Ottawa lockdown after Parliament shooting on Oct. 22. Courtesy The Independent

Originally published by WhoWhatWhy

In a bygone, saner era, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s murder of Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo and subsequent shooting rampage inside the Parliament would have been treated as a drug-related murder. Not so in the age of terrorism.

Instead, the authorities used the long-time crack addict and Muslim’s actions to whip up hysteria, framing the events of Oct. 22 as excuses for expansion of the security state. Will Prime Minister Stephen Harper lead Canada down the same road the George W. Bush led America?

The center of Ottawa was locked down for several hours until evening, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the Canadian nation it was a terrorist act, “a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.” [ii] Ottawa police spokesman Chuck Benoit told the media that two or three gunmen were believed to be involved in the attacks. [iii]

First news reports, citing official sources, also said that “Zehaf-Bibeau … has been on the terrorist watch list … and could be an ISIS jihadi.” [iv] A dramatic photo of him, with a long-barreled gun and semi-masked with a scarf, like an outlaw in a Hollywood Western, was also reproduced widely in the media and on the Internet. [v]

Zehaf

The alleged source of the photo, a Twitter account, was used to link Zehaf to another Muslim murderer, Martin Couture-Rouleau, who two days earlier had killed a Canadian soldier and injured another in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. (It was alleged that Couture-Rouleau followed the same Canadian-based pro-ISIS Twitter account.) [vi] CNN reported, from a “U.S. source,” that “Zehaf-Bibeau has ‘connections’ online with jihadists.”[vii]

Conflicting Stories

Within 24 hours, a very different picture emerged, creating conflicting stories about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s prior knowledge of Zehaf-Bibeau that deserve a deeper investigation. The RCMP soon stated for the record that Zehaf, although a Muslim, “was not one of the 90 radicalized Canadians on an RCMP watchlist.” [viii]  According to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, Zehaf had come to Ottawa on Oct. 2 to deal with a stalled passport application:

“When the RCMP were asked to review his passport application, they found no evidence he posed a threat to national security,” Paulson said. [ix] The commissioner claimed that Zehaf wanted to go to Syria. However, a witness who had saw Zehaf in the hostel where he had been staying said the suspect’s travel plans were for Libya (the land of his immigrant father) and not Syria. [x]

Other records suggested that Zehaf’s actions may have been driven more by his psychology than his politics. “Three years earlier, as part of a psychiatric evaluation prior to a trial in Vancouver, Zehaf-Bibeau said “he wants to be in jail as he believes this is the only way he can overcome his addiction to crack cocaine,” according to a psychiatric assessment provided by a Canadian court.” [xi]

Unfounded ISIS Fears

The fears that Zehaf was an ISIS-linked terrorist now seem to have had little foundation. (Police have since alleged that Zehaf-Bibeau made a video of himself beforehand, saying he was motivated by his religious opposition to Canadian foreign policy. But this video has not been released to the public). [xii]

As a Canadian Muslim leader has observed: “Why can’t Muslims have insane individuals? When these actions are done by others, they say he is insane . . . Why, as a Muslim Canadian, do we always say right away it was a terrorist act?” [xiii]

The murder two days earlier of another Canadian soldier by Couture-Rouleau, who allegedly was on the 90-person watchlist, helps explain why terrorism was on the minds of Canadian authorities as well as the public. Another reason was that the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service had been conducting a war game to deal with just such an attack.

According to the CBC on October 23:

Within the last month we know that the CSIS, the RCMP and the National Security Task Force … ran a scenario that’s akin to a war games exercise if you will, where they actually imagined literally an attack in Quebec, followed by an attack in another city, followed by a tip that that ‘hey some foreign fighters are coming back from Syria.’ So they were imagining a worst case scenario. We’re seeing elements of that happening right now. … [Canadian authorities] may talk today in terms of being surprised but we know that this precise scenario has been keeping them up at night for a while. [xiv]

Yet Another Coincidental War Game

Photo: By CanPress.

But the presence of a concurrent counterterrorist exercise, or war game, forces us to think more closely about the shootings in Quebec and Ottawa on October 20 and 22. The coincidence, if it was that, calls to mind others in recent history.

One of the explored dimensions of the 9/11 attacks is the acknowledged existence on that same day of simultaneous war games—including a simulated attack on the National Reconnaissance Office headquarters in Chantilly, VA, “as part of a ‘plane into building’ drill.” [xv]

The London subway bombings five years later were also said to have coincided with a war game with an uncannily similar scenario. [xvi] There is even a disputed allegation that the Boston Marathon bombings of April 2013 were in the context of a planned “controlled explosion” (to quote a Boston Globe tweet of that day) “as part of bomb squad activities.”[xvii]

It is certain that there were war games on 9/11: one of them, Vigilant Guardian, is even acknowledged in a footnote of the 9/11 Commission Report (p. 458, note 116). And it is relevant that 9/11 was used by the Bush administration to introduce drastic changes in both foreign policy (the wars against Afghanistan and eventually Iraq) and also homeland security (warrantless surveillance, warrantless detention, and the militarization of domestic law enforcement).

Zehaf’s high school yearbook photo.

Time after time, the perception of a terrorist threat is exploited by those in power to consolidate public opinion behind them and to further increase counterterrorist budgets. Stephen Harper promised that same evening that Zehaf’s attack would lead the government to “redouble our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home.” [xviii]

For a decade, and as recently as last August, the North American press has carried numerous accounts of domestic terrorist plots thwarted by the FBI. But in 2012 David Shipler of the New York Times dismissed many such headlines, saying that they in fact reported “dramas . . . facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training.” [xix]

At present there are no grounds to allege that the RCMP or one of its informants provided Zehaf with his weapon or encouraged him to use it. But the Canadian government has admitted it contributed to his derangement by refusing to grant him his passport, a decision about which the Canadian parliament should learn more. [xx]

Canada’s American Path

If Zehaf was too dangerous to be granted a passport, why was he not on a RCMP watchlist or under surveillance? Reuters has since reported that (despite the RCMP’s denial) “A U.S. government source told Reuters that he was regarded as a threat by Canadian authorities.” [xxi]

His freedom from surveillance thus recalls the anomaly that Lee Harvey Oswald, President Kennedy’s alleged assassin, was removed from an FBI watchlist in October 1963, six weeks before the president’s murder, even though Oswald had been arrested in August, and one month later reportedly met a suspected KGB officer in Mexico. [xxii]

For eighteen months before 9/11 NSA and CIA information about two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers (Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi) was systematically withheld from the FBI, preventing their surveillance. [xxiii]

And in the wake of the Boston bombings it was learned that one of the alleged bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, despite months of conspicuous and provocative extremist behavior, had allegedly not come under FBI surveillance. [xxiv] Were all these people left free precisely to allow them to become what I have called “designated culprits”?

***

Since 9/11 all of us, but especially Muslims, have come under radically increased surveillance. And both Canada and the United States have moved towards radically intensified and militarized homeland security, creating military commands for the North American continent that work closely together.

A symptom of this intensification was the lockdown in Ottawa that mirrored the lockdown in Boston, where, in the days after the Marathon bombing, thousands of National Guard troops, along with Blackhawk helicopters, helped state and local police keep a million people in their homes—all to help track down the one surviving Tsarnaev brother who had escaped on foot from a hijacked car.

America has succumbed to fits of hysteria in the past—the Palmer raids in 1919, and the era of McCarthyism in the 1950s. Until now Canada has been relatively free from such bouts of hysteria, but Prime Minister Harper, from Canada’s most Americanized city, Calgary, seems determined to change that.

Notes


http://globalnews.ca/news/1628313/shots-fired-at-war-memorial-in-ottawa-says-witness/. The RCMP also called the episode “a terrorist attack” (“RCMP requests public assistance,” http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/news-nouvelles/2014/10-24-eng.htm). 

ii Johnlee Varghese, “Dead Ottawa Shooting Suspect Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was on Terror Watch List,” International Business Times, October 23, 2014., http://www.ibtimes.co.in/isis-jihadi-dead-ottawa-shooting-suspect-michael-zehaf-bibeau-was-terror-watch-list-612083: “There are also reports emerging that Zehaf-Bibeau and Couture-Rouleau were in communication with each other..”

iii Varghese, “Dead Ottawa Shooting Suspect Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was on Terror Watch List,” International Business Times, October 23, 2014., http://www.ibtimes.co.in/isis-jihadi-dead-ottawa-shooting-suspect-michael-zehaf-bibeau-was-terror-watch-list-612083.

iv http://heavy.com/news/2014/10/michael-zehaf-bibeau-ottawa-parliament-shooting-terro-attack/.

v “Michael Zehaf-Bibeau: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know,” Heavy.com,

http://heavy.com/news/2014/10/michael-zehaf-bibeau-ottawa-parliament-shooting-terro-attack/.

vi CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/22/world/canada-shooter/.

vii Ottawa shooter not on RCMP terror watchlist,” Sun News, October 22, 2014, http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/canada/archives/2014/10/20141022-100348.html.

vii Ottawa shooter not on RCMP terror watchlist,” Sun News, October 22, 2014, http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/canada/archives/2014/10/20141022-100348.html.

vii CNN video, October 22, 2014, http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/22/world/canada-shooter/.

ix Saeed Ahmed and Greg Botelho, “Who is Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the man behind the deadly Ottawa attack?”

http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/22/world/canada-shooter/: “The 2011 assessment continues, “He has been a devoted Muslim for seven years and he believes he must spend time in jail as a sacrifice to pay for his mistakes in the past.”

x Newsweek, November 14, 2014, http://www.newsweek.com/canadian-gunman-michael-zehaf-bibeau-toured-parliament-attack-284475.

xi “How Martin Couture-Rouleau became an aspiring Islamic State fighter,” thestar.com, Ocober 26, 2014,

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/10/26/how_martin_couturerouleau_became_an_aspiring_islamic_state_fighter.html.

xii Adrienne Arsenault on CBC, October 23, 2014; quoted in Joshua Blakeney, “Canadian Authorities Ran War Game Drills Depicting ISIS Attack Scenarios,” Global Research, October 24, 2014, http://www.globalresearch.ca/canadian-authorities-ran-war-game-drills-depicting-isis-attack-scenarios/5409707.

xiii “War Games: Multiple War Games Were Being Conducted on 9/11/01,” 9-11 Research,

http://911research.wtc7.net/planes/defense/wargames.html#ref8; citing

“Agency planned exercise on Sept. 11 built around a plane crashing into a building,” AP, August 21, 2002,http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/planes/defense/sfgate_exercise_082102.html: “In what the government describes as a bizarre coincidence, one U.S. intelligence agency was planning an exercise last Sept. 11 in which an errant aircraft would crash into one of its buildings. But the cause wasn’t terrorism — it was to be a simulated accident.

“Officials at the Chantilly, Va.-based National Reconnaissance Office had scheduled an exercise that morning in which a small corporate jet would crash into one of the four towers at the agency’s headquarters building after experiencing a mechanical failure.”

xiv “The 7/7 London Bombings: How to Set Up a Patsy, What Really Happened,” http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/london_exercise_video.html

xv “Debunked: Natural News – Boston controlled explosion exercise,”

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/debunked-natural-news-boston-controlled-explosion-exercise.1395/. This source reproduces the Boston Globe tweet. What it debunks is a claim that the tweet referred to an actual explosion at the JFK Library not far away. It confirms that the tweet refers to the Boston Public Library on the Marathon route, close to where the Marathon bomb exploded.

xvi  “’Canada will never be intimidated,’ Harper says after shootings in Ottawa,” CTV News, October 22, 2014, http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/canada-will-never-be-intimidated-harper-says-after-shootings-in-ottawa-1.2065443.

xvii David K. Shipler, “Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I.” New York Times, April 28, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/opinion/sunday/terrorist-plots- helped-along-by-the-fbi.html?pagewanted=all.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/opinion/sunday/terrorist-plots-helped-along-by-the-fbi.html?pagewanted=all. Cf. Trevor Aaronson, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism (Brooklyn, NY: Ig Publishing, 2013).

xviii RCMP commissioner Paulson “said Zehaf-Bibeau had applied for a passport to travel and wanted to go to Syria, but the passport application was delayed, which likely helped motivate the attack” (Reuters, October 23, 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/24/us-canada-attacks-profile-idUSKCN0IC2GW20141024).

xix Newsweek, November 14, 2014, http://www.newsweek.com/canadian-gunman-michael-zehaf-bibeau-toured-parliament-attack-284475.

xx Discussion in Peter Dale Scott, The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Litlefield, 2014), 111.

xxi Scott, The American Deep State, 87-88. 

xxii Peter Dale Scott, “Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev a Double Agent Recruited by the FBI?” WhoWhatWhy, June 23, 2013, http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/06/23/was-tamerlan-tsarnaev-a-double-agent-recruited-by-the-fbi/.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Carl Levin, released an alarming 396-page report that details how Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail banks have quietly, and often stealthily through shell companies, gained ownership of a stunning amount of the nation’s critical industrial commodities like oil, aluminum, copper, natural gas, and even uranium. The report said the scale of these bank holdings “appears to be unprecedented in U.S. history.”

Adding to the hubris of the situation, the Wall Street banks’ own regulator, the Federal Reserve, gave its blessing to this unprecedented and dangerous encroachment by banking interests into industrial commodity ownership and has effectively looked the other way as the banks moved into industrial commerce activities like owning pipelines and power plants.

For more than a century, Federal law has encouraged the separation of banking and commerce. The role of banks has been seen as providing prudent corporate lending to facilitate the growth of commerce, not to compete with it through unfair advantage by having access to cheap capital from the Federal Reserve’s lending programs. Additionally, the mega banks are holding trillions of dollars in FDIC insured deposits; if they experienced a catastrophic commercial accident through a ruptured pipeline, tanker oil spill, or power plant explosion, it could once again put the taxpayer on the hook for a bailout.

The Levin report addresses the element of catastrophic risk, noting:

While the likelihood of an actual catastrophe remained remote, those activities carried risks that banks normally avoided altogether.  Goldman, for example, bought a uranium business that carried the risk of a nuclear incident, as well as open pit coal mines that carried potential risks of methane explosions, mining mishaps, and air and water pollution…Morgan Stanley owned and invested in extensive oil storage and transport facilities and a natural gas pipeline company which, together, carried risks of fire, pipeline ruptures, natural gas explosions, and oil spills.  JPMorgan bought dozens of power plants whose risks included fire, explosions, and air and water pollution.  Throughout most of their history, U.S. banks have not incurred those types of catastrophic event risks.

One would think that the mega banks’ regulator, the Federal Reserve, would be the first line of defense against this type of dangerous sprawl by banks. According to the Levin Subcommittee report, the Federal Reserve was actually the facilitator of the sprawl by the banks. The report notes:

Without the complementary orders and letters issued by the Federal Reserve, many of those physical commodity activities would not otherwise have been permissible ‘financial’ activities under federal banking law. By issuing those complementary orders, the Federal Reserve directly facilitated the expansion of financial holding companies into new physical commodity activities.

After the Wall Street financial collapse of 2008, which galvanized the public and Congress to the trillions in taxpayer dollars that was required to shore up the financial system from out of control global casinos masquerading as banks, the Federal Reserve quietly commissioned a study to determine just how sprawling the commodity holdings and operations of the mega banks had become. The study was conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Commodities Team. It appears that Senator Levin’s Subcommittee has only been allowed to see a “2012 Summary Report” of that study and the public is not being allowed to see even that. The Levin report makes multiple references to the document, each time noting that it is “sealed.”

Wall Street On Parade Continue Reading

In June, Emily Chow, Alberto Cuadra and Craig Whitlock reported in the Washington Post that more than 400 large U.S. military drones crashed in major accidents worldwide between Sept. 11, 2001, and December 2013. The Washington Post identified 194 drone crashes that fell into the most severe category: Class A accidents that destroyed the aircraft or caused (under current standards) at least $2 million in damage.

drone too closeJohn Tyrrell now sends a link to another article by Craig Whitlock, the Washington Post’s Pentagon and national security correspondent.

It reports information about hazards posed by small drones gained after the Washington Post and other news organizations made long-standing public-records requests:

“Since June 1, commercial airlines, private pilots and air-traffic controllers have alerted the Federal Aviation Administration to 25 episodes in which small drones came within a few seconds or a few feet of crashing into much larger aircraft, the records show. Many of the close calls occurred during takeoffs and landings at the nation’s busiest airports, presenting a new threat to aviation safety after decades of steady improvement in air travel”.

Though the FAA had been receiving a steady stream of near-miss alerts from airliners and private pilots, the FAA publicly disclosed only one near-collision between a drone and a passenger aircraft: a March 22 incident involving a US Airways regional airliner near Tallahassee, Fla.

The FAA is facing pressure from federal lawmakers and drone manufacturers to move more quickly to open the skies to remotely controlled aircraft but the aviation-safety agency lacks the manpower to police airports or effectively track down offenders.

drone near miss graphicFull details of these incidents are given in a graphic (snapshot above) which may be seen by those who click on this link and scroll down. One of many graphic descriptions:

Outside Washington, Porter Airlines Flight 725 from Toronto was descending to Dulles International Airport at an altitude of 2,800 feet on June 29 when it reported that a black-and-silver drone zipped past, just 50 feet away. On June 1, a United Airlines flight originating from Rome alerted the control tower at Dulles that a four-engine helicopter drone interfered with its descent and passed just 100 feet underneath the Boeing 767. “All it’s going to take is for one to come through a windshield to hurt some people or kill someone,” said pilot Kyle Fortune”.

Several other near-collisions have been reported by pilots of rescue helicopters used to transport patients needing emergency medical attention.

DJI, the Chinese firm that makes the popular Phantom model, now programmes its drones so that they cannot take off within 1.5 miles of a major airport and must stay below 400 feet within a five-mile radius of the installation. Other drone manufacturers have now begun to add software upgrades to their drone operating systems to prevent them from flying near airports or above a certain altitude.

In July a blogger wrote (and we bowdlerise): “Do not be pressured by the drone makers or Congess! Do what is in the interests of the citizens for once! It is time for government to act in the interest of the people for once, and not the corporations who are only interested in making profits.

Copyright Drone Warfare 2014

War on the Down-Low: Obama’s Afghan Lies

November 28th, 2014 by Glen Ford

It should come as no surprise that President Obama has secretly extended the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan. Empires do not retreat unless they are defeated. This is especially true of U.S. imperialism, which, like no other empire in history, seeks to bring the entire planet under its control. That’s why the United States maintains 900 military bases in 130 countries. It’s why Washington is methodically subverting international law, which it views as an impediment to its goal of global domination. And, that’s why President Obama never had any intention of withdrawing from Afghanistan, the longest war in American history.

Barack Obama is no different than any other U.S. imperial leader – except that he is a more accomplished liar than most. He spoke with forked tongue back in May, when he promised that, after the end of this year, U.S. troops would have no combat role in Afghanistan, aside from hunting down the all but nonexistent forces of Al Qaida in that country and training Afghan government forces. Actually, all Obama really planned to do was a paper-change, reclassifying the 10,000 U.S. troops as “non-combatants” on paper, while continuing to deploy them against the Taliban. He tried to play the same trick in Iraq, but the Iraqis insisted that he pack up all his soldiers and go home, in 2011, as President George Bush had previously agreed.

Obama was determined to stay in Afghanistan, by hook or crook, until at least the year 2024. It was, after all, very much his personal war. In his presidential campaign, Obama characterized Afghanistan as the “right” war– as opposed to the “dumb” war in Iraq. He dramatically increased drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and “surged” 30,000 new troops into battle. He never planned an exit, but was compelled to pretend otherwise in the face of mounting public opposition to the war. If Obama had remained true to his word, at the end of this year U.S. troops would find themselves on the sidelines of the war against the Taliban, and watching America’s NATO allies booking flights back to Europe.

The Would-Be Eternal Empire

Rather than accept a phasing out of the U.S. role in the war, which is a kind of defeat, Obama turned the actual defeat of Iraqi forces at the hands of the Islamic State into an excuse to re-enter Iraq and to renege on the phase-out of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The Islamic jihadists’ victories in Iraq and Syria, hundreds of miles away, provided the excuse for Obama to reboot the U.S. air and land war in Afghanistan. However, it was still necessary to keep the news from the American public until after the November elections.

Obama can now probably coast to the end of his term with a full combat role in Afghanistan, with confidence that his successor will also fight tooth and nail to keep that hopeless war going. Obama is also determined to continue waging a shadow war against Syria, despite the fact that his proxy Free Syrian Army is all but non-existent. Retreat is tantamount to defeat and, since war is all that U.S. imperialism is good at, defeat – even in a far-off place – can mean the end of the empire.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com. And, while you’re there, sign up for email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].
 Click here to download

In mid-October, the leader of the Five Star Movement announced that in November his party would launch a petition supporting a referendum on Italy’s exit from the eurozone.

A majority of Italians is likely to vote in favor of leaving the eurozone if a referendum, proposed by the Five Star Movement political party, were to take place next year, a member of the party told Sputnik radio Tuesday.

In mid-October, Giuseppe Piero “Beppe” Grillo, the leader of the Five Star Movement announced that in November his party will launch a petition supporting a referendum on Italy’s exit from the eurozone. Grillo said that everything will be ready for voting to take place by December 2015.

“When the parliament receives one million signatures it will have nothing left to do but to meet the interests of the Italians and consider the issue of holding a referendum. We have no doubts that the law will be adopted and the referendum will take place. Moreover, according to the data at our disposal, the Italians will vote for exiting the Eurozone,” Carlo Sibilia, member of the Five Star Movement said.

Sibilia added that since the euro was introduced in Italy the country’s state debt had increased dramatically and that the new currency caused an increase in labor costs, resulting in a decrease in production.

According to Sibilia, the Five Star Movement is campaigning not only for the return of the Italian lira, but also for monetary sovereignty.

Article 117 paragraph A of the Italian Constitution clearly states that only the state has a right to bear responsibility for the currency [policy], meaning Italy and not the European Union. That’s why we are committed to gain[ing] monetary sovereignty that will allow us to control money issuing at the state level. A state bank, which we do not have at the moment, should be created in Italy –as it is known, there is a share of private capital in the Bank of Italy.

Sibilia stressed that leaving the eurozone does not mean leaving the European Union. However he believes that countries should assess potential benefits and drawbacks prior to entering the eurozone.

We in Italy, for example, have fallen into a trap of the media and the ‘great’ professors and pseudo-economists who proved unable to predict the crisis we are currently experiencing. That’s why I call on the countries that are considering the possibility to join the eurozone [for instance, Croatia] to conduct a thorough analysis to understand whether they will benefit from this step at all.

The Five Star Movement finished second in the 2014 European Parliament election with some 21 percent of the vote. One of the party’s key election promises was the holding of a referendum on membership of the euro, although the Italian constitution does not provide for international agreements to be cancelled through referenda.

Italy has been a member of the euro area since January 1, 1999. Euro banknotes and coins were introduced into circulation in Italy on January 1, 2002. Currently, 18 of the 28 European Union member states have adopted the euro.

One Year Since the Beginning of the Crisis in Ukraine

November 28th, 2014 by Peter Schwarz

Tomorrow, Saturday, marks the first anniversary of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, where then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union. One year later Ukraine is embroiled in a civil war that has claimed more than 4,000 lives. NATO is on the verge of an armed conflict with Russia that threatens humanity with nuclear annihilation.

How did this come about? Western propaganda answers this question with five letters: PUTIN.

The Russian president thinks in “spheres of influence,” breaks international law, endangers “the framework of peace in Europe” and seeks to annex not only Ukraine, but also Georgia, Moldova and the Baltic states, according to the accusations of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A flood of propaganda spread by the media 24 hours a day tries to convince the public that only the villain in the Kremlin is preventing Ukraine from developing into a prosperous oasis of democracy, and Europe into a paradise of peace.

The WSWS has absolutely no sympathy for the Russian president. He is a right-wing nationalist who represents the interests of Russian oligarchs and is diametrically opposed to the socialist and internationalist goals for which we stand. But to make Russia responsible for the escalation of the crisis in the last twelve months stands reality on its head.

Among the few western voices to contradict the official propaganda is the professor of political science at the University of Chicago, John J. Mearsheimer. In the September/October issue of the journal Foreign Affairs, he states that Putin is not the aggressor. “The United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for the crisis. The taproot of the trouble is NATO enlargement, the central element of a larger strategy to move Ukraine out of Russia’s orbit and integrate it into the West.”

Mearsheimer continues: “Putin’s pushback should have come as no surprise…. His response to events (in Ukraine) has been defensive, not offensive.” He points out that the United States would “not tolerate distant great powers deploying military forces anywhere in the Western Hemisphere, much less on its borders. Imagine the outrage in Washington if China built an impressive military alliance and tried to include Canada and Mexico in it.”

Mearsheimer, a proponent of the school of international relations theory known as neorealism, examines the conflicts among states, but does not deal with the economic and social issues that also play a role in the Ukraine crisis. However, his assertion that the US has encircled Russia to maintain its position as a world power, while Germany is striving to become one, is correct.

The penetration of Eastern Europe by NATO and the EU has a further dimension. It aims to transform Ukraine and eventually Russia itself into a kind of semi-colony—a reservoir of cheap labor and raw materials for Western companies, a market for their products and a source of profits for hedge funds and Western banks. To this end they require a regime that is subordinate to NATO and the EU and brutally suppresses the working class.

This was the aim of the Association Agreement that Yanukovych refused to sign a year ago and which, after his overthrow, was accepted by the new regime.

The Agreement protects the assets of Ukrainian oligarchs and opens up Ukraine to western corporations and banks while luring the political elite and a small layer of the middle class with bribes from the EU. To the broad mass of the population it has nothing to offer but unlimited quantities of “Greek medicine”—austerity programs prescribed by the IMF and the EU, massive cuts in spending on social welfare, education, health and administration, and the closure and privatization of factories.

Initially Yanukovych supported the Association Agreement, but eventually decided against it because he feared for his political future. He feared a social explosion if he implemented the cuts demanded by the EU in what was already a desperately poor country. For its part, Russia offered Ukraine cheap loans, while the EU insisted on immediate drastic savings.

In order to bind Ukraine to the EU and NATO despite this, it was necessary to organize a coup and to mobilize fascist forces. From the start, the protests on the Maidan were under the influence of western backed forces. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland later admitted that the US had invested over $5 billion in such forces since 1991.

At first, just a few thousand took to the streets, and there was no evidence of a widespread sentiment in favor of the EU. Public opinion polls show that during the last ten years only 30 to 40 percent of the Ukrainian population favored EU integration, with about the same number favoring integration with Russia.

The spokesmen of the protests were familiar figures: Arseny Yatsenyuk, a representative of the US sponsored Orange Revolution of 2004; Vitaly Klitschko, who lived in Germany, a professional boxer with close ties to the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation; and Oleh Tjahnibok, leader of the fascist Svoboda party. In what was a complete break with diplomatic norms, government members and parliamentary deputies from NATO countries mixed publicly with demonstrators who blocked government buildings and demanded the overthrow of the elected president.

When Yanukovych refused to yield to the demonstrators’ demands, armed right-wing groups began to dominate events on the Maidan. Svoboda transported its followers into Kiev from its strongholds in the west of the country. Virtually out of nowhere, the Right Sector, an alliance of neo-Nazis and paramilitary militias emerged. The conflicts became more brutal, snipers killed dozens of people. It has not been settled until this day if they were part of the security forces of the regime or political provocateurs from the ranks of the opposition.

On February 21 Yanukovych agreed to an interim government and early elections. Threatened by right-wing militias, he took flight the very same night. On February 22 his opponents seized power in Kiev. It was left to the Western media and a host of pseudo-left organizations to portray this coup organized by western powers and supported by fascist gangs as a “democratic revolution.”

The seizure of power by ultra-nationalists in Kiev unleashed fear and panic, especially in the east of the country, with its large Russian-speaking population. With support from the Kremlin, Crimea declared its independence and was incorporated into the Russian Federation. Pro-Russian separatists took power in Donetsk and Lugansk and have been at war with the Ukrainian central government ever since.

In the meantime the US and Germany have systematically used the crisis, which they brought about, to increase military and economic pressure on Russia. NATO has moved troops into Eastern Europe, increased surveillance flights along the Russian border, organised land and sea manoeuvres in the vicinity of Russia and is systematically rearming. The US and the EU have imposed economic sanctions against Russia and cut off the country’s access to international finance.

When one seeks the real causes of this dangerous escalation and the related threat of war, it is necessary to look at the White House and the Chancellery in Berlin, rather than the Kremlin. As was the case in the first half of the last century, the imperialist powers are responding to the crisis of world capitalism and growing social tensions with war and dictatorship.

The events in Ferguson show that American society is on the brink of a social explosion. The same is true for Europe, where unceasing waves of austerity are forcing broad layers into poverty and unemployment. The ruling elites respond with militarism at home and abroad, the conquest of new spheres of influence, markets and raw materials, accompanied by the development of state surveillance and apparatus of state suppression.

There is only one way to combat this development: the building of an international socialist movement of the working class, which combines the struggle against war with the struggle against its root cause, the capitalist system.

UN Resolution: “Combating the Glorification of Nazism”

November 28th, 2014 by United Nations

The Committee then took up a text on combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/C.3/69/L.56/Rev.1).

Speaking before the vote, the representative of Ukraine said Stalinism had killed many people in the Gulag, condemning Hitler and Stalin alike as international criminals.  Calling on the Russian Federation to stop glorifying and feeding Stalinism, he said he could not support the draft text.  Any intolerance should be dealt with in an appropriate and balanced manner, he added.  The manipulation of history for one’s own political agenda was wrong, he said, noting that the Russian Federation was supporting neo-Nazi groups and terrorist groups in Crimea.  The proposed draft resolution sent the wrong message, he added, saying he would vote against it.

A delegate of Belarus noted the growth of neo-Nazi movements that was occurring under the pretext of freedom of speech.  She then expressed her concern over the use of the Internet and social media to propagate national superiority.  As every fourth inhabitant of her country had died in the Second World War, she reiterated the importance of the draft resolution, and encouraged Member States to support it.

The representative of the Russian Federation, making a correction to the draft, said that in the text distributed by the Secretariat, some words had been omitted in the second line of the last preambular paragraph.  The words were “over Nazism”, and should be included in the draft.  He took the floor again to ask who had requested a vote on this draft.

The Chair responded that it was the delegation of the United States.

Speaking in explanation of vote before vote, the representative of the United States said she had joined other countries in expressing abhorrence for attempts to promote Nazi ideology, and condemning all forms of religious or ethnic hatred.  Her delegation was concerned about the overt political motives that had driven the main sponsor of the current resolution.  That Government had employed those phrases in the current crisis in Ukraine.  That was offensive and disrespectful to those who had suffered at the hands of Nazi regimes.  Therefore, the United States would vote against the resolution.

The text was then approved by a record vote of 115 in favour, 3 against (Canada, Ukraine, United States), with 55 abstentions.

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union was committed to fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance with comprehensive efforts at national, regional and international levels.  While States were free to decide what to include in the draft text, he noted that the Union was concerned about the sincerity of the text, as the main sponsor had violated the human rights.

Also speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Liechtenstein, speaking on behalf of Iceland, Switzerland and her country, said they were against all sorts of extremist political parties, movements and groups, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups, as well as racist extremist movements and ideologies.  However, they had decided to abstain from voting.

Also explaining his country’s position after the vote, Equatorial Guinea’s representative said African countries knew well about racism and apartheid.  His delegation had voted in favour of the text, and wanted all sorts of Nazi groups to be labelled as terrorists.

The representative of Norway stated that her delegation had aligned itself with the European Union statement delivered on behalf of the representative of Italy.

http://www.un.org/press/en/2014/gashc4124.doc.htm

Cleveland police released a video Wednesday of the shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy killed by a police officer this past weekend. The video clearly shows that a police officer shot Rice within two seconds of pulling up to a park gazebo where he was sitting.

The shooting on Saturday, the latest in a series of nationwide police killings, came only two days before the decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9.

The video released by Cleveland police Wednesday contradicts earlier police statements that the officers told Rice three times to drop a toy handgun he was holding and raise his hands. Given the tiny amount of time between the officers’ arrival and the shooting, they would not have had time to do this, and the boy would not have had time to comply.

Police also released an audio recording of a 911 call that preceded the shooting, in which a local resident complained that someone who was “probably a juvenile” was pointing a gun that was “probably fake.”

“The video shows one thing distinctly: the police officers reacted quickly,” Rice’s parents, Samaria Rice and Leonard Warner, said in a statement requesting that the video be made public.

“The news of Tamir’s death has devastated our family. Tamir was a bright young man who had his whole life ahead of him… Everyone loved him. The holiday season begins this week. Instead of the love, fellowship and joy the season brings to many families, we will be mourning the loss of Tamir.

“We feel the actions of the patrol officer who took our son’s life must be made public,” they said, asking for peaceful demonstrations against the young man’s killing.

This month, the FBI reported that 461 people were killed by police in “justifiable homicides” last year, the highest number in at least two decades, and up from 404 in 2011. By comparison, police in Germany killed only six people in 2011, while police in the UK killed two.

There is little doubt that the Rice’s killer will be treated in a similar manner as Wilson. In fact, the response to Brown’s killing has been deliberately used to set a precedent for protecting killer cops from prosecution, leading police to function in an even more openly violent and aggressive fashion.

In the days following the decision of the highly manipulated grand jury, Wilson has been treated as a quasi-celebrity by the media, which has largely swallowed his highly improbable and self-serving account of the killing of Brown. The tone was set by the interview of Wilson aired Wednesday by ABC News and conducted by George Stephanopoulos.

In the days prior to the grand jury decision, Wilson had met with nearly all of the leading TV news anchors, including Matt Lauer of NBC, Scott Pelley of CBS and Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon of CNN, essentially having the various newscasters audition for an exclusive interview.

Ultimately, it was Stephanopoulos, a former White House Communications director under the Clinton administration, who got the job. Stephanopoulos’s discussion with Wilson was entirely in continuity with Wilson’s treatment at the hands of St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch: that is, instead of treating Wilson as a man accused of a terrible crime, with every incentive to lie and misinterpret the truth, Stephanopoulos accepted every fact Wilson presented as good coin.

Wilson’s story falls somewhere between the highly improbable and the impossible. In his grand jury testimony, Wilson said that the unarmed Brown, after having been hit by at least three hollow-point .40 caliber bullets, somehow managed to charge at him full speed, headfirst. The cop described the teenager in comic-book language, saying Brown looked “like a demon” and described his conflict with the supposedly superhuman teenager as akin to “a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.”

Stephanopoulos did not question any element of this story, asking only if the killer cop would have done anything differently in retrospect. “No,” replied Wilson.

On Thursday, The New York Times published a front-page article analyzing Wilson’s ABC interview. It quoted two former police officers and an “expert” from the Homeland Security Management Institute at Long Island University, all of whom offered suggestions on how Wilson might have responded to Brown in a different fashion, including calling for backup. The article did not even mention the possibility that Wilson’s story could be false, once again serving to reinforce his version of events.

The grand jury proceeding was itself a fraud, in which the prosecution failed to specify charges it was pursuing against Wilson and did not provide an account of what laws it thought he violated. Prosecutors, functioning as defense attorneys for Wilson, sought to discredit and undermine the mass of evidence that clearly justified a trial, while allowing Wilson himself to speak for hours without any critical questions.

There is a line of continuity between the grand jury proceeding that exonerated Wilson and the subsequent treatment of the issue in the media. Nowhere was the cop subject to a frank and adversarial challenge to his absurd story.

The implications of all of this are clear: If a police officer says he had grounds to use lethal force, he had the right to do so and will not be questioned. He will be exonerated by the courts and lauded in the media. The result will be more police murders like those of Tamir Rice.

Is Washington training an Insurgent Army to “Occupy” Syria?

November 28th, 2014 by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Is the US planning the occupation of Syria by training an unconventional insurgent invasion force?

Think regime change in Syria is off the drawing board? Think again. The bombing of the ISIL or ISIS in Syria is part of a brinkmanship campaign leading up to a potential non-conventional invasion, parallel to the re-introduction of the US military to Iraq.

The ISIL and the other anti-government forces in Iraq and Syria are not the only ones to disregard the Iraqi-Syrian border drawn by the British and French by Sykes-Picot in 1916. The US also disregarded the border and international law when it began to illegally bomb Syria.

The bombing campaign was not enough for some in the US Congress. In a joint statement on September 23, the arch-hawks US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called for US troops to be sent into Syria too. Both of them praised the Pentagon’s illegal airstrikes in Syria and then argued for US ground troops as well.

Although McCain and Graham went out of their way to say that this would not be an occupation of either Syria or Iraq, this is almost exactly what they were calling for when they said that the military campaign had to also be directed against the Syrian government.

Since, and even before, the calls for an invasion of Syria by McCain and Graham different suggestions have circulated about an invasion of Syria.

The dilemma is that Washington does not want the Pentagon to directly invade Syria itself. It wants to pull the strings while another force does the work on the ground. Candidates for an outsourced invasion of Syria include the Turkish military or other US regional allies. There, however, is also an impasse here as Washington’s allies are also afraid of the consequences of an invasion of Syria.

This is where a third opinion comes into the picture: the construction of a multinational insurgent army by the US.

 

Senator Lindsey Graham (L) speaks near Senator John McCain (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)Senator Lindsey Graham (L) speaks near Senator John McCain (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

 

Using Non-State Actors to Invade and Occupy Syria

While there seems to be no consensus on a Syrian strategy within the US political, intelligence, and military establishments, the objective of regime change is universally adhered to across the board. Regardless of the existence of a consensus, the US is moving ahead with the creation of an anti-government invasion force.

The third option is slowly emerging.

A few days after the US began the bombing of Syria, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey made it clear that the Pentagon also planned on creating a viable anti-government army in Syria consisting of 12,000 to 15,000 insurgents.

There also seems to be a growing consensus among the realists and neocons for US President Obama’s preference of using a rebel army to invade Syria. The Brookings Institute has been a major cheerleader for this.

During this same timeframe, the Brookings Institute released an opinion piece clearly calling for US intervention. The text, authored, by former CIA analyst for monitoring the Persian Gulf and US National Security Council official Kenneth Pollack, stipulated that Washington’s “strategy cannot require sending U.S. troops into combat. Funds, advisers, and even air power are all fair game — but only insofar as they do not lead to American boots on the ground.”

Pollack played an influential role in getting support for the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq. He worked at the Council on Foreign Relations as its director of national security studies. He made the above statement as the director of research for the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and goes well beyond it by publishing a drawn-out October 2014 proposal for creating a US-made rebel invasion force as a means of taking over Syria and eventually conducting regime change in Damascus.

 

 Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.. (Image from wikipedia.org)Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.. (Image used by RT from wikipedia.org)

 

The Brookings Institute proposal suggests that a rebel Syrian army “is best not done in Syria itself. At least not at first” (p.9). The report points to the US and NATO success in “covertly” creating armed forces around the world, including the assembly of a Croat military, and deduces that these experiences would make it “entirely realistic for the United States to build a new Syrian opposition army” (p.8). It also says that the ideology of the fighters does not matter by stating the following: “A great many of those recruited may well be religious, even highly religious, including Salafist. That is not the issue” (p.9).

Welcome to the Brookings Institute and its Saban Center

What is the Brookings Institute exactly and why do suggestions from this think-tank and others like it, matter?

The Brookings Institute is an influential think-tank that has a revolving door of personnel with the US government and major corporations. All that one needs to do is look at its trustees and executives, which include interlocked directorships with the Carlyle Group, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan Chase.

Brookings also has ties to Israel and a full branch dedicated to Washington’s Middle East strategies and policies called the Saban Centre for Middle East Policy. Martin Indyk — the former US ambassador to Israel, a former high-level lobbyist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and the founder of AIPAC’s research arm (the Washington Institute for Near East Policy) — is the Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. Like Indyk, Kenneth Pollack was involved in shaping the Middle East policies of the Clinton Administration.

It is also worth noting that the Brookings Institute’s Saban Center is named after US-Israeli businessman and media mogul Haim Saban. Saban himself is on the board of trustees for Brookings.

There is a Qatari connection too. One may remember that Washington was hostile towards Al Jazeera when it first emerged as a news broadcaster, because of its coverage of US actions in the Middle East.

Saban tried to buy half of the Al Jazeera network from Qatar in 2004 and 2009, but failed. In the same timeframe as the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, the first set of negotiations happened when he went to Qatar with Bill Clinton in 2003.

It is possible that Brookings may have played a role in pacifying Al Jazeera. In 2009, the Institute setup an overseas branch in Qatar called the Brookings Doha Center. The new chapter in Doha included Qatar’s ruling Al-Thani family alongside people like Madeleine Albright, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Fareed Zakaria as chairs and advisors.

It was in the same year that the Brookings Institute published a report, which included Pollack and Indyk as authors, called Which Path to Persia? The report outlined a map for confronting Iran and alluded to the neutralization of Syria, in one way or another (including the procurement of a peace agreement with Damascus by Israel), to “mitigate blowback” from Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinians, specifically Hamas, as a prerequisite for enabling an attack on Iran.

All in all, the ideas that come out of the Brookings Institute are discussed at the highest levels within policymaking and corporate circles.

 

Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel. (AFP Photo/Karim Jaafar)Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel. (AFP Photo/Karim Jaafar)

 

Is the Syrian Invasion Force Slowly Emerging?

Is a rebel invasion force emerging to attack Syria? In no uncertain terms, Brookings argues that it is.

Pollack’s report stipulates the following: “Adopting such a strategy would mean first and foremost that Washington would have to commit itself to building a new Syrian army that will rule Syria when the war is over. Although [Obama’s] description of his new Syria policy was more modest and tepid than his explanation of the Iraq piece of the strategy, he does appear to have committed the United States to just that course. More than that, it will mean putting the resources, prestige and credibility of the United States behind this effort. The $500 million now appropriated is a good start, but it is only a down payment on a much larger project” (p.8).

The US goal of training rebels in Saudi Arabia and Turkey is an indication of this too. On September 10, about two weeks before it started bombing Syria, Washington declared that Saudi Arabia had given it the green light to train a rebel army in the Arabian Peninsula. “We now have the commitment from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be a full partner in this effort — the train-and-equip program — to host that program,” one official was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

The Brookings Institute in its proposal for an invasion of Syria states: “The Saudi offer to provide facilities to train 10,000 Syrian opposition fighters is one of reasonable possibility, although one of Syria’s neighbors would probably be preferable. Jordan already serves as a training ground for America’s current training program and it would be an ideal locale to build a real Syrian army. However, Turkey could also conceivably serve that purpose if the Turks were willing” (p.10).

About two months later, in November, after US Vice-President Joe Biden met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, it was announced that Kirsehir would be used by Turkey to train Syrian anti-government forces that the US would equip against Damascus.

The report also makes it clear that building the new opposition army “should not mean bolstering the existing ‘Free Syrian Army’” (p.10). Instead, the existing US-backed insurgent groups will slowly be swallowed or destroyed by the new opposition force that the US and its allies are constructing.

In mid-November, the Pentagon also presented a proposal to the US Congress, saying that it wants to arm Iraqi tribesmen with Kalashnikov rifles, rocked propelled grenades, and mortars. What is omitted is the cross-border dispersion of these tribes in both Iraq and Syria and the possibility that these weapons could be used in an attack on the Syrian government.

What Moderates?

The talk about supporting “moderates” is very misleading. It is already clear that the ideology of the proposed insurgent army is not a key issue in practice for many US officials. There is also enough evidence to show that the Free Syrian Army, Al-Nusra, the ISIL, and the other insurgent forces are also collaborating and trading fighters.

The Telegraph, for example, had this to say on November 10 about Saddam Jamal, a US-backed Free Syrian Army commander that became an ISIL commander: “Before joining ISIL, Jamal had been a drug dealer, then a commander in the western-backed Free Syrian Army, claiming contacts in the CIA.

It is also clear that religion is a mask for the ISIL too. The same British article writes the following testimony from Saddam Jamal’s bodyguard about his massacre of a Syrian family: “The ISIL commander felt no remorse for killing this Syrian family, his bodyguard said, nor did he believe he was fulfilling a God-given creed: for him being a member of the extremist group was a matter of business, not religion.

In the end the ISIL may be used to incubate fighters or collapse, like the Free Syrian Army, into the proposed invasion force to occupy Syria.

 

Smoke rises from the the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, after a strike from the US-led coalition as it seen from the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern village of Mursitpinar, Sanliurfa province, on October 14, 2014. (AFP Photo/Aris Messinis)Smoke rises from the the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, after a strike from the US-led coalition as it seen from the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern village of Mursitpinar, Sanliurfa province, on October 14, 2014. (AFP Photo/Aris Messinis)

 

Invasion Army or Armies?

General Dempsey said that “the anti-ISIL campaign could take several years to accomplish.” Leon Panetta, the former head of the CIA and Pentagon, has also claimed that this war will turn into a thirty-year US military project that will extend to North Africa, West Africa, and the Horn of Africa.

According to Brookings: “At some point, such a new Syrian army would have to move into Syria, but only when it was ready. Only when a force large enough to conquer and hold territory — something on the order of two to three brigades — were ready should it be sent in” (p.11).

A war of attrition that that will take years of fighting is underway. This matches up with the ideas about training an insurgent invasion force over the years.

In their joint statement Senators McCain and Graham said that President Bashar Assad will not stop fighting the so-called “moderate” US-backed insurgents “that remain committed to his ousting — especially when the United States and [its] partners still, correctly, share the same goal and will now be arming and training Assad’s moderate opponents.” In other words, the US-trained Syrian forces will ultimately target the Syrian government.

This article was originally published by RT on November 27, 2014.

Illegal drone killings continue in Pakistan and Yemen. Reuters reports that a U.S. drone killed five suspected militants in northwest Pakistan yesterday. The information came from a militant and a government official. The intensity of air strikes has grown as part of an anti-Taliban offensive by the Pakistani military.

The International Business Times reported this month that  British and French governments have signed a £120 million pound deal to develop a military drone – aka unmanned combat air system – following a two-year feasibility study. The combat drone could be deployed from 2030.

This follows five years of negotiations starting in November 2010, when a Franco-British programme of defence co-operation was announced – a commitment to work together on nuclear issues and armed drones.

In 2012 UK and France agreed jointly to develop a new armed unmanned drone.

Two years later, British and French governments signed the deal at Farnborough air show which will involve six companies led by BAE Systems of the UK and France’s Dassault Aviation.

DA has a nEUROn programme and BAE Systems’ Taranis is designed to attack both aerial and ground targets, using stealth technology which gives it a low radar profile. It will be controllable via satellite link from anywhere on Earth.

prof jack amoureuxMeanwhile as Professor Jack L. Amoureux points out, these allies, above all Americans, invade countries and make decisions “about who will live and die, how much civilian death is acceptable, and how a “militant” will be defined (loosely, it turns out)”.

Citizens in these countries and elsewhere worry that drones are creating more extremism and terror at home. And they ask whether drones are not themselves a form of terror.

Jack L. Amoureux says that America should ask “Is it ethical to use drones anywhere?

Jack L. Amoureux is a Visiting Assistant Professor of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest University, who teaches “The Politics of Technology and Violence.”

A new study finds highly malignant mumps infections in those successfully vaccinated against the virus…   

A provocative new study titled, “Epidemic of complicated mumps in previously vaccinated young adults in the South-West of France,” reveals that the MMR vaccine, despite generating high rates of presumably protective IgG antibodies against mumps, does not always translate into real-world immunity against infection as we have repeatedly been told. To the contrary, the study details cases where, despite the detection of high levels of antibodies against the mumps virus, patients contracted a malignant form of mumps that only rarely follows from natural, community acquired infection.

Vaccine Failure Is Well Established In the Scientific Literature

While counter-intuitive to those who uncritically accept the official marketing copy of the vaccine industry and their cheerleaders within government and the mainstream media, the research community and general public is beginning to appreciate how prevalent and well-documented vaccine failure really is, especially in the case of measleshepatitis Bchickenpox,pertussis (whooping cough), HIVpolioHPVand influenza vaccines that do not work as advertised.

We live in a time when many medical interventions are decided not by the weight of the evidence itself, but by ‘science by proclamation,’ i.e. the public, and the regulatory agencies legally responsible for protecting them, simply accept pleas to authority or vague references to ‘the Science,’ without any acknowledgement of the reality of how vaccine research is manipulated or simply selectively published to serve economic and socio-political agendas. For example, of the billions of dollars (much of which is funded by you, the taxpayer) funneled into proving vaccines safe and effective thus far, not a single published study exists to date that compares vaccinated subjects to non-vaccinated ones. The obvious reason is that if the results of such a study demonstrated better health or immunity in the non-vaccinated group (as many suspect), the entire house of cards supporting our present-day, globally coordinated pro-vaccine agenda would fall to pieces.

Lacking such a study, we can deduce through naturalistic data — e.g. the fact that the Amish, who do not vaccinate, have exceptionally low rates of autism – evolutionary models of natural immunity, or global epidemiological analyses — e.g. the U.S. has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world at the same time that it gives its infants the most vaccines – that our vaccine-centric ‘preventive’ medical model has resulted in untold harm to our infants and children.

If you read the primary literature on vaccines you will find that some of the fundamental tenets of classical immunology and vaccinology are being called into question, such as the belief that surrogate determinants of vaccine-induced protection against infection equate to real world immunity. For instance, a groundbreaking new study calls into question the FDA/CDC’s primary justification for approving vaccines based on their ability to raise antibody titers, finding that no antibodies are required for immunity against some viruses. This devastating blow, receiving little to no mainstream media coverage, revealed that surrogate markers of vaccine effectiveness — like vaccine-induced elevation of antibody titers – may be useless, despite the key fact that they are often used to accelerate the vaccine approval process in lieu of well designed human clinical trials required to determine safety and actual effectiveness.

Case Study: Fully ‘Immunized’ Patients Can Contract Malignant Mumps

The featured study in this article was conducted by a team of French researchers, who discovered cases of complicated mumps in previously vaccinated young adults. Complicated mumps refers to serious bodily damage caused by mumps infections. Naturally occurring mumps, on the other hand, is not known to cause permanent damage to those who are infected through community exposure; to the contrary, it confers much longer protection. The researchers affirm the normally benign trajectory of mumps infections, stating: “Mumps is a usually benign pediatric viral disease caused by a rubulavirus, RNA virus of the paramyxoviridae family.”

The report was based on a retrospective analysis of 7 cases of complicated mumps managed during 1 year at the Bordeaux University Hospital, France. The diagnosis was suggested by the clinical presentation and confirmed using specific “Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction,” [RT-PCR].

The results of their investigation was reported as follows:

“Five cases of meningitis [brain and spinal chord inflammation], 1 of orchitis [inflammation of the testicles], and 1 of unilateral hearing impairment were identified. Each of the 7 patients had been previously vaccinated with MMR [the mumps, measles and rubella vaccine], 4 had received 2 doses of this vaccine. Blood tests revealed high rates of IgG antibodies, usually considered as sufficient for immunological protection, and every patient had at least 1 positive RT-PCR test for mumps.”

The emboldened statement above is instructive. Whereas the vaccine industry and the FDA determines so-called ‘vaccine efficacy’ by proxy to determine effectiveness, i.e. either through increased antibody titer generation or through the ‘gold standard’ of the Plaque reduction neutralization test, this does not always translate into actually protecting the vaccinated individual from infection. In other words, this study reveals that real world immunity against the target pathogen is not guaranteed by these surrogate markers.

To this point, the researchers acknowledge in their concluding remarks:

“Outbreaks of complicated mumps may still occur despite a broad coverage of MMR vaccination.”

If this is true, the question should be: is it worth administering a one-size-fits-all MMR vaccine to every child, regardless of their bio-individuality and gene- and epigenetically-mediated susceptibilities to being harmed by them? This question becomes all the more salient when we consider that the MMR vaccine has been linked to the pathogenesis of autism, with a topCDC vaccine researcher William Thompson publicly confessing in an August 27th release by his legal team that the CDC covered up data showing that the MMR contributes to autism in African-American male children.

Clearly the MMR vaccine’s utility depends only on whether its benefits in protecting against measles, mumps and rubella outweigh its harms. The possibility that it has contributed to the explosion of autism spectrum disorders in the past few decades is reason enough to give pause and re-evaluate its place in the vaccine schedule, especially considering it has been linked in the biomedical literature to  30 other serious adverse health effects

It would be one thing if it actually worked as unilaterally presented to the public, but a recent Chinese study that found measles outbreaks were occurring in populations with 99% MMR vaccine immunization compliance.  Research like this shows that the risk side of the equation may far outstrip its purported benefit to the hundreds of millions of children worldwide who are either coerced (in countries that still have mainly unexercised exemptions) or mandated into taking them.

Ultimately, it is a parent’s right and responsibility to decide whether their children should participate in the CDC’s immunization schedule, which involves 49 doses of 16 vaccines by age six, each vaccine of which contains multiple ‘inactive’ antigenic and/or immunotoxic agents, e.g. preservatives, biological agents, adjuvants. We encourage readers to use our free vaccine research portal or visit the National Vaccine Information Center for updated information on both vaccine risks and your rights as a parent to refuse enrolling your child in the one-size-fits-all immunization schedule.  Also, please bookmark Fearless Parent, a cutting edge advocacy group and rich content platform that empowers you with practical information with which to better inform your choices.

Sayer Ji is the founder of GreenMedInfo.com, an author, educator, Steering Committee Member of the Global GMO Free Coalition (GGFC), and an advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is widely recognized as the most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Many mainstream media websites helped a fake video go viral this month. The video showing a young Syrian boy running through sniper fire to save a little girl, was exposed as a fake when the Norwegian producer Lars Klevberg made the fact public. One of the stated aims of the Norwegian film makers was to “see how the media would respond to a fake video.” This article examines how that experiment went.

The western press very quickly accepted the video as real and used it to support the US administration’s narrative on Syria. Many top US news sources began to spread the story. Even though the producer said he explicitly added big hints that the video was fake, like the children surviving multiple gun shots.

Propagating false stories on Syria, is nothing new for the western press. In the lead up to the conflict many stories were exposed as frauds, such as the Anti-government activist “Gay Girl in Damascus” which turned out to be a middle-aged American man in Scotland. Syrian Danny Abdul Dayem which was frequently interviewed by CNN was using fake gun fire and flames in his interviews.

The fake sniper video wasn’t enough to support US government narratives by itself, as the now deleted original upload didn’t suggest the identity of the snipers. So the west’s media suggested that it was Syrian military snipers that were targeting the children without any evidence. Journalists failed to mention how they reached the conclusion that an actor in Malta was shot by the Syrian military. It may be that the western press is quick to trust pro-rebel sources, as the video was uploaded by the pro-rebel Sham Times along with their own twist.

The Guardian’s headline for the video was “Syrian boy ‘saves girl from army sniper’” and the Telegraph delicately suggested the Syrian military was responsible for the fake bullets. The International Business (IB) times stated, “the snipers, who reportedly are said to be the government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” IB Times never explicitly mentioned who reported this information. They then took it a step further and concluded the article with “the incident certainly is not the first time that Pro-Assad gunmen have targeted children”. Well it is at least not the first time the mainstream media has presented false reports as fact. In 2012, CNN claimed a bullet that killed a four year old girl in Aleppo was shot by government snipers even whilst admitting the bullet came from rebel held buildings.

Other journalists took to Twitter to make unfounded claims about army snipers targeting the boy. Vinnie O’Dowd who has done work for Channel 4 and Al Jazeera tweeted “Syrian Regime Targets kids. Liz Sly of the Washington Post tweeted incredulously that “Soldiers kept shooting” at children.

These tweets were inline with an official State Department Twitter account @ThinkAgain_DOS which blamed Assad for the fictitious bullets in the film. This casts doubt on how deeply the US administration scrutinizes information it bases it’s policy on. In 2013 they relied heavily on video footage provided by rebels to support its planned attack on Syria in the wake the Ghouta chemical attack.

Scrutinising the Scrutinisers (Experts)

1But it isn’t just the mainstream media that was easily duped by the convenient propaganda film. The video experts that were asked to scrutinise the video, failed to recognise that the video was a fraud. The Telegraph stated that upon enquiry ‘experts told them they had no reason to doubt that the video is real”. International Business Times went a step further spinning the statement to “experts told The Telegraph that they have no doubts on the authenticity of the footage.”

This is very strange since both children in the film walk away after being directly and repeatedly hit by bullets. The creators of the film said he purposely scripted this as a big hint that the video is fake. The lack of scrutiny the media experts employed suggests incompetence or the same level of bias as the media that employs them .

Heather Saul of the Independent wrote that one of the ‘Middle East experts” she showed the video to was from Human Rights Watch. Indeed, Human Rights Watch European Media Director Andrew Stroehlein, showed no doubt on the authenticity of the film when he tweeted it out to his followers. The New York based human rights organisation is not new at tweeting false information, last month they used an image of the Odessa fire, where US-backed militia’s burned thirty two people to death, as an example of ‘Putin’s repressive policies’. In 2008 Venezuela expelled two HRW staff members accused of “anti-state activities” after producing a report against the Chavez government. Guardian journalist Hugh O’Shaughnessy accused HRW of using false and misleading information in the report, as well as pro-Washington bias. In 2009 HRW received financial donations from the Saudi government which may, in part, explain the anti-Syrian slant.

11HRW employed so called video expert Eliot Higgins and his colleague Daniel Kaszeta to investigate the August 21 chemical attack in Ghouta, and quickly reached the conclusion the Syrian government was behind the attack. Daniel Kaszeta was referred to as a fraud by prominent physicist and MIT Professor Theodore Postol. HRW’s CEO Kenneth Roth recently used a report by Eliot Higgins to make unfounded claims about Ukrainian rebels shooting down Malaysian flight MH17. Heather Saul did not respond to questions on whether Eliot Higgins was one of the expert she asked for advice. However the mainstream media’s most often quoted video expert, did not recognise that the video was a fraud, tweeting cautiously that he wasn’t sure if it was authentic but gave the video a reaction non the less.

However many viewers who aren’t referred to as video or Middle East experts, immediately recognised the video was a fraud and flooded social media sites Twitter and Youtube with doubts on its authenticity. If Heather Saul had used these individuals as experts rather than HRW, she would have reached the correct conclusion about the video. But perhaps it is this unbias eye that the mainstream media avoids. The vast majority of Higgin’s conclusions support US government narratives and agendas, and that’s the kind of bias the mainstream media prefers.

Blaming the Producer

Instead of humbly accepting blame for spreading disinformation, many western journalists and their experts reacted by blaming the producer of the film. The collective rage of the entire mainstream media forced the film’s producer to delete any trace of this 30,000 dollar experiment. Some journalists took to Twitter to express their rage at being exposed as easily duped by convenient propaganda.

The experts that were fooled by the video also strongly protested. HRW posted a complaint that the fake video “eroded the public trust in war reporting’, in other words blind trust in HRW analysis and war propaganda. Eliot Higgins posted an open letter to the producer of the film on his website Bellingcat, condemning the film.

GlobalPost referred to the film as ‘irresponsible and dangerous’ but not because it could be used to promote wars and make false accusations. What the real danger to the mainstream media and their experts seems to be, is that as a result of the films exposure as a fraud, future video claims may now have to be properly scrutinized and the public may not be so unquestioning in future. However it is the journalists’ lack of scrutiny that is truly what is irresponsible and dangerous. Had the director not admitted the film was fake, these journalists more than likely would have kept promoting the story as an example of Syrian Army war crimes.

Maram Susli also known as “Syrian Girl,” is an activist-journalist and social commentator covering Syria and the wider topic of geopolitics. especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Police Violence: Can Surveillance Cameras Help Free Us?

November 28th, 2014 by Jonathan Cook

Do the cameras that now surround us, helping governments keep continual track of our lives, also offer a benefit? Can they help educate us, show us a reality obscured too long by fears created for us by the elites and their media? Might they help us liberate ourselves from prejudice, and overcome our susceptibility to the divide-and-rule policies that keep us weak?

I don’t have the answer, but these thoughts were prompted by this footage of two police officers arriving at a wintry Cleveland park and shooting dead a 12-year-old boy for holding a toy gun. No one is near, or seemingly at risk from the boy with his pretend weapon.

The police, however, do not hold back. They do not park their vehicle some distance away, taking shelter behind the car’s metal body, while they warn their suspect to put his gun down. No, they race fearlessly right up to him in their car, get out and shoot him on the spot.

Not even the size of him, a little man pretending in his hoodie to be the grown-up he isn’t yet, seems to throw them, give them pause.

He is black and he has a gun. So his life must be forfeited.

UPDATE:

It should be noted that this video was released by the police, as part of their campaign to prove the two officers acted judiciously. That’s why you can see a red circle around the gun every time the boy raises it, as if confirmation that he deserved to die. The Washington Post reported that one of the officers radioed after the shooting: “Shots fired, male down, um, black male, maybe 20.” It seems that not only did the two officers choose to see what they wanted to see, but their own force sees the very same things in the video. Unlike them, are we capable of seeing what the video really shows?

According to the FBI’s newest Uniform Crime Report (UCR), released this week, 461 people were killed by police in “justifiable homicides” in 2013. This number has gotten some media attention, both because it’s considered by some to be the “best authoritative data available” and because it represents an 8 percent jump in these homicides from 2012.

This increase sounds notable, but the underlying data continues to be nearly useless. As we outlined in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in August, the FBI’s UCR program undercounts what it classifies as justifiable police homicides (while skirting the issue of non-justifiable homicides), and should not be considered a useful estimate. Any year-to-year increases in FBI counts could represent actual bumps in homicide rates, or better reporting of homicides, or both, or neither.

While independent counts of police killings — such as those at Fatal Encounters, the Gun Violence Archive and Deadspin — develop, the most reliable database continues to be the Killed By Police Facebook page. Using media reports, the page has counted 1,709 police killings since May 1, 2013, and more than 950 so far in 2014. We audited the page in August and confirmed that the links represented legitimate stories, although the count did include a small number of incidents where officers were acting outside the line of duty (for example, an off-duty officer killing his friend during a fight). These incidents represented less than 10 percent of the Killed By Police total.

Nevertheless, there’s plenty of good news to be found in the more general (and more reliable) crime statistics produced by the FBI’s report. The agency recorded 1.16 million violent crimes in the U.S. in 2013, a 4.4 percent decline from 2012 and 37.4 percent decline from 1994. These figures look even better adjusted for population; per capita violent crime was down 5.1 percent from 2012 and 48.4 percent from 1994.

rfb-datalab-2013ucr

Boston Bombing Prosecutor: Witnesses ‘Afraid’ to Testify

November 28th, 2014 by Global Research News

originally published by WhoWhatWhy

by 

The Boston Marathon bombing is much more important than has been acknowledged, principally because it is the defining domestic national security event since 9/11—and has played a major role in expanding the power of the security state. For that reason, WhoWhatWhy is continuing to investigate troubling aspects of this story and the establishment media treatment of it. We will be exploring new elements of the story regularly as the January trial of the accused co-conspirator Dzhokhar Tsarnaev approaches.

The defense witnesses in the Boston Bombing trial certainly have reason to be afraid to testify, given the long official intimidation campaign against them.

Yet, ironically, it is now the government that is claiming its witnesses are scared and even unwilling to testify. Unsurprisingly, the judge overseeing the trial against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has agreed with the prosecutors.

Since the Boston Marathon bombing last year, WhoWhatWhy has reported on a pattern of intimidation towards people associated with the accused bombers, Dzhokhar and his late elder brother, Tamerlan. Those connected to the case have been intimidated, deported, jailed, and even killed.

It got so bad that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense asked U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. for permission to conceal the names of individual witnesses until the day before they’re due to testify. That’s because, the defense argues, they fear the witnesses will be subject to further FBI harassment.

Unusual Request

Judy Clarke, a member of the defense team, admitted it was an unusual request. “We don’t want to do it,” Clarke told the court. “We’re already struggling to get people to talk to us. We are really worried about losing the slim list of real potential witnesses we have.”

The government countered that it was having trouble convincing bombing victims to cooperate. They are “afraid, if not unwilling, to testify against the man accused of dismembering or traumatizing them in a terrorist attack.” Further, the prosecution argued, keeping Tsarnaev’s witnesses under wraps would hand him an unfair advantage.

On Nov. 12, O’Toole sided with the prosecution, ordering the defense to disclose its preliminary witness list by Dec. 29. He also announced that jury selection will begin on Jan. 5, when an initial 1,200 prospective jurors will be called in to fill out questionnaires over the course of the next three days.

Leaving aside the question of Tsarnaev’s guilt, which has been officially presented as a foregone conclusion with little outside critical analysis of the investigation, his chances at trial are numerically slim.

The Justice Department’s latest statistics show a criminal conviction rate of 93 percent.

Genocide and the Thanksgiving Myth

November 28th, 2014 by Brian Willson

Note: We are republishing this essay by S. Brian Willson describing the true history of genocide in the United States which stands in stark contrast to the myth of Thanksgiving because of its popularity with readers and its educational value.

The Defining and Enabling Experience of Our “Civilization” 

As we again plan to celebrate what US “Americans”call Thanksgiving, let us pause for a moment of reflection. Let us recognize that accounts of the first Thanksgiving are mythological, and that the holiday is actually a grotesque celebration of our arrogant ethnocentrism built on genocide.

Native Americans in the Caribbean greeted their 1492 European invaders with warm hospitality. They were so innocent that Genoan Cristoforo Colombo wrote in his log, They willingly traded everything they owned . . . They do not bear arms . . . They would make fine servants . . . They could easily be made Christians . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want. This meeting set in motion a 500+-year plunder of the Western Hemisphere, which then spread to the remainder of the globe. And it has not stopped!

Columbus feeds dogs with Native Peoples.

Historian Hans Köning concludes that what sets the West apart is its persistence, its capacity tostop at nothing. Cultural historian Lewis Mumford declared, Wherever Western man went, slavery, land robbery, lawlessness, culture-wrecking, and the outright extermination of both wild beasts and tame men went with him.

Jump 129 years to 1621, year of the supposed “first Thanksgiving.” There is not much documentation of that event, apparently a three-day feast, but surviving Indians do not trust the myth. Natives were already dying like flies thanks to European-borne diseases. The Pequot tribe in today’s Connecticut reportedly numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had reduced their population to 1,500 by 1637, when the first, officially proclaimed, all-Pilgrim “Thanksgiving” took place. At that feast, the whites of New England celebrated their massacre of the Pequots in the Connecticut Valley where the Mystic River meets the sea. The Indians were in fact celebrating their annual green corn dance ceremony. But it was to be their last.

Engraving depicting the Mystic Massacre, the assault on the Pequot fort during the Pequot War. Published 1638. SourceMashantucket nation: http://www.mashantucket.com/PequotWar.asp

Left: Engraving depicting the Mystic Massacre, the assault on the Pequot fort during the Pequot War. Published 1638. Source Mashantucket nation: http://www.mashantucket.com/PequotWar.asp

William Bradford, the former Governor of Plymouth and one of the chroniclers of the supposed 1621 feast, was on hand for the unspeakable massacre of 1637. He described it thus in his History of the Plymouth Plantation(@1647)Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory.

The rest of the white folks thought so, too. This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots, read Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop’s proclamation. The authentic proclaimed Thanksgiving Day was born. Few Pequots survived.

The English commander John Mason declared that the attack against the Pequot was the act of a God who “laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to scorn making [the Pequot] as a fiery Oven . . . Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling [Mystic] with dead Bodies.” The Narragansett and Mohegan warriors with the English were horrified by the actions and “manner of the Englishmen’s fight . . . because it is too furious, and slays too many men.” The Narragansett returned home and no longer participated in the war. This image is courtesy of forquignon.com.

The English commander John Mason declared that the attack against the Pequot was the act of a God who “laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to scorn making [the Pequot] as a fiery Oven . . . Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling [Mystic] with dead Bodies.” The Narragansett and Mohegan warriors with the English were horrified by the actions and “manner of the Englishmen’s fight . . . because it is too furious, and slays too many men.” The Narragansett returned home and no longer participated in the war. This image is courtesy of forquignon.com.

Most historians believe about 700 Pequots were slaughtered at Mystic. Many prisoners were executed, and surviving women and children sold into slavery in the West Indies. Pequot prisoners that escaped execution were parceled out to Indian tribes allied with the English. The Pequot were thought to have been extinguished as a people.

But, the epitaph was premature. Enough survived such that today the Pequots own the Foxwood Casino and Hotel, in Ledyard, Connecticut, larger in size than the Pentagon, with gaming revenues in the billions.

Moving 158 years further, we discover a ruthless campaign conducted in central New York in 1779 during our “noble” Revolutionary War. The Continental Congress was furious that a majority of the Iroquois Indians (those who coined the Seventh Generation philosophy) were siding with the British against the colonialists who were rapidly settling their lands. The booming capital town of the Seneca Nation was Kanadesaga at the head of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region. In the summer of 1779, the Continental Congress instructed its Army’s commanding general to take care of the Indian problem. George Washington complied. He ordered General John Sullivan to lay waste . . . that the country . . . be . . . destroyed, instilling terror among the Iroquois Indians in central New York; General Sullivan affirmed that the Indians shall see that there is malice enough in our hearts to destroy everything that contributes to their support. Washington declared, Our future security will be in their inability to injure us…and in the terror with which the severity of the chastizement they receive will inspire them [Richard Drinnon, Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating & Empire Building (New York: Schocken Books, 1990), pp. 331-32].

General John Sullivan was selected by George Washington to deal with the tribes who had sided with the British during the Revolutionary War. This included; the Mohawks, Cayuga, Onondagas and Seneca tribes.  It was named the Sullivan Campaign and General Sullivan took no mercy destroying at least 40 villages, including burning their crops and homes. This destruction lead to over 5,000 Iroquois displaced and many starved or froze to death during the winter months.

General John Sullivan was selected by George Washington to deal with the tribes who had sided with the British during the Revolutionary War. This included; the Mohawks, Cayuga, Onondagas and Seneca tribes. It was named the Sullivan Campaign and General Sullivan took no mercy destroying at least 40 villages, including burning their crops and homes. This destruction lead to over 5,000 Iroquois displaced and many starved or froze to death during the winter months.

The culminating day of “victory” was September 7, 1779. Total destruction of Kanadesaga and the forty other Seneca towns was accomplished by 4,500 troops, nearly one-third of the entire force of the Continental Army. The only major military campaign of that year, it was one of the most vicious scorched-earth campaigns in history. All orchards and food crops were destroyed, all buildings were looted, then burned. Many of the escaping Senecas were scalped and butchered: After the battle . . . Indian warriors . . . were scalped; Lieutenant William Barton amused himself by skinning two Indians from the hips down to make two pairs of leggings, one pair for himself, the other a present for his major [Morris Bishop, "The End of the Iroquois," American Heritage, October 1969, p. 78].

Jump 162 years to 1941, when I was born in Kanadesaga, renamed Geneva by our European ancestors. As a young boy I blissfully collected hundreds of Seneca arrowheads, storing them in a special protected box in my bedroom. A chapter in my seventh grade history textbook taught that, The Iroquois were the Indian Masters of the State, but due to their destructive attacks on the frontier settlements, George Washington decided to send an army to crush the Indians . . . The Six Nations never recovered from this blow. Europeans onward and upward!

The New Republic was formed in 1789, its 1787 Constitutional Convention having been conducted in enforced secrecy, never submitted to a popular vote. The third U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) described his vision of an “empire of liberty,” with expanded commercial enterprises and territory. And without any Constitutional authority he quickly doubled the area of the young country by acquiring vast Louisiana from France’s Napoleon for $15 million.

In 1807 he advocated preventive war: If the English do not give us the satisfaction we demand, we will take Canada, which wants to enter the Union; and when, together with Canada, we shall have the Floridas, we shall no longer have any difficulties with our neighbors; and it is the only way of preventing them [William Appleman Williams, The Contours of American History (Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1961), p. 192]. Others openly talked of expansion into Spanish America and Canada for planter and merchant prosperity in new markets, saying that the patriotic and virtuous “wise framers” of the Constitution had “too much wisdom to restrict Congress to defensive war” [Ibid., p. 194].

Twenty-one missions were built from San Diego to Sonoma on the most fertile land by slaves of the Catholic missionaries. Friars and soldiers captured Chumashes and put them on the missions.  Once they were baptized, they were tied to the mission and the authority of friars who only gave them food and clothes.  Many were malnourished and there were more deaths than births.

Twenty-one missions were built from San Diego to Sonoma on the most fertile land by slaves of the Catholic missionaries. Friars and soldiers captured Chumashes and put them on the missions. Once they were baptized, they were tied to the mission and the authority of friars who only gave them food and clothes. Many were malnourished and there were more deaths than births.

After moving to Humboldt County in northern California in the early 2000s, I carefully examined its history as well. The 1849 gold rush brought a large influx of white miners and settlers to California, leading to near virtual wipeout of California Indians by 1865-70. Between 1853 and 1861 there were at least fourteen wars waged against the Indians of California, with paramilitary campaigns continuing into the late 1860s. The population, once thought to have been as high as 700,000, was estimated to be 100,000 in 1849 partly due to grueling enslavement in the Catholic Missions starting in 1769. From 1849 to 1860 the population decreased by 65 percent to 35,000, due to systematic killings [Russell Thorton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987), p. 109]; a detailed list of atrocities committed against Indians in California, including many in what is now Humboldt County, can be found in Sherburne F. Cook’s The Conflict Between the California Indian and White Civilization (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976)].

Wiyot Indian Family

Left: Wiyot Indian Family

From 1857 to 1860, U.S. author/poet Bret Harte wrote for the Northern Californian and theHumboldt Times. Bret was privy to the white massacre of 188 Wiyot Indians on Indian Island in Humboldt Bay near Eureka on February 25, 1860, in which it was reported only one Wiyot child survived. Harte’s story, entitled “Indiscriminate Massacre of Indians, Women and Children Butchered,” included this account: “Little children and old women were mercilessly stabbed and their skulls crushed by axes. When the bodies were landed in Union [present day Arcata] a more shocking and revolting spectacle never was exhibited to the eyes of a Christian and civilized people. Old women, wrinkled and decrepit, lay weltering in blood, their brains dashed out and dabbed with long grey hair. Infants sparce a span long, with their faces cloven with hatchets and their bodies ghastly wounds. . . .” [Northern Californian, Vol. 2, Issue 9 (February 29, 1960), p. 1]. Barte fled as whites sought to lynch him.

In California as elsewhere, hordes of white frontier settlers, speculators, surveyors and other opportunists were establishing permanent settlements as they moved westward from the Atlantic Coast colonies, especially following cessation of the Seven Years War in 1763. Thousands of murders of Indigenous were proudly admitted by settlers and investors/speculators engaged in activities the equivalent of today’s paramilitary death squads operating outside “official” channels, i.e., acting parallel to or outside the jurisdiction of federal troops.

As US Empire spread beyond Manifest Destiny of the continent, the US war in the Philippines was an early victim. General Jacob H. Smith's infamous order in 1901 "Kill Everyone Over Ten" was the caption in the New York Journal cartoon on May 5, 1902. The Old Glory draped an American shield on which a vulture replaced the bald eagle. The caption at the bottom proclaimed, "Criminals Because They Were Born Ten Years Before We Took the Philippines" Gen. Smith ordered "I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn, the better it will please me... The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness..." Estimates of deaths in this massacre range from 2,000 to 50,000.

As US Empire spread beyond Manifest Destiny of the continent, the US war in the Philippines was an early victim. General Jacob H. Smith’s infamous order in 1901 “Kill Everyone Over Ten” was the caption in the New York Journal cartoon on May 5, 1902. The Old Glory draped an American shield on which a vulture replaced the bald eagle. The caption at the bottom proclaimed, “Criminals Because They Were Born Ten Years Before We Took the Philippines” Gen. Smith ordered “I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn, the better it will please me… The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness…” Estimates of deaths in this massacre range from 2,000 to 50,000.

Preventive war using terror against civilians as ordered by thegovernment carried out by young male troops orparamilitary forces are “all-American” values. Such policies have been witnessed time and again in U.S. history, rationalized by our sense of being “exceptional” people. We remain in denial about our arrogant, racist and genocidal origins. More redeeming values have been exhibited, such as civil disobedience and waves of progressive political movements. But the prevailing political and economic structures remain intransigently oligarchic. In simple terms, we remain a white male supremacy society of plutocrats supported by massive numbers of obedient consumers and laborers.

By revealing our social secrets (an oligarchy committed to selfish exploitation) and realizing that those secrets have masked our social myth (a democracy committed to equal justice), we can help catalyze a revolution of consciousness. Recognizing that obedience to our system is killing us and the Planet’s capacity to host us, is a grand initial step for triggering the imaginative forces necessary to enable rapid movement toward a society based on mutual aid in which sustainable communities are built and nourished at the local level.

We have yet to come to grips with the original holocaust that continues to serve as the defining and enabling experience of our “civilization.” Embracing this “shadow” can ironically enable sudden and radical shifts as we are freed from expending the incredible unconscious energy needed to conceal our shame. Sharing our grief for what we have done to others, and ultimately to ourselves, will be experienced as tremendous relief.

After serving in the Vietnam War, S. Brian Willson became a radical, nonviolent peace activist and pacifist.

The Politics of Thanksgiving Day

November 27th, 2014 by William Loren Katz

As family excitement builds over Thanksgiving, you would never know November was Native American History Month. President Barack Obama publicly announced the month, but many more Americans will be paying much greater attention to his annual declaration of thanksgiving with the ceremonial pardoning of a turkey.

Thanksgiving has a treasured place in the hearts of Americans, established as a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 to rouse Northern patriotism for a war that was not going well. Since then, Thanksgiving has often served other political ends.

In 2003, in the age of U.S. Middle East invasions, President George W. Bush flew to Baghdad, Iraq, to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with U.S. troops. He sought to rally the public behind an invasion based on lies by having a host of photographers snap pictures of him carrying a glazed turkey to eager soldiers. Three hours later, Bush flew home, and TV brought his act of solidarity and generosity to millions of U.S. living rooms. But the turkey the President carried to Baghdad was never eaten. It was cardboard, a stage prop.

Thus, as an example of hypocrisy and insincerity, Thanksgiving 2003 had a lot in common with the first Thanksgiving Day celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. A year earlier, 149 English Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower landed at Plymouth and survived their first New England winter when Wampanoug people brought the newcomers corn, meat and other gifts, and taught the Pilgrims survival skills.

In 1621, Governor William Bradford of Plymouth proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving – not for his Wampanoug saviors but in honor of his brave Pilgrims. Through resourcefulness and devotion to God, his Christians had defeated hunger.

Bradford claimed that Native Americans were invited to the dinner. A seat at the table? Really? Since Pilgrims classified their nonwhite saviors as “infidels” and inferiors — if invited at all, they were asked to provide and serve, not share the food.

To this day, we are asked to see Thanksgiving essentially through the eyes of Governor Bradford (albeit with a nod to the help provided by the Native Americans). Bradford’s fable about stalwart Pilgrims overcoming daunting challenges through God’s blessings was an early example of “Euro think” which cast the European conquest of the Americas as mostly heroic and even noble.

Having survived those first difficult winters, Pilgrim armies soon pushed westward. In 1637, Governor Bradford sent his troops to raid a Pequot village, viewing the clash as mortal combat between devout Christians and godless heathens. Pilgrim soldiers systematically destroyed a village of sleeping men, women and children.

Bradford was overjoyed: “It was a fearful sight to see them frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same and horrible was the stink and stench thereof. But the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice and they [the Pilgrim militia] gave praise thereof to God.”

Years later, Pilgrim Reverend Increase Mather asked his congregation to celebrate the “victory” and thank God “that on this day we have sent six hundred heathen souls to hell.”

School books and scholarly texts still honor Bradford, ignoring his callous brutality. The 1993 edition of the Columbia Encyclopedia [p. 351] states of Bradford, “He maintained friendly relations with the Native Americans.” The scholarly Dictionary of American History [p. 77] said, “He was a firm, determined man and an excellent leader; kept relations with the Indians on friendly terms; tolerant toward newcomers and new religions….”

The Mayflower, renamed the Meijbloom (Dutch for Mayflower), continued to carve its place in history. It became a slave ship carrying enslaved Africans to the Americas.

The Earliest Freedom-Fighters

Thanksgiving Day in the United States celebrates not justice and equality but aggression and enslavement. It affirms the genocidal beliefs in racial and religious superiority that justified the destruction of millions of Native American people and their cultures, extermination campaigns that began soon after the Pilgrim landing in 1620 and continued through the U.S. Army’s punitive campaigns in the West during the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries.

Still, Americans proudly count themselves among the earliest to fight for freedom of the individual and independence from tyranny. In that sense, on Thanksgiving Day, Americans might think to honor the first freedom-fighters of the Americas – those who resisted the foreign invasion of these lands – but those freedom-fighters were not European and their resistance started long before 1776.

Even before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620, thousands of enslaved Africans and Native Americans had united to fight the European invaders and slavers. In the early Sixteenth Century during the age of Columbus and the Spanish invasion, these brave freedom-fighters were led by Taino leaders on the island of Hispaniola. One, a woman poet named Anacoana was captured at age 29. Another, a man named Hatuey, led his 400 followers from Hispaniola to Cuba in 1511 to warn the people about the dangers from the foreigners.

The following year, Hatuey was captured, too, and, the next year in behavior fitting with the civilization represented by the European invaders, Anacoana and Hatuey were burned at the stake.

Resistance to the invaders and their reliance on slavery continued to erupt in other parts of the Americas. In 1605, 15 years before the Mayflower reached Plymouth, thousands of runaway Africans, known as “maroons,” united with Indians in northeast Brazil to form the Republic of Palmares, defended by a three-walled fortress. From there, Genga Zumba and his 10,000 people repeatedly threw back Dutch and Portuguese armies. The Republic of Palmares survived until 1694, almost a hundred years, before finally being suppressed.

These early nonwhite freedom-fighters kept no written records, but some of their ideas about freedom, justice and equality found their way into the sacred parchment that Americans celebrate each July Fourth, declaring that all people are created equal and endowed with fundamental rights.

So, the fairest way to celebrate freedom-fighters in what the Europeans called the New World would be to start with the stories of Anacoana and Hatuey resisting the depredations of Columbus and his men and then move to the “maroon” resistance at Palmares.

Looking at the injustice that the victors often meted out to indigenous people and imported slaves, there is little reason to feel grateful for the later arrival of — and encroachments by — the ungrateful Pilgrims.

William Loren Katz is the author of Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage [Atheneum] and 40 other books. His website is: williamlkatz.com. This essay is adapted from the 2012 edition of Black Indians.

Giant Banks Take Over Real Economy As Well As Financial System … Enabling Manipulation On a Vast Scale

Top economists, financial experts and bankers say that the big banks are too large … and their very size is threatening the economy.  They say we need to break up the big banks to stabilize the economy.  They say that too much interconnectedness leads to financial instability.

But – as shown below – the big banks are getting bigger and bigger … and getting into ever more interconnected markets.

Indeed, big banks aren’t even really acting like banks anymore.  Big banks do very little traditional banking, since most of their business is from financial speculation. For example, we noted in 2010 that less than 10% of Bank of America’s assets come from traditional banking deposits.

The big banks are manipulating every market.   They’re also taking over important aspects of the physical economy, including uranium mining, petroleum products, aluminum, ownership and operation of airports, toll roads, ports, and electricity.

And they are using these physical assets to massively manipulate commodities prices … scalping consumers of many billions of dollars each year. More from Matt Taibbi, FDL and Elizabeth Warren.

A 2-year bipartisan probe by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has shined a light on this problem, culminating in a new 400-page report.

Senator Levin – the Chair of Subcommittee – summarizes the findings from the investigation:

“Wall Street’s massive involvement in physical commodities puts our economy, our manufacturers and the integrity of our markets at risk,” said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the subcommittee’s chairman. “It’s time to restore the separation between banking and commerce and to prevent Wall Street from using nonpublic information to profit at the expense of industry and consumers.”

“Banks have been involved in the trade and ownership of physical commodities for a number of years, but have recently increased their participation in new ways,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “This subcommittee’s hearing is an opportunity to examine that involvement, determine whether it gives rise to excessive risk, and identify potential causes for concern that warrant further oversight by Congress and financial regulators.”

One focus for the subcommittee is the management of Detroit-area metal warehouses run by Metro Trade Services International, the largest U.S. warehouse company certified to store aluminum warranted by the London Metal Exchange for use in settling trades. Since Goldman bought Metro in 2010, Metro warehouses have accumulated up to 85 percent of the U.S. LME aluminum storage market.

Since Goldman took over the warehouses, the wait to withdraw LME-warranted metal has increased from about 40 days to more than 600 days, reducing aluminum availability and tripling the regional premium for storage and delivery costs.

The investigation revealed a number of previously unknown details about these deals: that Goldman’s warehouse company paid metal owners to engage in “merry-go-round” deals that shuttled metal from building to building without actually shipping aluminum out of Metro’s system; that the deals were approved by Metro’s board, which consisted entirely of Goldman employees; and that a Metro executive raised concerns internally about the appropriateness of such “queue management.”

Goldman didn’t just store aluminum; it was involved in massive trades of aluminum at the same time its warehouse operations were affecting aluminum availability, storage costs, and prices. After Goldman bought Metro, it accumulated massive aluminum holdings of its own, and in 2012, added about 300,000 metric tons of its own aluminum to the exit queue at its warehouses.

The Subcommittee investigation also examined other instances of Wall Street bank involvement with physical commodities. The Subcommittee report details how JPMorgan amassed physical commodity holdings equal to nearly 12 percent of its Tier 1 capital, while telling regulators its holdings were far smaller; and that at one point it owned an amount equal to more than half the aluminum used in North America in a year. The report also discloses that, until recently, Morgan Stanley controlled 55 million barrels of oil storage capacity, 100 oil tankers, and 6,000 miles of pipeline, while also working to build its own compressed natural gas facility and supply major airlines with jet fuel.

Details are also provided about Goldman’s ownership of a uranium trading company and two open pit coal mines in Colombia. When one of the mines was shut down last year due to labor unrest, Goldman’s Colombian subsidiary requested military and police assistance to end a human blockade — before paying the miners with $10,000 checks to end the protest.

***

The findings and recommendations from the bipartisan report are as follows:

Findings of Fact

(1)        Engaging in Risky Activities. Since 2008, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley have engaged in many billions of dollars of risky physical commodity activities, owning or controlling, not only vast inventories of physical commodities like crude oil, jet fuel, heating oil, natural gas, copper, aluminum, and uranium, but also related businesses, including power plants, coal mines, natural gas facilities, and oil and gas pipelines.

(2)        Mixing Banking and Commerce. From 2008 to 2014, Goldman, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley engaged in physical commodity activities that mixed banking and commerce, benefiting from lower borrowing costs and lower capital to debt ratios compared to nonbank companies.

(3)        Affecting Prices. At times, some of the financial holding companies used or contemplated using physical commodity activities, such as electricity bidding strategies, merry-go-round trades, or a proposed exchange traded fund backed by physical copper, that had the effect or potential effect of manipulating or influencing commodity prices.

(4)        Gaining Trading Advantages. Exercising control over vast physical commodity activities gave Goldman, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley access to commercially valuable, non-public information that could have provided advantages in their trading activities.

(5)        Incurring New Bank Risks. Due to their physical commodity activities, Goldman, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley incurred multiple risks normally absent from banking, including operational, environmental, and catastrophic event risks, made worse by the transitory nature of their investments.

(6)        Incurring New Systemic Risks. Due to their physical commodity activities, Goldman, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley incurred increased financial, operational, and catastrophic event risks, faced accusations of unfair trading advantages, conflicts of interest, and market manipulation, and intensified problems with being too big to manage or regulate, introducing new systemic risks into the U.S. financial system.

(7)        Using Ineffective Size Limits. Prudential safeguards limiting the size of physical commodity activities are riddled with exclusions and applied in an uncoordinated, incoherent, and ineffective fashion, allowing JPMorgan, for example, to hold physical commodities with a market value of $17.4 billion – nearly 12% of its Tier 1 capital – while at the same time calculating the market value of its physical commodity holdings for purposes of complying with the Federal Reserve limit at just $6.6 billion.

(8)        Lacking Key Information. Federal regulators and the public currently lack key information about financial holding companies’ physical commodities activities to form an accurate understanding of the nature and extent of those activities and to protect the markets.

Of course, the Federal Reserve – instead of regulating the banks, encouraged them to buy all of these physical assets. As Reuters notes:

[The Senate report] also points the finger at the Federal Reserve, saying the central bank has taken insufficient steps to address the risks taken by financial holding companies gathering physical commodities. The Fed in some cases was unaware of the growing risk, the report said.

Pam Martens points out:

Adding to the hubris of the situation, the Wall Street banks’ own regulator, the Federal Reserve, gave its blessing to this unprecedented and dangerous encroachment by banking interests into industrial commodity ownership and has effectively looked the other way as the banks moved into industrial commerce activities like owning pipelines and power plants.

***

One would think that the mega banks’ regulator, the Federal Reserve, would be the first line of defense against this type of dangerous sprawl by banks. According to the Levin Subcommittee report, the Federal Reserve was actually the facilitator of the sprawl by the banks. The report notes:

“Without the complementary orders and letters issued by the Federal Reserve, many of those physical commodity activities would not otherwise have been permissible ‘financial’ activities under federal banking law. By issuing those complementary orders, the Federal Reserve directly facilitated the expansion of financial holding companies into new physical commodity activities.”

Vladimir Putin answered questions from Hubert Seipel of the German TV channel ARD. The interview was recorded on November 13 in Vladivostok. President Vladimir Putin presents his views on the Ukraine crisis and defends Russia’s actions.

HUBERT SEIPEL (retranslated from Russian): Good afternoon, Mr President.

You are the only Russian President who has ever given a speech at the Bundestag. This happened in 2001. Your speech was a success. You spoke about relations between Russia and Germany, building Europe in cooperation with Russia, but you also gave a warning. You said that the Cold War ideas had to be eradicated. You also noted that we share the same values, yet we do not trust each other. Why were you being a little pessimistic back then?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: First of all, I gave no warnings or admonitions and I was not being pessimistic. I was just trying to analyse the preceding period in the development of the situation in the world and in Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union. I also took the liberty of predicting the situation based on different development scenarios.

Naturally, it reflected the situation as we see it, through the prism, as diplomats would put it, from Russia’s point of view, but still, I think it was a rather objective analysis.

I reiterate: there was no pessimism whatsoever. None. On the contrary, I was trying to make my speech sound optimistic. I assumed that having acknowledged all the problems of the past, we must move towards a much more comfortable and mutually advantageous relationship-building process in the future.

HUBERT SEIPEL: Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, which would not have been possible without the Soviet Union’s consent. That was back then. In the meantime, NATO is conducting exercises in the Black Sea, near the Russian borders, while Russian bombers conduct exercises in Europe’s international airspace. The Defence Minister said, if I’m not mistaken, that they fly as far as the Gulf of Mexico. All of this points to a new Cold War.

And, of course, partners exchange harsh statements. Some time ago, President Obama named Russia as a threat on a par with Ebola and the extremists, the Islamic extremists. You once called America a nouveau riche, who thinks of himself as a winner of the Cold war, and now America is trying to shape the world according to its own ideas about life. All of this is very reminiscent of a Cold War.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: See, you mentioned 2001 and I said that my perspective was rather optimistic.

We have witnessed two waves of NATO expansion since 2001. If I remember correctly, seven countries – Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and three Baltic States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – joined NATO in 2004. Two more countries joined in 2009. Those were significant geopolitical game changers.

Furthermore, the number of military bases is growing. Does Russia have military bases around the world? NATO and the United States have military bases scattered all over the globe, including in areas close to our borders, and their number is growing.

Moreover, just recently it was decided to deploy Special Operations Forces, again in close proximity to our borders.

You have mentioned various exercises, flights, ship movements, and so on. Is all of this going on? Yes, it is indeed.

However, first of all, you said – or perhaps it was an inaccurate translation – that they have been conducted in the international European airspace. Well, it is either international (neutral) or European airspace. So, please note that our exercises have been conducted exclusively in international waters and international airspace.

In 1992, we suspended the flights of our strategic aircraft and they remained at their air bases for many years. During this time, our US partners continued the flights of their nuclear aircraft to the same areas as before, including areas close to our borders. Therefore, several years ago, seeing no positive developments, no one is ready to meet us halfway, we resumed the flights of our strategic aviation to remote areas. That’s all.

HUBERT SEIPEL: So, you believe that your security interests have not been accommodated.

Let me return to the current crisis and to its trigger. The current crisis was triggered by the agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. The title of this agreement is relatively harmless. It is called the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. The key point of this agreement is to open the Ukrainian market to the EU and vice versa. Why is it a threat for Russia? Why did you oppose this agreement?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: In reality the economy follows almost the same path as security. We preach the opposite of what we practice. We say that a single space should be built and build new dividing lines instead.

Let us look at what the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement stipulates. I have said this many times, but it appears I have to repeat it once again: it eliminates the import duties for the European goods entering Ukrainian territory, brings them down to zero. Yet as Ukraine is a member of a free trade zone within CIS, zero customs tariffs have been introduced between Russia and Ukraine. What does that mean? It means that all European goods will flow through Ukrainian territory directly to the customs territory of the Russian Federation.

There are many other things that may not be clear for people who are not informed regarding these matters, but they do exist. For example, there are technical regulations that are different in Russia and in the EU, we have different standards. Those are standards of technical control, phytosanitary standards and the principle of determining the origin of goods. By way of an example I would cite the component assembly of cars in Ukrainian territory. According to the Association Agreement, the goods manufactured in the territory of Ukraine are intended for our market within the framework of the Russian-Ukrainian free trade zone. Your companies that invested billions of euros in factories in Russia (Volkswagen, BMW, Peugeot, Citroen, the US Ford, and others) entered our market on completely different terms, on condition of deep localisation of production. How could we accept that? So we said from the outset, “We agree, but let us proceed step by step and take into consideration the real problems that can emerge between Russia and Ukraine.” What were we told in response? “It is none of your business, so get your nose out of these affairs.”

HUBERT SEIPEL: I would like to turn to the past. When the EU‑Ukraine Association Agreement was discussed, the negotiations took quite a while. This caused rallies on Maidan in Kiev. I refer to the protests during which people demanded a better life within the European Union. But they were also protesting against the Ukrainian system. In the end all that resulted in a wave of violence.

After the then president failed to sign the Agreement, it provoked an outbreak of violence, and people were killed on Maidan. Then the German Minister of Foreign Affairs arrived and tried to find a compromise between the protesters and the government, and managed to do that. An agreement was made providing for a government of national unity. It remained in force for about 24 hours and then it disappeared.

You followed closely the developments of September 21 and you remember how you talked with Mr Obama and Ms Merkel.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Yes. Indeed, on February 21, not only the German Minister of Foreign Affairs but also his counterparts from Poland and France arrived in Kiev to act as guarantors of the agreement achieved between the then President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition. The agreement stipulated that the only path the process would take was the peaceful one. As guarantors, they signed that agreement between the official authorities and the opposition. And the former assumed that it would be observed. It is true that I spoke by telephone with the President of the United States that same day, and this was the context for our conversation. However, the following day, despite all the guarantees provided by our partners from the West, a coup happened and both the Presidential Administration and the Government headquarters were occupied.

I would like to say the following in this regard: either the Foreign Ministers of Germany, Poland and France should not have signed the agreement between the authorities and the opposition as its guarantors, or, since they did sign it after all, they should have insisted on its implementation instead of dissociating themselves from this agreement. What is more, they prefer now not to mention it at all, as though the agreement never existed. In my view, this is absolutely wrong and counterproductive.

HUBERT SEIPEL: You acted promptly. You, so to say, annexed Crimea and justified it at the time based on the fact that 60 percent of Crimea’s population were Russians, that Crimea has a long history of being part of Russia and, lastly, that its fleet is stationed there. The West saw that as a violation of international law.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: What is your question exactly?

HUBERT SEIPEL: Did you underestimate the reaction of the West and the possible sanctions, which were later imposed on Russia?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: We believe that this sort of reaction was totally disproportionate to what had happened.

Whenever I hear complaints about Russia violating international law I am simply amazed. What is international law? It is first of all the United Nations Charter, international practice and its interpretation by relevant international institutions.

Moreover, we have a clear recent precedent – Kosovo.

HUBERT SEIPEL: You mean the International Court of Justice ruling on Kosovo? The one in which it stated that Kosovo had the right to self‑determination and that the Kosovars could hold a vote to determine the future of their state?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: (In German.) Exactly. (Continues in Russian.) But not only that. Its main point was that when making a decision concerning their self-determination, the people living in a certain territory need not ask the opinion of the central authorities of the state where they presently live. They do not need the approval by the central authorities, by the government, to take the necessary measures for self-determination. That is the central point.

And what was done in Crimea was not in any way different from what had been done in Kosovo.

I am deeply convinced that Russia did not commit any violations of international law. Yes, I make no secret of it, it is a fact and we never concealed that our Armed Forces, let us be clear, blocked Ukrainian armed forces stationed in Crimea, not to force anybody to vote, which is impossible, but to avoid bloodshed, to give the people an opportunity to express their own opinion about how they want to shape their future and the future of their children.

Kosovo, which you mentioned, declared its independence by parliamentary decision alone. In Crimea, people did not just make a parliamentary decision, they held a referendum, and its results were simply stunning.

What is democracy? Both you and me know the answer well. What is demos? Demos is people, and democracy is people’s right. In this particular case, it is the right to self-determination.

HUBERT SEIPEL: It shows immediately that you are a lawyer.

But you know the arguments of the West as well. The West says that the elections were held under the control of Russian military. This is the reasoning of the West.

Let me touch upon the next issue. Today, Ukraine is more or less divided. Four thousand people have died, hundreds of thousands have become refugees and fled, among other places, to Russia. In the east of the country, Russian-speaking separatists are demanding broad autonomy, some want to join Russia. In accordance with the Minsk agreement, ceasefire was declared, but people are dying every day. The country is bankrupt. Basically everybody lost in the conflict. Ukraine seems to have lost the most, but Europe and Russia did as well. How do you see Ukraine’s future?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Ukraine is a complex country, and not only due to its ethnic composition, but also from the point of view of its formation as it stands today.

Is there a future and what will it be like? I think there certainly is. It is a large country, a large nation with the population of 43–44 million people. It is a large European country with a European culture..

You know, there is only one thing that is missing. I believe, what is missing is the understanding that in order to be successful, stable and prosperous, the people who live on this territory, regardless of the language they speak (Hungarian, Russian, Ukrainian or Polish), must feel that this territory is their homeland. To achieve that they must feel that they can realise their potential here as well as in any other territories and possibly even better to some extent. That is why I do not understand the unwillingness of some political forces in Ukraine to even hear about the possibility of federalisation.

We’ve been hearing lately that the question at issue should be not federalisation but decentralisation. It is all really a play on words. It is important to understand what these notions mean: decentralisation, federalisation, regionalisation. You can coin a dozen other terms. The people living in these territories must realise that they have rights to something, that they can decide something for themselves in their lives.

HUBERT SEIPEL: The central question in the West as follows: will Ukraine remain an independent state? It is the central question now on the agenda. The second question is whether Russia can do more? Maybe Russia has more opportunities to expedite this process in Ukraine, in particular with regard to the Minsk agreements?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: You know, when someone tells us that we have some special opportunities to solve this or that crisis it always troubles and alarms me. We have heard many times that Russia has a key to the solution of the Syrian problem, that we have some special opportunities to solve some other problem or the Ukrainian crisis. I always begin to suspect that there is an intention to pass on the responsibility to us and to make us pay for something. We do not want that. Ukraine is an independent, free and sovereign state. Frankly speaking, we are very concerned about any possible ethnic cleansings and Ukraine ending up as a neo-Nazi state. What are we supposed to think if people are bearing swastikas on their sleeves? Or what about the SS emblems that we see on the helmets of some military units now fighting in eastern Ukraine? If it is a civilised state, where are the authorities looking? At least they could get rid of this uniform, they could make the nationalists remove these emblems. That is why we have fears that it may all end up this way. If it happens it would be a catastrophe for Ukraine and Ukrainian people.

The Minsk agreements arose only because Russia became actively involved in this effort; we worked with the Donbass militias, that is the fighters from southeast Ukraine, and we convinced them that they should settle for certain agreements. If we had not done that, it would simply not have happened. There are some problems with the implementation of these agreements, it is true.

What are those problems? Indeed, self-defence fighters, for example, were supposed to leave some of the towns they had surrounded, are yet they haven’t left. Do you know why not? I will tell you plainly, this is no secret: because the people fighting against the Ukrainian army say, “These are our villages, we come from there. Our families and our loved ones live there. If we leave, nationalist battalions will come and kill everyone. We will not leave, you can kill us yourselves.” You know, it is a difficult problem. Of course, we try to convince them, we talk, but when they say things like that, you know, there is not much that can be said in response.

And the Ukrainian army also has not left some of the towns it was supposed to leave. The militias – they are the people who are fighting for their rights, for their interests. But if the central Ukrainian authorities choose not just to determine the demarcation line, which is very important today in order to stop the shelling and killing, but if they want to preserve the territorial integrity of their country, each particular village or town are not significant; what is important is to immediately stop the bloodshed and shelling and to create conditions for starting a political dialogue. That is what is important. If it this is not done, there will be no political dialogue.

I apologise for such a long monologue, but you make me go back to the essence of the problem.

What is the essence? The coup took place in Kiev. A considerable part of the country supported it, and they were happy partly because they believed that after the signing of, say, the Association Agreement there will be open borders, job opportunities, the right to work in the European Union, including in Germany. They thought that it will be like that. In fact, they have nothing of the sort. The other part of the country, the southeast, did not support it and said, “We do not recognise you.” And instead of starting a dialogue, instead of explaining to people that the central authorities in Kiev are not going to do anything bad, and on the contrary, they will propose various forms of coexistence and development of a common state, they are ready to grant them their rights, instead of that they begin making arrests at night. Once the night arrests began, people in the southeast took up arms. Once they took up arms, instead of stopping (the authorities should have the wisdom to do that) and starting this dialogue they sent the army, the air force, tanks and multiple rocket launchers. Is this a way to solve problems? And ultimately everything came to a deadlock. Is it possible to get out of it? I am sure that it is possible.

HUBERT SEIPEL: The question or, more properly, the claim made by Kiev today is that Russia supplies weapons to the separatists and sends its servicemen there.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Where did they get the armoured vehicles and the artillery systems? Nowadays people who wage a fight and consider it righteous will always get weapons. This is the first point.

But I would like to stress that this is not the issue. The issue itself is entirely different. The issue is that we can’t have a one-sided view of the problem.

Today there is fighting in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian central authorities have sent the armed forces there and they even use ballistic missiles. Does anybody speak about it? Not a single word. And what does it mean? What does it tell us? This points to the fact, that you want the Ukrainian central authorities to annihilate everyone there, all of their political foes and opponents. Is that what you want? We certainly don’t. And we won’t let it happen.

HUBERT SEIPEL: After the Crimea joined Russia, the West expelled Russia from the Group of Eight, this exclusive club of industrial states. At the same time the USA and Great Britain imposed sanctions against Russia. Now you are heading to a G20 summit of the most important industrial states on the planet. The focus there will be on economic growth and employment. They say, there is no more growth and unemployment is set to increase; the sanctions are starting to have an effect; both the ruble and the oil price have set anti‑records. The forecast of attaining 2 percent growth in Russia is unfeasible. Other countries are in the same situation. This crisis has a counter‑productive character, including for the upcoming summit, wouldn’t you say?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: You mean the Ukrainian crisis?

HUBERT SEIPEL: Yes.

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Of course, who could benefit from it? You wanted to know how the situation is evolving and what our expectations are. Of course we expect the situation to change for the better. Of course we expect the Ukrainian crisis to end. Of course we want to have normal relations with our partners, including in the United States and Europe. Of course, the situation with the so-called sanctions is damaging for the global economy (it is damaging for us and it is damaging for global economy as well) and it is damaging for the Russian‑EU relations most of all.

However, there are some advantages as well: the restrictions imposed on some Russian companies on purchasing certain  goods from Western countries, from Europe and the United States, have induced us to produce these goods ourselves. The comfortable life, when all we had to do was produce more oil and gas, and to buy everything else, is a thing of the past.

With regard to growth, we should note that this year growth was modest but it was present nevertheless at about 0.5–0.6 percent. Next year we are planning to achieve 1.2 percent growth, the year after that 2.3 percent and 3 percent in three years. Generally, these are not the figures we would like to have but nevertheless it is growth and we are confident that we will achieve these figures.

HUBERT SEIPEL: Another theme to be discussed in Brisbane will be financial stability. The situation in Russia may also be complicated because Russian banks can no longer obtain refinancing on world markets. Moreover, there are plans to close for Russia the international payments system. VLADIMIR PUTIN: Russian banks have currently extended a $25 billion loan to the Ukrainian economy. If our European and American partners want to help Ukraine, how can they undermine the financial base limiting our financial institutions’ access to world capital markets? Do they want to bankrupt our banks? In that case they will bankrupt Ukraine. Have they thought about what they are doing at all or not? Or has politics blinded them? As we know eyes constitute a peripheral part of brain. Was something switched off in their brains?

The bank that I mentioned is Gazprombank, which only this year, this calendar year, has extended a loan of $1.4 plus $1.8 billion to the Ukrainian energy sector. How much is that in total? $3.2 billion. This is the sum it has allocated. In one case, it issued a loan to Ukrainian Naftogaz, which is a public company; in the other case, it allocated $1.4 billion to a private company in order to support Ukraine’s chemical industry. In both cases, today this bank has the right to demand early repayment because the Ukrainian partners have violated their loan agreement.

HUBERT SEIPEL: The question is if they are paying or not?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: (In German.) They are paying at the moment. (Continues in Russian.) They are servicing the loan. Naftogaz is servicing one of the loans. However, there are some conditions that are being violated. Therefore, the bank has the formal right to demand early repayment.

But if we do it, the whole Ukrainian financial system will collapse. And if we don’t do it, our bank may collapse. What should we do?

Moreover, when we extended a $3 billion loan a year ago, there was a condition that if Ukraine’s total debt exceeded 60 percent of GDP, we, the Russian Ministry of Finance, would be entitled to demand an early repayment. Again, if we do it, the whole financial system will collapse. We have already decided that we will not do it. We do not want to aggravate the situation. We want Ukraine to get on its feet at last.

HUBERT SEIPEL: Do you intend to propose ways to resolve the crisis in Ukraine?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Madam Chancellor is very much aware of all the nuances of this conflict. As for the energy problem, she has done a great deal for its solution.

As for the security issues, I would say that in this area our viewpoints and approaches do not always coincide. What is clear is that Russia and the Federal Republic of Germany want the situation in this region to be settled. We are interested in this and we will work for the observation of the Minsk agreements. There is just one thing that I always pay attention to. We are told again and again: pro-Russian separatists must do this and this, you must influence them in this way, you must act in that way. I have always asked them: “What have you done to influence your clients in Kiev? What have you done? Or do you only support Russophobic sentiments?” This is very dangerous, by the way. A catastrophe will happen if somebody surreptitiously supports Russophobia in Ukraine. It will be a real catastrophe! Or shall we seek a joint solution? If so, let’s bring the positions of the parties closer together. I am going to say something that some people in this country may not like. Let’s try to achieve a single political space in those territories. We are ready to move in this direction, but only together.

HUBERT SEIPEL: It is very difficult to correct the mistakes made by others. Sometimes it is only possible to correct one’s own mistakes.

I would like to ask you: have you made mistakes?

VLADIMIR PUTIN: People always make mistakes. Every person makes mistakes in business, in private life. Does it really matter? The question is that we should give a rapid, timely and effective response to the consequences of such mistakes. We should analyse them and realise that they are mistakes. We should understand, correct them and move on towards the solution of problems rather than an impasse.

It seemed to me that this is the way we acted in our relations with Europe as a whole and the Federal Republic of Germany in particular over the past decade. Look at the friendship that has been established between Russia and Germany in the past 10–15 years. I don’t know if we had ever enjoyed such relations before. I don’t think so. I see it as a very good base, a good foundation for the development of relations not only between our two states, but also between Russia and Europe as a whole, for the harmonisation of relations in the world. It will be a pity if we let it go to waste.

HUBERT SEIPEL: Mr President, thank you for the interview.

The city of Irving, Texas has experienced five earthquakes in four days, leading some critics to blame increased seismic activity on nearby fracking operations.

The first earthquake, Saturday night, was a magnitude 3.3 quake that was felt by hundreds of North Texans. A 2.5-magnitude quake hit on Sunday, followed by two more on Monday, magnitudes 2.2 and 2.3. And a fifth 2.7-magnitude earthquake was reported Tuesday evening just east of the University of Dallas campus.

Residents and city leaders point to area oil and gas disposal wells, where fracking wastewater is injected deep underground, as likely culprits. There is a wastewater disposal well near the epicenter of Saturday’s quake.

“We are guinea pigs in the middle of this fracking experiment. Texas homes are built to withstand wind, not earthquakes,” Sharon Wilson, an organizer for the advocacy group Earthworks, told Reuters. “Who will pay for the damage to private property?”

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, agreed: “People are scared,” he told Newsradio 1200 WOAI. “They are not used to waking up to find their homes shaking. The connection between fracking and earthquakes is obvious.”

A map of this week’s earthquakes. (Credit: NBC Dallas-Fort Worth)

A study published last month backs up such claims. Looking at data from National Science Foundation seismographs located near fracking sites, scientists in Ohio were able to make direct connections between at least 400 small “micro-earthquakes” and nearby fracking operations in that state.

Earlier this year, U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey stated that wastewater injection was “a likely contributing factor to the increase in earthquakes” in Oklahoma. “This phenomenon is known as injection-induced seismicity, which has been documented for nearly half a century, with new cases identified recently in Arkansas, Ohio, Texas and Colorado.”

WOAI reports that “[t]he Texas Oil and Gas Association says it is open to an investigation into the connection between hydraulic fracking and earthquakes which have become more common in Texas since the widespread practice of shale fracking began in 2009.”

“The oil and natural gas industry agrees that recent seismic activity warrants robust investigation to determine the precise location, impact, and cause or causes of seismic events,” Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, told the station.

Irving is located just 35 miles from Denton, Texas, where residents recently voted to ban fracking within city limits. In the days after the vote, the Texas Oil and Gas Association filed an injunction to prevent the ban from being instated; the Texas General Land Office filed a separate lawsuit to block the new rule; and a local regulator said she would not enforce the ban.

New Coalition Plans to Expand War against Eastern Ukraine

November 27th, 2014 by Christoph Dreier

Five fractions in the recently elected Ukrainian Parliament agreed on a coalition pact November 21. Although the coalition still has to agree on the division of posts, it has already announced that it intends to step up its aggression in the east of the country and exacerbate Kiev’s confrontation with Russia.

The coalition chose the date of the one-year anniversary of the Maidan protests to announce its program. The demonstrations on the Maidan were supported by Western governments and led to a bloody coup that brought right-wing, pro-Western forces to power. The coup then led to the development of separatist movements in eastern Ukraine.

Now, one year on, five parliamentary parties, all of which supported the Maidan protests, have formed a coalition that plans to intensify a policy of war and enforce vicious cuts in social spending.

The five coalition partners agreed to increase military spending to three percent of GDP. They plan new methods of military mobilization and a renewal of the country’s security strategy. Their proposed “most urgent task” is NATO membership for Ukraine.

Up to now, the Ukrainian constitution guaranteed the nonaligned status of the country. With 285 seats in the 423-seat parliament, the new coalition now has the two-thirds majority necessary for the constitutional change, which would permit the country’s integration into the Western military alliance.

On Monday, President Petro Poroshenko confirmed these plans and announced a referendum on joining NATO within six years. Until then, all the criteria for inclusion in the military alliance are to be met.

Just a few days earlier, Poroshenko had decided to slash all state funding and pensions to the areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists. As a result, schools, hospitals and emergency services will no longer be funded, and pensions and benefits will not be paid.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is likely to remain prime minister, rejected any negotiations with the separatists. “We will not conduct direct negotiations with Russian terrorists,” he said.

The ruthless program of the new government is reflected in its personnel. The groups involved in the coalition are right-wing and ultranationalist forces. The Block Petro Poroshenko, with 127 deputies, constitutes the largest fraction in the new coalition.

Included in the ranks of other coalition partners, the Popular Front (76 seats), the Self-Help Party (34 seats) led by the Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyj, and the Fatherland Party (23 seats) headed by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, are numerous right-wing extremists.

Amongst the ten leading deputies of the Popular Front are three commanders of extreme right volunteer militias (Andrij Teteruk, Arsen Avakov and Yuri Beresa), which fought alongside the Ukrainian army against the separatists and are held responsible for serious human rights violations.

In addition to these three, Andrij Bilezkij also entered the Ukrainian Rada as a candidate of the Popular Front. Bilezkij founded the notorious Azov Battalion and was a longtime member of the right-wing grouping Patriots of Ukraine. According to the Kiev-based German historian Andreas Umland, Bilezkij is an “expressly biological racist” who “openly propagates the Aryan myth.”

The fifth coalition partner is the Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko, with 25 seats. Prior to the election, Lyashko had abducted and tortured suspected separatists in many parts of the country. The human rights organization Amnesty International has accused Lyashko of breaching international law. During the election campaign his party called for Ukraine to have its own nuclear weapons.

Although the new government has a large majority of seats, it by no means reflects the will of the people. In the parliamentary elections in late October, broad layers of the population were barred from voting. Opposition parties were suppressed and banned. Only 53 percent of the electorate went to the polls.

The integration of right-wing thugs into the government makes clear that the new regime can only enforce its reactionary program with the use of force against the population. In this respect it can rely on the support of the NATO powers.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the government’s announcement that it would seek membership in the military alliance. “The door is still open,” he said. “I recall that we had decided at the summit in Bucharest [in 2008] that Ukraine should be a member of NATO.” This decision is still valid if the Ukraine fulfills all the criteria for membership, he suggested.

On Monday, the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite promised weapons supplies to the regime during a state visit to Kiev. “We have agreed on the training of officers and participation in multinational exercises on the territory of Lithuania, a military-technical cooperation and supplies of certain types of weapons for the Ukrainian armed forces,” Grybauskaite said.

The talks between Grybauskaite and Poroshenko reportedly concerned a tripartite military alliance between Ukraine and two NATO members, Poland and Lithuania.

In a government statement on Wednesday, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel once again fiercely criticized Russia. “Nothing justifies or excuses the annexation of the Crimea by Russia,” Merkel said. She repeated her recent claim that Russia had broken international law. On Tuesday, the Chancellor addressed a conference of businessmen in Berlin and called for a continuation of sanctions against Russia.

According to a US military official, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the Pentagon is planning to station 100 armored vehicles permanently in Eastern Europe. The combat vehicles could be stationed “in the Baltic States and Poland, Romania and Bulgaria”, Hodges explained.

Given the aggressive policy of NATO and the integration of right-wing forces in the Ukrainian government, a vote held last Friday in a committee of the UN General Assembly was of especial significance.

Russia put forward a motion opposing the glorification of Nazism and other practices which incited racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance.

The resolution singled out for condemnation practices “which denigrate the memory of the countless victims of crimes against humanity committed during World War II.” In addition to the crimes of the SS, the motion named crimes committed by those “fighting the anti-Hitler coalition and who collaborated with the Nazi movement.”

There were 115 countries voting in favor of the motion, while 55 countries, including Germany abstained. Three countries voted against—Canada, the US and Ukraine.

Forensic examiners during an operation to look for human remains in the forested mountains outside Cocula on October. (Photo: Reuters)

Hours after reports that 31 students from Cocula, in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, had been abducted by a criminal gang weeks before the attack by local police in Iguala against the Ayotzinapa students, Mexican authorities released a statement late Wednesday saying they could not verify the kidnapping took place.

Mexican Minister of the Interior Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said that his office called the principal of the Justo Sierra junior high school in Cocula and that he said his lists didn’t show that any students were missing.

“The principal assured us that no student is missing, but we are also investigating through the Guerrero’s Attorney General’s office to see if they have any complain or report regarding the abduction of 31 students,” he added.

The mother of one of the victims told French TV Network France 24 that the students were kidnapped during the day right after their last day of school July 17. France 24 said interviews were conducted with several other residents of Cocula, with all of them confirming the abduction.

All witnesses said nobody in Cocula has wanted to step forward and denounce the mass kidnapping because they were threatened by heavily armed criminals, who told them their children and they would be killed if they reported the crime to authorities.

The Office of the National Security Commissioner also stated late Wednesday that the neither the school nor the local police has reports of missing minors in the area. The Commissioner’s office said that it would get in touch with France 24 in order to confirm the information and, if needed, extend the investigation.

Cocula is the town where, according to Mexican authorities, the 43 missing students from teacher’s training school Normal Isidro Burgos were killed and burned to ashes in September. However, this has not been confirmed, as a couple of bags apparently containing ashes and remains of burnt bodies were recovered in a nearby dump and river. The findings were sent to forensic experts in Austria, but there is still no set date for the results of the analysis.

The alleged abduction of the 31 students occurred July 17, the last day of school in the area. A source interviewed by the network said that the students were kidnapped by people wearing blue uniforms, apparently similar to those used by the Mexican naval troops. They also said the men were driving “official” vehicles.

The woman, who asserts her daughter is among the victims, explained that nobody in Cocula denounced the crime because the men who took their children threatened to kill all of them.

“On July 17, a bunch of gunmen arrived and took my daughter and another kids when they were leaving school … Nobody moved because everybody was afraid of the gunmen, who have threatened everybody,” she said to France 24.

According to the network more witnesses of the event, who refused to speak on camera, confirmed that the number of abducted students was 31.

On the night of September 26, Iguala police shot at several buses taken by the Ayotzinapa students, killing three of them and another three civilians. According to authorities, the police then “arrested” 43 students and handed them over to the criminal gang known as Guerreros Unidos or United Warriors.

That gang, according to the Mexican attorney general, is controlled by the former mayor of Iguala and his wife, who were recently captured by the police. They are accused of being the masterminds behind the violent incidents of September 26 and early the following day.

FBI data released over the past month reveals that so-called “justifiable homicides” reached a record high last year, while the number of officers killed in the line of duty fell to its lowest level in decades.

According to the data, which appeared in a Monday article on the Washington Post web site, 461 American civilians were killed by on-the-job police officers in 2013, while 27 police officers were killed by civilians.

The article notes the correlation between the record killings and the militarization of American police over the same period, “fueled by a glut of surplus military equipment heading home from Iraq and Afghanistan.” The FBI’s “justifiable homicide” figures increase steadily around 1998, the year after the start of the US Government’s Defense Logistics Agency’s 1033 program, which parcels out surplus military equipment to state and local police.

The FBI figures for “justifiable homicide,” defined by the agency as “the killing of a felon by a law enforcement officer in the line of duty,” is widely acknowledged to be an undercount, according to the Post, because the methodology is not uniform from state to state. There are no comprehensive nationwide statistics on police brutality, despite the government being required to do so by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act passed in 1994. However, a Facebook page titled “Killed by Police,” which posts links to news stories on police killings, has counted more than 1,450 killings by police officers since its launch on May 1, 2013.

Los Angeles police kill two more over replica weapon

Sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles gunned down Eduardo Bermundez, 26, and Ricardo Avelar-Lara, 57, early in the morning of Sunday, November 16, after Bermundez was alleged to have threatened someone with a handgun that later turned out to be a replica.

This was at least the fourth police murder this year involving a person holding a toy or replica weapon. It follows the deaths of John Crawford III for carrying a pellet gun and Darrien Hunt for carrying a replica samurai sword. Only a week ago, police killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice on a Cleveland playground for carrying a toy pistol.

An eyewitness claimed that at around 2:20 AM Bermundez and Avelar-Lara pulled up alongside his car in an East Los Angeles parking lot and pointed the “weapon,” a replica .45 caliber handgun, at him. The eyewitness tailed their car while calling 911, eventually flagging down a sheriff’s patrol vehicle.

Deputies pulled the car over in a nearby apartment complex, where according to the police report Bermundez “started to pull a handgun out of his pants and point it in the direction of the deputies.” Police immediately opened fire, killing both Bermundez and Avelar-Lara, who was standing behind him. They were pronounced dead at the scene one minute later at 2:40 AM, twenty minutes from the first alleged incident.

Bermundez had been at his 3 year-old nephew’s birthday party the previous afternoon not far from where he was murdered, according to relatives. “It’s just hard to imagine that from one day to another he’s gone,” Bermundez’s cousin told the local ABC affiliate. “He was always a happy guy.”

NYPD beating of subway turnstile jumper captured on video

A New York police officer was caught on video Thursday night beating a black youth in the head with his baton for attempting to enter a Brooklyn subway station without paying the $2.50 fare.

The video shows the officer, who is also black, striking 20-year-old Donovan Lawson twice, first in the leg and then on the crown of his head, causing extensive bleeding. Striking a suspect in the head with a baton is against official NYPD policy. Lawson then stumbles through the station with the officer on his back before finally being pinned against a wall and handcuffed by four officers while his horrified girlfriend looks on.

In the video Lawson’s forehead bleeds so profusely that his girlfriend is drenched in his blood by the time the officers are able to pull her away. The eyewitness who shot the video on his cell phone said that before the video began Lawson had been pepper-sprayed, which was confirmed by the police.

Lawson, who had no criminal record prior to his arrest last week, was charged with fare beating, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and disrupting government administration. He later received treatment for cuts to his head at Woodhull Hospital. The officer was taken to Wyckoff Heights Hospital, where he was treated for injuries to his arm and hand.

New Jersey cops kill schizophrenic man during welfare check

Police in Phllipsburg, New Jersey killed Thomas Read, a 36-year old schizophrenic man, after his mother asked them to monitor him during an episode. Read was wielding a knife and “refused to comply with police orders,” according to the police.

Read had run out of his medication due to problems with his medical insurance, according to his mother Anne Read. According to family friend Joel Andreano, who told the Express-Times newspaper, “He was talking about flaming swords and stuff,” when he called him on Thursday. “He obviously was delusional. I called [his mother back] back and told her, ‘No, I don’t think he’s doing good.’ She should call the police.”

Police checked up on Read the following Friday without incident, according to Andreano, who told The Express-Times that Read seemed “calm, happy” when he met with him later that day.

The following Monday, police conducted another welfare check at Reid’s apartment, after his neighbor expressed concerns about threatening letters and a knife stuck to Reid’s front door, according to Adreano. Police found Read in his house when they arrived, and talked to him through his window, according to footage shown to The Express-Times. Read hurled an “unknown object” through an opening in the window at police, who responded by breaking the window and unsuccessfully attempting to climb through to get at Read. Police entered the house through a back entrance, according to residents, who reported that they heard “four or five” gunshots.

Andreano expressed his dismay at the police’s handling of the situation. “He needed help … He needed to get to the hospital because he didn’t have his medicine.”

Syria: Death Squads Receiving Training in Joint US/Qatar Operation

November 27th, 2014 by Brandon Turbeville

Anthony Freda Art

According to a new report by Reuters, Western-backed death squad fighters operating in Syria are receiving a portion of their training inside Qatar via the Qatari government and the United States.

The unnamed sources of the information reported to Reuters that the training was taking place near Doha, Qatar in between the border of Saudi Arabia and the American al-Udeid Air Base, the largest U.S. Air Base in the Middle East. Al-Udeid is located inside a military zone protected by Qatari special forces.

According to Reuters, “Syrian rebel sources” have reported to the news agency that many of the fighters trained in Qatar belong to the Free Syrian Army, an umbrella group of death squad fanatics passed off as “moderate” by Western governments.

The training, as described by the sources, has been running for close to a year.

Reuters states that the program involves the identification of small groups of jihadists fighting in Syria by the CIA, the relocation of these jihadists to Qatar via Turkey, and the subsequent training in “ambush techniques” by the U.S. and Qatar before the fighters are shipped back in to Syria via Turkey.

Although Reuters admits the training of the death squads in the art of ambush, the news agency attempts to claim that the fighters are in no way trained in IEDs or otherwise more advanced techniques.

While mainstream outlets like Reuters portray the “rebels” being trained at al-Udeid and surrounding locations as “moderate” or, at least, not members of the Islamic State, Reuters is also forced to admit that Qatar is by no means opposed to supporting IS militants in its battle against Assad. Indeed, Reuters states that “A source who works with rebel groups said Qatar had delivered weapons, mostly mortar bombs, to the Islamic Front and some FSA brigades about two months ago and had paid some salaries for Islamic Front groups.”

Such training of death squad battalions in Qatar is by no means the first recorded instance of Western operated jihadist training operations nor is it the largest. It must be remembered that, over a year ago, European press outlets reported that jihadists numbering in the tens of thousands were being trained in Jordan for the purposes of being deployed against Assad in Syria. These militants were the “highly-skilled” and organized fighters of the Islamic State that appeared in Iraq and Syria shortly thereafter.

Of course, the reality is that there is no discernible difference between the Islamic State, Free Syrian Army, or any other “militant/rebel” group operating against the secular government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Indeed, IS is nothing more than Al-Qaeda which is entirely controlled and coordinated by Western powers since the very beginning. IS followed from ISIS which followed from IEIL, IEI, and Al-Qaeda in Iraq/Nusra Front. The Free Syrian Army is nothing more than a public relations creation designed to operate as the public face of jihadist fighters who are every bit as brutal, fanatical, savage, and backed and controlled by Western powers as the IS.

Without a doubt, there is no such thing as a “moderate” rebel in Syria and the individuals who graduate from the Qatari/American training program will prove as much.

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 300 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. 

The Adverse Emotional and Interpersonal Effects of Antidepressants

November 27th, 2014 by Global Research News

By John ReadaClaire CartwrightbKerry Gibsonb

Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool, Whelan Building, Ground Floor, Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK

 b School of Psychology, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Received 15 October 2013, Revised 21 January 2014, Accepted 27 January 2014, Available online 3 February 2014

Abstract

In the context of rapidly increasing antidepressant use internationally, and recent reviews raising concerns about efficacy and adverse effects, this study aimed to survey the largest sample of AD recipients to date. An online questionnaire about experiences with, and beliefs about, antidepressants was completed by 1829 adults who had been prescribed antidepressants in the last five years (53% were first prescribed them between 2000 and 2009, and52% reported taking them for more than three years). Eight of the 20 adverse effects studied were reported by over half the participants; most frequently Sexual Difficulties (62%) and Feeling Emotionally Numb (60%).Percentages for other effects included:

Feeling Not Like Myself – 52%,

Reduction In Positive Feelings – 42%,

Caring Less About Others – 39%,

Suicidality – 39% and

Withdrawal Effects – 55%.

Total Adverse Effect scores were related to younger age, lower education and income, and type of antidepressant, but not to level of depression prior to taking antidepressants. The adverse effects of antidepressants may be more frequent than previously reported, and include emotional and interpersonal effects.

Ed. Note: Note that the abstract above only reports the top 7 of the 20 adverse effects studied. The full text of the article, where the statistics for the other 13 adverse effects could be accessed, cannot be obtained without obtaining a copy of the journal, Psychiatry ResearchVolume 216, Issue 1, 30 April 2014, (Pages 67–73) or paying an obscenely expensive fee to the publisher ($36).

You always know when the British Home Secretary comes clean about the number of “terror plots” that have been foiled that something ugly is waiting around the corner.  The dossier of justification is just about to be thrown at civil liberties – we got the necessary runs on the board, the attitude seems to say: have you?  Since April 2010, we are told that 753 people have been arrested on terrorism-related offences, with 212 charged and 148 successfully prosecuted.

“There have been attempts to conduct marauding ‘Mumbai-style’ gun attacks on our streets, blow up the London Stock Exchange, bring down airliners, assassinate a British ambassador and murder serving members of our armed forces.”[1]

Papers make the announcement part of what seems like a charity experiment. “Speaking as part of a new anti-terror drive” sounds like a radio plea for subscriptions and donations.  It is, however, serious fare.  The Counter-Terrorism Bill which is entertaining members of Parliament this week is the most serious of all.  While there is no visible sense that Britain, or any other country in Europe, the United States, or Australasia, is in any greater danger than at any time since September 11, 2001, May would let you to believe otherwise.  Since she is pondering the immeasurable – how “likely” is an attack to take place? – we are essentially dealing with the legislation of the worst sort: that which covers probabilities.

In support of her contentions, she utilises the tea-leaf reading habits of such bodies as the JTAC – the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre – which decided in the northern summer to raise the threat level for international terrorism from “substantial” to “severe”.  Turn the knob just the right way, and the policy will seemingly follow.

Some of the measures already chart the ground for hypocrisy.  At the very least, it leaves huge potholes for it. Ransoms, for instance, will be banned seeing how beneficial such proceeds have been for the ISIS war machine, though we know that governments will fork out when they believe the stakes matter.  Internet service providers (ISPs) are obliged to retain information linking Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.  They are also being put in a position where they will have to do more.  Such errors of overstretch are typical to a mindset that sees threats of immeasurable harm that must be controlled by snipping the communications line.

Blame Facebook, for instance, if it doesn’t make an effort to alert the security authorities about the prospect of a domestic attack between the chatterers. It does not matter whether such attitudes are those of a hot air disposition, the crazed wishes of people baying for blood against a regime or an order.  The Lee Rigby report from the Intelligence and Security Committee, examining the circumstances that led to the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby, ticked the social media organisation off for not doing enough when it was revealed that one of the killers, Michael Adebolajo, had expressed one such view.[2]  Such indignation is the equivalent of scolding phone companies for not doing the dirty work of intelligence services.

May sees a fruit salad of threats to the British realm.  ISIS is one, but add to that Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda and home grown fanciers of aspiring caliphate growers, and you have a minister keen to think the brandish the dangers as credible.  Or so she suggests, mooting the point that the legislation “is not a knee-jerk response to a sudden perceived threat.”  The problem with this, as with anti-terror legislation, is that it tends anticipate the hypothetical with the actual.

Perhaps she also sees Prime Minister David Cameron, and many of her colleagues, as bits of fluff in the making of hard hitting policy.  As noted in a Spectator profile of her, “She doesn’t rate Cameron anymore.  She did, but not many more.”[3]  When a person is attempting to brush up their leadership credentials, everything is free game.

Such behaviour shows a synaptic blindness on handling the liberty of the subject by nibbling away at its provisions.  While in Britain, outrage will still gather in stormy opposition to such proposals as the ID card, matters concerning data retention over a search history on the Internet will garner a murmur in comparison.  More to the point, while the Coalition government is keenly promoting a heavy abridgment of those liberties, it was very happy to abolish the ID cards legislation as one of its first acts in 2010.

Forms of bureaucratic registration are merely aspects of a panacea, the whole solution to a markedly complex effort. But worse than panaceas, they tend to be placebos.  Monitoring citizens like chickens in a pen doesn’t guarantee a better citizen. But it certainly assures suspicion and detachment from the political process.  Commentary from such observers of the jerky security state such as Philip Johnston can laud the fact that ID cards are not a part of British political life yet offer little by way of criticism of the proposed legislation.  Pieties about the British belief in balancing and trade-offs are resorted to.  “That is why, despite Labour’s efforts 10 years ago, we can still walk down the street without being asked to produce our ID cards.”[4]

Perception is everything, and punishing people for perceptions is tantamount to detaining people for witchcraft and blasphemy.  Much of this suggests how little the road travelled on security matters has been.  The realm of hypotheticals remains an all too potent temptation.

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

Financial writer Bill Holter says the players in the gold markets are fearful. Why?  Holter says, “The GOFO rates, or gold forward rates, in London are negative.  They should never be negative, and they are more negative now than any time since 2001.  That shows extreme tightness in the metals market. To me, it shows mistrust.  It shows that people are saying I want my gold now.  I don’t want gold in the future, I want it now.  Negative GOFO rates should never happen.”  Holter also says that the COMEX market is what he calls “corner-able.” 

How much would it take to buy the entire deliverable gold and silver inventory? Holter says,

“The way I would put it is it’s a ham sandwich without the ham or the cheese.  You are talking about $1 billion would be enough to clean out COMEX gold registered category, and another billion dollars would clean out the silver inventory.   It’s nothing.  $2 billion dollars would clean the shelves dry.”

With reported fines being levied on banks for gold price rigging, it is clear the gold market is manipulated. Why manipulate prices of the yellow metal downward?  Holter says, “Gold is kryptonite to the dollar. The reason why gold and silver prices are manipulated down is to hold up the value of the dollar.  And thus, the value to the Treasury market which keeps interest rates down.  It allows us to keep interest rates lower than we normally could.”

What would happen if Russia or China spent $2 billion to clean out COMEX? Holter says,

“Russia could do that and China could do that.  We would see the entire system implode.  The question is do they want to do that.  This whole scenario is about bleeding gold from the west.  It’s about taking gold from the west and transporting it to the east.  Do they want to blow up the game before they got their fill?  Do they want to blow up the game before we run out of gold?  No, they don’t.  Is it this expiration that they are going to blow it up?  I don’t know, but I do know the COMEX is killable.  The question is have we run out of gold to deliver to China and also Russia?”

Holter says one of the overarching issues in global finance comes down to trust. Holter explains,

“The Russians, Chinese and Indians are all acquiring gold.  We have a Swiss referendum coming on Sunday.  They want to repatriate their gold.  This is about central banks not trusting central banks.  Interesting enough, the leading party in the polls in France is talking about repatriating French gold.  Why are there all these repatriations all of a sudden? The reason being is central banks are not trusting other central banks.  It’s all about trust, and gold is trust. . . . It’s going to be the last man standing.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with gold expert Bill Holter of Miles Franklin. 

(There is much more in the video interview.)

After the Interview: 

Bill Holter writes articles several times a week.  If you would like to follow his work on the Miles Franklin site, please click here.

Related reading by Bill Holter: http://www.globalresearch.ca/a-major-international-monetary-crisis-is-looming-the-suppression-of-gold-and-silver-is-comex-being-cornered/5416111

If you’re someone who believes in personal (not government-provided) charity and who likes to make sure that as many homeless people as possible get a decent meal each day, good for you. But you might want to avoid Fort Lauderdale, Florida, because you could wind up with a hefty fine and some jail time.

Seriously.

According to reports, police in the city issued citations and further threatened to arrest two priests and a 90-year-old World War II vet for the “crime” of feeding homeless people. A group of bozos on the city council recently approved a measure making the sharing of food a citable offense. As reported by The Daily Sheeple:

Fort Lauderdale police removed at least three volunteers, as well as the Sunday lunch they were serving to several dozen homeless people, citing a controversial new ordinance that prohibits food sharing. Passed in October, the measure was created to try to cut down the growing population of homeless people in Fort Lauderdale.

All it has really done is put a chill on charity.

“The whole world is watching”

In video footage located on this web page, you can see three police officers show up and disrupt an in-progress feeding program, removing Arnold Abbott, 90, the Rev. Canon Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Dwayne Black of the Sanctuary Church.

As the men are being removed and the operation disrupted, several people begin to protest the police action, following the police officers as they escort the men to their patrol cars.

“Shame on you, arresting an elderly man!” shouted someone in the assembled crowd.

“The whole world is watching!” another shouted.

But the officers, who don’t have any choice but to enforce laws the city passes, were unrelenting. In the video one officer explains to the three men, “Basically you are going to be cited for serving to the community without proper accommodations. Everything is explained in here. This is a citation. If you guys continue to come out here you will face arrest.”

As The Daily Sheeple further reported:

The ban on sharing food is part of city officials’ recent efforts to cut down on the burgeoning downtown homeless population. The most recent law – passed by a 4-1 vote – limits where outdoor feeding can be located. It can’t be situated near another feeding site; it has to be at least 500 feet from residential property; and feed program organizers must seek permission from property owners for sites in front of their buildings.

City officials say the new laws are merely “public health and safety measures,” but opponents have begun referring to them as “homeless hate laws,” the Sun-Sentinel newspaper reported.

“We are simply trying to feed people who are hungry,” Sims told the paper. “To criminalize that is contrary to everything that I stand for as a priest and as a person of faith.”

The program in question is operated by a group called Love Thy Neighbor. Abbott, its founder, has served food to homeless people for two decades.

“We’ve lost our collective minds”

The anti-homeless feeding ordinances follow additional mandates in Fort Lauderdale that have banned homeless people from soliciting at the city’s busiest intersections, from sleeping on public property uptown, and have strengthened measures against defecating in public. There is also a new measure making it illegal for anyone to store their personal belongings on public property.

“I’m not satisfied with having a cycle of homeless in the city of Fort Lauderdale,” said Mayor Jack Seiler, in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel. “Providing them with a meal and keeping them in that cycle on the street is not productive.”

But such ordinances don’t really do anything to address the cycle, either, or correct it – they just penalize anyone who wants to help such people.

“I think we’ve lost our collective minds. We’re arresting people who should be lauded and lauding people on Wall Street and elsewhere who should be arrested,” Joel Berg, executive director of the New York Coalition Against Hunger, according to Sheeple’s source.

Sources:

http://www.thedailysheeple.com

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://www.local10.com

“I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.”- Martin Luther King Jr., Interview with Mike Wallace, September 27, 1966

“Now, let’s get to what the white press has been calling riots. In the first place don’t get confused with the words they use like ‘anti-white,’ ‘hate,’ ‘militant’ and all that nonsense like ‘radical’ and ‘riots.’ What’s happening is rebellions not riots[.]”- Stokley Carmichael, “Black Power” speech, July 28, 1966

Many people are telling the people of Ferguson that they should not riot, that it is only hurting their community and they should instead engage in peaceful protests. However, this is deeply problematic as it ignores a number of issues.

People’s main concern regarding the riots in Ferguson come from a concern about private property. One could say that people are more concerned about the theft and destruction of private property than human life, but this needs to be made much more clear. People are more worried about the smashing and theft of inanimate objects than they are about human life. But it isn’t specifically human life, it’s black human life that many of these people could care less about.

On a deeper level, this is where capitalism and racism intersect. One of capitalism’s main tenets is the dominance of private property and how it must be protected. We can see that this has been transcribed in law, such as with the Stand Your Ground laws. Yet, also within the larger society there is a lack of caring for black life. In any situation, the media and general public regularly engage in victim blaming and look for anything, anything at all to assassinate the character of those who died at the hand of the police. This can be seen even today, when the media brings up Akai Gurley’s criminal record when discussing his death at the hands of a police officer. These two ideas have come together in Ferguson, creating a situation where people are more concerned about private property destruction than they are about the death of Michael Brown.

Many argue that the people of Ferguson are destroying their own community. Yet this is false. To quote Tyler Reinhard: “we don’t own neighborhoods. Black businesses exist, it’s true. But the emancipation of impoverished communities is not measured in corner-store revenue. It’s not measured in minimum-wage jobs. And no, it’s especially not measured in how many black people are allowed to become police officers.” The neighborhoods like Ferguson were not created by black people, they were created due to racist housing policies that black people had no control over. It should also be noted that Ferguson is 60% black, but has an almost entirely white police force and that the city government and school board are also almost completely white. So while they may live there, the black residents of Ferguson have little representation in the local community and are essentially living under a group of people that isn’t responsive to their concerns.

With regards to the riots themselves, the larger society is asking why don’t the protesters remain peaceful. The answer is two-part: peace has been tried and we are going to be condemned no matter what.

Society asks why aren’t the protesters peaceful, however we have to ask this: Why would you think that people would remain peaceful in the face of constant violence? Why would a people remain peaceful when their young people are being killed on an seemingly weekly basis by the very people who are supposed to protect them?

Black people have tried peace before. We were peaceful in the 1960s when we were peacefully protesting for our civil rights and were met with racist mobs, firehoses, and dogs, we had crosses burnt on our lawns, lynchings, and a bomb put in a church. During all of that time we remained peaceful even as society enacted massive violence and repression against us. Yet, violence against the black community continues today, the only difference is that it isn’t so blatant. Martin Luther King Jr. was nonviolent and died at the hands of an assassin, a violent act. Look at the Occupy protests, which were entirely nonviolent, the protesters were still met with violence, most notably in the form of a pre-dawn raid on Zuccotti Park. So even when protesters are nonviolent, they can still be met with violence.

The situation is currently such where if a black person is killed by the police, people immediately come out and find anyway in which they can besmirch or blame the victim, such as with the aforementioned example involving Akai Gurley. So they are already looking for ways to take the blame off of the authorities from day one. The situation changes, though, when oppressed people fight back. Not only is the violence denounced, but then it is used as an excuse to use massive amounts of violence against the oppressed, as we saw by the militarized police that have been used in Ferguson.

When people lash out against one incident, one may be inclined to call that violence, but when violence against your community has been going on for decades and people lash out, that’s no longer violence on the part of the oppressed, that’s called resistance.

When the question is raised of why aren’t there peaceful protests, it is also extremely hypocritical. Many have spoken out in person and on social media condemning the riots, but at the same time they are silent on the constant police brutality that the black community deals with and they are silent on the economic violence done against black communities, pushing them into ghettos where not only is there economic poverty but also a poverty of expectations. On a larger scale, they are also silent when other groups riot, such as when white people rioted over pumpkins. It is extremely hypocritical to speak out against rioters, but not have a thing to say about police brutality or to ignore others who riot.

At the heart of this is how society condones state violence, but condemns violence by individuals. This mindset is a serious problem as it only gives more power to the state and consistently puts state forces in the right, with the victims of state violence being forced to prove their innocence, a situation made all the harder due to people already assuming that the victim is in the wrong.

Many have pushed for peace, but peace and safety are not something the black people in America receive, whether we are just looking for help after a car accident, as was the case with Renisha McBride, or we are carrying a toy gun around, as was the case with John Crawford.

This is not the time to ask for peace. This is the time to say “No justice, no peace.”

Devon DB is a 22 year old independent writer and researcher. He is the Politics/Government Department Chair of the Hampton Institute and can be contacted at devondb[at]mail[dot]com.

The American people tend to view the Republican and Democratic parties as near polar opposites, but this is far from true. Indeed, they are clearly more united on the fundamentals underpinning U.S. society than they are at odds.

The heated legislative and political battles that characterize both parties, which are fought bitterly every two and four years in national elections and throughout the 50 states, are taking place within a much larger context of agreement between the right/far right Republicans and the center right Democrats.

We will touch upon this matter after discussing the recent trouncing of the Democratic Party in the Nov. 4 midterm elections, and posing this question: “Why are the Democrats so unpopular at a time when it was obvious that reactionary Republican obstructionism virtually paralyzed the political and legislative process?”

Compounding the GOP victory, a post-election Nov. 6-9 Gallup Poll revealed that the Democratic Party’s favorability rating among the American people was at its lowest point ever, 36%, compared to 51% just after the 2012 election that returned President Barack Obama to office for a second term. The Republican post-election tally was 42% this year compared to 28% — the lowest rating ever for either party — just a year ago in October after shutting down the Federal government for 16 days.

Fewer voters historically turn out for midterms, but this year that total was the lowest in 72 years — 36.6% of those eligible to vote at a time when the Democratic Party knew it was in trouble and made special efforts to get out the vote. It didn’t work. The result was not only that the Republicans gained control of the Senate and increased their large margin in the House but now also dominate over 60% of governorships and state legislatures.

Aside from the ideological right and left and those who closely follow politics, the great bulk of American voters — who far outnumber the ideologues and buffs — often possess little knowledge about politics, history, foreign affairs and the inner workings of national government, and are manipulated by the corporate mass media and political parties.

Those who control the levers of American society neglect to provide the masses of working people with a thorough understanding about the realities of American society because an enlightened citizenry would undoubtedly demand significant social change if the truth were known. The political parties are well aware of the consequences that might ensue if they heeded Thomas Jefferson’s famous words of 1820, and they will have none of it: “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight.”

Far from educating, the contending parties invested billions of campaign dollars miseducating potential voters with endless stultifying, simplistic and deceptive negative attacks on the opposition.

Wall Street, the banking system, corporations and those who possess great wealth paid for this election and assuredly will be recompensed several fold in legislation, tax rebates, and favors from Congress and the White House. According to Demos, the liberal political policy organization:

Democracy has at its heart a basic promise: Citizens have an equal voice in deciding who represents them. This promise went unfulfilled again in 2014. Large donors accounted for the vast majority of all individual federal election contributions this cycle, just as they have in previous elections. Candidates alone got 84% of their individual contributions from large donors…. Just 50 individuals and their spouses accounted for more than a third of the total money raised by Super PACs this cycle.  Many candidates, including some whose individual contribution totals reach into the millions, report receiving few or even no dollars in contributions from small donors.

Both parties received about the same amount of cash, with the Democrats slightly ahead on the national level. Many thought that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allowing virtually unlimited campaign contributions would principally harm the Democrats but that’s not the case. The two parties are thriving financially, while what’s left of democracy may have received a fatal wound.

The Democratic campaign was largely defensive, with most of its congressional candidates attempting to distance themselves from their own president. The apotheosis of this humiliating situation was when Democrat Alison L. Grimes, unsuccessfully running against Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, declared she disagreed with Obama and wouldn’t admit to having voting for him.

Viewing the election results and the disinclination of Democratic candidates to make a show of support for President Obama, Stratfor’s George Friedman wrote Nov. 17: “The president is no longer battling for the center but is fighting to hold on to his own supporters — and is failing to do so.”

There are several reasons for the sharp drop in Democratic electoral support this year, but it is not a shift to the ideological right/far right. It primarily was far more a rejection of the center right unwillingness of Obama and the Democratic Party to mount a significant fight-back against the economic and social tribulations increasingly afflicting the American working class, middle class and of course the poor.

In recent years working families have experienced drastic unemployment, underemployment or the fear of job loss; wage stagnation; widespread foreclosure of homes; mounting inequality; family insecurity; fear that one’s children won’t make it to the middle class; continual wars; political gridlock; startling examples of brutality by militarized police forces; runaway climate change, and more. And today’s Democratic Party, as opposed to a few center left reform years in the 1930s and 1960s, is pathetically ill equipped to defend these constituencies against the accelerating rampages of the U.S. neoliberal version of capitalism.

Combine this with the fact that voters are provided with only two viable (electable) parties, both right of center in varying degrees. Thus, the way for many people to register a serious protest is not to vote or to vote for the other party as punishment. The purpose of such a system is for power to change from one party to the other every several years so that over time a perfect equilibrium is achieved for the maintenance of capitalism.

A number of progressive and left commentators have noted the role the Democrats played in their own defeat, such as Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary in the Clinton Administration:

What the President and other Democrats failed to communicate wasn’t their accomplishments. It was their understanding that the economy is failing most Americans and big money is overrunning our democracy. And they failed to convey their commitment to an economy and a democracy that serve the vast majority rather than a minority at the top. The midterm elections should have been about jobs and wages, and how to reform a system where nearly all the gains go to the top. It was an opportunity for Democrats to shine. Instead, they hid.

He suggested they should have “come out swinging. Not just for a higher minimum wage but also for better schools, paid family and medical leave, and childcare for working families. For resurrecting the Glass-Steagall Act and limiting the size of Wall Street banks. For saving Social Security by lifting the cap on income subject to payroll taxes. For rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges, and ports. For increasing taxes on corporations with high ratios of CEO pay to the pay of average workers. And for getting big money out of politics, and thereby saving our democracy.”

Bill Fletcher, Jr., an educator, writer, unionist and board member of Black Commentator, declared: “ The Obama Administration has not led in a progressive direction…. Though the economy has improved, the condition for the average working person has not. Yes, unemployment is down but we are still dealing with structural unemployment that is weighing on everyone. The damage from the foreclosure crisis is far from over. And the rich are the ones who are benefiting from the improved economy.  To turn any of this around masses of working people need to be organized to fight for a division of the wealth.  Yes, that means building and supporting labor unions. But when the President does not make that a clarion call-except when speaking with union members — he has no answer to the public that is asking for their share…. Race, as always, was a factor. The Republicans had sufficient codes to make it clear that race was an issue in the election.

Robert Borosage of the liberal Campaign for America’s Future noted issues that should have been, but were not, on the Democratic campaign agenda:

There is a populist majority waiting to be forged. Majorities will rally for full-employment economics, for fair taxes on the rich and the corporations, investment in rebuilding the country and educating the children, strengthening retirement security, making college affordable, lifting the minimum wage, curbing CEO excess, empowering workers, guaranteed paid family leave, paid sick days and paid vacations, balanced trade to make things in America again, taking on the corruption of our politics by big money, investment in new energy and innovation that will create jobs and more.

Peter Beinart, writing in The Atlantic blog, argued:

“For the most part, Democratic candidates shied away from [the issues that most Democrats think really matter] because they were too controversial. Instead they stuck to topics that were safe, familiar, and broadly popular: the minimum wage, outsourcing, and the “war on women.” The result, for the most part, was homogenized, inauthentic, forgettable campaigns.”

During the next two years the Republicans will block all progressive legislation, but given the paucity of anything progressive in the last almost six years that won’t change much. During those years, as liberal economist and columnist Paul Krugman correctly observed, the Republicans engaged in “obstructionism bordering on sabotage.” The GOP will try to ram through reactionary bills but may not cause too much damage. The Democrats hold over 40 votes in the Senate, enough to block many bills, (except when there are defections by their conservative bloc), but Obama has a veto. At the same time Obama is expected to compromise on certain right wing bills, such as a tax cut for rich corporations, and possibly much worse.

The GOP will continue to support Obama’s expansion of wars, not only in Afghanistan where the White House just intensified America’s war commitment, but probably will work with the president to actively seek the military overthrow of the Syrian government, and to send larger numbers of U.S. troops to fight against the Islamic State. Professional warhawk Sen. John McCain is expected to assume the chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee, giving much him greater authority over wars and the Pentagon budget. In foreign policy the Republicans will support moves to exacerbate America’s new cold war with Russia and increase U.S. military arms and support to Ukraine.

Obama will spend part of the remainder of his term dwelling on his so-called legacy, trying to partially make up for the first six years with efforts to portray himself as something of a liberal now that he is a lame duck with considerably diminished powers. He routinely ignored or criticized party liberals and brushed aside the Congressional Progressive Caucus since taking office, much to the chagrin of millions of his voters who expected “change they could believe in” from what turned out to be a conservative presidency. Of a sudden he’s issuing a few executive orders that he could have implemented five years ago and adopting more populist rhetoric.

Despite much political sound and fury and sharp differences between the two official parties they are clearly more united on the fundamentals underpinning U.S. society than they are at odds, as we suggested at the beginning of this article.

For one of many examples, both uphold an essentially failing model of capitalism that prevails in the United States — failing in the sense of fulfilling the needs of the great majority of people.

Noting that the United States is “home to the worst inequality among the advanced countries,” progressive pro-capitalist economist Joseph Stiglitz, a past recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, recently described America’s harsh form of capitalism as being “designed to create inequalities. This fact was made abundantly clear during the financial crisis, when we socialized losses but allowed the banks to privatize profits, extended largesse to the victimizers but did little to help the victims who were losing their homes and jobs.” Earlier this year Stiglitz wrote, “an economic system that fails to deliver gains for most of its citizens, and in which a rising share of the population faces increasing insecurity, is, in a fundamental sense, a failed economic system.”

In this regard, liberal Robert Reich wrote Nov. 17: “Capitalism is a tough sport. If those at the top are winning big while the bottom 90% is losing — too bad. That’s the way the game is played.”

This “failed system” — where for instance 2.4 million children in the U.S. were homeless at some point last year — is the economic project of choice staunchly supported by both the Democratic and Republican parties, neither of which is prepared to propose graduating to the people-friendlier social democratic form of capitalism that prevails in much of Europe, much less building toward the considerably more egalitarian socialism.

Both parties are quite willing to tolerate the extreme class inequality for the masses of people that has been gathering momentum in the U.S. for nearly four decades — accelerating, it is useful to point out, during the eight years each of Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican George W. Bush and the nearly six years, so far, of Democrat Obama.

During these 22 bipartisan, post-Cold War years,

(1) the military budget has skyrocketed in a series of unnecessary, stalemated or lost wars against far weaker opponents;

(2) the two parties joined in deregulating key aspects of government controls on Wall Street, the banking system and corporations; and

(3) the disproportion of wealth and poverty has reached and is exceeding Golden Age proportions, as you will see in the next paragraph:

The U.S. is the richest country in the world, but about half its population of 319 million people are low income or poor. These people generally have very little, if any, wealth (i.e., assets over liabilities). Indeed, the bottom 90% of the U.S. population, including the working class and the entire middle class as well as low income and poor, possess only 25.6% of private national assets. The top 10% own the rest, in these proportions: Those in the 90 to 99 percentile own 34.6% of the assets. The top 1% enjoys 39.8% of America’s assets. And within that 1%, the top 0.01% has grabbed 11.1% of the assets. This most powerful one hundredth of one percent includes 16,000 families who own $6 trillion in assets — equal to the total wealth of the bottom two-thirds of American families combined.

Despite these realities, or more properly because of them, the Democratic and Republican parties still propagate the falsehood that America is a “classless” society of “opportunity for all.” They trumpet the glories of free market fundamentalism even as the economy and its benefits stagnate for the majority.

Regarding political donors, the top 0.01% was responsible for 40% of campaign contributions in the 2012 elections and at least that amount in 2014.  All told, about $4 billion, nearly all from big contributors, was spent on this year’s election and both parties received fairly equal amounts. All this money buys sufficient influence for the wealthy and corporate donors to basically control federal and state elections, thereby maintaining the socio-political parameters established by the ruling elite within which the political game must be played. Even as they fight over various issues, the Democratic and Republican parties operate well within these constraints.

Here are a few of the rules guiding those parameters: The two contending and colluding parties are in basic concord on these key issues:

·      Foreign policy, U.S. global hegemony, constant foreign military interventions and wars, enormous military budgets;

·      Allegiance to an increasingly laissez-faire brand of capitalism, and neoliberal globalization;

·      Servile loyalty to Wall Street, the banking system, and corporate power;

·      Plutocratic rule (government controlled by the rich) in place of democracy, though this is concealed from the people;

·     “Free” elections — so cherished in national myth and external propaganda — that are in fact dominated by the wealth of the 1% billionaires and their millionaire cohorts;

·      The existence of massive privacy-destroying surveillance at home and abroad;

·      Acceptance of economic and subsequently social inequality and a huge permanent underclass as the price multimillions of workers and their families must pay for the privilege of living within free market capitalism;

·      Virtual elimination of major new social programs for the people.

What have the Republican and Democratic parties accomplished in recent decades to modify a type of capitalism that has particularly abused the working class, lower middle class and portions of the middle class?

They have only made things worse because each has moved further to the political right over the last four decades. A few decades ago the Republican Party included a substantial moderate wing and was considered a right/right-center party, and the Democrats had a strong liberal sector and were a center/center left party, but those days are gone and are not coming back.

Obviously, from a formal left perspective, today’s center right is preferable to right/far right when confined in a two-party system. However, such a distinction contains compromising content beyond intense surface differences when each party’s principal obligations are to

(1) maintaining the existing socio-economic system by catering to its financial and corporate institutions and its wealthiest beneficiaries;

(2) sustaining its global imperialist structure of economic and military domination; and

(3) presiding over the increasing immiseration of the majority of the population as wealth and privilege increasingly accumulate for the upper classes.

These two parties, working in tandem with degrees of power alternating every few years, have jointly produced the economic, political and social situation that exists in the United States today — a system where the cherished concepts of democracy, equality and privacy rights are decaying before our eyes, the plight of working people is getting worse, and war has become a permanent condition of society. And since each party continues to gravitate further to the right the chance the Democrats will execute a significant left turn seem impossible.

A left turn, however, is an absolute necessity to resolve these problems and many more that afflict American society — most certainly including crises from economic inequality to climate change and the ever-present possibility of nuclear war — and it will only come from outside the 1% -controlled two-party system.

The BRICS Bank marks a major step to de-dollarization, and a new monetary system. It should replace the Western-dominated “predatory casino scheme” that has contributed to world wars and “economic terrorism,” says former World Bank economist Peter Koenig.

“A ‘BRICS system’ would offer a healthy alternative to the highly indebted and defunct dollar system, where money is printed at will,” Koenig said in an interview with Asad Ismi of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

A ‘BRICS system’ should be based on a new currency, which Koenig called ‘Bricso.’

“…it is high time that the currency of worldwide theft, abuse and exploitation – the US dollar – financial instrument for endless wars and economic terrorism, be replaced with a currency of peaceful endeavors that respects national sovereignty – a currency that works for the people, not for the elite few,” said Koenig adding that currently six US banks control more than 60 percent of all banking assets.

A new monetary system should replace the existing FED-BIS (Bank for International Settlement)-Wall Street “dollar denominated predatory casino scheme that has in the last 100 years alone largely contributed to – and benefitted from – two world wars, impoverished our planet, socially and environmentally,” Koenig said “This system is at the verge of a larger abyss than the depression of the 1930s.”

BRICS, which is actively leading a massive effort of de-dollarization, can become a viable alternative to the Western economic system, Koenig believes.

Moreover, he thinks BRICS is already in process of replacing it. Increasing cooperation between Russia and China is a clear example – the two countries started to carry out ruble-yuan swaps in June 2014 in order to free themselves from the traditional trading currency, the US dollar.

Ten years ago, the world’s reserves consisted to about 90 percent of dollar denominated securities. Today that figure has shrunk to 60 percent, the economist said.

Koenig believes Washington is afraid of losing the dollar’s monopoly on the global stage, and is trying to destabilize the situation in the BRICS countries. For example, by slandering the government of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil for corruption and high debt, or depreciating the Russian ruble by fraud and currency manipulations.

“Today, though steadily declining, most trading is still denominated in dollars and has to transit through a US bank and the BIS clearing system,” he said. “Under the FED-BIS-WS banking system currencies and gold are subject to exchange rate and interest manipulations”.

The potential of BRICS is promising indeed, as the members account for almost 30 percent of world GDP and about 45 percent of the global population.

Canada’s embrace of Nazism should come as no surprise to conscious Canadians.

We are still reeling from the successful “renovation” of our indigenous Progressive Conservative Party, which has now been transformed into the extremist CPC government, dominated by its Prime Minister, or, as many would say, its Crime Minister, Stephen Harper.

Most recently, Canada distinguished itself by voting against a U.N resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism. No doubt CPC apologists will use any number of convoluted rationalizations to approve the decision, but such a vote remains antithetical to what Canada should be.

Other external manifestations of the fascistic CPC government – and the courtesan corporate media’s suppression of the truth – are manifest in the government’s unequivocal support of a Nazi-infested illegal regime in Kiev, Ukraine.

According to Robert Parry in “A Shadow U.S Foreign Policy”, ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych won the election in 2010 “in balloting viewed by international observers as fair and reflecting the choices of most Ukrainian voters”.

However once Yanukovych refused a closer association with the European Union through “trade agreements” and “economic reforms” his legitimacy became a mere obstacle to overcome.

A “shadow government”, funded by the West, including Canada, triggered violent protests, the massacre at Odessa, and the on-going slaughters to this day, as Kiev tries to conquer all of Ukraine at the behest of the West and its agencies, including International Finance Institutions (IFIs) such as the IMF.

Suppressed evidence shouts that the Kiev junta’s unapologetic core is Nazi. The following is a list of neo-Nazi politicians, their Nazi affiliations, and the key positions they control in the junta government:

Andry Parubiy: Secretary of Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council. Parubiy founded the Social National Party of Ukraine, a fascist party styled after Hitler’s Nazis. Eventually, the Social National Party became the neo-fascist/neo-Nazi Svoboda party.

Oleh Tyahnybok: Leader of Svoboda

Dmytro Yarosh: Deputy Secretary of National Security. Leader of the Right Sector, Yarosh oversees the armed forces with Parubiy. The Right Sector includes the far right Patriot of Ukraine group and the paramilitary UNA-UNSO. Members parade in uniforms bearing far-right insignia, including the wolfsangel.

Oleksandr Sych: Deputy Prime Minister. Sych is a member of the Svoboda party.

Andriy Mokhnyk: Ecology Ministry. Mokhnyk is Deputy Head of Svoboda.

Ihor Shvaika: Agriculture Minister. Shvaika is also a member of Svoboda.

Oleh Makhnitsky: Acting Prosecutor General. Makhnitsky is a Svoboda member.

(Source: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=1be_1394044181)

Western media paints Russia’s Vladimir Putin as the villain because he clearly understands the internal machinations of the NATO warmongers and acts accordingly, to protect Russian interests.

Putin knows that the Soviet Union suffered grievous losses during the Second World War in its valiant fight against the Nazi war machine. He has not forgotten, but the West, including Canada, apparently has.

Canada’s internal and external policies increasingly demonstrate our true colors: we have become agents for extremism, terrorism, and imperial warfare. And we have forgotten the lessons of World War Two.

The CPC government’s proclamations to the contrary ring hollow.

By Mark Taliano, Citizen Editor, DailyClout

This article first appeared on Whatsupic

African Americans are finally awakening from an almost two decade long sleep

Barack Obama, the obsequious errand boy for the financial and corporate plutocrats who own the U.S. government, made a pathetic appearance on national television to try to persuade the “natives” to remain peaceful in response to the non-indictment of the Ferguson killer-cop. His inane comments extolling the value of non-violence and the rule of law seemed strangely incongruent with the militaristic rhetoric and policies of his administration over the last few years.

Yet, Obama’s positions on law and violence are not as contradictory as they might appear when these positions are resituated within the context of imperial logic and the framework of power. Legitimate violence is always determined by history’s dominant powers and employed as a weapon to maintain and extend that dominance. Over the last five hundred years Europe emergedfrom the backwaters of history and cultural backwardness to predominance as a result of genocide and land theft in the Americas, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and colonial/capitalist development. The violent establishment of capitalism, racism, and heteropatriarchy enabled the West to impose its definitions of legitimacy, including “legitimate” violence.

Thus when Palestinians resist the theft of the their land and the killing of their people by Israeli colonists, their response is defined as illegitimate violence that sparks support for Israel’s “right to defend itself.” When Africans waged national liberation struggles to free themselves from European colonial domination in places like Kenya, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa, the West condemned their efforts as illegitimate. Furthermore, because those struggles were determined to be illegitimate, colonial powers felt justified to viciously attack those efforts with the support of the U.S. government. And when African Americans organized against police violence and for self-determination and our own definitions of liberation in the 60s, our efforts were deemed illegitimate. We were brutally suppressed with the full range of state terror tactics including beatings, deaths, infiltration, surveillance, and the jailing of activists for decades.

The fight for human dignity and human rights is what makes us human

Therefore, we should understand the State’s response to our discontent in the aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown in this context. The heavy-handed use of violence to deny the people the human rights to peacefully assemble and freedom of association is consistent with the historical uses of violence to control and suppress opposition. And the state’s determination that more militant forms of popular resistance are illegitimate helped to shift the attention of the capitalist media to black resistance and away from the issue of impunity for yet another law enforcement official who literally gets away with murder.

The focus on the forms of resistance taking place in Ferguson is reflective of a shared, cross-class and racialized world-view that accepts the carefully constructed elite view concerning what constitutes illegitimate resistance. This hegemonic view creates a moral myopia that makes it impossible for many in white America to understand the point of view of the resisters to this non-indictment. This ideological and even cognitive disconnect makes the call for more national conversations on race such a dangerous diversion from the more immediate historic task at hand.

The task of the African American resistance movement is not to worry about sitting down with white people infected with the disease of white supremacy, but to build the capacity of black poor and working class folks to resist the intensifying expressions of repressive state power directed at our people. From that base, we can and should talk about building coalitions with other oppressed communities and people who are ready to take on the task of opposing the settler capitalist state at every level.

So while the corporate media has been somewhat successful in shifting the focus from the injustice of the non-indictment to the reaction of protestors, the insights provided by brother Malcolm X offer a framework for understanding what must be done.

Many of our young people are still prepared to pay the price for freedom

For Malcolm, resistance is not a crime. In fact, the fight for human dignity and human rights is what makes us human. But he argued that there is a price that people must be prepared to pay. According to Malcolm:

…you shouldn’t even be allowed around us other humans if you don’t want to pay the price. You should be kept in the cotton patch where you’re not a human being. You’re an animal that belongs in the cotton patch like a horse or a cow, or a chicken or a possum, if you’re not ready to pay the price necessary to be paid for recognition and respect as a human being.

And what was the price? “The price is death really. The price to make others respect your human rights is death. You have to be ready to die…” “This is all we want—to be a human being.”

In our quest for authentic freedom for ourselves and our children who are being spiritually and literally murdered, Malcolm is reminding us that we have to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. This willingness to sacrifice, as inchoate and thinly grounded as the mass resistance was in Ferguson, demonstrated, nevertheless, that many of our young people are still prepared to pay the price for freedom. We should be proud that the spirit of struggle, resistance, and sacrifice is still alive. The experience of Ferguson demonstrated to people around the world that despite the opiate of credit-based false prosperity, illusions of system inclusion and Barack Obama – African Americans are finally awakening from an almost two decade long sleep and in the process reawakening the spirit of resistance for everyone.

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. He is a contributor to “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence” (Counterpunch Books, 2014). He can be reached at www.AjamuBaraka.com.

“The magnitude and the formality of it is arguably unprecedented. It’s fair to say that we have never seen anything quite like this before in terms of the scale.” Peter J. Spiro, Temple University law professor

When James Madison first proposed the balance of power concept for the newly created Federal government with three equal branches of government – each independent of the other with clearly defined responsibilities, he may not have anticipated, despite its enshrinement in the Constitution, how easily that balance of power could be so shrewdly subverted.

While President Obama’s recently announced Executive Order makes sweeping changes to the country’s immigration system without Congress, the emerging legal question is whether the President has overstepped his Executive authority and is ultimately usurping constitutional authority in exceeding existing immigration law which requires that those who arrive in this country illegally be deported. While many of us may not like aspects of that law, it is, nevertheless, the law.

In July, 2014, well-known liberal constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley testified before the House Rules Committee that:

“The President’s pledge to effectively govern alone is alarming, and what is most alarming is his ability to fulfill that pledge. When a president can govern alone, he can become a government unto himself, which is precisely the danger the framers sought to avoid . .”

And since the President announced his immigration Executive Order (EO) on November 20th, Turley added:

“What the President is suggesting is tearing at the very fabric of the constitution. We have a separation of powers that gives us balance and that doesn’t protect the branches. It’s not there to protect the executive branch or the legislative branch, it’s there to protect liberty. It’s there to keep any branch from assuming so much control that they become a threat to liberty.”

“What the Democrats are creating is something very very dangerous. They’re creating a president who can go at it alone and to go at it alone is something that is a very danger that the framers sought to avoid in our constitution.”

“What I’m hearing certainly causes great concern that he will again violate the separation of powers,” Turley said. “No president can take on the power of all three branches and that’s what he seems to be doing. He certainly seems to be taking on legislative authority. He isn’t being particularly coy about this, you know he says ‘this is what I wanted to get out of legislation and I’m going to do it on my own’ and that does become a government of one.”

In 2011, Turley represented a bipartisan group of 10 House members who challenged Obama’s constitutional authority to prosecute the war in Libya without congressional approval. Currently, Turley is representing the US House of Representatives in their lawsuit challenging the President’s “unconstitutional and unlawful actions” regarding his “unilateral implementation” of the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare.

In use by every president since George Washington, Presidential EO’s, originally informal housekeeping directives to Federal officials and agencies, have grown in substance with the ‘full force of law’ as if Congress had acted. EO’s are temporary until the next Executive acts and are subject to judicial review (although courts are reluctant to intervene) while Congress frequently looks the other way. Today, EO’s provide a perfect foil in which to change existing law without encountering significant media or public scrutiny and avoid pesky Congressional oversight.

In addition, it is now apparent that an EO may not be necessary for a scoundrel President to alter the specific language of an established law when, for example, a bill’s original intent is not sufficient to address new circumstances or an essential concept that was mistakenly omitted or simply because the Executive can do whatever the Executive wants. As Madison and the Founders intended, under the US Constitution, the Congress makes the laws and the President is charged with implementation.

While Presidential power is derived from the Constitution’s implied authority contained in the broadly-interpreted ‘executive power shall be vested in the President’ directive (Article I, section 1, clause 1) as well as Presidential responsibility to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” (Article II, section 3, clause 5), there is no legal mandate that allows the Congress or President to fudge their Constitutional lines of responsibility, regardless of what political differences may exist.

It is against this backdrop that the President risks being accused of an overreach of ‘executive power’ that inevitably raises essential constitutional concerns. The question arises that by deferring enforcement action while establishing a newly created special status for a group of citizens, the President is, in effect, violating the immigration law as enacted by Congress and that the President has gone beyond prosecutorial discretion and into the area of legislating.

Nicholas Q. Rosenkranz, Georgetown University law professor offered that ‘pre-emptively announcing that you will not enforce the law against a population of millions ..is several orders of magnitude beyond traditional case-by-case ‘prosecutorial discretion.’ In this case, the president is reportedly considering affirmative action that would purport to confer some legal status. This is a giant step beyond traditional prosecutorial discretion.”

Many of us may be so jaded as to not be shocked that a sitting President, fully conscious of his constitutional duties, would willfully misdirect or specifically alter Congressionally-approved language so as to substantially modify a piece of legislation and its intent. It is the height of malfeasance to rationalize an ‘improvement’ to existing law or to direct a department to act contrary to its legislative mandate using a popular issue as “cover “ for official misconduct. Cloaking precedent-setting wrongdoing in the cushion of a publicly-accepted issue (like immigration or health care) has the effect of relegating the Constitution to a lesser piece of paper and minimizing public scrutiny.

One concern at stake is whether a policy initiative that failed to be adopted by Congress can then be repackaged as a constitutionally valid EO and whether the President’s EO sets an historic precedent that allows for an expansion of Executive authority as a common tool whenever the President is thwarted by Congress or in order to bypass Congress.

David Martin, University of Virginia law professor has suggested that beyond the question of whether Mr. Obama was staying within the bounds of his power, is the bigger problem of “precedent” and that even if Mr. Obama’s directive is legally defensible, he may be “paving the way for future Republican presidents to act similar to contravene laws that Democrats cherish.”

With regard to Executive orders, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) 2014 report Executive Orders: Issuance, Modification, and Revocation states that

“The President’s authority to issue executive orders does not include a grant of power to implement policy decisions that are not otherwise authorized by law” and that

“…it is equally well established that the substance of an executive order, including any requirements or prohibitions, may have the force and effect of law only if the presidential action is based on power vested in the President by the U.S. Constitution or delegated to the President by Congress.”

Regarding EO’s, the CRS determined that “The U.S. Constitution does not define these presidential instruments and does not explicitly vest the President with the authority to issue them. Nonetheless, such Orders are accepted as an inherent aspect of presidential power.”

It should not escape notice that the very deportations that the Obama EO is designed to alter are the very deportations that his Administration has so dramatically increased over the last six years.

Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Anthony Napolitano has suggested that “when he suspends deportation and when he imposes his own conditions on those suspensions, he is effectively rewriting the law and that violates his oath to enforce and uphold the law as it has been written” concluding that the president would be in violation of his responsibility to “faithfully execute” the law and that “while every president has prosecutorial discretion, they cannot suspend or rewrite existing statute.”

According to Napolitano, President Eisenhower “allowed suspension of deportations on the basis of existing statute but that Obama has disregarded existing statute and set out his own standards. He is not a law maker; he is the law enforcer.”

There is no doubt that immigration reform and halting the Obama Administration’s widespread deportations (over two million to date) is a valid and long overdue social dilemma that deserves to be resolved on a permanent basis with a formal legislative solution. Immigration is of such significance to the nation that affects 11 million citizens, it deserves to be deliberated in a formal quasi-judicial forum (like the Senate) without the controversy and uncertainty sure to result from the President’s EO. Immigration reform and those citizens most directly affected deserve to have the formal force of Congressionally-adopted law with its bi-partisan sponsors, committee amendments and rigorous floor

debate standing behind it, granting it the unquestionable constitutional authority that an EO does not offer.

The President had months earlier promised the EO but delayed issuance until after the election in order to protect many of those vulnerable Senate Democrats who went down in defeat anyway. The willingness to delay the EO spoke volumes to Hispanic voters – most of whom favor the Democratic party. The irony of shelving the EO until after the election must still sting with a rank bitterness – if not the president, who is more often concerned with his own political fortunes, but for those Democrats who were defeated in states with an immigrant population like Sen. Mark Udall (D-Co), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark) and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC).

After the 2008 election there was every expectation that an ethnically diverse President would instinctively resonate with the plight of the country’s long-time immigrants and their children, officially recognizing their hopes for citizenship. Six years later, the painful reality is that an ethnically diverse president can just as easily disregard the country’s immigrant population as well as any Caucasian president.

In response to activist criticism that he had not issued an Executive Order to stop deportations, the President acknowledged, in a September, 2013 Telemundo interview that “If we start broadening that (referring to his earlier Dreamer protection), then essentially I’ll be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. So that’s not an option.”

More recently, in a November 17th Washington Post editorial entitled “In Mr. Obama’s Own Words, Acting Alone is Not How Democracy Works” posited a fanciful analogy with newly-elected president Ted Cruz using an EO as a unilateral tool to accomplish his political agenda at the expense of the Constitution. The editorial further quoted the President, in explaining his own inaction to suspend deportations “That’s not how our Constitution is written.”

Unbelievably oblivious that its failure to address the long-promised comprehensive immigration reform until the most recent mid-terms, the Democrats had managed to sufficiently deflect Hispanic voter protests with promises of ‘reform’ while heaping a pile of perennial blame on Republicans – some of which has been unwarranted.

* * * * * * *

Given the failure of the DREAM Act of 2010 (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and his Administration’s increase of deportations over the last six years, it is stunning for the President to now claim that ‘we’re better off if we can get a comprehensive deal through Congress” and that he would be “derelict in my duties if I did not try to improve the system that everybody acknowledges is broken.”

Just prior to the President announcing his immigration EO on November 20th, Senate soon-to-be Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) publicly suggested that the President hold off on issuing his immigration EO until after December 11 when the budget to keep the government operating would be approved. Sounds like a logical, sensible request but the Obama White House has rarely shown a proclivity to think strategically in what some Republicans interpreted as the President daring them to oppose.

At the same time, Reid was skewering the Republicans for their opposition to immigration reform promising that “if we had it our way, President Obama would be signing a comprehensive immigration bill into law” and that “virtually every Democrat would vote for it.” Unfortunately for Sen. Reid, there are some of us who pay attention to the details and remember when the Dream Act went down to defeat in the Senate in 2010 – thanks to five Democratic votes.

In 2010 the Democrats had total control of both the House and Senate and could have enacted a host of essential social and peace initiatives but instead chose to follow their inexperienced new President down the golden Path of Wasted Opportunity.

On December 8, 2010, a month after the Democrats suffered what were then record losses in the 2010 mid term elections, the Democratic-controlled House voted 216 (with 8 Republicans) to support S 3827 (the DREAM Act) with 198 (including 38 Democrats) voting against the bill. The bill then went to the Senate.

Waiting in the wings since 2003 when Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Il) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) first introduced the law, the DREAM Act reached the Senate floor on December 18, 2010 when the Democratic-controlled Senate voted NO to defeat the House adopted bill on a 55 – 41 vote. Five Democrats (Sens. Baucus (MT), Hagan (NC), Pryor (Ark), Ben Nelson (Neb) and Tester (MT) provided the margin of defeat.

Obviously if those five Democrats had voted in the affirmative, the DREAM Act would have achieved the necessary 60 votes and gone to President Obama’s desk for his signature. And if the DREAM Act had been adopted in 2010, the current EO immigration conundrum could have been avoided.

Republican intransigence may be traced to their opposition of adding up to 11 million new citizens, many of whom could be expected to vote Democratic.

Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. vs Sawyer

In the Supreme Court’s 1952 Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. vs. Sawyer decision, the framework was established for analyzing whether a President’s EO is a valid presidential action. In that matter, President Harry S. Truman issued an EO directing the Secretary of Commerce to take possession of the nation’s steel mills to ensure continued production in the event of a possible labor strike. The Court decided that Truman’s EO “was effectively a legislative act because no statue or Constitutional power authorized such Presidential action” and that Truman’s EO was unconstitutional.

Writing the majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black made the point that “presidential power to see that laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a law maker” and further added that any Presidential authority to issue an EO “must stem from either an Act of Congress or from the Constitution itself.”

Justice Robert Jackson’s concurrence became influential in establishing a process for considering the validity of Presidential action vis a vis the Constitution and Congressional authority suggesting that Presidential authority was at a ‘low ebb’ when a President takes a “measure incompatible with the express or implied will of Congress.” Jackson also warned that for a President to exercise conclusive or preconclusive power could endanger the ‘equilibrium established by our Constitutional system.”

This article reviews a number of developments that occurred between 2000 and 2014 related to the debt issue, various aspects of the international crisis |1|, international financial institutions, the scope of attacks against social and economic rights, and CADTM priorities.

Several changes have occurred since the end of the 1990s.

1. Several countries in the South have moved away from neoliberal policies

After over twenty years of neoliberal policies and multiple forms of resistance, towards the end of the 1990s and at the beginning of the new millennium, several Latin American nations disposed of their neoliberal presidents thanks to massive social mobilisations and elected heads of state who implemented policies that meet the people’s interests. The people of those countries wanted to free themselves from measures derived from the ‘Washington consensus,’ as imposed by the IMF and the World Bank (privatisations, cuts in public services, ‘liberalisation’ of trade that deprives small local producers of any protection, enforced commodification, destruction of decent jobs, cancellation of subsidies for food staples and services such as water, electricity, gas, and transport). These policies were implemented on the pretence of repaying their public debts, much of which was illegitimate or illegal, as was the case in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia… |2| Ecuador’s government took a remarkable initiative in 2007-2008 when it carried out a complete audit of its debt with the active participation of representatives from social movements |3|. On the basis of this audit, it then suspended repayment of the part of the external debt identified as illegitimate, and imposed a significant reduction of the debt to its creditors |4|. This made it possible to increase social spending. Unfortunately, this initiative did not snowball as had been hoped, since other countries in the area did not follow suit.

On the upside, let us note that the governments of these three countries also increased taxation on large foreign corporations that exploit these countries’ natural resources. This development significantly boosted their tax revenues, and made it possible to increase social spending.

Moreover, citizens in these three countries democratically adopted new Constitutions, which include a measure on the removing of elected representatives at mid-term.

Finally, it should also be added that Bolivia in 2007, Ecuador in 2009, and Venezuela in 2012 took the wise step of leaving the WB International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID),

The ICSID was founded in 1966, with the purpose of providing a means of conciliation and arbitration to settle investment disputes between contracting States and nationals of other contracting States. To put it simply, it is an international arbitration tribunal, which deals with disputes arising between a private investor from a contracting party State and the State where the investment is based. The Centre’s jurisdiction (article 25) extends to disputes of a legal nature, relating directly to an investment, between a contracting State (or a government organisation or body dependent on that State and designated by it to the Centre) and a national from another contracting State.The Centre is usually designated as competent to deal with disputes arising within the context of bilateral investment agreements. Thus, almost 900 bilateral treaties on the promotion and protection of investments explicitly name the Centre as the instance for settling disputes between the private investor of a contracting party, on the one hand, and the State where the investment concerned is based, on the other. The Centre’s arbitral sentence is mandatory and cannot be appealed (article 53). The ICSID is a member of the World Bank Group, but from an institutional point of view, it is an autonomous international organisation, which completes the Bank’s range of intervention.There is no obligation to have recourse to the ICSID for conciliation or arbitration. However, once the parties are engaged, neither may withdraw unilaterally from the ICSID’s arbitration. Once the ICSID has made a decision, all the countries that have ratified the convention, even if they are not involved in the dispute, must acknowledge and apply the decision. Since 1978, the ICSID’s area of jurisdiction has been extended. A whole new set of rules allow it to intervene in cases that do not fall within the domain of the convention. Thus, it can now intervene in arbitration procedures even when one of the parties to the dispute is a State or the national of a State that has not ratified the convention. It can also be called on to bear witness on facts in a case.

Until the mid-1980s, the disputes dealt with by the ICSID arose from agreements made under investment contracts. Since then, it has dealt increasingly with disputes arising from agreements made under bilateral treaties.

The World Bank’s spider web

The World Bank’s subsidiaries (the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)) have been designed to weave an even tighter web.

Let us take a theoretical example to illustrate the effects of their policies. The World Bank grants a loan to the government of a country if it promises to privatise its water distribution and purification system. In this process, the public company is sold to a private consortium including the IFC, a World Bank subsidiary.

Then the population affected by the privatisation protests against the sudden sharp increase in rates and the fall in the quality of the service provided, and the government turns against the predatory transnational company, the dispute is dealt with by the ICSID, which thus finds itself on both sides of the judge’s bench.

A situation has been reached where the World Bank Group is present at every level: it imposes and finances privatisation via the IBRD and IDA, it invests in the privatised company through the IFC, it provides the company with guarantees covering it against political risk, through the good offices of the MIGA, and it judges any disputes that may arise through the ICSID.

This is exactly what happened in El Alto, Bolivia, between 1997 and 2005.

2. Increases in raw materials prices and currency reserves

In 2003-2004, the prices of raw materials and agricultural products began to rise |5|. This situation enabled the developing countries |6| exporting such products to increase their revenues, especially in strong currencies (dollar, euro, yen, and pound). Certain developing countries used the additional revenues to increase social spending, while most of them accumulated foreign exchange reserves |7| or purchased US Treasury Bonds—thus contributing to financing the leading world power. In other words, they increased their loans to the world’s principal economic power, thus contributing to maintaining its domination by providing it with the means to continue living on credit and maintaining a large trade deficit. An explanation for this is that the US borrows large amounts from countries that are prepared to purchase its debt instruments (US Treasury Bonds).

The table below indicates the volumes of US Treasury Bonds and other treasury bonds held in March 2014 by a number of developing countries. China alone has lent the USA $1,270 billion (from its foreign reserve exchange accumulated through its trade surplus with the USA), and therefore holds more than one fourth of US external public debt.

Developing countries that are creditors of the USA: values of US Treasury Bonds (in $billionsdollars) held in March 2014 |8|

The yield on US Treasury Bonds and other government bonds is from 0 to 2.57% in function of the maturity (one month = 0.01%, while 10 years = 2.57%) |9|. Given the inflation rate in the US, the real yield is very low, or even negative, which enables the US to finance itself at a very low cost.

3. The loss of power of the World Bank and IMF vis-à-vis certain developing countries

The increase in foreign exchange reserves and the decision of some governments in the South to use part of them to increase social spending and infrastructure investments have contributed to decreasing the influence of the IMF, World Bank, and most industrialised countries over some of the developing countries |10|. This loss of influence also comes from the fact that China and the other ‘BRICS’ (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), especially Brazil, have greatly increased the number of their loans to certain developing countries.

4. China becomes a powerful creditor

Another factor has reinforced this phenomenon: a rapidly expanding China has become the world’s workshop, and has accumulated huge currency reserves (mostly in dollars). In December 2013, China’s foreign exchange reserves reached $3,821 billion |11|. It has significantly increased its international trade, particularly with developing countries on various continents. It has also increased very significantly its loans to African, Latin-American, and many Asian countries. Its loans are now competing with those of the World Bank and the IMF, other multilateral financial institutions and the governments of the most industrialised countries. That has reduced the ability of these institutions and of countries in the North to exert pressure on some developing countries. However, we should remain vigilant regarding these large debts taken on by developing countries. China is a new capitalist power, which does not give anything away, and its investments are aimed at ensuring its control over the raw materials it needs and over the markets to which it exports its manufactured goods.

5. In 2014, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) announced the creation of a multilateral bank that would belong to them |12|

If this bank begins doing business one day (which is not sure), it will not be an entity capable of offering a positive alternative for developing countries, because the governments founding it are seeking to create a bank which will directly serve their interests (ensuring sources of raw materials and outlets for their exportations) and not those of the people.

6. Increases in internal public debt

Over the past 20 years, internal public debt has increased significantly. In a significant number of developing countries, it has become greater than external public debt (see table below on Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico). This is true for all of the richest developing countries, particularly for the so-called ‘emerging’ economies.

Comparison of external and internal public debt (in $billions and as a % of total debt) for some Latin American countries (2000-2013) |13|

However, we should not be fooled. The domestic banks that issue loans to the public authorities of their country in the local currency are often in fact subsidiaries of foreign banks, and the loans in local currency, in many cases, are pegged to a strong currency (generally the dollar). This means that if the local currency is devalued or the value of the strong currency increases, the amount to be reimbursed increases considerably |14|. It also means that the major foreign banks are making large profits from the internal public debt. For example, Santander, the principal Spanish bank, makes enormous profits from the loans granted by its subsidiaries in Brazil |15| and other Latin American countries to public authorities by buying government securities from them. The same is true of other banks like Citigroup/CitiBank, which have a strong presence in Mexico, and the Spanish bank BBVA, present in several Latin-American economies, not to forget the British bank HSBC, which is particularly active in Asia.

7. The food and climate crisis

In 2007-2008, the peoples of the developing countries were faced with a sharp increase in the price of foodstuffs. This situation resulted in food riots in 18 countries. The number of people suffering from hunger, which was approximately 900 million before the crisis, increased by nearly 120 million, bringing the total to over one billion in 2009. As we will see farther on, that figure has gradually been reduced, but the fact can only alert us to the incredible vulnerability of hundreds of millions of people. This dramatic situation is directly linked to other factors related to the global crisis and the debt system. One thing is certain: the rising price of food staples and increasing number of human beings suffering from hunger are not the result of a lack of food resources throughout the world. Some of the factors behind this global food crisis, which is keeping one out of eight humans in a permanent state of hunger, are financial speculation on the prices of basic food items (and fuels) on the over-the-counter market in Northern countries, as well as the promotion of agro-fuels in Northern and some Southern countries— including Brazil —, land grabbing, the ‘free-trade’ agreements imposed on Southern countries, the end of subsidies for basic food staples and to local producers in Southern countries, and the priority given to cash crops intended for exportation to the detriment of local market gardening… |16|

In addition, the effects of the ongoing climate crisis are increasingly dramatic in developing countries. Here again, the policies rolled out by the World Bank in particular, and the productivist capitalist system in general, are part of the problem and not part of the solution |17|.

8. Debt is one of the core concerns in Northern countries, where it is considered to be the consequence of the crisis that erupted in 2007-2008

The crisis caused by major private banks in the US and Europe has generated a strong increase in the debt of the countries concerned. Private and public debt have become core concerns in Northern countries, particularly within the European Union and the United States. That is why the CADTM has engaged in more studies and actions targeting the countries of the North, while still not neglecting the South. The lessons drawn from the Third World debt crisis in 1980-1990 are very valuable for understanding the events that followed the crisis of 2007-2008 and taking action in its aftermath |18|. The countries in the North where people have been the most severely affected are Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, Romania, Hungary, the Baltic Republics, Bulgaria, and Italy. The policies being applied by creditors in the most industrialised countries in the North today closely resemble those that were imposed on the countries of the South in the 1980s, which caused and exacerbated third world debt.

9. Centre/Periphery relations within the European Union based on domination 

The existence of a common economic, trade, and political zone enables European transnational corporations and the economies of the Centre of the eurozone to profit from the debt crisis in the Periphery countries (Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus, and countries in central Europe and the Balkans), as well as in Italy, to make their companies more profitable and make points in terms of competitiveness with respect to their North American and Chinese competitors. At the current stage of the crisis, the aim of countries in the Centre of the eurozone is not to relaunch growth and reduce asymmetries between the strongest and weakest economies in the EU.

In addition, European leaders believe that the collapse of Southern Europe is going to translate into opportunities to privatize corporations and public goods massively at cut-rate prices. The intervention of the Troika and the active complicity of governments in the Periphery are helping them. The dominant classes in the countries in the Periphery are in favour of these policies, because they are counting on getting a part of the cake they have been drooling over for years. The privatisations in Greece and Portugal prefigure what is going to occur in Spain and Italy where the public commodities up for grabs are far more lucrative, given the size of these two economies.

The close ties between government leaders and Big Capital are no longer even concealed. Individuals from the world of high finance, and in particular the investment bank Goldman Sachs, are now at the head of several governments, in key ministerial positions, and President of the ECB |19|.

10. The crisis and the increase in public debt are misleading arguments exploited in the greatest offensive against human rights in Europe since the end of WWII.

Governments and employers use countless deceitful arguments in the greatest offensive in Europe since WWII against the economic and social rights of most people. Increasing unemployment, more and more debt to repay, the constraint of balanced budgets and the competitiveness of the European countries, between themselves, and on the world markets, are all used as postulates to attack and whittle away at social spending and public services.
For the Capitalists the agenda is greater insecurity for the workers, to reduce the worker’s capacity to organise and resist, while imposing lower wages and less benefits, at the same time as maintaining big differences between EU workers in order to increase the competition between them, and to precipitate them into the debt trap.

The report ‘Safeguarding human rights in times of economic crisis’ by Nils Muiznieks, Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe (4 December 2013) draws an unforgivable picture of the consequences of the austerity measures applied in Europe. The sectors of education, health, employment, justice, housing, water distribution, and subsistence are all damaged by the nefarious effects of these policies. Nils Muiznieks stresses the inefficiency of austerity plans and their counter-productive results, which in the long term will cause necessary increases in public spending |20|.

Here are the opening paragraphs of the introduction to this important report:

Europeans are living through the deepest economic recession since World War II. What began as a meltdown in the global financial system in 2008 has been transformed into a new political reality of austerity, which threatens over six decades of social solidarity and expanding human rights protection across Council of Europe member states.

Austerity measures have exacerbated the already severe human consequences of the economic crisis marked by record levels of unemployment. The whole spectrum of human rights has been affected and many vulnerable groups of people have been hit disproportionately. Poverty, including child deprivation, is deepening and is likely to have long-term effects.

11. This is a worldwide attack on Labour by Big Capital.

What wage earners, pensioners and beneficiaries are going through in Cyprus, Ireland, Greece, Spain, and Portugal, among others, was imposed on the populations in developing countries during the debt crisis in the 1980-1990s. In the 1990s, during and after the Reagan presidency, the workers in North America were attacked, the Thatcher regime in the UK attacked British workers and similar policies were then applied throughout Europe, including in the ex-eastern bloc countries, which were subjected to the harsh policies imposed on them by their governments and by the IMF. According to the International Labour Organisation’s Global Wage Report 2012-13 ‘In Russia, for example, the real value of wages collapsed to less than 40 percent of their value in the 1990s, and it took another decade before wages recovered to their initial level.’ |21|. Then starting in 2003-5, although less harshly than in the Third World countries (the World’s poorest countries and the emerging economies), the attack turned against German workers. The harmful effects are still felt today by many people, even if Germany exports and the explosion of part-time work has limited the number of unemployed and part of the working class has not been directly affected.

This offensive, which started at the beginning of the 1980s, has intensified since 2007. The International Labour Organisation has analysed a shorter period (1999-2011) and made the following interesting remark:

Between 1999 and 2011, average labour productivity in developed economies increased more than twice as much as average wages. In the United States, real hourly labour productivity in the non-farm business sector increased by about 85 per cent since 1980, while real hourly compensation increased by only around 35 per cent. In Germany, labour productivity surged by almost a quarter over the past two decades while real monthly wages remained flat. |22|.

Further on, the ILO indicates:

The global trend has resulted in a change in the distribution of national income, with the workers’ share decreasing, while the share of income earned by Big Capital has increased in most countries. Even in China, a country where wages roughly tripled over the last decade, GDP increased at a faster rate than total wages, and hence the share going to labour went down. |23|

Evolution of wages as a percent of global GDP (1980-2011) |24|

This significant global trend is the demonstration of the increased added-value extracted from Labour by Capital.

12. Illegitimate personal debts

The CADTM has started focussing on a new field of analysis and intervention in the ‘debt system’. While whole populations are direct victims of the ‘debt system’, so are individuals: Indian farmers are being driven to suicide (more than 270,000 between 1995 and 2011 |25|), hoping to free their family from the burden of debt; millions of families are being dispossessed by the repossession of their homes by the creditor banks, mainly in the US (since 2007, 14 million families, unable to pay their mortgages, have been evicted from their homes by banks). The same is true in Spain, where about half a million families have been evicted |26|, in Ireland, in Iceland, in several central European countries and the Balkans. Women (men too) are victims predatory micro-credit systems in the South. English, Chilean, and North American students are over-indebted and needy or in downright misery, (the total amount of student debt in the United States exceeds $1 trillion, the equivalent of the external public debt of Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa combined).

In fact, if one goes beyond appearances, it is not a collection of individual victims of injustice. These individuals are part of the classes being exploited and robbed by the capitalist system: the small farmers of the South, urban and rural proletariat of the North and South, educated youth from the working classes … Among the victims, women are the most exposed to class and gender exploitation: patriarchy and Capitalism work hand-in-hand to perpetuate a system of oppression and exploitation.

13. Lower interest rates in the United States and Europe have decreased the cost of debt in the South, creating a dangerous feeling of security

The lower interest rates imposed by the central banks of the most industrialised countries starting in 2007-2008 |27|, in order to help their major private banks and capitalist corporations, resulted in a lower cost to refinance the debt in developing countries. The combined low interest rates and high revenues from the exportation of raw materials have created a dangerous feeling of security for the governments of developing countries. However, the situation may be reversed in the near future: the price of raw materials could drop and interest rates may finally go up again |28|.

We must pay careful attention to this situation, and ask the governments in Southern countries to take advantage of the current economic situation that is relatively favourable to their country, and put in place policies in favour of basic human rights and nature protection. In sum, we must make a radical break with the current model of development.

14. Public and private debt has increased throughout the world, and the BIS itself has spoken of the ‘debt trap’

Private and public debt have skyrocketed in an extremely dangerous way since the beginning of the 2000s. First, there was an enormous increase in private debt (of financial corporations (banks in particular), non-financial corporations, and households), principally in the most industrialised countries. Then public debt literally exploded because of how the crisis was managed in the interest of Big Capital. In the most developed countries, public debt has increased by about 40% since 2007 |29|. Meanwhile, the debt of non-financial corporations has risen 30% throughout the world. Household debt has decreased (in response to attacks on buying power, jobs, and general living conditions, those ‘at the bottom’ have paid off their debts). The debts of financial corporations (major private banks in particular) remain the highest (they are much great than public debt), because their books have not really been cleaned up contrary to the reassuring speeches delivered by government leaders. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which is a forum for the principal central banks on the planet, launched an alert in its Annual Report published in June 2014 by speaking of the ‘debt trap’! Obviously, we are not astonished to learn that the BIS recommends we should continue pursuing neoliberal policies |30|, whereas in reality we must make a radical break with them.

15. The debt of developing countries, which represents a tiny portion of world debt, also increased

It is important to highlight that the total debt of all developing countries (internal + external public and private debt combined) represents only about 5% of total world debt. Meanwhile, public and private debt in the most industrialised countries, where only 15% of the world population lives, account for 95% of total world debt. The external public debt of all the developing countries (about $1.8 trillion), where 85 % of the world population lives barely represents 1% of total world debt. These figures clearly show how easy it would be to cancel this debt.

In reality, more than ever before, developing countries are net financial creditors of the most developed economies. These figures do not include the ‘ecological and historic debts’ people in developing nations could demand from the dominant classes of the most developed countries (and from the dominant classes in the developing countries, who have been complicit with those in the North).

Overview of the evolution of public debt

Evolution of the external public debt of developing countries from 1980 to 2012 (in billions of dollars) |31|


* PECOT = central and eastern European countries + Turkey

We observe that external public debt continued to rise from 2000 to 2012, particularly in Latin America, and in the countries of central and eastern Europe + Turkey (PECOT) as well as in south Asia.

Evolution of the external debt of developing countries and of the resources used to pay it back from 1980 to 2012 (in $billions) |32|

We observe a constant increase in the total volume of external debt. In terms of repayments, between 2005 and 2012, it is especially the ones made by private companies that increased. That means that private companies (industrial, commercial, banking, and so on) took on large amounts of external debt, and if there is a crisis, there is a very high risk that these debts will have to be paid back by the government, which has already occurred many times in the recent past.

16. Poor countries issue and sell external debt bonds on international markets

Rwanda and Senegal, two poor and heavily indebted countries, have sold public debt bonds on the financial markets of the North. This has never been seen before in the last 30 years. The Ivory Coast, having emerged from a situation of civil war just a few years ago, has also issued bonds although it is also one of the poor and heavily indebted countries. Kenya and Zambia have also issued debt bonds. This testifies to a highly peculiar international situation: the financial investors of the North hold huge cash assets, and faced with very low interest rates in their region, are on the lookout for higher yields. Senegal, Zambia, and Rwanda promise a yield of 6 to 8% on their bonds. They therefore attract financial companies, which seek to place their cash on a provisional basis even if the risks are high. The governments of these poor countries become euphoric and try to make their people believe that happiness is just around the corner although the situation may take a dramatic turn. These leaders are accumulating debt in a completely irresponsible way, and when the economic situation deteriorates, it will be their people who will have to foot the bill.
Furthermore, the bonds they issue are linked to contracts including clauses that could be real time bombs. We must require public authorities to make the contents of these contracts accessible to the public.

17. The Fed is destabilizing emerging market economies

When the US Federal Reserve System (the Fed) hinted in May 2013 that it would gradually normalize its policy, there was an immediate negative impact on the ‘emerging’ economies. What changes were proposed?

1. Reducing purchases of toxic assets |33| from the US banks, made to relieve them of this burden.
2. Reducing the acquisitions of US Treasury Securities from these banks, which the Fed does in order to give them cash injections |34|.
3. Raising interest rates (0.25% today).

This announcement itself was enough to lead major financial companies in the US and other countries (banks and their satellites in the shadow banking system, mutual funds, etc.) to pack-off some of their liquid investments from the emerging market economies (EMEs). This destabilized those economies: plunge in stock markets and currency depreciation (Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil, India, South Africa …) |35|. In fact, the low interest rates prevailing in the US and Europe, combined with the central banks’ massive cash injections in the economy, have always set financial companies on the trail of maximum profit by investing in the EMEs, which offer better returns than the North. The outflow of financial investment from the EMEs towards the most industrialized economies can be explained by the fact that the financial companies expected attractive returns in the North as soon as the Fed hiked interest rates |36|. These companies thought that other ‘investors’ would withdraw their capital from these countries and it was better to act first. A herd mentality response resulted in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Finally, the Fed did not raise interest rates and waited till the end of 2013 to reduce purchases of structured securities and treasury bills from banks. The dust has almost settled.

The situation in June 2013 gives some idea of what might happen if the Fed increases interest rates significantly. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the central banks’ central bank, says ‘Capital flows could reverse quickly when interest rates in the advanced economies eventually go up or when perceived domestic conditions in the host economies deteriorate. In May and June 2013, the mere possibility that the Federal Reserve would begin tapering itsasset purchases led to rapid outflows from funds investing in EME securities’ (BIS, 84th Annual Report, 2014, p. 76, http://www.bis.org/publ/arpdf/ar201…)

The BIS brings to light a worrying trend: financial companies that invest part of their assets in EMEs do so in the short term. They can swiftly withdraw their funds if they discover other profitable avenues. The BIS says, ‘A higher proportion of investors with short-term horizons in EME debt could amplify shocks when global conditions deteriorate. Highly volatile fund flows to EMEs indicate that some investors view their investments in these markets as short-term positions rather than long-term holdings. This is in line with the gradual shift from traditional open or close-end funds to exchange- traded funds (ETFs), which now account for around a fifth of all net assets of dedicated EME bond and equity funds, up from around 2% 10 years ago… ETFs can be bought and sold on exchanges at a low cost, at least in normal times, and have been used by investors to convert illiquid securities into liquid instruments.’ (BIS, 84th Annual Report, 2014, p. 77, http://www.bis.org/publ/arpdf/ar201…).

In short, the wellbeing of the EMEs depends a great deal on the policy followed by the most industrialised economies (especially the US, Europe, and Japan). A hike in interest rates in the US may result in a significant outflow of volatile capital invested in EMEs with higher returns in mind.

In addition, roughly 10% of the debt securities maturing from 2020 or later are callable, and an unknown proportion have covenants that allow investors to demand accelerated repayment if the borrower’s conditions deteriorate.’ (BIS, 84th Annual Report, 2014, p. 76.http://www.bis.org/publ/arpdf/ar201…) This means that financial companies that purchased debt securities maturing in a relatively distant future (2020 or later) can demand accelerated and full repayment from a crisis-hit country. Obviously, this can only aggravate the situation of an indebted country: all inflows will stop simultaneously. This is another reason why the populations of developing nations need to be aware of the serious dangers posed by their country’s public debt. Payment of the illegitimate portion of the debt must be challenged immediately.
The decline in revenues from raw material exports is another factor that might lead to a fresh and acute debt crisis in developing countries, since China – a major consumer of raw materials for its manufacturing industry – has reduced its huge imports. A drop in the price of raw materials can be fatal to the economic health of developing countries, which depend mainly on exports. In this respect, raw materials prices might also drop if the Fed increases interest rates, as this reduces speculation responsible for high prices. The combined effect of a hike in interest rates and a decline in raw material prices could produce a situation similar to what happened in the early 1980s, when the debt crisis exploded in developing countries. It is imperative to learn from that crisis and to act, so that the Southern people do not have to foot the bill again.

18. Vulture funds |37|

Public debt has become the target of the speculative strategies of ‘litigating creditors, known as ‘vulture funds’. These are private investment funds, most of them located in tax havens, which specialise in buying up debt securities from States that are in default or on the verge of default. They then sue these States in the courts of English-speaking countries, demanding that they reimburse their debt at its nominal value, with the addition of interest, penalties for late payment, and court costs. Unlike traditional creditors, they refuse to participate in any negotiation and restructuring operation, preferring judicial solutions, and in case of non-payment, seizure of debtors’ assets (diplomatic properties, revenues from exports, and various assets invested abroad). Since the 2000s, some twenty States that are among the most heavily indebted on the planet have fallen prey to these strategies, in South America (Argentina, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Peru) and Africa (Sierra Leone, the Republic of the Congo, and Uganda), during major judicial-financial battles that are still in progress today. Since 2007, the phenomenon has been directed against countries in Southern Europe (Greece, Spain, and Portugal). In the future, vulture strategies are likely to prosper in the South and North. Newly issued debts continue to be placed under American or British law, which is favourable to creditors, and certain countries are again contracting debt on the international capital markets and show a preference for indebtedness to China, which will encourage future debt repurchases on secondary markets.

Argentina was in the spotlight in 2014, when the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Argentine government, and ruled in favour of the vulture funds NML and Aurelius, forcing Argentina to pay them $1.33 billion. Argentina adopted a law on 10 September 2014 aimed at providing it with a mechanism to defend itself against vulture funds. The CADTM would like to point out, however, that the best defence against them consists in refusing to recognise the competence of foreign courts in settling claims with creditors and inserting a clause in contracts stipulating that the local courts have jurisdiction.

19. Citizen audits

In recent years, movements have developed to work towards conducting a citizen audit to identify illegitimate, odious, and illegal debts. These movements in several countries |38| provide an opportunity for interesting and enriching reflection to clarify which parts of public debt should not be paid. With no claim to being exhaustive, we can propose the following definitions:

a) Illegitimate public debt: debt contracted by government authorities with no concern for the general interest or in such a way as to be detrimental to it.

b) Illegal public debt: debt contracted by the government authorities in flagrant violation of the prevailing legal order.

c) Odious public debt: credits extended to authoritarian regimes or which impose conditions for reimbursement that violate fundamental social rights.

d) Unsustainable public debt: debt whose reimbursement condemns the people of a country to impoverishment and deterioration of health and public education, increased unemployment, or problems of malnutrition. In other words, debt whose reimbursement makes it impossible for government authorities to guarantee fundamental human rights.

A citizen audit of public debt, combined in certain cases with unilateral sovereign suspension of its payment, can enable the illegitimate, unsustainable, and/or illegal part of the debt to be abolished/repudiated and the remaining part to be greatly reduced. It is also a way of discouraging this type of indebtedness in the future.

20. By way of conclusion: the impact of the ‘debt system’ – more topical than ever

The ‘debt system’ exploits public resources to pay creditors, to the detriment of people’s needs and fundamental rights. The relationship between creditors and debtors is therefore terribly unbalanced in favour of the former. One aspect common to the Latin American external debt crisis that erupted in 1982 and the euro crisis since 2010 is that in both cases the first reaction was to deny the evidence and do nothing. Subsequently, the measures taken are set up in favour of the creditors’ interests. In order to try to inverse the public deficit trend and thus be able to pay off the debt, adjustment or austerity policies are applied, whatever the price to be paid by the people, who are victims of the crisis. The creditors, supported by local elites, demand that the debt be reimbursed and that the adjustments be made to prioritise this repayment instead of all social needs, thus negatively affecting people’s most basic rights. The measures put in place also prove to be counter-productive, because they only make the problem worse. Excessive indebtedness becomes a structural problem.

The ‘debt system’ aggravates inequalities. Debt enables a privileged minority to monopolise a series of financial revenues that enable it to increase its wealth permanently. By consequence, the State loses resources necessary to satisfy people’s fundamental needs. The richest minority accumulates wealth, inequalities grow, and the increased power of the few enables them to exert greater pressure on public authorities with regard to policies. The rise in debt, and its concentration in a few hands, leads to a redistribution of income in favour of the richest members of society, which in turn is both the cause and consequence of heavier exploitation of labour and natural resources. In response, the CADTM, together with other organisations, argues that it is essential to audit public debt under citizen control in order to clarify its origins and determine which part should be considered illegitimate and/or illegal and therefore cancelled.

However, the CADTM is denouncing the entire debt system. It is the same mechanisms of domination and exploitation that govern public debts and illegitimate private debts, respectively subjugating people as collective subjects and as lower social class individuals (indebted small-scale farmers, families expelled from their homes by banks, women trapped by the micro-credit system in Southern countries, over-indebted students, etc.)

Of course, cancelling all illegitimate debts needs to be backed by other measures. For example, the socialisation of the banking and insurance sector to transform it into a public service, a radical reform of the tax system in favour of the overwhelming majority of the population, the expropriation of the energy sector and transformation into a public service, a radical reduction of working hours combined with job creation and increases in salary and social benefits, the improvement and extension of public services, the improvement of redistributive retirement pension systems, effective equality between men and women, and radical political reforms including changed constitutional processes. The aim is for these measures to be part of a vast plan for social, ecological, and political transition in order to get out of the devastating capitalist system. The struggle against the ‘debt system’ as a whole, more necessary than ever in both southern and northern countries, is part of the much broader-based struggle for a world freed from all forms of oppression and exploitation.

Translation by Christine, Snake, Mike, Charlie and Adam. Thanks a lot to all of them !

Notes

|1| For want of space, some aspects of the crisis, such as the climate crisis, are merely mentioned. The text does not cover every aspect of the international context. N.B. all figures are expressed in US dollars = $, unless specified.

|2| Éric Toussaint, Bank of the South An alternative to the IMF World Bank (CADTM, 2014). Available on line: http://www.scribd.com/doc/235391487…. We can also mention the massive and victorious mobilisation of the Argentine people in December 2001 in order to oust Fernando De la Rua’s neoliberal government.

|3| The CADTM participated directly in the presidential commission that led the audit of the Ecuadorian debt. Éric Toussaint, « An III de la révolution citoyenne en Équateur », 22 October 2009,http://cadtm.org/An-III-de-la-revol… (not available in English).

|4| Éric Toussaint, « Les leçons de l’Équateur pour l’annulation de la dette illégitime », 29 May 2013,http://cadtm.org/Les-lecons-de-l-Eq… (not available in English). Recently, however, Ecuador’s government seems to have shifted back to a more traditional (and harmful) approach: loans from China, a first loan from the World Bank (since 2005) in 2014, new issue of Ecuadorian securities on the financial markets led by Citibank and Crédit Suisse. This is worrying.

|5| This was a reversal of the previous trend. Generally speaking, the prices of raw materials dropped sharply as of 1981 and remained low until 2003-2004.

|6| Note on terms used: In the text that follows, the terms ‘developing countries’ (DCs) and ‘developed countries’ are simply the terms already used by the international institutions– because most of the data analysed comes from these institutions. The terms used to designate the countries targeted for World Bank development loans have changed throughout the years. At first, they were known as ‘backward regions’, then ‘under-developed countries’, and finally, ‘developing countries’, some of which are now called ‘emerging countries’. Nonetheless, it is important to recall the ideological and Western-centric connotations of this terminology. Indeed, essentially it takes into account only the economic dimension of development, and implies that there is only one model of development (the Western industrial and ‘extractivist’ capitalist model), and that certain countries are ‘behind’ and must catch up with other countries who are ‘further ahead’. The CADTM vehemently rejects this vision of the world. Likewise, when we make use of the terms such as ‘Southern countries’ and ‘Northern countries’, we are conscious that they are incorrect from a strictly geographic point of view.

|7| Bank for International Settlements (BIS), 84th Annual Report 2014, Basel, June 2014, p. 102, table V.1. Annual changes in foreign exchange reserves.

|8| Calculated by CADTM on the basis of US Treasury Department data, Major foreign holders of treasury securities, March 2014, http://www.treasury.gov/ticdata/Pub…

|9| See the yields published by the US Treasury: http://www.treasury.gov/resource-ce… (accessed 24 September 2014 ).

|10| The IMF has, however, succeeded in returning to the forefront of the scene in western Europe with the crisis that has severely affected the weakest Eurozone countries (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus, Slovenia, and two Baltic Republics, Estonia and Latvia).

|11| Bank for International Settlements (BIS), 84th Annual Report 2014, op.cit.

|12| See Daniel Munevar’s (CADTM economist) critical analysis, ‘BRICS Bank: Is it an alternative for development finance?’, 28 July 2014, http://cadtm.org/BRICS-Bank-Is-it-a…. See also, Benito Pérez/Éric Toussaint, ‘The alternative, would be a Bank of the South, not the BRICS Bank’, interview of Éric Toussaint, Le Courrier, 19 August 2014 (http://cadtm.org/The-alternative-wo…).

|13| Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), Latin American Macro Watch Data Tool.http://www.iadb.org. The data for Argentina’s debt correspond to 2012 instead of 2013.

|14| That is what happened between May and December 2013 for countries such as Turkey, Indonesia, and Brazil.

|15| In the case of Brazil, in 2014, government officials borrowed from private banks at an interest rate of 11%, while inflation was 6.5 %, which means hefty profits for the bankers.

|16| Éric Toussaint, ‘Une fois encore sur les causes de la crise alimentaire,’ (‘More on the causes of the food crisis’), 9 October 2008, http://cadtm.org/Une-fois-encore-su… (in French). See also: Damien Millet and Éric Toussaint, ‘Pourquoi une faim galopante au XXIe siècle et comment l’éradiquer ?’ (‘Why is hunger still rampant in the 21st century and how to eliminate it?’), 24 April 2009,http://cadtm.org/Pourquoi-une-faim-… (in French); Éric Toussaint, ‘Banks speculate on raw materials and food’, 10 February 2014, http://cadtm.org/Banks-speculate-on…

|17| Éric De Ruest and Renaud Duterme, La dette cachée de l’économie, Paris: Les Liens qui Libèrent, 2014. See http://cadtm.org/La-dette-cachee-de… (in French).

|18| Éric Toussaint, « Du Sud au Nord : crise de la dette et programmes d’ajustement », 4 June 2014,http://cadtm.org/Du-Sud-au-Nord-cri… (not available in English).

|19| Éric Toussaint, ‘Bankocracy: from the Venetian Republic to Mario Draghi and Goldman Sachs’, 11 November 2013, http://cadtm.org/Nouvelle-traductio…

|20https://wcd.coe.int/com.instranet.I…

|21| ILO Global Wage Report 2012-2013, Executive Summary, Geneva, December 2012.

|22| ILO, ibidem, pp. VI-VII.

|23| ILO, ibidem, p. VII. The same report also underscores the increasing differences between low and high incomes in each country.

|24| UNCTAD, Trade and development report 2013, United Nations, New York and Geneva, 2013, p.15. Available at http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLi…

|25| According to Law in India, normally, if the head of a family dies, his debt cannot be transmitted to his family. This is one of the reasons some Indian agricultural smallholders commit suicide hoping to thus free their families from debt. However, this does not always work in practice. Swallowing pesticides is one of the most common methods used to commit suicide. It is also worth nothing that outside India, in Europe, especially in France there is an alarming rate of suicide among small farmers.

|26| Éric Toussaint, ‘Banks and the New “Too Big to Jail” Doctrine’, 9 March 2014,http://cadtm.org/Banks-and-the-New-…; ‘Bank abuses in the real estate sector and illegal foreclosures in the United States’, 4 April 2014, http://cadtm.org/Bank-abuses-in-the…

|27| In November 2014, the key interest rate of the US Federal Reserve stands at 0.25 %, that of the European Central Bank is 0.05 %, the Bank of England 0.5 %. The rate of the Bank of Japan has been 0% since the country entered a crisis in 1990.

|28| For raw materials, the price of a barrel of oil dropped significantly from May to November 2014. As I am writing these lines on 9 November 2014, the price of a barrel of oil was $105 on 1 May, 2014 and reached its lowest level in 13 years on 7 November 2014 ($83 dollars). As for interest rates, since June 2014 the US Federal Reserve has been suggesting they will soon increase. Although the Fed’s key rate is very low today (0.25%), the situation must be monitored closely. To that effect, see point 17 about what happened in 2013 when the economies of certain emerging countries were strongly shaken up.

|29| This is the estimate provide by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS): 84th Annual Report, op.cit., p. 10, Figure I.1. (June 2014)

|30| Bank of International Settlements (BIS), Ibidem, page 17.

|31| World Bank, International Debt Statistics, http://databank.worldbank.org/data/…

|32| World Bank, op.cit. Debt servicing is the total amount of repayments for interest and capital.

|33| The Fed has bought huge amounts of Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) from US banks. Its purchases of such assets between 2008 and early 2014 were worth more than $1.5 trillion. During 2012-2013, it purchased toxic assets worth $40 billion per month from banks and real estate agencies that guarantee mortgages, to reduce their burden. By the end of 2013, it started to make fewer purchases, which went up to $35 billion per month by March 2014. By October 2014, the Fed was holding $1.7 trillion in MBS, or about 21% of the total volume of such assets, an enormous amount. The Fed finally stopped purchasing MBS in November 2014.

|34| By October 2014, the Fed was holding US Treasury Securities worth $2.45 trillion. Please note, contrary to popular belief, the Fed does not buy Treasury Securities directly from the Treasury, it buys them through open market operations from private banks which had acquired them previously. See the US laws on this matter: http://www.federalreserve.gov/about…

|35| The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) describes this situation as follows: – ‘The first episode was abrupt and generalised in nature, with sharp asset price movements ending a period of fairly stable interest and exchange rates. As the sell-off spilled over from advanced economies, EMEs experienced a sharp reversal of portfolio flows, especially in June 2013. . . EME equities fell by 16% before stabilising in July, and sovereign bond yields jumped more than 100 basis points, driven by rising concerns over sovereign risk… At first, the indiscriminate retrenchment from EMEs affected many currencies simultaneously, leading to correlated depreciations amid high volatility. The currencies of Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey depreciated by more than 10% against the US dollar during the first episode…. Brazil, India, Indonesia and Russia each lost more than $10 billion in reserves. Countries with rapid credit growth, high inflation or large current account deficits were seen as more vulnerable and experienced sharper depreciations.’ (BIS, 84th Annual Report, 2014, pp. 27-28).http://www.bis.org/publ/arpdf/ar201…

|36| For an analysis of what happened in 2013, please read Daniel Munevar’s “Inestabilidad en los mercados emergentes: El fin de un ciclo?” available only in Spanish here :http://cadtm.org/Inestabilidad-en-l… (1st part) and http://cadtm.org/Inestabilidad-en-l… (2nd part).

|37| I would like to thank Louise Abellard for her contribution to this point.

|38| Brazil, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, and others.

Éric Toussaint is a historian with a doctoral degree in political science. He is the spokesperson for CADTM International, and the author of several books translated into English, including Bankocracy (Merlin Press, 2015), The Life and Crimes of an Exemplary Man (CADTM, 2014), A Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology from its Origins to the Present (Haymarket Books, Chicago, 2012), and The World Bank: A Critical Primer (Pluto Press, London, 2008).

On Tue., Nov. 25, tens of thousands poured through the streets of Port-Au-Prince to demand the departure of President Michel Martelly. Observers and journalists reported that it was the largest anti-Martelly march yet during October and November, which have seen many outpourings around the country but particularly in the capital.

As usual, the marchers began in front of the churches St. Jean Bosco in La Saline and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Belair and converged at Rue Saint-Martin. After marching up the Delmas Road, they took Delmas 32 to Bourdon, and then marched on the National Palace. A week earlier, on Nov. 18, police fired on a similar large march at Delmas 32, killing at least two and dispersing the demonstration.

Among the many chants of the demonstrators, most noteworthy was “No negotiations with Martelly!” and “Martelly must leave for Haiti to be free!” The marchers also called the Haitian president a corrupt dictator, liar, murderer, drug-dealer, and kidnapper.

The nationwide mobilization has been dubbed “Operation Burkina Faso,” echoing the mass mobilization that successfully drove long-time president Blaise Compaoré from power in that country last month. Martelly plans to begin ruling by decree on Jan. 12, 2015 when Parliament expires because he has held no elections during his three and a half years in power.

“Martelly, here are the roaches!” roared the crowd, referring to a remark made by Communications Minister Rudy Hériveaux, a former Lavalas ally, about anti-government demonstrators some weeks ago.

Since Martelly has come to power, he has organized three carnivals a year and zero elections. He has corrupted state institutions, particularly the judiciary and Parliament. He replaced elected mayors with his own hand-picked representatives. Corruption is unprecedented. Unemployment, inflation and insecurity are all surging around the country.

In front of the Palace on the Champs de Mars, the demonstrators made it all the way to the 2004 Tower, where the police formed an impenetrable wall. Nonetheless, the demo did not finish with tear-gas, gunshots, or any other major incident like others in past weeks.

The police restraint was likely due to the Nov. 24 remarks of Sandra Honore, the head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), who is trying to play the role of “good cop.”

In an effort to brake the population’s growing radicalization faced with outrageous illegal arrests and police violence, she said: “The freedom to demonstrate and freedom of expression are rights guaranteed by international conventions, enshrined in the Haitian constitution and supported by the law.”

“The right to demonstrate and freedom of opinion is a sign of the consolidation of democracy in Haiti, and efforts must be made by both sides to avoid any recourse to violence, defamation, intimidation of all kinds, or acts that may contribute to peace and stability,” she continued. “As part of strengthening the rule of law, it is up to Haitian authorities to take the necessary measures to ensure that the right to peaceful protest is respected and that offenders are prosecuted… The period from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10 marks 16 days of activism for the protection of human rights, it is up to all to reject violence in all its forms to move towards a stronger Haiti, more stable and more respectful the rights of all.”

“Operation Burkina Faso” will continue with mass demonstrations on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, with the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, a Martelly regime backer, as one of the demonstrators’ destinations.

The leaders of several opposition political parties and organizations marched in the Nov. 25 protest, including Dr. Maryse Narcisse, Dr. Louis Gerald Gilles, and Dr. Schiller Louidor of the Lavalas Family, Turneb Delpé and Serge Jean Louis of the MOPOD political platform, activists from KOD, MOLEGHAF, Embark to Change, MONOP, and Grenadier 07, among others. Students, schoolchildren, teachers, and union members also took part in the march.

Partial list of the political prisoners whose release demonstrators demand

Josué Florestal , Enol Florestal

Jean Robert Vincent

Louima Louisjuste

Jean Anthony Nazaire

Nadal Aristide

Cleevens Aristide

Biron Odigé

Rony Timothée

Jean Lamy Matulnès (policeman)

List of the 18 people arrested on Oct. 17 who are still in prison

Jean Harry Delassin

Hérard Seradieu

Moïse Roody

Jean Jacques Renaut

Lovenson Mersier

Paul Joanel

Ralph Desilus

Lormicil Isaac Homme

Mérisier Jean Louiné

Louiredant Louivens

Clergé Jeff

Chervin Midlin

Sampeur Jonas

Laguerre Angello

Fritzner Montinat

Charles Altès

Vladimir Pierre

Partial list of people allegedly assassinated by the Martelly regime

Octanol Derissaint (vendor)

Fritz Gérald Civil (militant)

Georges Honorat (journalist)

Paul Ambroise alias Tikoton (militant)

Michaël Benoit alias Pouchon (militant)

Walky Calixte (policeman in Martissant)

Daniel Dorsinvil (human rights militant)

Judge Jean Serge Joseph

Police Inspector Yves Michel Bellefleur

Girldy Lareche

Partial list of people persecuted by the Martelly regime

Dr. Jean Bertrand Aristide

Senator Moïse Jean Charles

Lawyer André Michel

Lawyer Newton St-Juste

Edouard Joël Vorbe (Pacha)

Jean Nazaire Thidé

Assad Volcy

Franco Camille

Deputy Arnel Bélizaire

Rony Jean Philippe

What Are Americans Celebrating On Thanksgiving Day?

November 27th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

When Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, they don’t know what they are celebrating.

In American folklore, Thanksgiving is a holiday that originated in 1621 with the Pilgrims celebrating a good harvest. Some historians say that this event is poorly documented, and others believe that the Thanksgiving tradition travelled to the New World with the Pilgrims and Puritans who brought with them the English Days of Thanksgiving. Other historians think the Pilgrims associated their relief from hunger with their observance of the relief of the siege of Leiden.

The Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving, if it happened, might not have been the first in the New World. Historians say the Virginia colonial charter declared a Day of Thanksgiving in 1619, and other historians say the first Thanksgiving was observed by the Spanish in Florida in 1565.

Apparently, the different English colonies and later American states each had their own day of Thanksgiving, if they had one. Abraham Lincoln tried to make Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, but the country was divided by the War of Northern Aggression.

Thanksgiving became a national holiday with the completion of the Reconstruction of the South after the War of Northern Aggression and the extermination of the Plains Indians by the Union generals in the 1870s. This taints Thanksgiving as a celebration of the preservation and expansion of the American Empire and accurately reflects the goal of the political forces behind Lincoln.

Today, Thanksgiving is simply known as “Turkey Day” and a time of retail sales. But as you eat your Thanksgiving meal, contemplate that what you are really celebrating is an Empire rooted in war crimes. If Lincoln had lost, and if there had been at that time a Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan would have been hung as war criminals.

Sheridan was probably the worst of the lot. His war crimes against the South, especially those he committed in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, must have been forgotten by Southerns who vote Republican, the Party of Lincoln and Sheridan. But Sheridan’s crimes against the Indians were worse. He attacked the Indians in their winter quarters, destroying their food supplies, and sent professional hunters to exterminate the Buffalo, declaring: “Let them kill until the buffalo is exterminated,” thus depriving the Plains Indians of their main food source.

Considering the enormity of the Republican Party’s crimes against the South, it is a testament to the forgetfulness of people that Southerners vote Republican. Sheridan expressed well the Republican attitude toward the South, declaring on several occasions that “if I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent Texas and live in Hell.”

In the 1870s when Democrats won elections in Louisiana, Sheridan, who had power over the state, declared the Democrats to be bandits who would be subjected to his military tribunals.

Sheridan graduated near the bottom of his West Point Class, but his immorality and viciousness propelled him to the rank of Commanding General of the US Army. Today he would delight in the endless US bombings of women and children in seven countries.

Note: The War of Northern Aggression is the South’s description for what those dedicated to preserving the Union called the Civil War. The South’s term seems more correct. The Union forces invaded the South. A Civil War occurs when contending parties engage in violence for control of the government. But the Southern states were not contending for control of the US government; they exercised their right of self-determination and withdrew from the union into which they had voluntarily entered. It was an act of secession based in divergent economic interests between an export agricultural economy in the South and a rising industrial economy in the North in need of protective tariffs. The Southern secession was not an act of war for control over the government in Washington.

Unionists saw secession as a threat to empire. Another country could be a contender for the lands to the West. In his books, The Real Lincoln and Lincoln Unmasked, Thomas DiLorenzo makes a case that the War of Northern Aggression was waged in behalf of empire. He quotes Lincoln to the effect that he would preserve slavery if it would preserve the Union, and, if memory serves, DiLorenzo quotes Lincoln’s generals advising him not to throw a bone to abolitionists by saying it was a war to end slavery or much of the Union army would desert.

Today Americans think of themselves as citizens of the United States. But in 1860 people thought of themselves as citizens of states. When Robert E. Lee was offered a top command in the Union army, he declined on the grounds that he could not draw his sword on his native state of Virginia. Lincoln used the war to establish the supremacy of the central government in Washington over the states to which the Constitution had given most functions of government.

The supremacy of the central government that Lincoln established advanced the forces of empire.

The “war to end slavery,” like the Iraq war to protect America from “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction,” looks more like fictional cover for the employment of violence in pursuit of empire than a moral crusade.

The Fukushima radiological emergency and challenges identified for future public health responses, Charles W. Miller, Chief of CDC’s Radiation Studies Branch, 2012: On 11 March 2011… a cascade of events was initiated that led to radionuclide releases causing widespread radioactive contamination… Radioactive material from Japan was subsequently transmitted to locations around the globe, including the U.S. The levels of radioactive material that arrived in the U.S. were never large enough to be a concern for health effects, but the presence of this material in the environment was enough to create a public health emergency in the U.S. The radiation safety and public health communities in the U.S. are identifying challenges they faced in responding to this incident…

Report on the 48th Annual Meeting of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) – Presentation by Charles W. Miller, Chief of CDC’s Radiation Studies Branch: The CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the first time ever for a real world radiation incident. EOC activities were even more intense than for the swine flu pandemic in 2009. Cargo and passengers from Japan headed to the U.S. were screened, and there were contaminated passengers (and cargo). However CDC (nor anyone else) has authority to quarantine passengers contaminated with radiation… Communication was a problem. At first [the “A-Team”, an advisory team for environment, food, and health comprised of personnel from EPA, CDC, USDA, and FDA] had to speak “off the record”. Also noted was that… Early PAGs were guidelines, not rules… The final point was that Fukushima was a great tragedy for Japan; it also became a public health emergency for the U.S.

See also: CDC launches “zombie apocalypse” preparedness campaign based on Fukushima

In his book ‘The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective’, economist Angus Maddison noted that India was the richest country in the world and had controlled a third of global wealth until the 17th century [1]. Political unity and military security helped evolve a uniform economic system, increased trade and enhanced agriculture productivity. India was an exporter of spices, food grains, handicrafts, handloom products, wootz steel, musk, camphor, sandalwood and ivory items, among other things.

It was for good reason that Gandhi once stated the future of India lies in its villages. The village was the centre of a rural economy that was an economic powerhouse of entrepreneurialism. According to Sudhansu R Das, however, the British Raj almost dismantled this system by introducing mono crop activities and mill made products, and post independent India failed to repair the economic fabric [2]. As a result, successive administrations have ended up preparing relief packages from time to time and rural India is thus too often depicted a ‘basket case’.

In India, there is a plan to develop well-planned ‘smart villages’ (and cities) that have decent, modern infrastructure. The question remains, though, whether the government can restore the economic fabric of the village, which Das argues was once enshrined in a performing eco-system and a healthy social life based on fellow feelings and mutual co-operation.

If anything implies that India’s social and economic fabric requires restoring, it is the findings of the 2014 global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) [3]. If someone is deprived in a third or more of ten weighted indicators, the global index identifies them as ‘MPI poor’and the extent – or intensity – of their poverty is measured by the number of deprivations they are experiencing. Those indicators are based on health, education and living standards and comprise the following factors: years of schooling, school attendance, levels of nutrition, child mortality, access to cooking fuel, sanitation (open defecation, for example), access to water, ownership of assets, access to electricity and flooring material (eg, dirt).

·        Based on a rural-urban analysis, of the 1.6 billion people identified as MPI poor, 85% live in rural areas.

·        The highest levels of inequality are to be found in 15 Sub-Saharan African countries and in Pakistan, IndiaAfghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.

·        The researchers have paid special attention to the situation of the destitute, or what they term the poorest of the poorOver half of the world’s poor are classed as destitute.

·        Countries which have reduced MPI poverty and destitution the most in absolute terms were mostly Low Income and Least Developed Countries, with Nepal making the fastest progress.

The MPI reveals some worrying aspects of poverty in IndiaEradicating poverty in that country requires every person having access to safe drinking water, sanitation, housing, nutrition, health and education. According to the MPI, out of its 1.2 billion-plus population, India is home to over 340 million destitute people and is the second poorest country in South Asia after war-torn Afghanistan.

Some 640 million poor people live in India (40% of the world’s poor)mostly in rural areas, meaning an individual is deprived in one-third or more of the ten indicators mentioned above (malnutrition, child deaths, defecating in the open).

In South Asia, Afghanistan has the highest level of destitution at 38%. This is followed by India at 28.5%. Bangladesh and Pakistan have much lower levels. The study placed Afghanistan as the poorest country in South Asia, followed by India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal.

Just 20 years ago, India had the second-best social indicators among the six South Asian countries (IndiaPakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan). Now it has the second worst position, ahead only of Pakistan. Bangladesh has less than half of India’s per-capita GDP but has infant and child mortality rates lower than that of India.

Writing India’s Deccan Herald newspaper, Prasenjit Chowdhury notes that according to two comparable surveys conducted in Bangladesh and India in 2006, in Bangladesh, 82% of children are fully immunised, 88% get vitamin A supplements and 89% are breastfed within an hour of birth [4]. The corresponding figures for Indian children are below 50% in all case and as low as 25% for vitamin A supplementation.

Moreover, over half of the population in India practices open defecation, a major health hazard, compared with less than 10% in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has overtaken India in terms of a wide range of basic social indicators, including life expectancy, child survival, enhanced immunisation rates, reduced fertility rates and particular schooling indicators.

What is going wrong?

“We build cyber cities and techno parks and IITs at the cost of the welfare of the downtrodden and the environment. We don’t think how our farmers on whose toil we feed manage to sustain themselves; we fail to see how the millions of the poor survive. We look at the state-of-the-art airports, IITs, highways and bridges, the inevitable necessities for the corporate world to spread its tentacles everywhere and thrive, depriving the ordinary people of even the basic necessities of life and believe it is development.” – Sukumaran CV [5].

Former Indian Finance Minister P.Chidambaram once claimed that his government’s economic neoliberal policies were pro growth and pro equity and envisaged 85% of India’s population eventually living in well-planned cities with proper access to water, health, electricity, education, etc. [6]. That would mean at least 600 million moving to cities – possibly hundreds of millions more when population growth is accounted for. He stated that urbanisation constitutes ‘natural progress’.

After 23 years of a shift towards neo-liberalism and increasing urbanisation, to what extent has the process thus far been ‘pro-equity’, ‘progressive’ or ‘natural’?

The drive towards neo-liberalism and urbanisation has thus far been underpinned by unconstitutional land takeovers and the trampling of democratic rights. For supporters of cronyism, cartels and the manipulation of markets, which to all extents and purposes is what economic ‘neo-liberalism’ has entailed in India over the last two decades [7-9], there have been untold opportunities for well-placed individuals to make an under-the-table fast buck from various infrastructure projects and privatisation sell offs: assets such as airports, seeds, ports and other infrastructure built up with public money or toil have been sold off into private hands.

The neoliberal model of development has seen the poverty alleviation rate in India remain around the same as it was back in 1991 or even in pre-independence India (0.8 percent), while the ratio between the top and bottom ten percent of the population has doubled during this period [10,11]. According to the Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development, this doubling of income inequality has made India one of the worst performers in the category of emerging economies.

This is the type of development that is being forced through on behalf of elite interests via the World Bank, WTO, and the G8, etc. It is being driven through by what Vandana Shiva says is the biggest forced removal of people from their lands in history and involves one of the biggest illegal land grabs since Columbus, according to a 2009 report commissioned by the rural development ministry.

In the West, the route to capitalism or urbanisation was not ‘natural’ and involved the unforeseen outcomes of conflicts and struggles between serfs, lords, peasants, landowners, the emerging bourgousie and class of industrialists and the state. The outcomes of these struggles resulted in different routes to modernity (communism, fascism, capitalism) and levels of urbanisation [12,13].

Unsurprisingly, struggles (both violent and non-violent) are now taking place in India. The naxalites and Maoists are referred to by the dominant class as left wing extremists who are exploiting the situation of the poor. But how easy it is to ignore the true nature of the poor’s exploitation. How easy it is to lump all protesters together and create an ‘enemy within’. How easy it is to ignore the state-corporate extremism across the world that results in the central state abdicating its responsibilities by submitting to the tenets of the Wall Street-backed ‘structural adjustment’ pro-privatisation policies, free capital flows and unaccountable cartels.

That’s the real nature of extremism. It is the type of extremism that is regarded as anything but by the mainstream media.

The subjugation of India

Powerful corporations are shaping ‘development’ agenda in India and have signed secretive Memorandums of Understanding with the government. The full military backing of the state is on hand to forcibly evict peoples from their land in order to hand over land to mineral hungry extractive and processing industries to fuel a wholly unsustainable model of development. Around the world, this oil-dependent, urban-centric, high energy, high consumption model is stripping the environment bare and negatively impacting the climate and ecology.

The links between the Monsanto/Syngenta/Walmart-backed Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture and the US sanctioning and backing of the opening up of India’s nuclear sector to foreign interests have already shown what the models of ‘development’ being pushed onto people really entails, not least in terms of the powerful corporate interests that really benefit and the ordinary people that lose out [14,15].

Almost 300,000 farmers have taken their lives since 1997 and many more are experiencing economic distress or have left farming as a result of debt, a shift to (GM) cash crops and economic liberalisation [16]. And yet the corporate-controlled type of agriculture being imposed and/or envisaged only leads to bad food, bad soil, bad or no water, bad health, poor or falling yields and an impending agrarian crisis [17-20]. This form of agriculture has meant the US and the UK are now facing similar crises [21,22]. It’s a global crisis.

In addition to displacing people to facilitate the needs of resource extraction industries, unconstitutional land grabs for Special Economic Zones, nuclear plants and other projects have additionally forced many others from the land. Moreover, it has been a case of massive tax breaks for industry and corporations and underinvestment in rural infrastructure and farming [23]. It’s not difficult to see where policy makers’ priorities lie.

With GDP growth slowing and automation replacing human labour the world over in order to decrease labour costs and boost profit, where are the jobs going to come from to cater for hundreds of millions of former agricultural workers or those whose livelihoods will be destroyed as corporations move in and seek to capitalise and mechanise industries (eg wheat processing) that currently employ tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions)?

It is clear that farmers (and others) represent a ‘problem’: a problem while on the land and a problem to be somehow dealt with once displaced. But food producers, the genuine wealth producers of a nation, only became a problem when Western agribusiness was given the green light to take power away from farmers and uproot traditional agriculture in India and recast it in its own corporate-controlled image. This is who is really setting the ‘development’ agenda.

India is acquiescing to foreign corporations. Take a look at the free trade agreement being hammered out behind closed doors between the EU and India. It all adds up to powerful trans-national corporations trying to by-pass legislation that was implemented to safeguard the public’s rights.

We could see the Indian government being sued by multinational companies for billions of dollars in private arbitration panels outside of Indian courts if national laws, policies, court decisions or other actions are perceived to interfere with their investments. This is already a reality in many parts of the world whereby legislation is shelved due to even the threat of legal action by corporations. Such free trade agreements cement the corporate ability to raid taxpayers’ coffers even further via unaccountable legal tribunals, or to wholly dictate national policies and legislation. This agreement could see rural Indian society being restructured and devastated in favour of Western corporate interests and adversely impacting hundreds of millions and their livelihoods and traditional ways of living [24].

Do people really believe India’s future lies in tying itself to a moribund system that has so patently failed in the West and can now only sustain itself by plundering other countries via war or ‘free trade’ agreements, which have little if anything to do with free trade? At best, it shows a lack of foresight. At worst, it displays complete subservience to elite interests.

The bedrock of any society is its agriculture. Without food there can be no life. Without food security, there can be no genuine independence. Nowhere is this the case than in India where 64% of the population derives its sustenance from the agricultural sector. To control Indian agriculture is to exert control over the country. One needs to control only seeds, agro-chemicals and resultant debt and infrastructure loans. The World Bank, the IMF and the US State Department are well aware of this fact. Indeed, US foreign policy has almost always rested on the control of the agriculture of poorer countries:

“American foreign policy has almost always been based on agricultural exports, not on industrial exports as people might think. It’s by agriculture and control of the food supply that American diplomacy has been able to control most of the Third World. The World Bank’s geopolitical lending strategy has been to turn countries into food deficit areas by convincing them to grow cash crops – plantation export crops – not to feed themselves with their own food crops.” Professor Michael Hudson [25].

US foreign policy is about power and control: the power to control food, states and entire populations. In many respects, the subjugation of India by the US rests on the likes of Monsanto eventually controlling agriculture and hijacking food sovereignty and the nation’s food security. The sanctioning of open field trails of GM crops in the country is the thin end of a very broad wedge that would not only boost the profits of global seed and agritech companies but would also serve US geopolitical interests.

Looting the economy

Rural society may have once been regarded as India’s bedrock and still is by many, but that bedrock is now being steadily dug up. Global agritech companies have been granted license to influence key aspects of agriculture by controlling seeds and chemical inputs and by funding and thus distorting the biotech research agenda and aspects of overall development policy. Monsanto already controls the cotton industry in India and is increasingly shaping agri-policy and the knowledge paradigm by funding agricultural research in public universities and institutes: it has been described as the “contemporary East India Company” [26].

In an attempt to control agriculture and despite evidence that suggests otherwise, agritech corporations promote the notion that they have the answers to feeding the world. People are generally hungry not because of insufficient agricultural production but because they do not have money to buy food, access to land to grow food or because of complex problems like food spoilage, poor food distribution systems and a lack of reliable water and infrastructure for irrigation, storage, transport and financing. If these deeper problems are not addressed and as long as food is not reaching those who are hungry and poor, increased agricultural production will not help reduce food insecurity.

We already produce enough food to feed the world’s population and did so even at the peak of the world food crisis in 2008 [27]. Moreover, India can already feed itself and arguably doesn’t need modern technology of poisonous pesticides, destructive fertilizers and patented GE seeds that can’t match 1890 or even 1760 AD yields in India [28,29].

“India has been self-sufficient in food staples for over a decade and more than that for cereals. Today, the country grows about 100 million tons (mt) of rice, 95 mt of wheat, 170 mt of vegetables, 85 mt of fruit, 40 mt of coarse cereals and 18 mt of pulses (refer to the Economic Survey for the data). These totals ensure that our farmers grow enough to feed all Indians well with food staples. We have 66 mt of grain, two-and-a-half times the required buffer stock (on January 1, 2013). The country has reached this stage through, first and foremost, the knowledge and skill of our farmers who have bred and saved seed themselves and exchanged their seed in ways that made our fields so bio-diverse.” - Viva Kermani [28].

Four GM crops account for almost 100 percent of worldwide GM crop acreage. All four have been developed for large-scale industrial farming systems and are used as cash crops for export, to produce fuel or for processed food and animal feed. The answer to food security, food democracy and local/national food sovereignty does not lie with making farmers dependent on a few large corporations whose bottom line is exploiting agriculture for their own benefit under the guise of ‘feeding the world’.

Various reports have concluded that we need to support diverse, vibrant and sustainable agroecological methods of farming and develop locally-based food economies [30,31]. After all, it is small farms and peasant farmers (more often than not serving local communities) that are more productive than giant industrial (export-oriented) farms and which produce most of the world’s food on much less land [32]. However, the trend continues to move in the opposite direction.

There has in fact been an ongoing attempt since the ‘green revolution’ to strip farmers of their knowledge and expertise in India:

“… (farmers’) legitimate claims to being scientists, innovators, natural resource stewards, seed savers and hybridisation experts. Instead, they were reduced to becoming recipients of technical fixes and consumers of the poisonous products of a growing agricultural inputs industry.” – Viva Kermani [28].

Part of the current ‘development’ agenda in India is based on dismantling the Public Distribution System for food. Policy analyst Devinder Sharma notes that the government may eventually stop supporting farmers by doing away with the system of announcing the minimum support price for farmers and thereby reduce the subsidy outgo. He argues that farmers would be encouraged to grow cash crops for supermarkets and to ‘compete’ in a market based on trade policies that work in favour of big landowners and heavily subsidised Western agriculture.

By shifting towards a commercialised system that would also give the poor cash to buy food in the market place, rather than the almost half a million ‘ration shops’ that currently exist, the result will be what the WTO/ World Bank/IMF have been telling India to for a long time: to displace the farming population so that agribusiness can find a stronghold in India [33] (aided by the free trade agreement, which could see land in the hand of foreign entties who prioritise cash crops for export).

Monsanto, Bayer, Cargill, Walmart, Archer Daniels, Sygenta and other large corporations are ultimately eyeing control of the food system from lab to seed to field to shop to plate.

We need only look at what happened to the soy industry in India during the nineties (34), or the recent report by GRAIN [32], to see how small farmers are forced from their land to benefit powerful global agritech. Current policies further add to the problems faced by farmers due to ludicrous trade policies that encourage imports while driving down prices for produce at home [35].

If unfair trade policies, the colonization of official bodies or policy space by corporate players and other practices do not result in displacing farmers, it is achieved by repression and violence, as Helena Paul notes regarding the situation in Paraguay:

“Repression and displacement, often violent, of remaining rural populations, illness, falling local food production have all featured in this picture. Indigenous communities have been displaced and reduced to living on the capital’s rubbish dumps. This is a crime that we can rightly call genocide – the extinguishment of entire Peoples, their culture, their way of life and their environment.” [36]

A similar situation is happening in parts of India.

Much of what is taking place is often justified on the basis that high GDP growth has been achieved. But where have the benefits been accrued from the 8-9% year on year GDP growth in recent times?

Amartya Sen and the World Bank’s chief economist Kaushik Basu have argued that the bulk ofIndia’s aggregate growth is occurring through a disproportionate rise in the incomes at the upper end of the income ladder. To use Arundhati Roy’s term, the poor in India are the ‘ghosts of capitalism’: the ‘invisible’ and shoved-aside victims of a now rampant neoliberalism.

Furthermore, Global Finance Integrity has shown that the outflow of illicit funds into foreign bank accounts has accelerated since opening up the economy to neoliberalism in the early nineties. ‘High net worth individuals’ (ie the very rich) are the biggest culprits here [37].

India’s social development has been sacrificed on the altar of greed and corruption for bulging Swiss accounts, and it has been stolen and put in the pockets of the country’s ruling class ‘wealth creators’ and the multinational vultures who long ago stopped circling and are now swooping.

Hostage to ideology

Me-first acquisitiveness is now pervasive throughout the upper strata of society. Run out and buy some useless product because Kareena, Priyanka or another icon of deception says ‘because you’re worth it’… but never ever let this narcissism give way to contemplate why the rivers and soils have been poisoned and people are being been made ill in places like Punjab, agriculture is being hijacked by powerful agritech concers, land is being grabbed on behalf of any number of corporations or why ordinary people are violently opposing state-corporate power.

Much of this acceptance results from deals hammered out behind closed doors. Much of it results because too many are conditioned to be ignorant of the facts or to accept that all of the above is necessary for ‘growth’.

This is a country where the majority sanctifies certain animals, places, rivers and mountains for being representations of god or for being somehow touched by the hand of god. It’s also a country run by Wall Street sanctioned politicians who convince people to accept or be oblivious to the destruction of the same.

Many are working strenuously to challenge the selling of the heart and soul of India. Yet how easy will it be for them to be swept aside by officialdom which seeks to cast them as ‘subversive’ [38]. How easy it will be for the corrosive impacts of a rapacious capitalism to take hold and for hugely powerful corporations to colonise almost every area of social, cultural and economic life and encourage greed, selfishness, apathy, irretrievable materialism and acquisitive individualism, as well as the ignorance of reality ‘out there’ – what lies beyond the narrow concerns of spend and buy affluent India.

Consumerism’s conspicuous purchasing and consumption draws on and manipulates the pre-existing tendency to buy favour, the perceived self importance deriving from caste, the sense of entitlement due to patronage, the desire nurtured over the centuries to lord it over and seek tributes from whoever happens to be on the next rung down in the pecking order. Lavish, conspicuous displays of status to reinforce difference and hierarchy have always been important for cementing social status. Now icons of capitalism, whether renowned brand products, labels or product endorsing celebrities, have also taken their place in the pantheon of Indian deities to be listen to, worshipped and acquiesced to.

And the corporations behind it all achieve hegemony by altering mindsets via advertising, clever PR or by sponsoring (hijacking) major events, by funding research in public institutes and thus slanting findings and the knowledge paradigm in their favour or by securing key positions in international trade negotiations in an attempt to structurally readjust retail, food production and agriculture. They do it by many methods and means.

Before you realise it, culture, politics and the economy have become colonised by powerful private interests and the world is cast in their image. The prevailing economic system soon becomes cloaked with an aura of matter of factuality, an air of naturalness, which is never to be viewed for the controlling hegemonic culture or power play that it really is.

Seeds, mountains, water, forests and biodiversity are being sold off. The farmers and tribals are being sold out. And the more that gets sold off, the more who get sold out, the greater the amount of cash that changes hands, the easier it is for the misinformed to swallow the lie of Wall Street’s bogus notion of ‘growth’ – GDP. And India suddenly becomes capitalism’s poster boy ‘economic miracle’.

If anyone perceives the type of ‘development’ being sold to the masses is actually possible in the first instance, they should note that ‘developing’ nations account for more than 80% of world population, but consume only about a third of the world’s energy. US citizens constitute 5% of the world’s population, but consume 24% of the world’s energy. On average, one American consumes as much energy as two Japanese, six Mexicans, 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis, 307 Tanzanians and 370 Ethiopians [39].

The Earth is 4.6 billion years old and if you scale this to 46 years then humans have been here for just four hours. The Industrial Revolution began just one minute ago, and in that time, 50% of the Earth’s forests have been destroyed [40]. Forests are just part of the problem. We are using up oil, water and other resources much faster than they can ever be regenerated. We have also poisoned the rivers, destroyed natural habitats, driven some wildlife species to extinction and altered the chemical composition of the atmosphere – among many other things.

Levels of consumption were unsustainable, long before India and other countries began striving to emulate a bogus notion of ‘development’. The West continues to live way beyond its (environmental) limits. The current model of development is moreover based on a deceitful ideology that attempts to justify and sell a system that is designed to fail the majority of the global population and benefit the relative few.

This wasteful, high-energy model is tied to what ultimately constitutes the plundering of peoples and the planet by powerful transnational corporations. And, as we see all around us, the outcome is endless conflicts over fewer and fewer resources. Such conflicts are likely to gather pace as wars are not only fought to grab resources, but are also manufactured in order to destroy states from within by fomenting civil wars and thus destabilize economies and reduce demand for resources [41].

The outcome is also environmental destruction and an elitist agenda being forwarded by rich eugenicists [42], who voice concerns over there being ‘simply too many mouths’: those mouths would only take food from their rich bellies – bellies that long ago became bloated from the fat of the land, lucrative wars and the misery brought about by economic exploitation. The super rich who currently run the world regard most of humanity as a problem to be ‘dealt with’.

The type of ‘progress and development’ on offer makes any beneficiaries of it blind to the misery and plight of the hundreds of millions who are deprived them of their lands and livelihoods. If people cannot be removed from their land via making it economically non-viable to continue farming, tens of thousands of militia into the tribal areas to displace 300,000 people, place 50,000 in camps and carry out rapes and various human rights abuses [43].

In ‘The Greater Common Good’, Arundhati Roy writes about the thousands of tribal people displaced by the Narmada Sarovar Dam:

“Many of those who have been resettled are people who have lived all their lives deep in the forest… Suddenly they find themselves left with the option of starving to death or walking several kilometers to the nearest town, sitting in the marketplace offering themselves as wage labour, like goods on sale… Instead of a forest from which they gathered everything they needed – food, fuel, fodder, rope, gum, tobacco, tooth powder, medicinal herbs, housing materials – they earn between ten and twenty rupees a day… In Vadaj, the man who was talking to me rocked his sick baby in his arms… Children collected around us, taking care not to burn their bare skin on the scorching tin walls of the shed they call a home. The man’s mind was far away from the troubles of his sick baby. He was making me a list of fruits he used to pick in the forest. He counted forty-eight kinds. He told me that he didn’t think he or his children would ever be able to afford to eat any fruit again…I asked him what was wrong with his baby. He said it would be better for the baby to die than live like this.” [44]

The type of development that we are seeing is legitimised by a certain mindset and ideology. Vandana Shiva sums it up as follows:

“People are perceived as ‘poor’ if they eat food they have grown rather than commercially distributed junk foods sold by global agri-business. They are seen as poor if they live in self-built housing made from ecologically well-adapted materials like bamboo and mud rather than in cinder block or cement houses. They are seen as poor if they wear garments manufactured from handmade natural fibres rather than synthetics.” [45]

The ‘poor’ must therefore be helped out of their awful ‘backwardness’ by the West and its powerful corporations and billionaire ‘philanthropists’. As with Monsanto and the Gates Foundation in Africa and the ‘helping’ of Africans by imposing a highly profitable (for the corporations) and controlling system of agriculture, the underlying premise harks back to colonialism and an imperialist mindset. What some might regard as ‘backward’ stems from an ethnocentric ideology, which is used to legitimize the destruction of communities and economies that were once locally based and self sufficient. The disease if offered as the cure.

Sudhansu R Das, who was mentioned at the start of this article, argues that reweaving the Indian village economy lies in the ability of the leadership to revert the change in societal behaviour that lets villagers prefer unnecessary consumer items to real economic assets.

Das argues that the young generation in villages today prefers fast food to homemade nutritious food. Similarly many biodegradable, handcrafted, daily use items give way to plastic and synthetic products. People give up many climate friendly traditional dresses, footwear and a wide range of homemade eatables for no convincing reason but for the influence of ‘the market’ and advertising. People are persuaded to borrow and live beyond their means. The mad craze for status symbol has indebted millions of people.

Pursuit of consumer comfort and decay in social value have broken the joint family system in villages which once provided safety to old people and saved family expenditure. Das calls for reinvigorating entrepreneurship in villages.

However, instead of this government after government aggravates the problems by creating an impression that the villagers are a backward, inefficient and unproductive lot who can survive only on relief. Das argues that with proper investment and appropriate policies, India’s rural economy could once again thrive. Bringing back Indian villages into shape needs honest and committed leaders at the helm, he argues.

If what is set out above tells us anything, it that India and other regions of the world are suffering from internal hemorrhaging. They are being bled dry from both within and without.

“Look at species destruction. It is estimated to be at about the level of 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit the earth, ended the period of the dinosaurs and wiped out a huge number of species. It is the same level today. And we are the asteroid… There are sectors of the global population trying to impede the global catastrophe. There are other sectors trying to accelerate it. Take a look at whom they are. Those who are trying to impede it are the ones we call backward, indigenous populations – the First Nations in Canada , the aboriginals in Australia , the tribal people in India . Who is accelerating it? The most privileged, so-called advanced, educated populations of the world.” - Noam Chomsky [46].

Underpinning the arrogance of such a mindset is what Vandana Shiva calls a view of the world which encourages humans to regard man as conqueror and owner of the Earth. This has led that the technological hubris of geo-engineering, genetic engineering, and nuclear energy. Shiva argues that it has led to the ethical outrage of owning life forms through patents, water through privatization, the air through carbon trading. It is leading to appropriation of the biodiversity that serves the poor [47].

And therein lies the true enemy of development: a system that facilitates such plunder, which is presided over by well-funded and influential foreign foundations and powerful financial-corporate entities and their handmaidens in the IMF, World Bank and WTO.

Yet it is activists like Shiva herself and NGOs which advocate a different path that are attacked and smeared by officaldom. To open economies to private concerns, proponents of economic neoliberalism are always fond of stating that ‘regulatory blockages’ must be removed. If particular ‘blockages’ stemming from legitimate protest and dissent cannot be dealt with by peaceful means, other methods will be used. When increasing mass surveillance or widespread ideological attempts to discredit and smear do not secure compliance or dilute the power of protest, beefed up ‘homeland security’ and paramilitary force is an ever-present option.

Across the globe, powerful corporations and their compliant politicians seek to sweep away peoples and their indigenous knowledge and culture in the chase for profit and control. They call this ‘development’.

Is the narrative set out here to be dismissed because it is deemed too extreme and based on dogma? Tell that to the 340 million destitute that make up over half of India’s poor in 2014. Tell that also to millions around the world, from Greece to the US and beyond, who are bearing the brunt of ‘globalisation’.

If you are looking for extremism and dogma, look elsewhere. Look towards those whose unimaginable wealth feeds off and fuels a system of exploitation and conflict that is designed to benefit the few. That’s the nature of the model of development that is depicted as anything but. Nonetheless, it is the reality of the development we have.

Notes

1]http://theunbrokenwindow.com/Development/MADDISON%20The%20World%20Economy–A%20Millennial.pdf

2]http://www.deccanherald.com/content/441179/challenges-abound-pm039s-model-villages.html

3] http://www.ophi.org.uk/multidimensional-poverty-index/

4] http://www.deccanherald.com/content/427901/poverty-alleviation-first-we-need.html

5] http://www.countercurrents.org/sukumaran221114.htm

6] http://archive.tehelka.com/story_main39.asp?filename=Ne310508cover_story.asp

7] http://www.countercurrents.org/wankhede250913.htm 

8] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ios-investigation-the-great-british-energy-ripoff-8219565.html

9] http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/09/big-banks-manipulated-gold-and-silver-markets.html

10] http://ibnlive.in.com/news/india-is-prospering-indians-arent-aiyar/158081-60-120.html

11] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-16064321 

12] Robert Brenner (1976), “Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-industrial Europe”.Past and Present 70

13] Barrington Moore (1993) [First published 1966]. Social origins of dictatorship and democracy: lord and peasant in the making of the modern world (with a new foreword by Edward Friedman and James C. Scott ed.). Boston: Beacon Press.

14] http://www.guernicamag.com/features/we-call-this-progress/

15] http://www.democracynow.org/2006/12/13/vandana_shiva_on_farmer_suicides_the

16]http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/new-evidence-of-suicide-epidemic-among-indias-marginalised-farmers

17] http://www.business-standard.com/article/markets/bt-cotton-losing-steam-productivity-at-5-yr-low-113020601016_1.html 

18] http://www.deccanherald.com/content/309654/punjab-transformation-food-bowl-cancer.html

19] http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-future-is-local-the-future-is-organic/5351677

20] http://www.globalresearch.ca/india-genetically-modified-seeds-agricultural-productivity-and-political-fraud/5328227

21] http://www.deccanherald.com/content/250707/age-novelty.html

22] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britain-facing-agricultural-crisis-as-scientists-warn-there-are-only-100-harvests-left-in-our-farm-soil-9806353.html 

23] http://devinder-sharma.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/importing-food-when-there-is-no.html

24] http://www.globalresearch.ca/free-trade-agreements-the-bypassing-of-democracy-to-institute-economic-plunder/5354197

25] http://www.prosper.org.au/2014/10/10/think-tank-times/

26] http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/07/monsanto-a-contemporary-east-india-company-and-corporate-knowledge-in-india/

27] ]http://www.cban.ca/Resources/Topics/Feeding-the-World

28] http://vivakermani.blogspot.in/2014/07/gm-food-crops-why-india-must-say-no.html

29]  http://www.globalresearch.ca/india-genetically-modified-seeds-agricultural-productivity-and-political-fraud/5328227

30] http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/tdr2013_en.pdf

31]http://www.unep.org/dewa/agassessment/reports/IAASTD/EN/Agriculture%20at%20a%20Crossroads_Global%20Report%20(English).pdf

32]http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4929-hungry-for-land-small-farmers-feed-the-world-with-less-than-a-quarter-of-all-farmland

33] http://www.bhoomimagazine.org/article/cash-food-will-strike-very-foundation-economy

34] http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/flood-cn.htm

35] http://devinder-sharma.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/while-indian-farmers-are-forced-to-dump.html

36] http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2267255/gm_crops_are_driving_genocide_and_ecocide_keep_them_out_of_the_eu.html

37] http://www.gfintegrity.org/report/country-case-study-india/

38] https://kavithakuruganti.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/foreign-hand-in-the-ib-report-joint-statement-from-vandana-shiva-aruna-rodrigues-kavitha-kuruganti/

39] http://public.wsu.edu/~mreed/380American%20Consumption.htm 

40] http://www.museoarchiviopolitecnico.it/resources/eco_facts.html

41] http://www.countercurrents.org/gibbins220414.htm

42] http://www.globalresearch.ca/genetic-engineering-eugenics-and-the-ideology-of-the-rich/5329025

43] http://www.infochangeindia.org/human-rights/no-mans-land/caught-between-the-maoists-and-the-salwa-judum.html

44] http://www.outlookindia.com/article/The-Greater-Common-Good/207509

45] http://www.organicconsumers.org/btc/shiva112305.cfm

46]  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/american_socrates_20140615

47] http://www.spaziofilosofico.it/numero-07/2959/economy-revisited-will-green-be-the-colour-of-money-or-life/

Ferguson and the False Promise of “Revolution”

November 27th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

When faced on the battlefield with a numerically superior enemy, one must attempt to divide his enemy into smaller, more easily dispatched opponents, or even more ideally, divide them against one another, and have them defeat each other without ever drawing your sword. For Wall Street’s 0.1%, divide and conquer is a way of life.

Divide and Conquer

Never in human history has there been a more effective way for tyrants to rule over large groups of people who, should they ever learn to cooperate, would easily throw off such tyranny.

At the conclusion of the Anglo-Zulu War, the British despoiled Zululand, divided it into 14 separate cheifdoms, each led by a proxy obedient to the British Empire. The British ensured that these 14 cheifdoms harbored animosities toward one another and fostered petty infighting between them to ensure British interests would never again be challenged by a unified Zulu threat. Before the British, the Romans would employ similar tactics across Germania and Gual.

Image: Zululand lies in flaming ruins, its legendary army decimated, but the British were not about to take any chances of allowing them to unite and resit again. They divided the defeated nation into 14 chiefdoms each headed by leaders harboring dislike for the others ensuring perpetual infighting and a divided, weakened Zululand never again to rise and challenge British subjugation. 

In this way, the British Empire and the Romans managed to not only decimate their enemies, but by keeping them perpetually infighting, divided, and at war with one another, manged to keep them subservient to imperial rule for generations.

 But one would be mistaken to believe that imperialism is only waged abroad. Imperialism is as much about manipulating, controlling, and perpetuating subservience at home as it is projecting hegemony abroad. For the imperialist, all of humanity represents a sea of potential usurpers. The systematic division, weakening, and subjugation of various social groups along political, religious, class, or racial lines has proven an ageless solution for the elite.

One remembers the infamous use of Christians as a scapegoat for the corruption of Roman Emperor Nero, deflecting public anger away from the ruling elite and unto others among the plebeians.

This is a game that has continued throughout the centuries and continues on to this very day. While racial, religious, and political divisions are aspects of human nature, they are viciously exploited by the ruling elite to divide and destroy any capacity of the general public to organize, resist, or compete with established sociopolitical and economic monopolies.

Ferguson – Playing America Like a Fiddle 

Before protests began breaking out in Ferguson, Missouri, and even after the first of the protests in August, many across America’s polarized “left/right” paradigm began to find a common ground, shocked at the level of militarization the police had undergone and the heavy-handed response they exercised amid protests. Even among the generally pro-police and military “right,” there was concern over what was finally recognized as a growing and quite menacing “police state” in America.Politicians, the corporate media, and security agencies set off to work, dividing America’s pubic down very predictable lines. Convenient “revelations” that the police were connected with the ultra-racist Ku Klux Klan, coupled with growing choruses across the right to circle the wagons in support of the militarized police attempted to place those who converged on this common ground back into their assigned places on the “right” and “left” of America’s ultimately Wall Street-controlled political order.Regardless of its success, attempts to intentionally provoke violence, confusion, and division on both sides is an attempt by the establishment to keep people divided and weak while maintaining their position of primacy over the country and the expansive “international order” it imposes globally. It was this establishment, in fact, that intentionally militarized the police, intentionally cultivates both institutional racism as well as sociopolitical and economic rot in America’s inner cities, creating breeding grounds of violence and crime. So busy is America managing the predictable conflict amongst themselves, they have neither the time nor the energy to recognize their true tormentors.

In reality, the police and protesters and those across America and around the world “picking sides” have more in common with one another than the government and corporate-financier interests that reign in Washington and on Wall Street.

Get Off the Hamster Wheel 

One cannot accomplish anything by burning down one’s own community, killing one another, or complaining and protesting endlessly. Real revolution is not taking to the streets and destroying a political order, it is creating a new order that displaces the old.

The American Revolution, for instance, occurred after the colonies established their own economic system, as well as their own militias, political networks, and infrastructure. The violence broke out only after the British tried to reassert themselves amid the steady process of being displaced. By the time shots were being fired, the real revolution had already occurred – the subsequent war was to defend its success.

Today, the establishment constitutes unchecked, unwarranted power and influence held by the corporate-financier elite - an establishment we are in fact paying into daily every time we patronize their businesses, use their services, associate with their institutions, and pay in attention and time to their propaganda and political agenda we ourselves should be setting and executing. Ironically many of both the police and protesters clashing in Ferguson on opposite sides of the “conflict” have homes full of Wall Street’s goods, and subscriptions to many of their services.

Indeed, Walmart ends up filling our homes with most of the consumer products we depend on in America. A handful of agricultural giants feed us. A handful of pharmaceutical giants medicate us. A handful of energy monopolies light our homes and fuel our vehicles. You could fill a single sheet of paper with the names of corporate-financier interests that rule over nearly every aspect of our lives.Such monopolies exist because they have extinguished competitors. Ensuring that competition remains extinguished means creating a society that is incapable of producing individuals or paradigms capable of challenging their established order. This includes sabotaging the education system, creating a socioeconomic system that encourages unsustainable dependence rather than self-sufficiency and independence, and rigging rules, regulations, and laws against any potential upstarts.

The notion of Ferguson protesters demanding justice from a system created of injustice, upon injustice, is as absurd as trying to squeeze apple juice from a lemon. It is the definition of fantastical futility.

Instead of demanding justice, jobs, education, healthcare, food, and other necessities and desires from a system with no intention of ever empowering the people – a system that in order to continue perpetuating itself must by necessity never truly empower the people – we must begin working together locally to empower ourselves. Power stems from infrastructure and institutions - and locally this can be accomplished in innumerable ways. Already farmers’ markets, organic cooperatives, makerspaces, churches, community centers, community gardens, and charities along with innovative small businesses leveraging technology to do locally what once required global spanning industry to accomplish, all constitute the seeds of this shifting paradigm. For communities unlucky enough not to have one of these above institutions, or a lack of them, instead of baying for blood in the streets, burning building down, or clashing with police, build them.

The alternative media itself is proof of what power people have when they stop depending on others, stop demanding others to do their jobs properly, and instead take up the responsibility themselves. Expanding this paradigm shift to other aspects of our daily lives, from agriculture to energy, to education, will be key to true and enduring change.Ferguson teaches us that real change in the mind of many is still far off. America isn’t on the edge of revolution. A hamster wheel endlessly spinning has no “edge.” Those picking sides and bickering over the events in Ferguson are playing into an elementary strategy of divide and conquer. We are divided, Wall Street has conquered.

At the end of it all, Wall Street comes out even stronger. Because in the smoking remnants of our communities after all is said and done, we have even less with which to build an alternative to the system we live trapped within. Divided, we have half the people we should be joining together with, collaborating and building together with, to build the world we want to live in tomorrow.

Build, don’t burn. Collaborate, don’t complain. Don’t simply “resist” the system, replace it altogether.

When law is treated as an exercise of sterile objectivity, one where vision matters less than procedure, citizens can best forget that they play any viable role.  Seen through a naked prism of law and order, Ferguson, Missouri simply looks like black indignation against white order.  While it would be deceptive to tarnish all arguments with the colour divide, it is unavoidable in parts of a country where authority and policing are inextricably linked to race.  Slavery, after all, co-existed with enlightened notions of human equality for decades. 

The conservative press outlets, and certain commentators, have resorted to various tricks of the debate vocation – attack the dead man Michael Brown and make sure that he is buried again.  Hollow him out, mock him for his moral laxness. If such a man be shot, who cares?  He did not follow the legal code that is, we are told, colour blind.  Certainly, we can expect little by way of sympathy from Aaron Goldstein of The Spectacle Blog in The American Spectator (Nov 24).  Goldstein takes a good dump on President Barack Obama, and in many ways, he will have support for that.  “Obama has no credibility when it comes to talking about law enforcement.”

But the concern from Goldstein’s side is that Obama was foolish to bring Michael Brown into his UN General Assembly address two months ago.  America’s domestic scene is not worth mentioning in the same breath as other international incidents – we saw that constantly in the propaganda fronts of the Cold War.  Jim Crow was the grandest of Achilles heels in the disconcerting slush about one person and one vote.   The US could still proclaim civil liberties while many states within it kept segregation alive.  Liberty need not be equal to be valid.

This habit was not so easily junked.  American exceptionalism has a tendency of winding its way back into the rhetorical battle field about domestic failings.  There is only glamor, virtue and wickedness.  Why, suggests Goldstein, mix the matter of Brown’s death with Middle East instability and the problems of Ukraine and Russia?  Obama should have mentioned that “this young man had robbed a store a short time before his death.”

Keep it simple.  Had Brown been compliant, he would still be alive. (The fact that this point is hopelessly moot doesn’t discourage the commentator.)  “Perhaps this young man would still be alive had he obeyed Officer Wilson’s commands.  Perhaps this young man would still be alive had he not physically accosted Officer Wilson.” Perhaps Brown might be alive if the trigger thrill had not taken hold of Officer Wilson, or the blood mist cloud judgment.  In US policing, which is now a pseudo-military affair, the citizen is the problem.

Ditto Larry Thornberry, also writing for The American Spectator.  “Michael Brown orchestrated the circumstances of his own death. He has no claim to our sympathy.  He was not a victim.”[1]  Thornberry finds a monster before him – not the police officer but a person who “attacked and attempted to kill or do great bodily harm to a police officer who stopped him in relation to a robbery Brown had just committed.”  A bit more than an accosting, it seems.  With such logical argument, all thieves should be shot.  Feel sympathy, instead, for Darren Wilson, who “had his life torn apart for the offenses of doing his duty and being white.”  Colour arguments are everywhere, even when cloaked in the serenity of sound judgement.

Rich Lowry, writing in Politico, similarly advances the astral suggestion that “if  [Brown] had actually put his hands up and said don’t shoot, he would most certainly be alive today.”[2]  A sweet thought, Brown and Wilson, having a reconciliatory natter and breaking bread instead of playing with bullets in the act of “accosting”.  Amicable thieves will not be shot by a heavily white police force in Ferguson if they politely request not to.

Others seek the cool legal objectivity of the law as proof that the US legal system is ship shape.  The grand jury handed down “an objective decision” based on all the evidence.  So claims Ian Tuttle of the National Review.[3] “All indications are that the St. Louis grand jury acted with nothing less than utmost scrupulousness and diligence.”  Poor on sociology, Tuttle reduces the issue to fictitious flights of objective fancy.  He ignores who was on the jury, their backgrounds, and their detachment from the black community. There was no institutional distance between the shooter and the shot.

This reading verges on the archaic, a view of criminology so primitive it should be stuffed and cased. Wilson becomes the great exponent of decency in law enforcement, while Brown is deemed a spontaneously dangerous thug who got his just desserts. But Tuttle wants it both ways – the decency of the law, and the heat of the moment, where killing is warranted by the rather incautious arm of the law. Wilson exercised his judgment, if it can even pass for that, and killed Brown.  Such individuals as Wilson need a free hand, a standard that would virtually make any killing by police forces legitimate exercises of control.

The narratives of Ferguson have become flawed searches for villainy and purity.  It was always in the script, drafted without revision.  Vast swathes of the urban scapes in the US have become jungles of retribution and nervousness. The police see potential death everywhere, and treat the subjects of their protection as contrarian insurgents.  They are now behaving accordingly, becoming the very object of disgust that the authorities desire, a view that life may be short, but brutishness dangerously long.

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

Os Estados Unidos da América vêm usando uma tática de equilíbrio à beira de guerra no caso da Ucrânia, disse à rádio Sputnik Michael Chossudovsky, economista canadense, diretor do Centro de Estudos da Globalização.

Em seu entender, há várias razões para o forte interesse dos EUA pela Ucrânia Oriental. Primeiro, esta região é o coração industrial do país. Segundo, ela se encontra na fronteira com a Rússia. Terceiro, possui enormes reservas de gás de xisto.

“De Washington só se ouve demagogia”, entende Chossudovsky.

“De notar que ela emana até do vice-presidente dos EUA cuja filho tem interesse de negócio na exploração de gás de xisto na Ucrânia Oriental. Estamos, portanto, na presença de um conflito de interesses na região”, adianta o economista.

Por um lado, refere Chossudovsky, os EUA acusam a Rússia de invasão da Ucrânia, exigem o fim da guerra contra a Ucrânia, multiplicando sanções contra a Rússia, e por outro, fomentam uma guerra civil no país.

Two Big Boys: China and NATO

November 26th, 2014 by Prof. Minqi Li

“The Thanksgiving story is an absolution of the Pilgrims, whose brutal quest for absolute power in the New World is made to seem both religiously motivated and eminently human…. The Mayflower’s cultural heirs are programmed to find glory in their own depravity, and savagery in their most helpless victims, who can only redeem themselves by accepting the inherent goodness of white Americans.”

This article was originally published on November 27, 2003, when Glen Ford was co-publisher of The Black Commentator.

Nobody but Americans celebrates Thanksgiving. (Canadians have a holiday by the same name, but an entirely different history and political import.) It is reserved by history and the intent of “the founders” as the supremely white American holiday, the most ghoulish event on the national calendar. No Halloween of the imagination can rival the exterminationist reality that was the genesis, and remains the legacy, of the American Thanksgiving. It is the most loathsome, humanity-insulting day of the year – a pure glorification of racist barbarity.

We are thankful that the day grows nearer when the almost four centuries-old abomination will be deprived of its reason for being: white supremacy. Then we may all eat and drink in peace and gratitude for the blessings of humanity’s deliverance from the rule of evil men.

Thanksgiving is much more than a lie – if it were that simple, an historical correction of the record of events in 1600s Massachusetts would suffice to purge the “flaw” in the national mythology. But Thanksgiving is not just a twisted fable, and the mythology it nurtures is itself inherently evil. The real-life events – subsequently revised – were perfectly understood at the time as the first, definitive triumphs of the genocidal European project in New England. The near-erasure of Native Americans in Massachusetts and, soon thereafter, from most of the remainder of the northern English colonial seaboard was the true mission of the Pilgrim enterprise – Act One of the American Dream. African Slavery commenced contemporaneously – an overlapping and ultimately inseparable Act Two.

The last Act in the American drama must be the “root and branch” eradication of all vestiges of Act One and Two – America’s seminal crimes and formative projects. Thanksgiving as presently celebrated – that is, as a national politicalevent – is an affront to civilization.

Celebrating the unspeakable

White America embraced Thanksgiving because a majority of that population glories in the fruits, if not the unpleasant details, of genocide and slavery and feels, on the whole, good about their heritage: a cornucopia of privilege and national power. Children are taught to identify with the good fortune of the Pilgrims. It does not much matter that the Native American and African holocausts that flowed from the feast at Plymouth are hidden from the children’s version of the story – kids learn soon enough that Indians were made scarce and Africans became enslaved. But they will also never forget the core message of the holiday: that the Pilgrims were good people, who could not have purposely set such evil in motion. Just as the first Thanksgivings marked the consolidation of the English toehold in what became the United States, the core ideological content of the holiday serves to validate all that has since occurred on these shores – a national consecration of the unspeakable, a balm and benediction for the victors, a blessing of the fruits of murder and kidnapping, and an implicit obligation to continue the seamless historical project in the present day.

The Thanksgiving story is an absolution of the Pilgrims, whose brutal quest for absolute power in the New World is made to seem both religiously motivated and eminently human. Most importantly, the Pilgrims are depicted as victims – of harsh weather and their own naïve yet wholesome visions of a new beginning. In light of this carefully nurtured fable, whatever happened to the Indians, from Plymouth to California and beyond, in the aftermath of the 1621 dinner must be considered a mistake, the result of misunderstandings – at worst, a series of lamentable tragedies. The story provides the essential first frame of the American saga. It is unalloyed racist propaganda, a tale that endures because it served the purposes of a succession of the Pilgrims’ political heirs, in much the same way that Nazi-enhanced mythology of a glorious Aryan/German past advanced another murderous, expansionist mission.

Thanksgiving is quite dangerous – as were the Pilgrims.

Rejoicing in a cemetery

The English settlers, their ostensibly religious venture backed by a trading company, were glad to discover that they had landed in a virtual cemetery in 1620. Corn still sprouted in the abandoned fields of the Wampanoags [2], but only a remnant of the local population remained around the fabled Rock. In a letter to England, Massachusetts Bay colony founder John Winthrop wrote, “But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by smallpox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not 50, have put themselves under our protection.”

Ever diligent to claim their own advantages as God’s will, the Pilgrims thanked their deity for having “pursued” the Indians to mass death. However, it was not divine intervention that wiped out most of the natives around the village of Patuxet but, most likely, smallpox-embedded blankets planted during an English visit or slave raid. Six years before the Pilgrim landing, a ship sailed into Patuxet’s harbor, captained by none other than the famous seaman and mercenary soldierJohn Smith [3], former leader of the first successful English colony in the New World, at Jamestown, Virginia. Epidemic and slavery followed in his wake, as Debra Glidden described in IMDiversity.com [4]:

In 1614 the Plymouth Company of England, a joint stock company, hired Captain John Smith to explore land in its behalf. Along what is now the coast of Massachusetts in the territory of the Wampanoag, Smith visited the town of Patuxet according to “The Colonial Horizon,” a 1969 book edited by William Goetzinan. Smith renamed the town Plymouth in honor of his employers, but the Wampanoag who inhabited the town continued to call it Patuxet.

The following year Captain Hunt, an English slave trader, arrived at Patuxet. It was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them into slavery for 220 shillings apiece. That practice was described in a 1622 account of happenings entitled “A Declaration of the State of the Colony and Affairs in Virginia,” written by Edward Waterhouse. True to the explorer tradition, Hunt kidnapped a number of Wampanoags to sell into slavery.

Another common practice among European explorers was to give “smallpox blankets” to the Indians. Since smallpox was unknown on this continent prior to the arrival of the Europeans, Native Americans did not have any natural immunity to the disease so smallpox would effectively wipe out entire villages with very little effort required by the Europeans. William Fenton describes how Europeans decimated Native American villages in his 1957 work “American Indian and White relations to 1830.” From 1615 to 1619 smallpox ran rampant among the Wampanoags and their neighbors to the north. The Wampanoag lost 70 percent of their population to the epidemic and the Massachusetts lost 90 percent.

Most of the Wampanoag had died from the smallpox epidemic so when the Pilgrims arrived they found well-cleared fields which they claimed for their own. A Puritan colonist, quoted by Harvard University’s Perry Miller, praised the plague that had wiped out the Indians for it was “the wonderful preparation of the Lord Jesus Christ, by his providence for his people’s abode in the Western world.” Historians have since speculated endlessly on why the woods in the region resembled a park to the disembarking Pilgrims in 1620. The reason should have been obvious: hundreds, if not thousands, of people had lived there just five years before.

In less than three generations the settlers would turn all of New England into a charnel house for Native Americans, and fire the economic engines of slavery throughout English-speaking America. Plymouth Rock is the place where the nightmare truly began.

The uninvited?

It is not at all clear what happened at the first – and only – “integrated” Thanksgiving feast. Only two written accounts of the three-day event exist, and one of them, by Governor William Bradford, was written 20 years after the fact. Was Chief Massasoit invited to bring 90 Indians with him to dine with 52 colonists, most of them women and children? This seems unlikely. A good harvest had provided the settlers with plenty of food, according to their accounts, so the whites didn’t really need the Wampanoag’s offering of five deer. What we do know is that there had been lots of tension between the two groups that fall.  John Two-Hawks, who runs the Native Circle [5] web site, gives a sketch of the facts:

“Thanksgiving’ did not begin as a great loving relationship between the pilgrims and the Wampanoag, Pequot and Narragansett people.  In fact, in October of 1621 when the pilgrim survivors of their first winter in Turtle Island sat down to share the first unofficial ‘Thanksgiving’ meal, the Indians who were there were not even invited!  There was no turkey, squash, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie.  A few days before this alleged feast took place, a company of ‘pilgrims’ led by Miles Standish actively sought the head of a local Indian chief, and an 11 foot high wall was erected around the entire Plymouth settlement for the very purpose of keeping Indians out!”

It is much more likely that Chief Massasoit either crashed the party, or brought enough men to ensure that he was not kidnapped or harmed by the Pilgrims. Dr. Tingba Apidta, in his “Black Folks’ Guide to Understanding Thanksgiving [6],” surmises that the settlers “brandished their weaponry” early and got drunk soon thereafter. He notes that “each Pilgrim drank at least a half gallon of beer a day, which they preferred even to water. This daily inebriation led their governor, William Bradford, to comment on his people’s ‘notorious sin,’ which included their ‘drunkenness and uncleanliness’ and rampant ‘sodomy.’”

Soon after the feast the brutish Miles Standish “got his bloody prize,” Dr. Apidta writes:

“He went to the Indians, pretended to be a trader, then beheaded an Indian man named Wituwamat. He brought the head to Plymouth, where it was displayed on a wooden spike for many years, according to Gary B. Nash, ‘as a symbol of white power.’ Standish had the Indian man’s young brother hanged from the rafters for good measure. From that time on, the whites were known to the Indians of Massachusetts by the name ‘Wotowquenange,’ which in their tongue meant cutthroats and stabbers.”

What is certain is that the first feast was not called a “Thanksgiving” at the time; no further integrated dining occasions were scheduled; and the first, official all-Pilgrim “Thanksgiving” had to wait until 1637, when the whites of New England celebrated the massacre of the Wampanoag’s southern neighbors, the Pequots.

The real Thanksgiving Day Massacre

The Pequots today own the Foxwood Casino and Hotel [7], in Ledyard, Connecticut, with gross gaming revenues of over $9 billion in 2000. This is truly a (very belated) miracle, since the real first Pilgrim Thanksgiving was intended as the Pequot’s epitaph. Sixteen years after the problematical Plymouth feast, the English tried mightily to erase the Pequots from the face of the Earth, and thanked God for the blessing.

Having subdued, intimidated or made mercenaries of most of the tribes of Massachusetts, the English turned their growing force southward, toward the rich Connecticut valley, the Pequot’s sphere of influence. At the point where the Mystic River meets the sea, the combined force of English and allied Indians bypassed the Pequot fort to attack and set ablaze a town full of women, children and old people.

William Bradford, the former Governor of Plymouth and one of the chroniclers of the 1621 feast, was also on hand for the great massacre of 1637:

“Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy.”

The rest of the white folks thought so, too. “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots,” read Governor John Winthrop’s proclamation. The authentic Thanksgiving Day was born.

Most historians believe about 700 Pequots were slaughtered at Mystic. Many prisoners were executed, and surviving women and children sold into slavery in the West Indies. Pequot prisoners that escaped execution were parceled out to Indian tribes allied with the English. The Pequot were thought to have been extinguished as a people. According to IndyMedia [8], “The Pequot tribe numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had brought their numbers down to 1,500 by 1637. The Pequot ‘War’ killed all but a handful of remaining members of the tribe.”

But there were still too many Indians around to suit the whites of New England, who bided their time while their own numbers increased to critical, murderous mass.

Guest’s head on a pole

By the 1670s the colonists, with 8,000 men under arms, felt strong enough to demand that the Pilgrims’ former dinner guests the Wampanoags disarm and submit to the authority of the Crown. After a series of settler provocations in 1675, the Wampanoag struck back, under the leadership of Chief Metacomet, son of Massasoit, called King Philip by the English. Metacomet/Philip, whose wife and son were captured and sold into West Indian slavery, wiped out 13 settlements and killed 600 adult white men before the tide of battle turned. A1996 issue [9] of the Revolutionary Worker provides an excellent narrative.

In their victory, the settlers launched an all-out genocide against the remaining Native people. The Massachusetts government offered 20 shillings bounty for every Indian scalp, and 40 shillings for every prisoner who could be sold into slavery. Soldiers were allowed to enslave any Indian woman or child under 14 they could capture. The “Praying Indians” who had converted to Christianity and fought on the side of the European troops were accused of shooting into the treetops during battles with “hostiles.” They were enslaved or killed. Other “peaceful” Indians of Dartmouth and Dover were invited to negotiate or seek refuge at trading posts – and were sold onto slave ships.

It is not known how many Indians were sold into slavery, but in this campaign,500 enslaved Indians were shipped from Plymouth alone. Of the 12,000 Indians in the surrounding tribes, probably about half died from battle, massacre and starvation.

After King Philip’s War, there were almost no Indians left free in the northern British colonies. A colonist wrote from Manhattan’s New York colony: “There is now but few Indians upon the island and those few no ways hurtful. It is to be admired how strangely they have decreased by the hand of God, since the English first settled in these parts.” In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a “day of public thanksgiving” in 1676, saying, “there now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians] but are either slain, captivated or fled.”

Fifty-five years after the original Thanksgiving Day, the Puritans had destroyed the generous Wampanoag and all other neighboring tribes. The Wampanoag chief King Philip was beheaded. His head was stuck on a pole in Plymouth, where the skull still hung on display 24 years later.

This is not thought to be a fit Thanksgiving tale for the children of today, but it’s the real story, well-known to the settler children of New England at the time – the white kids who saw the Wampanoag head on the pole year after year and knew for certain that God loved them best of all, and that every atrocity they might ever commit against a heathen, non-white was blessed.

There’s a good term for the process thus set in motion: nation-building.

Roots of the slave trade

The British North American colonists’ practice of enslaving Indians for labor or direct sale to the West Indies preceded the appearance of the first chained Africans at the dock in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619. The Jamestown colonists’ human transaction with the Dutch vessel was an unscheduled occurrence. However, once the African slave trade became commercially established, the fates of Indians and Africans in the colonies became inextricably entwined. New England, born of up-close-and-personal, burn-them-in-the-fires-of-hell genocide, led the political and commercial development of the English colonies. The region also led the nascent nation’s descent into a slavery-based society and economy.

Ironically, an apologist for Virginian slavery made one of the best, early cases for the indictment of New England as the engine of the American slave trade. Unreconstructed secessionist Lewis Dabney’s 1867 book “A Defense of Virginia”[10] traced the slave trade’s origins all the way back to Plymouth Rock:

“The planting of the commercial States of North America began with the colony of Puritan Independents at Plymouth, in 1620, which was subsequently enlarged into the State of Massachusetts. The other trading colonies, Rhode Island and Connecticut, as well as New Hampshire (which never had an extensive shipping interest), were offshoots of Massachusetts. They partook of the same characteristics and pursuits; and hence, the example of the parent colony is taken here as a fair representation of them.

“The first ship from America, which embarked in the African slave trade, was theDesire, Captain Pierce, of Salem; and this was among the first vessels ever built in the colony. The promptitude with which the “Puritan Fathers” embarked in this business may be comprehended, when it is stated that the Desire sailed upon her voyage in June, 1637. [Note: the year they massacred the Pequots.] The first feeble and dubious foothold was gained by the white man at Plymouth less than seventeen years before; and as is well known, many years were expended by the struggle of the handful of settlers for existence. So that it may be correctly said, that the commerce of New England was born of the slave trade; as its subsequent prosperity was largely founded upon it. The Desire, proceeding to the Bahamas, with a cargo of ‘dry fish and strong liquors, the only commodities for those parts,’ obtained the negroes from two British men-of-war, which had captured them from a Spanish slaver.

“Thus, the trade of which the good ship Desire, of Salem, was the harbinger, grew into grand proportions; and for nearly two centuries poured a flood of wealth into New England, as well as no inconsiderable number of slaves. Meanwhile, the other maritime colonies of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and Connecticut, followed the example of their elder sister emulously; and their commercial history is but a repetition of that of Massachusetts. The towns of Providence, Newport, and New Haven became famous slave trading ports. The magnificent harbor of the second, especially, was the favorite starting-place of the slave ships; and its commerce rivaled, or even exceeded, that of the present commercial metropolis, New York. All the four original States, of course, became slaveholding.”

The Revolution that exploded in 1770s New England was undertaken by men thoroughly imbued with the worldview of the Indian-killer and slave-holder. How could they not be? The “country” they claimed as their own was fathered by genocide and mothered by slavery – its true distinction among the commercial nations of the world. And these men were not ashamed, but proud, with vast ambition to spread their exceptional characteristics West and South and wherever their so-far successful project in nation-building might take them – and by the same bloody, savage methods that had served them so well in the past.

At the moment of deepest national crisis following the battle of Gettysburg in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln invoked the national fable that is far more central to the white American personality than Lincoln’s battlefield “Address.” Lincoln seized upon the 1621 feast as the historic “Thanksgiving” – bypassing the official and authentic 1637 precedent – and assigned the dateless, murky event the fourth Thursday in November. Lincoln surveyed a broken nation, and attempted nation-rebuilding, based on the purest white myth. The same year that he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, he renewed the national commitment to a white manifest destiny that began at Plymouth Rock. Lincoln sought to rekindle a shared national mission that former Confederates and Unionists and white immigrants from Europe could collectively embrace. It was and remains a barbaric and racist national unifier, by definition. Only the most fantastic lies can sanitize the history of the Plymouth Colony of Massachusetts.

“Like a rock”

The Thanksgiving holiday fable is at once a window on the way that many, if not most, white Americans view the world and their place in it, and a pollutant that leaches barbarism into the modern era. The fable attempts to glorify the indefensible, to enshrine an era and mission that represent the nation’s lowest moral denominators. Thanksgiving as framed in the mythology is, consequently, a drag on that which is potentially civilizing in the national character, a crippling, atavistic deformity. Defenders of the holiday will claim that the politically-corrected children’s version promotes brotherhood, but that is an impossibility – a bald excuse to prolong the worship of colonial “forefathers” and to erase the crimes they committed. Those bastards burned the Pequot women and children, and ushered in the multinational business of slavery. These are facts. The myth is an insidious diversion – and worse.

Humanity cannot tolerate a 21st Century superpower, much of whose population perceives the world through the eyes of 17th Century land and flesh bandits. Yet that is the trick that fate has played on the globe. We described the roots of the planetary dilemma in our March 13 commentary, “Racism & War, Perfect Together. [11]”

The English arrived with criminal intent – and brought wives and children to form new societies predicated on successful plunder. To justify the murderous enterprise, Indians who had initially cooperated with the squatters were transmogrified into “savages” deserving displacement and death. The relentlessly refreshed lie of Indian savagery became a truth in the minds of white Americans, a fact to be acted upon by every succeeding generation of whites. The settlers became a singular people confronting the great “frontier” – a euphemism for centuries of genocidal campaigns against a darker, “savage” people marked for extinction.

The necessity of genocide was the operative, working assumption of the expanding American nation. “Manifest Destiny” was born at Plymouth Rock and Jamestown, later to fall (to paraphrase Malcolm) like a rock on Mexico, the Philippines, Haiti, Nicaragua, etc. Little children were taught that the American project was inherently good, Godly, and that those who got in the way were “evil-doers” or just plain subhuman, to be gloriously eliminated. The lie is central to white American identity, embraced by waves of European settlers who never saw a red person.

Only a century ago, American soldiers caused the deaths of possibly a million Filipinos whom they had been sent to “liberate” from Spanish rule. They didn’t even know who they were killing, and so rationalized their behavior by substituting the usual American victims. Colonel Funston [12], of the Twentieth Kansas Volunteers, explained what got him motivated in the Philippines:

“Our fighting blood was up and we all wanted to kill ‘niggers.’ This shooting human beings is a ‘hot game,’ and beats rabbit hunting all to pieces.” Another wrote that “the boys go for the enemy as if they were chasing jack-rabbits …. I, for one, hope that Uncle Sam will apply the chastening rod, good, hard, and plenty, and lay it on until they come into the reservation and promise to be good ‘Injuns.’”

Last week in northern Iraq another American colonel, Joe Anderson of the 101st Airborne (Assault) Division, revealed that he is incapable of perceiving Arabs as human beings. Colonel Anderson, who doubles as a commander and host of a radio call-in program and a TV show designed to win the hearts and minds of the people of Mosul, had learned that someone was out to assassinate him. In the wild mood swing common to racists, Anderson decided that Iraqis are all alike – and of a different breed. He said as much to the Los Angeles Times [13].

“They don’t understand being nice,” said Anderson, who helps oversee the military zone that includes Mosul and environs. He doesn’t hide his irritation after months dedicated to restoring the city: “We spent so long here working with kid gloves, but the average Iraqi guy will tell you, ‘The only thing people respect here is violence…. They only understand being shot at, being killed. That’s the culture.’ … Nice guys do finish last here.”

Col. Anderson personifies the unfitness of Americans to play a major role in the world, much less rule it. “We poured a lot of our heart and soul into trying to help the people,” he bitched, as if Americans were God’s gift to the planet. “But it can be frustrating when you hear stupid people still saying, ‘You’re occupiers. You want our oil. You’re turning our country over to Israel.’” He cannot fathom that other people – non-whites – aspire to run their own affairs, and will kill and die to achieve that basic right.

What does this have to do with the Mayflower? Everything. Although possibly against their wishes, the Pilgrims hosted the Wampanoag for three no doubt anxious days. The same men killed and enslaved Wampanoags immediately before and after the feast. They, their newly arrived English comrades and their children roasted hundreds of neighboring Indians alive just 16 years later, and two generations afterwards cleared nearly the whole of New England of its indigenous “savages,” while enthusiastically enriching themselves through the invention of transoceanic, sophisticated means of enslaving millions. The Mayflower’s cultural heirs are programmed to find glory in their own depravity, and savagery in their most helpless victims, who can only redeem themselves by accepting the inherent goodness of white Americans.

Thanksgiving encourages these cognitive cripples in their madness, just as it is designed to do.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected] [14].

Dear Readers,

To understand the complex web of deceit aimed at luring the American people and the rest of the world into accepting a military solution which threatens the future of humanity, get your signed copy of Michel Chossudovsky’s international bestseller:

America’s War on Terrorism
by Michel Chossudovsky

Our Price: US$17.00
(List price: US $24.95, Canada C$29.95)

CLICK TO BUY (link to Global Research Online Store) 

Also available:
purchase the PDF version of America’s “War on Terrorism”, sent directly to your email, and cut on mailing expenses!

PDF version: US $9.50

CLICK TO BUY! 

Synopsis

In this new and expanded edition of Michel Chossudovsky’s 2002 best seller, the author blows away the smokescreen put up by the mainstream media, that 9/11 was an attack on America by “Islamic terrorists”. Through meticulous research, the author uncovers a military-intelligence ploy behind the September 11 attacks, and the cover-up and complicity of key members of the Bush Administration.

The expanded edition, which includes twelve new chapters focuses on the use of 9/11 as a pretext for the invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq, the militarization of justice and law enforcement and the repeal of democracy.

According to Chossudovsky, the “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalization is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

September 11, 2001 provides a justification for waging a war without borders. Washington’s agenda consists in extending the frontiers of the American Empire to facilitate complete U.S. corporate control, while installing within America the institutions of the Homeland Security State.

Reviews

“Chossudovsky starts by dispelling the fiction that the US and Al Qaeda have been long-term adversaries. [He] also probes US oil policy, which is obviously of particular concern to George W. Bush. Chossudovsky argues that the US has a much different relationship between Russia and China than is ever indicated in the mainstream (or progressive) press. Simply put, the US is moving into the countries which neighbor Russia and China in order to plunder natural resources and expand the reach of the US Empire. Pakistan?s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been playing a key role in destabilizing the region as well as offering support in other intelligence matters… War and Globalization is full of surprises, even for those of us who consider ourselves well-informed. Chossudovsky is examining the true nature of US foreign policy and arguing that the terrible events of 9/11/01 have changed little of it… Material this provocative and well-researched is ignored by the left at great peril.”
- Scott Loughrey, The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel

“Canadian professor of economics Michel Chossudovsky contains that rare gift of a writer who can compile massive documentary evidence, then propound it in a succinct, lucid manner. In this illuminating work the host of the critically acclaimed Global Research website takes widely acclaimed and often repeated media assumptions and sharply refutes them, providing a chronology and road map behind 9-11 and related events… A large part of the book involves a necessary topic area that has been nervously glossed over by conventional American media sources for good reason; it hits too close to home and indicts the largest international energy conglomerates. The author spends much time examining the link between big oil and public policy. In terms of providing vital information, this compact volume provides more valuable information in one chapter than so many contemporary volumes do with many pages on 9-11 and related events… Chossudovsky demonstrates that the frequently repeated and fallacious Bushie shibboleths of getting Saddam before he gets us are rhetorical sallies designed to inflame public opinion by skirting around the important truths that only a few courageous authors such as himself dare reveal… Its bulls-eye clarity cuts through the morass of Bush verbage, daring readers to examine the pure, unvarnished truth of a nation using its military and intelligence capabilities to control the global oil market on the pretext of making the world a safer place.”
- William Hare, Florida United States


Get your copy today!


Our Price US$17.00
(List price US $24.95, Canada C$29.95)

CLICK TO BUY!

Also available: purchase the PDF version of America’s “War on Terrorism”, sent directly to your email, and cut on mailing expenses!

PDF version  US $9.50

CLICK TO BUY!

Political Lessons of the Ferguson Whitewash

November 26th, 2014 by Joseph Kishore

Monday night’s announcement by St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch that police officer Darren Wilson will not be charged is being seen throughout the country and around the world as a judicial travesty.

From the beginning, the process leading up to the final decision was rigged for one purpose and one purpose only: to protect the cop who murdered unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Rather than present charges to a judge for an indictment, the state convened a grand jury, replacing a public trial with a secret, closed-door hearing in which the evidence was controlled by the prosecutor’s office, led by an individual with close ties to the police. This was followed by the highly unusual decision by the prosecution not to request and argue for specific charges.

Transcripts of the grand jury proceedings reveal clear and evident bias, with prosecutors devoting themselves to discrediting all evidence, including eyewitness testimony, that did not conform to the narrative that was required. Wilson, in contrast, went unchallenged as he presented his own self-serving account over the course of four hours. Throughout the hearings, the prosecutor’s office sought to place Michael Brown, not Darren Wilson, on trial.

Grand juries almost invariably file charges that prosecutors seek, and this case was no different. Despite the overwhelming evidence that a crime was committed, the grand jury did not indict because the prosecution did not want an indictment.

The whitewash of Wilson’s crimes, however, cannot be explained merely as the result of the misdeeds of McCulloch. The actions of the prosecutor were part of a highly orchestrated political operation, with the close involvement, as McCulloch himself was at pains to emphasize, of the Obama administration.

Given the enormous popular anger over the killing of Brown, and the clear legal foundation for a trial, one might ask why the grand jury did not at least return an indictment for a lesser crime, such as manslaughter. Or why an indictment was not delivered and a trial conducted—a trial that, given the sympathies of the prosecution, would have very likely produced the same result: the exoneration of Wilson. In the three months that passed between the killing of Michael Brown and the final decision not to indict, there was no doubt debate behind the scenes over these different possibilities.

Two factors explain the thinking of the ruling class in reaching the decision that it did. There is, first of all, the element of provocation. The ruling class has seized on the events in Ferguson as an opportunity to establish new precedents for repression in the United States. Indeed, the timing of the announcement of the grand jury decision, in the late evening, seems to have been deliberately calculated to create the best conditions for police violence.

In an escalation of the response to the protests in August, riot police armed with automatic weapons and armored vehicles, firing bean bags and tear gas, patrolled the streets Monday night. On Tuesday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon—who declared a preemptive state of emergency a week before the grand jury decision—announced that 2,200 members of National Guard, a branch of the Armed Forces, would be deployed directly against protesters. An American city is effectively being occupied.

Second, the decision has the character of the ruling class circling the wagons. Whatever different tactical possibilities were discussed, in the end a decision was made that, in the face of mounting social unrest, there could be no concessions, for any concession would be seen as a sign of weakness and only encourage more opposition.

Yet in defending its rule through violence, the ruling class is only further discrediting itself before the entire world. A state that has organized wars in every region of the globe, invariably justified on the basis of defending human rights, employs the most brutal forms of repression against opposition within its borders.

In sections of the media there is a certain nervousness over the political consequences of these actions. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, for example, expresses concern that McColloch’s “pathetic prosecution of Darren Wilson” has reinforced “a sense among African Americans, and many others, that the justice system is rigged.”

The New York Times, speaking on behalf of sections of the Democratic Party, worries in an editorial posted Tuesday that the “scarred streets of St. Louis—and the outrage that continues to reverberate across the country…show once again that distrust of law enforcement presents a grave danger to the civic fabric of the United States.” This “grave danger” has been fueled, the Times writes, by the decision not to indict Wilson.

While these comments are generally framed in racial terms, the underlying issue is class. The ruling class is well aware that the policies it is pursuing—endless war abroad and social counterrevolution at home—are deeply unpopular. By a “grave danger to the civic fabric,” the Times means uncontrollable social unrest, even revolution.

While aware of seething social discontent, the ruling class has nothing to offer. The Times itself places its criticism of the grand jury decision within the framework of praise for the role of Obama, as if his administration were not central to both the outcome in Ferguson and the broader political crisis facing the American ruling class.

Obama’s own response to the grand jury decision is revealing. The president immediately rushed to make a statement on national television declaring the results valid and legitimate. “We are a nation built on the rule of law,” he said, “so we have to accept this decision was the grand jury’s to make.” This is nothing more than an endorsement of the judicial and legal fraud. While associating himself with a decision giving police a license to kill, Obama declared, referring to protesters, that there is “never an excuse for violence.”

Six years of the Obama administration have not gone unnoticed. Millions of workers and young people in the United States have begun to draw the conclusion that there is no mechanism within the existing social and political system to address their concerns or express their opposition. This understanding has only been further confirmed by the exoneration of Darren Wilson. These are the hallmarks of a system that is heading inexorably toward ruin.

The Myth of Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2014 by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Thanksgiving is the favorite holiday of many US Americans; unlike the rather boring or divisive holidays that honor Columbus, Presidents, Martin Luther King, Jr., Independence, veterans and war, the birth of a religion, and a new year, Thanksgiving is centered on sharing food with family and friends. Individuals and families travel long distances at great expense to be with one another. It might be surprising to learn that the cherished tradition of Thanksgiving is, in fact, the most nationalist of all holidays because it narrates the national origin myth. The traditional meal, as we know, consists of the foods cultivated by Indigenous farmers—corn, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and turkey.

The US origin story of a covenant with God goes back to the Mayflower Compact, the first governing document of the Plymouth Colony. It is named for the ship that carried the hundred or so passengers, half of them religious dissidents, to what is now Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in November 1620. This compact marked the beginning of settler democracy, which from its inception sought the elimination of the Indigenous. Behind the black clothed and solemn “Pilgrims,” was a corporation of shareholders, the Virginia Company, accompanied by armed and seasoned mercenaries on a colonizing project ordered by the English King James. If any local Natives were present at a colonizers’ celebratory meal, they were surely there as servants, and the foods were confiscated, not offered as a gift.

“Thanksgiving” became a named holiday during the Civil War, but neither Pilgrims, nor Indians, nor food, nor the Mayflower—all essential to today’s celebration—were mentioned in Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation.

It was during the Great Depression that the Thanksgiving holiday was transformed into a nationalistic origin story to bind a chaotic society experiencing economic and social collapse. But this idea of the gift-giving Indian, helping to establish and enrich what would become the United States, is an insidious smoke screen meant to obscure the fact that the very existence of the country is a result of the looting of an entire continent and its resources.

In 1970, on the 350th anniversary of the English settlers—“Pilgrims”—occupying land of the Wampanoag Nation, the United American Indians of New England led a protest of the Thanksgiving holiday, which they called a “National Day of Mourning.” Every year since that time, the National Day of Mourning has taken place at Plymouth Rock. They rightly accuse the United States government of having invented a myth to cover the reality of colonialism and attempted genocide. By Thanksgiving 1970, Native Americans from many Indigenous nations had been occupying Alcatraz Island for a year. It was the height of renewed Native resistance to US colonial institutions and calls for sovereignty and self-determination, which have continued and seen many victories as well as new obstacles. In 2007, after three decades of Indigenous Peoples’ lobbying, the United Nations General Assembly passed the “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Thanksgiving needs another transformation, a day to mourn US colonization and attempted genocide and celebrate the survival of Native Nations through their resistance.

Professor Dunbar-Ortiz has been active in the international Indigenous movement for more than four decades, and is author or editor of seven books including the recently published An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.

The sudden reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has enormous implications for the War in Syria and beyond, with the potential to divide the Mideast and North Africa between rulers Abdullah and Thani in a more far-reaching way than Sykes and Picot did nearly 100 years ago.

Saudi Arabia and its Bahraini and Emirati clients ended their Cold War with Qatar last Sunday and reinstated their ambassadors to Doha. They had previously been unprecedentedly withdrawn eight months ago in March to protest Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Kingdoms saw as a threat to their rule. A few days before this major announcement, another Mideast rift had been supposedly patched up between the Al Nusra Front (rumored to be affiliated with Qatar) and ISIL (which has alleged links to wealthy Saudis) to work together in overthrowing the Syrian government, which may have portended Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s own reconciling. Now that Doha and Riyadh have reached an agreement to resolve their rivalry, they’ll likely divide the Mideast and North Africa amongst themselves to avoid any future conflict of interests, with Qatar getting influence west of Egypt and Saudi Arabia reigning to its east.

Cairo As The Cut-Off Point

During the presidency of Mohammed Morsi, the country was run by the pro-Qatari Muslim Brotherhood, and the former president himself is now being charged with high treason for allegedly passing on state secrets to Qatar.

During the presidency of Mohammed Morsi, the country was run by the pro-Qatari Muslim Brotherhood, and the former president himself is now being charged with high treason for allegedly passing on state secrets to Qatar.

Egypt will likely be the dividing line between Qatari and Saudi influence. During the presidency of Mohammed Morsi, the country was run by the pro-Qatari Muslim Brotherhood, and the former president himself is now being charged with high treason for allegedly passing on state secrets to Qatar. A month before his July 2013 overthrow, he radically altered his country’s policy towards Syria by cutting ties with the legitimate government and pledging financial support for the insurgents. Considering his Muslim Brotherhood affiliation, he likely envisioned supporting the same forces that Qatar is backing in the war, which would obviously have been seen as an expansionist threat by the Saudis.

These policies were abruptly changed when al-Sisi overthrow Morsi and placed him into prison. Since then, Egypt has gravitated closer to Saudi Arabia and its allies, receiving $20 billion in aid and investments from them. Not only has there been talk of Egypt working closer with the Riyadh-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC, which member state Qatar stands at arm’s length in), but it’s also discussing its participation in an “anti-militant alliance” with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE. It should be noted that both Egypt and the UAE reportedly bombed militant positions in Libya a few weeks ago, showing that they’re serious about combating the Islamists there. Saudi and GCC support for secular Egypt, which may seem perplexing on the surface, can be explained quite simply, since they’re more worried about an expansionist Muslim Brotherhood government there than they are about a defensive secular one that is opposed to Qatar’s influence.

The Qatari and Saudi Domains

Qatar:
Within this arrangement, Qatar and Saudi Arabia divide their influence west and east of Egypt, respectively. Considering Qatar’s ‘domain’, it may at first seem to have little of value, seeing as how Libya is a collapsed state at the moment. However, Qatar has strong influence among the militias there and the country still has the largest oil reserves in Africa (which continue flowing). Regardless of how the conflict is settled, it is very probable that political Islamists tied to Qatar will have some role or another in the government, thus elevating Doha’s regional influence through association. In neighboring Tunisia, although the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Ennahda Movement lost out to the secularists in October’s parliamentary elections, the Islamists are still a legitimate and institutionalized political force there, meaning that they could potentially gain a second wind and win in a future election.

Over in Algeria, Europe’s second-largest gas supplier and one of Africa’s largest oil producers, long-running and ageing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika is once again in the hospital, raising questions about what will happen after his passing. He is the only leader Algeria has known since the end of the decade-long civil war that was fought against the Islamic Salvation Front, a political Islamic organization whose victory in the 1991 elections set off the conflict. Keeping in mind Algeria’s history, Qatar may attempt to support and reactive the lever of political Islam in a post-Bouteflika environment to gain commanding control over this geostrategic country, just as it tried to do in Egypt after Mubarak.

Saudi Arabia:
East of the dividing line, things are literally more conservative. Saudi Arabia and its associates want to safeguard their monarchies in the face of political Islam, so as long as Qatar keeps its Muslim Brotherhood partners out of the Gulf States, there won’t be any problem. The GCC may formally admit fellow monarchy Jordan into the club, which would then strengthen the group’s royal identity. In Syria, Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s proxies will likely join forces to strengthen the anti-government movement and eliminate unproductive infighting. Although it’s uncertain what the country would look like if the legitimate and popular government was illegally overthrown, one possible scenario would be internal fragmentation into warlord-presided ‘emirates’ where Saudi Arabia and Qatar would divide the spoils. When it comes to Iraq, the country is rapidly fracturing into three de-facto independent entities comprising the Kurds, Sunnis, and Shias, with the US, Saudi Arabia, and Iran exerting influence, respectively.

his_majesty_sultan_qaboos

Despite the appearances of a détente between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, it might be premature to say that all problems have been resolved. The future of GCC member Oman after the passing of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said could open a new rupture between the two, since he’s ruled the country since 1970 and hasn’t publicly designated a successor.

The Omani Wildcard

Many media outlets have been speculating about this in the past week, not only because the elderly Sultan has been in Germany since July for medical treatment, but also because Oman was hosting informal talks related to Iran’s nuclear program. If there’s a smooth transition of power and another Sultan ascends to the throne, then the Saudis won’t have an issue, but if things get more complicated and Islamic political forces agitate for representation (backed by Qatar), then the whole Riyadh-Doha reconciliation would collapse. Any kind of destabilization there could possibly result in a Saudi military intervention, either in the shades of Bahrain where it helped prop up a fellow monarchy, or a ‘reverse Bahrain’ where it would intervene against an Islamist government to restore the monarchy to power.

Save for unexpected developments in Oman, though, it looks like Qatar and Saudi Arabia have neatly divided the Mideast and North Africa between themselves, and the Muslim world might be witnessing the making of a new and wider iteration of Sykes-Picot, and just as equally undemocratic.

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Image: File photo shows Afghan children waiting with their water canisters in the town of Bareekab, some 30 kilometers north of the capital city of Kabul.

The United Nations says nearly 8,000 Afghan civilians have been killed or wounded this year in the US-led war.

On Wednesday, Mark Bowden, the UN humanitarian coordinator, appealed for USD 405 million to cover the costs of humanitarian programs for Afghan people in 2015.

More than 100,000 people have been forced from their homes in Afghanistan while 4,000 families are currently facing a tough time without adequate housing as winter is approaching, Bowden said.

Half a million Afghan children die each year of preventable disease across the war-torn country, he added.

Some 1.2 million children are “acutely malnourished” and food insecurity affects almost eight million people in Afghanistan, the UN coordinator said.

Elsewhere in his comments, Bowden raised concerns over the presence of some 225,000 Pakistani refugees in Afghanistan, saying it has added to the country’s humanitarian problems.

Last year, the UN demanded USD 406 million in aid for Afghanistan, but only received USD 237 million.

The United States, Britain, and their allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, as part of their so-called war on terror. Although the offensive removed the Taliban from power, insecurity remains across the country.

The Taliban militants have stepped up their attacks against the Afghan government, foreign forces and civilians. The group has vowed to escalate the attacks on Afghan forces and US-led troops, their bases, diplomatic missions and vehicle convoys before the foreign forces exit the country at the end of this year.

The Afghan parliament recently approved the controversial Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Afghanistan and the US, which allows foreign troops to remain in the country beyond 2014.

Outgoing Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) chairman Phil Bryant — Mississippi’s Republican Governor — started his farewell address with a college football joke at IOGCC’s recent annual conference in Columbus, Ohio.

“As you know, I love SEC football. Number one in the nation Mississippi State, number three in the nation Ole Miss, got a lot of energy behind those two teams,” Bryant said in opening his October 21 speech. “I try to go to a lot of ball games. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it and somebody’s gotta be there.”

Seconds later, things got more serious, as Bryant spoke to an audience of oil and gas industry executives and lobbyists, as well as state-level regulators.

At the industry-sponsored convening, which I attended on behalf of DeSmogBlog, it was hard to tell the difference between industry lobbyists and regulators. The more money pledged by corporations, the more lobbyists invitedinto IOGCC’s meeting.

Perhaps this is why Bryant framed his presentation around “where we are headed as an industry,” even though officially a statesman and not an industrialist, before turning to his more stern remarks.

“I know it’s a mixed blessing, but if you look at some of the pumps in Mississippi, gasoline is about $2.68 and people are amazed that it’s below $3 per gallon,” he said.

“And it’s a good thing for industry, it’s a good thing for truckers, it’s a good thing for those who move goods and services and products across the waters and across the lands and we’re excited about where that’s headed.”

Bryant then discussed the flip side of the “mixed blessing” coin.

“Of course the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale has a little problem with that, so as with most things in life, it’s a give and take,” Bryant stated. “It’s very good at one point and it’s helping a lot of people, but on the other side there’s a part of me that goes, ‘Darn! I hate that oil’s dropping, I hate that it’s going down.’ I don’t say that out-loud, but just to those in this room.”

Tuscaloosa Marine Shale’s “little problem” reflects a big problem the oil and gas industry faces — particularly smaller operators involved with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) — going forward.

That is, fracking is expensive and relies on a high global price of oil. A plummeting price of oil could portend the plummetting of many smaller oil and gas companies, particularly those of the sort operating in the Tuscaloosa Marine.

Tuscaloosa and Oil Price

Governor Bryant’s fears about the price of oil are far from unfounded, serving as a rare moment of frank honesty from Mississippi’s chief statesman.

As discussed in Post Carbon Institute‘s recent report, “Drilling Deeper: A Reality Check on U.S. Government Forecasts for a Lasting Tight Oil & Shale Gas Boom,” the fracking industry relies on high oil prices to stay on the drilling treadmill and keep shale fields from going into terminal decline. Further, future projections of shale gas and oil fields are wildly over-inflated, argues the Post Carbon report.

“Other factors that could limit production are public pushback as a result of health and environmental concerns, and capital constraints that could result from lower oil or gas prices or higher interest rates,” reads a passage in the Post Carbon report. “As such factors have not been included in this analysis, the findings of this report represent a ‘best case’ scenario for market, capital, and political conditions.”

Recent articles published in the business press further highlight the key caveat in the Post Carbon report, as did a recent Halcón Resources Corp investor call that discussed the Tuscaloosa Marine.

“Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, I’m going to do my darndest to make sure that people understand that we’re highly confident and we like the play,” Halcón ResourcesCEO Floyd Wilson said on the call.

“However, it is currently a relatively high-cost play and with currently low crude prices we will not be devoting a significant portion of our resources to TMS in the near term,” Wilson continued. “Having said that the TMS is certainly more susceptible to low oil prices than our other crude plays due to the higher well costs, a tempered approach to drilling in this play in the near term is warranted.”

A recent report published by energy investment firm Tudor, Pickering, Holt &Co., described Tuscaloosa Marine as the shale basin most likely to face severe impacts from the falling price of oil. The Tudor report said that drillers operating in the Tuscaloosa require oil to sell at $70-$90 per barrel for fracking to remain economically viable there.

The $80 Mark

Mississippi does not stand alone in feeling the hurt associated with a drop in the global oil trading price.

Bloomberg reported that companies operating in Utah and Texas have already slowed down drilling as a result of the high oil prices they had previously relied upon. In total, 19 U.S. shale plays will no longer be profitable if the price of oil continues to fall.

“Everybody is trying to put a very happy spin on their ability to weather $80 oil, but a lot of that is just smoke,” Dan Dicker, president of MercBloc, said in aninterview with Bloomberg. “The shale revolution doesn’t work at $80, period.”

Not all industry insiders, however, are trying to spin things.

Ralph Eads, a life-long friend of former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon and global head of energy investment banking at Jefferies LLC, agrees with Dicker’s assessment.

“If prices go to $80 or lower, which I think is possible, then we are going to see a reduction in drilling activity,” Eads told Bloomberg. “It will be uncharted territory.”

As of November 25, 2014, the price of Brent oil has fallen to $78.33.

Image Credit: Nasdaq

Image Credit: Nasdaq

Wall Street Journal article from late October concurred with others who said the Tuscaloosa will take a beating with the fall of the price of oil. But it also concluded that for operators in many other more prolific shale basins like theBakken Shale and Eagle Ford Shale, $60 per barrel is the break even point, not $80.

One Mississippi, Two Mississippi…

To the smaller companies operating in the Tuscaloosa, recent oil pricing developments are likely no laughing matter.

But that didn’t stop Governor Bryant from cracking a joke to conclude his presentation at the IOGCC annual meeting.

In politics, as with Internet memes, ideas don’t spread because they are good—they spread because they are good at spreading. One of the most virulent ideas in Internet regulation in recent years has been the idea that if a social problem manifests on the Web, the best thing that you can do to address that problem is to censor the Web.

It’s an attractive idea because if you don’t think too hard, it appears to be a political no-brainer. It allows governments to avoid addressing the underlying social problem—a long and costly process—and instead simply pass the buck to Internet providers, who can quickly make whatever content has raised rankles “go away.” Problem solved! Except, of course, that it isn’t.

Amongst the difficult social problems that Web censorship is often expected to solve are terrorism, child abuse and copyright and trade mark infringement. In recent weeks some further cases of this tactic being vainly employed against such problems have emerged from the United Kingdom, France and Australia.

UK Court Orders ISPs to Block Websites for Trade Mark Infringement

In a victory for luxury brands and a loss for Internet users, the British High Court last month ordered five of the country’s largest ISPs to block websites selling fake counterfeit goods. Whilst alarming enough, this was merely a test case, leading the way for a reported 290,000websites to be potentially targeted in future legal proceedings.

Do we imagine for a moment that, out of a quarter-million websites, none of them are false positives that actually sell non-infringing products? (If websites blocked for copyright infringement or pornography are any example, we know the answer.) Do we consider it a wise investment to tie up the justice system in blocking websites that could very easily be moved under a different domain within minutes?

The reason this ruling concerns us is not that we support counterfeiting of manufactured goods. It concerns us because it further normalizes the band-aid solution of content blocking, and deemphasises more permanent and effective solutions that would target those who actually produce the counterfeit or illegal products being promoted on the Web.

Britain and France Call on ISPs to Censor Extremist Content

Not content with enlisting major British ISPs as copyright and trade mark police, they have also recently been called upon to block extremist content on the Web, and to provide a button that users can use to report supposed extremist material. Usual suspects Google, Facebook and Twitter have also been roped by the government to carry out blocking of their own. Yet to date no details have been released about how these extrajudicial blocking procedures would work, or under what safeguards of transparency and accountability, if any, they would operate.

This fixation on solving terrorism by blocking websites is not limited to the United Kingdom. Across the channel in France, a new “anti-terrorism” law that EFF reported on earlier was finally passed this month. The law allows websites to be blocked if they “condone terrorism.” “Terrorism” is as slippery a concept in France as anywhere else. Indeed France’s broad definition of a terrorist act has drawn criticism from Human Rights Watch for its legal imprecision.

Australian Plans to Block Copyright Infringing Sites

Finally—though, sadly, probably not—reports last week suggest that Australia will be next to follow the example of the UK and Spain in blocking websites that host or link to allegedly copyright material, following on from a July discussion paper that mooted this as a possible measure to combat copyright infringement.

How did this become the new normal? When did politicians around the world lose the will to tackle social problems head-on, and instead decide to sweep them under the rug by blocking evidence of them from the Web? It certainly isn’t due to any evidence that these policies actually work. Anyone who wants to access blocked content can trivially do so, using software like Tor.

Rather, it seems to be that it’s politically better for governments to be seen as doing something to address such problems, no matter how token and ineffectual, than to do nothing—and website blocking is the easiest “something” they can do. But not only is blocking not effective, it is actively harmful—both at its point of application due to the risk of over-blocking, but also for the Internet as a whole, in the legitimization that it offers to repressive regimes to censor and control content online.

Like an overused Internet meme that deserves to fade away, so too it is time that courts and regulators moved on from website blocking as a cure for society’s ills. If we wish to reduce political extremism, cut off the production of counterfeits, or prevent children from being abused, then we should be addressing those problems directly—rather than by merely covering up the evidence and pretending they have gone away.

Israel’s Model of Political Despair in Jerusalem

November 26th, 2014 by Jonathan Cook

Relations between Israelis and Palestinians have descended into a dangerous melee of tit-for-tat attacks and killings, with the violence of the past few weeks centred on Jerusalem. The city, claimed by Israel as its “undivided capital”, has been torn apart by clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian residents since the summer, when 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burnt alive by Jewish extremists.

Subsequent attacks by Palestinians culminated last week in a shooting and stabbing spree by two cousins at a synagogue that killed four Jews and an Israeli policeman. In this atmosphere, both sides have warned that the political conflict is mutating into a religious one.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, cautioned that Israel’s intensified efforts to extend its control over the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, including by imposing severe restrictions on Muslim worship,risked plunging the region into “a detrimental religious war.”

Yoram Cohen, the head of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence service, concurred. He warned last week that Israel was stoking religious discord by encouraging Jews to pray at the site over rabbinical objections.

But despite these warnings, the Israeli government announced today it was drafting a law that would ban Muslim guards on the esplanade, making it yet easier for Jews to visit.

Government ministers, meanwhile, accused Abbas of religious “incitement” and masterminding the violence in Jerusalem.

Ari Shavit, an influential Israeli analyst, also blamed what he termed an emerging “holy war” not on oppressive Israeli policies, but on the spread of an Islamist extremism.

Shavit and other Israelis have preferred to overlook the obvious parallels between last week’s killings and an even graver incident 20 years ago. Then, Baruch Goldstein, a Jewish settler, entered the Ibrahimi mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron in his Israeli army captain’s uniform and opened fire on Muslim worshippers, killing 29 and wounding 125.

One can only wonder why the timeline for Shavit’s holy war did not extend back to Goldstein’s massacre, or include the waves of attacks, including arson, by settlers on Muslim and Christian places of worship ever since.

Israel’s responses to these two massacres are more helpful in illuminating the fundamental causes of the recent surge in violence.

In Hebron, Palestinians rather than the settlers paid the price for Goldstein’s slaughter. Israel divided the Ibrahimi mosque to create a Jewish prayer space and effectively shut down Hebron’s commercial centre, displacing thousands of Palestinian residents.

Instead of pulling out of the settlers from the occupied territories following the massacre, Israel allowed their numbers to grow at record pace.

Although the anti-Arab Kach group Goldstein belonged to was outlawed, it has continued to operate openly in the settlements, including in Jerusalem. Goldstein’s tomb, next to Hebron, is a site of pilgrimage for thousands of religious Jews.

Palestinians, not Israelis, are again the ones suffering, this time after last week’s synagogue attack.

Israel has begun demolishing the homes of those involved in recent attacks, and is drafting laws to jail stone-throwers for up to 20 years and harshly penalise the parents of those too young to be jailed themselves.

On Sunday the interior minister revoked the Jerusalem residency of a Palestinian convicted of driving a suicide bomber into Tel Aviv 13 years ago – a prelude, according to prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to many more such revocations.

Israel is also preparing to relax gun controls to allow thousands more Israeli Jews to carry weapons at a time when Palestinian taxi and bus drivers in Jerusalem say they are being regularly assaulted. Last week a bus driver died in mysterious circumstances, which Palestinians suspect was a lynching.

It should be no surprise that Jerusalem is the eye of the storm. For more than a decade it has served as a laboratory for the Israeli right to experiment with a model of political despair designed to make Palestianians either submit or leave.

House demolitions for Palestinians and settlement building for Jews, brutal policing and the encouragement of crime as a way to recruit collaborators are happening faster and more aggressively in Jerusalem than anywhere else in the occupied territories.

Since the second intifada erupted in 2000, East Jerusalem has been a political orphan. Israel expelled the Palestinian Authority, and jailed or deported Hamas leaders as they tried to fill the vacuum. Since then, Palestinians in Jerusalem have been defenceless against Israel’s intrigues.

Netanyahu and the right have made little secret of their wish to export a similar model to the West Bank, gradually eroding what control the PA still enjoys. But the spiralling violence in Jerusalem has exposed the paradox at the heart of their strategy.

Palestinian anger in the West Bank is every bit as intense as in Jerusalem but Abbas’ security forces still have the will and, just barely, the upper hand to keep a lid on it.

In Jerusalem, on the other hand, protesters face off directly with Israeli police. Because the city lacks organised Palestinian groups, the security services have been unable to penetrate them with collaborators. Instead Israel has been caught off guard by unpredictable attacks as individual Palestinians reach their breaking point.

By refusing to recognise any Palestinian national claims in Jerusalem, Netanyahu has forced the population to recast the conflict in religious terms. Unable to identify politically with either Fatah or Hamas, Jerusalem’s Palestinians have found powerful consolation in a religious struggle to counter the mounting threats to Al-Aqsa.

From this perspective, Netanyahu’s continuing efforts to weaken and undermine Abbas and the PA appear strategically self-destructive. Without them, the West Bank will go the way of Jerusalem – an ever more unmanageable colonial conflict that risks heading towards religious conflagration.

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

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

ASEAN Economic Community – Why, For What, and By Whom

November 26th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

On TV, upon the magazine rack, in schools, and on billboards around the country, the coming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is being heralded everywhere across Southeast Asia.

Upon ASEAN’s official website, the AEC is described as:

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) shall be the goal of regional economic integration by 2015. AEC envisages the following key characteristics: (a) a single market and production base, (b) a highly competitive economic region, (c) a region of equitable economic development, and (d) a region fully integrated into the global economy.

The AEC is an unquestionable inevitability – and more alarmingly – an inevitability absolutely none of the many hundreds of millions of Southeast Asian citizens have asked for, voted for, or have any direct say in regards to. So inevitable is AEC’s unfurling in 2015, that few have even bothered to ask “why?” “for what?” and “by whom?”

A Cheap EU Knock-Off Destined for Catastrophic Failure  

If AEC’s premise as described by ASEAN itself sounds suspiciously similar to the European Union (EU), that’s because it is. It is not only driven by the same immense global spanning corporate-financier special interests that consolidated Europe’s economies, currencies, and institutions, but for the very same goal of collectively looting the region if and when it is successfully consolidated.

The EU now writhes in debt, endless proxy wars fought on behalf of Wall Street and London, and socioeconomic strife caused by EU regulations forced upon various populations against their will. While it was always difficult for citizens of respective European nations to have their voice truly represented within the halls of their own respective national governments, it is more difficult still for the EU’s ruling elite assembled in Brussels to be held accountable and made to actually work for the  European people.

Instead, the EU serves the immense corporate-financier interests that cobbled this supranational consolidation together in the first place. The European people were not allowed to vote on entering into the EU, and those that did repeatedly voted against it until threats, economic extortion, and propaganda finally succeeded in overcoming resistance. In Southeast Asia, nothing of the sort has even been proposed, and most Southeast Asians are oblivious to what ASEAN and the AEC even represent. Like the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) incursion into Asia during the late 1990’s, it won’t be until catastrophic failure has already swallowed the whole of Southeast Asia that people begin to realize what has been foisted upon them.

Already, many across Southeast Asia are being effected by bilateral free-trade agreements (FTAs) that allow local markets to be flooded by cheap foreign goods. Socioeconomic disparity, even across Southeast Asia and greater Asia itself can devastate communities and industries already just barely making do. Special interests driven to ink FTAs generally make no provisions to prepare local markets about to be devastated, and no provisions after FTAs take demonstrable tolls. FTAs inked by ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra with China, for example, devastated Thai farmers when cheaper Chinese produce flooded Thai markets. Some farmers including those who grew garlic, were driven almost entirely out of business.

The AEC will multiply this by creating similar conditions across all industries and between all of ASEAN’s members. Additionally, the AEC then seeks to integrate ASEAN into the greater “global economy,” or in other words, FTAs with the US and EU. Industries just emerging in each respective ASEAN member state will be utterly crushed, bought out, or overrun by foreign corporate-financier monopolies. For local tycoons laboring under the delusions that somehow there is a place around the “global elite’s” table for them, the current state of the EU should serve as a cautionary reminder that indeed, no there is not.

Why, For What, and By Whom?

435353

In addition to buying out and monopolizing all that resides within Southeast Asia, Wall Street and London desire to use Southeast Asia as a bulwark against China’s rising power. These special interests may have even used the rise of China as a means to extort cooperation from respective ASEAN member states in the creation of the AEC.

Again, those ruling political orders across Southeast Asia need only look at NATO and how each member within that alleged “alliance” is strong-armed into one undesirable, highly destructive, and costly conflict after another – not only in direct opposition of each respective NATO member’s own population, but in opposition of international law and norms.

An ASEAN AEC fleeced by the West and driven as a proxy into the maw of neighboring China would cost everyone – from the general population to the ruling elite of each of ASEAN’s respective member states – just as is seen across the EU.

The dream of consolidating and exploiting Southeast Asia as a single geopolitical bloc against China is a long documented conspiracy the United States and its partners in the United Kingdom have worked on for decades.

As early as the Vietnam War, with the so-called “Pentagon Papers” released in 1969, it was revealed that the conflict was simply one part of a greater strategy aimed at containing and controlling China.

Among many important quotes, is one that outlines the immense regional theater the US was engaged in against China at the time, stating:

“there are three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China (realizing that the USSR “contains” China on the north and northwest): (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.”

While the US would ultimately lose the Vietnam War and any chance of using the Vietnamese as a proxy force against Beijing, the long war against Beijing would continue elsewhere. The use of Southeast Asia as a consolidated front against China would continue on up to and including until today.

This containment strategy would be updated and detailed in the 2006 Strategic Studies Institute report “String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China’s Rising Power across the Asian Littoral”where it outlines China’s efforts to secure its oil lifeline from the Middle East to its shores in the South China Sea as well as means by which the US can maintain American hegemony throughout the Indian and Pacific Ocean. The premise is that, should Western foreign policy fail to entice China into participating in Wall Street and London’s “international system” as responsible stakeholders, an increasingly confrontational posture must be taken to contain the rising nation. The use of nations in Southeast Asia to check China’s regional power plays chief among this posture.

Other US policymakers have articulated the use of Southeast Asia as a proxy against China in more direct terms. Neo-Conservative, pro-war policymaker Robert Kagan in his 1997 piece titled “What China Knows That We Don’t: The Case for a New Strategy of Containment,” noted:

Chinese leaders worry that they will “play Gulliver to Southeast Asia’s Lilliputians, with the United States supplying the rope and stakes.

Kagan would later serve as an adviser to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who would herself declare a campaign to do just that – supply Southeast Asia with “rope and stakes.” Called the “pivot to Asia,” Clinton would make a hegemonic declaration in Foreign Policy magazine titled, “America’s Pacific Century,” stating that:

…the United States has moved to fully engage the region’s multilateral institutions, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, mindful that our work with regional institutions supplements and does not supplant our bilateral ties. There is a demand from the region that America play an active role in the agenda-setting of these institutions — and it is in our interests as well that they be effective and responsive.

Clinton’s reference to America playing “an active role in the agenda-setting of these institutions,” referring to ASEAN and APEC, and the rest of her very lengthy editorial reflect a nearly verbatim update of Kagan’s 1997 piece – if only stated a bit more diplomatically than Kagan’s very straight forward “containment of China” proposal. One must wonder how anyone could learn of America’s desire to set the agenda of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and not immediately identify overt aspirations of extraterritorial neo-imperialism.

As part of this desire to set the agenda for Southeast Asia, the US has worked hard through its various NGOs to manipulate, influence, and outright overthrow the political orders in place across the region in order to install compliant regimes that reflect America’s goal of consolidating and commandeering theses nations both to wholesale loot them economically, and in pursuit of its containment strategy versus China.

There’s a Reason the AEC is not up for Debate 

Clearly, if the AEC’s implementation is merely the consolidation and exploitation of the peoples and resources of Southeast Asia, the process of its implementation will neither be up for debate, nor put to a vote. While the United States and the many overly optimistic proponents of the AEC ceaselessly harp upon the tenants of “democracy” and “human rights,” these most basic concepts have been utterly absent in the creation of this new supranational bloc.

The people of Southeast Asia did not ask for ASEAN nor the AEC. Much of what both represent are in fact openly opposed by many grassroots movements across the region – not to mention by many around the world. There is a reason the AEC is not up for debate and an endless torrent of full spectrum propaganda is undulating the media in efforts to market the AEC to the general public – no one would buy it otherwise.

In a democratic society, the people are to vote and in return are to be represented by those they voted for. These representatives are to take the needs and desires of the people and turn them into local, national, and international policy. Instead, the AEC represents a conspiracy cobbled together by special interests and then dishonestly marketed toward the general public to accept. In other words, it represents democracy in reverse – it is the supposed representatives telling the people what they “want” rather than the people telling their representatives what to do. Democracy in reverse could also be defined as “dictatorship” – and in that regard, ASEAN and its AEC would not be a national dictatorship, but rather a supranational one magnifying the abuses and ramifications of such abuses accordingly.

For this reason, whether one is a conservative nationalist or a liberal democrat, the idea of an AEC forced upon the people without their input, consent, or even expressed desire for such a system should be appalling and surely protested against. However, many must already know that such protests would be futile. But this futility itself only further exposes the unwarranted influence and power that truly drives the AEC’s undemocratic and intolerable implementation.

Instead, it will be up to groups within each respective ASEAN member, and up to each community within to expose, boycott, and replace with local alternatives both the national and multinational special interests involved. While such a campaign will be difficult, the only other choice is to do nothing and suffer the same indignation, socioeconomic decay, and perpetual war the EU now suffers. The people of Southeast Asia have many advantages including the advantage of time on their side to mitigate a repeat of the EU’s slow-motion collapse – but it is only an advantage if people begin acting now.

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

New government figures collated by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), show that the UK approved £7 million worth of military licences to Israel during the six months leading up to the recent bombing of Gaza. The licences, include components for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones), combat aircrafts, targeting equipment and weapon sights.

According to official sources, 2,127 Gazans were killed (including 513 children) and 10,895 were wounded. The UN reported that 70% of the Palestinian casualties were civilians.  On 5 August, OCHA stated that 520,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip been displaced, of whom 485,000 needed emergency food assistance and 273,000 were taking shelter in 90 UN-run schools. 17,200 Gazan homes were totally destroyed or severely damaged, and 37,650 homes suffered damage.

A former British Foreign Office minister has described the stance of the Cameron government during the Israeli land and air assault as “morally indefensible”.

Andrew Smith from CAAT, has said:

“Right up until the eve of the bombing the UK was supporting licences for the same kinds of weapons that Vince Cable’s own review found are likely to have been used against the people of Gaza.”

“Unfortunately it would not have been the first time UK weapons were used by Israel. The public was rightly shocked by this summer’s bombardment.

That is why the UK must announce an embargo on all arms sales to Israel and an end to military collaboration.

Debunking Netanyahu’s Propaganda on Jerusalem

November 26th, 2014 by Micha Kurz

This short piece of inflammatory propaganda below has been circulated by the Israeli Prime Minister’s office. It is dangerous and should be explained and put into context urgently:

1. The Temple Mount is not in a bubble, it is in Jerusalem/AlQuds (this much you know). But did you know:

2. If you are not Jewish in Jerusalem you do not have citizenship and do not have the right to vote for government. Palestinians have residency and although the majority of families have been stewards of the city for generations they do not have the right to vote for any national government.

3. Jerusalem Al/Quds is the largest Palestinian metropolis and capital, but as a central business district it has been cut off from the workforce in the suburbs — causing over 5,000 business to close in just one decade (since the Wall was built) and in some area’s causing unemployment rates to rise over 75%.

4.  It is illegal for the first time in over 2,000 years to sell fruits and vegetables from local farmlands in the old city market. Instead, Palestinian shop owners are forced to sell imported Israeli Tnuva products, a militarily captive market, not a “free market”.

5. Israel has used age old divide and conquer tactics to boot the historic political leadership out of town and construct the 24 foot high wall which has fragmented the city. Approximately 30% of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents live on the other side of the wall. Thus, they receive no municipal services but continue to pay taxes so as not to lose their legal status as a resident of the city.

6. Israel has withheld civil services to non-Jewish (Palestinian) neighborhoods systematically for decades, leading to mass home demolitions, inaccessible healthcare and poor to no educational opportunities. The Palestinian Authority has no jurisdiction in Jerusalem.  No political body is designed to argue on behalf of over 360,000 Palestinians in the largest Palestinian city. Long term plans about anything from waste-management to playgrounds to healthcare do not have a political address.

7. Instead: The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) coordinate civil service provision through International NGOs in Palestinian Jerusalem. So, in other words:

a- Mostly western, short term NGO employees, accountable to a boss not an elected representative decide the fate of the city and its Palestinian inhabitants.

b- Services provided through humanitarian programs administered as if to a natural disaster use most often annual programs and funding.  No one discusses long term employment, health care, education, master planing needs in the largest metropolis and capital. Leaving the planing playing field empty for Zionist colonialist groups to move full speed ahead with expansion plans.

8. Netanyahu guaranties the right for Jewish Israeli citizens to live anywhere in Jerusalem, and indeed over to 250,000 now live on occupied and stolen Palestinian lands east of the green line. However for young Palestinian families it is legally and economically practically impossible to purchase an apartment in Israeli neighborhoods and settlements in Jerusalem.  While no new Palestinian neighbourhood has been built since 1967, consecutive Israeli governments support Jewish supremacist group to push Palestinian families from homes in almost every Palestinian neighbourhood in Jerusalem.

9. The Israeli government at best turns a blind eye towards, or at worst actively supports, Jewish supremacist youth groups to spread racist propaganda, regularly enabling incitement to reach new peak levels all over downtown Jerusalem.

Israeli policy since this summer is designed to “Hebronize” Jerusalem; to bring it to such peak tension and violence that the Temple Mount Noble Sanctuary, the most holy of places for Palestinians will shut down, as described by Netanyahu- “equally”, so that it can be reopened “equally” to government supported Jewish supremacists who are openly planing to build the 3rd Jewish temple to replace it. Palestinians are not permitted to visit let alone pray at the Western Wall, also known as Hait AlBuraq- where the Prophet Mohammed’s winged horse took flight to the seventh heaven.

10. If you still think this is about peace and coexistence between two peoples – get over it. Peace is an empty, useless word here.

Indeed Jerusalem/AlQuds can be one of the most amazing cosmopolitan metropolis capitals of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, but not until FREEDOM of movement is restored, EQUALITY guaranteed and JUSTICE is valued for all by all.

I feel compelled to clarify this because while what is happening in Jerusalem should not be considered genocide, it sure as hell- is gradual ethnic cleansing. Contrary to (successfully decreasing) global common belief, Israeli policies are neither democratic nor Jewish. If at all, it is a democracy for Jews… and even so, a system inherently racist to nonwhite Jews.

I write this as a proud Jewish Jerusalemite, but a very embarrassed Israeli. EVERYONE HERE DESERVES BETTER, but there is a colonial arms industry in the way of our happiness!

Unspoken inspiring Palestinian leaders choose to participate. They are active in every neighbourhood in Jerusalem on both sides of the wall to revive a heritage and remain here, knowing that existing is resisting… the definition of unarmed resistance.

They live and work under hypocritical international double standards, an unforgiving media magnifying, searching, highlighting any Palestinian violence, while Israel arms 18 year olds to control a civilian population and forgives routine massacres in Gaza and systematic race based policies across the Holy Land.

Tragically it’s a reality that millions are missing. Even more tragic than that, unless we, as in you, me and the rest of us step up now to participate and demand an end to race based policies and a free Jerusalem…. it is a historic and sacred city that will not be here for much longer…

Start with BDS, and as my friend and Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb says: Do a mitzvah, end the occupation!

Micha Kurz was born and raised in Israeli Jerusalem, after his military service he was one of the co-founders of Breaking the Silence and has since worked with numerous human rights organizations including ICAHD and Ta’ayush. He co-founded and works at Grassroots AlQuds, a platform for community based mobilization and advocacy, developed to map, network and amplify Palestinian community and activist voices in Al-Quds and around the world. He works for an open cosmotropilis Jerusalem, free of racist systemic oppression. He wouldn’t be caught dead in a uniform ever again, unless it was a rainbow one.

“Kryptos” (1990), by James Sanborn, a sculpture containing a message encoded with frequency tables, located at the CIA’s New Headquarters Building. (Photo credit: CIA)

Washington, D.C.  The CIA’s reactions to the November 22, 1963, assassination of President John F. Kennedy — 51 years ago this week — went from initial shock to suspicions of Soviet or Cuban involvement, to increasingly bureaucratic concerns such as the desire to establish a positive “bond” with incoming President Lyndon Johnson, according to a newly declassified internal CIA article published for the first time today by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org).

Fears that Moscow might have masterminded the president’s killing rose sharply when the CIA was unable to locate Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev for 24-48 hours afterwards.  Agency officials worried  that he was “either hunkering down for an American reprisal, or possibly preparing to strike the United States.”

This article is one of several from the CIA’s Studies in Intelligence in-house journal that the agency released as a result of litigation by a former CIA official against his former employer.  It appears today as part of an update to a compilation of similar articles the National Security Archive posted in June 2013.

The documents, both those from the original posting as well as the more recent ones, provide insider perspective and accounts of a variety of topics, including:

  • The Presidential ban against CIA assassinations of foreign leaders, first enacted in 1976, which reflected both moral and practical reasons but never spelled out the exact scope of the prohibition
  • A proposal for a far more draconian version of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act – including secret courts for intelligence officers accused of violating that law and criminalizing any revelation or purported revelation of a covert intelligence officer’s identity. (Document 10)
  • A description of how President Kennedy ordered Director of Central Intelligence John McCone to halt his effort to launch a second investigation of the actions of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers — who had been shot down during a May 1, 1960 overflight of the Soviet Union. (Document 14)
  • An account of how CIA and Army intelligence analyses in the late 1970s indicated that the U.S. had significantly underestimated North Korean military strength — and derailed President Carter’s plan to withdraw U.S. ground forces from South Korea. (Document 5)
  • A description of the evolution of the CIA’s role in counterterrorism — with the Directorate of Operations initially being the primary component dealing with terrorist issues, and the Directorate of Intelligence eventually emerging in a leading role. (Document 23)
  • A 2004 interview with current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan. (Document 20)
  • An account of the origins of the CIA’s first human intelligence organization — the Office of Special Operations (Document 16).
  • The recollections of Michael J. Morell, who would go on to become Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, of September 11, 2001, which he spent with President Bush. (Document 22).
  • A description of the origins and applications of U.S. nuclear intelligence by Henry Lowenhaput, whose career in the field lasted for six decades. (Document 18).

The CIA began publishing Studies in Intelligence in 1955 to help build an understanding within the agency of the intelligence profession based on the insights and recollections of practitioners. The items in today’s updated posting fall into a number of categories — legal issues, intelligence analysis, CIA-NSA relations, counterintelligence, interviews, intelligence support and liaison, ‘denied in their entirety,’ the Kennedy assassination, and odds & ends.

New Revelations from Studies in Intelligence Articles

By Dr. Jeffrey T. Richelson

Image, right: Sherman Kent, the “father of intelligence analysis,” with the inaugural issue of Studies in Intelligence. (Photo credit: CIA)

In 1955, at the suggestion of Sherman Kent, the head of the Board of National Estimates, the CIA launched a classified journal, titled Studies in Intelligence, “to promote a sense of professional identity, enhance proficiency, and build knowledge of intelligence cumulatively from the shared insights of its practitioners.”1 The journal soon evolved into a quarterly containing articles whose classification, with rare exceptions, ranged from Unclassified to Secret. While the articles are not official statements of CIA or federal government views or policy, they do represent the thinking and recollections of an assortment of intelligence professionals.

Eventually, the CIA began declassifying some of the articles and releasing them to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In 1992, the agency also published its first unclassified edition of Studies — available to anyone interested. In 2002, the CIA began posting on its website unclassified articles from classified issues of Studies — a practice that continues to this day.

Today, information about and copies of Studies articles can be found on the CIA website – in addition to the 1992 and beyond material. They appear in an index of declassified articles (which apparently only lists articles declassified by the CIA at its initiative); other indices which allow direct access to some of the declassified articles; and the CREST/Electronic Reading Room collection. Apparently not available electronically are articles that have been declassified in response to FOIA/Mandatory Declassification Requests or litigation.

FOIA/MDR and Litigation

Over the last decade, the author filed a series of FOIA requests, starting with a 2002 request for tables of contents of 1997-2002 issues of Studies as well as any unclassified articles that appeared in those issues. (As noted above, the CIA did not post unclassified articles from classified issues until sometime in 2002). Subsequent requests covered tables of contents for 1985-1996, and years subsequent to 2003. Tables of contents for those and other years were also obtained via litigation by the National Security Counselors organization.2

Classified articles of interest whose titles appeared in the declassified tables of contents were then requested under the FOIA. Today’s collection consists of articles obtained from those requests as well as some of the unclassified articles obtained from the 2002 request.

The first posting would have been more extensive had the CIA not denied, over a period of two years, requests (in their entirety) for 17 of 20 articles.3 Four of those articles have since been released as the result of lawsuit on behalf of Jeffrey Scudder a former CIA employee who had filed a FOIA request for hundreds of articles — an act that apparently cost him his job.

The Posted Articles

The 26 posted articles in this briefing book can be grouped into a number of categories — legal issues, intelligence analysis, CIA-NSA relations, counterintelligence, interviews, intelligence support and liaison, ‘denied in their entirety,’ the Kennedy assassination, and odds & ends.

LEGAL

John Brennan, currently CIA director, previously served as director of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center. (Photo credit: CIA)

Legal issues covered in these Studies articles include prepublication review, the protection of the identities of U.S. intelligence officers, and assassination. The prepublication review process is treated (Document 24) by a former Directorate of Intelligence representative to the Publications Review Board, who offers an anodyne view of the process and an extensive list of “myths and realities.”4

The protection of intelligence officer identities is the subject of two articles. One (Document 11) provides a history of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) — from initial proposals, through opposition and revisions, to final passage. Another (Document 10) suggests that the legislation did not go nearly far enough. Thus, the author, who served as a law clerk in the CIA’s Office of General Counsel, asks: “if an intelligence officer may sign away his First Amendment right to free speech, then cannot the same officer also contract away his Sixth Amendment right to a public court?”

With respect to journalists, the author also suggests removing the limitations of the IIPA in prosecuting those who reveal the identity of a covert intelligence officer. While numerous newspapers and books have stated that the IIPA prohibits such disclosure, it actually only prohibits the disclosure by those who have had authorized access to such an identity (e.g. John Kiriakou) or who engage in a “pattern of activities” which seek to undermine/expose the U.S. intelligence effort.5The author suggests criminalizing not only any disclosure but any purported disclosure – so that even an erroneous disclosure would be a criminal offense. Further, his suggested wording for amended legislation would seem to leave open the possibility of prosecution for disclosing information that might lead to such identification even if it was not explicit.

A 1996 article (Document 3) is a significant contrast to post-9/11 legal issues concerning targeted killings. Its focus is on the implications of the prohibition on assassination that appeared in President Gerald Ford’s 1976 executive order and subsequent executive orders on intelligence.6 The article addresses the implications with regard to support for paramilitary operations, coup preparations (addressing the specific case of Panama and Gen. Manual Noriega), counterproliferation operations, and even deception operations directed at individuals — which might result in their imprisonment, torture, or execution by their own government. This is in sharp contrast to the discussion of legal issues in the Justice Department’s white paper on targeted killings, which focuses on the legal justification for a targeted killing of a U.S. citizen.

INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS

Four articles deal with various aspects of intelligence analysis. In one case (Document 12), the article focuses on a subject of concern to many intelligence analysts during the Cold War – the cost of Soviet defense programs and the burden they imposed on the Soviet economy. Another (Document 17) examines intelligence analysis related to the Strategic Defense Initiative and successor missile defense programs.

A third article (Document 5), is the result of a CIA-funded study at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard — and illustrates the decades-long difficulty of producing reliable studies and estimates concerning North Korea. It examines the intelligence estimates produced by the CIA and Army concerning North Korean military strength — which significantly altered previous conclusions – and how they ultimately derailed President Carter’s plan to withdraw U.S. ground forces from South Korea.

Also, of contemporary relevance is the article (Document 23) on the inception and evolution of terrorism analysis in the CIA. The author notes that there was little pressure on the agency to produce terrorism analysis during its first quarter-century, and products such as the 1968 special national intelligence estimate, Terrorism and Internal Security in Israel and Jordan “were relative rarities.” The article goes on to describe increasing policy maker interest subsequent to the 1972 murder of Israeli Olympic athletes, and resulting Intelligence Community focus on the issue. He also describes how initially the Directorate of Operations’ clandestine collection activities were the principal element of the CIA’s counterterrorism activities — before the emergence of the Directorate of Intelligence as a key player in that effort.

CIA & NSA

Image, right: James Jesus Angleton, head of counterintelligence and “CIA’s answer to the Delphic Oracle” from 1954-1974. (Photo credit: CIA)

Various works on intelligence have noted both the past competition and present cooperation between the CIA and National Security Agency.7 In “A Brave, New World” (Document 19), the author states that the CIA and NSA “are moving their strategic partnership beyond the optional cooperation of the past into a new era of collaboration,” and notes that the Director of Central Intelligence – George J. Tenet at the time – had viewed much of the success against al-Qaeda and its allies as the “direct result of CIA and NSA working together.”

He goes on to examine the origins of CIA-NSA discomfort in World War II and beyond, barriers to partnership, hints of change, the impact of the September 11, 2001 attacks, tangible results, asks if the partnership would last, and addresses the challenges ahead. Among the challenges identified are the development of joint strategic planning forums, increasing the pace and scope of efforts to find joint solutions to technical problems, and the incorporation of the concerns of line officers.

COUNTERINTELLIGENCE

Two articles address counterintelligence issues during very different portions of the CIA’s history. One (Document 23) addresses the roles of CIA counterintelligence chief (1954-1974) James J. Angleton and KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn in promulgating the thesis of widespread and successful Soviet deception against the West (the “Monster Plot”) and their impact on CIA operations and personnel. Among those whose lives or careers suffered were former KGB officer Alexandr Cherepanov (who was executed after the U.S. embassy returned materials he had provided), Yuri Nosenko (who was incarcerated by the CIA), and CIA officers Richard Kovich and David Murphy, who would each come under suspicion of being a Soviet mole. 8

Another treatment of counterintelligence (Document 21), by former chief of the National Clandestine Service Michael J. Sulick, focuses on counterintelligence in the counterterrorist effort. He argues that, because of how history played out, while counterintelligence failures during the Cold War were never exploited by the Soviet Union to launch attacks, similar failures against terrorist groups could result in “catastrophic” damage. Sulick goes on to discuss several topics: how terrorist groups operate like intelligence services; terrorist attempts to infiltrate their targets; the fact that there are now “more employees to worry about” because “personnel and facilities must also be defended from individuals with minimal or no clearance;” terrorist denial and deception; intelligence sharing; and further steps to be taken.

INTERVIEWS

Image of Document 8 (“Passing the Intelligence Identities Protection Act,” 1982)

Numerous issues of Studies have contained interviews with former or current senior intelligence personnel. In 1999, Studies published an extensive interview with John M. McMahon (Document 14), who joined the CIA in 1951, and eventually became Deputy Director for Operations, Deputy Director for Intelligence, and finally Deputy Director of Central Intelligence before retiring in 1986.

The interview covers his first years with the CIA in Germany, the U-2 program, the battle during the 1960s with the National Reconnaissance Office over satellite reconnaissance systems, a number of his senior positions (including DDO, DDI, and DDCI), relations with Congress, and covert action with regard to Iran and Afghanistan. With regard to U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers (who was shot down in May 1960 over the Soviet Union, captured, and subsequently exchanged), he “did exactly what he was told,” McMahon noted. He went on to state that DCI John McCone was not convinced and planned to have Powers investigated for a second time – by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations – until President John F. Kennedy called McCone and ordered him not to pursue the matter.

The following year, Studies published an interview with then NSA director Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden (Document 15). Hayden spoke, inter alia, about his attempts to bring significant change to NSA, the impact of telecommunications change on NSA ( “our technological adversary is not a nation state but the global telecommunications industry”), the relationship between NSA and CIA, signals intelligence requirements, and limitations on NSA support to military commanders.

In 2004, current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and then-director of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (the predecessor of the National Counterterrorism Center) John Brennan was interviewed by Studies (Document 20) — an interview which focused on terrorism analysis. Brennan noted the TTIC had access to 26 unclassified and classified networks, and discussed whether “counterterrorism analysis” would represent a distinct career track; TTIC organization and practices as a model for the Intelligence Community; the need to break down the distinction between foreign and domestic intelligence; the distribution of terrorism analysis in the Intelligence Community; and information sharing.

Two additional interviews were conducted with former NSA Director and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence William O. Studeman (Document 2) and former NSA Deputy Director William Crowell (Document 1). The interviews focus on both internal Intelligence Community issues as well as public and Congressional attitudes concerning the Intelligence Community.

INTELLIGENCE SUPPORT & LIAISON

Three articles deal with three aspects of intelligence support and liaison. One focuses on intelligence support to Congress, another on support to policymakers, and the third on support to military commanders. In “CIA’s Intelligence Sharing with Congress” (Document 6), the author describes “the phenomenon of the President’s own finished intelligence being used by Congress to question and attack the President’s foreign policy initiatives.” Specific examples include Indochina (during the Nixon administration), the Persian Gulf, and Haiti.

CIA support to executive branch policymakers is the subject of a 1998 article (Document 9), written by a CIA official who spent two years as the agency’s liaison to the State Department’s Ambassador-at-Large for the New Independent States — a position established “to improve the CIA’s ability to understand the policy priorities and concerns of the bureau.” Half of the four-page article is devoted to the author’s specification of six ways in which CIA support for senior policymakers could be improved — which include “living with the customer” and “early bird service.”

Intelligence support to military forces, in the form of National Intelligence Support Teams (NISTs) is the subject of an article (Document 8) in a 1998 issue of Studies. The author reviews the background and operation of NISTs, which combined personnel and provided support from key national and defense intelligence agencies (including CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency) and provide support to commanders of joint task forces such as those involved with Operations UPHOLD DEMOCRACY (Haiti) and JOINT ENDEAVOR (Bosnia). In addition, the author makes a number of suggestions for improvements.

THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION AND THE DCI

The posted article (Document 26) was drawn from a classified history of John McCone’s tenure as Director of Central Intelligence (1961-1965). One part focuses on the initial investigation of a possible conspiracy — domestic or foreign — and McCone’s role. It notes that the CIA’s “inability to locate Nikita Khrushchev right after the assassination especially alarmed McCone and his deputies. The Soviet premier’s apparent absence from Moscow could have meant that he was in a secret command center, either hunkering down for an American reprisal, or possibly preparing to strike the United States.”

‘DENIED IN THEIR ENTIRETY’

What is particularly notable about four of the articles is that they were denied in their entirety by the CIA between 2010 and 2012 in response to FOIA requests — with the agency claiming that there were no releaseable portions either because information was classified or revealed sources and methods. The denied articles concerned a diverse set of topics — intelligence support to the U.S. Transportation Command (Document 4), the founding of the CIA’s human intelligence unit (Document 16), the origins and applications of nuclear intelligence (Document 18), and the recollections of a CIA officer (Document 22) of spending September 11, 2001 with President George W. Bush. An appeal of the denial ofDocument 4 was also denied.

The articles are notable in two ways. One is that they illustrate serious problems with the way the CIA responds to FOIA requests — often denying requests in their entirety based on no objective standard, and often seemingly on factors (such as convenience) other than legitimate FOIA exemptions. An examination of these articles released due to the Scudder lawsuit reveal a multitude of paragraphs that clearly should have been released, many clearly marked as unclassified.
The four articles also provide yet another illustration of the differences between Freedom of Information Act requests and litigation. The prospect of  the CIA having to justify its refusal to release documents, in whole or in part, before a judge often produces a more reasonable response with regard to the release of information.

ODDS & ENDS

Ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, May 1, 2003. (Photo credit: FBI)

Two additional articles concern events separated by over two hundred years. One (Document 7), focuses on Britain’s penetration of the United States diplomatic mission to France during the Revolutionary War. Penetration involved British recruiting of agents with access to mission members, theft of a mission member’s journal and Britain’s control of agents ostensibly operating on behalf of the United States.

In November 1990, at its Langley headquarters, the CIA dedicated an encrypted sculpture named ‘Kryptos’ – a structure with several messages carved into its surface, but messages whose content was concealed through encryption. [Since that time three of the four messages contained in the sculpture have been solved.9 One of the individuals, from the Directorate of Intelligence, in a 1999 article (Document 13) a member of the Directorate of Intelligence describes his work in decrypting the message.

For more information contact:
Jeffrey T. Richelson 202/994-7000 or [email protected]

Updated – November 20, 2014 (Originally Posted – June 4, 2013)


THE DOCUMENTS

Document 1: William Nolte, "An Interview with William P. Crowell, Deputy Director, NSA, Studies in Intelligence 39, 3 (1996). Secret.

Source: Scudder Litigation Release.

This interview with the Deputy Director of NSA, discusses, inter alia, key issues facing the Intelligence Community (which Crowell identifies as including information systems and the volume of NSA collection), the interaction between different intelligence collection techniques, and the declassification of VENONA material (concerning the decryption of Soviet diplomatic communications from the 1940s that identified a large number of U.S. citizens spying for the Soviet Union).

Document 2: William Nolte, "An Interview with Adm. William O. Studeman, Studies in Intelligence, 40, 1 (1996). Secret.

Source: Scudder Litigation Release.

This interview with Studeman, who served as Director of the National Security Agency (1988-1992) and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (1992-1995), covers his early career  and a number of issues — including the problems of interaction with other intelligence agencies, the problem of the Intelligence Community's transition to the post-Soviet world, public and Congressional attitudes toward NSA, and Congressional oversight.

Document 3[Deleted], “Covert Action, Loss of Life and the Prohibition on Assassination, 1976-1996,” Studies in Intelligence, 40, 2 (1996). Classification Not Available.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

In this article, the author examines the effect of the decision no longer to employ assassination as an instrument of U.S. policy, and the issues the prohibition raised with respect to other CIA activities that might result in the loss of life. These include lethal operations that directly risk the loss of life, lethal operations indirectly risking loss of life (e.g. demolition of a facility when it is believed to be unoccupied), and nonlethal operations (e.g. deception) directed at identifiable persons.

Document 4: [Author Name Deleted], “National Intelligence Support to the US Transportation Command,” Studies in Intelligence 40, 2 (1996). Secret.

Source: Scudder Litigation Release.

The U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) was established in 1987 to centralize the Defense Department’s strategic airlift resources. The article explores operations in Somalia, the command’s information requirements, the command’s evolution, Intelligence Community support, connectivity between the Intelligence Community and TRANSCOM’s intelligence component.

Document 5: Joe Wood, “Persuading a President: Jimmy Carter and American Troops in Korea,” Studies in Intelligence, 40, 4 (1996). Classification Not Available.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

During his 1976 presidential campaign, Jimmy Carter promised to withdraw U.S. ground forces from South Korea. This article is the result of a case study prepared at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and funded by the CIA. It reports on the intelligence estimates and studies on North Korean military strength produced early in Carter’s administration, and how those estimates resulted in U.S. forces remaining in South Korea.

Document 6: [Deleted], “CIA’s Intelligence Sharing With Congress,” Studies in Intelligence, 41, 3 (1997). Classification Not Available.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

This short article focuses on “the phenomenon of the President’s own intelligence being used to question and attack the President’s foreign policy initiatives.” Specific cases discussed concern Indochina, the Persian Gulf, and Haiti.

Document 7: [Deleted], “British Penetration of America’s First Diplomatic Mission,” Studies in Intelligence, 41, 4 (1997). Classification Not Available.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

The focus of this article is Britain’s penetration of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Paris during the Revolutionary War. Successes included recruiting several access agents to provide intelligence on mission activities as well as the theft of the journal of mission member Arthur Lee, and the mission’s “recruiting” agents who were actually under British control.

Document 8: Capt. James M. Lose, “The National Intelligence Support Team,” Studies in Intelligence, 42, 1 (1998) . Unclassified.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

The author reviews the background and operation of National Intelligence Support Teams (NISTs) — combining personnel from key national and defense intelligence agencies (including CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency) — which provided support to commanders of joint task forces such as those involved with Operations UPHOLD DEMOCRACY (Haiti) and JOINT ENDEAVOR (Bosnia). In addition, the author makes a number of suggestions for improvements.

Document 9: [Deleted], “Increasing CIA’s Value Added to the Senior Policymaker,” Studies in Intelligence, 42, 2 (1998). Unclassified

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

This article is based on the author’s two years serving as the CIA’s liaison to a State Department component and focuses on his suggestions for increasing the CIA’s value to policymakers — including “living with the customer,” better service for “second tier” officials, one-stop shopping for “the facts,” stronger community partnerships, and “early bird” service.

Document 10: [Deleted], “Legislative and Judicial Safeguards for US Intelligence Personnel,” Studies in Intelligence, 42, 2 (1998). Unclassified.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

The author, who served as a law clerk with the CIA’s Office of the General Counsel, examines the history and enforcement of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), as well as exploring a number of options to enhance the protection of US intelligence personnel — including secret trials, and amending the IIPA to allow criminal penalties for any individual who reveals or purports to reveal the identity of covert intelligence personnel.

Document 11: [Deleted], “Passing the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982,” Studies in Intelligence, 42, 3 (1998). Unclassified

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

This article provides a short history of the background behind the IIPA, the initial proposals for a law criminalizing the revelation of the identify of covert intelligence personnel, the various attempts to pass such legislation, opposition to some proposed provisions, and the ultimate passage of the IIPA.

Document 12: [Deleted], “Analyzing Soviet Defense Program, 1951-1990,” Studies in Intelligence, 42, 3 (1998). Unclassified

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

This article focuses on what was a major concern of some intelligence analysts during the Cold War — determining the actual cost of Soviet defense programs and the burden they placed on the Soviet economy. Among the author’s assertions was that “in every case, the [Intelligence Community] concluded that Soviet economic difficulties would impinge only marginally, if at all, on Soviet defense plans” and that “Only when Gorbachev’s perestroika was foundering was the idea of economic constraints on the defense budget gain a foothold in the national estimates arena, and even then the majority opinion rejected the notion that the USSR would unilaterally reduce its defense spending as it did in 1989.”

Document 13: [Deleted], “Cracking the Courtyard Crypto,” Studies in Intelligence, 43, 1 (1999). Unclassified.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

In 1990, the CIA unveiled a sculpture name “Kryptos” in the agency’s courtyard — a sculpture whose surface was covered with an encrypted message. This article, by a member of the Directorate of Intelligence, describes the process by which he deciphered most of the message.

Document 14: [Deleted], “An Interview with Former DDCI John N. McMahon,” Studies in Intelligence, 43, 1 (1999). Classification Not Available.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

This interview, with John N. McMahon, who joined the CIA in 1951 and served in a variety of positions before he retired in 1986, covers his early days in the agency, the U-2 program, battles over satellite reconnaissance systems, as well as his tours as head of the clandestine service, the intelligence directorate, and as Deputy Director for Central Intelligence. In addition, he discusses the CIA-Congressional relationship as well as covert action with regard to Iran and Afghanistan.

Document 15: [Deleted], “An Interview with NSA Director Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden,” Studies in Intelligence , 44, 1 (2000). Secret/[Deleted]

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

In this interview, Michael Hayden, then the director of the National Security Agency, discusses his attempt to bring significant change to NSA, his belief that “our technological adversary is not a nation state but the global telecommunications industry,” the relationship between NSA and the CIA (also discussed in Document 19), and other topics.

Document 16: Michael Warner and Kevin Ruffner, “The Founding of the Office of Special Operations,” Studies in Intelligence 44, 2 (2000). Secret/Noforn.

Source: Scudder Litigation Release.

This article, written by two CIA historians, focuses on the CIA’s first human intelligence organization — which would be merged in 1952 with the Office of Policy Coordination to form the Directorate of Plans (subsequently the Directorate of Operations and today the National Clandestine Service). It discussed  the early post-World War II development of U.S.  espionage activities, foreign liaison dilemmas, observations by foreign services, and moving from theory to practice. Despite the decades that have passed since the events described, the article has been heavily redacated before release.

Document 17: [Deleted], “Intelligence and US Missile Defense Planning,” Studies in Intelligence, 45, 2 (2001). Classification Not Available.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

After providing a brief introduction to the early origins of missile defense, this article addresses the establishment of the Strategic Defense Initiative, the post-Cold War shift in U.S. missile defense emphasis and the challenges of providing intelligence on threats, technical issues, and foreign reactions.

Document 18: Henry S. Lowenhaupt, “Origins and Applications of Nuclear Intelligence,” 47, 3 (2003). Secret.

Source: Scudder Litigation Release.

This article, written by one of the CIA’s long-time experts on nuclear intelligence, particularly the intelligence on the Soviet nuclear program, explores the early years on the U.S. nuclear intelligence effort. Lowenhaupt discusses nuclear intelligence collection in World War II, the detection of nuclear detonations, tracking airborne radioactivity, seismic technology, acoustic and EMP measurement, measuring plutonium production, environmental collection, as well as the contribution of U-2 and infrared imagery. A number of the sections are heavily redacted and the section on nuclear detection satellites is deleted in its entirety (despite the substantial amount of declassified information on the subject).

Document 19: [Deleted], “A Brave, New World,” Studies in Intelligence, 48, 2 (2004). Classification Not Available .

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

This article addresses the relationship between the CIA and National Security Agency in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It notes the origins of CIA-NSA enmity going back to World War II, barriers that have existed to a partnership between the two agencies, hints of change in the late 1990s, and the impact of 9/11. Its final sections focus on tangible results, the likelihood that the partnership will last, and the challenges ahead.

Document 20: [Deleted], “An Interview with TTIC Director John Brennan,” Studies in Intelligence, 48. 4 (2004). Secret.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

This interview with John Brennan, currently the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, was conducted in 2003 — when he was the director of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (which was subsequently absorbed by the National Counterterrorism Center). Questions include those about the center’s access to intelligence data, counterterrorism analysis as a specialty, the different components of the Intelligence Community involved in counterterrorism analysis, and the division of responsibilities for different aspects of counterterrorism analysis.

Document 21: Michael J. Sulick, “Counterintelligence in the War Against Terrorism,” Studies in Intelligence, 48, 4 (2004). Secret/[Deleted].

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

The author, who served as CIA Associate Deputy Director for Operations and became chief of the National Clandestine Service in 2007, notes that whereas U.S. counterintelligence defeats during the Cold War were never exploited by the Soviet Union in an actual war, terrorists “can immediately exploit information gained through espionage to launch attacks.” He goes on to explore the subjects of “terrorists as intelligence operatives;” “exposing terrorist spies;” “more employees to worry about;” terrorist denial and deception; intelligence sharing; and further actions.

Document 22: Michael J. Morell, “11 September 2001: With President,” Studies in Intelligence, 50, 3 (2006) Secret/Noforn.

Source: Scudder Litigation Release.

This article recounts the author’s experience with President Bush on the day of the al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington. Morell, who subsequently served as Deputy Director of the CIA (2010-2013) begins in the hours before the attack and continues until Morell arrived back in Washington. It focuses less on intelligence and more on the movements and reactions of Bush and others.

Document 23: [Deleted], “Terrorism Analysis in the CIA: The Gradual Awakening (1972-80),” Studies in Intelligence, 51, 1 (2007). Secret.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

This article, after discussing the emergence of terrorism as an international issue, traces the development of terrorism analysis in the CIA from the Truman to Nixon administrations. It covers increased policymaker interest in the subject (particularly following the murder of Israeli Olympic athletes by Palestinian terrorists in 1972), and the resulting increased Intelligence Community interest; the initially ascendant role of the Directorate of Operations; the Directorate of Intelligence’s subsequent larger role in terrorism analysis; and early analytical challenges.

Document 24: [Deleted], “CIA Prepublication Review in the Information Age,” Studies in Intelligence, 55, 3 (September 2011).Confidential.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

The author, who served as the first senior representative of the Directorate of Intelligence on the CIA Publication Review Board (PRB) offers an anodyne view of the publication review process. Topics covered include the origins and evolution of the PRB and review process, the impact of a vast increase in the number of submitted manuscripts, the meaning of the ‘appropriateness’ requirement, and “myths and realities of the process.” Asserted myths included that “the prepublication review process is unfair, arbitrary, capricious” and that “the PRB often doesn’t know what has already been released.”

Document 25: [Deleted], “James J. Angleton, Anatoliy Golitsyn, and the ‘Monster Plot’: Their Impact on CIA Personnel and Operations,” Studies in Intelligence, 55, 4 (December 2011). Secret.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

This article examines the roles of CIA counterintelligence chief James J. Angleton and KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn in the formulation of the “Monster Plot” — which asserted that the Soviet Union had conducted decades-long, massive and successful deception operations against the West, including the use of false defectors and volunteers. It then examines the impact of Angleton and Golitsyn’s thinking on a number of cases and individuals — including Yuriy Nosenko, Lee Harvey Oswald, and several CIA officers who were alleged to be possible Soviet moles.

Document 26: David Robarge, “DCI John McCone and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy,” Studies in Intelligence 57, 3 (September 2013). Secret.

Source: CIA Freedom of Information Act Release.

Director of Central Intelligence John McCone’s actions in the aftermath of the assassination of President Kennedy is the subject of this article, drawn from a classified book on the Mc Cone’s tenure as DCI. It notes that McCone’s first action after hearing that the president had been shot was to visit Robert Kennedy at his home. The remainder of the article discusses  McCone’s oversight of the investigation of a possible conspiracy, his interaction with the Warren Commission, the impact of detection of KGB officer Yuri Nosenko, and his participation in what the author describes as a ‘benign conspiracy.’

NOTES

1. H, Bradford Westerfield, Inside CIA’s Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency’s Internal Journal, 1955-1992 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. vii, xii-xiv.

2. The tables of contents, starting with the initial issue of Studies, can be found at www.nationalsecuritylaw.org. A significant disparity existed between the CIA’s response to the 2010 FOIA request for 1985-1996 tables of contents and their response to National Security Counselors litigation. Approximately 130 more titles were released in response to litigation than to the author’s FOIA request. Some of the titles not released in response to the FOIA request but produced under litigation include: “Psychology of Treason,” “The Decline and Fall of the Shah,” “On Analytic Success and Failure,” “The DI’s Organizational Culture,” and “Observation Balloons and Reconnaissance Satellites.” “Psychology of Treason” actually appeared in the Westerfield collection (pp. 70-82) while “Observation Balloons and Reconnaissance Satellite” had been released in its entirety and could be found on the CIA’s website.

3. Articles denied in their entirety included “Overhead Imagery during the Yom Kippur War,” “Sifting the Evidence on Vitaly Yurchenko,” “Iraq’s Nuclear Weapons Program,” and “The Need for Improved Strategic Counterintelligence Analysis.” On Scudder’s background, actions, and the results, see Greg Miller, “CIA employee quest to release information ‘destroyed my entire career’,” www.washingtonpost.com,  July 4, 2014.

4. Various authors have found the PRB process less than reasonable. For example, see David H.Sharp, The CIA’s Greatest Covert Operation: Inside the Daring Mission to Recover a Nuclear-Armed Soviet Sub (Lawrence, Ks.: University Press of Kansas, 2012), pp. xi-xii; Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton, Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda (New York: Dutton, 2008), pp. xx-xxi.

5. Thus, the new head of the National Clandestine Service, who is still officially undercover, as well as the temporary head (also undercover) have been named without a violation of the law. See “CIA’s New Chief Spy Outed on Twitter,” www.gawker.com, accessed May 9, 2013.

6. Although it is often assumed that the first prohibition of assassination was Gerald Ford’s 1976 executive order, DCI’s Richard Helms and successor William Colby had issued internal directives prohibiting such action – Richard Helms, “Allegations of Assassinations,” March 6, 1972; William E. Colby, Subject: Policy Against Assassination,, August 29, 1973.

7. For example, see James R. Taylor, Deputy Director of Operations, National Security Agency, Subject: Thoughts on Strategic Issues for the Institution, April 9, 1999, Document 21 in Jeffrey T. Richelson (ed.), NSA Electronic Briefing Book #24, The NSA Declassified , March 11,2005,www.gwu.edu/~nsarchive/NSAEBB/NSAEBB24.

8. Two major accounts of Angleton and the Molehunt are: Tom Mangold, Cold Warrior – James Jesus Angleton: The CIA’s Master Spy Hunter(New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991), and David Wise, Molehunt: The Secret Search for Traitors that Shattered the CIA (New York: Random House, 1992).

9. On Kryptos, see “Flash Movie Text,” www.ciagov, accessed May 6, 2013; “Kryptos,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kryptos.

 

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered an additional 1,500 National Guard troops to Ferguson Tuesday, bringing the total to 2,200, as part of a crackdown on protests in the St. Louis suburb over the exoneration of the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown last August.

Nixon’s decision to triple the number of soldiers followed a day of denunciations of “lawlessness” and “destruction” by the media and government officials, including President Obama, to justify the military occupation of the largely working class city.

Popular anger over the failure of Missouri authorities to indict officer Darren Wilson fueled protests across the United States on Tuesday. Demonstrations, marches and vigils took place in almost every state and in scores of cities, involving many thousands of workers and university and high school students. Large protests took place in New York City; Washington, DC; Baltimore, Maryland; Atlanta, Georgia; St. Louis; Los Angeles; and other cities. In Oakland, Democratic Mayor Jean Quan presided over a police attack on 2,000 protesters Monday night that resulted in the arrest of 40 people.

Throughout the day, CNN, MSNBC and other television networks decried the supposed lack of military preparedness in Ferguson on Monday night and demanded more state repression. This was despite the fact that the town of 21,000 people was already under a police-military lockdown, with some 700 National Guard troops backing up 600 local police and state highway patrolmen and an unknown number of FBI and other federal agents.

Last week, Governor Nixon, a Democrat, in advance of the decision of the grand jury hearing evidence on the killing of the unarmed African American youth and prior to any mass protests or disturbances, preemptively declared a state of emergency and announced plans to deploy the National Guard to Ferguson.

This provocative and flagrantly anti-democratic action was followed Monday night by the arrogant and rambling remarks of State Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch attempting to justify, in the name of “fairness,” the decision of his rigged grand jury not to indict the killer cop, even on lesser charges of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

By all accounts, police and military forces essentially stood down following McCulloch’s press conference while a number of stores were burnt or looted—giving the national news networks the footage needed to malign the protests. Shortly afterwards, the military operation began, with a phalanx of security forces in riot gear moving in behind armored vehicles, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators and arresting at least 82 people.

For the most part, the media praised the supposed “restraint” of the police and pumped out grotesquely biased reports implying that the murder of an unarmed youth by an officer who fired 12 rounds into his victim was a legal and justified act of self-defense. ABC News broadcast an interview with Wilson in which the cop described Brown as a “demon.”

CNN reporter Don Lemon declared that “any discussion of police brutality, racial profiling and militarization had been overshadowed by rioting and violence.” The media vilified supposedly “criminal elements” for inciting violence, extending this slander to members of Michael Brown’s grieving family. Throughout the day, CNN replayed a New York Times video of the angry reaction of the murdered youth’s stepfather immediately after the decision to exonerate the cop was announced.

In statement posted on his Facebook page Tuesday morning, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said, “What happened in Ferguson last night was not a ‘peaceful protest.’ It was criminal, and was nothing that our community can—or will—tolerate.”

At his press conference, Nixon utilized the rhetoric of the “war on terror” to slander protesters and justify the dispatch of another 1,500 National Guard troops. “Last night,” he said, “criminals intent on lawlessness and destruction terrorized this community, burning buildings, firing gunshots, vandalizing storefronts and looting family businesses.” He vowed to make sure there would be “no repeat of lawlessness.”

Nixon referred to the need for “force amplification,” “rapid response teams,” “trained and ready soldiers,” and “force protection” for the police. Other officials referred to the “rules of engagement” for dealing with protesters, employing the same language as US occupying forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During an appearance in Chicago, President Obama, whose Justice Department has worked closely with state and local officials in Missouri to organize mass repression, placed the onus for violence on the protesters and then suggested that those opposed to police brutality could address their grievances through the courts and state and federal authorities.

The previous night Obama had spoken from the White House to defend the grand jury decision while attempting to pose as sympathetic to those outraged by the murder of Brown and the green light for more police killings given by the authorities in Missouri.

In words that deserve only contempt, the author of drone assassinations and defender of mass spying declared, “Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk—that’s destructive, and there’s no excuse for it. Those are criminal acts, and people should be prosecuted if they engage in criminal acts.”

The murder of Michael Brown is but one instance of deadly police violence that is rampant across the US, affecting white workers and youth as well as African Americans. This fact of American life is rooted in immense and ever growing social inequality and the militarization of society. In the face of popular opposition to the destruction of jobs, living standards and social programs, and hostility to war, the government is increasingly resorting to the methods of a police state.

Media focus on racial division diverting anger away from tyrannical government

Chaos has engulfed Ferguson, Missouri as the mainstream media is directing national attention to divisive racial issues at a time of rising tyranny in America.

Sensational revelations about government corruption are becoming a regular occurrence under the Obama administration. Ordinary Americans are being targeted while known terrorists are escorted through security. Kidnappers, rapists, and murderers are being released from prison; an action sanctioned by the President of the United States. The BATF allows guns to find their way to Mexican drug lords, while the federal government is fighting to disarm American citizens. Mega-banks launder billions of dollars worth of drug money.

Amidst this flurry of rampant corruption, Obamacare architect Johnathan Gruber admitted on video that “lack of transparency” was crucial in passing Obamacare and fool “stupid American voters” into accepting it.

Nearly every agency of government has acquired some form of armaments in the past several years. Police departments across the country are getting mine resistant vehicles. Homeland Security is acquiring billions of rounds of ammunition. The Department of Agriculture recently requested body armor as well as sub machine guns. Many other instruments of war have been stored and deployed.

A divided country

While the wealth of America is being systematically destroyed, divisive issues of race are being inflamed. Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly called Obama’s recent executive order on Amnesty for illegal aliens a “Fort Sumter” event, referring to the defining event at the beginning of America’s first civil war. Obama’s announcement came on November 20th, the same day that Mexico’s Revolution day was celebrated.

At the same time, riots in Ferguson Missouri have attracted the attention of national media, threatening to spark riots in cities across the country. The announcement of the grand jury’s decision to absolve officer Darren Wilson was seemingly timed perfectly to incite riots after 8pm.

National Guard stood down in Ferguson on orders of the White House?

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder told Fox News that, “Is the reason that the National Guard was not in there because the Obama Administration and the Holder Justice Department leaned on you to keep them out? I cannot imagine any other reason why the governor who mobilized the National Guard would not have them in there to stop this.”

The establishment is well aware that the country is growing increasingly skeptical of the federal government. Confidence in all branches of governmentare reaching record lows. According to Gallup, Congress has about a 7% approval rating; The presidency around 29% and the Supreme Court at 30%.

The establishment is attempting to direct the spirit of the nation into a destructive revolution of bloody conflagration and hate that will only result in more power for the elite.

If the nation is allowed to unify over issues of sound economic policy, purging government corruption, and re-affirming our moral code as a nation and as individuals, the corrupt elite will be brought to justice. As long as the country is divided this cannot happen. If the nation falls into chaos, these central unifying issues need to guide a real revolution of positive change that will rise from the ashes.

This generation, just as America’s founders did, will provide the heroes and legends for the next. Your actions and choices during this time will alter the outcome of this historical time period and set the cultural agenda for the next cycle. Its up to you.

Was it a conspiracy or was it incompetence?  Those appear to be the only two alternatives that we are left with after the horrific violence that we witnessed in Ferguson on Monday night.  The first round of Ferguson rioting back in August took everyone by surprise, but this time authorities had more than three months to prepare.  They had the ability to control precisely when the grand jury decision would be announced and how many cops and National Guard troops would be deployed on the streets.  But despite all this, the violence in Ferguson on Monday night was even worse than we witnessed back in August.  Either this was a case of almost unbelievable incompetence, or there was someone out there that actually wanted this to happen.  If someone out there is actually trying to provoke more violence in Ferguson, then the rioters are being played like a fiddle.  Most of them have no idea that they could potentially just be pawns in a game that is far larger than they ever imagined.  The only other alternative to explain what we just saw is incompetence on a level that is absolutely laughable.  Something definitely does not smell right about all of this, and let us hope that at some point the American people get the truth.  The following are 10 “coincidences” from Monday night in Ferguson that are too glaring to ignore…

#1 Federal, state and local law enforcement authorities had more than three months to prepare for the violence that would follow the announcement of the grand jury decision.  The mainstream media endlessly hyped this controversy and everyone knew that trouble would be brewing.  But despite an enormous amount of time to prepare, very little was actually done to prevent any violence from happening.

#2 Someone made the decision to make the public announcement about the grand jury decision in the evening.  Anyone involved in law enforcement knows that crowd control is far more difficult after dark.  This also ensured that instead of being tied up with work or school, a maximum number of protesters would be able to be involved in the violence.

#3 Fortunately for the mainstream media, the announcement of the grand jury decision was perfectly timed to provide the largest possible number of prime time viewers for the big news networks.

#4 Just like back in August, no law enforcement authorities of any kind responded while dozens of businesses were vandalized, looted and set of fire.

#5 According to Ferguson Mayor James Knowles, National Guard troops were purposely held back from intervening in the rioting that was unleashed when the grand jury decision was made known to the public…

In a press conference, he called the delay “deeply concerning” and said the Guard troops were availablebut were not deployed when city officials asked.

The troops had been readied last week by Gov. Jay Nixon as the grand jury announcement neared. But as gunshots rang out in the night and looters torched buildings, they were nowhere to be seen.

#6 It is being reported that the heavily armed National Guard troops were limited to “keeping the peace at a courthouse, patrolling the outskirts of town and preventing disturbances in other suburbs” as horrific violence raged in the heart of Ferguson on Monday night.

#7 Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has accused Missouri Governor Jay Nixon of holding back the National Guard troops because of pressure from the Obama administration.  On Monday night, he angrily made the following statement to Fox News…

“Is the reason that the National Guard was not in there because the Obama Administration and the Holder Justice Department leaned on you to keep them out? I cannot imagine any other reason why the governor who mobilized the National Guard would not have them in there to stop this.”

#8 The Washington Post has documented that Attorney General Eric Holder had been in direct contact with Governor Nixon and had expressed “frustration” with the fact that the National Guard had been activated…

A top aide to Holder called the governor’s office earlier this week to express Holder’s displeasure and “frustration,” according to a Justice Department official.

“Instead of de-escalating the situation, the governor escalated it,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject. “He sent the wrong message. The tone of the press conference was counterproductive.”

#9 Firefighters in Ferguson did not immediately respond to calls to put out the multiple fires that were set by protesters.  As a result, many businesses essentially burned to the ground.  But this did make for some amazing television footage.

#10 In the worst of the “war zones”, journalists with cameras and microphones were crawling all over the place while there were hardly any police to be seen at all.  How is it possible that law enforcement could have failed so badly?  Could it be possible that this was orchestrated on purpose?

Sadly, as I have written about previously, the civil unrest that we are witnessing in Ferguson is just a small preview of what is coming to America.

The anger and frustration that are seething under the surface in this country have reached a boiling point.  Instead of coming together, we are seemingly more divided than ever.  Americans have been trained to hate one another, fear one another and blame one another.  I fear that we are not too far away from actually becoming ungovernable.

And when the next major wave of the economic crisis strikes and we start experiencing real suffering in this nation, the temper tantrums that we are going to witness in our major cities are going to make what is happening in Ferguson right now look like a Sunday picnic.

So buckle up and hold on, because it is going to be a really bumpy ride from here on out.

Ferguson is not the end – it is just the beginning of a horrible new chapter in American history.

Two US Sailors Dead After Fukushima Radiation Exposure

November 26th, 2014 by Global Research News

Tahlequah Daily Press, Aug 7, 2014: USS Ronald Reagan… passed through radiation plumes and clouds… the ship and most of those onboard, tested positive for radiation exposure… Serio, now a broadcast journalism major at [CSUN], has recently written a column… on breitbart.com. “I feel as if people are not realizing how serious the issue is, and I would like to shed as much light on it as possible,” said Serio.

California State University, Northridge, Nov 12, 2014: Little did [U.S. Navy veteran Kelli Serio, 25] know her service would change the way she viewed the system she vowed her loyalty to… Serio may have been affected by radiation during what she calls her “final and most personally sacrificing deployment” in Japan… at 18, she enlisted in the U.S. Navy [and] was deployed off Japan’s coast… to assist with the cleanup of the Fukushima nuclear plant. While there, her carrier acted as a floating fuel station… Serio said she’ll never forget the day her captain said their water filtration system had been compromised… “I feel like we were done so wrong,” Serio said. “We were drinking the water.” Serio said she and the other 70,000 first responders have been dismissed by the government as if nothing happened out there. She wants justice… Serio’s team-like mentality has also led to her modeling with organizations like Pin-Ups for Vets… to help bring up the morale of veterans and current soldiers [and] bring awareness to the men and women who’ve served their country through speaking engagements and visiting patients at veteran hospitals… [E]arlier this year… she met her friend and mentor, Fox News reporter Hollie McKay [who recommended] Serio for a reporter position at [breitbart.com]… Her first piece for the website was a first-hand account of and a look back at Operation Tomodachi.

Breitbart, by Kelli Serio, Jul 23, 2014: I was onboard the USS Ronald Reagan [and went] directly through a radiation cloud. The commanding officer warned us that our water and ventilation systems had been contaminated, posing a critical health risk to all of us onboard. We were advised to refrain from showering or drinking water… Sailors worked tirelessly… while being left vulnerable to dangerous levels of radiation… most of us onboard the ship were tested for radiation exposure and many came back positive, resulting in full-body scrubdowns… [W]e were issued gas masks… myself and other junior sailors were asked to don protective garments in an effort to decontaminate the ship… Proper medical care for the victims of radiation exposure [is needed, it's a] dire situation for many… Many of us are enduring the unfortunate consequences [and] hoping for care from the VA that appears to never arrive… we are reassured of our good health, despite the presence of mysterious and unexplained symptoms… A lack of coverage by the mainstream media has left victims without a voice… We do not want to be forgotten.

CBS San Francisco, Nov 21, 2014: Rare cancers, blindness, birth defects and now, two deaths. Hundreds of U.S. sailors… say they were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation… [Steve] Simmons… began feeling weak and sick with uncontrolled fevers… Soon he was in a wheelchair, unable to walk. He says military doctors would never tell him what was wrong. “Every one of them wanted to discredit radiation as a possible cause,” Simmons said… “[There's] evidence that the doses that were assumed to be on board the USS Reagan may have been under-reported,” said Dr. Robert Gould, a former Kaiser pathologist… “Given that there is more information that has come out, I think you would have to re-look at the entire situation,” said Dr. Gould. >> Watch the CBS broadcast here