The Euro Is Not in Trouble. People Are.

August 17th, 2012 by Prof. Vicente Navarro

One of the phrases frequently written in economic circles in the United States (and to a lesser degree in Europe) is “the Euro is going to collapse.” Those who repeat that phrase over and over again do not seem to know how the Euro was established, by whom, and for whose benefit. If they knew the history of the Euro, they would have noticed that the major forces behind the Euro have done very well and continue to do so.

As long as they continue to benefit from the Euro’s existence, the Euro will continue to exist.

Let’s start with the Euro’s history and the major reason it was established. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall, it looked like East and West Germany could reunite and as the Western German establishment wanted become, once again, a united Germany. That possibility did not please democratic Europe. Twice in the 20th century, the majority of European countries had to go to war to stop the expansionist aims of a united Germany. The European governments were not pleased to see post-Nazi Germany reunited. President François Mitterrand of France even said ironically that, “I love Germany so much that I prefer to see two Germanys rather than one.”

The only alternative these governments saw was to make sure the united Germany would not become an isolated country in front of everyone else. Germany had to become integrated into Europe. It had to become Europeanized. Mitterrand thought one way of doing this was to have the German currency, the mark, be replaced by a new European currency, the Euro. This was thought to be a way of anchoring post-Nazi Germany to democratic Europe.

The German establishment, however, put forth conditions. One was to establish a financial authority, the European Central Bank (ECB), that would manage the Euro and have as its only objective to keep inflation down. The ECB would be under the heavy influence of (i.e., controlled by) the German Central Bank, the Bundenbank. The other condition was to establish the Stability Pact, which would impose financial discipline on member states of the Eurozone. Their public deficits would have to remain lower than 3% of their GDP, even in moments of recession.

The ECB is instructing the governments of its monetary zone to dismantle Social Europe and they are doing it.

To understand why the other countries accepted these conditions, one has to understand that neoliberalism (which started with President Ronald Reagan in the United States and with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom) was the dominant ideology in those countries. A major position within that neoliberal dogma was to reduce the role of the states as much as possible, encouraging private financing and de-emphasizing domestic demand as the way of stimulating the economy. In this view, the main motor of the economy should be the growth of exports. These are the roots of the problem not of the Euro, which is in good health but of the welfare and well-being of the population in those countries.

The European Central Bank is not a central bank

What a central bank does, among other things, is to print money and, with that money, buy public bonds of the state, making sure the interest rates on those bonds are reasonable and do not become excessive. (The U.S. Federal Reserve, for example, has created more than $2.3 trillion since 2008 and used it to buy U.S. government bonds and mortgage-backed securities).  The central bank protects states against the financial market’s speculation. The ECB, however, does not do this. The interest rates on the states’ public debt in some countries has skyrocketed because the ECB has not bought any of their debt for quite some time. Spain and Italy are fully aware of this.

What the ECB does, however, is to lend a lot of money to private banks at a very low interest rate (lower than 1%), with which they buy public bonds with very high interest (6% to 7% in Italy and Spain). It is a fantastic deal for these banks! Since last December, the ECB has lent more than 1 trillion Euros (1,000,000 million Euros) to private banks, half of it (500,000 million Euros) to Spanish and Italian banks. This transfer of public funds (the ECB is a public institution) to the private financial sector is justified by indicating that this aid was needed in order to save the banks and, thus, ensure credit is being offered to small and medium-sized business enterprises and families in debt. Credit, however, has not appeared. Both individuals and businesses continue to have difficulties obtaining it.

Occasionally, the ECB buys public bonds in the secondary markets from states that are in trouble, but it buys them in an almost clandestine way, in very small doses and for very short periods of time. The financial markets are aware of this situation. This is why the high interest of the public bonds goes down for a while when the ECB buys them and then goes up again, making it very difficult for states to sustain them. The ECB should announce openly that it will not allow the interest of the public bonds to go over a certain level, making it impossible for financial markets to speculate with them. But the ECB does not do this, leaving the states unprotected in front of those financial markets.
In this situation, the agreement that Spain and Italy must reduce their public deficits to recover the confidence and trust of financial markets is not credible. Spain has been reducing the public deficit, while the interest of Spanish bonds has been increasing, proving that it is the ECB, not the financial markets, that can determine what that interest rate will be.

Who controls the European financial system?

In theory, the ECB was supposed to be the manager of the Euro. But the one that really controls the Euro, and the European financial system, is the Bundesbank, the German Central Bank. It was designed that way, as previously noted. But there was another reason for control of the European financial system by the Bundesbank and the German banks. That influence (almost to the point of control) was the result of a set of decisions made by the German government, specifically by the Schröder social democratic government (Program 2010), and continued by Merkel’s conservative governments, which emphasized the export sector as the economy’s main motor. Oskar Lafontaine, Schröder’s Minister of Finance, wanted to put domestic demand as the main motor of the German economic recovery. He proposed increasing salaries and public expenditures. He lost and left the social democratic party, forming a new party, Die Link/The Left, and Schröder (now working for an export-oriented industry) won. As a consequence of that emphasis on exports (the majority to the Eurozone), German banks accumulated an enormous amount of Euros. Rather than using these Euros to increase German workers’ salaries (which would have stimulated not only the German economy, but the whole European economy), the German banks exported those Euros, investing in the periphery of the Eurozone. That investment was the cause of the housing bubble in Spain. Without German money, the Spanish banks could not have financed that bubble, which was based on a huge speculation.

When did the crisis appear in Spain?

When German banks stopped lending to Spain as a result of their panic (when they learned that they themselves were contaminated with toxic products from U.S. banks) the housing bubble collapsed, creating a hole in the Spanish economy equivalent to 10% of its gross domestic product, all within a few months. It was an economic tsunami, an authentic disaster. Immediately, the public national budget went from a surplus to an enormous deficit, as a result of the collapse of revenues to the states. It was not a result of growth of public expenditures (Spain had the lowest public expenditures per capita among the EU-15), but rather the dramatic decline of revenues due to the economic collapse. The emphasis by the “Troika” (the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund) that Spain needs to cut its public expenditures even more is profoundly wrong because the public deficit has not been caused by a growth of those expenditures (as suggested by the frivolous remarks of Chancellor Merkel about the “extravagance of the Spanish public sector”). Moreover, those cuts have brought about another recession.

What is the purpose of the financial aid?

The official rhetoric is that the financial authorities of the Eurozone have made available to Spain 100,000 million Euros to help its banks. Reality, however, is very different. The Spanish banks and the Spanish state are deeply in debt. They owe a lot of money to foreign banks, including German banks, which have lent almost 200,000 million Euros to Spain. These banks are screaming to have their money back. That is why the 100,000 million Euros have been approved by the German parliament. Peter Bofinger, economic advisor to the German government, put it quite clearly: “This assistance is not to these countries in trouble (like Spain) but rather to our own banks who own a lot of private debt in those countries.” (Pratap Chatterjee, “Bailing out Germany: The Story Behind the European Financial Costs” [28/05/42]). It could not have been said better.

If the European authorities had wanted to help Spain, they should have lent that money at very low interest to the Spanish public credit agencies (such as ICO, Official Institute of Credit), resolving the enormous problem of lack of credit in Spain. This alternative was, of course, never considered.

Where is the supposed problem with the Euro?

The fact that Spain has an enormous problem of lack of liquidity does not mean the Euro is in trouble. Many regional governments cannot pay their public servants because of a lack of money. As a matter of fact, those enormous differences in credit availability within the Eurozone are benefiting the German banks. Today, there is a flow of capital from Spain to Germany, enriching German banks and making German public bonds very secure. The fact that there is an enormous crisis with huge unemployment rates in the peripheral countries does not mean, however, that the Euro is in crisis. It would be in crisis only if these peripheral countries, including Spain, would leave the Euro. That would mean the collapse of the German banks and the European financial system. But this is not going to happen. The measures being taken in Spain and other peripheral countries, with the support of the Troika, by the Spanish and other governments are the measures that the conservative forces they represent have always dreamed of: cutting salaries, eliminating social protection, dismantling the welfare state, and so on. They claim they are doing it because of instructions from Brussels, Frankfort, or Berlin. They are shifting responsibilities to foreign agents, who supposedly are forcing them to do it. It is the externalization of blame. Their major slogan is, “There are no alternatives!”

When Mr. Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, calls Mr. Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish president of the most conservative government in the European Union, close to the Tea Party of the United States, he tells him that in order to help him, he will have to make reforms in the labor market (i.e., make it easier for employers to fire workers). He is quite open about it. In a recent press conference (August 9, 2012), Mr. Draghi was quite clear. The ECB will not buy Spanish public bonds unless the Spanish government takes tough, unpopular measures such as reforming the labor market, reducing pension benefits, and privatizing the welfare state. The Rajoy government will gladly follow these instructions. It has already made many cuts and projects 120,000 million Euros more in cuts within the next two years. The Euro and its system of governance are working beautifully for those who have the major voice within the Eurozone today. The ECB is instructing the governments of its monetary zone to dismantle Social Europe and they are doing it. It is what my good friend Jeff Faux, a founder of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., used to call “the international class alliances,” that is, the alliance among the dominant classes around the world. That alliance is clearly operating in the Eurozone today. It is because of this that the Euro is going to be around for a long, long time.

Vicente Navarro

Vicente Navarro is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the Pompeu Fabra University, Spain, and Johns Hopkins University in the US. In 2002 he was awarded the Anagrama Prize (Spain’s equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize in the USA) for his denunciation of the way in which the transition from dictatorship to democracy has been engineered, in his book Bienestar Insuficiente Democracia Incompleta, De lo que no se hable en nuestro pais (Insufficient Welfare, Incomplete Democracy; A book about what is being silenced in Spain).

Binyamin Netanyahu: Mad or Crazy?

August 17th, 2012 by Uri Avnery

BINYAMIN NETANYAHU may be crazy, but he is not mad.

Ehud Barak may be mad, but he is not crazy.

Ergo: Israel will not attack Iran.

I HAVE said so before, and I shall say so again, even after the endless talk about it. Indeed no war has been talked about so much before it happened. To quote the classic movie line: “If you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk!”

In all Netanyahu’s bluster about the inevitable war, one sentence stands out: “In the Committee of Inquiry after the war, I shall take upon myself the sole responsibility, I and I alone!”

A very revealing statement.

First of all, committees of inquiry are appointed only after a military failure. There was no such committee after the 1948 War of Independence, nor after the 1956 Sinai War or the 1967 Six-day War. There were, however, committees of inquiry after the 1974 Yom Kippur war and the 1982 and 2006 Lebanon Wars. By conjuring up the specter of another such committee, Netanyahu unconsciously treats this war as an inevitable failure.

Second, under Israeli law, the entire Government of Israel is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Under another law, all ministers bear “collective responsibility”. TIME magazine, which is becoming more ridiculous by the week, may crown “King Bibi”, but we still have no monarchy. Netanyahu is no more than primus inter pares.

Third, in his statement Netanyahu expresses boundless contempt for his fellow ministers. They don’t count.

Netanyahu considers himself a modern day Winston Churchill. I don’t seem to remember Churchill announcing, upon assuming office, “I take responsibility for the coming defeat.” Even in the desperate situation of that moment, he trusted in victory. And the word “I” did not figure large in his speech.

IN THE daily brainwashing, the problem is presented in military terms. The debate, such as it is, concerns military capabilities and dangers.

Israelis are especially, and understandably, worried by the rain of tens of thousands of missiles expected to fall on all parts of Israel, not only from Iran, but also from Lebanon and Gaza. The minister responsible for civil defense deserted just this week, and another one, a refugee from the hapless Kadima party, has taken his place. Everybody knows that a large part of the population (including myself) is completely defenseless.  

Ehud Barak has announced that no more than a measly 500 Israelis will be killed by enemy missiles. I do not aspire to the honor of being one of them, though I live quite near the Ministry of Defense..

But the military confrontation between Israel and Iran is only a part of the picture, and not the most important one.

As I have pointed out in the past, far more important is the impact on the world economy, already steeped in a profound crisis. An Israeli attack will be viewed by Iran as American-inspired, and the reaction will be accordingly, as explicitly stated by Iran this week.  

The Persian Gulf is a bottle, whose neck is the narrow Strait of Hormuz, which is totally controlled by Iran. The huge American aircraft carriers now stationed in the gulf will be well advised to get out before it is too late. They resemble those antique sailing ships which enthusiasts assemble in bottles. Even the powerful weaponry of the US will not be able to keep the strait open. Simple land-to-sea missiles will be quite enough to keep it closed for months. To open it, a prolonged land operation by the US and its allies will be required. A long and bloody business with unpredictable consequences.

A major part of the world’s oil supplies has to pass through this unique waterway. Even the mere threat of its closure will cause oil prices to shoot sky-high. Actual hostilities will result in a worldwide economic collapse, with hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of new unemployed.    

Each of these victims will curse Israel. Since it will be crystal clear that this is an Israeli war, the rage will be turned against us. Worse, much worse – since Israel insists that it is “the state of the Jewish people”, the rage may take the form of an unprecedented outbreak of anti-Semitism. Newfangled Islamophobes will revert to old-time Jew-haters. “The Jews are our disaster,” as the Nazis used to proclaim.

This may be worst in the US. Until now, Americans have watched with admirable tolerance as their Middle East policy is practically dictated by Israel. But even the almighty AIPAC and its allies will not be able to contain the outburst of public anger. They will give way like the levees of New Orleans.

THIS WILL have a direct impact on a central calculation of the warmongers.

In private conversations, but not only there, they assert that America will be immobilized on the eve of elections. During the last few weeks before November 6, both candidates will be mortally afraid of the Jewish lobby.

The calculation goes like this: Netanyahu and Barak will attack without giving a damn for American wishes. The Iranian counter-attack will be directed against American interests. The US will be dragged into the war against its will.

But even in the unlikely event that the Iranians act with supreme self-restraint and do not attack US targets, contrary to their declarations, President Obama will be compelled to save us, send huge quantities of arms and ammunition, bolster our anti-missile defenses, fund the war. Otherwise he will be accused of leaving Israel in the lurch and Mitt Romney will be elected as the savior of the Jewish State.

This calculation is based on historical experience. All Israeli governments in the past have exploited American election years for their purposes.

In 1948, when the US was required to recognize the new Israeli state against the express advice of both the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, President Truman was fighting for his political life. His campaign was bankrupt. At the last moment Jewish millionaires leaped into the breach, Truman and Israel were saved.

In 1956, President Eisenhower was in the middle of his re-election campaign when Israel attacked Egypt in collusion with France and Britain. It was a miscalculation – Eisenhower did not need Jewish votes and money and put a stop to the adventure. In other election years the stakes were lower, but always the occasion was used to gain some concessions from the US.

Will it work this time? If Israel unleashes a war on the eve of elections, in an obvious effort to blackmail the president, will the American public mood support Israel – or could it go the other way? It will be a critical gamble of historic proportions. But like Mitt Romney, Netanyahu is a protégé of the Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and he may be no more averse to gambles than the poor suckers who leave their money in Adelson’s casinos.

WHERE ARE the Israelis in all this?

In spite of the constant brainwashing, polls show that the majority of Israelis are dead set against an attack. Netanyahu and Barak are seen as two addicts, many say megalomaniacs, who are beyond rational thinking.

One of the most striking aspects of the situation is that our army chief and the entire General Staff, as well as the chiefs of the Mossad and the Shin Bet, and almost all their predecessors, are totally and publicly opposed to the attack.

It is one of the rare occasions when military commanders are more moderate than their political chiefs, though it has happened in Israel before. One may well ask: how can political leaders start a fateful war when practically all their military advisors, who know our military capabilities and the chances for success, are against it?

One of the reasons for this opposition is that the army chiefs know better than anyone else how totally dependent on the US Israel really is. Our relationship with America is the very basis of our national security.

Also, it seems doubtful whether Netanyahu and Barak have a majority for the attack even in their own government and inner cabinet. The ministers know that apart from everything else, the attack would drive investors and tourists away, causing huge damage to Israel’s economy.

So why do most Israelis still believe that the attack is imminent?

Israelis, by and large, have been totally convinced by now (a) that Iran is governed by a bunch of crazy ayatollahs beyond rationality, and (b) that, once in the possession of a nuclear bomb, they will certainly drop it on us.

These convictions are based on the utterances of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in which he declared that he will wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

But did he really say that? Sure, he has repeatedly expressed his conviction that the Zionist Entity will disappear from the face of the earth. But it seems that he never actually said that he – or Iran – would ensure that result.

That may seem only a small rhetorical difference, but in this context it is very important.

Also, Ahmadinejad may have a big mouth, but his actual power in Iran was never very great and is shrinking fast. The ayatollahs, the real rulers, are far from being irrational. Their whole behavior since the revolution shows them to be very cautious people, averse to foreign adventures, scarred by the long war with Iraq that they did not start and did not want.  

A nuclear-armed Iran may be an inconvenient near-neighbor, but the threat of a “second holocaust” is a figment of the manipulated imagination. No ayatollah will drop a bomb when the certain response will be the total annihilation of all Iranian cities and the end of the glorious cultural history of Persia. Deterrence was, after all, the whole sense of producing an Israel bomb

IF NETANYAHU & Co. were really frightened by the Iranian Bomb, they would do one of two things:

Either agree to the de-nuclearization of the region, giving up our own nuclear armaments (highly unlikely);

Or make peace with the Palestinians and the entire Arab world, thereby disarming the ayatollahs’ hostility to Israel.

But Netanyahu’s actions show that, for him, keeping the West Bank is vastly more important than the Iranian bomb.

What better proof do we need of the craziness of this whole scare?

Rick Rozoff discusses General Assembly resolutions on Syria and how the US and its allies are circumventing standard procedure in order to win a propaganda battle.

“Everything that the West and its Persian Gulf allies have done over the last seventeen months has worsened the situation, [costing] more Syrian lives,” Rozoff said.

What do you make about Kofi Annan’s sudden decision.

I don’t know how unexpected it was for those in the know, but it was unexpected for many, to see Kofi Annan all of a sudden decide not to renew his mandate? Which was to have expired at the end of this month.

It didn’t surprise me. I would just tell you frankly, I believe that his stepping down was coordinated with the introduction of the resolution in the General Assembly, which was introduced by the current Secretary-General – Kofi Annan’s successor, Ban Ki-moon – who lambasted the Syrian government, made comparisons to Rwanda and Bosnia in the 1990s as though suggesting that what happened in Syria was a replication of the precedents I mentioned.

And again, you know, poisoned the well, or prejudiced the vote by his comments. We have to recollect that Kofi Annan himself would never have been Secretary-General of the UN if then-U.S. representative to the UN, the Secretary of State later, Madeleine Albright hadn’t single-handedly rammmed through his nomination and secured his position at the expense of Boutros Boutros-Ghali who was running for reelection for that position.

So, Kofi Annan was the U.S.’s man in the United Nations for two terms. And if anything I was rather surprised he hadn’t tipped his hand earlier in terms of supporting the West’s position. But you know, in fact he did to some extent at the Geneva meeting of the so-called Action Group, where there were different interpretations of what came out. There was Russia’s and China’s, for example, and there was his, which intimated or stated I think even more explicitly that Bashar Assad had to step down as president and the government had to cede power to some sort of coalition. So, it doesn’t surprise me in the least. I think these events were coordinated and then the fact that he received a guest editorial in the Financial Times, the morning of the General Assembly vote, as I recollect last Friday, explaining his position all seems to be a fairly coordinated campaign.

What do you think about: several Russia officials made statements that the resolution actually served to worsen the situation in Syria?

Yes, it does. And everything that the West and its Persian Gulf allies have done over the last seventeen months has worsened the situation, cost more Syrian lives, led to the further destabilization, in many ways made irreparable damage to the nation of Syria, which one would now have to assume is the intent. For example Vitaly Churkin also said after the vote last Friday [August 3, 2012] that to take the vote to the General Assembly while the Security Council was still deliberating on the Syrian issue was a violation of the United Nations Charter.

So, the U.S. and its allies have again circumvented the standard procedure in order to win a propaganda battle, but a propaganda battle that will continue as we were just talking about with the escalation in the loss of Syrian lives as a result. The West and its Saudi allies and Qatari allies will sacrifice the life of every last Syrian if they accomplish their geopolitical objectives, which are not only regime change in Damascus, it’s also to prolong the perceived isolation of Russia and China. That’s the significance of this vote last Friday more than anything else.

Syria is much more the pretext than the actual issue being discussed, because what is at issue right now is whether the U.S. and its allies can arbitrarily violate international law, whether they can subvert the concepts of the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of states, whether somebody sitting in the State Department can determine who has to step down as head of state and who is going to replace him. And the U.S. has done this on a least four occasions since early last year. I’m talking about Ivory Coast, Libya, Yemen and now Syria. And there is every reason to believe that if they are successful in Syria, then they would move on to the next countries. And I would suggest that the twelve countries that voted against the resolution on Friday are exactly the twelve countries that are going to be targeted.

Can you list those countries for our listeners?

Yes. The twelve countries that voted against the resolution are Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Belarus, Bolivia, Cuba, Myanmar, Nicaragua, North Korea, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

And you think all those countries are on a hit list for regime change?

Each except for Myanmar decidedly are. And I’m a bit surprised that the former Burma, Myanmar, voted against the resolution as it had not voted against the resolution in February.

Why do you think they did this?

I have no idea. I would have thought that since Hillary Clinton’s visit to Myanmar last November that she had pretty much shifted Myanmar away from China and towards the United States. So, frankly I have no explanation for why they voted against the resolution unless they sensed something. If you’d asked me a year ago it would have been self-evident why Myanmar voted against it, because it itself was targeted for regime change at the time.

Somebody has them on the checklist and I think it’s important that they not be able to make checks in each box. And if developments in Syria, that is Western and allied efforts to overthrow the government in Syria, are thwarted with the continued opposition of Russia and China in the first place, then I don’t think we have to worry about the other eleven nations, because of course Syria is one of them. But should they be successful in Syria, then I think the remaining eleven nations are likely targets.

Listen, one last question regarding Syria, which you just brought up again. About a week ago it looked like Assad was all but finished. What do you think Assad’s chances are, and the current Syrian government’s chances are of staying in power?

Barring a direct foreign military intervention, I think better with each passing day. The successful campaign to secure Damascus and now Aleppo, the two largest cities in the country, has given the lie to the media propaganda in the West, in the first place, about the fact that there was no unity within the government, that the Syrian nation and people were divided, that the government had no substantive support…

Yes, they were talking about everybody bailing out, that the high officials saw no future, and after the assassination at the security building.

That’s a good point you raise. With the murder by a suicide bombing of four leading officials of the government, including the Defense Minister and the Deputy Defense Minister…

And the intelligence head I believe it was.

Yes. The reports in the West were that this is “the final nail in the coffin”, to quote Leon Panetta, the Pentagon chief, with the Syrian government and it was only a matter of days if not hours before it fell and so forth. And we’ve seen quite the reverse occur. We’ve seen the government reestablish control over the capital of Damascus as well as Aleppo. And basically what are going on now are mopping-up operations. And it also demonstrates that the Syrian military is firmly in support of the government.

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These jihadists, who have gravitated to Syria from Britain, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, among other countries, are directed by Washington, London and Paris in time-honoured fashion of these powers’ criminal involvement with Islamic fundamentalists under the catch-all nom de guerre of Al Qaeda. They are weaponised by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel; they are trained and based by Turkey and Jordan. And their brains are weaponised by Saudi Wahhabism, with all its intolerant pathological hatred to anyone who opposes its tyranny and Western objectives.

Far from promoting solidarity and peace, the OIC has shown itself to be a political instrument serving the geopolitical interests of Washington and its allies in the destruction of Syria and their designs for entrenching hegemonic control over the Middle East. That control is all about exploiting the resources of the region to enrich Western corporations and banks, paying off elite rulers and impoverishing the mass of people.”

As the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) concludes its emergency summit in Mecca this week with the suspension of Syria, its member states should now consider amending the body’s name – to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation with United States Imperialism (OICUSI).

For the OIC stands as a violation of every principle it is supposed to represent. In calling for this conference with its flagrantly politicised agenda, Saudi Arabia emerges as the shame of the Islamic world.

Admittedly, the acronym OICUSI is a bit clunky, but it would be far more truthful than the present OIC. The 57-member organisation, founded in 1969, represents some two billion Muslims worldwide and is charged with “promoting solidarity among members and upholding peace and security”.

Far from promoting solidarity and peace, the OIC has shown itself to be a political instrument serving the geopolitical interests of Washington and its allies in the destruction of Syria and their designs for entrenching hegemonic control over the Middle East. That control is all about exploiting the resources of the region to enrich Western corporations and banks, paying off elite rulers and impoverishing the mass of people.

Of course the Syrian people want reform and more democracy. But they won’t achieve that so long as Saudi Arabia and the other Western proxies remain on their thrones of deception colluding with the foreign enemies of the people.

Just at the hour when the people of Syria are desperately in need of international solidarity and peace, the OIC delivers a kick in the teeth.

In this way, the OIC is following in the disgraceful footsteps of the 21-member Saudi-dominated Arab League, which suspended Syria last November.

These sanctions against Damascus are based on the entirely bogus claim fomented by Washington and the former colonial powers London and Paris that the conflict in Syria stems solely from repression and violence perpetrated by the government of President Bashar Al Assad against his people. This propaganda narrative turns reality completely on its head. The violence in Syria over the past 17 months has largely stemmed from armed groups that are supplied, directed and infiltrated by the Western powers in collusion with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel.

The US-led axis is attempting to tear Syria apart by fuelling sectarian bloodshed between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and between Muslims, Christians, Druze and Kurds. The desecration of Islam is particularly vile. Mosques have been turned into sniper posts to fire on civilians, and whole villages have been massacred – the throats of children slit – by so-called Holy Warriors.

These jihadists, who have gravitated to Syria from Britain, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, among other countries, are directed by Washington, London and Paris in time-honoured fashion of these powers’ criminal involvement with Islamic fundamentalists under the catch-all nom de guerre of Al Qaeda. They are weaponised by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel; they are trained and based by Turkey and Jordan. And their brains are weaponised by Saudi Wahhabism, with all its intolerant pathological hatred to anyone who opposes its tyranny and Western objectives.

In the context of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, this conspiracy of terror and mass murder should be matter of diabolical shame for member states Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan. These supposedly Islamic countries are colluding with the Western powers and their criminal Zionist proxy in the murder of Muslims and other Syrians in the service of imperialist domination of the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia in particular is seen as abusing its historic role as custodian of the holy Islamic centre of Mecca to further a despicable political agenda. By calling the extraordinary meeting of the OIC in Mecca – supposedly to discuss the violence in Syria – Saudi Arabia is covering its blood-soaked hands with a mantle of religious sanctity.

By contrast, Iran’s delegation to the OIC conference, headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, stood out as upholding the principles of the organisation. Iran rightly pointed out the basic injustice that the Syrian government was not even invited to the Mecca conference to hear the charges being levelled against it, and to have the opportunity to defend itself against such charges. One shouldn’t be surprised by the absence of jurisprudence for Syria at the Saudi-orchestrated event. After all, thousands of ordinary Bahrainis are being dragged through military courts in Saudi-backed Bahrain solely on the basis of trumped up prosecutions with no right to defend themselves either.

Iran’s foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi noted at the beginning of the three-day conference: “Every country, especially OIC countries, must join hands to resolve this issue in such a way that will help the peace, security and stability in the region.”

He warned: “By suspending [Syria’s] membership, this does not mean you are moving towards resolving an issue. By this, you are erasing the issue.”

Unfortunately, Salehi’s sound advice was ignored. With typical Wahhabist attitude of no discussion, no explanation, the Saudi-hosted conference ended with the formal suspension of Syria from the OIC. The heavy-handed conclusion achieves what it was meant to: to not give Syria a fair hearing, to further isolate the country in the eyes of the world, to conceal the violent involvement of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Jordan in the destruction of Syria, and to give political cover for their imperialist masters in the dismemberment of Syria.

The Mecca summit has all the signs of a tawdry show trial, shamefully under the banner of Islam, conducted, of all places, in the holy city. Current OIC chief is Turkish national Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. He said the decision to suspend Syria sent “a strong message” to Damascus.

A statement issued at the end of the summit said participants had agreed on “the need to end immediately the acts of violence in Syria and to suspend that country from the OIC”.

The suspension was “also a message to the international community stating that the Muslim world backs a peaceful solution [in Syria], wants an end to the bloodshed and refuses to let the problem degenerate into a religious conflict and spill over into the wider region,” the OIC chief Ihsanoglu added.

Absolutely not true. First, if the OIC was serious about “ending immediately the acts of violence in Syria” then it would have suspended the memberships foremost of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey – the instigators of so-much bloodshed, terrorism and crimes against humanity in Syria that are inflaming the region.

Second, on the claim that “the Muslim world backs a peaceful solution in Syria”, it should be noted that the Geneva accord agreed by the UN Security Council at the end of June, which calls for an inclusive political dialogue in Syria, has been continually violated by the Western, Arab, Turk, Israeli backers of the Jihadist terror army assailing that country.

Indeed, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says these parties have sabotaged the Geneva accord.

At the OIC summit, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in particular have arrogated the banner of the Muslim world, when in truth they are the unseemly standard bearers for imperialist butchery in the Middle East.

In this holy month of Ramadan, where faith, compassion and truth before God is supposed to be adhered to more than ever, the Saudi OIC conference is truly an abomination of all that is supposedly represented by “Islam/peace”.

I returned to the UK today to be astonished by private confirmation from within the FCO that the UK government has indeed decided – after immense pressure from the Obama administration – to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy and seize Julian Assange.

This will be, beyond any argument, a blatant breach of the Vienna Convention of 1961, to which the UK is one of the original parties and which encodes the centuries – arguably millennia – of practice which have enabled diplomatic relations to function. The Vienna Convention is the most subscribed single international treaty in the world.

The provisions of the Vienna Convention on the status of diplomatic premises are expressed in deliberately absolute terms. There is no modification or qualification elsewhere in the treaty.

Article 22

1.The premises of the mission shall be inviolable. The agents of the receiving State may not enter
them, except with the consent of the head of the mission.
2.The receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises
of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the
mission or impairment of its dignity.
3.The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property thereon and the means of
transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.

Not even the Chinese government tried to enter the US Embassy to arrest the Chinese dissident Chen Guangchen. Even during the decades of the Cold War, defectors or dissidents were never seized from each other’s embassies. Murder in Samarkand relates in detail my attempts in the British Embassy to help Uzbek dissidents. This terrible breach of international law will result in British Embassies being subject to raids and harassment worldwide.

The government’s calculation is that, unlike Ecuador, Britain is a strong enough power to deter such intrusions. This is yet another symptom of the “might is right” principle in international relations, in the era of the neo-conservative abandonment of the idea of the rule of international law.

The British Government bases its argument on domestic British legislation. But the domestic legislation of a country cannot counter its obligations in international law, unless it chooses to withdraw from them. If the government does not wish to follow the obligations imposed on it by the Vienna Convention, it has the right to resile from it – which would leave British diplomats with no protection worldwide.

I hope to have more information soon on the threats used by the US administration. William Hague had been supporting the move against the concerted advice of his own officials; Ken Clarke has been opposing the move against the advice of his. I gather the decision to act has been taken in Number 10.

There appears to have been no input of any kind from the Liberal Democrats. That opens a wider question – there appears to be no “liberal” impact now in any question of coalition policy. It is amazing how government salaries and privileges and ministerial limousines are worth far more than any belief to these people. I cannot now conceive how I was a member of that party for over thirty years, deluded into a genuine belief that they had principles.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.

Poll: Majority of Jewish Israelis oppose attack on Iran

August 16th, 2012 by Michael Carmichael

Israeli support for a unilateral attack on Iran has collapsed – dramatically.  By a huge margin of over two to one, Israelis believe that it would be a mistake for Israel to attack Iran without US support.  61% oppose a unilateral attack, while only 27% support it.  

This is a huge setback for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak who have championed a unilateral Israel attack on Iran modelled on the successful 1981 Israeli air strike on the Osirak reactor in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. 

According to reports from Israel, the final straw came recently when Sheldon Adelson and his pet puppet, Mitt Romney, strenuously urged Netanyahu to attack Iran in order to upstage President Obama in the US presidential election.  Israelis are not fond of either Romney or his chief financial backer, and their unpopularity will now impact Netanyahu who rules Israel by a tiny majority in the Knesset that is fashioned out of a very shaky coalition of extremist right-wing parties.

“A majority of Jewish Israelis oppose an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities without U.S. cooperation, and think it is unlikely Israel will soon launch a unilateral strike against the Islamic Republic, a poll released Thursday has found.

Some 61 per cent of those questioned oppose an Israeli strike, compared to 27 per cent in favor, the poll by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University’s Evens Program in Mediation and Conflict Resolution found.

In addition, 56 per cent think the chances are low that Israel would launch such a strike unilaterally, compared to 33 per cent who assume Israel will go ahead anyway.

The poll, conducted last week, interviewed 516 respondents and had a 4.5 per cent margin of error.

Speculation, fueled by a flurry of reports and analysis in Israeli media, has snowballed in recent days that a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran is only a matter of months, or even weeks.

Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat, pointing to repeated statements by Iranian leaders that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.

Iran denies Western allegations that it is seeking to build a nuclear weapon and insists that its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes. (  

For more updates and links to important breaking news; see Planetary’s page on FaceBook at:

Since the end of World War II, the Anglo-American Empire has covertly supported the deployment of foreign and domestic “foot soldiers”, including terrorists and paramilitary brigades to bring about regime change and further its agenda of World domination.

One of the earlier examples of such a modus operandi, still widely ignored, is Gladio, “NATO’s European stay-behind army”, active during the Cold War. Controlled by the CIA and Britain’s MI6, Gladio members orchestrated terrorist attacks in Western Europe, which were blamed on Communist entities. 

Gladio was falsely presented to key European state officials as a stand-by secret army used for propaganda purposes to counter a possible communist take over. The ultimate goal of Gladio was to demonize the Communist and Socialist parties and encourage European citizens to endorse their governments’ commitment to “National Security”.   

American citizens were not exempt from such scheming. As Prof. James F. Tracy explains:

“The string of still unresolved US political assassinations throughout the 1960s suggest how such practices were not restricted to foreign countries. Nor were they solely the terrain of intelligence agencies. Along lines similar to Gladio, in the early 1960s the US Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed Operation Northwoods, where terrorist attacks would be initiated against US civilians in American cities and the violence blamed on Cuban combatants to justify war against the island nation.[2] The Kennedy administration rejected the proposal. While Northwoods exhibited the capacity for government to conceive and propose such plans, Gladio was demonstrably carried out against Western civilian populations in multiple locations over many years.” (Prof. James F. Tracy False Flag Terror and Conspiracies of Silence.)

The recruitment of  paramilitary armies and death squads has played a key role in the conduct of US foreign policy. With the Soviet-Afghan war, these “secret soldiers” were turned into highly visible “freedom fighters”, waging the Empire’s war at the forefront and in plain sight: Afghan Mujahideen, Nicaraguan Contras, Kosovar and Haitian rebels, etc.

As recent history has proven, the Western powers are still using this virtuous terminology to describe their foot soldiers, their terrorists in the Middle-East,  the “pro-democracy Libyan rebels” and the “Free Syrian Army”. But who’s “freedom” and “liberty” are they fighting for? If an armed gang such as the “Free Syrian Army” invaded any Western street, they would be labelled as terrorists and promptly crushed by the military: 

The mainstream media not only ignores history, it distorts reality, it omits to report essential information. It never ”connects the dots”. As Tony Cartalucci notes:

As West berates Syria for “killing civilians” Western weapons flow into terrorist hands from NATO. The New York Times in their article, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” confirms what many have already long known – that the West, led by the US and its Gulf State proxies, have been arming terrorists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, while berating the Syrian government for “violating” a UN mandated ceasefire and for “failing to protect” its population. (Tony Cartalucci CONFIRMED: US CIA Arming Terrorists in Syria)

These omissions and distortions result in a Kafkaesque interpretation of reality which eventually becomes, with the exception of the independent alternative media, a mainstream media consensus serving dominant financial and political interests. 

Here is a short list of recent articles on Western freedom fighters, together with selected articles from our archives.  You can also browse our archives  for many more articles on the subject.   


CIA Provides Stinger Missiles to Syrian “Freedom Fighters”

Syria’s Parallels with Afghanistan
- by Deepak Tripathi – 2012-08-13

UN Designates “Free Syrian Army” Affiliates as Al Qaeda

- by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-08-12

US-Saudi Sponsored Al Qaeda Killers in Syria

- by Tony Cartalucci – 2012-08-11

Terrorism as an Instrument of US Foreign Policy: UN-Backed Rogue States Plan Syria’s Slaughter

- by Felicity Arbuthnot – 2012-08-11

Al Qaeda, The CIA and Media Propaganda directed Against Syria

- by Devon DB – 2012-08-03

Humanitarian Military Intervention in Syria? Who is Behind the Atrocities?

- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-07-30


The Al Qaeda Connection: Who are we Helping in Libya? Here are Some Answers. - 2011-03-27

The CIA’s Libya Rebels: The Same Terrorists who Killed US, NATO Troops in Iraq - by Dr. Webster G. Tarpley – 2011-03-28


Watching Syria, remembering Nicaragua - by Richard Becker – 2012-07-22

How United States Intervention Against Venezuela Works - by Philip Agee – 2005-09-15

Damning the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment - by Joe Emersberger – 2008-02-19


THE “SPECTER” OF AL QAEDA IN AFRICA: A Cover for Western Reconquest of the Continent - by Finian Cunningham – 2012-04-05
British Intelligence Worked with Al Qaeda to Kill Qaddafi - by Gerald A. Perreira – 2011-03-25


Kosovo and Albania: Dirty Work in the Balkans: NATO’s KLA Frankenstein - by Tom Burghardt – 2011-01-30

KOSOVO’S “MAFIA STATE”: From Madeleine to Hillary: The US Secretary of State’s “Love Affair” with the KLA- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-04-06


Gladio – Death Plan For Democracy - by Peter Chamberlin – 2008-02-05

Ex-Italian President: Intel Agencies Know 9/11 An Inside Job - by Paul Joseph Watson – 2007-12-05

NATO’s secret armies linked to terrorism? - by Daniele Ganser – 2004-12-15

9/11: The Attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001

August 16th, 2012 by Thierry Meyssan

Global Research Editor’s Note

As September approaches, we are reminded that the anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11 will soon be upon us once again. 11 years laters, are we any closer to the truth about what really happened on that fateful day?

For the next month until September 11, 2012, we will be posting on a daily basis important articles from our early archives pertaining to the tragic events of 9/11. 

The following text by Thierry Meyssan originally published on Global Research in April 2002 focusses on the attack on the Pentagon.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, August 16, 2001

The book of Thierry Meyssan entitled  l’Effroyable imposture, has been the source of much controversy in France. With a view to promoting constructive debate, we reproduce the text of Meyssan’s  presentation to a meeting under the auspices of the Arab Ligue. 

Who was behind the September 11 attacks?

by Thierry Meyssan 

Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), , 19 April 2002

Translation of the transcript of the presentation by Thierry Meyssan on 8 April 2002 at the Zayed Center in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), at a gathering organized under the auspices Arab League.For the original French text click here . Read also in French, the transcript of Meyssan’s Interview with TV5. 

Your Highness, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the first minutes following the first attack on the World Trade Center, officials suggested to the media that the person behind the attacks was Osama bn Laden, the epitome of Muslim fanaticism. Not long after, the recently appointed director of the FBI, Robert Mueller III, designated nineteen kamikazes by name and mobilized all the means at the disposal of his agency to track down their accomplices. The FBI thus never undertook any investigation but, instead, organized a man hunt, which, in the eyes much of the United States public, quickly took on the appearance of an Arab hunt. This reached such a pitch that people were incited to attack – even kill – Arabs whom they naively considered collectively responsible for the attacks.

There was no investigation by Congress, which, at the request of the White House, renounced exercising its constitutional role, supposedly in order not to adversely affect national security. Nor was there investigation by any media representatives, who had been summoned to the White House and prevailed upon to abstain from following up any leads lest such inquiries also adversely affect national security.

If we analyze the attacks of September the eleventh, we notice first off that there was much more to them than the official version acknowledges.

1.We know about only four planes, whereas at one point it was a question of eleven planes. Further, an examination of the insider-trading conducted in relation to the attacks shows put-option speculative trading in the stock of three airline companies: American Airlines, United Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. 2.The official version does not include the attack on the White House annex, the Old Executive Office Building (called the “Eisenhower Building”). Yet, on the morning of the eleventh, ABC television broadcast, live, pictures of a fire ravaging the presidential services building. 3.Neither does the official version take into account the collapse of a third building in Manhattan World Trade Center complex, independently of the twin towers. This third building was not hit by a plane. However, it, too, was ravaged by a fire before collapsing for an unknown reason. This building contained the world’s biggest secret CIA operations base, where the Agency engaged in economic intelligence gathering that the military-industrial lobby considered a waste of resources that should have been devoted to strategic intelligence gathering.

If we look closely at the attack against the Pentagon, we notice that the official version amounts to an enormous lie.

According to the Defense Department, a Boeing 757, all trace of which had been lost somewhere over Ohio, flew some 500 kilometers (300 miles) without being noticed. It supposedly entered Pentagon air space and descended on to the lawn surrounding the heliport, bounced off the lawn, broke a wing in collision with an electric transformer station, hit the façade at the level of the ground floor and first story, and was totally consumed by fire, leaving no other traces than two dysfunctional black boxes and pieces of passengers’ bodies.

It is obviously impossible that a Boeing 757 could, for some 500 kilometers, escape detection by civil and military radar, by fighter-bomber planes sent in pursuit of it and by observation satellites that had just been activated.

It is also obviously impossible that a Boeing 757 could enter the Pentagon’s air space without being destroyed by one or more of the five missile batteries protecting the building.

When one examines the photographs of the façade, taken in the minutes following the attack (even before the Arlington civilian fire fighters had time to deploy), one sees no trace of the right wing on fire in front of the façade, nor any hole in the façade into which the plane could have been swallowed up.

Apparently without the least fear of laying itself open to ridicule, the Defense Department declared that the jet engines, made out of tempered steel, had disintegrated under the shock of the impact – without damaging the façade. The aluminum of the fuselage is claimed to have combusted at more than 2,500° Celsius within the building and to have been transformed into gas, but the bodies of the passengers which it contained were so little burned that they were later identified from their finger prints.

Responding to journalists during a press conference at the Pentagon, the fire chief claimed that “no voluminous debris from the aircraft” had remained, “nor any piece of the fuselage, nor anything of that sort”. He declared that neither he nor his men knew what had become of the aircraft.

Close examination of the official photographs of the scene of the attack, taken and published by the Defense Department, shows that no part of the Pentagon bears any mark of an impact that could be attributed to the crash of a Boeing 757.

One must acknowledged the evidence: it is impossible that the attack against the Pentagon on September 11, killing 125 persons, was carried out by a jet airliner.

The scene of the attack was thoroughly disturbed on the following day by the immediate launch of new construction work, with the result that many of the elements necessary to reconstruct what had happened are missing. The elements that do remain, however, converge in a single hypothesis that it is not possible to prove with certainty.

An air traffic controller from Washington has testified seeing on radar an object flying at about 800 kilometers per hour, moving initially toward the White House, then turning sharply toward the Pentagon, where it seemed to crash. The air traffic controller has testified that the characteristics of the flight were such that it could only have been a military projectile.

Several hundred witnesses have claimed that they head “a shrill noise like the noise of a fighter-bomber”, but nothing like the noise of a civilian aircraft.

Eye-witnesses have said that they saw “something like a cruise missile with wings” or a small flying object “like a plane carrying eight or twelve persons”.

The flying object penetrated the building without causing major damage to the façade. It crossed several of the building rings of the Pentagon, creating in each wall it pierced a progressively bigger hole. The final hole, perfectly circular, measured about one meter eighty in diameter. When traversing the first ring of the Pentagon, the object set off a fire, as gigantic as it was sudden. Huge flames burst from the building licking the façades, then they shrank back just as fast, leaving behind a cloud of black soot. The fire spread through a part of the first ring and along two perpendicular corridors. It was so sudden that the fire protection system could not react.

All these testimonies and observations correspond to the effects of an AGM[air to ground missile]-86C of the third (most recent) generation of CALCM [conventional air launched cruise missile -- see picture at], equipped with depleted uranium warheads and guided by GPS [global positioning system]. This type of missile, seen from the side, would easily remind one of a small civilian airplane, but it is not a plane. It produces a shrill whistle comparable to that of a fighter-bomber, can be guided with enough accuracy to be directed through a window, can pierce the most resistant armor and can set off a fire – independent of its piercing effect – that will generate heat of over 2,000° Celsius.

This type of missile was developed jointly by the Navy and the Air Force and is fired from a plane. The missile used against the Pentagon destroyed the part of the building where the new Supreme Naval Command Center was being installed. Following the attack, the Navy Chief of Staff, Admiral Vernon Walters, failed to show up in the crisis room of the National Military Joint Intelligence Center when the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reported there. Instead, he abruptly left the Pentagon.

Who, then, could have fired such a missile on the Pentagon? The answer was given by the off-the-record revelations of Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, and by Karl Rove, senior advisor to the president, to journalists from the New York Times and the Washington Post. Eighteen days later, these men discounted the veracity of the information they had given the journalists, claiming that they had been speaking under the stress of great emotion.

According to those close to George W. Bush, in the course of the morning, the Secret Service received a telephone call from those behind the attacks, apparently in order to make demands. To give credence to their demands, the masterminds revealed the secret codes giving access to the secure telephone lines available to the president for secure communication with the various intelligence agencies and services as well as for access to the nuclear arsenal. In fact, only a very few persons with the highest security clearances, in the top ranks of the government, could have had these codes. It follows that at least one of the persons behind the attacks of September 11 has a top government post, either civilian or military.

To give credence to the fable of Islamic terrorists, the United States authorities invented kamikazes.

Although it would have been possible for a well organized group of persons to bring fire arms into commercial air liners, the kamikazes apparently used cardboard cutters as their only weapons. They are said to have learned to pilot Boeing 757s and 767s in the space of several hours of simulator training, becoming better pilots than professionals. This mastery allowed them to carry out complex in-flight approach maneuvers.

The Justice Department has never explained how it established the list of the kamikazes. The airline companies have furnished the exact number of passengers in each plane, and the passenger lists, incomplete, do not mention the persons who boarded at the last minute. In checking the these lists, one notices that names of the kamikazes are not on them and that only three passengers are not identified for flight 11 and only two for flight 93. It is thus impossible that 19 kamikazes boarded. Further, several of those listed as kamikazes have turned up, alive. The FBI nonetheless maintains that the high-jackers have all been definitively identified and that complementary information such as birth dates makes it improbable that they could be confused with persons of the same name. For those who might doubt this, the FBI has a ridiculous proof: whereas the planes burned and the twin towers collapsed, the passport of Mohammed Atta was miraculously found intact on the smoking ruins of the World Trade Center.

The existence of high-jackers, whether these or others, is confirmed by telephone calls made by several passengers to members of their families. Unfortunately, these conversations are known to us only by hearsay and have not been published, even in the case of those that were recorded. Thus, it has been impossible to verify that they were actually made from a particular cell phone of from a telephone on board. Here, too, we are asked to take the FBI at its word.

Further, it was not indispensable to have high-jackers to carry out the attacks. The Global Hawk technology, developed by the Air Force, makes it possible to take control of a commercial airliner regardless of the intentions of its pilot(s) and to direct it by remote control.

There remains the case of Osama bn Laden. If it is generally admitted that he was a CIA agent or collaborator during the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the current version of events claims that he turned coat and became public enemy number one of the United States. This story does not bear up under scrutiny either. The French daily le Figaro revealed that last July, Osmam bn Laden was a patient at the American hospital in Dubai, where he was visited by the head of CIA regional office. CBS television in the United States has revealed that, on September 10, Osama bn Laden was undergoing dialysis at the Rawalpindi military hospital, under the protection of the Pakistani army. And the renown French journalist Michel Peyrard, who was a prisoner of the Taliban, has recounted how, last November, Osama bn Laden was living openly in Jalalabad while the United States was bombing other regions of the country. It is difficult to believe that the greatest army in the world, come to Afghanistan to arrest him, was unable to do so, while the mollah Omar was able to escape from United States military force on a moped.

In view of the elements that I have just presented, it appears that the attacks of September can not be attributed to foreign terrorists from the Arab-Muslim world – even if some of those involved might have been Muslim – but to United States terrorists.

The day after the attacks of September 11, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1368 acknowledged “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense in accordance with the Charter”, calling on “all States to work together urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks and stresses that those responsible for aiding, supporting or harboring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these acts will be held accountable”.

If one wishes to heed the call of the Security Council, to enforce Resolution 1368 and to punish those who really are guilty, the only way to accurately identify the guilty parties is to set up a commission of inquiry whose independence and objectivity are guaranteed by the United Nations. This would also be the only way to preserve international peace. In the meantime, Your Highness, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, the foreign military interventions of the United States of America are devoid of any basis in international law, whether it be their recent intervention in Afghanistan or their announced interventions in Iran, Iraq and in numerous other countries.

Thierry Meyssan is the author of the book 11 septembre 2001: l’Effroyable imposture, Paris: Editions Carnot, 2002, Copyright © T Meyssan  2002.

The original URL of this article is:  

Hiroshima and The Glorification of American Militarism

August 16th, 2012 by Dr. Gary G. Kohls


August 6, 9, 2012 was the 67th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the whole truth of which has been heavily censored and mythologized starting with the news of the event that created understandable joy because of the end of that awful war.


Hundreds of millions of Americans took in, as gospel truth, the heavily edited stories about the end of the war. To the average American, the war’s end was such a relief that there was no questioning. For the soldiers who were particularly war-weary, no moral questions were raised regarding the justification of their use.

The immediate history was written by the victors, of course, with no balancing input from the losing side. But, several decades later, after intensive research by unbiased historians, we now know that the patriotic narrative contained a lot of false information, often orchestrated by war-justifying militarists – starting with General Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur, aka “the American Caesar”, successfully imposed a virtual total censorship of what really happened at Ground Zero. One of his first acts after taking over as viceroy of Japan was to confiscate and/or destroy all the unpleasant photographic evidence documenting the horrors of the atomic bombings.

Back in 1995, the Smithsonian Institute was preparing to correct the pseudo-patriotic myths by staging an honest, historically-accurate 50th anniversary display exploring all sides of the atomic bombings. This provoked serious right-wing reactionary outrage from veterans groups and other “patriot” groups (including Newt Gingrich’s GOP-dominated Congress) the Smithsonian felt compelled to remove all of the contextually important aspects of the story, especially the bomb-related civilian atrocity stories. So again we had another example of powerful politically-motivated groups that falsified history because of a fear that “unpatriotic” truths, albeit historical, would contradict their deeply-held beliefs – and intolerable psychological situation for many blindered superpatriots.

The Okinawa bloodbath could have been avoided


The Smithsonian historians did have a gun to their heads, of course, but in the melee, the mainstream media – and their easily brain-washable consumers of propaganda – ignored a vital historical point. And that is this: the war could have ended as early as the spring of 1945 without the August atomic bombings, and therefore there could have been averted the 3 month bloody battle of Okinawa that resulted in the deaths of thousands of American Marines with tens of thousands of Japanese military casualties and uncounted thousands of Okinawan civilian casualties.

In addition, if the efforts had succeeded at ending the war via early Japanese efforts for an armistice, there would have been no need for the atomic bombs nor for an American land invasion – the basis of the subsequent propaganda campaign that retroactively justified the use of the bombs.

President Truman, was fully aware of Japan’s search for ways to honorably surrender months before the fateful order to incinerate, without warning, the defenseless women, children and elderly people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who had not been given a choice by their militarist, fascist government about going to war..

That top-secret intelligence data, de-classified in the 1980s, showed that the contingency plans for a two-stage US invasion of the mainland (the first one no sooner than November 1, 1945 and the second one in the spring of 1946) would have been unnecessary.

Japan was working on peace negotiations through its Moscow ambassador as early as April of 1945 when the battle of Okinawa was just starting. Harry Hopkins, President Truman’s close advisor, was aware of Japan’s desire for an armistice. He cabled the president from Moscow, saying: “Japan is doomed and the Japanese know it. Peace feelers are being put out by certain elements in Japan.”

Truman’s team knew of these and other developments because the US had broken the Japanese code years earlier, and US intelligence was intercepting all of Japan’s military and diplomatic messages. On July 13, 1945, Foreign Minister Togo said: “Unconditional surrender (giving up all sovereignty, thereby deposing Hirohito, the Emperor god) is the only obstacle to peace.”

What did Truman know and when did he know it?

Since Truman and his advisors knew about these efforts, the war could have ended through diplomacy, first with a cease-fire and then a negotiated peace, by simply conceding a post-war figurehead position for the emperor Hirohito – who was regarded as a deity in Japan. That reasonable concession was – seemingly illogically – refused by the US in their demands for “unconditional surrender”, which was initially demanded at the 1943 Casablanca Conference between Roosevelt and Churchill and reiterated at the Potsdam Conference (July 1945) between Truman, Churchill and Stalin.

When General Douglas MacArthur heard about the demand for unconditional surrender, he was appalled. He recommended dropping that demand to facilitate the process of ending the war peacefully. William Manchester, in his biography of MacArthur, American Caesar, wrote: “Had the General’s advice been followed, the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been unnecessary.”

Even Secretary of War Henry Stimson, said: “the true question was not whether surrender could have been achieved without the use of the bomb but whether a different diplomatic and military course would have led to an earlier surrender. A large segment of the Japanese cabinet was ready in the spring of 1945 to accept substantially the same terms as those finally agreed on.” In other words, Stimson felt that the US prolonged the war, including the battle for Okinawa, and could have made using the bombs unnecessary if it had engaged in honest negotiations.

Shortly after WWII, military analyst Hanson Baldwin wrote: “The Japanese, in a military sense, were in a hopeless strategic situation by the time the Potsdam Declaration (insisting on Japan’s unconditional surrender) was made.”

Admiral William Leahy, top military aide to President Truman, said in his war memoirs, I Was There: “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons. My own feeling is that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages.”

And General Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a personal visit to President Truman a couple of weeks before the bombings, urged him not to use the atomic bombs. Eisenhower said: “It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing . . . to use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians, without even attempting [negotiations], was a double crime.”

After the bombings of August 6 and 9, the “unconditional” surrender terms were quietly dropped

Ironically – and tragically – after the war ended, the emperor was allowed to remain in place as spiritual head of Japan, the very condition that made the Japanese leadership refuse to accept the humiliating “unconditional surrender” terms.

So the two essential questions that need answering (to figure out what was going on behind the scenes) are these:  1) Why did the US refuse to accept Japan’s only concession concerning their surrender (Japan’s ability to retain their emperor) and 2) with the end of the war in the Pacific already a certainty why were the bombs still used?

The factors leading up to the decision to use the bombs

Scholars have determined that there were a number of factors that contributed to Truman’s decision to use the bombs.

1) The US had made a huge investment in time, mind and money (a massive 2 billion in 1940 dollars) to produce three bombs, and there was no inclination – and no guts – to stop the momentum.

2) The US military and political leadership – not to mention most war-weary Americans – had a tremendous appetite for revenge because of the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Of course, mercy isn’t a consideration for any wartime military force, and that includes the US military. The only factor to be considered was ending the war by any means necessary, no matter what methods are used. So, in the elation of the end-of-war moment, the public asked no questions and no explanations were demanded by the relieved citizens who quite willingly accepted the propaganda that justified the hideous end.

National security typically allows – indeed, demands – stealing, cheating and lying about what really happens at the ground zeroes of history. The absurd old saying that “all’s fair in love and war” applies most emphatically to war.

3) The fissionable material in Hiroshima’s bomb was uranium and Nagasaki’s was plutonium. Scientific curiosity about the differences between the two weapons was a significant factor that pushed the project to its completion. The Manhattan Project scientists and the US Army director of the project, General Leslie Groves, wanted answers to a multitude of questions raised by the project, including “what would happen if an entire city was leveled by a single nuclear bomb?” The decision to use both bombs had been made well in advance of August 1945. Harry Truman did not specifically order the bombing of Nagasaki.

The three-day interval between the two bombs was unconscionably short. Japan’s communications and transportation capabilities were in shambles, and no one, either the US military or the Japanese high command, fully understood what had happened at Hiroshima, particularly the short-term or long-term after effects of the radiation. The Manhattan Project was so top secret that even MacArthur had been kept out of the loop until a few days before Hiroshima was reduced to ashes.

4) The Soviet Union had proclaimed its intent to enter the war with Japan 90 days after V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day, May 8, 1945), which would have been Aug. 8, two days after Hiroshima was bombed. Indeed, our Russian allies did declare war on Japan on August 8 and was advancing eastward across Manchuria, eager to reclaim territories lost to Japan in the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War. The US didn’t want Japan surrendering to Russia (soon to be the only other superpower and a future enemy) so the first nuclear threat “messages” of the Cold War were “sent”, loud and clear.

Russia indeed received far less of the spoils of war than they had hoped for, and the two superpowers were instantly and deeply mired in the arms-race stalemate that eventually resulted in their mutual moral (and fiscal) bankruptcies that occurred a generation or two later.

The reality for the victims

An estimated 80,000 innocent, defenseless civilians, plus 20,000 essentially weaponless young Japanese conscripts died instantly in the Hiroshima bombing. Hundreds of thousands more suffered slow deaths from agonizing burns, radiation sickness, leukemias and virtually untreatable infections for the rest of their shortened lives; and generations of the survivor’s progeny were doomed to suffer horrific radiation-induced illnesses, cancers and premature deaths that are still on-going at this very hour. Another sobering reality that has been covered up is the fact that 12 American Navy pilots, their existence well known to US command, were instantly incinerated in the Hiroshima jail on August 6, 1945.

The 75,000 victims who died in the huge fireball at Nagasaki on August 9 were virtually all civilians, except for the inhabitants of an allied POW camp near Nagasaki’s ground zero. They were instantly liquefied, carbonized and/or vaporized by an experimental weapon of mass destruction that was executed by obedient, unaware scientists and soldiers, and blessed by Christian military chaplains who were just doing their duty. The War Dept. knew of the existence of the Nagasaki POWs and, when reminded of that fact before the B-29 fleet embarked on the mission, simply replied: “Targets previously assigned for Centerboard (code name for the Kokura/Nagasaki mission) remain unchanged.”

So the official War Department.National Security State-approved version of the end of the war in the Pacific contained a new batch of myths that took their places among the long lists of myths by which nations make war. And such half-truth versions are still standard operating procedure that are continuously fed to us by the corporate, military, political and media opinion leaders that are the war-makers and war profiteers of the world.

The well-honed propaganda of the war machine manufactures glory out of inglorious gruesomeness, as we have witnessed in the censored reportage of the US military invasions and occupations of sovereign nations like North Korea, Iran, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Lebanon, Granada, Panama, the Philippines, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc, etc. And this list doesn’t even start to uncover the uncountable Pentagon/CIA covert operations and assassination plots in the rest of the known world, where as many as150 nations have been bribed – or threatened – to host, usually against the population’s will, American military and CIA bases, secret torture (euphemistically called “rendition”) sites and other covert operations.

But somehow most of us Americans still hang on to a shaky “my country right or wrong” patriotism, desperately wanting to believe the cunningly-orchestrated myths that say that the war-profiteering 1%, the exploitive ruling elite and the ChickenHawk politicians, military leaders and media talking heads that are in their employ, only work for peace, justice, equality, liberty and spreading democracy, all the while being blind to the fact that America has historically supported right-wing fascist dictatorships that make the world unsafe for democracy all the while ensuring easy access for vulture capitalists, high finance, multinational corporations and other exploiters to be able to do their dirty work.

While it is true that the US military has faced down the occasional despot (usually the ones who won’t cooperate with the “interests” of the 1%), more often than not the rationalization for going to war is the same as those of the anti-American “freedom fighters”, ”insurgents” or the other “evil empires” that are on the other side of the battle line. The justification of the atrocities of August 6 and 9, 1945 are symbolic of the brain-washing that goes on in all “total wars”, which always result in other varieties of mass human slaughter in war known as  “collateral damage” and “friendly fire”.

Is it too late to resuscitate the humanitarian, peace-loving America? 

It might already be too late to rescue and resuscitate the humanitarian, peace-loving America that we used to know and love. It might be too late to effectively confront the corporate hijacking of liberal democracy in America. It might be too late to successfully bring down the arrogant and greedy ruling elites who are selfishly exploiting the resources of the world and dragging the planet and its creatures down the road to destruction. The rolling coup d’etat of the Friendly American Fascists may already have happened.

But there is always hope. Rather than being silent about the wars that the soulless and ruthless war-mongers are provoking all over the planet (with the very willing pushes by the Pentagon, the weapons industry and their conservative lapdogs in Congress), people of conscience need to ramp up their resistance efforts and teach the whole truth of history, in spite of the painful lessons that will be revealed.

We need to start owning up to the uncountable war crimes that have been hidden from history, including the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And then we need to go to the streets, publicly protesting and courageously refusing to cooperate with those who are transforming America into a criminal rogue nation that will eventually be targeted for its downfall by the billions of suffering victims outside our borders, just as happened to Nazi Germany and Fascist Japan.

Doing what is right for the whole of humanity for a change, rather than just doing what is profitable or advantageous for our over-privileged, over-consumptive and unsustainable American way of life, would be real honor, real patriotism and an essential start toward real peace.

Is Washington Deaf As Well as Criminal?

August 16th, 2012 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The morons who rule the American sheeple are not only dumb and blind, they are deaf as well. The ears of the american “superpower” only work when the Israeli prime minister, the crazed Netanyahu, speaks. Then Washington hears everything and rushes to comply.

Israel is a tiny insignificant state, created by the careless British and the stupid Americans. It has no power except what its american protector provides. Yet, despite Israel’s insignificance, it rules Washington.

When a resolution introduced by the Israel Lobby is delivered to Congress, it passes unanimously. If Israel wants war, Israel gets its wish. When Israel commits war crimes against Palestinians and Lebanon and is damned by the hundred plus UN resolutions passed against Israel’s criminal actions, the US bails Israel out of trouble with its veto.

The power that tiny Israel exercises over the “worlds’s only superpower” is unique in history. Tens of millions of “christians” bow down to this power, reinforcing it, moved by the exhortations of their “christian” ministers.

Netanyahu lusts for war against Iran. He strikes out against all who oppose his war lust. Recently, he called Israel’s top generals “pussies” for warning against a war with Iran. He regards former Israeli prime ministers and former heads of the Israeli intelligence service as traitors for opposing his determination to attack Iran. He has denounced america’s servile president Obama and america’s top military leader for being “soft on Iran.” The latest poll in Israel shows that a solid majority of the Israelis are opposed to an Israeli attack on Iran. But Netanyahu is uninterested in the opinion of Israeli citizens. He has Washington watching his back, so he is war mad. It is a mystery why Israelis put Netanyahu in public office instead of in an insane asylum.

Netanyahu is not alone. He has the american neoconservatives in his corner. The american neoconservatives are as crazed as Netanyahu. They believe in nuclear war and are itching to nuke some Muslim country and then get on to nuking Russia and China. It is amazing that no more than two or three dozen people have the fate of the entire world in their hands.

The Democratic Party is helpless before them.

The Republican Party is their vehicle.

The Russians, watching Netanyahu push Washington toward dangerous confrontations keep raising their voices about the danger of nuclear war.

On May 17 Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned the West against launching “hasty wars,” which could result “although I do not want to scare anyone” in “the use of a nuclear weapon.”

On November 30 of last year the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia warned of nuclear war with NATO. General Nikolai Makarov said that NATO’s eastward expansion meant that the risk of Russia coming into conflict with NATO had “risen sharply.” General Makarov said, “I do not rule out local and regional armed conflicts developing into a large-scale war, including using nuclear weapons.”

Here is Russian president Medvedev (currently the prime minister) describing the steps toward nuclear war that Russia has taken pushed by the crazed warmongers in Washington wallowing in their insane hubris:

With regard to the american missile bases on Russia’s borders, “I have made the following decisions. First, I am instructing the Defense Ministry to immediately put the missile attack early warning radar station in Kaliningrad on combat alert. Second, protective cover of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons will be reinforced as a priority measure under the program to develop our air and space defenses. Third, the new strategic ballistic missiles commissioned by the Strategic Missile Forces and the Navy will be equipped with advanced missile defense penetration systems and new highly-effective warheads. Fourth, I have instructed the Armed Forces to draw up measures for disabling missile defense system data and guidance systems. These measures will be adequate, effective, and low-cost. Fifth, if the above measures prove insufficient, the Russian Federation will deploy modern offensive weapon systems in the west and south of the country, ensuring our ability to take out any part of the US missile defense system in Europe. One step in this process will be to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad Region. Other measures to counter the European missile defense system will be drawn up and implemented as necessary. Furthermore, if the situation continues to develop not to Russia’s favor, we reserve the right to discontinue further disarmament and arms control measures.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin has said, as politely as possible, that the US seeks to enslave the world, that the US seeks vassals, not allies, that the US seeks to rule the world and that the US is a parasite on the world economy. It would be difficult for an informed person to take exception with Putin’s statements.

Putin told the politicians in Washington and Western and Eastern European capitals that surrounding Russia with anti-ballistic missiles “raises the specter of nuclear war in Europe.” Putin said that the Russian response is to point nuclear armed cruise missiles, which cannot be intercepted by anti-ballistic missiles, at the US missile bases and at European capitals. The American move, Putin said, “could trigger nuclear war.”

Putin has been trying to wake up the american puppet states in Europe at least since February 13, 2007. At the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, Putin said that the unipolar world that Washington was striving to achieve under its banner, “is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.”

That has certainly happened to the US which now has a police state as thorough-going as Nazi Germany. And even better armed:

Putin went on to tell his European audience that in Russia, “we are constantly being taught about democracy. But for some reason those who teach us do not want to learn themselves.” Instead, Putin said, “we are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basis principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, Who likes this? Who is happy about this?”

People are not happy, Putin said, because they don’t feel safe. Not to feel safe “is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this–no one feels safe!” The result, Putin said, is “an arms race.”

Putin politely unbraided the Italian defense minister, a person owned by Washington, for suggesting that NATO or the EU could take the place of the UN in justifying the use of force against sovereign countries. Putin took exception to the idea that Washington could use its puppet organization or its puppet states to legitimize an act of US aggression. Putin stated flatly: “The use of force can only be considered legitimate if the decision is sanctioned by the UN.”

Putin went on to discuss the forked tongue of Washington. Reagan and Gorbachev had firm agreements, but Reagan’s successors put “frontline forces on our borders. . . . The stones and concrete blocks of the Berlin Wall have long been distributed as souvenirs. But we should not forget that the fall of the Berlin Wall was possible thanks to a historic choice – one that was also made by our people, the people of Russia – a choice in favor of democracy, freedom, openness and a sincere partnership with all the members of the big European family. And now they are trying to impose new dividing lines and walls on us – these walls may be virtual but they are nevertheless dividing ones that cut through our continent. And is it possible that we will once again require many years and decades, as well as several generations of politicians, to dissemble and dismantle these new walls.”

Putin’s speech of more than 6 years ago shows that he has Washington’s number. Washington is The Great Pretender, pretending to respect human rights while Washington slaughters Muslims in seven countries on the basis of lies and fabricated intelligence. The american people, “the indispensable people,” support this murderous policy. Washington uses the status of the dollar as reserve currency to exclude countries that do not do Washington’s bidding from the international clearing system.

Washington, awash in hubris like Napoleon and Hitler before they marched off into Russia, has turned a deaf, dumb, and blind ear to Putin during the entirety of the 21st century. Speaking on May 10, 2006, Putin said: “We are aware of what is gong on in the world. Comrade wolf [the US] knows whom to eat, he eats without listening, and he’s clearly not going to listen to anyone.”

“Where,” Putin asked, is Washington’s “pathos about protecting human rights and democracy when it comes to the need to pursue its own interests?” For Washington, “everything is allowed, there are no restrictions whatsoever.”

China also has caught on. Now the hubris that drives Washington toward world hegemony confronts two massive nuclear powers. Will the criminal gang in Washington drive the world to nuclear extinction?

Washington, thinking that it owns the world, has imposed more unilateral sanctions on Iran without any basis in any recognized law. The imposed sanctions are nothing but Washington’s assertion that its might is right.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Washington could stick its sanctions up its ass. “We consider efforts to impose internal American legislation on the entire world completely unacceptable.”

Washington will do what it can to assassinate Putin and effect regime change through the Russian “opposition” that Washington funds. Failing that, Washington’s pursuit of world hegemony has run up against a brick wall. If the fools in Washington with their hubris-inflated egos don’t back off, that mushroom cloud they have been warning about will indeed blossom over Washington.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.

Censored Tehran Peace Conference and Media Disinformation

August 16th, 2012 by Prof. James F. Tracy

If anyone needs additional proof of the tremendous censorial control wielded over corporate and alleged  “independent” media regarding Western powers’ imperialist projects they need look no further than the thorough news blackout of the August 9 Tehran Consultative Conference on Syria.[1] As this censorship ensued, “progressive” news outlets continued their barrage of dubious and misleading information on the continuing turmoil within Syria.

The August 9 Tehran conference was sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran, attended by representatives from close to 30 nations, including Russia, China, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Venezuela, Cuba, and the UN envoy to Tehran. Its express intent was to “strengthen all-out regional and international efforts to help Syrian people to find a way out of ongoing crisis and prepare a suitable ground for national dialogue in a peaceful atmosphere.”

Given the meeting’s suggestion of dialogue over force the conveners excluded the United States, Britain, France, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar–countries behind the program to destabilize Syria’s al-Assad’s regime.[2]

The discussion is anticipated to continue as a corollary to the Non-Aligned Movement meeting taking place in Iran in late August. Iran hopes the August 9 conference will be a genuine first step in a peace process between the Syrian regime and internal opposition groups.

Conference delegates emphasized a recognition of Syrians’ grievances while also expressing concern over how “the entry of known terrorist groups and sects into the Syrian conflict” threatens regional peace and security.[3]

White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed the meeting. “There is vast evidence that demonstrates that Iran has been engaged in an effort to prop up Assad as he brutally murders his own people,” Carney asserted. In an interview on NBC television US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice similarly claimed how Iran was playing a “nefarious” role in the Syria conflict, and acting as leader of an “axis of resistance” that was “bad for the region.”[4]

At a stage when the terrorist campaign in Syria appears to be faltering, the conference has likely caught US diplomats off guard. “I think the US State Department is freaked out because this is a huge defeat for Hillary Clinton,” political analyst Webster Tarpley stated on Iran’s PressTV. “What is Hillary Clinton’s diplomacy worth when 30 countries—including about half the world when you get down to it—can come together on a pro-Syrian, pro-independence platform?”[5]

Since the Tehran confab’s discourse was characterized with a spirit of national self-determination and clearly sought to contest NATO’s deceptive imperialist designs, one might expect the left-progressive news media and blogosphere especially to be abuzz with extensive coverage of the event. Such coverage or commentary has yet to emerge.

In fact, progressive media outlets continued what was arguably a campaign of disinformation that for some time has championed the Western-backed, mercenary-infused Free Syrian Army while ignoring its now thousands of murders and atrocities. For example, on August 12 The Nation ran a story by Democracy Now correspondent Sharif Abdul Kouddous,[6] the Egyptian-American reporter with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood [7] who received accolades in left media circles for his 2011 coverage of Tahrir Square.

In the first of a three-part series, Kouddous related his recent foray to the Syrian city of Zabadani, “one of the earliest towns to stage demonstrations against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, with residents taking to the streets two weeks after the uprising in Deraa on March 15, 2011.”

With vivid accounts of bloodshed perpetrated by the Syrian forces, Kouddous emphasizes to Nation readers how Zabadani’s steadfast revolution derives from the grassroots, thus differing from the one being waged by ruthless NATO-backed death squads throughout the rest of the country. “People that were unarmed at first decided to arm themselves,” one local activist tells Kouddous. “The regime made this happen.”

The readership is told how the village is “controlled by residents and fighters with the Free Syrian Army—which in Zabadani are made up almost entirely of local volunteers and defecting soldiers hailing from the area.”

In an August 14 Democracy Now interview highlighting the Nation piece, Amy Goodman asked Kouddous why he chose Zabadani to profile. “Well, I found a way into Syria,” Kouddous replied.

As we know, the Syrian government does not really allow journalists in on official visas, or very rarely does. And so, there was a way in through Lebanon to reach this town. I was hoping to reach Damascus, but the number of checkpoints around Damascus prevented that from happening.

In fact, Zabadani is well known as one of the very few “rebel holdouts” in Syria. As the BBC similarly reported in January, “Zabadani is the only town near Damascus seething with rebellion. It’s the only town where the president has ceded power.”[9]

Thus the city is an especially ideal backdrop for a piece promoting the now-familiar NATO propaganda line of the popular indigenous uprising repressed by the brutal Assad regime, even though the scenario appears to be far from common.

As recently as late July, France 24 reported a less triumphant situation for Zabadani’s FSA forces, with the Syrian Army making significant inroads toward retaking the city. “’Those who want to fight must come here!’” an FSA commander boasts. “’They [Syrian forces] are cowards and dogs – they just bark orders into their walky-talkies.’ Despite the bravado,” a France 24 correspondent observed, “Syrian forces have pushed the rebels back and many rebel-held areas are now under the army’s control.”

According to this account (and contrary to Kouddous’ romanticization of the FSA), “Even the hardiest,” of Zabadani’s inhabitants “can’t stand anymore fighting.” One woman told the French journalists “she would rather take her family into the countryside, while the rest of the Free Syrian Army defends the rest of the district.”[8]

Kouddous’ reportage contributes to the progressive media’s larger project of seemingly authenticating the mainstream news outlets’ simplistic, NATO-friendly “popular revolution” news frame of the overall Middle East destabilization process.

Yet nothing makes the intent to mislead audiences more apparent than this deceptive amalgam of stifling coverage of a potentially productive and meaningful peace conference, denying a real voice to the victims of Western-backed mercenaries and death squads, and paying calculated homage to the Zabadani rebellion. The familiar formula seeks to prop up a now-transparently doubtful storyline begun in January 2011.


[1] The news blackout is initially observed by Webster Tarpley. “Tehran Conference Belies US Syria Claims: Webster Tarpley,” Press TV, August 10, 2012,

[2] Syria: NATO’s Next “Humanitarian” War? Online Interactive Book, ed. Michel Chossudovsky, 2012,

[3] “Participants in Iran Conference on Syria Issue Final Statement,” FARS News Agency, August 9, 2012,

[4], “US Raps Iran on Syria After Tehran Conference,” Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha, August 10, 2012,

[5] “Tehran Conference Belies US Syria Claims: Webster Tarpley,” Press TV,  See also, “Tarpley: 30 Nations Meet in Tehran for Alternative to Hillary Clinton’s Attack on Syria,” Voltaire Network, August 12, 2012,

[6] Sharif Abdel Kouddous, “On the Ground in Zabadani, a Syrian Town in Revolt,” The Nation, August 13, 2012,

[7] Reporting from Tahrir Square in early 2011, Kouddous remarked, “One man who is sure Mubarak’s time is up is my uncle Mohamed Abd El Qudoos. A leading opposition protester, Mohamed is the head of the Freedom Committee in the Press Syndicate, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.” Why does one of the progressive news program’s foremost correspondents have ties to and tout the fiercely reactionary Muslim Brotherhood? ”Live From Egypt, The Rebellion Grows Stronger,” Democracy Now! January 30, 2011,

[8] Jeremy Bowen, “Zabadani: The Town President Assad Does Not Control,” BBC, January 20, 2012,

[9] “Rebels and Assad’s Forces Face-Off in Zabadani,” France 24, July 28, 2012,

James F. Tracy is Associate Professor of Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University and an associate of Project Censored. More information is available at his blog,

Syria: Proxy War Powder Keg

August 16th, 2012 by Bryce White

As the Syrian conflict escalates and continues unabated, so too does the intense rhetoric and diplomatic wrangling surrounding it, revealing the war’s immense geopolitical stakes. With the potential for a wider, regional war increasing day by day, it is all the more pressing to understand the intricacies of Syria’s strife and begin working toward its peaceful resolution.

Two conflicting narratives have developed to explain the country’s recent violence: On one side, Western and Gulf policymakers and media have portrayed the uprising as spontaneous and peaceful, and the Syrian government as a ruthless and indiscriminate murderer of its civilians. Other Arab governments, along with independent media and analysts, assert that the government is fending off terrorists armed and funded from abroad. As time passes, the details emerging of the situation unfortunately confirm the latter.

Even before the current phase of armed insurgency, Syria was being purposefully destabilized by U.S. State Department-funded groups. The Washington Post discussed this in their article, “U.S. Secretly Backed Syrian Opposition Groups, Cables Released by Wikileaks Show.” [1] The country is just one of the many targeted by the West’s engineered geopolitical ploy of the ‘Arab Spring,’ which swept through the Middle East and north Africa, overturning sovereign states less than compliant to U.S. interests in the region. When demonstrations failed to topple the regime as had happened in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, armed groups were inserted by U.S. and NATO planners to instead bring down Damascus through violence.

Since April, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the United States have overtly coordinated financing and material support for the rebels. [2] Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others are admittedly also providing weapons to the rebels via U.S. coordination and logistical support in Turkey and Lebanon. [3] Lebanon’s March 14 alliance, vehemently anti-Syrian, has also had a hand in supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels. [4] These details had extensive prior documentation, and were then made public as official policy. Even the former focal point of the Arab Spring, Libya, has committed weapons to the insurgency. [5] The Obama administration has also licensed a U.S. group to collect money for arms purchases, [6] effectively allowing the unwitting or nefarious to sponsor bloodshed. In addition, C.I.A. officers are currently stationed in southern Turkey, supplying automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and antitank weapons to the rebels, once again financed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. [7]

The recipients of this foreign political, financial, material and logistical support, collectively labeled the Free Syrian Army, have been repeatedly cited for their human rights abuses and the presence of extremist elements within their ranks – most noticeably by Human Rights Watch.

The motivation for these abuses are in many cases along sectarian lines, Syria being one of the few remaining havens in the Middle East for the Shia and Alawite communities. With the presence of al-Qaeda and other Sunni militant groups now openly admitted in the mainstream media, [8] political cover is being given to the rebels to carry out sectarian warfare against the Alawite community including the al-Assad regime, and the Shia and Christian communities.

Al-Qaeda’s presence is brazenly displayed across the country, [9] with the group’s signature black flag now awash in the country, harkening back to post-revolution Libya, where the flag was hoisted most prominently atop Benghazi’s courthouse.

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Human Rights Watch’s extensive list of abuses carried out by the opposition run the gamut from kidnapping and detention to torture, forced confessions and execution. [10] This is an all too familiar repeat of the abuses carried out by Libyan rebels last year, including in that case widespread genocide of the country’s black African population. [11] During the League of Arab States’ observer mission in Syria, these systematic abuses were confirmed in cities such as Homs, where kidnappings, sabotage of government and civilian facilities, and armed blockades were all attributed to the insurgents, creating a desperate humanitarian situation within the city. The governor of Homs stated that the armed groups were responsible for the city’s escalation in violence, defying pleas for peace from religious figures and city notables. [12] This fact of the conflict, that the armed opposition is responsible for escalating the violence, has been confirmed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. [13]

The insurgents crossing into Syria are often not even Syrian nationals, rendering ‘Free Syrian Army’ a misnomer at best and destroying the credibility of their stated goals. Many rebels were previously committed to jihad against NATO forces and Shi’ites in Iraq, and have traversed the border to unleash similar devastation inside Syria. An aide to Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki stated, “Al Qaeda that is operating in Iraq is the same as that which is operating in Syria. We are 100 percent sure from security coordination with Syrian authorities that the wanted names that we have are the same wanted names that the Syrian authorities have.” The origin of other fighters include Libya, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Many eyewitnesses have reported the fighters as having foreign dialects, and the bodies of fighters killed in action later have been found burned, in an attempt by others to cover their tracks and conceal their true origins.

NATO forces have been widely reported to be training Syrian rebels in southeast Turkey, [14] in preparation for their entry into the country. Once inside Syria, the rebels dutifully carry out mass murder to then blame upon the Assad regime as a pretext for further outside meddling. The most prominent of these massacres occurred in the village of Houla, in which 108 civilians were killed. The rebels and complicit mainstream media immediately named and shamed the Syrian government, intensifying their calls for regime change and outside intervention. As eyewitness reports later confirmed, [15] the Houla massacre was the work of armed groups who had seized control of the area and then indiscriminately murdered men, women and children. President Assad made a speech soon after, saying, “Even monsters couldn’t perpetrate what we have seen.” [16]

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The crisis being engineered inside Syria must be viewed in the context of a much larger geopolitical endgame. As Syrian parliamentarian Khaled Aboud has said, “it is not an internal conflict between the spectra of Syrian people, but a clash over the strategic interests between regional and international powers.” [17] The overarching objective is the limiting of Iran’s regional sphere of influence, Tehran being the current epicenter of the ‘Resistance’ movement in opposition to American and Israeli imperial interests. In this sense, Syria has truly become an unspoken proxy battleground between the NATO and Resistance power blocs. If Assad is able to survive the current influx of foreign mercenaries, Tehran will have a continued and strengthened sphere of influence stretching from central Asia to the eastern Mediterranean.

To topple Syria, Iran’s foremost ally and proxy, the Sunni-Shia divide has been co-opted to systematically dismantle the Iranian axis and solidify Israel’s position as the sole regional hegemon. The Sunni monarchies of the Gulf are eager to limit Persian Shia influence in the region, and their participation in the anti-Syrian campaign also provides cover for their continued crackdown on dissenters. The same is true of Turkey regarding their Kurdish population. The collapse of the Assad regime also removes Hezbollah’s next-door state sponsor, killing two Iranian proxies with one stone. This is the motivation behind the Lebanese Hariri faction’s participation in fueling the insurgency, as it will remove the political influence of Iran and the March 8 movement.

Iran has been reluctant to stand idly by during all of this, despite the backlash that could result from Syria’s and Iran’s hypocritical aggressors. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said in testimony, “We are seeing a growing presence by Iran and that is of deep concern to us that that’s taking place. There’s now an indication that they’re trying to train a militia within Syria to be able to fight on behalf of the regime.” [18] The State Department has likewise accused Hezbollah of training and advising government forces, [19] although without presenting evidence for the accusation. Whether or not these accusations are true, they are important in that they portray Iran as a source of instability in the conflict, despicably attempting to mitigate a full-blown proxy invasion. However, Iran is still pursuing peaceful and diplomatic resolution to the conflict. This was on display recently in Tehran, when Iran hosted representatives from nearly 30 countries including Russia and China, collectively representing over half the world’s population standing in defiance of Western imperial designs.

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Iran’s efforts, no matter how futile they might appear at this stage, should be welcomed as Tehran is now the only external player making serious attempts to preserve Syrians’ lives, infrastructure and uncertain future.

Bryce White is an independent geopolitical analyst and student of political science residing in San Diego.





















Russia in the Middle East: Return of a superpower?

August 16th, 2012 by Eric Walberg

The US “withdrawal” from Iraq last year and the planned “withdrawal” from Afghanistan in 2014 cannot help but change the face of Central Asia and the Middle East. But how does Russia fit in

The world is living through a veritable slow-motion earthquake. If things go according to plan, the US obsession with Afghanistan and Iraq will soon be one of those ugly historical disfigurements that — at least for most Americans — will disappear into the memory hole.

Like Nixon and Vietnam, US President Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who “brought the troops home”. But one cannot help but notice the careful calibration of these moves to fit the US domestic political machine — the Iraqi move to show Americans that things on the international front are improving (just don’t mention Guantanamo), the Afghan move put off conveniently till President Barack Obama’s second term, when he doesn’t need to worry about the fallout electorally if things unravel (which they surely will).

Of course, Russia lost big time geopolitically when the US invaded Afghanistan, and thus gains as regional geopolitical hegemon by the withdrawal of US troops from Central Asia. Just look at any map. But American tentacles will remain: Central Asia has no real alternative economically or politically anymore to the neoliberal global economy, as Russia no longer claims to represent a socialist alternative to imperialism. The departure of US troops and planes from remote Kyrgyzstan will not be missed — except for the hole it leaves in the already penurious Kyrgyz government’s budget and foreign currency reserves. Russia is a far weaker entity than the Soviet Union, both economically and politically. Thus, Russia’s gain from US weakness is not great.

Besides, both Russia and the US support the current Afghan government against the Taliban — as does Iran. In fact, in case US state department and pentagon officials haven’t noticed the obvious, the main beneficiary of the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq has been Iran, again by definition. The invasion brought to power the ethnic Persian Tajiks in Afghanistan, and the invasion of Iraq set up a Shia-dominated government there.

 Similarly, when the US invaded Iraq, Russia lost politically and economically. The US cancelled Sadam Hussein’s state debts, which hurt the Russians and Europeans but not the US. The US just happened to be boycotting Iraq for the previous decade and took pleasure from shafting its sometime allies for ignoring US wishes. However, once Iraqi politicians begin to reassert some control over their foreign policy, Russia will be seen as a much more sympathetic partner internationally.

Ironically, on many fronts, Iran now holds the key to readjusting the political playing field and establishing rules that can lead away from the deadly game being played by the US, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, with broader implications for broader nuclear disarmament, EU-US relations, but above all, for the continued role of the dollar as world reserve currency. This encourages Russia to maintain its alliance with Iran over vague (and empty) promises of US-Russian world hegemony as envisioned by the now-discredited Medvedev Atlantists in Moscow.

Russia’s relations with both Central Asia and the Middle East since the collapse of the Soviet Union have been low key. In the Middle East, it maintains relations with Palestine’s Hamas, and, as a member of the so-called quartet of Middle East negotiators (along with the EU, the US and the UN), insists that Israel freeze expansion of settlements in the Occupied Territories as a condition of further talks. It appears to be trying to regain some of the goodwill that existed between the Soviet Union and Arab states, supporting the UN Goldstone Report which accused Israel of war crimes in its 2008 invasion of Gaza.

It embarked on a diplomatic offensive with Arab states in 2008, offering Syria and Egypt nuclear power stations, and is re-establishing a military presence in the Mediterranean at the Syrian port, Tartus, though Syria’s current civil war, with Russia and Iran lined up against the West and the Arab states could leave Russia on the losing side. Western attempts to portray Russia as the power-hungry bad guy in Syria do not hold water. Russia is concerned about heightened civil war in an evenly divided population, with rebel groups openly armed by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s Arab and Western foes. The hypocrisy in the Arab world is appalling: Gulf monarchies and Saudi Arabia loudly demand that Egypt’s new government swear off any attempt to “interfere” in their internal politics, but brazenly arm Syrian rebels.

 Russia is still struggling to leave its own tragic civil war in Chechnya behind, and to make sure there’s a place at the table for its Muslims. With its 16 million Muslims (about 12 per cent of the population), it has expressed interest in joining the Organization of Islamic Conference. Its unwillingness to let Syria slide into civil war does not gain it any brownie points among its own separatist Muslims in the Caucasus and elsewhere, but it is not willing to carve up either Syria or the Russian federation in the interests of some fleeting peace.

The importance of Jewish financial and economic interests in post-Soviet Russia — both the banking and industrial oligarchs and the Kosher Nostra mafia — ensures that Israel gets a sympathetic hearing from Russian leaders. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is a Russian Jew who emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1978.

Israel is also able to take advantage of the persistence of Muslim unrest and dreams of independence in the Caucasus within Russia to prevent Moscow from taking any strong position to pressure Israel. Russia’s prickly neighbor Georgia harbors Chechen rebels and Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili, uses Israeli and US military advisers. Of course, the US benefits from Israeli pressures on Russia. This is a key feature of the current Great Game, where the US and Israel act as the new imperial “centre”.

It is popular to call this era a new Cold War. However, history never repeats itself. There certainly is a new tension in world politics following 9/11, and the failure of the newly aggressive US to successfully assert its hegemony around the world, including Russia, keeps the fires of chauvinism hot in the US. On the US right, Russia is seen merely as the Soviet Union reborn, a ruse to hide the KGB’s agenda of world communist control. For the saner Obamites, it is a more diffused Cold War, dominated by a new US-Israeli imperial centre, the “empire-and-a-half”, with shifting alliances of convenience, though with a strong, new opposition player on the horizon — a savvier, more articulate Islamic world, with Iran, Turkey and Egypt in the first rank.

 The desire by both the US and Israel to overthrow the Iranian government is now the only common goal left in this “empire-and-a-half”, but it is a common goal only because Israel is in the driver’s seat. Israel resents Iran as an existential threat not to Israel itself, but to Greater Israel and regional domination. Iran serves as a powerful example, a third way for Muslim countries, and is most definitely a rival to Israel as Middle East hegemon.

 Among the new Arab Spring governments, it is only Egypt’s that worries Israel. Just imagine if Egypt and Iran start to cooperate. Add in Shia-dominated Iraq, Turkey and Russia, as Russia has good relations with all four, and common objects on the international scene. Suddenly the Middle East playing field takes on a totally different appearance.

A rational US policy to join with Russia and China to accommodate Iran could save the teetering dollar, or at least give the US a chance to prepare for an orderly transition to a new international currency. If Russia, China and Iran defuse the current nuclear crisis between the US and Iran peacefully, with a nod to Turkey and a resolve to make Israel join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, this could pave the way for a new Eurasian playing field. If and when the US withdraws from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India will be drawn in as well.

This would set off a chain of events that could change the whole nature of the current Great Game leading to a Russia-India-Iran-China axis (Russia-India-China summits have already been held yearly since 2001), leaving Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Israel to sort out their regional conflicts outside of a new, very different great game. US interests would be considered but without US diktat, forcing, or rather allowing the US to put its own house in order. Iran would finally be accepted as the legitimate regional player that it is. If the US cannot bring itself to make a graceful exit from its self-imposed crisis in the region, this will only accelerate its decline.

Russia inherits fond memories across the Middle East region as the anti-Zionist Soviet Union’s successor. It now has the chance to gain long term credibility as a principled partner not only in the Middle East but to non-aligned countries everywhere, and should hold the fort, the anti-imperial one, against what’s left of empire.

Eric Walberg writes for and is author of Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games You can reach him at


Die Entwicklungen in Syrien sind Vorboten dafür, was der gesamten Nahmittelost-Region droht. Regimewechsel ist nicht das einzige Ziel der USA und ihrer Verbündeten in Syrien. In Syrien selbst arbeitet Washington letztlich auf die Zerschlagung der Syrischen Arabischen Republik hin.

Der britische Finanzdienstleister Maplecroft, der sich auf Beratung und Risikobewertung spezialisiert hat, meinte, man erlebe derzeit die Balkanisierung Syriens: »Die Kurden im Norden, die Drusen in den südlichen Bergen, die Alawiten in den Bergregionen der Nordwestküste und die sunnitische Mehrheit im ganzen Rest.«

Auch andere Personen wie der Berater des Weißen Hauses Vali Nasr äußern sich nun zu diesem Thema. Die religiösen und ethnischen Enklaven lassen sich nur schwer in rein geografischer Hinsicht abgrenzen, daher könnte eine Balkanisierung Syriens eine ähnliche Entwicklung wie im Nachbarland Libanon nehmen. Dies hieße, dass Syrien möglicherweise gewaltsam entlang religiöser und ethnischer Verwerfungslinien aufgeteilt würde und mit einem politischen Stillstand konfrontiert wäre, der mit der Lage im Libanon während des dortigen Bürgerkrieges vergleichbar wäre, wobei formal der Staat erhalten bliebe. Eine solche Libanonisierung, sozusagen eine weiche Form der Balkanisierung, fand bereits im Irak mit der Einführung föderaler Strukturen statt.

Die Entwicklungen in der Nahmittelost-Region sowie in Nordafrika haben auch der Entstehung von Massenbewegungen gegen lokale Machthaber wie in Bahrain, Jordanien, Marokko und Saudi-Arabien Raum gegeben, aber zugleich wirkt hier ein bösartiges Drehbuch, das auf den israelischen Yinon-Plan und dessen Nachfolger zurückgeht. Dieser Yinon-Plan und ähnliche Szenarien forcieren einen künstlichen innermuslimischen Krieg zwischen Schiiten und Sunniten, der letztlich zu Aufspaltungen und Aufteilung entlang religiöser und ethnischer Verhältnisse – in der arabischen Sprache gibt es dafür den Ausdruck »fitna« – und anhaltenden Spannungen zwischen den einzelnen Gruppen – Christen und Muslimen, Arabern und Berbern, Arabern und Iranern, Arabern und Türken sowie Iranern und Türken – führen soll.

Dieser Prozess soll religiösen Hass, ethnische Spaltungen, Rassismus und Religionskriege schüren. In allen diesen Ländern, die die USA und ihre Verbündeten derzeit destabilisieren, existieren natürliche Bruchlinien, werden dann in einem Land noch zusätzlich ethnische und religiöse Abneigungen und Feindseligkeiten zwischen den Stämmen angeheizt, kann dieser Prozess leicht auch auf andere Staaten übergreifen. Die Konflikte in Libyen haben bereits den Niger und den Tschad erreicht, und die Probleme in Syrien sind derzeit dabei, sich in die Türkei und in den Libanon auszubreiten.

In Ägypten haben die revolutionären und konterrevolutionären Entwicklungen dazu geführt, dass diese arabische Großmacht weitgehend mit ihrer Innenpolitik beschäftigt ist. Und während sich Ägypten innenpolitischen Turbulenzen gegenübersieht, spielen die USA das Militär des Landes und die Muslimbrüderschaft gegeneinander aus. Und zuvor sorgten die Aufstände im Sudan dafür, dass dieses Land auch in gesamtstaatlicher Hinsicht balkanisiert wurde. Tel Aviv und Washington war es gelungen, die ethnischen und religiösen Identitäten politisch so zu manipulieren, dass es tatsächlich zur Abspaltung des Südsudan kam.

Libyen wiederum wird von unterschiedlichen Gruppierungen beherrscht, die das Land teilen und sich gegenseitig in Schach halten. Auch im Irak bahnt sich, wie bereits angesprochen, mit der Bildung der  Regionalregierung Kurdistan (RRK) mit ausländischer Unterstützung, insbesondere der Hilfestellung der USA, Westeuropas, Israels und der Türkei eine Libanonisierung an. Die RRK handelt immer mehr so, als handele es sich beim Nordirak oder beim irakischen Kurdistan bereits um eine vom Restirak getrennte eigenständige staatliche Einheit.

Es lohnt sich, hier einmal die Ansicht des Präsidenten des Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Dore Gold, zu zitieren, der auch zu den Beratern des israelischen Ministerpräsidenten Benjamin Netanjahu gehört: »Die Ereignisse in Syrien zeigen, das der Mittlere Osten dabei ist, auseinander zu brechen: Eine neue Art von Chaos ersetzt das bisherige.« Natürlich spiegelt sich hier teilweise auch das Wunschdenken der israelischen Politiker wider, die ein Interesse daran haben, dass diese Entwicklung so eintritt. Zu Beginn der Krise in Syrien wurde diese israelische Position ignoriert, aber heute ist offensichtlich, dass Israel ein starkes Interesse daran hat, dass Syrien in viele kleine Teile zersplittert und im Zustand eines anhaltenden Bürgerkriegs gefangen bleibt. Genau diese Zielrichtung hatten der Yinon-Plan und dessen Nachfolger als strategische Ziele Israels gegenüber Syrien und dem Libanon definiert.

Der kurdische Nationalismus

Ähnlich wie der Irak wird Syrien allgemein als strategisch wichtiger Druckpunkt im Mittleren Osten angesehen. Turbulenzen oder Desintegrationsprozesse in diesen beiden sensiblen Gebieten können eine schwere, sich selbst verstärkende Krise in der Region als Ganzer auslösen. Als sich die Lage in Syrien immer weiter zuspitzte, gebärdete sich der alles andere als stabile Irak ebenfalls wie ein geopolitischer, kurz vor dem Ausbruch stehender Vulkan.

Wenn jemand noch daran zweifelt, dass die USA bewusst Öl ins Feuer gießen, um eine allgemeine Zusammenbruchskrise in der Nahmittelost-Region auszulösen, oder dass die Ereignisse in Syrien langsam auf die Region auszustrahlen beginnen, muss nur einen Blick auf die Kurdenregion werfen. Nationalistische kurdische Kämpfer haben begonnen, sich in Syrien und in der Türkei zu mobilisieren und haben bereits türkische Truppen angegriffen. Die Regionalregierung Kurdistan hat weitreichende Schritte eingeleitet, die ihre Unabhängigkeit vom Irak deutlich machen.

Im Irak selbst ist die RRK praktisch ein Staat im Staate mit einem eigenen Parlament, einer eigenen Flagge und Armee, eigenen Visaregelungen, Streitkräften, einer eigenen Polizei und eigenen Gesetzen. Unter Verletzung irakischer Gesetze hat die RRK sich bereits eigenständig mit Waffen versorgt und in eigenem Namen Erdölgeschäfte mit ausländischen Regierungen und anderen Einrichtungen abgeschlossen, ohne die Regierung in Bagdad darüber überhaupt in Kenntnis zu setzen. Darüber hinaus hinderte die RRK sogar irakische Truppen daran, sich an der Nordgrenze des Irak zu Syrien zu positionieren, um dort dem Waffenschmuggel und der Gesetzlosigkeit ein Ende zu machen.

Die Türkei unterhält enge Beziehungen zur RRK und hat diese in ihrem Verhalten ermutigt. Sie behandelt die RRK wie die Regierung eines souveränen Staates und unterhält diplomatische Kontakte, ebenfalls ohne die irakische Regierung darüber zu informieren. Führende Vertreter der RRK gestatten dem israelischen Geheimdienst Mossad sogar, ihr Land als Operationsbasis gegen Syrien und den Iran zu benutzen.

Hier tritt ein bizarrer Zwiespalt zutage: Einerseits warnt die Türkei, sie werde militärisch gegen die kurdischen Separatisten in Syrien vorgehen, andererseits unterstützt sie die separatistischen Tendenzen innerhalb der RRK und die Spaltung Syriens. Dies wird nicht nur zusätzliche Spannungen zwischen den Regierungen der Türkei und des Iraks hervorrufen, sondern auch Folgen für die Türkei nach sich ziehen. Die Kurdische Arbeiterpartei (PKK) hat ebenfalls eine Mobilisierung begonnen. Sie behauptet, bereits den Bezirk Şemdinli (Şemzînan) in der türkischen Provinz Hakkâri zu kontrollieren, und auch im Südosten der Türkei sind schon Kämpfe ausgebrochen.

Die Opferzahlen haben bereits zugenommen, seit türkische Truppen und Sicherheitskräfte angegriffen wurden. In der Provinz Hakkâri wurde türkischen Medienberichten zufolge das Kriegsrecht ausgerufen. Die Türkei muss sich also im eigenen Lande  gegen regierungsfeindliche Kräfte zur Wehr setzen und scheint Schwierigkeiten zu haben, ihr eigenes Land zu regieren. Ein türkischer Abgeordneter der oppositionellen Republikanischen Volkspartei wurde schon von der PKK entführt. Der türkische Ministerpräsident Erdoğan versuchte, Syrien für den Ausbruch von Kämpfen in den Kurdengebieten der Türkei verantwortlich zu machen, aber er verschweigt in diesem Zusammenhang die Tatsache, dass die Gewalt in der Türkei eine direkte Folge der türkischen Einmischung in Syrien ist. Die Waffen, die Erdoğan nach Syrien bringen lässt, werden schließlich auch ihren Weg zurück in die Türkei finden – wenn dies nicht bereits der Fall ist –, wo sie dann von regierungsfeindlichen Kräften eingesetzt werden könnten.

Will Tel Aviv im Libanon eine zweite levantinische Front eröffnen?

Der Anschlag auf den israelischen Reisebus in Bulgarien lässt, gelinde gesagt, Schlimmes befürchten. Im Zusammenhang mit diesem Anschlag fällt auf, wie schnell Israel die libanesische Hisbollah und den Iran verantwortlich machte. Nicht einmal eine Stunde war seit dem Anschlag vergangen, und es hatte auch noch keine offizielle Untersuchung begonnen.

Bemerkenswert ist auch, dass nur eine Woche zuvor Regierungsvertreter in Tel Aviv mit einem Angriff auf den Libanon drohten. In diesem dritten israelisch-libanesischen Krieg würden sie den Libanon dem Erdboden gleichmachen, prahlten sie. Brigadegeneral Hertzi Halevy, der Kommandeur der 91. Division in Tel Aviv, gehörte zu den Wortführern. Seine Äußerungen fielen knapp eine Woche vor den sechsten Jahrestag des Sieges der Hisbollah über Israel im Krieg zwischen Israel und dem Libanon im Jahr 2006. Halevy und andere führende Israelis haben wiederholt damit gedroht, den Libanon mit einem verheerenden Angriff »plattzumachen«.

Die Verbündeten Syriens werden von verschiedensten Seiten unter Druck gesetzt. Der Iran, Russland, der Libanon, der Irak und die Palästinenser werden massiv bedrängt, ihre syrischen Verbündeten fallen zu lassen. Die israelischen Drohungen sollen den psychologischen Druck auf den Libanon und die Hisbollah weiter erhöhen, um den psychologischen, medialen, wirtschaftlichen, diplomatischen, geheimdienstlichen und politischen Belagerungsring um Syrien auf auch den Libanon auszudehnen. Die amerikanischen Sanktionen gegen Syrien beziehen bereits den Iran und die Hisbollah mit ein, und  libanesische Banken waren vor kurzem Cyberangriffen und Druck von Washington und seinen Verbündeten ausgesetzt.

Ein Ausblick: Willkommen im amerikanischen Instabilitätsbogen?

Die von den USA vorangetriebene Belagerung Syriens ist Teil der Versuche Amerikas,  Eurasien aufzuspalten und seine Vormachtstellung als Supermacht beizubehalten. Washington kennt weder seinen Freunden noch seinen Feinden gegenüber Gnade. Länder wie die Türkei und Saudi-Arabien werden möglicherweise als Kanonenfutter verheizt. Amerikanische Strategen warnen, die Großregion, die sich von Nordafrika und die Nahmittelost-Region bis zum Kaukasus, nach Zentralasien und Indien erstreckt, werde sich ähnlich wie Brzezińskis »eurasischer Balkan« in ein Schwarzes Loch endloser Kriege verwandeln.

Die Araber, der Iran und die Türkei stehen sich in Erwartung eines größeren Konflikts gegenüber, weil die Amerikaner dabei sind, ihren Status als alleinige Supermacht einzubüßen. Von diesem Supermachtstatus ist Washington längst nur noch seine Militärmacht geblieben. Auch die Sowjetunion verfügte am Ende ihrer relativ kurzen Existenz nur noch über militärische Macht und durchlebte vor ihrem Zusammenbruch soziale Unruhen und wirtschaftlichen Niedergang. Die Lage in den USA unterscheidet sich nicht grundlegend, vielleicht ist sie sogar schlimmer. Die USA sind am Ende. Die sozialen Unterschiede werden immer größer und auch die Spannungen zwischen den ethnischen Bevölkerungsgruppen nehmen zu, während der internationale Einfluss ständig schwindet. Aber die amerikanischen Eliten sind entschlossen, sich dem scheinbar unvermeidlichen Verlust des amerikanischen Supermachtstatus und ihres Empire entgegenzustemmen.

Eurasien in Flammen aufgehen zu lassen und überall dort Aufruhr zu schüren, scheint das Rezept Washingtons zu sein, mit dem der eigene Untergang verhindert werden soll. Die USA wollen in der Region von Marokko und dem Mittelmeer bis zu den Westgrenzen Chinas offenbar einen Flächenbrand entzünden. Mit der Destabilisierung von drei wichtigen Regionen – Zentralasien, dem Mittleren Osten und Nordafrika – hat dieser Prozess bereits eingesetzt. Aber die ersten Schritte, die die USA und ihre Verbündeten in der NATO und in Arabien in dieser Richtung unternahmen, richteten sich nicht gegen Syrien.

In der Nahmittelost-Region begann dieser Prozess mit der Belagerung des Iraks, die dann letztlich der angloamerikanischen Invasion des Landes im Jahre 2003 den Boden bereitete. In Zentralasien wurde diese Politik mit der Destabilisierung Afghanistans während des Kalten Krieges und einer amerikanischen Unterstützung eingeleitet, die dafür sorgte, dass zwischen den einzelnen Gruppen des Landes Kämpfe ausbrachen. Aus diesen Auseinandersetzungen gingen auch die Taliban hervor. Die Anschläge vom 11. September 2001 lieferten den USA und ihren NATO-Verbündeten dann den geeigneten Vorwand für eine Invasion dieses Landes. Und in Nordafrika gelang es den USA und Israel, eine Spaltung des Landes herbeizuführen, nachdem dort jahrelang Spannungen geschürt und verdeckte Operationen durchgeführt worden waren.

In den drei erwähnten Großregionen vollzieht sich gegenwärtig vor unseren Augen die zweite Welle der Destabilisierung. In Zentralasien hat die NATO den Krieg in Afghanistan bis nach Pakistan ausgeweitet. Heute wird der Kriegsschauplatz mit dem Ausdruck »AfPak« bezeichnet, womit die beiden Länder [aus amerikanischer Sicht offenbar] einen einheitlichen Kriegsraum bilden. In Nordafrika wurde Libyen 2011 von der NATO angegriffen, und die [libysche] Dschamahirija [»Volksmassenrepublik«] wurde durch die unterschiedlichen Volksgruppen aufgeteilt. Im Mittleren Osten richtet sich die zweite Welle der Destabilisierung sozusagen als Fortsetzung der Ereignisse im Irak nun gegen die Syrische Arabische Republik.

Washington scheint von dem folgenden Szenario zu träumen: In Syrien, der Türkei, dem Irak und dem Iran kommt es zu einem Aufstand der Kurden; der Irak, der Libanon, Syrien, die Türkei und der Jemen zerfleischen sich in religiös motivierten Kriegen; Algerien, Ägypten, Libyen, Pakistan und der Sudan werden durch Instabilität und Kämpfe zermürbt; Berber und Araber bekämpfen sich gegenseitig in ganz Nordafrika; Zentralasien wird von Unsicherheit und politischer Instabilität heimgesucht; ein Krieg im Südkaukasus verzehrt Georgien, Armenien und die Republik Aserbaidschan; unter den Balkaren, Tschetschenen, Tscherkessen, Dagestanis, Inguscheten und anderen Kaukasusvölkern kommt es im Nordkaukasus zu Aufständen gegen die Russen; der Persische Golf wird zu einer Zone der Instabilität, und die Beziehungen Russlands zur Europäischen Union und der Türkei befinden sich auf einem Tiefpunkt. Ein derartiger Weltenbrand  wird von Washington gegenwärtig stetig geschürt und aufrechterhalten.

Aber alle diese Entwicklungen bedeuten zugleich, dass einige der wichtigsten Energietransport- und Versorgungsrouten gestört und damit die massiv von Energieimporten abhängigen Volkswirtschaften Chinas, der größeren europäischen Mächte, Indiens, Japans und Südkoreas schwer beeinträchtigt werden könnten. Dies könnte dazu führen, dass die Politik der Europäischen Union gezwungenermaßen noch militärischer ausgerichtet wird, weil man verzweifelt versucht, ihre Volkswirtschaft zu retten.

Ein solches Szenario birgt vor allem für die Energielieferanten wie Russland oder die OPEC große Gefahren, wären sie doch möglicherweise gezwungen, sich entweder für China oder die EU zu entscheiden, sollte es zu Rohstoff- und Energieverknappungen kommen. Ein Krieg um Rohstoffe – wie der Erste Weltkrieg – könnte als Konsequenz mit verheerenden Folgen für einen großen Teil Afrikas und praktisch alle Industrieregionen Eurasiens ausbrechen.

Und während sich diese Katastrophen ereignen, könnten die USA sich all dies aus sicherer Entfernung anschauen, wie sie es schon im Ersten und Zweiten Weltkrieg taten, bevor sie dann in letzter Minute eingriffen, um die Scherben aufzusammeln und damit noch wirtschaftlichen Nutzen aus diesem verheerenden Krieg zögen.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya ist Soziologe und ein mit Preisen ausgezeichneter Autor. Er arbeitet für des Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) in Montreal und ist spezialisiert auf den Mittleren Osten und Zentralasien. Er hat als Autor und Gast für mehrere internationale Foren und Sender wie Al Jazeera, Televisión del Sur (teleSUR) und Russia Today Beiträge über den Mittleren Osten verfasst. Seine Arbeiten wurden in mehr als zehn Sprachen veröffentlicht. Er schreibt auch für die Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF) in Moskau.

Quelle: Press TV vom 08.14.2012

Scenario israelo-statunitense: dividi la Siria, dividi il resto

August 16th, 2012 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Quello che sta accadendo in Siria è un segno di ciò che accadrà nella regione. Il cambio di regime  in Siria non è l’unico obiettivo degli Stati Uniti e dei suoi alleati. Dividere la Repubblica Araba di Siria è l’obiettivo finale di Washington, in Siria. L’inglese Maplecroft, specializzata nella consulenza sul rischio strategico, ha detto che stiamo assistendo alla balcanizzazione dello Stato siriano: “i curdi nel nord, i drusi nelle colline meridionali, gli alawiti nella regione costiera montagnosa nord-occidentale e la maggioranza sunnita altrove.

Stiamo già sentendo gente come il consigliere della Casa Bianca, Vali Nasr, parlare di tutto questo. Le divisioni etniche e religiose in Siria non sono delimitate ai termini puramente geografici, e il processo di balcanizzazione potrebbe giocare come processo di libanizzazione, il che significa che la Siria sarà divisa lungo violente linee di faglia settarie e affronterà una situazione di stallo politico, come il Libano durante la guerra civile, ma senza una formale frattura. La libanizzazione, una forma morbida di balcanizzazione, ha già avuto luogo in Iraq sotto il federalismo.

Gli eventi in Medio Oriente e Nord Africa stanno vedendo l’animazione dei movimenti di massa contro i tiranni locali, come in Bahrain, Giordania, Marocco e Arabia Saudita, ma c’è anche lo scenario viziato del Piano Yinon d’Israele, e delle sue propaggini. Il Piano Yinon e schemi analoghi vogliono una artificiosa guerra sciita-sunnita tra i musulmani, come elemento centrale delle divisioni settarie, o Fitna in arabo, che includano l’animosità cristiano-musulmana, arabo-berbera, arabo-iraniana, arabo-turca e turco-iraniana.

Ciò che questo processo si propone di fare, è suscitare odio settario, divisioni etniche, razzismo e  guerre di religione. Tutti i paesi che gli Stati Uniti e i loro alleati stanno destabilizzando hanno naturali linee di demarcazione, e quando le animosità tribali, etniche, confessionali e religiose si accendono in un paese, trascinano altri paesi. I problemi in Libia si sono riversati in Niger e in Ciad ed i problemi in Siria si sono riversarsi in Turchia e Libano.

L’Egitto è il luogo delle correnti rivoluzionarie e contro-rivoluzionarie che hanno mantenuto la più grande potenza araba impegnata nel mantenere la propria attenzione sulla politica interna. Mentre l’Egitto affronta sconvolgimenti interni, gli Stati Uniti stanno tentando di contrapporre i militari del paese e la Fratellanza Musulmana, gli uni contro l’altra. Prima, gli sconvolgimenti nel Sudan,  formalmente balcanizzato da Tel Aviv e Washington attraverso la manipolazione della politica delle identità, che hanno portato alla secessione del Sud Sudan. La Libia è stata neutralizzata e divisa da vari gruppi. La libanizzazione, come accennato in precedenza, ha messo radici in Iraq con il governo regionale del Kurdistan (KRG)  supportato dall’estero – in particolare con gli aiuti di Stati Uniti, Europa Occidentale, Israele e Turchia – comincia ad agire sempre di più come se l’Iraq del Nord o Kurdistan iracheno sia un paese separato dal resto dell’Iraq.

Di Dore Gold, presidente del Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs e consigliere del primo ministro israeliano Benjamin Netanyahu, vale la pena citare il punto di vista: “Quello che succede in Siria è che il Medio Oriente sta andando a pezzi, una nuova forma di caos sostituisce ciò che esisteva.” Questo, naturalmente, fa parte del wishful thinking dei responsabili politici israeliani che hanno interesse nel vederlo. Originariamente, la posizione di Tel Aviv è stata ignorata quando la crisi in Siria era iniziata, ma è chiaro ora che Israele ha interesse nel vedere la Siria frammentata e in uno stato di continua guerra civile. Questo è ciò che il Piano Yinon e i suoi succedanei hanno sottolineato come obiettivi strategici di Israele, in Siria e in Libano.

Nazionalismo curdo

La Siria, come l’Iraq, può essere vista come un punto di pressione chiave nel Medio Oriente. Smantellando entrambe, si avrà il tracollo regionale. Se le cose peggioreranno in Siria, l’Iraq sarà ancor più fragile, facendo ribollire la regione come un vulcano geo-politico. Per coloro che hanno dubbi sul fatto che gli Stati Uniti stanno alimentando le fiamme di un fuoco per far fondere il Medio Oriente, o che gli eventi in Siria stiano cominciando ad avere ramificazioni regionali, hanno solo bisogno di guardare la regione del Kurdistan. Combattenti nazionalisti curdi hanno iniziato a mobilitarsi in Siria e in Turchia, e le truppe turche sono state attaccate da loro. Il governo regionale del Kurdistan (KRG) ha iniziato a prendere misure più importanti, cosa che indica la sua indipendenza dall’Iraq.

In Iraq, il KRG è essenzialmente uno stato de facto con propri parlamento, bandiera, esercito, regime dei visti, forze armate, polizia e leggi. In violazione delle leggi nazionali irachene, il KRG ha anche fatto in proprio accordi illegali su armi e petrolio con i governi ed enti stranieri, senza nemmeno notificarli al governo di Baghdad. Inoltre, il KRG ha addirittura impedito alle truppe irachene di recarsi nel confine iracheno di nord-ovest con la Siria, per assicurarsi la fine del contrabbando di armi e dell’illegalità. La Turchia, che mantiene stretti legami con il KRG, incoraggia anch’essa questo comportamento e ha anche trattato il KRG come governo nazionale, avendo contatti diplomatici senza consultare il governo iracheno di Baghdad. I capi del governo regionale del Kurdistan stanno anche permettendo che il loro paese sia utilizzato come base operativa del Mossad contro la Siria e l’Iran.

Ironia della sorte, la Turchia ha avvertito che ci vorrà un’azione militare contro i separatisti curdi in Siria, mentre Ankara sostiene le tendenze separatiste del KRG e la divisione della Siria. Oltre a creare tensioni tra i governi turco e iracheno, ciò ha avuto conseguenze in Turchia. Il Partito dei lavoratori del Kurdistan (PKK) ha iniziato a rimobilitarsi. Il PKK ha affermato che controlla il Distretto Semdinli (Semzinan) nella Provincia turca di Hakkari, e scontri sono scoppiati nel sud-est della Turchia. Le perdite hanno cominciato ad aumentare tra le truppe turche e le forze di sicurezza hanno iniziato ad affrontare attacchi. La legge marziale è stata dichiarata nella provincia di Hakkari, secondo la stampa turca. La Turchia stessa ora affronta lo scontro diretto con le forze antigovernative, mentre appare incapace di governare il proprio territorio. Un deputato del Partito Repubblicano del Popolo, dell’opposizione turca, è stato rapito dal PKK. Il primo ministro turco Erdogan ha cercato di incolpare la Siria per l’esplosione delle lotte nelle zone curde della Turchia, ma omette il fatto che le violenze in Turchia sono il risultato diretto delle interferenza turche in Siria. Se già non le hanno, le armi che Erdogan sta inviando in Siria, alla fine, troveranno la via del ritorno in Turchia, dove saranno utilizzate dalle forze antigovernative.

Gli obiettivi di Tel Aviv in Libano: un secondo fronte levantino è stato aperto?

Il caso dell’attacco al bus turistico israeliano in Bulgaria è inquietante, a dir poco. Ciò che colpisce dell’incidente, è che Israele ha incolpato immediatamente Hezbollahe l’Iran, nemmeno a un’ora dall’attacco, quando le indagini erano in corso. Ciò che  è degno di nota è che i funzionari, appena poche settimane prima, a Tel Aviv, minacciavano di attaccare di nuovo il Libano, dicendo che avrebbero distrutto totalmente il Libano in una terza guerra israelo-libanese. I commenti israeliani sono stati fatti dal brigadier-generale Hertzi Halevy, comandante della Divisione di Tel Aviv, appena una settimana prima del sesto anniversario della vittoria di Hezbollah contro Israele nella guerra del 2006 tra Israele e Libano. Halévy e altri leader israeliani hanno ripetutamente minacciato di ridurre in cenere  il Libano, lanciando un attacco a tutto campo.

Gli alleati della Siria sono tutti sotto pressione in un ambiente da guerra multi-dimensionale. Iran, Russia, Libano, Iraq e palestinesi vengono messi sempre più sotto pressione, per abbandonare i loro alleati siriani. Le minacce israeliane mirano a mettere pressione psicologica su Libano e Hezbollah, utilizzando i media per espandere l’assedio politico, psicologico, economico, diplomatico e d’intelligence contro la Siria in Libano. Le sanzioni statunitensi contro la Siria stanno già investendo l’Iran ed Hezbollah, e le banche libanesi hanno dovuto affrontare attacchi informatici e le pressioni di Washington e dei suoi alleati.

Guardando l’orizzonte del futuro: arriva l’arco dell’instabilità degli USA?

L’assedio della Siria sponsorizzato dagli USA fa parte dei loro tentativi di dividere l’Eurasia e mantenere il loro primato mondiale da superpotenza. Washington non ha pietà per i suoi amici o i suoi nemici, paesi come la Turchia e l’Arabia Saudita alla fine saranno utilizzati come carne da cannone. Gli strateghi statunitensi vogliono che l’area che va dal Nord Africa e Medio Oriente al Caucaso, all’Asia centrale e all’India sia trasformata in un buco nero in guerra, nei “Balcani eurasiatici” à la Brzezinski.
Gli arabi, l’Iran e la Turchia sono sul bordo di un grande conflitto, perché gli Stati Uniti stanno perdendo il loro status di superpotenza. Tutto ciò che rimane dello status di superpotenza di Washington è la sua potenza militare. Verso la fine della sua vita relativamente breve, l’Unione Sovietica aveva solo la forza militare. L’Unione Sovietica aveva sperimentato le tensioni sociali ed era in declino economico, prima che sprofondasse. La situazione per gli Stati Uniti non è molto diversa, se non peggiore. Washington è spezzata, socialmente divisa, sta diventando razzialmente polarizzata, e la sua influenza internazionale è in rapido declino. Le élite USA, tuttavia, sono determinate a resistere a ciò che sempre più appare come la fine dello status di arrogante superpotenza del loro paese e del loro impero.

Incendiare l’Eurasia con la sovversione, sembra essere la risposta di Washington per impedire il proprio declino. Gli Stati Uniti prevedono di accendere un grande incendio dal Marocco e dal Mediterraneo fino ai confini della Cina. Questo processo è stato sostanzialmente iniziato dagli Stati Uniti attraverso la destabilizzazione di tre diverse regioni: Asia Centrale, Medio Oriente e Nord Africa. I primi passi che gli Stati Uniti e i loro alleati della NATO e arabi hanno fatto per fare ciò, non sono stati fatti in Siria. In Medio Oriente, questo processo è iniziato con l’assedio dell’Iraq, che alla fine ha portato all’invasione anglo-statunitense e all’occupazione del paese nel 2003. In Asia centrale, il processo avviato con la destabilizzazione dell’Afghanistan durante la Guerra Fredda, e il sostegno degli Stati Uniti alle lotte tra frazioni diverse, tra cui coloro che sarebbero diventati i talebani; il 9/11 ha soltanto dato agli Stati Uniti e ai loro alleati della NATO la possibilità di invaderla. In Nord Africa, infine, gli USA e Israele hanno balcanizzato il Sudan attraverso anni di pressioni e di operazioni segrete.

Nelle tre regioni di cui sopra, oggi vediamo la seconda ondata di destabilizzazione. In Asia centrale, la guerra in Afghanistan si è estesa in Pakistan, grazie alla NATO. Ciò ha dato modo al termine “AfPak” di descrivere l’Afghanistan e il Pakistan come un teatro. In Nord Africa, la Libia è stata attaccata nel 2011 dalla NATO, e la Jamahiriya è stata sostanzialmente divisa dai vari gruppi. In Medio Oriente, questa seconda ondata di operazioni di destabilizzazione mira alla Repubblica araba siriana,  in continuazione di ciò che è accaduto in Iraq. Washington sembra sognare questo scenario: le rivolte curde che si svolgono in Siria, Turchia, Iraq e Iran; le guerre civili settarie che consumano Iraq, Libano, Siria, Turchia e lo Yemen in fiamme; l’instabilità e la guerriglia in Algeria, Egitto, Libia, Pakistan e Sudan; berberi e arabi che si combattono l’un l’altro in tutto il Nord Africa, insicurezza e incertezza politica diffuse in Asia centrale, una guerra nel Caucaso meridionale che consuma Georgia, Armenia e Repubblica di Azerbaigian; rivolte innescate tra balcari, ceceni, circassi, daghestani, ingusci e altri popoli locali caucasici contro la Russia, nel Caucaso del Nord, il Golfo Persico zona di instabilità e la Russia ai ferri corti con l’Unione europea e la Turchia. Tale incendio viene costantemente alimentato da Washington. In definitiva, tutto questo è destinato a distruggere alcune delle rotte energetiche più importanti del mondo, per colpire i rifornimenti energetici delle economie della Cina, delle grandi potenze europee, dell’India, del Giappone e della Corea del Sud. Questo potrebbe costringere l’Unione europea a diventare più militarista, nella disperazione di salvare la sua economia.

Tale scenario potrebbe essere pericoloso per la Russia che fornisce energia, così come per gli stati dell’OPEC, che dovrebbero scegliere tra la UE e la Cina, se ci saranno carenze energetiche. Una guerra per le risorse – come la Prima Guerra Mondiale – potrebbe essere avviata portando alla rovina una gran parte dell’Africa e tutte le regioni industrializzate dell’Eurasia. Ciò accadrebbe mentre gli Stati Uniti resterebbero nell’emisfero occidentale, guardando da una distanza di sicurezza, proprio come hanno fatto durante la Prima Guerra Mondiale e la Seconda Guerra Mondiale, prima che passassero per raccogliere i pezzi, quali beneficiati economici di una guerra devastante.

Pluripremiato autore e analista geopolitico, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya è autore di The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) e di un libro di prossima uscita The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa. Ha anche contribuito a diversi altri libri che vanno dalla critica culturale alle relazioni internazionali. È un sociologo e ricercatore associato presso il Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), collaboratore presso la Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF) di Mosca e membro del Comitato Scientifico di Geopolitica, Italia. Ha anche affrontato le questioni del Medio Oriente e delle relazioni internazionali su diverse reti televisive, tra cui al-Jazeera, Telesur e RussiaToday. I suoi scritti sono stati tradotti in più di venti lingue. Nel 2011 è stato insignito del Primo Premio Nazionale del Circolo della Stampa messicano, per il suo lavoro nel giornalismo investigativo internazionale.

Traduzione di Alessandro Lattanzio - 16 augusto 2012
Testo originale in inglese - Press TV - 14 augusto 2012

A British photographer who was captured by insurgents in Syria has said that his captors were foreign extremists including several Britons with “not a Syrian in sight”.

On July 19, freelance photographer John Cantile, alongside his Dutch colleague Jeroen Oerlemans, was kidnapped in northern Syrian and freed one week later.

Cantile said he was held in a camp by 30 foreign extremists including some from Britain and Pakistan. He also revealed that some of his captors were “young men with south London accents”.

“They were aiming their Kalashnikovs at a British journalist, Londoner against Londoner in a rocky landscape that looked like the Scottish Highlands”, said Cantile.

The British photographer also disclosed that some of the insurgents could not even speak Arabic, with around a dozen of his captors speaking English out of whom nine spoke with London accents.

“Not a Syrian in sight. This wasn’t what I had expected”, Cantile added. “Two of them were so Anglicised they couldn’t speak Arabic”.

Earlier last week, British Foreign Secretary William Hague promised to step up support for armed rebels in Syria while he had already insisted that Britain should be acting outside the UN Security Council.

Britain’s Foreign Office has confirmed that Cantile had been held captive in a camp in Syria but has refused to confirm that Britons were among the insurgents inside Syria.

GRTV: The Economic Collapse and the Neoliberal Onslaught

August 15th, 2012 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

O Script EUA-Israel: Dividir a Síria para dividir o resto

August 15th, 2012 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

O que está acontecendo na Síria é um sinal das coisas que virão para a região. A mudança de regime não é o único objetivo dos EUA e seus aliados na Síria.  Dividindo a República Árabe Síria é o objetivo final de Washington, na Síria.

Maplecroft da Grã-Bretanha, que é especializada em consultoria em risco estratégico, disse que nós estamos testemunhando a balcanização do Estado sírio: “curdos no norte, drusos nas montanhas do sul, alawitas na região noroeste do litoral montanhoso e a maioria sunita em outro lugar.”

Nós já estamos ouvindo pessoas como o conselheiro da Casa Branca, Vali Nasr falando sobre tudo isso.  As clivagens étnicas e religiosas na Síria não são demarcadas em termos puramente geográficos e o   processo de balcanização poderia jogar como um processo libanização, o que significa que a Síria será dividido ao longo de violentos falhas sectárias e enfrentar um impasse político como o Líbano durante a guerra civil sem formalmente quebrá-lo. Libanização , uma forma branda de balcanização, já aconteceu no Iraque sob o federalismo.
Os eventos no Oriente Médio e Norte da África estão vendo a animação dos movimentos de massa contra os tiranos locais, como no Bahrein, Jordânia, Marrocos e Arábia Saudita, mas há também um script vicioso do Plano de Israel Yinon e suas ramificações. O Plano Yinon e esquemas semelhantes quer uma guerra Shitte-sunita artificial entre os muçulmanos como a peça central das divisões sectárias – ou Fitna em árabe – que incluem, entre cristãos e muçulmanos, árabes e berberes, árabes e iranianos, árabes e turcos, e da animosidade Turco-iraniana.
O que este processo pretende fazer é criar o ódio sectário, divisões étnicas, racismo e guerras religiosas. Todos os países que os EUA e seus aliados estão  desestabilizando têm linhas divisórias naturais, e quando há animosidade tribal, étnico, confessional e religiosa é incendiado em um país, ela irá transbordar para outros países.Os problemas na Líbia têm derramado ao Níger e o  Chade e os problemas na Síria estão transbordando para a Turquia e Líbano.
Egito é o local de correntes revolucionárias e contra-revolucionárias que têm mantido a maior potência árabe ocupada com a sua atenção na política interna.Enquanto o Egito está enfrentando turbulência doméstica, os EUA estão tentando jogar os militares do país e a Irmandade Muçulmana  um contra o outro. Antes dos levantes  o Sudão foi formalmente balcanizado por Tel Aviv e Washington através da manipulações da política de identidade, o que levou à secessão do Sul do Sudão.
Líbia foi neutralizada e dividida por vários grupos. Lebonization, como mencionado anteriormente, também tem raízes no Iraque como o Governo Regional do Curdistão (KRG), com apoio estrangeiro – especificamente o apoio externo dos EUA, Europa Ocidental, Israel e Turquia – começa a agir mais e mais como se no norte do Iraque ou Curdistão iraquiano é um país separado do resto do Iraque.
Dore Gold, presidente do Centro de Jerusalém para Assuntos Públicos e um conselheiro para primeiro-ministro israelense Benjamin Netanyahu, vale a pena citar para seus pontos de vista: “O que você tem na Síria é que o Oriente Médio está desmoronando, uma nova forma de caos está substituindo o que já existia. “Este curso é parte da ilusão dos decisores políticos israelenses que têm interesse em ver isso. Originalmente, a posição de Tel Aviv foi ignorada quando a crise começou na Síria, mas está claro agora que Israel tem interesse em ver a Síria fragmentado em pedaços e em um estado de guerra civil contínua.  Isto é o que o Plano Yinon e seus sucessores, descrito como sendo os objetivos estratégicos de Israel na Síria e Líbano.
O nacionalismo curdo
Síria, como o Iraque, podem ser vistos como um ponto de pressão chave no Oriente Médio.  Desordem em ambos irão criar uma crise regional. Como as coisas esquentam na Síria,  o frágil Iraque também está começando a pulsar como um regional sismo  vulcânico geo-político.
Para aqueles que têm dúvidas de que os EUA estão atiçando as chamas de um fogo para criar uma crise  terrível no Oriente Médio ou que os eventos na Síria estão começando a ter ramificações regionais, que apenas precisem olhar para a região do Curdistão.Os combatentes curdos nacionalistas começaram a se mobilizar na Síria e na Turquia e soldados turcos foram atacados por eles.O Governo Regional do Curdistão (KRG) começou a tomar medidas importantes que significam a sua independência do Iraque.
No Iraque, o KRG é essencialmente um estado de facto com o seu próprio parlamento, bandeira, exército, regime de vistos, as forças armadas, polícia, e as leis. Em violação das leis nacionais do Iraque, o KRG fez até armas ilegais e acordos de petróleo por conta própria com os governos e entidades estrangeiras, mesmo sem tanto como notificar o governo em Bagdá. Além disso, o KRG tem impedido até mesmo as tropas iraquianas de ir para  o  nordeste na  fronteira com o Iraque com a Síria para assegurar que o contrabando de armas e o fim ilegalidade.
Turquia, que mantém laços estreitos com a KRG, também tem incentivado esse comportamento e até mesmo  tratado KRG como um governo nacional por ter contatos diplomáticos sem consultar o governo iraquiano em Bagdá. Os líderes do Governo Regional do Curdistão também estão permitindo que o seu país para ser usado como uma base de operação do Mossad contra a Síria e o Irã.
Ironicamente, a Turquia já avisou que vai tomar uma ação militar contra os separatistas curdos na Síria, enquanto Ancara está apoiando tendências separatistas entre os KRG e a divisão da Síria. Além de criar tensões entre os governos turco e iraquiano, o que teve conseqüências na Turquia. O Partido dos Trabalhadores do Curdistão (PKK) começou a remobilizar. O PKK afirmou que ele está no controle do distrito de Semdinli (Semzinan) na Província de Hakkari Turquia  e a luta eclodiu no sudeste da Turquia.
Vítimas já começaram a surgir as tropas turcas e forças de segurança começaram a ataques indiscriminados .A lei marcial foi também declarado ena Província Hakkari  de acordo com a imprensa turca.A própria Turquia enfrenta agora a sua própria luta contra as forças anti-governamentais como parece incapaz de governar seu próprio território. Um deputado da oposição turca do Partido Popular Republicano também foi seqüestrado por PKK.  Primeiro-ministro turco Erdogan tentou culpar a Síria para lutar que entrou em erupção em áreas curdas da Turquia, mas ele omite o fato de que a violência na Turquia é um resultado direto da interferência turca na Síria. Se eles já não têm, as armas que Erdogan está enviando para a Síria acabará por encontrar o caminho de volta para a Turquia, onde vai ser utilizado por forças anti-governamentais.

Metas de Tel Aviv  o Líbano : A Segunda Frente do Levante está aberto?
O caso do ataque  ao ônibus turístico israelense  na Bulgária é ameaçador para dizer o mínimo. O que é notável sobre o incidente é que Israel culpara o Hezbollah do Líbano e do Irã imediatamente, antes mesmo de uma hora passada após o ataque ou de uma investigação foi conduzida.
O que é digno de nota é que os funcionários apenas algumas semanas antes em Tel Aviv estavam ameaçando atacar o Líbano novamente, dizendo que eles iriam destruir totalmente o Líbano em uma guerra israelo-libanesa terceiro. Os comentários israelenses foram feitas por Halevy Hertzi brigadeiro-general, o comandante da Divisão 91 Tel Aviv, a apenas uma semana antes do sexto aniversário da vitória do Hezbollah contra Israel na guerra de 2006 entre Israel e Líbano.Halevy e outros líderes israelenses têm repetidamente ameaçado reduzir a cinzas o Líbano, lançando um ataque total
Aliados da Síria estão a ser pressionados em uma guerra multi-dimensional. Irã, Rússia, Líbano, Iraque, e os palestinos estão sendo colocados sob crescente pressão para abandonar seus aliados sírios.  As ameaças israelenses visam colocar pressão psicológica sobre o Líbano e Hezbollah como um meio de expandir os meios de comunicação, psicológicas, econômicas, de inteligência, diplomáticas e de cerco político contra a Síria no Líbano. Sanções dos EUA contra a Síria já estão incorporando o Irã e o Hezbollah e os bancos libaneses têm enfrentado ataques cibernéticos e da pressão de Washington e seus aliados.
Olhando para o horizonte por vir : Bem-vindo ao Arco da América de instabilidade?
O cerco patrocinado pelos EUA à Síria é parte de suas tentativas de dividir a Eurásia e manter sua primazia global como uma superpotência. Washington não tem misericórdia para os seus amigos ou seus inimigos, quer e países como a Turquia e a  Arábia Saudita, eventualmente, ser usado como bucha de canhão.  Os estrategistas dos Estados Unidos querem que a área que vai de Norte de África e do Oriente Médio para o Cáucaso, Ásia Central e Índia, seja transformada em um buraco negro de conflitos, à la Brzezinski “Eurásia Balcãs.”
Os árabes, Irã e Turquia estão se posicionando para um grande conflito, porque os EUA estão perdendo seu status de superpotência. Tudo o que resta do estado de Washington superpotência é o seu poder militar.  Para o fim de sua vida relativamente curta, a União Soviética só tinha poder militar também.A União Soviética experimentou agitação social e estava em declínio econômico antes do desabamento. A situação para os EUA não é muito diferente, se não pior. Washington está quebrado, dividido socialmente, tornando-se racialmente polarizado, e declinando rapidamente em sua influência internacional. Elites dos EUA, no entanto, estão determinadas a resistir ao que mais e mais se parece com a perda inevitáveis da condição de seu país de superpotência e seu império.
Acender  a Eurásia com fogo e sedição parece ser a resposta de Washington para impedir seu próprio declínio. Os EUA tem planos de iniciar um grande fogo que vai do Marrocos e do Mediterrâneo até as fronteiras da China. Este processo tem sido essencialmente iniciado pelos EUA através da desestabilização de três regiões diferentes: Ásia Central, Oriente Médio e Norte da África. Os primeiros passos que os EUA e seus aliados da OTAN e árabes levaram a fazer isso não começou na Síria.
No Oriente Médio, este processo iniciou-se através do sítio do Iraque que, eventualmente, deu lugar à invasão anglo-americana e a ocupação do país, em 2003. Na Ásia Central, o processo começou com a desestabilização do Afeganistão durante a Guerra Fria e o apoio dos EUA para a luta entre facções diferentes, incluindo o que se tornaria o Taliban; o 11/09 apenas deu aos EUA e seus aliados da OTAN uma oportunidade para invadir. No Norte de África, finalmente os EUA e Israel balcanizaram o  Sudão através de anos de pressão e operações encobertas.
Nas três regiões mencionadas acima estamos vendo a segunda onda de desestabilização agora.  Na Ásia Central, a guerra no Afeganistão foi prorrogada para o Paquistão pela OTAN. Isto deu lugar ao termo “AfPak” para descrever o Afeganistão e o   Paquistão como um teatro. No Norte da África, a Líbia foi atacada em 2011 pela OTAN e a Jamahiriya foi basicamente dividida por vários grupos. No Oriente Médio, essa segunda onda de operações de desestabilização tem como alvo a República Árabe da Síria como uma continuação do que aconteceu no Iraque.
Washington parece estar sonhando com este cenário: as revoltas curdas que ocorrem na Síria, Turquia, Iraque e Irã; sectárias guerras civis no Iraque consomem, Líbano, Síria, Turquia, Iêmen no fogo; instabilidade e combatem ao  sangramento Argélia, Egipto, Líbia, Paquistão e Sudão; berberes e árabes lutando entre si através do norte da África; insegurança e incerteza política se espalhando na Ásia Central, uma guerra no Cáucaso Sul na Geórgia que  a consome, a Armẽnia ea  República do Azerbaijão; revoltas explodindo entre os balcares, chechenos, circassianos , daguestanis, inguchétios, e outros povos do Cáucaso Norte locais contra a Rússia ; o Golfo Pérsico sendo uma zona de instabilidade e Rússia em desacordo com a União Europeia ea  Turquia.  Tal conflagração está a ser continuamente estimulada por Washington.
Em última análise, tudo isso se destina a perturbar algumas das rotas mundiais de energia principais e suprimentos para ferir os importadores de energia para economias como da China, as grandes potências europeias, Índia, Japão e Coréia do Sul.  Isto poderia forçar a União Europeia se tornar mais militarista no desespero para salvar sua economia.
Tal cenário pode ser perigoso para o fornecedor de  energia como a Rússia, bem como os estados da OPEP , que teriam que escolher entre a UE e a  China, se houver escassez de energia.  Uma guerra de recursos – como na I Guerra Mundial – poderia ser inflamada que traria a ruína para uma grande quantidade da África e todas as regiões industrializadas da Eurásia. Isso aconteceria enquanto os EUA estariam  no Hemisfério Ocidental, assistindo a uma distância segura, assim como aconteceu durante a Primeira Guerra Mundial e a Segunda Guerra Mundial, antes que os passos para pegar as peças como o benfeitor econômico de um guerra devastadora. 
Um autor premiado e analista geopolítico, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya é o autor de A globalização da OTAN (Clarity Press) e um próximo livro A guerra contra a Líbia e a re-colonização da África.  Ele também contribuiu para vários outros livros que vão desde crítica cultural das relações internacionais. Ele é um sociólogo e pesquisador associado do Centro de Investigação sobre a Globalização (CRG), um colaborador no Estratégico Fundação de Cultura (SCF), Moscou, e um membro do Comité Científico de Geopolítica, Itália. Ele também abordou o Oriente Médio e as questões das relações internacionais nas redes de televisão várias notícias, incluindo Al Jazeera, a Telesur, e Russia Today. Seus escritos foram traduzidos em mais de vinte línguas.  Em 2011 ele foi premiado com o Primeiro Prêmio Nacional do Clube de Imprensa mexicana por seu trabalho no jornalismo investigativo internacional.
Tradução do texto: Daniel Lucas

Harper’s Conservatives are enamored with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Canada played a central role in last year’s NATO-led bombing of Libya and nearly 1000 Canadian military “trainers” continue to participate in a war the organization is waging in Afghanistan. Last year Defense Minister Peter MacKay justified a plan to establish 7 Canadian military bases around the world, partly on the grounds that “we are big players in NATO.”

The Conservatives’ position is a throwback of sorts. For the first two decades of the organization NATO was at the heart of this country’s foreign policy. Only exaggerating slightly, Pierre Trudeau claimed that in the years prior to him becoming Prime Minister in 1968 “we had no defence policy, so to speak, except that of NATO. And our defence policy had determined all of our foreign-policy. And we had no foreign policy of any importance except that which flowed from NATO.”

Established in 1949, some believe NATO was a Canadian idea. External Affairs Undersecretary Lester Pearson began thinking about a formal western military alliance in 1946 and in March 1948 he represented Canada at top secrets talks with the US and Britain on the possibility of creating a north Atlantic alliance.

Officially, NATO was the West’s response to an aggressive Soviet Union. The idea that the US, or even Western Europe, was threatened by the Soviet Union after World War II is laughable. Twenty-five million people in the Soviet Union lost their lives in the war while the US came out of WWII much stronger than when they entered it. After the destruction of WWII, the Soviets were not interested in fighting the US and its allies, which Canadian and US officials admitted privately.

Rather than a defence against possible Russian attack, NATO was conceived as a reaction to growing socialist sentiment in Western Europe. NATO planners feared a weakening of self-confidence among Western Europe’s elite and the widely held belief that communism was the wave of the future. NATO was largely designed, as Pearson explained in an 1948 internal memo, “to raise in the hearts and minds and spirits of all those in the world who love freedom that confidence and faith which will restore their vigour.” The External Minister was fairly open about NATO’s purpose. In March 1949 Pearson told the House of Commons: “The power of the communists, wherever that power flourishes, depends upon their ability to suppress and destroy the free institutions that stand against them. They pick them off one by one: the political parties, the trade unions, the churches, the schools, the universities, the trade associations, even the sporting clubs and the kindergartens. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is meant to be a declaration to the world that this kind of conquest from within will not in the future take place amongst us.” Tens of thousands of North American troops were stationed in Western Europe to deter any “conquest from within”.

Blunting the European Left was a big part of the establishment of NATO. The other major motivating factor for the North American elite was a desire to rule the world. For Canadian officials the north Atlantic pact justified European/North American dominance across the globe. As part of the Parliamentary debate over NATO Pearson said: “There is no better way of ensuring the security of the Pacific Ocean at this particular moment than by working out, between the great democratic powers, a security arrangement the effects of which will be felt all over the world, including the Pacific area.”

Two years later the external minister said: “The defence of the Middle East is vital to the successful defence of Europe and north Atlantic area.” In February 1953 Pearson went even further: “There is now only a relatively small [5000 kilometre] geographical gap between southeast Asia and the area covered by the North Atlantic treaty, which goes to the eastern boundaries of Turkey.”

In one sense the popular portrayal of NATO as a defensive arrangement was apt. After Europe’s second Great War the colonial powers were economically weak while anti-colonial movements could increasingly garner outside support. The Soviets and Mao’s China, for instance, aided the Vietnamese. Similarly, Egypt supported Algerian nationalists and later Angola benefited from highly altruistic Cuban backing. The international balance of forces had swung away from the colonial powers.

To maintain their colonies European powers increasingly depended on North American diplomatic and financial assistance. NATO passed numerous resolutions supporting European colonial authority. In the fall of 1951 Pearson responded to moves in Iran and Egypt to weaken British influence by telling Parliament: “The Middle East is strategically far too important to the defence of the North Atlantic area to allow it to become a power vacuum or to pass into unfriendly hands.”

The next year Ottawa recognized the colonies of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos as “associated states” of France, according to an internal report, “to assist a NATO colleague, sorely tried by foreign and domestic problems.” More significantly, Canada gave France tens of millions of dollars in military equipment through NATO’s Mutual Aid Program. These weapons were mostly used to suppress the Vietnamese and Algerian independence movements. In 1953 Pearson told the House: “The assistance we have given to France as a member of the NATO association may have helped her recently in the discharge of some of her obligations in Indo- China [Vietnam].” Similarly, Canadian and US aid was used by the Dutch to maintain their dominance over Indonesia and West Papa New Guinea, by the Belgians in the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi and by the British in numerous places.

NATO propped up European colonial authority but it did so in the context of expanding Washington’s influence over the Global South. Leading NATO proponents such as US Secretary of State Dean Acheson, President Harry Truman and Lester Pearson all saw the 1950-53 US-led Korean War as NATO’s first test, even though it took place thousands of miles from the north Atlantic area. Designed to maintain internal unity among the leading capitalist powers, NATO was the military alliance of the post- World War II US-centered multilateral order, which included the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and International Trade Organization (ITO).

Sixty years later NATO continues to enforce a US-led geopolitical and economic system, which explains the Conservatives strong support for the organization.

An earlier version of this article appeared in

Yves Engler’s most recent book is Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: the truth may hurt

On Aug. 4, I reported on KPFA Radio that cholera had broken out in the internally displaced persons camps growing again in eastern Congo, as Congolese people flee the war which, with backing from the Kagame regime in Kigali, Rwanda, resumed in April. The cholera outbreak has sparked fears of an epidemic.

Several days later, the AP’s Michele Faul reported – with a heartbreaking photo essay – that drenching rain was adding to the refugees’ misery.

This looks in many ways like Native American Genocide or any genocide of native people. Armies break up families and communities, forcing them off the land that someone else covets, to die in refugee camps of hunger, disease or heartbreak. It took four centuries to decimate the native population of what became the United States, but millions of eastern Congolese people have perished since 1996 alone, mostly from hardship after being displaced.

As I worked on the radio news, I asked myself, as I often do, why report this on KPFA’s FM radio signal here in Northern and Central California, or even on KPFA’s webstream, to an audience which is mostly American?

My answer always is, because the U.S. is very, very involved. Two of the Pentagon’s most longstanding “partners,” Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, have been the principle aggressors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1996.

Two of the Pentagon’s most longstanding “partners,” Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, have been the principle aggressors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1996.

The U.S. has armed, trained and provided logistical and intelligence support to both their armies for many years and employed their soldiers in service to its national security agenda in Haiti, Sudan, Somalia, elsewhere on the African continent, and even Iraq.

Congolese wait for aid in Kibati with little or no shelter from the storm or protection from the insipient cholera epidemic. – Photo: Jerome Delay, APIn October 2010, President Obama announced the introduction of combat equipped U.S. Special Forces into the region, and this week the ENOUGH Project’s John Prendergast published a horrifying argument, “Let Them Hunt,” in the influential journal Foreign Policy, where he called on Obama to “unleash the dogs of war” in Congo and neighboring countries to hunt down minor East African warlord Joseph Kony and his LRA militia.

“Hunt” is a terrible word to use in combination with an admonition to unleash dogs, including the “dogs of war,” to go after people, any people, but in this case, African people. And, as Ugandan American Black Star News Editor Milton Allimadi, TransAfrica Forum’s Nii Akuetteh, war correspondent and human rights investigator Keith Harmon Snow and many other Africa scholars and journalists have told KPFA, AfrobeatRadio, the SF Bay View, RT, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now and other outlets, this is not a hunt for Joseph Kony or any other bad actors. It’s a military operation to secure oil and other African resources and limit Chinese access.

In October 2010, President Obama announced the introduction of combat equipped U.S. Special Forces into the region. But this is not a hunt for Joseph Kony or any other bad actors. It’s a military operation to secure oil and other African resources and limit Chinese access.

If the phony Kony hunt escalates, as Prendergast and the ENOUGH Project urge, as more and more Congolese people flee the Rwandan backed M23 militia, seeking shelter in camps, without adequate food, clean water or sanitation, Obama will become the Black face of genocide in the heart of Africa.

Many agree that has already happened.

Driven from her home, where she would have been warm and dry during the rainstorm, this child must try to survive a war fomented by foreign forces plundering resources that belong to her and all Congolese in a camp threatened with cholera. – Photo: Jerome Delay, AP
However, cynical as I may become about the brutal and ruthless scramble for Congolese resources, I never imagine that this is what the American people who rose above their history to elect their first African American president imagined. Americans voted him into the job, but they didn’t write the job description.

Hugely powerful people no doubt realized that Western corporate, criminal and military interests would be more difficult to resist in Africa with a Black man in charge, but far more Americans cheered or even wept when Obama was elected, because they had so long believed that they’d never see the day.

And now, grim as the news from eastern Congo is, there is some hope. It is still possible to fight for the Obama so many Americans hoped to elect. Here are reasons for hope:

1) Last week, a bi-partisan Congressional coalition headed by Washington State’s Jim McDermott wrote a letter to Rwandan President Paul Kagame to say that the latest U.N. report decisively proves that Kagame is backing the M23 militia’s resumption of the war in eastern Congo and that the current relationship between the U.S. and Rwanda must end.

2) The most recent U.N. experts report on Congo includes photographic and other documentary evidence that Rwanda is backing the M23 militia in Congo.

3) In response to the U.N. experts report, the U.S. suspended $200,000 in military aid to Rwanda, and the U.K., the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden suspended contributions to Rwandan budget support.

4) More prominent people and publications, including Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, writing in the same Foreign Policy journal that published Prendergast’s “Let Them Hunt,” are pointing to President Obama’s own Senate legislation, the Obama Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act of 2006, which became Public Law 109-456, and suggesting that it gives Obama both special expertise and obligation in Congo.

5) On Friday, Aug. 17, Rwandans and Congolese will gather in The Hague, Netherlands, to present a complaint with documentary evidence and petition the new chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to indict Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

These efforts all deserve the attention and support of those who worked to elect Barack Obama, not because they thought he would serve as the Black face of resource war and African genocide, but because they hoped his election would signal the end of it.

Global Research Editor’s note

As September approaches, we are reminded that the anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11 will soon be upon us once again. 11 years later, are we any closer to the truth about what really happened on that fateful day?

For the next month until September 11, 2012, we will be posting on a daily basis important articles from our early archives pertaining to the tragic events of 9/11. The following text by Mark Elsis challenges the report of NORAD regarding the “response” of the US Air Force on the morning of 19/11. 
Michel Chossudovsky, August 15, 2012

Timeline: 9/11 Stand Down

Exposing NORAD’s “Wag the 911 Window Dressing Tale”, using NORAD’s own Press Release and Fifth Grade Math

by Mark Elsis, May 2003.  May 2003

The URL of this article is:

With a minute-by-minute chronology from 7:59 a.m. till 10:06:05 a.m., this article will dismantle the Wednesday September 18, 2001 North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Press Release. This press release encompasses the (supposed) response times of the United States Air Force on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

This article will explain to you exactly what happened for the almost one hour and fifty-three minutes that elapsed between the time American Airlines Flight 11 lost voice contact with air traffic control and was hijacked at 8:13:31, till the time United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:06:05.

NORAD Press Release:

AP Article On NORAD PR:

Also, when reading this article, please keep in mind the following five very significant pieces of information.

 1) The United States Government will spend more on the military in fiscal year 2003, than all the rest of the countries on Earth combined. Current expenditures are 437 billion and our past obligations are 339 billion, this equals 776 billion. 46% of our Taxes go to the Military Industrial Complex: This figure doesn’t even begin to account for all of the off-budget, black projects, homeland security nor the 40+ billion the United States Government will spend on intelligence in 2003.

 2) The United States Air Force (USAF) is the most technologically advanced, and the most dominate military force ever known to man. There were seven Air Stations that were armed and on full alert to protect the continental United States on Tuesday September 11, 2001. The Air National Guard exclusively performs the air sovereignty mission in the continental United States, and those units fall under the control of the 1st Air Force based at Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) in Panama City, Florida. The Air National Guard maintains seven alert sites with 14 fully armed fighters and pilots on call around the clock. Besides Tyndall AFB, alert birds also sit armed and ready at; Homestead Air Reserve Base (ARB), Homestead, Florida; Langley AFB, Hampton, Virginia; Otis Air National Guard (ANG), Falmouth, Massachusetts; Oregon ANG, Portland, Oregon; March ARB, Riverside, CA; and Ellington ANG, Houston, Texas.

 There were at least 28 other USAF bases that were in range of the 4 airliners on 911.

The following link lists the 7 bases on full alert and the 28 that were within range.

 3) New York City and Washington D.C. are far and away the top two cities in the United States that would be targeted by terrorists.

 4) NORAD is a binational United States and Canadian organization charged with warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, utilizing mutual support arrangements with other commands. Aerospace control includes providing surveillance and control of Canadian and United States airspace. The job of NORAD is to know every inch of the skies over North America.

 5) Almost one hundred and thirteen minutes elapsed between the time American Airlines Flight 11 lost contact and was hijacked at 8:13:31 till the time United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:06:05. One hour and fifty-three minutes went by and the USAF did not intercept any one of these four “hijacked” airlines. To understand all the rules, regulation and procedures that make this totally impossible to happen, please read:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Standard Intercept Procedures

Stand Down

1. To end a state of readiness or alert.
2. To go off duty.
3. To withdraw, as from a political contest.

Many sources for Stand Down are from the 600 articles on:

For Audios, Photographs and Videos of September 11, 2001:

For The Most Comprehensive Timeline On 911

All times are Eastern Daylight Time.


7:59 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 a Boeing 767-223ER with a maximum capacity of 181 passengers and 23,980 gallons of fuel, lifts off from Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, bound for Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. Take-off was scheduled for 7:45.

 There are supposed to be 92 victims on board American Airlines Flight 11, yet when you add up the official death manifest list that was published on, there are only 86 victims.

 The same goes for the other three flights of 911. Add up the passenger and crew lists from all 4 flights of 911 and you have officially 265 people on board. Yet when one adds up the 4 official death manifest lists published on, there are only 229 names. Somehow 36 people are missing from the 4 official death manifest lists, including all 19 of the hijackers. Why?

 Go to: — Click on Evidence — Scroll down till you see: AA11 Passenger List, UA 175 Passenger List, AA 77 Passenger List and UA 93 Passenger List. Click on any of these four links and count the number of passengers listed for yourself.

 The 4 airliners used on September 11th, 2 Boeing 767’s and 2 Boeing 757’s had a total passenger seating capacity of 762 people. How could these four flights possibly be only between 30.1% (229 passengers and crew) to 34.7% (265 passengers and crew) occupied? How could all four of these flights added together possibly be more than 65% empty?

 Boeing 767 Seating Charts:

 Boeing 757 Seating Charts:

 8:01 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93 a Boeing 757-222 with a maximum capacity of 200 passengers and 11,489 gallons of fuel, rolls from the gate in Newark International Airport, Newark, New Jersey with 44 people aboard bound for San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California. United Airlines Flight 93 will sit on the ground for 41 minutes before taking off. There are supposed to be 44 victims on board, yet when you add up the official death manifest list that was published on, there are only 33 victims.

 8:13:31 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 last transmission from Boston Air Traffic Control: AAL11 turn 20 degrees right American Airlines Flight 11 responds: 20 right AAL11. A few seconds later the Controller asks: AAL11 now climb maintain FL350 [35,000 feet] Controller: AAL11 climb maintain FL350 Controller: AAL11 Boston. There is no response from American Airlines Flight 11.

 8:14 to 8:20 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 goes off course and is hijacked.

 8:14 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175 a Boeing 767-222 with a maximum capacity of 181 passengers and 23,980 gallons of fuel, lifts off from Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, bound for Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. Take-off was scheduled for 7:58. There are supposed to be 65 victims on board, yet when you add up the official death manifest list that was published on, there are only 56 victims.

 8:17 a.m.: After 3 minutes and 30 seconds of lost voice contact with American Airlines Flight 11, the FAA should have started to implemented Standard Intercept Procedures.

 8:20 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 transponder signal stops transmitting Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF) beacon signal. If a pilot loses their transponder the air traffic controllers (ATC) console immediately alerts him to this fact since he no longer has the transponder code and altitude. This causes the controllers a great deal of trouble, especially in the busiest airspace on earth, the northeastern corridor.

After 6 minutes and 30 seconds of lost voice contact, and now with the transponder signal stopped on American Airlines Flight 11, there is no excuse left, the FAA should have started to implement Standard Intercept Procedures. They did for the late great golfer Payne Stewart, after only a few minutes of lost voice contact from his Lear jet. Why not now? Or did the FAA implement Standard Intercept Procedures and tell NORAD between 8:14 to 8:20? Did NORAD then sit on (Stand Down) this information for 26 to 32 minutes – till they finally tell 102nd Fighter Wing of the Otis Air National Guard Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts to scramble at 8:46? Somewhere between 8:13:31 and 8:20 American Airlines Flight 11 has been hijacked, and by 8:20 its transponder also is turned off, and NORAD doesn’t order Otis to scramble till 8:46. 

8:20 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 a Boeing 757-223 with a maximum capacity of 200 passengers and 11,489 gallons of fuel, lifts off from Dulles International Airport about 30 miles west of Washington D.C. and the Pentagon, bound for Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. Take-off was scheduled for 8:01. There are supposed to be 64 victims on board, yet when you add up the official death manifest list that was published on, there are only 56 victims.

 8:24:38 a.m.: The pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, John Ogonowski, or one of the hijackers activates the talk-back button, enabling Boston ATC to hear a hijacker say to the passengers: “We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you will be OK. We are returning to the airport. Nobody move.” Apparently, one of the hijackers confused the aircraft’s radio with its public-address system. Air traffic control responds, “Who’s trying to call me?” 

8:25 a.m.: Boston ATC notified several air traffic control centers that a hijack is in progress with American Airlines Flight 11. Boston air traffic control first lost communication with American Airlines Flight 11 more than 11 minutes ago. What took them so long to start to implement procedure? Why didn’t they also notify North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) at this time? Or did they?

 If they did follow procedure and notify NORAD at 8:25 and NORAD followed protocol and ordered the 102nd Fighter Wing of the Otis Air National Guard Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts to scramble at say 8:26 – two F-15’s would have been airborne by no later than 8:32 – these F-15’s would have had at least 14 minutes and 26 seconds to reach the WTC before American Airlines Flight 11 impacts the north side of the North Tower (1 World Trade Center) at 8:46:26. If these two F-15’s were flying at top speed, 14 minutes and 26 seconds is exactly twice the amount of time needed to reach the WTC. These two F-15’s could have been at the WTC in just over 7 minutes, or as early as 8:39. Even a spokesperson for Otis said that their F-15’s could reach the WTC in 10 to 12 minutes, which would have them there at 8:42 to 8:44.

 These two F-15’s could have easily intercepted American Airlines Flight 11. If only Boston ATC, which notified several air traffic control centers that a hijack is in progress with American Airlines Flight 11 at 8:25, had also notified NORAD. Why didn’t they? Or did they follow procedure, and notify NORAD, and NORAD is lying about it. Let me state that it is NORAD’s job to know every inch of the skies over North America, so they must have known that American Airlines Flight 11 was hijacked somewhere between 8:14 and 8:20.

 8:26 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 is heading westnorthwest, its location is between Albany and Lake George, New York, when it suddenly makes a 100 degree turn to the south and starts heading directly toward New York City. American Airlines Flight 11 finds the Hudson River and follows it all the way south till it impacts the north side of the North Tower of the WTC.

 Almost 40 miles north of the WTC on the Hudson River is by far the number one terrorist target in the United States, Indian Point and its 3 nuclear power stations, 2 of which are online. These 3 nuclear stations have accumulated 65 years worth of stockpiled highly radioactive waste. Indian Point is only 24 miles north of the New York City border. It is surrounded by the densest concentration of population in the United States, the northeast corridor. Why did American Airlines Flight 11 fly directly over the number one terrorist target in the United States, Indian Point nuclear power stations, and not hit it? (read more about this at 8:39 a.m.)

 8:33:59 a.m.: Another transmission from American Airlines Flight 11, “Nobody move please. We are going back to the airport. Don’t try to make any stupid moves.”

 8:36 a.m.: A NORAD spokesman, Major Mike Snyder, has been reported to have said, that the FAA notified NORAD of a hijacked aircraft, American Airlines Flight 11, about 10 minutes before it impacted into the World Trade Center.

 8:37 a.m.: Flight controllers ask the United Airlines Flight 175 pilots to look for the lost American Airlines Flight 11, about 10 miles to the south. They respond that they can see it. They are told to keep away from it. This incident is not included in The New York Times flight controller transcript. Why?

 8:38 a.m.: Boston ATC notifies NORAD that American Airlines Flight 11 has been hijacked.

 8:39 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 flies directly over the number one terrorist target in the United States, Indian Point nuclear power stations. Indian Point has 3 nuclear power stations (1 is offline and the other 2 have been online since 1973 and 1976), which are only 24 miles north of New York City (and about 40 miles north of the WTC).

 If American Airlines Flight 11 hits Indian Point correctly in any of three different ways, they could have caused a meltdown and a release of vast amounts of radiation. There are also a cumulative 65 operating years worth of highly radioactive waste stored at Indian Point. Casualties could possibly be upwards of 20 million people prematurely dieing from radiation poisoning. The whole northeast corridor from New York City to Boston would instantly become a wasteland for thousands of years.

 Why did American Airlines Flight 11 jeopardize their mission by flying another 7 plus minutes (when they could and should have been intercepted by the USAF) down the Hudson River to hit the WTC between the 94th and 98th floors where they ended up “only” killing less than half of the 3,056 people that died, when they could have hit their enemies’ number one target?

 The mastermind behind these “terrorists” hijackers would have soon figured out their best and only shot against the strongest military foe in the world would have been to hit them first and hit them as hard as you can. Why didn’t they hit Indian Point?

 If the terrorists were targeting the WTC, don’t you think they would have waited until around 11:00 when these buildings were full with 50,000 plus people? And of course, to cause the most deaths and destruction isn’t it elementary to strike these buildings as low as possible, which would have been around the 30th floor?

 So, why did this well planned “terrorist” attack kill only 3,056 people when they could have easily killed ten times that many? This reasoning also goes along with the Pentagon attack. Why was the Pentagon hit on the so-called “peaceful” west side, which was mostly under construction as opposed to the command center east side of the Pentagon?

 If one plane didn’t do the job at Indian Point, two planes most definitely would have done the job. United Airlines Flight 175 also flew very close to Indian Point; it was literally within a couple of minutes flying time.

If two planes didn’t do the job (one should and two will), a third plane, United Airlines Flight 93 a Boeing 757-222 will lift off in 3 minutes from Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey bound for San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California. Newark International Airport is within 10 minutes flying time of Indian Point.

So three of these airliners could have hit Indian Point within about 13 minutes of each other, between 8:39 and 8:52, if they had wanted to. The whole northeast corridor from New York City to Boston would instantly become a wasteland for thousands of years.

Jet [757 / 767] Could Wreck Three Mile Island, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Admits

 8:40 a.m. Nasty and Duff are the code names of the two F-15 pilots from the 102nd Fighter Wing of the Otis Air National Guard Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts who would scramble after United Airlines Flight 175. Nasty says that at this time, a colleague tells him that a flight out of Boston has been hijacked, and to be on alert. They put on their flight gear and get ready. 

8:40 a.m.: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) notifies NORAD that American Airlines Flight 11 has been hijacked. Even NORAD officially admitted that the FAA told them about the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11 at 8:40. As mentioned earlier, American Airlines Flight 11 lost voice contact with ATC at 8:13:31 – so for 26 minutes and 29 seconds nothing has been done. American Airlines Flight 11 lost its transponder at 8:20 – so for 20 minutes nothing has been done. This doesn’t happen.

OK, the FAA notifies NORAD that American Airlines Flight 11 has been hijacked – what does NORAD do? Do they immediately scramble the 102nd Fighter Wing of the Otis Air National Guard Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts? No they don’t, they sit on this most vital information. Stand Down.

At 8:46 a.m. you will see what NORAD finally does with this critically vital information.

NORAD Press Release:

AP Article On NORAD PR:

8:41:32 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175 last communication with the New York ATC: We figured we’d wait to go to your center. We heard a suspicious transmission on our departure from BOS [Boston] sounds like someone keyed the mike and said everyone stay in your seats.

8:42 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93 a Boeing 757-222 with a maximum capacity of 200 passengers and 11,489 gallons of fuel, lifts off from Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey bound for San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California. Take-off was scheduled for 8:01. There are supposed to be 44 victims on board, yet when you add up the official death manifest list that was published on, there are only 33 victims.

 8:42 a.m.: An air traffic controller says of United Airlines Flight 175, looks like he’s heading southbound but there’s no transponder no nothing and no one’s talking to him.

8:43 a.m.: The FAA notifies NORAD that United Airlines Flight 175 has been hijacked. NORAD has officially admitted that the FAA told them about the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 175 at 8:43. So, now NORAD knows about two hijackings – and American Airlines Flight 11 has been barreling down on New York City since turning south at 8:26, and is just 3 minutes away from impacting the WTC. What does NORAD do with this new information? Do they immediately scramble the 102nd Fighter Wing of the Otis Air National Guard Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts? Again, no they don’t, they sit on this most vital information of now two hijacked airliners. Stand Down.

 8:46 a.m.: NORAD orders the 102nd Fighter Wing of the Otis Air National Guard Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts to scramble two of their F-15 fighters. This is from the 102nd Fighter Wing’s mission statement of September 11, 2001. “Our aircraft and their crews are on continuous 24-hour, 365-day alert to guard our skies. The 102nd Fighter Wing’s area of responsibility includes over 500,000 square miles, 90 million people, and the major industrial centers of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.”

 NORAD, by their own account, held on to the most vital information of American Airlines Flight 11 hijacking for at least 6 minutes before ordering Otis to scramble. NORAD, by their own account, held on to the most vital information of United Airlines Flight 175 hijacking for at least 3 minutes before ordering Otis to scramble.

 NORAD may have held on to the vital information of American Airlines Flight 11 for perhaps 8 minutes, maybe 10 minutes (see 8:36 a.m. statement by NORAD spokesman, Major Mike Snyder), possibly up to 26 minutes (see 8:20 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 transponder signal stopped transmitting its IFF beacon signal) and let us not forget that the last voice transmission of American Airlines Flight 11 with Boston air traffic control occurred at 8:13:31, so maybe NORAD had over 32 minutes before they notified Otis to scramble their two F-15’s.

 How could NORAD possibly hold on to the 8:40 information of the American Airlines Flight 11 hijacking, and not immediately scrambled Otis? How could NORAD possibly hold on to the 8:43 information of the United Airlines Flight 175 hijacking, and not have immediately scrambled Otis? How could NORAD, by their own account, hold on to the most vital information of both of these hijackings for three and six full minutes, before notifying Otis to scramble? Stand Down.

 Knowing that New York City and Washington D.C. are far and away the top two cities in the United States that would be targeted by terrorists, don’t you think we would have also ordered Langley AFB to scramble at 8:46 a.m. to protect Washington D.C.? NORAD says they actually waited till 9:24 a.m. to order Langley AFB to scramble. Thirty-eight minutes went by before anyone bothers to order fighters to scramble to protect Washington D.C.? No way. This is the big time Smoking Gun Stand Down.

NORAD Press Release:

AP Article On NORAD PR:

 8:46:26 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11 impacts the north side of the North Tower (1 World Trade Center) of the WTC between the 94th and 98th floors. American Airlines Flight 11 was flying at a speed of 490 miles per hour (MPH).

 When American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower, “it set up vibrations which were transmitted through the building, through its foundation, and into the ground,” says Lerner-Lam. Those vibrations, as indicated by seismographs at Lamont-Doherty and other locations, were the equivalent of a magnitude 0.9 earthquake, one too small to be felt.

 8:46 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175 transponder signal stops transmitting IFF beacon signal.

 8:47 a.m.: The FAA informed NORAD of American Airlines Flight 11 striking the World Trade Center. NORAD says it doesn’t tell the two F-15 pilots now scrambling to take-off from Otis that American Airlines Flight 11 has hit the WTC until 8:57. Why not? Especially when there is another hijacked airliner, United Airlines Flight 175, so close to New York City — and at 8:49 it turns and heads straight on for New York City?

 8:47 a.m.: NYC Fire Battalion Chief Joe Pfeiffer from the 7th Battalion puts out an emergency call stating that American Airlines Flight 11 impacting the north side of the North Tower (1 World Trade Center) was no accident. The plane’s impact was clearly a deliberate attack an intentional act of mass death and devastation.

 As the small video crew (who shot the only video of American Airlines Flight 11 impacting the WTC – the fireman video) and firemen that had eye-witnessed the first plane hit the WTC were racing to the location, Chief Pfeiffer sounded red alerts over the radio and phone; specifically stating that what they witnessed was a “direct attack” and that the airliner was clearly being directed straight at the WTC and the incident was definitely not any kind of accident.

 8:48 a.m.: The first news reports appear on TV and radio that a plane may have crashed into the WTC.

 8:49 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175 now deviates from its assigned flight path.

 8:50:51 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 last radio communication, about 285 miles west of the Pentagon.

 8:52 a.m.: Two F-15 Eagles have scrambled and are airborne from the 102nd Fighter Wing of Otis Air National Guard Base in Falmouth, Massachusetts. An F-15 has a top speed of 1875+ MPH. Otis is 153 miles (according to The New York Times) eastnortheast of the WTC. They are airborne within 6 minutes of their 8:46 scramble orders. Good job. So, 38 minutes after American Airlines Flight 11 has been hijacked we finally have fighters in the air. But they still don’t know American Airlines Flight 11 has crashed into the WTC or that United Airlines Flight 175 has turned and has been heading straight toward New York City now for 3 minutes. Why not? Stand Down.

 8:53 a.m.: A flight controller says to other airplanes in the sky about United Airlines Flight 175, “We may have a hijack. We have some problems over here right now.”

 8:55 a.m.: Barbara Olson, a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77, calls her husband, Solicitor General Theodore Olson at the Justice Department. He is watching the WTC news on TV. She tells him, ”they had box cutters and knives. They rounded up the passengers at the back of the plane.” She asks him, “What should I tell the pilot to do?” She gets cuts off; he calls the Justice Department’s command center to alert them of the hijacking. She calls back and says the plane is turning around. She appears to have been the only person on American Airlines Flight 77 to call someone on the ground. Why is she the only person who calls from American Airlines Flight 77?

8:56 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 transponder signal stops.

8:56 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 goes off course and starts making a 180 degree turn over southern Ohio / northeastern Kentucky.

 8:57 a.m. The FAA formally notified the military that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the WTC. Until then, the two F-15’s fighters from Otis did not know the plane had crashed — Yet at 8:47 a.m. NORAD had been notified. Why does it take over 10 minutes to inform the two F-15 pilots of this? Do the two F-15 pilots know United Airlines Flight 175 has changed course, and for the last eight minutes has been heading directly for New York City? Stand Down.

 8:59 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 completes its 180 degree turn over southern Ohio / northeastern Kentucky and starts heading directly back to Washington D.C. and The Pentagon, 330 miles away.

 9:00 a.m.: United Airlines systems operations transmitted a system wide message, warning its pilots of a potential “cockpit intrusion”. United Airlines Flight 93, flying over Pennsylvania replies “Confirmed”.

 9:00 a.m.: Last radar reading on United Airlines Flight 175 is observed at an altitude of 18,000 feet, descending, with a ground speed of 480 knots.

 9:00 a.m. The FAA starts contacting all airliners to warn them of the hijacking.

 9:00 a.m.: The Pentagon moves its alert status up one notch from normal to Alpha. It stays on Alpha until after American Airlines Flight 77 hits the Pentagon.

 9:01 a.m.: Bush later makes the following statement. “And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower — the TV was obviously on, and I used to fly myself, and I said, ‘There’s one terrible pilot.’ And I said, ‘It must have been a horrible accident.’ But I was whisked off from there — I didn’t have much time to think about it.” Bush could not have possibly seen the first plane (American Airlines Flight 11) hit the WTC, because the only video showing this was not shown on television till later in the day. So how could he have possibly seen and said this?

 9:02:54 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175 impacts the south side of the South Tower of the WTC between the 78th and 84th floors at a speed of over 500 MPH. Parts of the plane including an engine leave the building from its north side, to be found on the ground up to six blocks away.

 When United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower, “it set up vibrations which were transmitted through the building, through its foundation, and into the ground,” says Lerner-Lam. Those vibrations, as indicated by seismographs at Lamont-Doherty and other locations, were the equivalent of a magnitude 0.7 earthquake.

NORAD says that when United Airlines Flight 175 impacts the WTC at 9:02:54, the two F-15′s from Otis are still 71 miles away. This means their average flight speed was only 23.9% of their top speed in trying to intercept United Airlines Flight 175.

Otis is 153 miles from WTC. F-15′s have a top speed of 1875+ MPH. Minus 71 miles left from 153 miles equals 82 miles covered in the 11 minutes from 8:52 take-off to 9:03. Sixty minutes divided by 11 minutes equals 5.45, times this by the 82 miles covered, equals 447.3 MPH. divided by 1875 MPH equals 23.9% of their top speed. How could these two F-15’s possibly be going less than one quarter of their top speed in trying to intercept United Airlines Flight 175? How? Stand Down.

The following passages are from a BBC article published on August 30, 2002. Two of the pilots patrolling northeast America told the programme how they struggled to get to New York as fast as possible after the first plane had hit the World Trade Center. Pilots “Duff” and “Nasty” recalled they were only minutes away when the second plane hit the towers. Pilot Duff said: “For a long time I wondered what would have happened if we had been scrambled in time. “We’ve been over the flight a thousand times in our minds and I don’t know what we could have done to get there any quicker.”

Perhaps if they flew a little faster than 23.9% of their top speed is how.

 US Considered ‘Suicide Jet Missions’

 The F-15 pilots flew ”like a scalded ape,” topping 500 MPH but were unable to catch up to the airliner [United Airliners Flight 175], Maj. Gen. Paul Weaver said.

 National Guard Fighters Raced After 2 Airliners

 Now the only airliner left in the sky with its IFF transponder signal off — has just made a 180 degree turn over southern Ohio / northeastern Kentucky and has been heading directly back to Washington D.C. and The Pentagon since 8:59 a.m. — is American Airlines Flight 77. Why didn’t these two F-15’s that were 71 miles from NYC and the WTC, immediately redirect to intercept the only dangerous airliner now in the sky, American Airlines Flight 77?

These two F-15’s had 34 minutes to reach Washington D.C. before American Airlines Flight 77 hits the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. The mission of these two F-15’s from the 102nd Fighter Wing of the Otis Air National Guard Base is to protect the skies from Washington D.C. to the north. The F-15 has a top speed of 1875+ MPH, so they could have closed the 300 or so miles from their current position to Washington D.C. in just about 11 minutes. At top speed they could have been at the Pentagon 23 minutes before American Airlines Flight 77 hits it.

Even if they were flying at the same speed NORAD says that they covered in the last 71 miles till they reach the WTC (532.5 MPH or only 28.4% of top speed) they would have beaten American Airlines Flight 77 to the Pentagon. Why didn’t these two F-15’s directly fly to intercept the only known airliner still in the sky that is hijacked, and heading directly for the nations capitol?

Still, much worse, why didn’t these two F-15’s upon reaching the WTC at 9:11 and now knowing that American Airlines Flight 77 has been heading dead on for Washington D.C. for 12 minutes, finally try to intercept? The WTC is about 250 miles from the Pentagon. They still have 26 minutes to intercept American Airlines Flight 77 before the Pentagon gets hit at 9:37. All they have to do is to fly only 576.9 MPH or 30.8% of their top speed to beat American Airlines Flight 77 to the Pentagon. What do we pay these guys to do?

Still, unbelievably worse, these two F-15’s could have waited in New York City till 9:26 before heading down to protect Washington D.C. and the Pentagon. By 9:26 American Airlines Flight 77 has now been heading directly back to Washington D.C. for 27 minutes, it is the only airliner in the sky with its transponder signal off, and has been off course for 30 minutes. If these F-15’s were flying at top speed, they could be at the Pentagon in less than 10 minutes. They can leave New York City at 9:26 and still beat American Airlines Flight 77 to the Pentagon by one minute. Why didn’t these F-15’s leave at any time between 9:03 and 9:26 to intercept American Airlines Flight 77, the only airliner in the sky with its transponder signal off, and also off course and heading straight do Washington D.C.? Why, NORAD? Stand Down.

NORAD Press Release:

AP Article On NORAD PR:

There is a very interesting video of what looks like a possible F-15 streaking by the WTC just as United Airlines Flight 175 impacts the South Tower of the WTC. Why isn’t anyone talking about this video?

 Take a look for yourself at:

 9:03 a.m.: Boston air traffic control center halts traffic from its airports to all New York area airspace.

 9:05 a.m.: Andrew Card walks up to Bush while he is listening to a Goat Story with 16 second graders in Sandra Kay Daniels’s class at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. Card whispers in his ear “A second plane has hit the World Trade Center. America is under attack.” Bush (commander-and-chief?) keeps listening to this Goat Story with these children for at least 7 minutes, and perhaps as long as 18 minutes. Why he didn’t excuse himself from these children right away, and immediately address this national emergency, is totally illogical and unexplainable.

There is no way this should have happened. What of course should have happened, was as soon as the secret service found out about United Airlines Flight 175 impacting the WTC (now knowing it was a “terrorist” act), they would have immediatly grabbed Bush and brought him to an undisclosed location. There is no way the secret service leaves Bush in a place (Emma E. Booker Elementary School) where everyone knows he is. Stand Down.

9:05 a.m.: West Virginia flight control notices a new eastbound plane entering their radar with no radio contact and no transponder identification. They are not sure if it is American Airlines Flight 77. Supposedly they wait another 19 minutes before notifying NORAD about it.

 Why hasn’t NORAD scrambled any fighters to protect Washington D.C. by 9:05? How could they not have? Two airliners have already hit the WTC. Nine minutes ago the transponder on American Airlines Flight 77 was shut off and it made a 180 degree turn and has been heading directly for Washington D.C. for 6 minutes. Perhaps now would be a good time to remember that New York City and Washington D.C. are far and away the top two cities in the United States that would be targeted by terrorists. Why hasn’t NORAD scrambled any fighters to protect Washington D.C. by 9:05? Stand Down.

9:06 a.m.: Order to halt traffic is expanded to include the entire northeast from Washington to Cleveland. FAA’s air traffic control center outside Washington D.C. notifies all air traffic facilities nationwide of the suspected hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11.

9:06 a.m.: The FAA formally notified the military that United Airlines Flight 175 had been hijacked.

 9:08 a.m.: FAA orders all aircraft to leave New York area airspace and orders all New York-bound planes nationwide to stay on the ground.

 9:10 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93 was hijacked.

 9:11 a.m.: The two F-15 Eagles from Otis Air National Guard station in Falmouth; Massachusetts finally make it to NYC and the WTC. So, it takes these two F-15’s, which have a top speed of 1875+ MPH, 19 minutes to cover the 153 miles from Otis to the WTC. This means their average flight speed from Otis to the WTC was only 483.2 MPH or just 25.8% of their top speed. A little math exposes these window dressing fighters for what they are. Thank you NORAD for your September 18, 20001 Press Release. Stand Down.

 9:12 a.m.: The FAA formally notified the military that United Airlines Flight 175 had crashed into the WTC.

 9:15 a.m.: American Airlines orders no new takeoffs in the United States.

 9:16 a.m. to 9:20: The FAA notifies NORAD that United Airlines Flight 93 has been hijacked. (Reported as 9:20 a.m. in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) No fighters are scrambled in specific response, now or later. There is the possibility the fighters sent after American Airlines Flight 77 later headed towards United Airlines Flight 93. NORAD’s own timeline inexplicably fails to say when the FAA told them about the hijack. This is the only flight NORAD fails to provide this data for. Why? Stand Down.

 9:17 a.m.: The FAA shuts down all New York City area airports.

 9:20 a.m.: United Airlines orders no new takeoffs in the United States.

 9:21 a.m.: New York City Port Authority orders all bridges and tunnels in the New York City area closed.

9:22 a.m.: A sonic boom occurs, which was picked up by an earthquake monitor in southern Pennsylvania, 60 miles away from Shanksville. This was most likely caused by a fighter jet breaking the sound barrier.  

9:23 a.m.: Bush talks privately with Cheney, his National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller and Governor George Pataki of New York. Why does Bush wait from 9:05 (when Card tells him of United Airlines Flight 175 hitting the WTC) till 9:23 to finally call? He still does not give the authority to the fighters to shoot down any hostile airliners (fighters do not need his OK to intercept – that should have of course happen automatically [but didn’t -- or it was IGNORAD ] – his orders are only needed to shoot down a commercial airliner). What is he waiting for?

9:24 a.m.: The FAA notifies NORAD that American Airlines Flight 77 has been hijacked. The FAA lost contact with American Airlines Flight 77 when the transponder signal stops at 8:56 a.m. — Why does it take 28 minutes for the FAA to tell NORAD that American Airlines Flight 77 has been hijacked? Impossible. Stand Down.

9:24 a.m.: NORAD orders the 1st Fighter Wing from Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia to scramble two, possibly three F-16 fighters. This time NORAD does not sit on this vital information for six minutes (or more) before notifying Langley AFB (like they did before they scrambled Otis). Langley is 130 miles south of Washington D.C. and the Pentagon. The F-16 has a top speed of 1500 MPH.

Why wasn’t Langley AFB scrambled at 8:20 or 8:40 or 8:46:26 or at the very least at 9:02:54? How could NORAD possibly have waited the 21 minutes from the time United Airlines Flight 175 hits the South Tower of the WTC at 9:02:54 before finally scrambling Langley at 9:24? Waiting these 21 extra minutes to finally scramble Langley is the real smoking gun Stand Down that no one can get around.

Inconceivably, Andrews Air Force Base, with its two fighters wings only about 11 miles from the Pentagon never got off the ground, till after everything was over. They must have been told to Stand Down. This Stand Down that happened at Andrews AFB is the same thing that happened with the at least 35 Air Stations that were easily within distance to protect us of all of these hijackings. They were all told to Stand Down.

The following link lists the 7 bases on full alert and the 28 that were within range.

 9:25 a.m.: Air traffic controllers inform the United States Secret Service that American Airlines Flight 77 is approaching Washington D.C.

 9:26 a.m.: The FAA halts takeoffs nationwide. All airborne international flights are told to land in Canada.

 9:26 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 – Passenger, Barbara K. Olson again calls her husband, Solicitor General Theodore Olson at the Justice Department to tell him about the hijacking and to report that the passengers and pilots were held in the back of the plane. Again she is the only person who makes a call from American Airlines Flight 77. Isn’t it very strange that is she the only person to call, not once but twice?

 9:28 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93 — An open microphone aboard reveals someone in the cockpit saying, “Get out of here!”

 9:28 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93, “there are the first audible signs of problems, in background cockpit noise.” Air traffic controllers hear the sound of screaming and scuffling over an open mike. They then hear hijackers speaking in Arabic to each other. Yet this is at least 8 minutes and maybe 12 minutes after the hijackers had taken over the cockpit and done something to cause the FAA to notify NORAD of United Airlines Flight 93′s hijacking.

 9:30 a.m.: Two, possibly three F-16 Fighting Falcons code-named Huntress take off from Langley AFB headed at first toward at NYC. A couple of minutes into their mission, according to General Haugen “A person came on the radio and identified themselves as being with the Secret Service” and said, “I want you to protect the White House at all costs.” The F-16’s laid in a new course and vectored to Washington D.C. Since both Washington D.C. and New York City are both north of Langley, and this happened within a couple of minutes of take-off, this was not a factor in why these F-16 fighters were flying so slow. 

Why were these fighters headed to NYC when American Airlines Flight 77 has been headed directly for Washington D.C. for the last 31 minutes, and with their communication and transponder turned off for 34 minutes? There are no airliners headed for NYC or anywhere else with their communication and transponders turned off. Also, at 9:25 air traffic controllers have already informed the United States Secret Service in Washington D.C. that American Airlines Flight 77 is approaching them very fast. So why are these F-16’s first flying toward NYC? Stand Down.

 9:30 a m.: Bush, speaking to the nation from Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida, says the country has suffered an “apparent terrorist attack” and “a national tragedy.” He would chase down, “those folks who committed this act.” Bush also said, “Terrorism against our nation will not stand.” It was an echo of “This will not stand,” the words his father, George H. W. Bush, had used a few days after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990-in Bush’s opinion, one of his father’s finest moments.

 Also, during this address to the country Bush promised a full investigation into the attack. Well here we are 16 months later, after everything Bush could possibly do to stop an investigation, and we are finally getting a so-called 911 investigation. That Henry Kissinger and George Mitchell quit as chair and vice chair is very interesting. Of course, having appointed killer Kissinger to lead the 911 investigation in the first place was like saying, welcome to the Twilight Zone. Did Kissinger quit because some of his clients were about to be exposed and tried by him? A little conflict of interest Henry? 

This address to the country should have been said at least 15 to 20 minutes earlier. But of course he had much more important business to attend to, he was listening to the Goat Story with the 16 second graders from 9:05 till at least 9:12 and possibly as long as 9:23.

 Bush speaking to the country from Emma E. Booker Elementary School.

85) 9:30 a.m.: United Airlines begins landing all of its flights inside the United States.

 9:32 a.m.: Secret Service agents burst into Cheney’s White House office. They carry him under his arms — nearly lifting him off the ground — and take him to the security of the underground bunker in the White House basement. What took them so long? 

9:32 a.m.: The New York Stock Exchange closed. 

9:33 a.m.: According to The New York Times, American Airlines Flight 77 was lost at 8:56 when it turned off its transponder, and stayed lost until now. Washington air traffic control sees a fast moving blip on their radar at this time and sends a warning to Dulles Airport in Washington. Is it conceivable that an airplane could be lost inside United States air space for 37 minutes? Stand Down.

 9:35 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93 goes off course near Cleveland, Ohio where it makes a 135 degree turn, and is now headed to the southeast. United Airlines Flight 93 is 375 miles from Newark, New Jersey and 280 miles from where it was now headed, Washington D.C.

 Also reported about United Airlines Flight 93: ABC News has learned that shortly before the plane changed directions, someone in the cockpit radioed in and asked the FAA for a new flight plan, with a final destination of Washington. This should have been a big red flag, a problem aircraft usually diverts to the nearest field. Did the Pilot do this to signal Air Traffic Control?

 9:35 a.m.: American Airlines begins landing all of its flights inside the United States.

 9:36 a.m.: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport instructs a military C130 aircraft that had just departed Andrews Air Force base to try to identify American Airlines Flight 77. The C130 reports it is a 767 and it is moving low and very fast.

 9:37 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 is lost from radar screens and impacts the western side of the Pentagon. The section of the Pentagon hit consists mainly of newly renovated, unoccupied offices. The Pentagon says American Airlines Flight 77 hits them at 9:37. Other published reports have American Airlines Flight 77 striking at 9:40 to 9:43; The New York Times even published 9:45. (The photos taken before the Pentagon “E Section” collapses at 10:10 a.m. show a hole that sure does not look like a Boeing 757-223 hit it. There were no holes in the Pentagon where both jet engines would have gone through? Why?)

 At 9:37 NORAD says the F-16’s from Langley were still 105 miles and 12 minutes away. Incredibly, this means their average flight speed was only 14.3% of their top speed in trying to intercept United Airlines Flight 175 before it hits the Pentagon. If these F-16’s flew at top speed, they would have been there just after 9:37.

 Langley is 130 miles from the Pentagon. F-16′s have a top speed of 1500 MPH. Minus 105 miles left from 130 miles equals 25 miles covered in the 7 minutes from 9:30 take-off to 9:37. 60 minutes divided by 7 minutes equals 8.57, times this by the 25 miles covered, equals 214.3 MPH. divided by 1500 MPH equals 14.3% of their top speed. How could these two F-15’s possibly be going one seventh of their top speed in trying to intercept American Airlines Flight 77? Even the story about first flying to NYC does not account for this unbelievably slow speed because they got the message to redirect to Washington D.C. within a couple of minutes of take-off, and NYC and Washington D.C. are almost exactly the same direction (north) from Langley. Stand Down.

 Three more of the 7 air stations on full alert were within range of Washington D.C. Tyndall AFB in Panama City, Florida is 800 miles from Washington D.C., from the time they scramble and flying at top speed, they could have reached Washington D.C. in 35 to 40 minutes. Homestead ARB in Homestead, Florida is 1000 miles from Washington D.C. from the time they scramble and flying at top speed, they could have reached Washington D.C. in 45 to 50 minutes. Ellington ANG in Houston, Texas is 1250 miles from Washington D.C. from the time they scramble and flying at top speed, they could have reached Washington D.C. in 55 to 60 minutes.

Remember at 8:40 the FAA notifies NORAD that American Airlines Flight 11 has been hijacked and at 8:43 a.m. the FAA notifies NORAD that United Airlines Flight 175 has been hijacked. So at 8:43 a full 54 minutes before American Airlines Flight 77 hits the Pentagon, NORAD admits to knowing about these two airlines being hijacked. With a 54 minute start — besides of course Otis ANG who were already in the air (at 8:52) and Langley AFB fighters (finally ordered to scramble at 9:24 – airborne at 9:30), both Tyndall AFB and Homestead ARB fighters could have beaten American Airlines Flight 77 to the Pentagon and Ellington ANG fighters had an outside chance. Of course both air stations in Florida, Tyndall AFB and Homestead ARB, should have been sent to protect Air Force One in Sarasota — but incredibly they weren’t sent there either.

At 8:56 the transponder on American Airlines Flight 77 stops sending the IFF beacon. This is 41 minutes before it hits the Pentagon. Again besides of course Otis ANG and Langley AFB fighters, if ordered to scramble at 8:56 Tyndall AFB fighters could have still beaten American Airlines Flight 77 to the Pentagon. Stand Down.

 NORAD Press Release:

 AP Article On NORAD PR:

 9:38 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93 completes its 135 degree turn and is headed directly towards Washington D.C.

 9:40 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93 transponder signal stops.

 9:40 a.m.: Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, summoned by the White House to the bunker, was on an open line to the Federal Aviation Administration operations center, monitoring Flight 77 as it hurtled toward Washington, with radar tracks coming every seven seconds. Reports came that the plane was 50 miles out, 30 miles out, 10 miles out-until word reached the bunker that there had been an explosion at the Pentagon.

 Mineta shouted into the phone to Monte Belger at the FAA: “Monte, bring all the planes down.” It was an unprecedented order — there were 4,546 airplanes in the air at the time. Belger, the FAA’s acting deputy administrator, amended Mineta’s directive to take into account the authority vested in airline pilots. “We’re bringing them down per pilot discretion,” Belger told the secretary.

 ”Fuck pilot discretion,” Mineta yelled back. “Get those goddamn planes down.”

 The FAA stops all flight operations at U.S. airports and orders all planes in the air to land at the nearest airport. No civilian aircraft are allowed to lift off. This is the first time all commercial flights in the U.S. have been suspended. Only military and medical flights are allowed to fly.

 9:42 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 93 passenger Mark Bingham calls his mother. “Mom, this is Mark Bingham,” he said, nervously. “I want to let you know that I love you. I’m calling from the plane. We’ve been taken over. There are three men that say they have a bomb.”

 97) 9:45 a.m.: Bush’s motorcade leaves the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida headed for Air Force One at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

 9:45 a.m. to 9:48 a.m.: The Capitol and the White House are evacuated.

 9:47 a.m.: Commanders worldwide were ordered to raise their threat alert status four notches to “Delta”, the highest level, to defend United States facilities. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld raised the defense condition signaling of the United States offensive readiness-to DefCon 3, the highest it had been since the Arab-Israeli war in 1973. United States officials also sent a message to the Russians, who were planning a military exercise not far from Alaska, urging them to rethink their plans.

 9:49 a.m.: The F-16’s from Langley AFB finally arrive over Washington, D.C. to perform Combat Air Patrol over the city. It takes these F-16’s 19 minutes to reach Washington D.C. from Langley AFB which is about 130 miles to the south.

 If these F-16’s were flying at top speed it should have taken them just over 7 minutes to reach the Pentagon. They should have been there at about the same time the Pentagon is hit by American Airlines Flight 77, at 9:37.

 By arriving in Washington D.C. at 9:49, that would mean these F-16’s average flight speed was only 410.5 MPH. This means their average flight speed was only 27.4% of their top speed in trying to protect our nations capital. Langley AFB is 130 miles from the Pentagon and F-16′s have a top speed of 1500 MPH. 60 minutes divided by 19 minutes = 3.16 x 130 miles = 410.5 MPH divided by 1500 MPH = 27.4%.

 These F-16’s took-off at 9:30, this is 43 minutes after American Airlines 11 impacts the North Tower of the WTC and 27 minutes after United Airlines Flight 175 slams into the South Tower of the WTC. Knowing this, these F-16’s fly at only 14.3% (overall 27.4%) of their top speed in trying to intercept American Airlines Flight 77 and protect our nations capital, Washington D.C. How could that possibly be?

 Why were all of these ultra-sophisticated fighter jets averaging flight speeds only one quarter of their top speed when sent to intercept hostile aircraft and protect New York City and our nation’s Capital, Washington D.C.? What exactly is the purpose of these fighter jets being able to go 1875+ MPH and 1500 MPH, yet when the United States is being attacked and needs them the most they are only somehow capable of doing one quarter of their top speed? Stand Down.

 The United States Air Force is the most technologically advanced, and the most dominate military force ever known to man, and yet we didn’t have any other fighters on routine patrols or training missions anywhere within 1000 miles of New York City or Washington D. C. that morning? I have talked to a few people in the Air Force, and this is totally impossible. There are always fighters up on routine patrols or training missions. So where were they?

 And lastly, why didn’t the Air Force follow procedure and immediately scramble to monitor any of these 4 flights like they did for the late great golfer Payne Stewart when his Lear jet went off course? This is not Oshkosh, Wisconsin we are talking about protecting here, it is New York City and the Capital of the United States, Washington D.C., and its air defenses were left total unguarded for one hour and twenty-three minutes (from 8:14 to 9:37) (or one hour and thirty-five minutes — F-15 arrived in DC at 9:49) by the same country who have the greatest air superiority by far ever known. What type of a preposterous wag of the NORAD tale is this?

 Both of these groups of fighters, the F-15’s out of Otis, and the F-16’s out of Langley were put in the air merely as window dressing. To make the public actually think they were valiantly trying to intercept these 4 hijacked planes. There is only one explanation for this — our Air Force was ordered to Stand Down on 911.

NORAD Press Release:

AP Article On NORAD PR:

 9:55 a.m.: Bush arrives at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and boards Air Force One. 

9:55 a.m.: Inside his White House bunker, a military aide asks Cheney, “There is a plane 80 miles out. There is a fighter in the area. Should we engage?” Cheney immediately says, “Yes.” As the fighter gets nearer to United Airlines Flight 93, he is asked the same thing twice more, and responds yes both times.

 9:58 a.m.: Confrontation with the hijackers and the passengers begins aboard United Airlines Flight 93. Emergency dispatcher in Pennsylvania receives a call from a passenger on Flight 93. The passenger says: “We are being hijacked!”

 9:58 a.m.: A frantic male passenger onboard United Airlines Flight 93 called the 911 emergency number, he told the operator, named Glen Cramer, that he had locked himself inside one of the toilets. Cramer told the AP, in a report that was widely broadcast on September 11th, that the passenger had spoken for one minute. “We’re being hijacked, we’re being hijacked!” the man screamed into his mobile phone. “We confirmed that with him several times,” Cramer said, “and we asked him to repeat what he said. He was very distraught. He said he believed the plane was going down. He did hear some sort of an explosion and saw white smoke coming from the plane, but he didn’t know where. And then we lost contact with him.” This was the last cell phone call made from any passengers on any of the hijacked planes.

 9:59 a.m.: Air Force One Departs Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, Sarasota, Florida bound for Washington D.C. Air Force One departed with no extra military protection. This is totally impossible. Two of the 7 military air stations we had on full alert to protect the continental United States that day were based in Florida. Homestead Air Reserve Base in Homestead is 185 miles and the Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City is 235 miles from Sarasota and Air Force One.

 These two air stations should have been ordered to scramble their fighters at 8:20 or 8:40 or 8:43 or 8:46:26 or 9:02:54 or 9:24 or at the very least at 9:37. From the time these two Air stations should have been scrambled and flying at top speed, both of these air stations fighters could have been in Sarasota within 16 to 18 minutes to protect Air Force One. Even if both Air stations waited on the ground with their 4 fighters till the Pentagon gets hit at 9:37, all 4 fighters could have scrambled and been at Sarasota 4 to 6 minutes before Air Force One takes-off at 9:59. Where were the fighters from both of these air stations? Did both of these air stations have something better to do that day than protect Air Force One? Please, this just does not happen. Why is no one else in the world is asking this question? Stand Down. 

Also, is the place to be in the air when there are still a couple of thousand airliners in the air deviating from their normal flight plans to land, and who knew then how many of them were hostile or not?

 We have captured and saved the video of Bush as he arrives at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, and the take-off of Air Force One. Go to:

 Also, please take a look at the August 30, 2002 BBC article which states: In the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks US fighter planes took to the skies to defend America from any further attacks. Their mission was to protect pResident George W. Bush and to intercept any hijacked aircraft heading to other targets in the US.

 9:59:04 a.m.: The south tower of the World Trade Center suddenly collapses, plummeting into the streets below. A massive cloud of dust and debris quickly fills lower Manhattan. It is later explained that the collapse was not directly caused by the impact, but the intense heat caused by the fire fueled by the jet’s fuel weakening the steel support beams of the concrete floors. The WTC towers were built to withstand a 707 being flown into them. A 767 carries almost the same amount of fuel as a 707.

 Seismographs at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, 21 miles north of the WTC, recorded very interesting seismic activity on September 11, 2001 that has still not been explained.

 While the aircraft crashes caused minimal earth shaking, significant earthquakes with unusual spikes occurred at the beginning of each collapse. The Palisades seismic data recorded a 2.1 magnitude earthquake during the 10-second collapse of the South Tower at 9:59:04 and a 2.3 quake during the 9-second collapse of the North Tower at 10:28:31.

 The Palisades seismic record shows that — as the collapses began — a huge seismic “spikes” marked the moment the greatest energy went into the ground. The strongest jolts were both registered at the beginning of the collapses, well before the falling debris struck the earth.

 These unexplained “spikes” in the seismic data tends to lend credence to the theory that perhaps a massive explosion(s) in the lowest level of the basements where the supporting steel columns of the WTC met the bedrock caused the collapses.

 Also, the collapses of the south tower at 9:59:04 took only 10 seconds while the collapse of the north tower at 10:28:31 took only 9 seconds, this is only slightly more than a free fall from the same height, indicating that there was very little resistance. Yet the floors themselves are quite robust, each one is 39″ thick; the top 4″ is a poured concrete slab, with interlocking vertical steel trusses underneath. This steel would absorb a lot of kinetic energy by crumpling as one floor fell onto another. So how did both of the towers fall so quickly?

 10:00 a.m.: Bill Wright is flying a small plane when an air traffic controller asks him to look around outside his window. He sees United Airlines Flight 93 three miles away – close enough to see the United Airlines colors. Air traffic control asks him the plane’s altitude, and then commands him to get away from the plane and land immediately. Wright saw the plan rock back and forth three or four times before he flew from the area. He speculates that the hijackers were trying to throw off the attacking passengers.

 10:00 a.m.: The NRC tells all nuclear power stations to go to the highest level of alert.

 10:01 a.m.: The FAA orders F-16 fighters to scramble from Toledo, Ohio. Although the base has no fighters on stand-by alert status, it manages to put fighters in the air 16 minutes later, a “phenomenal” response time – but still 11 minutes after the last hijacked plane has crashed.

 One interesting aspect is that NORAD has explained that it didn’t scramble fighters from bases nearer to the hijacked planes because they only used bases in the NORAD defensive network (Seven bases were on fully armed alert covering the continental United States). Yet this Toledo base wasn’t part of that network, so why weren’t planes in this base and other bases scrambled an hour or more earlier? Could it be that they were scrambled earlier, and that it was one of these F-16′s that tailed Flight 93? While it hasn’t been reported in the media yet, note this recent claim by a seismologist that there was a sonic boom in Western Pennsylvania at 9:22. Could that have been a fighter tracking United Airlines Flight 93?

 10:02 a.m.: After a review of radar tapes, a radar signal of United Airlines Flight 93 is detected near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

 10:03 a.m.: According to the FBI, the cockpit voice recorder stops and United Airlines Flight 93 crashes near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in Somerset county, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

 10:04 a.m.: Johnstown-Cambria County Airport reports United Airlines Flight 93 is 15 miles south.

 10:06:05 a.m.: According to seismic data, United Airlines Flight 93 crashes near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in Somerset county, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. This is also 124 miles or 15 minutes away at 500 MPH from Washington D.C. An eyewitness reports seeing a white plane resembling a fighter jet circling the site just after the crash.

 The F-16′s from Langley AFB arrived in Washington D.C at 9:49 a.m. The F-16 has a top speed of 1500 MPH. After the Pentagon gets hit by American Airlines Flight 77 at 9:37, there is only one airliner left in the sky with its transponder signal off, and once again heading directly for Washington D.C., and that is United Airlines Flight 93. Flying at top speed these F-16’s could have intercepted United Airlines Flight 93 within 5 to 8 minutes depending on when they would have left. Why didn’t these F-16’s try to intercept United Airlines Flight 93? How could they not go after the only threat in the sky yet once again? Stand Down.

 Listen to what a former Pentagon air traffic controller says “All those years ago when I was at the Pentagon, this wouldn’t have happened. ATC Radar images were (and are) available in the understructures of the Pentagon, and any commercial flight within 300 miles of Washington D.C. that made an abrupt course change toward Washington D.C., or turned off their transponder and refused to communicate with ATC, would have been intercepted at supersonic speeds within minutes by fighters out of Andrews AFB. Why there were no fighters from Andrews up baffles me. If we could get fighters notified, scrambled, and airborne within about 6 minutes from Andrews AFB then, we could now.”

NORAD Press Release:

AP Article On NORAD PR:

 Shortly after 911, a flight controller in New Hampshire ignores a ban on air traffic controllers speaking to the media, and it is reported he claims “that an F-16 fighter closely pursued United Airlines Flight 93… the F-16 made 360-degree turns to remain close to the commercial jet, the controller said. ‘He must’ve seen the whole thing,’ the controller said of the F-16 pilot’s view of Flight 93′s crash.”

What happened to our first amendment? Where are all of the free and open debates in the United States Questioning September 11th? I, Mark Elsis will debate anyone or any panel on this issue. Does any formidable opponent dare to debate me about what really happened on September 11, 2001?

Mark Elsis is the Executive Director of the LOVEARTH ® NETWORK, eMail: [email protected].  Copyright Mark Elis.

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Israeli-US Script: Divide Syria, Divide the Rest

August 15th, 2012 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

What is happening in Syria is a sign of things to come for the region. Regime change is not the sole goal of the US and its allies in Syria. Dividing the Syrian Arab Republic is the end goal of Washington in Syria.

Britain’s Maplecroft, which specializes in consulting on strategic risk, has said that we are witnessing the balkanization of the Syrian state: “Kurds in the north, Druze in the southern hills, Alawites in the coastal northwestern mountainous region and the Sunni majority elsewhere.”

We are already hearing people like White House advisor Vali Nasr talking about all this. The religious and ethnic cleavages in Syria are not demarcated in purely geographic terms and the balkanization process could play out as a lebonization process, which means that Syria will be divided along violent sectarian fault lines and face political deadlock like Lebanon during its civil war without formally breaking up. Lebonization, a soft form of balkanization, has already taken place in Iraq under federalism.

The events in the Middle East and North Africa are seeing the animation of mass movements against local tyrants, like in Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia, but there is also a vicious script from Israel’s Yinon Plan and its offshoots. The Yinon Plan and similar schemes want a contrived Shitte-Sunni war amongst the Muslims as the central piece of the sectarian divisions – or fitna in Arabic – that are to include Christian-Muslim, Arab-Berber, Arab-Iranian, Arab-Turkish, and Iranian-Turkish animosity.

What this process intends to do is create sectarian hatred, ethnic divisions, racism, and religious wars. All the countries that the US and its allies are destabilizing have natural dividing lines, and when tribal, ethnic, confessional, and religious animosity is ignited in one country, it will spill over into other countries. The problems in Libya have spilled into Niger and Chad and the problems in Syria are spilling over into Turkey and Lebanon.

Egypt is the venue of revolutionary and counter-revolutionary currents that have kept the largest Arab power busy with its attention on domestic politics. While Egypt is facing domestic upheaval, the US is attempting to play the country’s military and the Muslim Brotherhood against one another. Before the upheavals Sudan was formally balkanized by Tel Aviv and Washington through the manipulation of identity politics, which led to the secession of South Sudan.

Libya has been neutralized and divided by various groups. Lebonization, as mentioned earlier, has also taken root in Iraq as the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) with foreign support – specifically foreign support from the US, Western Europe, Israel, and Turkey – begins to act more and more as if Northern Iraq or Iraqi Kurdistan is a separate country from the rest of Iraq.

Dore Gold, the President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and an advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is worth quoting for his views: “What you have in Syria is that the Middle East is coming apart; a new form of chaos is replacing what has existed.” This of course is part of the wishful thinking of Israeli policy makers who have an interest in seeing this. Originally, the position of Tel Aviv was ignored when the crisis in Syria began, but it is clear now that Israel has an interest in seeing Syria fragmented into pieces and in a state of continuous civil war. This is what the Yinon Plan and its successors have outlined as being Israel’s strategic objectives in both Syria and Lebanon.

Kurdish Nationalism

Syria, like Iraq, can be viewed as a key pressure point in the Middle East. Disarray in both will create a regional meltdown. As things heat up in Syria, fragile Iraq is also beginning to pulse as a regional geo-political volcano simmers.

For those who have doubts that the US is fanning the flames of a fire to create a meltdown in the Middle East or that the events in Syria are beginning to have regional ramifications, they merely need to look at the region of Kurdistan. Kurdish nationalist fighters have begun to mobilize in Syria and in Turkey and Turkish troops have been attacked by them. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has begun to take major steps that signify its independence from Iraq.

In Iraq, the KRG is essentially a de facto state with its own parliament, flag, army, visa regime, armed forces, police, and laws. In violation of Iraq’s national laws, the KRG has even made illegal arms and oil deals on its own with foreign governments and entities without even so much as notifying the government in Baghdad. Moreover, the KRG has even prevented Iraqi troops from going to Iraq’s northwest border with Syria to ensure that weapons smuggling and lawlessness end.

Turkey, which maintains close ties to the KRG, has also been encouraging this behavior and has even treated the KRG like a national government by having diplomatic contacts without consulting the Iraqi government in Baghdad. The leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government are also allowing their country to be used as a Mossad operation base against Syria and Iran.

Ironically, Turkey has warned that it will take military action against Kurdish separatists in Syria while Ankara is supporting separatist tendencies amongst the KRG and the division of Syria. Aside from creating tensions between the Turkish and Iraqi governments, this has had consequences in Turkey. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has begun to remobilize. The PKK has claimed that it is in control of the Semdinli (Semzinan) District in Turkey’s Hakkari Province and fighting has broken out in southeast Turkey.

Casualties have begun to mount as Turkish troops and security forces have begun to face attacks. Martial law has also been declared in Hakkari Province according to the Turkish press. Turkey itself now faces its own fight against anti-government forces as it appears unable to rule its own territory. A Turkish opposition MP from the People’s Republican Party has also been kidnapped by the PKK. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has tried to blame Syria for fighting that has erupted in Turkey’s Kurdish areas, but he omits the fact that the violence in Turkey is a direct result of Turkish interference in Syria. If they already have not, the weapons that Erdogan is sending into Syria will eventually find their way back into Turkey where they will be used by anti-government forces.

Tel Aviv Targets Lebanon: A Second Levantine Front is Opened?

The case of the Israeli tourist bus attack in Bulgaria is ominous to say the least. What is striking about the incident is that Israel blamed Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran immediately, before an hour even passed after the attack or an investigation was conducted.

What is worth noting is that just a few weeks earlier officials in Tel Aviv were threatening to attack Lebanon again, saying that they would totally destroy Lebanon in a third Israeli-Lebanese war. The Israeli comments were made by Brigadier-General Hertzi Halevy, the commander of Tel Aviv’s 91st Division, just a week ahead of the sixth anniversary of Hezbollah’s victory against Israel in the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon. Halevy and other Israeli leaders have repeatedly threatened to reduce Lebanon to ashes by launching an all-out attack

Syria’s allies are all being pressured in a multi-dimensional war. Iran, Russia, Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinians are being put under increasing pressure to abandon their Syrian allies. The Israeli threats are aimed at putting psychological pressure on Lebanon and Hezbollah as a means to expand the psychological, media, economic, diplomatic, intelligence, and political siege against Syria into Lebanon. US sanctions against Syria are already incorporating Iran and Hezbollah and Lebanese banks have faced cyber attacks and pressure from Washington and its allies.

Looking at the Coming Horizon: Welcome to America’s Arc of Instability?

The US-sponsored siege of Syria is part of its attempts to divide Eurasia and maintain its global primacy as a superpower. Washington has no mercy for its friends or its foes either and countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia will eventually be used as cannon fodder. US strategists want the area running from North Africa and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia, and India to be turned into a black hole of fighting, à la Brzezinski’s “Eurasian Balkans.”

The Arabs, Iran, and Turkey are being lined up for a major conflict, because the US is losing its superpower status. All that remains of Washington’s superpower status is its military power. Towards the end of its relatively short life, the Soviet Union only had it military power too. The Soviet Union experienced social unrest and was in economic decline before it collapsed. The situation for the US is not much different, if not worst. Washington is broke, socially divided, becoming racially polarized, and declining rapidly in its international influence. US elites, however, are determined to resist what more and more looks like the unpreventable loss of their country’s superpower status and their empire.

Igniting Eurasia with fire and sedition appears to be Washington’s answer to preventing its own decline. The US plans on starting a great fire from Morocco and the Mediterranean to the borders of China. This process has essentially been begun by the US through the destabilization of three different regions: Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. The first steps that the US and its NATO and Arab allies took to do this did not start in Syria.

In the Middle East, this process started through the siege of Iraq that eventually gave way to the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of that country in 2003. In Central Asia, the process started with the destabilization of Afghanistan during the Cold War and US support for fighting between different fractions, including what would become the Taliban; 9/11 merely gave the US and its NATO allies an opportunity to invade. In North Africa, finally the US and Israel balkanized Sudan through years of pressure and covert operations.

In the three regions mentioned above we are seeing the second wave of destabilization now. In Central Asia, the war in Afghanistan has been extended into Pakistan by NATO. This has given way to the term “AfPak” to describe Afghanistan and Pakistan as one theatre. In North Africa, Libya was attacked in 2011 by NATO and the Jamahiriya has essentially been divided by various groups. In the Middle East, this second wave of destabilization operations is targeting the Syrian Arab Republic as a continuation of what happened in Iraq.

Washington seems to be dreaming of this scenario: Kurdish revolts taking place in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran; sectarian civil wars consuming Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen in fire; instability and fighting bleeding Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, and Sudan; Berbers and Arabs fighting one another across North Africa; insecurity and political uncertainty spreading in Central Asia; a war in the South Caucasus consuming Georgia, Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan; revolts igniting amongst the Balkars, Chechens, Circassians, Dagestanis, Ingush, and other local Caucasian peoples against Russia in the North Caucasus; the Persian Gulf being a zone of instability; and Russia at loggerheads with the European Union and Turkey. Such a conflagration is steadily being buoyed by Washington.

Ultimately all this is meant to disrupt some of the world’s major energy routes and supplies to hurt the energy-importing economies of China, the major European powers, India, Japan, and South Korea. This could force the European Union to become more militaristic out of desperation to save its economy.

Such a scenario could be dangerous for energy-supplier Russia as well as OPEC states, which would have to choose between the EU and China if there are energy shortages. A resource war – like World War I – could be ignited that would bring ruin to a great deal of Africa and all the industrialized regions of Eurasia. This would happen while the US would stand by in the Western Hemisphere, watching from a safe distance, just like it did during the First World War and the Second World War, before it steps in to pick up the pieces as the economic benefactor of a devastating war.

An award-winning author and geopolitical analyst, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is the author of The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) and a forthcoming book The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa. He has also contributed to several other books ranging from cultural critique to international relations. He is a Sociologist and Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), a contributor at the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF), Moscow, and a member of the Scientific Committee of Geopolitica, Italy. He has also addressed the Middle East and international relations issues on several TV news networks including Al Jazeera, teleSUR, and Russia Today. His writings have been translated into more than twenty languages. In 2011 he was awarded the First National Prize of the Mexican Press Club for his work in international investigative journalism.

The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya.
Foreword by Denis J. Halliday.


Toronto , Ontario, Canada
September 21 – 23, 2012


August 5, 2012

Participants to the Peoples’ Tribunal and Assembly on the Cuban Five are coming from the USA,
the UK, Cuba, and Canada. A press conference where Tribunal participants will be present is called for Friday, September 21, 11:00 a.m., at the Metro Hall, 55 John Street (south of King), room 303.

From Cuba:

1.  Adriana Pérez, wife of Gerardo Hernandez, one of the Cuban Five. Perez, who lives in Cuba, has not been allowed a U.S. visa for the last thirteen years of her husband’s imprisonment despite repeated attempts. Her husband is serving two life sentences plus fifteen years in a maximum security prison. The most serious charge against him was conspiracy to commit murder, a charge for which there was no evidence and which the prosecuting attorney wished to withdraw for lack of evidence at his trial. The judge refused to withdraw the charges. In this most complex trial to that date in U.S. judicial history, the jury asked no questions for clarification and found all Five Defendants guilty on all counts.

2. Elizabeth Palmeiro, wife of Ramón Labañino, one of the Cuban Five. His life sentence was vacated and replaced by a sentence of thirty years. A three-judge appeals court had requested a retrial but in an unprecedented move the Prosecution asked for all the judges on the appeals court panel to review the case and 3-judge panel decision was overturned; the retrial never happened. Sentences were vacated in three of the five cases and the same judge who passed the original sentences reduced Labanino’s life sentence to thirty years in prison.

3. On October 6, 1976, the Cubana airliner of passenger flight 455 exploded from a bomb set by two persons working with Luis Posada Carriles, the mastermind of this horrendous action. Seventy-three passengers aboard lost their lives including the gold medalists of Cuba’s fencing team that had just concluded their competition at Games in Caracas. Posada Carriles continues to live freely in Florida. A representative from the Cuban education community will speak on behalf of the relatives of the victims from that explosion, at the Tribunal and Assembly.

4. Rodolfo D’Ávalos Fernández, member of the National Union of Jurists of Cuba and a renowned human rights lawyer.

5. Dr. Raymundo Navarro, member of the National Secretariat for International Relations of the Cuban Confederation of Trade Unions (CTC), a medical doctor who is also an elected deputy to the National Assembly of the People’s Power (Parliament of Cuba).

6. Esperanza Luzbert, Director, North America, Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP).

7. Other representatives from Cuba will be present.

Contacts: Heide Trampus, Co-ordinator, [email protected], 416 431 5498
            Lisa Makarchuk, Chair, Media Sub-Committee [email protected], 416 603 9858

For interviews after the press conference cited above, please get in touch with either of the contacts

Media Advisory #1 with 3 attachments, sent July 20, 2012. Background Information and Canada’s Connection.
Media Advisory #2 sent August 3, 2012. Danny Glover, Saul Landau and Cindy Sheehan Coming to Toronto to Attend the Peoples’ Tribunal & Assembly on the Cuban Five.  

West Throttling Syria, Tightening Noose

August 15th, 2012 by Dr. Ismail Salami

The Syrian crisis has been dragging on for over 17 months now with no imminently favorable results for the rebels.


There were early sparse peaceful protests here and there in cities but all vestiges of such protests are gone altogether. Instead, we see cities pass from hand to hand and people killed as part of ‘collateral damage’. ‘Collateral damage’ is not my favorite phrase. On the contrary, I find it odious. But who is really to blame for the human loss in Syria?


An absence of popular protests renders it rather far-fetched to relate the crisis to the manifestations of an uprising. For example, there has not been even one instance of self-immolation to reflect the acme of social despair and economic frustration in the country as in Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and elsewhere. This of course does not rule out the idea that there are certainly reforms to be made in Syria as in all parts of the world.      

Despite an incredibly massive disinformation campaign waged by western media outlets to depict Bashar Assad as the ‘Bad Guy’ and the effluvium of money to the insurgents from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the USA and the UK to mention only a few, President Bashar Assad does not seem to be willing to step down from power and abandon it to the care of the Saudis or the Americans so they may install a West-friendly puppet regime to cater to a wide range of demands and tastes including those of the Zionists, the West and other Arab puppet regimes as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan.    

There are reports that indicate the regime of Qatar has allocated USD 300 million as political incentives for Syrian officials to defect. Defection is indeed a very significant move and can gravely tarnish the image of any government and question the very legitimacy of it. So, the enemies of Syria are capitalizing on this effective ruse. Qatar’s envoy in Mauritania reportedly offered his Syrian counterpart an advance payment of one million US dollars and a monthly salary of $20,000 over 20 years in a bid to convince him to defect and publicly blast ‘the atrocities of Syrian government’. According to a report carried by Lebanese-based Al-Manar TV, Syrian envoy in Mauritania Hamad Seed Albni was also offered a permanent residence in Doha, but he declined the offer.

From a political point of view, the defectors can be shrewdly used to deal a lethal blow to a government by twisting the realities on the ground to the benefit of those who finance and support them and to the loss of the government from which they have defected. Syria’s former Prime Minister Riyad Farid Hijab, who fled to Jordan (a safe haven for defectors) last week, is typical of such a case. He made a public appearance on Tuesday for the first time since his defection and branded the Syrian regime as the ‘enemy of God’. He further said that the government of President Bashar Assad was “crumbling internally under the pressure of relentless fighting against rebels, and from betrayals by loyalists who want only to flee” (The New York Times, August 14, 2012). It is not yet known if he has defected out of his strongly internalized personal beliefs or if he has been lured into Jordan by Qatar-promised generous offers. Syrian rebels have been mobilizing Prime Minister Riyad Hijab and some ministers for the last four months, an opposition official told the Global Times after Hijab fled the country.

In addition to Hijab, some top officials have so far defected including Syrian representatives in the United Arab Emirates and Iraq, Abdel Latif al-Dabbagh and Nawaf al-Fares.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recently made a visit to Turkey and discussed with Turkish officials how to support the rebels in Syria in order to “end the violence and begin the transition to a free, democratic Syria without Assad”.

“We are continuing to increase pressure from the outside. Our number-one goal is to hasten the end of the bloodshed and the Assad regime,” she said.

It goes without saying that the only goal the US is seeking to achieve is to put an end once and for all to a government antagonistic to Washington’s interests in the region.   

Hillary Clinton said the United States and Turkey are considering imposing no-fly zones and other steps on Syria to help rebel forces.

“It is one thing to talk about all kinds of potential actions, but you cannot make reasoned decisions without doing intense analysis and operational planning,” Clinton said. “Our intelligence services, our military have very important responsibilities and roles to play so we are going to be setting up a working group to do exactly that.”

In fact, Lady Bountiful is making herculean efforts to tailor a western suit to fit the Zionists and the Wahhabis alike.

The naked truth is that any time the US steps in to force changes in a country, it certainly seeks to serves its own long-term interests. Look at Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The interests are not necessarily financial. They might be of intelligence and military interests only to be used later for expanding their colonialist pursuits.  

Since the beginning of the Syrian insurgency in March 2011, the al-Asad government has taken steps to roll back its accelerated pace of neoliberal reform. After a decade of loosening market regulations, the state is back to governing the market in order to ensure that economic contraction and social hardships following the political upheaval and imposed foreign sanctions do not worsen. State intervention is crucial during times of crisis, not only to restore infrastructure, but also to ensure the availability of essential consumer goods and services to the majority of the population. The state has reinstated much of the tangible social protection and benefits that were neglected during the Bashar al-Asad regime’s accelerated transition toward a market-driven economic structure. Although the recently adopted interventionist strategies have been aimed at mitigating social unrest, these measures have done little to arrest the social disaster already in place.

Deepened economic contraction

Political unrest and foreign sanctions imposed on Syria have aggravated economic conditions and deepened economic contraction. Although the economy was growing at an average rate of five percent before the uprising erupted, this growth was mainly attributed to oil revenues, underpinned by the increase in international oil prices since 2002.[1] The real economy, however, incurred a steady contraction, exacerbating negative shocks. The recent international sanctions imposed on Syrian crude oil have delivered a severe blow to this already weak structure.[2] Shortfalls in oil revenues, estimated at $4 billion, have dragged the economy into structural deficits.[3] Dwindling government revenues, deteriorating trade and capital accounts, supply shortages, exponential price increases, and currency devaluation have been some of the more serious consequences of foreign sanctions and the domestic political crisis. With the inflation rate hovering at 30 percent and an economic growth rate estimated to drop to negative five and a half percent in 2012, the economy is already in a state of an acute stagflation.[4]

Although the real human costs are immeasurable following the violent escalation of the domestic crisis, economic deterioration has also exacted a high social cost, whose main burden has been carried by the middle class and the poor. It is estimated that three million Syrians have lost their jobs since the uprisings began.[5] Thousands of small businesses have shut down, leading to considerable layoffs. Sanctions imposed on the banking sector have curtailed most money transactions. Both public and private entities have not been able to carry out their business transactions smoothly, and Syrian expats have faced difficulties transferring remittances to their families back home. Notwithstanding the dramatic fall in revenues from tourism, an important source of foreign currency,[6] the hoarding of dollars and other foreign currency withdrawals have added pressure on the Syrian pound, whose value fell to £S 74 to the dollar in February 2012—a fifty percent drop since March 2011.[7] This depreciation has pushed market prices up and dampened the purchasing power of the majority of Syrians. The drying up of Arab investments, which increased more than sixfold between 2002 and 2007,[8] has exacerbated the economic squeeze.[9]

In light of the EU sanctions on Syrian crude oil imports and the suspension of the free trade agreement with Turkey, Syria increased its trade with Russia and Iran in order to generate alternative revenues. Other alternative buyers of Syrian oil include various Asian economies that benefit from importing its oil at discounted prices.[10] Syria has also relied on its allies for the financial support it needs to rehabilitate some of its infrastructure and restore services that were destroyed by the violence.

Reverting to étatism

Following the drop in oil revenues and the accompanying plunge in foreign exchange earnings, the government introduced trade and capital account restrictions and increased tariffs on imports so as to reduce import spending except for necessity goods and raw materials whose custom duties are less than one percent. This measure is also meant to protect local industries that suffered from trade liberalization and tariff reduction during the 2000-2011period. Aside from the smuggling and dumping activities of Syrian merchants, increased imports of cheaper foreign products created unfair competition for local industrialists, some of whom ultimately had to close their factories and lay off many workers.

Further attempts have been taken to create a détente with the industrial bourgeoisie. The government enacted a decree in October 2011 that enables industrial borrowers to reschedule their late outstanding loans, finance their business ventures, and revive their factories.[11] After years of freeze on the financial support of the banking sector for local industrialists, such a measure is crucial during times of crisis, as it can restore local production and strengthen economic independence that in turn can partly eliminate the damage caused by foreign sanctions. When protected and supported by the state, the Syrian real economy was productive and self-sufficient during the 1970s, especially in light textiles and food industries. It therefore has great potential to be revitalized if state policies would target and promote the economy’s productive capacity.

Socially responsible measures have also been recently enacted to ease social tension. The original plan to remove government subsidies on items such as petrol and other energy products has been abandoned, which will lessen price increases on basic necessities. Moreover, state-controlled cooperatives have been ensuring the availability of food items and staples at reasonable prices. The government has also raised public sector wages substantially in the last year and recently approved 25,000 new jobs in the public sector.[12]

State intervention has not ended here but has extended to control price escalation and cap consumer prices. The strategy of liberalizing prices over the last decade aggravated price fluctuations, as 85 percent of consumer products were subject to market pricing, with the state administering the remaining 15 percent. Recently, the Consumer Protection Directorate in the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Protection took measures to control prices by ensuring frequent intervention to avoid fluctuations.[13] On another front, in an attempt to control the outflow of funds and avoid further depreciation of the Syrian pound, the Central Bank reinstated restrictions on dealing with foreign currency transactions.

Of course, it would be misleading to conclude that Syria is reverting to the heavy state interventionist economic structure of the 1960s and early 1970s. That phase was characterized by far-reaching nationalization, radical land reform, multiple exchange rates, a state-administered price system, and a large public sector bolstered by state-led investment. More importantly, the state was in control of most economic sectors in which there was little room for private sector activity. These pillars are no longer in place. Since the start of the uprising, state intervention can be described as governing and directing the market without owning and assuming full control of the economy. Syrian policymakers have realized that when left alone, the market cannot utilize the economy’s resources for developmental purposes and ensure egalitarian outcomes. If anything, the unregulated market economy during the 2000-2011 period led to anti-developmental outcomes.[14] Now, by combining the market with social protection, Syria is steering toward a “social market economy,” a paradigm that the regime invoked in 2005 but never applied.

In a social market economy, the socioeconomic structure is propelled by the dynamics of the market, and the government instates social safety nets and redistributive measures. Under such a system, the social aspect assumes a central position. This shift, however, is quite challenging for Syria given the acute fall in government revenues, aggravated economic contraction, and the debilitating costs of war and sanctions. Policies aimed at restoring normalcy to economic activities and ensuring more socially responsible outcomes that may contain social unrest came too late to rectify the deadly course of events upon which Syria has been set in the last few months. As the political turmoil intensifies, the hope now rests on the capacity of the Syrian state to remain, in any sensible meaning of the word, a state.

Linda Matar is a Research Fellow at the Middle East Institute (MEI), National University of Singapore 


[1] Since 2000, oil revenues have constituted around 22 percent of total government revenues (Central Bank of Syria Quarterly Bulletin, various issues, 2000-2012).

[2] Ninety-five percent of Syrian oil is sold to European countries. The lion’s share of oil revenues, about 17 percent of government revenues, have therefore been decimated following the EU sanctions imposed on Syria’s energy sector. See N. Marzouk, “Economic Sanctions: A Slow Stifling of the Syrian Regime,” Aljazeera Studies Centre, 19 November 2011.

[3] S. Abboud, “The Syrian Economy Hanging by a Thread,” Carnegie Middle East Center, Carnegie Endowment, 20 June 2012.

[4] “ESCWA Forecasts GDP Contraction at 5.5%,” The Syria Report, 23 July 2012.

[5] “Three Million Syrians have Lost Their Jobs due to the Crisis,” AlBawaba, 17 July 2012.

[6] According to the Ministry of Tourism, tourist arrivals decreased by 79 percent in the first four months of this year compared to the same period in 2011. The hotel occupancy rates have dropped from 90 percent before the crisis to less than 15 percent in May 2012. See Abboud, op. cit.

[7] The Syrian national currency is traded for 90 Syrian pounds to the dollar on the black market. At one point in early March, the value of the pound dropped to 107 pounds per dollar (See “Syrian Pound Slips as Political Tension Rises,” The Syria Report, 23 July 2012]). In this regard, the Central Bank reserves decreased considerably as the state scrambled to fend off the lira’s impending fall.

[8] S. Seifan, “Syria on the Path to Economic Reform,” St. Andrews Papers on Contemporary Syria, 2010.

[9] For instance, Qatar alone hindered the implementation of its promised $6 billion of commercial investment. See Abboud, op. cit.

[10] “Country Report: Syria,” Economist Intelligence Unit, April 2012.

[11] R. Sallakh, “Syria’s Industry: A Return to Protectionism,” Al Akhbar, 3 October 2011.

[12] “Syria to Create 25,000 Public Sector Jobs,” Ahram Online, 10 July 2012.

[13] “Consumer Protection Directorate Develops New Strategy to Control Market,” Syrian Days, 4 July 2012.

[14] See S. Kassem, “Demystifying Syria,” TripleCrisis, 27 April 2011.

The Western-instigated and Turk, Saudi, Israeli-backed terrorist monster running amok in the Middle East could turn out to be the mother of all chickens that comes home to roost for these powers.

When the late African-American civil rights leader Malcolm X was asked in 1963 about the assassination of President John F Kennedy, he said it was akin to “chickens coming home to roost”.

The statement provoked widespread condemnation among the US mainstream media and political establishment for its apparent callousness. However, Malcolm X was vilified then for simply bearing an unpalatable, but nevertheless truthful message. The fact was that Kennedy, like all US leaders before and after, was engaged in sanctioning violence, covert wars and assassination of foreign political figures. Malcolm X was merely telling it like it is: if you play with fire, then eventually you get burned.

The same axiomatic truth applies to the unholy alliance of powers that are waging a covert criminal war against Syria – a covert war that is becoming increasingly overt by the day. For months, these powers – the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Israel and the Persian Gulf Arab monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar – have been maintaining the deception that they are not involved in Syria’s conflict.

Then these powers shifted – when the evidence to the contrary was becoming overwhelming – to concede that they were “only supplying non-lethal aid”.

On 16 May 2012, the Washington Post reported that the Obama administration categorically denied supplying weapons to Syria. The paper quoted a US State Department spokesman as saying: “We are increasing our non-lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, and we continue to coordinate our efforts with friends and allies in the region.”

Now – unable to conceal the truth any longer – it is being widely reported that the US-led unholy alliance is supplying anti-aircraft missiles, mortars, explosives and machine-guns, as well as telecommunications and other non-lethal means to increase the lethality of the mercenaries running amok in Syria.

In other words, the US-led anti-Syrian axis is up to its neck in waging war on Syria. The shock troops on the ground serving the unholy alliance are constituted from a global terrorist army whose members have gravitated from such disparate places as Britain, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Chechnya. Every fundamentalist have-a-go soldier from every corner of the world, it seems, has received marching orders to wage war on the state of Syria to fulfil some warped objective supposedly in the name of Islam. It is the most noxious amalgam imaginable: reactionary, ruthless, depraved, loaded on spurious theology and bloodlust. And this global terrorist army has the full backing of Washington and London.

Recent graphic video footage shows these foot-soldiers carving off the head of a young Syrian man who refused to join their ranks. Other footage shows the bodies of a dozen men lying on a roadside outside Damascus, their hands tied behind their backs and bullet wounds to the head. Elsewhere, naked men in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo are lined up against a war before being sprayed with machine-guns. These terrorists – bankrolled, armed and directed by the US-led unholy alliance – have engaged in the most wanton acts of murder: no-warning car bombs, massacring women and children in villages, summary execution of kidnapped pilgrims. No crime is off-limits.

But what the conflict in Syria is doing, inadvertently, is crystallizing the truth of what these powers and their proxies have been engaged in over many years in many countries. Separated by distance and time, these powers were in the past afforded a deceptive get-out clause of disconnect in the public mind or plausible deniability. Yet today, in Syria, what we are seeing is the coming together of all these past sinister threads into one tapestry of criminal collusion.

The US, Britain and France are long practitioners of assassination, mass murder, sabotage and subversion. Some notorious examples include: the US-British coup in Iran in 1953; the Anglo-French attack on Egypt during the 1956 Suez Crisis; the plot to assassinate Syrian political and army leaders in 1957, sanctioned by US president Dwight Eisenhower and British prime minister Harold Macmillan; and the suspected CIA involvement in the assassination of Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba in 1961 and of US puppet dictators Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic in 1961 and South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem in November 1963 – the same month that JFK was shot dead in Texas. Today, this mongrel breed for covert murder and coups is at once on display doing its tricks in Syria.

And the tale gets a modern twist.

Washington and London were the architects of the terrorist army that was first recruited in Afghanistan in the early 1980s to wage guerrilla war on the Soviet-backed government in Kabul. Over the decades, this informal army has grown with Saudi oil money and Western intelligence to encompass a global deployment from the Balkans to Libya to Syria. What is happening currently in Syria appears to be the full spawning of this Western terrorist proxy army, with rank and file coming together from every erstwhile field of operation into one, single battlefield.

Like the fabled Frankenstein monster, the creators are at risk of losing control of their beast. The CIA-MI6 terrorists in Afghanistan that defeated the Soviet army have since turned their American and British-supplied weapons to good effect against NATO troops. The same terrorists inflicted thousands of fatalities among American-led troops in Iraq.

For now though there seems to be a rapprochement between the Western and Saudi-backed Islamic fundamentalists for the immediate purpose of destroying Syria to bring about regime change. How any replacement regime in Damascus would behave towards its Western sponsors is moot, but the evidence of Libya suggests an uncertain, precarious future of lawlessness and sectarian killings.

The Western-instigated and Turk, Saudi, Israeli-backed terrorist monster running amok in the Middle East could turn out to be the mother of all chickens that comes home to roost for these powers.

The chickens can come home to roost in other ways too. While the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Turkey play with the fire of sectarian politics in Syria, their own houses are increasingly exposed to internal flames. Saudi state forces are struggling to contain daily street protests against the House of Saud that are spreading from the mainly Shia Eastern Province to the capital Riyadh and Mecca in the Western Province. The more King Abdullah makes ostentatious calls for democratic reforms in Syria, the more it emboldens his own downtrodden, oppressed Shia people to demand the same.

As for Turkey, its treacherous back-stabbing of its not-so-long-ago Syrian “brother” is serving to isolate Ankara in the eyes of its own people and the masses across the region. Ankara’s neo-imperialist meddling is resurrecting memories of past Ottoman barbarities, such as the Armenian Genocide, and, more recently, of Turkey’s pernicious involvement in NATO’s clandestine campaign of terrorism across Europe under the Cold War cloak of Operation Gladio.

Ankara’s long sought-after membership of the European Union looks like being torpedoed as its reputation sinks into a quagmire of duplicity. Turkey’s other more recent genocide against its Kurdish people also looks like fanning into renewed struggle as Syrian and Iraqi Kurds join forces with that ethnic population in Southeast Turkey to take advantage of the turmoil that Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan is fuelling across his country’s borders.

The governments of the US, Britain, France and Israel are increasingly being seen by their own people as engaging in a foreign war that the domestic populations can ill afford and do not want. Previous imperialist adventurism occurred at times of relative prosperity at home and therefore went largely unnoticed. Now this same reckless adventurism coincides with the worst economic slump since the Great Depression. The announcement last week by double-dip recession Britain that it was sending USD 8 million in extra aid to terrorist death squads in Syria is a mortal self-inflicted blow to the legitimacy of British rulers. The same goes for austerity-dominated France and the US – where, in the latter, two million unemployed workers are due to have their social welfare payments cut off. Recent anti-war demonstrations in Tel Aviv on the back of protests against economic hardship that have led to the self-immolation of four Israeli citizens in recent months is surely another chicken coming home to roost.

America’s unholy alliance assailing the people of Syria right now may think that it has the upper-hand in their machinations for regime change and regional hegemony. But while these powers and proxies are busy trying to execute a coup in Syria, back home the chicken coup is bustling with deep, deep trouble.

Goldman Sachs Above the Law

August 15th, 2012 by James Hall

No doubt, the chief crook on Wall Street is virtually immune from any law that brings lesser mortals to their knees. The latest outrage summed up nicely in “Relieve Goldman Sachs of Their Legal Exposure“, passes with little notice in the establishment media.

“Goldman Sachs got a rare “reverse Wells notice” from the SEC, when they were told that a mortgage-backed securities deal which they earlier heard they would face prosecution for would not net them any civil enforcement. But that was just the beginning. Later in the day, they learned they would not face any prosecution from the Justice Department for the misdealings brought to light in a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report a year ago.”

In case you have not heard the details, the Eric Holder, DOJ of criminal protection and selective prosecution, hit a new low.

“In a written statement, the department said it conducted an exhaustive investigation of allegations brought to light by a Senate panel investigating the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

“The department and investigative agencies ultimately concluded that the burden of proof to bring a criminal case could not be met based on the law and facts as they exist at this time,” the department said.”

TARP was designed to bail out the insolvent banks. Goldman Sachs transformed itself into a BANK so that the firm could borrow from the Fed window. The revolving door cycle of government regulators, opting for a promotion as an investment bankster and compensatory profit well earned from previous service, hardly gets the attention of the financial community or government oversight. The entire obscene relationship of crony favoritism inevitably leads to a society where the rule of law only applies to the competition.

The definitive “vampire squid” watchdog site, Goldman Sachs 666, is so effective that the Goldman Sachs hires law firm to shut blogger’s site. “The bank has instructed Wall Street law firm Chadbourne & Parke to pursue blogger Mike Morgan, warning him in a recent cease-and-desist letter that he may face legal action if he does not close down his website.” Such excessive efforts to inhibit investigative reporting may seem that the global financial titan is afraid of public scrutiny. However, encouraging it is that the flow of information persists; the deplorable reality is that there is no political will to enforce common law violations.

The slanted regulations are written by Goldman Sachs attorneys and shepherd into law with their lobbyists. Their bought and paid for legislators dutifully do their bidding and eagerly take their campaign contributions. That is why the rejection of holding Goldman Sachs accountable by the Department of Justice is significant.

The incomparable ZeroHedge explains in, Confused Why Goldman Will Face No Criminal Charges? Here’s Why.

“We learned courtesy of Goldman’s 10-Q, that the US justice department will not press criminal charges against Goldman Sachs. This, despite Senator Carl  Levin, in one of the most bombastic kangaroo court spectacles on live TV ever, asking for a criminal investigation after the subcommittee he led spent years looking into Goldman, and in which he said Goldman misled Congress and investors.”

The Department of Justice functions to discipline the other guy. Goldman Sachs is the hub of the financial pyramid. When partners are installed on the Federal Reserve or are appointed to Treasury, the money elite contain their grip on their control of the fiat money system. This model dominated by bureaucratic technocrats, runs roughshod over the regulators. The mere notion that any Attorney General will enforce statues is naive, when every administration is bought and paid for by the same moneychangers.

Using the distinctive absurdity of legal rationalization, RT reports:

“The Justice Department said that it had conducted an “exhaustive investigation” into allegations of fraud during the crisis from 2008 to 2009. The probe reportedly uncovered email conversations between employees of Goldman Sachs branding mortgage securities sold to investors as “junk” and “crap”.

Moreover, the probe writes that the bank “used net short positions to benefit from the downturn in the mortgage market, and designed, marketed, and sold CDOs [collateralized debt obligations] in ways that created conflicts of interest with the firm’s clients and at times led to the bank’s profiting from the same products that caused substantial losses for its clients.”

Alas, such illegal conduct is acceptable in the world of politicized injustice. No one gets the judicial breaks and skates the fine line of illegality better then Goldman Sachs. The DoJ operates as a mob lawyer for the accused. Prosecuting the proprietors of the criminal system is taboo.

Accepting this obscenity as normal is frustrating. Until now, no practical legislative, regulatory, administrative, legal or punitive response has seen the light of day to hang the Goldman Sachs pirates from the yardarms. Legal recourse will never provide comprehensive relief or rectify the abuses of this wicked protection racket that keeps Goldman Sachs above justice.

Only a total ban and breakup of the House of Rothschild and all their surrogate entities, can resolve by liquidation the monetary monopoly of debt created finance. Reinstituting Glass-Steagall would be a necessary first measure, but that reenactment alone is mere window dressing on a fraudulent Ponzi scheme.

Goldman Sachs stays one-step ahead of a critical mass meltdown, much of its own creation. The risks taken by this firm do not end with their former partners or current shareowners. This house of cards is entrenched in the IOU pecuniary system. What visibly sets Goldman Sachs apart from the rest of Wall Street is their network of entangling influences in every corner and crack of government, media, business and the courts.

No other financial organization enjoys picking financial policy makers on every level in the process. If Congress cannot get the Department of Justice to follow the law, who can honestly believe that a viable Presidential candidate can buck the Wall Street culture that controls and funds the two party facade?

Tragically, the corruption of corporatist is not confined to crony investment banksters. The legal and court organism that watches over the crooked money machine deserves widespread disrespect for their complicity. Goldman Sachs’ day of reckoning await the wrath of the populace.

El guión de Estados Unidos e Israel: Divide Siria, divide al resto

August 15th, 2012 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Lo que está sucediendo en Siria es un signo de lo que vendrá para la región. El cambio de régimen no es el único objetivo de los EE.UU. y sus aliados en Siria. La división de la República Árabe Siria es el objetivo final de Washington en el país.

Maplecroft de Gran Bretaña, que se especializa en el asesoramiento sobre el riesgo estratégico, ha dicho que estamos asistiendo a la balcanización del Estado sirio:

“Los kurdos en el norte, los drusos en las montañas del sur, los alawitas en la región montañosa del noroeste costero y la mayoría sunita en otra parte.” Ya estamos escuchando a gente como el asesor de la Casa Blanca, Vali Nasr, hablando de todo esto. 

Las divisiones religiosas y étnicas en Siria no están demarcadas en términos puramente geográficos, y el proceso de balcanización podría jugar como un proceso de libanización, lo que significa que Siria se divide a lo largo de las líneas de falla de violencia sectaria, y se enfrenta a un estancamiento político como el del Líbano durante su guerra civil, sin estar oficialmente quebrada. La libanización, una forma suave de balcanización, ya ha tenido lugar en Irak bajo el federalismo. 

Los acontecimientos en el Medio Oriente y África del Norte están viendo la agitación de los movimientos de masas contra los tiranos locales, como en Bahrein, Jordania, Marruecos y Arabia Saudita, pero también hay un guión vicioso del Plan Yinon de Israel y sus ramificaciones.

El Plan Yinon, y otros planes similares, quieren una guerra chiíta y sunita entre los musulmanes como la pieza central de las divisiones sectarias – o Fitna en árabe – que va a incluir a cristianos y musulmanes, árabes-bereberes, árabes-iraníes, turco-árabes, e iraníes-tucos en la animosidad. 

Lo que este proceso tiene la intención de hacer es crear el odio sectario, divisiones étnicas, el racismo y las guerras de religiones. Todos los países que los EE.UU. y sus aliados están desestabilizando tienen líneas divisorias naturales, y cuando la animosidad tribal, étnica, confesional y religiosa se ​​enciende en un país, se extiende a otros. Los problemas en Libia se han derramado en Níger y el Chad, y los problemas en Siria se extienden a Turquía y el Líbano. 

Egipto es el lugar de la celebración de las corrientes revolucionarias y contrarrevolucionarias que han mantenido a la mayor potencia árabe ocupada en la atención de su política interna. Si bien Egipto se enfrenta a agitación interna,  EE.UU. está tratando de alinear a los militares del país y  la Hermandad Musulmana el uno contra el otro. Antes de los trastornos, Sudán fue balcanizada oficialmente por Tel Aviv y Washington a través de la manipulación de las políticas de identidad, lo que llevó a la secesión de Sudán del Sur. Libia ha sido neutralizada y se divide entre varios grupos. 

La libanización, como se mencionó anteriormente, también ha echado raíces en Irak, ya que el Gobierno Regional de Kurdistán (GRK) con apoyo extranjero – específicamente recibe ayuda exterior de EE.UU., Europa Occidental, Israel y Turquía – comienza a actuar más y más como si el norte de Irak, o el Kurdistán iraquí, fuesen países separados del resto de Irak. 

Dore Gold, el Presidente del Centro Jerusalén para Asuntos Públicos y asesor del primer ministro israelí, Benjamin Netanyahu, es digno de citar sus puntos de vista: “Lo que tenemos en Siria es que el Oriente Medio se está desmoronando;. una nueva forma de caos está reemplazando a la que ha existido”

Por supuesto, esto es parte de las ilusiones de los responsables de las políticas israelíes que tienen interés en ver esto. Originalmente, la posición de Tel Aviv fue ignorada cuando la crisis comenzó en Siria, pero ahora está claro que Israel tiene un interés en ver a Siria fragmentada en trozos y en un estado de guerra civil continua. Esto es lo que el Plan Yinon y sus sucesores han descrito como los objetivos estratégicos de Israel en Siria y el Líbano. 

El nacionalismo kurdo

Siria, como Iraq, puede ser vista como un punto de presión clave en el Medio Oriente. Tanto desorden  va a crear una crisis regional. Mientras las cosas se calientan en Siria, el Irak frágil también está empezando a vibrar lentamente como un regional y geo-político volcán a fuego. Para aquellos que tienen dudas de que EE.UU. está avivando las llamas del fuego para crear una crisis en el Medio Oriente, o que los eventos en Siria están comenzando a tener ramificaciones regionales, no deberían hacer más que mirar a la región del Kurdistán. Combatientes kurdos nacionalistas han empezado a movilizarse en Siria y  Turquía, y las tropas turcas han sido atacadas por ellos. 

El Gobierno Regional de Kurdistán (GRK) ha comenzado a dar pasos importantes, que significan su independencia de Irak. En Irak, el Gobierno Regional de Kurdistán es esencialmente un estado de facto con su propio parlamento, bandera, ejército, régimen de visados, fuerzas armadas, policía y leyes. 

En violación de las leyes nacionales de Irak, el Gobierno Regional de Kurdistán ha hecho incluso armas ilegales y ofertas de petróleo por sí sola con gobiernos extranjeros y entidades sin siquiera notificar al gobierno en Bagdad. Por otra parte, el Gobierno Regional de Kurdistán incluso ha impedido que las tropas iraquíes se dirijan hacia el noroeste de la frontera de Irak con Siria para asegurarse de finalizar el contrabando de armas y la anarquía. 

Turquía, que mantiene estrechos vínculos con el Gobierno Regional de Kurdistán, ha instado también a este comportamiento, e incluso ha tratado al Gobierno Regional de Kurdistán como un gobierno nacional por tener contactos diplomáticos sin consultar al gobierno iraquí en Bagdad. Los líderes del Gobierno Regional de Kurdistán también están permitiendo que su país sea utilizado como una base de operaciones del Mossad contra Siria e Irán. 

Irónicamente, Turquía ha advertido que tomará una acción militar contra los separatistas kurdos en Siria, mientras que Ankara está apoyando a las tendencias separatistas entre el Gobierno Regional de Kurdistán y la división de Siria. 

Aparte de crear tensiones entre los gobiernos turcos e iraquíes, esto ha tenido consecuencias en Turquía. El Partido de los Trabajadores Kurdos (PKK) ha vuelto a movilizarse. El PKK ha declarado que está en el control de la Semdinli (Semzinan) del Distrito de Hakkari, provincia de Turquía, y la lucha se ha desatado en el sureste de Turquía. Las bajas han comenzado a subir, ya que las tropas turcas y las fuerzas de seguridad han comenzado a enfrentar los ataques. La ley marcial ha sido declarada en la provincia de Hakkari, según la prensa turca. 

Turquía se enfrenta ahora a su propia lucha contra fuerzas anti gubernamentales, ya que parece incapaz de gobernar su propio territorio. Un diputado de la oposición turca del Partido Popular Republicano ha sido secuestrado por el PKK. El primer ministro turco, Erdogan, ha tratado de culpar a Siria por  la lucha que ha estallado en las zonas kurdas de Turquía, pero omite el hecho de que la violencia en Turquía es un resultado directo de la interferencia turca en Siria. Si ellos ya no las tienen, las armas que Erdogan está enviando a Siria eventualmente encontrarán su camino de regreso a Turquía, donde serán utilizadas por las fuerzas anti-gubernamentales. 

Tel Aviv apunta al Líbano: ¿Se abre un segundo Frente del Levante?

El caso del ataque al bus turístico israelí en Bulgaria es de mal agüero, por decir lo menos. Lo que llama la atención sobre el incidente es que Israel culpó a Hezbolá del Líbano e Irán inmediatamente, incluso antes de que pase una hora del ataque o una investigación fuese llevada a cabo.

Lo peor de todo es que sólo a unas pocas semanas antes, los funcionarios en Tel Aviv estaban amenazando con atacar el Líbano otra vez, diciendo que destruirían totalmente el Líbano en una tercera guerra entre Israel y Líbano. Los comentarios de Israel fueron hechos por el General de Brigada, Hertzi Halevy, comandante de la División 91a de Tel Aviv, justo una semana antes del sexto aniversario de la victoria de Hezbolá contra Israel en la guerra de 2006 entre Israel y el Líbano. 

Halevy y otros líderes israelíes han amenazado con reducir a cenizas el Líbano con el lanzamiento de un ataque total contra los aliados de Siria, que están siendo presionados en una guerra multidimensional. Irán, Rusia, Líbano, Irak, y los palestinos están siendo sometidos a una creciente presión para abandonar a sus aliados sirios. 

Las amenazas israelíes están destinadas a ejercer presión psicológica sobre el Líbano y Hezbollah como un medio para ampliar los medios psicológicos, económicos, diplomáticos, de inteligencia y política de asedio contra Siria en el Líbano. Las sanciones de EEUU contra Siria ya incorporan a los bancos de Irán, Hezbolá y del Líbano, que se han enfrentado a los ataques cibernéticos y a la presión de Washington y sus aliados.

Mirando hacia el horizonte venidero: ¿Bienvenidos al arco de la inestabilidad Americano? 

El cerco patrocinado por Estados Unidos en Siria es parte de sus intentos para dividir a Eurasia y mantener su primacía mundial como superpotencia. Washington no tiene piedad por sus amigos o, bien sus enemigos, y países como Turquía y Arabia Saudita con el tiempo serán utilizado como carne de cañón. Los estrategas estadounidenses desean que el área que va desde el norte de África y Oriente Medio al Cáucaso, Asia Central y la India, se convierta en un agujero negro de lucha, al estilo de los “Balcanes euroasiáticos” de Brzezinski.

Los árabes, Irán y Turquía están alineados para un conflicto mayor, porque EE.UU. está perdiendo su estatus de superpotencia. Todo lo que queda de la condición de superpotencia de Washington es su poder militar. Hacia el final de su vida relativamente corta, la Unión Soviética también tenía solamente el poder militar. La Unión Soviética experimentó el malestar social y estaba en decadencia económica antes de que colapsara. La situación de EE.UU. no es muy diferente, si no peor. Washington está roto, dividido socialmente, convirtiéndose en racialmente polarizada, y disminuyendo rápidamente en su influencia internacional. 

Las élites de EE.UU., sin embargo, están decididas a resistir lo que más se parece a la pérdida inevitable de la condición de superpotencia de su país e imperio. Incendiar a Eurasia con fuego y sedición parece ser la respuesta de Washington a la prevención de su propia decadencia.  EE.UU. planea comenzar un gran incendio en Marruecos y el Mediterráneo hasta las fronteras de China. Este proceso ha sido esencialmente iniciado por EE.UU. a través de la desestabilización de tres diferentes regiones: Asia Central, Oriente Medio y África del Norte. 

Los primeros pasos que EE.UU. y sus aliados de la OTAN y árabes llevaron a cabo para hacer esto no se han iniciado en Siria. En el Medio Oriente, este proceso se inició a través del cerco de Irak, que finalmente dio paso a la invasión anglo-estadounidense y  la ocupación de ese país en el año 2003. En Asia Central, el proceso se inició con la desestabilización de Afganistán durante la guerra fría y el apoyo de EE.UU. para la lucha entre las diferentes fracciones, incluso a los que se convertirían en talibanes; el 9.11 le dio a EE.UU. y sus aliados de la OTAN la oportunidad de invadir. 

En el norte de África, finalmente, EE.UU. e Israel balcanizaron a Sudán a través de años de presión y operaciones encubiertas. En las tres regiones mencionadas anteriormente estamos viendo ahora la segunda ola de desestabilización. 

En Asia Central, la guerra en Afganistán se ha extendido a Pakistán por la OTAN. Esto ha dado lugar al término “AfPak” para describir a Afganistán y Pakistán como un teatro. En África del Norte, Libia fue atacada en 2011 por la OTAN y la Jamahiriya ha sido esencialmente dividida entre varios grupos. En el Medio Oriente, esta segunda ola de operaciones de desestabilización se dirige a la República Árabe Siria como una continuación de lo que sucedió en Irak. 

Washington parece estar soñando con este escenario:  revueltas kurdas tienen lugar en Siria, Turquía, Irak e Irán; guerras civiles sectarias consumen a Irak, Líbano, Siria, Turquía y Yemen en el fuego, la inestabilidad y la lucha sangrienta en Argelia, Egipto, Libia, Pakistán y Sudán, los bereberes y los árabes peleando unos contra otros en el norte de África, la inseguridad y la incertidumbre política propagándose en Asia Central; una guerra en el Cáucaso del Sur consume Georgia, Armenia y la República de Azerbaiyán, encendiendo las revueltas entre los Balkars, chechenos, circasianos, daguestaníes, ingushetios, y otros pueblos locales del Cáucaso en contra de Rusia en el Cáucaso del Norte, el Golfo Pérsico es una zona de la inestabilidad, y Rusia está en desacuerdo con la Unión Europea y Turquía. 

Este incendio está siendo constantemente impulsado por Washington. En última instancia, todo esto está destinado a interrumpir algunas de las rutas de energía más importantes del mundo y útiles para lastimar a las economías importadoras de energía en China, las principales potencias europeas, India, Japón y Corea del Sur. 

Esto podría obligar a que la Unión Europea se convierta en más militarista por la desesperación para salvar su economía. Tal escenario podría ser peligroso para Rusia, proveedor de energía, así como para los estados de la OPEP, que tendrían que elegir entre la UE y China, si hay escasez de energía.

Una guerra de recursos – como la Primera Guerra Mundial – podría encenderse, lo que traería la ruina a una gran parte de África y a todas las regiones industrializadas de Eurasia. Esto sucedería mientras que EE.UU. se apoyaría a en el Hemisferio Occidental, observando desde una distancia segura, al igual que lo hizo durante la Primera Guerra Mundial y la Segunda Guerra Mundial, antes de dar los pasos para recoger  su parte como el benefactor económico de un guerra devastadora.

El autor premiado y analista geopolítico, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, es el autor de The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) y un libro de próxima aparición: The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa. También ha contribuido en varios libros que van desde la crítica cultural a las relaciones internacionales. Es un sociólogo e investigador asociado en el Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), colaborador de la Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF), en Moscú, y miembro del Comité Científico de Geopolítica, en Italia. También ha abordado asuntos de Oriente Medio y de relaciones internacionales en varias cadenas de noticias televisivas, incluyendo Al Jazeera, Telesur, y Rusia Today. Sus escritos han sido traducidos a más de veinte idiomas. En 2011 fue galardonado con el Primer Premio Nacional del Club de Prensa de México por su trabajo en el periodismo de investigación internacional.

Traducido para Sleepwalkings por Ariel Millahüel.

Obama: Angel of Death?

August 14th, 2012 by Anthony Freda

Libyan Terrorists Are Invading Syria

August 14th, 2012 by Tony Cartalucci

US, British, NATO, and GCC are arming and funding the foreign invasion of Syria – Western media providing increasingly tenuous “revolutionary” cover. 

Reuters today provides us with a spectacularly contradictory headline in their report, “Libyan fighters join Syrian revolt.” Obviously foreign fighters from Libya, raiding cities, attacking government and civilian targets, and attempting to subvert and overthrow the sovereign government of Syria is not a “revolt.” It is an invasion.

Image: Libyan Mahdi al-Harati of the US State Department, United Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), addressing fellow terrorists in Syria. Harati is now commanding a Libyan brigade operating inside of Syria attempting to destroy the Syrian government and subjugate the Syrian population. Traditionally, this is known as “foreign invasion.” 
Reuters reported, that Mahdi al-Harati, “a powerful militia chief from Libya’s western mountains,” who is actually a militant of the US, British, and UN listed terrorist organization Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), “now leads a unit in Syria, made up mainly of Syrians but also including some foreign fighters, including 20 senior members of his own Libyan rebel unit.” Reuters would go on to explain, “the Libyans aiding the Syrian rebels include specialists in communications, logistics, humanitarian issues and heavy weapons,” and that they “operate training bases, teaching fitness and battlefield tactics.”

Reuters concedes that the ongoing battle has nothing to do with democracy, but instead is purely a sectarian campaign aimed at “pushing out” Syria’s minorities, perceived to be “oppressing” “Sunni Muslims.”

Reuters’ propaganda piece is rounded off with a Libyan terrorist allegedly threatening that “the militancy would spread across the region as long as the West does not do more to hasten the downfall of Assad,” a talking point plucked straight from the halls of America’s corporate-financier funded think-tanks. In fact, just such a think-tank, the Foreign Policy Initiative, recently published a statement signed by Bush-era Neo-Conservatives stating:

“America’s national security interests are intertwined with the fate of the Syrian people and the wider region.  Indeed, Syria’s escalating conflict now threatens to directly affect the country’s neighbors, including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Israel, and could provide an opening for terrorist groups like al Qaeda to exploit.”

Inspiring indeed that these two implacable enemies, Al Qaeda’s LIFG and America’s Neo-Con establishment, are now operating in such seamless harmony. It should be remembered that those who signed this statement, including Elliott Abrams, Max Boot, Ellen Bork, William Kristol, Paul Bremer, Paula Dobriansk, Douglas Feith, Robert Kagan, Clifford D. May, Stephen Rademaker, Michael Weiss, Radwan Ziadeh, were among the very engineers of the fraudulent “War on Terror.” Radwan Ziadeh, last on the list, is in fact a “Syrian National Council” member – one of several proxies the US State Department is hoping to slip into power in Syria.

Syria Is Suffering a Foreign Invasion, not a Revolution.

To reach Syria, Libyan fighters must cross the Mediterranean Sea and enter via Turkey, or cross Egypt, Israel, and enter via Jordan. The government of Syria has threatened Libya in no conceivable manner, making Libya’s campaign an intolerable act of military aggression. Worst of all, the NATO-installed government in Tripoli has officially approved of supporting military operations in distant Syria.

 Image: Libya is separated by sea and several nations from Syria. For hundreds, possibly thousands of Libyan fighters to now be turning up in Syria indicates a military operation requiring multinational support, and more specifically, NATO-backing.
In November 2011, the Telegraph in their article, “Leading Libyan Islamist met Free Syrian Army opposition group,” would report:

Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, “met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey,” said a military official working with Mr Belhadj. “Mustafa Abdul Jalil (the interim Libyan president) sent him there.” 

Another Telegraph article, “Libya’s new rulers offer weapons to Syrian rebels,” would admit

Syrian rebels held secret talks with Libya’s new authorities on Friday, aiming to secure weapons and money for their insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

At the meeting, which was held in Istanbul and included Turkish officials, the Syrians requested “assistance” from the Libyan representatives and were offered arms, and potentially volunteers.

“There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria,” said a Libyan source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There is a military intervention on the way. Within a few weeks you will see.”

Later that month, some 600 Libyan terrorists would be reported to have entered Syria to begin combat operations and as recently as last month, CNN, whose Ivan Watson accompanied terrorists over the Turkish-Syrian border and into Aleppo, revealed that indeed foreign fighters were amongst the militants, particularly Libyans. It was admitted that:

Meanwhile, residents of the village where the Syrian Falcons were headquartered said there were fighters of several North African nationalities also serving with the brigade’s ranks.

A volunteer Libyan fighter has also told CNN he intends to travel from Turkey to Syria within days to add a “platoon” of Libyan fighters to armed movement.

 CNN also added:

On Wednesday, CNN’s crew met a Libyan fighter who had crossed into Syria from Turkey with four other Libyans. The fighter wore full camouflage and was carrying a Kalashnikov rifle. He said more Libyan fighters were on the way.

The foreign fighters, some of them are clearly drawn because they see this as … a jihad. So this is a magnet for jihadists who see this as a fight for Sunni Muslims.

CNN’s reports provide bookends to 2011′s admissions that large numbers of Libyan terrorists flush with NATO cash and weapons had headed to Syria, with notorious terrorist LIFG commanders making the arrangements.

In essence, Syria has been under invasion for nearly a year by Libyan terrorists – and as we will see, the Libyans are by no means an imperial force, but rather a terroristic foreign legion employed by far more nefarious players.

The West is Invading Syria by Proxy 

NATO-member Turkey is directly complicit in facilitating Libya’s extraterritorial aggression by hosting Libyan fighters within its borders, while coordinating their funding, arming, and logistics as they cross the Turkish-Syrian border. Along Turkey’s borders also facilitating Libya’s invasion of Syria, is America’s CIA.

The New York Times admitted in June 2012 in their article, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” that “CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey,” and directing weapons including, “automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons.” The NYT implicates Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar as the primary underwriters for the weapons while the CIA coordinates the logistics.

Image: The “Friends of Syria” represent many of the co-conspirators described in Seymour Hersh’s extensive 9 page report “The Redirection.” Syria’s violence is not the result of an indigenous uprising carrying “political aspirations,” but rather the conspiring and machinations of the global elite, who long-ago  premeditated the destruction of Syria for their own, larger, overarching geopolitical agenda.
To understand this particular arrangement, and why the US has forfeited the plausible deniability it seems it is so painstakingly trying to maintain, we must examine admissions by US policy makers stretching as far back as 2007 admitting that they planned to overthrow the government of Syria with foreign-sectarian extremists, using nations like Saudi Arabia to channel funds and weapons through, specifically to maintain the illusion that they were somehow not involved.

Seymour Hersh’s lengthy 9 page report, “The Redirection” published in the New Yorker in 2007 exposes US plans to use clandestine means to overthrow the government of Syria in a wider effort to undermine and destroy Iran. “A by-product of these activities,” writes Hersh, “has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”

To say that Libya’s LIFG is “sympathetic to Al Qaeda” would, however, be misleading. It is Al Qaeda.

LIFG merged with the US-Saudi created terror organization in 2007, according to the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq:”

The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al‐Qa’ida, which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al‐Qa’ida on November 3, 2007. (page 9, .pdf)

Hersh’s report would continue by stating, “the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria.” This included billions to pro-Saudi factions in Lebanon who were propping up militant groups linked to Al Qaeda. These militant groups are now crossing over the Lebanese-Syrian border to join their Libyan counterparts.

Clearly the conspiracy being pieced together and executed in 2007, described by Seymour Hersh citing a myriad of US, Saudi, and Lebanese sources, is unfolding before our eyes. It was a conspiracy hatched of mutual US-Israeli-Saudi interests, not based on humanitarian concerns or “democracy,” but rather on toppling sovereign nations seen as a threat to their collective extraterritorial influence throughout the region.

Selling A Terrorist Invasion 

The US is executing a strategy where a series of specialized proxies are being used to carry out its geopolitical agenda across the Arab World. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are channeling funding and leading diplomatic efforts to ensure the West’s agenda is presented with an “Arab face,” while factions within nations like Lebanon, Turkey, and Libya handle varying degrees of logistical support and covert military intervention.

Syria is being invaded by proxy, by the US, NATO, Israel, and the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC). Of this there is no doubt. The corporate-financier interests driving this agenda have ensured a propaganda campaign will accompany this effort. This propaganda campaign is as ceaseless as it is shameless.

For example, in yet another CNN article covering Libyan fighters killing in Syria titled, “Libya rebels move onto Syrian battlefield,” we are told that NATO-armed terrorists “tasted the beauty of Jihad” in Libya -  “beauty” Libya is now exporting to Syria.

Video: Wiped out. Tawarga, once home to 10,000 (this video claims up to 35,000) people, many part of Libya’s black community who had resided in the country for generations, had its inhabitants either exiled, imprisoned or exterminated. NATO-backed militants told the Telegraph in 2011, ” every single one of them has left, and we will never allow them to come back.” These sorts of atrocities are what the corporate-financier driven media sold in Libya, and what they are trying to sell again in Syria, ironically couched in “humanitarian concern.” 
CNN’s “beauty” involved a conflict that saw NATO proxy forces empty out entire cities of black Libyans before systematically driving them beyond Libya’s borders either killing or imprisoning those who didn’t or couldn’t flee. This was after cities were blockaded by militants on the ground while NATO ceaselessly bombarded population centers from the air, with the specific goal of starving people into submission.

And for the families of the 3,000 Americans who died on September 11, 2001 who were told Al Qaeda was not just an enemy of America, but an enemy of mankind, or the tens of thousands in America’s Armed Forces who were killed, maimed, and otherwise affected by the decade of war that would follow in the so-called “War on Terror,” the “contradictory aspects” of America’s current foreign policy remain unexplained.

To the victims on both sides of a decade of global war, to see Al Qaeda’s terror campaigns, genocide, and other atrocities now underwritten by NATO and both spun and praised throughout the Western media must seem surreal. And such injustice, hypocrisy and misery will continue until we collectively find the resolve to identify, boycott, and entirely replace the corporate-financier interests driving this surreal paradigm.

Ecuador Accepts Julian Assange’s Bid for Asylum: Report

August 14th, 2012 by Global Research

Citing officials within Ecuador’s government, Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa has agreed to give Julian Assange asylum, The Guardian reported Tuesday afternoon.

“Ecuador will grant asylum to Julian Assange,” an official in the Ecuadorean capital Quito, who is familiar with the government discussions, told the British newspaper.

The report, which has yet to be verified by other outlets or Wikileaks itself, seems preliminary and has not yet been made official by Correa himself.

Earlier this week, Correa told state-run ECTV that a decision would come this week regarding the Wikileaks’ founder’s request for asylum in Ecuador. Assange sought refuge in the Latin American nation’s embassy in London on June 19 and has remained there since.

The Guardian report continues:

Government sources in Quito confirmed that despite the outstanding legal issues Correa would grant Assange asylum – a move which would annoy Britain, the US and Sweden. They added that the offer was made to Assange several months ago, well before he sought refuge in the embassy, and following confidential negotiations with senior London embassy staff.

The official with knowledge of the discussions said the embassy had discussed Assange’s asylum request. The British government, however, “discouraged the idea,” the offical said. The Swedish government was also “not very collaborative”, the official said.

The official added: “We see Assange’s request as a humanitarian issue. The contact between the Ecuadorean government and WikiLeaks goes back to May 2011, when we became the first country to see the leaked US embassy cables completely declassified … It is clear that when Julian entered the embassy there was already some sort of deal. We see in his work a parallel with our struggle for national sovereignty and the democratisation of international relations.”

The Global 1%: Exposing the Transnational Ruling Class

August 14th, 2012 by Peter Phillips

This study asks: Who are the the world’s One percent power elite?

And to what extent do they operate in unison for their own private gains over benefits for the 99 percent?

We examine a sample of the 1 percent: the extractor sector, whose companies are on the ground extracting material from the global commons, and using low-cost labor to amass wealth. These companies include oil, gas, and various mineral extraction organizations, whereby the value of the material removed far exceeds the actual cost of removal.We also examine the investment sector of the global 1 percent: companies whose primary activity is the amassing and reinvesting of capital. This sector includes global central banks, major investment money management firms, and other companies whose primary efforts are the concentration and expansion of money, such as insurance companies.

Finally, we analyze how global networks of centralized power—the elite 1 percent, their companies, and various governments in their service—plan, manipulate, and enforce policies that benefit their continued concentration of wealth and power. We demonstrate how the US/NATO military-industrial-media empire operates in service to the transnational corporate class for the protection of international capital in the world.

The Occupy Movement has developed a mantra that addresses the great inequality of wealth and power between the world’s wealthiest 1 percent and the rest of us, the other 99 percent. While the 99 percent mantra undoubtedly serves as a motivational tool for open involvement, there is little understanding as to who comprises the 1 percent and how they maintain power in the world. Though a good deal of academic research has dealt with the power elite in the United States, only in the past decade and half has research on the transnational corporate class begun to emerge.[i]

Foremost among the early works on the idea of an interconnected 1 percent within global capitalism was Leslie Sklair’s 2001 book, The Transnational Capitalist Class.[ii] Sklair believed that globalization was moving transnational corporations (TNC) into broader international roles, whereby corporations’ states of orgin became less important than international argreements developed through the World Trade Organization and other international institutions. Emerging from these multinational corporations was a transnational capitalist class, whose loyalities and interests, while still rooted in their corporations, was increasingly international in scope. Sklair writes:

The transnational capitalist class can be analytically divided into four main fractions: (i) owners and controllers of TNCs and their local affiliates; (ii) globalizing bureaucrats and politicians; (iii) globalizing professionals; (iv) consumerist elites (merchants and media). . . . It is also important to note, of course, that the TCC [transnational corporate class] and each of its fractions are not always entirely united on every issue. Nevertheless, together, leading personnel in these groups constitute a global power elite, dominant class or inner circle in the sense that these terms have been used to characterize the dominant class structures of specific countries.[iii]

Estimates are that the total world’s wealth is close to $200 trillion, with the US and Europe holding approximately 63 percent. To be among the wealthiest half of the world, an adult needs only $4,000 in assets once debts have been subtracted. An adult requires more than $72,000 to belong to the top 10 percent of global wealth holders, and more than $588,000 to be a member of the top 1 percent.  As of 2010, the top 1 percent of the wealthist people in the world had hidden away between $21 trillion to $32 trillion in secret tax exempt bank accounts spread all over the world.[iv] Meanwhile, the poorest half of the global population together possesses less than 2 percent of global wealth.[v] The World Bank reports that, in 2008, 1.29 billion people were living in extreme poverty, on less than $1.25 a day, and 1.2 billion more were living on less than $2.00 a day.[vi] reports that 35,000 people, mostly young children, die every day from starvation in the world.[vii] The numbers of unnecessary deaths have exceeded 300 million people over the past forty years. Farmers around the world grow more than enough food to feed the entire world adequately. Global grain production yielded a record 2.3 billion tons in 2007, up 4 percent from the year before—yet, billions of people go hungry every day. describes the core reasons for ongoing hunger in a recent article, “Corporations Are Still Making a Killing from Hunger”: while farmers grow enough food to feed the world, commodity speculators and huge grain traders like Cargill control global food prices and distribution.[viii] Addressing the power of the global 1 percent—identifying who they are and what their goals are—are clearly life and death questions.

It is also important to examine the questions of how wealth is created, and how it becomes concentrated. Historically, wealth has been captured and concentrated through conquest by various powerful enities. One need only look at Spain’s appropriation of the wealth of the Aztec and Inca empires in the early sixteenth century for an historical example of this process. The histories of the Roman and British empires are also filled with examples of wealth captured.

Once acquired, wealth can then be used to establish means of production, such as the early British cotton mills, which exploit workers’ labor power to produce goods whose exchange value is greater than the cost of the labor, a process analyzed by Karl Marx in Capital.[ix] A human being is able to produce a product that has a certain value. Organized business hires workers who are paid below the value of their labor power. The result is the creation of what Marx called surplus value, over and above the cost of labor. The creation of surplus value allows those who own the means of production to concentrate capital even more. In addition, concentrated capital accelerates the exploition of natural resources by private entrepreneurs—even though these natural resources are actually the common heritage of all living beings.[x]

In this article, we ask: Who are the the world’s 1 percent power elite? And to what extent do they operate in unison for their own private gains over benefits for the 99 percent? We will examine a sample of the 1 percent: the extractor sector, whose companies are on the ground extracting material from the global commons, and using low-cost labor to amass wealth. These companies include oil, gas, and various mineral extraction organizations, whereby the value of the material removed far exceeds the actual cost of removal.

We will also examine the investment sector of the global 1 percent: companies whose primary activity is the amassing and reinvesting of capital. This sector includes global central banks, major investment money management firms, and other companies whose primary efforts are the concentration and expansion of money, such as insurance companies.

Finally, we analyze how global networks of centralized power—the elite 1 percent, their companies, and various governments in their service—plan, manipulate, and enforce policies that benefit their continued concentration of wealth and power.

The Extractor Sector: The Case of Freeport-McMoRan (FCX)

Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) is the world’s largest extractor of copper and gold. The company controls huge deposits in Papua, Indonesia, and also operates in North and South America, and in Africa. In 2010, the company sold 3.9 billion pounds of copper, 1.9 million ounces of gold, and 67 million pounds of molybdenum. In 2010, Freeport-McMoRan reported revenues of $18.9 billion and a net income of $4.2 billion.[xi]

The Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia, employs 23,000 workers at wages below three dollars an hour. In September 2011, workers went on strike for higher wages and better working conditions. Freeport had offered a 22 percent increase in wages, and strikers said it was not enough, demanding an increase to an international standard of seventeen to forty-three dollars an hour. The dispute over pay attracted local tribesmen, who had their own grievances over land rights and pollution; armed with spears and arrows, they joined Freeport workers blocking the mine’s supply roads.[xii] During the strikers’ attempt to block busloads of replacement workers, security forces financed by Freeport killed or wounded several strikers.

Freeport has come under fire internationally for payments to authorities for security. Since 1991, Freeport has paid nearly thirteen billion dollars to the Indonesian government—one of Indonesia’s largest sources of income—at a 1.5 percent royalty rate on extracted gold and copper, and, as a result, the Indonesian military and regional police are in their pockets. In October 2011, the Jakarta Globe reported that Indonesian security forces in West Papua, notably the police, receive extensive direct cash payments from Freeport-McMoRan. Indonesian National Police Chief Timur Pradopo admitted that officers received close to ten million dollars annually from Freeport, payments Pradopo described as “lunch money.” Prominent Indonesian nongovernmental organization Imparsial puts the annual figure at fourteen million dollars.[xiii] These payments recall even larger ones made by Freeport to Indonesian military forces over the years which, once revealed, prompted a US Security and Exchange Commission investigation of Freeport’s liability under the United States’ Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

In addition, the state’s police and army have been criticized many times for human rights violations in the remote mountainous region, where a separatist movement has simmered for decades. Amnesty International has documented numerous cases in which Indonesian police have used unnecessary force against strikers and their supporters. For example, Indonesian security forces attacked a mass gathering in the Papua capital, Jayapura, and striking workers at the Freeport mine in the southern highlands. At least five people were killed and many more injured in the assaults, which shows a continuing pattern of overt violence against peaceful dissent. Another brutal and unjustified attack on October 19, 2011, on thousands of Papuans exercising their rights to assembly and freedom of speech, resulted in the death of at least three Papuan civilians, the beating of many, the detention of hundreds, and the arrest of six, reportedly on treason charges.[xiv]

On November 7, 2011, the Jakarta Globe reported that “striking workers employed by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold’s subsidiary in Papua have dropped their minimum wage increase demands from $7.50 to $4.00 an hour, the All-Indonesia Workers Union (SPSI) said.”[xv] Virgo Solosa, an official from the union, told the Jakarta Globe that they considered the demands, up from the (then) minimum wage of $1.50 an hour, to be “the best solution for all.”

Workers at Freeport’s Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru also went on strike around the same time, highlighting the global dimension of the Freeport confrontation. The Cerro Verde workers demanded pay raises of 11 percent, while the company offered just 3 percent.

The Peruvian strike ended on November 28, 2011.[xvi] And on December 14, 2011, Freeport-McMoRan announced a settlement at the Indonesian mine, extending the union’s contract by two years. Workers at the Indonesia operation are to see base wages, which currently start at as little as $2.00 an hour, rise 24 percent in the first year of the pact and 13 percent in the second year. The accord also includes improvements in benefits and a one-time signing bonus equivalent to three months of wages.[xvii]

In both Freeport strikes, the governments pressured strikers to settle. Not only was domestic militrary and police force evident, but also higher levels of international involvement. Throughout the Freeport-McMoRan strike, the Obama administration ignored the egregious violation of human rights  and instead advanced US–Indonesian military ties. US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who arrived in Indonesia in the immediate wake of the Jayapura attack, offered no criticism of the assault and reaffirmed US support for Indonesia’s territorial integrity. Panetta also reportedly commended Indonesia’s handling of a weeks-long strike at Freeport-McMoRan.[xviii]

US President Barack Obama visited Indonesia in November 2011 to strengthen relations with Jakarta as part of Washington’s escalating efforts to combat Chinese influence in the Asia–Pacific region. Obama had just announced that the US and Australia would begin a rotating deployment of 2,500 US Marines to a base in Darwin, a move ostensibly to modernize the US posture in the region, and to allow participation in “joint training” with Australian military counterparts. But some speculate that the US has a hidden agenda in deploying marines to Australia. The Thai newspaper The Nation has suggested that one of the reasons why US Marines might be stationed in Darwin could be that they would provide remote security assurance to US-owned Freeport-McMoRan’s gold and copper mine in West Papua, less than a two-hour flight away.[xix]

The fact that workers at Freeport’s Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru were also striking at the same time highlights the global dimension of the Freeport confrontation. The Peruvian workers are demanding pay rises of eleven percent, while the company has offered just three percent. The strike was lifted on November 28, 2011.[xx]

In both Freeport strikes, the governments pressured strikers to settle. Not only was domestic militrary and police force evident, but also higher levels of international involvement. The fact that the US Secretary of Defense mentioned a domestic strike in Indonesa shows that the highest level of power are in play on issues affecting the international corporate 1 percent and their profits.

Public opinion is strongly against Freeport in Indonesia. On August 8, 2011, Karishma Vaswani of the BBC reported that “the US mining firm Freeport-McMoRan has been accused of everything from polluting the environment to funding repression in its four decades working in the Indonesian province of Papau. . . . Ask any Papuan on the street what they think of Freeport and they will tell you that the firm is a thief, said Nelels Tebay, a Papuan pastor and coordinator of the Papua Peace Network.”[xxi]

Freeport strikers won support from the US Occupy movement. Occupy Phoenix and East Timor Action Network activists marched to Freeport headquarters in Phoenix on October 28, 2011, to demonstrate against the Indonesian police killings at Freeport-McMoRan’s Grasberg mine.[xxii]

Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) chairman of the board James R. Moffett owns over four million shares with a value of close to $42.00 each. According to the FCX annual meeting report released in June 2011, Moffett’s annual compensation from FCX in 2010 was $30.57 million. Richard C. Adkerson, president of the board of FCX, owns over 5.3 million shares. His total compensation in was also $30.57 million in 2010 Moffett’s and Adkerson’s incomes put them in the upper levels of the world’s top 1 percent. Their interconnectness with the highest levels of power in the White House and the Pentagon, as indicated by the specific attention given to them by the US secretary of defense, and as suggested by the US president’s awareness of their circumstances, leaves no doubt that Freeport-MacMoRan executives and board are firmly positioned at the highest levels of the transnational corporate class.

Freeport-McMoRan’s Board of Directors

James R. Moffett—Corporate and policy affiliations: cochairman, president, and CEO of McMoRan Exploration Co.; PT Freeport Indonesia; Madison Minerals Inc.; Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans; Agrico, Inc.; Petro-Lewis Funds, Inc.; Bright Real Estate Services, LLC; PLC–ALPC, Inc.; FM Services Co.

Richard C. Adkerson—Corporate and policy affiliations: Arthur Anderson Company; chairman of International Council on Mining and Metals; executive board of the International Copper Association, Business Council, Business Roundtable, Advisory Board of the Kissinger Institute, Madison Minerals Inc.

Robert Allison Jr.—Corporate affiliations: Anadarko Petroleum (2010 revenue: $11 billion); Amoco Projection Company.

Robert A. Day—Corporate affiliations: CEO of W. M. Keck Foundation (2010 assets: more than $1 billion); attorney in Costa Mesa, California.

Gerald J. Ford—Corporate affiliations: Hilltop Holdings Inc, First Acceptance Corporation, Pacific Capital Bancorp (Annual Sales $13 billion), Golden State Bancorp, FSB (federal savings bank that merged with Citigroup in 2002) Rio Hondo Land & Cattle Company (annual sales $1.6 million), Diamond Ford, Dallas (sales: $200 million), Scientific Games Corp., SWS Group (annual sales: $422 million); American Residential Cmnts LLC.

H. Devon Graham Jr.—Corporate affiliations: R. E. Smith Interests (an asset management company; income: $670,000).

Charles C. Krulak—Corporate and governmental affiliations: president of Birmingham-South College; commandant of the Marine Corp, 1995–1999; MBNA Corp.; Union Pacific Corporation (annual sales: $17 billion); Phelps Dodge (acquired by FCX in 2007).

Bobby Lee Lackey—Corporate affiliations: CEO of McManusWyatt-Hidalgo Produce Marketing Co.

Jon C. Madonna—Corporate affiliations: CEO of KPMG, (professional services auditors; annual sales: $22.7 billion); AT&T (2011 revenue: $122 billion); Tidewater Inc. (2011 revenue: $1.4 billion).

Dustan E. McCoy—Corporate affiliations: CEO of Brunswick Corp. (revenue: $4.6 billion); Louisiana-Pacific Corp. (2011 revenue: $1.7 billion).

B. M. Rankin Jr.—Corporate affiliations: board vice chairman of FCX; cofounder of McMoRan Oil and Gas in 1969.

Stephen Siegele—Corporate affiliations: founder/CEO of Advanced Delivery and Chemical Systems Inc.; Advanced Technology Solutions; Flourine on Call Ltd.

The board of directors of Freeport-McMoRan represents a portion of the global 1 percent who not only control the largest gold and copper mining company in the world, but who are also interconnected by board membership with over two dozen major multinational corporations, banks, foundations, military, and policy groups. This twelve-member board is a tight network of individuals who are interlocked with—and influence the policies of—other major companies controlling approximately $200 billion in annual revenues.

Freeport-McMoRan exemplifies how the extractor sector acquires wealth from the common heritage of natural materials—which rightfully belongs to us all—by appropriating the surplus value of working people’s labor in the theft of our commons. This process is protected by governments in various countries where Freeport maintains mining operations, with the ultimate protector being the military empire of the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Further, Freeport-McMoRan is connected to one of the most elite transnational capitalist groups in the world: over 7 percent of Freeport’s stock is held by BlackRock, Inc., a major investment management firm based in New York City.

The Investment Sector: The Case of BlackRock, Inc.

Internationally, many firms operate primarily as investment organizations, managing capital and investing in other companies. These firms often do not actually make anything except money, and are keen to prevent interference with return on capital by taxation, regulations, and governmental interventions anywhere in the world.

BlackRock, based in Manhattan, is the largest assets management firm in the world, with over 10,000 employees and investment teams in twenty-seven countries. Their client base includes corporate, public, union, and industry pension plans; governments; insurance companies; third-party mutual funds; endowments; foundations; charities; corporations; official institutions; sovereign wealth funds; banks; financial professionals; and individuals worldwide. BlackRock acquired Barclay Global Investors in December of 2009. As of March 2012, BlackRock manages assets worth $3.68 trillion in equity, fixed income, cash management, alternative investment, real estate, and advisory strategies.[xxiii]

In addition to Freeport-McMoRan, BlackRock has major holdings in Chevron (49 million shares, 2.5 percent), Goldman Sachs Group (13 million shares, 2.7 percent), Exxon Mobil (121 million shares, 2.5 percent), Bank of America (251 million shares, 2.4 percent), Monsanto Company (12 million shares, 2.4 percent), Microsoft Corp. (185 million shares, 2.2 percent), and many more.[xxiv]

BlackRock manages investments of both public and private funds, including California Public Employee’s Retirement System, California State Teacher’s Retirement System, Freddie Mac, Boy Scouts of America, Boeing, Sears, Verizon, Raytheon, PG&E, NY City Retirement Systems, LA County Employees Retirement Association, GE, Cisco, and numerous others.

According to BlackRock’s April 2011 annual report to stockholders, the board of directors consists of eighteen members. The board is classified into three equal groups—Class I, Class II, and Class III—with terms of office of the members of one class expiring each year in rotation. Members of one class are generally elected at each annual meeting and serve for full three-year terms, or until successors are elected and qualified. Each class consists of approximately one-third of the total number of directors constituting the entire board of directors.

BlackRock has stockholder agreements with Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation; and Barclays Bank PLC and its subsidiaries. Two to four members of the board are from BlackRock management; one director is designated by Merrill Lynch; two directors, each in a different class, are designated by PNC Bank; two directors, each in a different class, are designated by Barclays; and the remaining directors are independent.

BlackRock’s Board of Directors

Class I Directors (terms expire in 2012):

William S. Demchak—Corporate affiliations: senior vice chairman of PNC (assets: $271 billion); J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. (2011 assets: $2.2 trillion).

Kenneth B. Dunn, PhD—Corporate and institutional affiliations: professor of financial economics at the David A. Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University; former managing director of Morgan Stanley Investment (assets: $807 billion).

Laurence D. Fink—Corporate and institutional affiliations: chairman/CEO of BlackRock; trustee of New York University; trustee of Boys Club of NY.

Robert S. Kapito—Corporate and institutional affiliations: president of BlackRock; trustee of Wharton School University of Pennsylvania.

Thomas H. O’Brien—Corporate affiliations: former CEO of PNC; Verizon Communications, Inc. (2011 revenue: $110 billion).

Ivan G. Seidenberg—Corporate and policy affiliations: board chairman of Verizon Communications; former CEO of Bell Atlantic; Honeywell International Inc. (2010 revenue: $33.3 billion); Pfizer Inc. (2011 revenue: $64 billion); chairman of the Business Roundtable; National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee; President’s Council of the New York Academy of Sciences.[xxv]

Class II Directors (terms expire in 2013):

Abdlatif Yousef Al-Hamad—Corporate and institutional affiliations: board chairman of Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (assets: $2.7 trillion); former Minister of Finance and Minister of Planning of Kuwait, Kuwait Investment Authority. Multilateral Development Banks, International Advisory Boards of Morgan Stanley, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., American International Group, Inc. and the National Bank of Kuwait.

Mathis Cabiallavetta—Corporate affiliations: Swiss Reinsurance Company (2010 revenue: $28 billion); CEO of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. (2011 revenue: $11.5 billion); Union Bank of Switzerland-UBS A.G. (2012 assets: $620 billion); Philip Morris International Inc. (2010 revenue: $27 billion).

Dennis D. Dammerman—Corporate affiliations: General Electric Company (2012 revenue: $147 billion); Capmark Financial Group Inc. (formally GMAC); American International Group (AIG) (2010 revenue: $77 billion); Genworth Financial (2010 assets: $100 billion); Swiss Reinsurance Company (2012 assets: $620 billion); Discover Financial Services (2011 revenue: $3.4 billion).

Robert E. Diamond Jr.—Corporate and policy affiliations: CEO of Barclays (2011 revenue: $32 billion); International Advisory Board of the British-American Business Council.

David H. Komansky—Corporate affiliations: CEO of Merrill Lynch (division of Bank of America 2009) (2011 assets management: $2.3 trillion); Burt’s Bees, Inc. (owned by Clorox); WPP Group plc (2011 revenue: $15 billion).

James E. Rohr—Corporate affiliations: CEO of PNC (2011 revenue: $14 billion).

James Grosfeld—Corporate affiliations: CEO of Pulte Homes, Inc. (2010 revenue: $4.5 billion); Lexington Realty Trust (2011 assets: $1.2 billion).

Sir Deryck Maughan—Corporate and policy affiliations: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (2011 assets: $8.6 billion); former CEO of Salomon Brothers from 1992 to 1997 a Chairman of the US-Japan Business Council; GlaxoSmithKline plc (2011 revenue: $41 billion); Thomson Reuters Corporation (2011 revenue: $13.8 billion).

Thomas K. Montag—Corporate affiliations: president of Global Banking & Markets for Bank of America (2011 revenue: $94 billion); Merrill Lynch (division of Bank of America, 2009; 2011 assets management: $2.3 trillion); Goldman Sachs (2011 revenue: $28.8 billion).

Class III Directors (terms expire in 2014):

Murry S. Gerber—Corporate affiliations: executive chairman of EQT (2010 revenue: $1.3 billion); Halliburton Company.

Linda Gosden Robinson—Corporate affiliations: former CEO of Robinson Lerer & Montgomery; Young & Rubicam Inc.; WPP Group plc. (2011 revenue: $15 billion); Revlon, Inc. (2011 revenue: $1.3 billion).

John S. Varley—Corporate affiliations: CEO of Barclays (2011 revenue: $32 billion); AstraZeneca PLC (2011 revenue: $33.5 billion).

BlackRock is one of the most concentrated power networks among the global 1 percent. The eightteen members of the board of directors are connected to a significant part of the world’s core financial assests. Their decisions can change empires, destroy currencies, and impoverish millions. Some of the top financial giants of the capitalist world are connected by interlocking boards of directors at BlackRock, including Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, PNC Bank, Barclays, Swiss Reinsurance Company, American International Group (AIG), UBS A.G., Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, J. P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Morgan Stanley.

A 2011 University of Zurich study, research completed by Stefania Vitali, James B. Glattfelder, Stefano Battiston at the Swiss Federal Institute, reports that a small group of companies—mainly banks—wields huge power over the global economy.[xxvi] Using data from Orbis 2007, a database listing thirty-seven million companies and investors, the Swiss researchers applied mathematical models—usually used to model natural systems—to the world economy. The study is the first to look at all 43,060 transnational corporations and the web of ownership between them. The research created a “map” of 1,318 companies at the heart of the global economy. The study found that 147 companies formed a “super entity” within this map, controlling some 40 percent of its wealth. The top twenty-five of the 147 super-connected companies includes:

1. Barclays PLC*

2. Capital Group Companies Inc.

3. FMR Corporation

4. AXA

5. State Street Corporation

6. J. P. Morgan Chase & Co.*

7. Legal & General Group PLC

8. Vanguard Group Inc.


10. Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.*

11. Wellington Management Co. LLP

12. Deutsche Bank AG

13. Franklin Resources Inc.

14. Credit Suisse Group*

15. Walton Enterprises LLC

16. Bank of New York Mellon Corp

17. Natixis

18. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.*

19. T Rowe Price Group Inc.

20. Legg Mason Inc.

21. Morgan Stanley*

22. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc.

23. Northern Trust Corporation

24. Société Générale

25. Bank of America Corporation*

* BlackRock Directors

Notably, for our purposes, BlackRock board members have direct connections to at least seven of the top twenty-five corporations that Vitali et al. identify as an international “super entity.” BlackRock’s board has direct links to seven of the twenty-five most interconnected corporations in the world. BlackRock’s eighteen board members control and influence tens of trillions of dollars of wealth in the world and represent a core of the super-connected financial sector corporations.

Below is a sample cross section of key figures and corporate assets among the global economic “super entity” identified by Vitali et al.

Other Key Figures and Corporate Connections within the Highest Levels of the  Global Economic “Super Entity”

Capital Group Companies—Privately held, based in Los Angeles, manages $1 trillion in assets.

FMR—One of the world’s largest mutual fund firms, managing $1.5 trillion in assets and serving more than twenty million individual and institutional clients; Edward C. (Ned) Johnson III, Chairman and CEO.

AXA—Manages $1.5 trillion in assets, serving 101 million clients; Henri de Castries, CEO AXA, and Director, Nestlé (Switzerland).

State Street Corporation—Operates from Boston with assest management at $1.9 trillion; directors include Joseph L. Hooley, CEO of State Street Corporation; Kennett F. Burnes, retired chairman and CEO of Cabot Corporation(2011 revenue: $3.1 billion).

JP Morgan/Chase (2011 assets: $2.3 trillion)—Board of directors: James A. Bell, retired executive VP of The Boeing Company; Stephen B. Burke, CEO of NBC Universal, and executive VP of Comcast Corporation; David M. Cote, CEO of Honeywell International, Inc.; Timothy P. Flynn, retired chairman of KPMG International; and Lee R. Raymond, retired CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation.

Vanguard (2011 assets under management: $1.6 trillion)—Directors: Emerson U. Fullwood, VP of Xerox Corporation; JoAnn Heffernan Heisen, VP of Johnson & Johnson, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Mark Loughridge, CFO of IBM, Global Financing; Alfred M. Rankin Jr., CEO of NACCO Industries, Inc., National Association of Manufacturers, Goodrich Corp, and chairman of Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

UBS AG (2012 assets: $620 billion)—Directors include: Michel Demaré, board member of Syngenta and the IMD Foundation (Lausanne); David Sidwell, former CFO of Morgan Stanley.

Merrill Lynch (Bank of America) (2011 assets management: $2.3 trillion)—Directors include: Brian T. Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America; Rosemary T. Berkery, general counsel for Bank of America/Merrill Lynch (formerly Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc), member of New York Stock Exchange’s Legal Advisory Committee, director at Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association; Mark A. Ellman, managing director of Credit Suisse, First Boston; Dick J. Barrett, cofounder of Ellman Stoddard Capital Partners, MetLife, Citi Group, UBS, Carlyle Group, ImpreMedia, Verizon Communications, Commonewealth Scientific and Industrial Research Org, Fluor Corp, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs Group.

The directors of these super-connected companies represent a small portion of the global 1 percent. Most people with assets in excess of $588,000 are not major players in international finance. At best, they hire asset management firms to produce a return on their capital. Often their net worth is tied up in nonfinancial assets such a real estate and businesses.

Analysis: TCC and Global Power

So how does the transnational corporate class (TCC) maintain wealth concentration and power in the world? The wealthiest 1 percent of the world’s population represents approximately forty million adults. These forty million people are the richest segment of the first tier populations in the core countries and intermittently in other regions. Most of this 1 percent have professional jobs with security and tenure working for or associated with established institutions. Approximately ten million of these individuals have assets in excess of one million dollars, and approximately 100,000 have financials assets worth over thirty million dollars. Immediately below the 1 percent in the first tier are working people with regular employment in major corporations, government, self-owned businesses, and various institutions of the world. This first tier constitutes about 30–40 percent of the employed in the core developed countries, and some 30 percent in the second tier economies and down to 20 percent in the periphery economies (sometimes referred to as the 3rd world). The second tier of global workers represents growing armies of casual labor: the global factory workers, street workers, and day laborers intermittently employed with increasingly less support from government and social welfare organizations. These workers, mostly concentrated in the megacities, constitute some 30–40 percent of the workers in the core industrialized economies and some 20 percent in the second tier and peripheral economies. This leaves a third tier of destitute people worldwide ranging from 30 percent of adults in the core and secondary economies to fully 50 percent of the people in peripherial countries who have extremely limited income opportunities and struggle to survive on a few dollars a day. These are the 2.5 billion people who live on less than two dollars a day, die by the tens of thousands every day from malnutrition and easily curible illnesses, and who have probably never even heard a dial tone.[xxvii]

As seen in our extractor sector and investment sector samples, corporate elites are interconnected through direct board connections with some seventy major multinational corporations, policy groups, media organizations, and other academic or nonprofit institutions. The investment sector sample shows much more powerful financial links than the extractor sample; nonetheless, both represent vast networks of resources concentrated within each company’s board of directors. The short sample of directors and resources from eight other of the superconnected companies replicates this pattern of multiple board corporate connections, policy groups, media and government, controlling vast global resources. These interlock relationships recur across the top interconnected companies among the transnational corporate class, resulting in a highly concentrated and powerful network of individuals who share a common interest in preserving their elite domination.

Sociological research shows that interlocking directorates have the potential to faciliate political cohesion. A sense of a collective “we” emerges within such power networks, whereby members think and act in unison, not just for themselves and their individual firms, but for a larger sense of purpose—the good of the order, so to speak.[xxviii]

Transnational corporate boards meet on a regular basis to encourage the maximunization of profit and the long-term viability of their firm’s business plans. If they arrange for payments to government officials, conduct activities that undermine labor organizations, seek to manipulate the price of commodies (e.g. gold), or engage in insider trading in some capacity, they are in fact forming conspiratorial alliances inside those boards of directors. Our sample of thirty directors inside two connected companies have influence with some of the most powerful policy groups in the world, including British–American Business Council, US–Japan Business Council, Business Roundtable, Business Council, and the Kissinger Institute. They influence some ten trillion dollars in monetery resouces and control the working lives of many hundreds of thousands of people. All in all, they are a power elite unto themselves, operating in a world of power elite networks as the de facto ruling class of the capitalist world.

Moreover, this 1 percent global elite dominates and controls public relations firms and the corporate media. Global corporate media protect the interests of the 1 percent by serving as a propaganda machine for the superclass. The corporate media provide entertainment for the masses and distorts the realities of inequality. Corporate news is managed by the 1 percent to maintain illusions of hope and to divert blame from the powerful for hard times.[xxix]

Four of the thirty directors in our two-firm sample are directly connected with public relations and media. Thomas H. O’Brien and Ivan G. Seidenberg are both on the board of Verizon Communications, where Seidenberg serves as chairman. Verizon reported over $110 billion in operating revenues in 2011.[xxx] David H. Komansky and Linda Gosden Robinson are on the board of WPP Group, which describes itself as the world leader in marketing communications services, grossing over $65 billion in 2011. WPP is a conglomerate of many of the world’s leading PR and marketing firms, in fields that include advertising, media investment management, consumer insight, branding and identity, health care communications, and direct digital promotion and relationship marketing.[xxxi]

Even deeper inside the 1 percent of wealthy elites is what David Rothkopf calls the superclass. David Rothkopf, former managing director of Kissinger Associates and deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade policies, published his book Superclass: the Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making, in 2008.[xxxii] According to Rothkopf, the superclass constitutes approximately 0.0001 percent of the world’s population, comprised of 6,000 to 7,000 people—some say 6,660. They are the Davos-attending, Gulfstream/private jet–flying, money-incrusted, megacorporation-interlocked, policy-building elites of the world, people at the absolute peak of the global power pyramid. They are 94 percent male, predominantly white, and mostly from North America and Europe. These are the people setting the agendas at the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, G-8, G-20, NATO, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. They are from the highest levels of finance capital, transnational corporations, the government, the military, the academy, nongovernmental organizations, spiritual leaders, and other shadow elites. Shadow elites include, for instance,  the deep politics of national security organizations in connection with international drug cartels, who extract 8,000 tons of opium from US war zones annually, then launder $500 billion through transnational banks, half of which are US-based.[xxxiii]

Rothkoft’s understanding of the superclass is one based on influence and power. Although there are over 1,000 billionaires in the world, not all are necessarily part of the superclass in terms of influencing global policies. Yet these 1,000 billionaires have twice as much wealth as the 2.5 billion least wealthy people, and they are fully aware of the vast inequalities in the world. The billionaires and the global 1 percent are similar to colonial plantation owners. They know they are a small minority with vast resources and power, yet they must continually worry about the unruly exploited masses rising in rebellion. As a result of these class insecurities, the superclass works hard to protect this structure of concentrated wealth. Protection of capital is the prime reason that NATO countries now account for 85 percent of the world’s defense spending, with the US spending more on military than the rest of the world combined.[xxxiv] Fears of  inequality rebellions and other forms of unrest motivate NATO’s global agenda in the war on terror.[xxxv] The Chicago 2012 NATO Summit Declaration reads:

As Alliance leaders, we are determined to ensure that NATO retains and develops the capabilities necessary to perform its essential core tasks collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security—and thereby to play an essential role promoting security in the world. We must meet this responsibility while dealing with an acute financial crisis and responding to evolving geo-strategic challenges. NATO allows us to achieve greater security than any one Ally could attain acting alone.

We confirm the continued importance of a strong transatlantic link and Alliance solidarity as well as the significance of sharing responsibilities, roles, and risks to meet the challenges North-American and European Allies face together . . . we have confidently set ourselves the goal of NATO Forces 2020: modern, tightly connected forces equipped, trained, exercised and commanded so that they can operate together and with partners in any (emphaisis added) environment.[xxxvi]

NATO is quickly emerging as the police force for the transnational corporate class. As the TCC more fully emerged in the 1980s, coinciding with the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), NATO began broader operations. NATO first ventured into the Balkans, where it remains, and then moved into Afghanistan. NATO started a training mission in Iraq in 2005, has recently conducted operations in Libya, and, as of July 2012, is considering military action in Syria.

It has become clear that the superclass uses NATO for its global security. This is part of an expanding strategy of US military domination around the world, wherby the US/NATO military-industrial-media empire operates in service to the transnational corporate class for the protection of international capital anywhere in the world.[xxxvii]

Sociologists William Robinson and Jerry Harris anticipated this situation in 2000, when they described “a shift from the social welfare state to the social control (police) state replete with the dramatic expansion of public and private security forces, the mass incarceration of the excluded populations (disproportionately minorities), new forms of social apartheid . . . and anti-immigrant legislation.”[xxxviii] Robinson and Harris’s theory accurately predicts the agenda of today’s global superclass, including

—President Obama’s continuation of the police state agendas of his executive predecessors, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George H. W. Bush;

—the long-range global dominance agenda of the superclass, which uses US/NATO military forces to discourage resisting states and maintain internal police repression, in service of the capitalist system’s orderly maintenance;

—and the continued consolidation of capital around the world without interference from governments or egalitarian social movements.[xxxix]

Furthermore, this agenda leads to the further pauperization of the poorest half of the world’s population, and an unrelenting downward spiral of wages for everyone in the second tier, and even some within the first tier.[xl] It is a world facing economic crisis, where the neoliberal solution is to spend less on human needs and more on security.[xli] It is a world of financial institutions run amok, where the answer to bankruptcy is to print more money through quantitative easing with trillions of new inflation-producing dollars. It is a world of permanent war, whereby spending for destruction requires even more spending to rebuild, a cycle that profits the TCC and its global networks of economic power. It is a world of drone killings, extrajudicial assassinations, and death and destruction, at home and abroad.

As Andrew Kollin states in State Power and Democracy, “There is an Orwellian dimension to the Administration’s (Bush and later Obama) perspective, it chose to disregard the law, instead creating decrees to legitimate illegal actions, giving itself permision to act without any semblances of power sharing as required by the Constitution or international law.”[xlii]

And in Globalization and the Demolition of Society, Dennis Loo writes, “The bottom line, the fundamential division of our society, is between, on the one hand, those whose interests rest on the dominance and the drive for monopolizing the society and planet’s resources and, on the other hand, those whose interests lie in the husbanding of thoses resources for the good of the whole rather than the part.”[xliii]

The Occupy movement uses the 1 percent vs. 99 percent mantra as a master concept in its demonstrations, disruptions, and challenges to the practices of the transnational corporate class, within which the global superclass is a key element in the implementation of a superelite agenda for permanent war and total social control. Occupy is exactly what the superclass fears the most—a global democratic movement that exposes the TCC agenda and the continuing theater of government elections, wherein the actors may change but the marquee remains the same. The more that Occupy refuses to cooperate with the TCC agenda and mobilizes activists, the more likely the whole TCC system of dominance will fall to its knees under the people power of democractic movements.

Peter Phillips is a professor of sociology at Sonoma State University and president of the Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored.

Kimberly Soeiro is a sociology student at Sonoma State University, library researcher, and activist.

Special thanks to Mickey Huff, director of Project Censored, and Andy Roth, associate director of Project Censored, for editing and for important suggestons for this article.


[i] For a more scholarly background on this subject, the following are required reading: C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite, New York, Oxford University Press, 1956; G. Willian Domhoff, Who Rules America 6th edition, Boston, McGraw Hill Higher Education, 2009; William Carroll, The Making of a Transnational Capitalist Class, Zed Books, 2010.

[ii] Leslie Sklair, The Transnational Capitalist Class, Oxford, UK, Blackwell, 2001.

[iii] Leslie Sklair, “The Transnational Capitalist Class And The Discourse Of Globalization,” Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 2000,

[iv] Tax Havens: Super-rich hiding at least $21 trillion, BBC News, July 22, 2012,

[v] Tyler Durgen, A Detailed Look At Global Wealth Distribution, 10/11/10,

[vi] “World Bank Sees Progress Against Extreme Poverty, But Flags Vulnerabilities,” World Bank, Press Release No. 2012/297/Dec., February 29, 2012,,,contentMDK:23130032~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html.

[vii] Mark Ellis, The Three Top Sins of the Universe,

[viii] “Corporatons are Still Making a Killing from Hunger,” April 2009, Grain,

[ix] On the extraction of surplus-value from labor, see Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. 3 (New York and London: Penguin, 1991[1894]).

[x] See, e.g., Paul Burkett, Marx and Nature: A Red and Green Perspective (New York: St. Martins, 1999), Chapter 6; for additional information on the Fair Share of the Common Heritage see,

[xi] Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders, June 15, 2011, document April 28, 2001,

[xii] “Freeport Indonesia Miners, Tribesmen Defend Road Blockades,” Reuters Africa, November 4, 2011,

[xiii] “Police Admit to Receiving Freeport ‘Lunch Money,’” Frank Arnaz, Jakarta Globe, October 28, 2011,

[xiv] “Indonesia must investigate mine strike protest killing,” Amnesty International News, October 10, 2011,; West Papua Report, November 2011,

[xv] Camelia Pasandaran, “Striking Freeport Employees Lower Wage Increase Demands,”Jakarta Globe, | November 7, 2011,

[xvi] Alex Emery, “Freeport Cerro Verde, Workers Sign Three-Year Labor Accord,” Bloomberg News,

December 22, 2011,

[xvii] Eric Bellman and Tess Stynes, “Freeport-McMoRan Says Pact Ends Indonesia Strike,” Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2011,

[xviii] John Pakage, “When there is no guarantee of the security of life for the people of Papau,” West Papua Media Alerts, March 1, 2012,

[xix] “Reasons to go the Darwin,” The Nation (Thailand), November 30, 2011,

[xxi] Karishma Vaswani, “US Firm Freeport Struggles to Escape Its Past in Papua,” BBC News, Jakarta,

[xxii] Phoenix Arizona, October 28, 2011, Youtube report:

[xxiii] BlackRock About Us:

[xxiv] Data for this section is drawn for

[xxv] Data for the corporations listed in this section comes fron the annual report at each corporation’s website. Biography information was gained from the FAX annual report to investors and online biographies for individuals wihen available.

[xxvi] Stefania Vitali, James B. Glattfelder, and Stefano Battiston, “The Network of Global Corporate Control,” PLoS ONE, October 26, 2011,

[xxvii] Willian Robinson and Jerry Harris, “Towards a Global Ruling Class? Globalization and the Transnational Capitalist Class, Science and Society 64, no. 1 (Spring 2000).

[xxviii] Val Burris, “Interlocking Directorates and Political Cohesion Among Corporate Elites,” American Journal of Sociology 3, no. 1 (July 2005).

[xxix] Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff, “Truth Emergency: Inside the Military-Industrial Media Empire,” Censored 2010 (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2009), 197–220.

[xxx] Verizon Financials 2012, Hoovers describes Verizon as, “the #2 US telecom services provider overall after AT&T, but it holds the top spot in wireless services ahead of rival AT&T Mobility.” Hoovers Inc.

[xxxi] WPP:

[xxxii] David Rothkopf, SuperClass: the Global Power Elite and the World They are Making (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2008).

[xxxiii] Peter Dale Scott, American War Machine, Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010). See also Censored Story #22, “Wachovia Bank Laundered Money for Latin American Drug Cartels,” in Chapter 1.

[xxxiv] David Rothkopf, Superclass, Public Address: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 9, 2008.

[xxxv] NATO: Defence Against Terrorism Programme,

[xxxvi] NATO, Summit Declaration on Defence Capabilities: Toward NATO Forces 2020, May 20, 2012,

[xxxvii] For an expanded analysis of the history of US “global dominance,” see Peter Phillips, Bridget Thornton and Celeste Vogler, “The Global Dominance Group: 9/11 Pre-Warnings & Election Irregularities in Context,” May 2, 2010, and Peter Phillips, Bridget Thornton, and Lew Brown, “The Global Dominance Group and U.S. Corporate Media,” Censored 2007 (New York: Seven Stories, 2006), 307–333.

[xxxviii] Willian Robinson and Jerry Harris, “Towards a Global Ruling Class? Globalization and the Transnational Capitalist Class, Science and Society 64, no. 1 (Spring 2000).

[xxxix] John Pilger, The New Rulers of the World (New York: Verso, 2003).

[xl] Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, eds., The Global Economic Crisis (Montréal: Global Research Publishers, 2010).

[xli] Dennis Loo, Globalization and the Demolition of Society (Glendale, CA: Larkmead Press, 2011).

[xlii] Andrew Kolin, State Power and Democracy (New York: Palgrave MacMillan,c2011), 141.

[xliii] Loo, Globalization, op cit., 357.

La mayoría desposeída

August 14th, 2012 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

El conductor no era evidentemente acaudalado. Sin embargo, a pesar de todas las noticias sobre los rescates bankster por valor de mega-billones de dólares, de bonificaciones por mega-millones de dólares para financistas facinerosos, y de inimaginables paquetes de compensación para directores ejecutivos corporativos que han exportado puestos de trabajo de EE.UU., algo hizo que el desvalido conductor se asociara con el partido político de los súper-ricos.

Mientras me sorprendía la extraña alianza de los desamparados con los mega-ricos, recordé que en 2004 Thomas Frank se preguntaba cómo los republicanos habían logrado convencer a los pobres para que votaran contra sus mejores intereses. La respuesta, o parte de la respuesta, de Frank es que los republicanos utilizan “temas sociales”, como el matrimonio gay y la exhibición del pezón de Janet Jackson, para provocar indignación ante la amenaza a los valores morales planteada por demócratas liberales.

Los trabajadores pobres han sido convencidos por la propaganda republicana de que votar a los demócratas significa entregar los dólares de los impuestos de los trabajadores pobres a los pobres que no trabajan, proveer atención médica y educación a extranjeros ilegales, y ser blando frente el terrorismo.

Para el conductor de la camioneta, defender a EE.UU. significa defender los rescates de los bánksteres y las guerras multibillonarias del complejo militar/industrial.

El Equipo de Trucos Sucios de Karl Rove ha perfeccionado la propaganda republicana. Los republicanos se envían unos a otros por correo electrónico innumerables historias estúpidas que dicen que Obama es musulmán, que Obama es marxista, que Obama es un Manchurian Candidate que entrega EE.UU. al Nuevo Orden Mundial o a las Naciones Unidas, o a alguna otra vil organización conspirativa. Pero nunca acusan a Obama de entregar EE.UU. a Wall Street, al complejo militar/industrial, o a Israel.

Los correos nunca contienen una cita o fuente para las acusaciones. No se necesita ninguna, porque son palabras que quieren escuchar los republicanos. Preguntadles por qué

Obama iba a matar musulmanes en siete países si fuera musulmán, o por qué Wall Street y el complejo militar/industrial iban a poner a un marxista en la Casa Blanca, y enrojecerán de rabia. Solo por formular las preguntas obvias en lugar de sumarse a las acusaciones, una persona confirma la propaganda de que EE.UU. es amenazado por crédulos de Obama que no defenderán a su país.

Parecería que los no acaudalados que se enfurecen por las prestaciones sociales, medicaid , Obamacare y las escuelas públicas son incapaces de atar cabos. El rescate TARP por valor de 750.000 millones de dólares, una pequeña parte del total y continuo rescate, habría sido suficiente para cubrir cualquier agujero en esos presupuestos durante mucho tiempo. En su lugar, el dinero se utilizó para recompensar a los que causaron la crisis financiera y despojaron a millones de estadounidenses de sus casas. Que yo sepa, el conductor de la camioneta es uno de esos desposeídos.

Los mismos estadounidenses, con sus cerebros lavados, que se encolerizan contra Obamacare y se preparan para votar por Romney ignoran el hecho de que mientras era gobernador del Estado liberal democrático de Massachusetts Romney hizo implementar su versión de Obamacare en el ámbito estatal.

La mayor ironía respecto a Obamacare es que fue escrito por las compañías privadas de seguros y que desvía fondos de Medicaid y Medicare para su beneficio. Puede que sea medicina socializada, pero es socialismo a favor de las compañías privadas de seguros.

Todo lo que necesitaron los ciudadanos de los Estados de mayoría republicana para apoyar el derroche de 6 billones de dólares por el complejo militar/seguridad en las guerras de Iraq y Afganistán fueron pegatinas con la cinta amarilla y una consigna: “Apoyad a los soldados”.

Obama, afirman los republicanos, no hará frente a Siria ni se pondrá contra Irán, ni estará a favor de Israel. Pero los republicanos se enorgullecen cuando Romney va a Israel para arrastrarse haciéndole el juego al demente, sediento de sangre, primer ministro israelí Netanyahu, que calificó a los máximos generales israelíes de “cobardes” por advertir contra un ataque contra Irán. Romney le dijo a Netanyahu: “dígame qué tengo que hacer y lo haré; soy leal a Israel”. Aparentemente, a los ultranacionalistas patriotas republicanos no les molesta que su candidato presidencial anuncie que en cuanto asuma el mando entregará la política exterior de EE.UU. a Netanyahu y enviará a más estadounidenses a la muerte y a la bancarrota en su nombre.

Karl Rove no tuvo ningún problema en el lavado de cerebros de votantes republicanos para que apoyen su propia pérdida. El conductor de camioneta podría haber colocado una pegatina que dijera: “No apoyes a un demócrata. Podría hacer algo por ti.”

Sí, ya sé. Es casi igual de fácil atacar a los demócratas. Bush y Cheney, y sus matones neoconservadores destruyeron la Constitución y, con ello, a EE.UU. Pero los demócratas permitieron que lo hicieran. Fue Nancy Pelosi quien, como presidenta de la Cámara de Representantes, rechazó el juicio político de Bush.

Es indudable que Bush y Cheney violaron el derecho estadounidense e internacional y la Constitución. La negativa de Nancy Pelosi de responsabilizarlos estableció el precedente de que el poder ejecutivo ya no responde ante la ley o la Constitución. En efecto, el poder ejecutivo ahora es una dictadura. Actúa fuera de la ley y de limitaciones constitucionales. Respecto a algunos temas todavía tiene que consultar al Congreso o a los tribunales, pero a medida que aumenta el poder y la audacia del poder ejecutivo, la consulta se convertirá en una formalidad y luego se abandonará. El Congreso no tendrá más influencia que el Senado romano bajo el Imperio y los tribunales se convertirán en escenarios de farsas judiciales.

Los estadounidenses eligieron presidente a Obama con la esperanza de que restauraría el imperio de la ley. En su lugar, codificó las trasgresiones del régimen de Bush y agregó algunas propias. Nadie de mi generación podría haber imaginado que el presidente de EE.UU. estaría sentado en el Despacho Oval aprobando listas de ciudadanos estadounidenses para que fueran asesinados sin pruebas o debido proceso.

Por lo tanto ¿a cuál queréis? ¿Al republicano que les hace el juego a los ricos y a Israel, cuya política exterior es la guerra, o al demócrata que les hace el juego a los ricos y a Israel cuya política exterior es la guerra? Cómo escribió Gerald Celente en la edición de julio de Trends Journal , los estadounidenses “argumentan entre ellos por qué su freak [engendro] es mejor que el otro freak . Se enojarán si dices que su freak es un freak . Realmente combatirán y morirán para defender a sus freaks .”

Es extraordinario que millones de estadounidenses puedan creer fervientemente que importa si es elegido el freak Romney o el freak Obama. Si los estadounidenses tuvieran un poco de sentido común, se quedarían en casa y no votarían. El 1% controla el país, y más valdría que el 99% se quedara en casa y no votara. Nada va a cambiar gracias a la urna de voto.

¿Qué suponéis que harán los partidarios de Ron Paul? ¿Verán a Romney como el menos socialista de los dos y votarán por los republicanos que robaron la candidatura a Ron Paul? (Jaret Glenn, “How the GOP Establishment Stole the Nomination from Ron Paul,” publicado el 6 de agosto en OpEdNews .)

EE.UU. está gobernado por una oligarquía privada. El gobierno es solo su fachada. Los recursos del país son desviados hacia los bolsillos de Wall Street, el complejo militar/industrial, y al servicio del Gran Israel. Las compañías petroleras, mineras, madereras y de la agroindustria controlan la Agencia de Protección del Medio Ambiente y el Servicio Forestal, y por eso la regulación solo concierne al pequeño individuo, mientras el fracking [fractura hidráulica], la minería de remoción de la cima de montañas, y la contaminación del aire, el agua y el suelo crecen de manera salvaje.

Los oligarcas han logrado convertir a los estadounidenses en una mayoría desposeída en su propio país. En noviembre los estadounidenses volverán a otorgar su aprobación a uno de los dos candidatos de la oligarquía.

Paul Craig Roberts 

Texto original en inglés :

The Dispossessed Majority
- by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – 2012-08-08

Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Germán Leyens

Paul Craig Roberts fue editor de The Wall Street Journal y secretario asistente del Secretario del Tesoro estadounidense. Es autor de HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST , publicado por CounterPunch/AK Press. Su último libro publicado es Economies in Collapse: The Failure of Globalism , publicado en Europa, junio de 2012.

The Push to Ignite a Turkish Civil War Through a Syrian Quagmire

August 14th, 2012 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya


Turkey itself is a major target for destabilization, upheaval, and finally balkanization through its participation in the US-led siege against Syria. Ankara has burned its bridges in Syria for the sake of its failing neo-Ottoman regional policy. The Turkish government has actively pursued regime change, spied on Syria for NATO and Israel, violated Syrian sovereignty, supported acts of terrorism and lawlessness, and provided logistical support for the insurgency inside Syria.

Any chances of seeing some form of Turkish regional leadership under neo-Ottomanism have faded. Turkey’s southern borders have been transformed into intelligence and logistical hubs for the CIA and the Mossad in the process, complete with an intelligence “nerve centre” in the Turkish city of Adana. Despite Turkey’s denials, reports about Adana are undeniable and Turkish officers have also been apprehended in covert military operations against the Syrian Arab Republic. The Turkish Labour Party has even demanded that the US General Consul in Adana be deported for “masterminding and leading the activities of Syrian terrorists.” Mehmet Ali Ediboglu and Mevlut Dudu, two Turkish MPs, have also testified that foreign fighters have been renting homes on Turkey’s border with Syria and that Turkish ambulances have been helping smuggle weapons for the insurgents inside Syria.

Turkish Regional Isolation

If the Syrian state collapses, neighbouring Turkey will be the biggest loser. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government are foolishly aligning Turkey for disaster. Aside from Ankara’s historically bad relations with Armenia, Erdogan has managed to singlehandedly alienate Russia and three of Turkey’s most important neighbours. This has damaged the Turkish economy and disrupted the flow of Turkish goods. There have been clamp downs on activists too in connection with Turkey’s policy against Damascus. The freedom of the Turkish media has been affected as well; Erdogan has moved forward with legislation to restrict media freedoms. Prime Minister Erdogan and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have even both attacked “reporters who quoted President Assad’s statements in Cumhuriyet, accusing them of treason, because they had questioned the official Turkish account of the Turkish jet shot down by in [sic.] Syria [for spying].”

To Turkey’s eastern flank tensions are building between it and both Iraq and Iran. Baghdad is reviewing its diplomatic ties with the Turkish government, because Ankara is encouraging the Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq to act independently of Iraq’s federal government. Erdogan’s government has done this partially as a result of Baghdad’s steadfast opposition to regime change in Syria and in part because of Iraq’s strengthening alliance with Iran. Tehran on the other hand has halted the visa-free entry of Turkish citizens into Iran and warned the Turkish government that it is stoking the flames of a regional fire in Syria that will eventually burn Turkey too.

Growing Internal Divisions in Turkey

Despite all the patriotic speeches being made by the Turkish government to rally the Turkish people against Syria, Turkey is a much divided nation over Erdogan’s hostilities with Damascus. A significant portion of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey or Turkish Meclis and Turkey’s opposition parties have all condemned Erdogan for misleading the Turkish people and stirring their country towards disaster. There is also growing resentment amongst the citizens of Turkey about Erdogan’s cooperation with the US, NATO, Israel, and the Arab dictatorships – like Qatar and Saudi Arabia – against the Syrians and others. The majority of Turkish citizens oppose Turkish ties to Israel, the hosting of NATO facilities in Turkey, the missile shield project, and cooperation with the US in the Middle East.

The Republican People’s Party, Turkey’s second largest political party and its main opposition party, has condemned the government in Ankara over Syria. Their leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has openly accused Prime Minister Erdogan of interfering in the internal affairs of Syria. Kilicdaroglu has been joined by Turkey’s other political parties in the condemnations of Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party. Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, has warned the Turkish government not to drag their country into a war with Syria through intervention. “Some Western countries have put pressure on Turkey for an intervention in Syria. Turkey should not fall into this trap,” Bahceli, who leads the third largest Turkish political party, has warned Erdogan according to the Turkish press. The Peace and Democracy Party, which is the fourth largest Turkish political party, has also clarified that it is against war with Syria. The politician Selahattin Demirtas, who is one of the leaders of the Peace and Democracy Party, has warned that any military intervention by Ankara in Syria would drag Turkey into a broader regional war. Hasan Basri Ozbey, the deputy leader of the Turkish Labour Party, has announced that his political party will file a complaint against Turkish President Abdullah Gul with the Turkish Meclis and the Turkish Higher Court to prosecute Gul, because the Labour Party “has clear evidence that [Gul] incited terrorism and war on Syria and signed a secret agreement with the United States, which alone is grounds for trial.” Mustafa Kamalak, the leader of the Felicity Party, has even led a Turkish delegation to visit Bashar Al-Assad to show their support for Syria and opposition to Erdogan’s policies.

The mobilization of the Turkish military on the Syrian border as a show of force is a psychological tactic to scare the Syrian regime. Any large-scale military operations against the Syrians would be very dangerous for Turkey and could fragment the Turkish Armed Forces. Segments of the Turkish military are at odds with the Turkish government and the military itself is divided over Turkish foreign policy. Erdogan does not even trust half of Turkey’s own military leaders and has arrested forty of them for planning to overthrow him.  How can he send such a force to even attack neighbouring Syria or think that he can control it during a broader war?

The Dangers of “Blowback” from Syria

While Turkey is trumpeting that it will not allow Kurdish militias to establish bases in northern Syria, the Turkish government is actually facilitating this itself.  There is a real risk of “blowback” from Syria for Turkey. Like Syria, Turkey is a kaleidoscope of various peoples and faiths. The people of Turkey are held together by the primacy of the Turkish language and a shared citizenship. Turkey’s minorities constitute at the very minimum one-third of the country. A significant proportion of Turkey’s minority communities have ties to Syria, Iraq, or Iran.

The Kurds and other similar Iranic peoples alone form about 25% of Turkey’s population, which means one out of four Turkish citizens are of Kurdish and Iranic stock. Other ethnic minorities include Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Azerbaijanis, Bulgarians, and Greeks. No exact figures have ever been available about Turkey’s Shiite Muslims, because of the historical persecution and restrictions on Shia Muslims in Turkey from Ottoman times. Anywhere from 20% to 30% or more of the Turkish population may be categorized as Shiite Muslims, which includes Alevis, Alawites, and Twelvers. Turkey also has a small Christian minority, some of which have historic or organizational ties to Syria like Turkey’s Alawites and ethnic Arabs. Turkey will be consumed too, one way or another, should a broader sectarian conflict spread from Syria and should the Syrians be violently divided along sectarian fault lines.

The Self-Destructive Nature of Turkish Involvement in Syria

All the factors discussed above are a recipt for disaster. Civil war in Turkey is a real possibility in an increasingly polarized Turkish state. Should Syria burn, Turkey will ultimately burn too. This is why a whole spectrum of Turkish leaders have been warning their country and people that the consequences for the fire that Erdogan, Davutoglu, and Gul are stroking in Syria will have disastrous consequences for Turkey and all the countries bordering Syria.

Erdogan’s government has managed to alienate Turkey from its most important neighbours, hurt the Turkish economy, and destabilize their country’s own borders. This, however, is only the tip of the iceberg compared to the damages they could unleash on Turkey. The Turks have been walking into a trap, where they are slated for a self-destructive kamikaze operation against Syria. The US-led siege on Syria intends to create chaos across the entire Middle East and ignite multiple regional conflicts. Violence and conflict from Syria is intended to consume Lebanon and Iraq too. Within this mêlée, Turkey has been slated to be weakened and divided – just as the US, NATO, and Israel have envisaged in their project to create a “new Middle East.”

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is an award-winning author and geopolitical analyst. He is the author of The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) and a forthcoming book The War on Libya and the Re-Colonization of Africa. He has also contributed to several other books ranging from cultural critique to international relations.

He is a Sociologist and Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), a contributor at the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF) in Moscow, and a member of the Scientific Committee of Geopolitica in Italy. He has also addressed the Middle East and international relations issues on several news networks including Al Jazeera, teleSUR, and Russia Today. His writings have been translated into more than twenty languages. In 2011 he was awarded the First National Prize of the Mexican Press Club for his work in international journalism.

The Globalization of NATO (Clarity Press) by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya.
Foreword by Denis J. Halliday.

After a decade of fiery public debate and bare-knuckle partisan brawling, the United States has stumbled toward an ad hoc bipartisan compromise over the issue of torture that
rests on two unsustainable policies: impunity at home and rendition abroad.

President Obama has closed the CIA’s “black sites,” its secret prisons where American agents once dirtied their hands with waterboarding and wall slamming. But via rendition — the sending of terrorist suspects to the prisons of countries that torture — and related policies, his administration has outsourced human rights abuse to Afghanistan, Somalia, and elsewhere.  In this way, he has avoided the political stigma of torture, while tacitly tolerating such abuses and harvesting whatever intelligence can be gained from them.

This “resolution” of the torture issue may meet the needs of this country’s deeply divided politics. It cannot, however, long satisfy an international community determined to prosecute human rights abuses through universal jurisdiction. It also runs the long-term risk of another sordid torture scandal that will further damage U.S. standing with allies worldwide.

Perfecting a New Form of Torture

The modern American urge to use torture did not, of course, begin on September 12, 2001.  It has roots that reach back to the beginning of the Cold War and a human rights policy riven with contradictions. Publicly, Washington opposed torture and led the world in drafting the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the Geneva Conventions in 1949. Simultaneously and secretly, however, the Central Intelligence Agency began developing ingenious new torture techniques in contravention of these same international conventions.

From 1950 to 1962, the CIA led a secret research effort to crack the code of human consciousness, a veritable Manhattan project of the mind with two findings foundational to a new form of psychological torture. In the early 1950s, while collaborating with the CIA, famed Canadian psychologist Dr. Donald Hebb discovered that, using goggles, gloves, and earmuffs, he could induce a state akin to psychosis among student volunteers by depriving them of sensory stimulation. Simultaneously, two eminent physicians at Cornell University Medical Center, also working with the Agency, found that the most devastating torture technique used by the KGB, the Soviet secret police, involved simply forcing victims to stand for days at a time, while legs swelled painfully and hallucinations began.

In 1963, after a decade of mind-control research, the CIA codified these findings in a succinct, secret instructional handbook, the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual. It became the basis for a new method of psychological torture disseminated worldwide and within the U.S. intelligence community. Avoiding direct involvement in torture, the CIA instead trained allied agencies to do its dirty work in prisons throughout the Third World, like South Vietnam’s notorious “tiger cages.”

The Korean War added a defensive dimension to this mind-control research. After harsh North Korean psychological torture forced American POWs to accuse their own country of war crimes, President Dwight Eisenhower ordered that any serviceman subject to capture be given resistance training, which the Air Force soon dubbed with the acronym SERE (for survival, evasion, resistance, escape).

Once the Cold War ended in 1990, Washington resumed its advocacy of human rights, ratifying the U.N. Convention Against Torture in 1994, which banned the infliction of “severe” psychological and physical pain. The CIA ended its torture training in the Third World, and the Defense Department recalled Latin American counterinsurgency manuals that contained instructions for using harsh interrogation techniques. On the surface, then, Washington had resolved the tension between its anti-torture principles and its torture practices.

But when President Bill Clinton sent the U.N. Convention to Congress for ratification in 1994, he included language (drafted six years earlier by the Reagan administration) that contained diplomatic “reservations.”  In effect, these addenda accepted the banning of physical abuse, but exempted psychological torture.

A year later, when the Clinton administration launched its covert campaign against al-Qaeda, the CIA avoided direct involvement in human rights violations by sending 70 terror suspects to allied nations notorious for physical torture.  This practice, called “extraordinary rendition,” had supposedly been banned by the U.N. convention and so a new contradiction between Washington’s human rights principles and its practices was buried like a political land mine ready to detonate with phenomenal force, just 10 years later, in the Abu Ghraib scandal.

Normalizing Torture

Right after his first public address to a shaken nation on September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush gave his White House staff expansive secret orders for the use of harsh interrogation, adding, “I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.”

Soon after, the CIA began opening “black sites” that would in the coming years stretch from Thailand to Poland.  It also leased a fleet of executive jets for the rendition of detained terrorist suspects to allied nations, and revived psychological tortures abandoned since the end of the Cold War. Indeed, the agency hired former Air Force psychologists to reverse engineer SERE training techniques, flipping them from defense to offense and thereby creating the psychological tortures that would henceforth travel far under the euphemistic label “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

In a parallel move in late 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appointed General Geoffrey Miller to head the new prison at Guantanamo, Cuba, and gave him broad authority to develop a total three-phase attack on the sensory receptors, cultural identity, and individual psyches of his new prisoners. After General Miller visited Abu Ghraib prison in September 2003, the U.S. commander for Iraq issued orders for the use of psychological torture in U.S. prisons in that country, including sensory disorientation, self-inflicted pain, and a recent innovation, cultural humiliation through exposure to dogs (which American believed would be psychologically devastating for Arabs). It is no accident that Private Lynndie England, a military guard at Abu Ghraib prison, was famously photographed leading a naked Iraqi detainee leashed like a dog.

Just two months after CBS News broadcast those notorious photos from Abu Ghraib in April 2004, 35% of Americans polled still felt torture was acceptable. Why were so many tolerant of torture?

One partial explanation would be that, in the years after 9/11, the mass media filled screens large and small across America with enticing images of abuse. Amid this torrent of torture simulations, two media icons served to normalize abuse for many Americans — the fantasy of the “ticking time bomb scenario” and the fictional hero of the Fox Television show “24,” counterterror agent Jack Bauer.

In the months after 9/11, Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz launched a multimedia campaign arguing that torture would be necessary in the event U.S. intelligence agents discovered that a terrorist had planted a ticking nuclear bomb in New York’s Times Square. Although this scenario was a fantasy whose sole foundation was an obscure academic philosophy article published back in 1973, such ticking bombs soon enough became a media trope and a persuasive reality for many Americans — particularly thanks to “24,” every segment of which began with an oversized clock ticking menacingly.

In 67 torture scenes during its first five seasons, the show portrayed agent Jack Bauer’s recourse to abuse as timely, effective, and often seductive. By its last broadcast in May 2010, the simple invocation of agent Bauer’s name had become a persuasive argument for torture used by everyone from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to ex-President Bill Clinton.

While campaigning for his wife Hillary in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Clinton typically cited “24” as a justification for allowing CIA agents, acting outside the law, to torture in extreme emergencies. “When Bauer goes out there on his own and is prepared to live with the consequences,” Clinton told Meet the Press, “it always seems to work better.”

Impunity in America

Such a normalization of “enhanced interrogation techniques” created public support for an impunity achieved by immunizing all those culpable of crimes of torture. During President Obama’s first two years in office, former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz made dozens of television appearances accusing his administration of weakening America’s security by investigating CIA interrogators who had used such techniques under Bush.

Ironically, Obama’s assassination of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 provided an opening for neoconservatives to move the nation toward impunity. Forming an a cappella media chorus, former Bush administration officials appeared on television to claim, without any factual basis, that torture had somehow led the Navy SEALs to Bin Laden. Within weeks, Attorney General Eric Holder announced an end to any investigation of harsh CIA interrogations and to the possibility of bringing any of the CIA torturers to court.  (Consider it striking, then, that the only “torture” case brought to court by the administration involved a former CIA agent, John Kiriakou, who had leaked the names of some torturers.)

Starting on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the country took the next step toward full impunity via a radical rewriting of the past. In a memoir published on August 30, 2011, Dick Cheney claimed the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on an al-Qaeda leader named Abu Zubaydah had turned this hardened terrorist into a “fount of information” and saved “thousands of lives.”

Just two weeks later, on September 12, 2011, former FBI counterterror agent Ali Soufan released his own memoirs, stating that he was the one who started the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah back in 2002, using empathetic, non-torture techniques that quickly gained “important actionable intelligence” about “the role of KSM [Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] as the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.”

Angered by the FBI’s success, CIA director George Tenet dispatched his own interrogators from Washington led by Dr. James Mitchell, the former SERE psychologist who had developed the agency’s harsh “enhanced techniques.” As the CIA team moved up the “force continuum” from “low-level sleep deprivation” to nudity, noise barrage, and the use of a claustrophobic confinement box, Dr. Mitchell’s harsh methods got “no information.”

By contrast, at each step in this escalating abuse, Ali Soufan was brought back for more quiet questioning in Arabic that coaxed out all the valuable intelligence Zubaydah had to offer. The results of this ad hoc scientific test were blindingly clear: FBI empathy was consistently effective, while CIA coercion proved counterproductive.

But this fundamental yet fragile truth has been obscured by CIA censorship and neoconservative casuistry. Cheney’s secondhand account completely omitted the FBI presence. Moreover, the CIA demanded 181 pages of excisions from Ali Soufan’s memoirs that reduced his chapters about this interrogation experience to a maze of blackened lines no regular reader can understand.

The agency’s attempt to rewrite the past has continued into the present. Just last April, Jose Rodriguez, former chief of CIA Clandestine Services, published his uncensored memoirs under the provocative title Hard Measures: How Aggressive C.I.A. Actions after 9/11 Saved American Lives. In a promotional television interview, he called FBI claims of success with empathetic methods “bullshit.”

With the past largely rewritten to assure Americans that the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” had worked, the perpetrators of torture were home free and the process of impunity and immunity established for future use.

Rendition Under Obama

Apart from these Republican pressures, President Obama’s own aggressive views on national security have contributed to an undeniable continuity with many of his predecessor’s most controversial policies. Not only has he preserved the controversial military commissions at Guantanamo and fought the courts to block civil suits against torture perpetrators, he has, above all, authorized continuing CIA rendition flights.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama went beyond any other candidate in offering unqualified opposition to both direct and indirect U.S. involvement in torture. “We have to be clear and unequivocal. We do not torture, period,” he said, adding, “That will be my position as president. That includes, by the way, renditions.”

Only days after his January 2009 inauguration, Obama issued a dramatic executive order ending the CIA’s coercive techniques, but it turned out to include a large loophole that preserved the agency’s role in extraordinary renditions. Amid his order’s ringing rhetoric about compliance with the Geneva conventions and assuring “humane treatment of individuals in United States custody,” the president issued a clear and unequivocal order that “the CIA shall close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities that it currently operates and shall not operate any such detention facility in the future.” But when the CIA’s counsel objected that this blanket prohibition would also “take us out of the rendition business,” Obama added a footnote with a small but significant qualification: “The terms ‘detention facilities’ and ‘detention facility’ in… this order do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis.” Through the slippery legalese of this definition, Obama thus allowed the CIA continue its rendition flights of terror suspects to allied nations for possible torture.

Moreover, in February 2009, Obama’s incoming CIA director Leon Panetta announced that the agency would indeed continue the practice “in renditions where we returned an individual to the jurisdiction of another country, and they exercised their rights… to prosecute him under their laws. I think,” he added, ignoring the U.N. anti-torture convention’s strict conditions for this practice, “that is an appropriate use of rendition.”

As the CIA expanded covert operations inside Somalia under Obama, its renditions of terror suspects from neighboring East African nations continued just as they had under Bush.  In July 2009, for example, Kenyan police snatched an al-Qaeda suspect, Ahmed Abdullahi Hassan, from a Nairobi slum and delivered him to that city’s airport for a CIA flight to Mogadishu. There he joined dozens of prisoners grabbed off the streets of Kenya inside “The Hole” — a filthy underground prison buried in the windowless basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency. While Somali guards (paid for with U.S. funds) ran the prison, CIA operatives, reported the Nation’s Jeremy Scahill, have open access for extended interrogation.

Obama also allowed the continuation of a policy adopted after the Abu Ghraib scandal: outsourcing incarceration to local allies in Afghanistan and Iraq while ignoring human rights abuses there. Although the U.S. military received 1,365 reports about the torture of detainees by Iraqi forces between May 2004 and December 2009, a period that included Obama’s first full year in office, American officers refused to take action, even though the abuses reported were often extreme.

Simultaneously, Washington’s Afghan allies increasingly turned to torture after the Abu Ghraib scandal prompted U.S. officials to transfer most interrogation to local authorities. After interviewing 324 detainees held by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) in 2011, the U.N. found that “torture is practiced systematically in a number of NDS detention facilities throughout Afghanistan.” At the Directorate’s prison in Kandahar one interrogator told a detainee before starting to torture him, “You should confess what you have done in the past as Taliban; even stones confess here.”

Although such reports prompted both British and Canadian forces to curtail prisoner transfers, the U.S. military continues to turn over detainees to Afghan authorities — a policy that, commented the New York Times, “raises serious questions about potential complicity of American officials.”

How to Unclog the System of Justice One Drone at a Time

After a decade of intense public debate over torture, in the last two years the United States has arrived at a questionable default political compromise: impunity at home, rendition abroad.

This resolution does not bode well for future U.S. leadership of an international community determined to end the scourge of torture. Italy’s prosecution of two-dozen CIA agents for rendition in 2009, Poland’s recent indictment of its former security chief for facilitating a CIA black site, and Britain’s ongoing criminal investigation of intelligence officials who collaborated with alleged torture at Guantanamo are harbingers of continuing pressures on the U.S. to comply with international standards for human rights.

Meanwhile, unchecked by any domestic or international sanction, Washington has slid down torture’s slippery slope to find, just as the French did in Algeria during the 1950s, that at its bottom lies the moral abyss of extrajudicial execution. The systematic French torture of thousands during the Battle of Algiers in 1957 also generated over 3,000 “summary executions” to insure, as one French general put it, that “the machine of justice” not be “clogged with cases.”

In an eerie parallel, Washington has reacted to the torture scandals of the Bush era by generally forgoing arrests and opting for no-fuss aerial assassinations. From 2005 to 2012, U.S. drone killings inside Pakistan rose from zero to a total of 2,400 (and still going up) — a figure disturbingly close to those 3,000 French assassinations in Algeria. In addition, it has now been revealed that the president himself regularly orders specific assassinations by drone in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia off a secret “kill list.”  Simultaneously, his administration has taken just one terror suspect into U.S. custody and has not added any new prisoners to Guantanamo, thereby avoiding any more clogging of the machinery of American justice.

Absent any searching inquiry or binding reforms, assassination is now the everyday American way of war while extraordinary renditions remain a tool of state.  Make no mistake: some future torture scandal is sure to arise from another iconic dungeon in the dismal, ever-lengthening historical procession leading from the “tiger cages” of South Vietnam to “the salt pit” in Afghanistan and “The Hole” in Somalia. Next time, the world might not be so forgiving. Next time, with those images from Abu Ghraib prison etched in human memory, the damage to America’s moral authority as world leader could prove even more deep and lasting.

Alfred W. McCoy
is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a TomDispatch regular, and author most recently of
the book, Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation (University of Wisconsin, 2012) which explores the American experience of torture during the past decade. Previous books include: A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (American Empire Project); Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State, and The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. He has also convened the “Empires in Transition” project, a global working group of 140 historians from universities on four continents. The results of their first meetings were published as Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State.

Global Research Editor’s Note

As September approaches, we are reminded that the anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11 will soon be upon us once again. 11 years laters, are we any closer to the truth about what really happened on that fateful day?

For the next month until September 11, 2012, we will be posting on a daily basis important articles from our early archives pertaining to the tragic events of 9/11. 

George Szamuely’s incisive article published more than 10 years ago raises some “uncomfortable questions” regarding Air Force Preparedness in the case of a national emergency: “Why were no fighter planes launched until after the Pentagon was hit?”

“Talk about a lack of urgency! Assuming Otis Air National Guard Base is about 180 miles away from Manhattan it should have taken the F-15s less than six minutes to get here. Moreover, since Washington, DC, is little more than 200 miles from New York, the two F-15 fighters would have had time to get to DC, intercept Flight 77 and grab breakfast on the way.”

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, August 14, 2012

Nothing Urgent

by George Szamuely 


New York Press, Vol. 15, No. 2 

Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG),,   15  February 2002


Let’s revisit the curious lack of military action on the morning of September 11. 

That morning, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard B. Myers, was having a routine meeting on Capitol Hill with Sen. Max Cleland. While the two men chatted away, a hijacked jet plowed into the World Trade Center’s north tower, another one plowed into the south tower and a third one into the Pentagon. And still they went on with their meeting. “[W]hen we came out,” Myers recounted to American Forces Radio and Television Service, “somebody said the Pentagon had been hit.” Myers claims no one had bothered to inform him about the attacks on the World Trade Center. Meanwhile, in Florida, just as President Bush was about to leave his hotel he was told about the attack on the first WTC tower. He was asked by a reporter if he knew what was going on in New York. He said he did, and then went to an elementary school in Sarasota to read to children.

No urgency. Why should there be? Who could possibly have realized then the calamitous nature of the events of that day? Besides, the hijackers had switched the transponders off. So how could anyone know what was going on?

Passenger jet hijackings are not uncommon and the U.S. government has prepared detailed plans to handle them. On Sept. 11 these plans were ignored in their entirety. According to The New York Times, air traffic controllers knew at 8:20 a.m. “that American Airlines Flight 11, bound from Boston to Los Angeles, had probably been hijacked. When the first news report was made at 8:48 a.m. that a plane might have hit the World Trade Center, they knew it was Flight 11.” There was little ambiguity on the matter. The pilot had pushed a button on the aircraft yoke that allowed controllers to hear the hijacker giving orders. Here are the FAA regulations concerning hijackings: “The FAA hijack coordinator…on duty at Washington headquarters will request the military to provide an escort aircraft for a confirmed hijacked aircraft… The escort service will be requested by the FAA hijack coordinator by direct contact with the National Military Command Center (NMCC).” Here are the instructions issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on June 1, 2001: “In the event of a hijacking, the NMCC will be notified by the most expeditious means by the FAA. The NMCC will…forward requests for DOD assistance to the Secretary of Defense for approval.”

In addition, as Vice President Cheney explained on Meet the Press on Sept. 16, only the president has the authority to order the shooting down of a civilian airliner.

The U.S. is supposed to scramble military aircraft the moment a hijacking is confirmed. Myers’ revelation to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 13 that no fighter planes had been launched until after the Pentagon was hit was therefore surprising. Senators and even some tv commentators were a little incredulous. Dan Rather asked: “These hijacked aircraft were in the air for quite a while… Why doesn’t the Pentagon have the kind of protection that they can get a fighter-interceptor aircraft up, and if someone is going to plow an aircraft into the Pentagon, that we have at least some…line of defense?”

Good question. Clearly another, more comforting, story was needed, and on the evening of Sept. 14 CBS launched it by revealing that the FAA had indeed alerted U.S. air defense units of a possible hijacking at 8:38 a.m. on Tuesday, that six minutes later two F-15s received a scramble order at Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod and that by 8:56 the F-15s were racing toward New York. Unfortunately, the fighters were still 70 miles away when the second jet hit the south tower. Meanwhile, at 9:30 a.m., three F-16s were launched from Langley Air Force base, 150 miles south of Washington. But just seven minutes later, at 9:37 a.m., Flight 77 smashed into the Pentagon. The F-16s arrived in Washington just before 10 a.m.

This story, which has now become the “official” version, raises more questions than it answers. F-15s can travel at speeds of 1875 mph while F-16s can travel at 1500 mph. If it took the F-16s half an hour to cover 150 miles, they could not have been traveling at more than 300 mph–at 20 percent capability. Boeing 767s and 757s have cruising speeds of 530 mph. Talk about a lack of urgency! Assuming Otis Air National Guard Base is about 180 miles away from Manhattan it should have taken the F-15s less than six minutes to get here. Moreover, since Washington, DC, is little more than 200 miles from New York, the two F-15 fighters would have had time to get to DC, intercept Flight 77 and grab breakfast on the way.

Ah, but of course the transponders were turned off. So no one could keep track of the planes. If it were true that the moment a transponder is turned off a plane becomes invisible there would be no defense against enemy aircraft. Normal radar echo return from the metal surface of an aircraft would still identify it on the radar scope.

Luckily, we still have first-rate establishment media to make sure that we retain confidence in our government.

Copyright  New York  Press, Vol 15, Issue 2, 2002. The original URL of this article is:  

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A study published by McGill University in Montreal and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, analyzed data from global ground water use against computer generated models of underwater aquifers and concluded that the “groundwater footprint” of reliable resources above ground is 3.5 times larger than the known aquifers.

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Program (HIP) estimates that there is 366 million, trillion gallon of water on Earth.

The IPCC document HS 15332 Climate Change Impacts: Securitization of Water, Food, Soil, Health, Energy and Migration explains how the UN plans to secure resources to use at their disposal. Through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under-developed countries are forced to sell their resources to the global Elite as “full cost recovery” to the global central bankers. Once those resources are under the complete control of the creditors, they become assets to be reallocated back to the enslaved nations for a price.

This scheme makes water sources under central privatization cost more and become less accessible to those who desperately need it. Water prices rise while the quality of it diminishes. This forces people in places like South Africa and India to collect water from polluted streams and rivers, which compromises their health. The cycle in complete when those who had their water stolen from them through coercion die from contaminated water that they were forced to use.

With over-population factored into the algorithms, underground water reserves and their native ecosystems are under the growing threat of human necessity.

Geophysicists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research states that only 282 billion people could be “packed onto the planet”. With the current number at nearly 7 billion, alarmists are pointing out that water will become a highly sought after commodity.

As exampled in South-east Asia, because of the 1.7 billion people using water reserves, the “sobering” fact concluded is that people are over-using groundwater in regions like Asia and North America.

With proper management, Tom Gleeson, lead researcher from McGill University, believes that underground water sources that make up 99% of the world’s fresh and unfrozen water will become crucial to the growing human population.

The UN Environmental Program (UNEP) in a UN-Water Survey of 130 Countries Status Report has forced reformation through international water laws that apply pressure under the guise of “expanding populations, urbanization and climate change”. While clean drinking water for humans is controlled, improvements designed to ensure freshwater reserves for the ecosystem are first and foremost.

Management and use of water under the international agreement known as Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) was back at the 1992 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. This is a part of the Agenda 21 plan. Cooperation of the UNEP and the UN-Water, an inter-agency mechanism to control freshwater resources, relates UN policies to governments on how to allocate their assets.

In Asia and North America, where researchers conclude that water resources are being allocated wastefully, agriculture is being attacked because of its use of water for irrigation. Gleeson says: “The relatively few aquifers that are being heavily exploited are unfortunately critical to agriculture in a number of different countries. So even though the number is relatively small, these are critical resources that need better management.”

Gleeson claims that agriculture’s effect on “the supply of available water” has not had a quantifying measure until his study to show “the impact of such agricultural groundwater use in any consistent, global way.”

By mandating international restriction on water extraction combined with the promotion of meat-less diets, Gleeson asserts that water resources could be shared more sustainably.

The British Geological Survey and the University College London have surveyed African underground aquifers and concluded that there are more than 100 times the amount of water found underground than on the surface of the continent.

Andrew Mitchell, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for International Development is delighted by this find. “This is an important discovery. This research, which the British Government has funded, could have a profound effect on some of the world’s poorest people.”

This discovery could become the largest attempt at water privatization. Water resources worldwide have succumbed to privatization, turning life’s most essential molecule into a global commodity.

In North Africa, uncontrolled plans to extract underground water resources have been deemed unsustainable by the UN.

In disbursement of water resources, while trying to mitigate waste , the use of sewage effluent and other wastewater could preserve wildlife, rivers and ecosystems that are being destroyed by human necessity, in a new study. Stanley Grant, lead author of the study and a UC Irvine civil & environmental engineering professor, states: “This is the only path forward to provide water for humans as well as for ecosystems. We need to focus on improving the productivity and value of existing supplies, which basically means getting more out of a glass of water.”

Water shortages could be rescinded by creating drinking water from wastewater while reducing the total waste from compromised piping in private-owned homes. How water is priced and managed must be reworked to make the most of “scare freshwater resources” say the researchers.

The securitization of water is a conflict of control over society and the right to life. It is a non-negotiable aspect of life on Earth. The false flag threat of water pollution (which is being committed by the global Elite through multi-national corporations) is a cover story for the march toward complete control over all basic necessities required to live.

Pursuit of water security means whoever has the water, choses who lives – and who dies. With the emergence of water regimes, land grabs where known aquifers reside underground make sense. Workshops designed to recruit more alarmists are popping up all over the academic world as the global elites seek to convince as many scholars as possible that the UN would be the best and only chance at fair allocation of our water resources.

Simply put, the “securitization” of water on a global scale (if the economic elites get their way) will be run by the UN only. Their target recommendations will then be directed to individual governments to be made into laws. The citizens of those nations will have no choice but to follow the laws of their countries; if they are to get their ration of life-giving water.

Clinton missionaria in Africa

August 14th, 2012 by Manlio Dinucci

Ha visitato nove paesi africani – Senegal, Uganda, Sud Sudan, Kenya, Malawi, Sudafrica, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin – benedicendo le platee con i suoi «God bless you», giurando che Washington ha quale unico scopo in Africa «rafforzare le istituzioni democratiche, promuovere la crescita economica, far avanzare la pace e la sicurezza». La segretaria di stato Hillary Clinton è dunque andata in Africa, in pieno agosto, per fare opere di bene. L’hanno accompagnata, nella nobile missione, gli executive delle maggiori multinazionali Usa. Affari sì, ma guidati da un principio etico che la Clinton ha così enunciato a Dakar: «Nel 21° secolo, deve finire il tempo in cui degli estranei vengono ad estrarre la ricchezza dell’Africa per se stessi, lasciando dietro di sé niente o molto poco». La Clinton, si sa, è convinta sostenitrice del commercio equo e solidale. Come quello praticato in Nigeria, la cui industria petrolifera è dominata dalle compagnie Usa, che si portano a casa metà del greggio estratto per oltre 30 miliardi di dollari annui. Una colossale fonte di ricchezza per le multinazionali e per l’élite nigeriana al potere, di cui poco o niente resta alla popolazione. Secondo la Banca mondiale, oltre la metà dei nigeriani si trova sotto la soglia di povertà e la durata media della vita è di appena 51 anni. L’inquinamento petrolifero, provocato dalla Shell, ha devastato il delta del Niger: per decontaminarlo, valuta un rapporto Onu, ci vorrebbero almeno 25 anni e miliardi di dollari. Lo stesso si prepara per il Sud Sudan, dove, dopo la scissione dal resto del paese sostenuta dagli Usa, si concentra il 75% delle riserve petrolifere sudanesi, cui si aggiungono preziose materie prime e vaste terre coltivabili. La compagnia texana Nile Trading and Development, presieduta dall’ex ambasciatore E. Douglas, si è accaparrata, con una elemosina di 25mila dollari, 400mila ettari della migliore terra con diritto di sfruttarne le risorse (anche forestali) per 49 anni. L’accaparramento di terre fertili in Africa, espropriate alle popolazioni, è divenuto un lucroso business finanziario, gestito dalla Goldman Sachs e la JP Morgan, su cui speculano con i loro fondi anche la Harvard e altre prestigiose università statunitensi. La strategia economica Usa incontra però in Africa un formidabile ostacolo: la Cina, che a condizioni vantaggiose costruisce per i paesi africani porti e aeroporti, strade e ferrovie. Per superarlo, Washington getta sul tavolo l’asso pigliatutto: il Comando Africa, che «protegge e difende gli interessi di sicurezza nazionale degli Stati uniti, rafforzando le capacità di difesa degli stati africani». In altre parole, facendo leva sulle élite militari (che il Pentagono cerca di reclutare offrendo loro formazione, armi e dollari) per portare più paesi possibili nell’orbita di Washington. Quando non riesce, l’Africom «conduce operazioni militari per fornire un ambiente di sicurezza adatto al buon governo». Come l’operazione Odyssey Dawn, lanciata dall’Africom nel marzo 2011: l’inizio della guerra per rovesciare il governo della Libia (il paese africano con le maggiori riserve petrolifere) e soffocare gli organismi finanziari dell’Unione africana, nati soprattutto grazie agli investimenti libici. Così ora, in Libia, c’è un «buon governo» agli ordini di Washington.

Iranian earthquakes leave over 300 dead

August 14th, 2012 by Mark Church

Two earthquakes struck the north-western provinces of Iran on Saturday, causing extensive damage and loss of life. Hundreds of rural villages have been levelled or badly damaged. The exact number of people killed remains unclear. Early reports placed the number of dead at 250, but by Monday the figure had been raised to more than 300. At least 3,000 people have been injured, with many still in a critical condition.

According to the US Geological Survey, the first quake struck at 3:53 p.m. local time, 60 kilometres north-east of the city of Tabriz, with a magnitude of 6.4. It was followed 10 minutes later by another earthquake, 48 kilometres north-east of Tabriz, with a magnitude of 6.3. More than 80 aftershocks—up to magnitude 5—have struck the region over the past few days.

The towns most severely impacted are Ahar, Harees and Varzaqan in East Azerbaijan province. More than 1,000 neighbouring villages were affected, with at least 20 villages destroyed and 250 suffering varying amounts of damage. Villages closest to the town of Varzaqan were the worst damaged, with many mud brick houses collapsing and trapping those inside, including women and children.

The north-western communities hit by the earthquakes are remote, with limited transport infrastructure making rescue and relief efforts difficult, and causing traffic jams on major roads. Shortages of water and food are being reported throughout the quake zone. Hospitals and emergency medical centres had large queues of people waiting for medical assistance. Many survivors received first aid at the disaster zones.

By Sunday evening, the Iranian authorities had suspended rescue operations, claiming that virtually everyone had been accounted for, and that the priority was to help the survivors. Local residents and emergency workers criticised the decision, pointing out that it was impossible for rescue workers to have reached all the remote villages.

One unnamed doctor told Reuters: “I know the area well. There are some regions where there are villages that you can’t even reach by car.” He added: “In the first hours after the quake, it was ordinary people and volunteers in their own cars going to the affected areas. It was more ordinary people helping out than official crisis staff.”

Reports further highlighted the difficult conditions facing survivors and the inadequacy of government disaster efforts. The Iranian Red Crescent has provided some aid, distributing food, 3,000 tents and requisitioning a stadium to house 16,000 people.

Abbas Fallah, a local parliamentarian, told Mehr News: “Despite the promises of officials, little first aid has been distributed in the region and most people are left without tents. If the situation continues, the toll will rise.”

Deputy health minister Hassan Emam said injured people had been transferred to facilities outside the region because of concern that the local hospitals might collapse. Varzaqan has no major medical facilities, so an emergency centre had to be erected.

By Monday, the local media reported that 36,000 victims had been given shelter. A state grant of nearly $1,000 per family has been approved, along with low-interest loans for up to $6,000.

Offers of support have come from a number of countries, including Turkey, Russia and Japan. On Sunday, the White House issued a brief press release stating: “We stand ready to offer assistance in this difficult time.” US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Americans could donate food and medicine, yet concerns about possible penalties because of US economic sanctions on Iran remain a deterrent.

Moreover, US-led sanctions have helped drive up prices for basic goods, compounding the difficulties facing the quake survivors. Rescue helicopters had to suspend operations on Saturday night as sanctions have also prevented Iran from importing night-vision equipment. The export to Iran of any goods considered to have possible military applications is banned.

The Iranian response to outside aid has been mixed. The head of Iran’s Red Crescent, Abdolhossein Faghih, told a meeting of lawmakers: “We received offers of help from several countries … but as we have sufficient men and resources we did not need this foreign aid. We thanked them for their offers.”

Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, however, stated: “In different situations, our country has helped those in need in other countries and under the current conditions, is ready to receive aid … from different countries.” Iran was criticised for not accepting foreign aid following a 1990 earthquake in the Ghilan and Zandjan provinces, which left up to 50,000 dead.

The latest disaster is smaller than that in 2003, when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake levelled the city of Bam in eastern Iran. Nevertheless, it has exposed many of the same problems. The 2003 earthquake claimed over 26,000 lives and destroyed or damaged 85-95 percent of buildings. The extensive destruction resulted from the lack of quake-resistant buildings. Iranian seismologist Bahram Akasheh commented: “Nowhere in the world would a magnitude 6 earthquake kill so many people. There shouldn’t have been more than 10 injured.”

Most of those killed this week also lived and worked in antiquated mud-brick and concrete buildings, which are common in rural communities. The 2003 earthquake also revealed the lack of quake-resistant buildings in major towns and cities—the result of substandard construction. Despite calls for the enforcement of building codes, changes have been minimal. Many poorer Iranians have little choice but to continue using traditional and dangerous building designs.

Obama’s Bipartisan Transition to “Right America”

August 14th, 2012 by Michael T. Bucci

One is reminded of how far to the Right America has moved in three and one-half short years, due to President Barack Obama.


President Obama was groomed through his Chicago years, and was selected through agreement by both parties to be the nominee of the Democratic Party in 2008 because he and he alone could achieve the neutralizing required, if not the eradication of the critical mass of dissent that was generated during the Bush years (he succeeded). He was the “believing is seeing” candidate then, and remains as much today amongst Obamania “believers”, who are too numerous to discount, but too mesmerized to be awakened.

As in marketing, a successful political strategy is prolonged until fatigue is reached. Obamania is far from deflating because most Obama people haven’t realized their President gravely betrayed them, equaling if not exceeding the immorality and crimes of their erstwhile nemesis George W. Bush. They are deluded, blind, in denial, or simply hypocritical. If my contacts with “Progressives” are any indication, Mr. Obama will secure their vote again. There is an element of adolescent rapture in their excitement.

President Obama moved the pseudo Left-field goal post into Right-field and no one noticed. By posturing as extremists, the Tea Party gave Obama cover to move the post into the Right; then the “extremism” of Libertarians and Paulites gave the GOP cover to move the Republican Party further Right, and in doing so Paul Ryan became palatable as V.P. nominee (also seeking to satisfy Libertarian, Paulite and Evangelical bases); and the extremism of Representative Paul Ryan will permit the next President and Congress to move Right field entirely out of the stadium.

But whether Obama wins or Romney/Ryan win, behind the curtains awaiting activation has sat the “bipartisan” Ryan plan—the anti-government “final solution” weapon. In choosing Ryan, this matter now should be brought to the forefront. It will be the gun held against your head by both candidates if you are a target (poor, disabled, elderly) unless a crisis, distraction or sudden death delays its timing. As planned, Athens is coming to America via the Ryan blueprint which, like in previous examples, will be considered overtly “extreme”, thereby giving cover for the next President and Congress to pass most of its recommendations.

But things could be worse. On the morning of August 11, in introducing his Vice-Presidential running mate to the media, Mr. Romney misspoke. He addressed Representative Paul Ryan as “The Next President of the United States.”

Does he know something I don’t?

Michael T Bucci is a retired public relations executive from New Jersey presently residing in New England. His essays have appeared at The Market Oracle. He is the author of nine books on practical spirituality including White Book: Cerithous

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Syria: Terrorism As A Weapon

August 14th, 2012 by John Cherian

The terror groups operating in the country have been lavishly funded and trained by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and also by Turkey and the U.S., two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) allies. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking after the rebels had briefly seized two border crossings and massacred the soldiers manning the posts, said that cooperation with the armed rebels should increase. Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al Assadi told the media that the Turkey-based Free Syrian Army (FSA) “executed 22 Syrian soldiers in front of the eyes of Iraqi soldiers” after they briefly overran a border post at Abu Kamal, in eastern Syria, close to Iraq, in the third week of July.

The Iraqi government has obviously drawn a parallel with what is happening across its borders to the recent terror attacks in Iraq. Many of the Iraqi “jehadis” have transformed themselves into Syrian freedom fighters.

July became one of the bloodiest months for Syria as the foreign-backed armed groups made a concerted attempt to further destabilise the government led by Bashar al Assad. The terror attack on July 18, which claimed the lives of Defence Minister Dawoud Rahja and three senior officials (Assef Shawkat, deputy head of the Syrian Army and brother-in-law of Bashar al Assad; Hassan Turkmani, Chief of Crisis Operations; and Hisham Bakhtiar, head of Intelligence) who were in the forefront of the security drive to clear the armed groups from their strongholds, was indeed a serious blow to the government. The fact that the bombing occurred in the National Security Building where meetings are often chaired by the President himself is a serious cause for alarm as it could not have happened without the help of hostile foreign powers.

The Turkish newspaper Habberturk reported that Israeli Intelligence played an important role in the attack. It quoted an unidentified former American intelligence analyst as saying that the “entire attack smelled of Mossad”. Israeli President Shimon Peres has publicly stated that he wants the Syrian government to collapse. If a pro-Western government is installed in Damascus, then Israel can turn its full attention to Hizbollah, and the United States can focus on regime change in Iran.

The Syrian government said that foreign powers were behind the attack and named “Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel” as the countries responsible for the act of terror. A Reuters report in the last week of July said that a secret base located in Adana province near Turkey’s border with Syria was the “nerve centre” from where operations to topple the government in Damascus were being launched. The U.S’ military base of Incirlik is also based in Adana.

The leaders of the countries ranged against Syria virtually applauded the terror attack. The U.S. State Department spokesman, while saying that Washington was against further bloodshed in Syria, “noted” that those killed and injured “were key architects of the Assad regime’s assault on the Syrian people”. A palpable regret could be noticed in the statements issued by some governments that the primary target of the bombing – the President – was not among the casualties. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the American reaction to the Damascus blasts “as a direct endorsement of terrorism”. He said that the position Washington had adopted was “a sinister one”.

The terror groups operating in the country have been lavishly funded and trained by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and also by Turkey and the U.S., two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) allies. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking after the rebels had briefly seized two border crossings and massacred the soldiers manning the posts, said that cooperation with the armed rebels should increase. Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al Assadi told the media that the Turkey-based Free Syrian Army (FSA) “executed 22 Syrian soldiers in front of the eyes of Iraqi soldiers” after they briefly overran a border post at Abu Kamal, in eastern Syria, close to Iraq, in the third week of July.

According to reports, most FSA commanders are Iraqi Sunnis. A series of terror attacks had taken place in the Shia-dominated areas in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities in July. It is not surprising that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Malki has refused to endorse the Arab League’s call to Bashar al Assad to step down. The Iraqi government has obviously drawn a parallel with what is happening across its borders to the recent terror attacks in Iraq. Many of the Iraqi “jehadis” have transformed themselves into Syrian freedom fighters.

It is estimated that more than a hundred armed groups are operating in the urban areas of the country. The U.S. media have finally acknowledged that Al Qaeda and Salafist fighters who infiltrated from the neighbouring countries were responsible for the spectacular suicide bombings and sectarian attacks. Randa Kassis, one of the leading figures of the FSA, told the German magazine Der Spiegel that “the Islamist groups, which are superbly financed and equipped by the Gulf states, are ruthlessly seizing decision-making power for themselves”. Muslim clerics in many Arab countries are urging young people to turn Syria into another Afghanistan. German intelligence has estimated that around 90 per cent of the armed insurgents owe their allegiance to Al Qaeda. A recent Time magazine report said that Al Qaeda flags dominate in rural areas currently occupied by the armed groups.


Immediately after the Damascus terror attack, Washington and its allies started piling pressure on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to invoke Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter, which allows the use of outside military force against Syria. It was the third time in nine months that the U.S. and its allies tried to force a resolution on Syria. Russia and China once again vetoed the resolution. South Africa (a member of BRICS, an association of the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and Pakistan chose to abstain. But India, which currently occupies a seat in the UNSC, once again voted with the West. Russia and China have remained steadfast on the side of the beleaguered Syrian government even as traditional friends such as India have virtually deserted it in its time of need.

South Africa, in fact, criticised the one-sided nature of the draft resolution. India, which had chosen to abstain on the crucial resolution which led to outside military intervention in Libya last year, changed its stance in the case of Syria. New Delhi has been consistently siding with the West and the Sunni Arab monarchies on issues ranging from Libya to Iran. The BRICS countries are supposed to present a united front on crucial foreign policy issues. The final declaration issued at the 2012 BRICS summit held in New Delhi in March, stressed the need for cohesiveness while voting on important political issues in international forums.

Vitaly Churkin, the Russian Ambassador to the U.N., accused the Western members of the U.N. of attempting “to fan the flames of confrontation in the Security Council”. He said that the draft resolution on Syria, which was put to vote, was “biased”, adding that “the threat of sanctions was exclusively aimed at the government of Syria, and does not reflect the reality of the country today. It is especially ambiguous in the light of what happened with the grave terrorist attack that took place in Damascus.”

The Russian Foreign Minister said in Moscow that the position of the West in practical terms meant that they “are going to support such acts of terrorism until the UNSC acts on their demands”. He emphasised that the West was not interested in solving the crisis in Syria, which had been dragging on for more than a year, in a collective manner. The resolution presented in the UNSC made no mention of the terror groups inside Syria being backed by outside forces. Nor was there any suggestion from the West and its allies about stopping support for the armed militants fighting the Syrian government.

The rebels in Syria know fully well that without outside intervention they will never be able to defeat the Syrian Army. The Security Council had invoked Chapter Seven against Libya last year, following which the West immediately started a bombing campaign and openly trained and armed the anti-government militias there. The result was more bloodshed and carnage. The goal of regime change was achieved, but instability in the region only increased, with civil war engulfing neighbouring Mali and militant groups, armed with weapons looted from Libya, creating havoc even in countries such as Nigeria. Libya itself is in danger of being balkanised, with the eastern part threatening to secede.

Washington was also not keen to extend the terms of the Kofi Annan-led Peace Mission to Syria. China, along with India, wanted to give the mission another 45 days. A compromise was finally reached on July 20, extending the mission by another 30 days with the possibility of a further extension provided there was a cessation of the use of heavy weapons. The tactics of the armed groups is to occupy sections of cities and towns, leaving the government with little option but to drive them away using heavy artillery at times. This happened in Damascus in late July. When the rebels were driven out of Damascus, they opened up another front in a section of Aleppo, the largest city in the country. Washington, which anyway was never too enamoured of the Annan plan, wants to give it a formal burial after the latest extension.

The Barack Obama administration knows fully well that the rebels it is arming and financing will keep on fighting and the Syrian state will respond to preserve law and order. The pliant media under its control will pin all the atrocities happening in the country on the government or groups supporting it. The veteran German war correspondent Jurgen Totenhofer, writing in the widely circulated newspaper Bild, accused the rebels of “deliberately killing civilians and then presenting them as victims of the government”. He described this “massacre marketing strategy” as being “among the most disgusting things I have ever experienced in an armed conflict”.

The Syrian government seems determined to ride out the maelstrom currently buffeting it. Besides diplomatic support from Russia and China, Syria is also assured of military backing from traditional allies such as Iran. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem was in Teheran on an unscheduled visit at the end of July. He said in Teheran that the bulk of the anti-government fighters were now staging a last-ditch fight in Aleppo. “They will definitely be defeated,” he told a joint press conference along with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi. Muallem said that his country “is a target of a global plot whose agents are in this region”. Salehi warned about the adverse consequences for the entire region if the Bashar al Assad government was ousted by force. He said that the consequences “would engulf the region and eventually the entire world”.

Iran’s Vice-President in charge of international affairs, Ali Saeedlou, told a visiting Syrian delegation in the last week of July that his country was ready to share its “experience and capabilities with the brother nation of Syria”. In the same week, General Massoud Jazayeri said that Syria had friends in the region who were ready to “strike out”. He was probably referring to the Hizbollah in Lebanon. The Hizbollah leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, in an important speech delivered in the third week of July to commemorate the 2006 war against an Israeli invasion force in Lebanon, said that “Syria is a genuine problem for the U.S. and Israel” because it is “a linking bridge between Iran and the resistance and, in better words, the principal supporter of the resistance at a special military level”.

He went on to say that it was Syria’s help that proved crucial in its victory against the Israeli forces. He said that Syria gave most of the arms and missiles to the resistance forces during the 33-day war in 2006. Nasrallah blamed the West for sponsoring terrorist activities in Syria and blocking a national dialogue. He said the main reason why the U.S. was trying to destabilise Syria was the country’s support for the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance against Israel, “the gendarme of the region”. Almost on cue, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.S. media that his government was ready to take military action against Syria to prevent chemical weapons from falling into the hands “of Hizbollah and other terror groups”. U.S. and Israeli officials are now citing the pretext of “chemical weapons” to intervene militarily in Syria. The U.S. had used the non-existent threat of weapons of mass destruction as a ruse to invade Iraq in 2003.

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Innescare una guerra civile turca tramite il caos siriano

August 14th, 2012 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

La Turchia è di per sé un obiettivo importante della destabilizzazione, dello sconvolgimento e infine della balcanizzazione, attraverso la sua partecipazione all’assedio degli USA contro la Siria. Ankara ha bruciato i ponti con la Siria, a causa della sua fallimentare politica regionale neo-ottomana. Il governo turco ha attivamente perseguito il cambio di regime e spiato la Siria per conto della NATO e d’Israele, ha violato la sovranità siriana, ha supportato il terrorismo e l’illegalità, e ha fornito supporto logistico all’insurrezione in Siria.

Le probabilità di vedere una qualche forma di leadership regionale turca con il neo-ottomanesimo, sono sbiadite. I confini meridionali della Turchia sono stati trasformati in centri logistici e d’intelligence della CIA e del Mossad, completati con il “centro nevralgico” dell’intelligence nella città turca di Adana. Nonostante le smentite della Turchia, le notizie su Adana sono innegabili e ufficiali turchi sono stati arrestati durante le operazioni segrete militari contro la Repubblica araba siriana. Il Partito laburista turco ha anche chiesto che il Console Generale degli Stati Uniti ad Adana, sia deportato per “aver architettato e guidato le attività dei terroristi siriani”. Mehmet Ali Ediboglu e Mevlut Dudu, due parlamentari turchi, hanno testimoniato che i combattenti stranieri hanno affittato case al confine della Turchia con la Siria, e che ambulanze turche hanno contrabbandato armi agli insorti in territorio siriano. (Autoambulanze della croce rossa italiana fecero lo stesso per conto dell’UCK, durante l’aggressione alla Jugoslavia nel 1999. NdT).

L’isolamento regionale turco

Se crollasse lo stato siriano, la vicina Turchia ne sarà il più grande perdente. Il primo ministro turco Recep Tayyip Erdogan e il suo governo stanno stupidamente portando la Turchia al disastro. A parte le relazioni storicamente cattive di Ankara con l’Armenia, Erdogan da solo è riuscito ad allontanare la Russia e i tre vicini più importanti della Turchia. Ciò ha danneggiato l’economia turca e interrotto il flusso di merci turche. Ci sono state anche repressioni nei confronti di attivisti, in relazione alla politica della Turchia contro Damasco. Pure la libertà dei media turchi è stata colpita; Erdogan ha portato andato avanti la legislazione per limitare le libertà dei media. Il primo ministro Erdogan e il ministro degli esteri turco Ahmet Davutoglu hanno addirittura attaccato “i giornalisti che hanno citato le dichiarazioni del presidente Assad su Cumhuriyet, accusandoli di tradimento, perché avevano messo in dubbio la versione ufficiale turca del jet turco abbattuto [per spionaggio] in Siria.”

Tensioni si stanno formando sul fianco orientale della Turchia con Iraq e Iran. Baghdad sta riesaminando le sue relazioni diplomatiche con il governo turco, perché Ankara sta incoraggiando il governo regionale del Kurdistan, nel nord dell’Iraq, ad agire in modo indipendente dal governo federale iracheno. Il governo Erdogan ha fatto questo in parte come risultato della ferma opposizione di Baghdad al cambio di regime in Siria, e in parte a causa del rafforzamento dell’alleanza con l’Iran dell’Iraq. Teheran d’altra parte ha sospeso i visti di ingresso dei cittadini turchi in Iran, e ha avvertito il governo turco che giocando con il fuoco dell’incendio regionale, in Siria, finirà per bruciarsi anche la Turchia.

Crescenti divisioni interne in Turchia 

Nonostante tutti i discorsi patriottici fatti dal governo turco per radunare il popolo turco contro la Siria, la Turchia è una nazione molto più divisa sull’ostilità di Erdogan verso Damasco. Una parte significativa della Grande Assemblea Nazionale della Turchia o Meclis turca e dei partiti di opposizione della Turchia, ha condannato Erdogan per aver ingannato il popolo turco e per trascinare il loro paese verso il disastro. Vi è anche un risentimento crescente tra i cittadini della Turchia per la cooperazione di Erdogan con Stati Uniti, NATO, Israele e le dittature arabe – come il Qatar e l’Arabia Saudita – contro i siriani ed altri. La maggior parte dei cittadini turchi si oppone ai legami turchi con Israele, all’accoglienza di strutture della NATO in Turchia, al progetto di scudo antimissile e alla cooperazione con gli Stati Uniti in Medio Oriente.

Il Partito Repubblicano del Popolo, il secondo più grande partito politico e principale partito d’opposizione della Turchia, ha condannato il governo di Ankara sulla Siria. Il suo leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, ha apertamente accusato il primo ministro Erdogan di interferire negli affari interni della Siria. Kilicdaroglu è stato affiancato da altri partiti politici turchi, nel condannare Erdogan e il suo Partito della Giustizia e Sviluppo. Devlet Bahceli, il leader del Partito del Movimento Nazionalista, ha avvertito il governo turco a non trascinare il paese in una guerra con la Siria, attraverso l’intervento. “Alcuni paesi occidentali hanno messo sotto pressione la Turchia per un intervento in Siria. La Turchia non deve cadere in questa trappola”, ha avvertito Erdogan Bahceli, che guida il terzo partito politico turco, secondo la stampa turca. Il Partito della Pace e la Democrazia, che è il quarto più grande partito politico turco, ha anch’esso chiarito che è contro la guerra con la Siria. Il politico Selahattin Demirtas, che è uno dei leader del Partito della Pace e la Democrazia, ha avvertito che qualsiasi intervento militare di Ankara in Siria, trascinerebbe la Turchia in una grande guerra regionale. Hasan Basri Ozbey, il vice leader del Partito laburista turco, ha annunciato che il suo partito presenterà una denuncia contro il presidente turco Abdullah Gul alla Meclis e alla Corte Superiore turca, per perseguire Gul, perché il Partito laburista “ha prove evidenti che [Gul] ha incitato al terrorismo e alla guerra in Siria, e ha firmato un accordo segreto con gli Stati Uniti, che da solo motiva un processo”. Kamalak Mustafa, il leader del Partito della Felicità, ha anche guidato una delegazione turca che ha incontrato Bashar al-Assad, per dimostrare il suo sostegno alla Siria e l’opposizione alle politiche di Erdogan.

La mobilitazione dei militari turchi sul confine siriano, quale dimostrazione di forza, è una tattica psicologica per spaventare il regime siriano. Tutte le operazioni militari su vasta scala contro i siriani sarebbero molto pericolose per la Turchia, con il rischio di una frammentazione delle forze armate turche. Segmenti dei militari turchi sono in contrasto con il governo turco e l’esercito stesso è diviso sulla politica estera turca. Erdogan non ha nemmeno la fiducia della metà dei vertici militari della Turchia e ne ha arrestato 40, per aver pianificato di rovesciarlo. Come può anche inviare una forza d’attacco nella vicina Siria e pensare di poterla controllare durante una grande guerra?

Il pericolo di un “contraccolpo” dalla Siria
Mentre la Turchia strombazza che non permetterà che le milizie curde stabiliscano basi nel nord della Siria, il governo turco ha effettivamente facilitato proprio questo. C’è il rischio reale di un “effetto boomerang” dalla Siria in Turchia. Come la Siria, la Turchia è un caleidoscopio di popoli e fedi diversi. Gli abitanti della Turchia sono tenuti insieme dal primato della lingua turca e da una cittadinanza condivisa. Le minoranze della Turchia costituiscono come minimo un terzo del paese. Una parte significativa delle comunità della minoranze della Turchia ha legami con Siria, Iraq o Iran.

I curdi e simili altri popoli iranici da soli costituiscono circa il 25% della popolazione turca, il che significa che uno su quattro cittadini turchi è di origine curda e iranica. Altre minoranze etniche sono arabi, armeni, assiri, azeri, bulgari e greci. Cifre esatte non sono mai state a disposizione sui musulmani sciiti della Turchia, a causa della persecuzione storica e delle restrizioni dei musulmani sciiti in Turchia dai tempi degli ottomani. Comunque dal 20% al 30% o più della popolazione turca può essere classificata musulmana sciita, includendo aleviti, alawiti e sciiti duodecimani. La Turchia ha anche una piccola minoranza cristiana, che in parte ha legami storici o organizzativi con la Siria, come gli alawiti e gli arabi della Turchia. La Turchia sarà consumata, in un modo o nell’altro, in caso di grande conflitto settario diffuso dalla Siria, e se la Siria dovesse essere violentemente divisa lungo le fratture settarie.

La natura auto-distruttiva del coinvolgimento turco in Siria

Tutti i fattori di cui sopra sono una ricetta per il disastro. Una guerra civile in Turchia è una possibilità reale in uno stato turco sempre più polarizzato. Nel caso la Siria bruciasse, anche la Turchia alla fine brucerebbe. È per questo che un intero spettro di leader turchi ha messo in guardia il loro paese e il loro popolo dalle conseguenze dello scherzare con il fuoco in Siria di Erdogan, Davutoglu e Gul, cosa che avrà conseguenze disastrose per la Turchia e tutti i paesi confinanti con la Siria.

Il governo di Erdogan è riuscito ad allontanare la Turchia dai suoi vicini più importanti, a danneggiare l’economia turca e a destabilizzare confini del proprio paese. Questo, tuttavia, è solo la punta di un iceberg rispetto ai danni che potrebbe infliggere alla Turchia. I turchi hanno camminato su una trappola, la possibile operazione kamikaze auto-distruttiva contro la Siria. L’assedio degli USA alla Siria è volto a creare il caos in tutto il tutto il Medio Oriente e accendere altri conflitti regionali. Le violenze e il conflitto dalla Siria sono destinati a consumare anche Libano e Iraq. Dall’interno di questa mischia, la Turchia ne uscirebbe indebolita e divisa, come Stati Uniti, NATO e Israele hanno previsto nel loro progetto per creare un “nuovo Medio Oriente”.

È gradita la ripubblicazione con riferimento alla rivista on-line della Strategic Culture Foundation (

Israel’s Netanyahu Attempts to Shame UN

August 13th, 2012 by Tony Cartalucci

Netanyahu regime ‘leaks’ phone conversation with UN’s Ban Ki Moon to shame him over decision to attend Non-Aligned Movement Conference (NAM) in Tehran, Iran. Pulls “antisemitic” card. 

Haaretz in their report titled, “UN chief angered over Netanyahu’s ‘leak’ of private talk on Iran, sources say,” claims, “United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has been angered over what he considered to be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “leaking” of the contents of a phone conversation between the two regarding the UN chief’s planned visit to Tehran.”

 Image: Ban Ki Moon and Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. (Photo by Flash 90)
During the alleged phone conversation, Netanyahu expressed “disappointment” that Ban Ki Moon would be attending the conference claiming he, “saw no reason to visit a country whose government is anti-Semitic and openly declares its intention to destroy Israel.” It is claimed Netanyahu also mentioned Teheran’s alleged statements about “annihilating the Zionist entity.”

Haaretz did not clarify that the statement Netanyahu is referring was both translated incorrectly and taken purposefully out of context (here and here). Haaretz also fails to mention that accusations against Iran of being “anti-Semitic” are ludicrous at face value, as the Syrian Arab Republic (Arabs being Semites) is one of Iran’s closest allies, while the largest population of Jews in the Muslim World resides peacefully in Iran (and here).  
“Leak” is PR Stunt Designed to Undermine NAM & UN Diplomatic Representation There

Netanyahu’s “leak” attempted to paint the NAM conference, involving representatives from well over half the world’s population, as an “illegitimate” exercise in international diplomacy hosted by a “belligerent,” “bigoted,” and “backward” nation. 

Image: NAM members are in dark-blue, observers in light-blue. Collectively the conference brings together representatives of over half the world’s population. Israel’s Netanyahu government has attempted to intimidate and shame UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon from attending the conference in hopes of undermining it, and specifically this year’s host nation, Iran.
In reality, Netanyahu’s “leak” of his phone conversation with the UN’s Ban Ki Moon is a public relations stunt intended to play on whatever credit there remains for the “anti-Semite” card and Iran’s portrayal as the premier “state sponsor of international terrorism.” This is in part to undermine Iran, this year’s host nation, as well as sabotage an anticipated follow-up to the highly-successful “International Consultative Conference on Syria” held earlier this month.

Unfortunately for Netanyahu and his increasingly tenuous legitimacy, his government’s support and role in Western operations undermining the peace and security of neighboring Syria through the use of listed terrorist organizations including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al Qaeda itself, instead place him amongst the premier state sponsors of international terrorism.

His nation, which should be enjoying standards of living and prosperity amongst the highest on Earth considering Israel’s extensive human resources, is facing austerity and economic hardship as the collective talent and potential of the Israeli people are squandered in the pursuit of armed corporate-financier hegemony instead of peaceful progress.

If Netanyahu is not presiding over a backward, bankrupted, terroristic state, no one else on Earth is.  His latest attempt to betray the trust of an alleged international body representing humanity’s collective “rule of law” not only indicates immensely unprofessional and conniving statesmanship, but a degree of diplomatic thuggery and intimidation that has no place in the so-called “Free World.”

The UN, which should be ashamed for many other reasons, including its failure to categorically condemn the West’s violent subversion of Syria via listed terrorist organizations, has no reason to be ashamed for attending the upcoming NAM conference in Tehran. Netanyahu on the other hand, has exposed himself and the interests he represents as both connivers and thugs attempting to intimidate diplomats from attending the conference.

The Israeli Government is the Greatest Enemy of the Israeli People

Western corporate-financier oligarchs have done more to send both Americans and Israelis to their deaths than any combination of suicide belt-wearing, Kalashnikov-waving “terrorists.” The “War on Terror” is indeed a fraud, and Israel’s government has masterfully played a pivotal role – maintaining a strategy of tension to keep its own people in perpetual fear, while keeping their perceived enemies in perpetual and absolute rage.  When enemies are difficult to find, the government of Israel and its corporate-financier backers upon Wall Street and in the city of London create them, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas (and here), and Al Qaeda.

The result is a nation at constant war, with an inexhaustible supply of enemies in an unending conflict giving the interests of Wall Street and London – the very interests that created the modern state of Israel to begin with – an excuse to remain perpetually engaged in the Middle East with a military encampment the size of a nation at their constant disposal.

Augmenting this camp are the Israeli people themselves, just as lied to, manipulated, and kept in constant fear as their counterparts in the West to keep the rank and file of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) as full as Wall Street’s American Armed Forces or Europe’s NATO foot soldiers. 

The Israeli people are no less well-intentioned, talented, or full of potential as any other people on Earth, but they are likewise just as susceptible to being indoctrinated, misled, and terrorized into taking a course of action in no way beneficial to themselves or their nation. The Israeli government does not pursue a foreign or domestic policy conducive to its own self-preservation, let alone its prosperity as a nation.

Its constant warmongering, meddling geopolitically beyond its borders, and the creation and perpetuation of its alleged “enemies” have indeed killed more Israelis than any “terrorist.” The Israeli government and the corporate-financier interests they represent are the Israeli people’s worst enemy. It would be wise for both the Israeli people, and those who perceive themselves to be “enemies of Israel” to remember that and make a clear distinction when moving forward. 

The revelation about President Barack Obama’s decision to provide secret American aid to Syria’s rebel forces is a game changer. The presidential order, known as an “intelligence finding” in the world of espionage, authorizes the CIA to support armed groups fighting to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s government. But it threatens far more than the regime in Damascus.

The disclosure took its first casualty immediately. Kofi Annan, the special envoy to Syria, promptly announced his resignation, bitterly protesting that the UN Security Council had become a forum for “finger-pointing and name-calling.” Annan blamed all sides directly involved in the Syrian conflict, including local combatants and their foreign backers. But the timing of his resignation was striking. For he knew that with the CIA helping Syria’s armed groups, America’s Arab allies joining in and the Security Council deadlocked, he was redundant.

President Obama’s order to supply CIA aid to anti-government forces in Syria has echoes of an earlier secret order signed by President Jimmy Carter, also a Democrat, in July 1979. Carter’s fateful decision was the start of a CIA-led operation to back Mujahideen groups then fighting the Communist government in Afghanistan. As I discuss the episode in my book Breeding Ground: Afghanistan and the Origins of Islamist Terrorism (chapters 7 & 8), the operation, launched with a modest aid package, became a multi-billion dollar war project against the Communist regime in Kabul and the Soviet Union, whose forces invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. In the following year, Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan, who went for broke, pouring money and weapons into Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation forces to the bitter end.

Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski later claimed that it was done on his recommendation, and that the motive was to lure Soviet forces into Afghanistan to give the Kremlin “its Vietnam.” The Soviets’ humiliating retreat from Afghanistan in 1989, the collapse of Soviet and Afghan communism and the rise of the Taliban triggered a chain reaction with worldwide consequences. President Obama’s decision to intervene in support of Syria’s rebels, who include fundamentalist Islamic fighters, points to history repeating itself. Brzezinski, now in his 85th year, still visits Washington’s corridors of power. And General David Petraeus, a formidable warrior, is director of the CIA.

Three decades on, it seems likely that President Carter’s motive behind signing the secret order to provide aid to the Mujahideen was to entice the Soviets into Afghanistan’s inhospitable terrain, thus keeping their military away from Iran in the midst of the Islamic Revolution which overthrew America’s proxy, Shah Reza Pahlavi, in February 1979. If that was indeed the plan, then the Soviet leadership fell right into the Afghan trap.

China was then part of the U.S.-led alliance against the Soviets. Now Beijing and Moscow stand together against Washington as the conflict in Syria escalates. Otherwise, the U.S.-led alliance has many of the old players––the much enlarged European Union, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others in the Sunni bloc in the Arab world. And Turkey, which is now the base for the anti-Assad forces, channeling help to them. Turkey’s Islamist government plays a crucial role in Syria, like Pakistan in the 1980s during America’s proxy war in Afghanistan.

In Washington, an American official told Reuters that “the United States was collaborating with a secret command center operated by Turkey and its allies.” And a few days before, the news agency reported that Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey had established a “nerve center” in Adana in southern Turkey, near the Syrian border, to coordinate their activities. The place is home to America’s Incirlik air base and military and intelligence services.

According to NBC News a few days ago, the rebel Free Syrian Army has acquired American Stinger missiles via Turkey, clearly to target Syrian government aircraft. It reminds of President Reagan’s decision in the mid-1980s to supply Stingers to Mujahideen groups for use against Soviet aircraft. Their use was first reported in 1987 and it soon emerged that the heat-seeking weapons were so accurate that they were hitting three out of four aircraft in Afghanistan. As I have discussed in my book Breeding Ground, some of the hundreds of Stingers were likely to have been passed on to the Taliban and their allies after the Soviet forces left Afghanistan and the last Communist government in Kabul collapsed in 1992.

In recent months, American and European officials have been busy feeding information to media outlets that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the main sources of weapons to rebels in Syria through Turkey. The pattern is consistent with the long-standing Saudi policy to keep Islamists out of Saudi Arabia itself, lest they challenge the ruling family. Long-term lessons of proxy wars remain unheeded for immediate perilous “gains.”

Reports of the Obama administration sending Stinger missiles to Syrian rebels carry the first indication that non-state players now have advanced U.S. weaponry in the Middle East. That Washington is in such a cozy alliance with forces including Islamists soon after the killing of Osama bin Laden (on Obama’s personal order) is as incredible as it is consistent with follies of the past. The present will define the future again.

The situation in Egypt is becoming explosive. The killing of 16 Egyptian border guards in the Sinai Peninsula by “suspected Islamists,” and violence thereafter, represent challenges on several fronts for the new president Mohamed Morsi. Israel has been quick to blame Islamic militants in Gaza, ruled by Hamas, which has close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of the Egyptian president. For its part, the Brotherhood has pointed the finger at Israel’s secret service Mossad, claiming it is a plot to thwart Morsi’s presidency. These developments cast a shadow over Morsi’s relations with Hamas and, at the same time, increase his dependence on the Egyptian armed forces to quell the unrest, thereby undermining his authority. Murderous optimism of powerful and suicidal pessimism of victims in an oppressive environment blight the lives of many.

Deepak Tripathi
is a British historian, journalist and researcher with a particular reference to South and West Asia, terrorism and United States policy.

As battles in Syria rage, there appears to be talk of breaking the country into pieces as a way to end conflict. But the question arises over whose interests would be served by cutting up the Arab nation?

“The partitioning of Syria is the Israeli solution—their overarching goal is to weaken every Arab state by bringing religion and ethnicity into the equation,” James Paul, executive director of Global Policy Forum, told The Final Call. “We do not want to live in a world like that,” he said.

Discussions concerning the possible partitioning of Syria became a hot-button issue in the corridors of the UN after a blogger reported that an unnamed diplomat revealed the plan to partition Syria into three new states—Alawite, Sunni and Kurdish.

Dr. Stephen Zunes, professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, explained why he disagrees with those who say Syria may be partitioned: “The religious and ethnic divisions in Syria are not so tightly geographically demarcated as to make any kind of partition realistically possible.”

But,, a provider of geopolitical analysis tended to agree with Mr. Paul saying Syria “could collapse into a Lebanon situation in which it disintegrates into regions held by various factions with no effective central government.”

“Regime change and balkanization in Syria is very closely tied to the objective of dismantling the ‘resistance bloc’ formed by Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, the Palestinians, and various Iraqi groups opposed to the U.S. and Israel,” said Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, a Canadian-based sociologist, scholar and research associate at the Center for Global Research. 

Mr. Nazemroaya continued: “The road to Tehran is being paved through Damascus and the Syrian government was constantly warned for several years to de-link itself from its Iranian ally and the Arab resistance groups.” Israel and the White House want to see the region in sectarian upheaval where the Arabs are killing one another, he added.

Some observers say more and more the U.S. role in destabilizing the Syrian regime becomes clear, as media headlines Aug. 2 reported a “secret order” signed by President Obama authorizing the Central Intelligence Agency and other U.S. agencies to support rebels fighting to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. News reports also said there is no way of knowing when the president signed the order.

The New York Times on June 21 revealed that the CIA was operating secretly in Southern Turkey helping with the arming of Syrian opposition fighters.

The White House had declined to comment at Final Call press time.

On Aug. 1, a spokesman for the U.S. State Dept. informed the press that the Obama administration had a $25 million budget for “nonlethal assistance” to the Syrian opposition, and had spent approximately $10 million so far. The White House announced Aug. 2 it was providing an additional $12 million in U.S. humanitarian assistance and another $76 million in assistance for food, water, medical supplies, clothing and hygiene kits.

The UN refugee agency said thousands of frightened residents fleeing the violence in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, are seeking shelter in schools, mosques and public buildings. The Syrian Arab Red Cross said they are registering about 300 displaced families a day.

Well over 70,000 people have sought formal protection in Turkey, while the Jordanian government estimates some 150,000 Syrian refugees have entered since March of 2011. In Lebanon, 34,096 where displaced Syrians are receiving protection and assistance, according to the UN.

“This balkanization process is very dangerous, because it essentially means segregating people. It is the ‘clash of civilizations’ that the neo-cons and their Likud cousins in Israel want,” said Mr. Nazemroaya.

The Christians of Syria like their brethren in Iraq are being forced to flee their ancestral homes, he said.

Bill Fletcher, executive editor of Black Commentator, doesn’t buy into the theory of the West deliberately re-drawing the maps of Arab nations. “When you look at Syria it is much like Libya, a legitimate rising up of people against tyranny,” Mr. Fletcher argued. Forces in the West do not see Syria as a possible threat to Israel, but Syria’s relationship with Iran is seen as the threat, he said.

“I want to emphasize that we are not only dealing with a strategy to only divide and destabilize the Arab countries. This is a strategy that targets Africa, Iran, Russia, and Russia’s former Soviet sister-republics, Pakistan and China,” argued Mr. Nazemroaya.

West Celebrates as Dark Age Descends over Egypt

August 13th, 2012 by Tony Cartalucci

Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood begins rounding up outspoken journalists as Egypt arrays itself with West against Syria and Iran. 

US State Department’s Voice of America boldly proclaimed “Egyptian Media: Military Shakeup ‘Revolutionary’,” airing proclamations from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that, “Egyptians have been “dreaming of a fair democratic system for more than 60 years.” It is unlikely that Egyptians have been “dreaming” of an end to their secular system of governance, or “dreaming” of a sectarian extremist political party coming to power, notorious for thuggery, violence, and for being a stalwart pillar of Western machinations.

Image: Mohamed Morsi – hardly a “hardline extremists” himself, he is the embodiment of the absolute fraud that is the Muslim Brotherhood – a leadership of Western-educated, Western-serving technocrats posing as “pious Muslims” attempting to cultivate a base of fanatical extremists prepared to intimidate through violence the Brotherhood’s opposition. Failing that, they are prepared to use (and have used) extreme violence to achieve their political agenda.  

And already, Egypt’s “democratic dreams” are vanishing like the last wisp of morning mist as the ruling Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt begins rounding up critics amongst the media. AFP recently reported in their article, “Egyptian journalists to be tried for insulting Mursi,” that “television boss Tawfiq Okasha and newspaper journalist Islam Afifi will be tried for “incitement” and insulting Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi.”

Strangely, while similar actions around the world beget howling indignation from organizations including Freedom House, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and IFEX – not to mention the US State Department itself which underwrites each of these faux-human rights advocates – there is not only absolute silence regarding this assault on “freedom of expression,” but instead, a collective chorus of support from the Western media, hailing Morsi’s increasingly despotic dismantling of Egypt’s checks and balances through an increasing aggressive consolidation of power, as a “step forward for revolution.”

Morsi’s assault on Egypt’s press has coincided with “mysterious” sectarian extremist attacks on Egyptian security forces on the Sinai Peninsula, most likely the collective work of Israel and Hamas. Of course, Hamas, an affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, is a direct creation of Israel (and here), and like the Muslim Brotherhood, is a pillar of US-Israeli machinations throughout the region.

Morsi quickly used the convenient attacks as a pretense to sack various security officials, the momentum of which carried forward to the forced “retirement” of Egypt’s military leadership.

Fortune 500-funded think-tanks including the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution would gush over Morsi’s move to extra-legally procure more power – with CFR’s Steven Cook declaring Morsi as “extraordinarily powerful.” Cook would concede however that “in theory,” this is a “more healthy place for Egypt to be in a democratic transition, but you have to raise questions about the democratic credentials of the Muslim Brotherhood.” 

So What are the Brotherhood’s “Democratic Credentials?” 

Raise questions about the Muslim Brotherhood’s “democratic credentials” indeed. The Muslim Brotherhood is a theocratic sectarian extremist movement, and not only that, but a regional movement that transcends national borders. It is guilty of decades of violent discord not only in Egypt, but across the Arab World and it has remained a serious threat to secular systems from Algeria to Syria and back again. 

Today, the Western press has decried Egyptian and Syrian efforts to hem in these sectarian extremists, particularly in Syria where the government was accused of having “massacring” armed Brotherhood militants in Hama in 1982. The constitutions of secular Arab nations across Northern Africa and the Middle East, including the newly rewritten Syrian Constitution, have attempted to exclude sectarian political parties, especially those with “regional” affiliations to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda affiliated political movements from ever coming into power.

And while sectarian extremists taking power in Egypt and attempting to take power in Syria may seem like an imminent threat to Western (including Israeli) interests – it in reality is a tremendous boon.

Morsi himself is by no means an “extremists” or an “Islamist.” He is a US-educated technocrat who merely poses as “hardline” in order to cultivate the fanatical support of the Brotherhood’s rank and file. Several of Morsi’s children are even US citizens. Morsi will gladly play the part of a sneering “anti-American,” “anti-Zionist” “Islamist,” but in the end, no matter how far the act goes, he will fulfill the West’s agenda.

Already, despite a long campaign of feigned anti-American, anti-Israel propaganda during the Egyptian presidential run-up, the Muslim Brotherhood has joined US, European, and Israeli calls for “international” intervention in Syria. Alongside the CIA, Mossad, and the Gulf State despots of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Syrian affiliates have been funneling weapons, cash, and foreign fighters into Syria to fight Wall Street, London, Riyadh, Doha, and Tel Aviv’s proxy war.

In a May 6, 2012 Reuters article it stated:

“Working quietly, the Brotherhood has been financing Free Syrian Army defectors based in Turkey and channeling money and supplies to Syria, reviving their base among small Sunni farmers and middle class Syrians, opposition sources say.”

 The Muslim Brotherhood was nearing extinction in Syria before the latest unrest, and while Reuters categorically fails in its report to explain the “how” behind the Brotherhood’s resurrection, it was revealed in a 2007 New Yorker article titled, “The Redirection” by Seymour Hersh.

The Brotherhood was being directly backed by the US and Israel who were funneling support through the Saudis so as to not compromise the “credibility” of the so-called “Islamic” movement. Hersh revealed that members of the Lebanese Saad Hariri clique, then led by Fouad Siniora, had been the go-between for US planners and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

Hersh reports the Lebanese Hariri faction had met Dick Cheney in Washington and relayed personally the importance of using the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria in any move against the ruling government: 

“[Walid] Jumblatt then told me that he had met with Vice-President Cheney in Washington last fall to discuss, among other issues, the possibility of undermining Assad. He and his colleagues advised Cheney that, if the United States does try to move against Syria, members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood would be “the ones to talk to,” Jumblatt said.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh

The article would continue by explaining how already in 2007, US and Saudi backing had begun benefiting the Brotherhood: 

“There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.” -The Redirection, Seymour Hersh

It was warned that such backing would benefit the Brotherhood as a whole, not just in Syria, and could effect public opinion even as far as in Egypt where a long battle against the hardliners was fought in order to keep Egyptian governance secular. Clearly the Brotherhood did not spontaneously rise back to power in Syria, it was resurrected by US, Israeli, and Saudi cash, weapons and directives.

Likewise, its rise into power in Egypt was facilitated by Western-backed and funded destabilization, sometimes referred to as the “Arab Spring.” 

US-backed Sedition, Not Revolution Has Seized Egypt 

In January of 2011, we were told that “spontaneous,” “indigenous” uprising had begun sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, including Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt, in what was hailed as the “Arab Spring.” It would be almost four months before the corporate-media would admit that the US had been behind the uprisings and that they were anything but “spontaneous,” or “indigenous.” In an April 2011 article published by the New York Times titled, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” it was stated (emphasis added):

“A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.”

The article would also add, regarding the US State Department-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED):

“The Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department. “

It is hardly a speculative theory then, that the uprisings were part of an immense geopolitical campaign conceived in the West and carried out through its proxies with the assistance of disingenuous organizations including NED, NDI, IRI, and Freedom House and the stable of NGOs they maintain throughout the world. Preparations for the “Arab Spring” began not as unrest had already begun, but years before the first “fist” was raised, and within seminar rooms in D.C. and New York, US-funded training facilities in Serbia, and camps held in neighboring countries, not within the Arab World itself.

In 2008, Egyptian activists from the now infamous April 6 movement were in New York City for the inaugural Alliance of Youth Movements (AYM) summit, also known as There, they received training, networking opportunities, and support from AYM’s various corporate and US governmental sponsors, including the US State Department itself. The AYM 2008 summit report (page 3 of .pdf) states that the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, James Glassman attended, as did Jared Cohen who sits on the policy planning staff of the Office of the Secretary of State. Six other State Department staff members and advisers would also attend the summit along with an immense list of corporate, media, and institutional representatives.

Image: The Serbian Otpor fist… in Egypt? The same US organizations that trained & funded Serbians to overthrow their government in 2000, were behind the April 6 Movement and the Egyptian “Arab Spring.” Sun Tzu in the Art of War said, “all warfare is deception.” In fourth generation warfare, no deceit is greater than convincing people they are “liberating” themselves when in reality they are dividing and destroying their nation so that Wall Street & London’s network of already in-place NGOs can take over. This, while a suitable proxy is put in office as PM or president. In Egypt, these NGOs would already have a new constitution drafted and ready before the fall of Hosni Mubarak.

Shortly afterward, April 6 would travel to Serbia to train under US-funded CANVAS, formally the US-funded NGO “Otpor” who helped overthrow the government of Serbia in 2000. Otpor, the New York Times would report, was a “well-oiled movement backed by several million dollars from the United States.” After its success it would change its name to CANVAS and begin training activists to be used in other US-backed regime change operations.

The April 6 Movement, after training with CANVAS, would return to Egypt in 2010, a full year before the “Arab Spring,” along with UN IAEA Chief Mohammed ElBaradei. April 6 members would even be arrested while waiting for ElBaradei’s arrival at Cairo’s airport in mid-February. Already, ElBaradei, as early as 2010, announced his intentions of running for president in the 2011 elections. Together with April 6, Wael Ghonim of Google, and a coalition of other opposition parties, ElBaradei assembled his “National Front for Change” and began preparing for the coming “Arab Spring.”

Photo: From left to right, ICG members Shlomo Ben-Ami, Stanley Fischer, Shimon Peres, and Mohamed ElBaradei. Despite claims that Mohomed ElBaradei is “anti-Israeli” or “anti-West,” it is a documented fact that he is indeed an agent of the Wall Street-London corporate-fascist global oligarchy, and a member of the International Crisis Group which includes several current and former senior Israeli officials. The same charade is now taking place with Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
An April 2011 AFP report would confirm that the US government had trained armies of “activists” to return to their respective countries and enact political “change,” when US State Department’s Michael Posner stated that the “US government has budgeted $50 million in the last two years to develop new technologies to help activists protect themselves from arrest and prosecution by authoritarian governments.” The report went on to explain that the US “organized training sessions for 5,000 activists in different parts of the world. A session held in the Middle East about six weeks ago gathered activists from Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon who returned to their countries with the aim of training their colleagues there.” Posner would add, “They went back and there’s a ripple effect.”

That ripple effect of course, was the “Arab Spring” and the subsequent destabilization, violence, and even US armed and backed warfare that followed. While nations like Libya and Tunisia are now run by a BP, Shell, and Total-funded Petroleum Institute chairman and a US NED-funded “activist” respectively, Egypt had managed to ward off and expose the US’ first proxy of choice, Mohammed ElBaradei, who’s own movement was forced to denounce him as a Western agent.

[Mamdouh Hamza. Image from]
Photo: Mamdouh Hamza collaborated with Mohamed ElBaradei in executing the premeditated, US-engineered destabilization of Egypt in January 2011. Most likely to remove ElBaradei’s terminally infected public image, he has finally outed ElBaradei as a member of George Soros’ International Crisis Group and accused him of having “strong ties to Zionism.” Hamza himself, however, is just as compromised as ElBaradei, perhaps more so.
The Egyptian military would then strike at seditious Western-funded NGOs, seeking to undermine the source of destabilization, the conduit through which US money and support was being funneled through to “activists,” and expose the true foreign-funded nature of the political division that has gripped the nation for now over a year.

A February 2012 AP article reported that Egypt’s generals declared, “we face conspiracies hatched against the homeland, whose goal is to undermine the institutions of the Egyptian state and whose aim is to topple the state itself so that chaos reigns and destruction spreads.” Clearly, this was an accurate observation, not a political ploy to undermine “opposition” activists, with similar US-hatched conspiracies documented and exposed from Tunisia all the way to Thailand.

With the more “blunt” instrument of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood taking the reins in the wake of ElBaradei’s fall, the West will inevitably face a reckoning in the distant future after the Muslim Brotherhood has served its purpose. Until then, it seems to be doing a masterful job disassembling the institutions, checks, and balances of Egypt’s secular government. Egypt’s “revolution” has gone from a quasi-pliable proxy dictatorship, to one both more hardline and brutal domestically, and more pliable and willing in terms of serving Western interests abroad.

A Dark Age Descends Upon Egypt 

For the average Egyptian, a dark age has begun to descend – one where freedom of speech is still curbed, the press still muzzled, an autocratic despot still holding the reins of power, but also one where the largest military in the Arab World is commanded by hardline theocratic sectarian extremists with regional ambitions and affiliations along with a proven track record of shedding blood within and beyond its own borders.

McCain (left) and Kerry (right) gesticulate as they explain Wall Street and London’s agenda within the confines of an Egyptian Coca-Cola factory. This was part of a trip surveying the effects of their US-funded opposition overthrowing Hosni Mubarak’s government. While war and destruction seem approaching over the immediate horizon, the final goal is global corporate-financier hegemony being extended over Egypt and its neighbors. Morsi will inevitably, but quietly prepare the grounds for the machinations described by McCain and Kerry in 2011.
With the NATO-created terrorist safe-haven of Libya to Egypt’s west, and the epicenter of Arab World despotism, Saudi Arabia to its east, a corporate-financier underwritten terrorist empire is rising from the barren north of Mali, to the oil rich shores of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

There is no revolution. Instead, a violent, extremist multinational front has been assembled, as it was planned since 2007, to array sectarian extremists against the collective influence and interests of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the government of Syria, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. By consequence, this brazen geopolitical conspiracy targets both Russia and China as well, setting the stage for even greater global conflict. It is a conspiracy that will be paid for with secular, moderate Muslim, and non-Muslim blood across the region, the destruction of ancient culture and traditions, and the regression of all social and economic progress made since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. 

US Military Build-up against China

August 13th, 2012 by Peter Symonds

A paper by the Washington think tank, the Centre for Strategic and Independent Studies (CSIS), entitled “US Force Posture Strategy in the Asia Pacific Region: An Independent Assessment,” provides what amounts to a blueprint for the Obama administration’s military preparations for conflict with China.

While the CSIS is a non-government body, its assessment was commissioned by the US Defense Department, as required by the 2012 National Defense Authorisation Act, giving semi-official status to its findings and proposals. The paper involved extensive discussions with top US military personnel throughout the Pentagon’s Pacific Command. The CSIS report was delivered to the Pentagon on June 27, but gained media coverage only after its principal authors—David Berteau and Michael Green—testified before the US House Armed Services Committee on August 1.

The report featured prominently in the Australian media, which headlined one of its proposals: to forward base an entire US aircraft carrier battle group at HMAS Stirling, a naval base in Western Australia. If implemented, the recommendation would transform the base, and the nearby city of Perth, into a potential target for Chinese and Russian nuclear missiles. The proposal serves to underscore the far-reaching implications of the CSIS assessment, which is in line with Obama administration’s confrontational “pivot” to Asia, aimed against China.

The CSIS assessment declares that the underlying US geostrategic objective in the Asia-Pacific region has been to prevent “the rise of any hegemonic state from within the region that could threaten US interests by seeking to obstruct American access or dominate the maritime domain. From that perspective, the most significant problem for the United States in Asia today is China’s rising power, influence, and expectations of regional pre-eminence.” In other words, the prevailing American hegemony in the region must continue.

The document recognises that military strategy is bound up with economic imperatives. It identifies “trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement” as crucial to “a sustainable trans-Pacific trade architecture that sustains U.S. access and influence in the region.” While declaring that the US “must integrate all of these instruments of national power and not rely excessively on US military capabilities,” it is precisely America’s relative economic decline that is driving the use of military power to maintain its dominance in Asia, as in the Middle East.

Having identified China as the chief potential rival, the report rules out any repeat of the US containment strategy employed to isolate the Soviet Union during the Cold War—thus pointing to the United States’ economic dependence on China. Significantly, the authors reject a power-sharing arrangement with China, or, as described to the armed services committee, “a bipolar condominium that acknowledges Beijing’s core interests and implicitly divides the region.” This latter conception, in one form or another, is being promoted by some strategic analysts in the US and Australia as the only means of preventing war. The CSIS report rejects any pull back by the US from Asia, which would effectively cede the region to China.

Having ruled out peaceful alternatives, the CSIS paper sets out a military strategy. The authors do not openly advocate war with China, declaring that “the consequences of conflict with that nation are almost unthinkable and should be avoided to the greatest extent possible, consistent with U.S. interests.” They do not exclude the possibility of conflict in the event that US interests are at stake, however, adding that the ability to “maintain a favourable peace” depends on the perception that the US can prevail in the event of conflict. “U.S. force posture must demonstrate a readiness and capacity to fight and win, even under more challenging circumstances associated with A2AD [anti-access/area denial] and other threats to U.S. military operations in the Western Pacific,” the report states.

Thus, in the name of peace, the US is preparing for a catastrophic war with China. US strategic planners are especially concerned with China’s so-called A2AD military capacities—the development of sophisticated submarines, missiles and war planes capable of posing a danger to the US navy in the Western Pacific. While the US habitually presents such weaponry as a “threat” to its military, in reality China is defensively responding to the presence of overwhelming American naval power in waters close to the mainland. US naval preponderance in the East China Sea, the South China Sea and key “choke” points such as the Malacca Strait, menaces the shipping lanes from the Middle East and Africa on which China relies for energy and raw materials.

The CSIS report approves of the repositioning and strengthening of US military forces in the Western Pacific that has accelerated under the Obama administration’s “rebalance” to Asia. This includes: consolidating US bases, troops and military assets in Japan and South Korea; building up US forces on Guam and Northern Mariana Islands, strategically located in the Western Pacific; stationing in Singapore littoral combat ships—relatively small, fast, flexible warships capable of intelligence gathering, special operations and landing troops with armoured vehicles; and making greater use of Australian naval and air bases and positioning 2,500 Marines in the northern city of Darwin. In addition, the paper confirms that the US has held discussions with Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam over possible access to bases and joint training.

The document also reviews US efforts to strengthen military ties throughout Asia—from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to Burma, Indonesia and New Zealand—as well as with its formal allies. Significantly, in ranking military contingencies from low to high intensity, it identifies Australia, Japan and South Korea as critical allies “at the higher spectrum of intensity”—in other words, military conflict with China—“with other allies and partners at the lower spectrum of intensity.”

While broadly dealing with all contingencies, the CSIS assessment is primarily focussed on “high intensity.” Its recommendations involve the further development of military arrangements with South Korea, Japan and Australia, and also between these allies. It recommends the implementation of the latest military agreements with Japan and South Korea. In relation to Japan, the document makes the strategic significance of Okinawa clear. It is “centrally located” between Northeast Asia and maritime Southeast Asia, and “positioned to fight tactically within the A2AD envelope in higher intensity scenarios”—that is, it is crucial in any war with China. The Obama administration has intransigently opposed Japanese government calls to relocate the large US Marine base at Futenma off Okinawa.

The CSIS document is not the official policy of the Obama administration: its findings are couched as recommendations. It considers all scenarios, including maintaining the status quo and winding back US forces from the Asia Pacific region, neither of which it favours. However, the most ominous aspect of the report deals with a substantial list of steps that could be taken to markedly strengthen the US military throughout the region.

As well as basing a US nuclear aircraft carrier in Western Australia, these include: doubling the number of nuclear attack submarines based at Guam; deploying littoral combat ships to South Korea; doubling the size of amphibious forces in Hawaii; permanently basing a bomber squadron on Guam; boosting manned and unmanned surveillance assets in Australia or Guam; upgrading anti-missile defences in Japan, South Korea and Guam; and strengthening US ground forces. While recommending consideration of all these options, the CSIS specifically calls for more attack submarines to be placed at Guam—that is, within easy striking distance of Chinese shipping routes and naval bases.

Any of these moves will only heighten tensions with China and the danger of an arms race and conflict in the Asia Pacific region. The CSIS assessment points to potential flashpoints, from the Korean peninsula and the Taiwan Strait to the South China Sea and the disputed borders between India and China. The report clearly represents the thinking more broadly within the Obama administration, and top US military and intelligence circles that are recklessly preparing and planning for war with China.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate marks a further shift to the right in the 2012 election campaign. Ryan is best known for his role in drafting House Republican budgets that would privatize Medicare and devastate federal spending on all other social programs.

Regardless of the outcome of the vote on November 6, the Ryan pick signals that the US ruling elite has decided on a frontal assault on key social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

The Washington Post editorial page put the issue bluntly, criticizing “major flaws and omissions” in Ryan’s budget plans, then adding: “Yet his selection puts useful pressure on both Mr. Romney and President Obama to be more specific about their own approaches to entitlement spending, tax reform and other budgetary issues about which they would prefer to speak, if at all, in vague generalities.”

If the Romney-Ryan ticket wins, the Republicans will claim they have a popular mandate to privatize and destroy programs like Medicare and Medicaid on which tens of millions of poor and elderly people depend. If Obama is reelected, the Democratic administration will propose cuts nearly as devastating, while claiming to have “saved” these programs from the Republicans.

As always, the Republican right sets a benchmark of reaction to which the Democrats adapt in order to shift social policy as a whole ever further to the right and carry out ever more brutal attacks on the working class.

The barrage of demagogy and lies from both right-wing pro-corporate parties began as soon as Romney announced his choice of Ryan at a rally in Norfolk, Virginia on Saturday, held with the battleship USS Wisconsin as a backdrop.

Romney called attention to the cuts in Medicare funding incorporated in the Obama health care legislation passed in 2010. “Unlike the current president, who has cut Medicare funding by $700 billion, we will preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security,” he declared. Republican congressional candidates made similar arguments in their successful 2010 campaigns.

The Obama reelection campaign responded with commercials calling attention to Ryan’s role as the chief sponsor of the House Republican budgets in 2011 and 2012 that called for conversion of Medicare into a voucher-based program with strict limits on the amount of federal spending, effectively shifting the risk of higher medical bills from the government to the elderly.

Despite the attacks by both sides on the Medicare issue, there is a substantial area of overlap in the plans of both big business parties for dramatic cuts. The latest version of the Ryan plan, drafted as a bipartisan measure with Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, would extend the mechanism in the Obama health care overhaul to Medicare: insurance exchanges run by the 50 states, with individuals purchasing private insurance using government-subsidized vouchers.

The Obama health care program establishes such exchanges for working people without health insurance who earn more than the federal poverty level. The Ryan plan would set up a similar structure for senior citizens. In both cases, the purpose is the same: using the vouchers (called “premium support”) to limit the federal contribution and shift the cost of health care from the government (or in the case of Obama, corporations) to the individual.

Ryan represents a definite social type—someone who decided in college, if not earlier, to make a political career as an advocate of ultra-right policies and the interests of corporate America. He was an enthusiast for Ayn Rand, the glorifier of capitalist brutality and selfishness, and went to Washington as a congressional aide and later a speechwriter for 1996 Republican vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp, before winning an open congressional seat in southeastern Wisconsin in 1998.

He is, like most congressmen and senators, a multimillionaire, with a personal fortune of as much as $7 million based on his own family’s earthmoving company in Janesville, Wisconsin and his wife’s inheritance of Oklahoma oil wealth.

Despite his posture as a “free market” radical, Ryan backed government intervention to save the banks and the auto companies in 2008 and 2009, voting for both TARP (the Wall Street bailout) and the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler. He declared at the time that such efforts were necessary “to save the free enterprise system.”

Ryan is invariably referred to in the corporate-controlled media as “an intellectual leader of the Republican Party,” a description echoed Sunday by President Obama. This dubious accolade means that he can propose to slash benefits for the poor and elderly in order to finance tax cuts for millionaires, and at the same time claim that this will benefit society as a whole…all while keeping a straight face.

The congressional budgets that bear Ryan’s name have five major features:

  • Transformation of Medicare into a voucher plan with the federal contribution capped after 2023 so that it shifts costs to the elderly, up to an estimated $6,400 a year.

  • Conversion of Medicaid, food stamps and other entitlement programs into block grants to the states, with the federal contribution capped to force drastic cuts in spending at the state level, estimated at $700 billion from Medicaid alone over the next ten years. Some 14 to 19 million people would be cut from the program, according to an estimate by the Kaiser Foundation.

  • A multitrillion-dollar tax cut for the wealthy on top of the renewal of all of the Bush administration tax cuts for the wealthy, now scheduled to expire at the end of this year. Ryan supports a permanent extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, as does Romney. Ryan would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent and make a similar cut in the tax rate for the highest-income households.

  • Maintaining or increasing spending on the military, intelligence agencies and Homeland Security Department and increasing the size and power of the military apparatus.

  • Eliminating virtually all other federal domestic spending—on education, the environment, energy, housing, transportation and employment, as well as most regulatory functions.

Ryan proposes to cut non-entitlement federal spending from the present 12.5 percent of the US gross domestic product to only 3.75 percent. Since military spending is included in this figure, and constitutes about 3 percent of GDP, this means cutting all other federal spending from 9.5 percent of GDP to only 0.75 percent, a reduction of 92 percent.

This would mean, among other socially disastrous effects, the ending of Pell Grants for 1 million college students and the loss of an estimated 4.1 million jobs over two years.

Ryan was also the author of the most radical of the various Republican legislative proposals to privatize Social Security in 2005, when the Bush administration pushed for such a change. Even the Bush White House was compelled to reject the Ryan plan as “irresponsible” because it funneled so much cash from the Social Security Trust Fund to private investment accounts held by Wall Street financial institutions.

From an ideological standpoint, Ryan represents the most right-wing candidate to be nominated on a major party ticket in at least a century. By one rating system, he ties with Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, the failed Republican presidential candidate, in the ranking of right-wing legislators. Ryan is not a Christian fundamentalist like Bachmann, but his record on social issues like abortion rights is equally right-wing.

Exploiting the transparent indifference of the Obama administration to the social misery created by the crisis of American and world capitalism, Ryan, Romney and the Republicans are seeking to posture as advocates of working people despite their ultra-right program. In his remarks in Norfolk, Ryan denounced “higher unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt” and claimed that the Romney-Ryan ticket would “lead to more jobs and more take home pay for working Americans.”

Liberal apologists for the Democratic Party, like the New York Times, seized on the Ryan nomination to make an argument for a vote for Obama’s reelection. “Voters will now be able to see with painful clarify just what the Republican Party has in store for them,” its editorial Sunday claimed.

The truth is that both the Romney-Ryan and Obama-Biden tickets represent the interests of the capitalist ruling elite. Whichever pair of millionaire politicians wins the November election, the new administration will intensify the assault on working-class living standards and carry out unprecedented attacks on basic social program.

Israel’s ‘Bomb Iran’ Timetable

August 13th, 2012 by Ray McGovern

Ex-CIA official Ray McGovern says that the Middle East may well erupt in a new phase of war in the next 10-12 weeks.  The timetable is fixed on the date of the US presidential election that could have massive repercussions.  

As the clock ticks down to the U.S. elections in November, another clock is ticking in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, whether Israeli forces should exploit the American political timetable to pressure President Obama to support an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

More Washington insiders are coming to the conclusion that Israel’s leaders are planning to attack Iran before the U.S. election in November in the expectation that American forces will be drawn in. There is widespread recognition that, without U.S. military involvement, an Israeli attack would be highly risky and, at best, only marginally successful.

At this point, to dissuade Israeli leaders from mounting such an attack might require a public statement by President Barack Obama warning Israel not to count on U.S. forces — not even for the “clean-up.” Though Obama has done pretty much everything short of making such a public statement, he clearly wants to avoid a confrontation with Israel in the weeks before the election.

However, Obama’s silence regarding a public warning speaks volumes to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The recent pilgrimages to Israel by very senior U.S. officials — including the Secretaries of State and Defense carrying identical “PLEASE DON’T BOMB IRAN JUST YET” banners — has met stony faces and stone walls.

Like the Guns of August in 1914, the dynamic for war appears inexorable. Senior U.S. and Israeli officials focus publicly on a “window of opportunity,” but different ones.

On Thursday, White House spokesman Jay Carney emphasized the need to allow the “most stringent sanctions ever imposed on any country time to work.” That, said Carney, is the “window of opportunity to persuade Iran … to forgo its nuclear weapons ambitions.”

That same day a National Security Council spokesman dismissed Israeli claims that U.S. intelligence had received alarming new information about Iran’s nuclear program. “We continue to assess that Iran is not on the verge of achieving a nuclear weapon,” the spokesman said.

Still, Israel’s window of opportunity (what it calls the “zone of immunity” for Iran building a nuclear bomb without Israel alone being able to prevent it) is ostensibly focused on Iran’s continued burrowing under mountains to render its nuclear facilities immune to Israeli air strikes, attacks that would seek to maintain Israel’s regional nuclear-weapons monopoly.

But another Israeli “window” or “zone” has to do with the pre-election period of the next 12 weeks in the United States. Last week, former Mossad chief Efraim Halevi told Israeli TV viewers, “The next 12 weeks are  very critical in trying to assess whether Israel will attack Iran, with or without American backup.”

It would be all too understandable, given Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s experience with President Obama, that Netanyahu has come away with the impression that Obama can be bullied, particularly when he finds himself in a tight political spot.

For Netanyahu, the President’s perceived need to outdistance Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the love-for-Israel department puts Obama in a box. This, I believe, is the key “window of opportunity” that is uppermost in Netanyahu’s calculations.

Virtually precluded, in Netanyahu’s view, is any possibility that Obama could keep U.S. military forces on the sidelines if Israel and Iran became embroiled in serious hostilities. What I believe the Israeli leader worries most about is the possibility that a second-term Obama would feel much freer not to commit U.S. forces on Israel’s side. A second-term Obama also might use U.S. leverage to force Israeli concessions on thorny issues relating to Palestine.

If preventing Obama from getting that second term is also part of Netanyahu’s calculation, then he also surely knows that even a minor dustup with Iran, whether it escalates or not, would drive up the price of gasoline just before the election — an unwelcome prospect for Team Obama.

It’s obvious that hard-line Israeli leaders would much rather have Mitt Romney to deal with for the next four years. The former Massachusetts governor recently was given a warm reception when he traveled to Jerusalem with a number of Jewish-American financial backers in tow to express his solidarity with Netanyahu and his policies.

Against this high-stakes political background, I’ve personally come by some new anecdotal information that I find particularly troubling. On July 30, the Baltimore Sun posted my op-ed, “Is Israel fixing the intelligence to justify an attack on Iran?” Information acquired the very next day increased my suspicion and concern.

Former intelligence analysts and I were preparing a proposal to establish direct communications links between the U.S. and Iranian navies, in order to prevent an accident or provocation in the Persian Gulf from spiraling out of control. Learning that an official Pentagon draft paper on that same issue has been languishing in the Senate for more than a month did not make us feel any better when our own proposal was ignored. (Still, it is difficult to understand why anyone wishing to avoid escalation in the Persian Gulf would delay, or outright oppose, such fail-safe measures.)

Seeking input from other sources with insight into U.S. military preparations, I learned that, although many U.S. military moves have been announced, others, with the express purpose of preparation for hostilities with Iran, have not been made public.

One source reported that U.S. forces are on hair-trigger alert and that covert operations inside Iran (many of them acts of war, by any reasonable standard) have been increased. Bottom line: we were warned that the train had left the station; that any initiative to prevent miscalculation or provocation in the Gulf was bound to be far too late to prevent escalation into a shooting war.


A casus belli — real or contrived — would be highly desirable prior to an attack on Iran. A provocation in the Gulf would be one way to achieve this. Iran’s alleged fomenting of terrorism would be another.

In my op-ed of July 30, I suggested that Netanyahu’s incredibly swift blaming of Iran for the terrorist killing of five Israelis in Bulgaria on July 18 may have been intended as a pretext for attacking Iran. If so, sadly for Netanyahu, it didn’t work. It seems the Obama administration didn’t buy the “rock-solid evidence” Netanyahu adduced to tie Iran to the attack in Bulgaria.

If at first you don’t succeed … Here’s another idea: let’s say there is new reporting that shows Iran to be dangerously close to getting a nuclear weapon, and that previous estimates that Iran had stopped work on weaponization was either wrong or overtaken by new evidence.

According to recent Israeli and Western media reports, citing Western diplomats and senior Israeli officials, U.S. intelligence has acquired new information — “a bombshell” report — that shows precisely that. Imagine.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israeli Radio that the new report is “very close to our [Israel’s] own estimates, I would say, as opposed to earlier American estimates. It transforms the Iranian situation to an even more urgent one.”

Washington Post neocon pundit Jennifer Rubin was quick to pick up the cue, expressing a wistful hope on Thursday that the new report on the Iranian nuclear program “would be a complete turnabout from the infamous 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that asserted that Iran had dropped its nuclear weapons program.”

“Infamous?” Indeed. Rubin warned, “The 2007 NIE report stands as a tribute and warning regarding the determined obliviousness of our national intelligence apparatus,” adding that “no responsible policymaker thinks the 2007 NIE is accurate.”

Yet, the NIE still stands as the prevailing U.S. intelligence assessment on Iran’s nuclear intentions, reaffirmed by top U.S. officials repeatedly over the past five years. Rubin’s definition of “responsible” seems to apply only to U.S. policymakers who would cede control of U.S. foreign policy to Netanyahu.

The 2007 NIE reported, with “high confidence,” the unanimous judgment of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran stopped working on a nuclear weapon in the fall of 2003 and had not restarted it. George W. Bush’s own memoir and remarks by Dick Cheney make it clear that this honest NIE shoved a steel rod into the wheels of the juggernaut that had begun rolling off toward war on Iran in 2008, the last year of the Bush/Cheney administration.

The key judgments of the 2007 NIE have been re-asserted every year since by the Director of National Intelligence in formal testimony to Congress.

And, unfortunately for Rubin and others hoping to parlay the reportedly “new,” more alarmist “intelligence” into an even more bellicose posture toward Iran, a National Security Council spokesman on Thursday threw cold water on the “new” information, saying that “the U.S. intelligence assessment of Iran’s nuclear activities had not changed.”

Relying on the unconfirmed Israeli claim about “new” U.S. information regarding Iran’s nuclear program, Rubin had already declared the Obama administration’s Iran policy a failure, writing:

“Foreign policy experts can debate whether a sanctions strategy was flawed from its inception, incorrectly assessing the motivations of the Iranian regime, or they can debate whether the execution of sanctions policy (too slow, too porous) was to blame. But we are more than 3 1/2 years into the Obama administration, and Iran is much closer to its goal than at the start. By any reasonable measure, the Obama approach has been a failure, whatever the NIE report might say.”

Pressures Will Persist

The NSC’s putdown of the Israeli report does not necessarily guarantee, however, that President Obama will continue to withstand pressure from Israel and its supporters to “fix” the intelligence to “justify” supporting an attack on Iran.

Promise can be seen in Obama’s refusal to buy Netanyahu’s new “rock-solid evidence” on Iran’s responsibility for the terrorist attack in Bulgaria. Hope can also be seen in White House reluctance so far to give credulity to the latest “evidence” on Iran’s nuclear weapons plans.

An agreed-upon casus belli can be hard to create when one partner wants war within the next 12 weeks and the other does not. The pressure from Netanyahu and neocon cheerleaders like Jennifer Rubin — not to mention Mitt Romney — will increase as the election draws nearer, agreed-upon casus belli or not.

Netanyahu gives every evidence of believing that — for the next 12 weeks — he is in the catbird seat and that, if he provokes hostilities with Iran, Obama will feel compelled to jump in with both feet, i. e., selecting from the vast array of forces already assembled in the area.

Sadly, I believe Netanyahu is probably correct in that calculation. Batten down the hatches.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27 years in CIA’s analysis division, his duties included preparing and delivering the President’s Daily Brief and chairing National Intelligence Estimates.

Bradley Manning Tortured at Quantico

August 13th, 2012 by Global Research

US Army photograph of Pfc. Bradley Manning

A more than one hundred page defense motion detailing how Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of releasing classified information to WikiLeaks, was subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment while held at Quantico Marine Brig has been made public. The motion on “unlawful pretrial punishment” asserts officers at the brig made a decision to hold Manning in the harshest conditions possible, regardless of his psychological health. It concludes, as a result of “flagrant violation” of Manning’s “constitutional rights,” the judge should dismiss all charges with prejudice or, at minimum, grant “meaningful relief in the form of at least 10-for-1 sentencing credit for the 258 days PFC Manning inappropriately spent in the equivalent of solitary confinement.”

According to the motion, in January 2011, a senior officer told multiple brig officials during a meeting that he was to be held in “maximum custody” and under “prevention of injury” (POI) watch indefinitely. The officer claimed that nothing was going to change or happen to Manning on his watch. A Brig psychiatrists did not approve, was upset and said, “Sir, I am concerned because if you’re going to do that, maybe you might want to call it something else, because it’s not based on anything from behavioral health.” The senior officer replied, “We’ll do whatever we want to do. You [the Brig psychiatrists] make your recommendation and I have to make a decision based on everything else.” To which the psychiatrist said, “Then don’t say it’s based on mental health.  You can say it’s MAX custody, but just don’t say that we’re somehow involved in this.” The senior officer dismissed this request. Those at the top of the chain of command would use his “mental health” as an excuse to keep him in conditions of solitary confinement.

For nine months, Brig psychiatrists issued recommendations that Manning be downgraded from POI status, which gave the Brig the power to keep him isolated in the prison. They told Brig officials he posed no risk to himself and that the designation was actually causing Manning “psychological harm.” But these concerns and recommendations were entirely disregarded.

Under POI, according to the defense website, Manning was required to eat all of his meals alone and could only eat his meals with a spoon. He was not allowed to speak with any prisoners. He was given a suicide mattress with a built-in pillow. He was given a “tear-proof security blanket” that was “extremely coarse” and led to rashes and carpet burns on Manning’s skin. The blanket was stiff and would not “contour to his body” so it did not keep him warm. He was not allowed any personal items in the cell. He could only have “one book or one magazine” and when he was not reading the book or magazine would be taken away. It also was taken away each day before he went to sleep. He was not permitted to exercise in his cell. Any attempts to do push-ups or sit-ups would lead to officers ordering him to stop. Every night he went to sleep he had to strip down to his underwear and surrender his clothing to guards.

Manning had to request toilet paper when he needed to go to the bathroom. He would have to wait for guards to get around to providing this to him. No soap was in his cell. Sometimes when he wanted to wash his hands after using the bathroom, he would be able to, but sometimes he would not. No shoes were allowed to be worn. Initially, he was only allowed one hour of “permitted correspondence” a day. Then, after Oct 27, 2010, that changed to 2 hours/day.

Constantly, Manning was monitored. Guards checked on him every five minutes asking, “Are you okay?” Manning had to respond affirmatively each time and guards would take note of each exchange in log books. When guards could not see him clearly at night, like when he had his blanket up over his head or when he was curled up against the wall, the guards would wake Manning up and see if he was “okay.” And all of the lights were never turned off. There was also a fluorescent light in the hall outside of Manning’s cell that was kept on during the night.

These conditions were in addition to the maximum custody conditions imposed, which included being placed in a cell directly in front of the guard post so he could be monitored at all hours of the day, having to wake up at 5 am in the morning, having to stay awake from 5 am to 10 pm every day and not being permitted to lie down or lean his back against the cell wall. He was permitted only 20 minutes of “sunshine call” where he would “be brought to a small concrete yard, about half to a third of the size of a basketball court.” In the yard, he could walk around with “hand and leg shackles” on, while a Brig guard walked at his “immediate side.” The guards gave him athletic shoes that had no laces and would fall of when he tried to walk. Manning chose to wear boots so his shoes would stay on while walking. He would typically walk in “figure-eights” and was not allowed to “sit down or stay stationary” during “sunshine call.”

By December 10, 2010, he earned a longer period of recreation: one hour each day. He could exercise and move around without shackles or a Brig guard at his side. There was “exercise equipment” he could access but he would not normally use it because guards would tell him he could not use certain equipment and much of it was “unplugged or broken down.”

Manning could have non-contact visits on Saturdays and Sundays between noon and 3 pm with “approved visitors.” During visits, he had to wear “hand and leg restraints.” He met his visitors in “a small 4 by 6 foot room that was separated with a glass partition. His visits were monitored by the guards and they were audio recorded by the Brig.  The recording equipment was added by Army CID after PFC Manning’s transfer to the Quantico Brig.”  Contact visits with attorneys were not allowed. Any time he met with his attorneys, he wore shackles on his hands and feet. He was not permitted “any work duty.” When moved outside his cell, the whole brig would be placed on lockdown, and, while being moved, he was “shackled with metal hand and leg restraints and accompanied by at least two guards.”

In July 2010, after being transported from Kuwait, a duty brig supervisor (DBS) assessed whether he should be placed in maximum custody conditions. The DBS “reviewed the inmate background summary and completed an initial custody classification determination.” Despite the fact that the supervisor did not find all the characteristics necessary that are normally required to be found in order to place someone in maximum custody, the DBS ignored this entirely and placed him in maximum custody.

The motion features what appears to be a deposition from one of the Brig psychiatrists that recommended Manning’s POI designation be removed. The psychatrists, whose name is redacted, details how the psychiatrist  ”knew” the brig was “very concerned about his safety…because there had been a suicide in the brig earlier that year.” The psychiatrist went ahead and “obtained the services of another forensic psychiatrist, who “evaluated the patient and concurred that POI was appropriate. The Brig, as I best recall, waited a couple of weeks to put this recommendation into effect.” But, after this, the suggestion that he be “removed from POI” was made again because he was doing “relatively well,” even if he exhibited “odd behaviors such as dancing around” and “possible sleep walking.”

By the fall, there was one incident. Manning apparently tried to perform a “yoga move in which he contorted his limbs in such a way that staff thought he was trying to hurt himself.” Manning was upset. The psychiatrist recommended he be put back on POI status then rescinded the recommendation. Of course, regardless of what the psychiatrist thought, he was never taken off this status. And, apparently, the Brig rarely listened to this person:

Question B. In your experience, does the Quantico Brig follow your recommendation concerning either Suicide Risk or Prevention of Injury Status? 

No. They generally keep patients on precautions longer than I recommend.

Another deposition from a forensic psychiatrist serving in the military appears in the motion. He worked at Quantico and made determinations about the “behavioral health” of prisoners. This psychiatrist said, when asked if being placed on “suicide risk” since July 31, 2010, might be detrimental to Manning’s mental or physical health:

It has long been known that restriction of environmental and social stimulation has a negative effect on mental functioning. Nevertheless, PFC Manning has been able to adapt somewhat and his anxiety disorder is currently in remission, significantly reducing his risk of self harm.

Finally, here’s an exchange that shows just how averse they were to the opinions of “pesky mental health providers,” who worked at the brig:

PFC Manning: Why was I on, why was I on prevention of status for almost 6 months?

**Redacted**: [chuckles to himself] I know this is no secret to you … I have plenty of documentation. Plenty of documentation based on things that you’ve said, things that you’ve done. Actions – I have to make sure, we have to make sure, that you’re taken care of.

PFC Manning: Yes, MSGT.

**Redacted**: Things that you’ve said and things that you’ve done don’t steer us on the side of “ok, well, he can just be a normal detainee.” They make us stay on the side of caution.

PFC Manning: But what about recommendations by the psychiatrist to remove me off the status?

**Redacted**: Who’s here every day? Who’s here every day? We are. Who sees you every day? That’s all he is, is a recommendation. We have, by law, rules and regulations set forth to make sure from a jail standpoint that Bradley Manning does not hurt himself. Maybe from a psychiatric standpoint, the recommendation he’s given – I get it, I got it, understand, OK? But he’s not the only decision maker. A mental health specialist is not the only decision that gets made.

It is over one hundred pages long so this only begins to demonstrate how Brig commanders ensured Manning would be subjected to conditions that amounted to torture throughout his entire detention at Quantico.

Manning’s defense lawyer said during the previous July motion hearing the motion should “shock the conscience of the court.” The totality of its content definitely should bother anyone. So far, Judge Army Col. Denise Lind has demonstrated a willingness to hear all the evidence. She ordered the production of a Leavenworth commander that the government opposed and also ordered that suicide prevention materials, such as a mattress, blanket and smock, be present in court when this motion is argued. (This is the smock he was made to wear after he made a sarcastic remark and a Brig officer reminded Manning who was in charge by forcing him to sleep naked.)

Manning is expected to testify in court on the punishment he endured when the motion is finally argued. It was previously scheduled for the hearing that is to take place during the last week of August at Fort Meade, Maryland. It has been pushed to the first week of October after the prosecution handed Quantico emails over to the defense. The defense filed for a continuance and decided it would need to request additional witnesses be present. This indicates the hearing in August will focus on getting witnesses approved for the hearing on the “unlawful pretrial punishment” motion in October.

The ongoing brutal mass killings which have recently begun to erode the very fabric of American society are to be seen in the light of a deeply felt hatred infused by the US ruling elites within the souls of the young white supremacists in America.

On August 5, Wade Michael Page, a man who was neither a psychotic or borderline personality, went on a shooting spree and opened fire in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, killing six worshippers and injuring three. Stars and Stripes reported that Page was “steeped in white supremacy during his Army days and spouted his racist views on the job as a soldier”.

Pete Simi, an old friend of Page’s, says he was a white power musician who had served in the military specializing in psychological operations.

According to Simi, “Page started identifying with neo-Nazi beliefs during his time in the military [through] individuals who were active military personnel that were already involved in white supremacist groups.  At the time that I had met him, he felt like his involvement in the [white power] music scene really gave him a lot of purpose in terms of how he could contribute to the larger white-supremacist movement. And in fact, that is what the [white power] music scene does.”

Page had told Simi that his stint in the US Army (1992-1998) helped burgeon his ideology, “both because he met at least two fellow troops who were white supremacists and because the Army struck him as anti-white. Page was discharged for a pattern of misconduct.”

As Page saw it, “whites were punished while blacks got coddled,” Simi said. “The deck was stacked against whites in the military, and he realized all of society was structured that way.”

It may prove futile to try to figure out why Page decided to murder some Sikh worshippers. Some commentators have pointed out that the Sikhs might have become the target of Page’s hatetivism because they wear turbans, have long beards and bear some resemblance to the Muslims. However, it may be surmised that he just felt the urge to spew out his racist and religious hatred on a group of people who were distinctive from others.

Mass murders in the US are technically classified as hate crimes and are unfortunately on the increase in the US and Europe. In another incident, the hate criminals set a mosque on fire with the intention of killing the worshippers. However, the arson reportedly failed to claim any lives.

The incident took place on August 6 when a mosque in Missouri was completely destroyed in an arson attack. The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office said the fire at the Islamic Society of Joplin was reported around 3:40 a.m. (0840 GMT) on Monday.

“The building was completely destroyed,” said Sharon Rhine, a spokeswoman for the office, noting that no injuries were reported and that no charges have been filed.

“No one was apprehended. They don’t want to call it a hate crime without information or knowledge of having someone to charge,” Rhine added.

Local community members say it is part of the ongoing attacks on their mosque since it was founded in 2007.

“Since the establishment of the mosque, we’ve been constantly under attack,” said former mosque board member Navid Zaidi, adding that “Our sign has been burnt … Our mailbox was smashed multiple times. We had bullets shot at our sign.”

Hate crimes are not limited to temples and holy places but are carried out in a wide range of locations where there is a large crowd of people and where there is a bigger chance of human losses.

On July 20, a gunman in a gas mask and body armor went on a shooting rampage, hurled a gas canister into the theater and killed 12 people and wounded 59 others at a midnight premiere of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ movie in a suburb of Denver. He was armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and a pistol. A statement released by the University of Colorado says the attacker James Holmes is a PhD medical student who was in the process of dropping out of a graduate program in neurosciences. His lawyers announced that Holmes suffers from a mental illness during a suburban Denver court hearing. Whatever excuses the defenders may find to exonerate 24-year-old Holmes and the likes of him will not change the reality that Holmes is just the product of a society which is generating the likes of Holmes every day.

In a recent incident (August 9), 22-year-old Ryan Clark Peterson opened fire at people in the Alabama nightclub on Thursday night and killed three people and injured one. He was arrested on Friday in the woods half a mile from the shooting site.

The Alabama nightclub carnage is the third mass shooting the United States has seen in recent weeks.

What deserves due contemplation in this regard is the fact that the murders in all cases kill in cold blood and that they go on shooting rampage with no regard for race, religion, and communal affinities. The implication is that the mass murders basically take place out of utter hatred promoted from the outside and legitimized within. 

The US government has ravenously waged wars in different parts of the world, spent inexcusable sums of money from the common purse, relegated the decent middle class society members to the deplorably destitute creatures, hauled the poor into the abyss of misery, shown no respect for human dignity either abroad or at home and executed the souls of the young generation hoping for a bright future.

A world thus created by Washington and so dramatically removed from spiritual values has naturally spawned felons and mass murderers who are the least pleased with the society and who manifest their anger and spite by way of spilling blood, especially the blood of those in whom they have been taught to see the source of their frustration. Figuratively speaking, these mass murders are to be interpreted in the name of a social war, and a kick in the teeth of a degenerated society.

Quebec’s “Red Square” Movement

August 13th, 2012 by David Camfield

In 2012 Quebec has been shaken by the most important social movement in the Canadian state[1] since the 1970s. What began as a strike by students in Quebec’s universities and Collèges d’Enseignement Général et Professionnel (CEGEPs, which most young people attend after high school) against a major increase in university tuition fees – part of capital’s international austerity drive – has become a broader popular movement against the government of the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ), headed by Premier Jean Charest, and against neoliberalism.

Universities in Quebec Society

To understand this movement, we need to look at the place of universities in Quebec society. The Canadian constitution makes education a responsibility of provincial governments. Before the 1960s, only a tiny percentage of the francophone majority in the province of Quebec attended university; university education was more common for members of the anglophone minority, whose universities were better-funded. At the time, the capitalist class in Quebec was largely anglophone – one feature of the national oppression of Quebec within the Canadian state. In the 1960s, a section of the francophone middle class launched an effort to modernize Quebec society that became known as the “Quiet Revolution.” One of its key features was the creation of a secular education system including new francophone universities that charged low tuition fees. This reform was linked with popular aspirations for national self-determination in an era that also saw a high level of working-class struggle. Accessible university education continues to be widely seen in Quebec as a valuable distinguishing feature of the Quebec nation.

Participation in post-secondary education grew rapidly in the 1960s. A vibrant student movement emerged, as it did in so many other countries in that era. Thanks to student activism including strikes in 1968, 1974, 1978 and 1986, tuition remained frozen between 1968 and 1990. The government succeeded in raising tuition in 1990 but its attempt to do so again in 1996 was beaten back by a resurgent student movement (though tuition for international students and other student fees were increased). In 2005 an attempt to convert over $100-million of student grants into loans was met with a partially-successful student strike.

In March 2011, the PLQ government announced a tuition increase of 75% over five years, beginning in 2012. The move was part of the government’s effort to advance neoliberalism in Quebec by introducing new fees for public services and raising existing ones. In Quebec neoliberal ideology isn’t accepted as ‘common sense’ – especially in the working-class – to the same extent that it is in the rest of the Canadian state. In the words of its finance minister, the Charest government aims to carry out a “cultural revolution.” It wants to replace the belief that people have a right to access public services funded by progressive taxation with the principle of “user pay.” Elements of the student movement had been preparing for mobilization since rumours of a large tuition increase first surfaced. The announcement spurred them into action.

The Student Movement

Quebec university and CEGEP students are organized into associations, facilitated by a legal framework with no equivalent elsewhere in the Canadian state. In Quebec there is a strong decades-long tradition of students organizing in very democratic and participatory ways through the general assemblies of their associations. Local associations may choose to affiliate to a Quebec-wide organization, of which there are four. The Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (ASSE), founded in 2001, promotes militant and democratic left-wing student unionism, in contrast to the others. In December 2011, ASSE formed the Coalition Large de l’Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante (CLASSE), which student associations not affiliated to ASSE could join if they accepted its platform and highly democratic way of functioning. CLASSE was intentionally designed to coordinate a student strike and has been a tremendous success. It is currently made up of 65 associations with a combined membership of 100,000.

Student associations began to hold general assemblies to discuss the call for a strike. The strike began on February 13 and soon spread through universities and CEGEPs across Quebec. Participation was strongest in Montreal (Quebec’s largest city) and weaker in Quebec City (the capital city).

The most common form of action was not attending classes and organizing picket lines to prevent people from entering buildings or classrooms. In March, CLASSE passed a motion in favour of actions to disrupt the economy and the state, leading to “manif-actions” in which students took their struggle off campus and carried out blockades of government offices, courthouses, bank buildings, bridges and other targets. Students also marched in support of locked-out Rio Tinto aluminum smelter workers in the town of Alma, joined with other groups protesting austerity measures and protested the government’s plan to “develop” Northern Quebec, which is opposed by indigenous people and environmentalists. Art interventions and other cultural expressions of the movement gave the strike a growing public presence. The movement’s symbol, a red square (first used in 2005, because higher tuition would put students “squarely in the red”), was soon being worn by tens of thousands of people and made visible in other ways on the streets and online.

On March 22, the number of strikers peaked, with around 300,000 of Quebec’s 400,000 university and CEGEP students on strike that day. That same day – chosen consciously to refer to the May 22nd Movement which played a role in France’s massive student and working-class revolt of 1968 – saw a demonstration of some 200,000 people in Montreal (to put this in perspective, Quebec’s population is about 8 million). This took the movement to a higher level, with more students voting to take ongoing strike action. Students usually met weekly in general assemblies to decide whether or not to continue to strike, though some associations voted for unlimited strike action. Support for the strike remained much stronger among francophones than anglophones. People who experience racism have been underrepresented, highlighting the need to strengthen anti-racist education and action in the movement.

On April 14, CLASSE’s demonstration against both the Charest government and the very right-wing Conservative Party federal government of Prime Minister Steven Harper, called under the slogan “For a Quebec Spring,” was a real success. This was followed on April 22 with a huge Earth Day demonstration, where anger at the ecologically destructive actions of the Quebec and federal governments and major corporations was notably combined with support for the students’ cause and their anti-neoliberal militancy.

In an attempt to divide a movement that showed no signs of faltering, the Quebec government excluded CLASSE from its talks with student organizations. However, unlike in 2005 when they had agreed to a settlement rejected by the militant wing of the strike movement, the leaders of the other federations responded by maintaining a common front and withdrawing from negotiations. Charest then offered to spread the tuition increase over seven years rather than five. This was widely seen as an insult, and marches began to take place in Montreal every evening. Violent police repression at a demonstration outside a PLQ meeting in the small city of Victoriaville on May 4 was followed the next day by the announcement of a tentative deal to end the strike, brokered with the aid of the top officials of Quebec’s three trade union federations. When put to a vote the deal was massively rejected by students.

Having failed to demobilize the movement by depicting students as spoiled brats and offering insubstantial concessions, Charest turned to repression. The government rushed a special law, Law 78 (now Law 12), through the legislature in full knowledge that some of its provisions contravene the Quebec and Canadian charters of rights. This law bans demonstrations near universities and CEGEPs, declares demonstrations illegal if they are not registered in advance with the police, orders a resumption of classes in mid-August and imposes heavy fines for individuals or organizations that transgress the new rules. Municipal government followed up with restrictive bylaws of their own.

The Movement Broadens

This was a turning point. Instead of putting down the movement, Law 78 became the trigger for a transformation. What had been a student movement supported by a significant minority of the population became a broad social movement against the PLQ government. Already widely seen as corrupt and subservient to big business, the PLQ’s attack on civil liberties and student protest spurred many more people to act. On May 22, the 100th day of the strike, demonstrations took place across Quebec. Some 250,000 people marched in the rain in Montreal. This was followed by nightly “casserole” protests (in which people bang pots and pans) in the neighbourhoods of Montreal and Quebec City and other cities and towns. In some neighbourhoods popular assemblies began to meet. Mass arrests did little to stem the tide of defiance and solidarity.

Although some students and community activists had been calling for a “social strike” against the government, up to this point union support for the students had mainly been limited to giving money and participating in demonstrations (across the Canadian state labour law puts tight restrictions on strikes, including a prohibition of political strikes). After Law 78, discussion of solidarity action spread among union activists. A number of federations affiliated to the Confederation of National Trade Unions passed motions in favour of a day of strike action, to the consternation of its top officials. Unfortunately, the labour left is much too weak to be able to translate that sentiment into action.

Despite the arrival of summer, when student involvement in the paid workforce increases, and a lower level of involvement at the grassroots of the student movement, demonstrations on June 22 and July 22 were still very large. CLASSE has organized a tour, with its activists participating in events across Quebec to discuss the struggle and their radical manifesto, “Nous sommes avenir,” which calls for a social strike (the English translation is entitled “Share our future”).

Into a New Phase

The movement is entering a new phase. Law 78 orders classes to resume at a number of CEGEPs during the week of August 13-17, but some activists are organizing a Block the Return to Class campaign independently of the official student organization structures, to minimize the weight of legal sanctions on the movement.

Charest has called an election for September 4. His gamble is that low voter turnout and the division of the anti-PLQ vote will maximize his chances of reelection. The PLQ faces its largest rival, the Parti Quebecois (PQ, a nationalist party that coats its neoliberalism with talk of fighting poverty and defending students’ and workers’ rights), the Coalition Avenir Quebec (a new aggressively neoliberal party) and Quebec Solidaire (QS, which unites much of the Quebec Left on the basis of anti-neoliberal reformism and support for Quebec independence). In the Canadian state, the candidate that wins the most votes wins in a constituency and the party that wins the most constituencies forms the government).

The election presents a challenge for the “Red Square” movement. Ruling-class strategists are undoubtedly hoping that the election will finally succeed in quelling the movement, allowing a PLQ or PQ government to claim that the disputed issues have been legitimately resolved and to decisively marginalize CLASSE and its allies.

The PQ is calling for a truce in the student struggle and, in keeping with its tradition of consulting with the leaders of unions and community organizations while it implements neoliberal policies, is promising a summit on university funding if it wins the election. Despite the PQ’s record in government, there is real pressure on students and others opposed to the PLQ to vote for the PQ as the “lesser evil” most likely to get Charest out of office.

While two of the other student federations (aligned informally with the PQ) are calling on students to vote, CLASSE is steaming ahead with its efforts to build the movement and prepare for the forced return to classes. CLASSE-affiliated student associations are holding general assemblies beginning on August 7, with a CLASSE congress scheduled for August 11-12.

A few words about the Quebec Left are in order. Its main political components are QS (which gathers together a range of forces, from social democrats to revolutionary socialists), anarchists, and social democrats who still haven’t quit the PQ. Many anarchists have done much to build the movement, both as students and community activists. Although QS proclaims itself a party “of the streets and the ballot boxes,” it is oriented and organized primarily for parliamentary politics.

QS has supported the student strike in a number of ways and many of its members have built the movement as activists. However, QS itself has not acted as an organized force to advance the struggle among students, in neighbourhoods and in workplaces. The movement has created a new opportunity to strengthen support within QS for anti-capitalist politics that treat mass direct action on the streets and in workplaces as the key to beating back attacks, winning reforms and ultimately transforming society. However, it’s not yet clear if people on the left wing of QS will be able to come together to do this.

Whatever happens in the next phase of the struggle, a number of things are clear. This remarkable movement has politicized Quebec society around the question of neoliberalism in a way that is without precedent in the Canadian state. It has radicalized many people, especially youth, many of whom have gained very valuable experience in mass mobilization and democratic self-organization.

Activists formed by the “Maple Spring,” as some have called the movement, will be critical for the future of the Left. The movement has also given Canadian activists both inspiration and ideas about how to struggle more effectively.


With classes scheduled to resume at many strike-affected CEGEPs this week, so far two CEGEP student associations have voted to end their strikes, one has voted to suspend strike action until after the election on September 4th and one has voted to continue striking. Ten CEGEP student associations and two university associations will be holding general assemblies this week to decide on their course of action. A number of university student associations continue to be officially on strike; beginning on August 20 others will be holding general assemblies.

Many students believe the election will resolve the fight against the fee hike by putting the PQ in government. This misplaced confidence in parliamentary elections and the PQ, which exerts a demobilizing influence on the movement, is reflected in the stance of the moderate federations of CEGEP and university students, which are putting their efforts into getting students to vote in the election.

At the CLASSE congress held in Montreal August 11-12, delegates voted to call for a continuation of the strike and for popular mobilization against attacks on public services, along with the creation of a pan-Canadian anti-neoliberal coalition to unite resistance to the Harper government’s attacks. CLASSE is mobilizing for what is hoped will be a huge demonstration in Montreal on August 22nd, in conjunction with the Coalition Against Fee Hikes and the Introduction of Fees for Public Services and other allies. If successful, this could put new wind in the sails of the student strike, which is crucial for the strength of the social movement no matter what party wins the election. •

David Camfield is an editor of New Socialist Webzine where this article first appeared.

As the triumphalism and self-congratulatory lauding of the Olympics “putting the ‘Great’ back in to Britain” as one government Minister modestly put it, temporarily winds down until the start of the Paralympics, on the 20th August, for one woman the event has been of heartbreak and searing heart ache.

Niran Al Samarrai is the wife of the former Chairman of the Iraqi Olympic Association, Ahmed Al Samarrai, who was kidnapped at a major Conference at the Oil Cultural Centre in the centre of Baghdad, with thirty six of his colleagues on 15th July 2006. Twelve were released after ten days, exhibiting signs of torture. The others, including Mr Al Samarrai have disappeared without trace.

The Cultural Centre is situated in the fortified well protected “Green Zone” (now the “International Centre”) near to the Ministry of the Interior – where in November 2005 US troops found more than one hundred and sixty whipped, beaten and starved prisoners, mostly Sunni. The Ministry was alleged to have been under the direct control of the highly sectarian Shia Prime Minister, Nuri Al Maliki, under whom Shiite death squads were rampant and multiplying.

On the day of the kidnapping Mr Al Samarrai had just finished addressing five hundred guests of the National Olympic Committee of Iraq, alleging a plot again the Committee, naming names, when more than sixty gun men in police uniforms stormed the meeting, having shot dead security men who tried to stop them. The area was “besieged” by modern police vehicles, says Mrs Al Samarrai.

The Olympic Committee and others were forcibly “arrested” by the armed “police” and bundled in to a “fleet of police cars” seen driving away in the direction of the Shiia enclave of Al Sadr city, named after the invasion for the largely Iranian-based cleric Muqtada Al Sadr.

Incredibly, in September 2006, Iraq’s Minister of Youth and Sport, Jassim Mohammed Jaafer in an interview with Al-Riyadhi Al-Jadeed (5th September 2006, Issue 420) stated that the abductors were from within the sports fraternity and he understood their grievances, indicating that the government was aware of who was responsible. Noteworthy is that Mr Al Samarrai, who had also been target of an ambush attempt in Athens, in 2004, had: “done his utmost to persuade the Minister or his advisors to attend the Conference.” They had refused.

It must be noted that the election of Mr Al Samarrai and his colleagues to the Olympic Committee, was organised with help from the International Olympic Committee, the above Ministry of Youth and Sport, other parliamentarians, with numerous monitors and media, international and local, IOC Members and Members of the Coalition Provisional Authority present.

Poignantly, the name Samarrai, of course, indicates that his roots are in Samarra, where the great golden domed mosque was blown up in February 2006, five months before the kidnappings.

Those taken with this man of ancient, beautiful Samarra, included:

Dr Amir Jabbar , Secretary General of National Olympic Committee of Iraq (NOCI)

Mr. Hasan Abdul Qadir Bahriya, Executive Board Member, National Olympic Committee of Iraq

Mr. Jamal Abdul Kareem, Executive Board Member,  National Olympic Committee of Iraq

Mr. Saieb Sadiq Al-Hakeem, Head of Water Polo Federation

Mr. Saad Tawfiq Al-Samarai, Head of Sports Facilities Security

Since the abductions, Niran Al Samarrai has fought a relentless battle for answers. Inspite of the fact that she is a British citizen and her husband had defected from Iraq and lived in the UK from 1983 – until returning to Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s government – even Chairing London’s Swiss Cottage Islamic Association, and with Degrees in Physical Educational Training from Baghdad, Leipzig and the British Military Academy, she has met with a wall of silence and obfuscation.

In 2008, she met with the President of the International Olympic Association, Jaques Rogge, who promised all assistance. Nothing has happened.

With the President in London for the Olympics and Paralympics, she has again appealed to him for help, for the man she calls: “The star from Samarra”, in an open letter:

Mr Jacques Rogge,
President, International Olympic Committee,

Dear Mr Rogge

It has been six years and we have still not found the fate of my kidnapped husband, the President of the NOCI, Ahmed Al-Samarrai, and his 24 colleagues, as the Iraqi government has remained silent all these years.

In our meeting with you last, 2008, you assured us that the IOC will do its

utmost to pressurize the Iraqi government to tell us the fate of our men, but instead the IOC stood by the Iraqi government who announced your

support prior to Beijing Games. The Beijing Games then passed without any word at all from your side regarding the savage crime which attacked the NOCI, and the lack of investigation by the Iraqi authorities.

I attach a copy of a letter sent to you by my son, Osama, to which we have not received any reply unfortunately.

I believe the Olympic Family should show some sincerity to a man who is a member in one of its National Olympic Committees, and Member of Sport for All, and who served the Olympic Charter strongly in the face of the sectarian pressure he suffered from continuously, as you are well aware. The International Olympic Committee should make a stand during the London Games, and demand the result of any governmental investigation from the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

As you know, we believe the government itself was responsible for that crime (we gave you the evidences, Sir) and then kept its silence and failed to conduct any proper investigation. Indeed, they didn’t bother even to meet those few who were released within 10 days of the abduction. We had asked you yourself to meet them in order to see the torture marks on their bodies, but sadly we received no response from your side.

The London Games are underway, and being a British citizen who lost her husband while he was on duty for the Olympic Family, I hope that this chance will not also be wasted (similar to Beijing games). I am formally requesting please that the International Olympic Committee should ask the Iraqi delegation officially about the case, and to request that the results of an official investigation be made public.

I believe the recently established NOCI which replaced Ahmed & his colleagues should also bear responsibility for ignoring the crime and not demanding any investigations. They are also responsible for holding the salaries of the kidnapped, which left their families starving although I believe they are entitled to receive salaries until the Beijing Games and the proper election of a new NOCI in 2009.

My book about the crime “A Homeland Kidnapped”, was published in Arabic last year and the English version has been published in London recently.

The Olympic Family as well as the Media will receive copies from me. I hope it will serve as a reminder of the crime and the negative reaction towards it, in particular the failures to act of those who could have done more.

15th July 2012 was the sixth anniversary of the kidnapping. We are counting on your help, Sir, in the spirit of the Olympic Values and out of humanitarian concern, to help all the families of those abducted to reach closure after six awful years of suffering. The London Games is a chance for any person with conscience to raise their voice and use their influence to bring about a resolution to this crime that hit the Olympic Family.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully

Niran Al-Samarrai  

Background on death squads and sectarian divides see:  

The election of the next puppet president of the “world’s only superpower” is about two and one-half months off, and what are the campaign issues? There aren’t any worthy of the name.

Romney won’t release his tax returns, despite the fact that release is a customary and expected act. Either the non-release is a strategy to suck in Democrats to make the election issue allegations that Romney is another mega-rich guy who doesn’t pay taxes, only to have the issue collapse with a late release that shows enormous taxes paid, or Romney’s tax returns, as a candidate who advocates lower taxes for the rich, don’t bear scrutiny.

What are Romney’s issues? The candidate says that his first act will be to repeal Obamacare, a program that Romney himself first enacted as governor of Massachusetts. This will cost Romney political contributions from the insurance industry, which is thankful for the 50 million new private insurance policies that Obamacare, written not by Obama but by the private insurance companies, provides at public expense. It is not to the insurance industry’s benefit to have a single payer system like other western countries.

Romney’s other issue is to blame Obama for America’s unemployment caused by the offshoring of the US economy by Republican corporate CEOs. In order to enhance their compensation packages, the Republican CEOs sent millions of America’s best jobs to India, China and elsewhere. The lower cost of labor in these offshore sites means much higher earnings, which drives up share prices for shareholders and drives up performance bonuses for management, while wrecking US employment, GDP growth and tax base and driving up the deficit in the balance of payments.

America’s main economic problem–the relocation of the US economy offshore–is not a campaign issue. Therefore, the US economy’s main problem will remain unaddressed.

The real issues can nowhere be found in the campaigns or in the media. There is no mention of the Bush/Obama destruction of the US Constitution and its legal protections of citizens from arbitrary government power. Due process no longer exists for anyone who the executive branch suspects of being connected in any way to Washington’s chosen enemies. US citizens can be thrown into dungeons for life on suspicion alone without any evidence ever being presented to a court, and they can be executed any place on earth, along with whoever happens to be with them at the time, on suspicion alone.

Last May federal district court judge Katherine Forrest ruled that indefinite detention of US citizens is unconstitutional and issued an injunction against the Obama regime using this police state measure in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Obama regime gave the federal judge the finger. During the week of August 6-10 the Justice (sic) Department’s Brownshirt lawyers refused to tell Judge Forrest if the Obama regime is complying with the injunction. The position of the Obama regime is: “we are above the law and do not answer to federal courts.” One would think that Romney would be all over this, but he isn’t because he wants the power himself.

The Obama police state will shop around and find a federal appeals court dominated by Republican Brownshirt judges and get Judge Forrest’s ruling overturned. All those Republican federal judges we had to have to save us from liberal Democrats will now complete our deliverance to a total police state where all power rests in an unaccountable executive branch.This is what the Republican Federalist Society has wanted for years, and they are on the verge of obtaining it.

That the United States has degenerated into a police state in the short period of ten years should be the campaign issue. Who would ever have thought such a thing possible. Yet, there is no mention of the destruction of the rule of law in the name of a hoax “war on terror.”

The Bush regime created the propaganda that “they (Muslims) hate us for our freedom and democracy,” but how can Muslims hate us for what does not exist? The arbitrary unaccountable power asserted by the executive branch is totally incompatible with freedom and democracy. Yet, neither Obama nor Romney makes this an issue. And neither does the media.

There is no war on terror. There is war on countries that are not Washington’s puppet states. Unaccountable Washington is currently slaughtering thousands of Muslims in a variety of countries and is preparing Syria as its next holocaust. Washington, taking advantage of the splits between Sunnis and Shi’ites and between Islamists and secular Muslims, has organized a rebellion in Syria in order to overthrow a government that is not a puppet of Washington and Israel.

Among the foreigners streaming into Syria to overthrow the secular state in which Sunni and Shia Arabs have lived peacefully, are the Islamist extremists that Washington has squandered $6 trillion fighting for 11 years. The extremists are on Washington’s side. They want the secular Syrian government overthrown, because it is not an Islamic government.

This suits Washington’s policy, so now the taxes extracted from hard-pressed Americans are flowing to the Islamists that Americans have been fighting.

Speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations on August 8, Obama’s national security aid John Brennan defended the diversion of American taxpayers’ money to the outside forces Washington has organized, financed and provided with military weapons to overthrow the government of Syria. John Brennan said, with a straight face, that the Obama administration is careful that the financial and military aid does not go to the rebels affiliated with al Qaeda. Brennan has to make this claim, because the Obama regime, being in cahoots with al Qaeda, is in violation of its own NDAA and is subject to arrest and indefinite detention.

Does anyone believe that Washington, determined to overthrow the Syrian government, is refusing to arm the most effective part of the fighting force that is involved? Is there anyone so naive not to know that military aid to “rebels” is fungible?

Having suffered damage to its superpower reputation by being fought to a standoff by a few thousand al Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan, Washington learned that the trick was to employ al Qaeda not as an enemy but as an ally.

The test case was in Libya, where the US-al Qaeda alliance worked to overthrow the Libyan government. The advantage for Washington is that Libya is now beset by warring factions and is no longer a country that could get in Washington’s way.

Libya is the roadmap for Syria.

Syria made its mistake when it thought it could pacify Washington by taking Washington’s side in the first war against Iraq, thus confirming for Washington that Arabs are incapable of sticking together and thus are an easy mark to be overthrown.

If Syria falls, Washington will have murdered yet another nation. But this is not a part of the presidential debate. Both candidates agree that Washington should prevail in establishing a puppet state in Syria. Even Amnesty International has been suborned and lends its influence to the demonization of the Syrian government. Only the US is moral, indispensable, virtuous, humane, a light upon mankind. By definition, any opponent chosen by Washington is debauched, evil, sinful, a country that suppresses dissent and tortures its opponents, something Washington would never do, being, of course, the “light unto the world.”

Unlike the 1957 plot by British Prime Minister Harald Macmillan and US President Dwight Eisenhower to foment an “uprising” in Syria and assassinate the Syrian leadership (see ), the Obama administration cloaks its intervention in humanitarian language, as do the rebels while they murder and execute civilians who support the Assad government. The presstitute western media describes the mayhem and murder as “humanitarian intervention,” and the brainwashed western public reposes in its moral superiority.

After Syria is destroyed, the last independent country in the region is Iran. Iran has also been weakened, not by Washington’s embargo, an act of war in itself, but by Washington’s financing of the “Green Revolution.” Iran now has a fifth column within itself.

Iran, the second oldest country after China, is now surrounded by 40 or more US military bases and is confronted by four US fleets in its own Persian Gulf.

There is a large number of nominal Muslims interested only in money and power who are working with Washington to overthrow the Syrian and Iranian governments.

If Iran falls, with both Russia and China surrounded by US missiles and military bases, the world as we know it will enter its final stage. Will Russia and China, having sacrificed all their buffers without a fight, surrender and be content to be ruled by puppet governments, or will they resist?

Don’t expect the packaged political campaign of the next couple of months to deal with any significant issue. Americans are oblivious of their fate, and so apparently is the rest of the world.

The selection of the next president of the US will depend on one thing alone–which of the two candidates financed by the ruling private oligarchy has the most effective propaganda.

Whether you vote Republican or Democrat, the oligarchs will win.

On July 27, 2012, the National Association of Letter Carriers adopted a resolution at their National Convention in Minneapolis to investigate establishing a postal banking system.  The resolution noted that expanding postal services and developing new sources of revenue are important to the effort to save the public Post Office and preserve living-wage jobs; that many countries have a successful history of postal banking, including Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States itself; and that postal banks could serve the 9 million people who don’t have bank accounts and the 21 million who use usurious check cashers, giving low-income people access to a safe banking system.  “A USPS bank would offer a ‘public option’ for banking,” concluded the resolution, “providing basic checking and savings – and no complex financial wheeling and dealing.”

The USPS has been declared insolvent, but it is not because it is inefficient (it has been self-funded throughout its history).  It is because in 2006, Congress required it to prefund postal retiree health benefits for 75 years into the future, an onerous burden no other public or private company is required to carry.  The USPS has evidently been targeted by a plutocratic Congress bent on destroying the most powerful unions and privatizing all public services, including education.  Britain’s 150-year-old postal service is also on the privatization chopping block, and its postal workers have also vowed to fight.  Adding banking services is an internationally proven way to maintain post office solvency and profitability.

Serving an Underserved Market, Without Going Broke

Many countries operate postal savings systems through their post offices, providing people without access to banks a safe, convenient way to save.  Great Britain first offered this arrangement in 1861.  It was wildly popular, attracting over 600,000 accounts and £8.2 million in deposits in its first five years. By 1927, there were twelve million accounts—one in four Britons—with £283 million on deposit.

Other postal banks followed.  They were popular because they serviced a huge untapped market—the unbanked and underbanked.  According to a Discussion Paper of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs:

The essential characteristic distinguishing postal financial services from the private banking sector is the obligation and capacity of the postal system to serve the entire spectrum of the national population, unlike conventional private banks which allocate their institutional resources to service the sectors of the population they deem most profitable.

Serving the unbanked and underbanked may sound like a losing proposition, but numerous precedents show that postal savings banks serving low-income and rural populations can be quite profitable.  (See below.)  In many countries, according to the UN Paper, banking revenues are actually crucial to maintaining the profitability of their postal network.  Letter delivery generates losses and often requires cross-subsidies from other activities to maintain its network.  One effective solution has been to create or expand postal financial services.

Public postal banks are profitable because their market is large and their costs are low: the infrastructure is already built and available, advertising costs are minimal, and government-owned banks do not award their management extravagant bonuses or commissions that drain profits away.  Profits return to the government and the people.

Profits return to the government in another way: money that comes out from under mattresses and gets deposited in savings accounts can be used to purchase government bonds.  Japan Post Bank, for example, holds 20% of Japan’s national debt.  The government has its own captive public lender, servicing the debt at low interest without risking the vagaries of the international bond market.  Fully 95% of Japan’s national debt is held domestically in one way or another.  That helps explain how Japan can have the worst debt-to-GDP ratio of any major country and still maintain its standing as the world’s largest creditor.

Some Examples of Successful Public Postal Banks


New Zealand’s profitable postal bank had a return on equity of 11.7% in the second half of 2011, with net profits almost trebling.  It is the only New Zealand bank able to compete with the big four Australian banks that dominate the New Zealand financial sector.

In fact, it was set up for that purpose. By 2001, Australian mega-banks controlled some 80% of New Zealand’s retail banking. Profits went abroad and were maximized by closing less profitable branches, especially in rural areas.  The New Zealand government decided to launch a state-owned bank that would compete with the Aussie banks. To keep costs low while still providing services throughout New Zealand, the planning team opened bank branches in post offices.

In an early version of the “move your money” campaign, 500,000 customers transferred their deposits to public postal banks in Kiwibank’s first five years—this in a country of only 4 million people.  Kiwibank consistently earns the nation’s highest customer satisfaction ratings, forcing the Australia-owned banks to improve their service to compete.

China’s Postal Savings Bureau:

With the assistance of the People’s Bank of China, China’s Postal Savings Bureau was re-established in 1986 after a 34-year lapse.  As in New Zealand, savings deposits flooded in, growing at over 50% annually in the first half of the 1990s and over 24% in the second half.  By 1998, postal savings accounted for 47% of China Post’s operating revenues; and 80% of China’s post offices provided postal savings services.  The Postal Savings Bureau has served as a vital link in mobilizing income and profits from the private sector, providing credit for local development. In 2007, the Postal Savings Bank of China was set up from the Postal Savings Bureau as a state-owned limited company that provides postal banking services.

Japan Post Bank:

By 2007, Japan Post was the largest holder of personal savings in the world, boasting combined assets for its savings bank and insurance arms of more than ¥380 trillion ($3.2 trillion).  It was also the largest employer in Japan. As in China, Japan Post recaptures and mobilizes income from the private sector, funding the government at low interest rates and protecting the nation’s debt from speculative raids.

Switzerland’s Swiss Post:

Postal financial services are by far the most profitable activity of Swiss Post, which suffers heavy losses from its parcel delivery and only marginal profits from letter delivery operations.

India’s Post Office Savings Bank (POSB):

POSB is India’s largest banking institution and its oldest, having been established in the latter half of the 19th century following the success of the postal savings system in England.  Operated by the government of India, it provides small savings banking and financial services.  The Department of Posts is now seeking to expand these services by creating a full-fledged bank that would offer full lending and investing services.

Russia’s PochtaBank:

Russia, too, is seeking to expand its post office services.  The head of the highly successful state-owned Sberbank has stepped down to take on the task of revitalizing the Russian post office and create a post office bank.  PochtaBank will operate in the Russian Post’s 40,000 local post offices. The post office will function as a banking institution and compete on equal footing not only with private banks but with Sberbank itself.

Brazil’s ECT:

Brazil instituted a postal banking system in 2002 on a public/private model, with the national postal service (ECT) forming a partnership with the nation’s largest private bank (Bradesco) to provide financial services at post offices. The current partnership is with Bank of Brazil.  ECT (also known as Correios) is one of the largest state-owned companies in Latin America, with an international service network reaching more than 220 countries worldwide.

The U.S. Postal Savings System:

The now-defunct U.S. Postal Savings System was also quite successful in its day.  It was set up in 1911 to get money out of hiding, attract the savings of immigrants, provide safe depositories for people who had lost confidence in private banks, and furnish depositories with longer hours that were convenient for working people.  The minimum deposit was $1 and the maximum was $2,500.  The postal system paid two percent interest on deposits annually.  It issued U.S. Postal Savings Bonds that paid annual interest, as well as Postal Savings Certificates and domestic money orders.  Postal savings peaked in 1947 at almost $3.4 billion.

The U.S. Postal Savings System was shut down in 1967, not because it was inefficient but because it became unnecessary after its profitability became apparent.  Private banks then captured the market, raising their interest rates and offering the same governmental guarantees that the postal savings system had.

Time to Revive the U.S. Postal Savings System?

Today, the market of the underbanked has grown again, including about one in four U.S. households according to a 2009 FDIC survey. Without access to conventional financial services, people turn to an alternative banking market of bill pay, prepaid debit cards and check cashing services, and payday loans. They pay excessive fees for basic financial services and are susceptible to high-cost predatory lenders. On average, a payday borrower pays back $800 for a $300 loan, with $500 going just toward interest. Low-income adults in the U.S spend over 5 billion dollars paying off fees and debt associated with predatory loans annually.

Another underserviced market is the rural population.  In May 2012, a move to shutter 3,700 low-revenue post offices was halted only by months of dissent from rural states and their lawmakers.  Banking services are also more limited for farmers following the 2008 financial crisis.  With shrinking resources for obtaining credit, farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to stay in their homes.

It is clear that there is a market for postal banking.  Countries such as Russia and India are exploring full-fledged lending services through their post offices; but if lending to the underbanked seems too risky, a U.S. postal bank could follow the lead of Japan Post and use the credit generated from its deposits to buy safe and liquid government bonds.  That could still make the bank a win-win-win, providing income for the post office, safe and inexpensive depository and checking services for the underbanked, and a reliable source of public funding for the government.

Ellen Brown is an attorney and president of the Public Banking Institute,  In Web of Debt, her latest of eleven books, she shows how a private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her websites are and

The Games Of Summer: From Playing Fields To Battle Fields

August 12th, 2012 by Danny Schechter

When the modern Olympics were first conceived, they were intended as a peaceful alternative to war. The nations of the world were supposed to lay down their arms and stop fighting during the games out of respect for the Olympic ideal. That, of course has not happened.

In 1936, Adolph Hitler used the Berlin Olympics to showcase his “ideals,” and, now, today, the sports spectacle in London became a showcase of corporate branding and entertainment while wars rage without comment by the global TV machine that focuses only on the play by play of who’s ahead and who’s behind on the fields of sports and politics.

The Games themselves encourage patriotism without reflection, while TV companies fight a war for ratings and revenues. Uri Avnery, the Israeli peace activist, goes further, arguing that sports have become a substitute for war.

“Konrad Lorenz, the Austrian professor who researched the behavior of animals as a basis for understanding human behavior, asserted that sports are a substitute for war.

Nature has equipped humans with aggressive instincts. They were an instrument for survival. When resources on earth were scarce, humans, like other animals, had to fight off intruders in order to stay alive.

This aggressiveness is so deeply imbedded in our biological heritage that it is quite useless to try to eliminate it. Instead, Lorenz thought, we must find harmless outlets for it. Sport is one answer.”

Needless to say, this type of analysis is missing in all the pomp and circumstance of flags waving and anthems playing.

When you turn away from the contests and leave the sports pages to return to the news pages, you note that the games politicians play are less open and much more covert, concealed with rhetoric and labeling that makes it much harder to identify the players or watch their coaches and advisors who stay in the shadows.

It’s far more fascinating, apparently to watch Curiosity rove about Mars, than look closely at the way the battle for Syria is being portrayed.

Hillary Clinton has been visiting South Africa in part to try to win support for US policy for the endless “terror war” and “human rights” for the people of Syria. That is the way the issue is being presented in the US where the media drones on about the righteousness of the “rebel” fight for “democracy.

Of course, the contradiction of non democratic monarchies like Saudia Arabia and Qatar arming an opposition that enjoys Al Qaeda backing is seldom mentioned.

It’s significant that while the US Secretary of State visits the aging Nelson Mandela and praises his “smile,” Mandela’s wife Graca Machel and the visiting former Irish President Mary Robinson blast the US for undermining the UN’s efforts to mediate a peaceful solution in Syria. (Kofi Annan is leaving the UN “team” with an Algerian envoy expected to replace him. Recall that it was Algeria that was the intermediary for the release of American hostages in Iran in 1981)

What Washington is doing at the UN, meanwhile is a basketball style “full court press” to get the General Assembly to pressure the Security Council to authorize a fuller war. So far, China and Russia have used vetoes that the Obama Administration finds infuriating

The French Magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, while criticizing the Russians, points out, “Though Moscow is a difficult partner, it doesn’t always refuse cooperation — the US is the country that has used its veto the most.”

Needless to say that “fact” rarely, if ever, surfaces in US media accounts. Another one that is missing is that Iran is trying to find a formula to end the fighting. Russia is attending its conference but the opposition has not been invited.

Says Russia: “Naturally, we intend to firmly pursue our line [calling for] an immediate end to bloodshed and the suffering of the civilian population, as well as for achieving a peaceful resolution in the interest of all Syrians through a broad political dialogue.”

The only people who would dismiss the idea of a broad political dialogue are those who are determined to overthrow the Syrian government. That’s why most observers now say diplomatic breakthroughs are unlikely and the military stalemate will continue, according to WorldCrunch:

“Russia’s strategic maneuvering in the UN, along with China, has shielded the Syrian regime from sanctions and full-scale international intervention. “

How long will the impasse continue? Washington is chomping at the bit to intervene even more, beyond covert financial subsidies and overt posturing, to enhance Obama’s status as a commander in chief. Just this past week, he signed a new set of tougher sanctions.

Israel was predictably one of the first countries out of the box to blast the Iranian peace initiative, with the Jerusalem Post quoting anonymous sources, as in “Western diplomats have dismissed the conference as an attempt to divert attention away from bloody events on the ground and to preserve the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad,” and:

“The Islamic Republic’s support for Assad’s regime is hardly compatible with a genuine attempt at conciliation between the parties,” said one Western diplomat based in Tehran.”

But aside from toppling Assad, it is uncertain what these unnamed—or invented—self-styled western diplomats invisage or propose about “conciliation.” The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports that there are now fears of “chaos”—in essence a replay of the deadly aftermath of the Libya intervention with its bloody liquidation of Gadaffy, toll in human lives and continuing uncertainty despite the pretense of elections.

Jordan says that the Syrian Foreign Minister who went there will soon leave, while Lebanon’s Daily News reports that Syrian refugees in the tent camps set up in Jordan are finding not freedom but “snakes, scorpions and dust storms.”

My hunch is that too few in the world are paying much attention to the Syrian scenario, caught up as they are with the games in London. Surely someone there can say something about how the Olympics were supposed to promote peace in a world that would apparently rather fight it out, than negotiate it out.

News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at His latest books are Occupy: Dissecting Occupy Wall Street and Blogothon. He hosts a weekly radio show on Progressive Radio Network, ( Comments to [email protected]  

September 2001: Women of Afghanistan Speak out on the 9/11 Attacks

August 12th, 2012 by Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan

Global Research Editor’s Note

For the next month until September 11, 2012, we will posting on a daily basis important articles from our early archives pertaining to the tragic events of 9/11.

The following text originally published on Global Research on September 16, 2001, by The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan  (RAWA), constitutes a response to US-NATO war plans to wage a war of retribution against the people of Afghanistan.

These war plans were announced on September 12, 2001, confirmed by NATO’s Atlantic Council on the morning of September 12, 2001. They were carried out on October 7, 2001.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, August 12, 2001

Posted at 16 September 2001


The people of Afghanistan have nothing to do with Osama and his accomplices

by Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan  (RAWA)

The US government and people should know that there is a vast difference between the poor and devastated people of Afghanistan and the terrorist Jehadi and Taliban criminals.

While we once again announce our solidarity and deep sorrow with the people of the US, we also believe that attacking Afghanistan and killing its most ruined and destitute people will not in any way decrease the grief of the American people. We sincerely hope that the great American people could DIFFERENTIATE between the people of Afghanistan and a handful of fundamentalist terrorists. Our hearts go out to the people of the US.

Down with terrorism!

On September 11, 2001 the world was stunned with the horrific terrorist attacks on the United States. RAWA stands with the rest of the world in expressing our sorrow and condemnation for this barbaric act of violence and terror. RAWA had already warned that the United States should not support the most treacherous, most criminal, most anti-democracy and anti-women Islamic fundamentalist parties because after both the Jehadi and the Taliban have committed every possible type of heinous crimes against our people, they would feel no shame in committing such crimes against the American people whom they consider “infidel”. In order to gain and maintain their power, these barbaric criminals are ready to turn easily to any criminal force.

But unfortunately we must say that it was the government of the United States who supported Pakistani dictator Gen. Zia-ul Haq in creating thousands of religious schools from which the germs of Taliban emerged. In the similar way, as is clear to all, Osama Bin Laden has been the blue-eyed boy of CIA. But what is more painful is that American politicians have not drawn a lesson from their pro-fundamentalist policies in our country and are still supporting this or that fundamentalist band or leader. In our opinion any kind of support to the fundamentalist Taliban and Jehadies is actually trampling democratic, women’s rights and human rights values.

If it is established that the suspects of the terrorist attacks are outside the US, our constant claim that fundamentalist terrorists would devour their creators, is proved once more.

The US government should consider the root cause of this terrible event, which has not been the first and will not be the last one too. The US should stop supporting Afghan terrorists and their supporters once and for all.

Now that the Taliban and Osama are the prime suspects by the US officials after the criminal attacks, will the US subject Afghanistan to a military attack similar to the one in 1998 and kill thousands of innocent Afghans for the crimes committed by the Taliban and Osama? Does the US think that through such attacks, with thousands of deprived, poor and innocent people of Afghanistan as its victims, will be able to wipe out the root-cause of terrorism, or will it spread terrorism even to a larger scale?

From our point of view a vast and indiscriminate military attacks on a country that has been facing permanent disasters for more than two decades will not be a matter of pride. We don’t think such an attack would be the expression of the will of the American people.

The US government and people should know that there is a vast difference between the poor and devastated people of Afghanistan and the terrorist Jehadi and Taliban criminals.

While we once again announce our solidarity and deep sorrow with the people of the US, we also believe that attacking Afghanistan and killing its most ruined and destitute people will not in any way decrease the grief of the American people. We sincerely hope that the great American people could DIFFERENTIATE between the people of Afghanistan and a handful of fundamentalist terrorists. Our hearts go out to the people of the US.

Down with terrorism!

Global Research Editor’s Note

As September approaches, we are reminded that the anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11 will soon be upon us once again.

Eleven years laters, are we any closer to the truth about what really happened on that fateful day?

For the next month until September 11, 2012, we will be posting on a daily basis important articles from our early archives pertaining to the tragic events of 9/11.

The following text was published on September 21, 2001, following Bush’s address to the US Congress on September 20, 2001, in which he accuses Al Qaeda of perpetrating the 9/11 attacks. 

It is important to remind ourselves that in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks, public opinion in North America and Western Europe (with some exceptions) was largely supportive of the official narrative as conveyed in Bush’s historical address. 

The Annex below pertains to an important document of the Republican Party Committee of the US Congress, which provides ample evidence of US government support during the Clinton Adminstration to the “Militant Islamic Base”, namely Al Qaeda. 

What the document does not mention is that successive US adminstrations since the late 1970s have supported and abetted the “Islamic Jihad”.  

Since the Soviet-Afghan war, the US and NATO have recruited Mujahideen (“holy warriors”) to fight their covert wars. 

The 1997 document of the US Congress reveals how the Clinton administration –under advice from the National Security Council headed by Anthony Lake– had recruited Al Qaeda mercenaries thereby “turning Bosnia into a militant Islamic base”.

The “Bosnian pattern” of using Al Qaeda as the Western military alliance’s foot soldiers was replicated in Kosovo in 1998-99, with the recruitment of foreign mercenaries fighting in the ranks of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

This model of funding terrorists was applied in Libya in 2011 with support funnelled to an Al Qaeda affiliated organization: the Libya Islamic fighting Group (LIFG).

In Syria, the Western military alliance is supporting the recruitment of Al Qaeda mercenaries, which have integrated the ranks of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The Congressional document in Annex, while also focussing on the role of Iran in Bosnia confirms the links of the Clinton adminstration to the Islamic terror network, which is a creation of US intelligence. 

Excerpt from document (emphasis added):

“For example, one such group about which details have come to light is the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), a Sudan-based, phoney humanitarian organization which has been a major link in the arms pipeline to Bosnia. ["How Bosnia's Muslims Dodged Arms Embargo: Relief Agency Brokered Aid From Nations, Radical Groups," Washington Post, 9/22/96; see also "Saudis Funded Weapons For Bosnia, Official Says: $ 300 Million Program Had U.S. 'Stealth Cooperation'," Washington Post, 2/2/96]

TWA is believed to be connected with such fixtures of the Islamic terror network as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the convicted mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Osama Binladen, a wealthy Saudi emigre believed to bankroll numerous militant groups. [WP, 9/22/96] (Sheik Rahman, a native of Egypt, is currently in prison in the United States; letter bombs addressed to targets in Washington and London, apparently from Alexandria, Egypt, are believed connected with his case. Binladen was a resident in Khartoum, Sudan, until last year; he is now believed to be in Afghanistan, “where he has issued statements calling for attacks on U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf.” [on U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf." [WP, 9/22/96])

In substance, the Congressional document confirms that in the decade prior to 9/11, the US government rather than fighting Al Qaeda, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was in fact supporting it.

And in the wake of 9/11, the “Global War on Terrorism” was launched with a view to comabating Al Qaeda. Yet, in a bitter irony, the evidence amply confirms that the “War on Terrorism” is in fact using terrorists to wage war on behalf of the Western military alliance.  

Déjà Vu? A diabolical  pattern of  supporting  as well as “using terrorists” to wage the Western military alliance’s “humanitarian wars” has been established.

The Bosnia-Kosovo model of recruiting Al Qaeda Mujahideen has been replicated in Libya (2011) and Syria (2012). 

Iin Syria, US-NATO-Israeli sponsored Al Qaeda affiliated mercenaries recruited in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are fighting in the ranks of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). 

Michel Chossudovsky, August 12, 2012

Originally Posted on Global Research at 21 September 2001

Since the Soviet-Afghan war, recruiting Mujahedin (“holy warriors”) to fight covert wars on Washington’s behest has become an integral part of US foreign policy. A 1997 document of the US Congress reveals how the Clinton administration –under advice from the National Security Council headed by Anthony Lake– had “helped turn Bosnia into a militant Islamic base” leading to the recruitment through the so-called “Militant Islamic Network,” of thousands of Mujahedin from the Muslim world.

The “Bosnian pattern” has since been replicated in Kosovo, Southern Serbia and Macedonia. Among the foreign mercenaries now fighting with the Kosovo Liberation Army(KLA) in Macedonia are Mujahedin from the Middle East and the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. Also within the ranks of the Kosovo Liberation Army are senior US military advisers from a private mercenary outfit on contract to the Pentagon as well as “soldiers of fortune” from Britain, Holland and Germany.

“Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking, ‘Who attacked our country?’” said George W. Bush in his address to the US Congress on 20 September. “This group and its leader, a person named Osama bin Laden are linked to many other organizations in different countries.”

What the President fails to mention in his speech is the complicity of agencies of the US government in supporting and abetting Osama bin Laden.

The Bush Administration has misled the American people. What is the hidden agenda? The largest military operation since the Vietnam War is being launched against Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network, when the evidence amply confirms that Osama has been “harbored” since the Soviet-Afghan war by agencies of the US government.

We are reproducing below the 1997 Congressional Press release, which provides detailed evidence from official sources of the links between the Islamic Jihad and the US government during the Clinton Adminstration. The CRG does not necessarily share or endorse the conclusions of the document which emanates from the Republican Party.

Michel Chossudovsky, 21 September 2001


Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base

Congressional Press Release, US Congress, 16 January 1997 Posted at 21 September 2001

Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base

“‘There is no question that the policy of getting arms into Bosnia was of great assistance in allowing the Iranians to dig in and create good relations with the Bosnian government,’ a senior CIA officer told Congress in a classified deposition. ‘And it is a thing we will live to regret because when they blow up some Americans, as they no doubt will before this … thing is over, it will be in part because the Iranians were able to have the time and contacts to establish themselves well in Bosnia.”‘

“Iran Gave Bosnia Leader $ ["Iran Gave Bosnia Leader $ 500,000,

CIA Alleges: Classified Report Says Izetbegovic Has Been 'Co-Opted,'

Contradicting U.S. Public Assertion of Rift," Los Angeles Times, 12/31/96. Ellipses in original. Alija Izetbegovic is the Muslim president of Bosnia.] “‘If you read President Izetbegovk’s writings, as I have, there is no doubt that he is an Islamic fundamentalist,’ said a senior Western diplomat with long experience in the region. ‘He is a very nice fundamentalist, but he is still a fundamentalist. This has not changed. His goal is to establish a Muslim state in Bosnia, and the Serbs and Croats understand this better than the rest of us.”‘ ["Bosnian Leader Hails Islam at Election Rallies," New York Times, 9/2/96]

Introduction and Summary

In late 1995, President Bill Clinton dispatched some 20,000 U.S. troops to Bosnia-Hercegovina as part of a NATO-led “implementation force” (IFOR) to ensure that the warning Muslim, Serbian, and Croatian factions complied with provisions of the Dayton peace plan. [NOTE: This paper assumes the reader is acquainted with the basic facts of the Bosnian war leading to the IFOR deployment. For background, see RPC's "Clinton Administration Ready to Send U.S. Troops to Bosnia, "9/28/95," and Legislative Notice No. 60, "Senate to Consider Several Resolutions on Bosnia," 12/12/95]

Through statements by Administration spokesmen, notably Defense Secretary Perry and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Shalikashvili, the president firmly assured Congress and the American people that U S. personnel would be out of Bosnia at the end of one year. Predictably, as soon as the November 1996 election was safely behind him, President Clinton announced that approximately 8,5 00 U.S. troops would be remaining for another 18 months as part of a restructured and scaled down contingent, the “stabilization force” (SFOR), officially established on December 20, 1996.

SFOR begins its mission in Bosnia under a serious cloud both as to the nature of its mission and the dangers it will face. While IFOR had successfully accomplished its basic military task – separating the factions’ armed forces – there has been very little progress toward other stated goals of the Dayton agreement, including political and economic reintegration of Bosnia, return of refugees to their homes, and apprehension and prosecution of accused war criminals.

It is far from certain that the cease-fire that has held through the past year will continue for much longer, in light of such unresolved issues as the status of the cities of Brcko (claimed by Muslims but held by the Serbs) and Mostar (divided between nominal Muslim and Croat allies, both of which are currently being armed by the Clinton Administration). Moreover, at a strength approximately one-third that of its predecessor, SFOR may not be in as strong a position to deter attacks by one or another of the Bosnian factions or to avoid attempts to involve it in renewed fighting: “IFOR forces, despite having suffered few casualties, have been vulnerable to attacks from all of the contending sides over the year of the Dayton mandate. As a second mandate [Dayton mandate. As a second mandate [i.e., SFOR] evolves, presumably maintaining a smaller force on the ground, the deterrent effect which has existed may well become less compelling and vulnerabilities of the troops will increase.” ["Military Security in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Present and Future," Bulletin of the Atlantic Council of the United States, 12/18/96]

The Iranian Connection

Perhaps most threatening to the SFOR mission – and more importantly, to the safety of the American personnel serving in Bosnia – is the unwillingness of the Clinton Administration to come clean with the Congress and with the American people about its complicity in the delivery of weapons from Iran to the Muslim government in Sarajevo. That policy, personally approved by Bill Clinton in April 1994 at the urging of CIA Director-designate (and then-NSC chief) Anthony Lake and the U.S. ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith, has, according to the Los Angeles Times (citing classified intelligence community sources), “played a central role in the dramatic increase in Iranian influence in Bosnia.” Further, according to the Times, in September 1995 National Security Agency analysts contradicted Clinton Administration claims of declining Iranian influence, insisting instead that “Iranian Revolutionary Guard personnel remain active throughout Bosnia.”

Likewise, “CIA analysts noted that the Iranian presence was expanding last fall,” with some ostensible cultural and humanitarian activities “known to be fronts” for the Revolutionary Guard and Iran’s intelligence service, known as VEVAK, the Islamic revolutionary successor to the Shah’s SAVAK. [[LAT, 12/31/96] At a time when there is evidence of increased willingness by pro-Iranian Islamic militants to target American assets abroad – as illustrated by the June 1996 car-bombing at the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, that killed 19 American airmen, in which the Iranian government or pro-Iranian terrorist organizations are suspected ["U.S. Focuses Bomb Probe on Iran, Saudi Dissident," Chicago Tribune, 11/4/96] – it is irresponsible in the extreme for the Clinton Administration to gloss over the extent to which its policies have put American personnel in an increasingly vulnerable position while performing an increasingly questionable mission.

Three Key Issues for Examination

This paper will examine the Clinton policy of giving the green light to Iranian arms shipments to the Bosnian Muslims, with serious implications for the safety of U.S. troops deployed there. (In addition, RPC will release a general analysis of the SFOR mission and the Clinton Administration’s request for supplemental appropriations to fund it in the near future.) Specifically, the balance of this paper will examine in detail the three issues summarized below:

  1. The Clinton Green Light to Iranian Arms Shipments (page 3): In April 1995, President Clinton gave the government of Croatia what has been described by Congressional committees as a “green light” for shipments of weapons from Iran and other Muslim countries to the Muslim-led government of Bosnia. The policy was approved at the urging of NSC chief Anthony Lake and the U.S. ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith. The CIA and the Departments of State and Defense were kept in the dark until after the decision was made.

  2. The Militant Islamic Network (page 5): Along with the weapons, Iranian Revolutionary Guards and VEVAK intelligence operatives entered Bosnia in large numbers, along with thousands of mujahedin (“holy warriors”) from across the Muslim world. Also engaged in the effort were several other Muslim countries (including Brunei, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Turkey) and a number of radical Muslim organizations. For example, the role of one Sudan-based “humanitarian organization,” called the Third World Relief Agency, has been well documented. The Clinton Administration’s “hands-on” involvement with the Islamic network’s arms pipeline included inspections of missiles from Iran by U.S. government officials.

  3. The Radical Islamic Character of the Sarajevo Regime (page 8): Underlying the Clinton Administration’s misguided green light policy is a complete misreading of its main beneficiary, the Bosnian Muslim government of Alija Izetbegovic. Rather than being the tolerant, multiethnic democratic government it pretends to be, there is clear evidence that the ruling circle of Izetbegovic’s party, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA), has long been guided by the principles of radical Islam. This Islamist orientation is illustrated by profiles of three important officials, including President Izetbegovic himself; the progressive Islamization of the Bosnian army, including creation of native Bosnian mujahedin units; credible claims that major atrocities against civilians in Sarajevo were staged for propaganda purposes by operatives of the Izetbegovic government; and suppression of enemies, both non-Muslim and Muslim.

The Clinton Green Light to Iranian Arms Shipments

Both the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Select Subcommittee to Investigate the United States Role in Iranian Arms Transfers to Croatia and Bosnia issued reports late last year. (The Senate report, dated November 1996, is unclassified. The House report is classified, with the exception of the final section of conclusions, which was released on October 8, 1996; a declassified version of the full report is expected to be released soon.) The reports, consistent with numerous press accounts, confirm that on April 27, 1994, President Clinton directed Ambassador Galbraith to inform the government of Croatia that he had “no instructions” regarding Croatia’s decision whether or not to permit weapons, primarily from Iran, to be transshipped to Bosnia through Croatia. (The purpose was to facilitate the acquisition of arms by the Muslim-led government in Sarajevo despite the arms embargo imposed on Yugoslavia by the U.N. Security Council.) Clinton Administration officials took that course despite their awareness of the source of the weapons and despite the fact that the Croats (who were themselves divided on whether to permit arms deliveries to the Muslims) would take anything short of a U.S. statement that they should not facilitate the flow of Iranian arms to Bosnia as a “green light.”

The green light policy was decided upon and implemented with unusual secrecy, with the CIA and the Departments of State and Defense only informed after the fact. ["U.S. Had Options to Let Bosnia Get Arms, Avoid Iran," Los Angeles Times, 7/14/96] Among the key conclusions of the House Subcommittee were the following (taken from the unclassified section released on October 8):

  • “The President and the American people were poorly served by the Administration officials who rushed the green light decision without due deliberation. full information and an adequate consideration of the consequences.” (page 202)

  • “The Administration’s efforts to keep even senior US officials from seeing its ‘fingerprints’ on the green light policy led to confusion and disarray within the government.” (page 203)

  • “The Administration repeatedly deceived the American people about its Iranian green light policy.” (page 204)

Clinton, Lake, and Galbraith Responsible

Who is ultimately accountable for the results of his decision – two Clinton Administration officials bear particular responsibility: Ambassador Galbraith and then-NSC Director Anthony Lake, against both of whom the House of Representatives has referred criminal charges to the Justice Department. Mr. Lake, who personally presented the proposal to Bill Clinton for approval, played a central role in preventing the responsible congressional committees from knowing about the Administration’s fateful decision to acquiesce in radical Islamic Iran’s effort to penetrate the European continent through arms shipments and military cooperation with the Bosnian government.” ["'In Lake We Trust'? Confirmation Make-Over Exacerbates Senate Concerns About D.C.I.-Desipate's Candor, Reliability," Center for Security Policy, Washington, D.C., 1/8/97] His responsibility for the operation is certain to be a major hurdle in his effort to be confirmed as CIA Director: “The fact that Lake was one of the authors of the duplicitous policy in Bosnia, which is very controversial and which has probably helped strengthen the hand of the Iranians, doesn’t play well,” stated Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Shelby. ["Lake to be asked about donation," Washington Times, 1/2/97]

For his part, Ambassador Galbraith was the key person both in conceiving the policy and in serving as the link between the Clinton Administration and the Croatian government; he also met with Imam Sevko Omerbasic, the top Muslim cleric in Croatia, “who the CIA says was an intermediary for Iran.” ["Fingerprints: Arms to Bosnia, the real story," The New Republic, 10/28/96; see also LAT 12/23/96] As the House Subcommittee concluded (page 206): “There is evidence that Ambassador Galbraith may have engaged in activities that could be characterized as unauthorized covert action.” The Senate Committee (pages 19 and 20 of the report) was unable to agree on the specific legal issue of whether Galbraith’s actions constituted a “covert action” within the definition of section 503(e) of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. Sec. 413(e)), as amended, defined as “an activity or activities … to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly.”

The Militant Islamic Network

The House Subcommittee report also concluded (page 2): “The Administration’s Iranian green light policy gave Iran an unprecedented foothold in Europe and has recklessly endangered American lives and US strategic interests.” Further – ” … The Iranian presence and influence [" ... The Iranian presence and influence [in Bosnia] jumped radically in the months following the green light. Iranian elements infiltrated the Bosnian government and established close ties with the current leadership in Bosnia and the next generation of leaders. Iranian Revolutionary Guards accompanied Iranian weapons into Bosnia and soon were integrated in the Bosnian military structure from top to bottom as well as operating in independent units throughout Bosnia. The Iranian intelligence service [intelligence service [VEVAK] ran wild through the area developing intelligence networks, setting up terrorist support systems, recruiting terrorist ‘sleeper’ agents and agents of influence, and insinuating itself with the Bosnian political leadership to a remarkable degree. The Iranians effectively annexed large portions of the Bosnian security apparatus [known as the Agency for Information and Documentation (AID)] to act as their intelligence and terrorist surrogates. This extended to the point of jointly planning terrorist activities. The Iranian embassy became the largest in Bosnia and its officers were given unparalleled privileges and access at every level of the Bosnian government.” (page 201)

Not Just the Iranians

To understand how the Clinton green light would lead to this degree of Iranian influence, it is necessary to remember that the policy was adopted in the context of extensive and growing radical Islamic activity in Bosnia. That is, the Iranians and other Muslim militants had long been active in Bosnia; the American green light was an important political signal to both Sarajevo and the militants that the United States was unable or unwilling to present an obstacle to those activities – and, to a certain extent, was willing to cooperate with them. In short, the Clinton Administration’s policy of facilitating the delivery of arms to the Bosnian Muslims made it the de facto partner of an ongoing international network of governments and organizations pursuing their own agenda in Bosnia: the promotion of Islamic revolution in Europe. That network involves not only Iran but Brunei, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan (a key ally of Iran), and Turkey, together with front groups supposedly pursuing humanitarian and cultural activities.

For example, one such group about which details have come to light is the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), a Sudan-based, phoney humanitarian organization which has been a major link in the arms pipeline to Bosnia. ["How Bosnia's Muslims Dodged Arms Embargo: Relief Agency Brokered Aid From Nations, Radical Groups," Washington Post, 9/22/96; see also "Saudis Funded Weapons For Bosnia, Official Says: $ 300 Million Program Had U.S. 'Stealth Cooperation'," Washington Post, 2/2/96] TWA is believed to be connected with such fixtures of the Islamic terror network as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the convicted mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Osama Binladen, a wealthy Saudi emigre believed to bankroll numerous militant groups. [WP, 9/22/96] (Sheik Rahman, a native of Egypt, is currently in prison in the United States; letter bombs addressed to targets in Washington and London, apparently from Alexandria, Egypt, are believed connected with his case. Binladen was a resident in Khartoum, Sudan, until last year; he is now believed to be in Afghanistan, “where he has issued statements calling for attacks on U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf.” [on U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf." [WP, 9/22/96])

The Clinton Administration ‘s “Hands-On ” Help

The extent to which Clinton Administration officials, notably Ambassador Galbraith, knowingly or negligently, cooperated with the efforts of such front organizations is unclear. For example, according to one intelligence account seen by an unnamed U.S. official in the Balkans, “Galbraith ‘talked with representatives of Muslim countries on payment for arms that would be sent to Bosnia,’ … [would be sent to Bosnia,' ... [T]he dollar amount mentioned in the report was $ 500 million-$ 800 million. The U.S. official said he also saw subsequent ‘operational reports’ in 1995 on almost weekly arms shipments of automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, anti-armor rockets and TOW missiles.” [TNR, 10/28/96] The United States played a disturbingly “hands-on” role, with, according to the Senate report (page 19), U.S. government personnel twice conducting inspections in Croatia of missiles en route to Bosnia. Further — “The U.S. decision to send personnel to Croatia to inspect rockets bound for Bosnia is … subject to varying interpretations. It may have been simply a straightforward effort to determine whether chemical weapons were being shipped into Bosnia. It was certainly, at least in part, an opportunity to examine a rocket in which the United States had some interest. But it may also have been designed to ensure that Croatia would not shut down the pipeline.” (page 21)

The account in The New Republic points sharply to the latter explanation: “Enraged at Iran’s apparent attempt to slip super weapons past Croat monitors, the Croatian defense minister nonetheless sent the missiles on to Bosnia ‘just as Peter [i.e., Ambassador Galbraith] told us to do,’ sources familiar with the episode said.” [episode said." [TNR, 10/28/96] In short, the Clinton Administration’s connection with the various players that made up the arms network seems to have been direct and intimate.

The Mujahedin Threat

In addition to (and working closely with) the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and VEVAK intelligence are members of numerous radical groups known for their anti-Western orientation, along with thousands of volunteer mujahedin (“holy warriors”) from across the Islamic world. From the beginning of the NATO- led deployment, the Clinton Administration has given insufficient weight to military concerns regarding the mujahedin presence in Bosnia as well as the danger they pose to American personnel. Many of the fighters are concentrated in the so-called “green triangle” (the color green symbolizes Islam) centered on the town of Zenica in the American IFOR/SFOR zone but are also found throughout the country.

The Clinton Administration has been willing to accept Sarajevo’s transparently false assurances of the departure of the foreign fighters based on the contention that they have married Bosnian women and have acquired Bosnian citizenship — and thus are no longer “foreign”! or, having left overt military units to join “humanitarian,” “cultural,” or “charitable” organizations, are no longer “fighters.” [See "Foreign Muslims Fighting in Bosnia Considered 'Threat' to U.S. Troops," Washington Post, 11/30/95; "Outsiders Bring Islamic Fervor To the Balkans," New York Times, 9/23/96; "Islamic Alien Fighters Settle in Bosnia," Pittsburgh PostGazette, 9/23/96; "Mujahideen rule Bosnian villages: Threaten NATO forces, non-Muslims," Washington Times, 9/23/96; and Yossef Bodansky, Offensive in the Balkans (November 1995) and Some Call It Peace (August 1996), International Media Corporation, Ltd., London. Bodansky, an analyst with the House Republican Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, is an internationally recognized authority on Islamic terrorism.] The methods employed to qualify for Bosnian citizenship are themselves problematic: “Islamic militants from Iran and other foreign countries are employing techniques such as forced marriages, kidnappings and the occupation of apartments and houses to remain in Bosnia in violation of the Dayton peace accord and may be a threat to U.S. forces.” ["Mujaheddin Remaining in Bosnia: Islamic Militants Strongarm Civilians, Defy Dayton Plan," Washington Post, 7/8/96]

The threat presented by the mujahedin to IFOR (and now, to SFOR) – contingent only upon the precise time their commanders in Tehran or Sarajevo should choose to activate them has been evident from the beginning of the NATO-led deployment. For example, in February 1996 NATO forces raided a terrorist training camp near the town of Fojnica, taking into custody 11 men (8 Bosnian citizens – two of whom may have been naturalized foreign mujahedin and three Iranian instructors); also seized were explosives “built into small children’s plastic toys, including a car, a helicopter and an ice cream cone,” plus other weapons such as handguns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, etc. The Sarajevo government denounced the raid, claiming the facility was an “intelligence service school”; the detainees were released promptly after NATO turned them over to local authorities. ["NATO Captures Terrorist Training Camp, Claims Iranian Involvement," Associated Press, 2/16/96; "Bosnian government denies camp was for terrorists," Reuters, 2/16/96; Bodansky Some Call It Peace, page 56] In May 1996, a previously unknown group called “Bosnian Islamic Jihad” (Jihad means “holy war”,) threatened attacks on NATO troops by suicide bombers, similar to those that had recently been launched in Israel. ["Jihad Threat in Bosnia Alarms NATO," The European, 5/9/96]

Stepping-Stone to Europe

The intended targets of the mujahedin network in Bosnia are not limited to that country but extend to Western Europe. For example, in August 1995, the conservative Paris daily Le Figaro reported that French security services believe that ,Islamic fundamentalists from Algeria have set up a security network across Europe with fighters trained in Afghan gerrilla camps and [[in] southern France while some have been tested in Bosnia.” [[(London) Daily Telegraph, 8/17/95] Also, in April 1996, Beligan security arrested a number of Islamic militants, including two native Bosnians, smuggling weapons to Algerian guerrillas active in France. [in France. [Intelligence Newsletter, Paris, 5/9/96 (No. 287)] Finally, also in April 1996, a meeting of radicals aligned with HizbAllah (“Party of God”), a pro-Iran group based in Lebanon, set plans for stepping up attacks on U.S. assets on all continents; among those participating was an Egyptian, Ayman al- Zawahiri, who “runs the Islamist terrorist operations in Bosnia- Herzegovina from a special headquarters in Sofa, Bulgaria. His forces are already deployed throughout Bosnia, ready to attack US and other I-FOR (NATO Implementation Force) targets.” ["States- Sponsored Terrorism and The Rise of the HizbAllah International," Defense and Foreign Affairs and Strategic Policy, London, 8/31/96 Finally, in December 1996, French and Belgain security arrested several would-be terrorists trained at Iranian-run camps in Bosnia.["Terrorism: The Bosnian Connection," (Paris) L'Express, 12/26/96]

The Radical Islamic Character of the Sarajevo Regime

Underlying the Clinton Administration’s misguided policy toward Iranian influence in Bosnia is a fundamental misreading of the true nature of the Muslim regime that benefited from the Iran/Bosnia arms policy. “The most dubious of all Bosniac [i.e., Bosnian Muslim] claims pertains to the self-serving commercial that the government hopes to eventually establish a multiethnic liberal democratic society. Such ideals may appeal to a few members of Bosnia’s ruling circles as well as to a generally secular populace, but President Izethbegovic and his cabal appear to harbor much different private intentions and goals.” ["Selling the Bosnia Myth to America: Buyer Beware," Lieutenant Colonel John E. Sray, USA, U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth, KS, October 1995]

The evidence that the leadership of the ruling Party of Democratic Action (SDA), and consequently, the Sarajevo-based government, has long been motivated by the principles of radical Islam is inescapable. The following three profiles are instructive:

Alija Izetbegovic: Alija Izetbegovic, current Bosnian president and head of the SDA, in 1970 authored the radical “Islamic Declaration,” which calls for “the Islamic movement” to start to take power as soon as it can Overturn “the existing non- Muslim government…[Muslim government...[and] build up a new Islamic one,” to destroy non-Islamic institutions (“There can be neither peace nor coexistence between the Islamic religion and non-Islamic social institutions’), and to create an international federation of Islamic states. [The Islamic Declaration: A Programme for the Islamization of Muslims and the Muslim Peoples, Sarajevo, in English, 19901 Izetbegovic's radical pro-Iran associations go back decades: "At the center of the Iranian system in Europe is Bosnia-Hercegovina." President, Alija Izetbegovic, . . . who is committed to the establishment Of an Islamic Republic in Bosnia- Hercegovina." ["Iran's European Springboard?", House Republican Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, 9/1/92 The Task Force report further describes Izetbegovic's contacts with Iran and Libya in 1991, before the Bosnian war began; he is also noted as a "fundamentalist Muslim" and a member of the "Fedayeen of Islam" organization, an Iran-based radical group dating to the 1930s and which by the late 1960s had recognized the leadership of the Ayatollah Khomeini (then in exile from the Shah). Following Khomeini's accession to power in 1979, Izetbegovic stepped-up his efforts to establish Islamic power in Bosnia and was jailed by the communists in 1983. Today, he is open and unapologetic about his links to Iran: "Perhaps the most telling detail of the [detail of the [SDA's September 1, 1996] campaign rally … was the presence of the Iranian Ambassador and his Bosnian and Iranian bodyguards, who sat in the shadow of the huge birchwood platform…. As the only foreign diplomat [platform.... As the only foreign diplomat [present], indeed the only foreigner traveling in the President’s [only foreigner traveling in the President's [i.e., Izetbegovic's] heavily guarded motorcade of bulky four-wheel drive jeeps, he lent a silent Islamic imprimatur to the event, one that many American and European supporters of the Bosnian Government are trying hard to ignore or dismiss.” [trying hard to ignore or dismiss." [NYT, 9/2/96] During the summer 1996 election campaign, the Iranians delivered to him, in two suitcases, $ 500,000 in cash; Izetbegovic “is now ‘literally on their [on their [i.e., the Iranians'] payroll,’ according to a classified report based on the CIA’s analysis of the issue.” LAT, 12/31/96. See also “Iran Contributed $ [LAT, 12/31/96. See also "Iran Contributed $ 500,000 to Bosnian President's Election Effort, U.S. Says," New York Times, 1/l/97, and Washington Times, 1/2/97] Adil Zulfikarpasic, a Muslim co- founder of the SDA, broke with Izetbegovic in late 1990 due to the increasingly overt fundamentalist and pro-Iranian direction of the party. [See Milovan Djilas, Bosnjak: Adil Zulfikarpasic, Zurich, 1994]

Hassan (or Hasan) Cengic: Until recently, deputy defense minister (and now cosmetically reassigned to a potentially even more dangerous job in refugee resettlement at the behest of the Clinton Administration), Cengic, a member of a powerful clan headed by his father, Halid Cengic, is an Islamic cleric who has traveled frequently to Tehran and is deeply involved in the arms pipeline. ["Bosnian Officials Involved in Arms Trade Tied to Radical States," Washington Post, 9/22/96] Cengic was identified by Austrian police as a member of TWRA’s supervisory board, “a fact confirmed by its Sudanese director, Elfatih Hassanein, in a 1994 interview with (lazi Husrev Beg, an Islamic affairs magazine. Cengic later became the key Bosnian official involved in setting up a weapons pipeline from Iran…. Cengic … is a longtime associate of Izetbegovic’s. He was one of the co- defendants in Izetbegovic’s 1983 trial for fomenting Muslim nationalism in what was then Yugoslavia. Cengic was given a 10- year prison term, most of which he did not serve. In trial testimony Cengic was said to have been traveling to Iran since 1983.

Cengic lived in Tehran and Istanbul during much of the war, arranging for weapons to be smuggled into Bosnia.” [WP, 9/22/961 According to a Bosnian Croat radio profile: "Hasan's father, Halid Cengic ... is the main logistic expert in the Muslim army. All petrodollar donations from the Islamic world and the procurement of arms and military technology for Muslim units went through him. He made so much money out of this business that he is one of the richest Muslims today. Halid Cengic and his two sons, of whom Hasan has been more in the public spotlight, also control the Islamic wing of the intelligence agency AID [Agency for Information and Documentation].

Well informed sources in Sarajevo claim that only Hasan addresses Izetbegovic with ‘ti’ [second person singular, used as an informal form of address] while all the others address him as ‘Mr. President,”‘ a sign of his extraordinary degree of intimacy with the president. [BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 10/28/96, "Radio elaborates on Iranian connection of Bosnian deputy defense minister," from Croat Radio Herceg-Bosna, Mostar, in Serbo-Croatian, 10/25/96, bracketed text in original] In late 1996, at the insistence of the Clinton Administration, Hassan Cengic was reassigned to refugee affairs. However, in his new capacity he may present an even greater hazard to NATO forces in Bosnia, in light of past incidents such as the one that took place near the village of Celic in November 1996. At that time, in what NATO officers called part of a pattern of “military operations in disguise,” American and Russian IFOR troops were caught between Muslims and Serbs as the Muslims, some of them armed, attempted to encroach on the cease-fire line established by Dayton; commented a NATO spokesman: “We believe this to be a deliberate, orchestrated and provocative move to circumvent established procedures for the return of refugees.” ["Gunfire Erupts as Muslims Return Home," Washington Post, 11/13/96]

Dzemal Merdan: “The office of Brig. Gen. Dzemal Merdan is an ornate affair, equipped with an elaborately carved wooden gazebo ringed with red velvet couches and slippers for his guests. A sheepskin prayer mat lies in the comer, pointing toward Mecca. The most striking thing in the chamber is a large flag. It is not the flag of Bosnia, but of Iran. Pinned with a button of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s late Islamic leader, the flag occupies pride of place in Merdan’s digs — displayed in the middle of the gazebo for every visitor to see. Next to it hangs another pennant that of the Democratic Action Party, the increasingly nationalist Islamic organization of President Alija Izetbegovic that dominates Bosnia’s Muslim region…. Merdan’s position highlights the American dilemma. As head of the office of training and development of the Bosnian army, he is a key liaison figure in the U.S. [liaison figure in the U.S. [arm and train] program…. But Merdan, Western sources say, also has another job — as liaison with foreign Islamic fighters here since 1992 and promoter of the Islamic faith among Bosnia’s recruits.

Sources identified Merdan as being instrumental in the creation of a brigade of Bosnian soldiers, called the 7th Muslim Brigade, that is heavily influenced by Islam and trained by fighters from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. He has also launched a program, these sources say, to build mosques on military training grounds to teach Islam to Bosnian recruits. In addition, he helped establish training camps in Bosnia where Revolutionary Guards carried out their work.” ["Arming the Bosnians: U.S. Program Would Aid Force Increasingly Linked to Iran," Washington Post, 1/26/96, emphasis added] General Merdan is a close associate of both Izetbegovic and Cengic; the central region around Zenica, which was “completely militarized in the first two years of the war” under the control of Merdan’s mujahedin, is “under total control of the Cengic family.” ["Who Rules Bosnia and Which Way," (Sarajevo) Slobodna Bosna, 11/17/96, FBIS translation; Slobodna Bosna is one of the few publications in Muslim-held areas that dares to criticize the policies and personal corruption of the ruling SDA clique.] Merdan’s mujahedin were accused by their erstwhile Croat allies of massacring more than 100 Croats near Zenica in late 1993. ["Bosnian Croats vow to probe war crimes by Moslems," Agence France Presse, 5/12/95]

The Islamization of the Bosnian Army

In cooperation with the foreign Islamic presence, the Izetbegovic regime has revamped its security and military apparatus to reflect its Islamic revolutionary outlook, including the creation of mujahedin units throughout the army; some members of these units have assumed the guise of a shaheed (a “martyr,” the Arabic term commonly used to describe suicide bombers), marked by their white garb, representing a shroud. While these units include foreign fighters naturalized in Bosnia, most of the personnel are now Bosnian Muslims trained and indoctrinated by Iranian and other foreign militants – which also makes it easier for the Clinton Administration to minimize the mujahedin threat, because few of them are “foreigners.”

Prior to 1996, there were three principal mujahedin units in the Bosnian army, the first two of which are headquartered in the American IFOR/SFOR zone: (1) the 7th Muslim Liberation Brigade of the 3rd Corps, headquartered in Zenica; (2) the 9th Muslim Liberation Brigade of the 2nd Corps, headquartered in Travnik (the 2nd Corps is based in Tuzla); and (3) the 4th Muslim Liberation Brigade of the 4th Corps, headquartered in Konjic (in the French zone). [Bodansky, Some Call It Peace, page 401 Particularly ominous, many members of these units have donned the guise of martyrs, indicating their willingness to sacrifice themselves in the cause of Islam. Commenting on an appearance of soldiers from the 7th Liberation Brigade, in Zenica in December 1995, Bodansky writes: "Many of the fighters ... were dressed in white coveralls over their uniforms. Officially, these were 'white winter camouflage,' but the green headbands [bearing Koranic verses] these warriors were wearing left no doubt that these were actually Shaheeds’ shrouds.” [Some Call It Peace, page 12] The same demonstration was staged before the admiring Iranian ambassador and President Izethbegovic in September 1996, when white winter garb could only be symbolic, not functional. [[NYT, 9/2/96] By June 1996, ten more mujahedin brigades had been established, along with numerous smaller “special units’ dedicated to covert and terrorist operations; while foreigners are present in all of these units, most of the soldiers are now native Bosnian Muslims. [native Bosnian Muslims. [Some Call It Peace, pages 42-46]

In addition to these units, there exists another group known as the Handzar (“dagger” or 94 scimitar”) Division, described by Bodansky as a “praetorian guard” for President Izetbegovic. “Up to 6000-strong, the Handzar division glories in a fascist culture. They see themselves as the heirs of the SS Handzar division, formed by Bosnian Muslims in 1943 to fight for the Nazis. Their spiritual model was Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who sided with Hitler. According to LJN officers, surprisingly few of those in charge of the Handzars … seem to speak good Serbo-Croatian. ‘Many of them are Albanian, whether from Kosovo [the Serb province where Albanians are the majority] or from Albania itself.’ They are trained and led by veterans from Afghanistan and Pakistan, say LTN sources.” ["Albanians and Afghans fight for the heirs to Bosnia's SS past," (London) Daily Telegraph, 12/29/93, bracketed text in original]

Self-Inflicted Atrocities

Almost since the beginning of the Bosnian war in the spring of 1992, there have been persistent reports — readily found in the European media but little reported in the United States — that civilian deaths in Muslim-held Sarajevo attributed to the Bosnian Serb Army were in some cases actually inflicted by operatives of the Izetbegovic regime in an (ultimately successful) effort to secure American intervention on Sarajevo’s behalf. These allegations include instances of sniping at civilians as well as three major explosions, attributed to Serbian mortar fire, that claimed the lives of dozens of people and, in each case, resulted in the international community’s taking measures against the Muslims’ Serb enemies. (The three explosions were: (1) the May 27, 1992, “breadline massacre.” which was reported to have killed 16 people and which resulted in economic sanctions on the Bosnian Serbs and rump Yugoslavia; (2) the February 5, 1994, Markale “market massacre,” killing 68 and resulting in selective NATO air strikes and an ultimatum to the Serbs to withdraw their heavy weapons from the area near Sarajevo; and (3) the August 28, 1995 “second market massacre,” killing 37 and resulting in large-scale NATO air strikes, eventually leading to the Dayton agreement and the deployment of IFOR.) When she was asked about such allegations (with respect to the February 1994 explosion) then-U.N. Ambassador and current Secretary of State-designate Madeleine Albright, in a stunning non sequitur, said: “It’s very hard to believe any country would do this to their own people, and therefore, although we do not exactly know what the facts are, it would seem to us that the Serbs are the ones that probably have a great deal of responsibility.” ["Senior official admits to secret U.N. report on Sarajevo massacre," Deutsch Presse-Agentur, 6/6/96, emphasis added]

The fact that such a contention is difficult to believe does not mean it is not true. Not only did the incidents lead to the result desired by Sarajevo (Western action against the Bosnian Serbs), their staging by the Muslims would be entirely in keeping with the moral outlook of Islamic radicalism, which has long accepted the deaths of innocent (including Muslim) bystanders killed in terrorist actions. According to a noted analyst: “The dictum that the end justifies the means is adopted by all fundamentalist organizations in their strategies for achieving political power and imposing on society their own view of Islam. What is important in every action is its niy ‘yah, its motive. No means need be spared in the service of Islam as long as one takes action with a pure niy’ Yah.” [Amir Taheri, Holy Terror, Bethesda, MD, 1987] With the evidence that the Sarajevo leadership does in fact have a fundamentalist outlook, it is unwarranted to dismiss cavaliery the possibility of Muslim responsibility. Among some of the reports:

Sniping: “French peacekeeping troops in the United Nations unit trying to curtail Bosnian Serb sniping at civilians in Sarajevo have concluded that until mid-June some gunfire also came from Government soldiers deliberately shooting at their own civilians. After what it called a ‘definitive’ investigation, a French marine unit that patrols against snipers said it traced sniper fire to a building normally occupied by Bosnian [i.e., Muslim] soldiers and other security forces. A senior French officer said, ‘We find it almost impossible to believe, but we are sure that it is true.”‘ ["Investigation Concludes Bosnian Government Snipers Shot at Civilians," New York Times, 8/l/951

The 1992 "Breadline Massacre": "United Nations officials and senior Western military officers believe some of the worst killings in Sarajevo, including the massacre of at least 16 people in a bread queue, were carried out by the city's mainly Muslim defenders -- not Serb besiegers -- as a propaganda ploy to win world sympathy and military intervention.... Classified reports to the UN force commander, General Satish Nambiar, concluded ... that Bosnian forces loyal to President Alija Izetbegovic may have detonated a bomb. 'We believe it was a command-detonated explosion, probably in a can,' a UN official said then. 'The large impact which is there now is not necessarily similar or anywhere near as large as we came to expect with a mortar round landing on a paved surface." ["Muslims 'slaughter their own people'," (London) The Independent, 8/22/92] “Our people tell us there were a number of things that didn’t fit. The street had been blocked off just before the incident. Once the crowd was let in and had lined up, the media appeared but kept their distance. The attack took place, and the media were immediately on the scene.” [Major General Lewis MacKenzie, Peacekeeper: The Road to Sarajevo, Vancouver, BC, 1993, pages 193-4; Gen. MacKenzie, a Canadian, had been commander of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Sarajevo.]

The 1994 Markale “Market Massacre”: “French television reported last night that the United Nations investigation into the market-place bombing in Sarajevo two weeks ago had established beyond doubt that the mortar shell that killed 68 people was fired from inside Bosnian [Muslim lines." [people was fired from inside Bosnian [Muslim] lines.” ["UN tracks source of fatal shell," (London) The Times, 2/19/94] “For the first time, a senior U.N. official has admitted the existence of a secret U.N. report that blames the Bosnian Moslems for the February 1994 massacre of Moslems at a Sarajevo market…. After studying the crater left by the mortar shell and the distribution of shrapnel, the report concluded that the shell was fired from behind Moslem lines.” The report, however, was kept secret; the context of the wire story implies that U.S. Ambasador Albright may have been involved in its suppression. [DPA, 6/6/961 For a fuller discussion of the conflicting claims, see "Anatomy of a massacre," Foreign Policy, 12/22/94, by David Binder; Binder, a veteran New York Times reporter in Yugoslavia, had access to the suppressed report. Bodansky categorically states that the bomb "was actually a special charge designed and built with help from HizbAllah ["Party of God," a Beirut-based pro-Iranian terror group] experts and then most likely dropped from a nearby rooftop onto the crowd of shoppers. Video cameras at the ready recorded this expertly-staged spectacle of gore, while dozens of corpses of Bosnian Muslim troops killed in action (exchanged the day before in a ‘body swap’ with the Serbs) were paraded in front of cameras to raise the casualty counts.” [Offensive in the Balkans, page 62]

The 1995 “Second Market Massacre”: “British ammunition experts serving with the United Nations in Sarajevo have challenged key ‘evidence’ of the Serbian atrocity that triggered the devastating Nato bombing campaign which turned the tide of the Bosnian war.” The Britons’ analysis was confirmed by French analysts but their findings were “dismissed” by “a senior American officer” at U.N. headquarters in Sarajevo. ["Serbs 'not guilty' of massacre: Experts warned US that mortar was Bosnian," (London) The Times, 10/i/95 A "crucial U.N. report [(London) The Times, 10/i/95] A “crucial U.N. report [stating Serb responsibility for] the market massacre is a classified secret, but four specialists – a Russian, a Canadian and two Americans – have raised serious doubts about its conclusion, suggesting instead that the mortar was fired not by the Serbs but by Bosnian government forces.” A Canadian officer “added that he and fellow Canadian officers in Bosnia were ‘convinced that the Muslim government dropped both the February 5, 1994, and the August 28, 1995, mortar shells on the Sarajevo markets.”‘ An unidentified U.S. official “contends that the available evidence suggests either ‘the shell was fired at a very low trajectory, which means a range of a few hundred yards – therefore under [a range of a few hundred yards - therefore under [Sarajevo] government control,’ or ‘a mortar shell converted into a bomb was dropped from a nearby roof into the crowd.”‘ ["Bosnia's bombers," The Nation, 10/2/95 ]. At least some high-ranking French and perhaps other Western officials believed the Muslims responsible; after having received that account from government ministers and two generals, French magazine editor Jean Daniel put the question directly to Prime Minister Edouard Balladur: “‘They [i.e., the Muslims] have committed this carnage on their own people?’ I exclaimed in consternation. ‘Yes,’ confirmed the Prime Minister without hesitation, ‘but at least they have forced NATO to intervene. “‘ ["No more lies about Bosnia," Le Nouvel Observateur, 8/31/95, translated in Chronicles - A Magazine of American Culture, January 1997]

Suppression of Enemies

As might be expected, one manifestation of the radical Islamic orientation of the Izetbegovic government is increasing curtailment of the freedoms of the remaining non-Muslims (Croats and Serbs) in the Muslim-held zone. While there are similar pressures on minorities in the Serb- and Croat-held parts of Bosnia, in the Muslim zone they have a distinct Islamic flavor. For example, during the 1996-1997 Christmas and New Year holiday season, Muslim militants attempted to intimidate not only Muslims but Christians from engaging in what had become common holiday practices, such as gift-giving, putting up Christmas or New Year’s trees, and playing the local Santa Claus figure, Grandfather Frost (Deda Mraz). ["The Holiday, All Wrapped Up; Bosnian Muslims Take Sides Over Santa," Washington Post, 12/26/96] hi general: “Even in Sarajevo itself, always portrayed as the most prominent multi-national community in Bosnia, pressure, both psychological and real, is impelling non-Bosniaks [i.e., non- Muslims] to leave. Some measures are indirect, such as attempts to ban the sale of pork and the growing predominance of [to ban the sale of pork and the growing predominance of [Bosniak] street names. Other measures are deliberate efforts to apply pressure. Examples include various means to make nonBosniaks leave the city. Similar pressures, often with more violent expression and occasionally with overt official participation, are being used throughout Bosnia.” ["Bosnia's Security and U.S. Policy in the Next Phase A Policy Paper, International Research and Exchanges Board, November 1996]

In addition, President Izetbegovic’s party, the SDA, has launched politically-motivated attacks on moderate Muslims both within the SDA and in rival parties. For example, in the summer of 1996 former Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic. (a Muslim, and son of the former imam at the main Sarajevo mosque) was set upon and beaten by SDA militants. Silajdzic claimed Izetbegovic himself was behind the attacks. [was behind the attacks. [NYT, 9/2/96] h-fan Mustafic, a Muslim who cofounded the SDA, is a member of the Bosnian parliament and was president of the SDA’s executive council in Srebrenica when it fell to Bosnian Serb forces; he was taken prisoner but later released. Because of several policy disagreements with Izetbegovic and his close associates, Mustafic was shot and seriously wounded in Srebrenica by Izetbegovic loyalists. [[(Sarajevo) Slobodna Bosna, 7/14/96]

Finally, one incident sums up both the ruthlessness of the Sarajevo establishment in dealing with their enemies as well as their international radical links: “A special Bosnian army unit headed by Bakir Izetbegovic, the Bosnian president’s son, murdered a Bosnian general found shot to death in Belgium last week, a Croatian newspaper reported … citing well-informed sources. The Vjesnik newspaper, controlled by the government, said the assassination of Yusuf Prazina was carried out by five members of a commando unit called ‘Delta’ and headed by Ismet Bajramovic also known as Celo.

The paper said that three members of the Syrian-backed Palestinian movement Saika had Prazina under surveillance for three weeks before one of them, acting as an arms dealer, lured him into a trap in a car park along the main highway between Liege in eastern Belgium and the German border town of Aachen. Prazina, 30, nicknamed Yuka, went missing early last month. He was found Saturday with two bullet holes to the head. ‘The necessary logistical means to carry out the operation were provided by Bakir Izetbegovic, son of Alija Izetbegovic,, who left Sarajevo more than six months ago,’ Vjesnik said. It added that Bakir Izetbegovic ‘often travels between Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt, Baghdad, Tehran and Ankara, by using Iraqi and Pakistani passports,’ and was in Belgium at the time of the assassination. Hasan Cengic, head of logistics for the army in Bosnia- Hercegovina, was ‘personally involved in the assassination of Yuka Prazina,’ the paper said.” [Yuka Prazina,' the paper said." [Agence France Presse, 1/5/94]


The Clinton Administration’s blunder in giving the green light to the Iranian arms pipeline was based, among other errors, on a gross misreading of the true nature and goals of the Izetbegovic regime in Sarajevo. It calls to mind the similar mistake of the Carter Administration, which in 1979 began lavish aid to the new Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the hopes that (if the United States were friendly enough) the nine comandantes would turn out to be democrats, not communists, despite abundant evidence to the contrary. By the time the Reagan Administration finally cut off the dollar spigot in 198 1, the comandantes — or the “nine little Castros,” as they were known locally — had fully entrenched themselves in power.

To state that the Clinton Administration erred in facilitating the penetration of the Iranians and other radical elements into Europe would be a breathtaking understatement. A thorough reexamination of U.S. policy and goals in the region is essential. In particular, addressing the immediate threat to U.S. troops in Bosnia, exacerbated by the extention of the IFOR/SFOR mission, should be a major priority of the of the 105th Congress.

What Paul Ryan Has and Obama Wants

August 12th, 2012 by David Swanson

According to the Huffington Post, “President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign and Democratic political groups have been eager for Romney to pick Ryan, the architect of plans to slash government spending and overhaul entitlement programs that Democrats believe are political losers.”  ABC agrees: “The selection of  Ryan as running mate makes it far more likely that Medicare, Social Security, and dramatic spending cuts will be as central to the campaign conversation this fall as jobs and the economy. Adding some of those famed political third rails into the mix is not just a potential risk Romney is willing to take, it is also clearly a potential risk he felt he had to take.”

So, cutting Medicare and Social Security are unpopular, and Obama benefits from Romney’s risky move in picking a runningmate willing to cut them.  That’s the story.

Now, however, read this from the New York Times: “The news media have played a crucial role in Mr. Obama’s career, helping to make him a national star not long after he had been an anonymous state legislator. As president, however, he has come to believe the news media have had a role in frustrating his ambitions to change the terms of the country’s political discussion. He particularly believes that Democrats do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security, while Republicans oppose almost any tax increase to reduce the deficit.”

So Obama too is willing to take the political risk of cutting the popular programs called Medicare and Social Security.  In fact, what Obama wants is not to protect these programs from cuts, but rather to receive appropriate credit from the media corporations for his willingness to cut them.  This, we are about to be told endlessly, is in stark contrast to Romney-Ryan’s willingness to cut Medicare and Social Security.  But the biggest contrast seems to be that the media gives Romney and Ryan the credit that Obama covets.

Oh no, Obama supporters will reply, there’s a big difference.  Romney wants to cut these programs, while Obama is willing to cut them. Romney is evil, while Obama is noble and gracious in his appeasing of evil.  I’m sorry, but won’t the catfood that grandma lives on taste as bitter regardless of whether her income was removed maliciously or accommodatingly?

Oh, but Romney-and-Ryan want to cut more than Obama wants to cut. 

Are you sure?  RR need only triple their demand for Obama to double his.  The longer the debate goes on, the more old people Obama wants to starve to demonstrate his willingness to accommodate.  In fact, exactly how many old people starve — whether Iranians living under sanctions or Americans living under austerity — is hardly relevant.  The important thing is to have gone further toward meeting RR’s demand than RR went toward meeting yours. 

But what about the demand of the majority of the country that Social Security and Medicare be expanded rather than cut?  What about the popularity of lifting the cap on payroll taxes, lowering the retirement age, and expanding Medicare to include us all?  Will that agenda be advanced by cheering for a compromiser over an unapologetic crapitalist?

Of course not.  What would move both of these reprehensible candidates away from deeper cuts to decent programs, and toward deeper cuts in the war machine, the fossil fuel funding, the bankster bailouts, and the “Bush” tax cuts is an independent movement that makes its minimum demand an absolute bar on any cuts to Social Security or Medicare whatsoever. 

If you don’t soon see progressive groups advancing that demand, expect bad times ahead, regardless of who wins the world’s worst reality drama.

David Swanson’s books include “War Is A Lie.” He blogs at and and works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

Syria facing pressure amid UK, France naval drills

August 12th, 2012 by Kostantin Garbov

The Syrian government forces have occupied central areas of Syria’s northern capital of Aleppo and are now involved in fights against rebels. The operation could last for several days due to high-densityresidences in the city.

Experts believe that these fights mark a kind of a turning point in the confrontation, with the government forces enjoying lots of advantages over the enemy.  

Many observers say that the outcome of the Aleppo battle will determine the winner of the Syrian conflict. Political analyst Taleb Ibrahim shares this opinion.

“Such predictions sound quite reasonable. Rebels and those who support them have developed a strong coalition, featuring hirelings from different countries and members of foreign special forces, mainly from Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the US. Some reports say that the total number of rebels now stands at 15,000, not to mention those who joined the opposition after fleeing Jebelal-Zawiyah, Hama, and Damascus. Obviously, Aleppo is now facing a crucial fight which will determine the winner.”

Meanwhile, the crucial fight for Syria seems to be joined by its foreign allies and rivals. Tehran held international talks on Syria which were attended by delegations from 20 countries. Iran looks annoyed with the fact that the West prevented it from using its political potential to settle the Syrian crisis. The talks resulted in Iran confirming its intention to host a meeting between the Syrian government and opposition.

This initiative sounds much like the one recently approved during the international conference in Geneva, when members of the UNSC as well as some European and Arab countries agreed to do their best to force the opposing sides to sit down for talks. The US objected Iran`s presence at the Geneva conference. Tehran, however, looks ready to continue its diplomatic mission in Syria on August 14, when an urgent Islamic summit is scheduled to take place in Mecca. Tehran has called on partners not to miss this opportunity to help Syria begin a national dialogue.

It is worth mentioning that Great Britain and France are going to hold naval drills in the Eastern Mediterranean involving the two nations` fleets. The sides are going to have training exercises, navalmaneuvers, and amphibious landings on Italy`s island of Sardinia, as well as on the territories of Albania, Turkey and Cyprus.

It is evident that Syria is facing a new wave of military and political pressure. Libya was in a similar situation a year ago. In both cases the countries staging the drills claim that they do it to be prepared for possible evacuation of Europeans from the region. Nobody knows how long the drills will last. It means that Great Britain and France believe that it is up to them to decide on the deadline for their warships to stay off Syria depending on how things unfold in the region.

Much depends on Syria’s relations with Turkey, a member of NATO. Already strained, they become more complicated each day. Turkey’s Foreign Minister on Turkey blamed President Bashar Assad for arming the separatist Kurdish Workers’ Party, or the P.K.K. Its supporters have been involved in a guerilla war against the Turkish government, including on Iraqi territory. Ankara fears that Syria will turn into a new front where Kurds could continue their fighting for the united Kurdistan. Ankara sent tanks to the Syrian border to guard the territory. Turkey has a vast amount of experience in carrying out cross-border operations against Kurds. If tensions keep on growing nobody can be 100 per cent sure that Turkey won`t decide to repeat such operations, especially in view of the British and French warships staying nearby.