Turkey Joins US War in Syria

July 25th, 2015 by World Socialist Web Site

By our Turkish correspondent:

Over the past two days, Turkey’s government has executed a sharp shift in its foreign policy, aligning itself more closely with Washington’s military strategy in the region and effectively becoming an active part of the US-led “coalition” waging war in Iraq and Syria.

For a long time, Ankara had refrained from supporting the US-led war, ostensibly aimed against the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS), insisting on a policy aimed at toppling the government of President Bashar al-Assad and covertly supporting ISIS, both against the Syrian regime and against Kurdish nationalists.

On Wednesday, however, US President Barack Obama and Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan agreed in a phone call to work together to secure the Turkish-Syrian border and fight against ISIS.

On Thursday, US officials announced an agreement allowing the US to carry out aerial attacks on IS positions from Turkish air bases at İncirlik and Diyarbakir. The Turkish government also agreed on the arming of the US Predator drones being launched from the İncirlik air base.

According to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News, the deal, treated by the Turkish side as a “secret cabinet decree,” also includes plans for a “buffer zone” in northern Syria, something Ankara has long demanded as a means of escalating the war for regime change in Syria.

Gen. John Allen, Obama’s special envoy to the so-called coalition against ISIS, denied this during an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado Thursday, saying that it “was not part of the discussion.”

State Department spokesman Mark Toner, however, cast doubt on this denial, stating in Washington that, while the Obama administration has concerns “about some of the logistical challenges inherent in a buffer zone…we obviously take threats to Turkey’s border seriously… So, we’re looking at options,” he said.

If this “option” is included in the deal, Turkey’s entry into the anti-ISIS campaign is being joined with a qualitative escalation of the US intervention in Syria.

A senior US official described the agreement as a “game changer.” The Turkish air bases are much closer to the Syrian border than those in Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and the Persian Gulf, from which US warplanes have operated until now. This will allow American combat aircraft and drones to respond much faster to intelligence information and attack more frequently. Spy aircraft can stay longer in the air.

Also on Thursday, the Turkish military directly joined the war against ISIS. Tanks and artillery shelled militants across the border. Early on Friday, for the first time ever, Turkish fighter jets attacked ISIS bases in Syria. They hit two headquarters and one “assembly point” of the group, according to the Turkish government. It stated that the decision for the attack was taken at a security meeting on Thursday. Government officials also claimed that no Turkish troops or warplanes crossed the Syrian border during these operations.

While joining the US war against ISIS, Ankara is simultaneously stepping up its offensive against Kurdish nationalist groups, which are openly or tacitly aligned with Washington in the fight against ISIS, and against the social and political opposition inside Turkey.

The Turkish ruling class fears the consolidation of a Kurdish-controlled area in northern Syria by the PYD/YPG, an offset of the PKK, a Kurdish separatist guerrilla group in Turkey. It is combining the fight against ISIS with an ever-growing pressure on the PYG-YPG and the PKK. The so-called “peace process” with the PKK and its imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan is considered as good as dead. The government is also attacking the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the legal Kurdish party that won 13 percent of the vote in the last election, depriving the ruling AKP of its majority.

On Thursday, when the Turkish army joined the war against ISIS, some 5,000 Turkish police officers, backed by helicopters and armored cars, launched raids on suspected ISIS and PKK members in Istanbul and in 13 provinces across Turkey. At least 250 people were arrested and one woman, a member of a leftist organization, was shot.

Prime Minister Davutoğlu said that the government was determined to fight all “terrorist“ groups “without distinction.” He also sharply attacked the HDP, declaring that it is an offshoot of a terrorist organization. Government critics, however, have charged that the majority of those arrested were not members or supporters of ISIS, but rather Kurdish activists, leftists and Turkish political opponents of the government.

The immediate reason given for the shift in Turkish policy is Monday’s terrorist attack in the town of Suruç, where an ISIS suicide bomber killed 32 people and wounded some 100, followed by an ISIS attack on Turkish soldiers at the Syrian border. ISIS militants opened fire, killing a soldier and wounding four, when Turkish authorities did not permit a wounded ISIS member to cross the border for medical treatment, according to the Turkish media.

But the shift in foreign policy was clearly prepared long before. The US-led wars in the Middle East have destabilized the entire region and undermined the neo-Ottoman ambitions of Erdoğan’s AKP to make Turkey a leading regional power.

Early this month, a large delegation from the Pentagon led by General Allen, the US special presidential envoy, and US Undersecretary of Defense Christine Wormuth arrived in Ankara to meet Turkish officials.

Originally Ankara, Washington and its Arab allies worked closely together in undermining the Syrian regime and arming Islamist groups opposed to Damascus. But when ISIS expanded into Iraq and endangered the regime in Baghdad, Washington made a political turn. It bombed ISIS and, much to the dismay of Ankara, aligned itself with Iraqi Kurdish groups. The recent agreement between Iran and the USA further undermines the rapidly declining influence of Ankara.

By joining the war against ISIS and simultaneously escalating the confrontation with the Kurdish nationalist groups, Ankara is trying to win back some influence on the course of events. By doing so, it is escalating the ethnic and sectarian tensions in Syria, Turkey and the entire region, posing a deadly danger for the working class.

A second, no less important, reason for Ankara’s warmongering is the escalating social and political tensions at home. The massacre in Suruç has triggered a wave of terrorist attacks for revenge, in which the PKK killed three police officers and a soldier and two alleged ISIS members. A member of the HDP was killed by an “unidentified murderer.” The Turkish Prime Minister’s Office stated that the government would take “any necessary measures to protect public order and national security.”

Having lost its working majority in parliament in last May’s election, and unable to form a coalition holding more than half the seats, the ruling AKP is likely to be forced to call another snap election. It fears even greater losses, with anger over the Suruç government fueling opposition to the government as well as support for the new pro-Kurdish HDP.

Outrage over the Suruç atrocity has led to a number of demonstrations denouncing ISIS as well as what is widely seen as the Turkish government’s complicity with the Islamist group, all of which have been met with state violence.

On Friday, Turkish police in Istanbul using tear gas and rubber bullets broke up a demonstration of several hundred people. The protesters had raised slogans denouncing the ISIS terrorist bombing in Suruç as well as the government for allowing the Islamist group to operate on Turkish soil. A much larger “march for peace” has been called for Sunday by the main Kurdish parties.

Barack Obama landed in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi on Friday for discussions with President Uhuru Kenyatta, as part of a four-day tour of East Africa that will also see the US president travel to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Discussions will focus on US-Kenyan cooperation on a range of economic and military issues, according to media reports.

After landing in Nairobi, Obama was greeted by the largest mobilization of security forces in the African country’s history, with some 10,000 Kenya security forces deployed throughout the city. The US president rode around the city in a heavily armored, explosion-proof limousine known among Kenyan government officials as the “Beast.”

The president’s militarized reception stood in stark contrast to the sentimental accounts of the US media, which celebrated the event as a return to “Obama’s ancestral homeland.” In reality, the US president arrived in Kenya with a mercenary agenda aimed at shoring up US domination over the strategic East African nation.

To the extent that Obama’s visit will accomplish a “strengthening and deepening of the US relationship to Africa,” as National Security Advisor Susan Rice said on Wednesday, it will mean the deepening of US imperialism’s efforts to militarize the entire continent.

Hailing Obama’s visit as “a milestone in deepening Kenya-US bilateral relations,” Kenyan scholars affiliated with the Democratic Party-tied Brookings Institution think tank called Wednesday for greater US involvement in “counterterrorism” operations in the region.

“Kenya is a strategic partner of the US in the counterterrorism initiatives in East Africa and the Horn of Africa—hence the need to develop more innovative means of counteracting the emerging security threats,”

Paul Odhiambo and Manaseh Otieno wrote.

“Security cooperation between Nairobi and Washington has included sharing intelligence information, training Kenyan security personnel in the US, receiving equipment from the US, and other logistical support,”

the authors note.

Nairobi will seek greater US financial support for its security agencies and will negotiate the terms for Kenya’s integration into a US-backed regional security bloc, the Security Governance Initiative (SGI), a framework for US imperialism to deepen its “engagement” with military and police forces in Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Niger and Tunisia established by last year’s US-Africa Leadership Summit.

For its part, Kenyatta’s government appears enthusiastic about the prospect of “closer relations” with US imperialism, and has vigorously advertised its adherence to the US “Global War on Terrorism” since ascending to power.

Kenyatta has pursued an escalating security crackdown since his election in 2013, imposing a slew of new authoritarian measures in the name of fighting the Somali Islamist militant group “al-Shabaab.”

The new government has “clamped down using very broad media, civil society and counter-terror laws to shut down any real political dissent,” according to Center for Strategic and International Studies Africa director Jennifer Cooke.

Kenyatta, the son of Jomo Kenyatta, the wealthy bourgeois nationalist leader who ruled Kenya between 1964 and 1978, appears ready to deepen the long tradition of collaboration by Kenyan governments with Western imperialism.

Kenya has proven a loyal partner in Washington’s drive to maintain its strategic grip over the Horn of Africa, which has seen the US launch an endless series of interventions, drones and proxy wars inside of Somalia in the years immediately following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, beginning with the direct occupation of areas outside Mogadishu by US ground forces in 1992.

In 2011, US-backed Kenyan ground forces invaded Somalia as part of “Operation Linda Nchi.” The mission, which has seen thousands of Kenyan ground forces dispatched to Somalia in defense of the US-backed rump government in Mogadishu, marked the first ever foreign intervention by Kenya’s military.

Washington has also tasked Kenya with managing the collateral damage produced by its military machinations in the Horn of Africa. Nairobi now administers what has become the largest refugee camp in the world, at Dadaab, where nearly 500,000 Somalis have been forced to take up residence after fleeing the civil war which continues to rage across the border.

During an interview the day before his trip this week, Obama acknowledged that “there are significant human rights violations taking place,” in Kenya, but added that Washington nonetheless desires to “have a conversation and point them in a better direction.”

Far from being concerned about the brutality of the Kenyatta government, Obama travels to East Africa as the political representative of US financial capital. His aim is to facilitate deals between Nairobi and US economic and security interests in the region, under conditions in which growing Chinese investment in resource extraction, infrastructure, and manufacturing in East and Central Africa is threatening to undermine Washington’s position.

Obama’s visit is part of Washington’s efforts to counter the growth of Chinese commercial relationships in Africa, which are now valued at over $220 billion, a sum three times larger than that of the US.

Obama implied as much on Wednesday when he accused China of “funneling an awful lot of money into Africa, basically in exchange for raw materials.”

The Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia,” which aims to encircle China and collapse its government through military pressure and commercial strangulation, requires that Washington increasingly confront Beijing’s economic presence in Africa.

In particular, the US is concerned about the implications of Chinese involvement in economic development centered around the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) project.

Beijing is financing the construction of a railway and transportation corridor aimed at linking up Nairobi with Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan, as part of comprehensive plans for Chinese-led commercial development in the region. The transport network will enable Chinese firms to ship resources extracted from the interior across the Indian Ocean via Kenya’s port cities of Mombasa and Lamu.

Together with Chinese-funded commercial infrastructure development in Pakistan, the emergence of East Africa as a major supplier of oil and other key natural resources to the Chinese economy threatens to undermine Washington’s plans for an anti-China naval blockade focused on the South China Sea.

As with every US intervention in Africa, Obama’s latest visit is geared to advance the global hegemonic agenda of the US ruling class, which aims to dominate the entire continent as a stepping stone to control over the Eurasian landmass and the entire globe.

Originally published on GR in June 2010

US and NATO forces invaded Afghanistan more than 13 years ago in October 2001.  

Afghanistan is defined as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The war on Afghanistan continues to be heralded as a war of retribution in response to the 9/11 attacks. 

This article, first published in June 2010, points to the “real economic reasons”  why US-NATO forces invaded Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.  


The legal argument used by Washington and NATO to invade and occupy Afghanistan under “the doctrine of collective security” was that the September 11 2001 attacks constituted an undeclared “armed attack” “from abroad” by an unnamed foreign power, namely Afghanistan.

Under the proposed Afghan-US security pact,  which is an integral part of Obama’s Asian pivot, Washington and its NATO partners are preparing to ensure a permanent military presence in Afghanistan, with military facilities located in proximity of China’s Western frontier.  The pact would allow the US to maintain their nine permanent military bases, strategically located on the borders of  China, Pakistan and Iran as well as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

In addition to its vast mineral and gas reserves, Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the World’s supply of opium which is used to produce grade 4 heroin.

US military bases in Afghanistan are also intent upon protecting the multibillion narcotics trade.  Narcotics, at present, constitutes the centerpiece of Afghanistan’s export economy.

The heroin trade, instated at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979 and protected by the CIA, generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year.

“The highest concentration of NATO servicemen in Afghanistan is being accompanied with the highest concentration of opium poppy, ….  That situation causes doubts about the anti-terrorist mission and leads to the conclusion about catastrophic consequences of the eight-year stay [of coalition forces] in Afghanistan,” (Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service head Viktor Ivanov, January 2010)

Michel Chossudovsky,  July 2015

“The War is Worth Waging”: Afghanistan’s Vast Reserves of Minerals and Natural Gas

The War on Afghanistan is a Profit driven “Resource War”.

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

The 2001 bombing and invasion of Afghanistan has been presented to World public opinion as a “Just War”, a war directed against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, a war to eliminate “Islamic terrorism” and instate Western style democracy.

The economic dimensions of  the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) are rarely mentioned. The post 9/11 “counter-terrorism campaign” has served to obfuscate the real objectives of the US-NATO war.

The war on Afghanistan is part of a profit driven agenda: a war of economic conquest and plunder,  ”a resource war”.

While Afghanistan is acknowledged as a strategic hub in Central Asia, bordering on the former Soviet Union, China and Iran, at the crossroads of pipeline routes and major oil and gas reserves, its huge mineral wealth as well as its untapped natural gas reserves have remained, until June 2010, totally unknown to the American public.

According to a joint report by the Pentagon, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and USAID, Afghanistan is now said to possess “previously unknown” and untapped mineral reserves, estimated authoritatively to be of the order of one trillion dollars (New York Times, U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan – NYTimes.com, June 14, 2010, See also BBC, 14 June 2010).

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said… “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines. (New York Times, op. cit.)

Afghanistan could become, according to The New York Times “the Saudi Arabia of lithium”. “Lithium is an increasingly vital resource, used in batteries for everything from mobile phones to laptops and key to the future of the electric car.” At present Chile, Australia, China and Argentina are the main suppliers of lithium to the world market. Bolivia and Chile are the countries with the largest known reserves of lithium. “The Pentagon has been conducting ground surveys in western Afghanistan. “Pentagon officials said that their initial analysis at one location in Ghazni province showed the potential for lithium deposits as large as those of Bolivia” (U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan – NYTimes.com, June 14, 2010, see also Lithium – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

“Previously Unknown Deposits” of Minerals in Afghanistan

The Pentagon’s near one trillion dollar “estimate” of previously “unknown deposits” is a useful smokescreen. The Pentagon one trillion dollar figure is more a trumped up number rather than an estimate:  “We took a look at what we knew to be there, and asked what would it be worth now in terms of today’s dollars. The trillion dollar figure seemed to be newsworthy.” (The Sunday Times, London, June 15 2010, emphasis added)

Moreover, the results of a US Geological Survey study (quoted in the Pentagon memo) on Afghanistan’s mineral wealth were revealed three years back, at a 2007 Conference organized by the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce. The matter of Afghanistan’s mineral riches, however, was not considered newsworthy at the time.

The US Administration’s acknowledgment that it first took cognizance of Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth  following the release of the USGS 2007 report is an obvious red herring. Afghanistan’s mineral wealth and energy resources (including natural gas) were known to both America’s business elites and the US government prior to the Soviet-Afghan war (1979-1988).

Geological surveys conducted by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and early 1980s confirm the existence of  vast reserves of copper (among the largest in Eurasia), iron, high grade chrome ore, uranium, beryl, barite, lead, zinc, fluorspar, bauxite, lithium, tantalum, emeralds, gold and silver.(Afghanistan, Mining Annual Review, The Mining Journal,  June, 1984). These surveys suggest that the actual value of these reserves could indeed be substantially larger than the one trillion dollars “estimate” intimated by the Pentagon-USCG-USAID study.

More recently, in a 2002 report, the Kremlin confirmed what was already known: “It’s no secret that Afghanistan possesses rich reserves, in particular of copper at the Aynak deposit, iron ore in Khojagek, uranium, polymetalic ore, oil and gas,” (RIA Novosti, January 6, 2002):

“Afghanistan has never been anyone’s colony – no foreigner had ever “dug” here before the 1950s. The Hindu Kush mountains, stretching, together with their foothills, over a vast area in Afghanistan, are where the minerals lie. Over the past 40 years, several dozen deposits have been discovered in Afghanistan, and most of these discoveries were sensational. They were kept secret, however, but even so certain facts have recently become known.

It turns out that Afghanistan possesses reserves of nonferrous and ferrous metals and precious stones, and, if exploited, they would possibly be able to cover even the earnings from the drug industry. The copper deposit in Aynak in the southern Afghan Helmand Province is said to be the largest in the Eurasian continent, and its location (40 km from Kabul) makes it cheap to develop. The iron ore deposit at Hajigak in the central Bamian Province yields ore of an extraordinarily high quality, the reserves of which are estimated to be 500m tonnes. A coal deposit has also been discovered not far from there.

Afghanistan is spoken of as a transit country for oil and gas. However, only a very few people know that Soviet specialists discovered huge gas reserves there in the 1960s and built the first gas pipeline in the country to supply gas to Uzbekistan. At that time, the Soviet Union used to receive 2.5 bn cubic metres of Afghan gas annually. During the same period, large deposits of gold, fluorite, barytes and marble onyxes that have a very rare pattern were found.

However, the pegmatite fields discovered to the east of Kabul are a real sensation. Rubies, beryllium, emeralds and kunzites and hiddenites that cannot be found anywhere else – the deposits of these precious stones stretch for hundreds of kilometres. Also, the rocks containing the rare metals beryllium, thorium, lithium and tantalum are of strategic importance (they are used in air and spacecraft construction).

The war is worth waging. … (Olga Borisova, “Afghanistan – the Emerald Country”, Karavan, Almaty, original Russian, translated by BBC News Services, Apr 26, 2002. p. 10, emphasis added.)

While public opinion was fed images of a war torn resourceless developing country, the realities are otherwise: Afghanstan is a rich country as confirmed by Soviet era geological surveys.

The issue of “previously unknown deposits” sustains a falsehood. It excludes Afghanstan’s vast mineral wealth as a justifiable casus belli. It says that the Pentagon only recently became aware that Afghanistan was among the World’s most wealthy mineral economies, comparable to The Democratic Republic of the Congo or former Zaire of the Mobutu era. The Soviet geopolitical reports were known. During the Cold War, all this information was known in minute detail:

… Extensive Soviet exploration produced superb geological maps and reports that listed more than 1,400 mineral outcroppings, along with about 70 commercially viable deposits … The Soviet Union subsequently committed more than $650 million for resource exploration and development in Afghanistan, with proposed projects including an oil refinery capable of producing a half-million tons per annum, as well as a smelting complex for the Ainak deposit that was to have produced 1.5 million tons of copper per year. In the wake of the Soviet withdrawal a subsequent World Bank analysis projected that the Ainak copper production alone could eventually capture as much as 2 percent of the annual world market. The country is also blessed with massive coal deposits, one of which, the Hajigak iron deposit, in the Hindu Kush mountain range west of Kabul, is assessed as one of the largest high-grade deposits in the world. (John C. K. Daly,  Analysis: Afghanistan’s untapped energy, UPI Energy, October 24, 2008, emphasis added)

Afghanistan’s Natural Gas

Afghanistan is a land bridge. The 2001 U.S. led invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has been analysed by critics of US foreign policy as a means to securing control  over the strategic trans-Afghan transport corridor which links the Caspian sea basin to the Arabian sea.

Several trans-Afghan oil and gas pipeline projects have been contemplated including the planned $8.0 billion TAPI pipeline project (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) of 1900 km., which would transport Turkmen natural gas across Afghanistan in what is described as a “crucial transit corridor”. (See Gary Olson, Afghanistan has never been the ‘good and necessary’ war; it’s about control of oil, The Morning Call, October 1, 2009). Military escalation under the extended Af-Pak war bears a relationship to TAPI. Turkmenistan possesses third largest natural gas reserves after Russia and Iran. Strategic control over the transport routes out of Turkmenistan have been part of Washington’s agenda since the collapse of the Soviet union in 1991.

What was rarely contemplated in pipeline geopolitics, however, is that Afghanistan is not only adjacent to countries which are rich in oil and natural gas (e.g Turkmenistan), it also possesses within its territory sizeable untapped reserves of natural gas, coal  and oil. Soviet estimates of the 1970s placed “Afghanistan’s ‘explored’ (proved plus probable) gas reserves at about 5  trillion cubic feet. The Hodja-Gugerdag’s initial reserves were placed at slightly more than 2 tcf.” (See, The Soviet Union to retain influence in Afghanistan, Oil & Gas Journal, May 2, 1988).

The US.Energy Information Administration (EIA) acknowledged in 2008 that Afghanistan’s natural gas reserves are “substantial”:

“As northern Afghanistan is a ‘southward extension of Central Asia’s highly prolific, natural gas-prone Amu Darya Basin,’ Afghanistan ‘has proven, probable and possible natural gas reserves of about 5 trillion cubic feet.’ (UPI, John C.K. Daly, Analysis: Afghanistan’s untapped energy, October 24, 2008)

From the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979, Washington’s objective has been to sustain a geopolitical foothold in Central Asia.

The Golden Crescent Drug Trade

America’s covert war, namely its support to the Mujahideen “Freedom fighters” (aka Al Qaeda) was also geared towards the development of the Golden Crescent trade in opiates, which was used by US intelligence to fund the insurgency directed against the Soviets.1

Instated at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war and protected by the CIA, the drug trade developed over the years into a highly lucrative multibillion undertaking. It was the cornerstone of America’s covert war in the 1980s. Today, under US-NATO military occupation, the drug trade generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005, see also Michel Chossudovsky, Heroin is “Good for Your Health”: Occupation Forces support Afghan Narcotics Trade, Global Research, April 29, 2007)

Towards an Economy of Plunder

The US media, in chorus, has upheld the “recent discovery” of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth as “a solution” to the development of the country’s war torn economy as well as a means to eliminating poverty. The 2001 US-NATO invasion and occupation has set the stage for their appropriation by Western mining and energy conglomerates.

The war on Afghanistan is  a profit driven “resource war”.

Under US and allied occupation, this mineral wealth is slated to be plundered, once the country has been pacified, by a handful of multinational mining conglomerates. According to Olga Borisova, writing in the months following the October 2001 invasion, the US-led “war on terrorism [will be transformed] into a colonial policy of influencing a fabulously wealthy country.” (Borisova, op cit).

Part of the US-NATO agenda is also to eventually take possession of Afghanistan’s reserves of natural gas, as well as prevent the development of competing Russian, Iranian and Chinese energy interests in Afghanistan.


1. The Golden Crescent trade in opiates constitutes, at present, the centerpiece of Afghanistan’s export economy. The heroin trade, instated at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979 and protected by the CIA, generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year.

Since the 2001 invasion, narcotics production in Afghanistan  has increased more than 35 times. In 2009, opium production stood at 6900 tons, compared to less than 200 tons in 2001. In this regard, the multibillion dollar earnings resulting from the Afghan opium production largely occur outside Afghanistan. According to United Nations data, the revenues of the drug trade accruing to the local economy are of the order of 2-3 billion annually.

In contrast with the Worldwide sales of heroin resulting from the trade in Afghan opiates, in excess of $200 billion. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism”, Global Research, Montreal, 2005)



America’s “War on Terrorism”

Michel Chossudovsky

In May 2011, Mexican investigators uncovered another mass clandestine grave with dozens of mutilated corpses; bringing the total number of victims to 40,000 killed since 2006 when the Calderon regime announced its “war on drug traffickers”. Backed by advisers, agents and arms, the White House has been the principal promotor of a ‘war’ that has totally decimated Mexico ’s society and economy.

If Washington has been the driving force for the regime’s war, Wall Street banks have been the main instruments ensuring the profits of the drug cartels. Every major US bank has been deeply involved in laundering hundreds of billions of dollars in drug profits, for the better part of the past decade.

Mexico ’s descent into this inferno has been engineered by the leading US financial and political institutions, each supporting ‘one side or the other’ in the bloody “total war” which spares no one, no place and no moment in time. While the Pentagon arms the Mexican government and the US Drug Enforcement Agency enforces the “military solution”, the biggest US banks receive, launder and transfer hundreds of billions of dollars to the drug lords’ accounts, who then buy modern arms, pay private armies of assassins and corrupt untold numbers of political and law enforcement officials on both sides of the border.

Mexico’s Descent in the Inferno

Everyday scores, if not hundreds, of corpses – appear in streets and or are found in unmarked graves; dozens are murdered in their homes, cars, public transport, offices and even hospitals; known and unknown victims in the hundreds are kidnapped and disappear; school children, parents, teachers, doctors and businesspeople are seized in broad daylight and held for ransom or murdered in retaliation. Thousands of migrant workers are kidnapped, robbed, ransomed, murdered and evidence is emerging that some are sold into the illegal ‘organ trade’. The police are barricaded in their commissaries; the military, if and when it arrives, takes out its frustration on entire cities, shooting more civilians than cartel soldiers. Everyday life revolves around surviving the daily death toll; threats are everywhere, the armed gangs and military patrols fire and kill with virtual impunity. People live in fear and anger.

The Free Trade Agreement: The Sparks that lit the Inferno

In the late 1980’s, Mexico was in crisis, but the people chose a legal way out: they elected a President, Cuahtemoc Cardenas, on the basis of his national program to promote the economic revitalization of agriculture and industry. The Mexican elite, led by Carlos Salinas of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) chose otherwise and subverted the election: The electorate was denied its victory; the peaceful mass protests were ignored. Salinas and subsequent Mexican presidents vigorously pursued a free trade agreement (NAFTA) with the US and Canada , which rapidly drove millions of Mexican farmers, ranchers and small business people into bankruptcy. Devastation led to the flight of millions of immigrant workers. Rural movements of debtors flourished and ebbed, were co-opted or repressed. The misery of the legal economy contrasted with the burgeoning wealth of the traffickers of drugs and people, which generated a growing demand for well-paid armed auxiliaries as soldiers for the cartels. The regional drug syndicates emerged out of the local affluence.

In the new millennium, popular movements and a new electoral hope arose: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). By 2006 a vast peaceful electoral movement promised substantial social and economic reforms to ‘integrate millions of disaffected youth’. In the parallel economy, the drug cartels were expanding and benefiting from the misery of millions of workers and peasants marginalized by the Mexican elite, who had plundered the public treasury, speculated in real estate, robbed the oil industry and created enormous privatized monopolies in the communication and banking sectors.

In 2006, millions of Mexican voters were once again denied their electoral victory: The last best hope for a peaceful transformation was dashed. Backed by the US Administration, Felipe Calderon stole the election and proceeded to launch the “War on Drug Traffickers” strategy dictated by Washington .

The War Strategy Escalates the Drug War: The Banking Crises Deepens the Ties with Drug Traffickers

The massive escalation of homicides and violence in Mexico began with the declaration of a war on the drug cartels by the fraudulently elected President Calderon, a policy pushed initially by the Bush Administration and subsequently strongly backed by the Obama – Clinton regime. Over 40,000 Mexican soldiers filled the streets, towns and barrios – violently assaulting citizens – especially young people. The cartels retaliated by escalating their armed assaults on police. The war spread to all the major cities and along the major highways and rural roads; murders multiplied and Mexico descended further into a Dantesque inferno. Meanwhile, the Obama regime ‘reaffirmed’ its support for a militarist solution on both sides of the border: Over 500,000 Mexican immigrants were seized and expelled from the US ; heavily armed border patrols multiplied. Cross border gun sales grew exponentially .The US “market” for Mexican manufactured goods and agricultural products shrank, further widening the pool for cartel recruits while the supply of high powered weapons increased. White House gun and drug policies strengthened both sides in this maniacal murderous cycle: The US government armed the Calderon regime and the American gun manufacturers sold guns to the cartels through both legal and underground arms sales. Steady or increasing demand for drugs in the US – and the grotesque profits derived from trafficking and sales— remained the primary driving force behind the tidal wave of violence and societal disintegration in Mexico .

Drug profits, in the most basic sense, are secured through the ability of the cartels to launder and transfer billions of dollars through the US banking system. The scale and scope of the US banking-drug cartel alliance surpasses any other economic activity of the US private banking system. According to US Justice Department records, one bank alone, Wachovia Bank (now owned by Wells Fargo), laundered $378.3 billion dollars between May 1, 2004 and May 31, 2007 (The Guardian, May 11, 2011). Every major bank in the US has served as an active financial partner of the murderous drug cartels – including Bank of America, Citibank, and JP Morgan, as well as overseas banks operating out of New York , Miami and Los Angeles , as well as London .

While the White House pays the Mexican state and army to kill Mexicans suspected of drug trafficking, the US Justice Department belatedly slaps a relatively small fine on the major US financial accomplice to the murderous drug trade, Wachovia Bank, spares its bank officials from any jail time and allows major cases to lapse into dismissal.

The major agency of the US Treasury involved in investigating money laundering, the Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, deliberately ignored the blatant collaboration of US banks with drug terrorists, concentrating almost their entire staff and resources on enforcing sanctions against Iran . For seven years, Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey used his power as head of the Department for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to pursue Israel ’s phony “war on terrorism” against Iran , rather than shut down Wachovia’s money-laundering operations with the Mexican drug terrorists. In this period of time an estimated 40,000 Mexican civilian have been killed by the cartels and the army.

Without US arms and financial services supporting both the illegitimate Mexican regimes and the drug cartels – there could be no “drug war”, no mass killings and no state terror. The simple acts of stopping the flood of cheap subsidized US agriculture products into Mexico and de-criminalizing the use and purchase of cocaine in the US would dry up the pool of ‘cartel soldiers’ from the bankrupted Mexican peasantry and the cut back the profits and demand for illegal drugs in the US market.

The Drug Traffickers, the Banks and the White House

If the major US banks are the financial engines which allow the billion dollar drug empires to operate, the White House, the US Congress and the law enforcement agencies are the basic protectors of these banks. Despite the deep and pervasive involvement of the major banks in laundering hundreds of billions of dollars in illicit funds, the “court settlements” pursued by US prosecutors have led to no jail time for the bankers. One court’s settlement amounted to a fine of $50 million dollars, less than 0.5% of one of the banks (the Wachovia/Wells Fargo bank) $12.3 billion profits for 2009 (The Guardian, May 11, 2011). Despite the death of tens of thousands of Mexican civilians, US executive branch directed the DEA, the federal prosecutors and judges to impose such a laughable ‘punishment’ on Wachovia for its illegal services to the drug cartels. The most prominent economic officials of the Bush and Obama regimes, including Summers, Paulson, Geithner, Greenspan, Bernacke et al, are all long term associates, advisers and members of the leading financial houses and banks implicated in laundering the billions of drug profits.

Laundering drug money is one of the most lucrative sources of profit for Wall Street; the banks charge hefty commissions on the transfer of drug profits, which they then lend to borrowing institutions at interest rates far above what – if any – they pay to drug trafficker depositors. Awash in sanitized drug profits, these US titans of the finance world can easily buy their own elected officials to perpetuate the system.

Even more important and less obvious is the role of drug money in the recent financial meltdown, especially during its most critical first few weeks.

According to the head of United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, “In many instances, drug money (was)… currently the only liquid investment capital…. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor…interbank loans were funded by money that originated from drug trade and other illegal activities… (there were) signs that some banks were rescued in that way.” (Reuters, January 25,2009. US edition). Capital flows from the drug billionaires were key to floating Wachovia and other leading banks. In a word: the drug billionaires saved the capitalist financial system from collapse!


By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, it has become clear that capital accumulation, at least in North America, is intimately linked to generalized violence and drug trafficking. Because capital accumulation is dependent on financial capital, and the latter is dependent on the industry profits from the multi-hundred-billion dollar drug trade, the entire ensemble is embedded in the ‘total war’ over drug profits. In times of deep crises the very survival of the US financial system – and through it, the world banking system – is linked to the liquidity of the drug “industry”.

At the most superficial level the destruction of Mexican and Central American societies – encompassing over 100 million people – is a result of a conflict between drug cartels and the political regimes of the region. At a deeper level there is a multiplier or “ripple effect” related to their collaboration: the cartels draw on the support of the US banks to realize their profits; they spend hundreds of millions on the US arms industry and others to secure their supplies, transport and markets; they employ tens of thousands of recruits for their vast private armies and civilian networks and they purchase the compliance of political and military officials on both sides of the borders

For its part, the Mexican government acts as a conduit for US Pentagon/Federal police, Homeland Security, drug enforcement and political apparatuses prosecuting the ‘war’, which has put Mexican lives, property and security at risk. The White House stands at the strategic center of operations – the Mexican regime serves as the front-line executioners.

On one side of the “war on drugs” are the major Wall Street banks; on the other side, the White House and its imperial military strategists and in the ‘middle’ are 90 million Mexicans and 40,000 murder victims and counting.

Relying on political fraud to impose economic deregulation in the 1990’s (neo-liberalism), the US policies led directly to the social disintegration, criminalization and militarization of the current decade. The sophisticated narco-finance economy has now become the most advanced stage of neo-liberalism. When the respectable become criminals, the criminals become respectable.

The issue of genocide in Mexico has been determined by the empire and its “knowing” bankers and cynical rulers.

U.S. Holds the World Record of Killings of Innocent Civilians

July 25th, 2015 by Prof. John McMurtry

A world-renowned Canadian philosopher argues that the United States holds the world record of illegal killings of unarmed civilians and extrajudicial detention and torturing of prisoners who are detained without trial.

Prof. John McMurtry says that the U.S. government is a gigantic mass-murdering machine which earns profit through waging wars, and is never held accountable over its unspeakable war crimes and crimes against humanity. He also believes that the U.S. has become a police state, which treats its citizens in the most derogatory manner.

 “I have travelled alone with only backpack possession through the world, and have found no state in which police forces are more habituated to violent bullying, more likely to draw a gun, more discriminatory against the dispossessed, and more arbitrarily vicious in normal behavior,” said McMurtry. “The US now leads the globe in an underlying civil war of the rich against the poor.”

 “The US can … detain, kidnap and imprison without trial or indictment any US citizen or other citizen anywhere by designating them enemies to the US,” Prof. John McMurtry noted in an exclusive interview with Fars News Agency.

 According to the Canadian intellectual, the United States statesmen have long supported dictatorial and tyrannical regimes and even funded and armed the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler in the period between 1939 and 1945.

 John McMurtry is a Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Guelph, Canada. In 2001, Prof. McMurtry was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada for his outstanding contributions to the study of humanities and social sciences. His latest major works are his 15-year study, “The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure” and three monumental volumes commissioned by UNESCO for its Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems entitled “Philosophy and World Problems.” McMurtry’s articles and writings regularly appear on different newspapers and online magazines across the world.

 Prof. McMurtry took part in an in-depth interview with FNA and responded to some questions regarding the U.S. project of the War on Terror, its military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan and the September 11, 2001 attacks. The following is the text of the interview.

 Q: Prof. McMurtry; it was following the 9/11 attacks that the United States launched its project of War on Terror. The venture has so far cost the lives of thousands of innocent, unarmed civilians across the world, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya; however, the civilian cost of the Global War on Terror has been mostly ignored by the mainstream media and the politicians in the West. Why do you think they’ve overlooked the enormous rate of civilian casualties resulting from an endeavor which was purportedly aimed at exporting democracy and liberal values to the world?

A: In the US’s so-called War on Terror, by far the greatest and most systematic terrorization of civilians is in fact perpetrated by the US state itself. Unarmed citizens are murdered across the world as ‘collateral damage’, ‘illegal enemy combatants’ or other license of impunity. The US state conceives itself as above international law along with ally Israel, but this reality is taboo to report and so too all the killing and terrorization of civilians. One can truly say that “the historical record demonstrates the US is provably guilty of continual lawless mass murder of civilians across the world”, but the truth is unthinkable within the ruling ideological regime. Consider for example, the US-led deadly civil wars and coup d’etats in Venezuela and Ukraine as well as Libya and Syria. They mass terrorize and destroy societies into defenseless dependency so that their resources, lands and markets are “free” for transnational corporate exploitation. Yet the meaning is un-decoded. Ignorance is built into the syntax of acceptable thought. 

 Q: Many immigrants who seek refuge in United States from the four corners of the globe in search of a better and more prosperous life think of America as an absolutely free, democratic and open society with abundant opportunities for economic and social progress. However, you’ve argued, as many scholars did, that the United States is a police state. Would you please elaborate more on that? Do you believe that these immigrants and asylum-seekers are not told the whole truth about the United States or are somehow deceived?

A: Deception allies with ignorance. I define a police state as a society in which there is unlimited state power of armed force freely discharged without citizen right to stop it. While the men at the top always proclaim their devotion to the public good, an endless litany of crimes against human life is permitted by legally terrorist offices, central directives, and bureaucratic channels. Thus in “free and democratic America”, more citizens are caged than any country in the world, and over 80% have perpetrated no violence against [any] person. While the US accuses others of inhuman persecution and despotism, it holds the world records for caging non-violent people, for violent killings of civilians, for spy surveillance of everyone, and for mass murders of innocent people across international borders. Even kicking the tire of a VIP vehicle may be prosecuted as an act of “terrorism”. I have travelled alone with only backpack possession through the world, and have found no state in which police forces are more habituated to violent bullying, more likely to draw a gun, more discriminatory against the dispossessed, and more arbitrarily vicious in normal behavior.  The US now leads the globe in an underlying civil war of the rich against the poor.

Q: What’s your viewpoint on the recent laws and legislations that have stipulated limitations on the civil liberties of the U.S. citizens, including the PATRIOT Act of 2001, which was widely criticized and protested at? It’s seen as a discriminatory measure that violates the privacy of the American citizens and the foreign nationals traveling in the States. Isn’t it so?

A: The repression of civil rights by the US goes far deeper than violation of citizen privacy to which the media confine themselves. The Patriot Act together with other laws like the Military Commissions Act, the Defense Authorization Act, the Homeland Security Act and the Protect America Act, mutating to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, form a systematic curtailment of civil rights and freedoms. Spying on everyone across borders is the accompanying apparatus of the National Security Agency which has been recently exposed in its totalitarian global snooping and dirty tricks. Department analyst Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers summarizes the post-9/11 situation in the US as “a coup … a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution for executive government to rule by decree”.  What makes these new laws and licenses tyrannical is their selective suspension of established constitutional rights to habeas corpus, the right of the accused to see evidence against him/her, the right to one’s chosen legal defense, the right to trial without indefinite detention, and other rights of due process of law including to free speech and organization that can be construed as supporting “illegal enemies”. As to who these “illegal enemies” are, this is determined by the US president without legal criterion, proving evidence or verification required. The US can thus detain, kidnap and imprison without trial or indictment any US citizen or other citizen anywhere by designating them enemies to the US. This arbitrary power has most infamously instituted US presidential right to kill individuals and those around them at will by robot killer drones – all crimes against humanity and war crimes under international law, but again taboo to report in the mass media or question in international security meetings themselves.

Q: The U.S. government has traditionally supported the oppressive regimes that are widely considered as dictatorial and tyrannical. Some examples include the successive U.S. governments’ support for the regimes in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and Israel. Isn’t such an approach contrary to the democratic principles which the U.S. Constitution is said to be oriented on?

A: Certainly the US has long supported dictatorial and tyrannical regimes. In fact US corporations and banks led the funding and arming of Hitler and the Nazis even during the 1939-45 War, and official US support of murderous dictatorships afterwards has been normalized since the CIA’s foundation in 1947. In the years since 9/11, US government has covertly directed funding and arming of the most destructive armed forces including jihadists, not only in the nations you mention, but in Syria and before that Libya, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan and many much less known places like Mali. Ukraine has been similarly launched into civil war and escalated oppression by US-led destabilization, covert Special Forces, and local fascists.

Yet the US Constitution itself has no clear resource to prevent such international crimes, the founding US fathers themselves being mainly rich slave owners and leaders of the genocidal Western expansion against first peoples which England had forbidden in 1763. In fact, despite some stirring phrases without binding force, the ultimate concern of the US Constitution is the protection of private property and wealth at the top against the masses and democratic reversal. The ultimately governing value is profitable and unfettered private commerce, the “commerce clause” being the only way found to enforce the civil rights of Blacks. The opening slogans of “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” seem inspiring except that happiness cannot be pursued, life needs do not ever enter into consideration, and liberty without the means to exercise it is nonsense.

Bear in mind that Supreme Court decisions have further granted the constitutional freedom of private money hoards to control politicians, public speech and elections themselves. Transnational corporations which are the global vehicles of the world’s ruling money sequences have at the same time multiplying powers with no obligations, while other societies’ rights have been effectively erased by international trade treaties which recognize only corporate rights and strip societies of their economic sovereignty and public resources. Corporate rights to dominate public speech and elections have been twisted out of even the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment protecting the civil rights of ex-slaves. In short, a near total expropriation of rights by Big Money has shown how anti-democratic the US Constitution has been made. I think that only the rule of life-protective law with the force of international law can regulate this global money-power dictatorship back into coherence with life support requirements now violated at every level, with or without a revolutionary uprising.   

 Q: Over the course of 20th century, the United States has been involved in several covert foreign regime change actions, and as the Foreign Policy magazine notes, it has toppled seven governments in the last 100 years through masterminding and engineering coups across the world, including the 1953 coup d’etat against the popular government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh or the 1973 coup in Chile that brought down the government of President Salvador Allende. Is such sponsorship of coups and regime change actions the characteristic feature of a democratic, peace-loving government?

A: There has been almost no coup or government overthrow since 1945 not led by the US. The examples you give of Mosaddegh and Allende are sea-changes of history in which elected, socially responsible and peaceful governments led by men of the very highest quality have been criminally usurped. This perpetual and increasing destabilization of other states and societies along with other gravely degenerate trends are systematically tracked in my 15-year study The Cancer Stage of Capitalism/ from crisis to cure. In the US itself, the three powers of supreme legislature, executive and court are now all controlled by the same money party selecting for the same full-spectrum predation of life and life support systems everywhere to multiply themselves. Yet still the long record of the US state and its oligarch allies destroying societies across the world is unspeakable in the mass media because they themselves are financed and advertised in by the same transnational corporations that demand the resources and territories of societies everywhere. The carcinogenic global causal mechanism is ever more evident and catastrophic, but not recognized.  

Q: More than a decade after the 9/11 attacks, there are still several unanswered questions about the tragic event, including the origins and motives of the perpetrator, the role of foreign intelligence organizations in masterminding the attacks and the behind-the-scenes benefits of the attacks for the U.S. military-industrial complex. As you note in your writings, it was not Osama bin Laden who spearheaded the 9/11 attacks. Who is the real culprit? Did the 9/11 attacks play into the hands of the Bush administration to set in motion its lethal project of War on Terror and start invading different countries?

 A: My recent monograph on the Internet, “The Moral Decoding of 9-11: Beyond the U.S. Criminal State” is a definitive answer to these questions. The turning-point event is laid bare step by step as a mass-murderous construction whose scenario is anticipated and contrived by US geostrategic planners with the official investigation completely concealing the basic fact that fireproofed steel infrastructures collapsed at the speed of gravity into their own footprints against the laws of physics. Moreover the first question of forensic justice – cui bono, who benefits? – is ruled out from the start, although every subsequent policy, decision and new power served the interests of the Bush Jr. regime and the US military-oil complex against the welfare of the American public and the world, especially Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.

Unfortunately conspiracy theories miss the inner logic of the strategic event and the system disorder driving it. The official conspiracy theory is absurd, but every disbeliever in it is pilloried as a ‘conspiracy theorist’ – the reverse projection which is the signature operation of US propaganda. Always blame others for what the US does as the reason for attacking them. One might laugh at the same old propaganda psy-op and fabrications trotted out endlessly, but the terrible reality is the 9/11 construction has had effectively sabotaged international progress in solving the world’s gravest problems. It has dismantled the global peace movement that was reaching an historical peak in 2001 to stop US-led militarism after the Cold War. It has successfully suppressed world-wide uprisings against a US-led global corporate dictatorship despised and opposed by ever more citizens across America, Europe and the world. It has even formed the draconian laws and police practices needed to squash the world-wide environmental movement across the world at same time. 9/11 has, in short, vastly empowered the corporate money system devouring human and planetary life by falsifying opponents as “terrorists”. But who joins the dots of the Great Repression? 

Q: Since its inception 66 years ago, CIA has been involved in numerous covert sabotage, anti-sabotage, assassination, propaganda, destruction and subversion plans against other countries, and during the course of all these covert actions, it has violated different internationally recognized treaties and regulations as well as the sovereignty and territorial integrity of these nations. Are these actions and gambits legal or illegal? If they are illegal, then why doesn’t any international organization investigate the crimes and hold the U.S. government accountable? 

A: Yes this is a turning-point issue of the world. But the US record as a rogue state is unspeakable in the mass media because they are financed and advertised in by the same transnational corporations that demand the resources and territories of the world by threat of trade-investment embargo and the point of the gun of US and NATO forces. This is what the lawless but unnamed US reign of terror achieves – not only by war crimes and crimes against humanity, but by economic ruin for any society resisting transnational trade treaties and demands which recognize only foreign corporate rights to profit. If the underlying causal mechanism is taboo to recognize, unaccountability is the result. Blame is instead diverted to US-designated enemies – like Iran or Russia or Venezuela – and the society-destroying disorder rampages on.

In fact there are many life-protective international laws to hold the US accountable to, but every one of them is repudiated by the US so as not to apply to itself ; laws and conventions against nuclear weapons, biological weapons, chemical weapons, landmines, small arms, international ballistic missiles, torture, racism, sexism, child abuse, arbitrary seizure and imprisonment, crimes against humanity and war crimes, military weather distortions, biodiversity loss, and international climate destabilization. Yet this record remains taboo to track or publish even as the US demonizes others for “defying the laws and norms of the international community”.

The US and ally Israel thus violate the laws against armed aggression, occupation and crimes against humanity at will, but who even knows or cites the laws?  For example, when the US was about to perpetrate the supreme crime of invasion against Iraq in 2003 with no lawful grounds, no-one raised the issue at the Security Council, including the Iraqi diplomat there. As one who later debated on Canadian public television a leading US geostrategic analyst three days before the criminal bombing of Baghdad began, my statement  that he was “advocating war crime and should be arrested for doing so” was deleted from the live broadcast. The cornerstone of international law is thus silenced while the media go on calling opponents “unpatriotic” or “terrorists” – as in Nazi Germany. If law-abiding states do not stand and join for the rule of international life-protective law, there seems no end.  


Every 28 hours on average, a Black man, woman or child is murdered  by killer cops in America. Sandra Black is one of their victims – a high-profile one, unlike countless nameless, faceless, unreported victims of US police brutality, at times resulting in unaccountable murders routinely whitewashed when investigations are conducted.

Police traffic stops, even violent ones, followed by wrongful short-term detentions, aren’t reasons for suicides – unless perhaps victims are so mentally ill and unstable their behavior is unpredictable.

Bland was a young Black civil rights activist – a vocal Black Lives Matter movement exponent, outspoken against police brutality in America.

Was she targeted for this reason? Was she violently assaulted by a cop on assignment to get her arrested on false charges – then murdered in custody to silence her?

She was eagerly looking forward to her new job at Prairie View A&M, her alma mater. She had every reason to live, not die. Media reports on her case are scandalous – ignoring the most important issues needing exploring and explaining.

Instead, largely regurgitating official accounts about her death. The New York Times, America’s leading broadsheet, is typical – On July 23 headlining ”Autopsy of Sandra Bland Finds Injuries Consistent With Suicide, Prosecutor Says.”

A proper headline should read: Coverup in Texas: County Autopsy Findings Whitewash Sandra Bland’s Likely Murder.

Instead of questioning dubious autopsy findings (conducted by local authorities, not an independent forensic pathologist), The Times regurgitated the official conclusion saying “her injuries were consistent with suicide, not homicide, a finding that underscored growing doubts that the jail did enough to monitor her.”

No independently verifiable evidence suggests Bland was unstable or suicidal. Saying she was depressed over losing her baby is how virtually every woman would feel.

The Times repeated the official lie suggesting she should have been placed on suicide watch. It quoted Texas Waller County first assistant district attorney Warren Diepraam reciting pre-scripted (unchallenged) claims about no signs of violent struggle and neck markings consistent with suicide.

“I have not seen any evidence that this is a homicide,” he said. Did he look for any, the Times should have asked – as well as explaining an activist woman against police brutality with every reason to live, not die.

On July 9, Bland drove from Chicago to Texas, was interviewed for a job at her alma mater Prairie View A&M, was ecstatic on learning she got it – then “committed suicide,” according to official reports.

No legitimate Hollywood producer would accept a script with this storyline. Who would believe something this implausible?

Bland’s friends suspect foul play. Some angrily reject official suicide claims for good reason. Bland’s mother quoted her daughter’s recent comments saying:

“Mom, now I know what my purpose is. My purpose is to go back to Texas. My purpose is to stop all social injustice.” It’s to live, not die.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at[email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

The UN’s 54-nation Economic and Social Council adopted a resolution on Monday that names the world’s only - only - violator of economic and social rights in the world, UN Watch reports. Which country did a majority of 42 states including all EU members condemn? If you guessed Iran, Syria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, or any other likely candidate, then you haven’t been paying attention to world affairs or the United Nations since the establishment of the nation of Israel. 

That’s right, Israel.

Only Australia and the U.S. opposed the resolution. Honduras and Panama abstained, and eight other countries were absent.

The resolution charges Israel with such crimes as “destruction of homes and properties, economic institutions and agricultural lands and orchards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as in the occupied Syrian Golan”; of the “exploitation of natural resources”; and of “the dumping of all kinds of waste materials in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, which gravely threaten their natural resources.”

Hamas is mentioned a whopping 0 times. Zero.

Syria was mentioned 13 times, UN Watch reports, ”but only to condemn Israel for alleged violations against ‘the Syrian citizens of the occupied Syrian Golan’ whose family members reside in ‘their mother homeland, the Syrian Arab Republic.’ The murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad is not condemned or even mentioned once.” Zilch.

UN Watch goes on:

After the introduction of the resolution by South Africa, the Syrian Ambassador took the floor and accused Israel of facilitating terrorist attacks against Syrian cities and civilians. Assad’s envoy condemned the Jewish state for “destroying the soil of the Golan, exploiting its resources, burning its products and other racist policies.”

No other country in the world but Israel was singled out for condemnation at this year’s ECOSOC’s annual session.

Good to know that the United Nations has its priorities straight.

Much writing has been spent on the wonders of how the supposedly progressive side of politics has bedded down all too intimately with the conservative, Right side of the aisle. The conservatives – or let us call them reactionary Tories – have been insinuating themselves into the party manifestoes of the left for years.

It was Britain’s Tony Blair who demonstrated how Margaret Thatcher’s hemlock had become his blood. Under the slogan of “modernisation” and various workshopped banalities, New Labour moved into the highest form of technocracy imaginable. The technocrat, by definition, prides pragmatic resolution over principle. Any process will do as long as it has the reassuring falseness of working.

Labour parties, more generally, have become technocratic constellations. Principles have become subordinate to focus groups and party polling concerned about reactionary shifts in the electorate. The emphasis here is not to dictate the agenda, but to have it dictated to you. Party strategists break out into a hot sweat when the latest poll registers drop. Sentiment can be calculated and pitched to.

The Australian conservatives have had less trouble than their Labor counterparts in formulating brutal policies indifferent to international law. Theirs is an insular world, where patriotic insensibility comes first. There is even a question to ask whether Australian conservatism genuinely exists, being, as it were, an extremist collective of contradictory free marketeers, climate change deniers and border purists. The one thing that can be said about them: They are convinced by what they are doing.

It all began on September 3, 2001, when the conservative Howard government introduced a policy of “turning back boats” with Operation Relex, involving the interception and boarding of Suspected Illegal Entry Vessels (SIEVs). In bureaucrat-land, such speak entails boats carrying people without a visa (Kaldor Centre, Aug 4).[1]

The navy was directed to expel such vessels to the edge of Indonesian territorial waters, a wonderfully perverse state of affairs that should put pay to the nonsense that such a measure saves lives. It simply relocates the problem, literally expelling it from the scope of Australian responsibility. The Abbott government’s version of this, called “Operation Sovereign Borders” re-applies the Howard formula with the additional context of “where it is safe to do so”.

Genteel legalists have wondered whether such conduct flies in the face of international law. It is hard to see how it does not. The focus here is not rescue, strongly emphasised by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, not to mention the Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue. Placing refugees on life boats and towing them back into international waters engenders, rather than minimises, risk.

Bill Shorten’s Australian Labor Party lacks the foaming, mad dog conviction of his opponent. Having taken a strong stance against the “turn back the boats” policy in 2013, Shorten has, just like those boats laden with asylum seekers, altered course. The teeth of those in the left wing of the party is chattering – with fear.

Richard Marles, the individual assigned the oxymoronic task of “modernising” the immigration platform, has given the impression that the new ALP recipe will not only embed the LNP boat policy, but do so in a manner that is humanitarian. Shorten’s own description at the ALP Party conference was that Marles, “will deliver immigration policies that are safe and humane.” The delegates duly booed.

The display by Shorten and Marles has been an advance admission of defeat and a morbid exploitation of dead asylum seekers to trigger consciences in the Australian electorate. Shorten has swallowed the Coalition mantra of salvation: “Labor wants to defeat the people smugglers and we want to prevent drownings at sea” (7.30 Report, Jul 22). This has also entailed an admission that Labor stumbled when in office. “Despite best intentions,” wrote Marles in the Herald Sun, “a terrible loss of life took place under Labor’s watch.” The ALP suicide note is being penned as this goes to press.

Shorten’s 2013 leadership rival and member of the left faction, Anthony Albanese, was seething. The party technocrats had done it again, guileless in aping the conservative agenda on refugees.  “I think that it is absolutely critical, critical that we always remember our need for compassion an not to appeal to the darker side.”[2] But even those on the progressive wing have decided to fall for the humanitarian canard of boat repulsions, ignoring the obvious fact that an intercepted vessel should be brought back to Australian waters.The Coalition front benchers were pleased as punch. Voters were being sold a cheap imitation with Shorten singing Abbott’s scratchy, coarse tune. The barely credible Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, trotted out his limited array of weasel words though he did have a point: “If I thought it was genuine, I would welcome it” (Today Show, Jul 23).Former Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, took a similar line, suggesting that Labor disunity was a boon for people smuggling enthusiasts. The Coalition, on the other hand, were the true captains of the border protection industry. “The people smuggler’s know it.”[3] And how.

Central to the entire farce has been the looming role of “people smugglers”. Both major parties have argued till the return of the proverbial cow that their “business model” needs to be broken. The traffickers are the retained bogeymen in the debate, the handy straw men of the immigration argument. Never mind that there seems to be willingness on the part of government officials to actually pay them to take their human cargo elsewhere. This, of course, is not encouragement of that very same reviled model at all.

The refusal to adopt a policy that aligns with safe processing of asylum seeker and immigrants who undertake the naval route has corrupted the Australian political process. Nor is there genuine will to negotiate and establish a regional program of processing claims and protecting asylum seekers. The police-state secrecy that attends the entire discussion about vessel interceptions, the darkly hilarious press conferences where ministers and officials refuse to disclose “on sea” operations, speak of the camel whose nose is fast coming into the tent of democracy. In good time, the tent may well collapse.

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


[1] http://www.kaldorcentre.unsw.edu.au/publication/%E2%80%98turning-back-boats%E2%80%99

[2] http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-national-conference-bill-shortens-opening-speech-marred-by-booing-20150724-gijkhv.html

[3] http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2015/07/23/shorten-wwill-fight-for-boats-policy.html


Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis

July 25th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Officially called a “Free Associated State or Commonwealth,” Puerto Rico has been exploited as a US colony since 1898. Its elected governor is powerless – little more than a potted plant ruled by Congress with America’s president its head of state.  

Washington never granted islanders control of their lives, welfare and destiny. They have no say over foreign relations, commerce and trade, their air space, land and offshore waters, immigration and emigration, nationality and citizenship, currency, maritime laws, military service, US bases on its territory, constitutionality of its laws, jurisdictions and legal procedures, treaties, radio and television, communications, agriculture, its natural resources and more.

Independence supporters aren’t tolerated – men like Oscar Lopez Rivera, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, wrongfully imprisoned for wanting Puerto Ricans to live free, behind bars for over three decades.

Washington wants to continue exploiting its Caribbean colony for profit – raping and pillaging it at the public’s expense, much like what’s happening to Greece.

Athens is trapped in the euro straightjacket – Puerto Rico in America’s claws. Nominally, islanders handle their own local affairs, much like how Washington DC residents have home rule under full federal control.

The Constitution grants Congress exclusive jurisdiction over the District in “all cases whatsoever.” Its elected government exists at its pleasure. Local laws can be overturned.

District residents have no voting representation in Congress. They’re disenfranchised in federal elections. They’re colonial subjects like Puerto Ricans.

The Caribbean island is bankrupt – but can’t declare it under US law, making it harder to gain concessions from creditors. It’s debt entrapped, forced to pay bankers and other large creditors at the expense of providing vital social services. Its $73 billion debt is impossible to repay.

In late June, Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla said it needs restructuring. It’s approaching 100% of its GDP – its current fiscal year $4.5 billion servicing obligation is too great a burden to bear.

It’s a wasteland of high unemployment, poverty and deprivation. Force-fed austerity exacerbates dire economic conditions. Islanders are US citizens without enfranchisement on the mainland. They pay federal taxes. They get back pathetically little in return.

In June, the UN Committee of 24 (Special Committee on Decolonization) heard testimonies from 30 island petitioners. Puerto Rico is locked in a destructive cycle of poverty, unemployment, brain drain and economic decline because of US imperial control, they explained.

Petitioners urged UN intervention to initiate a decolonization process – to “stand on the right side of history” helping Puerto Ricans regain their sovereign rights.

Washington calls activist islanders “domestic terrorists.” Oscar Lopez Rivera is one of thousands wrongfully imprisoned for their political beliefs since 1898.

Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million people live in an open-air prison – exploited under imperial rule, heading toward hardening by greater forced austerity, hitting its majority impoverished population hardest.

Puerto Ricans suffer from internal government mismanagement, political greed and dereliction of duty, widespread corruption, deplorable social services, rich and powerful monied interests exploiting ordinary islanders, and police brutality like US citizens and residents face.

One local observer describes two Puerto Rico cultures. On the one hand, its “language, music, art, history and affection.” On the other, its “crime, corruption, deceit and entitlement.”

The latter is killing the former. It’s “dying a slow, painful death.” Puerto Rico is on a downward cycle to oblivion – ordinary people devastated by an uncaring US Congress, its own corrupt government and monied interests demanding tribute, a lethal economic combination.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].  

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.  

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.  


China has recently taken an important step in more tightly regulating foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) inside the country. Despite condemnation from so called human rights groups in the West, China’s move should be understood as a critical decision to assert sovereignty over its own political space. Naturally, the shrill cries of “repression” and “hostility toward civil society” from western NGOs have done little to shake the resolve of Beijing as the government has recognized the critical importance of cutting off all avenues for political and social destabilization.

The predictable argument, once again being made against China’s Overseas NGO Management Law, is that it is a restriction on freedom of association and expression, and a means of stifling the burgeoning civil society sector in China. The NGO advocates portray this proposed legislation as another example of the violation of human rights in China, and further evidence of Beijing’s lack of commitment to them. They posit that China is moving to further entrench an authoritarian government by closing off the democratic space which has emerged in recent years.


However, amid all the hand-wringing about human rights and democracy, what is conveniently left out of the narrative is the simple fact that foreign NGOs, and domestic ones funded by foreign money, are, to a large extent, agents of foreign interests, and are quite used as soft power weapons for destabilization. And this is no mere conspiracy theory as the documented record of the role of NGOs in recent political unrest in China is voluminous. It would not be a stretch to say that Beijing has finally recognized, just as Russia has before it, that in order to maintain political stability and true sovereignty, it must be able to control the civil society space otherwise manipulated by the US and its allies.

‘Soft Power’ and the Destabilization of China

Joseph Nye famously defined ‘soft power’ as the ability of a country to persuade others and/or manipulate events without force or coercion in order to achieve politically desirable outcomes. And one of the main tools of modern soft power is civil society and the NGOs that dominate it. With financial backing from some of the most powerful individuals and institutions in the world, these NGOs use the cover of “democracy promotion” and human rights to further the agenda of their patrons. And China has been particularly victimized by precisely this sort of strategy.

Human Rights Watch, and the NGO complex at large, has condemned China’s Overseas NGO Management Law because they quite rightly believe that it will severely hamper their efforts to act independently of Beijing. However, contrary to the irreproachable expression of innocence that such organizations masquerade behind, the reality is that they act as a de facto arm of western intelligence agencies and governments, and they have played a central role in the destabilization of China in recent years.

Undoubtedly the most highly publicized example of just such political meddling took place in 2014 with the much hyped “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong, also known as the Umbrella Movement. The Western media fed uninformed news consumers story after story about a “pro-democracy” movement seeking to give voice to, as White House spokesman Josh Earnest cynically articulated, “…the aspirations of the Hong Kong people.” But such vacuous rhetoric was only part of the story.

What the corporate media in the West failed to mention were the deeply rooted connections between the Occupy Central movement and key organs of US soft power. The oft touted leader of Occupy Central was a pro-Western academic named Benny Tai, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong. Though he presented himself as the leader of a grassroots mass movement, Mr. Tai has for years been partnered with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a nominal NGO which is actually directly funded by the US State Department via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). In fact, the NDI has been one of the leading advocates (and financial backers presumably) of the Center for Comparative and Public Law at the University of Hong Kong, a program with which Benny Tai has been intimately connected, including as a board member since 2006. So, far from being merely an emerging leader, Tai was a carefully selected point person for a US-sponsored color revolution-style movement.

Two other high profile figures involved with Occupy Central were Audrey Eu, founder of the Civic Party in Hong Kong, and Martin Lee, founding chairman of the Democrat Party of Hong Kong. Both Eu and Lee have long-standing ties to the US government through the NED and NDI, with Eu having been a frequent contributor to NDI sponsored panels and programs, and Lee having the glorious distinction of having both been a recipient of awards from NED and NDI, as well as meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden in 2014 along with anti-Beijing advocate Anson Chan.

It does not take exceptional powers of deduction to see that, to varying degrees, Tai, Eu, Lee, and Chan each act as the public face of a US Government-sponsored initiative to destabilize the political situation in Hong Kong, one of China’s most economically and politically important regions. Through the intermediary of the NGO, Washington is able to promote an anti-Beijing line under the auspices of “democracy promotion,” just as it has done everywhere from Ukraine to Venezuela. Luckily for China, the movement was not supported by either the bulk of the working class in Hong Kong and China, or even by many of the middle class who saw it as little more than an inconvenience at best. However, it required swift government action to contain the public relations and media fiasco that could have resulted from the movement, a fact of which Beijing, no doubt, took note.

As a spokesperson for the National People’s Congress explained in April, the NGO law is necessary for “safeguarding national security and maintaining social stability.” Indeed, in late 2014, in the wake of the Occupy Central protests, Chinese President Xi Jinping traveled to Macau and spoke of the need to ensure that Macau walked on the “right path.” In a thinly veiled reference to Hong Kong, Xi praised Macau for continuing to follow the “one country, two systems” policy under which the special administrative regions of Macau and Hong Kong have greater autonomy but are still subject to Chinese law. Essentially, Xi made it quite clear that, despite the foreign NGO-manufactured movement in Hong Kong, Beijing remained firmly in control. And this is precisely the issue: control.

NGOs, Soft Power, and Terror in Xinjiang

The NGO ‘soft power’ weapon is not relegated solely to Hong Kong however. In fact, the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, one of the most volatile regions in the country, has seen active destabilization and subversion by soft power elements consistently over recent years. Home to the majority Muslim Uighur ethnic group, Xinjiang has been repeatedly attacked both with terrorism and vile propaganda that has sought to paint to China as the oppressor and enemy of Uighurs, and Muslims generally.

Xinjiang has been victim to a number of deadly terrorist attacks in recent years, including the heinous drive-by bombings that killed dozens and injured over 100 people in May 2014, the mass stabbings and bombings of November 2014, and the deadlyattack by Uighur terrorists on a traffic checkpoint just last month which left 18 people dead. Were such attacks, which claimed the lives of scores of innocent Chinese citizens, to have been carried out against, say, Americans, the western media would be all but declaring holy jihad against the entire world. However, since they’ve happened in China, these are merely isolated incidents that are due to the “marginalization” and “oppression” of the Uighur people by the big bad Chinese authorities.

Such a sickeningly biased narrative is in no small part due to the NGO penetration of the Uighur community and a vast public relations network funded directly by the US Government. The same National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which has disbursed funds to the NDI and other organizations involved in the Hong Kong destabilization of “Occupy Central,” has been a primary funder of the Uighur NGO complex.

The following organizations have each received significant financial support from the NED through the years: World Uighur Congress, Uighur American Association, International Uighur Human rights and Democracy Foundation, and the International Uighur PEN Club, among others. These NGOs are quite often the sources cited by western media for comments on anything related to Xinjiang and are almost always quick to demonize Beijing for all problems in the region, including terrorism.

Perhaps the best example of just such propaganda and dishonesty came in the last few weeks as western media was flooded with stories making the spurious allegation that China had banned the observance of Ramadan in Xinjiang. Indeed, there were literally hundreds of articles condemning China for this “restriction of religious freedom,” portraying the Chinese government as repressive and a violator of human rights. Interestingly, the primary source for the claim was none other than the NED-fundedWorld Uighur Congress.

Moreover, in mid July, on the day of Eid al-Fitr (the final day of Ramadan), the Wall Street Journal ran a story covering the media pushback from China which has sought in recent weeks to publicize the fact that Xinjiang, and all of China, has celebrated openly for Ramadan. And, as one should come to expect, the anti-China source cited is, as usual, a representative of the World Uighur Congress. It seems that this organization, far from being merely a human rights advocate, is in fact a mouthpiece for US propaganda against China. And when the propaganda is challenged and discredited by China, well that just invites new and more blistering propaganda.

The Geopolitical Footprints

All of this demonization has taken on a clear geopolitical and strategic significance as Turkey has stepped into the fray condemning China for its alleged “persecution” of Uighur Muslims, whom Ankara sees as Turks from its neo-Ottoman revanchist perspective. The Turkish Foreign ministry said in a statement that “Our people have been saddened over the news that Uighur Turks have been banned from fasting or carrying out other religious duties in the Xinjiang region…Our deep concern over these reports have been conveyed to China’s ambassador in Ankara.”

China responded to what it deemed to be inappropriate comments from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, especially in light of Turkey’s absurd characterization of the Uighurs (who are Chinese citizens) as “Turks.” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying stated, “China has already demanded that Turkey clarify these reports and we have expressed concern about the statement from the Turkish foreign ministry…You should know that all the people of Xinjiang enjoy the freedom of religious belief accorded to them by the Chinese constitution.”

While the Chinese government, as it almost always does, used decidedly muted language to express its displeasure, the implications of the statement were not lost on keen political observers with some understanding of the China-Turkey relationship. Although the two countries have many aligned interests, as evidenced by Turkey’s repeatedly expressed desire to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the little known fact is that Turkey is one of the major facilitators of terrorism in China.

Though it received almost no fanfare from international media, in January 2015 Chinese authorities arrested at least ten Turkish suspects alleged to have organized and facilitated the illegal border crossings of a number of Uighur extremists. It has further been revealed that these extremists were planning to travel to Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to train and fight with fellow jihadis.

The story is still further evidence of a well-funded, well-organized international terror network operated and/or facilitated by Turkish intelligence. According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the ten Turkish citizens were arrested in Shanghai on November 17, 2014 for facilitating illegal immigration. While the formal charges against them range from forging documents to actually aiding illegal migration, it is the larger question of international terrorism that lurks beneath the surface. Because of course, as the evidence seems to indicate, these Uighur immigrants were not merely traveling to see loved ones in another country. On the contrary, they were likely part of a previously documented trend of Uighur extremists traveling to the Middle East to train and fight with the Islamic State or other terror groups.

It is these same extremist networks that carried out the aforementioned deadly bombing in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang. In fact, precisely this trend was exposed two months earlier in September 2014 when Reuters reported that Beijing formally accused militant Uighurs from Xinjiang of having traveled to Islamic State-controlled territory to receive training. Further corroborating these accusations, the Jakarta Post of Indonesia reported that four Chinese Uighur jihadists had been arrested in Indonesia after having travelled from Xinjiang through Malaysia. Other, similar reports have also surfaced in recent months, painting a picture of a concerted campaign to help Uighur extremists travel throughout Asia, communicating and collaborating with transnational terror groups such as the Islamic State.

So, Uighur terrorists with forged documents provided by sources inside Turkey are implicated as being part of the same terror networks that carried out a series of deadly attacks on Chinese citizens and police. No wonder China is not exactly bending over backwards to dry Erdogan’s and the Turkish government’s crocodile tears. And yet, despite the terror war, the US-funded Uighur NGOs continue to portray China as responsible for the terrorism.

The destabilization of China takes many forms. From a manufactured protest movement in Hong Kong sponsored by NGOs connected to the US government, to a fabricated propaganda war peddled by other NGOs sponsored by the US government, to a terror war fomented by a NATO member, China is a nation under assault by soft and hard power. That Beijing is finally taking steps to curb the pernicious influence of such NGOs, and the forces they represent, is not only a positive step, it’s an absolutely necessary one. The national security and national sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China requires nothing less.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

It’s Hard to Find Non-GMO Food

We knew that a lot of American crops were genetically modified. For example, we noted last year:

  • The USDA reports that 93% of all soy and 85% of all corn grown in the U.S. is an herbicide-resistant GE variety
  • Similarly, around 93% of all cottonseed oil and more than 90% of all canola oil produced in the U.S. is herbicide-resistant GE

But we didn’t realize how widespread GMO foods have really become …

On Tuesday, the chair of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry of the House Committee on Agriculture – Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania – said in Congressional testimony :

Nearly 80 percent of the food produced in the United States contains some kind of GM product …

Bottom line: It’s difficult to find non-GMO American food … especially since the feds are doing everything they can to keep us in the dark.

The US is intensifying its efforts to replace Russia as one of the EU’s largest energy suppliers, hoping to provide gas from the US itself to Europe, in addition to exploring regional players as possible suppliers. As Sputnik reported in an article titled: US will be Able to Supply Gas to Ukraine in Two Years:

“Senator John McCain said at a press conference in Kiev that the US will be able to provide Ukraine and the rest of Europe with gas in the next two years… According to him, Europe’s dependence on Russian gas supplies is a major obstacle that makes Europe unable to strengthen further sanctions against Russia.”


Since relations between the West and Russia have deteriorated so rapidly following the US coup in Ukraine, Western strategists have been working relentlessly to find a replacement to Russian energy supplies to the EU. In the immediate term, this is impossible, a reality that unnerves many in Washington and Brussels. But in the medium to long term, an assortment of countries could combine to replace Russian energy, or at least dramatically reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Moscow.

This issue was the subject of a recent article by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), a think-tank whose members include the former President of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet; former Secretary General of NATO, Javier Solana; and the former UK Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. The puppet master of the US-controlled government in Ukraine, George Soros, is also a member.

In the ECFR article titled: Europe’s alternatives to Russian gas, the authors detail how the EU’s new Energy Union is partly designed to “diversify the EU’s gas supplies away from Russia”:

Part of the aim of the Energy Union is to diversify the EU’s gas supplies away from Russia, which has already proved to be an unreliable partner. Russia is the main supplier of crude oil and natural gas to the EU, and although diversifying away from Russian gas is not unrealistic in the medium term, several technical and political obstacles must be overcome.

The author’s then analyse the potential of different players to supply Europe with energy and weigh up the pros and cons of each country. Some of the potential countries listed – Iraq and Libya for instance – are so unstable (due to Western foreign policy of course) it is hard to see them being viable options. The article notes that Israel could be a potential energy supplier, a subject I have previously written about, although Tel Aviv may focus more on domestic ventures and a few regional projects.

Iran is also mentioned as a possible player, a country that is home to vast oil and gas reserves. Speculation has grown in recent months that Tehran and Brussels could strike an energy deal in the near future that would see Iran supplying gas and oil to the EU. With recent news that the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 states have concluded successfully, and a deal has been reached which is expected to see sanctions gradually lifted, this is becoming more likely. As Petr Lvov wrote in a recent article for New Eastern Outlook titled: Iran is Heading West Now:

[The] oil and gas sectors of the Iranian economy will be sponsored by the West which will enable Tehran to increase the output of hydrocarbons. And in little time it will be capable of supplying the EU with gas through newly built pipelines. This step would cast a serious blow to the positions of Gazprom in Southern Europe.

There are still many obstacles to Iran being a supplier however. Even though a deal has been reached on Iran’s nuclear programme, many individuals in Iran will correctly view some of the P5+1 states as perfidious partners considering the history of these countries meddling in Iranian affairs. This was exemplified by Iranian army commander General Ahmad Raza Pourdastanwhen he stated: “The US might arrive at some agreements with us within the framework of the Group 5+1, but we should never hold a positive view over the enemy”.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also stated last year that Iran lags behind in gas extraction and is far from being able to replace Russia as a supplier. Although with the potential assistance of Western energy giants in the coming years following the nuclear deal, Iran could develop its energy sector swiftly.

In the coming years though, the US and EU may pursue far more subservient states than Iran to replace Russian energy, as the relationship between Iran and the US will still remain a delicate one in the near future. There is no question that many of the neocons in Washington will be irate at the recent deal and will still push for regime change in Tehran. This enmity could potentially restrict an energy deal between Iran and the EU in the ensuing years, although this may be overcome.

The author’s of the ECFR article finally conclude that “Azerbaijan is the supplier best placed to respond to the EU’s strategy of diversifying gas supply away from Russia.” Construction is already under way on numerous pipeline projects that will bring gas from the Caspian Sea to the Turkish and European market, supplementing the already constructed South Caucasus Pipeline.

The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) will run from Azerbaijan through Georgia into Turkey, and is expected to connect with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) at the Greek-Turkish border – which will run through Greece, Albania and across the Adriatic Sea into Italy. TAP’s is expected to be operational by early 2020 and it will have an initial capacity of 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year, with the prospect of that more than doubling in the future.

It will be important for the West to ensure that Azerbaijan continues to play a cooperative role with Western energy corporations in the future, as some voices in Washington have asserted that “U.S.-Azerbaijan relations are clearly now in serious crisis”.

Norway will continue to play a pivotal role in supplying gas to Europe in the future.  Norway overtook Russia as the largest gas supplier to Western Europe in the first quarter of 2015, and the Norwegian Foreign Minister stated in May that “we can step up [gas supplies] further in the years to come.”

Whilst the West seeks to replace Russian energy in Europe, the Russian government has been busy forging closer ties with many countries around the world. China has already started constructing their section of the Power of Siberia pipeline that will deliver up to38 billion cubic meters of Russian gas annually. The two nations also plan to build the Altai pipeline, a Western route that will run from Western Siberia to North-Western China.

Adding to the growing economic relations between Moscow and Beijing, Russia and Argentina signed energy deals in April in addition to Russia and Saudi Arabia signing a nuclear energy agreement last month.

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of  The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Tired of the oppressive financial hardship, wrought largely by the imperialist economic war against Iran, the Iranian people elected Hassan Rouhani president (June 2013) as he promised economic revival. He premised his pledge of economic recovery mainly on his alleged ability to bring the brutal sanctions against Iran to an end and integrate the Iranian economy into the world capitalist system. His promise of removing or alleviating sanctions, however, seems to have been based on an optimistic perception that a combination of the so-called charm offensive and far-reaching compromises over Iran’s nuclear technology would suffice to alter the Western powers’ sanctions policy against Iran.

More than a year later, while Iran’s peaceful nuclear technology is reduced from a fairly advanced to a relatively primitive level (from 20% to below 5% uranium enrichment), critical sanctions remain in place and economic recovery remains a dream.

To mitigate the oppressive burden of the so-called stagflation, a combination of stagnation and inflation, the president and his economic team recently crafted an economic package, “Proposed Package to Turn Stagnation to Expansion,” which turns out to be disappointingly devoid of any specific guideline or clear policy for economic recovery. Slightly more than 40% of the package is devoted to a withering criticism of economic policies of the previous (Ahmadinejad’s) administration, which is not only full of factual falsehoods and distortions but is also dubious on theoretical grounds. The rest of the package consists of a series of vague statements and general descriptions that fall way short of a meaningful economic plan or program.

Reading through the package feels like reading through lecture notes of an academic economist on neoclassical/neoliberal macroeconomic theory, not a policy prescription or an economic agenda. Accordingly, the sentences and, indeed, the entire text of the package make use of an exclusively passive voice (which is characteristic of a theoretical narrative, or a self-protective language designed to avoid responsibility for action) instead of an active voice characteristic of a policy agenda to be acted upon. Implicit in the use of the passive voice in the composition of the text of the package is that the subject/agent, or do-er, is market mechanism, not public policy [1].

The purpose of this essay is not to show the emptiness of Mr. Rouhani’s economic package, as this is amply established by many other critics of the package [2]. It is rather to show why it is empty, and why this should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with his economic outlook or philosophy, as reflected, for example, in his book, National Security and Economic System of Iran (2010).

Neoliberal Economic Outlook

President Rouhani’s economic policy package is devoid of specific development plans or industrialization projects because the president and most of his economic advisors subscribe to an economic doctrine that frowns upon government intervention in economic affairs—unless such interventions help “pave the way” for unfettered market operations. According to this doctrine, called supply-side or neoliberal economics, solutions to economic stagnation, poverty and under-development lie in unhindered market mechanism and unreserved integration into world capitalist system. Recessions, joblessness and economic hardship in many less-developed countries are not so much due to economic mismanagement or the nature of global capitalism as they are because of government intervention and/or exclusion from world capitalist markets.

Neoliberal prescriptions that are portrayed as enabling the less-developed countries to harness “benevolent dynamics” of capitalism include: tax breaks for the wealthy and/or big business; privatization of public sector assets, enterprises and services; undermining labor unions and minimizing workers’ wages and benefits; eliminating or diluting environmental and workplace safety standards; deregulating markets; opening of the domestic market to unrestricted foreign investment/trade; and the like.

The claim that President Rouhani is a proponent of neoliberal economics is no speculation; it follows from his many speeches and statements, from his recently proposed “economic package” to fight stagflation and, as mentioned earlier, from his book, National Security and Economic System of Iran [امنیت ملّی و نظام اقتصادی ایران]. It is also evident from his policy prescriptions.

The president’s book deplores Iran’s “very oppressive” labor laws. It argues that the minimum wage must be slashed and restrictions on the laying off of workers eliminated if Iran’s “owners of capital” are to have the “freedom” to create prosperity. “One of the main challenges that employers and our factories face,” Rouhani writes, “is the existence of labor unions. Workers should be more pliant toward the demands of job-creators” [3].

Mr. Rouhani’s book also sheds important light on the link between his administration’s turn toward Washington and its plans to restructure the Iranian economy after the model of neoliberalism:

“There is a close correlation between economic development and political stability, which means maintaining dialogue and friendly relations with the outside world. As stable international relations paves the grounds for economic development, economic development, in turn, makes a country more secure or stable as it makes the country less vulnerable to external threats. Thus, there is a positive correlation, akin to a virtuous cycle, between the goal of economic development and the policy of establishing or maintaining friendly relations with the outside world” [4].

This passage (among many similar statements the president has made on numerous occasions) explains why Mr. Rouhani has made the solution to Iran’s economic problems contingent upon political détente or friendly relations with the United States and its allies. In general, there is of course nothing wrong with the desire to establish friendly relations with the U.S., or any other country for that matter; it could, indeed, be of mutual benefits if it is based on mutual respect for national sovereignty of countries involved. The problem with the Rouhani administration’s pursuit of an amicable relationship with the U.S., however, is that it has tied the urgently needed solutions to Iran’s economic difficulties to that unpredictable and unreliable relationship.

The administration’s misguided perception that the mere establishment of relations with the U.S. would serve as a panacea to Iran’s economic woes has basically made the fate of Iran’s economy hostage to the unforeseeable outcome of its negotiations with the United State and, therefore, hostage to the endless, and increasingly futile, nuclear negotiations with the group of the so-called 5+1 countries, dominated by the United States.

This explains Mr. Rouhani’s dilemma: he has essentially trapped himself into an illusion, the illusion that a combination of charm offensives, smiley faces and diplomatic niceties (in place of Ahmadinejad’s undiplomatic demeanor) would suffice to change imperialist policies toward Iran. In reality, however, the U.S. policy toward Iran (or any other country, for that matter) is based on an agenda, an imperialistic agenda that consists of a series of demands and expectations, not on diplomatic decorum, or the type of language its leaders use.

President Rouhani’s neoliberal economic views are abundantly evident from his occasional statements and speeches on economic policy. For example, in a 16 August 2014 (25 Mordad 1393, Iranian calendar) speech in Tehran, designed to explain his administration’s policies to fight economic stagnation, the president fervently maintained that state intervention in economic affairs is often more detrimental than beneficial, arguing that.> – needs to be paraphrased)ledent ionns inistration’ions wiht is that itmic developmment de world. As economic development can “the state must stay out of economic activities, and place those activities at the disposal of the private sector . . . . The private sector understands the economy much better, and it knows where to invest” [5]. (Incidentally, this statement is uncannily similar to what President Ronald Reagan famously said about the economic role of the government: “The government can help the economy by staying out of it.”)

The neoliberal policies of the Rouhani administration are, however, best reflected in the actual economic measures the administration has adopted. One such measure has been drastic reductions in a number of import duties, or tariffs, including reduction of tariffs on imports that have competitive domestic substitutes. For example, Mr. Mahmoud Sedaqat, vice president of the Association of UPVC Window & Door Profiles Manufacturers, recently complained (during a news briefing in Tehran) that while domestic production capacity of this petrochemical is more than twice as much as domestic needs, the government reduced import tariffs for this product from 30% to 15%. Mr. Sedaqat further pointed out that government’s careless trade policy and a lack of protection for domestic producers has led to an atmosphere of confusion and uncertainty among domestic producers, which is contributing to further aggravation of the ongoing economic stagnation [6].

Another example of the neoliberal policies of the Rouhani administration is its policy of fighting inflation. According to the president and his economic advisors, government spending and/or excessive money supply are the major cause for the hyperinflation in Iran. This view of inflation is based on the notorious IMF diagnosis for the plague of inflation not only in Iran but almost everywhere in the world. The essence of this approach to inflation, which is part of the IMF’s so-called “Structural Adjustment Program,” can be summarized as follows: (1) excessive government spending contributes to the growth of money supply; (2) growth of money supply automatically leads to inflation; and (3) to control inflation, therefore, requires rolling back government spending, or implementing austerity measures.

Real economic world is of course very different from this purely academic, nearly mechanical, correlation. An often-cited case in this context is the German experience of the immediate post-WW II period. Evidence shows that while the volume of cash and demand deposits rose 2.4 times and the volume of bank loans, both short and long term, rose more than ten-fold in the 1948-54 period, this significant rise in liquidity not only did not lead to a rise in the level of prices but it was, in fact, accompanied by a decline in the general level of prices—the consumer price index declined from 112 to 110 during that period. Why? Because the increase in liquidity was accompanied by an even bigger increase in output. While anecdotal, this experience nonetheless shows that, if or when used productively, a large money supply does not automatically lead to high inflation.

While it is true that, under certain circumstances, excess liquidity can be inflationary, I also strongly suspect that the inflationary role of liquidity is often exaggerated in order to justify and implement the anti-welfare, neoliberal policies of economic austerity. To the extent that curtailment of social spending may lead to curtailment of inflation, it also leads to curtailment of employment, purchasing power, demand and, therefore, economic growth, i.e. to stagnation—a side effect which is much worse than the plague of inflation. This explains, at least in part, the failure of the Rouhani administration’s neoliberal fight against inflation: not only has it not curtailed inflation, it has also aggravated stagnation by cutting social spending and undermining demand.

Like their neoliberal counterparts elsewhere, Iranian neoliberals view government spending as a cost that must be minimized. In reality, however, judicious government spending (whether on soft/social infrastructure such as education, health and nutrition or on physical infrastructure such as transportation and communication projects) is an investment in the long-term development of a society, not a cost. It is not surprising, then, that the IMF-sponsored curtailment of government spending in pursuit of lowering inflation has often led to economic stagnation and underdevelopment.

One of the first victims of the neoliberal economic policies of the Rouhani administration was the government-sponsored housing project that was put in place by the previous administration in order to make home-ownership affordable to working and low-income classes. Called Maskan-e Mehr (Goodwill Housing), not only did it allow 4.4 million low-income families to become homeowners, it also significantly contributed to economic growth and employment. Despite its success, the Rouhani administration has decided to discontinue the project.

Class Interests as Economic Theory

Neoliberalism is essentially an ideology or doctrine that is designed to promote and/or justify policies of economic austerity, thereby serving the interests of the plutocratic 1% at the expense of the overwhelming majority of citizens. This is accomplished through an ad-hoc, utilitarian economic theory that postulates that unhindered market mechanism and unrestricted pursuit of self-interest lead to economic expansion and prosperity for all, that state-sponsored social safety-net programs are “burdens” or “costly trade-offs” in terms of lost productivity and that, therefore, government intervention in economic affairs must be avoided.

This neoliberal ideology is promoted and propagated so effectively that it has evolved, more or less, as a religion, market religion—or as Alex Andrews of The Guardian newspaper puts it, “the market a god and economics a form of theology.” Indeed, the faith in market mechanism is more akin to blind cultism than rational belief of intelligent people in otherworldly religion. Viewing market mechanism as almost infallible and blaming capitalism’s systemic failures on the “irrational behavior of market players” is tantamount to some simplistic interpretations of religion that attribute humans’ misfortunes or miseries to their deviations from God’s ways; that is, in the same way that humans’ “sinful” deeds are said to condemn them to a wretched Otherworld, economic agents’ deviations from market rules are believed to lead to economic crises that would doom them to financial misery in this world.

Cleverly, this theory is called supply-side economics, implying that economic policy makers should not or need not concern themselves with the demand-side of the economy, that is, with the purchasing power or the ability of the people to buy or demand. Instead, if policy makers only focused on the production side of the economy and created conditions favorable to expanded growth or a bigger supply, the resulting “trickle-down” effects would automatically benefit the demand-side of the economy. And what are those favorable conditions? They include market deregulations, lax labor and environmental standards, supply-side tax breaks, minimizing wages and benefits, removal of restrictions on international capital flows, long hours and subjection of labor to strict management discipline, denial of trade union rights and suppression of workers’ political actions, and the like.

The division or dichotomy between supply-side and demand-side of an economy is, however, a scam: an artificial, utilitarian and arbitrary division that is crafted largely on abstract theoretical grounds, and for ideological reasons. A real world economy is a totality where supply and demand are two sides of the same coin, meaning that the two sides need to be dealt with simultaneously. For example, the need for health care coverage, the critical necessity of public education, or social safety need programs such as provision of subsistence nutrition for the needy cannot be neglected or put on the backburner in the hope of some illusory effects of “trickle-down” economics. Supply side is a façade, a misleading or obfuscationist theory that is designed to camouflage the neoliberal philosophy of social Darwinism.

The experience of the IMF-sponsored “structural adjustment programs” in many “developing” countries around the world shows that curtailing critical social spending in the name of boosting the supply-side of the economy is a counterproductive policy that tends to undermine long-term growth and development by cutting vital investment in both social and physical infrastructures. This can also be seen, even more clearly, in the context of the crisis-ridden core capitalist countries since the 2008 financial collapse, where extensive neoliberal austerity cuts have resulted in widespread misery and escalating inequality without reviving the stagnant economies of these countries.

While the supply-side doctrine has a long history (going back all the way to the classical economist Jean-Baptiste Say, 1767-1832, who famously expressed the doctrine as: “supply creates its own demand”), its latest revival started in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the U.S. and U.K., which brought forth two of its most effective propagandists: Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. It has since been systematically entrenched not only in the core capitalist countries but also in many less-developed countries, including Iran.

In Iran, the turn to neoliberal economics started under the presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani. It was somewhat contained under the presidency of Mahmud Ahmadinejad (although he too had his share of extensive privatizations); but with the election of President Rouhani it is once again gathering speed—Rouhani is basically picking up where Rafsanjani left off.

To point out that President Rouhani and most of his economic advisors are advocates of neoliberal economics is not to say that they lack compassion, or that they do not care about the lot of the working and needy classes. It is rather to point out that their policy prescription to remedy the financial distress that plagues the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people is misguided. It rests upon the idea of capitalism as a benign sphere of human activity where innovating entrepreneurs generate wealth to such an extent that some of it is bound to “trickle-down” to the population at large.

It is necessary to point out here that trickle-down theory may have had some validity in the earlier (industrial or manufacturing) stages of capitalism where the rise in the wealth of nations also meant expanded (real) production and the rise in employment. However, in the era of heavily financialized economies, where the dominant form of capitalist wealth comes not so much from real production of goods and services as it does from asset price inflations, that is, from financial bubbles, trickle-down theory has lost whatever minimal validity it may have had at earlier phases of capitalism.

Illusion and Misconceptions

President Rouhani and his economic advisors’ perceptions that the solution to Iran’s economic problems lies in an unrestrained integration into world capitalism and a wholesale privatization of the Iranian economy is overly optimistic. Abundant and irrefutable evidence shows that, during the past several decades, neoliberalism’s dismantlement of socialist, social-democratic and other welfare state economies across the world has invariably led to drastic declines in employment, wages and living standards of the overwhelming majority of the people, thereby further aggravating poverty and inequality on a global level. In many “developing” countries that are integrated into globalized neoliberal capitalism, the living conditions of the majority of their citizens have, in fact, deteriorated. To the extent that workers can find employment, they are often paid poverty wages; and they are increasingly forced to hold several jobs, often detrimental to their health and family life. As Ben Selwyn (among many others) has pointed out:

“The contemporary world has unprecedented wealth, and mass poverty. Total global wealth was $241 trillion in 2013 and is expected to rise to $334 trillion by 2018. Yet the majority of people live in poverty. The World Bank and its defenders argue that global poverty has declined under neoliberalism. They can only make these arguments because the World Bank defines the poverty line as $1.25 a day, below which it is impossible to lead a dignified life. . . . Lant Pritchett, a critical World Bank economist, suggests a more humane $10 a day poverty line; according to his calculations, 88% of the world population lives in poverty [7].

Summarizing his study of the relationship between globalization of neoliberalism and its impact on the living conditions of the worldwide masses of citizens, Selwyn concludes: “Far from a ladder of opportunity, workers in globalized production networks are incorporated into economic systems that reproduce their poverty to sustain corporation profits” [8].

Contrary to claims of neoliberalism, major economic developments, critical infrastructural projects and significant industrialization achievements under capitalism have been made possible either directly by the public sector or by the state support for the private sector. For example, in the aftermath of the Great Depression and WW II, most European countries embarked on extensive state-sponsored industrialization and/or development projects under social-democratic, labor or socialist governments, not so much to bring about “genuine” socialism as it was to rebuild the war-torn European economies by mobilizing and pulling together national resources and funneling them toward development projects. Similar policies were successfully carried out in other major capitalist countries such as the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia and South Korea.

In Iran too most industrialization projects and infrastructural developments since the 1979 revolution have taken place under direct or supervisory role of the state—when the country relied on its domestic talents, resources, and capabilities in pursuit of self-reliance in the face of hostile imperialist powers and their cruel economic sanctions. Such developments were brought about even under the highly inauspicious conditions of the war, the 8-year war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and brutal economic sanctions. By contrast, extensive privatizations and systematic spread of neoliberal capitalism of recent years, especially since the election of President Rouhani, has basically meant stagnation of the real sector and development of speculative, parasitic or financial sector of the economy.

Evidence shows that, at the early or formative stages of their development, all the presently industrialized countries vigorously carried out policies of export promotion and import substitution; that is, policies that protected their “infant industries” against the more competitive foreign exporters while promoting their own exports abroad. For example, Britain’s adoption of mercantilist and/or protectionist policies of economic development in the early stages of its industrialization, which erected prohibitive tariffs against the then more competitive Dutch exporters, played a significant role in nurturing the country’s manufacturers to excel in global markets.

Likewise, the United States pursued vigorous policies of protecting its “infant industries” against the more productive European exporters until the early to mid-twentieth century, when its producers became competitive in global markets. Similar protectionist policies were followed by Japan, South Korea and other core capitalist countries in the formative phases of their industrialization and development [9].

Thus, the neoliberal outlook of President Rouhani (and most of his economic advisors) that ties solutions to Iran’s economic difficulties to integration of the country’s economy into global capitalism and further curtailment of the economic role of the government is far from warranted; it is, indeed, contradicted by development experiences of most countries around the world.

Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics (Drake University). He is the author of Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis (Routledge 2014), The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave–Macmillan 2007), and the Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser’s Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989). He is also a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press 2012).


[1] The Farsi title of the proposed package is: “بسته پیشنهادی دولت برای شکستن رکود و رونق اقتصادی,” and it is available online at: < http://mehrnews.com/detail/news/2331200>.  

[2] For a sample of critical reviews of the Rouhani administration’s proposed economic package see (1) Ahmad Tavakoli and Elias Naderan, “مدل بسته خروج از رکود نسخه شکست خورده صندوق بین‌اللملی پول است,” in: < http://www.siasatrooz.ir/vdcefe8v.jh8vvi9bbj.html>; (2) Farshad Moumeni, “نقدهای هشدار آمیز فرشاد مومنی به بسته خروج از رکود دولت,” in <http://www.rajanews.com/detail.asp?id=207214>; (3) Raja News, “رویکرد نادرست دولت در گره زدن معیشت مردم با رفع تحریم‌ها,” in: http://www.rajanews.com/detail.asp?id=194863; (4) Hossein Shamsyan, “بسته پوسیده,” in: <http://kayhan.ir/fa/news/20766/%D8%A8%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%87-%D9%BE%D9%88%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%AF%D9%87-%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%AA-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B2>.

[3] As excerpted by Keith Jones, “Iranian president declares country ‘open for business’,” in <http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/01/27/iran-j27.html>.

[4] (Paraphrased) translation by the author from the abstract/introduction to the first edition of President Rouhani’s book, National Security and Economic System of Iran [امنیت ملّی و نظام اقتصادی ایران] (2010).

[5] “Rouhani Explains Anti-Stagnation Economic Policies,” available at: <http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13930519000461>. 

[6] Mahmood Sedaqat, “کاهش تعرفه پروفیل «یوپی‌وی‌سی» ضربه دولت به تولید داخلی است,” Kayhan, Mordad 25, 1393 (August 16, 2014).

[7] Ben Selwyn, “Global Poverty and Neoliberalism: Development by the Elites, For the Elites,” <http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/07/development-by-the-elites-for-the-elites/>.

[8] Ibid.

[9] For an illuminating discussion of the impact of trade on development see Professor Michael Hudson’s Trade, Development and Foreign Debt, Pluto Press 1993.  

Turkey attacked the positions of the Kurdistan Workers Party members in Iraq with airstrikes. 

The Turkish Air Force carried out airstrikes on positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in northern Iraq, the Turkish government said in a statement on Saturday.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a political group listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara, was founded at the end of the 1970′s to fight for self-determination of Kurds, comprising some 25 percent of Turkey’s population.

“Effective airstrikes against targets of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in northern Iraq were carried out. Militants’ cantonments and armament depots were destroyed,” the statement said.

The government added that Islamic State jihadist group positions in the north of Syria were attacked as well.

The United Nations and NATO were notified about the airstrikes, according to the statement.

It comes a day after the Turkish police conducted an anti-terrorist operation in 13 of the country’s provinces, detaining 251 people suspected of involvement with various terrorist organizations, including ISIL and PKK.On Monday, a Turkish citizen, allegedly associated with ISIL, carried out a terrorist attack in the Turkish city of Suruc close to the Syrian border in front of a cultural center for Turkish Kurds, killing 32 people and injuring over 100.

On Wednesday, the PKK claimed responsibility for killing two Turkish police officers in the nearby city of Ceylanpinar, claiming the policemen had backed ISIL.

FDU – National Movement


Uburinganire . Ubwisanzure . Amajyambere

Equal Rights . Freedom . Social Progress

Egalité . Liberté . Progrès Social


As far as President Paul Kagame believes he is above the Rwandan laws and institutions, as far as he is ready to make his people pay the ultimate human cost, namely death, with unknown impact in time and figures, for no form of peaceful internal political pressure would drive him away of his plans to establish a totalitarian state in Rwanda.

As a matter of fact President Paul Kagame knows that international economic sanctions do more harm to the ordinary people than to the ruling elite and because the world’s Powers that impose such sanctions ultimately end up removing them mostly owing to their own interests, he flouts such an option.

For this man, who nonetheless is accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide on his people, continued to benefit for more than twenty years from a total blind eye of the international community and the world’s Powers who helped him climb to power and establish his totalitarian rule, Paul Kagame has come to believe that he may get away with anything.

Finally, because President Paul Kagame is finding out that countries such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom which have protected him until now have begun to question themselves openly, to document his crimes, especially by current hearings by the US Congress, to cooperate with justice such as the recent arrest of the head of his intelligence apparatus by the UK Metropolitan Police pending judicial extradition to Spain, the General President knows that he has no other options but to forcefully get a life term in office so that he may get shielded by the diplomatic immunity that would be conferred to him by the function of a Head of State.

The ongoing gesticulations aiming at arranging millions of signatures from the population for an unconstitutional third term and the subsequent 14 July 2015 decision by the Rwandan Parliament in favor of a referendum for a constitutional usurpation in this respect are just the ultimate exploitation of the popular vote for Kagame’s lifetime presidency , the only potion with impunity for his crimes.

Even though the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has done an important work by holding accountable the leaders that were primary responsible within the Habyarimana regime, for crimes against humanity and genocide, it however significantly failed to live up to its mission by refraining itself from trying those leaders with similar ranks within the former rebellion, who were responsible for crimes against humanity and genocide and are currently in power in Kigali. Such a failure of the ICTR could therefore be interpreted as a blank check that was given to President Kagame so that he may deepen his dictatorship and export his war into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is important to note that this war has destabilized the Great Lakes Region and has been an unprecedented major tragedy since the Second World War. It took away indeed the lives of more than 6 million Congolese and was the scene of new crimes against humanity according to the UN Mapping Report of October 2010 and of the “genocide” on Rwandan Hutu refugees.

Since the publication of the UN Mapping Report, several Rwandan and Congolese organizations either political or of the civil society, human rights NGOs, and experts from the Great Lakes region, have unsuccessfully proposed the establishment of an ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal for the Congo. In particular, in August 2013, 52 major international women leaders appealed for the creation of an international criminal tribunal for the DRC. Such a tribunal was presented as “an essential solution for peace and justice in the Great Lakes region.” In February 2014, The United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Mr. Stephen Rapp, who also happens to be the former prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone which prosecuted and convicted President Charles Taylor of Liberia, called for the establishment of such a tribunal. All of these organizations and individuals believe that it is appropriate to end impunity throughout the region and work towards peaceful political transitions. It is time for the international community, the members of the UN Security Council in particular, to listen to all of these requests and to establish such a tribunal to try the individuals who are responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide, which were perpetrated on the Congolese territory.

The establishment of the International Tribunal on the Congo, at which the Head of State immunity cannot be invoked, would mark an end to impunity.

Likewise, according to the National Movement Inkubiri, the establishment of such a tribunal would allow the Great Lakes region to end the fueling of destabilizing proxy rebellions that are remotely controlled from Rwanda and to be able to project into a peaceful future. Finally, the indictment of President Kagame, stripped of his immunity, would take away his maneuvers aimed at usurping the Constitution for his re-election to the presidency of the Republic in 2017.

The National Movement Inkubiri believes that, instead of the current concert of bells and whistles calling upon President Kagame to give up the third term, the most effective way to stop the adventures of a man who is determined to establish a lifetime authoritarian rule and to destabilize the Great Lakes region and beyond is an international justice indictment. The ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal for the Congo would constitute such an opportunity.

Done in Lyon (France) on July 21, 2015


National Movement Inkubiri


Greece – Rescue without Debt

July 25th, 2015 by Peter Koenig

To the great dismay of much of the world, the Greek Parliament approved today – 23 July 2015 – the second or the third (depending who is counting) troika “bail out” of € 86 billion. This would increase the Greek debt according to my counting – mind you there are many different debt theories floating around – to about € 446 billion, or about 210% of GDP. 

It’s getting worse by the day. Not one euro of that money would flow into the Greek treasury, to revive its economy, to rebuild the social and medical programs of the country that were totally dismantled and looted by international banksters. In fact, this insane amount of money serves only to restructure Greece’s debt according to modalities and a time frame still to be worked out (“negotiated”) between the criminal troika thugs and Greece until about 20 August. The new € 86 billion – like the hundreds of billions before are transferred from the European Central Bank (sic) to too-big-to-fail commercial banks and are being reshuffled between them – all creating monster profits for the banks from usurious interest rates. Even though interest rates are kept secret, they must be hovering in the areas of 5% – 7%, for sheer fiat money created by a mouse-click that costs nothing to anybody. That interest is compounded increasing the debt exponentially.

In fact, the entire Greek debt could also be eclipsed by another mouse-click. And nobody would be hurt. To the contrary – Greece could suddenly breathe again and start afresh revamping her economy and social safety net. It would even help clean up the banksters’ dirty balance sheets. Of course, the banks don’t care about that. They only care about the insane interest they receive from fiat money. – Maybe that is why the IMF is suddenly advocating debt release for Greece?

Greece could even stay in the EU, putting Washington’s concern about NATO on the back-burner – for a while. Though having gone through this horrific experience, there would be not much trust left by Greece in the EU and its institutions. Grexit would still be the preferred solution; starting on a new slate without the eye and mandate of the ECB-watchdog.

As it stands today, at least 30% of Greek citizens are not covered by health care. They cannot afford insurance, nor can they afford to pay out of their pockets for what’s left of privatized medical services. Child mortality is sky-rocketing. Nobody talks about it. The mainstream media don’t touch the subject.

Adding insult to injury, to sanitize Greece’s local banks, the new EU law of “haircuts” may apply as of 1 August, meaning that banks will steal the money from depositors and shareholders to rehabilitate themselves. This goes by the euphemism of ‘bail-in’. Now the poor Greek, who still can only withdraw 60 euros per day (€ 420/week) are confronted with their meager savings being officially stolen. The Greek oligarch have long ago, way before entering of the Syriza Government, transferred their fortunes abroad, similar to what the Cypriot oligarchs did before the March 2012 “haircut”. – Where and when does this inhuman farce stop?

Greece is the second largest recipient and host (after Italy) of trans-Mediterranean refugees to whom the northern ultra-neoliberal fascist European countries attempt to close their borders. Greece and possibly soon also Italy and Spain, is strangled blue by the fascist embrace endorsed by the mainstay of Europe, the vassals of Washington, the Zionist-run Wall Street and the FED. Yet, Greece has abstained from sending these refugees from war torn countries in Africa and the Middle East back to their miseries. Despite their own misery, a sense of solidarity prevails – a sense of humanity, the rest of the western world has lost.

Mind you and always remember, because nobody will tell you – these wars and conflicts producing the flood of migrants, were and are created and sustained by Washington and its European vassals for control of resources and hegemony – and not least for the maintenance of the hugely profitable global war industrial complex, of which 60% is dominated by the US. The abject and perpetual misery that creates the refugee crisis is the direct product of those who refuse to receive and accommodate them. EU solidarity never existed – but today western greed and egocentricity has eradicated even the shred of notion of what solidarity might be.

Back to today’s Greek parliament vote of deception – it is totally illegal, as well pointed out by Prof Michel Chossudovskyhttp://www.globalresearch.ca/greeces-parliament-cannot-override-the-no-vote-the-agreement-with-the-creditors-is-illegal/5463594 .

The Greek Parliament cannot override the people’s decision. That is unconstitutional.

In addition, there is a little known caveat in contract law applicable to international as well as locally concluded agreements.

“Contracts formed under duress, or fraud by one party, or where one party was clearly unequal in bargaining power can be set aside;” says renowned international criminal lawyer and specialist in Human Rights, Christopher Black.

He adds that each side has to give consideration … for the other to form a contract. In circumstances where one side has gained a disproportionate advantage through deceit or through other illegal means, i.e. bribery, a contract would not be considered valid. These conditions apply to any kind of contracts, such as mineral and hydrocarbon concessions, telecommunications – as well as banking. In other words, the initial ‘bail-outs’ contracted by previous governments with the troika were imposed under proven foul play and therefore would be illegal.

Furthermore, Chris Black says,

“There is also the issue of force majeure. That is when circumstances change beyond the parties control so much that the contract cannot be fulfilled or should not be fulfilled; then the contract is null and void.”

Usually such ‘force majeure’ clauses are part of every contract. If they are not in the case of Greek debt, their omission was deliberate and would not hold up in a court of law.

“In Greece, the argument can be made that the original loans made to [the Government] by the various banks and IMF were obtained under duress, by bribery of government officials (or by Goldman Sachs ‘cooked’ balance sheets – observation by the author) are invalid because of fraud; and, ultimately, if circumstances have changed so much that one party simply can’t through no fault of their own, fulfill their part [of the contract]. No court would hold that party bound to that contract.”

Chris Black concludes that a

“court would also have to consider whether the contract was ever valid in the first place; that is – did both sides get real consideration for their part in the bargain….It is clear that the moneys lent did not actually flow into the Greek economy but were nominal loans to the Greek nation, but actually went from one lenders bank to another and back again, so that it was really a scam to steal the wealth of the Greek people…. The Greek could legally argue their way out of all these contracts and loans, but of course behind the contracts sits the German army and behind them the US army – and so it not (so much) a legal matter but a political one. Argentina and Iceland made a political decision and repudiated these contracts. Greece can do the same.”

Is it perhaps for that reason that the IMF has come out lately calling for restructuring the Greek debt or canceling it altogether? – Is it that the IMF is fully aware of these contract clauses of fraudulent debt and ‘force majeure’ and that they – the clauses – would be respected in an international court even if they were not spelled out in the specific loan contracts?

The IMF probably prefers to be the initiator of debt-forgiveness rather than being caught red-handed as debt perpetrator. The IMF has in full memory the Ecuador carrying out an independent debt audit, concluding that two thirds of it has been contracted fraudulently.

Greece has the right to present their case to an international court. Considering the circumstances described above, chances are high that they may stand tall. So, there is hope for a rescue without debt!

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik News, the Voice of Russia / Ria Novosti, TeleSur, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution – Essays from the Resistance.

The below admission from the BBC that its substitution of Syria footage between two 2014 broadcasts breaches its own Editorial Guidelines on accuracy is a modest victory in the battle to attract scrutiny to the wider charges that one of the reports in question (at least) was largely, if not entirely, fabricated.  

For almost two years I have pursued the question of whether scenes of the aftermath of an alleged incendiary attack on an Aleppo school – filmed by BBC staff and first broadcast as UK legislators voted on military intervention in Syria – were staged for the purposes of propaganda.   

Many compelling evidence points have arisen: the widely contradictory accounts of precisely when the alleged attack occurred – including disagreement between the BBC reporter and cameraman concerned; the testimony of a former Free Syrian Army commander stationed in the vicinity denying that an attack occurred; a fortuitously-grabbed screencap of one of the alleged teenage victims grinning broadly into the camera; “victims” sharing the same “costume”, and, most astonishing of all, the self-identification of a “victim” seen in footage from the day (in reality a 52 year old Netherlands resident) who contacted me on Facebook, anxious that she may be recognised.

The backgrounds of the two doctors featured in the BBC’s report are of considerable interest: Dr Saleyha Ahsan, a former British army captain, has a personal connection with a military officer who runs large-scale medical simulation exercises, employing professional casualty make-up artists; Dr Ahsan’s colleague, Dr Rola Hallam, is the daughter of Dr Mousa al-Kurdi, who is “involved politically with the Syrian National Council”. The co-founder of Hand in Hand for Syria, the “humanitarian” charity for which the doctors are filmed volunteering, has expressed bloodthirsty promises to bring Assad to justice “NO MATTER WHAT LIVES IT TAKES, NO MATTER HOW MUCH CATASTROPHE IT MAKES”.  A Hand in Hand for Syria nurse seen working alongside Drs Ahsan and Hallam is pictured elsewhere tending to the wounds of a child opposition fighter.

Very many other discrepancies are noted on my blog. It is hard to escape the conclusion, voiced by former UK ambassador Craig Murray, that the BBC’s ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ “documentary” represents the fruit of a collaboration between BBC personnel and UK state security services and marks a unique and historic breach of trust between the corporation, its UK licence fee-payer funders and its millions of viewers and listeners worldwide.

Robert Stuart


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Ref: CT/1500344

Dear Mr Steel

Thank you for your provisional finding of 20 July (reproduced below) informing me that you propose to uphold my complaint regarding the substitution of Syria footage in respect of accuracy.

The finding does not address the points I have raised regarding the journalistic ethics of substituting images without acknowledgement or of the disturbingly vague and seemingly arbitrary categories of “taste of decency”. As your colleague Mr Tregear patricianly put it:

You have been given an explanation as to why the footage was changed; there is no reason why the audience should be made aware that any such editing has taken place; and BBC News is under no obligation to tell you the source of the substituted images which were broadcast.


In response to your comment about the paragraph in my email which you found “astonishing”, I can only say the point I was making was that there is no formal policy which obliges BBC News to inform viewers that footage has been changed or to confirm when asked the source of material used.  It is a matter for BBC News to decide whether to provide that information.

I shall wish to pursue these matters following receipt of your final report.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Stuart



British Broadcasting Corporation White City, 201 Wood Lane, London, W12 7TQ

Telephone: 020 8743 8000 Email: [email protected]

Editorial Complaints Unit

Mr R Stuart


Ref: CT/1500344

20 July 2015

Dear Mr Stuart

Syria Vote: One Year On, BBC News Channel, 30 August 2014

I’m writing to let you know the provisional outcome of the Editorial Complaints Unit’s investigation into your complaint about a report broadcast on the BBC News Channel at 4.30am BST on 30 August 2015 [sic]. I’m sorry this has taken longer than we initially led you to expect.

We’re now in a position to add to the account you were given in the email of 17 May from the BBC Complaints Team. As explained in that email, the report was re-edited in order to replace the footage of the Aleppo attack of August 2013 with less graphic images (of an attack in Saraqeb, Northern Syria, on 29 April 2013) for a different audience. We’ve now established that the editing was carried out by the Newsnight team after the programme came off the air – at about midnight, in fact, and after Laura Kuenssberg had left the studio. I’m told that they didn’t check the sound-track, and the fact that the replacement of the pictures rendered the accompanying script line inaccurate simply didn’t register with them –and of course the News Channel team would have no reason to suppose there was anything amiss with the report as it reached them. I agree with the view that the change of pictures didn’t change the journalistic integrity of the piece, in the sense that it wouldn’t have affected viewers’ understanding of the matters under discussion. Nevertheless, it would have given them the impression that they were seeing footage of an attack which took place just before MPs voted when the footage actually dated from four months earlier – an impression which could have been avoided if the script had been appropriately edited or if less graphic images from the Aleppo attack had been used. I’m therefore proposing to uphold your complaint in respect of accuracy, though I hope the explanation I’ve given will reassure you that there was no intention to mislead.

As my colleague, Colin Tregear, explained in his letter of 18 June, this is a provisional finding and so I’ll be happy to consider any comments you may wish to make provided that you let me have them by 3 August. Alternatively, if you are content with the finding as it stands, let me know and I’ll finalise it without further ado.

Mr Tregear also said he would ask the relevant BBC manager to respond to your concerns about the time it took tom [sic] address your complaint at Stage 1 of the process. This is their response:

We have reviewed the delays in replying after Mr Stuart’s return complaint was received in November and do apologise again for these on behalf of the BBC Executive. There was already a backlog of complaints being investigated in BBC News which caused some initial delay when Mr Stuart escalated his complaint in November 2014. This was a consequence of large volumes of complaints following the conflict in the Middle East during the summer and then the Scottish Referendum in September. Although the relevant editor was asked on a number of occasions for a response over many weeks, he had not provided one by March when he moved on to a new role. A response from his successor was consequently delayed and provided over a month later. We apologise for these delays, which do not reflect the level of service we strive for and are normally able to provide.

Yours sincerely

Fraser Steel 

Head of Editorial Complaints

The truth is out there and is plain enough for anyone with an open mind to see: The mainstream media and the “progressive Left” are vaccine advocates, and will do whatever they can, including lying and forcing their views on others by law, to push their pro-vaccine agenda.

The latest example of this comes from none other than PBS host Gwen Ifill, who completely fabricated a statistic recently regarding the “death toll” from last fall’s measles outbreak at Disneyland – an incident which prompted state lawmakers to usurp parental choice by passing the most restrictive vaccination law in the country.

“State lawmakers in California moved today to impose one of the nation’s strictest vaccination laws,” Ifill reported during a recent newscast. “The state assembly voted to require that nearly all public schoolchildren get their shots, or be homeschooled. The bill gained momentum after a measles outbreak that started at Disneyland and killed more than 100 people.”

Pure fiction reported as fact

As noted by the Vaccine Fact Check web site:

Ifill’s figure of 100 is off — by 100. Not a single person died as a result of the Disneyland scare, although she can be forgiven for not knowing any better, given the hype that the mainstream media heaped on the public for weeks on end over a story that had not a single casualty. This non-story became the single-biggest domestic story in the United States.

And, as we reported, it led to passage of the most restrictive vaccine law in the land – a law that some progressive Democrats in Congress want to emulate nationwide. More on that in a moment.

As anyone who follows politics and political reporting knows, Ifill is a veteran journalist; she wasn’t reading the evening news as some fill-in or by accident. She is the co-anchor of PBS‘ NewsHour, and she is also the managing editor and moderator of “Washington Week.” And yet, she read those lines as if they were well-established fact, which is “an indication that she has been unquestioningly swallowing the media hype over vaccines as much as any incredulous viewer,” Vaccine Fact Check noted.

“Worse, that script also appears on the PBS NewsHour website, indicating that her staff is as ignorant as she is about the seriousness — or lack thereof — of the Disneyland story,” the site reported.

In fact, as Natural News editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, reported July 6, the most recent measles-related death involved a woman from Washington state who had been vaccinated against the disease:

Not only was she already vaccinated against the measles, it was other Big Pharma medications that ultimately killed her! As the Daily Mail reports, “Dr. Jeanette Stehr-Green, the Clallam County health officer, told KOMO-TV the woman had been vaccinated as a child, but because she had other health problems and was taking medications that interfered with her response to an infection ‘she was not protected.’”

In other words, the woman’s immune system was compromised by pharmaceuticals, and the so-called “immunization” of a measles vaccine failed to work. But the vaccine-pushing U.S. media twisted the story around, withholding from the public the fact that this woman was already vaccinated and that her immune system was compromised by FDA-approved medications.

New push to widen California law

As for making the California law universal around the country, U.S. Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, D-Fla, has just introduced legislation, House Resolution 2232, that, if passed and signed into law, would mandate that all states require all students enrolled in public schools to be vaccinated with all vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Policy, a federal entity comprised chiefly of vaccine industry representatives (Big Pharma).

Her bill calls for children to be vaccinated specifically against HPV, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Paul Offit’s rotavirus vaccine, annual flu shots and dozens of others.

The push has begun to spread vaccine mandates to every corner of the United States, and the progressive Left will do anything it can to ensure that happens.






US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif conclude the nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015.

This was a particularly busy week for the United States news media, with headlines featuring the announcement of a completed multi-lateral nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1 bloc of nations, as well as a historic resumption of formal diplomatic ties marked by the reopening of United States and Cuban embassies in Havana and DC. The parallel coverage of the Iranian and Cuban diplomatic achievements offered a distinct, real-time display of the dramatic shift in US media villain-making over the last two decades and its concurrent silencing of oppositional voices.

Corporate media in the United States have a long history of neglecting the viewpoints of those who are often most profoundly affected by US foreign policy, especially when such voices cast a negative light on policies that members of the US government and media elite are invested in promoting. Media outlets have recently come under fire for failing to provide sufficient—if any—coverage of the victims of the ongoing US-backed air campaign in Yemen waged by Saudi Arabia (Intercept6/6/15), despite over 1,500 civilian deaths that have occurred there (UN News Centre7/7/15). FAIR (7/19/15) and Just Foreign Policy opened a petition to urge the New York Times andWashington Post to reverse this troublesome trend.


To comment on the Iranian nuclear deal, PBS NewsHour featured(from right to left) a Bush administration State Department official (Dennis Ross), a former National Security Adviser (Sandy Berger) and two former CIA directors (James Woolsey and Michael Hayden).

Such overt exclusion was again on full display as media outlets in America digested the announcement of a nuclear deal with Iran. Of the 24 guests who spoke about the Iran deal on the major networks’ Sunday talkshows following the announcement, eight were US government officials, while the only two non-Americans were British Prime Minister David Cameron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AP7/18/15).

Not a single Iranian or Iranian official was presented to offer his or her opinion of the historic deal. Netanyahu—who compared the nuclear negotiations toHBO’s popular fantasy series Game of Thrones, and referred to Iran as a “genocidal enemy” in his speech to the US Congress in March—was a guest on two of the programs, and regularly appears on all of them (Congressional Record3/3/15).

Compare this with the coverage of the opening ceremony at Cuba’s embassy in Washington, DC. In light of the platform granted to Cuban officials by the US government for this event, it would have been difficult for media outlets to altogether omit the comments of Bruno Rodríguez, Cuba’s foreign minister, despite the fact that he used the occasion to criticize US policies that are still in place, including the trade embargo, the blockade and the notorious US military detention facility at Guantánamo Bay.


Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cuban minister of foreign affairs, was given more airtime during coverage of the lifting of the US embargo on Cuba than his Iranian counterparts during coverage of the nuclear agreement.

Nevertheless, the New York Times, which devoted the vast majority of its article (7/15/15) following the Iran deal to quoting US officials, described Rodríguez’s remarks extensively and followed them with yet more commentary from individuals sympathetic to Cuba’s standpoint, including former Cuban diplomat Carlos Treto and James Williams, the president of Engage Cuba (7/21/15).

Of course, coverage of Cuba was rarely as balanced in the years preceding the recent rapprochement between the two countries. FAIR ran an article in the May/June 1991 issue of Extra! (5-6/91) cataloging ridiculous comparisons between Fidel Castro and Hitler aired in the US media as lingering Cold War sentiment in America turned its sights once again on the socialist government and its own supposed ballistic nuclear program. Yet this decades-long period of American hostility and subversion culminated in Tuesday’s embassy reopening, which was widely seen as a victory for the Castro administration and the Cuban people against an adversary that politically, militarily and economically outmatched them.

The new air of legitimacy granted to Cuban interests in US media reflects a generational shift of focus away from the spread of socialism and its ideological hostility toward the United States to certain Muslim nations in the Middle East and their objections to US intervention. Once the site of American military cooperation in proxy fights against the Soviet Union, since 9/11 the Middle East has become the primary target of US militarism, and thus corporate media follow suit by silencing external critics of US policy in the region lest their legitimate grievances reach an audience.

As such, while Cuban officials are granted airtime as they forcefully denounce American policies at a walking distance from the US Capitol building, similarly reasonable positions on the part of Iran—the desire to pursue nuclear medical research and civilian power, or a healthy dose of skepticism toward US weapons inspectors, for example—are treated as outrageous demands by American panelists on major network talk shows, which fail to provide any voices that are not explicitly promoting the US government’s agenda (FAIR Blog7/20/15). Socialism is simply no longer the threat du jour.

International diplomacy is predicated on the principal of mutual respect and a desire to find common ground, or, as Rodríguez put it on Tuesday, to “cooperate and coexist in a civilized way, based on the respect for these differences and the development of a constructive dialogue oriented to the well-being of our countries and peoples” (State Department,  7/20/15).

When the media fails to provide a hearing to those who may have legitimate—albeit oppositional—opinions toward US foreign policy, guests like Netanyahu, whose contempt for US negotiations with Iran is perennially fierce and unwavering, fill that gap. A poll published by Pew Research on Tuesday found that 73 percent of Americans support the reestablishment of diplomatic ties with Cuba after 54 years of animosity between the two countries (Pew Research Center, 7/21/15). In contrast, a considerably smaller majority of Americans—56 percent—support the recent deal with Iran (Washington Post7/16-9/15).

US relations with Cuba have had a significant time to relax, and clearly there is a still a long way to go with Iran, which George W. Bush famously included as a member of the “axis of evil” in his 2002 State of the Union address (White House Archives, 1/29/02). One might wonder, however, were the US media to grant the same kind of legitimacy to Iranian perspectives as it now does to Cuba’s, whether that latter number might tick up.

John C. O’Day is a graduate philosophy student at Texas A&M.

It’s good that Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t substitute The New York Times’ editorial board for Sherlock Holmes in his stories because, if he had, none of the mysteries would have gotten solved or the wrong men would have gone to the gallows.

Thursday’s editorial on last year’s shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 reveals that the Times’ editors apparently find nothing suspicious about the dog-not-barking question of why the U.S. government has been silent for a full year about what its intelligence information shows.

This reticence of U.S. intelligence is especially suspicious given the fact that five days after the July 17, 2014 tragedy which killed 298 people, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence rushed out a “government assessment” citing “social media” and pointing the finger of blame at ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine and the Russian government.

But once U.S. intelligence analysts had time to evaluate the satellite photos, electronic intercepts and other data, the U.S. government went silent. The pertinent question is why, although that apparently is of no interest to the Times which aimed its editorial against Russia for seeking a more inclusive investigation, which the Times does find suspicious.

“On the face of it, that looks like an accommodating gesture from the government that is backing the Ukrainian separatists believed to have fired the fatal missile on July 17, 2014, and that probably supplied it to them. It’s not.

“The real goal of the draft resolution Russia proposed on Monday at the Security Council is to thwart a Dutch-led criminal investigation of what happened and a Western call for a United Nations-backed tribunal.”

So, the Times castigates the Russians for seeking to involve the United Nations Security Council and the International Civil Aviation Organization in the slow-moving Dutch-led inquiry, which includes the Ukrainian government, one of the possible suspects in the crime as one of the investigators. But the Times takes no notice of the curious silence of U.S. intelligence.

Appeal to Obama

If the Times really wanted to get at the truth about the MH-17 case, its editorial could have cited a public memo to President Barack Obama from an organization of former U.S. intelligence officials who urged the President on Wednesday to release the U.S.-held evidence.

“As the relationship with Moscow is of critical importance, if only because Russia has the military might to destroy the U.S., careful calibration of the relationship is essential,” wrote the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group first created to challenge the bogus intelligence used to justify President George W. Bush’s Iraq invasion in 2003.

The memo signed by 17 former officials, including Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, continued:

“If the United States signs on to a conclusion that implicates Russia without any solid intelligence to support that contention it will further damage an already fractious bilateral relationship, almost certainly unnecessarily. It is our opinion that a proper investigation of the downing would involve exploring every possibility to determine how the evidence holds up. …

“What is needed is an Interagency Intelligence Assessment – the mechanism used in the past to present significant findings. We are hearing indirectly from some of our former colleagues that the draft Dutch report contradicts some of the real intelligence that has been collected. …

“Mr. President, we believe you need to seek out honest intelligence analysts now and hear them out, particularly if they are challenging or even opposing the prevailing group-think narrative. They might well convince you to take steps to deal more forthrightly with the shoot-down of MH-17 and minimize the risk that relations with Russia might degenerate into a replay of the Cold War with the threat of escalation into thermonuclear conflict. In all candor, we suspect that at least some of your advisers fail to appreciate the enormity of that danger.”

Along the same lines, I was told by one source who was briefed by some current analysts that the reason for the year-long U.S. silence was that the evidence went off in an inconvenient direction, toward a rogue element of the Ukrainian government, rather than reaffirming the rush-to-judgment by Secretary of State John Kerry and DNI James Clapper implicating the ethnic Russian rebels in the days after the shoot-down.

According to Der Spiegel, the German intelligence agency, the BND, had a somewhat different take but also concluded that the Russian government did not supply the Buk anti-aircraft missile suspected of shooting down the passenger jet. Der Spiegel reported that the BND believed the rebels used a missile battery captured from Ukrainian forces.

Yet, whatever the truth about those intelligence tidbits, it is clear that the U.S. intelligence community has a much greater awareness of what happened to MH-17 – and who was responsible – than it did on July 22, 2014, when the DNI issued the sketchy report. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “MH-17 Case Slips into Propaganda Fog.”]

No Update for You

When I asked a DNI spokeswoman on July 17, the first anniversary of the shoot-down, if I could get an update on the U.S. intelligence analysis, she refused, claiming that the U.S. government didn’t want to prejudice the Dutch-led investigation. But, I pointed out, the DNI had already done that with the July 22, 2014 report.

I also argued that historically investigations into airline disasters have been transparent, not opaque like this one, and that the American public had an overarching right to know what the U.S. intelligence community knew about the MH-17 case given the existential threat of a possible nuclear showdown with Russia. But the DNI’s office held firm in its refusal to provide an update.

The New York Times’ editorial board could have lent its voice to this need for openness. Instead, the Times used the prime opinion-leading real estate of its editorial page to demand obeisance to Official Washington’s prevailing group think on the Ukraine crisis, that everything is the fault of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The editorial stated:

“Throughout it all, President Vladimir Putin … has blamed Ukrainian ‘fascists’ manipulated by the United States and its allies for all the troubles in Ukraine. Nobody outside Russia believes this, and the Russians themselves make little effort to conceal their extensive military support for the separatists. …

“The relatives of the people who died on the Malaysian airliner, most of whom were Dutch, deserve answers and justice. There is little question that Russia will block any tribunal. But the Security Council should not be fooled into believing that the Russian counterproposals are an honorable alternative, any more than anyone should be fooled by any of Mr. Putin’s lies about Russia’s military interference in Ukraine.”

The Times’ strident editorial bordered on the hysterical as if the newspaper was frightened that it was losing control of the permissible narrative derived from its profoundly biased coverage of the Ukraine crisis from its beginning in February 2014 when a U.S.-backed coup overthrew the democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

The Times also put the word “fascists” in quotes – presumably to suggest that Ukrainian brown shirts are just one of Putin’s delusions. The Times insisted that “nobody outside Russia believes this” suggesting that if you take note of the key role played by Ukraine’s neo-Nazis, you belong in Russia since “nobody outside Russia” would believe such a thing.

Yet, even the Times’ own correspondents have on occasion had no choice but to describe a central reality of the Ukraine crisis – that neo-Nazi and other ultranationalist militias provided the muscle for the February 2014 coup and have served as the point of the spear against ethnic Russians in the east who have resisted the U.S.-backed coup regime.

Just this month, Times correspondent Andrew E. Kramer reported on the front-line fighting in which the Kiev government has pitted the neo-Nazi Azov battalion and Islamic militants (some of whom have been described as “brothers” of the Islamic State) against the ethnic Russian rebels. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine Merges Nazis and Islamists.”]

The neo-Nazis and ultranationalists also have squared off against Ukrainian police and politicians, including firefights and protest marches demanding President Petro Poroshenko’s removal, as reported by the BBC. [Also see Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mess that Nuland Made.”]

But deviation from the “it’s all Putin’s fault” group think infuriates the Times’ editors into chanting something like the “go back to Russia” insult directed at Americans in the 1960s and 1970s who criticized the Vietnam War. It is just that sort of anti-intellectual conformity that now dominates the debate over Ukraine.

And, unlike Sherlock Holmes who had the astuteness to unlock the mystery of the “Silver Blaze” by noting the dog not barking, the Times editors ignore the curious reticence of the U.S. government in refusing to update its “assessment” of the MH-17 crash. If the editors really wanted to know the truth and achieve some real accountability, the Times would have joined in demanding that the Obama administration end its suspicious silence.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

Not a week goes past it seems, without a ‘Lone Wolf’ shooting event takes place in America. This latest seemingly random shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee has taken the phenomenon to a whole new level…

In our latest installment of theatre terror, another ‘assembly line’ shooting saw the manufactured media profile of the new threat is no longer the basement dwelling Adam Lanza “loner” character, but rather the happy, fairly well-adjusted teenager who is not even “on the terror radar” (whatever that means).

Last week’s Chattanooga tragedy took place on July 17, 2015, an incident which reportedly left 4 Marines and one Navy man dead, seems to have been conveniently overlaid on to a script that we have seen for years now – the ‘Islamic extremist’, working with, or “inspired by” cut-out organizations like Al Qaeda, or the new marketing image known as “ISIS”  – carries out another unlikely and seemingly ‘senseless’ act of violence.


Pictured: “All American” Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez.

As shootings go, his event certainly raised the bar. Instead of civilian targets, we are told that this alleged lone gunman, a 24 year-old engineering graduate named Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, had trained his sights on active duty US servicemen. During the his shooting rampage, we’re told that the shooter fired on a US Marine Corps recruiting office in a strip mall, before travelling to a nearby facility, a Navy Operational Support Center, where he claimed the lives of 5 victims, before being shot and killed by police.


We’re told that five victims were killed a result of Thursday’s shoot-out (pictured above) – Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith, Marine Sgt. David Wyatt, Marine Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Corp. Squire “Skip” Wells,  and Marine Sgt. Carson Holmquist.

According to officials, Petty Officer Smith died on Saturday as a result of wounds sustained on Thursday.

The tragedy was followed by an avalanche of media coverage which immediately classified the incident as “terrorist attack”, with most major US media outlets rushing to try and connect the shooter to ISIS in the Middle East.

It’s a template that has become somewhat routine in America now. After the national media ‘ISIS-linking’ exercise came the tweets and hashtags, led by #ChattanoogaStrong.

“Tonight, love and forgiveness and belief in one another was the theme, because that’s what ‘Chattanooga Strong’ means,” Mayor Andy Berke told local affiliate WDEF.


According to FBI Special Agent in Charge, Ed Reinhold, at today’s national press conference in Chattanooga, the shooter first opened fire on the Marine Recruitment Office at a strip Mall on on Lee Highway in Chattanooga, before driving 7.5 miles across town to a Navy-Marine Reserve training center located on Amnicola Highway, where he rammed his silver Ford Mustang rental car through security gates. Once inside the gates, we’re told that Abdulazeez was immediately confronted by an armed service member who fired “several rounds”, yet, the FBI will not say whether he managed to hit Abdulazeez,


EVENT MAP: Chattanooga Shooter journey.

After leaving his vehicle and entering a building on the base and opening fire on its occupants. As US servicemen fled out the back door to safety, the Shooter, armed with semiautomatic assault rifle, reported to be an AK-47, and a handgun (according to the FBI), pursued them into the building’s back yard in the ‘motor pool area’ where he reportedly killed 4 men. Shortly thereafter, Chattanooga Police arrived on the scene and are said to have shot and killed the shooter. The fifth serviceman, Petty Officer Wells, died later on Saturday from wounds sustained during the incident.

Note: Initially on July 17th, the FBI said that the shooter was armed with two long guns and a handgun.

The FBI are also saying that they recovered two other weapons from the scene which they say belonged to military police, only one of which was discharged, according to Reinhold.

Key Questions

According to a Maj. General, the Marines had just returned from a training mission, and had ‘braved gunfire to save their comrades during the attack.’

“The legacy that day is one of valor,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Brier, commander of the 4th Marine Division. “I can tell you that our Marines reacted the way you would expect. Some willingly ran back into the fight.”


IMAGE: CNN’s coverage of the incident featured this image, displayed on constant rotation, of a soldier appearing to stand guard in front of the strip mall Marine Recruitment shop in Chattanooga.

It is important here, not to rule out the possibility that “friendly fire” may have claimed the lives of at least one US Serviceman, as multiple shooters exchanged gunfire in what appears to be a very fast-moving and chaotic scene. This could be confirmed once the autopsies and ballistics reports have been completed on the shooter and all five the victims, as well as a ballistic report on Chattanooga police officer Dennis Pedigo, who was said to be wounded by Abdulazziz during the exchange.

Abdulazeez was also not wearing any body armor or bullet-proof vest – which indicates that he doesn’t appear to be concerned about being shot himself. Some may assume that his was an intended ‘suicide mission’ and therefore the shooter was not concerned with his own safety.

Had Abdulazzeez been to the Reserve Training facility on Amnicola Highway before? Authorities insist that he hadn’t, yet the shooter’s deliberate actions on the day indicates familiarity with the venue.

Following on to this point, however, is the question of whether or not Abdulazzeez had taken out full damage insurance coverage on his rented silver Ford Mustang convertible. Far from a trivial detail, this might indicate what Abdulazeez believed he was doing on the day. Was it a drill, or a shooting rampage? A similar point was brought up regarding the notorious London 7/7 Bombings, where the bombers had purchased return train tickets – not one way – a detail which supports the thesis that the men believed they were taking part in an inter-agency terrorism drill which we now know ended up going live on the day.

Media Misdirection

Interestingly, all of the blanket media coverage from the day of the shooting was focused completely on the Marine Recruitment Office located at the strip Mall. This gave viewers the distinctly false impression that the victims were shot at the Mall – in a public space. It wasn’t until 48 hours later that we began to hear that the victims were actually shot and killed inside of a secure Navy Reserve Training facility located  some 7 miles away. Was this to keep the media and public focused on the Shopping Mall, and not Navy Reserve Training facility?

The incident at the Mall seems almost pointless. No one was actually shot at the Mall, and there is still no CCTV footage to prove that the same shooter who sprayed the recruitment office with bullets also shot the 5 servicemen at the Naval base 7 miles away. One woman, who we’re told worked at a Mall restaurant next to the Marine recruiting office, told CNN:

“I looked out of our window and I seen the guy in his car, a silver Mustang, drop top, a white guy and he had a high-powered rifle and was just firing shots into the Air Force, Navy and Marines office,” Gina Mule told CNN. “I don’t even know how many shots he fired, but it was a lot. (…) After he got done opening fire, he pulled out really quick.”

The only evidence presented so far is an eyewitness testimony from apparent bystanders – all of whom maintain that the shooter did not even leave his vehicle – which in itself makes it impossiblefor any of the said witnesses to ID the actual shooter as Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez.

This central point has been all but glossed over in the fog of mass media misdirection.

‘Home-Grown Extremist’

According to the FBI, as of this week, investigators are still classifying Abdulazzeez as a “home-grown violent extremist”.

From the onset, numerous attempts have been made by the media to attach Abdulazzeez to any number of countries, groups, and medical conditions. Pundits ran the gambit of possibilities: Syria, al Qaeda, Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, ISIS, along with rumors that he was a “manic depressive” as well as “suicidal.” It’s important to note that all of these speculative narratives were churned out on heavy rotation in the first 48 hours after the incident, leaving American audiences with the certain impression that this was yet another chapter in the ‘War on Terror – US Edition.’

The day of the shooting, on Thursday July 17th, heavily armed police officers raided the home of Abdulazzeez’s family members in Chattanooga, Tennessee and detained two women – who led away in handcuffs and treated as terrorist suspects. Watch:

According to his friends (on record), however, Abdulazzeez did not appear to support the concept ISIS. According to CNN reporters, Abdulazeez told friend James Petty that ISIS was “doing wrong” and “it was a stupid group and it was completely against Islam.” Petty also told CNN reporters that Abdulazzeez “had a drug problem” and used marijuana heavily.

High School classmate Ryan Smith told the Times Free Press,“He was an unbelievable nice person,” and added,“He was honestly one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met.”

Off record however, we see the usual media charade where unnamed “sources” appear to be leaking other contradictory details to the media which may, or may not, be true at all. “Sources” told CNN on Monday that, “The writings also include other anti-U.S. sentiments and are consistent with someone who is having suicidal thoughts.” US media outlets like CNN regularly quote such “sources” but almost never held accountable for the accuracy or validity of these unknown leaks after the fact. In the end, media outlets like CNN are simply functioning as disinformation outlets in the immediate aftermath of these perennial ‘active shooter’ events.

CNN then inserted additional vague information from “sources familiar he family’s interviews with investigators” claiming that the 24-year-old had been “abusing drugs for some time”, using “party drugs” and marijuana. Again, this could be more strategic leaking between CNN and the government. This could be viewed as part of a government-media effort to destroy the shooter’s character and influence public opinion in advance of an actual investigation.

Certainly, if Abdulazzeez was the “heavy drug user” being characterized by his ‘friend’ Petty and CNN, then this could easily be visible in the coroner’s toxicology report. Will it be released? Unfortunately not, as the case has now been classified, with all information being released on a “need to know basis” – controlled tightly by both the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

As expected, a number of politicians were quick to take advantage of the incident in order to bolster their national security street credentials. Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), wasted no time in claiming that the case is an “open terrorism investigation,” and believes, based on his experience (exactly what experience that is remains unclear), that Abdulazzeez was definitely “inspired by ISIS.”

Terrorist ‘All-American’


Adding to the ridiculous demonizing details, we’re told that Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez’s MMA (mixed martial arts) coach was dramatically distraught – claiming he was just an “All-American Kid.”

This is interesting to note, as the alleged Boston Bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev (photo, left), was also a highly trained amateur fighter – a golden gloves boxing champion no less.

Additionally, another high-profile FBI ‘terror sting’ involved 20 year old Ohio resident, Christopher Lee Cornell, who himself was a high school wrestling champ.

Even Good Morning America chimed in on Abdulazzeez as the “good American kid” appellation, adding to the evident media spin of the narrative, where the new threat is being crafted to give the impression both mass shooters and terrorists are quite literally lurking everywhere.

All-American boys. Are we simply meant to believe that “terror networks” are spreading like a virus through all leisure activities? More specifically, news consumers must observe the newly updated ‘Everyman’ Terrorist Narrative: Leisure activities, or sports like boxing, fighting, wrestling, breed neophyte terrorist juniors. Perhaps all leisure activities have a Homeland Security representative as a liaison, maybe? If you are a male Muslim-American, even integrating with North American culture will not save you from being viewed with suspicion now.

Naturally, this mythology has been around since 9/11, yet it is becoming more precise - now the “All-American” appellation has been tacked on to the updated “profile.”

Indeed, they could be lurking among us, like Cylons. According to this new media mindset, anyone (theoretically) could be a potential ISIS recruit.


Everyman: Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazzeez poses for picture against backyard garden foliage.

Informants and Patsies

Was he really “off the radar”, or was he very much on the radar? Or was Abulazzeez, as Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been in Boston, being actively recruited, or even pressured, by the FBI or US intelligence agencies – to accept the role of an undercover informant within the Islamic community? At the very least, we can say that Tamerlan’s name was visible on a ‘classified terror watch list’ long before the actual Boston Bombing took place.

Certainly, recent history shows that this is a common occurrence, especially in the US with cases including Chris Lee Cornell and the Garland, Texas “ISIS attacker” Elton Simpson, the 2010 “Christmas Tree Bomber” Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the Detroit ‘Underwear Bomber’ Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and also with foreign student Quazi Mohammad Nafis. In Britain, this is also a common practice, as evidenced by the cases of Woolwich slasher Michael Adebolajo, and London care worker and state torture victim, Mahdi Hashi.

In fact, even the New York Times admitted in a 2012 report how the fictitious nature of our ever-present terror theater can be seen in most terror “plots” – plots that are actually hatched by the FBI in the cauldron of entrapment:

“The United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.

But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.”

For Abdulazeez, even deeper clandestine questions arise due to his father’s associations and history, having been long on the radar of the FBI for terror associations and accorded a special role in the local police department. Concerning Abdulazeez’s father we also read:

“A U.S. official told the Associated Press that Abdulazeez had not been on the radar of federal law enforcement before Thursday’s shooting. His father had been investigated several years ago for “possible ties to a foreign terrorist organization” and added to the U.S. terrorist watch list, according to a report in the NY Times, but that probe did not surface information about Abdulazeez, the paper said.”

Regadring his recent work experience, we’re told that, “Abdulazeez received an engineering degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2012 and worked as an intern a few years ago at the Tennessee Valley Authority, the federally owned utility that operates power plants and dams across the South.”

According to other reports, he also had internships at firms Mohawk Industries and a rather curious company called Global Trade Express based in Falls Church, Virginia (in the heart of the US intelligence establishment).

It is also worth mentioning that East Tennessee and the Kentucky-Ohio area are a hub for the nuclear, deep state arm of the military industrial complex, as the TVA Abdulazeez had briefly worked for (see below) was formerly the power source for the Manhattan Project and now functions as an axis that links both the NSA at Oak Ridge, TN, where supercomputers are built, as well as the nuclear energy sector, still connected to the TVA and its water power.

‘The Middle East Connection’

We’re also told that the shooter had traveled to Jordan. According to CNN’s ‘sources’: “Abdulazeez’s family sent him to Jordan last year to get him away from Chattanooga friends who they said were bad influences on him, the relatives told investigators. According to a family representative who asked for his name not to be used, Abdulazeez’s parents sent him to Jordan to stay with a family, with the hope of getting Abdulazeez away from his life of depression and drug use in Tennessee.”

CNN added that, “Some relatives and friends told investigators they detected changes in his behavior after he returned from Jordan last year.”

FOX News reports that Abdulazeez recently traveled to Jordan for seven months or Yemen where his “radicalization” might have occurred, yet predictably no mention is made of western intelligence support for ISIS and Wahhabist terror, though even mainstream media has admitted this fact.

Just as his family in Chatanooga have been arrested on suspicion of a terrorist conspiracy and taken into custody, Asaad Ibrahim Asaad Haj Ali, the Jordanian uncle of Abdulazzeez, has since been taken into custody by Jordanian security services (at the request of the US). 

The reported seven month stay in the Middle East nation of Jordan is an interesting tidbit relatively ignored in the media reports, as Jordan is one of the few Arab League nations functioning as US outpost for weapons and arms aiding of terror networks. The Guardian reported back in 2013:

“Western training of Syrian rebels is under way in Jordan in an effort to strengthen secular elements in the opposition as a bulwark against Islamic extremism, and to begin building security forces to maintain order in the event of Bashar al-Assad’s fall.

Jordanian security sources say the training effort is led by the US, but involves British and French instructors.

The UK Ministry of Defence denied any British soldiers were providing direct military training to the rebels, though a small number of personnel, including special forces teams, have been in the country training the Jordanian military.”


GHOST: References to US double agent Anwar al-Awlaki continues, as the terror avatar is recycled through media narratives.

Putting aside CNN’s colorful anonymous illustrations, we can confirm that the Abdulazzeez had visited the Middle East last year. From the onset, the US media was working very hard to try and conjure a ‘Yemen connection’. Claims have been made about a past trip by Abdulazzeez’s to Yemen, with US media hoping to connect him with the terror cut-out group/brand, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). As part of this media effort, another story was leaked on Tuesday July 21st, claiming that Abdulazzeez had, at some point in the past, had “watched a video” of US terror mascot and alleged former head of AQAP, Anwar al-Awlaki. The NY Times reported:

“The authorities who were examining Mr. Abdulazeez’s computer found that he had viewed material connected to Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric who was killed in Yemen by an American drone strike in 2011, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.”

Few, if any, US outlets ever bother to mention that Anwar al-Awlaki was a triple agent working with the FBI and CIA, and was even invited to dinner at the Pentagon after 9/11.

Could he have been an informant gone rogue? Was he trained to use heavy automatic weapons like the AK-47 by US military trainers in Jordan alongside ‘Syrian Rebels’ and other jihadist fighters being prepped and sent into combat in Syria? Could it be due to the U.S. support for “rebel” training?

Could the Shooter’s apparent rampage part of an inter-agency (military and civilian law enforcement) ‘fusion’ drill gone live?

All these are perfectly plausible questions to ask after you consider the existence of so many other FBI informants and Muslim patsies who have been fashioned into terror poster children in recent years.

Social Media Panopticon

Mainstream media has aided in crafting the post hoc guilt verdict of the accused, prior to a trial, with circumstantial or non sequitur accusations based on an individual’s “web history” that may have “radicalized” the suspect.  In effect, the mainstream media’s function as an establishment propaganda arm results in the bypassing of any trial by jury, as the accused have already been implicitly or explicitly declared guilty by association or something as nebulous as “web history.”

In effect, such incidents, as they are portrayed in the media for psychological conditioning purposes, are intended for the desired effect of causing the public mind to dismiss outdated notions of trial by jury and rule of law for fiat corporate news and government “officials” pronouncements and the acceptance of self-policing and vague terms such as being “radicalized,” which are subject to the elastic definitions of the social engineering establishment.

In the mid 19th century, Britain developed a new style of prison architecture known as the panopticon under the aegis of utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham.  The unique feature of the panopticon was the transparent nature of each prisoners cell, visible to a central surveillance guard tower that could eye inmates at all times.

The result of this psychological experiment, according to the pragmatic Benthamite philosophy, was to produce a self-policing amongst the inmates, a kind of early behavioral conditioning. For social mangers, this was seen as the most economic and ultimately, the most efficient solution.

In our day, the expansion of the surveillance state and the vast spying by the NSA and GCHQ is precisely intended to achieve this same effect, with the justifications for such intrusions being mass media terror spectacles like the Abdulazeez shooting.


IMAGE: One of the many faked ‘green screen’ ISIS beheading videos, featuring Japanese hostages, and promoted as “authentic” by the S.I.T.E. Intelligence Group.

Israeli Intelligence Connection

Initially, media pundits appeared frustrated that shooter Abdulazzeez “did not have an extensive online footprint.” This did not stop US/Israeli intelligence PR dispensaries from touting Abdulazzeez as someone with links to ‘Islamic terrorism’.

In the past, 21WIRE has presented a number of detailed analyses of the highly dubious terror media emporium known as the S.I.T.E. Intelligence Group run by a woman linked to Israeli Intelligence, Rita Katz, and based in Bethesda, Maryland. Amazingly, S.I.T.E. managed to gain exclusive scoops of nearly every major terrorist video and story. In addition, Katz also employs a small army of cyber sleuths who manage to produce “radical tweets” said to posted by “known ISIS Twitter accounts” which appear to validate many supposed ISIS or al Qaeda terrorist events.

Naturally, S.I.T.E. was also there to break the Chattanooga Shooter story and help to direct the mainstream narrative. Professor James Tracy reports:

“On July 16 SITE was the first to report “Details of Chattanooga Shooter Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez,” and major news media have once again unquestioningly passed along the information. “Just days before Thursday’s attacks,” the New York Times reports, “Abdulazeez began a blog where he posted about Islam, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks international terrorist groups. He compared life to a prison, calling it ‘short and bitter.’”

S.I.T.E. was also very quick to draw attention to Adbulazeez’s two alleged blog posts, inferring that his writings were somehow ‘jihadist’ in nature, pointing to the phrase, “life is a test of faith.”

Predictably, and lapped-up by the US media, since the incident several alleged “ISIS-affiliated” Twitter accounts have been busy tweeted about the mass-shooting, and praised Abdulazeez for his jihad.

One such “ISIS-related” account tweeted: “O American dogs soon YOU will see the wonders,” and used #Chattanooga.

It also turns out that the alleged religious extremist Abdulazzeez wasn’t very pious in terms of Islamic orthodoxy – another all too familiar theme in the bizarre world of synthetic terror plots. Professor Tracy adds here, “Much like Charleston Church shooter Dylan Roof, Abdulazeez may have been “radicalized” through use of the internet. Yet as with the “God is Great” hijackers of September 11, 2001, Abdulazeez’s religious-inspired fanaticism didn’t get in the way of his debauchery. On April 20, 2015 the would be Islamic extremist was arrested in Chattanooga, charged with driving while intoxicated, and released on a $2,000 bond.”

‘The Lanza Effect’

Once inside the Navy Training Base, Abdulazeez’s target acquisition seemed impressive, considering all of his victims had extensive combat, live-fire and self-defense experience.

That said, the shooter’s chief weapon, an AK-47, would have required some special training, which brings into question the mainstream media’s ignoring of, what a rational person would assume, are crucial details.  It’s reported that Aabdulazeez used an”AK47-style assault rifle with a 30 round magazine,” which is not the typical shooting range weapon which, not surprisingly, CNN associates with Sandy Hook’s Adam Lanza.

Lanza, it should be added, was amazingly able to handle this weapon, as well as two others, along with multiple reloads, acquiring all of his targets in an unbelievable record time. If Lanza was indeed the gunman, where did this untrained individual obtain his training in these weapons?

Do not expect any real answers to be forthcoming. In both cases – Lanza and Abdulazzeez – the details will be enveloped in a hermetically sealed loop, since the FBI has declared the attack under the purview of “national security.”

‘The Manifesto’

One key requirement for a media post-mortem of any mass shooting is the existence of either ‘radical tweets’ on Twitter, or an online Manifesto as was the case recently with ‘random’ Charleston shooter Dylan Storm Roof and also with Norway’s Anders Breivik. Conveniently, Abdulazzeez had post a brand new blog just days before the actual shooting on which, we’re told, expressed passages with cryptic meanings and “Islamic views”.

This is normally followed by the circular rhetoric about how security is too relaxed in “the Homeland”, and how, “we need to do more at home to help confront Islamic terror and the ideology of radical Islam.”

Still no real proof of an ISIS, or an al Qaeda connection – yet the media, the military and politicians cannot stop referring to Chattanooga as an “act of war.”

‘Battlefield USA’

The Chattanooga Shooting upped the ante, so to speak, on this normal cycle of talking points, because this time the ‘Homeland victims’ were not just lowly civilians or innocent bystanders. No, now the victims were US servicemen, Marines no less. The victims, referred to by CNN’s Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr as “The Fallen”, have been cast as war heroes who gave their lives for FLAG & COUNTRY. Welcome to Battlefield USA.

Navy Rear Admiral Mary Jackson (pictured above) reinforced this new concept in her speech in Chattanooga on Wednesday July 22nd, stating, “Throughout our nation’s history, Sailors and Marines have served overseas, in harm’s way, and have experienced the deep and lasting pain ofcombat loss. Today, here at home, we feel that pain.”

She went on the round-out what was clearly a war-time speech, “I can assure you, without a doubt, that we are honored and humbled to serve our nation, both at home and overseas. What Chattanooga has done to rally during this difficult time is the epitome of why we serve. God Bless America.”

The US media then spent the following week vexed about how the state may better protect what they now refer to as “soft targets” (all unarmed domestically stationed US service personnel).The Hegelian Dialectic continues…

According to this new mainstream media narrative, the Chattanooga Shooter has already been classified as an ‘enemy combatant’ – which infers that ISIS has now brought the war to The Homeland, and therefore, the federal government is on high alert in order to counter this new internal “extremist threat”.

This new paradigm is an incredibly emotive and manipulative one. In this new atmosphere of fear, anyone who dares challenge the official narrative here risks being called unpatriotic, or even a traitor. Government set pieces embedded within the US mainstream media have taken full advantage of this haze by launching an aggressive campaign demanding that US Servicemen within ‘The Homeland’ be required to carry firearms at all times – in order to “defend themselves against hostiles”. Of course, when they say ‘hostiles’ they are referring to potentially anyone within the US population – so practically speaking, this means the entire US population is potentially hostile, then theoretically, all uniformed US troops must be arms in public to defend themselves.


With most mass shooting, or gun-related events in the US, more emphasis is placed on the post-event press conference than anything else. It’s a scene that Americans have become used to in recent years – the Sheriff or Mayor taking the podium at a curbside ‘snap’ press conference – complete with all of the various set-pieces (persons) arranged behind him for the camera. Make no mistake – these events are staged for the cameras. Art directors are always careful make sure that the scene paints the correct picture, and sends the right message, and includes the right mix of male, female, white, latino, black, Asian, civilian and military. It’s almost patronizing to the viewer, but demonstrates just how the state carefully choreographs these scenes.


Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher, leading the staged photo op which Americans have become used to in recent years – reinforcing the image to the public of local police are ‘working together with the military.’

Another theme immediately present in all mass media coverage was the fusion of local municipal law enforcement and the military. This was presented symbolically in images, but also spoken of over and over by pundits and public officials alike.

‘Classified’: A Closed Information Loop

Within hours of the event, we were told that Federal investigators had taken over the investigation.

It’s important to recognize, from a public perspective, that the entire dissemination of the Chattanooga Shooting is a completely state-controlled, closed information loop. In other words, the media coverage you are viewing as a member of the public is completely dependent on ‘information’ which has been drip-fed to selected mainstream media outlets. No local law enforcement managing the crime scene and evidence, and absolutely independent press or persons, are allowed a look in.

From the outside looking in, we see a crime scene located on a secure military base, with the investigation being managed by the FBI, and with all information – in and out – being managed by the US Department of Justice. The case then falls under the label of “Classified”.


Will the public be allowed to inspect the evidence, the ballistic reports, the autopsies? Not for 50 or more years, and even then the public can expect a heavily redacted file. This seems to be the norm now with most mass shooting events in the US.

As with Sandy Hook and the Boston Bombing – the main body of evidence from the Chattanooga Shooting shall remain ‘Classified’, aside from any sanitized reports which may drift into the public domain.

Side-Stepping Posse Comitatus

Already, a number of state governors have enacted new “security measures” for their National Guard personnel and military facilities. Yesterday, while said to fearing a repeat of Chattanooga, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey ordered more than 200 members of the Arizona National Guard – and potentially thousands others – to be armed while on duty. Similar moves by state Governors are also underway in Florida, Texas and Oklahoma, to name only a few.

Much has been made by the FOX and Right-wing Talk Radio crowd about how US Military personnel are forbidden to carry firearms on bases and other outposts (like recruiting offices). The same crowd continues to blame this apparent outrage on former President Bill Clinton. Although Clinton is responsible for numerous pieces of audacious legislation during his tenure this was not one of them. Right-wingers will have to blame one of their own instead, these “gun-free zones” were actually the work of President George H.W. Bush whose deputy secretary of defense Donald J. Atwood signed the Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 5210.56 back in February 1992.

This issue falls under a much larger Constitutional issue, however, which is those military activities prohibited under the Posse Comitatus Act of 1879. The idea here is that armed soldiers in public constitutes an occupying military force. There have always been those Americans, including many fascist-leaning individuals within the US government, Congressmen and Senators included, who would love to see armed soldier on US streets. For this very reason, Posse Comitatus exists. But the specter of Islamic Terror in the Homeland is being used to justify a brand new, direct challenge to Posse Comitatus. Watching the major US networks this week, you’d think that Posse MUST be repealed immediately for ‘national security reasons’. That is how hard the media are pushing the issue

Legally, Posse Comitatus defines the US Army as the main functionary, but does not specifically mention naval services, eg. US Navy and Marine Corps. Legally, this gives room to interpret the naval services as exempt from Posse.

Do not be surprised if private security contractors like Blackwater/Academi insert themselves into this situation in order to exploit a potential loophole in Posse Comitatus, whereby mercenaries can be armed on domestic shores – where US soldiers cannot. The potential for additional billions in profit for private mercenary firms here is massive.

At the very least, we will see most state National Guard personnel armed from now on, as well as a new multi-billion dollar ‘security upgrade’ program at all US military facilities, including vehicle-resistant retractable barrier systems, and possibly bullet-proof windows at exterior guard kiosks.

Major Arcana: The Control System

Looking at the resulting policies and state measure which have already so rapidly emerged from the Chattanooga shooting – the control system’s strong suit is there for everyone to see. In the US, this kind of public incident typically sees media talking points funneled into three primary areas:

  1. Firstly, to increase powers of the armed police state.
  2. Secondly, to restrict firearm ownership of private citizens.
  3. Increase surveillance powers in the Homeland

The Chattanooga Shooting saw an added bonus point:

    4. Confront ISIS militarily in the Middle East (deploy troops, allocate major assets)
Both of these outcomes empower the State. The first is almost a given, while the second is more difficult to achieve because of the existence of the Second Amendment.

While talking points 1-3 are on going issues in the US and remain as hotly debated topics, point number 4, which essentially says, “we need to do more to confront ISIS in the Middle East” – is an agenda item which has been aggressively pursued by militarists in US media and politics ever since ISIS brand was officially launched to US audiences last summer in 2014. Militarists believe that with each passing shooting, or ‘terror plot’ in the US – that Americans would become increasingly scared, and angry, and so it should (in theory, anyway) be increasingly easy to make the case for a redeployment of US troops into the Middle East once again.

Mike-BakerOne militarist pundit and ‘security expert’ who is a regular on US networks,Mike Baker (photo, left), said to be an “ex-CIA covert agent”, founder of private security and intelligence firm, Diligence LLC. Not long after the Chattanooga shooting, Baker could be seen ranting on CNN, calling for Washington to do more to “confront ISIS overseas” and talked about increasing US infantry presence in the Middle East, even though no actual link had yet been made with the shooter and an overseas terror group. Although companies like Dilligence are likely privatized arms of the western state intelligence apparatus, having their CEO on a national broadcaster promoting military adventurism in a region which his business is already active should speak volumes about the chronic conflict of interest which seems to plague networks like CNN and FOX News.

Retired US General Wesley Clarke has used to the Chattanooga Shooting to call for rounding up “radicalized” individuals who are “disloyal to the US” and treat them as prisoners of war. “It’s our right and our obligation to segregate them from the ‘normal’ community for the duration of the conflict.”

Clarke went on to advocate that US allies Great Britain and France do the same. Clarke’s edict should not be taken likely, as globalist spokesperson Clarke has been used on past occasions to publicize other real globalist agendas.

Nazi comparisons aside, the fascist idea of rounding-up hundreds of thousands of marginalized Americans and locking them up in internment camps has happened before in the US, when during World War II the US federal government locked up most of the Japanese-American populationunder the paranoid pretext that each of them were potential foreign agents of Tokyo, including women and children.

America’s New “Reformist” Movement

If you are paying close attention to each of these so-called “terrorist” incidents, it’s becoming more obvious how media coverage contains the same identical talking points, outlining a repetitiveHegelian Dialectic of problem, reaction, solution.

Beyond the increased militaristic rhetoric and the increasing police state power-grabs, there is another deep state agenda emerging amid this series of apparent “domestic extremist” and “radical Islamist” attacks in the US and Europe.

A very well-funded, albeit, artificial social movement is now emerging. It is a new Islamic ‘Reformation’ Movement focused primarily in the US, but which potentially be co-opted in Western Europe.


‘Reformist’ Dr. Zudhi Jasser (Image Source: Okran News)

With every passing shooting, FBI foiled terror plot and terror scare, it is being gradually nudged along. This is especially evident in the CNN and FOX’s carousel of hand-picked mainstream media ‘Islamic experts’ like Dr. Zudhi Jasser, founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). Jasser a regular contributor on both CNN and FOX, and is a favorite call-out in the aftermath of any so-called violent‘Islamic’ incident covered by US media. Jasser prescribes a new “reformist”, more muted version of Islam for the US and beyond.

On the surface, Jasser’s commentary, advocating separation of mosque and state and a more “peaceful Islam” sounds very reasonable and attractive. After all, who wants radical ideologies festering in America? But when you explore with a bit more depth, Jasser’s politics are that of a dedicated neoconservative.

Far from being an independent voice or advocate, Jasser is the public face of an extremely well-funded 501c tax exempt empire of institutions and foundations, and his US media appearances are carefully managed. Following the Chattanooga Shooting, Jasser came with his usual talking points on FOX News at the time of the shooting, saying, “The is a war,” and that, “he (the shooter) hated America and he wanted to establish the Islamic State”.

Watch Jasser on FOX News in the wake of Chattanooga tragedy:

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly who is directing this new “reformist” effort in the US, but it’s clear by watching the identical fashion in which all of these events are executed, and covered in the media – that this is highly coordinated and is not a short term campaign, rather, it’s planned to nudge its way ahead over the next decade or more. One way to find some answers here is to follow the money.

Closely linked to Jasser’s AIFD, is the American Islamic Congress (AIC) of which Jasser is also a board member. Behind the AIC can be found a long trail of neoconservative and pro-Israel money, prompting many critics to label this and similar ‘Muslim-American’ organizations as classic foundation-funded “controlled opposition”. Founded in 2001 by an Iraqi-American opposition ‘activist’ Zainab Al-Suwaij, the AIC was effectively launched by the Bush administration, which injected $542,123 to the organization in 2004. The AIC also received major financial support pro-Israeli billionaires Sheldon Adelson and Seth Klarman who is also the backer of The Israel Project. The money doesn’t stop there. According to a report by investigative journalist Max Blumenthal, the Islamophobia Network/Industry is also being funded in part by the US taxpayer. An exposé by AmericanMuslim.org explains:

“In 2009, the AIC received more than $433,000 from the State Department to conduct conflict resolution programs in Iraq, claiming to have “diffused 60 conflicts” in the country. Two years later, it reaped $1.28 million in government funding for Iraqi conflict resolution and to train “social entrepreneurs” in Tunisia; over $170,000 of the government money was earmarked for democracy promotion. Today, the AIC maintains offices in Tunis and Cairo, both apparently supported by State Department grants.”

The investigation further explains how, “funding for AIC comes from some very troublesome sources.  Some of these are Donors Capital Fund (identified in the Center for American Progress’s 2011 report Fear Inc. as “the lifeblood of the Islamophobia network in America.”), the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Sheldon Adelson’s Adelson Family Foundation, the Klarman Family Foundation (which funds the Israel Project).”

Blumenthal also notes that:

The AIC is not the only putatively Muslim group funded by Klarman. In 2011, Klarman made his first donation to the American Islamic Forum for Democracy AIFD, the shell organization that serves as the personal platform for Zuhdi Jasser. The previously unknown Jasser, a physician from Arizona with no academic or theological credentials, is one of the country’s most outspoken Muslim proponents of law enforcement surveillance of Muslim communities.  Two years earlier, Jasser was welcomed onto AIC’s board of directors, joining a host of like-minded neoconservatives.

A Syrian-American, it’s no surprise then that Jasser is also a major advocate for regime change in Syria, and seems to endorse the US, European and GCC financing and arming of multiple ‘rebel’ paramilitary factions (which automatically included terrorist fighters as well) inside Syria. Regime change at any cost, even if it’s a brutal, protracted proxy war. In perfect alignment with US State Department and Israeli Foreign Policy objectives.

Engineering The ‘Self-Hating’ Muslim

Noticeably absent from any of Jasser and other similar pundits’ post-terrorist attack monologues is any reference to the western covert, or clandestine agency involvement in any these supposed “terrorist” events. If any government agent plays a role in creating the conditions for the incident, or worse – is a moving part in the scenario itself – then the entire ‘Islamic Terror’ conversation should immediately become null and void. If transparency and objectivity were the focus of their inquiry, then the behind-the-scenes FBI involvement in almost ever high-profile ‘domestic terror’ incident should be the center of the discussion, but instead it remains obscured.

Again, the Hegelian Dialectic at play here is an obvious one. One could argue that by pumping up the specter of Islamic extremist at home and abroad, it will be much easier to brow-beat the western Muslim community into submission by inducing a wave of collective guilt. Enter the self-hating Muslim.

Reformist architects see the taming of Islam as not only necessary, but also as a historic juncture in the religion’s history – as significant as European protestant movements were 600 years ago. A crucial question here could be: would the reformist architects carry out synthetic terrorist events in order to ensure that their agenda moves its way along the timeline at a more urgent and faster pace?

Regardless, the clandestine realities remain. While foundation-funded ‘Islam experts’ continue to promote the illusion that we live a world devoid any government clandestine activity, billions of taxpayer dollars per year continue to go towards covert operations both at home and overseas utilizing thousands of agents, informants and patsies – and so long as this is the case, then we should expect to see ever more these so-called ‘terrorist’ events.

Nothing about Chattanooga made sense, and as long as these events remain sealed underclassified layers of federal bureaucracy, it’s unlikely we’ll ever know what really happened.

But don’t fret, there’s always next week’s shooting.

The alternative press has noted for months that Israel is supporting jihadis in Syria.  But Israel has consistently denied these allegations … until now.

The Times of Israel reported 3 weeks ago:

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Monday that Israel has been providing aid to Syrian rebels, thus keeping the Druze in Syria out of immediate danger. Israeli officials have previously balked at confirming on the record that the country has been helping forces that are fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.


“We’ve assisted them under two conditions,” Ya’alon said of the Israeli medical aid to the Syrian rebels, some of whom are presumably fighting with al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. “That they don’t get too close to the border, and that they don’t touch the Druze.”

Al Nusra is Al Qaeda, and closely affiliated with ISIS.  And remember, there have NEVER been any “moderate Syrian rebels” … only Islamic Sunni jihadis.

As Vice President Joseph Biden admitted:

The fact of the matter is . . . there was no moderate middle. . . . [O]ur allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. . . . They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and . . . thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis.

(Leaked NSA documents also show that Israeli special forces assassinated a top Syrian government official.)

Not all Israelis support this effort.  For example, Jacky Hugi  – an Arab affairs analyst for Israeli army radio – recently wrote:

Israel should back Assad


Anyone who wonders why is invited to look at neighboring Iraq or distant Libya. What’s happening there is likely to happen in Syria after President Bashar al-Assad.


In choosing between one bad thing and another, the balance tips toward the regime. The Israeli security establishment should gradually abandon its emerging alliance with the Syrian rebels …


The survival of the Damascus regime guarantees stability on Israel’s northern border, and it’s a keystone to its national security.


It is a dangerous, irresponsible gamble to choose Assad’s enemies and encourage his collapse — it would be playing with fire. The prominent elements among Israel’s potential future neighbors are mainly Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, or the Islamic State ….

They Say Paraguay is in Africa: Mosaic of Horror

July 24th, 2015 by Andre Vltchek

I have always liked this country of red earth, mighty rivers and rough cobblestone streets. I have liked its bougainvillea, its long silent nights, and its endless open spaces.

But almost everything that could went wrong for the Paraguayan people, or at least for its indigenous majority.

Before Evo Morales became the President, Bolivia had been the most destitute country in South America. Paraguay was slightly “above it” – the second poorest nation. Now, most likely, it is the most deprived.


It is pitch dark outside, and the road is flooded. As in other extreme right wing countries worldwide, from Indonesia to Kenya, the drainage system is far from being a priority of the rulers.

I am inside an impressive art museum, the Museo de Barra, a hangout of local intellectuals, most of them from the Left. Across the table from me sits Ms Lia Colombino, a curator and one of the museum directors. One floor below, a huge exhibition depicts the horrific massacre of indigenous people that took place at Curuguaty, in 2012. Powerful artwork is everywhere: photographs raw footage, and paintings.

Ms. Lia is clearly depressed about the state of her country:

“This does not look or feel like South America, does it? It is more like Central America…”

I know exactly what she means.

To me it still feels like South America, but long before the great wave of revolutions changed everything to the core. But I understand what she means. Paraguay does feels like Central America, like Honduras or Guatemala, where the indigenous people are treated with absolute spite, as “un-people”, where the owner of some plantation would not hesitate to blow out the brains of a ‘peon’, just because he is in foul mood or in need to flirt with a trigger. 2 percent of people in Paraguay own more than 75 percent of all the land. That says a lot.

“Paraguay could also be in Africa”, I was told by a Paraguayan doctor, on board of an airplane, en route from Buenos Aires to Asuncion: “My country reminds me of some depressing, plundered sub-Saharan nation, still controlled by the West’s interests. I know what I am talking about; I spent several years in Africa. There I witnessed the same disrespect for human life as I am witnessing here.”

Next to my hotel, there is a huge Porsche showroom, and just a few minutes away, a luxury mall. “Shopping del Sol” is boasting its sleek modern design and luxury brands. But in both of its bookstores, not one single book by Eduardo Galeano or Elena Poniatowska could be found.

Right across the street from my hotel, there is a luxury steakhouse, but there is no way to cross the street, no zebras for pedestrians. Crossing is humiliating. Cars accelerate. If you don’t drive, you are treated like sub-human.

Modern skyscrapers are growing all around, but in between them, like in Indonesia there are broken houses and shacks, dirty alleys and streets without sidewalks.

All over the country, the descendants of European Nazis are still living in comfort, enjoying impunity and even respect. British and US intelligence facilitated the escape of thousands of notorious European Nazis to South America, often with the loot of golden teeth from the concentration camps, after they helped to break the left-wing political parties prior to post-war elections. It is believed that the notorious Hotel del Lago in San Bernardino (40 kilometers from Asuncion) offered shelter to several prominent Nazis, including Joseph Mengele, the Angel of the Death, a German SS officer and physician in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

But San Bernardino on Lake Ypacarai is now also notorious for shameless land grabs. There is hardly any public access to the lake, the shore being gradually ‘privatized’ by the country’s ‘elites’ and their ‘nautical clubs’.

The social situation in Paraguay is so bad that tens of thousands of its citizens are regularly crossing the border to much wealthier and to certain extend socialist Argentina, where they are provided with free medical care and free education for their children.

Hundreds of kilometers away from the capital, in the countryside, the mainly indigenous people are still living in the most horrific conditions.

Slammed in the middle of South America, Paraguay is a staunch ally of the West, surrounded by a rapidly changing, increasingly socialist part of the world.

“Paraguay was the most violent and vicious dictatorship and the place of origin of Operation Condor in which many people from throughout the continent were tortured and killed. Paraguay is a vital and strategic location that sits over the largest fresh water aquifer in the world with very fertile lands. The population lives as sharecroppers in the countryside, similar to conditions found in the U.S. after the Civil War or worse”, commented Joseph J. García, Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico.


The most vicious dictatorship… Perhaps it was, although in South America there had been many contestants to that sad prize.

On the ground floor of the Palace of Justice, Ms. Rosa M. Palau, coordinator of the “Center of Documentation and the Archive for Defense of Human Rights”, is bringing out one shocking historic document after another.

“Here, these are police archives… all that you see here, passed through the military intelligence. You can read here about all that dirty work done by the police… “Operation Condor”… There is some correspondence between the US and the regional governments. In these papers you can read about the ‘education’ that the US provided to the local police, as well as about the centers of torture in Asuncion.”

I am in the middle of what is called “Archives of Terror”, an enormous quantity of documents, and part of The Memory of the World Programme of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). According to the UNESCO:

The Archives of Terror are official documents of police repression during the thirty-five years of Alfredo Stroessner’s dictatorship. They also contain supporting evidence of Operation Condor activities as a part of a campaign of political repressions involving assassination and intelligence operations which was officially implemented in 1975 by the right-wing dictators of the Southern Cone of South America.

The Archives describe the fates of countless Latin Americans who had been secretly kidnapped, tortured, and killed by the security services, military and police of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, mostly on behalf of the US foreign policy. This is the barbaric and coordinated action of terror known as Operation Condor.

According to the archives, 50,000 people were murdered, 30,000 people disappeared and 400,000 were imprisoned. Many of those imprisoned were tortured and raped.

Sitting here, surrounded by files and papers, I kept recalling those days, some two decades ago, when the archives were made public, for the first time, in the suburb of Asuncion called Lambare. All of us, who came to investigate, from different parts of Latin America and the world, were overwhelmed, emotionally and professionally. What we had always suspected was suddenly in front of us, black on white, proof after proof, showing that the United States, together with the local elites who were backed by ‘security’ services, had been systematically liquidating people guilty of harboring desires to live in just, egalitarian and socialist fatherlands.

We were all taking notes, photographing, going page after page through the horrifying evidence. Some people sat on the floor, squeezing their heads between palms of their hands. Others were crying.

One day, a lawyer, a friend of mine, approached me in a neighborhood cafeteria. He sat next to me, and slowly declared:

Do you think that anything changed in Paraguay? They, those responsible for the horrors, are looking at you going through those documents, and they are laughing at you, because they know that nothing will ever change in this country. They are laughing at me, too. I was tortured savagely. They pulled my nails out and they broke my balls. And now, when I go to watch a football match at a stadium, I see them, my torturers, and there is nothing that I can do. We greet each other, politely. We pretend that everything is fine; that nothing really happened… And then, at night, I scream.

As if reading my thoughts, Ms. Rosa M. Palau suddenly breaks the silence. She can hardly contain her emotions:

This was a terrible chapter of our history! Later, so many things happened, during the transition period. But now it is becoming obvious that we did not learn much about democracy. We learned almost nothing!


Two successive coups – those in Honduras and Paraguay – are often quoted as proof that the United States never really ‘closed its eyes’ and let go of its perpetual victim – Latin America.

On 3 July 2012, Bill Van Auken published his analyses of the Paraguay coup at The World Socialist Web Site:

There is every reason to believe that the hurried impeachment of Lugo—forced through both houses of the Paraguayan parliament in barely 30 hours after he was charged by the two traditional parties of the country’s ruling oligarchy—was carried out with the indispensable complicity of US imperialism.

A former Catholic cleric and proponent of Liberation Theology, Lugo was elected in 2008, promising to combat corruption and promote “socially responsible capitalism.”

Committed to the defense of private property and with all the real levers of power remaining in the hands of the Liberals and Stroessner’s Colorados, who ruled the country for six decades before the 2008 election, Lugo was able to carry out little in the way of reforms, while he adapted himself continuously to Paraguayan reaction.

Nonetheless, the ruling oligarchy as well as the transnational agricultural interests found his presidency intolerable, fearing that it was generating false expectations among the masses of Paraguayan workers and oppressed. In particular there was concern that masses of landless peasants, receiving nothing in the way of genuine agrarian reform from the government, would take matters into their own hands…

The principal pretext for the impeachment was a massacre unleashed by Paraguayan security forces as they attempted to evict some 100 peasant farmers occupying the land of a wealthy former Stroessner-era Colorado politician. Eleven peasants and six policemen were killed, while scores more were wounded and arrested. The right-wing parties in the Paraguayan Congress blamed Lugo not for gunning down peasants, but for failing to carry out more thorough repression.

Ms. Clyde Soto, a social researcher at “Centro de Documentacion y Estudios” (CDE) in Asuncion, spoke to me about the events of 2012 that began with the massacre at Curuguaty:

The massacre of 15 June 2012 was well planned. It was performed in order to expel the farmers who decided to occupy the lands, demanding the agrarian reform. Farmers knew that these were the lands unjustifiably seized by Blas N. Riquelme and his company Campos Morombi, with long and entangled legal process behind the case; the systematic strategy of seizure of land and territories still belonging to farmers and indigenous people. This plan was identical in substance to what was taking place throughout the history of post-colonial state of Paraguay (where definition of “post-colonial” is highly questionable). The second objective of the massacre was to create “space” for a “soft coup”, which removed Fernando Lugo from power, through a political trial full of irregularities. What happened in Curuguaty was clearly serving the interests of the powerful and of the business, both legal and illegal.

Then she added:

On Saturday, June 27, early in the morning, a group of farmers from Curuguaty once again occupied lands of Marina Kue, where the massacre took place in 2012. They are demanding both clarification of what happened 3 years ago, and the land titles.

It appears that Paraguay is, once again, reaching the boiling state. People are now ready to fight, to risk their lives. Political and economic elites lost their trust, fully. And so the land is being taken over by farmers, at several locations.

One evening Mr. Fernando Rojas gave me a lift. He and his comrades from “Decidamos” (citizen’s campaign “We will decide”) were heading north, to yet another area where farmers dared to take a decisive action and occupy the land that used to belong to them.

“We have to monitor what is going on in the provinces”, explained Fernando. “To make sure that what happened in Curuguaty will never happen again.”

The same night, at the Museo de Barro in Asuncion, a film about the massacre at Curuguaty is screened. It is called “Fuera de campo”, directed by Hugo Gimenez, who is actually present at the screening.

Fuera de campo is a minimalistic, honest, experimental piece of art. On the screen, people are speaking slowly, decisively. Farmers are still protesting, still dreaming about better fatherland… a mother remembering her son, his love for this land: “We have to resist… If they kill us, then let them do it!” There are shots of injured police, being taken away by the ambulances… while injured farmers are being executed, point blank.


“Two weeks ago, the military was marching here, during the anniversary of the Military Academy of Paraguay. They were marching shoulder to shoulder with the US military personnel that is operating in this country”, recalls Ms. Rosa M. Palau.

There could be no doubts that the United States is trying to solidify its military and economic presence in this region, antagonizing progressive neighboring nations like Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina.

The US presence in Paraguay consists of the military and air force bases, and of surveillance bases used for spying on the countries of the region.

As clearly shown in the “Archives of Terror”, the US has, historically, great links with both Paraguayan elites and its military; links that have been used for torturing, assassinating and imprisoning tens of thousands of South American patriots.

The US is regularly conducting secretive operations, particularly in the areas near Bolivian border, and also in the space where Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina meet.

There is already a huge US military air force base in Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay, which is located just 200 kilometers from the border with Bolivia and may be utilized by the US military in case that there is a US-backed coup against the socialist government of Evo Morales in Bolivia. That base is capable of housing over 16.000 troops. Near Mariscal Estigarribia are Bolivia’s natural gas reserves, the second largest in Latin America. The area has also huge significance, as the Guarani Aquifer is one of the world’s largest reserves of water.

Two years ago, Nikolas Kozloff wrote for Al-Jazeera:

Recently, a host of individuals and organizations throughout Latin America called attention to the tumultuous state of politics in Paraguay, where democratically elected President Fernando Lugo was impeached by the country’s Congress under somewhat dubious circumstances. In a letter of protest, the signatories sketched out a rather inflammatory theory. They claim, for example, that the US Southern Command wanted Lugo gone as the Paraguayan leader who had opposed US militarization in his country.

We already know who overthrew Fernando Lugo and why,” they added. “El Chaco … cannot be allowed to belong to [Paraguay]… nor its people; [the region has] been bound for occupation and extraction by multinationals through megaprojects and terror financed with public resources. The coup in Paraguay, like similar ones throughout Latin America, was carried out by and for multinationals and their partners among the local elites.

Fernando Lugo was not really a socialist. He was never in the same league with Chavez, Morales or Correa. He is a liberation theology priest, a former bishop. After he was deposed, he did not leave the country, eventually becoming a senator. But even his center-left government became intolerable for the US interests and for the Paraguayan ‘elites’.

Ms. Lilian Soto, former Presidential Candidate, and foremost Paraguayan socialist politician and feminist described to me unsettling political situation in her country:

These days, in Paraguay, political leaders are defending interests of big businesses and their owners; consequently, they are ruling our country in a way that serves these interests and not the interests of Paraguayan people. These leaders are pushing for extreme consumerism, promoting deals that are serving interests of big multinational corporations, putting at risk our national sovereignty, allowing foreign military interventions, unleashing so-called ‘war against drugs,’ which turns itself into the excuse for the presence of the American armed forces in Paraguay. This radically reverses the relationship between the USA and Latin America, back to the point of direct military interventions, similar to what used to happen to Paraguay during the Cold War in the 70’s, when Paraguay used to be a pillar of the US aggression in the region.


In the 1990’s, as a young journalist, I had witnessed several joint operations of the Paraguayan military and the agents of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Twice I flew on board military helicopters to the border with Brazil, where several plants of marijuana were burned just for the lenses of us – foreign correspondents.

It was all a charade, but it was well orchestrated. “War on drugs” was always one of the main ‘justifications’ and covers for the US military presence in Paraguay.

Now “War on terror” is added to the list. In the tri-border region (Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil), around Ciudad del Este, several thousands of citizens of Syrian and Lebanese origin are accused of collecting funds for Hezbollah in Lebanon, an organization loved in Lebanon but hated in the West, consequently appearing on the US terrorist list. The US ‘feels obliged’ to monitor the situation.

In reality, what is at stake is the very independence of Latin America and its revolutions. The US is attempting to destabilize countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina, through cooperation with local ‘elites’, but also through its military bases in Colombia, Guyana and Paraguay.

In the process, millions of poor, mainly indigenous people, are being sacrificed.

Ms. Rosa M. Palau is lamenting:

Here, again, poor people who are mostly indigenous are fully exposed, unprotected. We all know that the US is involved. On this rapidly changing continent, Paraguay is becoming an isolated country.

Welcome to Asuncion

 Welcome to Asuncion.

Archives of Horror - Chile section

Archives of Horror – Chile section.

Hotel del Lago where Mengele used to live

Hotel del Lago where Mengele used to live.

Lic. Rosa M. Palau, coordinator, archives of horror

Lic. Rosa M. Palau, coordinator, archives of horror.


Remembering the massacre of indigenous people

Remembering the massacre of indigenous people.

similar to Jakarta - sidewalks of Asuncion

Similar to Jakarta – sidewalks of Asuncion.

Slums of Asuncion

Slums of Asuncion.

US military marching in Asuncion

US military marching in Asuncion.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and Fighting Against Western Imperialism.Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western TerrorismPoint of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

The Imperial Designs on Iran

July 24th, 2015 by Pepe Escobar

So what is the Obama administration really up to in Iran? What sort of strategic calculations have led to what for the moment looks like a tactical geopolitical shift?

President Obama certainly concluded that the 36-year-long Wall of Mistrust against Iran was bound to fail. The real Masters of the Universe in Washington – those who control the deep state - always knew that the “nuclear weapons” hysteria was bogus. That was part of a strategic decision to keep the Islamic Republic isolated from the West as long as possible, and ultimately force regime change.

The “policy” failed – miserably. So Obama’s Plan B was a nuclear deal.

© Amos Chapple
View of central Tehran from inside a minaret in Sepahsalar Mosque.

And after striking a deal, why not seduce Tehran into some sort of collaborative effort in policing the Middle East – as in reigning in or, better yet, soundly defeating ISIS/ISIL/Daesh?

That would provide a neat historical echo to the Shah years – the former “gendarme of the Gulf” who, when driven out of power by the Islamic revolution, plunged Exceptionalistan into fits of decades-long despair.

Moreover, the Obama administration and some Beltway factions seemed to believe that factional leadership silos in Tehran – and Qom — might be manipulated to serve US strategic interests.

Even before the Lausanne agreement, and in the lead-up towards the Vienna deal, this possibility was practically discussed by US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. In diplomatic talk, these were “discussions of regional issues”.

In the bigger picture, and evidently oblivious to a slew of technical problems, the real Masters of the Universe shadowed by the Obama administration also entertained a simple equation; Iranian gas should eventually replace Russian gas to supply the EU. Russia must – and will — suffer.

Forget that Gazprom is a commercial juggernaut on two fronts, Europe and Asia. And forget that Gazprom is coordinating crucial energy moves with Tehran.

Yet the energy wars never stop. NATO’s perennial expansion marches in tandem with Washington – successfully — sabotaging South Stream; now Washington will do whatever it takes to sabotage Turk Stream and prevent austerity-devastated Greece from linking to the pipeline. Astonishing as it may seem, Iran is now back in Washington’s favor as the only possible, future Pipelineistan star.

Listen to the leader 

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has been extra busy “selling” the deal with the P5+1 in Vienna to internal public opinion. He never tires to stress that once foreign businesses enter Iran, they will act as a barrier against the reinstatement of sanctions – which is now the Holy Grail of US neocons and neoliberalcons. Iranian planners are busy drafting the pathways for the reconstruction of the country’s core economic sectors. Iranian oil and natural gas projects – many with input from foreign energy majors – may be worth $185 billion by 2020.

On July 20, the UN Security Council unanimously (15-0) endorsed the Vienna deal — and the termination of seven UN resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran since 2006. That provoked shrieks of desperation in that nest of corporate paperboys – the US Congress. Someone should have explained to that lot this is an international deal.

The EU, meanwhile, approved the deal on July 21 – as key EU members, itching to restore trade relations, are now on caravan mode, hitting the Persian trail.

There is a 90-day grace period before sanctions can be lifted, following the UNSC vote. Realistically, most UN and EU sanctions, as well as some US third party sanctions, will be lifted only by early 2016.

The bottom line is that sooner rather than later – whatever the campaign by US neocons and the Israeli and Saudi lobbies — the whole architecture of sanctions, especially financial and banking, is bound to collapse. Iran will soon be open for business for all Eurasia.

On July 18, even before the UN unanimous vote, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei re-entered the scene with a bang, clarifying where Iran is heading next, geopolitically. He emphasized the nuclear deal would not change Tehran’s policy toward the “arrogant” US government. John Kerry was mortified; as if he didn’t know, based on his extensive conversations with Zarif.

So there we have it. Washington carrots will buy nothing – as the stick also didn’t. What Iran post-sanctions is aiming at is what’s brewing in the New Great Game in Eurasia; the interlocking integration promoted by the Chinese-led New Silk Roads and the Russia-led Eurasia Economic Union (EEU); the infrastructure financing of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) and the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); the prospect of soon joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); the Eurasia-wide offensive to bypass the US dollar; and of course the normalization of trade and commerce with Europe.

The Three (Eurasian) Amigos 

The Pentagon’s new military strategy made it very clear that the number one issue for the Masters of the Universe – irrespective of who’s in the White House — is a concerted push to strategically isolate both Russia and China, and destroy their strategic partnership. As unrealistic as this policy may be, it may even lead to a hot war; the Pentagon does leave the option on the table.

The Masters of the Universe, setting policy way above their paperboys in the Obama administration and already thinking post-2016, are actively engaged in a three-pronged military strategy. The intelligence establishment in Russia, China and Iran – the Top Three Eurasian integration powers – totally knows what is going on.

Failed state Ukraine is just a pretext for NATO’s perpetual expansion. Threatening a huge area from Russia’s southern underbelly to the west of Iran, ISIS/ISIL/Daesh is being instrumentalized, Divide and Rule-style, to actually end up with Sykes-Picot and pave the way for yet another Pentagon intervention, in Syria, in Iraq, or in “Syraq”.

And in Asia-Pacific, the “pivot to Asia”, as much as it’s just a chimera for the moment, remains in play, centered on interfering with China in the South China Sea.

From Syria to Ukraine all the way to the South China Sea, the trend points to Exceptionalistan creating havoc for the Top Three Eurasian powers. This is a frontal shock of two models – what I have previously described as Eurasia integration against the Empire of Chaos.

The Masters of the Universe seem to believe that the “pivot to Asia” won’t work if Iran is not part, as a vassal state, of the imperial design for Southwest Asia. Well, listen to Khamenei; that won’t happen.

The road ahead, for Iran, is a mix of Eurasia integration spearheaded by the China-Russia partnership, and mutually beneficial, extensive trade relations with Europe. It’s a neat echo of the initial motto of the Islamic revolution: “Neither east nor west.”

The empire won’t buy — or bribe — a new vassal. So expect an inevitable, nasty renewal of the Wall of Mistrust even before the architecture of sanctions eventually vanishes.

Image: Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon speaks with Greek counterpart Panos Kammenos at Israel’s Defense Ministry. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/Israeli Defense Ministry)

Greece’s ruling ostensibly left-wing Syriza party signed a “status of forces” accord with Israel on July 19. The Jerusalem Post explains that the agreement “offers legal defense to both militaries while training in the other’s country.”

That is to say, it is a pact in which Greece agrees to help the Israeli military—which has illegally militarily occupied and colonized Palestinian sovereign territory for almost five decades and which, practically bi-annually, demolishes infrastructure and massacres civilians and journalists (whom it deliberately targets when soldiers are “bored”) in Gaza.

Only one other country in the world has signed such an accord with Israel; that country is the US, which calls its uncritical support of Israel the “special relationship.”

“We very much appreciate your visit here during a difficult period for Greece,” Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and an aggressive war hawk, told his Greek counterpart Panos Kammenos at a meeting in the Israeli Defense Ministry. “This underlines the importance of relations between the countries,” Ya’alon added.

Kammenos defended the deal on “anti-terrorism” grounds. He insisted that the “Greek people are very close to the people in Israel.”

Critics note that Syriza first compromised its fundamental economic values, agreeing to a Troika-imposed crippling austerity deal that the IMF (which profits off of Greece’s odious debt) openly admitted would not work and that a prominent economics professor warned will make it simply “impossible” for Greece to pay off its large debts. The Syriza government made this decision in spite of the fact that almost two-thirds of the Greek population explicitly voted against austerity in an historic referendum in early July.

Now critics say Syriza has compromised its supposed support for the Palestinians, signing an agreement with the very military that occupies them—and not just any agreement, but an agreement that only the US, Israel’s closet ally, has signed.

Growing Relations

Is this move surprising? The answer to that question depends on whom one asks.

In January 2015, an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post claimed “the victory of Syriza in Greece is bad news for Israel.” The opposite has been shown to be the case.

Just after Greece’s January election, Greek ambassador to Israel Spyridon Lampridis presciently remarked “I can see only positive things in the future.”

To be clear, Syriza is by no means the first Greek government to stand with the Israeli military. Professor Aristotle Tziampiris, the Director of the Center for International and European Affairs at the University of Piraeus, has written an entire book about The Emergence of Israeli-Greek Cooperation.

And it is crucial to note that not everyone in the Syriza party is happy with the government’s decisions to capitulate to an impossible-to-pay-off austerity and privatization package and to work closely with Israel’s military.

Greek-Israeli businessman Sabby Mionis pointed out in an interview with the Times of Israel that “Several members of Syriza, including some who are getting government positions, were even [aboard] the Flotilla in 2010.” Mionis was referring to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which sought to bring humanitarian aid and construction materials to the strip. Israel prevents such materials from entering with its siege on Gaza, which the UN has for years ruled is illegal. On 31 May 2010, the flotilla was attacked by the very same Israeli military with which Syriza is now signing an historic agreement. Nine Palestinian human rights advocates were killed by Israeli forces in the attack.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has demonstrated, however, that his preferred method to deal with this left-wing dissent within his party is by kicking leftist members out of his government.

A new report by Italian researchers shows that the controversial Senhuile project in Senegal is on the verge of collapse. The project, initiated by Italian and Senegalese investors four years ago to produce biofuels, has provoked fierce resistance from affected communities in which six people have died. Its investors claim to have secured the rights to 45,000 hectares of land, though the company has cultivated only a fraction of this; to make matters worse, Senhuile’s disgraced former CEO is counter-suing the company on a variety of charges.

Senhuile is synonymous with land grabbing in Senegal. The project has been dogged by problems since it was set up. In 2011, villagers furious with the deal granting the company 20,000 ha in Fanaye, rose up in protest. Two villagers were killed and the project was then suspended and moved to a new location in Ndiael. There, several children from the area drowned in the project’s unprotected irrigation ditches, while suspicions of illicit finance rocked the company’s credibility. Now, a new report by Italian researchers published by Re:Common shows that the firm’s public relations efforts are backfiring and that the project is mired in deeper conflict and contradiction.

Some key findings:

  • The company fired its CEO, Benjamin Dummai, who was subsequently jailed for embezzlement, but he is now counter-suing Senhuile for 14 offences including fraudulent raising of capital and money laundering.
  • In recent weeks, the Italian investors have made it clear that their Senegalese land holdings go beyond the 20,000 ha attributed to them in the Ndiael region. They claim to have retained the rights to the 20,000 ha originally ceded to the project in Fanaye. They also claim to have recently acquired 5,000 ha in Fass Ngom. Yet the company has only managed to cultivate 1,500 ha in the past year, raising serious questions about why the authorities have allocated them so much land. In all areas affected by the project, the it is fiercely contested by farmers and pastoralists who can no longer make a living. Rumours abound that the project will be flipped to a major US or West African corporation.
  • Tampieri has spent the last year investing heavily in public relations work to win over the hearts and minds of local villages around the project site. Yet visits with the communities show the stark contradiction between what the company says and the experiences of people on the ground, exposing the company’s corporate social responsibility agenda completely hollow.
  • The project’s worst offences are the real human suffering and loss of life. Last month, a 16-year old herder drowned trying to cross the company’s irrigation canal and the family is preparing to file suit. The company has also been laying off workers and dismisses the demands of the 37 villages surrounding its project to pack up and go home.

“Whatever your position on development or management of land resources, we can’t keep on telling people what’s actually going on on the ground and presenting evidence of the company’s irregularities, while all it does is deny and attempt to cover up the divisions, contradictions, and conflicts surrounding the project. There’s been open conflict around this project for five years. It can’t go on like this,” said Davide Cirillo, a researcher with WOTS? (Walking on the South), an Italian collective that has done a great deal of work with the Senegalese communities.

This report is being launched jointly by the Collective for the defence of Ndiaël and Re:Common, in cooperation with GRAINInvestigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI)SUNUGAL, and the Walking on the South collective, groups that have been working to expose the Senhuile project as illegitimate and harmful.

Israeli Military Admits to Supporting Syrian Jihadis

July 24th, 2015 by Washington's Blog

The alternative press has noted for months that Israel is supporting jihadis in Syria.  But Israel has consistently denied these allegations … until now.

The Times of Israel reported 3 weeks ago:

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Monday that Israel has been providing aid to Syrian rebels, thus keeping the Druze in Syria out of immediate danger. Israeli officials have previously balked at confirming on the record that the country has been helping forces that are fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.


“We’ve assisted them under two conditions,” Ya’alon said of the Israeli medical aid to the Syrian rebels, some of whom are presumably fighting with al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. “That they don’t get too close to the border, and that they don’t touch the Druze.”

Al Nusra is Al Qaeda, and closely affiliated with ISIS.  And remember, there have NEVER been any “moderate Syrian rebels” … only Islamic Sunni jihadis.

As Vice President Joseph Biden admitted:

The fact of the matter is . . . there was no moderate middle. . . . [O]ur allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. . . . They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and . . . thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis.

(Leaked NSA documents also show that Israeli special forces assassinated a top Syrian government official.)

Not all Israelis support this effort.  For example, Jacky Hugi  – an Arab affairs analyst for Israeli army radio – recently wrote:

Israel should back Assad


Anyone who wonders why is invited to look at neighboring Iraq or distant Libya. What’s happening there is likely to happen in Syria after President Bashar al-Assad.


In choosing between one bad thing and another, the balance tips toward the regime. The Israeli security establishment should gradually abandon its emerging alliance with the Syrian rebels


The survival of the Damascus regime guarantees stability on Israel’s northern border, and it’s a keystone to its national security.


It is a dangerous, irresponsible gamble to choose Assad’s enemies and encourage his collapse — it would be playing with fire. The prominent elements among Israel’s potential future neighbors are mainly Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, or the Islamic State ….

While there is real joy that Obama is visiting Kenya, this moment should provide another platform for progressives to push for the demilitarization of the relations with Africa. This calls for the dismantling of the US Africa Command, the withdrawal of the Special Forces from Somalia and the end of drone strikes.

Barack Obama is visiting Kenya and Ethiopia when the people of Eastern Africa are desperate for peace. Last week Wednesday July 15, top Kenyan athletes, including former world marathon record holders, set off on a 22-day “Walk for Peace” against ethnic violence. The 836-kilometer (520-mile) walk is organized by a former Commonwealth marathon champion. This walk for peace is a striking example of the initiatives being undertaken in a country where the people want an end to all forms of violence. As President Barack Obama heads to Kenya to participate in the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Nairobi this week, the peoples of Kenya are excited and there is pride that the President of the USA will be visiting Kenya. Obama will be meeting with entrepreneurs but this should be an occasion where the government of the USA should seek to work with the peoples of Kenya and Somalia who want peace. This visit should be an occasion to spell out the process of demilitarizing the relations between the peoples of East Africa and the United States.

Kenya inherited the massive investment in the militarization of the Horn of Africa from the era of anti-communism and this militaristic link to the West was deepened during the so called War on Terror. This Global War on Terror has now backfired against the peoples and the insecurity generated within Kenya and East Africa reinforce the influence of the US military when Barack Obama and his Administration want to focus on “Doing Business with Africa.” In 2014, the Obama Administration with much fanfare called the first major US Africa summit but the present Washington sequestered bureaucracy has not worked to turn the page with the new engagement with African peoples. There have been no resources from Congress to support the much touted Power Africa.

We will maintain here that there are personal and political pressures for the USA to change its policies in Africa and the trip to Nairobi by the President is one of the most explicit efforts to turn against the securitization of relations with Africa. Kenya is one of the spaces in Africa bursting with innovative entrepreneurship ideas, especially in telecommunications and banking. The infrastructure planning of Kenya with the Lamu Port-South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) is being undertaken to transform the economies of Eastern Africa, without significant US participation. China is the principal partner in the infrastructure projects in Kenya.

As one of the vibrant centers of capital accumulation in Africa, Obama recognizes the vitality and energy of the Kenyan people. Prior to his departure he said that, “Despite poverty, despite conflict, there is a strength and a resilience there. The opportunities are extraordinary, and we just have to break down the stereotypes and the barriers.” Obama is traveling to break down stereotypes, but this is insufficient to change the 50 year program of militarism. There is in Kenya a vibrant popular force of progressives who are willing to work to ensure that the entrepreneurship engagement does not reward the current rich barons who are intent on rolling back the positive gains of the Kenyan Constitution of 2010.

Context of the Visit

When the Obama Administration negotiated with the leaders of Iran to seal the nuclear deal to end the sanctions, he was working against the conservative wing of the political establishment in the USA but he also had the gaze of the US on the potential economic might of Iran in Eurasia. With the Iran deal under his belt after the success of the cementing of the Affordable Care Act along with the Diplomatic breakthrough with Cuba after 54 years, Barack Obama was seeking to extend his break with neo conservative wing of the US polity. On social questions such as the rights of gays and lesbians, the Obama Administration took credit for the Supreme Court ruling in June 2015 that States cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions. At the funeral of those who were slain in Charleston, South Carolina, Obama spoke forcefully against racism and for the placing of the Confederate Flag in a museum.

Barack Obama, as the 44th President, in the pursuit of a credible legacy was moving outside of the paths of the consensus of the old status quo in the USA. The opening to Cuba and the renewal of diplomatic relations with Cuba on July 19 was celebrated in Washington by progressives who had long called for the normalization of relations between Cuba and the USA. These progressives are now calling on Obama to use Executive powers to lift the embargo against Cuba.

What is important about the thrust of the Cuba policy or the decision on marriage equality was that Obama was acting in concert with a vocal constituency in the USA. The decision on Cuba and the negotiations with Iran have not been welcomed by those sections of the militarists who oppose the closing of Guantanamo Bay as a base for the US military. The militaristic elements in the USA oppose what they see as the reversal of aspects of US foreign policy that have underpinned the projection of force by the United States for decades. The US right wing establishment along with the Murdoch papers such as the Wall Street Journal and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) are publicly opposing this shift that is being pushed by the Obama Administration.

In Eastern Africa, this section of the US establishment are working with those “traditional allies” of the USA such as Saudi Arabia and Israel to ensure that there are no dramatic shifts in the US alliances in Eastern Africa and in the Persian Gulf. The same Saudi Arabia that opposed the Iran deal had been named as one of the financiers of radical extremists in Somalia and other parts of East Africa. Essentially, all over the coast of Eastern Africa, from Beira up to Djibouti, the resources of the Wahabists are being poured into the pockets of groups that had been set in motion in the waning days of the Cold War when the CIA recruited Jihadists to fight in Afghanistan.

In seeking to devise new initiatives such as the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, Barack Obama was looking for ways to turn a new corner. In 2013, after he was elected for the second term, President Obama announced at West Point in May that “The War on terror is over.” This declaration, that the USA will not wage war on a tactic, was accompanied with the words that the military and intelligence agencies will not wage war against a tactic but will instead focus on a specific group of networks determined to destroy the U.S.

“We must define our effort not as a boundless ‘Global War on Terror,’ but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America. “ This attempted policy shift in Washington by Obama had threatened the long standing relations that had been established in East Africa that led Kenya to be compromised in the rendition schemes and in the duplicitous relationship with military entrepreneurs in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Eastern Congo and Rwanda. The Kenyan army had invaded Somalia in 2011 and since that incursion the levels of attacks inside Kenya have intensified. The US military, private contractors and Special Forces are operating out of Kismayo in Somalia, bringing further spotlight on how the Kenyan military had been integrated into the old War on Terror. In a report in the magazine Foreign Policy in early July it was reported that US Special Forces were carrying out counter terrorism operations in Somalia with “Boots on the Ground” in areas “controlled” by Kenyan troops, operating under cover and involved in a massive drone operation. [1] What this report did not say was that the presence of the US military personnel and private contractors in Somalia have guaranteed intensified attacks on Kenyan targets in Somalia and in Kenya.

Kenya had been caught in the vortex of the militarization of US foreign policy and the trip of the President to Kenya is coming at a moment when the investments from the Global War on Terror have unleashed insecurity in all parts of Kenya. The Global War on Terror had created another layer of violence in Kenya on top of the Cattle rustling, militia intimidation and revenge killings between rival communities that became common in certain regions of Kenya where there were loads of automatic weapons in the hands of unemployed youth open to manipulation by regional leaders.

The bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi in 1998 and the siege of the Westgate Mall in 2013 were two of the most publicized episodes of extremist violence, but all along the Coast of Kenya there have been attacks on civilians, with one attack in Mpeketoni killing more than 60 persons in 2014. The massacres of innocent students at the University College in Garissa in April took the lives of over 148 persons and in the aftermath the tourism industry had a further downturn with Western embassies issuing travel advisories. According to the New York Times, Kenya was caught in a Catch 22 in so far as Western terror alerts gave greater publicity to the extremists who are termed terrorists.[2]

Reaping the Fruits of Military Investment

From the first year after independence in 1964, sections of the US political establishment had decided to mobilize the Kenyan government as a base to undermine the true independence of Africa. This episode in the US relations with East Africa is celebrated in the book by William Attwood, The Reds and the Blacks. Inside Kenya this external involvement was accompanied by the politicization of ethnicity and region. The assassination of Tom Mboya and the early passing of Barack Obama Sr. were seen as episodes on the intersection of local accumulation and alliance with Western forces, especially the British.

At the end of the Cold War when saner voices in the US establishment wanted to demilitarize the US engagement with East Africa, the neo- conservatives decided to use the people of Somalia as a pawn and manipulated the sectional differences in the society. Even a former Cold Warrior, such as Smith Hempstone Jr., became an advocate for human rights and democracy in Kenya when he was appointed ambassador in 1989. However, the requirements of an alliance with President Arap Moi to secure the US incursion into Somalia in 1992 meant that the Administration of George Bush Sr. ignored the warnings of Ambassador Hempstone about the endemic corruption in Kenya and how the US “humanitarian” mission in Somalia was linked to this corruption.

Up to today, the US military have not learnt the lessons of Black Hawk Down (that humiliation of the US military in Mogadishu in 1993) and have doubled down in the region of East Africa extending the militarization of Somalia and building up a massive military presence in Djibouti, for the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA). Although the Djibouti base is the military space on the soil of the Somali peoples, it is from Kenya where the planning and logistics were organized. From time to time Western papers reported on front organizations such as Bancroft Global Development, which has the contract to train African Union (AMISOM) troops in Somalia. Terms such as terrorists and terrorism have been mobilized by the ruling elements in Kenya to disguise all forms of repression and conceal business relations with their Somalia class allies.

This current investment in militarism and NGOs in Kenya had been recounted by this author in the experience of the Office of Transition Initiatives in Kenya to ensure that the revolutionary capabilities of the Kenyan youths were not realized.[3] CIA and the militaristic operations in Kenya and Somalia reached its apogee when the US security establishment financed the military entrepreneurs (called Somali Warlords) of the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) in the duplicitous engagement with the Kenyan and Somalia peoples. Over US $100,000 per month was being paid to Somali operatives who were business partners for warfare with a section of the Kenyan establishment under Daniel Arap Moi. A top US official (Michael Zorick) handling Somalia in the US embassy in Nairobi was transferred from his job (as Somali Political Affairs Office, Kenya) after criticizing payments to militarists who were at the core of the fueling some of Mogadishu’s worst-ever fighting. Zorick’s exposure of the CIA in Somalia had exposed a rift inside the US government on how to handle Somalia — whether efforts to build peace should come before counter-terrorism — and the effect Washington’s perceived role has had in inflaming fighting there.

Obama’s Engagement with Kenya

Barack Obama had personal links to Kenya, and there is genuine excitement in Kenya at the prospect of the visit of the President of the USA to Kenya. Kenyan newspapers have been printing the names of all of the known living relatives of the current President of the USA. He first journeyed to Kenya for five weeks when he visited the grave of his father in 1988 and his recollections of the apartheid forms of political life in Kenya at that time was explicitly spelt out in the book, Dreams from My Father. Obama had returned to Kenya in 1992 with Michelle, then his fiancé. Again in 2006 during his first year in the US Senate Obama visited Kenya and in that journey he had demonstrated his knowledge of the malaise of the forms of accumulation in Kenya that is called corruption.

It is usual that Presidents of the USA identify with their ancestry (most publicized example was John F. Kennedy’s trip to Ireland) but with the vitriolic campaign by the neo-conservatives (called Birthers) that Obama was not a US citizen, Barack Obama had retreated from overt identification with his very close relatives in Kenya. In private, however, Obama was very much preoccupied with the absence of democratic participation. During the primary campaign in Iowa in January 2008, we learnt that candidate Obama had invited his sister Auma to Iowa who briefed him on the contradictions between the Kenyan peoples that had exploded into violence after the elections in December 2007. Later, in June 2013 when as President he made his first trip to Senegal, Obama invited the Chief Justices of Africa to focus on the role of the judiciary in the democratization process in Africa.

The Kenyan political leaders (President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto) had been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for complicity in mobilizing the elements who killed over 1000 persons, and the cloud over their heads had meant that these same leaders became vocal anti-imperialists. The Kenyatta Administration worked hard to mobilize the African Union against the ICC. Although the United States was not a signatory to the Rome Convention, US diplomats were active in calling for the ICC to pursue what it called “justice.” In the face of the activism of the US and EU diplomats on the ICC question, Kenyan leaders of the ruling Jubilee Coalition started to project a diversified foreign policy for Kenya. In their offensive against “Western imperialists,” the Kenyan leadership threatened to revoke the Defence Cooperation Agreement that had sustained relations between British and Kenyan intelligence elements since 1963. In the process of the active foreign policy to minimize dependence on Western sources of capital and security, the Kenyan leadership started a Look East policy seeking to strengthen relations with China and India. One by-product of the new orientation of the Kenyan leaders since 2008 was that the financial barons of Nairobi started to invest heavily in real estate in Kenya.

Fearing the sanctions against the leaders and the freezing of their vast assets, the Kenyan economy received a boost as the real estate barons and the financial barons transformed the urban landscape of Kenya. Nairobi had become a magnet for “entrepreneurs” and accumulators from all over Eastern and Central Africa; resources looted from Eastern Congo, South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and Rwanda found their way into the financial institutions and social networks of Kenya strengthening the Kenyan barons who understood the linkages between political, military and economic power.

The People Intervene and the 2010 Constitution

This consolidation of power in the hands of a few induced a climate of intensified struggles by those who wanted a new form of political governance. Progressives in Kenya had worked hard since 1992 on a new Constitution and when this Constitution was put before the people in 2010, it was overwhelmingly ratified, despite opposition from the ruling circles around President Mwai Kibaki. The new constitution bought a more decentralized political system, which limited the powers of the President and replaced corrupt provincial governments with local counties. This 2010 Constitution also created a second chamber of parliament – the Senate – and set up a land commission to settle ownership disputes and review past abuses. Despite this new Constitution, the 2013 elections was fought against the background of the ICC charges hanging over the Presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and the Vice Presidential Candidate William Ruto.

Before the elections, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa (Johnny Carson) who had been a former US Ambassador to Kenya made the statement that Choices have consequences. In a radio interview before the elections Mr Carson said. “We live in an interconnected world and people should be thoughtful about the impact that their choices have on their nation, on the region, on the economy, on the society and on the world in which they live. Choices have consequences.”

This statement was interpreted to mean that the US government opposed the election of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto and this statement itself became part of the election campaign. Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto represented themselves as nationalists defending the sovereignty of Kenya and rallied supporters with the claim “that foreign nations must not dictate who should lead Kenya.” The Jubilee Coalition of Kenyatta and Ruto won the elections in March 2013, so when Obama visited Tanzania in 2013 he bypassed Kenya.

Kenya Looks East

In the past ten years, the orientation of the Kenyan capitalist class has been to develop closer relationship with India, China, Turkey and other emerging powers. The 50 kilometer highway from Nairobi to Thika stands as one of the construction projects of the new leaders and confident peoples of Kenya. By the time the government of Kenya rolled out their Vision 2030, Chinese Construction companies were at the forefront of the planning stages for the ambitious projects being launched by the government of Kenya. About 50 Chinese companies have been contracted for 80 projects with a value of billions of dollars in sectors including transport, housing, water processing, power upgrading, energy, and sea ports and airports. The Chinese English language news service, CCTV, established its African base in Nairobi and the University of Nairobi hosted one of the Confucius Institutes in Africa.

However, in all those projects, it is in infrastructure and specifically road construction that China has stood head and shoulders above others. Of these mega projects, probably the biggest was the $11 billion Lamu Port and Lamu Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) This LAPSSET project includes the construction of the massive Lamu port at Manda Bay, road and rail links from the port to South Sudan and Ethiopia, and the construction of crude oil and product oil pipelines from South Sudan. This infrastructure will be more significant than any kind of competition going on now and will propel the transport barons of Kenya at the center of trade and commerce at precisely the moment when the East African Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern Africa Development Community initiated the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA).

The US establishment had no answer to this LAPSSET and the neo- con scribe Robert Kaplan wrote for many in the foreign policy and military circles when he opined that the LAPSETT project was part of a larger strategy in the “ Geography of Chinese Power: How Far Can Beijing Reach on Land and at Sea?.” US planners received the answer when over the next five years the massive infrastructure plans were laid out for the upgrading of the port of Mombasa, for the Chinese involvement in road, port and bridge construction in Tanzania and the deals all over the region worth close to $100 billion dollars. These projects of East Africa were integrated into the African Union project of the Programme for the Infrastructural Development in Africa (PIDA).

Obama’s Visit in This Context

While the US was concentrating on drone strikes in Somalia and operating out of Kenya, the tourism industry suffered in Kenya while the general climate of insecurity intensified. US policy makers were concerned about the inroads of China in Kenya and the vitriolic anti-imperialist rhetoric coming from the leaders. In 2013 Senator Chris Coons of Delaware chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, said in a report issued by his office that “China, which has made dramatic inroads across the continent in recent years, may undermine or even counter value-driven U.S. goals in the region, and should serve as a wake-up call for enhanced American trade and investment.”

In order to respond to this wakeup call, the Obama presidency had called and launched the GES, US Africa Summit and launched the Young Africa Leadership Initiative. President Obama elevated entrepreneurship to the forefront of the United States’ engagement agenda during a speech in Cairo in 2009. Since 2010, when the U.S. hosted the first Summit in Washington, D.C., GES has expanded to a global event, subsequently hosted by the governments of Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and Morocco. According to the communique from the White House,

The 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, on July 25-26. It will be the sixth annual gathering of entrepreneurs at all stages of business development, business leaders, mentors, and high-level government officials. The established tradition demonstrates the U.S. Government’s continued commitment to fostering entrepreneurship around the world.

In August 2014, over 40 African heads of States and governments were feted in Washington when Obama again touted the Power Africa project. On June 30, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa, President Barack Obama had announced the Power Africa as an initiative to increase the number of people with access to electric power in Africa. Kenya is supposed to be one of the first six countries targeted for this project. However, because this initiative remains unfunded, Obama was seeking to link African billionaires to US corporations such as General Electric and Blackstone. Obama mobilized his personal charisma to entreat African billionaires such as Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, Mo Ibrahim, James Mwangi (among other tycoons) to align with US corporations.

What came out of this US Africa summit were pledges and nationalistic African business persons questioned the efficacy of Obama’s call for partnering with US corporations. At one meeting on Capitol Hill, a prominent Kenyan business person said to the other Africans: “Why are you here in Washington looking for money? We have money enough in Kenya to invest in all of Africa.”

The Obama Administration was not blind to the new confident posture of the Kenyan society. What is known is that the Kenyan youths are among the most innovative and vibrant in the areas of telecommunications. New applications such as Mpesa and Ushaidi have set the Kenyan society apart in the novel use of new technologies. In a country where that are over 100 new Universities in the past 15 years, the state is planning an entire technology location called Konza City with a new University to tap into this energetic section of society.

Obama’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit is also one other attempt to tap into the energy of the Kenyan youths and to mobilize the society ideologically to be more positive to the ideas of neo-liberalism. Progressives are very clear that the neo-liberal order has been quite compatible with the militarization of the planet. The Obama Administration wants an end to the War on terror without curbs on the other sections of the military, financial and information complex. The GES is seeking to buck the plans of the Pentagon and the neo-con section of the State Department to intensify the militarization of the Indian Ocean. This year, for the first time John Kerry, the Secretary of State, visited Somalia and the US sent an envoy to Mogadishu for the first time in over 20 years.

Israel, Saudi Arabia and sections of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are not keen on peace in Kenya and Somalia and the demilitarization of the Indian Ocean. These forces are aligned to one wing of the Kenyan leadership who have invested in the military and security. To strengthen these forces, neo- conservatives and right wing Christians have fanned out over rural Kenya spewing hatred of humans who are same gender loving beings. These right wing Christian forces seek to associate followers of the faith of Islam with terrorism.

Uhuru Kenyatta and His “Anti-Imperialism”

According to Forbes Magazine, the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, is reputedly the richest man in Kenya. As such, his leadership is based on the consolidation of the top financial barons in the country. When the charges against Uhuru Kenyatta were withdrawn by the ICC, he was emboldened to be more aggressive in establishing himself as a leader who could rally African opinion against Western imperialists. His challenge to the British about the renewal of the British military training has been followed by seeking to make links with the progressives inside and outside of Kenya. In June he met with Ngugi wa Thiongo who for the past two decades has lived in exile in the USA. Kenya will host the regional Pan African Congress for East Africa in Nairobi in August.

In seeking to establish himself as a leading statesman, Kenyatta has invited the Pope to visit Kenya. The World Trade Organisation ministerial conference will take place in Nairobi, bringing together 200 ministerial delegations from around the world. Uhuru will have a sense of being on the world stage when he co–hosts the Global Entrepreneurship Summit with President Obama. He had only recently opened the Japan-Kenya Conference on Infrastructure.

Obama will be giving legitimacy to this section of the Kenyan financial barons in his Entrepreneurship conference because in the past ten years US officials have been unconcerned about sweat shop conditions of workers in Africa. Kenyan entrepreneurs have been lobbying Washington for the renewal of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), but there is no discussion in the media about the rights of Kenyan workers.

Obama will travel to Ethiopia after Kenya where the human rights record of the political leaders are as atrocious as those of the government of Rwanda. Obama will not welcome the leaders of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda to Kenya but the deployment of military forces from Uganda and Burundi to Somalia has emboldened these leaders to defy constitutional arrangements in their own societies to extend their hold on to political power. One immediate task in relation to this visit is for a clear program for the demilitarization of Somalia and for the USA to identify and expose those forces from the Arabian Gulf who are financially supporting Al Shabaab.

While there is real joy that Obama is visiting Kenya, this moment should provide another platform for progressives to push for the demilitarization of the relations with Africa. This calls for the dismantling of the US Africa Command, the withdrawal of the Special Forces from Somalia and the end of drone strikes. Normal air traffic and commerce in the area of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia has been negatively affected by the drone srikes being launched in this region. Real entrepreneurship and commerce cannot prosper in conditions where one section of capitalists want to engage in warfare as a business.

African progressives can take a leaf from the progressive forces in the USA who for five decades have called for the renewal of diplomatic relations with Cuba. These same progressives must take the political initiative to expose the Israeli and Saudi alliances that support elements who do not care about the lives of Africans.

Both the USA and Japan are very concerned about the foothold of China all over Eastern Africa but as long as the priority of the USA is for extending military relations with Africa via the US Africa Command and the so-called NGOs such as Bancroft Development, there will not be much traction for initiatives such as the US Africa Summit, Power Africa or the GES. Obama has surrounded himself with elements such as Susan Rice, Gayle Smith, Samantha Powers, John Brennan and others whose careers have been linked to military support for warlords in Libya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda.

From the start of his Presidency, Obama was caught between different forces in the United States and in Kenya. On the one side were the accumulated investments of the US military and private contractors in league with the neo-conservative Christians who proclaimed themselves to be Born Again Christians. These neo-conservatives had a base in the media with subsidiaries of the Rupert Murdoch Empire very involved in information manipulation inside Kenya. Western, especially US supported, non-governmental organizations were aligned with this section and they were silent on the role of the US military and the US Africa Command in Eastern Africa.

Obama is very concerned about his historical legacy and in the past year he has pushed by the organized forces in the USA who wanted to end the isolation of Cuba. The struggles against police killings and brutality in the USA have inspired a new movement organizing to defend Black lives. The Kenyan athletes who have embarked on 836-kilometer (520-mile) walk for peace are also proclaiming that the lives of ordinary Africans matter. Progressives in Kenya cannot stand aloof from the debates about entrepreneurship, electric power, infrastructure and mobile applications. Kenya needs peace and an end to the violence that is killing innocent people. Patriotic entrepreneurs who are not compromised by the cut throat forms of accumulation must stand out to push for conditions where business practices do not rob the peoples of Kenya of basic dignity.

The barons of real estate, banking, telecommunications, drugs, land and agriculture, sugar and transportation now dominate the agencies of government in Kenya and came into conflict with sections of Western Capital as they accumulated immense fortunes. The financial barons were willing to use violence to stay in power and were sophisticated enough to develop multilateral relations with new emerging economic behemoths such as India, Turkey, China, and sections of the European Union, especially France.

The processes of accumulation of wealth in Kenya were not sufficiently independent of state power for the barons to yield to popular votes in elections so the violence of the aftermath of the elections in 2007 was one manifestation of the huge stakes in Kenya. By travelling to Kenya at this time, Obama is caught between the homophobic neo-cons and the drone, Special Forces types on one side and the barons who want respectability on the other. This visit to Kenya has left Obama between the devil and the deep blue sea. Ultimately, in the short run, it is the Uhuru Kenyatta branch of the robber barons who will make hay out of this visit, regardless of what Obama says in his speeches to the Kenyan people.

Kenyan progressives must remain vigilant, be engaged with the debates about infrastructure and entrepreneurship to build a different relationship between the peoples of Kenya and the USA than that which has produced violence and insecurity over the past fifty years.

Horace G. Campbell is Professor of African American Studies and Political Science, Syracuse University. Campbell is also the Special Invited Professor of International Relations at Tsinghua University, Beijing. He is the author of Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa in the Forging of African Unity, Monthly Review Press, New York 2013.


[1] “U.S Operates from Secret Bases in Somalia,” Foreign Policy, July 2, 2015,http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/07/02/exclusive-u-s-operates-drones-from-secret-bases-in-somalia-special-operations-jsoc-black-hawk-down/
[2] Jeffrey Getleman, “A Catch-22 in Kenya: Western Terrorism Alerts May Fuel Terrorism, “ New York Times, February 25, 2015,http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/world/africa/as-tourism-sags-on-kenyan-coast- terrorists-could-lure-the-unemployed.html
[3] Horace G. Campbell, “ the Office of Transition Initiatives and the Subversion of Societies, “ Counterpunch, May 2, 2014http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/02/the-office-of-transition-initiatives-and-the-subversion-of-societies/
[4] Robert Kaplan,”The Geography of Chinese Power: How Far Can Beijing Reach on Land and at Sea?.” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2010,https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2010-05-01/geography-chinese-power

Britain has actively contributed to the creation a humanitarian disaster in Yemen, and potentially helped turn the Middle East’s poorest state into the new Syria. Not hyperbole or rhetoric, just a bald statement of fact. I’ll leave it to others to try to explain the near total silence on this issue throughout the British media and across the political spectrum. For now, it will suffice simply to tell the story.

This week the UN declared its highest level of humanitarian emergency in Yemen, with more than 21.1 million people (over 80 per cent of the population) in need of aid, 9.4 million with little or no access to water, and 13 million facing “a food security crisis” as the country teeters on the brink of famine. A fortnight ago the World Health Organisation confirmed an outbreak of potentially lethal dengue fever as a result of the general collapse of the state, civilian infrastructure and health services, with over 3,000 cases recorded since March. The total number of internally displaced people has now reached a million, with a quarter of a million made refugees.

Aid agencies have placed the blame primarily on a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, including the likes of Qatar, the UAE and Egypt, and backed by the US and UK, whose air campaign and naval blockade have dramatically worsened the situation in an already desperately impoverished country. The assault began in late March, when the Saudis and their allies waded into a civil conflict on the side of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi against the northern Houthi rebel movement. It is a case of the wealthiest Arab states joining forces to bomb and starve the poorest, with the assistance of two of the world’s richest and most powerful countries.

The UK wants to know how to deal with terrorism in the Middle East: they should stop fuelling and participating in it

From the start, Whitehall pledged to back the Saudis “in every practical way short of engaging in combat”. This has involved ongoing logistical and technical support to the Saudi air force (which operates twice as many UK-built jets as the RAF), as well as the continued supply of munitions, while Royal Navy liaison officers work alongside their Saudi counterparts enforcing the blockade.

Media reports offer occasional unattributed intimations that the British have been urging restraint on the Saudis, but the PR value of this is limited given the material support that continues to be provided irrespective of the human cost. The recent announcement of a £40m UK donation to the UN’s $1.6bn humanitarian appeal for Yemen was practically an insult. A drop in the ocean of what was needed to heal a disaster that Whitehall had itself helped to create.

The official death toll since March now exceeds 3,000, higher than last summer’s conflict in Gaza, although in a country like Yemen with many remote and inaccessible areas, the true number could be higher still. In the first days of the war, Amnesty International accused Saudi-led forces of “turning a blind eye to civilian deaths and suffering,” in the wake of airstrikes on a factory and a refugee camp that killed around 80 people. By early May, Human Rights Watch had identified “credible evidence” that the Saudis were using banned cluster bombs, which pose an inherently indiscriminate, long-term threat to civilians.

Last week, both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International published reports accusing Saudi-led forces of carrying out airstrikes on civilian targets that amounted to potential war crimes. The parallels with other religious fundamentalists murdering and terrorising civilians in the region do not end there. The archaeologist Lamya Khalidi has accused the Saudis of deliberately targeting Yemen’s rich array of priceless historic sites, in a campaign of “vandalism” that is “hard to distinguish from the Islamic State’s” in Iraq and Syria.

Like so many other countries across the Middle East, Yemen was the scene of mass protests from early 2011, triggered both by political repression and severe economic grievances. The Saudis and their Gulf allies moved to defuse the situation while preserving the existing order by engineering the replacement of President Ali Abdullah Saleh with Hadi, his deputy, who subsequently ran unopposed for a short term presidency which officially expired last year.

The failure of the transitional process to address the country’s deep-seated problems left space for the Houthis to move on the capital, allying themselves with forces still loyal to Saleh.

What Yemen needed at this point was a negotiated settlement to halt the descent into violence. Instead, Britain along with other members of the UN Security Council passed aheavily biased resolution supporting the Saudi intervention, as though the monarchs of the Arabian peninsula were credible protectors and midwives of Yemen’s transition to democracy, with the best interests of its people at heart.

The Saudis’ war has only succeeded in escalating the violence and instability further, turning negotiated peace into a far more distant prospect. As has been the case in Syria, the involvement of international actors using Yemen’s internal problems as a battlefield for their own geopolitical agendas and rivalries has poured fuel on the flames, and helped to expand an anarchic space which extremists from al-Qaeda and now Islamic State itself have rushed to fill.

In the interests of maintaining its long-term strategic alliance with Riyadh, and protecting its investment in a conservative regional order, London has not only helped to create a humanitarian disaster in Yemen, but also enabled an alarmingly aggressive foreign policy turn under the new Saudi king. The destruction of Yemen is many ways a message from King Salman to Iran, whose backing for the Houthis has been seriously overstated by an increasingly paranoid Saudi regime.

The Riyadh-Tehran rivalry is fundamentally about regional power rather than religion, but it is inevitably now playing out in both violent and explicitly sectarian ways. By supporting the Saudis’ war in Yemen, Britain is helping to drive both that country and the wider region deeper into the abyss.

Since last week’s atrocity at a beach resort in Tunisia, politicians and commentators have been discussing how the British state can best tackle the problem of terrorism in the Middle East. Well here’s one suggestion. Stop fuelling it, and stop participating in it.

David Wearing is a researcher at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he teaches courses on Middle East Politics and International Political Economy. He sits on the steering committee of Campaign Against Arms Trade.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Photo:Yemeni children wait to fill their jerrycans with water from a public tap amid an acute shortage of water supply. (AFP)

On Friday, alongside China’s announcement that it had bought over 600 tons of gold in “one month”, the PBOC released another very important data point: its total foreign exchange reserves, which declined by $17.3 billion to $3,694 billion.

We then put China’s change in FX reserves alongside the total Treasury holdings of China and its “anonymous” offshore Treasury dealer Euroclear (aka “Belgium”) as released by TIC, and found that the dramatic relationship which we first discovered back in May, has persisted – namely virtually the entire delta in Chinese FX reserves come via China’s US Treasury holdings. As in they are being aggressively sold, to the tune of $107 billion in Treasury sales so far in 2015.

We explained all of his on Friday in “China Dumps Record $143 Billion In US Treasurys In Three Months Via Belgium“, and frankly we have been surprised that this extremely important topic has not gotten broader attention.

Then, to our relief, first JPM noticed. This is what Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, author of Flows and Liquidity had to say on the topic of China’s dramatic reserve liquidation

Looking at China more specifically, it appears that, after adjusting for currency changes, Chinese FX reserves were depleted for a fourth straight quarter by around $50bn in Q2. The cumulative reserve depletion between Q3 2014 and Q2 2015 is $160bn after adjusting for currency changes. At the same time, a current account surplus in Q2 combined with a drawdown in reserves suggests that capital outflows from China continued for the fifth straight quarter. Assuming a current account surplus in Q2 of around $92bn, i.e. $16bn higher than in Q1 due to higher merchandise trade surplus, we estimate that around $142bn of capital left China in Q2, similar to the previous quarter.

JPM conclusion is actually quite stunning:

This brings the cumulative capital outflow over the past five quarters to $520bn. Again, we approximate capital flow from the change in FX reserves minus the current account balance for each previous quarter to arrive at this estimate (Figure 2).

Incidentally, $520 billion is roughly triple what implied Treasury sales would suggest as China’s capital outflow, meaning that China is also liquidating some other USD-denominated asset(s) at a feverish pace. So far we do not know which, but the chart above and the magnitude of the Chinese capital outflow is certainly the biggest story surrounding the world’s most populous nation: what is happening in its stock market is just a diversion.

At this point JPM goes into a tangent explaining what the practical implications of a massive capital outflow from China are for the global economy. Regular readers, especially those who have read our previous piece on the collapse in the Petrodollar, the plunge in EM capital inflows, and their impact on capital markets and global economies can skip this part. Those for whom the interplay of capital flows and the global economy are new, are urged to read the following:

One way that slower EM capital flows and credit creation affect the rest of the world is via trade and trade finance. Trade finance datasets are unfortunately not homogeneous and different measures capture different aspects of trade finance activity. Reuters data on trade finance only aggregates loan syndication deals, which have mandated lead arrangers and thus capture the trends in the large-scale trade lending business, rather than providing an all-inclusive loans database. Perhaps the largest source of regularly collected and methodologically consistent data on trade finance is credit insurers (see “Testing the Trade Credit and Trade Link: Evidence from Data on Export Credit Insurance”, Auboin and Engemann, 2013). The Berne Union, the international trade association for credit and investment insurers with 79 members, includes the world’s largest private credit insurers and public export credit agencies. The volume of trade credit insured by members of the Berne Union covered more than 10% of international trade in 2012. The Berne Union provides data on insured trade credit, for both short-term (ST) and medium- and long-term transactions (MLT). Short-term trade credit insurance accounts for the vast majority at around 90% of new business in line with IMF estimates that the vast majority 80%-90% of trade credit is short term.

 Figure 4 shows both the Reuters (quarterly) and the Berne Union (annual) data on trade finance loan syndication and trade credit insurance volumes, respectively. The quarterly Reuters data showed a clear deceleration this year from the very high levels seen at the end of last year. Looking at the first two quarters of the year, Reuters volumes were down by 25% vs. the 2014 average (Figure 4).The more comprehensive Berne Union annual volumes are only available annually and the last observation is for 2014. These data showed a very benign trade finance picture up until the end of 2014. Trade finance volumes had been trending up since 2010 at an annual pace of 8.8% per annum (between 2010 and 2014) which is faster than global nominal GDP growth of 6% per annum, i.e. the trend in trade finance had been rather healthy up until 2014, but there are indications of material slowing this year. This is also reflected in world trade volumes which have also decelerated this year vs. strong growth in previous years (Figure 5).

Summarizing the above as simply as possible: for all those confounded by why not only the US, but the global economy, hit another brick wall in Q1 the answer was neither snow, nor the West Coast strike, nor some other, arbitrary, goal-seeked excuse, but China, and specifically over half a trillion in still largely unexplained Chinese capital outflows.

* * *

But wait, because it wasn’t just JPM whose attention perked up over the weekend. This morning Goldman Sachs itself had a note titled “the Curious Case of China’s Capital Outflows“:

China’s balance of payments has been undergoing important changes in recent quarters. The trade surplus has grown far above previous norms, running around $260bn in the first half of this year, compared with about $100bn during the same period last year and roughly $75bn on average during the previous seven years. Ordinarily, these kinds of numbers would see very rapid reserve accumulation, but this is not the case. Partly that is because China’s services balance has swung into meaningful deficit, so that the current account is quite a bit lower than the headline numbers from trade in goods would suggest. But the more important reason is that capital outflows have become very sizeable and now eclipse anything seen in the recent past. Headline FX reserves in the second quarter fell $36bn, from $3,730bn at end-March to $3,694bn at end-June. While we estimate that there was a large negative valuation effect in Q1 (due to the drop in EUR/$ on the ECB’s QE announcement), there was likely a positive valuation effect in Q2, which we put around $48bn. That means that our proxy for reserve accumulation in the second quarter is around -$85bn, i.e. the actual “flow” drop in reserves was bigger than the headline numbers suggest because of a flattering valuation effect. If we put that number together with the trade surplus in Q2 of $140bn, net capital outflows could be around -$224bn in the quarter, meaningfully up from the first quarter. There are caveats to this calculation, of course. There is obviously the services deficit that we mention above, which will tend to make this estimate less dramatic. It is also possible that our estimate for valuation effects is wrong. Indeed, there is some indication that valuation-related losses in Q1 were not nearly as large as implied by our calculations. But even if we adjust for these factors, net capital outflows might conceivably have run around -$200bn, an acceleration from Q1 and beyond anything seen historically.

Granted, this is smaller than JPM’s $520 billion number but this also captures a far shorter time period. Annualizing a $224 billion outflow in one quarter would lead to a unprecedented $1 trillion capital outflow out of China for the year. Needless to say, a capital exodus of that pace and magnitude would suggest that something is very, very wrong with not only China’s economy, but its capital markets, and last but not least, its capital controls, which prohibit any substantial outbound capital flight (at least for ordinary people, the Politburo is clearly exempt from the regulations for the “common folk”).

Back to Goldman:

The big question is obviously what is driving these flows and how long they are likely to continue. We continue to take the view that a stock adjustment is at work, although it is clear that the turning point is yet to come. We will look at this in one of our next FX Views. In the interim, we think an easier question is what this means for G10 FX. This is because this shift in China’s balance of payments is sure to depress reserve accumulation across EM as a whole, such that reserve recycling – a factor associated with Euro strength in the past – is unlikely to be sizeable for quite some time.

In other words, for once Goldman is speechless, however it is quick to point out that what traditionally has been a major source of reserve reflow, the Chinese current and capital accounts, is no longer there.

It also means that what may have been one of the biggest drivers of DM FX strength in recent years, if only against the pegged Renminbi, is suddenly no longer present.

While the implications of this on the global FX scene are profound, they tie in to what we said last November when explaining the death of the petrodollar. For the most part, the country most and first impacted from this capital outflow will be China, something its stock market has already noticed in recent weeks.

But what is likely the take home message for non-Chinese readers from all of this, is that while there has been latent speculation over the years that China will dump US treasuries voluntarily because it wants to (as punishment or some other reason), suddenly China is forced to liquidate US Treasury paper even though it does not want to, merely to fund a capital outflow unlike anything it has seen in history. It still has a lot of 10 Year paper, aka FX reserves, left: about $1.3 trillion at last check, however this raises two critical questions: i) what happens to 10 Year rates when whoever has been absorbing China’s Treasury dump no longer bids the paper and ii) how much more paper can China sell before the entire world starts paying attention, besides just JPM and Goldman… and this website of course.

Finally, if China’s selling is only getting started, just what does this mean for future Fed strategy. Because one can easily forget a rate hike if in addition to rising short-term rates, China is about to dump a few hundred billion in paper on a vastly illiquid market.

Or let us paraphrase: how soon until QE 4?

Iran’s Longstanding US-Inflicted Nightmare

July 24th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

It began in August 1953 – replacing democratically elected Mohammad Mossadeq (Iran’s most popular politician at the time) with a generation of brutal US-installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi dictatorship.  

A 2013 declassified CIA document (marking the coup’s 60th anniversary) publicly acknowledged the agency’s involvement (Operation TPAJAX) – what’s been well-known for decades.

Kermit Roosevelt (Theodore’s grandson, Franklin’s cousin) engineered the CIA’s first coup. Harry Truman established the agency in 1947, saying he “considered it very important…to have a sound, well-organized intelligence system…(but) no Gestapo under any guise or for any reason.” Things have a way of not evolving as planned.

The late Chalmers Johnson (once a CIA consultant, a former “spear-carrier,” he said) called the agency the president’s “praetorian guard,” a private army producing phony intelligence to justify extrajudicial actions.

They include toppling democratically elected governments, assassinating foreign heads of state and other key officials, propping up friendly dictators, and abducting targeted individuals for extraordinary rendition to agency controlled black sites – torture prisons to extract forced confessions from innocent victims under extreme duress, at times bringing them close to death and back.

Longstanding US policy isn’t pretty. Iran endured it for 62 years this August – with no end in sight despite agreement in Vienna. It may not stand the test of time given America’s odious history of breaching deals – blaming victims for its duplicity.

Following its 1979 revolution, Jimmy Carter considered invading Iran, seizing its oil fields, toppling its government and reinstituting US-controlled despotic rule.

His doctrine pledged regional military intervention if US interests were threatened. Longstanding US hostility toward the Islamic Republic began on his watch.

It continued during nearly eight years of US-instigated Iraqi war on Iran – begun September 22, 1980, taking over a million lives, including many civilians.

Anti-Iranian hostility remains hard-wired. Regime change is official US policy. Tehran’s well-known peaceful nuclear program was always red herring cover for what’s really at stake – Iranian sovereignty on the chopping block for elimination at Washington’s discretion, by Obama or an administration succeeding him.

America tolerates no independent governments – especially oil and gas-rich ones anywhere. For now, long knives aim to undermine years of hard work, consummated in Vienna – the July 14 seven-nation-agreed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Expect revved up Iran bashing at least until the Republican-controlled Congress likely rejects it in September or earlier, followed by Obama’s veto and uncertainty whether override follows.

Weeks of non-stop demonization, misinformation, and Big Lies began. David Albright is a notorious Iran basher. He heads the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS). It fronts for Western imperial interests.

US media feature his remarks. He claims nuclear expertise he doesn’t have. Former Iraq chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter once called him a “nuclear expert who never was.” His analyses are “half-baked. He breathes false legitimacy into factually challenged” claims.

He unjustifiably called Iran “practiced at cheating. You can’t count on them to make a mistake.” He’s been caught red-handed before lying about Iran’s legitimate nuclear program.

Olli Heinonen is another well-quoted figure of disrepute – a former US-installed IAEA deputy director general, at one time a so-called Washington Institute for Near East Policy “expert.” WINEP is a well-known Israeli front group.

He claims Iran will cheat at “undeclared facilities” by conducting covert nuclear work on a nonexistent path to the bomb.

Israeli Foreign Ministry head Dore Gold speaks for Netanyahu – currently in full Iran bashing mode. He lied claiming a “major escalation” of Iran-backed terror attacks are coming on Israel’s borders following the Vienna agreement and lifting of nuclear related sanctions.

“(T)he moment (frozen assets) become available (is) when the Middle East goes south and things become extremely dangerous in the region,” he blustered

He practically signaled planned Israeli false flags wrongfully blamed on Iran – like earlier Mossad-staged ones.

The campaign to demonize Iran more than already is in full swing. Expect continued irresponsible fear-mongering to influence US public opinion and Senate Democrats supporting the nuclear deal – an all-out blitzkrieg to subvert it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at[email protected].  

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.  

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.  

The United States and its European and NATO allies are currently engaged in or preparing to undertake the largest military exercises ever to take place in the host countries involved. These operations include the deployment of American and NATO soldiers and heavy military equipment across the breadth of the European continent, with a focus on Russia’s western border.

Annual military exercises in Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine have grown significantly in size and scope in the wake of the 2014 coup in Ukraine and ensuing civil war. The United States and its allies have used claims of Russian aggression in Ukraine to ramp up its military presence throughout Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries.

The United States announced last month that it will station heavy equipment, including artillery and tanks, on a rotating basis in a number of Eastern European NATO countries. Additionally, NATO announced that it would triple the size of its Response Force which is aimed at Russia.

In addition to ongoing exercises in Eastern Europe, Trident Juncture 2015, the largest NATO military exercise since 2002, is scheduled to begin in late September and will involve 36,000 troops form more than 30 countries. The exercises will take place in Spain, Italy and Portugal, with all 28 NATO countries plus five allies participating.

In a scenario that clearly stands in for the ongoing Ukraine conflict, forces from the participating countries’ armies, navies, air forces and Special Forces will engage in an extended operation to assist the fictitious country of Sorotan, a non-NATO country that is wracked by internal armed conflict and faces a military threat from a powerful neighbor.

A review of the ongoing exercises in the run-up to Trident Juncture gives a sense of the size and scope of the war preparations being developed by the United States and its NATO allies.


The Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident 2015 joint exercise opened on Monday near Lviv in far western Ukraine. Approximately 2,000 soldiers from 18 countries including the United States, the UK, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Lithuania and Ukraine are taking part. Training activities include small arms fire, the deployment and use of armored vehicles, responding to an ambush, and identifying and dismantling improvised explosive devices.

The Saber Guardian exercise, which rotates between host nations, was integrated with Rapid Trident, held annually in Ukraine. Due to this integration, the exercise, which ends on July 31, is being billed as the largest multinational military exercise to take place in Ukraine since joint maneuvers with US and western European forces began in 1995.

The Russian foreign ministry put out a statement on Monday warning that the exercises had the potential to undermine the ceasefire between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists signed in February.

“NATO not only is not ready to admit that the organization of such drills is a mistake [and] have possibly explosive consequences but [has] considerably increased their scale and the number of personnel involved as compared with the last year’s exercises,”

the foreign ministry said.

Don Wrenn, public affairs specialist for the United States Army in Europe, absurdly denied that the exercises were in any way directed against Russia or the pro-Russian separatists in the east. “It is not anything to do with the political situation,” Wrenn told reporters.

“This exercise was planned ahead of time. Countries were notified that it would occur and we can’t directly connect with the situation going on. Rapid Trident has been going for years in Ukraine.”

The United States has been providing military support to the pro-Western government that came to power in a fascist-spearheaded coup. The US and its European allies backed the coup as part of its long-term strategy of removing Ukraine from Russia’s historic sphere of economic and military influence, with the ultimate aim of encircling and transforming Russia into a semi-colony.

Over the last year the Obama administration has delivered Humvees, body armor and medical aid kits to bolster the Ukrainian army. While it so far has not heeded calls to provide Kiev with lethal weaponry, such as shoulder fired anti-tank missiles, the Obama administration is reportedly close to making a decision on the delivery of long range radar to assist in the fight against the pro-Russian separatists.

In addition to the supply of military aid, US paratroopers have been training members of the recently formed Ukrainian National Guard. The National Guard has incorporated members of the fascist paramilitary organizations such as the Azov Battalion, which has been at the forefront of the offensive against pro-Russian separatists in the east. The Obama administration is preparing to expand this training operation to incorporate members of the Ukrainian military.


The Joint Effort 2015 exercise is being held at a military base near Balti, the second largest city in Moldova. The military drills which started on Monday and go through Saturday involve approximately 800 troops from the United States, Romania, Poland, Georgia and Moldova.

The current operation is amongst the largest military maneuvers ever undertaken in the country, located between Ukraine and Romania. Prior to the opening of Joint Effort exercises, US troops trained Moldovan soldiers in the use of new communications systems.

The US and its European allies have been actively working to counter Russian influence in the small land-locked country. While not a member of the NATO alliance, Moldova is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and has markedly increased military cooperation with NATO since the outbreak of conflict in Ukraine last year.

A former Soviet Republic, Moldova contains the disputed territory of Transnistria. Russia has had peacekeepers stationed in the territory since 1992 as part of a cease-fire agreement in the Transinistrian War, which broke out in 1990 amidst the dissolution of the USSR.


Two weeks of military exercises in Georgia known as Agile Spirit 2015 concluded on Wednesday. Held at Vaziani Military Base outside the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, the exercises were an expansion of bilateral US-Georgia drills, including for the first time a number of forces from NATO countries. Approximately 700 soldiers from the US, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Georgia practiced urban warfare, moving house to house and undertaking medical evacuations.

US Marine Captain Frank Walker laid out the purpose of the exercises in a NATO promotional video posted on YouTube. “What we’re doing here is practicing conventional offence and defense operations,” he said.

“And what that allows us to do is rapidly transition away from the counterinsurgency requirements of Iraq and now Afghanistan and go back to more of a general purpose infantry force that can respond to regional crisis.”

While Georgia is not yet an official member of the NATO alliance, a new NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation center is slated to open in August. The US has been pressing to incorporate the former Soviet republic into the NATO alliance. With US backing, Georgia fought a brief war with Russia in 2008 over the disputed territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

US military forces in Iraq will take on a more direct combat role once US-backed national and local forces have reconquered territory now controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Thursday during an address to US troops in Baghdad.

Carter’s visit is part of preparations for another escalation of combat operations in Iraq, relying on an array of proxy forces, in an effort to consolidate Washington’s military grip over the country.

Carter began his unannounced one-day visit with an appearance at the Iraqi Counterterrorism Service Academy, a training center for elite Iraqi commando units. The academy was originally formed by the US occupation authorities, and US officials say that the forces trained there will lead an upcoming assault against Ramadi, which ISIS captured in May and which is currently held by some 1,000-2,000 of its fighters.

The offensive will be carried out under the close supervision and direction of US military “advisers,” Pentagon officials said this week.

Carter also received briefings from Iraqi officials on efforts to train additional units for the US-backed force, which maintains close ties to the US military and has undergone extensive training at US-run programs in Jordan.

The US defense secretary looked on as the Iraqi commandos, decked out in paramilitary gear, their faces covered with black masks, practiced troop maneuvers and live-fire target practice, according to the New York Times .

In contrast to his remarks earlier this year that regular Iraqi government forces “lacked the will to fight,” Carter lavished praise on the US-supported Iraqi Counterterrorism Service (ICTS).

“Your forces have performed so very well, so very bravely,” Carter said.

“And I know that you have suffered great losses too, but I just wanted to tell you that it is very clear to us in Washington what a capable force this is. So it’s a privilege for us to be your partners.”

These same “brave” and “capable” partners have been implicated in atrocities against civilians. Photos published by ABC News earlier this year showed the US-trained Special Forces troops posing with corpses and severed heads.

Along with an assortment of government troops and militias, including thousands of Iraqi regulars and federal police forces, the Iraqi Special Forces troops are preparing to lead the attack on Ramadi.

“When conditions are right, we will transition into an assault to seize Ramadi,” US Army spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said Thursday. “We are beginning to isolate Ramadi from multiple directions,” he added. “We are beginning to put a noose around the city.”

Additional hundreds of Sunni tribal forces mobilized by the US are expected to support the assault. The Sunni forces will be tasked with holding Ramadi and the surrounding territory after ISIS is driven out, US military officials said.

These Sunni tribal elements will participate in the operations as an autonomous force, not subject to the central Iraqi command structure, according to US officials.

“They are essentially operating together, but without a strict and formalized command and control relationship being established,” Warren said.

US imperialism is seeking to promote the Sunni militias as a means of deepening its penetration of Iraqi society and gaining leverage over the Iranian-backed central government. Just as during the 2003-2011 US occupation, American imperialism is striving to maintain its stranglehold over Iraq through the stoking up of sectarian divisions and the mobilization of tribal-based militias.

President Obama vowed in May that Washington would take steps to “get the Sunni tribes more activated.”

During congressional testimony last month, Carter threatened that the US has prepared a strategy to dissolve the unified Iraqi state if Washington deems it necessary, bypassing Baghdad and instead ruling portions of the country on the basis of separate alliances with Sunni and Kurdish elements.

In light of these remarks, Carter’s euphemistic calls for “inclusive governance” in Iraq, issued during a joint appearance with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi from inside the militarized “Green Zone” in Baghdad, were clearly intended to signal that the US will not tolerate hostility by the central government to the political aspirations of US proxy forces opposed to Abadi’s Shia-led regime.

The offensive being planned in Anbar is viewed by Washington as a trial run for a further expansion of US involvement in the ground war raging across large areas of the country.

The US Defense Department is preparing for possible deployment of hundreds or even thousands of more troops to Iraq in the coming year, as part of a “lily pad” strategy based around a new network of US bases, General Martin Dempsey said last month.

Any further deployments will come on top of more than 10 months of continuous ground and air operations, involving some 3,600 US ground troops and a continuous aerial bombardment by the US-led coalition.

The continued vitality of ISIS, which succeeded in seizing control of Ramadi with a relatively minuscule force of lightly armed fighters, has fueled already widespread suspicions among Iraqis that Washington is, in fact, “resupplying” ISIS and that US planners are not especially concerned about defeating the group.

Such suspicions are entirely justified. ISIS emerged out of the US-engineered war in Syria, where the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency financed and equipped an insurgency led by Islamist militants, as part of their efforts to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Even as it fomented civil war against the Syrian government in Damascus, the US military-intelligence apparatus was fully aware that extremist groups, including Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), were leading the war against Assad and seeking to establish an Islamic state in eastern Syria, the release earlier this year of secret intelligence report by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) confirmed.

Despite the humiliating blows the group has delivered to US-trained government forces in Iraq, ISIS continues to serve as a useful cat’s paw for US imperialism’s machinations on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border. It has become the central pretext for a much broader escalation of the US “war on terror” across large areas of Africa and Asia, and within the US itself.

The Eurozone’s German Problem

July 24th, 2015 by Philippe Legrain

LONDON – The eurozone has a German problem. Germany’s beggar-thy-neighbor policies and the broader crisis response that the country has led have proved disastrous. Seven years after the start of the crisis, the eurozone economy is faring worse than Europe did during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The German government’s efforts to crush Greece and force it to abandon the single currency have destabilized the monetary union. As long as German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration continues to abuse its dominant position as creditor-in-chief to advance its narrow interests, the eurozone cannot thrive – and may not survive.

Germany’s immense current-account surplus – the excess savings generated by suppressing wages to subsidize exports – has been both a cause of the eurozone crisis and an obstacle to resolving it. Before the crisis, it fueled German banks’ bad lending to southern Europe and Ireland. Now that Germany’s annual surplus – which has grown to €233 billion ($255 billion), approaching 8% of GDP – is no longer being recycled in southern Europe, the country’s depressed domestic demand is exporting deflation, deepening the eurozone’s debt woes.

Germany’s external surplus clearly falls afoul of eurozone rules on dangerous imbalances. But, by leaning on the European Commission, Merkel’s government has obtained a free pass. This makes a mockery of its claim to champion the eurozone as a rules-based club. In fact, Germany breaks rules with impunity, changes them to suit its needs, or even invents them at will.

Indeed, even as it pushes others to reform, Germany has ignored the Commission’s recommendations. As a condition of the new eurozone loan program, Germany is forcing Greece to raise its pension age – while it lowers its own. It is insisting that Greek shops open on Sundays, even though German ones do not. Corporatism, it seems, is to be stamped out elsewhere, but protected at home.

Beyond refusing to adjust its economy, Germany has pushed the costs of the crisis onto others. In order to rescue the country’s banks from their bad lending decisions, Merkel breached the Maastricht Treaty’s “no-bailout” rule, which bans member governments from financing their peers, and forced European taxpayers to lend to an insolvent Greece. Likewise, loans by eurozone governments to Ireland, Portugal, and Spain primarily bailed out insolvent local banks – and thus their German creditors.

To make matters worse, in exchange for these loans, Merkel obtained much greater control over all eurozone governments’ budgets through a demand-sapping, democracy-constraining fiscal straitjacket: tougher eurozone rules and a fiscal compact.

Germany’s clout has resulted in a eurozone banking union that is full of holes and applied asymmetrically. The country’s Sparkassen – savings banks with a collective balance sheet of some €1 trillion ($1.1 trillion) – are outside the European Central Bank’s supervisory control, while thinly capitalized mega-banks, such as Deutsche Bank, and the country’s rotten state-owned regional lenders have obtained an implausibly clean bill of health.

The one rule of the eurozone that is meant to be sacrosanct is the irrevocability of membership. There is no treaty provision for an exit, because the monetary union is conceived as a step toward a political union – and it would otherwise degenerate into a dangerously rigid and unstable fixed-exchange-rate regime. Germany has not only trampled on this rule; its finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, recently invented a new one – that debt relief is forbidden in the eurozone – to justify his outrageous behavior toward Greece.

As a result, Greece’s membership in the eurozone – and by extension that of all other members – is now contingent on submission to the German government. It is as if the United States unilaterally decided that NATO’s principle of collective defense was now conditional on doing whatever the American government dictated.

The eurozone desperately needs mainstream alternatives to this lopsided “Berlin Consensus,” in which creditors’ interests come first and Germany dominates everyone else. Merkelism is causing economic stagnation, political polarization, and nasty nationalism. France, Italy, and Europeans of all political stripes need to stand up for other visions of what the eurozone should be.

One option would be greater federalism. Common political institutions, accountable to voters across the eurozone, would provide a democratic fiscal counterpart to the ECB and help cage German power. But increasing animosity among eurozone member states, and the erosion of support for European integration in both creditor and debtor countries, means greater federalism is politically unfeasible – and potentially even dangerous.

A better option would be to move toward a more flexible eurozone, in which elected national representatives have a greater say. With the no-bailout rule restored, governments would have more space to pursue countercyclical policies and respond to voters’ changing priorities.

To make such a system credible, a mechanism for restructuring the debt of insolvent governments would be created. This, together with reform of the rules covering the capitalization of banks – which incorrectly treat all sovereign debt as risk-free and do not cap banks’ holdings of it – would enable markets, not Germany, to rein in truly excessive borrowing. Ideally, the ECB would also be given a mandate to act as a lender of last resort for illiquid but solvent governments. Such changes could garner broad support – and would serve Germany’s own interests.

The eurozone’s members are trapped in a miserable marriage, dominated by Germany. But fear is not enough to hold a relationship together forever. Unless Merkel comes to her senses, she will eventually destroy it.

Philippe Legrain, a former economic adviser to the president of the European Commission, is a visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics’ European Institute and the author of European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right.

Although the coup in Ukraine in February 2014 was allegedly done in order to get Ukraine into the European Union (because the overthrown President Viktor Yanukovych had just before declined the EU’s offer for Ukraine to join the EU), European countries are now denying Ukrainians visas even more than they had been doing before the coup and its follow-on Association Agreement with the EU.

Ukraine’s independent European Integration website headlined on July 21st, “The Percentage of Refusals Increased,” and reported that, “Of the 22 countries in the Schengen area [the countries where visas are not required], 16 increased the percentage of refusals of entrance to Ukrainians as compared to the year 2013,” which was the final year prior to the coup.

Furthermore: “Switzerland and Finland denied visas to Ukrainians at a rate three times higher than in 2013, and Spain, Portugal, Greece and Sweden denied visas almost twice as much as in 2013.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin “admitted: Some consulates deliberately do not give visas to Ukrainians, even when they are eligible.”

The same website had reported on June 26th that they were informed, “Most of the people who are affected by this live outside Kiev and the other major cities. … I fear it will lead to increased numbers of forged papers from those areas.”

On July 15th, the website quoted Klimkin at a meeting of Ukraine’s parliamentary committee on European integration, saying, “Some countries pretend that everything remains as it was before, but against the background of internal pressure [to block more Ukrainians from visiting] they change the visa practice.” That report quoted Klimkin saying he is “now putting pressure on these consulates and capitals, demanding they return to the previous practice.”

The report on July 21st discussed what might be causing these increased refusals: “Why are Ukrainians denied visas? On this, we asked our expert Visa-free diary editor, … Sergei Sidenko:

‘The problem of increasing the number of refusals last year was a response to the events in the East [especially the region that had voted 90%+ for Yanukovychand rejected the coup-imposed government, and where the new Ukrainian government responded by bombing that region]. Some countries are suspicious of Ukrainians generally, but especially of people who live near the conflict-zone, suspicious that they’ll take advantage of tourist visas and ask for asylum.’”

The EU hadn’t been very eager for Ukraine to join it, but Ukraine’s joining the EU had long been a goal of American Presidents in order to isolate and weaken Russia, and especially President Obama planned for this, and made the changes in his Administration right after the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, in order to carry it out, such as by promoting Victoria Nuland to run European affairs, and transferring Geoffrey Pyatt to the Kiev Embassy to become the man on the ground coordinating it. The fractious EU has gone along with Obama’s plan, and (except for Netherlands), wasn’t involved with planning and perpetrating the coup. This is the reason why there still is considerable ambivalence within Europe as to whether or not Ukraine should ever be admitted into the EU: the U.S. is more eager for that to happen than the EU itself is. The EU’s leaders were even shocked to find out that Yanukovych had been overthrown by a coup. Only after the fact did it become “the most blatant coup in history,” because of the many leaks (such as the ones linked to here at “shocked to find out” and “coordinating it”). It was entirely a U.S.-run operation.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Israeli Bank Shares Fall After EU Sanctions Threats

July 24th, 2015 by Middle East Monitor

Israeli bank shares fell by nearly 2.5 per cent on Wednesday after the European Council on Foreign Relations argued that the EU must go beyond labelling products from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Haaretz has reported.

In a paper released on Wednesday, the council argued that the EU is in breach of its own laws and must move much more firmly to distinguish its dealings with Israel from Israel’s activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which the state has occupied since 1967. Following the report’s publication, shares in the First International Bank of Israel, Leumi, Hapoalim and Dexia all fell in value.

The report, “EU Differentiation and Israeli Settlements”, noted that “under its own regulations and principles, Europe cannot legally escape from its duty to differentiate between Israel and its activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

European sanctions against Israeli banks are nothing new, but the new proposal would have a more fundamental impact on banking, loans and mortgages, academic qualifications earned in settlement institutions and the tax-exempt status of European charities which deal with Israeli settlements.

Israel’s Globes financial newspaper quoted a senior foreign ministry official as pointing out that the report was made by a European research institute and not the EU. “We do not comment on research institute papers,” said the anonymous official.

According to another senior official in the banking sector, “The settlements for Europeans [include] Jerusalem and the Golan Heights which affects all banks. We are talking about a threat that is difficult to measure, but it is dramatic. This may turn out to be the most serious threat to banks, and a bigger threat than the Strohm Commission conclusions which aim these days to increase competition in the banking sector.”

A spokesperson for the Israeli government insisted that these are the recommendations of an advisory body and not based on an EU decision in itself. “It is better to wait for the decisions themselves, and study their implications instead of panicking from a report published by Reuters.” In response, the banking official suggested that the government “does not realise the seriousness of this.”

Israel distinguishes between sanctions based on the financial losses incurred, where the first and lightest level is labelling settlement products for what they are, which causes losses to the Israeli economy worth nearly 1 billion shekels annually.

The second level is a boycott of some products produced within the Green (Armistice) Line — Israel itself — which is causing losses amounting to almost 4.37 billion shekels.

The third level is the abolition of the trade agreement between Israel and the European Union and complete cessation of all Israeli exports which could lead to losses amounting to nearly 80 billion shekels and to over 36,500 workers losing their jobs.

Q: If Bartenders can be Held Liable for Violent acts Committed by their Customers, Shouldn’t the Suppliers/Prescribers of Intoxicating Psychiatric Drugs be Considered Accomplices to Crimes Committed by Their Customers/Patients?

The mass murder trial of confessed “Batman Shooter” James Holmes is almost over. The grossly ill-informed jury was somehow convinced by the prosecution that Holmes’s increasingly psychiatric drug-intoxicated brain and the resultant drug-induced insanity had nothing to do with the irrational mass murders at the Aurora, Colorado movie theater on July 20, 2012.

And now this same ill-informed jury, who rejected the insanity plea a couple of days ago, will decide whether or not this victim of Big Pharma and Big Psychiatry (and the tragic “misdiagnosis and over-medication roller-coaster” that he and millions of others in America are on) will either be put to death or imprisoned for life in a non-psychiatric hospital – without possibility of parole. How the most pertinent facts of the case – and the cause of his obvious insanity have been over-looked or willfully ignored by the legal and psychiatric professionals would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. One doesn’t laugh at a comedy of errors.

It is highly possible that the most important details in the Batman Shooter trial have been willfully overlooked by the legal and psychiatric professionals involved in the case. Whether or not there is legal malpractice involved I will leave to ethical legal professionals, if any can be found; but a strong case can be made for psychiatric malpractice – or at least medical malfeasance – in the case of Holmes’s prescribing (University of Colorado health center) psychiatrist, Dr Lynne Felton.  The possibility of either legal or medical malpractice by the involved professionals has not been raised by the journalists who have been breathlessly covering the emotionally-charged aspects of the case since the crime was committed exactly three years ago.

Tough on Crime Prosecution vs. Ill-informed Defense

The lead prosecuting attorney, District Attorney George Brauchler is, as is the norm for most politically motivated, tough-on-crime DA’s, going for the death penalty. The jury rejected the defense’s assertion that Holmes was insane at the time of the infamous shootings and should not be executed Anybody who saw the dazed and drugged look on Holmes’s face at his first hearing will know that he was intoxicated with some drug at the time. Brauchler was the individual who held back the identity of Holmes’s drugs for as long as he legally could. Apparently he even had possession of the pill bottles that had been taken from Holmes’s apartment, thus derailing the defense’s ability to plea insanity or to understand what had altered Holmes’s mind so drastically.

Holmes’s lead defense attorney was Dan King. As with all court appointed lawyers, King was a poorly-reimbursed court-appointed lawyer who never denied that Holmes was the shooter but he also never had the monetary resources to obtain a well-informed psychiatrist of the stature of Dr Peter Breggin, Dr David Healey or Dr Joseph Glenmullen to testify for the defense. He stated in his closing arguments that Holmes is/was schizophrenic, is therefore “not guilty by reason of insanity” (I prefer the phrase “guilty but insane”) and should not be executed. Holmes’s understandably distraught parents agreed.

King argued throughout the trial that Holmes was insane at the time of the shootings and should have been locked up in a long-term psychiatric facility rather than in a penitentiary, where, unfortunately, he would have been subject to the same “treatment” he received before his shooting rampage. He would have been under the care of prescribing psychiatrists with beliefs and prescribing habits similar to Dr Fenton.

It is common knowledge that virtually all American psychiatrists reflexively “treat” with psychotropic drugs over 95 – 98% of their out-patients (and 100% of their in-patients) in various combinations of neurotoxic and psychotoxic, brain-altering chemicals like Holmes’s sertraline (generic Zoloft {Pfizer}, which is known to cause homicidal impulses, suicidal impulses, agitation, mania, psychosis, etc) and the benzodiazepine clonazepam (generic Klonopin {Roche}, which acts on the same brain synapses that the violence-inducing drug alcohol does).

Either one of those two drugs could have easily caused Holmes’s intoxicated brain to become psychotic and homicidally insane. Fenton had prescribed them for Holmes for the past several months, resulting in a state of chronic inebriation which likely caused his decline from a brilliant neuroscience grad student (he graduated with a 3.94 GPA as an undergraduate) into a paranoid, zombified loner who failed an important oral final exam a few weeks before the killings. His failure caused him to drop out of school, a shameful failure in his eyes and the eyes of others. Intolerable shame induces acts of violence, particularly in the isolated, the drug-intoxicated and the hopeless.

In my research about this case (of court records, media reports or testimony from “expert witnesses”) I have found not the slightest hint of anybody’s awareness of what is commonly known about the cocktail of drugs that Dr Fenton had prescribed for Holmes. In addition to the sertraline and clonazepam, Fenton had also prescribed propranolol [generic Inderal, a “beta-blocker” drug which can cause depression and should be used with extreme caution with psychotropic drugs], drugs that Dr Fenton testified under oath that she had increased (to toxic levels, in the case of sertraline) at Holmes’s last clinic visit a few weeks before he did the deed.

Holmes’s Irrational “Under-the-Influence” Weapons Purchases – a Sure Sign of (Probably Drug-Induced) Insanity

Wikipedia detailed the weapons and ammunition that the psychiatric drug-intoxicated Holmes had irrationally purchased in the two months before the massacre. This is clear evidence of how abnormal was the neurological-psychological state of his brain.

On May 22, 2012, Holmes purchased a Glock 22 at a Gander Mountain shop in Aurora. Six days later, on May 28, he bought a Remington 8870 Express tactical shotgun at a Bass Pro Shop in Denver. On June 7, just hours after failing his oral exam at the university, he purchased a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle from a Gander Mountain store in Thornton, and bought a second Glock 22 pistol in Denver on July 6. All the weapons were bought legally and background checks were performed.  In the four months prior to the shooting, Holmes also bought 3,000 rounds of ammunition for the pistols, 3,000 rounds for the M&P15, and 350 shells for the shotgun over the Internet. On July 2, he placed an order for a Blackhawk Urban Assault Vest, two magazine holders, and a knife at an online retailer. He also purchased spike strips, which he later admitted he planned to use in case police shot at him or followed him in a car chase.

Every So-called Expert in Court, Except Holmes, Was Clueless About the Brain/Drug Connection

Among all the “smartest people in the room” only Holmes seems to have suspected that his psych drugs could have been part of the problem. In a pre-trial interrogation (and in a tone that sounded like he was offended by Holmes having the temerity to suggest that the psych drugs had anything to do with the murder spree), an investigator asked about that notion. Holmes replied: “I’m only saying that I think it is a possibility.”

If there was any thought of Holmes being accused of never showing remorse after having his drug doseages reduced in jail, the jury was shown a videotape of Holmes saying “I kind of regret that she (Dr Fenton) didn’t lock me up so that everything could have been avoided.”

Nobody in a position of authority in the courtroom, the legal “experts” or the psychiatric “experts”, seemed to have a clue about some of the most important issues. And therefore the laypeople on the jury are about to make another life or death decision about the fate of the publicly despised Holmes, who is just another one of the millions of innocent victims of involuntary drug intoxication. How can we feel good about the first of their verdicts if they haven’t been given all the facts?

Justice is not going to be done. And the accomplices to these murders (Big Pharma and the American Psychiatric Association, for starters) will probably go scot-free.

Alarmingly, none of the above “experts” seem to comprehend the serious consequences of Dr Fenton’s decision to, first of all, prescribe three (!) psychoactive drugs to a stressed-out grad student who was suffering a traumatic breakup with his girlfriend; and then, secondly, incrementally raise the doses to increasingly toxic levels (rather than lower them) when the previously brilliant Holmes was losing his cognitive abilities and, suffering the final insult, failing to pass his oral exams.. Dr Fenton testified that, at the last visit, she increased the dosages of all three of Holmes’s drugs, admitting to actually bumping up the sertraline/Zoloft dose to150 mg per day, a potentially lethal dose!! (The normal starting dose for Zoloft is 25 – 50 mg per day.)

Dr Fenton (who was a board-certified specialist in psychiatry) obviously hadn’t heard of (or at least failed to consider) the well documented possibility that a significant minority of Caucasians (10%) are deficient in one of the Cytochrome P 450 liver enzymes that metabolizes/degrades SSRIs into supposedly less potent forms of the chemical. Therefore, not having tested the already suicidal/homicidal, drug-intoxicated Holmes for the possible absence of that enzyme (and the predictable increased toxicity of the drug), there was a 10% possibility that she was lethally poisoning her patient’s brain and body.

But Fenton was very likely an over-busy and therefore a likely over-prescribing psychiatrist who was unaware of the “pure and uncontaminated” (non-pharmaceutical company-influenced) neuroscience literature that has established the above facts.

One wonders if even the budding neuroscientist James Holmes (or his intelligent RN mother and scientist father) was aware of what the drugs were doing to his brain and how dangerous they could be. He showed some awareness of the toxicity of psych drugs in that he refused to accept a fourth prescription for Seroquel offered by Fenton. (Seroquel [AstraZeneca] is a heavily sedating so-called “antipsychotic” drug that is commonly prescribed for insomnia, mania and psychotic symptoms like hallucinations.) Holmes refused this fourth drug because he didn’t want to be too sedated when he was studying for the oral exams that were coming up.

Choosing to not take the witness stand (standard advice given by many lawyers for fear of having their clients chewed up by opposing attorneys) we may never know what serious drug effects he was suffering.

Foolishly Trusting the Corrupted Science of the Multi-national Pharmaceutical Corporations

Instead, Fenton, like the vast majority of her psychiatric and medical colleagues around the nation, believed (and blindly trusted) the corrupted science of the cunning multinational psycho-pharmaceutical corporations who pay for the rat lab experiments (as well as all of the human clinical trials) that lead up to the huge profits the companies hope to make selling their dependency-inducing (aka addictive) blockbuster drugs at criminally inflated prices.

Dr Fenton was probably a true believer in the well-propagandized (and mistaken) notion that Big Pharma’s highly profitable psych drugs (and their equally profitable vaccines) are safe and effective and can be passed out like candy. She, like all the other court psychiatrists (apparently even those that testified for the defense!) did not seem to be aware of the sobering fact that no combination of two or more psych drugs has ever been tested – even in the rat labs – for either long-term safety or efficacy.

Tragically, for the drug-intoxicated brain of James Holmes, Dr Fenton had placed her trust in the psycho-pharmaceutical industry’s pseudoscience – and Holmes will be the one who will suffer from her willful ignorance and misplaced trust. (It should be mentioned that there are charges pending against Fenton for her failure to properly alert authorities about Holmes’s clearly expressed homicidality.)

In Defense of Dr Fenton and Mr Holmes

If being a too-busy doctor is any defense (in a court of law [it is not]), Dr Fenton probably can be forgiven for not taking the time to read between the lines of Big Pharma’s powerful disinformation campaign that affects both prescribers and American consumers of drugs.

The ubiquitous attractive pharmaceutical sales reps that often get in to see the doctors ahead of patients are often able to seduce opposite–sex physicians to prescribe their unaffordable new miracle drugs, by giving them free samples, pizzas, pens and post-it notes that reinforce the messages of the absurd but seductive drug commercials on TV. (By the way, America is only one of two nations on the planet where it is legal to advertise drugs directly to consumers; New Zealand is the other one.) Those commercials create many dumbed-down patients to trust in the drugs that they are then advised to obediently swallow by their equally dumbed-down physicians. Of course we physicians are also easily influenced by the equally absurd medical journal advertising that cunningly shapes our belief systems and prescribing habits.

Was an Informed Consent Form Signed by James Holmes?

There is no reason to think that James Holmes was fully warned by Dr Fenton that taking high doses of sertraline (with or without clonazepam and propranolol) could result in violence, aggression, psychosis, apathy, suicidality or homicidality. Failure to obtain fully informed consent – about serious adverse effects of a drug – is grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Similarly, because Holmes was a struggling student under the neurotoxic and psychotoxic influence of three brain-disabling drugs, he also may have lacked the time, inclination or cognitive ability to be sufficiently suspicious of his cocktail of synthetic chemicals that were obviously disabling his brain.

If any person was inebriated, sleep-deprived, stressed-out, malnourished and strung out by months of daily ingesting some combination of illicit drugs (that were once upon a time legal substances) such as alcohol, amphetamines, methamphetamine, Ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, morphine, Quaaludes, barbiturates, rape drugs or LSD (with all the adverse effects that could be expected to occur), nobody would question the role of such intoxicating substances if the inebriated person perpetrated some act of aggression.

But Holmes was swallowing legal prescription drugs (that have not yet been declared illegal, as perhaps many of them should be); but we brain-washed sheeple have been led by powerful forces to disbelieve the connections between criminal activities and legal drugs, even though the illegal drugs have molecular structures and mechanisms of action that are indistinguishable from the legal ones.

What the psychiatrist Fenton and the budding neuroscientist Holmes should have been aware of is the fact that the drug industry has never done any long-term safety or efficacy studies on the so-called SSRI (“Selective” [which is a lie] Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) antidepressants prior to their achieving FDA approval for marketing. Certainly the combination of an SSRI and a benzodiazepine (Klonopin) were never tested in combination for any outcome, even in the rat labs – where the microscopic, neurotransmitter and immunofluorescence studies of drugged brains are done.

Readers of the non-Big Pharma-influenced neuroscience literature (including many of my Duty to Warn columns over the years (available at http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn), are well aware of the overwhelming evidence that brain-altering psychoactive drugs like Zoloft and Klonopin can cause serious neurological/mental aberrations in the otherwise normal brains of people (who might be temporarily sad, nervous, inattentive, hyperactive, sleep deprived, shy or lonely and therefore are at risk of being labeled permanently mentally ill if they ever enter the  mental health “system”).

The range of psych drug-induced abnormalities include this short list: acts of aggression. violence, homicidality, suicidality, akathisia, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, an “I don’t give a damn” attitude, apathy, loss of memory, dementia, disruptions in academic performance, loss of cognitive abilities, loss of IQ points, remorselessness, manic psychosis, hallucinations, delusional thinking, confusion, depression and other signs, symptoms or behaviors that are irrational or viewed by concerned observers as atypical for the person taking the drug or drugs.

No More Fake News Please

Read what Jon Rappoport, of No More Fake News (http://nomorefakenews.com/) wrote on his blog (at http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com) a couple of years ago, shortly after the Aurora shooting.

People don’t get it. The media doesn’t get it and they don’t want to get it. Billions of dollars are riding on the drugs Dr. Lynne Fenton … prescribed to her patient, James Holmes, the accused Batman shooter.

And when billions of dollars in potentially lost revenue are hanging in the balance, the interested parties take action. They’re serious about their money. They don’t screw around.

You see, if James Holmes was, for example, taking Prozac, all of a sudden no one wants to take it. If doctors prescribe it to patients, the patients say, ‘Hey, wasn’t this the drug that nutcase took before he killed all those people in the theater?’

“The bulk of American media is afraid to go after psychiatric drugs as a cause of violence. This fear stems, in part, from the sure knowledge that expert attack dogs are waiting in the wings, funded by big-time pharmaceutical companies.

For much more on the tight connections between the unique American epidemic of school shootings among our over-drugged (and over-vaccinated) males and their psychiatric drugs, go to Rappoport’s “The School Shooting White Paper” at https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/the-school-shooting-white-paper/ or my column on the issue at: http://duluthreader.com/articles/2015/03/26/5031_the_red_lake_school_shootings_10th_anniversary. Also go to www.ssristories.net for a sobering list of >5000 reports of irrational behaviors among people who were taking SSRIs.

Prescription Drugs and Iatrogenic Violence

“Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Toward Others” is the title of a study that was published in 2010 in the Public Library of Science ONE.

The breakthrough study named sertraline and clonazepam as two of a group of drugs closely linked to violence, aggression, physical assaults, physical abuse and homicidality (homicidal ideation and homicidal actions). Dr Fenton probably didn’t read it, nor, in her defense, did many of her colleagues in the industry. If any of them did see the paper, most of them may have deferred to the opinion of their trade organization, the American Psychiatric Association that would likely discredit it.

The authors of the study (Thomas J. Moore, Curt D. Furbert, and Joseph Glenmullen [author of “Prozac Backlash”]) reviewed nearly 2000 cases of violent adverse drug effects that had been reported to the FDA from 2004-09. They found that 31 commonly prescribed drugs, including sertraline and clonazepam, accounted for 79% of all reported cases of violence.

Twenty of the violence-inducing drugs were psychiatric drugs (11 so-called antidepressants (including sertraline), 6 sedative/hypnotics (including clonazepam), and 3 drugs for so-called ADHD). (See my Duty to Warn column on the subject, which includes a ranking of the 31 culprits at http://duluthreader.com/articles/2012/04/05/299_many_psychoactive_drugs_are_strongly_associated.)

The authors concluded, “These data provide new evidence that acts of violence towards others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event that is associated with a relatively small group of drugs.” If Dr Fenton and Mr Holmes – and perhaps James’s parents – had been aware of this peer-reviewed study, there may have been no Batman Shooting. We need to find out why this study was not widely circulated, why was it suppressed and who did the suppressing?

In 2007, Health Canada, the Canadian drug regulatory authority issued a warning on clonazepam. The agency warned that clonazepam (nearly identical in molecular structure as the notoriously addictive Valium) can make addicts of patients within weeks or months of its use. The agency emphasized that the benzodiazepine drug’s “adverse” effects included hallucinations, delusional thinking, confusion, loss of memory, and depression, all symptoms that James Holmes suffered from.

Dr Fenton and her colleagues probably missed (or ignored) this warning as well, but so did Holmes, his parents, his lawyers, the psychiatric “experts” and all of the journalists covering the trial.

Of course, many other international agencies have issued warnings about psychiatric drug-induced mania, psychosis, aggression, violence, homicidality, suicidality, etc, notably those agencies in the United States, the European Union, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. The information is usually ignored by busy or inattentive medical professionals (who may NOT want to know about such unwelcome truths, which then fails to be forwarded to their drug-consuming patients. Big Pharma, with the help of the corporate-controlled media and the medical and psychiatric industries, sees to it that such information stays submerged.

Join me in mourning the totally preventable tragedy of the Aurora mass murder and the loss of a once-brilliant neuroscience student who got tied up in an unforgiving psychiatric system, whose brain was severely disabled by legal neurotoxic drugs and who is now unjustifiably the most hated man in America. And please join the efforts to save James Holmes’s life by forwarding this information widely, especially to ethical lawyers and healthcare journalists who might send it to responsible persons involved in the case.

Dr Kohls is a retired physician who practiced holistic mental health care for the last decade of his career. He writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. Many of Dr Kohls’ columns are archived at http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn.

When Will the Rogue Resign? Blatter and FIFA

July 24th, 2015 by Binoy Kampmark

“Excited to be at FIFA meeting Sepp Blatter to secure the #NorthKorea2026 World Cup.” - Simon Brodkin[1]

Even he admitted it. Having ridden roughshod over those who questioned his authority to be at the helm of the world’s most famed sports mafia enterprise, Sepp Blatter decided to resign from his position as FIFA head. Only, he hasn’t.

It is worth recalling what he said at his so-called conference of intended departure: “While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel I have a mandate from the entire world of football – the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we do in FIFA.”

But he has remained resolutely fastened to his chair. After all, he seems to be saying, someone needs to run the rotten show till the next one succeeds him. Rather than making his resignation effective immediately, he cloaked his conduct in the behaviour of one who steers the ship. He had, in the same conference, promised to “lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective congress.” Of course, he would “continue to exercise [his] functions as FIFA president till that election.”

A few days ago, Blatter pushed the date further forwards: “On the 26th of February FIFA will have a new president.” Just to throw in his own measure of infallible logic, Blatter noted that, “I cannot be the new president because I am the old president.”[2] Fine and good, till one realises that his announcement that he would resign has not actually been implemented. Considerable time has lapsed – the announcement was made at the start of June and there is much mayhem to be caused till February next year.

Blatter’s instinctive reaction was to always to remain like a barnacle on a holed ship. On Swiss television at the end of May, he asked rhetorically why he should step down. For him, the answer was obvious, though he still forced it out. “That would mean I recognise that I did wrong.”

The intervention of US Attorney-General Loretta Lynch, and a range of other law enforcement authorities including the FBI, who had the supergrass Chuck Blazer to thank for, put pay to that suggestion. Few who witnessed the moment will forget the dragging out of seven top FIFA officials from their beds, concealed by the fine linen of Zurich’s Baur au Lac hotel, and sped away to be indicted on charges of fraud, money laundering and racketeering.

Blatter’s exculpatory response was predictable as much as it was absurd: “I cannot monitor everyone all of the time. If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it.” Expertise in this line counts.

The mafia enterprise has gone into institutional retreat, but tactically so. It should be remembered that a well deserved, and perhaps necessary schism has been avoided. There has been no rival anti-FIFA footballing organization established. Instead, that odious body continues to set the agenda, set the pace. Diseased, it continues to function, without splinter, without rupture, without even a whiff of reform. FIFA has given would-be-candidates, and Blatter, considerable breathing space. Applications of interest will be received till October 26.

Blatter himself has also been careful about leaving Switzerland since extradition proceedings against the seven football officials began. He did not present at the Women’s World Cup in July, the first time he has not done so since becoming president in 1998. He is on record as wanting to avoid “travel risks” given the recent legal storm.[3]

This is unlikely to trouble him in Russia, where he is due to make the preliminary draw for the 2018 World Cup. Blatter has Vladimir Putin’s word of reassurance on where he stands. The FBI raids were described by the Russian President as an attempt on the part of the FBI to meddle in “other jurisdictions”. Appropriately, Blatter has himself become a political football.

It was precisely such obstinate behaviour on Blatter’s part that led British comedian Simon Brodkin to engage a level of considerable high jinks. The account of that event has now smoked the entire social media circuit: Brodkin, using his stage name, decided to go the mile as one of his characters, Jason Bent.

Bent managed, remarkably, to place a pile of fake banknotes on the desk next to Blatter, having announced himself as a delegate from North Korea’s 2026 World Cup bid. On being led away by security, he threw more handy notes over the alarmed president. How the North Koreans respond remains to be seen.

A police spokesman explained that the comedian “will be charged for trespassing because we wasn’t allowed to enter the building… If there will be a trial it is still to be decided by the prosecutor. Trespassing in Switzerland is just prosecuted by request like other minor crimes.”[4]

And so it happens that offences committed, when small in measure, register more disdain than grand acts of collusion. The old Bertolt Brecht expression about banks comes to mind: “What is the robbing of a bank compared to a founding of a bank?” Thefts of institutions is one thing; institutions of theft, another. And Blatter certain knows a thing or two about how that works.

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

Phony Claims About Syria Retaining Chemical Weapons

July 24th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Since Obama began waging proxy war on Syria in March 2011, numerous false charges about Assad using chemical weapons followed – discredited by verifiable facts on the ground.

Clear evidence of imported takfiri terrorists using banned toxic agents was systematically covered up – even after Saudi Arabia was caught red-handed supplying sarin gas and other chemical toxins to anti-Assad elements.

Barrels containing banned chemicals were found marked “Made in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).” Protective masks were found. So were drugs used when inhaling chemicals.

On June 17, 2015, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) headlined “Disposal of effluents from neutralised Syrian chemical weapons completed,” saying:

OPCW “welcomes the completion of disposal of effluents resulting from neutralisation operations aboard the US vessel Cape Ray.”

“These operations governed the destruction at sea of almost 600 metric tonnes of sulphur mustard and methylphosphonyl difluoride (DF) from Syria’s chemical weapons programme. DF is a key precursor chemical for manufacturing nerve agent.”

On 12 June 2015, a OPCW team verified the disposal of approximately 335.5 metric tonnes of sulphur mustard effluents at the German Government facility, Gesellschaft zur Entsorgung von Chemischen Kampfstoffen und Rüstungsaltlasten MBH (GEKA MBH). This was a significant in-kind contribution by the Federal Republic of Germany.

“On 11 June 2015, Ekokem Riihimäki Waste Disposal Facility in Finland announced the disposal of 5,463 metric tonnes of DF effluents received from the Cape Ray.”

“This process was part of a commercial contract, which included destruction of other chemicals from Syria’s chemical weapons programme. An OPCW inspection team will shortly deploy to Finland to verify completion of this process.”

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu called the above efforts

“yet another milestone on the path to eliminating chemical weapons stocks from Syria – one that was achieved in a safe and efficient way, thanks to the valuable support provided by the German Government and Finnish industry.”

“Of the 1,328 metric tonnes of chemical weapon agent declared by the Syrian Arab Republic, only 16 metric tonnes of hydrogen fluoride remain to be destroyed at the facility of Veolia ES Technical Solutions, L.L.C. at Port Arthur in Texas in the United States. The destruction of the 12 former chemical weapons facilities is also underway.”

A feature Friday Wall Street Journal article headlined “Mission to Purge Syria of Chemical Weapons Comes Up Short.”

The dubious source: US intelligence agencies complicit with the administration, State Department, other Washington agencies, Congress and go-along media scoundrels in vilifying Bashar al-Assad irresponsibly – spreading Big Lies about his activities, ignoring his responsible campaign to rid Syria of imported Islamic State and other terrorist groups operating as US proxies to oust him and his government, replacing it with a pro-Western puppet regime.

The Wall Street Journal outrageously called Assad’s full cooperation with OPCW inspectors “a ruse part of a chain of misrepresentations by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to hide the extent of its chemical-weapons work.”

“…US intelligence agencies have concluded that the regime didn’t give up all of the chemical weapons it was supposed to.”

Despite evidence otherwise, they claimed Assad “controlled where inspectors went, what they saw and, in turn, what they accomplished…according to the inspectors and officials.”

The above OPCW comments contradict these assertions. The only restrictions involved securing the safety of inspectors operating in a war zone. Their statements say nothing about restricted or impeded activities in any way. They suggest precisely the opposite – Assad’s full cooperation.

The Journal repeated the exposed Big Lie about Syria using sarin gas in Ghouta “kill(ing) some 1,400 people.” A British report suggested one-fourth this number.

Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig John Murray, called John Kerry’s accusations about the Ghouta incident “sheer lies.” Independent evidence confirmed it.

The Journal cited US intelligence claiming (with no verifiable evidence) Assad “hid caches of even deadlier nerve agents, and that he may be prepared to use them if government strongholds are threatened by Islamist fighters.”

US intelligence claims it “tracked the regime’s increasing use of chlorine-filled bombs” earlier this year – despite no evidence proving it. Takfiri terrorists are known to have access to chlorine gas. They’ve shown willingness to use it. Incidents are wrongfully blamed on Assad.

The new US intelligence report is the latest propaganda effort to vilify Assad – perhaps prelude to greater efforts to oust him.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at[email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Dr. Michelle (Shelley) McGuire has led a team of researchers from Washington State University (WSU), including Monsanto, in a study that has allegedly found US mothers’ breast milk to be glyphosate-free.

Without releasing full details of the method or the limits of quantification used McGuire stated in a WSU press release Thursday that her and Monsanto’s study “strongly suggests that glyphosate does not bioaccumulate and is not present in human milk.”

McGuire and Monsanto’s study directly contradicts validated and low LOQ testing in Germany that was carried out earlier in 2015 which showed that German women’s breast milk contained glyphosate at levels between 0.210 and 0.432 ng/ml.

The WSU Press Release of Dr. McGuire’s joint study with Monsanto and Covance Laboratories seems to attack the Moms Across America / Sustainable Pulse 2014 pilot testing on glyphosate in breast milk more than it gives information about their own study, however it completely misses out on comments about the German study.

Dr. McGuire also fails to mention that she turned to both Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse for help in June 2015 seemingly needing help with Monsanto’s analytical methods; “As you know, these assays are tricky and it would be very nice to see the details of the analysis you all have worked up in this regard.”

Sustainable Pulse and Moms Across America (MAA) have thus decided to dissect the WSU Press Release from top to bottom (Please find this dissection at the end of this article).

McGuire and Monsanto

The McGuire family have long been very close to Monsanto and Dr. Shelley McGuire’s husband Dr. Mark McGuire, Animal and Veterinary Science Department Head at the University of Idaho, was deeply involved in the scientific promotion of Monsanto’s infamous recombinant bovine growth hormone Posilac.

Watch the ‘Cancer Milk Posilac Cover-Up’ Here

Regulatory bodies in several countries, such as the EU, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina rejected Monsanto’s application to sell Posilac because Posilac increases the risk of health problems in cows, including clinical mastitis, reduced fertility, and reduced body condition.

Dr. Mark Mcguire is also a close personal friend of Dr. John Vicini, Monsanto’s Food Safety Scientific Affairs Lead.

Dr Mark McGuire’s research is also funded by the Gates Foundation, which is strongly promoting GM crops and their associated pesticides including glyphosate, especially in Africa.

In 2014 just days after the Sustainable Pulse / Moms Across America pilot study was released showing that US mothers’ breast milk contains glyphosate, Dr. Shelley McGuire was put in touch by her husband’s contacts with Dr. Dan Goldstein, Monsanto’s Medical Sciences and Outreach Senior Scientist. Goldstein was leading a desperate attempt at the time to come up with some data to save Monsanto’s number one product – Roundup (a glyphosate-based herbicide) – from public crucifixion.

From this point on Dr. Shelley McGuire has helped Monsanto to reach their goal: Glyphosate–free breast milk.

WSU Press Release Dissected

WSU Press Release: Washington State University scientists have found that glyphosate, the main ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, does not accumulate in mother’s breast milk.

Sustainable Pulse/MAA response: You can make this bold claim based on a 41 woman pilot study with all the analysis done by Monsanto, which sells more glyphosate than anyone else in the World?

WSU Press Release: Michelle McGuire, an associate professor in the WSU School of Biological Sciences, is the lead researcher of the study, which is the first to have its results independently verified by an accredited, outside organization.

Sustainable Pulse/MAA response: Covance Laboratories is this accredited, outside organization – Covance Labs has worked closely with Monsanto for many years. Covance Laboratories are a service contractor for Monsanto on feeding studies with genetically engineered plants.

WSU Press Release: “The Moms Across America study flat out got it wrong,” said McGuire, who is an executive committee member for the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation and a national spokesperson for the American Society for Nutrition. “Our study provides strong evidence that glyphosate is not in human milk. The MAA findings are unverified, not consistent with published safety data and are based off an assay designed to test for glyphosate in water, not breast milk.”

Sustainable Pulse/MAA response: This is a very bold statement and Dr. McGuire / Monsanto’s study has already shown to be “flat out wrong” by a German study?

Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse only reported results from an accredited lab testing, so to keep to the facts there was no Moms Across America ‘study’. The testing was to encourage further independent studies on the issue – of which the German study mentioned above is one. The Moms Across America testing used an accredited lab – Microbe Inotech – who conducted industry standard tests which found glyphosate to be present just as the German tests did.

WSU Press Release: Independent regulatory and safety assessments of glyphosate conducted by scientists at organizations like the…have found no consistent effects of glyphosate exposure on reproductive health or developing offspring.

Sustainable Pulse/MAA response: We did not know that Dr. Shelley McGuire is more of an expert than the World Health Organization on the dangers of glyphosate. WHO recently announced that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. Professor Christopher Portier, one of the co-authors of the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) recent report which determined Glyphosate’s status as a probable carcinogen, recently reiterated the IARC’s conclusions, and said: “Glyphosate is definitely genotoxic. There is no doubt in my mind.”

WSU Press Release: In McGuire’s research, she and her colleagues collected milk and urine samples from 41 lactating women living in or near the cities of Moscow, Idaho, and Pullman, Wash. The area is a highly productive agricultural region where glyphosate is routinely used in farming practices.

Sustainable Pulse/MAA response: Due to suggestions made by Dr. McGuire herself that the breast milk would be supplied to Monsanto from the breast milk bank at WSU we would like to see full traceability of the samples – were they really taken from women alongside their urine samples? Also it was not made clear when the samples were taken – were they taken in the last 20 years or before glyphosate herbicides were even produced?

WSU Press Release: Milk and urine samples were analyzed for glyphosate and glyphosate metabolites using high sensitivity liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry methods specifically optimized for the task.

Sustainable Pulse/MAA response: Considering that Dr. McGuire and Monsanto were seemingly struggling with method development just 1 month ago, it seems unlikely that the method, which has not been released, is either accurate or has low Limits of Quantification.

WSU Press Release: Urinary glyphosate levels were either non-existent or extremely low and not of concern, McGuire said.

Sustainable Pulse/MAA response: Over 90% of the US population has glyphosate in their urine. Dr McGuire is not qualified to judge if this is of concern or not.

Furthermore MAA requests a formal retraction and apology from WSU for insinuating that MAA attempted to declare breast milk unsafe. MAA clearly stated when reporting the testing that “Moms Across America feels very strongly that breast milk should still be the number one choice for mothers and certainly preferred over GMO soy formula ingredients. We just urge all mothers to eat as organic as possible, especially meat, dairy, oils and grains that are sprayed with glyphosate at harvest as a drying agent.”

US-Backed Racist to Run in Myanmar’s Elections

July 24th, 2015 by Tony Cartalucci

Meet Ko Ko Gyi. He is a US-funded agitator working hard to reinstate Western hegemony in Myanmar (still referred to by its British imperial nomenclature “Burma” by the Western press) since at least the late 1980’s. Now, he seeks to take the next step, running for office in upcoming elections, but in order to do so, the West will now have to cover up his dark past and his controversial present.

His “88 Generation Students” group is described by the BBC as:

The 88 Generation Students group is synonymous with the long struggle for democracy in military-ruled Burma. 

Its name comes from the 1988 uprising, when troops opened fire on mass student demonstrations in Rangoon, leading to the deaths of thousands of people.

In addition to the 1988 protests, he and his group would join others, including throngs of saffron-clad “monks” during the so-called “Saffron Revolution” in 2007. Together with Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, these three groups form a trifecta of foreign-funded sociopolitical destabilization, subversion, and serve together as a vector for Western special interests seeking to reenter and despoil the Southeast Asian state’s economy, resources, and sovereignty.


There is, however, another factor, all three groups share – a passionate, racist hatred of the Rohingya people – many of whom have lived in Myanmar for generations. This racist hatred has manifested itself not only in words, but also in violence. Mobs led by Suu Kyi’s “saffron monks” have raided Rohingya communities, hacking to death their inhabitants and burning to the ground their homes. Those who survive end up in refugee camps which are likewise raided by Suu Kyi’s followers, or driven into the sea in such large numbers they are sometimes referred to as the “boat people.”

Ko Ko Gyi has previously articulated his views on the Rohingya. In a report titled, “‘Trauma Will Last Long Time’: Ko Ko Gyi,” posted by the US State Department-funded propaganda clearinghouse “Irrawaddy” it states that:

In early June, Ko Ko Gyi accused “neighboring countries” of fueling the unrest in Arakan State, and stated categorically that the 88 Generation group will not recognize the Rohingyas as an ethnicity of Burma. He said that his organization and its followers are willing to take up arms alongside the military in order to fight back against “foreign invaders.” 

The Rohingya people have been living in Myanmar for centuries, with many being brought in generations ago by the British Empire as part of a wider strategy of divide and conquer across South and Southeast Asia. Ko Ko Gyi’s comments would resonate well with his ideological counterparts in the Ku Klux Klan in the United States who are often fond of stating how African-Americans aren’t truly Americans and should be “shipped back to Africa.”

To drive home the point of Ko Ko Gyi’s absolute and utter racism, he was also quoted as saying:

Genetically, culturally and linguistically Rohingya is not absolutely related to any ethnicity in Myanmar.

Ko Ko Gyi says his followers are “willing to take up arms” against the Rohingya, but it seems that his followers and his “saffron” allies have already long ago resorted to violence in their bid to “racially cleanse” Myanmar. It is difficult to distinguish Ko Ko Gyi and his 88 Generation Students group from the Ku Klux Klan, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party, and other political factions around the globe and throughout human history that denigrated and dehumanized their enemies based on genetics, culture, linguistics, and ethnicity.

US Supports Myanmar’s Rabid Racists

2342666677Myanmar’s opposition, composed of Suu Kyi’s NLD, her “saffron” supporters, student groups like 88 Generation, and a myriad of NGOs are all funded, directed, and supported by the US State Department through extensive backing via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and other corporate-financier organizations including George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.

The British-based “Burma Campaign UK” published an extensive report detailing US and British backing of these networks in a report titled, “FAILING THE PEOPLE OF BURMA? A call for a review of DFID policy on Burma.” Not only does the report expose immense support for these groups, it argues that despite the vast amounts of funding being channeled to them, it is not enough.

The report details the specifics of each organization involved, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED):

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED – see Appendix 1, page 27) has been at the forefront of our program efforts to promote democracy and improved human rights in Burma since 1996. We are providing $2,500,000 in FY 2003 funding from the Burma earmark in the Foreign Operations legislation. The NED will use these funds to support Burmese and ethnic minority democracy-promoting organizations through a sub-grant program. The projects funded are designed to disseminate information inside Burma supportive of Burma’s democratic development, to create democratic infrastructures and institutions, to improve the collection of information on human rights abuses by the Burmese military and to build capacity to support the restoration of democracy when the appropriate political openings occur and the exiles/refugees return.

The role of US State Department-run Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA) is also discussed in detail, including the revelation that US foreign policy specifically supports and actively promotes Aung San Suu Kyi and “her” agenda, stating:

Both Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) have Burmese services. VOA broadcasts a 30-minute mix of international news and information three times a day. RFA broadcasts news and information about Burma two hours a day. VOA and RFA websites also contain audio and text material in Burmese and English. For example, VOA’s October 10, 2003 editorial, “Release Aung San Suu Kyi” is prominently featured in the Burmese section of VOAnews.com. RFA’s website makes available audio versions of 16 Aung San Suu Kyi’s speeches from May 27 and 29, 2003. U.S. international broadcasting provides crucial information to a population denied the benefits of freedom of information by its government.

The US also pours vast resources into organizations affiliated with Aung San Suu Kyi, including “Prospect Burma”:

The State Department provided $150,000 in FY 2001/02 funds to provide scholarships to young Burmese through Prospect Burma, a partner organization with close ties to Aung San Suu Kyi. With FY 2003/04 funds, we plan to support Prospect Burma’s work given the organization’s proven competence in managing scholarships for individuals denied educational opportunities by the continued repression of the military junta, but committed to a return to democracy in Burma.

Another active appendage executing US foreign policy is convicted financial criminal George Soros and his organization Open Society. Open Society not only funds and coordinates with the above mentioned “Prospect Burma,” but also directly funds specific activities, literally training an army of subversion meant to return to Myanmar and overthrow the government:

Our assistance to the Open Society Institute (OSI) (until 2004) provides partial support for a program to grant scholarships to Burmese refugee students who have fled Burma and wish to continue their studies at the undergraduate, or post-graduate level. Students typically pursue degrees in social sciences, public health, medicine, anthropology, and political science. Priority is given to students who express a willingness to return to Burma or work in their refugee communities for the democratic and economic reform of the country.

NED is also cited as behind the creation of a vast propaganda network including the New Era Journal, the Irrawaddy, and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) radio, all posing as “independent” media sources despite the fact they are in reality fully-funded by the US government.

Additionally, a 2007 Reuters article titled, “Myanmar information window closing, says dissident,” would reveal another propaganda outlet created by and maintained not by the people of Myanmar, but by the US State Department. Reuters reported:

The United States helps fund Mizzima through its National Endowment for Democracy, one source of the generals’ assertions that the protests are the result of outside agitation.

Reuters would also report that the Editor-In-Chief of US-funded Mizzima was (and still is) Soe Myint, a terrorist guilty of hijacking a passenger liner – a terrorist act committed before receiving US funding to start his propaganda outfit. Reuters would report:

Myint and a friend hit the headlines in 1990 when he hijacked a Thai International Airways plane to protest the junta’s rejection of elections won by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. He used fake bombs made out of soap cases to hijack the plane flying from Bangkok to Yangon with 220 passengers on board. The two friends were released in 1991 after a three-month jail term and were recognised as refugees in India.

It appears that in addition to backing a movement predicated on racial purity and genocide, the United States and their British partners are also literally funding convicted terrorists.

As Ko Ko Gyi Runs for Office, Western Press Covers Up His Racism  

This then returns to the subject of Ko Ko Gyi. Reuters has now reported that he and members of his 88 Generation Students group will be running in the place of many NLD members including Suu Kyi herself. The report titled, “Myanmar ’88 student leader joins Suu Kyi’s party to run in polls,” states:

“Ko Ko Gyi and some other members from the ’88 Generation students group will run in the next general election representing our party,” Nyan Win, a spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), told Reuters.

Reuters claims that Ko Ko Gyi was a “leader of student protests in Myanmar in 1988 that grew into a nationwide pro-democracy movement.” Nowhere is Ko Ko Gyi’s racist views and calls for genocide mentioned – and considering how long he has held these views and the verifiable violence these views have manifested themselves in, it seems more than an oversight by Reuters and instead an intentional cover up.

By placing Ko Ko Gyi in a vacuum isolated from his bigotry, racism, and violence, Reuters affords him legitimacy he and his Western sponsors will be unable to contest upcoming elections without. Should Ko Ko Gyi and the rest of the West’s proxies fail to win the elections, their perceived legitimacy will be necessary when they form street mobs and begin carrying out provocations across the country.

Should the global public understand that Suu Kyi and her political allies are foreign-funded bigots, racists, and genocidal thugs, little they do and little done to them in return will invoke sympathy. Again, just as in Syria where the West is backing Al Qaeda, in Ukraine where the West is backing literal Nazis, and now in Myanmar, the absolute worst has been brought together within a targeted nation to create a violent, loud front with which the West can smash local institutions and overwrite them with neo-liberal alternatives that answer to Washington, Wall Street, London, and Brussels.

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

George Clooney is being paid by the world’s top two war profiteers, Lockheed-Martin and Boeing, to oppose war profiteering by Africans disloyal to the U.S. government’s agenda.

Way back yonder before World War II, war profiteering was widely frowned on in the United States. Those of us trying to bring back that attitude, and working for barely-funded peace organizations, ought to be thrilled when a wealthy celebrity like George Clooney decides to take on war profiteering, and the corporate media laps it up.

“Real leverage for peace and human rights will come when the people who benefit from war will pay a price for the damage they cause,” said Clooney — without encountering anything like the blowback Donald Trump received when he criticized John McCain.

Really, is that all it takes to give peace a chance, a celebrity? Will the media now cover the matter of who funds opponents of the Iran deal, and who funds supporters of the wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, etc.?

Well, no, not really.

It turns out Clooney opposes, not war profiteering in general, but war profiteering while African. In fact, Clooney’s concern is limited, at least thus far, to five African nations: Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, though these are not the only nations in Africa or the world with serious wars underway.

Of the top 100 weapons makers in the world, not a single one is based in Africa. Only 1 is in South or Central America. Fifteen are in Western allies and protectorates in Asia (and China is not included in the list). Three are in Israel, one in Ukraine, and 13 in Russia. Sixty-six are in the United States, Western Europe, and Canada. Forty are in the U.S. alone. Seventeen of the top 30 are in the U.S. Six of the top 10 mega-profiteers are in the U.S. The other four in the top 10 are in Western Europe.

Clooney’s new organization, “The Sentry,” is part of The Enough Project, which is part of the Center for American Progress, which is a leading backer of “humanitarian” wars, and various other wars for that matter — and which is funded by the world’s top war profiteer, Lockheed Martin, and by number-two Boeing, among other war profiteers.

According to the Congressional Research Service, in the most recent edition of an annual report that it has now discontinued, 79% of all weapons transfers to poor nations are from the United States. That doesn’t include U.S. weapons in the hands of the U.S. military, which has now moved into nearly every nation in Africa. When drugs flow north the United States focuses on the supply end of the exchange as an excuse for wars. When weapons flow south, George Clooney announces that we’ll stop backward violence at the demand side by exposing African corruption.

The spreading of the U.S. empire through militarism is most often justified by the example of Rwanda as a place where the opportunity for a humanitarian war, to prevent the Rwanda Genocide, was supposedly missed. But the United States backed an invasion of Rwanda in 1990 by a Ugandan army led by U.S.-trained killers, and supported their attacks for three-and-a-half years, applying more pressure through the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and USAID. U.S.-backed and U.S.-trained war-maker Paul Kagame — now president of Rwanda — is the leading suspect behind the shooting down of a plane carrying the then-presidents of Rwanda and Burundi on April 6, 1994. As chaos followed, the U.N. might have sent in peacekeepers (not the same thing, be it noted, as dropping bombs) but Washington was opposed. President Bill Clinton wanted Kagame in power, and Kagame has now taken the war into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with U.S. aid and weapons, where 6 million have been killed. And yet nobody ever says “We must prevent another Congo!”

What does George Clooney’s new organization say about the DRC? A very different story from that told by Friends of the Congo. According to Clooney’s group the killing in the Congo happens “despite years of international attention,” not because of it. Clooney’s organization also promotes this argument for more U.S. warmaking in the DRC from Kathryn Bigelow, best known for producing the CIA propaganda film Zero Dark Thirty.

On Sudan as well, there’s no blame for U.S. interference; instead Clooney’s crew has produced a brief for regime change.

On South Sudan, there’s no acknowledgement of U.S. warmongering in Ethiopia and Kenya, but a plea for more U.S. involvement.

The Central African Republic gets the same diagnosis as the others: local ahistorical spontaneous corruption and backwardness leading to war.

Clooney’s co-founder of the Sentry (dictionary definition of “Sentry” is “A guard, especially a soldier posted at a given spot to prevent the passage of unauthorized persons”) is John Prendergast, former Africa director for the National Security Council. Watch Prendergast find himself awkwardly in a debate with an informed person here.

Clooney’s wife, incidentally, works for U.S.-friendly dictators and brutal killers in places like Bahrain and Libya.

More nations could soon be spotted by The Sentry. The President of Nigeria was at the U.S. Institute of “Peace” this week pleading for weapons. U.S. troops are in Cameroon this week training fighters.

If the peace organization I work for had 0.0001% the financial support of The Sentry, perhaps the debate would change. So, one thing you can do is support the right antiwar efforts.

Another is to let The Sentry know what it’s missing. It asks for anonymous tips when you spot war profiteering. Have you ever turned on C-Span? If you see something, say something. Let The Sentry know about the Pentagon.

Mentre la Russia e la Cina stanno creando un ordine mondiale alternativo sulla base dell’Organizzazione di cooperazione di Shanghai (SCO), l’Unione economica eurasiatica e i BRICS, Washington sta fieramente tentando di resistere a questo processo scatenando una guerra economica contro i paesi membri della nuova comunità, sostiene l’analista e ricercatore presso l’Università dell’Ontario, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya.
Nel suo articolo, pubblicato sul sito Global Research, Nazemroaya sostiene che attualmente l’architettura finanziaria del mondo sta cambiando. La forza del dollaro USA  è in calo drammatico, in quanto le organizzazioni internazionali come SCO , BRICS, Mercosur e l’Unione economica eurasiatica stanno abbandonando il dollaro nelle transazioni nazionali a favore delle monete nazionali. Nel frattempo il sistema di Bretton Woods, fondato sul dominio americano all’interno del Fondo monetario internazionale  e della Banca mondiale, si trova di fronte ad una sfida diretta posta dalla Nuova Banca di sviluppo dei BRICS e alla Banca d’investimento per le infrastrutture asiatiche, AIIB.
In risposta a questi sviluppi sta guadagnando slancio una guerra economica lanciata dagli Stati Uniti, spiega l’analista, Secondo Nazemroaya, Washington ha utilizzato il rallentamento economico in Cina come arma psicologica e come un mezzo per manipolare il mercato per contrastare le misure adottate da Pechino e Mosca per frenare l’influenza del dollaro. L’esperto ritiene che il recente attacco al mercato azionario cinese può essere considerato uno dei passi degli Stati Uniti in questa guerra. Pechino ha accusato Washington dell’ attacco, ma il Dipartimento del Tesoro degli Stati Uniti ha negato il coinvolgimento nell’incidente.
Secondo Nazemroaya, con questo comportamento economico aggressivo gli Stati Uniti cercano di bloccare il ruolo chiave svolto dalla Cina nel finanziamento dei grandi progetti bancari, infrastrutturali e di sviluppo che mettono in discussione il dominio globale di Washington. Causare il crollo del mercato azionario cinese, in particolare, mirava a seminare il panico tra gli investitori e portare alla fuga di capitali mediante una vendita di massa delle azioni.
In realtà, questa misura mira a compromettere la salute economica della Cina e ostacolare la realizzazione del progetto della Nuova Via della Seta e altre iniziative simili intraprese da Pechino e dai suoi partner russi, dei BRICS, della SCO e dell’Unione economica eurasiatica, nota l’analista, aggiungendo che queste azioni di Washington spingono il mondo verso un conflitto globale.
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Iran Is Not The Threat

July 23rd, 2015 by Miko Peled

Benjamin Netanyahu’s name is in the headlines again, this time along with the news of the Iran deal. He rejects the agreement, he called it a disastrous historic mistake and he did not miss the opportunity to say that Israel will defend itself, etc. Two questions must be raised in light of Netanyahu’s outrage: The first is why? And the second is why does anyone care?

Netanyahu opposes the Iran deal because the Iran supports Hamas and Hizbollah. Both of these organizations were created in response to Israeli aggression and occupation, the former in Palestine, and the latter in South Lebanon. It was the dedicated resistance of Hezbollah that ended the twenty-year Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon, and made it possible for Lebanese people to return to their homes in Southern Lebanon. Hamas was democratically elected to govern. It maintains some semblance of a government in the Gaza strip, something they would not be able to do without Iranian money because Israel imposed a siege on the strip, locking its 1.7 million people in an open air prison. Hamas is also committed to resistance to the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine, resistance that is obvious particularly in Gaza. During a fifty-one day attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014 Israel murdered over two thousand Palestinians in cold blood and so in reality Israel is the problem and not Iran, Hamas or Hezbolllah. Furthermore, neither Iran, Hezbollah or Hamas pose a threat to Israel, they pose a threat to the Israeli occupation and oppression of Palestinians.

Parallels can be made between the so-called Iran threat and the so called threat from Palestinians and Muslims in the US. The closure, prosecution, trial and convictions of the Holy Land Foundation and the five men who operated it is one of clearest cases of political persecution and injustice in the US. And just like Iran never posed a threat to Jewish people or to Israel, The Holy Land Foundation, as was made absolutely clear in their trial, didn’t fund or support terrorism. They are a threat to the Israeli narrative that seeks to justify Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

Most news broadcasts of the Iran deal also include a statement that, “US allies in the region are worried.” One ally is Saudi Arabia, a ruthless dictatorship run by a corrupt, male dominated family of so-called “kings” and “princes” as though we were still living in the dark ages. Another ally is Egypt’s dictator Abdel Fatah Sissi who gained power through a coup, overthrowing and arresting Egypt’s first democratically elected President, and the third is Israel, which maintains a violent, racist apartheid regime in Palestine. With allies like these, who needs enemies?

Now, why does anyone care what Netanyahu says? The answer has little to do with strategic issues or nuclear proliferation. It has everything to do with the fact that American politicians are afraid of the Israeli lobby. The spineless politicians who stood and clapped as Netanyahu marched on Capitol Hill, his hands stained with Palestinian blood, are afraid that AIPAC will punish them.

AIPAC and the web of pro-Israel organizations it controls are in the business of selling and protecting Israeli interests. They tell a story that paints Israel as a symbol of democracy, freedom and tolerance, and the Palestinians as symbols of hatred, religious fanaticism and terror. American politicians who try to question this pretty picture, will find themselves out of a job.

President Obama did well not to bend to Israeli pressure on the Iran deal. Now, will he take an extra step? Will he demand that Israel unconditionally end the siege on Gaza or release Palestinian political prisoners?

Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He is the author of The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. His father was the late Israeli General Matti Peled. For more please go to: TheGeneralsSon.com ormikopeled.com

According to Geoff Rochwarger, CEO of Afek, energy independence is the new Zionism.

The Afek oil and gas exploration company has almost completed its second drilling test in the Golan Heights, a part of Syria which Israel has occupied since 1967 and annexed in violation of international law.

The test is part of a three-year program to see if hydrocarbons in the area could lead to oil or gas for Israel.

Israel is fuel-poor and its domestic energy woes could be eased in the interim if the government progresses ondeals in relation to the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea.

Israeli soldiers patrol near the occupied Syrian town of Majdal al-Shams in the Golan Heights in 2011. Oren Ziv ActiveStills

In addition, Israel is now taking advantage of the chaos in Syria to look for precious resources to extract from the occupied Golan Heights.

Israel relies heavily on imports to meet its energy consumption, and with frequent vicissitudes with its neighbors, its need for energy resources continues to shape the nature of its occupation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as well as the Golan Heights.

With the Syrian government in disarray, Israeli authorities gave the go-ahead to Afek, a subsidiary of Genie Oil and Gas, to conduct drilling in 10 wells in the occupied Golan Heights in their search for fossil fuels.

According to Howard Jonas, chairman and CEO of Genie Energy Limited, the parent company of Genie Oil and Gas, the company’s team of experts believes that what lies under the Golan Heights could make Israel energy independent and “contribute to the diversification of the free world’s energy supply away from a crippling dependence on unfriendly sources” (see the Genie Energy annual report for 2014).

“Kill them all”

Genie Oil and Gas has some high profile investors and advisors: Media baron Rupert Murdoch, former US Vice President Dick Cheney, American hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt and British investment banker Jacob Rothschild are all members of the company’s “Strategic Advisory Board.”

Murdoch stated in 2013 that “Israel is the greatest ally of democracy in a region beset with turmoil and radicalism.” This was an audacious statement given his investment in a company breaking the basic tenets of international law.

The chairman of Genie Israel, Effie Eitam, who lives in the Golan Heights settlement of Nov, is a former military commander and member of the National Religious Party. He once referred to Palestinian citizens of Israel as a “ticking bomb” causing a “cancer” in Israel. He also told The New Yorker in 2004, that Palestinians were “creatures who came out of the depths of darkness” adding that “we will have to kill them all” before backpeddling slightly: “I know it’s not very diplomatic. I don’t mean all the Palestinians, but the ones with evil in their heads.”

Afek claims on its website that Syria’s occupied Golan Heights is part of the “State of Israel.” The company was granted a petroleum exploration license by the northern regional planning and building committee, in direct violation of international law by completely ignoring the Annex to the Fourth Geneva Convention — which applies to the occupied territory.

In February, an Afek subsidiary started drilling its first exploratory well and drilled to a depth of 1,000 meters. The samples extracted are now undergoing analysis and drilling continues. In the event that the company finds oil, it will request the required licenses to begin the production stage.

There are grave breaches of international law as well as environmental concerns at play here. Firstly, the type of oil expected in the area may not be in liquid form and could require fracking — a process that involves injecting large amounts of scarce water and toxic chemicals into the ground in order to force the hydrocarbons to the surface.

Whether it is conventional oil or shale oil, fracking or drilling could lead to oil seepage into the underground water table, polluting Lake Tiberias — the biblical Sea of Galilee — potentially rendering local water supplies undrinkable and destroying the ecosystem for generations to come.

Looting Syria’s resources

The Golan plateau was occupied by Israel during the 1967 WarUN Security Council resolution 242 and several other resolutions since have called for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territory and condemned Israel’s actions there.

These have included: annexation and imposition of Israeli law in 1981, an action the UN Security Councildeclared “null and void.” Israel has also transfered its own population into the area for the purpose of colonization and the use of the territory’s resources for its own economic interests.

The Golan’s fertile land and water resources have been a strategic interest for Israel and now its energy potential may bring huge financial rewards.

Despite international criticism, Israel’s inherently discriminatory and exploitative policies inside the Golan continue without sanction. Israeli ministers have voiced their desire to capitalize on the destabilization of Syria as an excuse to cement Israel’s illegal hold on the territory.

Whilst Israel continues to exploit the natural resources of the territories it occupies, the international community continues to do nothing to enforce its decisions as the occupation of the Golan verges on reaching the 50-year milestone.

The Syrian government had planned to build a pipeline across the Middle East into Lebanon and the Mediterranean for the European markets. It had signed agreements with Iran and Iraq towards this end.

With Syrian oil reserves in decline and the country in chaos, the government has no capacity to challenge the current Israeli exploitation of the country’s Golan resources.

It seems likely therefore that Israel will have a free hand to loot Syrian oil from the Golan, backed by the West.

Paul Fallon is a legal researcher and writer with Al-Marsad, a human rights group in the occupied Golan Heights.

Yemenis want to be heard. They need to be heard. Thus I have asked Yemeni friends of mine, men and women, to tell their stories, to give a personal account of their experiences of the war in Yemen and to send me pictures that illustrate their texts. I will post them here on this website, one by one. I hope their writing will have an impact.

Layla M. Asda (26) is doing her Master in International Development and Gender at the university of Sana’a. She is ready to take her country forward. But she is stranded in the war. As million of other young Yemenis. In her  text she gives a painfully detailed account of how the war affects her and her country. And she appeals to the war faring fractions to realise that there is no point of waging wars. It only creates destruction, hatred and the urge for revenge.

“It’s raining!” I felt happy because “rain is what I adore”, I thought to myself as I heard the sounds of thunder. Yes, it turned out to be rain – but a different kind of rain: It was raining missiles!

My dear country is under attack. It’s war and it has opened the doors wide open to misery for us. My country has made it into the news which is not promising or cheerful at all, as it’s not because of news of discovery or invention but news of destruction and suffering. It feels devastating to see it in the news and all we see is wrecks and death. We usually see and read news about wars in other places, but just to hear or read about it is one thing, to live it is a completely different story.

A picture of the shelling on the 13th of July that targeted civilians and a whole neighborhood in Bait Bous Area. (Taken by Assim Asda, my brother)

War is killing every beautiful thing inside us and inside our country. It is heartbreaking to lose that feeling of safety, to be in constant worry about your loved ones, to live endless terror unable to even have the slightest mean of life. Life has become a bleak vision for us, something we fantasise about. And that is how it’s like to be in a war.The air vanishes and we can listen to our hearts beating heavily as the bombardment begins, and we wonder whether it’s our turn coming up to join the victims under the ruins. The air disappears at the very thought of it. The kids shiver with great fear telling us that they don’t want to die. My little brother Anas (7) tells me that he doesn’t want to sleep because he is terrified of the sounds of bombs. Once he asked me bitterly why his childhood was filled with war. Innocently he explained to me that his childhood is supposed to be abbot playing not fear: “I want to play with joy, not with fear!”, he said.

Unfortunately, our house is located close to a missile base (the Faj Attan area) which has been targeted the most. Hell is what we have seen: During one of the airstrikes a smell of gas covered the whole area and almost suffocated us. It was dreadful, death was hovering over our heads.
When the big bomb hit we were at home, a horrifying sound shock the house followed by the sounds of glass breaking everywhere. The pressure pushed me over the broken glass. I didn’t know where my mother was. I started screaming for her to run away with me but no answer came. The thought struck me for a moment, I became paralysed with horrible fear. What if my mother is hurt, God forbid? After moments of terror that felt like ages, I heard her sobbing cries in the other room. I then knew that she was sound. It was the happiest moment in my life.

Then we had to flee our house. It has been 83 days since we left our home.  I miss my home, every single corner of it.

A picture that portrays the sufferings of Yemenis without electricity since the so called coalition targeted the electricity and it has been 3 months, and ever since electricity has become a dream for Yemenis. (Taken by Assim Asda, my brother)

A picture that portrays the sufferings of Yemenis without electricity since the so called coalition targeted the electricity and it has been 3 months, and ever since electricity has become a dream for Yemenis. (Taken by Assim Asda, my brother)

Unluckily, there is no safe place anywhere We moved to our grandparents’ house, which is also located close to many of the target places. When they hit the former President’s House, we ran away to the room we thought might be safe. Then another missile hit and we again ran away to another room. And we kept going like this until we almost ran outside into the yard which is also very dangerous. But we did it impulsively, it was a moment your mind stops thinking and only aims at running away even though nowhere is safe.

Other places were targeted in one day, a day of terror.
I was asleep when suddenly a huge explosion hit very close to us. I jumped  out of my bed, rushed out of the room but I saw nothing, it was completely dark though it was morning. I couldn’t breathe and my legs couldn’t carry me anymore and I fell down, then I fainted. 

Sometimes we try to forget that we are living in a war and act normally. We try to summon beautiful moments of our previous life before the war and a wave of nostalgia overwhelms us with melancholy about our life. We recall funny situations to grasp a laugh, but behind every laugh there is a feeling of bitterness and our hearts ache with pain tearing us down with despair. That war has stolen our life. 

Thousands have been killed, they are just numbers in the news you read. But they are souls to those who lost their loved ones. Numerous people have lost their jobs and I’m one of those. Prices have doubled and lots of people can’t feed their children any longer. This gives the alert that famine is knocking at the door if hasn’t already entered without asking. According to the UN report, almost 20 million people (80% of the population) are facing starvation. The blockade imposed on us is killing us. Almost all basic needs are gone: There is no electricity, no water, no gas, no petrol, no diesel, not to mention the spread of diseases. Food, medicine and medical supplies are starting to vanish from the market and it will only be a matter of weeks till everything is gone. There are thousands of internally displaced persons, aid is restricted, though there are local initiatives and foundations to provide help. But the need is too high to meet.

Other governorates are far much worse off than we could ever imagine. In Sa’ada, Aden and Taiz, for instance, the situation is catastrophic especially because of the internal conflict. It is horrifying as no aid is even able to reach these places. Hospitals have called for relief because they are out of medical supplies. Dead bodies are everywhere. Thousands, who were lucky enough to be able to leave, fled their houses. Death in my country has many forms: those who don’t die of the Saudi shelling or the internal conflict will die of hunger or epidemic diseases such as dengue fever that has started spread.

No words are able to capture the sufferings and pain that Yemenis endure.

At the beginning of the war I started to frantically read political analysis trying to figure out how long this cursed war would last, and here we are; we marked over 100 days and yet there is no sign of an end. There are only signs of despair and death that are waving in the horizon.

I’m doing my master in international development. I had dreams and many plans for my country. I was eager to participate in the development of my country. But now, I ask myself, how can we think of development when there exists only destruction?

A picture of a house in Old Sana’a. Because of the shelling of the historic old city of Sana’a, houses began falling one after another. The house in the picture is among the houses that got affected severely and it began to fall. (Taken by Ahmed Shahari, my cousin)

It is a nightmare that refuses to end. I wake up every morning just to discover that this nightmare is still haunting me. Every day that passes, I ask myself as well as people around me, when this war will end. I ask people because I wish that they would tell me that it will be soon – even if it is a lie. Then I would live holding onto the lie so tight to my heart with a glimmer of hope that it will become real and war will end and I hope that I witness this moment in my lifetime.

I wish that all people who sparked this war realise that there is no point of waging wars. War only generates hatred and revenge and promotes destruction of humans and homes. We curse this war a zillion times because it has stripped us of joy; it took away our souls and deprived us of life. 

I don’t know how long we’ll continue like this. I’m not sure how long people will be able to bear the burden of this misery. Peace is what we need. Our voices need to reach out. Yemenis want to see their country flourish with development, not with war. War indeed has changed Yemenis, but it taught them how to survive and to never give up their dreams.

I want to live safely in my house. I want my hopes and dreams of a better future back, and I want my plans for my country back. We just want to live peacefully. Is this too much to ask? We deserve to live!

Netanyahu Bluffed an Attack on Iran

July 23rd, 2015 by Philip Weiss

Shibley Telhami, at Reuters, says that the thing Israel hates about this deal, that it is focused on Iran’s nuclear weapons and not on regime change or its regional actions, is something that Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu himself effected. In 2011-2012, Netanyahu convinced the Americans that he was determined to attack Iran, which would have been a disaster for the U.S. But in fact the gambit was a bluff by Netanyahu with two dread aims: to expose Obama politically in the U.S. election and/or cause the U.S. to strike Iran first.

The meat of Telhami’s analysis:

Netanyahu preferred U.S military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities, over Israeli ones, from the outset. His calculus was that the key fear that could drive the U.S. debate to support military strikes on Iran was the timeline of Iran’s nuclear program — not Tehran’s support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Netanyahu exaggerated the imminent nuclear threat as much as possible. Remember how many times, over the years, he cited Iran as being only six months away from a bomb? He gave the impression that Israel was prepared to take matters into its own hands by striking Iran’s nuclear facilities, even without U.S. backing. Initially, however, most analysts, including U.S. officials, believed he was simply bluffing.

There were many reasons why the United States didn’t take Netanyahu’s early threats seriously…

in the lead-up to the 2012 U.S. presidential elections. The Israeli pressure on the Obama administration to take action substantially increased…

Here was Netanyahu’s political angle:

It was no secret that Netanyahu preferred the Republican nominee for president, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. His pressure on Obama was seen to be playing into the Republicans’ hands.

More on the Israeli bluff:

The Israelis took steps in 2012 that portrayed as credible their threat to attack Iran – and inevitably drawing the United States into the fight. We don’t know much about the specifics, but reports revealed hints that the Obama administration was growing increasingly alarmed by Israel’s actions. The Netanyahu government was spending billions of dollars on a military buildup, as well as consolidating military cooperation with Azerbaijan near Iran’s northern borders.

Not until a year later were there whispered suggestions — including one from former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert — that Netanyahu had spent billions to make his threats look more credible to Washington rather than for serious military preparation.

What is clear is that the Israeli moves were taken seriously by the Obama administration, which shifted its assessment in 2012 as more high-level U.S. officials began to take the Israeli threat to attack as credible.

Even aside from the coming presidential elections in November, the prospect was seen as disastrous for Obama.

Telhami leaves out the assist that Netanyahu got from Jeffrey Goldberg. The same fella who wound up American fears of Saddam Hussein’s alleged chemical weapons and helped get us into that war wound up fears of Iranian nukes in an article for the Atlantic, in September 2010, confidently predicting an Israeli attack on Iran in the next year. Right in Netanyahu’s timeline!

“The Point of No Return” by Goldberg:

What is more likely [than a US attack on Iran] is that one day next spring, the Israeli national-security adviser, Uzi Arad, and the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, will simultaneously telephone their counterparts at the White House and the Pentagon, to inform them that their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has just ordered roughly one hundred F-15Es, F-16Is, F-16Cs, and other aircraft of the Israeli air force to fly east toward Iran—possibly by crossing Saudi Arabia, possibly by threading the border between Syria and Turkey, and possibly by traveling directly through Iraq’s airspace, though it is crowded with American aircraft. (It’s so crowded, in fact, that the United States Central Command, whose area of responsibility is the greater Middle East, has already asked the Pentagon what to do should Israeli aircraft invade its airspace. According to multiple sources, the answer came back: do not shoot them down.)

In these conversations, which will be fraught, the Israelis will tell their American counterparts that they are taking this drastic step because a nuclear Iran poses the gravest threat since Hitler to the physical survival of the Jewish people. The Israelis will also state that they believe they have a reasonable chance of delaying the Iranian nuclear program for at least three to five years. They will tell their American colleagues that Israel was left with no choice. They will not be asking for permission, because it will be too late to ask for permission.

That attack never happened… in spite of all the Hitler talk. Whether Goldberg was a willing tool or a dupe, who cares. He was very helpful to the Iraq war. Did you hear him on NPR in 2003?

ROBERT SIEGEL: So this man might personify a link conceivably between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

Mr. GOLDBERG: He is one of several men who might personify a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda.

It was partly because of all the Hitler talk about Iran that Obama acted to make this nuclear deal. Now we are being told that Iran’s actions in the region — supporting Israel’s enemy Hezbollah — and its very character are the real existential threat. Another bluff to sway the superpower?

Democracy appears to be in potential danger as a US Zionist cabal spends upwards of $20 million to pressure Congress to kill deal with Iran forged by permanent UN Security Council members – Britain, France, U.S., Russia and China plus Germany, after many months of complex negotiations.

The AIPAC lobby – originally the American Zionist Committee – acting as agent for the Israeli Government representing the only undeclared nuclear weapons state in the world, now tries to overturn the negotiated agreement with (non-nuclear) Iran in an unprecedented bid to maintain Israeli hegemony in Middle East.

Pro-Israel lobbyists are trying to influence U.S. foreign policy in favour of a heavily-armed foreign state that is not a party to the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor is a signatory to either the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) or the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) making it the most dangerous potential threat to global peace, being outside any inspection or control by the IAEA.


This current Congress will be judged in history as the most supine, inept and easily manipulated legislative assembly [by a foreign power], ever to have been given control of the lives of the American people and the making and implementation of U.S. foreign policy.

The plunging economy of Ukraine has evidently become so bad that Ukrainians now can even feel safe to call publicly for stopping the war against the separatist Donbass region of the country, and for reallocationg those military expenditures so that Ukrainians in the non-rebelling part of the country won’t starve to death.

On July 23rd, Dmitriy Gordon, a leading Ukrainian journalist, is thus, for the first time, publicly urging that the separatist region, Donbass (consisting of the Donetsk and Luhansk districts), be officially acknowledged to be no longer part of Ukraine. He says that “It is better to dissociate Ukraine from the occupied territories of Donbass, to spend that money on housing and financial aid for immigrants [refugees from Donbass] than to keep the people [the vast majority of residents in Donbass] who hate Ukraine [though they actually didn’t hate Ukraine until Ukraine’s government was violently overthrown in February 2014 and the new government bombed them for not accepting that new government]. … I will tell an unfashionable view. Many people think it, but not everyone will dare to say it out loud. Ukraine does not need Donbass. It shackles the country. … It is like a lizard that lays aside its tail. … We need to get away from Donbass, and move into Europe without this tail.”

The choice between guns and butter becomes easier when there is no butter. And the butter in Ukraine is now gone. So, butter is what Ukrainians increasingly want. Thus, for example, RIA Novosti Ukraine news agency headlined on July 19th, “Ukraine Today: Poverty, Absolute Poverty, and Retirees Dream of Death,”  and reported that, “Two years ago, the average salary of Ukrainians in dollar terms amounted to 275 American money. Now it’s less than 100 dollars.”

This RIAN report says that, “Neither the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, nor Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, nor Speaker of Rada [Parliament] Volodymyr Groisman — none of them — expresses public concern about the lowered living standards; no one has called to review them, much less to improve these economic conditions.”

It goes on to say, “Expert of the Public Safety Fund Yuri Havrylchenko believes that the current level of income of the majority of the Ukrainian population is poverty, and retirees are in a state of slow death from starvation. … [He says,] ‘In Ukraine, all workers live in poverty. The level of their income and consumption is less than 17 dollars a day. With a few exceptions, almost all pensioners live below the absolute poverty line, consumption is less than $5 a day. This means that they are dying of hunger, only slowly. If they do not even have enough to eat, then what can we say about the cost of everything else?’”

Mr. Gordon, for his part, might be attacked for urging separation, if he were blaming Ukraine for the civil war; so, he instead blames the residents of Donbass (the direct victims of the coup-installed government), as the cause of Ukrainians’ misery. He says: “For the most part residents of the region adhere to pro-Russian views. They hate Ukrainians, don’t want to speak Ukrainian, and they reject Ukrainian and European values.”

He adds, “Criminal psychology is inherent in so many people there … It is no accident Yanukovych was elected so much at the mercy of bandits in the Donetsk region.” Yanukovych had won more than 90% of the votes that were cast in Donbass.

Yanukovych had turned down the offer from the European Union because the economists at the Ukraininian Academy of Sciences had calculated that the EU’s offer would cost Ukraine $160 billion.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

SouthFront is a public project on issues of international politics working through a number of media platforms with special emphasis on social networks. We focus on producing video and text materials about the ongoing crises around the world: Ukraine, war in Yemen and Syria, protest movements in the Balkans and other important events, influencing the growth of tension between countries and nations inspired by destructive forces.

We try to dig out the truth on issues which are barely covered by the mainstream media.

Finding Aliens: SETI, Talking Lions and Wittgenstein

July 23rd, 2015 by Binoy Kampmark

“Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.” - Ludwig Wittgenstein

US philosopher Thomas Nagel’s 1974 piece, “What is it like to be a bat?” still maintains a strong relevance in current discussions about mind.[1]  It remains the weapon of choice for those unsatisfied with various reductionist theories on the subject, including the notion of “scientism” – that human understanding remains the captain and commander of what occurs in the universe and what can be said about it.  What counts, for Nagel, is the “subjective character of experience”. 

The central point here is that the organism in question possesses that experience, what it is like, essentially, to be that living entity.  The bat’s subjective experience, characterised by echolocation and the tactical use of high-frequency sounds, is beyond the human sense of experience.

As Nagel himself suggests, imagining such things as “webbing on one’s arms”, possessing poor vision, assessing receiving reflected high-frequency sounds signals for location and communication purposes, and spending “the day hanging upside down by one’s feet in an attic” only ever relays what “it would be like forme to behave as a bat behaves.”  How then, can we know what it would it be like for a bat to be one, rather than an anthropomorphised bat, stacked with human imprints?

The question was hardly novel, and was one that had already done the philosophical rounds in different dress.  Those familiar with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s withering logical analysis on communication would remember his fabled lion.

If a lion could speak, he stated unreservedly in his Philosophical Investigations, we would not understand him.  He would have his own language games, with constructions specific to being a lion.  Even if we could gather that the lion can talk, we are not necessarily capable of gathering what the generated meaning would be.  There might be rudimentary hints: One roar might suggest a zebra, two a lame one, but delving deeply into concepts of ethics, aesthetics and humour would be quite something else.[2]  We would only think, like Nagel’s bats, that we really understood what it would be saying.  Context is the perennially limiting break on inquiry.

All of this suddenly comes into the forefront with the announcement of some $100 million to be footed by Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner for the search for intelligent alien life through his Breakthrough Prize Foundation.  Milner is famed for his financial stabs, notably on Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc.  But he wishes to add succour to an extraterrestrial project that will involve a team based at the University of California, Berkeley to gather more data from outer space in a single day than what was previously possible in a single year (Wall Street Journal, Jul 20).

Two radio telescopes will be utilised for the task: the Green Bank Telescope (100 metres) in West Virginia and the 64 metre Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia.

To get a sense of scale, Geoff Marcy of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) suggests that the search “will be 100 times better than any previous search for intelligent life in the universe.” To date, signals from the outer rim have been meagre since 1960, when astronomer Frank Drake pointed his 30 metre radio telescope to the stars.  In August 1977, the Big Ear telescope at Ohio State University netted what seemed to be an atypical radio signal from deep space.  Nothing, as yet, has come of it.

ET talk certainly captivates in a seductive, and exclusive manner.  It is the talk of the gentleman’s club or the abductee’s fantasy.  It reels in the big guns of the astrophysics community and the UFO spotters.  In an odd way, it is the great leveller.  The project does, after all, come with the blessing of the biggest gun of all, Stephen Hawking.  In Milner’s glowing words, “He is the ideological leader” which immediately gets one thinking how humans are incapable of avoiding ideology in their quest for the new.

The entire project seems powered by an anthropomorphic assumption: the life forms inhabiting the outer galaxies must be “intelligent” (and our perspective of it at that), and will have a romanticised ability to send radio signals.  The Queen’s astronomer Lord Martin Rees, also an advisor to Milner’s funded project, suggested in 2010 that aliens might be “staring us in the face”, a lovely suggestion that entails they would be staring in the first place, fully equipped with visual apparatus. [3]

There is a distinct bias, in fact, against the discovery in this entire enterprise of so-called “non-intelligent” life forms, a form of institutionalised scientific discrimination.  We demand, if not our equals, then our challenging, even oppressing superiors.  SETI’s own site emphasises the slanted question: “Are we the Universe’s only child – our thoughts its only thoughts?”[4]

Linked assumptions abound: the presence of a human language, presuming that such intelligent life forms would speak it; and a Hollywood sense that, even if the organism in question could speak, we would actually understand it.   (The onus, and onerous burden, would seem to be on the alien.)  Nothing illustrates this better than Milner’s contest about creating messages to send to ET figures in space.

The competition involves $1million worth in prizes and aims to “learn about the potential languages of interstellar communication and to spur global discussion on the ethical, philosophical issues surrounding communication with intelligent life beyond Earth.”  The devil lies, not even in the detail as the mirror-like projection that we are going to find ourselves.  This is less a search for difference than a quest for similarity.

There is no doubt that incidental benefits will accrue from what otherwise seems to be a conceptually misplaced mission.  Good science can still be done from folly-ridden premises.  Astrophysicists have every reason to be thrilled about the prospects of star and planetary mapping, the gathering of even vaster amounts of cosmic data. There is also at the core of this venture, an attempt on Milner’s part to link venture capital projects to what might seem like esoteric science, a bridge he has noted is absent in the field.  But as it will transpire, we won’t necessarily be any wiser than Nagal’s anthropomorphised bat or Wittgenstein’s inscrutable lion.

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

US Targets Venezuela Using Border Dispute as Pretext

July 23rd, 2015 by Eric Draitser

Draitser argues that Venezuela and Guyana’s despute over the Essequibo region is a new front in the destabilization of Venezuela

The ongoing border dispute between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its eastern neighbor Guyana is no simple disagreement over an arbitrary line on a map. Actually, it is a conflict of significant political and economic dimensions, one which will have deep and far-reaching geopolitical implications in the near and long term.

The area in question is known as Guayana Esequiba (Essequibo), a region with competing territorial claims going back more than a century to a time when British imperial interests dominated the contours of the political map of much of the world, including Latin America. Since 1966, when Guyana became a nominally independent country, this territory has been under dispute by the interested parties; Venezuela has claimed the territory as part of its sovereign authority going back to an odious 1899 decision in favor of Britain. However, that has not stopped Guyana from seeking to undermine the stability of the region by claiming de facto sovereignty over the whole of the territory, selling highly valued oil and gas exploration concessions to key North American corporate energy interests. These actions have led to an intensification of the conflict, forcing Venezuela to respond with diplomatic and political pressure.

But of course, as with all things pertaining to Venezuela on the international stage, there is a hidden agenda rooted in the imperial politics of Washington. In its attempt to stifle Venezuela’s political and economic development as an independent regional actor, the US is using its influence to destabilize the region. The goals are distinct, but intimately connected: enrich US energy corporations at the expense of Venezuela and, simultaneously, both position military assets and shape propaganda that paints Venezuela as an aggressor, thereby providing the pretext for US escalation. In this way, Washington is attempting to reassert by stealth the hegemony it once maintained with brute force.

The Economics and Politics of Esequiba

At the heart of this border dispute is energy and the billions of dollars in profits likely to be extracted from the offshore territory. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), “The Guyana Suriname Basin [is] 2nd in the world for prospectivity among the world’s unexplored basins and 12th for oil among all the world’s basins – explored and unexplored.” The basin, which stretches from eastern Venezuela to the shores of northern Brazil, is one of the major prizes in the world for energy corporations and governments alike.

Indeed, the USGS estimates that roughly 15 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and 42 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves lie under the basin, just waiting to be extracted. Such staggering economic potential has made the territorial waters off Venezuela and Guyana highly sought after, especially since the contesting border claims make the legal obstacles to exploration far more surmountable as they allow companies to deal with a compliant government in Georgetown, rather than an independent one Caracas.

The unresolved conflict over territorial claims has not stopped the newly elected Guyanese government of David Granger from picking up where its predecessor left off, and supporting Exxon Mobil’s exploration drilling in the Stabroek Block, which lies in the heart of the disputed territory. The importance of the competing claims is further underscored by the fact that the very week of Granger’s election victory, Exxon Mobil reported a “significant oil discovery” in the very same area. Whether the announcement of the discovery was timed to coincide with the accession of Granger to the presidency, or it was mere coincidence, is somewhat secondary to the critical fact that this announcement infuses the dispute with a significant economic component; it is no longer merely about potential energy deposits, but actual energy extraction. This development provides an added imperative for the US to flex its muscles in this conflict.

And so it has. The US has recently officially thrown its weight firmly behind its political, economic, and military ally Guyana. However, beyond simply backing Guyana in a bilateral fashion, the US has wielded its influence in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) organization to position the grouping to “stand firmly behind Guyana,” as Freundel Stuart, prime minister of Barbados and chairman of CARICOM stated earlier this month. Unlike ALBA and PetroCaribe, two regional groupings led by Venezuela that are not under the dominance of Washington, CARICOM is in many ways part of US power projection in the region.

Again, it is unlikely that the US and CARICOM positions in support of Guyana, announced within days of each other, and within eight weeks of a major discovery and all-important election, are mere happenstance. Instead, they are part of a broader campaign of political escalation designed to pressure Venezuela into either dropping its claims entirely or, at the very least, toning down its demands that its sovereignty and territorial integrity be acknowledged and respected.

But the escalation is not merely one of rhetoric. Rather, the US is turning up the heat both militarily and the realm of propaganda and public relations.

A New Front in the Destabilization of Venezuela

It is no secret that that the US has sought to undermine and destroy the Bolivarian revolution from almost the very moment of its birth with the ascendance of Hugo Chavez. While perhaps the most prominent example of such subversion came with the 2002 coup against the legal government of Venezuela – a failed regime change supported by Washington despite almost universal international condemnation – it is by no means the only attempt at destabilization. Since Chavez’s passing, the soft power subversion and sabotage of the government has only increased, from economic warfare to the funding and support of Venezuela’s opposition. It is within this context that the developments in the Venezuela-Guyana dispute must be understood.

Essentially, the conflict with Guyana is both an economic one, and a military/strategic one. While there is not a hot war between the two countries, the US has positioned its assets in such a way as to make that a very real possibility.

Though downplaying the US role, Washington has been sending a clear message – one might say a veiled threat of force – to Caracas with some of its recent comments. The Charge D’Affaires of the US Embassy in Guyana recently stated that, “The US has a long-standing relationship with the Guyana Defence Force (GDF). We have engaged in a number of co-operative and developmental efforts over the years to provide training and expertise…and exchange experience in a wide variety of areas.” Such statements may seem relatively innocuous, but they are to be read as an acknowledgment of the military capacity of US power in the region, which in many ways sees Guyana as a de facto proxy.

Indeed, there is much evidence upon which to base such an assertion aside from just the words of US officials. Since 2010, the US Navy has had a cooperative relationship, including docking and training, with its Guyanese counterparts based in Port Georgetown. In addition, Guyana figures prominently in the Pentagon’s project in South America known as SOUTHCOM, with the country seen as an outpost for US military power projection against Venezuela.

Though much of this military cooperation and partnership is already known, there is a new danger for Venezuela, one that most political observers around the world have either missed or otherwise ignored: the accession of David Granger to power. While he has been heralded by western media as a reformer leading a multiracial, inclusive coalition, the overlooked fact is that Granger is a direct military product, if not asset, of the US and its allies.

As Guyana’s Government Information Agency (GINA) noted on its website, President Granger “attended the University of the West Indies, the University of Maryland and the National Defence University in the USA…He received his military training at the Mons Officer Cadet School and the School of Infantry in the United Kingdom, the Jungle Warfare Instruction Centre in Brazil, and the Army Command and Staff College in Nigeria.

Students of the modern history of Latin America are all too familiar with this story: US and British trained military leader assumes control over strategically and geopolitically important country in the region, one that shares a border with a declared adversary of Washington. Though he may not be a product of the infamous School of the Americas, Granger’s pedigree, coupled with his declared focus on the “territorial integrity” of Guyana portends dangerous potential moves by his government, especially at a time of escalating tensions.

Of course, the US continues with its propaganda campaign against the Bolivarian Republic as well. From imposing sanctions against Venezuela for trumped up “human rights abuses,” to declaring the country “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” that constitutes a “national emergency,” Washington has clearly taken the decision to ratchet up tensions in 2015. The dispute with Guyana is clearly a new vector in this broader destabilization strategy.

And that is how the border conflict must be understood – a new front in an old war. Though there may be billions at stake for energy corporations, as well as military imperatives for the Pentagon, ultimately the dispute is geopolitical in nature. The Guayana Esequiba issue is, at its root, an issue of US hegemony and imperialism.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. He is the editor of StopImperialism.org and host of CounterPunch Radio. You can reach him at [email protected].

Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron chose Ninestiles School in Birmingham to outline a five-year plan to address “extremism” earlier this week.

The legislation he intends to implement will target Muslims and encourage anti-Muslim sentiment. More broadly, measures to be enacted against Islamic extremism can also be used against any form of oppositional sentiment within the population. They mark a sharp shift towards nationalism, in part directed against political dissent but also in preparation for stepped up military aggression.

In the name of building “a stronger, more cohesive society,” Cameron defined virtually any oppositional sentiment as impermissible. Britain was depicted as an ideal “multi-faith” democracy where “in one or two generations people can come with nothing and rise as high as their talent allows”—“without a shadow of doubt, a beacon to the world.”

Making clear that he was intent on criminalising free speech, Cameron insisted, “You don’t have to support violence to subscribe to certain intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish.”

These “ideas” included being “hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality,” promoting “discrimination, sectarianism and segregation,” and any assertion that “Western powers, in concert with Israel, are deliberately humiliating Muslims, because they aim to destroy Islam.”

Cameron denied that there was any material or political basis for the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. It was simply attractive to the young and confused, he asserted, drawing a parallel with–and at the same time equating—“other ideologies, whether fascist or communist.”

“Some argue it’s because of historic injustices and recent wars,” he said, citing the Iraq war, “or because of poverty and hardship. This argument, what I call the grievance justification, must be challenged.”

In a more than usually stupid tautology, he pontificated, “The root cause of the threat we face is the extremist ideology itself.”

The central answer to such extremism, he insisted, was to tackle

“the question of identity… we have to confront a tragic truth that there are people born and raised in this country who don’t really identify with Britain…”

To reinforce a sense of British identity, he declared, without obvious embarrassment, that “our strongest weapon” was

“our own liberal values… We are all British. We respect democracy and the rule of law. We believe in freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of worship, equal rights regardless of race, sex, sexuality or faith… These are British values. And are underpinned by distinct British institutions.”

This comes from the head of a government that has either enacted or defended a raft of anti-democratic legislation curtailing essential freedoms, engaged in mass surveillance of the internet and phone communications of every man, woman and child in Britain, and is now intent on using this intelligence to impose a regime based upon the Orwellian concept of “thought crime.”

To underscore his hypocrisy, Cameron’s speech was made the same day Defence Secretary Michael Fallon addressed MPs in an attempt to justify the government covertly agreeing to British pilots taking part in bombing raids in Syria in defiance of two parliamentary votes. (See: UK defence secretary admits flouting parliamentary ban on military involvement in Syrian war )

“[W]e need our internet companies to go further in helping us identify potential terrorists online,” he insisted.

“Many of their commercial models are built around monitoring platforms for personal data, packaging it up and selling it on to third parties… But when it comes to doing what’s right in the fight against terrorism, we too often hear that it’s all too difficult. Well I’m sorry—I just don’t buy that.”

Cameron went on to press the required buttons to legitimise the targeting of all Muslims.

“In the past, governments have been too quick to dismiss the religious aspect of Islamist extremism,” he said.

“But simply denying any connection between the religion of Islam and the extremists doesn’t work, because these extremists are self-identifying as Muslims.”

No longer would “fear of causing offence” stop the state from confronting “the horrors of forced marriage,” “female genital mutilation” (FGM), etc. “More prosecutions,” he bayed. “No more turning a blind eye on the false basis of cultural sensitivities.”

To indicate the scale of this state offensive to impart “British values”, Cameron called for “a review of sharia courts,” toughened regulations “so schools have to report children who go missing from school rolls mid-year,” legislating for “authorities to seize the passports of people they suspect are planning on taking girls abroad for FGM,” and “lifetime anonymity for victims of forced marriage.”

The whole of society would be marshalled in this campaign of spying on and “civilising” Muslims. “We need everyone—government, local authorities, police, schools, all of us—to enforce our values right across the spectrum.”

He complained that universities, because they “are bastions of free speech and incubators of new and challenging ideas… sometimes… fail to see the creeping extremism on their campuses.”

These efforts must “tackle both parts of the creed—the non-violent and violent,” and would target numerous Imams—described here as “facilitators and cult leaders” to “stop them peddling their hatred,” as well as by imposing internet censorship.

To Muslim “community leaders”, he offered a cash incentive for being co-opted by and working with the government.

“If you’re interested in reform; if you want to challenge the extremists in our midst; if you want to build an alternative narrative or if you just want to help protect your kids—we are with you and we will back you—with practical help, with funding, with campaigns, with protection and with political representation,”

Cameron stated.

“Our Great British resolve faced down Hitler; it defeated Communism; it saw off the IRA’s assaults on our way of life,” he concluded. “Time and again we have stood up to aggression and tyranny… And we shall do so again.”

Cameron’s vision of society in fact owes a great deal to Hitlerite fascism—in the use of religious and ethnic scapegoating in the name of upholding “One nation”—or perhaps “Ein Volk, Ein Reich”—values to legitimise an assault on democratic rights and an ongoing drive to war.

Just over a week before his diatribe in Birmingham, Cameron outlined the other prong of his campaign against “extremism”, asking the UK’s Defence Chiefs to invest more resources on “readily deployable counter-terrorist capabilities” in a defence review scheduled for the autumn.

According to the government’s website, Cameron said,

“This could include more spy planes, drones and Special Forces,”

“to protect the UK from evolving threats, be that terrorism, extremism, or an increasingly aggressive Russia and whether that threat is physical or in cyberspace.”

On July 13, Cameron visited RAF Waddington, it added,

“from where Reaper missions are flown over Iraq and Syria… Tornados and Reapers alone have flown over 1,000 missions and struck over 300 ISIL targets. This afternoon, the Prime Minister welcomed some of the ship’s company of the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier to Downing Street. The Prime Minister is keen for the defence review to explore how best to work with partners like the US to ensure these ships, which will be the largest British warships ever built, will be able to project drones, Special Forces and strike capabilities to wherever the terrorist threat is found.”

The government is expected to move a motion extending British bombing operations from Iraq into Syria when parliament resumes in September. Of course anyone claiming that such actions help foster Islamic fundamentalist sentiment will no doubt be accused of employing “the grievance justification.”

Anti-Climax in Greece: Epitaph for a Failed State

July 23rd, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

The latest Greek tragedy chapter came around 4:00AM Athens time Thursday. Prime Minister Tsipras-led SYRIZA coalition governance unconditionally capitulated to Troika demands for the second time in a week – with no chance to benefit Greece’s economy or provide desperately needed relief for its beleaguered people now facing greater austerity than earlier.

Athens’ third bailout will fail as dismally as the first two, leaving the Hellenic Republic more greatly debt entrapped than ever – heading toward 200% of GDP on its present path.

Financial expert Patrick Young said Greece capitulated to its own “servitude” – yielding to Troika officials ruling by “Euro-delusion,” the Greek people legislated to “Euro-serfdom.”

Agreeing to bailouts to pay bankers and other large creditors at the expense of economic decline heading toward oblivion and mass social deprivation reflects the transformation of Greece to colonial status ruled by Brussels, Frankfurt and Washington.

Voting Thursday morning pre-dawn on a near 1,000 page bill parliamentarians had no time to read was rubber-stamp – 230 in favor, 63 against with seven abstentions (38 of 149 SYRIZA legislators voting “no” or abstained, the same number against last week’s bailout measure).

New provisions agreed on include Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) measures for dealing with financial crises, making judicial proceedings more corporate friendly (speeding up settlements and reducing business costs in disputes) with greatly reduced budgets, simplifying home and business foreclosures for greater bank profits (beginning in January), and accepting Troika control of Greek affairs henceforth – a humiliating sovereignty destroying climbdown to official vassal state status.

Approving higher agriculture taxes Troika officials demand was temporarily postponed to secure more “yes” votes. Talks on an 86 billion euro bailout begin as early as Friday – aiming for concluding them by mid-August ahead of a due 3.2 billion euro ECB payment days later.

Bailout uncertainties remain. Tsipras lost majority SYRIZA-led coalition support. September or October snap elections may follow – possibly delaying the bailout until after they’re held. Troika officials hope right-wing governance will result making their raping and pillaging of Greece easier.

An unnamed SYRIZA official said new elections are “on the cards” – as soon as “special congress” discussions resolve internal issues.

Replaced former Energy and Environment Minister Panayotis Lafazanis indicated he’ll confront Tsipras over abandoning his pre-election “no more austerity” pledge.

“Greece doesn’t need the euro,” he said. Regaining stability and recovery depend on adopting a “new drachma” currency, instituting greater state economic control (including nationalizing its banks), and building closer ties with Russia and China.

Greek banks opened Monday with capital controls still in place for an indefinite period – propped up short-term with ECB-approved 900 million additional Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) funding, an amount not likely to last long before more aid is needed.

Troika officials want proof of successful Athens implementation of demanded “reforms” before disbursing bailout funding.

Despite capitulating to their demands, turning Greece into a Troika-controlled colony, and abandoning millions of desperately needy people, whether they’ll hand Athens 86 billion more euros as promised, when, in what incremental amounts, and dependent on what possible additional demands remains uncertain.

Troika loan sharks of last resort want Greece entirely raped and pillaged while moving on to their next targets.

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

Anti-Iran Deal Groups Backed by $145 Million

July 23rd, 2015 by Eli Clifton

high-profile list of U.S. non-proliferation, nuclear policy, Iran, and national security experts welcomed last week’s announcement of a deal between the P5+1 and Iran to curb Tehran’s nuclear program. Opponents of the deal, meanwhile, will make a last-ditch effort to derail the agreement reached in Vienna. They will use the 60-day congressional review period to pressure members of Congress, many of whom owe their seats to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, to vote to reject the deal.

The groups leading this charge may be coming from a point of disadvantage. After all, it’s a tall task to convince Congress to sabotage an agreement negotiated by the U.S., as well as its closest European and NATO allies. But the budgets behind these groups will no doubt amplify their voices, giving them an outsized influence during the next two months.


Sheldon and Miriam Adelson flank Benjamin Netanyahu

Taken together, eight of the most vocal groups opposing the Iran deal enjoyed a combined 2013 budget (the last year for which records are publicly available) in excess of $145 million. That’s hardly insignificant number, especially compared to other foreign-policy lobby groups..

Here’s a breakdown of those groups, their 2013 budgets, and their anti-deal statements, issued either by the organizations themselves or their leadership:

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)

2013 budget: $64,367,763

Anti-deal statement: “Congress should reject this agreement, and urge the administration to work with our allies to maintain economic pressure on Iran while offering to negotiate a better deal that will truly close off all Iranian paths to a nuclear weapon.”

Anti-Defamation League

2013 budget: $58,137,559

Anti-deal statement: “We are deeply disappointed by the terms of the final deal with Iran announced today which seem to fall far short of the President’s objective of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state.”

The Israel Project

Annual budget: $7,165,162

Anti-deal statement: “Today’s announcement of this nuclear agreement with Iran is a realization of the deepest fears and the most dire predictions of skeptics who have, for two years, been warning against exactly this outcome—a bad deal that both enriches this tyrannical regime and fails to strip Iran of nuclear weapons capability.”

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies

2013 budget: $7,108,010

Anti-deal statement: “Ayatollah Khomeini would be proud of his successors, committed revolutionaries and skilled diplomats who, through guile and determination, have out-negotiated the envoys of the ‘Great Satan,’ thereby preparing the ground for the many battles—not just diplomatic—yet to come.”

Zionist Organization of America

2013 budget: $3,909,965

Anti-deal statement: “This agreement will provide nuclear weapons and hundreds of billions of dollars to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Hitler of the Mideast, and to Iran, the Nazi Germany of the Middle East.”

Republican Jewish Coalition

2013 budget: $3,062,340

Anti-deal statement: “This deal meets zero of the criteria for a good deal—it is not enforceable, verifiable, or in America’s national security interest.  Unless Congress stops it, the world will be less safe as the United States will remove sanctions on Iran, and in return, Iran will still pursue nuclear weapons.  The Republican Jewish Coalition calls on all members of Congress to reject this deal.”

United Against Nuclear Iran

2013 budget: $1,223,566

Anti-deal statement: “Anytime you give $150 billion, minimum, and then all the revenue that’s generated by the influx of business as sanctions are relieved, it will embolden a regime that’s already emboldened in the region and it doesn’t take that much money to fund Hezbollah, Hamas and I think we’d be naïve to think that none of that money will benefit their hegemonic ambitions.”

Emergency Committee for Israel

2013 budget: $708,385

Anti-deal statement: “Brilliant Obama diplomacy: In exchange for billions of dollars & removal of sanctions, Iran has agreed not to dismantle its nuclear program.”

These organizations, only a short list of the groups opposing the Iran deal, had a combined 2013 budget of $145,682,750. And that doesn’t even begin to take into account the tens of millions of dollars being spent through various dark-money groups to run television commercials and newspaper advertisements. AIPAC, for instance, says it will spend an additional $20 million through a newly formed advocacy group, Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran. And the Emergency Committee for Israel last year routed nearly $1 million to support Tom Cotton’s Senate campaign, more than the ECI c4’s entire budget in 2013.

With Netanyahu threatening to “kill himself” to prevent a deal, and his wealthiest U.S. backer, Sheldon Adelson, apparently willing to provide critical campaign cash to Republican members of Congress and presidential hopefuls, neither Netanyahu nor the GOP will likely back down in the next 60 days. The White House is headed toward a battle with an extremely well endowed set of opponents.

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. Eli previously reported for the American Independent New Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.

Japanese Government Ramps Up Tensions with China

July 23rd, 2015 by Peter Symonds

The Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has deliberately heightened tensions with Beijing by insisting that the Defence Ministry’s annual white paper, released on Tuesday, include more strident criticisms of China, particularly its activities in the South China and East China Seas. The paper was delayed for more than a week after government parliamentarians branded it as too soft on China and demanded its revision.

The release of the modified defence report came just days after the government rammed contentious new security legislation through the lower house of the Japanese Diet. By raising fears over the supposed Chinese threat, Abe is clearly aimed at trying to blunt widespread opposition to the laws.

The 429-page white paper devoted a third of its chapter on global security trends to China, declaring that Japan was “strongly concerned” about Beijing’s actions.

“China, particularly over conflicting maritime issues, continues to act in an assertive manner, including coercive attempts to change the status quo, and is poised to fulfill its unilateral demands high-handedly without compromise,”

it stated.

In a particularly provocative move, the document demanded a halt to China’s construction of oil-and-gas exploration platforms in the East China Sea. “We have confirmed that China has started construction of new ocean platforms and we repeat our opposition to unilateral development by China,” it stated.

The Japanese foreign ministry followed up the report by posting photographs of the exploration on its web site and issuing a further statement. While acknowledging that all the platforms were on the Chinese side of a median line delineating the exclusive economic zones of the two countries, the statement again criticised China’s “unilateral development” and called on Beijing to return to talks about a 2008 agreement on the joint development of maritime resources.

In recent comments in the Japanese parliament, Defence Minister Gen Nakatani claimed that one of the platforms could be used to “deploy a radar system” or “as an operating base for helicopters or drones conducting air patrols.” In a comment on the Diplomat website entitled “A new Chinese threat in the East China Sea? Not so fast,” analyst Ankit Panda dismissed the alleged threat, pointing out that there would be no advantage for China in shifting existing surveillance operations to the platforms.

By demanding a halt to the exploration platforms, the Abe government is adding another potential flashpoint for conflict with China. Tensions between the two countries are already high after the previous Japanese government unilaterally “nationalised” islets in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The white paper reported that the Japanese military scrambled fighter jets on 464 occasions during 2014 to intercept Chinese military aircraft close to Japan’s claimed airspace.

The white paper repeated the litany of accusations against China that has become standard fare for the United States and all its close allies, including Japan. In particular, it branded China’s land reclamation activities in the South China Sea as a threat to regional security and criticised the “opaqueness” of the Chinese military budget.

The Chinese defence ministry hit back against the Japanese white paper, declaring that it “maliciously hyped up the issues of the East China Sea, South China Sea, Internet security and military transparency.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang called on Japan “to stop stoking tensions” and “instead undertake more activities that are conducive to regional peace and stability.”

By heightening tensions with China, Abe is hoping to deflect widespread public opposition to his government’s security legislation, which will allow the military to engage in “collective self defence”—in other words, to increase Japanese involvement in US-led wars of aggression around the world.

Many Japanese legal experts have branded the laws as unconstitutional. Article 9 of Japan’s post-war constitution renounced war forever and declared that land, air and sea forces would never be maintained.

The legislation, which still has to pass the upper house, has provoked large protests and a slump in support for the government. A Kyodo news agency poll released on Saturday put Abe’s disapproval rating greater than 50 percent for the first time since his government was elected in 2012.

The Abe government’s increasingly aggressive stance toward Beijing has been encouraged at every step by the Obama administration as part of its “pivot to Asia” against China. In April last year, Obama publicly affirmed that the US would back Japan in a war against China over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands. Washington, which has encouraged Tokyo to play a greater security role in Asia, has welcomed the Abe government’s new security legislation.

In recent months, the Pentagon has recklessly inflamed tensions with China in the South China Sea by flying military aircraft close to Chinese-controlled atolls and reefs. On Saturday, Admiral Scott Swift, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, provocatively joined a seven-hour surveillance flight on a Boeing P-8 surveillance plane in the South China Sea.

Admiral Swift is on a tour of Asia, including the Philippines, South Korea and Japan. In Manila last Friday, he declared that he was “very interested” in expanding existing bilateral war games with allies in the region into a multi-national exercise. He praised Philippine efforts to hold military readiness exercises with other US allies, such as Japan. For the first time, Japan held search and rescue drills last month with Philippine naval personnel on board a Japanese surveillance flight over the South China Sea.

China yesterday announced its own major military and naval exercise in the South China Sea near Hainan Island, warning other military vessels to avoid the area. Major General Zhu Chenghu played down any connection to Japan’s white paper, saying that a military drill of this scale took months to prepare.

Nevertheless, by heightening tensions with China, the US and Japan have created a dangerous powder keg where any incident or accident involving military aircraft or naval vessels in the South China or East China Sea threatens to trigger an escalating conflict between nuclear powers that could spiral out of control.

Unaccountable Killer Cops in America

July 23rd, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

US streets in minority communities are battlegrounds. The good news is more police killings make headlines though nowhere near as many warranted. Justifiable public anger is noticeably more visible.

The bad news is cops in America kill innocent (mostly Black) victims hundreds of times annually with impunity.

Activist police brutality critic Sandra Bland was lawlessly arrested after being stopped for a dubious traffic violation. Waller County, TX police lied claiming she assaulted arresting state trooper Brian Encinia. Video evidence showed him harassing, threatening and abusing her.

He opened her car door, aggressively demanded she “(s)tep out of the car.” She justifiably hesitated saying “(y)ou do not have the right to do that. Don’t touch me. I’m not under arrest.”

Encinia threatened her with his taser, saying “(g)et out of the car. I will light you up. Get out. Now. Get out of the car.” Bland was pinned to the ground, assaulted, handcuffed, arrested and jailed. She was found hanged to death in her cell.

A murder investigation is underway. Waller County criminal investigation head Captain Brian Cantrell unjustifiably calls what happened “a tragic incident, not one of criminal intent or a criminal act.”

Systematic police brutality against Blacks in America suggests otherwise. Why would an activist young Black woman commit suicide for any reason – let alone after likely short-term jailing following an abusive traffic stop, a misdemeanor at most if proved she was at fault? Videotape evidence showed otherwise.

Bland participated in rallies against police violence. Prophetically she posted a Facebook comment saying “(i)n the news that we’ve seen as of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops, and still be killed.”

Was she targeted for her activism? Did State Trooper Encinia stop her for that reason – perhaps knowing he’d assault and arrest her? Was she set up for death? Was Bland assassinated to silence her?

The Texas Department of Public Safety said her arrest “violated the department’s procedures regarding traffic stops and the department’s courtesy policy.”

Encinio was transferred to desk duty. Expect whoever was responsible for Bland’s death to get off scot-free – like virtually always in these type cases.

Independent journalists could write multiple daily articles on horrific police abuse in America – in urban and rural communities, big cities and small, nearly always against disadvantaged people, largely ones of color.

Last Sunday, 43-year-old Black Cincinnati motorist Samuel Dubose was fatally shot in the head by a white officer – inside his car after being stopped for an alleged traffic violation.

On July 19, Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph Deters said “(w)e are investigating what occurred between University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing and Samuel Dubose and we expect to have our assessment complete before the end of next week.”

Dubose was allegedly stopped for missing his front license plate. Authorities notoriously lie. Prosecutor Deters claimed the incident resulted from him struggling with University of Cincinnati officer Tensing.

Unexplained is how (let alone why) with him seated in his car and Tensing outside – unless the officer opened his door and forcibly tried removing him, an act violating police procedure virtually everywhere except perhaps under extraordinary circumstances.

The police account sounded implausible at best. Instead of showing his driver’s license and registration when asked, he allegedly “produced a bottle of alcohol from inside the car, handing it to officer Tensing,” according to university police chief Jason Goodrich.

After an alleged brief struggle, the car rolled forward, knocking Tensing to the ground, he added. He killed Dubose in response.

Whether any of this happened as claimed is dubious at best. Goodrich didn’t say Dubose was drunk – a possible explanation for acting foolishly.

If not, why would he or anyone stopped for an alleged traffic violation hand a police officer a bottle of alcohol instead of his or her license and registration as asked?

Tensing was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation virtually assured to exonerate him.

Another Black man died because killer cops in America have license to kill – including university ones operating by the same anything goes standard as city, state and federal authorities.

Friends and relatives explained Dubose wasn’t a violent man. He was the father of 13, engaged to be remarried. Neighbor Hadassah Thomas said “(e)verybody in the community loved Sam…He didn’t carry a gun, so why did he get shot” for a routine traffic stop?

Police records show Dubose had prior arrests -whether legitimate or not isn’t clear. Black males in America are ruthlessly harassed, falsely arrested, irresponsibly charged and unjustly imprisoned when innocent of any crimes – or very often minor offenses too insignificant to warrant incarceration, like illicit drug possession.

America’s criminal justice system is maliciously unfair. Three convictions for possessing a few grams of cocaine or a single marijuana joint for personal use in three-strikes-and-out states like Texas, California, Florida, Pennsylvania and many others means life imprisonment.

Loot national treasuries and/or steal billions of dollars from duped investors and get off scot-free – or at most receive minor wrist slap fines compared enormous amounts of money stolen not required to give back.

Unknown numbers of mostly people of color wrongfully fester in America’s gulag longterm for capital or other crimes they didn’t commit. Justice is usually available only for those able to afford it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


Imprisonment for Stone-Throwing: Only in Israel

July 23rd, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Israel  equates stone-throwing with terrorism. It calls premeditated naked aggression against 1.8 million near-defenseless Gazans self-defense. 

Last November, Israeli cabinet ministers approved up to 20 years imprisonment for Palestinians accused of stone-throwing – if authorities claim it was with intent to cause bodily harm. No proof needed. Guilt by accusation suffices.

The measure applies to targeting police or their vehicles – allegedly to hinder their performance of duties.

Earlier stone-throwing convictions mandated to up to two years in prison. Last year, Netanyahu said “Israel is operating aggressively against terrorists, against stone throwers, against hurlers of firebombs and firecrackers.”

“We will legislate more aggressive legislation to this regard, in order to return quiet and security…”

On Monday, Knesset members overwhelmingly enacted legislation approving up to 20 years imprisonment for stone-throwing.

Overtly racist/hard-right Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said “(t)olerance toward terrorists ends today. A stone-thrower is a terrorist and only a fitting punishment can serve as a deterrent and just punishment.”

Earlier she accused Palestinian mothers of giving birth to “little snakes.” She called for all-out war – genocide targeting an entire population.

The new law mandates up to 10-year sentences for defendants not accused of intending to cause harm – otherwise, up to 20 years.

Up to five years for anyone “interfer(ing) with the policeman’s performance of his duties or to prevent him from performing them.”

The measure was introduced by hard-right MK Nissan Slomiansky accompanied by an irrelevant/offensive statement, saying:

David killed Goliath, the strongest Philistine of all, with a stone. In other words a stone can kill. (T)his dangerous phenomenon of throwing stones must be aggressively eradicated.”

Israel annually detains hundreds of Palestinians for allegedly throwing stones – true or false, seldom harming anyone.

From 2005 – 2010, B’Tselem said “93 percent of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months.”

Five Palestinian teenagers face possible life in prison – charged with attempted murder from a stone-throwing incident.

Outraged Palestinian MKs criticized another hugely unjust Israeli racist measure – applying solely to Arabs.

“Who will the (military) judge send to prison,” MK Jamal Zahalka asked? “He who demolished the home, seized the land, killed the brother, or the (little) boy who threw a stone” harming no one?

“The one who demolishes the home gets a medal, but the boy whose anger is justified gets punished. There is no justice in this law.”

Palestinian MK Hanin Zoabi, said “(w)e are not talking about a law. We are talking about the occupation. If the law is meant to protect the weak, it is also meant to protect those victims who are killed every week by soldiers. Imagine a soldier with a gun facing a teenager with a small stone. What symmetry is there?”

Palestinian Prisoners Club head Qadura Fares called the new measure “racist. (It’s) hateful and contradicts the most basic rule that the punishment fit the offense.”

Palestinian boys and youths often throw stones in response to brutal occupation harshness. It’s one of the few ways they have to justifiably resist what no one should tolerate.

Israel rewards IDF and other security force killers. Settler violence and vandalism are largely ignored.

Collectively punished Palestinians are victimized more than already.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


Israel’s Endless Misery for Gaza is Backfiring

July 23rd, 2015 by Jonathan Cook

For those trying to read developments between Israel and Gaza over the past weeks, the picture has been unusually puzzling.

A month ago European diplomats and Palestinian officials in the West Bank suggested that Israel and Hamas were taking “baby steps”, as one Palestinian analyst termed it, towards a truce.

Then earlier this month, as an attack blamed on the extremists of Islamic State (ISIS) killed dozens in Sinai, an Israeli general accused Hamas of supplying the weapons used against the Egyptian military.

A short time later, a group of Israeli army commanders urged the easing of the near-decade blockade of Gaza as a way to end Hamas’ isolation.

So what’s going on? Does Israel want Hamas weakened or strengthened?

The uncertainty reflects Israel’s increasingly convoluted efforts to “manage” Gaza faced with the fallout from its series of attacks on the enclave beginning in late 2008 with Operation Cast Lead and culminating in last year’s Protective Edge.

International activists aboard a humanitarian flotilla failed again this month to reach Gaza and break Israel’s physical siege. But more difficult for Israel is maintaining the blockade on information out of Gaza.

The problem was illustrated this month by a new app from Amnesty International that allows users to map 2,500 Israeli air strikes on the enclave last summer and interpret the resulting deaths and destruction from pictures, videos and testimonies.

The software, says Amnesty, reveals specific patterns of behaviour, including attacks on rescue vehicles and medical workers and facilities.

It allows any of us to turn amateur war crimes sleuth for the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and moves nearer the day when Israeli soldiers’ impunity will end.

The difficulties for Israel of controlling the narrative about Gaza were underscored last week. Judges at the Hague ruled that the court’s chief prosecutor had erred in refusing to investigate Israel for war crimes over the killing of 10 activists aboard an earlier flotilla, in 2010.

The judges determined that the prosecutor, in dismissing the case as lacking the necessary gravity for the Hague court to intervene, had ignored the wider, political context.

Beyond the harm done to the passengers, Israel’s attack on the flotilla delivered a blunt message to the people of Gaza and the international community: that Israel could deny humanitarian aid to the enclave by enforcing the blockade. The policy needed to be tested against the principles of international law, claimed the judges.

Not only does their ruling reopen to scrutiny the episode of the flotilla, but it puts considerable pressure on ICC prosecutors to ensure they investigate Protective Edge thoroughly too.

Meanwhile, frustration at the failure by international institutions so far to hold Israel to account is driving other ways to punish Israel, notably the grassroots boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Israel is slowly losing this battle too. The US state department declared late last month that it would ignore the provision in a new trade law passed by Congress that requires the US to protect Jewish settlements from boycotts. In effect, a limited boycott has won the White House’s tacit approval for the first time.

The shockwaves from Israel’s rampages in Gaza are having political repercussions in the tiny enclave too. Polls indicate that among a small but growing minority of Palestinians in Gaza support is shifting towards ISIS.

They blame Hamas for failing to capitalise on its relative military success last summer. Gaza is still ravaged a year on, and continuing Israeli restrictions mean the huge reconstruction project has barely begun. The people of Gaza expect their rulers to end the blockade.

Israel’s recent confusing behaviour in part reflects a belated realisation that it needs to put out these various fires.

That explains revelations in the Israeli media that Israel is quietly cooperating with the Hague court’s investigators, breaking with its past refusal to deal with international inquiries. It hopes to forestall an ICC investigation by demonstrating that it is taking action itself.

Last week Israel announced it would investigate soldiers’ testimonies of war crimes collected by Breaking the Silence, a whistleblowing group that as recently as last month the Israeli government called traitors.

In addition, Neria Yeshurun has become the first senior commander to be placed under investigation, after a recording emerged in which he stated he had ordered the shelling of a Palestinian medical centre to “avenge” the killing of one of his officers.

Asa Kasher, in charge of the army’s code of ethics, recently argued that notorious incidents such as the massive destruction of Rafah after a soldier went missing – the so-called Hannibal procedure that probably claimed more than 150 Palestinian lives – reflected operational misunderstandings rather than policy. Errors, he implied, were not war crimes.

A group of Israeli military commanders have also argued that it is time to offer Gaza some relief, by easing – if only marginally – the blockade.

None of this is being done from conscience or out of recognition of Palestinian rights.

The moves may be conducted in bad faith but they nonetheless indicate a growing realisation by some in Israel that the international community and ordinary Palestinians in Gaza need to be placated.

At the same time, according to local analysts, Israel is pursuing a dual policy towards Hamas.

On the the hand, Israel hopes diplomatic gains will bolster Hamas’ political wing against more threatening newcomers like ISIS. On the other, it wishes to weaken Hamas’ military wing to prevent it from developing the capacity to threaten Israel’s control over the enclave.

As ever, Israel is keen to sow divisions where possible. The Israeli government’s repeated likening of Hamas and ISIS, and the recent suggestions of military ties between the two in Sinai, are intended to remind the international community of the threat Hamas’ military wing supposedly poses to regional order.

Further, it is better for Israel that Hamas commanders are forced to contend with Egypt’s as well as Israel’s military might, stretching it on two fronts.

Israel believes it can tame Hamas’ political leadership, making them as cautious and subdued as Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. But it also wants to maintain the pressure on Hamas’ military wing by emphasising that it is little different from the beheaders of Islamic State.

Israel’s compulsive need to dominate Palestinians trumps all – even as it finally dawns on a few generals that Gaza’s endless immiseration is no policy at all.


After Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush declared the Philippines a second front in the war on terror (“Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines”). The Philippine government used this as an opportunity to escalate its war against Muslim separatists and other individuals and organizations opposing the policies of the government. The egregious human rights violations committed by the Philippine military and paramilitary forces are some of the most underreported atrocities in the media today.

The International Peoples’ Tribunal on Crimes Against the Filipino People, held July 16-18 in Washington, D.C., drew upward of 300 people. An international panel of seven jurors heard two days of testimony from 32 witnesses, many of whom had been tortured, arbitrarily detained and forcibly evicted from their land. Some testified to being present when their loved ones, including children, were gunned down by the Philippine military or paramilitary. I testified as an expert witness on international human rights violations in the Philippines, many of which were aided and abetted by the U.S. government.

Thirty-one-year-old Melissa Roxas was a community health adviser who went to the Philippines in 2009 to conduct health surveys in central Luzon, where people were dying from cholera and diarrhea. In May of that year, 15 men in civilian clothes with high-powered rifles and wearing bonnets and ski masks forced her into a van and handcuffed and blindfolded her. They beat her, suffocated her and used other forms of torture on her until releasing her six days later. Roxas was continually interrogated and even threatened with death during her horrific torture. She was likely released because she is a U.S. citizen (she has dual citizenship).

But WikiLeaks revealed that although the U.S. Embassy was aware of Roxas’ torture and abduction, it did nothing to secure her release. Roxas convinced the Philippines Court of Appeals to grant her petition for writ of amparo, which confirmed she had been abducted and tortured. Nevertheless, the Philippine government refuses to mount an investigation into her ordeal. And although she lives in the United States, Roxas remains under surveillance.

“Whenever you work with communities,” Roxas testified, “[the Philippine government] vilifies you as a member of the New Peoples Army [NPA].” Ironically, the Philippine military claimed it was the NPA, the armed wing of the Philippine Communist Party, that abducted Roxas. Her physical and emotional scars remain. But, Roxas told the tribunal, “I have the privilege of being in the United States,” unlike many other Filipino victims of human rights violations.

People and groups have been labeled “terrorists” by the Philippine government, the U.S. government and other countries at the behest of the U.S. government. The Philippine government engages in “red tagging”—political vilification. Targets are frequently human rights activists and advocates, political opponents, community organizers or groups struggling for national liberation. Those targeted for assassination are placed on the “order of battle” list.

The tribunal documented 262 cases of extrajudicial killings, 27 cases of forced disappearances, 125 cases of torture, 1,016 cases of illegal arrest, and 60,155 incidents of forced evacuation—many to make way for extraction by mining companies—from July 2010 to June 30 of this year by Philippine police, military, paramilitary or other state agents operating within the chain of command.

As part of the U.S. war on terror, in 2002 the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government created the Oplan Bantay Laya, a counterinsurgency program modeled on U.S. strategies, ostensibly to fight communist guerrillas. After 9/11, the Bush administration gave Arroyo $100 million to fund the campaign in the Philippines.

The government of Benigno Aquino III continued the program in 2011 under the name Oplan Bayanihan. It does not distinguish between civilians and combatants,  which is considered a war crime under the Rome Statute and the Geneva Conventions.

Oplan Bayanihan has led to tremendous repression, including large numbers of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture and cruel treatment. Many civilians, including children, have been killed. Hundreds of members of progressive organizations were murdered by Philippine military and paramilitary death squads. Communities and leaders opposed to large-scale and invasive mining have been targeted. Even ordinary people with no political affiliation have not escaped the government’s campaign of terror.

One witness testified that although the counterinsurgency program was presented in the guise of “peace and development,” it was really an “operational guide to crush any resistance by those who work for social justice and support the poor and oppressed.”

Philippine military and paramilitary forces apparently rationalize their harsh treatment as necessary to maintain national security against people and organizations that seek to challenge, or even overthrow, the government. However, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) says, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as justification for torture.” Both the Philippines and the United States are parties to the convention on torture.

A 14-year-old boy testified that as he was walking with family members to harvest their crops, “We were fired upon” by soldiers. “We said, ‘We are children, sir.’ ” But the soldiers killed his 8-year-old brother. “I embraced him. The soldier said we were enemies. He was bleeding, the bullet exited in the back. He was dead when my mother saw him. We made an affidavit against the soldiers but it was dismissed by the prosecutor.”

Raymond Manalo was an eyewitness to kidnapping, torture, rape and forced disappearances. He testified that he saw civilians burned alive by soldiers and paramilitary forces. Two women were hit with wooden sticks and burned with a cigarette. Sticks were inserted into their genitals. The two women disappeared and have not been seen since. Although a case was filed, there has been no resolution.

Cynthia Jaramillo testified that her husband, Arnold, was one of nine unarmed men killed in a massive military operation that lasted almost a month. Although Arnold was a member of the NPA, “They were not killed during a legitimate running battle,” she said. “The state of their bodies when recovered clearly indicated the torture, willful killing and desecration of the remains.” Arnold was taken alive and killed at close range by multiple gunshot wounds, his internal organs lacerated, his jaws and teeth shattered. This violates the Geneva Conventions and constitutes illegal extrajudicial killing off the battlefield.

Continuing the Bush policy of the pivot to Asia-Pacific, as a counterweight to China, President Barack Obama enlisted the Aquino government last year to negotiate the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. While paying lip service to the Philippines’ maintaining sovereignty over the military bases in their country, it actually grants tremendous powers to U.S. forces. The United States also wants to return to its two former military bases at Subic Bay and Clark, which it left in 1992. Those bases were critical to the U.S. imperial war in Vietnam. A U.S. return would violate the well-established right of peoples to self-determination enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) includes a prohibition on aiding and abetting liability for war crimes. An individual can be convicted of a war crime in the ICC if he or she “aids, abets or otherwise assists” in the commission or attempted commission of the crime. This includes “providing the means for its commission.”

Between 2001 and 2010, the U.S. government furnished more than $507 million in military aid to the Philippine government, enabling it to commit war crimes. U.S. political and military leaders could be liable in the ICC for war crimes as aiders and abettors.

The United States planned and helped carry out the botched Mamasapano raid on January 25, 2015. Dozens died when commandos from the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police entered Mamasapano, where the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front had a stronghold. The Obama administration had put a $5 million bounty on terror suspect Marwan’s head. According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, US drones identified Marwan’s hiding place, led the commandos to it, and provided real-time management capacity for the operation off the battlefield. Marwan was killed but his finger was severed and disappeared. It then appeared at an FBI lab in the United States a few days later. DNA tests on the finger confirmed it was Marwan who had been killed.

Murder, torture and cruel treatment constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute and the Geneva Conventions. Both the United States and the Philippines are parties to the Geneva Conventions. But although the Philippines is a party to the Rome Statute, the United States is not. In fact, the U.S. government offered the Philippine government $30 million in additional military aid to secure an agreement that U.S. soldiers in the Philippines would not be turned over to the ICC.

The jury in the tribunal found defendant Aquino and defendant Government of the United States of America, represented by Obama guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. “Indeed,” the panel wrote, “the Prosecution has satisfied the burden of proving satisfactorily that the Defendants, in concert with each other, willfully and feloniously committed gross and systematic violations of Filipino people’s basic human rights.”

The jurors decided, “The killings and disappearances follow a pattern. The victims are vilified as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and subjected to red tagging … after vilification, the victims are subjected to surveillance and then later killed or abducted.” The panel noted, “These are not random vi

olations.” They are “not isolated but state-sponsored, part of a policy deliberately adopted to silence the critics of the government.” They called it “state terror,” drawing an analogy with the military and authoritarian regimes in Latin America in the 1970s and ’80s, which were also supported by the United States.

“Terrorist tagging,” according to the jurors, is not just intended to define military targets but also to “sabotage the peace process between the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the Philippine government.” In fact, Jose Maria Sison, the NDF’s chief political consultant, has been classified by the United States as

a “person supporting terrorism.” Sison’s assets have been frozen and he is forbidden to travel, in violation of the ICCPR. The European Union’s second-highest court ruled to delist Sison as a “person supporting terrorism” and reversed a decision by member governments to freeze assets. Yet he remains on the U.S. terrorism list.

Moreover, the jury determined, “the failure of the Philippine government through Defendant Aquino to identify, investigate and/or prosecute the perpetrators of these violations is among the contributing factors to the prevailing impunity in the Philippines.”

The jury urged the defendants to undertake “proper remedial measures to prevent the commission or continuance of such illegal and criminal acts, to repair the damages done to the Filipino people and their environment, compensate the victims and their families for their atrocities, and to rehabilitate the communities, especially indigenous communities that have been destroyed by the criminal acts of the Defendants.”

The panel concluded, “We also encourage the peoples of the world to seek redress, to pursue justice [under universal jurisdiction], and to transform this oppressive, exploitative and repressive global state of affairs exemplified by the experience and plight of the Filipino people, to challenge the international ‘rule of law,’ and to construct a global order founded on full respect for the rights of all peoples, everywhere.”

This article was originally published on Truthdig (www.truthdig.com).