Can We Avoid the “Thucydides Trap” with China?

Top economic advisers are forecasting war and unrest.

They give the following reasons for their forecast:

  • Countries start wars to distract their populations from lousy economies
  • Currency and trade wars end up turning into shooting wars
  • The U.S. is still seeking to secure oil supplies, and the U.S. doesn’t like any country to leave the dollar standard

Additionally, the American policy of using the military to contain China’s growing economic influence – and of considering economic rivalry to be a basis for war – is creating a tinderbox.

As the New York Times noted in 2011:

For a superpower, dealing with the fast rise of a rich, brash competitor has always been an iffy thing.

Just ask … Thucydides, the Athenian historian whose tome on the Peloponnesian War has ruined many a college freshman’s weekend. The line they had to remember for the test was his conclusion: “What made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta.

So while no official would dare say so publicly as President Hu Jintao bounced from the White House to meetings with business leaders to factories in Chicago last week, his visit, from both sides’ points of view, was all about managing China’s rise and defusing the fears that it triggers. Both Mr. Hu and President Obama seemed desperate to avoid what Graham Allison of Harvard University has labeled “the Thucydides Trap” – that deadly combination of calculation and emotion that, over the years, can turn healthy rivalry into antagonism or worse.

Indeed, Allison writes:

The defining question about global order in the decades ahead will be: can China and the US escape Thucydides’s trap?

China is certainly aware of this potential dynamic for world war … and is eager to avoid it.    As Xinua noted last July:

Greek historian Thucydides described the situation between Athens and Sparta as a combination of “rise” and “fear,” which inevitably resulted in war about 2,400 years ago. Over the past 500 years, when a rising power has challenged a ruling power, war has often followed, reinforcing the concept of “The Thucydides Trap.”

In the 21st century, however, China and the U.S. could and must avoid falling into this trap, especially against the backdrop of ever-deepening economic globalization and interdependence.

***

“The Thucydides Trap” offers a worthy caution, but it is not a tragedy that can not be avoided.

The 21st century will not necessarily mark the rise of China alongside the fall of the U.S., rather, through joint efforts, the two sides can see the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, U.S. recovery and a developing world, simultaneously.

And the China Post made a similar point last June.

Obviously, the dispute between China and Japan over oil-rich islands – with the U.S. backing Japan – is a complicated one. Indeed, Japan is threatening to seize another 280 islands whose claim is disputed.

Given that China passed Japan as the world’s second biggest economy in 2010, Thucydides’s trap could very well apply to Japan’s fear and hatred of China’s economic growth.

And China’s threat to “take back” an island occupied by another close U.S. ally – the Philippines – could be another potential flashpoint in Chinese-U.S. relations.

It seems like the U.S. and China are drifting towards war over the long-term, as proxy disputes with Japan, the Philippines and other countries cannot remain cool forever without accident or incident.

Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail on all sides …

Ariel Sharon: Serial War Criminal, Mass Murderer

January 13th, 2014 by Richard Becker

“Ariel Sharon: Israeli Hawk Who Sought Peace on His Terms, Dies at 85,” read the headline in the January 12 issue of the New York Times. The Washington Post called Sharon “a monumental figure in Israel’s modern history” who “sought to become the architect of a peaceful future,” accompanied by a most kindly and grandfatherly photo. USA Today: “controversial and iconic.” And on and on in all the U.S. corporate media.

Most of the world knows better, and none know better than the Palestinian and Lebanese people, thousands of whom were victims of this bloody, serial war criminal. Sharon’s career was built on massacres–from Qibya in 1953, to Sabra and Shatila in 1982, to Jenin in 2002.

A virulent anti-Arab racist, Sharon had a long and bloody history of murder and repression against the Palestinian people. In the early 1950s, he commanded Unit 101, a special forces company that carried out massacres against Palestinian exiles in Gaza and Jordan.

Despite having conquered 78 percent of Palestine in the 1948 war, Israel’s leaders were far from satisfied.  As has been extensively documented by many Israeli as well as Palestinian historians, Israel sought to provoke a “Second Round” in the early 1950s, in order to take over the West Bank, then under Jordanian rule, Gaza, and more.

A main Israeli tactic was called “retaliation.” In response to recently expelled Palestinians coming across the borders back into their homeland from Gaza and the West Bank, the Israeli army (IDF) would carry out large-scale attacks and massacres.

For diplomatic and public relations purposes, it was extremely important to Israel to be seen as victim rather than aggressor. This remains true down to the present.

“Retaliation” was really provocation; the intent was to get Jordan or Egypt to react militarily to the massacres, which could then be used by Israel as a pretext for a new war of conquest.

On Oct. 14, 1953, Unit 101, led by Sharon, attacked Qibya, a small, undefended village inside the West Bank, and massacred 69 people, many of them burned alive inside their homes. Unit 101 suffered no casualties. It was an atrocity sanctioned at the top and carried out for political ends.

The Qibya raid drew worldwide condemnation, and Jordan, much militarily weaker than Israel, did not respond as the Israeli leaders had hoped. The conquest of the West Bank and Gaza would have to wait until 1967.

Sabra  and Shatila massacres

Following the 1967 war of conquest, Sharon was the military governor of Gaza, renowned for extreme brutality in carrying out a policy of systematic torture and assassination of Palestinians resisting occupation.
Sharon is most notorious for the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the massacres of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut. As Israel’s defense minister, Sharon organized and led, with full U.S. backing, the massive assault on Lebanon. For three months in the summer of 1982, Israeli bombers, supplied by the U.S., relentlessly pounded Beirut and other cities and towns, killing more than 20,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians. Lebanon had no air defense system.

The stated objective of the invasion was to drive the Palestine Liberation Organization out of Lebanon. There are more than 400,000 Palestinian refugees–those driven from their homeland to make way for the state of Israel in 1948 and their descendants–living in Lebanon. Altogether, more than seven million Palestinians today live in exile.

After three months of bombing, the central PLO leadership agreed to evacuate its fighters from Lebanon. As part of the cease-fire agreement requiring them to leave, the remaining Palestinian civilian population was to be placed under international protection.

Sharon, however, publicly stated that 2,000 “terrorists” remained in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in West Beirut. In reality, those remaining in the camps were almost all children, women and elderly men. Virtually all of the young men had been evacuated.

Israeli tanks surrounded the camps in violation of the cease-fire agreement. Then, on Sept. 16, 1982, with the full knowledge and consent of Sharon and the Israeli occupiers then in control of the area, Lebanese Phalangist militias were allowed to enter Sabra and Shatila in west Beirut.

The fascist Phalange—open admirers of Adolf Hitler who took their name from Franco’s party in Spain—were Israel’s closest allies in Lebanon. The Phalangists wore Israeli-supplied uniforms and carried Israeli-supplied weapons.
For three days, they rampaged through the Palestinian camps, torturing, raping and murdering. Many of the victims were disemboweled or decapitated. No one was spared—neither the very old nor the very young. By the end, more than 1,900 Palestinian children, women and men lay dead.

Though overwhelming evidence showed that Sharon and other Israeli commanders had sent the fascists into the undefended camps, a 1983 Israeli court of inquiry found Sharon only “indirectly responsible” for the massacre. One might think that even “indirect” responsibility for the butchering of nearly two thousand people would mean at least an end to the guilty individual’s political career. But not in apartheid Israel.
While Sharon was forced to resign from the Israeli cabinet following the court of inquiry, he continued to be a key political actor and came back as a cabinet minister in the 1990s.

Al-Aqsa Intifada and Sharon’s election as prime minister

On September 28, 2000, Sharon staged another famous provocation, “visiting” the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, an important Muslim holy site. While proclaiming his “right” to travel anywhere in Jerusalem, the hated killer did not venture out alone. Instead, he was accompanied by 1,500 armed police. Even so, hundreds of Palestinians fought back, marking the start of the Al-Aqsa intifada or uprising, which would continue for many years.

Five months later, in February 2001, Sharon was elected prime minister. In March 2002, the Israeli military carried out a massive operation in the West Bank and Gaza seeking to suppress the intifada. Among the most brutal attacks was one on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. Over several days, using militarized bulldozers along with heavy weapons, the Israel military demolished much of the camp, burying many people alive.

The same year, Sharon began building the apartheid wall through the West Bank confiscating still more Palestinian land.

Sharon: The imaginary “peacemaker”

The false claim that Sharon turned into a “man of peace” hinges on his decision to withdraw military bases and the small, non-viable Israeli settlements from inside Gaza. And while Palestinians in Gaza welcomed the withdrawal, Israel continued to keep Gaza surrounded and blockaded.

Sharon’s decision to withdraw from Gaza, while denounced by some fascist settlers, was based on a determination to secure even more control of the West Bank
In a July 21, 2000 interview with the Jerusalem Post, several months before he became prime minister, Sharon called for Israel to “retain greater Jerusalem, united and undivided…under full Israeli sovereignty.” This refers to the Palestinian Old City and all of the surrounding areas that Israel illegally annexed after the 1967 war.

“Israel will retain under its full control sufficiently wide security zones—in both the East and West. The Jordan Valley, in its broadest sense, as defined by the Allon Plan, will be the eastern security zone of Israel.”
Sharon called for large areas of the illegally occupied West Bank to be annexed. “Jewish towns, villages and communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as well as access roads leading to them…will remain under full Israeli control,” Sharon continued. “Judea and Samaria” is the Israeli settlers’ name for the West Bank.

“Israel does not accept under any circumstances the Palestinian demand for the right to return. Israel bears no moral responsibility for the refugees’ predicament.”

“As a vital existential need, Israel must continue to control the underground fresh water aquifers in western Samaria [the West Bank]…The Palestinians are obligated to prevent contamination of Israel’s water resources.”

The Palestinian “state” that Sharon proposed was one that would be unlike any other country in the world. It would not control its own resources including water, or its airspace, or even its own borders, and would be a defenseless entity smack up against one of the world’s most highly militarized states.

False headlines notwithstanding, Sharon will go down in history not as any kind of imagined peacemaker, but instead as the blood-stained and racist mass murderer that he was.

Pakistan, a Victim of Ideological Colonization

January 12th, 2014 by Dr. Ismail Salami

The distressing story of a Pakistani teenager who lost his life while he was making efforts to prevent a suicide bomber from detonating his school and unleashing a maniac massacre of innocent children in the country’s troubled north-west has gained colossal attention in the world.

Aitizaz Hasan, almost 15 years old, was standing outside as a punishment for being late to school in Hangu, a town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Monday when the suicide bomber tried to gain access to the building.

Basically a Shia-populated town in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, Hangu has become a scene of unrest and Takfiri-begotten hatred like many parts of the country.

What Aitizaz did has reportedly saved the lives of more than 2000 students who were at school at the time of the catastrophe.

 ”My son made his mother cry, but saved hundreds of mothers from crying for their children,” his father, Mujahid Ali, told the Express Tribune newspaper.

Schools, mosques, and temples are the routine targets of the Takfiri groups in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world. According to their definition, anyone but the Takfiris is an infidel and should be eradicated from the face of the earth.  Women and children are no exceptions to them. Muslims and non-Muslims are no exceptions to them. What is acceptable to them is complete belief in their twisted perception and interpretation of Islam.

In September 2013, a twin suicide attack on a historic church known as All Saint’s Church in Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan killed over 80 people including women and children and injuring over a hundred people.

“Suicide bombers entered the church compound from the main gate and blew themselves up in the midst of the people,” a statement posted on the diocese website read.

In another incident, a suicide bomber struck a crowded Pakistan mosque in August 2013, killing 43 people and wounding more than 100 during Ramadan prayers. The bomber was wearing about 8-10 kg of explosives and was on foot. He had detonated in the main prayer hall.

In 2012, gunmen dragged 20 Shia Muslim travelers off a bus and killed them at point blank range in northern Pakistan. The bus was travelling between Rawalpindi and the mainly Shia northern city of Gilgit.

“Ten to 12 people wearing army uniform stopped the bus and forced some people off the bus,” said Khalid Omarzai, a Pakistani official.

“After checking their papers, they opened fire and at least 20 people are reported to have been killed. This is initial information and the final toll may go up. They are all Shias,” he said.

On January I, 2014, a suicide car bombing in Pakistan killed two Shia Muslims who were returning from a pilgrimage to Iran.

 The attack took place on Wednesday in Akhtaraba, on the outskirts of Quetta in Balochistan and targeted a passenger bus carrying Shia Muslims.

“An explosive-laden car which was parked along the roadside blew up as the bus passed by it, killing two people and wounding 17,” Abdul Razzaq Cheema, Quetta police chief, told AFP news agency.

Takfiri hatred is vented in different ways. A common way is, however, suicide bombing. Other forms include beheading, spilling acid over the victims’ faces and mutilating their bodies.

Takfirism, which is an umbrella name for Wahhabism, is lavishly funded by Saudi Arabia.  For over three decades, Saudi Arabia has been spent over USD 100 billion on promoting Wahhabism worldwide with Pakistan being one of the early instances of such ideological colonization in Asia. In other words, big chunks of petrodollar earned by the House of Saud go to the dissemination of Wahhabism and the subsequent promotion of terrorism.

So, suicide bombing is nothing new in Pakistan and some of the countries infested by the influence of the Takfiri groups who are hell-bent on annihilating the rest of the world which they view as ideologically inferior.

By way of diverting attention from what is really happening, the West seeks to prescribe its own version of the realities and practically dictates how the media should report on any violence produced by this crooked ideology. In fact, the West substantially capitalizes on the discord sweeping across the Middle East on account of the efforts of the Takfiri groups such as Taliban, al-Qaeda, and al-Nusra and so on and so forth.

The western media unanimously attribute attacks of this nature to sectarian violence and the “rift deepening wider between the Shia and the Sunni Muslims” every day.  The fact of the matter is that these incidents happening in Pakistan and similar incidents taking place elsewhere have nothing to do with sectarianism and should not be treated thus.

Anyway, what is happening in Pakistan is an ideological product of the House of Saud and their ignoramus adherents. 

 Sadly, Pakistani politicians frequently turn a blind eye to the myriad crimes committed by the Takfiri groups whom they use as political leverage to achieve their own malicious goals such as winning the elections in the country. So, instead of curbing the cruel current of extremism, they sit back and watch silently.  

Aitizaz Hasan is the personification of innocence and the crystallization of a far-fetched hope on the dark horizons of the Pakistani community.

In a country corroded by blind ignorance, rampant political corruption and cancerous extremism, only people like Aitizaz Hasan can emerge as beacons of light to usher in the right path towards salvation.

A “devastating” two hundred and fifty page document: “The Responsibility of UK Officials for War Crimes Involving Systematic Detainee Abuse in Iraq from 2003-2008″, has been “presented to the International Criminal Court, and could result in some of Britain’s leading defence figures facing prosecution for “systematic” war crimes” the (London) Independent on Sunday has revealed.(i)

The dossier charges that: ‘ “those who bear the greatest responsibility” for alleged war crimes “include individuals at the highest levels” of the British Army and political system.’

Among those named, states the Independent, are two former Defence Ministry supremos, Geoff Hoon and Adam Ingram, Defence Secretary and Minister of State for the Armed Forces, respectively, under Tony Blair’s premiership, during the planning and invasion of Iraq and for most of the UK’s occupation. General Sir Peter Wall, head of the British Army is also named.

Shocking allegations have been compiled from the testimonies of four hundred Iraqis: ‘representing “thousands of allegations of mistreatment amounting to war crimes of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” ‘

The document, lodged with the International Criminal Court at the Hague on Saturday (11th January 2013) “calls for an investigation into the alleged war crimes, under Article 15 of the Rome Statute” and is the result of some years of work by Birmingham based Public Interest Lawyers and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR.). The submission: “is the most detailed ever submitted to the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor on war crimes allegedly committed by British forces in Iraq.”

In 2006 the ICC opined that: “There was a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court had been committed, namely willful killing and inhuman treatment.” However, since the claims were less than twenty cases, prosecutors declined to mount an investigation.

Subsequently: “hundreds of other claims have come to light, prompting consideration of the complaint now. It is the start of a process which could result in British politicians and generals being put in the dock on war-crimes charges.” The: “pattern of abusive treatment by UK services personnel in Iraq continued over almost six years of military operations.” When is a crime not a crime, one wonders, when it is “only” in double figures?

Evidence is presented of: “systematic use of brutal violence, that at times resulted in the death of detainees, while in the custody of UK Services Personnel.” The two law bodies claim: “there is evidence of brutality combined with cruelty and forms of sadism, including sexual abuse, and sexual and religious humiliation”, with widespread use of “hooding”, prisoners forced in to excrutiating: “stress positions, sleep deprivation, noise bombardment and deprivation of food and water.”

All such techniques were banned under the government of Edward Heath in 1972, after being used in Northern Ireland. Claims are that these legally outlawed techniques were used: “in a variety of different UK facilities (in Iraq) … from 2003 to 2008.” (Incidentally, after September 2007, the British stated that only had a small military contingency remained, assisting in training Iraqis.)

Alleged tortuous treatment was compounded, seemingly, by: “failures to follow-up on or ensure accountability for ending such practices became a cause of further abuse. The obvious conclusion is that such mistreatment was systematic.”

The Independent quotes Professor William Schabas, human rights law expert: “What this application does is throw down the challenge to the court to show there are no double standards. There is definitely a case for an investigation by the ICC.” He suggested that  “there’s no doubt” of war crimes committed by British forces in Iraq. “People should be worried.”

The UK Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office both state that any allegations of abuse have been, or are being investigated through various, including legal channels, with William Hague emphasizing that there was no need for the ICC to become involved.

The ICC as a body has also come under fire, accused of only putting on trial, or investigating largely Africans and ignoring other alleged human rights abuses.

ECCHR Secretary General, Wolfgang Kaleck told the Independent: “With the current communication to the ICC we want to move forward the criminal prosecution against those political and military leaders in the UK who bear the most responsibility for systematic torture in Iraq”, adding: “The International Criminal Court in The Hague is the last resort for victims of torture and mistreatment to achieve justice.

“Double standards in international criminal justice must end. War crimes and other severe violations of human rights must be investigated and prosecuted, regardless of whether they are committed by the most powerful.”

According to Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers, the actions of British officials in high places, involved in the invasion, planning, execution and occupation, are to come under investigation.  : “I think we easily meet the threshold for these issues to be looked at, I would be gobsmacked and bitterly disappointed if they don’t look at this.”

Geoff Hoon, Adam Ingram and General Sir Peter Wall could not be reached for comment.

A small sample of the eye watering allegations presented to the ICC can be found in the full article referenced below.

The full submission document, which the Independent has exclusively seen, will be released publicly on Tuesday.

Notes

(i) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/exclusive-devastating-dossier-on-abuse-by-uk-forces-in-iraq-goes-to-international-criminal-court-9053735.html

Thai demonstrators donning white shirts, lighting candles, releasing white balloons and carrying placards stating “Respect My Vote,” are portrayed as ordinary people who simply want to defend the democratic process against growing anti-regime protesters. However, it was clear from the beginning that it was nothing more than a rebranding of the regime’s “red shirt” enforcers in an effort to confuse the public both in Thailand and internationally. 


Image: The regime believes the Thai people, and more importantly, international audiences are as ignorant as they are gullible. Recent propaganda campaigns featuring “white” balloons, candles, shirts, and ribbons are being passed off as a groundswell of support by “the people” in favor of up coming elections. In reality, these campaigns of “support” are being engineered by the regime itself, by it’s own “red shirt” enforcers and TV networks. ….

Despite the regime’s own propaganda network, Asia Update TV, creating and leading the movement with presenters even trading in their red shirts for white – more sophisticated pro-regime propaganda attempted to perpetuate the myth that these were ordinary people.

It is now incontrovertibly exposed that these “white shirt” protesters are merely the regime’s “red shirts” in one last desperate, disingenuous attempt to marshal support in the face of a growing tide of genuine and immense dissent.

In a video posted on YouTube of one protest, a woman in the crowd can be seen carrying a placard reading as follows: 

IF YOU WANT TO KILL CORRUPTION, END THAKSINOCRACY, IT MUST BE DONE IN THE NEXT ELECTION.

After murmurs of dissatisfaction in the mob begin to spread regarding her sign, a man wearing ordinary clothes but sporting a red wrist band approaches her and explains to her the sign will not be tolerated. He particularly points out that the term “End Thaksinocracy” is unacceptable. He and another woman then stirs up the mob to begin verbally abusing her and demanding her to leave. One group of angry men begin to physically charge her shouting “GET OUT!” 

Later, the woman can be seen, her sign missing and reduced to tears while police attempt to keep back regime supporters. Careful inspection of the protesters reveals many to be wearing red wrist bands, red ribbons, and even red shirts themselves under regular or white attire. In other words, the same intolerance of differing opinions, violence, and intimidation that have become the hallmarks of Thaksin Shianwatra’s red shirts were there – because it was a red shirt protest.

ImageWhite balloons for sham elections. A hundred or so people gathered in downtown Bangkok amid much larger anti-regime protests, to support the current regime and their single-party election planned for February 2, 2014. All opposition parties have boycotted the election, featuring deposed dictator, accused mass murderer and convicted criminal Thaksin Shinawatra running as defacto party leader. While the group, calling itself “Ant’s Power” attempts to appear as “pro-democracy” advocates, they are simply regime supporters who have exchanged their red shirts for white ones. 
….


The unfortunate woman most likely thought, like many others who may have been bolstering the numbers of similar rallies, that this was truly a “pro-democracy” demonstration, and did not suspect it was created for and by the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra itself.   

The degree of deceit and intellectual dishonesty, not only of the regime and its propagandists, but those attempting to promote the “Respect My Vote” campaign as anything but insulting, poorly disguised regime propaganda illustrates exactly why anti-regime protesters have spent months occupying Bangkok’s streets, and why anti-regime rallies have drawn hundreds of thousands, dwarfing even the largest pro-Thaksin rallies years ago at the height of his popularity. 


The “Respect My Vote” campaign, just like the white-clad protesters perpetuating it, upon closer examination, literally have red showing underneath. Elections overseen by a regime openly run by a convicted criminal hiding abroad as a fugitive are not legitimate, nor is any regime that results from these sham elections. 

The Current Government and Upcoming Elections are Both Incontrovertibly Illegitimate

While Thailand is technically under the premiership of Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, by his party’s own admission, Thaksin is still literally running the country. The election campaign slogan for the last general election in 2011 was literally, “Thaksin Thinks, Puea Thai Does,” Puea Thai being his political party. Forbes would report in their article, “Thaksin in Exile: Advising Sister, Digging for Gold,” that: 

Regarding his behind-the-scenes role in the party and policy, he is not shy: “I am the one who thinks. Like our slogan during the campaign, Thaksin thinks, Pheu Thai acts.”

The New York Times admitted in an early 2013 article titled, “In Thailand, Power Comes With Help From Skype,” that: 

For the past year and a half, by the party’s own admission, the most important political decisions in this country of 65 million people have been made from abroad, by a former prime minister who has been in self-imposed exile since 2008 to escape corruption charges. 

The country’s most famous fugitive,Thaksin Shinawatra, circles the globe in his private jet, chatting with ministers over his dozen cellphones, texting over various social media platforms and reading government documents e-mailed to him from civil servants, party officials say.

The NYT piece would also report:  

“He’s the one who formulates the Pheu Thai policies,” said Noppadon Pattama, a senior official in Mr. Thaksin’s party who also serves as his personal lawyer. “Almost all the policies put forward during the last election came from him.” 

ImageThe New York Times openly admits that Thailand is currently run by unelected convicted criminal/fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra. Clearly any proxy government or elections in which it participates in are illegitimate by both Thai and international standards. Thaksin’s foreign ties are what have afforded him impunity regarding an otherwise cartoonish, 3rd world dictatorship. 
….
There is no question that an accused mass murderer and convicted criminal hiding abroad from a 2 year jail sentence, multiple arrest warrants, and a long list of pending court cases, is illegally running Thailand by proxy. Being unelected, Thaksin Shinawatra is by all accounts a dictator, and his “government” a regime, however cleverly they try to dress it up

As reported many times before, current anti-regime protesters are not trying to end “democracy.” They are simply trying to end the abuse of the democratic process by an overt criminal. Elections must be carried only after Thaksin Shinawatra and his entire political machine have been safely and completely dismantled. 

A new report has revealed that the number of hunger strikers in Guantanamo has doubled since the final set of official figures was released by the US authorities on December 2 2013.

The report, compiled by human rights charity Reprieve, uses prisoner testimony to reveal that 33 men detained in Guantanamo are on hunger strike, with 16 being force fed. The Joint Task Force at Guantanamo, which runs the prison, announced in December of 2013 that they would no longer release official figures of those on hunger strike because they did not want to ‘further their protests’.

The report also reveals that authorities at the prison are punishing those on hunger strike by sending them to the strictest of the camps, ‘Camp V Echo’. One detainee described his experiences there to his lawyer at Reprieve: “My cell in the dreadful Camp V Echo is constructed in a strange manner. It is designed to torture the person who is held there. All the surfaces made of steel. The bed is steel. The walls are steel. The floor is steel. The ceiling is steel. There is no toilet, but the hole in the ground is made of steel.”

British resident Shaker Aamer, who remains imprisoned despite having been cleared by both the Bush and Obama administrations, said: “[I was] strapped to the bed for 24 hours except to use the toilet. The [force-feeding] tube was in 24 hours a day. We would be fed for 30-40 minutes each time, with Ensure cans, two cans, three times a day. Some of the prisoners became zombies, as if they were already dead. I dropped weight to 130 pounds. I told the doctors, ‘I want to die peacefully. I want no intervention.’ But they refused this.”

Mr Aamer’s British wife and four British children, the youngest of whom he has never met, live in London. British Prime Minister David Cameron has raised his case directly with President Obama, yet Mr Aamer remains imprisoned. There is an ongoing police investigation into Mr Aamer’s treatment at the hands of British and US officials.

155 men are still detained in Guantanamo Bay, 77 of who have been cleared for release. Yesterday (Saturday) marked the twelfth anniversary of the first arrival of prisoners at the detention camp. Of the 779 men known to have been held there 624 have been released. More prisoners have died than have been put on trial.

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s Director and Guantanamo lawyer, said: “Guantanamo Bay has for years been a blot on the US’ reputation and a recruiting tool for extremists. The conditions there are worsening and more men are going on hunger strike, and being force fed, as a result. Shaker Aamer could be transferred out of there to his home and his family in the UK tomorrow. The US must send Shaker and the other cleared men home and close the prison.”

For further information, please contact Clemency Wells or Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office [email protected] / [email protected]

The comments about why the Guantanamo authorities stopped releasing figures ofmen on hunger strike can be found, here.

Author’s Introductory Note

Environmental modification techniques (ENMOD) for military use constitute, in the present context of global warfare, the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.

Rarely acknowledged in the debate on global climate change, the world’s weather can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated electromagnetic weapons. Both the US and Russia have developed capabilities to manipulate the climate for military use.

Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’. During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The US military has developed advanced capabilities that enable it selectively to alter weather patterns. The technology, which is being perfected under the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), is an appendage of the Strategic Defense Initiative – ‘Star Wars’. From a military standpoint, HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction, operating from the outer atmosphere and capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems around the world.

Weather-modification, according to the US Air Force document AF 2025 Final Report,

“offers the war fighter a wide range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary’, capabilities, it says, extend to the triggering of floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes: ‘Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather… and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of [military] technologies.”

In 1977, an international Convention was ratified by the UN General Assembly which banned ‘military or other hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects.’ It defined ‘environmental modification techniques’ as ‘any technique for changing –through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes – the dynamics, composition or structure of the earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space.’

According to the Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques:

The term “environmental modification techniques” refers to any technique for changing – through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes – the dynamics, composition or structure of the Earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space. (Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques, United Nations, Geneva: 18 May 1977)

While the substance of the 1977 Convention was reasserted in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, debate on weather modification for military use has become a scientific taboo.

Military analysts and scientists are mute on the subject. Meteorologists are not investigating the matter and environmentalists are focused on greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. Neither is the possibility of climatic or environmental manipulations as part of a military and intelligence agenda, while tacitly acknowledged, part of the broader debate on climate change under UN auspices.

While discussion of  the post Cold War military applications of  weather warfare is a taboo, the US Air Force has nonetheless acknowledged the strategic importance of ENMOD techniques in the modern battlefield of non-conventional warfare and intel ops, including the conduct, without the enemy’s knowledge, of “covert” weather modification operations.

At this juncture in our history, US-NATO forces are deployed worldwide.

The US and its allies are not only targeting Syria, Iran and North Korea, they are also threatening Russia and China.

The Pentagon has formulated the contours of a global military agenda, a “long war”, a war without borders.

“Weather warfare” is the ultimate WMD  with the potential of destabilizing an enemy’s ecosystem, destroying its agriculture, disabling communications networks. In other words, ENMOD techniques can undermine an entire national economy, impoverish  millions of people and “kill a nation” without the deployment of troops and military hardware.

The following text, with the exception of some small edits was first published in September 2004. The 2004  article was a follow-up on an earlier study by the author entitled Washington’s New World Order Weapons Have the Ability to Trigger Climate Change, Third World Resurgence, January 2001, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO201A.html

While The  Ecologist published in 2007 a shorter version of the above study, the issue of climatic manipulation for military use has largely been ignored by Environmentalists.

The URL of the original article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO409F.html.

This essay is dedicated to the memory of  Dr. Rosalie Bertell, who, from the very outset revealed the diabolical nature of the HAARP project, as part of an integrated non-conventional weapons program:

“It is related to fifty years of intensive and increasingly destructive programs to understand and control the upper atmosphere. … HAARP is an integral part of a long history of space research and development of a deliberate military nature. The military implications of combining these projects is alarming. … The ability of the HAARP / Spacelab/ rocket combination to deliver very large amounts of energy, comparable to a nuclear bomb, anywhere on earth via laser and particle beams, are frightening. The project is likely to be “sold” to the public as a space shield against incoming weapons, or, for the more gullible, a device for repairing the ozone layer.

It is my sincere hope that this article will renew the debate on the dangers of weather warfare and will contribute to the broader objective of World peace which requires the relentless “disarming” of the US- NATO military apparatus.

Michel Chossudovsky, January 12, 2014


Weather Warfare

The significant expansion in America’s weather warfare arsenal, which is a priority of the Department of Defense is not a matter for debate or discussion. While, environmentalists blame the Bush administration for not having signed the Kyoto protocol, the issue of “weather warfare”, namely the manipulation of weather patterns for military use is never mentioned.

The US Air Force has the capability of manipulating climate either for testing purposes or for outright military-intelligence use.  These capabilities extend to the triggering of floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes. In recent years, large amounts of money have been allocated by the US Department of Defense to further developing and perfecting these capabilities.

Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence  purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog, and storms on earth or to modify space weather, … and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of technologies which can provide substantial increase in US, or degraded capability in an adversary, to achieve global awareness, reach, and power. (US Air Force, emphasis added. Air University of the US Air Force, AF 2025 Final Report, http://www.au.af.mil/au/2025/ emphasis added)

While there is no firm evidence that the US Air Force weather warfare facilities have been deliberately applied to modify weather patterns, one would expect that if these capabilities are being developed for military use, they would at least be the object of routine testing, much in the same way as the testing of new conventional and strategic weapons systems.

Needless to say, the subject matter is a scientific taboo. The possibility of climatic or environmental manipulations as part of a military and intelligence agenda, while tacitly acknowledged, is never considered as relevant. Military analysts are mute on the subject. Meteorologists are not investigating the matter, and environmentalists are strung on global warming and the Kyoto protocol.

Ironically, the Pentagon, while recognizing its ability to modify the World’s climate for military use, has joined the global warming consensus. In a major study (pdf) , the Pentagon has analyzed in detail the implications of various global warming scenarios.

The Pentagon document constitutes a convenient cover-up. Not a word is mentioned about its main weather warfare program: The High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) based in Gokona, Alaska –jointly managed by the US Air Force and the US Navy.

There are several mainstream explanations on weather and climate change, none of which fully explains, within their respective terms of reference, the highly unusual and erratic weather occurrences, not to mention the human toll and devastation, which have led to the destabilization of entire agricultural and eco-systems. Needless to say these explanations never address the issue of climate manipulation for military use.

Climatic Manipulation by the US Military: The HAARP Program

The High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) based in Gokona, Alaska, has been in existence since 1992. It is part of a new generation of sophisticated weaponry under the US Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Operated by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, HAARP constitutes a system of powerful antennas capable of creating “controlled local modifications of the ionosphere” [upper layer of the atmosphere]:

“[HAARP will be used] to induce a small, localized change in ionospheric temperature so that resulting physical reactions can be studied by other instruments located either at or close to the HAARP site”. (HAARP website)

Nicholas Begich –actively involved in the public campaign against HAARP– describes HAARP as: “A super-powerful radiowave-beaming technology that lifts areas of the ionosphere  by focusing a beam and heating those areas. Electromagnetic waves then bounce back onto earth and penetrate everything — living and dead.” (for further details see Michel Chossudovsky, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO201A.html )

World renowned scientist Dr. Rosalie Bertell depicts HAARP as “a gigantic heater that can cause major disruptions in the ionosphere, creating not just holes, but long incisions in the protective layer that keeps deadly radiation from bombarding the planet.” (quoted in Chossudovsky, op cit.)

According to Richard Williams, a physicist and consultant to the David Sarnoff laboratory in Princeton HAARP constitutes “an irresponsible act of global vandalism.”

He and others fear a secret second stage where HAARP would “beam much more energy into the ionosphere. That could produce a severe disruption of the upper atmosphere at one location that may produce effects that spread rapidly around the Earth for years.” (Quoted in Scott Gilbert, Environmental Warfare and US Foreign Policy: The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction,  http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/GIL401A.html )

HAARP has been presented to public opinion as a program of scientific and academic research. US military documents seem to suggest, however, that HAARP’s main objective is to “exploit the ionosphere for Department of Defense purposes.” (quoted in Chossudovsky, op cit).

Without explicitly referring to the HAARP program, a US Air Force study points to the use of “induced ionospheric modifications” as a means of altering weather patterns as well as disrupting enemy communications and radar. (Ibid)

HAARP also has the ability of triggering blackouts and disrupting the electricity power system of entire regions.

An analysis of statements emanating from the US Air Force points to the unthinkable: the covert manipulation of weather patterns, communications systems and electric power as a weapon of global warfare, enabling the US to disrupt and dominate entire regions of the World.

Weather Warfare: A Corporate Bonanza

HAARP has been operational since the early 1990s. Its system of antennas at Gakona, Alaska, was initially based on a technology patented by Advanced Power Technologies Inc. (APTI), a subsidiary of Atlantic Ritchfield Corporation (ARCO).

The first phase of the HAARP Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI) was completed by APTI.  The IRI system of antennas was first installed in 1992 by a subsidiary of British Aerospace Systems (BAES) using the APTI patent. The antennas beam into the outer-atmosphere using a set of wireless high frequency transmitters.

In 1994, ARCO sold its APTI subsidiary, including the patents and the second phase construction contract to E-Systems, a secretive high tech military outfit with links to the CIA (http://www.crystalinks.com/haarp.html ).

E-Systems specializes in the production of electronic warfare equipment, navigation and reconnaissance machinery, including “highly sophisticated spying devices”:

“[E-Systems] is one of the biggest intelligence contractors in the world, doing work for the CIA, defense intelligence organizations, and others. US$1.8 billion of their annual sales are to these organizations, with $800 million for black projects-projects so secret that even the United States Congress isn’t told how the money is being spent.

( http://www.earthpulse.com/haarp/vandalism.html )

“The company has outfitted such military projects as the Doomsday Plan (the system that allows the President to manage a nuclear war) and Operation Desert Storm.”

(Princeton Review, http://www.princetonreview.com/cte/profiles/internshipGenInfo.asp?internshipID=998 )

With the purchase of APTI, E-Systems acquired the strategic weather warfare technology and patent rights, including Bernard J. Eastlund’s US Patent No: 4,686,605 entitled “Method and Apparatus for Altering a Region in the Earth’s Atmosphere, Ionosphere and/or Magnetosphere”.

It is worth mentioning that the Eastlund /APTI patents were based on the research of Yugoslav scientist Nicola Tesla (many of whose ideas were stolen by US corporations). (See Scott Gilbert, Environmental Warfare and US Foreign Policy: The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction,  http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/GIL401A.html )

Eastlund described this deadly technology as capable of:

  “causing…total disruption of communications over a very large portion of the Earth…missile or aircraft destruction, deflection or confusion… weather modification…” (http://www.wealth4freedom.com/truth/12/HAARP.htm ),

Not surprisingly, the patent had previously been sealed under a government secrecy order.Barely a year following the E-Systems purchase of APTI’s weather warfare technology, E-Systems was bought out by Raytheon, the fourth largest US military contractor. Through this money-spinning acquisition, Raytheon became the largest “defense electronics” firm in the World.Meanwhile, ARCO which had sold APTI to E-Systems, had itself been acquired by the BP-AMOCO oil consortium, thereby integrating the largest oil company in the World (BP).

Raytheon through its E-Systems subsidiary now owns the patents used to develop the HAARP weather warfare facility at Gakona Alaska. Raytheon is also involved in other areas of weather research for military use, including the activities of its subsidiary in Antarctica, Raytheon Polar Services.

“Owning the Weather”: Towards the Expanded Final Stage

The HAARP antenna array and transmitters were slated to be built in several distinct phases http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/phases.html

During the Clinton administration, the “Filled Developmental Prototype” (FDP), namely a system composed of an array of 48 active antenna elements with connected wireless transmitters, was installed and completed at the HAARP facility in 1994. (See Figure 1 below) Under the initial Developmental Prototype (DP), only 18 of the 48 transmitters were connected.

Bernard Eastlund in a 1997 interview described this antenna array in its Filled DP stage as the “the largest ionospheric heater ever built”.

This system of 48 antennas, however, while fully operational, was not according to Eastlund, powerful enough (in 1997) “to bring the ideas in his patents to fruition”:.

“But they’re getting up there”, he said. “This is a very powerful device. Especially if they go to the expanded stage.” (quoted in Scott Gilbert, op cit, see also http://www.emagazine.com/january-february_1997/0197currhaarp.html )

This ‘final expanded stage’ envisioned by Eastlund, which will provide maximum capability to manipulate the World’s weather patterns, has now been reached.Under the Bush administration, the main partner of Raytheon (which owns the patents) in the construction and development stage of the HAARP antenna array, is British Aerospace Systems (BAES), which had been involved in the initial installation of the antenna array in the early 1990s.The multimillion dollar contract was granted by The Office of Naval Research to BAES in 2003, through its US subsidiary BAE Systems Advanced Technologies Inc. The contract was signed barely two months before the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq.

Using Raytheon’s technology, BAES was to develop the HAARP Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI) to its maximum capabilities of “Full size or final IRI (FIRI)”.

In April 2003, BAE Systems Advanced Technologies outsourced the production and installation of the antennas to Phazar Corp (http://www.phazar.com/ ), a company specializing in advanced wireless antennas for military use. (Phazar owns Antenna Products Corporation of Mineral Wells, Texas http://www.antennaproducts.com/ ). Phazar was entrusted with producing and installing 132 crossed dipole antennas items for the HAARP facility. (http://www.antennaproducts.com/News%20Release%2004-18-03.pdf )

A year later, in April 2004, the final phase in the expansion of the HAARP facility was launched. (Dept of Defense, 19 April 2004). This phase consisted in equipping all the 180 antennas with high frequency transmitters.  BAE Systems was awarded another lucrative contract, this time for $35 million.

In July 2004, Phazar had delivered and installed the 132 crossed dipole antennas including the antenna support structures and ground screen items at the HAARP facility, bringing the number of antennas from 48 under the FDP stage to 180. (see Table 2).

Meanwhile, BAE Systems had contracted with Jersey based defense electronics firm DRS Technologies, Inc in an $11.5 million outsourcing arrangement, the production and installation of the high-frequency (HF) radio transmitters for the HAARP antenna array. (See http://www.drs.com/press/archivelist.cfm?PRESS_RELEASE_ID=1529&preview=1 and Business Wire, 15 June 2004). DRS specializes in a variety of leading edge products for the U.S. military and intelligence agencies.( http://www.drs.com/corporateinfo/index.cfm ).

Under its contract with BAE Systems Information and Electronic Warfare Systems in Washington, D.C., DRS is to manufacture and install “more than 60 Model D616G 10-Kilowatt Dual Transmitters” to be used with the HAARP system of antennas. (It is unclear from the company statements whether all the 180 antennas will be equipped with a transmitter, bringing the system up to full IRI capabilities).

Deliveries and installation are to be completed by July 2006. While HAARP is described as a “research project”, the production of the transmitters was entrusted to DRS’ C41 “Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) Group”


The diagram and images below describe the HAARP Alaska Facility in 1997.

. FDP layout

Figure 1: The Array of 48 Antenna Elements with the Transmitter Shelters  (FDP stage)

The 48 antenna array is supported by transmitter shelters, each of which contains 6 transmitter cabinets. (See image of shelter below)

Each cabinet contains two transmitters. (image of cabinet below)

The newly installed 132 dipole antennas supplied by Phazar vastly increase the size of the HAARP Alaska facility;  the new transmitters are supplied and installed by DRS

Image 1: Aerial Photo of the HAARP Alaska Site

Source:  http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/ohd.html

HAARP

Image 2: HAARP Antenna Array

Source: http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/HaarpSite.html

Image 3 Transmitter Shelter

http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/images/trans/transtr.jpg

Transmitter Shelter containing Six Transmitter Cabinets. Each Cabinet contains two transmitters

Image 4: Inside the Transmitter Shelter

http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/images/trans/shelter.jpg

Image 5. Two Transmitters making up a  Transmitter Cabinet

http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/images

Testing of HAARP Equipment (2003- 2004)

It is worth noting that the expansion of the antenna array (e.g. during 2003-2004) required, as part of the contracts reached with BAE Systems and its various subcontractors, the routine testing of the installed weather warfare equipment. An intermediate stage Limited IRI (LIRI), could be in operation by 2004, following the completion of the 180 antenna array under the Phazar contract and pending the final delivery of the remaining HF radio transmitters.

In this regard, a report published by the Russian parliament (Duma) in 2002, suggests that the US Military had plans to test its weather modification techniques at its Alaska facility, as well as at two other sites:

“The committees reported that the USA is planning to test three facilities of this kind. One of them is located on the military testing ground in Alaska and its full-scale tests are to begin in early 2003. The second one is in Greenland and the third one in Norway.

“When these facilities are launched into space from Norway, Alaska and Greenland, a closed contour will be created with a truly fantastic integral potential for influencing the near-Earth medium,” the State Duma said.

The USA plans to carry out large-scale scientific experiments under the HAARP program, and not controlled by the global community, will create weapons capable of breaking radio communication lines and equipment installed on spaceships and rockets, provoke serious accidents in electricity networks and in oil and gas pipelines and have a negative impact on the mental health of people populating entire regions, the deputies said. (Interfax News Agency, original Russian, BBC Monitoring, 8 August 2002, emphasis added)

Whether this report by the Russian Duma on testing “starting in early 2003″ is correct or not, the US administration must be confronted nationally and internationally, at the political and diplomatic levels, at the UN and the US Congress, by the international scientific community, by environmentalists and the antiwar movement. The future of humanity is threatened by the use of weather modification techniques.

Moreover, to wage an effective campaign, it is essential that corroborating scientific investigation of the unusual weather occurrences observed in recent years (and particularly since early 2003) be undertaken. This investigation should be far-reaching, collecting relevant data, correlating specific weather occurrences to recorded antenna activity at the Alaska site as well as at the two other sites, etc.

The Full Size Ionospheric Research Instrument FIRI stage, described as  “a maximum size of 180 antenna elements, arranged in 15 columns by 12 rows” is scheduled to be completed by mid-2006 (assuming the installation of the remaining dual transmitters), at which time the HAARP program will have reached its maximum FIRI capacity, meaning the ability to selectively modify, for military use, weather patterns anywhere in the World.

“The IRI is currently [June 2004] composed of 48 antenna elements and has a power capacity of 960,000 watts. When installed, the additional 132 transmitters will give HAARP a 3.6 mega-watt capacity [see Table 2 below]. The HAARP build-out is jointly funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). (Business Wire, 10 June 2004)

Table 2: Comparison of IRI Phases

DP

FDP

LIRI

FIRI

Number of Active Antenna Elements

18

48

108

180

Total Transmitter Power (kW)

360

960

2160

3600

Maximum Antenna Gain (dB)

19

24

29

31

Max Effective Radiated Pwr (dBW)

74

84

92

96

Min Antenna Pattern Width (degrees)

9

8

5

Frequency Range

2.8 to 10 MHz

Modulation Types

CW/AM/FM/PM

Source http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/phases.html

This advanced stage of full capacity (FIRI) corresponds to what the US Air Force has called “Owning the Weather”:

US aerospace forces [will] ‘own the weather’ by capitalizing on emerging technologies and focusing development of those technologies to war-fighting applications… From enhancing friendly operations or disrupting those of the enemy via small-scale tailoring of natural weather patterns to complete dominance of global communications and counterspace control, weather-modification offers the war fighter a wide-range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary… In the United States, weather-modification will likely become a part of national security policy with both domestic and international applications. Our government will pursue such a policy, depending on its interests, at various levels.(US Air Force, emphasis added. Air University of the US Air Force, AF 2025 Final Report, http://www.au.af.mil/au/2025/ )

Weather Warfare against “Rogue States”

The unusual climatic occurrences in the US and Western Europe have been extensively documented.

However, what the news media has failed to underscore is that a number of unusual and dramatic climatic changes have occurred in recent years in countries which are identified as possible targets under the US Administration’s pre-emptive war doctrine.

Weather patterns in North Korea, for instance, have been marked since the mid-1990s by a succession of droughts, followed by floods. The result has been the destruction of an entire agricultural system. In Cuba, the pattern is very similar to that observed in North Korea. (see Table 3)

In Iraq, Iran and  Syria, a devastating drought occurred in 1999. In Afghanistan, four years of drought in the years preceding the US led invasion in 2001, have led to the destruction of the peasant economy, leading to widespread famine.

While there is no proof that these weather occurrences are the result of climatic warfare, Phillips Geophysics Lab, which is a partner in the HAARP project provides a course for military personnel at the Hanscom Air Force Base in Maryland, on “Weather Modification Techniques”. The course outline explicitly contemplates the triggering of storms, hurricanes, etc. for military use. (See his slide show at http://www.dtc.army.mil/tts/1997/proceed/abarnes/ open PowerPoint presentation at http://www.dtc.army.mil/tts/tts97/abarnes.zip )

Weather manipulation is the pre-emptive weapon par excellence. It can be directed against enemy countries or even “friendly nations”, without their knowledge. Weather warfare constitutes a covert form of pre-emptive war. The manipulation of climate can be used to destabilize an enemy’s economy, ecosystem and agriculture (e.g. North Korea or Cuba). Needless to say it can trigger havoc in financial and commodity markets and can potentially be used as an instrument of “insider trade” for financial gain. It has the ability of destabilizing a country’s institutions. Concurrently, the disruption in agriculture creates a greater dependency on food aid and imported grain staples from the US and other Western countries.

The Bush administration has stated that it reserves the right to attack these countries preemptively, with a view to ensuring the security of the American homeland.

Washington –as part of its nuclear posture review– has threatened several countries including China and Russia with pre-emptive nuclear strikes. One would assume that the same targeting of rogue states exists with regard to the use of weather modification techniques”.

While there is no evidence of the use of weather warfare against rogue states, the policy guidelines on “weather intervention techniques” have already been established and the technology is fully operational.


Table 3: Unusual Weather Occurrences: North Korea, Cuba, Afghanistan and Iraq

North Korea

Recurrent flooding and drought often in the same year has hit North Korea since 1995, 220,000 people died in the ensuing famine, according to Pyongyang’s own figures. U.S. figures place the number of deaths resulting from famine at 2 million.

The first major flooding occurred in 1995.

There were floods and drought in 1999. The serious water shortage resulting from the 1999 drought was conducive to the destruction of crops.

“The temperature of water in rice fields goes beyond 40 degrees and the tall rice plants fresh from the rice seedling beds are withering. In particular, nearly all after-crop maize seedlings and seeds are perishing,” it added.

In 2001, in June there was an extensive drought with rainfall just 10% of normal levels, which served to undermine agricultural crops. And then a few months later, in October, there were extensive floodings leading to the further destruction of rice harvests and a crisis situation in food distribution.

“Officials in Kangwon province – an area which already suffers food shortages – say the impact of the torrential rain and flooding has been devastating. The normal recorded rainfall for October should be around 20mm. But in the worst-affected areas 400mm (18 inches) of rain fell in just 12 hours. “It was the worst flooding we’ve had since records began in 1910,” said Kim Song Hwan, head of the government’s Flood Damage Rehabilitation Committee for the region. (BBC, 23 Oct 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/1614981.stm )

Cuba

For several years Cuba has been affected by recurrent droughts. In 1998, rainfall in Eastern Cuba was at its lowest level since 1941.

A United Nations team estimated 539,000 people, 280,000 of them farmers, were directly affected by reduced availability of food or reduced income through production losses. Some reported effects are: hunger in areas; a loss of up to 14% of the sugar cane crop planted last year and a reduction in this spring’s planted crops, since rains were not sufficient for some seeds to germinate (which will reduce next year’s crop); as much as 42% losses in food staples such as root vegetables, beans, bananas, and rice in the five eastern provinces; and livestock, poultry, and egg production losses

(UN Relief,  http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/2975570e60ff2a7685256680005a8e2d?OpenDocument )

In 2003, a devastating drought hit the Western part of Cuba

In 2004  May-June, the country is hit by the worst drought in its history:

 ”A severe drought enveloping eastern Cuba has eroded 40 percent of the farmland, starved thousands of heads of cattle and has close to 4 million people counting every drop of water they consume.” The drought is described as the worst in 40 years.

“The drought has robbed underground water levels of some 10 feet over the past 10 years, leaving over 5,000 wells across the province dry,” said Leandro Bermudez, a geologist and the second man at Cuba’s National Institute of Hydraulic Resources. (MSNBC, 21 June 2004 http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5262324

The cities are running out of water. According to the Independent,  “Drought is bringing Cuba to its knees

Unnoticed by the world, the longest dry period for decades has brought much of Cuba to its knees. Could this be the crisis that finally destroys Fidel’s revolution?

“All across central and eastern Cuba, farmers, ranchers, city dwellers and government officials are scrambling to deal with a punishing drought that began a decade ago and intensified in the last two years.

Although traditionally arid, the provinces of Holguin, Camaguey and Las Tunas hold some of Cuba’s finest pasture and farmland and have long been crucial to this communist nation’s dairy, beef and agricultural industries.

More than 12,500 cattle have died in Holguin alone in 2004 and milk production has fallen 20 percent. The price of beans, plantains, sweet potatoes and other staples has soared in private markets.

The drought has caused millions of dollars in losses and officials are spending millions more digging wells, building a water pipeline and taking other measures to try to ease the crisis – huge sums in an impoverished nation struggling through tough economic times and a battle with the United States.

Officials also have moved thousands of cattle to more fertile areas and are working furiously to finish a 32-mile pipeline that will draw water to Holguin city from Cuba’s largest river, the Cauto. The $5 million pipeline could be completed next month. (Chicago Tribune, July 29, 2004, http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/9271316.htm )

The above report date to September 2004, it was published before, the hurricanes hit the Cuban coastline followed by torrential rains.

Afghanistan and The former Soviet Republics of Central Asia

The worst drought in Afghanistan history occurred in the three consecutive years prior to the onslaught of the US led invasion, from 1999 to 2001. The agricultural recovery of the 1990s, in the wake of the Soviet-Afghan war was brought to a standstill.

In the wake of the US led 2001 invasion,  the United States supplied Afghanistan with genetically modified wheat and appropriate types of fertilizer to be used with the GM wheat, which was said to be high yield drought resistant. The donation of GM wheat, however, also led to destabilizing the small peasant economy because the GM wheat varieties could not reproduced locally. In 2002, famines which were barely reported by the media, swept the country.

Similar although less severe conditions prevailed in the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Like Afghanistan, Tajikistan has had its infrastructure ruined by prolonged civil war with Muslim fundamentalists. Since then, the worst regional drought in 74 years has destroyed food crops over a large part of the nation, rendering almost half of the 6.2 million people in the country vulnerable to the threat of famine and disease, up from 3 million last year. About the only portion of the economy that has been unaffected is the drug trade. Tajikistan is the transit route for 65 to 85 percent of heroin smuggled out of Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer. (http://www.americanfreepress.net/Mideast/Drought__Desperation_Breed_Vio/drought__desperation_breed_vio.html ]

Triggered by the lowest rainfall (2001) in living memory, vast tracts of Iran, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan are being reduced to desert as the water table sinks, long-established wells dry up and herds of livestock perish.

The crisis appears to fulfill alarming climate change predictions suggesting that states along the old Silk Road will experience steeper rises in temperature than any other region on earth. By the end of the century it will be 5C hotter in an area which regularly sees the thermometer soar above 40C.

The study, published last year by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, predicted that Asian countries from Kazakhstan to Saudi Arabia will warm up more than twice as much as others. “Several states,” the report added, “including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Iran, [are facing] famine.”

In Tajikistan, the United Nations appealed for aid to avert disaster. “Substantial foreign aid is needed or else there will be a large-scale famine,” said Matthew Kahane, the UN’s humanitarian aid coordinator, speaking from the capital, Dushanbe.

“The country has had its lowest rainfall for 75 years. Families who survived last year by selling their cows and chickens now have no other means of coping. Some households have sold the glass out of their windows and the wooden beams from their roofs to raise money for food.”

(The Guardian, 0ct 30, 2001,  http://www.guardian.co.uk/famine/story/0,12128,736902,00.html )

Iraq

In 1999, Iraq suffered its worst drought of the century, with the effect of triggering an even greater dependence on imported grain under the oil for food program. There was a drop of up to 70  percent in domestic yields of wheat, barley and other cereals, which served to further weaken the country’s economy, crippled by economic sanctions  and the routine bombing by allied aircraft in the no-fly zones.

A similar (although less serious) situation prevailed in Syria and Iran, marked by significant declines in agricultural output.


Related Global Research Articles on Weather Warfare

Michel Chossudovsky, Washington’s New World Order Weapons Have the Ability to Trigger Climate Change, Jan 2001, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO201A.html

Vladimir V. Sytin, Secret Use of Weather Modification Techniques by US Air Force? August 2003, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/SYT308A.html

Interfax,.US Could Dominate The Planet if It Deploys This Weapon In Space, CRG, August 2002, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/INT208A.html

Scott Gilbert, Environmental Warfare and US Foreign Policy: The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction, January 2004, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/GIL401A.html

Bob Fitrakis, Rods from Gods: The insanity of Star Wars, 24 June 2004, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/FIT407A.html

Did a Secret Military Experiment Cause the 2003 Blackout? 7 September 2003, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/ANA309A.html

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WWIII Scenario

 Writing in Foreign Policy a year ago, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned: “These are no ordinary times in East Asia. With tensions rising from conflicting territorial claims in the East China and South China seas, the region increasingly resembles a 21st century maritime redux of the Balkans a century ago—a tinderbox on water.”

A year later, as the world marks 100 years since the outbreak of World War I, the dangers of another global catastrophe erupting in Asia have not diminished, but become increasingly acute. None of the feeble diplomatic palliatives suggested by Rudd in his essay have been taken up. The tensions to which he pointed—especially between China and Japan—have deteriorated markedly. Above all, the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia,” directed at undermining China diplomatically, economically and militarily, has further inflamed the Asian tinderbox.

Relations between Tokyo and Beijing have all but broken down as the right-wing Japanese government of Shinzo Abe, encouraged by Washington, has turned toward remilitarisation, increasing military spending for the first time in a decade. Abe’s visit, late last month, to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine prompted China’s ambassador to the US to comment in yesterday’s Washington Post that the Japanese prime minister “risks ties with China” by paying homage to war criminals.

Rising tensions over disputed islands in the East China Sea reached a dangerous point last month when China announced an air defence identification zone in the area. The US immediately challenged Chinese authority by flying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers into the zone unannounced, raising the danger of an error or miscalculation leading to a clash. Tokyo further exacerbated the situation by announcing its intention this week to register 280 outlying islands as “state property.” Japan’s decision in September 2012 to “nationalise” the Senkaku/Diaoyu islets dramatically escalated the territorial dispute with China.

South East Asia has become a diplomatic battleground as the US, Japan and India vie with China for influence. Abe has made a point of visiting every member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). President Obama failed to take part in this year’s ASEAN summit, but US officials again exploited maritime disputes in the South China Sea to drive a wedge between China and its neighbours. Just this week, the US intervened once more in the South China Sea tinderbox, backing Vietnam and the Philippines, by denouncing newly announced Chinese fishing regulations as “provocative and potentially dangerous.”

While not mentioned in Rudd’s essay, the Korean Peninsula remains an explosive regional flashpoint. Last April, war tensions reached fever pitch after the North Korean regime responded to new US-led sanctions with belligerent, but largely empty threats. Far from easing tensions, the US took a series of intimidating steps, including the dispatch of B-52 and B-2 bombers to South Korea, aimed at forcing Pyongyang to back down or risk war. Washington’s relentless isolation of North Korea is destabilising the regime—as evidenced by last month’s bloody purge—and bringing the country to the brink of collapse. This utterly reckless policy has unpredictable and dangerous consequences in a strategic region of the globe where the interests of China, Russia, Japan and the US intersect.

The driving force behind the rising danger of war is the deepening global crisis of capitalism. Five years after the 2008–09 financial meltdown, the world economy remains mired in slump and the policy of “quantitative easing” has set the stage for a new financial crisis. Global capitalism remains ensnared in the same fundamental contractions—between private ownership of the means of production and socially organised production; and between world economy and the outmoded nation state system—that fuelled the eruption of World War I.

The Obama administration’s “pivot” reflects the rise of Asia, above all China, as the prime cheap labour platform for the globalised production that has emerged over the past three decades. Those commentators who claim that the close international economic integration make war impossible ignore the fact that the same integration has greatly heightened geo-political rivalry.

The most explosive factor in world politics is US imperialism’s attempt to offset its relative decline through the use of military might. The US “pivot” is above all aimed at ensuring continued American dominance over the Asian economic powerhouse in order to dictate terms not only to China, but to its European and Asian rivals. If China is the chief target, it is not because China has become an imperialist power akin to 20th century Germany, but because its rapid economic expansion and demands for energy and raw materials are disrupting a long-established imperialist order dominated by the US.

In arguing for the overriding importance of the “pivot” for American imperialism, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained in Foreign Policy in 2011 that “the Asia-Pacific has become a key driver of global politics.” She insisted that “just as our post-World War II commitment to building a comprehensive and lasting transatlantic network of institutions has paid off many times over … the time has come for the United States to make similar investments as a Pacific power.” In other words, the maintenance of US dominance in Asia is as imperative for American imperialism today as US interventions in post-war Europe, such as the Marshall Plan, were more than half a century ago.

American diplomacy and economic initiatives in Asia are underwritten by a rapid military build-up and restructuring of US forces and bases in preparation for a war against China. Over the past four years, the US “pivot” has led to a strengthening of alliances and strategic partnerships across Asia, with particular focus on Japan, Australia and India as the linchpins of an anti-China bloc. To tighten the noose around China, the Obama administration has also encouraged its chief allies to forge close military relations with each other. In doing so, it has given free rein to the ambitions of Japanese imperialism, which is embarking on its own diplomatic campaign, most recently with the visits of its defence minister to India and France to forge closer strategic ties.

The complex diplomatic machinations, secret agreements and military arrangements of the early 21st century bear an uncanny resemblance to those of the early 20th century. As tensions and rivalries continue to rise, the great danger is that a miscalculation by a Japanese or China pilot in the East China Sea, or a minor incident on the border dividing the Koreas, can lead to a clash that rapidly draws the entire world into a catastrophe of far greater proportions than a century ago.

The only social force capable of halting the drive to war is the international working class. Workers in China, the US, Japan and throughout Asia and the world share a common class interest in putting an end to the capitalist system and its outmoded nation-state system, and constructing a world-planned socialist economy to meet the pressing social needs of humanity, not the massive profits of a tiny financial oligarchy.

The US employment report for December, released Friday by the Labor Department, is a shattering exposure of the Obama administration’s claims that the US economy is in the midst of a recovery.

Just one day before, in announcing his “economic promise zones,” Obama had touted the so-called recovery, insisting, in the face of widespread disbelief among working people, that it was “real.” (See “Obama’s phony campaign against inequality”).

The US economy generated a net increase of only 74,000 jobs in December, about one third the number predicted by economists and less than half the amount needed to keep pace with population growth. The increase in non-farm payrolls was the lowest since January 1, 2011, when the economy added 69,000 jobs. Friday’s number followed two months in which payrolls grew by 200,000 or more, leading to claims that the economy was shifting into high gear.

The unemployment rate for December dropped sharply, from 7 percent to 6.7 percent. However, this decline was not the result of an improvement in the real economy. On the contrary, it was caused by a further exodus of workers from the labor force, which shrank by 347,000. In the past twelve months, the labor force has contracted by almost 550,000 workers.

In the so-called “recovery” since the Wall Street crash of 2008, a decline in the official jobless rate has perversely become, more often than not, an indicator of deepening social crisis rather than a sign of expanding production and rebounding employment. Most of the decline in the government’s jobless rate from 10.0 percent in October 2009 has been due to the fact that millions of people have fallen out of the job market because of economic conditions.

According to a survey by the Economic Policy Institute, 5.99 million “missing workers” have dropped out of the labor force over the past five years for economic, not demographic, reasons. If these missing workers were counted as unemployed, the unemployment rate would be 10.2 percent.

The labor force participation rate fell to 62.8 percent in December from 63.0 percent the month before, hitting the lowest level since 1978. Over the past year, the labor force participation rate has dropped by 0.8 percentage points.

This is the depressed economic context in which the Obama administration and the Republicans allowed long-term unemployment benefits to expire for over a million people last month, a social crime that highlights the class war policy being carried out against working people.

In a statement posted Friday, Jason Furman, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, cynically called on Congress to extend federal benefits for the long-term unemployed, writing that “now is not the time to abruptly remove such a widely-used lifeline and make an unprecedented cut to support for the unemployed.”

In fact, it was the White House that guaranteed the expiration of long-term jobless benefits by not including an extension of the program in the budget deal worked out with congressional Republicans in December.

Now, the White House and congressional Democrats are attempting to pose as champions of the unemployed and opponents of social inequality, and improve their chances in this year’s midterm elections by blaming the Republicans for the cutoff. They are playing down the fact that their plan for a ten-month extension of long-term jobless benefits includes a sharp reduction in the duration of benefits as well as a cut in payments to unemployed workers who also receive disability benefits. The Democrats are also proposing to offset the $18 billion cost of their proposed extension of long-term unemployment benefits by keeping the automatic “sequester” cuts going for an additional year, until the end of 2024.

At the same time, congressional Democrats have reportedly agreed to cut $9 billion in food stamp benefits on top of the $5 billion cut that was implemented last November.

The White House sought to talk down the significance of the jobs report, saying, “We continue to focus on the longer-term trend in the economy—2.2 million private-sector jobs added and a 1.2 percentage point decline in the unemployment rate over the course of 2013.”

In reality, the US economy has far from recouped the job losses from the 2008 crash, with 1.2 million fewer people on the country’s payrolls than in December 2007. According to the Economic Policy Institute, “the total ‘jobs gap’—the number of jobs needed to return the US economy to pre-recession health—is 7.9 million.”

The share of the population that is employed fell to 58.6 percent in December, down from 62.7 at the end of 2007. This measure of the jobs market has remained largely unchanged since 2010.

All major sectors of the US economy were affected by December’s disastrous jobs figures. The construction sector lost 16,000 jobs, health care lost 1,000. Manufacturing added a mere 9,000 jobs.

The number of people employed by the federal government fell to 2.72 million, the lowest level of federal civilian employment since 1966. The federal government now employs only 2.0 percent of all employed people, down from 4.3 percent in the mid-1960s.

Since February 2010, the total number of state, local and federal government jobs in the US has declined by 621,000, led by a loss of 372,000 local government jobs.

In another sign of economic weakness, the average private-sector work week fell by a tenth of an hour, to 34.4 hours.

The fact that the Democrats have agreed to reduce jobless benefits under these conditions exposes the fraud of their rhetorical campaign against inequality. Between cutting food stamps, slashing jobless pay, and extending the “sequester” cuts, the White House is working in lockstep with the Republicans to further impoverish the working class.

 Workers May Simply Be Giving Up

Zero Hedge notes that the number of Americans in the labor force has dropped to 1978 levels:

The civilian labor force … dropped from 155.3 million to 154.9 million, which means the labor participation rate just dropped to a fresh 35 year low, hitting levels not seen since 1978, at 62.8% down from 63.0%.

And the piece de resistance: Americans not in the labor force exploded higher by 535,000 to a new all time high 91.8 million.

What’s causing the crash in labor participation?

Initially, the number of women not in the labor force climbed to a new high.  This is significant because the labor force skyrocketed in the 1960s when feminism encouraged women to work outside of the home:

As the Washington post notes in a fantastic roundup on unemployment:

The Urban Institute notes [that] what’s happening is that workers aren’t entering the labor force at the same rates they used to. That’s especially true for women, who are much less likely to enter the labor force today than they were in 2002 and 2003. Many of them, the paper notes, appear to be enrolling in school instead or deciding to start families.

An aging U.S. demographic may also play some role in the decline.  As the Washington Post notes:

Americans over the age of 65 are much less likely to work than prime-age Americans. And since that subset of Americans is expanding its ranks, that drives the labor-force participation rate down.

***

Economists disagree, however, on exactly how much demographics are responsible for the current fall in the participation rate. The Chicago Fed estimated in 2012 that retirements accounted for one-fourth of the drop in labor force participation since the recession began. Other analysts, including Barclays, have suggested that aging Boomers could account for a bigger slice of the drop.

Meanwhile, a recent paper by Shigeru Fujita of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia staked out a more nuanced view: Demographics, he argued, didn’t play a huge role in the labor-force drop between 2007 and 2011. But since then, retirements are responsible for basically the entire fall of the participation rate. One possible reason is that many older Americans postponed retirement immediately after the financial crisis to rebuild their battered 401(k)s. By 2012 or so, they began retiring en masse.

However, Zero Hedge and Bloomberg show that there are countervailing trends:

 Most disturbingly, the Post notes that the main factor may be workers simply giving up:

The number of Americans working or actively seeking work has actually fallen faster than demographers had predicted:

epop graph-thumb-615x395-82792

And here’s another clue that this isn’t just a demographic story: The participation rate for workers between ages 25 and 54 fell sharply during the recession and still hasn’t recovered. Obviously, retirements can’t explain this:

Credit: Calculated Risk

So, what’s going on? One theory is that the weak job market is causing people to simply give up looking for work — they’re crumpling up their résumés and going home. An recent study from the Boston Fed suggested that these “non-inevitable dropouts” might even account for most of the decrease. Among other things, the authors noted that the labor-force decline has been far sharper for all age groups than simple demographics would predict.

***So, why does the size of the labor force matter? If people are leaving the labor force for economic reasons (and they’re not going back to school), it would mean that the economy is in much worse shape than the official unemployment rate suggests. The jobless rate is officially 6.7 percent, but that only counts people who are actively seeking work — not labor-force dropouts. [Remember, you have to include labor-force dropouts in order to arrive at a useful unemployment number.]

The size of the labor force also goes a long way to determining America’s growth prospects. If, say, baby boomers are retiring faster than expected, then long-run U.S. economic growth will be lower than projected.

***

It could also mean the U.S. economy will be significantly weaker in future. One recent paper from the Federal Reserve estimated that America’s economic potential is now 7 percent lower than it was before the financial crisis — in part because workers who lost their jobs during the downturn have become less-attached to the labor force. That’s a bad sign.

In other words, the crash in labor force participation rate is a very significant indication that all is not well with the economy.

Unfortunately – instead of helping to reduce unemployment – bad government policy has made it much worse. And see here and here.

The press conference held by Jordan’s Ambassador to the UN to introduce Jordan’s presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of January 2014 included a surprise proposal that distinguished it from the usual tradition of announcing the program of work for the Security Council for the month.(1)

The surprise was the announcement of an Open Debate planned for the Council meeting on January 29.

Though it is common to propose an Open Debate as part of a monthly Security Council program, this Open Debate, as proposed, is in the context of a profound issue — the UN’s role as an advocate for peace in the international community.

The description in the Security Council program for January includes the plan for this Open Debate on the topic of the,“Maintenance of International Peace and Security: War, its lessons, and the search for a permanent peace.”

In response to a question for more background on the planned meeting to discuss the broad issues of war and peace, Prince Zeid Ra-ad Zeid al Hussein (Zeid Ra’ad), Jordan’s UN Ambassador, explained that 10 years ago, on January 26, 2004 the Security Council held a discussion on, “National Reconciliation and the Role of the UN.”(2) He said that this had been, “a one of a kind debate, a very good debate. But in the last 10 years we haven’t taken the discussion forward,” he observed.

It is, he explained, “remarkable in one way how we haven’t dealt with it properly in the last almost 70 years of UN practice.”

Responding to a question about the relevance of the South African experience of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to what he was proposing, Prince Zeid remarked that it represented, “a foundational moment, a very important truth and reconciliation commission.”

He described that there have been about twenty-one national commissions, but that the support by the UN has been far fewer than that, that less than 10 were supported by the UN.”Yes it is a mechanism,” he observed, supporting the need for relevant UN expertise.

Speaking from his own personal experiences in the field, rather than that of his government or that of the Security Council, he proposed that peace efforts to settle a serious conflict must merge with a deeper reckoning of the historical narrative of the nation involved. In the two or three situations where he had been charged by the UN to look into needed mechanisms of conflict resolution, however, he found that there were no organized national archives, no memory of the state as such that exists and that is workable. This weakness made it difficult to carry out the processes needed to have a more long lasting means of resolving a conflict.

Prince Zeid noted that just as the UN sends peacekeepers, it also sends specialists to deal with the logistics, with the physical needs of a destroyed country. But as in his experience in the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, he came across many people who needed help in other ways, with trauma and so forth. “And how you deal with that?”, he asked.

“More so,” he continued, “you come to realize that there’s a deeper issue at hand, that there are conflicting narratives. And there is the truth. After all there is the truth as well. And its not that you can make up or contrive a narrative. There is a truth that has to be identified, and how do we do that, it is intensely difficult,” Prince Zeid elaborated.

“Truth commissions…, can lead the way,” he noted, “the thing is you have to mainstream it more within the system,” he explained.

“And there needs to be more of a UN expertise in this,” he argued, “This is something we are hoping the Council will pick up and will understand better.”

At the end of the press conference, the Jordanian Mission made available a Concept Paper that it drafted for the January 29, 2014 Security Council debate. The concept paper, “War, its Lessons, and the Search for a Permanent Peace?” introduces the issues to be considered in the Open Debate.(3) “What the UN has not understood well enough,” the paper maintains, “is how it can help forge a deeper reconciliation among ex-combatants and their peoples, based on an agreed or shared narrative, a shared memory, of a troubled past.”

The concept paper recognizes that a component of a conflict is conflicting narratives among the warring sides. It seeks out examples of “meaningful reconciliation based on shared historical understanding helping to cement lasting peace.” But historical memory must be based on a determination of the truth, a truth that has been “properly determined, understood and agreed to by the former warring sides.”

To make this process possible, the Jordanian presidency of the Security Council is inviting delegations to reflect on positive examples and the lessons that can be learned from these examples. “How might these lessons be drawn upon to create models of best practice that can be applied in existing and future post-conflict situations?” the paper asks.

Also the concept paper proposes that the Security Council consider mandating, “a small UN historical advisory team” which would help to gather and recover relevant documents and assist in the “early work of setting up a ‘functional’ national archive, or even a historical commission” in post conflict situations.

These proposals raise a set of issues not often explored or considered at the UN. Will the Jordanian presidency of the Security Council find the means to gain support for its proposals? Will the concept paper and the Security Council debate discussing the paper give the issue of truth and reconciliation serious consideration? If so, it would be refreshing.

Notes

1)Press Conference , Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zedi Al-Hussein (Jordan), President of the Security Council on the programme of work for the month of January 2014 – Press Conference, 6 Jan 2014.

http://webtv.un.org/watch/prince-zeid-raad-zedi-al-hussein-jordan-president-of-the-security-council-on-the-programme-of-work-for-the-month-of-january-2014-press-conference/3019229612001/

2)Security Council Transcript pt.1, January 26, 2004, S/PV.4903, SC/7990
“Post Conflict National Reconciliation, Role of the UN.”

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/PV.4903

Security Council Transcript pt.2, January 26, 2004, S/PV.4903(Resumption 1)+Corr. 1, SC/7990
“Post Conflict National Reconciliation, Role of the UN.”.

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/PV.4903%28Resumption1%29

Summary of Meeting January 26, 2004, SC/4903 AM and PM Meeting, IN PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT, SECURITY COUNCIL REAFFIRMS ‘VITAL IMPORTANCE’ OF UNITED NATIONS’ ROLE IN POST-CONFLICT RECONCILIATION

http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/sc7990.doc.htm

3) Jordanian Mission at the UN, “War, its Lessons, and the Search for a Permanent Peace?”, Concept Note for Thematic Debate 29 January 2014.

 

We are living through a chronically tense and, in wealthy parts of the world, a desperately self-indulgent era. Advertising teaches that fulfillment comes with compulsive consumption. News media trivialize history and turn current events into a competition of spectacles and personality cults. Addicted to fads and the quick fix, frightened of the future and cut adrift from the past, millions of people flee from imagination and look for meaning in pre-digested realities.

The very sense that we are part of real families and communities is threatened. Virtual images that dominate our days begin to look more real than we do. Experts meanwhile have a field day providing clever evaluations of the psychic assault on humanity and the breakdown of culture, while conveniently omitting that they are some of the culprits.

Societal narcissism has reached the epidemic level. Traditionally, a narcissist was described as some “beautiful person” who can relate only to his or her own image or problems. But the definition has expanded to include traits like exploitation of the warmth provided by others, combined with fear of dependence, a sense of inner emptiness, boundless repressed rage, and unsatisfied cravings. Narcissists can be pseudo-intellectuals or calculating seducers. Usually, they are afraid of old age and death, and fascinated with celebrities. These callous, superficial climbers seek out the famous, and yet are also compelled to destroy their fantasy figures.

If this merely described a few “sick” individuals we might find comfort. But patterns of narcissistic behavior afflict millions and are reinforced daily. And perhaps most disquieting, the narcissistic personality is ideally suited for positions of power, the type of leader who sells himself to win at any price.

Capitalism has turned self promotion into a growth industry, with success often resting on the ability to project a “winning personality” and often false image. Relentless self-promotion, whether by conservative demagogues or their liberal counterparts, meshes neatly with an idealization of powerful people who represent what the narcissist seeks.

Narcissists identify with winners out of a fear of being losers. Objects of hero worship give meaning to the frequently unfocused or direction-deprived lives of society’s many emotional casualties. Yet mixed with this idealization is an urge to degrade the object of one’s admiration, sparked when the “hero” ultimately disappoints. This desperate need, intensified by the machinery of mass promotion, can turn even assassination, political or physical, into a form of spectacle.

Among the influences that reinforce narcissism, mass media have the most pervasive impact. They tend to create both a sense of chronic tension and a cynical detachment from reality. But detachment does not have to express itself as cynicism. It can also lead to intelligent skepticism. This raises a political question, since media and other powerful institutions could help to reduce dependence and support individuals in solving their own problems. In recent years, however, being detached has mainly meant a crippling negativism about the entire political process, a nihilistic and escapist conclusion that no constructive change is possible.

The abdication of responsibility to various bureaucracies has meanwhile promoted character traits consistent with a corrupted culture, and this in turn has accelerated the excesses of corporate capitalism. The result is a kind of mass neurosis. Images of a “good” and a “bad” parent, objects of love and hatred, are formed early, internalized, and become part of the self-image of children. But rather than fusing into a super-ego that also contains social values and self-confidence, these early images often melt into a harsh, punishing super-ego. The emerging adult is torn between repressed rage and the desire for some all-powerful other. Sexual needs are also distorted, barriers are erected against strong emotions, and fear of death and old age becomes intense.

The decay of older traditions of self-help has eroded competence in one area after another, leaving the individual dependent on the state, corporations, and other bureaucratic structures. Narcissism is the psychological dimension of this dependence. Popular culture feeds on narcissistic fantasies, encouraging delusions of omnipotence while simultaneously reinforcing feelings of dependence and discouraging strong emotions.

Ultimately, the bland and empty facade of mass existence can become overwhelming. Yet within millions of people there remains enormous rage, resentment, and potential for which bureaucratic society provides few outlets. In truth, few people are actually satisfied with the facade. Some do nothing yet know the system doesn’t work, others actively look for ways to limit the damage. Some strike out violently, others tap cultural resources like cooperative work, art, and spirituality to counteract the effects.

With the belief in individual responsibility undermined in so many ways, moral impulses help to keep alive a sense that people are responsible for what they do. If such a view spread widely enough, it could change an entire society. Another remedy, in response to professional imperialism, is to reclaim responsibilities we have ceded to the experts. Call it a program of conscious self-rule, one that could also protect us from discriminatory or authoritarian tendencies.

Such changes carry risks. For example, reactionary impulses in families or churches may be exploited. But given the state of society – moral bankruptcy, political corruption, economic inequality, and ecological decay – a few risks are preferable to playing it safe. The goal is to restore humanity’s basic dignity through compassion, engagement, and mutual aid. Along with healthy skepticism and intelligently directed anger, these could be keys to a new, freer and more natural culture.

Greg Guma is a Vermont-based writer and author ofDons of Time.This essay is an excerpt from Prisoners of the Real. To read more, go to Prisoners of the Real: An Odyssey

 

 

 The idea that government can’t do anything right has been trumpeted by the right wing for decades, particularly by its recently deceased leader Milton Friedman, a former economist at the University of Chicago. He campaigned to reduce government functions to a minimum while letting private enterprise step in and take full responsibility for running all industries, health care, retirement pensions, and even education, which he viewed as socialist when run by the government. Private enterprise, he argued, employs the most efficient means while always producing superior outcomes.

Forms of Privatization in Public Education

These ideas were typically regarded as fringe, but have gradually moved to center stage, embraced by liberals and conservatives alike. George W. Bush succeeded in privatizing many of the operations associated with the functioning of the U.S. military overseas, including the supply of food, the necessary infrastructure for housing soldiers, the use of special security forces such as Blackwater in Iraq, etc. He would have privatized Social Security had he not encountered vehement resistance on the part of the American public.

Obama’s contribution to the privatization campaign has centered for the most part on education. But before we can evaluate its impact, it is necessary to consider the different forms privatization can take in relation to schools, since it can occupy different positions on a wide spectrum of possibilities.

 At one end of the spectrum lie completely privatized schools that provide their own financing and govern themselves. But many schools are more like hybrids, a mixture of private and public. Charter schools, whose numbers are growing rapidly, are funded with public money (that previously would have gone to public schools) but are privately operated. Often they are run by for-profit or non-profit national companies, as opposed to simply a group of teachers who want to break away from traditional schools and experiment with an alternative curriculum.

Similarly, essentially public universities or K-12 schools might make use of online courses produced by private, for-profit companies, and, of course, private companies produce textbooks.

Another hybrid example is where public universities have aggressively raised tuition fees at public universities so that funding shifts from the public coffers to the students themselves as private citizens. At the University of California at Berkeley students now contribute more for their education than the state does. In the 1960s the state paid for the vast majority of their expenses.

Still another example is where a publicly funded and operated school imports the corporate culture from the private sector. For example, many public universities are abandoning their former practice of promoting faculty into administrative positions, paying them only slightly more than before and, instead, are drawing on administrators from the private sector and paying them exorbitant salaries while paying part-time faculty less than a living wage. Some presidents of public universities now make over $1 million a year. Under such circumstances democratic institutions of shared governance are dismantled while power tends to be concentrated at the top, thereby destroying any spirit of collegiality.

Another cultural import from the private sector involves measuring “student learning outcomes” in order to evaluate teachers, as if one is counting gadgets churned out on a factory assembly line. Of course, the result of the evaluation will depend of the choice of measurement, and although highly controversial, standardized tests now represent the most prevalent alternative.

Still another cultural import is the hyper emphasis on competition. Not only are students required to compete against one another for grades, teachers must compete against one another in order to hold their jobs. There is a strong drive to fire teachers whose students have low test scores while retaining and rewarding those with high student test scores with “merit” pay. Thus far teacher unions have been vigorously resisting this practice.

But with Obama’s Race to the Top even schools are forced to compete against one another. By tying federal funding to the acceptance of charter schools, Obama is establishing a framework where traditional public schools must compete with the newer charter schools for students, especially for the students who will raise their school’s test scores.

Finally, partial privatization can occur simply by setting the goal of education as exclusively producing skilled workers primarily for the private sector rather than emphasizing the full development of the student or the training of a critically thinking individual who is prepared to assume the obligations of citizenship in a democratic society. City College of San Francisco, for example, in its fight for accreditation was forced to delete from its mission statement reference to teaching “life skills,” “cultural enrichment,” and “lifelong learning.” Pressure has mounted on all public institutions of higher learning to move students through quickly so that they can graduate with a degree and enter the labor market.

 Why Privatize?

There are basically two distinct motives. As mentioned before, many believe that competition, emblematic of the private sector, is the best guarantee for the best outcomes. Competition compels participants to adopt the most efficient means and maximizes motivation by threatening extinction if a company does not excel.

But on a more pragmatic and less ideological level, education offers a tremendous source of profits when private, for-profit companies are allowed to move in. For this reason for-profit educational institutions have mushroomed during the past several decades.

The privatization movement is now in full force as a consequence of the growing inequalities in wealth. With the decimation of those with middle income, wealth has become concentrated at the top. With wealth comes power. Corporate owners have therefore found it much easier to impose their will and values on the rest of society.

What Is At Stake?

Nothing short of genuine education itself is at stake. What particularly vitiates the learning process is the introduction of a corporate culture or “market” forces that insist on measuring “student learning outcomes” by “objective” standards such as standardized tests; that place an emphasis on competition so that there are inevitably “winners” and “losers;” that regard democratic structures that include teachers with disdain; that narrow the curriculum so that job skills alone are valued; and that think in terms of education as valuable only as a means to material rewards.

Students will not become genuine learners unless they are imbued with a love of learning, meaning they regard learning as an end in itself, an asset not easily measured. Every teacher is fully aware that in competitive environments students will concentrate their efforts on achieving a high grade, not on truly understanding the material. They will memorize for tests and then forget everything. They will take great pains to hide their ignorance, not raise critical questions, let alone questions about material they do not understand. We know that in moments of desperation the vast majority of high school students at one time or another will cheat, which is hardly one of the skills we want them to acquire.

We also know that when teachers are judged by their students’ standardized test scores, they will teach to the test, where the highest goal is to get the “right” answer, with or without understanding the material. Here students are drilled, so that for them school becomes painfully dull and boring. And who knows if those who create the tests have themselves identified the “right” answer or even asked an appropriate question. There is absolutely no opportunity to raise critical questions.

What is particularly vile about judging teachers by their students’ scores is that we have volumes of evidence that prove that the student’s performance in the classroom is far more a function of their family situation than what the teacher does.

Knowledge is best pursued as a cooperative venture where students work together to find solutions to problems and share their information. New teachers do best, for example, when partnered with a mentor who can share with them what they have found that does and does not work. This won’t happen when teachers and schools are competing against one another.

 When the search for the Higgs Boson particle, otherwise known as the “god particle,” got underway, two teams of scientists of 3000 each were created, not as a source of motivation through competition but to provide independent confirmation of the other team’s results. Those on each team worked in close cooperation with one another. Although external rewards existed, the participants were driven by their love of physics. As one veteran member told a newcomer: he will have “the time of his life.”

Because of its cooperative nature, the pursuit of knowledge cannot be disentangled from a sense of community where each participant acquires the ability to listen to different points of view, weigh their respective merits, and synthesize the best aspects of each view into a more sophisticated vision. Here everyone must enjoy an equal voice so that no one’s contribution can be routinely dismissed because of an individual’s status.

Consequently, institutions of learning that operate with a corporate top-down structure — where brute power continually preempts the force of the better argument — inevitably undermine the learning process within the classroom. If educators do not practice what they preach, then learning is transformed into a type of obedience and academic achievement becomes a form of deception.

Of course, the most valuable moments in education cannot be measured. When students get carried away with a discussion where each responds to the others and where each contributes to the other’s response, it is impossible to quantify the performance of each student, as if each contribution could be isolated from the others. And, of course, any attempt to quantify their performances would only serve to undermine the spiritual pleasure that students derive from collaborating with one another where each one plays an essential role in creating a richer outcome.

 Conclusion

The vast preponderance of evidence unambiguously supports the conclusion that the corporate culture in all its forms is antithetic to education. And this doesn’t even take into account the inevitable and prevalent corporate corruption that has infused education in the past several decades where the well-being of students is sacrificed for the pursuit of profits. But those who champion it, including the Obama administration, Bill Gates, and all the reactionary education foundations, display little regard for the conclusions of scientific studies. In their fanatical zeal they have demonstrated a willingness to impose a corporate culture despite the resistance of protesting parents and teachers. Lacking rational justifications, they shamelessly make recourse to force, closing community schools, for example, over the objections of the families they serve.

There can be little wonder that these zealots display no interest in the indispensable role our public schools play in nurturing students into citizens who are prepared to participate in a democratic society. For them, democracy only serves as an annoying hindrance to producing compliant workers who will follow the example of the politicians and uncritically dedicate their lives to serving their corporate masters.

Note: Diane Ravitch’s new book, THE REIGN OF ERROR, provides an excellent analysis of many of the issues raised in this article and is a must-read for anyone serious about education

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]

Refusing to Fight: Canadians Supporting US War Deserters

January 11th, 2014 by Michael Welch

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Canada: A Refuge from Militarism?

January 2014 marks the ten year anniversary since Jeremy Hinzman, US soldier with the 82nd Airborne Division, having deserted his battalion, crossed the border into Canada and sought refuge from a war he could not legally or morally participate in.

In so doing, he became the first modern day US War Resister to seek asylum in Canada.

Others followed.

Brandon Hughey, David Sanders, Joshua Key, Kim Rivera, and ultimately more than two dozen others followed suit. All publicly declared their conscientious opposition to the US war agenda, particularly the conflict in Iraq.

This is not including the more than one hundred who may have crossed over unacknowledged.

Given the unpopularity of the Iraq War, especially in Canada, one would think there would be significant support for these military personnel who sacrificed their careers, their families and their reputations for an unknown future in a foreign country.

However, the experience of today’s war resisters indicates otherwise.

The current Conservative government in Canada seems anything but accommodating of US military deserters, regardless of the questionable legality of the conflicts they were ordered to participate in.

To date, at least three of these former military personnel, including young mother Kimberley Rivera, have been sent back to the US to serve lengthy prison sentences.

Those still in Canada live with considerable uncertainty about when and if their number may be up.

Joshua Key is the author of The Deserter’s Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq. He has had to deal with poor revenue from his book sales, a complete inability to raise money through paid work or social assistance, health concerns and recently, an unfair eviction from his home in Southern Saskatchewan. He brings his family’s ordeal to light in the first half hour.

This interview is followed by the perspective of Vietnam era draft evader Howard Davidson. He explains the critical similarities and differences between the GI Resister movement today and its Vietnam era counterpart.

Finally, Michelle Robidoux of the War Resisters Support Campaign explains how the modern War Resister movement in Canada got off the ground ten years ago, outlines critical victories and defeats in the campaign, and lays out concrete actions Canadians can take to show solidarity with these American men and women during Let Them Stay Week.

From the article “We the People Refuse to Fight”: Abandon the Battlefield!
By Michel Chossudovsky,

Disobey unlawful orders! Abandon the battlefield! …
Refuse to fight in a war which blatantly violates international law and the US Constitution!
But this is not a choice which enlisted men and women can make individually.
It is a collective and societal choice, which requires an organizational structure.
Across the land in the US, Britain, Canada and in all coalition countries, the anti-war movement must assist enlisted men and women to make that moral choice possible, to abandon the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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The Global Research News Hour, hosted by Michael Welch, airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Fridays at 1pm CDT. The programme is also broadcast weekly (Monday, 5-6pm ET) by the Progressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario – Thursdays at 1pm ET

 

Global Terrorism and Saudi Arabia: Bandar’s Terror Network

January 11th, 2014 by Prof. James Petras

            Saudi Arabia has all the vices and none of the virtues of an oil rich state like Venezuela.  The country is governed by a family dictatorship which tolerates no opposition and severely punishes human rights advocates and political dissidents.  Hundreds of billions in oil revenues are controlled by the royal despotism and fuel speculative investments the world over.  The ruling elite relies on the purchase of Western arms and US military bases for protection.  The wealth of productive nations is syphoned to enrich the conspicuous consumption of the Saudi ruling family.  The ruling elite finances the most fanatical, retrograde, misogynist version of Islam, “Wahhabi” a sect of Sunni Islam.

            Faced with internal dissent from repressed subjects and religious minorities, the Saudi dictatorship perceives threats and dangers from all sides:  overseas, secular, nationalists and Shia ruling governments; internally, moderate Sunni nationalists, democrats and feminists; within the royalist cliques, traditionalists and modernizers.  In response it has turned toward financing, training and arming an international network of Islamic terrorists who are directed toward attacking, invading and destroying regimes opposed to the Saudi clerical-dictatorial regime.

            The mastermind of the Saudi terror network is Bandar bin Sultan, who has longstanding and deep ties to high level US political, military and intelligence officials.  Bandar was trained and indoctrinated at Maxwell Air Force Base and Johns Hopkins University and served as Saudi Ambassador to the US for over two decades (1983 – 2005).  Between 2005 – 2011 he was Secretary of the National Security Council and in 2012 he was appointed as Director General of the Saudi Intelligence Agency.  Early on Bandar became deeply immersed in clandestine terror operations working

in liaison with the CIA.  Among his numerous “dirty operations” with the CIA during the 1980s, Bandar channeled $32 million dollars to the Nicaragua Contra’s engaged in a terror campaign to overthrow the revolutionary Sandinista government in Nicaragua.  During his tenure as ambassador he was actively engaged in protecting Saudi royalty with ties to the 9/11/01 bombing of the Triple Towers and the Pentagon.  Suspicion that Bandar and his allies in the Royal family had prior knowledge of the bombings by Saudi terrorists (11 of the 19), is suggested by the sudden flight of Saudi Royalty following the terrorist act.  US intelligence documents regarding the Saudi-Bandar connection are under Congressional review.

With a wealth of experience and training in running clandestine terrorist operations, derived from his two decades of collaboration with the US intelligence agencies, Bandar was in a position to organize his own global terror network in defense of the isolated retrograde and vulnerable Saudi despotic monarchy.

Bandar’s Terror Network

Bandar bin Sultan has transformed Saudi Arabia from an inward-looking, tribal based regime totally dependent on US military power for its survival, to a major regional center of a vast terror network, an active financial backer of rightwing military dictatorships (Egypt) and client regimes (Yemen) and military interventor in the Gulf region (Bahrain).  Bandar has financed and armed a vast array of clandestine terror operations, utilizing Islamic affiliates of Al Qaeda, the Saudi controlled Wahhabi sect as well as numerous other Sunni armed groups.  Bandar is a “pragmatic” terrorist operator:  repressing Al Qaeda adversaries in Saudi Arabia and financing Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere.,  While Bandar was a long-term asset of the US intelligence services, he has, more recently, taken an ‘independent course’ where the regional interests of the despotic state diverge  from those of the US.  In the same vein, while Saudi Arabia has a longstanding enmity toward Israel, Bandar has developed a “covert understanding” and working relation with the Netanyahu regime, around their common enmity toward Iran and more specifically in opposition to the interim agreement between the Obama-Rohani regime.

Bandar has intervened directly or via proxies in reshaping political alignments, destabilizing adversaries and bolstering and expanding the political reach of the Saudi dictatorship from North Africa to South Asia, from the Russian Caucuses to the Horn of Africa, sometimes in concert with Western imperialism, other times projecting Saudi hegemonic aspirations.

North Africa:  Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Egypt

            Bandar has poured billions of dollars to bolster the rightwing pro-Islamic regimes in Tunisia and Morocco, ensuring that the mass pro-democracy movements would be repressed, marginalized and demobilized.. Islamic extremists receiving Saudi financial support are encouraged to back the “moderate” Islamists in government by assassinating secular democratic leaders and socialist trade union leaders in opposition.  Bandar’s policies largely coincide with those of the US and France in Tunisia and Morocco; but not in Libya and Egypt.

            Saudi financial backing for Islamist terrorists and Al Qaeda affiliates against Libyan President Gadhafi were in-line with the NATO air war.  However divergences emerged in the aftermath:  the NATO backed client regime made up of neo-liberal ex-pat’s faced off against Saudi backed Al Qaeda and Islamist terror gangs and assorted tribal gunmen and marauders.  Bandar funded Islamic extremists in Libya were bankrolled  to extend their military operations to Syria, where the Saudi regime was organizing a vast military operation to overthrow the Assad regime.  The internecine conflict between NATO and Saudi armed groups in Libya, spilled over and led to the Islamist murder of the US Ambassador and CIA operatives in Benghazi.  Having overthrown Gadhafi, Bandar virtually abandoned interest in the ensuing blood bath and chaos provoked by his armed assets.  They in turn, became self-financing – robbing banks, pilfering oil and emptying local treasuries – relatively “independent” of Bandar’s control.

            In Egypt, Bandar developed, in coordination with Israel (but for different reasons), a strategy of undermining the relatively independent, democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohammed Morsi.  Bandar and the Saudi dictatorship financially backed the military coup and dictatorship of General Sisi.  The US strategy of a power-sharing agreement between the Moslem Brotherhood and the military regime, combining popular electoral legitimacy and the pro-Israel-pro NATO military was sabotaged.  With a $15 billion aid package and promises of more to come, Bandar provided the Egyptian military a financial lifeline and economic immunity from any international financial reprisals.  None were taken of any consequences.  The military crushed the Brotherhood, jailed and threatened to execute its elected leaders.  It outlawed sectors of the liberal-left opposition which it had used as cannon fodder to justify its seizure of power.  In backing the military coup, Bandar eliminated a rival, democratically elected Islamic regime which stood in contrast to the Saudi despotism.  He secured a like-minded dictatorial regime in a key Arab country, even though the military rulers are more secular, pro-Western, pro-Israel and less anti-Assad than the Brotherhood regime.  Bandar’s success in greasing the wheels for the Egyptian coup secured a political ally but faces an uncertain future.

The revival of a new anti-dictatorial mass movement would also target the Saudi connection.  Moreover Bandar undercut and weakened Gulf State unity:  Qatar had financed the Morsi regime and was out $5 billion dollars it had extended to the previous regime.

Bandar’s terror network is most evident in his long-term large scale financing, arming, training and transport of tens of thousands of Islamic terrorist “volunteers” from the US, Europe, the Middle East, the Caucuses, North Africa and elsewhere.. Al Qaeda terrorists in Saudi Arabia became “martyrs of Islam” in Syria.  Dozens of Islamic armed gangs in Syria competed for Saudi arms and funds.  Training bases with US and European instructors and Saudi financing were established in Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey.  Bandar financed the major ‘rebel’ Islamic terrorist armed group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, for cross border operations.

With Hezbollah supporting Assad, Bandar directed money and arms to the Abdullah Azzam Brigades in Lebanon to bomb South Beirut, the Iranian embassy and Tripoli.  Bandar directed $3 billion to the Lebanese military with the idea of fomenting a new civil war between it and Hezbollah.  In co-ordination with France and the US, but with far greater funding and greater latitude to recruit Islamic terrorist, Bandar assumed the leading role and became the principle director of a three front military and diplomatic offensive against Syria, Hezbollah and Iran.  For Bandar, an Islamic takeover in Syria would lead to an Islamic Syrian invasion in support of Al Qaeda in Lebanon to defeat Hezbollah in hopes of isolating Iran.  Teheran would then become the target of a Saudi-Israeli-US offensive.  Bandar’s strategy is more fantasy then reality.

Bandar Diverges from Washington:  the Offensive in Iraq and Iran

Saudi Arabia has been an extremely useful but sometimes out of control client of Washington.  This is especially the case since Bandar has taken over as Intelligence chief:  a long-time asset of the CIA he has also, at times, taken the liberty to extract “favors” for his services, especially when those “favors” enhance his upward advance within the Saudi power structure.  Hence, for example, his ability to secure AWACs despite AIPAC opposition earned him merit points.  As did Bandar’s ability to secure the departure of several hundred Saudi ‘royalty’ with ties to the 9/11 bombers, despite a high level national security lockdown in the aftermath of the bombing.

While there were episodic transgressions in the past, Bandar moved on to more serious divergences from US policy.  He went ahead, building his own terror network, directed toward maximizing Saudi hegemony – even where it conflicted with US proxies, clients and clandestine operatives.

While the US is committed to backing the rightwing Malicki regime in Iraq, Bandar is providing political, military and financial backing to the Sunni terrorist “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”. When the US negotiated the “interim agreement” with Iran Bandar voiced his opposition and “bought” support.  Saudi signed off on a billion dollar arms agreement during French President Hollande’s visit, in exchange for greater sanctions on Iran.  Bandar also expressed support for Israel’s use of the Zionist power configuration to influence the Congress, to sabotage US negotiations with Iran.

Bandar has moved beyond his original submission to US intelligence handlers.  His close ties with past and present US and EU presidents and political influentials have encouraged him to engage in “Big Power adventures”.  He met with Russian President Putin to convince him to drop his support for Syria, offering a carrot or a stick: a multi-billion dollar arms sale for compliance and a threat to unleash Chechnyian terrorists to undermine the Sochi Olympics.  He has turned Erdogan from a NATO ally supporting ‘moderate’ armed opponents to Bashar Assad, into embracing the Saudi backed ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”, a terrorist Al Qaeda affiliate.  Bandar has “overlooked” Erdogan’s “opportunist” efforts to sign off oil deals with Iran and Iraq, his continuing military arrangements with NATO and his past backing of the defunct Morsi regime in Egypt, in order to secure Erdogan’s support for the easy transit of large numbers of Saudi trained terrorists to Syria and probably Lebanon.

Bandar has strengthened ties with the armed Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, arming and financing their armed resistance against the US, as well as offering the US a site for a ‘negotiated departure’.

Bandar is probably supporting and arming Uighur Muslim terrorists in western China, and Chechens and Caucasian Islamic terrorists in Russia, even as the Saudi’s expand their oil agreements with China and cooperate with Russia’s Gazprom.

The only region where the Saudi’s have exercised direct military intervention is in the Gulf min-state of Bahrain, where Saudi troops crushed the pro-democracy movement challenging the local despot.

Bandar:  Global Terror on Dubious Domestic Foundations

Bandar has embarked on an extraordinary transformation of Saudi foreign policy and enhanced its global influence.  All to the worst.  Like Israel, when a reactionary ruler comes to power and overturns the democratic order, Saudi arrives on the scene with bags of dollars to buttress the regime.  Whenever an Islamic terror network emerges to subvert a nationalist, secular or Shia regime, it can count on Saudi funds and arms.  What some Western scribes euphemistically describe as “tenuous effort to liberalize and modernize” the retrograde Saudi regime, is really a military upgrade of its overseas terrorist activity.  Bandar uses modern techniques of terror to impose the Saudi model of reactionary rule on neighboring and distant regimes with Muslim populations.

            The problem is that Bandar’s “adventurous” large scale overseas operations conflict with some of the ruling Royal family’s “introspective” style of rulership.  They want to be left alone to accrue hundreds of billions collecting petrol rents, to invest in high-end properties around the world, and to quietly patronize high end call girls in Washington, London and Beirut –while posing as pious guardians of Medina, Mecca and the Holy sites.  So far Bandar has not been challenged, because he has been careful to pay his respects to the ruling monarch and his inner circle.  He has bought and brought Western and Eastern prime ministers, presidents and other respectable notable to Riyadh to sign deals and pay compliments to the delight of the reigning despot.  Yet his solicitous behavior to overseas Al Qaeda operations, his encouraging Saudi extremists to go overseas and engage in terrorist wars, disturbs monarchical circles.   They worry that Saudis trained, armed and knowledgeable terrorists – dubbed as “holy warriors” – may return from Syria, Russia and Iraq and bomb the Kings palaces.  Moreover, oversea regimes targeted by Bandar’s terror network may retaliate:  Russia or Iran, Syrians, Egyptians, Pakistanis, Iraqis may just sponsor their own instruments of retaliation.  Despite the hundreds of billions spent on arms purchases, the Saudi regime is very vulnerable on all levels.  Apart from tribal legions, the billionaire elite have little popular support and even less legitimacy.  It depends on overseas migrant labor, foreign “experts” and US military forces.  The Saudi elite is also despised by the most religious of the Wahhabi clergy for allowing “infidels” on sacred terrain.  While Bandar extends Saudi power abroad, the domestic foundations of rule are narrowing.  While he defies US policymakers in Syria, Iran and Afghanistan, the regime depends on the US Air Force and Seventh Fleet to protect it from a growing array of adversarial regimes.

            Bandar, with his inflated ego, may believe that he is a “Saladin” building a new Islamic empire, but in reality, by waving one finger his patron monarch can lead to his rapid dismissal.  One too many provocative civilian bombings by his Islamic terrorist beneficiaries can lead to an international crises leading to Saudi Arabia becoming the target of world opprobrium.

            In reality, Bandar bin Sultan is the protégé and successor of Bin Laden; he has deepened and systematized global terrorism.  Bandar’s terror network has murdered far more innocent victims than Bin Laden.  That, of course, is to be expected; after all he has billions of dollars from the Saudi treasury, training from the CIA and the handshake of Netanyahu!

Will the Mandela Movie Even Win an Oscar Nomination?

January 11th, 2014 by Danny Schechter

 The whole world recognized and paid tribute to South African icon Nelson Mandela when he died at age 95. 91 Heads of State attended his funeral. The UN General Assembly organized a special tribute. His legacy is secure in official circles, but will there be recognition in the place that seems to matter to the media even more: Hollywood?

The Oscar nominations are due any day, and early on, it seemed, as if the epic movie about the world’s most revered icon was a sure thing for Oscar consideration. Most of the main big newspaper reviewers loved it and, and its distributor Harvey Weinstein has specialized in influencing Academy decisions.

But of late, it lost its buzz, and is buried by the hype machine, almost being treated as an also ran. The entertainment media no long seems to take it seriously. All the focus is on other films and the big US stars.

The producers of the movie, made in South Africa, albeit with a British director, Judson Chadwick,  and Oscar celebrated screenwriter William Nicholson, were earlier hopeful that they had a good chance of winning at least one of the statuettes that quickly translate into a place in cinema history and more bang at the box-office.

For them,  making this film was always far more than  a commercial endeavor. In my book, <strong>MadibaAtoZ: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela</strong>, producer Anant Singh shares his passion for the subject and explains that it took 16 years and as many as 50 versions of script to put together the money and the cast. He was making it not only to honor Mandela but also tell the story of his country’s liberation. They worked as independents with no major studio behind them.

They were also very commercial in their calculations, doing what they they had to do to get it made and get it out, also  conscious of deferring to Hollywood formula, by focusing on the love story between Nelson and Winnie and, in effect, depoliticizing the story of a very political figure once known for saying, “The Struggle Is My Life.”

 On the left, there was disappointment as the review in Britain’s Couunterfire expressed this way: “This absence of ideological perspective is probably to be expected but the concluding effect of the film is to produce a sanitized and depoliticized Mandela that does not help us comprehend his massive impact. The apolitical Mandela in the film is the one neoliberal warmongerers like Blair, Bush and Obama are happy to eulogize.”

I am sure if the filmmakers had tried to please ideologues on all sides, the movie probably wouldn’t have even been made, much less released, with the small fortune in marketing monies required to be considered competitive.

That said, it did make news with lots of star-studded attention grabbing premieres and some media attention, especially, after Mandela died, while a Royal screening was underway in England.

The movie itself got less attention that its stars and connection with a well known leader.

And, yes, there was also sympathy in Tinsel Town, where commerce, grosses and celebrities, not  newsy issues, are always topic #1.

Years ago, one of my Mandela documentaries was passed over for Oscar consideration, but the Academy, out of interest I am sure, hosted a screening in LA under their auspices. I was pleased to be there and got lots of positive comments from the audience. That was the closest I got to an oscar.

Movies about the great and the good have an uphill battle in challenging Hollywood product that, this year again, seems more mesmerized by big time crime dramas like American Hustle and the Wolf of Wall Street that make con men appear cool and groovy. Their only morality is amorality.

Those movies feature better-known stars and more made in the USA storylines, aided and abetted by even  bigger and more recent advertising budgets. Mandela Long Walk To Freedom didn’t have the deep pockets to compete when the film went into “wide release” on Christmas Day. By then, it was already being considered old.

The Golden Globes did give Mandela three nominations—one to Idris Elba, the male lead, and two for music—one to the Irish hand U2 for the hardly political up-beat end song. Getting the band to the awards ceremony will enhance its appeal, but everyone knows the Globes reflect the picks of many self-styled foreign correspondents, not died in the wool movie industry Americanos.

The NAACP image awards also honored Elba as one of their own. In Britain, their academy nominated Mandela for the best <strong>British </strong>film of the year, even though it was primarily made by Videovision, a South African company.

Curiously, the nationalism and racial identity embedded in those awards were the very values that the real Mandela rejected.

“12 Years a Slave’ is the “black” movie expected to win, if any does. In that drama, a white man played by superstar Brad Pitt freed the slave, not a people’s revolt. Its appeal may have had more to due with the lack of attention finally paid to slavery in the land of slavery–but by a British director–and the guilt the movie plays to, as well as its pervasive violence,  which, as black activist H Rap Brown once observed, is “as American as Cherry Pie.”

Mandela features violence too—but oppressive state violence, more than individual bad guys that you can hate.  Apartheid may be a more recent crime than slavery but the latter is part of a U.S history that some Americans—not all, for sure—are ashamed of.

Slavery as a subject is also presented only as American while Mandela dramatizes a freedom struggle in Africa that has not been front and center much lately in a news system that routinely treats Africa as a continent of of wars, massacres and coups.

Mandela was one of the few African leaders even reported here and the fact that his death occasioned considerable coverage may have reinforced the idea that his story has been over exposed. Why see a movie versions when the real man was on TV. ‘

That’s  not true, but that’s a perception that certainly cut into the film’s ticket sales.

If Mandela Long Walk To Freedom is not on the Oscar list, it will be gone from theaters quickly, probably to return on TV movie channels and video. See it while you still can. You will be glad you did!

Danny Schechter made documentaries about the making and meaning of the movie Mandela Long Walk to Freedom. He also wrote the book, MadibaAtoZ: the Many Faces of Nelson Mandela (Madibabook.com) Comments to [email protected]

by Josh Hart, Director StopSmartMeters.Org.

Tom Wheeler, chair of the Federal Communications Commission, and former head of the industry Wireless Association for 12 years, got an earful from protesters on Thursday during his visit to the Bay Area.   Organized by Stop Smart Meters! and the California Brain Tumor Association,  protesters gathered and expressed their anger at the industry/ government collusion that is failing to warn people about- or even acknowledge- the hazards of wireless technology.

From the morning as he arrived in Mountain View to the end of the Oakland event that evening, Wheeler was peppered with questions and dealt with disruptions about how he buried the science showing health harm.

As Wheeler stepped out of his limo in Mountain View, he was confronted about wireless health harm and the ill-advised plan to place wireless in all classrooms in the US- a plan called “ConnectEd” spearheaded by Obama.  A teacher from the LA Unified School District who has witnessed firsthand the effects of wireless on schoolchildren repeatedly pressed Wheeler on the point that wireless radiation is already causing harm to our kids- and that wired computers (not a Class 2B carcinogen) can adequately prepare children for a future working with technology.

 

Ellie Marks (above and left) is Director of the California Brain Tumor Association.  Her husband has a brain tumor from the cell phone he spent hours on as a real estate agent.  As you might imagine, she is hopping mad at a system that is knowingly causing the same fate to countless others.

The FCC under Wheeler is salivating to extinguish our reliable, safe landline connections.

Picture 2

Wheeler had uttered no more than a sentence at the Commonwealth Club event before Stop Smart Meters! Director Josh Hart stood up and said in a loud voice, “Hey Tom, how many people have to die of brain tumors before the Federal Government will warn people of the hazards?   How many young women have to get breast cancer from keeping their phones in their bras before warning labels are introduced?  How many must be made electro-hyper-sensitive from a ‘smart’ grid that is harming our communities?  Are we just collateral damage in the industry quest for profits?  Are you happy with your purchase of the Chairmanship for $1 million from Obama?”  Hart was quickly led out of the room.

That wasn’t the only disruption.  Four others interrupted Wheeler’s speech, demanding answers about why Federal regulations on RF guidelines fail to protect the public from harm.  Ellie Marks ‘thanked’ Wheeler for her husband’s brain tumor.  Kevin Mottus from Los Angeles accused Wheeler and the industry he represents of “carrying out a quiet holocaust.”  One by one, the protesters were led out of the room.  But the message was clear- California is growing more aware of the dark side of wireless and we’re not going to tolerate it quietly.

Picture 1

After leaving Mountain View, activists drove to San Francisco’s Market St. Verizon store and placed  (relatively mild) warning labels on all the wireless devices:

WARNING: This device emits microwave radiation that the World Health Organization states may cause cancer.  Children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable.

In 2011, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance requiring similar warnings be placed at the point of sale, but the wireless industry sued, claiming they have a “first amendment right” to not disclose health hazards to consumers.  Activists carried out their 1st amendment right to warn people of the dangers.  Many discussions were had with customers, an announcement was made out loud in the store, and the safety labelers refused to leave when asked to do so.  The action carried on for about 20 minutes, as staff went around and quietly removed the stickers from the phones as activists replaced them.  No police were involved and the activists left the store without incident.

 

At the evening event, Voices for Internet Freedom, Wheeler was greeted by death standing solemnly at the entrance.  At one point, he wandered the wrong way after being followed and questioned by an activist, and found himself surrounded by protesters shouting, “Wheeler buried the truth now we bury the dead.” He quickly scurried away, knowing that the truth was out there.   He looked like a frightened animal and you could see the pain in his eyes.  It can’t be easy to sacrifice people’s lives for profit.

 

 

Lloyd Morgan- who had a brain tumor caused by electromagnetic fields- being interviewed by KQED at the Oakland protest

Ellie Marks keeps smiling despite the grim circumstances

A coffin was brought to the scene and ‘dead birds’ were scattered around the coffin to represent the insidious impact of wireless radiation on nature and wildlife.

Activists were more restrained inside the evening event, given that it was sponsored by grassroots community organizations.  SSM! Director Josh Hart was given 90 seconds to speak and said that “it is important to listen to the truth particularly when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable.  The truth is that wireless is hurting us, and as with most toxins, the ones who are marginalized and poor bear the worst impacts.”

Stop Smart Meters! thanks everyone who worked so hard to make these protests happen, and encourages those in other parts of the country to also give Wheeler a similar “warm” welcome when he comes to visit you.

Video of this day of action will be forthcoming.

Alleged Economic Recovery: No Jobs For Americans

January 11th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The alleged recovery took a direct hit from Friday’s payroll jobs report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy created 74,000 net new jobs in December.

Wholesale and retail trade accounted for 70,700 of these jobs or 95.5%.  It is likely that the December wholesale and retail hires were temporary for the Christmas shopping season, which doesn’t seem to have been very exuberant, especially in light of Macy’s decision to close five stores and lay off 2,500 employees.  It is a good bet that these December hires have already been laid off. 

A job gain of 74,000, even if it is real, is about half of what is needed to keep the unemployment rate even with population growth. Yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate fell from 7.0% to 6.7%.  Clearly, this decline in unemployment was not caused by the reported 74,000 jobs gain.  The unemployment rate fell, because Americans unable to find jobs ceased looking for employment and, thereby, ceased to be counted as unemployed.  

In America the unemployment rate is a deception just like everything else.  The rate of American unemployment fell, because people can’t find jobs.  The fewer the jobs, the lower the unemployment rate.

I noticed today that the financial media presstitutes were a bit hesitant to hype the drop in the rate of unemployment when there was no jobs growth to account for it. The Wall Street and bank economists did their best to disbelieve the jobs report as did some of the bought-and-paid-for university professors. Too many interests have a stake in the non-existent recovery declared 4.5 years ago to be able to admit that it is not really there.

I have been examining the monthly jobs reports for a decade or longer.  I must say that I was struck by the December report. Normally, a mainstay of jobs gain is the category “education and health services,” with “ambulatory health care services” adding thousands of jobs.  In December the net contribution of “education and health services” was zero, with “ambulatory health care services” losing 4,100 jobs and health care losing 6,000 jobs. If memory serves, this is a first.  Perhaps it reflects adverse impacts of the ripoff known as Obamacare, possibly the worst piece of domestic legislation passed in decades

I was also struck by the report that the gain in employment of waitresses and bartenders, normally a large percentage of the job gain, was down to 9,400 jobs, which were offset by declines elsewhere, such as the layoff of local school teachers.  

Aren’t Washington’s priorities wonderful?  $1,000 billion per year in Quantitative Easing, essentially subsidies  for 6 banks “too big to fail,” and nothing for school teachers.  It should warm every Republican’s heart.

A tiny bright spot in the payroll jobs report is 9,000 new manufacturing jobs. The US manufacturing workforce has declined so dramatically since jobs offshoring became the policy of American corporations that 9,000 jobs doesn’t register on the scale. Fabricated metal products, which I think is roofing metal, accounted for 56% of the manufacturing jobs. Roofing metal is not an export.  Employment in the production of products that could be exported, such as “computer and electronic equipment,” and “electronic instruments” declined by 2,400 and 3,500 respectively.

Clearly, this is not a payroll jobs report that provides cover for the looting of the prospects of ordinary Americans by the financial and offshoring elites. One can wonder how the BLS civil servants who produced it can avoid retribution. It will be interesting to see what occurs in the January payroll jobs report.

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The terms “transparency” and “accountability” are used with greater frequency at United Nations briefings than in practically any other venue. Yet, information on the impact of sanctions on the people of the DPRK and third states affected by the sanction is confidential to the Sanctions Committee. Only the Sanctions Committee secretariat in the Department of Political Affairs is permitted access to this information. Whose political agenda is served by this secrecy, this total failure of transparency and accountability?

The United Nations Security Council has imposed multiple sets of sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including Resolution 1718 (October 14, 2006), Resolution 1874 (June 12, 2009), Resolution 2087 (January 22, 2013, and Resolution 2094 (March 7, 2013). It is striking that in all four resolutions imposed on the DPRK, the sanction language used to prohibit items from entering or leaving the DPRK is sufficiently broad and vague that practically any item essential for the normal, healthy functioning of society is vulnerable to proscription and exclusion of use by the DPRK: the use of the word “could” so excessively prevails throughout (as indicating possibility) as does the use of the vague phrase “reasonable grounds to believe,” which does not require a high standard of proof, or any actual demonstrable evidence, whatsoever, but relies on subjective “belief” which may be based upon or distorted by political bias.

According to Susan Hannah Allen and David J Lektzian in the Journal of Peace Research, (2013)

“The increased use of sanctions and the resultant humanitarian crisis with which they became associated led policy makers and academics to re-evaluate their potential negative externalities. Unlike military conflict, sanctions are not intended to kill citizens of the target country (Drezner, 1998) so they are considered to be a more humane coercive policy. However, following the experience with sanctions in the 1990’s critics began to challenge this logic, arguing that sanctions are a potentially immoral foreign policy tool that indiscriminately and unjustly targets poor and innocent elements of society. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan referred to sanctions as a “blunt instrument which hurts large numbers of people who are not their primary target.”

“One explanation for the coercive mechanism at work when economic sanctions are employed is that they will hurt (or at least inconvenience) the general public sufficiently that the leaders are compelled to alter their behavior and policies as a result of pressure from the population. This traditional thinking suggests that sanctions are imposed to reduce the available resources in the targeted state, which reduces national wealth and creates a sense of deprivation in the targeted population. If the people suffer enough, they will pressure their government to alter its behavior in order to have the sanctions lifted. Other coercive mechanisms for sanctions besides civilian punishment have been explored, but given the fact that modern sanctions have their root in the deprivation-based concept of the medieval siege, their impact on the health of the targeted population should be considered. Because the civilian population is expected to be affected
when economic sanctions are implemented, sanctions have come under fire with many suggesting that they violate Just War Principles.

The Just War Doctrine requires aggressors to clearly differentiate between combatants and non-combatants. Critics of sanctions suggest that sanctions directly target civilians, often inflicting the greatest harm against the weakest elements of society, thus blatantly violating these principles. Garfield and Mueller & Mueller (1999) go so far as to suggest that populations at war may be better off than those under sanctions because the Geneva Conventions govern behavior in war but do not deal with sanctions. Because sanctions do not clearly discriminate between civilians and those that perpetrated the acts that led to international censure, sanctions are seen as unfairly punishing targeted publics….Even when provisions for humanitarian exemptions are included in sanctions policies, the general public may still suffer – especially the urban poor. Food aid programs are likely to be politically manipulated. Rationing programs increase dependence on the state. Without unfettered access to nutritious food and clean water, the average level of health of the civilian population will decrease. These shortages result from the broader economic impact that sanctions can have on a sanctioned society.”

Among the strangling sanctions inflicted on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, S/RES/1718 (2006),

8. “Decides that:

(a) All member states shall prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK, through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in their territories of:

(ii) All items, materials, equipment, goods and technology as set out in the list of documents S/2006?814 and S/2006/815, unless within 14 days of adoption of this resolution this Committee has amended or completed their provisions also taking into account the list in document S/2006/816, as well as other items, materials, equipment, goods and technology, determined by the Security Council or the Committee, which COULD contribute to DPRK’s nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction – related programmes.”

(iii) Luxury goods”

Many of the basic chemical, biological, electrical, medical etc. substances which are essential for normal daily living “could” also be included in the category defined as potentially “contributing” to the DPRK’s nuclear –related activities, etc., but denying these crucial substances to the civilian population of the DPRK because they “could” have other uses is an act of violent aggression, which leads to drastic deterioration in their health and general standard of living. Under the description of possible “dual use,” anything and everything necessary for life can be denied to the civilian population of that country.

Resolution S/RES/2094 (2013) contains this extremely dangerous passage:

23. Reaffirms the measures imposed in paragraph 8 (a)(iii) of resolution 1718 (2006) regarding luxury goods and clarifies that the term ‘luxury goods’ includes, but is not limited to the items specified in annex IV of this resolution’”

This last (23) intentionally vague and non-descript passage is surreptitiously making possible the designation of any item necessary for the normal, healthy, effective living and functioning of society to be labeled “luxury goods,” and thereby proscribed, since to a starving person food is a luxury, and to a freezing person, the fuel necessary to heat his home or school is also a luxury. To many, clean water is a luxury, and is sold in bottles in stores all over the world to those who can afford to pay for it. To the destitute, necessities for living are luxuries.

The hyperbaric chamber, which provides a cure for a gangrenous arm or leg, preventing the necessity for amputation, is complex equipment, involving chemical, biological, and electrical components, all of which are prohibited and denied to the DPRK by these sanctions, because the components necessary for the construction and maintenance of a hyperbaric chamber “could” be used for other purposes. (Dual use, again). And further, the hyperbaric chamber could also be designated a “luxury good,” different in kind and substance from jewelry or a yacht, but a luxury, nevertheless.

In a superb essay by Joy Gordon, entitled “Cool War: Economic Sanctions as a Weapon of Mass Destruction” (published in Harper’s, 2002) Ms. Gordon states:

“News of Iraqi fatalities has been well documented (by the United Nations, among others), though underreported by the media. What has remained invisible, however, is any documentation of how and by whom such a death toll has been justified for so long. How was the danger of goods entering Iraq assessed, and how was it weighed, if at all, against the mounting collateral damage? …It was easy to discover that for the last ten years a vast number of lengthy holds had been placed on billions of dollars worth of what seemed unobjectionable – and very much needed – imports to Iraq. But I soon learned that all U.N. records that could answer my questions were kept from public scrutiny. This is not to say that the UN is lacking in public documents related to the Iraq program. What is unavailable are the documents that show how the U.S. policy agenda has determined the outcome of humanitarian and security judgments….The operation of Iraq sanctions involves numerous agencies within the United Nations…These agencies have been careful not to publicly discuss their ongoing frustration with the manner in which the program is operated….Over the last three years, through research and interviews with diplomats I have acquired many of the key confidential UN documents concerning the administration of Iraq sanctions. I obtained these documents on the condition that my sources remain anonymous. What they show is that the United States has fought aggressively throughout the last decade to purposefully minimize the humanitarian goods that enter the country. And it has done so in the face of enormous human suffering, including massive increases in child mortality and widespread epidemics…What is less well known is that the government of
Saddam Hussein had invested heavily in health, education, and social programs for two decades prior to the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Before the Persian Gulf war Iraq was a rapidly developing country with free education, ample electricity, modernized agriculture and a robust middle class. According to the World Health Organization 93 percent of the population had access to health care. The devastation of the Gulf War destroyed all that.”

On October 21, 2011 Valerie Amos, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs addressed the press in Beijing, China, on conditions in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and she gave a similar press briefing at the United Nations headquarters, which I attended. Ms. Amos stated:

“The background for my visit was the increasingly worrying information coming from the DPRK Government and in-country aid agencies, indicating that over 6 million people are in need of food assistance this year…The average annual food gap is around 1 million tonnes per year, out of a total food requirement of 5.3 million tonnes…Recent figures for children under five years of age show chronic malnutrition levels (i.e. stunting) at 33 percent nationwide and 45 percent in the north of the country. One nurse that I met at the pediatric hospital in HamHung told me the number of malnourished children coming to her hospital had increased 1.5 times (i.e. 50%) only since last year.”

Ms. Amos then stated: “People in the DPRK suffer from a complex set of challenges including chronic poverty and under-development – structural causes with humanitarian implications.”

One must question whether Ms. Amos, in mentioning “structural causes” for this tragic, situation is attempting to blame the Socialist government of North Korea, because at no point in her presentation does Ms. Amos mention the devastating impact of the UN Security Council sanctions inflicted upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since 2005, five year prior to the dramatic deterioration in living conditions for “ordinary people” in the DPRK. I asked Ms. Amos about the destructive impact of sanctions upon the lives of citizens of the DPRK, and she did not deny this factor, but she did not discuss this, stating that it is not “within her mandate.”.

On June 12, 2009 at the 6141 meeting, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1874 which contains a particularly ironic passage, and potentially opens an incriminating Pandora’s Box implicating the West in war crimes against North Korea.

“Point 14. Decides to authorize all Member States to, and that all Member States shall, seize and dispose of items the supply, sale, transfer or export of which is prohibited by paragraph 8(a), 8(b) or 8(c) or resolution 1718 or by paragraph 9 or 10 of the resolution that are identified in inspections pursuant to paragraph 11, 12 or 13 in a manner that is not inconsistent with their obligations under applicable Security Council resolutions, including resolution 1540 (2004) as well as any obligations of parties to the NPT, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction of 29 April 1997, and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction of 10 April 1972, and decides further that all States shall cooperate in such efforts.

Therein, to quote Shakespeare, “lies the rub,” or in modern terms, the scandal, the crime. The use of biological weapons was prohibited by the Geneva protocol of 1925.

In the UK Telegraph, 10 June, 2010 was reported the following:

“Did the U.S. Wage Germ Warfare in Korea?” According to Julian Ryall, “In the winter of 1952 Yun Chang Bin recalls, the American bombers flying overhead had become a fact of life…But then, one afternoon in early March, Yun was walking home from school when he saw Chinese troops on their hands and knees in the fields…There were about 30 or 40 of the Chinese volunteer troops spread out across the field…’ Yun, now 72 says. ‘They were wearing masks and gloves and some of them had brooms. They were sweeping up something from the ground and others were picking it up and putting it on a fire. Yun was told: ‘They are catching flies. They came out of the bombs dropped by the American bastards.’ The bombs had opened after hitting the ground and released thousands of insects.

The insects had been spread over a large area of farmland and many escaped the mopping up operation. Disease broke out in the village. ‘I remember the adults calling it enbyo, or heat disease. It was terrible. People developed very high fevers, became delirious….they groaned with the pain and drifted in and out of consciousness. They couldn’t eat anything and just kept asking for cold water…there was little anyone could do for those who had been infected, particularly as no one knew what the illness was. Yun says he was later told it was typhoid. ‘It killed my father. He lost his appetite, then lost all movement in the lower half of his body, so he was not able to move. He died 5 days after first complaining of feeling unwell, aged 52. In his neighborhood more than 30 people from 50 families died.’”

During the Korean War, North Korea and China lost almost a million troops. General MacArthur and the US Joint Chiefs of Staff authorized the use of atomic bomb against the People’s Republic of China. President Truman denied permission. “Historians argue that a nuclear detonation, impossible to conceal from the eyes of the world, would have further inflamed tensions between east and west, but a more insidious form of warfare would have been relatively easy to carry out, and much simpler to dismiss as enemy disinformation.” There are plenty of men and women who support Yun’s claim that North Korean civilians were attacked with American biological weapons that contained flies, beetles, spiders, crickets and other insects carrying various life-threatening pathogens, from plague bacillus to cholera, anthrax, encephalitis and yellow fever.”

“Masataka Mori, Professor of History at Shizuoka University in Japan, who has studied Japan’s World War II biological warfare program, called Unit 731 for many years, “believed that Japan’s biological warfare program was not investigated because ‘Unit 731’s scientists were granted immunity in return for sharing the fruits of their research with the Americans.”

“In Pyongyang “The Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum contains exhibitions of civilian victims of the Korean war, children hideously scarred by chemical weapons – in 1951 the US military was using 70,000 gallons of napalm every day. The exhibition also contains an original of the report issued in Peking in 1952 by the International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of the Facts Concerning Bacterial Warfare in Korea and China, set up by the Helsinki-based World Peace Council. Begun after Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai sent a telegram on March 8, 1952 to the Secretariat of the United Nations detailing claims of 448 germ warfare sorties over China by the US Air Force, the Commission’s report was compiled by experts from Sweden, France, Italy, Brazil and Russia, as well as Dr. Joseph Needham, a distinguished British authority on Chinese science.”

Among the report’s specific case studies, one describes more than 700 voles infected with plague found in the Kan-Nan district of China in April 1952, including on rooftops and haystacks, soon after a US aircraft had been seen passing overhead. In another, the following month a young woman is said to have found a straw package containing clams on a hillside close to Dai-Dong, North Korea. She took the shells home and cooked them; by the end of the following day, both the woman and her husband were dead from cholera. A search of the hillside, close to a reservoir turned up several more packages of the infected clams. The Commission stated its belief that the aircraft that had been heard circling before the packages were found had been attempting to drop the clams into the reservoir to infect it. Some of the species of insects found during the conflict had never been seen in this part of Asia before – the illnesses they brought with them were equally unheard of.

‘In light of these and similar facts, the report concluded, the Commission has no option but to conclude that the American Air Force was employing in Korea methods very similar to, if not identical with, those employed to spread plague by the Japanese during the Second World War.”

The use of germ warfare is a violation of the Geneva conventions. Just as The People’s Republic of China, in 1950, desperately needed peace to rebuild the country after the ravages of the Japanese invasion and the decades-long savage crimes committed by the fascist regime of the US supported Chiang Kai-chek, the Korean War began. In the United States, the psychotically anti-communist tyranny of Senator Joseph McCarthy was destroying freedom of thought in America, and destroying millions of lives of U.S. citizens during the Anti-Communist scourge that shamed and devastated America’s so-called democracy. It was obvious and inevitable that the Chinese thought the Americans were using Korea as a base to invade the People’s Republic of China, and return America’s murderous anti-communist puppet, Chiang Kai-chek, to power in China.

The noble widow of China’s first President, Sun Yat-sen, the gifted and idealistic Soong Ching-ling, denounced US intervention in Korea, and exposed America’s use of germ warfare in Korea and North-East China. As a delegate to the Congress of Peoples for Peace in Vienna, alongside Berthold Brecht, Jean Paul Sartre, Ilya Ehrenburg and other illustrious delegates convened from throughout the world, Madame Sun Yat-sen accused the United States of using Korea as a springboard in America’s attempt to destroy the communist government of the People’s Republic of China, in order to restore the hated Chiang Kai-chek to power.

Madame Sun Yat-sen was a paragon of moral and intellectual integrity, and her denunciation of the US use of germ warfare against Korea and China is the most courageous, damning and incriminating testimony exposing the genocidal intent toward North Korea, and toward the People’s Republic of China. Had the US been able to “roll back” communism in China, it would have required a genocide of the largest population in Asia. As they say, it is not over until it is over, and the UN sanctions against tiny North Korea are perpetrating the genocide of the Korean people, one of the few remaining socialist countries in the world. What will be next?

Where is United Nations transparency and accountability? The impact of UN sanctions on the people of the DPRK, currently marked “confidential” and only available to the sanctions committee secretariat in the Department of Political Affairs, should be immediately made public. Failing that, the possibility cannot be excluded that the UN is complicit in genocide.

Valerie Amos’ presentation showed photos of what appeared to be North Korean infants. She informed us that these were not newly born infants, but in fact were at least two years old each, and as a result of malnutrition were unable to develop beyond the stage of infancy. UN sanctions against North Korea are abetting the extermination of the North Korean people. That country has chosen a different way of life, and a different economic system. The west is determined to engineer the failure of their economic system. Where is the famous democracy – freedom of thought, freedom of choice in all of this? In view of its tragic history, as the victimized springboard for the US attempt to attack and destroy the communist government in China, North Korea’s desperate determination to defend itself with nuclear weapons is understandable. After all, in the 1950’s the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and General MacArthur took a remarkably promiscuous, and,
indeed, psychopathic attitude toward the use of atomic bombs as aggressive weapons against Korea and the People’s Republic of China, countries which had never attacked the United States, and clearly had no intention to do so..

It is deplorable that the “international community” refuses to acknowledge all this. It is likely that if the UN made public those “confidential” files, which may conceal multiple scandals and possibly crimes, the “international community” and their collaborative media would be forced to confront the truth about deceptive talk of “democracy” and “human rights.”

The attempt to identify and equate democracy with capitalism and predatory neo-liberalism is an Orwellian prevarication that has been used to manipulate too many people to their own detriment, and for too long..

  “The bomb will not start a chain reaction in the water, converting it all to gas and letting all the ships on all the oceans drop down to the bottom. It will not blow out the bottom of the sea and let all the water run down the hole. It will not destroy gravity. I am not an atomic playboy.”

– Vice Admiral William P. Blandy, Bikini bomb test commander, July 25, 1946 

 When the military scientists of an advanced technological nation deliberately explode their largest nuclear bomb (and 66 others) over Pacific islands and use the opportunities to study the effects of radiation on nearby native people, which group is best described as “savage”?  And what should you call the people who prevent a documentary about these American post-war crimes from reaching a wide audience in the United States?  

 “Nuclear Savage” is a recent documentary film that explores American nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands, 1946-1958, and particularly the secret Project 4.1: an American experiment in exposing Pacific Islanders to overdoses of radiation – deliberate human radiation poisoning – just to get better data on this method of maiming and killing people. The public broadcasting establishment has spent more that two years keeping this story off the air.

The preview reel of “Nuclear Savage” includes a clip with a stentorian newsreel announcer reporting on the American treatment of Marshall Islanders in April 1957, and explaining to his predominantly American audience: 

 “The Marshallese caught by fallout got 175 roentgens of radiation. These are fishing people, savages by our standards, so a cross-section was brought to Chicago for testing. The first was John, the mayor of Rongelap Atoll…. John, as we said, is a savage, but a happy, amenable savage.”

So how serious is 175 roentgens (assuming the measurement is accurate)? In 1950, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) recommended that human radiation contact should not exceed 0.3 roentgen per week for whole-body exposure [“roentgen” as a measure of radiation dose has since been replaced by “rem” (for “roentgen equivalent man”)]. It’s not clear how long the Marshallese were exposed to radiation levels of 175 roentgens – or on how many occasions – but that amount was more than 580 times what was then considered a safe weekly exposure.  

 Public broadcasting paid for this film – and is now suppressing it 

In 2005, director Adam Horowitz started work on “Nuclear Savage,” his second documentary about the American military use and abuse of the Marshall Islands. Horowitz has a contract with Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC), which describes itself as “a national non-profit media arts organization” whose mission “is to support, advance and develop programming that enhances public recognition of and appreciation for Pacific Islander history, culture, and society. In keeping with the mission, PIC provides funding for new programs primarily for public television. We work with independent producers to create and distribute programs about Pacific Islanders that bring new audiences to public television, advance issues and represent diverse voices and points of view not usually seen on public or commercial television.”

Among its efforts to carry out this mission, PIC supported the production of “Nuclear Savage” with $100,000 passed through to Horowitz from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Horowitz delivered a completed, 87-minute version of “Nuclear Savage” in October 2011 – the same month it was nominated for Best Environmental Film at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival. That was also the same month various public broadcasting officials started putting up roadblocks to keep the movie off the air, a delaying tactic that continues into 2014. FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) reported the story in detail as “Nuclear Stalemate” in Extra!

One of the first requests, from Leanne Ferrer at PIC, was for a shorter version at 60 minutes. Rather than have Horowitz cut his film by 27 minutes, PIC hired its own editor and controlled the editing process. Part of Ferrer’s concern reportedly was a sort of politically correct reverse racism, her objection that there was too much of Horowitz in the film and he’s not a Pacific Islander. The shorter version has less of Horowitz. And the PIC web site pitches “Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1” as a “portrait of Pacific Islanders struggling for dignity and survival after decades of intentional radiation poisoning by the U.S. government.”

PIC summarizes the film this way: “Some use the term ‘savage’ to refer to people from primitive cultures, but nuclear experimentation pushed savagery to new levels. In the 1950s, the U.S. conducted 67 atomic and hydrogen bomb tests in the Marshall Islands, vaporizing islands and exposing entire populations to fallout. The islanders on Rongelap received near fatal doses of radiation from one test, and were then moved onto a highly contaminated island to serve as human guinea pigs for 30 years. Filmmaker Adam Jonas Horowitz spent 25 years collecting material – including original footage, archival clips, and unpublished secret documents – to create this unforgettable and ironic portrait of American cynicism, arrogance, and racism. Winner of festival awards in Paris, Chicago and Mexico City.”

PBS canceled scheduled broadcasts without public explanation  

In 2013, PBS World Channel scheduled “Nuclear Savage” for four showings on May 28 and 29 – and PBS executive Tom Davison emailed Horowitz in advance, saying “Congratulations on this airing.” When the airing failed to take place, without explanation from PBS, Horowitz was unable to get a straight answer from Davison, Ferrer, or anyone else in the public broadcasting food chain, although PIC executive Amber McClure wrote with Orwellian deceit: “Your program has not been declined by PBS.”

Outright rejection by PBS is required by Horowitz’s contract in order for him to regain independent control of his film. In December 2013, in his original letter to the editor of the Santa Fe Reporter, Horowitz summed up his experience to date this way:

“PBS ‘World Channel’ executives accepted, scheduled and advertised