo, Norway.

“Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya’s prolific writings give us a comprehensive understanding of the character of the military thrust and it’s all out, no holds barred STRATEGIC plans and moves to invade, occupy and plunder the resources of nations, inflicting unprecedented barbaric acts on civilian populations. He is one of the prescient thinkers and writers of contemporary times who deserves to be read and acted upon by people with a conscience and concern for humanity’s future.”
VISHNU BHAGWAT, Admiral and Chief of the Naval Staff of India (1996-1998): Mumbai, India.

“This is a book really necessary to understanding the role of NATO within the frame of long-term US strategy. The Globalization of NATO by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya not only provides an articulate analysis on the Atlantic Alliance: it is the best modern text devoted to the hegemonic alliance. With this book Nazemroaya reconfirms his ability as a brilliant geopolitical analyst.”
-TIBERIO GRAZIANI, President of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences/L’Istituto di Alti Studi in Geopolitica e Scienze Ausiliarie (IsAG): Rome, Italy.

“Nazemroaya is an unbelievable prolific writer. What has often amazed many is his almost nonstop writing on extremely important issues for the contemporary world and his analysis about the globalization of NATO. What amazes many of us in other parts of the world are his seemingly limitless depth, breadth and the thoroughness of his knowledge that has been repeatedly appearing in his work. We are deeply indebted to Nazemroaya’s humble, tireless and invaluable contributions through his fearless, insightful and powerful writings.”
KIYUL CHUNG, Editor-in-Chief of The 4th Media and Visiting Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University: Beijing, People’s Republic of China.

“The Journalists’ Press Club in Mexico is grateful and privileged to know a man who respects the written word and used it in an ethical way without another interest other than showing the reality about the other side of power in the world. Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya gives voice to the “voiceless.” He can see the other side of the moon, the side without lights.”
CELESE SÁENZ DE MIERA, Mexican Broadcaster and Secretary-General of the Mexican Press Club: Federal District of Mexico City, Mexico.

“With his very well documented analysis, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya has conducted a remarkable decryption of the strategies implemented by NATO – in the interests of the United States, the European Union and Israel – to expand its military grip on the world, ensure its control over energy resources and transit routes, and encircling the countries likely to be a barrier or a threat to its goals, whether it be Iran, Russia or China. Nazemroaya’s work is essential reading for those that want to understand what is being played out right now on the map in all the world’s trouble spots; Libya and Africa; Syria and the Middle East; the Persian Gulf and Eurasia.”
SILVIA CATTORI, Swiss political analyst and journalist: Geneva, Switzerland.

AVAILABLE TO ORDER FROM GLOBAL RESEARCH

The Globalization of NATO

Author:  Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
ISBN:  978-0-9852710-2-2
Clarity Press

Year:  2012
Pages:  411 with complete index

Price: $22.95

 

Click to visit the Global Research ONLINE STORE

As the world’s eyes turn to Iraq, flabbergasted at the brutality and partial success of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, takeover of major Iraqi cities with the goal of building a so-called “Islamic state” under the banner of a Sunni awakening in Shiite-friendly nations like Iraq and Syria — both bordering countries of Iran — the media is presenting this war as a sectarian conflict: Sunni vs. Shiite. But we know that this conflict is a war being fomented by competing powers who are using these exact terror groups like al-Nusra and ISIS to destabilize nations and politically fragment them to further conquer and re-map the Middle East.

As the neoconservative and quasi-liberal media discuss what the best course of action is and what our obligations are to Iraq, not a single media outlet has asked the most important questions yet: Who is aiding and arming ISIS?

And how, in our global war on terror, did a terror group like ISIS slip under the rug in a nation like Iraq, where the largest U.S. Embassy is located? And how [are] terror groups like ISIS an expression of imperialism?

Joining me today to break down the situation in Iraq and answer who is the driving factor in this “divide and conquer” in this multi-layered game of chess is Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, author of “The Globalization of NATO” and a forthcoming book, “The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa.”

He is also a research associate at the Center for Research on Globalization, a contributor at the Strategic Cultural Foundation in Moscow and a member of the Scientific Committee of Geopolitica in Italy.

 

For more Mintcasts visit the YouTube page of Mint Press News.

As Iraq received its first shipment of Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia on Saturday to combat a radical insurgency seizing major cities, Moscow took a swipe at the West for ”playing into the hands of terrorists” in the region.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki announced last week that the country had secured a deal with Russia and Belarus on the purchase of fighter jets to quell the spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, a group of Sunni militants who have wreaked havoc in recent weeks using methods so brutal even al-Qaida has disavowed them.

The militants’ rapid spread across northern Iraq has put leaders worldwide on edge and triggered calls for urgent military measures to prevent ISIL from gaining control of more territories. The organization, estimated to have about 6,000 members in Iraq alone, is also one of the main groups fighting the government forces in Syria.

The deals for the fighter jets, which were expedited due to the “emergency situation in the country,” are worth up to $500 million, BBC News reported.

A statement on the Iraqi Defense Ministry’s website on Saturday confirmed that five Su-24 jets had been delivered and stationed at various air bases, saying the jets would boost the ”combat capability of the Air Force and the armed forces to eliminate terrorism.”

Russia’s delivery of the jets seems to be the latest sign of its growing influence in the Middle East.

During a visit to Damascus on Saturday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called on the U.S. and Europe to jump in and help fight the rising tide of terrorism in the region, urging the West to follow Russia’s example of ”not standing idly” by while terrorist groups seize control of more and more cities in Syria and Iraq, The Associated Press reported.

The U.S. has also stepped in, having announced last week that up to 300 military advisers would be sent to Iraq to assist Iraqi troops.

But that seemed to be too little, too late for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, which pinned the blame for growing instability in the Middle East on the West in a statement on its website on Saturday.

The ministry condemned the latest United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on Syria as “one-sided and politically biased” for placing the blame solely on Syrian government forces.

The resolution fails to acknowledge “the threat to human rights from jihadist gangs whose actions are aimed at destabilizing the situation in the entire region,” the ministry said, adding that Russia’s proposal to condemn the bloodshed by ISIL was ignored.

Such moves by countries including Britain, Germany, Italy, France and the U.S., give reason to believe that their goal is not to stop the crisis, but to ”continue destabilizing the situation in the country regardless of the consequences,” the statement said.

“Fewer and fewer countries are ready to follow those who continue their irresponsible course of action for a violent power change in a sovereign state, neglecting the interests of regional security and playing into the hands of terrorist groups leading the war in Syria, Iraq and other countries in the Middle East,” the statement said.

The first delivery of Russian Sukhoi fighter jets arrived in Iraq on Saturday, the country’s Defense Ministry said. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is hoping the jets will make a key difference in the fight against ISIS.

The Iraqi Ministry of Defense on Sunday confirmed receiving five Su-25 fighter jets in accordance with the deal with Moscow. The jets were delivered by a Russian An-124 transport plane in a dismantled state, and are expected to be set up and become operational within 3-4 days.

“The Sukhoi Su-25 is an air-ground support and anti-terrorism mission aircraft. In these difficult times, we are in great need of such aircraft. With God’s help, we will be able to deploy them to support our ground forces on a mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant militants within the next 3-4 days,”Iraqi Army Lieutenant General Anwar Hamad Amen Ahmed told RT’s Ruptly news agency at an airport receiving the jets.

According to Ahmed, Iraq will wage a “massive attack” on insurgents with the help of the jets.

“We have experienced pilots and other professionals. Our Russian friends have also sent their own experts to assist us in preparing the aircraft. All the logistics have been planned for as well,” the lieutenant general said.

Earlier, Iraqi MP Abbas al-Bayati was quoted as saying by local media that ten Russian jets have been delivered, with Iraqi media identifying them as Su-24s. However, the conflicting information has not been confirmed by other sources.

The fighter jets will be stationed at an airbase located in the southern part of the country, PressTV reported, citing military sources.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki revealed that Iraq purchased jets from Russia and Belarus in order to help its fight against Sunni militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL).

At the same time, Maliki criticized the US for taking too long to deliver on its own contract after Iraq purchased F-16 jets from America.

On Friday, Iraqi Air Force Commander Hameed al-Maliki confirmed the shipment of MI-35 and MI-28 Russian helicopter fighters to “keep the momentum” in the attacks against ISIS, Ruptly reported.

The commander said that he signed three contracts with the Russians and stressed the importance of the choppers as “excellent anti-terrorism weapons.”

The radical Sunni ISIS militants have taken large parts of the country’s north from the Iraqi government.

Hundreds of Iraqi soldiers have been killed by insurgents since the Sunni militants began their offensive on June 9, according to Iraqi forces.

The United Nations says more than 1,000 people – mainly civilians – have been killed during the surge thus far.

The European Council on Friday said it would give Moscow three days to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, or it will impose new sanctions against Russia, according to a statement published Friday.

The European Council also set conditions for the de-escalation.

“The European Council expects that by Monday 30 June the following steps will be taken: Agreement on a verification mechanism, monitored by the OSCE, for the ceasefire and for the effective control of the border; return to the Ukrainian authorities of the three border checkpoints (Izvarino, Dolzhanskiy, Krasnopartizansk); release of hostages including all of the OSCE observers; launch of substantial negotiations on the implementation of President [Petro] Poroshenko’s peace plan,” the statement reads.

The European Council said it regrets that the ceasefire, “while being respected by the Ukrainian authorities,” has not led to the full cessation of military hostilities and called upon the sides to “genuinely commit to the implementation of the peace plan and to cement the cessation of the military activities.”

European Union leaders urged Russia to “actively use its influence over the illegally armed groups and to stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border, in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation.”

The European Council said it was prepared to convene at any moment to impose new sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis, should the council find it necessary.

“The Council will assess the situation and, should it be required, adopt necessary decisions. The European Council underlines its commitment to reconvene at any time for further significant restrictive measures,” the statement reads.

Earlier Friday, Russia’s ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, told RIA Novosti in an interview that the EU had no intention or political will to expand sanctions against Russia.

The EU has adopted and repeatedly expanded the sanctions list to people they believe played a role in “violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity.” A total of 61 Russian and Ukrainian nationals have been hit with EU travel bans and asset freezes over the crisis. Several Crimean enterprises have also been targeted by the EU sanctions.

Moscow has repeatedly stated that the language of sanctions is “inappropriate and counterproductive” and warned its western partners about the “boomerang effect” sanctions would have.

Members of the National Roundtable against Mining in El Salvador, La Mesa, announced the presentation of the Pacific Rim-Oceana Gold case in this week’s Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The tribunal, organized as part of the International Week of Actions to Stop Corporate Impunity, “provides an opportunity to the victims of corporate violations to publicly present their struggle and to demand the justice that they have never achieved. More generally, it aims to provide a truthful and authoritative account of the operations of TNCs and their repercussions on human rights.”

The case of Pacific Rim-OceanaGold and the human rights violations the company has engaged in while in El Salvador was presented in Geneva by Saul Baños, a member of La Mesa and a lawyer with the Foundation for the Application of the Law in El Salvador-FESPAD.

Since 2005, La Mesa has conducted a successful campaign to stop the development of industrial mining operations in El Salvador. Their struggle has been credited as one of the main factors that led to a de facto moratorium on mining implemented by president Antonio Saca in 2008 and continued by the administrations of Mauricio Funes in 2009 and current President Salvador Sanchez Ceren.

The mining moratorium prompted Canadian mining company Pacific Rim, now owned by Australian miner OceanaGold, to sue the government of El Salvador under the international Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, ICSID; to engage in high level lobby efforts with local and national authorities to get their mining permit approved; and to conduct a disastrous public relations campaign that engendered social conflict in the communities surrounding its El Dorado mining project in the northern department of Cabañas.

Our participation in this tribunal is on the eve of the “anniversary of the assassination of Gustavo Marcelo Rivera” declared Vidalina Morales from the National Roundtable Against metallic Mining. “Five years after his death, in June 2009, we are still expecting the Office of the Attorney General to fully investigate his murder, and others that occurred in the same period, and charge the intellectual authors of these crimes”

By June 2011, five anti mining activists had been assassinated and tens of others environmental defenders live, up until now, under continuous death threats against their lives and their families’.

The state of insecurity generated in Cabañas prompted the Inter American Commission on Human Right-IACHR to issue precautionary measures ordering the Government of El Salvador to “adopt the measures necessary to guarantee the life and personal integrity of the beneficiaries, and to inform the IACHR about any actions taken to investigate the facts.”

Locally, the then Human Rights Ombudsman of El Salvador, Oscar Luna, and Deputy Chief of Police, Howard Cotto, declared in separate occasions that the patterns of violence in Cabañas were not typical and that they were related to the presence of Pacific Rim in the region.

While the company continues to fully exercise its investor’s right to sue the government of El Salvador for over 300 million dollars under the ICSID, communities that have been victims of human rights violations in the department of Cabañas have no recourse to demand justice and reparation for personal injury, damages to property and violations to basic human rights.

The participation of La Mesa in the permanent people’s tribunal adds a significant voice to a growing international movement led by countries of the global south and hundreds of international civil society organizations that demand that the United Nations implement an internationally binding mechanism to hold corporations accountable for their involvement human rights violations.

“The Tribunal will examine cases that confirm that the United Nations’ present Business and human rights regime, which relies on voluntary guidelines rather than legal obligations, is woefully inadequate to deal with ongoing corporate violations.” Reads a press release issued by the Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power.

A statement outlining the human right violations of Pacific Rim-OceanaGold has also been submitted to the United Nations Human Right Commission by the Institute for for Policy Studies and the Centre for International Environmental Law, international organizations that work in partnership with La Mesa.

The submission adds to a growing number of cases that evidence multinational corporations’ contempt for democratic and human rights. Other cases include: Oil pollution caused by Chevron in the Ecuadorean Amazon and Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria; cases of mining giants such as Glencore in the Philippines, Peru, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia; the systematic violation of human rights by the Coca-Cola Company in Colombia and Israel’s water services company Mekorot in Palestine; and others.

Uma cifra definitiva para o real crescimento do PIB,  Produto Interno Bruto, dos Estados Unidos nos primeiros quatro mêses de 2014 foi apresentada hoje. A sifra não é a de 2.6% em taxa de crescimento, como previsto em janeiro desse ano pelos economistas que-não-sabem-de-nada. A sifra definitiva é de 2.9 % de declínio.

Essa taxa negativa é ela mesma insuficientemente avaliada. Essa sifra foi obtida através de uma deflação nominal do PIB, que avaliou a medida da inflação de maneira muito baixa, depreciando-a. Durante o período do governo de Clinton, a Comissão Boskin já tinha falsificado a medida da inflação para enganar as pessoas que recebiam fundos ds Segurança Social baseados nos ajustamentos dos custos de vida. Todos os que compram alimentos, gasolina, ou qualquer outra coisa, sabem muito bem que o nível da inflação é muito mais alto do que o oficialmente declarado.

É bem possível que a queda do PIB nos primeiros quatro mêses tenha sido três vêzes maior do que o dado oficialmente.

Independente disso, a diferença entre o previsto crescimento de + 2.6 % em janeiro e o real declínio de 2.9 % no final de março, é muito grande.

Qualquer um que seja realmente um economista e não pago pela Wall Street, pelo governo, ou pela classe dirigente, compreenderia que o previsto + 2.6 era fraudulento. Os salários, os ganhos ou rendimentos, do povo americano não foram aumentados e não cresceram, com exceção dos que fazem parte do 1 % da população. Nesse contexto tem-se que o único aumento de créditos que se deu foi o aumento do crédito dado a estudantes, uma vez que muitos dos que não conseguiram emprego se voltaram aos “estudos como uma solução.”

Numa economia baseada na procura dos consumidores, a ausência de crescimento em rendimentos, e crédito, significa ausência de desenvolvimento econômico positivo.

A economia dos Estados Unidos não pode crescer porque as empresas e corporações, que foram pressionadas pela Wall Street, já deslocaram a economia dos Estados Unidos para fora do país. A produção dos produtos manufaturados dos Estados Unidos é hoje em dia feita no estrangeiro.

Olhe nas etiquetas das suas roupas, sapatos, para os seus utensílios de cozinha, para os seus computadores, para tudo o mais. Os empregos dos profissionais liberais dos Estados Unidos, como os dos engenheiros de programas informáticos, também já foram deslocados para o exterior. Uma economia que tem sua economia no estrangeiro, não é uma economia real. Essa deslocação da produção dos Estados Unidos para o estrangeiro se deu abertamente, enquanto figuras bem-pagas a serviço do mercado livre declaravam que os americanos estariam beneficiando de quando dando os tradicionais empregos da classe média americana para a Índia e para a China.

Já a dez ou vinte anos que eu venho expondo essas mentiras, o que faz com que eu agora já não mais seja convidado para dar palestras nas universidades americanas, ou em associações americanas de economistas. Tem-se aqui que economistas adoram o dinheiro que ganham para contar mentiras. Um economista que fale a verdade é a última coisa que eles querem ter em sua companhia.

Um declínio oficial de 2.9 % no primeiro quartal implica, ou supõe, um declínio do PIB também no segundo quartal.

Imagine agora quais seriam as consequências de uma recessão. Isso implicaria que anos de “flexibilização quantitativa” [lê-se impressão de dinheiro], sem precedentes, teria fracassado em seu objetivo de reanimar a economia. Isso significaria também que anos de fiscal défices teriam também fracassado no intento de reanimar a economia. Se nem a política fiscal, nem a política monetária, deram os desejados efeitos, o que então poderia reanimar essa economia?

Nada, com exceção do exigir o retorno da economia, que as corporações anti-americanas deslocaram para o exterior. Isso requeriria um governo digno de crédito. Infelizmente o governo dos Estados Unidos vem perdendo sua credibilidade desde o segundo termo do regime Clinton, sendo que o governo agora já não tem mais nenhuma credibilidade.

Hoje em dia já ninguém em qualquer parte do mundo acredita no governo dos Estados Unidos, com exceção dos americanos com grave disfunção cerebral, que acreditem no que lêem ou vêem apresentado pela “mídia das vertentes principais.” Tem-se aqui que a propaganda de Washington domina as mentes dos americanos, mas levanta desprezo e risadas por todos os outros lados do mundo.

A pobre aparência da situação econômica dos Estados Unidos já fez com que dois grandes lobbies de negócios dos Estados Unidos, a Câmara do Comércio e a Associação Nacional dos Industriais (ou o que sobrou dos mesmos) entrassem em conflito com o regime de Obama por causa das ameaças de novas sanções contra a Rússia.

De acordo com Bloomberg News, começando amanhã (26 de junho), os grupos de comércio e negócios irão colocar anúncios no New York Times, Wall St Journal, e Washington Post, opondo-se a sanções adicionais contra a Russia. As organizações dos homens de negócios dos Estados Unidos dizem que as sanções irão prejudicar os seus lucros, o que resultaria em desemprego para os trabalhadores americanos.

Então, duas das maiores organizações de industriais e negociantes dos Estados Unidos, fontes importantes de contribuições para as campanhas políticas, acabaram juntando suas vozes as dos homens e mulheres de negócios da Alemanha, da França e da Itália.

Todo o mundo, com exceção do público americano, sabe que a “crise na Ucrânia” é inteiramente um trabalho feito por Washington. Os industriais e negociantes da Europa e dos Estados Unidos deverão estar a se perguntar: “porque teriam os nossos lucros e os nossos trabalhadores de sofrer para o bem da propaganda de Washington contra a Rússia?”

Obama não tem resposta. Talvez a escória neocon, Victoria Nuland, Samantha Powers, e Susan Rice possam vir com uma resposta a isso. Obama também poderia olhar para o New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal e Weekly Standard para explicar porque milhões de americanos e europeus teriam que sofrer para que o roubo da Ucrânia por Washington não caisse em perigo.

As mentiras de Washington estão a caminho de ajustar contas com Obama. A chancelér alemã Merkel já se encontra completamente abaixo dos caprichos de Washington, mas a indústria alemã também já está a dizer a ela que eles valorizam mais os  seus negócios com a Rússia, do que estão dispostos a sofrer, a bem de Washington, e seu império. Os industriais, comerciantes e homens de negócios da França estão a perguntar a Hollande o que é que ele se propõe a fazer para os trabalhadores desempregados se ele, Hollande, continuar lado a lado com Washington. Os negociantes italianos também estão dizendo ao seu governo, na medida em que a Itália ainda possa se apresentar como tendo um, que os grosseiros americanos não tem bom gosto, e que sanções contra a Rússia significariam para a Itália um travão para o mais famoso e reconhecido sector econômico do país – produtos de luxo de alto estilo.

Dissidência com Washington e com as suas marionetes na Europa está se propagando. A última sondagem de pesquisas na Alemanha revelou que ¾ da população alemã rejeita a idéia de bases militares permanentes da OTAN na Polônia e nos países bálticos. A ex-Chekoslováquia, atualmente então Eslováquia e República Checa, apesar de agora serem membros da OTAN, recusaram-se a ter tropas americanas, ou da OTAN, em seus respectivos territórios. Foi dito por um ministro alemão recentemente que agradar a Washington requeria uma coisa equivalente a dar oral sexo por nada em retorno.

A tensão que idiotas em Washington estão levantando na OTAN pode muito bem fazer com que essa organização se desmembre. Reze para que isso aconteça. O pretexto para a existência dessa organização desapareceu conjuntamente com o colápso da UNião Soviética, a 23 anos atrás. No entanto, Washington esteve aumentando essa organização para muito além das fronteiras da mesma. A OTAN agora vai do Báltico a Ásia Central. Para dar uma razão de ser para as contínuas e caras operações da OTAN, Washington teve que fazer da Rússia um inimigo.

A Rússia não tem a menor intenção de ser um inimigo de Washington, ou da OTAN, tendo feito isso perfeitamente claro. Mas o complexo de segurança/militar de Washington, o qual absorve cerca de $ 1 trilhão de dólares anualmente, vindos do dinheiro dos altamente pressionados contribuintes, precisa de uma desculpa para manter os seus dividendos em estado fluido.

Infelizmente os idiotas em Washington escolheram para tanto um inimigo perigoso. A Rússia é um poder nuclear, um país de enormes dimensões, e estratégicamente aliada a China.

Só um governo afogando-se em arrogante orgulho, em hybris, ou um governo administrado por psicopatas e sociopatas, iria escolher um tal inimigo.

O presidente Vladimir Putin da Rússia já mostrou à Europa que as diretivas políticas de Washington no Oriente Médio e na Líbia não só foram fracassos totais, como também prejudicaram e continuam prejudicando tanto a Rússia como a Europa. Os tolos em Washington removeram nessas regiões governos que mantinham os extremistas islâmicos, os jihadistas, controlados. Agora os violentos extremistas estão a solta. No Médio Oriente eles estão demarcando novas fronteiras, redesenhando as fronteiras artificiais estabelecidas pelos inglêses e franceses, logo após a primeira guerra mundial.

A Europa, a Rússia e a China tem populações islâmicas. Esses países agora tem que se preocupar com a possibilidade de que a violência que Washington deslanchou possa ter efeitos destabilizadores em suas próprias regiões.

Em nenhum lugar do mundo alguém teria motivos para gostar de Washington. Menos que todos os próprios americanos, que estão sendo desprovidos de tudo, para que Washington possa mostrar sua força militar através do mundo. Os índices de aprovação de Obama estão num deprimente nível de 41 %, e muitos poucos desejariam que Obama se mantivesse em ofício depois do fim do seu segundo termo. Em comparação, e em contraste, 2/3 da população russa gostaria que Putin se mantivesse como presidente depois de 2018.

Em março a agência de pesquisas de sondagens “Public Opinion Research Center” apresentou um relatório onde se mostrava que o índice de aprovação para a política do presidente Putin estava a 76 %, apesar da agitação feita contra ele pelas Organizações Não Governamentais, NGOs, localizadas na Rússia, mas financiadas pelos Estados Unidos. Trata-se aqui de centenas de instituições agindo como quinta-colunas. Essas instituições foram estabelecidas na Rússia por Washington, nas duas últimas décadas.

Acima de todas as dificuldades políticas de Washington, tem-se que o dólar também está dando distúrbios e problemas. O dólar está sendo mantido a tona por mercados financeiros adulterados, e por pressões de Washington sobre países e estados em situação de vássalos, obrigando-os a apoiar o valor do dólar através de impressão de suas próprias moedas e depois então da compra de dólares. Para que o dólar se mantenha a tona, e não se afunde, uma grande parte do mundo está sendo economicamente inflado. Quando finalmente as pessoas se aperceberem de tudo e correr para o ouro, perceberão então que os chineses o possuem, em sua totalidade.

Sergey Glazyev, um consultor do Presidente Putin, disse ao presidente russo que só uma aliança anti-dólar, capaz de fazer falir o mesmo, seria capaz de deter a marcha das agressões de Washington. Essa tem sido minha opinião já faz um bom tempo. Não se terá paz enquanto Washington puder imprimir mais dólares, com os quais poderá então financiar mais guerras.

Como foi dito pelo governo da China, já está na hora para uma “des-americanização do mundo.” A liderança do mundo por Washington já fracassou completamente. Essa liderança produz nada mais que mentiras, violência, mortes, e promessas de mais violência. América é excepcional só no sentido de que Washington, utan remorso, já destruiu em sua totalidade, ou em parte, sete países nesse novo século [o que significaria então 13 anos]. A menos que Washington tenha sua liderança substituida por uma mais humana, a vida na terra não terá nenhum futuro.

Paul Craig Roberts

 

Artigo original em inglês :

Syria: White House preaches peace as Pentagon prepares for warNegative Economic Growth in America: A New Recession and a New World Devoid of Washington’s Arrogance?, 26 de junco de 2014

Traduzido por Anna Malm, artigospoliticos.wordpress.com, para Mondialisation.ca

Saddam Hussein’s Last Words: “To the Hell that is Iraq!?”

June 29th, 2014 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

This article was first published by Global Research on January 31, 2007.

“On the Holy day of Eid, the world watched in horror at the barbaric lynching of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, allegedly for crimes against humanity. This public murder was sanctioned by the War Criminals, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair.

The entire trial process was a mockery of justice, no less a Kangaroo Court. Defence counsels were brutally murdered, witnesses threatened and judges removed for being impartial and replaced by puppet judges. Yet, we are told that Iraq was invaded to promote democracy, freedom and justice.”

(Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, 30 December 2006)

The barbaric lynching of Saddam Hussein, the former president of Iraq, was a choreographed event, a carefully staged U.S. sponsored PSYOP, with a view to triggering social divisions and fomenting sectarian violence within Iraq and the broader Middle East.

In its coverage of the execution, the international media, in a highly convoluted fashion, combined the transcript of Saddam Hussein’s execution with “recollections” of so-called witness statements.

Moreover, the transcripts were often presented to readers without context or explanation. More generally, the translations from the Arabic were the object of manipulation and media distortion.

The execution of the Iraqi leader was carefully timed to occur during a sensitive time for Muslims. The execution fell during Eid ul-Adha, a holy day for Muslims. The date of the execution is perhaps one of the most compromising signals that the execution was indeed a psychological operation (PSYOP) launched by the United States.

The execution date was deliberately chosen during a sacred period for Muslims to exploit a divide between Shiite and Sunni. This sacred day was marked on Saturday, December 30, 2007 by Sunni Muslims in Iraq and was observed a day later on Sunday, December 31, 2007 by Iraq’s Shiites.

This is a strategic difference in dates that the execution of Saddam Hussein sought to expose and exploit to create sedition and division between Iraqis and Muslims. The day of the execution was deliberately chosen by its U.S. sponsors to occur on Saturday, December 30, 2006, the day that Sunni Muslims observed Eid ul-Adha.

The execution took place on December 30, with a view to enraging Sunni Muslims against Shiite Muslims in Iraq and the Middle East. Concurrently, both the media and official U.S. statements pointed to the Shiite Muslims (and the so-called “Shiite government”) as being responsible for the execution.

Aside from the religious context, the execution was also illegal under the Iraqi legal code and constitution. This has been articulated by Rizgar Mohammad Amin, an Iraqi Kurd and one of the former judges in the questionable trial of Saddam Hussein.

The execution was carried out, as a psychological weapon, to usher in sectarian violence and division throughout the Middle East. The timing also coincided with several announcements and news reports of war plans by the United States and Israel in regards to Syria and Iran.

It is no coincidence that shortly after the execution the U.S. President identified Syria and Iran as the enemies of Iraq and raided an Iranian Consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The media disinformation campaign pertaining to the execution was coordinated with the instruments of war propaganda emanating from the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence.

In the immediate wake of the execution, the global networks of the corporate media went into full gear to propagate the misinformation that the Pentagon wanted to convey to the general public.

The translated transcripts of Saddam Hussein’s last words, which had been scrupulously manipulated and distorted, were fed into the global news chain.

Presented below is the Global Research translation from the Arabic original audio-video believed to have been recorded on a cell phone. Also presented for purposes of comparison are several other “translations” from the same Arabic original.

Transcript: Our translation from the Arabic original

Background voices, which are very hard to hear, are having a conversation in the background and someone calls someone else in the execution chamber by “Ali” or is looking for “Ali.”

Saddam Hussein: “I testify that Mohammed is the Messenger of God.”

Saddam Hussein: “Oh God.” [saying this in preparation, as is Middle Eastern custom, as the noose is put around his neck]

One voice leads customary Muslim prayer (called a salvat): “May God’s blessings be upon Mohammed and his companions/household [family].”

All Voices, including Saddam Hussein, repeat the customary prayer: “May God’s blessings be upon Mohammed and his companions/household [family].”

A group of voices: “Moqtada…Moqtada …Moqtada.” [Meaning the young Shiite cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr] …

Saddam with amusement: “Moqtada…Moqtada! Do you consider this bravery?” [This can also be translated as meaning "Is this your manhood?"]

Several individuals say several times: “To Hell [hell-fire]!” [This can be translated as "Go to Hell!"]

Saddam Hussein mockingly replies/asks: “To the hell that is Iraq!?”

Others voices: “Long live Mohammed Baqir Al-Sadr.”

Single Voice: “Please do not [stop]. The man is being executed. Please no, please stop.”

Saddam Hussein starts recitation of final Muslim prayers: “I bear witness that there is no god but God and I testify that Mohammed is the Messenger of God. I bear witness that there is no god but God and I testify that Mohammed…” [Saddam Hussein is suddenly interrupted without finishing his prayer with the opening of the trap door.]

Several Voices: “The tyrant [dictator] has collapsed!”

Other voices: “May God’s blessings be upon Mohammed and his household (family).”

Single Voice: “Let him hang for eight minutes.”

Many conversations continue in the background about Saddam Hussein.

Note on the Original Video

The Global Research translation is based on an Arabic video. The release of this video was in all likelihood part of the U.S. sponsored intelligence operation. The video was allegedly taken from a cell phone camera belonging to one of the executioners. Viewer discretion is advised; the video is gruesome and upsetting in nature and does not resemble a state-run execution. To view click here

Corporate Media Translations

Below are several transcripts of translations. Some of these transcripts demonstrate a major deviation from the original (Arabic) word by word dialogue. A look at the CNN or BBC versions of the video clearly reveals a deliberate attempt to distort Saddam Hussein’s statements and portray the Shiite Muslims of Iraq as those behind the Iraqi leaders hanging in Baghdad.

The corporate media’s translations add or interject what was reportedly said by Saddam Hussein to what was recorded.

Fox News

The Fox News transcript fails to even give a glimpse of Saddam Hussein’s last words. It only gives an ominously detailed translation of the start of the video. One should ask is there a reason why the full transcript was not given and why this partial transcript was portrayed as the transcript of the execution in its entirety.

Fox News Transcript

A new videotape surfaced Monday on the Web appearing to show the body of former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein after he was hanged on Dec. 30, 2006. This is the translation of the audio conversation on that 27-second video among individuals with access to the body and someone apparently using a cell phone camera:

(Inaudible)— Abu Ali

Hurry up! Hurry up!

— Hurry up!

(Inaudible)

— Let’s go my friend…Come on man!

I’ll fix it up for you.

— I am coming. I am coming.

— Just a moment, one moment

— I am coming. I am coming.

— Abu Ali, Abu Ali… You take care of this.

— Ok let’s go, let’s go

— Come on my friend! Come on my friend!

Ok, I am coming. I am coming.

BBC Transcript

The BBC’s transcript fails also to give a glimpse of Saddam Hussein’s last words, besides painting the executioners as savage Shiites. Nor does the BBC report acknowledge Washington’s role in ordering this execution.

Moreover, Saddam Hussein’s last words about Iraq being turned into a living Hell are conveniently omitted. The BBC transcript also uses phrases that portray the executioners as Shiites. This is done by the chosen reference in the phrase referring to Prophet Mohammed’s family and the statement “And may God hasten their appearance and curse their enemies,” which is a reference to Imam Mahdi, a Muslim figure, that Shiite Muslims’ distinctly place special emphasis on in regards to most Sunni Muslims.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Transcript

Translation of Arabic subtitles accompanying the latest execution footage as broadcast on al-Jazeera TV station:

[Saddam] Oh God.

[Voices] May God’s blessings be upon Muhammad and his household.

[Voices] And may God hasten their appearance and curse their enemies.

[Voices] Moqtada [Al-Sadr]…Moqtada…Moqtada.

[Saddam] Do you consider this bravery?

[Voice] Long live Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr.

[Voice] To hell.

[Voice] Please do not. The man is being executed. Please no, I beg you to stop.

[Saddam] There is no God but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God. There is no God but Allah and I testify that Muhammad…

At this point the video stops and the sound of the trapdoors opening is heard in the background.

The Independent (U.K.)

The Independent, a British daily, that gives a fairly progressive view on international events seems to have also carried a version of the translation of the transcript of the execution of Saddam Hussein that has omitted Saddam Hussein’s last words indicating that Iraq has been turned into a “Hell on earth.”

The Independent (U.K.) Transcript: Dictator’s last words

Saddam: “Oh God.”

Voices: “May God’s blessings be upon Mohamed and his household. And may God hasten their appearance and curse their enemies.”

Voices: “Moqtada [al-Sadr] … Moqtada … Moqtada.”

Saddam: “Do you consider this bravery?”

Voice: “Long live Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr.”

Voice: “To hell.”

Voice: “Please do not. The man is being executed. Please no, I beg you to stop.”

Saddam: “There is no God but Allah and I testify that Mohamed is the messenger of God. There is no God but Allah and I testify that Mohamed…”

Analysis and Implications

Internationally and especially in the Arab World and the Middle East, the barbaric lynching was casually presented as a Shiite Muslim initiative, when in fact the Anglo-American occupation forces were in control of every phase of this gruesome venture.

Ironically, the individuals and leaders who played a major role in ordering the lynching of Saddam Hussein are now saying quite emphatically that they were opposed to his execution. Prime Minister Tony Blair is reported to have stated that “the manner in which former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was executed was ‘completely wrong.’”

Meanwhile, the dictators and autocratic leaders of the Arab World have also jumped aboard in expressing their opposition to Saddam Hussein’s lynching.

Criticism expressed by the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia, the Hashemite family in Jordan, and President Mubarak of Egypt, amongst others, constitutes an empty form of posturing geared towards raising their popularity amongst their own citizens.

The Role of the Iraqi Puppet Government

In these various reports, there has been a deliberate and calculated attempt to place the responsibility for the execution of Saddam Hussein squarely on the shoulders of the so-called “Iraqi government,” without acknowledging that this government cannot act without the consent of the United States. The Iraqi government, which is best described as a U.S.-controlled puppet regime, is invariably portrayed in press reports as a “Shiite Muslim government” or a “Shiite Muslim-dominated government.” This is also an integral part of the U.S. PSYOP designed to break down solidarity between Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims against the Anglo-American invaders and occupiers.

The present Iraqi “government” is an appendix of the U.S. Occupation administration and gets it orders from Washington and London. It is neither Shiite Muslim in character nor is it a real government. With regards to its powerless composition, it is almost evenly divided between Iraqi Kurds, Shiite Arabs, and Sunni (Sunnite) Arabs.

To expose the manufactured portrayal of power in Iraq, one should look back at the composition of Iraqi government institutions during the era of Saddam Hussein. Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Shiite Arabs had a greater representation than Sunni Arabs within the civilian bureaucracy as well as within the security and military apparatus, largely because of the demographic realities of Iraq.

But this fact has long been forgotten. Nothing has changed in regards to the composition of the bureaucracy, administrative bodies, security forces, and military apparatus of Iraq. Prior to the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, about 60% of the Iraqi military were Shiite Arabs. This 60% fought against neighbouring Iran which is a predominantly Shiite Muslim nation.

In reality, the real divisions in the Middle East are not based on or around religious, sectarian, and ethnic considerations, but on those nations and forces, which either oppose or support the Anglo-American agenda in the Middle East.

The media focus on sectarian divisions is intended to divert the attention of public opinion from the fact that the U.S. and its Coalition partners are the root cause of anarchy and violence, resulting in countless deaths and atrocities in Iraq.

Saddam Hussein’s Last Moments

In his last moments, the words of Saddam Hussein were very compelling. When he was told to “go to Hell” by his executioners, the Iraqi leader replied, “[You mean] to the hell that is Iraq!?”

Who turned Iraq into a living Hell? Who is to be blamed? These words were so powerful that several major media outlets conveniently omitted them from their translations, including the BBC and CNN. Any meaningful revelation or coverage of the correct final statements of Saddam Hussein could have severe and negative implications for the Anglo-American military roadmap in the Middle East. “To the hell that is Iraq!?” could become a powerful political slogan, serving to rally public opinion throughout the Muslim World against America’s imperial ambitions.

The Iraqi leader’s final words carry great weight because they describe the situation created in Iraq under military occupation. This final statement could also have political ramifications in the U.S. and Britain, as public opinion becomes increasingly aware that these last words, “the living Hell,” describes what Iraq has been turned into, under U.S. and British military occupation.

The late Saddam Hussein’s words could have strong implications for rallying resistance in the Arab World against the U.S.-U.K. occupation of Iraq. In this regard, the Arab mainstream media has played a calculated role in furthering the Anglo-American military agenda by shifting the blame for Saddam Hussein’s execution onto the Shiite Iraqis.
Outside the Arab World, if allowed to be heard freely and unadulterated, Saddam Hussein’s last words (“To the hell that is Iraq!?”), which describe the realities of an occupied country, could potentially backlash on the legitimacy of the U.S. administration and its indefectible British ally.

The mainstream sources, which reported his statement conveyed the impression, through a highly distorted and convoluted analysis, that Saddam Hussein was blaming the Shiite Arabs and the “Shiite dominated Iraqi government” for destroying Iraq. But nothing could be further from the truth. The evidence amply confirms that since the early days of the occupation of Iraq the United States and Britain have not only created a situation of insecurity, but have also been involved in covert acts of violence, including random massacres and suicide attacks directed against civilians.

This deliberate media portrayal of an emerging “Shiite ascension” in Iraq and the Middle East is part of a multifaceted strategy geared towards creating tensions within the predominately Muslim populations of the Middle East. It is a typical “divide and conquer” strategy, which is supported by the long tentacles of the intelligence apparatus of the United States. The hidden agenda is to trigger “civil war” and to redraw the map of the Middle East. The ultimate objective is the domination of the Middle East by the United States, Britain and their coalition partners, including Israel and proxy Arab leaders. The active collaboration of the frontline Arab governments, which have military cooperation agreements with NATO and the U.S., are also tied into this agenda.

Divisions and animosity within their respective populations is what has allowed these pro-U.S. Arab authoritarian figureheads, which increasingly act as proxies, to remain in power.

Since the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon, the coalition building phase of the military roadmap has been launch. The United States has been constructing the “Coalition of the Moderate,” which includes Israel, Saudi Arabia, Mahmoud Abbas, the Lebanese government, Egypt, the U.A.E., Turkey, and Jordan. While this has been going on there is a continuous attempt to build public consensus in support of dividing Iraq and military strikes against Syria and Iran. The media in North America, Europe, and the Arab World have played an important role in demonizing the Syrians and the Iranians.

As the United States gears up for the next stage of the Middle East war, the drive to divide the populations of the region now encompasses a broad area extending from Lebanon and Palestine to the Persian Gulf.

The life of Saddam Hussein was used by the United States as firewood to further fuel discord and division in Iraq and the Middle East before the next phase of its military roadmap, which is directed against Iran and Syria.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a writer based in Ottawa specializing in Middle Eastern affairs. He is a Research Associate of the Center for Research on Globalization (CRG). 

Global Research Exclusive: In online posting of this article, kindly indicate the original title, source, date of publication, copyright and hyperlink to the original article.

This article was first published by Global Research on February 18, 2014

Does the disposal of Syria’s chemical weapons by the two selected waste disposal companies, namely Finland’s Ekokem and France’s Veolia require a contractual arrangement (or “agreement”) with Italy’s most powerful criminal syndicate on behalf of the Nobel Peace Prize winning Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)? 

Read down. Its a long saga… 

On September 12, last year, Syria’s President al-Assad committed to surrender Syria’s chemical weapons, with the caveats that the United States must stop threatening his country and supplying weapons to the terrorists. He has been as good as his word. The same cannot be said for the US and its boot licking allies.

Three days earlier US Secretary of State John Kerry – who had been killing Vietnamese in the US onslaught on Vietnam as American ‘planes rained down 388,000 tons of chemical weapons on the Vietnamese people (i) – had threatened Syria with a military strike if the weapons stocks were not surrendered within a week, stating that President Assad: “isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done.”

The ever trigger-happy Kerry was right on the second count, it can’t be done for two reasons, extracting dangerous chemicals from a war zone is, to massively understate, a foolhardy and hazardous business. Additionally it seems having received Syria’s agreement, the “international community” and the Nobel Peace Prize winning Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had no disposal plan in place and had not a clue what to do with them, whilst at every turn Syria is blamed.

 As ever double standards and hypocrisy rule. According to CNN (10thOctober 2013):

“The United States estimates it will be at least another decade before it completes destruction of the remaining 10% of its chemical weapons, estimated at more than 3,100 tons.”

And Syria? “U.S. intelligence and other estimates put its chemical weapons stockpile at about 1,000 tons.” they are believed to be “stored in dozens of sites”, in the circumstances a logistical nightmare and a massive danger to the public and those driving them to be insisting on transporting them anywhere.

CNN also quotes Wade Mathews who had worked on “the U.S. project to destroy its chemical stockpile” who doubted that Syria could meet the deadlines. The US operation, he said: “took billions of dollars, the cooperation of many levels of government – including the military – and a safe environment to make sure the destruction was done safely.”

“We had a coordinated effort, we had a government that insisted that it be done safely and that the community was protected … I don’t think those things are in place in Syria.”

Shopping Around for a Country to Destroy the Weapons

Having received Syria’s compliance, the OPCW started shopping around for a country -any country it seems – to destroy the weapons. Norway, approached by the US, was first choice. They declined, since the country had no experience in dealing with chemical weapons, the Foreign Ministry website stating: “… Norway is not the most suitable location for this destruction.”

Norway Says No: What About Albania?

The second country approached was Albania, a request which the country’s Prime Minister Edi Rama said also came direct from the United States. 

According to the Berlin-based Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, Albania is one of the most corrupt countries in Europe and the most corrupt in the Balkans, plummeting from a woeful 95 out of the 176 countries monitored in 2011, to 113 in 2012 and 116 in 2013, on their Corruption Perception Index.

In their end of year Report, the Initiative quotes Transparency International:

“In Albania corruption is registering a new physiognomy in a favorable political environment, with characteristics like a new systems for money laundering, financing of political parties from illegal activities, the capture of the state through the control of procurement and privatization, human and narcotics trafficking and the impunity of high State officials before the justice system and the law.”(ii)

Protestors against the weapons destruction took to the streets in thousands, some wearing gas masks and protective clothing, protests also took place in neighbouring Macedonia, with rallying outside the Albanian Embassy.

Albania Says Sorry, We Cannot do It

Albania finally rejected with Rana apologetically grovelling to Washington: “Without the United States, Albanians would never have been free and independent in two countries that they are today”, he said referring to Albania and Kosova and the massive March 24th 1999 – June 10th 1999 NATO and US assault on the former Yugoslavia with depleted uranium weapons which are, of course, both chemical and radioactive. A Science Applications International Report explains re the residue from the weapons:

“Soluble forms present chemical hazards, primarily to the kidneys, while insoluble forms present hazards to the lungs from ionizing radiation … short term effects of high doses can result in death, while long term effects of low doses have been implicated in cancer.”

In addition to concerns regarding corruption in Albania -terrorist groups would undoubtedly offer high sums for such weapons – safety might surely have been a consideration. In 2008 an explosion at an ammunition storage depot near Albania’s capitol Tirana, killed twenty six people, wounded three hundred and damaged or destroyed five thousand five hundred homes. The disaster was said by investigators to be caused by a burning cigarette – in a depository for 1,400 tons of explosives.

Worse, when Albania was pressured to destroy its own chemical weapons stocks, some tons left over from the Cold War:

The U.S. offered to pay for their destruction and later hired some private company which destroyed the weapon capability of the chemicals but otherwise left a horrendous mess.”

Hazardous waste was left in containers, on a concrete pad, inevitably they started to leak.

 “In late 2007-early 2008, the US hired an environmental remediation firm, Savant Environmental, who determined the problem was worse than originally thought. Many of the containers were leaking salts of heavy metals, primarily arsenic, lead and mercury.”

Moreover, the conexes – large, steel-reinforced shipping containers – were not waterproof, thus lethally contaminated condensation and water leakage dissolved some of the contaminants which leaked onto the ground.

“Savant Environmental repackaged the waste and placed it in twenty shipping containers. There it sits, visible from space”, on the concrete pad – in the open.(iii)

All in all, why was Albania considered?

It is surely coincidence that on 3rd October last year, Tony “dodgy Iraq dossier” Blair, also an enthusiastic backer of Washington and NATO in their Balkans blitz, was appointed as advisor to the Albanian government to advise the impoverished country how to get in to the EU. Heaven forbid he might have advised that taking on lethal weapons no one else was prepared to touch, might tick quite a big approval box and made a call to someone somewhere in Washington. This is of course, entirely speculation.

However, as Pravda TV opined at the time, apart from the sorely needed financial boost: “It will increase the status and prestige of a poor country in Europe, Albania is in Europe’s backyard, in this case it will be going foreground.”(iv)

Belgium and France also Decline:  “There Remain very few Candidates” for the Task; “the Hunt Continues”

Belgium and France also declined an invitation to dispose of Syria’s weapons, with Ralph Trapp, a consultant in disarming chemical weapons quoted as saying that “there remain very few candidates” for the task; “the hunt continues” commented The Telegraph (18th November 2013.)

The trail goes cold as to how many other governments may have been frantically begged to accept cargo loads of poisoned chalices as the US imposed clock ticked, but Italy caved in allowing around sixty containers to be transferred from a Danish cargo ship to a US ship in the Italian port of Giola Tauro, in Calabria, with further consignments also expected to arrive.

The permission caused widespread demonstrations in Southern Italy, the government accused of secrecy and one demonstrator summing up the prevailing mood:

“They are telling us that the material carried is not dangerous, but in fact nobody knows what is inside those containers.”

Not dangerous eh? Does any government, anywhere ever tell the truth?

Italy Says Yes. Not Dangerous. Send the WMD to Calabria. It will Help the Local Economy, But Watch Out for the Calabrese Mafia

The Giola Tauro port (right), which accounts for half the Calabria region’s economy “has been in crisis since 2011”, with four hundred workers on temporary redundancies- out of a total workforce of thirteen hundred. Not too hard to arm twist, the cynic might think.

The port also suffers from allegations of being a:

“ major hub for cocaine shipments to Europe by the Calabria-based ‘Ndrangheta mafia.” However, Domenico Bagala, head of the Medcenter/Contship terminal where the operation is planned countered with: “Since Gioia Tauro handles around a third of the containers arriving in Italy, it is normal that it has more containers that are seized”, adding: “We operate in a difficult territory but we have hi-tech security measures in place.”

Calabria is, in fact, plagued by corruption and organized crime. A classified cable from J. Patrick Truhn, US Consul General in Naples (2nd February 2008) obtained by Wikileaks stated:

“If it were not part of Italy, Calabria would be a failed state. The ‘Ndrangheta organized crime syndicate controls vast portions of its territory and economy, and accounts for at least three percent of Italy’s GDP (probably much more) through drug trafficking, extortion and usury.” Further: “During a November 17-20 visit to all five provinces, virtually every interlocutor painted a picture of a region …throttled by the iron grip of Western Europe’s largest and most powerful organized crime syndicate, the ‘Ndrangheta.”(v)

Moreover:“The ‘Ndrangheta is the most powerful criminal organization in the world with a revenue that stands at around fifty three billion Euros (seventy two billion U.S. dollars – forty four billion British pounds)” records Wikipedia, noting operations in nine countries, on four continents. Arguably, a less ideal transit point than Calabria for a stockpile of chemical weapons would be hard to find.

Of special concern to Carmelo Cozza of the SUL trade union is the port’s neighbouring village of San Ferdinando which has protested the operation: “The schools are right next door!”(vi)

However, when it comes to dodgy dealings, organized crime could seemingly learn a thing or two from the EU. Large amounts of Syria’s financial assets, frozen by the European Union, have simply been spirited from accounts, in what the Syrian Foreign Ministry slams as: “a flagrant violation of law.”

Last week the EU endorsed the raiding of Syria’s financial assets frozen across Europe and the the transfer of funds to

“ … the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) … a flagrant violation of the international law and the UN Charter and understandings reached by the executive board of the OPCW”, commented a Foreign Ministry source, adding: “the European step violates the resolution of the OPCW executive board adopted on 15thNovember 2013 which acknowledged Syria’s stance which was conveyed to the Organization, officially stating the inability to shoulder the financial costs of destroying the chemical weapons.”

The theft of Syria’s moneys was condemned as a: “swindle policy practiced by some influential countries inside the EU at a time when they reject to release frozen assets to fund purchase of food and medicine which is considered the priority of the Syrian state … (meanwhile) the EU allowed its members to arm the terrorist groups which are responsible for bloodshed in Syria … ” the source added.”(vi) It is hard to disagree.

The EU/UN/OPCW has apparently learned well from the UN weapons inspectors and other UN benefits from the Iraq embargo, which bled the country dry from “frozen” assets, to which they helped themselves, as the children died at an average of six thousand a month year after year, from “embargo related causes.” As the UN spent Iraq’s moneys, Iraq’s water became a biological weapon, the lights went off and medical and educational facilities largely collapsed. Are UN embargoes the UN’s shameful new money spinner?

So, can things get worse in the black farce which is the chaotic, dangerous, disorganised disposal attempts of Syria’s chemical materials? You bet they can.

The companies selected to destroy the chemicals are Finland’s Ekokem and the US subsidiary of the French giant Veolia.

“The most dangerous materials are to be neutralized at sea by the Cape Ray, an American naval vessel specially outfitted for that purpose, which departed its Norfolk, Va., home port on Jan. 27 for the Mediterranean.”(New York Times, 14th February 2014.)

A method which has never been tried before, an experiment seemingly to take place in the Mediterranean, not in US territorial waters. “It’s Not Just a Job, It’s An Adventure”, was a US Navy recruiting slogan. Doubt the population of the countries bordering the near enclosed Mediterranean feel quite the same, from Europe to Anatolia, North Africa to the Levant.

Additionally, the inclusion of Veolia as a suitable partner in the whole dodgy venture is in a class of its own. The company has long been involved in waste management and vast transport projects in the illegal settlements in Israel.

In November 2012 Professor Richard Falk, wrote, on UN note paper, to the (UK) North London Waste Authority who were considering awarding £4.7 billion worth of contracts to Veolia. His letter(viii) quoted in part below, detailing his concerns regarding the company’s compliance with international legal norms, speaks for itself:

“I am writing to you in my capacity as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 to urge you not to select Veolia for public contracts due to its active involvement in Israel’s grave violations of international law.

“Due to its deep and ongoing complicity with Israeli violations of international law and the strength of concern of Palestinian, European and Israeli civil society about the role played by Veolia, I decided to select Veolia as one of the case studies to include in my report. I have attached the report for your consideration.

“Veolia is a signatory to the UN Global Compact, a set of principles regarding business conduct. Yet its wide ranging and active involvement in Israel’s settlement regime and persistent failure to exercise due diligence show utter disregard for the human rights related principles of the Global Compact.

“It is my view that Veolia’s violations of the UN Global Compact principles and its deep and protracted complicity with grave breaches of international law make it an inappropriate partner for any public institution, especially as a provider of public services.”

Professor Falk concludes:

“I urge you to follow the example set by public authorities and European banks that have chosen to disassociate themselves from Veolia and take the just and principled decision not to award Veolia any public service contracts. Such a measure would contribute to upholding the rule of law and advancing peace based on justice.”

So a company in breach of international law is being awarded a contract to a UN body (the OPCW) in spite of being condemned by a distinguished UN legal expert and Special Rapporteur.

The Calabrese Ndrangheta Mafia: Specialized in Toxic Waste Disposal

Avvelenati ("Empoisonnés") analysele trafic mafieux des déchets en Calabre.

What the press reports fail to mention is that the Ndrangheta mafia operating out of The Giola Tauro port has for several years been involved in the lucrative trade of  toxic waste disposal in Calabria. It’s a multibillion dollar business.

Giuseppe Baldessarro and Manuela Iati are the authors of a 2010 book entitled “Avvenelati” (“Poisoned”) which carefully documents the trade and disposal of toxic waste including chemicals and radioactive materials by the Calabrese Ndrangheta mafia.

According to the authors, the truth regarding  Ndrangheta’s insidious role “has been poisoned”  ["la vérité a été "empoisonnée"]. The Italian State protects the Ndrangheta mafia:

“Each time there is a police investigation, unusual things happen, the investigators land up dead …  The secret services intervene, it’s chaotic. There’s big money involved.” ( quoted by  , “Découvrir la vérité sur la ‘Ndrangheta provoquerait un séisme politique”, L’Express,  , translated from French by GR)

Cancer deaths in Calabria are extremely high, according to Baldessarro and Iati. “There are places in Calabria where one person in 10 has cancer indicating that toxic waste has contaminated the soil and water.” (Ibid)

Italy’s Plan B: The Important Unanswered Question

Does the disposal of Syria’s chemical weapons by the two selected waste disposal companies, namely Finland’s Ekokem and France’s Veolia require a contractual arrangement (or “agreement”) with Italy’s most powerful criminal syndicate on behalf of the Nobel Peace Prize winning Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)? 

Collateral Achievement. Israel’s Middle East Monopoly over a Second Weapon of Mass Destruction: Chemical Weapons

With regard to Middle East geopolitics, another anomaly, as Bob Rigg -former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, and former senior editor for the OCPW and former Chair of the New Zealand National Consultative Committee on Disarmament- points out:

“At present, Israel has a monopoly on nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Once the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons is complete, Israel will enjoy a near regional monopoly over a second weapon of mass destruction -chemical weapons. In addition to Israel, Egypt is the only regional power with a chemical-weapons capability. “

At all levels, law breakers rule supreme.

Notes

i.http://www.ingeniouspress.com/2013/09/06/u-s-armed-forces-dropped-388000-tons-of-napalm-on-vietnam-napalm-is-a-chemical-weapon/

ii. http://www.anticorruption-albania.org/

iii. http://whatsupic.com/news-politics-usa/1384669037.html

iv. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYCF8ABACvU(1.12 secs.)

v. http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/12/08NAPLES96.html

vi.http://www.thelocal.it/20140212/syrian-arms-arrival-could-boost-italian-port

vii.http://syria360.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/foreign-ministry-release-of-syrian-assets-frozen-by-eu-to-fund-elimination-of-chemical-weapons-flagrant-violation-of-law/

viii. http://www.dumpveolia.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/UN_Falk-letter_2012_11_16_Veolia.pdf

Inflation, Deflation and the Gold Market

June 29th, 2014 by Lars Schall

On occasion of the publication of his 8th annual “In Gold We Trust“ report, renowned gold market analyst Ronald Stoeferle points out in this interview some aspects of his latest report and the larger picture, inter alia: the interplay between inflation and deflation; the factors for the weak trend of the gold price during the last 24 months; and the importance of the permanently high stock-to-flow ratio of gold.

The new “In Gold We Trust” report can be downloaded as a PDF file here.

Lars Schall: You believe that “the many monetary experiments currently underway will have numerous unintended consequences.” Which do you consider the most serious ones?

Ronald Stoeferle: A major difference between the views of the Austrian School of Economics and mainstream economic theories is that the Austrian School recognizes the importance of price distortions in the price of money, i.e. interest rates. Keynesians and Monetarists broadly agree that price fixing of goods and services is not a good idea. However, when it comes to money, they are inconsistent, believing that it is imperative to fix the price of money. Distorting interest rates to an absolutely unnatural rate of zero (or even below) will obviously have numerous consequences.

Probably the most serious consequence of structurally too low interest rate levels is the “culture of instant gratification” that is fostered. Instant gratification is characterized by consumption that is not financed with savings, but rather by taking on debt. This debt-based life goes hand in hand with rising time preferences and undermines the sustainability of responsible economic activity. Declining interest rate levels renders a gradual increase in public indebtedness possible, while the interest burden (as a share of government spending) does not grow immediately.

Michael von Prollius said that the key to avoid booms and busts was “to let interest rates tell the truth about time”. However, currently, this truth is veiled and distorted. Governments, financial institutions, entrepreneurs and consumers that are acting in an uneconomic manner are thus being kept artificially afloat. As a result, instead of them being punished for their errors, these errors are perpetuated. Protraction of this process of selection leads to a structural weakening of the economy, and a concomitant increase in the system’s fragility.

LS: Please tell us about a phrase you guys coined, “Monetary Tectonics“ – what’s that?

RS: The big question “inflation or deflation?” has been a key bone of contention for economists in recent years. We tried to analyse the problem from the point of view of the Austrian School of Economics. The interplay between inflation and deflation can be compared to the permanent reciprocal pressure of two tectonic plates. A number of phenomena, such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, which are visible on the surface, are the result of processes taking place below the earth´s surface.

The natural market adjustment process of the current crisis would be deeply deflationary. The reason for this lies in our current fractional reserve banking system. A large portion of the money in circulation is created by credit within the commercial banking sector. The much smaller portion is, however, created by central banks. As the financial sector in most parts of the world reversed their credit expansion policies, the overall credit supply was reduced significantly.

This (credit) deflation, or deleveraging, is currently being offset by very expansionary central bank policies. In our opinion, this is an extremely delicate balancing act.

LS: Why would you say so many people in the Austrian camp have been wrong with their hyperinflation predictions?

RS: Everyone who predicted rapid, severe consumer price inflation as a direct consequence of QE programs etc. has so far been proven wrong. However, one could argue that the prices of some asset classes exhibit features of hyperinflation.

LS: In a way, yes.

RS: The pre-2008 boom was induced by an unprecedented credit expansion. So-called financial innovations have contributed to a massive increase of overall liquidity, which has outgrown the broad money aggregates. After the bust, the deflationary forces were enormous and often underestimated. Look at Japan for instance. The credit-induced boom of the 1980s was huge, and the bust has been drawn out affair lasting more than two decades. So far, the so-called reflation policies have been “more successful” in the West since 2008, but we obviously have yet to reach the last chapter of this experiment.

LS: What reasons do you see for the recent correction in the gold price?

RS: In the report we outline the following factors as decisive for the weak trend during the last 24 months: a strong disinflationary tendency together with rising real interest rates; partly declining money supply (esp. ECB), resp. slowing momentum of money supply growth (due to the tapering by the Federal Reserve); and rising opportunity costs due to the rally in stock markets.

LS: You state in your report: “We like the fact that consensus considers the gold bull market over. Gold is now a contrarian investment.” Please elaborate.

RS: The consensus definitely sees the gold bull market as over! There is major scepticism towards gold as far as the eye can see. Yesterday, Bloomberg ran a major story entitled “Gold Euphoria Won’t Last With Yellen’s Rally Fading”. Investors who hold gold as an alternative to stocks or bonds are having great problems justifying these positions towards their investors. Today, most of the people left with gold in their portfolios will not sell now or should it fall a further USD 200. Gold is now in firm hands, the weak hands have been shaken out.

LS: Why do you think, as you’re stating in your report, “that the gold price is near the end of its long consolidation period“?

RS: Correct, in the report we wrote that from a technical perspective, our assumption is that the gold price is near the end of its long consolidation period.

When the gold price reached its intra-day all time high of USD 1,920, the price was three standard deviations above the 40-day moving average. It was therefore extremely overbought. The support zone between USD 1,250 and USD 1,270 has by now been successfully tested several times. We believe, based on futures market positioning data, negative sentiment and gradually improving seasonal tendencies, that the opportunities plainly outweigh the risks. In the short-term, the significant relative strength in silver and mining stocks clearly gives us cause for optimism as well. As a result, we expect higher prices in coming months. The USD 1,530 level should represent a massive resistance level on the upside, based on the principle that “support becomes resistance, resistance becomes support”.

LS: How does Asia change the overall picture in gold?

RS: Gold moves from those countries in which capital is consumed to those in which it is accumulated. The Romans already noticed this 2000 years ago, when Chinese and Indians would only accept gold in exchange for spices and silk instead of Roman goods. We believe it is quite likely that gold is increasingly being hoarded and its circulation is declining, as it is increasingly held in “strong hands.”

LS: Once again you’re explaining the stock-to-flow ratio of gold. Why is it so important?

RS: Simply put, Lars, the stock to flow ratio means that in the case of gold and silver – as opposed to other commodities – there is a major discrepancy between annual production and the total available supply. We believe that the permanently high stock-to-flow ratio represents one of gold’s most important characteristics. The total amount of gold amounts to approximately 177,000 tons. This is the stock. Annual mine production amounted to roughly 3,000 tons in 2013 – this is the flow. If one divides the total gold mined by annual production, one arrives at a stock-to-flow ratio of approximately 59. The ratio expresses the number of years it would take to double the total stock of gold at the current rate of production. Gold is by no means the scarcest commodity, but rather the commodity with most constant above ground stock available. This highly constant level of outstanding stock is what enables gold to be a monetary metal.

LS: Is being patient the name of the game when investing in gold?

RS: Gold to me is not an investment in the narrow sense, it is an alternative to cash. If you compare gold to paper money, paper money has always devalued versus gold in the long run. Gold is in fact the constant.

Ronald Stoeferle, managing director of Incrementum AG in Liechtenstein, is a Chartered Market Technician and a Certified Financial Technician. He was born October 27, 1980 in Vienna, Austria. During his studies in business administration and finance at the Vienna University of Economics and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the U.S., he worked for Raiffeisen Zentralbank (RZB) in the field of Fixed Income / Credit Investments. After graduating, Stoeferle joined Vienna based Erste Group Bank, covering International Equities, especially Asia. In 2006 he began writing reports on gold. His benchmark reports drew international coverage on CNBC, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. Since 2009 he also writes reports on crude oil. In 2013, Stoeferle and his partners incorporated Incrementum AG in Liechtenstein. Furthermore, he is now senior advisor to Erste Group Bank

As this latest Western manufactured ‘terror nightmare’ continues to unfold in Iraq and Syria, we’ve learned that US President Barack Obama has now asked Congress to authorize direct military aid and equipment to be sent to ‘the rebels’ in Syria. This latest stage of Washington’s project in Syria is said to total $500 million, expanding the covert CIA/FSA training facilities that have ties to ISIS in both Jordan and Turkey…

The move to provide US military training and supply additional arms the so-called ‘moderate’ rebels is extremely calculated, most assuredly, so that both the left and right political parties in the US may share a certain blowback-blame, if they agree to allocate funds to insurgents that have a proven history with the formation of ISIS, as the Saudi Arabian-backed Jihadist paramilitary group, “Front Victory“, the group most likely responsible for ‘Chlorine Chemical Attacks’ which Washington made such noise over in Syria in 2013, had its first and second generation founders come out of the ‘Islamic State of Iraq’, directly linking them to the training facilities in Jordan and Turkey.

The US media storm has been spinning overtime over ISIS, touting many dramatic pictures of mass-executions as ‘evidence’ of their takeover of Iraq, and using this crisis yet another pretext to ramp-up military budgets and security threats at home. Most of the ‘mass execution’ images put forward in media have since been exposed as pure fakery, although this hasn’t deterred US and European media ‘experts’ or US State Department and UK Foreign Office officials.

As the ‘ISIS Crisis’ appears to spiral out of control, it exposes the Western government-transnational corporate agenda, that seeks to expand the current proxy war in Iraq, as well as to neighboring nations by directly financing terror rebels – this time with Congressional approval.

While many think-tanks and media rooms proclaim to be very much against the terror-grip of Al-Qaeda’s offshoot ISIS by publicly denounce their actions, the $500 million dollar appropriation appears to be a cash injection into the radical destruction of both Iraq and Syria. The current destabilization campaign in Iraq will have a number of unforeseen outcomes, including the fracturing of Syria and Iraq, and the predictable calls from Erbil for a newly formed ‘Kurdish State’ in Northern Iraq.

If $500 million is being funneled to Islamic fighting groups in Syria (and Iraq), then exactly how is this money transferred and who will handle and distributed this small fortune from US taxpayers and procure arms on the ground? Most likely, this will be handled by US personnel and US military contractors who will be in the war theater. This is direct involvement, regardless of how Washington would like to spin it.

If you follow the terrorists, the money and the arms over the last 4 years – it leads back to western governments, their allies and their intelligence bodies…

‘Jihadi jail break’ recreates global terror threats

Back in July of 2013, there was an unprecedented and unlikely terrorist jail-break at three separate locations, that elevated the global terror threat not seen since the early days of Bin Laden’s transformation into the world’s most notorious boogeyman, Here at 21 WIRE we reported the sensationalized escape:

“The first prison break happened on July 22, as more than 500 inmates were sprung from two different prisons in Iraq. Al Qaeda claimed credit for the operation which somehow managed to take out 120 Iraqi guards and SWAT forces in attacks in Taji, north of Baghdad, and the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

Five days later on July 28, bumbling security spokesman Mohamed Hejazi admitted to the Libya Herald that some 1,200 prisoners escaped during the weekend from the Kuayfia detention center in Benghazi.

The third bust out then took place the following day on July 29, as Taliban and al Qaeda operatives descended on the city of Dera Ismail Khan and walked out with 250 Pakistani Taliban prisoners held there, but not before killing 12 policemen and cutting the throats of four Shi’ite prisoners on the way out.

On each occasion, local authorities believe that there may have been a degree of ‘insider’ help.

All in all, this epic string of jihadi jail-breaks has let loose over 2000 alleged terrorists and militant gunman for hire.

Could all three of these well-timed jail-breaks have been accomplished with such precision… without the help and support of intelligence agencies like the CIA, MI6 or Mossad?”

Many critics have charged that these jail breaks have directly benefited interests of the West, as the newly released militants could have been deployed to places such as Iraq and Syria, as well as other CIA friendly locales. The timing is uncanny.

US and Saudi-backed Terrorist Groups Coming Out of Syria

Known terrorist groups have been operating in Syria for over three years now – mostly with the tacit approval of war planners in Washington, London and Paris. Folded into the ‘Syrian Rebel’ confab, these terrorist fighting groups have all but received the full backing of NATO Allies (arms) and Gulf states Qatar and Saudi Arabia (money). They include, but are not limited to, Saudi Intelligence-backed Jabhat al-Nusra or ‘al Nursa Front’, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group,  Abdullah Azzam Brigades and Al Baraa ibn Malik Martyrdom Brigade, the jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham, the PKK (in northeast Syria), and Kata’ib Mohadzherin from the Russian Caucus region - to name only a few.

Earlier reports of rogue Chechen terrorists filtering into Syria were preceded by Salafists killing Sufi leaders inside the Russian Federation. The Pakistan Christian Post reports:

“Recently in Dagestan the Sufi spiritual leader Said Efendi Chirkeisky was killed by a suicide bomber along with a few followers. This happened in late August and the closeness to the recent attack against Sufi leaders in Tatarstan is a clear reminder that Salafism is a potent force within parts of the Russian Federation. Therefore, not surprisingly the Russian Federation is extremely alarmed by major Western powers once more working in collusion with the FSA, al-Qaeda and a whole array of Salafi terrorist organizations.”

US favoured terror leaders released from Guantanamo

It’s worth noting here: like Libya’s new militant governor of Tripoli, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the Chechen terrorist group Kata’ib Mohadzherin’s leader Airat Vakhitov was also under US supervision for years - imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba circa 2002, after being captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Both were Belhadj and Vakhitov were released by the Pentagon only to be repatriated in the field again – back into fighting regions to organise al Qaeda-type Islamist groups – both active in countries which the US and NATO have been actively vying for regime change – in Libya and Syria, respectively. You can draw your own conclusions here about what Guantanamo is in reality, a fact which was confirmed by the Penny Lane leaks regarding the recruitment of double agents out of Gitmo.

The same New York Times article(above) also mentions terrorists’ theocratic designs of establishing some caliphate in the region:

“One Qaeda operative, a 56-year-old known as Abu Thuha who lives in the Hawija district near Kirkuk in Iraq, spoke to an Iraqi reporter for The New York Times on Tuesday. “We have experience now fighting the Americans, and more experience now with the Syrian revolution,” he said. “Our big hope is to form a Syrian-Iraqi Islamic state for all Muslims…

All of this constitutes open international war crimes – directly enabled by the US and its allies. Beyond any reasonable doubt, this current ‘ISIS Crisis’ is a direct result of western interests fueling the Libyan and Syrian civil wars over the past 4 years.

Israel, Washington & Kurdish oil pipelines

There have also been reports suggesting that the perceived inaction on part of the US and its deliberation on direct military involvement, is actually a strategic process by planners in Washington and Tel Aviv to covertly engage in an open-ended proxy war - certainly the case across the Middle East today.

Media coverage regarding Israel is being kept mostly in the dark, which is nothing unusual considering the protocol for US media regarding any of its illicit activities or regular breaches of international law, but now it’s gapingly obvious that Israel is playing a central role in this theater. This was even more evident when you consider the \ recent  Israeli air strikes on Syria last week, which appeared to provide air cover for the masked Islamic State in Iraq radical terrorists. I noted in my first report about this crisis that for the first time, an SCF Altai tanker delivered a large amount of Kurdish oil to Israel on June 20th, this would link ISIS as a partial Israeli creation, if the Kurdish oil is coming over from terror controlled oil field’s in Iraq. An Israeli energy ministry declined to disclose a comment on the crude oil deal with the Kurdish Regional Government. It should be stated that Iraq has boycotted Israel and has no official oil contract with them.

The Kurdish region has also made its first oil shipment to the international market bypassing the central Maliki government in Baghdad.

One wonders how much of this oil is being shipped to Israel?

GWB and Hillary Clinton

As the 2016 presidential election approaches media speculation, propaganda, and misinformation spikes as alleged pundits and experts begin to prepare the masses for the next presidential election. What better strategy to involve the herds and engender controversy than recreating a Clinton Versus Bush rivalry.

The Clintons will be represented by Hillary Rodham Clinton a Democrat who was severely shafted and betrayed in the election of 2008 by the global and corporate money masters who pick and elect presidents.

Clinton’s rival would be John Ellis Bush known and promoted in the media circles as JEB to conjure up a biblical elixir that will penetrate the blood brain barrier of the Christian right who will wholeheartedly support him and automatically elect him when he runs. This group will consist of almost 35% percent of the popular vote, which means, that JEB will only need 16 additional percentage points to easily win the next 2016 presidential election.

Who is JEB?

 John Ellis Bush is the son of George Walker Herbert Bush, the brother of George W Bush, and the previous Florida governor. John Ellis ”Jeb” Bush (born February 11, 1953) served as the 43rd Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. He is the second son of former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, and is the younger brother of former President George W. Bush. Jeb Bush is the first and only Republican to serve two full four-year terms as Governor of Florida.

Bush grew up in Houston, Texas. He attended the University of Texas, where he earned a degree in Latin American affairs. Following his father’s successful run for Vice President in 1980, he moved to Florida. In 1986, Bush was named Florida’s Secretary of Commerce, a position he held until resigning in 1988 to help his father’s successful campaign for the Presidency.

In 1994, Bush made his first run for office, narrowly losing the election for governor by less than two percentage points to the incumbent Lawton Chiles. Bush ran again in 1998 and beat Lieutenant Governor Buddy MacKay with 55 percent of the vote. He ran for reelection in 2002, and won with 56 percent, to become Florida’s first two-term Republican Governor.[1] During his eight years as governor, Bush was credited with initiating improvements in the economy, environment, and health care, as well as reforming the education system.[2][3] He was also responsible for ending the Florida high speed rail initiative.[4] In 1995, Bush also converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism.[5]

American neoconservatives appear to be positive about JEB, seeing him as committed to upholding whatever conservative principles they might contrive to manipulate the masses, just as his father and older brother did before him. Bar none, JEB Bush is and will be the Christian Fundamentalists’ primary presidential candidate.

Who is HRC?

Hillary Rodham Clinton, born on October 26, 1947 is a former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States. From 2009 to 2013, she was the 67th Secretary of State, serving under President Barack Obama. She previously represented New York in the U.S. Senate (2001 to 2009). Before that, as the wife of President Bill Clinton, she was First Lady from 1993 to 2001. In the 2008 election, Clinton was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination but was burned by the elite who deliberately chose an unknown black candidate for the presidency leaving her and her husband empty handed, and giving the public the illusion that by electing a black president racism would be eradicated in the most racist nation on the planet. Hillary and her husband the previous president Bill Clinton have been plagued by a barrage of scandals throughout their public life. Hillary will be an easy target for Republicans to attack. As a secretary of state she was blamed for mishandling many situations in the Obama White House, including the Benghazi disaster. In addition, there are many questions surrounding her health.

Media preparation for 2016:

As expected, the global media embodied in the misinformation networks began this year their propaganda campaign to arouse public interest in the prospective election and to attempt to mobilize the herds by giving them the impression that Democracy is at work.  Many of the networks have started dialogues discussing or trashing Hillary’s run for another presidential election, either to appeal to her vanity, foment controversy, or rally women voters while constructing the illusion of a democratic election. If uncovered, blatant prearranged elections will definitely turn people off, even though, the public remain oblivious to the reality of their two parties not realizing that in every election the viable candidates have always been pre-chosen by the by elite.

The media buzz:

According to the Associated Press, Hillary Clinton insists that she hasn’t decided on a second bid for the presidency, but seems to be laying out more reasons to run than not during her coast-to-coast book tour.6 However, the Republicans’ inquiry into the deadly raid in Benghazi emboldens her, she says.

She knows how not to run a campaign after losing the 2008 Democratic nomination to Barack Obama. And she’d be doing something for the women and girls she felt she let down that year, and perhaps, she suggests, be more effective in the struggle by both parties to get gender politics right. “We live with a double standard,” Clinton told ABC News as she kicked off a tour for “Hard Choices,” her memoir. “People ought to think about their own daughters, their own sisters, their own mothers, when they make comments about women in public life.”6

Moreover, Luce of the Financial Times announced in his editorial column that in age of plutocracy what could be more fitting than a dynastic contest for the white house? If either Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush becomes their party’s 2016 nominee, it would be the seventh out of the past 10 US presidential elections with a Clinton or Bush on the ballot.7 He added that the cynical view is not always the right one. The problem with plutocracy is that it is not meritocratic. But in each case, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Bush are by far their party’s most qualified candidates.7

Furthermore, the Associated Press has also announced that in a highly choreographed appearances and interviews, Clinton is making quite clear that she already has given serious consideration to running for president, again. She has a ready-made network of supporters and fundraisers and, unlike in 2008, no real competition for the Democratic nomination.6

Meanwhile, USA today declared that politics will be friendlier for women in 2016, and added that in an interview on Monday June 9, 2014, about her new book “Hard Choices” Hillary Rodham Clinton stated that women running for president in 2016 (whether her or someone else) would encounter a different and friendlier political landscape than she did in 2008. Clinton added in her interview, that “it feels different,” “it feels like our country, society-we’ve gone through an earning process.” There would be “vestiges” of sexism, as president Obama has faced vestiges of racism, she predicted, “but I do believe it would not be reflexive. It would not be as acceptable.”8

The media circus goes on and on paving the way for the pre-chosen candidates to emerge, thus, disabling the American public from any thinking outside the box. Therefore, and as always the elite will decide for the ignorant and naive masses what is best for them, because the herds need to be led due to their inner impotence to think and choose on their own.

Analysis:

Why would Hillary Clinton’s handlers make her run again for president? Can she be used to mobilize the Democratic Party while losing the election for JEB Bush? Can the Democratic Party win an election after 8 years of Democratic Obama? Will the public want another Bush in the White House? Why is JEB treading gently and slowly? Are his handlers waiting for the right moment to announce his candidacy? Are there any other electable choices in a nation of 307 million people?

After eight years of democratic occupancy in the White House by a Black president, it will be unlikely that another democrat will win the White House in 2016. JEB Bush will be promoted by the media as a savior on a white horse from the corrupt black Obama regime that contaminated the White House and the nation. As a result, JEB the new biblical figure for the Christian fundamentalists will become the only viable Republican candidate to cleanse and win back the House of Whites.

JEB is the man who was originally groomed by his unscrupulous father to be president. He will certainly be supported by the corporate elites and the Central Intelligence Agency. To ensure his win, Mr. Bush will more likely run against the insignificant vice president Joseph Biden who was branded as a stooge by the media and by many political circles rather than Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Tired Hillary Clinton will not run again for president in 2016. She was humiliated enough in 2008, and was given many consolation awards like her Secretary of State post, just like Al Gore was given his in the form of an Academy Award and a Nobel price to reward him after George Jr. won the presidency by a shady court decision.

Bush versus Clinton Theater of the Absurd

Out of 307 million Americans, only 20 to 25% of the population vote. 35% of that 25% are predominantly Christian fundamentalists. As a result, our democracy becomes dictated by a minority vote rather than a majority rule.

 Therefore, we have to ask ourselves whether an orchestrated campaign between Bush and Clinton will rejuvenate and mobilize voters and get the public more involved.

Does Hillary Clinton have a real chance of winning against Bush in order to become the next leader of the alleged free world?

How much money and bribes will the Clintons receive to perform the presidential theatrics that will lead once again to Hillary’s loss?

In reality, Hillary Clinton will never be president. She missed her chance in 2008 as the message by the money masters was loud and clear.

Every president builds on his predecessor’s agenda as drawn by the global money masters. What is most frightening would be to have another corrupt Bush in the White House whose agenda would be no different than his predecessors. This agenda is aimed at furthering the total control of the masses and rendering America into a prison nation with an illusion of freedom and democracy only emanating from its 24 hour misinformation network news.

Unfortunately, and once again, the 2016 presidential election has already been decided way before 2016.

Meanwhile, if Hillary Clinton decides to run for the sake of money, publicity, and obedience to her money masters, in order to promote the elusive agenda of equality between men and women, the masses might become temporarily frenzied, excited, and mobilized giving the media a memorable election to cover. That will ensue in improved network ratings, and increased profit margins under the guise of promoting the same existing pseudo-democracy.  Stay tuned for the 2016 presidential election as the prospective theater of the absurd unravels.

Finally, good luck to the minority of voters who still believe that their votes will make a difference. Meanwhile, they will continue to encourage and enable a corrupt system that will only linger and exist as long as their ballots are cast in the boxes of empty dreams.

Notes:

1.February 11, 2009, 8:57 PM (2009-02-11). “Jeb Bush Makes History In Florida”. CBS News. Retrieved 2013-05-29.

2. Associated, The (2006-12-14). “Gov. Jeb Bush’s environmental legacy during eight years in office”. Jacksonville.com. Retrieved 2013-05-29.

3.“Jeb Bush | StateImpact Florida”. Stateimpact.npr.org. Retrieved 2013-05-29.

4. McCommons, James (2009). Waiting on a TrainWhite River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing Company. pp. 258–259. ISBN 978-1-60358-064-9.

5.“Jeb Bush, Catholic Convert. Will His Brother Convert?”. Catholic.org. Retrieved 8 August 2012.

6. Associated Press (June 14, 2014). Philip Elliott and Laurie Kellman. Clinton has reasons to run at her ready

7.Edward Luce. Financial Times, (June 9, 2014). War of the Clinton-Bush dynasties benefits us.

8. Susan Page. USA Today (June 10, 2014). Politics Friendlier For Women

 

The Cold War made a lot of money for the military/security complex for four decades dating from Churchill’s March 5, 1946 speech in Fulton, Missouri declaring a Soviet “Iron Curtain” until Reagan and Gorbachev ended the Cold War in the late 1980s. During the Cold War Americans heard endlessly about “the Captive Nations.”  The Captive Nations were the Baltics and the Soviet bloc, usually summarized as “Eastern Europe.”  

These nations were captive because their foreign policies were dictated by Moscow, just as these same Captive Nations, plus the UK, Western Europe, Canada, Mexico, Columbia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Georgia, and Ukraine, have their foreign policies dictated today by Washington.

Washington intends to expand the Captive Nations to include Azerbaijan, former constituent parts of Soviet Central Asia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.

 During the Cold War, Americans thought of Western Europe and Great Britain as independent sovereign countries.  Whether they were or not, they most certainly are not today.  We are now almost seven decades after WWII, and US troops still occupy Germany. No European government dares to take a stance different from that of the US Department of State.

 Not long ago there was talk both in the UK and Germany about departing the European Union, and Washington told both countries that talk of that kind must stop as it was not in Washington’s interest for any country to exit the EU.  The talk stopped. Great Britain and Germany are such complete vassals of Washington that neither country can publicly discuss its own future.

 When Baltasar Garzon, a Spanish judge with prosecuting authority, attempted to indict members of the George W. Bush regime for violating international law by torturing detainees, he was slapped down.

In Modern Britain, Stephane Aderca writes that the UK is so proud of being Washington’s “junior partner” that the British government agreed to a one-sided extradition treaty under which Washington merely has to declare “reasonable suspicion” in order to obtain extradition from the UK, but the UK must prove “probable cause.”

Being Washington’s “junior partner,” Aderca reports, is an ego-boost for British elites, giving them a feeling of self-importance.

 Under the rule of the Soviet Union, a larger entity than present day Russia, the captive nations had poor economic performance.  Under Washington’s rule, these same captives have poor economic performance due to their looting by Wall Street and the IMF.

As Giuseppe di Lampedusa said, “Things have to change in order to remain the same.”

 The looting of Europe by Wall Street has gone beyond Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Ukraine, and is now focused on France and Great Britain.  The American authorities are demanding $10 billion from France’s largest bank on a trumped-up charge of financing trade with Iran, as if it is any business whatsoever of Washington’s who French banks choose to finance.  And despite Great Britain’s total subservience to Washington, Barclays bank has a civil fraud suit filed against it by the NY State Attorney General.

 The charges against Barclays PLC are likely correct. But as no US banks were charged, most of which are similarly guilty, the US charge against Barclays means that big pension funds and mutual funds must flee Barclays as customers, because the pension funds and mutual funds would be subject to lawsuits for negligence if they stayed with a bank under charges.

 The result, of course, of the US charges against foreign banks is that US banks like Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are given a competitive advantage and gain market share in their own dark pools.

So, what are we witnessing?  Clearly and unequivocally, we are witnessing the use of US law to create financial hegemony for US financial institutions.  The US Department of Justice (sic) has had evidence for five years of Citigroup’s participation in the fixing of the LIBOR interest rate, but no indictment has been forthcoming.

The bought and paid for governments of Washington’s European puppet states are so corrupt that the leaders permit Washington control over their countries in order to advance American financial, political, and economic hegemony.

Washington is organizing the world against Russia and China for Washington’s benefit.  On June 27 Washington’s puppet states that comprise the EU issued an ultimatum to Russia.The absurdity of this ultimatum is obvious. Militarily, Washington’s EU puppets are harmless. Russia could wipe out Europe in a few minutes.  Here we have the weak issuing an ultimatum to the strong.

 The EU, ordered by Washington, told Russia to suppress the opposition in southern and eastern Ukraine to Washington’s stooge government in Kiev.  But, as every educated person knows, including the White House, 10 Downing Street, Merkel, and Holland, Russia is not responsible for the separatist unrest in eastern and southern Ukraine.

These territories are former constituent parts of Russia that were added to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic by Soviet Communist Party leaders when Ukraine and Russia were two parts of the same country.

These Russians want to return to Russia because they are threatened by the stooge government in Kiev that Washington has installed. Washington, determined to force Putin into military action that can be used to justify more sanctions, is intent on forcing the issue, not on resolving the issue.

What is Putin to do?  He has been given 72 hours to submit to an ultimatum from a collection on puppet states that he can wipe out at a moment’s notice or seriously inconvenience by turning off the flow of Russian natural gas to Europe.

Historically, such a stupid challenge to power would result in consequences. But Putin is a humanist who favors peace.  He will not willingly give up his strategy of demonstrating to Europe that the provocations are coming from Washington, not from Russia.  Putin’s hope, and Russia’s, is that Europe will eventually realize that Europe is being badly used by Washington.

Washington has hundreds of Washington-financed NGOs in Russia hiding behind various guises such as “human rights,” and Washington can unleash these NGOs on Putin at will, as Washington did with the protests against Putin’s election.  Washington’s fifth columns claimed that Putin stole the election even though polls showed that Putin was the clear and undisputed winner.

 In 1991 Russians were, for the most part, delighted to be released from communism and looked to the West as an ally in the construction of a civil society based on good will.  This was Russia’s mistake.  As the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines make clear,  Russia is the enemy whose rise to influence must be prevented at all cost.

 Putin’s dilemma is that he is caught between his heart-felt desire to reach an accommodation with Europe and Washington’s desire to demonize and isolate Russia.

 The risk for Putin is that his desire for accommodation is being exploited by Washington and explained to the EU as Putin’s weakness and lack of courage.  Washington is telling its European vassals that Putin’s retreat under Europe’s pressure will undermine his status in Russia, and at the right time Washington will unleash its many hundreds of NGOs to bring Putin to ruin.

 This was the Ukraine scenario.  With Putin replaced with a compliant Russian, richly rewarded by Washington, only China would remain as an obstacle to American world hegemony.

by Andrej Hunko

The EU creates a legal framework for Europe-wide deployment of police and military units. At the same time, the EU Commission is working intensively on the creation of a single EU police unit as well as an EU public prosecutor.

The use of the “European Gendarmerie Force” (EUROGENDFOR) is made possible by the “solidarity clause” as Heise reported. At the unit, headquartered in Vicenza, Italy, all EU Member States are involved, the Gendarmerien; police forces with military status are to be used.

The founding countries of the EUROGENDFOR include Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and the Netherlands. We provide our services to the police unit of the EU, NATO or the UN.

“The ‘solidarity clause’ is redundant, since the EU already has mechanisms for mutual assistance in case of disasters. Secondly, the clause amplifies the course to a militarization of domestic politics, since upon request the military can be used in another Member State.

“On Tuesday, the representatives of the EU Member States in the Council adopted a decision on the so-called ‘solidarity clause’. Were a disaster or a loosely defined crisis to occur, the organs of the European Union would be obliged to assist using all the instruments at their disposal. This includes military resources”, warned Member of the Bundestag Andrej Hunko.

The proposal on ‘arrangements for the implementation by the Union of the Solidarity Clause’ was jointly presented by the Commission and the EU High Representative in 2012. A country can invoke the “solidarity clause” if a crisis “overwhelms its response capacities”. Mention is made of operational, policy and financial instruments and structures.

Andrej Hunko continued:

“The adoption at the General Affairs Council took place in secret: the point was not mentioned on the agenda of the meeting. The press was not informed. Yet this is one of the most controversial clauses contained in the EU treaties. That is precisely the reason why agreement on the details of the solidarity clause was postponed to a later point at the time of the signature of the Lisbon Treaty.

The ‘solidarity clause’ boosts the role of the two intelligence-service-style EU situation centres. But it also creates the legal framework for deployment of the special police units of the ‘ATLAS network’ being developed by the Commission. From Germany, the GSG 9 is involved; last year this Federal Police Special Forces unit was able to head a large-scale ATLAS exercise encompassing several countries for the first time.

The ‘solidarity clause’ is superfluous, since the EU already has mechanisms for mutual assistance in disaster situations. At the same time, however, the clause strengthens the course towards militarisation of home-affairs policy, since military personnel can be sent to another Member State on request.

I am concerned that this is about the home-affairs version of the Article 5 clause on mutual defence: it would apply in situations which ‘may have an adverse impact on people, the environment or property’. Even politically motivated blockades in the areas of energy and transport and general strikes are covered.

The text explicitly refers to crises which originate outside the territory of the Member States.

The Left Party parliamentary group rejects this blurring of the lines between internal and external security. Instead of militarisation of home-affairs policy through the deployment of military forces inside other Member States, we need reinforcement of the civilian mechanisms of solidarity within the EU.”

Press release of 24 June 2014 by the General Affairs Council:http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/ EN/genaff/143353.pdf

http://www.911forum.org.uk/board/viewtopic.php?p=167496#167496

Moment of Truth: “Fascism As It Is” in Ukraine

June 29th, 2014 by Andrey Karaulov

We bring to the attention of GR readers a film by Russian TV journalist, author and host of the “Moment of Truth” Andrei Karaulov

“Ukrainian fascism.” The film is dedicated to the tragic events in Ukraine.

The film’s title refers to the classic tape Mikhail Romm’s “Ordinary Fascism.”

In an interview wi