Se ha justificado la creación de un Ejército de la UE como el modo de protegerse de Rusia, pero también puede ser una manera de reducir la influencia estadounidense ahora que la UE y Alemania están en desacuerdo con EE.UU. y la OTAN respecto de Ucrania.

En declaraciones al periódico alemán Welt am Sonntag, el presidente de la Comisión Europea, Jean-Claude Juncker, anunció que había llegado el momento de crear un Ejército de la UE. Juncker empleó la retórica sobre “defender los valores de la Unión Europea” y matizó la polémica anti-Rusia para promover la creación de dicha fuerza militar, lo cual enviaría un mensaje a Moscú.

La polémica y los motivos para un Ejército de la UE pueden girar en torno a Rusia, pero en realidad la idea apunta directamente contra EE.UU. La historia que subyace a estos planteamientos son las tensiones que se están produciendo entre EE.UU. por un lado, y la UE y Alemania por el otro. De ahí que Alemania reaccionara de manera entusiasta a la propuesta, respaldando un Ejército conjunto de la UE.

Anteriormente se había meditado mucho sobre un Ejército de la UE: fue durante la preparación de la invasión ilegal anglo-estadounidense de Irak en 2003, cuando Alemania, Francia, Bélgica y Luxemburgo se reunieron para tratar la cuestión como una alternativa a una OTAN dominada por EE.UU. La idea fue resucitada después bajo circunstancias similares. En 2003, el roce tuvo que ver con la invasión de Irak liderada por EE.UU. En 2015, se trata de un creciente desacuerdo entre Alemania y EE.UU. sobre la crisis de Ucrania.

¿Se están repensando las cosas en Berlín y París?

Para entender los hechos detrás de las voces a favor de un Ejército común de la UE tenemos que mirar lo ocurrido entre noviembre de 2014 y marzo de 2015. Todo comenzó cuando Alemania y Francia dieron las primeras muestras de estar replanteándose el camino bélico por el que EE.UU. y la OTAN les estaban llevando en Ucrania y Europa del Este.

Las diferencias franco-alemanas con EE.UU. surgieron después de que el 19 de noviembre de 2014, durante la sesión del Congreso sobre su nombramiento, Tony Blinken, ex viceconsejero de Seguridad Nacional de Obama y actual vicesecretario de Estado, el diplomático número dos del Departamento de Estado estadounidense, anunciara que el Pentágono iba a enviar armas a Ucrania. Como señalo el Fiscal Times, “Washington asestó un golpe doble a Rusia y a los europeos cuando reveló que está pensando en enviar armas a Ucrania”.

El Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores ruso respondió a Blinken anunciando que si el Pentágono proveía de armas a Ucrania, Washington no solo estaría agravando seriamente el conflicto, sino enviando una señal clara que cambiaría la dinámica del mismo dentro de Ucrania.

Advirtiendo que el asunto podía escapárseles de las manos, la respuesta de Francia y Alemania fue iniciar una ofensiva de paz a través de conversaciones diplomáticas que eventualmente conducirían a un acuerdo de alto el fuego en Minsk, Bielorrusia, bajo el “formato Normandía”, un cuarteto del que forman parte Francia, Alemania, Rusia y Ucrania.

Los pesimistas alegarán que Francia y Alemania optaron por la diplomacia en febrero de 2015 porque los rebeldes de Ucrania del Este o Nueva Rusia, como ellos mismos la denominan, estaban derrotando al Ejército de Kiev. En otras palabras, el motivo principal para apostar por la diplomacia habría sido salvar al Gobierno de Kiev sin una solución justa para el Este. Esto puede ser verdad hasta cierto punto, pero el tándem franco-alemán tampoco quiere ver a Europa convertida en un infierno que reduzca a cenizas a todos sus miembros.

Las diferencias transatlánticas se pusieron de manifiesto en la 51ª Conferencia de la Seguridad de Múnich, que se celebró en febrero. Durante la sesión de preguntas, el senador estadounidense Robert Corker, presidente del Comité de Relaciones Exteriores de la Cámara Alta, comentó con la canciller alemana Ángela Merkel que el Congreso estadounidense pensaba que Berlín estaba impidiendo que Washington aumentara la ayuda militar de EE.UU. y la OTAN a las autoridades de Kiev.

La canciller alemana fue muy explícita en su respuesta y le dijo al senador Corker que la crisis latente en Ucrania no podía solucionarse por medios militares y que el camino emprendido por EE.UU. no conducía a ninguna parte y serviría para empeorar la situación en ese país. Y cuando Merkel fue presionada por el diputado Malcolm Rifkind, presidente del Comité de Inteligencia y Seguridad del Parlamento británico, para que militarizara el conflicto en Ucrania, volvió a insistir en que enviar armas a Kiev era inútil e irrealista. Merkel le dijo al diputado británico que tenía que “mirar la realidad a los ojos”. La canciller alemana también señaló que no puede haber seguridad en Europa sin Rusia.

La posición pública alemana en la Conferencia de la Seguridad de Múnich desafió abiertamente la exigencia estadounidense de que sus socios europeos participaran en la militarización del conflicto en Ucrania. Aunque el secretario de Estado estadounidense John Kerry hizo todo lo posible durante el encuentro para asegurar a los medios y a la audiencia que no existía ninguna divergenciaentre la postura de Washington y la franco-alemana, se informó ampliamente de que el belicista John McCain perdió los papeles estando en Bavaria. Según se dice, tachó la iniciativa de paz franco-alemana de sandeces de Moscú“.  Posteriormente, McCain habría criticado a Ángela Merkel en una entrevista emitida por el canal alemán Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), lo que empujó al diputado alemán Peter Tauber, secretario general de la Unión Democrática Cristiana (CDU), a exigir una disculpa por parte del senador estadounidense.

El resquemor alemán por el control estadounidense de la OTAN

El pasado mes de febrero, en un artículo de Bloomberg podía leerse: “Pese a la retórica alarmista sobre la inminente llegada de los bárbaros rusos, los países de la OTAN se muestran reacios a acompañar sus declaraciones con dinero. Solo los países más próximos a la frontera rusa han aumentado este año su gasto militar, mientras que otros, los más grandes, están recortándolo. A pesar de lo que sus dirigentes digan sobre Vladimir Putin, no parecen pensar que sea una amenaza real para Occidente“.

Washington, sin embargo, no se rindió. Cuando comenzó la ofensiva de paz franco-alemana ese mismo mes, el general Philip Breedlove, máximo responsable militar de la OTAN, dijo en Múnich que “no creo que debamos descartar la posibilidad de la opción militar en Ucrania. El general Breedlove es general de la Fuerza Aérea de EE.UU. y recibe órdenes del Gobierno estadounidense, por lo que la estructura militar de la OTAN se encuentra bajo la supervisión de este país. Mientras Berlín y París trataban de distender la situación, Washington aumentaba la presión valiéndose de Breedlove y el secretario general de la OTAN, Jens Stoltenberg.

Después de dirigirse al Comité de Servicios Armados del Senado de EE.UU, el general Breedlove insistió en el aumento de la presencia militar rusa en el este de Ucrania. Alemania, sin embargo, rebatió las declaraciones de Breedlove tachándolas de “propaganda peligrosa“.

“Los dirigentes alemanes en Berlín estaban atónitos. No entendían de lo que estaba hablando Breedlove. Y no era la primera vez. De nuevo, el gobierno alemán, basándose en información reunida por la Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), la agencia de inteligencia exterior alemana, no compartía la opinión del comandante supremo de la OTAN en Europa  (SACEUR)”, informó Der Spiegel el 6 de marzo.

Aunque Berlín ha intentado quitar importancia a las noticias sobre el distanciamiento con la OTAN por los comentarios engañosos del general Breedlove, el pasado 7 de marzo, mientras se encontraba en Letonia, el ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Alemania, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, admitió abiertamente que era verdad que los alemanes estaban en desacuerdo con EE.UU. y la OTAN. Lo que hizo Steinmeier muy diplomáticamente fue reprochar y rechazar las declaraciones tanto de EE.UU. como de la OTAN sobre la “agresión rusa” en Ucrania.

En Letonia, la alta representante de la UE para Asuntos Exteriores, Federica Mogherini, sumó su voz a la de Steinmeier y explicó a los periodistas en Riga que la UE buscará un acercamiento realista con Moscú y no será arrastrada hacia una relación de confrontación con Rusia. Sus palabras contenían un mensaje tácito para Washington: la UE sabe que no puede haber paz en Europa sin Rusia y no quiere ser un instrumento de EE.UU. contra Moscú.

Desestabilizar Eurasia

Para EE.UU. el premio final en el conflicto de Ucrania es la propia Alemania, pues Berlín tiene una enorme influencia en la dirección que toma la UE. EE.UU. seguirá avivando las llamas en Ucrania para desestabilizar Europa y Eurasia. Hará todo lo que pueda para impedir que la UE y Rusia se unan y formen un “Espacio Económico Común desde Lisboa hasta Vladivostok, que en el Washington Beltway [el corazón del poder federal dentro de la carretera de circunvalación de Washington]   se descarta calificándolo de universo paralelo.

El Fiscal Times aclaró perfectamente los distintos anuncios realizados por los funcionarios estadounidenses sobre el envío de armas a Ucrania. “Dado el despliegue coreográfico, dicen los analistas de Washington, con toda probabilidad estamos ante maniobras de opinión pública para garantizar el apoyo a un programa armamentístico que ya está en marcha”, podía leerse en ese medio el 9 de febrero.

Después de la Conferencia de la Seguridad de Múnich se descubrió que se estaban realizando envíos de armas a Kiev de forma clandestina. El presidente ruso Vladimir Putin lo hizo público en una conferencia de prensa conjunta con el primer ministro húngaro Viktor Orbán en Budapest, cuando dijo que ya se estaban suministrando armas secretamente a las autoridades de Kiev.

Ese mismo mes apareció un informe titulado Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What the United States and NATO Must Do [Preservar la independencia de Ucrania, resistir la agresión rusa: lo que EE.UU. y la OTAN deben hacer], en el que se plantea la necesidad de enviar armas a Ucrania –desde piezas de repuesto y misiles hasta equipo pesado– para, en última instancia, combatir a Rusia. El informe había sido realizado por un triunvirato de destacados think-tanks: el Brookings Institute, el Atlantic Council y el Chicago Council on Global Affairs, los dos primeros pertenecientes a esa torre de marfil independiente conocida como “think-tankistan” que es el Washington Beltway. Se trata de la misma camarilla que ha defendido las invasiones de Irak, Libia, Siria e Irán.

¡Ten cuidado OTAN! ¿Un Ejército conjunto de la UE a la vista?

Es en este contexto de divisiones entre la UE y Washington donde tanto la Comisión Europea como Alemania se manifiestan a favor de crear un Ejército europeo.

La UE y los alemanes se dan cuenta de que no hay mucho que ellos puedan hacer para frenar a Washington mientras este tenga voz y voto en la UE y la seguridad europea. Tanto Berlín como una parte representativa de la UE están molestos por la manera como Washington utiliza la OTAN para promover sus intereses e influir en los asuntos internos de Europa. Si no como una forma de presión en las negociaciones a puerta cerrada, los pronunciamientos a favor de un Ejército europeo están pensados para reducir la influencia de Washington en Europa y posiblemente acabar con la OTAN.

Un Ejército de la UE que eliminara a la OTAN tendría un enorme coste estratégico para EE.UU. En ese contexto Washington perdería su posición privilegiada en la periferia de Occidente: “significaría automáticamente el fin de la participación de EE.UU. del tablero de juego eurasiático”, en palabras del ex asesor de seguridad nacional estadounidense Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Los intelectuales en EE.UU. ya están preocupados por el peligro que comportaría para la influencia estadounidense un Ejército de la UE. Así, por ejemplo, Commentary Magazine, la influyente publicación del Comité Judío Americano (afiliado a los neoconservadores del Washington Beltway), aprovecha el título de un artículo de Seth Mandel para lanzar la siguiente pregunta “¿Por qué Alemania está desautorizando a la OTAN?; en tanto que el Washington Examiner, valiéndose del título del articulo de Hoskingson, quiere saber “¿Dónde está la influencia de EE.UU.?“.

Es por eso que los vasallos de EE.UU. en la UE –concretamente Gran Bretaña, Polonia y los tres Estados bálticos– han expresado claramente su oposición a la idea de una fuerza militar común de la UE. Y mientras que París se ha mostrado reacio a sumarse al llamamiento para crear un Ejército de la UE, la presidenta del Frente Nacional en la oposición, Marine Le Pen, ha anunciado que ha llegado el momento de que Francia salga de la sombra de EE.UU.

Por su parte, el Gobierno del primer ministro británico David Cameron respondió a Jean-Claude Juncker con duras críticas, tachando su idea de fantasía estrafalaria y declarando que el Ejército es una responsabilidad nacional y no una responsabilidad de la UE. Polonia y Letonia también reaccionaron con escepticismo ante la propuesta. Todas esas declaraciones sirven para consolidar los intereses de EE.UU. de mantener la OTAN como una herramienta que le permita conservar su influencia en Europa y Eurasia.

El número 10 de Downing Street se ha contradicho a sí mismo al referirse al Ejército como un asunto nacional y no del conjunto de la UE. En fecha tan reciente como 2010, Londres firmó una serie de tratados para, básicamente, crear unidades navales conjuntas con Francia y compartir portaaviones en lo que no es otra cosa que una fusión de ejércitos. Además, el Ejército británico y el sector militar-industrial mantienen distintos grados de integración con EE.UU.

Hay aquí un par de cuestiones importantes. En primer lugar, ¿están los llamamientos a favor de crear un Ejército de la UE dirigidos a presionar a EE.UU., o se trata de un intento real de reducir la influencia de Washington dentro de Europa? Y, en segundo lugar, ¿están Berlín y sus socios realizando movimientos para echar a Washington de Europa desactivando la OTAN con un Ejército común de la UE?

____________________________

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya es sociólogo, analista geopolítico y un reconocido autor.

Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Sara Plaza

Fuente: RT, 12 de marzo 2015.

People Want Peace … But the Military-Industrial Complex Wants War

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said that a deal with Iran wouldn’t necessarily prevent war.

Military.com reports:

The U.S. will reserve the right to use military force to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon even if a deal is reached Iran’s nuclear program, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday.

The military option certainly will remain on the table,” Carter said as negotiators in Lausanne, Switzerland, struggled to reach an agreement ahead of a March 31 deadline.

“One of my jobs is to make sure all options are on the table,’ Carter said in remarks at Syracuse University and earlier on NBC’s “Today” program.

We thought that Iran getting nuclear weapons was the main reason we were thinking of bombing them.  So if a peace deal is signed with the U.S., why are we still talking about bombing them?

What’s going on?

In reality, top American and Israeli military and intelligence officials say that Iran poses no danger.

But the hawks have desperately been trying to stir up war with Iran for decades, as part of a 65-year program of regime change all over the world carried out by the U.S.

And the U.S. has inserted itself smack dab in the middle of a religious war … and is backing the most violent side. And see this.

The American people want peace, but the military-industrial complex wants war.

Last Friday, the FBI announced another harrowing, 11th-hour capture of Americans plotting to join “ISIS” and launch attack within the United States. The case of two Illinois men, Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds and his cousin Jonas Edmonds, ostensibly involved the former going to Syria to join ISIS there while the latter stayed in the US, plotting to attack “scores” at a military base.

Right on cue, the American media publish dressed-up FBI press releases about the “disrupted” plot, complete with balaclava-wearing stock photos: “FBI Disrupts Plot to Kill Scores at Military Base on Behalf of Islamic State” was the Washington Post’s headline (3/26/15).

These outlets, as usual,  omitted the rather awkward fact that this “ISIS plot” did not actually involve anyone in ISIS: At no point was there any material contact between anyone in ISIS and the Edmond cousins. There was, as the criminal complaint  lays out, lots of contact between the Edmond cousins and what they thought was ISIS, but at no point was there any contact with ISIS–the designated terror organization that the US is currently launching airstrikes against.

This distinction may seem like semantics, but it’s actually quite important when trying to accurately inform the public–only 40 percent of whom read past the headlines–about the reality of the ISIS threat vs. the fear-inducing media spectacle that so often inflates it.

MSNBC: 'ISIS Plot'

MSNBC reports an “ISIS plot” that never was.

While less sensational press like the Washington Postand the New York Timesare careful to avoid calling the sting operations “ISIS plots,” many outlets turn misdirection to explicit misrepresentation: ThisMSNBC headline (3/26/15) is fairly typical of how the reader is misled into thinking ISIS is actually involved in these arrests:

National Guard Soldier, Cousin Charged With ISIS Plot

The Edmond cousins weren’t actually charged with an ISIS plot.  They were charged with attempting to hatch an ISIS plot, but they are not accused of having any contact with ISIS whatsoever.

In a political environment where only a slight majority (54 percent) currently support the ongoing war effort against ISIS in Iraq and Syria–and soon potentially dozens of other countries–this sleight-of-hand has subtle but tremendous propaganda value. The specter of ISIS constantly trying to enlist dozens of Americans, often for attacks on US soil, is a crucial element in maintaining the current war effort. The media’s inability to point out that these “plots” are almost always entirely of the FBI’s making helps perpetuate the illusion and inflate perceived risk.

John Knefel  noted recently in the New Republic (3/24/15) the gap between our perception of the ISIS threat and the reality:

The likelihood of Al Qaeda or ISIS launching a massive attack inside the United States is “infinitesimal,” according to the Washington Post, yet a recent poll found 86 percent of Americans now see ISIS as a threat to U.S. security.

That perception, however, is based largely on a myth. The Triangle Center’sreport states that publicly available information does “not indicate widespread recruitment of Muslim-Americans by transnational terrorist organizations to engage in attacks in the United States, or sophisticated planning by the handful of individuals who have self-radicalized.”

Fox News: The Lure of ISIS

Contrary to Fox News, these suspects were not lured by ISIS, but by the FBI.

This trope is also present when reporting on the much-hyped “ISIS social media” army. In a  piece headlined “The Lure of ISIS,”  Fox News (12/16/14) used two cases, that of Abdella Tounisi and Basit Javed Sheikh, as evidence of Syrian jihadists’ social media appeal–without mentioning that fact that both men, according to the FBI’s own complaints, interfaced almost entirely with FBI-created “jihadi” social media:

The cases involve individuals from all across the country, from Florida to Minnesota to Colorado. They underscore the challenge US law enforcement continue to face, as well as the global reach of recruiters and propagandists from ISIS and other groups.

But the case of Tounisi and Sheikh cannot “underscore the global reach of ISIS recruiters and propagandists,” since the only recruiters and propagandists these men met online were the FBI’s “OCE”–Online Covert Employees. In the case of Abdella Tounisi, the FBI went so far as to create an entire fake Al-Nusra website, complete with a fake Al-Nusra training video and a fake Al-Nusra email list, as the DOJ’s complaint explained.

Basit Javed Sheikh, the 29-year-old North Carolina man, was duped using an FBI-created “Al-Nusra” Facebook page set up by a female FBI employee posing as an “Al-Nusra nurse” in Syria. The “nurse” persona would have other social media accounts, as well as an “Al-Nusra” Facebook page complete with extremist messages, videos, pictures and content–all created by the FBI.

Would Tounisi and Sheikh have sought other “recruiters” online? It’s impossible to say. (Also important to note that Sheikh had fallen in love with the “Al-Nusra nurse” FBI persona, who allegedly promised him marriage in Syria.) But what is clear is that FBI-created extremist social media isn’t evidence that extremist social media is helping recruit Americans for ISIS or Al-Nusra. But media treat FBI ruses that simulate terrorist activities as evidence that the crimes the FBI is ostensibly seeking to prevent are actually happening.

Daily News: 'ISIS in B'klyn'

The New York Daily News (3/9/15) would take this perverse logic to a comical extreme last month with this goofy headline:

ISIS was not, of course, in Brooklyn. FBI agents posing as ISIS were. This isn’t a matter of emphasis–it’s a matter of reality.

Adam Johnson, a freelance journalist, was a founder of the hardware startup Brightbox. You can follow him on Twitter at @adamjohnsonnyc.

Iran Nuke Deal Status: Hold the Cheers

April 2nd, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Done framework deal or unfinished business? Early Wednesday morning Lausanne time, Russian media reported P5+1 countries and Iran reached agreement “in principle on all key aspects of a deal.”

According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov:

“One can say with relative certainty that we have reached an agreement in principle at the ministerial level.”

“The agreement includes an all-encompassing approach to the settlement (of Iranian nuclear issues), including methods of verification of the nuclear program’s exclusively peaceful nature by the IAEA, as well as extensive provisions on lifting sanctions.”

“It will be put on paper in the coming hours or throughout the day. Experts will finalize details by the end of June.”

At the same time, Lavrov expressed caution saying “there is never 100% certainty” that what’s within reach will be grasped.

He explained

“the whole concept that formed the basis of this work is based on the position put forward by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a few years ago, designed to approach Iran’s nuclear program on the basis of the recognition of the country’s inalienable right to pursue peaceful atomic research, including uranium enrichment.”

Overnight Tuesday, Press TV quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif saying:

“We’ve been working since 7:30 in the morning and it’s been a very long day for all delegations.”

“We have accomplished quite a bit, but people needed to get some rest and start over early in the morning.”

“I hope that we can finalize the work on Wednesday and hopefully start the process of drafting tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Early Wednesday, Fars News reported Zarif saying solutions were found on a “major portion” of remaining differences.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Political and International Affairs Director-General Hamid Baeedinejad said

“many aspects related to the issue of the sanctions have been settled, including the removal of the unilateral and multilateral sanctions, and most of details have been written down.”

He stressed Tehran’s concerns over Washington’s commitment to deal with Tehran in good faith.

Iran “will fulfill our commitments in case the other side fulfills its undertakings, and if the western side refrains from complying with its undertakings, we will stop implementing our commitments too,” he stressed. “Therefore, there is no concern in this regard.”

“We are in the final stage of negotiations now. We are now working on some limited issues related to the sanctions along with a number of other issues, including research and development and we hope that the whole subject of the sanctions will be settled after resolving the few remaining problem.”

He and other Iranian officials stressed they want no deal for the sake of one alone. They want one guaranteeing Tehran’s legitimate rights.

Drafting framework language will proceed on Wednesday covering “solutions (on) most issues.”

Later in the day, a joint statement will be issued. Or will it?

Reuters cited an unnamed diplomat close to talks denying agreement was reached. An unnamed source said Washington and France want “the pressure (of sanctions kept) in place.”

Both countries shifted positions. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius left talks – saying he’d return when it was “useful.”

According to Reuters: “It was not clear whether his departure was a sign of a major problem in the talks.”

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi flew home – leaving his deputy to continue talks.

Reuters indicated a “tentative agreement” on where things now stand. A public statement to follow will highlight remaining areas of disagreement.

Parts of an understanding reached so far will be kept confidential. It appears much remains to be resolved before anyone can declare victory.

If a framework agreement is announced later on Wednesday, it’s unclear if it’ll be in statement or draft resolution form.

It’s very clear Israel intends going all-out to sabotage resolution any way it can.

Netanyahu never quits. Despite clear evidence refuting him from his own Mossad and US intelligence, he insists the break-out time Iran needs to develop a nuclear weapon is “less than a year, and possibly a lot less than that.”

He’s been saying the same thing for years – Big Lies repeated ad nauseam.

The whole world knows Iran’s program is peaceful. It has no military component.

No evidence suggests otherwise – or indicates Iran has any intention to develop nuclear weapons. It want a nuclear weapons-free Middle East.

As long as Washington tolerates no sovereign independent states, final agreement with Iran by June, if consummated, won’t likely be worth the paper it’s written on.

Nothing ahead suggests change. Iran remains between a rock and a hard place regardless of how nuclear talks turn out – now or later by end of June.

US imperial arrogance is Iran’s greatest threat. It’s the greatest threat to world peace. America’s rage to dominate risks WW III.

Nothing consummated in Lausanne or going forward changes the horror of this possibility.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Canada, Do Not Follow the U.S. Into Permanent War

April 2nd, 2015 by David Swanson

Oh Canada, to thine own self be true, not to thine heavily militarized neighbor. Robin Williams called you a nice apartment over a meth lab for a reason, and now you’re bringing the drugs upstairs.

We write to you as two U.S. citizens, one of whom moved to Canada when George W. Bush became U.S. president. Every wise observer in Texas had warned this country about their Governor Bush, but the message hadn’t gotten through.

We need the message to reach you now before you follow the United States down a path it has been on since its creation, a path that used to include regular invasions of your land, a path impeded a little by your generous sanctuary for those refusing war participation, and a path that now invites you to ruin yourself along with us. Misery and addiction and illegality love company, Canada. Alone they wither, but with aiders and abettors they flourish.

At the end of 2013 Gallup polls asked Canadians what nation they’d most like to move to, and zero of the Canadians polled said the United States, while people in the United States picked Canada as their most desired destination. Should the more desirable nation be imitating the less desirable, or the other way around?

In the same poll almost every nation of the 65 surveyed said the United States was the greatest threat to peace in the world. In the United States, bizarrely, people said Iran was the greatest threat — despite Iran spending less than 1% of what the United States does on militarism. In Canada, Iran and the United States tied for first place. You seem to be of two minds, Canada, one of them thoughtful, the other breathing the fumes of your downstairs neighbor.

At the end of 2014 Gallup asked people if they would fight for their country in a war. In many nations 60% to 70% said no, while 10% to 20% said yes. In Canada 45% said no, but 30% said yes. In the United States 44% said yes and 30% no. Of course they’re all lying, thank goodness. The United States always has several wars running, and everyone is free to sign up; almost none of the professed willing fighters do. But as a measure of support for war and approval of war participation, the U.S. numbers tell you where Canada is headed if it follows its southern friends.

A recent poll in Canada indicates that a majority of Canadians support going to war in Iraq and Syria, with support being highest, as might be expected, among Conservatives, with members of the NDP and Liberal parties offering less, but still significant, support. All this may be part of the Islamophobia that is sweeping much of North America and Europe. But, take it from us, the support is soon replaced with regret — and the wars do not end when the public turns against them. A majority of the U.S. public has believed the 2001 and 2003 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should never have been begun for the majority of those wars’ existence. Once begun, however, the wars roll on, in the absence of serious public pressure to halt them.

Recent polling in Canada also indicates that while over 50% of respondents feel uncomfortable with someone wearing a hijab or abaya, over 60% of respondents support their right to wear it. That’s stunning and praiseworthy. To accept discomfort out of respect for others is a top qualifying characteristic of a peacemaker, not a warmaker. Follow that inclination, Canada!

The Canadian government, like the U.S. government, uses fear-mongering to implement its war policies. But again, there is cause for some limited optimism. A recently-proposed anti-terror bill, that legal experts have decried as depriving Canada of some basic rights, has received significant opposition, and is being amended. Unlike the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act, which sailed through Congress with little if any opposition, Canadian bill C-51 which, among other things, would stifle dissent, has been widely opposed both in Parliament and in the streets.

Build on that resistance to every evil justified by war, Canada. Resist the degradation of morality, the erosion of civil liberties, the drain to the economy, the environmental destruction, the tendency toward oligarchic rule and rogue illegality. Resist, in fact, the root problem, namely war.

It has been several years since the U.S. media regularly showed pictures of flag-draped coffins arriving on U.S. soil from far-flung war zones. And most of the victims of U.S. wars — those living where the wars are fought — are shown hardly at all. But Canada’s media may do better. You may literally see the evil of your wars. But will you see your way clear to getting out of them? It is far easier to not launch them. It is far easier still to not plan and prepare for them.

We remember the lead you took, Canada, in banning land mines. The United States sells flying land mines called cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, which attacks its neighbors. The United States uses those cluster bombs on its own war victims. Is this the path you want to follow? Do you imagine, like some Las Vegas tiger tamer, that you’ll civilize the wars you join? Not to put too fine a point on it, Canada, you will not. Murder will not be civilized. It can, however, be ended — if you help us.

Germany Ready To Deploy Troops To Ukraine, Russian Border…Again

UNIAN
April 1, 2015

Poroshenko and Merkel discuss Minsk agreements and deployment of peacekeepers in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko discussed the situation in the Donbas with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday, the presidential press service has reported.

The two leaders, speaking by phone, agreed that the Russian-backed militants must comply with the ceasefire and implement all provisions of the Minsk agreements, including the release of prisoners.

Poroshenko and Merkel also called for there to be another meeting of the “Normandy Four” foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France in the coming days to discuss further progress on the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the deployment of a peacekeeping mission in the Donbas…

Ukraine Refuses To Extradite Poroshenko Pal Saakashvili To Georgia

Civil Georgia
April 1, 2015

Ukraine Rejects Georgia’s Request for Extradition of Saakashvili

Tbilisi: Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine said on April 1 it declined Tbilisi’s request for extradition of Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili, who now serves as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s adviser.

Saakashvili is wanted by the Georgian authorities on multiple criminal charges…Court in Tbilisi ordered Saakashvili’s pre-trial detention in absentia in August, 2014.

“As a result of review of [Georgia’s extradition request] Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine has concluded there is a significant risk that extradition request for Saakashvili was made by the competent Georgian agency with the purpose of his prosecution for political motives,” Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement on April 1, adding that extradition of Saakashvili would be in conflict with the European Convention on Human Rights.

It also said that the Georgian chief prosecutor’s office has been notified about its decision to reject the extradition request.

A close ally of Saakashvili, former Georgian MP from UNM party, Davit Sakvarelidze was appointed as Deputy General Prosecutor of Ukraine on February 16, joining several other former Georgian officials who took senior government posts in Ukraine, among them Eka Zguladze, who is Ukraine’s Deputy Interior Minister; Gia Getsadze, who is Ukraine’s Deputy Justice Minister, and Alexander Kvitashvili, who is Ukraine’s Healthcare Minister.

On February 13 Saakashvili himself was appointed by Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko as his adviser and head of International Advisory Council on Reforms…

Breedlove: NATO To Base Heavy Weapons, Missiles In Romania Soon

ACTMedia
April 1, 2015

SACEUR Breedlove: NATO to announce soon a decision on prepositioning heavy weapons in Romania

The Supreme Allied Commander Europe, US four-star General Philip Breedlove announced a decision in the near future on prepositioning NATO heavy weapons in Romania; he voiced his confidence in Romania’s prompt response and agreement with this decision.

He confirmed the Alliance’s intention in a joint press conference with Defence Minister Mircea Dusa; the Romanian official mentioned that technical talks to this effect were already in progress…

Top NATO Commander In Romania: Ready For Confrontation With Russia

Ukraine Today
March 31, 2015

NATO commander says military convoy in Czech Republic sends reassuring message

NATO’s top military commander General Philip Breedlove has said an armoured vehicles convoy travelling by road in the Czech Republic sent a message of reassurance. Speaking in Romania, Breedlove said he and NATO are ready to defend against Russian belligerence.

Philip Breedlove, NATO Commander, US European Command: “Crowds have come out to welcome these soldiers and their vehicle. They return home. So, it’s been a good message of reassurance, a good message to our nations, and we were able to exercise some skills that we haven’t exercised in quite some time.”

Breedlove said a decision on whether Romania would host heavy military equipment from NATO will soon be made public…

Europe: U.S. F-15s Arrive As War Build-Up Intensifies

U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa

March 31, 2015

F-15 theater security package arrives in Europe

F-15C Eagles taxi into position at Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands, March 31, 2015.

F-15C Eagles from the Florida Air National Guard’s 159th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron are deployed to Europe as the first ever ANG theater security package here.

These F-15s will conduct training alongside our NATO allies to strengthen interoperability and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the security and stability of Europe.

NATO To Test Rapid Strike Force Aimed At Russia

Stars and Stripes
March 31, 2015

Exercise will test NATO’s new quick-reaction team

NATO will begin testing the capabilities of a new spearhead unit that has been carved out of the NATO Response Force. The unit, formally known as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, was formed in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.
By John Vandiver

STUTTGART, Germany: NATO will begin testing the readiness of its new “spearhead” reaction force on Wednesday, marking the start of a series of exercises intended to bolster the alliance’s crisis-response capabilities.

Noble Jump, a 10-day drill in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, will focus on mobilizing NATO’s new quick-response team, formally known as the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. The high-readiness unit will practice responding to rapid “orders to move,” under the new VJTF framework, NATO says…

NATO Warships In Morocco For Interoperability Maneuvers

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Maritime Command 

March 31, 2015

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 visits Casablanca

CASABLANCA, Morocco: Ships assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) have arrived in Casablanca for a scheduled port visit.

Led by Rear Adm. Brad Williamson (USA N), SNMG2 is currently comprised of the flagship USS Vicksburg (CG 69), HMCS Fredericton (FFH 337), TCG Goksu (F 497), ITS Aliseo (F 574) , FGS Spessart (A 1442) and FS Marne (A 630).

During the port visit, SNMG2 leadership will meet with local Moroccan authorities and Navy officials to discuss issues of shared importance and to finalize an upcoming exercise at sea between SNMG2 and the Royal Moroccan Navy (RMN).

Morocco is one of seven countries in NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), designed to foster communication and cooperation between NATO and the MD countries…[Libya has been invited to join and Lebanin and Syria are no doubt targeted for the same.]…

Stoltenberg Stresses De Facto Merger Of NATO, EU

Xinhua News Agency
March 31, 2015

NATO head outlines areas for increased cooperation with EU

BRUSSELSZ: NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that he is “a strong supporter of closer cooperation between the European Union and NATO” and that more can be achieved “if we work more closely together.”

While addressing the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and Sub-Committee on Security and Defence, Stoltenberg outlined three areas where he sees great potential for increased cooperation between NATO and the EU.

The first area is “building resilience together, by strengthening our defense in facing new threats such as for instance hybrid warfare.” The second is “building resilience together with our neighbors, in the east and the south.” The third is “defense investment…”

NATO Will Determine When Ukraine Joins Military Bloc: Stoltenberg

Ukrinform
March 31, 2015

NATO explains when it considers Ukraine’s membership

KYIV: NATO monitors the reform process in Ukraine to assess its readiness to join the military-political bloc.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament in Brussels on Monday, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.

“Ukraine has recently announced the launch of the reform process, in order to join NATO. As I said before, it will take some time. We will assess any request coming from Ukraine, just like from any other country, but this will happen only if and when there is an application,” Stoltenberg said.

He also said that Russia’s interference in the choice of neighboring countries, regarding NATO membership, is unacceptable.

“We consider escalation in the east of Ukraine as a result of Russia’s behavior, more drastic Russia, which is responsible for the aggressive actions in Ukraine and uses military force to change the borders and annex the part of another country,” he said.

Ukraine To Draft 21,000 More Youth For Second Year Of War

Interfax-Ukraine
March 31, 2015

Over 21,000 Ukrainians to be drafted in April-May 2015 – Defense Ministry

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has approved the number of Ukrainian citizens to be drafted for active military service in April-May 2015.

A total of 21,126 people will be called up during this period.

According to the Defense Ministry’s website, Cabinet decree No. №274-р dated March 18, which was posted on March 31, states that 12,296 draftees will serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 7,630 – in the National Guard of Ukraine, 1,200 – in the State Special Transport Service.

The amount of expenses incurred by the drafting process in April-May was set at UAH 1.967 million. The money needed to prepare and carry out the drafting of one person was set at UAH 93.13 (without taking into account money for food and transportation). The money must arrive by April 10.

The Defense Ministry said that 20-27-year old men who can’t be relieved of military duty are to be drafted.

Army conscripts will not be sent to the anti-terrorist operation zone, the Defense Ministry added.

Georgia: NATO To Open Training Center, Hold War Games

Trend News Agency
March 30, 2015

Georgia to host joint exercise with NATO this summer

Baku, Azerbaijan: NATO and Georgia are to hold a joint exercise this summer, said James Appathurai, the NATO secretary general’s special representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia.

He made the remarks during an online Q&A with the Georgian non-governmental organization, the Atlantic Council of Georgia, on March 30, News Georgia reported.

“The pace [of implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package] is very good,” said Appathurai, adding that the NATO experts have been helping Georgia to set up a joint training center.

He also said the members of the core team, who will soon be in Georgia, have been identified, and there will be a joint exercise in Georgia this summer.

Earlier, during NATO’s Wales Summit, held in September 2014, a package of measures was approved to help Georgia in its aspiration for its membership in the alliance…

NATO Official: There Will Be “More NATO” In Georgia…Moldova, Ukraine

Civil Georgia
March 30, 2015

NATO Envoy: Pace of Implementation of Substantial Package with Georgia ‘Very Good’

Tbilisi: Pace of implementation of substantial package of cooperation with Georgia, approved by NATO at its summit in Wales, is “very good” and both the Alliance and the Georgian authorities are moving “fast” in this process, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, said.

In an online question and answer session, hosted by Tbilisi-based think tank Atlantic Council of Georgia, Appathurai said that NATO experts are helping Georgia to set up the joint training center, members of the NATO core team of experts for defence capacity building assistance to the Georgian MoD have been identified and will “soon” be in the country, NATO Liaison Office “is being beefed up” and NATO exercises will be held in Georgia this summer…

Ukraine: U.S. Congressional Visit Paves Ways For Arms Deliveries

Ukrinform
March 30, 2015

US Congressmen to discuss supply of lethal weapons during their Ukraine visit

KYIV: On Monday, March 30, the delegation of US congressmen arrives in Kyiv, including Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services William Thornberry (R-TX), and the House Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

The news is reported by Radio Liberty.

It is expected that the purpose of their visit will be to discuss a possibility of U.S. lethal weapons supplies to Ukraine in order to ensure peace and security in the East…

U.S. Troops To Train Ukrainian Forces In Nationalist Stronghold

Interfax-Ukraine
March 30, 2015

U.S. army personnel to train National Guardsmen in Lviv region

On April 20, U.S. army personnel will arrive at Yavoriv training ground in Lviv region to participate in a joint military exercise with National Guard of Ukraine personnel, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has said.

“American commandos, numbering 290, will come to Yavoriv training ground, Lviv region, on April 20. This is where a long-term military exercise of 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team of the U.S. Army and combat units of the National Guard will be held,” he wrote on Facebook on Sunday.

Avakov said that 900 guardsmen will participate in the exercise.

“Three parts with 300 national guardsmen each. Three parts for eight weeks each. Then the joint exercise [will be held],” he said.

According to Avakov, the following battalions will take part in the exercise – Azov [Right Sector], Kulchynsky Yahuar (jaguar), Omega, and others from Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Odesa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Vinnytsia…

I’m grateful to Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and the employees of U.S. embassy in Ukraine. Without their vigor, the important and complicated preparation of training would have been impossible,” Avakov said, and he added that the agreement on the military exercise had been reached during negotiations between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden

NATO Completes Land, Air, Naval Drills In Latvia

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations

March 30, 2015

Exercise Summer Shield set to wrap up

ĀDAŽI, Latvia: In support of the Alliance’s enhanced readiness, more than 1100 troops have taken part in Operation Summer Shield XII at the Ādaži Training Area, Latvia. The exercise which began on 21 March concludes on Tuesday, 31 March.

The annual training event is a combined land, air and naval exercise, with participants from Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Luxembourg, Canada and the U.S.

The goal for the training event is to integrate and coordinate fire support in infantry unit operations through combat support elements…

Soros: EU Should Give $50 Billion To Ukraine To “Confront Russian Threat”

Ukrinform
March 27, 2015

Soros: Europe’s ignorance of Ukraine terrible mistake

KYIV: American billionaire and philanthropist George Soros believes that the EU ignores the financial condition of Ukraine. He urged Brussels to allocate additional funding to Kyiv.

He said this in an interview with BBC.

According to him, Europe is too preoccupied with financial problems in Greece.

Soros believes that it would be better to encourage the Ukrainians, who tend to Europe and confront the threat from Russia.

“This is a country with more than 40 million people who want to be Europeans, and who really want to stand up and fight, sacrificing their lives, but Europe is ignoring them. This is a terrible, terrible mistake on the part of Europe. And therefore, Europe needs to wake up before it’s too late,” Soros said.

Previously, he said that Ukraine needs financial assistance worth $50 billion.

Two weeks ago, the IMF decided to provide Ukraine with $17.5 billion in the framework of a four-year financial aid program. As IMF Chairman Christine Lagarde said, Ukraine may receive up to $40 billion, taking into account funds from other lenders.

Tbilisi: NATO Integrates Georgia Into…European Union

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 28, 2015

Defence Minister Met with Acting Assistant Secretary General of NATO

Acting Assistant Secretary General of NATO on Public Diplomacy, Ted Whiteside pays a visit to Georgia. Minister of Defence of Georgia, Mindia Janelidze hosted the NATO official at the Defence Ministry today. Mindia Janelidze thanked Ted Whiteside for active support of the North Atlantic Alliance towards Georgia’s membership aspirations.

Importance of the Public Diplomacy and effective strategic communication on Georgia’s NATO integration path was the main topic of discussion. The sides talked about Georgia’s EU and Euro-Atlantic aspirations and implementation process of the NATO-Georgia Substantial Package. Georgia’s contribution to global security and professionalism of the Georgian military contingent was emphasized at the meeting…

International Week: Georgian Armed Forces Being Prepared For Next War

Ministry of Defence of Georgia
March 28, 2015

International Week completed at Davit Agmashenebeli National Defence Academy. First Deputy Defence Minister Gocha Ratiani, Chief of General Staff of the GAF, Major General Vakhtang Kapanadze and his deputy, BG Vladimer Chachibaia attended the closing ceremony. They addressed to the Georgian Junkers and the students of foreign military educational institutions and awarded them with the relevant certificates.

Within the International Week, students of American, German, Lithuanian, Latvian and Polish military institutes visited National Defence Academy. Foreign students took part in various kinds of academic and cultural activities together with the Georgian Junkers. The juveniles visited LEPL Military Scientific-Technical Center “DELTA” and Colonel Besik Kutateladze Sachkhere Mountain Training School…

Pentagon, NATO Chiefs Discuss Operations In Three Continents

U.S. Department of Defense
March 27, 2015

Carter, NATO Official Meet at Pentagon to Discuss Issues

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Ash Carter yesterday met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Pentagon to discuss critical transatlantic security issues, according to a DoD news release.

The two leaders discussed Russian actions in Ukraine and the status of NATO assurance activities, instability in North Africa and the Middle East, and allied efforts in Afghanistan, the release said…

Lee Kuan Yew and Benjamin Netanyahu: The Politics of Fear

April 2nd, 2015 by David Palumbo-Liu

When Lee Kuan Yew died on March 23, he was rightly acknowledged as having built Singapore into a strong and vibrant economic power after its tumultuous separation from Malaysia in 1965. His strict authoritarian regime over three decades was rationalized by his admirers – what else could he do, leader of this fledgling state, this tiny island in a “sea of Islam,” with threats all around?

What he could, and did, do was turn to Israel for military aid after the British, Egyptians and Indians turned him down. Of course, this information had to be suppressed. As he wrote much later, “The British had made no offer to help us build an army as they had done with the Malayans in the 1950s … Nasser, in his reply, extended recognition to Singapore as an independent and sovereign state, but he too did not refer to my request for a naval advisor to build up our coastal defense … I told Keng See to proceed with the Israelis, but to keep it from becoming public knowledge for as long as possible so as not to provoke grassroots antipathy from Malay Muslims in Malaysia and Singapore…. A small group of Israelis arrived in November 1965, followed by a team of six in December. To disguise their presence, we called them ‘Mexicans.’ They looked swarthy enough.” At that time, Israeli chief of staff and future prime minister Yitzhak Rabin admonished these teams by saying, “We are not going to turn Singapore into an Israeli colony.”

In time, Israel and Singapore adopted analogic national narratives. As one Israeli state source puts it:

Singapore has a remarkable story to tell, and paradoxically this south east Asian city-state has quite a lot in common with Israel, a small nation with a history of struggle and resilience. The two small nations have populations comprised of immigrants with different cultures and customs, surrounded by large countries with their own political and ethnic tensions.

Both of these small nations have managed against all odds to turn themselves in a single generation from poor, underdeveloped markets to global economic powerhouses with advanced infrastructures, skilled and highly educated workforces and ambitious entrepreneurs.

But to secure this success story took more than authoritarian military regimes. Besides military advisers, it took arms trade. As Haaretz reported in 2004:

[T]he alliance between the Israeli and Singaporean defense establishments has intensified and expanded, and it now encompasses cooperation between the two countries’ military industries, as well. The scope of the deals, according to foreign sources, indicates that the Singaporean army is one of the major clients of Israeli combat means and military technology. The cooperation between Israel and Singapore rests on the two small countries’ shared sense of being under threat, since both are surrounded by a hostile Muslim population and want advanced weapons systems to maintain a qualitative advantage over their neighbors.

More recently, it has been reported that Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, used during the 2014 Gaza war, may have been originally designed for Singapore, not Israel – and it may have been paid for by Singapore as well. In April 2010, The Electronic Intifada reported:

On 25 March the online publication Intelligence Online revealed the development of the vaunted Iron Dome anti-missile system. The system was developed by Haifa-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems ostensibly to intercept Katyusha, Grad and Qassam rockets coming from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. The Intelligence Online article however offers a different explanation, stating that “From the outset Iron Dome was always intended for Singapore, which helped finance its development. The island needs a very rapid antimissile system to defend its small territory of less than 700km2. Iron Dome will be battle tested in Israel ahead of export to Singapore at a later date.”

One final thing that Singapore, under Lee Kuan Yew, and Israel, under Benjamin Netanyahu, share is a particular sense of fear, which not only manifests itself in these military alliances, but also is mobilized politically via a shared narrative of nation-states – a shared story with a particular twist. As Michael D. Barr and Zlatko Skrbis put it in their book, Constructing Singapore: Elitism, Ethnicity and the Nation-Building Project:

[The Singapore Story] is a story of humble beginnings, a struggle against the odds, which ultimately leads to success in which all Singaporeans can rejoice, regardless of the diversity of their backgrounds. In contrast to many similar stories, however, The Singapore Story does not project a pre-destined future age, but rather holds out the prospect of a stark choice between a celebratory future and one of anarchy and flames.

This unique aspect of this founding narrative persists today. In one of the lastinterviews he gave, Lee warned of the dangers of complacency, and said that being on guard against the threats posed to his small island formed a key part of his policy-making. The interviewer asks, “Is that sense of constant insecurity that has inspired you to shift your own sense and perception about where Singapore should be going?” To which Lee answers, “Yes, of course. [Singapore] is so small, so open to the outside world, and outside forces, and is so vulnerable. So we must always be alert to whichever forces are at work, and when the forces are in your favor, use them.”

And recently Netanyahu played into similar fears in Israel in order to come from behind and win an election. It’s not hard to see that in saying that there would never be a Palestinian state under his rule if he were to be re-elected, pointing to the threat posed by the states surrounding Israel, he was borrowing from the same playbook that Lee Kuan Yew deployed for all those years.

When asked about the recent elections, Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer echoed and advanced Netanyahu’s reasons for raising the alarm against Arab Israeli voters claiming their democratic rights, and for saying that because of security concerns, there would never be a Palestinian state. A New York Times reporter writes:

“The challenge now is that people see a strong Israel,” Dermer told me. “But people don’t understand something the prime minister often says – that Israel can go from great strength to great vulnerability very fast.”

Like [Elliott] Abrams, Dermer wasn’t worried about liberal Jews. He argued that “a lot of the fissures” in the American Jewish community would seal up the moment Israel came under attack.

So when Avigail Abarbanel writes in Mondoweiss, “Israel has always prepared itself psychologically and economically to being isolated. All that openness to the rest of the world that Israel has enjoyed increasingly in the last generation or so, and Israel’s acceptance by others, have always been seen as temporary in the eyes of most Israeli Jews. They had always expected it to end and had the mentality of ‘let’s enjoy it while it lasts and make the most of it while we can,’” one should not only register that Netanyahu was tapping into this strain of the national narrative to drive his supporters to the polls – he was also hiking up a mentality ready to use the arms developed in concert with Singapore.

Lee Kwan Yew ruled for 30 years; Benjamin Netanyahu will be the longest-serving Israeli prime minister in history. But the fear and alarm that was called up in order to gain Netanyahu re-election might do long-term damage to the chances for democracy and peace in Israel-Palestine. Commentators from the liberal Zionist camp note the divisions that have begun to fracture the group. Many are appalled not only by Netanyahu’s comments about “droves of Arab Israelis” voting against what he termed the “real” interests of Israel, but also by his claim that no Palestinian state would ever exist under his watch. It is a sign of how troubling these two pronouncements are that even the White House is now openly questioning the Israeli occupation and its own relation to the Netanyahu regime. There is a danger in Netanyahu’s use of Lee’s political tactics since real historical political conditions make the analogy between Singapore and Israel only partially valid.

Copyright, Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

David Palumbo-Liu is the Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor, and Professor of Comparative Literature, and, by courtesy, English, at Stanford University. He has written three scholarly books and edited three academic volumes on issues relating to cultural studies, ethnic studies, and literary theory. His recent books are: The Deliverance of Others: Reading Literature in a Global Age (Duke UP, 2012), and a co-edited volume, Immanuel Wallerstein and the Problem of the World: System, Scale, Culture (Duke UP, 2011). He is part of the Public Intellectual Project at Truthout, and blogs for the Boston Review, Al Jazeera America, andThe Huffington Post.

Thailand, International Oil, and the Future of Energy

April 1st, 2015 by Tony Cartalucci

The Southeast Asian nation of Thailand is currently wrestling with a particularly contentious issue involving international oil concessions. In essence, foreign oil monopolies, particularly Western corporations including Exxon, Chevron, and British Petroleum (BP) have been given access to Thailand’s oil and natural gas supplies, to explore, develop, and exploit for billions in profits year to year.

Much of this money, it is alleged, ends up leaving the country. What remains is often divided up amongst a handful of special interests leaving little if anything at all left for the actual people and nation that has provided this vast source of energy and riches.

Also of particularly contention is the domestic energy market itself. Being run mainly by foreign and local energy monopolies, many suspect the price of energy for consumers is arbitrarily or criminally manipulated. This in turn has a direct impact on the quality of life of Thailand’s 70 million people as well as an impact on the overall economic development of the country.

Raising suspicions further were admissions by the Saudis that they have been intentionally rigging global energy prices as a means of “pressuring Russia regarding Syria.”

The New York Times in their article, “Saudi Oil Is Seen as Lever to Pry Russian Support From Syria’s Assad,” admits:

Saudi Arabia has been trying to pressure President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to abandon his support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, using its dominance of the global oil markets at a time when the Russian government is reeling from the effects of plummeting oil prices.

In reality, Saudi Arabia is adjusting prices as per the demands of Washington and Wall Street, and in addition to pressuring Russia regarding Syria, it is also part of a plan to undermine and eventually overthrow the government of Russia itself. And if energy prices can be used as a weapon against a nation as big as Russia, surely they could be used as a weapon to manipulate, undermine, and endanger the sovereignty of Thailand.

Clearly then the world has misplaced its trust in these corporations and the governments they are apparently partnered with, using energy not for the greatest good of humanity, its development, and progress, but rather for their own self-serving hegemonic ambitions around the planet.

Arbitrarily dropping energy prices through the floor to attack Russia, means that prices can also arbitrarily be raised to bolster bottom lines. The vast majority of society as a consequence must suffer market instability caused by these self-serving price manipulations. Artificially low or high prices have a direct impact on all other aspects of the economy, setting off a chain reaction of events all of society must adjust to – for better or generally, for worse.

This flagrant abuse by corporations and governments of their virtually uncontested control over the energy sector, then, makes the talking points of those in Thailand speaking up against recent talks over oil concessions valid. Any concession must take these realities into consideration and put in measures to rein in abuses, price fixing, corruption, theft, and environmental devastation.

For the current government in Thailand’s part, concessions have been put on hold after a growing crescendo of vocal opposition. What comes next remains to be seen.

Fight Oil Monopolies or Replace Them? 

Energy is the foundation of modern society. Everything from manufacturing to commerce, to the daily life of every member of society requires energy – both in the form of electricity and in the form of fuel for transportation. Energy, therefore, is a matter of national security.

Open matters of national security instinctively would never be left open to the meddling of foreign interests – be they governments or immense corporations. Dependence on foreign entities for matters of national security present obvious compromises few nations would be willing to make. Then why is Thailand and other nations in ASEAN and around the world so willing to sacrifice national security at the behest of these immense foreign special interests?

The answer is power and wealth. Big-oil and the corporate-financier interests they are entwined with have many tools with which to excise from any given nation their objectives. Despite the best efforts of many nations to protect their energy independence, big-oil possesses ways of persuading them otherwise.

Nations that insist on standing up to these special interests, particularly Russia, Iran, or Venezuela, have suffered decades of attempts to undermine and overthrow each of their respective sociopolitical and economic orders. Other nations like Iraq or Libya, have been destroyed and left in ruins entirely.

Perhaps then the key is abandoning this centralized model of energy production altogether. Through an orderly transition from a petrochemical-based economy to one built upon increasingly decentralized alternatives, the vast unwarranted power and wealth of big-oil can be slowly but surely undermined into a force of external and domestic belligerence more easily managed and defended against.

The future of energy, therefore, does not lie in the hands of national and international power brokers, but instead in the hands of local communities which can start today to establish supplemental alternative power sources until they garner the experience and resources to replace entirely existing energy infrastructure with locally produced and controlled energy and fuel. The additional benefit of such a decentralized model of energy production is that the profits too, will be decentralized.

No longer will jealous, bitter battles need to be fought over the distribution of income that results from immense, centralized, energy enterprises. The temptation of both corruption and greed will be decentralized and minimized.

Already in nations around the world, energy cooperatives – local groups who invest together into an alternative local power production system – are becoming a reality. As technology marches forward, the ability for such cooperatives to grow in number and efficiency will move forward as well.

National governments, particularly in developing countries in Southeast Asia, stand the most to gain in the long term from both minimizing to the best of their ability exploitation at the hands of foreign energy monopolies, while encouraging local communities to replace entirely their dependence on these monopolies. The prize for these governments is a future in which foreign energy interests are no longer endowed with the ability to lean on them at the expense of their own nation’s peace, stability, and prosperity. This “leaning” also gives way to opportunities for foreign-backed opposition movements to seize power, further endangering the sovereignty and interests of any given nation.

For those protesting Thailand’s concessions today, they should perhaps consider a second track to pursue in parallel – one in protest of concessions that put Thailand at a disadvantage, and another seeking to end Thailand’s dependency on energy monopolies altogether.

Energy is a matter of national security. As such, those protesting oil concessions in Thailand, and those hearing the protests, should be able to agree that the current energy paradigm is far from ideal. Finding a middle ground on current concessions would be a start, and agreeing on a longer-term, permanent solution to absolve Thailand of dependence on foreign corporations and their unwarranted power and influence should be a favorable final goal all parties can agree on.

The beauty of Thailand’s potential ability to navigate and escape from the edge of the black hole that is international big-oil, is that it will provide a model for other nations to follow. Such a journey is surely fraught with great risk, but in the end may deliver salvation.

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

Iran: Nuclear Talks, Spying and Warmongering

April 1st, 2015 by Global Research

While it has long been acknowledge, even by the Pentagon,  that Israel has nuclear weapons, the U.S., its allies and the mainstream media keep focusing on Iran’s nonexistent ones. Why aren’t Israel’s weapons considered a problem? Anthony Bellchambers suggests that neutralizing the threat of Israel’s nuclear weapons “by implementing a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, would solve the entire issue of Iran and nuclear proliferation.” Meanwhile, the New York Times calls for bombing the Islamic Republic…

800px-Arak_Heavy_Water4_1Iran Demands Lifting of Sanctions for ‘Irreversible’ Moves, Says Insider, Gareth Porter, April 01, 2015

The Arak heavy water reactor in Iran has been an obstacle in nuclear talks (Wikicommons) As the P5+1 and Iran agree to continue talks on a possible joint statement past a midnight deadline into Wednesday, the most contentious issue in…

Laying the Foundations for Preemptive Nuclear War Against IranIran Nuclear Talks: Kicking the Can Down the Road, Stephen Lendman, April 01, 2015

On March 31 deadline day, AP reported “Iran Nuke Talks to Continue in (a) New Phase.” Six days of negotiations in Lausanne left key sticking points unresolved – notably on lifting sanctions and nuclear R&D. AP said P5+1 nations “prepared …

Conversations with Fidel Castro: Hiroshima and the Dangers of a Nuclear WarPentagon Admits that Israel is a Nuclear Power, Vladimir Platov, April 01, 2015

In early February, the Pentagon declassified reports on Israel’s nuclear weapons program which was carried out until 1987. According to these documents, Israeli scientists were capable of producing a hydrogen bomb by that time. Although these facts were largely ignored…

Conversations with Fidel Castro: Hiroshima and the Dangers of a Nuclear WarWho Spies for Israel in Washington’s Nuclear Negotiations?, Prof. James Petras, April 01, 2015

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) (3/25/15) headlined: ‘Israel Spied on Iran Nuclear Talks with the US”.  The article goes on to detail the way in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the confidential information to sabotage the talks, including…

UNCRITICAL MAINSTREAM MEDIA DRIVEL War Plan Iran: Endemic US/Israeli Double-Think Is Now "Normal Discourse"“Liberal” New York Times Provides Cover for Washington’s War Plans for Iran, Danny Haiphong, April 01, 2015

In a relatively short period this month, the New York Times attacked Iran on behalf of Washington and its allies. So-called liberal Thomas Friedman, a notorious liberal war-monger, wrote a short op-ed piece on March 17th calling for Washington to…

Laying the Foundations for Preemptive Nuclear War Against IranNo Deal on Iran’s Nuclear Program – So Far, Stephen Lendman, March 31, 2015

Reports of a deal reached over the weekend were way premature. As of Monday morning Lausanne time, key unresolved issues remain ahead of a March 31 deadline. It could be extended days or weeks if all parties agree. Deadlines aren’t…

Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War: The Unspoken Crisis of Worldwide Nuclear RadiationNeutralising the Threat of Israel’s Undeclared Nuclear Arsenal Would Immediately Solve the Iranian Issue, Anthony Bellchambers, March 30, 2015

As the deadline approaches in Lausanne it should be kept in mind that the only reason for Iran’s nuclear program is Israel’s huge, offensive nuclear arsenal that is a constant threat to the Middle East and the wider world.

newspaperNew York Times Publishes Call to Bomb Iran, Robert Parry, March 30, 2015

If two major newspapers in, say, Russia published major articles openly advocating the unprovoked bombing of a country, say, Israel, the U.S. government and news media would be aflame with denunciations about “aggression,” “criminality,” “madness,” and “behavior not fitting the…

Seven-year-old Maxim is my neighbour. He had to take refuge in a basement together with his family in the village of Vergulyovka, near Debaltsevo, where they were living last summer when the Ukrainian Army came and took the town. I have known Maxim’s mother since I was a child—her name is Olga too. We grew up in the same neighbourhood.

She told me that the windows and the roof of their house in Vergulyovka had been damaged. They are currently living at their grandmother’s place in their home town near Perevalsk. Olga is pregnant now, she is expecting in April. I visited them at her mother’s place and brought two bags of humanitarian aid as well, including baby food and nappies—all of which had been bought with the money sent by people from different countries. She was not expecting it and was quite surprised.

Maxim showed me his favourite toys: among them were two plastic tanks, and he also he bragged about pieces of shrapnel and an empty ammunition box which he had found. He said that he would like to become a soldier in the future—children seem to believe that the shelling will last forever. Nevertheless, when I asked Maxim to tell me about war, his mood suddenly changed. One of his strongest flashbacks was about fences shot full of holes. When questioned what he dreamt of, he answered: “About peace.”

The other day, I met a family from Chernukhino, LPR, who were living at their friends’ place in Perevalsk. They had been forced to stay in a basement during more than three weeks of the artillery shelling by the UAF. Eventually, their house was destroyed. The mother—Lilia Lavrova—said that they would like to rebuild their house.

Last time we visited this family twice, and we brought some food and clothes for them. Two amazingly cheerful children met us in the corridor:

Children in Donbass are special—after they have experienced heavy artillery bombardment, and spent weeks in the basements. They are children of war, who have been deprived of their childhood since almost a year. This is in fact the deliberate policy of the Ukrainian government towards the residents of this region.

A Yemeni’s Call for Help

April 1st, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

No one understands the horrors of US imperial wars better than victims experiencing it.

Overnight Tuesday, a Yemeni national emailed this call for help, saying:

“Dear Mr Stephen,

In the name of humanity and what you believe in, we call upon you to transfer our sufferings and make influential humanitarian INGOs, scholars, decision makers all over the world hear our children screams out of fears & listen to our sufferings due to this aggression led by arrogant dictators of Arabia who are bombarding our towns, destroying infrastructure and killing civilians.

Yemen prior to this aggression was dying and this brutal aggression would eliminate a whole country. We’re all humans. Poor country living with less than 2$ a day.

Please do anything you can for saving us. God bless you. I’m writing this while my 3 years daughter crying hearing sounds of air strikes.”

His call for help highlights US responsibility for daily terror-bombing horrors – the threat of death or serious injuries all Yemenis face. Civilians are as vulnerable as combatants.

Yemen is Obama’s war. He and Bush waged drone war since 2002 – killing many hundreds of mostly civilian victims.

A week ago, he launched proxy war on a nation wanting to live free from the scourge of US imperial dominance.

Saudi-led terror-bombing  followed. It continues daily. Scores of noncombatant civilians have been murdered in cold blood.

Perhaps many thousands will die before conflict ends. Yemen may end up raped like Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Donbass and Gaza. It may be turned to rubble the same way.

Reports indicate tens of thousands of Saudi forces massed along Yemen’s border ahead of a possible invasion.

Pakistan sent troops to support them. Houthi rebels continue battling diminishing numbers of forces loyal to ousted illegitimate president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi – a US-installed stooge through a farcical election with no opponents.

Hadi’s foreign minister Riyadh Yasseen urged Saudis to invade “as soon as possible.”

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian called Saudi airstrikes a “strategic mistake.”

He urged dialogue to resolve ongoing crisis conditions. “Iran and Saudi Arabia can cooperate to solve the Yemeni crisis,” he said.

Dozens are dying daily – including scores of civilians since conflict began.

A Yemeni health ministry official said shelling a Sanaa residential building killed 10 civilians.

Witnesses reported an airstrike on Yarim in central Yemen killing at least 10.

Conflict prevents ICRC medical and other essential to life supplies from being airlifted in.

Spokesperson Sitara Jabeen said

“(i)n Yemen today, we have a very serious humanitarian situation.”

“Hospitals are running at a low capacity. We need to bring in urgent medical supplies to sustain our stocks.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov issued a statement saying

“(w)e cannot allow (conflict) to degrade into a Sunni-Shiite confrontation.”

“Neither can we allow the situation to turn into an open conflict between the Arabs and Iran. We will do everything to prevent it.”

On Monday and Tuesday, US warships joined Saudi-led terror-bombing. Cruise missiles were launched against Houthi targets.

How much more directly involved Washington intends getting in its largely proxy aggression remains to be seen.

AP reported Yemeni civilians “shudder(ing) in fear and bristl(ing) with anger” during Saudi-led terror bombing.

Sanaa residents seek shelter. Few can sleep. Some “took to rooftops (to vent) anger or frustration, firing automatic weapons skyward toward the roar of warplanes,” said AP.

Schools, universities, government offices and most shops are closed. “Few cars venture onto the mostly deserted (Sanaa) streets.”

“We haven’t slept. One child screams and a second cries,” said a father of eight.

They spend nights sheltered in a basement best they can – unsure if they’ll live or die.

Overnight Tuesday, Sanaa, Aden, Taiz, Ibb, Shabwa and Dahle were terror-bombed.

Civilian and military sites were targeted. Residential homes were destroyed. Bodies remained buried under rubble.

One Sanaa resident said an explosion rocked a nearby residential area – killing at least eight, injuring others.

Critics call Houthis an Iranian proxy force. Tehran denies what it calls baseless allegations.

At the same time, it supports a political ally. It rejects military solutions. It urges diplomatic ones in all situations.

Before conflict erupted, former Iranian Majles (parliament) speaker Ali Akbar Nategh-Nuri said “(w)e witness today that our revolution is exported to Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.”

Iranian General Hossein Salami compared Ansarollah Houthis to Lebanon’s Hezbollah “in a strategic area.”

Iran supports its allies. It has every right to do so. It fundamentally opposes war.

It rejects US-sponsored, Saudi-led ongoing terror-bombing. It urges resolving Yemen’s crisis diplomatically.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

A disgraced former U.S. general, who gave away top government secrets to get laid, has some opinion on the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq:

“I would argue that the foremost threat to Iraq’s long-term stability and the broader regional equilibrium is not the Islamic State; rather, it is Shiite militias, many backed by — and some guided by — Iran.”

With that logic the U.S. should help the Islamic State in its fight against militia who are backed by Iran.

Years ago the very same general created those sectarian Shia militias he now tries to sell as a threat. The Wolf Brigade, a Shia militia in Iraq created by the U.S., was under his direct command when it randomly tortured and killed Sunnis in Mosul. The sectarian war in Iraq is for a great part his personal doing:

[I]n order to advance to a still higher command and get his fourth star, Petraeus needed the support of Wolfowitz and the White House. The evidence that has emerged in recent years indicates he was involved in the key decisions to using Shi’a sectarian paramilitary forces for counterinsurgency operations in Sunni population centers.

It is the same general who created the new generation of warlords in Afghanistan under the deceiving label Afghan Local Police:

“This program mobilizes communities in self-defense against those who would undermine security in their areas,” Petraeus told congress in March 2011. “For that reason, the growth of these elements is of particular concern to the Taliban, whose ability to intimidate the population is limited considerably by it.”It turns out that while Petraeus was burnishing his bio with black book fodder for Paula Broadwell’s 2012 hagiographical All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, his “community watch” was becoming a village horror show for Afghan civilians in a number of ways—right under the noses of the U.S. Special Forces who armed and trained them, and who in many cases insisted on appointing their commanders, sometimes against the locals’ adamant opposition.

Petraeus is a specialist in creating violent militia. But wiping away his own sponsoring of sectarian forces Petraeus is now blaming the creation of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State on Iran:

The current Iranian regime is not our ally in the Middle East. It is ultimately part of the problem, not the solution. The more the Iranians are seen to be dominating the region, the more it is going to inflame Sunni radicalism and fuel the rise of groups like the Islamic State.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State were created in U.S. prisons in Iraq when Iraq was under U.S. occupation. Their creation had nothing to do with Iran.

While Petraeus sees the Islamic State still somewhat as an enemy of the United State it is clear that he is excusing their being as a somewhat natural answer to a perceived bigger role of Iran. But it was the U.S. that took down the anti-Iranian Taliban government in Afghanistan. It was the U.S. that took down the Sunni led anti-Iranian government in Iraq. It is the war the U.S. is waging against Syria that created the Jihadist forces there which then drew in Iran on the side of the Syrian government. That Iran’s role in the Middle East now looks bigger than fifteen years ago is the direct consequence of U.S. policies and military operations.

Like Tom Friedman Petraeus is blaming Iran for the consequences of polices he supported. Like Friedman, who even calls to arm the Islamic State, he shows sympathy for lunatic Jihadis by excusing their existence while blaming Iran.

There is little doubt where this late hand wringing over the fate of Iraqi Sunnis comes from. The Israel lobby and the neocons are afraid that the U.S. will make some kind of peace with Iran, at least on the issue of Iran’s nuclear industry. Any U.S. deal with Iran will diminish Israel’s position and it will lower the profits of U.S. weapon manufacturers. They want to prevent this and want to ally with the Sunni dictatorships and their bastard child Islamic State against Iran.

They should not worry so much. I doubt that the Obama administration is sincere in getting an agreement with Iran unless Iran offers an unconditional capitulation. The talks will end nowhere and the U.S. will blame Iran for U.S. intransigence. The Chinese government seems to also have the impression that the U.S. is stalling the talks:

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday that talks on Iran’s nuclear program must not fall at the last hurdle, and that all sides should meet each other half way.

“China is willing to increase communication with the United States on all levels, to together run the ‘last mile’ of the marathon that is the Iran nuclear talks.”

Blaming Iran for the sectarianism in Iraq -which the U.S. created- for the rise of radical Jihadists -who developed in U.S. prisons- and for the consequences of the U.S. wars in the wider Middle East is against all historical facts. Blaming Iran for the failure of the nuclear talks will be added to that collection.

Image: An explosion following an air strike is seen in western Kobani neighbourhood (Reuters / Osman Orsal)

As the war against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) rages on, the US has stepped up its air campaign, combining destructive bombs with anti-ISIS leaflets.

But while US propaganda efforts are ostensibly aimed at disrupting ISIS recruitment, overall US involvement has yielded mixed results at best.

On the one hand, Washington is engaging in a psychological campaign designed to dissuade potential ISIS fighters from joining up, with leaflets depicting grisly images of young men being sent into a meat grinder. On the other hand however, the US continues to exacerbate the situation in both Iraq and Syria by providing material support, both directly and indirectly, to the very groups whom they claim to be fighting.

While the US seems to be engaged in a psychological war against ISIS, it is equally involved in a systematic campaign of sabotage against those forces that are actually fighting ISIS on the ground. And so, as it often does, Washington is playing both sides of the conflict in order to achieve an outcome to its own political advantage, and to the detriment of Syria, Iran, and other interested parties.

The US psychological war against ISIS

Since the emergence of ISIS on the world stage, much has been made of the organization’s ability to recruit fighters, produce propaganda, and effectively get its message across to the young Muslims around the world. There have been countless news stories of Muslim youths from the West eagerly joining up to fight in far flung war zones like Syria and Iraq, seemingly translating their disaffection with their own lives into an ideological identification with ISIS extremism.

But beneath the surface of such ideological explanations is the fact, publicly acknowledged by many counter-terrorism experts, that ISIS propaganda, coupled with the financial benefits the organization offers, is responsible for some of the allure of joining the fight. And so, the US has launched a full scale psychological war for the “hearts and minds” of these naïve youths and poverty-stricken potential fighters.

The Pentagon confirmed that they had dropped tens of thousands of leaflets on the Syrian city of Raqqa in an attempt to dissuade potential recruits from joining ISIS. While this may seem a relatively harmless exercise in counter-propaganda, the reality is that it is at best a poorly conceived, and at worst utterly disingenuous, attempt to counteract ISIS recruitment. Were the US serious about eradicating the cancer of ISIS in Syria, US military officials would be coordinating with their Syrian counterparts in a comprehensive attempt to destroy the organization. For while the US Air Force drops leaflets, the Syrian Arab Army has been fighting ISIS on the ground for nearly three years, paying a very high price in blood to protect its country from the internationally constituted terror organization.

Reuters / U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Perry Aston

US military planners understand perfectly that it is the Syrian military, not slick propaganda leaflets, which will carry the day in the war against ISIS in Syria. While perhaps useful for the public relations campaign back home, such leaflets will do little to change the tactical or strategic situation on the ground. The same goes for the recently announced expansion of the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, the State Department’s attempt at “counter-messaging” ISIS propaganda on social media and in cyberspace generally.

But, while the US presents itself as pursuing a comprehensive psychological war against ISIS, its military and covert actions tell a far different story.

Fighting ISIS by arming them?

The media has been abuzz in recent months with numerous accounts of US weapons and other supplies falling directly into the hands of ISIS, providing the terror group with invaluable material support at a time when it had suffered heavy losses in both Syria and Iraq. As Naeem al-Uboudi, the spokesman for one of the main groups fighting ISIS in Tikrit told the NY Times, “We don’t trust the American-led coalition in combating ISIS… In the past, they have targeted our security forces and dropped aid to ISIS by mistake.”

Indeed, these allegations are supported dozens of accounts of airdropped US weapons being seized by ISIS. As Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui noted in January,

“The information that has reached us in the security and defense committee indicates that an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin… This incident is continuously happening and has also occurred in some other regions.”

Whether these incidents are simply honest mistakes by the vaunted US military with all its precision bombing capabilities, or they are indications of a more callous attempt to inflict casualties on all sides and prolong the regional war, either way they represent an abject failure of the US strategy against ISIS. But of course, the US policy failure goes much further than just mistakes on the battlefield. Rather, the entire policy of arming so-called “moderates” in Syria has led directly to the growth of ISIS into a regional power.

Since 2012, the US, primarily through the CIA, has been providing weapons and training to terrorists in Syria under the guise of arming “moderates.” Many of these allegedly moderate groups have in recent months been documented as having either disbanded or defected to ISIS, including the little publicized mass defections of former Free Syrian Army fighters. However it has happened, a vast arsenal of US-supplied weapons and other military hardware are now counted among the ISIS arsenal. So much for the US policy of ensuring the weapons don’t “fall into the wrong hands.”

So, while the US has proclaimed to be fighting ISIS and the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front, they have been simultaneously arming and supporting many of the same forces which now make up much of the rank-and-file of these terror groups. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

A leaflet created by the United States Department of Defense to be dropped over Syria is shown after being released to Reuters by the Pentagon in Washington March 26, 2015 (Reuters / U.S. Department of Defense)

Washington: Peace broker or arms dealer?

Those who follow US foreign policy are likely unsurprised by these revelations of Washington providing arms and intensifying an already dangerous conflict. In Syria, the US has consistently argued that the Syrian government cannot be seen as a partner for peace, and so they must provide weapons to “moderates.” In Ukraine, where the US has a compliant and servile government that executes its diktats, Washington still supplies the arms, talking of peace and stability while exacerbating the war and human tragedy in East Ukraine.

Last week, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed (348-48) a resolution to provide military support in the form of weapons to Ukraine. As Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee stated, “The people of Ukraine are not looking for American troops. They are just looking for the weapons to defend themselves. They don’t have those weapons. We do.”

Indeed, it seems that US policy is to pursue “peace” at the barrel of a US-made, US-supplied gun. As Secretary of State John Kerry explained in his usual self-contradictory manner “To get peace, you have to defend your country,” a devilishly cynical statement from the man who, entirely without irony, explained in 2014 that “you don’t just invade another country on a phony pretext in order to assert your interests.” Perhaps, rather than invading countries, the Obama administration has decided to simply provide the weapons, training, and logistical and material support in order to assert its own interests.

While Syria and Iraq face an existential struggle against the wildfire that is the Islamic State, the United States arrives, gas can in hand, to make peace. As Ukraine slides deeper into civil war, the US provides all the ingredients for a witches’ brew of violence and bloodshed.

For all its talk of psychological war against ISIS, Washington has embraced an aggressive, multi-pronged approach that leaves little doubt as to the thinking of its strategic planners: the enemy of my enemy is both friend and enemy. As Tacitus famously said of the Romans, “They make a desert and call it peace.” So too do the Americans in the blood-soaked deserts of Syria and Iraq.

American Hell for Yemen

April 1st, 2015 by Margaret Kimberley

The U.S.-spawned whirlwind of carnage and destruction has wrecked the societies of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen, yet most Americans feel themselves blameless. “The people, the corporate media and the political system all accept that their government has the right to intervene in the affairs of other nations and that it is always right and moral in its claims.” They behave like zombified cogs in an imperial death machine.

The United States used the Al Anad airbase in Yemen as the staging area for drone attacks which killed some 1,000 people since 2009. Those crimes were committed under the guise of fighting terrorism but now that same place is the location of karmic justice for the American government and its ally, Saudi Arabia. United States Special Forces fled from Al Anad before it was overrun by Ansar Allah rebels, also known as the Houthis.

It is true that Saudi Arabia bombed Houthi positions and threatens to start a ground invasion with the help of Egypt. Both of these countries are American client states and would not contemplate these actions without having a green light from Washington.

The story of Yemen and the shifting international alliances which have brought it to civil war are somewhat complicated. The Houthis ousted the American and Saudi backed president Hadi who is now on the run. His predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was at one time also a Saudi favorite but is now leading the Houthi advance. While the details can be confusing, one thing is simple. American imperialism and the war of terror unleashed on that region are ultimately at fault and continue to destroy nation after nation.

In its zeal to have and maintain hegemony the United States resorts to brute force and supports others who do likewise. The result is dead bodies in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen, but the decisions that lead to these crimes are endemic to American policies.

To say that Barack Obama and his Oval Office predecessors made a mess of the Middle East is the very definition of understatement. Because America’s goals are never benevolent its policies lurch from one awful decision to the next with human suffering being the only common denominator.

Washington used jihadists in Libya to overthrow the Gaddafi government only to have those same groups kill the American ambassador. Now the U.S. is fighting the same people it supported there just a few years ago. America fights with al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria but against those same two groups in Iraq. Washington eventually chose to accept the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt but now supports the restoration of a dictatorial regime with another leader. The United States calls the president of Sudan a war criminal but now fights on the same side in Yemen. When imperialism is the intention, events will never turn out as predicted.

The chaos makes sense only when the true nature of American foreign policy is acknowledged. The shifting alliances and seemingly strange bedfellows are part of the longstanding doctrine of Manifest Destiny. Manifest Destiny asserts that the United States has the right to expand its reach anywhere it wants to. The term originally referred to the conquest of North America in the 19th century, but the thinking behind it is still a part of this country’s consciousness.

Most Americans know little or nothing about Yemen or Saudi Arabia, but still happily refer to themselves in the first person plural when speaking of their government. They ask, “What should ‘we’ do about Syria/Iraq/Yemen/Libya?”

While presidents go in and out of office, the people, the corporate media and the political system all accept that their government has the right to intervene in the affairs of other nations and that it is always right and moral in its claims. The numbers of Americans who question whether Barack Obama ought to be in the business of ousting the president of Syria or supporting the president of Ukraine are quite slim.

The examples of foolish decisions are endless. President Reagan made deals with Iran but then instigated an Iraqi attack on Iran. Later the U.S. attacked Iraq in two different wars. The destruction of that country led to a brutal sectarian war, and to the rise of the Houthis in Yemen.

Yemen is now the epicenter of imperialism run amuck. The Saudis fear that the Shi’a Houthis will be supported by their rival Iran, which the United States now wants to come to terms with in nuclear energy negotiations. Saudi Arabia is therefore on the side of Israel in attempting to scuttle any agreement. There is still no honor among all the thieves.

Whatever policy decisions Washington chooses to make will result in unintended consequences and more violence. Every escalation brings greater danger and America still has no rival for bringing destruction to millions of people. Violence and chaos have become not just the means to certain ends, but ends in and of themselves. That is just how America rolls.

Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

While I have always been puzzled at why Americans endorse the existence of a religious and therefore discriminatory nation, Israel, and at why we give more of our tax-money to that nation than to any other; and while I would not pretend to be an authority on those matters; I was stunned on 31 March 2015 to read a news report at counterpunch, “American Historical Association Censors Ad for Book on Israel, Palestine & the US Keeping ‘Hidden History’ Hidden,” by Alison Weir, someone I’d never heard of before. She says there that AHA refuses to accept a paid advertisement for her historical book about the U.S.-Israel relationship — a historical matter that I have always found puzzling, and so was curious to know more about.

I write a lot against censorship in America’s ‘news’ reporting, but this matter concerns censorship in my own main profession, which is history (I’m only secondarily a journalist), and so it especially piqued my interest.

So, I clicked onto the link there to her book, Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel, in order to see for myself what this was that AHA refuses to allow to advertise. I saw that the book, which was published a year ago, already has 216 customer-reviews, but none of the positive ones I saw there is very informative about what particularly interests me — the degree of accuracy of the author’s sourcing and allegations. So, I clicked especially onto the one-star, the most negative, reviews, and I saw no one citing a false factual allegation. The negative reviews weren’t any more informative to me than the positive ones were.

So, I clicked onto the inside-the-book, and started reading. I saw allegations that were new to me; and, looking at her footnotes, they seemed to me to be to credible sources.

However, before I would proceed further into this, I wanted to know something more about the author, to find whether she might be an anti-Semite, such as all-too-commonly are writing against Israel.

I came upon this youtube presentation by her, “TalkingStickTV – Alison Weir – The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.” In that hour-long talk, she explained how her interest in the issue of Israel and the Palestinians had arisen starting in 2000, and she showed photos that she took in Gaza. She described the circumstances of her having gone there, as a journalist, to see the situation for herself. Nothing about her suggested to me that she was any sort of anti-Semite, or bigoted in any way. She went on to summarize the main evidence on which her book relies, all highly respected sources, such as this, which not only is a respected scholarly source, but the footnotes in it are likewise respected and mainstream sources. Basically, in her hour-long video talk, she made her case.

By now, I feel confident that AHA’s refusal to accept paid advertisements for her book is an outrage. I happen not to be a member of that association; but, if I were, I would quit in disgust. She is a historian; they are not.

For such ‘historians’ as those to be teaching ‘history’ at American colleges and universities is scandalous — evidence of a profoundly corrupt academic profession.

Alison Weir has a lot to teach American ‘historians.’ We should welcome her to teach it to us, not prohibit her from advertising her book to us.

Incidentally, I found her video talk to be highly informative — and not only about her, but, more importantly, about Gaza, Israel, and our own profoundly corrupt country.

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, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

Combine the number of overdose deaths caused by heroin and cocaine, and you still haven’t matched the number of deaths caused by pharmaceutical prescription medications each year in the United States. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, pharmaceutical abuse was responsible for about 23,000 deaths in 2013  — that’s more than half of the overdose deaths in the U.S. that year.

Prescription drugs have a disproportionately large effect on teenagers. A recentstudy published in Journal of Public Policy and Marketing sheds light on this issue, which the CDC has labeled an “epidemic.”

Over 1,000 teenagers in 40 different regions around the U.S. participated in an online survey that questioned them about their use of alcohol, tobacco, legal drugs and illegal drugs. Participants were asked if they suffer from anxiety, if they have a desire to be “popular,” how often they participate in exciting activities, and whether they consider using drugs risky.

The authors of the study — Richard Netemeyer of University of Virginia, Scot Burton of University of Arkansas, Barbara Delaney of the Partnership for Drug Free Kids, and Gina Hijjawi of American Institutes for Research — published several conclusions.

First, their results showed use of pharmaceuticals has a linear correlation with the amount of anxiety and other psychological stress a teenager experiences each day. Pharmaceutical use also increases with the amount of alcohol a teenager consumes.

Second, their results show prescription drug use increases exponentially in circumstances where a teenager is experiencing more severe anxiety, a heightened desire to be popular, a need to be a “good teen,” or is using other restricted substances.

“Teens need help before they reach these tipping points for prescription drug abuse,” write the authors. “Adults spotting teens with very high levels of anxiety and at least moderate use of other restricted substances should realize that these are students with a high likelihood of prescription abuse.

“Male teens with a high need to be popular and teens in general appear to be at exceptional risk,” write the authors. “Campaigns must target parents as well, since they clearly underestimate both the physical risks of prescription drugs and the likelihood that their children will abuse these drugs.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 20 percent of teenagers reported that they had tried prescription drugs in 2014. Drugs in this category include OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, Valium, Adderall, and Ritalin, among others. Teenagers commonly acquire these drugs from friends or relatives who have prescriptions for them. Often, the friend or relative is unaware the teen is taking the drugs.

The study points to the ways in which approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows pharmaceuticals to escape the stigmas attached to illegal substances.

“Prescription drugs are seen as blessed by a trusted institution, the FDA, while increasingly aggressive advertising by drug companies simultaneously floods parents and children with messages that these substances are safe, popular, and beneficial,” write the authors.

In 1997, the FDA changed the rules on pharmaceutical advertising. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website, drug companies are now only required to mention the most potent side effects of a drug rather than the entire list of side effects. Moreover, companies are allowed to list side effects while showing serene frames of a revitalized grandmother kayaking with her grandchildren across the screen.

In effect, less emphasis is placed on the dangers of prescription drug use and more is placed on its benefits. While the dangers of illegal substances are widely known, information on the dangers of prescription drugs are often confined to a three-second-long screen of fine print that pops up at the end of a thirty-second commercial.

According to an editorial published by the New York Times in 2013, pharmaceutical advertisements have helped cultivate a “pill for every ill” approach to health care in the United States. U.S. physicians, for example, prescribe drugs as treatment for ADHD 25 times more often than European physicians. It follows that U.S. teenagers have 25 times more access to ADHD medication like Ritalin and Adderall than European teenagers.

Several organizations work to educate the public on the risks of prescription drug abuse. The National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse, for example, organizes school related activities aimed at educating students about the risks of pharmaceuticals, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy is trying to implement a four-part plan to educate teenagers and monitor their use of pharmaceuticals.

Evidence from the study suggests these organizations have a long way to go.

The Arak heavy water reactor in Iran has been an obstacle in nuclear talks (Wikicommons)

As the P5+1 and Iran agree to continue talks on a possible joint statement past a midnight deadline into Wednesday, the most contentious issue in Lausanne still appears to be how and when sanctions on Iran will be lifted.

Virtually all the details of the negotiating positions of the two sides remain cloaked in secrecy. However, Middle East Eye has learned from an informed source in contact with negotiators in Lausanne that the core issue remaining to be resolved is whether the P5+1 will end some sanctions as soon as Iran has taken what it is calling “irreversible’ actions to implement the agreement.

Iran has already made some significant concessions on the sanctions issue, the source revealed. Iran and the six-nation group, led by the US, have agreed that unilateral US and European sanctions as UN Security Council sanctions that related to Iran’s nuclear programme could be “suspended” rather than being lifted permanently at the beginning of the implementation of the agreement. The Iranian delegation is also not contesting that the UN Security Council resolutions that forbid assistance to Iran’s ballistic missile program and other military programs can stay in place, the source said.

But the remaining bone of contention is that the six-nation group has insisted on maintaining the entire legal system of sanctions in place, even after the sanctions have been suspended, until the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reached the conclusion that Iran’s nuclear programme is entirely for peaceful purposes – a process that it admits could take many years. US and European officials have been telling journalists on background for months that maintaining the sanctions architecture in place is necessary to ensure not only that Iran implements the agreement fully but also that it has no ambitions to obtain nuclear weapons.

But Iran has pointed out to the US and European negotiating teams that it is being asked to carry out curbs on its nuclear programme that are effectively “irreversible”, and which should be reciprocated by the P5+1 with termination of some sanctions in each case, according to the source.

The source gave examples of Iranian concessions which Iran argues would be irreversible if implemented, including the redesign of the Arak heavy water reactor the elimination of its stockpile of low enriched uranium and the ratification of the Additional Protocol by the Iranian parliament. Iran is demanding that the agreement include language calling for the timely ending of sanctions in response to the actual implementation in each case.

Iran has agreed to redesign the Arak heavy water reactor, which the P5+1 had called a proliferation threat because of the roughly 10 kg of plutonium that it would produce annually.  The redesign that Iran has agreed to carry out would reduce the output of plutonium to 1 kg per year, according to the source in contact with the negotiators.  Therefore, expect the P5+1 to go beyond merely suspending sanctions to reciprocate the implementation of the agreement.

A senior Iranian official told the International Crisis Group last June that the redesign of the Arak reactor would involve the replacement of calandria, the existing vessel that holds the reactor core, with a smaller one.  The officials said it would take years for Iran to reverse that change and restore the original rector.

Frank Von Hippel of Princeton University, a former assistant director for international security in the White House Office of Science and Technology, confirmed in an interview with MEE that the agreed plan for redesigning the Arak Reactor does indeed involve the replacement of the calandria and is therefore, in practical term, “irreversible”.

Von Hippel also said the Iranian agreement to reduce its stockpile of low enriched uranium to a very low level, on top of the reduction in the number of centrifuges to roughly two-thirds of the present operational level, would take about three years to reverse.

Iranian negotiators are not that concerned about the P5+1 refusal to lift sanctions until Iran’s provides full information on the “Possible Military Dimensions”, according to the source.  “The PMD issue is not a problem,” the source said, because Iran is prepared to give the agency all the access it needs as part of the agreement.

The much more serious Iranian concern is the six nation group’s insistence that the IAEA must also verify the peaceful nature of the programme, as though the implementation of the agreement were not sufficient evidence.  Iranian negotiators have pointed out to Western diplomats that the IAEA could take up to 15 years to arrive at a final judgment, as it did in the case of South Africa, the source said.

A senior Iranian official told the International Crisis Group last November that IAEA officials, responding to Iran’s question about the time required, had refused to rule out the possibility that it would take more than ten years to complete its assessment of Iran’s case.

Two Chinese nationals, Mo Hailong and Mo Yu, are accused of stealing genetically modified (GM) seed technology from biotech giants DuPont Pioneer and Monsanto, as reported by the Des Moines Register.

The siblings face prosecution in what defense attorneys have labeled a “breathtaking and unprecedented” abuse of power. They are among other Chinese nationals who were accused of espionage over GM corn seed several years ago.

Are these individuals stealing valuable trade secrets from international agricultural companies or are they simply practicing Borne-Identity-type tactics to keep the upper hand on biological terrorism practiced through the latest GMO technologies?

The Chinese Nationals face ten years of imprisonment based on the decision of a secret court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as FISA. FISA is best known for taking privacy rights from Americans by allowing the NSA to spy on citizens through their cell phones, email accounts, and banking activity.

Big Biotech is attempting to link Mo Hailong and Mo Yu to the the Beijing-based DBN Group, a conglomerate that owns a seed company, with the Chinese government, as a means of establishing motive.

However, rights advocates and attorneys representing the two individuals report that the government is exaggerating a trade dispute with a national security threat in order to protect the interests of the biotechnology industry.

Related: Most Seeds are Patented by Corporations – Save the Seeds!

Mark Weinhardt, Defense attorney, states:

“For the first time in the statute’s history (as far as our research reveals), the government used FISA to investigate a trade secret dispute between two privately owned companies.”

Faiza Patel, a national security expert with the Brennan Center for Justice, told the Register:

“FISA was intended to capture information about national security-type threats. It wasn’t meant to capture ordinary crime, such as violating trade secrets.” 

Defense attorney Mark Weinhardt has filed a motion to suppress evidence gathered under FISA from being introduced during the siblings’ trial, which is scheduled for Sept. 14. but the lack of transparency in FISA court makes challenging evidence extremely difficult.

Weinhardt wrote in the motion:

“This case involves a breathtaking and unprecedented expansion of the government’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. For the first time in the statute’s history (as far as our research reveals), the government used FISA to investigate a trade secret dispute between two privately owned companies.”

Court records regarding the case state, “prosecutors have turned over to defense attorneys a mountain of more than 500,000 documents, 50 hours of audio tapes and two years’ worth of surveillance footage generated by the investigation,” the Register reports.

That’s a whole lot of taxpayer money used to protect the interests of a few companies that are ruining agriculture the world over.

Additional Sources:

Photo credit: BASF/cc/flickr)

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The Biggest Threat to American Liberty

April 1st, 2015 by Jacob G. Hornberger

George Washington pointed out, “Overgrown military establishments, which under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty.”

Wise words by the father of our country, but ones, unfortunately, rejected by modern-day Americans, who love and idolize the enormously overgrown military establishment that now characterizes our federal governmental system.

Eastern Europeans are getting a gander at America’s overgrown military establishment. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that a huge contingent of US military forces is winding its way through Eastern Europe as some sort of good-will tour and also to serve as a message to Russia that the United States is ready to go to war to protect Eastern Europe from Russia’s aggressive designs.

Never mind that it is America’s overgrown military establishment that gave rise to Russia’s so-called aggressive designs. Ever since the end of the Cold War, NATO has been absorbing Eastern European countries with the ultimate aim of absorbing Ukraine, which would enable the US military to place bases and missiles on Russia’s borders.

There was never a possibility that Russia was going to let that happen, any more than the US national-security establishment would permit North Korea to place military bases and missiles on Mexico’s side of the Rio Grande. In the eyes of those who believe that America’s overgrown military establishment can do no wrong, that makes Russia the aggressor in the crisis.

But let’s face it: These people are ingenious at producing crises and then playing the innocent. The fact is that NATO should have been dissolved at the end of the Cold War. It wasn’t dissolved for one big reason: in order to produce endless crises with Russia so that Americans would feel the need to keep their overgrown, Cold War-era, military establishment in existence.

Moreover, under what authority is America’s overgrown military establishment telling Eastern Europeans that the United States will come to their defense in a war against Russia? I thought that under the US Constitution it is the responsibility of Congress to decide when America goes to war. The US military march through Eastern Europe is just another sign of how the national-security branch of the federal government — the most powerful branch — calls its own shots when it comes to foreign policy.

Moreover, it’s a sign of the times when America’s overgrown military establishment is our country’s good-will ambassador. It used to be that the American private sector served that purpose. Not so anymore. Now, it’s US generals and other military personnel who serve that purpose, as they parade through Eastern Europe showing off their tanks and other military equipment, just like the Soviets did in their May Day parades.

Meanwhile, America’s overgrown military establishment is also engaged in a massive military exercise called Operation Jade Helm, only this one isn’t in some foreign country but instead right here at home. With more than 1200 participants, including Army Special Forces, Navy Seals, and Marine Special Operations, this large-scale military operation is slated to launch in around 20 cities in the American Southwest.

Perhaps it would be wise to review America’s founding principles regarding overgrown military establishments and the threat they pose to the liberty of the citizenry, in addition, that is, to the sentiments against overgrown military establishments expressed by America’s first president, George Washington:

James Madison: “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.”

Patrick Henry: “A standing army we shall have, also, to execute the execrable commands of tyranny; and how are you to punish them? Will you order them to be punished? Who shall obey these orders? Will your mace-bearer be a match for a disciplined regiment?”

Henry St. George Tucker in Blackstone’s 1768 Commentaries on the Laws of England: “Wherever standing armies are kept up, and when the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”

Commonwealth of Virginia in 1788: “… that standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and protection of the community will admit; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to and governed by the civil power.”

Pennsylvania Convention: “… as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to and be governed by the civil power.”

US State Department website: “Wrenching memories of the Old World lingered in the 13 original English colonies along the eastern seaboard of North America, giving rise to deep opposition to the maintenance of a standing army in time of peace. All too often the standing armies of Europe were regarded as, at best, a rationale for imposing high taxes, and, at worst, a means to control the civilian population and extort its wealth.”

Finally, let’s wrap up this piece with the warning that President Eisenhower issued in his 1961 Farewell Address regarding America’s new, Cold War-era, overgrown military establishment:

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. . . .Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. . . . In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.

Initial reports Tuesday indicated that Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party has emerged as the victor in Nigeria’s presidential elections, which took place over the weekend.

Buhari’s apparent victory has been met with allegations of vote rigging by supporters of current President Goodluck Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which has controlled Nigeria’s government since the end of open military rule in 1999.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a federation of West African regimes that has organized regional military missions in league with Washington and the European powers, has given its stamp of approval to the elections and insisted that both sides accept the final vote tally.

The lead up to Saturday’s elections was marked by sharp tensions between rival factions within the Nigerian elite and state, represented by Jonathan and Buhari respectively. At least 50 Nigerians were killed during the elections, according to the National Human Rights Commission. Balloting was also accompanied by fighting in the north between insurgents and government forces.

If confirmed, Buhari’s ascendancy would represent a further extension of US political domination over Africa’s wealthiest country and largest oil producer. Buhari received years of training from the US military, graduating from the US Army War College in 1980, before becoming military dictator of Nigeria in a 1983 military coup d’etat that overthrew the government of President Shehu Shegari.

Buhari’s military junta banned strikes and public protests in 1984, and empowered the security forces to carry out arbitrary arrests and detentions of civilians, including numerous intellectuals, politicized students and journalists. To enforce these measures, Buhari’s government issued the State Security Decree #2, which legalized indefinite detention of anyone considered a “security risk” by Nigeria’s National Security Organization (NSO) secret police force.

While orchestrating mass repression against political opponents, Buhari implemented right-wing economic policies aimed at further impoverishing the population, including “austerity so severe it went beyond” the social cuts demanded as part of a loan offer extended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the new military regime, according to James Vreeland’s The International Monetary Fund: Politics of Conditional Lending. The 1984 National Budget advanced by Buhari and his clique of officers included measures to slash the Shegari government’s 1983 budget by 15 percent and roll back public sector employment.

There are clear indications that the Obama White House favors a transition from Jonathan to Buhari. During Buhari’s campaign, the APC has reportedly relied on support from a consulting firm run by US President Barack Obama’s former senior advisor and campaign manager David Axelrod.

In January 2015, Buhari was invited as the keynote speaker for a conference, “Countdown to Nigeria’s 2015 Elections,” held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a ruling class think tank with close ties to the White House.

The increasingly friendly relations of the Jonathan government with China likely explain the recent growth of tensions between the Jonathan administration and the Obama administration, which is seeking to counter growing Chinese hegemony in Africa through military and political means. Chinese economic concessions in the country’s massive oil sector include a 2010 $23 billion contract signed by Jonathan with Chinese firms for construction of several new oil and petrochemical facilities.

Apparently fearful of expanding US influence within Nigeria’s military establishment, the Jonathan administration moved suddenly in late 2014 to cancel a US-sponsored program to train new Nigerian military units. US officials responded to the cancellation with public threats that Jonathan’s policies were bringing US-Nigerian relations to an historic low.

Nigerian workers have been increasingly restive, with Nigeria’s two main oil unions initiating and subsequently reigning in small scale strikes in September and December 2014. The industrial actions were orchestrated to let off steam among the workers and secure concessions for the union leaderships, which are “simply trying to force the government to pay them off and get a hefty Christmas present,” according to sources cited by the BBC.

Nigerian oil has taken on increased significance in the context of the collapse of Libyan oil production, formerly the main rival to the Nigerian industry, which has fallen to some 10 percent of levels achieved prior to the 2011 US-NATO war against the Gaddafi regime.

Buhari’s election comes as the US is ramping up military deployments and political interventions throughout West Africa and the continent as a whole. US Africa Command’s (AFRICOM) commander General David Rodriguez recently called for a “huge” counterinsurgency campaign throughout West Africa, targeting a range of “extremist” groups.

US, French and other European military forces are engaged in joint operations with Chadian and other local militaries in the Sahel, Mali and Central Africa, including the invasion of portions of northeastern Nigeria by a US-backed Chadian force in mid-March 2015 and the French-led imperialist invasion of Mali in 2013. Along with a slate of other local forces, including some 8,000 troops from Niger, Cameroon and Benin affiliated with the newly formed African Union (AU) Multi-National Joint Task Force, Chad’s government and military are serving as a leading proxy force on behalf US and European imperialism in the region.

US backing for the Buhari campaign is part of US efforts to secure control over the massive oil resources flowing through Nigeria’s export terminals along the Gulf of Guinea. As early as 2001, the Bush administration’s National Energy Policy Development Group, headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, concluded that control of Nigerian oil and drilling developments in the Gulf of Guinea were critical to US interests.

The US military and elite US think tanks have since developed plans for militarily occupying and controlling Lagos, home to some 20 million Nigerians. Papers published in 2014 specifically citing Lagos as a necessary focus for US contingency planning included “Megacities and the United States Army: Preparing for a complex and uncertain future,” published by the US Army’s Strategic Studies Group, and “Mega Cities, Ungoverned Areas, and the Challenge of Army Urban Combat Operations in 2030-2040,” published by the Small Wars Foundation.

Saturday’s elections were the culmination of a struggle between different factions of a national bourgeois elite, with both sides equally hostile to Nigeria’s workers, oppressed masses and peasantry. Jonathan and Buhari alike represent a Nigerian ruling class that is completely dependent upon foreign capital and incapable of implementing even limited measures to raise the living standards of the population.

Buhari’s rise comes as yet further proof that Africa’s “democratic” and “independent” governments, established through “decolonization” and plagued by a never-ending series of military coups, are to be further transformed into colonial-style garrison states in service of the US and European banks and corporations.

US Army to Train Ukrainian Fascist Militias

April 1st, 2015 by Patrick Martin

The US Army will begin training Ukraine National Guard battalions on April 20 at a site in western Ukraine, near the Polish border, according to an announcement made Sunday by the country’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov.

“American commandos, numbering 290, will come to Yavoriv training ground, Lviv region, on April 20,” Avakov wrote on Facebook. “This is where a long-term military exercise of 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team of the US Army and combat units of the National Guard will be held.”

Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez confirmed the deployment earlier this month, without giving the exact date of its commencement. “This assistance is part of our ongoing efforts to help sustain Ukraine’s defense and internal security operations,” she said. “In particular, the training will help the Ukraine government develop its National Guard to conduct internal defense operations.”

This suggests that the paramilitary units, most of them created by billionaire oligarchs who financed and recruited fascist and neo-Nazi volunteers, may be used for suppression of popular protests within the government-controlled portion of Ukraine, in addition to joining the battle lines in eastern Ukraine if fighting breaks out again with pro-Russian separatists.

The US role in training and equipping paramilitary forces that openly venerate Ukrainian nationalists and fascists who collaborated with the Nazi occupation forces and facilitated the Holocaust during World War II, and who sport swastika-like insignias, exposes as filthy lies the US claims to be championing democracy and human rights in Ukraine.

The training program will include Washington’s first direct and open provision of lethal weaponry to Ukrainian military units. Pentagon officials said that uniforms, body armor, night vision devices and tactical radios would be supplied—all classified as “non-lethal”—but Avakov revealed that “our American partners” will present “special ammunition” to the Ukrainian National Guard troops at the conclusion of their training.

Before the end of 2015, Ukrainian forces could be killing pro-Russian separatist troops—or Russian soldiers—with American-supplied bullets, grenades and other “special ammunition.” This increases the danger of the conflict over eastern Ukraine and Crimea escalating into a direct military clash between nuclear-armed Russia and US-NATO forces.

A total of 1,500 US troops, 600 soldiers from other NATO-member countries, and 2,200 Ukrainian soldiers will take part in a series of exercises. The first, dubbed Fearless Guardian 2015, will extend over a seven-month period, from April through November. The second, Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident 2015, begins in July and extends through October.

The US troops will be drawn from the 173rd Combat Brigade, the spearhead of US forces in southern Europe, based in Vicenza, Italy. It specializes in offensive and air assault operations, making a mockery of the claim that the Pentagon is training Ukrainian troops for defense against supposed Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.

Avakov said that agreement on the military exercises was reached in talks between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and US Vice President Joseph Biden during Biden’s recent visit to Kiev. He paid special tribute to the role played by Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, and officials at the US embassy in Kiev, saying, “Without their vigor, the important and complicated preparation of training would have been impossible.”

On March 17, the Ukrainian parliament approved a bill submitted by Poroshenko permitting foreign troops to participate in multinational exercises in Ukraine this year. The operations in Ukraine coincide with similar drills being carried out in nearby countries that are NATO members, including Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

A total of 1,200 Ukrainian regular army soldiers and as many as 1,000 from the National Guard will take part in the training. Many of the 50 battalions that comprise the National Guard will send troops. Avakov listed the Azov, Jaguar and Omega battalions, as well as battalions drawn from the cities of Kiev, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Vinnytsia.

The inclusion of the Azov battalion has the most ominous implications. This is a military force of more than 1,000 soldiers founded and led by the neo-Nazi Andriy Biletsky. It carries banners bearing a modified swastika insignia drawn directly from World War II German SS units.

This battalion has played the leading role in fighting in Mariupol, the second largest city in the Donetsk region and the largest still held by the Ukrainian government. It is a center of steel manufacture and the main port on the Sea of Azov, a branch of the Black Sea.

Biletsky has publicly denounced the February 15 ceasefire agreed upon by Ukraine, Russia, the European Union and the pro-Russian separatists, and has threatened to march on Kiev and install a pro-war government. His battalion is equipped with artillery and tanks, as well as other heavy weapons.

According to a report by Reuters last week, published in Time magazine,

“The Azov battalion originated from Biletsky’s paramilitary national socialist group called ‘Patriot of Ukraine,’ which propagated slogans of white supremacy, racial purity, the need for authoritarian power and a centralized national economy. ‘Patriot of Ukraine’ opposed giving up Ukraine’s sovereignty by joining international blocs, called for rolling back of liberal economy and political democracy, including free media.”

A March 22 article in USA Today describes a visit by a reporter to the Azov Battalion in Mariupol. It carries the headline, “Nazis Among Kiev’s National Guard.” The article includes an interview with a drill sergeant who openly praises Nazi ideology, while quoting a spokesman for the battalion who says, “It’s his personal ideology. It has nothing to do with the official ideology of the Azov.”

The spokesman, Andrey Dyachenko, adds that “Only 10 percent to 20 percent of the group’s members are Nazis,” meaning that at least 100 to 200 Nazis may be about to receive intensive military training from US commandos.

The same article quotes a member of the Armed Forces of Ukraine general staff in Kiev, Col. Oleksy Nozdrachov, who “defended the Azov fighters as patriots.”

A report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights covering a single month, November 2014, found that Ukraine’s Office of the Military Prosecutor had done nothing to investigate a “considerable” number of human rights allegations, “including looting, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment by members of certain voluntary battalions such as Aidar, Azov, Slobozhanshchina and Shakhtarsk.”

An earlier report by Amnesty International described members of the Aidar battalion engaging in “ISIS-style” war crimes, including beheading several pro-Russian separatists and sending the head of at least one victim by mail to his mother. Ukrainian nationalist militants “have been involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions,” the group said.

But during a recent visit to New York, the first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy, said the National Guard battalions consisted of “disciplined Ukrainian warriors about whom films will be made and books will be written.”

These reports underscore the utterly reactionary character of the US-NATO intervention in Ukraine, which has unleashed ferociously anti-democratic and fascistic forces against the Ukrainian people, both in the eastern region and throughout the country.

Iran Nuclear Talks: Kicking the Can Down the Road

April 1st, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

On March 31 deadline day, AP reported “Iran Nuke Talks to Continue in (a) New Phase.”

Six days of negotiations in Lausanne left key sticking points unresolved – notably on lifting sanctions and nuclear R&D.

AP said P5+1 nations “prepared Tuesday to issue a general statement agreeing to continue negotiations in a new phase aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord by the end of June, officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.”

According to unnamed ones close to talks, a joint statement will include documents “outlin(ing) more detailed understandings, allowing the sides to claim enough progress has been made thus far to merit a new round,” AP reported.

Eighteen months of talks haven’t resolved things. Perhaps US hardliners irresponsibly accusing Iran of involvement in Obama’s war on Yemen will torpedo things altogether.

On the one hand, he wants something to show for six plus years of failed policies – nothing but endless war on humanity, homeland repression and social injustice.

On the other, 36 years of hostile US relations toward Iran remain unchanged. Deal or no deal now or later, anti-Iranian sentiment persists.

America tolerates no independent states – notably Israel’s main regional rival.

What a so-called “new phase” of talks on Iran’s peaceful nuclear program to resolve outstanding differences means remains to be seen.

AP reported an unnamed official saying documents with technical information will be made public later on Tuesday.

Iranian negotiators haven’t yet approved them as this article is written.

On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov left talks. He said he’d return if a deal is imminent.

Back in Moscow he said: “Prospects for this round of negotiations were not bad, and I would even say good.”

Other P5+1 country foreign ministers remain in Lausanne.

On Tuesday morning, Iranian Foreign Ministry official Hamid Baeedinejad said:

“No agreement has been finalized until this moment, but we feel that all sides are seriously trying and these efforts will continue; we hope to attain the desired solutions.”

Remaining issues being discussed “have important political dimensions,” he added.

“We will continue the marathon meetings to strike a final agreement.”

After Monday talks, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said no breakthroughs were achieved on remaining sticking points.

“We cannot say that considerable progress has been made in this round of the negotiations yet,” he stressed.

Asked how close all sides were to a final agreement, he added:

“We cannot resolutely comment in this regard. We made remarkable progress in the previous rounds of the talks, in this round we cannot say that noteworthy progress has been made, but we have worked on different ideas and seriously studied the possible solutions to the issues of difference.”

“We have hopes and we will continue our efforts…but there is no guarantee” for successfully resolving remaining differences.

As of Monday afternoon, no draft document was prepared, he said.

Iran’s redlines are unchanged, he stressed. Key is ending illegal sanctions. They never should have been imposed in the first place.

Ending them unconditionally should be part of any deal – with no triggering mechanism to automatically reimpose them based on unjustifiable US claims about Iran allegedly violating agreement terms.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said:

“We have made progress in reaching acceptable solutions, but we still have to work on some important issues.”

“The key to striking an agreement lies in this strategic choice that the other side should make: pressure and sanctions or interaction and agreement by the other side.”

Whether final agreement is possible by June 30 remains to be seen.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

“Even at normal doses, taking psychiatric drugs can produce suicidal thinking, violent behavior, aggressiveness, extreme anger, hostility, irritability, loss of ability to control impulses, rage reactions, hallucinations, mania, acute psychotic episodes, akathisia, and bizarre, grandiose, highly elaborated destructive plans, including mass murder.

“Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs can cause agitation, severe depression, hallucinations, aggressiveness, hypomania, akathisia, fear, terror, panic, fear of insanity, failing self-confidence, restlessness, irritability, aggression, an urge to destroy and, in the worst cases, an urge to kill.” – From Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter # 296: “Drug Studies Connecting Psychotropic Drugs with Acts of Violence” – unpublished.

Anybody with an inquiring mind and a bit of common sense already suspects that psychiatric drugs were likely the most important contributing factor in the aberrant Lufthansa airline crash last Tuesday (3-24-15). Many truth-seekers have been frustrated by the road blocks that the “authorities” – including those who manage the media – have inserted that has kept the obvious part of the story out into the open. It has now been seven days since co-pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally, murderously and suicidally crashed the Germanwings airliner into the French Alps, instantly killing him and 149 innocent passengers and crew members.

What could possibly have been among the motivational triggers that finally made this obviously troubled and angry young man to plan and then execute such a heinous mass murder/suicide? So far the most likely candidate is being cunningly evaded by every entity that has control of the known information.

There has actually been a number of tantalizing details that have been carefully metered out to the press, including the fact that the 26-year-old co-pilot had been in a psychiatric hospital – allegedly for suicidal thinking – years before he qualified for his pilot’s license.

It was also reported that Lubitz had recently been, for undisclosed reasons, “seeing neurologists and psychiatrists” (known for their propensity to use a lot of synthetic brain-altering drugs). It is safe to assume that it was those physicians who prescribed “the plethora of medicines that were taken from his apartment in Dusseldorf and from his parental home”.

 The “plethora of drugs” was found by investigators on Day One. But so far, there has been no mention of what precisely were the drugs that were found nor has there been any public comment from the physicians or clinics detailing the reasons the drugs were prescribed. Good forensic psychologists, investigative journalists – not to mention the rest of us heathen – need to know this information.

What Drugs was the Perpetrator Taking or Withdrawing From?

Since Day One, millions of aware folks around the world have been trying, in vain, to get the answer to the common-sense question that needs to be asked whenever irrational acts of violence or suicide occur: “What psych drugs, if any, was the perpetrator of the irrational violence taking or withdrawing from?”

One wonders if the real facts will ever come out. The track record of the American “authorities” in charge of catastrophic events, false flag or not, is not good. (Think about how the “authorities” handled – in deep secrecy – the assassinations of JFK, MLK, RFK and Paul Wellstone. Think about the “authorities” and the media who are shamefully ignoring the 90% of school shooters that had been taking brain-disabling and violence-inducing psych drugs over the past 30 years (drugs that had never been approved for use in children).

Think about the massive cover-ups that we got from the official commissions that White House insiders appoint to investigate assassinations and other calamities, especially the Warren Commission that covered up the fact that there was a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy and then the mother of all conspiracies and cover-ups, the 9/11 Commission that shamefully ignored the massive scientific evidence and witness testimony that proved a conspiracy that planned and then brought down, by documented controlled demolition, the three (not two!) WTC towers on 9/11/01.

Consider also the shameful media black-out of the well-advertised public testimony of dozens of haunted Vietnam veterans (including John Kerry) back in 1971 when they courageously came before cameras and movingly testified about the atrocities that they had committed or observed while they were “serving” in Vietnam. And consider the media black-balling of the courageous, equally tormented military veterans who also testified about US military atrocities in their MidEast wars just a few years ago.

The US media also shamefully refused to attend and report on the 1999 court trial at which a Memphis jury totally absolved James Earl Ray of the assassination of Martin Luther King and simultaneously implicated a variety of government agencies (CIA, FBI, US Army) and local Memphis police members of the conspiratorial deed. With that track record, how can anybody unequivocally trust those who are in positions of power?

As Per Usual, the Truth About Lubitz will Embarrass a Lot of Powerful Entities

There are a lot of powerful and profitable entities that could have their reputations besmirched if or when the raw truth about the Lufthansa crash ever comes out, not the least of which are the giant pharmaceutical corporations that manufactured and cunningly marketed their toxic (and always inadequately tested) products that Lubitz had been taking or withdrawing from. We need to know which one he took.

But the “authorities” have been staying mum. Eventually the “authorities” – instead of full disclosure that would be a good teaching moment (that would go a long way towards prevention of future incidents) – will probably claim “patient confidentiality” when the truth of the matter is that the claimed “confidentiality” will be protecting prescribing physicians, clinics, Big Pharma, and Big Insurance. I would like to think that the journalists who are supposed to get all the facts and then report them are simply ignorant of the well-established fact that most, if not all, psychotropic drugs can cause violent, homicidal and self-destructive behaviors. (See the Appendices below.)

A List of Questions That Need to be Answered 

So I submit the following list of questions that need to be answered, hopefully long before the case is prematurely deemed by the powers-that-be to be closed:

1) “What were the specific drugs Lubitz was taking and in what cocktail combination had he been taking them?

2) How long had he been taking the offending drugs?

3) What dosages had he been prescribed?

4) Had Lubitz had a CYP450 2D6 assay done before he started taking his drugs (CYP450 is the complex of hepatic enzymes that metabolizes drugs and the absence of the 2D6 component (which occurs in 6-10 % of Caucasians – see (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CYP2D6) and would have made him an unknowing victim of serious, potentially fatal, drug intoxication and irrational behaviors, like ordering two new unaffordable Audis days before his suicidal act!

5) What drugs, if any, might he have been withdrawing from? And

6) What were the reasons behind his physicians prescribing neurotoxic drugs?

Depressed People Tend to Hurt Only Themselves; Adding Brain-disabling Drugs May Make Them Want to Hurt Others as Well 

Dr Peter Breggin is a practicing psychiatrist, author (of Toxic Psychiatry, Medication Madness and Brain-Disabling Treatments in Psychiatry, among many other books) and an expert in clinical psychopharmacology. He is considered the father of ethical psychiatry. He has often said that, by and large, people that have a depressed affect may sometimes feel like hurting themselves, but they are unlikely to want to harm anybody else, unless they have been seriously humiliated by their targeted group or individual or their brains have been intoxicated and disabled into irrationality by brain-altering substances like alcohol, illicit street drugs or the activating, agitation-inducing prescription SSRIs or psychostimulants.

So I leave readers to ponder the information in Appendix A below about what is currently known about the Lubitz case. I have gleaned these quotes from the major media reports that Google has placed at the top of its most favored links, which are mostly major print and wireless outlets that, incidentally, probably take advertising money from the pharmaceutical and airline industries, two of the many giant multinational industries that prefer to hide behind their boardroom walls whenever the lethal toxicity of their flawed products or procedures becomes newsworthy.

Further below are lists of widely published (in the professional literature) and commonly known adverse effects of psychotropic drugs (or their withdrawal symptoms) about which readers will want to educate themselves as they try to draw their own conclusions about this case and the many other bizarre acts of violence that can often be linked to the use of brain-disabling prescription drugs. For my last column on drugs and violence, including a list of some of the recent school shootings and the drugs involved, click on http://duluthreader.com/articles/2015/03/26/5031_the_red_lake_school_shootings_10th_anniversary


Appendix A:

What the Media is Telling Us About the Humiliation, Shaming, Embarrassment, Bullying and Fear That Lubitz was Exposed to:

“Lufthansa pilots began the first of two days of strike action on Wednesday (March 18) in a long-running dispute over early retirement benefits and the carrier’s cost-cutting plans which show no sign of ending.”

“He became upset about the conditions we (airline employees, including his airline hostess ex-girl friend) worked under: too little money, fear of losing the contract, too much pressure. …he would wake up from nightmares, screaming ‘we are crashing’.”

“A former partner described him as a tormented, erratic man who was a master of hiding his darkest thoughts and would wake up from nightmares screaming ‘we’re going down’.”

Lubitz told his ex-girlfriend last year: ’One day I will do something that will change the whole system, and then all will know my name and remember it.’

Lubitz showed “increasingly erratic and controlling behaviour which made her fearful for her own safety during his rages.” “He had problems with mood swings.”“Lubitz had reportedly ordered two new Audis for them (his fiancé and him) just before the tragedy in an apparent desperate last attempt to win her back. But she appeared to have rejected his offer, as only one car was ever delivered.”“It is not known why they split but it has been claimed their relationship broke down because he was secretly gay and was suffering torment over hiding his homosexuality.”“One report claimed he was taunted by fellow pilots for previously being a ‘trolley dolly’ airline steward and dubbed ‘Tomato Andy’ – a derogatory gay slur – by colleagues.““Bild said that the 27-year-old co-pilot had been treated by ‘several neurologists and psychiatrists’.”

“The German weekly Welt am Sonntag revealed on Saturday that police have discovered drugs used to treat psychological disorders and proof of a serious ‘psychosomatic [sic] illness’ of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, who is thought to have deliberately crashed a Germanwings Lufthansa passenger jet on Tuesday into the French Alps, killing 150 people.”

“Police said they took away a plethora of medicines from his apartment in Dusseldorf and from his parental home”

“Officers reportedly found a variety of drugs used to treat mental illness at his flat in Dusseldorf, appearing to substantiate claims he was severely depressed.”

“Medical documents that suggested an existing illness and appropriate medical treatment. They also found torn-up and current sick-leave notes, among them one covering the day of the crash.”

“The disintegration of his eyesight, according to investigators, fuelled his chronic anxiety that his flying career – the career he lived for since he was a teenager – was coming to an end.”


Appendix B:

Brain-disabling Psychotropic Drugs That can be the Trigger for Irrational Suicidality and Violence

“Frowned-upon” or illicit brain-disabling drugs like alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, “synthetic marijuana”, PCP, LSD, etc are well-understood to adversely affect behavior and have been out-lawed or highly controlled.

FDA-approved, legalized, brain-disabling psychotropic drugs are also well-understood (except by poorly-informed patients and all-too-often their prescribing practitioners) to cause potentially serious adverse effects. The increasingly popular (partly because many of them are addictive or dependency-inducing and cause serious symptoms if the patient tries to stop the drug abruptly) drugs can be categorized roughly into a six groups. The drugs in those groups have seemingly been handed out like innocuous candy in developed countries like the US for several decades now.

The groups include 1) “antidepressants“ (like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc), 2) anti-anxiety/”minor tranquilizers” (like Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, etc), 3) “major tranquilizers”/antipsychotics (like Thorazine, Haldol, Risperdal, Zyprexa, etc), 4) “mood stabilizers”/anti-epileptic drugs (like Neurontin, Tegretol, Lyrica, etc), 5) psychostimulants (like Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera, Provigil, etc), and 6) hypnotics/sleeping pills (like Ambien, Halcion, Lunesta, etc).

Appendix C:

1) Common Adverse Psychological Symptoms of Antidepressant Drug Use

Agitation, akathisia (severe restlessness, often resulting in suicidality), anxiety, bizarre dreams, confusion, delusions, emotional numbing, hallucinations, headache, heart attacks hostility, hypomania (abnormal excitement), impotence, indifference (an “I don’t give a damn attitude”), insomnia, loss of appetite, mania, memory lapses, nausea, panic attacks, paranoia, psychotic episodes, restlessness, seizures, sexual dysfunction, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, violent behavior, weight loss, withdrawal symptoms (including deeper depression)

2) Common Adverse Psychological Symptoms of Antidepressant Drug Withdrawal

Depressed mood, low energy, crying uncontrollably, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, agitation, impulsivity, hallucinations or suicidal and violent urges. The physical symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal include disabling dizziness, imbalance, nausea, vomiting, flu-like aches and pains, sweating, headaches, tremors, burning sensations or electric shock-like zaps in the brain

3) Common Adverse Psychological Symptoms of Minor Tranquilizer Drug Withdrawal

Abdominal pains and cramps, agoraphobia , anxiety, blurred vision, changes in perception (faces distorting and inanimate objects moving) depression, dizziness, extreme lethargy, fears, feelings of unreality, heavy limbs, heart palpitations, hypersensitivity to light, insomnia, irritability, lack of concentration, lack of co-ordination, loss of balance, loss of memory, nightmares, panic attacks, rapid mood changes, restlessness, severe headaches, shaking, sweating, tightness in the chest, tightness in the head.

We Are Losing The Oceans

April 1st, 2015 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

I am an admirer of Dahr Jamail’s reporting. In this article, Oceans In Crisis, Jamail tells us that we are losing the oceans. 

http://truth-out.org/news/item/29930-oceans-in-crisis-one-woman-will-cross-the-pacific-to-raise-awareness  

He reports on the human destruction of the oceans. It is a real destruction with far-reaching consequences.

That fact is indisputable.

From my perspective the human destruction of the oceans is yet more evidence of the ruinous nature of private capitalism. In capitalism there is no thought for the future of the planet and humanity, only for short-term profits and bonuses. Consequently, social costs are ignored.

Capitalism can work if social or external costs can be included in the costs of production. However, the powerful corporations are able to block a socially functioning capitalism with their political campaign contributions.

Consequently, capitalists themselves make the capitalist system dysfunctional. We may have reached the point where the external costs of production are larger than the value of capitalist output. Economist Herman Daly makes a convincing case that this is the fact.

While the powerful capitalists use the environment for themselves as a cost-free dumping ground, the accumulating costs threaten everyone’s life. It appears that nothing can be done, because the oceans are “common property.” No one owns them, so no one can protect them and their contents.

What we are faced with is the most destructive force in history: the short-sightedness of humans. Humans are willing to destroy the environment that sustains them, the law that sustains them, the truth that sustains them. Indeed, humans will destroy everything that sustains life if they can raise their incomes for another quarter or another year.

I have a friend who regales me with stories that humans are aliens on planet earth, exiled here by an intergalactic government that unwittingly disposed of its criminal wastes on a planet teeming with life. The inhumans, not humans, have been busy at work ever since their arrival exterminating one another, other species, and the life of the planet itself.

In the Western World truth is dying. Corporate and government money has purchased many scientists along with the media and politicians. The independent scientists who remain have great difficulty obtaining funds for their research, but the corporate scientists have unlimited funds with which to lie.

Scientists, like journalists, advance their careers by lying for the Establishment.

Truth-tellers and whistleblowers are defined as “domestic extremists,” “terrorists,” and are on watch lists. Some have been arrested on suspicion that they might commit a crime in the future. Here in the US we have Jeremy Bentham’s policy of arresting “suspects” before they commit a crime on the basis that they might in the future commit a crime.

All the while the US and UK, Australian and Canadian, governments are committing heinous crimes against other countries in the world whose peoples, like those of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Ukraine don’t count. These peoples are disposable, unexceptional, like the Vietnamese, Laotians, Cherokees, Sioux, Apaches . . .

These peoples don’t matter. It is we Americans who matter. We are “exceptional.” We are “indispensable.”

Transcript of President Bashar al-Assad’s interview with the CBS News. [emphasis added by Global Research]

Question 1: Mr. President, thank you for allowing us to come here. We asked for this interview because your country’s been at war for four years. It is a humanitarian crisis, perhaps the worst on the planet right now. 200,000 Syrians have died, four million refugees, ten million have left their homes, life expectancy is down, 50% of your country is occupied by hostile forces. It’s become a battleground for outside forces. What’s next? Because we have seen since I last visited you the rise of ISIS, we have seen Hezbollah in here, we have seen the United States becoming increasingly concerned about ISIS, so much so that the President, and especially the Secretary of State, have said that there’s a need for a negotiated settlement.

President Assad: Actually, the beginning of your question is exaggerating the number a little bit, but that’s not the issue. I always invite the media and the West and the officials to deal with those numbers not as spreadsheets and numbers and counter; actually it’s bereaved families who lost their dear ones. It’s a tragedy that’s been going through, every Syrian family lost someone, lost their livelihood, and so on. Whether it’s a few thousand or hundreds of thousands, it’s a tragedy. What’s next? Actually, every conflict should end up with dialogue, with a political solution between the different parties, and that’s what we have been doing in Syria for the last two years; dealing directly with the militants, and we succeeded in making some reconciliations.

Regarding the rise of ISIS, in the context of events in Syria during the last four years, ISIS didn’t rise suddenly. It’s impossible for such – bigger than what we call an organization and smaller than a state – to appear suddenly with all these resources, financial resources, human resources, without support from the outside and without being prepared gradually or incrementally for a long time before the sudden rise during last summer. So, the rise of ISIS is not a precise word because it didn’t happen suddenly; it was a result of events that happened at the beginning of the conflict that we mentioned in our statements many times, but no-one in the West has listened to. If we want to mention the statement of Kerry regarding the dialogue, I would say that we have in Syria so far is only a statement, nothing concrete yet, no facts, no new reality regarding the political approach of the United States towards our situation, our problem, our conflict in Syria. But as a principle, in Syria we could say that every dialogue is a positive thing, and we’re going to be open to any dialogue with anyone including the United States regarding anything based on mutual respect, and without breaching the sovereignty of Syria, and as a principle I would say that this approach, the new approach of the United States towards not only Syria, towards anyone, to make dialogue regarding any issue, is a positive thing, but we have to wait for the reality.

Question 2: What kind of communication is there between your government and the American government?

President Assad: There’s no direct communication.

Question 3: None at all?

President Assad: No, no.

Question 4: No kind of conversation about what kind of settlement might take place, no conversations about how to fight ISIS?

President Assad: Nothing yet. That’s why the United States-

Question 5: Nothing yet?

President Assad: Nothing yet. Till this moment, no.

Question 6: Would you like to have that happen?

President Assad: Any dialogue is positive, as I said, in principle, of course. Without breaching the sovereignty of Syria, especially regarding the fighting of terrorism. The way we defeat terrorism, that’s an important issue for us at this moment.

Question 7: But the question is what are you prepared to do? It is your country that is suffering. What are you prepared to do in terms of negotiations? If part of that is to see a transition government, of which you would give up power, would you be willing to do that?

President Assad: Anything regarding the Syrian internal politics should be related to the Syrian people, not to anyone else. We’re not going to discuss with the Americans or anyone what are we going to do regarding our political system, our constitution, or our laws, or our procedures. We can cooperate with them regarding fighting terrorism and making pressure on different countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Qatar and some of their allies in Europe that support the terrorists politically and financially and by military means.

Question 8: This cannot end militarily. Do you agree with that?

President Assad: Yeah, definitely. Every conflict, even if it’s a war, should end with a political solution.

Question 9: But then draw me a roadmap that you have for a political solution. What does it look like?

President Assad: You have different levels. You have the internal levels, you have the regional, you have the international, and you have different means at the same time. The most important part is the local. The local part should have two things: a dialogue between the Syrians about everything; the political system, and any other details that could be beyond this, about the future of the country, of course. Second, make direct dialogue with the militants as we did during the last two years in order to give them amnesty and to give up their armaments and go back to their normal lives.

Question 10: When you say militants, who do you mean?

President Assad: Some of them are terrorists, some of them are people who were implicated by the events for different reasons, so, whoever carries a gun and tries to destroy the public infrastructure or attack the people or cause any harm or breach the law in Syria. That’s the militant.

Question 11: But so much of the power is in your hands to engage in the process. I mean, if they demand that you step down before they negotiate, that’s unacceptable to you.

President Assad: By the militants, you mean?

Question 12: No, I mean by the United States, and Russia, and parties to the conversation.

President Assad: No external party has anything to do with the future of Syria, with the constitution or president or anything like this. We’re not going to discuss it with them. This is a Syrian issue. Whenever the Syrian people want to change their president, it should be changed right away, in the same day… even if we exaggerate, it should be through a political process, through a constitutional process. That’s how we change presidents, not through terrorism and external intervention.

Question 13: Some say that ISIS was the best thing that happened to you, and that even some of the things that you have done have benefitted ISIS, that because of what ISIS has done and because of your fight against the moderates in your country who, in terms of the Arab spring, wanted to see more democracy here. That you, in the effort to crush them, allowed ISIS to grow.

President Assad: Let’s go back to what President Obama said in one of his interviews recently; when he said that the moderate opposition in Syria is illusive. That’s very clear by President Obama, and we always said there’s no moderate opposition. So, the rise of ISIS wasn’t sudden, again. The evisceration, the amputation, eating the hearts of the victims started from the very beginning, and even beheading started from the very beginning of the conflicts. It started with what they called moderate opposition, then it continued with al-Nusra, then with ISIS. So, what happened with those three, including ISIS, they attacked military bases, they killed our soldiers, and they destroyed our economy. According to this logic, how could that be the best thing that happened to me? In what logic? To lose? To destroy the country? To kill your supporters and to kill others, and to kill civilians? In what sense could that be the best thing that happened to me or to the government? That’s illogical, that’s unrealistic, that’s unpalatable.

Question 14: Again, I come back to the idea of how, now, with the new reality of ISIS, how it’s changed the circumstances. As they have gained in strength, what new changes do you see in attitude towards you and staying and the Syrian government?

President Assad: Regarding the West, you mean?

Question 15: Yes.

President Assad: I think the West has changed its calculations after the rise of ISIS, but that doesn’t mean that they changed their approach to the conflicts in Syria, in Iraq, and in our region. I don’t think they’ve learned the lesson well, and that, as a result, will not change the course of events, because, the very beginning of the problem, from the Western perspective, is to change the system or the president or the government that they don’t like, and they’re still moving in the same direction. That’s why nothing concrete has changed yet; only the appearance and the priority. Their priority is to fight ISIS, but that doesn’t mean that their priority is to get rid of ISIS.

Question 16: How can you see the United States cooperate with Syria regarding ISIS?

President Assad: There’s no direct cooperation.

Question 17: But how do you see the future?

President Assad: The future, you mean. In the future, there must be direct dialogue to fight terrorism, because terrorism is on our ground, on our soil, they cannot defeat it without our cooperation, without having our information, because we lived with this and we know the reality and how to defeat it.

Question 18: Most people believe there is cooperation unofficially, and it goes through Iraq, and that somehow Syria knows when airstrikes are taking place by the United States, because they get that information from Iraq.

President Assad: From another third party, not only Iraq. More than one country told us that they’re going to start this campaign.

Question 19: How does that work?

President Assad: What do you mean?

Question 20: You do you get information?

President Assad: In the campaign?

Question 21: Yes.

President Assad: How does it work on the ground regarding ISIS?

Question 22: Yes. How do you get information, about American airstrikes, so that it can coordinate with what you’re doing, so that they’re not bombing Syrian troops.

President Assad: Through a third party, and it was very clear that their aim is to attack ISIS, not the Syrian Army, and that is what happened so far.

Question 23: A third party means Iraq, and who else?

President Assad: Iraq, another country, Russian officials.

Question 24: Russian officials, Iraqi officials?

President Assad: Iraqi officials.

Question 25: Communicate to you the American intentions?

President Assad: Exactly. In the details that I mentioned now.

Question 26: What’s the level of that information? Is it just about airstrikes, is it about other activities on the ground that are taking place?

President Assad: No, no details, only the headlines, and the principle that they’re going to attack ISIS in Syria and Iraq during the next few days. That is what we have heard, nothing else.

Question 27: When you shot down an American drone, did you know it was an American drone?

President Assad: No, because any drone, any airplane, any aircraft, will not tell you that “I’m American.” So, when you have a foreign aircraft, you shoot it. These are the rules, the military rules.

Question 28: How much of benefit are you getting from American airstrikes in Syria, reducing the power of ISIS?

President Assad: Sometimes it could have local benefits, but in general if you want to talk in terms of ISIS, actually ISIS has expanded since the beginning of the strikes, not like some Americans want to sugarcoat the situation as to say that it’s getting better, ISIS has been defeated, and so on. Actually, no, they have more recruits. Some estimate that they have 1,000 recruits every month, in Syria and Iraq, they are expanding in Libya, and many other Al Qaeda-affiliated organizations have announced their allegiance to ISIS. So, that’s the situation.

Question 29: How much territory do they control in Syria? ISIS controls how much territory, 50%?

President Assad: It’s not a regular war, you don’t have criteria. It’s not an army that makes incursions. They try to infiltrate any area when there’s no army, and when you have inhabitants. The question is how much incubator they have, that is the question; how much hearts and minds they won so far.

1

Question 30: How do you measure that?

President Assad: You can’t measure it, but you can tell that the majority of the people who suffered from ISIS, they are supporting the government, and of course the rest of the Syrian people are afraid from ISIS. I don’t think they win; I think they lost a lot of hearts and minds.

Question 31: They’ve lost a lot?

President Assad: They have lost, except the very ideological people who have Wahhabi states of mind and ideology.

Question 32: Explain to me why are people fleeing to go to refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey. What are they fleeing from? The Syrian Army?

President Assad: No, those camps started being built before there was any real conflicts in Syria, so it was premeditated to be used as a humanitarian headline and title, to be used against Syria to be a pretext a military intervention. That’s how it started. Later, they started giving incentives to people to flee there. Now, the majority of those, they fled because of the terrorism, and I’ll give you an example. In the elections, the presidential elections, most of the refugees in Lebanon, for example, and even in Jordan, they voted for the president, not against the president. That’s a concrete indicator, you cannot ignore it. So, they did not flee the Syrian Army; if they fled from the Syrian Army, they will be in the other-

Question 33: I have interviewed some of them in the Jordanian refugee camps, and they were fearful of the Syrian Army. And they were fearful of repercussions if people knew they were being interviewed, so they were reluctant to give their name and where they were from, but they had fled in fear of the Syrian Army.

President Assad: That could happen. Of course, you have different kinds of people, you have different perceptions, you have that perception. We don’t say that everybody fled just because of the terrorists. Some people fled just because of the situation, not from the Syrian Army not from the terrorists, they want to go to a safer place. So, they have different reasons for the refugees.

Question 34: There is another number that is alarming to me. It is that 90% of the civilian casualties, 90%, come from the Syrian Army.

President Assad: How did you get that result?

Question 35: There was a report that was issued in the last six months.

President Assad: Okay, as I said earlier, the war is not a traditional war, it’s not about capturing land and gaining land; it’s about winning the hearts and minds of the Syrians. We cannot win the hearts of the Syrians while we are killing Syrians. We cannot sustain four years in that position as a government, and me as a president, while the rest of the world, most of the world, the great powers, the regional powers, are against me, and my people are against me. That’s impossible. I mean, this logic has no legs to stand on. This is not realistic, and this is against our interest, as a government, to kill the people. What do we get? What is the benefit of killing the people?

Question 36: Well, the argument is that you… there are weapons of war that have been used that most people look down on. One is chlorine gas. They believe that it has been used here. They said that there is evidence of that and they would like to have the right to inspect, to see where it’s coming from. As you know, barrel bombs have been used, and they come from helicopters. The only people that have helicopters are the Syrian Army. And so, those two acts of war, which society looks down on, as-

President Assad: Let me fully answer this, this is very important. This is part of the malicious propaganda against Syria. First of all, the chlorine gas is not a military gas, you can buy it anywhere.

Question 37: But it can be weaponized.

President Assad: No, because it’s not very effective, it’s not used as a military gas. That’s self evident. Traditional arms are more important than chlorine, and if it was very effective, the terrorists would have used it on a larger scale. Because it’s not very effective, it’s not used very much.

Question 38: Then why not let somebody come in and inspect and see whether it was used or not?

President Assad: We allowed.

Question 39: You’d be happy for that?

President Assad: Of course. We always ask that a delegation, an impartial delegation, to come and investigate, but I mean logically and realistically, it cannot be used as a military. This is part of the propaganda, because, as you know, in the media, when it bleeds, it leads, and they always look for something that bleeds, which is the chlorine gas and the barrel bombs. This is very important, the barrel bombs, what are barrel bombs? They say barrel bomb as a bomb that kills people indiscriminately, because it doesn’t aim. This is not realistic for one reason: because no army uses a bomb that doesn’t aim, and the proof to what I’m saying is that, you don’t talk about the shape of the bomb to call it a barrel or cylindrical or whatever. The state-of-the-art drones, American drones, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, in Yemen, with state-of-the-art precision missiles have killed more civilians and innocents than killing terrorists. So, it’s not about this bomb that doesn’t aim, that kills people indiscriminately; it’s about the way you use it.

Question 40: But you’re acknowledging then that you do use it? You do use barrel bombs?

President Assad: No, no. There’s no such thing called barrel bombs. You have bombs, and any bomb is about killing, it’s not about tingling people.

Question 41: Most people understand what a barrel bomb is. I mean, they understand how it’s put together, what’s put inside of the barrel, and they understand how it’s dropped from helicopters.

President Assad: No, we have had a very good military industry for years, for decades, in Syria. We don’t have to make bombs, very primitive ones, very malicious ones. This bomb, this term, was used only to demonize the Syrian Army. That’s it. This is part of the propaganda.

Question 42: If barrel bombs were used by the Syrian Army, would you order the Syrian Army to stop using barrel bombs?

President Assad: Again, what is this term, what is the barrel bomb? I mean do you describe the missile that you have by-

Question 43: It’s a bomb that inflicts terrible civilian casualties.

President Assad: Any bomb and missile and even bullet is made to make casualties, but not civilian. There’s no military means made in order not to kill. But how you use, it’s again about the way you use it, it’s not about the bomb. I mean, if you want to talk about casualties, that’s another issue. Every war is malignant, every war is bad. You don’t have benign war. That’s wars are bad because you always have casualties. That is not related to certain kinds of bombs or bullets or whatever. This is completely another issue.

Question 44: So in fact, are you denying that barrel bombs are being and inflicting great casualties.

President Assad: Again, I always say, we use a bomb, we use missiles, we use everything, we use bullets. You don’t describe what we use by the shape, whether it called barrel, spherical, cylindrical missile, you don’t describe it this way. You use armaments, if you have casualties, it’s a mistake that could happen in every war, but you aim always to kill terrorists, not to kill your people, because you have support by your people, you can’t kill them.

Question 45: But you acknowledge that they come from helicopters, barrel bombs.

President Assad: This is a technical issue, a military issue. How to throw-

Question 46: But only one-

President Assad: No, no. You can throw bombs by any airplane. You can throw them by missile. You don’t have to use helicopters, you can use them anyway you want.
Question 47: But, if I hear you correctly, you acknowledge that barrel bombs are being used, but they’re like other bombs in your judgment, and they are not necessarily any different than other weapons. That is what you seem to be saying.

President Assad: We don’t have a bomb that is called barrel bomb. This came from the media, we don’t have it. What you call our bombs, that is related to the media. And that is used by the militants, then adopted by the West, in order to demonize the Syrian Army. We don’t have something barrel bombs that kill indiscriminately. If you have a strong bomb or weak bomb, or whatever, I mean you could call it whatever you want. I mean, we have regular bombs, traditional armaments. That’s what we have.

Question 48: What do most people consider barrel bombs more brutal than others?

President Assad: You have to ask the one who created that term, as I said, for the media, for the propaganda. This is part of the propaganda. If you want to refute the propaganda that’s been going on for four years, you have many things to refute.

Question 49: You have often spoken about the danger of a wider war in the Middle East. Let me talk about the parties involved, and characterize how you see them. Let me begin with Saudi Arabia.

President Assad: Saudi Arabia is an archaic autocracy, medieval system that is based on the Wahhabi dark ideology. Actually, I say it’s a marriage between the Wahhabi and the political system for 200 years now. That is how we look at it.

Question 50: And what is their connection to ISIS?

President Assad: The same ideology, the same background.

Question 51: So ISIS and Saudi Arabia are one and the same?

President Assad: The same ideology, yes.

Question 52: The same ideology.

President Assad: It’s the Wahhabi ideology. Their ideology is based on the books of the Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia.

Question 53: So you believe that all Wahhabis have the same ideology as ISIS.

President Assad: Exactly, definitely. And that’s not just by ISIS; by al-Qaeda, by al-Nusra. It’s not something we discovered or we try to promote. I mean, they use the same books to indoctrinate the people.

Question 54: What about Turkey?

President Assad: Turkey, let’s say, it’s about Erdogan. He’s a Muslim Brotherhood fanatic. That doesn’t mean that he’s a member, but he’s a fanatic.
Question 55: President Erdogan is…?

President Assad: A Muslim Brotherhood fanatic. And he’s somebody who’s suffering from political megalomania, and you think that he is becoming the sultan of the new era, of the 21st century.

Question 56: You think he could stop the border if he wanted to?

President Assad: Yes, of course, definitely. He doesn’t only ignore the terrorists coming to Syria; he supports them logistically and militarily, directly, on daily basis, and if you take the example of Kobani, what you call Kobani, we call it Ayn al-Arab, the city where the Kurds were fighting ISIS and where the campaign started, the American military campaign started there. It took them four months to liberate that small city, not only because the airstrikes were cosmetic as we said, but because of the direct support of the Turks to ISIS.

Question 57: They were supporting them directly?

President Assad: Directly.

Question 58: You were quoted as saying that the Syrian Army could have eliminated ISIS in Kobani in three weeks.

President Assad: Actually, similar cities with the same terrain and the same size were liberated in a few weeks, without even using the airstrikes.

Question 59: Why have you spent more time attacking Aleppo than Raqqa?

President Assad: We didn’t attack Aleppo. We try to get rid of the terrorists everywhere.

Question 60: Were they terrorists in Aleppo, or were they moderates?

President Assad: In Aleppo? No, you don’t have any moderate militants in Syria.

Question 61: No moderate militants in Syria? So the definition of a terrorist is what?

President Assad: Of terrorism? Whenever you hold a gun, and kill people, and destroy public buildings, destroy private properties, that’s terrorism.

Question 62: So, anyone who opposed your government in Syria, and used military tactics, was a terrorist.

President Assad: With military tactics, or without?

Question 63: Using weapons to-

President Assad: The word opposition, everywhere in the world, including your country, is a political opposition. Do you have military opposition in the United States? Would you accept it? You wouldn’t, and we wouldn’t. No-one accepts military opposition.

Question 64: It’s one thing to say to say there’s military opposition. It’s another thing to call them terrorists.

President Assad: Military opposition is terrorism. Whenever you hold a gun, a machinegun, and you try to destroy and kill and threaten, this is terrorism, by every definition in the world. It’s not my definition. Whenever you want to make opposition, it’s going to be political opposition, like your country, you have the same criteria, we don’t have different criteria from the one you have in the United States or in Europe or anywhere else.

Question 65: If there’s a negotiation, would you accept as part of the negotiation and share power in Syria with anyone who is in opposition to you now, whether they are moderates, whether they are terrorists, but if in fact they lay down their arms and say we want to be part of a future government, a transitional government, in Syria?

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President Assad: Whenever they lay down their arms, they’re not terrorists anymore.

Question 66: Even ISIS?

President Assad: ISIS will not. This, how to say, virtual. For ISIS to lay down their arms, this is virtual, because their ideology is they want to fight and to be killed and to go to heaven, to go to paradise. That’s how we look at it. They won’t negotiate anyway. So, we don’t have to answer something which is virtual, not realistic. The realistic one is that many of the militants laid down their arms and are working with the government now. This is reality. I’m not talking about what is going to happen in the future. That is happening, and that is part of the reconciliations. Some people are interested in politics, they can take that track, and some people are interested only to going back to their normal lives and work any job, not being part of the politics. Of course we are open. Whenever there is political opposition, we are fully open to deal with them.

Question 67: As you know, Secretary Kerry has called you a brutal dictator. Secretary Kerry! Other people have said worse. Does that bother you? Is that an accurate description of you?

President Assad: You want the rest of the world to know the reality, of course you won’t be happy to hear something that is a far cry from the reality, but at the end, this kind of description to an official wouldn’t be really important unless the Syrian citizens said this word. And because the Syrian people still support you, it’s a dictator, killing your people, and have the support of the people. It’s a contradiction.

Question 68: It’s interesting to have that conversation, but with respect, it is said that there was a time, several years ago, in which you were in a very difficult place, and some people thought the government might fall, even suggestions that you were planning to leave, and then the Iranians came in, and Hezbollah came in, and the tide began to turn. Is that a fair appraisal of the circumstances? Because if it’s true, it means that the Syrian people were not supporting you, because before foreign forces came in, you were about to lose.

President Assad: First of all, the Iranians never came in during the conflict. Never.

Question 69: General Suleimani was here, in Damascus.

President Assad: He’s always here, for decades. This kind of cooperation, like you say, no we have-

Question 70: He was here for the same reason that he is in Iraq right now. He was advising Hezbollah and-

President Assad: You have cooperation, as America, with different countries. You send experts, you have a kind of cooperation. That’s different from sending troops. Is that correct? Different, sending troops is different from having cooperation on higher levels.

Question 71: It doesn’t matter where they came from. If they are under your command, so to speak, I mean if you are giving direction to Hezbollah… but the central point I want to-

President Assad: No, what you mentioned, I mean your question implied that Iranians are fighting in Syria. That’s completely incorrect. Not correct, definitely. If they come here, we would announce, we don’t have a problem. We have the right to bring allies to fight with us. At the same time, we announced that Hezbollah is in Syria, we didn’t deny this. So, why deny Iran and not deny Hezbollah? We don’t.

Question 72: But my argument with you, and you are an artful debater, my argument is, and I’m asking questions, I have no position here, my question is: if the Syrian people supported you, why when the so-called Arab spring came, were you almost about to lose power until outside forces came in. It’s self evident that the Syrian people were not supporting you if you were facing that kind of-

President Assad: If you have a real Arab spring today, neither Iran nor Russia, not even Hezbollah can help you. The difference in the situation that you mentioned earlier, between the beginning of the crisis and today, is that we are more gaining support by the Syrian people, because they discovered the truth. At the very beginning, many people weren’t… I mean the vision wasn’t clear for many Syrians. Now, it’s very clear, and we have support even from many people in the opposition against terrorism. So, the main factor, why the situation has changed, is not Iran or Hezbollah; it’s the Syrian incubator, the Syrian population. That was the difference. Hezbollah is not a big army. It cannot play that role all over Syria.

Question 73: But the game on the ground didn’t change until they came here.

President Assad: No, that’s not true.

Question 74: So you didn’t need them?

President Assad: No, we needed them, of course. That’s alliance, we need them. They play an important part. But what has changed, the balance that you mentioned, when you talk about 23 millions in Syria, when you have Arab spring, let’s say a few thousand fighters from Hezbollah wouldn’t change the balance. What has changed the balance is the incubator that moved toward the government. That is what has happened.

Question 75: Here is what is also clear, that even though Secretary Kerry has suggested you are part of the problem or part of the solution, and they want you to be part of the solution, but they have not yet changed their mind that you have to agree to share power or give up power. They don’t want you in power.

President Assad: First of all, they didn’t try to make negotiations or dialogue with us, so they don’t know what we want.

Question 76: That’s why I’m here. See, that’s why I’m here, to have you tell me what you want, that’s exactly why I’m here. Tell me what you want.

President Assad: What we want is whatever the Syrian people want. As I said, as a president, to stay or not to stay-

Question 77: But the Syrian people supporting you, you have a relationship with them, you know what they want. So what do you want?

President Assad: Now, we want, in such circumstances, we always ask for two things: first of all, dialogue. Second, sharing, sharing of power, by any political entity that represents Syrian people, not a political entity that has been forged in the United States, the CIA, or in France, or in Qatar. By patriotic Syrian opposition that represents the Syrians. And we have it, we have in Syria-

Question 78: So what do you mean by sharing power?

President Assad: I mean if you want to go back to constitutional procedures, they should go to elections, they can share in the parliament, in the local administration, in the government, in everything, and to be part of the decision in the government, like any country.

Question 79: You, and your father, have held power in Syria, for how many years? The combination, of you and your father, how many years?

President Assad: Is it a calculation of years, or public support? There’s a big difference. Years, it doesn’t matter how many years, the question is-
Question 80: Well, it does matter.

President Assad: No, what matters for us is do the Syrians support these two presidents? Doesn’t matter if they are father and son. We don’t say George W. Bush is the son of George Bush. It’s different. He’s president, I’m president, he had support from that generation, I have support from these generations now. That is the question. It doesn’t matter how many… it’s not the family rule, as you want to imply.

Question 81: It’s not?

President Assad: No, it’s not. It’s not a family rule. It has nothing to do with me being president. When he died, I was nothing. I was just in the army. I wasn’t, let’s say, a high-ranking official.

Question 82: You know your family much better than I do, but conventional wisdom is after your older brother died, your father wanted you to come back, because he wanted you to be able to assume power when he left.

President Assad: Actually, the reality is the opposite; he wanted me to stay as a doctor and go back to London and I refused. That’s the reality.

Question 83: He didn’t want you to come back?

President Assad: No, never. He didn’t want me to be part of the politics.

Question 84: Then why did you become part of the political process when you were a doctor?

President Assad: We live in a political family, we live in a political environment, and in the army, I’m a doctor in the army, and the army during the history of Syria has made the history and the reality in this country.

Question 85: Because he was such a significant political figure in the Middle East, would he have done things differently, if he was President of Syria today?

President Assad: That’s a virtual question, I cannot answer on his behalf. That’s a virtual question, nobody knows.

Question 86: You think he would agree with what you have done?

President Assad: Definitely. He wouldn’t allow the terrorists to take over, wouldn’t obey or submit to external intervention. And he would have defended his country like he did during the Muslim Brotherhood. The same happened on a smaller scale in the eighties, late seventies, early eighties, when the Muslim Brotherhood started assassinating, killing, and destroying, and burning, and he fought them. That is his mission as a president. That’s what you have to do. To leave terrorists killing your people, that’s your mission?

Question 87: Is it a fair appraisal of what you believe, that everything must be done, and the ends justify the means to stop terrorism in Syria, as you define it?

3 President Assad: No, it’s not the ends justify the means, this is a Machiavellian principle. You should have values and principles. You have constitutions, and you have interests. So according to your values, you have to defend your people, the population, the Syrian citizens, you have to defend your country. For your interests, you have to get rid of terrorists. So, that’s how we think, not only in a Machiavellian way.

Question 88: Tell us what the Russians want. They are a strong ally of you. What do they want?

President Assad: Definitely, they want to have balance in the world. It’s not only about Syria; it’s a small country. It’s not about having huge interests in Syria, they could have it anywhere else. So, it’s about the future of the world. They want to be a great power that has its own say in the future of the world.

Question 89: And what do they want for Syria?

President Assad: Stability. They want stability and a political solution.

Question 90: And what does Iran want.

President Assad: The same. Syria and Iran and Russia see eye-to-eye regarding this conflict.

Question 91: And what is your obligation to both of them?

President Assad: What do you mean, obligation?

Question 92: What you owe them.

President Assad: Yes, I know, but they didn’t ask for anything. Nothing at all. That’s why I said they don’t do that for Syria; they do it for the region and for the world, because stability is very important for them, because if you have conflicts here, it will burn somebody else there. If you want to talk about terrorism, terrorism has no boundaries. It sees no borders, no political borders. It’s much more difficult to take any procedure to face it due to the internet, which is difficult to control. When you have ideology, it could cross everywhere, it could reach Russia, it could Turkey, anywhere. So, they have the same interest. Russia, and Iran, and many other countries that support Syria, not because they support the president, not because they support the government, but because they want to have stability in the region.

Question 93: Let me present an alternative argument which the Untied States may very well believe, that they support you because they had a longstanding relationship. They support you because they want access to Lebanon. They support you because it’s part of the larger conflict between Sunni and Shi’a.

President Assad: You mean the Iranians or the Russians?

Question 94: The Iranians, and because they’ve supported you militarily and financially.

President Assad: No. The way the Iranians look at the Shi’a-Sunni issue or conflict, is that this is the most detrimental thing that could happen to Iran.
Question 95: To Iran? This conflict is the most detrimental thing?

President Assad: Anything related to Sunni-Shi’a conflict is detrimental to Iran. That’s their point of view, and that’s how we see it. We agree with them. So, actually they are going the other way. They want always to have reconciliation, unification between the Muslims, because that’s very good for Iran. They don’t want to be part… they don’t look at the issue in Syria as a part. They know that Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabis, they want to instigate this conflict, in order to bring more of the Muslims to their side.

Question 96: As you know, there are many people who look at the Middle East today beyond Israel, and say within the Islamic world, it’s all about the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and choose your sides.

President Assad: That’s what the Israelis want to promote.

Question 97: No, some analysts look at the Middle East today and say, it is a competition between Iran on the one hand, Shi’a nation, Iraq, Shi’a, you here, Sunni majority, and Saudi Arabia. These two are mortal enemies, fighting for influence in the Middle East.

President Assad: That’s not precise for one reason, because it looks like Iran wants to attack the Sunni and Saudi Arabia wants to attack the Shi’a. It actually started with Saudi Arabia after the revolution in Iran in 79. So, it didn’t start from Iran. Iran never interfered in any other nation’s internal issues, including Syria. We have good relations with them, they never tried to interfere. Actually, it’s Saudi propaganda. I mean the whole issue of Sunni-Shi’a conflict is a Saudi initiative and propaganda. It’s reality, but because of the Saudis, not because of the Iranians.

Question 98: But in Syria, they are on opposite sides, Saudi Arabia and Iran are on different sides.

President Assad: That’s what Saudi Arabia wants to promote, and that’s what ISIS wants to promote, and that’s what al-Nusra wants to promote. In their political discourse, they always mention the sectarian issues.

Question 99: I’m now talking about how you see, here, the region and what is happening now. One, is the rise of ISIS here, the rise of ISIS and affiliated groups in Iraq. When you look at Iraq, Iranians are supporting Shi’a militia in Iraq, and they’ve been a very effective fighting force. The United States is engaged in airstrikes. They just had an airstrike yesterday in Tekrit which the Iranian militias have captured, correct.

President Assad: Not everything is correct. It’s not only Shi’a militia who are fighting. Many others joined, so it’s a mixture now.

Question 100: What’s the possibility of Iranian-American cooperation?

President Assad: Regarding fighting ISIS?

Question 101: Yes.

President Assad: I don’t think anyone trusts or believes that the American administration wants to really fight this kind of terrorism, because, I mean if you look at the airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, the whole 60 countries launch much less airstrikes than only the Syrian Army does on the daily, much less, so they’re not serious. Second, they only attack the northern part of Iraq. I mean, they attack the terrorists in the northern part of Iraq, not the rest of Iraq. Why did they join now? They want to get part of the cake, if there’s a victory against the terrorists, just to say that we fought terrorists and we defeated ISIS? Where were they during the last few months? They suddenly wanted to attack?

Question 102: So what do you think Iran wants in Iraq?

President Assad: They want to get rid of the terrorists, definitely, and to have stability.

Question 103: How long do you think that will take?

President Assad: Nobody has any idea, because you know, you have support from the outside, you have the support of the petrodollar, of ISIS, and many extremists in Iraq, and in Syria. So, how long that support will continue, we cannot tell.

Question 104: When you look at the future, and you look at the battle ahead, what the end result to Syria? How much of this can Syria take? How much of the conflict that is here today can the Syrian government withstand? How much, the Syrian country, the civilian loss? Will there be anything left in Syria?

President Assad: Of course, Syria is still here. It’s not the first kind of crisis that we’ve been facing here in history.

Question 105: But nothing like this.

President Assad: No, during the history, you have many similar crises. Damascus and Aleppo have been destroyed many times, but, I mean, it’s about the population. The Syrian population are determined to survive and to protect their country, and to rebuild it. How much do we tolerate? That is about the potent power that every population has, and the Syrian people proved that they have strong potential in that regard. Anyway, we don’t have any other option. What option do we have? Whether we suffer, whether we pay a high price or a lesser price, what options do we have but to defend our country, but to fight terrorism. We don’t have any other option.

Question 106: I asked the question because many asked it; what’s the cost to Syria, what it’s going through, and how to put the pieces together? Whenever there is finally, an end this, how will you put the pieces back together, and who will put the pieces back together?

President Assad: There’s a misconception in the West that what’s happening in Syria is a civil war. This is where you can ask that question. What is happening in Syria is not a civil war. When you have civil war, you should have, how to say, clear lines separated between different sects or ethnicities or different components. That’s not what we have. What we have are terrorist-infiltrated areas, and people are suffering from the fighting and from the terrorism of those terrorists. So, you don’t have division in the society now. You don’t have the sectarian issue now. Actually, you’d be surprised if I tell you that the sectarian situation in Syria today is better than the sectarian situation, let’s say, before the crisis. People are more unified now regarding the conflict, regarding the unity of the sects, religions, and so on. So, we cannot talk about how can you rebuild, let’s say, the society. The society is suffering from the humanitarian aspect of the problem, but it’s not divided anymore, and that’s very important, and that’s why we’re assured, that, I mean, even this conflict, which is a very bad conflict, as you say, every cloud must have a silver lining, and this is the silver lining in this crisis, that the population is more unified now. So we don’t have a problem as long as the society is unified and homogenous, regardless of some dark part of this society, ideological corners in our society that support the Wahhabis, support ISIS, and support the extremists, but this is not the general situation in our society.

Question 107: Why do you think that they, people in the West, question your legitimacy?

President Assad: This is intervention in Syrian matters. I don’t care about to be frank, I never care about it as long as I have the public support of the Syrian people, that’s my legitimacy. Legitimacy comes from the inside. But why? I will tell you why, because the West is used to have puppets, not independent leaders or officials in any other country, and that’s the problem with Putin. They demonize Putin because he can say no, and he wants to be independent, and because the West, and especially the United States, don’t accept partners. They even accept followers. Even Europe is not a partner with the United States. Best to be very frank with you. So, this is their problem with Syria. They need somebody to keeping saying yes, yes, and a puppet, a marionette, and so on, somebody they can control by remote control.

Question 108: There are those who argue that you feel now that you’re militarily stronger, that the advent of Hezbollah and Iranian advisors and American airstrikes and coalition airstrikes, that you feel militarily stronger, and therefore you’re less willing to negotiate.

President Assad: Any war can deplete the strongest power, even the United States. When you go to war, you will be depleted in every sense of the world, and we are a small country, we’ll be depleted more than a great country. So, you cannot say that you are militarily powerful, this is again the reality, but you can say that you are politically powerful, because when you win the hearts and minds of the people, more support from the population, this is where you become more powerful. So, what we achieved militarily, not because we are stronger militarily; because we have more support.

Question 109: And how much do you believe you may have some opportunity to win the minds and hearts of the Syrian people because they fear ISIS more than anybody?
President Assad: We cannot ignore this reason.

Question 110: Then ISIS has changed the circumstances?

President Assad: We cannot ignore that factor, we cannot ignore it. We don’t say no, this is a factor, but there are other factors. When you’re transparent with the citizens, with the people, when you’re patriotic, you work for their interests, they will support you even if they disagree with you politically. So, we don’t have support now from the traditional supporters. We don’t have support because they don’t oppose us. We have opposition who oppose our government in many aspects; economy, politics, political systems, and so on. But they know that we are working for this country, and when you have a war, it’s time for unity, not time for division for recriminations and so on. That’s why I said we can have more support, and we already had it recently.

Question 111: What circumstances would cause you to give up power?

President Assad: When I don’t have the public support, when I don’t represent the Syrian interests and values.

Question 112: And how do you determine that?

President Assad: I have direct contact with the people.

Question 113: So, you determine whether they support you?

President Assad: No, I don’t determine; I sense, I feel, I’m in contact with them, I’m a human. How can a human make a direct relation with the population? I mean, the war was a very important “lab” for this support. I mean, if they don’t support me, they could go and support the other side. They didn’t. Why? And that’s very clear, that’s very concrete.

Question 114: Some have argued to me that the majority of Syrians support neither the government nor ISIS.

President Assad: Some that don’t support either? If you don’t, I mean this is like saying that ISIS is like the government. I don’t think that this is realistic. Even people who oppose the government, they oppose ISIS, that’s how we look at it.

Question 115: That’s the question, isn’t it? Even those who oppose the government oppose ISIS, and the question is, how do you bring those two together, and what are you prepared to do, and what are they prepared to do, and how will you get those people that have a vested interest here, like the Russians and the Iranians and the Americans, to-

President Assad: Because very simply, they cannot put the government and ISIS on the same level, so it’s not difficult for them to choose. They didn’t choose… I mean, not to support the government doesn’t to support ISIS. It means automatically they’re going to be with the government against ISIS, but not with the government in other issues. It’s opposition, I mean, you have points of view, but as I said, it’s not time for division. Now, you support the government. When you get rid of ISIS, then you oppose the government in your own way, you use political means. But you cannot compare a government with the terrorists.

Question 116: Which raises the question: can you destroy ISIS without coming together with a united plan, a common purpose?

President Assad: On the local level, you are correct. You cannot destroy terrorists, not only ISIS, you have al-Nusra Front, which is as dangerous as ISIS. You cannot destroy them unless you are unified as a society. But, again, ISIS now is not the Syrian case. ISIS is in Syria, Iraq, and Libya. So, it’s not enough to be unified on the local level; it’s on the regional level and on the international level, something we don’t have yet. That’s why defeating terrorism is going very difficult because of that situation.

Question 117: Something we don’t have yet. So, that’s the question: you don’t have it yet, and how do you get it? Because that’s the future.

President Assad: You are talking about more than one party. You are talking about the international parties, first of all the United States, regional parties, first of all Turkey which is our neighbor and plays a very negative role, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and the local parties. We would like to see this cohesion in fighting terrorism, but how can we convince them? We tried, maybe not directly, because we don’t have any direct channels with them, but that’s how it should be. If they could see the reality and the future in clearer vision, they would make dialogue with every country including Syria, not because they support the Syrian President or the Syrian Army, we don’t need their support internally; it’s about only fighting terrorism. You need to make dialogue. You cannot kill them and defeat them from the air. That’s a foregone conclusions.

Question 118: That’s true in Iraq or here, you can’t do it from the air.

President Assad: Anywhere, no you cannot.

Question 119: Do you want to see another conference, like the Geneva conference that failed?

President Assad: Yes, that’s the aim of Moscow conference. The next one.

Question 120: That’s it?

President Assad: Yes.

Question 121: And what might happen there?

President Assad: that depends on different parties. I mean, I cannot talk on behalf of every party. For us as Syria, you should have principles, to agree about, let’s say, some principles like unification of Syria, denouncing terrorism, something like this, and then-
Question 122: Sharing power?

President Assad: Sharing power, that’s in the constitution anyway. I mean, sharing power is about how much grassroots you have, how much of the Syrians you represent. You don’t come and share power just because you want to share power. You should have public support.

Question 123: You have to be a forced to share power.

President Assad: Exactly, exactly, you have to represent them. So, maybe if we reach a conclusion and we reach agreement in Moscow, it could be as preparation to go to Geneva 3, for example, but it’s still early to tell.

Question 124: I came here after Secretary Kerry made his remarks. My impression once I got here is that when you heard those remarks, you were optimistic. The State Department backed a little bit, and said we still think there needs to be a new government, but you were optimistic after you heard that. You believe there is a way for your government and the American government to cooperate and coordinate?

President Assad: That’s not the main point. I mean, regarding that statement. I think the main point, we could have a feeling, and we hope that we are right, that the American administration started to abandon this policy of isolation, which is very harmful to them and to us, because if you isolate a country, you isolate yourself as the United States from being influential and effective in the course of events, unless you are talking about the negative influence, like making the embargo that could kill the people slowly, or launching a war and supporting terrorists that could kill them in a faster way. So, our impression, let’s say, we are optimistic, more optimistic. I wouldn’t exaggerate. That at least when they’re thinking about dialogue, doesn’t matter what kind of dialogue, and what the content of the dialogue is, and even doesn’t matter what their real intentions are, but the word “dialogue” is something we haven’t heard from the United States on the global level for a long time.

Question 125: But you just did, from the Secretary of State: we need to negotiate. That’s dialogue.

President Assad: Exactly, that’s what I said. I mean, that’s why I said it’s positive. That’s why I said we’re more optimistic. I mean, when they abandon this policy of isolation, things should be better. I mean, when you start dialogue, things will be better.

Question 126: Why don’t you reach out to Secretary Kerry and say, let’s talk.

President Assad: Are they ready to talk? We are always open. We never closed our doors. They should be ready for the talks, they should be ready for the negotiations. We didn’t make the embargo on the United States. We didn’t attack the American population. We didn’t support terrorists who did anything to the United States. Actually, the United States did. We always wanted to have good relations with the United States. We never thought in the other direction. It’s a great power. Nobody, not a wise person would think of having bad relations with the United States.

Question 127: But can you have a good relationship with a country that thinks you shouldn’t be in power?

President Assad: No, that’s not going to be part of the dialogue as I mentioned earlier. This is not their business. We have Syrian citizens who can decide this, no-one else. Whether they want to talk about it or not, this is not something we are going to discuss with anyone.

Question 128: Mr. President, thank you.

President Assad: Thank you.

Pentagon Admits that Israel is a Nuclear Power

April 1st, 2015 by Vladimir Platov

In early February, the Pentagon declassified reports on Israel’s nuclear weapons program which was carried out until 1987. According to these documents, Israeli scientists were capable of producing a hydrogen bomb by that time. Although these facts were largely ignored by the Western media, some analysts have noticed that the declassification of these secret reports suspiciously coincided with the recent, rapidly deteriorating relationship between the US and Israel. As Tel Aviv started a massive campaign of criticism aimed at the Obama administration, both in the US media and worldwide, the Pentagon’s revelations were quick to follow. It is also noteworthy that only the facts on the Israeli nuclear weapons program were declassified, while information regarding similar activities of NATO allies (in particular Italy, France, and West Germany) remained locked up.

The 386 pages report “Сritical technology assessment in Israel and Nato nations,” was prepared in 1987 by the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) and examined the capabilities Israel had already had at that time to produce nuclear weapons. In particular, the study underlines the fact that Israel’s secret laboratories, engaged in the development of an atomic bomb, were on par with the key research nuclear arsenals of the US: Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

According to this report, by the mid-80s Israeli experts were at the same stage of research and development of various nuclear weapons the hydrogen bomb in particular, reached by American scientists between 1955-1960. IDA experts were courageous enough to recognize that in certain areas the Israelis have even surpassed their American colleagues of the time, in particular those working in the “Raphael” Israeli secret lab, who had managed to propose unconventional ways of achieving nuclear fission that would have allowed them to create their own version of the hydrogen bomb.

Under these conditions, one should revisit The Sunday Times article “Revealed: The Secrets of Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal” that was published on October 5, 1986. This article was based on the revelations of an Israeli nuclear scientist – Mordechai Vanunu – who disclosed the secrets of the Israeli nuclear program.

This 31 year-old Israeli expert on nuclear weapons had, by 1986, already been working for 10 years in a secret atomic center, Machon 2, that was built under the Negev desert and from the mid-60s had already been producing nuclear weapons. Then, facts and pictures that were presented by Mordechai to international experts caught them by surprise. They had to admit that by the mid-80s Israel became the sixth nuclear power after the United States, Soviet Union, Britain, France and China, although it did its best to conceal this information. Even by that time the Israeli nuclear potential was much higher than that of India, Pakistan and South Africa, which were also suspected of developing nuclear weapons.

According to this whistle-blowing Israeli scientist, by the mid-80s the Jewish state had secret capabilities of plutonium production for more than 20 years, which would eventually reach over the years to the level of 40 kilograms annually, which is enough to produce 10 nuclear bombs. During the 80s, Israel also came into possession of equipment necessary for the production of thermonuclear devices. In particular, a French built reactor with a capacity of 26 megawatts was upgraded by Israeli scientists to reach a capacity of 150 megawatts, which allowed Israel to engage in the production of plutonium.

Nuclear specialists, which were commenting on this article in the The Sunday Times, confirmed that by 1986 Israel could have had 100-200 nuclear bombs.

This information provides a reasonable understanding of Israel’s commitment to maintaining a nuclear monopoly in the Middle East at whatever cost by blocking their potential adversaries from acquiring nuclear weapons. In particular, Tel Aviv recklessly launched air strikes on the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq on June 7, 1981, and is now followed by a likewise negative approach toward the Iranian nuclear program.

In light of these publications and official US recognition of Israel as a nuclear power that has been in possession of nuclear devices for more than half a century, it is imperative for international players to begin a discussion of this issue in the UN, forcing Israel to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and taking the shipment of such weapons in and out Tel Aviv under rigid international control.

Vladimir Platov, an expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) proclaims its “commitment to maintaining international peace and security.” Mainstream media rarely, if ever, look beyond Western self-justifications and bland assurances of moral superiority, and little thought is given to what NATO’s wars of aggression might look like to those on the receiving end.

During the first two weeks of August, 1999, I was a member of a delegation travelling throughout Yugoslavia, documenting NATO war crimes. One of our stops was at Surdulica, a small town which then had a population of about 13,000. We initially met with management of Zastava Pes, an automotive electrical parts factory that had at one time employed about 500 workers. In better days, annual exports from the plant amounted to $8 million. Western-imposed sanctions had stopped export contracts and prevented the import of materials, forcing a 70 percent reduction in the workforce and a decline in the local economy.

Staff at Zastava Pes told us that bombs and missiles had routinely rained down upon their town.

We were first taken to a sanatorium, located atop a heavily wooded hill overlooking the town. The sanatorium consisted of a Lung Disease Hospital, which also housed refugees, and a second building that served as a retirement home.

Shortly after midnight on the morning of May 31, 1999, NATO planes launched four missiles at the sanatorium complex, killing at least 19 people. It was not possible to ascertain the precise number of victims because numerous body parts could not be matched to the 19 bodies. Another 38 people were wounded. We were told that the force of the explosions had been so powerful that body parts were thrown as far as one kilometer away. Following the attack, body parts were hanging in the trees, and blood dripped from the branches. By the time of our visit, the area had largely been cleaned up, but we could still see torn clothing scattered high among the branches of the tall trees.

Although only one missile struck the nursing home, it caused enormous damage. We walked around to the back, on the building’s southwestern side. A section of the second floor had collapsed, and the entire side of the building was extensively damaged, with mounds of rubble at the base of the building. On the northeast side of the complex, the building that housed refugees and patients bore a gaping hole in its façade, from which a river of rubble had poured like blood from a wound. We clambered up the mound of rubble and made our way into the building. Debris littered the hallways and in several rooms we found scorched mattresses, clothes and damaged personal belongings jumbled together in disarray. Bricks and chunks of concrete were strewn among the rubble, and a loaf of bread rested against a child’s shirt. In another room, teenage magazines and a child’s textbook were mixed among the wreckage. In the center of the room was a child’s teddy bear.

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Rear of nursing home in Surdulica. Photo: Gregory Elich.

According to the on-site investigation report of June 3, it took three days to dig the bodies from the rubble. The yard outside the Special Lung Hospital “was covered with parts of human bodies, torn heads, arms and hands as well as bodies partly covered with rubble material, dust, broken bricks” and debris from the building. “A torn-off head of a man, approximately 70-years-old, was found outdoors. North from this head, there was another body covered with debris and a torn arm.” Three bodies were a short distance away, including one with a partially damaged head. “Brain tissue…could be seen on some parts of the building ruins,” the report continued.

As refugees from Croatia, nineteen-year-old Milena Malobabich, her mother, and two brothers stayed in the sanatorium. The entire family was killed in the attack. During the air raid, panic-stricken, Milena ran from the building, clutching a notebook in which she had written poetry. The examiner of Milena’s body noted: “The brain tissue is completely missing, and there is only dust and sand in the cranial cavity.” Blood had flowed from behind the right ear. Milena’s ribs were crushed, and her abdomen and left leg were lacerated. Her notebook was found near her body; on one page she had written in large letters, “I love you, Dejane!” The brain that composed poetry and cherished a man named Dejane was scattered in pieces throughout the yard.

We next visited a residential neighborhood that was completely wiped out by NATO missiles. As we had seen in other towns, a remarkable reconstruction effort was underway. Responsibility for national reconstruction was assigned to the Directorate for National Recovery, which was formed just ten days into the war. An energetic program was soon launched, and destroyed neighborhoods were cleared of debris and construction of new homes began even as NATO continued its attacks.

By the time of our visit, every trace of rubble had been removed from this neighborhood, and the earth smoothed over. A bulldozer and grader were parked nearby, and construction of two new homes had begun. Surviving residents approached and talked to us, showing us photographs they had taken in the immediate aftermath of the bombing. The level of destruction shown in the photographs was appalling, a jumbled riot of debris where several homes once stood.

We visited a second neighborhood obliterated by NATO missiles. Here too, reconstruction was underway. Smashed automobiles and partially roofless homes bordering the area were the only physical reminders of the tragedy.

In the first neighborhood, a man named Dragan told us that the homes were hit as a result of errant missiles. “They were trying to hit the water supply plant nearby, with two missiles.” Another survivor, Zoran Savich told us that sirens sounded every day, and the town was bombed on multiple occasions. Four months had passed since his neighborhood had been hit, but Dragan’s son was still so terrified that he fled into the basement every time he heard the sound of an airplane overhead. Quite a long distance away was another of NATO’s targets, an army barracks that was abandoned during the war. I climbed atop a large mound of dirt to view the barracks from afar, and saw that it too was damaged. NATO sprayed its bombs and missiles liberally around Surdulica. The destruction of an empty barracks was of doubtful military utility. The targeting of a water supply plant was cruel, but there were no words to adequately characterize the destruction of entire neighborhoods, as we had repeatedly witnessed in our travels. By the end of the war, NATO had destroyed about fifty homes in Surdulica and damaged around 600 more.

One of the bombed homes belonged to Radica Rastich. In a deposition, her neighbor Borica Novkovich recalled, “The sound was like a huge blow on the head. Everything turned over and rolled down the hill. Radica was screaming, screaming, when we came to help her. She was taken from the house all twisted and bent over. She was shaking and shaking; her hands were pressed tight over her ears.” Another survivor, Perica Jovanovich, stated, “I’ll never forget the strange voice of the bomb. When the plane is flying and drops the bomb the noise changes. It’s awful. It’s like the static on the radio but so loud, and then there is this awful crash and pressure and everything moves and boils up.”

It was a clear day on April 27 when the first neighborhood was bombed. On Jovan Jovanovich Zmaj Street, children were happily playing outside when NATO warplanes made their approach. Hearing the wail of air raid sirens, the children ran into the home of Aleksandar Milich, where they took refuge in the strongest basement in the neighborhood. It was not long before two NATO missiles sailed into that very house. The sound of the blast was deafening, and smoke and dust filled the air. Every home in the area was destroyed, and survivors were screaming as they struggled to escape from under the rubble.

Stojanche Petkovich reported that after hearing the first explosion, he rushed into the Milich home. He was in the upper cellar and about to descend into the lower cellar when the next missile hit the house, hurling him against a wall. “I covered my mouth with my hand to prevent the dust to enter, because there was a cloud of smoke and dust in there. When I recovered a bit after the second explosion, I called out to those from the second basement, but no one answered me. I could see that the ceiling in that part of the basement had collapsed.” Moments later, Petkovich heard blocks falling and looked up to see “the ceiling above my head coming down on me. The concrete ceiling was now down, pinning my right lower leg. I was watching the other end of the ceiling also coming down on me, and I saw the iron bars in it stretching. Then everything stopped.” It took two hours to pull Petkovich out, the lone survivor from the Milich home. Blood was spattered all around where the cellar had once been, and the smell of burning flesh filled the air. Every victim was decapitated and dismembered. “Bits of them were all over the road,” one man was reported as saying. “We found the head of a child in a garden and many limbs in the mud.”

When 65-year-old Vojislav Milich heard the air raid sirens that day, he ran to his home. He was about 100 meters away when he saw the two missiles exploding on his home. “When the smoke vanished, I saw just ruins of my house. It had been razed to the ground, completely torn down. I presumed that all of the members of my family and all of the people from the neighborhood got killed, which unfortunately proved to be true.”

The morning after the attack, I read the news on a Yugoslav internet site. There was a photograph of the back of an ambulance, its doors thrown open. Inside were piled chunks of shapeless human flesh, still smoking – remains of the eleven victims, the youngest of whom was only four years old.

Four hours after the attack, the British Ministry of Defense announced that it had been a good day for NATO.

Gregory Elich is on the Board of Directors of the Jasenovac Research Institute and the Advisory Board of the Korea Policy Institute. He is a columnist for Voice of the People, and one of the co-authors of Killing Democracy: CIA and Pentagon Operations in the Post-Soviet Period, published in the Russian language.

This article by investigative reporter Olga Luzanova provides photographic and video evidence of the impacts of Kiev regime bombings directed against residential areas and schools in Donbass.

Civilians have been deliberately targeted.  

These war crimes have  been ignored by the mainstream media. They been not been acknowledged by  the UN Human Rights Commission. 

The fundamental rights of children have been blatantly violated by the US sponsored Kiev regime in derogation of international law.  

(M. Ch. GR Editor)

Photos and video footage by Olga Luzanova

We recall that last October, President Petro Poroshenko contrasted the prospects for Ukrainians with those of the people from the Donbass region during a speech in Odessa. In particular, the President promised:

“Our children will go to schools and kindergartens, while theirs will be holed up in basements!”

Thus far, the Ukrainian government has been doing its best to keep its word. Here is one of the children sitting in a basement in accordance with the Ukrainian President’s will.

Photos and video footage by Olga Luzanova

Article edited by @GBabeuf

The Acting Commander of the Perevalsk Command offered me a short tour of a little town which just happened to be in the immediate vicinity of the front-line. The Ukrainian forces had been firing towards the residential district of the town right up until the day when the Militia had mopped up Debaltsevo. We took the road which I knew very well. We drove through the town where I could see the consequences of the shelling all around. We approached the school from its rear and saw there a football pitch with a huge crater in the middle of it. Then we saw another crater from an Uragan missile near the school.

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A third missile evidently reached the building.

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We found quite a large shell fragment, resembling a crumpled aluminium pail, inside the building, but the distinct marking number it bore proved that it was part of an Uragan missile.

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The school had not a single window left intact on the side facing towards Debaltsevo. Evidently, it had not been random fire—we could see that all the strikes on the school were direct hits.

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We walked round the school—its façade, which faced the direction of territory controlled by the Militia, remained almost undamaged. Incidentally, this school used to be one of the most beautiful in the Perevalsk region: it had won a grant for renovation two years ago and was then completely refurbished.

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Now, the image of the book with hammer and sickle and the engraved phrase “Peace to the World” adds more sadness to the whole scene.

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The condition of the building inside was no less terrible: overthrown pieces of furniture, broken window frames. splinters of glass and crumbled plaster on the floor, fragments of wood and brick everywhere, everything slashed and holed.

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In a half-ruined corridor there were stands with portraits of the Heroes of the Great Patriotic War, “killed” once again by Ukrainian bullets. “Nobody has been forgotten, nothing has been forgotten.”

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I should like to note that respect to the values of memory has always been a very important part of our school education. In the light of Ukraine’s conflict, one of the main tools currently employed in Ukrainian schools is the misrepresentation of history—in particular, replacing the names of Soviet heroes with the names of Banderites. Yet people in Donbass do remember their true history: we learned it not only at school, but also from our grandparents, who saw this history with their own eyes and retold it to us again and again, and we shall never forget it.

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I heard a child’s voice outside—a little girl was coming up with a few adults, pointing in the direction of the worst damaged part of the school, saying: “My class was there.” Seven year old Vika was very sad about her school; almost all her friends have left the town, and now, she and her family may have to leave too:

I entered the classroom where Vika and the other first form pupils used to study. Again, the usual scene: pieces of broken glass everywhere, destroyed windows, smashed furniture, holed walls… Books left in a bookcase…

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Someone had written on the blackboard “Death to the fascist invaders.”

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Donbass children don’t go to school…

Olga Luzanova

Fractured Britain: The Election Campaign of 2015

April 1st, 2015 by Binoy Kampmark

The main British parties could be in more than spot of bother.  Parliament has been dissolved, and  what promises to be a rather tart, occasionally vicious campaign is in the offing.  If we are to take the figures seriously, a current crop of 40 percent of British voters remain undecided – and in all probability disgusted.  Notions of a “uniform swing” to any one side have been dismissed by such papers as The Economist, given an increasingly fragmented Britain.[1]

The pollsters are having a punt that Britain, a country famously hostile to the notion of constructive coalitions over battering adversarial politics, could be in for another term of “give and take”.  Much of this may be occasioned by gains made by parties nipping away at the heels of Labour and the Tories.  For Labour, a threat is being mounted to the north, where the Scottish National Party is running up the numbers in traditional seats.  In Tory-land, there is a distinct possibility that the UK Independence Party is going to do the same.

The marketing techniques of the parties – certainly the major ones – have proven woeful.  Labour’s Ed Miliband is desperately going into a cleansing phase, having a good scrub of his socialist credentials after the not so merry assault on his credibility by such characters as Sir John Ritbat.  He found himself in some bother when he refused to rule out the possible renationalisation of the British railways.  The man with the “image problem” has been doing his best to use it to his advantage, being self-effacing, and attempting to steer the debate into calmer policy waters.

Miliband has, in turn, struck out at the Tories as moving more aggressively into the realm of populism, while also venturing that UKIP’s Nigel Farage would also endorse such policies as “increased NHS privatisation and yet more tax breaks for billionaires.”[2]  But he can also rely on the free advertising being provided by Prime Minister David Cameron, who seems transfixed by the “weakness” of his rival for No. 10 (The Guardian, Apr 1).  It would seem that the Australian Tory campaign chief, Lynton Crosby, is short on ideas, moving to a form of default tribalism.

Cameron, a the conservative incumbent, hopes to find salvation in the right, even as he inflates his image as spit and polish, followed by a lifeline of trendiness to the young voter.  (He admits in Heat magazine being “related to Kim Kardashian.”)[3]  This is the usual Blairite nonsense made so popular by New Labour – you sex up the content to show how in touch you are.

The usual blue-collar flirtations are also a must, even if Cameron was always a member of the capital establishment crowned by the Eton trimmings.  Asked what he envisaged being when growing up: “All sorts of things: a soldier, a lorry driver, a farmer.”  After university, he joined that most un-credible of criminal classes: politics.  All in all, Cameron will do anything to avoid either a minority government, or a coalition, though both must figure as distinct possibilities in this election.[4]  Majority rule may well be a dream.

The threat being posed by UKIP has made the Tory leader desperate to pull the rug of policy from under Nigel Farage’s clan.  There is the usual, unimaginative push for surpluses through savaging public expenditure.  Then there is a firm promise to tackle immigration, something that is only feasible if a deal is struck with Brussels.

The usual stock-in-trade mendacity about Britain’s troubled relationship with Europe will also feature with its usual menace.  Eurocratic evils across the channel are condemned, often through such adventurous conjectures as threats posed to the Sunday roast by EU rules on energy efficient appliances, or that British taxpayer funds are being channelled into the bullfighting industry.[5]

UKIP knows it can get votes on the board by pressuring Cameron to push for a referendum on EU membership.  The conservatives have so far promised that, in the event of victory, they will have one by 2017.  Farage has upped the ante – he is seeking a referendum before Christmas.[6]   Cleverly, Farage has stolen the show in that regard, suggesting a pact of support with any party willing to go for a poll on Europe.

Loving his cake and wolfing it down as well, Farage avoids any mention of full coalition membership.  George Osborne, the current chancellor, has had to fend it off such suggestions.  “Even engaging with Nigel Farage is giving credibility where there is none… I don’t think he is a credible participant in this election because the only thing he does is open the door to Ed Miliband” (The Guardian, Mar 15).  Tory haemorrhaging to UKIP remains a threatening prospect.

The grouping set for the mightiest losses will be the Liberal Democrats, whose sheep-like members lay down with the Tory wolves with predictable results. This has not stopped their leader, Nick Clegg, from attempting to distance himself from the devastating relationship. “Cows moo. Dogs bark. And Tories cut.  It’s in their DNA.”  Despite impending losses, the Lib Dems may still be a force in a tight race.  A reduction to 30 seats would be disastrous, but not unworkable in a hung parliament. The spectre of a hung parliament remains the greatest terror of the major parties.

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

Notes

Who Spies for Israel in Washington’s Nuclear Negotiations?

April 1st, 2015 by Prof. James Petras

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) (3/25/15) headlined: ‘Israel Spied on Iran Nuclear Talks with the US”.  The article goes on to detail the way in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the confidential information to sabotage the talks, including ‘playing them back to US legislators to undermine US diplomacy’.

The WSJ report of this incident tries to play down the serious implications of Israel’s espionage by claiming that Israeli spying of US diplomatic negotiations is ‘normal even among allies’; that ‘both sides do it’; that the US ‘tolerates’ Israeli spying; that the ‘Israelis have not directly spied on the US’ but use sympathetic US agents . . . and several other excuses for Israel’s behavior.

After having revealed Tel Aviv’s espionage – the WSJ dismisses the sabotage. Worse still, it makes no attempt to investigate who, among the highly-placed US government officials with direct access to the negotiations, has been spying for Israel.  This essay attempts to address this question by identifying the most likely suspects.

We will proceed by describing the seriousness of the crime by noting the centrality of the US-Iran negotiations for US global politics and the enormous damage, which has resulted from Israel’s securing secret documents, reports and proceedings of the talks and having a highly placed agent among the US diplomats.

The Significance of the, US-Iran Negotiations

The negotiations between the major powers (P5+1), composed of the five UN Security Council members plus Germany, led by the US, with Iran have proceeded for over two years. Israel is not part of the negotiating process-formally but indirectly its presence is substantial. For Washington the stakes are very high:  securing a nuclear agreement with Iran in which Teheran submits to constant and pervasive ‘inspections’, and dismantles a substantial part of its nuclear program, certainly weakens Iran’s regional prestige and increases US influence in the region.  Secondly, through the initial agreement, it is likely that Washington will move forward to deepen joint political activity with Iran in neighboring countries.  Thirdly, Washington will use the agreement to isolate Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah) and Yemen, from Iranian financial, military and diplomatic support.  Fourthly, US multi-national oil corporations could gain access to the Iranian oil fields and exporters could access a huge consumer market of 70 million Iranian citizens.  Fifthly, the agreement would lessen the danger that Israel would initiate a major war, which the Zionist power configuration in the US could quickly convert into a disastrous US regional war.  Given the fact that the US-Afghan war has lasted 14 years, and counting, and cost over $1 trillion dollars, and that the Iraq invasion has far exceeded those costs and intensified over the past year, a US nuclear agreement with Iran would avoid a catastrophic, prolonged war designed to enhance Israeli dominance in the Middle East.

Israel’s Interest in Sabotaging theP 5 + 1 Nuclear Negotiations

Israel knows that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program (as does Washington).  The US government uses this as a pretext to secure political concessions from Iran, to degrade its regional influence, and to secure their support in policing the Middle East.  In contrast, Israel seeks to destroy Iran’s capacity to support the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle.

Netanyahu and his Zionist supporters, in and out of the US government, seek to induce the US to increase economic sanctions in order to strangle the Iranian economy, to foment internal unrest and to set US-Iranian relations on a path toward a military confrontation.

Netanyahu launched a multi-prong attack on the negotiations.  During the AIPAC meeting in March 2015 he ‘dictated the line’ to 10,000 fanatical Zionist followers.  He made Iran and US negotiations the central focus of activity for the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, their billionaire donors and Washington operatives.  Netanyahu told them that they mustconcentrate on degrading Iran, on turning Congress into a bastion for undermining any agreement reached via diplomatic negotiations.

Central to Netanyahu’s strategy is securing first hand, up to date, information (intelligence) on the negotiations, identifying the concessions which Iran is willing to make, the demands which they consider extreme and unlikely to accept, the points which might lead to a break-up of the negotiations and the position of the P5 + 1 participants which are closest to Israel.  Netanyahu’s closest supporter is the Zionized-regime of French President Hollande and in particular Laurent Fabius, his Foreign Minister.

The sequence is as follows: American and Israeli spies, operating within the US government, pass intelligence to Netanyahu who sends directives to AIPAC which writes up resolutions for US Congress people which then transmit it through the mass media to the US public and to the White House which raises the issues, in part, to the negotiators the P 5 plus 1. 

The question of timing is central, as the negotiations approach their deadline and the possibility of an agreement is advancing.  The spies and sources, both among the US officials and among the European diplomats (mostly the French) involved in the negotiations, must intensify their undercover work for Israel.

Israeli Espionage Network in Washington:  The Prime Suspects

The success or failure of Washington’s nuclear negotiations and the sustainable of any agreement depends on overcomingNetanyahu’s formidable army of supporters in the US Congress and his corporate allies in the mass media.  The single most decisive aspect of the negotiations is maintaining the secrecy of the proceedings, especially with regard to the compromises that are inevitable in any historic agreement – especially Iran’s compromises.  If Netanyahu has, real-time intelligence, he can devise effective counter-moves to sabotage the agreement before it is announced.

While a score of Zionist-influenced think tanks and hundreds of full-time AIPAC functionaries have incredible ‘access’ to US officials, especially those involved in Middle East policy-making, the timeliness of information/ intelligence that Netanyahu needs can only be obtained from officials who are directly or closely involved in the current negotiations with Iran.

The likely criteria for identifying such agents among US diplomatic officials include (1) a long-standing history of strong pro-Israel activity and anti-Iranian animus; (2) extensive interactions and involvement with Israeli intelligence and foreign ministry officials; (3) deep involvement in devising and implementing sanctions policies against Iran; and (4) immediate access to or, better still, direct participation in the negotiating group.

Numerous officials fit one or two of the criteria. However if we consider all four, we can identify a narrow circle of five officials, who have the history, contacts and access to secret negotiations, which make them prime candidates for spying for Israel.   They are:

Michael Froman, top US trade negotiator

Jack Lew, US Secretary of Treasury

Penny Pritzker, US Secretary of Commerce

David Cohen, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence

Wendy Sherman, Undersecretary of Political Affairs and Chief US negotiator in the nuclear talks with Iran.

While all five have been ardent supporters of Israel before and during their time in the Obama administration, only two could have direct, real time access to the negotiations.

 David Cohen, has been extremely active pushing for sanctions against Iran and has a lot to lose if sanctions are lifted or weakened.  Like his predecessor, Stuart Levy, he has been closely associated with AIPAC, which was instrumental in creating his post in Treasury and in orienting its activities toward prosecuting banks and multi-nationals, which directly or indirectly trade with Iran.  Cohen, although not directly involved in the negotiations, could easily access their deliberations since they affect his field of work.  He also has a very ‘fluid’ relation with Israeli officials engaged in intelligence, finance and foreign affairs.  He has excellent relations with Netanyahu and supports AIPAC’s agenda.    While he could serve as an Israeli informant and certainly does exchange intelligence, he does not have the real time details of the proceedings, because he is not a member of the negotiating team.

Only Wendy Sherman fits all the criteria.  Sherman, as head of the US negotiating group, has access to all the details of daily discussions, proposals and concessions by the US and Iranian negotiators.  Moreover, Sherman is in a position to translate Netanyahu’s demands on Iran into key agenda items and proposals.  Sherman is a lifelong zealous Zionist and according to one sympathetic writer, is ‘widely considered one of Israel’s most supportive high level friends’.  Sherman’s reputation on the negotiating team has been that of a ‘hard negotiator’.  Sherman was one of the key authors of the ‘Joint Plan of Action, which was designed to extract the maximum concessions from Iran while making the fewest changes in US policy.

In a speech on October 23, 2014, designed to reassure Israel-Firsters in Washington, Sherman boasted: ‘In return for limited sanctions relief, Iran has halted the expansion of its overall enrichment capacity, put a cap on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride, stopped the production of uranium enriched to 20%, agreed not to make further advances at the Arak heavy water reactor, opened the door to unprecedented daily access for international inspectors to the facilities at Natanz and Fordow’.  Sherman has secured US colonial oversight over the entire Iranian uranium program – which the CIA and the entire US intelligence consortium have repeatedly declared is not a ‘weapons program’!

Sherman shares Netanyahu’s visceral racist ideological contempt for the Iranians.  She publicly told a US Senate Committee that, “we know deception is part of their (Iranians) DNA”.  This was clearly a crude remark designed to provoke the Iranian government and undermine the negotiations before they began!

If the ideological affinities and hatred of Iran point to Wendy Sherman as the Israel’s ‘mole’ in the State Department, herstrategic position as head of the negotiating committee immediately provides her with the secret details that Israel needs to sabotage Obama’s approach to Iran and to organize opposition in the US.  The WSJ’s article underscores Sherman’s role as an agent of Tel Aviv:  ‘Mr. Netanyahu and his top advisers received confidential update on the Geneva talks from Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and other US officials who knew at the time that Israeli intelligence was working to fill the gap.’  Washington eventually curtailed the ‘briefings.’  But there is no evidence that Sherman ceased her activities on Netanyahu’s behalf.  It’s likely she continues to provide timely intelligence to her Israeli counterparts.

Israel is pursuing a complex strategy: 1. Opposing the negotiations outright; 2. Organizing political forces in Congress to impose new sanctions to undermine the negotiations; 3. Securing sympathetic US officials on the negotiating team to spy and report the proceedings to Israel and 4.  Helping Israel by making the most extreme demands on Iran, offering the least concessions in order to force a breakdown of the negotiations.

In other words, Israel pursues a complex division of labor:  Netanyahu sets the rejectionist hardline.  US Zionists transmit that policy into Congressional opposition.  Top officials in the State Department provide intelligence for the hard ‘outsider’campaign and work within the negotiating framework to subvert the proceedings.  As the chief negotiator, Sherman plays multiple roles on behalf of Israel, only one of which involves the immediate transfer of highly sensitive intelligence.  Sherman has ensured that most of Netanyahu’s demands are incorporated into the US negotiating agenda in a win-win format. If Iran rejects them, the US will effectively break-off negotiations, blame Iran and impose even harsher sanctions; if Iran accepts the demands, its peaceful nuclear program will be destroyed and it will be even more vulnerable to an Israeli and/or US military attack with all its military installations infiltrated and monitored by the US controlled International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA).

While Netanyahu bellows against the idea of negotiations with Iran, and opposes any process lifting sanctions, the realistic agenda of the Israeli Foreign Office is to:  1. Prolong the sanctions, 2. Minimize any immediate relief, 3. Include clauses which would give the US any pretext for unilaterally revoking sanctions without any consultation; 4. Minimize the amount and level of enriched uranium Iran could retain within the country; 5. Dismantle most of Iran’s centrifuges and impose severe limitations on scientific research and development; and 6. Stop operation of Iran’s multi-billion dollar new fortified nuclear power facility at Fordow.

While Sherman cannot outright terminate the negotiations she is doing everything in her power to either force a breakdown or thoroughly humiliate the Iranians.

Conclusion

The failure of the Obama regime to go after its own State Department officials acting as agents for Israel; its refusal to confront long-term aggressive espionage designed to undermine its relations in the Middle East; its tolerance of Israel’s direct interference via its ‘fraternal organizations’ of the US legislative process; and its refusal to identify, arrest, prosecute and sentence high-level spies within the Cabinet have severely compromised the sovereignty of the United States.  It is Israel’s intervention in the US, not ISIS, Iran, Houthis, Venezuela, Syria, Russia or China, that poses an immediate and direct threat to US national security.  Increasing Jewish colonialist expansion in Palestine; the flaunting of its vast stockpile of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; operating its powerful network of political agents and spies in high US offices are a direct, immediate threat to peace and stability in the Middle East and the United States.

The activities of US Zionists as spies and shock troops for Israel’s effort to destroy Iran and undermine US diplomacy, pose a long-term threat to all Jews in America.  Sooner or later, Israel’s deep penetration of US power centers and its manipulation of elected American officials, will lead to a prolonged, bloody, destructive war.  And it can be expected that the greater US public will seek out those responsible and demand they be held to account.  Under the impact of the devastation of war, who can be sure that the American public will be able to distinguish between loyal Jewish-Americans and highly placed Zionists acting on Israel’s behalf ?  For that reason it is incumbent that peace-loving American Jews  get on their feet and clearly and forthrightly denounce the Zionist minority, which claims to speak for them.

All those Zionist ‘wise-guys’ of both genders, who think they have been so clever using their high office to serve Israel, are fooling themselves.  More and more citizens are becoming aware that Israel’s espionage, its dictates to the US Congress and its manipulation of Executive powers are harming America.  At the present, highly placed Zionist officials hold sway over the Obama Cabinet, but in the future they may find themselves facing  charges of being agents of a foreign power, and a threat to US national security.  They may find themselves sharing a cell block with Jonathan Pollard!

In a relatively short period this month, the New York Times attacked Iran on behalf of Washington and its allies. So-called liberal Thomas Friedman, a notorious liberal war-monger, wrote a short op-ed piece on March 17th calling for Washington to arm ISIS and send the terrorist organization to destabilize Iran. Former State Department official and neo-con war hawk John Bolton added to this with his own imperialist doctrine for the New York Times. Both articles provided cover for Washington’s long war with Iran from both sides of the imperial coin. While the New York Times is useless if one wants factual and reliable information on US foreign policy, articles such as these reveal how differing tactics among neo-liberals and neo-cons hold little significance when the system of imperialism ultimately has one prevailing strategy. That strategy is permanent imperial warfare on behalf of the interests of their capitalist paymasters.

Thomas Freidman’s piece represents Washington and Obama’s preferred method of imperialist war. Freidman calls on Washington to arm ISIS to destabilize Iran, an objective that has been decades in the works. His primary argument that US and Israeli interests are best served with direct support to ISIS is a lie. It’s a lie not because the argument is false but because the argument itself has been a long standing US policy. To solidify the unity between Democratic Party and Republican imperialists, Freidman distorts history by linking US proxy war in the region to the made up threat that Iran is “on the edge of a bomb.”

Freidman is a little late. Washington has been arming terrorists to achieve its geopolitical interests since at least 2012 . After the Libya nightmare of 2011, US-NATO’s covert support of jihadist rebels opened the door to a new proxy invasion of Syria. Saudi, Turkish, and Israeli-backed terrorist organizations received hundreds of millions in US support since the fall of Libya. McCain and Netanyahu were caught publicly meeting with these various factions, which included the much vaunted Islamic State (ISIS). The imperial proxy war in Syria is an effort to isolate Iran and pressure it to capitulate to Washington’s designs for an economically and militarily dependent Middle East.

Friedman’s argument is even more ridiculous in light of recent developments. From December last year to February of this year, numerous reports from Russia, Iraq, and Iran accused the US of providing direct support for ISIS in Iraq. According to FarsNews, the Iraqi military released intelligence cables which revealed that US jets were dropping weapons in ISIS held territories. So Freidman’s call to arm ISIS is less of a new imperial strategy in the region than it is a re-branding of the proxy war to fit the need to pressure and confuse the US public into Washington’s war plan for Iran. This has been Obama and the Democratic Party’s primary tactical approach to imperialist war since Obama decided to invade Libya four years ago.

Of course, the other side (“right-wing”) of the imperialist coin is no better, but at least it’s honest. In a recent article for the Times, John Bolton outwardly calls for the US or Israel to bomb Iran. Despite his admittance that there is a lack of “palpable proof” that Iran plans to develop nuclear weapons, Bolton stays true to neo-con form in highlighting the danger of allowing Iran to survive another day as a sovereign nation. This should come as no surprise. Bolton served for GW Bush’s administration and was a point person in the fabrication of “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that justified the bombing and invasion of Iraq.

It is important to place the media war on Iran in the context of US imperialism’s long history of war against the oil-rich nation. In 1953, the US took advantage of Europe’s post World War II collapse by sponsoring the CIA overthrow of the democratically elected Mosaddegh government in Iran. Washington re-installed the brutal Shah regime, which murdered and tortured thousands of Iranians at the behest of US and British oil interests. Iran overthrew the Shah in 1979 and declared an independent Islamic Republic. Since this period, the US, Israel, and its Gulf Monarch allies have sought to isolate the country with numerous attempts to overthrow the revolution through military and economic means. Today, Iran defends its nationalized oil wealth and political sovereignty despite crippling sanctions from the imperialist countries and the constant threat of US sponsored warfare at each of its borders.

Iran’s independence is in and of itself a threat to the US imperialist alliance’s strategic interests in the region. These interests have been clearly stated by the US military establishment, especially after the War on Terror was declared over a decade ago. The US plan to maintain hegemony requires the forced destabilization of sovereign states and the creation of vassal states too chaotic to interfere with US military and economic motivations. Similarly, the Yinon plan and Bibi Netanyahu’s Clean Break both spelled out Zionism’s need to destabilize the entire region to achieve regional expansion beyond Palestine. The millions that died in the destabilization of Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, and Afghanistan since 2003 were victims of imperialism’s grand plan to recolonize North Africa and the Middle East through military means.

Iran is the final piece to this plan, so the New York Times is compelled to point all of its ideological guns at the Shia nation. One might ask what interest does the New York Times have in fueling another war that could cost the planet millions more in casualties and mass misery. The war mongering positions of the liberal New York Times or any corporate media source for that matter are expressions of the crisis in the US imperialist system. In a landscape where six corporations own 90 percent of US media, much of the content that comes out of the television, radio, or newspaper reflects the interests of those that own them. And in this period of US imperial decline, where profits are falling and the capitalist class holds onto heavily subsidized system of super-exploitation, the terror and fear of war becomes all the more important.

The US is on the war march in every part of the world with the ultimate objective of eliminating any and all challenges to its rule. Washington’s policy of proxy war specifically is an attempt to strangle the world movement for self-determination. The corporate media has played a significant role in the promotion of permanent imperialist warfare. New York Times’ coverage of Iran is an irrefutable example of how both ideological wings of the Empire differ only in form, but not in substance. Freidman calls for proxy war, while Bolton calls for direct intervention. Neither option is any less murderous or devastating to the peoples of the world that have suffered from them.

It is important to debunk and expose the perpetual lies of the imperialist corporate media given the weak state of the anti-imperialist movement in the US and the West. Doing so is crucial to breaking down the inherent contradictions in the American and Western way of life. While the war makers and corporate liars tell us we live in the land of the free, life becomes more unbearable everyday under imperialism. Poverty, Black Mass Incarceration, state surveillance, and austerity ravage the US mainland. The defense of Iran’s self-determination and a repudiation of the lies of the corporate media are crucial toward building the international unity we need to truly present a challenge to imperialist exploitation in our respective social locations. So put down the Times, and pick up the struggle for humanity’s future.

Danny Haiphong is an organizer for Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST) in Boston. He is also a regular contributor to Black Agenda Report. Danny can be reached at [email protected] and FIST can be reached at [email protected].

I paladini dell’antiterrorismo

March 31st, 2015 by Manlio Dinucci

Tunisi, come a Parigi in gen­naio, una mani­fe­sta­zione di popolo che, dicendo «basta odio e morte», rifiuta non solo il ter­ro­ri­smo ma la guerra di cui esso è il sot­to­pro­dotto. Al cor­teo di Tunisi, come a quello di Parigi, hanno par­te­ci­pato però alcuni dei prin­ci­pali respon­sa­bili delle poli­ti­che di guerra che ali­men­tano la spi­rale di odio e morte.

In prima fila Hol­lande, pre­si­dente di quella Fran­cia che ha fino all’ultimo soste­nuto la dit­ta­tura di Ben Ali, garante degli inte­ressi neo­co­lo­niali fran­cesi in Tuni­sia, che sotto la pre­si­denza di Sar­kozy (oggi tor­nato in auge) ha con­tri­buito con la guerra di Libia alla dif­fu­sione del ter­ro­ri­smo. Non a caso gli autori dell’attacco al museo del Bardo sono stati adde­strati in Libia. E, accanto a Hol­lande, c’era a Tunisi il pre­mier Renzi, in rap­pre­sen­tanza di quell’Italia che ha con­tri­buito a incen­diare il Nor­da­frica e Medio­riente par­te­ci­pando alla demo­li­zione dello Stato libico. Ope­ra­zione per la quale gruppi isla­mici, prima clas­si­fi­cati come ter­ro­ri­sti, sono stati armati e adde­strati da Usa e Nato, che oggi espri­mono a Tunisi il loro appog­gio nella lotta al terrorismo.

Pre­sente alla mar­cia di Tunisi con­tro il ter­ro­ri­smo anche il vice primo mini­stro Kur­tul­mus, in rap­pre­sen­tanza del governo turco che – oltre a for­nire anche all’Isis armi e vie di tran­sito per la guerra in Siria e Iraq – ha fir­mato il 19 feb­braio un accordo con gli Stati uniti per adde­strare ed equi­pag­giare ogni anno 5mila «ribelli» (ossia ter­ro­ri­sti) «mode­rati» da infil­trare in Siria, la cui pre­pa­ra­zione viene curata da 400 spe­cia­li­sti delle forze spe­ciali Usa.

A fianco della Tuni­sia con­tro il ter­ro­ri­smo anche la monar­chia sau­dita, noto­ria­mente primo finan­zia­tore di gruppi ter­ro­ri­stici: il suo mini­stero degli esteri ha inviato un mes­sag­gio in cui sot­to­li­nea che «i prin­cipi di tol­le­ranza della reli­gione isla­mica proi­bi­scono l’uccisione di inno­centi». Men­tre Human Rights Watch docu­menta nel 2015 che «i nuovi rego­la­menti anti­ter­ro­ri­smo, intro­dotti da Riyad, per­met­tono di cri­mi­na­liz­zare come atto ter­ro­ri­stico qual­siasi forma di cri­tica paci­fica alle auto­rità sau­dite», in un paese dove – riporta «The Tele­graph» (16 marzo 2015) – ven­gono ese­guite ogni anno circa 80 con­danne a morte per deca­pi­ta­zione e molti altri sono puniti con la fusti­ga­zione, come il blog­ger Raif Badawi con­dan­nato a 1000 fru­state (50 ogni venerdì). Quanto l’Arabia Sau­dita eviti l’uccisione di inno­centi lo con­ferma nello Yemen, dove sta facendo strage di civili con i suoi cac­cia­bom­bar­dieri for­niti dagli Usa: in base a un con­tratto da 30 miliardi di dol­lari, con­cluso nel 2011 nel qua­dro di uno più ampio da 60 miliardi, Washing­ton sta for­nendo a Riyad 84 nuovi F-15, con rela­tivo arma­mento di bombe e mis­sili, men­tre pro­cede all’upgrade di altri 70. Con que­sti e altri cac­cia­bom­bar­dieri made in Usa, l’Arabia Sau­dita e i mem­bri della sua coa­li­zione con­du­cono, in nome del «comune impe­gno con­tro il ter­ro­ri­smo», una guerra sotto regia e comando Usa per il con­trollo dello Yemen, paese di pri­ma­ria impor­tanza stra­te­gica sullo stretto di Bab al-Mandab (27 km) tra Ara­bia e Africa, da cui pas­sano le rotte petro­li­fere e com­mer­ciali tra l’Oceano Indiano e il Mediterraneo.

E Washing­ton, men­tre cerca con tutti i mezzi di bloc­care il pro­gramma nucleare ira­niano, ignora che l’Arabia Sau­dita ha uffi­cial­mente dichia­rato («The Inde­pen­dent», 30 marzo 2015), per bocca del suo amba­scia­tore negli Usa, che non esclude di costruire o acqui­stare armi nucleari, con l’aiuto del Paki­stan di cui finan­zia il 60% del pro­gramma nucleare mili­tare. In nome, ovvia­mente, della lotta al terrorismo.

Manlio Dinucci

عدم الإستقرار في اليمن لا يسببه فقط إيران أو الحوثيين ولكن التدخل الأمريكي والسعودي في اليمن – من الغزو السعودي في 2009 إلى هجمات الدرون الأمريكية- والعقود من الدعم الذي قدمته السعودية للحكم السلطوي وغير الشعبي في اليمن.

قالت مجلة فورين بوليسي يوم 6 مارس “يتم رسم خطوط المعركة في اليمن، أفقر الدول العربية وأحدث المرشحين في الشرق الأوسط لفشل الدولة. إذا إندلعت الحرب المفتوحة قريبا، كما يبدو بإزدياد أنه متوقع، لن تجعلها المنافسة على التفوق الإقليمي بين السعودية وإيران أسوء. ثبت أن كلا القوتان متحمستان لتسليح المجموعات التي يعتقدون أنهم يستطيعون السيطرة عليها”.

التحالف الحوثي مع إيران: براجماتية أم طائفية؟

الحوثيون ليسوا وكلاء للإيرانين. حركة الحوثيون لاعب سياسي ظهر نتيجة  للإضطهاد. تسمية الحوثيون وكلاء للإيرانين هو أمر يوحي بقلة الملاحظة ويتجاهل تاريخ وسياسة اليمن. حتى فورين بوليسي تعترف أن “إذا إنتدلعت الحرب على أسس طائفية لن يكون ذلك لأن هذا هو الإنقسام في اليمن، سيكون لأن ممولي الحرب الأجانب يشعلون إنقسامات لم تكن مهمة من قبل”.

أنكر القادة الحوثيين إدعائات بأنهم يأخذون أوامر من طهران. لم يوقف ذلك المسؤولين والإعلام السعودي والخليجي الذين إستخدموا وإستغلوا بيانات المسؤولين الإيرانين، مثل مقارنة الحوثيين للبسج في إيران، عن تصوير الحوثيين على أنهم وكلاء لإيران.

وكما أن الحوثيون ليسوا وكلاء لإيران لا يوجد تحالف شيعي بين طهران وبينهم في اليمن. الحديث الذي يتركز على هذا السرد الطائفي البسيط يخفي الطبيعة السياسية والدوافع للصراع في اليمن ويلغز صراع الحوثين ضد الإضطهاد بشكل مهين. حتى السبعينات كان آل سعود بالفعل مساندين كبار للفصائل الملكية في اليمن ويغلب عليها المسلمين الشيعة.

ولكن المسلمين الشيعة في اليمن ليسا جعافرة (إثنى عشرية)  مثل معظم المسلمين الشيعة في إيران وجمهورية أزاربيجيان ولبنان والعراق وأفغانستان وباكستان ومنطقة الخليج الفارسي. وبغض النظر عن جيوب صغيرة للشيعة الإسماعيلية – الذين يمكن المجادلة وتسميتهم سبعية – في محافظات صعدة حجة وعمران المحويت وصنعاء وإب والجوف أغلب الشيعة في اليمن زيدين. الإسماعيلين في اليمن في أغلبهم أعضاء في الداودين والسليمانين وهي فصائل من الإسماعيلية المستعلية التي إبتعدت عن الإسماعيلية النزارية الأكبر.

العداء الأمريكي والسعودي لحركة الحوثيين هو ما جعل الحوثيون بشكل براجماتي يلجؤن لإيران كي تساعدهم لعكس الميزان. حسبما قالت وول ستريت جورنال “المليشيات الحوثية المسيطرة على العاصمة اليمنية تحاول بناء روابط مع إيران وروسيا والصين لمجابهة الدعم الغربي والسعودي للرئيس المخلوع”.  يقول الوول ستريت جورنال يوم 6 مارس “الحكومة الحوثية الإنتقالية أرسلت وفدا لإيران بحثا عن الموارد النفطية ولروسيا بحثا عن إستثمارات في مشاريع الطاقة حسبما قال أثنان من كبرا المسؤولين الحوثيين. ويخطط وف أخر لزيارة الصين في الأسابيع القادمة حسبما قالوا.

نتيجة لمد حركة الحوثيين يدها فإن إيران واليمن أعلنتا يوم 2 مارس أنه سيكون هناك رحلات جوية يومية بين طهران وصنعا. إن هذا هو خط حياة مهم لدعم الحركة الحوثية.

السرد الطائفي وكارت الطائفية

لا تتسبب إيران أو الحوثيون في عدم الإستقرار في اليمن ولكن يتسبب فيه تدخل الولايات المتحدة والسعودية في اليمن – من الغزو السعودي عام 2009 إلى هجمات الدرون الأمريكية- والعقود من الدعم الذي قدمته السعودية للحكم السلطوي وغير الشعبي في اليمن.

اليمن ليست دولة مقسمة ضمنيا. وبجانب رعاية السعودية والولايات المتحدة للقاعدة لا يوجد هناك إنقسام أو توتر شيعي سني. لمنع اليمن من الإستقلال ساند السعوديون والأمريكيون الطائفية على أمل خلق إنقسام سني شيعي.

على عكس السرد المزيف فإن تحالفات إيران في الشرق الأوسط ليست طائفية في الحقيقة. جميع حلفاء طهران الفلسطينين مسلمون سنة في أغلبهم بينما في العراق وسوريا وبعيدا عن الحكومات تساند إيران مقطعا من المجموعات العرقية والعقائدية تتضمن غير العرب والمسيحيين. يتضمن ذلك المسلمون السوريون وأغلبهم سنة والأكراد العراقيون وجناح سوتورو الأشوري في حزب الإتحاد السيرياني (SUP) في سوريا. في لبنان وبغض النظر عن حزب الله فإن الإيرانين متحالفين أيضا مع مسلمين سنة ودروز وأحزاب مسيحية بما فيها التيار الوطني الحر بقيادة ميشيل عون – وهو أكبر حزب مسيحي في لبنان.

إذا كان لدى أي طرف سياسة الإشتباك الطائفي فهي الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها من ممالك البترو دولار. الولايات المتحدة والسعودية إشتبكوا مع الحوثيين في وقت سابق وإستخدموهم ضد الإخوان المسلمين في اليمن. بالإضافة إلى ذلك وخلال الحرب الباردة  حاولت واشنطون وآل سعود أن يستخدوا الشيعة في اليمن ضد الجمهوريين في اليمن الشمالي والجمهورية اليمنية الشعبية في الجنوب. وقد أصبحت الولايات المتحدة والسعودية عدائيتان ضد الحوثيين فقط بعد أن أبدت حركة الحوثيين  أنها لن تصبح عميلة لواشنطون أو الرياض.

التحضير لغزو اليمن

يوم 20 مارس هاجم إنتحاريان جوامع البدر والحشوش خلال صلاة العصر. قتل حوالي ثلاثمئة شخص. وإتهم عبد الملك الحوثي الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل بدعم الهجوم الإرهابي ودعم داعش والقاعدة في اليمن. وقد لام السعودية أيضا.

شجبت مرزية أفخام المتحدثة الرسمية بإسم وزارة الخارجية الإيرانية الهجمات الإرهابية في اليمن بينما كان هناك صمت في المغرب والأردن وممالك البترو دولار. بطريقة أو أخرى شجبت سوريا والعراق وروسيا والصين الهجمات الإرهابية في اليمن أيضا. لإبداء دعم طهران لليمن أرسلت طائرتا بضائع محملتان بالمعونات الإنسانية إلى اليمن وجلب الهلال الأحمر الإيراني خمسين من ضحايا الهجمات الإراهابية إلى داخل إيران لتلقي العلاج

فشل آل سعود في اليمن

إن حركة الحوثيين نتيجة لسياسات السعودية في المن ومساندتها للحكم السلطوي. في هذا المجال فإن الحوثين رد فعل لوحشية السعودية ودعم آل سعود للسلطوية في اليمن. لقد ظهروا جزء من تمرد قاده حسين بدر الدين الحوثي في 2004 ضد الحكومة اليمنية.

إدعى النظام اليمني زورا أن الحوثين يريدون إنشاء إمامة زيدية في الجزيرة العربية كوسيلة لشيطنة الحركة. ولكن ذلك فشل في إيقفهم إزدياد قوتهم. لم تستطيع القوات المسلحة اليمنية أن تتعامل معهم في 2009 مما نتج عنه تدخل سعودي أطلق عليه عملية الأرض المحروق والذي بدأ شنه في 11 أغسطس 2009.

فشلت السعودية في هزيمة الحوثين عندما أرسلت قواتها إلى اليمن لمحاربتهم في 2009 و2010 وقد فشلت في إجبار اليمن وحركة الحوثيين على الركوع في طاعة. عندما طالبت بأن يعزف الحوثيون والحكومة الإنتقالية اليمنية  على نغمة السعودية ويذهبون إلى الرياض للتفاوض رفض الحوثيون والمجلس الثوري اليمني ذلك لأن المفاوضات وأي خطة لإقتسام السلطة تدعمها السعودية ستهمش الحوثيون والقوة السياسية الأخرى في اليمن. لهذا السبب فإن إتحاد القوى الشعبية والمؤتمر الشعبي العام الذي ينتمي له الهادي وحزب البعث في اليمن، جميعها دعمت موقف الحوثيين ضد السعودية.

تقسيم اليمن؟

لقد شهدت اليمن عدة إنتفاضات وتدخلات عسكرية من الولايات المتحدة والسعودية وحركة إنفصالية تقوى في المحافظات الجنوبية. لقد أصبحت القوات المسلحة اليمنية مقسمة وتوجد حساسيات قبلية. كما كان هناك حديث عن التحول إلى دولة عربية فاشلة.

في 2013 عرضت النيو يورك تايمز تقسيم ليبيا وسوريا والعراق واليمن أن تنقسم. في حالة اليمن كان العرض أن تقسم إلى قسمين مرة أخرى. قالت النيو يورك تايمز أن ذلك يمكن أن يحدث أو سوف يحدث بعد إستفتاء محتمل في المحافظات الجنوبية. كما عرضة النيو يورك تايمز “أن جميع أو أجزاء من اليمن الجنوبي يمكن أن تصبح جزء من السعودية. جميع تجارة السعودية تقريبا تحدث عبر البحر والمنفذ المباشر لبحر العرب يمكن أن يقلل الإعتماد على الخليج الفارسي – والمخاوف من قدرة إيران على قطع مضيق هرمز”.

السعودية والهادي يغازلون الإنفصاليون في الجنوب اليمني الذي يملكون دعم عشر السكان. الإختيار التالي للولايات المتحدة والسعودية قد يكون تقسيم اليمن لطريقة لتقليل الإنتقال الإستراتيجي الناتج عن إنتصار الحوثين. هذا سيؤكد أن السعودية ودول مجلس التعاون الخليجي لديها نقطة إنتقال جنوبية إلى المحيط الهندي وأن الولايات المتحدة تحافظ على موطئ قدم في خليج عدن.


 

بقلم: المهدي داريوش ناظم رعایا / المهدي داريوس نازيمروايا

لمصدر:غلوبال ريسيرتش

مصدر الترجمة: فريق ترجمة موقع راقب 

الثلاثاء, مارس ٣١ , ٢٠١٥

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After Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias backed by Iran were unable to liberate the Iraqi city of Tikrit from Western-backed ISIS forces in a swift manner, the US military establishment is now gloating in a rather obvious and even childish fashion that the Iraqi military has been forced to return like a battered wife to the arms of the abuser yet again.

According to the Military Times, nearly 20,000 Shiite militias withdrew from the Tikrit battleground after the Iraqi government agreed to pause its cooperation and coordination with the Iranian government. The Iraqi government agreed to take control of all the military operations from here on.

The United States imposed two conditions on the Iraqi government before it would agree to provide any assistance in the fight against ISIS that the Iraqi government end cooperation with Iran and that the Iraqi government assume command over forces on the ground.

Yet it could easily be seen that whatever successes were being witnessed on the ground were theresult of the lack of US involvement, not the result of it. The Iraqi military/government and the United States had been in the planning stages of an assault against ISIS-held positions inside Iraq since January 2015. Yet, despite “assistance” coming from the most militarily advanced nation on the face of the earth, Iraqi officials had complained that preparations for military plans were moving much too slow or either not at all. It appeared, for all intents and purposes, that the US was not as interested in eliminating strategic (to the Iraqi government) strongholds of ISIS as it was pretending to be in its press conferences and international speeches.

What is interesting, however, is the fact that, months before any such operations were ever launched, U.S. General Lloyd Austin, head of the US military’s CENTCOM, told the Wall Street Journal that the US and Iraq were planning a summer offensive to retake Mosul and cut supply lines to the ISIS fighters that control it. In other words, US General Austin revealed the war plans long before the actual operation took place, thus tipping off the potential targets to the upcoming military assault and creating even greater odds for the weak Iraqi forces to surmount.

Although failing to retake Tikrit, the Iranian military provided tanks, personnel, arms, and artillery assistance to the Shiite militias fighting against ISIS.

However, as the bulk of the work in the fight against ISIS was done by Shiite militias, some Sunni militias, Iraqi forces with various forms of Iranian assistance, the United States stepped in and began to whine about its fears that Iraq was falling under the influence of Iran, a real fear of the US since the Shiite crescent and Iranian arc of influence is exactly what the US, NATO, and Israel have been fighting so hard against.

Thus, the US demanded that, if Iraq was going to continue to work with Iran, then America would take its ball and go home and leave Iraq to its own devices, at least on this particular battlefield. After the Iraqi government agreed to America’s terms, the US engaged in airstrikes over Tikrit that saw the destruction of a number of bridges and railroads as well as alleged ISIS checkpoints and facilities.

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter explained his “concern” with the joint Iraq-Iran operation “because it could inflame sectarian tensions that are driving support for Islamic State militants,” despite the fact that Sunnis and Sunni militias have fought alongside the Shiite militias and Iraqi security forces. Obviously, the biggest possibility of inflaming sectarian tensions comes from the United States and Israel as recent history has clearly shown.

Army Col. Steve Warren also took the opportunity to gloat about the effectiveness and importance of US forces in the fight against ISIS despite the fact that the US is entirely responsible for the creation and the facilitation of the terrorist group. Warren stated,

When Tikrit operations kicked off … we heard quite a bit from the Iraqis and some even from the Iranians, some fairly high-confidence statements about how rapidly the operation in Tikrit would go. Obviously they were incorrect.

I think it’s important that the Iraqis understand that what would be most helpful to them is a reliable partner in this fight. Reliable, professional, advanced military capabilities are something that reside very clearly and very squarely with the [American-led] coalition.

General Lloyd Austin, the man who leaked the military assault plans before the Iraqi military was able to implement them and who is partly responsible for the difficulty experienced by the Iraqi-Iranian forces even if for no other reason than his untimely revelation, admitted that the Iranian forces have a vested interest in seeing the destruction of ISIS. He also repeated his and the US’ rejection of cooperation in that goal.

Austin pointed out that, only a few years ago, American soldiers were fighting these same Iraqi Shiite militias. “I’d just like to highlight sir, after three tours in Iraq commanding troops in Iraq who were brutalized by some of these Shia militias I will not and I hope we never coordinate or cooperate with the Shia militias,” he said.

Austin, of course made no mention of the motivation behind these Shiite militias who, along with Sunni fighters, were dealing defeat to the sophisticated US forces until David Petraeus and Robert Ford among others devised a plan to divide the Iraqi resistance. Indeed, the reason they were doing so was because the US illegally invaded their country, murdering their friends and family and destroying their infrastructure. Unfortunately, Americans, who have a history of this type of behavior across the entire globe, remain confused as to why they are not universally loved and greeted as heroes and liberators wherever they go.

For now, Austin and his imperialist commanders have gotten their wish. The militias have been halted yet again, Iran’s influence has been weakened in Iraq, and ISIS is now escaping what was its imminent destruction in Tikrit.

In the end, however, the recent nudging of Iranian influence in Iraq by the US is not only an example of the geopolitical struggle between Iran and the US, but also how the US consistently rides in on a white horse at the last minute to save ISIS from defeat in Iraq and Syria. This alone should cause many to question the true nature of the relationship between the United States and ISIS.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

El pasado 20 de marzo del 2015, la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) celebró una audiencia para escuchar los alegatos de comunidades de Costa Rica víctimas de los efectos de la producción de la piña en Costa Rica (ver  nota de prensa  del 3 de marzo así como nota en el Tico Times del mismo día 20). Un reciente reportaje audio de la emisora Voces Nuestras (marzo 2015) permite dar una idea de la magnitud del problema;  un reportaje de febrero del 2014 “No nos tapen la boca: hablemos de la contaminación piñera” en homenaje Mayra Eugenia Umaña, ilustra el tipo de presiones a los que son sometidos líderes comunales que osan alzar la voz (reportaje del canal universitario Canal15, disponible aquí). Se trata de las comunidades del Cairo, Francia, Luisiana y Milano (de la región de Siquirres) cuyos acuíferos fueron contaminados por empresas dedicadas a la producción de la piña. Desde el mes de julio del 2007, más de 6000 personas en estas comunidades rurales toman agua proveniente de camiones cisternas proveídos por una entidad pública costarricense, Acueducto y Alcantarillado (AyA). A la fecha, el Estado costarricense no ha ordenado sanciones contra las empresas; tampoco se registra acción penal alguna del Estado contra los responsables de las empresas causantes de dicha contaminación.  En todo estos años, el Estado no ha proveído a las comunidades afectadas con un nuevo acueducto en agua potable ni saneado las aguas, pese a dos sentencias de la Sala Constitucional de la Corte Suprema de Justicia exigiéndole hacerlo “de inmediato” del 2009.  El ente encargado del agua en Costa Rica mantuvo incluso durante más de un año en sus manos un estudio técnico  sobre los alcances de dicha contaminación (ver nota  de prensa de Elpais.cr titulada “AyA oculta información revelada sobre contaminación de agua con agroquímicos”).  Por su parte, la reacción de la entonces titular del Ministerio de Salud, al evidenciarse por parte de un laboratorio universitario (independiente) niveles mucho mayores a los indicados por monitoreos realizados por las autoridades en el 2007-2009  fue la siguiente : “Les damos agua en cisterna porque la gente tiene miedo de tomar la del lugar, y la psicosis ha sido tal, que hasta asocian manchas en la piel que son producidas por un hongo, diciendo que se bañaron en agua con bromacil” (ver nota  de prensa titulada “Laboratorios de la UNA comprobaron contaminación de piñera”, Semanario Universidad 26/05/2009). Cabe recordar que el 5 de junio del 2008, Día Internacional del Ambiente, la Cámara Nacional de Productores y Exportadores de Piña (CANAPEP) había suscrito en Casa Presidencial una larga lista de “Compromisos Socio Ambientales”: se leyó en aquel momento en la prensa que “Según Abel Chávez, presidente de Canapep, respetarán las normativas nacionales e internacionales y garantizarán la pureza del aire, del agua y la sostenibilidad del suelo. Además minimizarán los impactos ambientales de la agroindustria en las comunidades vecinas a las fincas productoras” (Diario La Extra, 6/06/2008, “Piñeros se comprometen a no contaminar”).

Una actividad objeto de especiales favores:

Las festividades del Día del Ambiente en Casa Presidencial con el gremio de la piña del 2008, la actitud del AyA y las declaraciones de la Ministra de Salud años después no deben sorprender mayormente. La persistente polémica entre laboratorios universitarios y laboratorios privados sobre los resultados de niveles de contaminación que recoge el último Informe del Estado de la Nación publicado en el 2014 tampoco (Nota 1). Costa Rica es el primer exportador de piña a nivel mundial desde el 2007. En el 2008 exportó 1.458.980 toneladas métricas (mientras que en el 2004 exportaba 693.107 toneladas): su competidor más cercano (Filipinas) exportó en el 2008 a penas 261.338 toneladas métricas contra 204.887 (2004) según se aprecia en este recuadro del “Top5”. La tabla 3 de este estudio de la UNCTAD revela, con base en datos de la FAO, el aumento vertiginoso de toneladas exportadas por Costa Rica en el período 2008-2009-2010. En el 2011 alcanzaron 1.722.200 toneladas,  1.875.813 (2012) y 1.939.680 (2013) (según datos oficiales de las estadísticas de la Promotora de Comercio Exterior – PROCOMER). En el 2011, según estas mismas estadísticas de PROCOMER (ver informe, p. 50), el 45% de la piña fue exportada a Estados Unidos, el 13% al Reino Unido, el 12% a Holanda, el 9% a Bélgica, el 8% a Italia, el 4% a Alemania y el 3% a España: en ese mismo año 2011, un país como España importó  67.866 toneladas de piña costarricense (ver nota).

En el 2010, Costa Rica representaba el 60% de la piña exportada a nivel mundial, seguida por Filipinas (con 12%), Ecuador (4%), Costa de Marfil (4%), Estados Unidos (4%) y otros países con un porcentaje menor al 3%, tal como se aprecia en el cuadro 2 en el siguiente estudio  titulado “Análisis del Mercado de la Piña” elaborado por el Consejo Nacional de Producción (CNP).  Datos sobre los cuales el CNP es mucho más discreto, recogidos por organizaciones sociales  en un informe denominado “El sabor amargo de la piña”  (en alusión al primer documental crítico  – disponible aquí -sobre la piña producido en Costa Rica en el 2005), indican que el sector de la piña en Costa Rica se reparte la producción de la siguiente manera: “De acuerdo con la Cámara Nacional de Productores de Piña CANAPEP, el área sembrada de piña en Costa Rica aumentó un 675% entre 1990 y 2009, pasando de menos de 10.000 a más de 50.000 has. Las empresas Del Monte y PINDECO concentran el 50% de la producción piñera en Costa Rica, y 31 empresas concentran el 96% de la producción total de esta fruta. El 4% restante está en manos de aproximadamente 1200 pequeños agricultores que venden su producción a las grandes empresas, especialmente Dole, Del Monte, Fyffes y Chiquita”.

Desde el 2008, el Programa del Estado de la Nación (el cual, como bien se sabe, constituye un esfuerzo de las universidades públicas de Costa Rica), advertía los efectos de un modelo depredador del ambiente y señalaba la ausencia de mecanismos distributivos de la riqueza generada: “la producción piñera intensiva extensiva, altamente desarrollada en Costa Rica /…/ tiene una serie de implicaciones directas sobre el activo ecológico, que se convierten en un tipo de subsidio eco-social del Gobierno a las empresas piñeras. Los ingresos económicos concentrados en los empresarios y dueños de la compañías no han garantizado un beneficio social. El deterioro ambiental generado provoca serios daños en la estabilidad social de las comunidades, ya que reduce las condiciones que permiten el uso de los servicios ambientales como el agua, el suelo, la biodiversidad, etc. ” (Estado de la Nación, Informe XV (2008), p. 220).  Siete años después, el mismo Informe indica de manera enfática que: “El cultivo de la piña ha destacado por su alto grado de conflictividad, tal como se ha señalado en las últimos ediciones  del Informe del Estado de La Nación. Las principales preocupaciones versan sobre la contaminación de aguas superficiales y subterráneas, cambio de uso de suelo, generación de la plaga de la mosca Stomoxys calcitrans, desvío y sedimentación de los ríos, erosión del suelo, concentración de la tierra, desplazamiento de las familias campesinas, pérdida de la soberanía alimentaria, irrespeto de los derechos laborales y posibles consecuencias en la salud debido a la exposición a los agroquímicos” (Estado de la Nación, Informe XX (2014), p. 192).

Lo que podríamos denominar una “sordera institucionalizada” pareciera entonces haberse adueñado de varias entidades estatales de Costa Rica desde el 2008, cuando de cuestionamientos relacionados con la piña se trata, so pretexto del desarrollo que aporta.  No obstante, las regiones de Costa Rica en las que se produce la piña siguen con los peores índices en cuanto a Desarrollo Humano (IDH) se refiere, poniendo así en entredicho el tan pregonado “desarrollo” que genera dicha actividad.  Hace unos meses, un proyecto de ley (19.371) tendiente a gravar cada caja de piña exportada, presentado en noviembre del 2014, se interesó por este indicador en los cantones productores de piña y añadió que: “… en el marco de la expansión piñera, el modelo de Certificados de Abono Tributario (CAT), la liberación de impuesto bajo la Iniciativa de la Cuenca del Caribe (ICC) y el Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) con los Estados Unidos, se ha liberado a la producción de piña de toda responsabilidad tributaria. Por ejemplo, bajo el régimen de zonas francas, la mayor parte de insumos requeridos para el cultivo de piña reciben exenciones completas” (Gaceta Oficial, expediente 19.371, 25/11/2014, p. 2, texto del proyecto y recuadro con el IDH cantonal disponible aquí). Ante mecanismos  fiscales tan favorables para el sector piñero y actitudes tan complacientes por parte de las autoridades políticas (en particular la de los entes responsables de la salud y de la potabilidad del agua, pero también del ambiente como veremos a continuación), era muy difícil que se pudiera contener la voracidad de este sector.  Tempranamente, la expansión piñera en Costa Rica fue tal que obligó a algunos responsables a externar criterios en los siguiente términos: en el mes de junio del 2009, el Presidente del Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo (TAA) escribía en un artículo de opinión “Tribunal Ambiental y producción piñera” que: “ No es el Tribunal Ambiental quien contamina, destruye bosques, humedales y nacientes; lamentablemente estas prácticas irresponsables son las que nos llevan a aplicar la legislación. Pero hay algo más grave que los propios daños ambientales –a veces irreparables– y es la conciencia con la que se perpetran estos actos. Aquí no estamos ante una simple infracción ambiental, sino que estamos jugando con el futuro de los/las costarricenses”. Días después, la expansión piñera fue calificada en un muy completo artículo del 2009 del El Financiero como “insensata” (ver artículo  de El Financiero, del 1/07/2009, Edición 724).  Nos permitimos en unas ediciones posteriores de El Financiero hacer ver la contradicción de los datos oficiales sobre la realidad laboral y la extensión real de la piña en Costa Rica (ver nuestra breve nota: “Moratoria piñera“, El Financiero, Edición 743).

Pese a los famosos “Compromisos Socio-Ambientales” suscritos  por CANAPEP  para celebrar en gran pompa el Día del Ambiente, extrañas maniobras de la Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental (SETENA) con relación a piñeras en la región de Siquirres  fueron denunciadas por congresistas como el diputado Rafael E. Madrigal del Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC): en su artículo publicado en La Nación “Las piñas y Setenas del señor Sancho” se dejan ver aspectos de gran interés que todo lector un tanto familiarizado con las sutilezas de la SETENA sabrá interpretar. En uno de los pocos foros académicos a los que participó CANAPEP con comunidades afectadas, su representante se defendió indicando que “No sé de cual país nos está hablando” (ver nota sobre foro realizado por la UCR en julio del 2009). No fue sino con la visita de una Misión de la Unión Europea a finales del 2009 que (de pronto …) las buenas prácticas agrícolas y ambientales parecieron interesar al sector productivo y a las autoridades: al respecto,  la abogada Gabriela Cuadrado no dudo en titular un valiente artículo publicado en La Nación de la siguiente forma “Una visita que mueve más de mil denuncias” cuya lectura también recomendamos.  Quiérase o no, estas iniciativas gremiales y estatales se enmarcaron dentro del Gobierno del Presidente Oscar Arias Sánchez que inició en el 2006 proclamando una “Paz con la Naturaleza”, calificada al final de su administración como como una verdadera guerra contra el ambiente  (ver artículo del Semanario Universidad de junio del 2010: “Administración Arias le declaró la “guerra a la naturaleza”). En junio del 2008, nos habíamos permitido sugerir que algunas de las notas de aquella “paz” recordaban extrañamente las de un verdadero Réquiem (véase nuestro artículo: ”¿Paz o Réquiem para la Madre Tierra?, publicado en La Nación).

Una larga lista de daños

Estudios, diagnósticos, planes de acción, compromisos de unos, manuales de buena prácticas de  otros  conforman una larga lista de publicaciones en Costa Rica desde el año 2008, unos como parte de un doble discurso, otros como parte de un esfuerzo sincero de algunos productores.  En el 2013 el diputado Manrique Oviedo, de la zona Norte, región que concentra más del 50% de la producción de la piña en Costa Rica, expresó que: “Desde el año 2005 vengo insistiendo en este tema, el MAG siempre dice que está desarrollando un plan de manejo integral. Tenemos siete planes diferentes que han presentado y dicen que están desarrollando otro” (ver nota del 10/6/2013 de CRHoy). Un humedal internacionalmente reconocido por su importancia como el de Caño Negro ( declarado por Costa Rica sitio RAMSAR en 1991) en la zona Norte de Costa Rica sufre los embates de las piñeras en la mayor impunidad: pese a informes, como el del TAA  titulado “Humedal de Caño Negro bajo seria amenaza Ambiental” (2010), reportajes como por ejemplo “Refugio Caño Negro debate su vida entre la ilegalidad y la indiferencia”,  los vecinos organizados en defenderlo (ver su página en FaceBook) documentan una tras otra las denuncias y su archivo posterior por parte de las autoridades, pese a tomas aéreas contundentes. La comunidad y la escuela de El Jobo en Caño Negro (ver foto) con sus 150 niños “sitiados” por las piñeras (en alusión a título usado en este reportaje audio)  de igual manera no han logrado que las autoridades de educación y de salud frenen el avance de los productores y suspendan las fumigaciones. Por su parte, las misiones técnicas de la Unión Europea que cada cierto tiempo visitan a Costa Rica (y las cadenas comerciales en el viejo continente) centran su atención en la calidad de la fruta ofrecida, y no en la salud de los trabajadores o la de las comunidades, ni los efectos de la producción de la piña en los suelos y en la prodigiosa biodiversidad de Costa Rica. Durante la visita de la Misión europea DG SANCO en octubre del 2009 a Costa Rica, las organizaciones sociales  debieron “perseguir” a los visitantes europeos, ante el intento por parte de las autoridades de Costa Rica a cargo de la visita de impedir contacto alguno: se lee en el reportaje “Representantes de comunidades lograron entregar información a los europeos en el último momento” que “ Cuadrado reclamó el hecho de que el MAG solo permitiera que los productores entregaran su versión a los inspectores, mientras comunidades que no pueden tomar agua potable desde hace dos años y medio, debieron “perseguirlos” para exponer sus problemas” (ver nota del Semanario Universidad, octubre del 2009).Como se precisa de manera bastante acertada en un informe publicado en Suecia  en el 2013 sobre la piña de Costa Rica, “The study shows that the requirements set by the Swedish companies are predominantly aimed at protecting the health and safety of the Swedish consumers, not the plantation workers. The workers and farmers interviewed by Swedwatch in Costa Rica attest to how they and their direct environment is affected by health issues caused by the continuous usage of pesticides on the plantations. The employees on the pineapples plantations in Costa Rica, and the local communities, suffer from dizziness, headaches, nausea and rashes. The chemicals have also adversely affected the environment and caused a decrease of fish and animal life in the area” (ver nota).

La reciente “Plataforma Nacional de  Producción y Comercio  Responsable de Piña en Costa Rica” (ver sitio oficial) promovida en el 2011 por el entonces Vicepresidente de Costa Rica Luis Lieberman, auspiciada por el Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD) es otro esfuerzo para intentar mitigar internacionalmente la mala imagen de la  piña costarricense. Tratándose de un país como Costa Rica, en el que abundan reconocidos profesionales en gestión ambiental, la escogencia para coordinar esta Plataforma de un ex directivo del sector exportador de piña fue denunciado por activistas y académicos, calificando esta Plataforma como un burdo intento de “maquillaje verde” internacional (ver por ejemplo  pronunciamiento de la Coecoceiba.org).  Independientemente de las motivaciones reales detrás de este y de anteriores esfuerzos, ninguno ha logrado regular esta actividad en aras de limitar sustancialmente los daños ocasionados por la piña: informe tras informe, el Estado de La Nación desde el 2008 así lo evidencia. El peso cada vez mayor de los expedientes en el TAA y en la Sala Constitucional reflejan la total inoperancia estatal en la materia y la poca receptividad a prácticas menos dañinas que algunos productores de piña han intentado implementar a pequeña escala.

Se trata en efecto de una actividad productiva que, por lo general, y con muy pocas excepciones, genera una serie de efectos negativos. En materia ambiental, los daños  son muy graves, algunos de carácter irreversible, en la medida en que, a diferencia de la piña criolla costarricense, o de las variedades “Hawaiana” primero, “Cayenne” luego, producidas a finales de los años noventa para el mercado internacional, la variedad “MD2″ (también conocida como ”Dorada” o “Golden” o “Sweet Gold”) implantada en Costa Rica en los primeros años de los 2000, requiere de una gran cantidad de pesticidas y plaguicidas para ser producida, incluyendo sustancias químicas, algunas de ellas prohibidas en la Unión Europea  (Nota 2). Varias de estas sustancias químicas se caracterizan por su carácter altamente persistente, como por ejemplo el bromacil o el diurón, usados para deshierbar las vías férreas en Europa por ejemplo. El uso del Bromacil es prohibido en Alemania, Eslovenia y Suecia. El carbofurán es prohibido en Estados Unidos, Canadá, y en la misma Europa, debido a su alto grado de toxicidad, pero su uso en piñeras de Costa Rica fue denunciado en su momento (ver nota de prensa). Recientemente (mayo del 2014), Costa Rica prohibió mediante Decreto Ejecutivo el uso del carbofurán, con excepción de los cultivos de piña y de banano, sin mayor justificación (ver texto del Decreto 38713) cuyo considerando 7 se lee así: “7º—Que en Costa Rica el uso de carbofurán está autorizado en varios cultivos, de ciclo corto, anual y perenne, dentro de los cuales están los de consumo fresco, así como los de consumo con cocción. Para estos el carbofurán actualmente puede ser sustituido por otros plaguicidas, a excepción de su uso en los cultivos de piña y banano”. En el 2006, la discusión en la Unión Europea para reducir los niveles del Ethephon (un químico usado para madurar y colorear artificialmente la MD-2) de 2 miligramos/kg a 0,05 mg/kg causó una alerta máxima del sector piñero en Costa Rica (ver nota). De manera a tener una idea del conjunto de sustancias químicas requeridas para producir la MD-2, remitimos al lector a la tabla del Anexo XXII (página 57) del informe denominado ”Crop Production Protocolo Pineapple MD2 (Ananas comosus)”, disponible aquí. Un número especial de la Revista Ambientico (Universidad Nacional – UNA) describía en detalle los daños ambientales que ocasionaba la piña MD-2 en Costa Rica (Número 177 de junio del 2008 disponible aquí). Los productores de ganado vecinos de una plantación de piña también pueden sufrir daños severos, debido a la proliferación de la mosca de establo que acarrea el mal manejo de los rastrojos de la piña (ver artículo de La Nación del 12/07/2010): sobre este punto, un documento que lleva el sello del MAG y de la Universidad Nacional UNA), “Boletín de Parasitología”, alerta sobre el riesgo de proliferación de este insecto, y lo más notorio es que su fecha de edición es del … 2003. Seis años después, un grupo de ganaderos cansados ante tanta inoperancia estatal interpuso una demanda contra el Estado (ver nota del Semanario Universidad, julio 2009). Diez años después de la edición de aquel boletín, la mosca sigue azotando a muchos ganaderos (ver nota de CRHoy del 27/6/2013). Desde el punto de vista de la cobertura mediática a las denuncias hechas por activistas y organizaciones sociales, son varios los reportajes hechos fuera de Costa Rica destinados a la opinión pública internacional en torno a la situación que impera en muchas piñeras de Costa Rica (en particular en el ámbito laboral) y en torno a los efectos sociales del modelo productivo adoptado: véase por ejemplo los reportajes de Suisse Romande, 2007, “Les ananas de la colère“, del Miami Herald, 2008, “Costa Rica’s pineapple boom raises environmental questions“, de Radio Canada, 2009, “Les ananas du Costa Rica“,  de The Guardian, 2010, “Pineapples: Luxury fruit at what price?“, de The Guardian, 2010, “Bitter fruit: The truth about supermarket pineapple” o el más reciente publicado en Der Spiegel en julio del 2014. Algunos de ellos buscan alertar a los consumidores en consonancia con algunas campañas internacionales realizadas a partir del 2007 (Nota 3). A estos reportajes, hay que añadir artículos de opinión en la misma dirección como (para dar algunos ejemplos), los leídos en El Pais (España) en el 2008, “La piña se amarga en Costa Rica” (disponible aquí) o en La Stampa (Italia) en el 2011, “Costa Rica: il sapore amaro degli ananas sulla nostra tavola” (ver artículo). Para completar el panorama, en cada país existen sitios especializados  sobre consumo libre de pesticidas que, cuando se busca la piña de Costa Rica,  advierten sobre la presencia de sustancias químicas en la piña, como por ejemplo: “Ananas sweet du Costa-Rica, vous reprendrez bien un peu d’éthéphon !” o “Les ananas sont-ils gangrenés à l’acétylène ?” o “L’ANANAS : je vous en remets une tranche?” (Francia).

Un reciente estudio publicado por la UNA sobre la situación sociolaboral de los migrantes en las piñeras de la zona Norte concluye que: “En este sentido, la actividad piñera en la zona ha basado su dinamismo y evolución reciente a partir del concurso de factores como el uso (y abuso) intensivo de la tierra (con sus consecuencias ambientales y geográficas) y la inserción supernumeraria de personas trabajadoras que, debido a su condición de irregularidad migratoria, presentan cierta vulnerabilidad y son proclives a experimentar experiencias deficitarias en sus condiciones sociolaborales” (pp. 91- 92).Hace ya unos años, en una nota de prensa sobre un foro realizado en la UCR al que no llegaron quiénes debían hacerlo,  titulada “MINAET rehuye debate sobre Caño Negro en Universidad de Costa Rica”, una de las juezas del TAA indicaba que al llegar sorpresivamente a investigar piñeras por presuntos delitos ambientales, “cuando nos ven llegando de sorpresa en una barrida, muchos operarios salen corriendo, pensado que somos de Migración”: señal inequívoca de un sistema de explotación laboral a los que están sometidas personas en situación migratoria irregular en muchas de las piñeras, y que no parece en lo más mínimo interesar a las autoridades del Ministerio de Trabajo.

La actitud del Estado costarricense

La falta de controles adecuados en materia laboral, en materia de salud ocupacional y las campañas internacionales contra la comercialización de la piña no parecieran haber dado lugar a algún tipo de reacción por parte del Estado costarricense, como tampoco en otros ámbitos, como el ambiental. Todo lo contrario. En un artículo titulado “La cuestionable sostenibilidad ambiental de la piña” publicado en septiembre del 2011 en La Nación, el Dr. Allan Astorga, experto en gestión ambiental, y Ex Secretario General de la SETENA, precisa el alcance de una grave modificación hecha a la normativa ambiental por las mismas autoridades estatales (en particular la Comisión Plenaria de la SETENA) para favorecer la expansión de la piña en el período 2006-2010: “Como por arte de magia, y en contravención con lo que establece el reglamento general de evaluación de impacto ambiental y la misma Ley Orgánica del Ambiente, surgió dentro de la Setena una nueva modalidad de instrumento, de tipo voluntario, que se denomina Estudio de Diagnóstico Ambiental (EDA), hecho para que las actividades ya en ejecución que no hubieran cumplido el trámite de evaluación de impacto ambiental que exige la ley y que la misma ley establece como un requisito indispensable para el inicio de las actividades, pudieran “ponerse al día” con sus permisos ambientales, muchos de los cuales son requeridos desde el exterior por los países que importan piña. La sustitución operada en la resolución 2286 – 2009 Setena del 25 de setiembre del 2009 del EDA por el EIA (por una Setena intervenida, como bien se sabe, por el Ministerio de la Competitividad) contradice nuestro ordenamiento jurídico y los principios de prevención que incluye nuestra normativa”.  Un ejemplo más de directrices normativas que violan el principio de no regresión en materia ambiental, a las que nos hemos venido acostumbrando en los últimos años por parte de las autoridades a cargo del ambiente en Costa Rica. El autor de este artículo, que no dio lugar a ninguna refutación luego de ser publicado, es contundente en sus conclusiones: “ Es urgente reorientar una producción piñera que, lejos de ser un orgullo para la imagen verde de nuestro país ante el mundo, se ha convertido en una vergüenza nacional“. En el precitado número 177 de Ambientico, Gabriela Cuadrado analiza en detalle otra “innovación” por parte de las autoridades: la inaudita propuesta de Decreto Ejecutivo elaborada por el Ministerio de Salud de Costa Rica tendiente a legalizar la contaminación de agua potable por parte de las empresas.  Su artículo: “Legalización de la contaminación de aguas para consumo humano (caso del diurón y el bromacil)” no deja duda alguna sobre la intención de las autoridades de salud de aquella época. Más recientemente (noviembre del 2014), un estudio publicado en Francia describe otro efecto de la expansión de la piña ante el que el Estado costarricense demuestra su complacencia: la concentración de tierras en detrimento del pequeño y mediano agricultor costarricense (artículo de Edgar Fernández “L’accaparement des terres au Costa Rica : le cas des entreprises productrices d’ananas” (disponible aquí).

Con relación al dato exacto de hectáreas de piña sembradas en Costa Rica dado por las autoridades del MAG, el último informe del Estado de la Nación precisa que “En 2013 y por quinto año consecutivo, la superficie sembrada de piña se estimó en 45.000 hectáreas, cifra que una vez más generó dudas, en vista de los aumentos registrados en la producción bruta y el monto exportado” (Estado de la Nación, XX Informe (2014) p.190). Además de innovar en muchos ámbitos, la piña de Costa Rica pareciera querer revolucionar la regla de tres: oficialmente, en el 2007, para generar 487 millones de dólares por concepto de piña exportada, se contaba con una extensión de 38.000 hectáreas. Para generar 834 millones de dólares (2013), oficialmente el MAG registra únicamente 45.000 hectáreas de piña en Costa Rica.

La advertencia de la UCR desoída

El liderazgo mundial obtenido por Costa Rica en el 2010 al que refiere el CNP coïncide con la administración del Presidente Oscar Arias Sánchez (2006-2010) y su marcada política de apertura irrestricta de Costa Rica a la economía mundial, política que se mantuvo durante la administración de la Presidenta Laura Chinchilla Miranda (2010-2014): durante este último período, el auge prosiguió con relación a la piña, tal y cómo lo indican las cifras de PROCOMER antes mencionadas. Se pudo observar cuán influyente puede ser este sector económico con ocasión de una inédita acción de Casa Presidencial que pidió suspender una “barrida” (control sorpresivo)  del TAA en plantaciones de piña en la zona Norte (Nota 4). Se mantuvo de igual manera la negativa de las autoridades ministeriales a participar en foros públicos auspiciados por las universidades con organizaciones sociales y comunidades afectadas (Nota 5).  Cuando lo hicieron, fue para rehuir los cuestionamientos y dejar la silla vacía, tal como ocurrió con el representante del Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG)  durante un foro auspiciado por el Tribunal Latinoamericano del Agua (TRAGUA) a finales del 2013 en Costa Rica (Nota 6). Las autoridades de Salud por su parte se mantuvieron mudas ante periodistas interesados en conocer su punto de vista (Nota 7).Es de recordar que debido a la cantidad de denuncias y de recursos de amparo recibidos por parte de la Sala Constitucional en los años 2006 y 2007 y a numerosos cuestionamientos realizados por activistas, ONGs y académicos ante el crecimiento vertiginoso del sector de la piña,  la máxima instancia de la Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), su Consejo Universitario, solicitó a las autoridades de Costa Rica frenar su expansión. Con fecha de diciembre del 2008, el Consejo Universitario instaba a las autoridades a establecer una moratoria para nuevas plantaciones de piña, en los siguientes términos:

“3. Instar al Gobierno y a las municipalidades mencionadas anteriormente a declarar y aplicar, de acuerdo con la legislación una moratoria a la expansión de la actividad piñera, hasta tanto se den las siguientes condiciones:

a. Se cuente con la debida planificación del territorio en el que se determinen las áreas críticas en relación con la vulnerabilidad del recurso hídrico superficial y subterráneo, así como la biodiversidad existente en la zona.

b. Se ejerzan los controles necesarios y se cuente con los estudios que demuestren, fehacientemente, que la actividad piñera está causando el menor impacto posible al medio ambiente y a la salud ambiental, incluida la de las personas que habitan en el entorno de los cultivos.

c. Se cuente con una propuesta de gestión interorganizacional e intersectorial, que garantice el estricto acatamiento de las empresas a la legislación ambiental, sanitaria y laboral del país”.

El texto completo del Pronunciamiento del Consejo Universitario de la UCR está disponible aquí,   y también se recomienda su lectura dado que poco se ha logrado desde el 2008 para limitar los daños que causa la piña, tal y como lo evidencia la lectura del informe del Estado de la Nación desde el 2008. La molestia que causó este documento a CANAPEP era de esperar (ver nota): siete años después, las buenas prácticas que alegó el gremio piñero acatar en el 2008 también quedan en espera.  Con relación a la discusión en la arena política, un periodista costarricense había publicado  en España uno de los pocos artículos críticos publicado en ese país a mediados del 2008 sobre la amargura de la piña (ver artículo  de Alvaro Murillo, “La piña se amarga en Costa Rica” El Pais (España),17/06/2008 disponible aquí)  precisando, entre otros que: “El principal partido de la oposición, Acción Ciudadana (PAC), ha convertido en un debate político los efectos ambientales de las 40.000 hectáreas cultivadas donde trabajan unos 20.000 peones en condiciones cuestionadas por organizaciones laborales. El auge de la piña en Costa Rica es tal que el último intento de las autoridades por reactivar el cultivo de granos básicos topó con que la mayoría de las tierras están dedicadas ahora a la fruta que servirá de postre para estadounidenses y europeos”. En un artículo  reciente (septiembre del 2014), la docente Geanina Amaya recordaba los compromisos de campaña de la actual administración del Presidente Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera que inició en mayo del 2014: “En campaña política el PAC aseguró que “Debe establecerse una moratoria a la expansión de la producción piñera de acuerdo al principio precautorio, hasta que se establezcan los mecanismos y controles adecuados por parte de las instituciones estatales con competencia en la materia“. En octubre del 2014, fue el legislador de otra bancada, el diputado Edgardo Araya (Frente Amplio) quién propuso establecer una moratoria nacional por 5 años y gravar con un impuesto especial la piña (ver nota de prensa): la segunda iniciativa dio lugar al proyecto de ley 19.371 antes mencionado.  Habiéndose convertido el PAC en caja de resonancia a los fundados reclamos de las comunidades afectadas desde el 2008, habiendo además participado de forma activa (con la entonces unipersonal bancada del FA) para que la piña sea parte de la discusión política desde el 2008 en Costa Rica, y habiendo los académicos de la UCR nutrido parte de esta discusión, resulta lógico que la paciencia de comunidades, organizaciones, activistas y académicos empiece poco a poco a mermarse en estos meses del 2015.

Instancias internacionales y piña de Costa Rica

Más allá de advertencias desoídas, de los vaivenes de la política nacional, y de las promesas de campaña (que parecieran ya muy lejanas para algunos…), desde la perspectiva del derecho internacional, es la conducta del Estado la que se evalúa de cara a sus obligaciones internacionales. El tema de la piña en Costa Rica no es del todo nuevo para las instancias interamericanas: en el año 2009, la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos fue solicitada para ordenarle a Costa Rica medidas para proteger la vida y la integridad física de un activista y reconocido opositor a la expansión de la piña en la Zona Sur, Aquiles Rivera (ver nota): ello debido a amenazas de muerte recibidas  por este líder comunal en mayo del 2009 (ver nota de la Asociación Nacional de Empleados Público, ANEP). Dichas medidas de protección fueron ordenadas por la Comisión al Estado costarricense. En este mismo año 2009, la relatora especial de Naciones Unidas sobre Derecho Humanos, Agua y Saneamiento, Catarina Albuquerque, visitó Costa Rica (ver texto). En su informe incluyó lo siguiente: “71. La Experta independiente desea expresar su preocupación respecto del empleo de Bromacil, Diurón y otros plaguicidas en las explotaciones agrícolas, en especial en las plantaciones de piña tropical, habida cuenta de que esos productos han sido relacionados con diversas formas de cáncer en caso de ser consumidos en grandes cantidades durante un período prolongado ” (p. 22, punto 71). La misma experta recomendaba en su informe del 2009 lo siguiente: “85. La Experta independiente recomienda que Costa Rica apruebe, como medida prioritaria, los proyectos de decreto ejecutivo destinados a reglamentar el uso de Bromacil y Diurón en las explotaciones agrícolas” (p. 26, punto 86). Notemos que no se encontró similar recomendación en los informes de misión posteriores de la experta de Naciones Unidas con relación a otros monocultivos (ver informes de misión disponibles en este enlace de Naciones Unidas).  En respuesta a este informe de Catarina Albuquerque,  la Misión de Costa Rica ante las Naciones Unidas en Ginebra hizo circular una nota oficial (ver texto del documento HRC/12/G/3, con fecha del 7/9/2009) que detalla las presuntas carencias del Informe. Con relación al tema de la piña, el punto 4 precisa que “sería importante conocer cuáles son las opciones que se les podrían brindar a los productores de piña en lugar de bromacil y diurón”: una crítica frontal a la experta de Naciones Unidas entendible si proviniese del sector productivo, pero que sorprendió a muchos observadores al provenir del mismo Estado. Más allá de esta airada reacción, se esperaría del Estado acatar lo recomendado sobre este punto preciso en el 2009. En un reciente reportaje del mes de marzo del 2015 sobre la contaminación en Siquirres que incluye una entrevista a un funcionario del Ministerio de Salud,  se lee que “El funcionario también rescató que el país no cuenta con reglamentos específicos, que dicten cuáles son los parámetros permitidos de agroquímicos en el agua para consumo humano”.

Conclusión:

Como se puede apreciar, a lo largo de estos últimos 8 años, la actitud del Estado costarricense con relación a la producción de la piña ha sido sumamente cuestionable. La CIDH oyó este 20 de marzo (en las vísperas de la celebraciones del Día Mundial del Agua) los descargos de las valientes comunidades de Siquirres, quiénes han agotado pacientemente, una tras otra, todas las vías legales existentes para hacer valer su derecho al agua desde el 2007 (derecho consagrado como tal por la Sala Constitucional de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de Costa Rica). Dos sentencias de la Sala Constitucional del 2009 (ver nota) que exigían a las entidades recurridas del Estado “que en forma inmediata se inicie el proceso de saneamiento y eliminación de residuos de plaguicidas, de las fuentes de agua” demuestran de manera fehaciente el desinterés del Estado en resolver el problema.  Ni que decir de este sector productivo, reacio a reconocer su responsabilidad (y a proceder por ejemplo a la creación de algún mecanismo – fideicomiso, fondo de compensación u otro – para compensar e indemnizar a comunidades afectadas y a particulares), proclive a presentar acciones penales por presunta difamación contra líderes comunales (Nota 8) y poco expresivo en algunas ocasiones en que el periodismo de investigación ha intentado obtener información de su parte (Nota 9). El marco de la demanda se circunscribe  únicamente a los efectos en el agua de la contaminación de las empresas piñeras en Siquirres y a la conducta de las autoridades estatales desde el 2007 en esta zona, y no entra a analizar otros aspectos como los brevemente descritos. Pese a ello, es muy probable que otras comunidades afectadas por la expansión piñera desde muchos años, en particular las de la zona Norte de Costa Rica y de otras partes del país (como Buenos Aires de Puntarenas o Chomes), observaron con mucha atención esta audiencia: la sustancias químicas usadas en Siquirres son muy similares a las que se usa en el resto del país para producir la MD-2; además, la capacidad de absorción de los suelos así como la vulnerabilidad de los acuíferos no son peculiaridades propias a la región de Siquirres. Por parte del Estado, no hay mucho que se pueda hacer ante los comisionados en Washington: el mismo Presidente del TAA fue recientemente bastante enfático con relación a la conducta estatal en el caso que se ventilará ante la CIDH: “Vergüenza debe darle todo esto al Estado” (ver artículo de La Nación de septiembre del 2014).

La profunda sensación de impunidad que evidencia el reciente reportaje del Semanario Universidad (Nota 10) y la inoperancia demostrada por el Estado costarricense por hacer valer en la hermosa tierra de Siquirres principios (bastante básicos) como el principio precautorio o el principio  “el que contamina paga” constituyen, entre otros, argumentos de peso de difícil refutación que ahora colocan a Costa Rica en una situación extremadamente delicada desde el punto de vista internacional.

Nicolás Boeglin

Notas

Nota 1: Se lee en el XX Informe del Estado de la Nación (2014) que “En mayo del 2014 el Laboratorio Nacional de Aguas del AyA recomendó suspender  el abastecimiento por camiones cisternas, ya que desde el 2012 los laboratorios privados contratados no han encontrado residuos de plaguicidas en las fuentes de agua para consumo humano en las comunidades involucradas. Sin embargo estudios efectuados por el  Laboratorio de  Análisis de Residuos de Plaguicidas (Larep) del IRET-UNA, en marzo del 2014, detectaron concentraciones de 2,8 Mg/L de bromacil, 0,1Mg/L de triadimefón y otros plaguicidas”  (p. 192).

Nota 2: Es, por ejemplo, el caso de un pesticida altamente tóxico para los suelos y la salud humana como el Paraquat (ver ficha del 2011 sobre efectos en suelos y en la salud humana disponible aquí). Informes de ONG internacionales habían denunciado los daños a la salud humana de quiénes se ven expuestos a este químico en todo el mundo, incluyendo los operarios de fincas en Costa Rica (ver informe). Luego de una intensa batalla judicial liderada por los países escandinavos, se logró en julio del 2007 que la Directiva de la Comisión de la Unión Europea que permitía su uso fuera anulada por el Tribunal de Primera Instancia de la Unión Europea (ver comunicado de prensa del TPI de la Unión Europea). No obstante, a los meses, una trasnacional operando en Costa Rica adujo que aplicaría la moratoria mundial exigida por la UE en cuanto a su uso en todas sus operaciones en el mundo, con excepción de sus fincas de piña en Costa Rica hasta mediados del 2008, indicando que “… it is discontinuing the use of paraquat in its agricultural operations worldwide by implementing an immediate phase-out program, except in Costa Rica for Dole’s pineapple operations where the targeted phase-out program extends to June 30, 2008” (ver nota de noviembre del 2007). En un comunicado de prensa de octubre del 2007 al que se le añadió una actualización del 2012, se indica que el uso de Paraquat se mantendrá, con la autorización de las autoridades de Costa Rica, para luchar contra la proliferación de la mosca hematófaga que provoca el mal manejo de los rastrojos de la piña: “Update to October 8, 2007 press release (effective November 20, 2012). The Costa Rican government requires growers to take measures to control stable fly infestations. Stable flies are drawn to the moist leaves and other residue left after pineapple harvest, and use of paraquat to dry this residue helps to control these infestations.

Nota 3: Algunas organizaciones han intentado hacer ver al consumidor lo que no se dice de la piña costarricense: el informe “‘The story behind the pineapples sold on our supermarket shelves: A case study of Costa Rica’ preparado por Consumers International y Bananalink constituye uno de estos intentos. En el 2008, la ONG británica OXFAM de igual manera lideró una campaña contra la comercialización de la piña de Costa Rica en los supermercados de Alemania (ver nota de prensa de La Nación, 2008 y una nota de DW titulada “Explotación laboral en Latinoamérica: Alemania no es inocente” de abril del 2008).

Nota 4: En esta nota  de prensa publicada por ElPais.cr se indica que: ”La Casa Presidencial estaría presionando a jueces del Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo (TAA), para que levante la orden de cierre a tres empresas productoras de piña en Los Chiles y Guatuso. De acuerdo con fuentes cercanas a la Presidencia, dos jueces abandonaron una gira por la Región Huetar Norte, y fueron llamados de urgencia por altos funcionarios de Casa Presidencial y del Ministerio del Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones (Minaet)”.

Nota 5: Véase por ejemplo la nota de prensa titulada por Elpais.cr: “Salud rehuye debate sobre agua potable y contaminación de piñeras en Siquirres” (disponible aquí).

Nota 6: En el informe de prensa (disponible aquí) de la actividad realizada por el TRAGUA en San José a finales del 2013, se incluye el siguiente artículo de ElPais.cr titulado: “Costa Rica: Funcionario de Agricultura huyó de Foro sobre efectos negativos del cultivo de piña”.

Nota 7: Se lee en este reportaje del Semanario Universidad de septiembre del 2011 y titulado “Otra comunidad se resiste a las consecuencias de la expansión piñera” que, en la subnota titulada “Plantación opera junto a Escuela en Caño Negro” la posición de la Ministra de Salud resulta inalcanzable: “Este Semanario intentó conocer la opinión de la Ministra de Salud, Daysi Corrales; sin embargo, no fue posible obtener su posición sobre la denuncia de los habitantes de El Jobo de Caño Negro”.

Nota 8: Fue el caso de Carlos Arguedas, en Siquirres. Leemos en un largo recuento publicado por la FECON (ver nota) que: “El ambientalista y sindicalista Carlos Arguedas fue acusado por una piñera de difamación por haber asegurado que la compañía “contamina el agua y sigue sembrando piña a 50 metros de la naciente”. El juicio se ha suspendido en dos ocasiones (febrero y julio, 2010) y no fue convocado antes de la muerte de Carlos el 31 diciembre del 2010. La demanda interpuesta buscaba 10 millones de colones como reparación por las declaraciones dadas por Arguedas en el Consejo Municipal de Siquirres en febrero del 2009. Ese día, un grupo de vecinos estaba solicitando concretar una moratoria a la siembra de piña en el cantón de Siquirres por la contaminación con agrotóxicos desde el 2007, contaminación que afecta a unas 6 mil personas hasta el día de hoy. Para Carlos Arguedas, esta acción legal “no era más que la intención de la empresa Hacienda Ojo de Agua de salir librada de un daño tan grave que ha hecho a la comunidad.” De igual manera Erlinda Quesada, regidora de Guácimo, fue llevada por los empresarios de Siquirres a los tribunales por denunciar el irrespeto a la legislación ambiental (ver su presentación durante el foro del TRAGUA en noviembre del 2013). Añadamos también (ver nota de Kioscos Ambientales) el caso de cinco regidores de Guácimo: “Tico Verde acusa a los cinco regidores de prevaricato, luego de que la Municipalidad le retirara la patente a su planta empacadora en el 2008. La piñera se encuentra sobre áreas de recarga acuífera en La Perla, parte alta del cantón de Guácimo, donde se ubica la fuente de agua más importante para el abastecimiento público de los cantones de Guácimo y Pococí. Por la importancia del área la Municipalidad decretó una moratoria a la siembra de piña”. En otros casos, son trabajadores de piñeras los que han sido (y posiblemente sigan siendo …) despedidos por participar en protestas comunales, como el caso de  Jeffrey López hecho público en el 2009 (ver Subnota” “Perdí mi trabajo por protestar” del artículoComunidad exige derecho a tomar agua potable” (Semanario Universidad, Junio 2009). Todas estas demandas por presunta difamación o prevaricato presentadas en Costa Rica por empresas piñeras contra líderes comunales fueron desestimadas después de largos años ante los tribunales penales de Costa Rica, y forman parte de acciones legales a las que recurren con frecuencia empresas, que la doctrina anglosajona denomina SLAPPs (Strategic Legal Action Aainst Public Participation). Sobre este particular, ver este  estudio publicado en Canadá al respecto, que las califica de la siguiente manera: “SLAPPs are often threatened or filed with the intent of silencing participation and stifling public debate. SLAPPs function by harassing and intimidating individuals, in essence creating a “chill” in public participation. Defending a SLAPP involves a substantial drain of resources (namely money, energy and time) even if victory on the legal front is assured. The end result is that the suit may not be successful in court, but it has served to delay, silence and harass protestors. Whole communities can often become silenced out of fear of being dragged into a lawsuit”(p. 3). En el caso del proyecto minero ubicado en la localidad de Las Crucitas, la empresa minera canadiense Infinito Gold presentó acciones penales por presunta difamación contra cinco profesionales en Costa Rica, incluyendo al suscrito. Sus repetidas ausencias a las audiencias nos llevaron a publicar en el año 2012, el siguiente artículo: “Audiencias con el Infinito: ausencias…” De estas cinco demandas de la empresa canadiense, solo dos concluyeron en el 2013, a favor de los demandados. La muerte de Jairo Mora en el 2013 en un playa del Caribe de Costa Rica en la que monitoreaba la llegada de tortugas ha llenado de luto a Costa Rica, y llevó a un especialista costarricense como Alvaro Sagot a preguntarse en un artículo: “¿Es peligroso ser ambientalista en Costa Rica?”. La polémica decisión de los tribunales de Costa Rica del 2015 sobre este el caso de Jairo Mora ha sido denunciada por el sector ambientalista de Costa Rica. Recientemente The Guardian usó, con relación a esta decisión, el siguiente titular: “Conservationist murders threaten Costa Rica’s eco-friendly reputation(ver artículo del 19/03/2015).

Nota 9: Por ejemplo, se lee en el artículo titulado “Comunidad exige cierre de piñera en Guácimo”  (Semanario Universidad, octubre del 2007) que “Se intentó conocer el criterio de la empresa Agroindustrial Tico Verde S.A., pero durante la visita a la finca se informó que su administrador y representante, Federico Aguilar, no se encontraba. Posteriormente se le trató de entrevistar por teléfono, pero indicó que respondería las consultas por correo electrónico; sin embargo, al cierre de esta edición (lunes 22) no había contestado”.  De similar manera, se lee que “UNIVERSIDAD se contactó con a la empresa Upala Agrícola, donde se indicó que dirigiendo un correo electrónico a Estíbaliz Rodríguez se evacuarían las dudas relacionadas con el tema, sin embargo al cierre de edición no se obtuvo respuesta” en el reportajeDiez piñeras acumulan ¢276 millones de deuda con la Caja” (Semanario Universidad, agosto del 2012). Esta misma actitud ante la prensa se desprende a la lectura del artículo Vecinos de la Perla de Guácimo están molestos por sentencia leve contra piñera que contaminó” (Semanario Universidad, febrero 2013) en el cual se recoge que : “Se intentó recoger el criterio tanto de Alfonso Sancho, presiente de la Sociedad Agroindustrial Tico Verde S.A., así como de Abel Chaves, presidente de la Canapep; sin embargo, al cierre de la edición no se recibió respuesta”. Se lee en el artículo titulado “Milano de Siquirres sigue esperando un acueducto ocho años después” (Semanario Universidad, marzo del 2015)   que: “UNIVERSIDAD intentó conocer el criterio de dicha empresa sobre la situación actual de las comunidades afectadas por la contaminación del agua con Bromacil, para lo cual se enviaron por correo electrónico una serie de preguntas al director de relaciones corporativas, Luis Enrique Gómez, luego de intentar localizarlo por teléfono. Las preguntas enviadas, y no contestadas al cierre de esta edición son las siguientes: 1. Los últimos análisis de aguas realizados a la naciente y acueducto de Milano de Siquirres, realizadas por el Centro de Investigaciones en Contaminación Ambiental de la Universidad de Costa Rica el año anterior, revelan una “presencia constante” del químico bromacil en el agua, aún 8 años después de los incidentes que obligaron a limitar el consumo de agua en la Asada de esta comunidad. ¿Aún aplica su empresa el químico bromacil en la finca La Babilonia?, ¿cómo se puede explicar la presencia aún del químico en el agua? 2. ¿Ha colaborado la empresa en las labores de saneamiento de las fuentes de agua contaminadas? ¿Pagó la empresa por los daños ambientales causados? ¿Piensa la empresa compensar a las comunidades afectadas de alguna forma? ¿Qué responsabilidades asume la empresa por este caso, que ahora será expuesto por las comunidades ante la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos?”

Nota 10: Nos referimos a la edición del 11 de marzo del 2015 que incluye los siguientes reportajes, muy completos sobre el caso en discusión: “Milano de Siquirres sigue esperando un acueducto ocho años después” (disponible aquí) y  “Xinia Briceño, presidenta de Asada de Milano: “¡Ya nos hubieran construido tres acueductos con lo que han gastado en cisternas!(disponible aquí).

 

Nicolás Boeglin, Profesor de Derecho Internacional Público, Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR).

 

The U.S.’news’ media are so censored and controlled, so that even America’s ‘media watchdog’ organizations — mediamatters.org and fair.org on the left; and aim.org and mrc.org on the right — have hidden from the American public President Barack Obama’s Ukrainian coup in February 2014 that violently overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected President and replaced him with a Ukrainian nazi (racist-fascist) rabidly eliminationist anti-Russian, police-state regime in Kiev, which, ever since America’s coup there, has been ethnically cleansing the Ukrainian Donbass region that had voted 90% for the man, Viktor Yanukovych, whom the Obama Administration overthrew.

None of this is reported in the U.S. ‘news’ media — and America’s ‘media watchdog’ organizations hide the media’s hiding of it, though these events could bring on a nuclear war with Russia, which is America’s real target in Ukraine, right next door to Russia.

On 14 January 2015, I headlined “The Most-Censored News Story of 2014 Was What…?” and reported that, after an investigation, I had found that, by far, the most-censored news story of 2014 in America was Obama’s coup and U.S.-supported ethnic-cleansing in Ukraine. Links were provided there to videos of the the U.S.-backed massacre in the Trade Unions Building in Odessa on 2 May 2014, and the following ethnic cleansing in the Donbass region. However, the U.S. even sponsors firebombings of Donbass in order to get rid of the residents there, and our ‘media watchdogs’ are even silent about the ’news’ being silent about that. And, here is a good video of America’s Ukrainian coup, which overthrew Yanukovych. Here is more about that coup.
America is trying to conquer Russia, and the placement of nuclear missiles right next door to Russia, in Ukraine seems to be Obama’s objective. America’s ‘news’ media, and their ‘watchdogs,’ are doing a terrific job of hiding all of this from the American people. They wouldn’t do that if these events weren’t enormously important to the American aristocracy, who, it seems, have bought up all of the major mainstream and alternative news media. Scandals far less important than this ongoing one are routinely receiving much attention from the American press. However, even America’s ‘media watchdogs’ ignore this scandal of America’s press. Thus, there aren’t peace-marches and other public demonstrations about this, even though America’s bringing nazis to power in Ukraine is shocking. But you can find out all about it by clicking on the links here, and on the links within those linked-to news reports. It’s all history now, which was unfortunately never reported by U.S. media while it was still very hot and bloody news.

Islamophobia in the USA: The Case of The Arabic Language

March 31st, 2015 by Sufyan bin Uzayr

On March 18, a student in Pine Bush High School near New York City recited the American Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic. This was done as part of the school’s Foreign Language Week, which was conducted to celebrate the “many races, cultures and religions that make up [the US and the Pine Bush] School District.”

One would expect the multicultural and cosmopolitan American society to appreciate such gestures. However, the reactions to the recitation of the Pledge in Arabic spoke otherwise: the language in itself was described to be meant for terrorists, and associated with Islam. Such bigotry once again highlighted everything that is wrong with USA: xenophobia, racism, ignorance, violence and above all, Islamophobia.

The Controversy

Pine Bush is a small town located roughly 85 miles from New York City. It is predominantly white, with Arab and/or Muslim-American populations being negligible.

The Foreign Language Week was an attempt undertaken by Pine Bush High School to foster cultural integration and interaction. It was an occasion to celebrate the multiple tongues, cultures and events that make up the human civilization in total.

Sadly, this praiseworthy teaching exercise received nothing but criticism from the American nation. One student claimed, “The Pledge should always be said in English.”

Also, certain parents were offended because they had “family members killed in Afghanistan.” Apparently, they overlooked two basic things:

  1. Arabic, as a language, did not kill any of their family members.

  2. Arabic, as a language, hardly has any proper speakers in Afghanistan.

On any given day, such opposition to Arabic would sound ridiculous. However, a good portion of the American media as well as political outfits described the recitation of the Pledge in Arabic as a threat to USA, thereby incorrectly viewing Arabic as the language of terrorism, spoken by enemies of freedom. The Clash of Civilizations rhetoric was propagated once again: Arabic, much like every other Asian language, is theirs, not ours.

However, even more unfortunate was the fact that instead of ignoring such baseless talks, the Principal of Pine Bush High School decided to apologize for the recital. Will not this apology convey to the students a wrong idea that reciting the Pledge in Arabic was indeed an unpatriotic and unlawful act?

Is the USA Really Multicultural?

The Pine Bush controversy once again sparked discussions about the old question: is USA truly multicultural? Have the Americans actually embraced the pluralism that exists within their country, or is xenophobia and racism the norm in their society?

Furthermore, this controversy did not occur in isolation. Recently, New York City decided to observe some Muslim holidays as well, and the responses to this decision too were a mixed bag.

The opposition to the Pledge in Arabic shows one key point: in spite of its multicultural nature, America does view garments, languages and probably even cuisines as not merely cultural symbols, but signs of religious, ethnic and racial identities. Arabic was just one side of the coin: Chinese, Japanese, Russian and even Spanish would be considered foreign. On the other hand, languages such as Italian or French would not have stirred such a big controversy.

Why?

Because no matter what you say, racism is selective and biased. Arabic and Chinese are foreign because anything related to the Orient is suspicious for the American masses. Russian is foreign because Russia in itself is suspicious for Americans. Spanish is foreign (even though a good number of Americans speak Spanish as their first language) because of deep-rooted racism and xenophobia in the American society.

This is precisely why the recital of the Pledge in Arabic led to nationwide hysteria and outrage. A sense of hostility is deep-rooted in the American system: Afghanistan, a country that does not speak Arabic, can be blamed for Arabic, if need be. Islamophobia is on the rise in USA, and the Pine Bush incident only affirms this fact. As such, NYC’s decision to acknowledge Islamic holidays, as good as it might sound, will still continue to be overshadowed by such Islamophobic and ignorant gestures.

Sufyan bin Uzayr writes for several print and online publications, and regularly blogs about issues of contemporary relevance at Political Periscope (www.politicalperiscope.com). You can connect with him using Facebook (http://facebook.com/sufyanism) or Google+ (https://plus.google.com/+SufyanbinUzayr?rel=author) or email him at [email protected]

Saudi Arabia, GCC Launches Bombing Campaign in Yemen

March 31st, 2015 by Abayomi Azikiwe

On March 26 the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), under the direction of Saudi Arabia, announced that it began to bomb Ansurallah (Houthi) positions in Yemen.

This Shiite-led movement has been in conflict with the western-backed Yemeni government for over a decade.

The capital Sanaa was lost to the Ansurallah fighters in September 2014. Recently Taiz was taken by the Houthis and the southern port city of Aden is under siege.

Saudi Arabia has framed the current conflict as a battle against Iranian influence in Yemen. A series of aerial bombardments have killed and injured dozens of Yemeni civilians.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced on March 30 that 45 people were killed and 65 others wounded in air attacks on the northwest of the country. Those who suffered in the bombings were taking refuge from the ongoing conflicts which have intensified in the last six years. (AFP)

Another humanitarian organization, Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), reported that the airstrike killed at least 15 people. MSF’s manager of programs in the Middle East, Pablo Marco, indicated that the corpses of the civilians and those injured in the airstrike were taken to Haradh Hospital near the al-Mazrak camp in the province of Hajja.

“It was an airstrike,” Marco declared, noting that he was anticipating that “more dead are at al-Mazrak camp.” The al-Mazrak camp has been providing shelter to the people dislocated by the struggle pitting the Houthi fighters against the central government since 2009.

Press TV stated on March 30 that the bombing of al-Mazrak camp represented an escalation of the Saudi operation. The monarchy has intervened in Yemen before seeking to bolster the previous government of former President Saleh who was forced to resign after a nationwide uprising in 2011.

Recent reports suggests that Yemeni military forces loyal to former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh have opposed the Saudi airstrikes and are working with the Ansurallah fighters. This alliance has given the Houthi forces a decisive advantage in their offensive in the south of the country. (New York Times, March 25)

According to Press TV

“The airstrikes began late Sunday (March 29) and continued unabated for almost nine hours, with Saudi bombers targeting positions of the Houthi fighters and the soldiers from the Republican Guard around the presidential palace. A base operated by the Republican Guard in southern Sanaa was also targeted by the strikes.”

This same articles goes on to note that

“Riyadh says it has launched the airstrikes, the first round of which was carried out on March 26, to defend the ‘legitimate government’ of Yemen’s fugitive president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who fled to the Saudi capital on the same day. Riyadh has vowed to press ahead with the bombing until Hadi is reinstated.”

Ansarullah (Houthis) are a Zaidi Shia group operating in Yemen. The movement takes its name from Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, who launched an uprising in 2004 and was said to have been killed by Yemeni army forces that September. Led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the movement made substantial gains beginning in Sept. 2014 continuing through the current period.

At present Ansurallah controls of the Yemeni capital Sanaa including the parliament. Saudi Arabia took action when the movement was on the verge of a major offensive in the southern port city of Aden.

United States Foreign Policy Destabilizes Yemen

This bombing operation by the GCC represents the collapse of US foreign policy in Yemen. The Pentagon withdrew 100 special forces and diplomatic personnel in recent weeks.

U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke was quoted by the British Broadcasting Corporation as saying that “Due to the deteriorating security situation in Yemen, the U.S. government has temporarily relocated its remaining personnel out of Yemen.” (BBC, March 25)

He went on to stress that the Obama administration would continue to support Yemen’s “political transition” and monitor “terrorist threats” emerging from the Middle Eastern state, the most underdeveloped in the region. Nonetheless Rathke added that “There is no military solution to Yemen’s current crisis.”

The Pentagon’s withdrawal from the al-Anad air base took place after an alleged offensive by al-Qaeda fighters in the nearby city of al-Houta. Additional reports said that al-Qaeda was soon forced to retreat from the city as a result of the defensive operations carried out by Yemen’s military forces.

Pentagon military forces stationed at the base, including special forces, were conducting training operations for Yemeni soldiers to allegedly support their fight against al-Qaeda. The U.S. has engaged in drone attacks, targeted assassinations and other counter-insurgency efforts for several years.

The struggle in Yemen involving the Ansurallah movement is being framed by the western media as being representative of a proxy war between Saudi forces seeking to curb Iranian and other Shiite influence in the region. Washington is closely allied with the Saudi monarchy and supplies weapons, military and intelligence support to the ruling family.

In addition to the struggle between the Ansurallah fighters against the Hadi government, a secessionist movement is also rising in the South where a socialist-oriented republic existed between 1967 and the late 1980s. Large demonstrations have been held in recent months where the flag of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen has been flown.

Egypt Calls for Ground Intervention at Arab League Summit 

Egyptian military leader turned civilian president, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, presented a proposal to the Arab League Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh on March 28 to establish a regional military force that would intervene in states facing internal conflicts.

It is quite obvious that Saudi airstrikes will not be enough to halt the advances of the Houthi fighters or to stabilize the security situation in the country based on U.S. interests. Al-Manar Television of Lebanon said in a report that thousands of Islamic Sunni rebels are being deployed by Saudi Arabia to fight against the Ansarullah movement.

The report said that

“Five Persian Gulf States — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait — backed by the U.S. have declared war on Yemen in a joint statement issued earlier Thursday (March 26). U.S. President Barack Obama authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to the military operations, National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said late Wednesday night. She added that while U.S. forces were not taking direct military action in Yemen, Washington was establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support.” (March 29)

At the same time there is the ongoing war of regime-change in Syria where Islamic State fighters and other opposition groups are continuing to seek the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad. In Iraq, the Pentagon has carried out aerial bombardments alongside those taking place in neighboring Syria, as well as the deployment of over 3,100 U.S. troops under the guise of providing training to Iraq forces.

“The challenges facing Arab national security are immense,” Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi said during the final session of the Arab League summit. The Egyptian leader said such a regional force was essential to “defend our [Arab] nation­. . . and gives it an active role in the future of human civilization.” (Washington Post, March 30)

Objectively such a regional military force would be compelled to carry out the foreign policy aims of Washington and Wall Street since the bulk of arms and intelligence sharing is provided by the U.S. in both Egypt and the GCC states. With the U.S. military being tied up through airstrikes and ground operations in Iraq and Syria, the Obama administration is attempting to utilize pro-western regimes in the region to implement both aerial campaigns and ground invasions designed to support imperialist interests.

By bombing Islamic State targets in Syria, Canada is breaking international law and is in violation of the United Nations Charter, says a former Canadian ambassador.

There are a number of reasons why Canada’s military mission in Iraq should be extended and there seems to be wide public support for doing so. However, there is one more powerful reason why that extension should not involve the bombing of Islamic State targets in Syria.

The reason is that by doing so Canada is breaking international law and is in violation of the United Nations Charter. Cynics may react to this by saying, “So what?” They may argue that our responsibility to stop the horrors committed by this terrorist group overrides our obligations to follow the rule of law. The cynics would be wrong.

The principles of territorial integrity and state sovereignty are basic principles that have governed the relations between states since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. While the treaty has been violated many times in the intervening years, usually by acts of aggression by the more powerful countries, they remain the essential components of international law.

After the cataclysmic events of two world wars and the use of the atomic bomb against Japan, the framers of the United Nations incorporated the principles of territorial integrity and state sovereignty into the United Nations Charter. The charter was seen as the primary safeguard of peace and security in a nuclear age. The Helsinki Final act of 1975 reinforced these principles by adding to them the principle of the inviolability of borders.

These are fundamental principles and they have universal application. They cannot be set aside because of special cases or because they present an obstacle to the policy objectives of a powerful nation. The message is simple and clear: sovereignty cannot be violated without United Nations Security Council authority.

When a democratic nation such as Canada breaks international law and acts against the UN Charter it not only loses its moral standing in the world but sets a dangerous precedent to be followed by other countries, especially those who do not boast of their respect for law and order. It becomes even more serious when a democratic country violates international law more than once as Canada will have done if we bomb the Islamic State in Syria.

Fifteen years ago this month Canada joined NATO countries (Greece excepted) in the bombing of Serbia, thus violating international law, the UN Charter and NATO’s own Article 1 prohibiting NATO from using force to resolve international disputes and to act always in accordance with the UN Charter. Later, Canada again broke the law by following the U.S. in recognizing the unilateral declaration of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia (there was no referendum).

The illegal bombing of Serbia and the recognition of Kosovo were justified on the grounds that genocide and ethnic cleansing were taking place in Kosovo by Serbian security forces. These charges were later proven by the United Nations to be highly exaggerated. Forensic experts were unable to find any evidence of mass killings and the refugee exodus out of Kosovo took place after the bombing started.

Nevertheless, NATO’s support of the Albanians in Kosovo continues to be heralded in the West as a model of how humanitarian intervention should work. Not everyone agrees.

The current President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, warned that recognizing Kosovo’s independence would set a bad precedent and would encourage others desiring independence to ignore international law and follow the Kosovo example. He indicated that he, too, might like to see a number of Russian minority groups in the former Soviet Union become independent.

President Putin’s warnings were ignored. His incorporation of Crimea into Russia should not have come as a surprise.

We hear very little today about NATO’s intervention in the Balkans and Canada’s role in the bombing of Serbia. However, it was then that the western democracies first violated the UN Charter and international law. A precedent was set and the framework of international security suffered a serious breach. It was set back again with the United States invasion of Iraq and will be again if we take part in the bombing of Syria.

James Bissett is a former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria.

The First Round of Negotiations

Almost a month after the agreement of the 20th of February between the new Greek government, the European Institutions and the IMF, we need to know where we stand. “We” in this case is not the government. It is not even Syriza’s members and voters. “We” includes all those who understand the necessity of a strong democratic reply to aggressive neoliberalism and the austerity it imposes on the people of Europe, and who perceive the victory of Syriza as a gleam of hope against a conservative and reactionary turn of Europe. It extends to all democratic and politically liberal citizens who worry about the fate of democracy and who want to continue fighting for a better future for the working people in Greece and in Europe. For that reason it is important that we understand what exactly is happening and why it is happening.

A lot has been written during the last three weeks on the content and the interpretation of February’s agreement. Many rushed to shout that Syriza had betrayed its electoral promises and moved away from the vision of social change that has inspired the Left in Greece and in Europe over these difficult years. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

First of all, one needs to be clear about the difficulties the government has been facing during this time. On the one hand, it must meet its payment obligations – internally and externally – under harsh liquidity conditions. On the other hand it must prioritize and apply its reform program, starting from the principle of comforting those most in need (the first and – so far – the only law passed by the government concerns the humanitarian crisis), and moving to the restoration of social rights and social justice, restarting the economy, and understanding the workings of the state as a necessary condition for its transformation. And it has to do so in the context of mounting political pressure constantly pointing to the fact that there is no other way Europe can go, than continuous, blind-folded consolidation.

This is how we have to look at February 20th – as a hard compromise reached from an unfavourable position.

The Second Round of Negotiations

Let us now turn to what has happened this month. The main goal of the government was to stand on its ground. Politically, this meant defending its position that all past agreements connected to failed austerity policies (including the conclusion of the 5th review of the Second Adjustment Program) should be abandoned, and that the basis for cooperation between Greece and its creditors would be the list of reforms sent by the Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, as a complement to the political agreement of the 20th. It also meant that the scope of cooperation would be a common concern about creating the conditions for Greece to grow, and that any evaluation would be in line with the spirit of this common target.

Unfortunately, this is not how some of our creditors interpreted the intentional ambiguity of the decision. What we have seen during the last week is the explicit violation of its political spirit and a concerted effort to restore the status quo ante, both in literal terms as well as in terms of process, taking advantage of the fact that neither time nor money played on the Greek side. This is how we can interpret the constant reference of [German Finance Minister] Wolfgang Schauble (and others) to the “Troika,” the “closing of the current agreement” and the “respect of the obligations of the Greek state.” Vagueness thus became a double-edge sword: on the one hand it gave the government breathing space in order to organize and push forward its own agenda, but on the other hand it left the field open for objective difficulties to work their way into the process. Resistance to this demands a great deal of decisiveness as well as hard work.

Democratic Control and Solidarity

Two things are indispensable in this process: solidarity on the one hand, and an honest, realistic and constructive perception of democratic control, on the other. The questions arising for the Left at this time are very serious and complex. And they are rightly being brought into the debate as a mechanism of maintaining our orientation regarding the strategy and the tactics of social transformation. What we have claimed is that Europe can be transformed into a fairer, more equal and more prosperous economic and political area, inextricably connected and accountable to its citizens. Whether this claim is correct, we cannot say yet. It is true that the indications don’t look very promising. But ruptures are there and coalitions are possible. What we say is that we should go to the limits of this strategy, and try to take advantage of everything that democracy and politics allows us to.

Honest and constructive criticism is one thing, but abandoning the project while it is taking its first steps is a whole other. For better or for worse, Syriza at this point is a big bet for the Left in Europe and it needs all the support it can get. For the government to stand on its feet, it has to keep its forces together. This requires constant availability of information regarding the dilemmas and the difficulties it faces, open discussion of the reasons for moving one way or the other in crucial circumstances, and closeness to its social and political allies both in Greece and abroad.

Challenges Ahead: “New Conditions, New Tasks”

The breathing space won by Syriza last month is not sufficient for its success. Syriza’s strength in its short march to power has been its effectiveness to provide a voice for the popular social alliance that was formed during the crisis, to inspire and mobilize it. As the party moves into power, given its relatively weak organizational structure, its major challenge is to sustain and even expand its presence in the social field.

“As the party moves into power, given its relatively weak organizational structure, its major challenge is to sustain and even expand its presence in the social field.”

The danger for Syriza is to be subsumed by its governmental duties and to abandon the major component of the strategy that led it into success. The dangers of the electoral success of the left parties are well known. Governmentalism and parliamentarism are the foremost documented causes of the deradicalization of the left in power. However, in the Greek case there are more concrete concerns that Syriza should be vigilant about: The transferring of the party cadres into the state apparatus has not only further weakened the party’s organization but it is bound to contribute to the cartelization of the party and therefore runs the danger of reproducing post-democratic trends. At the same time, since the main focus of the political debates are the negotiations with the debtors, the possibility of public discourse turning more technocratic, will move us straight to the strategic trajectory of the other side. This in turn, unless challenged, can lead to de-politicization and to the marginalization of the political and ideological coordinates of the party. As long as the base of Syriza’s rhetoric remains confined to the arguments around the country’s fiscal and economic problems, this undermines the mobilizing capacity of the party. Finally, the social crisis has created such expectations that the pressures to bypass the existing networks of solidarity and find solutions away from collective structures and relations will become acute.

Furthermore, as the short march to power and especially the forced government coalition with the Independent Greeks has inevitably resulted in the last few months in a watering down of the class rhetoric in favour of a more “national” one, the danger of undermining the radical profile of Syriza becomes visible. This, in combination with the fact that there is not enough time for the new members to get socialized within the party’s radical culture, are issues that need to be confronted before the latter get alienated. Here the educating functions of the party have to be beefed up now more than ever before.

The Party – Government Relation

As the new conditions have brought forward a number of challenges, the question of the relationship of the party to the government has become more timely than ever before. The debate within the party has heated up, as for example in the first meeting of the Central Committee (CC). The CC elected its new secretary (T. Koronakis, a very promising cadre of the younger generation) and a new sparsely populated Political Secretariat and in a sense opened the debate on the party’s “new tasks.” In addition to numerous technical arrangements, the major challenge of the party is to not abandon the strategy that brought Syriza into power: namely to continue and even advance its presence in the social field. To many, the success in this task will solidify the social alliance among the subordinate social classes (working class, unemployed, the poor) with the traditional and the new petite bourgeoisie, which are being squeezed dramatically by the new patterns of accumulation intensified by the crisis. This is the key to maintaining Syriza’s radical orientation and will guarantee not losing sight of the goal of social transformation.

In this sense, the role and the everyday practice of the party should not change. Syriza should continue to push for the democratization of public institutions, building upon the experiences and innovative advances of the social movements and keeping technocratic restraints to a minimum. In addition, the crisis has given rise to nationalist feelings which have left their imprint on the governmental coalition of Syriza with the Independent Greeks. The party should continue to maintain its internationalist perspective and fight parochialism. As the continuation of aggressive austerity in the EU is pushed by the dominant social interests under the hegemonic influence of Germany, the danger of fueling nationalism in the country is real. Syriza should be more than vigilant in this regard.

One of the key tasks of Syriza’s government is the restoration of the rule of law. Civil rights and liberties as well as legal and constitutional arrangements have suffered dramatically over the last five years from the memorandums. The party’s task is not simply to justify and support the incoming democratic reforms of the government but to find ways to connect and ground them in class issues. Finally, the discourse and the practice of Syriza’s presence in the institutions of social and political representation should continue to be socially-centered. As Syriza’s participation in various collectives and social and political institutions expands, provisions should be made for breaking away from the established pattern of statism. This is the only way to undermine the old habits and patterns of the old regime before the latter proves dominant and infiltrates Syriza’s own new radical ways.

All these, in addition to some fine tuning of the party’s constitution that is needed, are some of the major challenges Syriza faces in the current conjuncture. These are not easy tasks. However, no one ever said that social transformation and the democratization of state – society relations is a picnic. With the radical party culture of Syriza as a guarantee, it is something that can be done, so long as we are conscious that class struggle does not stop at the door step of the party.

Elena Papadopoulou is an economist and Scientific Advisor to SYRIZA.

Michalis Spourdalakis is a Professor for Political Science, University of Athens.

 

The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 is now law. Despite a few loud voices, the police state consensus barged its way through the lower house and senate.  An act that is poor in terms of scope, uncertain in terms of cost ($400 billion is but a figure), and dangerous in creating unnecessary pools of data, is now part of the surveillance furniture of the Australian landscape.

While Australia forges ahead into the barren scape of policy that is data retention, other countries and institutions are finding little to merit it.  The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruled in April 2014 that European Union laws requiring telecommunication providers to retain metadata for up to six months, and a maximum of twenty-four months were, in their scope and purpose, invalid as a breach of fundamental privacy rights.

Austrian and Irish applicants challenged the respective transpositions of the directive into domestic law, uncomfortable with the fact that the retained data could be used to identify the person with whom a subscriber or registered user has communicated with, and by what means; identify the time and place of the communication; and know the frequency of the communications of the subscriber or registered user with certain persons over a periods of time.

The central law in question was the EU’s Data Retention Directive 2006/24(EC), which replicated, in a sense, the language of the Australian bill.  Retaining traffic and location data including material necessary to identify the subscriber or user would amount to a breach of privacy and the right to protection of personal data under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

In the Court’s view, the data, “taken as a whole, may provide very precise information on the private lives of the persons whose data are retained, such as the habits of everyday life, permanent or temporary places of residence, daily or other movements, activities carried out, social relationships and the social environments frequented.”[1]  In bold emphasis, the Court argued that the data retention directive, which also enabled access by national authorities, “interferes in a particularly serious manner with the fundamental rights to respect and private life and the protection of personal data.”

We could all be in some agreement, suggested the Court, about the fact that retaining data might satisfy an “objective of general interest” – the “fight against serious crime and, ultimately, public security.”  But notwithstanding this interest, the EU legislature had still exceeded its powers.  Limits must be provided on attaining such data.  The principle of “strict necessity,” a point that has totally escaped officials in Canberra, is what is required.  The directive, for instance, made no “differentiation, limitation or exception” to the traffic data in question.

In the United States, an eclectic grouping ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the World Press Freedom Committee urged the White House, Congress and the various officials in an open letter (Mar 25) to stop bulk collection as permitted by the USA PATRIOT Act section 215, including records retained under the provision and similarly section 214 covering “pen registers and trap & trace devices.”  In the event that these should occur, “appropriate safeguards” were to be put in place.[2]

The gods certainly do have a sense of humour.  With the Australian bill still freshly passed through the upper house, it was reported that a high profile data breach had taken place before the G20 Summit in Brisbane.  Passport and visa details, including date of birth of 31 international leaders were mistakenly emailed by an official in the Immigration Department office to a member of the Asian Cup Local Organising Committee November 7th last year.[3]  The Guardian Australia, after obtaining an email sent from the Immigration Department to the privacy commissioner under Freedom of Information, revealed that the breach was noted 10 minutes after the incident.[4]  The Asian Cup Local Organising committee claimed to have no access to the email, or have it stored anywhere in its system.

Stunning indifference accompanied the response to what was deemed an “isolated example of human error,” with minimal consequences.  The then immigration minister Scott Morrison was notified, but department officials, in their wisdom, decided to stay numb on the subject. The G20 leaders would be kept in the dark.

Even by Australia’s own paltry standards, this posed a serious breach.  In the words the Information Commissioner, a data breach occurs “when personal information held by an agency or organisation is lost or subjected to authorised access, modification, disclosure or other misuse or interference.”  Australian Privacy Principle 11 imposes an obligation on agencies and organisations to take reasonable steps to protect the personal information they hold from such misuse, interference or loss, not to mention unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.  With rather cheeky disdain, the Australian immigration department decided to conveniently sidestep the relevant provisions, wishing the matter to assume the form of an ostrich and vanish deep beneath the sand.

Such attitudes bode ill for the data retention program.  Modification and unauthorised disclosures are genuine risks that only increase as the burdens on agencies increase. If officials of the agency dismiss the disclosure of personal details of world leaders on a summit attendance list as minor aberrations, we can only imagine how contemptuously private citizens will be treated.

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

Notes

The scientists behind a recent World Health Organization study which concluded the herbicide glyphosate “probably” causes cancer, say they stand behind their assessment. The comments come in response to criticisms from Monsanto Co., who said the study was based on “junk science”. The main ingredient in Monsanto’s Round Up product is glyphosate. Monsanto executives said they are reviewing their options as they move forward.

Aaron Blair, a scientist emeritus at the National Cancer Institute and lead author of the study, told Reuters,“There was sufficient evidence in animals, limited evidence in humans and strong supporting evidence showing DNA mutations and damaged chromosomes.” The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published their study of glyphosate on March 20, finding that the popular herbicide may contribute to non-hodgkins lymphoma.

IARC report was published in The Lancet Oncology detailing evaluations of organophosphate pesticides and herbicides. The report concluded that there was “limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.” The evidence for this conclusion was pulled from studies of exposure to the chemical in the US, Canada and Sweden published since 2001.

RELATED: Lobbyist Claims Monsanto’s Roundup Is Safe To Drink, Freaks Out When Offered A Glass

The researchers found “convincing evidence that glyphosate can also cause cancer in laboratory animals.” The report points out that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) had originally classified glyphosate as possibly carcinogenic to humans in 1985. The IARC Working Group evaluated the original EPA findings and more recent reports before concluding “there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.” Despite the WHO’s findings, the EPA approved Monsanto’s use of glyphosate as recently as 2013.

The battle around glyphosate is also closely linked to the debate around Genetically Engineered or Modified foods. The herbicide is typically used on GM crops such as corn and soybeans that have been specifically modified to survive the harmful effects of the herbicide. Corporations like Monsanto are heavily invested in the success of the chemical. The herbicide has been found in food, water, and in the air in areas where it has been sprayed.

In 2014 Anti-Media reported on a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health which claims to have found a link between glyphosate and the fatal Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown origin (CKDu), which largely affects rice farmers in Sri Lanka and other nations. In response Sri Lanka has banned glyphosate and Brazil is considering doing the same.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Special Projects S.M. Chandrasena stated that President Mahinda Rajapaksa issued a directive to ban glyphosate sales in the country. “An investigation carried out by medical specialists and scientists have revealed that kidney disease was mainly caused by glyphosate. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the immediate removal of glyphosate from the local market soon after he was told of the contents of the report.”

The researchers believe glyphosate could be helping carry toxic heavy metals present in certain agri-chemicals to the kidneys. Chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu)  was first seen in the north central areas of Sri Lanka in the 1990s and has taken an estimated 20,000 lives. Before being pushed by Monsanto for use as herbicide, glyphosate was a de-scaling agent to clean mineral deposits in hot water systems.

Although the paper did not offer new scientific evidence, the researchers proposed a theory for how CKDu is spread. The researchers believe that glyphosate is contributing to a rise of heavy metals in drinking water. Dr. Channa Jayasumana, lead author of the study said, “glyphosate acts as a carrier or a vector of these heavy metals to the kidney.” Glyphosate itself is not the toxic agent, however when combined with metals in the ground water the herbicide becomes extremely toxic to the kidneys.

In recent years there has been a spike in CKDu patients in farming areas of El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

The Minister stated that a new national program would be launched encouraging Sri Lankan farmers to use organic fertilizer. The Ministry of Agriculture is hoping to plant 100,000 acres of land throughout the country using organic methods.

Monsanto spokesman Thomas Helscher stated,“There are no epidemiologic studies suggesting that exposures to glyphosate-based products are associated with renal disorders either in Sri Lanka or elsewhere. The paper presents a theory, the theory has not been tested, and there are a significant number of publications supported by data that make the Jayasumana hypothesis quite unlikely to be correct.” Despite promises from Monsanto, the evidence indicating dangers related to glyphosate continue to pile up.

With the USDA’s decision late last year to approve a new batch of genetically modified corn and soybean seeds designed to be resistant to glyphosate, we should expect to see an increase in herbicide use overall, and with it, many disastrous health effects. In fact, the approval by the USDA now partners DOW Chemical and Monsanto together, a move which will only further entrench the control that corporate entities have over governments.

The rubble of a home reportedly hit by a U.S.-led coalition airstrike in Kafar Daryan in Syria. (Photo: Sami Ali / AFP/Getty Images)

How do you calculate the human costs of the U.S.-led War on Terror?

On the 12th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, groups of physicians attempted to arrive at a partial answer to this question by counting the dead.

In their joint report— Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the ‘War on Terror—Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival, and the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War concluded that this number is staggering, with at least 1.3 million lives lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan alone since the onset of the war following September 11, 2001.

However, the report notes, this is a conservative estimate, and the total number killed in the three countries “could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely.”

Furthermore, the researchers do not look at other countries targeted by U.S.-led war, including Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and beyond.

Even still, the report states the figure “is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and propagated by the media and major NGOs.

In Iraq, at least 1 million lives have been lost during and since 2003, a figure that accounts for five percent of the nation’s total population. This does not include deaths among the estimated 3 million Iraqi refugees, many of whom were subject to dangerous conditionsduring this past winter.

Furthermore, an estimated 220,000 people have been killed in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan, note the researchers. The findings follow a United Nations report which finds that civilian deaths in Afghanistan in 2014 were at their highest levels since the global body began making reports in 2009.

The researchers identified direct and indirect deaths based on UN, government, and NGO data, as well as individual studies. While the specific number is difficult to peg, researchers say they hope to convey the large-scale of death and loss.

Speaking with Democracy Now! on Thursday, Dr. Robert Gould, president of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and co-author of the forward to the report, said:

“[A]t a time when we’re contemplating at this point cutting off our removal of troops from Afghanistan and contemplating new military authorization for increasing our operations in Syria and Iraq, this insulation from the real impacts serves our government in being able to continue to conduct these wars in the name of the war on terror, with not only horrendous cost to the people in the region, but we in the United States suffer from what the budgetary costs of unending war are.”

According to Gould’s forward, co-authored with Dr. Tim Takaro, the public is purposefully kept in the dark about this toll.

“A politically useful option for U.S. political elites has been to attribute the on-going violence to internecine conflicts of various types, including historical religious animosities, as if the resurgence and brutality of such conflicts is unrelated to the destabilization cause by decades of outside military intervention,” they write. “As such, under-reporting of the human toll attributed to ongoing Western interventions, whether deliberate of through self-censorship, has been key to removing the ‘fingerprints’ of responsibility.”

The sordid sequence of events that opened the floodgates for the genetic takeover of the American food supply — that is, the mass introduction of untested genetically-engineered (GE) food ingredients on the sly — is outlined in an eye-opening new book by American public interest lawyer Steve Druker, entitled Altered Genes, Twisted Truth.

Drudging up several decades’ worth of historical facts surrounding genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and the way biotechnology companies got them onto the market without proper testing, Druker tells the true story about “Frankenfood” that you’ll never hear about on any of the major corporate new networks. From the very beginning, GMOs came to be a thing not because they are superior or safe, but because powerful interests got them there illicitly.

In the book’s foreword, award-winning humanitarian and leading primate expert Dr. Jane Goodall lauds Druker for bringing to light a number of important truths about GMOs, including that they have never undergone appropriate safety testing; have never been shown to be safe for human consumption; and were not even approved in accordance with federal law.

GMOs are illegal: Their secret introduction into the food supply was an illicit con from the very start

When they were first being developed back in the early 1980s, GMOs were hailed as the solution to world hunger. Their proponents argued, and still do, that conventional and organic food crops are inferior, and that GMOs address the problems of drought and pestilence that lead to reduced yields, and in some cases food shortages.

But the science behind these claims is lacking, and many scientists and researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who were tasked with reviewing GMO safety and effectiveness prior to their commercial approval vocalized this. As explained in Druker’s book, the concerns of these FDA scientists were largely ignored, and GMOs were rammed through the system illegally.

“[I]nformation that Druker pried from the agency’s files through a lawsuit revealed that [the agency] apparently ignored (and covered up) the concerns of its own scientists and then violated a federal statute and its own regulations by permitting GE foods to be marketed without any testing whatsoever,” writes Dr. Goodall.

Genetic engineering isn’t the same as cross-breeding and hybridization

Another popular, but unsubstantiated, claim about GMOs is that they are substantially equivalent to their non-GMO counterparts (except when it comes to patent protection; in this case, GMOs are regarded as substantially different in order to accommodate obscene corporate profits). As explained in the book, biotech companies have intentionally misled the public on the differences between artificial genetic engineering and cross-breeding, resulting in mass confusion.

“This very real difference between GM plants and their conventional counterparts is one of the basic truths that biotech proponents have endeavored to obscure,” says Dr. Goodall. “As part of the process, they portrayed the various concerns as merely the ignorant opinions of misinformed individuals — and derided them as not only unscientific, but anti-science.”

“They then set to work to convince the public and government officials, through the dissemination of false information, that there was an overwhelming expert consensus, based on solid evidence, that the new foods were safe. Yet this, as Druker points out, was clearly not true.”

GMO skeptics aren’t anti-science — the biotechnology industry is!

In its most recent issue, National Geographic magazine brazenly asserted that anyone who questions the safety or benefits of GMOs is “anti-science.” The mainstream media and government health authorities are constantly throwing around this buzzword in an attempt to silence anyone who opposes the golden calves of modern society, whether they be GMOs or things like pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and fluoride.

If you take the time to investigate the supposed “science” backing GMOs, you will quickly realize that none of it holds any water. Nearly every published study that supposedly backs the safety of GMOs, in fact, can be directly traced back to the industries pushing GMOs. Evidence of long-term GMO safety is non-existent, and the only trials conducted for longer than 90 days were pioneered by independent scientists, many of whom have reported serious risks associated with GMOs.

“Contrary to the assertions of its proponents, the massive enterprise to reconfigure the genetic core of the world’s food supply is not based on sound science but on the systematic subversion of science — and it would collapse if subjected to an open airing of the facts,” maintains Druker about this highly corrupt industry.

Criminal TTIP trade agreement will allow more illegal GMOs to enter Europe from US

Druker’s book is an evidence-based goldmine that counters all the prevailing myths about GMO safety using actual science. Contrary to what the “experts” often claim, altering plant organisms with foreign genes and toxic bacteria is an imprecise “science” (if you can even call it science), and the risks of this largely undefined technology are vast.

And to make matters worse, the spread of GMOs is continuing all around the world, even in places like Europe where GMOs are largely banned. The so-called “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”, or TTIP, for instance, threatens to bypass European law by creating a special trade partnership between Europe and North America.

According to The Centre for Research on Globalization, one of the key points in the ongoing TTIP negotiation process (which is largely taking place in secret, without public scrutiny) involves reducing the existing barriers that prohibit North American grains and other foodstuffs (many of which are GMO) from being exported to Europe.

“TTIP is an attempted corporate coup d’etat where big business on both sides of the Atlantic is trying to achieve in secret negotiations what it could not get in open and democratic processes — from watering down food safety standards to rolling back regulations in the financial sector,” reads a cited quote by Pia Eberhardt from the lobby-watchdog group Corporate Europe Observancy.

To learn more about the dangers of TTIP, visit:
https://stop-ttip.org

You can also purchase Altered Genes, Twisted Truth at:
http://www.amazon.com

Sources:

http://www.beyond-gm.org

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://www.beyond-gm.org

http://www.theglobalist.com

http://www.globalresearch.ca

https://stop-ttip.org

http://www.amazon.com

NATO Weaponizes Social Media In Latvia

March 31st, 2015 by Kurt Nimmo

NATO has put the finishing touches on an information warfare office in Riga, the capital of Latvia. The office is staffed with propaganda technicians formerly deployed in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In July Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Italy Lithuania, Poland, and the UK signed a memorandum agreeing upon the establishment of a StratCom Centre of Excellence in Riga.

The latest effort will compliment a social media propaganda war against Russia run out of the State Department.

Last week Infowars.com reported on remarks by the Supreme Commander of NATO, Gen. Philip Breedlove, who said the West must engage in an information war with Russia in order to counteract its “false narratives” on social media.

CIA front Voice of America interviews NATO boss on alleged Russian threat in Eastern Europe.

The latest effort will compliment a social media propaganda war against Russia run out of the State Department.

Last week Infowars.com reported on remarks by the Supreme Commander of NATO, Gen. Philip Breedlove, who said the West must engage in an information war with Russia in order to counteract its “false narratives” on social media.

“We need as a western group of nations or as an alliance to engage in this informational warfare. The way to attack the false narrative is to drag the false narrative into the light and expose it,” Breedlove said.

Prior to the rollout of NATO’s social warfare and propaganda effort, Latvian Defense MinisterRaimonds Vejonis accused the Russians on March 18 of engaging in “misinformation, bribery, economic pressure,” which are designed to “undermine the nation.”

“The first stage of confrontation is taking place — I mean informational war, propaganda and cyber attacks. So we are already under attack,” added Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.

The Chatham House think-tank believes Russia is involved in hybrid warfare “designed to cripple a state before that state even realizes the conflict has begun.

“It’s a model of warfare designed to slip under NATO’s threshold of perception and reaction.”

The Chatham House is a British think tank operating like the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institute in the United States. Corporate members include Goldman Sachs International, Morgan Stanley, Lockheed Martin, Bloomberg, GlaxoSmithKline, Coca-Cola, and other transnational giants and bankster operations. This elite membership, writes Tony Cartalucci, “is involved in coordinated planning, perception management, and the execution of its corporate membership’s collective agenda.”

US-NATO-Russian Confrontation Worst International Crisis since Cuban Missile Crisis

Professor Stephen Cohen, a scholar of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University, believes a premeditated war with Russia is on the horizon and the situation is worse than during the Cold War.

Cohen says a “winner-takes-all” policy adopted during the Clinton administration after the fall of the Soviet Union has dominated U.S. foreign policy.

Just as Natural News publicly predicted in a widely-circulated article entitled Germanwings jetliner catastrophe: The first antidepressant drug-induced mass murder of the skies?, psychiatric drugs have now been located and identified by law enforcement authorities searching the home of the murder-suicide co-pilot.

As the Straits Times now reports:

Investigators made the discovery in a search of the home of Andreas Lubitz in the western city of Duesseldorf and seized a number “of medicines for the treatment of psychological illness”, Welt am Sonntag weekly said.

“The 27-year-old has been treated by several neurologists and psychiatrists,” it quoted an unidentified high-ranking investigator as saying, in excerpts released ahead of Sunday’s edition…

The same story goes on to report:

On Friday they said searches of his homes netted “medical documents that suggest an existing illness and appropriate medical treatment”…

In today’s global system of pharma-dominated health care, so-called “appropriate medical treatments” for depression consist almost entirely of mind-altering medications which have been repeatedly linked to mass school shootings.

“The police found antidepressants during a search of his apartment here on Thursday,” reports The New York Times, further confirming that the SSRI drug link to Lubitz.

Reuters story also explains, “German newspaper Welt am Sonntag quoted a senior investigator as saying the 27-year-old “was treated by several neurologists and psychiatrists”, adding that a number of medications had been found in his Duesseldorf apartment.”

18 months of psychiatric “treatment” on medications, but still allowed to fly

According to the Daily Mail, Lubitz “…reportedly received a year and half of psychiatric treatment and was at one point recommended to be examined by a doctor before flying.”

As I noted in a previous Natural News article, SSRI drugs are considered so dangerous by the FAA that U.S. pilots are not allowed to fly commercial or private airplanes if they are currently taking antidepressant medications. (The FAA knows SSRI drugs can make pilots suicidal.)

It now appears Andreas Lubitz was attempting to hide his psychiatric treatment and medications from authorities, and he may have stopped taking SSRI drugs in order to pass a urine test or blood test.

“[T]he other possible explanations for Lubitz’s actions are that he may have stopped taking his medication so it would not be detected in any medical tests…” reports the Daily Mail. Other behavior demonstrates by Lubitz is also consistent with this idea, such as his tearing up of doctors’ notes to avoid submitting them to his employer.

“Regularly collected a prescription from the pharmacy”

Also from the Daily Mail:

He reportedly received a year and half of psychiatric treatment and was at one point recommended to be examined by a doctor before flying. But, incredibly, he passed his psychological assessments and was later considered fit to fly.

German police are now investigating whether Lubitz had stopped taking any medication he was on and have questioned chemists at the Apotheke am Breidenplatz close to Lubitz’s Dusseldorf flat.

Lubitz regularly collected a prescription from the pharmacy, MailOnline understands. A chemist at the Apotheke confirmed she had spoken to the police but declined to offer any details.

As with all such stories, there will be enormous pressure exerted on the mainstream media by the pharmaceutical industry to downplay any link between SSRI drugs and this mass murder tragedy. But given the repeated pattern of mass murder carried out by people who are either currently taking SSRI drugs or have recently quit taking them, we must ask the obvious question: Can psychiatric meds transform a normal person into a mass murderer?

Until society honestly asks this question, many more people might unnecessarily die from acts of violence which are induced by psychiatric medications.

Learn more about the dangers of psychiatric medications at www.CCHR.org

And learn about how psychiatric drugs are killing our soldiers at www.CCHR.org/military

 

A senior member of the Yemeni Ansarullah movement warned that his country’s crushing response to the Saudi aggression will devastate the Arab kingdom and change the geopolitics of the region.

“The Yemeni nation will change the map of the region,” Al-Alam Arabic-language TV quoted Nasreddin Amer, member of Ansarullah’s Information Dissemination Committee as saying on Monday.

“We will respond to Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz in the battlefield and unexpected events will take place in the coming days,” he added.

He reiterated that the Al Saud regime have embarked on attacking Yemen in order to prevent Yemen from becoming a free country which will not be under the control of the Saudi regime.

On Sunday, a senior member of Ansarullah movement’s Political Council Mohammad al-Bakhiti warned that the movement will give a crushing response to any possible ground invasion of Yemen.

“Any ground attack on Yemen will receive a rigidly harsh response,” al-Bakhiti said.

“We have not responded to the Saudi aggressions in the past five days because we wanted to allow the Arab countries to reconsider their action and stop their attacks,” he said, and added “but from now on everything will be different.”

Al-Bakhiti described the Saudi-led alliance against Yemen as a moral crisis, and said, “Whatever the Arab conference decided about Yemen will end in serious crisis.”

He underlined that the Yemeni people have confidence in their resistance and are confident that they will win.

On Saturday, a senior member of the popular Ansarullah movement warned of immediate attacks on Saudi territories if the latter refrains from putting an immediate halt to its aggression against Yemen.

“As the Ansarullah movement has promised collapse of some Arab regimes supporting the terrorists, if Saudi Arabia continues its aggressions against the oppressed Yemeni people the Ansarullah fighters will pave the way for the Saudi regime’s destruction by conducting martyrdom-seeking (suicidal) operations inside Saudi Arabia,” member of Ansarullah Executive Committee Abdel Mon’em Al-Qurashi told FNA.

He reiterated that Israel and Al Saud are on the same front and Saudi Arabia is taking orders from Washington and Tel Aviv.

“The main cause of the Saudi aggression is the failure of Riyadh’s policies in support of fugitive Yemeni President Mansour Hadi and Takfiri groups and its disappointment at them,” Al-Qurashi added.

He reiterated that the Yemeni army and people will give a crushing response to the Saudi aggressors.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for five days now, killing, at least, 70 civilians and injuring hundreds more.

Five Persian Gulf States — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait — and Egypt that are also assisted by Israel and backed by the US have declared war on Yemen in a joint statement issued earlier Thursday.

US President Barack Obama authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to the military operations, National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said late Wednesday night.

She added that while US forces were not taking direct military action in Yemen, Washington was establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support.

No Deal on Iran’s Nuclear Program – So Far

March 31st, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Reports of a deal reached over the weekend were way premature. As of Monday morning Lausanne time, key unresolved issues remain ahead of a March 31 deadline.

It could be extended days or weeks if all parties agree. Deadlines aren’t written in stone. They’re easily changed based on circumstances.

The latest as this is written comes from a senior Iranian negotiator, saying:

“No agreement has been achieved, and there are still issues which need to be resolved.”

“Instead of launching a media hype, the concerned parties should quit their excessive demands and take the strategic decision if they want an agreement or continued pressure.”

On Sunday, John Kerry said he’s uncertain if a deal can be reached during current talks.

Lifting sanctions, Iranian nuclear R&D allowed, and control of its enriched uranium stockpile remain key sticking points.

An unnamed source said “(b)oth sides will do their best (Monday) to find solutions for these issues.”

According to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif:

“We have made progress in reaching acceptable solutions, but we still have to work on some important issues.”

“The key to striking an agreement lies in this strategic choice that the other side should make: pressure and sanctions or interaction and agreement by the other side.”

Throughout 18 months of talks, Washington is the main obstacle to resolving what never should have been negotiated in the first place.

The whole world knows Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful. It has no military component.

No evidence suggests Tehran intends pursuing one. Its program is no different from dozens of other countries operating nuclear facilities.

Yet it alone is singled out for unacceptable pressure and demanded restrictions because of a combination of 36 years of US hostility plus the power of Israel and its Lobby influencing America’s policy.

Iran showed great flexibility during talks. It’s gone way out of its way to negotiate in good faith.

Concessions it made way exceed what it got back in return so far. It justifiably demands the right to operate its nuclear program as Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions allow.

It won’t surrender its legitimate rights to unreasonable US demands. Nor should it.

Over the weekend, Zarif said Iran is “ready to make a good deal for all. We wait for our counterparts’ readiness.”

He and Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said Iranian negotiators will stay in Lausanne as long as needed.

Current talks began last Thursday. They continued over the weekend into Monday.

“Iranians have already made their choice: Engage with dignity,” Zarif stressed.

“It’s high time for the US and its allies to choose: pressure or agreement,” he added.

The ball is clearly in Washington’s court. It’s up to Obama to decide if he wants a deal or not.

A previous article said his tenure so far has no positive achievements – nothing besides advancing America’s ruthless agenda, handing the nation’s wealth to rich elites already with too much, and cracking down hard on nonbelievers.

It’s now put up or shut up time. Come to terms or walk away.

Even if agreement is reached, US history shows Iran has no guarantee it would stick.

America doesn’t bargain in good faith. Its word isn’t its bond.

It can’t be trusted. Duplicity defines its agenda. It says one thing. It does another.

As long as Iran remains independent, US hostility won’t change.

It’s just a matter of time before Washington invents reasons to rescind terms agreed to.

Months of good faith Iranian efforts will have been wasted.

It’s leadership knows what it’s up against. Decades of deplorable US policy leave no doubt what to expect going forward.

Imperial powers are all take and no give. Washington wants unconditional Iranian surrender to US demands.

They’re written in stone. They’re longstanding. They won’t change.

Chances for normalized US/Iranian relations ahead are virtually nil – not as long as neocons infest Washington and Israeli Lobby power owns Congress.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Despite concerns voiced by its close ally the United States, Britain, a conventional Atlantic force, will become the first major Western economy to join a China proposed financing mechanism, which will explore investment opportunities in, mainly, Asia.

Downing Street believes its decision to apply to be a founding member of the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is “in the U.K.’s national interest.”

Domestic interests may not always be compatible with a country’s allies’ and, in this case, the ally of Britain chose to air concerns over, allegedly, looser lending standards for the environment, labor rights and financial transparency of the proposed bank.

The “unrivalled opportunity” for the United Kingdom, as seen by British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, is enviable, as financiers and industrialists widely expect total infrastructure investment of 8 trillion U.S. dollars in the coming decade in Asia. Not to mention the anticipated stable and handsome returns associated with infrastructure projects.

Other than the U.K., there are at least 27 bidders intending to be AIIB founding members, spanning East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, to Oceania. All have shared the vision of faster-than-average growth in the years to come in Pacific Asia.

The AIIB, and similar organizations, have, understandably, left the U.S. uneasy, with the incumbent power choosing to use the rhetoric that the AIIB will undercut institutions such as the World Bank.

The idea of circumventing existing financial organizations, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will pose a threat, if any, to the international economic and political pattern shaped after World War II, seven decades ago.

The Bretton Woods agreement depicted a global financial and monetary landscape, consolidating the U.S. dollar’s supremacy, which is still valid.

Currencies in the IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) basket of reserve assets represent post-WWII U.S. allies — the pound sterling, the yen and the euro, in addition to the dollar.

One major winner of WWII, the Soviet Union and then Russia, never won its fair share with its currency, the ruble, in the IMF basket, partly due to its voluntary disengagement from Western mechanisms.

Rising to become the second largest economy in the world, China is advocating and working on revising the current international system, almost unchanged in the past 70 years, and as a system it is inadequate as lower income countries largely miss out on equal opportunities.

Its immense size and robust market have seen China sustain the appeal for the outside world, particularly as it frees its huge services market and encourages the outbound investment of surplus funds.

Following 30 years of reform and opening up, China is no longer heavily dependent on foreign capital and exporting money as well, with overseas direct investment of 102.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, only 16.7 billion U.S. dollars less than foreign direct investment the country attracted.

Besides the AIIB, China initiated and has taken a leading role in the BRICS development bank, the Silk Road Fund and a development bank for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, all of which focus on infrastructure.

Designing financing tools that are complementary to the current international financial system, China has no intention of knocking over the chessboard, but rather is trying to help shape a more diverse world playing board.

With further liberalizing the yuan in floating exchange rates and cross-border transactions, China wishes to see its currency included in the IMF basket, in accordance with the weight the yuan now exerts on international goods and services trade.

China welcomes cooperation from every corner of the world to achieve shared prosperity based on common interest, but will go ahead anyway when it believes it is in the right.

The Empire of Chaos

March 31st, 2015 by Anthony Freda

Propaganda is designed to promote paranoia by attributing barbarism to the enemy and righteousness to your cause.

The barbaric beheading videos purported by Western media to be part of “ISIS recruitment propaganda” have had quite the opposite effect.

The videos have done nothing but foment worldwide hatred for the group and a blood lust for revenge.

Public support for new US led “humanitarian” wars to stop these beheading madmen has never been greater.

Clearly, ISIS  has a terrible public relations department.

Is ISIS really seeking to promote their own cause, and demonize their enemies or do they want the might of Western military pointed at them?

If so, wouldn’t they document the atrocities of their enemies, instead of their own?

Wouldn’t they compile the footage of children slaughtered by western forces and drone attacks all over the region?

A highlight real of recent torture, mass slaughter and chaos caused by US intervention in the region could easily be produced.

“The Greatest Hits of US Imperialism, 2001-2015″ could go viral and maybe even get more hits on YouTube than Gangnam Style.

A video like that might actually help shift the public’s desire for war and retribution towards a yearning for peace and reconciliation.

If only ISIS had a better marketing strategy, I’m sure mainstream media would promote such a campaign with the same enthusiasm they showcase their popular beheading series.

But, then again, no rational power would use it’s media to promote it’s enemy’s propaganda.

That would be insane, wouldn’t it?

Anthony Freda www.AnthonyFreda.com

Your private data is being stolen by a criminal government.

Have a nice day.

The instability in Yemen is being caused not by Iran or the Houthis, but by US and Saudi interference in Yemen — from Saudi Arabia’s 2009 invasion to US drone attacks — and the decades of support that Saudi Arabia has provided for authoritarian and unpopular rule in Yemen.

«Battle lines are being drawn in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country and the Middle East’s latest candidate for state failure. If, as looks increasingly probable, open warfare breaks out soon, it will only be made worse by the contest for regional supremacy between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Both powers have proven eager to arm groups they believe they can control, despite the legacy this destructive rivalry has already wrought in Syria and Iraq», the magazine Foreign Policy claimed on March 6.

The Houthi Alliance with Iran: Pragmatism or Sectarianism?

The Houthis are not Iranian proxies whatsoever. The Houthi movement is an independent political actor that emerged as a result of repression. To call the Houthis Iranian proxies is unempirical and ignores the history and politics of Yemen. «If a war breaks out along sectarian lines, it will not be because that is where historical divisions have lain in Yemen; it will be because the war’s foreign funders are inflaming previously unimportant divisions,» Foreign Policy even admits.

Houthi leaders have admittedly rejected claims that they take orders from Tehran. This has not stopped Saudi and Khaliji (Gulf) officials and media, who have used and manipulated the statements of Iranian officials, like the comparison of the Houthis to Iran’s Basij, from portraying the Houthis as Iranian agents or clients.

Just like how the Houthis are not Iranian proxies, there is no Shia alliance between Tehran and them in Yemen either. Talk that focuses on this simplistic sectarian narrative hides the political nature and motivations of the conflict in Yemen and insultingly obfuscates the struggle of the Houthis against repression. Until the 1970s the House of Saud had actually been a major supporter of the royalist factions in Yemen, which were predominately Shiite Muslims.

Moreover, the Shiite Muslims in Yemen are not Jaffaris (Twelvers) like the majority of Shia Muslims in Iran, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Persian Gulf region. Aside from pockets of Ismaili Shiites – which can arguably be called Seveners – in the governorates of Saada, Hajja, Amran, Al-Mahwit, Sana, Ibb, and Al-Jawf most the Shia Muslims in Yemen are Zaidis/Zaydis. The Ismailis in Yemen are mostly members of the Dawoodi (Davidian) and Sulaimani (Solomonian) sects of Mustali Ismailism that moved away from the larger Nizari Ismailis.

The US and Saudi hostility towards the Houthi movement is what has inadvertently made the Houthis pragmatically turn to Iran for help as a counterbalance. In the words of the Wall Street Journal, «Houthi militants controlling Yemen’s capital are trying to build ties with Iran, Russia and China to offset Western and Saudi support for the country’s ousted president.» «The Houthis’ interim government has sent delegations to Iran in search of fuel supplies and to Russia to look for investment in energy projects, according to two senior Houthi officials. Another delegation is planning to visit China in the coming weeks, they said», the Wall Street Journal also reported on March 6.

As a result of the Houthi movement’s reaching out, Iran and Yemen announced that daily flights would take place between Tehran and Sana on March 2. This is an important lifeline of support for the Houthi movement.

The Sectarian Narrative and Sectarian Card

The instability in Yemen is being caused not by Iran or the Houthis, but by US and Saudi interference in Yemen — from Saudi Arabia’s 2009 invasion to US drone attacks — and the decades of support that Saudi Arabia has provided for authoritarian and unpopular rule in Yemen.

Yemen is not an inherently divided country. Aside from the nurturing of Al-Qaeda by Saudi Arabia and the US, there is no real Shia-Sunni split or tensions. To pre-empt Yemen from being independent, the Saudis and US have supported sectarianism with the hope of creating a Shia-Sunni divide in Yemen.

Unlike the false narrative, Iran’s alliances in the Middle East are actually not sectarian. All of Tehran’s Palestinian allies are predominately Sunni Muslims while in Iraq and Syria, aside from the governments, Iran supports a cross-section of ethnic and faith groups that include non-Arabs and Christians. This includes the predominately Sunni Muslim Syrian and Iraqi Kurds and the Assyrian Sutoro wing of the Syriac Union Party (SUP) in Syria. In Lebanon, aside from Hezbollah, the Iranians are also allied to Sunni Muslim, Druze, and Christian parties, including Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement—which is the largest Christian party in Lebanon.

If anyone is engaged in sectarianism as a policy, it is the US and its Arab petro-sheikdom allies. Both the US and Saudi Arabia had engaged the Houthis earlier and used them against the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen. Additionally, during the Cold War both Washington and the House of Saud tried to use the Yemeni Shiites against the republicans in North Yemen and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen in the south. It is when the Houthi movement demonstrated that it was not going to be a client to Washington or Riyadh, that the US and Saudi Arabia became hostile towards it.

Preparing the Invasion of Yemen

On 20 March, suicide bombers attacked the Al-Badr and Al-Hashoosh mosques during asr salat (afternoon prayers). Over three hundred people were killed. Abdul Malik Al-Houthi accused the US and Israel of supporting the terrorist attacks and both the ISIL/ISIS/Daesh and Al-Qaeda in Yemen. Saudi Arabia was also blamed.

While there was silence in Morocco, Jordan, and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham condemned the terrorist attacks in Yemen. In one way or another, Syria, Iraq, Russia, and China all condemned the terrorist attacks in Yemen too. To show Tehran’s support for Yemen, two Iranian cargo planes with humanitarian aid were sent to Yemen and the Iranian Red Crescent Society flew over fifty Yemenis victims of the terrorist attacks to hospitals inside Iran for medical treatment.

The House of Saud’s Failure in Yemen

The Houthis movement is the result of Saudi Arabia’s policies in Yemen and its support for authoritarian rule. In this regard, the Houthis are a reaction to Saudi brutality and the House of Saud’s support for Yemeni authoritarianism. They emerged as part of a rebellion that was led by Hussein Badreddin Al-Houthi in 2004 against the Yemenite government.

The Yemeni and Saudi regimes falsely claimed that the Houthis wanted to establish a Zaidi imamate in Arabia as a means of demonizing the movement. This, however, failed to stop them from getting stronger. The Yemeni military could not handle them in 2009, which resulted in a Saudi intervention, called Operation Scorched Earth, being launched on August 11, 2009.

Saudi Arabia failed to defeat the Houthis when it sent its military into Yemen to fight them in 2009 and 2010. It has failed to force Yemen and the Houthi movement to kneel in obedience. When it demanded that the Houthis and Yemeni transitional government play to the Saudi tune and go to Riyadh for negotiations, it was flatly rejected by the Houthis and Yemen’s Revolutionary Committees, because the negotiations and any Saudi-supported power sharing scheme would really sideline the Houthis and other political forces in Yemen. This is why the Popular Forces Union, Al-Hadi’s own General People’s Congress, and the Baath Party of Yemen have all supported the Houthi position against Saudi Arabia.

Dividing Yemen?

Yemen has seen numerous insurrections, military intervention by the US and Saudi Arabia, and a separatist movement strengthen in its southern governorates. Yemen’s military has become fragmented and tribal tensions exist. There has been increasing talk about it becoming an Arab failed state.

In 2013, the New York Times proposed that Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen be split. In the case of Yemen, the proposition was that it be divided into two again. The New York Times said that this could or would happen following a potential referendum in the southern governorates. The New York Times also proposed that «all or part of South Yemen could then become part of Saudi Arabia. Nearly all Saudi commerce is via sea, and direct access to the Arabian Sea would diminish dependence on the Persian Gulf — and fears of Iran’s ability to cut off the Strait of Hormuz».

Saudi Arabia and Al-Hadi are now courting the southern separatists in Yemen, which have the support of about one-tenth of the population. The next option for the US and Saudi Arabia may be to divide Yemen as a means of mitigating the strategic shift from a Houthi victory. This would ensure that Saudi Arabia and the GCC have a southern transit point to the Indian Ocean and that the US would maintain a foothold in the Gulf of Aden.

Click here to read part one of this article.

The Germanwings air catastrophe is now being widely reported as a murder-suicide, based on audio evidence that paints the picture of a co-pilot locking everyone else out of the flight deck while he calmly flew the plane onto a collision course with a mountain.

Our hearts and prayers go out to all those lost in this horrible tragedy, yet we must also ask: Could this have been prevented? Was it caused by mind-altering prescription medications?

UPDATE: It is now confirmed that Andreas Lubitz was taking psychiatric medications. He underwent 18 months of “psychiatric treatment” and mind-altering medications have now been found in his home by law enforcement authorities. Click here for full details.

The Mirror (UK) is now reporting that “Germanwings co-pilot Andreas Lubitz ‘suffered burnout or depression’ a few years ago, a former classmate has claimed.”

The reported behavior of Andrea Lubitz is eerily similar to SSRI-drug-induced school shooters who carried out mass murders in the United States (see detailed list below). In case after case, school shooters have been found to either be on prescription antidepressant drugs or recently taken off them, causing withdrawal side effects.

What U.S. school shootings and the Germanwings mass murder have in common is a dissociation from reality where individuals often think they are “playing a video game” and don’t realize their actions are literally harming other people in the real world.

As the Mirror reports:

The mother of an ex-classmate of Lubitz told how the co-pilot – who deliberately flew the passenger jet into the Alps killing 150 people – had confided in her daughter a few years ago.

She said: “He apparently was suffering from burnout or depression.”

These days, almost everyone who is described as suffering from “depression” is on mind-altering prescription medications which are marketed in a deceptive way that glosses over the murder-suicide risks associated with such drugs. Antidepressants literally alter brain chemistry and cause people to think and act in ways they would not normally exhibit.

It’s not unusual for pilots to fly planes into terrain in flight simulators

Here’s something else most non-pilots don’t realize. Although it’s not a condoned practice, all of us who are trained to operate aircraft have trained at one time or another in flight simulators. And all of us — including myself — have done things in those flight simulators that we would never do in real life. I’ve performed loops and barrel rolls with a Cessna, for example, even though I would never be crazy enough to try such a thing in a real airplane.

Attempting these maneuvers in a simulator has legitimate training value that saves lives in the real world, because these “games” help pilots learn the limits of aircraft power, stability and maneuverability. To know the limits of an aircraft, it’s useful to exceed those limits in the safety of a simulator where you DON’T die…

At the same time, I’ve also seen other pilots in simulators intentionally fly aircraft into mountains as a way to end the current scenario with a surge of excitement. Again, this is undoubtedly frowned upon in the commercial aviation industry, but I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes. I’ve never done this myself, it turns out, but plenty of other pilots have.

In a simulator, of course, it’s perfectly safe to fly your airplane into a mountain. What if Lubitz thought he was in a flight simulator? Could antidepressant drugs have caused him to confuse reality vs. simulation? It’s speculation, of course, but it’s consistent with other SSRI-related mass murders we’ve seen over the years.

FAA bans pilots from flying while on antidepressant drugs

Antidepressant drugs are so dangerous that the FAA bans U.S. pilots from taking them. They are considered a danger to the pilot and passengers. I’m not certain whether antidepressants are illegal for pilots to consume in various European countries, but it wouldn’t be difficult for someone to be acquiring them and taking them covertly, even if it were illegal.

Here’s a list of other mass murderers who were taking antidepressant drugs:

Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.

• Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.

• Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.

• Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.

• Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.

• Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.

• Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.

• Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.

• A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.

• Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..

• A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.

• Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.

• TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.

• Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.

• James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.

• Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania

• Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) – school shooting in El Cajon, California

• Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.

• Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.

• Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic’s file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.

• Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.

• Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.

• Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.

• Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.

• Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family’s Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.

• Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet. Kara’s parents said “…. the damn doctor wouldn’t take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil…”)

• Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002, (Gareth’s father could not accept his son’s death and killed himself.)

• Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family’s detached garage.

• Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.

• Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.

• Woody __, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.

• A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.

• Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.”

• Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.

• Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.

• Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School – then he committed suicide.

• Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.

• Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.

Sources for this story include:
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/germ…

Following on from last week’s Word Health Organization (WHO) report on glyphosate, which confirmed the world’s most used herbicide probably causes cancer, Sustainable Pulse has discovered documents from 1991 that show how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) themselves were fully aware of glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential.

GMO Crops

On February 11, 1985 the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate was first considered by an EPA panel, called the Toxicology Branch Ad Hoc Committee. The Committee, in a consensus review dated March 4, 1985, then classified glyphosate as a Class C Carcinogen. A Class C Carcinogen has  ”Suggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential” according to the EPA.

This Class C classification was changed by the EPA six years later to a Class E category which suggests “evidence of non-carcinogenicity for humans”. Mysteriously this change in glyphosate’s classification occurred during the same period that Monsanto was developing its first Roundup-Ready (glyphosate-resistant) GM Crops.

It is now 2015 and WHO has put glyphosate’s cancer causing ability back in the spotlight. The question is who is to blame for this shocking lack of protection for public health? The answer is the U.S. government, who have pushed glyphosate around the World as part of their campaign to support the U.S. biotech industry in their attempt to dominate global agriculture.

The thirty-year glyphosate cancer cover up will go down in history as yet another failure, by the U.S. government, the EPA and worldwide regulators, to put the health of the general public before the need to protect and expand company profits.

Copyright Sustainable Pulse  2015

Throughout 2014 and into 2015, Russia has been under relentless assault by the Western elite who have engaged in economic, strategic and information warfare in a bid to force regime change in Moscow, a fact that is well documented by this point. What has been less well documented is the ability of the Russian people to withstand such tremendous economic hardships and full-frontal assaults down through history, whilst still remaining a strong and cohesive people. Russia is a one of the most unique countries on the planet who has responded to sanctions and demonization in a way no other country could have. Overthrowing the Russian government is a far greater challenge to the West than ousting any other regime on earth, a challenge that has as much chance of boomeranging and fracturing the West as it has of being successful. 

In a December 2014 article titled: Viewing Russia from the Inside by George Friedman, the founder and CEO of the geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor, (which is also known as the shadow CIA), Friedman details Russia’s ability to “endure things that would break other nations” as well as noting that “Russians don’t respond to economic pressure as Westerners do”:

“Russians’ strength is that they can endure things that would break other nations… Therefore, the Russians argued, no one should expect that sanctions, no matter how harsh, would cause Moscow to capitulate…. It would explain why the increased sanctions, plus oil price drops, economic downturns and the rest simply have not caused the erosion of confidence that would be expected. Reliable polling numbers show that President Vladimir Putin is still enormously popular. Whether he remains popular as the decline sets in, and whether the elite being hurt financially are equally sanguine, is another matter. But for me the most important lesson I might have learned in Russia — “might” being the operative term — is that Russians don’t respond to economic pressure as Westerners do.”

The characteristics of the Russian state and the Russian people mean that imposing sanctions on the nation fails to have the effect the aggressor desires. The effectiveness of placing sanctions on Moscow was the topic of an article written by Clifford G. Gaddy and Barry W. Ickes for the Washington based thinktank, the Brookings Institution, titled: Can Sanctions Stop Putin? Gaddy and Ickes write:

“The motivation for sanctions is to impose hardship in order to change behavior. But the likelihood that this would apply to Russia is very weak. History tells us that Russians can endure enormous hardship. Coping and survival are part of Russian history and the Russian national identity. We do not need to go back to dramatic events like the Siege of Leningrad in World War II to understand that Russians can survive difficult situations. Less than two decades ago, during the 1990s, Russia suffered one of the biggest negative economic shocks ever by a country in peacetime. National and household incomes dropped by at least 40 percent. That experience shows that Russia’s households and enterprises can endure significant dislocation thanks to bottom-up, informal mechanisms of mutual help and self-survival.”

The article continues to detail how Russia is much stronger than it was in the 1990’s partly due to Moscow’s low government foreign debt and high foreign exchange reserves.  Gaddy and Ickes also interestingly note in their June 2014 piece that to weaken Russia’s position further would “require drastic reductions [in] the world oil price”, shortly before the US and Saudi Arabia orchestrated the free-fall in world oil prices.

Despite sanctions and the engineered lowering of the oil price designed to weaken Moscow’s resolve, Russia has responded to the economic warfare in a different manner than what was intended by the Western elite. The pressure on the country has worked to galvanize the Russian spirit as oppose to eviscerate it, in what F. William Engdahl dubbed a “renaissance”. History has shown us time and time again the resolve of the Russian people when confronted with hardship. Russia in the 21st century is by no means the exception to the rule.

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

The Cop Is On the Take

Government corruption has become rampant:

  • Senior SEC employees spent up to 8 hours a day surfing porn sites instead of cracking down on financial crimes
  • NSA spies pass around homemade sexual videos and pictures they’ve collected from spying on the American people
  • Investigators from the Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General found that some of the regulator’s employees surfed erotic websites, hired prostitutes and accepted gifts from bank executives … instead of actually working to help the economy
  • The Minerals Management Service – the regulator charged with overseeing BP and other oil companies to ensure that oil spills don’t occur – was riddled with “a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity”, which included “sex with industry contacts
  • Agents for the Drug Enforcement Agency had sex parties with prostitutes hired by the drug cartels they were supposed to stop
  • Warmongerers in the U.S. government knowingly and intentionally lied us into a war of aggression in Iraq.  The former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – the highest ranking military officer in the United States – said that the Iraq war was “based on a series of lies”. The same is true in Libya and other wars
  • The government-sponsored rating agencies committed massive fraud (and see this)
  • The former chief accountant for the SEC says that Bernanke and Paulson broke the law and should be prosecuted
  • The government knew about mortgage fraud a long time ago. For example, the FBI warned of an “epidemic” of mortgage fraud in 2004. However, the FBI, DOJ and other government agencies then stood down and did nothing. See this and this. For example, the Federal Reserve turned its cheek and allowed massive fraud, and the SEC has repeatedly ignored accounting fraud. Indeed, Alan Greenspan took the position that fraud could never happen
  • Paulson and Bernanke falsely stated that the big banks receiving Tarp money were healthy, when they were not. The Treasury Secretary also falsely told Congress that the bailouts would be used to dispose of toxic assets … but then used the money for something else entirely

The biggest companies own the D.C. politicians.  Indeed, the head of the economics department at George Mason University has pointed out that it is unfair to call politicians “prostitutes”.  They are in fact pimps … selling out the American people for a price.

Government regulators have become so corrupted and “captured” by those they regulate that Americans know that the cop is on the take.   Institutional corruption is killing people’s trust in our government and our institutions.

Indeed, America is officially no longer a democracy or republic … it’s an oligarchy.

But the private sector is no better … for example, the big banks have turned into criminal syndicates.

Liberals and conservatives tend to blame our country’s problems on different factors … but they are all connected.

The real problem is the malignant, symbiotic relationship between big corporations and big government.

During a recent ‘On-Air’ news report on Sunday 29 March 2015  from Tikrit, Iraq, Press TV war correspondent Rahshan Saglam was providing a ‘LIVE’ update when an explosion occurred approximately 150 meters from her position.

The camera technician was able to capture the plume of chlorine gas rising above the explosion from the ISIS fired rocket. It appears ISIS was firing on the hospital in Tikrit.

Correspondent Saglam went on to describe the explosion and the fact that she has witnessed the increased usage of chemical weapons by ISIS militants on the Iraqi citizens.

In the video report below, the chemical weapon explosion occurs at approximately 3min. 15sec.’s

Video courtesy of: Rahshan Saglam and Press TV

This is not the first time ISIS has used chemical weapons on innocent civilians.

Just two weeks ago ISIS was discovered having used chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians.

The use of chemical weapons is in direct violation of the Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime under United Nation protocol. Of which, Iraq is a member state, which permits UN oversight and adherence to the Convention’s resolutions.

The UN must immediately send in investigators and UN Peacekeeping troops to bring a halt to this horrific display of crimes against humanity, investigate these occurrences and bring charges against those responsible.

After more than 30 years I recently spent a week in the Philippines, giving a few arranged talks at universities, meeting with NGOs, and old friends who shared their understanding of this fascinating fast growing country of approximately 105 million people living on an archipelago that consists of more than 7,107 islands.

Additionally, of course, Manila is a mega-city that exhibits traffic at its worst, colorful jeepneys by the hundreds that are a distinctive national mode of urban transportation, a kind of customized bus service in smaller vehicles colorfully adorned, and now almost as many malls as churches epitomizing the economic and social intrusion of neoliberalism in the guise of globalization. Probably because of the large number of affluent expats living in the Makati neighborhood of Manila, the malls in the vicinity of my hotel offered visitors a wide range of world cuisines in numerous restaurants, cafes, bistros, and of course, a large Starbucks, staying open and crowded late into the night. As well, there were housed in these malls the same upper end array of global stores (e.g. Gucci, Coach, Cartier, Burberry, Zara, and so on)

My visit coincided with two preoccupations in the country: the celebration of the 29th anniversary of the overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship by the People Power Revolution in 1986 and the current obsessive national debate about how to understand and react to the bungled counterterrorist operation in the Mindanao community of Mamapasano located in Manguindanao province that took place in late January of this year. Each of these occurrences offered a politically attuned visitor a finely honed optic by which to grasp the central tensions currently gripping the country.

There is little doubt that the people power movement of the mid-1980s remains a source of national pride for many Filipinos, although its overall results are not nearly as emancipatory as were the original hopes and aspirations. Procedural democracy seems to have become firmly established, and the fact that the president of the country is the son of Benigno and Corey Aquino. Benigno Aquino who had been assassinated as he stepped on the tarmac in 1983 is an important symbolic expression of a reformed political order. Marcos denied the crime, and there have been two inconclusive trials of military officers alleged to be responsible for planning and carrying out the assassination, but the event has not been authoritatively explained to date. Yet despite the momentous changes brought about by this populist rising, the political economy of the country remains as enmeshed as earlier in a web of entanglements with predatory globalization, making income and wealth disparities ever larger while massive degrading poverty persists. The oligarchic structures of land tenure have been tweaked by mild reformism without being loosening their chokehold on the nation’s vital arteries.

The Philippines have long been beset by insurgent challenges, which also seem likely to continue indefinitely. After decades of struggle the New Peoples Army founded in 1969 and operating on Maoist principles of ‘peoples war’ remains in control of a large number of remote communities in several of the important islands, clashes with government forces are reported in the media from time to time, and negotiations with the government with the goal of ending the conflict have been undertaken from time to time. This persevering movement appears to remain under the ideological leadership of Jose Maria Sison, who has been living as an exile in Utrecht for decades.

Given far more recent attention for both internal and international reasons are the several violent movements seeking autonomy and other goals in the largely Muslim island of Mindanao. There had been lengthy negotiations with the Moro Liberation Movement that agreed finally on a resolution of this conflict through the autonomy arrangement embedded in the Bangsamoro Basic Law that seemed on the verge of enactment until the Mamapasano incident of January 25th put off adoption at least until June, and possibly forever. Opponents are now raising Islamophobic fears that Mindanao would become a platform for political extremism if the agreement reached with such difficulty goes into effect.

What for me was particularly strange was this deeply ingrained national experience of successfully challenging intolerable aspects of the established order without being able to follow through in some way that achieves the goals being sought. In one way it is a rather impressive sign of reconciliation to realize that the son of Ferdinand Marcos, Bong-Bong, is an influential senator, and is even contemplating a run for the presidency in 2016 despite never repudiating the policies and practices of his father, which are movingly on display in a small museum dedicated to the crimes committed by the Marcos regime during the period of martial law (1972-1981). Additionally, Emee, the oldest Marcos daughter is the governor of the Llocos Norte province, their home province, and even Imelda Marcos has been forgiven her excesses, shoes and otherwise, and serves as a popular member of the House of Representatives since being elected in 2010 by a plurality of over 80%. This is a remarkable type of rehabilitation of a family dictatorship believed responsible for siphoning off public monies in the billions and suppressing its opponents by reliance on torture, brutality, and assassination. The Marcos clan has never recanted or expressed remorse, but explains that whatever wrongs occurred during that time as either ‘mistakes’ of subordinates or the unproven allegations of opposition forces.

When I asked how was it possible that the Marcos past has been so cleanly erased from the contemporary blackboard of Filipino awareness, I received various answers: “They have lots of money” “They never lost popularity in their home province where lots of development took place while Marcos governed ” “The past no longer matters; it is the present that counts” “the oligarchy still rules the country and includes all leading families regardless of their political affiliations.”

There are attractive aspects of this experience of ‘reconciliation without truth,’ that is, without some formal process of reckoning and accountability, at least the palliative of a truth and reconciliation commission. Such a spirit of resigned moderation is in some respects the opposite of the sort of polarization that afflicts so many countries at present. It is not only that the Marcos’s have been allowed to participate prominently in the political system without being compromised by their past, but also those on the far left who in the Marcos period were ‘underground’ and enemies of the state are now to be found in the Congress or even in the cabinet of the president. Perhaps, the Philippines is quietly experimenting in the practice of ‘pluralist democracy,’ while ignoring the more radical features of ‘substantive and restorative democracy.’

A similar pattern of ‘conscious forgetfulness’ is evident in relation to the colonial past for both its Spanish and American versions. There is no bitterness despite the cruelties and harshness of the Spanish colonial legacy. Catholicism is as firmly rooted in the country as it was when it was a willing partner of the Spanish rulers in the oppressive past, and continues to flourish in a manner that has not occurred in any other post-colonial Asian country. When Pope Francis visited the country in January it was the largest celebratory event in the country’s history. This status of Catholicism is also remarkable considering the Church’s persistent opposition to birth control for poor families that are continuing to have large families that they unable to support; over 30% of Filipino children are reported to be stunted due to the effect of malnutrition and hunger.

Despite the bloody counterinsurgency war fought by the United States in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War of 1898, which crushed the Philippines expectations of national independence that had been promised by Americans as part of their own anti-colonial identity. Most absurdly, the American president at the time William McKinley, actually justified administering the Philippines as part of its responsibility to Christianize this most Christian of countries. The decision to break the American promise of independence made to anti-Spanish nationalist leaders in the Philippines were articulated in the brazen spirit of Manifest Destiny, putting a moral ad religious face on America’s first flirtation with undisguised colonialism. McKinley’s words are memorably revealing: “..there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could by them..”

My initial contact with the Philippines was as a supporter of the ‘Anti-Bases Coalition,’ which in the 1980s was seeking the removal of the two huge American military bases at Subic Bay and Clark Air Force Base. This has been a struggle with strong nationalist overtones, and engaging leading political figures in the country. The bases were eventually closed, but consistent with the tendency to exhibit the truth of the French adage ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose ‘ [the more things change, the more they remain the same] the strategic relationship with the United States was sustained, even deepened, and certainly continued. There were American Special Forces units operating rather freely in the country as part of the global war on terror, and there were intimidations that the role of the United States in the Mamapasano incident was responsible for the bloodshed that generated a political crisis in the country.

Of course, there are explanations for this seeming contradiction between getting rid of American military bases and maintaining military cooperation. The government in Manila was benefitted by the assistance of the United States in dealing effectively with its domestic insurgent challenges from the left. Beyond this, the Philippines turned out to be one of the anti-Islamic battlefields in the post-9/11 ‘war on terror,’ and the United States exerted pressures on the government in Manila to give its consent to counter-terrorist operations within its borders. In the background, but not very far removed from political consciousness, were the flaring island disputes with China and the overall security concerns associated with the regional rise of China. In this geopolitical setting, the United States was seen as a necessary friend to offset the more immediate and direct existential threats posed by China. In important respects, these patterns can be understood as the post-Cold War securitization of Asian relations in the shadow of the transformative impacts of the 9/11 attacks.

The Mamapasano incident is emblematic of these realities. Under apparent pressure from the United States to capture or kill a much wanted terrorist known as Marwan, the Philippino elite special forces units were persuaded to carry out the operation. In the process 42 of these highly trained troops were killed, along with Marwan, and there were many repercussions. The United States role was at first disguised, but investigations revealed involvement, including a drone watching and maybe guiding the operation, along with the allegation that the Filipino soldiers were ‘sacrificed’ to spare American lives in a situation where heavy armed resistance should have been anticipated. Some blamed the president, and there were demonstrations during my days in the country demanding his resignation, despite his popularity remaining quite high. It is not clear what will be the outcome, whether there will be a downgrading of cooperation with the United States and some accountability imposed on those who are alleged to have bungled the operation. Yet if the past is any guide, the crisis will pass, and continuity of U.S./Filipino relations will prevail in the security domain.

The Mamapasano incident is a clear instance of the new global security paradigm: the centrality of non-state actors, the role of covert operations by foreign special forces, the transnational dimensions of political conflict, the erosion of territorial sovereignty, the primacy of information and surveillance, and the hierarchical relationship between the United States and most governments in the global south. To make this last point evident, it is inconceivable that Filipino special forces would participate in an operation to capture persons residing in the United States suspected of affiliation with insurgent movements in the Philippines.

There is a complex redesign of world order underway, with one set of developments reshaping the political economy of globalization by way of the BRICs [but see acute skeptical analysis in William I Robinson, “The transnational state and the BRICS: a global capitalist perspective,” Third World Quarterly, 36(NO.1): 1-21 (2015)] and the Chinese initiative with respect to investment banking, [Asian Infrastructure Initiative Bank]; another set of developments concerned with securitization, ranging from the global surveillance apparatus disclosed by Edward Snowden to the incredible American global presence featuring over 700 foreign military bases and special forces units active in over 150 countries; and still another, is preoccupied with the rise of religion and civilizational identity as a political force, and what this means for stability and governance.

We still lack a language to assess this emergent world order, and possess no regulatory or normative framework within which to distinguish what is legitimate, prudent, and permissible from what is illegitimate, imprudent, and impermissible. Neither international law nor the UN has been able to adapt to the contemporary global agenda, and show few signs of an ability to do so. While this fluidity and normative uncertainty persists global warming worsens, the risks of nuclear war increase, and leading states shape their policies without accountability. It is not a time for complacency. Such a state of affairs is dangerous, and likely unsustainable. And yet what can be done remains elusive.

Richard Falk is a member of the TRANSCEND Network, an international relations scholar, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, author, co-author or editor of 40 books, and a speaker and activist on world affairs. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies, and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. His most recent book is Achieving Human Rights (2009).

A broad based coalition of Detroit organizations is fighting for a moratorium on property tax foreclosures where 62,000 homes, apartment buildings, small businesses and lots are slated for seizure by Wayne County. Another 15,000 are also scheduled for the broader county.

In addition, tens of thousands more will revert back to foreclosure since they were not able to keep up with payment plans established last year. The Wayne County Treasurer’s office has encouraged people to come forward and sign agreements to make payments in installments.

However, with declining properties being over assessed by the city government and at least 40 percent of Detroit residents living in poverty, it is highly unlikely that these agreements will be honored.

One woman living with disabilities told this writer on conditions of anonymity that she receives $769 per month in benefits. Nonetheless, in a desperate attempt to stave off homelessness, she signed an agreement with the Treasurer’s office to pay $500 a month until her delinquent property taxes are paid off.

A State of Emergency Should Be Declared

On Thurs. March 19, members of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition, Detroit Eviction Defense and others took the issue to the Wayne County Commissioners meeting demanding an immediate halt to the foreclosures. Over a dozen people testified before the elected legislative body placing a human face on the crisis.

Many households have had delinquent water bills placed on their property taxes. Oftentimes the water bills are in excess of the tax payments that are in arrears.

The following week on Tues. March 24 a rally and press conference was held outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center (CAYMAC) prior to an intervention at the City Council meeting where dozens testified about the crisis also calling for a moratorium. During the public comment section of the meeting people came forward to discuss their plight under these repressive tax laws.

Speaking before the City Council were representatives of the Russell Woods Neighborhood Association, Moratorium NOW! Coalition, Detroit Eviction Defense, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Detroit People’s Platform, We the People, as well as unaffiliated residents of Detroit seeking some guidance and relief from their elected representatives. Although several City Council members express concern and discussed a resolution they were preparing for the following Mon. March 30, the ultimate decisions lie with the County treasurer and Gov. Rick Snyder.

Moratorium NOW! Coalition members emphasized numerous points spelled out in a fact sheet distributed to all members of the City Council that:

“The funds are sitting in Lansing to stop these foreclosures. According to the Jan. 2015 Helping Michigan’s Hardest Hit Homeowner report, $251 million of the $498 million in federal Helping Hardest Hit Homeowner funds that were provided to the state in 2010 remain unspent.”

This same statement goes on to stress that:

“These funds could be used to pay off delinquent property tax bills for occupied homes and prevent thousands of foreclosures which will further destroy our neighborhoods. Release of these funds will not only stop the destruction of our communities, but go a long way to resolving the financial crisis in Wayne County and Detroit which in large part is a result of declining revenues as a result of tax foreclosures.”

After the Council meeting people marched from City Hall to the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office. The deputy treasurer came out to respond to the demonstration saying they are doing more than anyone else to stop the foreclosures.

Community Outreach Continues

A demonstration organized by the clergy in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March was leafleted on March 28 calling for people to take political action.

Another demonstration was scheduled to take place at the Wayne County treasurer’s office on Tues. March 31, the deadline for the payments on taxes three years behind to be made.

After March 31, if delinquent taxes for 2012 are not paid or arrangements made, residents will lose title to their homes. Within six months, the homes could be sold in an auction where unscrupulous so-called “developers” are given priority over the residents who may seek to repurchase the properties lost to foreclosure.

The scene at the Wayne County Treasurer’s office was chaotic on March 27 as members of Detroit Eviction Defense, the Detroit Active Retirees and Employees Association (DAREA) and Moratorium NOW! Coalition distributed thousands of leaflets to people crowding into the building in a desperate attempt to avoid foreclosure. The following Sun. March 29, members of Moratorium NOW! Coalition and DAREA walked door-to-door leafleting for the March 31 demonstration in the Boston Edison Historic District, one of the hardest hit residential sections of the city where many of the homes are vacant due to mortgage and tax foreclosures.

Plans undertaken by the quasi-governmental agency, the Detroit Land Bank Authority and the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force, headed by billionaire banker and corporate mogul Dan Gilbert, has failed miserably in their program aimed at auctioning or demolishing homes throughout the city. Tens of millions of dollars have already been wasted by the bankers’ initiatives on blight removal, where federal funds which should have been utilized to keep people in their homes are being misappropriated to tear down structures creating more flight and abandonment across key neighborhoods.

Moreover, Wayne County is being threatened with emergency management and bankruptcy later this year, similar to what Detroit went through in 2013-14. Consequently, the massive foreclosures will not prevent a state takeover of the operations of Wayne County.

Under emergency management and bankruptcy in Detroit, billions in healthcare benefits, pensions and public assets were seized by the State of Michigan and turned over to private interests. March 1 represented the first month of pension payment cuts for 32,000 City of Detroit retirees and their families, whose healthcare benefits were severed one year ago, months prior to the approval by the federal court of a post-bankruptcy “plan of adjustment.”

The so-called “plan of adjustment” is already unraveling with retirees facing foreclosures resulting in pension cuts, rising healthcare costs and the failure of corporate-imposed white mayor, Mike Duggan, the first in forty years, to attract the necessary investment that could create jobs and economic opportunities for the African American majority, some 82 percent of the overall population.

Duggan on March 24, the day where hundreds of people rallied and attended the City Council meeting demanding a moratorium on tax foreclosures, attempted a diversionary tactic by announcing a program to provide supposedly “interest-free” loans to city residents up to $25,000 to carry out home repairs. Such a project will not be effective since approximately 37,000 of the 62,000 properties slated for foreclosure are owner-occupied.

Nonetheless, by March 29, Duggan was already crying broke saying that the blight removal funds were drying up and that more money was needed from Washington to tear down vacant homes in Detroit.

In a front page article published in the Sunday Free Press it says:

“with 40,000 structures meeting the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force’s definition of blight — structurally unsound, fire-damaged or open to the elements — and another 38,000 unoccupied, abandoned and likely to become blighted in the future, the city still has a very long way to go. Even if Duggan finds the $400 million he’s looking for, at an estimate of $12,000 per demolition, he could still pull down only 33,000 properties, leaving tens of thousands remaining.”

Obviously, the banks, corporations and their surrogates in government have no real plans to revitalize Detroit. Only a coalition of neighborhood and mass organizations rooted in the working class can create the conditions for the overturning of the bank-led Snyder-Duggan program of fiscal austerity, mass impoverishment and forced removals.

A study published in the journal Science found government biofuel policies rely on reductions in food consumption to generate greenhouse gas savings. Now, the question is: Whether to seek greenhouse gas reductions from food reductions?

The study looked at three models used by U.S. and European agencies, and found that all three estimate that some of the crops diverted from food to biofuels are not replaced by planting crops elsewhere.

About 20 percent to 50 percent of the net calories diverted to make ethanol are not replaced through the planting of additional crops, the study found.

Shrinking the amount of food that people and livestock eat decreases the amount of carbon dioxide that they breathe out or excrete as waste. The reduction in food available for consumption, rather than any inherent fuel efficiency, drives the decline in carbon dioxide emissions in government models, the researchers found.

“Without reduced food consumption, each of the models would estimate that biofuels generate more emissions than gasoline,” said Timothy Searchinger, first author on the paper and a research scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy.

Searchinger’s co-authors were Robert Edwards and Declan Mulligan of the Joint Research Center at the European Commission; Ralph Heimlich of the consulting practice Agricultural Conservation Economics; and Richard Plevin of the University of California-Davis.

The result is that less food is available, and, according to the study, these missing calories are not simply extras enjoyed in resource-rich countries. Instead, when less food is available, prices go up. “The impacts on food consumption result not from a tailored tax on excess consumption but from broad global price increases that will disproportionately affect some of the world’s poor,” Searchinger said.

The emissions reductions from switching from gasoline to ethanol have been debated for several years. Automobiles that run on ethanol emit less carbon dioxide, but this is offset by the fact that making ethanol from corn or wheat requires energy that is usually derived from traditional greenhouse gas-emitting sources, such as natural gas.

Both the models used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board indicate that ethanol made from corn and wheat generates modestly fewer emissions than gasoline. The fact that these lowered emissions come from reductions in food production is buried in the methodology and not explicitly stated, the study found.

The European Commission’s model found an even greater reduction in emissions. It includes reductions in both quantity and overall food quality due to the replacement of oils and vegetables by corn and wheat, which are of lesser nutritional value. “Without these reductions in food quantity and quality, the [European] model would estimate that wheat ethanol generates 46% higher emissions than gasoline and corn ethanol 68% higher emissions,” Searching said.

The paper recommends that modelers try to show their results more transparently so that policymakers can decide if they wish to seek greenhouse gas reductions from food reductions. “The key lesson is the trade-offs implicit in the models,” Searchinger said.

Story Source:

The story is based on Materials provided by Princeton University.

Journal Reference:

T. Searchinger, R. Edwards, D. Mulligan, R. Heimlich, R. Plevin. Do biofuel policies seek to cut emissions by cutting food? Science, 2015; 347 (6229): 1420 DOI: 10.1126/science.1261221

Source:

Princeton University. “Do biofuel policies seek to cut emissions by cutting food?.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2015. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150327201710.htm 

Copyright Sciencemag.org 2015

A decade ago the late great comedian George Carlin saw what America had turned into:

 Politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want – they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want – they don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking… They want obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your fuckin’ retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later ’cause they own this fuckin’ place. It’s a big club and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club…

The table is tilted folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice… Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t care about you at all! The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes every day, because the owners of this country know the truth… It’s called the American Dream, ’cause you have to be asleep to believe it.

Ten years later, the veracity of Carlin’s words rings truer than ever. Next year the richest 1% of humans on this planet will own more wealth than the rest of us 99% earth inhabitants combined. And in the ensuing years since Carlin uttered those words, the oligarchic “owners” of this nation care even less about us. Last year a joint Princeton-Northwestern study confirmed Carlin’s blunt assertion, making it official – the United States government is an oligarchy. Our elected representatives serve the interests of the controlling elite that years ago Carlin astutely pointed out owns the government, the Fortune 500 transnational corporations, us and virtually the entire world.

Moreover, further evidence corroborating Carlin’s contention that US citizens are being systematically dumbed down is the fact that every year Americans are testing lower in IQ intelligence.  Results from a recent adult competency test given to young people aged 20-34 in 22 different developed nations show that the US came in dead last in both tech proficiency and numeracy and just two from the bottom in literacy. High school graduates in Finland, Japan and the Netherlands equaled the test performance of America’s college graduates. Sadly, the nation once known for its “Yankee ingenuity” that led the world in innovation and technology is lagging further behind the modern world that’s long since caught up and passed us.

How did America get so dumbed down as to always be the last ones to know? In large part Carlin already answered this question in passing. With just six oligarchs owning and controlling the biggest media corporations in the world, already co-opted and merged with the US crime syndicate government in power, controllers of what gets disseminated to the masses as news and information in effect controls how people are perceiving and reacting to the world around them. And as long as the continuous propaganda brainwash keeps bombarding the masses on a daily 24/7 basis with nonstop lies and disinformation, Americans will only continue to be kept in the dark as the last to know what’s really going on. The oligarchs are simply utilizing what’s worked so well for them in the past – in the words of Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels:

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State… The most brilliant propaganda technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.

No more is that last statement true than during this last year when Putin has been demonized by Washington and Western Mainstream Media. The repeated lies against Putin completely overlook the all too obvious fact that it was the US that broke international law [again], this time in Ukraine pumping $5 billion in NGO’s to hire neo-Nazi thugs into committing street violence to overthrow another democratically elected government. Just as the US in its subversive opportunistic power grab was about to strategically seize control over the Black Sea Russian naval base in Sebastopol, Crimea, right after the Crimean population as ethnic Russians who for centuries were part of Russia voted overwhelmingly to be annexed by Russia, Putin beat US Empire to the punch and defensively moved his troops in place to protect Crimean citizens and his naval base. Yet the lies being repeated ad nauseam by the US and MSM that Putin is the aggressor refusing to comply with international law accompanied by more false flag lies (i.e., Putin shot down MH17 and that Putin sent Russian soldiers into Ukraine) have effectively brainwashed most Americans into believing Putin is once again our cold war enemy who needs to be stopped with yet more war.

Thankfully the US rush to war in Ukraine is not deterring European nations like Germany and France from trying to pursue a peaceful resolution through negotiation and diplomacy in Ukraine. They depend too much on Putin’s gas and oil and don’t want potential World War III killing their soldiers fighting in their own backyard.

Recently Europe and Australia are also breaking ranks from US Empire’s dominance economically by seeking to become members of China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. They clearly see the writing on the wall that China is fast replacing the United States soon emerging as the number one economic power. The age of US global hegemony as the sole global superpower bullying the rest of the world into submission and defeat is gradually coming to an end. The United States no longer is calling all the shots in the world. Its longtime strongest allies Europe, Australia and Japan are not so willing to act as US Empire puppets anymore. Long recognizing that the militarized US foreign policy destabilizing and impoverishing the Third World has imperialistically caused so much global destruction producing only failed state after failed state, much of the world sees the US has made the planet more armed and dangerous than ever before in human history. As such, in the eyes of much of the world’s nations, America has lost considerable respect, global influence and power.

It’s time for Americans to realize this humbling truth. The US Empire has had its full ride of conquering glory and domination, and now is experiencing the downswing of its historical decline. We Americans need to take a hard look at ourselves in the mirror, beginning with 9/11 as the most heinous false flag in US history. The evidence exposing 9/11 as an inside job is just too much in our face to continue to ignore. Albert Einstein once said, “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” Denial is a self-lie that will only expedite more mass killing. The overwhelming pile of facts are now just too plainly visible to continue believing Washington’s false narrative.

The freefall of the towers that violates all laws of physics alone disprove the official whitewash. Then the BBC announcing Building 7’s fall 20 minutes prior to the event proves insider foreknowledge. Nano-thermite residue left in the rubble and multiple eyewitness testimony hearing the series of explosions prior to the freefall further showing the buildings did not come down from planes flying into the upper floors of the towers. Identification of the 19 suspects just three days after the attack after a mere day after 9/11 miraculously finding an unblemished, intact passportbelonging to the lead terrorist a couple blocks from the steel and molten ashes is simply too unbelievable to be taken seriously as the truth. At least a half dozen of the Saudi nationals blamed as the terrorist stooges have shown up alive and several are even suing the US government.

George H. W. Bush senior meeting with Osama bin Laden’s brother in DC at the same time the 9/11 attacks were going down and then the bin Ladens riding in the only plane allowed to fly in the sky afterwards. The (missile-sized) hole ripped into the Pentagon being too small to be caused by the alleged commercial airliner. The highly questionable, even unbelievable odds that the entire US air defense support system would take the day off on 9/11 to be conveniently diverted to undergoing training exercises that effectively prevented the most sophisticated and powerful military in the world from defending the nation from outside attack seems even more implausible. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was flown out of the country on 9/11 and then immediately replaced by his deputy who on 9/11 was the “acting Chairman.” The evidence of various advance insider trading just prior to 9/11 and the millions made from that criminal enterprise. The WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein cashing in huge dividends from his insurance policy. The Silverstein uttered phrase “pull it” commonly used in building demolition as the signal to detonate pre-planted explosives.

The CIA assistance given the “terrorists” to ensure they were trained at flight schools in Florida, California and Arizona and then the FBI purposely sitting on knowledge of this suspicious red-alert activity. A US State Department official in Saudi Arabia claiming the CIA furnished the Saudi “terrorists” with passports for free passage to and from the US. Incriminating fingerprints of both Saudi intelligence and Israeli Mossad’s active participation in both the planning and executing. The Israeli government’s collusion with the neocons in the Bush regime (many of whom hold dual Israeli-US citizenship) chiefly responsible for killing 3000 of its own US citizens in order to use the 9/11 false flag to commit further crimes against humanity by creating their forever “war on terror” and then invading (based on propaganda WMD lies) and occupying for over a decade while destroying the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Wesley Clarke revelation revealing the neocon pre-9/11 plan to take down 7 sovereign nations in the Middle East and Africa before it happened. And after all this demonically-driven devastation and despair wrought on the Middle East and spreading to the entire planet, those same players responsible for committing 9/11 are still walking freely as card carrying elitists protected by the same neocon crime syndicate still in power.

The psychology of denial that has so many Americans still unwilling to face the truth of course gets reinforced daily by the constant barrage of MSM-government lies and propaganda. Because the vast majority of Americans love the country they grew up in, to realize that their homeland they’ve always cherished and loved turns out to be a villainous Empire that’s the enemy of the entire world, betraying and enslaving its own people and beyond, sacrificing Americans’ well-being for global hegemony and full spectrum dominance is a very hard and bitter pill to have to swallow. It’s very similar to finding out your own father is a mass murderer.

Denial can understandably become the automatic reflexive reaction and prime defense mechanism used to squelch the cognitive dissonance (inner conflict when reality clashes with world-view) that arises when fathoming and learning how our own government can murder its own expendable citizens for its own sinister purposes. Facing this grim reality becomes so anxiety-provoking and so destabilizing to one’s world-view, it simply cannot be believed. So refusing to accept that our leaders can be capable of such evildoing becomes their blinded response by which millions of Americans maintain status quo of living their daily lives. Of course the diabolical system has them additionally addicted, distracted and bamboozled by their infinite means of escapism – dehumanizing toy gadgetry, video games, the Kardashians’ latest antics, or the hype of big money sports like March madness instead of heeding the very real March madness that has us robotically marching off doomsday cliff straight into world war, most Americans are either too preoccupied, too afraid or too stressed out just trying to survive to even notice.

After all, once one accepts the dirty lowdown truth, one is then forced into taking action in good conscience to do something about it. It’s a lot easier to lazily succumb to the feds’ brainwashing strategy of dismissing anyone who believes 9/11 was an inside job as a mere “conspiracy theorist” rather than look at the mountains of hard evidence. Those of us who realize the US government is constantly lying to us in its efforts to keep us dumbed down, controlled and obedient are not so easily dumbed down, controlled and obedient despite risking increasing negative consequences for speaking out against the oppressive government. Though we are the true patriots and many Washington insiders are the true traitors, as courageous dissidents for the sake of humanity we must resist and oppose the fascist totalitarian US government now targeting us as potential homegrown terrorists.

Because we refuse to accept the federal crime syndicate’s official dogma of lies and propaganda, and oppose its desecration of our civil liberties guaranteed us before 9/11 by our Constitution, we are now on growing watch lists that could easily turn into FEMA camp roundup lists once Obama declares martial law in America. As law-abiding citizens who know and accept the truth, we must hold the criminals accountable for betraying the very Constitution that they all swore oaths to protect and uphold. It’s a federal crime to violate their oaths while in office and treason is a high crime punishable up to death according to 18 US Code 2381:

Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

According to the above cited law, those criminals in Washington who are waging war against their own people now are guilty of treason giving the people plenty of reason for arresting and putting them on trial.

Every week we’re seeing ominous signs that the US dollar-petrodollar will soon be dropped as the standard international currency. As that ongoing process further erodes the dollar, the US economy could soon collapse. The doom and gloom warnings of the coming crash abound. Though this inevitable reality is more than probable, it may well produce the next false flag that provides the excuse Obama will use to implement martial law in America even during peacetime. Of course under the pretense of national emergency, Obama has executive order rights to shut down all internet access and activity, rendering us citizens even more susceptible to the abuses of unfolding tyranny.

Meanwhile the mounting violence in Yemen after the US handed over more than a half billion dollars’ worth of war making machinery to another supposed enemy, and now with both Saudi and Israeli air strikes bombing Yemen against the alleged Iranian-backed Houthi Shiite rebels that overthrew the US puppet government two months ago, another US proxy war on the Arabian peninsula is underway further destabilizing the region. Similar to creating, arming and funding al Qaeda/ISIS for decades, as backers of al Qaeda in Yemen the US has set up yet another hotspot war against yet more Moslems. The death and destruction just continue.

At the same time, recently reelected war criminal Netanyahu is mouthing his typical crying foul chant with the “dangerous accord with Iran worse than Israel feared” over the prospect of the US coalition team negotiating an amicable treaty over Iran’s nuclear status as the March 31st deadline fast approaches. Despite all evidence in recent years pointing to Iran not developing nuclear weapons, Israel, Saudi Arabia and US Empire acting as the axis-of-evil is using the unraveling civil war now raging in Yemen to conveniently blame Iran for causing yet more insidious and relentless efforts to initiate war against Iran. Between sending NATO and heavy arms into Ukraine and this latest geopolitical chessboard aggression in Yemen, the evil crime syndicate representing the psychopathic sub-human species of Western oligarchs currently losing their power appears determined to instigate World War III.

What we are now witnessing in 2015 are the American Empire’s lies finally catching up to its Western oligarch puppet masters. The Western central banking cabal that runs the crime syndicate governments of the US-EU-NATO-Israel-Saudi axis-of-evil is all about promoting perpetual war. It has the earth drowning and suffocating in a cesspool of radiated ocean and poisoned freshwater, Monsanto saturated soil producing GMO-disease causing, chemical foods devoid of all nutrition, and increasingly unbreathable megalopolis air across the planet. For centuries it’s perpetrated a morally corrosive, predatory, unsustainable, broken economic and political system driven by the profit-greed motive that has enslaved the entire global population in irreversible debt. The race for World War III that this evil axis of power currently has the planet freefalling towards is out of sheer desperate diabolical madness in the grips of losing its absolute power. It’s finally time that the American citizens wake up from this post-apocalyptic Orwellian nightmare that’s befallen us before the oligarchs’ eugenics soft- and hard-kill final solution exterminates 13 out of 14 of us currently living and breathing on this earth.

The same propaganda tools that have been controlling the people for centuries are still being successfully used against us. Because Americans have been so conditioned into accepting lies as the truth, false flags have effectively begun every war the US has fought 217 out of its 239 years in existence. All these years later, it’s time for the misinformed, misled American population to finally smarten up once and for all and recognize that all life on planet earth is in very serious and grave danger now. Most of the world’s known this tragic reality for a long time as victims of the US Empire’s brutality. The very future survival of the human species hangs in the balance. It depends on us throwing off the shackles of ignorance that’s enslaved us, and as informed, committed, mindful and empowered citizens of the world to come together in solidarity to advance human evolution rather than allow it to be extinguished by a handful of criminal killer psychopaths.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/.