Currently being debated by the Senate, but rarely discussed on mainstream television, is the Shield Law. While on the surface it may seem to be rather innocuous, some of the language in it and its implications are quite problematic for journalists.

A Shield Law is a law which “provides statutory protection for the ‘reporters’ privilege’— legal rules which protect journalists against the government requiring them to reveal confidential sources or other information.”[1] Generally, this is a positive occurrence as journalists are much more able to conduct their work and bring information to public light if they do not need to worry about having to reveal their sources. While Shield Laws have occurred in the past, they have only been on the state level. This currently proposed Shield Law is the first one to reach the federal level and the main goal is to protect journalists from having to reveal confidential sources in federal cases.[2]

However, there are certain instances in which journalists will have to reveal sources, such as “(1) The party seeking disclosure has exhausted all reasonable alternative sources of the information; (2) The requested information is essential to resolving the matter; (3) Disclosure of the requested information would not be contrary to the public interest; and (4) In criminal cases, if the requesting party is the federal government, the government must show that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has occurred.”[3]

While overall it may seem like a good bill, there are a number of problems with this Shield Law, officially known as the Free Flow of Information Act of 2013. For starters, this law would “allow the government to seize reporters’ records without notifying them for 45 days – a period of time that could be renewed by a judge 45 additional days – if investigators convince a judge pre-notification ‘would pose a clear and substantial threat to the integrity of a criminal investigation.’”[4] This power of seizing records without notifying reporters was used most recently in regards to the Associated Press, when the federal government seized their phone records in May of last year, with the government only saying that “they were needed for investigation of an unspecified criminal matter.”[5] Oh yes! What transparency and accountability! Infringing upon the First Amendment rights of reporters and then only giving what is essentially a BS, purposefully vague explanation.

In addition to this, the government can force journalists to give up information in the name of national security.[6] This is quite worrying as the US government has time and time again been involved in operations of entrapment.[7,8] Due to this, they could potentially have a scenario where they create a case of entrapment, label it terrorism, and then force all journalists to give up information on any and all sources as well as seize their records under the guise of national security.

Yet in this current bill, not only can the government continue to engage in the above behavior, but they are also defining who is and who is not a journalist. Initially, the bill defined a journalist as “a person who has a ‘primary intent to investigate events and procure material’ in order to inform the public by regularly gathering information through interviews and observations” and added the stipulation that “The person also must intend to report on the news at the start of obtaining any protected information and must plan to publish that news.”[9] This seems to be rather fine as it would include mainstream and independent journalists. However, the situation became problematic when in September 2013, an amendment to the bill was proposed that- let’s just say- ‘more clearly’ defined who and who was not a journalist.

Kevin Gostolza of Firedoglake discussed this amendment last year and it would be appropriate to quote him now at some length:

A “covered journalist,” under the amendment, would be the following: an employee, independent contractor, or agent of an entity or service that disseminates news or information by means of newspaper; nonfiction book; wire service; news agency; news website, mobile application or other news or information service (whether distributed digitally or other wise); news program; magazine or other periodical, whether in print, electronic, or other format; or through television or radio broadcast, multichannel video programming distributor (as such term is defined in section 602(13) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 522(13)), or motion picture for public showing… That person must also have the “primary intent to investigate events and procure material in order to disseminate to the public news or information concerning local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest.” Or, that person should be engaged in the “regular gathering, preparation, collection, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting or publishing on such matters.” A person would also qualify as a “covered journalist” if they had experience in journalism and had “substantially contributed, as an author, editor, photographer, or producer, to a significant number of articles, stories, programs, or publications” in the past twenty years. As Feinstein said, it would “cover a legitimate journalist such as a Dan Rather who leaves his media entity and takes to publishing freelance stories on the web.”[10] (emphasis added)

Now, let’s begin to take those paragraphs apart and analyze them, bit by bit.

In the first paragraph, the law defines a journalist as “an employee, independent contractor, or agent of an entity or service that disseminates news or information” and then goes on to define the many mediums by which the news can be disseminated. Some of this language seems to be problematic. What exactly do they mean by “independent contractor?” Do they mean a freelancer? Do they mean someone like myself who researches and writes independently?

In the next paragraph, it adds a caveat to the definition of journalist, stating that the individual in question must also “have the ‘primary intent to investigate events and procure material in order to disseminate to the public news or information concerning local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest.’” Well, how do you prove that this is one’s primary intent? Do you just have to state as such? And what do they even mean by the term “primary intent?” Isn’t the main goal of most if not all journalists to disseminate news to the public?

The final paragraph offers an alternative if one is not with a mainstream source by stating that they are covered if “they had experience in journalism and had ‘substantially contributed, as an author, editor, photographer, or producer, to a significant number of articles, stories, programs, or publications’ in the past twenty years.” Does this mean that contributing to sites such as Truthout and Alternet could qualify one as a journalist under this law?

Apparently, in an earlier version of the bill, the law defined “journalists so narrowly that it excludes bloggers, citizen reporters and even some freelancers,”[11] and thus the amendment was added. However, this amendment seems to leave more questions than answers.

In addition to this, many supporters of this bill have been using some rather bellicose language. For example, Senator Dianne Feinstein has been quoted as saying that “real journalists draw salaries”[12] and stating that the First Amendment is “a privilege,”[13] which is rather worrying.

On top of all these other problems, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, has written that this bill would “give judges too much power to decide on their own whether the disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest and thus not protected.”[14] This means the issue of deciding whether or not information that is being withheld by journalists, say, sources for example, violates the public interest in the form of national security would be decided by judges. If the judges do decide that the information being withheld does violate the public interest, then the journalist would be forced to hand over that information.

While judges do from time to time uphold the rights of the people, they seem to have often sided with the national security state as of recent. For example in 2010, a federal appeals court “ruled that former prisoners of the C.I.A. could not sue over their alleged torture in overseas prisons because such a lawsuit might expose secret government information,”[15] last year, the US Supreme Court decided to “allow the National Security Agency’s surveillance of domestic telephone communication records to continue.”[16]

This year it was reported that the US Supreme Court “rejected [the Center for Constitutional Rights] lawsuit against Bush-era warrantless surveillance, which “guarantees that the federal courts will never address a fundamental question: Was the warrantless surveillance program the NSA carried out on President Bush’s orders legal?”[17] Thus, it seems that the situation of on whose side the courts would rule in a case regarding national security is rather iffy. This is made all the more strenuous by the fact that if a case were to make it up all the way to the Supreme Court and they ruled in favor of the US government, it has the potential to set a precedent which could only be overturned by an entirely new Supreme Court case.

As of now, there are conflicting reports about whether or not Chuck Shumer (D.-N.Y.) has the votes to pass the bill in the Senate, with Schumer saying he does and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) saying he doesn’t.[19] However, if it does pass, there is no doubt about it going into law as Obama has already voiced his support for it.[20]

By essentially giving the government the power to define what a journalist is, it has the potential to hurt independent media when it is needed now more than ever. The mainstream media consistently sits on stories to please the US government. It was reported in 2006 that the New York Times made a decision to “[withhold] a story about the Bush administration’s program of illegal domestic spying until after the 2004 election.”[21] More recently, the US media reported again and again that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in Ghouta and that the UN report confirmed it[22], when in reality, the question is still up in the air as new information has come to light that puts the official narrative in doubt.[23]

We need independent alternatives to the mainstream media like Corbett Report, Citizen Radio, and Black Agenda Report to allow people to get a glimpse behind the wall of misinformation that permeates much of the mainstream and get an idea of what is truly going on in the world. If this law gives the government the power to define who a journalist is, we may just lose that.

Notes

1: Society of Professional Journalists, Shield Law 101: Frequently Asked Questions, https://www.spj.org/shieldlaw-faq.asp

2: Rem Reider, “Media Shield Law Moves Forward,” USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/09/12/senate-judiciary-committee-approves-media-shield-bill/2807045/ (September 12, 2013)

3: Chris Palmer, Josh Stearns, “The Journalism Shield Law: How We Got Here,” Free Press, http://www.freepress.net/blog/2013/08/06/journalism-shield-law-how-we-got-here (August 6, 2013

4: Steven Nelson, “Holes in Media Shield Law Worry Opponents, and Even Some Supporters,” US News, http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/09/18/holes-in-media-shield-law-worry-opponents-and-even-some-supporters (September 18, 2013)

5: Roger Yu, “Feds Seize AP Phone Records For Criminal Probe,” USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2013/05/13/justice-department-associated-press-telephone-records/2156521/ (May 13, 2013)

6: Zoë Carpenter, “Flawed Media Shield Law Goes to the Senate Floor,” The Nation, http://www.thenation.com/blog/176166/flawed-media-shield-law-goes-senate-floor (September 13, 2013)

7: Alex Newman, “FBI Celebrates Foiling Its Own Terrorist Plot, Again,” The New American, http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/13263-fbi-celebrates-foiling-its-own-terror-plot-again (October 18, 2012)

8: Glenn Greenwald, ”The FBI Again Thwarts Its Own Terror Plot,” Salon, http://www.salon.com/2011/09/29/fbi_terror/ (September 29, 2011)

9: Tim Cushing, “Sen. Feinstein During ‘Shield’ Law Debate: ‘Real’ Journalists Draw Salaries,” Techdirt, https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130807/13153224102/sen-feinstein-during-shield-law-debate-real-journalists-draw-salaries.shtml (August 8, 2013)

10: Kevin Gosztola, “Media Shield Law, Which Aims to Protect Only ‘Real Reporters,’ Moves Onward to the Senate,” Firedoglake, http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/09/12/media-shield-law-which-defines-covered-journalists-moves-onward-to-the-senate/ (September 12, 2013)

11: Free Press, (August 6, 2013)

12: Morgan Weiland, “Why Sen. Feinstein Is Wrong About Who’s a ‘Real Reporter,’” Electronic Frontier Foundation, https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/08/why-sen-feinstein-wrong-about-whos-real-reporter (August 9, 2013)

13: Mark Whitney, “Dianne Feinstein First Amendment Is A Special Privilege,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bywtn9RIDRw

14: Jacob Gershman, “Mukasey: Beware the Proposed Media-Shield Law,” Wall Street Journal, http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2013/12/02/mukasey-beware-of-the-proposed-media-shield-law/ (December 2, 2013)

15: Charlie Savage, “Court Dismisses a Case Asserting Torture by C.I.A.,” New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/09/us/09secrets.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (September 8, 2010)

16: Bill Mears, “Supreme Court allows NSA to continue looking at telephone records for now,” CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/18/politics/supreme-court-nsa-phone-records/ (November 8, 2013)

17: Kevin Gosztola, “Supreme Court Declines to Hear Case That Would Have Challenged NSA Warrantless Surveillance of Lawyers,” Firedoglake, http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/03/04/supreme-court-declines-to-hear-case-that-would-have-challenged-nsa-surveillance-of-lawyers/ (March 4, 2014)

18: Fox News, Schumer: Senate Has Votes for Media Shield Law, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/21/schumer-senate-has-votes-for-media-shield-law/ (March 21, 2014)

19: Hadas Gold, “Cornyn: Schumer Doesn’t Have Votes for Shield Law,” Politico, http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2014/03/cornyn-schumer-doesnt-have-votes-for-shield-law-185862.html (March 27, 2014)

20: David Jackson, “Obama backs ‘Shield Law’ for Reporters,” USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/05/15/obama-schumer-associated-press-shield-law/2161913/ (May 15, 2013)

21: Barry Grey, David Walsh, “A Damning Admission: New York Times Concealed NSA Spying Until After 2004 Election,” World Socialist Web Site, http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2006/08/nyti-a22.html (August 22, 2006)

22: Bill Chapel, “U.N. Report Confirms Chemical Weapons Were Used In Syria,” NPR, http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/12/12/250572623/u-n-report-confirms-chemical-weapons-were-used-in-syria (December 12, 2013)

23: Matthew Schofield, “New Analysis of Rocket Used In Syria Chemical Attack Undercuts U.S. Claims,” McClatchy, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/01/15/214656/new-analysis-of-rocket-used-in.html (January 15, 2014)

Devon DB is a 22 year old independent writer and researcher. He can be contacted at devondb[at]mail[dot]com.

Nothing illustrates the bottomless hypocrisy of the West’s alleged principles more than its stance on two simultaneously unfolding political conflicts – one raging in Eastern Europe’s Ukraine, the other in Southeast Asia’s Thailand.

Not only is the West’s rhetorical stance on each protest hypocritical, but the support they have demonstrably lent to players in each conflict illustrates a troubling pattern of foreign special interests meddling in, and shaping the future of nations around the world. Such meddling is divergent of any principle it is generally done in the name of, with such principles serving merely as a facade behind which the West advances its hegemonic designs.

The Similarities…  

 Both protests in Kiev, Ukraine and Bangkok, Thailand kicked off in late 2013. Both involved large crowds of protesters permanently occupying rally sites, the seizure and occupation of government buildings, the use of construction equipment to remove police barriers, and clashes with police, some of which turned deadly. Both protests were against “corrupt governments,” and both protests sought to remove from power their respective, elected governments.

In Ukraine…

In Ukraine’s capital of Kiev, protesters hailed from a coalition of ultra-right wing parties with long standing ties to the West. These were the benefactors of 2004′s so-called “Orange Revolution,” which on record was a US-engineered uprising designed to install into power an anti-Russian regime. The Guardian would admit in its 2004 article, “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” that:

…while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box.

While the Guardian attempts to justify American meddling in multiple nations as an attempt to “salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes,” it does not deny that the meddling took place and goes on to explain in great detail just how that meddling was carried out.

“Euromaidan,” heirs to the US-engineered “Orange Revolution,” are just the latest benefactors of this regime-change industrial complex. They seek to integrate Ukraine into the European Union. When the sitting government of Viktor Yanukovych backtracked on integration, the mobs came out, and did so with considerable Western backing.

When recent protests in Kiev became increasingly violent, the West portrayed the Ukrainian government as a brutal dictatorship using disproportionate force against what it claimed were “unarmed” protesters. Shortly after the fall of Viktor Yanukovych, it was admitted by the BBC itself that in fact ultra-right wing Neo-Nazi militants not only led the unrest, but were very much armed. These armed militant groups the public were repeatedly told never existed, are now being demobilized by the new regime in Kiev who is fearful they may turn their guns on them next.

 Despite the opposition being led by armed groups openly professing Nazism, racism, and bigotry, the US and Europe stood stalwartly behind them. The groups advocated Ukraine’s integration into the European Union, which would put it in arm’s reach of Wall Street and London’s corporate-financier monopolies – the true and only driving principle behind the West’s support of otherwise unsavory, literal Nazis.

So stalwart was the West’s support of “Euromaidan,” US Senator John McCain flew to Kiev and took the stage, side-by-side with the leader of the ultra-right Svoboda Party. McCain has called not only for the West’s continued support of the new regime in Kiev, but also for military advisers and weapons to begin shipping out to Ukraine in what he hopes will become a new armed front against neighboring Russia.

In addition to McCain’s threats, the West has attempted to impose sanctions against prominent Ukrainians and Russians perceived as threats to the newly installed regime in Kiev. There is no doubt upon which side the West is on in Ukraine – and while they attempt to dress up those they have helped into power with “democratic” principles, even cursory inspection reveals otherwise.

In Thailand… 

 8687In Thailand’s capital of Bangkok, protesters are drawn from a wide coalition of academic, political, and social causes. Prominent among them is the leading opposition party, the Democrats. Joining them is everyone from labor unions and universities, to civil servants and cheated farmers. They are drawn from across all segments of Thai society both geographically and socially.

They stand opposed to Thaksin Shinawatra. Rather than citing some sovereignty-usurping scheme the government is obstructing, as was the case in Euromaidan, protesters in Thailand are opposed to the autocratic rule of billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra who has maintained an iron grip on Thai politics for now over a decade. Currently, his own sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is symbolically holding the prime minister’s office, in his stead, while he openly runs the country remotely while evading a two-year jail sentence, multiple arrest warrants, and a long list of pending court cases.

 He has maintained close ties to the Western corporate-financier elite since as early as the 1990s when he served as an adviser for the now notorious Carlyle Group. When he took office in 2001, he eagerly sold out Thailand’s infrastructure, natural resources, and sovereignty to Wall Street and London. He also accumulated the worst human rights record in Thai history, killing nearly 3,000 people in 90 days during a botched “War on Drugs” in 2003, killing 85 protesters in a single day in 2004, and over his first term in office, having assassinated or disappeared 18 human rights activists attempting to shed light on his systematic abuses.

 Protesters see the increasingly autocratic rule of Shinawatra as an existential threat to the country. In addition to rolling back concessions Shinawatra has made to the West, since the 2011 general elections that put his sister into office, protesters are alarmed with how his proxy regime has managed to single-handedly destroy Thailand’s once world-leading rice industry. Rice exports that had set the international standard for years have fallen in both quality and quantity, with promised rice subsidies to thousands of farmers left unpaid for now over half a year as unsold, inedible rice rots in regime warehouses across the country.

Additionally, the regime has attempted to rewrite the nation’s constitution, granting themselves amnesty for a vast array of criminal offenses while eliminating provisions that limit the powers of the Prime Minister’s office – all in a clear move to extralegally exonerate Thaksin Shinawatra, allow for his return to power, and grant him expanded powers once he returns.

 The West’s response to the protests has been decisive. They have leveraged their vast media machine against them, portraying them as “elitists” even as thousands of impoverished, rural farmers ebb and flow from the countryside to join their ranks. The Western media has also labeled their activity as “anti-democratic” and even “militancy.”

Unlike the Euromaidan protesters, there are no armed factions among Bangkok’s protesters. This is even with the regime itself promising a campaign of systematic terror against protesters if they do not cease and desist. TIME magazine on January 16, 2014 would report in their article, “Bangkok Shutdown: Yingluck Supporters Prepare to Fight for Democracy,” that:

As Thailand’s anti-government protests enter their fourth day, observers say prospects for violent confrontation are increasing, with reports of government supporters stockpiling weapons in case of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s ouster. 

According to the Bangkok Post, radical members of the Red Shirts — diehard champions of Yingluck and her notorious brother Thaksin Shinawatra — are readying a cache of arms in case the 46-year-old premier is forced from office by either military or judicial intervention.

The paper quoted a Red Shirt source as saying “There are strong anti-coup and anti-court sentiments among the red-shirt mavericks who are familiar and experienced with weapon use.”

In addition to the West’s stalwart support for Thaksin Shinawatra across their media, like Ukraine, representatives of the West have “taken to the stage.” A recent pro-regime rally saw corporate-lobbyist Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Peroff “Skype-in” and assure regime supporters that the West was on their side (VIDEO). He implored them to discard Thailand’s courts, independent institutions and agencies, including the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and even dismiss the authority and duties of Thailand’s armed forces, alluding to what appeared to be an unchecked, absolute dictatorship of Thaksin Shinawatra and his political party.

Amsterdam, like Thaksin Shinawatra and his proxy regime, are bracing for what they call a “judicial coup,” where court cases involving the regime’s systematic abuse of power, corruption (regarding the failed rice subsidy program in particular) and continuous circumvention of the constitution are expected to result in the legal ousting of the current ruling party. In many countries, this would be considered “justice.” In the West’s version of reality, the removal of a client regime for any reason, can be considered “injustice,” requiring extreme measures. Some of these measures Robert Amsterdam himself suggested, including sanctions similar to those the West has recently imposed on Russians and Ukrainians who opposed the armed takeover of Kiev.

 The End Game  

Within the West’s global order, armed Nazis seizing power in Kiev is “democracy,” while court decisions against overt corruption and abuse of power in Bangkok is considered a “coup.” What determines these considerations is clear – the utility of those it is backing in regards to Western hegemonic global expansion. While the Nazis in Kiev willingly offer Ukraine up to the European Union for plundering, Thaksin Shinawatra has been willingly doing so for decades with Thailand in the form of free trade dealsselling off national assets, and committing Thai troops and territory to the West’s global military adventures.

In Ukraine, the West appears to have at least a tenuous foothold in Kiev, even despite losing Crimea altogether and with the threat of eastern Ukraine peeling off next. The end game is still unclear, but as the West’s influence wanes elsewhere around the world, it will only further embolden those opposed to the new regime in Kiev to rise up and challenge it.

 In Thailand, it appears that the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra has reached the end of its lifespan. The courts appear poised to remove his sister Yingluck Shinawatra from power, and having mismanaged the country so poorly since 2011, much of his once formidable support base has either melted away, or worse yet, joined the opposition.

 His permanent removal from Thailand’s political landscape will, like Egypt’s success against the Western-backed Muslim Brotherhood, continue the irreversible decline of Western influence. While the West has busily set the narrative for a what it claims will be a “civil war” in Thailand, demographically and statistically it is impossible. Instead, the end game for Thailand will be one of terrorism employed by the ousted regime of Thaksin Shinawatra, one that will only further cement his departure from Thai politics and obstruct any associated with him from ever returning to power again.

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

The Quebec Election: The Campaign You Didn’t See

April 8th, 2014 by Michael Welch

The Quebec election of April 7, 2014 was described as among the most tumultuous in the province’s history. 


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Quebec has been called a distinct province within Canada. It is the only majority french-speaking province in the country, and the only majority french-speaking jurisdiction in North America. It is also the only Canadian province that has twice held popular referenda on independence from Canada.

The party in power on both of those occasions was the Parti Quebecois, which was founded in 1968. The party formed a government in 2012 riding to power on the heels of one of the nation’s most dramatic student uprisings in recent memory.

But on the evening of April 7, the party suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of the Liberals, a party which has been dogged in recent years by accusations of scandal and that has put forward the very neo-liberal measures that galvanized the student protests referred to as Printemps érable (Maple Spring.)

Much commentary has revolved around the election being a referendum on the referendum for Quebec independence. Although another notable aspect of the campaign was the nomination of billionaire media mogul Pierre Karl Péladeau, who is somewhat notorious for his anti-labour tactics which include 14 lockouts and the use of replacement workers.

It is media that frames and shapes elections. The framing of issues are a large part of what determines electoral outcomes.

This installment of the Global Research News Hour attempts to explore some of the less talked about elements of the past campaign. The interviews took place on Thursday April 3, on the same day as a major protest against neoliberal austerity measures being pursued by the Parti Québécois before and during the election.

Our two interview guests, Rodrigue Tremblay and Stefan Christoff, have very different takes on the important political discussions being ignored on the campaign trail. But together, they help fill in the picture on this unique canvass that is the Quebec political scene.

Rodrigue Tremblay is an Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Université de Montréal. He has been a proponent of a North American Free Trade area, a Quebec nationalist, and a one time member of the National Assembly as a member of the PQ. He is the author of The Code for Global Ethics: Ten humanist Principles, and The New American Empire.

Stefan Christoff is a musician, writer and community activist based in Montreal. he was active during the Quebec student uprisings in the spring of 2012 and spoke to the Global Research News Hour immediately after the April 3 anti-austerity protests.

 

 

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

This article was original published by GR in May 2003

“It is easy. All you have to do is tell the people they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” -Hermann Goering

Genocide used to be a crime without a name. Although the most heinous of all crimes, the concept was not introduced into international language until after World War 2. Until then, military invasion and destruction of other peoples and cultures masqueraded under such slogans as progress and spreading civilisation.

I was shocked many years ago when I heard Noam Chomsky say that genocide was America’s defining political tradition. Then I realised that the United States (like Canada to a much lesser extent) was based on destroying the lives and cultures of the 25 million or so first peoples who had lived in America for millennia. In the case of the U.S., the story continued with the forcible seizure of Texas in 1845 from Mexican farmers and indigenous peoples, and Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, California and other state territories shortly afterward in 1849. U.S. troops under the slave-owning General Zachary Taylor unilaterally invaded its southern neighbour under the false pretext of avenging American blood, and General Taylor soon vaulted into the White House as a presidential war hero. Even though a young Congressman, Abraham Lincoln, exposed the pretext, and connected it to a Anglo-British business strategy to impose free trade on the regions by financing the prior president, James Polk, into the White House as General Taylor’s commander.

In 1898, once again under the false pretext of self-defence (when the U.S.S. Maine sank from an internal explosion), the Philippines, Guam, Cuba in part, and Puerto Rico were seized from their peoples by another unilaterally provoked war. This war of aggression and occupation, like so many U.S. interventions since, was preceded by a media campaign of whipping up public hysteria and war fever. Media baron Randolf Hearst made the famous remark, “You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war,” not unlike the U.S. cable and network media daily drum-beat in recent months for war on Iraq. War is a major violence entertainment, and in close partnership with the Pentagon it can go on for months to divert the masses.

The tradition of misleading the American people by false pretexts for aggressive wars is an old one in U.S. history, but since the fascist interregnum war criminal invasions of other countries have not been accepted by public opinion. The U.S. under the control of the corporate war party now seeks to reverse this trend. By dint of the permitted 9-11 plane attacks on the World Trade Centre, an open presidential blank-cheque has been granted by Congress for attacking third-world countries so as to occupy their countries and control their resources. The now known blueprint of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and others written in September of 2001 as the Project for the New American Century is clear on the plan to shape the international security order in line with American principles and interests. Armed domination of the Gulf region transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Oil looms large in this plan to rule the world for American interests. According to a report sponsored by oil corporations from the Washington Centre for Strategic and International Studies, oil is no longer a commodity to be bought and sold within the confines of the traditional supply and demand balances, but a determinant of national security and international power.

The U.S. state military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in under two years are expressions of this new supra-market policy. Before we pass over the pattern of facts at work as merely realpolitik, we should note that this armed-state project resembles fascism: not only in war criminal attacks on other countries in violation of international law, but in repudiating market relations to seize others valuable goods by armed force.

Facing Facts

As demagogic glorification of genocidal invasion once again escapes naming by a flood of falsehoods and projections onto the latest U.S. Enemy, we need to remind ourselves of facts that no mass medium once discussed [the period] from October of 2002 to March of 2003. As we lay bare the ruling deceptions here, we should keep in mind the unifying principle which is not seen. U.S. state justifications always project onto the designated Enemy what the U.S. security state is doing itself. If it loudly condemns another weaker states weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological weapons, violation of international laws, or attempts to impose its will on the world by terror, then we can deduce that this is exactly what the U.S. is planning more of, but is diverting attention from by accusing others. Test this underlying principle with every international accusation the U.S. makes next, and you will find that it is invariable confirmed.

The tactic works wonderfully with a lapdog press and political class who are excited into a kind of collective delirium by choral denunciations of the foreign demon who is the designated Enemy of the Day. (I will explain why in my analysis ahead of the ruling group-mind.) So exactly does the U.S. security state project its own violent policies onto others that one can tell what vicious policy it is about to escalate next by by the intensity with which the Other is accused of the crime. This is how we can best understand the endless accusation of the Soviet Union of a plot to rule the worldbefore 1991, and how we can best make sense of the official U.S. fixation on global terrorism today. Both predications disclose the inner logic of the U.S. war states own pattern of behaviour. I sometimes wonder whether this is a deliberate strategic tactic of diversion, or a structure of paranoid delusion built into the mind-set of U.S. culture.

Let us in this light examine the principal claims and concealments of the Bush Jr. administration in its pursuit of Iraq:

The Bush administration has tirelessly claimed to be upholding international law in its pressuring of the Security Council into action regarding Iraq’s violation of U.N. resolutions and international law. In fact, since its entry into office the Bush Jr. administration has sabotaged laws, covenants and monitoring protocols to protect individuals and peoples against nuclear weapons, biological weapons, chemical weapons, landmines, small arms, international ballistic missiles, torture, racism, discrimination against women, arbitrary seizure and imprisonment, mistreatment of prisoners, crimes against humanity and war crimes, military weather distortions, biodiversity loss, and international climate destabilisation. Its latest overriding of international law and due process has been the forcible usurpation of the Security Council inspections of Iraq. No rogue state in modern history has remotely matched this continuous and systematic violation of international law and procedures to implement international law.

The Bush administration’s preparation and threat of military invasion against a country thousands of miles from its borders is unequivocally a war crime under international law, including Principles 1, 2 and 6(a)1of the Nuremberg Charter and Article 54 of the Geneva Convention. The fact that this war crime of preparing for and planning an invasion of Iraq by U.S.-led armed forces whatever the UN decides has never been openly discussed promoted the very aggression which the U.N. is constituted to prevent.

It is not as if there were any doubt about the Bush administration’s clear intention to put itself above the law as it incessantly accused Iraq of doing so. It declared from the beginning that it would go it alone with whoever was willing, and yet not a word of this declared threat to international peace and security issued from any U.N. ambassador, including Canadas Bill Graham, that this was a lawless intention and plan.

The effect on Iraqi citizens of the long-planned U.S. war of aggression against Iraq is said to be their liberation. The targeted victims since the first war on Iraq have, however, been most of all infants and children. The Bush administration’s planned Operation Shock and Awe is a self-imagery of Godlike power which is more blind in hubris than in 1991 when the U.S. military assault caused mass infectious disease, child dysentery and birth mutilation by deliberate bombing of civilian electricity sources, sewage and water treatment facilities and by the deployment of nuclear waste in shells and weapons. Over 500,000 children in Iraq have already died as a consequence of the last war according to UNICEF-a figure predicted in 1991 by the New England Journal of Medicine, and substantiated in 1999 by the leading British medical research, Lancet.

Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction about which the Bush regime has most pervasively trumpeted its concern were sold to Saddam at great profit by the U.S., Britain and other Security Council members. This is why Bush officials took the original Iraq report to the U.N. from the Council chair (then the military client state, Colombia), and deleted all the pages documenting these military sales before distributing the text to non-permanent members. Secretary Rumsfeld, meanwhile, has refused to work with the relevant Senate committees to expose and ensure against continued military sales to Iraq or its middlemen by U.S. armament manufacturers.

U.S. demands for Iraq’s compliance with U.N. resolutions are not and have not been its true concern since far more U.N. resolutions over far more years have been ignored by the U.S. military partner, Israel. Thus continuing war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israeli administrations are still perpetrated with impunity in the illegally occupied territories of Palestine-for example, by land and property seizures and continuous enlargement of the illegal occupation, collective punishments of the population, increasing assassinations, and destruction of civilian infrastructure and homes. Twelve to eighteen UN resolutions prior to the inspections were said to have been violated by Iraq during its years of living with militarily enforced destruction of its society. Israel before, and since, has violated 64 UN resolutions with impunity. No double standard of international law has been so long-term, blatant and systematic, except by the U.S. itself.

The regime change all along demanded by the Bush administration cannot benefit the Iraqi people as promised because the projected U.S. military occupation has not been about getting rid of Saddam (who the U.S. armed and supported into power), but has ever more directly been the forced takeover of Iraq’s publicly owned and controlled oil reserves. These reserves since the 1950′s have (despite Saddams U.S.-supported coup detat) financed the most advanced social infrastructure in the Arab world, free education, and universal health care. During the demonization of Iraq over the last 6 months, its public oil revenues have enabled a government program of guaranteed food for all citizens by a publicly run distribution system which the U.N. World Food Program described as the most efficient in the world. With oil as with all else, the greatest enemy to this empire is the civil commons of publicly owned resources which obstructs corporate market control. That the Iraqi government has, moreover, put a run on the U.S. dollar by converting its oil revenues into Euros instead of dollars is another unspeakable fact which is blocked out of all corporate media reports.

Watching the War Crime Unfold

The ultimate target of the U.S. war party has long been the greatest and most accessible high-quality oil reserves on the planet. The Bush oil party has long coveted it, and U.S. military invasion has been the favoured blitzkrieg method for getting it over years of planning – with no response by the Security Council. But world public opinion has not covered its eyes like governments and the corporate media. Turkey’s people were 96% against invasion of Iraq as its government considered large bribes, and Spain’s people were over 90% opposed as its Falangist prime minister joined Tony the War Poodle in barking for the invasion. Over 30 million citizens from across the world demonstrated against a U.S.-led invasion in one weekend, an historically unprecedented event.

The U.S. president’s response to all this has been revealing. He has told the world throughout that the U.N. itself is on trial, with him as God’s judge. The Security Council has been told for months that it either agrees to a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, or it is irrelevant. If it fails, the Bush administration will take the law into its own hands and invade distant and weak Iraq as America’s sovereign right. Try to remember when you heard this kind of demagoguery and defiance of international law before.

The difference has been most clearly in the use of the U.N. Pervasive aerial and ground inspections of Iraq’s territory, soften-up bombings of defences in the North and South, and successful commands to destroy short-range missiles which together had largely stripped Iraqs meagre defences by mid-March. During this process, U.S. and allied demands merely escalated from immediate abolition of weapons of mass destruction to-without any media noticing-demands for total disarmament. Best to have a helpless victim. Has history ever witnessed such a corruptly one-sided scheme to destroy and loot a defenceless country?

The Ruling Group-Mind

As I watched the Security Council Meeting on March 19 after military inspections of Iraq were forcibly terminated by the Bush Jr. administration’s decision to take the law into its own hands, I was struck by the intimidation of the Council members. They were in thrall to a ceremony of avoidance. The hard fact that the U.S. administration had just stopped the U.N.’s due process by its decision for lawless armed attack of Iraq was blocked out of view as if it had not been decided. That this massive armed military invasion was a grave violation of international law, the supreme international crime under the Nuremberg Charter, was never mentioned. The ritual of sacrifice prevailed instead as if in collective submission to the implacable ordinance of Fate.

Formal pieties and aversion of the facts ruled. The Secretary-General was congratulated for removing the inspection teams on the instruction of the U.S. adminstration so that they would not be harmed by its illegal invasion. The inspectors were again and again praised for inspecting Iraq’s military possessions before the full-scale illegal invasion forcibly prevented the completion of their work. Much angst was displayed for the humanitarian catastrophe about to unfold, with none mentioning that the lawless usurpation of U.N. process by the blitkrieg invasion of a suffering poor country would cause the mass terror. The long genocide was diplomatically sanitised by abstractions. In the case of the U.S., Britain and Spain, Saddam Hussein was held solely responsible.

Repeated ritual mantras of concern for international peace and security, alleged Iraq government violations not substantiated by the inspectors, official regrets, collective self- blaming, and much talk of rebuilding the society about to be destroyed were limned in a sleepwalk of official euphemisms. The theme that bound them all was the silence on the U.S. planned war-criminal attack in violation of the will and the legal process of the U.N. Security Council itself. Kofi Annan almost spoke out when he advised that a belligerent country is responsible under law for the costs of occupation. But the U.N. and Canada were soon ready to pay for picking up the pieces of another mass destruction of a poor society by U.S.-led forces.

I remembered all the history and accounts I had read of the Third Reich and the cowardice of official appeasement that enabled every step. The appeasement now was on the level of the mind itself. No-one dared to say what was happening. Threats and bribes by the U.S. had for months saturated the proceedings of the Council’s judgement, but there were to their great credit few takers of the blood money. The Security Council had repudiated the U.S.-led war by an overwhelming rejection of any motion for it. For the U.S. now to still lead an invasion was self-evidently against the Security Council’s will and decision, and thus wholly illegal. Yet there was a strange refusal to name the crime, the supreme international crime of a war of aggression against another state. One listened in vain for one explicit reference to the violation of the U.N. Charter, of the Nuremberg Charter, of international criminal law, of the Secretary-General’s own previous statement that a U.S. attack without Security Council support would be illegal, and of the usurpation of the will and process of the U.N. Security Council itself.

On the contrary, Iraq was being held accountable to obey the Council’s every demand to strip its meagre defences as huge U.S. and British armed forces formed on its borders. Ever louder U.S. threats of armed invasion outside the law and against Security Council vote was left to proceed as if it was a natural event. Everywhere in the media, the inevitable war was bowed before as an ordinance of destiny. It was only now a question of viewers watching U.S. forces destroy a society at will and with impunity, an ideal mass market site for the entertainment of lawless power. No-one thought to notice from within the Security Council Chamber and official global culture that every step of the mass terror against an essentially defenceless people was planned, chosen and executed in defiance of all international law by a sitting member state.

The monstrous construction had no author. Responsibility fell only on the victim. The U.S. became another onlooker at the inevitable war. Once it invaded, it became magnanimous in assigning the costs to others to pay for its mass destruction. It was now ready to co-operate with its international partners in the rebuilding of the country that it destroyed. No-one inside official society outside thought to hold the U.S. accountable for what it did. There is “no alternative” took another meaning. Now the no-alternative world the U.S. rules means criminal war invasion as an act of God.

The New Fundamentalism: America is God

As you observe the criminal war invasion of Iraq, the round-the-clock commentary and pictures, and the aftermath, watch for a silent general fact. There will no end of detailed discussion of the military operations of attack and occupation of a country rendered defenceless by Security Council demands, with much admiration and vicarious self- congratulation at the new weapons and strategic moves of the American Superpower. There will be no end of experts and commentators communicating adoringly to audiences about the high-tech assault instruments which are being tested on a third-world people to see how they work. Its a little like a high-school science experiment, advised the Pentagon Joint Chief of Staff to the militarily embedded CNN medium of public news.

The fact at the centre of the whole conflict and long in dispute will, however, soon be put down the memory hole with no one noticing. No one in the media or government will point out that the biological and chemical weapons that Iraq was declared to be hiding are not used, and did not in fact exist. No one will think to notice that this, the main justification of the war, the weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam, was from start to finish a vast and criminal big lie. No one will wonder at their own cowardly complicity in the long train of destructive deceit and war crime even as the invading armies sweep across the country and the 3000 sorties of bombs fall with no hint of a chemical or biological weapon or nuclear device. Least of all will servelings of the ruling group-mind connect back to the Third Reich’s prototype of aggressive war. It is the Formula. Blame terrorists as the cause of the country’s police state measures. Accuse every country attacked of being an imminent threat to it to justify the invasion. Denounce all resistance as unpatriotic. Attack and occupy the weak country with total weaponry. The formula repeats as long as it is not called out.

The group-mind cannot compute what does not fit its fixed presuppositions. So predictable outcomes follow as if prescribed by the laws of nature. The inevitable war occurs like el Nino. Only the terrible infliction of damages are thought worth perceiving or talking about. The moral debate is silenced, left to the world’s peoples in the streets where only passing painted signs can speak. The co-ordinates of international law and the rogue war party in control of the White House are blocked of every discussion as if they did not exist. There will, in particular, be no discussion of this administration’s illegal presidency, its ever more ruinous failure to govern effectively at any level of the U.S. economy, the environmental meltdown which it leads, or the unprecedentedly pervasive corruption of its lead corporate gang-from all of which the latest orchestrated war is the ongoing system of violent diversion. The distraction and attack rhythm of one war after another will, if it is not seen through, continue to succeed with the Formula until the world is subjugated across its civilisations. As long as the self-evident can be denied, there is nothing to stop it. Discharges of condemnation of Saddam Hussein can occupy the mind instead, until the next Enemy is wheeled into the war theatre to extend the U.S. war states rule.

In Canada, the CBC and its retinue of U.S. explainers and apologists will report the world to us so we cannot see the meaning of what is happening. The local academy will occasionally provide the choral affirmation on cue. Thus Janice Stein of the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre will reassure us on CBC News coverage on March 20, the day that the U.S. crime against peace began, that We are targeting Iraq’s leadership and not its civilians. All are one in Americas view of the world as itself. What cannot be discussed is the U.S. war crime itself, even to deny it. It is unspeakable – so long as the ruling group-mind remains the invisible prison of our collective life.

The moral syntax of the American group-mind is the inner logic of the problem. In this era, the group-mind is American. All its principles are presupposed as the way that God is presupposed by the religious fundamentalist – an all-powerful, all-knowing and jealous ruler of the world, which none may doubt without social opprobrium and attack. U.S. witch-hunts of those who oppose the religion of America is the creed’s fanatical mode. But the creed is not confined to expression within America’s church of self-adoration. It is on a crusade across the world’s continents, with ruinous destabilization or armed attack of those who do not submit to its will for freedom.

The God of America is primitive. It worships itself. But there are a set of silently regulating principles at work through all the phenomena of its rule which together constitute the ruling group-mind which has imprisoned global culture within its premises since 9-11 .

Presupposition 1 of this ruling group-mind is that the U.S. national security state is America.

This assertion is never directly stated because that would reveal the absurdity of the equation. But the assumption nevertheless underlies every statement that has proceeded from U.S. government offices since 9-11. This preconscious equation explains, for example, why even the U.S. government’s official opposition, the Democratic Party, has abdicated from political responsibility in its fear of appearing to oppose unjustified wars against essentially defenceless third-world societies in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are incarcerated within the ruling structure of mind, more paralysed than 1930 Germans in their dread of being named as unpatriotic. This is a fear that can only be explained by the equation of the state military command and its apparatus with America. Beneath the surface phenomena of party politics rules the instituted group-mind in terms of which perception itself is constructed.

Thus the equation of America to its armed state apparatus is never publicly challenged in the official culture of the West because the equation is assumed a priori across the official leaderships of American allies. No-one who houses the false equation can tell them apart. They cannot see the demonstrable falsehoods of the war state, the overthrow of the Republic’s democratic traditions, and least of all the safety of millions of innocent civilians in other countries: because they assume America and its national security apparatus are one and the same. Since they love America, and America is it, they cannot distinguish their beloved country from the criminal gang institutions of the National Security Council, the Pentagon and the CIA. As these rogue secret societies rule across the world by the force of armed terror, mass disinformation, secret narco-links and political bribery and coercion at every level, lovers of America are obliged to defend this criminal global domination as America. This absurd equation obliges them to be, in short, blind dupes. It then further misleads them into supposing that anyone who opposes a gangster state rule of the world is anti-American. One absurdity builds onto another. The disorder ends as a paranoid mass cult characterised as patriotism, just as in the 1930′s with the worlds most powerful industrial state. It is in this false equation at the baseline of the group-mind that we find the kernel of the worlds problem – America’s self- definition as absolutist armed force unbound by fact or international law.

Presupposition 2 is that America is the ultimate source and moving line of the world’s freedom and goodness, God’s material embodiment on earth.

This assumption too is presupposed as true by definition, the prime article of faith of a fanatic religion. Full-spectrum dominance and pre-emptive attack of threats before they appear are not merely clinically paranoid delusions of power and persecution. They follow from the underlying and increasingly absolute assumption that America is God, the source of all Freedom and Goodness on the planet. The expressions of this deranged presupposition are evident in every speech of the former alcohol and cocaine addict occupying the White House, and there is no evident opposition from the parishioners of U.S. official culture.

Any indirect questioning or challenge of this first moral premise of the group-mind is attacked as a betrayal of the country and what it holds dear. American freedom comes to mean, then, only what establishes and maximizes the absolute right of the U.S. to command the world – specifically, to command as inevitable that all societies adopt an American-style market, American values and culture, and American military dominance in all areas of the globe as its vital interests. How do we test the rule of this fanatic basis of thought? It is expressed in Bush Doctrine policy documents throughout. But we can more easily discover its ruling principle at work by asking whether there is any limit placed anywhere on what the U.S. and vassal corporate states have the right to demand of other peoples and societies – including unconditional support of full-scale war against destitute societies over ten thousand miles from American borders.

Anything may go in the way of attack-dog journalism, but one hint of question of this ruling assumption that America is the moving line of the world’s freedom is heresy. The assumption is thus internalised prior to censorship. Self-censorship is this regime’s centre of gravity, and holds the group-mind in its prison. Those who oppose it hate freedom. Loyalty to this ultimate premise of social and political thought is what regulates the mind at a preconscious level prior to statement. It is the identity structure of the mob-mind across the world.

Principle 3 follows as a logical consequent from Principle 2. America is always and necessarily right in all conflicts with other nations or peoples or social forces.

This is not a truth which facts can disprove, because it is true by definition in the ruling group-mind. Disproving facts are irrelevant or of no consequence, even if by some chance they make it through the gates of the corporate media. This third regulating assumption explains why even the hardest facts soon disappear from sight if they throw doubt on America’s infallible moral superiority in cases of international conflict – for example the conviction of the U.S. by the International Court for its war criminal actions against Nicaragua, along with the $13.2 billion damages which were never paid.

Beneath the selection and exclusion of facts and perspectives which regulate editorial offices and policies, this third principle of the ruling group-mind too regulates perception and conversation beneath direct control. Before an exposing word is spoken, it is ruled out from within. It is an intersubjective operation, like the thought-field of playing a game. Any fact or argument which calls into question America’s moral superiority to any adversary is known to be hostile to freedom and the good in advance of consideration.

Principles 4 and 5 follow suit as ultimate moral imperatives for all Americans and their allies.

Any people or nation or social force which does not side with or opposes the U.S. government is evil (Principle 4), and so must, as an Enemy of world freedom and justice, be attacked by all means available-including pre-emptive armed force before the Enemy presents a threat (Principle 5).

Principles 4 and 5 have sharpened into patriotic absolutes with the Bush Jr. regime. Not even fabricated evidence – like the Gulf of Tonkin attack off Vietnam or the electricity cut-off of infant incubators in Iraq in 1991 – are thought any longer essential necessary to justify a military attack on another people’s territory and society. As George Bush Jr. said to a West Point audience this year: “If we wait for threats to materialise, we will have waited too long.” There is, therefore, no need for the threat to be real. Threats only need to be declared. That is is why the attack on Iraq by U.S. and British armed forces did not require anyone else to confirm that there was, in fact, a threat from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction being used by terrorists against America. The evil is known, as with witchcraft, by the accusation itself. Once accused, the Enemy becomes such by definition – because materialisation by fact is too late. Those who question the designation side with the Enemy. You are with us, or for the terrorists. Bush’s rage against French opposition to the war of aggression against Iraq thus follows necessarily. The logic of the ruling group- mind prescribes reality prior to its construction.

A self-evident baseline of entitlement is thus instituted for the rest of the world which is not spoken. America can go to war against accused enemies as it chooses on the basis of the self-propelling operations of its ruling group-mind alone. All one has to do is trigger the known stimuli which activate its value-set and its attendant emotions of rage. Since 9- 11, majority opinion support for Americas New War in any form follows from this lockstep of the group-mind. It is predictable so long as it remains unexposed to view.

When most environmentalists and folks who follow pipeline markets think of TransCanada, they think of the proposed northern half of its Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. 

Flying beneath the public radar, though, is another TransCanada-proposed pipeline with a similar function as Keystone XL. But rather than for carrying tar sands bitumen to the Gulf Coast, this pipeline would bring to market shale gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).

Meet TransCanada’s ANR Pipeline System.

Although not actually a new pipeline system, TransCanada wants ANR retooled to serve domestic and export markets for gas fracked from the Marcellus Shale basin and the Utica Shale basin via its Southeast Main Line.

“The [current Southeast Main Line] moves gas from south Louisiana (including offshore) to Michigan where it has a strong market presence,” explains a March 27 article appearing in industry publication RBN Energy.


Map Credit: RBN Energy

 

Because of the immense amount of shale gas being produced in the Marcellus and Utica, TransCanada seeks a flow reversal in the Southeast Main Line of its ANR Pipeline System.

 

TransCanada spokeswoman Gretchen Krueger told DeSmogBlog that ANR‘s flow reversal is a “more efficient use of the system based on market demand.”


Map Credit: TransCanada

TransCanada has already drawn significant interest from customers in the open seasons and negotiations held to date, so much so it expects to begin the flow reversal in 2015.

ANR Pipeline system has secured almost 2.0 billion cubic feet a day (Bcf/d) of firm natural gas transportation commitments on its Southeast Main Line (SEML) at maximum rates for an average term of 23 years,” reads a March 31 TransCanada press release. ”ANR secured contracts on available capacity on the [South East Mainline] to move Utica and Marcellus shale gas to points north and south on the system.” 

Like Keystone XL, an Export Pipeline

Like Keystone XL, ANR‘s flow reversal will serve — among other things — the global export market.

“This project will…allow more natural gas to move south to the Gulf Coast, where markets are experiencing a resurgence of natural gas demand for industrial use, as well as significant new demand related to natural gas exports from recently approved liquefaction terminals,” TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said in his company’s March 31 press release.

ANR will continue to be an attractive transportation option due to its strategic foot print, interconnections, on-system storage and access to high demand markets.”

With the debate over liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports heating up in the U.S., ANR has arrived on scene right in the knick of time for the oil and gas industry.

Other Keystone XL: Cove Point or Sabine Pass?

Some recent media coverage of the prospective Dominion Cove Point LNG export facility located in Lusby, Maryland has drawn comparisons to the Keystone XL debate because both involve key pipeline systems, with accompanying plans to export product globally and the Obama Administration has final say over approval (or disapproval) of the pipeline.

Yet, while Cove Point awaits final approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export facility was approved by FERC in April 2012 and opens for business in late 2015.

Enter TransCanada into the mix with ANR and it’s the perfect storm: a Keystone XL pipeline for fracking run by the same company that owns Keystone XL.

Creole Trail: ANR‘s Connection to Sabine Pass

ANR feeds into the same Gulf Coast export and refinery markets Keystone XL is set to feed into (and the same ones its already-existing southern half, the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project feeds into).

Port Arthur, Texas — the end point for Keystone XL — is a mere 20 minute drive away from Sabine Pass, Louisiana.

That’s where Cheniere’s Creole Trail Pipeline comes into play, a 94-mile pipeline completed in 2008. Cheniere proposed an expansion project in September 2013 to FERC for Creole Trail, which FERC is still currently reviewing.


Map Credit: Cheniere

If granted the permit by FERC, the expansion would allow Creole Trail to connect to TransCanada’s ANR pipeline at the Mamou Compressor Station located in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana.

Mamou Compressor Station already received an expedited air permit in October 2013 from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Exports Gone Wild, Climate Disruption Gone Wild

Beyond Sabine Pass, ANR and Creole Trail also connect to other key prospective LNG export terminals neighboring Sabine Pass LNG. That’s depicted clearly in a map appearing in a June 2013 Cheniere corporate presentation.


Map Credit: Cheniere

 

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) — new chair of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee who recently hosted a hearing promoting U.S. fracked gas exports — has called for expedited permitting by FERC of one of those export terminal proposals, Cameron LNG (owned by Sempra Energy which has given her $10,000 toward her re-election efforts).

In short, TransCanada’s ANR — like its tar sands carrying brother Keystone XL — will open the floodgates for exports gone wild.

Which is a short way of saying, given the climate impacts of both shale gas production and tar sands production, both will also help lock in climate disruption gone wild.

 Two decades later Paris refuses to attend ceremony in Kigali

 Rwandan President Paul Kagame has once again escalated conflict with the government of France by accusing the European country of playing a critical role in the mass extermination of people inside the country twenty years ago.

In an interview with a leading French publication Jeune Afrique, Kagame condemned what he described as the “direct role of Belgium and France in the political preparation for the genocide”. France had military forces stationed inside Rwanda as part of a peacekeeping force along with Belgium.

France trained Rwandan troops under the government of President Juvenal Habyarimana and the presidential guard was accused of initiating the mass killings of Tutsis along with the militia groups known as the Interahamwe. Even the shooting down of the presidential jet which sparked the fighting has been often attributed to France and Belgium.

Several Belgium troops were kidnapped during the period leading up to the April 6 downing of the jet. These troops were later tortured and killed prompting the withdrawal of the soldiers from Rwanda.

Kagame told the publication that “Twenty years later, the only thing you can say against them [the French] in their eyes is they didn’t do enough to save lives during the genocide. That’s a fact, but it hides the main point: the direct role of Belgium and France in the political preparation of the genocide and the participation of the latter in its very execution.” (April 6)

Two decades ago the world was deeply shaken by the mass killings which took place for over three months in the Central African state of Rwanda. It has been estimated that between 500,000-1,000,000 people died when Hutu militia groups tortured and executed members of the minority Tutsi population.

On April 6, 1994, a jetliner was shot down near the capital of Kigali killing the presidents of both Rwanda and neighboring Burundi who were returning from a regional meeting designed to resolve the civil war that had been escalating since 1990. The-then Rwandan President Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntayamira were killed in the crash triggering the mass killings of Tutsis along with Hutus who would not go along with the extremist elements.

A civil war began in Rwanda in 1990 when the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took up arms against the government in Kigali. As a result of regional negotiations, the Arusha peace accord was signed in 1993 bringing about a ceasefire.

Efforts aimed at consolidating the ceasefire and working towards national reconciliation was opposed by elements within the power structure inside the Rwandan government that was dominated by the majority Hutu population. The shooting down of the presidential flight provided the impetus for the destruction of the peace agreement and the offensive launched by the RPF resulting in their eventual declaration of victory in early July of the same year.

France and Belgium in Rwandan Colonial and Neo-Colonial History

At the Berlin Conference of 1884-85, where European colonial powers carved up the African continent based upon its own imperialist interests, Rwanda was conceded to Germany. After the collapse of the German colonial empire during World War I, the Belgium monarchy took control of the territory.

A system of racial segregation and inter-ethnic rivalry was deliberately established in Rwanda. Although this policy of divide and rule was instituted by the Germans it was continued by the Belgian colonial authorities.

Identity cards were assigned to Africans based upon their ethnic affiliation. Historical myths of the purported distinctiveness and superiority of the Tutsis was deliberately advanced in order to institutionalize these divisions.

Tutsis were said to have been from areas outside the colonial boundaries drawn by the Berlin Conference. By 1959 the first outbreak of ethnic tensions arose forcing many Tutsis into exile in the neighboring states of Uganda, Tanzania, Congo and Kenya.

The Role of France, Belgium and Washington Since 1990

By 1990 many within the Tutsi population in Uganda had developed a solid alliance with the National Resistance Movement/Army of Uganda headed by President Yoweri Museveni. Paul Kagame had held rank within the Ugandan military and was sent to the United States for military training.

During the late 1980s and 1990s under Museveni, Uganda became a key player in U.S. foreign policy initiatives in Central and East Africa. Kampala became one of the first countries in Africa, along with Ghana in the west, to adopt the so-called “Structural Adjustment Programs” (SAP) which imposed austerity on continental states.

The SAPs resulted in the large-scale downsizing of the civil service, the slashing of social services and the weakening of public and higher education. Loans which were granted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, two U.S.-based financial institutions, set terms for the issuance and repayment of credit which proved to be extremely disadvantageous to the workers, farmers and youth.

In order to maintain these payment schedules and control over the political direction of post-colonial African states, a military partnership was established with Uganda and eventually Rwanda. Both Ugandan and Rwanda served as ground troops in the western-backed invasion of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 1998 leading to a war that continued for five years.

Today Uganda has intervened in the Republic of South Sudan, another state that came into being with the full political backing of U.S. imperialism and its allies. Rwanda is playing a role the Central African Republic (CAR) where France also maintains a presence of 2,000 troops.

Since 2008 with the formation of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), the continent has been the target of large-scale military interventions under the guise of fighting terrorism. Even though Rwanda has attacked France for its role in the 1994 genocide it is still being exploited by the U.S. as a surrogate for Pentagon and Wall Street in Africa.

African states can move between alliances with France, the U.S. and other European imperialist states, but genuine political and economic independence can only be achieved through inter-continental unity based upon protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the continent and its people. No African state is safe as long it is dependent upon the economic, military and diplomatic support of the world capitalist system.

by Ivan Fursov

Videos have sprung on YouTube alleging that the US private security service formerly known as Blackwater is operating in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. Western press is hitting back, accusing Russia of fabricating reports to justify “aggression.”

The authenticity of videos allegedly made in downtown Donetsk on March 5 is hard to verify. In the footage, unidentified armed men in military outfits equipped with Russian AK assault rifles and American М4А1 carbines are securing the protection of some pro-Kiev activists amidst anti-government popular protests.

The regional administration building in Donetsk has changed hands many times, with either pro-Russian protesters or pro-Kiev forces declaring capture of the authority headquarters. In the logic of the tape, at some point the new officials appointed by revolutionary Kiev managed to occupy the administration, but then – as the building was surrounded by angry protesters – demanded to secure a safe evacuation.

This is where the armed professionals come in. The protesters, after several moments of shock, start shouting, “Blackwater!,” and “Mercenaries!,” as well as “Faggots!,” and “Who are you going to shoot at?!” But the armed men drive off in the blink of an eye without saying a word.

-

Surely these men were not Blackwater – simply because such a company does not exist anymore. It has changed its name twice in recent years and is now called Academi.

The latest article on the case, published by the Daily Mail, claims that though these people did look like professional mercenaries, they conducted the operation too openly.

On the face of it, the uniforms of the people in the videos are consistent with US mercs – they don’t look like Russian soldiers mercs. On the other hand, why run around in public making a show of it?” said DM Dr Nafeez Ahmed, a security expert with the Institute for Policy Research & Development.

I think the question is whether the evidence available warrants at least reasonable speculation.”

Ahmed also added that “Of course the other possibility is it’s all Russian propaganda.”

Why would Russia need to make such provocation? The Daily Mail explained that “any suggestion that a US mercenary outfit like Blackwater, known now as Academi, had begun operating in east Ukraine could give Russian President Vladimir Putin the pretext for a military invasion.

Other western media outlets are maintaining that a “Russian invasion” has already began, because the heavily armed military personnel now controlling all major infrastructure in Crimea are “obviously” Russians.

 

Armed men march outside an Ukrainian military base in the village of Perevalnoye near the Crimean city of Simferopol March 9, 2014.(Reuters / Thomas Peter )

Armed men march outside an Ukrainian military base in the village of Perevalnoye near the Crimean city of Simferopol March 9, 2014.(Reuters / Thomas Peter )

The Daily Beast media outlet went even further. On the last day of February, it published an article alleging that “polite Russians” in Crimea are actually…employees of Russian security service providers.

While there are indeed several military-oriented security service providers in Russia, it however appears highly unlikely that all of them combined could provide personnel for such a wide-scale operation.

At the beginning of the week, Russian state TV reported that several hundred armed men with military-looking bags arrived to the international airport of Kiev.

It was reported that the tough guys are employees of Greystone Limited, a subsidiary of Vehicle Services Company LLC belonging to Blackwater/XE/Academi.

Greystone Limited mercenaries are part of what is called ‘America’s Secret Army,’ providing non-state military support not constrained by any interstate agreements, The Voice of Russia reported.

But they are not the only ones. A Russian national that took part in clashes in Kiev was arrested in Russia’s Bryansk region this week. He made a statement on record that he met a large number of foreigners taking active part in the fighting with police.

He claimed he saw dozens of military-clad people from Germany, Poland, and Turkey, as well as English speakers who were possibly from the US, Russkaya Gazeta reported earlier this week.

Ivan Fursov, RT

Global Research Bestsellers on Kindle

April 8th, 2014 by Global Research

Dear Readers,

Did you know that several of the most popular titles from Global Research are now available to purchase in Kindle format? Take these books with you wherever you go with the convenience of your portable reader. These bestselling books are available from Amazon and are ready for instant download to your portable device.

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by Dmitry Rogulin

Report first published on March 25, 2014

Ukrainian authorities plan to attract US private military company Greystone Limited to suppress protest moods of the mostly Russian-speaking population in the east of the country.

According to Ukrainian Security Service, mercenaries will be engaged in political search and protection of state security over inability of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies to curb on leaders and activists of pro-Russian movement independently.

This initiative was put forward by oligarchs Ihor Kolomoyskyi, a co-owner of Ukraine’s PrivatBank, and Serhiy Taruta, head of the industrial union of Donbass, a coal basin in eastern Ukraine, as these business tycoons were appointed as governors in central Ukraine’s Dnepropetrovsk region and eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, respectively. A source in the Ukrainian Security Service which participated in a recent special meeting chaired by the parliament-appointed interim President Oleksandr Turchynov reported about this fact.

Law enforcement officers in east Ukraine's Donetsk (archive)

“Turchynov believes that law enforcement agencies in eastern regions cannot settle the issue of pro-Russian movement themselves, so they decided to attract foreign mercenaries,” the security official said. “In debates over action plan Kolomoyskyi proposed “not to re-invent a bicycle”, because there are real people who have a clear idea how much and how to pay,” he said.

Greystone security service is registered on Caribbean islands Barbados. The company recruits people from different countries through its subsidiary Satelles Solutions Inc. The company promises to its clients to provide “best military from the whole world” to fulfill tasks in any part of the world up to large-scale operations.

Private military company Greystone Limited was established 47 years ago and has British roots, as veterans of British commandoes SAS registered a basic organization of mercenaries in 1967.

The company was called WatchGuard International and drew attention to itself after an abortive first large-scale operation — an attempt on the life of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 1971. Then the organization has undertaken the second operation already with retired US commandoes Navy SEALs during the US war in Iraq in 2003-2011, when major corporations used actively Greystone services. Now Greystone Limited is one of branches of a big mercenary empire in the United States which changes its names constantly, as this was Blackwater until 2009, then Xe Services and Academi and now US Training Center.

Murders, shootings of demonstrations, arms smuggling entailed ill fame through all flashpoints in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Now Ukraine is next in line. But today there is no exact information about the volume of the market of private military services, as it is estimated only approximately at $200 billion annually.

US high-ranking officials have always occupied key posts in the empire of soldiers of fortune — from the US State Department Bureau of Counterterrorism, the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counterterrorism Center and US intelligence services.

Police have clashed with anti-coup protesters in Kharkov, in an effort to push the crowd back from the administration building. Earlier, activists in the second-largest Ukrainian city followed those in Donetsk and proclaimed a People’s Republic of Kharkov

A group of protesters tried to storm the Kharkov administration building on Monday evening but were pushed back by law enforcement officers who barricaded themselves inside the building. Police were reportedly using fire-hoses and stun grenades to push the crowd back.

Protesters reportedly started several fires near the building and were also throwing Molotov cocktails in order to smoke police out from the building. According to activists at the scene, police who barricaded themselves inside the building were deployed from western Ukraine.

Eventually, a group of local police outside the administration building moved in to push protesters back. However, witnesses at the scene reported that a group of demonstrators were allowed to enter the government building after the tensions eased.

Speaking through a loudspeaker in the hall of the city’s regional administration building, an activist could be heard saying that the issue of Kharkov becoming a sovereign state independent from Ukraine will be decided by a regional referendum. A crowd of demonstrators responded to the statement with cheers.

 Earlier on Monday, Kharkov protesters erected barricades around administrative buildings and the regional headquarters of the Security Service of Ukraine. Brief clashes between supporters of the federalization of Ukraine and pro-EU demonstrators were reported in downtown Kharkov. Protesters on both sides reportedly used firecrackers and stun grenades.

Anti-coup protesters in Donetsk proclaimed on Monday the creation of a People’s Republic of Donetsk after seizing the local administration building on Sunday night.

The situation remains tense in the port city of Mariupol in the Donetsk region, where pro-Russian activists on Saturday stormed the Prosecutor’s Office building, demanding the release of detained “people’s mayor” Dmitry Kuzmenko.

A demonstration against political repression in Ukraine is also being held in the southern regional center of Odessa.

In a rare incident, Dnepropetrovsk city authorities moved to negotiate with the anti-government activists. According to the region’s vice governor, Boris Filatov, both the “left-wing” and the pro-Russian protesters agreed to refrain from “calls for separatist actions.” In return, the authorities said they will let the activists use some cabinets in the administrative buildings for their “meetings and work,” as well as provide them with “free access” to local printed media.

The Rwanda War Crimes Coverup

April 7th, 2014 by Prof Peter Erlinder

The July 9, 2009 New York Times reported that the Obama administration had selected Stephen Rapp to replace the Bush administration  Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, Pierre Prosper. [1] Rapp, a former U.S. Attorney in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Democrat politico, began his international career at the UN Security Council Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 2001, while Carla Del Ponte was Chief Rwanda Prosecutor. Rapp’s nomination just a few months after Del Ponte’s of her memoir of her years as Chief UN Prosecutor, Madam Prosecutor: Confronting Humanity’s Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity was published in English.

Del Ponte’s book describes in detail the systematic U.S.-initiated cover-up of crimes by the current Rwandan government, a U.S. ally, [2]  committed during the Rwanda Genocide, and how she was removed from her ICTR position in 2003 by U.S. Ambassador Prosper, himself, when she refused to cooperate with the U.S.-initiated “cover-up.”[3]

According to Del Ponte, her ICTR Office had the evidence to prosecute Kagame for “touching-off” the Rwanda Genocide [4] by ordering the assassination of Rwanda’s former President Juvenal, Habyarimana, long before 2003.[5] She also details the dozens of massacre sites, involving thousands of victims, for which the current Rwandan President, Paul Kagame and his military, should be prosecuted. [6]  The well-publicized canard, that “the identity of the assassins of Habyarimana is unknown”[7] is a bald-faced lie, well -known by ICTR Prosecutors, according to Ms. Del Ponte.

Two years after Del Ponte was removed from office, Stephen Rapp became “Chief” of ICTR Prosecutions with access to all of the evidence known to Ms. Del Ponte, and more that has been made public in the past few years.[8] During his four years at the ICTR,  Rapp like Del Ponte, also  was in a position to prosecute Kagame and members of the current government of Rwanda but, not ONE member of Kagame’s military has been prosecuted at the ICTR, to date…and the “cover-up” revealed by Del Ponte, continues today.[9]  And, unlike, Ms. Del Ponte, who was fired by the U.S., Mr. Rapp was first rewarded with an appointment as Chief Prosecutor at the U.S.-funded Sierra Leone Tribunal and now, a coveted ambassadorship.[10]

Former Chief ICTR Prosecutor Del Ponte  Details War Crimes “Cover-up”

According to Del Ponte, in May 2003 she was called to Washington D.C. by Prosper (ironically, also a former ICTR prosecutor with knowledge of Kagame’s crimes) who informed her that the U.S. would remove her UN post, if she carried through with her publicly announced plans to indict Kagame and members of his government and military.[11]  According to Del Ponte, when she refused to knuckle-under because “she worked for the UN, – not for the U.S” Prosper told her ICTR career was over.[12]  True to his threat, by October Del Ponte was replaced by a US-approved ICTR prosecutor, Hassan Abubacar Jallow,[13] who elevated Rapp to “Chief of Prosecution” two years later.

ICTR Trials: More Evidence of  Rwanda Crimes Cover-Up

Del Ponte’s revelations are not the only evidence that a U.S.-initiated “war crimes cover-up” at the ICTR is creating impunity for crimes committed by the Kagame and his military.  On September 10, 1994 memo in evidence in the ICTR Military-1 Trial confirms that U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher was informed that Kagame’s troops were killing “10,000 civilians a month” in military-style, according to an investigation funded by US Agency for International Development (USAID).[14]  And,  as early as January 1997, a team made up of Chief ICTR Investigative Prosecutor and former Australian Crown Prosecutor Michael Hourigan;[15] former FBI Agent James Lyons;[16] and former UN-Chief of Military Intelligence in Rwanda, Amadou Deme;[17] reported Louise Arbour, Ms. Del Ponte’s predecessor, that Kagame should be prosecuted for assassinating the previous president. Arbour scuttled the investigation, suppressed the report and disbanded the investigative team.[18]

Shortly, thereafter, Arbour was elevated to Canada’s Supreme Court and has recently been chosen to head the International Crisis Group, after serving in prestigious UN Security Council-appointed posts during an illustrious UN career.[19]

Former ICTR Prosecutor Rapp Complicit in Cover-up

But, even though Arbour suppressed the “Hourigan Report,” Del Ponte, Rapp and other ICTR prosecutors certainly knew about it, because ICTR judges had ordered Del Ponte’s Office to release the “Hourigan report” to a defense team as early as the year 2000,[20] a year before Rapp began his ICTR work, and three years before Del Ponte was fired by Prosper. But….to date, not one indictment has been issued against Kagame by the ICTR Prosecutor.[21]

Kagame & Co. Already Indicted in France and Spain

Athough the U.S. has been successful in preventing Kagame’s crew from being indicted at the ICTR, other courts have indicted Kagame and members of his retinue. In late 2007, French Judge Bruguiere indicted the assassins of Habyarimana and personally recommended to Kofi Annan that Kagame be prosecuted by the ICTR.[22] And, in February 2008 Spanish Judge Merelles issued a 180-page indictment specifically charging Kagame with: Genocide; War Crimes; Crimes Against Humanity; including the massacres of more than 300,000 civilians.[23] And, Mr. Rapp’s former boss, Mr. Jallow, publicly admitted in a UN Security Council in spring 2008 that Kagame’s military is responsible for the assassination of Rwanda’s Catholic leadership in 1994….but, still, no ICTR prosecutions.

The Consequences of the ICTR Cover-up of Kagame’s Crimes

The tragic consequence of the failure to prosecute Kagame at the ICTR, from 1994 to date, is that Kagame has been free to invade the Congo in 1996 and 1998, and to occupy part of the eastern Congo many-times larger than Rwanda, to this day.[24] No less than four UN Security Counsel-commissioned Panel of Experts Report(s) on the Illegal Exploitation of the DR Congo (2001, 2002, 2003 and December 2008) have detailed the massive rape of the Congo’s resources that has brought vast riches to Kagame and his inner circle.[25]

While Rapp was ICTR Senior Trial Attorney in 2003, Kagame was effectively elected President-for-Life with 95% of the vote,[26] after banning opposition parties and jailing opponents, in “a climate of intimidation” according to EU observers.[27] According to the Economist report on 10th Anniversary of the “genocide” in 2004:

“[Kagame] tolerates no serious domestic opposition, nor much in the way of free speech. Rwanda today is a thinly-disguised autocracy, where dissidents are usually accused of genocidal tendencies, live in fear, or exile, or both.  The regime is a threat to its neighbors.[28]

 “Chief of Prosecutions” Rapp Withheld Exculpatory Evidence, from ICTR Judges and Defendants,,  in Violation of ICTR Rues

As it this wasn’t enough, in February 2009, the ICTR issued its Judgement the Military-1 case, that main case at the ICTR, in which Mr. Rapp personally appeared for the Prosecution.  Although massive violence did occur in Rwanda, the court certainly recognized that blaming only one side WAS a falsehood, when it acquitted all of the “architects of the killing machine” (as Mr. Rapp called the defendants in court) of conspiracy or planning to kill civilians. The highest ranking military-officer was acquitted of all charges.[29]

And, although it is now clear from Ms. Del Ponte’s memoirs that Mr. Rapp had the evidence to clear the ICTR defendants of the assassination charges and only the losing side has been blamed for all crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994.  Simply put, Mr. Rapp and other ICTR prosecutors have withheld evidence that would be beneficial to the defense, contrary to Tribunal Rules;[30] have prosecuted defendants for crimes they knew were committed by Kagame’s forces; and, have created a system of “judicial impunity” that has permitted Kagame to kill millions in the eastern Congo.

This “inconvenient-African-truth,” raises an uncomfortable question regarding President Obama’s nomination of Mr. Rapp, in the first place:  Are Obama and his advisors ignorant of the public record regarding Rapp’s complicity in the ICTR Cover-up….or do they just not give a damn?

And how will Democrat and Republicans Senators vote when asked to confirm the appointment?  But….its only Africa, so who is paying attention, anyway?  Certainly not Obama.
Notes
1  Marlise Simons, “Lawyer Picked for U.S. War Crimes Post,” New York Times, July 9, 2009

2  Del Ponte and Sudetic, Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity’s Worst Criminals, and the Culture of Impunity (The Other Press, NY 2009).

3  Id. at 231-234. See also, Steven Edwards, “Del Ponte says UN caved to Rwandan pressure,” National Post (Canada), Sept 17, 2003; John Hooper, “I was sacked as Rwanda Genocide Prosecutor for Challenging the President, Says Del Ponte”, Guardian, Sep. 13, 2003; Felicity Barringer, “Annan is said to Want a New Prosecutor for Rwanda War Crimes,” New York Times, July 29, 2003.  See also, UN Doc S/Res/203/1503, Aug. 28, 2003, requesting nomination by the Security Council for a new ICTR prosecutor and nominating Del Ponte for re-appointment as ICTY prosecutor.

4  ICTR Military-1 Exhibit DNT 315.  April 7, 1994 cable from U.S. Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, “If, as it appears, both Presidents have been killed, there is a strong likelihood that widespread violence could break out in either or both countries, particularly if it is confirmed that the plane was shot down.” Emphasis added.

5  Id. at 234-235.

6  Id. 176 to 192 and 223 to 241.

7  As late as 2004, the Economist asked, “Who Shot the President’s Plane?” March 27, 2004. p. 26.

8  See, 2007 and 2008 Indictments of Kagame issued by France and Spain, infra

9  To date, the ICTR has not prosecuted any members of the victorious Kagame military or government, but other nations have, see infra.

10  Marlise Simons, “Lawyer Picked for U.S. War Crimes Post,” New York Times, July 9, 2009

11  Prosper was ICTR Lead Prosecutor in the Akeyesu  Trial prior to Del Ponte’s tenure.

12  Del Ponte and Sudetic, Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity’s Worst Criminals, and the Culture of Impunity (The Other Press, NY 2009). Pp. 232 to 234

13  Id. at 239-240

14  ICTR Military-1 Exhibit, DNT 264, September 10, 1994 Memo from George Moose to Warren Christopher, U.S. Secretary of State:

A UNCHR investigative team that spent July and August in Rwanda [i.e. Gersony] has reported systematic human rights abuses by the GOR (i.e. RPA/F) forces – including systematic killings – in the south and southeast of the country.  The team has concluded that the GOR is aware of these reprisals against Hutu civilians and may have sanctioned them

On the basis of interviews with refugees/individuals, the UNCHR team concluded that a pattern of killing had emerged.  The RPA convened meetings of displaced persons to discuss peace and security.  Once the displaced persons were assembled, RPA soldiers moved in and killed them.  In addition to these massacres, the RPA engaged in house to house sweeps and hunted down individuals hiding in camps.  Victims were usually killed with hoes, axes, machetes and with fire. Although males 18-40 were at the highest risk the young and elderly were no spared.  The team estimated that the RPA and Tutsi civilian surrogates had killed 10,000 or more Hutu civilians per month, with the RPA accounting for 95% of the killing.

The UNCHR team speculated that the purpose of the killing was a campaign of ethnic cleansing intended to clear areas in the south of Rwanda for Tutsi habitation.  The killings also served to reduce the population of Hutu males and discouraged refugees from returning to claim their land.

15  See Military-1 Exhibit DNT 365,  Affidavit of Michael Hourigan

16  See Affidavit of  James Lyons, April 6, 2001 at www.rwandadocumentsproject.net.

17  See, Proposed Mlitary-1 Exhibit DNT 366

18  See Hourigan Affidavit, Exhibit DNT 365

19  “Louise Arbour Begins As President of International Crisis Group,” Reuters, July 22, 2009.

20  See, Chambers Order Release of Hourigan’s Memorandum to Parties, ICTR Press Release, June 8, 2000, www.ictr.org cited in Kingsley C. Moghalu, Rwanda’s Genocide: The Politics of Global Justice, (Palgrave MacMillan 2005) (former official spokesperson for the ICTR), Ch. 2, fn. 66.

21  Letter of Academics…..

22  Del Ponte, Madame Prosecutor, pp. 234-235, 240.

23  “Spain judge indicts Rwanda forces”  BBC News, February 6,2008.. See, Indictment of February 6, 2008 alleging war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by Paul Kagame and 40 senior officers, allegations include civilian deaths by Prefecture.

24  See generally, Gérard Prunier, AFRICA’S WORLD WAR: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe (2009); Catherine Philp, “Yesterday a victim, today an oppressor: how aid funds war in Congo,” The Times of London, April 7, 2009.

25  UN Security Council Panel of Experts Report on the Illegal Exploitation of National Resources and Other Forms of Wealth from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, October 20, 2003. (s/2003/1146, October 20, 2003). The Rwandan army stole nature resources worth $250 million from 1999-2000 alone.  Adam Hochschild, The dark heart of mineral exploitation in Congo: back on the brink II. International Herald Tribune, Dec. 24, 2004, p. 6. UN Security Council Panel of Experts Report on the Illegal Exploitation of National Resources and Other Forms of Wealth from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, December 12, 2008.(s/2008/1146, December 12, 2008).

26  Kagame won, a little to well, Rwanda’s Presidential Election, The Economist, Aug, 30, 2003, p. 31

27  See generally, U.S. State Department 2003 Human Rights Report on Rwanda, February 25, 2004; See also,  Rptr. Collette Flesch, Report of European Observer Mission, September 2003; Colin Waugh, Paul Kagame and Rwanda: Power, Genocide and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (MacFarland, USA 2004), pp. 185-206

28  “Rwanda, remembered: Lessons of a genocide,” Economist, March 27, 2004, p. 11

29  ICTR Judgement, Military-1, February 9, 2009 acquitted the top four military officers of conspiracy to commit or plan genocide and acquitted General Gratien Kabiligi of all charges.

30  ICTR Rules of Procedure and Evidence: Rule 66 and Rule 68, Disclosure of Exculpatory Information by Office of the Prosecutor.

In the context of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan tragedy, Global Research publishes once again the transcript of this important interview about the late U.N. war crimes investigator Michael Hourigan.

Australian lawyer and U.N. war crimes investigator Michael Hourigan was given the task of investigating the assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents by shooting their plane out of the sky over Kigali on April 6, 1994. His evidence that Gen. Paul Kagame had ordered the assassinations was suppressed. Hourigan’s death this week went unnoted by the press.

 Transcript

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

KPFA Evening News Anchor: Australian lawyer and former U.N. war crimes investigator Michael Hourigan died of a heart attack in Australia this week. Hourigan is known for the depositions he submitted to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in which he said that the tribunal had tasked him with investigating the assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents with a missile that shot their plane out of the sky as they flew home to Kigali after signing a peace agreement to end the four year war between the Rwandan Army and the army that invaded across the Ugandan border, led by Gen. Paul Kagame, between 1990 and 1994.

Hourigan said that he had submitted firsthand witness testimony that Kagame ordered the assassinations but that his report had been suppressed by the tribunal’s chief prosecutor, Louise Arbour. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Montreal writer and publisher Robin Philpot, the author of “Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa, from Tragedy to Useful Imperial Fiction,” about Hourigan’s death.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Robin Philpot, I’m going to play about a minute of Micheael Hourigan’s 2008 interview with CIUT-Ontario host Phil Taylor, and it was very difficult to decide which minute to play, because every word says so much, but I decided on this because it counters the unending ethnic conflict narrative that dominates public discourse about the past 20 years of war in Rwanda and then the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Michael Hourigan

Michael Hourigan: That Rwandan story is such a can of worms. You’ve got massive numbers of civilians being killed. You’ve got the U.N. being incompetent and malfeasant and not discharging its duties properly and people being slaughtered on its watch. You’ve got various nations, superpowers, standing back, like a chessboard, trying to move to places on that chessboard because they want to get access to resources in Congo. You’ve got, at the same time, a genuine world community who just doesn’t understand what’s going on, can’t understand why this bloodbath is happening, trying to force all these various players to do things.

And so, I realize now when I look back on it, it was sort of World Politics 101 for me. When I went to Rwanda, I went there really starry-eyed and thought, “Look, we’ve been given a job to do: We’ll tell the truth.” And I can tell you with the greatest confidence and great disappointment that, after my two years there, I’ve totally lost any love affair with the U.N.

We didn’t discover the truth; we were actively thwarted and worked against. And now, years later, they’ve probably spent probably close on $300 million; they’ve only prosecuted people they’ve been told to prosecute. You know, some of the main offenders responsible for some of the biggest crimes have been left untouched. And all the while now, the European and North American powers are plundering that region’s resources, with millions still dying in Congo.

Hourigan said that he had submitted firsthand witness testimony that Kagame ordered the assassinations but that his report had been suppressed by the tribunal’s chief prosecutor, Louise Arbour.

As Michael Hourigan said, the International Criminal Tribunal is a victor’s court.

KPFA: OK, now, Robin, what would you like to add to help us understand why this matters?

Robin Philpot: Well, Michael Hourigan wanted to find the truth. What he did find is the truth and particularly about probably the second most important event in this war you’ve talked about: the first one being the invasion in October 1990, the second one the shooting down of the presidential plane on the 6th of April. And he did find the truth about it. He was asked to do so by the tribunal, and they seemed very interested in what his results were until somebody came and told Louise Arbour, “You’ve got to stop that, and you’ve got to gag that man and send him walking,” basically, which is what they did.

 Plane carrying Rwandan, Burundian presidents before missile attack 040694 courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Shortly before 8:20 p.m. local time (6:20 p.m. UTC) on April 6, 1994, the Rwandan presidential jet, a Dassault Falcon, circled once around Kigali International Airport before coming in for the final approach in clear skies. A surface-to-air missile struck one of the wings before a second missile hit its tail. The plane erupted into flames in mid-air before crashing into the garden of the presidential palace, exploding on impact, killing both the Rwandan and Burundian presidents. – Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

And as we come close to the 20th anniversary of that assassination, Michael Hourigan’s testimony is so valuable, so important.

What it does is help us understand the way that the RPF took power. They had started moving the day that the plane was shot  down  and Michael Hourigan, his investigation done under the auspices of the United Nations, came to this conclusion, had very convincing evidence, and then was told to shut up.

KPFA: Do you assign any significance to the failure of the press to report his death, even though he died several days before Mandela’s death took over the headlines?

Robin Philpot: Well, it is absolutely surprising. I learned about it on Facebook. Michael was a friend, a Facebook friend as they say, and it was his brother who came on and said he had passed away. And other than that, I searched the Internet for stories about it, but nobody seemed to want to report it, so it is up to us. It is up to us.

KPFA: That was Montreal-based writer and publisher Robin Philpot on the death and the legacy of Australian lawyer and U.N. investigator Michael Hourigan. Philpot’s book, “Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa, from Tragedy to Useful Imperial Fiction,” can be ordered from Baraka Books.com.

The complete audio archive of Michael Hourigan’s 2008 interview with CIUT-Ontario host Phil Taylor can be found on the website of the Taylor Report, Taylor-Report.com*.

For Pacifica, KPFA and Afrobeat Radio, I’m Ann Garrison

Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, Colored Opinions, Black Star News and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening News and her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at [email protected]. This story first appeared on her website. If you want to see Ann Garrison’s independent reporting continue, please contribute on her website at anngarrison.com.

Women’s rights are increasingly heralded as a useful propaganda device to further imperial designs.

Western heads of state, UN officials and military spokespersons will invariably praise the humanitarian dimension of the October 2001 US-NATO led invasion of Afghanistan, which allegedly was to fight religious fundamentalists, help little girls go to school, liberate women subjected to the yoke of the Taliban.

The logic of such a humanitarian dimension of the Afghan war is questionable. Lest we forget, Al Qaeda and the Taliban were supported from the very outset of the Soviet-Afghan war by the US, as part of a CIA led covert operation.

As described by the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA):

The US and her allies tried to legitimize their military occupation of Afghanistan under the banner of “bringing freedom and democracy for Afghan people”. But as we have experienced in the past three decades, in regard to the fate of our people, the US government first of all considers her own political and economic interests and has empowered and equipped the most traitorous, anti-democratic, misogynist and corrupt fundamentalist gangs in Afghanistan.

It was the US which installed the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 1996, a foreign policy strategy which resulted in the demise of Afghan women’s rights:

Under NSDD 166, US assistance to the Islamic brigades channelled through Pakistan was not limited to bona fide military aid. Washington also supported and financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the process of religious indoctrination, largely to secure the demise of secular institutions. (Michel Chossudovsky, 9/11 ANALYSIS: From Ronald Reagan and the Soviet-Afghan War to George W Bush and September 11, 2001, Global Research, September 09, 2010)

Religious schools were  generously funded by the United States of America:

Education in Afghanistan in the years preceding the Soviet-Afghan war was largely secular. The US covert education destroyed secular education. The number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrassas) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000 [in 2001]. (Ibid.)

Afghan women.(AFP Photo / Shah Marai)

Afghan women now. (AFP Photo / Shah Marai)

Afghan women in the 1970s before the CIA-led intervention

Unknown to the American public, the US spread the teachings of the Islamic jihad in textbooks “Made in America” developed at the University of Nebraska:

… the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.

The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books…

The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books “are fully in compliance with US law and policy.” Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.

… AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.

“It’s not AID’s policy to support religious instruction,” Stratos said. “But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity.”

… Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtun, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska -Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $ 51 million on the university’s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.” (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)

Historical Flashback

Before the Taliban came to power, Afghan women lived a life in many ways similar to that of Western women (see pictures below):

Kabul University 1980s

Kabul University 1980s

Kabul University 1980s

In the 1980s, Kabul was “a cosmopolitan city. Artists and hippies flocked to the capital. Women studied agriculture, engineering and business at the city’s university. Afghan women held government jobs.”  There were female members of parliament, and women drove cars, and travelled and went on dates, without needing to ask a male guardian for permission.

Ironically, the rights of women as described by RAWA prior to the US sponsored jihadist insurgency is confirmed in a 2010 article published by Foreign Policy (2010), a Washington Post mouthpiece founded by Samuel Huntington:

 Original caption: "Kabul University students changing classes. Enrollment has doubled in last four years." The physical campus of Kabul University, pictured here, does not look very different today. But the people do. In the 1950s and '60s, students wore Western-style clothing; young men and women interacted relatively freely. Today, women cover their heads and much of their bodies, even in Kabul. A half-century later, men and women inhabit much more separate worlds.

Kabul University students changing classes. Enrollment has doubled in last four years.

The physical campus of Kabul University, pictured here, does not look very different today. But the people do. In the 1950s and ’60s, students wore Western-style clothing; young men and women interacted relatively freely. Today, women cover their heads and much of their bodies, even in Kabul. A half-century later, men and women inhabit much more separate worlds.

 "Biology class, Kabul University." In the 1950s and '60s, women were able to pursue professional careers in fields such as medicine. Today, schools that educate women are a target for violence, even more so than five or six years ago.

“Biology class, Kabul University.”

In the 1950s and ’60s, women were able to pursue professional careers in fields such as medicine. Today, schools that educate women are a target for violence, even more so than five or six years ago.

 "Phonograph record store." So, too, were record stores, bringing the rhythm and energy of the Western world to Kabul teenagers.

“Phonograph record store.” 

So, too, were record stores, bringing the rhythm and energy of the Western world to Kabul teenagers.

"Hundreds of Afghan youngsters take active part in Scout programs."

“Hundreds of Afghan youngsters take active part in Scout programs.”

Afghanistan once had Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. In the 1950s and ’60s, such programs were very similar to their counterparts in the United States, with students in elementary and middle schools learning about nature trails, camping, and public safety. But scouting troops disappeared entirely after the Soviet invasions in the late 1970s. (Mohammad Qayoumi Once Upon a Time in Afghanistan…, Foreign Policy, May 27, 2010)

The acute reader will have noticed the insidious disinformation in the previous caption. We are led to believe that the liberal lifestyle of Afghan women was destroyed by the Soviet Union, when in fact it was the result of US support to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Acknowledged by US foreign policy Advisor Zbignew Brzezinski, Moscow’s action in support of  the Kabul pro-Soviet government was to counter the Islamist Mujahedin insurgency supported covertly by the CIA:

Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention [...]

That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. (The CIA’s Intervention in Afghanistan, Nouvel Observateur, 1998, Global Research, October 15, 2001)

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan even dedicated the space shuttle Columbia to the US supported Islamist freedom fighters in Afghanistan, namely Al Qaeda and the Taliban:

Just as Columbia we think represents man’s finest aspirations in the field of science and technology, so too does the struggle of the Afghan people represent man’s highest aspirations for freedom.

Ronald Reagan meeting with the Taliban in 1985: ’”These gentlemen (the Taliban) are the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.”

Yet, both the US and the governments of NATO members claim the US-NATO military presence in Afghanistan was instrumental in promoting women’s rights. The fact of the matter is that those rights were abolished by the US-backed Taliban regime which came to power with the support of Washington.

The US State Department’s Syrian Women’s Network

How does the history of women in Afghanistan relate to women’s rights in Syria in the context of the current crisis?

The undeclared US-NATO war on Syria (2011-2013) in support of Al Qaeda affiliated rebels appears to have a similar logic, namely the destruction of secular education and the demise of women’s rights.

Will Syrian women be facing the same grim future as that of Afghan women under the Taliban regime?

Last January, a diverse group of Syrian women said to be representing the leading opposition movements attended a conference hosted by the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN), in coordination with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues in Doha, Qatar.

WDN is an initiative of the International Republican Institute, well-known for supporting dissidents in various countries defying US imperialism. The US State Department is clearly using women’s rights as a tool, while at the same time it is funding  an Islamist opposition with a view to undermining the secular state and eventually installing an Islamist government in Damascus.

The Syrian Women’s Network was formed at the US-sponsored conference and a Charter was written to ensure women are included in the conflict resolution and transition of their country:

In the charter, participants call for equal rights and representation for all Syrians, demanding equal participation of women at all international meetings, negotiations, constitution drafting and reconciliation committees and in elected governing bodies. The charter also covers topics including prevention of and prosecution for acts of violence against women, access to education and the overall need for women’s participation in ongoing conflict resolution while ensuring women’s future participation in the rebuilding of Syria. U.S. government leaders also participated in the conference, underscoring their support of the Syrian women [...] In her remarks, Carla Koppell, senior coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at the United States Agency for International Development [USAID], advised, “If the most diverse group of women can find a common agenda, it will have enormous strength.” (Women Demand Role in Syria’s Transition and Reconciliation, January 28, 2013, emphasis added.)

Monica McWilliams, founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (left) and Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Edita Tahiri (right) share their experiences with participants of a conference in Doha, Qatar, where Charter of the Syrian Women’s Network was adopted by a diverse group of Syrian women representing the leading opposition movements in the country.(Photo from wdn.org)

Monica McWilliams, founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition (left) and Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Edita Tahiri (right) share their experiences with participants of a conference in Doha, Qatar, where Charter of the Syrian Women’s Network was adopted by a diverse group of Syrian women representing the leading opposition movements in the country.(Photo from wdn.org)

The first striking paradox of this conference is that it is being held in Qatar, a country where women’s rights remain limited, to say the least. In mid-March, the Qatar government even expressed concerns about references to women’s sexual and reproductive rights“  which are contained in the UN Declaration of the Commission on the Status of Women called Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.

Second paradox: USAID, which contributed to the demise of women’s rights by promoting religious indoctrination in Afghanistan, is now promoting women’s rights to bring about regime change in Syria. In the meantime, the US along with Qatar and Saudi Arabia is supporting Islamist extremist groups fighting against the secular Syrian government. Some so-called liberated areas in Syria are now run by religious extremists:

Religious Wahhabi school and women’s rights in a  ‘liberated’ area of Aleppo run by the US-Saudi backed ‘opposition’, ‘a definite improvement’ when compared to the prevailing system of secular education in Syria. (Michel Chossudovsky, Syria: Women’s Rights and Islamist Education in a “Liberated” Area of Aleppo, Global Research, March 27, 2013.)

Were a US proxy regime to be installed in Damascus, the rights and liberties of Syrian women might well be following the same “freedom-threatening path” as that of Afghan women under the US-backed Taliban regime and continuing under the US-NATO occupation.

Julie Lévesque is a journalist and researcher with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal. She was among the first independent journalists to visit Haiti in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake. In 2011, she was on board “The Spirit of Rachel Corrie”, the only humanitarian vessel which penetrated Gaza territorial waters before being shot at by the Israeli Navy.

An earlier version of this article was published by RT Op-Edge

Reflections on Ukraine and Regime Change

April 7th, 2014 by Michael Parenti

More than 83 percent of the qualified voters of Crimea recently participated in a referendum to rejoin Russia. And of that number well over 93 percent voted to separate themselves from Ukraine and once more become a part of Russia, in what was a massively one-sided victory .

What should be kept in mind is that Crimea would never have pursued such an action, and Russia would never had been receptive to such a course, were it not that Ukraine was in the grip of disruptive forces that were driving toward “regime change.”

“Regime change” is a form of action designed to make it impossible for the existing government to govern. We have seen this organized chaos and endless disruption in various other countries. Well organized groups are financed and equipped by outside western interests. Ultra-nationalists and mercenaries take hold of the protesting crowds and set the direction and pace of action, secure in the knowledge that they have the global reach of the western powers at their backs. The most retrogressive among them in Kiev launched slanderous attacks against Jews, Negroes, Chinese, Muscovites, and–of course–Communists.

In Ukraine, crypto-fascist groups like Svoboda, the Right Sector, and others have had ample funds to keep thousands of people fed and comfortable on the streets of Kiev for weeks, complete with well-made marching flags, symbols, and signs in various languages. Meanwhile the western media report everything the way the White House wants. And the “protestors” perpetrate acts of disruption, violence, and terror.

This disruption is something we have seen in numerous other countries—at this very time from Venezuela to Thailand. The goal of these western-financed attacks has been to make the world safe for the 1%, the global super rich. Ukraine citizens who think they are fighting for democracy will eventually discover that they are really serving the western plutocracy. They will be left with a new government filled with old intentions. Ukrainians will end up with nothing to show for their efforts except a still more depressed and more corrupt economy, an enormous IMF debt, a worsening of social services, and an empty “democracy,” led by corrupt opportunists like Tymoshenko.

Russia has stepped in on behalf of Russian Crimea. So Russia is now maligned by the western global plutocrats who seek ways to put Moscow in isolated retreat. Putin is denounced and demonized at every opportunity. Has anyone in the U.S. media ever read Putin’s speeches? They are so much more clear and sane than the lies put out by Obama (as in Obama’s recent Brussels speech about how the U.S. has saved and democratized Iraq). The intent is to encircle and reduce Russia to a frightened satellite. But that is much easier said than done. Obama has very few tricks and trumps left to play.

Michael Parenti is an internationally known author. His most recent books include: The Face of Imperialism and Waiting for Yesterday (an ethnic memoir).

Afghan elections are more farcical than fair. Fraud substitutes for a free and open process. Voters have no say.

In December 2001, Washington installed Hamid Karzai as president. He’s a convenient stooge. He’s a CIA asset.

Formerly he was Chevron Oil subsidiary Unocal’s chief consultant. He’s stepping down this year. Supposedly because of constitutional ineligibility for another term.

Changing it could keep him president longer. Earlier he vowed no third term.

On April 5, Afghans voted to replace him. Choices excluded hope and change. Or democracy. Militarized occupation assures illegitimacy. So do Washington rules.

If no aspirant wins a majority, runoff voting will follow. The two candidates with the highest vote total will participate. They’ll do so on May 28.

Weeks or perhaps months will pass to know who won. It hardly matters. Afghans already lost.

Vote-rigging was prominently featured. It’s longstanding Afghanistan practice. One observer calls Afghan elections more about ballot rigging and how effectively manipulators orchestrate fraud.

After September 2010 parliamentary elections, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lied calling them “an important milestone on (Afghanistan’s) road to becoming a full and rightful member of the community of democratic nation.”

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen ludicrously said the election would be “more transparent and reliable” than 2009 presidential polling.

UN Afghanistan envoy Staffan de Mistura said 2010 would “be better than last year’s election.” He turned truth on its head saying it.

Dozens of Karzai opponents were marginalized, threatened and disqualified. “Vetting committee” stooges did so.

Approved candidates included Karzai collaborators. Washington had final say. Illegitimacy describes Afghanistan’s political process. This year is no different.

A rogue’s gallery of pro-Western puppets assures business as usual. Meet the candidates. A larger field dropped to eight. Pressure forced candidates Washington wanted eliminated out.

Abdullah Abdullah is a former US-installed foreign minister. He represents business as usual. He’s no populist. He supports US imperial interests.

In 2009 presidential elections, he finished second. He got 30.5% of the vote. He claimed fraud. He opted out of the runoff process. He let Karzai stay president unopposed.

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is a technocrat. He’s a former Afghan finance minister and World Bank official.

He’s Kabul University chancellor. In 2009, he won 3% of the vote. How much better he’ll do this time remains to be seen. Perhaps too little improvement to matter.

Qayoum Karzai earlier chose to run. Pressure forced him out of contention. He endorsed Zalmai Rassoul. More on him below.

Qayoum is Hamid’s older brother. He’s a businessman. His other brothers Mahmoud and the late Ahmed were involved in rampant corruption.

Hamid’s regime is notoriously tainted. US supplied billions  disappear into black hole tax free havens and other foreign assets. Perhaps Qayoum got his share.

Zalmal Rassoul is a former Afghan foreign minister. He resigned to run for president. Previously he was Karzai’s national security advisor.

Both men maintain close ties. Perhaps he’s Washington’s choice. In the fullness of time we’ll know.

Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf is an Afghan politician. In 2005, his Ittehad-al-Islami (Islamic Union) was transformed into a political party – the Islamic Dawah Organization of Afghanistan.

Two days before 9/11, he was accused of involvement in Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud’s assassination.

Two Arab men posing as journalists killed him. Both died. One during the attack. The other trying to escape. Taliban officials denied involvement.

Perhaps Washington wanted him eliminated. He was reportedly closer to post-Soviet Russia and Iran than America. He wasn’t the US choice for president. Eliminating him smoothed Karzai’s anointment.

Qutbuddin Hilal is a former deputy prime minister and first vice president. He served in the early 1990s under President Burhanuddin Rabbani.

He earlier headed a military commission charged with uniting jihadi organizations. He’s running as an independent candidate.

Hezb-e Islami political party leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar endorsed him. During the Soviet-Afghan  Russia’s war on Afghanistan, Hekmatyar got active CIA support. He’s now a US-designated “global terrorist.”

Gul Agha Sherzai is a former warlord turned Karzai “special advisor.” He served as Kandahar and Nangarhar governors.

He resigned from the latter position to run for president. He’s doing so as an independent candidate. His poor human rights record is notorious.

He’s suspected of involvement in opium trafficking. It’s rife under Karzai. Afghanistan produces enough for over 90% of world heroin supply.

Earlier Sherzai was a mujahideen commander. During Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, both men met.

Hedayat Amin Arsala is a former Karzai foreign minister, finance minister, commerce minister and vice president. Until October 2013, he was Karzai’s senior minister/advisor.

He was a National Islamic Front of Afghanistan (NIFA) founding member. He was a Supreme Council of Mujahideen official.

Earlier he headed a so-called Independent Commission of Administrative Reforms, a National Statistics Commission, and an Economic Cooperation Committee.

In 1969, he became Afghanistan’s first World Bank official. In October 2013, he resigned from his senior ministerial post to run for president.

Mohammad Daoud Sultanzai is a pilot by training. In the 1980s, he lived in America. Post-9/11, he returned to Afghanistan. He served as a parliamentarian. He’s a political commentator/talk show host.

Around 12 million Afghans are eligible to vote. It remains to be seen how many did. Perhaps official turnout numbers will be fraudulent.

Perhaps ballot-box stuffing will enhance them. Many Afghans want no part of rigged elections.

Around 6,000 polling centers accommodated those who do. Another thousand scheduled to open never did. Saturday was Afghanistan’s third presidential election post-9/11.

Mainstream media called it the nation’s first peaceful democratic transfer of power. Truth is polar opposite.

On Saturday, The New York Times headlined “Afghans Vote in Strong Numbers Despite Dangers.”

They “(b)raved cold, rain, and threats of Taliban attacks…If successful, the election will mark the first time Afghans have changed their leader at the polls in modern history…”

Doing so ends Karzai’s “dozen years in power.” A runoff election is virtually certain. “Even partial results (aren’t) expected for a week.”

Rassoul, Abdullah and Ghani are expected to be leading vote-getters. It’ll take days or longer to know either way. The top two candidates will compete in May’s runoff election.

Karzai voted early, saying: “I as a citizen of Afghanistan did this with happiness and pride.” He spoke perhaps with tongue in cheek.

Afghanistan remains occupied. It’s a cauldron of violence. Death, destruction and human misery haunt millions.

Washington bears full responsibility. Karzai shares it. He’s a convenient US stooge. Whoever replaces him will serve Western, not popular interests.

Washington’s criminal legacy is longstanding. It’s notorious. Over 12 years of war left millions dead. Violence, displacement, deprivation, starvation and diseases killed them.

Many others suffer horrifically. America turned Afghanistan into a savage wasteland. Hegemons aren’t responsible nation-builders. They have other priorities.

No end of conflict looms. Perhaps another decade or longer will follow. Expect it as long as America is involved.

Its legacy left over half of all Afghan children suffering from severe malnutrition. An entire generation is affected. Millions live under deplorable conditions.

Violence, hunger, homelessness, disease epidemics, poor sanitation, and environmental contamination affect them. So do unsafe water as well as inadequate healthcare, education and other vital services.

Millions of refugees remain internally or externally displaced. Women are horrifically treated. Many, including young girls, are beaten, raped or murdered.

Humanitarian assistance enough to matter is sorely lacking. Children die from exposure to bitter winter cold.

America’s war claims thousands more. Air and ground attacks are responsible. Deaths mount daily.

Civilians suffer most. They’re killed indiscriminately. Horrific incidents go largely unreported. Afghan lives and welfare don’t matter.

US war crimes persist daily. Death by drones murder civilian men, women and children. So do ground assaults.

Deaths, injuries, torture and other atrocities reflect daily life. Ordinary Afghans suffer most. US aggression is one of history’s greatest crimes.

Afghans are some of the world’s most long-suffering people in modern times. Washington bears full responsibility for ravaging and destroying their country.

Don’t expect post-election change. Don’t expect a new US puppet any different from Karzai.

Don’t expect withdrawing more Pentagon troops to help. Militarized occupation remains official US policy.

Over 100,000 private military contractors infest Afghanistan. They’re a hostile occupying force.

They’ll remain indefinitely. They serve American and other Western interests, not Afghan ones. They’re US military surrogates.

Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent maintaining them. They do far more harm than good.

America’s Afghanistan legacy is deplorable. It reflects millions of lost lives. It includes unspeakable human misery.

It’s about trillions of wasted dollars. Afghanistan under militarized occupation resembles hell on earth. Staying alive is a daily struggle.

Extreme poverty, unemployment, and deprivation affect all aspects of people’s lives. Afghanistan’s human development indicators are among the world’s worst.

Over 12 years of war and militarized occupation left millions hugely denied. Throughout his tenure, Karzai was a caricature of a leader.

He lacks legitimacy. He’s widely despised. He won’t be missed. Without heavy round-the clock protection, he wouldn’t last a day on his own.

He profited hugely from Afghanistan’s elicit drugs trade. So did other corrupt officials around him.

In October 2001, America arrived violently. It did so to conquer, colonize, occupy, plunder and dominate Afghanistan.

It’s a geopolitical prize. At issue is controlling Eurasia’s vast oil, gas and other resources.

Afghanistan has its own riches. It has vast natural gas and other mineral reserves. They include copper, lithium, iron, cobalt and gold.

It has the world’s largest opium supply. It floods world markets with heroin. It provides enormous profits for Wall Street. It gives CIA access to billions of dollars in elicit drug money.

Occupied Afghanistan is America’s strategically located land-based aircraft carrier. It’s part of Washington’s plan to encircle Russia and China with bases.

Both nations are Washington’s only global challengers. China is the world’s second largest economy.

In a decade or less it may surpass America. Russia is a formidable military power. It’s the only nation able challenge Pentagon might.

It has enormous oil and gas reserves. China badly needs them. Both nations benefit strategically by allying.

Doing so weakens Washington longterm. America came to Afghanistan to stay. Abandoning what’s geopolitically important won’t happen. Not short-term at least.

How much longer Americans put up with permanent wars and occupations at the expense of homeland needs remains to be seen. Mass/sustained public opposition alone can end them.

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Israel’s High Court Endorses War Crimes

April 7th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

Israel High Court justices declined to hear petitioner Marwan Dalal.

He’s an Israeli Arab jurist. Earlier he served as a Hague International Criminal Court senior prosecutor. He’s the only Palestinian ever to serve in this capacity.

On April 2, Israeli “Supremes” heard evidence of IDF war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza. A previous article explained.

Dalal filed a 52-page petition. He addressed Israel’s:

  • preemptive 2006 Lebanon war;
  • its Operation Cast Lead Gaza aggression (December 2008 – January 2009,) and
  • murdering nine Turkish Mavi Marmara Gaza humanitarian mission activists in May 2010 in cold blood.

Evidence against Israel is damning. It’s overwhelming. It’s indisputable. It’s incontestable. Systematic coverup followed.

Israel remains unaccountable for high crimes too grave to ignore. On April 3, Israeli Supremes rubber-stamped approval.

They ruled crimes of war and against humanity are OK. Their terse statement lied saying:

“The petitioner didn’t provide enough evidence that could prove the connection between the respondents and the events that, as the petitioner sees them, could be called ‘war crimes.’ “

From July 12 – August 14, Israel attacked Lebanon preemptively. It blitzkrieged large areas mercilessly. It did so lawlessly.

It killed over 1,000. It caused vast destruction. It displaced around one-fourth of Lebanon’s four million population. It willfully targeted civilians.

It admitted doing so. It called them legitimate targets. It defined its Dahiya Doctrine strategy. It’s named after a Beirut suburb. Israel destroyed it entirely.

At the time, it said it’s how future wars would be fought. Disproportionate force will be used against civilians and non-military-related infrastructure.

Doing so reflects prohibited collective punishment. International law forbids attacking non-combatants and targets unrelated to military necessary.

Beirut, Tyre, Sidon, and other Lebanon cities and towns were attacked.

Terror bombings destroyed or damaged ports, Beirut International Airport, roads, bridges, other infrastructure, schools, hospitals, power stations, commercial sites, factories, dams, civilian neighborhoods, government buildings, mosques, churches, radio and TV stations, an orphanage, Sidon’s refugee camp and other non-military targets.

Jiyeh’s utility plant south of Beirut was struck. Doing so caused  massive oil spillage. Over 90 miles of coastal waters were affected.

Biodiversity was damaged. Heightened cancer risk followed. Many thousands of Lebanese remain vulnerable.

A land, sea and air siege was imposed. Illegal weapons were used. They included depleted uranium, chemical agents, as well as white phosphorous bombs and shells. They burn flesh to the bone.

So-called thermobaric bombs were dropped. They contain polymer-bonded or solid fuel-air explosives. They penetrate buildings, underground shelters and tunnels.

Their blast pressure sucks oxygen out of affected areas. It horrifically affects people in them. It’s a terror weapon designed to kill and destroy monstrously.

On July 19, a bus carrying Israeli tourists and others was attacked. Eight deaths were reported.

It bears repeating. Israeli war crimes were indisputable. Lawless collective punishment is longstanding Israeli practice. It persists daily. It does so in multiple ways.

From December 27, 2008 – January 18, 2009, Israel waged lawless aggression on Gaza. On September 15, 2009, Goldstone Commission findings were damning.

It reported “evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity.”

“While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right of self defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole.”

Defensive rocket attacks responded to repeated Israeli provocations. Israel lawlessly used them as a pretext for naked aggression. Operation Cast Lead followed.

On September 21, 2010, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) said:

It’s clear “that the IDF had not distinguished between civilians and civilian objects and military targets.”

“Both the loss of life and the damage to property were disproportionate to the harm suffered by Israel or any threatened harm. Israel’s actions could not be justified as self-defense.”

“The IDF was responsible for the crime of killing, wounding and terrorizing civilians (as well as) wonton(ly) destr(oying) property and that such destruction could not be justified on grounds of military necessity.”

HRC members called IDF crimes so grave, “it was compelled to consider whether (genocide) had been committed.”

It said Israel “committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and, possibly genocide in the course of Operation Cast Lead.”

On May 31, 2010, lawlessly interdicted Freedom Flotilla vessels in international waters. Doing so constitutes piracy. They were bringing vitally needed aid to besieged Gazans.

Nine Turkish nationals were aboard the Mavi Marmara mother ship. They were massacred in cold blood. Dozens of other activists on board were wounded. Everyone was arrested.

At the time, UK-based Stop the War Coalition activists called it “(y)et another act of Israeli barbarism.” Thousands of Gazans protested angrily.

Mass anti-Israeli protests followed in Amman, Cairo, Damascus, Tehran, Ankara, Istanbul, Beirut and other regional cities.

Israel’s propaganda machine reached new highs of duplicity. Damage control prioritized coverup. Big Lies drowned out truth.

Forensic evidence was damning. Victims were shot multiple times at close range. Some in the back.

A Human Rights Council (HRC) investigation criticized Israel’s “outrageous attack on aid ships attempting to breach a blockade on the Gaza Strip.”

It called doing so “piracy, (an) act of aggression, (a) brutal massacre, (an) act of terrorism, (a) war crime, (a) crime against humanity, unprovoked…unwarranted…atrocious, (and) brutal.”

It said humanitarian activists onboard were “peaceful, innocent, noble, unarmed, (and) defenseless.”

Attacking them “was unnecessary, disproportionate, excessive, inappropriate and resulted in the wholly avoidable killing and maiming of a large number of civilian passengers.”

“Israel made “a deliberate attempt…to suppress or destroy evidence.” Its own version of events was fabricated. Fake videos were used. So were other falsified materials.

Crimes against humanity were committed. So was piracy. HRC members called Israeli guilty as charged.

It said “a series of violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, were committed by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotilla and during the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation.”

“The preponderance of evidence from impeccable sources is far too overwhelming to come to a contrary opinion.”

Attacking Mavi Marmara activists was well-planned in advance. Premeditated murder was indisputable.

Israeli commandos had photos of Turkish nationals marked for death. They murdered them in cold blood.

They remain unaccountable. So do Israeli commanders and responsible government officials.

No Israeli official or military commander was held accountable for Lebanon and Cast Lead war crimes. None for earlier acts of aggression.

None for daily crimes against humanity. None for ongoing ones. None since Israel was established in 1948.

None for decades of systematic slow-motion genocide. Israeli Supremes continued a longstanding tradition.

They turned a blind eye to high crimes too grave to ignore. They endorsed what demands accountability. Perhaps one day. For sure not now.

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Last week, US Representative Paul Ryan, the Republican Budget Committee chairman from Wisconsin, presented a budget proposal that would slash $5.1 trillion in government spending over the next decade, with the great majority of the cuts coming from health care spending. 

The plan includes a proposal for a voucher system for Medicare, the government health care program for the elderly. This would be a major step toward the dismantling of the program by turning it into a government subsidy to buy private health insurance.

The White House and Congressional Democrats were quick to denounce the proposal. The White House said in a statement that the proposal would “end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program and risking a death spiral in traditional Medicare.” Obama likewise made a denunciation of the Republican budget the centerpiece of his weekly video address Saturday.

Representative Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, offered a vituperative denunciation of the deal, calling it “the Republican declaration of class warfare—it protects the elites at the expense of the rest of the country.”

What neither Obama nor Congressional Democrats mention is the fact that the Ryan budget, while vowing to repeal sections of the Affordable Care Act, in fact uses the cuts to Medicare implemented under the White House’s signature health care law as a starting point. The legislation, commonly known as Obamacare, cuts Medicare funding by some $500 billion through reduced compensation to doctors and hospitals.

In addition, the Affordable Care Act includes some $200 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage, the private alternative to Medicare Parts A and B, which was implemented under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, this would constitute a 5.9 percent funding cut to the program, raising premiums for beneficiaries by between $35 to $75 a month. The White House is due to announce its final proposal for next year’s cuts to Medicare Advantage on Monday.

The parallels between Obama’s Affordable Care Act and Ryan’s proposal go much deeper. While the White House and its Democratic and pseudo-left apologists strenuously avoid calling Obamacare a voucher system, this is precisely what it is. It is a requirement that individuals buy private insurance, with inadequate subsidies, or face a penalty. Its implementation is in fact a model for privatizing Medicare itself.

As always, the Republican proposal will also become the benchmark for negotiations between the two big business parties, shifting the entire framework of political discussion even further to the right.

An ever-greater section of the population is coming to the conclusion that the Affordable Care Act constitutes a handout to major insurance companies, an attack on bedrock social programs and a pretext for companies to drop their existing health insurance coverage.

The passage of Obamacare has also set the stage for a significant number of Fortune 500 companies—including Target, Home Depot, Trader Joe’s and Forever 21—to eliminate health care coverage for their employees. In his new book, Reinventing American Health Care, former White House advisor Ezekiel J. Emanuel concludes that the Affordable Care Act sets the stage for “the end of employer-sponsored health insurance,” and that “by 2025 few private-sector employers will still be providing health insurance.”

While the White House has delayed elements of the Affordable Care Act affecting businesses, it has made absolutely clear that it will not budge on the so-called individual mandate, which forces any uninsured person who does not sign up on the health care exchanges, or lapses in their payments, to pay a fine of $95 or 1 percent of their income, whichever is higher. The penalty increases to 2 percent of income in 2015 and 2.5 percent of income in 2016. For a worker making $25,000 per year, the 2016 fine will amount to $625 per year.

Those who have purchased coverage under the Obamacare exchanges have found that the most affordable plans carry deductibles as high as $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for families, which must be paid in full before most coverage kicks in. The average premium under the Affordable Care Act is $328 a month.

Once individuals purchase an Obamacare insurance plan, they are effectively locked in, with almost no ability to change their coverage if they are not satisfied. Now, with over 7 million customers signed up, insurers are reporting that they are planning significant increases in the premiums they are charging.

Last month, the Hill reported, citing anonymous health insurance providers, that “ObamaCare-related premiums will double in some parts of the country.” The newspaper reported one insurance official who “said his company expects to triple its rates next year.”

Just a few weeks later, WellPoint Inc., a major health insurance provider under the Affordable Care Act, predicted “double-digit-plus” rate increases. “On a year-over-year basis on our exchanges, and it will vary by carrier, but all of them will probably be in double-digit plus,” said one of the company’s executives in an investor meeting last month.

Chet Burrell, chief executive officer of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, reemphasized this point, telling Reuters last week, “I do think that it’s likely premium rate shocks are coming.”

The bipartisan character of the attack on health care is an expression of the fact that, for all the supposed “partisan gridlock” in American politics, the Democratic and Republican parties are entirely united in their plans to gut Medicare, eliminate employer-based health care, and create an even more class-based health care system, in which the poor and working people are barred from access to lifesaving medical treatment.

Since they mounted a coup in Kiev on February 22 with the aid of oligarchs and fascists, the United States and its allies in NATO have outlined measures against Russia that are tantamount to an unofficial declaration of war. In the space of just six weeks, the NATO powers have gone from helping stage a putsch, to imposing sanctions against Russia, to the most extensive military build-up in Europe since the Cold War.

The speed of these developments testifies to the fact that the coup against the Yanukovych regime was not the unexpected catalytic event it was made out to be, but a provocation carried out for the purpose of implementing plans long in preparation.

This was made clear by last week’s NATO foreign ministers summit, which set out plans for the military alliance’s expansion up to Russia’s borders, including extensive war games and the possible stationing of troops within neighbouring states.

Washington has led demands for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) to be offered not only to Ukraine, but also the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia, and the former Russian republic of Georgia.

In 2008, at the time of the five-day war between Russia and Georgia, President George W. Bush was forced to back off from plans to admit Georgia to NATO, in large part because the move was opposed by Germany and France. The two European powers feared it would escalate the conflict between Russia and Georgia into a direct war with Russia.

This time, however, the plan to incorporate Georgia and Ukraine is supported by the European Union as part of a drive to intensify the confrontation with Moscow. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has repeatedly referenced Article 5 of the bloc’s treaty, requiring all member states to come of the aid of another member state under attack. Given the right-wing, rabidly anti-Russian character of the Georgian and Ukrainian regimes, they will be only too willing to provide such a pretext.

The MAP is to be discussed in July and the intent of the United States is that it be implemented as early as September. Military exercises are planned or are underway involving Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Poland, as well as other states in the Baltics and the Caucasus. Most provocative are two exercises agreed to take place on Ukraine’s territory—Rapid Trident and Sea Breeze.

Poland has played a key role in NATO’s plans, having revived previous proposals to install a US-designed multi-million-dollar “missile shield.” The government has now appealed for the stationing of a US military battalion, equivalent to 10,000 personnel, on its soil.

Discussions are underway in ruling circles in Finland and Sweden to end their official neutrality and join NATO, in what Stockholm has described as a “doctrinal shift” in defence policy.

In Orwellian fashion, this campaign of military encirclement is being justified with unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims of a build-up of Russian forces on Ukraine’s border. The purpose of this propaganda is to portray Moscow as the aggressor, even though President Barack Obama has dismissed it as a “weak,” merely “regional” power.

As in the case of Iraq, Libya and Syria, such lies are meant to legitimize a sustained programme of imperialist re-armament, particularly in Europe.

The modus vivendi between imperialism and the capitalist oligarchies that emerged a quarter century ago in China and the USSR is rapidly unraveling. Beset by crisis, the major imperialist powers are no longer prepared to reconcile themselves to the bourgeoisie in Moscow and Beijing enjoying even relative autonomy. They are demanding direct access to the vast resources and markets that exist within the borders of Russia and China and the reduction of both countries to semi-colonial status.

The inexorable logic of this reckless policy is war.

To this end, Washington is demanding that Europe’s governments, above all Germany, step up to the mark. Obama hectored NATO members in his recent speech in Brussels, declaring, “We’ve got to be willing to pay for the assets, personnel and training required to make sure we have a credible NATO force and an effective deterrent force… Everyone has to be chipping in.”

Of the major European countries, only the UK and France presently meet the NATO requirement to spend 2.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on the military. Since 1998, military spending has declined in every European country, with Germany’s falling by 50 percent. To reverse such cuts and allow for increases would require the elimination of vast areas of public spending, under conditions where Europe has already been subjected to six years of austerity.

The turn to militarism demands a dramatic escalation in the assault on the democratic and social rights of the working class. There is overwhelming opposition to the war plans of Washington, Berlin, London and Paris. To impose more “sacrifices” and dragoon a new generation into the armed forces will require the full coercive powers of the state.

A warning must be sounded about the open embrace of far-right and fascist forces in Ukraine by the US and the European powers. After decades in which Europe’s governments proclaimed that the continent would “never again” witness the rule of the swastika, forces that glorify Hitler’s Ukrainian accomplices are being cultivated for use against the working class.

These developments underscore the timeliness of the intervention by the Socialist Equality Parties in Britain and Germany in May’s European elections.

In their joint manifesto for the European elections, they warn: “On the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, Europe once again stands on the brink of disaster.” The competing ambitions of the imperialist powers, the statement continues, have led to a situation in which “a tiny spark would again suffice—as in the 1914 assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo—to turn a regional conflict into a global conflagration.”

The working class must mobilize its unified, international strength to prevent the imperialist ruling classes from plunging mankind into the catastrophe of a nuclear World War III. This requires the development of a mass movement based on socialist policies against the European Union and all of its constituent governments. It means a struggle to bring an end to the capitalist profit system and its division of the world into antagonistic nation states—the source of war—and establish the United Socialist States of Europe.

 

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons. Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)

Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.

The DIA paper took the arrests as evidence that al-Nusra was expanding its access to chemical weapons. It said Qassab had ‘self-identified’ as a member of al-Nusra, and that he was directly connected to Abd-al-Ghani, the ‘ANF emir for military manufacturing’. Qassab and his associate Khalid Ousta worked with Halit Unalkaya, an employee of a Turkish firm called Zirve Export, who provided ‘price quotes for bulk quantities of sarin precursors’. Abd-al-Ghani’s plan was for two associates to ‘perfect a process for making sarin, then go to Syria to train others to begin large scale production at an unidentified lab in Syria’. The DIA paper said that one of his operatives had purchased a precursor on the ‘Baghdad chemical market’, which ‘has supported at least seven CW efforts since 2004’.

A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’

In the months before the attacks began, a former senior Defense Department official told me, the DIA was circulating a daily classified report known as SYRUP on all intelligence related to the Syrian conflict, including material on chemical weapons. But in the spring, distribution of the part of the report concerning chemical weapons was severely curtailed on the orders of Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff. ‘Something was in there that triggered a shit fit by McDonough,’ the former Defense Department official said. ‘One day it was a huge deal, and then, after the March and April sarin attacks’ – he snapped his fingers – ‘it’s no longer there.’ The decision to restrict distribution was made as the joint chiefs ordered intensive contingency planning for a possible ground invasion of Syria whose primary objective would be the elimination of chemical weapons.

To read the Complete article at the London Review of Books, click here

http://www.lrb.co.uk/2014/04/06/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line


The destabilization agenda currently driving US foreign policy to target and attack any national government that resists American Empire imperialism is also driving current US domestic policy to attack the 99% that represent the middle and lower socioeconomic classes of America. The disappearing middle class has been under attack for awhile, and as a result, is in free fall implosion swelling the fast growing ranks of a disenfranchised underclass. There appears to be an all out global assault on the struggling working class poor.

April 1st marked the largest welfare cuts ever in Britain. Draconian laws the world over are causing billions of humans to suffer. Austerity measures that have been taking effect in Europe have already arrived in America too. Cuts to social welfare, social services and public assistance programs designed to be a safety net for the needy and poor are being systematically chipped away.

Every month the official government spin churns out crunched false numbers of unemployment rates hovering between 5-10% (and currently stalled at 6.7%) over the last recession-ridden decade. What is purposely left out are all the hapless Americans who after years of futility have given up looking for work, merging with generations of the chronically unemployed in the destitute urban  areas of America where there are no jobs.

The truer estimate of Americans either under employed or without jobs includes all working age Americans employed less than full time hours who desire full time jobs as well as both those who recently lost jobs and are receiving unemployment compensation as well as the even larger number of Americans without jobs who have given up and stopped looking. That total is an estimated near 30 million people or about 25% of the US working age population. To reverse this seemingly unavoidable growing trend of more and more people chronically out of work, the volume of new jobs filled must exceed this mounting underclass of the unemployed. The so called growth in the job market that the Obama administration likes to tout as tangible progress in economic recovery is but a scam when the truth includes this surging chronic jobless population.

To illustrate how the US federal government works against the interests of the people in need, 1.3 Americans were cut off employment benefits three days prior to last Christmas. This year another 3.6 million workers are slated to lose benefits.

While these alarming rates of America’s expanding underclass are exponentially rising, financial assistance to the needy is rapidly diminishing. From the Congressional Budget Office comes the statistic that in 2011 federal grants to state and local governments totaled $607 billion, or roughly 25 percent of entire state and local government spending. A brief from May of last year documented how sequestration, the $85.3 billion spending cut for the fiscal year 2013 impacted state budgets by decreasing funding levels for federal grants provided to the fifty states. Every state depends heavily on federal grants and loans to help provide necessary state services that include health, housing and social services as well as education, public safety and infrastructure. However, recent federal spending cuts have brought austerity to many states already struggling before last year’s cutbacks.

This drastic sequestration measure has only added momentum as a snowballing effect to the obsessive crusade that tea party and fellow Congressional Republicans have had toward reducing federal spending at all cost and consequence to suffering Americans. Their agenda to slash and destroy basic federal programs that so many Americans require for survival nowadays while crying foul over a modest decrease in the defense budget is compelling evidence that record setting profits for the military industrial complex take priority over the basic needs of their financially struggling constituents. And over 50% of the annual federal budget goes to global war making masquerading as “defense” spending.

The already anemic state budgets have slashed services across the boards. In recent years 43 out of 50 states have been forced to cut back funding on higher education, which of course only contributes to the ever rising exorbitant cost of attending college these days. At the same time, student loan interests have gone up turning generations of college graduates in this nation into indentured servants. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, student debt during the recession has skyrocketed to total more than either credit card or auto loan debts. From 2004 to 2012 in the face of rising higher education costs, both the number of students requiring loans and amount of those loans jumped by 70% to a current average loan debt of $26-29,000 per college graduate. According to the Almanac of Higher Education, of the nearly 20 million college students in America, upwards of 60% take out college loans. Last week’s AP article read, “One trillion student loan debt widens US wealth gap.” Again, another disturbing sign of the times that all but confirms the death of the upwardly mobile society of America. With the standard student loan of a ten year repayment plan, all that money would otherwise be going toward investing equity in homes, retirement plans, stock investments, children’s college education or spent right back into the economy.

With the ongoing US crisis in public education lowering its standards and world ranking especially in math and science, near 70% of the United States have lowered their state budget funding for K-12 grade education. 60% of the states have reduced funds earmarked for the elderly and disabled and over 60% of the states decreased money for public health.

The misnomer called the Affordable Healthcare Act places millions of working class Americans falling through the cracks. Though it may be too early to know at this point, what is becoming painfully clear is that millions of US citizens are earning too much to be eligible for public assistance yet not enough to afford health insurance under Obamacare. Likely more Americans will be uninsured than prior to the act, which of course defeats Obamacare’s stated objective and whole purpose.

US Congress continues to whittle away the food stamp program, just over two months ago cutting another $8.7 billion over the next ten years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This slices food benefits by an average of $90 per month for 850,000 people from the lowest income families in America. And this was a 251 to 156 bipartisan vote, proving that both political parties make decisions that hurt the most vulnerable. Just this last November the government cut $319 a year in assistance to a family of three, trimming $11 billion from the budget through 2016. These severe food stamp cuts come when the demand for emergency food banks in this country has never been higher, overloaded with increasing numbers of hungry families needing their services.  Reducing the national debt off the backs of the poor while extending tax benefits for the rich has been the modus operandi for the richest Congress in US history – over half of them millionaires. Their actions consistently make laws that benefit the wealthy and punish the poor.

Meanwhile, food prices are going up fast. Several days ago Reuters reported that in March food costs worldwide jumped to its highest level in nearly a year, caused by severe weather conditions and geopolitical tensions in the Black Sea region according to the United Nations food agency. With drastic drought conditions only likely to continue in California containing the world’s largest food producer per square mile, the San Joaquin Valley, prices will be steadily rising all year long.

The ruling class elite are putting increasing pressures on the government to implement austerity measures that are hurting people who cannot afford it worldwide. As global warming melts polar ice caps releasing poisonous methane gas, oceans become too toxic with radiation and chemicals to sustain life, droughts, floods and natural catastrophes occurring more extreme every year, and increasing risk of war in more hot spots than ever, the bottom falling out on so many humans just struggling just to survive on this earth is reaching epic proportions.

Fathers and Sons: The Invisible Ladder

April 7th, 2014 by Prof. James Petras

Act 1

A luncheon of four middle age friends who have known each other since their university days in the early 1970’s.

Professor:  Should we share a bottle of wine?

Lawyer:      Why not!  No time clock, clients or deadlines.

Social Worker(smiles). We can afford it!

Doctor:  No doubt … we’re drawing pensions, social security, annuities.  Medicare covers medical bills.  Mortgages are paid up.

Professor:       Someone e-mailed me an announcement about a half century anniversary of the student strike back then and when.

Lawyer:          Is it that long ago?  Seems like only yesterday we were rabble rousing and doing all-nighters running off leaflets.

Doctor:  For some folks that was the biggest moment of their lives.  Their frozen in a time warp.

Social Worker:  You’d be surprised how many activists stayed and made a career celebrating the past.

Lawyer:          Yeah, past thirty they got seedy.  Didn’t know when to move on to the real world.

Professor: Best advice I ever got was from my dissertation director, who told me to ice the polemical stuff and publish in the premier journals and presses and get in the big leagues … “After you make it,” he advised, “you can do whatever you want … your endorsement of good causes will be sought and valued.” He was right!

Lawyer: (cynical smile) Course after you climb the ladder, there’s no looking back … (quickly adds) but I still take pro-bono clients once in a while.

Social Worker: That’s good insurance if you ever run into one of those wash-outs who went full-time and landed on their ass when the big lay-offs hit in the early 1980’s. Now their full of envy and resentment of those of us that didn’t burn our bridges.

Lawyer:  I never run across those ‘wash outs’.  Not at work, none in my neighborhood, or around my summer house.

ProfessorI used to see some of them. The smart ones got on the lecture circuit and cashed in for a while. But who knows what came afterward?

Doctor:  By the way can I interest you guys in signing off on a single payer petition? It’s circulating on the internet.

Lawyer:  Send it to me.  I’ll look it over.  It must be for the next generation.  I’m covered across the board.

Social Worker:  Lots of uncertainty out there. My kid resents paying social security.  He claims it won’t be around when it’s time for him to collect.

Professor:  He’s got a point there but he‘s stretching it a bit (pause) Times are changing though…  When I graduated, I had a dozen offers and I was still active.  The Viet Nam war was still on and the blacks were rioting.  But I kept away from the crazies carrying the Vietcong flag and provoking the cops with taunts.  I published in the right journals, crunched the numbers. Got the grants.  Promotions.

Lawyer(yawns discreetly covering his mouth).  It was a question of hooking up with the right people.  I got an offer from a top law firm and worked past the clock and won my cases.  I made senior partner in five years.  Paid my mortgage in ten and bought my beach house when I was lead lawyer in the Holocaust law suit.

Doctor:  It seems like there is no way going back or coming down, even when the protestors disappeared and the right-wing came back to power.

Social Worker:  I disagree. Some things changed for the worst.  I mean social budgets were cut.  Iraq was invaded .Yugoslavia was bombed.  Public employee salaries were frozen and benefits cost skyrocketed.

Professor:  Yeah.  Times are changing for the worst. They hired three part-timers to fill my line when I retired.

Lawyer: I would say … it’s more competitive if you’re starting.  But once you make it to the top – it’s never better!

(Addresses social worker)  Can you pour me some more of that Rioja?

Doctor:  My kids are making it. One’s a financial adviser and the other finished his residency and became a partner in a major private medical group.

Professor: (somewhat riled by the Doctor’s boasting.) Didn’t you make a substantial annual contribution to the alumni fund of the medical school where he was admitted?

Doctor:  (very dismissive, waves him off) It was his grades, letters of recommendations… but a little grease never hurts.

Social Worker:  (snickers) No one gets ahead just on smarts … (Pause.  Tension around the table … friendly faces start to fade.  Professor looks for a way to bridge the differences).

Professor:  Oh, by the way.  I’m taking my sailboat out next month.  If anybody’s game let me know.

Lawyer: (casually non-committal) I might take you up on that.  I’m shelving my tennis racket … since my knee operation.

Doctor:  (Looks at his watch).  Should we finish up with a cognac?

Social Workers: I’ll pass.

Lawyer:  Make mine a Metaxa.

Professor:  I’ll have a double espresso.

Act Two   Scene 1

(Social worker’s son is hunched over a computer in a cubicle ‘talking’.)

Voice:  I’m listening. It’s all I can do to catch up with the backlog and the new programs and the extra assignments.

Read:  You’re further behind on the new assignments!

Voice:  (distraught). What extra assignments?

Read:  Remember,  the new contract, you’re on 24/7 and responsible for any breakdown. Sign up or sign out.

Voice:  (anguish, ambiguous) I’m on my way.

(Screen blank)

Scene 2

(Social worker’s son walks through the office; cubicles half empty; employees walking in, out around.  Some bent over computers, others packing brief cases.  Everything is chaotic.)

(Inner Voice) Costs are down.  Restructuring moves ahead.  Employment is a revolving door.

New Employee:  Hi

Old Employee:  Good bye

Replacement:  Are you coming in or going out?

Social Worker’s Son:  I’ve been working here five years …

Replacement:  Are you sure?

Son:  No.  I mean yes (an uncertain look).

(Walks to the Human Resources office, knocks and enters)

HR: (looks up) yes?

Son:  I have some questions about the hours and added assignments

HR:  Did you read the text?

Son:  I have some questions about the hours and added assignments.

HR:  Sign in or sign out…

Son: (anguished voice). What’s this all about?  I put in lots of time in expanding operations… 

HR (interrupts him).  The CEO doesn’t think you’re doing enough.  We are cutting costs. Raising productivity.  We need to show better numbers (looks at watch and shuffles papers).  You really should be at your desk … or in the street.  (Son walks out.  Looks across the office, notices several new faces.  Only one familiar face:  the receptionist.  One hand holding the phone, the other plunking the computer, her head bobbing signals to a messenger, a loose finger tweaking something like ‘good bye’.  Son walks to the desk of the CEO’s secretary who is on the phone.)

Secretary:  He will be away.  Hilton Head for the long week-end.  Yes he’s busy.  Yes he’s gotten his bonus- stock options…but don’t call back.  He’ll call you.  (She hangs up, looks with scorn at the son) You still around?

Son:  I would like to discuss my new contract with the CEO?

Secretary:  Nothing to discuss.  It’s a done deal.

Son: You could be next.

Secretary:  I’ll take my chances (phone rings). Yes.  You’re from Bloomberg’s? We understand you want an interview … now?  The CEO is flying back tonight … you want to talk now? Yes indeed.  I will locate him and have him get in touch with you right away.  I am terribly sorry to keep you waiting.  He’s on a conference call … working up the reorganization.  Hold it.  I’ll put him on.

(Dials CEO’s cell phone).

Bloomberg’s on the line.  They want a meeting this morning.

CEO:  (panic).  Send the driver to the airport right away. Tell Bloomberg I’m sorry for the delay but I will be there in fifty minutes.

Act 3

(Lawyer and son having lunch in an upscale restaurant)

Lawyer:  Environmental law can be a lucrative field if you don’t get in deep with the tree huggers and owl lovers. 

Son:  C’mon dad you were doing pro bono for the homeless in Santa Monica a while back.

Lawyer:  But that was after I was established and had a lucrative clientele.  Anyway my work with the homeless attracted affluent liberals.

Son: I am not sure we are on the same wave length … (pause).  The fish we are having for lunch might come out of the water pre-cooked and radiated, after the Japanese nuclear disaster.

Lawyer:  Well you got a point there. (Pause.)   Anyway environmental law is a two-edged deal.  One of my partners started out working with Greenpeace and learned the ropes and then made a pile defending BP in the Gulf.

Son:  Switched sides?

Lawyer:  You can’t afford to do pro-bono if you don’t have some cash cows to pay the bills.  How do you think you got through law school without debt?

Son: (defensive). How did you graduate without debt?

Lawyer:  Back then we didn’t have tuition … just student activity fees.

Son:  And you had all those  protests?

Lawyer:  Why not?  The better, the times the bigger the protests! (laughs.)

Son: Fewer jobs, high tuition and smaller protests?

Lawyer:  (triumphant).That’s why you should combine environmental and corporate law!

Son:  Thanks for lunch. Waiter! The bill.

Lawyer:  I got it.

Act 3   Scene 2

Professor: (On the phone).  Hi Dave, haven’t seen or heard from you for a while …

Son:  Been working on some big accounts.  I’m, coming up for senior partner.

Professor:  I hope we can at least have lunch sometime.

Son:  Investment banking hours are not the same as professors.  I’m in by seven and out by eleven – at night.

Professor:  What kind of life is that?  You live to work.

Son:  (snarls). Cut the crap, Dad. Why don’t you join the Occupy types in front of our building.  You can catch me as I cross the picket line.

Professor:  We once walked picket lines together.

Son:  I remember being dragged along … But look, I’m in the middle of preparing a brief for a big merger.  We’ll talk later.  Bye.

Professor:  (talks into a dead phone) (soliloquy).  “I can’t get through.  Something went wrong or maybe it’s just the changing times.  Same energy level but chasing trades rather than facing injustice.”

Act 3   Scene 3

(Doctor and son seated on a bench in a park)

Doctor:  How goes your practice?

Son:  So-so.  We are doubling up on procedures to make-up for the drop in Medicare re-imbursement.

Doctor:  How are the kids?

Son:  Studying, basketball, video games … texting.

Doctor:  Taking any time off?

Son:  Going to Washington for the AIPAC conference.  It’s all about Iran.  We’ll be banging Congressional heads and handing them a war agenda.

Doctor:  So you have a political passion for Israel?

Son:  What else?

Doctor:  We got problems in this country.

Son:  Let them take care of themselves.  Trouble with you dad is you never looked after your own people.  You never listened to grandpa … remember “What’s in it for the Jews?”

Doctor:  (defensive) Look, I’m for Israel as much as anybody … but not right or wrong.  Take the illegal settlements……

Son:  (bursts out and cuts him off). We’ll take them!  They’re ours!  All of them!  Only the Arabs and the anti-Semites say they’re “illegal”.  Not our courts.  Nor our judges!

Doctor:  You mean the Supreme Court?

Son:  Yes sir, (spells it out).  The Israeli Supreme Court!

Doctor:  Ever thought of emigrating?

Son:  They got too many doctors.  Anyway the Israeli’s tell us to stay here.  We are more valuable pushing our agenda in Washington.

Doctor:  You know when I was active back in the 1960’s we had big fights with the Communists for toeing the Soviet line!  Russian bomb tests were progressive. The US’s were a crime.  Who would have thought I would have a son lining up with Israel, right or wrong.

Son:  They were Stalinists, I’m a Zionist.

Doctor: Tell me the difference?

Son:  (furious, in a bully mode shouting).  You know if you weren’t my father I would say you sound like an anti-Semite.

Doctor:  (speechless, stares at son without recognition).

Son:  (standing up facing father).  Better keep your ideas to yourself, especially among your medical colleagues, and especially those on the Medical Executive Board.

Act 3   Scene 4

(Social Worker walks into son’s bedroom who is hunched over his computer.)

Social Worker:  How goes the job search?

Son:  (looking straight ahead). Don’t ask.

Social Worker:  (pause) No luck?

Son:  (Looks back, stares, angry) Entry level, short term contracts, on call … overtime without pay (turns back to computer).

(Social Worker drifts out of the room).

Social Worker – Soliloquy:  I was going to invite him to take a break.  I forgot what it’s like to be unemployed.  Wonder what happened to the health department employees that go laid-off …or the teachers?  Can’t worry about their issues … the problem is here and now, in this house.

Son: looking at the screen and clicking the keyboard (Soliloquy)

Two hundred and fifty-one CVs circulating out there … ten responses.  All entry level or part time contracts.  When did they install the revolving door?  Who plans the restructuring?  It doesn’t matter.  I can’t figure out what happened to my unit.  They’re gone … who knows where?  Everyone for himself … free-lance … free fall … flexible labor…drop your pants, bend over here comes the CEO … all pain – no gain … more hours, complain and berate … I’m  going.

(Shuts down the computer:  glances at blank screen. Rises and slowly walks out. Enters a sunny room and notices his father reading a newspaper. No quip.  No comment.

Social Worker:  How about lunch?

Son:  (stares, tentative) Why not?

Act 3   Scene 5

(Lunch in a café) Social Worker and son.

Son:  When I walked out of the office, it felt like I was walking out of prison … a big load lifted … the buzz of the berating supervisor was still in my ear … till I cleared the office. Nobody even looked-up.  No good byes.  The Indian guy, my replacement, smiled as if he would do it right.  He’s got a moat in his eye.

Social Worker:  You did the right thing.  Your health comes first.  Stress kills.

Son:  Yeah.  Stay healthy … because there’s no health plan.

Social Worker:  Lets pack it up for now

Son:  Spoils the appetite doesn’t it?  I mean thinking about the work situation.  The friends I had, you know at work, they come and go.

Social Worker:  You ever see them ?

Son :  Where?

Social Worker:  (Pensive. Soliloquy: No lunch with a bottle of wine).  (They finish eating and walk out.  Father’s hand on son’s shoulder)

Act 4

Senior investment banker of hedge fund, relaxing with wife and small child in a beach house in Martha’s Vineyard.

Hedge Fund banker:  This was a great idea buying a getaway house on the Island.

Wife:  Well, I researched it: weather, airport, wind ,currents, sun, temperature … and price.

Banker:  The bonus on the acquisition and restructuring of the health industry came in handy.

Wife:  You did well.  Should we go for a walk?  I love to hear the waves crashing on the breakers.

Banker:  Give me five minutes. I got to send a message to headquarters.  We are preparing a public offering and we go to get rid of a CEO who’s screwing up a string of hospitals, Bloomberg put them in negative – sell.

Wife:  Of course.  Me and Rachel will meet you by the landing where you moor the boat.

 


 There was a mad scramble by Washington last week to prevent the seemingly inevitable – an implosion of the Middle East peace talks. In a last-ditch effort to stop Israel reneging on a promise to release a final batch of Palestinian prisoners, the US briefly threw in possibly the biggest bargaining chip in its hand: the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard.

 With Israel still dragging its feet, an infuriated Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas submitted applications to join 15 United Nations conventions, thereby reviving a campaign to win international recognition of Palestinian statehood.

Although Washington will continue quietly arm-twisting the two sides a little longer, President Barack Obama is reported to be worried that US diplomacy is starting to appear “desperate”.

 The negotiations’ failure could prove an important clarifying moment, signalling the effective demise of the two-state solution.

 Both the US and Israel have come to rely on the endless theatrics of the two-decade peace process. Settlement freezes, prisoner releases, rows about Palestinian Authority funding and, of course, intermittent negotiations have served as useful distractions from the main developments on the ground.

 As Bassem Khoury, a former Palestinian Authority minister, observed last week: “Israel hasn’t changed. It is the same colonial entity pursuing the same ethnic cleansing policies it did for decades.”

 That was also the little-noticed conclusion reached by Richard Falk as he stepped down last month as the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied territories. In line with warnings he has issued in his UN post for the past six years, Falk, a professor emeritus in international law at Princeton University, said Israeli policies were designed to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from the occupied territories, and especially East Jerusalem, the expected capital of any Palestinian state.

 Falk noted that Israel had cynically exploited the peace process to expand its settlement programme, as it did again during these past nine months of talks.

 In his meeting last month with Obama at the White House, Abbas unveiled a map showing that Israel had approved more than 10,000 settler homes since the talks began. That number has grown further, with Israel unveiling 2,000 more, including 700 last week in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo.

For every settler home built, Palestinians lose territory needed not only for a state but also to keep individual families living where they are now. The innocuous term “settlements” conceals their true role: as Israel’s primary vehicle for ethnic cleansing Palestinians through dispossession and harassment.

Washington welcomed Falk’s departure, calling him a “noxious” presence. But his warnings have been echoed by others, including Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations. Falk’s findings were also confirmed by a usually circumspect group: European Union diplomats. A leaked joint report by EU consulates in the occupied territories observed that ethnic cleansing was advancing at an ever-accelerating pace in East Jerusalem.

 The diplomats’ immediate concern is a “conflagration” as Israel’s extreme right is allowed ever greater access to the supremely sensitive site of the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City.

 Pushing to be given prayer rights there, the Israeli right hope they can eventually win from their government a partition of the site, as occurred earlier at the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron. There, the settlers’ control has effectively turned the once-thriving centre of Hebron into a Palestinian ghost town.

In East Jerusalem, Israel’s ethnic cleansing policies are at their most intense. As the EU notes, Palestinians have been starved of municipal funds, deprived of schools and blocked from commercial activity, and are leaving, heading for the greater security of West Bank cities.

In recent weeks, Palestinians in sections of East Jerusalem have even discovered that, despite its claims to treat Jerusalem as its “unified capital”, Israel has stopped supplying them with water.

 Official data provide clues to Israel’s real intentions. This year’s first-quarter figures show that Israel sold more land to settlers for house building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem than it did for construction inside Israel itself. West Bank construction has more than doubled over the same period last year.

Last week a Knesset committee effectively stymied efforts to force the government to disclose how much it is spending on settlement construction. Nonetheless, left wing legislators managed to extract partial treasury figures showing that the settlement budget has increased by at least $143 million over the past six months, during the height of talks with the Palestinians.

 In another sign of how Israel has been entrenching the settlements while paying lip-service to a peace process, the Israeli media revealed that 24 major infrastructure projects had been approved for the West Bank. They include more than $57 million for new settler roads and the first planned train service linking the settlements to Israel.

 Israeli dispossession policies are not limited to the occupied territories. Foreign minister Avigodor Lieberman’s plan to redraw the borders to strip part of Israel’s large Palestinian minority of its citizenship received a major fillip last month. For the first time government lawyers rejected the opinion of international law experts and gave their blessing to what the liberal Haaretz daily called Lieberman’s programme of “ethnic cleansing” of its own citizens.

 If negotiations collapse, it should be clear that, while both sides were supposed to be talking, one side – Israel – was vigorously and unilaterally acting to further its goals.

 It now seems the Palestinian leadership will respond in kind, by pushing their bid for statehood at the UN. Israel has already threatened “punitive measures”, meaning things are likely to turn yet uglier. But the era of wishful thinking may finally be coming to an end – and that will be progress in itself.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books).  His new website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

 A version of this article first appeared in The National, Abu Dhabi.

Obama Issues Threats To Russia And NATO

April 7th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The Obama regime has issued simultaneous threats to the enemy it is making out of Russia and to its European NATO allies on which Washington is relying to support sanctions on Russia.  This cannot end well.

As even Americans living in a controlled media environment are aware, Europeans, South Americans, and Chinese are infuriated that the National Stasi Agency is spying on their communications.

NSA’s affront to legality, the US Constitution, and international diplomatic norms is unprecedented. Yet, the spying continues, while Congress sits sucking its thumb and betraying its oath to defend the Constitution of the United States.

In Washington mumbo-jumbo from the executive branch about “national security” suffices to negate statutory law and Constitutional requirements. Western Europe, seeing that the White House, Congress and the Federal Courts are impotent and unable to rein-in the Stasi Police State, has decided to create a European communication system that excludes US companies in order to protect the privacy of European citizens and government communications from the Washington Stasi.

The Obama regime, desperate that no individual and no country escape its spy net, denounced Western Europe’s intention to protect the privacy of its communications as “a violation of trade laws.”  

Obama’s US Trade Representative, who has been negotiating secret “trade agreements” in Europe and Asia that give US corporations immunity to the laws of all countries that sign the agreements, has threatened WTO penalties if Europe’s communications network excludes the US companies that serve as spies for NSA. Washington in all its arrogance has told its most necessary allies that if you don’t let us spy on you, we will use WTO to penalize you.

So there you have it.  The rest of the world now has the best possible reason to exit the WTO and to avoid the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic “trade agreements.” The agreements are not about trade. The purpose of these “trade agreements” is to establish the hegemony of Washington and US corporations over other countries. 

In an arrogant demonstration of Washington’s power over Europe, the US Trade Representative warned Washington’s NATO allies: “US Trade Representative will be carefully monitoring the development of any such proposals” to create a separate European communication network.  http://rt.com/news/us-europe-nsa-snowden-549/  

Washington is relying on the Chancellor of Germany, the President of France, and the Prime Minister of the UK to place service to Washington above their countries’ communications privacy. 

It has dawned on the Russian government that being a part of the American dollar system means that Russia is open to being looted by Western banks and corporations or by individuals financed by them, that the ruble is vulnerable to being driven down by speculators in the foreign exchange market and by capital outflows, and that dependence on the American international payments system exposes Russia to arbitrary sanctions imposed by the “exceptional and indispensable country.”

Why it took the Russian government so long to realize that the dollar payments system puts countries under Washington’s thumb is puzzling.  Perhaps the answer is the success of US Cold War propaganda. Cold war propaganda  portrayed America as the shining light, the great observer of human rights, opponent of torture, upholder of liberty, defender of the downtrodden, lover of peace, and benefactor of the world.  This image survived even as the US government prevented the rise of any representative governments in Latin America and while Washington has bombed half a dozen countries into rubble.

Russians emerging from communism naturally aligned with the propaganda image of “American freedom.” That the US and Europe were also corrupt and also had blood on their hands was overlooked. During the years of anti-Soviet propaganda, Washington was murdering European women and children and blaming communists. The truth came out when President of Italy Francesco Cossiga publicly revealed Operation Gladio, a false flag terrorist scheme run by the CIA and Italian Intelligence during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s that targeted European women and children with bombs in order to blame the communists and thereby prevent European communist parties from making electoral gains. This is one of the most well-known false flag events in history, having resulted in extraordinary confessions by Italian intelligence.

Now that the Russian government understands that Russia must depart the dollar system in order to protect Russian sovereignty, President Putin has entered into barter/ruble oil deals with China and Iran.  However, Washington objects to Russia abandoning the dollar international payment system. Zero Hedge, a more reliable news source than the US print and TV media, reports that Washington has conveyed to both Russia and Iran that a non-dollar oil deal would trigger US sanctions.

Washington’s objection to the Russian/Iranian deal made it clear to all governments that Washington uses the dollar-based international payments system as a means of control. Why should countries accept an international payments system that infringes their sovereignty? What would happen if instead of passively accepting the dollar as the means of international payment, countries simply left the dollar system? The value of the dollar would fall and so would Washington’s power. Without the power that the dollar’s role as world reserve currency gives the US to pay its bills by printing money, the US could not maintain its aggressive military posture or its payoffs to foreign governments to do its bidding. 

Washington would be just another failed empire, whose population can barely make ends meet, while the One Percent who comprise the mega-rich compete with 200-foot yachts and $750,000 fountain pins. The aristocracy and the serfs.  That is what America has already become. A throwback to the feudal era.

It is only a matter of time before it is universally recognized that the US is a failed state. Let’s pray this recognition occurs before the arrogant inhabitants of Washington blow up the world in pursuit of hegemony over others.

Washington’s provocative military moves against Russia are reckless and dangerous.

The buildup of NATO air, ground, and naval forces on Russia’s borders in violation of the 1997 NATO-Russian treaty and the Montreux Convention naturally strike the Russian government as suspicious, especially as the buildups are justified on the basis of lies that Russia is about to invade Poland, the Baltic States, and Moldova in addition to Ukraine. 

These lies are transparent.  The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has asked NATO for an explanation, stating:

“We are not only expecting answers, but answers that will be based fully on respect for the rules we agreed on.” (RT)

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Washington’s puppet installed as NATO figurehead who is no more in charge of NATO than I am, responded in a way guaranteed to raise Russian anxieties. Rasmussen dismissed the Russian Foreign Minister’s request for explanation as “propaganda and disinformation.”

Clearly, what we are experiencing are rising tensions caused by Washington and NATO. These tensions are in addition to the tensions arising from Washington’s coup in Ukraine. These reckless and dangerous actions have destroyed the Russian government’s trust in the West and are moving the world toward war.

Little did the protesters in Kiev, called into the streets by Washington’s NGOs, realize that their foolishness was setting the world on a path to armageddon.

IMF-World Bank Policies and the Rwandan Genocide

April 7th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

This article was first published in January, 1995. in the wake of the Rwandan Genocide.  It was subsequently included as a Chapter in  The Globalization of Poverty, first edition, 1997. 

In the context of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Rwandan genocide, the role of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank must be understood.

In September 1990 at the very outset of the RPF insurgency and invasion from Uganda, a devastating program of macroeconomic reforms was imposed on Rwanda by the IMF.

Michel  Chossudovsky, April 7, 2014

*      *     *

The Rwandan crisis has been presented by the Western media as a profuse narrative of human suffering, while neglecting to explain the underlying social and economic causes. As in other ‘countries in transition’, ethnic strife and the outbreak of civil war are increasingly depicted as something which is almost ‘inevitable’ and innate to these societies, constituting ‘a painful stage in their evolution from a one- party State towards democracy and the free market’.

The brutality of the massacres has shocked the world community, but what the international press fails to mention is that the civil war was preceded by the flare-up of a deep-seated economic crisis. It was the restructuring of the agricultural system which precipitated the population into abject poverty and destitution. This deterioration of the economic environment which immediately followed the collapse of the international coffee market and the imposition of sweeping macro-economic reforms by the Bretton Woods institutions – exacerbated simmering ethnic tensions and accelerated the process of political collapse .

In 1987, the system of quotas established under the International Coffee Agreement (ICA) started to fall apart. World prices plummeted, the Fonds d’egalisation (the State coffee stabilisation fund) which purchased coffee from Rwandan farmers at a fixed price started to accumulate a sizeable debt. A lethal blow to Rwanda’s economy came in June 1989 when the ICA reached a deadlock as a result of political pressures from Washington on behalf of the large US coffee traders. At the conclusion of a historic meeting of producers held in Florida, coffee prices plunged in a matter of months by more than 50%. For Rwanda and several other African countries, the drop in price wreaked havoc. With retail prices more than 20 times that paid to the African farmer, a tremendous amount of wealth was being appropriated in the rich countries.

The legacy of colonialism

original

What is the responsibility of the West in this tragedy? First, it is important to stress that the conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi was largely the product of the colonial system, many features of which still prevail today. From the late 19th century, the early German colonial occupation had used them wami (King) of the nyiginya monarchy installed at Nyanza as a means of establishing its military posts.

However, it was largely the administrative reforms initiated in 1926 by the Belgians which were decisive in shaping socio-ethnic relations. The Belgians explicitly used dynastic conflicts to reinforce their territorial control. The traditional chiefs in a each hill (colline) were used by the colonial administration to requisition forced labour. Routine beatings and corporal punishment were administered on behalf of the colonial masters by the traditional chiefs. The latter were under the direct supervision of a Belgian colonial administrator responsible for a particular portion of territory. A climate of fear and distrust was installed, communal solidarity broke down, traditional client relations were tranformed to serve the interests of the coloniser.

The objective was to fuel inter-ethnic rivalries as a means of achieving political control as well as preventing the development of solidarity between the two ethnic groups which inevitably would have been directed against the colonial regime. The Tutsi dynastic aristocracy was also made responsible for the collection of taxes and the administration of justice. The communal economy was undermined, the peasantry was forced to shift out of food agriculture into cash crops for export. Communal lands were transformed into individual plots geared solely towards cash crop cultivation (the so-called cultures obligatoires).

Colonial historiographers were entrusted with the task of ‘transcribing’ as well as distorting Rwanda-Urundi’s oral history. The historical record was falsified: the mwami monarchy was identified exclusively with the Tutsi aristocratic dynasty. The Hutus were represented as a dominated caste….

The Belgian colonialists developed a new social class, the so-called negres evolues recruited among the Tutsi aristocracy, the school system was put in place to educate the sons of the chiefs and provide the African personnel required by the Belgians. In turn, the various apostolic missions and vicariats received under Belgian colonial rule an almost political mandate, the clergy was often used to oblige the peasants to integrate the cash crop economy… These socio-ethnic divisions – which have been unfolding since the 1920s – have left a profound mark on contemporary Rwandan society.

Since Independence in 1962, relations with the former colonial powers and donors have become exceedingly more complex. Inherited from the Belgian colonial period, however, the same objective of pushing one ethnic group against the other (‘divide and rule’) has largely prevailed in the various ‘military’, ‘human rights’ and ‘macro- economic’ interventions undertaken from the outset of the civil war in 1990.

The Rwandan crisis has become encapsulated in a continuous agenda of donor roundtables (held in Paris), cease-fire agreements, peace talks…These various initiatives have been closely monitored and coordinated by the donor community in a tangled circuit of ‘conditionalities’ (and cross-conditionalities). The release of multilateral and bilateral loans since late 1990 was made conditional upon implementing a process of so-called ‘democratisation’ under the tight surveillance of the donor community. In turn, Western aid in support of multiparty democracy was made conditional (in an almost ‘symbiotic’ relationship) upon the government reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and so on….

These attempts were all the more illusive because since the collapse of the coffee market, actual political power in Rwanda largely rested, in any event, in the hands of the donors. A communique of the US State Department issued in early 1993 vividly illustrates this situation: the continuation of US bilateral aid was made conditional on good behaviour in policy reform as well as progress in the pursuit of democracy….

The model of ‘democratisation’ based on an abstract model of inter-ethnic solidarity envisaged by the Arusha peace agreement signed in August 1993 was an impossibility from the outset and the donors knew it. The brutal impoverishment of the population which resulted from both the war and the IMF reforms, precluded a genuine process of democratisation. The objective was to meet the conditions of ‘good governance’ (a new term in the donors’ glossary) and oversee the installation of a bogus multiparty coalition government under the trusteeship of Rwanda’s external creditors. In fact multipartism as narrowly conceived by the donors, contributed to fuelling the various political factions of the regime… Not surprisingly, as soon as the peace negotiations entered a stalemate, the World Bank announced that it was interrupting the disbursements under its loan agreement.

The economy since independence

The evolution of the post-colonial economic system played a decisive role in the development of the Rwandan crisis. While progress was indeed recorded since Independence in diversifying the national economy, the colonial-style export economy based on coffee (les cultures obligatoires) established under the Belgian administration was largely maintained providing Rwanda with more than 80% of its foreign exchange earnings. A rentier class with interests in coffee trade and with close ties to the seat of political power had developed. Levels of poverty remained high, yet during the 1970s, and the first part of the 1980s, economic and social progress was nonetheless realised: real gross domestic product (GPD) growth was of the order of 4.9% per annum (1965-89), school enrolment increased markedly, recorded inflation was among the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, less than 4% per annum.

While the Rwandan rural economy remained fragile, marked by acute demographic pressures (3.2% per annum population growth), land fragmentation and soil erosion, local-level food self-sufficiency had, to some extent, been achieved alongside the development of the export economy. Coffee was cultivated by approximately 70% of rural households, yet it constituted only a fraction of total monetary income. A variety of other commercial activities had been developed including the sale of traditional food staples and banana beer in regional and urban markets.

Until the late 1980s, imports of cereals including food aid were minimal compared to the patterns observed in other countries of the region. The food situation started to deteriorate in the early 1980s with a marked decline in the per capita availability of food. In overt contradiction to the usual trade reforms adopted under the auspices of the World Bank, protection to local producers had been provided through restrictions on the import of food commodities. They were lifted with the adoption of the 1990 structural adjustment programme.

The fragility of the State

The economic foundations of the post-Independence Rwandan State remained extremely fragile, a large share of government revenues depended on coffee, with the risk that a collapse in commodity prices would precipitate a crisis in the State’s public finances. The rural economy was the main source of funding of the State. As the debt crisis unfolded, a larger share of coffee and tea earnings had been earmarked for debt servicing, putting further pressure on small-scale farmers.

Export earnings declined by 50% between 1987 and 1991. The demise of State institutions unfolded thereafter. When coffee prices plummeted, famines erupted throughout the Rwandan countryside. According to World Bank data, the growth of GDP per capita declined from 0.4% in 1981-86 to – 5.5% in the period immediately following the slump of the coffee market (1987-91).

A World Bank mission travelled to Rwanda in November 1988 to review Rwanda’s public expenditure programme… A series of recommendations had been established with a view to putting Rwanda back on the track of sustained economic growth. The World Bank mission presented to the government, Rwanda policy options as consisting of two ‘scenarios’. Scenario I entitled ‘No Strategy Change’ contemplated the option of remaining with the ‘old’ system of State planning, whereas Scenario II labelled ‘With Strategy Change’ was that of macro-economic reform and ‘transition to the free market’.

After careful economic ‘simulations’ of likely policy outcomes, the World Bank concluded with some grain of optimism that if Rwanda adopted Scenario II, levels of consumption would increase markedly over 1989-93 alongside a recovery of investment and an improved balance of trade. The ‘simulations’ also pointed to added export performance and substantially lower levels of external indebtedness. These outcomes depended on the speedy implementation of the usual recipe of trade liberalisation and currency devaluation alongside the lifting of all subsidies to agriculture, the phasing out of the Fonds d’egalisation, the privatisation of State enterprises and the dismissal of civil servants…

The ‘With Strategy Change’ (Scenario II) was adopted, the government had no choice… A 50% devaluation of the Rwandan franc was carried out in November 1990, barely six weeks after the incursion from Uganda of the rebel army of the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

The devaluation was intended to boost coffee exports. It was presented to public opinion as a means of rehabilitating a war-ravaged economy. Not surprisingly, exactly the opposite results were achieved exacerbating the plight of the civil war. From a situation of relative price stability, the plunge of the Rwandan franc contributed to triggering inflation and the collapse of real earnings. A few days after the devaluation, sizeable increases in the prices of fuel and consumer essentials were announced. The consumer price index increased from 1.0% in 1989 to 19.2% in 1991. The balance-of-payments situation deteriorated dramatically and the outstanding external debt which had already doubled since 1985, increased by 34% between 1989 and 1992.

The State administrative apparatus was in disarray, State enterprises were pushed into bankruptcy and public services collapsed. Health and education collapsed under the brunt of the IMF imposed austerity measures. Despite the establishment of ‘Social Safety’ (earmarked by the donors for programmes in the social sectors), the incidence of severe child malnutrition increased dramatically, the number of recorded cases of malaria increased by 21% in the year following the adoption of the IMF programme largely as a result of the absence of anti-malarial drugs in the public health centres. The imposition of school fees at the primary school level was conducive to a massive decline in school enrolment.

The economic crisis reached its climax in 1992 when Rwandan farmers in desperation uprooted some 300,000 coffee trees. Despite soaring domestic prices, the government had frozen the farmgate price of coffee at its 1989 level (125 RwF a kg), under the terms of its agreement with the Bretton Woods institutions. The government was not allowed (under the World Bank loan) to transfer State resources to the Fonds d’egalisation. It should also be mentioned that a significant profit was appropriated by local coffee traders and intermediaries serving to put further pressure on the peasantry.

In June 1992, a second devaluation was ordered by the IMF leading — at the height of the civil war – to a further escalation of the prices of fuel and consumer essentials. Coffee production tumbled by another 25% in a single year…. Because of over-cropping of coffee trees, there was increasingly less land available to produce food, but the peasantry was not able to easily switch back into food crops. The meagre cash income derived from coffee had been erased yet there was nothing to fall back on. Not only were cash revenues from coffee insufficient to buy food, the prices of farm inputs had soared and money earnings from coffee were grossly insufficient.

The crisis of the coffee economy backlashed on the production of traditional food staples leading to a substantial drop in the production of cassava, beans and sorghum… The system of savings and loan cooperatives which provided credit to small farmers had also disintegrated. Moreover, with the liberalisation of trade and the deregulation of grain markets as recommended by the Bretton Woods institutions, (heavily subsidised) cheap food imports and food aid from the rich countries were entering Rwanda with the effect of destabilising local markets.

Under ‘the free market’ system imposed on Rwanda, neither cash crops nor food crops were economically viable. The entire agricultural system was pushed into crisis, the State administrative apparatus was in disarray due to the civil war but also as a result of the austerity measures and sinking civil service salaries… A situation which inevitably contributed to exacerbating the climate of generalised insecurity which had unfolded in 1992…

The seriousness of the agricultural situation had been amply documented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which had warned of the existence of widespread famine in the southern provinces. A report released in early 1994 also pointed to the total collapse of coffee production due to the war but also as a result of the failure of the State marketing system which was being phased with the support of the World Bank. Rwandex, the mixed enterprise responsible for processing and export of coffee, had become largely inoperative.

Military hardware

The decision to devalue (and ‘the IMF stamp of approval’) had already been reached on 17 September 1990 prior to the outbreak of hostilities in high-level meetings held in Washington between the IMF and a mission headed by the Rwandan Minister of Finance Mr Ntigurirwa. The ‘green light’ had been granted: as of early October, at the very moment when the fighting started, millions of dollars of so-called ‘balance-of-payments aid’ (from multilateral and bilateral sources) came pouring into the coffers of the Central Bank. These funds administered by the Central Bank had been earmarked (by the donors) for commodity imports, yet it appears likely that a sizeable portion of these ‘quick disbursing loans’ had been diverted by the regime (and its various political factions) towards the acquisition of military hardware (from South Africa, Egypt and Eastern Europe). These purchases of Kalachnikov guns, heavy artillery and mortar were undertaken in addition to the bilateral military aid package provided by France which included inter alia Milan and Apila missiles (not to mention a Mystere Falcon jet for President Habyarimana’s personal use).

Moreover, since October 1990, the Armed Forces had expanded virtually overnight from 5,000 to 40,000 men requiring inevitably (under conditions of budgetary austerity) a sizeable influx of outside money… The new recruits were largely enlisted from the ranks of the urban unemployed of which the numbers had dramatically swelled since the outset of the collapse of the coffee market in 1989. Thousands of delinquent and idle youths from a drifting population were also drafted into the civilian militia responsible for the massacres. And part of the arms purchases enabled the Armed Forces to organise and equip the militiamen…

In all, from the outset of the hostilities (which coincided chronologically with the devaluation and the initial ‘gush of fresh money’ in October 1990), a total envelope of some $260 million had been approved for disbursal (with sizeable bilateral contributions from France, Germany, Belgium, the European Community and the US). While the new loans contributed to releasing money for the payment of debt servicing as well as equipping the Armed Force, the evidence would suggest that a large part of this donor assistance was neither used productively nor was it channelled into providing relief in areas affected by famine.

It is also worth noting that the World Bank through its soft-lending affiliate, the International Development Association (IDA), had ordered in 1992 the privatisation of Rwanda’s State enterprise Electrogaz. The proceeds of the privatisation were to be channelled towards debt servicing. In a loan agreement co-financed with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Caisse francaise de developpement (CFD), the Rwandan authorities were to receive in return (after meeting the ‘conditionalities’) the modest sum of $39 million which could be spent freely on commodity imports. The privatisation, carried out at the height of the civil war, also included dismissals of personnel and an immediate hike in the price of electricity which further contributed to paralysing urban public services. A similar privatisation of Rwandatel, the State telecommunications company under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, was implemented in September 1993.

The World Bank had carefully reviewed Rwanda’s public investment programme. The fiches de projet having been examined, the World Bank recommended scrapping more than half the country’s public investment projects. In agriculture, the World Bank had also demanded a significant down-sizing of State investment including the abandonment of the inland swamp reclamation programme which had been initiated by the government in response to the severe shortages of arable land (and which the World Bank considered ‘unprofitable’). In the social sectors, the World Bank proposed a so-called ‘priority programme’ (under ‘the Social Safety Net’) predicated on maximising efficiency and ‘reducing the financial burden of the government’ through the exaction of user fees, lay-offs of teachers and health workers and the partial privatisation of health and education.

The World Bank would no doubt contend that things would have been much worse had Scenario II not been adopted. The so- called ‘counterfactual argument’… Such a reasoning, however, sounds absurd particularly in the case of Rwanda. No sensitivity or concern was expressed as to the likely political and social repercussions of economic shock therapy applied to a country on the brink of civil war… The World Bank team consciously excluded the ‘non-economic variables’ from their ‘simulations’.

While the international donor community cannot be held directly responsible for the tragic outcome of the Rwandan civil war, the austerity measures combined with the impact of the IMF-sponsored devaluations, contributed to impoverishing the Rwandan people at a time of acute political and social crisis. The deliberate manipulation of market forces destroyed economic activity and people’s livelihood, fuelled unemployment and created a situation of generalised famine and social despair…

Economic Genocide

To lay the blame solely on deep-seated tribal hatred not only exonerates the great powers and the donors, it also distorts an exceedingly complex process of economic, social and political disintegration affecting an entire nation of more than seven million people… Rwanda, however, is but one among many countries in sub-Saharan Africa (not to mention recent developments in Burundi where famine and ethnic massacres are rampant) which are facing a similar predicament. And in many respects the Rwandan 1990 devaluation appears almost as a ‘laboratory test case’ as well as a threatening ‘danger signal’ for the devaluation of the CFA franc implemented on the instructions of the IMF and the French Treasury in January 1994 by the same amount, 50%.

It is also worth recalling that in Somalia iln the aftermath of ‘Operation Restore Hope’, the absence of a genuine economic recovery programme by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Mogadishu – outside the provision of short-term emergency relief and food aid – was the main obstacle to resolving the civil war and rebuilding the country. In Somalia, because of the surplus of relief aid which competed with local production, farmers remained in the relief camps instead of returning to their home villages.

What are the lessons for Rwanda? As humanitarian organisations prepare for the return of the refugees, the prospects for rebuilding the Rwandan economy outside the framework determined by the IMF and Rwanda’s international creditors seem to be extremely bleak. Even in the event a national unity government is installed and the personal security of the refugees can be ensured, the two million Rwandans cramped in camps in Zaire and Tanzania have nothing to return to, nothing to look forward to: agricultural markets have been destroyed, local-level food production and the coffee economy have been shattered, urban employment and social programmes have been erased.

The reconstruction of Rwanda will require ‘an alternative economic programme’ implemented by a genuinely democratic government (based on inter-ethnic solidarity and free from donor interference). Such a programme presupposes erasing the external debt together with an unconditional infusion of international aid. It also requires lifting the straitjacket of budgetary austerity imposed by the IMF, mobilising domestic resources, and providing for a secure and stable productive base for the rural people.

What has been happening in Greece, since the beginning of the austerity packages in 2010 can only be described in terms of a giant experiment in neoliberal social engineering. In terms of magnitude and scope it well surpasses the effects of the notorious IMF ‘structural adjustment programs,’ especially if we take into consideration that all these take place within the context of a European liberal democracy and not some Latin American military dictatorship of the 1970s. One might say that it is the European Union’s attempt to prove that it can be more efficient in implementing violent austerity programmes than the IMF. 

The Greek economy has suffered a cumulative contraction of almost 25 per cent, a major economic recession that can only be compared to the Great Depression of the 1930s or to the consequences of major warfare. The official rate of unemployment is close to 28 per cent – in reality it is bigger and there is a large number of employees who are not paid regularly – with youth unemployment at 60 per cent, a situation of a ‘lost generation,’ with a haemorrhage of more than 100,000 young university graduates who have migrated abroad to find work. The average reduction of real wages well exceeds 25 per cent, and in many sectors is even bigger. The dismantling of the public health infrastructure – the last measure being the temporary shutdown of all public primary health facilities except hospitals – along with the health effects of increased insecurity and socio-economic stress have already created the conditions of a humanitarian crisis.

A complete pillage of public assets is under way, accompanied by complete disregard for environmental concerns, exemplified in the disastrous projects for gold-mining in the Chalkidiki region, which have been facing the heroic struggle of local inhabitants. On 30 March yet another set of sweeping changes. In the new European architecture Greece is being pushed more toward sectors like tourism and renewable energy rather than high value-added sectors.

Erosion of Sovereignty – Enter the Troika

The Greek experiment has also been an exercise in the erosion of popular sovereignty. In all aspects Greece is a country of reduced sovereignty. The representatives of the so called ‘Troika’ (European Commission (EU), European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)) actually dictate measures in the name of ‘market liberalization’ and ‘competitiveness’ and no legislative initiative of the Greek government can be initiated without the explicit approval of the Troika representatives. The execution of the Greek budget and the tax collection process are closely monitored by the Troika officials. Without Troika approval Greece cannot receive the next part of the loans agreed with its creditors, thus the Troika actually controls the financial lifeline of a country.

However, this is not an exceptional case. Greece represents the extreme social violence but also the deep crisis of the European Integration Process and in particular the crisis of the Eurozone. Austerity in all its forms is the main item in the political agenda in most European countries. The millions that marched in Spain ‘for dignity’ were struggling exactly against the austerity policies imposed as part of the provisions of the European treaties and in exchange for European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) bailouts. Portugal has suffered enormously under the EU-imposed programs and the cost of the Irish crisis has also been enormous. In Italy, ever since the Mario Monti government (2011-2013), austerity packages have been imposed as part of an attempt to remain within European Union norms. Part of the anger and discontent expressed in the French municipal elections is exactly the result of austerity packages designed to keep France at the core of the Eurozone and of a growing disillusionment with the ‘European Project.’

Moreover, such measures will soon be the rule all over Europe. The current proposals of a ‘European economic governance,’ the fact that there are already in place restrictions (and penalty mechanisms) regarding budget deficits (through the terms of the ‘Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance’), and the plans for a Banking Union that would eliminate all forms of national control upon the banking system, all these attest to the undemocratic character of the European project. In reality a hybrid between intergovernmental coordination and co-federalism, it is nevertheless based upon an undemocratic conception of a ‘constitutionalism’ without democratic legitimacy. This is in favour of the forces of capital all over Europe, since it offers the promise of getting rid of whatever gains the labour movement still had and at the same time of guarantying the prerogatives of multinational capital. Moreover, the complex institutional architecture of the European Union means that apart from forms of ‘deliberation’ without much weight, the decision process is tightly insulated against any intervention from social movements and the demands of the subaltern classes.

Today, it is impossible for anyone to claim that criticism of the euro, and the entire financial, monetary, and political architecture of the euro-zone, is unjustified. On the contrary, we can say that the euro represents neither prosperity nor stability. On the one hand, the introduction of the euro, as a single currency, creates something similar to Max Weber’s ‘iron cage’ of capitalist modernization. The governments, even of less competitive national economies, decided to surrender their monetary sovereignty, in order to take advantage of the constant competitive pressure for restructuring and neoliberal reforms. On the other hand, the euro created the conditions for a new form of imperialist hegemony within Europe. The single currency was an advantage for the leading economies of Europe, and in particular Germany, since it offered not only currency stability and a broad space for exports and investment, but also the extra advantage of a constant competitive devaluation against less competitive peripheral economies.

In this sense, we can say that the imbalances of the euro as a single currency are structural and inherent to the project from the beginning. During periods of relative stability, these imbalances could be tolerated, especially since even peripheral elites could profit from cheaper credit and imports fuelling debt-driven consumerism and real estate bubbles. But during a period of crisis and recession these imbalances could become destabilizing, especially since less competitive economies were lacking crucial economic policy tools, because of the strict terms imposed upon them by the European treaties. In this sense the Greek crisis or the crisis in other countries of the European South is not a simple manifestation of the global economic crisis, nor the product of national particularities (exemplified in the almost racist stereotypes regarding ‘lazy’ Greeks or Spaniards); it is also, the direct result of the crisis of the Eurozone.

EU: Authoritarian, Racist and Imperialist

Despite the continuous efforts by EU propagandists to present it as a paragon of democracy and human rights, in reality the EU is becoming increasingly authoritarian, racist and imperialist. Apart from the constant erosion of popular sovereignty already discussed, we have the institutionalized racism of European anti-immigration policies. The official policy of ‘discouraging’ immigrants from arriving to Europe, is in reality a policy that in a conscious and planned manner leads to the repetition of tragedies such as the one at Lampedusa, at Farmakonisi etc.

At the same time, the ‘foreign policy’ of the European Union also represents the openly imperialist character of the ‘European Project.’ For the full support to the aggression against Yugoslavia to the current plans for military interventions in Central Africa and the open support for reactionary and fascist elements in Ukraine, the European Union never stood for peace or the rights of people.

In light of the above, it is obvious that we need to get out of the vicious circle of austerity, recession and unemployment. We need a program of radical – and at the same time urgent – measures to fight social devastation, a program that requires a strategy of an exit from the Eurozone and of a rupture with the European Union.

  • The necessary immediate stoppage of debt payments and the annulment of debt implies a break with the European Union, which is now of the main creditors of Greece and the same goes with getting rid of the entire series of neoliberal laws dictated in the terms of the loan agreements.
  • There can be no increase in public spending and no social protection against the systemic violence of international capital flows without an immediate exit from the Eurozone and regaining monetary sovereignty.
  • Necessary immediate measures such as the nationalization and placement under democratic social control of the banking system and strategic enterprises, imply disobeying European treaties and regulations. Consequently, it is more than obvious that there can be no radical, progressive or socialist alternative within the economic and political constraints and limits imposed by the European Union.

Therefore a rupture with the monetary architecture of the Eurozone and with the institutional framework of the European Union in general, is also a necessary democratic step, an attempt toward reclaiming popular sovereignty as a process of collective ‘social self-determination’ by a broad alliance of workers and other popular strata.

At the same time such a process can open up the way to think about a new socialist perspective, an alternative ‘social paradigm’ in sharp contrast to the logic of the market and capital. This should be conceived in terms of an experimentation with forms of workers’ control, self-management, non-commercial distribution networks, and democratic planning, based upon the experience and collective ingenuity of people in struggle.

However, there are many on the Left that insist that ‘European Integration’ is an objective and irreversible historical process that offers no possible strategy for the Left other than trying to ‘change it from within’ through a change of balance of forces in favour of progressive politics.

This has been the main political line of the Party of the European Left and the parties associated with it or of theorists such as Toni Negri and Sandro Mezzandra who in a recent public intervention insisted on the process of European integration being ‘well beyond the threshold of irreversibility.’ One is tempted to compare this position to that of many socialists at the turn of the 20th century who insisted on the irreversible and even progressive character of colonial imperialism. It is obvious that what is missing here, is a serious discussion of both the actual economic, political and institutional configuration of the European Union, and in particular of the monetary and economic architecture of the Eurozone, and of the fact that we are dealing with class strategies and not ‘objective’ tendencies.

At the same time, there has been a great debate in the European Left regarding this strategy of an exit from the Eurozone and potentially the European Union. Many have accused this strategy of being ‘nationalist,’ ‘chauvinist,’ or as ‘aiming at increased economic competition.’ Nothing is further from the truth.

To take the Greek case as an example, such a strategy is not a strategy for increased competitiveness of the Greek economy through devaluation and increased exports. Necessary measures such as correcting the exchange rate are about protecting Greek society from the systemic violence inherent in international capital and commodity flows. It has nothing to do with a cycle of competitive devaluations against other countries of the European South. We know, from the experience of the Euro, but also from other systems of fixed exchange rates (such as dollar-pegging) that a single currency always leads to real wage reductions, austerity measures, privatizations and constant pressure for neoliberal reforms in the name of responding to competitive pressures. Exiting such monetary configurations is not a strategy for ‘isolation,’ but a necessary defence against aggressive capitalist policies. Moreover, it would a mistake to accept, in the name of ‘internationalism,’ the current form of capitalist internationalization of production, where a product has to travel around the world, go through ‘social dumping’ areas and ‘special economic zones’ and have a negative environmental impact, in order to arrive to our market place. Aren’t locality, environmental protection, relative self-sufficiency, crucial aspects of any potential anti-capitalist alternative?

The usual response to these questions from a large part of the European Left, both ‘reformist’ and ‘anticapitalist,’ has been that at the European level, through coordinated struggles, it is more easy to have successful struggles and victorious movements. However, the obvious question is: Why is it easier at the European level, with 28 different countries, with different traditions of left-wing and radical politics and different levels of organization of the workers’ movement, with different national economic and social conjunctures, than at the national level, where one can think of particular countries having such a condensation of contradictions and such a dynamic of social contestation, protest and mobilization that could turn them into potential ‘weak links in the chain’?

It would be wrong today to identify internationalism with offering our consent to an aggressive neoliberal and imperialist project. Moreover, we must never forget that European integration is a class strategy from the part of capitalist elites, thus there’s no point in fatalistic and deterministic references to its irreversible character. Especially, since such an insistence to the inevitability of European integration can lead to crucial shifts in political direction. It can easily lead to the shift from an initial stand of a ‘radical’ position in favour of the ‘dissolution of EU’ through pan-European anti-capitalist struggle to a more ‘realist’ position in favour of ‘another Europe’ and ‘another EU’ without neoliberalism and democratic deficit, with a ECB aiming at solidarity, with redistribution of funding etc. But this ‘good’ EU cannot exist. One should always remember the refutation of the ‘ontological argument’ regarding the existence of God: the fact that we can think about something or imagine it, does not mean it can actually exist.

Today one of the problems of the Left in Europe is exactly its obsessive Europeanism, its refusal to even think about a potential rupture with the ‘European integration’ process. One can witness this problem in the limits of SYRIZA’s strategy in Greece. Taking all the constraints imposed by the Eurozone and the EU as granted does not leave much space for radical politics, other that the demand for a renegotiation of the terms of the loan agreement toward some form of ‘austerity with a human face’ or the demand of a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Europe. In the past months we have seen SYRIZA moving constantly to the right, declaring that once in government they will repay the greater part of the debt after renegotiation and that they will remain within the euro at all costs (abandoning their official position of “no sacrifice for the euro”), trying to forge links with big banks and big business. It is more than obvious that such positions will not lead to the ‘renegotiation’ the SYRIZA leadership is hoping for, but to even more pressure on the part of the EU and the Troika for more austerity measures. The problem with the SYRIZA leadership is not that they are ‘left reformists’ in the sense that they are not militant enough or in the sense that they opt for a gradualist approach. The problem is that they refuse the necessary political and social rupture with ‘European Union’ as the condensation of bourgeois strategy.

Such a refusal to articulate a political line against the European Union, leaves open a crucial space for the Far-Right to project her own reactionary version of ‘euroscepticism.’ Despite the growing resentment of great segments of European societies against the neoliberal, undemocratic and aggressive character of the European Union, despite the increased hostility against the euro as a single currency, despite the growing disbelief against the EU as such, most parties of the European Left make no particular effort to transform these feelings in a anti-EU, anticapitalist, progressive discourse. Consequently, a political void is created which the Far-Right is currently trying to fill. The necessary ‘Euroscepticism of the Left’ is not there, at the time when it is most urgently needed. In contrast, most parties of the European Party of the Left, but also many anticapitalist tendencies, refuse to take position upon such a crucial question. The French case exemplifies this problem: the refusal of the Left, especially on the part of the French Communist Party, to think in terms of a rupture with the euro and the EU, has made the Far-Right, reactionary (and pro-business) National Front to seem like the only euroscepticist political force.

Therefore it is urgent that we open up the debate within the European Left and the collective elaboration of a potential radical anti-euro and anti-EU alternative. Hopefully there are signs that segments of the Left are abandoning their obsessive Europeanism. In France both within the Front de Gauche (Left Front) and the NPA (New Anticapitalist Party) there are voices calling for a strategy of rupture with the European Union. In Greece, not only ANTARSYA, the Front of the Anticapitalist Left and other radical groups, but also the ‘Left Platform’ within SYRIZA have insisted upon a strategy for the Greek exit from the Eurozone and potentially the EU. In Cyprus, even AKEL is slowly changing its position after the disastrous experience of 2013. In Germany, there are many voices within Die Linke that criticize the single currency. In Britain, there are still many voices on the Left that insist on a anti-EU position.

However wrong it would be to consider the exit from the Eurozone and potentially the EU as a panacea for all social problems, it would be equally wrong to underestimate the importance of such questions. Anticapitalism can never be abstract. It should always be expressed and concretized in particular questions and challenges.

The Question of the Euro and the EU

Today, within the European Left, the question of the position vis-à-vis the Eurozone and the European Union draws a necessary line of demarcation. Moreover, as the history of the workers’ movement shows, questions that have to do with the articulation between struggles at the national level and the configuration of the international system, always act like points of condensation of contradictions and like litmus tests for the ability of the Left to be really antagonistic to capitalist strategy.

At the same time, trying to envisage this kind of alternative, not only in terms of ‘catch-phrases’ about ‘workers’ power’ but in terms of the articulation of a narrative that could be antagonistic to the dominant neoliberal discourse, requires exactly a confrontation with the problems and strategic aporias of most tendencies of the contemporary Left. It requires:

  • The articulation of the program (and the basic lines of demarcation such as debt annulment, exit from the euro and the EU, nationalizations, redistribution of income, implementation of forms of democratic social control etc) into concrete radical proposals that take into consideration the experience and knowledge coming from the movements.
  • The insistence on the escalation of struggles and a strategy of a ‘prolonged people’s war,’ because it is impossible to have any political change without a strong movement from below, without a broad social and political alliance that is confident about its ability to wage victorious struggles. In contrast, a sense of defeat or powerlessness among the workers and other popular strata can only lead to fragmentation and an individualized fight for survival, a tendency that will undermine left-wing politics!
  • The confrontation with the open questions of revolutionary strategy and the need to elaborate on a strategy that could combine fighting government of the Left, based on the necessary transition programme, with forms of self-organization, self-management, workers’ control and solidarity from below as the contemporary version of a ‘dual power’ strategy.
  • The experimentation with new forms of political organization, beyond both the model of the anticapitalist sect and the electoral front without programmatic elaboration and democratic process, toward a redefinition of political parties and fronts as laboratories of mass critical political intellectuality, as learning process, and sites able to actually produce alternative narratives for societies.

Because today, at least in the ‘weak links of the chain’ such as Greece, the challenge is not resistance but hegemony. Faced with a severe crisis of hegemony, caused both by the crisis of neoliberalism and an impressive protest and contestation cycle of almost insurrectional character, a hegemonic crisis that cannot be disguised by the current cynical ultra-liberal ‘fuite en avant’ tactic adopted by European bourgeoisies, the challenge for the Left in each country is to attempt to forge a new historical bloc: the combination between a broad alliance of the subaltern classes, a radical program, and new forms of social and political organization. Refusing the ‘European Road’ and the ‘European Integration Project,’ namely the main strategic choice of European bourgeoisies since the end of WWII, is an indispensable aspect of any attempt toward a new socialist perspective for the 21st century. •

Panagiotis Sotiris teaches social theory and social and political philosophy at the Department of Sociology of the University of the Aegean. This text is based on a presentation at ANTARSYA UK meeting (March 29, 2014), and first published on his blog at lastingfuture.blogspot.gr.

I have been writing about deep politics since 1993, when I gave the example of how the United States after World War sent American mafia figures to fight communism in Italy, thereby creating a corrupted politics that was soon out of control – as bad as the influence the mafia once possessed in cities like Marseille, or Chicago.1

Since then I have written about deep events, by which I mean mysterious events, like the JFK assassination, the Watergate break-in, or 9/11, which repeatedly involve law-breaking or violence, and are embedded in fact in deep politics. Some of these may be low-level, as when data is filched from a personal computer, or mid-level, like the murder of Karen Silkwood. But what I have called structural deep events are large enough to affect the whole fabric of society, with “consequences that enlarge covert government, and are subsequently covered up by systematic falsifications in media and internal government records.” We still live in the official state of emergency imposed after the last great deep event – 9/11; and this has left us in a deconstitutionalized era of warrantless surveillance, warrantless detentions, and militarized homeland security.2 In the remainder of this essay, the deep events I refer to will all be structural deep events.

I have come to believe that most structural deep events (or SDEs) are interrelated, and that the study of any one of them helps understand others. Their interrelationship leads to two levels of history in America, and two levels of historical narrative: official or archival history, which ignores or marginalizes deep events, and a second level – called deep history by its practitioners or “conspiracy theory” by its critics – which incorporates them. As an example of an officially ignored or distorted deep event, I like to give the example of the Royal Canadian Mounted Policy (RCMP) detention in 1993 of a major al Qaeda figure, Ali Mohamed. In 1993 Ali Mohamed was ordered released by the FBI, freeing him to fly to Kenya where (as the 9/11/ commission report notes) he began the planning of the 1998 US Embassy bombing. This rather significant event was given a good account in Canada’s leading newspaper, the Toronto Globe and Mail; but it has never been properly reported in any American mainstream newspaper.3

Ali Mohamed

My study of the interrelationship between deep events has itself deepened over four decades. It began on a superficial level by noticing the overlap of apparently marginal personnel between the deep events of the John F. Kennedy assassination and Watergate; and again between Watergate and Iran-Contra.

I will never forget the New York Times front-page story on June 18, 1972, the day after the Watergate break-in. There were photographs of the Watergate burglars, including one of Frank Sturgis alias Fiorini, whom I had already written about two years earlier in my unpublished book manuscript about the JFK assassination, “The Dallas Conspiracy.”4 Sturgis was in fact no nonentity: well connected to the mob-linked former casino owners in Havana, he had maintained frequent contacts with the U.S. Air Attaché’s office in Havana after penetrating Castro’s July 26 Movement in the Sierra Maestra.5

The Watergate Burglars – Frank Sturgis in the Center. Source

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is alleged that some of the bail money that released Sturgis and the other Watergate burglars was drug money from the CIA asset turned drug trafficker, Manuel Artime, and delivered by Artime’s money-launderer, Ramón Milián Rodríguez. After the Iran-Contra scandal went public, Milián Rodríguez was investigated by a congressional committee – not for Watergate, but because, in

support of the Contras, he had managed two Costa Rican seafood companies, Frigorificos and Ocean Hunter, that laundered drug money.6

A more recent example would be that of Ali Mohamed, the man detained and then released by the RCMP. In the 1980s Mohamed trained the CIA-backed mujahedin in Afghanistan. He then trained some of those who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, before arranging for the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Kenya.

Since 9/11 my study of structural deep events has progressed from such overlaps of personnel to three deeper levels, which I call the operational, by which I mean a common modus operandi, the institutional, by which I mean a shared agency of implementation, and the financial, by which I mean a common source of funding.

I was myself startled to recognize more than a dozen common operational modalities between two outwardly dissimilar events: the JFK assassination and 9/11. Among the most striking are

1) the almost instant identification of what I call the designated culprits, Lee Harvey Oswald and the nineteen alleged hijackers,

2) the hidden intelligence backgrounds of the designated culprits, and

3) the protection by the FBI and CIA of the designated culprits in the weeks before the events, to ensure that they would not be placed under surveillance or taken off the streets.7

I have written at some length about this in my 2008 book The War Conspiracy, and also elsewhere. But I will repeat a passage here about the last item — protection.

Both the JFK assassination and 9/11 were facilitated by the way the CIA and FBI manipulated their files about [designated culprits in] each event (the alleged hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi in the case of 9/11). Part of this facilitation was the decision on October 9, 1963 of an FBI agent, Marvin Gheesling, to remove Oswald from the FBI watch list for surveillance. This was shortly after Oswald’s arrest in New Orleans in August and his reported travel to Mexico in September. …. Gheesling’s behavior fits very neatly with the CIA’s culpable withholding from the FBI, in the same month of October, information that Oswald had allegedly met in Mexico City with a suspected KGB agent, Valeriy Kostikov. This also helped ensure that Oswald would not be placed under surveillance. Indeed, former FBI Director Clarence Kelley in his memoir later complained that the CIA’s withholding of information was the major reason why Oswald was not put under surveillance on November 22, 1963….

Before 9/11 the CIA, in 2000-2001, again flagrantly withheld crucial evidence from the FBI: evidence that, if shared, would have led the FBI to surveil two of the alleged hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaz al-Hazmi. This sustained withholding of evidence provoked an FBI agent to predict accurately in August, 2001, [three weeks before 9/11] that “someday someone will die.”… The CIA’s withholding of relevant evidence before 9/11 (which it was required by its own rules to supply) was matched in this case by the NSA.8

On the institutional level, it is striking that in every structural deep event since the JFK assassination we find some role played by the National Communications System (NCS), the shadow network created to ensure continuity of government (COG) in the event of an atomic attack. The NCS was formally established by a JFK Presidential Memorandum on August 21, 1963. By 1969 at least $175 million had been spent “to increase the survivability of national communications resources” in a nuclear attack.9 In June 1979 the system was tested under Carter, in the first known instance of the COG exercise GLOBAL SHIELD. By the Reagan era the NCS had mushroomed into an $8 billion communications and logistics program for an alternative emergency communications network.10

This alternative network played a central role in Iran-Contra, when Oliver North, arranging for the arms shipments to Iran that eventually cost him his job, used the nation’s top secret COG communications network. North’s network, known as Flashboard, “excluded other bureaucrats with opposing viewpoints…[and] had its own special worldwide antiterrorist computer network, … by which members could communicate exclusively with each other and their collaborators abroad.”11 North was also actively developing plans, which originated with Hoover, for emergency detentions on a large scale.12

So, before him, was James McCord, famous for having participated in the burglary that precipitated the 1972 Watergate crisis.

McCord was a member of a small Air Force Reserve unit in Washington attached to the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP); assigned “to draw up lists of radicals and to develop contingency plans for censorship of the news media and U.S. mail in time of war.”His unit was part of the Wartime Information Security Program (WISP), which had responsibility for activating “contingency plans for imposing censorship on the press, the mails and all telecommunications (including government communications) [and] preventive detention of civilian ‘security risks,’ who would be placed in military ‘camps.’”13

(Since I first advanced the hypothesis that the COG communications network was involved in all our structural deep events, I have found further corroborations for it. For example, John Dean, perhaps the central Watergate figure, had participated in COG activities when serving as the associate deputy attorney general.14 And an army reserve officer, Norman Katz, revealed in October 2013 that, because of his work in COG communications, he was summoned to Washington in November 1963, in connection with President Kennedy’s trip to Dallas.15)

But 9/11 is the deep event in which the COG network played a most central role. In The Road to 9/11 I advance reasons to believe that Cheney and Rumsfeld, during the short period that morning when they were inexplicably not in their command posts, were instead using the COG network to finalize emergency measures, soon to include the first ever implementation that same morning of COG measures.16

This is the more remarkable because, for two decades before 9/11, Rumsfeld and Cheney had both been part of a small secret committee planning with the assistance of Oliver North – even in the 1990s when neither man was in the government – for extreme COG measures, including, allegedly, “suspension of the constitution.” In the Iran-Contra Hearings North was asked about planning to suspend the constitution, but the Chairman would not allow discussion in an open session.17

The American Deep State

In the last chapter, I described an ambiguous symbiosis between two different aspects of the American deep state:

1) the Beltway agencies of the shadow government, like the CIA and NSA, which have been instituted by the public state and now overshadow it, (but also including private corporations like Booz Allen Hamilton (Edward Snowden’s employers) and SAIC, Seventy percent of intelligence budgets are now outsourced to private companies like Booz Allen Hamilton (owned by the Carlyle Group) and SAIC, the company that, as I wrote in American War Machine, helped get the US to fight in Iraq)

2) the much older power of Wall Street, referring chiefly to the powerful banks and law firms located there, but also to the cartels and other corporate alliances established there, and also Wall Street’s think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations.

In the 1950s Wall Street was a dominating complex. It included not just banks and other financial institutions but also the oil majors whose cartel arrangements were successfully defended against the U.S. Government by the Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, home to the Dulles brothers.

The inclusion of Wall Street conforms with Franklin Roosevelt’s observation in 1933 to his friend Col. E.M. House that “The real truth … is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.”18

FDR’s insight is well illustrated by the efficiency with which a group of Wall Street bankers (including Nelson Rockefeller’s grandfather Nelson Aldrich) were able in a highly secret meeting in 1910 to establish the Federal Reserve System – a system which in effect reserved oversight of the nation’s currency supply and of all America’s banks in the not impartial hands of its largest.19 The political clout of the quasi-governmental Federal Reserve Board was clearly demonstrated in 2008, when Fed leadership secured instant support from two successive administrations for public money to rescue the reckless management of Wall Street banks: banks Too Big To Fail, and of course far Too Big To Jail, but not Too Big To Bail.20

The international lawyers of Wall Street did not hide from each other their shared belief that they understood better than Washington the requirements for running the world. As John Foster Dulles wrote in the 1930s to a British colleague,

The word “cartel” has here assumed the stigma of a bogeyman which the politicians are constantly attacking. The fact of the matter is that most of these politicians are highly insular and nationalistic and because the political organization of the world has under such influence been so backward, business people who have had to cope realistically with international problems have had to find ways for getting through and around stupid political barriers.21

This same mentality also explains why Allen Dulles as an OSS officer in 1945 simply evaded orders from Washington forbidding him to negotiate with SS General Karl Wolff about a conditional surrender of German forces in Italy – an important breach of Roosevelt’s agreement with Stalin at Yalta for unconditional surrender, a breach that is regarded by many as helping lead to the Cold War.22

The Dulles Brothers (John Foster, right)

The seven major oil companies or Seven Sisters – five American and two British – still operated as a cartel after World War Two. Thus when Premier Mossadeq of Iran took steps in 1951-52 to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP), the oil majors were able to organize a largely successful boycott of Iranian oil exports. They could not however persuade Truman to use the CIA against Mossadeq, and had to wait until Truman was succeeded by Eisenhower in 1953. With the Dulles brothers installed as heads of State and CIA, CIA planning for a coup to restore the shah began immediately, with Eisenhower approving in June.

Mossadeq’s removal from power is remembered as a CIA operation, with the oil cartel (when mentioned at all) playing a subservient role. However the chronology suggests that it was CIA that came belatedly in 1953 to assist an earlier oil cartel operation, rather than vice versa. In terms of the deep state, the oil cartel or deep state initiated in 1951 a process that the American public state only authorized two years later.

Truman and Mossadeq (right)

This shows how the deep state and its overworld are, and to some degree always have been, supranational. In the 1950s, for example, if Allen Dulles as CIA Director wanted to fly a U-2 over Russia on a certain day, and Eisenhower said no, Dulles would simply turn to his British counterparts in MI6 to get permission from Macmillan, and Dulles would get his way.23

The CIA and the Power of the Purse

Conventional political analysis claims that the CIA is limited by the constitutional system of checks and balances in which Congress controls by its power of the purse. Note Lauren Fox’s important caveat:

Congress maintains the power of the purse, which gives lawmakers the ability to defund specific programs the federal agency holds dear, but the CIA maintains the documents and information Congress needs to see to effectively conduct oversight in the first place.24

Fox, however, ignores the fact that, since its outset, the CIA has always had access to large amounts of off-the books or offshore funds to support its activities. Indeed, the power of the purse has usually worked in an opposite sense, since those in control of deep state offshore funds supporting CIA activities have for decades also funded members of Congress and of the executive – not vice versa. The last six decades provide a coherent and continuous picture of historical direction being provided by this deep state power of the purse, trumping and sometimes reversing the conventional state.

Let us resume some of the CIA’s sources of offshore and off-the-books funding for its activities. The CIA’s first covert operation was the use of “over $10 million in captured Axis funds to influence the [Italian] election [of 1948].”25 (The fundraising had begun at the wealthy Brook Club in New York; but Allen Dulles, then still a Wall Street lawyer, persuaded Washington, which at first had preferred a private funding campaign, to authorize the operation through the National Security Council and the CIA.)26

Dulles, together with George Kennan and James Forrestal, then found a way to provide a legal source for off-the-books CIA funding, under the cover of the Marshall Plan. The three men “helped devise a secret codicil [to the Marshall Plan] that gave the CIA the capability to conduct political warfare. It let the agency skim millions of dollars from the plan.”27

At the time of the Marshall Plan slush fund in Europe, the CIA also took steps which resulted in drug money to support anti-communist armies in the Far East. In my book American War Machine I tell how the CIA, using former OSS operative Paul Helliwell, created two proprietary firms as infrastructure for a KMT army in Burma, an army which quickly became involved in managing and developing the opium traffic there. The two firms were SEA Supply Inc. in Bangkok and CAT Inc. (later Air America) in Taiwan. Significantly, the CIA split ownership of CAT Inc.’s plane with KMT bankers in Taiwan – this allowed the CIA to deny responsibility for the flights when CAT planes, having delivered arms from Sea Supply to the opium-growing army, then returned to Taiwan with opium for the KMT. Even after the CIA officially severed its connection to the KMT Army in 1953, its proprietary firm Sea Supply Inc. supplied arms for a CIA-led paramilitary force, PARU, that also was financed, at least in part, by the drug traffic.28

Profits from Thailand filtered back, in part through the same Paul Helliwell, as donations to members from both parties in Congress. Thai dictator Phao Sriyanon, a drug trafficker who was then alleged to be the richest man in the world,

hired lawyer Paul Helliwell…as a lobbyist in addition to [former OSS chief William] Donovan [who in 1953-55 was US Ambassador to Thailand]. Donovan and Helliwell divided the Congress between them, with Donovan assuming responsibility for the Republicans and Helliwell taking the Democrats.29

The most dramatic use of off-the-books drug profits to finance foreign armies was seen in the 1960s CIA-led campaign in Laos. There the CIA supplied airstrips and planes to support a 30,000-man drug-financed Hmong army. At one point Laotian CIA station chief Theodore Shackley even called in CIA aircraft in support of a ground battle to seize a huge opium caravan on behalf of the larger Royal Laotian Army.30

Funds from arms contracts

In the 1960s and especially the 1970s America began to import more and more oil from the Middle East. But the negative effect on the U.S. balance of payments was offset by increasing arms and aviation sales to Iran and Saudi Arabia. Contracts with companies like Northrop and especially Lockheed (the builder of the CIA’s U-2) included kickbacks to arms brokers, like Kodama Yoshio in Japan and Adnan Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia, who were also important CIA agents. Lockheed alone later admitted to the Church Committee that it had provided $106 million in commissions to Khashoggi between 1970 and 1975, more than ten times what it had paid to the next most important connection, Kodama.31

These funds were then used by Khashoggi and Kodama to purchase pro-Western influence. But Khashoggi, advised by a team of ex-CIA Americans like Miles Copeland and Edward Moss, distributed cash, and sometimes provided women, not just in Saudi Arabia but around the world – including cash to congressmen and President Nixon in the United States.32

Khashoggi in effect served as a “cutout,” or representative, in a number of operations forbidden to the CIA and the companies he worked with. Lockheed, for one, was conspicuously absent from the list of military contractors who contributed illicitly to Nixon’s 1972 election campaign. But there was no law prohibiting, and nothing else to prevent their official representative, Khashoggi, from cycling $200 million through the bank of Nixon’s friend Bebe Rebozo.33

Moss, Khashoggi, the Safari Club, and the International Overworld

The power exerted by Khashoggi was not limited to his access to funds and women. By the 1970s, Khashoggi and his aide Edward Moss owned the elite Safari Club in Kenya.34 The exclusive club became the first venue for another and more important Safari Club: an alliance between Saudi and other intelligence agencies that wished to compensate for the CIA’s retrenchment in the wake of President Carter’s election and Senator Church’s post-Watergate reforms.35

The Safari Club

As former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal once told Georgetown University alumni,

In 1976, after the Watergate matters took place here, your intelligence community was literally tied up by Congress. It could not do anything. It could not send spies, it could not write reports, and it could not pay money. In order to compensate for that, a group of countries got together in the hope of fighting Communism and established what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran.36

Prince Turki’s candid remarks– “your intelligence community was literally tied up by Congress. …. In order to compensate for that, a group of countries got together … and established what was called the Safari Club.” – made it clear that the Safari Club, operating at the level of the deep state, was expressly created to overcome restraints established by political decisions of the public state in Washington (decisions not only of Congress but also of President Carter).

Specifically Khashoggi’s activities involving corruption by sex and money, after they too were somewhat curtailed by Senator Church’s post-Watergate reforms, appear to have been taken up quickly by the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a Muslim-owned bank where Khashoggi’s friend and business partner Kamal Adham, the Saudi intelligence chief and a principal Safari Club member, was a part-owner.37 In the 1980s BCCI, and its allied shipping empire owned by the Pakistani Gokal brothers, supplied financing and infrastructure for the CIA’s (and Saudi Arabia’s) biggest covert operation of the decade, support for the Afghan mujahedin.

To quote from a British book excerpted in the Senate BCCI Report:

“BCCI’s role in assisting the U.S. to fund the Mujaheddin guerrillas fighting the Soviet occupation is drawing increasing attention. The bank’s role began to surface in the mid-1980′s when stories appeared in the New York Times showing how American security operatives used Oman as a staging post for Arab funds. This was confirmed in the Wall Street Journal of 23 October 1991 which quotes a member of the late General Zia’s cabinet as saying ‘It was Arab money that was pouring through BCCI.’ The Bank which carried the money on from Oman to Pakistan and into Afghanistan was National Bank of Oman, where BCCI owned 29%.”38

It is reported in two books that the BCCI money flow through the Bank of Oman was handled in part by the international financier Bruce Rappaport, who for a decade, like Khashoggi, kept a former CIA officer on his staff.39 Rappaport’s partner in his Inter Maritime Bank, which interlocked with BCCI, was E.P. Barry, who earlier had been a partner in the Florida money-laundering banks of Paul Helliwell.40

Secret clauses in arms contracts

The activities of the Safari Club were exposed after Iranians in 1979 seized the records of the US Embassy in Tehran. But BCCI support for covert CIA operations, including Iran-Contra, continued until BCCI’s criminality was exposed at the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Washington resumed off-budget funding for CIA covert operations under cover of arms contracts to Saudi Arabia. But this was no longer achieved through kickbacks to CIA assets like Khashoggi, after Congress in 1977 made it illegal for American corporations to make payments to foreign officials. Instead arrangements were made for payments to be returned, through either informal agreements or secret codicils in the contracts, by the Saudi Arabian government itself. Two successive arms deals, the AWACS deal of 1981 and the al-Yamamah deal of 1985, considerably escalated the amount of available slush funds.

a) the AWACS deal

In 1981 Vice-president Bush and Saudi Prince Bandar, working together, won congressional approval for massive new arms sales of AWACS (airborne warning and control system) aircraft to Saudi Arabia. In the $5.5 billion package, only ten percent covered the cost of the planes. Most of the rest was an initial installment on what was ultimately a $200 billion program for military infrastructure through Saudi Arabia.41

It also supplied a slush fund for secret ops, one administered for over a decade in Washington by Prince Bandar, after he became the Saudi Ambassador (and a close friend of the Bush family, nicknamed “Bandar Bush”). In the words of researcher Scott Armstrong, the fund was “the ultimate government-off-the-books.”

Not long after the AWACS sale was approved, Prince Bandar thanked the Reagan administration for the vote by honoring a request by William Casey that he deposit $10 million in a Vatican bank to be used in a campaign against the Italian Communist Party. Implicit in the AWACS deal was a pledge by the Saudis to fund anticommunist guerrilla groups in Afghanistan, Angola, and elsewhere that were supported by the Reagan Administration.42

The Vatican contribution, “for the CIA’s long-time clients, the Christian Democratic Party,” of course continued a CIA tradition dating back to 1948.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Also Known as “Bandar Bush.” Source.

b. The al-Yamamah deal

After a second proposed major U.S. arms sale met enhanced opposition in Congress in 1985 from the Israeli lobby, Saudi Arabia negotiated instead a multi-billion pound long-term contract with the United Kingdom – the so-called al-Yamamah deal. Once again overpayments for the purchased weapons were siphoned off into a huge slush fund for political payoffs, including “hundreds of millions of pounds to the ex-Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.”43 According to Robert Lacey, the payments to Prince Bandar were said to total one billion pounds over more than a decade.44 The money went through a Saudi Embassy account in the Riggs Bank, Washington; according to Trento, the Embassy’s use of the Riggs Bank dated back to the mid-1970s, when, in his words, “the Saudi royal family had taken over intelligence financing for the United States.”45 More accurately, the financing was not for the United States, but for the American deep state.

Offshore Funding and the Continuity of Deep Events

This leads me to the most original and important thing I have to say. I believe that these secret funds from BCCI and Saudi arms deals – first Khashoggi’s from Lockheed and then Prince Bandar’s from the AWACS and al-Yamamah deals – are the common denominator in all of the major structural deep events (SDEs) that have afflicted America since the supranational Safari Club was created in l976.

I am referring specifically to

1) the covert US intervention in Afghanistan (which started about 1978 as a Safari Club intervention, more than a year before the Russian invasion),

2) the 1980 October Surprise, which together with an increase in Saudi oil prices helped assure Reagan’s election and thus give us the Reagan Revolution,

3) Iran-Contra in 1984-86,

4) and – last but by no means least – 9/11.

That is why I believe it is important to analyze these events at the level of the supranational deep state.

Let me just cite a few details.

1) the 1980 October Surprise. According to Robert Parry, Alexandre de Marenches, the principal founder of the Safari Club, arranged for William Casey (a fellow Knight of Malta) to meet with Iranian and Israeli representatives in Paris in July and October 1980, where Casey promised delivery to Iran of needed U.S. armaments, in exchange for a delay in the return of the U.S. hostages in Iran until Reagan was in power. Parry suspects a role of BCCI in both the funding of payoffs for the secret deal and the subsequent flow of Israeli armaments to Iran.46 In addition, John Cooley considers de Marenches to be “the Safari Club player who probably did most to draw the US into the Afghan adventure.”47

2) the Iran-Contra scandal (including the funding of the Contras, the illegal Iran arms sales, and support for the Afghan mujahideen

There were two stages to Iran-Contra. For twelve months in 1984-85, after meeting with Casey, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, in the spirit of the AWACS deal, supported the Nicaraguan Contras via Prince Bandar through a BCCI bank account in Miami. But in April 1985, after the second proposed arms sale fell through, McFarlane, fearing AIPAC opposition, terminated this direct Saudi role. Then Khashoggi, with the help of Miles Copeland, devised a new scheme in which Iranian arms sales involving Israel would fund the contras. The first stage of Iran-Contra was handled by Prince Bandar through a BCCI account in Miami; the second channel was handled by Khashoggi through a different BCCI account in Montecarlo.

The Kerry-Brown Senate Report on BCCI also transmitted allegations from a Palestinian-American businessman, Sam Bamieh, that Khashoggi’s funds from BCCI for arms sales to Iran came ultimately from King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, who “was hoping to gain favor with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.”48

3) 9/11

When the two previously noted alleged hijackers or designated culprits, al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi, arrived in San Diego, a Saudi named Omar al-Bayoumi both housed them and opened bank accounts for them. Soon afterwards Bayoumi’s wife began receiving monthly payments from a Riggs bank account held by Prince Bandar’s wife, Princess Haifa bint Faisal.49 In addition, Princess Haifa sent regular monthly payments of between $2,000 and $3,500 to the wife of Osama Basnan, believed by various investigators to be a spy for the Saudi government. In all, “between 1998 and 2002, up to US $73,000 in cashier cheques was funneled by Bandar’s wife Haifa … – to two Californian families known to have bankrolled al-Midhar and al-Hazmi.”50

Although these sums in themselves are not large, they may have been part of a more general pattern. Author Paul Sperry claims there was possible Saudi government contact with at least four other of the alleged hijackers in Virginia and Florida. For example, “9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and other hijackers visited s home owned by Esam Ghazzawi, a Saudi adviser to the nephew of King Fahd.”51

But it is wrong to think of Bandar’s accounts in the Riggs Bank as uniquely Saudi. Recall that Prince Bandar’s payments were said to have included “a suitcase containing more than $10 million” that went to a Vatican priest for the CIA’s long-time clients, the Christian Democratic Party.52 In 2004, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Riggs Bank, which was by then under investigation by the Justice Department for money laundering, “has had a longstanding relationship with the Central Intelligence Agency, according to people familiar with Riggs operations and U.S. government officials.”53

Meanwhile President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea “siphoned millions from his country’s treasury with the help of Riggs Bank in Washington, D.C.”54 For this a Riggs account executive, Simon Kareri, was indicted. But Obiang enjoyed State Department approval for a contract with the private U.S. military firm M.P.R.I., with an eye to defending offshore oil platforms owned by ExxonMobil, Marathon, and Hess.55

Behind the CIA relationship with the Riggs Bank was the role played by the bank’s overseas clients in protecting U.S. investments, and particularly (in the case of Saudi Arabia and Equatorial Guinea), the nation’s biggest oil companies.

Conclusion: the American Deep State Today

The issue of Saudi Embassy funding of at least two (and possibly more) of the alleged 9/11 hijackers (or designated culprits) is so sensitive that, in the 800-page Joint Congressional Inquiry Report on 9/11, the entire 28-page section dealing with Saudi financing was very heavily redacted.56 A similar censorship occurred with the 9/11 Commission Report: According to Philip Shenon, several staff members felt strongly that they had demonstrated a close Saudi government connection to the hijackers, but a senior staff member purged almost all of the most serious allegations against the Saudi government, and moved the explosive supporting evidence to the report’s footnotes.57

It is probable that this cover-up was not designed for the protection of the Saudi government itself, so much as of the supranational deep state connection described in this essay, a milieu where American, Saudi, and Israeli elements all interact covertly. One sign of this is that Prince Bandar himself, sensitive to the anti-Saudi sentiment that 9/11 caused, has been among those calling for the U.S. government to make the redacted 28 pages public.58

This limited exposure of the nefarious use of funds generated from Saudi arms contracts has not created a desire in Washington to limit these contracts. On the contrary, in 2010, the second year of the Obama administration,

The Defense Department … notified Congress that it wants to sell $60 billion worth of advanced aircraft and weapons to Saudi Arabia. The proposed sale, which includes helicopters, fighter jets, radar equipment and satellite-guided bombs, would be the largest arms deal to another country in U.S. history if the sale goes through and all purchases are made.59

The sale did go through; only a few congressmen objected.60 The deep state, it would appear, is alive and well, and impervious to exposures of it.

It is clear that for some decades the bottom-upwards processes of democracy have been increasingly supplanted by the top-downwards processes of the deep state.

But the deeper strain in history, I would like to believe, is in the opposite direction: the ultimate diminution of violent top-down forces by the bottom-up forces of an increasingly integrated civil society.61

In the last months we have had Wikileaks, then Edward Snowden, and now the fight between the CIA and its long-time champion in Congress, Dianne Feinstein. It may be time to see a systemic correction, much as we did after Daniel Ellsberg’s release of the Pentagon Papers, which was followed by Watergate and the Church Committee reforms. I believe that to achieve this correction there must be a better understanding of deep events and of the deep state.

Ultimately, however, whether we see a correction or not will depend, at least in part, on how much people care.

Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of Drugs Oil and War,The Road to 9/11, andThe War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War. His most recent book isAmerican War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection and the Road to Afghanistan. His website, which contains a wealth of his writings, ishere.

 

Notes

1 Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 6-8.

2 Cf. The Doomsday Project, Deep Events, and the Shrinking of American Democracy,” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, January 21, 2011.

3 Toronto Globe and Mail, November 22, 2001; discussion in Peter Dale Scott, “The Falsified War on Terror: How the US Has Protected Some of Its Enemies,” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, October 8, 2013.

4 This work circulated as a manuscript, but was never published. However I learn from the Internet that “Southeast Louisiana University has two copies of Peter Dale Scott’s THE DALLAS CONSPIRACY listed in their JFK papers archive”; cf. See here and here, Folders 20 and 21.

5 Peter Dale Scott, “The Doomsday Project and Deep Events: JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11,” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.

6 Jack Colhoun, Gangsterismo: The US, Cuba and the Mafia: 1933 to 1966 (New York: OR Books, 2013), 57-60; quoted in Bill Kelly, “Frank Sturgis – Run By US Military not CIA,” JFK Countercoup2, April 15, 2013.

7 Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (New York: Sky Horse Publishing, 2013), 341-96. There I listed thirteen similarities; I have since thought of another dozen.

8 Peter Dale Scott, “The Doomsday Project and Deep Events: JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11,” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.

9 “Emergency Preparedness for Telecommunications,” attachment to memo of November 5, 1969, to Clay Whitehead [director of the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy under Nixon], from Charlie Joyce; reproduced here.

10 Tim Shorrock, Spies for hire: the secret world of intelligence outsourcing (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008),72-75; Peter Dale Scott, “Continuity of Government: Is the State of Emergency Superseding our Constitution?” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, November 29, 2010.

11 Peter Dale Scott, “North, Iran-Contra, and the Doomsday Project: The Original Congressional Cover Up of Continuity-of-Government Planning,” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, February 21, 2011.

12 Ben Bradlee, Jr., Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North (New York: D.I. Fine, 1988), 132.

13 Scott, “The Doomsday Project and Deep Events;” citing Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, All the President’s Men (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), 23; Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda (New York: Random House, 1984), 16. For more on WISP, see David Wise, The Politics of Lying: Government Deception, Secrecy, and Power (New York: Random House, 1973), 134-37.

14 John Dean, Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush (New York: Little Brown, 2004), 120.

15 “Former White House attache to talk about JFK assassination.” See here.

16 Scott, Road to 9/11, 197-235.

17 Scott, Road to 9/11, 183-90.

18 Quoted in Scott, The Road to 9/11, 1. The situation appears not to have changed. “When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, no major U.S. corporation did more to finance his campaign than Goldman Sachs Group Inc.” (Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2012).

19 Forbes magazine founder Bertie Charles Forbes wrote six years later: “Picture a party of the nation’s greatest bankers stealing out of New York on a private railroad car under cover of darkness, stealthily riding hundred[s] of miles South, embarking on a mysterious launch, sneaking onto an island [the appropriately named Jekyll Island] deserted by all but a few servants, living there a full week under such rigid secrecy that the names of not one of them was once mentioned, lest the servants learn the identity and disclose to the world this strangest, most secret expedition in the history of American finance. I am not romancing; I am giving to the world, for the first time, the real story of how the famous Aldrich currency report, the foundation of our new currency system, was written (B.C. Forbes, Leslie’s Weekly, October 19, 1916; in T. Cushing Daniel, Real money versus false money-bank credits; the most important factor in civilization and least understood by the people Washington, D.C., The Monetary educational bureau, 1924], 169; cf. B.C. Forbes, Men who are making America [New York: Forbes Publishing Co., 1922], 398; cf. G. Edward Griffin, The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve [Westlake Village, CA: American Media, 1994]).

20 Congress was persuaded to provide perfunctory support of the bailout, under an alleged mysterious threat of martial law. See Peter Dale Scott, “Martial Law, the Financial Bailout, and War,” Global Research, January 8, 2009; reprinted in Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall, eds., The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century (Montreal, Global Research Publishers. Centre for Research on Globalization, 2010), 219-40; Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., “Sen. Inhofe: [Henry] Paulsen [Secretary of the Treasury and former Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs] Threatened Martial Law To Pass Bailout,” LewRockwell.com, November 20, 2008.

21 John Foster Dulles to Lord McGowan, Chairman of Imperial Chemical Industries; in Nancy Lisagor and Frank Lipsius, A law unto itself: the untold story of the law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell (New York: Morrow, 1988), 127.

22 Charles T. O’Reilly, Forgotten Battles: Italy’s War of Liberation, 1943-1945 (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2001), 288; Peter Dale Scott, “How Allen Dulles and the SS Preserved Each Other,” Covert Action Information Bulletin, 25 (Winter 1986), 4-14. Dulles’s plans to use SS resources in post-war Germany can be seen as part of a successful plan to frustrate the implementation of Roosevelt’s so-called Morgenthau Plan to deindustrialize Germany.

23 Stephen Dorril, MI6 (New York: Free Press, 2000), 659-660.

24 Lauren Fox, “Spy Game: Why Congress Is Limited in Its CIA Oversight,” U.S. News & World Report, March 12, 2014.

25 Amy B. Zegart, Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1999), 189; citing Christopher Andrew, For the President’s Eyes Only (New York: HarperCollins, 1995), 172; see also Church Committee, Final Report, Book 4, 28-29.

26 David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, The Espionage Establishment (New York: Random House, 1967), 166; Scott, Road to 9/11, 13.

27 Tim Weiner, Legacy of ashes: the history of the CIA (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 28. An analogous funding source for the CIA developed in the Far East: the so-called

“M-Fund,” a secret fund of money of enormous size that has existed in Japan [in 1991] for more than forty years. The Fund was established by the United States in the immediate postwar era for essentially the same reasons that later gave rise to the Marshall Plan of assistance by the U.S. to Western Europe, including the Federal Republic of Germany….. The M-Fund was used not only for the building of a democratic political system in Japan but, in addition, for all of the purposes for which Marshall Plan funds were used in Europe.[27

28 Peter Dale Scott, American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 68-96.

29 Fineman, A Special Relationship, 214-15; cf. 206.

30 Scott, American War Machine, 101-16.

31 William D. Hartung, Prophets of war: Lockheed Martin and the making of the military-industrial complex (New York: Nation Books, 2011), 126.

32 Anthony Summers with Robbyn Swan, The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon (New York: Viking, 2000), 283. Cf. Kessler, The Richest Man in the World, 171: Khashoggi told the prosecutors “that he churned millions through the tiny [Rebozo] bank to win favor with the president.”

33 Cf. Jim Hougan, Spooks: the haunting of America: the private use of secret (New York: Morrow, 1978), 457–58.

34 Kessler, Richest Man in the World, 238-41; Scott, American War Machine, 161-62.

35 The operation kept the name “Safari Club” even after moving from Khashoggi’s Club to a permanent headquarters in Cairo.

36 Ibrahim Warde, The price of fear: the truth behind the financial war on terror (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 133. Cf. Robert Lacey, Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia (New York: Penguin Books, 2009), 66, 72, 76.

37 Christopher Byron, “The Senate look at BCCI,” New York Magazine, October 28, 1991, 20–21.

38 Nick Kochan and Bob Whittington, Bankrupt: the BCCI Fraud (London: Gollancz, 1991), 220; quoted in The BCCI affair: a report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Section 11.

39 Jonathan Beaty and S. C. Gwynne, The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride Into the Secret Heart of BCCI (New York: Random House, 1993.), 311: “Rappaport and the Bank of Oman’s managing director maintained key contacts with the Saudis, who were pumping money through the bank for the Afghan rebels, at Casey’s request.” Cf. Alan A. Block and Constance A. Weaver, All is clouded by desire: global banking, money laundering, and international organized crime (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004), 27-28; Scott, American War Machine, 163; Scott, Road to 9/11, 325n94.

40 Block and Weaver, All is clouded by desire, 36-37.

41 Craig Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud: the secret relationship between the world’s two most powerful dynasties (New York: Scribner, 2004), 59-61. The opposition of Israel and its supporters was mitigated in 1983, when Reagan agreed to preserve Israel’s “qualitative edge” by supplying comparable weapons. See Stephen C. Pelletière, Iraq and the International Oil System [Westport, CT: Praeger, 2001], 169-70), ZZ; Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter, The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era (Boston: South End Press, 1987), 93-95.

42 Unger, House of Bush, House of Saud, 61; citing Robert Baer, Atlantic Monthly, May 2003, 60; cf. New York Times, 10/22/01, A1.

43Saudi prince ‘received arms cash’,” BBC, June 7, 2007. It is unclear whether payments continued after 2001, when the UK signed the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention, making such overpayments illegal.

44 Lacey, Inside the Kingdom, 108.

45 Joseph J. Trento, Prelude to terror: the rogue CIA and the legacy of America’s private intelligence network (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005), 102.

46 Robert Parry, Secrecy and Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq (Arlington, VA: Media Consortium, 2004), 112–38; Scott, The Road to 9/11, 99–107.

47 John K. Cooley, Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America, and International Terrorism (London: Pluto Press, 1999), 26. De Marenches, through a shadowy Pinay Circle, was also accused of interfering in the domestic politics of France, England, and other European countries. See Robin Ramsey, “Brian Crozier, the Pinay Circle and James Goldsmith”, Lobster 17, UK, November 1988; David Teacher, “The Pinay Circle and Destabilization in Europe,” Lobster 18, UK, October 1989). A more extreme argument is that of David G. Guyatt, “The Pinay Circle: An Invisible Power Network,” Nexus Magazine, August-September 1996.

48 “Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian who investigators have found played a significant role in financing the early US arms shipments to Iran, was serving as Fahd’s emissary in the deals, Bamieh said…. ” (The BCCI Affair, Part 19). This remarkable claim was corroborated by two Khashoggi associates and Farid Ghadry, a Saudi dissident in Washington (New York Times, January 17, 1987, 6). Cf. also Washington Post, March 7, 1987, A4.

49 In his recent book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation (New York: Twelve, 2009), New York Times reporter Phillip Shenon discusses at length the questions surrounding Bayoumi and his ties to the Saudi government. Cf. David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2008), 224-27.

50 Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, The eleventh day: the full story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden (New York: Ballantine Books, 2011), 410-15, 559-62; cf. David B. Ottaway, The king’s messenger: Prince Bandar bin Sultan and America’s tangled relationship with Saudi Arabia (New York: Walker & Company, 2008), 198-99.

51 Paul Sperry, “Inside the Saudi 9/11 Coverup,” New York Post, December 15, 2013: “FBI agents investigating the connection in 2002 found that visitor logs for the gated community and photos of license tags matched vehicles driven by the hijackers. Just two weeks before the 9/11 attacks, the Saudi luxury home was abandoned. Three cars, including a new Chrysler PT Cruiser, were left in the driveway. Inside, opulent furniture was untouched.”

52 Lacey, Inside the Kingdom, 108.

53 Glenn R. Simpson, “Riggs Bank Had Longstanding Link To the CIA,” Wall Street Journal, December 31. 2004. The Journal added that the former Chilean chief of secret police under Pinochet, Manuel Contreras, also banked at Riggs.

54 Peter Maass, “A Touch of Crude,” Mother Jones, January/February 2005, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2005/01/obiang-equatorial-guinea-oil-riggs.

55 Steve Coll, Private empire: ExxonMobil and American power (New York: Penguin Press, 2012), 283, 290.

56 Discussion in Ottaway, The King’s Messenger, 198-99.

57 Philip Shenon, The Commission, pp. 398-399.

58 Ottaway, The king’s messenger, 198-99. Cf. Arab News, July 26, 2003, http://www.arabnews.com/node/234848: “What has been produced is nothing less than a charter for Saudi-bashing, all the more so because of the 28 pages supposedly dealing with Saudi links to the hijackers, blocked on White House orders. Anyone who thinks that President Bush is doing us a favor can forget it. Whatever the intention, this is an invitation to the US and other media to speculate. It would be far better if the section were published.” This financial involvement from the supranational deep state is a dimension overlooked by those who describe 9/11 as a conspiracy, or “State Crime Against Democracy” (SCAD), to be blamed on the U.S. Government. See Lance deHaven-Smith, “Beyond Conspiracy Theory: Patterns of High Crime in American Government,” American Behavioral Scientist, 53, 796; and my discussion in “Systemic Destabilization in Recent American History: 9/11, the JFK Assassination, and the Oklahoma City Bombing as a Strategy of Tension,” The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, September 23, 2012, http://japanfocus.org/-Peter_Dale-Scott/3835.

59 Dana Hedgpeth, “Pentagon plans $60 billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia,” Washington Post, October 21, 2010.

60 The leader of the congressional opposition was Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York. Less than a year later, in 2011, he was forced to resign, after exposure of sexually provocative pictures that he had sent to female admirers on the Internet.

61 Cf. Jonathan Schell, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People [New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2003], 227-31.

Japan’s energy policy regime appears dangerously adrift in the context of accelerating climate change. The core problem is agency. On the one hand, Japanese PM Abe Shinzo and the nuclear village appear obsessed with nuclear power restarts and 20th century paradigms of the power economy. On the other hand, Japan’s anti-nuclear civil society lacks the political vehicle to force a combined nuclear pullout plus drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Some anti-nuclear forces do not yet understand the urgent need to reduce emissions, and are content to burn coal, despite of the patent threat of climate change. This is precisely what Japan has done in the wake of 3.11. The Abe cabinet is focused on getting restarts and a nuclear-based energy plan. Yet the scope for restarts is surprisingly limited and – incredible in this era of multiple crises and revolutions – the draft new energy plan lacks concrete numbers.1 The country needs better leadership on smart growth, in the context of what McKinsey specialists refer to as a “resource revolution”2 and MIT economists depict as “the second machine age.”3

Nuclear Is Probably No Longer Baseload

All of Japan’s 48 viable nuclear reactors are at present offline, and have been since September of 2013. The Abe cabinet is keen to restart as many of these as possible. But regulatory rules, public opinion and other factors constitute significant barriers to achieving even a third of Japan’s pre-Fukushima 30% reliance on nuclear power. That will mean nuclear will no longer be a “baseload” source of electricity, capable of supplying a reliable load to the grid at all times.

Indeed, an Asahi Shimbun survey of the utilities themselves indicates that fully 60% of Japan’s 48 viable nuclear reactors, meaning 30 reactors, are not as yet being considered for application to the Nuclear Regulation Agency (NRA) for restart. And of these 30 reactors, it appears that at least 13 are write-offs due to age, proximity to a seismic fault, and other factors that render them incapable of satisfying the new safety standards of the NRA.4 For that reason, at present there are only 17 reactors for which restart applications have been filed.

Of these, it appears – even to Japanese supporters of nuclear power – that perhaps only 8 will finally get approval and be restarted. Highly regarded energy specialist Tom O’Sullivan, of Mathyos Japan, concludes this on the basis of a survey of “various established Japanese policy institutes that are close to Japan’s industrial interests.” O’Sullivan notes that “[t]his level of restarts would only amount to 56 TWh of power output or 6% of Japan’s total power requirements and thus may not constitute a baseload power supply.”5

Reuters conducted its own analysis, using a broader set of questionnaires and interviews of over a dozen experts, along with input from the 10 firms that operate nuclear capacity. One suspects these operators painted as optimistic a picture of their restart prospects as possible. Even so, the result of this survey led Reuters’ expert journalists, Mari Saito, Aaron Sheldrick and Kentaro Hamada, to conclude that at best there will be 14 nuclear restarts at some point in time. They add that there is great uncertainty about the remaining 34 nuclear reactors. Their conclusion is that nuclear energy “will eventually make up less than 10 percent of Japan’s power supply.”6

Part of the reason nuclear appears not likely to recover its status as base-load power are the NRA’s new safety rules, in tandem with maintenance schedules and other factors that make a very shrunken fleet unreliable. But another large reason for this likely outcome is the stubbornness of the opposition to nuclear power.

Sustained Public Opposition

The most recent Japanese opinion poll on nuclear restarts is the March 18 survey by the Asahi Shimbun. It indicates that 59% of the Japanese public oppose restarts of any nuclear capacity, whereas only 28% support restarts. The poll’s results not only confirm that the opposition to nuclear is holding; it also shows a great sensitivity to risk. According to the poll, a mere 12% of the Japanese public have either no or only minimal concern regarding the risk of further nuclear accidents at facilities other than the infamous Fukushima Daiichi. By contrast, 50% have a fair degree of concern, and 36% have a very high degree of concern. In addition, the poll shows that only 4% of respondents regard the lack of nuclear waste disposal facilities as of no or only minimal concern. By contrast, 19% believe it is to some extent a problem. And a massive 76% regard it as a serious problem.7

Nationwide, there are 135 local communities that lie within 30 kilometers of a reactor, and 21 prefectures that are host to one or more reactors. The news service Kyodo Tsushin surveyed these 156 local governments in mid- to late-February of 2014, and found that only 13 were ready to agree to restarts without conditions. A further 24 would agree to restarts, but with conditions. Of the remainder, 32 declared their opposition to restarts, 66 replied that they could not decide, and 21 offered no reply at all.8 The NRA decided on March 13 to prioritize Kyushu Electric’s Sendai rectors 1 and 2 (in Kagoshima Prefecture) for restart.9 But that decision itself came under criticism, due to perceptions of undue haste amid suggestions that seismically active zones are nearby.10

Hard-Pressed Utilities

As for the utilities themselves, Tepco is not viable in its current form, having lost a stunning 81.2% of its market capitalization between March 10 of 2011 and April 2 of 2014. It was nationalized in June 2012 via a YEN 1 trillion injection of public capital, “the biggest state intervention into a private non-bank asset since America’s 2009 bail-out of General Motors (Economist, 2012). Resolving pressing matters such as the Fukushima and area clean-up and compensation, the decomissioning of ruined assets and the like are well beyond Tepco’s means. Some specialists question whether the other nuclear-dependent utilities are viable as well (Kaneko, 2013), and in early April of 2014 Kyushu Electric and Hokkaido Electric were revealed to be in discussion with the public sector Development Bank of Japan for bailouts (Financial Times, April 2, 2014). Kyushu Electric’s reliance on nuclear power is 42% of generating assets and Hokkaido Electric’s reliance is 30%. Their respective losses of market capitalization are 38.9% and 58.2%.11

The Japanese public sector has thus long been in a powerful position vis-à-vis the utilities, enabling it to press for reform. But this authority was used sparingly by the central government, even under the previous Democratic Party administration. The Tepco bailout was notable for protracted negotiations between Tepco and its politico-bureaucratic allies and state officials. They were not bargaining about weighty matters such as ownership of the power grid, but rather salaries and the size of increases on rate-payers. Outsiders regarded it as “bewildering” to see such minor items on the table. The Financial Times’ Jonathan Soble, also a close follower of Japan’s post-Fukushima power crisis and politics, argued that it “underscored the depth and resilience of Tepco’s resilience, and that of the ‘nuclear village’ of utility executives, bureaucrats and lawmakers that built Japan’s atomic power industry.“12

But now Tepco’s siblings are lining up for bailout, and this seems unlikely to end. Like big utilities in Europe and North America, Japanese utilities face the existential challenge of the ICT, renewable and efficiency-driven “electricity revolution” summarized nicely by Brookings energy security specialists Charles Ebinger and John Banks.13 A recent very detailed article in Scientific American shows how America’s 3000-plus utilities are fighting a losing battle against solar power and smart grids.14 Centralized power and monopolized conventional-grid ownership are confronting a far larger tsunami than the mobile phone shock to land-line telephony. But Japan’s monopolized and nuclear-reliant utilities have the added conundrum of nuclear power’s delegitimation in a very seismically sensitive country.

After Fukushima, the Japanese public debate received a very accelerated course of instruction on how various political economies were responding to the risks of resource price increases as well as climate change and the opportunities of developing new industries in renewable energy and related fields. The public debate also became apprised of just how far behind Japan was in its deployment of energy alternatives such as solar and wind. Moreover, the old arguments that these forms of power generation were not suited to Japan, because of “unique” winds and lack of space, lost their credibility.

The Push for Local Resilience

In addition, local governments exhibit increasing efforts to seize opportunity in the emergence of alternatives to highly centralized and concentrated nuclear power. Centralized power, such as Tepco’s nuclear reactors, led to concentrated economic benefits for a few communities whereas the risks of accident were distributed among a much broader range of communities. Fukushima Prefecture’s post-3-11 commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2040 encouraged other prefectures and cities, including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, to adopt ambitious targets.15

Moreover, at the end of 2013, Japan’s 16 trillion yen power market featured 192 independent power producers, including such new entrants as Toyota. That number was 79 at the end of 2012, and there has thus been a 240% increase in the number of firms.16 Japan’s “feed in tariff” policy support for diffusing renewables, effective from July of 2012, saw over four gigawatts (roughly four large nuclear reactors worth) of new renewable capacity deployed in the initial year. Japanese domestic shipments of solar cells and modules during July-September of 2013 leapt to 2.075 gigawatts, over triple the 627 megawatt level of a year earlier.17 The Pew Research April 3, 2014 publication of “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2013” argues that China remains the leader, at USD 54.2 billion, but that “Japan experienced the fastest investment growth in the world, increasing 80 percent, to almost $29 billion.”18

Since Japan’s public debate on energy is so polarized between Team Abe and the majority, it seems useful to examine which of the two idealized options – nuclear or green – offers the better return. Table 1 is an aid to this objective by its highlighting of the profoundly skewed energy R&D priorities of all the IEA countries. Over two-thirds of the 1980 peak in energy R&D expenditures by all IEA members was devoted to nuclear fission and fossil fuels. By contrast, only 12.3% was invested in renewables and only 6.4% in efficiency. Yet according to the IEA Energy Efficiency Market Report of 2013, global energy efficiency investment in 2011 was worth roughly USD 300 billion, “a similar scale to renewable energy and fossil fuel power investments.”19 Directly comparative data on nuclear power investments appear not to be available. But Mycle Schneider, and Antony Froggatt’s authoritative “The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013” reveals that the 2013 global total of 427 reactors with an installed capacity of 364 GWe was considerably lower than the 2010 peak of 444 reactors with an installed capacity of 375 GWe.20

Table 1 Energy R&D Expenditures by IEA Countries, 1975-2005(2005 USD million)
Year 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
Efficiency 587 955 725 510 1240 1497 1075
Fossil Fuels 587 2564 1510 1793 1050 612 1997
Renewable 208 1914 843 563 809 773 1113
Nuclear Fission 4808 6794 6575 4199 3616 3406 3168
Total Energy R&D 7563 15034 12186 9394 9483 9070 9586
Total: Japan 1508 3438 3738 3452 3672 3721 3905
Total: Excluding Japan 6055 11596 8448 5842 5811 5349 5681
Source: WNA, 201321

Moreover, the IEA Energy Efficiency Market Report 2013 also stresses how potent efficiency has become in an era of high energy prices. Its analysis indicates that efficiency has led to avoided energy use for 2010 in 11 IEA member countries22 that greatly exceeds even the consumption of oil. And the IEA itself stresses that there is much more efficiency potential to be exploited.

Smart Cities

Amazingly, a smart and green, ICT-centred growth strategy was approved by the Abe Cabinet on June 14 of 2013. The growth strategy is also very powerfully informed by the disruptive potential opened up by the rebuild of the devastated regions on the basis of renewable and distributed energy.23 But it also has a larger purchase in the political economy debate because – as with ICT-centered “industrial Internet,” “machine to machine,” “big data,” and related emergent paradigms – it is aimed at a profound restructuring of the energy economy as well as much of the rest of the infrastructures that make up the modern urban community and the exchange of resources and information among citizens, businesses and their governments. This emergent paradigm is not peculiar to Japan. The smart city model began to take shape in the early 2000s. But from the beginning of the 2010s, worsening resource, economic, and climate crises were paralleled by such technical advances as the diffusion of “big data” analytics via the cheapening and miniaturization of sensors.24 These and other developments increasingly point to the disruption not just of centralized power generation and transmission but also of a resource-intensive growth dynamic that has characterized the developed economies over the past six decades.25

The “dematerialization” of the economy has been an aim in Japan and Germany since the 1980s, with an increasing sophistication of policies and programs for reducing resource waste through greater efficiency and recycling, development and deployment of more sustainable practices, and the other initiatives. But these initiatives were generally seen as more or less costly interventions in the mainstream economy to reformat and reduce its throughputs and polluting outputs. The ICT strategy, through its deployment of sensors that monitor a multitude of aspects of the ambient environment as well as system parameters, is already working to accelerate this transformation of the conventional economy through increasing the payback from new processes.

In this respect, it is very ironic but telling that some of the most aggressive deployment of ICT is evident in conventional energy. The mining firm Rio Tinto, for example, revealed in early 2014 that its initial deployment of “big data” ICT to enhance efficiencies saved it USD 80 million over 2013.26 The oil industry’s use of “big data” in what it refers to as the “digital oil field” is another example. Their per-barrel price for oil exploration and production has roughly quintupled over the past decade, to over USD 100/barrel. Their aggressive of ICT shows what very hard-pressed actors can do in the face of rapidly rising costs.27

Team Abe might want to learn a lesson from this, and stress the ICT-centred renewable and radical efficiency policies they have already passed. The same goes for the simplistic anti-nuclear critics who would be satisfied with continuing to burn more coal.

Andrew DeWit is Professor in the School of Policy Studies at Rikkyo University and an Asia-Pacific Journal coordinator. With Iida Tetsunari and Kaneko Masaru, he is coauthor of “Fukushima and the Political Economy of Power Policy in Japan,” in Jeff Kingston (ed.) Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan.

Recommended citation: Andrew DeWit, “Japan’s Energy Policy Impasse,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 14, No. 1, April 7, 2014.

Notes

1 See “Ruling parties agree on draft energy policy after revisions,” Mainichi Newspaper, April 4, 2014.

2 Stephan Heck and Matt Rogers, “Are you ready for the resource revolution?” McKinsey Quarterly, March 2014.

3 Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine Age. W.W. Norton, 2014.

4 See (in Japanese) “60% of reactors do not meet inspection standards,” Asahi Shimbun, March 12.

5 Tom O’Sullivan’s survey of various “established Japanese policy institutes that are close to Japan’s industrial interests” (March 20, 2014 e-mail from Tom O’Sullivan, Mathyos Japan).

6 See Mari Saito, Aaron Sheldrick and Kentaro Hamada, “Japan may only be able to restart one-third of its nuclear reactors,” Reuters, April 1, 2014.

7 See (in Japanese) “59% oppose nuclear restarts, Asahi Shimbun opinion poll,” Asahi Shimbun, March 18, 2014.

8 See (in Japanese) “20% of communities within 30 kilometers agree to restarts,

9 See (in Japanese) “Sendai plant is given priority, with NRA suggesting restart perhaps by summer,” Nikkei Shimbun, March 13, 2014.

10 On this, see (in Japanese) “Editorial: The Sendai plant prioritization does not meet conditions for restart,” Okinawa Times, March 17, 2014.

11 My gratitude to Tom O’Sullivan of Mathyos Japan for the data on Japan’s utilities and their finances.

12 Jonathan Soble, “Executive dealing with a corporate meltdown,” Financial Times, October 21, 2012.

13 See Ebinger, Charles K and John P. Banks, “The Electricity Revolution,” Brookings Research Reports, November 8, 2013.

14 David Biello, “Fight over Rooftop Solar Forecasts a Bright Future for Clean Energy,” Scientific American, March 25.

15 On this, see Andrew DeWit, “Japan’s Renewable Power Prospects,” in (Jeff Kingston ed.) Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan. Routledge, 2014.

16 See (in Japanese) “New Power Firms, Generation Capacity Only at 20% of Retail Market,” Denki Shimbun, April 2, 2014.

17 See Ishida Masaya, (in Japanese) “Solar Cell Shipments Thrice Previous Year, Utility-Use Up 10 Times to 750,000 Kilowatts, Smart Japan, December 5, 2013.

18 Pew Environmental Initiatives, “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2013,” April 3, 2014.

19 An overview of the report can be accessed at IEA, “From higgen fuel to world’s first fuel?” October 16, 2013.

20 Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt, “The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013,” July 30, 2013.

21 WNA World Nuclear Association (2013). “Nuclear Power in Japan,” October 28, 2013.

22 The countries are Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

23 Andrew DeWit, “Just Gas? Smart Power and Koizumi’s Anti-Nuclear Challenge,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 11, Issue 50, No.3, December 16, 2013.

24 See, for example, Anthony, M. Townsend, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers and the Quest for a New Utopia. WW Norton & Co, 2013.

25 Jonatahan G, Koomey,H. Scott Matthews, and Eric Williams (2013). “Smart Everything: Will Intelligent Systems Reduce Resource Use?,” Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Vol. 38, October 311-343.

26 Peter Kerr, “Rio Tinto chief Sam Walsh hails $80 million cash flow boost from big data,” Sydney Morning Herald, March 14, 2014.

27 Jessica Leber, “Big Oil Goes Mining for Big Data: As petroleum production gets trickier, digital innovation becomes more crucial,” MIT Technology Review, May 8, 2012.

THE 9/11 READER. The September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks

April 7th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

 

Note to Readers: Remember to bookmark this page for future reference.
Please Forward the GR I-Book far and wide. Post it on Facebook.



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GLOBAL RESEARCH ONLINE

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GR I-BOOK No.  7 

THE 9/11 READER

The September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks

9/11 Truth: Revealing the Lies,  Commemorating the 9/11 Tragedy

Michel Chossudovsky (Editor)

August 2012


The 911/ Reader is part of Global Research’s Online Interactive I-Book Reader, which brings together, in the form of chapters, a collection of Global Research feature articles, including debate and analysis, on a broad theme or subject matter.  To consult our Online Interactive I-Book Reader Series, click here.


 

INTRODUCTION

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute a fundamental landmark in American history. a decisive watershed, a breaking point. Millions of people have been misled regarding the causes and consequences of 9/11.

September 11 2001 opens up an era of crisis, upheaval and militarization of American society.

A far-reaching overhaul of US military doctrine was launched in the wake of 9/11.

Endless wars of aggression under the humanitarian cloak of “counter-terrorism” were set in motion. 

9/11 was also a stepping stone towards the relentless repeal of civil liberties, the militarization of law enforcement and the inauguration of “Police State USA”.

September 11, 2001 marks the onslaught of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), used as a pretext and a justification by the US and its NATO allies to carry out a “war without borders”, a global war of conquest. 

At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the Bush administration had already announced that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion was made prior to the conduct of an indepth police investigation.

CIA Director George Tenet stated that same morning that Osama bin Laden had the capacity to plan  “multiple attacks with little or no warning.”

Secretary of State Colin Powell called the attacks “an act of war” and President Bush confirmed in an evening televised address to the Nation that he would “make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them”.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey, without mentioning Afghanistan, pointed his finger at “state sponsorship,” implying the complicity of one or more foreign governments. In the words of former National Security Adviser, Lawrence Eagleburger, “I think we will show when we get attacked like this, we are terrible in our strength and in our retribution.”

That same evening at 9:30 pm, a “War Cabinet” was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. And at 11:00 pm, at the end of that historic meeting at the White House, the “War on Terrorism” was officially launched.

The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required justification to wage war on Afghanistan on “humanitarian grounds”, with the full support of World public opinion and the endorsement of the “international community”.  Several prominent “progressive” intellectuals made a case for “retaliation against terrorism”, on moral and ethical grounds. The “just cause” military doctrine (jus ad bellum) was accepted and upheld at face value as a legitimate response to 9/11. 

In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement was completely isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Afghanistan, an impoverished country in Central Asia of 30 million people.

The myth of the “outside enemy” and the threat of “Islamic terrorists” was the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s military doctrine, used as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the repeal of civil liberties and constitutional government in America.

Amply documented but rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet- Afghan war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous sources including official documents of the US Congress, which the mainstream media chose to either dismiss or ignore. The intelligence community had time and again acknowledged that they had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War: “he turned against us”.

The 9/11 Commission Report has largely upheld the “outside enemy” mythology, heralding Al Qaeda as the “mastermind” organization behind the 9/11 attacks.

The official 9/11 narrative has not only distorted the causes underling the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, it has also erased the historical record of US covert support to international terrorism, while creating the illusion that America and “Western Civilization” are threatened.

Without an “outside enemy”, there could be no “war on terrorism”. The entire national security agenda would collapse “like a deck of cards”. The war criminals in high office would have no leg to stand on.

After 9/11, the campaign of media disinformation served not only to drown the truth but also to kill much of the historical evidence on how this illusive Al Qaeda “outside enemy” had been fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.

Click to view video

VIDEO: AFTER 9/11: TEN YEARS OF WAR

Special GRTV Feature Production
- by James Corbett – 2011-09-08

***

The 911 Reader is composed of a carefully selected collection of key articles published by Global Research in the course of the last eleven years.

9/11 was an important landmark for Global Research. Our website was launched on September 9, 2001, two days prior to 9/11. Our coverage of 9/11 was initiated on September 12, 2001.

Within this collection of more than 60 chapters, we have included several important reports from our archives, published by Global Research in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. These articles provide a focus on issues pertaining to the 9/11 Timeline, foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, the attack on the Pentagon, the issue of insider trading on Wall Street in the days preceding 9/11 pointing to foreknowledge of the attacks.

What prevails is a complex web of lies and fabrications, pertaining to various dimensions of the 9/11 tragedy. The falsehoods contained in the official 9/11 narrative are manifold, extending from the affirmation that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind, to the assertion by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that the WTC buildings collapsed due to the impacts of fire. (see Part III).

Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?

Is there any proof to the effect that Osama bin Laden, the bogeyman, coordinated the 9/11 attacks as claimed in the official 9/11 narrative?

According to CBS news (Dan Rather, January 28, 2002), “Enemy Number One” was admitted to the urology ward of a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 10, 2001, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan. He could have been arrested at short notice which would have “saved us a lot of trouble”, but then we would not have had an Osama Legend, which has fed the news chain as well as presidential speeches in the course of the last eleven years.

DAN RATHER. As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.

This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan. (transcript of CBS report, see http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CBS203A.html , see also http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/28/eveningnews/main325887.shtml

CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]

 

CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11.

CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]

The foregoing CBS report which  is of utmost relevance indicates two obvious facts:

1. Osama bin Laden could not reasonably have coordinated the 9/11 attacks from his hospital bed;

2. The hospital was under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Armed Forces, which has close links to the Pentagon. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts were known to both the Pakistani and US military.

 U.S. military and intelligence advisers based in Rawalpindi. were working closely with their Pakistani counterparts. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed, at the time, that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden were unknown. According to Rumsfeld:  “Its like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.

October 7, 2001: Waging America’s 9/11 War of Retribution against Afghanistan

The immediate response of the US and its allies to the 9/11 attacks was to the declare a war of retribution against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban government was protecting “terror mastermind” Osama bin Laden. By allegedly harboring bin Laden, the Taliban were complicit, according to both the US administration and NATO, for having waged an act of war against the United States.

Parroting official statements, the Western media mantra on September 12, 2001 had already approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in Afghanistan. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.

This decision was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.

On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan, invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

An act of war by a foreign nation (Afghanistan) against a member of the Atlantic Alliance (the USA) is an act of war against all members under NATO’s doctrine of collective security. Under any stretch of the imagination, the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon cannot be categorized as an act of war by a foreign country. But nobody seemed to have raised this issue.

Meanwhile, on two occasions in the course of September 2001, the Afghan government –through diplomatic channels– offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US Justice. These overtures were turned down by president Bush, on the grounds that America “does not negotiate with terrorists”.

The war on Afghanistan was launched 26 days later on the morning of October 7, 2001. The timing of this war begs the question: how long does it take to plan and implement a major theater war several thousand miles away. Military analysts will confirm that a major theater war takes months and months, up to a year or more of advanced preparations. The war on Afghanistan was already in the advanced planning stages prior to September 11, 2001, which begs the question of foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

The repeal of civil liberties in America was launched in parallel with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan, almost immediately following 9/11 with the adoption of the PATRIOT legislation and the setting up of a Homeland Security apparatus, under the pretext of protecting Americans. This post-911 legal and institutional framework had been carefully crafted prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Al Qaeda is a US Intelligence Asset

Important to the understanding of 9/11, US intelligence is the unspoken architect of “Islamic terrorism” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war.

Bin Laden was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerrilla training camp. Education in Afghanistan in the years preceding the Soviet-Afghan war was largely secular. With religious textbooks produced in Nebraska, the number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrasahs) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000.

“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the [Islamic] Jihad.” (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)

 ”The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings….The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..”, (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)

Under the Reagan administration, US foreign policy evolved towards the unconditional support and endorsement of the Islamic “freedom fighters”. This endorsement has not in any way been modified.

In a twisted irony, throughout the post 911 era,  US intelligence in liaison with Britain’s MI6, an Israel’s Mossad, continues to provide covert support to the radical Islamist organization allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda and its various affiliated groups including the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and factions within the Free Syria Army (FSA) are directly supported by the US and NATO.

In a bitter irony, the US and its allies claim to be waging a “war on terrorism” against the alleged architects of 9/11, while also using Al Qaeda operatives as their foot-soldiers.


Front row, from left: Major Gen. Hamid Gul, director general of Pakistan’s
Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Willian Webster; Deputy Director for Operations Clair George; an ISI colonel; and senior CIA official,
Milt Bearden at a Mujahideen training camp in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan in 1987.
(source RAWA)


Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)

VIDEO (30 Sec.)

The Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings

Based on the findings of  Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings was not caused by fire resulting from the crash of the planes:

In more than 100 steel-framed, high-rise fires (most of them very hot, very large and very long-lasting), not one has collapsed, ever. So it behooves all of us, as your own former chief of NIST’s Fire Science Division, Dr. James Quintiere, said, “to look at real alternatives that might have been the cause of these collapses.”

Let’s start with temperatures – 1,340° F. temperatures, recorded in thermal images of the surface of the World Trade Center rubble pile a week after 9/11 by NASA’s AVIRIS equipment on USGS overflights. Such temperatures cannot be achieved by oxygen-starved hydrocarbon fires. Such fires burn at only 600 to 800° F. Remember, there was no fire on the top of the pile. The source of this incredible heat was therefore below the surface of the rubble, where it must have been far hotter than 1,340 degrees.

Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Inc., who was hired for the Building 7 cleanup, said that “molten steel was found at 7 WTC.” Leslie Robertson, World Trade Center structural engineer, stated that on October 5, “21 days after the attacks, the fires were still burning and molten steel was still running.” Fire department personnel, recorded on video, reported seeing “molten steel running down the channel rails… like you’re in a foundry – like lava from a volcano.” Joe O’Toole, a Bronx firefighter, saw a crane lifting a steel beam vertically from deep within a pile. He said “it was dripping from the molten steel.” Bart Voorsanger, an architect hired to save “relics from the rubble,” stated about the multi-ton “meteorite” that it was a “fused element of molten steel and concrete.”

Steel melts at about 2,850 degrees Fahrenheit, about twice the temperature of the World Trade Center Tower 1 and 2 fires as estimated by NIST. So what melted the steel?

Appendix C of FEMA’s BPAT Report documents steel samples showing rapid oxidation, sulfidation, and intergranular melting. A liquid eutectic mixture, including sulfur from an unknown source, caused intense corrosion of the steel, gaping holes in wide flange beams, and the thinning of half-inch-thick flanges to almost razor-sharpness in the World Trade Center 7 steel. The New York Times called this “the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.”

NIST left all of this crucial forensic evidence out of its report. Why? Because it didn’t fit in with the official conspiracy theory.

Last year, physicist Steven Jones, two other physicists, and a geologist analyzed the slag at the ends of the beams and in the samples of the previously molten metal. They found iron, aluminum, sulfur, manganese and fluorine – the chemical evidence of thermate, a high-tech incendiary cutting charge used by the military to cut through steel like a hot knife through butter. The by-product of the thermate reaction is molten iron! There’s no other possible source for all the molten iron that was found. One of thermate’s key ingredients is sulfur, which can form the liquid eutectic that FEMA found and lower the melting point of steel.

In addition, World Trade Center 7′s catastrophic structural failure showed every characteristic of explosive, controlled demolition. … The destruction began suddenly at the base of the building. Several first responders reported explosions occurring about a second before the collapse. There was the symmetrical, near-free-fall speed of collapse, through the path of greatest resistance – with 40,000 tons of steel designed to resist this load – straight down into its own footprint. This requires that all the columns have to fail within a fraction of a second of each other – perimeter columns as well as core columns. There was also the appearance of mistimed explosions (squibs?) at the upper seven floors on the network video recordings of the collapse. And we have expert testimony from a European demolitions expert, Danny Jowenko, who said “This is controlled demolition… a team of experts did this… This is professional work, without any doubt.”

Fire cannot produce these effects. Fire produces large, gradual deformations and asymmetrical collapses. Thermate can produce all of these effects used in conjunction with linear shaped charges. If the thermate is formed into ultra-fine particles, as has been accomplished at Los Alamos National Laboratory, it is called super-thermate, and is very explosive.(Richard Gage, January 2008)

The following AE911Truth Video provides irrefutable evidence that the WTC center towers were brought down through controlled demolition.

According to David Ray Griffin: “The official theory of the collapse, therefore, is essentially a fire theory, so it cannot be emphasized too much that fire has never caused large steel-frame buildings to collapse—never, whether before 9/11, or after 9/11, or anywhere in the world on 9/11 except allegedly New York City—never.” (See David Ray Griffin).

According to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, based on solid scientific analysis and evidence, the collapse of the WTC towers was engineered through controlled demolition. While AE11Truth does not speculate on who might be behind the conspiracy to bring down the WTC buildings, they nonetheless suggest that the carrying out such an operation would require a carefully planned course of action with prior access to the buildings as well as an advanced level of expertise in the use of explosives, etc.

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven

The most grotesque lie pertains to the BBC and CNN announcement in the afternoon of September 11, that WTC Building Seven (The Solomon Building) had collapsed. The BBC report went live at 5.00pm, 21 minutes before the actual occurrence of the collapse, indelibly pointing to foreknowledge of the collapse of WTC 7.  CNN anchor Aaron Brown announced that the building “has either collapsed or is collapsing” about an hour before the event. (See WTC7.net the hidden story of Building 7: Foreknowledge of WTC 7′s Collapse)

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven.

CNN anchor Aaron Brown seems to struggle to make sense of what he is seeing one minute after announcing that WTC Building 7, whose erect facade is clearly visible in his view towards the Trade Center, has or is collapsing.

Coverup and Complicity

The 911 Reader presents factual information and analysis which points to cover-up and complicity at the highest levels of the US government.

This body of articles by prominent authors, scholars, architects, engineers, largely refutes the official narrative of the 9/11 Commission Report, which is reviewed in Part IV. It  dispels the notion that America was attacked on September 11, 2001 on the orders of Osama bin Laden.

This is a central issue because US military doctrine since 9/11 has been predicated on “defending the American Homeland” against Islamic terrorists as well as waging pre-emptive wars against Al Qaeda and its various “state sponsors”.  Afghanistan was bombed and invaded as part of the “war on terrorism”. In March 2003, Iraq was also invaded.

War Propaganda

Fiction prevails over reality. For propaganda to be effective, public opinion must firmly endorse the official 9/11 narrative to the effect that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks. A well organized structure of media disinformation (Part XI) is required to reach this objective. Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend also requires defying as well smearing the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Throughout the post 9/11 era, a panoply of Al Qaeda related events and circumstances is presented to public opinion on a daily basis. These include terrorist threats, warnings and attacks, police investigations, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, country-level regime change, social conflict, sectarian violence, racism, religious divisions, Islamic thought, Western values, etc.

In turn, 9/11, Al Qaeda – War on Terrorism rhetoric permeates political discourse at all levels of government, including bipartisan debate on Capitol Hill, in committees of the House and the Senate, at the British House of Commons, and, lest we forget, at the United Nations Security Council.

September 11 and Al Qaeda concepts, repeated ad nauseam have potentially traumatic impacts on the human mind and the ability of normal human beings to analyze and comprehend the “real outside World” of war, politics and the economic crisis.

What is at stake is human consciousness and comprehension based on concepts and facts.

With September 11 there are no verifiable “facts” and “concepts”, because 9/11 as well as Al Qaeda have evolved into a media mythology, a legend, an invented ideological construct, used as an unsubtle tool of media disinformation and war propaganda.

Al Qaeda constitutes a stylized, fake and almost folkloric abstraction of terrorism, which permeates the inner consciousness of millions of people around the World.

Reference to Al Qaeda has become a dogma, a belief, which most people espouse unconditionally.

Is this political indoctrination? Is it brain-washing? If so what is the underlying objective?

People’s capacity to independently analyse World events, as well as address causal relationships pertaining to politics and society, is significantly impaired. That is the objective!

The routine use of  9/11 and Al Qaeda to generate blanket explanations of complex political events is meant to create confusion. It prevents people from thinking.

All of these complex Al Qaeda related occurrences are explained –by politicians, the corporate media, Hollywood and the Washington think tanks under a single blanket “bad guys” heading, in which Al Qaeda is casually and repeatedly pinpointed as “the cause” of numerous terror events around the World.

The Alleged Role of Iraq in the 9/11 Attacks

9/11 mythology has been a mainstay of war propaganda. In the course of 2002, leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003,  “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” statements circulated profusely in the news chain. While Washington’s official position was that Saddam Hussein was not behind the 9/11 attacks, insinuations abounded both in presidential speeches as well as in the Western media. According to Bush,  in an October 2002 press conference:

The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime’s own actions — its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. .,..  We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September the 11th, 2001, America felt its vulnerability — even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source [Iraq], that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America. President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, October 7, 2002)

Barely two weeks before the invasion of Iraq, September 11, 2001 was mentioned abundantly by president Bush. In the weeks leading up to the March invasion, 45 percent of  Americans believed Saddam Hussein was “personally involved” in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. (See . The impact of Bush linking 9/11 and Iraq / The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor.com, March 14, 2003)

Meanwhile, a new terrorist mastermind had emerged: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

In Colin Powell’s historic address to the United Nations Security Council, in February 2003, detailed “documentation” on a sinister relationship between Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was presented, focussing on his ability to produce deadly chemical, biological and radiological weapons, with the full support and endorsement of the secular Baathist regime. The implication of Colin’s Powell’s assertions, which were totally fabricated, was that Saddam Hussein and an Al Qaeda affiliated organization had joined hands in the production of WMD in Northern Iraq and that the Hussein government was a “state sponsor” of terrorism.

The main thrust of the disinformation campaign continued in the wake of the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. It consisted in presenting the Iraqi resistance movement as “terrorists”. The image of “terrorists opposed to democracy” fighting US “peacekeepers” appeared on television screens and news tabloids across the globe.

Iran: Alleged State Sponsor of 9/11

In the wake of the Iraq invasion, the same alleged “state sponsorship” of terrorism accusations emerged in relation to Iran.

In December 2011, the Islamic Republic of Iran was condemned by a Manhattan court, for its alleged role in supporting Al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks.

The investigation into Tehran’s alleged role was launched in 2004, pursuant to a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission “regarding an apparent link between Iran, Hezbollah, and the 9/11 hijackers”. The 91/11 Commission’s recommendation was that the this “apparent link” required  “further investigation by the U.S. government.” (9/11 Commission Report , p. 241). (See Iran 911 Case ).

In the December 2011 court judgment (Havlish v. Iran)  “U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ruled  that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case”.

According to the plaintiffs attorneys “Iran, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda formed a terror alliance in the early 1990s. Citing their national security and intelligence experts, the attorneys explained “how the pragmatic terror leaders overcame the Sunni-Shi’a divide in order to confront the U.S. (the “Great Satan”) and Israel (the “Lesser Satan”)”. Iran and Hezbollah allegedly provided “training to members of al Qaeda in, among other things, the use of explosives to destroy large buildings.” (See Iran 911 Case ).

This judicial procedure is nothing more than another vicious weapon in the fabricated “War on Terror” to be used against another Muslim country, with a view to destabilizing Iran as well as justifying ongoing military threats. It also says a lot more about the people behind the lawsuit than about the accused. The expert witnesses who testified against Iran are very active in warmongering neocon circles. They belong to a web of architects of the 21st century Middle-Eastern wars, ranging from high profile propagandists to intelligence and military officers, including former U.S. officials.

But what makes this case absurd is that in September 2011, a few months before the judgment, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has questioned the official 9/11 narrative, was accused by Al-Qaeda leaders of  “spreading conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks”. The semi-official media outlet of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, insisted that al-Qaeda “had been behind the attacks and criticised the Iranian president for discrediting the terrorist group.” (See Julie Levesque, Iran Accused of being behind 9/11 Attacks. U.S. Court Judgment, December 2011 (Havlish v. Iran), Global Research,  May 11, 2012)

Al Qaeda: US-NATO Foot-soldiers

Ironically, while Washington accuses Iran and Afghanistan of supporting terrorism, the historical record and evidence indelibly point to the “state sponsorship” of Al Qaeda by the CIA, MI6 and their counterparts in Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Al Qaeda death squads have been recruited to wage America’s humanitarian wars throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

In Syria Al Qaeda units were recruited by NATO and the Turkish High command: “Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels.” (http://www.debka.com/article/21255/  Debkafile, August 31, 2011).

In Libya, jihadists from Afghanistan trained by the CIA were dispatched to fight with the “pro-democracy” rebels under the helm of “former” Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj:

Western policy makers admit that NATO’s operations in Libya have played the primary role in emboldening Al Qaeda’s AQIM faction (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). The Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel in his article, “The New Al Qaeda Menace,” admits that AQIM is now heavily armed thanks to NATO’s intervention in Libya, and that AQIM’s base in Mali, North Africa, serves as a staging ground for terrorist activities across the region. http://www.globalresearch.ca/al-qaeda-and-natos-pan-arab-terrorist-blitzkrieg/

Table of Contents of the 9/11 Reader

In Part I, the 911 Reader provides a review of what happened on the morning of 9/11, at the White House, on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, at Strategic Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM), What was the response of the US Air Force in the immediate wake of the attacks?  Part II focusses on “What Happened on the Planes” as described in the 9/11 Commission Report.

Part III sheds light on what caused the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. It also challenges the official narrative with regard to the attack on the Pentagon.

Part IV reviews and refutes the findings of the 9/11 Commission Report.

Part V focusses on the issue of foreknowledge by Western intelligence agencies. Part VI examines the issue of how foreknowledge of the attacks was used as an instrument of insider trading on airline stocks in the days preceding September 11, 2001. The bonanza financial gains resulting from insurance claims to the leaseholders of the WTC buildings is also examined.

Part VII focusses on the history and central role of Al Qaeda as a US intelligence asset. Since the Soviet-Afghan war, US intelligence has supported the formation of various jihadist organizations. An understanding of this history is crucial in refuting the official 9/11 narrative which claims that Al Qaeda, was behind the attacks.

Part VIII centers on the life and death of 9/11 “Terror Mastermind” Osama bin Laden, who was recruited by the CIA in the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war. This section also includes an analysis of the mysterious death of Osama bin Laden, allegedly executed by US Navy Seals in a suburb of Islamabad in May 2011.

Part  IX  focusses on “False Flags” and the Pentagon’s “Second 9/11″. Part X examines the issue of “Deep Events” with contributions by renowned scholars Peter Dale Scott and Daniele Ganser.

Part XI  examines the structure of 9/11 propaganda which consists in “creating” as well “perpetuating” a  “9/11 Legend”. How is this achieved? Incessantly, on a daily basis, Al Qaeda, the alleged 9/11 Mastermind is referred to by the Western media, government officials, members of the US Congress, Wall Street analysts, etc. as an underlying cause of numerous World events.

Part XII focusses on the practice of 9/11 Justice directed against the alleged culprits of the 9/11 attacks.

The legitimacy of 9/11 propaganda requires fabricating “convincing evidence” and “proof” that those who are accused actually carried out the attacks. Sentencing of Muslims detained in Guantanamo is part of war propaganda. It depicts innocent men who are accused of the 9/11 attacks, based on confessions acquired through systematic torture throughout their detention.

Part  XIII focusses on 9/11 Truth.  The objective of 9/11 Truth is to ultimately dismantle the propaganda apparatus which is manipulating the human mindset. The 9/11 Reader concludes with a retrospective view of 9/11 ten years later.


PART  I

Timeline: What Happened on the Morning of September 11, 2001

Nothing Urgent: The Curious Lack of Military Action on the Morning of September. 11, 2001
- by George Szamuely – 2012-08-12
Political Deception: The Missing Link behind 9-11
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2002-06-20
On the morning of September 11, Pakistan’s Chief Spy General Mahmoud Ahmad, the alleged “money-man” behind the 9-11 hijackers, was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
9/11 Contradictions: Bush in the Classroom
- by Dr. David Ray Griffin – 2008-04-04
9/11 Contradictions: When Did Cheney Enter the Underground Bunker?
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-04-24
VIDEO: Pilots For 9/11 Truth: Intercepted
Don’t miss this important documentary, now on GRTV
- 2012-05-16

PART II

What Happened on the Planes

“United 93″: What Happened on the Planes?
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-05-01
  Phone Calls from the 9/11 Airliners
Response to Questions Evoked by My Fifth Estate Interview
- by Prof David Ray Griffin – 2010-01-12
Given the cell phone technology available in 2001, cell phone calls from airliners at altitudes of more than a few thousand feet, were virtually impossible
Ted Olson’s Report of Phone Calls from Barbara Olson on 9/11: Three Official Denials
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-04-01
Ted Olson’s report was very important. It provided apparent “evidence” that American 77 had struck the Pentagon.

 

PART III

What Caused the Collapse of

The WTC Buildings and the Pentagon?

The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True
- by Dr. David Ray Griffin – 2006-01-29
The official theory about the Twin Towers says that they collapsed because of the combined effect of the impact of the airplanes and the resulting fires
Evidence Refutes the Official 9/11 Investigation: The Scientific Forensic Facts
- by Richard Gage, Gregg Roberts – 2010-10-13
VIDEO: Controlled Demolitions Caused the Collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) buildings on September 11, 2001
- by Richard Gage – 2009-09-20
VIDEO: 9/11: The Myth and The Reality
Now on GRTV
- by Prof. David Ray Griffin – 2011-08-30
Undisputed Facts Point to the Controlled Demolition of WTC 7
- by Richard Gage – 2008-03-28
VIDEO: 9/11 Explosive Evidence: Experts Speak Out
See the trailer for this ground-breaking film on GRTV
- 2011-08-03
9/11: “Honest Mistake” or BBC Foreknowledge of Collapse of WTC 7? Jane Standley Breaks Her Silence
- by James Higham – 2011-08-18
The Collapse of WTC Building Seven.
Interview. Comment by Elizabeth Woodworth
- by David Ray Griffin – 2009-10-17
  Building What? How SCADs Can Be Hidden in Plain Sight: The 9/11 “Official Story” and the Collapse of WTC Building Seven
- by Prof David Ray Griffin – 2010-05-30
Besides omitting and otherwise falsifying evidence, NIST also committed the type of scientific fraud called fabrication, which means simply “making up results.”
VIDEO; Firefighters’ Analysis of the 9/11 Attacks Refutes the Official Report
- by Erik Lawyer – 2012-08-27
VIDEO: Pentagon Admits More 9/11 Remains Dumped in Landfill
- by James Corbett – 2012-03-01
The Pentagon revealed that some of the unidentifiable remains from victims at the Pentagon and Shanksville sites on September 11, 2001 were disposed of in a landfill.
9/11: The Attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001
The Official Version Amounts to an Enormous Lie
- by Thierry Meyssan – 2012-08-16

PART IV

Lies and Fabrications: The 9/11 Commission Report

A National Disgrace: A Review of the 9/11 Commission Report
- by David Ray Griffin – 2005-03-24
The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571 Page Lie
- by Dr. David Ray Griffin – 2005-09-08
September 11, 2001: 21 Reasons to Question the Official Story about 9/11
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-09-11
911 “Conspiracy Theorists” Vindicated: Pentagon deliberately misled Public Opinion
Military officials made false statements to Congress and to the 911 Commission
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-08-02
The 9/11 Commission’s Incredible Tales
Flights 11, 175, 77, and 93
- by Prof. David Ray Griffin – 2005-12-13
9/11 and the War on Terror: Polls Show What People Think 10 Years Later
- by Washington’s Blog – 2011-09-10

PART  V

Foreknowledge of 9/11

  VIDEO: The SECRET SERVICE ON 9/11: What did the Government Know?
Learn more on this week’s GRTV Feature Interview
- by Kevin Ryan, James Corbett – 2012-04-10
9/11 Foreknowledge and “Intelligence Failures”: “Revealing the Lies” on 9/11 Perpetuates the “Big Lie”
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-09-14
“Foreknowledge” and “Failure to act” upholds the notion that the terrorist attacks (“act of war”) “waged by Muslims against America” are real, when all the facts and findings point towards coverup and complicity at the highest levels of the US government.
Foreknowledge of 9/11 by Western Intelligence Agencies
- by Michael C. Ruppert – 2012-08-21

PART VI

Insider Trading and the 9/11 Financial Bonanza

9/11 Attacks: Criminal Foreknowledge and Insider Trading lead directly to the CIA’s Highest Ranks
CIA Executive Director “Buzzy” Krongard managed Firm that handled “Put” Options on UAL
- by Michael C. Ruppert – 2012-08-13
The 9/11 Attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC): Unspoken Financial Bonanza
- by Prof Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-04-27
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001: Insider Trading 9/11 … the Facts Laid Bare
- by Lars Schall – 2012-03-20
Osama Bin Laden and The 911 Illusion: The 9/11 Short-Selling Financial Scam
- by Dean Henderson – 2011-05-09

PART VII

9/11 and the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT)

Political Deception: The Missing Link behind 9-11
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2002-06-20
On the morning of September 11, Pakistan’s Chief Spy General Mahmoud Ahmad, the alleged “money-man” behind the 9-11 hijackers, was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
9/11 ANALYSIS: From Ronald Reagan and the Soviet-Afghan War to George W Bush and September 11, 2001
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2010-09-09
Osama bin Laden was recruited by the CIA in 1979. The US spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings.

 

  The Central Role of Al Qaeda in Bush’s National Security Doctrine
“Revealing the Lies” on 9/11 Perpetuates the “Big Lie”
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2007-07-12
NATO’s Doctrine of Collective Security
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2009-12-21
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2010-08-30
What is now unfolding is a generalized process of demonization of an entire population group
Osamagate
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2001-10-09
The main justification for waging this war has been totally fabricated. The American people have been deliberately and consciously misled by their government into supporting a major military adventure which affects our collective future.
The “Demonization” of Muslims and the Battle for Oil
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2007-01-04
Muslim countries possess three quarters of the World’s oil reserves. In contrast, the United States of America has barely 2 percent of total oil reserves.
  Was America Attacked by Muslims on 9/11?
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-09-10
Much of US foreign policy since 9/11 has been based on the assumption that America was attacked by Muslims on 9/11.
  New Documents Detail America’s Strategic Response to 9/11
Rumsfeld’s War Aim: “Significantly Change the World’s Political Map”
- by National Security Archive – 2011-09-12

PART VIII

The Alleged 9/11 Mastermind:

The Life and Death of  Osama bin Laden

Who Is Osama Bin Laden?
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2001-09-12
  VIDEO: The Last Word on Osama Bin Laden
- by James Corbett – 2011-05-24
Osama bin Laden: A Creation of the CIA
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-05-03
Interview with Osama bin Laden. Denies his Involvement in 9/11
Full text of Pakistani paper’s Sept 01 “exclusive” interview
- 2011-05-09
Where was Osama on September 11, 2001?
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2008-09-11
On September 10. 2001, Osama was in a Pakistan military hospital in Rawalpindi, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan
Osama bin Laden, among the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives”: Why was he never indicted for his alleged role in 9/11?
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-09-17
Osama bin Laden: Already Dead… Evidence that Bin Laden has been Dead for Several Years
- by Prof. David Ray Griffin – 2011-05-02
The Mysterious Death of Osama bin Laden: Creating Evidence Where There Is None
- by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – 2011-08-04
The Assassination of Osama bin Laden: Glaring Anomalies in the Official Narrative
Osama was Left Handed…
- by Felicity Arbuthnot – 2011-05-11
The Assassination of Osama Bin Laden
- by Fidel Castro Ruz – 2011-05-07
Dancing on the Grave of 9/11. Osama and “The Big Lie”
- by Larry Chin – 2011-05-05

PART  IX

 ”False Flags”: The Pentagon’s Second 9/11

The Pentagon’s “Second 911″
“Another [9/11] attack could create both a justification and an opportunity to retaliate against some known targets”
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-08-10
The presumption of this military document, is that a Second 911 attack “which is lacking today” would usefully create both a “justification and an opportunity” to wage war on “some known targets
Crying Wolf: Terror Alerts based on Fabricated Intelligence
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-08-20
This is not the first time that brash and unsubstantiated statements have been made regarding an impending terror attack, which have proven to be based on “faulty intelligence”.

PART X

“Deep Events” and State Violence

The Doomsday Project and Deep Events: JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11
- by Prof. Peter Dale Scott – 2011-11-22
The Doomsday Project is the Pentagon’s name for the emergency planning “to keep the White House and Pentagon running during and after a nuclear war or some other major crisis.”
JFK and 9/11
Insights Gained from Studying Both
- by Dr. Peter Dale Scott – 2006-12-20
In both 9/11 and the JFK assassination, the US government and the media immediately established a guilty party. Eventually, in both cases a commission was set up to validate the official narrative.
Able Danger adds twist to 9/11
9/11 Ringleader connected to secret Pentagon operation
- by Dr. Daniele Ganser – 2005-08-27
Atta was connected to a secret operation of the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in the US. A top secret Pentagon project code-named Able Danger identified Atta and 3 other 9/11 hijackers as members of an al-Qaida cell more than a year before the attacks.
9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics
- by Prof. Peter Dale Scott – 2008-06-11
The unthinkable – that elements inside the state would conspire with criminals to kill innocent civilians – has become thinkable…
Al Qaeda: The Database.
- by Pierre-Henri Bunel – 2011-05-12

PART XI

Propaganda: Creating and Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend

September 11, 2001: The Propaganda Preparation for 9/11: Creating the Osama bin Laden “Legend”
- by Chaim Kupferberg – 2011-09-11
THE 9/11 MYTH: State Propaganda, Historical Revisionism, and the Perpetuation of the 9/11 Myth
- by Prof. James F. Tracy – 2012-05-06
  Al Qaeda and Human Consciousness: Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda…. An Incessant and Repetitive Public Discourse
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-03-24
9/11 Truth, Inner Consciousness and the “Public Mind”
- by James F. Tracy – 2012-03-18

PART XII

Post 9/11 “Justice”

IRAN ACCUSED OF BEING BEHIND 9/11 ATTACKS.
U.S. Court Judgment, December 2011 (Havlish v. Iran)
- by Julie Lévesque – 2012-05-11
U.S. Court Judgment, December 2011 (Havlish v. Iran)
American Justice”: The Targeted Assassination of Osama Bin Laden
Extrajudicial executions are unlawful
- by Prof. Marjorie Cohn – 2011-05-10
ALLEGED “MASTERMIND” OF 9/11 ON TRIAL IN GUANTANAMO: Military Tribunals proceed Despite Evidence of Torture
- by Tom Carter – 2012-05-30
Self-confessed 9/11 “mastermind” falsely confessed to crimes he didn’t commit
- by Washington’s Blog – 2012-07-15
911 MILITARY TRIAL: Pentagon Clears Way for Military Trial of Five charged in 9/11 Attacks
- by Bill Van Auken – 2012-04-06
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s trial will convict us all
- by Paul Craig Roberts – 2009-11-25

PART XIII

9/11 Truth

Revealing the Lies,  Commemorating the 9/11 Tragedy

VIDEO: Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of 9/11
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-09-01
VIDEO: AFTER 9/11: TEN YEARS OF WAR
Special GRTV Feature Production
- by James Corbett – 2011-09-08

*   *  *

Read about 9/11 in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller America’s “War on Terrorism”

According to Chossudovsky, the  “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

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America's War on Terrorism

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With all the hoopla about missing airplanes, renewed wars of the cold variety, and rigged markets, it is easy to forget that America is now officially a totalitarian state of the Orwellian kind, where the population has – involuntarily - ceded all of its privacy in exchange for… something. Because it certainly isn’t security. So we are happy to provide a reminder of just this, especially since as BusinessWeek notes, it gets harder to keep track of all the bizarre ways the National Security Agency has cooked up to spy on people and governments. This may help.

Data in Motion

NSA’s spies divide targets into two broad categories: data in motion and data at rest. Information moving to and from mobile phones, computers, data centers, and satellites is often easier to grab, and the agency sucks up vast amounts worldwide. Yet common data such as e-mail is often protected with encryption once it leaves a device, making it harder—but not impossible—to crack.

Data at Rest

Retrieving information from hard drives, overseas data centers, or cell phones is more difficult, but it’s often more valuable because stored data is less likely to be encrypted, and spies can zero in on exactly what they want. NSA lawyers can compel U.S. companies to hand over some of it; agency hackers target the most coveted and fortified secrets inside computers of foreign governments.

Where the Data Goes

Much of the data the NSA compiles from all these efforts will be stored in its million-square-foot data center near Bluffdale, Utah. It can hold an estimated 12 exabytes of data. An exabyte is the equivalent of 1 billion gigabytes.

And some of the specific methods the NSA uses to spy on US citizens and the occasional offshore “terrorist”:

  • Call Recorder - The agency can intercept and store for up to a month 100 percent of a foreign country’s telephone calls, which can be sorted and played back.
  • Clone Phones - Foreign targets’ cell phones can be surreptitiously swapped for an identical model with built-in listening and data collection devices.
  • Fake Shops - Diplomats at the 2009 G-20 summit in London were tricked, with the NSA’s help, into using an Internet cafe that had been rigged to send data to British intelligence.
  • Travel Trackers - The NSA has several ways to follow the movements of intelligence targets as they get off planes, drive across borders, or move around a city, including an implant that directs a cell phone SIM card to send geolocation data via text message.
  • Special Delivery - Spies intercept computers that foreign targets buy online, fit them with devices that send data to the NSA, and box them back up for normal delivery.
  • X-Ray Vision - Radar waves beamed into a room can detect what is being typed on a keyboard or displayed on a computer screen.
  • Credit Cards - The agency tapped into the network of Visa and major banking systems to collect troves of transaction data.
  • Satellites - The NSA infiltrated German satellite communications used in remote locations such as drilling platforms—and by the country’s diplomats.
  • Gamer Spies - Agency employees join World of Warcraft and Second Life communities, hunting for criminal networks and recruiting informants. They’ve also infiltrated Microsoft’s Xbox Live network.
  • Cell Towers - Base stations mimicking cell towers siphon location data from targets’ phones. Agents can also intercept mobile calls with a shoe-box-size receiver.
  • Submarines - The agency can collect worldwide Internet traffic with a modified nuclear submarine that taps undersea fiber-optic cables—allowing spies to vacuum data from millions of users.
  • Secret Selfies - Malware planted in an iPhone can secretly activate its camera and microphone, turning it into a listening device. Malware for Windows mobile phones enables complete remote control of the handset.
  • Fake Rocks - Transmitters hidden inside rocks and other objects can receive information from NSA taps implanted in nearby computers even if they’re “air gapped” machines or networks that aren’t hooked up to the Internet—among the hardest of all digital targets.

The Stasi is spinning in its grave… with jealousy. The full interactive presentation can be found after the jump:

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Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has a second fascinating essay that rewrites the official record of the sarin gas attack on Ghouta, near Damascus, in August last year. As usual, Hersh uses his sources in the US security establishment to throw light on what really took place. The bottom line: Turkey was almost certainly the party responsible for the attack, hoping it would force Obama to honour his threatened “red line” if Assad used chemical weapons. Was the Assad regime to be brought down by a US military campaign, Turkey assumed it would be able to turn Syria into a client state.

Like the earlier article, this one will probably gain very little attention. It is published in the obscure UK literary publication the London Review of Books. Presumably like last time, Hersh could not find a mainstream publication willing to take it – and I’m guessing that, like last time, these stunningly important revelations will be shunned by the liberal media. Instead, it will be consigned to the memory hole, along with so much other evidence of western crimes against humanity. Pundits and analysts will continue to tell us confidently that Assad carried out the Ghouta attack, oblivious to Hersh’s findings.

The reason the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian have been studiously ignoring Hersh’s investigations on this, it seems to me, is that they show the Obama administration’s foreign policy is just as criminal as the previous Bush White House’s.

Here is a summary of Hersh’s main findings:

* Obama’s sudden climbdown on his threatened military strike against Assad was in part forced on him by a chemical analysis of samples of the sarin used in Ghouta, which showed that its signature did not match that of the stockpiles held by the Assad regime.

* Despite US claims, the White House knew that the Syrian rebels had developed chemical weapons production facilities. UN investigators thought the Syrian opposition were the most likely culprits behind earlier chemical weapons attacks, in April and May 2013.

The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell.

* The military strike being prepared by the White House after the Ghouta attack was, far from small-scale, as secretary of state John Kerry intimated, modelled on the shock and awe campaign against Saddam Hussein.

Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. … The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.

* The US developed a back channel of weapons-smuggling to the Syrian rebels, known as the rat line, in cooperation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, using the “liberated” arsenals from Libya following the west’s ousting of Gaddafi.

The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. … By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. … The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer.

* The job of the US consulate in Libya – the one where ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed – was to provide logistical assistance with the rat line. That was the reason the consulate was attacked.

‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’ … Washington abruptly ended the CIA’s role in the transfer of arms from Libya after the attack on the consulate, but the rat line kept going. ‘The United States was no longer in control of what the Turks were relaying to the jihadists,’ the former intelligence official said. Within weeks, as many as forty portable surface-to-air missile launchers, commonly known as manpads, were in the hands of Syrian rebels. On 28 November 2012, Joby Warrick of the Washington Post reported that the previous day rebels near Aleppo had used what was almost certainly a manpad to shoot down a Syrian transport helicopter. ‘The Obama administration,’ Warrick wrote, ‘has steadfastly opposed arming Syrian opposition forces with such missiles, warning that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists and be used to shoot down commercial aircraft.’

* By late 2012 the US had assessed that the rebels were losing the civil war, and started to downgrade their involvement in the rat line. That left Turkey’s Recep Erdogan the main loser.

The American decision to end CIA support of the weapons shipments into Syria left Erdoğan exposed politically and militarily. ‘One of the issues at that May summit was the fact that Turkey is the only avenue to supply the rebels in Syria,’ the former intelligence official said. … Without US military support for the rebels, the former intelligence official said, ‘Erdoğan’s dream of having a client state in Syria is evaporating and he thinks we’re the reason why. When Syria wins the war, he knows the rebels are just as likely to turn on him – where else can they go? So now he will have thousands of radicals in his backyard.’

* Erdogan therefore became focused on exploiting the “red line” Obama had set on Assad’s use of chemical weapons to force the US to attack Syria.

Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond [to the previous chemical weapons attacks] in March and April.’ … We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘They had to escalate to a gas attack in or near Damascus when the UN inspectors’ – who arrived in Damascus on 18 August to investigate the earlier use of gas – ‘were there. The deal was to do something spectacular. … Barring a major change in policy by Obama, Turkey’s meddling in the Syrian civil war is likely to go on.

www.lrb.co.uk/2014/04/06/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

Media Blackout over Syria

April 6th, 2014 by Brad Hoff

Media Blackout of New Syria Revelations

On April 6, The London Review of Books published in its online journal Seymour Hersh’s “The Red Line and the Rat Line.” Hersh continues to expose details surrounding the staged August 21 chemical attack incident in Syria, which apparently pretty much everyone in Washington’s intelligence bureaucracy suspected was carried out by the rebels as soon as it happened.

Seymour Hersh is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist whose 40+ years career includes the exposing of the My Lai Massacre  and its cover-up, as well as the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. His December 19 report, “Whose Sarin?” -was his first report to expose the Syria chemical attack hoax based on close contact with US Intelligence officials. While “Whose Sarin” was originally prepared for the Washington Post, the newspaper rejected it and a media blackout followed in American press. Currently, Hersh’s newest investigative findings are going unacknowledged in mainstream US media.

Hersh’s report confirms the following:

  • Obama’s push for attack on Syria was halted last minute when evidence that the Syrian government had nothing to do with the August 21 chemical attack became too overwhelming
  • It had been well known to US government officials throughout the summer of 2013 that Turkish PM Erdogan was supporting al-Nusra Front in attempts to manufacture Sarin
  • US military knew of Turkish and Saudi program for bulk Sarin production inside Syria from the spring of 2013
  • UN inspectors knew the rebels were using chemical weapons on the battlefield since the spring of 2013
  • As a result of the staged chemical incident, the White House ordered readiness for a “monster strike” on Syria, which included “two B-22 air wings and two thousand pound bombs” -and a target list which included military and civilian infrastructure targets (note: most of these are in densely populated civilian areas)
  • Full military strike was set for September 2
  • UK defense officials relayed to their American counterparts in the lead up to planned attack: “We’re being set up here.”
  • CIA, MI6, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey set up a “rat line” back in 2012 to run Libyan weapons into Syria via Turkey, including MANPADS; the Benghazi consulate was headquarters for the operation
  • Obama OK’ed Turkish-Iranian gold export scam (that went from March 2012 to July 2013) which erupted in a Turkish scandal that nearly brought down the Erdogan government
  • US Intelligence community had immediate doubts about Syrian regime responsibility for Aug. 21 attack, yet “reluctant to contradict the president”
  • US government will not expose continued Turkey support of terrorism simply because “they’re a NATO ally”

In addition, last Thursday freelance Middle East journalist Sara Elizabeth Williams broke the story of a CIA/US Military run training camp for Syrian rebels in the Jordanian desert. VICE UK ran her story, “I Learned to Fight Like an American at the FSA Training Camp in Jordan,” yet it too failed to make it across the Atlantic into American reporting. International Syria experts thought her story hugely significant, but it got little attention. Top Syria expert in the US, Joshua Landis, announced on his Twitter account Thursday: “Sara Williams gets the scoop on the top secret FSA Training Camp in Jordan.” This courageous young freelancer revealed, with photos, the ins and outs of this secretive facility -yet the mainstream carefully shielded Americans from knowledge of the explosive report.

In email conversation with her this weekend, Williams told me: “The access was tough to get, but I think it was worth the effort: to my mind, it’s important that people know what their government is doing in their name, with their tax dollars.”

According to her investigative report:

  • Confirmed: “US-run training camp” for Syrian rebels in Northern Jordan
  • Rebel recruits go “off the grid” while in secretive training camp
  • Rebel fighter: “The Americans who taught us wore military uniforms I did not recognize. We called them by their first names and they spoke English to us.”
  • Camp awash with “American food and American dollars”: recruits eat Kentucky Fried Chicken and live in temporary “pre-fabricated housing” units
  • Recruits sent through intense 40 day program, which includes exercise, training in anti-tank missiles, and boot camp style atmosphere with orders given by US military instructors
  • Upon graduation, US trained insurgents slip back across Syria’s southern border
  • Experts say there are more camps like this one
  • American trained rebel insurgent says: “America is benefiting from the destruction and the killing in order to weaken both sides.”

Brad Hoff served as a Marine from 2000-2004 at Headquarters Battalion, Quantico. After military service he lived, studied, and traveled throughout Syria off and on from 2004-2010. He currently teaches in Texas.

L’F-35 made in Italy

April 6th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Due posizioni si confrontano nel Pd sulla questione degli F-35. Quella di Roberta Pinotti, ministro della difesa, che dice ai vertici dell’aeronautica di «stare sereni» perché, come ha assicurato il premier Renzi al presidente Obama, l’Italia «non può fare nessun passo indietro» nell’acquisto dei caccia. Quella di Gian Piero Scanu, capogruppo Pd alla commissione Difesa della Camera, che prospetta una riduzione del numero di caccia da acquistare, decisa dal parlamento dopo una «indagine conoscitiva», e assicura che «il pre­si­dente degli Stati uniti si è dimo­strato affi­da­bile e ha dato l’idea di non voler interferire». Si dimentica, nel «dibattito», un piccolo particolare: che l’Italia non è un semplice acquirente, ma un importante produttore del caccia F-35. Dopo la firma del primo memorandum d’accordo da parte del governo D’Alema nel 1998, è stato il governo Berlusconi a firmare nel 2002 l’accordo che ha fatto entrare l’Italia nel programma come partner di secondo livello. È stato nel 2007 il governo Prodi a perfezionarlo e prospettare l’acquisto di 131 caccia. È stato nel 2009 il governo Berlusconi a deliberarne l’acquisto. È stato nel 2012 il governo Monti a «ricalibrare» il numero dei caccia da 131 a 90 per dimostrare che, di fronte alla crisi, tutti devono stringere la cinghia. È stato nel 2013 il governo Letta e nel 2014 quello Renzi a confermare gli impegni dell’Italia nel programma F-35 capeggiato dalla Lockheed Martin, prima produttrice mondiale di armamenti con un fatturato militare annuo di oltre 36 miliardi di dollari. La macchina produttiva ormai è in moto. Il 12 luglio 2013 la Northrop Grumman, uno dei contrattisti, ha consegnato all’impianto Faco di Cameri la sezione centrale della fusoliera del primo F-35 destinato all’Italia. Ciò avveniva dopo che in maggio la Camera aveva impegnato il governo a «non procedere a nessuna fase di ulteriore acquisizione» dell’F-35. Il 6 marzo 2014, comunica la Lockheed, è decollato per un volo di prova in Texas il primo F-35 con componenti delle ali fabbricati da Alenia Aermacchi. La stessa Lockheed pubblica una cartina della rete produttiva dell’F-35 in Italia. Componenti del caccia vengono prodotti a Cameri (NO) da Alenia, a Borgomanero (NO) da Mecaer, a Torino da Alenia Aeronautica e Selex Galileo, a Saronno (VA) da Rotodyna, a Milano da Secondo Mona e Aerea, a Genova da Piaggio Aero, a Casella (GE) da Moog Casella, a La Spezia da Oto Melara ed Elettronica Melara, a Montevarchi (AR) da Selex Communication e Sirio Panel, a Foligno (PG) da Oma, a Ortona (CH) da Samputensili, a Cisterna di Latina / Pomezia (RO) da Selex Communication (Marconi), ad Aprilia (LT) da Aviogel e Aero Sekur, a Roma da Selex SI, Elettronica, Gemelli, Logic, Mbda Italia, S3Log, Selex Communication (Marconi), Vitrociset; a Capua (CE) da Cira, a Palermo da Galileo Avionica. L’Italia è stata dunque legata a doppio filo al programma F-35: in quanto produttrice del caccia, è obbligata ad acquistarne un congruo numero. Al massimo può dilazionare i lotti da acquistare, ma non scendere sotto certi livelli perché verrebbero danneggiate le industrie produttrici. Resta comunque il fatto che, mentre i milioni dei contratti per la produzione di componenti entrano nelle casse di aziende private, i miliardi per l’acquisto dei caccia escono dalle casse pubbliche. L’unica soluzione è uscire dal programma. Il presidente Obama, che Scanu assicura «non vuole interferire», è stato però chiaro: qualche «risparmio» lo potete promettere,  basta però che non usciate dal programma.

Manlio Dinucci 

 

El capitán José Guillén Araque, de la Guardia Nacional de Venezuela, le alertó a Maduro sobre la ofensiva nazi, diciendo: “el fascismo debe ser derrotado antes de que sea demasiado tarde”. En represalia por esta advertencia profética, el patriótico y joven capitán fue atacado por un asesino respaldado por EE.UU. en las calles de Maracay, en el estado de Aragua, el 16 de marzo de 2014. Su muerte elevó a 29 la cantidad de soldados y policías asesinados desde que comenzaron las revueltas fascistas. El asesinato de un oficial prominente y patriótico en una calle principal de una capital de provincia es una indicación más de que los fascistas venezolanos están en la ofensiva, confiados en el apoyo de Washington y de una amplia franja de la clase alta y media de Venezuela. Son parte de una minoría electoral que no tiene ilusiones de tomar el poder por la vía constitucional usando medios democráticos.

El capitán Guillén Araque dio un paso al frente recordándole a Maduro que, en la historia contemporánea, en el camino hacia el poder de los grupos totalitarios fascistas y nazis yacen los cuerpos de demócratas y social-demócratas bien intencionados pero incapaces de usar los medios constitucionales para aplastar a los enemigos de la democracia.

La historia del avance del fascismo en las democracias

En Venezuela, el término “fascista” se aplica apropiadamente a los grupos políticos organizados y violentos que llevan adelante campañas masivas de terror para desestabilizar y derrocar al gobierno bolivariano, que fue elegido democráticamente. Los académicos puristas podrían argumentar que los fascistas venezolanos no tienen la ideología nacionalista y racista que imperaba entre sus predecesores de Alemania, Italia, España y Portugal. Es cierto, y es a la vez, irrelevante. El tipo de fascismo existente en Venezuela es altamente dependiente del imperialismo estadounidense y de sus aliados, los caudillos militares colombianos; y actúan bajo sus órdenes. El racismo de los fascistas venezolanos se pone de manifiesto en los ataques directos contra las clases obrera y campesina, que son multirraciales y afro-indígenas -como quedó demostrado por las vitriólicas expresiones racistas contra el fallecido presidente Chávez. La conexión esencial con los movimientos fascistas precedentes se centra en los siguientes puntos:

1) profunda hostilidad de clase contra la mayoría del pueblo;

2) odio visceral hacia el Partido Socialista Chavista, que ganó 18 de las 19 elecciones pasadas;

3) uso de la toma armada del poder por una minoría que actúa en representación de las clases dominantes locales y de EE.UU.;

4) intención de destruir las instituciones y los procedimientos democráticos, a los que, al mismo tiempo, usa con fines propagandísticos, para ganar espacio político;

5) se enfoca en la destrucción de las instituciones de la clase trabajadora -concejos comunales, asociaciones barriales, clínicas médicas y dentales, escuelas públicas, transporte, almacenes subsidiados de alimentos, centros de discusión política, cooperativas bancarias, sindicatos y cooperativas de campesinos;

6) y por el apoyo que recibe de la gran banca, y de las corporaciones del agro y firmas manufactureras capitalistas.

En Alemania, Italia, España, Francia y Chile, los movimientos fascistas también comenzaron como pequeños grupos terroristas, que consiguieron el apoyo financiero de la élite capitalista gracias a la violencia ejercida contra las organizaciones de la clase trabajadora y las instituciones democráticas, y que reclutaron adeptos principalmente entre los estudiantes universitarios de la clase media, los profesionales de la elite (especialmente doctores) y los oficiales militares de alto rango en actividad y en retiro -unidos por su hostilidad contra el orden democrático.

Trágicamente y con demasiada frecuencia, los líderes democráticos de los gobiernos constitucionales, tienden a ver a los fascistas como “simplemente otro partido”, y se niegan o no tienen voluntad para aplastar las pandillas armadas, que combinan el terror en las calles con las elecciones para ganar el poder estatal. Los demócratas constitucionalistas han fracasado o no tuvieron la voluntad para ver al brazo político, civil, de los nazis como parte integral de un enemigo orgánico y totalitario; entonces negociaron y debatieron una y otra vez con las elites fascistas, que durante el proceso, destruían la economía mientras que los terroristas atacaban los cimientos político-sociales del estado democrático. Los demócratas se negaron a enviar a sus millones de simpatizantes para frenar a las hordas fascistas. Peor aún, hasta se vanagloriaban de haber encarcelado a los policías y soldados acusados de haber usado “fuerza excesiva” al confrontar a los pandilleros fascistas. Por ello, los fascistas se movieron fácilmente de las calles al poder del estado. Los demócratas elegidos por voto estaban tan preocupados por las críticas de los medios internacionales capitalistas, de los críticos de la elite y de las auto-llamadas organizaciones de derechos humanos, que contribuyeron a facilitar la toma del poder de los fascistas. El derecho del pueblo a la defensa armada de la democracia ha sido subordinado al pretexto de respetar las normas democráticas -¡normas que ningún estado burgués bajo ataque hubiera respetado! Los demócratas constitucionalistas fallaron en reconocer cuan drásticamente había cambiado la política. Ya no tenían enfrente de ellos a una oposición parlamentaria preparándose para la próxima elección; se enfrentaban a terroristas armados y a saboteadores que usaban la lucha armada para tomar el poder por cualquier medio -incluyendo golpes de estado violentos.

En el léxico fascista, conciliación democrática significa “debilidad”, “vulnerabilidad” y una invitación a incrementar la violencia; explotan eslóganes como ‘paz y amor’ y ‘derechos humanos’; llaman a ‘negociaciones’ como preámbulos de la derrota; y ‘acuerdos’ como preludios de la capitulación.

Los políticos democráticos que alertan sobre una “amenaza fascista” se vuelven blancos de los ataques violentos de los terroristas, que mientras tanto actúan como si estuvieran participando en “negociaciones parlamentarias”.

Así es como los fascistas llegaron al poder en Alemania, Italia y Chile, mientras los demócratas constitucionalistas, hasta el final, se negaron a armar a los millones de trabajadores organizados que podrían haber rechazado a los fascistas, y salvado la democracia preservando a la vez sus propias vidas.

El fascismo en Venezuela: una amenaza letal en la actualidad

La advertencia del héroe y mártir, capitán Guillén Araque, de un inminente peligro fascista en Venezuela tiene un fundamento sólido. Mientras que las olas de violencia terrorista van y vienen, las estructuras básicas del fascismo en la economía y en la sociedad continúan intactas. Como también siguen en su lugar, las organizaciones subterráneas que financian y organizan la provisión de armas a los fascistas.

Los líderes políticos de la oposición juegan un doble juego, se mueven constantemente entre las protestas legales y la complicidad con los terroristas armados. No hay dudas de que, en todo golpe fascista, la oligarquía política emerge al final como la verdadera dueña del poder -compartiendo cuotas de poder con los líderes de las organizaciones fascistas. Mientras tanto, su ‘respetabilidad’ le provee cobertura política; sus campañas de ‘derechos humanos’ para liberar a los pandilleros encarcelados les gana el apoyo de los ‘medios internacionales’, mientras hacen el papel de intermediarios entre las agencias de EE.UU. que los financian y los terroristas que están en la clandestinidad.

Al medir el alcance y la profundidad del peligro fascista, es erróneo limitarse a simplemente contar la cantidad de bombas, incendios y francotiradores sin incluir la logística, la retaguardia, los grupos periféricos de respaldo y los apoyos institucionales detrás de los actores que dan la cara.

Para “derrotar al fascismo antes de que sea demasiado tarde” el gobierno debe evaluar realistamente los recursos, la organización y el código operativo del comando fascista; y rechazar los pronunciamientos excesivamente temperamentales y triunfalistas emitidos por algunos ministros, consejeros y legisladores.

Primero, los fascistas no son simplemente una pequeña banda que se limita a golpear cacerolas y atacar a trabajadores municipales en los barrios de clase media alta de Caracas para el beneficio de los medios corporativos e internacionales. Los fascistas están organizados a nivel nacional; sus miembros son activos en todo el país.

Sus blancos de ataque son las instituciones y la infraestructura esenciales en numerosas ubicaciones estratégicas.

Su estrategia está coordinada por un comando central; sus operaciones están descentralizadas.

Los fascistas son una fuerza organizada: su financiamiento, armamento y acciones son planificados. Sus acciones no son espontáneas, no son organizadas localmente en respuesta a la ‘represión” gubernamental como las describen los medios burgueses e imperialistas.

Los fascistas reúnen a diferentes corrientes cruzadas de grupos violentos, combinando frecuentemente profesionales de derecha, pandillas de delincuentes a gran escala y traficantes de droga (especialmente en las zonas fronterizas), grupos paramilitares, mercenarios y conocidos delincuentes. Ellos son la “avanzada fascista”, financiada por los principales especuladores con el tipo de cambio, protegidos por autoridades locales, amparados por los inversionistas en bienes raíces y los burócratas universitarios de alto rango.

Los fascistas son “nacionales” e “internacionales”: incluyen a matones pagados localmente y a estudiantes de familias de clase media-alta; a paramilitares colombianos, a mercenarios, a profesionales de todo tipo, a francotiradores asesinos de fuerzas de “seguridad” de EE.UU. y a miembros encubiertos de las Fuerzas Especiales de ese mismo país; y a fascistas “internacionalistas” reclutados en Miami, América Central y el resto de América Latina y Europa.

Los terroristas organizados tienen dos santuarios estratégicos para lanzar sus operaciones violentas -Bogotá y Miami, donde dirigentes locales prominentes, como el ex presidente Álvaro Uribe y legisladores de EE.UU., les proveen respaldo político.

La convergencia de actividades económicas delictivas y altamente lucrativas, y el terrorismo político representa una temible amenaza de dos facetas para la estabilidad de la economía y la seguridad del estado venezolano… Los criminales y los terroristas hallaron un terreno común bajo la protección política de EE.UU., armada con el fin de derrocar al gobierno democrático de Venezuela y aplastar la revolución bolivariana del pueblo venezolano.

Las conexiones y el interaccionar entre criminales y terroristas desde dentro y fuera del país, entre los dirigentes políticos de alto nivel de Washington, los traficantes callejeros de droga, y los contrabandistas “camellos”, les proveen a la elite internacional de voceros y músculos para la lucha callejera y los francotiradores.

Los blancos de ataque de los terroristas no son elegidos al azar; ni son causados por una ciudadanía con bronca que protesta por las desigualdades sociales y económicas. Los blancos, elegidos cuidadosamente, son los programas estratégicos que sostienen al gobierno democrático; primero y por encima de todo, los ataques se enfocan contra las instituciones sociales de masa que forman la base del gobierno. Esto explica porqué las bombas terroristas destruyen clínicas de salud para los pobres, escuelas públicas y centros de alfabetización de adultos en los barrios, las tiendas de comida subsidiadas por el estado y el sistema de transporte público. Todas estas instituciones forman parte del vasto sistema de bienestar social puesto en funcionamiento por el gobierno bolivariano. Ellos son los cimientos que sostienen el voto masivo a favor en 18 de las 19 últimas elecciones y del poder popular en las calles y en las comunidades. Al destruir la infraestructura de la red de bienestar social, los terroristas intentan romper el vínculo social entre el pueblo y el gobierno.

Los terroristas atacan el legítimo sistema nacional de seguridad: principalmente, la policía, la Guardia Nacional, a los fiscales públicos y otras autoridades encargadas de salvaguardar a los ciudadanos. Los asesinatos, ataques violentos y amenazas contra funcionarios públicos, el uso de artefactos incendiarios contra edificios y transporte público apuntan a crear un clima de miedo y demostrar que el estado es débil e incapaz de proteger la vida diaria de sus ciudadanos. Los terroristas quieren proyectar la imagen de “poder dual” al tomar espacios públicos y bloquear el comercio regular… y al ejercer “el gobierno de las calles usando armas”. Por encima de todo, los terroristas quieren desmovilizar y reducir las contra-demostraciones populares al bloquear calles y dispararle a quemarropa a los activistas involucrados en actividades políticas en barrios en conflicto. Los terroristas saben que pueden contar con el respaldo de los aliados políticos de la oposición “legal”, quienes les proveen la base para las protestas en la vía pública, las que sirven como escudo para los asaltos violentos y como un pretexto para escalar el sabotaje.

Conclusión

El fascismo, básicamente el terrorismo armado con el fin de derrotar por medios violentos al gobierno democrático, es una amenaza real e inmediata en Venezuela. El día a día, los altibajos de la lucha callejera y los incendios no dan una dimensión real de la amenaza. Como lo hemos señalado, los respaldos estructurales y organizativos de fondo, que explican el auge y el crecimiento del fascismo son mucho más significativos. El desafío de Venezuela es lograr cortar las bases económicas y políticas del fascismo. Desafortunadamente, hasta hace poco tiempo, el gobierno había sido demasiado delicado frente a las críticas hostiles de las elites internacionales y nacionales que defienden a los fascistas -en nombre de las “libertades democráticas”. El gobierno de Venezuela tiene enormes recursos a su disposición para extirpar la amenaza fascista. Incluso si un accionar firme causara una reacción negativa de los amigos liberales del exterior, la mayoría de los defensores de la democracia creen que es responsabilidad del gobierno actuar contra la oposición que continúa incitando a la rebelión armada.

Recientemente, hubo signos claros de que el gobierno de Venezuela, investido de un poderoso mandato democrático y constitucional, ha avanzado en la toma de conciencia de la amenaza fascista y que actuará con determinación para frenarla en las calles y en las oficinas.

La Asamblea Nacional ha votado para quitarle la inmunidad a Corina Machado, diputada de la Asamblea Nacional, para que esta pueda ser juzgada por incitación a la violencia. El Presidente de la Asamblea Nacional Diosdado Cabello ha presentado documentación detallada que prueba el rol de Machado como organizadora y promotora de la rebelión armada. Numerosos alcaldes de la oposición, que respaldaron activamente a francotiradores, pandilleros e incendiarios, fueron arrestados y enfrentan cargos legales.

La mayoría de venezolanos, al verse confrontados con la ola de violencia fascista, respondió apoyando el enjuiciamiento de los funcionarios involucrados en el sabotaje. Los servicios de inteligencia venezolanos, al igual que la ciudadanía, piensan que sin una acción firme del gobierno, los políticos de la “oposición” seguirán promoviendo la violencia y amparando a los asesinos paramilitares.

El gobierno se ha dado cuenta de que está involucrado en una verdadera guerra, planeada por un liderazgo centralizado y ejecutada por operativos de manera descentralizada. Los dirigentes legislativos han comenzado a entender la psicología política del fascismo, la que interpreta los ofrecimientos de conciliación política del presidente y la tolerancia judicial como debilidades a ser explotadas con el uso de más violencia.

El avance más significativo para detener la amenaza fascista reside en el reconocimiento por parte del gobierno de la conexión entre las elites parlamentarias y de negocios y los terroristas fascistas: que los especuladores financieros, los contrabandistas y los grandes acaparadores de alimentos y otros bienes esenciales forman parte del mismo grupo que puja por el poder en conjunto con los terroristas, quienes ponen bombas en los mercados públicos y atacan los medios de transporte de comida hacia los barrios pobres. Un trabajador revolucionario me dijo después de una escaramuza callejera: “¡Por la razón y la fuerza no pasarán!”…

 James Petras
Texto en inglés :
Traducido para Rebelión por Silvia Arana

In a recent interview in Havana, a former CIA collaborator, Cuban Raúl Capote [see image below] revealed the strategy of the CIA in Venezuelan universities to create the kind of destabilizing opposition student movement the country is currently facing. He also discusses media manipulation, and alleges that one of the U.S. diplomats that President Maduro expelled from Venezuela last September was in fact a CIA agent. The following translation and notes were made by Sabina C. Becker. Original interview in Spanish here.

Raúl Capote is a Cuban. But not just any Cuban. In his youth, he was caught up by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). They offered him an infinite amount of money to conspire in Cuba. But then something unexpected for the US happened. Capote, in reality, was working for Cuban national security. From then on, he served as a double agent. Learn his story, by way of an exclusive interview with the Chávez Vive magazine, which he gave in Havana:

Q. What was the process by which you were caught up?

Raúl CapoteIt started with a process of many years, several years of preparation and capture. I was leader of a Cuban student movement which, at that time, gave rise to an organization, the Saiz Brothers Cultural Association, a group of young creators, painters, writers, artists. I worked in a city in southern-central Cuba, Cienfuegos, which had characteristics of great interest to the enemy, because it was a city in which an important industrial pole was being built at the time. They were building an electrical centre, the only one in Cuba, and there were a lot of young people working on it. For that reason, it was also a city that had a lot of young engineers graduated in the Soviet Union. We’re talking of the last years of the 1980s, when there was that process called Perestroika. And many Cuban engineers, who arrived in Cuba at that time, graduated from there, were considered people who had arrived with that idea of Perestroika. For that reason, it was an interesting territory, where there were a lot of young people. And the fact that I was a youth leader of a cultural organization, which dealt with an important sector of the engineers who were interested in the arts, became of interest to the North Americans, and they began to frequent the meetings we attended. They never identified themselves as enemies, or as officials of the CIA.

Q. Were there many of them, or just always the same person?

Several. They never presented themselves as officials of the CIA, nor as people who had come to cause trouble, or anything.

Q. And who do you suppose they were?

They presented themselves as people coming to help us and our project, and who had the ability to finance it. That they had the chance to make it a reality. The proposal, as such, sounded interesting because, okay, a project in the literary world requires that you know a publisher, that you have editorial relations. It’s a very complex market. And they came in the name of publishers. What happened is that, during the process of contact with us, what they really wanted became quite evident. Because once they had made the contact, once they had begun frequenting our meetings, once they began to promise financing, then came the conditions for being financed.

Q. What conditions did they demand?

They told us: We have the ability to put the markets at your disposal, to put you on the markets of books or sculpture or movies or whatever, but we need the truth, because what we’re selling in the market, is the image of Cuba. The image of Cuba has to be a realistic one, of difficulties, of what’s going on in the country. They wanted to smear the reality of Cuba. What they were asking is that you criticize the revolution, based on anti-Cuba propaganda lines, which they provided.

Q. How big was these people’s budget?

They came with an infinite amount of money, because the source of the money, obviously, we found out over time from whence it came. For example, there was USAID, which was the big provider, the overall contractor of this budget, which channeled the money via NGOs, many of them invented just for Cuba. They were NGOs that didn’t exist, created solely for this type of job in Cuba, and we’re talking thousands and thousands of dollars. They weren’t working on small budgets. To give you an example, at one time, they offered me ten thousand dollars, just to include elements of anti-Cuba propaganda, in the novel I was writing.

Q. What year are we talking about?

Around 1988-89.

Q. How many people could have been contacted by these people, or captured?

In reality, their success didn’t last long, because in Cuba there was a culture of total confrontation with this type of thing, and the people knew very well that there was something behind that story of them wanting to “help” us. It was nothing new in the history of the land, and for that reason, it was very hard for them to get to where we were. In a determined moment, around 1992, we held a meeting, all the members of the organization, and we decided to expel them. They weren’t allowed to attend any more of our meetings. Those people, who were already coming in with concrete proposals, and also preconditioned economic aid they were giving us. What happened is that at the moment we did that, and rejected them, we expelled them from the association headquarters, then they started to particularize. They began to visit with me, in particular, and other comrades as well, young people. With some they succeeded, or should I say, they succeeded in getting some of them out of the country as well.

Q. What kind of profile were they looking for, more or less, if any kind of profile could be specified?

They wanted, above all at that time, to present Cuba as a land in chaos. That socialism in Cuba had not managed to satisfy the needs of the population, and that Cuba was a country that socialism had landed in absolute poverty, and which, as a model, no one liked. That was the key to what they were pursuing, above all, at that time.

Q. How long were you an agent of the CIA?

We were in this initial story until 1994. Because in 1994, I went to Havana, I came back to the capital and here, in the capital, I began to work for the Union of Cultural Workers, a union which represented the cultural workers of the capital, and I became more interesting yet to them, because I went on to direct — from being a leader of a youth organization with 4,000 members, to directing a union with 40,000 members, just in the city of Havana. And then, it gets much more interesting. Contacts followed. In that period there appeared a woman professor from a new university who came with the mission of kick-starting the production of my literary work, to become my representative, to organize events.

Q. Can you give her name?

No, because they used pseudonyms. They never used real names. And that type of work, promoting me as a writer, was what they were very interested in, because they wanted to convert me into a personality in that world. Promoting me now, and compromising me with them in an indirect manner. And then, in 2004, there arrived in Havana a person well known in Venezuela, Kelly Keiderling. Kelly came to Havana to work as Chief of the Office of Press and Culture. They set up a meeting. they arranged a cocktail party, and at that party I met with 12 North American functionaries, North Americans and Europeans. They weren’t only North Americans. All of them people with experience, some also inside the Soviet Union, others who had participated in training and preparation of the people in Yugoslavia, in the Color Revolutions, and they were very interested in meeting me. Kelly became very close to me. She began to prepare me. She began to instruct me. I began to receive, from her, a very solid training: The creation of alternative groups, independent groups, the organization and training of youth leaders, who did not participate in the works of our cultural institutions. And that was in 2004-5. Kelly practically vanished from the scene in 2005-6. And when I started to work, she put me in direct contact with officials of the CIA. Supposedly, I was already committed to them, I was ready for the next mission, and they put me in touch with Renee Greenwald, an official of the CIA, who worked with me directly, and with a man named Mark Waterhein, who was, at the time, the head of Project Cuba, of the Pan-American Foundation for Development.

This man, Mark, as well as directing Project Cuba, had a direct link to Cuba, in terms of financing the anti-revolutionary project, as well as being involved in working against Venezuela. That is, he was a man who, along with much of his team of functionaries of that famous project, also worked against Venezuela at that time. They were closely connected. At times it took a lot of work to tell who was working with Cuba, and who was not, because many times they interlocked. For example, there were Venezuelans who came to work with me, who worked in Washington, who were subordinates of the Pan-American Foundation and the CIA, and they came to Cuba to train me as well, and to bring provisions. From there arose the idea of creating a foundation, a project called Genesis.

Genesis is maybe the template, as an idea, of many of the things going on in the world today, because Genesis is a project aimed at the university youth of Cuba. They were doing something similar in Venezuela. Why? The idea was to convert universities — which have always been revolutionary, which have produced revolutionaries, out of those from which many of the revolutionaries of both countries came — and convert them into factories for reactionaries. So, how do you do that? By making leaders. What have they begun to do in Venezuela? They sent students to Yugoslavia, financed by the International Republican Institute (IRI), which was financed by USAID and by the Albert Einstein Institute, and sent them, in groups of ten, with their professors.

Q. Do you have the names of the Venezuelans?

No, we’re talking of hundreds being sent. I spoke with the professor, and watched one group and followed the other. Because they were working long-term. The same plan was also in place against Cuba. Genesis promoted, with in the university, a plan of training scholarships for Cuban student leaders and professors. The plan was very similar. Also, in 2003, they prepared here, in Havana, a course in the US Interests Section, which was called “Deposing a leader, deposing a dictator”, which was based on the experience of OTPOR in removing Slobodan Milosevic from power. And that was the idea, inside the Cuban university, to work long-term, because these projects always take a long time in order to reap a result. For that reason, they also started early in Venezuela. I believe as well — I don’t have proof, but I believe that in Venezuela it began before the Chávez government, because the plan of converting Latin American universities, which were always sources of revolutionary processes, into reactionary universities, is older than the Venezuelan [Bolivarian] process, to reverse the situation and create a new right-wing.

Q. Did the CIA only work in Caracas?

No, throughout Venezuela. Right now, Genesis has a scholarship plan to create leaders in Cuba. They provide scholarships to students to big North American universities, to train them as leaders, with all expenses paid. They pay their costs, they provide complete scholarships. We’re talking 2004-5 here. It was very obvious. Then, those leaders return to university at some time. They’re students. They go to end their careers. Those leaders, when they end their student careers, go on to various jobs, different possibilities, as engineers, as degree-holders in different sectors of Cuban society, but there are others who go on constantly preparing leaders within the university. One of the most important missions of the university leaders was to occupy the leadership of the principal youth organizations of the university. In the case of Cuba, we’re talking about the Union of Communist Youth, and the University Student Federation. That is, it was not to create parallel groups at that time, but to become the leaders of the organizations already existing in Cuba. Also, to form a group of leaders in the strategies of the “soft” coup. That is, training people for the opportune moment to start the famous “color revolutions” or “non-violent wars”, which, as you well know, have nothing to do with non-violence.

Q. What were they looking for in a professor, in order to capture them?

Professors are very easy. Identify university professors discontented with the institution, frustrated people, because they considered that the institution did not guarantee them anything, or didn’t recognize their merits. If they were older, even better. They didn’t specify. Look for older persons, so you can pick them. If you send a scholarship plan, or you send it and, first crack, they receive an invitation to participate in a great international congress of a certain science, they will be eternally grateful to you, because you were the one who discovered their talent, which has never been recognized by the university. Then that man you sent to study abroad, if you’re from his university, and participating in a big event, and publish his works, and constructing him a curriculum. When that person returns to Cuba, he goes back with a tremendous curriculum, because he has participated in a scientific event of the first order, has passed courses from big universities, and his curriculum reaches to the roof, then the influence he could have in the university will be greater, because he could be recognized as a leading figure in his specialty, even though in practice the man could be an ignoramus.

Q. And how effective were these types of captures, that type of missions they came to accomplish here?

In the case of Cuba, they didn’t have much of a result. First, because there was a most important reason, because I was the one directing the project, and I, in reality, was not an agent of the CIA, I was an agent of Cuban security, and so, the whole project passed through my hands, and they thought I was the one who would execute it. And the plan always passed through the work I was able to do, and what we did was slow it down as much as possible, knowing right away what was being planned. But just think, the goal of their plan, they were calculating for the moment in which the historic figures of the Revolution would disappear. They were figuring on a five- or ten-year term, in which Fidel would disappear from the political scene, and Raúl, and the historic leaders of the land. That was the moment they were waiting for, and when that happened, I was to leave university, with all the support of the international press and that of the NGOs, USAID, and all the people working around the CIA’s money, and that there would arise an organization which would present itself before the light of the public, as an alternative to what the Revolution was doing. That is what was to have happened with the Genesis Foundation for Freedom.

Q. What is that Foundation?

The Genesis Foundation for Freedom was to have a discourse, apparently revolutionary, but the idea was to confuse the people. The idea is that they would say they were revolutionaries, that what they wanted was to make changes in the government, but, when it comes to practice, when you get to the essence of the project, when you ask yourself “What is the project?” the discourse was, and the project was, exactly the same as those of the traditional right-wing. Because the changes they promoted, were the same that the right-wing, for a long time, has been promoting in the country. In practice, they almost had their big opportunity, according to their criteria, in 2006, when the news came out on TV that Fidel, for health reasons, was stepping down from his governmental responsibilities, and they have always said that the Cuban Revolution would die when Fidel died. Because the Revolution was Fidel, and on the day Fidel was no longer there, either by dying or leaving government, the next day the Revolution would fall. And they calculated that there would be internal confrontations, that there would be discontent with this or that. Calculations that I don’t know where they got them from, but they believed it. And in that moment, they believed that the time had come to act.

Q. We’re talking about 2006. What was the plan?

They called me automatically. We met, the CIA station chief and I, here in Havana. Diplomatic functionaries also showed up, and one of them said to me, we’re going to organize a provocation. We’re going to organize a popular uprising in a central neighborhood in Havana. There will be a person going there to rise up for democracy, and we’re going to execute a group of provocations, in different locations, in such a way that Cuban security forces will be forced to act against these people, and later we’ll start a big press campaign and start explaining how all of this will function. The interesting part of that, what really caught my attention, was this: How was it possible that a functionary of the US Interests Section could have the power to call upon the principal media, and that those people would obey with such servility? It was really attention-getting. The idea was — and I even told them this — what you’re telling me is just crazy. This man you mentioned to me, called Alci Ferrer — the guy they picked, a young agent, a doctor — they picked him to be the ringleader of the uprising. I told them, that guy won’t budge anyone. No one is going to rise up in the centre of Havana. The date they picked was none other than Fidel’s birthday, and they told me that day! And I said, Look, buddy, if that man, on that day, decides to go make proclamations, or to start some kind of uprising in the middle of Havana, the people are going to respond harshly. It’s even possible that they might kill him. Why, how could you put him in a humble working-class neighborhood to start those things, the locals…And he told me, flat out, the best thing that could happen for us is if they kill that man, it would be perfect, and they explained to me what would happen. All he had to do was provoke. They would go into the street, and there would be a clash there. If that happened, the press would do the rest, and they told me, we’re going to start a huge media campaign to demonstrate that there is chaos in Cuba, that Cuba is ungovernable; that in Cuba, Raúl is unable to hold the reins of government; that the civilian population is being killed; that students are being repressed in the street, and the people in the street, that the police are committing crimes. What a resemblance to Venezuela! It’s not a coincidence. It’s like that.

Q. So, what was supposed to happen in those circumstances?

Once all the opinion matrices were created, and all the media matrices had constructed that image, the whole world was supposed to have the image of Cuba as a great disaster, and that they’re killing the people, that they are killing them all. Then, my organization was to complete the final task.

Q. What was the final task?

Well, to gather the international press, in my capacity as a university professor, and as a writer, and as a leader of that organization, that I go out publicly to ask the government of the United States to intervene in Cuba, to guarantee the lives of the civilians and to bring peace and tranquility to the Cuban people. To speak to the country in the name of the Cuban people. Just imagine that!

That plan fell apart on them. It gave them no result, but as you could see, later, the way the war in Libya went, and the way it was set up. More than 80% of the information we saw, was fabricated. They’re doing the same in Syria, and they’ve done the same in Ukraine. I have had the opportunity to converse with a lot of Ukrainians, since they were in the bases. People in favor of uniting with Europe. I tried to talk with them these days. Trying to find out, what are those processes like? And they were surprised at the images which were transmitted around the world. What happened in Miami, and they themselves said so, but we’ve been protesting there, but those things that appear on TV, that was a group, or rather, there were sectors, there were places where there were right-wing groups, of the very far right, where there were incidents of that type, and where they burned things, but the greater part of the demonstrations didn’t have those characteristics. Or that this is, once more, the repetition of the scheme, using all the communication media.

Q. The relationship between the CIA and the embassies, in the respective lands, are they direct, then?

Yes, completely direct. In every embassy in Latin America, all the US embassies have CIA officials, working within them, using the façade of diplomatic functionaries.

Q. From what you know, is there a greater CIA presence in the region?

Well, at a certain moment, Ecuador was a major power in that, it had a strong concentration of them, and of course, Venezuela, because in 2012, when I attended the Book Fair in Caracas, all those people who had worked with me against Cuba, all the CIA officials, including Kelly Keiderling, were in Caracas at that time. And I was on a TV show, on VTV, where we talked about this subject, being very careful, because we were talking about two countries who have relations. That’s not the case with Cuba, or rather, Cuba has no relations with the United States. That’s a declared enemy. But we were talking about functionaries who had diplomatic relations, and it was very awkward to do it, without having concrete proofs you could present. However, the interview happened, and the denunciation was made of what was going on. Kelly Keiderling is an expert in this type of war. I have not the slightest doubt. When one follows the itinerary she has, in the countries where she’s been, and when I was in that type of conflict.

She has toured a series of countries in the world where very similar situations have occurred, like what she tried to do in Venezuela. And when you analyze Venezuela, and what has happened nowadays and the way in which she has acted, I think that in Venezuela, the characteristic that has been that they are tremendously aggressive in the manipulation of the information. Tremendously aggressive. To the point where you say it’s a blunder, because there are images which are so obviously not from Venezuela. I saw a very famous one, in which a soldier appears with a journalist, with a camera.They are Koreans. It’s an image from Korea. They’re Asian. They don’t look like Venezuelans at all. Also, the uniforms they wear. They’ve been very aggressive with that image which has projected what’s going on in Venezuela to the world. The greater part of the world’s people, this image is the one they’re seeing, of what they’re trying to say.

Q. They control the media. Do you know any case of any journalist which has been, as you have seen, known or unknown, which you have seen in the process of training?

No.

Q. CNN, for example?

No, there was a guy who had a lot of ties to me at the time here, who served as a link for meeting an official from the CIA., Antony Golden, of Reuters. But, all right, he was an element independent of Reuters. CNN has always been very closely linked to all these things. CNN, from its first moments of operation, above all this latest step, and above all, CNN en Español, has been an indispensable tool for these people, but the problem is that you have to understand one thing: to understand what’s going on, and to be able to mount a campaign, you have to understand that nowadays, there is no TV station that acts on its own. There are the conglomerates, and the communications conglomerates — who directs them? Because, for example, Time Warner and AOL, and all those big communications companies — cable TV, movie TV, TV in general — who is the boss, in the end? Here it’s Westinghouse, there it’s General Electric. The same who build warplanes, the same US arms industry, the same people who are the owners of TV networks, movie studios, publications, book publishers. So, the same guys who produce warplanes, the cookie you’ll eat at night, that presents an artist to you, are the same who rule the newspapers of the entire world. Who do these people answer to?

Q. When you see what’s happening in Venezuela, and you compare it with what you did here [in Cuba], what conclusion can you draw?

It’s a new strategy, which they’ve been developing based on the experience they’ve had all over the world, but I see, I’m convinced, that they’ve only gotten results when people in those places don’t support the revolution. They managed it with Milosevic, because Milosevic was a Yugoslavian leader whose image had fallen far, thanks to things that happened in Yugoslavia. The same happened in Ukraine, because Yanukovych was a man with very little popular support, and it has given results in other places where the governments had little support from the people. Wherever they have a legitimate government, a solid government, and people disposed to defend the revolution, the plan has failed on them.

Q. And what phase do they enter when the plan fails?

They’re going to keep on doing it, they’ll go on perfecting it. We are the enemy. That is, Venezuela, Cuba, everything going on in Latin America as an alternative. We are the dissidents of the world. We live in a world dominated by capitalism. Where that new capitalist way of being dominates, so that now one can’t even call it imperialist, it’s something new, something that goes way beyond what students of Marxism wrote in history years ago. It’s something new, novel. It’s a power, practically global, of the big transnationals, of those megalopolies they’ve created. Therefore, we are the enemy. We are presenting an alternative project. The solution that the world proposes to us, is not that. We know how to do it, and Cuba, Venezuela, the ALBA countries, have demonstrated that it can be done, that one or two days more are nothing. The Cuban revolution has been in existence for 55 years, and with political will, it has achieved things that the US government, with all the money in the world, has been unable to do. So that’s a bad example.

And I’ve told my students: Can you imagine that the Indignants in Spain, the thousands and millions of workers out of work in Spain, that the Greeks, that all those people in all the world, know what we’re doing? Can you imagine that these people get to know who Chávez is? Or who Fidel is? Or of the things we’re doing here? Or the things we’re doing with so few resources, only the will to make revolution and share the wealth? What will happen to capitalism? How much longer will capitalism last, which has to spend billions of dollars, every day, to build its image and fool the people? What would happen if the people knew who we really are? What is the Cuban Revolution, really, and what is the Venezuelan Revolution? Because, if you talked to a Spaniard and asked him about Chávez, and he gives you a terrible opinion of Chávez, because it’s what they’ve constructed in his mind/ And you meet an unemployed person who tells you that Chávez is a bad guy, because the media have convinced him of that, but if these people knew how things really were! So they can’t allow that such formidable enemies as ourselves should be there, at the door.

Q. From the viewpoint of the national sovereignty of our people, how can we stop the CIA? We’ve already talked about the consciousness of the people, which is fundamental in these types of actions, but, in the concrete, how does one foresee the CIA’s work? What can be done? What recommendations do you have?

I think of a thing that Chávez said, and that Fidel has always said, that is the key to defeating the empire, and that is unity. It’s not a slogan, it’s a reality. It’s the only way you have of defeating a project like that. A project that comes from the Special Services and from capitalism. One can only do it with the unity of the people.

Q. Are we talking about the civilian-military?

Yes, unity in all senses. Unity based in diversity, in the peoples, but unity as a nation, unity as a project. Wherever the people are divided, there is another reality.

Q. Where do they have to concentrate? In what area must they concentrate forces to defend us from this type of actions, this type of attacks?

The army to defeat that is the people. I believe that the Cuban experience has taught that very well. There are experiences in the world which mark you very clearly. What has happened in the world, when the people have not been protagonists in defence of the Revolution? And when the people have been protagonists, what happened? And there’s the case of Cuba. We have managed to defeat the CIA and the empire millions of times, because the people have been the protagonist.

Q. Does the CIA use the databases of the social networks, and that sort of thing, to define their plans?

They’re the masters. They’re the masters of that. Fine, there are the denunciations of Snowden and all that has come out of Wikileaks, and all those things that are no secret to anyone, because we suspected, but it’s been demonstrated. It’s been demonstrated that the servers, the Internet, are theirs. All the servers in the world, in the end, die in the North Americans’ servers. They are the mother of the Internet, and all the networks and services are controlled by them. They have access to all the information. And they don’t hesitate to record it. Facebook is an extraordinary database. People put everything on Facebook. Who are your friends? What are their tastes, what movies have they seen? What do they consume? And it’s a source of firsthand information.

Q. Have you been in contact with Kelly Keiderling, after what happened in Venezuela?

No, I haven’t had contact with her. I don’t know what was her final destination, after what happened (she was expelled from Venezuela for meeting with and financing terrorists).

Q. With the experience she has, how far was she able to penetrate into Venezuela, and Venezuelan universities?

I am certain that she got quite far. She’s a very intelligent agent, very well prepared, very capable, and very convinced of what she’s doing. Kelly is a person convinced of the job she is doing. She is convinced of the justness, from her point of view, of what she is doing. Because she is an unconditional representative of capitalism. Because she comes from capitalism’s elite. She is organic of the actions she is doing. There is no contradiction of any kind. And, based on the experience of her work, of her capability, I am sure that she managed to get very far, and gave continuity to a job which is not just for now, it’s a job she will go on doing for a long time, to reverse the process in Venezuelan universities. What’s going on is that up to whatever point they can reach, in the long term, that is what will show the Bolivarian process, in the measure of which the people are aware of what could happen. If that fascist right wing becomes uncontrollable, it could get into power again.

Q. What kind of person who has contacts, who could reach the people, such as by being an activist in a movement, could be captured by the CIA?

They will find them, they will try to do it. If it’s a young person and a leader, they will try to capture them for their interests. We have to train our leaders. We can’t leave that to spontaneity, we can’t leave that to the enemy. So, if we leave them to the enemy, those are spaces which the enemy will occupy. Any alternative project that we leave unattended, any alternative project that we don’t realize the necessity of getting close to, that is a project that the enemy will try, by all means, to take advantage of. Using the enormous amount of money they have for that, which has no limits, in terms of resources to be used, because they are playing with the future and, above all, the young are the key.

The good thing is that the young are the present of Latin America. The Latin American revolution which is there, which is everywhere, is of the young. If not, fine, it will never have results, and if you manage to make young people think differently, if you succeed in getting these youngsters to believe that savage capitalism is the solution to all their problems, then there will be no revolution for Latin America. It’s that simple.

Copyright Revista Chávez Vive and Venezuela Analysis 2014

Mientras queBrasil recuerdala dictadura de 1964 que llego con el quehacer de la Escuela militar de las Américas y con el apoyo de una parte de la cúpula episcopal brasileña,Venezuela vive algo parecido con actividades subversivas de una oposición de derecha extrema con mira a la toma del poder del Estado. En este ultimo caso, esta derecha puede contar con el apoyo de la cúpula episcopal que actúa como guarda avanzada de Washington que esta detrás de todo eso. Este ultimo no para nunca de querer derrotar al gobierno legitimo de los chavistas sostenido por la gran mayoría del pueblo, sobre todo los mas pobres y humildes. Elecciones tras elecciones, el pueblo se reconoce en el gobierno chavista. Hay que decir que el chavismo da prioridad a los intereses del bien común de toda la comunidad venezolana. Lo que no es el caso de la oposición. Así, lo que ella y sus aliados no pueden conseguir por la democracia tratan de conseguirlo por la fuerza, la mentira, la manipulación, el odio y el miedo. El petrolero, por supuesto, esta en la mirada de Washington.

Si, en Brasil, en aquellos anos, todo lo que no era sumisión al imperio era considerado como comunista y, por este hecho, condenado a los peores tratamientos, persecuciones, yendo de las torturas hasta los asesinatos los mas cruales, hoy ocurre lo mismo en Venezuela donde la palabra independencia y socialismo se vuelven a ser confundidos al comunismo del siglo pasado con los mismos prejuicios y las mismas consecuencias.

En enero pasado, el cardenal de Honduras, Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, en una entrevista con un periodista de Berlín, declaraba que el socialismo de Chávez había fracasado y reclamaba una primavera latino-americana lo mas pronto posible. Como por pura casualidad, el 12 de febrero, se produce una primera ofensivas violenta de personas que la prensa del imperio identifica a los estudiantes. Esos estudiantes se revelaron ser terroristas y mercenarios bien armados y preparados para crear el chao y desprestigiar al gobierno de Nicolás Maduro.

En las redes sociales se aprende que la extrema derecha venezolana condensa en el denominado Frente Marabunta, un plan de persecución, acoso y sometimiento en urbanizaciones de clase media contra los partidarios de la Revolución Bolivariana que allí residen, a quienes consideran “traidores”. La acción paramilitar se enmarca en las protestas vandálicas que ha ejecutado la extrema derecha venezolana con el objetivo de derrocar al dignatario Nicolás Maduro, quien fue electo democráticamente por el pueblo. En sus pretensiones golpistas, los violentos han dejado más de una treintena personas fallecidas y centenares de heridos desde el pasado 12 de febrero y centenares de millones de dólares de danos públicos.

Desde el principio de estas acciones de la oposición fascista, la cúpula episcopal se guardo de condenar esas acciones, acusando mas bien al gobierno como el responsable de esta violencia. Nunca los obispos tomaron la palabra para decir a esos grupos de dejar sus acciones violentas y de respetar las vías constitucionales para manifestar sus descontentos. Nunca hicieron alusión a una maniobra preparada de largo plazo para realizar un golpe de Estado suave, es decir en la forma mas hipócrita que se pueda. Nunca se pronunciaron contra todo tipo de golpe de estado que venga de donde venga.

En los últimos tiempos esa cúpula episcopal puso al mismo nivel la violencia de los fascistas y las intervenciones responsables del gobierno al cual le corresponde actuar de por la constitución para asegurar la paz y el respeto de los derechos de los venezolanos y venezolanas. Es como poner a un mismo nivel los ladrones de un banco que detienen a secuestrados y los cuerpos policiales que tratan de liberarlos. Un comportamiento inadmisible y irresponsable de parte de la cúpula episcopal venezolana.

La ultima intervención de esa cúpula les deja a cara descubierta. Se mete de lleno en un terreno político y lo hace sin fundamentar sus acusaciones en contra del gobierno.Ella dice que el gobierno conduce al país hacia un totalitarismo. En su mente es como decir que es comunista como si estuviéramos todavía en el siglo pasado con todos los prejuicios difundidos en contra de todo lo que se aparentaba al comunismo. Religión Digital titula la intervención del episcopado “La Iglesia denuncia: “El chavismo pretende imponer un gobierno totalitario en Venezuela” y en su subtitulo “Los obispos rechazan la “criminalización de la protesta ciudadana”. ¿De donde sacan todo eso?

Ellos que viven en Venezuela no pueden ignorar al gobierno de calle, promovido por el Presidente, para acercarse la gestión publica de las poblaciones de todas las regiones de Venezuela y ver con ellas los problemas que se presentan así que la manera de solucionarlos. Los obispos no pueden ignorar los encuentros provocados por el Presidente con los gobernadores y los alcaldes de todo el país para mejor planear las acciones de los unos con los otros. Ellos no pueden ignorar las iniciativas tomadas por el gobierno para poner alrededor de una misma mesa las personas de todas las corrientes ideológicas tanto del gobierno que de la oposición. Tampoco no pueden ignorar que los alcaldes de la oposición estuvieron, para muchos de ellos, en los disturbios que se realizaron en su alcaldía sin que la policía cumpliera con su mando de mantener la paz en contra de los malhechores con el complacer de los alcaldes. Ellos saben mejor que todos de la campana de desinformación internacional, las fotos falsas, los montajes de eventos violentos, dando al gobierno como responsable de esta violencia mientras mientras que los verdaderos responsables eran los de la oposición violenta. Esos obispos saben muy bien todo eso.

Lo mas grave en todo eso es su apoyo a la violencia de esta oposición de extrema derecha, fascista, criminal. Las autoridades de la Iglesia rechazan la criminalización de los que matan, destruyen, impiden a miles de personas de utilizar transporte en común etc. Son ellos mismos que lo dicen. No tienen ni el coraje de dar un solo ejemplo de un ciudadano molestado por protestar pacíficamente. Hasta tienen la sin vergüenza al atribuir al gobierno lo que el mismo rechaza desde el principio, llamando a la paz y al amor. Dicen ellos como si fuera el caso: “” El gobierno se equivoca al querer resolver la crisis por la fuerza, la represión no es el camino.” Decir esas cosas, sabiendo que no es la verdad, es criminal, viniendo de un episcopado que se reclama del Evangelio, de los pobres de Venezuela que están en gran mayoría con el gobierno, saliendo por miles y miles para apoyándolo en estos momentos difíciles. Yo dejo a Jesús de disfrazarlos como lo hizo con los doctores de la ley según el evangelista Mateo, capitulo 23.

¡Ay de ustedes, escribas y fariseos hipócritas, que parecen sepulcros blanqueados: hermosos por fuera, pero por dentro llenos de huesos de muertos y de podredumbre!

Yo escribo todo eso siendo un creyente en Jesús y en sus Evangelios. No lo escribo a partir de una ideología, sino a partir de una fe que da con la proximidad a los pobres, con la justicia para todos, con la verdad que libera el espíritu y los corazones. No veo nada de todo eso en esa cúpula de jerarcas ni si quiera la veo en la Exhortación apostólica ”Gaudium Evangelii” del papa Francisco.

Es tiempo que el Secretario del Estado del Vaticano se preocupe de informar correctamente al papa Francisco de lo que esta realmente pasando en Venezuela. Ayer era el presidente Maduro y no los obispos que citaba unos pasajes de las intervenciones del Papa Francisco en sus homilías en Santa Marta. Fuera importante que haya una confrontación directa de estos obispos con el President Maduro y sus colaboradores. No tienen todavia la altura necesaria para actuar como mediadores creíbles. Venezuela sigue teniendo el mismo episcopado en termino de mentalidad del que disfruto durante unas horas el golpe de Estado de 2002.

Si esos obispos se dieran la pena de bien analizar el contenido del socialismo del siglo XXI pudieran darse cuenta que es en su conjunto la aplicación en el campo politico lo que nos transmite la enciclica Pax sobre la tierra del papa Juan XXIII. Al igual, responde en muchos aspectos de lo que pide la exhortación apostolica Gaudium Evangelio del papa Francisco.Les invito a leer este texto.

Oscar Fortin

El 4 de abril 2014

http://blogs.periodistadigital.com/

No dia 18 de março de 2014, do Kremlin, o presidente Vladimir Putin fez um discurso histórico depois do referendo que aconteceu na Crimeia. Os meios de comunicação ocidentais escolheram ignorar o ponto de vista russo sobre a crise ucraniana[1]

1.      A Crimeia é parte da história russa e essa realidade está arraigada nos corações e nas mentes de seus habitantes. Lá, foi batizado o grão-duque Vladimir I. Estão nesse território muitas tumbas dos soldados russos que permitiram a integração da Crimeia ao Império Russo.

2.      Sebastopol é o berço da Frota do Mar Negro (russa).

3.      Depois da revolução de 1917, os bolcheviques anexaram arbitrariamente uma grande parte do sul histórico da Rússia à Ucrânia. Isso foi feito sem levar em conta a composição étnica da população, e atualmente essas regiões formam o sudeste da Ucrânia.

4.      Em 1954, a Crimeia foi transferida para a Ucrânia, assim como Sebastopol, apesar de se tratar de uma cidade federal. Foi uma iniciativa pessoal do chefe do Partido Comunista Nikita Kruschev.

5.      Essa decisão foi tomada em franca violação das normas vigentes à época, sem solicitar a opinião dos cidadãos da Crimeia e de Sebastopol. Apenas constataram o fato consumado.

6.      Nessa época, a Ucrânia e a Rússia faziam parte de um mesmo Estado, a União Soviética, e era impensável que se separassem um dia.

7.      Depois do desmoronamento da URSS, os povos das antigas repúblicas soviéticas esperavam que a nova Comunidade dos Estados Independentes se transformassem na nova forma comum de Estado. Os dirigentes de então prometeram uma moeda única, um espaço econômico único e forças armadas conjuntas. Mas não foi o caso.

8.      Então, espoliaram a Crimeia da Rússia.

9.      Com a desaparição da União Soviética, “milhões de pessoas dormiram em um país e acordaram em outro, se transformando do dia para a noite em minorias étnicas nas antigas repúblicas da URSS, enquanto a nação russa se transformou em um dos maiores, talvez o maior grande grupo étnico do mundo divido em fronteiras.”

10.  Em 1991, os residentes da Crimeia e de Sebastopol foram abandonados à própria sorte. É o sentimento geral compartilhado pelos habitantes dessa região.

11.  Em nome do entendimento cordial com o vizinho ucraniano, a Rússia não reivindicou a Crimeia e Sebastopol, que lhe pertenciam por direito.

12.  No ano 2000, depois das negociações com o presidente ucraniano Leonid Kuchma, a Rússia reconheceu que a Crimeia era de jure et de facto território ucraniano.

13.  A Rússia esperava que a Ucrânia se mantivesse amistosa e que os cidadãos russos e de língua russa, particularmente no sudeste do país e da Crimeia, estariam protegidos e gozariam de plenos direitos.

14.  Entretanto, o povos russos e de idioma russo foram submetidos a uma assimilação forçada e as tentativas de privá-los de sua memória histórica se multiplicaram ao longo dos anos.

15.  As atuais aspirações do povo ucraniano por mudança e por uma vida melhor são legítimas.

16.  Os manifestantes da praça Maidan, que rejeitavam a corrupção, a má administração do Estado e a pobreza, tinham reivindicações legítimas e a Rússia estava a seu lado.

17.  Em 2013, três milhões de ucranianos emigraram para a Rússia para trabalhar e seus salários chegaram a mais de 20 bilhões de dólares, ou seja, 12% do PIB da Ucrânia.

18.  Ainda assim, no dia 21 de fevereiro de 2014, os conspiradores derrubaram um governo legítimo, se apoderaram ilegalmente do poder e “recorreram ao terror, ao assassinato e aos massacres”. “Alguns nacionalistas, neonazistas, inimigos dos russos e antissemitas executaram esse golpe de Estado” e estão hoje no poder.

19.  Os Estados Unidos e a Europa ocidental participaram desse golpe de força e deram reconhecimento oficial às autoridades nascidas do golpe.

20.  As novas autoridades de facto imediatamente apresentaram um projeto de lei de revisão da política linguística, “que era uma violação dos direitos das minorias étnicas”, com o objetivo, entre outros, de proibir o idioma russo.

21.  Atualmente, não há nenhuma autoridade executiva legítima na Ucrânia.

22.  Os partidários da legalidade constitucional foram ameaçados de repressão, a começar pela Crimeia.

23.  “Frente a esses acontecimentos, os habitantes da Crimeia e de Sebastopol se dirigiram à Rússia para que os ajudasse a defenderem seus direitos e suas vidas e para impedirem a propagação dos acontecimentos que se desenrolavam e que continuam se desenrolando em Kiev, Donetsk, Kharkov e outras cidades ucranianas.”

24.  A Rússia tinha o dever de responder ao chamado dos habitantes da Crimeia, que se encontravam em perigo.

25.  Em nenhum momento, a Rússia violou o direito internacional. As forças armadas russas nunca entraram na Crimeia, uma vez que já estavam lá.

26.  Os acordos militares preveem uma presença militar russa de 25 mil homens na Crimeia e esse limite nunca foi superado.

27.  O Conselho Supremo da Crimeia, estimando que as novas autoridades golpistas já não garantiam os direitos da região, referiu-se à Carta das Nações Unidas, e, mais precisamente ao direito dos povos à autodeterminação, para declarar sua independência e organizar um referendo.

28.  No dia 16 de março de 2014, 82% dos eleitores participaram da consulta popular e 96% dos votantes se pronunciaram a favor da reunificação com a Rússia.

29.  A Ucrânia adotou o mesmo procedimento quando decidiu se separar da URSS em 1991. “A Ucrânia usou esse direito, mas ele é negado aos habitantes da Crimeia. Por quê?”

30.  A população total de Crimeia é hoje de 2,2 milhões de pessoas, entre elas 1,5 milhão de russos, 350 mil ucranianos cuja língua materna é, em sua maioria, o russo, e 300 mil tártaros.

31.  As autoridades da Crimeia usaram exatamente o mesmo procedimento que Kosovo usou quando decidiu se separar da Sérvia, com o apoio dos países ocidentais, sem solicitar autorização alguma das autoridades centrais do país.

32.  Baseando-se no artigo 2 do capítulo 1 da Carta das Nações Unidas, a Corte Internacional da ONU aprovou essa decisão. “Nenhuma proibição geral pode ser deduzida da prática do Conselho de Segurança em relação às declarações de independência. O direito internacional geral não contém nenhuma proibição contra as declarações de independência.”

33.  No dia 17 de abril de 2009, em relação a Kosovo, os Estados Unidos submeteram o seguinte texto à Corte Internacional das Nações Unidas: “As declarações de independências podem -  e é muitas vezes o caso de – violar a legislação nacional. Entretanto, isso não constitui uma violação do direito internacional.”

34.  Os princípios válidos para Kosovo devem valer também para Crimeia.

35.  O exército russo não disparou uma só vez e não teve nenhuma vítima.

Agência Efe (16.mar.14)

Crimeanos comemoram resultado de referendo que decidiu pela incorporação à Rússia

36.   A situação na Ucrânia reflete o mundo atual. Os países ocidentais, liderados pelos Estados Unidos, preferem a força das armas à força do direito, e pensam que podem decidir eles próprios os destinos do mundo. Usam a força contra Estados soberanos, criando coalizões baseadas no seguinte princípio: “Se não estão conosco, estão contra nós”.

37.  “Para dar aparência de legitimidade às suas agressões, obrigam as organizações internacionais a adotarem as resoluções necessárias, e, se por alguma razão isso não funciona, ignoram simplesmente o Conselho de Segurança da ONU e, inclusive, toda a ONU”.

38.  Foi o caso da Iugoslávia em 1999, quando Belgrado foi bombardeada por semanas, sem nenhuma resolução das Nações Unidas. Também foi o caso no Afeganistão e no Iraque. Em relação à Líbia, foi violada a resolução do Conselho de Segurança, “quando, em vez de impor uma zona de exclusão aérea no país, começaram a bombardeá-lo”.

39.  O golpe de Estado na Ucrânia, organizado pelos países ocidentais, tem como objetivo impedir a integração euroasiática.

40.  A expansão da OTAN para o leste e a implantação de infraestruturas militares, como o sistema de defesa antimísseis, às portas da Rússia, são provas flagrantes disso.

41.  Na Ucrânia, as nações ocidentais cruzaram a linha vermelha.

42.  Milhões de russos vivem na Ucrânia e na Crimeia e só a falta de instinto político não deixaria prever as consequências de tais atos.

43.  “A Rússia não se encontrou em uma posição da qual não poderia se retirar. Quando se comprime ao máximo uma mola, uma dia ela se libertará com força. Sempre devem lembrar-se disso.”

44.  “A Rússia é um participante independente e ativo nos assuntos internacionais; assim como outros países, tem seus próprios interesses nacionais que devem ser levados em conta e respeitados”, sobretudo com a perspectiva de a Ucrânia se integrar À OTAN.

45.  O povo russo aspira a restaurar à unidade de seu território, do qual a Crimeia faz parte.

46.  O respeito aos direitos dos russos e dos habitantes de idioma russo da Ucrânia é “a garantia da estabilidade do Estado da Ucrânia e de sua integralidade territorial.”

47.  A Rússia deseja preservar as relações amistosas com a Ucrânia.

48.  Segundo pesquisas realizadas na Rússia, 92% dos cidadãos apoia a reunificação a Crimeia com a Rússia.

49.  A Crimeia terá daqui por diante três idiomas nacionais em um mesmo plano de igualdade: o russo, o ucraniano e o tártaro.

50.  A crise ucraniana deve ser resolvida pela via política e diplomática, de acordo com a Constituição do país. O idioma da força, da coação ou da ameaça não terá nenhum efeito sobre a Rússia.

*Doutor em Estudos Ibéricos e Latino-americanos, Salim Lamrani é professor-titular da Universidade de la Reunión e jornalista, especialista nas relações entre Cuba e Estados Unidos. Seu último livro se chama Cuba. Les médias face au défi de l’impartialité, Paris, Editions Estrella, 2013, com prólogo de Eduardo Galeano.

Contato: [email protected] ; [email protected]
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[1] Vladimir Poutine, « Discours du 18 mars 2014 », Le Kremlin, 18 mars 2014. http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/6889 (site consulté le 20 mars 2014). Versão em francês: http://www.sayed7asan.blogspot.fr (site consultado em 20 de março de 2014). Versão em espanhol: http://www.radionicaragua.com.ni/noticias/ver/titulo:7186-discurso-de-presidente-de-la-federacion-de-rusia-vladimir-putin-ante-los-diputados-de-la-duma-estatal (site consultado em 20 e março de 2014).

Prominent Malaysian lawyer and author Matthias Chang

A few weeks ago, I had a private high-level discussion with some experts in geopolitics, economics and global finance and I had only one objective for participating in the discussion – to find out what was not said and or avoided in the discussion by the participants.

I learned early in my political career as a student anti-war activist that more can be learned from anyone and in any situation by what has not been said and avoided than from all the hours of lengthy dialogue. In most cases, I already knew the positions of the participants on the subject matter of the discussion from their writings, interviews, press statements, their educational backgrounds and their careers. Usually anything that is being said in a discussion reflects the latest position on the participant’s previously declared stance on the subject matter.

And quite often, what has been revealed through discussions may not necessarily reflect the entirety of the participant’s stance. The difficulty is to be conscious of what the participant has not said and detect what are his reservations and why the reluctance to disclose his thoughts on the matter. In the day-long discussions, I had only intervened twice and I took no more than ten minutes at the most to elicit the reaction that I had anticipated.

The first intervention was in relation to the inevitable implementation of the “Bail-In” (the confiscation of depositors’ monies in financial institutions to pay the bondholders / other creditors) to rescue the Too Big To Fail Banks (TBTF), the template being taken from the Cyprus experience for which all the relevant global central banks and institutions such as BIS, IMF, the World Bank have prepared the groundwork.

No response whatsoever. It was a minefield no one wanted to venture near! The second intervention goes to the very core of the present financial system which is anchored on the “Petro-Dollar”. Again, no response save a cursory deflection, “I don’t know about the petro-dollar”, and the discussion veered off to an irrelevant and an unrelated matter.

I have always known that it is most difficult to tell the truth to “Power” and the vested interests. Once a message is released, it takes on a life of its own and it is not easy to suppress the message in the present inter-connected globalised world. That being the case, it is better to shoot the messenger. I am not saying here that I have been shot. It will take more than a bullet to get rid of me. But, you do get my point.

I do apologise for this rather long preface to the meat of this article. What I am trying to tell you is that truth will always emerge in unexpected circumstances. And as many philosophers have said, “God works in mysterious ways”.

I have written many articles on the Petro-Dollar being the lynch-pin of the US Dollar fiat money system and that once trade in oil is no longer denominated in the US Dollar, the bells will toll for the demise of the US Dollar and the global fiat money system. The renowned financial analyst and author, James Rickards has written two best sellers, “The Currency Wars” and now his latest, “The Death of Money”. And in his recent interview by Max Keiser, he explained that during the Cold War, the “M.A.D. Doctrine” (Mutually Assured Destruction) prevented a nuclear war between the two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the US, as if one superpower were to launch a pre-emptive first strike, there would be enough nuclear missiles remaining in the targeted superpower to retaliate with an equally devastating Second Strike.

In the last few months, we have witnessed a variation of the nuclear M.A.D. Doctrine and for which I have been warning for as long as I can remember but my ringing of the alarm bells have fell on deaf ears.

The “Financial Nuclear Weapon” (the sale of oil in a currency other than the US dollar) which was previously deployed by Saddam Hussein resulted in the total destruction of Iraq, but it failed to deter other countries pissed off with the highhandedness of the Global Policeman.

Libya made another attempt and it resulted in the destruction of the country and the brutal murder of its leader Muammar Gaddafi. Next was Iran. The US and the global financial war party found it much more difficult to isolate and annihilate Iran, even when she was threatened with outright nuclear attack by US and the rabid Israel. And in spite of unprecedented sanctions against Iran (which constitute economic warfare and are war crimes in itself), Iran stood defiant.

The leading members of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Russia and China restrained themselves so as to preserve global stability. However, the war party faction of the Obama regime (the leftovers of the Bush regime) took such restraint as weakness and went on a spree of regime change throughout the world to undermine the growing strength of BRICS.

The straw that broke the camels’ back was the unbridled and reckless coup against the elected President of Ukraine by US and NATO and orchestrated by the US State Department and led by the war-monger Victoria Nuland. She openly admitted on CNN that the US had disbursed through such organisations as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) over US$ 5 Billion to facilitate the coup with the support of the oil giant Chevron.

This was an unprecedented treachery as a few weeks before the bloody coup, the relevant stakeholders entered an agreement to preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine brokered by Russia and endorsed by the EU. Victoria Nuland could not and would not accept the check-mate and so she launched the bloody coup giving no choice to Russia to support the self-determination of Crimea where the majority of the citizens were Russians and where Russia’s Black Sea fleet was located.

The US blatantly threatened Russia in her own backyard. The rest as they say is history.

The infantile and moribund Obama regime, followed sheepishly by member countries of the EU, with Britain playing the “bellboy” declared that sanctions would be imposed on Russia, an act of extreme provocation. This unnecessary provocation was made in spite of the fact that the most brutal sanctions could not break the tenacity of the Iranians. As expected, Russia took no notice of the provocations by the US. Peeved that the bully theatrics had no effect, JP Morgan as the financial proxy stopped a money transfer from the Russian Embassy in Kazakhstan to insurance agency Sogaz. The simple message to Russia was – “Kow-Tow to the US War Party or face financial and economic ruin”. If this is a pre-emptive financial nuclear strike by the US, it is a badly calculated move. Someone in the State Department as well as CFR etc. have neglected to tell Obama (and I am being generous here as I am refraining from calling it a most stupid gambit ever) that in a poker game when the opposite side is holding all the Aces, one do not make any calls when one is holding a weak hand! The fun has now started and the world will soon see the bankruptcy of the US financial empire grounded on the Petro-Dollar.

Russia has launched a devastating counter-strike. But, the silly Obama announced that he will impose a new phase of sanctions against Russia! I will leave it to you to draw the relevant conclusions when you have finished reading the below brilliant analysis by Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge of the just declared financial nuclear war.

I quote: US Threatens Russia Over Petrodollar-Busting Deal

On the heels of Russia’s potential “holy grail” gas deal with China, the news of a Russia-Iran oil “barter” deal, it appears the US is starting to get very concerned about its almighty Petrodollar

*U.S. HAS WARNED RUSSIA, IRAN AGAINST POSSIBLE OIL BARTER DEAL

*U.S. SAYS ANY SUCH DEAL WOULD TRIGGER SANCTIONS

*U.S. HAS CONVEYED CONCERNS TO IRANIAN GOVT THROUGH ALL CHANNELS

We suspect these sanctions would have more teeth than some travel bans, but, as we noted previously, it is just as likely to be another epic geopolitical debacle resulting from what was originally intended to be a demonstration of strength and instead is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of weakness. As we explained earlier in the week, Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and “heaven forbid” gold) and shortly other “regional” currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar, hardly the intended outcome of the western blocakde, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar.

“If Washington can’t stop this deal, it could serve as a signal to other countries that the United States won’t risk major diplomatic disputes at the expense of the sanctions regime,”

And here is Voice of Russia, “Russia prepares to attack the Petrodollar”: The US dollar’s position as the base currency for global energy trading gives the US a number of unfair advantages. It seems that Moscow is ready to take those advantages away.

The existence of “petrodollars” is one of the pillars of America’s economic might because it creates a significant external demand for American currency, allowing the US to accumulate enormous debts without defaulting. If a Japanese buyer want to buy a barrel of Saudi oil, he has to pay in dollars even if no American oil company ever touches the said barrel. Dollar has held a dominant position in global trading for such a long time that even Gazprom’s natural gas contracts for Europe are priced and paid for in US dollars. Until recently, a significant part of EU-China trade had been priced in dollars.

Lately, China has led the BRICS efforts to dislodge the dollar from its position as the main global currency, but the “sanctions war” between Washington and Moscow gave an impetus to the long-awaited scheme to launch the petroruble and switch all Russian energy exports away from the US currency.

The main supporters of this plan are Sergey Glaziev, the economic aide of the Russian President and Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the biggest Russian oil company and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Both have been very vocal in their quest to replace the dollar with the Russian ruble. Now, several top Russian officials are pushing the plan forward.

First, it was the Minister of Economy, Alexei Ulyukaev who told Russia 24 news channel that the Russian energy companies must ditch the dollar. “They must be braver in signing contracts in rubles and the currencies of partnercountries,” he said.

Then, on March 2, Andrei Kostin, the CEO of state-owned VTB bank, told the press that Gazprom, Rosneft and Rosoboronexport, state company specialized in weapon exports, can start trading in rubles. “I’ve spoken to Gazprom, to Rosneft and Rosoboronexport management and they don’t mind switching their exports to rubles. They only need a mechanism to do that”, Kostin told the attendees of the annual Russian Bank Association meeting.

Judging by the statement made at the same meeting by Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, it is safe to assume that no resources will be spared to create such a mechanism. “ Some ‘hot headed’ decision-makers have already forgotten that the global economic crisis of 2008 – which is still taking its toll on the world – started with a collapse of certain credit institutions in the US, Great Britain and other countries. This is why we believe that any hostile financial actions are a double-edged sword and even the slightest error will send the boomerang back to the aborigines,” she said. It seems that Moscow has decided who will be in charge of the “boomerang”. Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, has been nominated to chair the board of directors of Saint-Petersburg Commodity Exchange, a specialized commodity exchange.

In October 2013, speaking at the World Energy Congress in Korea, Sechin called for a “global mechanism to trade natural gas” and went on suggesting that ” it was advisable to create an international exchange for the participating countries, where transactions could be registered with the use of regional currencies “. Now, one of the most influential leaders of the global energy trading community has the perfect instrument to make this plan a reality. A Russian commodity exchange where reference prices for Russian oil and natural gas will be set in rubles instead of dollars will be a strong blow to the petrodollar.

Rosneft has recently signed a series of big contracts for oil exports to China and is close to signing a “jumbo deal” with Indian companies. In both deals, there are no US dollars involved. Reuters reports, that Russia is close to entering a goods-for-oil swap transaction with Iran that will give Rosneft around 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day to sell in the global market. The White House and the russophobes in the Senate are livid and are trying to block the transaction because it opens up some very serious and nasty scenarios for the petrodollar. If Sechin decides to sell this Iranian oil for rubles, through a Russian exchange, such move will boost the chances of the “petroruble” and will hurt the petrodollar.

It can be said that the US sanctions have opened a Pandora’s box of troubles for the American currency. The Russian retaliation will surely be unpleasant for Washington, but what happens if other oil producers and consumers decide to follow the example set by Russia? During the last month, China opened two centers to process yuan-denominated trade flows, one in London and one in Frankfurt. Are the Chinese preparing a similar move against the greenback? We’ll soon find out.

Recap of My Preface

Could the above analysis by Tyler Durden be the reason for the total silence at the High-Level discussion in which I participated recently?

God indeed works in mysterious ways. The Petro-Dollar Global Fiat Money System is teetering at the precipice!

I hate to say it, but I told you so!

Sentencing Corrupt Bankers to Death by Firing Squad

April 6th, 2014 by Global Research News

By Patrick Winn

For the most part, American bankers whose rash pursuit of profit brought on the 2008 global financial collapse didn’t get indicted. They got bonuses.

Odds are that scandal would have played out differently in Vietnam, another nation struggling with misbehaving bankers.

The authoritarian Southeast Asian state doesn’t just send unscrupulous financiers to jail. Sometimes, it sends them to death row.

Amid a sweeping cleanup of its financial sector, Vietnam has sentenced three bankers to death in the past six months.

One duo now on death row embezzled roughly $25 million from the state-owned Vietnam Agribank. Their co-conspirators caught decade-plus prison sentences.

In March, a 57-year-old former regional boss from Vietnam Development Bank, another government-run bank, was sentenced to death over a $93-million swindling job.

According to Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre news outlet, several of his colluders were sentenced to life imprisonment after they confessed to securing bogus loans with a diamond ring and a BMW coupe. And last week, in an unrelated case, charges against senior employees from the same bank allege $47 million in losses from dubious loans.

None of this would impress Bernie Madoff, mastermind of America’s largest ever financial fraud scheme. The combined amount from all three Vietnamese cases adds up to less than 1 percent of his purported $18-billion haul.

But these death sentences nevertheless are high profile scandals in Vietnam.

That’s the point. Human rights watchdogs contend that splashy trials in Vietnam are acts of political theater with predetermined conclusions. The audience: a Vietnamese public weary of state corruption. But these sentences also sound loud alarm bells to dodgy bankers who are currently running scams.

“It’s a message to those in this game to be less greedy and that business as usual is getting out of hand,” said Adam McCarty, chief economist with the Hanoi-based consulting firm Mekong Economics.

“The message to people in the system is this: Your chances of getting caught are increasing,” McCarty said. “Don’t just rely on big people above you. Because some of these [perpetrators] would’ve had big people above them. And it didn’t help them.”

Like most nations that crush dissent and operate with little transparency, Vietnam is highly corrupt.

According to a World Bank study, half of all businesses operating within the communist state expect that gift giving toward officials is required “to get things done.” Transparency International, which publishes the world’s leading corruption gauge, contends Vietnam is more corrupt than Mexico but not quite as bad as Russia.

Unlike in America, where judges can’t sentence white-collar criminals to death, Vietnam can execute its citizens for a range of corporate crimes.

Amnesty International reports that death sentences in Vietnam have been handed down to criminals for running shady investment schemes, counterfeiting cash and even defaulting on loans. This is unusual: United Nations officials have condemned death for “economic crimes” yet Vietnam persists with these sentences — as does neighboring China.

Though statistics on Vietnam’s opaque justice system are scarce, a state official conceded that more than 675 people sit on death row for a range of crimes, according to the Associated Press.

It’s still unclear how the bankers will be killed. Vietnam’s traditional means of execution involves binding perpetrators to a wooden post, stuffing their mouths with lemons and calling in a firing squad. The nation wants to transition to lethal injections. But European nations refuse to export chemicals used in executions (namely sodium thiopental) to governments practicing capital punishment.

Fraudulent bankers are receiving heavy sentences at a moment when Vietnam is enacting major financial reforms.

For decades, Vietnam has been slowly transforming its communist-style, state-run market into a more open and competitive arena. In the post-reunification era, the government owned every bank in Vietnam. Today, state-run banks control only 40 percent of all assets.

This push to bank in a more Western style has ushered in improvements as well as temptations to swindle. According to the UN economist Vu Quang Viet, Vietnamese credit laws passed in 2010 “simply copied the lax US law now widely believed to be at least partially responsible for the financial debacle in 2008.”

Campaigns to root out corruption are promoted as a way to entice foreign investment, which could help prop up Vietnamese banks whose growth has slowed from a sprint to a jog.

But the recent death sentences aren’t really intended to prove the reformers’ sincerity to the outside world, according to McCarty.

“They don’t care about foreigners. It’s all internal politics,” McCarty said. Foreign banking honchos wouldn’t be impressed by a few executions anyway. “If you really want to want to resolve the problem, you can’t just arrest people,” he said. “You’ve got to improve accountability and transparency in the entire system.”

A leading Vietnamese newspaper, Thanh Nien, is also pushing for system-wide cleanup in lieu of showcase trials against a few corporate criminals.

An op-ed in the paper recently compared death sentences for corruption to fighting fire with fire. The preferred approach would be dousing corruption before it burns through public funds. “It is better to prevent corruption,” the paper opined, “than deal with it after the fact.”

Copyright Patrick Winn, Reader Supported News, 2014

Study Shows Republicans Favor Economic Inequality

April 6th, 2014 by Eric Zuesse

A study of the voting records of members of Congress, recently published in the prestigious online scientific journal PLOS One, shows that “Republicans tended to support legislation increasing economic inequality regardless of their social status,” whereas the tendency of congressional Democrats was in the opposite direction but weaker, because “High status Democrats tended to exhibit less support for legislation that reduces economic inequality than did their lower status” peers. The study “analyzed 13 pieces of legislation, chosen by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS; www.ips-dc.org), that were sponsored by members of Congress between 2010 and 2012.” The IPS is a progressive think tank that was founded by anti-Vietnam-War academics Markus Raskin and Richard Barnet in 1963, and which has championed anti-war and civil-rights issues and consistently opposed economic inequality. It frequently attacks both Democrats and Republicans for what IPS considers to be insufficient focus on reducing inequality. It is not a Democratic think tank in the sense that (for example) the Heritage Foundation is a Republican one, because historically IPS has been hostile toward both Parties — it has been “to the left” of both.

IPS rated bills on the impact that they would have in reducing economic inequality. No Republican think tank has rated bills on the impact on increasing economic inequality; so, there was no think tank “on the right” side that could counterbalance IPS “on the left.” Consistent with what turned out to be the findings in this study, people “on the right” don’t care much about economic inequality or else they support it; but, in either case they aren’t studying proposed legislation as to its tendency to increase or decrease it.

This scientific study, “Noblesse Oblige? Social Status and Economic Inequality Maintenance among Politicians,” was published 21 January 2014, and authored by two of the world’s leading researchers of political attitudes, Michael W. Kraus and Bennett Callaghan, both of whom are psychology professors at the University of Illinois.

The authors wrote that “having lower status in one’s local community predicts lower levels of life-satisfaction better than national income levels [32–33]. Thus, we tested the prediction that relative status differences, even among elite members of society, would predict support for economic inequality.” Their study “involved the use of publically available data for 430 members of the US House of Representatives. The data include 190 Democrats and 240 Republicans. The majority of the sample was male (n = 357) and white (n = 359). Members of Congress had served an average of 11.85 years in office (SD = 9.60).”

“The social status of members of the House of Representatives was assessed using three variables: average wealth, race, and gender. For average wealth, estimated average wealth of 423 members of the House of Representatives was collected from the Center for Responsive Politics.”

They “analyzed 13 pieces of legislation, chosen by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS; www.ips-dc.org), that were sponsored by members of Congress [only Representatives; no Senators] between 2010 and 2012. … Legislation (summarized in Table 1) was chosen by the IPS to appear in the 2012 Inequality Report Card,” and those were the 13 bills that were analyzed here.

They found: “As expected, political party affiliation had a large effect on sponsoring behavior …  supporting reduction of economic inequality significantly more than Republicans. … All subsequent analyses assess social status predictors of legislative behavior while accounting for party affiliation.”

Their “Discussion” said: “It is interesting to speculate about the reasons why status did not influence support for economic inequality among Republicans. One perspective suggests that people who identify as liberal [by which they intended to mean progressive] and conservative tend to operate using distinct moral foundations.” On the hypothesis that Republicans, as conservatives, place higher value upon loyalty: “It is perhaps because of this loyalty that low status members of the Republican Party tended to support economic inequality as much as their high status counterparts.” (By contrast: low-status Democrats might not be so loyal, and therefore might break away more often to side with the Progressive Caucus in the House, which doesn’t even have any Republicans in it but which is highly critical of most bills from members of both Parties, but especially of Republican bills — only of a few Democratic bills.) Also: “It is noteworthy that consistent relationships between support for economic inequality and social status emerged across three distinct measures of social status – average wealth, race, and gender. Importantly, influences of wealth, race, and gender have demonstrated some converging effects in prior research.”

My own comments on this study are: The picture that emerges from it fits very well with the Republican Party being the rich white Christian male Party, and the Democratic Party being instead a collection of lower-status groups, such as females, the non-wealthy, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, etc. — all of the historical rejects from traditional high society in American culture — in other words: the lower-status groups. Whereas the Republican Party is solidly pro-aristocracy at the expense of the public, the Democratic Party is split between the two — mainly pro-public, but with a significant pro-aristocracy contingent (such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton). Whereas there exists a Republican ideology (solidly conservative), there is no Democratic ideology (it’s not solidly progressive), and this also is the reason why the Democratic Party can select Presidential candidates like Obama and the Clintons, who are tools of the aristocracy who simply mouth platitudes about “the need for more equality” just so as to win elections in order to compromise them away with Republicans to achieve “change” that’s no basic change at all, and that’s not even necessarily change in a progressive direction (for example, estate taxes have still been going down, which is a primary goal of the aristocracy, but which has been ferociously opposed by more than 95% of Democrats in both the House and the Senate).

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.

The March payroll jobs report released April 4 claims 192,000 new private sector jobs. Here is what John Williams has to say about the claim: 

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) deliberately publishes its seasonally-adjusted historical payroll-employment and household-survey (unemployment) data so that the numbers are neither consistent nor comparable with current headline reporting.  The upside revisions to the January and February monthly jobs gains, and the relatively strong March payroll showing, reflected nothing more than concealed, favorable shifts in underlying seasonal factors, hidden by the lack of consistent BLS reporting.  In like manner, consistent month-to-month changes in the unemployment rate or labor force simply are not knowable, because the BLS cloaks the consistent and comparable numbers.”

Here is what Dave Kranzler has to say:

the employment report is probably the most deceptively fraudulent report produced by the Government.”

As I have pointed out for a decade, the “New Economy” jobs that we were promised in exchange for our manufacturing jobs and tradable professional service jobs that were

offshored have never shown up. The transnational corporations and their hired shills among economists lied to us. Not even a jobs report as deceptive and fraudulent as the BLS payroll jobs report can hide the fact that Congress, the White House, and the American people have sat sucking their thumbs while corporations maximized profits for the one percent at the expense of everyone else in the United States.

Let’s look at where the alleged jobs are. The BLS jobs report says that 28,400 jobs were created in March in wholesale and retail sales.  March is the month that Macy’s, Sears, JC Penny, Staples, Radio Shack, Office Depot, and other retailers announced combined closings of several thousand stores, but more retail clerks were hired.

The BLS payroll jobs report claims 57,000 jobs in “professional and business services.” Are these jobs for lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, and managers?  No.  The combined new jobs for these middle class professional skills totaled 10,400.  Employment services accounted for 42,000 of the jobs in “professional and business services” of which temporary help accounted for 28,500.

“Education and health services” accounted for 34,000 jobs or which ambulatory and home health care services accounted for 28,000 of the jobs.

The other old standby, waitresses and bartenders, accounted for 30,400 jobs. The number of Americans dependent on food stamps who cannot afford to go out to eat or to purchase a six-pack of beer has almost doubled, but the demand for restaurant meals and bar drinks keeps rising.

There you have it.  This is America’s “New Economy.”  It the jobs exist at all, they consist of lowly paid, largely part-time employment that fails to produce enough income to prevent the food stamp rolls from doubling.

Without growth in consumer income, there is no growth in aggregate consumer demand.  Offshoring jobs also offshores the income associated with the jobs, resulting in the decline in the domestic consumer market.  The US transnational corporations, pursuing profits in the short-run, are destroying their long-run consumer base.  The transnational corporations are also destroying the outlook for US universities, as it makes no sense to incur large student loan debt when job prospects are poor.  The corporations are also destroying US leadership in innovation as  US corporations increasingly become marketeers of foreign-made goods and services.

As I predicted in 2004, the US will have a third world work force in 20 years.

The unemployment figures are as deceptive as the employment figures.  The headline unemployment rate of 6.7% does not include discouraged workers. When discouraged  workers are included among the unemployed, the US rate of unemployment is 3.4 times higher than the announced rate.

How many times has John Williams written his report?  How many times have I written this article? Yet the government continues to issue false reports, and the presstitute financial media continues to ask no questions.

The US, once a land of opportunity, has been transformed into an aristocratic economy in which income and wealth are concentrated at the very top.  The highly skewed concentration at the top is the result of jobs offshoring, which transformed Americans’ salaries and wages into bonuses for executives and capital gains for owners, and financial deregulation, which produced financial collapse and the Federal Reserve’s bailout of “banks too big too fail.”  The trillions of dollars of new money created by the Federal Reserve has produced massive inflation of stock prices, making owners even richer.

Sooner or later the dollar’s value will suffer as a result of the massive creation of new dollars. When that occurs, the import-dependent American population will suffer a traumatic drop in living standards.  The main cost of the bank bailout has yet to hit.

As I write I cannot think of one thing in the entire areas of foreign and domestic policy that the US government has told the truth about in the 21st century.  Just as Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, Iran has no nukes, Assad did not use chemical weapons, and Putin did not invade and annex Crimea, the jobs numbers are fraudulent, the unemployment rate is deceptive, the inflation measures are understated, and the GDP growth rate is overstated.  Americans live in a matrix of total lies.

What can Americans do?  Elections are pointless. Presidents, Senators, and US Representatives represent the interest groups that provide their campaign funds, not the voters. In two decisions, the Republican Supreme Court has made it legal for corporations to purchase the government. Those who own the government will decidewhat it does, not those who vote.

All Americans can do is to accept the serfdom imposed on them or take to the streets and stay in the streets despite being clubbed, tasered, arrested, and shot by the police, who protect the power structure, not the public.

In America, nothing is done for the public.  But everything is done to the public.

Unrest is continuing in the mineral-rich state of the Central African Republic as French and African Union (AU) peacekeeping troops are patrolling the capital of Bangui and other areas. France has announced that it will be deploying an additional 400 troops to its former colony.

Also the European Union (EU) has committed to sending in 1,000 of its soldiers as attacks against Muslims are resulting in more injuries and deaths. Tens of thousands of people in the Islamic community have fled the country or re-located to internally displaced persons camps.

The government of interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has pledged to put a halt to the targeted violence against Muslims. Several leaders of the anti-Balaka militias have been arrested.

According to the Associated Press

“Officials in Central African Republic say 11 men including leaders of the Christian anti-Balaka militia have been transferred to the capital’s main prison.

The men were detained during a disarmament program Saturday.” (February 17)

This article continues saying “They are the first prisoners taken into custody by the government of transitional President Catherine Samba-Panza. Justice Minister Isabelle Gaudeuille declined to name the suspects or specify the allegations against them. But Jean-Pierre Sadou of the African peacekeeping mission said they included multiple anti-Balaka leaders.”

The anti-Balaka militias grew up among the majority Christian population in the CAR in response to atrocities committed by the Muslim-dominated Seleka Coalition which seized power in March 2013. Seleka was led by Michel Djotodia, who served as interim president from March 2013 to January of this year.

Djotodia was forced from office due to external pressure from France and Chad. A regional summit was convened in N’Djamena which resulted in the removal of the interim regime headed by Seleka.

Muslims Halted Seeking to Leave the Fighting

Tens of thousands of Muslims are being forced out of the CAR. Some of these residents are nationals of Chad and Sudan but others are citizens of the country.

Muslims inside the CAR are heavily involved in trade. As a result of these attacks the economic situation inside the country is worsening because of the looting of shops and the shortages of food and consumer goods.

An article in the Economist quoted a CAR citizen saying that “Traders have mostly left as there is little security at the markets. The cattle-herders have fled to the bush so there is very little meat, making it extremely expensive for us to buy. With few means of making money, we are in trouble,” said Elodie Nguerele, a Christian who teaches in Bangui, the capital. (Feb. 15)

This same report also notes that “Less than a quarter of the wholesalers who import food from neighboring countries remain in Bangui, according to aid agencies. Attacks on Muslims may encourage the rest to flee. Residents in Bangui say that supplies of sugar and flour are critically short. The prices for staples are soaring. According to the UN, 1.3m of the country’s 4.6m people need food aid urgently.”

On February 14, hundreds of Muslims in car caravans sought to leave the capital of Bangui but were halted by anti-Balaka forces threatening to kill them. African peacekeeping forces from Burundi ordered the convoy back to local mosques fearing further clashes that would lead to more injuries and deaths.

Mass graves have been uncovered in the capital and other regions of the country. Estimates of deaths in the fighting since January are more than 1,000.

 AU member-states have contributed to the peacekeeping mission for the CAR known as MISCA. In early February it was announced that over $300 million had been pledged to aid the operation.

Nonetheless, the tensions within the country remain extremely high. The process of transporting people through the CAR to neighboring Chad and Cameroun is a very dangerous task.

In the Bangui neighborhood of Miskine, Muslims were threatened in their efforts to leave the capital. Mosques have become safe-havens for the minority Islamic community that only makes up 15 percent of the overall population of less than five million in the CAR.

 Lieutenant Rosana Nsengimana, of the African peacekeeping force Misca, said: “The convoy escorted by Burundian forces returned to its departure point because of a problem in a neighborhood on the north end of the city where the Muslims would have had to pass through.” There have been reports of people killed based upon rumors and suspicions. (Guardian, UK, Feb. 14)

In a village in the northwest of the country, an official of Amnesty International (AI) reported that widespread targeting of Muslims had resulted in the burning of homes and the killing of civilians including children. These ongoing attacks have not built faith in the French and African military occupation forces that are said to be acting as peacekeepers.

 According to AI senior adviser Donatella Rovera, “All the houses of the Muslim population had been burned or looted and in one of the houses I found a little girl of about 11. She was the only Muslim survivor of the village: the others had either fled or been killed. She was crouching in a corner. She had been hiding there since the day of the massacre. She had not eaten or drunk anything. She was terrified and could not stand at all.” (Guardian, Feb. 14)

 The article goes on reporting that “She said her father had been killed and her mother had been killed. She was not speaking very much. There had not been any peacekeepers there at all even though this place was a place that had already seen confrontation between anti-balaka and Seleka forces earlier.”

French, EU and African Troops Are Proving to be Ineffective

 Although the EU says that it is sending in 1,000 troops and France will escalate its presence to 2,000, the situation is not improving for the Muslim population or others in the CAR. The inability of the interim government of President Samba-Panza to re-organize the armed forces and the police is reflective of the political vacuum prevailing for nearly a year.

France is increasing its military presence in various African states including Mali, where they have had troops for over a year in the north of the country. Although Paris claimed that its invasion of Mali would only last for few months, more than a thousand troops remain in an ostensible anti-terrorism operation.

Both Mali and the CAR have significant deposits of diamonds, gold and uranium. In Niger, a major source of uranium, the West African state is also being occupied by the Pentagon and French troops since the mines there are being controlled by a firm based in Paris, Areva.

In Libya, where French bombers carried out attacks against the former government of Col. Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the political and security situation is highly precarious. In January loyalist forces took control of several towns in the southern Libya and hoisted the green flag of the Jamahiriya under Gaddafi.

France recently suggested that it was prepared to establish a “security zone” in southern Libya. However, the foreign ministry soon withdrew this claim.

French public opinion is growing strongly in opposition to its neo-colonial adventures in Africa. The United States is supporting these efforts in Mali, the CAR and Libya, where the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) along with NATO coordinated the overthrow and destruction of the Gaddafi government in 2011.

 These imperialist interventions in Africa will not bring peace and security, in fact they have done just the opposite. In Mali, the intervention of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) through training programs and direct monetary support to soldiers, led to a military coup in March 2012.

Other European imperialist states such as Germany are being prodding to enter the CAR as well. A recent editorial in Deutsche Welle, the state-controlled media service, called for greater involvement from the government of Angela Merkel.

Only when Africa establishes its own independent military command can these internal conflicts be effectively contained and halted. The ongoing imperialist system of neo-colonialism continues to render the AU to a subordinate role in resolving the economic, social and security crises that are mounting on the continent.

Author’s note

The world  is currently commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. The official story is that the genocide directed against the Tutsi population was triggered by the Interhamwe militia of the Habyarimana government in the wake of the plane crash which led to the death of president Habyarimana. The evidence suggests that the United States played a covert role in shooting down the plane.

The geopolitics underlying the Rwandan genocide should be understood.

Whereas France was accused of supporting the Habyarimana government. the United States played an undercover role in triggering the genocide.

The ultimate objective was to displace France from Central Africa. It is worth noting that that a similar situation is unfolding in the Central African republic which historically has been an area of French influence. Ethnic divisions between Christians and Muslims are being fomented the ultimate objective is to establish a US proxy states in the Central African republic.

The 1994 Rwandan “genocide” served strictly strategic and geopolitical objectives. The ethnic massacres were a stumbling blow to France’s credibility which enabled the US to establish a neocolonial foothold in Central Africa. From a distinctly Franco-Belgian colonial setting, the Rwandan capital Kigali has become –under the expatriate Tutsi led RPF government– distinctly Anglo-American. English has become the dominant language in government and the private sector. Many private businesses owned by Hutus were taken over in 1994 by returning Tutsi expatriates. The latter had been exiled in Anglophone Africa, the US and Britain.

The Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) functions in English and Kinyarwanda, the University previously linked to France and Belgium functions in English. While English had become an official language alongside French and Kinyarwanda, French political and cultural influence will eventually be erased. Washington has become the new colonial master of a francophone country.

In the words of former Cooperation Minister Bernard Debré in the government of France’s Prime Minister Henri Balladur:

“What one forgets to say is that, if France was on one side, the Americans were on the other, arming the Ugandans, who armed the Tutsis. I don’t want to portray a showdown between the French and the Anglo-Saxons, but the truth must be told.” 43

Originally written in May 2000, published on Global research in May 2003, the following text is Part II of Chapter 7 entitled “Economic Genocide in Rwanda”, Second Edition of The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order , Global Research, 2003. 

Michel Chossudovsky, April 6, 2014

*      *     *

Rwanda, Installing a US Protectorate in Central Africa. The US was Behind the Rwanda Genocide

by Michel Chossudovsky

First  published in May 2000, posted by Global Research May 2003

The civil war in Rwanda and the ethnic massacres were an integral part of US foreign policy, carefully staged in accordance with precise strategic and economic objectives.

From the outset of the Rwandan civil war in 1990, Washington’s hidden agenda consisted in establishing an American sphere of influence in a region historically dominated by France and Belgium. America’s design was to displace France by supporting the Rwandan Patriotic Front and by arming and equipping its military arm, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA)

From the mid-1980s, the Kampala government under President Yoweri Musaveni had become Washington’s African showpiece of “democracy”. Uganda had also become a launchpad for US sponsored guerilla movements into the Sudan, Rwanda and the Congo. Major General Paul Kagame had been head of military intelligence in the Ugandan Armed Forces; he had been trained at the U.S. Army Command and Staff College (CGSC) in Leavenworth, Kansas which focuses on warfighting and military strategy. Kagame returned from Leavenworth to lead the RPA, shortly after the 1990 invasion.

Prior to the outbreak of the Rwandan civil war, the RPA was part of the Ugandan Armed Forces. Shortly prior to the October 1990 invasion of Rwanda, military labels were switched. From one day to the next, large numbers of Ugandan soldiers joined the ranks of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). Throughout the civil war, the RPA was supplied from United People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) military bases inside Uganda. The Tutsi commissioned officers in the Ugandan army took over positions in the RPA. The October 1990 invasion by Ugandan forces was presented to public opinion as a war of liberation by a Tutsi led guerilla army.

Militarization of Uganda

The militarization of Uganda was an integral part of US foreign policy. The build-up of the Ugandan UPDF Forces and of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) had been supported by the US and Britain. The British had provided military training at the Jinja military base:

“From 1989 onwards, America supported joint RPF [Rwandan Patriotic Front]-Ugandan attacks upon Rwanda… There were at least 56 ‘situation reports’ in [US] State Department files in 1991… As American and British relations with Uganda and the RPF strengthened, so hostilities between Uganda and Rwanda escalated… By August 1990 the RPF had begun preparing an invasion with the full knowledge and approval of British intelligence. 20

Troops from Rwanda’s RPA and Uganda’s UPDF had also supported John Garang’s People’s Liberation Army in its secessionist war in southern Sudan. Washington was firmly behind these initiatives with covert support provided by the CIA. 21

Moreover, under the Africa Crisis Reaction Initiative (ACRI),Ugandan officers were also being trained by US Special Forces in collaboration with a mercenary outfit, Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI) which was on contract with the US Department of State. MPRI had provided similar training to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the Croatian Armed Forces during the Yugoslav civil war and more recently to the Colombian Military in the context of Plan Colombia.

Militarization and the Ugandan External Debt

The buildup of the Ugandan external debt under President Musaveni coincided chronologically with the Rwandan and Congolese civil wars. With the accession of Musaveni to the presidency in 1986, the Ugandan external debt stood at 1.3 billion dollars. With the gush of fresh money, the external debt spiraled overnight, increasing almost threefold to 3.7 billion by 1997. In fact, Uganda had no outstanding debt to the World Bank at the outset of its “economic recovery program”. By 1997, it owed almost 2 billion dollars solely to the World Bank. 22

Where did the money go? The foreign loans to the Musaveni government had been tagged to support the country’s economic and social reconstruction. In the wake of a protracted civil war, the IMF sponsored “economic stabilization program” required massive budget cuts of all civilian programs.

The World Bank was responsible for monitoring the Ugandan budget on behalf of the creditors. Under the “public expenditure review” (PER), the government was obliged to fully reveal the precise allocation of its budget. In other words, every single category of expenditure –including the budget of the Ministry of Defense– was open to scrutiny by the World Bank. Despite the austerity measures (imposed solely on “civilian” expenditures), the donors had allowed defense spending to increase without impediment.

Part of the money tagged for civilian programs had been diverted into funding the United People’s Defense Force (UPDF) which in turn was involved in military operations in Rwanda and the Congo. The Ugandan external debt was being used to finance these military operations on behalf of Washington with the country and its people ultimately footing the bill. In fact by curbing social expenditures, the austerity measures had facilitated the reallocation of State of revenue in favor of the Ugandan military.

Financing both Sides in the Civil War

A similar process of financing military expenditure from the external debt had occurred in Rwanda under the Habyarimana government. In a cruel irony, both sides in the civil war were financed by the same donors institutions with the World Bank acting as a Watchdog.

The Habyarimana regime had at its disposal an arsenal of military equipment, including 83mm missile launchers, French made Blindicide, Belgian and German made light weaponry, and automatic weapons such as kalachnikovs made in Egypt, China and South Africa [as well as ... armored AML-60 and M3 armored vehicles.23 While part of these purchases had been financed by direct military aid from France, the influx of development loans from the World Bank's soft lending affiliate the International Development Association (IDA), the African Development Fund (AFD), the European Development Fund (EDF) as well as from Germany, the United States, Belgium and Canada had been diverted into funding the military and Interhamwe militia.

A detailed investigation of government files, accounts and correspondence conducted in Rwanda in 1996-97 by the author --together with Belgian economist Pierre Galand-- confirmed that many of the arms purchases had been negotiated outside the framework of government to government military aid agreements through various intermediaries and private arms dealers. These transactions --recorded as bona fide government expenditures-- had nonetheless been included in the State budget which was under the supervision of the World Bank. Large quantities of machetes and other items used in the 1994 ethnic massacres --routinely classified as "civilian commodities" -- had been imported through regular trading channels. 24

According to the files of the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR), some of these imports had been financed in violation of agreements signed with the donors. According to NBR records of import invoices, approximately one million machetes had been imported through various channels including Radio Mille Collines, an organization linked to the Interhamwe militia and used to foment ethnic hatred. 25

The money had been earmarked by the donors to support Rwanda's economic and social development. It was clearly stipulated that funds could not be used to import: "military expenditures on arms, ammunition and other military material". 26 In fact, the loan agreement with the World Bank's IDA was even more stringent. The money could not be used to import civilian commodities such as fuel, foodstuffs, medicine, clothing and footwear "destined for military or paramilitary use". The records of the NBR nonetheless confirm that the Habyarimana government used World Bank money to finance the import of machetes which had been routinely classified as imports of "civilian commodities." 27

An army of consultants and auditors had been sent in by the World Bank to assess the Habyarimana government's "policy performance" under the loan agreement.28 The use of donor funds to import machetes and other material used in the massacres of civilians did not show up in the independent audit commissioned by the government and the World Bank. (under the IDA loan agreement. (IDA Credit Agreement. 2271-RW).29 In 1993, the World Bank decided to suspend the disbursement of the second installment of its IDA loan. There had been, according to the World Bank mission unfortunate "slip-ups" and "delays" in policy implementation. The free market reforms were no longer "on track", the conditionalities --including the privatization of state assets-- had not been met. The fact that the country was involved in a civil war was not even mentioned. How the money was spent was never an issue.30

Whereas the World Bank had frozen the second installment (tranche) of the IDA loan, the money granted in 1991 had been deposited in a Special Account at the Banque Bruxelles Lambert in Brussels. This account remained open and accessible to the former regime (in exile), two months after the April 1994 ethnic massacres.31

Postwar Cover-up

In the wake of the civil war, the World Bank sent a mission to Kigali with a view to drafting a so-called loan "Completion Report".32 This was a routine exercise, largely focussing on macro-economic rather than political issues. The report acknowledged that "the war effort prompted the [former] government to increase substantially spending, well beyond the fiscal targets agreed under the SAP.33 The misappropriation of World Bank money was not mentioned. Instead the Habyarimana government was praised for having “made genuine major efforts– especially in 1991– to reduce domestic and external financial imbalances, eliminate distortions hampering export growth and diversification and introduce market based mechanisms for resource allocation…” 34, The massacres of civilians were not mentioned; from the point of view of the donors, “nothing had happened”. In fact the World Bank completion report failed to even acknowledge the existence of a civil war prior to April 1994.

In the wake of the Civil War: Reinstating the IMF’s Deadly Economic Reforms

In 1995, barely a year after the 1994 ethnic massacres. Rwanda’s external creditors entered into discussions with the Tutsi led RPF government regarding the debts of the former regime which had been used to finance the massacres. The RPF decided to fully recognize the legitimacy of the “odious debts” of the 1990-94. RPF strongman Vice-President Paul Kagame [now President] instructed the Cabinet not to pursue the matter nor to approach the World Bank. Under pressure from Washington, the RPF was not to enter into any form of negotiations, let alone an informal dialogue with the donors.

The legitimacy of the wartime debts was never questioned. Instead, the creditors had carefully set up procedures to ensure their prompt reimbursement. In 1998 at a special donors’ meeting in Stockholm, a Multilateral Trust Fund of 55.2 million dollars was set up under the banner of postwar reconstruction.35 In fact, none of this money was destined for Rwanda. It had been earmarked to service Rwanda’s “odious debts” with the World Bank (–i.e. IDA debt), the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

In other words, “fresh money” –which Rwanda will eventually have to reimburse– was lent to enable Rwanda to service the debts used to finance the massacres. Old loans had been swapped for new debts under the banner of post-war reconstruction.36 The “odious debts” had been whitewashed, they had disappeared from the books. The creditor’s responsibility had been erased. Moreover, the scam was also conditional upon the acceptance of a new wave of IMF-World Bank reforms.

Post War “Reconstruction and Reconciliation”

Bitter economic medicine was imposed under the banner of “reconstruction and reconciliation”. In fact the IMF post-conflict reform package was far stringent than that imposed at the outset of the civil war in 1990. While wages and employment had fallen to abysmally low levels, the IMF had demanded a freeze on civil service wages alongside a massive retrenchment of teachers and health workers. The objective was to “restore macro-economic stability”. A downsizing of the civil service was launched.37 Civil service wages were not to exceed 4.5 percent of GDP, so-called “unqualified civil servants” (mainly teachers) were to be removed from the State payroll. 38

Meanwhile, the country’s per capita income had collapsed from $360 (prior to the war) to $140 in 1995. State revenues had been tagged to service the external debt. Kigali’s Paris Club debts were rescheduled in exchange for “free market” reforms. Remaining State assets were sold off to foreign capital at bargain prices.

The Tutsi led RPF government rather than demanding the cancellation of Rwanda’s odious debts, had welcomed the Bretton Woods institutions with open arms. They needed the IMF “greenlight” to boost the development of the military.

Despite the austerity measures, defense expenditure continued to grow. The 1990-94 pattern had been reinstated. The development loans granted since 1995 were not used to finance the country’s economic and social development. Outside money had again been diverted into financing a military buildup, this time of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). And this build-up of the RPA occurred in the period immediately preceding the outbreak of civil war in former Zaire.

Civil War in the Congo

Following the installation of a US client regime in Rwanda in 1994, US trained Rwandan and Ugandan forces intervened in former Zaire –a stronghold of French and Belgian influence under President Mobutu Sese Seko. Amply documented, US special operations troops — mainly Green Berets from the 3rd Special Forces Group based at Fort Bragg, N.C.– had been actively training the RPA. This program was a continuation of the covert support and military aid provided to the RPA prior to 1994. In turn, the tragic outcome of the Rwandan civil war including the refugee crisis had set the stage for the participation of Ugandan and Rwandan RPA in the civil war in the Congo:

“Washington pumped military aid into Kagame’s army, and U.S. Army Special Forces and other military personnel trained hundreds of Rwandan troops. But Kagame and his colleagues had designs of their own. While the Green Berets trained the Rwandan Patriotic Army, that army was itself secretly training Zairian rebels.… [In] Rwanda, U.S. officials publicly portrayed their engagement with the army as almost entirely devoted to human rights training. But the Special Forces exercises also covered other areas, including combat skills… Hundreds of soldiers and officers were enrolled in U.S. training programs, both in Rwanda and in the United States… [C]onducted by U.S. Special Forces, Rwandans studied camouflage techniques, small-unit movement, troop-leading procedures, soldier-team development, [etc]… And while the training went on, U.S. officials were meeting regularly with Kagame and other senior Rwandan leaders to discuss the continuing military threat faced by the [former Rwandan] government [in exile] from inside Zaire… Clearly, the focus of Rwandan-U.S. military discussion had shifted from how to build human rights to how to combat an insurgency… With [Ugandan President] Museveni’s support, Kagame conceived a plan to back a rebel movement in eastern Zaire [headed by Laurent Desire Kabila] … The operation was launched in October 1996, just a few weeks after Kagame’s trip to Washington and the completion of the Special Forces training mission… Once the war [in the Congo] started, the United States provided “political assistance” to Rwanda,… An official of the U.S. Embassy in Kigali traveled to eastern Zaire numerous times to liaise with Kabila. Soon, the rebels had moved on. Brushing off the Zairian army with the help of the Rwandan forces, they marched through Africa’s third-largest nation in seven months, with only a few significant military engagements. Mobutu fled the capital, Kinshasa, in May 1997, and Kabila took power, changing the name of the country to Congo…U.S. officials deny that there were any U.S. military personnel with Rwandan troops in Zaire during the war, although unconfirmed reports of a U.S. advisory presence have circulated in the region since the war’s earliest days.39

American Mining Interests

At stake in these military operations in the Congo were the extensive mining resources of Eastern and Southern Zaire including strategic reserves of cobalt — of crucial importance for the US defense industry. During the civil war several months before the downfall of Mobutu, Laurent Desire Kabila based in Goma, Eastern Zaire had renegotiated the mining contracts with several US and British mining companies including American Mineral Fields (AMF), a company headquartered in President Bill Clinton’s hometown of Hope, Arkansas.40

Meanwhile back in Washington, IMF officials were busy reviewing Zaire’s macro-economic situation. No time was lost. The post-Mobutu economic agenda had already been decided upon. In a study released in April 1997 barely a month before President Mobutu Sese Seko fled the country, the IMF had recommended “halting currency issue completely and abruptly” as part of an economic recovery programme.41 And a few months later upon assuming power in Kinshasa, the new government of Laurent Kabila Desire was ordered by the IMF to freeze civil service wages with a view to “restoring macro-economic stability.” Eroded by hyperinflation, the average public sector wage had fallen to 30,000 new Zaires (NZ) a month, the equivalent of one U.S. dollar.42

The IMF’s demands were tantamount to maintaining the entire population in abysmal poverty. They precluded from the outset a meaningful post-war economic reconstruction, thereby contributing to fuelling the continuation of the Congolese civil war in which close to 2 million people have died.

Concluding Remarks

The civil war in Rwanda was a brutal struggle for political power between the Hutu-led Habyarimana government supported by France and the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) backed financially and militarily by Washington. Ethnic rivalries were used deliberately in the pursuit of geopolitical objectives. Both the CIA and French intelligence were involved.

In the words of former Cooperation Minister Bernard Debré in the government of France’s Prime Minister Henri Balladur:

“What one forgets to say is that, if France was on one side, the Americans were on the other, arming the Ugandans, who armed the Tutsis. I don’t want to portray a showdown between the French and the Anglo-Saxons, but the truth must be told.” 43

In addition to military aid to the warring factions, the influx of development loans played an important role in “financing the conflict.” In other words, both the Ugandan and Rwanda external debts were diverted into supporting the military and paramilitary. Uganda’s external debt increased by more than 2 billion dollars, –i.e. at a significantly faster pace than that of Rwanda (an increase of approximately 250 million dollars from 1990 to 1994). In retrospect, the RPA — financed by US military aid and Uganda’s external debt– was much better equipped and trained than the Forces Armées du Rwanda (FAR) loyal to President Habyarimana. From the outset, the RPA had a definite military advantage over the FAR.

According to the testimony of Paul Mugabe, a former member of the RPF High Command Unit, Major General Paul Kagame had personally ordered the shooting down of President Habyarimana’s plane with a view to taking control of the country. He was fully aware that the assassination of Habyarimana would unleash “a genocide” against Tutsi civilians. RPA forces had been fully deployed in Kigali at the time the ethnic massacres took place and did not act to prevent it from happening:

The decision of Paul Kagame to shoot Pres. Habyarimana’s aircraft was the catalyst of an unprecedented drama in Rwandan history, and Major-General Paul Kagame took that decision with all awareness. Kagame’s ambition caused the extermination of all of our families: Tutsis, Hutus and Twas. We all lost. Kagame’s take-over took away the lives of a large number of Tutsis and caused the unnecessary exodus of millions of Hutus, many of whom were innocent under the hands of the genocide ringleaders. Some naive Rwandans proclaimed Kagame as their savior, but time has demonstrated that it was he who caused our suffering and misfortunes… Can Kagame explain to the Rwandan people why he sent Claude Dusaidi and Charles Muligande to New York and Washington to stop the UN military intervention which was supposed to be sent and protect the Rwandan people from the genocide? The reason behind avoiding that military intervention was to allow the RPF leadership the takeover of the Kigali Government and to show the world that they – the RPF – were the ones who stopped the genocide. We will all remember that the genocide occurred during three months, even though Kagame has said that he was capable of stopping it the first week after the aircraft crash. Can Major-General Paul Kagame explain why he asked to MINUAR to leave Rwandan soil within hours while the UN was examining the possibility of increasing its troops in Rwanda in order to stop the genocide?44

Paul Mugabe’s testimony regarding the shooting down of Habyarimana’s plane ordered by Kagame is corroborated by intelligence documents and information presented to the French parliamentary inquiry. Major General Paul Kagame was an instrument of Washington. The loss of African lives did not matter. The civil war in Rwanda and the ethnic massacres were an integral part of US foreign policy, carefully staged in accordance with precise strategic and economic objectives.

Despite the good diplomatic relations between Paris and Washington and the apparent unity of the Western military alliance, it was an undeclared war between France and America. By supporting the build up of Ugandan and Rwandan forces and by directly intervening in the Congolese civil war, Washington also bears a direct responsibility for the ethnic massacres committed in the Eastern Congo including several hundred thousand people who died in refugee camps.

US policy-makers were fully aware that a catastrophe was imminent. In fact four months before the genocide, the CIA had warned the US State Department in a confidential brief that the Arusha Accords would fail and “that if hostilities resumed, then upward of half a million people would die”. 45 This information was withheld from the United Nations: “it was not until the genocide was over that information was passed to Maj.-Gen. Dallaire [who was in charge of UN forces in Rwanda].” 46

Washington’s objective was to displace France, discredit the French government (which had supported the Habyarimana regime) and install an Anglo-American protectorate in Rwanda under Major General Paul Kagame. Washington deliberately did nothing to prevent the ethnic massacres.

When a UN force was put forth, Major General Paul Kagame sought to delay its implementation stating that he would only accept a peacekeeping force once the RPA was in control of Kigali. Kagame “feared [that] the proposed United Nations force of more than 5,000 troops… [might] intervene to deprive them [the RPA] of victory”.47 Meanwhile the Security Council after deliberation and a report from Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali decided to postpone its intervention.

original

The 1994 Rwandan “genocide” served strictly strategic and geopolitical objectives. The ethnic massacres were a stumbling blow to France’s credibility which enabled the US to establish a neocolonial foothold in Central Africa. From a distinctly Franco-Belgian colonial setting, the Rwandan capital Kigali has become –under the expatriate Tutsi led RPF government– distinctly Anglo-American. English has become the dominant language in government and the private sector. Many private businesses owned by Hutus were taken over in 1994 by returning Tutsi expatriates. The latter had been exiled in Anglophone Africa, the US and Britain.

The Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) functions in English and Kinyarwanda, the University previously linked to France and Belgium functions in English. While English had become an official language alongside French and Kinyarwanda, French political and cultural influence will eventually be erased. Washington has become the new colonial master of a francophone country.

Several other francophone countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have entered into military cooperation agreements with the US. These countries are slated by Washington to follow suit on the pattern set in Rwanda. Meanwhile in francophone West Africa, the US dollar is rapidly displacing the CFA Franc — which is linked in a currency board arrangement to the French Treasury.

Notes (Endnote numbering as in the original chapter)

  1. Africa Direct, Submission to the UN Tribunal on Rwanda, http://www.junius.co.uk/africa- direct/tribunal.html Ibid.
  2. Africa’s New Look, Jane’s Foreign Report, August 14, 1997.
  3. Jim Mugunga, Uganda foreign debt hits Shs 4 trillion, The Monitor, Kampala, 19 February 1997.
  4. Michel Chossudovsky and Pierre Galand, L’usage de la dette exterieure du Rwanda, la responsabilité des créanciers, mission report, United Nations Development Program and Government of Rwanda, Ottawa and Brussels, 1997.
  5. Ibid
  6. Ibid
  7. ibid, the imports recorded were of the order of kg. 500.000 of machetes or approximately one million machetes.
  8. Ibid
  9. Ibid. See also schedule 1.2 of the Development Credit Agreement with IDA, Washington, 27 June 1991, CREDIT IDA 2271 RW.
  10. Chossudovsky and Galand, op cit
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.
  13. World Bank completion report, quoted in Chossudovsky and Galand, op cit.
  14. Ibid
  15. Ibid
  16. See World Bank, Rwanda at http://www.worldbank.org/afr/rw2.htm.
  17. Ibid, italics added
  18. A ceiling on the number of public employees had been set at 38,000 for 1998 down from 40,600 in 1997. See Letter of Intent of the Government of Rwanda including cover letter addressed to IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, IMF, Washington, http://www.imf.org/external/np/loi/060498.htm , 1998.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Lynne Duke Africans Use US Military Training in Unexpected Ways, Washington Post. July 14, 1998; p.A01.
  21. Musengwa Kayaya, U.S. Company To Invest in Zaire, Pan African News, 9 May 1997.
  22. International Monetary Fund, Zaire Hyperinflation 1990-1996, Washington, April 1997.
  23. Alain Shungu Ngongo, Zaire-Economy: How to Survive On a Dollar a Month, International Press Service, 6 June 1996.
  24. Quoted in Therese LeClerc. “Who is responsible for the genocide in Rwanda?”, World Socialist website at http://www.wsws.org/index.shtml , 29 April 1998.
  25. Paul Mugabe, The Shooting Down Of The Aircraft Carrying Rwandan President Habyarimama , testimony to the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), Alexandria, Virginia, 24 April 2000.
  26. Linda Melvern, Betrayal of the Century, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa, 8 April 2000.
  27. Ibid
  28. Scott Peterson, Peacekeepers will not halt carnage, say Rwanda, rebels, Daily Telegraph, London, May 12, 1994.

 

(GMT) on Tuesday 1st April, a correspondent on the BBC’s flagship morning news programme “Today” stated that Russia had “seized Crimea”, faithfully following the rampant propaganda being hysterically stirred from Washington and Whitehall and by newspapers ranging from the Los Angeles Times to pick-your-favourite-news-outlet land.

 Again, for anyone just returning from another planet, Crimea with a turn out of 83.1%, voted, in a referendum, by nearly ninety seven percent, to rejoin Russia. Not only was not a shot fired (apart from a couple in the air and one by a sniper suspiciously mirroring actions by the far right in Kiev) but incredibly, Russia is now contemplating returning some of the arms from the bases it has taken over, to Kiev.

Reportedly two thirds of Ukrainian armed forces stationed in Crmea are so underwhelmed by those who, backed by the US, illegally overthrew the government in Kiev, that they have opted to stay in Crimea and/or join Russia’s defence forces.

Incidentally, a google of “referendum” elicits that:

“A  referendum … is a direct  vote in which the entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment or a law … the referendum is one of the three pillars of direct democracy.” (Emphasis mine.)

 Never the less, on Thursday 27th March, the UN, ever willing to do Washington’s bidding, carried a majority vote for a Resolution which dismissed Crimea’s vote as:

“having no validity (and) cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or of the (Capital) City of Sevastopol.”

Surely the key to this craven farce is also in the word “Autonomous”, of which the dictionary definition is:

“(of a country or region) having the freedom to govern itself or control its own affairs.”

Western diplomats were quoted as saying the UN vote sent a “strong message” to Russia. Well no. Since it is non-binding the bluster is hardly worth the oxygen expended, or the hot air that accompanied it.

Perhaps the most laughable statement of the day was from Ukrainian “Foreign Minister” Andriy Deshchytsia, who said that:

“The purpose of this document is to reinforce core United Nations principles … This text is also about respect of territorial integrity and non use of force to settle disputes” and that challenges would not be allowed: “to our rules based on international framework.”

This from a man involved in the US funded overthrow of a sovereign government, resulting in over one hundred deaths and a mob: “Feeding the blazing defenses with blankets, tires, wood, sheets of plastic foam and anything else that might burn”, in their efforts to overthrow President Viktor Yanukovych, who whatever his failings, was democratically elected.

‘ “It is called the tactic of scorched earth,” said a protester who identified himself as Andriy.’ (New York Times, 19th February 2014.)

This was the mob of which US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted: “To echo Barack Obama today – proud to stand #UnitedForUkraine. World should stand together with one voice.”  She was joined by an un-named “Senior White House official” who: “posted a ‘selfie’ on Twitter holding a sign that read: ‘#United­For­Ukraine @State­Dept­Spox.”

 Those with whom they were “standing” were also, presumably, the:

“Hundreds of members of the ultra-nationalist Right Sector movement” who “stormed the parliament (Rada) building in Kiev, smashing windows and breaking down doors” on 19th March.(1)

 Meanwhile, “scorched earth” seems to be the order of the day, with former Ukraninan Prime Minister and jail bird, Yulia Tymoshenko, in an alleged telephone conversation (2) with former Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, Nester Shufrych, stating that arms should be raised against the Russian Federation so that: “not even a scorched field will be left in Russia.”

 “This is really beyond all boundaries. It’s about time we grab our guns and go kill those damn Russians together with their leader”, she is cited as saying.

“Tymoshenko confirmed the authenticity of the conversation on Twitter” but claimed:

“a section where she is heard to call for the nuclear slaughter of the eight million Russians who remain on Ukrainian territory was edited.”

On President Putin, seemingly she  was also prepared to: “grab a machine gun and shoot that m*********er in the head.”

That German hospital must have worked miracles on her alleged severely damaged spine.

Meanwhile, in the Crimea this week, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, with a delegation of Cabinet Ministers, paid a surprise visit promising funds for improved power supplies, water lines, education, health care, infrastructure, salaries and pensions for the elderly. Shortly before when much of the power supplied by Ukraine was mysteriously cut, Russia immediately supplied mega-sized generators – some which had been formerly deployed as power back-up for the Sochi Olympics.

 Medvedev also announced that Crimea would benefit from the creation of a special economic zone, with lower taxes, simplification of bureaucracy, incentives for business development and the development of the region – named by National Geographic as a “Best Trip” in 2013 – as a top tourist destination.

 Meanwhile, Russia’s Defence Minister announced that all men of conscription age will get a one year deferral of draft.

 NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen finds this all very threatening, warning of danger of “intervention”, “miscalculation”, strategic implications.” Ratcheting up rhetoric to hysteria level, warning that Russia could “invade” swathes of the Ukraine in three to five days – a statement with more than a whiff of Tony Blair’s weapons of mass destruction which could be launched in “forty five minutes.”

Threatening is actually NATO, whose member countries near encircle the Russian Federation, with Ukraine’s troops to train with NATO in Bulgaria in shortly upcoming exercises. The trained killers have wasted no time in recruiting new members to their international gang. The US has sent six F-15s to “patrol” the Baltic and twelve f-16s to Poland, pledging that: ”more US support is on the way.” America’s friends better watch out – it’s “support” is more often than not an occupation – and mega scorched earth.

Meanwhile, back in Ukraine, the population is set for financial nightmares. Russia’s parliament has cancelled rents for the Black Sea Fleet’s base until 2042 – worth $98 million annually. Also cancelled are generous discounts for Russia’s natural gas. Household gas prices are expected to rise by fifty percent from the 1st May. The complex gas discount and the hosting of the Black Sea Fleet are linked, thus, additionally, Kiev may also be additionally obliged: “to return $ eleven billion which Russia paid to lease the bases.”(3)

 Meanwhile, Ukraine’s “interim government” has to ponder on how to repay a believed twenty seven billion dollar loan to the IMF, with its entire gold reserves allegedly “confiscated”(4) in more than forty heavy boxes and taken for “safe keeping” to the US – as Iraq’s and Libya’s  gold reserves and with Germany’s from WW11 still unreturned.

 In all, it has to be wondered how many in the Ukraine are wondering whether to move to Crimea.

 Notes

1.           http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2591624/Fears-neo-fascist-uprising-Ukraine-far-right-group-storms-Kiev-parliament-ex-president-calls-independence-vote.html#ixzz2xjkdQ22P

2.          http://rt.com/news/tymoshenko-calls-destroy-russia-917/

3.          http://rt.com/business/russia-ukraine-debt-kharkov-313/

4.          http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraines-gold-reserves-secretely-flown-out-and-confiscated-by-the-new-york-federal-reserve/5373446

 

Reported by the Associated Press, Washington has created a “Cuban Twitter” with a view to creating social unrest. The ultimate objective of this and other initiatives is to demonize and weaken the Cuban Communist government.

This program should be seen as  part of Washington’s Worldwide actions to implement regime change in countries which do not abide by U.S. diktats.  The social media program entitled ZunZuneo was part of a secret plan under the auspices of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID):

In July 2010, Joe McSpedon, a U.S. government official, flew to Barcelona to put the final touches on a secret plan to build a social media project aimed at undermining Cuba’s communist government.

McSpedon and his team of high-tech contractors had come in from Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Washington and Denver. Their mission: to launch a messaging network that could reach hundreds of thousands of Cubans. To hide the network from the Cuban government, they would set up a byzantine system of front companies using a Cayman Islands bank account, and recruit unsuspecting executives who would not be told of the company’s ties to the U.S. government.

The project was financed by USAID as part of a “democracy” building agenda. USAID  is known to have routine contacts with the CIA. The U.S. Agency for International Development was essentially a front for a carefully planned intelligence operation:

Documents show the U.S. government planned to build a subscriber base through “non-controversial content”: news messages on soccer, music, and hurricane updates. Later when the network reached a critical mass of subscribers, perhaps hundreds of thousands, operators would introduce political content aimed at inspiring Cubans to organize “smart mobs” — mass gatherings called at a moment’s notice that might trigger a Cuban Spring, or, as one USAID document put it, “renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society.”

At its peak, the project drew in more than 40,000 Cubans to share news and exchange opinions. But its subscribers were never aware it was created by the U.S. government, or that American contractors were gathering their private data in the hope that it might be used for political purposes.

The Cuban media reacted to the ZunZuneo twitter project by pointing to a continuous process of covert operations directed against Cuba since the 1961 Bay of Pigs failed invasion. It is worth noting that Cuba has been under a US sanctions regime since 1962.

The ZunZuneo initiative is viewed by the Cuba government as part of  a process of non-conventional warfare (including cyber warfare) waged against countries (e.g. Venezuela, Ukraine) which do not abide by Washington’s demands.

The destabilization of Cuba has been on drawing board of the US State Department and the CIA since the 1960s.

Actions directed against Cuba are undertaken through  the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Economic Support Fund (ESF) of the US State Department.

Other organizations providing funding and operating in tandem with USAID and the NED are Freedom House, The Center for a Free Cuba,  The Institute for Democracy in Cuba, the Cuban Dissidence Task Group, the International Republican Institute (IRI).

Documented by Eva Golinger, USAID channels these destabilizing programs through an “Office for Transition Initiatives (OTI) for Cuba with a view to engaging “in work with youths” and in the “independent initiatives of the mass media,”  According to Golinger:

The OTI handles liquid funds in dollars “in very large quantities, without having to go through a lot of review or accountability at the US Congress.”

There are two major points of difference between traditional warfare and irregular warfare: objectives and tactics, she pointed out.

Irregular warfare is aimed at controlling the civilian population and neutralizing the State, and its main tactic is ‘counterinsurgency,’ which is the use of indirect and asymmetric techniques, such as subversion, infiltration, psychological operations, cultural penetration and military deceit.” (Voltaire Net, August 9, 2009)

According to Prensa Latina, “Zun Zuneo joins an extensive list of secret anti-Cuban operations” as well as numerous plots to assassinate Fidel Castro.

The Cuban government of Raul Castro has requested the US to cease these actions:

Prensa Latina recalled a 1 January speech in which President Raúl Castro warned of “attempts to subtly introduce platforms for neoliberal thought and for the restoration of neocolonial capitalism”.

Castro’s denunciations of the US government’s destabilizing attempts against Cuba were corroborated by today’s revelation of a plan to push Cuban youth toward the counterrevolution, with the participation of a US agency,” Prensa Latina said. (Guardian, April 4, 2014)

The existence of this program was known to the Cuban authorities prior to the publication of the AP report.  According to Josefina Vidal, director of U.S. affairs at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, in a official statement, the ZunZuneo program:

“shows once again that the United States government has not renounced its plans of subversion against Cuba, which have as their aim the creation of situations of destabilization in our country to create changes in the public order and toward which it continues to devote multimillion-dollar budgets each year. The government of the United States must respect international law and the goals and principles of the United Nations charter and, therefore, cease its illegal and clandestine actions against Cuba, which are rejected by the Cuban people and international public opinion”

The secret Cuba twitter will be the object of  debate at the US Congress in a session of the House Oversight Subcommittee.

The Role of Fascism and the Oligarchs in Ukraine

April 5th, 2014 by Global Research News

The following is a transcript of our interview with Sergey Kirichuk of the Borotba Party, a left-wing, antifascist Ukrainian political party fighting for the solidarity of Ukrainians. We discuss the oligarchic forces and right-wing groups operating in Kyiv such as Svoboda, Euromaidan, and Right Sector, go over the players and pawns of the current Ukrainian Parliament (Rada), and discuss the possible outcomes of the crisis. You can listen to the full interview here.

By Haneul Na’avi and Michael Bielawski

31 March 2014 | borotba.org

TRANSCRIPT

[emphasis added by GR editor]

HANEUL: Sergey, can go ahead and tell us a little about yourself, what you do with your organization, and please further elaborate?

SERGEY: Yeah, the Borotba movement is a young political movement. We have been operating for three years in Ukraine and we started our activities from the unifying of many left-wing groups and common people in Ukraine that are fighting against capitalism and oligarchy. Ukraine is a country totally controlled by a few rich families that we used to call oligarchs, and they are doing whatever they want—changing political parties and regimes, and when we have some kind of election here, we have everything under the control of a few families. So, fighting this system is one of our aims and we are trying to do our best to change the political situation in Ukraine. Actually, we are just a left-wing political movement.

HANEUL: You say [the organization] is basically aligned with Communist values and principles, and you’re trying to form international partnerships and friendships with other people, regardless of race and gender, and you’re trying to get rid of the fascist element, or at least to expose it. Now, according to your website, Borotba.org, can you please give us a definition of what you think fascism is, in the eyes of Ukrainians as well as in Europe?

SERGEY: What we have here in Ukraine, and all over Eastern and Western Europe; we have political change. We don’t have traditional fascist movements anymore. We have so-called new far-right movements. That means these people have changed [throughout] history and now they are trying to use more Populism. They are talking more about the problems of common people; about working class people. So, you see, when you use some symbols of Adolf Hitler or German Nazis, or Benito Mussolini and his fascist party, you will not be successful, of course. That means that you should find some other forms and they are finding these forms in Ukraine, especially. They are trying to be very bourgeois; they are trying to be a part of the Ukrainian political establishment. So, Ukrainian fascist are of two kinds: One is a kind of bourgeois fascist that is represented in Ukrainian parliament and in [the] Ukrainian government, and the other kind is street fascism, which are in military clothes patrolling our streets, and they are really angry. They are not under somebody’s control, and they are really aggressive and really dangerous.

HANEUL: Wow, that’s an interesting portrait of what’s going on there. Which of those would you say is bourgeois? Is it Svoboda?

SERGEY: It’s Svoboda; it was a very small political party in the West of Ukraine. Their name was [formally] the Social-Nationalist Party of Ukraine. It was like saying “hello” to Hitler’s National-Socialist Party, but they understood they couldn’t move forward with the old name, so they changed [it] to Svoboda, which means “Freedom” in English. They were supported by some groups and the bourgeois government because the Ukrainian government [and] administration of Yanukovich [were] trying to use fascists to fight their political enemies. For example, you know that in Ukraine, one of the most popular politicians was Julia Tymoshenko. She was a really corrupt politician, but at the same time, she was quite popular, so, Yanukovich and his team used Svoboda in order to attack [her]. They made some good financial donations to Svoboda, and within a few years, they [went] from [being] the small fascist party in the West of Ukraine [to becoming] a big parliamentary political party. I should explain that Ukraine is a very nationalistic country. When the Soviet Union crashed and we had a big social disaster here in Ukraine, it was [the] intention and willingness of people to fight capitalism because it didn’t give anything good to people, and [all of the] Ukrainian oligarchy, new businessmen, new rich people began to use nationalistic ideology to prevent the country from returning to the “Red Past”. We’ve had nationalistic propaganda for 20 years through media, in school, and we have good financial support to fascist movements. These two conditions made possible for fascists to be in the Ukrainian parliament.

HANEUL: Mike, what would you like to ask or add?

MICHAEL: Well, for any of these groups that you guys are working against, do you think that there are any outside influences, or is it entirely internal within the country? For example, people accuse the United States intelligence, CIA, etc., or British Intelligence for meddling in other countries affairs, especially groups that aren’t in the natives best interests. Do you think that any of that is playing into the groups of Ukraine?

SERGEY: I should explain from the very beginning that we are not fighting fascists. It’s not our main goal. Our main goal is [the] Ukrainian oligarchy and Ukrainian ruling class, because Ukrainian fascists are only a symptom of this disease called capitalistic development. Actually, they are only one of the problems in Ukraine because we have a huge number of problems connected to corruption, poverty, and far-right movements. This big unemployment, this poverty in Ukraine, they are not creating a good basis of development, [but] of these fascist neo-Nazi movements. So, our main enemy is the ruling class. Of course, we are attacked every time by fascists, but we should understand that they are only some part, some guard of the ruling class. If we are talking about these paramilitarists that are acting now in Ukraine, I don’t have any evidence that the CIA or British Secret Services are cooperating with them, but we know that some of their gangsters were training in Latvia and they had some military bases in the Baltic countries. That means that they [were] prepared by somebody. I don’t know by whom, but we can imagine that the US government was very active in Ukrainian issues because Western diplomats have declared that they had spent five billion dollars [on] the development of democracy in Ukraine, but we don’t have any idea of how this money had been spent, or what they paid for, but five billion dollars had been invested for the last 10 years to different political groups. We are really disappointed about this strong Western influence because they are not condemning far-right groups. They are not concerned about growing far-rights. They didn’t see any problems with this, so I think that Western countries have a lot of influence in the Ukrainian situation.

HANEUL: We wanted to mention also there were talks between the Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and the EU Foreign Affairs Representative Catherine Ashton, and they both declared at one point that Euromaidan had financed the snipers at the time of the ousting of Yanukovich, but we also noticed some of the Euromaidan leaders were actually working with people like John McCain. They had been seen in speeches. Can you tell us, who are some of the main people that are some of the fascist or oligarchic elements that are currently running parliament, and what were their roles in the attacks of the initial protests that lead to Yanukovich fleeing the country?

SERGEY: You would not believe that Right Sector was created by the administration of Yanukovich. They created this part of the protests in order to show fascist participation there, so they took radical fascist groups in order to show that all of the protests were far-right, and they thought that people would be disappointed when they saw all of the fascist elements in Kyiv and Euromaidan, but people were so angry at the administration of Yanukovich that they followed and supported Right Sector, and when Yanukovich ran away from the country, Right Sector became a powerful political force. This is really big problem, and now the leader of Right Sector—his name is [Dmitry] Yarosh—he is trying to be the president of Ukraine, and he will participate in presidential elections. I have no idea how many votes he will get, but nevertheless, participation of far-right leaders is a very, very bad mark for Ukrainian policy. It’s like, in Germany, Andy Peewood participating in Presidential and parliament elections.

MICHAEL: I have a question. What is an example of a policy from far-right people that specifically isn’t good for the Ukrainian people?

SERGEY: The main idea of the far-right is a national, corporate state. They are against trade union and the Russian language. You know that Ukraine is separated into two big divisions. Half of Ukraine speaks Ukrainian and the other half speaks Russian. They are against Russian language. They are against feminism, women’s rights. They are very homophobic, so in this [their] internal policy, they are trying to be very traditional, right-oriented politicians.

HANEUL: And you know what’s funny about that, I wanted to mention, is that when you find financial backing by Western powers, they tend to support neoconservative groups like Svoboda and Right Sector, but also, in other parts of the world, you have al-Nursra in Syria, you have al-Qaeda factions around the world, al-Shabaab in Somalia, and the funny thing about it is, they always give backing to these ultraconservative groups of people. Like, just recently, Barack Obama has decided to rekindle ties with King Abdullah of the Saudi Arabia kingdom.

SERGEY: Yeah, sure. You see that this is big chain. We are not surprised about this Western policy because Ukraine is a big part of a big chain. You know what they’re doing in Syria, in Ukraine, in Venezuela, in Thailand; it is the same. They are supporting ultraconservative governments. You can see that all of these governments—Bashar al-Assad, Victor Yanukovich—they are not really progressive. They are not very democratic governments, but they, more or less, they are Western-oriented, they are not anti-imperialists. They are very common politicians that are trying to be in some way useful to their countries. So, you see, Yanukovich was a very pro-Western politician. He was guilty only of his willingness to minimize all of these conditions of free-trade zones with the EU. That was his only problem. He was not a socialist. He was not anti-imperialist. He was dreaming about how he could be in the Western establishment. So, this support of ultraconservative forces is one of the foundations for US foreign policy.

HANEUL: Yeah, it’s absurd. It’s amazing, and it goes all across the board, all across the world. Now Mike, did you want to ask any questions?

MICHAEL: Yeah, well we’ve spoken a little about how foreign interests may or may not be influencing politics in Ukraine. Certainly, it’s happening to some degree. Now, Ukraine is kind of stuck, physically and politically, between the interests of Russia and NATO. So, who do you think right now is interfering more positively or negatively with Ukraine’s internal affairs?

SERGEY: Ah, you see, Ukraine is a country with a very dramatic history, and if you could see history since WWI and WWII, you can see that Ukraine was one of the battlefields in both World Wars. Now, we’re on the big battlefield between the Russian and Chinese blocs, and the Western blocs. We are on the frontline, and I don’t think that Western influence can have any positive influence on Ukrainian policies. At the same time, the problem with Russia is that it is not a very progressive regime. Vladimir Putin is quite an interesting politician, but he is not a socialist. He is not really progressive, so people here don’t want to be in one bloc or the other. We have supporters of European integration, people that want to be in NATO and the European Union, and we have some people who are very close economically and mentally to Russia, but we also have a third group that are supporting Ukrainian national independence and our movement is one of those movements who are fighting for Ukrainian independence, that we should not be in any political blocs, but this position is quite hard to be protected, because people understand that we should either be in the EU or in Russia. The other problem is, right now, I’m in the eastern part of Ukraine, and here we have high-tech industrial production. Right now, we are still able to produce airplanes and space rockets, and we are producing equipment for nuclear stations. It is a very high-tech industry and the only markets that can [preserve] our products are Russia, China, and India, and other Eastern countries. You can imagine that the European Union will never [preserve] our airplanes, space rockets, and our nuclear equipment; they are closing high-tech industries in the Eastern countries they get in. So, people here are really afraid of this Western integration, that we will be in the EU free-trade zone, but what will we supply to EU markets? What can we supply? Ukraine is one of the biggest producers of grain, and is the biggest producer of sunflower oil in the world, but these are raw materials [of lesser value], and [by] integrating into the European Union, we are losing our high technologies.

HANEUL: One thing I really wanted to note on was the importance, geopolitically, that Ukraine plays into the entire picture. We have one of Barack Obama’s top foreign policy advisers, [who] is Zbigniew Brzezinski. One of the things that he said, 20 years ago—he talked about this particular quote: “Russia can be neither an empire nor a democracy, but it cannot be both. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine, suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.” So, he’s talking specifically about one of the two things. The first is the natural gas pipelines that go through Crimea as well as the Southern parts of Ukraine, [and] additionally, that brings NATO to the doorstep of Moscow, which also plays an even stronger geopolitical role, as we know there are also missile defense systems in place in Poland, and they were trying at one point to get them into Ukraine. I’m not sure if they actually went through with that. Can you tell me some of the other geopolitical points for the United States if they were to destabilize Ukraine?

SERGEY: It was one of the dreams of the US administration to create in Ukraine an anti-Russian regime in order to escalate this confrontation with Russia, and Russia is really surrounded from different parts of their borders by US allies. You see Afghanistan is more or less controlled by NATO. Turkey is also a very Western-oriented country and they are controlling the Black Sea, and Russia is very worried about it. Now they are trying to have Ukraine. I think that one of the main reasons for this coup was the close relationship between Ukraine and China, because President Yanukovich, when he was disappointed with these conditions on free trade zones with the EU, he made important steps to make Ukraine closer to China, and China arranged some credit line for Ukraine, and they were ready to invest some money [in] Ukrainian industries and agriculture. I think that one of the reasons for this attack was Ukrainian cooperation with China.

HANEUL: One of the things I wanted to note, Sergey, is that there were talks also, I remember one of our acquaintances Eric Draitser was [saying], about how Turkey recently had a leak, and in it, he was talking about this false-flag event that [Erdogan] wanted to start in Syria. Now, the strategy behind the leak was… one of the things about Erdogan and Turkey was that they were trying to align themselves with the EU, and then they moved back towards the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, because they’re actually an observer state [correction: dialogue partner]. So, in order to get rid of that possibility, they were trying to release the leak. Now his major opponent at this point, I think his name is [correction: Fethullah Gulen], he is more closely tied to the CIA, the United States, and pro-Western powers. So you see how they try to create this shift in balance, this shift in policy, when they don’t find that the current leader complies with the demands of the Western hegemony. What are your opinions on that?

SERGEY: Yeah, I think that Turkey is a very specific country, and that Turkish policy is showing how it is proceeding inside countries that are willing to develop independence, and at the same time, they are under the strong influence of Western countries. I knew Turkey quite well. I visited this country many times, and I can see how much people there are willing to develop independence. They are very anti-imperialistic and want to have a good future for Turkey. At the same time, they have so-called political allies that are closely integrated into the Western establishment. They are trying to control everything. This political life and biography of Erdogan shows how difficult it is for Turkish politicians to be for the West or East. You see in Ukraine, when Russia took the Crimean peninsula, these are 300,000 Tatar people whom are Muslims. They are quite close to Turkey, because, you know, Crimea was the territory of the Ottoman Empire and Tatars are quite friendly to Turkish people, and I think that one of the main problems for Vladimir Putin will be to minimize Turkish influence in the Tatar minorities in Crimean, because it is quite a dangerous issue. They (Turkey) have 15 percent Tatar people, and this also quite interesting issue for your investigations.

HANEUL: Wow, yeah, this is going to play into a very sensitive geopolitical game in the near future. We’ll see what happens. Many of them voted for secession into the Commonwealth of Independent States, or the Russian Federation. Only time will tell what happens as they begin to go back into the Russian system.

 MICHAEL: Sure, as we were talking, I was pulling up a couple of headlines here. This one is from Infowars.com, and it says “Ukrainian Junta Concedes to IMF Looting Plan”. This gets back into the West and East fighting for influence, and this is the economic angle. It’s obviously very shaded with the West, NATO and the World Bank, and this article is saying that the government of Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former central banker, is conceding to IMF demands for austerity. Would you agree with that statement?

SERGEY: Yeah, sure. The IMF plan is killing Ukraine, and the funniest thing was that the Ukrainian government [and] the Ukrainian politicians who are on the administration right now were criticizing Yanukovich for his anti-people, anti-social policies. They were criticizing pension and medical reform, but now, when they are in the government, they are proceeding with these reforms, and they are promoting social cuts and austerity measures. They are promoting the IMF plan to kill the Ukrainian social sphere. So, the role of the IMF here is really dramatic.

HANEUL: Yeah, that’s going to be very huge, especially now that they’re passing that in Parliament. Once you privatize everything, it’s going to create chaos and it’s not going to make things any better. It’s this constant cycle of conflict that they create in these countries, for instance, when they wanted to fight Siad Barre in Somalia, and the country collapsed, and there were warlord factions. The same with Libya—a  [relatively] stable country. After the [correction: killing] of Muammar Gaddafi, basically all of the elements within start to fight with each other. It’s going to disrupt what people naturally want. They never seem to do things that work within the interests of the people, working with these IMF bailout packages [and] if they don’t see what’s happening in Spain, Greece, Italy, what’s happening with Cypress as well, with Ireland… these austerity packages don’t do anything. They don’t produce any growth. They don’t help them to innovate. They don’t help to put plans back into the social sphere.

Никаких выборов без референдума HANEUL: The last question that I’d like to ask you is this. There is a group of people on both sides of the Ukrainian border. We have the Russian troops to the right and in Crimea. We have the Ukrainian troops on the left, and I see some kinds of provocations that are taking place with snipers. One Ukrainian soldier was killed and another injured, and this is bringing tensions of the Cold War to all-time highs. So, what do you think about the possibility of a full-scale war or invasion taking place, and what do you hope we can prevent, or how can we stop this situation?

 SERGEY: I hope that war between war Russia and Ukraine is impossible because they’re two big industrial countries, and on the east of Ukraine, they could be occupied or taken by Russia. There are so many industrial plants and there could be a great chemical catastrophe if this war is started. So, I think that we will have this great tension between these countries for many years. It will be very similar to the India and Pakistan conflict, and all of this military hysteria. You see, some people in the Russian establishment—they are interested in these tensions because they want to have some [military] contracts, and this is good business for many people. At the same time with Ukraine, this tension and possibility of war with Russia is a good reason to explain why we are so poor, why we cannot go forward and develop our economy, and to do anything with the social issues, to develop the social sphere. So, Ukrainian and Russian governments are interested in these tensions in order to talk about external problems and are keeping silent about internal problems. It’s really a pity.

HANEUL: It’s a [pitiful] situation. I’ve met a lot of Ukrainians while living in Shanghai. I’ve met them in Seoul. They’re a good people, along with the Russians as well. The funny thing is, people pretty much want the same thing in life. They want to be happy. They want to be free. They want to be secure.

 SERGEY: Yeah, right. Sure, and right now, here in Ukraine, we are starting to mobilize against this dictatorship and work for peace, democracy, and solidarity between different peoples, and we are sure we will be successful, because nobody in Ukraine wants to be involved in this war.

HANEUL: Yeah, it’s very true, and as a spokesman for Borotba, can you tell us what you and your organization would like people to do in order to become involved or in order to show support?

 SERGEY: Yeah, we are calling people in Ukraine and all over the world to support our efforts to escape this bloody war with Russia, and we are calling people for organization, high consciousness, and discipline, and this is our [collective] action; that is our only weapon, our ideas are our only weapon that we can [use to] fight with this military hysteria and, of course, people in Ukraine are hoping for international solidarity to stop this political and military crisis.

HANEUL: Wonderful, wonderful, and we hope so, too. We hope that everything will be okay in the end. Mike, do you have any final comments?

 MIKE: I do have one question from my original list. From both sides, the West and the East, is a false-flag attack going to be at play? And, of course, a false flag attack is when somebody stages an attack on their own people or their own forces, in order to create an incentive for more fighting. Between everything that’s going on in terms of violence and fighting on the ground in Ukraine, do you think that either side, or Ukraine itself, could use such a tactic?

SERGEY: Um, I don’t know, because there are such things that, yesterday, some things are not possible in Ukrainian policy, but now, everything is possible. So, we cannot be sure about anything. Anything could happen here, so, unfortunately, the situation right now is very, very unstable and everything is possible.

 HANEUL: In addition, what I had mentioned to people before, with the Orange Revolution of 2004 and with this current uprising taking place in Ukraine, there was CANVAS operating—that was the Center for [Applied] NonViolent Action [and Strategies], and they were basically stoking the fires. One of my associates was talking about how, during this time, they were handing out food and water, and trying to get support. You had people like John McCain, and people from the National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, that were also operating in Ukraine, and that was basically a failed coup in 2004, but this one, they seem to be pushing their agenda once again. So, that’s one of the things I would like to see out of the picture so that Ukrainians can get back into healing the country and also, getting involved with one another. Not on this hateful bent that a lot of these far-rights are trying to provoke.

 For more information on The Last Defense, please visit http://thelastdefense2012.tumblr.com or email [email protected].

Copyright, Last Defense, 2014

Another Fort Hood shooting sadly reminds us all of the consequences of war on the fragile human psyche. Earlier this week the soldier who went on the killing spree murdered three fellow servicemen and then turned the gun on himself. It was learned that his mother a nurse died of a heart attack last November followed by his grandfather’s death a month later. Though in the process of being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the Iraq War combat veteran was already being treated for anxiety and depression with reported effects of Traumatic Brain Injury. But obviously his dire mental and emotional state failed to catch anyone’s attention.

The three star General Mark Milley was in front of the cameras yesterday busily doing damage control, insisting that “his underlying medical condition was not a precipitating factor.” Convenient for him to say as the obvious ploy to absolve the Army from bearing responsibility for causing Specialist Ivan Lopez to kill. With skyrocketing suicide rates going up with each passing year as the two longest running wars in US history wind down, one in its thirteenth consecutive year, clearly they have taken their toll on the US soldiers sent to fight in harm’s way.

No matter how much the US Army feebly attempts to sweep PTSD and mental illness under the rug in this latest tragic incident after a Muslim Army psychiatrist murdered thirteen servicemen at the same Army post in 2009, the commander instead focused on an alleged verbal altercation that spontaneously erupted just prior to the shooting. This is just another lame false excuse denying the epidemic of mental illness so rampantly out of control in the US military today. The last thing the government will admit is sending troops into combat three, four and five times in the last thirteen years as human fodder on two thinning frontlines has created the crisis of soldiers driven over the edge.

More died from suicide in 2012 than fighting in Afghanistan. Once they return home and become civilians they are killing themselves at a rate  three times that of military active duty personnel. The Veterans Administration (VA) reported that the suicide rate of veterans aged 18-29 jumped up by 44% in just two years from 2009 to 2011, suggesting that the longer soldiers experience the trauma of war, the more suicidal they become. Veterans are also twice as likely as the civilian population to commit suicide. The suicide rate of soldiers on active duty in just one year from 2011 to 2012 rose 16%. Trying to make sense of these alarming increases, the VA head of military suicide prevention Dr. Jan Kemp alluded to young combat veterans feeling as though they can go it alone in not seeking help.

It seems that the US military and VA are remiss then in not being proactive enough if so many are dying never having sought help. Programs logically should already be in place the moment a soldier returns from combat and continue after care once a civilian. Clearly just as the government failed to foresee the costly quagmires of its incompetent and disastrous war policies, the government is also guilty of not foreseeing the pressing need and demand to properly care for so many damaged soldiers that have been fighting for years at a time with virtually no break. Humans are ill equipped for adjusting to the insanity of war. The plight of the Vietnam War veteran should have provided the heads up lesson of foreseeing the need for far more mental health support services to returning veterans fighting on two decade long warfronts, yet the US failed to learn any lessons at all from that debacle.

Though veterans comprise just 10% of the total US population, of all Americans who commit suicide, veterans comprise 20% of that total. With an average of 22 veterans committing suicide every single day, roughly one every hour, seven days a week, those responsible for the US war machine, the Pentagon, government and corporate war profiteers in the form of the military industrial complex have coldheartedly sacrificed an entire generation of young Americans for the sake of global hegemony and corporate profit.

Rather than take any responsibility for causing so many needless deaths, official spin of propaganda customarily diverts focus to touting exclusively how patriotic and courageous American soldiers pay the ultimate sacrifice for their nation so that those living here at home can enjoy the freedom of democracy. Of course many Americans in uniform do display remarkable courage. But since 9/11 while they have been fighting and dying as unwanted imperialistic occupiers creating a wasteland of death and destruction on foreign soils, by a series of unconstitutional presidential executive orders and oppressive legislation, American civil liberties and freedoms have been virtually eliminated, stolen from US citizens along with over four billion of their taxpaying dollars to immorally finance two devastating war defeats. While corporations make record profits every year and pay virtually zero in taxes, and the super-rich get richer as war profiteers, the middle class has been decimated and the unjust disparity between the rich and the poor only grows exponentially like never before in the United States.

War’s damaging effects are not going away any time too soon. The overstretched American Empire agenda has pushed soldiers beyond their limit with multiple combat tours that repeatedly expose servicemen and women to unspeakable horrors that only they can know and bear. The trauma of suddenly seeing one’s buddies bleeding to death, blood gushing as they lay dying in their arms, helplessly watching the sacred thread of life fast slipping away, body parts strewn about… these horrific images, sounds and associated emotions never go away.

Then there are the thousands of US soldiers wounded in action, more often with blown off limbs and head trauma resulting from enemy improvised explosive devices (IED’s). For those brave men and women in uniform who survive such life threatening traumatic injury, the long excruciatingly horrendous rehabilitative recovery process also leaves deep scars as well. Their trauma manifests as lifelong pictures indelibly imprinted in their minds of the sheer terror, confusion, agony, pain, loss, survivor’s guilt and powerful gamut of emotions of the deepest magnitude.

A conservative estimate of 20% of the total 1.7 million men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with PTSD. Those who experience combat often carry effects that become a lifetime sentence, haunting them for decades. Experiencing such acute shock and psychic injury permanently alter and restructure brain patterns and cognitive processes that even with years of extensive therapy and support can never be the same.

A recent study from last year confirmed that PTSD effects persist in certain areas of the brain even in non-stressful situations. Brain regions associated with anxiety and fear in particular can suffer lasting damage. The study discovered that the amygdala, the part of the brain that processes fearful and anxious emotions was significantly higher in the combat veterans with PTSD than in the combat veterans without PTSD. The part of the brain sensitive to pain and negative emotions in PTSD veterans also showed abnormally increased activity than non-PTSD veterans. The brain structure separating hemispheres that integrates information from the past to the future remains less active for those with PTSD, and this under activity correlates with re-experiencing traumatic memories, negative emotions and flashbacks.

Subsequent to traumatic injury is a numbing desensitization process that fragments, compartmentalizes, and attempts to manage, control and most often bury the traumatic memories. This automatic defense mechanism operating through denial, repression, projection, and the least harmful sublimation allows PTSD victims to minimally function, but leaves them feeling empty, all too often missing and craving the adrenalin rush and camaraderie of combat, and merely going through the motions of life forever changed never for the better. The inescapable presence of traumatic memories and flashbacks are frequently triggered years and even decades after the traumatic events by thoughts, words evoked by others, sounds, emotions, internal imagery and/or visions and nightmares can all become sudden, intrusive symptomatic reminders of the painful past that cause veterans to relive their traumas.

A rather disturbing finding from a comprehensive study of the US military released one month ago states that of those soldiers who reported suicide attempts, half disclosed that they had attempted prior to enlistment. In comparison to civilians, military personnel also reported higher rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), intermittent explosive disorder (recurrent episodes of extreme anger or violence), and substance use disorder again prior to enlistment. This very telling and foreboding statistic indicates psychological instability in soldiers even prior to wearing the uniform. Compound that vulnerability and predisposition for mental illness with the trauma of war combat, and the alarming rates of suicide follow as a natural consequence. The military’s desperation for bodies on the two war fronts meant that assessing and screening individuals for mental illness was virtually never done. Between courts giving young offenders the option of either prison or military time and the compromised lack of effective screening for mental and emotional instability amongst recruits placed many individuals unfit to serve much less withstand the stress and trauma of war in a cruel situation set up for failure, not to mention compromising the lives of others in the process.

Turning to veterans’ severe condition upon their return as combat trauma victims, typically they attempt to self-medicate their anxiety, depression and post-traumatic symptoms with alcohol and prescription and/or street drugs. Prescription drug abuse doubled amongst the military during the years 2002 to 2005 and nearly tripled from 2005 and 2008, again highly correlating with years of continued combat experience. Returning soldiers three or four months back in the States demonstrated that 27% were assessed and diagnosed with alcohol abuse. In the same study, mental illness (i.e., depression, anxiety disorder, PTSD) afflicted 42% of returning reservists and 20% of the active duty personnel.

As much effort a PTSD sufferer inflicted with such deep wounds may make trying to control the effects of combat, the memories are virtually never forgotten and at best only fade over time. Memories and associated negative emotions are repeatedly reactivated, abruptly bringing on anxiety, high impulsivity, severe depressed moods, confusion, impaired judgment, potential violence, alcohol/drug abuse, possible psychosis, suicidality, and in rare but increasing cases as at Fort Hood, homicidality.

Hence, prescribed treatment through intensive individual as well as group therapy is essential. Reliving the trauma through talk therapy within the safety and care of a therapeutic setting facilitated by qualified mental health professionals provide necessary containment and support for the healing process to unfold. The capacity of traumatized individuals to express their painful experiences and accompanying emotions through a variety of treatment modalities is key always within a safe environment to produce effective, positive therapeutic outcomes. Individual and group talk therapy are standard along with various supplemental art and music therapies, pain management, journal and/or creative writing, creative imagery, relaxation techniques, and at times depending on severity of symptoms prescribed psychotropic medicine.

Often cognitive-behavioral therapy is utilized to assist the client in gaining self-insight and cognitive coping skills designed to modify and change faulty, self-destructive, irrational and negative thought patterns. By changing one’s thoughts and perceptions, replacing them with more positive, realistic thoughts and affirmations through self-talk, PTSD victims can learn to regulate their feelings and emotions that naturally follow and flow from their line of thinking, and thus begin to view themselves differently, not so much as trauma victims but empowered survivors who can ultimately learn to thrive given optimal treatment and support.

Developing and expanding veterans’ social support systems are critical. This might consist of couples and/or family therapy, veteran peer support groups, 12-step involvement when addictions are present, and vocational job skills training and employment assistance as well as providing opportunity for higher education.

With this latest shooting, a Department of Defense (DoD) spokesperson stated that as the US transitions to leave Afghanistan and annual budget defense spending is diminishing, the DoD will be allocating increased funding for mental health programs for US soldiers and veterans in anticipation of the exponentially growing demands in the years to come. Yet that seems a contradiction from Obama Administration’s proposed defense budget released a month ago calling for military families and retirees to have to pay significantly more for their healthcare while leaving unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits untouched.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former Army officer.

His written a manuscript based on his military experience can be consulted at http://www.redredsea.net/westpointhagopian/.

After the military Joachim earned a masters degree in psychology and eventually became a licensed therapist working in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He has extensive experience treating individuals with PTSD and depression, including military veterans.

 Three years ago, Fairewinds was one of the first organizations to talk about “hot particles” that are scattered all over Japan and North America’s west coast. Hot particles are dangerous and difficult to detect.

In this video Mr. Kaltofen discusses the hottest hot particle he has ever found, and it was discovered more than 300 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi site. If Fairewinds Energy Education was a Japanese website, the State Secrets Law would likely prevent us from issuing this video.  Arnie Gundersen provides a brief introduction and summary to the video.

 Transcript

[emphasis added by GR]

Hi, I am Arnie Gundersen from Fairewinds,

I am here today to introduce professional engineer Marco Kaltofen in one of the most important videos Fairewinds Energy Education has ever produced. Three years ago, Fairewinds was one of the first organizations to talk about the “hot particles” that are scattered all over Japan and North America’s west coast. Hot particles are dangerous and difficult to detect. In this video Mr. Kaltofen discusses the hottest hot particle he has ever found, and it was discovered more than 300 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi site. If Fairewinds Energy Education was a Japanese website, the State Secrets Law would likely prevent us from issuing this video. I will provide a brief summary at the end of the video.

I’m Marco Kalton. I am a civil engineer and I’m a Ph.D candidate at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Most of my research looks at radioactive and chemical contaminants and how they wind up in house dust. And the reason for doing that is this is a very important way that the general public is exposed to things like radioactive contaminants.

In looking at indoor environments, they tend to be much more contaminated than the surroundings outside. Houses act like a trap and they tend to collect outdoor contaminants. And they expose people as much as 24 hours a day versus consider how short a time most people spend outdoors. Your exposure is actually much less. One of the nice things about social media is that we can talk to a lot of people and hook up with volunteers and volunteer and scientific organizations. And they were able to send us indoor dust samples, whether it was a vacuum cleaner bag or a sample from a home air filter or something like an appliance filter – think of an air conditioner filter or a heating and ventilation filter that people might have installed in their home. And we actually have developed a very straight-forward method for prepping all of these samples. And that way, we can compare people’s exposure from one house to another.

We looked at samples in  Northern Japan; we looked at samples in Tokyo; we looked at samples in the United States and Canada. We tried to get a feel for what people’s actual exposure was. And that’s why we went looking for hot particles. The thing about radiation exposure is, if you look at it from a legal perspective, what you’re trying to do is find the average exposure that people get and then try and find some kind of safe level you can measure that against. And if you exceed that average level that you think is safe, then you have to start doing something about it; either institute some type of policy or some kind of cleanup.

The difference with our work is, while we understand there’s an average concentration people get, some people get a much higher or a much lower concentration. And that depends on how many hot particles, how many radioactive dust particles from the original accident can make their way through the air into somebody’s home. And if they’re small enough to be ingested or inhaled, then you have to count that over and above what their average exposure could be. When you look at the two different components of people’s exposure – (1) your average exposure; and (2) your exposure from hot particles, your hot particle exposure is going to be more rare, because there is a comparatively small number of hot particles that are disbursed from a site. So most people won’t be exposed to any. But a few people will be exposed to one or more than one. And that exposure from the hot particle can actually be bigger than the average exposure that everyone is getting. So you have to measure both components if you really want to understand what’s happening to people. So when we get a sample, we actually have a whole series of analyses that we’re doing.We do some very basic analyses that give us the average exposure. We use something called gamma spectrometry. Gamma spectrometry has been around for nearly 100 years and we use that to see which isotopes, which radioactive materials are present in the sample.

Now with Fukushima, we generally see three isotopes over and over again. And two of them are Cesium 134 and Cesium 137. When we see both of them in a certain ratio we can be fairly certain we’re looking at a material that’s contaminated with material from the Fukushima accident. Now that’s a fission product and that only comes after there’s been some kind of nuclear reaction. The other thing we’re looking at is Radium 226. And that’s actually related to the original uranium fuel that starts the nuclear process in the first place. So those three things are what we’re looking for when we’re doing our test for dust sample. And if we find them, then we go on to part 2 and try and identify if hot particles are present. The way that happens is, once we’ve ID’d a sample that we want to take to the next level where we want to do the hot particle analysis, we actually sieve out some of the finer particles, and we spread them on a copper plate and we exposure them to X-ray film. We expose them for a week. Now this is another old technique. It’s probably more than a century old. But what happens is, it identifies the places in the dust sample where there might be a small, radioactively hot particle. We can actually develop that X-ray plate and if there’s a positive result from location, we just take an Exacto knife, we remove it, we put it onto an aluminum microscope slide, and it’s analyzed by a scanning electron microscope. Not just any old microscope, but one that can give us an actual elemental analysis as we’re going along. So imagine you’re looking through the microscope. It’s all done on video these days. And you can actually see all the individual particles magnified maybe as much as 5,000, 10,000, 15,000X. And as you’re scanning, you’ve got a joystick and a set of crosshairs. Think of a videogame. And you can zap each particle one at a time with an X-ray beam and you can actually weed out which elements are present. And when you’re starting to see the radioactive elements – plutonium, Americium, uranium, radium, then you know you’re getting somewhere. So we can actually, through this process, take a sample that might weigh a pound or two pounds – a half a kilo, a full kilo, and isolate as few as one or two hot particles from that entire sample. And then do a full analysis and a breakdown. And that’s extremely valuable to us. It tells us a lot about what might happen if someone inhaled or ingested that particle.

All hot particles are not alike. Some are modestly elevated. They’re a little bit more radioactive than their surroundings. These are awfully hard to detect. But others tend to be orders of magnitude, factors of 10 more contaminated than their surroundings. Think the Richter scale where an earthquake magnitude 5 is 100 times more powerful than an earthquake magnitude 3. That’s what we’re looking for with hot particles, not things that are just a little bit more radioactive, but much more.

We get those – those highly radioactive particles – even though they’re small, they can give us a lot of information about where they came from because we can actually see it in the microscope. We can see how big it is, we can see what shape it is. It really gives a history of what happened to the particle. And it gives a fingerprint of where that particle came from. And the last step, if we know how big it is and we know its elemental composition and how radioactive it is, we can actually tell exactly how dangerous that particle will be if you happen to inhale it or if you happen to ingest it. You can say, well, we don’t know what might happen to a particular person, we just know what the average is. Well, that’s true of non-hot particle testing. But with this, we can take a hot particle and say, all right, the person in this household, if that person had inhaled this particular particle, their odds would be 7 percent or 70 percent of contracting a lung cancer or an epithelial tissue cancer or a nasal pharyngeal cancer.  You can actually see which one of these is more likely once you have the photograph of the particle. So it’s a time consuming analysis but it tells us a lot about what the potential hazards are. And it’s a good way to diagnose which areas are going to have which times of potential health damages.

The sample that we got came from the Goya in Japan. It’s 460 kilometers from the accident site. That’s about 300 miles away. The hot particle was 10 microns across. That means it is 10 one-millionth of a meter across; obviously, something you’re only going to see with a powerful microscope. The particle was actually in the size range of dusts that can be inhaled and then retained in the lungs. And this is important because if you’re a health physicist and you’re calculating the dose that you would get from this particle, you’d have to consider that this particle might actually be trapped and result in a lifetime exposure. Thing of asbestos workers who inhaled an asbestos particle and when they eventually died, from whatever reason, that asbestos particle is still in their lungs. Well, this kind of hot particle would probably do something very, very similar. The particle that we examined was a mixture of fission products from a nuclear reactor and nuclear fuels. We looked at materials like Telurium, Radium 226. We saw Cesium 134 and 137, Cobalt 60 and a whole zoo of isotopes that probably you’ll never hear about on CNN but you’d have to be a physicist to understand. Let’s put it this way. Eighty percent by weight of this particle was made up of pure reactor core materials. So that tells me that something that came directly from the accident, directly from the core, could escape containment and travel a very, very significant distance. So it’s a long distance to travel, and what happens is the particle is so very small that it will essentially travel with whatever gas it’s entrained in. The winds will blow it long distances.

What’s going to happen is the further you get away from the reactor, the less likely you are to find a hot particle of this magnitude. But of course we’ve looked at so many samples from Japan, this just happens to be the longest distance and the hottest particle that we’ve found. I have to put some numbers on it.

In Japan, we measure radiation in Becquerels. A Becquerel is obviously named after someone. It’s named after Henri Becquerel. And a Becquerel means one radioactive disintegration per second. Now in Japan, if your food has more than 100 Becquerels in a kilogram, about 45 Becquerels in a pound, then it’s not considered safe to eat. The number is a bit higher in the United States, but if we use 100 Becquerels per kilogram as a guide – it’s something too radioactive to eat – this material was in the petabecquerel per kilogram range. Now you probably don’t hear that prefix very often. The number we’re looking at is 4 followed by 19 zeroes – that many becquerels per kilogram. That’s a very, very high number and essentially, that’s the kind of number you get when you look at core material. It is a tiny particle – in fact, the total number of becquerels from the particle was only about 310 becquerels for the particle. And so when we got our vacuum cleaner bag, the entire vacuum cleaner bag clicked away on our counter at 310 becquerels, which is a little higher than average for our Fukushima Prefecture vacuum cleaner bags. So we didn’t think too much of it.

Although everything is done in a glovebox or in a hood, when we separated the sample in half – this is the first step in identifying if a hot particle was present – when we separated the sample in half and analyzed half the sample, you’d expect to get 155 becquerels – right? Half of 310. In fact, compared to background, we got none. So we said, all right, we’ll measure the other half. The other half – none. So where’d it go? We took the entire sample and put it in. We’re back to 310 becquerels. A bit of a mystery. Until we realized that the very center of the two samples – the razor knife that we’d used to collect this, had actually hit the hot particle and stuck to the razor. And so when we were able to put the razor under the microscope and carefully collect that hot particle and see just how much that was clicking away with the radiation detectors. So we short circuited the process a little bit, but that’s exactly the method that you would use to try and find a hot particle. You just keep dividing your sample until you can find the part that has that high radiation emit. If you look at the black dust – and we’ve received samples of that (13:11) from Namie and Litate and a couple of other communities in northern Japan, this is very similar to the black sand that people see. The black sand – and this particle, too – it’s an aggregate, it’s a mixture. If you think of a hunk of concrete, it’s actually a mix of sand and cement and small stones, that’s what it looks like under the microscope.

So essentially what we’re talking about is a worst case for black sand. That’s what this hot particle is. So this material was vaporized during the accident. It condenses into these small particles and then they aggregate. They congeal, they collect, and they make particles big enough to be detected. They fly around in the winds. And sooner or later they hit something and they stick to it.

In the case of the Goya, the sample blew in with the outside air and appears to have just lodged somewhere into a carpet or floor material – something in the house that had been vacuum cleaned, and then collected in the vacuum cleaner bag. The good news is repeated sampling at the same location getting additional material from there, we’ve never found another particle like that. So it’s not like there’s anything about this particular house or that there’s according to our data more than one of these particles in the home. It doesn’t appear that there is. But it does tell me that it’s worth looking at for a particular area, what’s the probability of there being a hot particle present.

This has such a big impact on people’s exposure, the potential health damages. So far, from our Japanese samples from Fukushima Prefecture and from Tokyo, about 25 percent of those samples contained at least a few measurable hot particles. Only one that was this hot. And this was the worst case. It doesn’t represent any kind of average, but it does tell you what’s possible. The bottom line is, now that I’ve had time to digest the entire set of samples and put the number of hot particles per sample in perspective, take this data and put it before a peer review panel at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and prepare all this data for publication, it’s good to see that it’s going to be possible to find a real exposure number, where we can take the average exposures that we’re used to dealing with and also add in a probability for being exposed to a hot particle, so that we can find out what the true level of potential health damage is from an accident.

It is solid scientific material like this that you will not see or hear via traditional news stories, TEPCO, or the IAEA. Fairewinds has long said that there will be significant increases in cancer in Japan as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, and this video describing just one hot particle confirms our worst fears.

Thank you for viewing Fairewinds Energy Education. This is Arnie Gundersen, and I’ll keep you informed.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) will introduce legislation this month backed by the Grocery Manufactures Association—including biotech giant Monsanto and Koch Industries—that would establish a voluntary labeling system for food made withgenetically modified organisms (GMO), according to an industry insider.

The bill includes a “prohibition against mandatory labeling,” according to The Hill, and is designed to head off the many state bills and ballot initiatives that would impose more stringent labeling regulations on GMOs.

“Consumers should be outraged that Rep. Pompeo, or any member of Congress, would co-sponsor a bill written by industry, for the sole purpose of protecting corporate and shareholder profits, when 90 percent of Americans oppose the proposed legislation,” said Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association.

Even though 64 countries have mandated the labeling of GMO foods, the U.S. has been slow to adopt such regulation.

Connecticut and Maine have passed labeling laws, but the rules do not go into effect until at least three other states establish the same requirement. In 2013, 50 bills were introduced to require labeling in 26 states. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) recently introduced federal legislation that would require nationwide labeling of GE products.

“American consumers want the right to know what is in the food they eat, plain and simple,” said Rebecca Spector, who spearheads Maine’s GE labeling legislative efforts at Center for Food Safety.

Other states with pending legislation on GMO labeling include California, Missouri, Minnesota and Rhode Island. In Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii and Oregon efforts are in motion to put the question on the ballot.

Rep. Pompeo’s plan to introduce voluntary GMO food labeling legislation follows on the heels of last week’s comments by FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) plans to finalize guidance on the voluntary labeling of GMOs, despite the growing body of scientific evidence that GMOs, and the chemicals required to grow GMO crops, are potentially damaging to human health.

“More evidence surfaces every day implicating GMO-contaminated food in a long list of chronic illnesses,” said Cummins. “Until further, comprehensive, independent safety testing is done on the impact of GMOs on human health, consumers should at the very least be able to avoid those foods by reading a label. This proposed bill would not only keep labels off of our food, but it is a direct attack on states’ constitutional right to pass laws to protect public health.”

Oil billionaires David and Charles Koch.

The concentration of power in the hands of billionaire “oligarchs” may be most alarming in places like Ukraine but the United States is moving in the same direction as wealth is consolidated at the top — and both elections and media are up for sale.

The chaos in Ukraine can be viewed, in part, as what happens when a collection of “oligarchs” – sometimes competing, sometime collaborating – take control of a society, buying most of the politicians and owning the media. The political/media classes become corrupted by serving their wealthy patrons and society breaks down into warring factions.

In that sense, Ukraine could be a cautionary tale for the United States and other countries that are veering down a similar path toward vast income inequality, with billionaire “oligarchs” using their money to control politicians and to pay for propaganda through media ventures.

Depending on your point of view, there may be “good oligarchs” and “bad oligarchs,” but the concept of oligarchy is antithetical to democracy, a system in which governance is supposed to be driven by the informed consent of the majority with respect for minority rights. Instead, we’re moving toward a competition among oligarchs with the “people” mostly as bystanders to be manipulated one way or the other.

On Wednesday, a 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court lifted limits on total amounts that an individual can contribute during a campaign cycle, an extension of the 2010 ruling on Citizens United allowing the rich to spend unlimited sums on political advertising. It was another step toward an American oligarchy where politicians, activists and even journalists compete to satisfy one “oligarch” or another.

Regarding political spending, that can mean the energy tycoon Koch Brothers financing the Tea Party or Americans for Prosperity to tear down government regulations of businesses. Or it can mean casino kingpin Sheldon Adelson staging his own “primary” in which Republican hopefuls compete to show who would do the most for Israel. Or – from a liberal perspective – it can be billionaire investor Tom Steyer pressing for action on man-made climate change.

On the Right, there also have been vast investments in propaganda – from books, magazines and newspapers to talk radio, TV and the Internet – by the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Richard Mellon Scaife, an imbalance countered, in only a relatively small way, by a few liberal “oligarchs” who have started their own big-budget Web sites.

And, despite the appearance of a few “left-of-center” U.S. sites, there continues to be a lock-step consensus – across the nation’s media – regarding most international conflicts, such as the recent crises in Syria and Ukraine. In those cases, these liberal “oligarchic” sites are as likely to go with the conventional wisdom as the right-wing “oligarchic” sites.

So, if you want to find critical reporting on U.S. interference in Ukrainian politics or a challenging analysis of U.S. claims about the Syrian chemical weapons attack, you’re not likely to find them at ProPublica, which is backed by ex-subprime mortgage bankers Herbert and Marion Sandler and is edited by well-paid traditional journalists from the mainstream press, like Stephen Engelberg, formerly of the New York Times. Nor at FirstLook.org funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Though both ProPublica and FirstLook do some fine work on certain topics – such as  the environment and privacy rights, respectively – they haven’t shown much willingness to get in the way of U.S. foreign-policy stampedes as they run out of control. Presumably, that would make their funders nervous and possibly put their larger business interests at risk.

Another new media “oligarch,” Washington Post owner and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has shied away from reining in “the neocons who brought us the Iraq War.” He has left neocons like Fred Hiatt and Jackson Diehl in charge of the opinion section of Official Washington’s hometown newspaper. Their positions on Syria and Ukraine have been predictable.

And, of course, other mainstream outlets – like the New York Times, the Daily Beast and the major TV networks – have completely fallen into line behind the conventional wisdom. Most coverage of the Syrian civil war and the Ukraine crisis couldn’t have been more submissive to the U.S. government’s propaganda themes if the stories had been written by Radio Liberty or the CIA.

Anyone looking for journalistic skepticism about the mainstream U.S. narrative on these touchy issues has had to seek out Internet sites like Consortiumnews.com which relies on mostly small donations from readers.

But the broader problem is the debilitating impact on democracy when the political/media process takes on the form of some super-hero movie in which super-human combatants do battle – crashing from building to building – while the regular humans mostly watch as powerless spectators as the chaos unfolds.

The Ukraine Mess

In Ukraine’s case, this process was telescoped in time because of the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, which was followed by the triumphal intervention of Western “free-market” advisers who descended on Kiev – as well as Moscow – with self-confident prescriptions of privatization and deregulation.

Very quickly, well-connected operatives were scoring mind-boggling deals as they gained control of lucrative industries and valuable resources at bargain-basement prices. Billionaires were made overnight even as much of the population descended to near starvation levels of poverty and despair.

In Russia, strong-willed nationalist Vladimir Putin emerged to put some brakes on this process, banishing some oligarchs like Boris Berezovsky into exile and jailing others like Mikhail Khordorkovsky. However, in Ukraine, the oligarchs continued buying politicians and finally created a crisis of confidence in government itself.

Though public resentment of political corruption was a driving force in the large protests that set the stage for the overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych on Feb. 22, the manipulation of that popular anger may end up impoverishing Ukrainians even more by entrenching oligarchic control even further.

Not only has the Washington-based International Monetary Fund moved to impose “macroeconomic reforms” that will slash spending on Ukraine’s already scant social programs, but “oligarchs” are moving to take direct control of the government.

For instance, the coup regime in Kiev appointed billionaire steel magnate Serhiy Taruta as governor of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine where many ethnic Russians live. Taruta quickly moved to suppress pro-Russian sentiment.

As part of the crackdown, the Kiev regime arrested Pavel Gubarev, who had called himself the “people’s governor.” Mikhail Dobkin, a pro-Yanukovych former regional governor who indicated he would seek the presidency, was arrested on sedition charges.

Governor Taruta also has called for some of the IMF’s more draconian demands to be put off until after political resistance to the new order in Kiev has faded.

“People are concerned with one thing,” Taruta told the Washington Post in a flattering story about his leadership. “If we show we can provide help and support, we will calm the situation down. Three to four months from now is the time to talk about financial reform in Ukraine.”

That would mean delaying the harshest elements of the IMF plan until after the scheduled presidential election on May 25, meaning that the voters will have already gone to the polls before they get a taste of what’s in store for them. By then, they may have another billionaire industrialist, Petro Poroshenko, as their new president. He is now the leading candidate.

According to Forbes magazine, there are now about 1,600 billionaires in the world, worth a total of around $6.6 trillion. The writing seems to be scribbled on the walls of Ukraine as well as the United States and around the globe that we are entering the Age of the Oligarchs.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon andbarnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, 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.

 On the heels of Russia’s potential “holy grail” gas deal with China (2), the news of a Russia-Iran oil “barter” deal (3), it appears the US is starting to get very concerned about its almighty Petrodollar

*U.S. HAS WARNED RUSSIA, IRAN AGAINST POSSIBLE OIL BARTER DEAL

*U.S. SAYS ANY SUCH DEAL WOULD TRIGGER SANCTIONS

*U.S. HAS CONVEYED CONCERNS TO IRANIAN GOVT THROUGH ALL CHANNELS

We suspect these sanctions would have more teeth than some travel bans, but, as we noted previously, it is just as likely to be another epic geopolitical debacle resulting from what was originally intended to be a demonstration of strength and instead is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of weakness.

As we explained earlier in the week, Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and “heaven forbid” gold) and shortly other “regional” currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar, hardly the intended outcome of the western blocakde, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar. …

If Washington can’t stop this deal, it could serve as a signal to other countries that the United States won’t risk major diplomatic disputes at the expense of the sanctions regime,”

  And here is Voice of Russia, “Russia prepares to attack the Petrodollar:

 The US dollar’s position as the base currency for global energy trading gives the US a number of unfair advantages. It seems that Moscow is ready to take those advantages away. (4)

The existence of “petrodollars” is one of the pillars of America’s economic might because it creates a significant external demand for American currency, allowing the US to accumulate enormous debts without defaulting. If a Japanese buyer want to buy a barrel of Saudi oil, he has to pay in dollars even if no American oil company ever touches the said barrel. Dollar has held a dominant position in global trading for such a long time that even Gazprom’s natural gas contracts for Europe are priced and paid for in US dollars. Until recently, a significant part of EU-China trade had been priced in dollars.

 Lately, China has led the BRICS efforts to dislodge the dollar from its position as the main global currency, but the “sanctions war” between Washington and Moscow gave an impetus to the long-awaited scheme to launch the petroruble and switch all Russian energy exports away from the US currency .

The main supporters of this plan are Sergey Glaziev, the economic aide of the Russian President and Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the biggest Russian oil company and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Both have been very vocal in their quest to replace the dollar with the Russian ruble. Now, several top Russian officials are pushing the plan forward.

 First, it was the Minister of Economy, Alexei Ulyukaev who told Russia 24 news channel that the Russian energy companies must should ditch the dollar. “ They must be braver in signing contracts in rubles and the currencies of partner-countries, ” he said.

Then, on March 2, Andrei Kostin, the CEO of state-owned VTB bank, told the press that Gazprom, Rosneft and Rosoboronexport, state company specialized in weapon exports, can start trading in rubles. “ I’ve spoken to Gazprom, to Rosneft and Rosoboronexport management and they don’t mind switching their exports to rubles. They only need a mechanism to do that ”, Kostin told the attendees of the annual Russian Bank Association meeting.

Judging by the statement made at the same meeting by Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, it is safe to assume that no resources will be spared to create such a mechanism. “ Some ‘hot headed’ decision-makers have already forgotten that the global economic crisis of 2008 – which is still taking its toll on the world – started with a collapse of certain credit institutions in the US, Great Britain and other countries. This is why we believe that any hostile financial actions are a double-edged sword and even the slightest error will send the boomerang back to the aborigines,” she said.

It seems that Moscow has decided who will be in charge of the “boomerang”. Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, has been nominated to chair the board of directors of Saint-Petersburg Commodity Exchange, a specialized commodity exchange. In October 2013, speaking at the World Energy Congress in Korea, Sechin called for a “global mechanism to trade natural gas” and went on suggesting that “ it was advisable to create an international exchange for the participating countries, where transactions could be registered with the use of regional currencies “. Now, one of the most influential leaders of the global energy trading community has the perfect instrument to make this plan a reality. A Russian commodity exchange where reference prices for Russian oil and natural gas will be set in rubles instead of dollars will be a strong blow to the petrodollar.

Rosneft has recently signed a series of big contracts for oil exports to China and is close to signing a “jumbo deal” with Indian companies. In both deals, there are no US dollars involved. Reuters reports, that Russia is close to entering a goods-for-oil swap transaction with Iran that will give Rosneft around 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day to sell in the global market. The White House and the russophobes in the Senate are livid and are trying to block the transaction because it opens up some very serious and nasty scenarios for the petrodollar. If Sechin decides to sell this Iranian oil for rubles, through a Russian exchange, such move will boost the chances of the “petroruble” and will hurt the petrodollar.

It can be said that the US sanctions have opened a Pandora’s box of troubles for the American currency. The Russian retaliation will surely be unpleasant for Washington, but what happens if other oil producers and consumers decide to follow the example set by Russia? During the last month, China opened two centers to process yuan-denominated trade flows, one in London and one in Frankfurt. Are the Chinese preparing a similar move against the greenback? We’ll soon find out.

Finally, those curious what may happen next, only not to Iran but to Russia, are encouraged to read “From Petrodollar To Petrogold: The US Is Now Trying To Cut Off Iran’s Access To Gold.” (5)

Notes

(1)www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-04/us-threatens-russia-sanctions-over-petrodollar-busting-deal

 (2)www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-21/petrodollar-alert-isolated-west-putin-prepares-announce-holy-grail-gas-deal-chin

 (3)www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-02/whither-petrodollar-russia-iran-announce-20-billion-oil-goods-deal

 (4)http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_04_04/Russia-prepares-to-attack-the-petrodollar-2335

 (5)www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-05-16/petrodollar-petrogold-us-now-trying-cut-irans-access-gold

Kiev Sniper Shootings: Lies v. Truth

April 5th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

Ukraine putschist authorities are illegitimate. Arsen Avakov is interim interior minister. On Thursday he lied. He pointed fingers the wrong way.

He outrageously accused Ukraine’s legitimate President Viktor Yanokovych, his interior minister Vitali Zakharchenko, and Russian security elements of direct involvement in Kiev sniper shootings.

“The former government of the country gave criminal orders and a huge number of people suffered in the ‘mincer’,” he said.

He cited no evidence whatever proving it. None exists. He said a dozen Ukrainian so-called Black Unit Berkut police officers were detained on suspicion of what happened.

In late February, putschist authorities disbanded the Berkut. Its force numbered around 4,000. At the time, Avakov said “Berkut no longer exists.”

Its officers complained about neo-Nazi provocations. They and their families were threatened.

One former Berkut officer said threats painted on houses they used said “You’re dead” or “We’ll hang you and kill all your family one by one.”

Donetsk and Sevastopol residents called Berkut elements heroes. Sevastopol Mayor Aleksey Chaly said they “d(id) their duty with dignity. (They) show(ed) themselves to be true men.”

They’re “now being thrown to the gang of nationalists…” They deserve better than they got.

They had no involvement in sniper shootings. Their own ranks were targeted. Putschist snipers shot them from occupied buildings.

They killed them. At the time, they were doing their job with restraint. They’re heroes, not villains.

Clear evidence shows Kiev putschists recruited Euromaidan snipers. They bear full responsibility for what happened. Claims otherwise are lies. More on this below.

Illegitimate Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Valentyn Nalivaichenko head lied. He claimed Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) elements collaborated with Yanukovych’s security service SBU authorities in December and January.

Russian citizens were present at SBU headquarters, he alleged. Moscow delivered explosives and weapons to Kiev, he claimed.

(Phantom) planes loaded with over 5,000 kilograms of Russian explosives and other materials delivered them, he said.

“They brought the means of organizing the shooting and destruction of our protesters on Maidan,” he added.

No corroborating evidence was cited. None exists. Outrageous charges have no legitimacy. Avakov turned truth on its head. Lies substituted.

An FSB press service statement added: “Let these statements remain on the conscience of (Yanukovych’s) SBU.”

On Thursday, illegitimate putschist prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk outrageously accused Yanukovych of direct involvement in planning Kiev sniper shootings.

He issued a statement saying “as a politician, I can state that the former president is personally responsible and we would like to bring (him) to justice.”

“It is unacceptable when the Russian Federation covers for a man who is under investigation for the charges of mass murder and crimes against humanity.”

Russia categorically denied sniper shootings involvement. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was clear and unequivocal.

He cited hard evidence showing putschist Right Sector responsibility for what happened. “(A) good deal of facts…point to” this conclusion. Moscow informed Western authorities, he said.

“I cannot say I’m 100 percent sure, but there are a slew of facts that indicate just as much,” he added. “Of course, they should be double-checked.”

“(S)weep(ing) (truth) under the rug” is unacceptable. Substituting lies is worse.

Kiev authorities ignored hard evidence, said Lavrov. Legitimate investigation into what happened was whitewashed.

Independent analysis was ignored. Kiev authorities turned a blind eye to Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet’s comments.

On February 25 , he and EU foreign policy Catherine Ashton spoke.

They were monitored. They didn’t know it at the time. Their discussion was leaked. Paet commented on what he heard in Kiev.

He confirmed putschist involvement in sniper shootings. He said “there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovich, but it was somebody from the new coalition.”

“All the evidence shows” they were shooting at people from both sides. They targeted police and protesters. Yanukovych was wrongfully blamed.

Paet spoke to Kiev doctor Olga Bogomolets. She’s a Bogomolets National Medical University professor.

She said snipers shot protesters and police. Paet called Dr. Bogomolets’ evidence “quite disturbing.”

She showed him photos. They revealed “the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened,” said Paet.

Around 100 people were killed. Another 900 were injured. Paet blamed putschists for cover-up. They refuse to investigate, he said.

They want evidence suppressed. Snipers were neo-Nazi hitmen. Yanukovych and others in his government had no involvement.

On March 12, former Ukrainian Security Service head Aleksandr Yakimenko confirmed Paet’s assessment. He blamed putschist official Andrey Parubiy. He’s a neo-Nazi Svoboda party leader.

“Shots came from the Philharmonic Hall,” he said. “Maidan Commandant Parubiy was responsible for this building.”

“Snipers and people with automatic weapons were ‘working’ from this building on February 20. They supported the assault on the Interior Ministry forces on the ground who were already demoralized and had, in fact, fled,” he added.

“When the first wave of shootings ended, many have witnessed 20 people leaving the building.”

They were carrying military-style bags used for sniper and assault rifles with optical sights.

Many witnesses saw them. Foreign elements may have been involved. Perhaps CIA, US special forces, and secret service operatives.

What happened was well planned in advance. “These were the forces that carried out everything that they were told by their leadership – the United States,” Yakimenko stressed.

Maidan leaders practically lived at Washington’s embassy, he added. As security chief, he was ready to order Ukrainian troops to enter the building and remove the snipers, he said.

He needed approval from Parubiy to do it, he explained. Otherwise, so-called “self-defense” elements would have attacked him, he believes.

“Parubiy did not give such consent,” he said. He controlled access to weapons used in Independence Square.

Moscow wants an independent investigation. It wants full disclosure of what happened. Deep East/West divisions remain.

Russia and independent analysts are on its own to investigate. Evidence revealed will be buried.

Ukraine’s dark future is planned. It remains to be seen how ordinary Ukrainians react. Perhaps Euromaidan protests 2.0 will follow. The battle for Ukraine’s soul continues.

A Final Comment

On Thursday, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said 25 ultranationalist Ukrainians were detained. They’re held on suspicions of planning terrorist attacks in seven Russian regions.

They include Rostov, Vogograd, Tver, Orel, Belgorod regions, as well as Kalmykia and Tatarstan republics.

An FSB statement said:

“As a result of measures taken on the basis of information about the preparation of terrorist acts on the territory of the Russian Federation by activists of the so-called Right Sector movement during the period from March 14 to March 16, some 25 Ukrainian citizens have been detained.”

They admitted intentions to do so. They said Ukraine’s SBU sent them to photo survey Russian military exercises. They were told to establish contacts with Russian radicals.

They were detained “before committing any illegal actions damaging Russian security,” the statement added.

At least three Right Sector members were involved. Expect similar provocations ahead. Washington’s dirty hands are likely involved.

Confronting Russia irresponsibly continues. A US navy warship was deployed to Black Sea waters. Pentagon authorities didn’t confirm what vessel was sent.

Two US destroyers are nearby – the USS Donald Cook and USS Ramage. They’re involved in eastern Mediterranean exercises with Greek and Israeli navies.

According to US European Command Capt. Gregory Hicks:

“We are making plans to meet the intent vocalized by (US and NATO officials) to lay out a sustainable maritime presence in the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, but we do not have anything to announce at this time.”

US naval forces operate provocatively in Black Sea waters and others nearby. Lavrov criticized Pentagon deployments responsibly.

They violate Montreux Convention provisions, he said. It’s a 1936 international agreement.

It restricts naval warships’ passage through the Bosporus Straits and Dardanelles. It pertains to non-Black Sea area nations.

Lavrov issued a statement saying:

“There exists the Montreux Convention, which gives extremely clear criteria limiting the deployment of warships not belonging to the Black Sea governments in regard to tonnage and length of stay.”

“We have noticed that US warships have extended their deployment beyond the set terms a couple of times lately, and at times they did not always comply with the regulations that are set within the Montreux Convention.”

Washington ignores international laws, conventions and treaties. Its own rules alone apply. It does what it wants. It operates extrajudicially.

Escalating tensions threaten potential conflict with Russia. The worst of all possible outcomes could follow.

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

In an interview with Reuters, General Philip Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, painted a foreboding picture of an imminent Russian threat. Breedlove claimed that there are 40,000 troops massed on the Ukrainian border. He went on to claim that the troops are in a high level of readiness and that all the required components of an invading force are in place, including the required mix of personnel and materiel. He claimed they could achieve their strategic goal within three to five days.

Russia has repeatedly downplayed any threat, claiming that the troops are involved in routine exercises.

Breedlove continued to speculate what the ‘goal’ of this force might be, and offered three possible scenarios:

1. Russian forces remain deployed on the border as a plausible military threat to help secure Russian interests in the unfolding situation in the Ukraine.
2. The force is deployed to secure a land-bridge between Russian and the Crimea.
3. The force is deployed to sweep across the South of Ukraine via Odessa and link up with the isolated Russian enclave in Trans-Dniester, on the Moldovan-Ukrainian border.

Breedlove did not speculate that Russian forces may be used to secure Eastern Ukraine – a favourite topic of speculation in the western media following the secession of Crimea. He went on to explain that the NATO council had asked planners to come up with a range of military options by April 15, including potential deployments of sea, air and land forces.

In the meantime, the US has sent F-15′s and F-16′s to Poland and the Baltic states.

NATO also continues to step up the diplomatic pressure on Russia. On April 1st NATO announced suspension of a range of military and civil joint-ventures with Russia. This will impact a number of joint programs in Afghanistan, including counter-narcotics and some military supplies to the Afghan army.

A team from NATO is due to visit Ukraine next week in response to a ‘request for help’ from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. A team of 16 senior Ukrainian officers has joined NATO for military exercises in Bulgaria.

NATO is the world’s most powerful military bloc. It was supposedly founded as a collective security bloc in which each member undertook to come to the aid of a fellow member in appropriate circumstances. The 28 members that currently make up NATO are responsible for 70% of global defence expenditure, and 70% of that expenditure is accounted for by the USA. In 2012, NATO accounted for $1.02 trillion in defence expenditure, compared to China’s $166 billion, and Russia’s $90 billion. (See recent report by Stripes.com)

USSR had Proposed Joining NATO in 1955

The imperialist and anti-communist nature of NATO was exposed in 1955 when the USSR proposed joining. Documentary evidence demonstrates that the proposals were genuine . The USSR had earlier proposed a European collective security arrangement that would have excluded the USA. When this elicited a negative response from the UK and France, the USSR floated the idea of joining NATO. The suggestion was never even seriously considered by the West. The USSR went on to form the Warsaw Pact.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has overseen military interventions in Bosnia in 1994/5, Kosovo in 1999, Afghanistan from 2003, and Libya in 2011. In the same time period, Russia has been involved in the Chechen Wars of 1994 and 1999, and the short South Ossetia war of 2008.

NATO’s military operations have had a wholly different character to Russia’s. NATO’s military interventions have been imperialist exercises in regime destabilisation and regime change, executed under cover of ‘humanitarian interventions’. In each case, when the democratic and internationalist verbiage is cast aside, the underlying geopolitical reality is that the US and its clients assumed the right, irrespective of the UN, to overthrow a foreign government by military force.

Russia’s military operations, on the other hand, have been typical cases of a major power defending its internal integrity and local interests. Russia is not acting as if it has the right to overthrow any regime it takes a dislike to. It has been involved in conflicts arising from internal ethnic and religious separatism (Chechnya), and border disputes triggered by the perceived need to defend Russian populations with irredentist aspirations (South Ossetia, Trans-Dniester, Crimea).

NATO has been expanding since 1999. In that year the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland became full members. In 2004 they were joined by Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, and in 2009 by Albania and Croatia.  There is a multi-stage accession process which requires members to comply with political and military governance criteria. Currently, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia are in the ‘Membership Action Plan’ stage – the final stage pending full accession.

The Ukrainian crisis has created new opportunities for the USA and its client states to further isolate Russia from the rest of Europe. US geopolitical strategy has always feared the emergence of a Eurasian bloc that might challenge US hegemony. In the post-cold war era, this has driven an expansion of NATO and the EU up to the Russian border.

Alongside the political-military strategy of NATO and EU expansion, the economic strategy is to  the break the reliance of Europe on Russian gas and oil by developing the port and storage infrastructure to support shipping LNG between the USA and EU. This would be a lucrative trade for the US corporate interests that are driving the shale gas revolution in the USA. The same corporate interests are also busy snapping up European exploration contracts for shale reserves – including in the Ukraine, which is believed to have major shale deposits. In addition to this, the intention is to re-rout supply of pipeline gas from the eastern corridor -  from Russia via the Ukraine – to the southern corridor – from the Caspian basin via Turkey.

Washington and Brussels played a critical role in sponsoring and supporting the February coup that brought the nationalist Yatsenyuk regime to power in the Ukraine. It is difficult to believe that Washington analysis and intelligence was so poor as to be caught completely unawares by the Russian response. On that basis the Western role in the Ukrainian coup can be seen as a direct provocation to Russia that is designed in part to further isolate Russia while strengthening US hegemony in Europe.

General Breedlove’s musings about Russian intentions should be assessed on that basis.

Lionel Reynolds is an independent analyst based in Australia. He runs the blog www.dispatchesfromempire.com

Humanitarian intervention or just another imperialist campaign?

In 2011, Western politicians such as US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and other members of the NATO alliance praised what they believed was a successful campaign to oust the murdered Muammar al-Gaddafi. Three years later, this Western intervention has created another failed state, yet Western leaders refuse to admit their mistake. Libya is now run by extremist militias, the same people that were supported and armed by the West to carry out the illegal regime change operation. Right now, Libya’s parliament agrees on little, its interim government has no army to enforce security let alone impose its will, and a new constitution meant to forge a sense of nation remains undrafted. For many Libyans, who were duped into trusting and supporting Western intervention, life has now become unbearable. Libya has descended into a scramble over the future shape of the nation, with ex-rebel commanders, former exiles, Islamists, tribal leaders, and federalists all jostling for position.

Libya is now a failed state

In Benghazi, in the country’s east, three key ports have been seized by a group of former oil security forces who defected with their leader Ibrahim Jathran, a former Gaddafi fighter, last summer. They want more autonomy for the region. The two most powerful groups in the country are the militias west of the capital, one in the mountain town of Zintan and the other in the port city of Misrata. Bristling with weaponry and a sense of entitlement, the rivals both claim the mantle of champions of the revolution. Each brigade is loosely allied to competing political factions, and neither shows any sign of disarming or falling in behind the government in Tripoli. Ultimately, Libya has no authoritative government or any legitimate institutions.

Violence is also rife in Libya. Car bomb attacks take place frequently. The Libyan future remains highly uncertain at present, with several scenarios plausible: partition based on fundamental ethnic and regional enmities, essentially creating two polities, one centred in Benghazi, the other in Tripoli; a perpetuation of tribal rivalries with governing authority appropriated by various militia, and likely producing a type of low-intensity warfare that creates chaos and precludes both meaningful democracy and successful programs of economic development; or a failed state that becomes a sanctuary for transnational extremist violence and then becomes a counter-terrorist battlefield in the manner of Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Mali, the scene of deadly drone attacks and covert operations by special forces.

One fact is clear however – the West opened another can of worms when it intervened in Libya. Similarly to Iraq and Afghanistan, the false feeling of superiority has led the Western powers to create another state where people have no hope for a better future. If the West was truly serious about humanitarian assistance, it would have pro-actively helped Libya to re-build and get back on its feet. Instead, Libya has been left to wither away by itself, which begs the question – was the Libyan intervention really about protecting civilians, or was it just another geopolitical and imperialist campaign to remove a leader who opposed the Western economic system. Before his bloody assassination, Gaddafi had pledged to fund three ambitious African projects — the creation of an African investment bank, an African monetary fund and an African central bank. Africa felt that these institutions were necessary to end its dependence on the IMF and the World Bank.

It is probable that Gaddafi’s plans to disassociate Libya from the IMF was the main reason for Western intervention. We must therefore remember one fact: the Libyan case has illustrated once again that Western interventions cannot be trusted and do not work, and in fact, cause more harm than good. For this reason it is imperative to continue to oppose NATO and any future imperialist campaigns.

Alexander Arfaoui is the founder of Global Political Insight, a political media and research organisation. He has a Master’s degree in International Relations. Alexander works as a political consultant and frequently contributes to think-tank and media outlets.

 

The European Union and the unelected Western-backed regime in Ukraine are intensifying their efforts to bring the fascist Right Sector under state control in the run-up to presidential elections planned for May 25.

For the past week, Right Sector members have been besieging the Ukrainian parliament demanding the resignation of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, whom they blame for the death of Right Sector deputy leader Alexander Muzychko. Muzychko, also known as Sasha Bilyi, was gunned down by police on March 24 in Rivne, in an action that has all the hallmarks of a contract killing ordered by the Ukrainian state.

The Right Sector played a key role in the Maidan protests that culminated in the ousting of the pro-Russian regime of President Viktor Yanukovych. They crushed Yanukovych’s riot police and, during the putsch, surrounded Ukrainian state buildings and terrorized the state apparatus and parliamentarians of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions into supporting the Western-backed opposition.

A significant proportion of the $5 billion funnelled to opposition groups by Washington will have gone to bolstering the disparate fascistic outfits that make up the Right Sector. Its leader, Dmytro Yarosh, has acknowledged that his organisation successfully “recruited” members of the army and security forces in the weeks when the Maidan protests occurred.

Since the deposing of Yanukovych on February 22, however, the ties between the supposedly new and “democratic” regime installed by Washington and fascist bands has become increasingly problematic.

Thugs beating up politicians, stirring up anti-Russian chauvinism, and carrying out various criminal acts while sporting weapons and Nazi symbols too obviously contradicted the Western powers’ cynical claims that the Maidan protests were a democratic revolution. The imperialist powers saw it as a major factor in strengthening the hand of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While they moved to incorporate the fascists as a key basis of the new regime, the Ukrainian opposition and its imperialist backers have increasingly sought to discipline Right Sector and more closely bind it to their agenda.

Yarosh was offered the post of deputy head of the National Security Council by the transitional regime, to serve under Andrey Parubiy, a co-founder of Svoboda’s forerunner, the Social National Party of Ukraine. Yarosh turned down the request in order to run for the post of president of Ukraine, however.

The entire Right Sector was then urged to disarm and take their place in a newly created National Guard and to end their independent activity—which they have so far refused to do.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph on March 28 attributed the origins of this demand to the European Union. It reported that the EU is “deeply worried that the situation is playing into the Kremlin’s hands. The Telegraph has learnt that two recent EU communiqués on Ukraine were supposed to include a clause demanding ‘the dissolution of paramilitary structures’. Officials then deleted the clause, because of fears it would provide a ‘propaganda coup’ to President Vladimir Putin.”

Deleted clauses notwithstanding, the EU’s guiding hand is clear. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton has condemned the Right Sector protests outside the building of the Verkhovna Rada as “against the democratic principles and rule of law.” She insisted that the fascists “need to hand over any unauthorised arms to the authorities immediately.”

To underscore Ashton’s message, following their meeting at the end of March in Weimar, the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France, and Poland issued a joint appeal requesting the Ukrainian government “distance itself from extremist groups,” arguing that such a move was necessary in order to “re-establish the state monopoly on the use of force.”

The Ukraine regime has heeded its masters’ voice. Referring to the Right Sector, Ukrainian MP Serhiy Sobolev told France 24 this week, “We have to be clear—if this is a political party it should focus on political activity… If these are combatants who want to serve their country, they can do so in the army or in the new National Guard.”

Avakov offered the Right Sector an opportunity to go to the front lines in the confrontation with Russia: “We told them, the war is finished. If you would like to participate in defending the country, go and join the National Guard of Ukraine.”

Calling upon the Right Sector to end their occupation of several buildings in central Kiev, Avakov advised them to “Go to the border regions in Ukraine and secure Ukraine.”

The killing of Muzychko was a clear warning to the fascists of the potential price of failing to heed to call to work under the supervision of the state. He was famously captured on video threatening the representatives of a regional parliament with violence and death. An official inquiry this week brazenly ruled that he accidentally shot and killed himself in the heart as police tried to wrestle him to the ground.

On Tuesday the Ukrainian parliament used an incident the day before to pass a resolution ordering the Ukrainian security service (SBU) and the interior ministry to disarm paramilitaries.

In the incident, a member of Right Sector was involved in a shooting near the city centre on Monday evening that wounded three people. The man was arrested and his group were ordered to leave the hotel in the centre of Kiev they had turned into their headquarters. Armed police officers then surrounded the headquarters of Right Sector at the Hotel Dnipro in the city centre.

The abandoning of the Right Sector’s hotel base hardly constitutes an end to its independent activity. It still possesses substantial weaponry, which it reportedly acquired from an Interior Ministry depot—though it remains unclear whether they were given the weapons by sections of the security apparatus during the protests, in the run-up to the putsch. The Right Sector has largely ignored a government deadline to hand over its arms.

In any event, despite banner headlines such as the BBC’s “Kiev takes on the Far Right”, neither the Ukraine regime nor its backers in the United States and Europe have any problem with collaborating with right-wing and fascist forces. They do not seek the elimination of the Right Sector, but its incorporation into the state under their orders.

In addition, no less than six leading posts, including deputy premier, in the new regime are occupied by members of Svoboda. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is the nominee of Fatherland whose figurehead, Yulia Timoschenko, has called for the nuclear liquidation of Russians living in Ukraine.

The newly appointed head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is Valentine Nalyvaichenko. Photos available on the Internet show him addressing the annual rally of the “Trident” organization—the faction of the Right Sector headed by Yarosh, who is pictured alongside Nalyvaichenko—in 2011. The meeting was convened on the grounds of Zarvanitsa, the main complex of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

These are the forces, which according to the wishes of the EU and US State Department, are to be entrusted in Ukraine with the “state monopoly of force.”

The Obama administration has scrambled to deflect criticism and ridicule sparked by an Associated Press story exposing a failed attempt by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to set up a Twitter-like social media network as an instrument for regime change in Cuba.

The operation, dubbed ZunZuneo—a Cuban term used to describe the call of a hummingbird—consisted of mass text messaging to Cuban subscribers, who numbered 40,000 before the venture was shut down for lack of funding in 2012.

The AP report, published on Thursday, makes it clear that USAID was running a covert operation aimed at promoting political upheavals in the island nation. Conscious that the so-called economic reforms being instituted by the Castro government to encourage foreign investment and private enterprise will deepen social inequality and promote social unrest, Washington sought to set up a communications platform to allow it to manipulate these developments to promote its own strategic aims.

Working through a labyrinth of dummy companies and foreign computer servers located in Spain, Costa Rica, Ireland and the UK, and an offshore bank account in the Cayman Islands, the overriding aim of the operation was to conceal the US government’s responsibility for ZunZuneo’s creation and operation, not merely from the Cuban government, but from the tens of thousands of Cubans who were signed up as subscribers. The phone numbers themselves were turned over to the US government by an American “asset” inside the Cuban government.

The text messages sent via ZunZuneo were for the most part restricted to weather reports, sports scores and items on music and celebrity trivia. One of the thousands of pages of documents obtained by AP, however, said that the plan was to “gradually increase the risk” through the introduction of antigovernment political content and, ultimately, to be able to mobilize “flash mobs” during “critical/opportunistic situations.” It described its ultimate aim, regime change, euphemistically, as a plan to “renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society.”

Also concealed from ZunZuneo’s Cuban users was that USAID and its contractors were using the operation to gather personal information aimed at determining who among them could prove useful to US operations on the island. The US agency, according to the AP report, was classifying Cubans according to five categories, ranging from the “democratic movement,” which it described as “still (largely) irrelevant,” to the “Talibanes,” the term used to describe firm supporters of the Cuban regime.

A statement issued by Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Relations charged that the episode “demonstrates once again that the government of the United States has not renounced its subversive plans against Cuba, which have the clear purpose of creating situations of destabilization in the country to provoke changes in our political order and to which it continues dedicating multi-million dollar budgets each year.” It demanded that Washington “cease its illegal and covert actions against Cuba, which are rejected by both the Cuban people and international public opinion.”

The State Department, USAID and the White House all attempted Thursday to deny that the ZunZuneo project had been a “covert” operation, rather merely a “discreet” one.

“There was nothing classified or covert about this program,” State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters. “Discreet does not equal covert. Having worked for almost six years at the CIA, and now here, I know the difference.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a press conference: “In implementing programs in non-permissive environments, of course the government has taken steps to be discreet. That’s how you protect the practitioners and the public. This is not unique to Cuba.” He added, “It was not a covert program. It was debated in Congress.”

And Matt Herrick, USAID’s media director stated, “It is…no secret that in hostile environments, governments take steps to protect the partners we are working with on the ground.”

All of these rationalizations fly in the face of the fact that the secrecy surrounding the program was designed not to keep just the Cuban government—whose state-owned telephone company was being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for text-messaging fees—in the dark, but to conceal the origins and aims of ZunZuneo from the Cuban workers and youth who were using it. The fear was that any knowledge of its control Washington would utterly discredit the project, given the long and shameful record of US intervention on the island.

As for the claim that it was “debated in Congress,” this came as a surprise to several Congressmen of both parties, including chairs of committees overseeing USAID appropriations, who said they knew nothing about it.

Senator Patrick Leahy (Democrat, Vermont), who chairs the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the USAID budget, was particularly critical. “If you’re going to do a covert operation like this for a regime change, assuming it ever makes any sense, it’s not something that should be done through USAID,” he said.

Leahy also expressed consternation over the fact that the program was launched in the immediate aftermath of the Cuban government’s arrest of Alan Gross, a USAID contractor who was caught smuggling spy-grade satellite communications and computer gear into Cuba. Gross worked for Development Alternatives, Inc., which in 2008 was awarded a $40 million contract to run a “Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program.”

Leahy and others in Washington clearly fear that the episode will further discredit USAID, endangering its usefulness as an instrument of US foreign policy.

USAID describes itself as “the lead US Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.”

The agency, however, has a long and bloody record, particularly in Latin America, in promoting regime change and carrying out other crimes against the region’s population. In the 1960s and 1970s, its Office of Public Safety (which has since been shut down) trained Latin American police forces in counterinsurgency tactics including torture and assassination. Among its more infamous officials was Dan Mitrione, who working under the cover of an agricultural advisor, conducted sessions in Brazil and Uruguay in which he had homeless men dragged off the streets, torturing them to death before assembled police officers.

President Evo Morales expelled USAID from Bolivia last year, charging that the agency was funding nongovernmental organizations, opposition groups and some peasant unions for the purpose of destabilizing the government. Ecuador followed suit, with President Rafael Correa similarly charging that the agency was funneling money to his political opponents and intervening in the country’s internal politics.

In Venezuela, USAID, its Office of Transition Initiatives and the National Endowment for Democracy have poured millions into efforts to destabilize the governments of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. Those most prominent in the organization of the violent protests that have taken place in the country over the last two months have been major recipients of this funding.

In Syria, USAID has been the lead agency in funneling money to the so-called rebels and in financing the operations of the so-called Local Coordinating Committees, which have been touted by pseudo-left groups like the International Socialist Organization as some sort of “revolutionary” alternative.

In Ukraine, USAID has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars through its own operations and those of the NED into right-wing parties and organizations, helping prepare the recent fascist-led, pro-NATO coup.

As Washington postures as the defender of small nations and champion of national sovereignty in its confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, the operations of USAID and its contractors and conduits from Ukraine itself to Cuba expose the real role of US imperialism in carrying out illegal and violent interventions all over the globe to impose regimes subordinate to American interests.

The United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday to remove the cap on the total amount of money individuals can contribute to political campaigns, eliminating yet another constraint on the direct domination of the financial oligarchy over political life.

The ruling in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission overturns a 1976 Supreme Court decision that upheld the limit, currently at $123,000 on total campaign contributions during each two-year election cycle. While the ruling leaves in place the limit on contributions to individual candidates, currently set at $2,600 per candidate per election, it is only a matter of time before this too is struck on the basis of the same logic.

In a dissent from the bench, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer noted that the ruling increases the maximum amount of political contributions to “the number infinity.” He added that “today’s decision may well open a floodgate” to campaign contributions by the rich.

Instead of being limited to donating $48,600 to federal candidates and $74,600 to state and local political party committees per election cycle, the decision means that a wealthy donor who wanted to give the maximum legal contribution to every local and national candidate in their party could donate up to $6 million per election, according to Reuters.

The ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, offers an oligarchic and anti-democratic reinterpretation of the First Amendment. Roberts argues that, in effect, under the guise of defending “freedom of speech,” the First Amendment protects the right of tiny layer of the population to unfettered control over the political system.

Roberts writes that “we have made clear that Congress may not regulate contributions simply to reduce the amount of money in politics, or to restrict the political participation of some in order to enhance the relative influence of others.” It adds, “Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects.”

The ruling is the latest in a series of anti-democratic decisions relating to election law. It is an extension of the reactionary principles expressed in the 2010 ruling Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Supreme Court ruled that for-profit corporations are “persons” that can not be restricted in “independent” political expenditures. That decision paved the way for the proliferation of “Super-PACs,” funded by the ultra-rich, which now have the ability to spend unlimited funds to manipulate elections.

In June of last year, the Supreme Court effectively overturned the 1965 Voting Rights Act by removing the law’s enforcement mechanism, which requires states to pre-clear any changes in voting procedures with the federal government. Immediately following the decision, the states of Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and Virginia all announced new measures aimed at excluding workers, the poor and minorities from voting.

Such decisions solidify a process in which elections in the United States are contests between various agents of big business, Democrats and Republicans alike, over who can raise the most money from millionaire and billionaire donors. Ever-greater sums are raised by candidates to fund enormous marketing operations designed to sell big business politicians to an increasingly disinterested and hostile population. In the 2012 election cycle, including both the presidential and congressional elections, candidates spent a staggering $6 billion, more than twice what was spent in 2000.

Government “of the people, by the people, for the people,” as proclaimed by Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address just over 150 years ago, has become government “of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.” Not only are the politicians controlled by the wealthy, they are increasingly drawn directly from the ruling class itself. Earlier this year, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that, for the first time in history, most members of the US Congress are millionaires.

The terminal decay of the election system is part of a broader collapse of all democratic norms in the United States. This collapse extends back decades, but was escalated immensely following the theft of the 2000 elections and the installation, by several of the same justices that voted in this week’s ruling, of a candidate who lost the popular vote.

Every fundamental constitutional protection has been gutted, under Bush and then Obama, by a government that declares the right to spy on the population, torture and assassinate US citizens without due process. All of these attacks are expressions of a state that functions ever more nakedly as an instrument of the financial aristocracy, determined to meet any opposition with military and police repression.

The split in the Supreme Court over the ruling reflects concerns from sections of the ruling class about the far-reaching political implications of these developments. “Today’s decision,” wrote Breyer, “eviscerates our nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”

Breyer’s concerns about “grave problems of democratic legitimacy” are well-founded. All the institutions of bourgeois rule—from Congress, to the presidency, to the high court itself—are deeply discredited, with a growing understanding among the population as a whole that the state is nothing more than an instrument of the rich.

Whatever the qualms of liberals such as Breyer, however, there is no solution to this problem within the framework of the capitalist system that they defend. The collapse of democratic forms is the political expression of profound social processes—the decline of American capitalism, the growth of parasitism, the relentless attack on the social conditions of the working class and, above all, the incredible growth of social inequality.

Genuine democratic forms cannot be established within the framework of the existing institutions, but only through the overthrow of these institutions through the revolutionary mobilization of the working class, in the United States and internationally, as an independent force. The aim of this political movement must be the restructuring of the social and economic relations, replacing the domination of the corporate and financial elite with social equality and the democratic control of economic life on the basis of social need, that is, through the establishment of socialism.

Andre Damon

“We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the widest possible audience.” – Coretta Scott King, married to Martin for 15 years, worked to communicate the facts of his assassination by the US government for 31 years: King Family Press Conference, Dec. 9, 1999.

Today’s US government and media “leaders” are criminally complicit among Martin’s killers because they ongoingly cover-up the assassination year-after-year with known lies.

The following summary of documentation from the King Family 1999 civil trial’s verdict of US government guilt for Martin’s execution prove that ongoing lies from government and corporate media “leaders” were obviously required and planned in their conspiracy to assassinate Martin. Without ongoing cover-up, the damning facts the King family brought to trial would expose US government and corporate media oligarchs conspired to murder one of the most powerful, loving, and virtuous Americans in history.

Justice requires Americans to demand arrests of today’s leaders as not merely accessories after-the-fact, but ongoing principal actors required to assassinate Dr. Kingby lying about the evidence, and also directly involved today for the reason to assassinate Martin in 1968: to stop the occupation of Washington DC until the unlawful Wars of Aggression of his day were ended, and full resources committed to economic prosperity and ending poverty.

Martin’s speech to end a US unlawful War of Aggression, the Vietnam War, speaks to us today with our inclusion of the legal argument that these US wars are not even close to lawful, based on lies known to be false as they were told, and with criminal conspiracy of corporate media to both lie and hide these fundamental facts from US military and public.

Martin would be thrilled to know of economic answers to fully fund economic prosperity in America and around our beautiful but dominated planet: monetary reform, public banking and credit, and CAFR reform.

Today’s leaders’ lies extend to psychopathically “praising” Martin on the national holiday created after killing him. In these presidents’ hypocrisy, we can find truths to empower the 2014 Worldwide Wave of Action (in fairness to Reagan, I conclude he was largely unaware how he was being used):

  • “During his lifelong struggle for justice and equality, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions, offered a redemptive path for oppressed and oppressors alike, and led a Nation to the mountaintop. Behind the bars of a Birmingham jail cell, he reminded us that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’… I encourage all Americans to… appropriate civic, community, and service projects in honor of Dr. King.” – Obama (2014)
  • “Those who advocate a course that I have called ‘cutting and running’ have not studied the wisdom of the Rev. King. Peace, he understood, cannot come as the fruit of cowardice or the failure of will.” –Bush (2007)
  • “… we are still far from achieving the world for which Dr. King struggled, toiled, and bled. He did not live and die to create a world in which people kill each other with reckless abandon… If we are to be faithful to Dr. King’s vision, we must each seize responsibility for realizing the goals he worked so tirelessly to fulfill.” - Clinton (1995)
  • “In his words and deeds, Martin Luther King, Jr., reminded all Americans of the stern admonition issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1858, when he warned the people of Edwardsville, Illinois, of the tragic consequences that continued tolerance of slavery could hold for the United States. President Lincoln, like great Americans of all generations, knew that our Nation’s strength lies in the conviction that every human being is of inestimable worth and that the only legitimate end of government is to protect the God-given rights of each individual. ‘Destroy this spirit,’ Lincoln warned, ‘and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you.’ – Bush Senior (1990)
  • “Let all Americans continue to carry forward the banner that 18 years ago fell from Dr. King’s hands… Today we honor him with speeches and monuments. But let us do more. Let all Americans of every race and creed and color work together to build in this blessed land a shining city of brotherhood, justice, and harmony. This is the monument Dr. King would have wanted most of all.  – Reagan (1986)

The 2014 Worldwide Wave of Action (and here) begins on the April 4 anniversary of Martin King’s assassination by the US government (civil court trial verdict), with this operation completing ~July 4 (Martin’ 2-minute plea to you).

Purpose of this operation:

Dr. Martin Luther King’s family and personal friend/attorney, William F. Pepper, won a civil trial that found US government agencies guilty in the wrongful death of Martin Luther King. The 1999 trial, King Family versus Jowers and Other Unknown Co-Conspirators, is the only trial ever conducted on the assassination of Dr. King. The King Center fully documents the case, with full trial transcript.

The King family’s attempts for a criminal trial were denied, as suspect James Ray’s recant of a guilty plea were denied. Mr. Ray said that his government-appointed attorney told him to sign a guilty plea to prevent the death penalty for his part in delivering the murder weapon for Dr. King’s assassination, and to prevent arrests of his father and brother as probable co-conspirators. Mr. Ray produced a letter from his attorney stating the promise that Mr. Ray would receive a trial. When Mr. Ray discovered that he was solely blamed for Dr. King’s assassination and would never receive a trial, the King family’s and Mr. Ray’s subsequent requests for a trial were denied.

The US government also denied the King family’s requests for independent investigation of the assassination.

Therefore, and importantly, the US government has never presented any evidence subject to challenge that substantiates their claim that Mr. Ray assassinated Dr. King.

US corporate media did not cover the trial, interview the King family, and textbooks omit this information. Journalist and author, James Douglass:

“I can hardly believe the fact that, apart from the courtroom participants, only Memphis TV reporter Wendell Stacy and I attended from beginning to end this historic three-and-one-half week trial. Because of journalistic neglect scarcely anyone else in this land of ours even knows what went on in it. After critical testimony was given in the trial’s second week before an almost empty gallery, Barbara Reis, U.S. correspondent for the Lisbon daily Publico who was there several days, turned to me and said, “Everything in the U.S. is the trial of the century. O.J. Simpson’s trial was the trial of the century. Clinton’s trial was the trial of the century. But this is the trial of the century, and who’s here?” ”

For comparison, please consider the media coverage of O.J. Simpson’s trials:

“Media coverage of the Simpson trial, which began in January 1995, was unlike any other. Over two thousand reporters covered the trial, and 80 miles of cable was required to allow nineteen television stations to cover the trial live to 91 percent of the American viewing audience. When the verdict was finally read on October 3, 1995, some 142 million people listened or watched. It seemed the nation stood still, divided along racial lines as to the defendant’s guilt or innocence. During and after the trial, over eighty books were published about the event by most everyone involved in the Simpson case.”

The overwhelming evidence of government complicity introduced and agreed as comprehensively valid by the jury includes:

  • US 111th Military Intelligence Group were at Dr. King’s location during the assassination.
  • 20th Special Forces Group had an 8-man sniper team at the assassination location on that day.
  • Usual Memphis Police special body guards were advised they “weren’t needed” on the day of the assassination.
  • Regular and constant police protection for Dr. King was removed from protecting Dr. King an hour before the assassination.
  • Military Intelligence set-up photographers on a roof of a fire station with a clear view to Dr. King’s balcony.
  • Dr. King’s room was changed from a secure 1st-floor room to an exposed balcony room.
  • Memphis police ordered the scene where multiple witnesses reported as the source of shooting cut down of their bushes that would have hid a sniper.
  • Along with sanitizing a crime scene, police abandoned investigative procedure to interview witnesses who lived by the scene of the shooting.
  • The rifle Mr. Ray delivered was not matched to the bullet that killed Dr. King, and was not sighted to accurately shoot

The King family believes the government’s motivation to murder Dr. King was to prevent his imminent camp-in/Occupy at Washington, D.C. until the Vietnam War was ended and those resources directed to end poverty and invest in US hard and soft infrastructure. 

This conclusion is consistent with US history, past and recent, for US “leaders” to lie and kill for wars of choice. These lies are then “covered” by corporate media in news and history texts.

Please watch this six-minute video of the evidence from the trial, and this eight-minute video on the FBI’s disclosures of covert operations against Dr. King, including confirmation from his closest friends and advisors.

Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s wife, is certain of the evidence after 30 years of consideration from the 1968 assassination to the 1999 trial:

“For a quarter of a century, Bill Pepper conducted an independent investigation of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He opened his files to our family, encouraged us to speak with the witnesses, and represented our family in the civil trial against the conspirators. The jury affirmed his findings, providing our family with a long-sought sense of closure and peace, which had been denied by official disinformation and cover-ups. Now the findings of his exhaustive investigation and additional revelations from the trial are presented in the pages of this important book. We recommend it highly to everyone who seeks the truth about Dr. King’s assassination.” — Coretta Scott King.

The US Department of Justice issued a report in 2000 that explains their investigation into their own possible guilt in the assassination found no evidence to warrant further investigation. Dr. King’s son issued the following statement rebuking a “self-study” rather than the independent investigation the King family assert the evidence demands:

“We learned only hours before the Justice Department press conference that they were releasing the report of their results of their “limited investigation,” which covered only two areas of new evidence concerning the assassination of Dr. King. We had requested that we be given a copy of the report a few days in advance so that we might have had the opportunity to review it in detail. Since that courtesy was not extended to us, we are only able at this time to state the following:

1. We initially requested that a comprehensive investigation be conducted by a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, independent of the government, because we do not believe that, in such a politically-sensitive matter, the government is capable of investigating itself.

2. The type of independent investigation we sought was denied by the federal government. But in our view, it was carried out, in a Memphis courtroom, during a month-long trial by a jury of 12 American citizens who had no interest other than ascertaining the truth. (Kings v. Jowers)

3. After hearing and reviewing the extensive testimony and evidence, which had never before been tested under oath in a court of law, it took the Memphis jury only one (1) hour to find that a conspiracy to kill Dr. King did exist. Most significantly, this conspiracy involved agents of the governments of the City of Memphis, the state of Tennessee and the United States of America. The overwhelming weight of the evidence also indicated that James Earl Ray was not the triggerman and, in fact, was an unknowing patsy.

4. We stand by that verdict and have no doubt that the truth about this terrible event has finally been revealed.

5. We urge all interested Americans to read the transcript of the trial on the King Center website and consider the evidence, so they can form their own unbiased conclusions.

Although we cooperated fully with this limited investigation, we never really expected that the government report would be any more objective than that which has resulted from any previous official investigation.”

Let’s summarize: Under US Civil Law, covert US government agencies were found guilty of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was the leading figure of the Civil Rights Movement, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and widely recognized as one of the world’s greatest speakers for what it means to be human. The family’s conclusion as to motive was to prevent Dr. King from ending the Vietnam War because the government wanted to continue its ongoing covert and overt military operations to control foreign governments and their resources.

It is therefore a factual statement that under US Civil Law, the US government assassinated Dr. King.

People of sufficient intellectual integrity and moral courage to apply critical thinking skills will embrace the trial evidence and testimony, jury conclusion, and King family analysis as appropriate and helpful information in seeking the facts.

People who at least temporarily reject challenging information out of fear might say something like, “The government killed Dr. King? That’s a crazy conspiracy theory!”

Let’s consider that statement.

When someone says that a body of evidence is “crazy,” or a “conspiracy theory” (meaning an irrational claim easily refuted by the evidence) that’s a claim. With a claim comes a burden of proof. In this case, the person would have to demonstrate command of the facts to explain and prove why the evidence from the civil trial is somehow “crazy” and refute the evidence.

If the person can do this, it would be tremendously helpful in understanding the facts. However, we know from our experience that such statements almost always have zero factual support, and that the person making such a claim literally doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

We also know from our experience, a person making such a statement is really voicing an emotional reaction something closer to the spirit of, “The government killed Dr. King? Ok, I read and understood the paragraphs about the trial and evidence. I read Mrs. King’s and her son’s statement. I haven’t invested the time to verify how valid that information is. I’m not stupid, but because the implications of what that means is so disturbing, I’m going to deny anything about it could possibly be true as my first response. If I’m going to continue being in denial and refuse to discuss the evidence, I’ll attack the messenger.”

We also need to consider the lack of coverage by US corporate media of this compelling evidence, trial verdict, and King family testimony from over 30 years’ analysis of the facts. Recall the evidence of US corporate media reporting being infiltrated by CIA agents to propagandize Americans’ access to information. This included the Director of the CIA’s admission to Congress that they have over 400 agents working in corporate media to make the US public believe what the CIA wants them to believe.

In 2006, George Washington University used a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the US military’s “Information Operations Roadmap.” This formerly secret and approved document details present US government strategies to generate propaganda, and then attack Internet alternative media that provides dangerous facts and discussion. The military promoted the term, “Fight the net.”

Although I won’t enter the burden of proof here, you may know that there are similar and related bodies of evidence that the US government assassinated other American leaders. The 1975 Senate Church Committee disclosed that the US government initiated and helped assassination attempts on multiple foreign heads of state.

If we were discussing how the population of some other nation could employ critical thinking skills to understand current events from anytime in history, we would certainly understand the importance to anticipate disinformation from government, danger of controlled media, and assassination as a political weapon.

Failure to do so would appropriately elicit the label attributed to the first dictator of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin. Such people who believe what their government tells them when the history and present have overwhelming objective evidence to explain, document, and prove that the government is typical of so many other historical self-serving oligarchies are:

“Useful idiots.”

To the extent the United States today is any different from all other nations and all other times is up to your exercise of critical thinking skills. And that said, think and choose carefully: choices have consequences, especially our most important ones.

Consider the power of your choices during the April 4 to July 4 initial window of the 2014 Worldwide Wave of Action.

Petras pulled no punches saying “(i)n an electoral system, run by and for a corporate oligarchy, deception and demagoguery are essential elements – entertaining the people while working for the wealthy.”

Every US president does it. All congressional leaders. It’s “de rigueur” to pretend to be “everyman.” It persists while committing “war crimes worthy of prosecution.”

It’s play-acting. It’s duplicity. Obama is the “master of deceit.” He lacks an honest bone in his body.

He condemns torture while practicing it. He denounces Wall Street excess while supporting it. He wages one war after another while promising peace.

He backs Palestinian rights while trashing them. He supports the worst of Zionist militancy. He ignores institutionalized Israeli racism.

His word isn’t his bond. He broke every major promise made. He’s “hands down” the “greatest con-man president in American history,” Petras explains.

His predecessors pale by comparison. “(T)he enormous gap between style and substance, promise and performance, peace and war, capital and labor, has never been greater,” he added.

He continually promises one thing and does another.

He betrayed loyal constituents who supported him. He did so without a second thought. He’s more racist than most white Americans.

He reflects the worst of demagogic duplicity. He defends the indefensible. He’s a weapon of mass destruction. It bears repeating. He made America unfit to live in.

The Two Faces of a Police State: Sheltering Tax Evaders, Financial Swindlers and Money Launderers While Policing the Citizens

Petras cuts to the chase saying “(n)ever in the history of the United States have we witnessed crimes committed on the scale and scope of the present day by both private and state elites.”

Never has so much harm been done to so many to benefit an elite few.

Never was extreme wealth been accumulated more easily at the expense of countless millions harmed.

Never have so-called civilized societies so egregiously trashed longstanding cherished values.

Never was grand theft more institutionalized. Never were amounts involved as great as now.

Never did pillage more greatly become the national pastime. Never did so-called democratic governance more swindle its own people.

Never before did so many mega-crooks go unpunished. Never was high-crime more common practice.

Never was government in bed with business for stakes this great. Never were more people harmed in the process.

Guiding US doctrine endorses “too rich for jail, too big to fail,” said Petras. Ordinary people alone suffer.

Steal a billion, two or three and stay free. Steal a loaf of bread for hungry children and face prison time. Doing it three times perhaps means for life.

Law and order don’t exist. Judicial unfairness is official policy. Ordinary people haven’t a chance. Monied interests control things.

The Power of Israel in the United States

Israel Buys the US Congress: Sabotaging the US-Iran Peace Negotiations.

War or peace hangs in the balance. Thirty-five years of anti-Iranian hostility persists. Zionist power wants the Islamic Republic destroyed.

It wants all Israeli regional powers removed. It wants unchallenged military dominance.

It wants Israel given the right to steal Palestinian land freely. It wants it permitted to wage aggressive wars with impunity.

Attacking Iran risks regional or global war. Since WW II, “Israel has bombed, invaded and occupied more countries in the Middle East and Africa than any previous colonial power, except the US,” says Petras.

Its victims include “Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan and Yemen.” Its terror attacks and targeted assassinations include numerous other countries.

Israel operates lawlessly with impunity. America partners in its crimes. It provides billion of dollars in annual support.

Red lines, timelines, deadlines, sanctions, sabotage, subversion, cyber attacks, assassinations, saber rattling, warmongering, spurious accusations, manipulated to fail P5+1 talks, and inflammatory headlines up the stakes for war.

Pretexts are easy to invent. False flags precipitate them. Zionist power in America buys political support. It owns Congress. It gets most everything it wants.

Mainstream media march in lockstep. Truth is systematically buried. Unflinching Israeli backing substitutes. Fifty-two major US Zionist organizations exert enormous influence. Political Washington bows to their will.

Obama with Israel Against the World

America is a dictatorship, says Petras. Constitutional law is null and void. It’s “presidential toilet paper!”

“Legal hacks and whores scratch their backsides and regurgitate the previous illegal executive orders in order to ‘legitimize’ new arbitrary powers to declare war” and destroy fundamental freedoms.

Abuse of power demands impeachment. It’s a national imperative. America’s Declaration of Independence states:

“(W)hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, (it’s the right of the people, it’s) their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Straightaway as president, Obama violated his sacred trust. He betrayed his constituents. He trashed rule of law principles.

He’s guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. He spurns fundamental civil and human rights. He mocks democratic values.

He threatens humanity. He’s heading America for WW III. Removing him is top priority. The alternative is potentially grim.

Fifteen Minutes An American President

Obama’s 2009 inaugural address promised “a new approach with a new emphasis on respect and a new willingness to talk.”

Ravaging one country after another followed. So did overthrowing democratically elected leaders. Numerous other high crimes define his tenure.

He’s a wolf in wolf’s clothing. Neocons infest his administration. Peace is a four-letter word. Rule of law principles don’t matter.

Diktat power runs things. Humanity is more than ever threatened. It may not survive on his watch. America is the real evil empire. No nation ever matched its ruthlessness. Perhaps none ever will.

Israel’s Willing Executioners: AIPAC Invades Washington

“When a country, like the United States, is in decline, it is not because of external competition: declining competitiveness is only a symptom,” says Petras.

“It is because of internal rot. Decline results when a nation is betrayed by craven leaders, who crawl and humiliate themselves before a minority of thuggish mediocrities pledged to a foreign state without scruples or moral integrity.”

AIPAC is the most prominent face of US Zionist power. It fronts for Israel. It’s an unregistered foreign agent. It calls itself “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby.”

Virtually no one in Congress confronts it. Doing so is a career-ender.

It has virtual veto power over war and peace, trade and investment, multi-billion dollar arms sales, enormous handouts to Israel, and all Middle East policies affecting the Jewish state under Democrat and Republican administrations alike.

It’s a weapon of mass destruction. It supports Israel’s worst crimes. Its annual meetings are “the most outrageous public display of Zionist-Jewish power as it shapes US foreign policy,” says Petras.

“The sole purpose of AIPAC is to ensure Israel’s unchallenged military and political power over a huge region from North Africa to the Persian Gulf.”

Presidents, top administration officials, and congressional leaders pay homage to its power.

They march to the same drummer. They collaborate in high crimes. They support what demands condemnation.

They disgrace themselves in the process. They betray their constituents at the same time.

Fifty-two Major American Zionist Organizations control them. They serve a foreign government.

They do so against the interests of ordinary Americans. They do it “without scruples or moral integrity,” says Petras.

The Great Transformation of Jewish American Charities

Charity no longer defines them. Over time, they shifted disgracefully. They did so, Petras said, from:

  • “social aid for working Jews, poor immigrants and elderly Holocaust victims to political influence peddling at the service of the highly militarized state of Israel;
  • from engaging in social welfare for American Jews to political lobbying for military transfers to Israel;
  • from grassroots leaders sharing life styles and struggles with their rank and file donors to millionaire CEOs entertaining Zionist billionaires and banging tables for Israel at the White House while paying off the Congressional influential; and
  • from reaching out and aligning with Americans working for peace with justice in the Middle East to embracing every tin horn monarch and dictator who signs off on Israeli annexation of Palestinian land.”

In the process, they lost their popular mass base. Members resigned in protest. Others were forced out.

They’re no longer Jewish community representatives. They front for lawless Israeli power. They do so without ethics or integrity.

Imperial and Zionist Wars and Terror in the Middle East: Palestine, Iran, Syria and Yemen

Israeli Terror: The “Final Solution” to the Palestine Question (page 130/31)

Longstanding ethnic cleansing reflects official Israeli policy. Palestinians are systematically dispossessed.

For decades, Israel “confiscat(ed) their lands, destroy(ed) (their) homes, bulldoz(ed) (their) orchards and (established) ‘Jews-only’ colonial settlements serviced by highways, electrical systems and water works for the exclusive use of the settlers and occupying soldiers,” said Petras.

Israel is the only nation without declared borders. Its Greater Israel objective explains why. It wants them expanded.

In 1982, Oded Yinon prepared ”The Zionist Plan for the Middle East.” The Association of Arab-American University Graduates called it “the most explicit, detailed and unambiguous statement to date of the Zionist strategy in the Middle East.”

“Its importance…lies not in its historical value but in the nightmare which it represents.”

It states for Israel to survive, it must dominate the region. It must become a world power.

Doing so requires balkanizing Arab nations along ethnic and sectarian lines. It involves making them Israeli satellites.

Israel wants all historical Palestinian land, said Petras. It wants non-Jews “expel(led).” It wants Jews alone granted rights. It denies Palestinians entirely.

It commits high crimes too grave to ignore. It does so daily. It literally gets away with murder with impunity. So-called peace talks mock legitimate ones.

Palestinians are largely on their own to survive. Besieged Gazans suffer most of all. Israel keeps them isolated illegally.

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is a longtime Israeli collaborator. So are other PA officials. They’re Israeli enforcers.

They betray their own people for generous benefits derived. They’re complicit in causing enormous human suffering.

Obama at the General Assembly: Sacrificing Palestine for Zionist Campaign Funds

Petras discussed his September 21, 2011 address. He “overt(ly) pander(ed) to Israel,” he said. He’s done it at AIPAC conferences.

He supports lawless Israeli policy. He spurns fundamental Palestinian rights. He’s indifferent to their vital needs.

“From the angle of satisfying the US Zionist power configuration (ZPC) and securing a massive flow of re-election financing, Obama’s (2011) UN speech was a smashing success,” Petras explained.

He grovels before Zionist interests. He supports hugely destructive ones. He turns a blind eye to Israel’s settlement project.

He finances its wars of aggression. He vetoes all justifiable anti-Israeli Security Council resolutions

He supports wrong over right. He’s a war criminal multiple times over. He disgraces the office he holds.

Israeli Bombers: Al Qaeda’s Air Force

Israeli history reflects multiple crimes of war, against humanity and slow-motion genocide.

Generations of leaders deplored peace. They thrive on war. “Its foreign policy depends on perpetual regional wars and political instability,” said Petras.

Fifty-two Major American Zionist Organizations endorse its lawlessness. Israel is partnered with Obama’s war on Syria.

It wants another regional rival removed. Iran’s turn awaits. In 2014, Israel budgeted nearly $3 billion dollars for war on the Islamic Republic.

Waging it would be madness. It remains to be seen what follows. It doesn’t matter what Israel does most often.

“The entire Zionist power configuration in Washington has lined up to support the Jewish state,” said Petras.

“When Israel commits an act of war against its neighbor, no matter how unjust and brutal the act, Zionists from the most religious to the most secular, the ‘peacenik’ and neo-cons, all form a united chorus in praise of the righteous and moral ‘Jewish Bombs’ even as they fall on the besieged people of Syria today and Iran tomorrow.”

Peace remains elusive. It’s nowhere in sight so far nor benefits accrued if it arrives.

The Bloody Road to Damascus: The Triple Alliance’s War on a Sovereign State

Syria is Obama’s war. Proxy death squad invaders are used. So far they lack an air force. Obama likely plans Libya 2.0.

Plans to initiate it last summer were postponed. They weren’t cancelled. Full-scale war on Assad may be one major false flag incident away.

It remains to be seen what Obama plans. He wants another imperial trophy. Plans to oust Assad are firm.

The road to Tehran runs through Damascus. It’s “paved with lies,” Petras explains. It bears repeating. Iran’s turn awaits. Perhaps regional war will follow.

Saudi Arabia: A Retrograde Rentier Dictatorship and Global Terrorism

Saudi Arabian governance mocks legitimacy. It “has all the vices and none of the virtues of an oil rich state like Venezuela,” said Petras.

It’s “governed by a family dictatorship which tolerates no opposition and severely punishes human rights advocates and political dissidents.”

It “finances the most fanatical, retrograde, misogynist version of Islam, the ‘Wahhabi’ sect of Sunni Islam.”

It’s a valued US ally. America supports some of the world’s most ruthless despots. It targets independent governments for regime change.

It want subservient pro-Western puppet leadership replacing them. It spurns democracy at home and abroad.

It’s waging terror wars on humanity. It’s spending trillions of dollars doing so. It lets vital homeland needs go begging. It wants unchallenged global dominance.

Iran-US Interim Agreement: Historic Breakthrough of Historic Sellout?

American agreements aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. US history reflects it. Native Americans suffered through centuries of heroic lost struggles. From 1492 to today, they experienced promises made and broken.

Winning the West involved betraying them. One US treaty after another was violated. Imperialism works this way. Things haven’t changed. Today they’re worse than ever.

Earlier US policy makers sought sea to shinning sea dominance. Today they want it globally. They want it unchallenged. They’ll stop at nothing to get it.

Obama is America’s latest rogue leader. He’s a moral coward. He’s a serial liar. His word isn’t his bond. Petras asked if the so-called “historic (Geneva) breakthrough” was real or a mirage.

Does it end 34 years of Iran bashing? Or is it the latest US betrayal dressed up in diplomatic mumbo jumbo?

The Big Lie about an Iranian nuclear threat persists. It’s fake. It’s a red herring. US intelligence reports say so.

It’s common knowledge in Washington. It doesn’t matter. Congressional Iran bashing continues. So do punitive administration actions.

Petras said Geneva ostensibly “is directed toward undermining Iran’s potential ‘capacity’ to have a nuclear program: there are no weapons to destroy, no weapons plans exist, no war plans exist and there are no strategic offensive military operations on the Iranian ‘drawing board.’ ”

“We know this because repeated US intelligence reports” say so.

“So the entire current negotiations are over weakening Iran’s ongoing peaceful, legal nuclear program…”

They aim to “undermin(e) any future advance in nuclear technology that might protect Iran from an Israeli or US attack…”

Longstanding US/Israeli policy prioritizes destroying Iranian independence. It’s replacing it with pro-Western puppet governance.

It’s advancing US/Israeli imperialism. It’s eliminating all rival states. It’s establishing unchallenged control. It’s going all out by whatever means necessary.

Iran sought normalized relations with Washington and other Western countries for decades. It offered major concessions.

Its sincere efforts were spurned. Is this time different? Has Washington turned a page? Obama has all the proving to do. If past is prologue, don’t expect it.

The Assassination of Anwar Al-Awlaki by Fiat

Obama ordered death by drone missile. He murdered a US citizen abroad. He did so without justification.

He committed cold-blooded murder. For sure not for the first time. Or the last. He governs by diktat authority. He ignores fundamental rule of law principles.

Bill of Rights protections are gone. International law doesn’t matter. Washington rules alone apply. Hegemons operate that way.

So do rogue leaders like Obama. It bears repeating. He exceeds the worst of his predecessors.

Oligarchs, Demagogues and Mass Revolts…Against Democracy

US democracy exists in name only. Most other European ones operate the same way. Monied interests alone matter. Ordinary people have no say.

So-called “color-coded ‘mass revolts’ in Eastern Europe (including former Soviet republics) featured (duplicitous) popular leaders who exhorted the masses in the name of ‘independence and democracy…,” said Petras.

They were “pro-NATO, pro(Western) (imperial stooges) liked to neoliberal elites.”

Modern-day “oligarchs privatized and sold off the most lucrative sectors of the economy, throwing millions out of work.”

“They dismantled the welfare state and handed over their military bases to NATO for the stationing of foreign troops and the placement of missiles aimed at Russia.”

They betrayed their own people in the process. Things are worse now than ever.

Washington’s history reflects backing governments spurning the needs of their own people. Western monied interests alone matter.

Hard times inflict enormous punishment. Wars compound the worst of conditions. Things continue going from bad to worse. A race to the bottom harms countless millions.

Petras concludes saying “understanding imperial politics requires:

  • analyzing its changing structure and operational code;
  • identifying its ideology and technological innovations;
  • analyzing the domestic foundations of empire and the interplay between overseas expansion and internal decay; and
  • locating idiosyncratic domestic political configurations which influence and direct the particular policies and strategies of empire builders.”

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

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

An unprecedented wave of anti-Russian propaganda has dominated the German media in the wake of the US- and German-backed coup in Kiev. Leading publications such as Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Süddeutsche Zeitun g and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, but also so-called “alternative” media outlets such as the taz (which has close links to the Greens) are loudly demanding military action against Russia, outdoing one another with menacing attacks on Russian President Vladimir Putin who they describe as a new Hitler and aggressor.

This propaganda campaign, reminiscent of the conformist press of totalitarian dictatorships, has so far had a limited effect. Many readers are repulsed by the campaign and have responded angrily. This is reflected in the letters pages of newspaper and online comment pages.

On 19 March the editorial office of the Berliner Zeitung was forced to admit: “German newspapers and radio stations have received bags of letters and readers’ comments complaining about one-sided reporting. Russia’s intervention in the Crimea has been met with a great deal of understanding. The German media, on the other hand, is accused of conducting an anti-Russian campaign.”

Even the conservative Berliner Tagesspiegel noted that 80 percent of the 12,000 readers who took part in an on-line survey regarded official criticism of Moscow as “hypocritical”. A mere 4 percent favored “military intervention by NATO,” or Russia’s exclusion from the G8.

A poll by the ARD television channel, released in early March, found that 82 percent of respondents were against the use of military force against Russia. Two-thirds rejected economic sanctions against Russia.

In letters and comments to editorial offices, many readers and radio listeners refer to the active role played by the US, EU and Berlin on Independence Square, which led to the coup against the elected government in Kiev.

A reader of the Münchener Merkur comments: “In my opinion, the demonstrations in Kiev, with Klitschko to the fore, are controlled logistically and financially by the West (i.e. US and Europe) – the former Treasury Secretary of US President Reagan referred to $5 billion. Since the reintroduction of capitalism in Eastern Europe the US has sought to weaken and isolate Russia, and eliminate it as a superpower.”

The comment continues: “The US and EU have now brought the Baltic States and almost all of the countries of the former Eastern Bloc into NATO and the EU. Now they are going to move ahead with the proposed admission of Ukraine, up to the western border of Russia, and provoke the Russian Black Sea Fleet.”

Many readers are disgusted with the trivialisation of the role of the fascist Svoboda party, and the assertion that the events in Kiev’s Independence Square had something to do with democracy. A number of reports and YouTube videos available on the Internet clearly reveal the role played by ultra-violent fascist forces.

On 10 March the Münchener Merkur published a comment by Dr. K.H.B. who wrote: “The first casualty of war is the truth. It is war, and therefore I believe neither the Russian mainstream press, including state television, nor ours.”

Another reader is outraged by an article in the Thüringer Allgemeine of 18 March; “The annexation of Crimea is reminiscent of [Hilter’s invasion of] Sudetenland” and writes, “Once again the attempt is being made to shamelessly equate Putin and Hitler.”

An angry listener wrote to Radio Germany: “I must tell you that I’m tired of listening to the half-truths and biased reports on everything to do with Russia transmitted by your station. If I am correctly informed Radio Germany is the direct successor to the RIAS radio station, which had a reputation for agitational propaganda. It seems to me you have remained true to your heritage.”

E. P. from Erfurt referred to allegations that Russia is an “aggressor using methods from the 18th Century” as “deliberate slander”.

Concerns over the escalating danger of war are universally felt. H.M., who still hopes that NATO countries will limit themselves to verbal threats, writes that no one is interested in “dying on behalf of the interests of the Kiev extremists. An economic war with the resource-rich Russia would also have fatal consequences for all sides.”

In his letter to the Braunschweiger Zeitung H.S. warns: “Is a war on the horizon? This must be avoided at all costs!”

In response to the article “Merkel warns Putin” in the Badische Zeitung, UK writes: “Attention! Especially in Germany it should be clear: humiliation in bilateral and multilateral policy can have terrible consequences! The humiliating Treaty of Versailles in 1919 were the cause of the Second World War …”

Several listeners of Radio Germany drew direct parallels to the fascist propaganda of the World War II era: “I have the impression that your transmitter is once again calling for a war against Russia. Your station is replicating the megalomania of the Greater German Reich.”

Another comment added, “Whoever listens to the ‘Stahlhelm [i.e. Nazi] station on a daily basis, i.e. the campaign by Radio Germany against Russia, aimed at keeping the public fixated on NATO’s course, then one fears for our security and peace in Europe.”