The neocolonial scramble for Africa has truly begun with the installation of the National Transitional Council in Libya.

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda at a news conference in Kampala on October 16. He said the despatch of U.S. troops to deal with the rebel outfit Lord’s Resistance Army was not meant for combat but rather liaison and support in the area of intelligence.

THE installation of the National Transitional Council (NTC) government in Libya by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) could signal the beginning of an open neocolonial scramble for Africa. Suspicions about such a blueprint were first aroused when President George W. Bush set up the United States-Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2008, months before demitting office. The demand for a permanent American military footprint on the African continent had come from right-wing think tanks that enjoyed great clout in the corridors of power during the eight years of the Bush presidency.

A background paper prepared in 2002 by the influential right-wing think tank Heritage Foundation had called for the creation of a military command for the continent so that “direct military intervention”, using air power and naval forces, could become possible to “protect vital U.S. interests” in Africa. Such interventions, its authors wrote, would not necessitate the deployment of U.S. forces on the ground. Such wars, the paper proposed, should be fought with the help of local allies. The U.S. Defence Department’s African Contingency Operation Training and Assistance Programme is deeply involved in training the armies of many countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana, America’s close allies in the region.

The authors of the paper clearly spelt out what they meant by vital interests: “With its vast natural and mineral resources, Africa remains strategically important to the West, as it has been for hundreds of years, and its geostrategic significance is likely to rise in the 21st century.” According to the National Intelligence Council, “the United States is likely to draw 25 per cent of its oil from West Africa by 2015, surpassing the volume imported from the Persian Gulf”, the Heritage Foundation study reported. The Bush administration’s Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Walter Kansteiner was quick to echo the views expressed by the foundation. He went on record stating that Africa’s oil had “become a national strategic interest”.

Libya is among Africa’s biggest oil producers. China was importing 11 per cent of Libyan oil for its domestic needs before the NATO-instigated civil war in the North African state started seven months ago. It could now find itself locked out of new oil contracts. Top functionaries of the NTC have said that China, Russia and Brazil would be frozen out of contracts.

Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA. A file photograph.

These countries had criticised the misuse of the United Nations Security Council resolution on Libya to bring about a regime change. China gets around one-third of its oil from Africa. The French newspaper Liberacion recently published documents revealing the NTC leadership’s offer of 35 per cent of Libya’s oil production to France in return for its “total and permanent support” for the new government. Gene Cretz, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, recently blurted out that “oil is the jewel of the crown of Libyan national resources”.

President Barack Obama, who famously claimed that he was leading the war in Libya “from behind”, used precisely the tactics prescribed in the Heritage Foundation report. AFRICOM played an important behind-the-scenes role in planning the U.S./NATO bombing of Libya. U.S. Special Forces teamed up with its counterparts from France and the United Kingdom to arm and organise the ragtag rebel forces into a fighting unit. It was the coordinated air strikes, coupled with an amphibious operation led by the U.S., that finally led to the fall of Tripoli. South African President Jacob Zuma complained bitterly that it was NATO bombing that prevented the African Union (A.U.) from hammering out a negotiated settlement to the civil war in Libya. More than 200 prominent Africans wrote an open letter in August criticising the recourse to “militarised diplomacy to effect regime change in Libya”.

In early October, a few days before the fall of Sirte and the killing of Muammar Qaddafi, Obama ordered the despatch of 100 U.S. Special Forces troops to Uganda. He said the decision to send the troops was taken to help the U.S.’ ally in the region, Yoweri Museveni, defeat the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which was engaged in a guerilla war with the central government in Kampala. Obama told Congress that the troops were deployed in order “to assist African forces in the removal of Joseph Koni [the LRA leader] and the LRA leadership from the battlefield”. Museveni, one of Africa’s long-serving authoritarian rulers, was a one-time friend of Qaddafi. Qaddafi had extended support to the rebel army that brought Museveni to power in 1986. After coming to power, Museveni became one of the trusted allies of the West and was regularly feted at the White House.

At America’s bidding, Uganda has sent peacekeepers to Somalia under the A.U. umbrella to keep the Islamist Al Shabab militia out of the capital, Mogadishu. Two years ago, Ethiopia despatched its troops to Somalia to drive away the Islamic Courts Union government from Mogadishu after it had managed to unite most of the country. In the face of immense resistance, the Ethiopian troops were withdrawn, but the country was left in chaos again. Al Shabab exploited this and now poses a potent threat to U.S. interests in the region.

In the middle of October, Kenya replicated what Ethiopia did. Encouraged by the U.S., it sent its troops deep into Somalia to fight Al Shabab. The U.S. is providing air support to the Kenyan military. The Kenyan invasion has already led to terror attacks in Kenyan cities. Only a handful of African states have bothered to send peacekeepers to the war-ravaged country, viewing the conflict there as one mainly instigated by the West.

Observers of the African scene are suspicious of the Obama administration’s sudden decision to send Special Forces to Uganda. Obama has also indicated that the U.S. forces will be sent to the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, ostensibly to help the governments there to crush rebel groups. AFRICOM provides billions of dollars worth of equipment to the armies of countries that are friendly to the U.S. The U.S. military is already helping counter-insurgency operations in Mali and Niger, where the marginalised Tuareg ethnic group has raised the banner of revolt. “With Libya secure, an American invasion of Africa is under way,” observed John Pilger in a recent article.

The LRA, which operates along Uganda’s borders with Southern Sudan and the Central African Republic, was never considered a serious threat in the 24 years that it has been active. It is said to have around 500 fighters, many of them child soldiers. Many African commentators suspect that the real goal of the Obama administration is to start preparing the ground for a permanent military base for AFRICOM on the continent. AFRICOM is currently headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, but it has a major military facility in Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, a small state located in the Horn of Africa. In all, 1,800 American troops are permanently based there.

In the island state of Seychelles, the U.S. has secretly deployed MQ-9 Reaper drones. These “hunter-killers” have been deployed extensively over Somalia. African civil society is very much opposed to U.S. military involvement in Africa. No African country has until now openly offered permanent basing facilities, although there were reports in the media that Liberia and Morocco were among the countries that were being short-listed by Washington. The regional grouping, Southern African Development Community (SADC), has refused to give any kind of support or access to AFRICOM.

Military analysts say that from the strategic point of view, land-locked Uganda provides the ideal location for a permanent U.S. military base on the African continent. With Libya already under NATO stewardship, the U.S. can regain control over the military bases it was ousted from following the removal of the pro-Western King Idris. It has been a long-term U.S. goal to occupy the strategic crossroads between the Mediterranean and the Arab world. The death of Qaddafi has made this goal an achievable reality. The next step is to ensure the U.S. military’s stranglehold on Central Africa to control the region’s hydrocarbon and other mineral resources. Uganda’s neighbours, such as Congo and Southern Sudan, are rich in mineral resources, which include diamonds and precious metals such as gold, platinum, lithium and cobalt.

According to oil industry experts, Uganda has huge untapped oil resources. A UPI report in March said: “East Africa is emerging as the next oil boom following a big strike in Uganda’s Lake Albert Basin. Other oil and gas reserves have been found in Tanzania and Mozambique and exploration is under way in Ethiopia and war-torn Somalia.” The region is rich in rare earths, which remain largely unexploited. Currently, China has a monopoly over rare-earth production located within its borders.

The Economist had noted that “several jealous western governments and companies want to stall China’s advance into the Congo basin, with its vast reserves of minerals and timber”. The big economic and diplomatic stride made by China on the African continent has caused a lot of heartburn in Western capitals. China has been focussing on Africa since the 1960s. China started investing heavily there ever since it began to emerge as a big economic power. Its investments in 2010 were estimated at $47 billion. Beijing’s policy of giving liberal “no-strings-attached” loans to African nations has won it a lot of goodwill. But with Chinese labour and capital moving into the continent in a big way, the resentment that has been building up in some countries has come in handy for the West.

In Libia il business armato

November 2nd, 2011 by Manlio Dinucci

Terminata l’Operazione Protettore Unificato, mentre la Nato «continua a monitorare la situazione, pronta ad aiutare se necessario», si è aperta in Libia la corsa all’oro anche per le imprese occidentali minori. Esse si affiancano alle potenti compagnie petrolifere e banche d’investimento statunitensi ed europee, che hanno già occupato le posizioni chiave. La Farnesina si è impegnata a «facilitare la partecipazione delle piccole e medie imprese italiane alla costruzione della Libia liberata». Ma, già prima, era giunta a Tripoli una delegazione di 80 imprese francesi e il ministro della difesa Philip Hammond aveva sollecitato quelle britanniche a «fare le valige» e a correre in Libia. Vi sono grossi affari in vista, dopo che la Nato ha demolito lo stato libico. E c’è il forziere aperto su cui mettere le mani: almeno 170 miliardi di dollari di fondi sovrani «congelati», cui si aggiungono gli introiti dell’export petrolifero, che possono risalire a 30 miliardi annui. C’è però un problema: il clima di tensione che rende pericoloso per gli imprenditori muoversi nel paese. La prima preziosa merce da vendere in Libia è quindi la «sicurezza». Se ne occupa tra le altre la compagnia militare britannica Sne Special Projects Ltd: la dirige un ex parà che ha lavorato come contractor in Israele, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan e Nigeria, assistito da ex ufficiali dell’intelligence militare, delle forze speciali e delle forze anti-sommossa e anti-terrorismo. La compagnia, che precisa di essere presente a Bengasi, Misurata e Tripoli fin dal maggio 2011, ha aperto, in una lussuosa villa della capitale a 15 minuti dall’aeroporto, un residence per Vip presidiato da contractor britannici e libici superarmati, cui si aggiunge un centro degli affari sempre nella capitale. La tariffa del «taxi» con cui li trasporta dall’aeroporto è un po’ cara, 800 dollari invece degli usuali 5. La macchina è però un pesante blindato, collegato via satellite  a un centro operativo a Tripoli e uno in Gran Bretagna, a loro volta collegati al sistema di sorveglianza Nato. In partnership con la Trango Limited, compagnia britannica specializzata nell’assistenza a imprese in aree ad alto rischio, la Special Projects fornisce, in particolare alle piccole e medie imprese del settore energetico, una gamma completa di servizi: informazioni di ogni tipo (corredate da foto e video), libero transito di persone e materiali sotto scorta ai confini con l’Egitto e la Tunisia, contatti interpersonali nel Cnt per concludere vantaggiosi affari. Servizi analoghi forniscono le compagnie statunitensi Scn Resources Group e Security Contracting Network, e varie altre installatesi in Libia. Ad usufruirne sono non solo le imprese occidentali, in corsa per accaparrarsi i contratti più lucrosi prima che arrivino di nuovo i cinesi, ma anche il Dipartimento di stato Usa e altri ministeri occidentali, per le operazioni in Libia sia dirette che tramite organizzazioni «non profit» da loro pagate. Il vuoto lasciato dal crollo dello stato libico, sotto i colpi della Nato, viene così colmato da una rete sotterranea di interessi e poteri. E, in caso di pericolose reazioni popolari, c’è sempre il blindato della Special Projects che permette di raggiungere velocemente l’aeroporto.

“Absolutism, tempered by assassination.” (Ernst Munster, 1766-1839.)

Oh well, time to move on folks, Nothing to see here. Now there is an oil man, who spent many years in the United States as “interim Prime Minister”, shoed in, in Libya (i) it’s time to go a-toppling again.

Don’t mention the dead, distraught, destroyed, the mass graves and mass murders, by NATO and their ethnic cleansers at ground level, near certainly tutored by their Special Services. There’s oil to pump, rebuilding contracts to be divvied out, a bit of looting – and near certainly no accounting for all Libya’s frozen assets, being minimally returned in dribs and drabs. Remember Iraq’s missing billions? Another day, another precedent, another grand theft?

And that well worn propaganda hand book, battered, dog eared, but trusty, is back.

It has, in fact, seemingly, been leafed back to over twenty years ago, to August 1990, to be exact. Then, Kuwaiti babies had been torn from their incubators, thrown to the hospital floor and left to die, by Iraqi soldiers, said a “nurse” claiming to work in Kuwait – backed by Amnesty International.(ii, iii) It was entirely untrue, but it was arguably the tipping point, justification for the coming 42 day bombardment and the first ruination of Iraq, which was “Operation Desert Storm.”

In August this year, it was alleged, babies in Syria were left to die in their incubators, after President Bashar al Assad had the electricity turned off. Pictures showed pathetic little souls, inexplicably blood smeared – and huddled.

However, some meticulous digging by Ali Abunima (iv) throws up many questions. Certainly the doctored picture was earlier in an Egyptian publication, showing overcrowded conditions in the country’s paediatric units – the babies in that one,were pink and healthy, nevertheless.

As the fog of disinformation again obscures much, it is worth remembering that President Assad trained as a doctor, worked as one for some years, then did further post-graduate training, qualifying as an opthamologist at London’s prestigious St Mary’s Teaching Hospital group. He had planned medicine as a career, which was cut short when his brother, designated his father’s heir, was killed.

Accusations of targeting babies towards a man who had devoted years to studying medicine, should surely at least be questioned. Further, in an atmosphere of unrest, it would hardly win over the dissenters.

On 25th October, Amnesty produced a thirty six page Report(v) largely taken from media outlets, and non-attributed videos, “documenting” gruesome abuses in Syria’s hospitals, including a variation on babies ripped from incubators, “ … at least one unconscious patient having his ventilator removed …” before being taken away, an unnamed “health worker” had said.

Four days after the Report was published Amnesty had organized a demonstration in London: “No more Blood – No more Fear”, which rallied outside the Syrian Embassy.

Chris Doyle, Director of the Council for Arab British Understanding told demonstrators that: “Even donkeys have become targets of the Syrian army” and that water had been cut off because the government claimed it had been polluted by halucigens. The cynic might think that had all the validity of claims Colonel Quaddafi gave Viagra to his troops – and Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

However, Doyle shone one light, demanding that “human rights organizations” be allowed in to the country. If they have relied on second hand sources for their Report, has it any more validity than Kuwait’s incubator babies?

Franklin Lamb thinks not and has produced a detailed piece as to why, from seemingly unrestricted, recent, first hand experience in Syrian hospitals.(vi.) He also has telephone numbers of medical practitioners wishing to invite Amnesty researchers to see for themselves.

Syria, it seems, is in the regime change frame. Today, it has been revealed by a; ‘’a senior diplomat … and a former UN investigator”, who, of course, “both spoke on condition of anonymity”, that Syria has a previously unknown nuclear power plant. (vii.)

“Suspicions” are that Syria worked with Abdul Qadeer Khan, “father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, to acquire nuclear weapons technology.”

The buildings “closely” resemble those of Libya’s when they were trying to build nuclear weapons. However, before you head for the fall out shelter or reach for a 2,000 lb., bunker buster:

“The complex, in the city of Hasakah, now appears to be a cotton-spinning plant, and investigators have found no sign it was ever used for nuclear production.”

Israel, of course, bombed a “suspected” nuclear plant in 2007, legality, as ever, redundant.

Syria is also currently being accused of laying mines along the Lebanese border, to prevent insurgents, crossing it. Perhaps it is, who knows? If so, a way to discourage, might be to put out a hand of friendship. If threatened sufficiently most might resort to protective measures.

It is surely coincidence that the unrest and the focus on Syria began shortly after the arrival of the first US Ambassador to the country since 2005.

Ambassador Robert Ford, arrived in Damascus on 16th January this year. By 31st January, there was a call for a “Day of Rage” on 4th February. As Michel Chossudovsy has pointed out (viii) the Ambassador has an interesting cv., diplomacy possibly not being one of his towering strengths. He is currently temporarily withdrawn, having been pelted with tomatoes.

Syria has been under embargo since 2004. The US has frozen all the country’s assets. Yet Syria opened it’s borders to two million Iraqi refugees, after the 2003 invasion, with no recompense. Libya had one hundred thousand. The displaced keep fleeing and dying, the region lives in constant fear as to who is the next target.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International Director Kate Allen, cites Syrian diplomats as representatives of “repression and injustice.”

Perhaps we need to look a little closer to our Western home, for that.

Incidentally, 31st October, the day Libya was declared liberated and NATO’s “mission” over, was the anniversary of the US, UK and France’s bombing of Egypt in 1956, to force the re-opening of the Suez Canal. On the same day in 1968, Lyndon B. Johnson announced the cessation of the bombardment of North Vietnam.

Unending decades of lies dressed as liberation, and asset grabs as tyrants who terrorize.


iii. See also, Chapter 2: “Selling Babies”:

Gaddafi died a martyr, murdered by the war criminals of US, France, Britain and NATO led by President Obama, President Sarkozy and Prime Minister Cameron. Although NATO spearheaded the military campaign against Libya, the strategic planning was prepared by US Africa Command (AFRICOM).

AFRICOM was set up to further the US interest in Africa, more precisely the Global Military-Industrial-Financial Complex’s interests in securing and plundering the resources of Africa. Behind AFRICOM’s curtain are the hidden hands of Zionist Israel.

The first victim of this agenda is Libya.

When the UN Security Council sanctioned the attack on Libya under the guise of imposing a No-Fly zone to protect the alleged killing of civilians by Gaddafi who was fighting an armed rebellion supported and financed by the abovementioned war criminals, Russia and China could have vetoed the resolution and thwart the destruction and plunder of Libya.

But these two permanent members of the Security Council caved in and abstained.

China has a major presence in Libya and her intelligence services would have known whether Gaddafi enjoyed wide popular support from his people. The Libyan government was stable and successful in implementing development projects for the benefit of the people. It was the most developed country in the entire African continent and Gaddafi’s efforts were duly recognised by the UN weeks before the barbaric aerial bombardment of Libya.

China invested billions of dollars in Libya.

Yet, without a whimper of resistance at the highest diplomatic level, she evacuated 30,000 Chinese workers from Libya and left in a hurry. China and Russia knew in advance that there would be an undeclared war against Libya. Everything was up for grabs!

Even after the full invasion and wanton destruction of Libya, China and Russia made perfunctory and lame criticisms of NATO’s criminal actions. Surely, it cannot be said that Russia and China were misled by the war criminals that they had no intentions to destroy Libya and oust Gaddafi and to seize the oil resources. They must have known that war preparations were in place long before the matter came before the UN Security Council. That was their excuse in not vetoing the UN Security Council resolution authorising NATO’s military action. A load of rubbish.

So why did China and Russia cave in? This is the US$ trillion question.

It reminds me of the story of a man who owed a debt of gratitude to two rival gangs. The man was asked by the more notorious gang to assassinate the leader of the other gang but the attempt failed. When confronted by the victim as to the reasons to be the hired killer, the man replied that he owed a greater debt of gratitude to the other gang leader.

Libya under Gaddafi welcomed China with open arms, but China turned a blind eye to the destruction of Libya because she owed a greater debt of gratitude to Zionist Israel and the global financial elites for past favours, as well as narrow selfinterests. China had too much toilet paper money (US Federal Reserve notes) and the sale of Libyan oil in the intended gold dinar by Gaddafi would literally destroy the US dollar. This cannot be allowed! Period!

The same can be said of Sarkozy and Tony Blair and his copycat Cameron. They all turned their backs on Gaddafi for the same reasons.

It must be said that the leading members of the African Union were courageous enough to make a stand against the invasion and wanton destruction and did not extend “recognition” to NATO’s quisling regime until forced by circumstances to do so. Members of the Arab League and the OIC were cowards and opportunists and they pride themselves as righteous Muslims. But Qatar must be singled out for special condemnation. Can anyone still believe that Al-Jazeera is the voice of the Arab / Muslim communities? Until exposed as the barking dog of NATO, Al-Jazeera was the major “Arab” propaganda tool to demonise Gaddafi and to misrepresent the actual situation in Libya – an armed rebellion financed by war criminals. Al-Qaeda played a leading role in the armed rebellion.

Iran, Syria and Lebanon should learn from this experience and the mistakes of Gaddafi. They are the next targets of the Zionists / Neo-Conservatives global agenda. If they entertain any thoughts of making compromises with these war criminals, by abandoning their right of self-defence and to be armed with every conceivable weapon, including nuclear weapons, they will end up like Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi. In defending their country, all options should be on the table in like manner as the war criminals have declared in their war agenda against them. They will collapse one by one like dominoes if they strategise otherwise!

To the leaders of countries under immediate threat as well as those on the fringes, your previous strategy of inviting China and Russia to invest on preferential basis and to purchase massive amount of arms to counter-balance the threat of the Zionist Anglo-American Axis will no longer be effective because US$ billions worth of investments and military purchase count for nothing when US$ trillions worth of foreign reserves are at stake.

The investing countries will run for cover for short-term preservation and will not be willing to commit their resources for a military conflict unless and until they themselves are under a direct threat. This is a given. To the leaders of China and Russia – this is your wake up call. Stop strutting like a peacock just because you have abundant dollar reserves. The Federal Reserve Notes are all toilet papers and will not be bargaining chips when the deal placed on the table is – surrender or war.

There is still time yet to mount a Global Counter-Alliance against this fascist triad of Israel / US / UK war criminals.

As for Iran and Turkey, stop aspiring to be regional powers, as you cannot hope to achieve this grand vision so long as Zionist Israel continues to wag the US dog. Be realistic. Without nuclear weapons as a deterrent, and revolutionary social forces on your side, global public opinion cannot be mobilised to first isolate and then annihilate your enemies. Turkey cannot take comfort that as a member of NATO it will be immune to the machinations of the war criminals.

The countdown has started.

The new normal and preferred mode of regime change is to use the pretext of Humanitarian Intervention as a cover for outright military intervention.

In the African continent, it will be U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) as the Planner and NATO as the military Bully.

In the next escalation in the Middle East and South Asia wars (i.e. the overspill from Afghanistan to Pakistan), U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) will be the Planner and the combined might of NATO, Israel and Arab Lackeys will provide the military manpower.

In South-East Asia and the Pacific, U.S Pacific Command (USPACOM) will lead and coordinate all military campaigns.

In South America, the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) will plan and lead, with narco states providing the ground troops.

In all of the above war scenarios, mercenaries and special forces will be in the forefront in fomenting sectarian wars and religious armed conflicts.

2012 will usher in The World War of the 21st Century – the perverse solution of the war criminals in their futile attempt to overcome the final phase of the Global Financial Tsunami!

Matthias Chang is a distinguished Malaysian lawyer, author and adviser to former Prime Minister Dr. Tun Mahathir Mohamad

The political scientist Mark Duffield has observed that the effect of Western intervention in Iraq has actually been to “demodernize” that country.[2] This is ironic given that the military campaigns against Iraq and Afghanistan have been accompanied by narratives of the West’s obligation to modernize backward nations. Nowhere is the truth of Duffield’s observation clearer than in the story of what has happened to Iraq’s education system, especially its higher education system. Western intervention has ended up destroying Iraq’s universities, formerly among the best in the region, as functional institutions. “Up to the Early 1980s, Iraq’s educational system was considered one of the best in the Middle East. As a result of its drastic and prolonged decline since then, it is now one of the weakest,” concludes a 2008 official report.[3]

Iraq has a long and venerable tradition as a center of higher learning. As Eric Herring observes, “Iraqis tend to see themselves proudly as coming from a society that was the cradle of civilization in its ancient contributions to the development of writing, legal systems, libraries, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, technology and so on.”[4] Mosul houses the world’s oldest known library, which dates to the seventh century. And

In 832 the construction of the Byat al Hikma (house of Wisdom) established the new capital [Baghdad] as an unrivaled center of scholarship and intellectual exchange. The tradition of research there brought advances in astronomy, optics, physics and mathematics. The father of algebra, Al Khawarizmii, labored among its scrolls. It was here that many of the Greek and Latin texts we accept as the foundation of Western thought were translated, catalogued, and preserved. And it was from Baghdad that these works would eventually make their way to medieval Europe and help lift that continent from its benighted, post-Roman intellectual torpor.[5]

For all his other faults, Saddam Hussein made education a priority of his regime. He invested heavily, especially in the earlier years of his rule, in an education system that was expansive, well resourced, globally connected, secular, and open to women (who, by 1991, constituted 30% of all university faculty).[6] In the words of Business Week, Saddam Hussein “used Iraq’s oil revenues to turn his nation into what many consider as the most modern and industrialized country in the Middle East. Iraq’s universities and hospitals… became the envy of its neighbors.”[7] Under Saddam Hussein Iraqi literacy levels rose from 52% in 1977 to 80% in 1987 – about the same level as in Singapore.[8] Between 1968 and 1980 the number of Iraqis attending university doubled, and university education (often including study abroad) was free. Admittedly, Iraqi universities favored Baathist party membership over academic excellence in their hiring decisions and the curriculum barred critical discussion of Baathist ideology, but the system cranked out large numbers of competent doctors, scientists and engineers who joined a burgeoning middle class and anchored development in Iraq. Iraq’s universities had a good enough reputation in the region to attract many students from surrounding countries – the same countries that are now hosting the thousands of Iraqi professors who have fled the country. [9]

The Arc of Decline

The journalist Thomas Ricks argues that we should not see the U.S. wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003 as separate, but as two bookends in a long war against Iraq that bounded the structural violence of a decade of sanctions with two intense eruptions of kinetic violence.[10] Taking this perspective, we see that the near collapse of Iraq’s educational system after the 2003 invasion was the culmination of a process of long decline that began with the Iran-Iraq War and intensified under the international sanctions regime following the 1991 Gulf War. Under the oil-for-food program, Iraqis lived under conditions of extreme austerity and requests for imported materials, including educational materials, had to be approved by foreign bureaucrats who denied many of them. While food staple purchases were usually allowed, the education system was starved of resources. H.C. Von Sponeck, the former UN Humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, reports that the UN allocated $11.20 per year for education of each of Iraq’s nearly 5 million youths in the first phase of sanctions, increasing this to $20.80 later. Explaining that Iraq was not allowed to build new schools or to replace equipment and supplies, he describes the situation this created for Iraq’s elementary school children:

Class ‘holes’ would be a more apt description of the place where they spent their days. It was a world of stench from the poor sanitary conditions, overcrowded classrooms, broken furniture, and usually long walks from home to school and back. There was a lack of just about anything that primary school children in Europe and Iraqi children before 1990 would have taken for granted: not infrequently they had no pencils, no paper, no erasers, no textbooks, no schoolbags…. Most classrooms lacked blackboards; those which existed were in such poor shape that they could hardly be used. Chalk was not readily available unless parents gave it to their children for the teachers’ use.[11]

In these circumstances literacy levels by 1998 had fallen from 80% to 50% — about the same as in New Guinea. Twice as many girls as boys dropped out of school in the 1990s, reversing Iraq’s trend hitherto toward gender equality, and girls’ literacy rates fell still lower, to 45%.[12]

The universities fared no better. It was illegal to mail Iraqis educational materials (even sheet music!) from abroad, and the UN sanctions committee denied over 70% of the requests for equipment and materials from Iraqi universities.[13] So Iraqi university journal and book collections stopped at the beginning of the 1990s, equipment was not replaced once it wore out, academic salaries declined precipitously, as did the number of Iraqis attending university. Study abroad was largely out of the question. The Christian Science Monitor reported that “lab supplies dwindled, broken equipment could not be replaced, and printing presses ceased operation. Entire classrooms of science students would gather around one piece of equipment… For select professors and administrators who supported the Baath Party, salaries rose. But the majority of professors had to take second jobs as tutors or start small businesses.”[14]

The Christian Science Monitor profiled one professor who, seeing his monthly salary fall from two thousand dollars in the 1980s to fifty dollars in the 1990s, left for an academic job in Yemen so he could support his four children. In the meantime, “as more professors fled, Hussein cracked down. He prohibited foreign travel and refused to issue certificates of graduation, documents needed to apply for jobs abroad. Still, many professors escaped by bribing people in the passport office… A student would report yet another ghost lab – students sitting at desks with no professor. Weeks might pass, until someone drove to the professor’s home and discovered it empty. Rumors would start to spread about whether those missing had been detained by the Baath Party, or had escaped. Eventually, a letter with no return address would arrive, typically with news that the professor was teaching in Jordan or England.”[15]

According to Iraq’s Association of University Teachers, 10,000 professors left during the twelve years of sanctions.[16]

The faculty who left were often replaced with inexperienced faculty and PhD students or with those who owed their positions to party membership or kin relationships with Saddam Hussein. Standards fell as party membership increasingly became the prerequisite for advancement, and professors could even be beaten for failing the offspring of high-ranking party members.[17]

Over the Edge

One can imagine an alternative universe from the one we inhabit where the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 would have led to a felicitous reversal of fortune for Iraq’s universities. In this alternative universe Iraq’s universities would have been purged of ideological hacks from the Baath Party, especially in high administrative positions, but competent faculty would have been left in place regardless of past party membership; Iraqi faculty who had fled abroad over the previous two decades would have returned to rebuild the universities where they started their careers; decimated university libraries would have been repopulated with books, laboratories restocked, and the Iraqi academy would have been wired for the twenty-first century; Western universities would have stepped in with generous exchange programs and offers of mentorship; and genuine freedom of inquiry would have flourished.

According to at least one account,[18] in the months immediately following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime some Iraqi intellectuals had high hopes of inhabiting such a world. Allowed to read and debate books that had been banned for decades, including Marxist and Shi’ite texts, free at last from the anti-intellectual bullying of the Baath Party, the sanctions regime over, they imagined a renaissance of the Iraqi academy.

It was not to be.

The first calamity was the looting. With U.S. troops guarding only the Ministry of Oil and the Ministry of the Interior, despite earlier pleas from the Pentagon’s Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) to protect cultural heritage sites in Iraq from anticipated looting, a plague of human locusts descended unchecked to pick clean and destroy libraries, museums and university buildings. Some stole precious artefacts and documents for sale on the black market; others seemed to be systematically destroying documentary evidence of the Baathist regime’s excesses; still others were, for whatever reason, just burning to the ground the landmarks of the old Iraq. The result was wholesale destruction of a nation’s cultural patrimony in libraries and museums that was at least on a par with the Serbian destruction of Bosnian cultural heritage in Sarajevo that the U.S. had condemned a decade earlier. When the same happened in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld simply said that “stuff happens,” and “freedom is untidy.”[19]

Here is what happened to Iraq’s leading libraries in April 2003:

The Central al-Awqf Library, founded in 1920, contained 45,000 rare books and over 6000 Ottoman documents. When arsonists set fire to the building on April 13 or 14, 2003, frenzied staff members managed to save 5250 items, including a collection of Korans. Everything else was destroyed. Furthermore, all 175,000 books and manuscripts at the library of the University of Baghdad’s College of Arts were destroyed by the fire, the entire library at the University of Basra was reduced to ash, and the Central Public Library in Basra lost 100 percent of its collection. According to Fernando Baez, director of Venezuela’s National Library and author of A Universal History of the Destruction of Books, up to one million books and ten million unique documents have been destroyed, lost or stolen across Iraq since 2003.[20]

The same authors describe the fate of Iraq’s National Library and Archives (NLA): “The assault on the NLA wiped out roughly 25 percent of the book collection, about 60 percent of the Ottoman and royal Hashemite documents, and virtually all Baathist records… “In one word, it was a disaster on a national scale,” said Dr. Saad Eskander, director general of the NLA. “These losses cannot be compensated. They formed modern Iraq’s historical memory.””[21]

A similar fate befell Iraqi universities, which were stripped clean not only of cultural artefacts like books but also of the basic infrastructural items that enabled them to function at all. In the words of one observer, the Washington Post’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran, “Looters began ransacking Mustansiriya University on April 9, 2003, the day Hussein’s government collapsed. By April 12, the campus of yellow-brick buildings and grassy courtyards was stripped of its books, computers, lab equipment and desks. Even electrical wiring was pulled from the walls. What was not stolen was set ablaze, sending dark smoke billowing over the capital that day.”[22]

Shortly after this spasm of destruction the U.S. compounded the damage to Iraqi universities with its ill-conceived campaign of DeBaathification. On May 16, 2003, his fourth day in Iraq, President Bush’s viceroy in Iraq, Jerry Bremer, issued Coalition Provisional Authority Order number one on the DeBaathification of Iraqi society.[23] Overruling warnings from the CIA station chief and from General Jay Garner, the man he replaced as the President’s emissary, that the consequences for Iraqi society and for the occupation promised to be disastrous, Bremer’s order banned the Baath Party from public life in Iraq and stipulated that government employees who were members of the party would lose their jobs. This applied not only to the most senior Baath Party officials but to tens of thousands of lower ranking party members as well. Controversial exile Ahmed Chalabi, blamed by many for misleading U.S. leaders about Iraqis’ likely reaction to an American invasion, was put in charge of the Higher National de-Baathification Committee.

U.S. media coverage of this decision has focused on the chaos it caused in government ministries, suddenly bereft of many experienced administrators, and the way in which it instantly recruited some of the most powerful people in Iraq as sympathizers to the embryonic insurgency. Less well known is the havoc wreaked on universities, which overnight lost their administrators as well as large swathes of their faculty. Many had joined the Baath Party not out of ideological conviction but because, like going to church in the American South, it was what you did to get along whether you were a true believer or not. An article on Iraq’s universities in the Christian Science Monitor a few months after the DeBaathification edict referred to “at least 1,000 applications from Baathists seeking their jobs back… Some argue that they had to join to protect their family or advance careers. Professors who never joined the party are petitioning on behalf of colleagues. They fear that the nation can’t afford to lose so many of its best scholars.”[24]

The American with final authority over their appeals, Andrew Erdmann, a 36 year-old who had earned his PhD in history three years earlier, had almost no experience as a professor, none at all as a university administrator, and spoke no Arabic. He was officially U.S. Senior advisor to the Ministry of Education but, since the Minister of Education was under arrest, was effectively Minister of Education in the early days of the occupation. The freelance journalist Christina Asquith invites us to take in that situation:

Let’s pause for a minute. Sit yourself down at the mahogany table with the 22 Iraqi university presidents. Men in there [sic] 50s and 60s, who all have PhD’s from top universities in England, Scotland and America; erudite, accomplished intellectual men. Due to the US invasion, they had just lost their offices, libraries and research equipment. The textbooks were burned and stolen. US soldiers occupied the dormitories. The Ministry building itself was burned to the ground, along with every file, computer and desk. In May, Amb. Paul Bremer instituted the DeBaathification Policy, which forced the firing of all the top university administrators and professors because they were Baath Party members. Half of the intellectual leadership in academia was gone. Now, in a haphazard selection process, they were given 36-year old Drew Erdmann. He controlled the budgets, the staffing, the curriculum, and the physical renovation.[25]

It took the U.S. government until September 2003 to appoint a more senior educationalist as senior advisor to the Ministry of Education. They picked John Agresto, a friend of the Rumsfeld family who had worked for Lynne Cheney at the National Endowment of the Humanities, was a notable right wing partisan in the American “culture wars” of the 1980s, and had gone on to become President of St. Johns College, a small college in New Mexico known for its conservative great books approach to education. Like Erdmann, he spoke no Arabic. In a pattern Rajiv Chandrasekaran[26] documented for other top jobs in the Coalition Provisional Authority, he lacked the obvious experience and skills for the job and was selected for his connections in the Republican Party. When a Washington Post reporter asked him what books he had read to prepare for his job, he said none. The man now in charge of education in Iraq said, “I wanted to come here with as open a mind as I could have. I’d much rather learn firsthand than have it filtered to me by an author.”[27] Arriving in Iraq with no expertise on the regional society and culture, he told colleagues that he planned to create a modern university system with the latest electronic technology. He also hoped to establish comparative religion programs where the bible would be taught.[28]

One of Agresto’s first tasks was to assemble a wish list and budget. The UN and World Bank had estimated it would cost almost $2 billion to “ensure minimal quality standards of teaching and learning.”[29] Having done his own evaluation of the situation, Agresto requested $1.2 billion to rejuvenate Iraq’s 22 major universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges with a combined enrolment of 240,000 students.[30] He hoped that this would also enable the establishment of sixteen Centers for Advanced Study in fields such as biotechnology, information science and conflict resolution. Given that the U.S. Congress appropriated over $90 billion for FY2004 in two supplemental funding bills to finance military operations and reconstruction in Iraq, and the UN/ World Bank team suggested a target of $36 billion for Iraqi reconstruction in 2003, Agresto’s $1.2 billion was not a large request. To put it in further perspective, it is not much more than the $900 million annual budget of one American university, George Mason, where I teach.

In the end Congress gave Agresto less than 1% of what he asked for. He requested $1.2 billion and got $8 million, of which he had to surrender $500,000 for administrative overhead. He was told the remaining $7.5 million would have to go through federal procurement channels. When he left Iraq in June 2004, by which time he was describing himself as “a neoconservative who’s been mugged by reality,”[31] these funds had still not been released for use. Before he left, hearing that Paul Bremer was assembling a supplemental request for another $20 billion for reconstruction in Iraq, Agresto asked Bremer to include $37 million for Iraq’s collapsing universities. Without explanation, Bremer refused to give the universities a single cent.[32]

In the end the largest capital resource for Iraqi higher education was $25 million that had been set aside through USAID for American universities (yes, AMERICAN universities) that wanted to partner with Iraqi universities. Rajiv Chandrasekaran gives the following account of two of the partnerships that had been approved under this program:

The University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture had been selected to partner with the University of Mosul’s College of Agriculture to provide advice on “academic programs and extension training.” Not only was Mosul’s near-alpine climate far from tropical, but the college had been burned to the ground by looters. What it needed was a new building…

A team from the State University of New York at Stony Brook won a $4 million grant to “modernize curricula in archaeology” at four of Iraq’s largest universities – schools where students were sitting on the floor because they lacked desks and chairs.

Chandrasekaran quotes Agresto as saying of this partnership program, “it was like going into a war zone and saying, Oh let’s cure halitosis.”[33]

Into the Abyss

From 2004 onwards Iraq was increasingly enveloped in sectarian violence as Sunnis and Shi’ites engaged, often with the tacit collusion of the Americans, in campaigns of sectarian cleansing. In this process of sectarian mobilization and terror urban neighborhoods where Sunnis and Shi’ites had formerly lived cheek by jowl with one another became increasingly monochromatic, as Sunnis chased Shi’ite families out of “their” neighborhoods, killing those who remained, and vice versa.[34]

Increasingly, universities were among the few spaces where sectarian mixing continued to take place. In a situation where the Baathist regime’s restrictions on political activity on campus had recently been lifted, where administrative structures at universities were collapsing, and the surrounding society was being engulfed in sectarian violence, the co-presence on campus of Sunnis and Shi’ites (and a few Christians) was a recipe for violence. Moreover, the principled commitment of some in university communities to cosmopolitanism and interfaith tolerance made universities themselves targets for fundamentalists. Female students, especially if they were not wearing the “hijab,” were also targets for intimidation and threats by fundamentalist militias on campus, and female students became disproportionately likely to drop out of university.[35] (Thus one consequence of an invasion imagined by many liberals in the West as, partly, an errand to rescue oppressed Muslim women was to force young women to drop out of college and don traditional Islamic attire). One student at Baghdad’s Mustansiriyah University told a British journalist that “in lectures, students even start chants with the party they support and the lecture turns to chaos.”[36] And an American visiting professor told this story: “”One Iraqi professor told me how one day, a group of thugs — young men with guns — showed up in her office, demanding that she add certain things to her curriculum… She was teaching a very traditional humanities syllabus, with Heidegger and Kant, and they demanded she include writing of some radical Shia cleric. Needless to say, she complied.””[37] Nor were such threats unusual: “Scores of professors throughout Iraq have encountered bullets sent through internal mail, death threats tacked to their office doors, or anonymous voices on the phone suggesting they not show up for work anymore. The situation has become so grave that the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research recently announced that university researchers may come to campuses just twice a week to reduce the risk of being attacked.”[38]

Then there were the killings. Muhammad al-Rawi, the President of Baghdad University. Abdul-Latif al-Mayah, a political science professor and human rights advocate. Isam al-Rawi, a geology professor and head of the Association of Iraqi lecturers who was compiling statistics on assassinated Iraqi academics when he himself was assassinated. Khalid Nasir al-Miyahi, a professor of neurosurgery at Basra University. Youssef Salman, a Sunni who chaired the engineering department at the predominantly Shi’a Basra University, shot in his car. Amal Maamlaji, a Shi’a IT professor and women’s rights advocate at the predominantly Sunni al-Mansour University, killed with 163 bullets. Two bombings at Mustansiriya University, one by a female suicide bomber, which killed seventy and forty people respectively. And so on.[39] Exact numbers of the dead are hard to know with certainty. In 2006 the Washington Post estimated that 160 professors had been killed and 1500 had fled the country.[40] A few months later the Washington Times was reporting that 280 professors had died and 3,250 had fled the country, while the New York Times put the number of dead at 200 and USA Today put it at 300.[41] France24 put the number of faculty murdered between 2003 and 2006 at 380.[42] But the Chronicle of Higher Education put the number of dead faculty higher, at “250 to 1,000,” saying that 78 had been killed at the University of Baghdad alone.[43]

In such a situation, anything approximating normal teaching and research became impossible. The British journalist Peter Beaumont reported that “Professors and parents have told the Guardian they no longer feel safe to attend their educational institutions. In some schools and colleges, up to half the staff have fled abroad, resigned or applied to go on prolonged vacation.” For those who remained, standards were relaxed to risible levels. Beaumont quoted a science professor as saying, “Education here is a complete shambles. Professors are leaving, and the situation – the closed roads and bridges – means that both students and teachers find it difficult to get in for classes. In some departments in my institute attendance is down to a third. In others we have instances of no students turning up at all.”[44]

Those faculty who could became part of the great middle class exodus from Iraq under American occupation. The Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration estimated that over 30 percent of Iraq’s professors, doctors, pharmacists and engineers emigrated between 2003 and 2007.[45] Most went to Syria and Jordan. In the words of Newsweek, there has been “a veritable exodus of white-collar professionals who, along with their riches, are the vertebrae of any stable society. Totaling well over 2 million–10 percent of Iraq’s population and the largest displacement of Arabs since the Palestinian-refugee crisis after the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 through 1967–it ranks alongside the great human dislocations of Africa and the Indian Subcontinent.”[46]

In just two decades, then, Iraq’s universities, formerly among the best in the Islamic world, were put through the shredder. Completely unmade. Sitting in air-conditioned offices, surrounded by books, the fiber-optic canyons of the web just a mouse-click away, it is hard for American academics to grasp.

Coda: American Universities and the “war on terror.”

And what of American universities? What relationship, if any, did they have to these processes? Were there costs, or benefits, to them in all this?

As has been well documented, war has often been good for the bottom line of American universities. They have benefited from an influx of research funds but, being far removed from the battlefields of actual wars, have not been physically damaged in war. In the cold war in particular three universities – MIT, Stanford, and Johns Hopkins – rose to greatness largely on the back of defense funding. This funding underwrote the construction of expensive new research facilities, the hiring of new faculty, and the expansion of graduate training in fields such as physics, engineering, computer science, psychology and area studies. It also redirected intellectual development within those fields in directions favored by the military – toward nuclear and particle physics, inertial guidance research, cybernetics, mind control, and peasant insurgency, for example.[47] Thus, while war has unbuilt Iraq’s universities, it has built up American universities.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, in the context of a newly declared “global war on terror,” large quantities of money became available for universities working on initiatives of interest to the Department of Defense and the newly established Department of Homeland Security. The table below shows the sharp increase in the dollar amount within the Defense Department’s budget allocated for research and development after 9/11. While we must remember that the Defense Department is not the only federal agency that supports military research and development, it is the third largest source of funding for university research after NIH and NSF, distributing about $1 billion of research money every year.[48] In 2010 another $49 million in research and development money went to universities from the Department of Homeland Security. This military funding went to about 350 universities in the U.S..

Much of the Department of Homeland Security’s funding allocated to universities went to support “Centers of Excellence.”[49] These included the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events at the University of Southern California,[50] the Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment at Michigan State and Drexel Universities,[51] the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism led by the University of Maryland,[52] the National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic event Response at Johns Hopkins University,[53] the Center of Excellence for Awareness and Location of Explosives-Related Threats led by Northeastern University and the University of Rhode Island,[54] the National Center for Border Security and Immigration at the University of Arizona,[55] and the Center for Command, Control and Interoperability at Purdue University and Rutgers University.[56]

In parallel, the intelligence agencies began to establish Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence (ICCAEs) at various universities. These ICCAEs offered the intelligence community a way to outsource analysis of emergent global trends to cheaper academic labor, often graduate students, and to establish networked relationships with students who could be recruited for long term intelligence careers on graduation. Participating institutions were also required to “conduct pre-collegiate outreach in their geographic regions,” and ICCAE sponsors what USA Today calls “summer ‘spy camps’ aimed at attracting high school students to study intelligence.” In other words the intelligence community is using its university partners to do outreach into high schools on its behalf as well. [57]

Whereas cold war military funding largely went to elite private universities, the new centers aimed at assisting in the “war on terror” have mainly been established at state universities, often not highly ranked state universities, that are hungry for resources to replace the funding cut by state legislatures over the last decade.

In 2004-5, the first ICCAE centers were established at California State University in San Bernardino, Clark Atlanta University, Florida International University, Norfolk State University, Tennessee State University, Trinity Washington University, University of Texas El Paso, University of Texas-PanAmerican, University of Washington, and Wayne State University. Three of these are historically black universities. Between 2008-2010 more ICCAE centers were created at Carnegie Mellon, Clemson, North Carolina A&T State, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Florida A&M, Miles College, the University of Maryland, University of Nebraska, University of New Mexico, Pennsylvania State University, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

The U.S. government has also, following the anthrax scare of 2001, appropriated large sums of money for bioterrorism preparedness, some of which has gone to establish or rebrand university centers. These include the Institute for Biosecurity at St. Louis University; the South Central Center for Public Health Wareness at Tulane University; the Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment at Michigan State and Drexel Universities; the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburg; the Bioterrorism and Disaster Preparedness Center at Thomas Jefferson University; the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center at Kansas State University; and the National Center for Biodefense at George Mason University. George Mason now awards graduate degrees in biodefense, and it has built a level 3 biosafety lab that is off-limits to foreign citizens and, indeed, to anyone whose name is not on an approved list.

The U.S. national security state has also established funding competitions, such as PRISP and Minerva, for individual faculty and students seeking financial support for research or programs of study. PRISP (the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program) is a sort of ROTC for spies.[58] First established in 2004 with $4 million as a pilot program, it is said to have funded 100-150 students in its first two years. The Obama Administration has made it a permanent program. Undergraduates and graduates can get funding for up to two years of study provided they agree to work for the intelligence agency that sponsored them for one and a half years for each year of study. If they drop out or have second thoughts about the program, they must repay their tuition fees and stipend at a very high rate of interest.[59] The intelligence agencies refuse to make available a list of students who have received PRISP scholarships, the universities they have attended, or the subjects they have studied. In most cases PRISP students are instructed not to tell faculty and other students that they are funded through PRISP.

The Minerva Initiative, funded at $50 million over five years, was announced in 2008. It funds academic research on projects relevant to U.S. national security and the “war on terror.” While expressing particular interest in projects on either Chinese military policy or the relationship between Islam and terror, the call for proposals also invited researchers to propose out-of-the-box projects that Pentagon program officers might not have anticipated. Grantees are publicly named, and they free to publish their findings in the open literature, but they are expected to attend summer seminars with other grantees in Washington DC, where they would be available to the Pentagon. The latter was designed to help “social science capacity-building” within the Department of Defense.

The contrast between the fate of Iraqi and American universities over the last decade could not be starker. Occupying different structural relationships to the same war, the one has been starved of resources, many of its buildings destroyed, and its faculty fired, assassinated, or forced into exile while the other has seen an influx of resources for new buildings, new research programs, and new hires. But it would be a mistake to conclude from this that all the costs were born by Iraqi universities while all the benefits accrued to American universities. There have been costs to American universities too, but they have not been so much financial as existential. They are therefore harder to perceive, but they are no less real for this.

Many of these costs are opportunity costs. These are inherently counterfactual and are hard to quantify. They require a little imagination if they are to come into focus. Take the example of public health. The public health community saw an opportunity in the post-9/11 concern with bioterrorism, and they secured a considerable infusion of resources into public health. Yet the result has been a partial militarization of public health that has done nothing to make the public more healthy. While the U.S. ranks 36th among nations in life expectancy,[60] and has considerable public health problems with diabetes, heart disease, neonatal disease and food-borne disease, problems that kill large numbers of Americans ever year, the preoccupation with bioterrorism (which has so far killed five Americans) has skewed resources toward preparedness for attacks with plague, anthrax, tularemia, and smallpox. The U.S. is funding research into and preparedness for the threat that excites Hollywood scriptwriters while ignoring the mundane threats that are killing Americans every day.[61] Universities have become conduits for a funding choice that is killing Americans by default.

Then there are the costs for students who indenture their futures to funding agencies at a young age, before they have had the opportunity, traditionally at the core of the college experience, to explore different fields and decide upon a vocation. Betrothed by debt to a career for an intelligence agency, they may discover too late that they find cryptography dull and have little aptitude for it – or that, following the anthropology or political science class that turned their world view upside down, they no longer believe in what the CIA is doing in Afghanistan.

So, alongside the heart-rending stories from Iraq, a country that has been catastrophically de-modernized by the shortsightedness of the “best and brightest” Americans, I count as the more subtle and hidden costs of war scenarios such as these: the student who majors in homeland security though she would have preferred to become a teacher; the nanotechnology researcher at MIT who dreamed of working on nanotechnology for green energy, but ends up having to work for MIT’s $50 million Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology[62] because that is where the nanotechnology funding is; the anthropologist who would have written an important book on Islamists’ use of technology in Egypt, but lost his funding opportunity to NSF budget cuts and was uncomfortable applying for money from the Pentagon’s Minerva (in part because his human subjects in Egypt would not have talked to someone funded by the Pentagon); a laboratory that could have done good work preventing a food-borne illness outbreak that killed 10 children, but ended up working on anthrax instead; and the history department that decided not to hire the best person for the job, despite their teaching charisma and stellar publication record, because she had publicly criticized the American attack on Afghanistan and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and the chair feared getting on the wrong side of organizations like Campus Watch that have thrived in the atmosphere of ideological orthodoxy following 9/11.

Two countries, several universities, one war. The costs have been disproportionately born by the Iraqis, whose suffering demands acknowledgement. But war damages its victors too, albeit in ways that are harder to see. A final accounting of the costs of the war in Iraq is not yet possible but, when the day comes, it will include the military instrumentalization and deformation of the best university system in the world as well as the criminal destruction of maybe the best in the Middle East.

Hugh Gusterson teaches at George Mason University


[1] In writing this piece I have been indebted to my fellow members of the Eisenhower Project and to Eric Herring and Mark Duffield, two key members of the Bristol School of International Security Studies. My thanks also to Haifa Zangana for her insights into life in occupied Iraq.

[2] Mark Duffield, “The Fortified Aid Compound: The Exhaustion of the Liberal Project?” Paper presented at workshop, “After Intervention,” Bristol University June 21, 2011. See also Mark Duffield, “Risk Management and the Fortified Aid Compound: Everyday Life in Post-Interventionary Society” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 4(4):453-74 (2010).

[3] Ministry of Planning and Development, Iraq National Report on the Status of Human Development (2008) available at  

[4] Eric herring, “Neo-Liberalism, Securitized Non-Development and Resistance: Iraq in Global Context,” International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies in press.

[5] R. Lossin, “Iraq’s Ruined Library Soldiers On,” The Nation, April 9, 2008,  

[6] Saddam Hussein’s regime also guaranteed a year of maternity leave to women who worked for the government, and it invested heavily in daycare centers to enable women to have careers. With 30% of its university faculty female, Iraq in 1980s was doing better than Princeton University in 2009 (see Jason Jung, “U Faculty is 27% Female,” Daily Princetonian December 2, 2009. For a detailed examination of women’s historical and contemporary participation in Iraq’s education system, see Souad Al-Azzawi, “Decline of Iraqi Women Empowerment Through Education Under the American Occupation of Iraq 2003-2011,” paper presented at International Seminar on the Situation of the Iraqi Academics, Ghent University, Belgium, March 9-11, 2011,  

[7] Teddy Casino, “Why Iraqis Love Saddam,” Business Week April 4, 2003.

[8] H.C. Von Sponeck, A Different Kind of War: The UN Sanctions Regime in Iraq (Berghahn, 2006), 64.

[9] Keith Watenpaugh, “Between Saddam and the Occupation: Iraq’s Academic Community Struggles for Autonomy,” Academe September/October 2004; James DeFronzo, The Iraq War: Origins and Consequences (Westview Press, 2010), 77.

[10] Thomas Ricks, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (Penguin, 2006). On structural violence – the slow death or underdevelopment of populations by the opportunity structure they are forced to inhabit – see Johan Galtung, “Violence, Peace, and peace Research,” Journal of Peace Research No. 6 (1969):167-191.

[11] Von Sponeck, 61-2.

[12] Von Sponeck, 166. Famously, Lesley Stahl, interviewing Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on CBS’s Sixty Minutes on May 12, 1996, said that sanctions had led to the deaths of half a million children in Iraq and asked if that was tolerable. “We think the price is worth it,” replied Albright, not contesting the number. (A video clip of the interview can be found at [accessed July 29, 2011]).

[13] Von Sponeck, 63.

[14] Christina Asquith, “Students Say, ‘Welcome Back, Professor,” Christian Science Monitor December 9, 2003. See also Christina Asquith, “Righting Iraq’s Universities,” Christian Science Monitor August 3, 2003.

[15] Asquith, “welcome Back…”

[16] Howard LaFRanchi, “Iraq Losing its Best and Brightest,” Christian Science Monitor, September 21, 2004.

[17] Keith Watenpaugh, “Between Saddam and the Occupation.”

[18] Watenpaugh, “Between Saddam and the Occupation.”

[19] Otterman et al, Erasing Iraq,187.

[20] Otterman et al, Erasing Iraq, .189

[21] Otterman et al, Erasing Iraq,.189-90. A comprehensive list of the damage inflicted by looters on Iraq’s libraries can be found at

[22] Rajiv Chandrasekaran, “An Educator Learns the Hard Way; Task of Rebuilding Universities Brings Frustration, Doubts and Danger,” Washington Post June 21, 2004.


[24] Asquith, “Righting Iraq’s Universities.”

[25] Christina Asquith, “What the U.S. Didn’t do in Iraq Education,” Education News July 28, 2004 []

[26] Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City (Vintage Books, 2006).

[27] Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life, 189. See also Watenpaugh, “Between Saddam and the Occupation.”

[28] Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life, 187-191

[29] Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life, p.190.

[30] Riadh Al-Mahaidi, “Iraq Campuses Rebuild in Hope,” The Australian October 13, 2004.

[31] Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life, 6

[32] Chandresekaran, Imperial Life, 318

[33] Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life, 318.

[34] See Marshall Sahlins, “Iraq: The State-of-Nature Effect, Anthropology Today, June 1, 2011, pp.26-31; Derek Gregory, The Biopolitics of Baghdad: Counter-insurgency and the Counter-City, Human Geography No. 1 (2008),  

[35] Peter Beaumont, “Iraq’s Universities and schools Near Collapse as Teachers and Pupils Flee,” The Guardian October 5, 2006.

[36] Oliver Poole, “Student Extremism Brings Violence and Chaos to Iraqi Universities,” Daily Telegraph, January 9, 2006.

[37] Zvika Krieger, “Iraq’s Universities Near Collapse,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 18, 2007.

[38] Krieger, “Iraq’s Universities Near Collapse.”

[39] Many of these killings are discussed in Clea Caulcutt, “Iraq’s Deadly Brain Drain,” France24, January 12, 2008, For more on al-Rawi, the professor tracking the campaign of assassinations until it claimed him too, see

[40] Sudarsan Raghavan, “In Iraqi Colleges, Fear for an Already Shrunken Realm,” Washington Post, November 16, 2006.

[41] James Palmer, “Bombing Latest Blow to Colleges,” Washington Times, January 19, 2007; Damien Cave, Ahmad Fadam and Diana Oliva Cave, “Cheated of Future, Iraqi Graduates Want to Flee,” New York Times June 5, 2007. Charles Crain, “Approximately 300 Academics Have been Killed,” USA Today, January 17, 2005.

[42] Clea Caulcutt, “Iraq’s Deadly Brain Drain.”

[43] Krieger, “Iraq’s Universities Near Collapse;” Katherine Zoepf, “Iraqi Academics are Marked for Death, Human Rights Groups Say,” Chronicle of Higher Education July 7, 2006.

[44] Beaumont, “Iraq’s Universities and schools Near Collapse.”

[45] Krieger, “Iraq’s Universities Near Collapse.”

[46] Stephen Glain, “Iraq’s Quiet Exodus,” Newsweek, April 16, 2007.

[47] See Rebecca Lowen, Creating the Cold War University: the Transformation of Stanford. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997); [47] Stuart Leslie, The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial-Academic Complex at MIT and Stanford (NY: Columbia University Press, 1994); Michael Aaron Dennis, “’Our First Line of Defense’: Two University Laboratories in the Postwar American State, Isis No. 85 (1994):427-55; Donald MacKenzie, Inventing Accuracy: A Historical Sociology of Nuclear Missile Guidance (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990), “Missile Accuracy: A Case Study in the Social Processes of Technological Change,” in Wiebe Bijker, Thomas Hughes and Trevor Pinch (eds.), The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology (Cambridge, MA 1987:195-222); David Kaiser, How the Hippies Saved Physics (W.W. Norton, 2011).

[48] 2009 JASON Report, S&T For National Security,  

[49] The full list of these centers for excellence can be found at  








[57] The official ICCAE website is See also Richard Willing, “Intelligence Agencies Invest in College Education,” USA Today November 27, 2006. The anthropologist David Price has been following the ICCAE program closely. See David Price, “Silent Coup,” Counterpunch April 9-11, 2010 ( Price also appeared on Democracy Now to speak about ICCAE:  

[58] Useful sources on PRISP are;; David Glenn, “Cloak and Classroom,” Chronicle of Higher Education March 25, 2005; Hugh Gusterson and David Price, “Spies in Our Midst,” Anthropology News 46(6), September, pp.39-40; David Price, “The CIA’s Campus Spies,” Counterpunch March 12-3, 2005,  

[59] David Price, “CIA Skullduggery on Campus,” Counterpunch March 21-2, 2005,  


[61] George Avery, “Bioterrorism, Fear, and Public Health Reform: Matching a Policy Solution to the Wrong Window,” Public Administration Review No. 64(2004): 275-88.


The Occupy Wall Street movement is a great and momentous event. It is a fresh wind of resistance. We’re protesting multiple outrages of this system, not just one. Occupy Wall Street is throwing up big questions about the source of these outrages and how to bring about a radically different and better world. And it’s created space for us to talk about all this! So I’m really happy to be here with you

My brief here is titled “Are the Corporations and Banks Corrupting the System, or is the Problem the System of Capitalism.”

Of course, people are right to be outraged by what the corporations and banks do.

*Look at what BP did in the Gulf of Mexico last year: it was responsible for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.

*People are right to be outraged by the banks which profited off financial operations that resulted in millions being evicted from their homes. And when Goldman-Sachs smelled the rot of subprime lending, they moved into food commodity futures–contributing to the rise in global food prices and greater hunger and starvation for millions in the Third World.

*You know, Steve Jobs recently died, and he’s being eulogized for his “pursuit of the dream of perfectionism.” But there would be no Steve Jobs, there would be no Apple–without a global network of exploitation. I’m talking about a corporate supply chain managed from the Silicon Valley. I’m talking about contract manufacturers like Foxconn that assemble the iPhone and iPad in China–at factories where people are forced to work 60 hours a week, where they are poisoned by hazardous chemicals, denied basic rights, and where several workers in desperation committed suicide.

Corporations and Banks: Part of Something Bigger

But, you know, if we hate what the corporations and banks are doing, and we want to stop it, we have to look at what they are part of. They’re part of something bigger than themselves, a system of capitalism that operates according to certain dynamics.

Think about this: particular corporations and banks don’t exist forever: they’re bought and sold. They merge, like JP Morgan and Chase, or Texaco and Chevron. They go bankrupt as a result of competition and crisis, like Lehman Brothers. They move in and out of different product lines, like what happened to IBM and the PC, or Apple moving into Google territory.

A transnational corporation or bank, with huge global assets, embodies the economic system we live under. Transnational corporations are units for the production and accumulation of profit, like Toyota or Exxon-Mobil assembling cars or drilling for oil. In the case of banks, they’re units for maximizing financial profits from far-flung operations. A corporation is an instrument for the organized exploitation of wage labor. It is an instrument through which markets are penetrated and cornered, through which resources are grabbed, like the oil companies going into the Arctic. These corporations and banks are instruments–but not the only instrument–of ownership and control by the capitalist class.

The point I’m making is that these corporations and banks are pieces–and not the only pieces–on a global chessboard of capitalist-imperialism. And this chessboard, this brutal playing field, operates according to certain rules of the game. It’s like basketball or soccer: there are rules of the game. If a basketball player kicked the ball like a soccer player to get it down-court, the whole game would break down. Let’s look at those rules:

Capitalism Operates According to Certain Rules

RULE #1: Everything is a commodity and everything must be done for profit. Everything under capitalism is produced in order to be exchanged, to be sold. Things have to be useful to be sold. But what’s actually produced, and how it’s produced, is measured and motivated by profit: whether it’s housing, computers, medicine, energy, whatever. And profit comes from the exploitation of billions of human beings on this planet.

Criminally, under capitalism, the environment–like the rainforest in Ecuador where Texaco drilled for oil–is something to be seized and plundered for profit.

RULE #2: Capitalist production is privately owned and driven forward by the commandment “expand or die.” Exxon-Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, or Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Chase are fighting each other for market share. They are driven to extend investments and cheapen costs, not mainly due to personal greed, but because if they don’t expand and keep accumulating profit and more profit for their war chests, if they don’t more ruthlessly exploit labor on a world scale, they won’t stay alive–they’ll go under or be gobbled up.

Competition runs through this whole system. It’s beat or be beaten. When BP was cleaning up the oil spill, you didn’t see other oil companies coming to share expertise and oceanographic equipment. No, these other companies wanted to take advantage of the situation–Shell and Exxon-Mobil were reportedly “licking their chops” at the possibility of gobbling up BP. This “expand or die” compulsion leads to bigger and more powerful units of capital.

RULE #3: Is the drive for global control and dominance. Capitalism is a worldwide system. There’s a great divide in the world between the imperialist and oppressed countries. On this global playing field corporations and banks compete for global influence and control, like the oil corporations going off the coast of West Africa or Nigeria. But the most intense form of rivalry is between contending world powers for strategic position and advantage–over regions, markets, and resources. This has led to wars of conquest, like what the U.S. did in the Philippines, or the French in Algeria, or the U.S. invasion of Iraq. And this drive for global control and domination led two world wars.

So these are the three rules of the game: profit based on the exploitation of labor; expand or die; and the drive for global dominance. And whether we are talking about a corporation or a bank, they are guided by these three rules–and both play essential and functional roles in this system of capitalist production, a system of worldwide exploitation.

Bob Avakian in BAsics gives this vivid definition of capitalism-imperialism:

“Imperialism means huge monopolies and financial institutions controlling the economies and the political systems–and the lives of people–not just in one country but all over the world. Imperialism means parasitic exploiters who oppress hundreds of millions of people and condemn them to untold misery; parasitic financiers who can cause millions to starve just by pressing a computer key and thereby shifting vast amounts of wealth from one place to another. Imperialism means war–war to put down the resistance and rebellion of the oppressed, and war between rival imperialist states–it means the leaders of these states can condemn humanity to unbelievable devastation, perhaps even total annihilation, with the push of a button.

“Imperialism is capitalism at the stage where its basic contradictions have been raised to tremendously explosive levels. But imperialism also means that there will be revolution–the oppressed rising up to overthrow their exploiters and tormentors–and that this revolution will be a worldwide struggle to sweep away the global monster, imperialism.”

Capitalism and the State

Those three economic laws that I’ve laid out are at the root of the capitalist-imperialist system. But the preservation and extension of this system requires a state power. You see, capital is private and competing. But the capitalists of a given country–like the U.S. or France or Russia or Germany–they have common interests. The state power in France acts to safeguard the common strategic interests of French capital–and so too in Japan or Russia.

The capitalist class dominates the economy. It controls the major means of production–land, raw materials and other resources, technology, and physical structures, like factories). The government is a key part of a state power that is controlled by the capitalist class, no matter who is president. But this state plays a special role in society. It’s not acting in the interests of this or that corporation or bank. It acts to protect and expand the economic system and to keep the whole society functioning as a capitalist society. What are the key things the state does?

*It holds a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. It deploys the police and courts and prisons to suppress any resistance from below. We saw in the 1960s how the government moved to crush the Black Panther Party. Here in NYC, the police arrest antiwar demonstrators, they moved against Occupy Wall Street demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge, and each year they stop and frisk hundreds of thousands of Black and Latino youth–as part of exercising social control over a marginalized and potentially rebellious section of the population.

*The state taxes and spends to create infrastructure. It provides a central banking system. It sets laws for the exploitation of labor power. It funds education and social programs to maintain the labor force and social stability. It subsidizes strategic industries, like nuclear power. It negotiates treaties and agreements with other powers. All this serves the interests of capital.

* The U.S. imperialist state acts to safeguard a global empire. It builds up a huge military machine of death and destruction, and has established over 700 bases in over 100 countries to enforce political conditions that are favorable to investment and to suppress resistance in other parts of the world.

*The state acts to legitimize the system. It holds elections which serve to put a stamp of “popular approval” on the policies of the capitalist ruling class. You know…the idea of “consent of the governed.” There is a common misconception that the voting system in the U.S. is basically good but that the corporations and banks have more money to influence things. Well, yes, they throw their money around. But the basic truth is this: you don’t control the system through elections…the system controls you through elections! The agendas and choices are set by the ruling class.

The U.S. government and state power have functioned consistently, from the time of the founding of the Republic and the Constitution, to serve the expansion and consolidation of a national market. The U.S. government and state power have functioned consistently to protect a property rights system based on the control of producing wealth by a small capitalist class that exploits wage laborers.

This state power has functioned consistently to serve the rise and extension of a global empire that rests on exploitation, plunder, and war: from the theft of land from Mexico to the annexation of Puerto Rico and the occupation of the Philippines to Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan.

I’ve talked about this expand-or-die dynamic of capitalism. You have a situation where huge banks and corporations are each and all seeking to gain advantage and position… each and all chasing after profit opportunities, investing as though there were no limit. Under capitalism, there’s no society-wide planning or coordination. There’s anarchy of social production, which leads to crisis. And when the system goes into deep economic crisis, the state acts to protect the system from collapse. This is what FDR did during the New Deal.

When economic crisis hit in 2008-09 the state under Obama acted to bail out and shore up the banks–not because these banks had “special influence.” The bailout was designed to prevent a huge breakdown of the system and to protect the financial institutions that are key to the dominant position of the U.S. in the world economy.

This was a bailout of the capitalist system. They’re doing that at a terrible cost to humanity, at great cost to not only the poor and exploited in this society but to broader sections of people. And at great cost to the ecology of the planet.

Now people have to choose between rent and healthcare…and that’s a choice that no one should have to make. And young people don’t know if they’re going to have any kind of future worthy of human beings.

I started by posing question: are corporations and banks corrupting the system, or is the problem the system of capitalism? My answer is that capitalism-imperialism is the problem–and we need a revolution to create a new system fit for humanity. And if you want to find out about how a socialist society would actually function, you need to check out the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

Raymond Lotta is a political economist and a writer for Revolution newspaper ( Lotta can be contacted at: [email protected]

November 2, 2011 – Associated Press recently reported that Libya’s rebel militants have named a new “prime minister” this week. AP depicts the latest unelected Western proxy, Abdurrahim el-Keib, as a progressive academic who has spent decades in the United States teaching at Alabama University and leading the local Muslim community. Mentioned briefly as a “former employer,” however, is the Petroleum Institute, based in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and sponsored by British Petroleum (BP), Shell, France’s Total, the Japan Oil Development Company, and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. El-Keib is listed as a “Professor and Chairman” in his Petroleum Institute profile which also describes extensive research conducted by him sponsored by various US government agencies and departments over the years.

Photo: And so begins the farce that is Western “democracy.” One corporate-fascist puppet, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, steps down, another, Abdurrahim el-Keib, takes his place. In reality, it is NATO-states and their corporate sponsors that now determine Libya’s fate.
In essence, el-Keib, like his predecessor Jalil, is Libyan in name only and has been working for Western corporations, governments, and institutions for decades. Like Jalil, or Egypt’s Mohammed ElBaradei, el-Keib is yet another agent of Western interests masquerading as an indigenous leader in a foreign land. That his rise to power was paved by thousands of NATO strike sorties in a 7 month military operation spearheaded by the United States and at the cost of tens of thousands of Libyan civilians makes his ascension to power in Libya ever more a desecration of Libya’s sovereignty.

Meanwhile, the London Telegraph reports NATO-backed rebels turned their weapons on each other yet again in Tripoli, with hundreds of fighters exchanging fire near a hospital after one armed faction tried to murder a patient they had injured the night before. The report also cites a growing list of atrocities being committed by rebel fighters before noting the “unprecedented” nature of NATO’s “victory” in Libya.

While the corporate media attempts to plea ignorance over the growing body of evidence suggesting indeed both NATO and the rebels committed the very atrocities they accused Qaddafi of committing as a pretext for their half-year long murder spree, it has been well documented since fighting began in February that the rebels, far from being pro-democratic fighters, were actually Al Qaeda affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) militants with a long history of terrorism and barbarism. It has also been extensively documented that these rebels have verifably killed US and British troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 10 years, as noted by a West Point Combating Terrorism Center report.

Despite this, US representatives, including Senator John McCain, have personally met with LIFG militants praising them as heroes who have “inspired the world.” Alarmingly, McCain made his remarks in Tripoli even as rebels publicly declared their intention to purposefully cut off supplies and medical aid to the population in Sirte to admittedly “starve the city into submission” with NATO assistance – a grievous war crime.

Words cannot describe the injustice being brought upon Libya, the level of duplicity it was carried out with, and the flagrant looting the nation is now being subjected to by NATO’s member states, facilitated by the latest unelected, decades-long servant of Western interests now masquerading as the nation’s new “interim prime minister.”

With the new campaign by Palestine to gain the world’s official recognition 63 years after the fact, BDS activities in Europe and North America — the main holdouts — have gained new momentum
The Boycott, Divests and Sanctions (BDS) movement is growing relentless. On the boycott front, Natacha Atlas, who won a 2007 BBC Music award for her fusion of Arabic and Western styles, cancelled a planned concert in Israel: “I had an idea that performing in Israel would have been a unique opportunity to encourage and support my fans’ opposition to the current government’s actions and policies, but after much deliberation I now see that it would be more effective a statement to not go to Israel until this systemised apartheid is abolished once and for all.”

Atlas, who grew up in Belgium, is of Egyptian, Moroccan and Palestinian ancestry and has Jewish roots. She was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Conference Against Racism in 2001, which was boycotted by the United States and Israel, for raising issues about US treatment of African Americans and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

The flip side of cultural boycotts of Israel is to prevent Israeli cultural figures from presenting a false image of Israel abroad. Idan Raichel, “Israel’s most popular dread-locked musician” according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, prominent in Masa (Journey) Israel tours to recruit young Jews from American and Europe to Israel, is more than just a musician, seeing Israel’s cultural icons as “ambassadors of Israel in the world, cultural ambassadors, hasbara ambassadors, also in regards to the political conflict”. 

Raichel’s hasbara message prompted American Jews to protest a recent Masa “journey” across the US, using the Internet to coordinate leafletting at the concert tour sites. His recent album “Open Door” prompted signs at the demos entitled “Does ‘Open Door’ include Palestinians?” and “Don’t entertain apartheid.” “Idan Raichel can’t support apartheid,” countered one concert-goer, “He sleeps with a black woman!” Raichel is part of the Brand Israel campaign, which aims to bring arts to the world in order to, in the words of an Israeli foreign ministry official, “show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war”.

A Finnish campaign is under way to cancel a new deal to purchase Israeli drones. Like Canada, the US, Turkey and Russia, Finland has been attracted by Israeli know-how in lethal weapons. The Finnish Defence Ministry recently signed an agreement on drone purchases, in defiance of EU regulations. This prompted Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja to break ranks with his colleagues and declare, in reference to Israel, that “No apartheid state is justified or sustainable.” Earlier while in opposition, Tuomioja himself signed a petition calling for an end to the arms trade with Israel. As foreign minister, Tuomioja could demand the suspension of EU-Israel Association Agreement, which gives Israel special trade access to EU markets, but on condition that Israel respects human rights. 

The EU’s “common foreign policy” has been a bitter disappointment, especially with respect to Israel, as consensus prevents principled nations within the EU from acting, and attempts to enforce EU regulations are easily buried in bureaucratese. For instance, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) provides research funds for universities and companies from Israel as a result of the Association Agreement. Despite Israel´s consistent violation of the Agreement´s human rights clause, Israeli companies such as Ahava, “academic” institutions such as Technion, and worse, Elbit Systems and Israeli Aerospace Industries receive European funding through FP7 on an equal footing with EU member states.

EU Scientific Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn insisted that there was no reason to exclude Israel’s Motorola company from EU-related activities since she did not have “any information about any radar systems Motorola Israel might or might not have installed in the West Bank”. Geoghegan-Quinn is not reading her inbox, where she would have found reports to the European Commission by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and “Stop the Wall” documenting Motorola’s work in Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

An ambitious boycott-divestment effort by the newly launched KARAMA (Keep Alstom Rail And Metro Away) and the ongoing “Derail Veolia and Alstom” campaign, celebrated an important victory. Alstom lost the bid for the second phase of the Saudi Haramain Railway project linking Mecca with Medina, worth $10 billion, due to its involvement in Israel’s Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR) project. Alstom also suffered when the Dutch ASN Bank and the Swedish national pension fund AP7 excluded it from their investment portfolios. Veolia has lost more than $12 billion worth of contracts following boycott activism in Sweden, the UK, Ireland and elsewhere.

A national conference of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) took place from 14-16 October at New York’s Columbia University, bringing together 400 American student activists from a hundred campuses. SJP activists have made famous their mock checkpoints, walls, and die-ins on campus, to bring home the reality of Israeli persecution of Palestinians.

Delegates brainstormed about divestment campaigns and how to counter the power of AIPAC. Codepink’s Medea Benjamin, who gained world celebrity status for interrupting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in May, explained how to lodge a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against the American Israel Education Foundation Congressional trips to Israel, which violate Congressional Ethics Rules. 

Columbia University grad student Dina Omar said the conference helped create a “solid network and apparatus to help protect students from being systemically targeted by institutional power.” A week before the conference, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported on the “growing strength” of SJP. Ironically, it was a 2010 ADL statement calling SJP one of the top 10 “anti-Israel” groups in the US that pushed 67 chapters to unite. Max Ajl said: “The timing was key – everywhere there was the buzz that we are part of a broader mobilisation, the Occupy Wall Street movement. There is now both the opportunity and the incentive to link these struggles.”

Interestingly, there is division in the anti-BDS ranks over how hard to crack down on BDSers by claiming that Jewish students might be made “uncomfortable”. While the ADL lauded the US Department of Education’s 2010 decision to expand the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include “anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiment that crosses the line into anti-Semitism”, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) cautions Jewish groups against suppressing free speech by invoking civil rights laws. “Lawsuits and threats of legal action” should only be used “for cases which evidence a systematic climate of fear and intimidation coupled with a failure of the university administration to respond with reasonable corrective measures.” 

Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian, argues that the ADL strategy is “inherently anti-Semitic because it assumes incorrectly and ahistorically that all criticism of Israel equals criticism of Jews”, and thus condemns all Jews for the racism practiced by Israel. “It seems that at least some in the pro-Israel community fear that this aggressive campaign of censorship and intimidation may do more to cast Israel’s defenders as thugs, than to improve Israel’s image on campuses.”

In interview with Time, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan questioned why sanctions are promoted by the US when dealing with Iran and Sudan, but are taboo with regards to Israel. Sanctions imposed by the United Nations on Israel would have resolved the issue of Mideast peace long ago, he said. “Until today, the UN Security Council has issued more than 89 resolutions on prospective sanctions related to Israel, but they’ve never been executed.” The reason the international community had stood by without sanctioning Israel was that the Quartet – which includes Russia, the United States, the European Union, and the UN – was not genuinely interested in resolving the Mideast conflict or “they would have imposed certain issues on Israel.”

Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly You can reach him at His Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games is available at


Ted Balestreri holds a bottle of 1870 Chateau Lafite Rothschild in the… (VERN FISHER/The Herald)Clarification: An earlier version of this story said the prize was for the death of Osama bin Laden. Ted Balestreri, co-owner of the Sardine Factory, promised Leon Panetta he would share his bottle of 1870 Chateau Lafite Rothschild if Panetta, then the director of the CIA, captured Osama bin Laden. A story and its headline on Wednesday inaccurately portrayed the intent of Balestreri’s offer. “No one celebrates the death of anyone,” he said Wednesday.

The capture of Osama bin Laden will be toasted locally on New Year’s Eve with a $10,000, 141-year-old bottle of wine.

The libation will be the result of a bet made by Monterey restaurateur Ted Balestreri, co-owner of the Sardine Factory on Cannery Row, at a dinner party last New Year’s Eve with 28 friends in the restaurant wine cellar.

Among those in on the bet: then-CIA Director Leon Panetta and his wife, Sylvia Panetta.

“I was talking about the wine collection,” Balestreri recalled Tuesday, “and somebody asked me what was the oldest bottle of wine I had.”

It was a bottle of 1870 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, “and I told them I wasn’t going to serve it up,” he said.

“But I said, ‘If Leon catches Osama bin Laden, we’ll open that bottle.’”

Panetta immediately replied, “You’re on!”

Balestreri said that at the time, he was kidding.

Five months later, on May 1, he was having dinner at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club with friends when he received a phone call.
It was Sylvia Panetta.

“She said, ‘Ted, get the wine opener ready,’” Balestreri said. “When I asked why, she said, ‘Go turn on your TV.’” Sylvia Panetta said Tuesday, “Leon called me about 7:15 on a Sunday evening and told me to turn on CNN because the president was going to make an announcement, and by the way, to call Ted and tell him to get ready to open that bottle of wine. I had a quick flashback” about the New Year’s Eve bet.

When her husband told Balestreri that “you’re on,” she said, “Leon had that certain glint in his eye. I thought something was up.”

Balestreri heard the news that a team of Navy Seals and the CIA raided bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan, shot him dead and spirited his body away.

“I was out 10 grand,” he said, “but it was worth every penny. It will be my honor to honor one of America’s great heroes, probably of the century. Leon has made us all proud. I consider him and Sylvia the first family of the Monterey Peninsula.”

Balestreri said he will serve up the 1870 Ch teau Lafite Rothschild at the Sardine Factory at the traditional private gathering in the wine cellar.

“I’ll probably have to serve it up with an eye-dropper to all 28 people,” he said.

“It should be fun,” Sylvia Panetta said. “There’ll be close to 30 people, so I suspect we’re going to get a little teeny bit each.”

Kevin Howe can be reached at [email protected]

War Is Great for the 1% … But Makes the 99% Poorer

November 1st, 2011 by Washington's Blog

War Profiteers: The 1%

The heads of the big defense firms make huge salaries off of war, and are part of the .01%. They not infrequently fund and sell arms to both sides of wars … and make a killing in the process.

Top economists have also proven that war is horrible for the 99%.

Congress members – part of the 1% which has made money hand over fist during this economic downturn – are heavily invested in the war industry, and routinely trade on inside information … perhaps even including planned military actions.

Similarly – as detailed below – the Federal Reserve helps to start wars by financing them (no, I’m not talking about the billions the Fed sent to Iraq or Gaddafi’s Libyan bank or other recently-disclosed shenanigans).

War is a Racket

Investment legend Jeremy Granthan says that President (and former general) Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex has come true.

Eisenhower was not the first. “War is a racket“, according to one of the most highly-decorated military men of all time (and the hero who stopped a coup against FDR ).

“Overgrown military establishments,” George Washington said in his own farewell address of 1796, “are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty.”

As I noted in January:

Liberal economist James Galbraith wrote in 2004:

Inflation applies the law of the jungle to war finance. Prices and profits rise, wages and their purchasing power fall. Thugs, profiteers and the well connected get rich. Working people and the poor make out as they can. Savings erode, through the unseen mechanism of the “inflation tax” — meaning that the government runs a big deficit in nominal terms, but a smaller one when inflation is factored in.


There is profiteering. Firms with monopoly power usually keep some in reserve. In wartime, if the climate is permissive, they bring it out and use it. Gas prices can go up when refining capacity becomes short — due partly to too many mergers. More generally, when sales to consumers are slow, businesses ought to cut prices — but many of them don’t. Instead, they raise prices to meet their income targets and hope that the market won’t collapse.


Libertarian Congressman Ron Paul agreed in 2007:

Congress and the Federal Reserve Bank have a cozy, unspoken arrangement that makes war easier to finance. Congress has an insatiable appetite for new spending, but raising taxes is politically unpopular. The Federal Reserve, however, is happy to accommodate deficit spending by creating new money through the Treasury Department. In exchange, Congress leaves the Fed alone to operate free of pesky oversight and free of political scrutiny. Monetary policy is utterly ignored in Washington, even though the Federal Reserve system is a creation of Congress.

The result of this arrangement is inflation. And inflation finances war.


Blanchard Economic Research pointed out in 2001:

War has a profound effect on the economy, our government and its fiscal and monetary policies. These effects have consistently led to high inflation.


David Hackett Fischer is a Professor of History and Economic History at Brandeis. [H]is book, The Great Wave, Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History … finds that … periods of high inflation are caused by, and cause, a breakdown in order and a loss of faith in political institutions. He also finds that war is a triggering influence on inflation, political disorder, social conflict and economic disruption.


Other economists agree with Professor Fischer’s link between inflation and war.

James Grant, the respected editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, supplies us with the most timely perspective on the effect of war on inflation in the September 14 issue of his newsletter:

“War is inflationary. It is always wasteful no matter how just the cause. It is cost without income, destruction financed (more often than not) by credit creation. It is the essence of inflation.”


Libertarian economics writer Lew Rockwell noted in 2008:

You can line up 100 professional war historians and political scientists to talk about the 20th century, and not one is likely to mention the role of the Fed in funding US militarism. And yet it is true: the Fed is the institution that has created the money to fund the wars. In this role, it has solved a major problem that the state has confronted for all of human history. A state without money or a state that must tax its citizens to raise money for its wars is necessarily limited in its imperial ambitions. Keep in mind that this is only a problem for the state. It is not a problem for the people. The inability of the state to fund its unlimited ambitions is worth more for the people than every kind of legal check and balance. It is more valuable than all the constitutions every devised.


Reflecting on the calamity of this war, Ludwig von Mises wrote in 1919

One can say without exaggeration that inflation is an indispensable means of militarism. Without it, the repercussions of war on welfare become obvious much more quickly and penetratingly; war weariness would set in much earlier.


In the entire run-up to war, George Bush just assumed as a matter of policy that it was his decision alone whether to invade Iraq. The objections by Ron Paul and some other members of Congress and vast numbers of the American population were reduced to little more than white noise in the background. Imagine if he had to raise the money for the war through taxes. It never would have happened. But he didn’t have to. He knew the money would be there. So despite a $200 billion deficit, a $9 trillion debt, $5 trillion in outstanding debt instruments held by the public, a federal budget of $3 trillion, and falling tax receipts in 2001, Bush contemplated a war that has cost $525 billion dollars — or $4,681 per household. Imagine if he had gone to the American people to request that. What would have happened? I think we know the answer to that question. And those are government figures; the actual cost of this war will be far higher — perhaps $20,000 per household.


If the state has the power and is asked to choose between doing good and waging war, what will it choose? Certainly in the American context, the choice has always been for war.

And progressive economics writer Chris Martenson explains as part of his “Crash Course” on economics:


If we look at the entire sweep of history, we can make an utterly obvious claim: All wars are inflationary. Period. No exceptions.


So if anybody tries to tell you that you haven’t sacrificed for the war, let them know you sacrificed a large portion of your savings and your paycheck to the effort, thank you very much.


The bottom line is that war always causes inflation, at least when it is funded through money-printing instead of a pay-as-you-go system of taxes and/or bonds. It might be great for a handful of defense contractors, but war is bad for Main Street, stealing wealth from people by making their dollars worth less.


And as discussed above, liberals such as James Galbraith and conservatives such as Ron Paul agree that we wouldn’t get into as many wars – and the wars which we did wage would be ended more quickly – it if the people were required to pay for them directly instead of war being paid out of the “hidden tax” of inflation.

The father of modern economics – Adam Smith – agreed:

Were the expence of war to be defrayed always by a revenue raised within the year [instead of financing it with long-term public debt], the taxes from which that extraordinary revenue was drawn would last no longer than the war. The ability of private people to accumulate, though less during the war, would have been greater during the peace than under the system of funding. War would not necessarily have occasioned the destruction of any old capitals, and peace would have occasioned the accumulation of many more new. Wars would in general be more speedily concluded, and less wantonly undertaken. The people feeling, during the continuance of the war, the complete burden of it, would soon grow weary of it, and government, in order to humour them, would not be under the necessity of carrying it on longer than it was necessary to do so. The foresight of the heavy and unavoidable burdens of war would hinder the people from wantonly calling for it when there was no real or solid interest to fight for. The seasons during which the ability of private people to accumulate was somewhat impaired, would occur more rarely, and be of shorter continuance. Those on the contrary, during which that ability was in the highest vigour, would be of much longer duration than they can well be under the system of funding.

No wonder many of the “Occupy” protesters are railing against the war profiteerspart of the 1%.

We came, we saw, he died.” — US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, giggling, as she spoke of the depraved murder of Moammar Gaddafi

Imagine Osama bin Laden or some other Islamic leader speaking of 9-11: “We came, we saw, 3,000 died … ha- ha.”

Clinton and her partners-in-crime in NATO can also have a good laugh at how they deceived the world. The destruction of Libya, the reduction of a modern welfare state to piles of rubble, to ghost towns, the murder of thousands … this tragedy was the culmination of a series of falsehoods spread by the Libyan rebels, the Western powers, and Qatar (through its television station, al-Jazeera) — from the declared imminence of a “bloodbath” in rebel-held Benghazi if the West didn’t intervene to stories of government helicopter-gunships and airplanes spraying gunfire onto large numbers of civilians to tales of Viagra-induced mass rapes by Gaddafi’s army. (This last fable was proclaimed at the United Nations by the American Ambassador, as if young soldiers needed Viagra to get it up!)1

The New York Times (March 22) observed:

… the rebels feel no loyalty to the truth in shaping their propaganda, claiming nonexistent battlefield victories, asserting they were still fighting in a key city days after it fell to Qaddafi forces, and making vastly inflated claims of his barbaric behavior.

The Los Angeles Times (April 7) added this about the rebels’ media operation:

It’s not exactly fair and balanced media. In fact, as [its editor] helpfully pointed out, there are four inviolate rules of coverage on the two rebel radio stations, TV station and newspaper:

  • No pro-[Qaddafi] reportage or commentary

  • No mention of a civil war. (The Libyan people, east and west, are unified in a war against a totalitarian regime.)

  • No discussion of tribes or tribalism. (There is only one tribe: Libya.)

  • No references to Al Qaeda or Islamic extremism. (That’s [Qaddafi's] propaganda.)

The Libyan government undoubtedly spouted its share of misinformation, but it was the rebels’ trail of lies, both of omission and commission, which was used by the UN Security Council to justify its vote for “humanitarian” intervention; followed in Act Three by unrelenting NATO/US bombs and drone missiles, day after day, week after week, month after month; you can’t get much more humanitarian than that. If the people of Libya prior to the NATO/US bombardment had been offered a referendum on it, can it be imagined that they would have endorsed it?

In fact, it appears rather likely that a majority of Libyans supported Gaddafi. How else could the government have held off the most powerful military forces in the world for more than seven months? Before NATO and the US laid waste to the land, Libya had the highest life expectancy, lowest infant mortality, and highest UN Human Development Index in Africa. During the first few months of the civil war, giant rallies were held in support of the Libyan leader.2

For further discussion of why Libyans may have been motivated to support Gaddafi, have a look at this video.

If Gaddafi had been less oppressive of his political opposition over the years and had made some gestures of accommodation to them during the Arab Spring, the benevolent side of his regime might still be keeping him in power, although the world has plentiful evidence making it plain that the Western powers are not particularly concerned about political oppression except to use as an excuse for intervention when they want to; indeed, government files seized in Tripoli during the fighting show that the CIA and British intelligence worked with the Libyan government in tracking down dissidents, turning them over to Libya, and taking part in interrogations.3

In any event, many of the rebels had a religious motive for opposing the government and played dominant roles within the rebel army; previously a number of them had fought against the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.4 The new Libyan regime promptly announced that Islamic sharia law would be the “basic source” of legislation, and laws that contradict “the teachings of Islam” would be nullified; there would also be a reinstitution of polygamy; the Muslim holy book, the Quran, allows men up to four wives.5

Thus, just as in Afghanistan in the 1980-90s, the United States has supported Islamic militants fighting against a secular government. The American government has imprisoned many people as “terrorists” in the United States for a lot less.

What began in Libya as “normal” civil war violence from both sides — repeated before and since by the governments of Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria without any Western military intervention at all (the US actually continues to arm the Bahrain and Yemen regimes) — was transformed by the Western propaganda machine into a serious Gaddafi genocide of innocent Libyans. Addressing the validity of this very key issue is another video, “Humanitarian War in Libya: There is no evidence“. The main feature of the film is an interview with Soliman Bouchuiguir, Secretary-General, and one of the founders in 1989, of the Libyan League for Human Rights, perhaps the leading Libyan dissident group, in exile in Switzerland.

Bouchuiguir is asked several times if he can document various charges made against the Libyan leader. Where is the proof of the many rapes? The many other alleged atrocities? The more than 6,000 civilians alleged killed by Gaddafi’s planes? Again and again Bouchuiguir cites the National Transitional Council as the source. Yes, that’s the rebels who carried out the civil war in conjunction with the NATO/US forces. At other times Bouchuiguir speaks of “eyewitnesses”: “little girls, boys who were there, whose families we know personally”. After awhile, he declares that “there is no way” to document these things. This is probably true to some extent, but why, then, the UN Security Council resolution for a military intervention in Libya? Why almost eight months of bombing?

Bouchuiguir also mentions his organization’s working with the National Endowment for Democracy in their effort against Gaddafi, and one has to wonder if the man has any idea that the NED was founded to be a front for the CIA. Literally.

Another source of charges against Gaddafi and his sons has been the International Criminal Court. The Court’s Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is shown in this film at a news conference discussing the same question of proof of the charges. He refers to an ICC document of 77 pages which he says contains the evidence. The film displays the document’s Table of Contents, which shows that pages 17-71 are not available to the public; these pages, apparently the ones containing the testimony and evidence, are marked as “redacted”. In an appendix, the ICC report lists its news sources; these include Fox News, CNN, the CIA, Soliman Bouchuiguir, and the Libyan League for Human Rights. Earlier, the film had presented Bouchuiguir citing the ICC as one of his sources. The documentation is thus a closed circle.

Historical footnote: “Aerial bombing of civilians was pioneered by the Italians in Libya in 1911, perfected by the British in Iraq in 1920 and used by the French in 1925 to level whole quarters of Syrian cities. Home demolitions, collective punishment, summary execution, detention without trial, routine torture — these were the weapons of Europe’s takeover” in the Mideast.6

The worldwide eternal belief that American foreign policy has a good side that can be appealed to

On April 6, 2011 Moammar Gaddafi wrote a letter to President Obama, in which he said: “We have been hurt more morally than physically because of what had happened against us in both deeds and words by you. Despite all this you will always remain our son whatever happened. … Our dear son, Excellency, Baraka Hussein Abu Oubama, your intervention in the name of the U.S.A. is a must, so that Nato would withdraw finally from the Libyan affair.”7

Before the American invasion in March 2003, Iraq tried to negotiate a peace deal with the United States. Iraqi officials, including the chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, wanted Washington to know that Iraq no longer had weapons of mass destruction and offered to allow American troops and experts to conduct a search; they also offered full support for any US plan in the Arab-Israeli peace process, and to hand over a man accused of being involved in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. If this is about oil, they added, they would also talk about US oil concessions.8 … Then came shock and awe!

In 2002, before the coup in Venezuela that briefly ousted Hugo Chávez, some of the plotters went to Washington to get a green light from the Bush administration. Chávez learned of this visit and was so distressed by it that he sent officials from his government to plead his own case in Washington. The success of this endeavor can be judged by the fact that the coup took place shortly thereafter.9

In 1994, it was reported that the leader of the Zapatista rebels in Mexico, Subcommander Marcos, said that “he expects the United States to support the Zapatistas once US intelligence agencies are convinced the movement is not influenced by Cubans or Russians.” “Finally,” Marcos said, “they are going to conclude that this is a Mexican problem, with just and true causes.”10 Yet for many years, the United States provided the Mexican military with all the training and tools needed to crush the Zapatistas.

The Guatemalan foreign minister in 1954, Cheddi Jagan of British Guiana in 1961, and Maurice Bishop of Grenada in 1983 all made their appeals to Washington to be left in peace.11 The governments of all three countries were overthrown by the United States.

In 1945 and 1946, Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, a genuine admirer of America and the Declaration of Independence, wrote at least eight letters to President Harry Truman and the State Department asking for America’s help in winning Vietnamese independence from the French. He wrote that world peace was being endangered by French efforts to reconquer Indochina and he requested that “the four powers” (US, USSR, China, and Great Britain) intervene in order to mediate a fair settlement and bring the Indochinese issue before the United Nations.12 Ho Chi Minh received no reply. He was, after all, some sort of communist.

America’s presstitutes

Imagine that the vicious police attack of October 25 on the Occupy Oakland encampment had taken place in Iran or Cuba or Venezuela or in any other ODE (Officially Designated Enemy) … Page One Righteous Indignation with Shocking Photos. But here’s the Washington Post the next day: A three-inch story on page three with a headline: “Protesters wearing out their welcome nationwide”; no mention of the Iraqi veteran left unconscious from a police projectile making contact with his head; as to photos: just one — an Oakland police officer petting a cat that was left behind by the protesters.

And here’s TV comedian Jay Leno the same night as the police attack in Oakland: “They say Moammar Gaddafi may have been one of the richest men in the world … 200 billion dollars. With all of the billions he had, he spent very little on education or health care for his country. So I guess he was a Republican.”13

The object of Leno’s humor was of course the Republicans, but it served the cause of further demonizing Gaddafi and thus adding to the “justification” of America’s murderous attack on Libya. If I had been one of Leno’s guests sitting there, I would have turned to the audience and said: “Listen people, under Gaddafi health care and education were completely free. Wouldn’t you like to have that here?”

I think that enough people in the audience would have applauded or shouted to force Leno to back off a bit from his indoctrinated, mindless remark.

And just for the record, the 200 billion dollars is not money found in Gaddafi’s personal bank accounts anywhere in the world, but money belonging to the Libyan state. But why quibble? There’s no business like show business.

The Iraqi Lullabye

On February 17, 2003, a month before the US bombing of Iraq began, I posted to the Internet an essay entitled “What Do the Imperial Mafia Really Want?” concerning the expected war. Included in this were the words of Michael Ledeen, former Reagan official, then at the American Enterprise Institute, which was one of the leading drum-beaters for attacking Iraq:

If we just let our own vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don’t try to be clever and piece together clever diplomatic solutions to this thing, but just wage a total war against these tyrants, I think we will do very well, and our children will sing great songs about us years from now.

After a year of the tragic farce that was the American intervention in Iraq I could not resist. I sent Mr. Ledeen an email reminding him of his words and saying simply: “I’d like to ask you what songs your children are singing these days.”

I received no reply.

Has there ever been an empire that didn’t tell itself and the world that it was unlike all other empires, that its mission was not to plunder and control but to enlighten and liberate?

The United Nations vote on the Cuba embargo — 20 years in a row

For years American political leaders and media were fond of labeling Cuba an “international pariah”. We don’t hear that any more. Perhaps one reason is the annual vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the resolution which reads: “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”. This is how the vote has gone (not including abstentions):

Votes (Yes-No)
No Votes

US, Israel

US, Israel, Albania, Paraguay

US, Israel

US, Israel, Uzbekistan

US, Israel, Uzbekistan

US, Israel, Uzbekistan

US, Israel

US, Israel

US, Israel, Marshall Islands

US, Israel, Marshall Islands

US, Israel, Marshall Islands

US, Israel, Marshall Islands

US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau

US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau

US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau

US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau

US, Israel, Palau

US, Israel, Palau

US, Israel

US, Israel

Each fall the UN vote is a welcome reminder that the world has not completely lost its senses and that the American empire does not completely control the opinion of other governments.

How it began: On April 6, 1960, Lester D. Mallory, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, wrote in an internal memorandum: “The majority of Cubans support Castro … The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship. … every possible means should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba.” Mallory proposed “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”14 Later that year, the Eisenhower administration instituted the suffocating embargo against its eternally-declared enemy.


  1. Viagra: Reuters, April 29, 2011

  2. See, for example, “Million Man, Woman and Child March in Tripoli, Libya”, June 20, 2011

  3. The Guardian (London), September 3, 2011

  4. Washington Post, September 15, 2011, “Islamists rise to fore in new Libya”

  5. USA Today, October 24, 2011

  6. Rashid Khalidi, professor of Arab studies, Columbia University, Washington Post, November 11, 2007

  7. Associated Press, April 6, 2011, some obvious errors in the original have been corrected

  8. New York Times, November 6, 2003

  9. New York Times, April 16, 2002

  10. Los Angeles Times, February 24, 1994, p.7

  11. Guatemala: Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala (1982), p.183; Jagan: Arthur Schlesinger, A Thousand Days (1965), p.774-9; Bishop: Associated Press, May 29, 1983, “Leftist Government Officials Visit United States”

  12. The Pentagon Papers (NY Times edition, 1971), pp.4, 5, 8, 26; William Blum, Killing Hope, p.123)

  13. Washington Post, October 26, 2011

  14. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Volume VI, Cuba (1991), p.885

William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2

  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower

  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir

  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.

It’s not so much we are witnessing history unfold, as it is Washington’s hypocrisy unravel before our eyes.

Inside the beltway, things like original ideas, humility, honor and integrity appear to be in very short supply.

Washington, known to be infested with lobbyists and politico busy-bodies who run from one briefing to the next, from one press conference to the next, in a drive to conduct their symphonies of policy and PR in a desperate bid to remain relevant to their constituents- the American people. Granted, some try harder than others, but most fall short of their constitutional oath.

Double standards are a big problem for America’s leadership right now.

They are the high-flying political class in the United States, an elite tribe who are so detached from reality that it’s become an almost embarrassment to watch. The Orwellian doublespeak which is currently emanating out the State Department’s office of nation-building is hitting new highs.

Our leaders grandstand on the TV, visibly fawning Tunisia and Egypt during the much celebrated Arab Spring. As the bells of freedom were still ringing in the distance, Egypt soon found itself sucked into the vortex of a military dictatorship – while Tunisia shifted from secular to hard-line Islamic Sharia society.

Washington still felt it was somehow ‘winning’ when they went on to demand that both Libya and Syria to ‘show restraint and let democracy take it’s natural course’.

Even if – armed insurgents were burning down government buildings in Tripoli, and or firing upon and killing police in Syria.

President Obama confidently that other governments “must be responsive for their citizens aspirations”.

Even if – those citizens are being backed and financed by the US State Department, Whitehall, Élysée Palace and allies Qatar.

Secretary of State Clinton ordered Libya to “respect the universal rights of its own people, including the right to free expression and assembly.”

Even if – her own government cannot even manage to cater for this right  any more, even in the United States of America.

Hillary later cracked a cruel joke about Gaddafi’s assassination.

Watch this video and you will have a decent idea of what hypocrisy means today in the US:

In the US, the erosion of our basic rights provided by the Bill of Rights and US Constitution has been a long and painful process.

9-11 gave us the naziesque Patriot Acts I & II – two bills which have achieved nothing since their inception, and yet, are still as enthusiastically championed by Barack Obama as they were by GW Bush.

The anti-war demonstrations of 2003 gave us “free speech zones”, in country where freedom to assemble, where and when you want, used to be a god-given inalienable right. Now its a mere privilege.

The G20 demonstrations of 2009 gave us police brutality on a mass militarized scale, not seen before domestically. Thousands of paramilitary police where shipped in to Pittsburgh, sound canons were deployed and students were chased down, tear gassed and beaten in what came to known as forced compliance.

Even an obvious avant garde demonstration, a silent disco at the Jefferson Memorial saw police beat and injure Americans who were only trying to test the vital signs of a US Constitution in critical condition.

What elite political performers like Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton are really saying to the governments of Libya, and now Syria, and later to Algeria and Iran- is that you cannot put down an armed insurrection in your countries, but in the US we reserve the right to beat and shoot our own citizens, and arrested without charges- if they attempt to demonstrate in public.

In other words, “Do as we say, not as we do.”

President Obama will have the world believe that America is less brutal to its own citizens than the rest of the world, but as hundreds of thousands of people in the Occupy Movement now get their first taste of civil disobedience, it is inevitable that some will be unlucky enough to get the hard end of the state’s velvet fist. Indeed, Occupy protester and Iraq veteran Scott Olsen found this out the hard way in Oakland last week when he suffered a fractured skull at the hands of local police.

And the Occupy Movement will also learn very quickly that we cannot ignore the rights which our US political elite have been denying the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Libya for all these years now- and expect to be afforded those same rights by the same criminal US government here at home.

We are witnessing a culture in decline- a people who for the most part, are having trouble remembering what made it unique in the first place, and so many who can think of nothing more frightening than to be called to live up to any of those ideals – who forgot what freedom actually is.

The level of Washington’s hypocrisy, its arrogance – has never been on display so vividly as it is today. It’s a clear indication of a society in decline.

What will surely accelerate this decline is a mass chunk of Americans who still to this day, remain unaware that these changes in society have even taken place. And more to the point, too many are ever willing to profit, or make their daily crust from this hyper-security police state. This is one of the signs of a civilization in decline.

It’s obvious to even a casual observer that our super-celebrity politicians have permanently lost touch with reality, and sadly, this tribe will never come back to the source of liberty.

It’s high time for Americans to stop making excuses for the lobbyists, the wars, the pork, the bailouts- and for selling out the principles which once made it an inspiration to so many others around the world. Stop making excuses for elite bureaucrats and Wall Street tycoons.

This is a watershed moment in history.

Will America get it right, or descend further into a ridiculous police state?

Libya: Treasure of Benghazi Stolen

November 1st, 2011 by Global Research

A gang of Libyan looters have raided a priceless collection of gold and silver coins that are believed to date back to the time of Alexander the Great.

The thieves carried off with the pieces, known as The Treasure of Benghazi, having drilled through a concrete ceiling at the National Commercial Bank of Benghazi.

An expert has described the raid as ‘one of the greatest thefts in archeological history.’

Silver didrachm, part of The Treasure of Benghazi collection have been stolen by looters in Libya

Whilst the break-in was initially believed to have been part of the uprising against Muammar Gadaffi, Hafed Walada, a Libyan archeologist working at King’s College London told The Sunday Times; ‘It may have been an inside job.

‘It appears to have been carried out by people who knew what they were looking for.’

Alongside the coins, several artefacts, including monuments and figurines of bronze, glass and ivory, as well as jewellery, bracelets and medallions, are also believed to have been seized by the thieves.

The stolen coins are believed to date back to the era of Alexander the Great

Early leads had initially pointed to neighbouring Egypt, where a farmer had attempted to smuggle 503 gold coins and a golden statue through the port city of Alexandria, however attempts to locate him have thus far failed.

Most of the Benghazi treasures had been on Libyan soil following a mass recovery of the collection between 1917 and 1922 from the temple of Artemis, in Cyrene – an ancient Roman city, now Libyan territory and otherwise known as Shahat.

During the Second World War, much of the treasure was on display at the Museum of Italian Africa in Rome, but eventually returned to Libyan soil in 1961 and was kept at the bank.

Italian archeologist, Serenella Ensoli, from the Second University of Naples insisted the treasure was priceless given its historical value.

‘The collection is not well studied and is a huge loss for Libyan heritage.’

Watch as reporter Matthew Lee with the Associated Press grills State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on the United States’ apparent disappointment with the UNESCO vote that welcomed Palestine as its newest full member state. The questions are straightforward and logical, and it becomes clear that the Obama administration is only concerned with Israel’s one-sided demands. The spokesperson eventually ends the questioning after being unable to address even the most basic loopholes in the United States’ stance.

Video source: Reuters

Victoria Nuland
: Today’s vote by the member states of UNESCO to admit Palestine as a member is regrettable, premature, and undermines our shared goal of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East. The United States remains steadfast in its support for the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state. But such a state can only be realized through direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The United States also remains strongly committed to robust multilateral engagement across the UN system. However, Palestinian membership as a state in UNESCO triggers longstanding legislative restrictions which will compel the United States to refrain from making contributions to UNESCO. US engagement with UNESCO serves a wide range of our national interests on education, science, culture, and communications issues. THe US will maintain its membership in and committment to UNESCO, and we will consult with Congress to ensure that US interest and influence are preserved.

Reporter: Does that mean that you have stopped, effectively, today contributing to UNESCO?

Victoria Nuland: It does.

Reporter: It does.

Victoria Nuland: We were to have made a sixty million dollar payment to UNESCO in November, and we will not be making that payment.

Reporter: Sorry, sixty million?

Victoria Nuland: Sixty million.

Reporter: And that is part of a tranche of the total of eighty?

Victoria Nuland: Correct.

Reporter: Alright. So, this is not particularly a banner day for US diplomacy. If you count the abstentions, you had a hundred and fifty-nine countries did not vote the way you did. But only thirteen did. That would seem to suggest that these countries don’t agree with you that this is such a big problem. Those countries included the French, France. They included numerous members of the Security Council. What happens to them? Now that you’re punishing UNESCO, what happens to these countries that voted in this “regrettable” way that is going to undermine the peace process?

Victoria Nuland: Those countries obviously made their own national decisions on this vote. We disagree with them. We made clear that we disagree with them before the vote. We make clear that we disagree with them after the vote. We also make clear here today that we want to continue our relationship with UNESCO. But as we said before this vote and as we have had to say, legislative restrictions compell us to withhold our funding now, and that will have an impact on UNESCO.

Reporter: But going back to what you said in your opening, you said that this was regrettable, premature, and undermines our shared goal. Whose shared goal? Who shares this goal other than the thirteen other countries that voted with you, now.

Victoria Nuland: Countries all over the international system share the goal of a Palestinian state in secure borders —

Reporter: Why would they possibly do something, how could they possibly do something that you say is so horrible and detrimental to that process. How can you still count on them as sharing this goal?

Victoria Nuland: You’ll have to speak to them about why they made the decision that they made. We considered that this was, as I said, regrettable, premature, and undermines the prospect of getting where we want to go. And that’s what we’re concerned about.

Reporter: Okay, and how does it undermine exactly the prospect of where you want to go?

Victoria Nuland: The concern is that it creates tensions when all of us should be concerting our efforts to get the parties back to the table.

Reporter: The only thing it does is it upsets Israel and it triggers this law that you said will require you to stop funding UNESCO. Is there anything else? There’s nothing that changes on the ground, is there?

Victoria Nuland: Our concern is that this could exacerbate the environment which we are trying to work through so that the parties will get back to the table.

Reporter: How exactly does it exacerbate the environment if it changes nothing on the ground unlike, say, construction of settlements. It changes nothing on the ground. It gives Palestine membership in UNESCO, which was a body the US was so unconcerned about for many years that it wasn’t even a member.

Victoria Nuland: Well, I think you know that this administration is committed to UNESCO, rejoined UNESCO, wants to see UNESCO’s work go forward.

Reporter: Actually, it was the last administration that rejoined UNESCO, not this one. But I need to have some kind of clarity on how this undermines the peace process — other than the fact that it upsets Israel.

Victoria Nuland: Again, we are trying to get both of these parties back to the table. That’s what we’ve been doing all along. That was the basis for the President’s speech in May, basis of the diplomacy that the Quartet did through the summer, the basis of the statement that the Quartet came out with in September. So in that context, we have been trying to improve the relationship between these parties, improve the environment between them, and we are concerned that we exacerbate tensions with this, and it makes it harder to get the parties back to the table.

Reporter: Since the talks broke off last September until today, how many times have they met together, with all your effort?

Victoria Nuland: How many times have the parties met?

Reporter: Yes.

Victoria Nuland: I think you know the answer to that question.

Reporter: Correct.

Victoria Nuland: It doesn’t change the fact that we are committed —

Reporter: So how can things get worse than they already are?

Victoria Nuland: Matt, I think you’re engaged in a polemic here rather than questions.

The International Labour Organization, an agency of the United Nations, released a report Monday pointing to a disastrous global jobs situation and a “vicious cycle” sending the world economy into a new downturn.

“The next few months will be crucial for avoiding a dramatic downturn in employment and a further significant aggravation of social unrest,” warns the opening editorial to the World of Work report, released ahead of a G20 meeting later this week.

In addition to documenting the employment situation, affecting both advanced and “developing” countries, the reports presents a damning portrait of contemporary world capitalism: growing financialization, declining taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and a collapse in the share of income going to the working class.

Three years after the crash of 2008, “economic growth in major advanced economies has come to a halt and some countries have re-entered recession, notably in Europe,” the ILO notes. “Growth has also slowed down in large emerging and developing countries.”

The vast majority of countries categorized as having advanced economies—mainly in the United States and Europe—have seen a slowdown in employment growth in the most recent quarter, and more than half have seen employment declines. At the same time, about half of those countries categorized as “emerging or developing” have seen declines in employment, including Russia and Mexico.

The advanced economies have 13 million fewer jobs today than in 2007, with the United States (6.7 million) and Spain (2.3 million) accounting for more than half of this figure. Due to the growth in the labor force, to restore pre-crisis employment rates, 27 million jobs would have to be added in advanced countries, and 80 million globally, over the next two years.

The jobs situation is particularly bleak for young people, and this holds true in almost all parts of the world. “Among countries with recently available data, more than one in five youth [aged 15-24], i.e. 20 per cent, were unemployed as of the first quarter of 2011—against total unemployment of 9.6 per cent.”

According to the ILO’s projections, which are predicated on the assumption that there will not be renewed decline in global growth, the global employment rate in advanced countries is not expected to return to pre-crisis levels until far past 2016.

The prospects of a recovery in employment and economic growth are undermined by a number of factors, including a renewed financial crisis in Europe and a turn by governments throughout the world to fiscal austerity. Sharply declining wages for workers, particularly in advanced countries, is leading to a fall-off in consumption.

“In short,” the ILO writes, “there is a vicious cycle of a weaker economy affecting jobs and society, in turn depressing real investment and consumption, thus the economy and so on.”

Any prospect of a return to growth is also undermined by increasingly bitter national conflicts between the different capitalist powers. “While in 2008-2009 there was an attempt to coordinate policies, especially among G20 countries, there is evidence that countries are now acting in isolation,” the report states.

The ILO expresses the hope that governments will institute job-creation programs to resolve the crisis. However, the impossibility of this happening is highlighted by the fact that the report cites the United States as the only major advanced country to advance a “national jobs plan.” In fact, the Obama administration’s proposal, even if enacted in full, would be no more than a drop in the bucket. Since it was announced in September, it has already been scaled down significantly. Whatever is passed will consist largely of tax cuts for corporations.

The economic crisis is, predictably, producing a sharp increase in social discontent. The year 2011 has already seen a significant growth of the class struggle, beginning with the revolutionary upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa. They have since expanded to Europe, Latin America, and the United States, including in the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in September.

According to a metric of “social unrest” based on various indicators, including unemployment, the ILO calculates that 40 percent of the countries surveyed have seen a significant increase in the prospect of unrest. The likelihood of social unrest has increased particularly sharply in advanced countries. Moreover, the majority of countries worldwide reported a collapse of public confidence in national governments.

Dissatisfaction over the availability of quality jobs is over 80 percent in sub-Saharan Africa and over 70 percent in Central and Eastern Europe. It is over 60 percent in the Middle East and North Africa, though significantly higher in some countries, including Egypt.

Anger over the jobs situation is higher than 70 percent in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain—countries that are currently at the center of the European-wide drive to slash social programs and eliminate all previous gains of the working class.

The financialization of the world economy

Global social conditions have deteriorated sharply since the Crash of 2008, precipitated by the collapse of a massive speculative bubble inflated over the previous decade. While the fall of global stock markets led to an immediate decline in the wealth of the financial aristocracy, the actions of governments, led by the United States, have served to quickly reverse this trend.

In addition to documenting global labor conditions, the ILO report includes some important data on the financialization of the world economy, and the parallel process of wealth transfer—both before and after the 2008 crash.

It notes, disapprovingly, that in the aftermath of the crash “countries have increasingly focused on appeasing financial markets” rather than restoring employment, and that this “has often centered on fiscal austerity and how to help the banks—without necessarily reforming the bank practices that led to the crisis, or providing a vision for how the real economy will recover.”

In 2008, the capital share among financial corporations worldwide fell by more than 25 percent, after a decade of steady growth. Only a year later, however, shares were back to pre-crisis levels, a direct product of the various bank bailout schemes.

“On the other hand,” the ILO noted, “the decline in the non-financial sector has been more gradual, but capital shares for this group—which account for 87 percent of employment in advanced countries—continue to decline.”

This has produced what the report refers to as a “paradox”: “The impact of the global economic crisis of 2007-08 on the financial sector was short-lived initially—despite it being at the very origin of the downturn.”

The growth of corporate profits since the crash have accrued largely to financial corporations. Non-financial corporations, moreover, instead of investing have funneled money into the stock market. “In 2009, more than 36 per cent of profits were distributed in terms of dividends, compared with less than 35 per cent in 2007 and less than 29 per cent in 2000…”

This process of financialization is part of a longer-term trend, in which wealth accumulation through speculation has increasingly replaced productive investment. Far from reversing this trend, the economic crisis has only exacerbated it.

At the same time, an ever smaller share of income has gone to the working class. According to the ILO, “the wage share—the share of domestic income that goes to labor—has declined in almost three quarters of the 69 countries for which data is available.” This is also a long-term trend.

In addition to direct infusions of money into the banks, the transfer of wealth to the corporate and financial aristocracy has been facilitated by a tax policy that places an ever greater share of the tax burden on the working class.

Between 2000 and 2008, 43 percent of countries decreased their top income tax rate, while 70 percent of countries decreased their corporate profit tax rate. During the same period, 30 percent of countries increased value added taxes or consumption taxes, which disproportionately target the working class.

Overall, the top personal income tax rate globally fell from 31.4 percent in 2003 to 29.1 percent in 2009. Corporate taxes have fallen from 29.5 percent to 25 percent in the same period.

Again, this trend has only continued since the 2008 crisis. The proportion of government revenue from regressive consumption taxes has increased, while the income and corporate taxes have declined.

The ILO’s policy recommendations, on the other hand, are both grossly insufficient and utterly incapable of realization within the framework of capitalism. In addition to a jobs program, it hopes that governments will cooperate to increase the share of income going to the workers, while placing greater constraints on the financial system.

What the report in fact demonstrates, however, is that any attempt to resolve the crisis in the interests of the working class runs into direct conflict with the capitalist system and the financial aristocracy that controls it.

Joseph Kishore is a staff writer for

Activist Post
October 21, 2011

Contributor Amir Alwani was back at Occupy Nova Scotia to document some of the speakers and protesters.  He made some interesting discoveries.  In the first segment, a protester voices his concern over the structure of the General Assembly within the overall movement.  He illustrates the irony that people have taken to the streets as the 99% fed up with the rule by the 1%, yet many congregate in choir fashion around one speaker, often chanting the message of the “leader.”  He is quick to point out that this does not invalidate the entire movement, but it is something we certainly should be mindful of as activists.

Please read and view the second segment below

In the second segment a man comments about a tent labeled “media centre” that, according to him, was behaving in a secretive way.  Amir heads over to the tent and listens to two representatives, James Green and Miles Howe, speak about their mission.  James has arrived from the Occupy Wall Street media team, and Miles has experience in “revolutionary squares,” including Tahrir Square in Egypt.  This combination should cause some healthy skepticism of their views, as both locations have been focal points for political operatives.

In fact, they are creating a “media co-op” at Occupy Nova Scotia where citizen journalists are encouraged to submit their videos and printed material.  However, there is a strange choice of language as they discuss how important it is that their group be the only one to disseminate the information to the world, stressing the need to “shape the message.”  This is the exact top-down approach that corporate media uses.  It seems oddly out of place to those who are protesting against the power that the few have over the many.  Again, we urge activists to be mindful of giving away our power to any centralized source.

Amir has included the following excerpt from an interview with Webster Griffin Tarpley on PressTV (Oct. 12) as background and food for thought.

Press TV: This thing about silencing John Lewis, if we have a member of the Congress there being silenced, then what does show in terms of what is going to happen to the protesters out on the streets? How would the one percent want to use any tactics to silence? What kind of tactics would they use to silence the Americans and the protesters out on the streets?

Tarpley: With what they are using. They are using a bunch of anarchists and this Adbusters comes from the Situationist International. Situationist International was cooked up by NATO and the CIA back in the 1950s and ’60s to overthrow General [Charles] de Gaulle of France who was the target at that time.

This whole apparatus of the General Assembly, the facilitators, the consensus, the voting, the human microphone; the leaderless group is a brainwashing technique; the human microphone is a brainwashing technique.

Listen for yourself to their choice of words, as well as Amir’s questions, and please give us your impressions about this Occupy Nova Scotia media operation and the Occupy Movement in general.


A Portrait of America in Decline

November 1st, 2011 by Patrick Martin

A series of reports over the past ten days—on poverty, wages, income inequality and social mobility—have painted a portrait of America starkly at odds with the official mythology of the United States as the land of unlimited economic opportunity, the country with the world’s highest standard of living.

The World Socialist Web Site has naturally drawn attention to these reports, but Marxist critics and opponents of American capitalism did not collect this data. On the contrary, the figures come from US government agencies like the General Accounting Office, the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security Administration, the Bureau of the Census and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

That makes the picture of the real state of affairs in the America of 2011 all the more damning. Even agencies controlled by political representatives of the financial aristocracy are compelled to admit that the conditions of life for the vast majority of the American people are disastrous.

These figures demonstrate that America is a country of mounting social disparities, in which those who labor and produce all the wealth have less and less to show for it, while those who collect the profits of this labor, while playing a parasitic, destructive and thoroughly reactionary role, see their wealth accumulate to astonishing levels.

Two reports frame the dramatic social polarization in America, not so much between the rich and the poor, as between the rich and the entire rest of society.

According to figures published by the Social Security Administration on October 20, the median income for American workers in 2010 was $26,364, not much more than the official poverty level of $22,025 for a family of four. Given that a family making even twice the official poverty level faces real hardship and insecurity, it is no exaggeration to say that the SSA report shows that the “poor,” by any reasonable definition, constitute the absolute majority of the American people.

On the other side of the spectrum, a Congressional Budget Office study released October 25 shows that the richest 1 percent of US households saw a 275 percent increase in their income between 1979 and 2007 and more than doubled their share of the national income. While the income of this layer nearly tripled, the income of the middle 60 percent of the population rose only 40 percent over 28 years, and the income of the poorest 20 percent rose by only 18 percent.

Some other revealing statistics:

The unemployment rate for workers aged 55 or older has doubled since 2007, and the average period spent jobless has tripled. One-third of employed workers 65 and older make less than $11 an hour, while the rates of poverty and food stamp dependence have increased sharply for this sector of the population.

The dollar amount of student loans taken out in 2010 topped $100 billion, the largest ever total for a single year, and total student loan debt has passed the $1 trillion mark in 2011, exceeding the total of credit card debt. Students are borrowing twice as much as they did only ten years ago to pay for their college education.

Geographical mobility in America has fallen to the lowest level reported since 1948, one reflection of the loss of opportunity particularly for the young. People cannot sell their homes or buy new ones, and the majority of young college graduates are being compelled to move back in with their parents because they cannot find work that pays enough to set up on their own.

The Gallup poll found that three times as many American workers are worried about being able to feed themselves or their families, 19 percent of the population, compared to only 6 percent of Chinese workers with similar concerns. Gallup’s measure of access to basic social necessities showed that American workers were finding it more and more difficult to obtain food, adequate shelter and decent medical care.

What these figures demonstrate is both a profound social crisis, and an immense historical transformation. The United States has gone from leading the world in most social indices, including working-class living standards, to a new status as the leader, at least among the industrialized countries, in condemning the majority of its population to conditions of deprivation and misery.

The decline of American capitalism is shown in the decay of its once powerful industrial base, the crumbling of roads, bridges and other social infrastructure, and the closing of schools, libraries, hospitals and other public services. It is no wonder that more than 80 percent of the American people, according to most recent polls, feel that the country is on the wrong track.

Presiding over this decline is a financial aristocracy whose relationship to the rest of society recalls the ancien régime of pre-revolutionary France.

The reports and the portrait they provide of American society are a particularly damning indictment of the Obama administration and all those who presented the election of Obama as a transformative event in American politics. The real content of the past three years has been a colossal redistribution of wealth, overseen and encouraged by Obama, from the working class to the financial elite. And it only continues.

The overriding political necessity is for the working class to grasp the source of the social and economic decline. It is capitalism that has failed in the United States, and on a world scale. The system of production for profit has indeed produced record profits for the tiny minority at the top, but it has become a dead end for the working people who comprise the vast majority.

The working class must advance its own program in defense of jobs, decent education, a secure retirement and other basic social rights. This is only possible by breaking free from the grip of the official trade unions and the Democratic Party, which uphold the interests of the banks and corporations, while falsely claiming to defend the workers.

The growing opposition to inequality and corporate control of the entire political system underlies the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the mass support it has won in less than two months. But this is only an initial expression of what is to come.

The answer to the crisis of capitalism is a bold attack on the capitalists. The working class must fight for socialist demands: the expropriation of the billionaires and the entire ruling financial oligarchy, the public takeover of the major banks and corporations, and using the vast wealth produced by working people to meet social needs, not private profit.

The decisive issue in carrying forward this struggle is the building of a new, revolutionary leadership in the working class.

MEE, um golpe de estado em 17 países

November 1st, 2011 by Rudo De Ruijter

Nota preliminar: Não confundir o MEE com os actuais fundos de socorro europeus, o MESF e o FESF.

Como mencionado no artigo anterior sobre este assunto, “MEE, o novo ditador europeu” , os ministros das Finanças dos 17 países do euro assinaram um tratado para o estabelecimento do Mecanismo Europeu de Estabilidade (MEE). O seu objectivo é fazer com que os cidadãos europeus paguem as centenas de milhares de milhões de euros dispendidos com “acções de socorro” para salvar o euro e estrangular qualquer possibilidade de intervenção dos parlamentos.

Bruxelas, aparentemente, não quer que os cidadãos tomem conhecimento do conteúdo deste tratado. Até o dia da redacção deste artigo, não pude encontrar senão uma única versão em inglês na Internet (mas 96,5% da população da zona euro fala outras línguas!).

Curiosamente, tão pouco a assinatura deste novo tratado europeu foi notada pela imprensa internacional – apesar das dezenas de jornalistas que estiveram presentes na conferência de imprensa que o anunciou (ver foto acima). Talvez porque Juncker o tenha anunciado rapidamente em francês, antes de prosseguir a conferência em inglês (?). Além disso, muitos jornalistas ainda confundem este novo tratado MEE com os seus antecessores (ilegais), o Mecanismo Europeu de Estabilidade Financeira e o Fundo Europeu de Estabilidade Financeira. Eles são mais conhecidos pelos seus nomes em inglês: European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) e European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). O EFSM / EFSF têm uma capacidade de empréstimo de €440 mil milhões (1320 euros por euro-cidadão!). O MEE não tem limite.

Alguns parlamentares que ouviram falar do MEE acreditam erradamente que mantêm o poder através do seu ministro das Finanças. Contudo, como este último será promovido a governador do MEE, ele não terá mais contas a prestar ao parlamento nacional (nem a quem quer que seja) quanto às decisões que tomar no quadro do MEE. Se o Parlamento ratificar o tratado, é este tratado internacional que tornará prioritário em relação às legislações nacionais.

No momento em que escrevo, o tratado ainda deve ser ratificado pelos Parlamentos nacionais em todos os 17 países, a menos que isto já tenha sido feito aqui e ali de modo silencioso.

MEE, um golpe de estado em 17 países

Se por golpe de estado entendermos a tomada do poder real e a limitação do poder do Parlamento nacional democraticamente eleito, então o tratado do MEE é um golpe de estado nos 17 países simultaneamente.

Isto está inteiramente de acordo com a filosofia da Comissão Europeia. Segundo o seu presidente Barroso, deve ser o governo económico da União Europeia, que deve definir as acções que os governos nacionais devem executar . (28/Set/11) [1]

O Mecanismo Europeu de Estabilidade (MEE) não é tanto um mecanismo e sim uma nova administração da União Europeia. O objectivo declarado é fornecer empréstimos (sob condições estritas) a países do euro que já não podem cumprir suas obrigações financeiras. Ele retomará as tarefas do EFSF e do EFSM mencionadas acima e será gerido por um Conselho de Governadores. Estes serão os 17 ministros das Finanças dos países do euro situados na União Europeia.

O tratado do MEE diz, no seu artigo 8, que este órgão disporá de um capital social de 700 mil milhões de euros. A seguir, no seu artigo 19, precisa-se que o Conselho dos Governadores pode decidir mudar este montante e, em consequência, adaptar o artigo 8. No artigo 9 é dito que o Conselho dos Governadores pode exigir a qualquer momento a entrega do capital social ainda não pago (e isto em menos de 7 dias). De facto, diz-se que o MEE pode exigir dinheiro dos países membros de modo ilimitado. O tratado não prevê direito de veto para os Parlamentos nacionais.


Segundo o artigo 5.6 o Conselho dos Governadores deve tomar as decisões acima por unanimidade. Todo o Conselho deve portanto votar “a favor”.

A primeira vista é muito estranho que o funcionamento do tratado dependa inteiramente da unanimidade dos 17 ministros das Finanças da zona euro. Quando se vê quantos esforços são precisos neste momento para a conclusão de um acordo sobre a entrega de empréstimos já prometidos à Grécia, não seria de esperar que a União Europeia construísse um tratado que parte exactamente do princípio de que esta unanimidade existe ou pode ser conseguida.

A zona euro consiste num reflexo variegado da diversidade da Europa: os Países Baixos, a Bélgica, o Luxemburgo, a Alemanha e a França e depois a Irlanda, Portugal, Espanha, Itália, Malta, Grécia, Eslováquia, Eslovénia e finalmente a Estónia e a Finlândia. De facto, os 17 ministros formam igualmente uma companhia variegada. Cada um deles representa um país com interesses diferentes. E deles se espera a unanimidade? Como é possível?

Para compreender isso devemos olhar um pouco mais longe. No MEE são realmente os 17 ministros das Finanças que votam todas as decisões importantes, mas ainda há outras pessoas que estão presentes em todas as suas reuniões, oficialmente como “observadores”. Por que estes ministros têm necessidade de observadores? Para verificar se fazem bem o que deles se espera?

Os referidos observadores são em número de três:

  • o membro da Comissão Europeia que está encarregado dos assuntos económicos e monetários;

  • o presidente do Grupo Euro (um clube informal destes 17 ministros das Finanças);

  • e o presidente do Banco Central Europeu! [2]

    Portanto, se podemos esperar uma unanimidade espontânea dos 17 ministros das Finanças, será a influência exercida por estes observadores que os chegará a pô-los de acordo. Para compreender que influência a Comissão Europeia e o Banco Central Europeu podem exercer sobre os nossos ministros, olhemos as coisas um pouco mais de perto.

    Quem são os ministros das Finanças?

    Em geral são pessoas que vão e vêm. Mais frequentemente eles são nomeados após eleições parlamentares, que desembocam primeiro sobre negociações para formar uma coligação maioritária a expensas das promessas eleitorais e que são seguidas por pressões para o preenchimento das pastas importantes, como o Ministério do Interior, da Economia e das Finanças.

    Trata-se, mais habitualmente, de pessoas que ambicionam uma carreira política e que foram promovidas por partidos políticos. No caso favorável, elas dispõem de capacidades para conduzir um ministério. Uma tal pessoa pode ter a direcção da Defesa e depois, em outra ocasião, ser nomeado ministro da Educação ou dos Assuntos Sociais. O conhecimento do assunto é geralmente considerado menos importante do que as capacidades dirigentes.

    A economia não são as Finanças

    Assim, temos nos Países Baixos um ministro das Finanças, Jan Kees de Jager, que está coberto de diplomas de economia, mas que, inicialmente, dava pouca impressão de compreender alguma coisa de finanças. Uma das suas primeiras ideias foi propor uma lei que devia proibir estimular as pessoas a retirarem o seu dinheiro do banco. Jan Kees, os bancos não têm dinheiro! Para cada euro que os clientes de um banco como o ING (o maior banco holandês) têm nas suas contas, o banco não tem senão 3 centimos à disposição. Ninguém iria fazer fila por isso, não é? E depois, se o banco central não quer que um banco caia, este pode facilmente resistir a uma “run on the bank” com o dinheiro que lhe é emprestado.

    Os ministros das Finanças recem-nomeados geralmente estão loucos de alegria por terem conseguido chegar tão longe nas suas carreiras. Contudo, eles chegam a um mundo de que conhecem pouco ou nada. É o pequeno mundo influente das instituições financeiras internacionais e dos números com zeros infindáveis. Um momento de desatenção basta para que se enganem em dezenas de milhares de milhões de euros (o primeiro-ministro holandês Rutte e Jan Kees de Jager enganaram-se em 50 mil milhões de euros no quadro dos fundos de socorro europeus) [3]. Estes ministros novos são presas fáceis para os conselheiros do BCE e do FMI, que lhe vêem explicar como as coisas funcionam e o que se espera de um bom ministro das Finanças.

    Na medida em que estes ministros das Finanças tenham conhecimentos de base em economia, eles poderiam saber que a experiência do euro está votada ao fracasso. Isto já era conhecido em 1970 no arranque do projecto, mas banqueiros e políticos teimosos avançaram com a moeda única apesar de tudo. O problema é que uma moeda única não pode funcionar senão num território económico homogéneo. [4] [5] [6] Eis porque:

    A prisão das taxas de câmbio fixas

    Quando consumidores, nos países com possibilidades de produtividade mais reduzidas, preferem comprar produtos importados menos caros e melhores, a dívida externa aumenta. Ao mesmo tempo, a produtividade no interior do país diminuirá. Se o país dispuser da sua própria moeda, ele pode desvalorizá-la. Isso torna os produtos de importação mais caros para a sua própria população e os produtos de exportação menos caros para os compradores estrangeiros. A dívida diminuirá e a produtividade aumentará. As desvalorizações eram correntes antes do começo do euro. Agora, com o euro, isso funciona como uma taxa de câmbio bloqueada. Os países menos produtivos são capturados como ratos numa ratoeira. Eles jamais poderão sair das dívidas. É por isso que o método de carregar dívidas ainda mais elevadas sobre estes países é estranho e mal intencionado.

    Viva o mercado único dos capitais

    Não devemos esquecer que estes países não tinham grandes problemas inultrapassáveis no momento em que entraram na zona euro. Do contrário, não teriam sido admitidos. De facto, os problemas começaram com a sua adesão ao euro. É que simultaneamente a livre circulação dos capitais também se tornou um facto. Bancos existentes dos países do euro afluíam maciçamente para fornecer empréstimos baratos aos novos cidadãos do euro. E uma vez que, com um mesmo capital, os bancos são autorizados a fornecer duas vezes mais hipotecas do que empréstimos para outras utilizações, foram sobretudo habitações o que foi financiado. Os banqueiros esqueceram, contudo, que as pessoas não têm necessidade só de um espaço para habitar, mas também de receitas para reembolsarem seus empréstimos. Eles deveriam ter financiado suficientemente também as actividades económicas. Não foi o que aconteceu. Assim, uma primeira vaga de novos cidadãos do euro encontrou-se com dívidas de que nunca mais poderá sair. O mercado imobiliário afunda-se. Os empresários e seus fornecedores abrem falência, deixando atrás de si uma paisagem desoladora de quarteirões de habitação vazios e não acabados.

    As regras problemáticas do euro

    Além disso, é preciso saber que os “países com problemas” eram assim designados devido ao facto de que não respondiam às exigências apresentadas pela zona euro, ou seja, um défice orçamental máximo de 3% do PIB e uma dívida do Estado máxima de 60% do PIB. [7] Normalmente não há qualquer problema para um país quando a dívida é o dobro; quando, por exemplo, elas são contrabalançadas por haveres públicos, como é o caso da Grécia. E um défice orçamental de mais de 3% tão pouco deve ser um problema para um país. De facto, o único problema era que os limites colocados pela zona euro se verificaram irrealistas. Quase nenhum dos países membros podia atendê-los. Poder-se-ia dizer que aqueles que estabeleceram exigências não factíveis eram grandes estúpidos, bem como os ministros que prometeram respeitá-las. Seja como for, trata-se de um meio simples para provocar uma crise.

    Ovelha negra

    Porque quase todos os países haviam ultrapassado os limites fixados, era útil desviar as atenções e apontar com o dedo o aluno mais desobediente. Para a Grécia, eles montaram mesmo toda uma campanha de difamação, na qual participaram igualmente políticos mentirosos holandeses. A Grécia teria escondido a sua dívida [8] , os gregos era ociosos e partiam cedo para a reforma, etc. [9] Rapidamente a Grécia foi atacada de todo lado e teve de pagar juros cada vez mais elevados para os seus empréstimos. Felizmente seus companheiros de classe do euro queriam mesmo ajudar. Jan Kees prometeu mesmo que nós ganharíamos dinheiro com ela.

    Dinheiro é poder

    Depois de acabar de manobrar a sua vítima e levá-la a perturbações – mais uma vez: a Grécia não tinha um problema inultrapassável quando acedeu à zona euro em 2001 – então pode-se aplicar a política da cenoura e do bastão: nós lhe forneceremos empréstimos, mas na condição de… O FMI tem meio século de experiência com este tipo de abuso de poder. Ele aplicou esta política deliberadamente em muitos países em desenvolvimento. Primeiro o país é sobrecarregado de empréstimos, de modo a que já não possa sequer pagar os juros. Estes empréstimos são concedidos para projectos definidos. Estes geralmente são executados por empresas estrangeiras. São elas que recebem o dinheiro dos empréstimos. O país fica com as dívidas. A seguir vende-se tudo o que o país tem de valor a investidores estrangeiros. E, naturalmente, o governo deve cortar as despesas até o osso e a população deve sangrar, para que se compreenda que o FMI é o mestre.

    Captura do poder da Comissão Europeia

    Se bem que o artigo 122.2 do Tratado sobre o funcionamento da União Europeia (TFUE) [10] permita ao Conselho Europeu fornecer ajuda financeira membros em aflição (sobre proposta da Comissão Europeia), os lobos da Comissão Europeia não podiam resistir à tentação de erigir o seu próprio FMI ou, mais precisamente, um irmão europeu, que colaboraria estreitamente com o FMI.

    Eles avançaram rapidamente, em Maio e Junho de 2010, com o EFSM e o EFSF. Eles tinham um carácter provisório e uma base legal falível. Recentemente a capacidade de empréstimo do EFSF foi aumentada até 440 mil milhões de euros (isso representa 1320 euros por cidadão europeu).

    O sucessor é o MEE. Assinado em 11 de Julho de 2011, ele aguarda ratificação pelos Parlamentos nacionais entre esta data e 31 de Dezembro de 2011. O MEE terá um carácter permanente e o poder de exigir somas ilimitadas dos cofres de Estado e de os emprestar sob o risco e as despesas dos cidadãos do euro. Eles começam com um capital social de 700 mil milhões (2100 euros por cidadão da eurozona), mas já falam em montantes de 1500 a 2000 mil milhões, de que pensam ter necessidade…

    A emenda do artigo 136

    O MEE baseia-se numa emenda do artigo 136 do TFUE aprovada em 23 de Março de 2011 [11] , que de facto constitui um acréscimo de poder da União Europeia. E porque esta emenda baseia-se no artigo 48.6 do Tratado da União Europeia (TUE), isso é ilegal. [12] Mas em Bruxelas eles marimbam-se e mesmo os Parlamentos nacionais consideram as regras democráticas não suficientemente importantes para recusar esta construção ilegal. Com efeito, a consequência seria que a população deveria primeiro pronunciar-se sobre esta extensão do poder de Bruxelas. E este povo débil certamente votaria contra.

    O MEE terá o poder de esvaziar os cofres dos Estados sem que os Parlamentos possam se opor. Além disso, esta emenda – estritamente de acordo com o texto – torna possível toda uma pilha de outras instituições anti-democráticas que, sob o pretexto de combater a instabilidade do euro, poderão limitar os efeitos da legislação nacional e os direitos dos cidadãos.

    'A doutrina do choque'. Shock and awe

    Criar uma crise e capturar o poder. É no momento em que o país está totalmente desorganizado que se pode ordenar as coisas à vontade. É um cenário violento que os defensores da economia do mercado livre têm aplicado desde há décadas em muitos países, como a Inglaterra, Polónia, China, África do Sul, Rússia e Estados Unidos. Recomendo um dos livros mais esclarecedores da nossa era: A doutrina do choque , de Naomi Klein – uma leitura obrigatória.

    Agora é a vez da Grécia. A difamação fez o seu trabalho. Os cidadãos nos outros países euro quase não protestam, e quando o fazem é contra a possível perda do seu dinheiro que os Fundos de Pensão ali investiram. Mas se eles reflectissem um pouco mais compreenderiam que um dia, talvez já amanhã, também eles poderão manobrados dentro de dívidas, pelos fundos de socorro. Isso poderá acontecer de repente, anunciado por um título na imprensa como “Crédit Agricole em risco de falência”.

    Círculo vicioso

    Entretanto, no pânico criado, os Parlamentos aceitam medidas de urgência que na véspera não haviam sequer imaginado serem propostas. Agora o dinheiro dos fundos de socorro deve igualmente servir para salvar os bancos. Criámos portanto um círculo vicioso: os bancos causam os problemas, eles podem lucrar directa e indirectamente dos empréstimos concedidos através das medidas de urgência e agora podem emprestar ainda mais temerariamente, pois as perdas eventuais serão pagas pelos cidadãos do euro!

    Abaixo a tomada de decisões por unanimidade

    Retorno ao nosso MEE. Este tratado pode funcionar ou tornar-se caduco conforme os 17 ministros das Finanças sejam unânimes ou não. A Comissão Europeia e o BCE têm confiança na sua influência para por os 17 narizes no mesmo sentido.

    Na verdade, não é necessário que sejam todos os 17. Uma decisão é igualmente válida quando os ministros não estão todos presentes. Cada ministro representa um certo número de votos, relacionado com o capital subscrito pelo seu país (ver tabela abaixo ). Quando 2/3 dos ministros representando 2/3 do número total de votos estiverem presentes, eles podem votar validamente. E não votar não impede uma decisão unânime – desde que ninguém vote contra.

    Em teoria, um ministro cabeçudo de um pequeno país poderia estragar a festa. Mas seja dito de passagem que ele terá de dispor de uma grande coragem. Barroso não quer mais disso. Ele quer que todos os tratados europeus sejam modificados e que as decisões não precisem mais de ser tomadas por unanimidade. Para o MEE, por exemplo, isso significaria que se a Alemanha, a França, a Itália e os Países Baixos estiverem de acordo, os outros 13 não têm mais nada a dizer. Viva a ditadura de Bruxelas! Viva a União Europeia!


    Já estamos habituados a que administradores e representantes do povo não gostem de responder pelas suas palavras e seus actos. Mas no MEE, eles realmente empurram muito a rolha. As regras foram estabelecidas de tal modo que todos aqueles que fazem parte ou trabalham ali poderão ou não fazer como quiserem sem que tenham de responder perante nenhum Parlamento, nenhuma administração nem nenhum juiz. Em casos extremos, um ministro das Finanças poderá ser substituído por outro, que se beneficiará imediatamente dos mesmos privilégios exorbitantes. Um criminoso não poderia desejar um melhor refúgio.

    Uma última reflexão

    A União Europeia tem a economia do mercado livre como seu princípio declarado. Quase todo o mundo já compreendeu que a desregulamentação dos bancos, a privatização das infraestruturas e a abolição das tarefas do governo conduzem a uma sociedade dura e fustigada por crises. Estes princípios estão ultrapassados. Seus defensores não poderão impô-los senão pela violência. A Grécia não será a última vítima.


    Anexo: Repartição dos votos dos Governadores do MEE, em relação ao capital social subscrito

    Membro do MEE

    Nº de acções

    Subscrição de capital (EUR)

    Kingdom of Belgium
    243 397
    24 339 700 000

    Federal Republic of Germany
    1 900 248
    190 024 800 000

    Republic of Estonia
    13 020
    1 302 000 000

    111 454
    11 145 400 000

    Hellenic Republic
    197 169
    19 716 900 000

    Kingdom of Spain
    833 259
    83 325 900 000

    French Republic
    1 427 013
    142 701 300 000

    Italian Republic
    1 253 959
    125 395 900 000

    Republic of Cyprus
    13 734
    1 373 400 000

    Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
    17 528
    1 752 800 000

    5 117
    511 700 000

    Kingdom of the Netherlands
    400 190
    40 019 000 000

    Republic of Austria
    194 838
    19 483 800 000

    Portuguese Republic
    175 644
    17 564 400 000

    Republic of Slovenia
    29 932
    2 993 200 000

    Slovak Republic
    57 680
    5 768 000 000

    Republic of Finland
    125 818
    12 581 800 000

    7 000 000
    700 000 000 000

    Fontes e referências:

    [1] Barroso, 28/Setembro/2011,

    [2] Oficialmente o Banco Central Europeu não é um órgão da União Europeia. O BCE é propriedade dos bancos centrais da zona euro. Estes, por sua vez, são independentes dos governos nacionais no sentido de que não recebem ordens. Eles são dirigidos por Conselhos de pessoas privadas. O euro portanto não pertence à União Europeia, nem aos governos nacionais, mas a um cartel de banqueiros privados em Frankfurt, a cidade dos Rothschild. A União Europeia não pode dar ordens ao BCE, mas inversamente o BCE tem poder no interior da UE. Ele dirige o Sistema Europeu dos Bancos Centrais, que ele sim é um órgão da UE. O BCE e os bancos centrais da zona euro são os membros deste órgão. Até onde se deve ir na complexidade para dar o poder de um órgão oficial a uma empresa privada?…

    [3] Vrijspreker , 22/Julho/2011 *
    Tradução: O governo holandês e a Comissão Europeia contradizem-se sobre o volume do pacote de ajuda para a Grécia. Segundo o Ministério das Finanças trata-se de um montante de 109 mil milhões de euros, dos quais 50 mil milhões vêm dos bancos e de outras instituições financeiras. Segundo a Comissão Europeia os governos pagam 109 mil milhões e a eles acrescentam-se 50 mil milhões das instituições privadas. O Banco Central Holandês (DNB) não sabe. “Também estamos curiosos para saber como é”, disse um porta-voz do DNB. O Banco Central Europeu refere-se à Comissão Europeia.

    [4] Em estudos científicos sobre as “optimum currency areas” (regiões óptimas para uma moeda) podemos distinguir os estudos centrados sobre as condições necessárias e aqueles posteriores a 1970 (quando os políticos haviam decidido que queriam uma moeda única) que estão mais centrados sobre os custos e os benefícios.

    Roman Horvath e Lubos Komarek em “OPTIMUM CURRENCY AREA THEORY: AN APPROACH FOR THINKING ABOUT MONETARY INTEGRATION” (2002) (ver tradução abaixo):

    “It is possible to distinguish two major streams of the optimum currency area literature. The first stream tries to find the crucial economic characteristics to determine where the (illusionary) borders for exchange rates should be drawn (1960s-1970s). The second stream (1970s-till now) assumes that any single country fulfills completely the requirements to make it an optimal member of a monetary union. As a result, the second approach does not continue in the search for characteristics, identified as important for choosing the participants in an optimum currency area. This literature focuses on studying the costs and the benefits to a country intending to participate in a currency area.”

    “É possível distinguir duas correntes principais na literatura sobre as regiões óptimas para uma moeda. A primeira corrente tentar encontrar as características económicas cruciais para determinar onde deveriam ser estabelecidas as fronteiras (imaginárias) para as taxas de câmbio (anos 1960 e 1970). A segunda corrente (da década de 1970 até agora) assume que qualquer país individual preenche completamente as exigências para torná-lo um membro óptimo de uma união monetária. Em consequência, a segunda abordagem não continua a investigação de características, identificadas como importantes para escolher os participantes numa região monetária óptima. Esta literatura centra-se no estudo dos custos e benefícios para um país que pretenda participar numa região de união monetária”. , page 7.

    Friedman descreve assim as vantagens das taxas de câmbio flexíveis: “Como se constata habitualmente, os preços e os salários num país são relativamente rígidos e estes factores são imóveis entre países. Em consequência, aquando de uma procura negativa ou de um choque na oferta, o único instrumento para evitar uma inflação maior ou o desemprego é uma mudança na taxa de câmbio flexível (o que quer dizer revalorizar ou desvalorizar a moeda). Isto trará outra vez a economia para o equilíbrio interno e externo inicial. (…) Sob o regime de taxas de câmbio fixas, haveria sempre o impacto desagradável do desemprego ou da inflação”. , page 8.


    “A Europa não é uma monetária óptima. Contudo, em 1 de Janeiro de 1999 onze países da UE arrancaram com uma União Monetária Europeia adoptando uma moeda partilhada, o euro, se bem que a UE não responda a todos os critérios para uma região monetária óptima. Além disso, aderir à UE não é a mesma coisa que aderir ao euro, tanto para os antigos como para os novos membros”. , page 66

    [6] Paul de Grauwe, excertos de um discurso (ver tradução abaixo):

    “With up to twenty-seven members instead of the present twelve, the challenge for ensuring a smooth functioning of the enlarged Eurozone will be daunting. The reason is that in such a large group the probability of what economists call ‘asymmetric shocks’ will increase significantly. This means that some countries may experience a boom and inflationary pressures while others experience deflationary forces. If too many asymmetric shocks occur, the ECB will be paralyzed, not knowing whether to increase or to reduce the interest rates. As a result, member countries will often feel frustrated with the ECB policies that do not (and cannot) take into account the different economic conditions of the individual member countries. This leads us to the question whether the enlarged EMU will, in fact, be an optimal currency area.” (…)

    “If a country is hit by negative shocks brought about by agglomeration effects, the wage cuts necessary to deal with these shocks will inevitably be very large. To give an example: If Ford Motor were to close down a plant in Belgium and to invest in Poland instead, the wage cut of Belgian workers that would convince Ford Motor not to make this move would have to be 50% or more given that the wage not feasible, then flexibility dictates that the Belgian workers be willing to move.”

    “Com vinte e sete membros ao invés dos doze actuais, o desafio de assegurar o funcionamento suave da eurozona ampliada será terrível. A razão para isso é que num grupo tão grande a probabilidade daquilo que os economistas chamam de “choque assimétrico” aumentará significativamente. Isto significa que alguns países podem experimentar um boom e pressões inflacionárias enquanto outros experimentam forças deflacionárias. Se demasiados choques assimétricos se verificarem, o BCE será paralisado, não sabendo se deverá aumentar ou reduzir as taxas de juro. Em consequência, países membros muitas vezes sentir-se-ão frustrados com as políticas do BCE que não levam em conta (nem podem) as diferentes condições económicas dos países membros individuais. Isto nos conduz à questão de saber se a União Monetária Europeia ampliada será de facto uma região monetária óptima”. (…)

    “Se um país é atingido por choques negativos provocados pela aglomeração de efeitos, os cortes salariais para tratar destes choques serão inevitavelmente muito grandes. Um exemplo: Se a Ford Motor fosse encerrar uma fábrica na Bélgica e investir na Polónia, em substituição, o corte salarial de trabalhadores belgas que convenceria a Ford Motor a não se deslocalizar teria de ser 50% ou maior. Uma vez que tal corte não é factível, então a flexibilidade determina que os trabalhadores belgas aceitariam deslocalizar-se”.

    [7] Estas são as exigência do “Pacto de Estabilidade e de Crescimento”.

    [8] Nikolaos Salavrakos, Membro do Parlamento Europeu em “Is there a way out?”

    [9] Estatísticas da OCDE,3746,fr_2649_34747_39374006_1_1_1_1,00.html

    [10] Artigo 122.2 do Tratado sobre o funcionamento da União Europeia:

    “Quando um Estado membro experimenta dificuldades ou uma ameaça séria de graves dificuldades, devido a catástrofes naturais ou acontecimentos excepcionais que escapam ao seu controle, o Conselho, sob proposta da Comissão, pode conceder, sob certas condições, uma assistência financeira da União ao Estado membro afectado. (…)”

    [11] Resolução do Parlamento Europeu de 23 de Março de 2011 sobre o projecto de decisão do Conselho Europeu modificando o artigo 136 do tratado sobre o funcionamento da União Europeia…

    [12] art 48.6 Treaty of the European Union

    Tratado que estabelece o Mecanismo Europeu de Estabilidade (MEE):

    Ver também:

  • Do “golpe de Estado da Eurozona” ao isolamento trágico do Reino Unido , GEAB, 15/Maio/2010

  • EFSF Newsletter , nº 2, Julho/2011

  • Governo português aprova resolução para criar mecanismo permanente que substituirá o actual fundo de resgate , 13/Outubro/2011

    [*] Investigador independente, [email protected]

    O original encontra-se em :

    Em francês :

    MES, un coup d’état dans 17 pays – par Rudo de Ruijter – 2011-10-14

    e ver também : MES, le nouveau dictateur européen

    ijter – 2011-10-14
    Este artigo encontra-se em

  •  14 de Outubro, o presidente Barack Obama anunciou o envio de forças especiais americanas para a guerra civil do Uganda. Nos próximos meses, tropas de combate americanas serão enviadas para o Sudão do Sul, Congo e República Centro-Africana. Obama assegurava também, satiricamente, que estas apenas “actuarão” em “auto-defesa”. Com a Líbia securizada, está então em marcha uma invasão americana do continente africano.

    A decisão de Obama é descrita pela imprensa como “bastante invulgar”, “surpreendente” e até como “esquisita”. Nada está mais longe da verdade. É a lógica própria à política externa americana desde 1945. Recordemos o caso do Vietname. A prioridade era então fazer frente à influência da China, um rival imperial, e “proteger” a Indonésia, considerada pelo presidente Nixon a “maior reserva de recursos naturais da região” e como “o maior prémio”. O Vietname estava simplesmente no caminho dos EUA; a chacina de mais de 3 milhões de vietnamitas e a destruição e envenenamento daquela terra era o preço a pagar para alcançar este objectivo. Como em todas as invasões americanas posteriores, um rastro de sangue desde a América Latina até ao Afeganistão e ao Iraque, a argumentação era sempre a da “auto-defesa” e do “humanitarismo”, palavras há muito esvaziadas do seu significado original.

    Em África, diz-nos Obama, a “missão humanitária” é ajudar o governo do Uganda a derrotar o Exército de Resistência do Senhor (LRA), que “assassinou, violou e raptou dezenas de milhares de homens, mulheres e crianças na África Central”. Esta é uma descrição exacta do LRA, que evoca múltiplas atrocidades administradas pelos próprios Estados Unidos, como é disso exemplo o banho de sangue que se seguiu, nos anos 60, ao assassinato perpetrado pela CIA do líder congolês Patrice Lumumba, democraticamente eleito, ou ainda a operação da CIA que instalou no poder aquele que é considerado o mais venal tirano africano, Mobutu Sese Seko.

    Recursos da África em hidrocarbonetos. Outra justificação de Obama também parece ridícula. Esta é a “segurança nacional dos Estados Unidos”. O LRA esteve a fazer o seu trabalho sujo durante 24 anos, com interesse mínimo dos Estados Unidos. Hoje ele tem pouco mais de 400 combatentes e nunca esteve tão fraco. Contudo, “segurança nacional” estado-unidense habitualmente significa comprar um regime corrupto e criminoso que tem algo que Washington deseja. O “presidente vitalício” de Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, já recebe a parte maior dos US$45 milhões de “ajuda” militar dos EUA – incluindo os drones favoritos de Obama. Este é o seu suborno para combater uma guerra por procuração contra o mais recente e fantasmático inimigo islâmico da América, o andrajoso grupo al Shabaab na Somália. O RTA desempenhará um papel de relações públicas, distraindo jornalistas ocidentais com as suas perenes histórias de horror.

    No entanto, a principal razão para a invasão americana do continente africano não é diferente daquela que levou à guerra do Vietname: É a China. Num mundo de paranóia servil e institucionalizada, que justifica aquilo que o general Petraeus, o antigo comandante norte-americano e hoje director da CIA, chama um estado de guerra perpétua, a China está a substituir a Al-Qaeda como a “ameaça” oficial americana. Quando entrevistei Bryan Whitman, secretário de estado adjunto da Defesa, no Pentágono no ano passado, pedi-lhe para descrever os perigos actuais para os EUA no mundo. Debatendo-se visivelmente repetia: “Ameaças assimétricas … ameaças assimétricas”. Estas “ameaças assimétricas” justificam o patrocínio estatal à lavagem de dinheiro por parte da indústria militar, bem como o maior orçamento militar e de guerra da História. Com Osama Bin Laden fora de jogo, é a vez da China.

    A África faz parte da história do êxito chinês. Onde os americanos levam drones e destabilização, os chineses levam ruas, pontes e barragens. O principal interesse são os recursos naturais, sobretudo os fósseis. A Líbia, a maior reserva de petróleo africana, representava durante o governo Kadafi uma das mais importantes fontes petrolíferas da China. Quando a guerra civil começou e a NATO apoiou os “rebeldes” fabricando uma história sobre supostos planos da Kadafi para um “genocídio” em Bengazi, a China evacuou 30 mil trabalhadores da Líbia. A resolução do Conselho de Segurança da ONU que permitiu a “intervenção humanitária” por parte dos países ocidentais, foi sucintamente explicada numa proposta dos “rebeldes” do Conselho Nacional de Transição ao governo francês, divulgada no mês passado pelo jornal Libération, na qual 35% da produção de petróleo Líbia eram oferecidos ao estado francês “em troca” (termo utilizado no texto em questão) do seu apoio “total e permanente” ao CNT. O embaixador americano na Tripoli “libertada” Gene Cretz, confessou: “Sabemos bem que o petróleo é a jóia da coroa dos recursos naturais líbios”

    A conquista de facto da Líbia por parte dos Estados Unidos e dos seus aliados imperiais é o símbolo da versão moderna da “corrida à África” do século XIX.

    Tal como na “vitória” no Iraque, os jornalistas desempenharam um papel fundamental na divisão dos líbios entre vítimas válidas e inválidas. Uma primeira página recente do Guardian mostrava um líbio “pró-Kadafi” aterrorizado e os seus captores de olhos brilhantes que, como intitulado, “festejavam”. De acordo com o general Petraeus, existe hoje uma guerra da “percepção… conduzida continuamente pelos meios de informação”

    Durante mais uma década, os Estados Unidos procuraram estabelecer um comando militar no continente africano, o AFRICOM, mas este foi rejeitado pelos governos da região, receosos das tensões que daí poderiam advir. A Líbia, e agora o Uganda, o Sudão do Sul e o Congo, representam a oportunidade dos Estados Unidos. Como revelou a Wikileaks e o departamento americano de estratégia contra-terrorista (National Strategy for Counterterrorism – White House), os planos americanos para o continente africano são parte de um projecto global, no quadro do qual 60 mil elementos das forças especiais, incluindo esquadrões da morte, operam já em mais de 75 países, número que aumentará em breve para 120. Como já dizia Dick Cheney no seu plano de “estratégia de defesa”: Os Estados Unidos desejam simplesmente dominar o mundo.

    Que esta seja a dádiva de Barack Obama, o “filho de África”, ao seu continente é incrivelmente irónico. Não é? Como explicava Frantz Fanon no seu livro “Pele negra, máscaras brancas”, o que importa não é a cor da tua pele, mas os interesses que serves e os milhões de pessoas que acabas por trair.


    O original em inglés :

    Obama, The Son of Africa, Claims a Continent’s Crown Jewels

    Tradução de MQ.

    Este artigo em português encontra-se em

    Khadafi morreu combatendo com dignidade e coerência

    November 1st, 2011 by Miguel Urbano Rodrigues

    A foto divulgada pelos contra-revolucionários do CNT elimina dúvidas: Muamar Khadafi morreu.

    Notícias contraditórias sobre as circunstâncias da sua morte correm o mundo, semeando confusão. Mas das próprias declarações daqueles que exibem o cadáver do líder líbio transparece uma evidência: Khadafi foi assassinado.

    No momento em que escrevo, a Resistência líbia ainda não tornou pública uma nota sobre o combate final de Khadafi. Mas desde já se pode afirmar que caiu lutando.

    A midia a serviço do imperialismo principiou imediatamente a transformar o acontecimento numa vitória da democracia, e os governantes dos EUA e da União Europeia e a intelectualidade neoliberal festejam o crime, derramando insultos sobre o último chefe de Estado legitimo da Líbia.

    Essa atitude não surpreende, mas o seu efeito é oposto ao pretendido: o imperialismo exibe para a humanidade o seu rosto medonho.

    A agressão ao povo da Líbia, concebida e montada com muita antecedência, levada adiante com a cumplicidade do Conselho de Segurança da ONU e executada militarmente pelos EUA, a França e a Grã Bretanha deixará na História a memória de uma das mais abjectas guerras neocoloniais do início do século XXI.

    Quando a OTAN começou a bombardear as cidades e aldeias da Líbia, violando a Resolução aprovada sobre a chamada Zona de Exclusão aérea, Obama, Sarkozy e Cameron afirmaram que a guerra, mascarada de «intervenção humanitária», terminaria dentro de poucos dias. Mas a destruição do país e a matança de civis durou mais de sete meses.

    Os senhores do capital foram desmentidos pela Resistência do povo da Líbia. Os «rebeldes», de Benghazi, treinados e armados por oficiais europeus e pela CIA, pela Mossad e pelos serviços secretos britânicos e franceses fugiam em debandada, como coelhos, sempre que enfrentavam aqueles que defendiam a Líbia da agressão estrangeira.

    Foram os devastadores bombardeamentos da OTAN que lhes permitiram entrar nas cidades que haviam sido incapazes de tomar. Mas, ocupada Tripoli, foram durante semanas derrotados em Bani Walid e Sirte, baluartes da Resistência.

    Nesta hora em que o imperialismo discute já, com gula, a partilha do petróleo e do gás libios, é para Muamar Khadafi e não para os responsáveis pela sua morte que se dirige em todo o mundo o respeito de milhões de homens e mulheres que acreditam nos valores e princípios invocados, mas violados, pelos seus assassinos.

    Khadafi afirmou desde o primeiro dia da agressão que resistiria e lutaria com o seu povo ate à morte.

    Honrou a palavra empenhada. Caiu combatendo.

    Que imagem dele ficará na História? Uma resposta breve à pergunta é hoje desaconselhável, precisamente porque Muamar Khadafi foi como homem e estadista uma personalidade complexa, cuja vida reflectiu as suas contradições.

    Três Khadafis diferentes, quase incompatíveis, são identificáveis nos 42 nos em que dirigiu com mão de ferro a Líbia.

    O jovem oficial que em 1969 derrubou a corrupta monarquia Senussita, inventada pelos ingleses, agiu durante anos como um revolucionário. Transformou uma sociedade tribal paupérrima, onde o analfabetismo superava os 90% e os recursos naturais estavam nas mãos de transnacionais americanas e britânicas, num dos países mais ricos do mundo muçulmano. Mas das monarquias do Golfo se diferenciou por uma politica progressista. Nacionalizou os hidrocarbonetos, erradicou praticamente o analfabetismo, construiu universidades e hospitais; proporcionou habitação condigna aos trabalhadores e camponeses e recuperou para uma agricultura moderna milhões de hectares do deserto graças à captação de águas subterrâneas.

    Essas conquistas valeram-lhe uma grande popularidade e a adesão da maioria dos líbios. Mas não foram acompanhadas de medidas que abrissem a porta à participação popular. O regime tornou-se, pelo contrário, cada vez mais autocrático. Exercendo um poder absoluto, o líder distanciou-se progressivamente nos últimos anos da política de independência que levara os EUA a incluir a Líbia na lista negra dos estados a abater porque não se submetiam. Bombardeada Tripoli numa agressão imperial, o país foi atingido por duras sanções e qualificado de «estado terrorista».

    Numa estranha metamorfose surgiu então um segundo Khadafi. Negociou o levantamento das sanções, privatizou empresas, abriu sectores da economia ao imperialismo. Passou então a ser recebido como um amigo nas capitais europeias. Berlusconi, Blair, Sarkozy, Obama ,Sócrates receberam-no com abraços hipócritas e muitos assinaram acordos milionários , enquanto ele multiplicava as excentricidades, acampando na sua tenda em capitais europeias.

    Na última metamorfose emergiu com a agressão imperial o Khadafi que recuperou a dignidade.

    Li algures que ele admirava Salvador Allende e desprezava os dirigentes que nas horas decisivas capitulam e fogem para o exílio.

    Qualquer paralelo entre ele e Allende seria descabido. Mas tal como o presidente da Unidade Popular chilena, Khadafi, coerente com o compromisso assumido, morreu combatendo. Com coragem e dignidade.

    Independentemente do julgamento futuro da História, Muamar Khadafi será pelo tempo afora recordado como um herói pelos líbios que amam a independência e liberdade. E também por muitos milhões de muçulmanos.

    A Resistência, aliás, prossegue, estimulada pelo seu exemplo.

    Vila Nova de Gaia, no dia da morte de Muamar Khadafi

    O original encontra-se em

    Este artigo encontra-se em

    Das guerras do ópio às guerras do petróleo

    November 1st, 2011 by Domenico Losurdo

    “A morte de Kadafi é uma viragem histórica”, proclamam em coro os dirigentes da NATO e do Ocidente, sem se incomodarem sequer em guardar distâncias em relação ao bárbaro assassinato do líder líbio e das mentiras desavergonhadas que proferiram os chefes dos “rebeldes”. Sim, efectivamente trata-se de uma viragem. Mas para entender o significado da guerra contra a Líbia no âmbito do colonialismo é preciso partir de longe…

    Quando em 1840 os navios de guerra ingleses surgem diante das costas e das cidades chinesas, os agressores dispõem de um poder de fogo de milhares de canhões e podem semear destruição e morte em grande escala sem temer a artilharia inimiga, cujo alcance é muito reduzido. É o triunfo da política das canhoneiras:  o grande país asiático e sua civilização milenar são obrigados a render-se e começa o que a historiografia chinesa denomina acertadamente como “o século das humilhações”, que termina em 1949 com a chegada ao poder do Partido Comunista e de Mao Zedong.

    Nos nossos dias, a chamada Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) criou em muitos países do Terceiro Mundo uma situação parecida com a que a China enfrentou no seu tempo. Durante a guerra contra a Líbia de Kadafi, a NATO pôde consumar tranquilamente milhares de bombardeamentos e não só não sofreu baixas como sequer correu o risco de sofre-las. Neste sentido a força militar da NATO, mais do que um exército tradicional, parece-se a um pelotão de execução. Assim, a execução final de Kadafi, mais do que um facto causal ou acidental, revela o sentido profundo da operação em conjunto.

    É algo palpável:  a renovada desproporção tecnológica e militar reaviva as ambições e as tentações colonialistas de um Ocidente que, a julgar pela exaltada auto-consciência e falsa consciência que continua a ostentar, nega-se a saldar contas com a sua história. E não se trata só de aviões, navios de guerra e satélites. Ainda é mais clara a vantagem com que Washington e seus aliados podem contar em capacidade de bombardeamento mediático. Também nisto a “intervenção humanitária” contra a Líbia é um exemplo de manual:  a guerra civil (desencadeada, entre outras coisas, graças ao trabalho prolongado de agentes e unidades militares ocidentais e no decorrer da qual os chamados “rebeldes” podiam dispor desde o princípio até de aviões) apresentou-se como uma matança perpetrada pelo poder contra uma população civil indefesa. Em contrapartida, os bombardeamentos da NATO que até o fim assolaram a Sirte assediada, faminta, sem água nem medicamentos, foram apresentados como operações humanitárias a favor da população civil da Líbia!

    Hoje em dia este trabalho de manipulação, além de contar com os meios de informação tradicionais de informação e desinformação, vale-se de uma revolução tecnológica que completa a Revolution in Military Affairs. Como expliquei em intervenções e artigos anteriores, são autores e órgãos de imprensa ocidentais próximos ao Departamento de Estado os que celebram que o arsenal dos EUA se enriqueceu com novos e formidáveis instrumentos de guerra. São jornais ocidentais e de comprovada fé ocidental que contam, sem nenhum sentido crítico, que no decorrer das “guerras internet” a manipulação e a mentira, assim como a instigação à violência de minorias étnicas e religiosas, também mediante a manipulação e a mentira, estão na ordem do dia. É o que está a acontecer na Síria contra um grupo dirigente mais acossado do que nunca por haver resistido às pressões e intimidações ocidentais e se ter negado a capitular diante de Israel e a trair a resistência palestina.

    Mas voltemos à primeira guerra do ópio, que termina em 1842 com o Tratado de Nanquim. É o primeiro dos “tratados desiguais”, ou seja, imposto com as canhoneiras. No ano seguinte chega a vez dos Estados Unidos. Também envia canhoneiras para arrancar o mesmo resultado que a Grã-Bretanha e inclusive algo mais. O tratado de Wahghia (nas proximidades de Macau) de 1843 sanciona o privilégio da extraterritorialidade para os cidadãos estado-unidenses residentes na China:  mesmo que cometam delitos comuns, subtraem-se à jurisdição chinesa. O privilégio da extraterritorialidade, evidentemente, não é recíproco, não vale para os cidadãos chineses residentes nos Estados Unidos. Uma coisa são os povos colonizados e outra muito diferente a raça dos senhores. Nos anos e décadas posteriores, o privilégio da extraterritorialidade amplia-se aos chineses que “dissidem” da religião e da cultura do seu país e convertem-se ao cristianismo (com o que teoricamente passam a ser cidadãos honorários da república norte-americana e do Ocidente em geral).

    Também nos nossos dias o duplo critério da legalidade e da jurisdição é um elementos essencial do colonialismo:  os “dissidentes”, ou seja, os que se convertem à religião dos direitos humanos tal como é proclamada de Washington a Bruxelas, os Quisling potenciais ao serviço dos agressores, são galardoados com o prémio Nobel e outros prémios parecidos depois de o Ocidente ter desencadeado uma campanha desaforada para subtrair os premiados à jurisdição do seu país de residência, campanha reforçada com embargos e ameaça de embargo e de “intervenção humanitária”.

    O duplo critério da legalidade e da jurisdição alcança suas cotas mais altas com a intervenção do Tribunal Penal Internacional (TPI). Os cidadãos estado-unidenses e os soldados e mercenários de faixas e estrelas espalhados por todo o mundo ficam e devem ficar fora da sua jurisdição. Recentemente a imprensa internacional revelou que os Estados Unidos estão dispostos a vetar a admissão da Palestina na ONU, entre outras coisas, para impedir que a Palestina possa denunciar Israel perante o TPI:  seja como for, na prática quando não na teoria, deve ficar claro para todo o mundo que só os povos colonizados podem ser processados e condenados. A sequência temporal é em si mesma eloquente. 1999:  apesar de não haver obtido autorização da ONU, a NATO começa a bombardear a Jugoslávia; pouco depois, sem perda de tempo, o TPI tratar de incriminar não os agressores e responsáveis da ruptura da ordem jurídica internacional estabelecida após a II Guerra Mundial e sim Milosevic. 2011:  violentando o mandato da ONU, longe de se preocupar com o destino dos civis, a NATO recorre a todos os meios para impor a mudança de regime e ganhar o controle da Líbia. Seguindo uma pauta já ensaiada, o TPI trata de incriminar Kadafi. O chamado Tribunal Penal Internacional é uma espécie de apêndice judicial do pelotão de execução da NATO. Poder-se-ia dizer inclusive que os magistrados de Haia são como padres que, sem perder tempo a consolar a vítima, esmeram-se directamente em legitimar e consagrar o verdugo.

    Uma última observação. Com a guerra contra a Líbia, perfilou-se numa nova divisão do trabalho no âmbito do imperialismo. As grandes potências coloniais tradicionais, como a Inglaterra e a França, valendo-se do decisivo apoio político e militar de Washington, centram-se no Médio Oriente e na África, ao passo que os Estados Unidos deslocam cada vez mais seu dispositivo militar para a Ásia. E assim voltamos à China. Depois de haver deixado para trás o século de humilhações que começou com as guerras do ópio, os dirigentes comunistas sabem que seria insensato e criminoso faltar pela segunda vez ao encontro com a revolução tecnológica e militar: enquanto liberta centenas de milhões de chineses da miséria e da fome a que os havia condenado o colonialismo, o poderoso desenvolvimento económico do grande país asiático é também uma medida de defesa contra a agressividade permanente do imperialismo. Aqueles que, inclusive na “esquerda”, se põem a reboque de Washington e Bruxelas na tarefa de difamação sistemática dos dirigentes chineses demonstram que não se preocupam nem com a melhoria das condições de vida das massas populares nem com a causa da paz e da democracia nas relações internacionais.


    O original em italiano :

    Artigo em francês : Des guerres de l’opium aux guerres du pétrole

    Este artigo traduzido em português encontra-se em

    From the European Central Bank headquarters to the halls of the Senate floor in the United States, debt, deficits, and austerity measures are all on the minds of leaders all over the world due to the ongoing world-wide recession. Many facets of the economic crisis have been examined, however, the role of credit rating agencies has been largely ignored, with their being little to no in-depth analysis of the role of rating agencies in relation to the global economic downturn nor their influence on the global economy at large. It seems that while rating agencies can be used to rate the creditworthiness of a nation, they now have undue influence on countries and are able to hold them hostage, thus an examination needs to take place of how they wield such influence on the world at large.

    Sovereign Credit Ratings

    Credit rating agencies came into being due to the creation of railroad industry. In the 19th century “the growing investing class [wanted] to have more information about the many new securities – especially railroad bonds – that were being issued and traded” [1] and thus credit rating agencies filled that need. In the middle of the 19th century, railroads began to raise capital via the market for private corporate bonds as banks and direct investors were unable to raise the capital needed to construct railroads. This growth in the sale of the different private bonds led to a need for there to be “better, cheaper and more readily available information about these debtors and debt securities,” thus Henry Varnum Poor responded by writing and publishing the Manual of the Railroads of the United States in 1868, containing the financial information of all major railroads companies and providing “an independent source of information on the business conditions of these corporate borrowers.” [2]

    With John Moody issuing the first credit ratings in the US in 1909, the credit rating agency had come into its own. Usually the entire process of “shaping investor perceptions of corporate borrowers” was dealt with by banks as they would be putting their reputations on the line by lending to corporations. Thus, if a venture succeeded, the bank’s reputation would go up and if the venture proved a flop, the bank’s reputation would be damaged, making it harder for them to attract new clients. Essentially the creditworthiness of a corporation was certified to the public via the reputation of the bank they had borrowed the money from. Due to this, “the bank as creditor would become more involved in the business of the corporation and become an insider,” [3] yet bond investors would not have access to the same information that the banks did. Thus, rating agencies aided in a leveling of the playing field and improved the efficiency of capital markets.

    However, in time rating agencies went from rating the bonds of railroads to rating the bonds of sovereign states. In the 1970s global bond markets were reviving, but the demand for bond ratings was slow to occur as most foreign governments didn’t feel the need to have their credit rated since most already had good credit and for those that didn’t, credit could be attained by other means. However, this changed in the ‘80s and ‘90s when countries with bad credit “found market conditions sufficiently favorable to issue debt in international credit markets.” [4] These governments frequently tapped into the American bond market which required credit ratings, thus, “the growth in demand for rating services [coincided] with a trend toward assignment of lower quality sovereign credit ratings.” [5] While this may have been good for investors as they would be able to now see if a nation was a financial risk, this ability to rate the credit of countries would give them the power to decide a countries economic fate.

    Ratings and Economic Policies

    Credit ratings, while they can be a potentially positive part of the financial industry, can also have a negative effect on the economic policy of countries. This is especially true for developing nations.

    For countries that take out loans, “a rating downgrade has negative effects on their access to credit and the cost of their borrowing.” [6] This could potentially force a government to have to borrow money at a higher interest rate and thus scale down its plans for economic development. The problem that this poses for developing nations is that the only way to increase their credit score is to follow the “orthodox policies [that focus] on the reduction of inflation and government budget deficits” [7] which is favored by such organizations as the IMF and the World Bank. The alternative, which would be to avoid a rating downgrade in the first place, is even worse as it could lead “borrowing countries [to] adopt policies that address the short-term concerns of portfolio investors, even when they are in conflict with long-term development needs.” [8]

    This entire state of affairs is rather unfair to the Developing World as they are forced to take on large amounts of debt as they try to industrialize and modernize. This is largely caused due to the fact that they are victims of neocolonialism and that the major means of production are owned mainly by foreigners who don’t contribute much in terms of improving the long-term economic prospects of a country and getting them from under the weight of neocolonialism.

    While rating agencies can have an effect on individual countries, they can also effect the global economic system at large as can be seen by their actions in the current global financial crisis.

    Global Recession

    As we all now know, the major reason for the near global economic collapse was due to a subprime mortgage lending bubble that occurred between the late ‘90s and 2007. The deep financial risk occurred due to the fact that financial corporations sold mortgages to families who could not pay them and used them to create collateralized debt obligations. This “encouraged subprime lending and led to the development of other financing structures, such as “structured investment vehicles” (SIVs), whereby a financial institution might sponsor the creation of an entity that bought tranches of the CDOs and financed its purchase by issuing short-term “asset-backed” commercial paper.” (ABCP) [9] Credit rating agencies came into play due to the fact that favorable ratings that the agencies gave allowed for high ABCP ratings. It is quite crucial to note that the ratings agencies gave were extremely important as they “had the force of law with respect to regulated financial institutions’ abilities and incentives (via capital requirements) to invest in bonds” and due to their friendly relationship with corporate and government bond ratings, many rating agencies were able to influence “many bond purchasers— both regulated and non-regulated—[to] trust the agencies’ ratings on the mortgage-related securities, even (or, perhaps, especially) if the market yields on those securities were higher than on comparably rated corporate bonds.” [10] Thus, the rating agencies were crucial in the economic calamity due to the fact that they were able to influence bond purchasers to bank on, what were in essence, junk investments.

    Corporations may have had an effect on the ratings they were given due to the fact that the higher the ratings were, the larger the profits would be. Thus, corporations “would be prepared to pressure the rating agencies, including threats to choose a different agency, to deliver those favorable ratings.” [11]

    Eventually, when the house of cards that was precariously built upon high risk mortgage loans came tumbling down, the rating agencies were swift to pass judgement in the form of massive downgrades. These downgrades caused the rated securities to lose value in both the primary and secondary markets, quickening the pace of the economic downturn. However the downgrades revealed that the ratings system itself was quite flawed, being influenced by such things as “the drive for market share, pressure from investment banks to inflate ratings, inaccurate rating models, and inadequate rating and surveillance resources.” [12]

    Evidence reveals that in the years leading up to the economic meltdown both Moody’s and S&P were quite aware of the increasing credit risks due to factors such as “higher risk mortgage products, increasingly lax lending standards, poor quality loans, unsustainable housing prices, and increasing mortgage fraud” [13], yet the agencies continued to ignore any and everyone’s- even their own- assessment on the risks and refused to adjust the credit ratings to accurately reflect the risk of the investments. Interestingly enough, “Moody’s and S&P began issuing public warnings about problems in the mortgage market as early as 2003, yet continued to issue inflated ratings for [mortgage] and CDO securities before abruptly reversing course in July 2007.” [14] This leads one to wonder why they would continue to give good ratings to mortgages that they knew were junk. The reason this occurred was due to the issuer-pays model under which the firm interested in profiting from a security is required to pay for the credit rating needed to sell the security. In addition to this, “it requires the credit rating agencies to obtain business from the very companies paying for their rating judgment” which results in “a system that creates strong incentives for the rating agencies to inflate their ratings to attract business, and for the issuers and arrangers of the securities to engage in ‘ratings shopping’ to obtain the highest ratings for their financial products.” [15] Thus, the rating agency is forced to give inflated ratings if they want to stay in business. The ratings agencies are partially to blame for the financial crisis, but it is also the very system at large that needs to be uprooted and replaced. This entire fiasco brings up the question: Can the rating agencies be regulated?

    Regulation and the Revolving Door

    There has been some arguments for reform for CRAs, among these are switching to an investor pays model and promoting competition among rating agencies, however, each of these proposed solutions have their own problems.

    Some argue for moving from the issuer-pays model to “an ‘investor pays’ model in which rating agencies would earn fees from users of the rating information.” [16] While this may sound like a good solution, there are still problems as “ it would not eliminate conflicts of interest but instead shift them from issuers to investors” [17] as it would now be in the interest of rating agencies to attract business from the very investors who are paying for their rating judgement, resulting, once again, in inflated ratings.

    The proposal to promote competition among rating agencies is quite problematic due to the fact that “size and market recognition may be higher barriers to entry than regulatory status, turning the credit rating industry into an oligopoly.” [18] In addition to this, promoting competition could potentially lower the quality of the ratings due to the fact that new entrants would most likely offer higher ratings or lower prices as to compete with the three large rating firms, thus reducing both the level of effort in ratings and their reliability.

    While these proposals may seem good, one must keep in mind that they are only reforms, which only make certain amendments to the overall system rather than creating an entirely new one. None of these reforms deal with the revolving door that exists between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the government institution that is supposed to regulate the ratings agencies among other financial markets, and the rating agencies themselves.

    In May of 2011, the Project On Government Oversight announced that after completing a study from 2006 to 2010, found some rather interesting facts concerning the revolving door, such as that the SEC Office of Inspector General had “identified cases in which the revolving door appeared to be a factor in staving off SEC enforcement actions and other types of SEC oversight, including cases involving Bear Stearns and the Stanford Ponzi scheme” and one empirical study “uncovered several significant and systematic biases in the SEC’s enforcement patterns and found indirect evidence to support the contention that ‘post-agency employment at higher salaries may operate as a quid pro quo in return for favorable regulatory treatment.’” [19] Yet while these actions were taking place and the role of rating agencies in causing the global recession were known by the US government, Congress and Obama did little to nothing to remedy the overall problem.

    Due to the major problems that rating agencies have caused in the recent years, it may lead some to ask the question are rating agencies even needed. The fact of the matter is that they are needed, but they need to play a much less influential role in the financial system than they do now. Instead of enacting small reforms that do nothing to solve the overall problem, a completely new way of interaction between the ratings agencies and the financial markets needs to be enacted. In addition to this, the revolving door between the SEC and members of the financial sector needs to end immediately. Without these changes the rating agencies may very well lead the world down another dark economic alley in the future.



    2: Ibid

    3: Ibid


    5: Ibid


    7: Ibid

    8: Ibid


    10: Ibid

    11: Ibid


    13: Ibid

    14: Ibid

    15: Ibid


    17: Ibid

    18: Ibid


    VIDEO: The Assassination of Gaddafi

    November 1st, 2011 by James Corbett

    The Way Forward for Occupy Portland

    November 1st, 2011 by Shamus Cooke

    In Portland, Oregon, all the promise and pitfalls of the Occupy Movement are on public display. Portland is second only to New York when it comes to sustained Occupy power, but in a newly born social movement strength is not something to take for granted. The vast amounts of public support in Portland, earned through large demonstrations and strategic outreach, can be frittered away by the internal contradictions of the movement.  

    Portland began its occupation with a 10,000-person rally that shook the city’s foundation and disorientated the Mayor, who had no choice but to “allow” the occupation to stay at the park they had taken without asking.  There has since been several large Portland rallies and marches that have proven the wider population’s support: On October 26 a labor union-led Occupy march turned out thousands of union members with ecstatic morale; the same week showcased a “This Land is Our Land” Occupy rally by Portland band Pink Martini, which attracted nearly 10,000 people.  

    But the speeches of the Pink Martini rally were hardly Occupy worthy, since they showcased two members of Oregon’s Congressional House of Representatives, politicians of the political establishment that the Occupy movement rose up against. As Representative Earl Blumenauer spoke, a group of activists chanted “This is what hypocrisy looks like,” in response to his voting in favor for the recently passed pro-corporate free trade agreements.  

    If Portland’s Occupy movement had a strong list of demands — or even a firm statement of principles — the Democrats in Oregon would be unable to associate with Occupy, since the Democrats’ objectives would so obviously clash with those of the anti-corporate movement. But for now “99%” is vague enough for political impostors to enter the fray and inject ideas from the wealthiest 1%.  

    Portland’s 1% has been chipping away at the Occupy movement through their control of the local media; a steady stream of negative editorials and slanted reporting has focused on the minority of internal problems of the Occupation spot, blasting headlines of drug abuse and assaults while ignoring the larger aspirations of the protesters. 

    Thus far, Portland’s 1% has been unable to establish the “rule of law” and evict the protesters because of the wider backlash that would ensue; the media have been pushing the Mayor to create a “timeline” for the protesters to leave. Thus far the Mayor remains too jarred to act, leaving the initiative to the protesters.  

    But initiative is something easily lost. There are sections of Occupiers who are impatient and want more “direct action,” including an expansion of the occupation to other parks. This would not be such a bad thing if masses of people were aggressively behind the action. Instead, on October 30th in the wee hours of the morning, the “new” occupation spot had only a couple dozen protesters who were promptly arrested, giving the police and Mayor an easy victory and the Occupy movement a small but bitter defeat. The illusion of the Mayor having “control” was upheld while the message of the protesters was muzzled.  

    Some protesters will argue that the arrests were a victory, but civil disobedience must be looked at from a strategic lens that is most effective with masses of people involved and specific goals in mind. The era of tiny protests and limited results belongs to the past. This movement has large scale potential, and the larger 99% will feel impelled to join if they see a strong, mass movement capable of winning demands.  

    Another way that Occupy Portland could lose mass support is through political disunity. There are different committees and working groups within Occupy Portland trying to build some political cohesiveness to broadcast to the wider community. The movement’s long-term objectives and immediate demands remain unclear; indeed the two are being confused. There is an urge for many people to demand the end to “corporate personhood,” an increasingly popular demand on the political left that remains mostly unknown to the larger 99%.  

    This is precisely the problem. The Occupy movement claims to speak for the 99%, but the main leaders/organizers are students, recent graduates, or long-time members of the activist left. These groups have come into the movement with ready-made ideas in mind, many of them good. But the left has been plagued by issue-based divisiveness for years, where the many different groups are pushing their individual issues into a movement that began by appealing to the 99% at large. It is healthy for left groups to advocate the end of animal cruelty, corporate personhood, and police brutality, but these are not the immediate demands that will spur the 99% to actively join the movement.    

    What will get people in the streets? The 99% supports the Occupy Movement because of the economic crisis that has directly affected them, not because they have ideological problems with capitalism (at the moment), or want to take legal rights from corporations. The most progressive 5% cannot impose their demands on the larger 99%, since the majority of the 99% already have demands of their own.   

    What are these demands? The Washington Post explains: ”How many times does this message have to be delivered? In poll after poll, Americans have said their top concern is the jobs crisis.” (August 11, 2011).  

    Poll after poll has also declared mass opposition to cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and other social programs, while declaring mass support for taxing the rich to solve these national problems. 
    And these issues have even greater potential to galvanize the 99% because of their centrality to organized labor. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka recently declared the cuts to Social Security, Medicare or to Medicaid, which have been proposed by the bipartisan “Super Committee,” are unacceptable. The proposed cuts, Trumka says, prove why people around the country “are raising their voices in protest because they’re fed up with a system that is stacked in favor of the richest one percent of Americans – at the expense of the other 99 percent of us.”

    The Occupy Movement will grow or die based on its ability to relate to these demands of the larger 99%. It is these issues that reflect the most urgent needs held in common by the vast majority and that affect working people on a city, state, and national level. No long-term demands — like ending corporate personhood — can be won outside of a mass movement, and no mass movement can grow without the focus on immediate, basic demands; these demands must come before the former.   

    There is plenty of time for the Occupy Movement to work out the details of its long-term mission, but there is no time to waste to fight for the most popular demands of working people. The Occupy Movement is still struggling for existence, and its life cannot be maintained in a political environment unattractive to the broader 99%. If the Occupy Movement demanded that the wealthy and corporations be taxed to create jobs and prevent cuts to social programs, the 99% would see a movement built in its own image, and working people would fight for themselves while learning to fight alongside each other for the good of all working people. 

    Surrounded by the Turkish veteran member of NATO in the north, the Israeli NATO partner and the navy fleets of the member states patrolling the Mediterranean in the west, the alliance’s Jordanian partner in the south, and in the east hosting a NATO mission in Iraq, which is expected to develop into the 12th Arab partner, and lonely swimming in a sea of the Arab and Israel strategic allies of the United States, the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad stands as the Yugoslavia of the Middle East, that has to join the expansion southward of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as well as the “new world order” engineered by the U.S. unipolar power, kicked out as the odd regional number, or join Iraq and Libya in being bombed down to the medieval ages.

    Following its latest military success in opening the Libyan gate to Africa, the U.S. – led NATO seems about to recruit its 13th Arab “partner,” thus paving the way for the United States to move its Africom HQ from Germany to the continent after removing the Gaddafi regime, which opposed both this move and the French – led Mediterranean Union (MU), a removal that is in itself, for all realpolitic reasons, a threatening warning to the neighboring Algeria to soften its opposition to both Africa hosting Africom and NATO expanding southward and to drop off whatever reservations it still has to the revival of the MU, which lost its Egyptian co-chair with President Nicolas Sarkozy with the removal of former president Hosni Mubarak from power in Cairo.

    The U.S. and NATO are poised now to shift focus from Arab North Africa to the Arab Levant to deal with the last Syrian obstacle to their regional hegemony. The U.S. administration of President Barak Obama seems now determined to make or break with the al-Assad regime, distancing itself from decades long policy of crisis management pursued by predecessor U.S. administrations vis-à-vis Syria, which stands now in the Middle East as former Yugoslavia stood in the wake of the collapse of the former Soviet Union when a series of ethnic and religious wars wrecked it, creating from its wreckage several new states, until the Serbian core of the Yugoslav union was bombed by NATO in 1999 to make Serbia now a hopeful member of the alliance.

    However international and regional strategic geopolitical factors are turning Syria into a border red line that might either herald a new era of multipolar world order, which puts an end to the U.S. unipolar order, if the U.S. led alliance fails to change the Syrian regime, or completes a U.S. – NATO total regional hegemony that would preclude such a long awaited outcome, if it succeeds:

    * Internally, the infrastructure of the state is strong, the military, security, diplomatic and political ruling establishment stands coherent, unified and potent, and economically the state is not burdened with foreign debt and is self-sufficient in oil, food and consumer products. Imposing a complete suffocating economic and diplomatic siege on the country seems impossible. What is more important politically is the fact that the pluralistic diversity of the large Syrian religious and sectarian minorities deprives the major and better organized Islamist opposition of the Muslim Brotherhood of the leading role it enjoys in the protests of what has been termed the “Arab Spring” in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen.

    * Contrary to western analyses, which expect the change of regimes by the “Arab Spring” to be a motivating drive for a similar change in Syria, the changes were bad examples for Syrians. The destruction of the infrastructure of the state, especially in Iraq and Libya, and leaving their national decision making to NATO and U.S., at least out gratefulness to their roles in the change, is not viewed by the overwhelming majority of the Syrians, including the mainstream opposition inside the country, as an acceptable and feasible price for change and reform. The Arab Egyptian veteran and internationally prominent journalist, Mohammed Hassanein Heikal, in an interview with the Qatar based Aljazeera satellite TV Arabic channel, cited these bad Iraqi and Libyan examples as alienating the Syrian middle class in major city centers away from supporting the protests demanding change of regime; he even accused Aljazeera of “incitement” against the Syrian regime of al-Assad.

    * This overall internal situation continues to deter outside intervention on the one hand and on the other explains why the opposition has so far failed to launch even one protest of the type that moved out millions of people to the streets as was and is the case in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen, especially in major population centers like the capital Damascus, Aleppo, both which are home to about ten million people.

    * Moreover, the resort of a minority of Islamists to arms allegedly to defend the protesters has backfired, alienating the public in general, the minorities in particular, and highlighting their external sources of funds and arming, thus vindicating the regime’s accusation of the existence of an outside “conspiracy,” but more importantly diverting the media spotlight away from the peaceful protests, weakening these protests by driving away more people from joining them out of fear for personal safety as proved by the dwindling numbers of protesters, and dragging the opposition into a field of struggle where the regime is definitely the strongest at least in the absence of external military intervention that is not forthcoming in any foreseeable future, a fact that was confirmed in the Libyan capital Tripoli on October 31 by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen: “NATO has no intention (to intervene) whatsoever. I can completely rule that out,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

    * Geopolitically, it is true that western powers after WW1 succeeded in cutting historical Syria to its present day size, but Syrian pan-Arab ideology and influence is still up to historic Syria, and is still consistent with what the late Princeton scholar Philip K. Hitti called (quoted by Robert D. Kaplan in Foreign Policy on April 21, 2011) “Greater Syria” — the historical antecedent of the modern republic – “the largest small country on the map, microscopic in size but cosmic in influence,” encompassing in its geography, at the confluence of Europe, Asia, and Africa, “the history of the civilized world in a miniature form”. Kaplan commented: “This is not an exaggeration, and because it is not, the current unrest in Syria is far more important than unrest we have seen anywhere in the Middle East.” The change of the regime in Syria will not bring security and stability to the region; on the contrary, it will open a regional Pandora box. Syrian President al-Assad was very well aware of this geopolitical reality when he told Britain’s Sunday Telegraph recently in a weekend interview that Syria “is the (region’s) fault line, and if you play with the ground, you will cause an earthquake”.

    * The regional repercussions of a sectarian civil war in Syria are a deterrent factor against both militarization of pro-reform peaceful protests and foreign military intervention in support thereof. Therefore, when NATO and the U.S. pressure or encourage their regional allies in Turkey and the GCC Arab countries to foment Sunni sectarian strife in the Syrian ally of Shiite Iran as a prelude to civil war, their only pretext for military intervention, they are in fact playing with a regional fire that will not save neither the perpetrators nor the “vital” interests of their NATO-U.S. sponsors.

    * Regionally, Iran’s possible loss of its Syrian bridge to the Mediterranean, while its routes to the strategic sea could easily be closed via the Gulf, the Arabian Sea, the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, the Red sea and the Suez Canal by the fifth and sixth U.S. fleets as well as the by fleets of the NATO member states and Israel, and pro- U.S. governments overlooking these sea lanes, is an Iranian red line the trespassing of which could create a situation fraught with potential risks of regional war eruption.

    * Regionally also, less a U.S. – NATO decision to go to an all out war on Iran and Syria, military intervention in Syria would not be on the agenda unless guarantees are in place that Israel will be out of reach of expected Iranian and Syrian retaliation.

    * The timing of the U.S. – NATO shift of focus on Syria coincides with a deadlocked Palestinian – Israeli peace process and the failure of Barak Obama administration to deliver on its promises to its Arab allies, thus alienating the most moderate among them, namely Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is still being pushed to a collision course with the American sponsor of the process by the U.S. – led international campaign against his overdue bid to secure the recognition of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations.

    The failure of the U.S. peace mediator applies more counterproductively to the Syrian – Israeli peace making. Al-Assad regime came to power in a coup d’etat with the precise aim of engaging the U.S. – sponsored peace process in the Middle East. More than forty years later the United States has yet to deliver. This failure erodes the influence of the moderate pro-U.S. Arabs, stands as the biggest obstacle to building a U.S. – Arab – Israeli front against Iran, which is an American and Israeli regional priority, and adds ammunition and forces to the Syrian protagonist. Abbas’ reconciliation accord with the Syrian – based Hamas is a good example to ponder in this context; another is the Palestinian leader’s latest pronounced option of dissolving the self-ruled Palestinian Authority under Israeli military occupation, which would be a death blow to the Arab – Israeli peace process.

    * This failure of the U.S. “sponsorship” was a major contributing factor to the changes of the “Arab Spring” in a chain of pro-U.S. Arab regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. However this failure vindicates Syria’s “resistance” ideology, justifies its strategic defensive coordination with Iran, reinforces the popular support for both countries in the region, and gives credibility to the argument of the regime in Damascus that the U.S. and NATO are fueling Syrian protests in the name of change and reform, but in fact exploiting these protests to “change the regime” and replace it with one that is more willing to accept the Israeli – U.S. dictates for peace making.

    * The scheduled withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq by the end of the year is another regional adverse factor against military intervention in Syria. This withdrawal is leaving Iraq unquestionably under a pro – Iran ruling regime. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was on record in opposing regime change in Syria precisely because of the Iranian influence. Iraq is now overtly replacing Turkey as a strategic depth for its Syrian western neighbor, providing a strategic link between the allies in Damascus and Tehran, after Turkey’s U-turn on its “strategic cooperation” with Syria, its U-turn on its nine-year old “zero problem based relations” with Arab and Islamic neighbors, and its subscription to NATO and U.S. plans for Syria as a member and ally respectively.

    * Internationally, the latest Russian and Chinese vetoes at the UN Security Council is indication enough that the U.S. – NATO endeavor to change the Syrian regime has trespassed another red line. Loosing its navy facilities in Syria would leave Russia out of the Mediterranean Sea and render it a U.S. – NATO lake. China whose competitive edge in Africa is being challenged following the change of regime in Libya would view the fall of Syria to become a U.S. – NATO launching ground against Iran as a real threat to its similarly competitive partnership with Iran. Chasing Beijing also out of Iran will render the emerging Chinese economic giant at the mercy of NATO partners if they succeed in securing their control over Iran and Syria because such a control will secure also their control of both strategic oil reserves in the Middle East and central Asia. This is absolutely a Chinese red line.

    * Diplomatically, U.S. – NATO plans of military intervention in Syria has been denied any cover of United Nations legitimacy by the Russian and Chinese vetoes. Legitimacy of the Arab League is still lacking; freezing the membership of a member state, like was the case with Libya, needs consensus, which is not forthcoming.


    This is the geopolitical strategic context in which the Syrian pro-democracy transformation is desperately trying to survive the U.S. – NATO undemocratic means of coercing Syria into compliance. Both mainstream opposition inside the country and the ruling regime are almost in consensus on reforms and fundamental changes that will move Syria to what is being now termed as “the second republic” through dialogue.

    Both this opposition and the regime are on record against the militarization of the peaceful popular protests demanding reform and change and more adamantly against foreign intervention whatever form it takes, but both are seeking internal national unity as well as foreign support for a package of reforms inclusive of lifting the martial law, limiting the role of intelligence arms of the state to national security, empowering the civil society, curbing political and economic corruption, political pluralism, competitive elections, changing party, electoral and media laws, balancing the executive – legislative power, promoting judiciary and rule of law, and more importantly ending the constitutional Baath Party monopoly of power. Carnegie Endowment in its “Reform in Syria: Steering between the Chinese Model and Regime Change” of July 2006 proposed most of the reforms. In less than six months, President al-Assad has already issued successive presidential decrees enacting all these reforms.

    However the U.S. – NATO axis of “the responsibility to protect” advocates are persistent on creating facts on the ground that would empower them for foreign intervention and place them in a position to trade their support of this reform package internally in exchange externally for Syrian foreign policy agenda, which has nurtured during four decades of al-Assad rule a network of regional and international alliances that enabled Syria to maintain a defense option in its 44-year old struggle to liberate the Israeli – occupied Syrian Golan Heights and to stand steadfast against dictating conditions on Damascus to make peace with Israel on Israeli terms.

    These adverse factors leave the U.S. and NATO with two options:

    First pressuring NATO member, Turkey, to discard its nine-year old “zero-problem based relations” with its regional neighbors to what Liam Stack described in the New York Times on October 27 as “hosting an armed opposition group waging an insurgency … amid a broader Turkish campaign to undermine Mr. Assad’s government” in its southern Syrian neighbor, which is the same reason why Turkey has been for years waging military incursions into Iraq and why Ankara was on the brink of war with Syria late in 1990s.

    Second, to escalate the militarization of the peaceful protests. On August 14, 2011, Israel’s Debka Intelligence news reported that developments in Syria point to a full-fledged armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist “freedom fighters” covertly supported, trained and equipped by foreign powers. According to Israeli intelligence sources: NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Turkish high command are drawing up plans … to arm the rebels with weapons for combating the tanks and helicopters … NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers … The delivery of weapons to the rebels is to be implemented “overland, namely through Turkey and under Turkish army protection … According to Israeli sources, which remain to be verified, NATO and the Turkish High command, also contemplate the development of a “jihad” involving the recruitment of thousands of Islamist “freedom fighters”, reminiscent of the enlistment of Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war … Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria!

    The editorial board opinion of The Washington Post on September 28, 2011 had a foresight: “The appearance of such forces is not to be welcomed, even by those hoping for an end to the Assad regime.”

    However, the U.S. and NATO seem now in a race against time in pursuing exactly that goal through those two options to preclude the implementation of the Syrian package of reforms, until the ruling regime is coerced into compliance to trade their support of these reforms for the current Syrian foreign policy agenda.

    But because the Syrian foreign policy, like the foreign policy of all countries, serves the internal prerogatives in the first place, which is in the Syrian case the liberation of Syria’s Israeli-occupied lands, Syria is not expected to comply. Therefore the Syrian “resistance” continues, and the regional conflict as well.

    Nick Cohen wrote in The Jewish Chronicle on August 30 this year: “Syria is a story that cries out for coverage. But it is not receiving the play it deserves.” Cohen was and is still right, but he has yet to address Syria from a completely different approach.

    * Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

    * [email protected]   

    Israel y Libia preparan a África para el “Choque de Civilizaciones”

    October 31st, 2011 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

    Tercera de cuatro partes sobre Libia: Israel y Libia

    Una vez más, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya arranca la capa de legitimidad y engaño que rodea el genocidio de EE.UU y la OTAN que actualmente tiene lugar en Libia. En su primer artículo, Nazemroaya saca a la luz el mecanismo mediante el cual el mundo llegó a “conocer” la necesidad de una intervención humanitaria en la Jamahirya Árabe Libia y las admisiones de EE.UU./OTAN de intentos de asesinato selectivo contra el líder de la Revolución Libia de 1969, Muamar Gadafi. En la primera de estas cuatro partes desde su retorno de Libia, Nazemroaya deja en claro que nunca hubo evidencia alguna presentada a las Naciones Unidas o a la Corte Penal Internacional para merecer o justificar las Resoluciones 1970 y 1973 de las Naciones Unidas o las actuales operaciones de EE.UU./OTAN dentro de Libia.

    En su segundo artículo que detalla esta tristísima historia, Nazemroaya denuncia las relaciones entre los principales protagonistas libios/OTAN y la Fundación Nacional por la Democracia (NED, por sus siglas en inglés) financiada por el Congreso de EE.UU. Increíblemente, cuando destacados miembros del Congreso de EE.UU. proclamaron públicamente una y otra vez que no sabían quiénes eran los colaboradores “rebeldes” libios de la OTAN, esos así llamados líderes rebeldes seleccionados eran políticos con una relación íntima con protagonistas de la NED. Los dirigentes del Consejo Nacional de Transición, confabulados para aparecer extremadamente influyentes ante los públicos en las antiguas capitales coloniales, tienen muy poca influencia o apoyo dentro de Libia, y pueden ser comparados con una autoridad neocolonial moralmente corrupta del tipo Hamid Karzai que preside sobre y otorga una hoja de parra de “legitimidad” a los extranjeros cuyo objetivo es la destrucción total de ciudadanos recalcitrantes que demandan autodeterminación para sus propias comunidades y países. Nazemroaya también denuncia que, a pesar de su Guerra Global contra el Terror, el gobierno de EE.UU. financió efectivamente a terroristas y criminales libios buscados por INTERPOL.

    En ésta, la tercera de cuatro partes, Nazemroaya aparta la hoja de parra de EE.UU./OTAN y lo que revela son las abominables, odiosas, inhumanas y cínicas maquinaciones del lobby pro Israel que es la única fuerza política que parece capaz de instruir a las más importantes fuerzas armadas y al más poderoso de los dirigentes del mundo para que actúen de maneras que amenazan la paz y la tranquilidad de sus propios partidos políticos y la seguridad nacional de sus propios gobiernos. Por cierto, mediante su política de apoyo a Israel, no importa cuán beligerantes sean sus políticas, EE.UU. ha erosionado su propio interés nacional, como siguen señalando advertencias de dirigentes militares estadounidenses.

    De hecho, mis propias experiencias personales con el lobby pro Israel dentro de EE.UU. demuestran el intenso interés de Israel en África. He escrito sobre mi experiencia con el “compromiso” de apoyar a Israel que es impuesto a cada candidato al Congreso de EE.UU.; la negativa de firmarlo, como yo hice, significa que no habrá un solo dólar de los millones gastados en cada ciclo electoral en contribuciones a la campaña y que pueden asegurar la más empedernida satanización mediática del candidato que no coopera. Viene a la mente la satanización del primer miembro negro del Congreso desde la Reconstrucción, Earl Hilliard, en su campaña por la reelección de 2002, con consideración específica de sus visitas a Libia. Semanas después, muchos de los donantes neoyorquinos para su reelección, reaparecieron en los cofres de campaña de mis propios oponentes. Mientras yo era presentada en cartas a partidarios del lobby pro Israel como anti-israelí, sigo creyendo que el lobby consideró que mis actividades muy reales en África eran las más amenazantes. De la reforma agraria a los diamantes ensangrentados a diversas advertencias que envié a ciertos países africanos productores de petróleo para que apoyaran la autodeterminación africana y se opusieran a esfuerzos por crear divisiones artificiales en la Costa de Marfil, Zaire/República Democrática del Congo, Ruanda, y Sudán, encontré un interés increíble en todo lo africano por parte del lobby pro Israel.

    De hecho, me invitaron a alquilar mi semblante “negro” a esos mismos intereses y ser arrestada frente a la embajada de Sudán para sembrar la misma narrativa de “negro contra árabe”, que trágicamente está siendo creada en Libia, lo que Nazemroaya describe de manera tan exhaustiva en su texto. Noto aquí que algunos negros dentro y fuera del Congreso de EE.UU. eligieron aceptar esa invitación en particular y ser arrestados. Mi representante estuvo presente en la reunión en la cual esas actividades fueron planificadas, el financiamiento fue organizado, y las acciones puestas en movimiento. Fue una manipulación intencional de la política de EE.UU. y, lo que es más importante, de las despreciables conductas en Sudán que condujeron a abusos de los derechos humanos y a crímenes contra la humanidad. Los guardianes de la agenda pro Israel dentro del Congreso consideraron que mi propia propuesta de legislación para excluir a corporaciones de la bolsa estadounidense que ayudaran, secundaran e instigaran o participaran de alguna manera en abusos humanos era una respuesta inaceptable a los abusos muy reales que tenían lugar en ese país.

    Además, mientras estuve en prisión en Israel, lo que señalaban las prisioneras, en su mayoría africanas en mi bloque de celdas en la Prisión Ramle, fue que eran adherentes de “la religión equivocada”. La purga de cristianos dentro de Israel es un hecho. Los grafiti sobre la pared de mi sala de espera israelí, en otro complejo carcelario antes de mi liberación, dejaban en claro que los cristianos deportados no eran deseados en Israel y pensaban que era por su religión. El reciente impulso de Israel, a pesar de sus residentes no judíos, de identificarse como “Estado judío” es revelador.

    Mientras estuve en Libia, encontré a muchos africanos que dijeron que habían decidido vivir en ese país por el panafricanismo de las políticas de la Jamahirya Libia. De hecho, mientras estaba en una “Conferencia de Africanos en la Diáspora” en ese país en enero/febrero de 2011, presencié personalmente, junto con una delegación de EE.UU., a Muamar Gadafi prometiendo 90.000 millones de dólares a unos “Estados Unidos de África” que trabajarían en conjunto para construir el continente y contrarrestar los esfuerzos por penetrar y re-colonizarlo. Los negros estadounidenses que lucharon con dignidad, autodeterminación contra la opresión y el imperialismo de EE.UU. en los años sesenta y setenta tienen una relación con Muamar Gadafi y el gobierno de la Jamahirya que data de décadas. En las 29 paradas de mi Tour de la Verdad de Libia, encontré numerosos ciudadanos estadounidenses que recordaron a las audiencias las contribuciones de Muamar Gadafi y del gobierno de la Jamahirya contra el imperialismo británico en Irlanda del Norte. Africanos continentales que asistieron a esas paradas del Tour recordaron a las audiencias el apoyo de Muamar Gadafi a Nelson Mandela y a africanos que luchaban por liberar al continente de apartheid en tiempos en los que Israel compartía una alianza con ese gobierno. También señalaron el actual apoyo del gobierno de la Jamahirya a muchos proyectos de desarrollo en todo el continente y para el presupuesto de la propia Unión Africana. Por ello, muchos observadores alarmados han subrayado que el ataque de EE.UU./OTAN contra Libia es en realidad un ataque contra toda África. Nazemroaya destaca elocuentemente este punto mientras revela los motivos subyacentes para la “súper violencia” que vemos en Libia a la cual se oponen grandes mayorías de votantes en Estados miembros de la OTAN, a juzgar por los resultados de sondeos. Lo que viene a mi mente es la pregunta de cómo alguien que se identifica con la comunidad de la paz haya podido apoyar un ataque semejante contra Libia, especialmente mientras el pueblo de Libia resiste valientemente la dominación de la OTAN.

    Nazemroaya destaca que: “Se está realizando un intento de separar el punto de fusión de una identidad árabe y una africana”. La Voice of America ha sacado a la luz los aspectos psicológicos de su brutal intervención y alude al modo de pensar de los peones libios de EE.UU. y la OTAN; varios informes sugieren que la “nueva” Libia se orientará más hacia su identidad árabe que a su identidad africana. Y la imposición exitosa de EE.UU/OTAN de las cadenas psicológicas de la negación de identidad son las cadenas más duraderas. Mientras estaba en Túnez, me vi realmente cara a cara con los frutos de este proyecto cuando un taxista nacido en Túnez me dijo que él no era africano. Muamar Gadafi persuadió a todos los libios de que Libia, como lo dicta su geografía, es un país africano. Parece aparentemente ridículo que sea necesario reiterar un hecho semejante, si no fuera por el racismo, el lavado de cerebro y los fundamentos psicológicos de la actual política de EE.UU./OTAN y sus antecedentes coloniales, denunciados por Nazemroaya.

    Finalmente, Walter H. Kansteiner ha tenido diferentes puestos en el aparato de política exterior del gobierno de EE.UU. y ha expresado exactamente las políticas descritas por

    Nazemroaya. Entre los puestos de Kansteiner hay tareas como director para África en el Departamento de Estado y director del Consejo Nacional de Seguridad para Asuntos Africanos durante la presidencia de George Herbert Walker Bush y secretario adjunto de Estado para Asuntos Africanos durante la presidencia de George W. Bush. Durante esas tareas, el señor Kansteiner estuvo en condiciones de iniciar la balcanización de África que ahora llega a fructificar en el continente. Me sentí obligada a escribir al presidente Bush en el año 2001 para expresar mi alarma ante sus sugerencias para la República Democrática del Congo. A mi juicio, Laurent Kabila fue asesinado porque se negó a balcanizar el Congo. (Personalmente relaté su última conversación con cierto representante estadounidense que lo alentó a traicionar al Congo. En sus últimas palabras a mi persona: “Nunca traicionaré al Congo.”)
    Cynthia McKinney, 10 de octubre de 2011.

    Cynthia McKinney es ex representante de Georgia en el Congreso de EE.UU. de 1993 a 2003 y 2005 a 2007. También fue candidata a presidente por el Partido Verde.

    Israel y Libia: Preparación de África para el “Choque de Civilizaciones”
    Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

    Durante el gobierno de Obama EE.UU. ha expandido su “guerra prolongada” a África. Barack Hussein Obama, el así llamado “Hijo de África”, se ha convertido en realidad en uno de los peores enemigos de África. Aparte de su continuo apoyo a dictadores en África: la República de Costa de Marfil fue desarticulada bajo sus ojos, la división de Sudán fue públicamente apoyada por la Casa Blanca antes del referendo, Somalia fue aún más desestabilizada, Libia fue enconadamente atacada por la OTAN, y el Comando África de EE.UU. (AFRICOM) va a toda marcha.

    La guerra en Libia es solo el comienzo de un nuevo ciclo de aventurerismo militar exterior dentro de África. EE.UU. quiere ahora más bases militares dentro de África. Francia también ha anunciado que tiene derecho a intervenir con medios militares en cualquier sitio en África donde haya ciudadanos franceses y sus intereses corran riesgo. La OTAN también está fortificando sus posiciones en el Mar Rojo y frente a la costa de Somalia.

    Mientras la confusión y los tumultos vuelven a desarraigar África con intervenciones extranjeras, Israel se queda en silencio en segundo plano. En realidad, Tel Aviv ha estado involucrada profundamente en el nuevo ciclo de turbulencia, vinculado a su Plan Yinon de reconfigurar su entorno estratégico. Este proceso de reconfiguración se basa en una técnica bien establecida de crear divisiones sectarias que finalmente neutralizarán efectivamente a Estados que son sus objetivos o llevarán a su disolución.

    Muchos de los problemas que afligen a las áreas contemporáneas de Europa Oriental, Asia Central, el Sudoeste de Asia, Asia del Sur, el Sudeste Asiático, África, y Latinoamérica son en realidad el resultado de la provocación deliberada de tensiones regionales por potencias extranjeras. La división sectaria, la tensión étnico-lingüística, las diferencias religiosas, y la violencia interna han sido explotadas tradicionalmente por EE.UU., Gran Bretaña y Francia en diversas partes del globo. Iraq, Sudán, Ruanda, y Yugoslavia, son solo algunos ejemplos recientes de esta estrategia de “dividir y conquistar” utilizada para poner de rodillas a las naciones.

    Los levantamientos en Europa Central-Oriente y el Proyecto para un “Nuevo Medio Oriente”

    Medio Oriente, en ciertos aspectos, es un paralelo impactante de los Balcanes y de Europa Central-Oriental durante los años que llevaron a la Primera Guerra Mundial. Después de la Primera Guerra Mundial, las fronteras de los Estados de múltiples etnias en los Balcanes y Europa Central-Oriental fueron vueltas a trazar y reconfiguradas por potencias extranjeras, aliadas a fuerzas opositoras locales. Desde la Primera Guerra Mundial hasta el período posterior a la Guerra Fría, los Balcanes y Europa Central-Oriental han seguido sufriendo un período de agitación, violencia y conflicto que ha dividido continuamente la región.

    Durante años, algunos han llamado a crear un “Nuevo Medio Oriente” con fronteras reconfiguradas en esa región del mundo en la que se encuentran Europa, Asia del Sudoeste, y el Norte de África. Esos preconizadores se encuentran sobre todo en las capitales de

    Washington, Londres, París, y Tel Aviv. Conciben una región conformada según Estados homogéneos étnico-religiosos. La formación de esos Estados significaría la destrucción de los países mayores que existen en la región. La transición se orientaría hacia la formación de Estados más pequeños parecidos a Kuwait o Bahréin, que podrían ser fácilmente dirigidos y manipulados por EE.UU., Gran Bretaña, Francia, Israel, y sus aliados.

    La manipulación de la primera “Primavera Árabe” durante la Primera Guerra Mundial

    Los planes de reconfiguración de Medio Oriente comenzaron varios años antes de la Primera Guerra Mundial. Sin embargo las manifestaciones de esos designios coloniales se pudieron ver visiblemente en la “Gran Revuelta Árabe” contra el Imperio Otomano.

    A pesar de que los británicos, franceses, e italianos eran potencias coloniales que habían impedido que los árabes tuvieran alguna libertad en países como Argelia, Libia, Egipto, y Sudán, esas potencias coloniales lograron presentarse como amigos y aliados de la liberación árabe.

    Durante la “Gran Revuelta Árabe” los británicos y los franceses utilizaron a los árabes como peones contra los otomanos para auspiciar sus propios planes geopolíticos. El Acuerdo secreto Sykes–Picot entre Londres y París es un ejemplo. Francia y Gran Bretaña simplemente lograron utilizar a los árabes vendiéndoles la idea de la liberación árabe de la así llamada “represión” de los otomanos.

    En realidad, el Imperio Otomano fue un imperio multi-étnico. Dio autonomía local y cultural a todos sus pueblos, pero fue manipulado a fin de que se convirtiera en una entidad turca. Incluso el Genocidio Armenio que aconteció en Anatolia Otomana tiene que ser analizado en el mismo contexto que los ataques contemporáneos a cristianos en Iraq como parte de un plan sectario desencadenado por protagonistas externos para dividir el Imperio Otomano, Anatolia, y los ciudadanos del Imperio Otomano.

    Después del colapso del Imperio Otomano, fueron Londres y París los que negaron la libertad a los árabes, mientras sembraban las semillas de la discordia entre los pueblos árabes. Dirigentes locales corruptos también se asociaron al proyecto y muchos de ellos estuvieron extremadamente contentos de convertirse en clientes de Gran Bretaña y Francia. En el mismo sentido, manipulan actualmente la “Primavera Árabe”. EE.UU., Gran Bretaña, Francia y otros trabajan ahora con la ayuda de dirigentes y personajes árabes corruptos para reestructurar el Mundo Árabe y África.

    El Plan Yinon

    El Plan Yinon, que es una continuación de la estratagema británica en Medio Oriente, es un plan estratégico israelí para garantizar la superioridad israelí. Insiste en, y estipula que Israel debe reconfigurar su entorno geopolítico mediante la balcanización de los Estados árabes y de Medio Oriente en Estados más pequeños y más débiles.

    Los estrategas israelíes veían a Iraq como el mayor desafío estratégico de un Estado árabe. Es el motivo por el cual Iraq fue destacado como pieza central en la balcanización de Medio Oriente y del mundo árabe. En Iraq, sobre la base de los conceptos del Plan Yinon, estrategas israelíes han llamado a dividir Iraq en un Estado kurdo y dos Estados árabes, uno para musulmanes chiíes y el otro para musulmanes suníes. El primer paso hacia su establecimiento fue una guerra entre Iraq e Irán, que es discutida por el Plan Yinon.

    The Atlantic, en 2008, y el Armed Forces Journal de los militares estadounidenses en 2006, publicaron mapas ampliamente circulados que seguían de cerca el diseño del Plan Yinon. Aparte de un Iraq dividido, que también favorece el Plan Biden, el Plan Yinon llama a dividir el Líbano, Egipto y Siria. La partición de Irán, Turquía, Somalia, y Pakistán también corresponde en todos los casos a la política representada por estos puntos de vista. El Plan Yinon también llama a disolver el Norte de África que pronostica que comenzará en Egipto y luego se propagará a Sudán, Libia, y al resto de la región.

    Nota: El siguiente mapa fue dibujado por Holly Lindem para un artículo de Jeffery Goldberg. Fue publicado en The Atlantic en enero/febrero de 2008.
    Copyright: The Atlantic, 2008.

    Nota: El siguiente mapa fue preparado por el teniente coronel Ralph Peters. Fue publicado en el Armed Forces Journal en junio de 2006. Peters es coronel en retiro de la U.S. National War Academy.
    Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006.

    La erradicación de las comunidades cristianas en Medio Oriente

    No es ninguna coincidencia que los cristianos egipcios hayan sido atacados al mismo tiempo que tuvo lugar el Referendo de Sudán y antes de la crisis en Libia. No es por coincidencia que los cristianos iraquíes, una de las comunidades cristianas más antiguas del mundo, hayan sido forzados al exilio, abandonando sus tierras ancestrales en Iraq. En coincidencia con el éxodo de cristianos iraquíes, que ocurrió bajo la mirada atenta de las fuerzas militares de EE.UU. y Gran Bretaña, los vecindarios en Bagdad se volvieron sectarios ya que musulmanes suníes y musulmanes suníes fueron obligados por la violencia y escuadrones de la muerte a formar enclaves sectarios. Todo esto está vinculado al Plan Yinon y a la reconfiguración de la región como parte de un objetivo más amplio.

    En Irán, los israelíes han tratado en vano de lograr que la comunidad judía iraní se vaya. La población judía de Irán es en realidad la segunda por su tamaño en Medio Oriente y se puede decir que sea la más antigua comunidad judía no perturbada del mundo. Los judíos iraníes se consideran iraníes vinculados a Irán como su patria, exactamente como los iraníes musulmanes y cristianos, y para ellos el concepto de que tengan que mudarse a Israel porque son judíos es ridículo.

    En el Líbano, Israel ha estado trabajando para exacerbar las tensiones sectarias entre las diversas facciones cristianas y musulmanas, y los drusos. El Líbano es un trampolín hacia Siria y la división del Líbano en varios Estados es vista como un medio para balcanizar Siria en varios pequeños Estados árabes sectarios. Los objetivos del Plan Yinon son dividir el Líbano y Siria en varios Estados sobre la base de identidades religiosas y sectarias para musulmanes suníes, musulmanes chiíes, cristianos, y drusos. También podría haber objetivos para un éxodo cristiano en Siria.

    El nuevo jefe de la Iglesia Católica Maronita Siria de Antioquía, la mayor de las iglesias católicas orientales autónomas, ha expresado sus temores sobre una purga de árabes cristianos en el Levante y Medio Oriente. El patriarca Mar Beshara Boutros Al-Rahi y muchos otros dirigentes cristianos en el Líbano y Siria temen una toma del poder de la Hermandad Musulmana en Siria. Como en Iraq, grupos misteriosos atacan ahora a las comunidades cristianas en Siria. Los dirigentes de la Iglesia Cristiana Ortodoxa Oriental, incluido el Patriarca Ortodoxo Oriental de Jerusalén, también han expresado sus graves preocupaciones. Aparte de los cristianos árabes, esos temores también son compartidos por las comunidades asirias y armenias, que son en su mayoría cristianas.

    Sheikh Al-Rahi estuvo recientemente en París donde encontró al presidente Nicolas Sarkozy. Se informa que el patriarca maronita y Sarkozy tuvieron desacuerdos sobre Siria, lo que llevó a Sarkozy a decir que el régimen sirio se derrumbará. La posición del patriarca

    Al-Rahi es que debieran dejar tranquila a Siria y dejar que realice reformas. El patriarca maronita también dijo a Sarkozy que deberían tratar a Israel como una amenaza si Francia quería legítimamente que Hizbulá se desarme.

    Los dirigentes cristianos y musulmanes en la República Árabe Siria que lo visitaron en el Líbano, agradecieron instantáneamente a Al-Rahi por su posición en Francia. Hizbulá y sus aliados políticos en el Líbano, entre ellos la mayoría de los parlamentarios cristianos en el Parlamento libanés, también elogiaron al patriarca maronita quien fue posteriormente a un tour del sur del Líbano.

    Sheikh Al-Rahi es ahora atacado políticamente por la Alianza 14 de Marzo, dirigida por Hariri, por su posición sobre Hizbulá y su negativa a apoyar el derrocamiento del régimen sirio. En efecto, Hariri planifica una conferencia de personalidades cristianas para oponerse al patriarca Al-Rahi y a la posición de la Iglesia Maronita. Desde que Al-Rahi anunció su posición, el Partido Tahrir que es activo en el Líbano y Siria, también comenzó a atacarlo con críticas. También se ha informado que altos funcionarios estadounidenses han anulado sus reuniones con el patriarca maronita como señal de su molestia por sus posiciones respecto a Hizbulá y Siria.

    La Alianza 14 de Marzo en el Líbano, dirigida por Hariri, que siempre ha sido una minoría en la población (incluso cuando era una mayoría parlamentaria), ha estado trabajando estrechamente con EE.UU., Israel, Arabia Saudí, Jordania, y los grupos que usan la violencia y el terrorismo en Siria. La Hermandad Musulmana y otros grupos así llamados salafistas de Siria se han estado coordinando y realizando conversaciones secretas con Hariri y partidos políticos cristianos en la Alianza 14 de Marzo. Por eso Hariri y sus aliados se han vuelto contra el patriarca Al-Rahi. También fueron Hariri y la Alianza del 14 de Marzo los que llevaron a Fatah Al-Islam al Líbano y los que ahora ayudaron a algunos de sus miembros a escapar e ir a combatir en Siria.

    Washington, Tel Aviv y Bruselas están planeando un éxodo cristiana en Medio Oriente. Ahora se informa que el presidente Nicolas Sarkozy dijo a Sheikh Al-Rahi en París que las comunidades cristianas del Levante y de Medio Oriente podrían volverse a instalar en la Unión Europea. No fue una oferta elegante. Fue una bofetada en la cara por las mismas potencias que han creado deliberadamente las condiciones para erradicar a las antiguas comunidades cristianas de Medio Oriente. El objetivo parece ser la reubicación de las comunidades cristianas fuera de la región a fin de delinear a las naciones árabes siguiendo las líneas de naciones exclusivamente musulmanas. Esto concuerda con el Plan Yinon.

    La reconfiguración de África: El Plan Yinon está muy vivo y activo…

    En el mismo contexto como las divisiones sectarias en Medio Oriente, los israelíes han esbozado planes para reconfigurar África. El Plan Yinon quiere delinear África sobre la base de tres facetas: (1) étnica-lingüística; (2) color de la piel; y (3) religión.

    Quiere trazar líneas divisorias en África entre una así llamada “África Negra” y un Norte de África supuestamente “no-negro”. Es parte de un plan para crear un cisma en África entre los que supuestamente son “árabes” y los así llamados “negros.” Está en camino un intento de separar el punto de fusión de una identidad árabe y africana.

    Por este objetivo se ha alimentado y promovido la ridícula identidad de un “Sudán Africano del Sur” y un “Sudán Árabe del Norte”. Por lo mismo los libios de piel negra han sido objeto de una campaña para “limpiar el color” de Libia. La identidad árabe en el Norte de África está siendo desvinculada de su identidad africana. Simultáneamente hay un intento de erradicar las grandes poblaciones de “árabes de piel negra” para que haya una clara línea entre “África Negra” y un nuevo Norte de África “no-negro”, que será convertido en un campo de batalla entre los restantes bereberes y árabes no-negros.

    En el mismo contexto, se han fomentado las tensiones entre musulmanes y cristianos en África, en sitios como Sudán y Nigeria, para crear aún más líneas y puntos de fractura. El avivamiento de esas tensiones sobre la base del color de la piel, la religión, etnia y lenguaje tiene la intención de alimentar la disociación y desunión en África. Todo forma parte de un estrategia africana más amplia para separar al Norte de África del resto del continente africano.

    Israel y el continente africano

    Los israelíes han estado involucrados silenciosamente en el continente africano durante años. En el Sahara Occidental, ocupado por Marruecos, los israelíes ayudaron a construir un muro de seguridad de separación como el que existe en Cisjordania ocupada por Israel. En Sudán, Tel Aviv ha armado a movimientos e insurgentes separatistas. En Sudáfrica, Israel apoyó al régimen del apartheid y su ocupación de Namibia. En 2009, el Ministerio de Exteriores israelí anunció que África sería un centro renovado de atención de Tel Aviv.

    Los dos principales objetivos de Israel en África son imponer el Plan Yinon, junto con sus propios intereses, y ayudar a que Washington se convierta en la potencia hegemónica en África. Al respecto, los israelíes también presionaron a favor de la creación de AFRICOM. El Instituto de Estudios Estratégicos y Políticos Avanzados (IASPS, por sus siglas en inglés), un think-tank israelí, es un ejemplo.

    Washington ha subcontratado el trabajo de inteligencia en África a Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv está efectivamente involucrada como una de las partes en una guerra más amplia no solo “dentro” de África, sino “por” África. En esta guerra, Tel Aviv trabaja junto a Washington y la UE contra China y sus aliados, incluido Irán.

    Teherán trabaja junto a Beijing de una manera similar a la de Tel Aviv con Washington. Irán ayuda a los chinos en África a través de conexiones y vínculos iraníes. Esos vínculos también incluyen los de Teherán con intereses empresariales libaneses y sirios en África. Por lo tanto, dentro de la rivalidad más amplia entre Washington y Beijing, también se ha desarrollado una rivalidad israelí-iraní dentro de África. [1] Sudán es el tercer fabricante de armas por su tamaño de África, como resultado del apoyo iraní en la fabricación de armas. Mientras tanto, Irán suministra ayuda militar a Jartum, que incluye varios acuerdos de cooperación militar, e Israel está involucrado en varias acciones dirigidas contra los sudaneses. [2]

    Israel y Libia

    Libia ha sido considerada como “un aguafiestas” que socavó los intereses de las antiguas potencias coloniales en África. Al respecto, Libia había emprendido algunos importantes planes de desarrollo panafricanos con la intención de industrializar África y transformarla en una entidad política integrada y firme. Esas iniciativas entraron en conflicto con los intereses de las potencias extranjeras en competencia las unas contra las otras en África, pero era esencialmente inaceptable para Washington y los principales países de la UE. En consecuencia había que inhabilitar a Libia y neutralizarla como entidad de apoyo al progreso africano y a la unidad panafricana.

    El papel de Israel y del lobby israelí fue fundamental para abrir la puerta a la intervención de la OTAN en Libia. Según fuentes israelíes, la que efectivamente orquestó los eventos en Ginebra para sacar a Libia del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU y pedir al Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU que interviniera fue UN Watch. [3] UN Watch está formalmente afiliada al Comité Judío Estadounidense (AJC), que tiene influencia en la formulación de la política exterior de EE.UU. y forma parte del lobby israelí en ese país. La Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos (FIDH), que ayudó a lanzar las afirmaciones no verificadas sobre la matanza de 6.000 personas por Gadafi, también está vinculada al lobby israelí en Francia.

    Tel Aviv ha estado simultáneamente en contacto con el Consejo de Transición y el gobierno libio en Trípoli. Agentes del Mossad también estuvieron en Trípoli, uno de los cuales es un ex jefe de la estación. Aproximadamente al mismo tiempo, miembros franceses del lobby israelí visitaron Bengasi. En un caso irónico el Consejo de Transición llegó a afirmar que el coronel Gadafi trabajaba con Israel, mientras prometía reconocer Israel al enviado especial del presidente Sarkozy, Bernard-Henri Lévy, quien entonces transmitió el mensaje a los dirigentes israelíes [4]. Un modelo similar (al de los lazos de Israel con el Consejo de Transición), también se había desarrollado en una etapa anterior en el Sur de Sudán, que fue armado por Israel.

    A pesar de la posición del Consejo de Transición respecto a Israel, sus seguidores trataron de satanizar a Gadafi afirmando que era en secreto judío. Esto no solo era falso, sino también lleno de prejuicios. Esas acusaciones tenían el propósito de asesinar su personalidad ya que equiparaba ser judío con algo negativo.

    En realidad, Israel y la OTAN están en el mismo campo. Israel es miembro de facto de la OTAN. Si Gadafi hubiera estado coludido con Israel mientras el Consejo de Transición trabajaba con la OTAN, significaría que ambas partes eran hechas pasar por estúpidas para que se enfrentaran mutuamente.

    Preparando el tablero de ajedrez para el “Choque de Civilizaciones”

    En este momento hay que juntar todas las piezas y conectar los puntos.

    Están preparando el tablero de ajedrez para un “Choque de Civilizaciones” y colocan en su sitio todas las piezas de ajedrez.

    Están en el proceso de acordonar el Mundo Árabe y crean líneas bien definidas de separación. Esas líneas de separación están reemplazando las líneas transparentes de transición entre diversos grupos étnico-lingüísticos, de color de la piel, y religiosos.

    Según este plan, ya no puede haber una transición mezcladora entre sociedades y países. Por eso atacan a cristianos en Medio Oriente y el Norte de África, como los coptos. Por eso árabes de piel negra y bereberes de piel negra así como otros grupos de la población norteafricana que son de piel negra, enfrentan el genocidio en el Norte de África.

    Lo que se prepara es la creación de un área de un “Medio Oriente” exclusivamente “musulmán” (con la exclusión de Israel), que viva en medio de turbulencia por luchas entre chiíes y suníes. Se está preparando un escenario similar para un área del “Norte de África no negro” que se caracterizará por una confrontación entre árabes y bereberes. Al mismo tiempo, siguiendo el modelo del “Choque de Civilizaciones”, el Medio Oriente y el Norte de África están destinados a estar simultáneamente en conflicto con el así llamado “Occidente” y “África Negra.”

    Es el motivo por el cual Nicolas Sarkozy, en Francia, y David Cameron, en Gran Bretaña, hicieron declaraciones consecutivas durante el comienzo del conflicto en Libia en el sentido de que el multiculturalismo ha muerto en sus respectivas sociedades europeas occidentales. [5]

    El verdadero multiculturalismo amenaza la legitimidad de los planes de guerra de la OTAN. También constituye un obstáculo para la implementación del “Choque de civilizaciones” que representa la piedra angular de la política exterior de EE.UU. Al respecto, Zbigniew Brzezinski, ex Consejero Nacional de Seguridad de EE.UU., explica por qué el multiculturalismo es una amenaza para Washington y sus aliados: “A medida que EE.UU. se convierte en una sociedad cada vez más multicultural, podrá descubrir que es más difícil formar un consenso sobre temas de política exterior [por ejemplo, guerra con el mundo árabe, China, Irán, o Rusia y la ex Unión Soviética], excepto en circunstancias de una amenaza externa directa, masiva y ampliamente percibida. Un consenso semejante existió durante toda la Segunda Guerra Mundial e incluso durante la Guerra Fría [y existe ahora debido a la ‘Guerra Global contra el Terror’].” [6]

    La frase siguiente de Brzezinski es el atributivo de por qué las poblaciones se oponen o apoyan a las guerras: “[El consenso] estaba arraigado, sin embargo, no solo en valores democráticos profundamente compartidos, que el público sentía que estaban amenazados, sino también en una afinidad cultural y étnica con las víctimas predominantemente europeas de totalitarismos hostiles”. [7]

    A riesgo de ser redundante, hay que mencionar de nuevo que es precisamente con la intención de romper esas afinidades culturales entre la región de Medio Oriente-Norte de África (MENA) y el así llamado “Mundo Occidental” y África sub-Sahara que se está atacando a cristianos y gente de piel negra.

    Etnocentrismo e ideología: Justificando las actuales “guerras justas”

    En el pasado, las potencias coloniales de Europa Occidental adoctrinaban a su gente. Su objetivo era adquirir apoyo popular para la conquista colonial. Esto tomó la forma de extender el cristianismo y promover valores cristianos con el apoyo de mercaderes armados y ejércitos coloniales.

    Al mismo tiempo, se proponían ideologías racistas. La gente cuyas tierras eran colonizadas era presentada como “sub-humana”, inferior, o desalmada. Finalmente la “carga del Hombre Blanco” fue utilizada para emprender una misión civilizadora de los así llamados “pueblos incivilizados del mundo”. El marco ideológico cohesivo fue aprovechado para presentar el colonialismo como una “causa justa”. Esto, por su parte, fue utilizado para dar legitimidad a la conducción de “guerras justas” como medio para conquistar y “civilizar” tierras extranjeras.

    Hoy en día, los designios imperialistas de EE.UU., Gran Bretaña, Francia, y Alemania no han cambiado. Lo que ha cambiado es el pretexto y la justificación para librar sus guerras neocoloniales de conquista. Durante el período colonial, las narrativas y justificaciones para librar guerras eran aceptadas por la opinión pública en los países colonizadores, como ser Gran Bretaña y Francia. Las “guerras justas” y “causas justas” de la actualidad son realizadas bajo las banderas de los derechos de las mujeres, los derechos humanos, el humanitarismo, y la democracia.

    Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya es sociólogo e investigador asociado del Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), con sede en Montréal. Está especializado en Oriente Próximo y Asia Central. Permaneción en Libia durante más de dos meses. También es corresponsal especial de Flashpoints, un programa con sede en Berkeley, California. Nazemroaya ha estado publicando estos artículos sobre Libia en colaboración con los debates emitidos con Cynthia McKinney en Freedom Now, un programa de radio de KPFK, Los Angeles, California.

    Texto original en inglés : Israel and Libya:Preparing Africa for the “Clash of Civilizations”

    Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens


    [1] The Economist, “Israel and Iran in Africa: A search for allies in a hostile world,” February 4, 2011.
    [2] Ibid.
    [3] Tova Lazaroff, “70 rights groups call on UN to condemn Tripoli,” Jerusalem Post, February 22, 2011.
    [4] Radio France Internationale, “Libyan rebels will recognise Israel, Bernard-Henri Lévy tells Netanyahu,” June 2, 2011.
    [5] Robert Marquand,”Why Europe is turning away from multiculturalism,” Christian Science Monitor, March 4, 2011.
    [6] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (New York: Basic Books October 1997), p.211
    [7] Ibid.


    * Estas divisiones y categorías civilizacionales son incorrectas. No hay divisiones claras entre muchas de las así llamadas y supuestas “civilizaciones distinguibles.”


    “Alineamientos emergentes” de civilizaciones, según la teoría de Samuel Huntington en El choque de civilizaciones (1996).
    El mayor grosor de las líneas representa más conflicto en la relación entre civilizaciones.


    In den gesamten USA entwickelt sich eine Basisprotestbewegung, der sich Menschen aus allen gesellschaftlichen Schichten und allen Altersgruppen anschließen. Sie alle teilen die Erkenntnis, dass soziale Veränderungen unabdingbar sind, und sie sind entschlossen, sich den verheerenden Entwicklungen entgegenzustemmen.

    Die Basis dieser Bewegung stellt eine Reaktion auf die »Wall-Street-Agenda« von Finanzbetrug und Manipulation dar, die im ganzen Land für Arbeitslosigkeit und Armut sorgte.

    Ist die Bewegung in ihrer gegenwärtigen Form in der Lage, wirksame Reformen und soziale Veränderungen in Amerika durchzusetzen?

    Wie sieht die Organisationsstruktur dieser Bewegung aus, und wer sind ihre wichtigsten Köpfe?

    Wurde versucht, diese Bewegung oder Teile von ihr zu vereinnahmen?

    Diese wichtige Frage muss von sowohl denen beantwortet werden, die die Bewegung »Occupy Wall Street« bilden, als auch von denjenigen, die sich über das ganze Land verstreut für wirkliche Demokratie einsetzen.


    Aus historischer Sicht wurden fortschrittliche gesellschaftliche Bewegungen über die Finanzierung von Nichtregierungsorganisationen (die sogenannten NGOs), Gewerkschaften und politischen Parteien durch Wirtschaftsinteressen unterwandert, ihre führenden Köpfe vereinnahmt und manipuliert. Mit dieser Methode der »Finanzierung abweichender Meinungen« soll verhindert werden, dass die betreffende soziale Bewegung den Herrschaftsanspruch der Wall-Street-Eliten in Frage stellt:

    »In einer bitteren ironischen Wendung floss ein Teil der betrügerischen Finanzgewinne der Wall Street in den vergangenen Jahren den gemeinnützigen Stiftungen und Wohltätigkeitsorganisationen der Eliten zu. Diese >finanziellen Mitnahmeeffekte< wurden nicht nur dazu eingesetzt, unsere Politiker zu kaufen, sie flossen darüber hinaus NGOs, Forschungseinrichtungen, zivilgesellschaftlichen Bürgerzentren, religiösen Gruppen, Umweltschützern, alternativen Medien, Menschenrechtsgruppen und anderen Einrichtungen zu.

    Dahinter steht das Ziel, >abweichende Meinungen zu erzeugen und zu erfinden< und so die Grenzen einer >politisch korrekten< Opposition selbst zu bestimmen. Darüber hinaus wurden viele NGOs durch Informanten unterwandert, die oft für westliche Nachrichtendienste tätig waren. Und zusätzlich wurde ein zunehmender Teil der alternativen Medien in Abhängigkeit von der Finanzierung durch Unternehmen und Wohltätigkeitsorganisationen gebracht.

    Die Wirtschaftselite will auf diese Weise die in der Bevölkerung verankerte Basisbewegung in ein vielfältiges, aber zersplittertes Spektrum von Kleinstinitiativen verwandeln, die alle vor sich hin wursteln – [ein typisches Vorgehen nach der Maxime >Teile und herrsche<].« (Siehe dazu: Michel Chossudovsky, Manufacturing Dissent: the Anti-globalization Movement is Funded by the Corporate Elites, in Global Research, 20. September 2010)

    Die »Erzeugung abweichender Meinungen«

    Gleichzeitig zielt die bewusste Schaffung und Manipulierung »abweichender Meinungen« darauf ab, politische und gesellschaftliche Spaltungen hervorzurufen (etwa zwischen politischen Parteien und sozialen Bewegungen, aber auch innerhalb dieser Organisationen selbst), indem etwa die Entstehung von Fraktionen innerhalb dieser Organisationen gefördert und ermutigt wird.

    Was nun die Bewegung der Globalisierungsgegner angeht, lässt sich dieser Prozess der Teilung und Zersplitterung bereits auf die Frühphase des Welt-Sozialforums zurückverfolgen (Siehe dazu: Michel Chossudovsky, ebenda).

    Die ideologischen Grundsätze der meisten progressiven Organisationen der Zeit nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, wie auch der europäischen »Linken«, wurden in den vergangenen 30 Jahren grundsätzlich verändert und »überarbeitet«. Das »freimarktwirtschaftliche« System ist heute Konsens bei den »Linken«. Dies gilt unter anderem für die französischen Sozialisten, die Labour-Partei in England, die deutschen Sozialdemokraten und nicht zu vergessen die Grünen in Frankreich und Deutschland.

    In den USA ist überparteiliche Politik nicht das Resultat der politischen Zusammenarbeit und der Absprache der im Kongress vertretenen Parteien. Eine kleine Zahl einflussreicher wirtschaftlicher Lobbygruppen kontrolliert sowohl die Republikaner als auch die Demokraten. Ein »überparteilicher Konsens« wird von den Eliten hergestellt, die hinter den Kulissen aktiv sind. Ein »Konsens« wird durch die wichtigsten wirtschaftlichen Lobbygruppen bewirkt, die praktisch beide großen politischen Parteien im Würgegriff haben.

    Auch die führenden Vertreter des amerikanischen Gewerkschaftsdachverbandes AFL-CIO wurden vom Wirtschafts-Establishment vereinnahmt und arbeiten nun gegen die Interessen der Basisgruppen der amerikanischen Arbeiterbewegung. Die führenden Vertreter der amerikanischen organisierten Arbeiterschaft nehmen regelmäßig an den Jahrestreffen des Weltwirtschaftsforums (WEF) im schweizerischen Davos statt und arbeiten eng mit dem Business Roundtable, einem einflussreichen Gesprächskreis der Vorstände der führenden amerikanischen Unternehmen, zusammen. Aber die Basis der amerikanischen Arbeiterbewegung versucht gleichzeitig immer wieder, strukturelle und organisatorische Veränderungen herbeizuführen, die dazu beitrugen, die Führungsstrukturen der einzelnen Gewerkschaften zu demokratisieren.

    Die Eliten werden unter großem Medieneinsatz mit Unterstützung der Fernsehsendernetzwerke, der Wirtschaftsnachrichten und des Internets »ritualisierte« abweichende Auffassungen und Scheinkonflikte schüren.

    Die Wirtschaftseliten, die zugleich auch die wichtigsten großen Stiftungen kontrollieren, überwachen gleichfalls die Finanzierung zahlreicher zivilgesellschaftlicher Organisationen, die, wie die Geschichte zeigt, oft an Protestbewegungen gegen die vorherrschende wirtschaftliche und gesellschaftliche Ordnung beteiligt waren. Die Programme und die Zielrichtung vieler NGOs (darunter auch solcher, die sich an der Bewegung »Occupy Wall Street« beteiligen) sind in finanzieller Hinsicht stark von privaten Stiftungen wie unter anderem der Ford-, der Rockefeller-, der MacArthur- und der Tides-Stiftung abhängig. Die Bewegung der Globalisierungsgegner, die sich in den 1990er Jahren bildete, stand auch in Gegnerschaft zur Wall Street und den texanischen Erdölkonzernen, die von Rockefeller und anderen kontrolliert werden. Dennoch haben die Stiftungen und Wohltätigkeitsorganisationen der Familien Rockefeller, Ford und anderer über die Jahre hinweg großzügig linksliberale, progressive Netzwerke und Umweltschutzgruppen (vehemente Gegner der Erdölkonzerne) mit dem Hintergedanken finanziert, auf diese Weise letztlich die unterschiedlichen Aktivitäten dieser Gruppen kontrollieren und manipulieren zu können.

    »Farbige Revolutionen«

    In den letzten zehn Jahren entwickelten sich in verschiedenen Ländern so genannte »farbige Revolutionen«. Bei diesen »farbigen Revolutionen« handelt es sich um Operationen amerikanischer Geheimdienste, die verdeckt Protestbewegungen unterstützten, um einen »Regimewechsel« vordergründig als Erfolg von Demokratiebewegungen kaschieren zu können.

    »Farbige Revolutionen« werden von Einrichtungen wie dem National Endowment for Democracy, dem International Republican Institute und dem Freedom House und anderen unterstützt. Alle »farbigen Revolutionen« verfolgen das Ziel, soziale Unruhen zu schüren und die Protestbewegung zum Sturz der amtierenden Regierung einzusetzen. Und als letzter Schritt erfolgt dann die Einsetzung einer »Marionetten-Regierung«, die willfährig den Interessen der amerikanischen Regierung gehorcht.

    Der »arabische Frühling«

    Die wichtigsten zivilgesellschaftlichen Bewegungen des ägyptischen »arabischen Frühlings« wie Kifaja (»Genug«) und die Jugendbewegung des 6. April (deren Name sich auf einen blutig niedergeschlagenen Generalstreik vom April 2008 bezieht) wurden nicht nur von amerikanischen Stiftungen unterstützt, sondern genossen auch den Segen und die Unterstützung des amerikanischen Außenministeriums. (Für Einzelheiten siehe auch Michel Chossudovsky, Die ägyptische Protestbewegung: »Diktatoren« herrschen nicht uneingeschränkt, sie gehorchen Befehlen, in: Global Research, 29. Januar 2011)

    »Es ist schon zynisch, wenn Washington die Diktatur Mubaraks an der Macht hält und dessen Grausamkeiten duldet, während es zugleich seine Kritiker … unterstützt und finanziert. Unter der Schirmherrschaft des Freedom House wurden ägyptische Dissidenten und Mubarak-Gegner im Mai 2008 von Condoleezza Rice … empfangen. Sie trafen auch mit dem Nationalen Sicherheitsberater des Weißen Hauses, Stephen Hadley, zusammen.« (Michel Chossudovsky, ebenda.)

    Im Mai des folgenden Jahres wurde eine Delegation ägyptischer Regimegegner von der neuen amerikanischen Außenministerin Hillary Clinton empfangen.

    OTPOR und das Zentrum für angewandte gewaltfreie Aktion und Strategien (CANVAS)

    Regimegegner der Jugendbewegung des 6. April, die jahrelang in ständigem Kontakt mit der amerikanischen Botschaft in Kairo stand, wurden im serbischen Zentrum für angewandte gewaltfreie Aktion und Strategien (CANVAS) »weitergebildet«. Dieses Beratungs- und Ausbildungszentrum hat sich auf »Revolutionen« spezialisiert, die vom Freedom House (FH) und dem National Endowment for Democracy (NED) »bestellt« und unterstützt werden.

    CANVAS wurde 2003 von der serbischen Organisation OTPOR gegründet, die vom amerikanischen Geheimdienst CIA unterstützt wird und beim Sturz des serbischen Machthabers Slobodan Milošević im Zusammenhang mit den NATO-Luftangriffen auf Jugoslawien im Jahr 1999 eine entscheidende Rolle spielte.

    Nur knapp zwei Monate nach Beendigung der Luftangriffe auf Jugoslawien 1999 war OTPOR wesentlich an der Einsetzung einer von den USA und der NATO unterstützten »Übergangsregierung« in Serbien beteiligt. Diese Entwicklungen machten den Weg für die Abspaltung Montenegros von Serbien, die Einrichtung des amerikanischen Militärstützpunktes Bondsteel und schließlich die Errichtung eines von der Mafia kontrollierten Staates im Kosovo frei.

    Im August 1999 begann die CIA Berichten zufolge in der bulgarischen Hauptstadt Sofia ein Ausbildungsprogramm für OTPOR:

    »Im Sommer 1999 ließ CIA-Chef George Tenet eine Außenstelle in Sofia einrichten, um die serbische Opposition ›auszubilden‹. Am 28. August vergangenen Jahres [2000] bestätigte die BBC, für die OPTOR-Militanten sei ebenfalls in Sofia ein zehntägiges Seminar veranstaltet worden.

    Dieses CIA-Programm verläuft in aufeinander folgenden Phasen. Zuerst vermitteln sie den Eindruck, als schätzten und respektierten sie den serbischen Patriotismus und Unabhängigkeitsgeist. Aber nachdem sie dann einige Zwietracht gesät und die Einheit des Landes aufgebrochen hatten, gingen CIA und NATO noch um einiges weiter.« (Gerard Mugemangano und Michel Collon, »>To be partly controlled by the CIA? That doesn’t bother me much.<, Interview with two activists of the OTPOR student movement«, International Action Center (IAC), To be partly controlled by the CIA? 6. Oktober 2000.  Dazu auch »CIA is tutoring Serbian group, OTPOR«, in: The Monitor, Sofia, übersetzt [ins Englische durch] Blagovesta Doncheva, Emperors Clothes, 8. September  2000.)

    »Das Revolutionsgeschäft«

    Das Zentrum für angewandte gewaltfreie Aktion und Strategien (CANVAS) von OPTOR beschreibt sich selbst als »ein internationales Netzwerk von Ausbildern und Beratern«, das im »Revolutionsgeschäft« tätig sei. Mit finanzieller Unterstützung der amerikanischen [»überparteilichen«] Stiftung National Endowment for Democracy (NED) arbeitete es als Beratungszentrum, das von den USA unterstützte Oppositionsgruppen in mehr als 40 Ländern berät und ausbildet. Auch in Ägypten spielte OTPOR eine wichtige Rolle.

    Was auf dem ägyptischen Tahir-Platz auf den ersten Blick wie ein spontaner Demokratisierungsprozess erschien, war in Wirklichkeit eine sorgfältig geplante und vorbereitete Geheimdienstoperation – dazu das Video.

    Wie schon gesagt wurden sowohl die Jugendbewegung des 6. April sowie auch Kifaja zuvor von CANVAS in Belgrad in den »Strategien gewaltfreier Revolution« ausgebildet. Nach Angabe des Internet-Informationsdienstes Stratfor entsprach »das taktische Vorgehen der Bewegung 6. April und Kifajas genau den CANVAS-Lehrbuchvorgaben« (zitiert nach Tina Rosenberg, »Revolution U«, in: Foreign Policy, 16. Februar 2011).

    Darüber hinaus ist auch die Ähnlichkeit der Symbole und der Namen der von CANVAS unterstützten »farbigen Revolutionen« bemerkenswert. Die Jugendbewegung 6. April in Ägypten benutzte die geballte Faust als ihr Symbol, und Kifaja (»Genug«) wählte den gleichen Namen wie die Jugendprotestbewegung Kmara! (»Genug!«) aus Georgien, die ebenfalls von OTPOR unterstützt wurde. Beide Gruppen wurden von CANVAS geschult.

    Welche Rolle spielen CANVAS und OTPOR in der Bewegung »Occupy Wall Street«?

    Auch an der Bewegung »Occupy Wall Street« (OWS) sind CANVAS und OTPOR beteiligt. Einige der Schlüsselorganisationen in der OWS waren auch schon beim »arabischen Frühling« aktiv beteiligt. Von Bedeutung ist dabei die »Hacker-Aktivisten-Gruppe« Anonymous, die sich aus sozialen Netzwerken rekrutiert und auf dem Höhepunkt der Proteste an Cyberangriffen auf Internetseiten der ägyptischen Regierung beteiligt war (, siehe auch:

    Im vergangenen August startete Anonymous vergleichbare Internetangriffe gegen das syrische Verteidigungsministerium, mit denen die syrische Exilopposition unterstützt werden sollte, die sich größtenteils aus Islamisten zusammensetzt (siehe dazu: »Syrian Ministry Of Defense Website Hacked By ›Anonymous‹«, in: Huffington Post, 8. August 2011).

    Dieses Vorgehen seitens Anonymous passt sich gut in den Rahmen der »farbigen Revolutionen« ein. Das syrische Regime soll dämonisiert und eine Situation landesweiter politischer Instabilität geschaffen werden. (Eine Analyse der syrischen Opposition finden Sie unter: Michel Chossudovsky, »SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO >Humanitarian Intervention<«, in: Global Research, 3. Mai 2011)

    Sowohl CANVAS als auch Anonymous sind derzeit in der Bewegung »Occupy Wall Street« aktiv, aber eine genaue Bewertung der Rolle von CANVAS steht noch aus. Ivan Marovic, ein führender Vertreter von CANVAS, sprach vor kurzem vor OWS-Beteiligten in New York. [In einem kurzen Eintrag zu diesem Youtube-Video findet sich der Hinweis: »Man wird euch natürlich nicht berichten, dass Marovic und sein guter Freund Srdja Popovic, die zu den Führern von OTPOR gehörten, und die ganze Organisation von der CIA unterstützt wurden. Ihr Führungsoffizier war William Montgomery, der ihre Aktionen vom CIA-Hauptquartier für Südeuropa in Budapest aus koordinierte. Montgomery wurde später in der Ära nach Milošević amerikanischer Botschafter in Serbien…«]

    In einer früheren Stellungnahme bestätigte Marovic, dass es bei der Planung und Vorbereitung eines »revolutionären Ereignisses« so etwas wie Spontanität nicht gebe.

    »Man hat den Eindruck, als gingen die Leute einfach so auf die Straße. Aber [in Wirklichkeit] ist das das Ergebnis von Monaten oder Jahren der Vorbereitung. Es ist sehr langweilig, bis man einen bestimmten Punkt erreicht, an dem man Massendemonstrationen oder Massenstreiks organisieren kann. Wenn es sorgfältig geplant wurde, ist von dem Zeitpunkt des Beginns an alles innerhalb weniger Wochen vorüber.« (zitiert nach Tina Rosenberg, »Revolution U«, in: Foreign Policy, 16. Februar 2011)

    Nach derartigen Erklärungen wie der des OTPOR-Sprechers Ivan Marovic könnte man rückschließen, dass die Protestbewegungen in der arabischen Welt sich keineswegs spontan von einem Land auf das andere ausbreiteten, wie es von den westlichen Medien immer dargestellt wurde. Die jeweiligen nationalen Protestbewegungen wurden seit langem vorbereitet. Die Chronologie und die Abfolge dieser Protestbewegungen in ihren jeweiligen Ländern waren ebenfalls geplant.

    Darüber hinaus nährt die Äußerung Marovics auch die Vermutung, dass die Bewegung »Occupy Wall Street« Gegenstand sorgfältiger und seit langem angelegter Planung seitens einiger wichtiger auf Taktik und Strategie spezialisierter Organisationen gewesen ist.

    Bemerkenswerterweise verfolgt OTPOR nicht die Taktik, »Verhaftungen zu vermeiden«, sondern sie sogar eher zu »provozieren, um sie dann zum Vorteil der Bewegung«, sozusagen als PR-Strategie, auszunutzen (zitiert nach Tina Rosenberg, ebenda).

    (Im zweiten Teil dieses Artikels geht es um die wichtigsten Akteure der OWS-Bewegung und die Rolle der NGO-Organisatoren.)

    Originaler Artikel auf Englisch: Occupy Wall Street and “The American Autumn”: Is It a “Colored Revolution”?

    The Tears of Sanriku (三陸の涙)

    The Japanese government is many years away from declaring a final death toll for the Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災), which occurred on March 11, 2011. More bodies continue to be found, but the recovery effort is hampered by lack of resources (especially in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi) and difficult conditions in other coastal localities. The statistics (based on the home pages of Japanese prefectures as of October 26, 2011) that I have obtained for extremely hard hit Coastal Regions (North to South) and Inland Regions do not agree with National Police Agency (NPA) statistics. However, the NPA (警察庁) has already acknowledged that their statistics for Fukushima Prefecture do not reflect many bodies left on the ground and unrecovered due to nuclear radiation. Virtually none of the estimated 376,000 tons of rubble in six towns (Namie-machi, Futaba-machi, Okuma-machi, Tomioka-machi, Naraha-machi, and Hirono-machi) in the “Off Limits” Zone has been cleared to date.

    The collection and reporting of statistics by prefecture has actually served to obscure many important facts, and the statistics presented by the NPA simply do not conform to reality. The NPA statistics (deaths, missing, injuries, and property damage) appear to be the most complete and reliable for Ibaraki Prefecture. However, NPA statistics for Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures remain incomplete and unreliable because the NPA is dependent on other government ministries and agencies for almost all of their statistics. The multiple, non-standardized, and unconsolidated lists of evacuees, which total over 700 pages for Iwate Prefecture alone, are completely disorganized and have substantially hindered searches for missing persons. The daily reports of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures present information using different methods and formats, and there are no discernible standards for reporting by the prefectures.

    The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (経済産業省) failed to intervene with Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) until Fukushima Dai-Ichi (福島第一原発) was in full meltdown, and cold shutdown of that plant will not occur until January 2012 at the earliest. At least 150 subcontractors who worked at Fukushima Dai-Ichi cannot be located (or contacted). While the exposure of these workers might be limited, this is further evidence that TEPCO does not properly maintain records and remains out of control. Some hard-line, no-nonsense administrators need to be brought in to restore order. Despite an extremely long history of earthquakes off the coast of Miyagi, there were few contingency plans and the central government was unprepared for a disaster of this magnitude. The Japanese government has been making it up as they go along in a reactive mode. There has been no integrated, coordinated response to this disaster as public officials work in a vacuum without competent leadership and effective direction. So many ministries, agencies, and levels of government have overlapping responsibilities as part of the government’s response to the disaster that proper coordination was impossible without prior planning. The Japanese government’s response to this disaster is a case study of poor judgment, lack of planning and preparation, and critical errors that should be carefully studied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) because similar scenarios can be envisioned for Hawaii, Alaska, and the West Coast of the United States. Many localities had only 30-40 minutes of advance warning before the tsunami (津波) breached 30-foot seawalls and inundated the Eastern coast of Honshu. However, the United States is even less prepared for a huge earthquake and tsunami than Japan.

    The NPA has not reported statistics on the number of “Confirmed Missing, Declared Dead.” The Ministry of Justice (法務省) has jurisdiction over that final adjudicative procedure. A simplified, expedited procedure for a Declaration of Death (死亡届) without a body was adopted so that the proceeds of life insurance policies, bank accounts, and survivor benefits could be paid to survivors 90 days after March 11, 2011. Nevertheless, the procedures to accept these filings were not in place until June 25, 2011. According to the Ministry of Justice, at least 3,492 Declarations of Death had been filed as of September 30, 2011. However, many citizens have not been able to file Missing Person Reports, Declarations of Death, and/or Property Damage Reports due to the lack of any functioning local government entities in many coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures. Nevertheless, it is expected that a Declaration of Death will eventually be filed for almost every reported missing person because receipt of substantial funds is tied to that procedure. Filings of workers’ accident compensation (労働者災害補償) claims have also ballooned to nearly 1,800 claims because the overall compensation for a work-related death is much higher than a regular death benefit and/or survivor’s pension. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (厚生労働省) expects about 4,000 claims for workers’ accident compensation.

    According to the NPA, approximately 92.8 percent (14,553 bodies) of all bodies recovered (15,689 bodies) in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures had been positively identified as of August 31, 2011. Survivors have provided 90 percent of all positive identifications, and about 10 percent of all recovered bodies have been positively identified through analysis of fingerprints, DNA analysis, and dental charts. Over 80 percent of the 300 bodies found in July, August, and September 2011 were recovered by fishermen. The NPA stated that the total of unidentified bodies had declined to 942 persons by October 11, 2011. Actual conditions remain extremely difficult to determine in many coastal localities due the extent of flooded areas, volume of rubble (over half of the estimated 22.6 million tons of rubble in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures has been cleared), nuclear radiation, and overworked public employees. Nevertheless, it is certain that that at least 22 cities and towns in the coastal region of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures each had at least 100 deaths. Japanese Self-Defense Forces (自衛隊) were not immediately dispatched to Tohoku after the earthquake and tsunami as the Kan administration vacillated and first sent eight jets on a reconnaissance mission over the region. The Prime Minister finally dispatched 50,000 troops on Saturday, March 12, 2001. That initial contingent of troops was inadequate, and it was doubled to 100,000 troops on Sunday, March 13, 2011.

    Most of the evacuation centers were “makeshift” facilities (former schools and other older buildings that had not been used in many years). There were influenza epidemics, overcrowding and poor hygiene, dehydration, malnutrition, food poisoning, and lack of fuel oil (and blankets) in many evacuation centers in March 2011, but the danger in the summer was the brutal heat and humidity without air conditioning. “Temporary” prefabricated housing units are being assembled, but thousands of people will be forced to remain in evacuation centers for the foreseeable future. Iwate Prefecture closed its last evacuation center on October 7, 2011. Although Miyagi Prefecture now has 214 residents in their 16 remaining evacuation centers, more than 8,000 Miyagi evacuees are being housed outside of Miyagi Prefecture.

    As of June 10, 2011, only about 44 percent of the completed units were occupied as bureaucrats dithered over the criteria to be used in determining priority in allocation of housing units to evacuees. In late September 2011, temporary housing units for 138 residents in Sukagawa City, Fukushima had to be rebuilt due to their improper location on a flood plain and subsequent flooding due to Typhoon No. 15. Problems with temporary housing continue to mount, as housing units are now being refitted to withstand the cold Tohoku winters. There also have been some suicides and other deaths in temporary housing units. According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (国土交通省), 98 percent of the needed temporary housing units (51, 352 units) had been completed as of October 11, 2011. The occupancy rate (74 percent) of temporary housing units continues to lag in Fukushima Prefecture.

    Bureaucrats at all levels of government, including the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, also delayed assistance to evacuees by establishing detailed procedures and committees (義援金配分割合決定委員会), which devised schemes based on the extent of damage to determine distribution of the huge amount of charitable contributions (251.4 billion yen) received from around the world. Tragically, by early June 2011, less than 15 percent of these charitable funds (37.0 billion yen) had been distributed to evacuees. As of July 22, 2011, charitable contributions had increased to 305.3 billion yen, but only 98.6 billion yen (about 32 percent) of the funds had been distributed to evacuees and others in need. At best, politicians and bureaucrats continually haggled over substantial cash resources, while thousands of people languished in filthy evacuation centers for months. No one has been so indelicate as to suggest that some bureaucrats treated the charitable contributions as their own not so little slush funds for dispensing favors and facilitating kickbacks. The “mistake” that the Japanese Red Cross Society (日本赤十字社), Central Community Chest of Japan (中央共同募金会), and many other charities made was to transfer funds to the national coffers of Japan, which guaranteed months of delay in the distribution of charitable funds. Charities, if they really want to be effective and ensure timely distribution of charitable contributions, should remit funds directly to localities.

    According to the Asahi Shimbun, cities, towns, and villages in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures have received approximately 1,290 applications concerning persons who died in evacuation centers or after transport to hospitals. Some of these 163 “earthquake related deaths” (震災関連死) already recognized (認定) include suicides and cases that appear to be due to the nuclear accident. Ishinomaki Red Cross Hospital alone identified 127 possible earthquake related deaths in response to an April 2011 survey conducted by the Yomiuri Shimbun. These types of deaths, which are not included in the NPA death toll, are expected to balloon as hospitals are thoroughly audited and more information becomes available. Procedures for recognition of earthquake related deaths are proceeding unevenly in 53 cities, towns, and villages in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, and the entire recognition and payment system, which produces varying results by locality, might be revamped by national legislation. About 80 percent of the hospitals in the coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures were damaged or destroyed, and there were cancer patients in evacuation centers because of a shortage of hospital beds. Japan’s system of public health has virtually collapsed in many coastal areas inundated by the tsunami. Many doctors who had clinics and hospitals provided medical treatment in tents through the fall, but access to medical treatment will decline in the winter months and the number of earthquake related deaths is expected to increase. There also will be a significant number of deaths due to overwork (過労死) and suicides as local public employees bear inhuman workloads.

    Aerial photography, satellite images, and onsite surveys were employed to map the flooded regions of Japan. At least 600,000 people resided in the flooded regions of Japan (Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, and Chiba Prefectures), and Japan’s evacuation centers housed nearly 470,000 evacuees at the peak (March 15, 2011). The difference (130,000 persons) between the population of the flooded regions (approx. 600,000 residents) and the number of evacuees (almost 470,000 persons) causes considerable concern. Information concerning injuries and hospitalizations is particularly difficult to obtain, and few of the Miyagi cities devastated by the tsunami have reported any injury totals to date. Most of these residences were households, and the number of evacuees for Miyagi Prefecture peaked at about 321,000 persons on March 14, 2011. Thousands of evacuees had no food, water, heat, medical supplies, or electrical power for four days after March 11, 2011 because many communities were accessible only by sea or helicopter. Therefore, I am extremely nervous about the actual situation in Miyagi Prefecture and elsewhere in Tohoku. According to Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (消防庁), the NPA, and other agencies, the national totals for private property damage, which also remain incomplete, were 119,086 Residences Totally Destroyed, 184,330 Residences Substantially Damaged, and 621,013 Residences Partially Damaged as of October 24, 2011.

    The injury total (188 persons) for Iwate Prefecture is not even within the realm of possibility. No injury totals have been reported for the Iwate’s Rikuzen-Takata City, Ofunato City, Kamaishi City, Otsuchi-cho, or Yamada-machi to date. However, it is very well known that many elderly evacuees died in evacuation centers. All of these “earthquake related deaths” will eventually be added to the death toll, and I expect that earthquake related deaths will account for at least 15 percent of the final death toll. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare will have much to say about the final total of earthquake related deaths, which will be in the thousands. Additionally, there were more than 15,000 suicides in Japan in the first half of this year, and the number of suicides has increased continually since the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. There also have been hundreds of bankruptcies due to the disaster, which is fueling the suicide rate.

    According to the Geographical Survey Institute (国土地理院) of Japan, flooding in three wards of Sendai City totaled at least 52 square kilometers. Half of Kesennuma City was underwater and the other half of the city burned for four days (approx. 40,331 citizens resided in the flooded area of the city). Higashi-Matsushima City also experienced flooding of 37 square kilometers, which accounted for over 80 percent of that city’s households (approx. 34,014 residents in the flooded area). At least 28,000 residences were completely destroyed or swept away, and more than 73 square kilometers were flooded in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi. According to the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (総務省統計局), about 70 percent (approx. 112,276 citizens) of Ishinomaki’s total population resided in the flooded area. Although the daytime population of that area was unknown, I await updated statistics from Ishinomaki City with increasing dread. The more than 5,000,000 tons of rubble remaining in Ishinomaki City probably cannot be cleared in accordance with the government’s plan (by March 31, 2012). Electrical power has not yet been fully restored to all areas of Miyagi Prefecture.

    Conditions are horrible in six coastal localities of Iwate Prefecture (Miyako City, Yamada-machi, Otuschi-cho, Kamaishi City, Ofunato City, and Rikuzen-Takata City). A 15.8-meter tsunami coupled with ground subsidence of 84 centimeters completely ravaged Rikuzen-Takata City. Without including any Missing – Declared Dead, the “hard count” death toll for Rikuzen-Takata City is approaching 10 percent of the population of its flooded area. Iwate Prefectural Hospital in Otsuchi-cho was destroyed by the tsunami, and it seems unlikely that Otsuchi-cho will be rebuilt or even survive. The future of these six coastal localities is very much in doubt. Iwate Prefecture also lags in terms of reporting of private property damage (almost 32,000 residences damaged or destroyed). Iwate Prefecture simply does not have the resources, and there is no confidence that Japan’s national government will devote any significant resources to Iwate’s coast.

    The remarks and behavior of Mr. Ryu Matsumoto led to severe political repercussions. The selection of a Diet Member from Fukuoka City to oversee the reconstruction of Tohoku was an extremely ill advised choice and an insult to Tohoku. His suggestion that sorely needed funds might be withheld from Tohoku was heartbreaking and absolutely unforgiveable. His successor, Mr. Tatsuo Hirano, is a Member of Japan’s House of Councillors from Kitakami City, Iwate. However, the person to watch is Mr. Ichiro Ozawa, a Diet Member from Mizusawa City, Iwate. Mr. Ozawa is one of the most powerful and influential politicians in Japan, and he might eventually accrue the power to force funding of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (農林水産省) and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) in order to revitalize Tohoku. In any event, Prime Minister Naoto Kan of Yamaguchi Prefecture is out as of August 30, 2011. Mr. Yoshihiko Noda of Chiba Prefecture is Japan’s new Prime Minister. The resignation of Mr. Yoshio Hachiro as the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry due to his remarks and “joke” about Fukushima also caused more political problems. He was replaced by Mr. Yukio Edano, who was the Chief Cabinet Secretary during the Kan Administration. However, it does not really matter who is Prime Minister or in the Cabinet because the central government remains in the denial and cover-up phase, and lacks legitimacy.

    In addition to the horrible problems caused by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident, Japan has yet to face the “hollowing out” (空洞化) of their economy and the rapid relative aging of their population (高齢化). Thus, the massive consolidation and reorganization of Japan’s ministries and agencies effected in the late 1990’s must now be deemed an abject failure. Like the United States, Japan’s public finances are built on corruption, lies, broken promises, and unsustainable sovereign debt. Therefore, the downgrading of the sovereign debt of both nations should come as no surprise. The government bonds and currencies of both nations are really nothing more than belief systems, and it should be noted that almost all belief systems collapse in the end. While there is “policy” (方針) for the rebuilding of Tohoku, the funding details lack specificity and will be revised by subsequent administrations. Therefore, I am extremely concerned that Japan will inevitably begin to repatriate funds by reducing its massive holdings of U.S. Treasury securities (over USD900 billion), and that the Chinese government will follow suit. A disorderly market for U.S. Treasury securities may be the result.

    Many citizens (30,583) of villages, towns, and cities in Fukushima Prefecture are subject to Mandatory Evacuation Notices (避難指示), and the administrative functions of many villages and towns have been transferred to other cities and towns in Fukushima and Saitama Prefecture. Many others have already left “voluntarily” as people are effectively being forced out of their homes without compensation. There also have been numerous reports of arson, vandalism, and looting of vacated residences. Additionally, the NPA announced on June 15, 2011 that it would henceforth cease to tabulate statistics on the number of evacuees. If you can control access to data and information, then you control the press.

    Many villages and towns will probably cease to exist even though some Recommended Evacuation Notices have not yet been upgraded to Mandatory Evacuation Notices. Some citizens of Fukushima Prefecture have been relocated as far away as Okinawa Prefecture, and there is increasingly strong resistance to forced relocation. At least 966 square kilometers of Fukushima Prefecture are now in an “Off Limits” Zone, which will most likely be uninhabitable long into the future. The “Off Limits” Zone has essentially already been expanded due to many “hot areas” found outside the Zone. It also has been admitted that at least eight employees of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) have been exposed to 250 millisieverts or more of radiation. Cancers and other maladies from low-dosage radiation over an extended period may take years to develop. Any radiation-related deaths also will be counted as “earthquake related deaths,” the number of which is my greatest fear.

    Like the HIV-tainted blood scandal of the 1980’s, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has once again been blind sided due to the lack of a proactive plan. Radioactive cesium has been detected in the food chain numerous times (a partial listing includes tap water, milk, eggs, rice, fish, spinach, green onions, cucumbers, shiitake and nameko mushrooms, bamboo shoots, wasabi, plums, green tea, hay, beef, and mothers’ milk), but I doubt that a soil decontamination project will be attempted due to the huge expense. It appears that there will be a whole new class of hibakusha (persons exposed to nuclear radiation). Part of TEPCO’s “risk management strategy” was to locate their nuclear power plants as far away from the Tokyo metropolitan area as possible. Unfortunately, the people of Fukushima Prefecture are now paying a horrible price for that decision. Therefore, there is suspicion that much of Fukushima Prefecture will soon be designated as a Special Administrative District (特別行政地区) under the direct control and administration of Japan’s national government. The cleanup of Fukushima Dai-Ichi will take decades.

    The real story is the many thousands more who were swept out to sea and have not even been reported as missing. Japan’s National Tax Agency (国税庁) will eventually assist the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (another repository of Family Registers) in identifying many more missing persons. The names and other identifying information of the approximately 600,000 persons who resided in the flooded regions of Eastern Japan are already known due to Japan’s Family Register (戸籍) system. Over 57,000 citizens of Fukushima Prefecture remain “housed” in evacuation centers and other facilities scattered throughout the other 46 prefectures of Japan.

    Current Prefecture of Residence

    Number of Evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture

    Yamagata Prefecture


    Tokyo Prefecture


    Niigata Prefecture


    Saitama Prefecture


    Chiba Prefecture


    Ibaraki Prefecture


    Tochigi Prefecture


    Gunma Prefecture


    Hokkaido Prefecture


    37 Other Prefectures


    Total (As of October 18, 2011)


    There are now more Japanese on welfare than at any time since immediately after World War II. However, the Japanese government bailed out Tokyo Electric Power Company through a de facto nationalization so that TEPCO could pay compensation for mental anguish to evacuees (the base amount of 100,000 yen per month does not even reach the subsistence level in Japan). TEPCO is “too big to fail” simply because it provides electrical power to tens of millions of people in Kanto.

    In the United States, physician Janette Sherman, MD, and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano have published an essay about a 35-percent spike in infant mortality in northwestern cities that occurred after the Fukushima meltdown, which may be the result of fallout from the failed nuclear plant. The eight cities included in the report are San Jose, Berkeley, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Portland, Seattle, and Boise. It is hoped that the medical community will thoroughly review their research and conduct other independent studies. Causal relationships are often difficult to establish, so it is hoped that the scientific community will thoroughly examine both their premise and the supporting data. While their premise may be plausible, I still have reservations about the supporting data. In Canada, Scotland, and China, there also are reports of higher amounts of radioactive materials in the atmosphere. The international media has been complicit as the Japanese government and TEPCO have continued to withhold information vital to the public. No one should be surprised at this behavior, though. Similar conduct was exhibited by Chisso Chemical and the Japanese government for decades after the mercury poisoning incident at Minamata, Kumamoto.

    One receives the distinct impression that the Japanese government is treating the release of information as a national security matter. On June 7, 2011, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (文科省) finally admitted that it had failed to release a substantial amount of data concerning the monitoring of radiation emitted at Fukushima Dai-Ichi that was collected between March 16, 2011 and April 4, 2011. This withholding of information from the public has only fueled public anger, palpable distrust, and a complete lack of confidence in the Japanese government. The Japanese love their country, but many of them now openly voice contempt and hatred for their government (“lies” and “betrayal” are the words used most often). Much more could have been done to cut bureaucratic red tape, waive unnecessary procedures, and eliminate excessive documentation so that evacuees could quickly receive funds, leave evacuation centers, and rebuild their lives. Although the “fiscal hawks” at the Ministry of Finance (財務省) would prefer to ignore Tohoku and concentrate on repairing Japan’s extremely fragile public finances, this is not the time for unyielding government at the expense of the people (官尊民卑). The callous response of Japan’s central government to the Tohoku disaster underscores the long-standing prejudice against that region of Japan. Those same “fiscal hawks” had absolutely no qualms about bailing out Japan’s banking sector, which collapsed from nonperforming loans in the early 1990’s. That unprecedented bailout became the global prototype for the looting of national treasuries to prop up insolvent financial institutions that had quickly morphed into criminal organizations.

    The NPA had an excellent, well-deserved reputation for professionalism in law enforcement. However, the NPA, which had no particular expertise in communicating information to the public, was set up to fail. Enforcement of Mandatory Evacuation Notices and reporting of information to the public should not have been assigned to the same agency. Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) could have been used much more effectively as a clearinghouse for the reporting of information to the public. The role of the FDMA, which is a very small agency with about 162 employees, will almost certainly be expanded to include the functions of FEMA in the future. FEMA and the FDMA should engage in collaboration and exchanges of information.

    Reporting on the Great East Japan Earthquake is an outrageous example of “news management” on many levels. NHK (日本放送協会), PBS, and CBS can continue to air their whitewash propaganda films to assist the Japanese government, but it will not change the reality on the ground. As is so often the case in Japan, a benign facade (建前) has been erected to conceal the ugly truth (本音). TEPCO and Fukushima Dai-Ichi remain out of control. In fact, on April 6, 2011, a Letter of Request from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications was issued to associations of telecommunications service providers, cable TV providers, and Internet service providers to ensure that content is moderated and only “proper information” is conveyed to the public. No one dares call it an attempt to censor the Internet in Japan. A country is dying when their old men start committing suicide, and the tears of Sanriku continue to flow.

    So, the situation is very bad in Tohoku and Tokyo. The populace of Tohoku is very jittery about the almost daily aftershocks, which could continue for another five months or more. A panicked, desperate political elite in Tokyo now realizes and admits, at least tacitly, that it really did not have a crisis management plan. Japan, like many nations, has a long history of being run by and for a parasitic elite at the top of the system. Parasitic elites fear but one thing – the loss of their power and perquisites. None of these machinations (denial, obfuscation, suppression of information, lies, and censorship) on the part of TEPCO and the Japanese government were for the sake of the nation (国の為). Rather, it was nothing more than some empty suits trying to maintain their favored positions in society, but the people have got their number. They know that their central government let them down in a big way. The development of proactive plans to protect the populace is among the most difficult of functions of government to fulfill. But, the “social contract” has been severed. The Japanese people have long accepted one of the highest tax burdens in the world in return for good government, and they have now received one of the worst possible outcomes. There is now a widespread perception that Tokyo politicians and bureaucrats are nothing more than “tax thieves” (税金泥棒). As a result, there is real, raw fear in Nagata-cho and Kasumigaseki right now. The politicians and bureaucrats know that a second tsunami is coming, a political one that could easily drown all of them. There is going to be a far-reaching purge of high-ranking bureaucrats, and the personnel actions will indicate accountability and culpability. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, NPA, Cabinet Secretariat, and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications are going to be torn apart because of their involvement in attempting to suppress information and institute censorship (a critical error that public relations agencies cannot fix). Japan’s bureaucracy will begin serving up those responsible in order to preserve itself. It will start with administrative vice ministers (事務次官) and bureau chiefs (局長), and go right on down the line. Shikata ga nai (“It can’t be helped”) is not going to cut it this time.

    But, it could be much worse. I hate to think what the result might have been if the earthquake had occurred at 2:46 AM in heavy fog rather than 2:46 PM on a fairly clear day. Once again, the heroes were the many well-trained local police, firefighters, teachers, doctors and nurses (especially those who refused to abandon patients and save themselves), and public officials who performed admirably but lost their lives while trying to help their fellow citizens. Ibaraki Prefecture, which is not a wealthy prefecture, stands out in terms of preparations by their leveraging of limited resources to promote citizen involvement in local safety councils, public education, and drills to ensure immediate evacuation. Thorough review of statistics by prefecture also clearly shows that Ibaraki Prefecture has been the most timely of all the prefectures in reporting of deaths, missing persons, injuries, and property damage (including damaged roads and bridges). While Ibaraki experienced flooding in 10 localities (over 40,000 residents in the flooded areas) and extensive property damage (over 184,000 residences damaged or destroyed), loss of life was minimized in that prefecture. Ibaraki did have a proactive plan, which encompassed preparations through recovery, and it continues to bear results. Their plan was well conceived and executed, and it produced much better outcomes. According to a July 2011 survey conducted by the Cabinet Office, 42 percent of evacuees in Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima Prefectures did not immediately evacuate and had not clearly heard the tsunami warning.

    Despite the huge expense and opposition of most villagers, a previous mayor of Fudai-mura, Iwate insisted on building a much higher seawall (approx. 15.5 meters), which minimized the flooding and loss of life. TEPCO measured the height of the tsunami at Fukushima Dai-Ichi at 14-15 meters. The seawall at Fukushima Dai-Ichi was only about 5.5 meters high, and there were inadequate provisions for auxiliary, backup power to ensure adequate water circulation and cooling of fuel rods (evidence of criminal negligence). TEPCO did not build a higher seawall at Fukushima Dai-Ichi despite being informed of the deficiency. There will be prosecutions of TEPCO executives and government bureaucrats.

    An evacuation center can never be up high enough. Although the Japan Meteorological Agency (気象庁) measured the height of the tsunami at 7.3 meters in Miyako City, Iwate, the wall of water barreled right on up the hill in the Aneyoshi district (姉吉地区) to a runup height of 38.9 meters. Stone markers that are hundreds of years old have served as warnings not to build below those points in Aneyoshi. Down the road in Kamaishi City, Iwate, more than 50 people died in an evacuation center that everyone thought was up high enough to be safe. Think twice before you get in an automobile to flee from a tsunami. You must consider road conditions because many people lost their lives when they were caught in traffic jams. Move inland immediately after being warned about an approaching tsunami. The tsunami penetrated inland as far as eight kilometers (approx. five miles) in some areas of Japan. If you can see the tsunami, it is already too late (a tsunami may move inland at a speed of 30-40 MPH). Get in a tree or on top of a building, and pray.

    At present, it is believed that more than 90 percent of all deaths in Japan caused by the disaster were drowning related, and persons aged 60 or older accounted for at least two-thirds of all fatalities. A mega-thrust earthquake in the Cascadia subduction zone could cause extensive damage, but lack of preparations for a tsunami will kill thousands of people. Many cities and towns on US 101 are vulnerable because a bad tsunami would limit access to many of these cities and towns only from the sea or by helicopter. Prepositioning of at least four days worth of food, water, fuel, and other necessities is recommended. It is clear that an earthquake and tsunami similar to that of January 26, 1700 would inundate the entire Pacific Coast. That catastrophe has been verified by the oral histories of Native Americans, archeological finds, and Japanese historical records of the tsunami.

    Notes and Links

    1.     The Sendai District Meteorological Observatory (仙台管区気象台) has documented the history of earthquakes in or near Miyagi Prefecture. (Japanese Language)


    2.     The Cabinet Office (内閣府) of Japan commissioned a survey to estimate the volume of debris and rubble caused in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures by the Great East Japan Earthquake. (Japanese Language)


    3.     Web versions of newspaper articles pertaining to earthquake related deaths (震災関連死) (Japanese Language)





    4.     Web version of newspaper article pertaining to the cutoff of public assistance to 219 households in Minami-Soma City, Fukushima (Japanese Language)


    5.     Web versions of newspaper articles pertaining to Declarations of Death (死亡届) without a body filed with the Ministry of Justice (法務省) (Japanese Language)






    6.     Web version of newspaper article pertaining to the withholding of radiation monitoring data for Fukushima Dai-Ichi by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (文科省) (Japanese Language)


    7.     Graphic and tabular data pertaining to the surface areas of flooded regions in Tohoku (Geographical Survey Institute (国土地理院) of Japan) (Japanese Language)


    8.     Graphic and tabular data pertaining to ground subsidence in Tohoku (Geographical Survey Institute (国土地理院) of Japan) (Japanese Language)


    9.     Graphic and tabular data pertaining to height of the tsunami in localities of Eastern Japan (Japanese Language)


    10.  Tabular data pertaining to the estimated populations of flooded regions in Eastern Japan (Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (総務省統計局)) (Japanese Language)


    11.  Web versions of newspaper articles pertaining to the occupancy rate (43.8 percent) of temporary prefabricated housing units in mid-June 2011 and flooding problems in September 2011 (Japanese Language)



    12.  Web version of newspaper article pertaining to the total number of evacuees at the peak (March 15, 2011) (Japanese Language)


    13.  Web version of newspaper article pertaining to recalculation of the number of missing persons in Iwate Prefecture due to mistakes in processing Declarations of Death (Japanese Language)


    14.  Japanese readers may prefer to read a different summary of the damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災). (Japanese Language)


    15.  Web version of newspaper article pertaining to the National Police Agency (警察庁) announcement that it would no longer collect statistics concerning the number of evacuees (Japanese Language)


    16.  List of evacuees in Iwate Prefecture (Japanese Language)


    17.  Web version of newspaper article pertaining to the inability to recover bodies in areas of Fukushima Prefecture contaminated by nuclear radiation (Japanese Language)


    18.  Web version of newspaper article pertaining to the increasing rate of suicide in Japan in the second quarter of 2011 (Japanese Language)


    19.  Web version of newspaper article pertaining to the inability of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to locate 150 subcontractors who worked at Fukushima Dai-Ichi (福島第一原発) (Japanese Language)


    20.  Web version of newspaper article pertaining to amounts of compensation paid to evacuees for mental anguish (Japanese Language)


    21.  Letter of Request (April 6, 2011) from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued to associations of telecommunications service providers, cable TV providers, and Internet service providers (Japanese Language)


    22.  Web versions of newspaper articles pertaining to bureaucratic delays in the distribution of charitable contributions (義援金) to evacuees (Japanese Language)




    23.  Web version of newspaper article pertaining to a July 2011 survey of evacuees conducted by Japan’s Cabinet Office (Japanese Language)


    24.  Web version of newspaper article pertaining to positive identification of bodies recovered by the National Police Agency (Japanese Language)


    25.  The Fire and Disaster Management Agency (消防庁) of Japan also provides statistics concerning deaths, missing persons, injuries, property damage, and fires. (Japanese Language)


    26.  Web versions of newspaper articles pertaining to the number of workers’ accident compensation (労働者災害補償) claims filed (Japanese Language)



    27.  Web version of newspaper article pertaining to suicides and deaths due to overwork (過労死) (Japanese Language)


    28.  Web version of newspaper article pertaining to positive identification of bodies (Japanese Language)


    The above version of this study does not include the author’s detailed tables pertaining to deaths and missing persons classified by town and village.

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    VIDEO: EU Troika Drives Greece into Humanitarian Crisis

    October 31st, 2011 by Aris Chatzistefanou

    Can Germany Mediate Armenian-Turkish Reconciliation?

    October 31st, 2011 by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

    In 2005, the German Bundestag passed a resolution calling on the German government to facilitate a process of Armenian-Turkish understanding and reconciliation. Now, six years later, scholars and civil society activists are asking: what has been achieved since then? This was the subject of a one-day seminar on “The Armenian Genocide and German Public Opinion” on September 22, organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation at its Berlin headquarters. That resolution, presented by all parliamentary factions and voted up, called on Berlin to contribute to such a process by encouraging an honest examination of the historical record. This included demands for the release of historical documents both from the Ottoman archives and copies of documents given by the German foreign ministry to Turkey, and the establishment of a historians’ commission with international experts. The aim of such efforts was to encourage the Turkish authorities to deal with the 1915 genocide and move towards reconciliation and normalization of relations with the Republic of Armenia. Guaranteeing the freedom of opinion in Turkey, especially regarding the Armenian question, was stressed. Although the motion did not call on the German government to recognize the genocide in those terms, in the statement of grounds for the initiative, it referenced the fact that “numerous independent historians, parliaments, and international organizations term the expulsion and extermination of the Armenians as genocide.”

    International historians presented updates on the status of genocide research: Prof. Raymond Kevorkian of Paris, who has written widely on Armenian history including an authoritative account of the 1915 events, gave an overview of the history of genocide studies, Swiss researcher Hans-Lukas Kieser and German researcher Wolfgang Gust discussed the German role on the basis of official documents, and considerable discussion revolved around whether the Germans, allied to the Young Turks in World War I, were co-responsible or complicit, what they knew when, and what they did or failed to do to stop it. Gust, who has been publishing the German Foreign Ministry archive material on the issue, said Berlin knew in real time what occurred and had the power to intervene but did not. The war provided the context for the genocide, as Kieser stressed, and it was the Young Turks who sought the alliance with Germany, after which the Germans pushed for their engagement in the conflict. One important point made by Gust was that, contrary to official Turkish propaganda that the Armenians constituted a military threat to the Ottomans, there is no trace of any such view in the German archives.

    Following discussion of the historical developments, the seminar turned to reports by civil society activists involved in trying to engage members of the Armenian, Turkish, Kurdish, and German communities in a dialogue process about their common tragic past. Sophia Georgallidis of a Greek community association, summarized the proceedings of a workshop held in Cologne last October, where various projects were presented, from the Hrant Dink Forum in Cologne (and now Berlin), to Ali Ertam’s Association of Genocide Opponents in Frankfurt, to this author’s “Project 2015,” to the well-known study excursions to Berlin organized by Turkish-born German author Dogan Akhanli and others of Recherche International in Cologne.

    Akhanli himself described his group’s extensive tours of Berlin, where participants visit historical sites linked to these events, hear lectures, and engage in discussion with experts. Sites include the place where Young Turk leader Talaat Pasha was assassinated, as well as monuments commemorating victims of the Holocaust and Stalinist terror.

    Toros Sarian, an Armenian journalist and editor from Hamburg who publishes the online magazine, reported on his local grass roots organizing: in response to a leaflet campaign following Hrant Dink’s murder in 2007, a thousand people demonstrated three days after the assassination. This led to a Round Table event in Hamburg the following April and, in 2010, to a series of commemorative events around the April 24 anniversary of the mass arrests in Constantinople, culminating in an ecumenical gathering of 800 people – Turks, Kurds, Germans, and Armenians, among others.

    If such grass-roots initiatives have contributed significantly to educating citizens about the past, especially the Armenian genocide, there remains much to be done, especially on the level of formal education. Here, the issue of history text-books becomes critical. As noted in the seminar, in Germany the state governments are responsible for curricula, and, if progress is to be made, these institutions must take up the challenge. Thus far, Brandenburg is the only state which has succeeded in presenting the Armenian genocide to pupils in history classes – and did so prior to 2005. Opposition to such teaching by informal Turkish lobbyists has thus far prevented other states from addressing this subject, among other controversial issues.

    Two other projects presented at the seminar illustrated the power of dialogue in seeking understanding among members of former adversary populations.

     „ I am not the Murderer, not I“

    One exciting project is a special attraction for student audiences, and could fill an important gap in curricula regarding the genocide of 1915. This is not a classroom lesson but a theatrical reading presented by actors and actresses, to musical accompaniment. The piece, entitled “I am not the Murderer, not I,” is the brainchild of Heinz Böke, from the German Bundestag. How he came to develop the idea is instructive. As he related to the conference participants, “until four years ago I knew nothing about the Armenian genocide, simply nothing.” He responded to his upsetting discovery by looking into the history, which included a visit to Armenia. In the course of his extensive research in Germany, he came across the court records of the trial held on June 2-3, 1921 of the young Armenian, Soromon Tehlerjan (also Soghoman Tehlirian), who gunned down Young Turk leader Talaat Pasha on a Berlin street in broad daylight on March 15, 1921. Böke saw the educational potential in the historical event, as documented in the court records, and, in collaboration with others, put together a play, “The Talaat Pasha Trial – A Theatre Project for Intercultural Studies,” which debuted in 2010 and has been performed in several German cities since then.

    Talaat, as Böke recalled, had escaped to Berlin with German help after the end of the war. The young Tehlerjan had been deployed by the Armenian commandoes known as “Operation Nemesis,” to hunt down and assassinate Young Turk criminals wherever they could be located. The trial examined not only the crime but also the assailant’s motivations: why did he kill Talaat? What had Talaat done? The assassin later explained his action with the words, “I killed a man, but I am not a murderer.” Talaat, he meant, was the mass murderer. The court ruled that Tehlerjan was of unsound mind and could not be considered guilty, and acquitted him.

    The performances of the theatrical piece open with a 10-minute introduction by Böke on the historical background. After an Armenian song, the work unfolds in a series of 16 scenes documenting the trial. The actors come from different ethnic/cultural backgrounds, Turkish, Armenian, German, Austrian, etc., and at the end of the performance, a discussion takes place with the public. When presented to student audiences, the actors may interrupt the action just prior to the jury’s decision, to allow students to say what they think the verdict should be.

    This is not theatre in the conventional sense of the term, certainly not theatre as entertainment, but rather theatre as an educational medium to challenge the minds and open the hearts of viewers to consider historical events they may never have heard of. The historical context of the piece – Ottoman Turkey and the 1915 genocide — poses the question of  whether or not peoples of different ethnic/cultural/religious backgrounds can coexist or not. Students watching the play are thrust into the historical context and must think through the choices that historical personalities at the time faced.

    In the discussions held at the end of the play, three main themes are dealt with: the problem of violence as a political tool, a theme only too relevant for students who read of terrorism every day; the enhanced readiness for violence among some layers of youth in Germany today, for example, in right-wing extremist milieux; and the question of guilt. Those involved in the project have taken care to stress that it is not a question of attributing guilt to Turks or Turkish immigrants in Germany, but to document that the 1915 genocide was the work of the Young Turk regime in power at the time.

    The theatre project has met with resounding success wherever it has been presented, and its organizers plan to expand performances for schools as well as for the general public.

     “Speaking to One Another”

    The other institutional initiative, presented by Matthias Klingenberg of the Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Assocation (dvv), was the research project, “Adult Education and Oral History Contributing to Armenian-Turkish Reconciliation.” This project, financed by the German Foreign Ministry, brought together ten university students from Turkey and ten from Armenia who received training in October 2009 in conducting oral history interviews from qualified social scientists. From October 2009 to February 2010, two teams including the students conducted oral history research into the events of 1915. The basic idea was to facilitate a dialogue among members of the Armenian, Turkish , and Kurdish communities about their common past. Since, for obvious reasons, there were no direct survivors involved, the participants were second and third generation survivors, whose knowledge of the 1915-related events had been passed down to them by parents and grandparents. The persons interviewed came from the Armenian diaspora, many in Turkey, and also from the Republic of Armenia.

    Well over a hundred interviews were conducted, and a selection (13 in Turkey and 35 in Armenia) was then published in Turkish, Armenian, and English, in a volume entitled, “Speaking to One Another.”(1) There are two levels on which the activities and achievements of the research groups should be evaluated: first, there is the wealth of specific information about the genocide – the executions, the deportations, the abduction of women, the expropriation and/or destruction of land and buildings, emphatically including places of worship, and so forth – which comes to light and, again, in its excruciating specificity of gruesome detail, documents that what occurred in 1915 was indeed genocide.

    The other level is that of the trans-generational dialogue which unfolds through the exchange between the interviewers and interviewees. The fact that the book has been issued in several languages should ensure that the dialogue will continue among these communities.

    The first part of the book contains testimonies from Armenians, Kurds, and Turks living in modern-day Turkey. And yet to identify them in such ethnic terms is deceptive; for, as their family histories reveal, the overriding question for them is precisely what their ethnic/religious identity is. There are those Turks who discover that their grandmothers were Armenian, others, presumably Turks, who discover Armenian, Kurdish, and Arab ancestors. This quest for identity is not only a human drama as depicted in the interviews; it plays a powerful part in the process now unfolding in Turkey whereby the citizenry is asking fundamental questions about the past, particularly related to 1915. Although official Turkish policy has obscured the historical record and criminalized anyone daring to call it genocide, the assassination of Hrant Dink in 2007 “was a significant milestone which transformed relations within the Armenian community, as well as between the community and Turkish society” (p. 19). Armenians became more willing to talk about 1915 and Turks sought to learn about the history of Armenians in their midst.

    One Turk who had attended primary school in the 1960s in Akshehir in central Anatolia, told his interviewers how he had pestered his grandfather back then with the question, “Grandpa, who were the gavurs?”  (the unbelievers, the Armenian Christians). As an adult, he learned about the Armenians who had once lived there and that it was they who had worshipped in a church whose ruins remained; and, he learned that after the Armenians were „gone,“ the local economy suffered from the absence of their skills. Or, there is the story of Mete, a 24-year-old, who began in 2009 to make video recordings of conversations with family members in an attempt to answer the question: “Who am I?” When, in high school, he first heard about the genocide, he couldn’t believe it, thinking only the Nazis had committed such crimes.

    For Adil, who was born in 1983 in Diyarbakir, the question was: why did he have blond hair and green eyes? He was to learn that he had inherited these somatic features from his grandfather’s mother, Sosi, an Armenian who, as a thirteen-year-old survivor, had been “sold” and married off. For Adil, exploring the story of his Armenian ancestor provided a means of overcoming the sense of guilt felt by many Turks and Kurds about 1915, in that they can identify with the victim.

    The 77- year-old Ruhi reported that when he discovered his mother was Armenian, it robbed him of his identity. Like so many other young girl survivors, she had been “taken away” in 1915 at the age of 8, and married to a Turk. For other Armenians social pressures in Turkey were so great that they did not teach their children the Armenian language, and changed their surnames. Then there was Ayhan, whose great-grandfather survived among Kurdish tribes, and took a Muslim name. When Ayhan moved to Istanbul, he learned Turkish, and Armenian at a summer camp. Identity was a complex affair. As he put it, “We are Kurds at home, we speak Kurdish. Second, we are Turks at school, we speak Turkish. Third, we are Armenians at the camp, we speak Armenian” (p. 57).

    Dikran, who could not trace his family history back beyond his grandfather, knew however that Armenians had inhabited the region over thousands of years. It irritated him  that Turks would ask him, “Where do you come from?”

    The second part of the book contains interviews with citizens of the Republic of Armenia. Many were descendants of survivors who had fled to Russia, or orphans who reached the Soviet Union after transit through Arab countries. In the atmosphere of friendly relations between the USSR and Turkey, public discussion of the genocide was nil. But in the 1930s, as those orphan survivors reached adulthood, they began to talk, at least to one another. What the researchers found was that, although the overwhelming majority of the Armenians had never had any contact with Turks over the past 90 years, they all had “memories of memories” which had been passed down through their families. In the 1960s public consciousness of the genocide matured, with public rallies and campaigns to build commemorative monuments, as well as ceremonies to remember the resistance at Musa Dagh and April 24.

    The stories told by Armenians in the new Republic are full of gruesome details of the genocide: men herded off to be shot then decapitated, groups forced into churches and incinerated, corpses thrown into rivers until pollution forced the authorities to order the dead be burned; the stench of burning corpses which then led to more deportations, to drive the unwanted population into the Syrian desert. In a recurring motif, there are stories of “beautiful young Armenian girls,” who are “taken away” and forced to marry Turks or Kurds. Many mothers preferred to have their daughters die than to suffer such a fate. One Armenian woman, forcibly married to a Turkish man, strangled all the children she bore over seven years, because “she did not want to have children from a Turk…” (p. 109).

    The “memories of memories” recorded by the interviewees in Armenia communicate the excruciating pain suffered by the victims. Most of the sources are women; “since men were killed in excess,” the authors explain, “there are fewer men among the survivors.” The women tended to be more willing to talk, although many men wrote down their experiences as a private matter. Their experiences were traumatic, like that of the deported woman who had to leave one of her four children behind and was mentally tortured to her dying day by the memory (p. 84).

    The enormity of the suffering, no matter how difficult for a reader to face emotionally, is crucial to provide insight into the attitude of many Armenians today towards the Turks and Turkey. When the researchers asked their Armenian interlocutors to express the emotions that they related to the word “Turk,” the answers included the following: “hatred,” “hatred, revenge,” “they are cruel, cruel,” “enmity,“ and so forth. When the same people were asked whether or not they had even encountered a Turk, most said no.

    It comes as no surprise that the interviewees should express pessimism about the prospect of overcoming the trauma. Some said they thought that if Turkey does not acknowledge the genocide, then in the future Turks might repeat the genocide. Asked to explain why it occurred in the first place, most thought that the Turks wanted to expropriate the Armenians, take their gold, their land, their possessions. Another poignant response was: “I don’t know,” i.e. they could see no rational explanation for such atrocious horror (p.133).

    Yet, — and this is the most important feature of the oral history project – there is a readiness to overcome the hostility, to forgive and to forget. Aram, a doctor from Istanbul, stressed the shared culture of Turks and Armenians: “I don’t think I am culturally different. Because you belong to the same land. You belong here…. Even if you killed each other, even if you don’t look at one another’s face, the same thing makes you happy.” Many Turks expressed a sense of nostalgia about the time before 1915 when the two peoples lived peacefully side by side, and guilt about the genocide. Speaking of how pain can be forgotten, Aram went on: “It can be forgotten through forgiving. Discussing is something, questioning is another thing, but eventually you have to love. And they have to love you in return” (p. 30). The precondition for such forgiveness is acknowledgement of having done wrong. The researchers write: “[F]orgiveness starts from demeanor of the one who acted wrongly. The one who acted wrongly would be prepared to avoid repeating the wrong action again; to avoid repeating the wrong action he should understand, should acknowledge that he did wrong. Then, forgiveness would make sense. Forgiveness makes no sense without repentance. To forgive who? To forgive what?” (p. 134).

    The Turkish Dilemma

    The need for Turkey to recognize the genocide was a key point made in a public round table discussion concluding the day’s proceedings. Keynote speaker Cem Özdemir, Chariman of the Green Party in Germany, whose family comes from Turkey, stressed his view that, although he understands the desires of the Armenian diaspora for recognition on the part of many parliaments, he considers the only “solution” to lie in action by the Turkish parliament. “Healing the wounds lies in Turkey,” he said. Özdemir, who has himself been accused of “treachery” for endorsing recognition of the genocide, recalled the fact that Hrant Dink had come under attack by some in the Armenian diaspora for his message of reconciliation. To understand why it is so difficult for Turkey to face up to its past, Özdemir pointed to the Ottoman losses in the Balkan wars, and to the continuity between the empire and the Turkish Republic, especially regarding  the current of the Young Turks. Dogan Akhanli reported from his own experience that Germany has become a place where one can talk with Armenians and nationalistic Turks about 1915, but added that the central task is to develop discussion in Turkish civil society, working up from the grass roots level.


    1.     Speaking to One Another: Personal Memories of the Past in Armenia and Turkey, Wish they hadn’t left, Leyla Nayzi, Whom to forgive? What to forgive? Hranush Kharatyan-Araqelyan, “Adult Education and Oral History Contributing to Armenian-Turkish Reconciliation,” published by Istitut für Internaitonale Zusammenarbeit Des Deutschen Volkshochschul-Verbandes (dvv international), Istanbul, 2010.

    Muriel Mirak-Weissbach is the author of Through the Wall of Fire: Armenia – Iraq – Palestine: From Wrath to Reconciliation, and can be reached at [email protected] and

    The United States will stop paying $80 million in dues and voluntary contributions to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in response to the body’s vote Monday to grant membership to the Palestinian Authority.

    UNESCO voted 107-14 in favor of granting status to the Palestinians, triggering existing U.S. laws that prohibit American support of U.N. agencies that accept them as members. The decision could have far-reaching effects for American technology companies that use UNESCO to open markets in the developing world and rely upon an associated entity, the World Intellectual Property Organization, to police international disputes over music, movies and software.

    The administration had little choice: Even if the White House wanted Congress to waive the law so that UNESCO could be funded, there’s almost no chance that a waiver request would be granted. Pro-Israel lawmakers mobilized pre-emptively last week, as Reps. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Democrats’ campaign committee, and Tom Cole, a former chairman of the House Republicans’ campaign committee, wrote a letter to colleagues demanding enforcement of the funding prohibition.

    “We cannot change this law and we hope you will join us in cosigning this bipartisan letter to stand by this policy,” Israel and Cole wrote. “Congress must send a powerful message that everything is done to block full membership of the Palestinian Authority to UNESCO, the UN Security Council, and other UN agencies. Such a move would be detrimental to Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East, as well as UN programs around the globe.”

    Israel and Cole wrote a similar letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to do everything in her power to avert the admission of the Palestinian Authority to UNESCO. But the State Department’s efforts to get the rest of the world to block Palestinian membership in UNESCO fell short despite a full-court press that included giving America’s official position in capitals across the globe.

    The potential consequences for American businesses are important enough that the State Department invited representatives of about two dozen technology and pharmaceutical companies and associations to participate in a discussion of the matter in Foggy Bottom Monday afternoon.

    “Even as we approach this situation diplomatically, the Department of State and our U.S. Government partners would like to invite you to a discussion on the current state of play at UNESCO, as well as the ramifications of the Palestinian bid for membership,” reads a copy of the invitation obtained by POLITICO. Invitees include Apple, Google, Microsoft, the Motion Picture Association of America, PhRMA and the Recording Industry Association of America.

    But while American businesses could suffer from the decision to cut off funding, it is unlikely that any of them will pick a fight with Israel.

    “You could literally blow me over with a feather if one of those guys came out with a public position,” said one tech industry source.

    Before announcing Monday that it would enforce the law, the State Department had delicately framed its position, leading some to speculate that there might be an effort to circumvent the prohibition or lobby Congress to repeal it.

    “The concern is if this move in constituent agencies were to mushroom and you were to go on to agencies like the World Health Program like some of these others and the U.S. were put in a position of the legislation triggering and us not being able to participate anymore, you could actually have lives lost if these agencies were not fully funded,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a briefing last week.

    Noticeably absent from the debate: Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), who is a leading advocate for both Israel and the entertainment industry. Berman, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, turned down POLITICO’s request to interview him on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Berman is locked in a primary battle with Rep. Brad Sherman, another Jewish Democrat from Southern California who has worked to curb intellectual property piracy.

    Berman’s counterpart on the committee, chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), is perhaps the top critic of the United Nations in Congress, and she is working to pass a bill that would apply new conditions for U.S. funding for the world’s diplomatic body.

    “The chairman believes that the current law is clear in requiring a cut-off of funds to UNESCO if the Palestinians are granted membership, and she supports full implementation of that law without exceptions,” her spokesman, Brad Goehner, said. “She also has a provision in her UN Reform bill which would strengthen that law by requiring a cut-off of funding to any UN entity that grants full membership or any other upgraded status to the Palestinian mission.”

    Former Sen. Tim Wirth (D-Colo.), the head of the UN Foundation, wrote an op-ed on the Huffingtonpost Website Monday afternoon arguing in favor of a waiver.

    “Should the U.S. pull out of these organizations, it is not as if these organizations would stop functioning altogether. Rather, an agency like IAEA may have to reduce the number of nuclear inspectors it deploys around the world. Other countries, maybe even America’s global rivals, will step into fill the leadership void left by the United States,” Wirth wrote. “As long as these laws remain on the books, Congress is setting the stage for America’s waning influence over international affairs. From businesses interests to non-governmental organizations who care about America’s influence at the UN, everyone must take a stand and urge Congress to give the President the flexible authority needed protect our national security and economic interests.”

    But it’s clear that the folks who hold the purse strings in Congress have no such intention.

    “I have been clear to the leadership of UNESCO, the Palestinian leadership, and to my colleagues in the administration that the path to Middle East peace does not run through the U.N.,” Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State Department and Foreign Operations, said after the UNESCO vote. “I expect the administration to enforce existing law and stop contributions to UNESCO and any other U.N. agency that enables the Palestinians to short-cut the peace process. From the start, my message has been consistent that in order for the P.A. to achieve the legitimacy of statehood they must return to direct peace negotiations with Israel.”

    Ottawa to Spend up to $477M on U.S. Military Satellites

    October 31st, 2011 by Lee Berthiaume

    OTTAWA — The federal government is planning to spend as much as $477-million to participate in a U.S.-led military satellite program that has been subject to delays and cost overruns over the past decade, Postmedia News has learned.

    The Wideband Global Satellite system has been advertised by the U.S. Defense Department as a communications system for “U.S. warfighters, allies and coalition partners during all levels of conflict, short of nuclear war.”

    The idea is to have as many as nine military satellites hovering over different parts of the world, ready to provide high-frequency bandwidth for U.S. and allied forces wherever they may be operating.

    Daniel Blouin, a spokesman for Canada’s Department of National Defence, said the Canadian Forces has identified improved communication capabilities as a necessity.

    “After Afghanistan and Libya, our efforts in those two countries have proven that the exchange of information between headquarters and deployed elements is critical to modern military operations and their success,” Blouin said.

    “So, in order to meet that intent while ensuring good value for taxpayer money, we’re seeking out an agreement with international allies that will provide Canadian forces with access to an international constellation of satellites.”

    If Canada does join the Wideband Global Satellite System, or WGS, it will be the latest ally to get onboard the project.

    Australia agreed in 2007 to contribute more than $800 million US to pay for the sixth satellite in return for a portion of the system’s overall bandwidth. New Zealand, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands also have expressed interest.

    Several weeks ago, Cabinet gave Defence Minister Peter MacKay permission to pay up to $477-million to ensure Canadian participation.

    Blouin would not say what type of agreement Canada is pursuing as negotiations are still underway. However, he said the $477-million would be paid over a number of years.

    “We’re not looking for access to military communications for a single year. That’s not in our best interests,” he said. “We’re looking for long-term planning to meet the needs of the Canadian Forces.”

    The federal government is looking to create a two-satellite system over the Arctic to provide Canada with improved military communication services and aid in defence operations.

    Blouin said the Polar Communications and Weather Mission may complement the WGS, which does not cover the High Arctic, but the two systems are separate.

    The U.S. military’s intention to secure allied participation in the WGS is no secret.

    “Our close ally Australia has bought into the system, and the [U.S.] Air Force is in the final phases of developing similar arrangements with several other allies,” Gregory Schulte, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, told a conference in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 4.

    “This approach has increased the size and capacity of the constellation. Internationalizing WGS also complicates the calculations of any country contemplating an attack on the system.”

    The project, however, has not been without its share of problems. In fact, the WGS has been identified alongside the F-35 joint strike fighter over the years as having serious issues.

    When the U.S. military announced in January 2001 that Boeing would lead the project, the plan was to build a system of between three and six satellites over 10 years.

    The first satellite was to be launched in 2004, and if all six were built the total cost was to be $1.3 billion US.

    But according to a U.S. government report from this year, manufacturing and quality control issues plagued the first three satellites. These included problems with an antenna array, incorrectly installed rivet nuts, and poor soldering.

    As a result, the first satellite wasn’t launched until October 2007 and didn’t become operational over the Pacific Ocean until April 2008.

    The second satellite, positioned over the Middle East and Afghanistan, was declared operational in June 2009 and the third, placed over the Atlantic Ocean, in March 2010.

    In addition, “due to limited resources and other priorities, the contract options for satellites 4-6 were not exercised before they expired,” reads a U.S. Defense Department assessment from April 2010.

    For that reason, the fourth satellite isn’t expected to be operational until 2013, and a further two-year delay is expected between the sixth and seventh satellites.

    The assessment also says the cost per satellite has increased 27.2 per cent, and the overall project is 39.5 per cent above budget projections.

    “Following the acquisition of (the first three satellites), the commercial communication satellite market took a significant downturn,” the assessment states, adding that key components were no longer commercially available.

    Senior U.S. air force officials also warned in testimony to Congress on March 31 that difficulties in securing a contract for the seventh satellite would increase the project’s costs.

    The program is now expected to cost more than $3.5 billion US. The U.S. military has asked Congress for $469 million US for the WGS for the coming fiscal year alone.

    NDP defence critic David Christopherson was surprised to discover Canada was negotiating such an agreement with the U.S., and called for more transparency from the government.

    “At first blush, the notion of improving military communications is not something the ordinary person would be opposed to,” he said. “But why wasn’t there more transparency? Where is the accountability on this?”

    Christopherson noted another U.S.-led project Canada has signed onto, the F-35 stealth jet, has been plagued with controversy and problems, and he worried the results may be the same with the WGS.

    Liberal defence critic John McKay said he was worried about handing too much control over Canadian capabilities to the U.S.

    “The thing that comes to mind immediately is the vulnerabilities that come with sharing your sovereignty with the Americans, which is essentially what you’re doing,” he said.

    By participating in such a program, he said, there’s a risk of making Canada more likely to become involved in future U.S. military operations.

    [email protected]

    China-US Energy Geopolitics: The Battle for Oil in the South China Sea

    October 31st, 2011 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

    A new area of potential confrontation is developing between China and the U.S. According to reports, Exxon Mobil which has acquired exploration and production rights from Vietnam has discovered substantial gas reserves in the South China Sea  off the coast of North Vietnam.

    “U.S. oil company ExxonMobil is reporting a “potentially significant” gas discovery off the coast of Vietnam, stating in a press release, “We can confirm ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Vietnam Limited drilled its second exploration well offshore Danang in August 2011 and encountered hydrocarbons.” (See John C.K. Daly, Apocalypse Redux? U.S. Natural Gas Find off Vietnam Could Raise Tensions with China, )

    It is important to note that  these off-shore reserves are located between the North Vietnam coastline and China’s Hainan island in an area of disputed jurisdiction between Vietnam and China. (see map above) The contested area is made up of blocks 117, 118 and 119, which according to Hanoi fall  within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone under international maritime law (Ibid)

    On October 31, following the ExxonMobil discovery announcement, China responded by warning foreign companies not to meddle  “in areas also claimed by China.” ( China again warns foreign oil firms on South China Sea exploration | Reuters, October 31, 2011)

    “We hope foreign companies do not get involved in disputed waters for oil and gas exploration and development. This position has been consistent,” Hong said, when asked whether China plans to ask Exxon Mobil to withdraw from its oil and gas deal with Vietnam.

    He did not elaborate, nor single out Exxon Mobil by name.

    Exxon Mobil has a licence from the Vietnamese government to explore blocks 117, 118 and 119 off the Danang coast, falling within what Vietnam claims is its 200-mile exclusive economic zone under international maritime law, the Financial Times reported last week.

    But the blocks also fall within China’s vast claim to almost the entire South China Sea, also claimed in part by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan.

    The sea and areas such as the Spratly Islands and other atolls are believed to have rich deposits of oil and gas and is also a rich fishing ground.

    One of China’s most popular newspapers, the Global Times, cautioned last week that nations involved in territorial disputes in the waters should “mentally prepare for the sounds of cannons” if they remain at loggerheads with Beijing. ExxonMobil finds significant gas off Vietnam » Energy Delta Institute, October 27, 2011)

    The conflict is not between Vietnam and China. Vietnam is a junior partner. The Hanoi government is serving Western oil interests against those of China.

    It is important to view the confrontation between US and Chinese oil and gas interests in the broader geopolitical context.

    The potential clash between Washington and Beijing in the south China sea is intimately related to the broader battle for oil waged in the Middle East-Central Asian chessboard, where China has significant interests in oil, natural gas as well as pipeline routes.

    The South China sea is an area of potential military confrontation. The South China sea is in the area of deployment of the Seventh Fleet, which, in a bitter irony played a central role during the Vietnam war. 

    In the wake of the Vietnam war, Vietnam has become a de facto proxy State controlled by Western and Japanese corporate interests

    In July, the US Navy together with Japan and Australia conducted major military exercises in the South China sea in maritime areas contiguous to the contested offshore oil and gas exploration concessions.  These drills were followed by joint naval exercises between the US and Vietnam in August, which were were seen by Beijing as constituting a veiled threat to China. 

    Extrajudicial Assassinations in Libya

    October 31st, 2011 by Global Research

    Global Research Editor’s Note

    Extra-judicial killings in Libya are been conducted by the National Transitional Council (NTC) and various armed militias under its control.

    We bring to the attention of our readers the case of Abu Ziad Dorda who stood defiant against the NTC and NATO. He refused to leave his home or hide.

    Dorda was taken into NTC custody and tortured. Human Rights Watch visited him and stated that he was in good health, but doctors confirm that he was tortured. 

    27 October 2011.

    A former Libyan PM and Ambassador to the UN now in NTC custody in Tripoli has suffered broken legs and other injuries following what relatives claim was a murder attempt by guards.

    The news comes just days after some 300 bodies of alleged Gaddafi allies were found in Sirte, raising concerns that the NTC has sanctioned political executions in the fashion of the Gaddafi regime they rebelled against.

    Dorda’s son-in-law, Adel Khalifa, wrote to the UN Security Council’s Nigerian president, U. Joy Ogwu, according to Foreign Policy magazine, which has a copy of the email.

    “Most of you may have known and dealt with Mr. Dorda during his tenure as Prime Minister of Libya, we kindly request your help in dealing with this issue so that we can spare his life and guarantee his safety. This is a humanitarian issue.”

    RT spoke with Dorda’s family on condition of anonymity. They confirmed that he was thrown from the second floor of the prison by guards and severely beaten. Abdullah Dorda, the former PM’s brother also confirmed the allegation.

    Former Libyan Prime Minister Abuzed Dorda’s legs were broken amid a murder attempt by NTC prison guards. That’s according to his family, who have issued a humanitarian plea he be protected while in NTC custody.

    However the Libyan media maintains that Dorda jumped from the window in a bid to escape or commit suicide.

    Human Rights Watch also say they visited Dorda and reported he was fine, but that was two weeks prior to the murder/escape/suicide attempt. In response Dorda’s family claims HRW is not doing its job.

    Dorda’s family has been told that he is in Tripoli’s Mitiga Hospital. However, they have no means of contacting him, and cannot verify the conditions in which he is being held as security concerns prevent them from going to the hospital.

    At the moment the family is “moving to a safer location” where they should arrive in the next two days.

    The appeal to the UN claims “Dorda is not receiving the proper treatment duly and legally accorded a political prisoner, let alone that required under the terms of human rights and other international treaties.”

    Amongst his international colleagues Dorda has a reputation as one of the least corruptible people in Libyan politics. He was arrested on September 11, while holding the post of head of external intelligence for the Gaddafi regime. The arrest followed a freeze of Dorda’s financial assets imposed by the US and UN Security Council as they took action against Muammar Gaddafi’s inner circle.

    His family believes Dorda is seen as a threat because many Libyan people still want him to be part of the future political process of the country. They also warn that if he is assassinated or continues to be treated inhumanely, it could create a public backlash.

    Ignoring Non-Islamic Culprits in Somalia Famine

    October 31st, 2011 by Julie Hollar

    As Somalia sank deeper into famine in late summer, with 63 percent of southern Somalia’s population at risk of starvation, U.S. media coverage focused on stories of misery and resilience. Measuring children’s emaciated arms and describing the scraps of dignity people struggled to maintain in refugee camps substituted for investigation of causes, or discussion of remedies beyond appeals for donations.

    A typical report came from CBS Evening News (8/8/11): “The faces dusted with the desert and…the eyes that have seen too much,” with an interview with a woman “who had fought to save her children in an unforgiving land.” The next day (8/9/11), the network brought us “people with lessons to teach about life and death in an unforgiving land.”

    While drought can be a natural phenomenon, famine in the modern era is political—and avoidable. A variety of factors play into the current Somalia famine, but media could only seem to find one culprit: Islamic terrorists. Al-Shabaab, the militant youth group that controls much of Somalia and has been labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. government, “is widely blamed for causing a famine in Somalia by forcing out many Western aid organizations,” explained the New York Times (8/2/11). 

    And nearly all of the rest of the media agreed. “Terror Group Blocking Aid to Three Million Starving Somalis” blared a USA Today headline (8/15/11). “The spread of Islamic terrorism has turned a drought into a famine that didn’t have to happen,” reported NBC Nightly News’ Ann Curry (8/16/11) from Mogadishu. Curry’s colleague Richard Engel (NBC, 8/5/11) argued earlier: “But what may be most tragic of all, the famine here is largely man-made. Somalia is a failed state and a war zone. Peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi are fighting to drive out Al-Qaeda backed militants called Al-Shabaab. The militants control half the country.”

    While Al-Shabaab certainly bears responsibility for any of its actions that prevented food from reaching people in need, other major pieces are missing from this story of man-made disaster—including climate change, agricultural policy and the history of U.S. foreign policy in Somalia.

    Scientists have long warned that a warming planet would lead to more dramatic weather patterns, including droughts. And in recent years, drought has hit the Horn of Africa much more frequently than the historical average (Guardian, 8/8/11). On prominent TV news programs, though, climate change simply wasn’t considered in reports on Somalia’s famine. In newspapers, climate change was relegated almost exclusively to opinion pages, either in print (e.g., San Francisco Chronicle, 7/23/11; Baltimore Sun, 8/1/11) or web-only (e.g., New York Times Dot Earth Blog, 8/3/11).

    Weather effects are compounded by poor agricultural policies. A lonely Washington Post op-ed (7/29/11) by Macalester College professor William G. Moseley pointed out that a market-based agricultural agenda, pushing cash crops and large-scale commercial farming, started under colonial rule and was ramped up by development banks. These policies, Moseley explained, left people more vulnerable to drought years than in the past, when they grew and stored food for consumption. Understanding this has important implications, he argued:

    The problem is that the USAID plan for agricultural development in Africa has stressed a “New Green Revolution” involving improved seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. While this energy-intensive approach may make sense in some contexts, it is financially out of reach of the poorest of poor farmers, who are the most likely to face food shortfalls. A more realistic approach would play down imported seeds and commercial agriculture in favor of enhanced traditional approaches to producing food for families and local markets.

    U.S. foreign policy was perhaps the hardest to find catching blame except in alternative media. One prominent exception, an excellent September 5 piece in Time magazine by Alex Perry—“A Famine We Made?”—stood as a rare corporate media investigation of how U.S. aid policy exacerbated the famine. Generally, however, when any fault was laid at the U.S. government’s doorstep, it was simply framed as a lack of efficacy: The New York Times editorial board (8/12/11) argued that the problem with U.S. policy toward Somalia for the past decade has been “a lack of focus and internal battles.”

    Elsewhere in the Times (8/2/11), Somalia was simply “a lawless cauldron… dominated by chaos since 1991, when clan warlords overthrew the central government and then tore apart the country.” At the very end of the long report on the famine, almost as an aside, the paper mentioned that another problem with getting famine aid to Somalis is “American government restrictions,” which since 2008 have made it a crime to “provide material assistance” to Al-Shabaab. “Aid officials say the restrictions have had a chilling effect,” the Times reported, “because it is nearly impossible to guarantee that the Shabaab will not skim off some of the aid delivered in their areas.”

    As Lauren Sutherland pointed out in a much more detailed report in the Nation (8/15/11), U.S. aid to Somalia plummeted from $237 million in 2008 to $29 million in 2010 as a result of those tightened sanctions against Al-Shabaab. Those sanctions have also “virtually prevented U.S. or U.S.-funded agencies from operating in Al-Shabaab controlled territory.”

    That means that even though this famine had been predicted since last August (, 7/14/11), U.S. counterterrorism policy kept preventative or emergency measures from being put into place until thousands had already started dying. And even once aid started flowing, the organizational infrastructure wasn’t there to distribute it as quickly and effectively as it could have.

    Furthermore, talk of Somalia as a “lawless cauldron…dominated by chaos since 1991” neatly erases a critical piece of recent Somali history and the U.S. role in destabilizing the country, which has led to the rise of Al-Shabaab. One of the only mentions of this U.S. role turned up by a Nexis search of U.S. newspapers and wires was an op-ed by University of Minnesota professor Abdi Ismail Samatar that appeared in a few smaller papers (e.g.,Contra Costa Times, 8/20/11), courtesy of the Progressive Media Project, which works to place diverse and dissenting viewpoints on newspaper opinion pages. Wrote Samatar:

    The American-supported Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006 dashed Somalia’s only chance in 16 years to restore a national government of its own. The invasion displaced more than 1 million people and killed 15,000 civilians. Those displaced are part of today’s famine victims.

    That invasion was prompted by the great reduction in Somalia’s chaos by people the U.S. government didn’t approve of: the Islamic Courts Union, an Islamist group that rose to power in opposition to much-hated warlords who were receiving backing from the U.S. The Islamic Courts gained control of much of the country and had brought stability with their rule, which was largely (though not uniformly) moderate. Their overthrow essentially cast the moderates out of power and drove their more radical youth wing, Al-Shabaab, into hiding to launch an insurgency that has led to the current situation (Extra!, 3–4/08).

    And that Al-Qaeda connection? There’s no evidence any substantial connection existed prior to the U.S.-backed overthrow of the Islamic Courts, but it served as useful propaganda to sell that invasion (Extra!, 3–4/08).

    When NBC’s Ann Curry (8/16/11) calls Somalia “the capital of chaos, torn to ruins by decades of war and anarchy,” she forgets to note who, exactly, was partly behind that war and anarchy.

    Washington’s Black Ops against Iran

    October 30th, 2011 by Dr. Ismail Salami

    The US secret agenda for tightening its vice-like grip on the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken on an apparently new form after the anti-Iran alleged assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, raised many eyebrows among experts and analysts around the world.

    With a strong penchant for pushing for tougher action on Iran, the Obama administration has already imposed a series of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. However, a Republican-controlled congressional committee has recently heard testimony demanding an extensive range of covert operations against the country.

    The operations, which range from cyber attacks to political assassinations, are speculated to be conducted under the feeble excuse that Iran was the alleged architect of an assassination plot against the Saudi envoy to the United States. By political assassination, the US congressmen unconsciously mean the liquidation of the Iranian nuclear scientists, an act they actually started long ago.

    Retired Army Gen. John Keane told a hearing of two key subcommittees of the House Committee on Homeland Security on Wednesday, “We’ve got to put our hand around their throat now. Why don’t we kill them? We kill other people who kill others.”

    Also, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) poured some pearls of wisdom over others and called for “sober, reasoned discussion.”

    “Iran’s leaders must be held accountable for their action,” she said, “but we cannot take any reckless actions which may lead to opening another front in the ‘War on Terror,’ which the American people do not want and cannot afford.”

    Naturally, the US government, in essence, cannot afford to wage another war at least in view of the economic woes it has wrought upon the American citizens, regardless of other influencing factors.

    The stone that started rolling fell into the hands of New York Congressman Peter King who made an extremely bizarre comment. He suggested that the US should kick out Iranian officials at the UN in New York and in Washington and accused them of being spies, ignorant of the fact that the UN is considered an independent international body and that the US has no authority to ‘kick out’ diplomats accredited there en masse.

    Overwhelmed with a sense of false eagerness, he renewed the anti-Iran alleged assassination ploy and said excitedly, “So you have the assassination of a foreign ambassador, you have the willingness to kill hundreds of Americans — this is an act of war,” King said, “I don’t think we can just do business as usual or even carry out sanctions as usual.”

    The volley of vitriolic words against Iran which issued from Mr. King reeks of blind enmity long egged on by other hawks in Washington.

    In point of fact, the anti-Iran moves practically started in 2007 when US Congress agreed to George W. Bush, the then US president, to fund a major increase in covert operations against Iran. According to the intelligence officials who spoke to the Blotter on, the CIA was then given a presidential approval to commence its covert ‘black’ operations inside Iran. To that effect, over four hundred million dollars were allocated in a Presidential Finding signed by George W. Bush. The ultimate goal of the finding was to cripple Iran’s religious government and the operations involved throwing support behind minority Ahwazi Arab and Baluchis and other opposition groups as well as amassing intelligence about Iran’s nuclear sites.

    Speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, the intelligence officials confirmed that Bush had signed a “nonlethal presidential finding”, giving the CIA carte blanche to engage in any sabotaging activities including a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international financial transactions in order to destabilize and eventually achieve regime change in Iran.

    “I can’t confirm or deny whether such a program exists or whether the president signed it, but it would be consistent with an overall American approach trying to find ways to put pressure on the regime,” said Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA senior official, an expert on Iran and the Middle East ( May 22, 2007).

    In June 2007, The New Yorker magazine also ran a similar story by Seymour Hersh, confirming that the finding had been signed by Bush and intended to destabilize the Islamic government.

    “The Finding was focused on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” the article cited a person familiar with its contents as saying, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.”

    From an intelligence point of view, the fact that the US government is resorting to covert black operations against Iran rules out the possibility of a military strike against the country.

    According to reports, US ambassadors in Islamabad have repeatedly asked for opening a consulate in the province of Baluchistan, a suspicious demand from the US. In 2011, the call was renewed by US ambassador Cameron Munter to Islamabad. Persistence in this demand is to be taken seriously. Baluchistan is strategically important as it is a harbor for the anti-Iran terrorist group, Jundullah, in the first place and a separatist Pakistani province in the second place.

    In fact, Washington greatly favors the establishment of a ‘Greater Baluchistan’ which would integrate the Baluch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran. Military expert Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters suggests that Pakistan should be broken up, leading to the formation of a separate country: ‘Greater Baluchistan’ or ‘Free Baluchistan’ (June 2006, The Armed Forces Journal). As a result, this would incorporate the Baluch provinces of Pakistan and Iran into a single political entity which can be tailored to suit the interests of Washington.

    So it seems that the US harbors two main ulterior motives if this demand is answered. First, it can fulfill its dream of establishing the Greater Baluchistan, consolidate firm presence in this separatist part of Pakistan and secondly, it will be in a position to avail itself of this influence to carry out its sabotaging activities within Iran.

    Earlier in 2007, the Blotter on revealed the role of the US government in backing the terrorist Iranian group , which is responsible for a number of gruesome assassinations of the Iranian civilians on the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The terrorist group spares no efforts in sowing the seed of terror in the southern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchistan and their lust for murder and cruelty knows no remission. The victims the group has so far claimed include many women and children who have become the direct target of their killing. In July 2010, the group mounted a pair of suicide attacks on a major Shi’ite mosque in the city of Zahedan, the capital of Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan Province, killing dozens of worshippers and wounding over 100 people.

    Although US officials deny any ‘direct funding’ of the terrorist group, they acknowledge that they are in contact with the leader of the group on a regular basis. A similar terroristic attack was launched by the same group on a mosque in Zahedan in May 2009, which led to the martyrdom of many worshippers.

    Sadly enough, Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) implicitly supports the group and reportedly shelters some of its high-profile members in coordination with the CIA.

    Isn’t it paradoxical that Jundullah, a terrorist group and an offshoot of al-Qaeda, is directly funded by the US government which keeps bandying about its so-called ‘war on terror’ in the world?

    This is enough to cause the US to hang its head low in shame and humility.

    Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian author and political analyst. A prolific writer, he has written numerous books and articles on the Middle East. His articles have been translated into a number of languages He is also the webpage editor of Press TV in Iran.

    In an interview with Russia’s Rossiya 1 TV channel on Sunday, President Bashar al-Assad discussed developments in Syria and the region, Syria’s efforts to emerge from the crisis, the dangers and repercussions of any aggression against Syria or interference in its internal affairs, relations with Russia, and western sanctions.

    Regarding the likelihood of the west waging an aggression against Syria and the idea that western military action against Syria is preplanned, President al-Assad said that the claims regarding the possibility of a western aggression against Syria is heard from time to time, particularly during crises between Syria and western countries within the past few decades, and that these claims aim at pressuring Syria to change its political stances.

    President al-Assad said that Syria takes all possibilities into consideration even if this issue isn’t discussed in the media through leaks, noting that when the homeland is threatened in a military or security fashion, then the balance of power – who is stronger and who is weaker – has no value, adding “if you as a country represent a small and weak country and the enemy is big and strong, it’s natural to defend the homeland regardless of balance.”

    He pointed out that others’ considerations regarding the scenario of aggression against Syria aren’t easy, and that Syria has a unique position in geographic, geopolitical, historic and other terms, as Syria is the meeting place of all or most the cultural, religious, sectarian and ethnic  components of the Middle East.

    President al-Assad elaborated by saying that Syria is the meeting place of two “tectonic plates” and that any attempt to destabilize these plates will lead to a massive earthquake that damages the entire region and affects the whole world, adding that any mention of such a scenario would be more costly than the world could afford, which is why it seems that the trend is moving towards political, political and economic pressure.

    His Excellency said that there is no doubt that Syria is counting on Russia, primarily because of the historic relations between the two countries and because Russia is a superpower and a permanent Security Council member, pointing out that Russia played an important role since the first days of the crisis and that the two governments were communicating directly, with the Syrian government explaining to Russia the details of the situation based on Syria’s importance and influence in terms of the situation in the Middle East and the region.

    “Russia knew the dangers of the attempts at foreign interference in Syria, thus Russia played an important role in the international arena, with the most recent action in this regard being the Russian veto at the Security Council,” he said, adding that Syria is counting on the Russian stance and continuing support not just in defense of Syria, but also in defense of worldwide stability.

    In response to a question on a Communist opposition figure thanking Russia for its veto while others burned Russian flags in Syrian cities, President al-Assad said regarding the first point that any Syrian citizen would have the same response as anyone with the least amount of patriotism would be grateful for Russia’s stance at the Security Council, adding that being in the opposition or a loyalist or somewhere in between doesn’t mean differing in political issues, as there is no difference in opinion with the opposition regarding Syria’s sovereignty and rejection of foreign interference and confronting terrorism; the differences lie in internal issues and political, economic, cultural and other issues.

    “Regarding the burning of flags, I don’t believe we can put that in the frame of political work as it doesn’t represent opposition or anything else. It often represents individual cases that may be spurred from abroad to complete the media image of the big lie being promoted about Syria in foreign media, showing Russia as if it supports a state against the people… this is the supposed media game behind this action,” President al-Assad pointed out.

    On the subject of who is represented by the opposition, President al-Assad said that such an issue would be more accurate after elections and the emergence of new parties, which would decide which sections of the society the opposition represents.

    “We’re dealing with everyone; with all the forces on the Syrian arena because we believe that communication with these forces is very important, without specifying who has a popular base and who doesn’t,” President al-Assad said, stressing that a more accurate answer can be given after the elections which should take place in February 2012.

    Answering a question on national dialogue, organizing elections and the establishment of a council in Istanbul by the opposition with their unwillingness to hold negotiations with the authorities, and whether there is a way to reach a peaceful agreement with them, President al-Assad said “The first thing is that in order to hold a dialogue you need more than one side, the other side should be able to hold dialogue… The other thing is that in order to hold political or formal dialogue with a side, there must be bases from which to start.”

    President al-Assad asked “Are the forces we are willing to hold dialogue with accepted by the Syrian people? Are they manufactured abroad? Do they call for or accept foreign interference? Do they support terrorism? When we define all these bases, we can decide whether we hold dialogue or not.”

    His Excellency stressed that the Syrian people reject foreign interference and oppose anything which come from outside the country, be it a political issue or stance.

    “About the council that was formed in Istanbul, I don’t know a lot about it, but I can say that the accurate answer of this question comes from the Syrian people. When the Syrian people accept a council or a particular political structure, we as a state should hold dialogue with it,” President al-Assad indicated.

    “As for the principle of accepting or rejecting dialogue or heading toward violence, I think the proper principle is adopting dialogue because it leads to solutions that stabilize any country. That is why we don’t comment a lot on that council, because the Syrian people didn’t care about it… When the Syrians consider a thing, the Syrian government will, subsequently, take it into consideration,” President al-Assad added.

    On whether Syria will remain strong in the face of the economic sanctions imposed by the west and the US and regarding the Russian aid in this matter, President al-Assad pointed out that this siege, and particularly the economic and technical blockade, on Syria is decades old and isn’t new, saying “I don’t recall any period in which there weren’t under some sort of western blockade on Syria, but this blockade intensifies during crises, which is why we decided six years ago – in 2005 – to head towards the east.”

    President al-Assad pointed out that the western sanctions and blockade primarily harm the Syrian people, not the state, but they will not smother Syria which relies on its own products and exports. “Syria has food and industrial production in addition to many other domains. As for the other materials that are not produced in Syria, we have neighboring countries. We are capable of overcoming this blockade by adjusting to the new status, which we’d already adjusted to in previous circumstances,”  he elaborated.

    About heading eastwards, President al-Assad said that Syria had always has relations with the west during recent decades despite the fact that the west, particularly France and the UK, was occupying a part of the east.

    “Syria, Russia, India and China are east. There are many countries that have good relations with Syria whether in the east, in Latin America or in Asia. There are rising powers In Asia, such as, India, China and Russia which are playing an important worldwide role in the political, economic and technical fields. The west is not the only choice we have, and we must take advantage of our relations with these countries. Syrian-Russian relations, for example, were improved in rapid paces after 2005 when we decided to head eastwards. I think this crisis will further boost these relations, especially in the economic domain. We count on our relation with Russia and the Russian aid in the political aspects and the Russian-Syrian economic cooperation.”

    On the attempt of Syria’s enemies to repeat the Libyan scenario in Syria and the Syrian plan to prevent that, President al-Assad said that Syria is different geographically, demographically, politically and historically from Libya, adding that such a scenario will be unviable and of exorbitant cost.

    “First, a media was used to forge an external state against Syria, especially in the Security Council.  At that time, we were focusing on the internal aspect because it was not easy to show that there was an external plot, even to some Syrians. It was not easy to show that there were armed operations perpetrated against the state. Now, we have hundreds of army soldiers, policemen and security personnel killed,” President al-Assad said.

    President al-Assad asked “Were they killed through peaceful protests? Were they killed by the shouting during the protests? Or were they killed by weapons? So, we’re are dealing with armed people, now the matter is clear and the Syrian people are now aware of the reality of the events in Syria.

    “In the last two months, we’ve begun to focus on the external media, we’ve invited a large number of mass media establishments to come to Syria and inspect the reality of the events. The western media channels are biased in general not only during crises; they have a wrong preconceived notions and sometimes they express political agendas concerning the region,” President al-Assad said.

    President al-Assad pointed out that “We are now trying to bring western media to inspect the reality but we are focusing on the friendly media to enable them to inspect and convey the image to their public in order for their governments to be able to take supportive stances regarding Syria. I think the basic direction now is towards media; we have to unmask the external plot against Syria and, and at the same time help these countries in aiding the local media.”

    On whether there are sides assisting Syria’s enemies and the amount and sources of weapons at the disposal of these enemies, President al-Assad pointed out that during the first few months and particularly the first month of the crisis, it was difficult to find out the reality of what was happening and where the money or weapons was coming from, or even if there were actually money and weapons.

    “After more than seven months since the crisis in Syria began, we gathered clean but incomplete information, but through recent investigations with terrorist it became irrefutably clear that weapons were being smuggled across the Syrian borders from neighboring countries and funds are being sent from people abroad… We have information about people leading these operations outside Syria and in several countries.

    “We don’t have precise information about these people’s relations to countries, but it’s perfectly clear from the quality and scale of weapons and the amounts of money that the funding isn’t personal funding; rather there are countries behind this funding,” President al-Assad said, adding that specifying the countries responsible for this funding requires clearer information, at which point Syria’s won’t hesitate to uncover the facts.

    Regarding the source of weapons and ammunition, particularly Israeli explosives, President al-Assad said that there are weapons from various countries including weapons of Israeli manufacture, but it’s impossible to pinpoint if their source is Israel or another country that possesses such weapons.

    “There are bombs and mines placed in areas with civilians and may target civilians sometimes and they may target security forces or the police or the army… there are also-anti-tank weapons which is new and serious… so all things point to the fact that there are countries responsible for armament and not individuals who may actually be fronts for these countries.

    “Where do the weapons come from… from neighboring countries… despite that fact we cannot accuse them of being involved in the smuggling as it’s difficult to control borders with surrounding countries, which applies in most countries around the world,” President al-Assad explained.

    His Excellency concluded by thanking the Russian channel, saying that he believes that this program will play an important role in relaying the reality to the Russian viewer about what is happening in the world and the Middle East, and specifically what is happening in Syria.

    Related article:

    Building a pretext to wage war on Syria: Hidden agenda behind UN Security Council resolution

    by Ronda Hauben, Global Research, 28 October 2011

    Although many on the established Left are claiming OWS as their own, latching on to the anti-capitalist theme that figures prominently, at least in some locations, it’s clear that the focus of the OWS ‘movement’ varies greatly from place to place. Thus where it all started, in downtown Manhattan, the focus is very much on capitalist criminals rather than criminal capitalism. But little or no mention of the dreaded word- socialism, ironically for fear of alienating even those who occupy, never mind what the rabid corporate/state media does with that which shall remain nameless.

    In fact, you’ll be hard put to find any reference to the S-word except from the tiny Left contribution itself. The vast majority of those participating in OWS are not socialists or even favour socialism, they just want a job, a decent place to live and affordable health care. Not unreasonable expectations in the richest country on the planet you’d think.

    The question is, can capitalism be reformed to give the millions currently without a future a shot at some kind of decent life? To quote:

    The Western Left has come full circle: After abandoning the so-called �class struggle essentialism� for the plurality of anti-racist, feminist, gay rights etc., struggles, �capitalism� is now re-emerging as the name of THE problem. So the first lesson to be learned is: Do not blame people and their attitudes. The problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system that pushes you to be corrupt. The solution is not found in the slogan �Main Street, not Wall Street,� but to change the system in which Main Street cannot function without Wall Street. � ‘The Violent Silence of a New Beginning‘ By Slavoj Zijek, In These Times, 27 October 2011

    Herein lies the dilemma for the direction of the OWS or as I prefer to call it, OTW. Will it end up as yet another attempt at ‘reforming’ capitalism from within or will it mature into a direct challenge to the rule of Capital? Most importantly, can this be done without resorting to the S-word given that in the eyes of many in the ‘developed’ world it holds no attraction having been attached to the Soviet Union and ‘Reds under the bed’ Cold War propaganda for decades?

    There are historical parallels with today’s crisis most notably with Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ program, itself the response to a crisis precipitated by the same gangster capitalists of the time; bankers and financiers. But the ‘New Deal’ didn’t solve the crisis of US capitalism, WWII did that. By 1939 unemployment had been reduced by only the tiniest amount even with all the government-financed work programs. It was only when the US economy resorted to what it does best, building weapons of war, that the US economy recovered.

    It’s true to say that at that time–during the 1930s–Socialism did figure as an alternative to a bankrupt capitalism. It’s also true to say that WWII was waged in part in order to destroy socialism as it then existed.

    So, as we’ve been here before and as with 1939, is it going to be large-scale war as the ‘solution’ to the current crisis of capital? But is Iran for example a replacement for Hitler and the Third Reich?

    Iran doesn’t cut it as a reason for all-out war even with all the phony assassination plots and the ongoing ‘black ops’ and propaganda wars being conducted against the country. In any case, is general, or world war the only ‘solution’ to the crisis of capital? How about lots and lots of ‘small’ wars as a replacement for one big one?

    There are several problems with this approach. Firstly, conducting lots of ‘local’ wars just ain’t the same as one big one for what is needed is a dire (non-existential) threat to the Homeland (now why can’t Iran play ball and declare war on the USA?) followed of course by a Declaration of Emergency and then Conscription. Once the state is put on a war footing, it’s game over for any kind of opposition, let alone one advocating the dreaded S-word short of a general insurrection aka the Bolsheviks (I might add that the ‘War on Terror’, the post-Soviet replacement for the ‘War on Communism’, although very useful for repression at home and ‘small’ wars abroad, is itself an ‘existential’ threat with only a limited shelf-life without a real enemy).

    And that’s the problem with an ‘existential’ threat like Iran as it hasn’t invaded anyone let alone threaten to invade. Indeed without the active participation by the corporate/state media in selling the Big Lie, I feel sure that things today would be altogether different.

    Second, conducting lots of small wars is logistically much more difficult to undertake and importantly, difficult to justify without a massive and continuing propaganda war, and just how many wars can the Empire justify to its populace when they are having to pay for the crimes of capitalism with their jobs and homes?

    Hence the reemergence of that old Cold War tactic of ‘proxy wars’ of which Libya is the latest incarnation, with NATO ‘helping’ the insurgents overthrow dictator Gaddafi.

    A good parallel with Libya from the Cold War days is Angola where the US used Apartheid South Africa as its proxy against the ‘Marxists’ as well as funding and arming the opposition UNITA via another of its proxies, Mobutu of the then Zaire (now the DR Congo). An intervention brought to a shuddering halt when Cuban and Angolan forces destroyed the SADF in the Battle of Cuito Carnevale (the last time the Left won anything excepting Chavez’ Venezuela).

    The degree to which the dreaded S-word is feared, even on the alleged Left is aptly described by the writer I quoted from above,

    The only sense in which the protesters are communists is that they care for the commons�the commons of nature, of knowledge�that are threatened by the system. � ibid

    So, if they are ‘only communists’ insofar as they believe in the Commons, what to make of the writer’s following passage?

    They voice their protest on behalf of the �inalienable truths that we should abide by in our society: the right to housing, employment, culture, health, education, political participation, free personal development, and consumer rights for a healthy and happy life.� Rejecting violence, they call for an �ethical revolution. Instead of placing money above human beings, we shall put it back to our service. We are people, not products. I am not a product of what I buy, why I buy and who I buy from.�

    But the ‘rights’ Zijek talks of have never existed under capitalism. There is no ‘right’ to a job or a home. Whatever gains we have made in the way of social progress have been made because we fought for them. Hence the answer to the cry, ‘What do they want’ is patently obvious even if the means whereby we reach our goal are still far from defined, let alone agreed upon. For many taking part in OTW this is perhaps their first taste of exercising ‘people power’ after slumbering for so long. Is it any wonder therefore that OTW is feeling its way forward given that the Left has ‘misleft’ us for so long.

    What Zijek’s essay tells us is that even on the Left, the fight for an alternative to capitalism has to be handled as if walking on soft-boiled eggs. What a way to begin a revolution. Fortunately, there are still writers on the Left who have a solid handle on things:

    Many decent people are locked into the embrace of a system that is rotten to the core. If they are to earn even a reasonable living they have no other job option except to give the devil his due: they are only �following orders,� as Eichmann famously claimed, �doing what the system demands� as others now put it, in acceding to the barbarous and immoral principles and practices of the Party of Wall Street. The coercive laws of competition force us all, to some degree of other, to obey the rules of this ruthless and uncaring system. The problem is systemic not individual. — ‘David Harvey on the Occupy Wall Street movement

    Given that ‘democracy’ whatever its form, parliamentary, presidential or whatever, has run its course and refuses to accede to the demands of the 99%, then Harvey’s call is all the more important to the future of OTW:

    The movement triggered by Occupy Wall Street is crucial to our collective future. It shows us that the collective power of bodies in public space is still the most effective instrument of opposition when all other means of access are blocked. — (ibid)

    How this plays out is yet to be decided and there is no guarantee of success–this time–but surely it’s obvious that capitalism can no longer masquerade as a democracy, a ‘democracy’ by the way that it never gave us; once more we have fought for it over the past two centuries. But even if we did regain some political democracy, it’s clear that we have never had economic democracy, the one that really counts. From this all else flows.

    Unmasking October Surprise ‘Debunker’

    October 30th, 2011 by Robert Parry

    Robert Parry was one of the leading journalists who exposed the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration.  Through his probing investigations, Parry realized that the Iran-Contra dialogue between the USA and revolutionary Iran had begun during the 1980 presidential campaign in an operation that is called, the “October Surprise.”  

    In his latest column, Parry examines the shocking career of a professional Islamophobe, Steven Emerson, who has exploited his ties to the national security complex to spread damaging misinformation across a broadening spectrum of subjects fromt the October Surprise to the Muslim Community Center planned for Manhattan by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.  Parry zeroes in on Emerson’s disinformation about Imam Rauf that maliciously labeled the peaceful imam who wrote a book titled:  What’s Right with Islam is What’s right with America — as a scheming anti-American radical who defended terrorists including Al-Qaeda.

    Parry’s latest article is a must read that illuminates the shadowy world where American opinion is manufactured by unscrupulous entrepreneurs who accept huge million dollar bribes from eccentric right-wing billionaires like Richard Mellon Scaife.  As a professional Islamophobe and promoter of Islamophobia, Steven Emerson deserves much more scrutiny in the future than he has received in the past.

    Michael Carmichael

    Unmasking October Surprise ‘Debunker’

    Special Report: The fake “debunking” of the 1980 October Surprise case in the early 1990s was driven by a few “journalists,” including Steven Emerson, who has been identified in a recent report as a “misinformation expert” spreading anti-Muslim propaganda, reports Robert Parry.

    By Robert Parry

    In another blow to the crumbling cover-up surrounding Ronald Reagan’s secret dealings with Iran during the 1980 presidential campaign, a key “journalist” who “debunked” the October Surprise allegations in the early 1990s has now been identified by a recent study as a member of a right-wing “misinformation” network.

    Entitled “Fear, Inc.,”the 129-page report  by the Center for American Progress lists Steven Emerson as one of five “scholars” who act as “misinformation experts” to “generate the false facts and materials” that are then exploited by politicians and pundits to frighten Americans about the supposed threat posed by Muslims.

    Steven Emerson

    The report offers a rare glimpse into the right-wing propaganda network that has exploited America’s post-9/11 hysteria and transformed those fears into a powerful political movement to get millions of Christians and Jews to support legislation and policies that target Muslims and their communities.

    But the historical significance of noting Emerson’s role in this “Islamophobia network” is that he is revealed to be a propagandist willing to distort information for ideological ends, not the serious journalist that he successfully posed as during the 1980s and 1990s.

    In more recent years, followers of Emerson’s work have come to understand that he has very close ties to Israeli right-wingers in the Likud Party – and that his “journalism” often has reflected their political needs and interests.

    But Emerson also had those ties in the late 1980s and early 1990s when the Iran-Contra scandal – and a precursor scandal known as the October Surprise – threatened to expose Likud’s secretive actions in helping Republicans unseat President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election and to entangle the Reagan administration in a clandestine foreign policy outside the view of the American people.

    The Iran-Contra investigation exposed Israel’s hand in facilitating illicit arms shipments from the Reagan administration to Iran in 1985-86. But the inquiry also unearthed evidence that those Israeli-brokered arms sales dated back years earlier – and may have emanated from treacherous contacts between Republicans and Iranians in 1980.

    In 1980, as President Carter was trying desperately to free 52 Americans who were being held hostage in Iran, Israel’s Likud leaders were eager to see him defeated for reelection out of concern that he was too friendly to the Palestinians and might demand that Israel accept a Palestinian state. At the time, Likud was envisioning an expansion of Jewish settlements into that land.

    Ronald Reagan’s campaign, too, had an obvious interest in seeing Carter fail to gain a last-minute release of the hostages, what vice presidential candidate George H.W. Bush termed Carter’s possible “October Surprise” to help his chances right before the election.

    The Evidence

    Over the years, about two dozen sources – including officials from Iran, Europe, Israel, the United States and the Palestinian movement – have asserted that Reagan’s representatives went behind Carter’s back to strike their own deal with Iran, ensuring that the hostages were not released until after the election.

    After a full year of humiliation over the hostage crisis, American voters repudiated Carter on Nov.4, 1980, giving Reagan a landslide victory. The hostages were kept in Iran until Reagan was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 1981.

    Then, after the secret Iran-Contra arms deals were exposed in 1986, it was discovered that the flow of U.S. weapons to Iran, via Israel, began not in 1985 as was then acknowledged but right after Reagan took office. However, the full story about those earlier shipments remained hidden.

    It was not until the early 1990s that Iran-Contra investigators, including special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, turned their attention to these initial shipments and whether they were approved by Reagan’s team before the 1980 election, as some witnesses were alleging.

    In April 1991, interest in the so-called October Surprise mystery also was spurred by a New York Times op-ed written by former National Security Council aide Gary Sick and a PBS “Frontline” documentary that I helped produce. A reluctant Congress grudgingly agreed to consider authorizing special House and Senate inquiries.

    There was sudden alarm among Republicans who feared the investigation would expose then-President George H.W. Bush’s role in illicit dealings with Iran and thus jeopardize his reelection prospects in 1992. The inquiry also threatened to implicate Israel’s Likud leaders in a plot to unseat one U.S. president (Carter) and replace him with another (Reagan).

    Other powerful figures faced potential danger, too, including icons of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, such as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller, who mixed his banking interests at Chase Manhattan and his interest in international affairs through his Council on Foreign Relations.

    Rockefeller had been the banker of the Shah of Iran and had brought his extraordinary influence to bear in 1979 by assigning Kissinger and other Rockefeller protégés to pressure Carter to allow the deposed Shah into the United States for cancer treatment, the event that triggered the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the capture of the American hostages.

    In 1980, Kissinger viewed restoration of a Republican White House as a possible ticket for his own return trip to the center of world power, as he developed working relationships with vice presidential nominee George H.W. Bush and Reagan’s campaign chief William Casey.

    Plus, Chase Manhattan had huge financial exposure if the new Iranian regime succeeded in withdrawing $6 billion that it claimed rightly belonged to Iran. Rockefeller put the total at $1 billion. But a sudden loss of capital could have put the bank’s future in jeopardy.

    The October Surprise story also implicated several CIA officers, whose anger at Carter’s downsizing of the spy agency had led them allegedly to join with former CIA director George H.W. Bush in a plot to unseat the then-president.

    So, an array of important people not only had strong interests in blocking Carter’s efforts to resolve the hostage impasse in 1980, but also had much to fear from a thorough October Surprise investigation in 1991-92. [For details on the mystery, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

    The ‘Debunking’

    At that key juncture – as Congress pondered how strong an inquiry to authorize – two media outlets, the neoconservative New Republic and the Establishment-oriented Newsweek, stepped in with a fierce determination to stop the investigation in its tracks.

    The New Republic, owned by Martin Peretz, a staunch defender of hard-line Israeli policies, assigned the October Surprise “debunking” project to Steven Emerson, who was known for his negative reporting about Israel’s Muslim enemies and for his ties to the Israeli Right.

    At Newsweek, executive editor Maynard Parker, a close associate of both David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger, personally oversaw a similar “debunking” project.

    Inside Newsweek, where I had worked for three years (from 1987 to 1990), Kissinger had remarkable influence. He was paid handsomely for his ponderous opinion columns and was close enough to top management that he could steer coverage of foreign-policy stories.

    Parker was also a proud member of Rockefeller’s CFR, viewing his role as Newsweek’s executive editor more as protecting the image of the foreign policy establishment than exposing serious wrongdoing. During my time at Newsweek, Parker had been hostile to my efforts to push the Iran-Contra investigation into the darker corners of the scandal.

    At one point, I was told by a long-time Newsweek researcher that I should watch my back with Parker because he was considered “CIA,” having supposedly collaborated with the spy agency in his earlier journalism career.

    So, the two magazines – for somewhat different motives – set out to bury the October Surprise investigation once and for all. Simultaneously, they both seized on some attendance records from a London historical conference in late July 1980 to insist that William Casey could not have attended two days of alleged meetings with Iranians in Madrid because he had been in London.

    These records became the centerpiece for matching debunking stories that the two magazines were putting together. However, inside Newsweek, Craig Unger, an investigative reporter assigned to the project, realized that the attendance records didn’t prove what Parker wanted them to prove.

    Unger told me that he spotted how the attendance records were being misread and alerted Parker and others. “They told me, essentially, to fuck off,” Unger said.

    So, Newsweek and The New Republic rushed out their matching “debunking” stories in mid-November 1991, splashed across their covers declaring the October Surprise story to be a “myth.” The impact of the two stories cannot be overstated. For the Republicans, the articles became the supposedly independent proof that no further investigation was needed.

    Because of the stories, the Senate backed away from a full-scale investigation. The House agreed to conduct a probe, but it quickly became clear that it would be more a bipartisan effort to ratify the Newsweek/New Republic “debunking” than to pursue the truth.

    An Enduring Cover-up

    It, therefore, passed almost unnoticed when the cornerstone of the two magazines’ articles crumbled. At “Frontline,” we did what the two magazines didn’t. We interviewed Americans who were at the London historical conference with Casey, and they didn’t recall seeing him at the key morning session that would have supposedly disproved the Madrid meetings.

    But the conclusive proof – that debunked the debunking – was our interview with historian Robert Dallek who gave that morning’s presentation to a small gathering of attendees sitting in a conference room at the British Imperial War Museum in London.

    Dallek said he had been excited to learn that Casey, who was running Reagan’s presidential campaign, would be there. So, Dallek looked for Casey, only to be disappointed that Casey was a no-show.

    A closer examination of the attendance sheets also revealed that Unger was right, that the records didn’t show Casey was there that morning. The records actually indicate that Casey arrived that afternoon, meaning that the “window” for the alleged Madrid meetings remained open.

    Though I passed on our discovery to the House investigators – and they quietly confirmed our findings – the predetermined course of the inquiry, i.e. clearing the Republicans and their accomplices, didn’t change.

    Without saying anything that might embarrass Newsweek or The New Republic, the investigators simply slipped in a substitute alibi for Casey, claiming that he attended the Bohemian Grove retreat for rich men in northern California that last weekend of July 1980 and then flew directly to London, arriving in the afternoon.

    If anything the Bohemian Grove alibi was even more absurd than the one from the magazines. The documentary record and interviews clearly showed that Casey attended the Grove on the first weekend of August, not the last weekend of July. [See Secrecy & Privilege.]

    Still, this determination to create an alibi for Casey regarding the Madrid meetings enabled Bush’s White House to keep under wraps its own evidence that Casey did travel to Spain.

    Recently released documents from Bush’s presidential library in College Station, Texas, reveal that in November 1991 – as Newsweek and the New Republic were claiming that Casey could not have traveled to Madrid – Bush’s State Department had confirmed such a trip and had informed Bush’s White House.

    State Department legal adviser Edwin D. Williamson told associate White House counsel Chester Paul Beach Jr. that among the State Department “material potentially relevant to the October Surprise allegations [was] a cable from the Madrid embassy indicating that Bill Casey was in town, for purposes unknown,” Beach noted in a “memorandum for record” dated Nov. 4, 1991. [See’s “October Surprise Evidence Revealed.”]

    Emerson’s Jihad

    Yet, when I tried to protest the various falsehoods and irrationalities being used to kill the October Surprise investigation, I was battered with insults.

    At The New Republic, for instance, Emerson indicated that I had lied when I reported for “Frontline” that the Secret Service had only released redacted copies of Bush’s travel records for another key date in the October Surprise mystery. Emerson said he had received copies of the Secret Service records under a Freedom of Information Act request without any redactions.

    After talking to the Secret Service and being told that Emerson’s records had redactions like everyone else’s – even Congress received redacted versions – I challenged Emerson’s account in letters to his editors, including one to CNN where he had been hired as an investigative reporter.

    Emerson was subsequently dumped by CNN and I was promptly threatened by one of his law firms with a libel suit for having criticized him in letters to his editors. Apparently, I was supposed to apologize for saying that Emerson was lying when he claimed to have Bush’s unredacted Secret Service records.

    Faced with this legal threat, I had to dig into my children’s college fund to hire a lawyer, who frankly seemed to doubt that the well-regarded Emerson could be in the wrong. My response was that if Emerson actually had the unredacted records, he could simply present them, but his lawyer said that would only be done in the midst of a costly trial.

    As the abusive and threatening letters from Emerson’s lawyers mounted, I decided to submit a FOIA to the Secret Service for Emerson’s FOIA, i.e. I demanded exactly the same documents that the Secret Service had released to him.

    When those records arrived, they showed that Emerson indeed had been lying. His copies of the Secret Service records were redacted, just like those released to me and other investigators.

    Finally, the threatened lawsuit went away, and Emerson was forced to admit in an interview with the media watchdog group FAIR that he never had the records he claimed. He blamed a research assistant, but never apologized for the bullying legal strategy designed to financially bleed a journalist (myself) into confirming a lie as the truth. [For more details, see a report in FAIR’s “Extra!,” November-December 1993.]

    Despite having blundered regarding Casey’s Madrid alibi and having been caught in a fabrication over the Secret Service records, Emerson came out of the October Surprise case with a rising reputation as a star reporter.

    Emerson had benefited from having a close friend inside the House task force, Michael Zeldin, the deputy chief counsel. And though the task force had to jettison Emerson’s bogus Casey alibi, House investigators told me Emerson frequently visited the task force’s offices and advised Zeldin and others how to read the October Surprise evidence.

    Although more evidence of Republican guilt poured in to the House October Surprise task force in late 1992 – so much so that chief counsel Lawrence Barcella later told me that he urged task force chairman Lee Hamilton to extend the probe for several months – the task force instead simply decided to wrap up its business with a finding of Republican innocence.

    To paper over all the holes in the findings, the task force deployed an array of absurd alibis – such as one claiming that because Reagan’s foreign policy adviser Richard Allen wrote down Casey’s home phone number on one date, that meant Casey was at home – even though Allen had no recollection of reaching Casey at his home. [See’s “The Crazy October Surprise Debunking.”]

    Rising Reputation

    It was a sign of the times in Washington – and inside U.S. journalism – that Emerson’s reputation got a boost from his October Surprise “debunking” work.

    After the House task force report was issued in 1993, the American Journalism Review invited Emerson to ridicule me and other journalists for getting the October Surprise story “wrong,” under the odd assumption that a government report must always be right.

    Emerson’s critique left out the fact that he and Newsweek’s Parker had botched a crucial Casey alibi, arguably the biggest single journalistic error in the entire case. Nor did Emerson mention how he falsely claimed to have unredacted copies of Bush’s Secret Service records.

    (When I later asked top AJR editors how they could ignore the Secret Service fabrication issue, they simply responded that Emerson had made his false claim in a different publication, i.e. The New Republic, not AJR.)

    Before long, Emerson was amassing journalism awards for his work targeting American Muslims as a particularly dangerous lot – and he was raising large sums of money to support his work from sources, such as right-wing mogul Richard Mellon Scaife. Emerson’s documentary, “Jihad in America,” was broadcast by PBS.

    Only gradually did a few brave reporters begin criticizing Emerson and his cozy ties to right-wing Israeli officials, including Israeli intelligence officers. Typically, Emerson would hit back by issuing legal threats from his vast stable of high-priced lawyers.

    Emerson’s use of lawyers to bully other journalists, which I had witnessed firsthand, became part of his modus operandi, as Nation reporter Robert I. Friedman discovered in 1995 after criticizing Emerson’s “Jihad in America.”

    “Intellectual terrorism seems to be part of Emerson’s standard repertoire,” Friedman wrote. “So is his penchant for papering his critics with threatening lawyers’ letters.”

    Friedman also reported that Emerson hosted right-wing Israeli intelligence officials when they were in Washington.

    “[Yigal] Carmon, who was Likud Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s adviser on terrorism, and [Yoram] Ettinger, who was Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s man in the Israeli Embassy, stay in Emerson’s apartment on their frequent visits to Washington,” Friedman wrote.

    In 1999, a study of Emerson’s history by John F. Sugg for FAIR’s magazine “Extra!” quoted an Associated Press reporter who had worked with Emerson on a project as saying of Emerson and Carmon: “I have no doubt these guys are working together.”

    The Jerusalem Post reported that Emerson has “close ties to Israeli intelligence,” and “Victor Ostrovsky, who defected from Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency and has written books disclosing its secrets, calls Emerson ‘the horn’ — because he trumpets Mossad claims,” Sugg reported.

    Bigotry Toward Muslims

    Emerson’s biases are better known today than they were when he was “debunking” the October Surprise allegations. He is now notorious for his Islamophobia and his “investigative journalism” that hammers away at purported dangers from “radicalized” American Muslims.

    Last year, Emerson went on a national radio program and claimed that Islamic cleric Feisal Abdul Rauf would likely not “survive” Emerson’s disclosure of supposedly radical comments that Rauf made a half decade ago.

    Although acknowledging that his “investigation” was incomplete, Emerson offered the listeners to Bill Bennett’s right-wing radio show  “a little preview” of the allegedly offensive comments by Rauf, the cleric behind a planned Islamic center in Lower Manhattan near the site of 9/11’s “ground zero.”

    “We have found audiotapes of Imam Rauf defending Wahhabism, the puritanical version of Islam that governs Saudi Arabia; we have found him calling for the elimination of the state of Israel by claiming he wants a one-nation state meaning no more Jewish state; we found him defending bin Laden violence.”

    However, when Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) released its evidence several days later, it fell far short of Emerson’s lurid descriptions. Rauf actually made points that are shared by many mainstream analysts  – and none of the excerpted comments involved “defending Wahhabism.”

    As for Rauf “defending bin Laden violence,” Emerson apparently was referring to remarks that Rauf made to an audience in Australia in 2005 about the history of U.S. and Western mistreatment of people in the Middle East.

    “We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims,” Rauf said.

    “You may remember that the U.S.-led sanctions against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children. This has been documented by the United Nations. And when Madeleine Albright, who has become a friend of mine over the last couple of years, when she was Secretary of State and was asked whether this was worth it, [she] said it was worth it.”

    Emerson purported to “fact check” Rauf’s statement on the death toll from the Iraq sanctions by claiming “a report by the British government said at most only 50,000 deaths could be attributed to the sanctions, which were brought on by the actions by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.”

    What Emerson’s “fact check” ignored, however, was that Rauf was accurately recounting Leslie Stahl’s questioning of Secretary of State Albright on CBS “60 Minutes” in 1996. Emerson also left out the fact that United Nations studies did conclude that those U.S.-led sanctions caused the deaths of more than 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five.

    In the 1996 interview, Stahl told Albright regarding the sanctions, “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

    Albright responded, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”

    Emerson doesn’t identify the specific British report that contains the lower figure, although even that number – “only 50,000″ – represents a stunning death toll and doesn’t contradict Rauf’s chief point, that U.S.-British actions have killed many innocent Muslims over the years.

    Also, by 2005, when Rauf made his remarks in Australia, the United States and Great Britain had invaded and occupied Iraq, with a death toll spiraling from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands with some estimates of war-related deaths in Iraq exceeding one million.

    Far from “defending bin Laden violence,” Rauf’s comments simply reflected the truth about the indiscriminate killing inflicted on the Muslim world by U.S.-British military might over the years. Indeed, British imperialism in the region dates back several centuries, a point that Emerson also ignores.

    Emerson next takes Rauf to task for asserting that the United States has supported authoritarian Middle Eastern regimes that have driven Muslims toward extremism.

    “Collateral damage is a nice thing to put on a paper but when the collateral damage is your own uncle or cousin, what passions do these arouse?” Rauf is quoted as saying. “How do you negotiate? How do you tell people whose homes have been destroyed, whose lives have been destroyed, that this does not justify your actions of terrorism. It’s hard.

    “Yes, it is true that it does not justify the acts of bombing innocent civilians, that does not solve the problem, but after 50 years of, in many cases, oppression, of U.S. support of authoritarian regimes that have violated human rights in the most heinous of ways, how else do people get attention?”

    Emerson “fact-checked” this comment by declaring, “This is justifying acts of terrorism by blaming the United States for the oppression of Islamic regimes of their own citizens. This also ignores U.S. aid of Muslim citizens in nations such as Kosovo and Kuwait.”

    However, any fair-minded observer would agree with Rauf that the United States has supported many brutal and undemocratic leaders of Muslim countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran under the Shah, and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during the 1980s.

    Even President George W. Bush might agree with Rauf. A key Bush argument for “regime change” in the Middle East was the need for the United States to finally stop coddling dictators because their repressive practices were a central ingredient in the toxic brew that contributed to terrorism.

    Other of Emerson’s criticisms of Rauf are equally tendentious. [See’s “Islam Basher Claims to Unmask Cleric.”]

    Organizing Rep. King’s Hearings

    Early this year, Emerson took credit for helping to organize the controversial hearings by Rep. Peter King, R-New York, on the alleged radicalization of domestic Muslims.

    Emerson boasted about his role but also lashed out at King for not including him on the witness list. In a particularly bizarre letter written last January, Emerson vowed to withhold further assistance as retaliation for the snub.

    “I was even going to bring in a special guest today and a VERY informed and connected source, who could have been very useful, possibly even critical to your hearing, but he too will not attend unless I do,” Emerson wrote. “You have caved in to the demands of radical Islamists in removing me as a witness.”

    In another weird twist, Emerson somehow envisioned himself as the victim of McCarthyism because he wasn’t being allowed to go before the House Homeland Security Committee and accuse large segments of the American-Muslim community of being un-American. [Politico, Jan. 19, 2011]

    Then, last summer, the Center for American Progress sponsored a report on Emerson and other Muslim-bashers. The context was the aftermath of a murderous rampage in Norway by Christian terrorist Anders Breivik. He cited their writings in a manifesto justifying his killing of 76 people on July 22 as the beginning of a war against “multiculturalists” who preach tolerance of Muslims.

    CAP’s report, “Fear, Inc.,” noted a number of Emerson’s falsehoods and exaggerations about American Muslims and examined the convoluted financing of Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism, which has drawn substantial support from right-wing foundations and funders whose political interests have benefited from a surging right-wing campaign against Muslims.

    “Emerson’s nonprofit organization IPT received a total of $400,000 from Donors Capital Fund in 2007 and 2008, as well as $100,000 from the Becker Foundation, and $250,000 from Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum, according to our research,” the report said.

    “Emerson’s nonprofit organization, in turn, helps fund his for-profit company, SAE Productions. IPT paid SAE Productions $3.33 million to enable the company to ‘study alleged ties between American Muslims and overseas terrorism.’ Emerson is SAE’s sole employee.

    “Even more intriguingly, a review of grants in November 2010 showed large sums of money contributed to the ‘Investigative Project,’ or ‘IPT,’ care of the Counterterrorism & Security Education and Research Foundation. An examination of CTSERF’s 990 forms [reports that non-profits file with the Internal Revenue Service] showed that, much like the Investigative Project, all grant revenue was transferred to a private, for-profit entity, the International Association of Counterterrorism and Security Professionals.

    “Emerson did not respond to requests for comment by time of publication. The Russell Berrie Foundation has contributed $2,736,000 to CTSERF, and Richard Scaife foundations contributed $1,575,000. While neither the IPT, CTSERF, or IACSP websites make any mention of a link between CTSERF and the IPT, Ray Locker, the Investigative Project’s managing director, told the LobeLog blog that a relationship ‘exists’ and ‘it’s all above board and passes muster with the IRS.’

    “But in 2008, when Emerson was asked why the IACSP’s Web address was listed at the bottom of an IPT press release on LexisNexis, he told LobeLog, ‘[I have] no idea how the IACSP website address got listed on the LexisNexis version of our press release. We are not a project of IACSP although we have frequently published material in their magazine.’

    “He went on to say that ‘as for funding questions, other than what we have stated on our website, that we take no funds from outside the U.S. or from governmental agencies or from religious and political groups, we have a long standing policy since we were founded not to discuss matters of funding (for security reasons).’”

    The “Fear, Inc.” continued: “Steven Fustero, chief executive of CTSERF, told LobeLog, ‘The research and education designated funds are […] transferred to IACSP, which in turn makes the research grants,’ but would not discuss the relationship between CTSERF and IPT. An examination of CTSERF tax documents from 1999 to 2008 shows the group receiving $11,108,332 in grant revenue and transferring $12,206,900 to IACSP.

    “This kind of action enrages Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, a nonprofit watchdog group. He argued that ‘basically, you have a nonprofit acting as a front organization, and all that money going to a for-profit.’

    “The increasing influence of Islamophobia donors to Emerson’s nonprofit and for-profit work has focused more recently on anti-Islam, anti-Muslim expertise. Indeed, according to an investigation by The Tennessean newspaper, the Investigative Project now solicits money by telling donors they’re in imminent danger from Muslims.”

    Who’s Dangerous?

    In the two decades since The New Republic’s October Surprise “debunking” article, the magazine also has revealed more about its commitment to quality “journalism,” through such debacles as the serial fraud of its correspondent Stephen Glass.

    And, publisher Martin Peretz has exposed more about his personal agenda. He now lives part time in Israel and — like Emerson — has taken to smearing Muslims, such as in this TNR blog post regarding the proposed Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan. He declared:

    “Frankly, Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf [the promoter of the Islamic center] there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood.

    “So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.” (Facing accusations of racism, Peretz later issued a half-hearted apology which reiterated that his reference to Muslim life being cheap was “a statement of fact, not opinion.”)

    A New York Times magazine profile of Peretz noted that Peretz’s hostility toward Muslims was nothing new. “As early as 1988, Peretz was courting danger in The New Republic with disturbing Arab stereotypes not terribly different from his 2010 remarks,” wrote Stephen Rodrick.

    A common argument from the Islamophobe network is that Islam is a uniquely violent religion that seeks dominance over all others and therefore must be combated aggressively by Christians and Jews, explaining the American Right’s bizarre legislative obsession with banning Islamic Shariah law.

    Though many Muslims dispute the depiction of their religion as violent and oppressive, there is another element to this Islamophobe argument that underscores its bigotry – the history of Christianity, which ranks by far as the most violent religion ever, one that has engaged in genocide against “heathens” and unbelievers on multiple continents, including Muslim lands.

    Christians also hold themselves out as believers in the one true faith, and many maintain – as a fundamental tenet of the religion – that non-Christians will be condemned to horrible deaths by fire once Judgment Day arrives. Simply read Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, if you’re not sure.

    Similarly, the Old Testament boasts of genocidal conquests by the great Israelite kings in the so-called Golden Age. No one can read the Old Testament and come away thinking that the Jewish religion is entirely devoid of violent and supremacist thinking, either.

    And, Christians – far more than Muslims – have persecuted and slaughtered Jews in modern times. The Holocaust was the work of Aryan/Christian supremacists, not that dissimilar in their beliefs from the Nordic/Christian terrorist Breivik.

    Historically, Christians also have tortured and murdered many fellow Christians over doctrinal disputes, such as the Reformation. Despite Jesus’s teachings in favor of peace and social justice – and against violence and greed – the religion that he inspired has managed to adapt quite well to violence and greed.

    In America, over the past three decades, there has been an alliance of convenience between right-wing Christians and right-wing Jews, though the two groups may still look at the other with some level of suspicion. Their mutual enemy is the Muslim as well as the multiculturalist, whether Christian, Jewish or non-believer, who wants different religions to live peacefully side by side.

    When Breivik went on his murderous rampage in July, he targeted young “multiculturalists” at a camp for aspiring political activists. His goal was to kill anyone who would show tolerance toward Muslims – and to spark a religious/ethnic war against Muslims and their friends.

    Though Emerson and the other “misinformation experts” cannot fully be blamed for the atrocity in Norway, it wasn’t a mistake that Breivik cited their work as his inspiration.


    One of the most frequently repeated, recycled and dismissive questions about Occupy Wall Street is its supposed lack of an “agenda.”

    The “what do you people want” question has featured in media interviews almost to the exclusion of all others.

    It’s as if the movement won’t be taken seriously by some, unless and until, it enunciates list of “demands” and defines itself in a way that can allow others, especially a cynical media, to label and pigeonhole it.

    Many are just frothing at the mouth for some political positions they can expose as shallow or absurd. Teams of pundits are being primed to go on the attack once they have some bullet points to refute.

    (Many police departments don’t need bullet points to go on the attack. They have been having a field day arresting occupiers in many cities, while collecting overtime and readying their own bullets as needed.)

    Some on Wall Street already denounce these adversaries as “unsophisticated” for their formulation of the 99% versus the 1%. You’d expect the 1 % to reject this way of seeing the world.

    On the right, there is no factual inaccuracy or bizarre incident they won’t invoke to dismiss a movement they lack the mental tools to understand.

    The Drudge Report was delighted to expose an incident involving public masturbation in one city. A group of gun nuts blasted away a group of people who in their majority are deeply disappointed with President Obama’s non-leadership on economic issues.

    They write: “Don’t be mistaken. The Wall Street protestors aren’t peaceful hippies congregating about greed or social inequality. They are uniting to destroy America and everything we stand for. Their model is the “Arab Spring” which discharged their Governments in favor of anti-Israel agitators and Muslim fundamentalists. …They are NOT about freedom, but about World domination and total control. And Obama is supporting them……….fully.”


    Others like Reverend Jesse Jackson want more engagement with legislative issues and even the backing of candidates. Democratic Candidates, even progressive ones like Elizabeth Warren, seem ambivalent about backing the occupations. Most are taking their cue from President Obama who only say he understands their “frustrations.”)

    Some on the left, including friends of mine, seem to suffer from undisguised vanguardism and want the Movement to raise the red flag right away, despite all the anarchists, libertarians and Democrats among them. Here’s Bill Bowles writing from London:

    “Although many on the established Left are claiming OWS as their own, latching on to the anti-capitalist theme that figures prominently, at least in some locations, it’s clear that the focus of the OWS ‘movement’ varies greatly from place to place. Thus where it all started, in downtown Manhattan, the focus is very much on capitalist criminals rather than criminal capitalism. But little or no mention of the dreaded word- socialism, ironically for fear of alienating even those who occupy, never mind what the rabid corporate/state media does with that which shall remain nameless.”

    These are old and, in many instances, predictable debates but what they miss is what’s new and so vital about this decentralized, mostly leaderless movement that has captured the worlds imagination.

    Judging by the media attention it has received and polls that show large numbers of supportive Americans. it is touching a global nerve and changing the national, even international conversation. It seems to be doing a lot that’s right!

    Not only have they survived mass arrests and continuing harassment, they showed they could brave what Mother Nature threw their way. They are in the best tradition of the post office which still projects this creed despite the spectre of cutbacks:”

    “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”

    Occupy’s “couriers” have self-appointed rounds in self managed occupations run by work groups and guided by participation in a daily General assembly where activists listen to each other and disagree without being disagreeable.

    They have raised a war chest of several hundred thousand dollars. They keep their sites clean with their own sanitation department. In New York, they feed their own with their own kitchen that also serves homeless people in the neighborhood. They even have their own “people’s library.”

    In many ways, they are creating ways of cooperative living that they want society to be like. The key to it all is commitment and engagement on the individual level. This way of fusing pragmatism and idealism is what makes it so impressive.

    Movements that function from the top-down are more controlled but not necessarily more effective.

    At this point, the Occupy movements is still growing, and still spreading its aura more than its message. When you think of how many unemployed people there are and how many others are coping with foreclosures or student debt you can see its potential for organizing and outreach.

    Already activists in Oakland where attacks by police from 19 different jurisdictions has galvanized a mass reaction, are calling for November 2 “general strike.”

    Are they well organized enough to pull this off and to shut down a whole city?

    This may be a case of overreaching in reaction to a brutal police action. But, bear in mind that since it occurred, no one is cheering. The City’s Mayor says she now supports Occupy. The Police are now supposedly investigating their own conduct, and the occupiers are back in the plaza they were forced to abandon.

    Thee police attacks often boomerang with the public siding with citizens, not cops.

    There is a lot to be optimistic about.

    Slavoj Zijek writes in In These Times, “The Western Left has come full circle: After abandoning the so-called ‘class struggle essentialism’ for the plurality of anti-racist, feminist, gay rights etc., struggles, ‘capitalism’ is now re-emerging as the name of THE problem.’

    Let’s put the emphasis on words like “emerging” and “awakening,” Politics is always a process. Give people time to distinguish their friends from their enemies. Let’s trust the wisdom of the people. They seem to “get it” much more than the media or the pols.

    It is significant that there has been talk of National Convention in Philadelphia on July 4th next year.

    Right now, as for a definitive agenda, action always speaks louder than words.

    News Dissector Danny Schechter writes the daily blog. He directed the film Plunder about the financial crisis as a crime story. ( ) Comments to [email protected]  

    Argentina: Depression, Revolt and Recovery

    October 30th, 2011 by Prof. James Petras


    On October 23rd of this year, President Cristina Fernandez won re-election receiving 54% of the vote, 37 percentage points higher than her nearest opponent. The President’s coalition also swept the Congressional, Senatorial, Gubernatorial elections as well as 135 of the 136 municipal councils of Greater Buenos Aires. In sharp contrast President Obama, according to recent polls is trailing leading Republican Presidential candidates and is likely to lose control of both houses of Congress in the upcoming 2012 election. What accounts for the monumental difference in voter preferences of incumbent presidents? A comparative historical discussion of socio-economic and foreign policies as well as responses to profound economic crises is at the center of any explanation of the divergent results.


    In comparing the performance of Fernandez and Obama it is necessary to locate them in an historical context. More specifically, both presidents and their immediate predecessors, George Bush in the US and Nestor Kirchner (deceased husband of Fernandez) in Argentina confronted major economic and social crises. What is telling, however, are the diametrically opposing responses to the crises and the divergent results. On the one hand sustained growth with equity in Argentina and deepening crises and failed policies in the US .

    Historical Context: Argentina : Depression, Revolt and Recovery

    Between 1998 – 2002, Argentina experienced the worse socio-economic crises in its history. The economy nose-dived from recession to full scale depression, culminating in double digit negative growth in 2001 – 2002. Unemployment reached over 25% and in many working class neighborhoods, over 50%. Tens of thousands of impoverished middle class professional lined up to receive bread and soup only blocks away from the Presidential palace. Hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers, ‘piqueteros’ (picketers), blocked major highways and some raided trains shipping cattle and grain overseas. Banks closed depriving millions of depositors of their savings. Millions of middle class protestors organized radical neighborhood councils and linked up with unemployed assemblies. The country was heavily indebted, the people deeply impoverished. The popular mood was moving toward a revolutionary uprising. Incumbent President Fernando De la Rua was overthrown (2001) scores of protestors were killed and wounded, as a popular rebellion threatened to seize the Presidential palace. By the end of 2002, hundreds of bankrupt factories were ‘occupied’, taken over and run by workers. Argentina defaulted on its external debt. In early 2003, Nestor Kirchner was elected President, in the midst of this systemic crisis and proceeded to reject efforts to enforce debt payment or repress the popular movements. Instead he inaugurated a series of emergency public works programs. He authorized payments to unemployed workers (150 pesos per month) to meet the basic needs of nearly half the labor force.

    The most popular slogan, of the multitudinous movements occupying the financial districts, factories, public buildings and the streets was “Que se vayan todos” (“All politicians get out’). The entire political class, parties and leaders, Congress and presidents were rejected outright. But while the movements were vast, militant and united in what they rejected, they had no coherent program for taking state power, nor national political leadership to lead them. After two years of turmoil, the populace turned to the ballot box and elected Kirchner with a mandate to produce or perish. Kirchner heard the message, at least the part which demanded growth with equity.

    Context: The US under Bush-Obama

    The last years of the Bush administration and the Obama presidency presided over the worse socio-economic crises since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Unemployment and underemployment rose to almost a third of the labor force by 2009. Millions of homes were foreclosed. Bankruptcies multiplied and banks were on the verge of collapse. Negative growth rates and a sharp decline in income, increased poverty and multiplied the number of food stamp recipients. Unlike Argentina , discontented citizens took to the ballot box. Attracted by the demagogic “change” rhetoric of Obama, they placed their hopes in the new president. The Democrats won the Presidency and a majority in both houses of Congress. The first priority of Obama and Congress was to pour trillions of dollars in bailing out the banks, even as unemployment deepened and the recession continued. Their second priority was to deepen and expand overseas imperial wars.

    Obama increased the number of troops in Afghanistan by 30,000; expanded the military budget to $750 billion dollars; launched new military operations in Somalia , Yemen , Libya , Pakistan and elsewhere; augmented military aid to Israeli colonial armed forces; signed military pacts with Asian countries ( India , Philippines , Australia ) proximate to China .

    In sum Obama gave maximum priority to expanding the militarized empire, depleting the public treasury of funds to finance the recovery of the domestic economy and reducing unemployment.

    In contrast, Kirchner/Fernandez curtailed the power of the military, cut military spending and channeled state revenues toward employment programs, productive investments and non-traditional exports.

    Under Obama the crises became an opportunity to revive and consolidate the financial power of Wall Street. The White House augmented the military budget to expand imperial wars by deepening the budget deficit and then proposed to cut essential social programs to ‘reduce the deficit’.

    Argentina from Crises to Dynamic Growth

    In Argentina the economic catastrophe and popular uprising provided Kirchner with an opportunity to bring about a basic shift from militarism and speculative pillage to social programs and sustained economic growth.

    The electoral victories of both Kirchner and Fernandez reflect their success in creating a ‘normal’ capitalist welfare state. After 30 years of US backed predator neo-liberal regimes, this was a great positive change. Between 1966 and 2002, Argentina suffered brutal military dictatorships culminating in the genocidal generals who murdered 30,000 Argentines from 1976to 1982. From 1983to 1989 Argentina ’s suffered under a neo-liberal regime (Raul Alfonsin) which failed to deal with the dictatorial legacy and which presided over triple digit hyper-inflation. From 1989 – 1999 under President Carlos Menem Argentina witnessed the biggest sell-off of its most lucrative public firms, natural resources (petrol included), banks, highways, zoo and public toilets to foreign investors and kleptocratic cronies for bargain basement prices.

    Last but not least, Fernando De la Rua (2000 – 2001), promised change and proceeded to deepen the recession that led to the final catastrophic crash of December 2001 and the closing of the banks, the bankruptcy of 10,000 firms and the collapse of the economy.

    Against this background of total and unmitigated failure and the human disaster of US – IMF promoted “free-market” policies, Kirchner/Fernandez defaulted on the external debt, re-nationalized several privatized firms and the pension funds, intervened the banks and doubled social spending, expanded public investment in production and increased popular consumption, on the road to economic recovery. By the end of 2003 Argentina turned from negative to 8% growth.

    Human Rights, Social Programs and Independent Foreign Economic Policy

    Argentina ’s economy has grown over 90% from 2003 – 2011, over three times that of the United States . Its recovery has been accompanied by a tripling of social spending, especially on programs reducing poverty. The percentage of poor Argentines has declined from over 50% in 2001 to less than 15% in 2011. In contrast US poverty has risen over the same decade from 12% to 17% and is on an upward trajectory over the same period.

    The US has become the country with the greatest inequalities in the OECD with 1% controlling 40% of the country’s wealth, (up from 30% in less than a decade). In contrast, Argentina ’s inequalities have shrunken by half. The US economy has failed to recover from the deep recession of 2008-2009, during which it declined by over 8%. In contrast Argentina declined less than 1% in 2009, and has been growing at a healthy 8% (2010-2011). Argentina has nationalized pension funds, doubled basic pensions and introduced a universal child welfare program to counter malnutrition and guarantee school attendance.

    In contrast 20% of children in the US are now suffering from poor diets, drop-out rates are increasing for adolescents and malnutrition affects over 25% of minority children. With more social cuts in health/education under way, social conditions can only worsen. In Argentina the income of wage and salaried workers has increased over 50% over the decade in real terms, while in the US they have declined by nearly 10%.

    Argentina ’s dynamic growth of GNP has been fueled by growing domestic consumption and dynamic export earnings. Argentina has a consistent large trade surplus based on favorable market prices and increased competitiveness. In contrast domestic consumption has stagnated in the US , the trade deficit is close to $1.5 trillion dollars and revenues are wasted on non-productive military expenditures of over $900 billion a year.

    While in Argentina the impulse for a policy of default with growth came about because of a popular rebellion and mass movements, in the US popular discontent was channeled toward the election of a Wall Street financial con-man named Obama. He proceeded to pour resources into rescuing the financial elite instead of letting them go bankrupt and funding growth, competitiveness and social consumption.

    The Argentine Alternative to Bailouts and Poverty

    The Argentine experience goes counter to all the precepts of the international financial agencies (the IMF, World Bank), their political backers, and publicists in the financial press. From the first year (2003) of Argentina ’s recovery to the present, the economic experts have “predicted” that its growth was “not sustainable” – it has continued robustly for over a decade. The financial writers claimed the default would lead to Argentina being shut out of financial markets and that its economy would collapse. Argentina relied on self-financing based on export earnings and re-activation of the domestic economy and confounded the prestigious economists.

    As growth continued, the critics in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal claimed it would end once “unused capacity was exhausted”. Instead growth earnings financed the expansion of the domestic market and created new capacity for growth especially to new markets in Asia and Brazil .

    Even as late as October 25, 2011, Financial Times columnists still prattle about “the coming crises” in the manner of messianic fundamentalists who predict the pending apocalypse. They harp on “high inflation”, “unsustainable social programs”, “overvalued currency”, and more predictions of “the end of prosperity”. All these dire warnings occur in the face of continued growth of 8% in 2011 and the overwhelming electoral victory of President Fernandez.. Anglo-American financial scribes should focus on the demise of their free market regimes in Europe and North America instead of denigrating an economic experience from which they might learn.

    In refutation of the Wall Street critics, Mark Weisbrot and his associates point out (“The Argentina Success Story”, Center for Economic Bad Policy Research, Oct. 2011) that Argentina ’s growth was based on the expansion of domestic consumption, increased manufacturing exports to regional trading partners as well as traditional agro-mineral exports to Asia . In other words Argentina is not totally dependent on primary exports; it has balanced trade and is not over dependent on commodity prices. In regard to high inflation, Weisbrot points out that “inflation may be high in Argentina but it is real growth and income distribution that matter with regard to the well-being of the vast majority of population”, (page 14) (my emphasis).

    The US under Bush-Obama has pursued a totally perverse and divergent path to that of Kirchner-Fernandez. They have prioritized military spending and expanded the security apparatus over the productive economy. Obama and Congress have vastly increased the police state apparatus, reinforced their political influence over regressive budgetary policies while increasingly violating human and civil rights. In contrast Kirchner/Fernandez have prosecuted dozens of human rights violators in the military and police and weakened the military’s political power.

    In other words the Argentine Presidents have weakened the militarist pressure bloc which demands greater arms and security expenditures. They created a state more accommodative to their political project of financing economic competitiveness, new markets and social programs. Bush-Obama revived the parasitical financial sector further unbalancing the economy. Kirchner/Fernandez ensured that the banking sector financed the growth of the export sector, manufactures and domestic consumption. Obama slashes social consumption to pay creditors. Kirchner-Fernandez imposed a 75% “haircut” on bondholders in order to finance social spending.

    Kirchner-Fernandez have won three presidential elections, each by a larger margin. Obama may be a one-term president, even with the billion dollar campaign funding from Wall Street, the military industrial complex and the pro-Israel power configuration.

    The popular opposition to Obama, especially the “Occupy Wall Street movement” has a long way to go to emulate the success of the Argentine movements that rousted incumbent presidents, blocked highways paralyzing production and circulation and imposed a social agenda that prioritized production over finance, social consumption over military expenditures. The “Occupy Wall Street Movement” has taken a first step toward mobilizing millions of active participants necessary to creating the social muscle that turned Argentina from a US style client state into a dynamic independent welfare state.

    The Assad regime in Syria is facing increased scrutiny for its handling of demonstrators.  The Syrian opposition has asked for arms and NATO intervention similar to what was witnessed in Libya.  Washington Hawks such as former presidential candidate and U.S. Senator John McCain have called for military intervention in Syria to “protect civilians.”    The call for the use of military force to “protect”.

    Given the demonstrated lack of regard for human life and the aversion to justice (Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.), what lies behind the imperative to intervene in Syria?

    The protest movements in Syria started in Daraa — dubbed the epicenter of the anti-Assad protests.  Daraa, traditionally supportive of Syria’s ruling Baath Party, suffered from reduced water supply triggering massive protests against the local administration and the regime for failing to deal with the acute water scarcity in the region.   Water.

    Therein lies the crucial motivation behind the support, agitation, and arming of Syrians against their government by those who endorse ‘humanitarian wars’.   It would be naïve to believe that the ‘humanitarian’ interest in Syria comes on the heels of the uprisings in the region given that water has been and continues to be a critical determinant of state security and foreign policy between Israel and Syria (as well as Lebanon) dating back decades.     

    It was the 1967 war which resulted in the exponential expansion of Israeli water sources including the  control of the Golan Heights (also referred to as the Syrian Golan).   For decades, Syrian Golan and the return of its control to Syria has posed a major obstacle to the Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations.   Israel’s water demands make it virtually impossible to accommodate this process.  In fact, even with full control of the Golan, Israel’s water crisis in 2000 were so acute that it prompted Israel to turn to Turkey for water purchase.   

    In addition,  Syria’s  presence in Lebanon since the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war in 1975 played a crucial role in hindering Israel’s never-ending water demands.   Although the  1955 Johnston Plan (under the auspices of the Eisenhower administration) proposed diverting water from Lebanon’s Litani River into Lake Kinneret, it was not officially formulated, though it remained an attractive prospect.    In  1982, Israeli forces established the frontline of their security zone in Lebanon along the Litani.   Numerous reports alleged that Israel was diverting large quantities of Litani water.  

    Syria’s presence in Lebanon and the 1991 Lebanese-Syrian Treaty of Brotherhood, Cooperation and Coordination,  was a challenge to Israel and its diversion of water.  When Syria replaced Israel as the dominant power in southern Lebanon in May 2000, Israeli fears grew that Syrian success in controlling the Golan and by extension, Lake Kinneret, would have a devastating effect on Israel. 

    Perhaps this helps explain the fact that on  September 13, 2001, while the United States  was recovering from the shock of 9/11,  the influential and powerful JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) had a statement available as to how the U.S. should proceed.    As part of its recommendations, it pointed the finger at not only at Afghanistan and Iraq, but also presented Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Sudan, the Palestinian Authority, Libya, Algeria (and eventually Saudi Arabia and Egypt) as danger spots.  Shortly thereafter, in May 2002, the “Axis of Evil” was expanded to include Syria.   

    The next logical step was for the United States to pass and implement the Syrian Accountability Act and the Lebanon Sovereignty Restoration Act which in addition to sanctions, called for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.  The troops remained until April 2005.   They were forced to leave  a few short months after the assassination of Prime Minsiter, Rafik Hariri  when Syria was accused of involvement in the murder.   Clearly, Syria was not the beneficiary of the assassination.

    Without a Syrian presence, Lebanon was made more vulnerable, facilitating the 2006 Israeli attack and invasion of water-rich Southern Lebanon.   

    While Israel lost the public opinion war in Lebanon and Syria remained intact amidst the accusations and chaos,  it became necessary to once again put Syria in the spotlight.   In 2007, Syria stood accused of having a nuclear bomb program.  As a member of the NPT, rather than reporting such suspicions (unfounded) to the IAEA,  Israel, with a green light from the United States, bombed a factory which it alleged was involved in nuclear weapons activities.    

    Israel’s attack on Syria on 6 September 2007, remained secret until it was revealed by the former prime minister (1996-1999) and the then opposition leader, Binyamin Netanyahu —  the current Prime Minister of Israel. 

    Netanyahu took office in March 2009.  In April 2009, a U.S. funded London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, started broadcasting anti-regime propaganda into Syria.   Barada  TV’s  chief editor, Malik al-Abdeh, is a cofounder of the Syrian exile group Movement for Justice and Development headed by Anas al-Abdah.  It is crucial to note that the pro-Israel Dennis Ross, a former fellow at the AIPAC created Washington Institute for Near East Affairs,  who is currently a senior advisor to Barack Obama,  was present in a 2008 meeting with Anas al-Abdah (see here).  Although the meeting took place in early 2008, the theme of the meeting was: “Syria in-transition”.    

    Prophecy or planning, doubtless,  there are many Syrians who do have grievances against their government and demand more rights.  In this sense, their cause is no different than  the many protests we witness on a daily basis around the world – including the United States.   What is tragic about the Syrian situation, is that the imperative for intervention in Syria is not based on a genuine desire to help the people.  The peoples’ grievances is being used as a means to arm them, have them killed, and create the need for an intervention in order to promote Israeli interests.  

    The Syria imperative is Israel’s gain paid for with the blood of the Syrian people.

    Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has a Master’s degree in Public Diplomacy from USC Annenberg for Communication and USC School of International Relations,  Los Angeles. She is an independent researcher focusing on US foreign policy and the role of lobby groups.  A  public speaker, political commentator and columnist, and peace activist, Soraya lives in California.

    The War on Libya and the Broader US-NATO Military Agenda

    October 30th, 2011 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

    With the killing of Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi this past week, NATO is celebrating what, in their view, is a great victory. However, this so-called “victory” has nothing to do with democracy, freedom or justice; it is part of a broad, insidious geopolitical strategy that has been on NATO’s drawing board for years. And what is even more frightening than the bloodlust being shamelessly splashed across the mainstream media is the fact that this latest manoeuver is merely a small part of a much wider military agenda with potentially catastrophic consequences.

    In his latest e-book, “Towards a World War III Scenario“, Prof. Michel Chossudovsky outlines the strategies and real motives behind the war on Libya, what we can expect next from NATO (the world’s deadly “humanitarian” force), and the necessary steps for dispelling disinformation and preventing war on an unprecedented scale.

    The object of this e-book is to forcefully reverse the tide of war, challenge the war criminals in high office and the powerful corporate lobby groups which support them.

    The following extracts by Prof. Chossudovsky reveal several key issues facing humanity today. (The full version of “Towards a World War III Scenario” is available to purchase from Global Research in convenient PDF format.)

    Towards a World War III Scenario

    The war on Libya is an integral part of the broader military agenda in the Middle East and Central Asia which until recently consisted of three distinct areas of conflict: Afghanistan and Pakistan (the AfPak War), Iraq, Palestine.

    These four war theaters are interrelated. They are part of a broader region of conflict, which extends from North Africa and the Middle East, engulfing a large part of the Mediterranean basin, to China’s Western frontier with Afghanistan, and Northern Pakistan.

    The Battle for Oil

    More than 60 percent of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves lie in Muslim lands. “The Battle for Oil” waged by the US-NATO-Israel military alliance requires the demonization of the inhabitants of those countries which possess these vast reserves of oil and natural gas.

    Iran possesses ten percent of global oil and gas reserves. The US is the first and foremost military and nuclear power in the world, but it possesses less than two percent of global oil and gas reserves.

    The US-led war in the broader Middle East Central Asian region consists in gaining control over more than sixty percent of the world’s reserves of oil and natural gas. The Anglo-American oil giants also seek to gain control over oil and gas pipeline routes out of the region.

    Demonization is applied to an enemy which possesses three-quarters of the world’s oil reserves. “Axis of evil”, “rogue states”, “failed nations”, “Islamic terrorists”: demonization and vilification are the ideological pillars of America’s “war on terror”. They serve as a casus belli for waging the battle for oil.

    The Battle for Oil requires the demonization of those who possess the oil. The enemy is characterized as evil, with a view to justifying military action including the mass killing of civilians. The Middle East Central Asian region is heavily militarized. The oil fields are encircled by NATO war ships stationed in the Eastern Mediterranean (as part of a UN “peacekeeping” operation), US Carrier Strike Groups and Destroyer Squadrons in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea deployed as part of the “war on terrorism”.

    The ultimate objective, combining military action, covert intelligence operations and war propaganda, is to break down the national fabric and transform sovereign countries into open economic territories, where natural resources can be plundered and confiscated under “free market” supervision. This control also extends to strategic oil and gas pipeline corridors (e.g. Afghanistan).

    Demonization is a psy-op, used to sway public opinion and build a consensus in favor of war. Psychological warfare is directly sponsored by the Pentagon and the US intelligence apparatus. It is not limited to assassinating or executing the rulers of Muslim countries; it extends to entire populations. It also targets Muslims in Western Europe and North America. It purports to break national consciousness and the ability to resist the invader. It denigrates Islam. It creates social divisions. It is intended to divide national societies and ultimately trigger “civil war”.

    Is a World War III Scenario Unfolding?

    The US and its NATO allies are preparing to launch a nuclear war directed against both Iran and North Korea with devastating consequences. This military adventure in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity. While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to fully comprehend the devastation which might result from a Third World War, using “new technologies” and advanced weapons, until it occurs and becomes a reality.

    The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of world peace. “Making the world safer” is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.

    It is not Iran and North Korea which are a threat to global security but the United States of America and Israel.

    Humanity is at a dangerous crossroads. War preparations to attack Iran are in an advanced state of readiness. Hi-tech weapons systems including nuclear warheads are fully deployed.

    This military adventure has been on the Pentagon’s drawing board since the mid-1990s: first Iraq, then Iran, according to a declassified 1995 US Central Command document.

    Escalation is part of the military agenda. While Iran is the next target together with Syria and Lebanon, this strategic military deployment also threatens North Korea, China and Russia.

    The American Inquisition: Building a Political Consensus for War

    In chorus, the Western media has branded Iran as a threat to global security in view of its alleged (non-existent) nuclear weapons program. Echoing official statements, the media is now demanding the implementation of punitive bombings directed against Iran so as to safeguard Israel’s security.

    The Western media is beating the drums of war. The purpose is to tacitly instill, through repeated media reports, ad nauseam, within people’s inner consciousness, the notion that the Iranian threat is real and that the Islamic Republic should be “taken out”. A consensus-building process to wage war is similar to the Spanish Inquisition. It requires and demands submission to the notion that war is a humanitarian endeavor.

    Known and documented, the real threat to global security emanates from the US-NATO-Israel alliance, yet realities in an inquisitorial environment are turned upside down: the warmongers are committed to peace, the victims of war are presented as the protagonists of war.

    Reversing the Tide of War

    A good-versus-evil dichotomy prevails. The perpetrators of war are presented as the victims.

    Public opinion is misled: “We must fight against evil in all its forms as a means to preserving the Western way of life.”

    When a US-sponsored nuclear war becomes an “instrument of peace”, condoned and accepted by the world’s institutions and the highest authority including the United Nations, there is no turning back: human society has indelibly been precipitated headlong onto the path of self-destruction.

    The main factor which could prevent this war from occurring comes from the base of society, requiring forceful antiwar action by hundreds of millions of people across the land, nationally and internationally.

    People must mobilize not only against this diabolical military agenda, the authority of the state and its officials must also be challenged.

    This war can be prevented if people forcefully confront their governments, pressure their elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens as to the implications of a nuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces.

    The holding of mass demonstrations and antiwar protests is not enough. What is required is the development of a broad and well organized grassroots antiwar network which challenges the structures of power and authority.

    What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war and the New World Order, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.

    To reverse the tide, the spreading of information at all levels which counteracts the propaganda campaign is required.

    The truth undermines and overshadows the lie.

    Once this truth becomes fully understood, the legitimacy of the rulers will collapse like a deck of cards.

    This is what has to be achieved. But we can only achieve it by effectively counteracting the official propaganda campaign. This initiative requires the spreading of information in an extensive grassroots network, with a view to weakening and ultimately disabling the administration’s propaganda machine.

    When the lies – including those concerning September 11 – are fully revealed and understood by everybody, the legitimacy of the US-NATO-Israel military agenda will be broken.

    What Has To Be Achieved

    Reveal the criminal nature of this military project.

    Break once and for all the lies and falsehoods which sustain the “political consensus” in favor of a pre-emptive nuclear war.

    Undermine war propaganda, reveal the media lies, reverse the tide of disinformation, wage a consistent campaign against the corporate media.

    Break the legitimacy of the warmongers in high office.

    Dismantle the US-sponsored military adventure and its corporate sponsors.

    Bring home the troops.

    Repeal the illusion that the state is committed to protecting its citizens.

    Expose the “fake crises”, such as the global flu pandemic, as a means to distract public opinion away from the dangers of a global war.

    Uphold 9/11 Truth. Reveal the falsehoods behind 9/11 which are used to justify the Middle East/Central Asian war under the banner of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT).

    Expose how a profit-driven war serves the vested interests of the banks, the defense contractors, the oil giants, the media giants and the biotech conglomerates.

    Challenge the corporate media which deliberately obfuscates the causes and consequences of this war.

    Reveal and take cognizance of the unspoken and tragic outcome of a war waged with nuclear weapons.

    Call for the Dismantling of NATO.

    Implement the prosecution of war criminals in high office.

    Close down the weapons assembly plants and implement the foreclosure of major weapons producers.

    Close down all US military bases in the US and around the world.

    Develop an antiwar movement within the armed forces and establish bridges between the armed forces and the civilian antiwar movement.

    Forcefully pressure governments of both NATO and non-NATO countries to withdraw from the US-led global military agenda.

    Develop a consistent antiwar movement in Israel. Inform the citizens of Israel of the likely consequences of a US-NATO-Israeli attack on Iran.

    Target the pro-war lobby groups including the pro-Israeli groups in the US.

    Dismantle the homeland security state, call for the repeal of the PATRIOT legislation.

    The World is at the Crossroads of the Most Serious Crisis in Modern History

    The US has embarked on a military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity.

    It is essential to bring the US war project to the forefront of political debate, particularly in North America and Western Europe. Political and military leaders who are opposed to the war must take a firm stance, from within their respective institutions. Citizens must take a stance individually and collectively against war.

    To purchase the full-text version of “Towards a World War III Scenario” by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, visit our ONLINE STORE.

    “Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War” by Michel Chossudovsky 

    E-Book Series No. 1.0
    Global Research Publishers
    Montreal, 2011

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    A New War Theater in North Africa                               
    Operation Odyssey Dawn  
    Nuclear Weapons against Libya? How Real is the Threat?       
    America’s Long War: The Global Military Agenda                         
    How to Reverse the Tide of War                                   
    World War III Scenario 

    The Cult of Killing and Destruction                                 
    America’s Mini-nukes 
    War and the Economic Crisis                                     
    Real versus Fake Crises                             

    Hiroshima Day 2003: Secret Meeting at Strategic Command Headquarters           
    The Privatization of Nuclear War: US Military Contractors Set the Stage             
    9/11 Military Doctrine: Nuclear Weapons and the “Global War on Terrorism”         
    Al Qaeda: “Upcoming Nuclear Power”                               
    Obama’s Nuclear Doctrine: The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review                 
    Post 9/11 Nuclear Doctrine                                       
    “Defensive” and “Offensive” Actions                                 
    “Integration” of Nuclear and Conventional Weapons Plans                     
    Theater Nuclear Operations (TNO)                                   
    Planned Aerial Attacks on Iran                                     
    Global Warfare: The Role of US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM)             
    Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization                             
    Israel’s Stockpiling of Conventional and Nuclear Weapons                     
    The Role of Western Europe                                   
    Germany: De Facto Nuclear Power                                 
    Pre-emptive Nuclear War: NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept                   
    The World is at a Critical Crossroads                                 


    America’s Crusade in Central Asia and the Middle East                       
    “Homegrown Terrorists”                                       
    The American Inquisition                                     
    Washington’s Extrajudicial Assassination Program                         
    The Battle for Oil       
    The Oil Lies in Muslim Lands                                     
    Globalization and the Conquest of the World’s Energy Resources               


    Media Disinformation   
    A “Pre-emptive” Aerial Attack Directed Against Iran would Lead to Escalation         
    Global Warfare     
    US “Military Aid”     
    The Timetable of Military Stockpiling and Deployment                       
    World War III Scenario                                       
    The United Nations Security Council                                 
    The American Inquisition: Building a Political Consensus for War               


    Building a Pretext for a Pre-emptive Nuclear Attack                         
    “Theater Iran Near Term”                                       
    The Military Road Map: “First Iraq, then Iran”                           
    Simulated Scenarios of a Global War: The Vigilant Shield 07 War Games             
    The Role of Israel       
    Cheney: “Israel Might Do it Without Being Asked”                       
    US Israel Military Coordination                                     
    Tactical Nuclear Weapons directed against Iran                           
    Radioactive Fallout   
    “The Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) Slated to be Used Against Iran               
    Extensive Destruction of Iran’s Infrastructure                             
    State of the Art Weaponry: “War Made Possible Through New Technologies”         
    Electromagnetic Weapons                                       
    Iran’s Military Capabilities: Medium and Long Range Missiles                 
    Iran’s Ground Forces   
    US Military and Allied Facilities Surrounding Iran                         

    CHAPTER VI: REVERSING THE TIDE OF WAR                         

    Revealing the Lie     
    The Existing Anti-War Movement                                   
    Manufacturing Dissent 
    Jus ad Bellum: 9/11 and the Invasions of Yugoslavia and Afghanistan             
    Fake Antiwar Activism: Heralding Iran as a Nuclear Threat                     
    The Road Ahead       
    The Antiwar Movement within the State Structure and the Military               
    Abandon the Battlefield: Refuse to Fight                               
    The Broader Peace Process                                     
    What has to be Achieved    

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    CIA History of DCI William Colby Finally Qualifies as “Non-Secret”

    October 29th, 2011 by The National Security Archive

    Colby Bio-Documentary Opens in Washington October 28


    National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 362


    For more information contact:

    John Prados – 202/994-7000

    [email protected]

    Washington, D.C., October 28, 2011 - CIA director William Colby rebuffed criticisms from senior Agency operators about disclosure of CIA misdeeds by describing the difference between “bad secrets,” “non-secrets,” “good secrets” and “lesser” secrets, according to a previously SECRET internal CIA history of the Colby tenure, published today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (

    Colby responded in March 1974 to the head of the CIA’s clandestine service, who claimed that any public discussion would “degrade the fabric of our security” and “lead inevitably to a further exposure of intelligence sources and methods,” by writing:

    “There are some ‘bad secrets’ which are properly revealed by an aggressive press. there are some older ‘non-secrets’ which no longer need to be kept secret and which we should gradually surface, but there are some ‘good secrets’ which deserve greater protection than we have been able to give them, in part by reason of their association with ‘secrets’ of lesser importance.”

    The latest declassification (in August 2011) from a series of secret studies by the CIA History Staff of the agency’s directors, the volume gains credibility from its authorship by veteran CIA analyst and operative Harold Ford, who courageously presented to the Congress well-documented internal critiques of CIA director-designate Robert Gates during his confirmation hearings in 1991. To win confirmation, Gates had to promise Congress not to fire Ford in retaliation. The history, William Colby as Director of Central Intelligence, 1973-1976, provides detailed accounts of key episodes such as the firing of counterintelligence chief James Angleton, Colby’s role in the revelation of the CIA “family jewels,” and the collapse of South Vietnam, where Colby had spent much of his career.

    The posting features an introduction and review written by Archive senior fellow John Prados, author of the widely-praised biography, William Colby and the CIA: The Secret Wars of a Controversial Spymaster (University Press of Kansas, 2009). The favorable Prados review points out some shortcomings as well, including the history’s lack of attention to Colby’s fraught relationships with Presidents Nixon and Ford, and most of all, Henry Kissinger. Declassified Kissinger transcripts show Kissinger fuming about Colby’s airing of the CIA’s dirty laundry, but Prados concludes that Colby in effect saved the CIA from possible abolition as an agency.

    Opening in Washington, D.C. on October 28 at the Landmark E Street Theater is a biographic documentary produced by Colby’s son Carl, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby.

    From the film’s Web site: “A son’s riveting look at a father whose life seemed straight out of a spy thriller . the story is at once a probing history of the CIA, a personal memoir of a family living in clandestine shadows, and an inquiry into the hard costs of a nation’s most cloaked actions .. The film forges a fascinating mix of rare archival footage, never-before-seen photos, and interviews with the ‘who’s who’ of American intelligence, including former National Security Advisers Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense and Director of CIA James Schlesinger, as well PulitzerPrize journalists Bob Woodward, Seymour Hersh and Tim Weiner.”

    By John Prados

    For many years it has been a CIA practice to employ its History Staff to compile secret studies of the stewardships of the agency’s leaders. This newly declassified official account covers William Egan Colby’s tenure, during an extraordinary period of modern American political history. Colby’s directorship lasted from 1973 through early 1976 and encompassed the end of the Vietnam war, the collapse of détente with the Soviet Union, and the “Year of Intelligence,” the time of the Church and Pike Committee congressional investigations of U.S. intelligence, and the Rockefeller Commission inquiry into CIA domestic activities. Bill Colby led U.S. intelligence at the watershed moment when these events led to the gestation of the modern era of American practice, where the CIA and other agencies function amid a framework of congressional oversight committees and independent inspectors general.the Colby study covers the end of the Vietnam War, the collapse of détente with the Soviet Union, and the “Year of Intelligence,” when the Church and Pike congressional committees investigated U.S. intelligence and the Rockefeller Commission reviewed CIA domestic activities. Bill Colby led U.S. intelligence at a watershed moment which led to some modicum of accountability by the CIA and other agencies, when they began to operate within a framework of congressional oversight committees and independent inspectors general.

    Within the CIA, Bill Colby was and remains one of the more controversial figures in the agency’s history. There are several reasons why CIA rank and file disputed Colby’s role. It was his fate to head the agency at a moment when Richard M. Helms, Colby’s predecessor, came under fire for perjury in his own congressional testimony regarding CIA covert operations in Chile. Some charged Colby with failing to protect an agency officer assailed from the outside. World events during his tenure were also a source of controversy, in particular the fall of South Vietnam. Saigon’s collapse, the hurried U.S. evacuation, and the abandonment of CIA assets in Vietnam seared many agency officers who had had Southeast Asia as their main concern for over a decade. One senior analyst, Frank Snepp, went public with a critique of U.S. intelligence before South Vietnam fell, and of agency actions in the evacuation that was highly damaging to Colby, who had been one of CIA’s primary action officers on Vietnam throughout that period.1But the central reason for the controversy over Bill Colby’s leadership flows from the intelligence investigations of 1975, set off by press revelations of widespread CIA domestic activity against the Vietnam antiwar movement. Both CIA officers and White House officials, including President Gerald R. Ford and national security adviser Henry A. Kissinger, condemned Colby for allegedly “giving away the store” to the inquisitors of the “Year of Intelligence.”

    Given this context the CIA’s internal history of Colby’s directorship is especially interesting and significant. The volume, William E. Colby as Director of Central Intelligence, was written by the late Harold P. Ford, a former CIA official who prepared it on contract completing it in 1993.2 The selection of “Hal” Ford for this writing assignment is important. Ford had joined the CIA in the same year as Colby, and had been active on both the clandestine and analytical sides of the agency, including work as a CIA station chief (in Taiwan) and on the National Intelligence Council, which as director Colby had established. Ford had worked with Colby on interagency groups dealing with Vietnam in the early 1960s, when the latter headed the Far East Division of CIA’s operations directorate, and again as a senior assistant before his 1974 retirement. More than that, Ford had labored on a futile agency paramilitary operation (against China during the Korean war), just as Colby had done as station chief in Saigon, aiming at North Vietnam during the early days of the Southeast Asian conflict. And Hal Ford had also worked the other side of the street-as a consultant to the Church Committee during its 1975 investigation and as a staff member of the newly-created Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Thus Harold Ford had an independent perspective on many of the issues which figured in the controversies over Colby and are reflected in the agency’s internal history. The result is apparent in his narrative.

    In keeping with the function of the CIA History Staff, Ford’s account does not neglect Colby’s innovations and the managerial accomplishments achieved on his watch. These have for the most part been overshadowed by the controversies over the man. It was Colby who established the National Intelligence Council, which remains the top analytical unit of U.S. intelligence today, more than three decades later. That was undoubtedly his most important accomplishment, but Colby also created the highly successfulNational Intelligence Daily, and he refreshed CIA methods for learning through experience by means of compiling systematic postmortems of key episodes-although refusal to conduct a study of Saigon’s fall was among Frank Snepp’s grievances against the agency-as well as its system for alert and warning. Other Colby innovations proved less enduring. Ford concludes that “ingrained institutional drag throughout the Intelligence Community was the chief culprit in frustrating his managerial initiatives.”3

    This CIA history passes lightly over a number of important events that took place on Colby’s watch. The coup against Salvador Allende in Chile took place a week after the new director was sworn in. The CIA’s contribution to laying the groundwork for a coup are well-known and Colby had headed the agency’s operations directorate during at least part of the time when the project evolved. This would have been a good place to provide some background on the CIA’s operations in Chile, but here Ford discusses the Chile project mostly in terms of the resulting perjury charges against Richard Helms. Similarly the fall of Saigon, the CIA covert actions in Angola and Kurdistan, and the attempt to raise a sunken Soviet submarine with using the vessel Glomar Explorer pass by in a few paragraphs. Some of these projects set or changed key limits on Colby’s ability to act and merited more extensive discussion. For example, Director Colby obtained the cooperation of journalist Seymour Hersh in keeping quiet the Glomar Explorer story, and that favor stayed Colby’s hand when Hersh went for the even more explosive story of CIA domestic activity in what Hal Ford terms Colby’s “Black December.” The end in Vietnam was intrinsically so important that it figures in the same category. Also underreported in the narrative is the bureaucratic infighting within U.S. intelligence on its estimates of Soviet military power and defense spending, which began to come under major attack from more alarmist observers during the Colby era.

    White House pressures on CIA to act in Angola and with the Kurds in Iraq helped set the context in which subsequent events occurred, along with White House attitudes toward the agency as well as Colby’s sense of how his problems would be perceived by presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and their associates. The CIA history does a good job of sketching Nixon’s animosities toward the agency-and clearly its historian made use of Nixon administration official records-which makes it striking that apparently no such effort was made to consult equivalent Ford administration documents. Hal Ford quotes Colby himself to the effect that it never occurred to anyone at CIA-starting with then-director James R. Schlesinger-to tell the White House about the internal document collection known as the “Family Jewels,” which contained a number of the revelations that would explode in “Black December.” But Schlesinger was feuding with Kissinger, and when Colby took over Kissinger continued to keep the agency at arms’ length, and in any case the Family Jewels had been created for the private use of the CIA director. The Colby history does not make this clear.

    It was Seymour Hersh again, in the New York Times of December 22, 1974, who set off the explosion that led to the Year of Intelligence, by revealing agency illegal domestic activity, followed over subsequent days by further revelations.4 During the months which led up to this Black December, Hersh was already onto the story of the CIA in Chile, as well as Glomar. Hersh’s investigative reporting had been discussed in Gerald Ford’s White House, and even in Richard Helms’s morning staff meetings before he left the agency. The CIA’s Colby history repeats the conventional wisdom that the director blind-sided the White House by not providing advance notice. The suggestion that White House officials needed any warning from Bill Colby to be on notice that Hersh had more agency revelations up his sleeve strains credulity. Consulting Ford administration records should clarify this problem.

    The most troublesome aspect of that oversight arises in the CIA history’s treatment of the months that followed, including the creation of and investigations by the Rockefeller Commission and the Church and Pike Committees. By narrating these events solely from the agency’s side the history overstates Director Colby’s freedom of action in responding to the inquiries and neglects to treat White House efforts to constrain the investigations. For example, from CIA records the history relates several conversations between agency officials and White House aide John O. (“Jack”) Marsh, all of which are to the effect of President Ford’s emissary cautioning against exposing too much of the CIA’s secret world. The history leaves the impression this was simply an attitude, casually expressed. In fact, White House records make clear that Marsh, and Ford counsel Phil Buchen, played the key roles in shaping the administration’s response. Ford officials made specific decisions on what materials would be provided to investigators, they forced a fight on what would be revealed about the covert action policymaking unit known as the 40 Committee, formed a working group specifically to deal with the CIA political crisis, coordinated with Colby on the basic ground rules the agency set with the Church committee, backed the CIA director in his later fights with the Pike committee, and stonewalled on the release of material until achieving an understanding with Congress that recognized White House primacy in this area.5

    Both of Colby’s two substantive one-on-one meetings with President Ford during 1975 concerned the CIA troubles. At the first, Ford informed the CIA that he was about to set up a presidential commission to head off congressional action. At the second, Ford reviewed with Colby the testimony on covert operations the CIA director would present the next day at the Church committee (this latter presidential action goes entirely unrecorded in the CIA internal history). Without engaging the question of the legality of information denials, in the face of long-standing law that recognized Congress had an absolute right to investigate government affairs, and an unlimited entitlement to such information as necessary for such inquiries, the CIA’s Colby history treats this entire period somewhat mechanically, as a bureaucratic dispute over who got access to what and when and whether Congressional disclosures damaged national security.

    Colby’s difficulties during the Year of Intelligence would be greatly compounded by the fact he was already under fire inside CIA when Black December came. This was due to charges that Richard Helms had perjured himself in sworn testimony before Congress on the covert operation in Chile. Helms too had been caught in a dilemma-between Richard Nixon’s strict orders for secrecy on Chile and Congress’s demand for answers. The Justice Department eventually took over that inquiry and would ultimately indict Helms on this charge, which the former CIA director would not contest once it came to trial in 1977. Here Bill Colby was mousetrapped on the matter of forwarding the charge to Justice, and agency rank and file took sides with Helms or, to a lesser degree, with Colby. Even most CIA veterans do not know what really happened in the Helms affair-Director Colby initially refused to forward the charges but was forced to do so by backbench insistence and pressure from Justice Department officials. Hal Ford’s account of the Helms case is quite detailed, as is his narrative of Colby’s firing of CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton-a close friend and ally of Helms-which further inflamed passions against Colby within the agency. The CIA internal history is very useful on these matters.

    Harold Ford has some sympathy for Director Colby’s basic predicament. The political disputes of the Vietnam War and the presidential excesses of Watergate had strengthened the position of Congress, while the CIA had precious little support inside the White House. The simple fact of Black December signaled that a new era was dawning for U.S. intelligence. Bill Colby’s challenge was to chart a course between the contending forces that preserved the agency, while fending off demands to do business the old way, not only from the White House but his own CIA officers. Colby, criticized as a Boy Scout or naïf, actually understood better than his associates that in 1975 the Central Intelligence Agency was in real danger of being swept away. Until the doubts that have arisen regarding the CIA in the wake of the September 11 attacks, this Year of Intelligence posed the most serious threat to the agency’s existence.

    Within its limitations, the CIA secret history represents the most detailed account yet available from the agency’s perspective of the investigations of the Year of Intelligence. With most of the key actors now gone-starting with William Colby himself but including Vernon Walters, Walt Elder, Mitchell Rogovin and others-a better history of this kind seems unlikely.

    It is especially worth reading for the attention it brings to a number of issues, including its major focus on the Year of Intelligence. Harold Ford has refined our understanding of the precursor events that helped create the modern American intelligence system. These origins throw needed backlight on arrangements for congressional oversight, and the competition between that oversight and presidential control which still drives the U.S. intelligence community today.


    1. Frank Snepp, Decent Interval An Insider’s Account of Saigon’s Indecent End Told by the CIA’s Chief Strategy Analyst in Vietnam. New York: Random House, 1977.

    2. Harold P. Ford, William E. Colby as Director of Central Intelligence. Central Intelligence Agency: CIA History Staff, 1993 (declassified August 10, 2011).

    3.Harold Ford, William E. Colby, p. 61.

    4.Seymour Hersh, “Huge CIA Operation Reported in U.S. Against Antiwar Forces, Other Dissidents in Nixon Years,” New York Times, December 22, 1974.

    5.Ibid, pp. 304-317.


    Document 1 – Front Matter, Chapters 1 through 3
    Harold P. Ford, William E. Colby as Director of Central Intelligence. Central Intelligence Agency: CIA History Staff, 1993 (declassified August 10, 2011).

    Document 2 – Chapters 4 through 7
    Harold P. Ford, William E. Colby as Director of Central Intelligence. Central Intelligence Agency: CIA History Staff, 1993 (declassified August 10, 2011).

    Document 3 – Chapters 8 through 10
    Harold P. Ford, William E. Colby as Director of Central Intelligence. Central Intelligence Agency: CIA History Staff, 1993 (declassified August 10, 2011).

    Document 4 – Chapters 11 through 13
    Harold P. Ford, William E. Colby as Director of Central Intelligence. Central Intelligence Agency: CIA History Staff, 1993 (declassified August 10, 2011).

    US military sources have confirmed that the Obama administration is engaged in a new war in the famine-hit Horn of Africa region.

    The disclosure in the Washington Post [1] comes only days after other prominent Western media outlets, including the New York Times and the Financial Times, carried denials from the US government that it was involved in directly supporting Kenyan forces that invaded Somalia on 16 October. 

    Global Research first reported on 19 October [2] the lethal use of US drones in attacks on various locations across southern Somalia in a coordinated air campaign to assist the advance of Kenyan ground troops deep into Somali territory held by Islamic insurgents. We reported that US drones began attacking Somali targets days before the Kenyan army began its incursion, and have continued in a pattern that indicates American air power is being used to pave the way for ground forces as they advance towards the southern port city of Kismayu – the main stronghold of the Al Shabab insurgents, which the US government accuses of having links with Al Qaeda.

    It is believed that scores of Somali fighters and civilians have been killed over the past two weeks by US unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that have attacked several cities and towns, including Qoqani, Afmadow and Kismayu. Global Research also reported on 26 October [3] that French naval forces had joined the bombing campaign – again despite official French denials carried in Western media – and that the conclusion from these military developments was clear: Washington and Paris are now engaging in a secret new war in East Africa ¬– a region where up to 12 million people are at risk of starvation from years of drought and Western-induced conflict. 

    On 27 October, the Washington Post cited US military officials confirming the deployment of attack and surveillance drones in “a rapidly expanding US-led proxy war against an al Qaeda affiliate in East Africa”. The UAVs – also known as Reapers or Hunter Killers – are believed to be operated from a site in southern Ethiopia, Arba Minch, as well as from US bases in Djibouti and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

    The WP report states: “The [US] Air Force has invested millions of dollars to upgrade an airfield in Arba Minch, Ethiopia, where it has built a small annex to house a fleet of drones that can be equipped with Hellfire missiles and satellite-guided bombs. The Reapers began flying missions earlier this year over neighboring Somalia… The location of the Ethiopian base and the fact that it became operational this year, however, have not been previously disclosed.”

    This disclosure of US military operations in Somalia amounts to an admission that Washington is at war.  However, the Washington Post, while stating “rapidly expanding US-led proxy war”, does not highlight the legal implications of that startling admission, concentrating its reportage on technical and logistical issues that are providing “support for [US] security assistance programs”.

    Iranian news channel Press TV – citing civilian eyewitnesses and Kenyan and Somali military officials – has been one of the few media outlets that has consistently reported the almost daily lethal US drone attacks in southern Somalia since the Kenyan invasion. However, even Press TV has not drawn the explicit conclusion that this amounts to war.

    While the other Western news media, including the BBC, Reuters and the New York Times, had earlier reported increased US drone activity in Somalia between June and September, these outlets appeared to have dropped coverage of the deadly attacks being reported since and just before 16 October.

    Following the disclosure in the Washington Post, the BBC on 28 October seemed to resume its coverage, with the headline: “US flies drones from Ethiopia to fight Somali militants”.  The BBC, as with the WP, does not view this as an act of war, and stressed that the “remotely-piloted drones were being used only for surveillance” – contrary to evidence on the ground.

    As well as playing down the fact of US-led war in Somalia, the mainstream media now seem to be crafting a new narrative for the military offensive. The initial pretext for the Kenyan ground invasion faithfully repeated in the Western media was the “hot pursuit” of kidnap gangs allegedly belonging to Al Shabab. It is true that there has been a spate of kidnappings of Western holidaymakers and aid workers from Kenyan territory by gangs suspected to originate inside Somalia. However, there is no proof that Al Shabab has been involved and indeed the militant group has denied any involvement.

    Now it seems that the rationale being given for the Kenyan invasion and Western “technical support” has subtly morphed into an extension of the “war on terror”.  Al Shabab has been waging an insurgency against the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu, which was installed in 2009 with the support of US and other Western governments as a bulwark against the Islamists. The TFG has only managed to maintain a tenuous grip on power thanks in part to Washington’s military and economic support and to the presence of thousands of African Union troops from Uganda and Burundi.

    Al Shabab is on Washington’s terror list and is accused of having links to Al Qaeda. However, many Western analysts do not consider Al Shabab to be a regional threat. The Council on Foreign Relations, the Washington-aligned think-tank, estimates that the group has only a few hundred hardcore combatants and that its alleged links to Al Qaeda may be no more than rhetorical. Nevertheless, the militants have prevented the pro-Western TFG from gaining control of the country. In that way, the group has thwarted Washington and Western geopolitical dominance of the strategically important East African maritime territory.

    This would seem to be a more plausible explanation for the US/French/Kenyan war in Somalia. Namely, the assertion of Western geopolitical control, rather than “war on terror” and certainly not the hot pursuit of kidnap gangs. That gives the real meaning behind the “constellation of US drone bases” being operated in the region – to strike any African country when and where required. Currently, Somalia (and Yemen) is in the firing line. But the entire region appears being turned into a “drone alley”. It is perhaps only a matter of time before reports emerge of drone activity in Sudan, Eritrea, Uganda and elsewhere. The recent deployment of US Special Forces in Uganda and other Central African countries is also a harbinger of this strategic force projection.

    The bigger picture to this is, as John Pilger noted previously in Global Research, a “modern scramble for African resources” by Western powers, which have in recent years watched enviously the growing influence of China in the region. This neo-imperialist scramble for Africa is consistent with NATO’s conquest of Libya. The close collaboration between the US and France in the bombing of North Africa is now being rolled out in East Africa.

    It also marks a new era of lawlessness by Western powers. Not only can President Barack Obama personally order the assassination of individuals with his penchant for “hunter killer” drones. Evidently from developments in Somalia, Commander-in-Chief Obama is no longer obliged to notify the US Congress or the American people of their country’s engagement in new wars. Nor is he obliged to even seek a phony UN mandate. Not so long ago such abuse of power would be sure grounds for impeachment.

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

    [email protected]





    No Solution to The Eurozone Crisis

    October 29th, 2011 by CADTM


    The agreement of the 26/27 October 2011 European summit meeting is unacceptable

    The agreement made at dawn on the 27th October 2011 brings no solution to the eurozone crisis, neither to the banking crisis, the sovereign debt crisis or the euro crisis. The decisions taken do not solve any of the problems in an acceptable way, they only postpone them. CADTM considers this agreement unacceptable.

    by Pascal Franchet , Yorgos Mitralias , Griselda Pinero , Eric Toussaint (CADTM Europe)

    The heads of states, heads of governments, the leaders of the European commission (EC), the private banksters and the managing director of the the IMF met in Brussels in order to find a solution to the risk of serial bankruptcies among Europe’s biggest banks, particularly French, Spanish, Greek, Italian, German, Portuguese and Belgian… Those who, before and after 2007 – 2008, multiplied their risk taking behaviors to make short term profits for their shareholders and to give marvelous bonuses to their directors and traders. Domestic and business loans being only a small part of their turnover : between 2 and 5 %. The massive support they have received from the states, the ECB (European Central Bank) or the Fed (Federal reserve Bank of the USA) has not been used to stimulate the productive economy, it has been diverted to more highly speculative activities. Private banks are financed for the short term at the same time as they take on medium and long term engagements : public or private bonds, commodity futures, currency swaps and positions on derivatives that are not under any public control. The bankruptcy of the Franco-Belgian bank Dexia at the beginning of this month of October 2011 is the direct result of these policies. The fear of an oncoming domino effect in Europe and north America weighed heavily on the meeting of the 26/27th October 2011.

    The decision to give Greek bonds in bankers possession a 50% haircut, as opposed to the 21% cut agreed on the 21st July, had become inevitable since August following their 65% to 80% price fall on the secondary debt market. Although the state leaders announced they had imposed important sacrifices on the banks, as usual the banks are coming out well. This explains why for the time being, bank stock in particular and the financial markets in general have shown important upward movements.

    The 27th October agreement is not a solution for the Greek people who are suffering the full effects of the crisis, aggravated by the austerity measures the government has inflicted on them. This operation is entirely managed by the creditors and is in conformity with their interests.

    This debt reduction plan is a European version of the “Brady plans” that had such devastating effects on the developing countries during the eighties and nineties. The Brady plan (named after the US Treasury secretary at the time) involved debt restructuring by exchange of bonds, in the principal indebted countries that took part. These were Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Jordan, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Uruguay, Venezuela and Vietnam. At the time, Nicholas Brady had announced that the volume of the debts would be reduced by 30% (in fact, the reductions, when they did happen, were much less ; in some cases, and not the least, debts even increased) and the new bonds (Brady bonds) guarantied a fixed interest rate of around 6%, which was very favorable to the creditors. This also assured application of austerity measures dictated by the IMF and the World Bank. Today, under other latitudes the same logic provokes the same disasters. The Troika (ECB, EC, IMF) imposes endless austerity measures on the Greek, Irish and Portuguese people. If there is no reaction from their people in time, others will have the same : Spain, Belgium, France…

    This plan cannot validly permit Greece to resolve its problems for two reasons :

     1. the debt reduction is totally insufficient ;
     2. the economic and social policies applied in accordance with the Troika demands will fragilize the country even more. This characterizes the odious nature of these financial agreements with Greece, any future loans in this framework and the restructuring of the previous debts.

    Greece must make a choice between two options :

     Throw in the towel and be again subject to the gauntlet of the Troika ;

     Refuse the dictatorship of the markets and the Troika in suspending the payments and by proceeding to a debt audit so that the illegitimate part may be repudiated.

    Other countries are, or soon will be, confronted with the same choice : Spain, Ireland, Italy, Portugal… This list is far from exhaustive. In any case, these same policies are applied, in differing degrees, all over the EU. These austerity plans must everywhere be refused and citizen controlled audits of public debt put int operation.

    The events of 2007 – 2008 have not incited governments to imposing strict prudential rules. On the contrary, measures must be taken to prevent financial institutions, banks, insurance companies, pension and hedge funds from causing further damage. Public authorities, company directors directly, or complicity responsible for the stock market and banking Kraches must be brought to justice, it is urgent to expropriate the banks and put them to the service of the common good by nationalizing them under worker’s and citizen’s control. Not only must any form of indemnity for the shareholders be refused but they should also have there own wealth put to contribution to cover the cost of repairing the financial system. It is also necessary to repudiate the illegitimate claims that the private banks hold on public authorities. Of course a series of complementary measures must also be adopted : control the movements of capital, prohibit speculation, prohibit transactions going through tax havens, creation of taxes aimed at establishing social justice… In the European Union certain treaties, such as Maastricht and Lisbon must be repealed. It is also necessary to radically change the statutes of the ECB. Before the crisis gets to its worst it is high time to radically change direction. The CADTM supports, along with other organizations, the initiatives that have been taken in certain countries in favor of public debt audits under citizens control. The « Occupy Wall Street » movement has set a creative and emancipative ball into motion. It must be reinforced.

    Translated by Mike Krolikowski

    URL:, CADTM Europe (Comité pour l’annulation de la dette du tiers monde) is present in Greece, France, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Poland. In all, the CADTM network is present in 33 countries. The most recent CADTM book is : La dette ou la vie : Damien Millet – Eric Toussaint (coord.), ADEN, Bruxelles, 2011.

    The Lynching of Muammar Gaddafi

    October 29th, 2011 by Thierry Meyssan

    For 42 years, Muammar al-Gaddafi protected his people against Western colonialism. At present, he has joined Omar al-Mukhtar in the pantheon of Libya’s great national heroes.

    On Thursday, 20 October 2011, at 13h30 GMT, the Libyan National Transitional Council announced the death of Muammar el-Qaddafi. Though confused, initial reports appeared to indicate that a convoy of cars seeking to leave besieged Sirte was blocked and partly destroyed by NATO fire. Survivors took shelter in drainage pipes. Wounded, Gaddafi was reportedly captured by the Tiger brigade of Misrata tribe and lynched.

    The body of the “Guide” of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya was not preserved in his hometown of Sirte, or taken to Tripoli, but transported by the Misrata as a trophy to their namesake city.

    The Misrata Tribe, which had long been reluctant to choose sides and is virtually absent from the CNT, will ultimately have penetrated Tripoli after its destruction by NATO, and will have lynched Muammar al-Gaddafi after the bombing of his convoy by NATO. It has even moved his body in his town to celebrate his triumph. In July, the “Guide” had cursed the Misrata, urging them to leave for Istanbul and Tel Aviv, alluding to the Turkish Jewish origins of the tribe which later converted to Islam.

    A barrage of pre-scripted comments was instantly unleashed by the Atlanticist media to demonize Muammar el-Gaddafi, thereby obscuring the barbaric circumstances of his death.

    The main Coalition leaders welcomed the death of their enemy as marking the end of “Operation Unified Protector.” In doing so, they have implicitly admitted that its objective was not to implement Security Council Resolution 1973, but to overthrow a political system and to kill the leader, even if the assassination of a serving head of State is strictly prohibited by U.S. law and universally condemned.

    In addition, the lynching of Muammar al-Gaddafi shows NATO’s reluctance to turn him over to the ICC which would not have been in a better position to sentence him for crimes against humanity than the Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia which could not prove Slobodan Milosevic guilty, despite two years of prosecution.

    In the deluge of mud spilled by the Western media to tarnish his memory, the same false accusations are repeated over and over, showing in fact that the media hold very little incriminating evidence that could have been used against him.

    A case in point is the La Belle discotheque bombing in Berlin (5 April 1986, three killed), which was used as a pretext by the Reagan administration to bomb Gaddafi’s palace and kill his daughter (April 14, 1986, at least 50 dead). At the time, German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis (the same one who two decades later would rig the investigation into the assassination of Rafik al-Hariri) relied on the testimony of Eter Mushad to indict a Libyan diplomat and his accomplice Mohammed Amair. However, German television channel ZDF subsequently discovered that Mushad Eter was not only a false witness but also a real CIA agent, while bomb planter Mahammed Aamir was a Mossad agent [1].

    Another example is the Lockerbie bombing (21 December 1988, 270 killed): the investigators identified the owner of the suitcase containing the bomb and the timer thanks to the testimony of a Maltese shopkeeper who had sold the pair of trousers also located in the booby-trapped suitcase. At that point, the Scottish justice system brought charges against two Libyan agents, Abdel Basset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, while the Security Council took sanctions against Libya. In the end, to get the sanctions lifted, Gaddafi agreed to extradite the two agents (the first was sentenced to life imprisonment and the second was acquitted) and pay $ 2.7 billion in compensation, while continuing to proclaim his complete innocence. Subsequently, in August 2005, the chief Scottish investigator declared that the main piece of evidence, the bomb timer, had been planted at the crime scene by a CIA agent. Then, the expert who had analyzed the timer for the court admitted he had manufactured it himself before the CIA “dropped it off.” Finally, the Maltese shopkeeper admitted having received $ 2 million for bearing false witness. The Scottish authorities decided to review the case, but the health of Abdel Basset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi did not allow it.

    The current disinformation campaign also includes an installment on the lifestyle of the deceased, classified as sumptuous, and the amount of his stashed-away Pharaonic fortune. But all those who approached Muammar al-Gaddafi, or who simply visited his family home and residence after they were bombarded can attest that he lived in an environment equal to that of the middle class in his country, far from the flashy style of Planning Minister Mahmoud Jibril. Similarly, none of the states that for months have been tracking Gaddafi’s hidden fortune has been able to find it. Any money that was seized belonged to the Libyan government and not to the “Guide”.

    On the other hand, the media have failed to mention the only international arrest warrant against Muammar al-Gaddafi, issued by Interpol before the NATO offensive. He was accused by the Lebanese justice of having disposed of Imam Moussa Sadr and his companions (1978). This media oversight can be explained by the fact that the kidnapping was sponsored by the United States who wanted to get rid of the Shi’a clergyman before allowing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, also a Shi’a Muslim, to return to Iran, to prevent Sadr from spreading the Ayatollah’s revolutionary influence to Lebanon.

    The Atlanticist media have also overlooked the criticism that anti-imperialist Resistance organizations, and indeed ourselves, addressed at Muammar al-Gaddafi concerning his frequent compromises with Israel.

    For my part, I can attest that, until the Battle of Tripoli, the “Guide” had continued to negotiate with Israeli envoys in the hope of buying Tel Aviv’s protection. But I must also attest that, despite my strong reservations about his international policy, and the complete file about me in this regard that was given to him in July by the French DCRI in an attempt to have me arrested, Muammar al-Gaddafi gave me his trust and asked me to help his country assert its rights at the United Nations [2] – a behavior which one would hardly expect from a tyrant.

    Nor have the Atlanticist media ever mentioned my condemnation of Libya’s interference in French political life, including the illegal financing of the presidential election campaigns of Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal. The “Guide” had in fact authorized his brother-in-law Abdallah Senoussi to corrupt the two leading candidates in exchange for an amnesty pledge or for putting pressure on the French justice system to close his criminal record [3].

    But above all, the Atlanticist media have failed to mention the major achievements of the “Guide”: the overthrow of the puppet monarchy imposed by the Anglo-Saxons, the removal of foreign troops, the nationalization of hydrocarbons, the construction of the Man Made River (the largest irrigation project in the world), the redistribution of oil revenues (he turned one of the poorest in the world into the richest in Africa), generous asylum to Palestinian refugees and development aid on an unprecedented scale to the Third World (Libya’s development aid was more important than all the G20 states put together).

    The death of Muammar el-Qaddafi will change nothing at the international level. The important event was the fall of Tripoli, bombarded and captured by NATO – undoubtedly the worst war crime of this century – followed by the penetration of the Misrata tribe to control the capital. In the weeks that preceded the Battle of Tripoli, the overwhelming majority of Libyans took part, Friday after Friday, in anti-NATO, anti-CNT and pro-Gaddafi rallies. Now, their country has been destroyed and they are governed by NATO and its CNT puppets.

    However, the death of the “Guide” will have an enduring traumatic effect on Libya’s tribal society. By killing the leader, NATO destroyed the incarnation of the principle of authority. It will take years and much more violence before a new leader will be recognized by all the tribes or the tribal system is replaced by another form of social organization. In this sense, the death of Muammar al-Gaddafi opened a period of Iraqization or Somaliazation in Libya.

    Thierry Meyssan is a prominent French intellectual, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace Conference. His columns specializing in international relations feature in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. His last two books published in English : 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.


    [1] Investigation conducted by Frontal magazine, broadcast by ZDF on 28 August 1998.

    [2] Editor’s note: I accepted the mission as an activist, without any remuneration whatsoever.

    [3] Abdallah Senoussi had been sentenced in France in absentia for the explosion aboard flight UTA Flight 772 which occurred on 19 September 1989 in the midst of the Chadian war, killing 171 people.


    UNESCO to vote on Palestinian membership

    October 29th, 2011 by Canadians for Justice & Peace in the Middle East

    Montreal, October 28, 2011 — On Monday, Oct. 31, the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will vote on the issue of Palestinian membership. The request was approved by the overwhelming majority of UNESCO’s 58-member Executive Board on October 5, and must now go to the General Conference for final approval. Complicating the matter, US legislation passed over 15 years ago stipulates that all US funding be completely cut off to any UN agency that accepts the Palestinians as a full member. The Obama administration is reportedly reluctant to cut UNESCO funding, but likely will not be able to persuade the Republican-controlled Congress to change the law. The US currently provides about $70 million a year — 22 percent of UNESCO’s budget. Canada’s position is unclear. Despite opposition by the US, Israel, Canada and Germany, on September 23 Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas formally presented an application for full membership in the UN of a Palestinian State based on the 1967 borders. The Palestinian request for UNESCO membership is part of Palestinian diplomats’ efforts to get the international community to consider their territories a nation, and an important test of the breadth of support for the Palestinian bid for full UN membership. The Palestinian delegation has had observer status at UNESCO since 1974, but previous bids for full membership have failed.

    “CJPME urges the Canadian government to support Palestinian full membership in UNESCO,” says Thomas Woodley, President of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME). CJPME notes that the Harper government has urged Palestinian leaders to not seek membership in the UN until a peace agreement with Israel is achieved. This effectively leaves the Palestinians at the mercy of the Israel, despite Israel’s continued illegal colonization of the occupied Palestinian territories.

    The approval of two thirds of the 193-member General Conference, which meets once every two years, is required for requests for full membership in UNESCO to pass. There has been speculation that if the UNESCO General Conference approves Palestinian membership and US funding is withdrawn, Arab countries and other nations would make up the shortfall. The US is currently a member of the UNESCO Executive Board, and could continue to be one, even if it withdraws its funding for the agency. Canada is not a member of the Board.

    Saving The Eurozone. Will it Work?

    October 29th, 2011 by Bob Chapman

    It is now clear to the most casual observer that the world’s monetary and financial system cannot function without massive amounts of additional money and credit. That means the system no longer functions the way it should. Europe really doesn’t know what to do and neither does the Fed and the Bank of England. The exception is throwing more money at the problem and keeping interest rates near zero indefinitely. Many US, UK and European banks are insolvent. The real estate market continues to deflate throughout Europe with the exception of Germany, which never really rose in price. Again, there are no solutions offered to solve this problem. Just as there are no solutions elsewhere. These conditions tell us the euro has serious problems to face as does the pound and the US dollar. You have to then say to yourself against what. Each currency has its own problems, thus, the only alterative is to measure each currency versus gold and silver. These are the true benchmarks, and when compared over the last 11-1/2 years, versus nine major currencies gold and silver on average annually have appreciated more than 20%. That tells you anyone holding currencies has been a major loser.

    In the US and the UK banks are insolvent as well, because books are market-to-model, not to market and many carry two sets of books. Without a total audit one does not know the actual condition of these financial institutions. Market players and investors do not want to know the truth, because they cannot handle it. It means it is the end of the game – it’s over. That is why Wall Street and the City of London casts a blind eye at all the government manipulation going on. They go with the flow hoping the system will keep functioning.

    Americans and others have been sold a bill of goods concerning US supremacy in the business and financial worlds, which means they have been propagandized since WWII. It is beyond the capability of most Americans to understand that they have been sold one lie after another and they bought it hook, line and sinker. Even if they discover the truth making seminal changes is very difficult. Thus, you can have 70% of people over 65 years old that have discovered the truth that are generally incapable of acting on it. The 25% of these retirees that have investable funds are frozen in the headlights and few make the necessary changes to hold on to their assets. If their assets remained static inflation is destroying their purchasing power year after year. Some will switch into gold and silver related assets, but very few. Good people who have led exemplary lives could lose most of their assets if they do not make changes. Once the system goes down there will be no way back. Ask the people who didn’t listen in 1929.

    Now that Europe has a new formula to ostensibly save the euro zone and the EU we can for the time being take a look at other problems. We find many smaller and medium sized banks cannot payback TARP funds. That means some of them may be approaching insolvency. We also notice that the FDIC for some time no longer issue late Friday updates on bank failures. Municipalities are having major trouble and that will continue. It is taking a little longer than expected for these entities to head into bankruptcy. Many know the government is broke, so it is no longer a secret. Those who feel safe in an FDIC bank account had best think again. The FDIC is broke and if they had to pay off billions they could not, unless Congress gave them more money to do so, which the Fed would create out of thin air, and cause more inflation. The public’s shocked and in denial and that state will only change gradually and eventually these Americans will pull their funds out of the system and put the proceeds into gold and silver coins, bullion and shares.

    That means they will be able to function when checks, debit and credit cards no longer work.

    We are entering a time of falling currencies, as more and more money and credit are created to save the system and the power centers of the Illuminists. Now that for now Europe has been saved, al the elitists have to deal with is the fallout from QE 3. That should occur soon. That is why the PPT is still trying to keep gold and silver down. It won’t matter, because gold and silver will still go higher.

    After 5-months of dithering, Europe has finally put together a temporary deal to save Greece, the euro zone and perhaps the EU.

    Bondholders, mostly banks, accepted a 50% write down on Greece debt. This deal was offered two years ago, but the banks and Germany refused the offer.

    The funds available are $517 billion, which will be elevated by use of derivatives to $1.4 trillion. That should last a year dependent on how much money insolvent members will need. We call this temporary, because of a fast slowing economy and the needs for new lower interest loans by Ireland and Portugal. If our original estimate for the six countries is correct this exercise will have to be done three more times over the next two years. Not one of these bankers and politicians dare look down the road at the future. The problem has not been solved; it has just been extended.

    The deal includes recapitalization of Europe’s banks and a larger role for the IMF.

    This comes on the heals of the realization that if the banks did not write off 50% of Greek debt, Greece then face total insolvency, as did the banks. This shows you the tremendous grip the bankers have on European politicians. This also sets the stage for Greek bailout two. The first was for $154 billion; the second will be for $182 billion for a total of $336 billion. Of the second tranche the IMF will supply $3.8 billion. It should be noted that recently the ECB, European Central Bank, bought $237.3 billion in Greek, Irish, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian bonds to keep the bond market from collapsing. In addition outside money will be pursued. France’s Sarkozy is talking with Chinese leader Hu Jintao for assistance. In addition banks will have to raise $150 billion by June 30, 2012 to reach core capital reserves of 9%, after writing off sovereign debt holdings. In the interim no dividends or no bonuses. Incidentally, of that $150 billion, $36.7 billion must be raised by Spanish banks and $20.7 billion by Italian banks.

    What is of great interest in this deal is that German politicians have sold out 65% or more of the voters and the High Court has said nothing about the extension of the new legislation that includes the German gold reserve being used as collateral in case Germany cannot fulfill its obligations. That won’t go over well in Germany. Many House members will not be returning after the next election.

    Another factor is will Ireland and Portugal ask for a 50% reduction in debt, not just lower rates? We guess some are more equal than others.

    We might also ask, what happens if the derivative market comes unglued? In the case of Greece its debt is projected to reduce Greece’s debt to GDP to 120% by 2020. You can’t make up stuff like this. This projection is worthless.

    Mr. Sarkozy of France is seeking funding from China. Europe is China’s biggest export market. It will be interesting to see if they participate and on what terms.

    Greek PM George Papandreou said the government will buy shares in some Greek banks in a nationalization process. After restructuring the shares would be sold on the open market.

    The bank write downs of 50% on their Greek holdings means $3.7 billion debt insurance contracts won’t be triggered according to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association. The amount is interesting. The street said the number was $75 billion; we say $150 billion. As we said long ago, a deal had to be made to save the NYC legacy banks.

    As we mentioned Ireland and Portugal may want the same deal Greece received. The bankers took a 50% loss. Why shouldn’t Ireland and Portugal expect the same? At the least they should receive cheaper interest payments on aid, and longer to repay it. Why is it acceptable to write down Greek debt, when the Irish pay private bankers’ debt?  The IMF says Ireland’s debt will be 18% more than GDP in 2013 or $280 billion. The bottom line is that the ECB had best deal with these problems quickly, or they may have a couple of tigers on their hands.

    As Europe’s problems and another downgrade of US credit looms, even though in a manipulated market, the issue of unpaybable debt doesn’t go away. Almost everywhere we look problems are being extended and thrown into the future. How long it will take for the world monetary system to collapse no one knows, but it is inevitable.

    Various solutions have been offered and even if some were adopted this past week they are never going to be enough to change the course of the future. Creating more debt cannot solve debt problems and Europe’s bankers know that. All their moves are to save the financial system and nothing is done to save the economic system. The elitist Illuminists are only interested in saving their power base from which they control the world.

    As we pointed out in the last issue chances are very good, that interest rates will be lowered by the ECB now that Mr. Trichet is gone.

    The failure of Dexia two weeks ago should strike the beginning of a long line of new formations of good bank bad bank creations. In this case all the good assets stay in Dexia and the bad assets are shunted into a companion bank run by the government, so that Dexia can survive and that the public is allowed to take the losses. There will be scores of banks, not only in Europe, but in the UK and US; that will follow this template until they are all merged, eliminated or nationalized. Ring fencing or circling the wagons won’t work. It only puts the unpayble debt burden into the future, so that citizens can pay for the excesses of the bankers.

    No one has as yet told us where the latest $500 billion swap by the Fed went. We did see the ECB wildly buying Italian and Spanish bonds and somehow found funds to start another round of bank loans. During that time frame miraculously Wall Street banks made bail out loans to EU banks. These are the same NYC legacy banks that control 70% of US banking, that would not lend to small and medium sized US businesses that create 70% of new jobs. Interesting observation we’d say. That is further proof that these mega money center banks have had little inclination to help the economy recover. All they are interested in is profits and how big a share of the banking market they can capture.

    If Greece defaults a number of banks will follow it into bankruptcy not only in Europe and England, but in the US as well. The only thing that can save the EU is a compromise by Germany, and if its politicians sell out to the New World Order banks then the CDU will be out of office for the next 12 years. As this conflict goes on the euro rises in value in anticipation of a deal, if only temporary. This is similar to the Dow, which just rose from 10,500 to almost 12,000 on the inside information that there soon would be QE 3.

    Currency debasement is the name of the game worldwide. That tact showed up in England and in the ECB, as they poured funds into their economies two weeks ago.

    The key to Germany’s monetary ascendancy, which has gone somewhat unnoticed by the media and western politicians over the years, has proven the power of the German people and their economy. We saw first hand the progress through the 1950s and 60s, which was based on sound monetary and fiscal principals. Even though Keynesianism and Socialism was stuffed down Germany’s throat they eventually took another path laid out by Ludwig Erhard and Wilhelm Rapke, which produced a sound currency and they cast aside all of the financial demands of their occupiers, who still happen to be in Germany. These events set the stage for the success we have seen over the past 50 years. The allies were outraged that Germany could and would do something so successful. By 1955-60 they were leading Europe again and it has been so ever since. The entire West was incredulous, as Germany became the leading European economy, as it emerged from the rubble. Now Germany is the nation that must save Europe from collapsing. The formula being demanded by the US and their mouthpieces is more leveraged debt, which the Germans know won’t solve the problem. Germany’s Merkel as you have seen, has gone along with the program. We’ll see what the voters think after the next election.

    Cuba is undergoing a “silent transition” from socialism to a mixed economy but the U.S. hasn’t responded with diplomatic initiatives, an authority on Latin American affairs writes.

    “A series of economic reforms are shrinking the size of the state-run economy and making room for a greatly expanded private sector,” says Michelle Chase, professor of Latin American history at Bloomfield (N.J.) College.

    The reforms are being instituted slowly, however. Roberto Veiga Gonzalez, a progressive Catholic editor of a journal published by the Archdiocese of Havana calls the gradual transition  “responsible,” but adds Cubans needs the reforms now because they can’t take the hardship any longer. Cubans are enduring hard times. Many families are already spending 80% of their income just on food.

    Writing in the November 7th issue of The Nation magazine, Chase says some in the government want economic reforms modeled after China and Vietnam but others “want Cuba’s reforms to be tailored in a way that would give priority to small, worker-owned cooperatives” that are a kind of “decentralized socialism.”

    Whatever the shape of the future, Raul Castro, who promised Cuba would never return to capitalism, appears to be doing just that. A year ago, Chase writes, he directed mass layoffs of government workers to trim a bloated bureaucracy and designated new areas for entrepreneurial expansion.

    Since last April, Havana has granted some 330,000 licenses and the newly self-employed, known as cuentapropistas, are now allowed to hire Cubans outside of their own families. “The government’s stated goal,” Chase writes, “is to have nearly half the populace working in the private sector by 2015. For a country where nearly 90 percent of the economy was once in state hands, that will be a major about-face.”

    Whereas in 1990, liberal reforms in Cuba were viewed as “a necessary evil” today, Chase explains, “the leadership actually embraces the notion of a robust private sector.” Adds Omar Everleny, a professor at the Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy at the University of Havana, “When you read the Guidelines and Raul’s speeches, you realize he’s determined to change things….he’s made the decision not to turn back.”

    A key factor slowing Havana’s reforms “is undoubtedly the U.S. embargo,” Chase writes, as it has “a toxic, distorting effect on internal Cuban politics.” She explains, “Washington’s openly stated goal of destabilization and regime change creates a sense of permanent crisis, a siege mentality, in the leadership. This has long had the effect of limiting internal debate and bolstering hardliners who view any critique as a dangerous prelude to subversion.”

    What’s more, by blocking American tourism, for example, “the U.S. government is in effect slowing the growth of Cuba’s private sector” where the government has opened the doors for Cuban businesses to operate.

    Reviewing the past few years, Chase writes, it is apparent “a transition of sorts has already happened in Cuba. Raul Castro…and his cohort now openly embrace market reforms and have implemented measures to foster a large private sector….In addition, with the Catholic church serving as intermediary, the government recently released most political prisoners….If there has ever been a time for the US government to acknowledge internal reforms and reciprocate with increased diplomacy, that time is now.”

    Americans, however, may have a long wait before Washington turns to diplomacy. The U.S. attitude has long been “do it our way (economically) or else.” Countries, including Cuba, whose rulers tried non-capitalist economic approaches, have been attacked militarily by the U.S. or its surrogates and/or destabilized by the Central Intelligence Agency. At times, the leaders of those countries were assassinated by the CIA.

    America’s Founders established a policy of realism in matters of diplomacy. They held governments in power were governments the U.S. would recognize because we needed to treat with them, whether we liked them or not. Modern presidents trampled this common-sense approach for years by not recognizing Soviet Russia and Communist China. And they are still withholding it from Cuba. The authors of the Constitution might well be appalled if they knew the CIA backed the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, tried to poison the Cuban sugar crop and wreak other calamities on the country, and made at least eight attempts on the life of Fidel Castro.

    With Fidel out of power and his more rational brother in charge, now is the time for the U.S. to open talks leading to improved U.S. relations with Cuba, as well as full liberties and economic opportunities for the Cuban people.

    Sherwood Ross, who formerly reported for major dailies and wire services, is director of the Anti-War News Service. Reach him at [email protected] .


    Mahmoud Jibril e il progetto di ridistribuzione della ricchezza di Gheddafi
    Un articolo di Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, 28 ottobre 2011.

    Il Colonnello Muammar Gheddafi simboleggia molte cose per molte differenti persone nel mondo. Che si ami o si odi il leader libico, sotto di lui la Libia si è trasformata da uno dei paesi più poveri sulla faccia della terra al paese con i migliori standard di vita in Africa.

    Per usare le parole del professor Henri Habibi: “Quando la Libia ottenne la sua indipendenza dalle Nazioni Unite il 24 dicembre 1951, fu descritta come una delle nazioni più povere e maggiormente arretrate del mondo. La popolazione all’epoca non superava 1,5 milioni di abitanti, era analfabeta per oltre il 90% e non aveva esperienza politica o di know-how. Non c’erano università e solo un numero limitato di scuole secondarie che erano state istituite sette anni prima dell’indipendenza.” [1]

    Gheddafi aveva molti grandi progetti. Molti di questi erano di natura pan-africana, inclusa la formazione degli Stati Uniti d’Africa.

    Il Progetto pan-africano di Gheddafi

    Il Colonnello Gheddafi iniziò la costruzione del Grande Fiume Fatto dall’Uomo. Si tratta di un imponente progetto per trasformare il deserto del Sahara e invertire il processo di desertificazione in Africa. Il Grande Fiume, con i suoi piani di irrigazione, fu pensato anche per aiutare il settore agricolo in altre parti dell’Africa. Questo progetto è stato uno degli obbiettivi vittime degli attacchi NATO in Libia.

    Gheddafi aveva anche previsto istituzioni finanziarie pan-africane indipendenti. La Libyan Investment Authority e la Libyan Foreign Bank sono stati attori importanti nella creazione di queste istituzioni. Attraverso di esse, Gheddafi è stato determinante nel creare la prima rete satellitare dell’Africa, la RASCOM (Regional African Satellite Communication Organization) per ridurre la dipendenza africana da poteri esterni. [2]

    Si pensa che il suo coronamento sarebbe stata la creazione degli Stati Uniti di Africa. Questa entità sopranazionale sarebbe stata creata attraverso l’African Investment Bank, l’African Monetary Fund e, infine, l’African Central Bank. Tutte queste istituzioni erano viste con ostilità dall’Unione Europea, dagli Stati Uniti, dal FMI e dalla Banca Mondiale.

    Il progetto di redistribuzione della ricchezza di Gheddafi

    Gheddafi aveva un progetto di redistribuzione della ricchezza all’interno della Libia. Fonti del Congresso americano in un rapporto al Congresso lo confermano. Il 18 febbraio 2011, nel rapporto si legge: “Nel marzo del 2008 (il Colonnello Gheddafi) aveva annunciato l’intenzione di sciogliere la maggior parte degli organi amministrativi e di istituire il Programma di Distribuzione della Ricchezza per cui i proventi del petrolio sarebbero stati erogati ai cittadini con cadenza mensile per permettergli di amministrarli personalmente, in collaborazione e tramite i comitati locali. Citando le critiche del popolo riguardo gli assolvimenti del governo in un lungo discorso a tutto il paese, (egli) ha affermato ripetutamente che lo Stato tradizionale sarebbe presto “morto” in Libia e che il controllo diretto dei cittadini sarebbe stato realizzato attraverso la distribuzione dei proventi derivati dal petrolio. (Esercito), affari esteri, sicurezza e modalità di produzione del petrolio, ha riferito, sarebbero rimasti sotto la responsabilità del governo nazionale, mentre altri settori sarebbero stati eliminati. Nei primi mesi del 2009 i Congressi Popolari di Base Libici hanno analizzato gli emendamenti variazioni alle proposte e il Congresso Generale del Popolo ha votato per prorogare gli adempimenti.” [3]

    Il Progetto di Redistribuzione della Ricchezza, insieme alla creazione di un sistema politico anarchico, fu visto come una vera e propria minaccia dagli USA e dall’UE e da un gruppo di funzionari libici corrotti. In caso di successo avrebbe creato disordini politici nelle popolazioni di tutto il mondo. All’interno, molti funzionali libici erano al lavoro per ritardare il progetto.

    Perché Mahmoud Jibril ha aderito al Consiglio di Transizione

    Tra i funzionari libici che si sono opposti a questo progetto e lo hanno guardato con orrore c’è Mahmoud Jibril. Jibril era stato posto in carica da Saif Al-Islam Gheddafi. A causa della forte influenza e dei suggerimenti di Stati Uniti e Unione Europea, Saif Al-Islam ha scelto Jibril per trasformare l’economia libica e imporre riforme economiche neoliberiste.

    Jibril sarebbe diventato il capo di due istituzioni della Jamahiriya Araba Libica, il Consiglio Nazionale di Pianificazione della Libia e il Consiglio Nazionale per lo Sviluppo Economico. Mentre quest’ultimo era un ministero normale, il primo avrebbe effettivamente messo Jibril in una posizione superiore a quella del Primo Ministro – l’Ufficio del Segretario Generale del Comitato Popolare della Libia. Jibril, a tutti gli effetti, è stato una delle forze che hanno spalancato le porte alla privatizzazione e alla povertà in Libia.

    Circa sei mesi prima dell’inizio dei conflitti in Libia, Mahmoud Jibril incontrò Bernard-Henry Lévy in Australia per discutere la formazione del Consiglio di Transizione con lo scopo di rimuovere Gheddafi. [4] Descrisse il Progetto di Redistribuzione della Ricchezza di Gheddafi come “folle” nei rapporti e nei documenti del Consiglio Nazionale per lo Sviluppo Economico della Jamahiriya Araba Libica. [5] Jibril era convinto che le masse non erano adatte a governare sé stesse e che un’élite avrebbe dovuto avere il controllo del destino e della ricchezza di ogni nazione. Ciò che Jibril aveva in mente era ridimensionare il governo e licenziare una larga parte del settore pubblico, in cambio di un aumento dei regolamenti governativi in Libia. Citava sempre Singapore come perfetto esempio di stato neo-liberista. È probabile che incontrerà Bernard-Henry Lévy anche a Singapore, dove aveva l’abitudine di recarsi regolarmente.

    Quando i problemi sono scoppiati a Bengasi, Mahmoud Jibril è andato al Cairo, in Egitto. Ha detto ai suoi colleghi che sarebbe ritornato presto a Tripoli, ma non aveva intenzione di ritornare. In realtà è andato al Cairo per incontrare i dirigenti del Consiglio Nazionale siriano e Lévy. Lo stavano tutti aspettando per coordinare gli eventi in Libia e in Siria. Questa è una delle ragioni per cui il Consiglio di Transizione ha riconosciuto il Consiglio Nazionale siriano come legittimo governo della Siria.

    Mahmoud Jibril è oggi Primo Ministro del Consiglio di Transizione libico. L’opposizione di Jibril al Progetto di Redistribuzione della Ricchezza di Gheddafi e il suo atteggiamento elitario sono tra le ragioni della sua cospirazione nei confronti di Gheddafi e del suo contributo alla formazione del Consiglio di Transizione. Questo funzionario dell’ex regime, che è stato sempre un aperto sostenitore dei dittatori arabi nel Golfo Persico, è davvero un rappresentante del popolo?

    Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya è un Sociologo e Ricercatore Associato del Centro per la Ricerca sulla Globalizzazione (CRG) di Montréal. Si è specializzato sul Medio Oriente e sull’Asia Centrale. E’ stato in Libia per oltre due mesi ed è stato Corrispondente Speciale per Flashpoints. Ha rilasciato articoli sulla Libia in collaborazione con discussioni radio di Cynthia McKinney di Freedom Now, uno show trasmesso alle 17.00 PST, il sabato, su Pacifica KPKF, Los Angeles, California.

    Traduzione per Come Don Chisciotte a cura di Alessandra Baldelli.


    [1] Henri Pierre Habib, Politics and Government of Revolutionary Libya (Montmagny, Québec: Le Cercle de Livre de France Ltée, 1975), p. 1.
    [2] Regional African Satellite Communication Organization, “Launch of the Pan African Satellite,” 26 luglio 2010.
    [3] Christopher M. Blanchard and James Zanotti, “Libya: Background and U.S. Relations,” Congressional Research Service, 18 febbraio 2011, p. 22.
    [4] Discussioni private avute con i collaboratori di Mahmoud Jiribil in Libia e all’estero.
    [5] Documenti interni privati del National Economic Development Board.

    I – Introduction
    On Tuesday, October 4, the UN Security Council announced it would take up a draft resolution on Syria. This meeting was to be an instance, when the lessons some Security Council members had drawn from the experience with the resolutions on Libya could be reflected in their action on a draft resolution against Syria.

    Several weeks earlier, journalists had been told that there were two different draft resolutions about Syria tabled at the Security Council.

    One draft resolution on Syria had been proposed by Russia and China. Russia and China said their resolution had been designed to encourage a peaceful process to help the Syrian government deal both with its stated desire for reforms and with the extremist violence against the Syrian government that was making such reform difficult.

    The other draft resolution was tabled by four of the European members of the Security Council – France, UK, Germany and Portugal. (1) This draft condemned the actions of the Syrian government. It did not oppose foreign intervention into Syria’s domestic affairs. The European draft called on all states to deny the Syrian government arms, but made no such call to deny weapons to the armed opposition.

    The European draft framed the problem as the Syrian government, similar to how Resolution 1973 framed the problem in Libya as being due to the government guided by Muammar Gaddafi.

    Coming to the stakeout area where the journalists were congregated, the four European Security Council members informed journalists that they had called for a vote on their resolution that evening at a meeting scheduled to start at 6 pm.

    II – The Security Council Vote on the European Draft Resolution

    At 6:20 pm, the Nigerian Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu as the President of the Security Council for the month of October, opened the meeting.(2) Under Rule 37 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council, she invited the Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari to participate in the meeting.(3)

    The Security Council President called for a vote on the European draft resolution. No members spoke before the vote.

    There were nine votes in favor of the resolution, two votes opposed and four abstentions. Voting in favor of the draft resolution were Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, France, Gabon, Germany, Nigeria,  Portugal, the UK, and the US . Voting against were China and Russia. Abstaining were Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa. The ‘no’ votes by China and Russia, as permanent members of the Security Council, represented a double veto of the European draft resolution. The European draft resolution failed to pass.

    III – Comments by Nations Voting ‘No’ on the Resolution

    What was different in this situation from the vote on Security Council Resolution 1973 about Libya, is that instead of the two permanent members Russia and China abstaining, as they had done on the Libyan resolution in March, this time they both voted ‘no’.

    Russian Federation UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin explained his vote. He said that working with China, Russia had prepared a draft resolution which was supported by Brazil, India and South Africa. The fundamental philosophy of the draft resolution he had worked on, he explained, was to support a respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, and the principle of non intervention in its internal affairs.  These are key principles of the UN Charter. Such an effort, he argued, necessitated the need to refrain from confrontation. There should  be no threats, ultimatums, or sanctions against the Syrian government.

    “The situation in Syria cannot be considered in the Council separately from the Libyan experience, “ Ambassador Churkin said. (Transcript, p. 4) He referred to the alarm expressed in the international community at NATO statements that Security Council resolutions on Libya provided a model for future actions by NATO.

    Churkin specifically pointed to how the language of Resolutions 1970 and 1973 on Libya was turned into its opposite by some members of the Council.  The language calling for a quick cease fire, he said was turned into a full-fledged civil war. The provision of a no fly zone, he explained, “has morphed into the bombing of (Libyan) oil refineries, television stations and other civilian sites.”(Transcript, p. 4) The arms embargo was used as a pretext for a naval blockade affecting humanitarian goods. The call to prevent a  tragedy in Benghazi led to a tragedy in Sirte and Bani Walid, observed the Ambassador.

    Though Churkin did not present a specific description of this tragedy, NATO bombing campaigns were being waged against civilians in Bani Walid and Sirte, even as the Council met.  “These types of models should be excluded from global practices once and for all,” said Churkin.

    One of the reasons Churkin gave for voting against the European draft, was that those writing the resolution had refused to build in a prohibition against foreign intervention into the Syrian conflict.  “Our proposals for wording on the non-acceptability of foreign intervention were not taken into account and, based on the well-known events in North Africa that can only put us on our guard,” Churkin told the Council.

    While the Russian Ambassador condemned Syrian government repression of non-violent demonstrations, he also pointed to the need to condemn the extremists’ violent actions against the Syrian government taken outside the law and aimed at gaining foreign sponsors for their actions. Churkin offered to continue to work on the Russian-Chinese draft resolution to support a process toward a peaceful resolution of the internal Syrian conflict.

    China’s UN Ambassador Li Baodong, explaining his own vote against the European draft resolution, called on all parties in Syria to avoid violence.  Whether the Security Council takes further action on the question of Syria, he said, should depend on whether such action would facilitate the easing of tension in Syria, help to defuse differences through political dialogue , and contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability in the Middle East.

    Important for China was whether the Security Council’s efforts comply with the UN Charter and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states, “which has a bearing upon the security and survival of developing countries, in particular small and medium sized countries,” Ambassador Li told the Security Council.

    China’s Ambassador reminded the Council that there were two draft resolutions, one of which China supported because “it advocates respect for the sovereignty of Syria and resolving the crisis through political dialogue.” The other draft, the one that was voted down, focused “solely on exerting pressure on Syria, even threatening to impose sanctions,” he explained.

    IV – Nations Abstaining Explain their Vote

    The four nations that had abstained also spoke to the Council about the reasons for their votes.

    The Indian Ambassador, Hardeep Singh Puri,  explained that states have an obligation “to respect the fundamental aspirations and respond to the grievances”  of their people.  (Transcript, p. 6) “At the same time,” he said, “states also have the obligation to protect their citizens from armed groups and militants.”  Clarifying his concern, he said, “While the right of people to protest peacefully is to be respected, states cannot but take appropriate action when militant groups – heavily armed – resort to violence against State authority and infrastructure.”

    He saw the need for “the international community” to give “time and space for the Syrian government to implement far-reaching reform measures they have announced.” For this to happen, he proposed, it is necessary “that the opposition forces in Syria give up the path of armed insurrection and engage constructively with the authorities.”

    The Indian Ambassador cautioned that the international community should “not complicate the situation by threats of sanctions, regime change, et cetera.”

    Ambassador Basu Sagqu of South Africa explained his nation’s abstention. He observed, “We have seen recently that Security Council resolutions have been abused, and that their implementation has gone far beyond the mandate of what was intended.” (Transcript, p. 11)

    He questioned whether the plans of the European sponsors of the draft resolution were not part of “a hidden agenda aimed at once again instituting regime change which has been an objective clearly stated by some.”  He referred to the rejection by the European Security Council members of “language that clearly excluded the possibility of military intervention in the resolution….”  He proposed that, “the Security Council should proceed with caution on Syria lest we exacerbate an already volatile situation.”

    Lebanon’s  Ambassador Nawwaf Salam said his country had abstained to defend Syria’s right to sovereignty and “the integrity of its people and land” and in protection of Syria’s unity and stability. (Transcript, p. 9)

    Explaining why her nation abstained from voting for the draft resolution, Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil said that the European draft resolution had been rushed to a vote rather than allowing the needed time to accommodate the serious concerns raised by members about it. (Transcript, p. 11-12)

    V  – Votes of Nations Sponsoring the Draft Resolution

    Explaining their votes in favor of the resolution, France, the UK, Germany and Portugal portrayed what is happening in Syria mainly as a movement for “freedom and democracy” essentially denying that there have been violent attacks against the Syrian government or foreign intervention which encourages these attacks. Their response to the concerns raised by Russia and China and other Council members was to dismiss the issues that they raised. The four European members brought their draft resolution to a vote without resolving the disagreements.  While it is likely they had anticipated a veto, they claimed to be surprised at the results of the vote. UK Ambassador Sir Mark Lyall Grant maintained that their text “contained nothing that any member of this Council should have felt the need to oppose.”  (Transcript, p. 7)

    VI – Other Council Members Voting in Favor Draft Resolution

    The US Ambassador Susan Rice said that the US was “outraged” by the action of the Council.(Transcript, p.8 )The US offered no specific  responses to concerns raised by other council members about the resolution, such as Ambassador Churkin’s concern about how the words of the Libyan resolution were turned into their opposites, or the South African concern that the draft European resolution on Syria would be used for actions far beyond any mandates intended by all members of the Council.  Ambassador Rice merely said that the resolution against Syria was “not about military intervention” or about Libya.

    Nowhere in her comments was there any response to the problem other Council members raised about  alleged foreign intervention, like that of Turkey and other States which are repeating with Syria the pattern of what NATO nations had done in the case of Libya. Colombia and Bosnia expressed their support for the resolution condemning the Syrian government. Gabon and Nigeria did not speak to explain why they voted in favor of the European resolution.

    VII – Syrian Comments to the Council

    After all of the Council members who had asked to speak, had been given the floor, Syrian Ambassador Ja’afari  was called on to present his comments to the Council. It is the usual Security Council practice to allow a UN member with a material interest in an issue being considered, to present its position, but only after a vote is taken.

    The Syrian Ambassador proposed that the reason the NATO countries are targeting his country for hostile action is not because of any humanitarian concerns. The basis for their hostile actions, he said, is “due to our independent political position which does not conform to the agendas of those capitals.” (Transcript, p. 12) Pointing to massacres and human rights violations by the US and other western nations in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Algeria, many African countries, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, Ja’afari said he did not see how anyone could ignore these. The implication was that the nations bringing the draft resolution to the Council had a double standard about whose human rights violations they asked the Council to condemn. While he acknowledged the need and desire of the Syrian people and government for economic, political and social reforms, he denounced the misuse of such demands to try “to facilitate external opposition,” and to “pave the way for external intervention.”

    He proposed that, “encouraging the radical demands of the opposition in Syria to topple the government by force of arms, violence and terrorism amounts to a coup supported by outside powers….” (Transcript, p. 14)

    He argued that “the intervention of the Security Council in Syrian internal affairs further aggravates the situation and sends a message to extremists and terrorists – that their acts of deliberate sabotage and violence…are encouraged and supported by the Security Council.” (Transcript, p. 14)

    Concluding his comments, he expressed his appreciation to the States that had rejected what he characterized as abuse of the Council.  “If we are optimistic about the Council,” he said, “it is because we continue to hear the voice of the wise echoing in the Chamber.”

    The Security Council meeting ended at 7:45 pm.

    VIII – Some Examples of Netizen Comments on the Resolution

    While much of the mainstream Western media portrayed the October 4 Security Council meeting in the terms offered by the US and European members of the Council, several  responses posted on the Internet demonstrated that there are many people who oppose the actions of the western members of the Security Council.(4)

    For example, in one response to media reports that Ambassador Rice said the US was “outraged” by the Russian and Chinese vetoes of the European draft resolution, one netizen asked, “Where is all the outrage over US and Europe’s cracking down on their protesters? Where is the UN resolution on all that?”

    A number of netizens applauded Russia and China for vetoing the European resolution against Syria.

    Some netizens wrote that Russia and China “should also have vetoed the Libyan resolution.” One netizen explained the view that “they (Russia and China) just allowed NATO to kill Libyans, and destroy the country so they can make big money in reconstruction contracts. “

    A US netizen who expressed a similar view said, referring to the US President Obama, “So I guess our Nobel Peace Prize winner wants to spread more peace around the globe. He will have to do it Bush style without UN approval.”

    Another netizen said that such a veto a few months ago in the Libyan situation would have prevented the “now ongoing genocide and catastrophe that the US, France and so-called UK have brought the Libyan nation via NATO bombings and flagrant – shameless support of armed revolt. Perhaps there’s still a chance for the ‘United Nations’ to vindicate itself historically and salvage its long lost credibility and honorable standing.”

    Expressing a similar viewpoint, a netizen ended his comment, “If a ‘no-fly zone’ is interpreted by Obama and Sarkozy as 6 months of unlimited bombing (of Libya), how could China and Russia risk allowing any kind of resolution on another country.” 

    IX – Conclusion

    Comparing the October 4 Security Council meeting which rejected the hostile European draft resolution against Syria with the March 17 meeting approving Resolution 1973 against Libya, what stands out is that on October 4, some members of the Security Council acknowledged  the violent actions of some of the internal opposition against the Syrian government. In March the Council had failed to acknowledge the armed insurrection against the Libyan government.

    One lesson that several members of the Council appear to have drawn from the Security Council action on Libya, was the need to avoid passing a vague or hostile resolution which could be abused by powerful nations as a pretext to carry out a hidden agenda of regime change.

    The opposition on the Security Council to the European draft demonstrated a determination to prevent  a NATO type intervention against Syria, similar to that which had been carried out by the US, France, and the UK against Libya using NATO.  The Libyan experience had shown that these powerful western governments would do as they wished using a Security Council resolution as a pretext and the Security Council had no means to stop such abuse of its resolutions.

    The UN Charter obligation of the Security Council is to work for the peaceful resolution of conflicts affecting peace and security in the international arena. The situation in Syria, as it was in Libya, is a domestic affair complicated by foreign intervention. The fact that many Libyan civilians have been and continued to be killed by NATO bombing missions in Libya as the Council considered a similar resolution against Syria, offered a grotesque backdrop to the fact that some NATO members who are members of the Security Council have continued to try to use the Security Council to claim legal authority for their clearly illegal attack on the sovereignty of UN member nations.(5)

    Netizen comments in response to western media reports in support of such illegal actions demonstrate a rejection by these netizens of the kind of action NATO has undertaken against Libya. The effort of NATO members of the Security Council to use the Libya resolution as a model to support their attack on Syria, was met by a double veto and four abstentions in the Security Council. It was also met by netizens posting articles and comments on the Internet to oppose NATO’s actions and to welcome the Russian and Chinese vetoes of the European draft resolution.

    Ronda Hauben has been a resident correspondent at the UN for the past 5 years covering the UN first for the English edition of OhmyNews International, and more recently as a blog columnist at .  She is co-author of the book “Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet.”

    1) S/2011/612, Security Council Draft Resolution (Not approved)

    2) Rule 37 of the “Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council”
    “Any Member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council may be invited, as the result of a decision of the Security Council, to participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Security Council when the Security Council considers that the interests of that Member are specially affected, or when a Member brings a matter to the attention of the Security Council in accordance with Article 35 (1) of the Charter.”

    3) S/PV.6627,  The Security Council Meeting of Oct 4, 2011. I refer to this UN document as “Transcript” in the text of the article. A url for the document at the UN website is:

    4) Comments in response to an article in the Washington Post.

    5) See for example an excerpt from a  talk given by John Pilger at the October 8, 2011 protest in Trafalga Square, UK
     “(T)he United States, Britain, and France are bombing a city in Libya called Sirte.  There are 100,000 people.  Day and night, residential buildings, clinics, schools have been hit with fragmentation bombs and Hellfire missiles. . . .The media refer to Sirte as a true Gaddafi stronghold.  The Channel 4 reporter in Libya describes the attacks as “cutting off the head of the snake.”  For such heroic journalists, there are two types of humanity in war: there are worthy victims and unworthy victims.  The people of Sirte are unworthy victims, and therefore they are expendable both as people and as news.  In Iraq the people of Fallujah were also unworthy victims.  American Marines, helped by the British, killed some 5,000 people there. . . .  As Harold Pinter would say . . . none of it happened.  It didn’t happen even as it was happening.  It didn’t matter. . . .  We’ve had ten years of such crimes that didn’t happen, that didn’t matter. . . .  The war on Afghanistan was a fraud right from the beginning, just as the attack on Iraq was a fraud and the invasion of Libya is a fraud.”

    This article appears on my blog at The url is:

    A 51st State for Armed Robotic Drones

    October 28th, 2011 by David Swanson

    Weaponized UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), also known as drones, have their own caucus in Congress, and the Pentagon’s plan is to give them their own state as well.

    Under this plan, 7 million acres (or 11,000 square miles) of land in the southeast corner of Colorado, and 60 million acres of air space (or 94,000 square miles) over Colorado and New Mexico would be given over to special forces testing and training in the use of remote-controlled flying murder machines. The full state of Colorado is itself 104,000 square miles. Rhode Island is 1,000 square miles. Virginia, where I live, is 43,000 square miles.

    The U.S. military (including Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines) is proceeding with this plan in violation of the public will, new state legislation on private property rights, an exceptionally strong federal court order, and a funding ban passed by the United States Congress, and in the absence of any approved Environmental Impact Statement. Public pressure has successfully put the law on the right side of this issue, and the military is disregarding the law.

    I spoke with Jean Aguerre, whose organization “Not 1 More Acre” ( ) is leading the pushback against this madness. Jean told me she grew up, during the 1960s, on the vast grasslands of southeast Colorado, where the Comanche National Grasslands makes up part of a system of grasslands put in place to help the prairie recover from the dust bowl. The dust bowl, Aguerre says, was the worst environmental disaster in the United States until BP filled the Gulf of Mexico with oil. The dust bowl had been brought on by the government’s policy of requiring homesteaders to plow the prairie. The recovery programs created large tracts of land, of 100,000 acres and more, owned by “generational ranchers,” that is families that would hand the ranches off to their children.

    Aguerre said she grew up on a ranch of incredible beauty and natural wealth, with a 165-million-year-old dinosaur track way and petroglyphs from 12,000 years back. Grasslands are the most threatened ecosystems in the world because they are so accessible, Aguerre says, and the only intact short grassland left in this country is the one being targeted for the “51st state.”

    Round One began in the 1980s. Fort Carson, an Army base in Colorado Springs, had been kept open after World War II and now began looking for more land. The people of the area were opposed. The U.S. Congressman representing the area agreed to oppose any landgrab. But Senator Gary Hart took the opposite position. As a result, during the early 1980s, the Army Corps of Engineers started telling ranchers to sell out or risk seeing their land condemned and taken from them.

    The ranch next to Aguerre’s is called Wine Glass Rourke. It was sold to a shill, as Aguerre describes the buyer. He ran the place into the ground with too many cattle, she says, and then sold it to the military, “And they were off and running!” With condemnations the military put together 250 thousand acres. Ranchers, along with their cattle, were moved off their own land by federal marshals. “We didn’t know when we’d be next,” Aguerre says of her own family.

    Luckily for the people of Colorado and New Mexico, and all of us, Aguerre got involved in politics. She became a political director for Congressman Tim Werth who later became a U.S. senator. Aguerre took him to see the Wine Glass Rourke ranch and told him “Let’s take it back.” Werth dedicated his staff to the effort for three years, resulting in the transfer to the Forest Service of 17,000 key acres.

    The Army used its new land less than twice a year for maneuvers, but caused horrible environmental damage whenever it did. That was the case for about 30 years, until the activity of recent years made everything that came before look sensitive and sustainable.

    In the meantime, people like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were theorizing the transformation of the U.S. military into a force for robotic warfare. Aguerre believes it was in 1996 that a decision was made that the military would need a robotic warfare center. Around 1999 the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement was created. This precedes the more specific Site Environmental Impact Statements. The U.S. public, just like the public of any foreign nation where new U.S. bases are being planned, was told nothing.

    In 2006, Aguerre was working in Oregon when friends started asking her to come home and help because something big was happening. An Army land expansion map had been leaked that showed plans for taking over 6.9 million acres, the whole southeast corner of the state. Aguerre thought she would come home for two weeks but has never left. An Environmental Impact Statement for the site was about to be released, and Aguerre knew that meant the project was pretty far along. She formed organizations and found a lawyer in Colorado Springs named Steve Harris to help. The two of them, she says, were absolutely dedicated to NEPA and FOIA. NEPA is the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. FOIA is the Freedom of Information Act of 1966. “NEPA is intended to prevent our government taking our world apart piece by piece without our knowing it,” explains Aguerre.

    Aguerre and others persuaded the area’s county commissioners to vote against the military’s plans in 2006, and the state legislature to pass a private property rights bill in January 2007 — a bill that required approval of such plans by the state legislature.

    Ken Salazar was the military’s hired servant. He had been Attorney General of Colorado from 1999 to 2005. He was a U.S. Senator from 2005 to 2009. President Barack Obama has made him Secretary of the Interior. Around 2007, Jean Aguerre recounts, Salazar held a public meeting in Pueblo, Col., with about 300 ranchers packing the room. He turned his palms up to the ceiling and announced: “I will lift the golden curtain that falls at the end of El Paso county so that prosperity can flow onto the eastern plains.” This meant that military spending was economically beneficial. Military expansion, people were being told, was good for them — even if it stole their families’ land, and regardless of what momentum it created for the launching and continuing of wars.

    “Instead of putting together frameworks for nonproliferation,” says Aguerre, “Ken Salazar worked to destroy the last intact short grass prairie because the money was too good.”

    Senators Wayne Allard, who would join the military lobbyist company the Livingston Group within weeks of leaving the Senate, and Ken Salazar passed an authorization for taking land as part of the 2007 John Warner Defense Authorization Act. “None of the ranchers knew they were in line to be condemned for the second damn time,” says Aguerre.

    John Salazar, Ken’s brother, at this time represented Colorado’s third congressional district, while Republican Marilyn Musgrave represented the fourth. Musgrave was persuaded by ranchers that there was no need for the government to take their land. Aguerre worked with Musgrave’s staff to draft a one-sentence funding ban. Aguerre and her allies then organized massive public pressure to recruit John Salazar as a Democratic co-sponsor. Ken Salazar failed in his effort to block this measure in the Senate. The ban passed both houses and became law, but it must be renewed every year.

    In 2009, Aguerre and her allies won a federal court ruling throwing out the military’s Environmental Impact Statement with harsh and unequivocal language — “one of the strongest court orders under NEPA,” says Aguerre. By 2008, the military had begun using its land a lot more, and the court ruling did not stop them.

    The funding ban, too, is not stopping increased activity. This past year, the funding ban was missing from a committee chairman’s markup in which it had appeared in previous years. Not 1 More Acre and its allies pressured Third-District Congressman Scott Tipton. People from all over the country phoned his office. They were told that as non-constituents their views did not matter. Aguerre advised people to reply: “When you pick my pocket you don’t ask what district I’m from.” Tipton was won over, and the funding ban, for what it’s worth, remains for now.

    Nonetheless, says Aguerre, the military is proceeding with and increasing trainings and environmental destruction daily .

    Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado and Tom Udall of New Mexico don’t receive high marks from Jean Aguerre. “Mark Udall on Armed Services and Michael Bennet on Agriculture sit with their thumbs in their pie. Udall has never once come to southeastern Colorado and looked young ranchers in the eye and said ‘this is why we need this military takeover of your lands.’”

    Aguerre continues: “And Tom Udall puts out this pap the other day, mumbo jumbo about the Air Force. It’s not Air Force; it’s Special Operations. Aguerre said that her group and others are preparing a comment letter seeking legal standing to challenge the Air Force, and potentially to pry loose more information from the iron grip of our “transparent” government. Aguerre points out that the Air Force Special Operations Command Environmental Assessment was written by SAIC, a global military contractor that also makes voting machines.

    “We found out that the state national guard is completely involved in UAV warfare,” says Aguerre. “So when your house floods and you don’t have the national guard there, they may be remotely piloting something somewhere else.”

    Aguerre says that in 2006 she knew of four countries that were manufacturing armed UAVs, and that now she knows of 56. So, the argument that drones keep “people” out of harm’s way (with people redefined to mean U.S. citizens) doesn’t hold up very solidly. We have also already had a suicide bomb attack on a drone piloting location and had drone pilots commit suicide, not to mention the risks of long-term blowback, the damage being done to the rule of law, and all the human beings killed and injured from among the non-U.S. 95% of humanity.

    Aguerre asks scientists who love unarmed UAVs to consider the full effect of supporting such technology. I would ask environmentalists to consider the full effect of not resisting the destruction of what Not 1 More Acre describes as:

    • unique bioregions of canyonlands, forested mesas, grasslands and riparian systems providing habitat for diverse flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth and the largest block of native prairie remaining on the High Plains;
    • restored Dust Bowl lands – Comanche, Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands — offering robust safe haven to threatened and endangered species of plants and animals, including rare insects and reptiles yet to be named;
    • wild rivers and complex wetlands vital to native fish, migrating birds, unique wildlife and environmental health.

    I would ask opponents of drone warfare to consider the likely impact of setting aside 60 million acres of air space for testing drones.

    “We cannot allow the sacrifice of our democracy to politicians who are bought by military contractors,” says Aguerre. “If they are able to get this 51st state for robotic warfare, I think the economy will be irretrievably lost. These are unbelievably beautiful and pristine lands. Our rural areas are where the genetically modified seeds are being planted, where the lands and mountains are being mined, and where the military is going to destroy an area the size of a state, because the rural people are so few. Gary Hart was able to attack the last short grass prairie without political cost.”

    Why is there no political cost? Because “we can’t get the word out.”

    Let’s help get the word out by sharing this link:

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    David Swanson is the author of “War Is A Lie”

    According to NATO  figures, coalition aircraft delivered 415 key strikes on the town of Sirte between Sunday 28th August and Thursday 20th October. We have compared this to the bombing of Guernica and other comparisons have been made to the widely condemned levelling of Grozny.

    In addition, the rebels, described in NATO circles as a ‘proxy army” were allowed by NATO to indiscriminately shell the town with tank fire, heavy mortar fire and artillery. Here is some footage from the ‘Information Office of the Misrata Mujahid Battalion’ to illustrate the point:

    And here is more footage, taken in September, showing heavy mortar and rocket fire into the town. It is crystal clear that NATO, who were patrolling the skies above and bombing the town, purportedly to protect civilians, were making no attempt to protect the civilians of Sirte from this indiscriminate use of heavy weaponry:

    NATO has declined to comment on why it did nothing to protect the civilians of Sirte and why it has been complicit in these war crimes.

    As rebel infantry moved in on the destroyed centre of Sirte, the footage below shows that the civilian infrastructure of Sirte, including its buildings, water and sanitation systems, had been totally destroyed:

    And here is more footage of the town showing the extent of the destruction, it appears from this video that every building has been targeted in a systematic attempt to ensure the town is uninhabitable:

    Atrocities in Sirte

    In what should be the final death-blow to the notion that NATO air power combined with undisciplined and in some cases genocidal mobs supplied with NATO weaponry on the ground can effectively ‘protect’ a civilian population it has become clear that fifty-three people were summarily executed by the rebels in the garden of the Mahari hotel in Sirte.

    Ironically the bodies were found by Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. Some of the bodies had their hands bound behind their backs when they were shot. In addition, some of the bodies had bandages over serious wounds, suggesting they had been treated for other injuries prior to being executed, a stark reminder of the earlier murderous rampage of the rebels through the Abu Saleem hospital in Tripoli.

    Sirte residents identified four of the dead as residents of Sirte: Ezzidin al-Hinsheri (a government official), Muftah Dabroun (a military officer), Amar Mahmoud Saleh and Muftah al-Deley (both civilians).

    Some of the victims had been in Ibn Sina Hospital in Sirte, after being treated for injuries – the same hospital which was treating the children with the horrific injuries we covered in an earlier report.

    On the walls of the hotel were the names of the following Misrata brigades: the “Tiger Brigade” (Al-Nimer), the “Support Brigade” (Al-Isnad), the Jaguar Brigade (Al-Fahad), the Lion Brigade (Al-Asad), and the Citadel Brigade (Al-Qasba). Misrata brigades have already been responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Misrata and genocide of the Tawergha.

    Meanwhile, Red Cross officials have said they have found two hundred and sixty-seven dead in Sirte, most of whom they believe were killed late on Thursday – the day of liberation.

    Bodies of victims in Sirte

    As HRW point out, violence and murder, inflicted during an armed conflict on combatants who have laid down their arms or are in detention, is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC has jurisdiction in Libya for all crimes within its mandate committed since February 15, 2011. Under the court’s treaty, criminal liability applies to both those who physically commit the crimes and to senior officials, including those who give the orders and those in a position of command who should have been aware of the abuses but failed to prevent them or to report or prosecute those responsible.

    As Peter Bouckaert says:

    “This latest massacre seems part of a trend of killings, looting, and other abuses committed by armed anti-Gaddafi fighters who consider themselves above the law.

    The ICC prosecutor has not pursued action against pro-NATO forces, in fact he has been involved in spreading propaganda and inciting racial hatred during the conflict. Furthermore, the NTC leadership are deeply implicated in the attacks on the civilian population of Sirte. Mustafa Abdel Jalil visited the brigades laying siege to the town on 11 October and declared that:

     ”You have the support of all the members of the transitional council.”

    In addition, Mahmoud Jibril infamously gave the green light to the permanent ethnic cleansing of Tawergha by the Misrata brigades at a meeting in Misrata Town Hall.

    Currently what is left of Sirte is being thoroughly looted  – with flat-bed trucks loading up cars and personal possessions to take back to Misrata.

    Meanwhile, according to the BBC’s Wyre Davies reporting from Sirte, the town will be the last in Libya to be reconstructed or may not be rebuilt at all “but instead left in its destroyed crumbling state as a memorial to Colonel Gaddafi’s victims.”

    The Responsibility to Protect

    It is clear that the ‘responsibility to protect’ (R2P) doctrine has been hi-jacked by NATO and its supporters as a justification for its military campaigns and has lost its humanitarian content, becoming little more than a weapon in the propaganda war to draw ill-informed citizens into consent for military action.

    A genuine responsibility to protect (GR2P) needs to protect people from the ravages of war, in which the most egregious human rights violations usually occur, and needs to be particularly conscious of R2P as a reincarnation of the “white man’s burden” and as justification for NATO imperialism and military adventurism.

    Introduction to “The Humanitarian War” by Julien Teil

    A Video of Lies, Deception, and Betrayal in sparking the war against Libya

    27 October 2011

    We’re human beings!  There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious that you’re so sick at heart that you can’t take part.  You can’t even passively take part.  And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears, and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop.  And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!  Mario Savio, December 1964

    In December 1964, the United States was a cauldron on fire.  Fervent anti-Vietnam War protests occurred alongside demonstrations and sit-ins as part of the broader Civil Rights Movement that included calls for recognition of indigenous rights, Black rights, Puerto Rican self-determination, Chicano rights, and women’s rights.  At this important moment of synchronicity, Blacks wore signs proclaiming, “I am a man” and young White pro-civil rights and anti-war demonstrators at University of California, Berkeley declared:  “We’re human beings!”

    It is to our humanity that I now appeal.

    During this long month of October, I can say without a doubt that all of our institutions, even those that exist solely for the pursuit of peace, have failed us:  from international organizations founded so that there would be no more war, to international institutions whose sole mission is to render justice, the mighty prerequisite for there to be any peace at all.

    No justice, no peace.

    And what kind of justice am I talking about?

    The kind of justice that satisfies the soul that the idea of justice, the ideal of justice, has been served.

    I’m talking about the substance of justice that gives form and mass to appearance.  Therefore, the justice of which I speak must be open–able to be seen by the public. However, merely the appearance of justice, without its substance, is shallow and recognizable.  The skilled eye can easily spot a sham, a kangaroo court, a railroaded defendant.  Especially when a foundational ingredient of justice is missing:  and that is, truth.

    In my ascendant order, justice begins with truth and peace ends in affirming human dignity.

    No truth, no justice; no justice no peace.

    So what kind of peace am I talking about?  The kind of peace of which President John F. Kennedy spoke at American University in 1963.  President Kennedy said:

    ‘There are few earthly things more beautiful than a university,’ wrote John Masefield . . . He admired the splendid beauty of a university because it was, he said, a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth, may strive to make others see. I have therefore chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth too rarely perceived.  And that is the most important topic on earth:  peace.

    What kind of a peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek?  Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.  Not the peace of the grave, or the security of the slave.  I’m talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living; the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and build a better life for their children.  Not merely peace for Americans, but for all men and women; not merely peace in our time, but peace in all time.

    I speak of peace because of the new face of war. . . .

    I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary, rational end of rational men.  . . . But I also believe that we must reexamine our own attitudes–as individuals and as a nation.  . . . Every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward, by examining his own attitude towards the possibilities of peace . . . towards freedom and peace here at home.  . . . Our problems are man-made, therefore they can be solved by man; and man can be as big as he wants.  No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings; man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable.  Peace is a process–a way of solving problems.  . . . World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor, it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance.  Submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement.

    Peace need not be impractical and war need not be inevitable.  No government or social system is so evil that it’s people must be considered as lacking in virtue.

    That was President Kennedy in 1963.  He was not awarded a peace prize, but instead received a bullet through his brains.  Time and time again, he refused to go along with the abominable schemes of his own Pentagon (using nuclear weapons and implementation of Operation Northwoods are two examples).

    However, we are now in the 21st Century and our United States President Barack Obama has been honored with a Nobel Peace Prize.  In light of events ordered by our Commander-in-Chief in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia–for starters–clearly, the Nobel Committee at best acted prematurely, or perhaps have defined war as peace without letting us in on their new lexicography.  In addition, these aforementioned countries are merely appetizers, Libya was a much more substantial course, as Syria, Algeria, and maybe Iran are thought by many to be the next course in this multi-nation feast of blood.  Russia and China surely constitute the piece de resistance of the main course; and U.S. citizens at home and abroad seem to be the dessert.  Sadly, any visit to any airport since 9/11/01 or now, a ride down a Tennessee road where the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) reign, it feels like the dessert is being rolled out before the main course.

    We know that truth is the first casualty of war.  We’ve seen it time and time again.  Lies have accompanied every modern war–from World War II to the Vietnam War.  Why would it be any different for these 21st Century wars?  It is not.  935 times our leaders lied to us in the run-up to the war against the people of Iraq.  And with Libya, some commentators have written that the lies have been even more offensive.

    One lie has already been unraveled and I want to focus on that one right now.

    The Libyan who went to Geneva and collected signatures on a letter demanding an investigation of the murders of thousands of Libyans by the Jamahirya government is now on video in an interview revealing how he used a network of friends to get the signatures on the letter and that he just relied on the word of others that thousands of Libyans had been killed by the Jamahirya government.  When asked point blank if he had any evidence whatsoever to prove that the allegations contained in the letter were true, he answered, “no.”

    Everything that we have witnessed in Libya, all of the bloodshed, is based on the word of this one individual and he admits on camera that he had not one whit of proof that the letter’s contents were true.  He was not even allowed to occupy the first position as signatory to the letter!  The very first signatory to the letter is United Nations Watch, a non-governmental organization affiliated with the American Jewish Committee.  NATO commented recently that they have owned this operation from the beginning, unlike in Iraq.

    And now look at Libya.

    What of the, by some estimates, 20,000 people killed?  What of the  Libyans whose murders are readily available on the internet in videos, including the Qaddafi family.

    What of the Libyans whose skin is dark like mine and who have been targeted for murder because some Libyans would rather be identified with Whites or Europeans and not the Africans that they are.

    What about the migrant workers, who under the Jamahirya were viewed as partners in the development of Libya and Africa?  Many of them lost their lives because they chose to stay because the Libya jamahirya had been so good to them.  Those who did not stay, fled to unsafe refugee camps set up along the Tunisia border, some of whom were financed by the very countries contributing to the bombing.

    What about the families of those migrant workers who depended on remittances from their loved ones just to survive?

    What about the families of those incinerated underneath US/NATO bombs, whose names we will never know, and whose fate their loved ones will never know?

    What about those left homeless by US/NATO bombing?  In the Jamahirya, every Libyan was entitled to a home.  In fact, the Jamahirya was in the process of building tens of thousands of housing units, readily visible all over the country.  Now, those habited and uninhabited have been destroyed.  While I was in Libya, I learned that the Jamahirya had set aside funding to repair homes and businesses damaged by the weapons of US/NATO and their allies.

    What about the infrastructure totally destroyed, including the pipe factory for the Great Manmade River?

    What about future generations of Libyans cursed to look like the deformed babies of Baghdad and Fallujah due to US/NATO’s use of depleted uranium?

    What about the future of the African states and the African Union that depended on Libyan finance for many of their activities?

    And finally, what of us?  Citizens of the United States whose tax dollars and silence–and in some cases, outright support–allowed this travesty to take place.  The Libyan people must be stunned by the silence of their friends.

    What a spectacle of Hillary Clinton giving an order to kill and then laughing when she is told that it is carried out.  Hillary Clinton willingly joined ranks with Tzipni Livni, who during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, defended Israel’s war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide against the people of Gaza; Clinton joins league with Henry Kissinger as someone having given a green light for murder.  Maybe now she will qualify for a peace prize, too.

    US contractors are on the ground in Libya with reports of Blackwater being among the Qataris, British, French, Italian, US, and other Special Forces.  The Libyan people have been irreparably harmed and with the murder on 20 October of their Chief of all the tribes, Ali, unarmed at his home in Bani Walid, there are rumors of revenge killings already having begun.

    Video images of the last moments of what we are told are Muammar and Muatassim Qaddafi, amid shouts of God is Great, make me shudder.  In my opinion, the dignity of all of us has been debased by the cumulative images of the US/NATO “humanitarian intervention” in Libya, starting with the meeting in Geneva at the United Nations Human Rights Commission, through the perorations of the US United Nations Ambassador, through all the videos of murders and death and destruction, through the events of 20 October and up to now.

    As my fellow peace and human rights activists of the 1960s did, I now proclaim my own humanity:  my heart, soul, character, and ethics are intact.  I am deeply affected by what I have witnessed.  I am deeply disappointed in how far the United States has been steered off course.  The people of the United States do have the power still to stop this madness.  I recommend the words of our 35th President when he asks that each of us examine our own attitude toward peace.  And what kind of peace do we want for our country and the world?

    Watch this video and then you, too, will know that everything that has happened to the people of Libya and the people of Africa who depended on them, and to us, too, in allowing this to take place, in some cases even advocating this, has been based on assertions where there is no evidence–admitted by the man who lodged the initial complaint followed by misinformation, propaganda, and deliberate disinformation.  I went to Libya with a delegation of journalists to strive to know; I participated in a 29-city tour in an effort to share the truth with those willing to hear.  I failed in my effort to stop the madness.  Sadly, in this affair, there has been no truth, no justice, no peace, and no dignity.

    Click here and then question what we collectively have done (please be patient, it takes a while to load): or here for shorter load-up time:

    Americans: Awash In Spin

    October 28th, 2011 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

    I have come to the conclusion that Big Brother’s subjects in George Orwell’s 1984 are better informed than Americans.

    Americans have no idea why they have been at war in the Middle East, Asia and Africa for a decade.  They don’t realize that their liberties have been supplanted by a Gestapo Police State.  Few understand that hard economic times are here to stay.

    On October 27, 2011, the US government announced some routine economic statistics, and the president of the European Council announced a new approach to the Greek sovereign debt crisis.  The result of these funny numbers and mere words sent the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its largest monthly rally since 1974, erasing its 2011 yearly loss. The euro rose, putting the European currency again 40% above its initial parity with the US dollar when the euro was introduced.

    On National Public Radio a half-wit analyst declared, emphatically, that the latest US government statistics proved that the recovery was in place and that there was no danger whatsoever of a double-dip recession. And half-brain economists predicted a better tomorrow.

    Europe is happy because the European private banks, the creditors of the European governments, have agreed to eat 50% of Greece’s sovereign debt and to be recapitalized by public money handed to them by the European Financial Stability Facility rescue fund.  The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, thinks that Greece’s debt is the only sovereign debt to be written down and that the debt of Italy, Spain, and Portugal will somehow be bailed out through other means, including a Chinese contribution to the EFSF rescue fund. Obviously, if all EU sovereign debt has to be cut by 50% as well, the rescue fund would not be up to the job.

    For our corrupt financial markets, any news that can be spun as good news can send stocks up. But what are the facts?

    For facts one has to turn to serious people, not to the presstitute media. Among those who give us real facts is John Williams of  In his October 27 report, Williams exposes the happy second quarter 2011 economic growth figure of 2.5% as nonsense. Every other economic indicator contradicts the spin. 

    For example, personal consumption is reported to have increased 1.7%, but this surge in consumption took place despite a 1.7% collapse in consumer disposable income!  In other words, if there was an increase in personal consumption, it come from drawing down savings or from incurring higher consumer debt. 

    A country’s consumers cannot forever draw down savings or go deeper into debt. For an economy to recover, there must be growth in consumer income.  That growth is nowhere to be seen in the US.  A large percentage of the goods and services sold to Americans by American corporations are now produced abroad by foreign labor. Thus, Americans no longer received incomes from the production of the goods and services that they consume. The American consumer market is on its way out.

    The Dow Jones rose 339.51 points on the phony good news, but consumer sentiment is in the basement. John Williams reports that “consumer confidence hit the lowest levels ever recorded in 2008 and 2009” and that consumer confidence has now “fallen back to that 2008 level.”  But the stock market boomed.  Somehow a population 23% unemployed with debt up to its eyeballs is going to spark an economic recovery.

    Recovery can only happen in the delusional world created for us by the concentrated media. No longer permitted to utter one world of truth, the presstitutes proclaim non-existent recoveries and weapons of mass destruction and demonize Washington’s chosen opponents.

    The sovereign debt crisis in Europe has distracted Americans from the much worst crisis in their country. After two decades of exporting US manufacturing and middle class jobs, and after a decade of consumer debt growth that has resulted in millions of foreclosed homeowners and massive credit card and student loan debt that cannot be paid, consumers have no income growth or borrowing capacity with which to fuel an economy based on consumer demand. 

    European banks, already ruined by purchases of Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s AAA ratings of junk derivatives, now find themselves threatened by sovereign debt. Greece’s debt crisis, caused with Goldman Sachs’ help in hiding the true debt of the country as was done for Enron, has brought to light that Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and Spain, in addition to Greece, have more debt than the governments can service. 

    In the EU, unlike the US and UK which have their own central banks that can create new money to bail out the over-indebted governments, the EU central bank is prohibited by treaty from printing money in order to purchase bonds from member states that cannot be redeemed.  

    Regardless of the treaty prohibition, the EU central bank has been lending Greece the money to pay its bond holders. The imposed austerity that is part of the deal created political instability in Greece.

    Now that European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has announced a 50% write-off by private banks of Greek sovereign debt, can the same treatment be denied Portugal, Italy, and Spain?  

    The European Central Bank is following the lead of the Federal Reserve and creating new money to bail out debt.  The cost will be paid in inflation and flight from the euro and the dollar. As an indication of the future, despite the positive spin on the news and the rise in US stocks, on October 27 the Japanese yen rose to a new high against the US dollar.

    The Elite Plan for a New World Social Order

    October 28th, 2011 by Richard K. Moore

    This article was first published in New Dawn Magazine

    When the Industrial Revolution began in Britain, in the late 1700s, there was lots of money to be made by investing in factories and mills, by opening up new markets, and by gaining control of sources of raw materials. The folks who had the most money to invest, however, were not so much in Britain but more in Holland. Holland had been the leading Western power in the 1600s, and its bankers were the leading capitalists. In pursuit of profit, Dutch capital flowed to the British stock market, and thus the Dutch funded the rise of Britain, who subsequently eclipsed Holland both economically and geopolitically.

    In this way British industrialism came to be dominated by wealthy investors, and capitalism became the dominant economic system. This led to a major social transformation. Britain had been essentially an aristocratic society, dominated by landholding families. As capitalism became dominant economically, capitalists became dominant politically. Tax structures and import-export policies were gradually changed to favour investors over landowners.

    It was no longer economically viable to simply maintain an estate in the countryside: one needed to develop it, turn it to more productive use. Victorian dramas are filled with stories of aristocratic families who fall on hard times, and are forced to sell off their properties. For dramatic purposes, this decline is typically attributed to a failure in some character, a weak eldest son perhaps. But in fact the decline of aristocracy was part of a larger social transformation brought on by the rise of capitalism.

    The business of the capitalist is the management of capital, and this management is generally handled through the mediation of banks and brokerage houses. It should not be surprising that investment bankers came to occupy the top of the hierarchy of capitalist wealth and power. And in fact, there are a handful of banking families, including the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers, who have come to dominate economic and political affairs in the Western world.

    Unlike aristocrats, capitalists are not tied to a place, or to the maintenance of a place. Capital is disloyal and mobile – it flows to where the most growth can be found, as it flowed from Holland to Britain, then from Britain to the USA, and most recently from everywhere to China. Just as a copper mine might be exploited and then abandoned, so under capitalism a whole nation can be exploited and then abandoned, as we see in the rusting industrial areas of America and Britain.

    This detachment from place leads to a different kind of geopolitics under capitalism, as compared to aristocracy. A king goes to war when he sees an advantage to his nation in doing so. Historians can ‘explain’ the wars of pre-capitalist days, in terms of the aggrandisement of monarchs and nations.

    A capitalist stirs up a war in order to make profits, and in fact our elite banking families have financed both sides of most military conflicts since at least World War 1. Hence historians have a hard time ‘explaining’ World War 1 in terms of national motivations and objectives.

    In pre-capitalist days warfare was like chess, each side trying to win. Under capitalism warfare is more like a casino, where the players battle it out as long as they can get credit for more chips, and the real winner always turns out to be the house – the bankers who finance the war and decide who will be the last man standing. Not only are wars the most profitable of all capitalist ventures, but by choosing the winners, and managing the reconstruction, the elite banking families are able, over time, to tune the geopolitical configuration to suit their own interests.

    Nations and populations are but pawns in their games. Millions die in wars, infrastructures are destroyed, and while the world mourns, the bankers are counting their winnings and making plans for their postwar reconstruction investments.

    From their position of power, as the financiers of governments, the banking elite have over time perfected their methods of control. Staying always behind the scenes, they pull the strings controlling the media, the political parties, the intelligence agencies, the stock markets, and the offices of government. And perhaps their greatest lever of power is their control over currencies. By means of their central-bank scam, they engineer boom and bust cycles, and they print money from nothing and then loan it at interest to governments. The power of the elite banking gang (the ‘banksters’) is both absolute and subtle…

    Some of the biggest men in the United States are afraid of something. They know there is a power somewhere, so organised, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it. – President Woodrow Wilson

    The End of Growth – Banksters vs. Capitalism

    It was always inevitable, on a finite planet, that there would be a limit to economic growth. Industrialisation has enabled us to rush headlong toward that limit over the past two centuries. Production has become ever more efficient, markets have become ever more global, and finally the paradigm of perpetual growth has reached the point of diminishing returns.

    Indeed, that point was actually reached by about 1970. Since then capital has not so much sought growth through increased production, but rather by extracting greater returns from relatively flat production levels. Hence globalisation, which moved production to low-waged areas, providing greater profit margins. Hence privatisation, which transfers revenue streams to investors that formerly went to national treasuries. Hence derivative and currency markets, which create the electronic illusion of economic growth, without actually producing anything in the real world.

    For almost forty years, the capitalist system was kept going by these various mechanisms, none of which were productive in any real sense. And then in September 2008 this house of cards collapsed, all of a sudden, bringing the global financial system to its knees.

    If one studies the collapse of civilisations, one learns that failure-to-adapt is fatal. Is our civilisation falling into that trap? We had two centuries of real growth, where the growth-dynamic of capitalism was in harmony with the reality of industrial growth. Then we had four decades of artificial growth – capitalism being sustained by a house of cards. And now, after the house of cards has collapsed, every effort is apparently being made to bring about ‘a recovery’ – of growth! It is very easy to get the impression that our civilisation is in the process of collapse, based on the failure-to-adapt principle.

    Such an impression would be partly right and partly wrong. In order to understand the real situation we need to make a clear distinction between the capitalist elite and capitalism itself. Capitalism is an economic system driven by growth; the capitalist elite are the folks who have managed to gain control of the Western world while capitalism has operated over the past two centuries. The capitalist system is past its sell-by date, the bankster elite are well aware of that fact – and they are adapting.

    Capitalism is a vehicle that helped bring the banksters to absolute power, but they have no more loyalty to that system than they have to place, or to anything or anyone. As mentioned earlier, they think on a global scale, with nations and populations as pawns. They define what money is and they issue it, just like the banker in a game of Monopoly. They can also make up a new game with a new kind of money. They have long outgrown any need to rely on any particular economic system in order to maintain their power. Capitalism was handy in an era of rapid growth. For an era of non-growth, a different game is being prepared.

    Thus, capitalism was not allowed to die a natural death. Instead it was brought down by a controlled demolition. First it was put on a life-support system, as mentioned above, with globalisation, privatisation, currency markets, etc. Then it was injected with a euthanasia death-drug, in the form of real-estate bubbles and toxic derivatives. Finally, the Bank of International Settlements in Basel – the central bank of central banks – pulled the plug on the life-support system: they declared the ‘mark-to-market rule’, which made all the risk-holding banks instantly insolvent, although it took a while for this to become apparent. Every step in this process was carefully planned and managed by the central-banking clique.

    The End of Sovereignty – Restoring the Ancien Régime

    Just as the financial collapse was carefully managed, so was the post-collapse scenario, with its suicidal bailout programs. National budgets were already stretched; they certainly did not have reserves available to salvage the insolvent banks. Thus the bailout commitments amounted to nothing more than the taking on of astronomical new debts by governments. In order to service the bailout commitments, the money would need to be borrowed from the same financial system that was being bailed out!

    It’s not that the banks were too big to fail, rather the banksters were too powerful to fail: they made politicians an offer they couldn’t refuse. In the USA, Congress was told that without bailouts there would be martial law the next morning. In Ireland, the Ministers were told there would be financial chaos and rioting in the streets. In fact, as Iceland demonstrated, the sensible way to deal with the insolvent banks was with an orderly process of receivership.

    The effect of the coerced bailouts was to transfer insolvency from the banks to the national treasuries. Banking debts were transformed into sovereign debts and budget deficits. Now, quite predictably, it is the nations that are seeking bailouts, and those bailouts come with conditions attached. Instead of the banks going into receivership, the nations are going into receivership.

    In his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins explains how the third world has been coerced over the past several decades – through pressure and trickery of various kinds – into perpetual debt bondage. By design, the debts can never be repaid. Instead, the debts must be periodically refinanced, and each round of refinancing buries the nation deeper in debt – and compels the nation to submit to even more drastic IMF diktats. With the orchestrated financial collapse, and the ‘too big to fail’ scam, the banksters have now crossed the Rubicon: the hit-man agenda is now operating here in the first world.

    In the EU, the first round of nations to go down will be the so-called PIGS – Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain. The fiction, that the PIGS can deal with the bailouts, is based on the assumption that the era of limitless growth will resume. As the banksters themselves know full well, that just isn’t going to happen. Eventually the PIGS will be forced to default, and then the rest of the EU will go down as well, all part of a controlled-demolition project.

    When a nation succumbs to debt bondage, it ceases to be a sovereign nation, governed by some kind of internal political process. Instead it comes under the control of IMF diktats. As we have seen in the third world, and is happening now in Europe, these diktats are all about austerity and privatisation. Government functions are eliminated or privatised, and national assets are sold off. Little by little – again a controlled demolition – the nation state is dismantled. In the end, the primary functions left to government are police suppression of its own population, and the collection of taxes to be handed over to the banksters.

    In fact, the dismantling of the nation state began long before the financial collapse of 2008. In the USA and Britain, it began in 1980, with Reagan and Thatcher. In Europe, it began in 1988, with the Maastricht Treaty. Globalisation accelerated the dismantling process, with the exporting of jobs and industry, privatisation programs, ‘free trade’ agreements, and the establishment of the regulation-busting World Trade Organisation (WTO). Events since 2008 have enabled the rapid acceleration of a process that was already well underway.

    With the collapse, the bailouts, and the total failure to pursue any kind of effective recovery program, the signals are very clear: the system will be allowed to collapse totally, thus clearing the ground for a pre-architected ‘solution’. As the nation state is being dismantled, a new regime of global governance is being established to replace it. As we can see with the WTO, IMF, World Bank, and the other pieces of the embryonic world government, the new global system will make no pretensions about popular representation or democratic process. Rule will be by means of autocratic global bureaucracies, which will take their orders, directly or indirectly, from the bankster clique.

    In his book, The Globalization of Poverty, Michel Chossudovsky explains how globalisation, and the actions of the IMF, created massive poverty throughout the third world over the past several decades. As we can see, with the dramatic emphasis on austerity following the collapse and bailouts, this poverty-creation project has now crossed the Rubicon. In this new world system there will be no prosperous middle class. Indeed, the new regime will very much resemble the old days of royalty and serfdom (the ancien régime). The banksters are the new royal family, with the whole world as their dominion. The technocrats who run the global bureaucracies, and the mandarins who pose as politicians in the residual nations, are the privileged upper class. The rest of us, the overwhelming majority, will find ourselves in the role of impoverished serfs – if we are lucky enough to be one of the survivors of the collapse process.

    Today Americans would be outraged if UN troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government. – Henry Kissinger speaking at Evian, France, May 21, 1992 Bilderbergers meeting

    The End of Liberty – The Global Police State

    For the past four decades, since about 1970, we’ve been experiencing a regime-change process, from an old global system to a new global system. In the old system, first world nations were relatively democratic and prosperous, while the third world suffered under police state tyranny, mass poverty, and imperialism (exploitation by external powers). As discussed above, the transition process has been characterised by ‘crossing the Rubicon’ – the introduction of policies and practices into the first world, that were formerly limited, for the most part, to the third world.

    Thus debt bondage to the IMF crossed the Rubicon, enabled by the collapse-bailout scam. In turn, mass poverty is crossing that same Rubicon, due to austerity measures imposed by the IMF, with its new bond-holding powers. Imperialism is also crossing the Rubicon, as the first world comes under the exploitative control of banksters and their bureaucracies, a power nexus that is external to all national identities. Unsurprisingly, police state tyranny is also crossing the Rubicon: the imposition of third world poverty levels requires third world methods of repression.

    The anti-globalisation movement can be taken as the beginning of popular resistance to the process of regime change. Similarly, the police response to the Seattle anti-globalisation demonstrations, in November 1999, can be taken as the ‘crossing of the Rubicon’ for police state tyranny. The excessive and arbitrary violence of that response – including such things as holding people’s eyes open and spraying pepper into them – was unprecedented against non-violent demonstrators in a first world nation.

    Ironically, that police response, particularly as it was so widely publicised, actually strengthened the anti-globalisation movement. As demonstrations grew in size and strength, the police response grew still more violent. A climax of sorts was reached in Genoa, in July 2001, when the levels of violence on both sides began to resemble almost a guerilla war.

    In those days the anti-globalisation movement was dominating the international news pages, and opposition to globalisation was reaching massive proportions. The visible movement was only the tip of an anti-systemic iceberg. In a very real sense, general popular sentiment in the first world was beginning to take a radical turn. Movement leaders were now thinking in terms of an anti-capitalist movement. There was a political volatility in the air, a sense that, just maybe possibly, enlightened popular sentiment might succeed in shifting the course of events.

    All of that changed on September 11, 2001, the day the towers came down. The anti-globalisation movement, along with globalisation itself, disappeared almost totally from public consciousness on that fateful day. Suddenly it was a whole new global scenario, a whole new media circus – with a new enemy, and a new kind of war, a war without end, a war against phantoms, a war against ‘terrorism’.

    Earlier we saw how the orchestrated financial collapse of September 2008 enabled certain ongoing projects to be rapidly accelerated, such as the dismantlement of sovereignty, and the imposition of austerity. Similarly, the events of September 2001 enabled certain ongoing projects to be greatly accelerated, such as the abandonment of civil liberties and international law.

    Before the towers had even come down, the ‘Patriot Act’ had already been drafted, proclaiming in no uncertain terms that the police state was here (in the USA) in force and here to stay – the Bill of Rights was null and void. Before long, similar ‘anti-terrorist’ legislation had been adopted throughout the first world. If any anti-systemic movement were to again raise its head in the first world (as it did, for example, recently in Greece), arbitrary police powers could be brought to bear – as much as might be necessary – to put the resistance down. No popular movement would be allowed to derail the banksters’ regime-change designs. The anti-globalisation movement had been shouting, ‘This is what real democracy looks like’. With 9/11, the banksters replied: ‘This is what real oppression looks like’.

    The events of 9/11 led directly to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and in general helped create a climate where invasions of sovereign nations could be readily justified, with one excuse or another. International law was to be as thoroughly abandoned as was civil liberties. Just as all restraint was removed from domestic police interventions, so was all restraint being removed from geopolitical military interventions. Nothing was to stand in the way of the banksters’ regime-change agenda.

    The technetronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society… dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values… this elite would not hesitate to achieve its political ends by using the latest modern techniques for influencing public behaviour… Persisting social crisis, the emergence of a charismatic personality, and the exploitation of mass media to obtain public confidence would be the stepping-stones in the piecemeal transformation of the United States into a highly controlled society… In addition, it may be possible – and tempting – to exploit for strategic political purposes the fruits of research on the brain and on human behaviour. – Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era, 1970

    The Post-Capitalist Era – New Myths for a New Culture

    2012 might not be the exact year, but it’s difficult to see the endgame lasting much beyond that – and the masters of the universe love symbolism, as with 911 (both in Chile and in Manhattan), KLA 007, and others. 2012 is loaded with symbolism, eg. the Mayan Calendar, and the Internet is buzzing with various 2012-related prophecies, survival strategies, anticipated alien interventions, etc. And then there is the Hollywood film, 2012, which explicitly portrays the demise of most of humanity, and the pre-planned salvation of a select few. One never knows with Hollywood productions, what is escapist fantasy, and what is aimed at preparing the public mind symbolically for what is to come.

    Whatever the exact date, all the threads will come together, geopolitically and domestically, and the world will change. It will be a new era, just as capitalism was a new era after aristocracy, and the Dark Ages followed the era of the Roman Empire. Each era has its own structure, its own economics, its own social forms, and its own mythology. These things must relate to one another coherently, and their nature follows from the fundamental power relationships and economic circumstances of the system.

    Whenever there is a change of era, the previous era is always demonised in a new mythology. In the Garden of Eden story the serpent is demonised – a revered symbol in paganism, the predecessor to monotheism. With the rise of European nation states, the Catholic Church was demonised, and Protestantism introduced. When republics came along, the demonisation of monarchs was an important part of the process. In the post-2012 world, democracy and national sovereignty will be demonised. This will be very important, in getting people to accept arbitrary totalitarian rule…

    In those terrible dark days, before the blessed unification of humanity, anarchy reigned in the world. One nation would attack another, no better than predators in the wild. Nations had no long-term coherence; voters would swing from one party to another, keeping governments always in transition and confusion. How did anyone ever think that masses of semi-educated people could govern themselves, and run a complex society? Democracy was an ill-conceived experiment that led only to corruption and chaotic governance. How lucky we are to be in this well-ordered world, where humanity has finally grown up, and those with the best expertise make the decisions for the whole globe.

    Capitalism is about growth, progress, and change. Under capitalism the virtues of ambition, initiative, and competitiveness are praised, because those virtues serve the dynamics of capitalism. People are encouraged to always accumulate more, and never be satisfied with what they have. Under capitalism, people need to have a bit of liberty, and a bit of prosperity, so that the dynamics of capitalism can operate. Without some liberty, ambition cannot be pursued; without some prosperity, how could accumulation be pursued? In the post-capitalist world, the capitalist virtues will be demonised. This will be very important, in getting people to accept poverty and regimentation…

    The pursuit of money is the root of all evil, and the capitalist system was inherently corrupt and wasteful. Anarchy reined in the marketplace, as corporations blindly pursued profit, with no concern for human needs or for the Earth. How much more sensible are our production brigades, producing only what is needed, and using only what is sustainable. Capitalism encouraged greed and consumption; people struggled to compete with one another, to ‘get ahead’ in the rat race. How much wiser we are now, to live within our ration quotas, and to accept our assigned duties, whatever they might be, in service to humanity.

    In this regime change, ushering in the post-capitalist era, we’re seeing a conscious orchestration of economics, politics, geopolitics, and mythology – as one coordinated project. A whole new reality is being created, a whole new global culture. When it comes down to it, the ability to transform culture is the ultimate form of power. In only a single generation, a new culture becomes ‘the way things are’. And what, we might inquire, might stand in the way of any future manipulations of the cultural regime that the bankster royal family might contemplate?

    Ever since public education was introduced, the state and the family have competed to control childhood conditioning – and it is in childhood that culture is transmitted to the next generation. In the micromanaged post-capitalist future, we’ll most likely see the ‘final solution’ of social control, which is for the state to monopolise child raising. This would eliminate from society the parent-child bond, and hence family-related bonds in general. No longer is there a concept of relatives, just fellow members of the hive. The family must be demonised. Already, here in Ireland, there are daily TV spots dramatising the plight of children who are being abused or neglected by their parents…

    How scary were the old days, when unlicensed, untrained couples had total control over vulnerable children, behind closed doors, with whatever neuroses, addictions, or perversions the parents happened to possess. How did this vestige of patriarchal slavery, this safe-house den of child abuse, continue so long to exist, and not be recognised for what it was? How much better off we are now, with children being raised scientifically, by trained staff, where they are taught discipline and healthy values.

    The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 128 (September-October 2011).

    RIchard K Moore, an expatriate from Silicon Valley, retired and moved to Ireland in 1994 to begin his ‘real work’ – trying to understand how the world works, and how we can make it better. Many years of researching and writing culminated in his widely acclaimed book Escaping the Matrix: How We the People Can Change the World (The Cyberjournal Project, 2005). His cyberjournal email list has been going since 1994 ( The book’s website is, while his website contains an extensive biography plus list of his articles. Richard can be contacted via email at [email protected]. This article appears in New Dawn 128: