Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is using the terrorist attacks in Paris to ramp up tensions in pursuit of Israel’s geostrategic interests.
“Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with France in the battle against radical Islam,” he declared in the aftermath of Friday’s killings. “All terrorism must be condemned and fought equally with unwavering determination. It’s only with this moral clarity that the forces of civilization will defeat the savagery of terrorism.”
On Tuesday, Israel outlawed the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, which it accused of fomenting violence by stating that Israel intends to take control of the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as Temple Mount.
Netanyahu’s office issued a statement declaring:
“For years, the northern branch of the Islamic Movement has led a mendacious campaign of incitement under the heading ‘Al-Aqsa is in danger’ that falsely accuses Israel of intending to harm the Al-Aqsa mosque and violate the status quo.” The statement went on to claim that this agitation was responsible for “a significant portion of recent terrorist attacks.”
The government said the banned movement was committed to Israel’s destruction for the purpose of establishing an Islamic “caliphate.” Police closed 17 organizations affiliated with the movement, raided more than a dozen of its offices, and froze the group’s bank accounts.
Israel also approved the construction of hundreds of new homes in the Ramat Shlomo Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem.
Netanyahu has a conveniently short memory when it comes to terrorism. He leads the Likud party, whose political antecedents are the Herut party and the ultra-right Revisionist movement, which engaged in terrorist activities carried out by the Irgun and the Stern gang and their various splinter groups. Terror was an important tactic in the drive to establish the state of Israel.
Some of the terrorist acts were aimed at the British, which ruled Palestine at the time, including the 1944 assassination of Lord Moyne, the British military commander in Egypt, and the blowing up of the King David Hotel, the British military headquarters in Jerusalem, in July 1946, killing 91 people and injuring 46.
Many more were aimed at the Palestinians for the purpose of driving them from their homes and farms. The most notorious atrocity was the massacre at Deir Yassin, where Zionist elements killed all 254 inhabitants. Terror attacks continued even after the establishment of the state of Israel, including the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte, a United Nations envoy seeking to arrange a peace agreement between Israel and the Arabs.
Netanyahu is once again seeking to equate the Palestinians with terrorism. This, after all, is the man who said, following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001, that the attack was “very good” because it would “generate immediate sympathy” for Israel and its war against the Palestinians.
Speaking at a special press conference on Saturday, he said, “We are standing on the front lines [of the battle] against terrorism that is increasingly being transformed from Palestinian nationalistic terrorism to Islamic terrorism.”
In reality, his own intelligence service, Shin Bet, concluded in a recent report that the Palestinian youths carrying out stabbing attacks on Jewish Israelis are not acting on anyone’s orders, but are motivated by “feelings of national, economic and personal deprivation.”
Netanyahu sought to link the Paris bombings with the killing of two Israeli settlers in South Hebron on Friday, saying, “You can’t say these are the good terrorists and these are the bad terrorists. All terrorists are bad.”
“I expect [international] support for Israel when it fights terrorism,” he added, “Just as Israel supports France and other countries.”
According to Netanyahu, the Paris bombings are justification for Israel’s crackdown on opposition to a nearly 50-year occupation of Palestinian territory. Since the beginning of October, Israel’s security forces have carried out illegal and draconian measures, including a shoot-to-kill policy and the targeting of Palestinians that amount to extra-judicial executions. These have killed at least 85 Palestinians and injured thousands more. On Saturday, Israeli forces destroyed the family homes of four Palestinians accused of shooting Jewish Israelis.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has accused Israeli troops of consistently attacking its teams in the field, shooting and firing tear gas canisters at them or beating and pepper spraying them. It said that since October 1, some “125 PRCS emergency medical technicians have been wounded and 67 ambulances damaged as a result of these systematic practices, which go against international human law provisions.” Israel prevented Red Crescent teams from reaching Palestinians who were sick or wounded on 66 occasions over the same period.
The Israeli government is preparing to deploy some 70 reserve battalions in the West Bank next year at a cost of $77 million, in addition to the four reserve battalions already called up, in anticipation that the ongoing unrest will last for “many months.”
Netanyahu said that Israeli security and intelligence forces were working with France and other European countries and had passed on information derived from their surveillance of militant groups in Syria and Iraq to their French counterparts. Israel’s Army Radio said that its electronic surveillance of Syria and Iraq may have yielded intelligence on the organization of the Paris attacks.
According to Channel 2, while Israel said it had no advance warning of the Paris attacks, its intelligence forces had, within hours, given France details on some of the Islamic State militants who allegedly carried them out. Without evidence, it cited an unnamed senior Israeli official as drawing a “clear operational link” between the Paris attacks, the suicide bombings in a predominantly Shi’ite suburb of Beirut on Thursday and the downing of a Russian airliner in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsular in October.
Last year, a Western diplomat revealed that Israel was providing Washington and its regional allies fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria with information from international travel databases about Western citizens suspected of aiding or joining the militants.
Netanyahu repeated his call for European Jews to leave Europe and emigrate to Israel, where he claims they will be safe from jihadis intent on their destruction and the conquest of the “civilised” West. His real motivation is not their safety, but Israel/Palestine’s demographics.
Of Israel’s 8 million population, about 1.6 million, or 20 percent, are Palestinian, while a further 4.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and Gaza. Without a Palestinian mini-state, the Palestinian population, whose fertility rate is higher than that of Israeli Jews, will soon exceed that of the Jewish population.
But even this consideration is subordinate to Netanyahu’s political efforts to equate the Palestinian opposition to Israel’s occupation with Islamic terrorism and align this with the US-led “global war on terror,” with its focus on the oil-rich Middle East.
Netanyahu also wants to utilise the Paris events to reverse a certain deterioration of relations with the European Union. At the end of last year, the General Court of the European Union removed Hamas from its list of terrorist organizations, saying the inclusion of the group was not based on a “concrete examination” of Hamas’ actions, but on “imputations derived from the media and the Internet.”
A Spanish court has issued arrest warrants for Netanyahu, former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, ex-defence minister Ehud Barak, former deputy prime ministers Moshe Ya’alon and Eli Yishai and former state minister Benny Begin for their roles in the 2010 attack on the Mavi Marmara Freedom Flotilla seeking to break Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. Israeli naval commandos killed nine Turkish peace activists, including one with dual American citizenship, and injured dozens more on board the Mavi Marmara.
Security experts – including both conservatives and liberals – agree that waging war in the Middle Eastweakens national security and increases terrorism. See this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this.
For example, James K. Feldman – former professor of decision analysis and economics at the Air Force Institute of Technology and the School of Advanced Airpower Studies – and other experts say that foreign occupation is the main cause of terrorism. University of Chicago professor Robert A. Pape – who specializes in international security affairs – agrees.
So negotiating peaceful deals will drain the swamp of terrorists created by war and invasion.
A senior officer on the Joint Staff told State Department counter-terrorism director Sheehan he had heard terrorist strikes characterized more than once by colleagues as a “small price to pay for being a superpower”.
Once again, we have a very current example: Charlie Hebdo-murdering Frenchterrorist Cherif Kouchitold a court in 2005 that he wasn’t radical until he learned about U.S. torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
If we want to stop creating new terrorists, we have to stop torturing … permanently.
VII. Stop Mass Surveillance
Top security experts agree that mass surveillance makes us MOREvulnerable to terrorists.
Because 9/11 was the largest terror attack on the U.S. in history – and all of our national security strategies are based on 9/11 – we can’t stop terror until we get to the bottom of what really happened, and which state was behind it.
The Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee (Bob Graham) said that the Paris terror attack, ISIS, and other terrorist developments are a result of failing to stand up to Saudi Arabia and declassify the 9/11 investigation’s report about Saudi involvement in 9/11:
The director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan – Lt. General William Odom said:
By any measure the US has long used terrorism. In ‘78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the US would be in violation.
Chomsky and Herman observed that terror was concentrated in the U.S. sphere of influence in the Third World, and documented terror carried out by U.S. client states in Latin America. They observed that of ten Latin American countries that had death squads, all were U.S. client states.
They concluded that the global rise in state terror was a result of U.S. foreign policy.
In 1991, a book edited by Alexander L. George [the Graham H. Stuart Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Stanford University] also argued that other Western powers sponsored terror in Third World countries. It concluded that the U.S. and its allies were the main supporters of terrorism throughout the world.
Both [specialists Ethan McCord and Josh Stieber] say they saw their mission as a plan to “out-terrorize the terrorists,” in order to make the general populace more afraid of the Americans than they were of insurgent groups. In the interview with [Scott] Horton, Horton pressed Stieber:
“… a fellow veteran of yours from the same battalion has said that you guys had a standard operating procedure, SOP, that said – and I guess this is a reaction to some EFP attacks on y’all’s Humvees and stuff that killed some guys – that from now on if a roadside bomb goes off, IED goes off, everyone who survives the attack get out and fire in all directions at anybody who happens to be nearby … that this was actually an order from above. Is that correct? Can you, you know, verify that?
“Yeah, it was an order that came from Kauzlarich himself, and it had the philosophy that, you know, as Finkel does describe in the book, that we were under pretty constant threat, and what he leaves out is the response to that threat. But the philosophy was that if each time one of these roadside bombs went off where you don’t know who set it … the way we were told to respond was to open fire on anyone in the area, with the philosophy that that would intimidate them, to be proactive in stopping people from making these bombs …”
“Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors, and our analysis suggests that there is no battlefield solution to terrorism.”
We, the People, have to stand up and demand that our power-hungry leaders stop doing the things which give them more power … but are guaranteed to increase terrorism against us, the civilian population.
The biotech firm Editas Medicine says that humans who have had their DNA genetically modified could exist within the next 2 years. The company announced that it will soon start the first trials of what it calls a groundbreaking new technique.
U.S.-based Editas is striving to become the first lab in the world to edit the DNA of patients suffering from leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), a genetic condition that causes severe vision loss at birth. Some LCA patients also experience central nervous system conditions, such as epilepsy, developmental delays and motor skill impairment.
LCA is said to be caused by defects in a gene responsible for the creation of a protein that is vital to vision. Editas Medicine scientists believe they can fix the mutated DNA using gene-editing technology known as CRISPRs.
In early May, Chinese scientists said they’d successfully applied CRISPRs to nonviable human embryos, suggesting that the technology could someday be used to treat any genetic disease. It might even be used to create “designer babies” in the future, though that day is a long ways off.
Editas Medicine hopes to start a CRISPR trial with blind patients in 2017. It would be the first time the technology was ever used on humans.
But there are reasons to proceed cautiously. Every “good” medical breakthrough comes with risks and is a double-edged sword. Even penicillin, perhaps one of the simplest and most life-saving inventions in recorded history, is now overused and contributes to antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
“In reality, all genetic editing, especially when it alters the genetic material of subsequent generations, represents a potential threat to the genetic heritage of the entire planet with potential consequences we may still not fully understand. In a world where the “science is final” regarding humanity’s impact on the planet’s climate, demanding “urgent action” to stop or reverse it, the absence of a similar impetus behind stopping the contamination of our planet’s genetic heritage seems suspiciously hypocritical if not utterly reckless and even intentional.
Weaponization, accidents and even the prospect of globalized corporations finding, then making inaccessible the cures to diseases and conditions affecting millions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease are all threats we now face, whether we would like to admit it or not. One point the West correctly made upon its hand wringing over China’s most recent and reckless leap forward, was that the matter of biotechnology’s profound impact on the human genome and the genetic heritage of the entire planet is no longer the subject of a “future” scenario. It is a matter of present concern.”
The real question many are asking is if we should really be manipulating nature in such a way.
The measures being taken by the government of President François Hollande in response to Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris constitute an unprecedented attack on democratic rights.
The Socialist Party (PS) government has declared a state of emergency and mobilized more than 100,000 security personnel throughout the country, including regular police, gendarmes, paramilitary riot police and military forces. It is impossible to walk the streets of any major city without running into individuals decked out in camouflage or dressed in black, toting automatic rifles. These paramilitary forces have been given the power to raid any home and arrest or kill anyone declared a threat, with no opposition from within the political or media establishment.
Now Hollande is proposing to amend the French Constitution to allow the president to decree emergency rule, extendable indefinitely, and vastly expand the powers granted to the army and police. The proposal, published online, provides the legal basis for transforming France into a presidential dictatorship.
The existing 1955 law grants the president and the security forces far-ranging powers during a state of emergency. They can carry out warrantless searches and seizures, impose curfews and ban public assemblies, detain and order the house arrest of anyone “whose activity proves dangerous to security and public order,” and dissolve any organization linked to people under house arrest that “participates in, facilitates or incites” disturbances of public order.
The changes introduced by the Socialist Party’s constitutional amendment make the law even more ominous. President Hollande has declared that he intends to renew it as long as France faces a threat from any terrorist group similar to ISIS, i.e., for an indefinite period of time.
An examination of the amendment makes clear, however, that the measures are not about fighting ISIS, which in any case emerged from the NATO powers’ own policy of sponsoring Islamist militias as proxy forces to wage war for regime-change in Syria. The horrific attacks in Paris are the pretext for implementing dictatorial measures that cannot be rationally explained by the threat posed by ISIS.
Under the cover of fighting ISIS, the French state is giving itself absolute powers against anyone it calls a threat to “security and public order.” This vague, all-embracing category has long been used against the constitutionally-protected right to strike and protest—as in the Socialist Party’s decision last year to ban protests against the Israeli state’s war in Gaza.
The legal changes introduced by the PS document effectively make any expression of oppositional sentiment potential grounds for arrest. Instead of allowing police to detain persons whose “activity proves dangerous for public security and order,” the amended law allows them to detain anyone “who gives reason to believe that his behavior constitutes a threat to security and public order.” The PS explains that this allows police to target “people who attracted the attention of police or intelligence services by their behavior, friendships, statements, or plans.”
The implications of these proposals are immense. To arrest and detain someone, police will have to do no more than assert that they believe that this person might conceivably disturb public order at some future time, based on something this person said or posted on social media, or on someone with whom he associated.
A statement suggesting sympathy with calls for strike action against a wage cut or factory closure, for a protest against war, or for any number of legal activities would be grounds for detention and house arrest.
It is worth recalling that the law the PS is now proposing to expand was drafted in 1955 to provide the legal framework for France to carry out mass torture and repression in a failed attempt to crush the Algerian people’s struggle for independence in the 1954-1962 war against French colonial rule. This brutal war cost the lives of between 250,000 and 400,000 Algerians. It anticipated and fed into deep social tensions within France that erupted in the general strike of May-June 1968.
The current moves to effectively dismantle democratic rights in France are motivated by a similar crisis of class rule. First, as its ultimately unsuccessful attempt to ban last year’s Gaza war protests showed, the PS government is desperate to suppress all opposition to the militarist policies of French imperialism. In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, Hollande has moved rapidly to expand France’s bombing campaign in Syria, part of the efforts of the French ruling class to assert its interests on a world stage.
Second, bourgeois democracy can no longer handle and adjudicate the immense and increasingly uncontrollable social tensions of contemporary capitalist society. In all of the advanced capitalist countries, including France, the state is controlled by tiny, super-wealthy elites who view rising discontent among broad masses of workers with hatred and fear.
The Hollande government epitomizes the domination of the financial aristocracy. Elected on promises that “austerity was not our destiny,” Hollande soon proved to be a pro-austerity politician presiding over surging unemployment and a “zero growth” economy.
The PS turned to a strategy of trying to divert social opposition to reactionary domestic policies by means of a foreign policy based on militarism and war. As Hollande launched a war in Mali in 2013, one official told Le Point that the PS hoped it would be their version of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Falkland Islands war: a “military adventure that ensured her re-election in 1983.” Wars across France’s old colonial empire, however, have only contributed to the growing social tensions within France.
The political dynamic in France is mirrored in every major capitalist country. Since the “war on terror” began in 2001, governments throughout the world, led by the United States, have sought to erode and dismantle basic democratic rights. They have participated in the “extraordinary rendition” of prisoners for torture, mass warrantless wiretapping and extra-judicial drone murder. The domestic deployment of heavily-armed military units is now common.
From the police suppression of the 2011 youth riots in London to last year’s heavily-armed crackdown on protests against the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, these measures are ever more clearly directed at the suppression of class struggle.
There is virtually no constituency for the defense of democratic rights within the political or corporate establishment. That task falls to the working class, which retains a deep commitment to democratic principles. However, there is no room for political complacency. The ruling class is moving very far with dictatorial measures to deal with internal crises for which it has no solution.
The defense of democratic rights and opposition to police-state forms of rule must be rooted in the independent political mobilization of the working class, based on a struggle against imperialist war and social inequality and their source in the capitalist system.
Recent media reports indicate that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have contracted Eritrea’s government for assistance in the War on Yemen, using the East African state as a transit and logistics base for their operations, as well as 400 of its troops for cannon fodder in Aden.
The Pentagon announced on Monday that the U.S. has approved a $1.29 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, despite mounting evidence of the country’s mass atrocities and possible war crimes in neighboring Yemen.
The Russian commercial jetliner brought down over the Sinai in late October was destroyed by a homemade-style, “foreign made” TNT bomb, according to results of a Russian government investigation announced on Monday.
Flags fly at half-mast in NATO countries for “France’s 9/11,” while President Obama announces to the media: “We will provide you accurate information about who is responsible.” They needn’t wait. It is already clear.
“We’re going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran” –
General Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia .
Complete Transcript of Program, Democracy Now.
Today we spend the hour with General Wesley Clark, the retired four-star general. He was the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the Kosovo War. In 2004 he unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. He recently edited a series of books about famous U.S. generals including Dwight Eisenhower and Ulysses Grant – both of whom became president after their military careers ended.
Complete Video Interview:
Well for the rest of the hour we are going to hear General Wesley Clark on the possibility of a U.S. attack on Iran, the impeachment of President Bush, the use of cluster bombs, the bombing of Radio Television Serbia during the Kosovo War and much more. I interviewed Wesley Clark on Tuesday at the 92nd Street Y in New York.
Short version of video interview:
Gen. Wesley Clark. Retired 4-star US Army general. Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the Kosovo War.
AMY GOODMAN: Today, an exclusive hour with General Wesley Clark, the retired four-star general. He was Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the Kosovo War. He has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2004, he unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. He recently edited a series of books about famous US generals, including Dwight Eisenhower and Ulysses Grant, both of whom became president after their military careers ended.
On Tuesday, I interviewed Wesley Clark at the 92nd Street Y Cultural Center here in New York City before a live audience and asked him about his presidential ambitions.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of these generals who run for president?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I like them. It’s happened before.
AMY GOODMAN: Will it happen again?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: It might.
AMY GOODMAN: Later in the interview, I followed up on that question.
AMY GOODMAN: Will you announce for president?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I haven’t said I won’t.
AMY GOODMAN: What are you waiting for?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I’m waiting for several different preconditions, which I’m not at liberty to discuss. But I will tell you this: I think about it every single day.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, for the rest of the hour, we’ll hear General Wesley Clark in his own words on the possibility of a US attack on Iran; the impeachment of President Bush; the use of cluster bombs; the bombing of Radio Television Serbia during the Kosovo War under his command; and much more. I interviewed General Clark on Tuesday at the 92nd Street Y in New York.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, let’s talk about Iran. You have a whole website devoted to stopping war.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you see a replay in what happened in the lead-up to the war with Iraq — the allegations of the weapons of mass destruction, the media leaping onto the bandwagon?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, in a way. But, you know, history doesn’t repeat itself exactly twice. What I did warn about when I testified in front of Congress in 2002, I said if you want to worry about a state, it shouldn’t be Iraq, it should be Iran. But this government, our administration, wanted to worry about Iraq, not Iran.
I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, “Sir, you’ve got to come in and talk to me a second.” I said, “Well, you’re too busy.” He said, “No, no.” He says, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, “We’re going to war with Iraq? Why?” He said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I guess they don’t know what else to do.” So I said, “Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?” He said, “No, no.” He says, “There’s nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq.” He said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” And he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, “Are we still going to war with Iraq?” And he said, “Oh, it’s worse than that.” He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, “I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”
AMY GOODMAN: I’m sorry. What did you say his name was?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I’m not going to give you his name.
AMY GOODMAN: So, go through the countries again.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, starting with Iraq, then Syria and Lebanon, then Libya, then Somalia and Sudan, and back to Iran. So when you look at Iran, you say, “Is it a replay?” It’s not exactly a replay. But here’s the truth: that Iran, from the beginning, has seen that the presence of the United States in Iraq was a threat — a blessing, because we took out Saddam Hussein and the Baathists. They couldn’t handle them. We took care of it for them. But also a threat, because they knew that they were next on the hit list. And so, of course, they got engaged. They lost a million people during the war with Iraq, and they’ve got a long and unprotectable, unsecurable border. So it was in their vital interest to be deeply involved inside Iraq. They tolerated our attacks on the Baathists. They were happy we captured Saddam Hussein.
But they’re building up their own network of influence, and to cement it, they occasionally give some military assistance and training and advice, either directly or indirectly, to both the insurgents and to the militias. And in that sense, it’s not exactly parallel, because there has been, I believe, continuous Iranian engagement, some of it legitimate, some of it illegitimate. I mean, you can hardly fault Iran because they’re offering to do eye operations for Iraqis who need medical attention. That’s not an offense that you can go to war over, perhaps. But it is an effort to gain influence.
And the administration has stubbornly refused to talk with Iran about their perception, in part because they don’t want to pay the price with their domestic — our US domestic political base, the rightwing base, but also because they don’t want to legitimate a government that they’ve been trying to overthrow. If you were Iran, you’d probably believe that you were mostly already at war with the United States anyway, since we’ve asserted that their government needs regime change, and we’ve asked congress to appropriate $75 million to do it, and we are supporting terrorist groups, apparently, who are infiltrating and blowing up things inside Iraq — Iran. And if we’re not doing it, let’s put it this way: we’re probably cognizant of it and encouraging it. So it’s not surprising that we’re moving to a point of confrontation and crisis with Iran.
My point on this is not that the Iranians are good guys — they’re not — but that you shouldn’t use force, except as a last, last, last resort. There is a military option, but it’s a bad one.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to get your response to Seymour Hersh’s piece in The New Yorker to two key points this week, reporting the Pentagon’s established a special planning group within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to plan a bombing attack on Iran, that this is coming as the Bush administration and Saudi Arabia are pumping money for covert operations into many areas of the Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria, and Iran, in an effort to strengthen Saudi-supported Sunni Islam groups and weaken Iranian-backed Shias — some of the covert money has been given to jihadist groups in Lebanon with ties to al-Qaeda — fighting the Shias by funding with Prince Bandar and then with US money not approved by Congress, funding the Sunnis connected to al-Qaeda.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I don’t have any direct information to confirm it or deny it. It’s certainly plausible. The Saudis have taken a more active role. You know, the Saudis have –
AMY GOODMAN: You were just in Saudi Arabia.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Hmm?
AMY GOODMAN: You just came back from Saudi Arabia.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Yeah. Well, the Saudis have basically recognized that they have an enormous stake in the outcome in Iraq, and they don’t particularly trust the judgment of the United States in this area. We haven’t exactly proved our competence in Iraq. So they’re trying to take matters into their own hands.
The real danger is, and one of the reasons this is so complicated is because — let’s say we did follow the desires of some people who say, “Just pull out, and pull out now.” Well, yeah. We could mechanically do that. It would be ugly, and it might take three or four months, but you could line up the battalions on the road one by one, and you could put the gunners in the Humvees and load and cock their weapons and shoot their way out of Iraq. You’d have a few roadside bombs. But if you line everybody up there won’t be any roadside bombs. Maybe some sniping. You can fly helicopters over, do your air cover. You’d probably get safely out of there. But when you leave, the Saudis have got to find someone to fight the Shias. Who are they going to find? Al-Qaeda, because the groups of Sunnis who would be extremists and willing to fight would probably be the groups connected to al-Qaeda. So one of the weird inconsistencies in this is that were we to get out early, we’d be intensifying the threat against us of a super powerful Sunni extremist group, which was now legitimated by overt Saudi funding in an effort to hang onto a toehold inside Iraq and block Iranian expansionism.
AMY GOODMAN: And interestingly, today, John Negroponte has just become the number two man, resigning his post as National Intelligence Director to go to the State Department, Seymour Hersh says, because of his discomfort that the administration’s covert actions in the Middle East so closely echo the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s, and Negroponte was involved with that.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I’m sure there are a lot of reasons why John would go back to the State Department. John’s a good — he’s a good man. But, you know, the question is, in government is, can you — are you bigger than your job? Because if you’re not bigger than your job, you get trapped by the pressures of events and processes into going along with actions that you know you shouldn’t. And I don’t know. I don’t know why he left the National Intelligence Director’s position. He started in the State Department. Maybe he’s got a fondness to return and finish off his career in State.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about — do you know who the generals are, who are threatening to resign if the United States attacks Iran?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: No, I don’t. No, I don’t. And I don’t want to know.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you agree with them?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I’ll put it this way. On Labor Day weekend of 1994, when I was the J5 — I was a three-star general. I was in the Pentagon. And it was a Saturday morning, and so I was in the office. Walt Kross was the director of the Joint Staff, and he was in the office. And I think it was either Howell Estes or Jack Sheehan who was the J3 at the time. The three of us — I think it was Jack still on the job for the last couple of days. And the three of us were in Shalikashvili’s office about 11:00 in the morning on a Saturday morning, and he had just come back from a White House meeting. And he was all fired up in the way that Shali could be. And he said, “So,” he said, “we will see who will be the real soldiers this weekend! There’s much work to be done! This operation on Haiti has to be completed! The planning must be done correctly, and it must be done this weekend! So we will see who are the real soldiers!”
Then the phone buzzed, and he got up from this little round table the four of us were sitting at to take the call from the White House. We started looking at each other. We said, “Gosh, I wonder where this came from.” I mean, we were all getting ready to check out of the building in an hour or so. We had finished off the messages and paperwork. And we just usually got together because there was normally a crisis every Saturday anyway, and so we normally would come in for the Saturday morning crisis. And so, Shali came back, and so I said to him, I said, “Well, sir, we’ve been talking amongst ourselves, and we’re happy to work all weekend to get all this done, but this is just a drill, right, on Haiti?”
He looked at me, and he said, “Wes,” he said, “this is no drill.” He said, “I’m not authorized to tell you this. But,” he said “the decision has been made, and the United States will invade Haiti. The date is the 20th” — I think it was this date — “of the 20th of September. And the planning must be done, and it must be done now. And if any of you have reservations about this, this is the time to leave.” So I looked at Jack, and I looked at Walt. They looked at me. I mean, we kind of shrugged our shoulders and said, “OK, if you want to invade Haiti, I mean, it’s not illegal. It’s not the country we’d most like to invade. The opposition there consists of five armored vehicles. But sure, I mean, if the President says to do it, yeah, we’re not going resign over it.” And so, we didn’t resign. Nobody resigned.
But Shali was a very smart man. He knew. He knew he was bigger than his job, and he knew that you had to ask yourself the moral, legal and ethical questions first. And so, I’m encouraged by the fact that some of these generals have said this about Iran. They should be asking these questions first.
AMY GOODMAN: General Wesley Clark. He says he thinks about running for president again every day. We’ll come back to my interview with him in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: We go back to my interview with General Wesley Clark.
AMY GOODMAN: What about the soldiers who are saying no to going to Iraq right now?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Iraq?
AMY GOODMAN: To going to Iraq. People like First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, first commissioned officer to say no to deploy. And they just declared a mistrial in his court-martial. He will face another court-martial in a few weeks. What do you think of these young men and women — there are now thousands — who are refusing? But, for example, Ehren Watada, who says he feels it’s wrong. He feels it’s illegal and immoral, and he doesn’t want to lead men and women there.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think, you know, he’s certainly made a personally courageous statement. And he’ll pay with the consequences of it.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think he should have to go to jail for that?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think that you have to have an effective armed forces. And I think that it’s not up to the men and women in the Armed Forces to choose where they’ll go to war, because at the very time you need the Armed Forces the most is — there will be a certain number of people who will see it the other way. And so, I support his right to refuse to go, and I support the government’s effort to bring charges against him. This is the way the system works.
Now, the difference is, the case that I described with Shalikashvili is, we would have been given the chance to retire. We would have left our jobs. We might not have retired as three-star generals, because we hadn’t done our duty. But we weren’t in the same circumstance that he is, so there wasn’t necessarily going to be charges brought against us.
But an armed forces has to have discipline. It’s a voluntary organization to join. But it’s not voluntary unless it’s illegal. And you can bring — the trouble with Iraq is it’s not illegal. It was authorized by the United States Congress. It was authorized by the United Nations Security Council resolution. It’s an illegitimate war, but not an illegal war.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think it’s wrong?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: It’s wrong to fight in Iraq? Well, I think it’s a mistake. I think it’s a bad strategy. I think it’s brought us a lot of grief, and it will bring us a lot more grief. I think it’s been a tremendous distraction from the war on terror, a diversion of resources, and it’s reinforced our enemies. But on the other hand, his case is a moral case, not a legal case. And if you’re going to be a conscientious objector morally like this, then what makes it commendable is that you’ll take your stand on principle and pay the price. If there’s no price to be paid for it, then the courage of your act isn’t self-evident. So he’s taken a very personally courageous stand. But on the other hand, you have to also appreciate the fact that the Armed Forces has to be able to function.
So, you know, in World War I in France, there were a series of terribly misplaced offensives, and they brought — they failed again and again and again. The French took incredible losses. And these were conscript armies. And after one of these failures, a group of thousands of soldiers simply said, “We’re not doing this again. It’s wrong.” You know what the French did? They did what they call decimation. They lined up the troops. They took every tenth soldier, and they shot them. Now, the general who ordered that, he suffered some severe repercussions, personally, morally, but after that the soldiers in France didn’t disobey. Had the army disintegrated at that point, Germany would have occupied France. So when you’re dealing with the use of force, there is an element of compulsion in the Armed Forces.
AMY GOODMAN: But if the politicians will not stop it — as you pointed out, the Democrats joined with the Republicans in authorizing the war — then it’s quite significant, I think, that you, as a general, are saying that this man has taken a courageous act. Then it’s up to the people who are being sent to go to say no.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Yeah. But the courage that we need is not his courage. We need the courage of the leaders in the United States government: the generals who could affect the policy, the people in Congress who could force the President to change his strategy. That’s the current — that’s the courage that’s needed.
AMY GOODMAN: And how could they do that?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, you start with a non-binding resolution in the United States Congress, and you build your momentum from there. And you keep hammering it. The Congress has three principal powers. It has the power to appoint, power to investigate, power to fund. And you go after all three. On all three fronts, you find out what the President needs, until he takes it seriously. I think it’s a difficult maneuver to use a scalpel and say, “Well, we’re going to support funding, but we’re not going to support funding for the surge,” because that’s requiring a degree of micro-management that Congress can’t do.
But you can certainly put enough squeeze on the President that he finally calls in the leaders of the Congress and says, “OK, OK, what’s it going to take? I’ve got to get my White House budget passed. I’ve got to get thirty judges, federal judges, confirmed. I’ve got to get these federal prosecutors — you know, the ones that I caused to resign so I could handle it — they’ve got to get replacements in place. What do I have to do to get some support here?” I mean, it could be done. It’s hard bare-knuckle government.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think Congress should stop funding the war?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I think Congress should take a strong stand to get the strategy changed. I don’t think that if you cut off funding for the war, it’s in the — right now that’s not in the United States’ interest. What is in the United States’ interest is to change the strategy in the war. You cannot succeed by simply stopping the funding and saying, “You’ve got six months to get the Americans out.” That’s not going to end the misery in Iraq. It’s not going to restore the lives that have been lost. And it’s not going to give us the power in the region to prevent later threats.
What we do have to do is have a strategy that uses all the elements of America’s power: diplomatic, economic, legal and military. I would send a high-level diplomatic team into the region right now. I’d have no-holds-barred and no-preconditioned discussion with Iran and Syria. And I would let it be known that I’ve got in my bag all the tricks, including putting another 50,000 troops in Iraq and pulling all 150,000 troops out. And we’re going to reach an agreement on a statement of principles that brings stability and peace and order to the region. So let’s just sit down and start doing it. Now, that could be done with the right administrative leadership. It just hasn’t been done.
You know, think of it this way. You’re on a ship crossing the Atlantic. It’s a new ship. And it’s at night. And you’re looking out ahead of the ship, and you notice that there’s a part of the horizon. It’s a beautiful, starry night, except that there’s a part of the horizon, a sort of a regular hump out there where there are no stars visible. And you notice, as the ship plows through the water at thirty knots, that this area where there are no stars is getting larger. And finally, it hits you that there must be something out there that’s blocking the starlight, like an iceberg. So you run to the captain. And you say, “Captain, captain, there’s an iceberg, and we’re driving right toward it.” And he says, “Look, I can’t be bothered with the iceberg right now. We’re having an argument about the number of deck chairs on the fore deck versus the aft deck.” And you say, “But you’re going to hit an iceberg.” He says, “I’m sorry. Get out of here.” So you go to the first officer, and he says, “I’m fighting with the captain on the number of deck chairs.”
You know, we’re approaching an iceberg in the Middle East in our policy, and we’ve got Congress and the United States — and the President of the United States fighting over troop strength in Iraq. It’s the wrong issue. The issue is the strategy, not the troop strength.
AMY GOODMAN: General Clark, do you think Guantanamo Bay should be closed?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Absolutely.
AMY GOODMAN: If Congress cut off funds for the prison there, it would be closed. Should they?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think the first thing Congress should do is repeal the Military Commissions Act. I’m very disturbed that a number of people who are looking at the highest office in the land have supported an act which advertently or inadvertently authorizes the admission into evidence of information gained through torture. That’s not the America that I believe in. And the America that I believe in doesn’t detain people indefinitely without charges. So I’d start with the Military Commissions Act.
Then I’d get our NATO allies into the act. They’ve said they don’t like Guantanamo either. So I’d like to create an international tribunal, not a kangaroo court of military commissions. And let’s go back through the evidence. And let’s lay it out. Who are these people that have been held down there? And what have they been held for? And which ones can be released? And which ones should be tried in court and convicted?
You see, essentially, you cannot win the war on terror by military force. It is first and foremost a battle of ideas. It is secondly a law enforcement effort and a cooperative effort among nations. And only as a last resort do you use military force. This president has distorted the capabilities of the United States Armed Forces. He’s used our men and women in uniform improperly in Guantanamo and engaged in actions that I think are totally against the Uniform Code of Military Justice and against what we stand for as the American people.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think that President Bush should be impeached?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think we ought to do first thing’s first, which is, we really need to understand and finish the job that Congress started with respect to the Iraq war investigation. Do you remember that there was going to be a study released by the Senate, that the senator from Iowa or from Kansas who was the Republican head of the Senate Intelligence Committee was going to do this study to determine whether the administration had, in fact, misused the intelligence information to mislead us into the war with Iraq? Well, I’ve never seen that study. I’d like to know where that study is. I’d like to know why we’ve spent three years investigating Scooter Libby, when we should have been investigating why this country went to war in Iraq.
AMY GOODMAN: The Center for Constitutional Rights has filed a complaint against Donald Rumsfeld, General Miller and others in a German court, because they have universal jurisdiction. Do you think that Donald Rumsfeld should be tried for war crimes?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I’d like to see what the evidence is against Rumsfeld. I do know this, that there was a lot of pressure put on the men and women in uniform to come up with intelligence. I remember — I think it was either General Sanchez or General Abizaid, who stated that we don’t need more troops — this is the fall of 2003 — we just need better information. Well, to me, that was immediate code words that we were really trying to soak these people for information.
And it’s only a short step from there to all the kinds of mistreatment that occur at places like Abu Ghraib. So we know that Al Gonzales wrote a couple of really — or authored, or his people authored and he approved, a couple of outrageous memos that attempted to define torture as deliberately inflicted pain, the equivalent of the loss of a major bodily organ or limb, which is — it’s not an adequate definition of torture. And we know that he authorized, to some degree, some coercive methods, which we have — and we know President Bush himself accepted implicitly in a signing statement to a 2005 act on military detainees that he would use whatever methods were appropriate or necessary. So there’s been some official condoning of these actions.
I think it’s a violation of international law and a violation of American law and a violation of the principles of good government in America. There have always been evidences of mistreatment of prisoners. Every army has probably done it in history. But our country hasn’t ever done it as a matter of deliberate policy. George Washington told his soldiers, when they captured the Hessians and the men wanted to run them through, because the Hessians were brutal and ruthless, he said, “No, treat them well.” He said, “They’ll join our side.” And many of them did. It was a smart policy, not only the right thing to do, but a smart policy to treat the enemy well. We’ve made countless enemies in that part of the world by the way we’ve treated people and disregarded them. It’s bad, bad policy.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask — you’re a FOX News contributor now?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Oh, at least.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you what you think of the dean of West Point, Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, together with a military interrogator named Tony Lagouranis and the group Human Rights First, going to the heads of the program 24, very popular hit show on FOX, to tell them that what they’re doing on this program, glorifying torture, is inspiring young men and women to go to Iraq and torture soldiers there, and to stop it?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: And not only that, but it doesn’t work. Yeah, Pat Finnegan is one of my heroes.
AMY GOODMAN: So what do you think about that?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I think it’s great.
AMY GOODMAN: And have you been involved in the conversation internally at FOX, which runs 24, to stop it?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, as far as I know, they actually put out a call to all the writers in Hollywood. My son’s a writer, and he was one of them who got a call. They were all told: stop talking about torture. It doesn’t work. So I think it was an effective move by Pat Finnegan.
AMY GOODMAN: So you support it?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Absolutely.
AMY GOODMAN: General Wesley Clark. I’m interviewing him at the 92nd Street Y. We’re going to come back to the conclusion of that interview in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: General Wesley Clark recently edited a series of books about famous US generals: Grant, LeMay, Patton and Eisenhower. When I interviewed him at the 92nd Street Y, I asked him a question about the presidency of General Dwight Eisenhower
AMY GOODMAN: 1953 was also a seminal date for today, and that was when Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Teddy Roosevelt, went to Iran and led a coup against Mohammed Mossadegh under Eisenhower.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: People make mistakes. And one of the mistakes that the United States consistently made was that it could intervene and somehow adjust people’s governments, especially in the Middle East. I don’t know why we felt that — you can understand Latin America, because Latin America was always an area in which people would come to the United States, say, “You’ve got to help us down there. These are banditos, and they don’t know anything. And, you know, they don’t have a government. Just intervene and save our property.” And the United States did it a lot in the ’20s. Of course, Eisenhower was part of that culture. He had seen it.
But in the Middle East, we had never been there. We established a relationship during World War II, of course, to keep the Germans out of Iran. And so, the Soviets and the Brits put an Allied mission together. At the end of World War II, the Soviets didn’t want to withdraw, and Truman called their bluff in the United Nations. And Eisenhower knew all of this. And Iran somehow became incorporated into the American defense perimeter. And so, his view would have been, we couldn’t allow a communist to take over.
AMY GOODMAN: But wasn’t it more about British Petroleum?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Oh, it’s always — there are always interests. The truth is, about the Middle East is, had there been no oil there, it would be like Africa. Nobody is threatening to intervene in Africa. The problem is the opposite. We keep asking for people to intervene and stop it. There’s no question that the presence of petroleum throughout the region has sparked great power involvement. Whether that was the specific motivation for the coup or not, I can’t tell you. But there was definitely — there’s always been this attitude that somehow we could intervene and use force in the region. I mean, that was true with — I mean, imagine us arming and creating the Mujahideen to keep the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Why would we think we could do that? But we did. And, you know, my lesson on it is, whenever you use force, there are unintended consequences, so you should use force as a last resort. Whether it’s overt or covert, you pay enormous consequences for using force.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you about what you think of the response to Jimmy Carter’s book, Peace, Not Apartheid.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I’m sorry to say I haven’t read the book. And it’s one of the things I’ve been meaning to read, and I just haven’t. I will tell you this, that we’re in a very, very difficult position in Israel. I say “we,” because every American president has committed to the protection and survival of the state of Israel. And I think that’s right. And I certainly feel that way, and I’m a very strong supporter of Israel.
But somehow we’ve got to move off top dead center in terms of these discussions with the Palestinians. And this administration has failed to lead. They came into office basically determined not to do anything that Bill Clinton did. I think that was the basic guideline. And so, they have allowed unremitting violence between Israel and the Palestinians with hardly an effort to stop that through US leadership. And now, it’s almost too late. So Condi was over there the other day, and she didn’t achieve what she wanted to achieve, and people want to blame the Saudis. But at least the Saudis tried to do something at Mecca by putting together a unity government. So I fault the administration.
Jimmy Carter has taken a lot of heat from people. I don’t know exactly what he said in the book. But people are very sensitive about Israel in this country. And I understand that. A lot of my friends have explained it to me and have explained to me the psychology of people who were in this country and saw what was happening in World War II, and maybe they didn’t feel like they spoke out strongly enough, soon enough, to stop it. And it’s not going to happen again.
AMY GOODMAN: General Clark, I wanted to ask you a tough question about journalists.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, now, that would be the first tough question you’ve asked me tonight.
AMY GOODMAN: There are more than a hundred journalists and media workers in Iraq who have died. And particularly hard hit are Arab journalists. I mean, you had Tariq Ayoub, the Al Jazeera reporter, who died on the roof of Al Jazeera when the US military shelled Al Jazeera, then went on to shell the Palestine Hotel and killed two reporters, a Reuters cameraman and one from Telecinco in Spain named Jose Couso. Many Arab journalists feel like they have been targeted, the idea of shooting the messenger. But this tough question goes back to your being Supreme Allied Commander in Yugoslavia and the bombing of Radio Television Serbia. Do you regret that that happened, that you did that?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: No, I don’t regret that at all. That was part of the Serb command and control network. And not only that, I was asked to take out that television by a lot of important political leaders. And before I took it out, I twice warned the Serbs we were going to take it out. We stopped, at one news conference in the Pentagon, we planted the question to get the attention of the Serbs, that we were going to target Serb Radio and Television.
AMY GOODMAN: RTS.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Yeah. And that night, in fact, Milosevic got the warning, because he summoned all the foreign journalists to come to a special mandatory party at RTS that night. But we weren’t bombing that night. We put the word out twice before we actually I did it.
AMY GOODMAN: You told CNN, which was also there, to leave?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I told — I used — I think I used CNN to plant the story and to leak it at the Pentagon press conference. But we didn’t tell anyone specifically to leave. What we told them was it’s now a target. And it was Milosevic who determined that he would keep people there in the middle of the night just so there would be someone killed if we struck it. So we struck it during the hours where there were not supposed to be anybody there.
AMY GOODMAN: But you killed civilians.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Six people died.
AMY GOODMAN: I think sixteen. But I think it’s the media — it’s the beauticians, the technicians. It was a civilian target.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Yeah, they were ordered to stay there by Milosevic. Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: But it was a civilian target.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: It was not a civilian target. It was a military target. It was part of the Serb command and control network
AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of Amnesty International calling it a war crime?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, I think it was investigated by the International Criminal Tribunal in Yugoslavia and found to be a legitimate target. So I think it’s perfectly alright for Amnesty International to have their say, but everything we did was approved by lawyers, and every target was blessed. We would not have committed a war crime.
AMY GOODMAN: Upon reflection now and knowing who died there, the young people, the people who worked for RTS, who — as you said, if Milosevic wanted people to stay there, they were just following orders.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, it was a tragedy. But I’ll tell you something. If you want to talk about tragedies, how about this one? We bombed what we thought was a Serb police station in Kosovo. We saw the Serb vehicles. We flew unmanned aerial vehicles over it. And we did everything we could to identify it. And we found that there were Serb police vehicles parked there at night, so we sent an F-16 in, dropped two 500-pound laser-guided bombs and took it out. We killed eighty Albanians who had been imprisoned by the Serbs there. They were trying to escape, and the Serbs locked them up in this farmhouse and surrounded them with vehicles. So, I regret every single innocent person who died, and I prayed every night that there wouldn’t be any innocent people who died. But this is why I say you must use force only as a last resort.
I told this story to the high school kids earlier, but it bears repeating, I guess. We had a malfunction with a cluster bomb unit, and a couple of grenades fell on a schoolyard, and some, I think three, schoolchildren were killed in Nish. And two weeks later, I got a letter from a Serb grandfather. He said, “You’ve killed my granddaughter.” He said, “I hate you for this, and I’ll kill you.” And I got this in the middle of the war. And it made me very, very sad. We certainly never wanted to do anything like that. But in war, accidents happen. And that’s why you shouldn’t undertake military operations unless every other alternative has been exhausted, because innocent people do die. And I think the United States military was as humane and careful as it possibly could have been in the Kosovo campaign. But still, civilians died. And I’ll always regret that.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think cluster bombs should be banned?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: You know, we used, I think 1,400-plus cluster bombs. And there’s a time when you have to use cluster bombs: when they’re the most appropriate and humane weapon. But I think you have to control the use very carefully. And I think we did in Yugoslavia.
AMY GOODMAN: Right now, the US has rejected an international call to ban the use of cluster bombs. On Friday, forty-six countries were in Oslo to develop a new international treaty to ban the use of cluster munitions by — I think it’s 2008. Would you support that?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, you know, people who are against war often make the case by trying to attack the weapons of war and stripping away the legitimacy of those weapons. I’ve participated in some of that. I’d like to get rid of landmines. I did participate in getting rid of laser blinding weapons. And I was part of the team that put together the agreement that got rid of laser blinding weapons. I’d like to get rid of nuclear weapons. But I can’t agree with those who say that force has no place in international affairs. It simply does for this country. And I would like to work to make it so that it doesn’t. But the truth is, for now it does. And so, I can’t go against giving our men and women in uniform the appropriate weapons they need to fight, to fight effectively to succeed on the battlefield, and to minimize their own casualties.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’ll have to leave it there. I thank you very much, General Wesley Clark.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: General Wesley Clark. I interviewed him at the 92nd Street Y, the cultural center here in New York, on the publication of the Great General Series, on Grant, LeMay, Patton and Eisenhower.
Washington Bolivar, an indigenous activist in Peru has received another sinister death threat in the immediate wake of his efforts to challenge the destruction of Amazon rainforest for timber extraction and conversion to oil palm.
In the course of the last month, human rights defender, Mr Bolivar received the following handwritten and explicit notes in quick succession:
“WASHINGTON…WE ARE GOING TO KILL YOU IF YOU KEEP ON SCREWING US. THOSE LANDS ARE NOT YOURS… YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WILL NOT LIVE. LET US WORK IF YOU DO NOT WANT ALL OF YOU TO DIE…”
The precise source of the threat is unknown at this time, but local activists and community leaders suspect that it refers to Mr Bolivar’s well publicized support of the struggle of the Shipibo community of Santa Clara de Uchunya in the Ucayali region of Peru. Over the last year the community has been actively opposing the destruction of over 5000 ha of their traditional forests for conversion to a palm oil plantation by a Peruvian palm oil company, Plantaciones de Pucallpa.
Plantaciones de Pucallpa is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and is linked to a group of companies controlled by businessman Dennis Melka and known in Peru to be part of the so called ‘Melka group’.
As highlighted by a recent FPP press release marking the visit of a community representative to the UK, the community’s struggle has been partly successful. On the 2nd September 2015, Peru’s central government concluded that the deforestation was illegal and suspended the operations (report in Spanish only).
As a result of the denunciation, FPP now understands that the RSPO will initiate independent investigations into the case.
Mr Bolivar has informed the relevant authorities about the latest threat including the Human rights ombudsman and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. However, while he lodged similar complaints in September 2015 after receiving other death threats at that time, he feels that the Government has failed to take any effective measures to protect him, his family and the community.
Understandably, Mr Bolivar remains extremely concerned given the climate of fear and violence in Peru in which almost 60 human rights and environmental defenders have been killed between 2002 and 2014. These include the well publicized assassinations of Edwin Chota and three other Asháninka leaders from the village of Saweto in Ucayali in 2014.
“I am concerned but won’t remain silent, the world should know what Melka’s companies are doing to our lands. They destroy our forest and our biodiversity. The Government fails to stop this tragedy and then leaves our human rights defenders exposed to death threats and homicides. The company benefits from this environment while our people and the forests suffer.”
Meanwhile, Tom Griffiths from FPP’s Responsible Finance Programme highlighted that “the Forest Peoples Programme is glad RSPO is going to investigate these violations of its standards. We also trust that the RSPO will use all its influence with the concerned companies to ensure that no harm comes to community activists like Mr Bolivar. Mr Bolivar is now very well known internationally. All eyes are closely watching both the behavior of the Government and the Company in Ucayali.”
Robert Guimaraes, President of FECONAU, the indigenous organization that represents the village of Santa Clara de Uchunya has reiterated that behind the violence lies the failure of Peru’s government to address its obligation to provide secure legal recognition for indigenous peoples’ lands and rights and to follow through on its international pledges to protect forests.
“Community lands were issued to the company by the regional government of Ucayali in complete disregard for their legal rights to their traditional lands and with no process of consultation or consent. I am calling on human rights agencies and the international donors supporting Peru’s forest protection plans to insist that the State meet its obligations to protect indigenous peoples’ lands and rights”.
Peru has made ambitious commitments to stop deforestation as part of its climate change mitigation strategy, pledging to reduce net deforestation to zero by 2021. However, as exposed by this case and a 2014 report these promises are undermined by gaping loopholes in Peru’s legal framework and endemic corruption.
On repeated occasions since 2010, Peru’s government has recognized the centrality of securing indigenous peoples’ land rights as part of its climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy. As a result it has secured high profile financial support from international donors including the World Bank and the governments of Norway and Germany. Despite this, these promises have failed to materialize and approximately 20 million ha of indigenous lands remain untitled and continue to be issued to mining, oil, gas and agribusiness interests (for more information click here).
In December at the UN’s Climate conference in Paris, Peru will announce its own voluntary commitment to climate change mitigation referred to as INDC’s. The measures include actions to protect forests yet other than a cursory reference to promoting participation of indigenous peoples, there are no clear commitments to safeguard indigenous lands and protect those defending the forests.
Plantaciones de Pucallpa is one of many companies registered in Peru with links to a complex corporate network effectively controlled by Dennis Melka. Mr Melka is a businessman who founded the Malaysian agribusiness company Asian Plantations whose operations have been similarly controversial in Sarawak, Malaysia. Read this report for more information about the operations of the Melka group in Peru and Malaysia.
The Anglo-American legal tradition is in serious trouble if not a single major U.S. politician is willing to suggest that the most effective way to combat international terrorism is through law and the courts.
Terrorism is a crime under the United States code, defined at 18 U.S.C. §§ 2331 and 2332b . It sits just a few subchapters away from piracy, another international crime which is also adjudicated, relatively successfully, by the U.S. legal system. It is probably tough to remember, but the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, Ramzi Yousef, was tried in a civilian court. He is currently serving a life sentence in Florence, Colorado, at a federal Supermax prison.
It would reflect a great deal of strength for a politician to argue that law will dispose of terrorism. First, most of us already know that courts can successfully handle heinous international crimes. At Nuremberg, judges were able to weigh evidence and convict individuals who committed some of the most deeply offensive crimes in history. This work continues in the Hague today with the International Criminal Court. Most international scholars agree that such efforts are largely positive in helping to close the chapter on war and to move a society forward in a more positive, legally-minded direction. If a court was capable of adjudicating the Holocaust, it is surely capable of dealing with international terrorism.
There is strength in affirming fundamental values on which a civilized society is based. We cannot have a world in which some crimes go before a civilian judge, and some crimes are subject to summary execution by the President through a drone strike. In all matters of justice, separate-but-equal is a fatally flawed directive. Historically, the Anglo-American tradition has sought to limit executive power and preserve the ability of a neutral judge to adjudicate disputes — values that have been deeply weakened by 15 years of unending war and which now must be reclaimed or forever lost.
There is strength in admitting that the military approach to terrorism has not only failed, it has made the problem significantly worse. Using a bomb to solve terrorism creates a hydra where chopping off one head only produces three more. Kill Baghdadi and someone else will take his throne, or perhaps three more. Is this not what created ISIS? Is it really so difficult to see how the use of the military in the Middle East has opened the gates of Hell? Is no one really going to question the insanity of the U.S. simultaneously bombing ISIS (fighting Assad) and Assad (fighting ISIS)?
There is strength in dealing with the eventual even-handedness of justice. It is an unfortunate truth that Western countries have also, too, committed crimes since 9/11. Those crimes will require an accounting before a judge, at least some day. And in particular, there will never be peace in the Middle East without an answer for the Iraq War, which will be recognized one day by all peoples as one of the gravest international crimes since World War II. This was a war that was built on lies and sold to a fearful public like the vilest of snake oils. And its bitterness remains. The Iraq War destroyed a country, killed millions of innocent parents and their children, and is the caustic source of the violence that now roils the Middle East and strikes into Paris. Justice requires an answer for the Iraq War — a good and healthy thing as such justice will act as a lesson to the future that the human species will never survive if it relies on war, particularly at a time when so much destruction can be committed by so few in number.
Now, the specter of fascism creeps in this petty pace as politicians in Europe and the U.S. create false enemies and denounce refugees, threaten more war, and pander to the ugliest motivations of each of their respective nations. There is strength in rejecting this fascism.
The world should put together its finest legal minds from all countries — from the U.S., from Latin America, from Europe, from Africa, from Asia, and yes, from the Middle East. Let these minds define the problem, propose a legal solution, and then either work with the International Criminal Court in the Hague, or set up a special tribunal to adjudicate the issue of terrorism. Let that court issue warrants, and make sure that the world will cooperate with that court to arrest those who are wanted. Give the accused a lawyer, have a trial, and issue a sentence. Put the guilty in jail. And acquit those for whom there is not enough evidence, and let them go.
And after the world has set up that process, the world should do the same thing for those on all sides who are committing crimes. All people should take a look at the log in each of their own eyes, particularly after analyzing the speck in that of the other. The people of every nation must look into their hearts and their minds to figure out why governments, everywhere, are getting away with murder. The world needs to put a stop to that, as well.
In the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, there are three important questions to ask.
1) Cui bono?
2) What country could surpass and thwart the sophisticated French intelligence and surveillance system?
3) Why are outcry and public outpourings of support and grief so muted or entirely absent when other countries are invaded or attacked by our forces,
France is on alert since the Charlie Hebdo and market attacks, with heightened security due to President Hollande attending a public sporting event. Who has the resources to wage a coordinated, well-armed, utterly secret attack across Paris and escape notice despite surveillance?
The answer is not “magical evil people,” unless you’ve been watching too much TV or too many Western press conferences.
Look at what is happening in Syria. Look at the timing. There are no coincidences.
The U.S., allies, and ISIS are losing in Syria
The U.S. is losing support from European allies
The U.S. and allies support ISIS
The U.S. and allies want control of pipelines, resources, and the region
U.S., allies, and ISIS losing Syria
Russia, assisting the Syrian government, has destroyed almost 2000 terrorist targets in a few short weeks – ammunition depots, command posts, training camps, fortified positions. The U.S.-led coalition, though claiming to fight terrorists for over a year, has had few if any results. Syrians are retaking their country with the help of Russia, Iran, and Iraq.
The U.S. has repeatedly refused to cooperate with Russia or Syria. The U.S. and its partners kill Syrians, destroy vital national Syrian infrastructure, and lie about Syria and Russia.
Discussions are underway for Syrian political solutions. In contrast, the U.S. funds and trains mercenary terrorist forces to overthrow the democratically-elected and popular President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. Special Envoy Daniel Rubenstein says Syrians may not even be part of the envisioned Western-created government.
The Russian proposals and assistance are gaining popularity internationally.
U.S. losing European support
European leaders talk about working with Russia to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups. Members of the Bundestag (German Parliament) visited Moscow recently. Europeans are being hurt by sanctions. Many oppose U.S.-NATO actions against Russia. The refugee crisis is destabilizing Europe – a powerful impetus to work for peace in Syria.
U.S.-coalition support of terrorism
The U.S. and allies support ISIS and other terrorist groups with active, ongoing aid — supplies, weapons, logistics, medical aid, and protection. This is well documented. These aren’t just a few “mistaken” drops of weapons and supplies to ISIS forces. Turkey, Israel, the UK and France are all involved.
John McCain has been repeatedly photographed with these groups and their leaders. Instead of attacking ISIS, the U.S. and Israel have also attacked and murdered Syrian soldiers defending their country.
U.S.-European regional goals
The U.S. and allies want control of pipelines, oil and gas, and the region. This has been their objective for decades. The U.S. began terrorizing Syria from the beginning, launching its first CIA coup against Syria’s newly formed government in 1949. The U.S. hasn’t stopped since that time. The British and French have been at this even longer.
The military mission by all coalition partners supports powerful economic and financial players. U.S. actions have nothing to do with “American values”, U.S. defense, or the American people. U.S. Marine Major General Smedley Butler said,
The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag… War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious…I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street… I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents…
Information warfare is waged by U.S. and Western governments to hide what’s going on. The mainstream news media docilely reads whatever cover story it is handed.
Destabilization and/or installation of puppet dictatorships are important to attain U.S./NATO goals. Igniting ethnic feuds and rivalries and supplying weapons keep people divided, distracted, and killing each other, while the U.S. and coalition members loot the region of resources. The powerful American, UK, French, Turkish, Israeli, Saudi and coalition militaries are more than capable of guarding their own critical infrastructure in the midst of this created chaos. They have no qualms with ignoring national sovereignty and destroying people. General Wesley Clarke stated in 2007,
“We’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” 
But the European public is pushing for peace, especially due to the refugee crisis. What a perfect time to re-galvanize support for U.S./NATO power and goals with a terror attack.
The third question is actually several questions and follows President Assad’s statement that this has been happening in Syria for five years.
3) Why are outcry and public outpourings of support and grief so muted or entirely absent when other countries are invaded or attacked by our forces, and thousands of people killed by our bombs, missiles, bullets, drones, cluster munitions, white phosphorus, depleted uranium, and by sanctions? Libya immediately comes to mind as well as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and eastern Ukraine. Over 500,000 children are dead in Iraq just due to U.S. sanctions in the 1990s. How many Westerners opposed that? How many mourned those hundreds of thousands of dead children due to Western terrorism?
Is it terrorism only when it’s done to “us”?
Do we ignore or even applaud our own countries’ terroristic and illegal actions, especially if the people in the countries we attack are a different ethnicity or race or religion? Europe and America have spawned many of the worst examples of terrorism in humanity’s history. How many millions of Syrian people are dead or are refugees because of French and Western terrorism?
How many Libyans, Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans and others have been tortured, raped or murdered because of the terrorism created and funded by France and others?
Are racism and permissible genocide what really drive our community spirit as well as our foreign policies?
American terrorism has a long, long history across the globe; Syria is just one of the chapters.
The School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia, has trained death squads and torturers for many years. A protest in November will once again call for its closure.
NATO’s Operation Gladio and the “stay behind armies” have manufactured terror in Europe and elsewhere since the end of World War II. France has been in the crosshairs of the U.S. before, as have many other countries which weren’t firm enough vassal states. There were 31 assassination attempts against President De Gaulle which were traced to the United States and NATO. When there is even a whiff of neutrality, Washington sends its hit men.
Wikileaks just released evidence of John McCain’s involvement in a plot to shoot down an American plane over Syria and blame it on Russia. In the 1960s, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff plotted similar false flag terrorist actions to blame on Cuba in Operation Northwoods. We know that President George W. Bush proposed a similar action against Iraq because of the leaked “Downing Street” memo. Washington will do anything to keep its dominance and economic power.
Any school child can easily find a wealth of documentation on this, yet most Americans haven’t a clue. Why? Because they “believe” in Americanism and exceptionalism. They don’t read widely, they don’t ask questions, they don’t investigate, they don’t think, and they won’t protest. This is very, very dangerous. In Nazi Germany, Germans were afraid and many were inactive, but they weren’t blind. Many Americans are willfully blind, self-focused, and lazy. But what will happen when the mercenaries killing other people come knocking on their doors? They forget Martin Niemoller’s poem.
Already, after the Paris attacks, the knives are out for Syria, the false evidence waved in front of the camera. We now know that France was tracking the purported culprits for years, and then stopped. Coincidentally, the French had already brought their largest warship, the Charles De Gaulle, to the Syrian coast just in time for the attacks, and France has now bombed inside Syria, without Syrian permission.
It is the responsibility of each person to think and see through the charades and the tragedies, to discern the real shapes hiding in the shadows. It is the obligation of each person to expose these crimes, past and present, and hold all the perpetrators responsible.
Below is a sample petition to use in your community to submit to elected officials, to get local resolutions passed by cities and counties, and to publish as an ad or editorial in your local newspaper with support from local peace-promoting groups and individuals.
This is a major cause for PTSD and suicide in veterans. Recruited into the military with flag-waving and promises of free college education, men and women discover the truth too late. Once inside the military, it is almost impossible to get out, and they are virtual slaves. Soldiers can be shot if they refuse to obey orders. True support for the troops means stopping the wars, stopping the war economy, bringing all soldiers home with apologies and healing services, and jailing the people at the top in Congress, the Pentagon, and on Wall Street.
Nina Beety is a community advocate, public speaker, and writer on topics including wireless radiation hazards, environmental issues, and American foreign policy. She is author of the report “Analysis: Smart Meter and Smart Grid Problems — Legislative Proposal, December 2012″, available on her website www.smartmeterharm.org
Right wing Labour MPs have launched a full-scale coup against Jeremy Corbyn, and against the members of the party they represent, writes Oliver Tickell. Their plan is simple – backed by mainstream media, to discredit him so utterly that even his supporters turn against him – and elect a new ‘heir to Blair’ leader.
There’s no doubt about it. Shooting to kill is all the vogue.
No, that’s not terrorists I’m talking about. The target is a mild mannered gentleman of 66 who wouldn’t hurt a fly, if he could help it.
And that’s the problem. As David Cameron talks tough on shooting terrorists on Britain’s streets, bombing Syria, shooting off nuclear weapons at unnamed enemies, over half of the Labour Party’s MPs in the House of Commons gaze in admiration, open mouthed, wondering why their leader couldn’t be more like that.
Why not someone more like … Tony Blair. He talked tough, he walked tall with George W Bush, he wasn’t afraid to unleash the dogs of war on the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Moreover most of those Labour MPs who are sniping at Corbyn from the green benches of the House of Commons know which side their bread is buttered. It was Tony Blair who put them there, after all, by imposing short lists of ‘approved’ right wing candidates on local parties.
And now they are at risk in a newly energised left wing Labour Party that has just elected a genuinely progressive, pacifist, environmentalist left wing leader. All the hundreds of new members that have flooded into the party inspired by Corbyn’s combination of compassion, understanding and commitment to social, ecological and economic justice are hardly going to reselect them when the time comes.
Operation ‘kill Corbyn’
So here’s the plan: seize on any perceived weakness and attack, attack, attack. Hit hard, hit often, in public and in private. Backed up by the entire spectrum of Britain’s ‘mainstream’ media who are only to happy to join those Labour MPs in puttting the boot in.
And the objective is clear: kill Corbyn. Wipe him out. Discredit him so utterly that not only will MPs and media unite against him, but even his supporters in the wider Labour Party will lose faith and either leave the party in disgust, or refuse to re-elect him after the leadership challenge they are building up to.
It all began with the debate on Trident when Corbyn said he would in no circumstances commit the grave international crime of using nuclear weapons, whose detonation on any likely target would inevitably kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and shower large parts of the Earth with intensely radioactive fallout.
It picked up steam with Corbyn’s unenthusiastic response for the assassination of the ISIS terrorist ‘Jihadi John’ in Syria in a UK-supported drone strike – demanding to be told of its legal basis.
“I would only authorise actions that are legal in the terms of international law”, he told ITV news. “I am awaiting an explanation of where the legal basis was for that incident that went on.” International law? When did that ever have anything to do with anything? It didn’t stop Tony Blair, did it?
And now he wants to deprive the UK of a chance to exhibit its national virility by bombing ISIS target in Syria, even denying his MPs a free vote. “I’m just not convinced that a bombing campaign will actually solve anything”, he told Sky News. “It may well make the situation far worse.
“We can’t go on in a cycle of wars and destruction, one after the other after the other, which is what we’re going through at the moment … I want us to be able to put together a proposal, a series of measures that do enhance the security of people in this country.”
“I’m not happy with the shoot-to-kill policy in general”, he told her. “I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often can be counterproductive. I think you have to have security that prevents people firing off weapons where you can, there are various degrees for doing things as we know. But the idea you end up with a war on the streets is not a good thing.”
These are the words that launched a thousand attacks. Note – there was no outright refusal to allow security forces to shoot and kill terrorists in all circumstances. That’s what he meant, surely, by the words “there are various degrees for doing things as we know.”
But first, this was just the concluding few seconds of a long (nine minute) interview in which he spoke in careful and measured terms: asking where ISIS was getting its money and weapons were coming from; demanding enhanced security in Britain and across Europe to prevent any further attacks like those in Paris; pointing out that there was no such thing as Al Qaida in Iraq before the war began in 2003; seeking the involvement of the United Nations in Syria; highlighting the role of communities in tackling extremism; calling on Cameron to rescind police cuts that would damage their ability to combat terrorism; condemning ISIS in firm and absolute terms; and seeking political rather than merely military solutions to international problems.
In short, there was absolutely nothing that any informed and rational person could disagree with.
And here’s the mystery. Kuenssberg is always good at nailing down the key, defining question. And the obvious follow-up to Corbyn’s reluctance to endorse “war on our streets” was, surely: “But just to be completely clear for our listeners Mr Corbyn, would you or would you not agree to the use of lethal force against terrorists if that was necessary to save civilian lives?”
But this is the question that was not put. Did Kuenssberg know that she had what she wanted ‘in the can’ and that any further question would only detract from its impact? Was a BBC producer yelling “Cut!” into her ear?
Because what Corbyn would have said in answer to that question is surely something like this: “The overwhelming priority must be to stop war breaking out on our streets in the first place. But obviously yes, if a terrorist attack is taking place and civilian lives are at risk, security forces must respond appropriately and at times that will mean shooting and killing terrorists – not as a kneejerk response but as a last resort. Because what we should be trying to do is to disarm and arrest them and hold them accountable for their crimes.”
He could also have raised the case of Jean Charles da Silva e de Menezes, shot dead at Stockwell Tube Station, London, on 22nd July 2005 by officers of the London Metropolitan Police who had mistakely identified him as one of ’7/7′ bombers. He was entirely innocent of having anything to do with terrorism.
To understand is to resist
The first thing is for us all to understand what is going on. The rush to attack and denounce Corbyn is not based on anything he said. After all, what’s to disagree with?
It is not a sign that a debate is taking place in the Labour Party. The ferocity and intensity of the attacks is, on the contrary, intended precisely to prevent rational debate and forestall any reasonable discussion of the issues.
The purpose is simple. It is to brand Corbyn a softie, a cissy, an ex-hippy peacenik, unfit to rule, weak on defence, a risk to national security, a left-wing corduroy-jacketed beardie scarcely fit to serve as a humanities lecturer in third rate ex-Polytechnic University.
It is above all to present him as, and render him, unelectable – a man who can only lead Labour to abject failure in any future general election. And so convince the great mass of the Labour Party to turn against their failed left-wing champion and elect in his place an ‘heir to Blair’. Someone more like … David Cameron?
So first, understand. Second, don’t fall for it. Third, resist.
Recent media reports indicate that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have contracted Eritrea’s government for assistance in the War on Yemen, using the East African state as a transit and logistics base for their operations, as well as 400 of its troops for cannon fodder in Aden.
Add to it the Qatari soldiers that have already been present on the ground for a few years to “mediate” the border dispute with Djibouti, and the most important members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have unexpectedly converged in what many might think to be among one of the most unlikeliest of places. While it may have been difficult to foresee this happening, in hindsight it actually makes quite a lot of sense, and contrary to the conventional assessment that this is about Yemen, the argument can be made that it’s also just as much about Ethiopia as well. Unbeknownst to many, Qatar is the “ox driving the cart” in this case, and whether they like it or not, the rest of the GCC states will be reluctantly forced to follow its destabilizing lead if Doha decides to throw Ethiopia into chaos.
The research expands on the briefing first laid out by South Front and should be seen as a continuation of their original work. It begins by setting the context for what’s been going on along the Horn of Africa lately and how the GCC’s military advances fit into the larger context of recent history. The piece then investigates the levers of influence for how Qatar could destabilize Ethiopia as well as its radical ideological motivations for doing so. Finally, the article concludes with a scenario study of how Qatar could engineer an Unconventional War to bring down Africa’s next up-and-coming power.
The Crowded Coast
The Horn of Africa is one of the most geostrategic regions in the world due to its location along the Bab-el-Mandeb strait that connects the Gulf of Aden with the Red Sea. In a broader context, one can say that it’s one of two maritime chokepoints (the other being the Suez Canals) that link Europe with South, Southeast, and East Asia, and until the Northern Sea Route becomes operable sometime in the next decade, all sea-bound trade between the EU and these corners of Eurasia must transit through its narrow passage. As could be expected, this makes control over the strait a heightened prize for any power or combination thereof, and it’s not for naught that most Great Powers scrambled their navies to the region over the past decade ostensibly to “combat piracy”.
Come One, Come All:
What was really happening was that the US was trying to militarize the waterway under the auspices of countering “Somali pirates”, which it must be reminded, were bogeymen that were blown completely out of proportion by the Western mainstream media for premeditated geopolitical ends. The US wanted to create the conditions where the rest of the world would accept the continuous presence of its fleet operating in these strategic international waters, but precisely because their legal status, it meant that any other fleet could do the same thing on identical grounds, which is exactly what happened. While the UK and French navies were obviously there to support their American ‘big brother’, Russia, China, India, and Iran also sailed their ships there too, but for the purpose of both watching the West and symbolically showing that they won’t allow NATO to completely control this space.
The Strategic Illusion:
While the “pirate” hype has largely died down and the multilateral naval positioning over the Bab-el-Mandeb has markedly subsided since its frenzied height in the late 00s, the importance of the strait obviously hasn’t changed, and the American-initiated competition over its control merely took on another form and amphibiously migrated landward. The US joined its French partners in Djibouti by moving into Camp Lemonnier in 2001 (Paris never left the country after independence), thus giving it an on-land presence from which to project naval power if it chose to do so. It also opened up “anti-terror” facilities in Yemen during this time as well, but just like with the Djibouti base, these could also achieve the dual purpose of influencing the strait. With both of these power nodes already occupied by the US prior to the “anti-piracy race”, it might seem strange why America started such a game in the first place, but more than likely, it did so as a manifestation of the “exceptional” hubris of the Bush Administration that was also continued during the early reign of his successor.
Thus, while the non-NATO states may have felt they somehow lessened the US’ control over Bab-el-Mandeb by placing and then removing their navies from the Gul f of Aden, it was all just a carefully crafted illusion (one which hopefully resulted in the multipolar states acquiring some degree of useful information about the Western fleets). The US still retained its positions in Djibouti and Yemen, albeit without the ability to directly apply the same amount of force had its naval presence still been there in the same capacity, so nothing really changed in a simple strategic sense. That status of affairs would remain until the Yemeni Revolution finally succeeded in casting off the American- and Saudi-installed government in early 2015, which dramatically led to the US having to evacuate its military personnel from the country. For the first time since the end of the Cold War (when the Soviets had a naval base in Aden), the US didn’t’ fully control the Bab-el-Mandeb, and the strategic panic that this produced is partly why Saudi Arabia made the fateful and ill-planned decision to invade Yemen.
Bab-el-Mandeb And The War On Yemen:
The Saudis and their lackeys have succeeded in blockading the Yemeni coast and conquering Aden, thus returning most of the unipolar world’s control over their lost ‘real estate’ in this ultra-strategic region, but capitalizing on their unofficial casus belli to make sure that they can indefinitely retain control there, the GCC decided to ‘jump the pond’ to the Horn of Africa, hence its interactions with Eritrea and the contracting of Amara’s ‘services’. In a sense, Eritrea is envisioned as being the Gulf’s “back-up Yemen”, a friendly territory under its proxy influence from which punitive measures can be launched against the people of Yemen if they ever do succeed in once more nearly liberating the entirety of their country.
So long as Eritrea is under the GCC’s sway, then from a strategic-logistical standpoint, the Yemeni War of Independence will be all the much harder to win because the Saudis’ and their bloc have a ‘rear guard’ base almost directly abutting the country. The GCC’s actions in Eritrea can thus be seen as a type of “double insurance” in making sure that as many of the Yemenis remain under the Gulf boot for as long as possible, with such an unnecessary strategic consideration being seen as coming from a position of fear and weakness on their part, not strength. They fear the Yemeni militias so much that they’re preemptively creating this ‘rear guard’ supply and logistics facility in Eritrea “just in case” a counter-offensive one day manages to unsuspectingly cripple their occupying forces.
It’s appropriate at this juncture to take stock of all the international military forces currently present along the Horn of Africa. The Saudis and Emiratis now have a naval presence in Eritrea, and as South Front reported (and which was verified separately this summer), the UAE is also seeking to open a naval base in Berbera along the northern coast of Somalia in the breakaway Somaliland region. The US and France have an on-ground presence in Djibouti, but they’re also joined by the Japanese, which opened their first military base abroad since World War II in 2011 under the opportunistic ‘justification’ of “anti-piracy”. They might, however, soon be joined by China, if the rumors of Beijing eyeing the country for its first overseas base are true. China could of course call upon the convenient slogan of “anti-piracy” to justify any possible forthcoming presence, but no matter what its stated grounds for doing so are, such a base would serve the additional purpose of safeguarding the Chinese-financed Djibouti-Addis Ababa railroad to the fastest-growing economy in the world and the headquarter state of the African Union.
Gulf Interests Move Inland
Now’s a good time to elaborate more in-depth about the continental African interests that the Gulf States seek to pursue through their partnership with Eritrea. To be more specific, it’s better to look closely at Qatar’s geopolitical objectives in this case, since the tiny emirate ironically leads the regional pack in its preexisting involvement in East Africa.
This coastal state is one of the world’s newest, having gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after fighting a three-decade-long war to achieve it. Peace came only after the government in Addis Ababa, at that time run by a military entity known as “The Derg”, was dissolved in 1987 and its leader Mengistu Haile Mariam was ousted in 1991 by a coalition of ethno-centric rebel groups. Due to the near-continuous fighting that took place on its territory, post-independence Eritrea was a wreck, but President Isais Afwerki helped to achieve stability and elevated living conditions, as attested to by journalist Andre Vltchek who visited a year ago. Nevertheless, the economy is in dire straits and Eritrea is largely isolated from the world community, partly due to the border disputes it has with all of its neighbors, and also because of successful Ethiopian lobbying against it. According to Ethiopia, Eritrea supports a variety of anti-government rebel groups and even has links to Al Shabaab in Somalia.
The Qatari Connection:
The last point is extremely contentious and has never fully been proven, although to clarify a bit, a Wikileaked US diplomatic cable quoted the Somalian President accusing Qatar in 2009 of using Eritrea as a financial conduit for Al Shabaab. Considering Doha’s support to other terrorist groups such as ISIL, this doesn’t seem implausible, and it might even be that rerouted Qatari funds channeled through Eritrea (which might have received a modest cut) could be to blame for why Ethiopia would allege that its nemesis was aiding terrorists.
No matter what shape it takes, Eritrea’s direct or indirect links to Al Shabaab are one of the reasons why the UNSC initiated an arms embargo on the country in 2009 that was just renewed last month. In this connection it’s relevant to remind one of Qatar’s role in the region, and it’s that it was asked to deploy “peacekeepers” along the Eritrean-Djibouti border by each of their governments in 2010 to assist in “mediating” their border dispute. One can cynically suggest that this provided nothing more than the perfect cover for Qatar to continue supporting Al Shabaab, which as was mentioned above, it had already been doing for some time. The reason Qatar supports this terrorist group is because it’s basically a regional franchise of ISIL, and a faction of Al Shabaab had just pledged allegiance to its Arab “brothers” late last month. These two groups pursue the same radical Islamic goals that Qatar has been patronizing for years through its sponsorship of the Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIL and Al Shabaab are pretty much the more visibly militant and globally notorious arm of the Brotherhood in this respect.
The Afro-Eurasian Caliphate:
To get a fuller grasp of why Qatar is promoting terrorism in East Africa, one should understand the macro-regional context of Doha’s ideological ambitions. The peninsular pipsqueak uses its financial largesse to flex power disproportionate to its tiny size, and it manifests this through support of a hodgepodge of ultra-extreme Islamic groups, all of which are classified as terrorists by Russia: the Muslim Brotherhood; the Taliban; ISIL in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Sinai; and Boko Haram. Each of these terrorist groups is active in a certain geographic area, with the only ‘missing link’ being the southern vector, ergo the ideological/militant ‘necessity’ of Al Shabaab. Altogether, these terrorist organizations represent the ‘foot soldiers’ of a transnational caliphate project that Qatar and its US ally would like to see expand all throughout the central pivot of Afro-Eurasia, the “Greater Middle East” of Central Asia, the ‘conventional’ Mideast, North Africa, and East Africa. While its current prospects of success have dramatically dimmed ever since Russia’s anti-terrorist intervention in Syria, it still remains possible for Qatar and the US to actualize some aspects of this grand strategy in certain corners of their operational theater, which in this context is the Horn of Africa.
The introduction of “managed chaos” to the region via the Qatari-supported Al Shabaab terrorist group serves two main purposes. The first one is to pressure Ethiopia, which the US may feel more inclined to do if the country moves more solidly in a pro-Chinese direction in the future, and the second is to perversely use the presence of Al Shabaab to deepen its security relationship with Ethiopia by being the arsonist-firefighter that creates a problem and then ‘helps resolve’ it afterwards. It’s useful to recall that the US contracted Ethiopia to invade Somalia in 2006 in order to destroy the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), a precursor of Al Shabaab, which thus strengthened the partnership between the two. Also, by keeping Islamic terrorism alive in Somalia, to whatever extent it’s present at a given moment, the US can keep the ‘justification’ open for selectively intervening in the country with drone strikes or commando raids, thus entrenching its presence in the region and turning the criminal into the ‘cop’.
The Enemy Of My Enemy:
Rewinding the focus back to Eritrea, Asmara is passively tolerant of Qatar’s Al Shabaab patronage because it could supplement its grand strategic goal of destabilizing Ethiopia. To explain, Ethiopia has previously intervened in Somalia against Islamic terrorists before and subsequently occupied the country, and the idea that its forces could continue to do so again in the future, and thus be bunkered down in another potential quagmire and spread thin in critical (and rebellious-prone) interior regions, excites Eritrean strategists. Furthermore, as will be explained more fully in the third section, there’s the potential for Al Shabaab terrorists to become the “freedom fighter” figureheads for the Somali population in Ethiopia’s eastern provinces, formally the Somali Region but also known as Ogaden. Eritrea’s most important objective is to have ethno-centric regions inside of its former colonizer achieve independence in the same manner that it did – through prolonged and militant struggle against the central government – so that its rival can never be in a position to threaten it again (let alone exist in its current state). If the Somali region just so happens to be the spark needed to set the whole federal haystack alight, then so be it, as Asmara’s reckoning goes, whether its Qatari-supported terrorism that initiates the destructive domino effect that they expect or an indigenous ethno-centric uprising.
The Big Picture:
To bring everything together in a more simple understanding, Qatar has taken the lead in destabilizing the Horn of Africa out of ideological and unipolar-loyalty reasons, and it’s using its “legal” presence in Eritrea to facilitate this. The War on Yemen provided the other main GCC states of Saudi Arabia and the UAE with a ‘plausible justification’ for also ‘getting in on the action’, knowing just as well as Qatar does that Eritrea is a ‘double-hinged’ state that can be used to simultaneously project maritime and continental influence, with the latter case being against Ethiopia.
Concerning the GCC’s newest geopolitical target, it’s one of the world’s most promising emerging economies, and from a Gulf perspective, it could also be useful in satisfying their African-directed agricultural and construction-outsourcing needs. Placing their forces in Eritrea, Ethiopia’s arch-rival and hated foe, is designed to put pressure on the rising, albeit potentially unstable, continental power and thus make it more amenable to whatever their forthcoming grand interests may be. Also, by making Eritrea an integral part of their regional military architecture, the Gulf States are essentially declaring that any aggression against it would also endanger their own interests, thereby blanketing Asmara with a de-facto security guarantee and altering Addis Ababa’s perceived existing strategic balance of power (which it had earlier assumed was relatively even).
By itself and approached from a purely geopolitical standpoint, it’s theoretically possible for Saudi Arabia and the UAE to maintain this new status quo between Eritrea and Ethiopia (perhaps even exploit it and each of those two states to their own advantage if shrewd diplomacy is applied), but the presence of Qatar, the ‘loose cannon’, means that the entire arrangement is inherently unstable and subject to sudden change. Qatar has proven itself much more prone to impromptu outbursts of rhetorical rage than any of the other Gulf States, and its comparatively younger leader (only 35 years old) is much less versed in the art of statecraft than his peers. Being so hot-headed and already harboring an inferiority complex vis-à-vis his larger and more mature neighbors, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is inclined to give the full terrorist ‘go-ahead’ whenever he feels like it (or if he ‘thinks’ it would be of strategic use for him), meaning that a Qatari-sponsored Islamic destabilization of Ethiopia cannot at all be discounted, and must be astutely prepared for by the country’s authorities.
Towards The Unconventional War Scenario
The final section of the research discusses the Unconventional War scenario that Qatar could help engineer alongside Eritrea and Al Shabaab (one of its ideological ‘children’, it could be argued) to throw Ethiopia into chaos. Once this process begins, Saudi Arabia and the UAE could be expected to assist Qatar and this scenario to some extent, knowing that Doha is much too tiny and inexperienced to ever fully control the larger developments that it helps to unleash (the “Arab Spring” Color Revolutions are a case in point), and they thus want to be in a position to gain as much self-benefit from what may turn out to be an irreversible course of events. Correspondingly, with these self-motivated interests in mind, they could act as force multipliers in their own way for advancing the chaos that Qatar created, thereby ushering in a chain reaction that could lend crucial and ultra-destructive force to the scenario that will be discussed.
The full consequences of Ethiopian chaos won’t be discussed in the scope of this article, but they can be assumed to have the risk of virally spreading through parts of the North and East African regions (since Ethiopia is of the latter but capable of influencing the former through its border with the rebellious Blue Nile state of Sudan), and would at the very least impact the country’s 95 million or so citizens to an undetermined extent (to say nothing of the transnational social implications). Also, with China’s economy becoming more dependent for growth on trade with Africa, any significant disruption in Ethiopia, Beijing’s prized partner nowadays, could directly ripple back to the East Asian giant and negatively affect it to a degree, all depending of course on the preexisting level of Chinese-Ethiopian trade. The higher that Ethiopia rises in terms of international significance (be it diplomatic, economic, military, etc.), the harder its fall could be and the further the aftershocks would travel across the globe, thus suggesting that the (US-advised) Qatari destabilization of Ethiopia could be timed to achieve maximum effect depending on its relationship to various actors (in this case, likely China) at the given moment.
The greatest and most imminent threat to Ethiopia lays in the sphere of ethno-separatism, the sentiment of which has continued to boil even after the Cold War-era civil war was brought to a close. Part of the reason for this is that Eritrea’s independence set a dangerous precedent for the militant representatives of the country’s disaffected ethnic groups, which it seems include just about every single one of them in some capacity or another (even the dominant Oromo and Amhara pluralities). The reason for this is that Ethiopia is a hyper-eclectic country with a wide array of identities within its federal structure, and in such a situation, it’s always difficult for any governing authority (let alone what some rebel groups allege is the present Tigrean-dominated one) to strike the perfect balance between each of them and leave everyone satisfied. This preexisting state of divisive affairs was utterly exacerbated by the Ethiopian Civil War that broke out against The Derg, where ethnic-affiliated rebel groups banded together in order to overthrow the central governing authority. The militant comradery that developed within each identity community as a result heightened the self-awareness that each of them felt about their differences and thus made a post-war federal structure the only realistic means of keeping the country together, especially after Eritrea’s successful secession in 1993.
The identity divide was so entrenched in Ethiopia after the civil war that the new federal units were formed around ethnic affiliation. Here’s a map of them as taken from Wikipedia:
The GCC Is Expanding To Eritrea, And It’s Not Good For Ethiopia
The CIA World Factbook lists the ethnic proportions as being “Oromo 34.4%, Amhara (Amara) 27%, Somali (Somalie) 6.2%, Tigray (Tigrinya) 6.1%”, followed by a multitude of others that compose minimal percentages. Altogether, these four groups form a little less than three-quarters of Ethiopia’s population, mostly concentrated in a north-south belt stretching between Tigray, Amhara, western Oromia, and northeast Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region.
Adding another crucial demographic layer to Ethiopia is the percentage of Christians (Ethiopian Orthodox and Protestant) and Muslims in the country, which is 62% to 33.9%, respectively, or almost 2:1. The following map demonstrates the geographic divide over religion and shows how this has a distinct overlap with certain federal units:
The GCC Is Expanding To Eritrea, And It’s Not Good For Ethiopia
The Afar and Somalis are a very small minority of the population and by themselves cannot account for the 33.9% of Muslim adherents in Ethiopia, and as the above map indicates, many believers in this religion live intertwined with Christians in Oromia, the most populous region. By itself and with the absence of context, this isn’t anything particularly relevant to Ethiopia’s stability, but recalling how Qatar and its Saudi ally have been front and center in provoking a clash of civilizations through their support of Islamic terrorism, this demographic factor becomes perhaps one of the most important of all. Al Shabaab in Somalia is pretty much one of Qatar’s proxy creations, just as ISIL is, and its proximity and ethnic overlap with the Somali Region is a definite cause for concern.
Taken together, a Qatari-orchestrated jihadist-separatist war emanating from the Somali Region could prove to be the catalyst that sets off a whole conflagration of nationwide conflict. This initial Unconventional War has a very real risk of occurring due to the doubly second-class status that Somalis feel they are afforded due to both their ethnicity and Muslim faith. Al Shabaab’s terrorist war in neighboring Somalia actually began as an Islamic-tinted national liberation movement in response to Ethiopia’s 2006 occupation, but it rapidly descended into the jihadist nightmare that lay at the core of its proponents’ true vision. Although it showed its true colors and most undoubtedly scared away many possible supporters that would have otherwise flocked to it for its originally marketed national liberation agenda, it still commands some indigenous support inside Somalia, thus raising the risk that it could also do the same amongst the Somali community in Ethiopia that might still consider itself occupied (or be led to think in such terms).
Carving Out The Caliphate
The concept here is that Qatar would use jihadism to radicalize separatist Somalis in getting them to become diehard supporters of the cause, holding out the carrot of a Greater Somalia if they’re successful. This irredentist dream would neatly overlap with Qatar’s own of creating a proxy caliphate in the Horn of Africa, but it also places limits on the primary geographic area of focus for its terrorist campaign. However, with the nature of terrorism inherently being that it knows no borders, it’s of course possible that attacks could take place in the densely populated and centrally positioned Oromia Region, which could have the effect of sharpening the Christian-Muslim divide in the area and prompting copy-cat and reprisal attacks. The destructive chain reaction that this might set off could only realistically be put to rest by a heavy-handed military response, albeit one which may scare investors right out of the country and lead to Western condemnation. In and of itself, whether or not the jihadist-separatist war succeeds in its stated goals, it would still accomplish what might have been the indirect (perhaps even actual) objective all along of weakening Ethiopia and possibly even China’s position in the continent depending on the degree of closeness and importance that Addis Ababa occupies for Beijing by that time (which is expected to be ever increasing).
Regardless of whether or not Qatar ever goes forward with the previously described scenario, that won’t in any way prevent Eritrea from continuing with its own, as it bases its national security on keeping the Ethiopian military distracted and divided through its support of ‘stand-alone’ and unified rebel movements so that it can’t ever solidly converge against the country. Eritrea would like to one day liberate the city of Badme that Ethiopia has refused to cede to its control after the Algiers Agreement ended their bloody and stalemated 1998-2000 war and a Hague border commission ruled that it’s Eritrean territory, and it might be using its support of various rebel groups as a means of pressuring Addis Ababa into acceding to its international legal obligation.
Asmara’s aspirations are to assist neighboring Tigray Region fighters in their quest for independence, mirroring Eritrea’s own, in order to create a buffer state that would insulate it from any future aggression from the rump Ethiopian state. At the same time, however, Eritrea also has ties with rebel groups operating deeper in the country, and if significant battlefield coordination can ever be maintained between Eritrea and the Oromo separatists (the ethnic group of which is the most populous and geographically central in the country), then it would go a very long way towards giving Asmara a lever with which it can trigger serious damage to Ethiopia’s national unity. Some Oromo might be attracted to the nationalist rhetoric coming from their militant-separatist counterparts that allege that the group is being exploited to support the minor peripheral ethnicities, and any visible “Tigrean-dominated government” crackdown on their civilian representatives might add credence to this belief. Eritrea might even ‘get lucky’ if the current tribal violence in South Sudan motivates a spillover effect into the neighboring Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (home to 45 different ethnic groups) or Gambela Region that ‘naturally’ creates the state-fragmenting process that it and Qatar and looking to achieve for their own respective ends.
On a final note, concerning any strategic Eritrean-Qatari collaboration in a future destabilization campaign against Ethiopia, the potential exists for Doha to stab its ‘ally’ in the back if its jihadist campaign is ‘too successful’. Eritrea might ironically be even more susceptible than Ethiopia is to an Islamic terrorist campaign because it has a similar proportion of Muslims that are also living in a similar economically challenging environment, and thus, might be ripe for ideological-religious manipulation under the ‘proper circumstances’. Additionally, the Muslim Afar living in the east partially represent Eritrea’s version of Ethiopia’s ethno-religious identity overlap that the latter has with the Somali Muslims, thus potentially leading to the same type of strategic vulnerabilities in this scenario. This factor could also be used by Qatar to manipulate Eritrea and keep its leadership in check, just in case the improbable happens and for whatever reason it decides to turn its back on its new patron.
On the flip side of things, so long as Asmara remains a loyal client of the Emir (which doesn’t seem set to change since it desperately needs the money and diplomatic support), it shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Eritrea is also much smaller than Ethiopia in both demographic and geographic terms, so it’s a lot easier for the state to exercise supervisory control over what’s going on and nip the jihadist process right in the bud before it fully blooms. However, as chaotic processes always prove themselves to be time after time again, once the genie is let out of the bottle, it’s impossible to stuff it back in, and even if Qatar doesn’t plan for it to happen, the jihad it unleashes in Ethiopia could also infect Eritrea in no time.
While it may not seem like it at first, the GCC’s military-logistical move into Eritrea is predicated just as much on influencing Ethiopia as it is about dominating Yemen. The Saudis and Emiratis may have just recently incorporated Eritrea into their coalition framework, but Qatar has been cultivating close ties with Asmara for the past 5 years as part of its “mediation” role in resolving the Djibouti border dispute, which incidentally saw it deploy 200 troops to the country. This means that the Muslim Brotherhood-espousing state is in a position to project its ideology throughout the region and intensify cooperation with its Al Shabaab proxy in nearby Somalia. The Saudis and Emiratis may initially be adverse to Qatar ‘rocking the boat’ in the region until after they’ve already tapped all of its economic benefit (which could take decades), but given Doha’s emotional- and ideological-driven foreign policy, it might do just that because it senses a ‘good opportunity’ here or there for furthering its self-interested geopolitical project.
In such circumstances, the GCC wouldn’t be able to indefinitely hold out the threat of Islamic-inspired terrorist destabilization as a means of blackmailing the world’s fastest-growing economy and one of Africa’s up-and-coming powers, but would have to reluctantly join in the Qatari-initiated unrest so as to secure whatever benefits they can while there’s still the ‘opportunity’ to do so. The ethnic, social, and religious cleavages already prevalent (and even overlapping in some cases) in Ethiopia provide more than enough domestic ‘gunpowder’ for a strategically placed spark to set the whole powder keg aflame, with the only fail-safe solution being for Addis Ababa to overwhelmingly respond with military force. Such a reaction might predictably scare away the investors that are needed to keep the ‘Ethiopian miracle’ alive, and the combination of capital outflow plus military suppression (no matter how justified it may seem) might further exacerbate the domestic differences in the country and place them in a perpetual process of worsening, up to the point of the country approaching the geopolitical abyss of dissolution along preexisting ethnic-federative lines.
Any disruption of Ethiopia’s stability could also be used as an indirect means of attacking Chinese interests in Africa, since Beijing has invested billions in helping the country rise and is expected to become increasingly dependent on its African economic partnerships in order to sustain its own growth at home. Large-scale unrest in Ethiopia could thus offset China’s plans for cooperating with the country on a high-level strategic basis, and it would thus lose not only a crucial marketplace for its goods or an attractive investment destination, but also its place in influencing the African Union right at its headquartered source in Addis Ababa. Therefore, many layers of intrigue blanket the possibility that Qatar may lead the GCC into a proxy confrontation with Ethiopia, be it out of its own regard or acting on behalf of American ‘advice’, which could see the Gulf using the country of Eritrea alongside Al Shabaab jihadists to dislodge China from its most important foothold in Africa.
Survation polled 1,546 adults over the age of 18 in GB & NI online on behalf of Leave.EU on November 16th – 17th. Standard margin of error 2.5%. Full data tables are available here.
Do the Public Back Intervention in the Wake of the Attacks in Paris?
A majority of the public (56%) believe that military strikes against Syria by governments around the world have made the UK less safe. Less than one in five people (18%) believe that such military intervention has made the UK more safe.
When asked which option the public believe would be the best way to combat the threat posed by IS, only 15% believe that the UK, like France should independently launch airstrikes on IS targets immediately, only slightly higher than those (13%) who say the UK should stay away fro the situation completely. A majority (52%) would support a more measured, multilateral response, military or otherwise, backed by a UN resolution.
More than half (55%) of the public (57% of CON voters and 63% of LAB voters) think that the UK’s response to the Paris attacks should need to be put before Parliament so MPs can debate and vote on the best course of action.
Is membership of the EU Considered Important To the UK’s Safety And Security?
Last week, David Cameron said that the question of leaving the EU was “not just a matter of jobs and trade, but of the safety and security of our nation.” The poll asked the public which of the following statements was closest to their opinion, with 59% saying that EU membership made the UK either less safe or made no difference.
Last week, David Cameron said that the question of leaving the EU is “not just a matter of jobs and trade, but of the safety and security of our nation.”
Which of the following statements is closest to your opinion?
The UK is safer and more secure by being a member of the European Union – 28%
The UK is less safe and secure by being a member of the European Union – 29%
The UK’s membership of the EU makes no difference to our safety or security – 30%
Don’t know – 13%
Returning to Renegotiation:
In Survation’s last poll, conducted as David Cameron set out his demands for renegotiation, the public did not consider his renegotiation proposals popular in comparison to other alternative proposals – such as restricting the automatic right of EU citizens to live and work in the UK.
This new polling asked the public whether Cameron not renegotiating this automatic right would make them more or less likely to vote to leave the EU, finding that nearly a third (30%) said that they would be more likely to vote to leave if the Prime Minister does not renegotiate this.
At present, David Cameron has NOT demanded renegotiation of the automatic right of EU citizens to live and work in the UK as part of the UK’s renegotiation package before the upcoming referendum. This automatic right allows EU citizens to live and work without restriction across the borders of the 28 nation states of the EU.
If David Cameron did NOT renegotiate this automatic right, would this make you…?
More likely to vote to leave the European Union – 30%
Less likely to leave the European Union – 8%
Would make no difference to my vote – 47%
Don’t know – 14%
Australian Points Based Immigration?
An Australian-style points system is one proposed method which the UK could use to limit the number of people from the EU to live and work. This particular system has strong support among the public, with more than three-quarters (76%) saying that the UK should, rather than should not, use it to restrict the free movement of labour from other EU countries.
Which of the following statements is closest to your opinion?
The UK should limit the number of people coming to the UK from the European Union to live and work without restriction by introducing an Australian points based immigration system – 76%
The UK should NOT limit the number of people coming to the UK from the European Union to live and work without restriction by introducing an Australian points based immigration system – 15%
Don’t know – 8%
EU Referendum & Westminster Voting Intention
The poll also included Survation’s latest EU Referendum Voting Intention. Our latest poll finds ‘Remain’ back with a narrow lead, but with one in five voters (18%) still undecided, both camps clearly have the potential to pull away from the other.
In Westminster voting intention, the Conservatives continue to have a lead over Labour, this latest polling giving them seven percentage points over Labour. The Lib Dem’s fortunes are yet to improve since the General Election, whilst UKIP continue to maintain support since May.
CON – 37% LAB – 30% UKIP – 16% LD – 6% SNP – 5% GRE – 3% Other – 3%
Survation polled 1,546 adults over the age of 18 in GB & NI online on behalf of Leave.EU
FieldworkNovember 16th – 17th. Standard margin of error 2.5%. Full data tables are available here.
To find out more about Survation’s services, and how you can conduct a telephone or online poll for your research needs, please visit our services page.
The terrorist attacks carried out in the heart of the French capital, either coincidentally or intentionally, have served as the perfect point of leverage for the West on the very eve of the so-called “Vienna talks” regarding Syria.
With its serendipitously strengthened hand and with France taking a more prominent role, the West is attempting to reassert not only its narrative, but its agenda regarding the ongoing conflict in Syria, an agenda that has – as of late – been derailed by Russia’s military intervention and recent gains made on the battlefield by Syrian military forces. The London Guardian stated in its article “Paris attacks galvanise international efforts to end Syria war” that:
The Isis attacks in Paris have galvanised international efforts to end the war in Syria, with a new deadline set for negotiations between the warring parties and for a country-wide ceasefire.
There is still no sign of agreement, however, on the key question of the future of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.
It should seem extraordinary to the global public that even after the attacks in Paris, the West still insists on undermining the Syrian government toward its goal of “regime change,” which includes continued material support to armed militants – all of which are extremists, and many of which have either coordinated with, or fought under the banner of Al Qaeda and even the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS).
This is also considering the fact that the Syrian government is now currently engaged in battle with ISIS in and around Aleppo, and is currently threatening to sever its supply lines leading out of NATO-member Turkey’s territory.
Regarding this point, the Guardian would even report:
It was clear, however, that Russia and the US have again had to agree to disagree about Assad. The Paris attacks “show that it doesn’t matter if you’re for Assad or against him,” said the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. “Isis is your enemy.”
However, to explain the West’s apparent failure to prioritize, the Guardian claims:
Isis, in their [the West’s] view, is a symptom of political failings in both Iraq and Syria. The Vienna participants are to meet in Paris before the end of the year to review progress toward a ceasefire and the selection of delegations for the Syrian talks.
In reality, ISIS is not a “symptom of political failings.” It is the result of concerted, immense, multinational state-sponsorship. Entire armies of the immense scale ISIS operates on do not rise out of “political failings,” they rise from huge, preexisting financial networks, region-wide logistical support, multinational political support, intelligence networking, and experienced military planning and organizational skills.
The West and its regional allies, namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, clearly constitute this immense multinational state-sponsorship ISIS has so far enjoyed. A look at any map depicting the Syrian conflict shows ISIS supply lines running directly out of NATO-member Turkey’s territory and in numerous reports, even out of the West’s most prominent papers, it is even admitted that ISIS is supplied in Syria, via Turkey.
It is clear then that “political failings” are not the “cause” of ISIS except only in the sense that the “failure” to exact regime change in Syria has prompted the West to continue propping up ISIS and other terrorist groups until the government in Damascus falls – and only when Damascus’ regional and global allies abandon it.
The West Got What it Wanted in Libya – And Created ISIS in the Process
The West’s claims during the Vienna talks that if only they get their way in Syria, the threat of ISIS will subside, is betrayed by the events surrounding the very rise of ISIS in Syria in the first place.
Just before the conflict reached critical mass in Syria during 2011, the US, UK, France, other NATO members, as well as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were already in the process of fully dividing and destroying Libya in pursuit of regime change.
They insisted that regime change was the only way to end the bitter fighting that had swept the country – regime change that just so happened to fulfill the long-held desire by Washington and Europe to see Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi ousted from power.
Through arming what the West called “rebels,” and through direct military intervention which included large-scale, nationwide airstrikes, naval bombardments, and even special forces, NATO devastated the country and turned it over literally to Al Qaeda. The West’s “rebels” turned out to be sectarian extremists all along, and in fact – with NATO’s help – they promptly took their weapons, fighters, and cash to begin the invasion of northern Syria via Turkey later that year.
The administration has said that the previously hidden CIA operation in Benghazi involved finding, repurchasing and destroying heavy weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals, but in October we reported evidence indicating that U.S. agents — particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens — were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels. There have been several possible SA-7 spottings in Syria dating as far back as early summer 2012, and there are indications that at least some of Gaddafi’s 20,000 portable heat-seeking missiles were shipped before now. On Sept. 6 a Libyan ship carrying 400 tons of weapons for Syrian rebels docked in southern Turkey. The ship’s captain was “a Libyan from Benghazi” who worked for the new Libyan government. The man who organized that shipment, Tripoli Military Council head Abdelhakim Belhadj, worked directly with Stevens during the Libyan revolution.
Belhadj, it should be mentioned, was the commander of US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) – which is literally Al Qaeda in Libya – and was so before, during, and after the 2011 Libyan war. Belhadj was also reportedly aligned with ISIS as it officially established itself in the shattered North African state. Fox News would report in its article, “Herridge: ISIS Has Turned Libya Into New Support Base, Safe Haven,” that:
[Catherine] Herridge reported that one of the alleged leaders of ISIS in North Africa is Libyan Abdelhakim Belhadj, who was seen by the U.S. as a willing partner in the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. “Now, it’s alleged he is firmly aligned with ISIS and supports the training camps in eastern Libya,” Herridge said.
It is clear that despite Western claims that regime change in Libya would be the beginning of the end for Libya’s violence and instability, it was only the end of the beginning – and not only for chaos in Libya – but for other nations across North Africa and in Syria itself.
Using Another 9/11 to Justify Creating Another Libya
NATO’s intervention and regime change in Libya did not avert a refugee crisis, it helped create one. NATO’s intervention and successful regime change in Libya did not make the region or the world safer, it turned the entire nation into a breeding ground for terrorist organizations with so-far unprecedented reach and operational capacity. NATO’s goals in Libya did not prevent the refugee crisis, it helped start it. And with all of this in mind, having seen this and taken full stock of Libya’s outcome, the West has nonetheless moved forward with precisely the same agenda in Syria.
In all reality, the West has no intention of bringing peace or stability to Syria. Their goal is to leave Syria as divided and destroyed as Libya, and to use the chaos and instability fostered there as a springboard for other targets of the West’s proxy warfare – most likely Iran, Russia, and targets deeper in Central Asia.
The West promises that it will end the chaos in Syria, just like they promised it would end in Libya. It will not end in either.
With Libya’s fate in mind, and a repeat performance clearly taking shape in Syria should the West get its way, it must be made clear that no matter how many innocent people are killed by terrorists the West itself helped create and perpetuate, they will not get an opportunity to turn Syria into the “Libya of the Levant,” no matter how convenient and well-timed these killings are, no matter how deep they are within the heart of Europe or North America, and no matter how tragic and regrettable the aftermath is.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine“New Eastern Outlook”.
Establishment of curfews to prohibit people or vehicles from roaming specific places at times fixed by decree.
Establishment of “secure / protected zones”, where the stay of persons is regulated.
Prohibition of “any person seeking to hinder, in any manner whatsoever, the actions of the government”.
The Minister of the Interior may put under house arrest or restrain to a given city anyone “whose actions may be seen as harmful to public safety and order”.
Closure of Public Places
The Minister of the Interior or the prefects may “order the temporary closure of theaters, pubs and meeting places” and “meetings of nature to cause or maintain disorder”
The Minister of the Interior may “order the return of first-, fourth- and fifth-class weapons”, which are handguns, shotguns and hunting rifles.
Searches and The Press
The Minister of the Interior can order homes to be searched “day or night”.
The Minister of the Interior may “take all measures to ensure control of the press and radio”.
The searches can be done without the supervision of a judge.
Military jurisdiction, via an accompanying decree, may “assign to themselves crimes and offenses related to them”.
Punishments for Refusing to Comply
Imprisonment of up to two months.
A €3750 ($4000) fine.
Therefore, the government essentially becomes judge, jury and executioner in one fell swoop. The Hollande regime, which is certainly an appropriate description under these circumstances, is now effectively in control of the French press, can rule by decree, cannot have any of its actions opposed by anyone, and has the authority to place any naysayer in jail.
If that isn’t the definition of a police state, we don’t know what is!
Moreover, if you were thinking about visiting France in the next three months – don’t bother!
The EU Commission created under Article 42, the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the development of which, has been seen as a contentious issue as far as NATO is concerned.
NATO already consists of 22 EU member states together with four non members states, Iceland, Norway, Turkey and Albania but many well known commentators and academics believe NATO to be nothing more than an American interventionist force, as Prof. Noam Chomsky explains;
“The official justification for NATO was that its purpose was to defend Western Europe from Russian hordes who might attack Western Europe. Can’t ask how plausible that explanation was, but that at least that was the official explanation. Well, no Russian hordes. Natural conclusion – ok, let’s disband NATO. The opposite happens – NATO expanded. Its mission changed. The official mission of NATO became to control the international global energy system, pipelines. That means, to control the world. Of course, its a U.S.-run intervention force.”
The idea that the EU should become free of American influence over NATO came with the formation of the EU Battlegroup that is part of the CSDP. Specific EU Battlegroups began at the European Council summit on 10–11 December 1999 in Helsinki. The Council produced the Headline Goal 2003 and specified the need for a rapid response capability that members should provide in small forces at high readiness. That 2003 goal had to be shifted to 2010.
It called specifically for “Battlegroup sized forces of around 1500 land forces, personnel, offered by a single nation or through a multinational nation force package. The groups are intended to be deployed on the ground within 5–10 days of approval from the Council and it must be sustainable for at least 30 days, which could be extended to 120 days.
“The common security and defence policy shall be an integral part of the common foreign and security policy. It shall provide the Union with an operational capacity drawing on civilian and military assets. The Union may use them on missions outside the Union for peace-keeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter. The performance of these tasks shall be undertaken using capabilities provided by the Member States.”
Paris, November 13th. A series of coordinated terrorist attacks—consisting of mass shootings, suicide bombings, and hostage-taking—occurs in the capital of France, and its northern suburb, Saint-Denis. ISIS is blamed, ISIS claims a victory.
The unelected bureaucrats of the European Union have their chance. An enormous campaign is lifted off the ground. Landmarks across the world were illuminated in blue, white, and red to honor the victims. Facebook’s decision to implement its “safety check” feature for the attacks in Paris garnered 360 million responses in 24 hours and seems somehow suspicious given it did nothing for any other terrorist attack, even the one the claimed by ISIS the day before in Beirut.
After a mass media scrum to produce round-the-clock endless stories of personal tragedies, citizens of the world are quite rightly outraged at this barbaric act perpetrated by ISIS. The public outpouring of grief seemingly matches the atrocity of 9/11 – an event that changed the world.
Hollande, France’s most unpopular leader in French history, takes decisive action. The first sentence of Hollande’s speech to an exceptional meeting of both parliament houses was “France is at war” on Monday, reminiscent of George Bush’s “you’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists”. “Terrorism will not destroy the republic; it is the republic that will destroy terrorism,” was how he ended that speech.
What Hollande did was to deliver a speech aimed at creating unity around a “security pact” and thereby triggering an international response following Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, which has now happened.
The French president could have invoked Article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It states quite specifically the following;
The Union and its Member States shall act jointly in a spirit of solidarity if a Member State is the object of a terrorist attack or the victim of a natural or man-made disaster. The Union shall mobilise all the instruments at its disposal, including the military resources made available by the Member States, to:
– prevent the terrorist threat in the territory of the Member States;
– protect democratic institutions and the civilian population from any terrorist attack;
– assist a Member State in its territory, at the request of its political authorities, in the event of a terrorist attack;
– which requires assistance when a member state is “the object of a terrorist attack”,
Hollande chose to trigger Article 42 of the Treaty on European Union. Both article 222 and 42 can only be adopted by consensus at the European Commission.
Hollande, desperate to gain popularity and the EU desperate to create unity amongst its ever more disaffected club is using the Paris event to gain political capital.
Hollande has repeated the claim that France was attacked by an “army of terrorists” operating from abroad. The attacks were “planned in Syria”, he told MPs and senators. “The enemy is Daesh,” he said, using the Arabic name for the Islamic State group. “We shall not just contain it (referring to Obama’s unfortunate and totally mistimed speech the day before), but destroy it,” he said, adding that France will “intensify its operations” in Syria following Monday’s raids.
Hollande goes one step further. The articles of the constitution organizing the state of emergency and “full powers” for the president are “no longer suited to the current situation”, he said, and stated that authorities now be allowed “adequate means to take exceptional measures”, without having to have recourse to the state of emergency.
He immediately announced the creation of 8,500 jobs in police, justice and border administration. This, in addition to a freeze on staff reductions in the army, and said that reservists would be called to form “a home guard”. Amid France’s worsening economic woes, Hollande takes the opportunity to say “the security pact prevails over the stability pact,” in what was a soundbite aimed at the EU Commission, which supervises EU member states’ budgets. His own budget short on economic performance.
EU officials use the opportunity to close their borders to the refugee crisis and calm their own citizens. David Cameron, also desperate to support the US after an embarrassing defeat in the commons vote against action in Syria will use the opportunity promptly.
France is now in a state of emergency that will last for an initial 30 days. This can be extended out to 120 days. Hollande is now in sole control of France. Article 42 can remain in place for a period of 120 days.
Amendments to the constitution includes stripping the citizenship of convicted terrorists, increased surveillance, and “more sophisticated methods” to curb weapons trafficking, expulsion of foreigners considered a threat to public order, strip binational citizens who carry out acts hostile to national security of French citizenship, and bar binationals considered a terrorism risk from entering French territory.
“We must change our constitution to act against terrorism,” he said.
Amid calls from the Pentagon for a global coalition in Syria, France launches fresh and sustained bombing attacks against ISIS strongholds. The largest battleship in Europe, the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier can carry out 100 bombing missions every day is on its way to the theatre of war.
Hollande chose the EU over NATO for direct response. Will the EU, under Article 42 consider whether its untested Battlegroup, can gain some experience and influence in Syria just at the time support is growing for more direct action?
The seven terrorist in Paris, posing as refugees from war-torn Syria are identified as the ISIS trained killers. A Syrian passport is found next to a suicide bomber. Another terrorist identified by a fingerprint on what was left of a blown up body.
Then we find out that the passport is fake and that “at least” five of the terrorists are in fact disaffected Frenchmen. It won’t be long before we find all the terrorists were home grown and there were more than seven, and none of them were sent by ISIS.
If they were radicalised, which takes a considerable amount of time to achieve, it was hardly an attack by ISIS. That being the case, bombing Syria is not going to achieve anything other than creating more refugees and dead civilians. France is suffering more terror attacks than any other western nation because of the terrorism it perpetrated decades ago against the very people, who caused the barbarity in Paris – Algerians. But now they are French born, third generation angry Algerians.
There are no Syrian/Iraqi trained ISIS killers on the loose in France. At best that leaves two possibles from hundreds of thousands of refugees on the run from bombed out Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan – a percentage of nil.
Invoking Article 42 was not required as France is not being attacked by a foreign force and is confirmation of an EU power-grab.
On Hollande’s watch, the surveillance and security services dramatically failed to protect French citizens. Already deeply unpopular, he opportunistically engineers a social and political response for personal gain.
Hollande (popularity domestically and in EU), the EU (expansion of EU unity amid own crisis, closing borders to refugees -another crisis, austerity – a bigger crisis), the US (desperate for active Allies in its failed foreign policies in the Mid-East), David Cameron (threat of Brexit, dwindling influence with US), US/EU relations (cover for unpopular TTIP and expanded national and international surveillance agenda), Angela Merkel (Fading popularity at home and within EU). Facebook (massive disingenuous ad campaign). Mass media (click baiting). Overall – support for failed western politics (foreign policy, dismantling social democracy across Europe, austerity, banking, war, etc).
The losers: Normal people, terrorised by governments all over the world.
Are we witnessing the final stages of a long-term plan to induce another economic recession and erect a new high-tech police state throughout Europe and beyond? All they needed was a pretext.
While the mainstream media performed its normal routine of emotive reporting, stoking general fear and spreading mass hysteria, some smaller independent media outlets were busy plotting the establishment’s latest crisis agenda.
When the Paris Attack news broke last week, 21WIRE’sPatrick Henningsen went on television late Friday evening to comment on the unfolding drama, and also to analyze what was was likely to happen in the coming days and weeks in the wake of this event.
As it turns out, his quick predictions were incredibly accurate…
In predictable knee-jerk fashion, the French government seized upon this opportunity in order to insert more of its their military assets into the Syria conflict by launching airstrikes on Sunday night in the area surrounding Raqqa, Syria, allegedly striking a multitude of “ISIS targets”, including command centers, weapons depots, and ISIS ‘Oil Assets’ – all thanks to supposed intelligence provided by the US. However, reports suggest that the impressive display of French air power didn’t actually net any real ISIS casualties.
3. NATO’s Article 5. The EU ‘Mutual Defense’ Clause
To date, Washington’s multi-lateral proxy, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), has not been able to legally wiggle its way into Syria to help the thousands of foreign fighters and terrorists (like NATO did in Libya in 2010-2011) who have been allowed to flood into that country since 2011. Currently, the US and its allies are engaged in a illegal, undeclared war in Syria, and the US are desperate to find some legitimate avenue to pursue their military ambitions after having failed to cheat their way into Syria via a staged false flag ‘chemical weapons’ event in Aug 2013. According to NATO article 5, an attack on one member state is deemed an ‘attack on all’, and thus automatically triggers a joint military action (war) by the NATO collective against their declared enemy. Already, a number of political figures have cried out for ‘Article 5’ war powers, including former NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen who claimed that, “I do believe that the attacks on Paris qualify for an invocation of Article 5.” He added, “It was an attack on an ally and we know who the attacker is.” (certainly, they know the attacker much more than they are letting on). Eager to see a wider military deployment from Washington, US Senator Marco Rubio has called for ‘an Article 5’ too. Absent of any official NATO route, however, France has simply gone ahead and invoked an obscure ‘Mutual Defense’ pact hidden within the EU charter. The clause is called Article 42.7of the Treaty on European Union which states that, “If a member state is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other member states shall have toward it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power.” Job done. Bombs away.
4. Calls for No Fly Zone
As 21WIRE first reported last year, the ‘No Fly Zone’ meme has been coming out of every available orifice in Washington since 2013, and this popular US tool for military intervention still draws the affectionate gaze of Democratic Party war hawks like Hillary Clinton, as well as the endless column of Republican war hawks who are in the pocket of the military industrial lobby. Whether its Jeb Bush, John McCain, or Lindsey Graham, they never get tired of the No Fly Zone.
5. US Republicans pushing for ‘boots on the ground’
Just like the No Fly Zone, ‘Conservative’ Republican war hawks have been desperate to implement another old chestnut – by throw thousands of young US men and women at a problem which the US has actually created. War hawks in Washington DC have predictably seized on the Paris Attacks as an opportunity to reignite calls for “boots on the ground” in Syria. Amazingly, they are now claiming that massive deployment of troops “worked really well” in Iraq and Afghanistan.
6. Call for closing freedom of movement across European borders
Early Saturday morning, Hollande’s first move was to ‘seal’ France’s borders, supposedly to catch the terrorists. This ’emergency’ move also comes at the height of Europe’s co-called ‘Migrant Crisis’ (a crisis that’s actually been engineered by the US and Europe). Rather conveniently, one of Friday the 13th’s said ‘suicide bombers’ was allegedlycarrying a fake Syrian passport, which somehow led the French government and the western media to conclude that the Paris Attacks were a result of the ‘Migrant Crisis’, claiming the terrorists has sneaked into the country as refugees. To date, this only an official conspiracy theory, but that hasn’t stopped politicians and ‘security experts’ from using this crack-pot theory as justification for a European lock-down, prompting some European leaders to call for an end to freedom of movement across Europe.
7. Debate on Govt Spying and Privacy Rights, now off the table
As expected, politicians looking to appear ‘tough on terror’ and the growing gaggle of security lobbyists, and other assorted corporate fascists, have called for something akin to a ‘European Patriot Act’ – an end to the ‘Post-Snowden’ debate over bulk data collection and privacy – covering issues like NSA and GCHQ blanket spying on all citizens, and imposing more regulations and government monitoring of mandatory manufacturer ‘back doors’ for computers, mobile phones, gaming consoles, and also calls to make encryption illegal (except for government of course).
8. Calls for mandatory ID’s, biometric IDs
This hasn’t hit the headlines yet, but you can be sure that the usual gang of security contractors are putting the final touches on their proposals from a new regime of biometric ‘real IDs’. Expect announcements before the week’s end.
The last one is wasn’t very difficult to predict, but it has now been proven accurate nonetheless…
9. Cameron using Paris to Push for Syria War Vote
Back in August 2013, British MPs rejected Cameron’s call for bombing Syrian government forces in a close vote. It turns out that MP’s made the right choice as that war would have been waged on false pretenses. As predicted on Friday last week, David Cameron has now promised a new “comprehensive strategy” to win MP’s Parliamentary votes for an open-ended UK bombing campaign ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Cameron claims he wants to, “do the right thing for our country” (fancy that), and hit the “head of the snake” of ISIS in Raqqa, Syria. What military impact the UK would make in a multi-nation war in the region is debatable, with an air force of about a dozen Typhoon fighters and a handful of operational naval vehicles. Make no mistake about it – the British defense industry would like nothing more than to see this happen tomorrow – along with increased defense spending and procurement. Job done. Bombs away.
We’d rather none of these had come true, especially this quickly, but it only goes to show just how transparent the new world order agenda really has become.
Watch 21WIRE’s Patrick Henningsen and his original analysis from Friday evening, Nov. 13, 2015 on RT International…
Just like with the London 7/7 Bombings which coincided perfectly with the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, last week’s Paris Attacks were timed with the G20 Summit in Istanbul – elevating the ‘War on Terror’ (now rebranded to the ‘War on ISIS’) to the top of the west’s international and military agenda. Once again, job done. Now France is locked down in a state of emergency, effectively under Martial Law.
Immediately after the Paris Attacks on Friday Nov. 13th, French authorities and mainstream media wasted no time in expediting the crucial talking point that a Syrian passport was found either on, or near, the body of one of the alleged suicide bombers outside the Stade de France sporting arena in Paris.
This begged the obvious question: why would supposed suicide bombers all pack their passports with them on a one-way jihad?
‘SATIRICAL’ CARTOON: Like American Express says, “Don’t leave home without it!” (Image: Zero Hedge)
This seemed to force the mainstream media to pivot, as they ‘walked back’ the Syrian passport leg of their story and take rear guard action before the public copped on to what was likely a planted set-piece at the scene of the crime. At this point, the mainstream choir suddenly U-turned and claimed in unison, that the Syrian passport was indeed a ‘fake’ – but even then, the mainstream media still stood by the assertion that the alleged suicide bomber had sneaked into Europe from Syria undercover the west’s cleverly engineered ‘Migrant Crisis’ in Europe.
If the passport(s) is indeed fake, then how could police be certain that the passport’s carrier was the same as the passport’s legitimate owner? How can they be sure the ‘fake’ passports were not planted at the scene, or did not belong to someone else, a bystander for example? Could the crime scene have been tampered with before or after the event? Interesting questions, and ones which have already netted a number of creative and improbable theories by authorities and their media operatives. Most importantly, the lack of real evidence in this case pretty much destroys the fabricated talking point which fuses together this ‘ISIS terrorist’ event together with the ‘Migrant Crisis’.
If we are to truly believe authorities again, then maybe we are underestimating the true value of these indestructible travel documents. We could be missing out on one of mankind’s greatest, most strongest ever material designs.
Listen to SUNDAY WIRE host Patrick Henningsen as he doles out his passport rant this past weekend…
With Russia annihilating terrorist vermin all across Syria from the air and the SAA personally mopping up the remainders in village after village, it appears the West has shifted from utter panic to an attempt to launch a Hail Mary and save its jihadist pets as well as the plan to overthrow the secular government of Bashar al-Assad.
This Hail Mary appears to be coming in the form of an attempt to secure the “Safe Zone” area discussed and agreed upon by the Turks and the United States in the past under the guise of fighting ISIS and protecting “moderate rebels” and civilians. In reality, however, the “Safe Zone” is nothing but a trafficking corridor for ISIS and other related terrorist organizations supported by NATO, financed by the GCC, and funneled through Turkey into Syria.
It is for this reason that the U.S. and Turkey have announced an agreement to “shut off Turkey’s border with Syria as part of a joint military operation.” In an interview with CNN, U.S. Secretary of State and Skull and Bones member John Kerry stated, “The entire border of northern Syria – 75 percent of it has now been shut off. And we are entering an operation with the Turks to shut off the other remaining 98 kilometers.”
Kerry did not elaborate as to what form the operation would take or when it would take place. He also neglected to mention whether or not U.S. troops would be deployed in order to take part in the operation.
Turkish officials have hinted at the possibility of some type of imminent military operation occurring, with Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu stating that a “new military operation against Daesh” may take place “in a matter of days.” Deputy Minister Numan Kurtulmus, however, stated that no ground operation was planned.
Of course, the dimensions of the territory in the crosshairs of this “joint military operation” between Turkey and the United States are immensely important.
The Kurds have seized and now maintain control of an area that spans the Turkey-Syria border from its western to eastern extremities all except for one small pocket in the middle – from Jarablus in the East to Dabiq in the West. Others have described the zone in slightly different dimensions as being from Jarablus in the East to Afrin in the East. Regardless, this corridor, also known as a “safe zone,” is about the exact dimensions of the ISIS supply lines coming in from Turkey to Syria and, if either the Syrian military or the Kurds were able to capture this small section of land on the border, ISIS supply lines would be entirely cut from the North. With Assad’s forces tightening their grip in the South and Southwestern portions of the country and the SAA/Hezbollah forces cracking down on any ISIS movements on the Syria-Lebanon border, and most notably the Russian bombing campaign aiding the Syrian military in retaking full control of Aleppo and other parts of northern Syria, ISIS would essentially be cut off from most avenues of outside assistance.
It is thus important to note that the Syrian military had nearly reached the Euphrates river when the terror attacks in Paris took place.
It is for this reason – the threat the Kurds pose to ISIS – that Turkey has engaged in such a heavy bombing campaign against the Kurds, alongside an alleged campaign against ISIS, the latter campaign being one that is questionable to say the least. Remember, the American airstrikesagainst ISIS have largely targeted Syrian infrastructure and civilian areas. In those areas where ISIS has been struck, it has been nothing more than an exercise in death squad herding.
The “ISIL-Free Zone” should be renamed the “ISIL Free Range Zone” since it is nothing more than a hedge of protection set up over the terrorists with the United States and Turkey once again acting as the ISIS Air Force. This zone, now under the protection of NATO forces will then be used as aForward Operating Base for terrorism deeper inside the country as Turkey unilaterally bombs the Kurds away from territory they currently hold.
Earlier this month, the Kurds launched an assault on that corridor, threatening to close the last supply route for ISIS that exists in the north. Indeed, not only one of the last, it is the main lifeline for the terrorist organization supported by the West.
Turkey has made one thing very clear: It will not tolerate a YPG presence west of the Euphrates,and will therefore not accept a Kurdish-led offensive on the ISIS-held city of Jarablus, or any YPG-led effort to unite its territory with the Kurdish-controlled enclave in Efrin in northwestern Syria. In the days before the election, the Turkish military fired upon YPG forces trying to cross the Euphrates, ostensibly to shore up their front line with the Islamic State.
Turkey has long feared the creation of a Kurdistan in Northern Syria, particularly because the creation of such an entity would not only inflame the tensions between the Turkish Kurds and the Turkish government but would essentially carve out a good portion of Turkish territory. With the establishment of a Kurdistan virtually anywhere in the region but especially on the Turkish border or in Turkey itself, Erdogan’s foolish dreams of being the new Ottoman emperor will fade away.
For that reason, the Turks are in no way going to assist in the sealing of Turkey’s border with Syria by the Kurds. Considering the reports coming from media outlets friendly to the Turkish government and the propaganda being spouted by Erdogan’s stooges in the Turkish ruling party, it is the Kurds who are considered the great enemy of Turkish “civilization” (meaning Erdogan’s delusions of grandeur) and not ISIS.
With the growing awareness of the importance of the Jarablus corridor amongst researchers, observers, and the interested national parties, the recent Turkish/U.S. joint military operation agreement stands as a last ditch effort to solidify the ISIS/NATO presence in Syria. By engaging troops and military hardware over the “safe zone” of the Jarablus corridor, NATO will be able to ensure that ISIS supplies and soldiers continue to pour into Syria unabated. By placing NATO interests in the midst of the corridor and declaring the zone a “safe zone” the hope is that the Russians will see the zone as off limits.
At that point, the real question becomes just how long the Russians and the SAA can avoid their own attacks on the Jarablus corridor before they realize that the inability to do so is merely prolonging the war and is ultimately a losing strategy. Once that realization is made, the question will become whether or not the Russians and the SAA will attack the zone despite the NATO presence.
The answer to that question is one that is deeply important to us all.
The Daily Mail team are not known for their journalist ethics and measured response to crisis, but today’s attack on refugees is a low point, even for them.
Stanley McMurty, who goes by the pen name ‘Mac’, has produced a chillingly racist cartoon for the Mail – which depicts refugees as marauding soldiers, running into Europe alongside rats. The implication being, they are one and the same.
The shadowy, caricatured features, the suggestion of vermin-like character – this all seems very reminiscent of the sort of propaganda we have seen from some of the worst regimes in history. As one Twitter user pointed out.
One is a Nazi cartoon laughing at Jews denied entry to democratic countries. The other is the Daily Mail today. pic.twitter.com/wYHwmfc0l1
While we’re at it, how did the Daily Mail treat Jewish refugees of the Nazi holocaust at the time? In 1938, as the Jewish population of Germany began fleeing Hitler, this was the welcome they received from the Daily Mail.
Not only did the Daily Mail propagandize against the incoming Jewish families, but they spent years cheerleading for fascism in general, and Hitler in particular. In 1934, the paper’s owner Viscount Rothermere wrote an editorial personally inviting Britons to embrace both.
The Daily Mail was wrong in 1934, wrong in 1938, and it is wrong today. One would have hoped that in the near century between the mistakes of the 1930’s, and today, the owners, editors and writers at the Daily Mail would have evolved. But sadly, they haven’t. Worse, neither have their readers.
It’s the same story at The Sun, where Katie Hopkins invoked the same Nazi-era references, with this piece.
Hate crimes against the Muslim population are rising astronomically, not solely because of terror attacks by radical fundamentalists, but because people like McMurty and Hopkins have issued a blood libel against all Muslims, and against all refugees. Thanks to the constant stream of misinformation, people are literally convinced that Muslims are taking over Britain. In fact, more than 200,000 people have signed a petition calling on Britain’s borders to be closed to defend from this ‘invasion.’
Over 4.1 million refugees have fled the violence in Syria. Think about how traumatised France is after the attacks on Paris – now imagine such attacks were happening every day, for several years. Then you can begin to imagine the level of trauma amongst the refugees that are lining the shores of Europe. The refugees are fleeing the very people that just brought Paris such grief. Not only has that darkness followed them here, but cynical and bigoted people are actually blaming them for it.
There needs to be a zero tolerance policy towards behaviour which endangers human life, and those who seek to radicalise the population against a community on religious or racial grounds. If that’s true for ‘mad mullahs’, it should be true for media magnates and their journalists.
Britain, we are better than this. Let’s prove it by putting our compassion and our dignity on loudspeaker, rather than our fear and prejudice.
A partir da crise econômica de 2008, os bancos de investimentos de Wall Street passaram a ser os principais beneficiados pelas políticas aplicadas pelo sistema da Reserva Federal e do Departamento do Tesouro dos Estados Unidos. Não obstante, instituições como o J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, entre outras, sofreram quedas significativas em seus níveis de lucro durante o terceiro trimestre deste ano. Apesar do enorme apoio governamental, foi impossível para os gigantes financeiros norte-americanos registrar números altos e positivos de forma estável, já que se encontram encravados numa economia que ainda está longe de alcançar a recuperação absoluta.
Sob o capitalismo, nada dura para sempre. As crises econômicas se sucedem uma após a outra. As contradições do sistema não são nunca resolvidas, somente transferidas de um setor a outro, de um país a outro. Se trata, portanto, de uma «crise circular», segundo definição do marxista britânico David Harvey. O Estado desempenha um papel crucial, mas ao mesmo tempo ajuda a gerar as condições para a acumulação capitalista. Quando a crise estoura, só a intervenção do Estado pode aliviar os danos sofridos pelas empresas e pelos bancos.
Publicamente, os empresários preferem advogar pela liberdade absoluta do mercado, mas a verdade é que quando estão em problemas, quando estão a ponto de quebrar, são os primeiros a pedir ajuda aos seus respectivos governos.
É o que se observa nos Estados Unidos, a principal potência capitalista do planeta. Ao longo dos Anos 90, as inovações financeiras serviram para gerar a ilusão de que as crises econômicas já não seriam tão dramáticas como antes. Colapsos de um tamanho similar ao da Grande Depressão de 1929 pareciam superados.
Segundo a perspectiva dos investidores, a intervenção governamental deve estar limitada, caso contrário podem gerar distorções nos preços dos títulos financeiros. Contudo, essa percepção mudou depois da quebra do Lehman Brothers, já que se algo evitou que os demais bancos tivessem o mesmo destino foi precisamente a agressiva intervenção estatal.
Desde então, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, entre outros, são como afilhados do governo de Estados Unidos. Como esquecer que em pleno desastre financeiro global, em setembro de 2008, Henry Paulson, que nesse momento era responsável pelo Departamento do Tesouro, exigiu que os congressistas do seu país aprovassem imediatamente um pacote de resgate de 700 bilhões de dólares.
No começo, os parlamentares estadunidenses resistiram, mas finalmente, com algumas pequenas alterações, o projeto foi aprovado. Assim, centenas de bilhões de dólares dos contribuintes foram destinados à aquisição de ativos hipotecários que não valiam nada (o chamado subprime) para salvar os bancos da insolvência.
Em dezembro daquele mesmo ano, Ben Bernanke, então presidente do sistema da Reserva Federal (Fed, por sua sigla em inglês), diminuiu a taxa de juros dos fundos federais (‘federal funds rate’) a um nível próximo de zero, e meses depois iniciou um programa de estímulos monetários, também conhecido pelo nome de «Quantitative Easing».
Entretanto, o mercado de trabalho continua estancado, e os investimentos massivos não aparecem. A dívida pública disparou: enquanto que, em 2006 era de 10,6 bilhões de dólares, agora está por cima dos 18 bilhões de dólares. A dívida das famílias, embora tenha diminuído um pouco, ainda se encontra longe dos níveis registrados antes de 2005. Isso porque os bancos utilizam seus capitais mais para investir na bolsa de valores de Nova York e menos para outorgar crédito às atividades produtivas.
Agora, a prosperidade bancária se esgota. Os lucros dos grandes bancos de investimentos estão em queda livre, segundo o revelado por informes corporativos do terceiro trimestre deste ano. A exceção do Wells Fargo e do Bank of America, o grosso dos bancos estadunidenses registrou números decepcionantes. Diante das incertezas globais, os agentes do mercado se desfizeram dos seus investimentos nos mercados cambiais, de bonos e de matérias-primas (‘commodities’).
Antes de agosto de 2015, quando o índice Dow Jones – que aglutina as maiores empresas industriais dos Estados Unidos – caiu mil pontos, os mercados financeiros pareciam calmos. Como o produto interno bruto (PIB) da economia estadunidense crescia por cima das expectativas, e as políticas de austeridade foram impostas na Grécia meses antes, os agentes de investimentos estavam tranquilos.
Pelo contrário, as últimas semanas deixaram em evidência que essa tranquilidade é muito frágil. Uma das principais preocupações mundiais é a China. Apesar do gigante asiático conservar níveis de acumulação de capital superiores aos que se observam nos países industrializados, a desaceleração de sua manufatura vem golpeando severamente os países emergentes, em especial os exportadores de matérias-primas (‘commodities’).
Nos Estados Unidos, o panorama continua sendo obscuro. O crescimento do PIB no período entre julho e setembro é deprimente, uma expansão de apenas 1.5 % em termos anuais. O mesmo acontece com as cifras do mercado de trabalho.
Nada permite concluir que a recuperação do nível de emprego será sólida, e muito menos que o processo será de crescimento estável. O que pode-se observar como evidência é que o nível de rentabilidade geral se mantém baixo demais, por isso os bancos estadunidenses tiveram seus lucros diminuídos.
É impossível especular nos mercados de renda variável (ações, imóveis, matérias-primas, etc) e obter altos rendimentos eternamente. Os bancos de investimentos dos Estados Unidos se encontram num impasse, já que foram muito beneficiados pelas políticas econômicas dos anos recentes, e agora essa abundância parece que se acaba.
Perante essa situação não há dúvidas de que pressionarão com todas as suas forças para continuar recebendo recursos extraordinários e tratamento especial por parte do governo dos Estados Unidos. Buscarão sabotar qualquer reforma financeira que pretenda por fim à sua exuberância. Por essa razão, a possibilidade de mudar o estado das coisas dependerá, em última instância, da capacidade de resistência dos de baixo.
A partir de la crisis económica de 2008 los bancos de inversión de Wall Street han sido los principales beneficiarios de las políticas aplicadas por el Sistema de la Reserva Federal y el Departamento del Tesoro de Estados Unidos. No obstante, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, entre otros, sufrieron caídas significativas en sus niveles de ganancias durante el tercer trimestre del año en curso. A pesar del enorme apoyo gubernamental, para los gigantes de la banca norteamericana resultó imposible registrar altos dividendos de manera ininterrumpida toda vez que se encuentran enclavados en una economía que todavía está muy lejos de alcanzar la recuperación absoluta.
Bajo el capitalismo nada dura por siempre. Las crisis económicas acontecen una y otra vez. Las contradicciones del sistema no se resuelven, sólo se trasladan de un sector a otro, de un país a otro; se trata, pues, de una «crisis circular», según las palabras del marxista británico David Harvey. El Estado desempeña un papel clave, pues a la vez que contribuye a generar las condiciones para la acumulación capitalista, cuando estalla la crisis su intervención permite aliviar los daños de las empresas y los bancos.
Si bien públicamente los empresarios por lo general abogan por la libertad absoluta del mercado, la verdad es que cuando están en problemas, cuando están a punto de quebrar, son los primeros en pedir ayuda a sus respectivos gobiernos.
Así se observa en Estados Unidos, la principal potencia capitalista del planeta. A lo largo de la década de 1990, las innovaciones financieras sirvieron para generar la ilusión de que las crisis económicas ya no serían tan dramáticas como antes. Colapsos de un tamaño similar a la Gran Depresión de 1929 parecían superados.
Bajo la perspectiva de los inversionistas bursátiles, la intervención gubernamental debe ser muy limitada, de lo contrario se pueden generar distorsiones en los precios de los títulos financieros. Sin embargo, esa percepción cambió después de la bancarrota de Lehman Brothers, ya que si por algo los demás bancos de inversión de Wall Street no se desplomaron se debió precisamente a la agresiva intervención estatal.
Desde entonces, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, entre otros, son los consentidos del gobierno de Estados Unidos. Cómo olvidar que en pleno desastre financiero global, a finales de septiembre de 2008, Henry Paulson, quien en ese momento estaba a cargo del Departamento del Tesoro, exigió a los congresistas de su país la aprobación inmediata de un paquete de rescate por un monto de 700 000 millones de dólares.
En un principio los parlamentarios estadounidenses se resistieron, pero finalmente, con algunos ligeros cambios, el proyecto se aprobó. Es así como cientos de miles de millones de dólares de los contribuyentes estadounidenses se destinaron a la adquisición de activos hipotecarios basura (‘subprime’) para salvar a los bancos de la insolvencia.
Luego, ya en diciembre de ese mismo año, Ben Bernanke, entonces presidente del Sistema de la Reserva Federal (Fed, por su acrónimo en inglés), disminuyó la tasa de interés de los fondos federales (‘federal funds rate’) a un nivel cercano a cero, y meses después puso en marcha un programa de estímulos monetarios, también conocido con el nombre de «Quantitative Easing».
Sin embargo, el mercado laboral sigue estancado, las inversiones empresariales masivas no aparecen por ningún lado. La deuda pública se disparó: mientras que en 2006 era de 10.6 billones de dólares, ahora está por encima de los 18 billones de dólares. La deuda de las familias aunque ha disminuido un poco, todavía se encuentra lejos de los niveles registrados antes de 2005. Es que los bancos utilizan sus capitales más para invertir en la bolsa de valores de Nueva York y menos para otorgar crédito a las actividades productivas.
Ahora la prosperidad bancaria se agota. Las ganancias de los grandes bancos de inversión van cuesta abajo, así se revela en sus reportes corporativos del tercer trimestre del año en curso. A excepción de Wells Fargo y Bank of America, el grueso de los bancos estadounidenses padeció la caída de sus dividendos. Es que ante la incertidumbre global, los agentes bursátiles se desprendieron de sus inversiones en los mercados cambiarios, de bonos y de materias primas (‘commodities’).
Antes de agosto de 2015, cuando el índice Dow Jones –que aglutina a las mayores empresas industriales de Estados Unidos– cayó en 1 000 puntos, los mercados financieros parecían en calma. Como el producto interno bruto (PIB) de la economía estadounidense crecía por encima de las expectativas, y las políticas de austeridad se impusieron en Grecia meses atrás, los agentes de inversión estaban en paz.
Por el contario, las últimas semanas han puesto en evidencia que esa tranquilidad es muy quebradiza. Una de las principales preocupaciones mundiales es China. Si bien el gigante asiático conserva niveles de acumulación de capital superiores a los que se observan en los países industrializados, la desaceleración de su manufactura viene golpeando severamente a los países emergentes, en especial a los exportadores de materias primas (‘commodities’).
En Estados Unidos el panorama continúa siendo muy gris. El dato de crecimiento del PIB para el periodo comprendido entre julio y septiembre es deprimente, una expansión de apenas 1.5 % en términos anuales. Lo mismo sucede con las cifras del mercado laboral. Nada permite concluir que la recuperación del nivel de empleo sea sólida y, mucho menos, sostenida. Lo que sí es evidente es que el nivel de rentabilidad general se mantiene demasiado bajo, por eso los bancos estadounidenses han visto disminuidas sus ganancias.
Es imposible especular en los mercados de renta variable (acciones, bienes raíces, materias primas, etcétera) y obtener altos ingresos de por vida. Los bancos de inversión de Estados Unidos se encuentran en un impasse, ya que si bien resultaron muy beneficiados por las políticas económicas de los años recientes, su abundancia parece acabarse.
Ante esa situación no hay duda de que van a presionar con todas sus fuerzas para seguir recibiendo recursos extraordinarios y tratos especiales de parte del gobierno de Estados Unidos. Buscarán sabotear cualquier reforma financiera que pretenda poner un alto a su exuberancia. Por esa razón es que cambiar el estado de cosas dependerá, en última instancia, de la capacidad de resistencia de los de abajo.
Ariel Noyola Rodríguez
Fuente: Contralínea (México).
Ariel Noyola Rodríguez : Economista egresado de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has arguably been the most utilized tool of imperial war since the Soviet Union fell in 1991. Ironically, the sole purpose of NATO’s creation in 1949 was to “contain” revolutionary socialism wherever it emerged. The world was a very different place in 1949. The Soviet Union had developed into an industrialized, socialist state with links to independence struggles all over the world. 1949 was also the year of the Chinese Revolution. These developments pulled nearly a third of the world’s population out from imperialism’s orbit.
NATO was initially imperialism’s counterweight to impede the growth of socialism around the world. After the Soviet Union fell, NATO evolved into an instrument of imperialist expansion. NATO pooled together the military resources of member nations around the interests of its most powerful members, especially those of the US.
NATO has played a critical role in every US war since 1991. The alliance helped dismember Yugoslavia in 1999 and invade Afghanistan in 2001. In 2011, NATO was called on to give cover and aid to jihadists in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi and the independent government of Libya. Libya’s social system, which provided free healthcare, education, and full rights to women for all Libyans, was effectively destroyed.
The NATO-backed destabilization of Libya provided the blueprint for the current proxy war in Syria. NATO countries have been deeply involved at all levels of the proxy invasion of the secular Syrian state since 2011. NATO’s provision of high tech weaponry, logistical support, and safe zones to jihadists has been the primary obstacle to the Syrian people’s desire for a peaceful end to the war. Millions of people have died and been displaced largely because of NATO’s refusal to withdraw from the proxy war.
US imperialism’s overall agenda is to isolate and ultimately destabilize Iran, Russia and China. These states represent the emergence of a new world order guided by the principles of international law and sovereignty. Their mode of development threatens US dominance around the world. The parasitic rulers of the imperial system have calculated that a march to war with Russia and China is a necessary precondition to US dominance. The US capitalist economy has declined and rendered it unable to compete with Russia and China without the use of military means.
The contradiction between US dominance and struggle for national sovereignty is evident in Russia’s intervention in Syria. The Russian Federation has largely set back NATO efforts, led by the US, to destabilize the government of Bashar Al-Assad. Russian support for the Syrian state in the form of air cover and military aid has ISIS, Al-Nusra front, and other terrorist forces on the defensive. In complete accordance with international law, Russia has helped preserve the right of the Syrian people to choose what kind of government leads the nation.
US imperialism has responded with a dangerous message of imminent war to Russia. The message has been largely disseminated through NATO. In the week of November 6th, NATO concluded its largest operations to date in Spain, Portugal, and Italy. The Trident Juncture operations consisted of 6,000 troops, 230 military units, 140 fighter aircraft, and more than 60 warships from 28 participating countries. The Pentagon additionally sent F-15c jets to Turkey to allegedly to bolster the Western coalition’s efforts against ISIS in Syria. F-15c jets are meant for use in air combat. ISIS does not possess an air force.
But Russia does have an air force and it is deeply engaged in airstrikes in ISIS-held Syrian territories. The US military apparatus has made clear in actions and in words that Russia is the primary target of its operations. NATO Supreme Commander Phillip Breedlove, in a recent Department of Defense briefing, explained that Russia’s “build up” in Syria and ”aggression” in Crimea made NATO escalation in Europe a necessary measure to protect Western ”security” interests.
NATO’s Trident Juncture operations also included exercises with African Union troops across the continent. He justified NATO collaboration with AFRICOM as a safeguard for nations such as Libya from potential Russian incursion. The thought of NATO ”protecting” Libya is an absurdity. NATO left Libya destroyed and under the rule of competing terrorist fractions. What NATO’s collaboration with AFRICOM actually shows is that the US-NATO alliance is in deep preparations for war with Russia on all possible fronts.
NATO expansion into the Middle East, Africa, and Europe has greatly increased the possibility of an armed confrontation between the US and Russia. China is also a large part of this equation, especially in Africa and the Asia Pacific region. The prospect of a World War III scenario grows each day US imperialism exists on earth. US military aggression, spearheaded by NATO, must be seen as the development of a seek-and-destroy policy of any and all forces that stand in its way. Russia and China are two of the biggest forces standing in the way of imperialism’s goal of full spectrum dominance.
The only force that can prevent the continuation and expansion of the US warfare state is the force of the people. The force of the people must be consolidated into a mass movement based on the material interests of all oppressed people in common opposition to imperialism. Such a movement needs to condemn police brutality, racism, and exploitation just as staunchly as it condemns the brutality of the US warfare state on Syrians, Russians, Iranians, and the like. This requires an understanding of the root causes of police brutality, war, and poverty. Only an organized people can push forward a broad, public conversation with the masses around the question of imperialism.
Danny Haiphong is a candidate for Workers World Party and member of Fight Imperialism Stand Together in Boston. He is also a regular contributor to Black Agenda Report. Danny can be reached at [email protected] and FIST can be reached at [email protected].
The Pentagon announced on Monday that the U.S. has approved a $1.29 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, despite mounting evidence of the country’s mass atrocities and possible war crimes in neighboring Yemen.
The U.S. State Department on Friday approved the sale of over 10,000 bombs, munitions, and weapons parts produced by Boeing and Raytheon. This includes 5,200 Paveway II “laser guided” and 12,000 “general purpose” bombs. “Bunker Busters,” also included in the deal, are designed to destroy concrete structures.
“The proposed sale augments Saudi Arabia’s capability to meet current and future threats from potential adversaries during combat operations,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Defense, said in an announcement of the deal released Monday.
But Raed Jarrar, government relations manager for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), told Common Dreams: “Sending additional weapons to the Middle East will not stabilize the region or put an end to violence and extremism. Supporting proxy wars, interventions, and military occupations will only add fuel to the fire.”
“It’s also illegal under US and international law to transfer weapons to human rights abusers, or to forces that will likely use it to commit gross violations of human rights,” Jarrar continued. “There is documented evidence that such abuses have been committed by almost all of U.S. allies in the region.”
The U.S. statement indicates that the deal will, in part, be used to replenish arms for Saudi Arabia’s seven-month-long military assault on Yemen, which has killed at least 2,355 civilians and wounded 4,862, according to United Nations statistics.
With the backing of the U.S. and U.K., the Saudi-led coalition is responsible for the vast majority of these killings. The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported in September that “almost two-thirds of reported civilian deaths had allegedly been caused by coalition airstrikes, which were also responsible for almost two-thirds of damaged or destroyed civilian public buildings.”
The approval came just a month after the U.S. approved an $11.25 billion sale of combat ships to Saudi Arabia, defying the international call for an arms embargo over war crimes concerns. What’s more, it continues a long-standing trend in which the U.S. is a major weapons supplier to the gulf state. The IHS Jane’s 360 report, released in March, found that Saudi Arabia was the primary “defense” trading partner with the United States in 2014.
In announcing this latest weapons deal, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said: “Providing these defense articles supports Saudi Arabian defense missions and promotes stability in the region… and enables Saudi Arabia to safeguard the world’s largest oil reserves.”
But experts warn that such sales, in fact, are driving instability and atrocities across the Middle East—far beyond Yemen.
In a statement released on Monday, Paul Shannon of the AFSC called on “the U.S., France and the west to cut off its support and vast weapons supplies to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies whose royal families have been responsible for the spread of the jihadist extremist ideology throughout the region.”
The arms deal will proceed unless Congress moves to block it in the next 30 days.
Flags fly at half-mast in NATO countries for “France’s 9/11,” while President Obama announces to the media: “We will provide you accurate information about who is responsible.” They needn’t wait. It is already clear. The umpteenth massacre of innocents was caused by the series of geopolitical cluster bombs, detonated according to a precise strategy.
It has been put into play since the U.S. won the confrontation with the Soviet Union and appointed itself “the only state with truly global strength, reach and influence in every dimension — political, economic and military” proposing to “deter those powers that might seek regional dominance – Western Europe, East Asia, the former Soviet Union and Southwest Asia – whose resources would be sufficient to generate global power.”
To this end the U.S. has refocused its strategy since 1991 and, in agreement with the European powers, that of NATO. Since then they have disintegrated or demolished by war (open and covert), one after another, the states considered an obstacle to the plan of global domination; these include Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and others – while still others (including Iran) are being targeted.
These wars, which have claimed millions of victims, have disrupted whole societies, creating a huge mass of desperate people, whose frustration and rebellion lead on the one hand to a real resistance, but on the other hand are being exploited by the CIA and other intelligence services (including French ones) to ensnare fighters in a “jihad,” which in fact suits the strategy of U.S./NATO. This led to the formation of a shadow army, made up of (often competing) Islamic groups used to undermine the Libyan state from within while NATO attacked it, and then for a similar operation in Syria and Iraq.
From all this ISIS was born, in which “foreign fighters” came together with agents of the secret services, and which has received billions of dollars and modern weapons from Saudi Arabia and other Arab monarchies, allied with the U.S. and particularly with France.
This strategy is nothing new: some 35 years ago, to bring down the Soviet Union in the “Afghan trap,” tens of thousands of mujahadin were recruited by the CIA from over 40 countries. Among them was the rich Saudi citizen named Osama bin Laden, who arrived in Afghanistan with 4,000 men, the same person who after he founded Al Qaeda turned into “enemy number one” of the United States.
Washington is no sorcerer’s apprentice, unable to control the forces it set in motion. It is the driving force of a strategy that destroys entire states, causing a chaotic chain reaction of division and conflict to be used according to the old method of “divide and rule.”
The terrorist attack in Paris, performed by an unskilled laborer convinced to strike a blow against the hated West, occurred with perfect timing just as Russia, intervening militarily, had blocked the U.S./ NATO plan to destroy the Syrian state and announced military countermeasures to the growing expansion of NATO to the East.
The terrorist attack, by creating a climate of siege in Europe, “justifies” an accelerated military buildup of the NATO European countries, which includes increasing their defense spending as requested by the U.S., and opens the way for other wars under U.S. command. France, which so far “had been bombing inside Syria only sparingly” against Isis, as the New York Times writes, “bombed the Syrian city of Raqqa on Sunday night [Nov. 15], its most aggressive strike against the Islamic State group” hitting targets described by the United States. Among these, U.S. officials specify, are “some clinics and a museum.”
1) Was the over-the-top, no-holds-barred, 24-7 media blitz really an attempt to keep the public informed about a critically important event or was the coverage geared to pressure President Obama into sending ground troops to Syria?
2) Is Obama’s excuse for not putting boots on the ground in Syria to fight ISIS credible (Obama says he believes the current strategy is “ultimately going to work”.) or is the administration afraid of a confrontation with Russia?
3) Does the media’s coverage of the attacks in Paris (Similar attacks which took place in Beirut, Baghdad and Turkey were treated as mere footnotes) reflect pervasive racist attitudes in the West or is it another example of our dreary agenda-driven media?
While there’s no question that the victims of this horrific crime deserve all of our sympathy and support, there’s also no question that the media has exploited the attacks to serve their own purposes. From the moment the attacks were first announced on Friday until today, the media has conducted a full-blown, round-the-clock propaganda campaign that reenacted every bomb blast, every screeching siren, and every lurid detail in order to generate as much fear in the public mind as possible. The objective in fueling this mass hysteria became apparent to me after watching all five political talk shows on Sunday where the consensus view of all the interviewees was: “ISIS is evil. Obama needs to do something. Obama needs to send troops to Syria.”
For example: Jeb Bush says to George Stephanopoulos, “We need to show leadership…We need no-fly zones…We need ground troops.”
Not to be outdone, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said, ‘We need 50,000 troops to take Raqqa.’ Shortly after, Fareed Zakaria of GPS chimed in with this (completely phony) heartfelt appeal for US intervention. He said:
“Imagine if the world responded… by joining forces and doing exactly what’s necessary to eradicate a Caliphate that only leaves carnage in its wake? …. maybe, just maybe, this Democratic President can mobilize the world to respond accordingly. Maybe it will be enough to simply neuter the culprits, not eviscerate the whole population of the region, causing intractable blowback.”
Can you believe it? He candidly admits that US intervention could “eviscerate the whole population of the region (and cause) intractable blowback”, but he wants to “go for it” anyway.
Unbelievable. Of course, none of the news programs allowed anyone opposed to US warmongering anywhere near a microphone. Can’t have that. The unwavering uniformity of opinion just shows that the media wants more war which is why they’re waving the bloody shirt of Paris to pressure Obama. They don’t care about the victims, what matters to them is their agenda.
But the strategy isn’t working, not this time at least. In fact, Obama is actually digging in his heels. On Monday, in a truly extraordinary press conference following the G-20 Summit, Obama announced that he wasn’t going to send ground troops to Syria after all. He said he thought “it would be a mistake.”
You could have heard a pin drop after he made his statement. And then, of course, the press corps went into full attack-mode.
“Not send troops? How can you not send troops after all the terrorist hype we’ve been spewing for two days straight? We demand you send troops.”
The media’s indignation was apparent by the questions they leveled at Obama after his brief presentation. And what was amazing about the questions, was that, all five questions were exactly the same question! I’m not making this up. The entire pathetic Q&A can be read here.
Take a look: First question, Jerome Cartillier of AFP:
Q. — “Mr. President. One hundred and twenty-nine people were killed in Paris on Friday night. ISIL claimed responsibility for the massacre, sending the message that they could now target civilians all over the world. The equation has clearly changed. Isn’t it time for your strategy to change?”
Subtext to question: We want you to send ground troops.
Second question, Margaret Brennan, CBS News:
Q. — “Mr. President. A more than year-long bombing campaign in Iraq and in Syria has failed to contain the ambition and the ability of ISIS to launch attacks in the West. Have you underestimated their abilities? And will you widen the rules of engagement for U.S. forces to take more aggressive action?”
Subtext to question: We want you to send ground troops.
Third question, Jim Avila, ABC News:
Q.– “Mr. President. In the days and weeks before the Paris attacks, did you receive warning in your daily intelligence briefing that an attack was imminent? If not, does that not call into question the current assessment that there is no immediate, specific, credible threat to the United States today?”
Subtext to question: You have no idea what ISIS is doing, so why not send in ground troops.
Forth question, Jim Acosta, CNN:
Q. — “Mr. President. … a lot of Americans have this frustration that they see that the United States has the greatest military in the world, it has the backing of nearly every other country in the world when it comes to taking on ISIS. I guess the question is — and if you’ll forgive the language — is why can’t we take out these bastards?”
Subtext to question: We want you to send ground troops.
Fifth question, Ron Allen, NBC News:
Q. — “Mr. President. I think a lot of people around the world and in America are concerned because given the strategy that you’re pursuing … ISIS’s capabilities seem to be expanding. Were you aware that they had the capability of pulling off the kind of attack that they did in Paris? Are you concerned? And do you think they have that same capability to strike in the United States?”
Subtext to question: You should be doing more. We want you to send ground troops.
Are these really the questions a journalist would ask if he if he wanted to inform the public on a critical foreign policy matter or are they merely a way of hectoring the president so he does what the powerbrokers who own the media want him to do?
By the way, Obama snapped about halfway through the Q&A mainly because he just got frustrated with the tedious repetition of the same question. By the time he got to Jim Acosta he blurted out angrily: “I just spent the last three questions answering that very question, so I don’t know what more you want me to add.”
But don’t kid yourself, Obama knows what’s going on. He knows the bigwig media owners who sit on the same board of directors with the big weapons manufacturers, the Wall Street bankers and other honchos in the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) want another war. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why they have trained all their cameras on Paris to make sure that every wailing woman, every candle-lit vigil, and every bloody victim is filmed up-close-and-personal to maximize the emotional impact and help generate momentum for another US-led massacre in the Middle East.
But Obama’s not going to go that route. He’s not going to expand the war. Not because he’s opposed to violence or squeamish about killing innocent people. Heck no, that has nothing to do with it. Here’s the reason he gave at the press conference:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, keep in mind what we have been doing. We have a military strategy that is putting enormous pressure on ISIL through airstrikes; that has put assistance and training on the ground with Iraqi forces; we’re now working with Syrian forces as well to squeeze ISIL, cut off their supply lines. We’ve been coordinating internationally to reduce their financing capabilities, the oil that they’re trying to ship outside. We are taking strikes against high-value targets — including, most recently, against the individual who was on the video executing civilians who had already been captured, as well as the head of ISIL in Libya….(So) Even as we grieve with our French friends, we can’t lose sight that there has been progress being made.”
“Progress”? A four and a half year stalemate followed by a Russian-led military campaign that has rolled back all the gains the “US-backed” jihadis made in their effort to topple Assad? Obama calls that progress?
Let’s be blunt: US policy in Syria has gone off a cliff. It’s a complete and utter disaster. Obama knows that. He’s just making lame excuses. Here’s more:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “…there have been a few who suggested that we should put large numbers of U.S. troops on the ground. And keep in mind that we have the finest military in the world and we have the finest military minds in the world, and I’ve been meeting with them intensively for years now, discussing these various options, and it is not just my view but the view of my closest military and civilian advisors that that would be a mistake — not because our military could not march into Mosul or Raqqa or Ramadi and temporarily clear out ISIL, but because we would see a repetition of what we’ve seen before, which is, if you do not have local populations that are committed to inclusive governance and who are pushing back against ideological extremes, that they resurface — unless we’re prepared to have a permanent occupation of these countries.
And let’s assume that we were to send 50,000 troops into Syria. What happens when there’s a terrorist attack generated from Yemen? Do we then send more troops into there? Or Libya, perhaps? Or if there’s a terrorist network that’s operating anywhere else — in North Africa, or in Southeast Asia?”
Okay, so now we’re getting closer to the truth. Obama and his top advisors have looked at this mess from all sides and figured out that it’s a hopeless cause, so they’re not going to send US troops to die for nothing. Good. At least, that makes sense.
But even THAT isn’t the whole truth. The whole truth is that Obama and crew are worried about Russia. Sure, the politicians do a lot chest thumping and saber rattling in their op-eds or when they’re bloviating in front of a TV camera. But this is the real deal. Syria is not make-believe. It’s a war, and it’s a war Russia intends to win. And if the US gets in Russia’s way, by setting up a safe zone within Syria’s sovereign borders or doing something else stupid like that, there’s going to be trouble. Obama knows this because he’s a reasonable man; immoral, but reasonable. He’s not a hothead like John McCain or a foam-at-the-mouth basketcase like Hillary Clinton. Obama is cut in the mold of James Baker, a dyed-in-the-wool imperialist who understood the parameters of imperial power. There are limits to power and a wise man will acknowledge those limits and act accordingly. That’s what Obama is doing. He’s decided that the rewards are just not worth the risks, so he’s cutting his losses and backing down. That doesn’t mean Washington’s plan for Syria has been abandoned, it just means that Obama wants to run out his time in office without dragging the country into another pointless bloodbath.
If you ask me, it’s the smartest move he’s made in eight years.
In the context of the enquiry about the Paris massacres, a Syrian passport was found next to one of the kamikaze bombers of Stade de France. After being pointed out as responsible for the attacks by President Hollande, ‘the Islamic State’ claimed that they had engineered the onslaught. The French executive, that had already stated that they wanted to take action in Syria allegedly against ISIS, but actually against Bachar El Assad, who ‘has to go’, sees in this a significant clue that comfort their military expedition.
Using doublespeak – supporting an organization while pointing at it as the enemy and calling terrorists people who were previously hailed as ‘freedom fighters’, is not some prerogative of the French government. Producing one’s own enemy has become a pivotal process in Western strategy, one that comforts an imperial structure in which there is no separation any more between inside and outside, between law and sheer violence, between citizens and enemies. In Belgium the muslim preacher Jean-Louis Denis is tried in court for having promoted the jihad in Syria among young people because he is suspected of being acquainted with Sharia4Belgium, a group that is labelled as terrorist. His lawyer exposed the equivocation in the prosecution when he reminds the court that kids were indeed sent to fight for the Islamic State in Syria but by the Belgian intelligence service. He was referring to the part played by an undercover agent of the Belgian federal police.
The signifier’s comeback
It seems that in Paris too a major concern for the terrorists was to make it easy for them to be identified. Yet this paradox is no longer really a surprise. The miraculous find of ID papers has now become a classic feature in such circumstances. It is a recurring event, a repetitive compulsion that points again and again at people who belong to some jihadist movement.
In the official version for 9/11 the FBI claimed that they found the unscathed passport of one of the pilots near one of the towers that were reduced to ashes by explosions whose heat melted even the steel columns in the buildings’ structure. The fourth plane’s crash near Shanksville also yielded a passport which, though scorched, still made it possible to read the person’s first name and surname and to see his ID photo. This is all the more disturbing as nothing at all was left in the crater, no part of the plane or of the people travelling in it, only this partly scorched passport.
Unlikelihood as measure of truth
In the case of the attack at Charlie Hebdo, investigators found the ID papers of the elder Kouachi brothers in a car they had abandoned in the north-east of Paris. This document allows them to conclude that the authors of the attack were known to the anti-terror department as ‘pioneers of the French Jihad.’The ‘hunt’ could begin. How can killers who operate with such professional skill make such blunder? It is an elementary caution known to any burglar that you do not to take ID papers along.
Since 9/11 unlikelihood has become part of our lives. It has become the basis on which truth is assessed. Reason is banished. We must not believe what is said but the speaking voice, whatever nonsense it may utter. The more patently absurd, the more unwavering our belief in what is stated must be. Unlikelihood has turned into the measure of truth.
The discourse developed around the Merah or the Nemmouche affairs testifies to it. While besieged by dozens of policemen Merah is said to have left his flat to call a France 24 journalist from a public cabin so as not to be identified. He then allegedly returned to be conveniently killed by a sniperwho is said to have shooted ‘in self-defence’ with ‘non lethal weapons’.
Nemmouche, the author of the killing in the Jewish museum in Brussels, is supposed not to have thrown his weapons away since he wanted to sell them. And he chose the most closely monitored international transport, the bus connecting Amsterdam, Brussels and Marseilles. A ‘random border control’ allegedly resulted in his being caught.
The sideration of “national unity”
In any case the derealizing nature of what is presented results in sideration. Like the Gorgon’s look it turns us into stones. It shows that something is wrong in discourse. It highlights a flaw that is not intended to deceive us but to break us into inconsistent parts. The report of how the attacks occurred is an exhibition enforced upon the audience. It exists outside of any representation and results in sideration, not so much because of the dramatic nature of events as because of the impossibility to decipher the real. The audience can only retrieve some measure of unity through a fuller unreflective adhesion to what is stated. A fusion occurs with the one who names. We have to give up any distance with what is said and shown. “National unity”, the fusion between those who monitor and those who are monitored can then take place.
Indeed exposing flaws in the discourse of power on those various attacks results in a form of psychosis and the suppression of any defence mechanism, not only in front of some definite actions or statements, but towards any action and statement of power, for instance laws such as the law on intelligence that takes privacy out of the field of basic liberties.
An act of war against the people
Though it had been drafted for over a year the law on intelligence that was voted in June 2015 was presented as a response to the Charlie Hebdo attack. The law makes it legal to set up ‘black boxes’ with Internet access providers so as to capture users’ metadata in real time. It also allows for the setting of mikes, of locator transmitters, and of spy software and cameras. Those who are subjected to these investigation techniques are not agents of a foreign power, but French citizens. These are treated as though they were enemies of an executive power that decides on and monitors those secret devices. Under cover of fighting terror, this law makes existing measures legal, giving the executive a permanent, surreptitious and almost boundless facility to monitor citizens. Its total inefficiency when it comes to prevent attacks shows that what is targeted are French people not terrorists. As it changes the nature of intelligence services, from espionage to monitoring citizens, this law is an act of war against them. Evidence of its reality is provided by the recent slaughter in Paris.
The Russian commercial jetliner brought down over the Sinai in late October was destroyed by a homemade-style, “foreign made” TNT bomb, according to results of a Russian government investigation announced on Monday.
The plane exploded over the Sinai desert after departing from Sharm el-Sheikh, a vacation destination on the Red Sea that is popular with Russian tourists. At 224 dead, the incident represents the most deadly terror attack against Russia since the seizure of a primary school in Beslan by an Islamist terrorist faction in 2004.
Russia’s FSB security agency announced the finding on Tuesday and offered a $50 million reward for information leading to the capture of the perpetrators.
“According to our experts, a homemade explosive device equivalent to 1 kilogram of TNT went off onboard, which caused the plane to break up in the air, which explains why the fuselage was scattered over such a large territory. I can certainly say that this was a terrorist act,”
said FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov.
The Russian government had initially rejected Western claims of a terror attack on Flight 9268 as premature. US and British officials made accusations of terrorism within days of the explosion.
Already last week, however, Russia moved to ban all Egyptian flights to Moscow and arranged for special flights for more than 70,000 Russian tourists stranded in Egypt, on which passengers were forbidden to check any luggage.
Russia is now seeking to harness the incident to justify an escalation of its military intervention in Syria. President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s military commanders to prepare options for new forms of Russian involvement in response to the announcement.
“We will find them anywhere on the planet and punish them,” Putin said Tuesday.
Russian long range bombers took off from Russian soil to launch dozens of cruise missiles against suspected ISIS targets following the announcement, Russian military officers told Putin in a hearing Tuesday.
Russian ships stationed in the Mediterranean fired salvos of cruise missiles as part of a bombardment hitting more than 200 targets, according to defense minister Sergei Shoigu. The strikes came just weeks after Russia fired missiles from naval ships in the Caspian Sea.
“We are conducting a mass airstrike campaign against Islamic State targets in Syria. We have now doubled the number of sorties, which is allowing us to conduct operations throughout the length and breadth of the country,”
Russia will send some 40 additional military planes to Syria, Russian military officers aid.
The Russian strikes come amid major escalations of the US and French bombing campaigns against Syria. In a single raid on Monday, US planes destroyed 115 civilian fuel trucks allegedly running supplies for ISIS. French forces launched as many as 30 strikes against the city of Raqqa in northern Syria over the weekend.
On Tuesday, the US and Turkey launched military operations to seal off the Turkish-Syrian border, according to statements from US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The US is “looking to do more” in Iraq, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Tuesday. According to recent statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu, Turkey may start ground operations against IS within days or weeks.
Russia is attempting to leverage the Paris attacks and the impact of its military escalation to make overtures to France. Russian officials said Tuesday that the two governments would cooperate in joint operations in Syria.
“This includes closer ties and joint operations between the military command and intelligence services of Russia and France in Syria,” a Russian government statement said.
Moscow ordered a Russian missile cruiser to patrol jointly with French ships in the eastern Mediterranean Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. Putin has invited French President Francois Hollande to Moscow for discussions at the end of November.
US officials have also softened their rhetoric toward Russia, citing the stepped up strikes by Moscow against ISIS.
“At least in recent days there has been more of a focus on ISIL and we welcome that,” US military spokesman Peter Cook said.
While the Russian report bolsters a growing consensus that the Metrojet explosion was indeed the result of a bomb, Egyptian authorities have insisted that the evidence remains inconclusive. Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamal told media that there is not any solid evidence proving a terror attack as yet. The Egyptian government is very concerned over the damage caused by the attack to the credibility of the Egyptian security apparatus and to the country’s economically crucial tourism sector.
Egyptian authorities are holding at least 17 individuals in connection with the attack, including two employees of Sharm al-Sheikh airport who the government says may have helped attackers smuggle the bomb on board.
Last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris have triggered an international media campaign aimed at inspiring panic and justifying an escalation of the wars in the Middle East and the assault on democratic rights within the US and Europe.
The establishment media accepts uncritically all of the claims of government officials, as well as their cynical statements of sympathy for the victims and their self-serving denunciations of the killers as evil incarnate. It works to use the latest attack to legitimize the wars and repressive measures that produced it and previous terrorist atrocities, while setting the stage for wider wars and outright dictatorship.
The calls for more troops and bombs in Syria and even more pervasive government spying, harsher policies against immigrants and other undemocratic measures have nothing to do with protecting anybody. They are about implementing pre-existing plans to seize the oil resources of the Middle East and clamp down on restive populations within the imperialist countries.
CNN, for example, has been recycling a video clip of Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, declaring that she has premonitions of disaster like those she had just before the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
The Washington Post published an editorial Tuesday denouncing President Obama’s policy in Syria as insufficiently aggressive. It called for increasing the deployment of Special Forces troops beyond the level announced by Obama earlier this month, using drone missiles, and setting up so-called “safe zones” as staging grounds for an offensive to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The same edition of the Post featured a column by former Bush administration official James Jeffrey, headlined “No more half-measures,” demanding a full-scale conventional ground war in Syria.
Essentially the same line is promoted by so-called “liberal” commentators in the Post and the New York Times such as Richard Cohen and Roger Cohen.
At the same time, the networks, cable news channels and press outlets are promoting calls from intelligence and police officials to increase government spying powers by allowing the state to disable encryption systems. On Monday, CIA Director John Brennan suggested that ISIS could attack the US and called the Paris events a “wake-up call” that should put an end to “hand-wringing” over broader government surveillance powers.
The Washington Post on Tuesday cited an internal email sent last August by Robert Litt, the general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, arguing that legislation authorizing the disabling of encryption would have a good chance of being passed “in the event of a terrorist attack or criminal event where strong encryption can be shown to have hindered law enforcement.”
There have been nearly fifteen years of virtually uninterrupted wars against largely defenseless populations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. These wars were preceded by US imperialist interventions in Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia and Serbia, as well as US military and political support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians and its aggressive wars against its Arab neighbors, together with US backing for bloody dictatorships in Egypt and the Persian Gulf.
These imperialist wars have killed millions, devastated entire countries and turned tens of millions of people into refugees. French President Hollande and his counterparts in the US, Britain, Germany, etc. declare the attacks in Paris to be “an act of war.” But what have they been doing, except waging merciless war on the people of these countries?
You cannot carry out such crimes without engendering an environment of hatred and the desire for revenge. These are the real roots of the terrorist attacks of the past fifteen years, beginning with 9/11.
But it is virtually impossible to find in the saturation media coverage of the Paris events any questioning of the legitimacy of the underlying policies of the imperialist governments. At the most, media commentators and politicians speak of atrocities such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq as a “mistake.” They never call the horrors inflicted by the United States and its allies by their right name—war crimes.
Their moral outrage is always selective. ISIS and other Islamist jihadist groups such as al-Nusra have been carrying out mass killings of civilians in Syria for years, but the US and European media have either hailed such actions or covered them up so long as they were directed against the Assad regime, which they have targeted for removal.
Every major terror attack in the West, beginning with 9/11, has had the character of a blowback event carried out by forces with whom the imperialist governments had collaborated. The perpetrators were known to the intelligence and police agencies and were in many cases being tracked and monitored.
Such is the case in Paris. ISIS itself is the product of the devastation caused by the US invasion and occupation of Iraq and the “divide and rule” policy employed by Washington to incite sectarian warfare between Sunnis and Shiites. Islamist jihadist forces linked to Al Qaeda, including the precursors of ISIS and al-Nusra, were used as proxy ground forces in the US-NATO war for regime-change in Libya and have been employed in Syria. Al Qaeda itself emerged from the Islamist forces the US armed and mobilized in its proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
It is widely reported that the ISIS operative alleged to have masterminded the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, had been linked to a series of abortive terror attacks in Europe over the past two years and had been put on a kill list. Yet in an ISIS video, Abaaoud boasts of being able to move back and forth between Syria and Europe without interference.
Under conditions of blanket spying on the entire population of every imperialist country and most of the rest of the world, and admissions that at least some of the perpetrators were under surveillance, the media frenzy over the need for even more intrusive spying powers is absurd. But that does not prevent it from proceeding at full blast.
The Paris attacks and their aftermath follow what has by now become a standardized pattern. US-led wars lead to terror attacks in the imperialist countries by forces set in motion by the imperialists themselves. It turns out that the perpetrators were known to the state and in many cases were being tracked. Yet, somehow, the intelligence and police agencies had no foreknowledge.
The media swings into action to exploit popular shock and foment an atmosphere of insecurity and fear in order to justify further military aggression abroad and the abrogation of democratic rights at home.
This historical pattern is never raised, the better to impede any critical appraisal or political understanding of such events within the general population. Nevertheless, there is a vast chasm between the media image of popular support for war and anti-democratic measures and the real sentiments of the broad masses of people. They are aware that events such as the Paris killings are completely bound up with the wars in Central Asia and the Middle East—which they do not support.
The entire establishment media is complicit in war crimes abroad and a criminal attack on democratic rights at home. The lavishly paid pseudo-journalists and news anchors who transmit state propaganda in the guise of “news” should be held accountable by the international working class, along with their corporate paymasters.
Bandiere a mezz’asta nei paesi Nato per «l’11 Settembre della Francia», mentre il presidente Obama annunciata ai media: «Vi forniremo accurate informazioni su chi è responsabile». Non c’è bisogno di aspettare, è già chiaro. L’ennesima strage di innocenti è stata provocata dalla serie di bombe a frammentazione geopolitica, fatte esplodere secondo una precisa strategia. Quella attuata da quando gli Usa, vinto il confronto con l’Urss, si sono autonominati «il solo Stato con una forza, una portata e un’influenza in ogni dimensione — politica, economica e militare — realmente globali», proponendosi di «impedire che qualsiasi potenza ostile domini una regione – l’Europa occidentale, l’Asia orientale, il territorio dell’ex Unione sovietica e l’Asia sud-occidentale – le cui risorse sarebbero sufficienti a generare una potenza globale».
A tal fine gli Usa hanno riorientato dal 1991 la propria strategia e, accordandosi con le potenze europee, quella della Nato. Da allora sono stati frammentati o demoliti con la guerra (aperta e coperta), uno dopo l’altro, gli stati ritenuti di ostacolo al piano di dominio globale – Iraq, Jugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libia, Siria, Ucraina e altri – mentre altri ancora (tra cui l’Iran) sono nel mirino.
Queste guerre, che hanno mietuto milioni di vittime, hanno disgregato intere società, creando una enorme massa di disperati, la cui frustrazione e ribellione sfociano da un lato in reale resistenza, ma dall’altro vengono sfruttate dalla Cia e altri servizi segreti (compresi quelli francesi) per irretire combattenti in una «jihad» di fatto funzionale alla strategia Usa/Nato.
Si è così formata una armata ombra, costituita da gruppi islamici (spesso concorrenti) impiegati per minare dall’interno lo Stato libico mentre la Nato lo attaccava, quindi per una analoga operazione in Siria e Iraq.
Da questa è nato l’Isis, nel quale sono confluiti «foreign fighter» tra cui agenti di servizi segreti, che ha ricevuto miliardi di dollari e moderne armi dall’Arabia saudita e da altre monarchie arabe, alleate degli Usa e in particolare della Francia.
Strategia non nuova: oltre 35 anni fa, per far cadere l’Urss nella «trappola afghana», furono reclutati tramite la Cia decine di migliaia di mujaheddin da oltre 40 paesi. Tra questi il ricco saudita Osama bin Laden, giunto in Afghanistan con 4 mila uomini, lo stesso che dopo avrebbe fondato Al Qaeda divenendo «nemico numero uno» degli Usa.
Washington non è l’apprendista stregone incapace di controllare le forze messe in moto. È il centro motore di una strategia che, demolendo interi Stati, provoca una caotica reazione a catena di divisioni e conflitti da utilizzare secondo l’antico metodo del «divide et impera».
L’attacco terroristico di Parigi, eseguito da una manovalanza convinta di colpire l’odiato Occidente, è avvenuto con perfetto tempismo nel momento in cui la Russia, intervenendo militarmente, ha bloccato il piano Usa/Nato di demolire lo Stato siriano e ha annunciato contromisure militari alla crescente espansione della Nato ad Est. L’attacco terroristico, creando in Europa un clima da stato di assedio, «giustifica» un accelerato potenziamento militare dei paesi europei della Nato, compreso l’aumento della loro spesa militare richiesto dagli Usa, e apre la strada ad altre guerre sotto comando Usa.
La Francia che finora aveva condotto «contro l’Isis in Siria solo attacchi sporadici», scrive il New York Times, ha effettuato domenica notte «come rappresaglia, il più aggressivo attacco aereo contro la città siriana di Raqqa, colpendo obiettivi Isis indicati dagli Stati uniti». Tra questi, specificano funzionari Usa, «alcune cliniche e un museo».
Di fronte al programma di difesa missilistica della Nato a guida Usa, la Russia dispiegherà nuove armi da attacco capaci di forare lo «scudo»: lo ha annunciato ieri il presidente Putin, accusando Washington di voler neutralizzare il deterrente strategico russo per acquisire una «decisiva superiorità militare».
La decisione russa, presentata dai nostri media come inattesa e minacciosa, era stata a lungo preannunciata. Lo abbiamo ripetutamente scritto, da anni, sul manifesto. Lo riconosce anche il New York Times (10 novembre): «Per molti anni il Cremlino ha protestato contro lo scudo missilistico a guida Usa. Washington ha risposto che lo scudo aveva lo scopo di neutralizzare i missili iraniani. Putin obietta però che gli Usa hanno continuato a lavorare allo scudo anche dopo l’accordo che ha arrestato il programma nucleare iraniano».
Come si è arrivati a tale situazione? Il Congresso Usa ha stanziato oltre 200 miliardi di dollari (acconto su circa 1000 miliardi in dieci anni) per potenziare le forze nucleari con altri 12 sottomarini da attacco (7 miliardi l’uno, il primo già in cantiere), armato ciascuno di 200 testate nucleari, e altri bombardieri strategici (550 milioni l’uno), ciascuno armato di 20 testate nucleari. Contemporaneamente gli Usa hanno continuato a potenziare lo «scudo antimissili», che è uno strumento non di difesa ma di offesa: se riescono a sviluppare uno «scudo» affidabile, essi possono tenere la Russia e altri paesi sotto la minaccia di un first strike nucleare, fidando sulla capacità dello «scudo» di neutralizzare gli effetti della rappresaglia. Il nuovo piano varato dal presidente Obama prevede, rispetto al precedente, un numero maggiore di missili dislocati a ridosso del territorio russo.
Poiché sono gli Usa a controllarli, nessuno può sapere se sono intercettori o missili nucleari. Il 2 ottobre, alla vigilia della grande esercitazione Trident Juncture, la Nato ha annunciato l’arrivo nella base navale di Rota, in Spagna, del cacciatorpediniere lanciamissili Uss Carney, per «rafforzare la difesa missilistica Nato in Europa».
Oltre che da 24 missili SM-3 del sistema Aegis installati in Polonia e altrettanti in Romania, lo «scudo» missilistico comprende lo schieramento nel Mediterraneo di navi da guerra dotate di radar Aegis e missili SM-3. La Uss Carney è la quarta unità di questo tipo, dallo scorso febbraio, ad essere trasferita dagli Usa nel Mediterraneo, nel Mar Nero in Romania.
È probabile che il numero di queste navi nel Mediterraneo aumenterà, dato che la Us Navy ne ha già una trentina. La marina spagnola dispone già di quattro fregate dotate del sistema Aegis, che le rende interoperative con le navi Usa. Lo stesso si sta facendo con le fregate Fremm della marina militare italiana. Un ruolo di crescente importanza nello «scudo» viene svolto dai comandi e dalle basi Usa/Nato in Italia: a Napoli ci sono i quartieri generali delle forze navali statunitensi e alleate, in Sicilia la base aeronavale di Sigonella (che assiste le unità Aegis nel Mediterraneo) e il Muos di Niscemi per le comunicazioni satellitari ad alta frequenza. Tutte le unità navali Aegis nel Mediterrano, informa sempre la Nato, sono «sotto comando e controllo Usa». Ciò significa che la decisione di lanciare i missili intercettori, o presunti tali, è di esclusiva pertinenza del Pentagono. Per di più, stanno per arrivare in Italia le nuove bombe nucleari statunitensi B61-12, che sostituiscono le precedenti B61.
Come documenta lo scienziato nucleare Hans Kristensen, direttore del Nuclear Information Project alla Fas (Federazione degli scienziati americani), è in corso a tale scopo l’upgrade della base della U.S. Air Force ad Aviano (Pordenone) e di quella di Ghedi Torre (Brescia). Analoghi preparativi sono in corso nella base aerea tedesca di Buchel, dove si stanno ristrutturando le piste, dotandole di nuove strumentazioni. Washington continua a ripetere che gli Usa stanno costruendo lo «scudo» per difendere gli alleati Nato. In realtà l’Italia e gli altri paesi europei membri della Nato vengono usati dagli Stati uniti quale prima linea di un nuovo confronto nucleare, per certi versi più pericoloso di quello della guerra fredda.
Bombardear – declarou a ministra da Defesa, Pinotti, do Partido Democrático (PD) – “não deve ser um tabu”. Cai assim na Itália e na Europa o tabu da guerra e, com isso, também o do nazismo. Em Kíev, informa a agência Ansa em uma documentada reportagem de 4 de novembro, chegam toda semana do centro da Europa (incluindo a Itália) e dos Estados Unidos dezenas de “profissionais da guerra” recrutados sobretudo pelo Pravy Sektor (1) e pelo batalhão Azov, de clara característica nazista.
Os batalhões neonazistas fazem parte da Guarda Nacional, treinada por instrutores estadunidenses e britânicos. Nesse âmbito são treinados e armados também os estrangeiros, enviados, assim, para combater no Donbass contra os russos da Ucrânia. Ao voltarem à pátria, recebem o “passaporte ucraniano”, um tipo de salvo-conduto que pode servir em “todo o mundo”.
O quadro é claro. A Ucrânia de Kíev, já de fato na Otan sob o comando estadunidense, tornou-se o “santuário” do nazismo que ressurge no coração da Europa. O regime de Kíev pôs fora da lei não somente o Partido Comunista, mas o comunismo como tal, cuja proclamação é considerada um crime.
Transformou a Ucrânia em centro de recrutamento de neonazistas provenientes de países europeus e de fora da Europa, de fato selecionados, treinados e armados pela Otan. Depois de terem sido postos à prova em ações militares reais no Donbass, retornam com o “salvo-conduto” do passaporte ucraniano aos seus países, inclusive a Itália. Quem é mais capaz, entra na nova Gladio, pronta, se necessário, a provocar outra “Praça Maidan” (ou pior) na Europa. Tudo isto com a conivência dos governos europeus.
Aos que consideram tal cenário “conspirativo”, aconselhamos dar uma olhada na intervenção de Ferdinando Imposimato, presidente honorário do Supremo Tribunal de Cassação, na Convenção internacional organizada em Roma em 26 de outubro pelo Comitê Não à Guerra, Não à Otan. Ele afirma que “nas investigações que fiz sobre as tragédias que ocorreram na Praça Fontana, de Capaci e de Via d’Amelio, se comprovou que os explosivos utilizados provinham das bases da Otan”. Aqui se reuniam os terroristas, oficiais da Otan, mafiosos, políticos italianos e maçons, às vésperas dos atentados. E isto ocorria ininterruptamente desde o começo dos anos 1960”.
Em tal situação, continua, porém, a dominar, na esquerda italiana e europeia, o tabu da Otan. Na Itália, nenhum partido da oposição parlamentar tem no seu programa a saída da Otan.
Na Grécia, o Syriza de fato retirou do seu programa o objetivo de “fechar todas as bases estrangeiras na Grécia e sair da Otan”, como também o de “abolir os acordos de cooperação militar com Israel”, que ao contrário, têm sido reforçados com o que foi assinado em julho passado por Panos Kammenos, fundador do partido de direita Anel, ao qual o governo de Tsipras confiou o Ministério da Defesa.
O mesmo ocorre na Espanha, onde o Podemos, que tinha no seu programa um referendo sobre a saída da Otan, o redimensionou introduzindo no programa para as eleições de 20 de dezembro o objetivo de uma “maior autonomia estratégica da Espanha no seio da Otan”. Sergio Pascual, dirigente e candidato do Podemos em Sevilha, declara que sobre as bases militares estadunidenses na Espanha, “respeitaremos até a última vírgula os acordos assinados por nosso país”. O general Julio Rodriguez, candidato do Podemos a futuro ministro da Defesa, repete que “a Otan é necessária”. Como era em 2011 quando Rodriguez, na condição de chefe do Estado Maior, colaborava, como chefe da missão espanhola na Otan, no bombardeio da Líbia.
Our Planet Earth is heading straight towards the most dangerous collision in its history. It is not a collision with some foreign body, with an asteroid or a comet, but with the most brutal and selfish chunk of its own inhabitants: with people who proudly call themselves “members of the Western civilization.”
Again and again it is clearly demonstrated that Western culture, which the paramount psychologist Carl Jung used to call “pathology”, couldn’t be trusted.
This “culture” had already mercilessly slaughtered several hundreds of millions of people in all corners of the world; it enslaved entire continents, and plundered all that had any value, whether it was located above or under the surface of earth.
Inhabitants of Europe, the United States, as well as rulers of the client states, showed chilling indifference towards the suffering of their victims.
They also demonstrated utmost ignorance and the highest level of indoctrination!
For centuries, citizens of France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and other Western nations were staring at the battle ships leaving their shores, sailing towards Asia, Latin America and Africa … Mouths open wide; they were pretending that they did not really know what horrors these ships were going to spread. When the ships returned, packed with slaves and unimaginable booty, they shut down their brains, claimed ignorance once again, attributing thriving of their cities and states to some “Western ingenuity, enterprising spirit and hard work,” but definitely not to terror, rape and appalling plunder of the world.
What Germans did, gazing at the chimneys of the concentration camps that were regurgitating thick smoke of the victims of Holocaust and then claiming that “they did not know”, was exactly what all Europeans did for centuries and millennia, when their troops and “investments” into all sorts of Crusades, were looting and brutalizing everyone on the surface of our Planet.
Throughout the history, holocausts have been performed, again and again, all over Africa, in the Middle East, in Latin America, Caribbean, sub-Continent, and Asia Pacific, even in Oceania.
The Westerners never lifted a finger to stop crimes that their states have been committing! As long as they were getting fat, why should they? Their servile and cowardly intellectuals are still refusing, with some tiny exceptions that do not constitute even 1 percent, to depict gruesome destruction, humiliation and torment of “the others”. Western philosophers are locked at the sclerotic institutions called universities, whoring for tenures, instead of describing the world in all its sickening dismay. The media and artists are not fairing any better.
The role of Christianity has been vast and monstrous. In a foreseeable future I will dedicate an essay that will describe its responsibility for the global genocide, as well as a slender but provocative philosophic book on the same topic, co-authored with one of the leading Christian theologians. Christianity (even its non-religious forms called “secularism” or “atheism”) has been spreading intolerance, bigoted dogmas, exclusivism and complexes of superiority. It offered justification; it even inspired the crusades, colonial expansionism, mass murder as well as destruction of entire local cultures.
And yet, the same bandit nations, the same cowardly but sadistic culture, the same perverse religion, are still clinging to power, still torturing and murdering the millions.
Their gangrenous sisters, capitalism and nihilism, are brainwashing people all over the world, while driving them into dark valleys of despair.
It is because their weapons of mass destruction are the deadliest, their propaganda the most advanced, their opposition the most indoctrinated and their opposition almost non-existent!
War after war, genocide after genocide, the Westerners are still playing dumb! They refuse to acknowledge whet they are doing to the world.
When over 100 French people died during a bizarre recent string of attacks in Paris (who was behind them? West’s allies – jihadists, or maybe their own establishment?), Europeans began mourning their own victims – and pointing fingers at “the others”. People all over the world, either too scared to say “no” or too brainwashed as well, began expressing solidarity with the French nation.
Part of “The Jungle”, a terrible refugee camp near the French city of Calais, went ablaze. Refugees got attacked all over Europe, as “retaliation”. But retaliation for what? After all, refugees were only escaping their countries that were ruined and plundered by both Europe and the United States!
But this is not how a common European was instructed to see the world.
The common European and North American is much more submissive to the regime, than a common inhabitant of any other part of the world. He or she learns what is required to be learned, listens attentively what the media/propaganda people digest and serve. Debates are almost always within the permitted framework.
A common citizen of a Western country devours hours of bizarre entertainment daily (including “news entertainment”). They watch dozens of propaganda films and clips, every year. He or she can hardly make any distinction between reality and fiction, anymore. Such a citizen is willing to sacrifice billions of men, women and children all over the world just for their own material benefits and wellbeing.
All he or she knows, all he or she feels is (somehow abstractly) is that they are somehow “superior” to the rest of humanity; that their culture is exceptional and predestined to rule the world. All heor she senses is that he or she has the right to consume and to use all the natural resources of the world, and that their government can decide which country outside the Western realm should be allow to stand and which would be forced to fall.
Millions of human lives lost in the Middle East, tens of millions of men, women and children murdered by imperialism in Africa? Who cares? Who bloody cares? Westerner eats, copulates, sometimes works and then he either tries to enjoy his life, or he fights for much better benefits… for himself, or for herself. Rest of the world is there to provide or to subsidize such benefits; that is all.
The dumber they, the Westerners, are, the more self-assured and arrogant their worldview. You see people like this in a pub, but you also see them controlling all international organizations, even the UN agencies. Those big, beefy, tall Germans, Scandinavians, North Americans, Brits – speaking with air of a stone superiority to those “agile Asians, clumsy Africans and insecure Arabs”! Telling them what to do, how to run their societies. Absolutely no shame! You would never hear them lamenting: “We fucked up the world. We raped the planet. We are still doing it…” Never.
No apologies, no remorse, no grand plan for how to reverse the flow, how to return at least some part of what had been stolen and how to stop murdering.
Of course, everywhere you go, you read stuff like “May Peace Prevail on Earth!”
Yes, over 100 people died in Paris. Right before that, almost 50 died in Beirut, Lebanon. While thousands are dying in Yemen, every month… While 17,000 already vanished in Iran – victims of West-sponsored terrorism… While hundreds of thousands have been dying in Libya and Syria… While millions have been dying in Somalia and Iraq… While some 10 millions already died in a looted and raped DRC (the Democratic Republic of Congo) … All of them victims of Western assaults and banditry or of Western-sponsored terrorism directly!
All those Mujahedeen, al-Qaida, al-Nusra, IS… That entire Wahhabi fundamentalism created first by the British and later North American imperialism. All that vile, toxic stuff that had been armed, and financed and serviced by the Europeans, as well as Saudis, Turks and other great allies of the West.
And why was that stinky stuff so diligently armed and financed? So it could ruin and destroy progressive, socialist Islam, from Egypt to Iran to Indonesia! So it could destroy the Soviet Union and any Marxist roots in Afghanistan! So it could murder millions of progressive people in those proud and independent nations. So the West could rule, unopposed, grabbing all it wants, deciding who will be governing where!
Now Russia stands against the terror with its fighter jets. Its bombers are flying sorties for survival of this humanity. Just recently, Russia already paid a tremendous price, and we all know what it was. But it is used to paying unimaginable prices, for the survival of our planet. 25 million human lives in just one war, in order to defeat Nazism. Or great chunk of economic output of the USSR, “just” in order to defeat Western imperialism and colonialism.
China sent military advisers, and is standing by, rock solid, shoulder-to-shoulder Russia.
Syria managed to shock the world by refusing to surrender, by fighting with unimaginable heroism against all odds. Half of its people are on the move, millions of refugees are flooding all shores, but the country is standing tall, injured and bleeding but standing, nevertheless.
And so is Latin America, despite all those vicious attacks from the West. Standing, damn it, standing towering and proud!
And those ignorant, selfish, brutal hordes in the West see nothing. They repeat propaganda injected to their heads, providing slight variations to it, calling it freedom of expression!
After the “Paris attacks”, Western propaganda is in top gear once again. Its apparatchiks were clearly “prepared and ready”. Future direct attacks against Syria are already “justified” well in advance. Not against ISIS (although that would be the official pretext), but against President al-Assad and his government which is, despite everything, supported by the majority of Syrian people. Attacks against Syria will not be called “Western terrorism”, but something like a “heroic revenge”.
Can this planet be entrusted to those who watch crap on their television screens, day after day – both Hollywood propaganda production, and news propaganda briefings?
Can anything that comes from the West be taken seriously, after centuries of lies and murder?
Who is killing whom, lately? Who is behind what?
I will stick to what I know. And what I know is who is actually killing millions in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
I will not speculate about some “insider job” of the Empire, although I have some strong suspicions; of course I do! For now I will only stick to facts that I can prove.
And the facts are simple and horrendous: the Empire has been murdering tens of millions of people on our planet. The Empire, and that self-perpetuated ignorance, fundamentalism and blindness of its indoctrinated citizens!
Friday’s devastating attacks in Paris left hundreds dead or injured, paralyzed the city and brought ISIS’s terrorism to the Western world for the first time.
In the days since the attacks, love and support for the beloved French capital has poured out from every corner of the world. The Empire State Building and Sydney Opera House were lit in the colors of the French flag. Facebook quickly rolled out a tricolor profile picture filter so users could “support France and the people of Paris” and a “safety check” feature to allow people in Paris to alert their friends and family members that they were safe.
President Barack Obama noted that “this was an attack not just on Paris… not just on the people of France, but… on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”
But there was another ISIS attack late last week that was every bit as tragic. It took place in Beirut – the city that many of my ancestors called home, and where I now also live and work, as a foreign correspondent. Yet the attack was barely noticed in the West. As messages of solidarity with France flood my social media feeds, and friends and peers express horror at the atrocities committed, I’m left wondering why my own people — and my peers, who make up the bulk of my stories — aren’t deemed worthy of the same caliber of coverage, the same palpable collective grief.
On Thursday evening, two ISIS operatives, whose identities are still unknown, exploded themselves in a crowded marketplace in the Bourj al-Barajneh neighborhood of Beirut, killing 44 and injuring more than 200 others in the worst terrorist attack the city has seen in years.
Although the terrorist group behind the attacks in Paris and Beirut was the same, the Western media narrative has been vastly different. In Paris, ISIS attacked the city’s progressive youth, massacring dozens enjoying their night out at a concert, a soccer game and a restaurant. In Beirut, ISIS struck a “Hezbollah stronghold” in the “southern suburbs of Beirut,” a poor, majority Shia area often characterized as a bastion of terrorism in the region. The attack was portrayed as little more than strategic punishment for Hezbollah’s ongoing involvement in the Syrian civil war and support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Most media did not mention that, while Bourj al-Barajneh is located in the southern suburbs of Beirut, and does, like many traditionally Palestinian refugee camps, have a Hezbollah presence, it is also a diverse neighborhood, full of Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians with a variety of political and religious affiliations. The attackers that exploded themselves in the crowded marketplace intended to massacre as many civilians as possible, taking with them men, women, children, students and older people of all faiths and backgrounds. One of the casualties was a Lebanese-American woman who was visiting for just a few days from Dearborn, Michigan, hoping to bring some of her family back to the United States.
But when the blasts went off in Beirut, there was no “safety check” on Facebook for Lebanese — or Syrians or Palestinians — living in Bourj al-Barajneh. No world leader called it an “attack on all of humanity.” There were no visible solidarity demonstrations, showing support and compassion for those who lost their lives.
Needless to say, the Empire State Building did not project a cedar tree — the iconic symbol of the Lebanese flag — over the New York City skyline.
It is scientifically proven, and emotionally understandable, that a small tragedy in one’s own backyard elicits more grief than a global catastrophe on the other side of the world. But in the case of Paris and Beirut, it’s perplexing why one is worthy of collective grief and mourning, while the other is not.
Why is violence in one part of the world barely worthy of news coverage, while violence in another collectively mourned?
Is it because bombs and violence are considered routine in the Middle East, but not in Europe?
This is not only about Paris and Beirut. It is also about the daily bombings and frequent massacres in Syria and Iraq that have largely fallen off the media’s radar. It is about the borders that are rapidly closing for Syrians and Iraqis fleeing ISIS violence in their own countries, leaving them with no option but to make dangerous sea crossings and walk through Europe, illegally crossing borders until they can hope to claim asylum. It is about the fact that the passport one holds — an accident of birth, in most cases — makes some people worthy of safety and compassion, and others not.
It’s not just Paris: All of these tragedies are “an attack on all of humanity.”
In the days following the horrific terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of 129 innocent civilians in Paris, the response from within the US political establishment and media has been as predictable as it is reactionary. Stoking desires for revenge and exploiting the shock over the attacks claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), politicians, pundits and the media are mounting a drumbeat propaganda offensive for an escalation of military aggression abroad and police state repression at home.
CIA Director John Brennan was among the most blunt on the home front, declaring that the Paris attacks must serve as a “wake-up call.” He demanded an end to “hand-wringing” over blanket government spying on the entire population of the US and the world carried out in the name of combating terrorism.
Among the Obama administration’s Republican critics, there were demands for a sharp escalation of the US military intervention in the Middle East, including calls for the dispatch of another American expeditionary force into Syria. Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate, in an opinion piece published by the Washington Post Sunday, called for a “war on ISIS,” saying the US must “devote whatever resources are required to win—even boots on the ground.” In a subsequent television interview, he made clear that this meant sending tens of thousands of troops into Syria.
Even more telling was the media’s behavior at Barack Obama’s press conference Monday at the G20 meeting in Antalya, Turkey, where the US president described ISIS as “the face of evil” and declared that Washington’s goal is “to degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organization.”
Correspondents from the major US news outlets rose, one after the other, to goad the president into announcing a more aggressive militarist policy.
“A more than yearlong bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria has failed to contain the ambition and the ability of ISIS to launch attacks in the West. Have you underestimated their abilities? And will you widen the rules of engagement for US forces to take more aggressive action?”
“ …address your critics who say that your reluctance to enter another Middle East war, and your preference of diplomacy over using the military, makes the United States weaker and emboldens our enemies.”
“I think a lot of Americans have this frustration that they see that the United States has the greatest military in the world… I guess the question is—and if you’ll forgive the language—is why can’t we take out these bastards?”
The thrust of these questions is clear. After more than 14 years of a US “war on terror” that has plunged the entire Middle East into chaos and carnage, the rising demand from a sizable section of the US ruling establishment is for an even more deadly eruption of American imperialism.
What is deliberately obscured by this outpouring of jingoism is the fact that the terrorist attacks in Paris, and ISIS itself, are the direct products of nearly a decade-and-a-half of US military intervention aimed at imposing US hegemony over this oil-rich region.
ISIS emerged as the byproduct of the unprovoked US war of aggression against Iraq and the subsequent American divide-and-conquer strategy of manipulating and exacerbating sectarian divisions in that country. With the Bush administration having overthrown Saddam Hussein, a secular autocrat, the Obama administration—in alliance with France—embarked on another military adventure, launching the US-NATO war for regime-change in Libya. The imperialists utilized Islamist militias allied to ISIS and Al Qaeda as their proxy ground troops.
Succeeding in toppling and murdering a second secular ruler, Muammar Gaddafi, and leaving Libya in a state of collapse and permanent civil war, the Obama administration decided to repeat this “success” in Syria, where it fomented a civil war. It utilized these same Islamist organizations, augmented by vast stocks of weaponry funneled in from Libya as well as an army of foreign fighters brought in from across the Middle East, Europe and Central Asia.
Now, after ISIS has succeeded in seizing a third of Iraq along with roughly half of Syria, Washington claims to be engaged in a “war” on the Islamist organization. Its principal allies in this venture are Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, which have provided the religious-ideological inspiration, financial resources and weapons that have allowed ISIS to make the gains it has made.
If, after a year of air strikes, the dispatch of thousands of US troops to Iraq and now the deployment of Special Forces units to Syria, this “war” has done virtually nothing to reduce either the geographical reach or troop strength of ISIS, this is no accident. Washington’s main aim remains regime-change in Syria, as part of a broader strategy of weakening the influence of Iran, Russia and China in the region and preparing for far more dangerous military confrontations. To the extent that ISIS fights the troops of the Syrian government, it remains a US ally.
While Obama claims to have seen the “face of evil” in the Paris events, when ISIS was carrying out even bloodier atrocities against Syrian religious minorities and populations supporting the government of President Bashar al-Assad, there was no outcry from the US or its allies. Over the past four years of civil war, the Syrian population’s average daily fatalities have surpassed the number of people killed in Paris last Friday.
Moreover, the attacks in Paris are only the latest in a series of overseas attacks by the Islamist group. In the speculation over ISIS responsibility for bringing down a Russian passenger jet and killing 224 people on October 31, there was less outrage than barely concealed gloating by the Western media, anxious to see Moscow humiliated over its intervention in Syria.
Similarly, last week’s twin suicide bombings that killed at least 43 people in a working-class suburb in southern Beirut was almost universally reported by the US media as an attack on a “Hezbollah stronghold,” again suggesting that the innocent civilian victims got what was coming to them because of the Shia movement’s support for the Assad government.
Terrorism as a thing in itself is not seen as a critical problem for the American ruling establishment. Obama told the press conference in Turkey that his “closest military and civilian advisors” had counseled him that sending tens of thousands of troops into Syria would not be worth the effort.
Terrorism, from the standpoint of these elements within the vast US military and intelligence apparatus, is a useful tactic when directed against Washington’s enemies. It is merely part of the cost of doing business when it hits the US and its allies. And it can be exploited as a pretext for increased militarism and the suppression of political opposition.
In the end, Obama’s “advisors” have bigger things in mind. Little more than a week ago, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter delivered a speech affirming that Russia and China, not ISIS or terrorism, constitute the main threat to Washington’s interests. Driven by its insoluble crisis and contradictions, US imperialism is preparing for the greatest act of mass terror in human history: World War Three.
Anti-ISIS activists in Syria claim a stadium, a museum, medical clinics and a political building have been hit after France launched airstrikes in retaliation for the Paris terror attack.
Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, a group of anonymous activists inside the ISIS stronghold, wrote that heavy strikes had been taking place since this morning. The group began documented the airstrikes at around 8am and said it had increased to “30 airstrikes” this evening. No civilian casualties have been reported yet, according to the group.
A spokesperson for the group suggested it was France who were behind the bombs. They said water and electricity was cut due to the strikes. They added: “It’s sad how it always falls on our heads, god bless and safe [sic] the civilians of Raqqa.”
France retaliated to the Paris terror attack by launching deadly airstrikes on an Islamic State jihadi training camp in Syria tonight. Yesterday French president Francois Hollande vowed to crush the extremist group who massacred 129 people on Friday night. Less than 24 hours later, some 10 fighter jets pummeled the ISIS-held city of Raqqa with at least 20 bombs, according to the French defence ministry. The jets hit command and control center, jihadi recruitment center, munitions depot and a training camp.
In transmitting President Richard Nixon’s orders for a “massive” bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said, “Anything that flies on everything that moves”. As Barack Obama wages his seventh war against the Muslim world since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and Francois Hollande promises a “merciless” attack on that ruined country, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger’s murderous honesty.
As a witness to the human consequences of aerial savagery – including the beheading of victims, their parts festooning trees and fields – I am not surprised by the disregard of memory and history, yet again. A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of an American-made apocalypse, this time in Asia.
According to Pol Pot, his movement had consisted of “fewer than 5,000 poorly armed guerrillas uncertain about their strategy, tactics, loyalty and leaders”. Once Nixon’s and Kissinger’s B-52 bombers had gone to work as part of “Operation Menu”, the west’s ultimate demon could not believe his luck. The Americans dropped the equivalent of five Hiroshimas on rural Cambodia during 1969-73. They leveled village after village, returning to bomb the rubble and corpses. The craters left giant necklaces of carnage, still visible from the air. The terror was unimaginable. A former Khmer Rouge official described how the survivors “froze up and they would wander around mute for three or four days.
Terrified and half-crazy, the people were ready to believe what they were told… That was what made it so easy for the Khmer Rouge to win the people over.” A Finnish Government Commission of Inquiry estimated that 600,000 Cambodians died in the ensuing civil war and described the bombing as the “first stage in a decade of genocide”. What Nixon and Kissinger began, Pol Pot, their beneficiary, completed. Under their bombs, the Khmer Rouge grew to a formidable army of 200,000.
ISIS has a similar past and present. By most scholarly measure, Bush and Blair’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to the deaths of at least 700,000 people – in a country that had no history of jihadism. The Kurds had done territorial and political deals; Sunni and Shia had class and sectarian differences, but they were at peace; intermarriage was common. Three years before the invasion, I drove the length of Iraq without fear. On the way I met people proud, above all, to be Iraqis, the heirs of a civilization that seemed, for them, a presence.
Bush and Blair blew all this to bits. Iraq is now a nest of jihadism. Al-Qaeda – like Pol Pot’s “jihadists” – seized the opportunity provided by the onslaught of ‘Shock and Awe’ and the civil war that followed. “Rebel” Syria offered even greater rewards, with CIA and Gulf state ratlines of weapons, logistics and money running through Turkey. The arrival of foreign recruits was inevitable. A former British ambassador, Oliver Miles, wrote, “The [Cameron] government seems to be following the example of Tony Blair, who ignored consistent advice from the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6 that our Middle East policy – and in particular our Middle East wars – had been a principal driver in the recruitment of Muslims in Britain for terrorism here.”
ISIS is the progeny of those in Washington, London and Paris who, in conspiring to destroy Iraq, Syria and Libya, committed an epic crime against humanity. Like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, ISIS are the mutations of a western state terror dispensed by a venal imperial elite undeterred by the consequences of actions taken at great remove in distance and culture. Their culpability is unmentionable in “our” societies, making accomplices of those who suppress this critical truth.
It is 23 years since a holocaust enveloped Iraq, immediately after the first Gulf War, when the US and Britain hijacked the United Nations Security Council and imposed punitive “sanctions” on the Iraqi population – ironically, reinforcing the domestic authority of Saddam Hussein. It was like a medieval siege. Almost everything that sustained a modern state was, in the jargon, “blocked” – from chlorine for making the water supply safe to school pencils, parts for X-ray machines, common painkillers and drugs to combat previously unknown cancers carried in the dust from the southern battlefields contaminated with Depleted Uranium. Just before Christmas 1999, the Department of Trade and Industry in London restricted the export of vaccines meant to protect Iraqi children against diphtheria and yellow fever. Kim Howells, parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Blair government, explained why. “The children’s vaccines”, he said, “were capable of being used in weapons of mass destruction”. The British Government could get away with such an outrage because media reporting of Iraq – much of it manipulated by the Foreign Office – blamed Saddam Hussein for everything.
Under a bogus “humanitarian” Oil for Food Programme, $100 was allotted for each Iraqi to live on for a year. This figure had to pay for the entire society’s infrastructure and essential services, such as power and water. “Imagine,” the UN Assistant Secretary General, Hans Von Sponeck, told me, “setting that pittance against the lack of clean water, and the fact that the majority of sick people cannot afford treatment, and the sheer trauma of getting from day to day, and you have a glimpse of the nightmare. And make no mistake, this is deliberate. I have not in the past wanted to use the word genocide, but now it is unavoidable.” Disgusted, Von Sponeck resigned as UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq. His predecessor, Denis Halliday, an equally distinguished senior UN official, had also resigned. “I was instructed,” Halliday said, “to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults.”
A study by the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, found that between 1991 and 1998, the height of the blockade, there were 500,000 “excess” deaths of Iraqi infants under the age of five. An American TV reporter put this to Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the United Nations, asking her, “Is the price worth it?” Albright replied, “We think the price is worth it.”
In 2007, the senior British official responsible for the sanctions, Carne Ross, known as “Mr. Iraq”, told a parliamentary selection committee, “[The US and UK governments] effectively denied the entire population a means to live.” When I interviewed Carne Ross three years later, he was consumed by regret and contrition. “I feel ashamed,” he said. He is today a rare truth-teller of how governments deceive and how a compliant media plays a critical role in disseminating and maintaining the deception. “We would feed [journalists] factoids of sanitised intelligence,” he said, “or we’d freeze them out.” Last year, a not untypical headline in the Guardian read: “Faced with the horror of Isis we must act.” The “we must act” is a ghost risen, a warning of the suppression of informed memory, facts, lessons learned and regrets or shame. The author of the article was Peter Hain, the former Foreign Office minister responsible for Iraq under Blair. In 1998, when Denis Halliday revealed the extent of the suffering in Iraq for which the Blair Government shared primary responsibility, Hain abused him on the BBC’s Newsnight as an “apologist for Saddam”. In 2003, Hain backed Blair’s invasion of stricken Iraq on the basis of transparent lies. At a subsequent Labour Party conference, he dismissed the invasion as a “fringe issue”.
Here was Hain demanding “air strikes, drones, military equipment and other support” for those “facing genocide” in Iraq and Syria. This will further “the imperative of a political solution”. The day Hain’s article appeared, Denis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck happened to be in London and came to visit me. They were not shocked by the lethal hypocrisy of a politician, but lamented the enduring, almost inexplicable absence of intelligent diplomacy in negotiating a semblance of truce. Across the world, from Northern Ireland to Nepal, those regarding each other as terrorists and heretics have faced each other across a table. Why not now in Iraq and Syria? Instead, there is a vapid, almost sociopathic verboseness from Cameron, Hollande, Obama and their “coalition of the willing” as they prescribe more violence delivered from 30,000 feet on places where the blood of previous adventures never dried. They seem to relish their own violence and stupidityso much they want it to overthrow their one potentially valuable ally, the government in Syria.
This is nothing new, as the following leaked UK-US intelligence file illustrates:
“In order to facilitate the action of liberative [sic] forces… a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals [and] to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria. CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main [sic] incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals… a necessary degree of fear… frontier and [staged] border clashes [will] provide a pretext for intervention… the CIA and SIS should use… capabilities in both psychological and action fields to augment tension.”
That was written in 1957, although it could have been written yesterday. In the imperial world, nothing essentially changes. In 2013, the former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas revealed that “two years before the Arab spring”, he was told in London that a war on Syria was planned. “I am going to tell you something,” he said in an interview with the French TV channel LPC, “I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria… Britain was organising an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer Minister for Foreign Affairs, if I would like to participate… This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned.”
The only effective opponents of ISIS are accredited demons of the west – Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and now Russia. The obstacle is Turkey, an “ally” and a member of Nato, which has conspired with the CIA, MI6 and the Gulf medievalists to channel support to the Syrian “rebels”, including those now calling themselves ISIS. Supporting Turkey in its long-held ambition for regional dominance by overthrowing the Assad government beckons a major conventional war and the horrific dismemberment of the most ethnically diverse state in the Middle East.
A truce – however difficult to negotiate and achieve – is the only way out of this maze; otherwise, the atrocities in Paris and Beirut will be repeated. Together with a truce, the leading perpetrators and overseers of violence in the Middle East – the Americans and Europeans – must themselves “de-radicalise” and demonstrate a good faith to alienated Muslim communities everywhere, including those at home. There should be an immediate cessation of all shipments of war materials to Israel and recognition of the State of Palestine. The issue of Palestine is the region’s most festering open wound, and the oft-stated justification for the rise of Islamic extremism. Osama bin Laden made that clear. Palestine also offers hope. Give justice to the Palestinians and you begin to change the world around them.
More than 40 years ago, the Nixon-Kissinger bombing of Cambodia unleashed a torrent of suffering from which that country has never recovered. The same is true of the Blair-Bush crime in Iraq, and the Nato and “coalition” crimes in Libya and Syria.
With impeccable timing, Henry Kissinger’s latest self-serving tome has been released with its satirical title, “World Order”. In one fawning review, Kissinger is described as a “key shaper of a world order that remained stable for a quarter of a century”. Tell that to the people of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Chile, East Timor and all the other victims of his “statecraft”. Only when “we” recognise the war criminals in our midst and stop denying ourselves the truth will the blood begin to dry.
Greenwald shows how the Snowden haters in the US media seized on the Paris attack in order to blame Snowden. The American, indeed Western, media consists of the scum of the earth, and they all together are no match for Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald shows that they are so dimwitted that they cannot remember their previous stories long enough to save them from making laughing stocks of themselves when they gang up on Snowden.
The presstitutes that constitute the Western media had a great incentive to buy in to the false story of the Paris attack, because they saw an opportunity to blame the attack on Snowden, who showed them up for what they are — whores who lie for the government for money.
Likewise, anti-immigration web sites and political parties have a great stake in the false story of the Paris attack, because they can use it to emphasize the perils of allowing into a country people who don’t belong there.
The leftwing buys into the government’s lies, because it proves their point that Western imperialism and neo-colonialism brings blowback. The oppressed colonies rise up and send death and destruction to the imperialist’s homelands. This is emotionally satisfying to the left even though it hands over to the government control over the population.
As for the fearful, if the blacks are not going to murder them in their beds, surely the terrorists will. Only the government can make them safe by repealing all civil liberties. TV program after TV program — even RT — presents citizens testifying how they welcome being searched by the police, because it makes them safe. As Benjamin Franklin once said, those who give up liberty for safety will have neither. But this is over the heads of the fearful and the presstitutes.
By now, my readers should be able to finish this story on their own.
The Nazis and others have made it very simple and clear: fear is a control mechanism. Terrorism creates fear, and fear drives fools into the hands of the government that created the terrorism that created the fear.
Go watch the movie, V For Vendetta. The British government unleashes a disease outbreak and uses the resulting fear to turn Britain into a police state. Movie producers, such as those who made V for Vendetta and The Matrix understand what is going on, but what percentage of the audience gets it?
We have had by my last count 150 false FBI “sting operations,” that is, FBI orchestrated “terror plots” in which the FBI recruits half-wits to do such things as blow up the Sears Tower with fake bombs handed to them by the FBI.
We have had the false flag 9/11 operation, the false flag Boston Marathon Bombing, the false flag Charlie Hebdo, the false flag Paris attack. All of these false flag operations were scripted long ago by Operation Gladio, by the Northwoods Project (use google and read about them), and so on.
The Western world consists of a tyranny in which brainwashed nonentinies live in a constructed reality.
Can enough of these people be rescued to make a difference? That is the question.
Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, has held numerous university appointments. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Dr. Roberts can be reached at http://paulcraigroberts.org. His latest book is “The Neoconservative Threat To World Order”.
In a classic Putin move, the Russian President presented evidence of G20 member states providing financial support to ISIS…during the G20 summit in Antalya. Speaking with reporters after the summit, Putin revealed:
I provided examples related to our data on the financing of Islamic State units by natural persons in various countries. The financing comes from 40 countries, as we established, including some G20 members
Putin also provided satellite images of the Islamic State’s lucrative oil smuggling operations:
I’ve demonstrated the pictures from space to our colleagues, which clearly show the true size of the illegal trade of oil and petroleum products market. Car convoys stretching for dozens of kilometers, going beyond the horizon when seen from a height of four-five thousand meters
Interestingly, immediately after the summit, the U.S. announced that its warplanes had begun to bomb ISIS truck convoys used to “smuggle the crude oil it has been producing in Syria”. What a strange coincidence. It’s as if the U.S. knew exactly where these convoys were, but didn’t feel compelled to destroy them until now. The world is full of mysteries!
But the real story here is that Putin actually got up in front of the world’s largest economic powers and told them, right to their faces, that Russia knows exactly what they are doing.
This article was first published on February 16, 2014. In early 2014, ISIS fighters were heralded by Washington as “Freedom Fighters”. A few months later, Obama launches his crusade against the Islamic state fighters who had been trained and financed by US-NATO and its Persian Gulf allies.
Several hundred convicted criminals who escaped from carefully guarded prisons in Iraq have recently joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as well as the Al Qaeda affiliated rebel force, Jabhat Al Nusra.
According to the NYT: “the prison breaks also reflect the surging demand for experienced fighters which led to a concerted effort by militant groups, particularly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, to seek them in the one place where they were held en masse — Iraq’s prison cells.” (Tim Arango and Eric Schmitt, Escaped Inmates From Iraq Fuel Syrian Insurgency, NYT, February 12, 2014):
“American officials estimate, a few hundred of the escapees have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, several in senior leadership roles.”
Acknowledged by the NYT, the prison breakouts are part of the recruitment of jihadists to serve in the Syrian insurgency. What is not mentioned, however, is that the recruitment of mercenaries is coordinated by NATO, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar with the support of the Obama administration. Moreover, known and documented, most Al Qaeda affiliated forces are covertly supported by Western intelligence including the CIA, Mossad and Britain’s MI6.
The prison breaks in Iraq are part of a coordinated endeavor entitled “Operation Breaking the Walls,” established in July 2012 by the ISIS. Acknowledged by an American counterterrorism official quoted by the NYT,
“The influx of these terrorists, who collectively have decades of battlefield experience, probably has strengthened the group and deepened its leadership bench.”
US Occupation forces and military personnel in the prisons turned a blind eye to the breakouts.
Abu Aisha was originally arrested by the Americans and then released from Camp Bucca, the infamous American prison in southern Iraq, in 2008. He was rearrested by the Iraqis in 2010.
“Finally, they put me in Abu Ghraib, and I again met some of the leaders and fighters I knew, including princes from Al Qaeda — Iraqis, Arabs and other nationalities,” he said. “Most of them had been at Bucca as well.”
One night last summer, as Abu Aisha sat in his cell waiting, as he did each day, for his date with the executioner, explosions and gunfire erupted and a familiar prison guard opened the doors to his cell and told him to leave immediately. With hundreds of others, Abu Aisha ran through the prison’s corridors until he escaped through a hole that had been blasted through a wall. He hopped into a waiting Kia truck that took him to freedom — and back to the battlefield.
Abu Aisha said leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria gave him a choice: leave and fight with them in Syria, or stay and fight in Iraq. (NYT, op cit, emphasis added)
Prison guards secure the main gate of the newly named Baghdad Central Prison in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib February 21, 2009.
Credit: Reuters/Mohammed Ameen
Coordinated Program: Saudi Arabia
The recent prison breakouts have the hallmarks of a carefully planned covert operation requiring the complicity of the US military and Iraqi prison personnel.
The prison breakouts are not limited to Iraq. Planned prison escapes to join the jihadist insurgency have occurred simultaneously in several countries, indicating the existence of a coordinated recruitment program.
Saudi Arabia –which has played a central role in channeling weapons (including anti-aircraft missiles) to the jihadists on behalf of Washington– has been actively involved in the recruitment of mercenaries from the kingdom’s prisons.
In Saudi Arabia, however, there were no breakouts: criminals serving jail sentences were released from the kingdom’s prisons on condition they join the Syrian jihad.
A top secret memo sent by the Ministry of Interior in Saudi Arabia “reveals the Saudi Kingdom sent death-row inmates, sentenced to execution by decapitation, to Syria to fight Jihad against the Syrian government in exchange for commuting their sentences.”
According to the April 17, 2012 memo, Saudi Arabia recruited some 1200 inmates, “offering them a full pardon and a monthly salary for their families, who were to remain in the Kingdom, in exchange for “…training for the sake of sending to the Jihad in Syria.”
Among those released from prison and recruited in Saudi Arabia were inmates from Yemen, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Jordan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq, and Kuwait.
From “Convicted Criminal” to “Freedom Fighter”
The Western military alliance is not only supporting and financing a terrorist insurgency, supplying it with advanced weapons systems, it is also complicit in the recruitment of convicted criminals.
What is at stake is the coordination of several consecutive stages involving Prison escapes/releases, Recruitment of Mercenaries, the Training of “Freedom Fighters” and the Procurement and Delivery of Weapons to the insurgency:
Release and/or escape of convicted criminals and fighters from prisons;
Recruitment of the released/escaped inmates into Syria rebel formations;
Paramilitary training of the released/escaped prisoners, where applicable, e.g. in Saudi and Qatari training programs including religious indoctrination;
Dispatching the newly trained jihadist rebels to the war theater. The former prison inmates are sent to Syria to join the insurgency. They are integrated as mercenaries into one of the Al Qaeda affiliated forces.
The military equipping of the newly trained mercenaries (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar) and the procurement and delivery of military hardware to the insurgency on behalf of the US Administration which is funding the inflow of weapons.
The Insurgency’s Recruitment of Prison Inmates: Part of an Ongoing Process
Prison breaks occurred in Summer 2013 in Libya and Pakistan and Iraq in what appeared to be a carefully coordinated program. Those reported by the NYT are a continuation of an earlier project of prison breakouts.
On July 23, 2013, Abu Ghraib and Taji prisons were broken into in a carefully waged operation, leading to the escape of 500-1000 inmates, most of whom were recruited into the ranks of ISIS:
The attacks were allegedly carried out after months of preparations on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is a merger between Al-Qaeda’s affiliates in Syria and Iraq.
Between 500 to 1,000 prisoners have escaped as a result of the attack, “most of them were convicted senior members of Al-Qaeda and had received death sentences,” said Hakim Zamili, a senior member of the security and defense committee in parliament.
Suicide bombers drove cars with explosives into the gates of the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad on Sunday night, while gunmen attacked guards with mortar fire as well as rocket propelled grenades. (Russia Today, July 2013)
On Saturday, July 26, at a maximum security prison in Benghazi, Libya, an almost identical prison break to the one that happened in Iraq occurred:
Taliban gunmen with rocket launchers and suicide bombers, wearing police uniforms attacked the largest jail in Dera Ismail Khan, in a northern Pakistani province, releasing over 300 inmates. They came well coordinated, with rocket-propelled grenades and freed top militants–some of the Taliban’s most deadly men. They used loud speakers to announce the names of the men they needed. According to an official (Reuters), only 70 of the 200 guards on duty were at work that fateful night, suggesting higher level security-government involvement. (Ibid, emphasis added)
This article was first published in September 2014. Can we believe Hollande and Cameron? Evidence confirms that NATO is behind the recruitment of “jihadist terrorists
While NATO leaders in Newport Wales [September 2014] debate the Atlantic Alliance’s role “in containing a mounting militant threat in the Middle East”, it is worth recalling that in 2011 at the outset of the war in Syria, NATO became actively involved in the recruitment of Islamic fighters.
Reminiscent of the enlistment of the Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war, NATO headquarters in Brussels in liaison with the Turkish High command, according to Israeli intelligence sources, was involved in the enlisting of thousands of terrorists:
“Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (Debkafile, August 31, 2011 emphasis added).
Confirmed by Israeli intelligence News, NATO played a key role in the delivery of weapons to Al Qaeda affiliated rebels in the Aleppo region bordering onto Turkey:
NATO and a number of European governments, most significantly the UK, have started airlifting heavy weapons to the Syrian rebels poised in Aleppo to fend off a major Syrian army offensive, according to debkafile’s exclusive military sources. They disclose that the first shipments were landed Monday night, June 17 , and early Tuesday in Turkey and Jordan. They contained anti-air and tank missiles as well as recoilless 120 mm cannons mounted on jeeps. From there, they were transferred to rebel forces in southern Syria and Aleppo in the northwest. (Debkafile, June 18, 2013)
“Terrorists R Us”
Ironically, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron (who is hosting the NATO Summit in Wales), have asserted that they “will not be cowed by barbaric killers”:
“We will not waver in our determination to confront the Islamic State … If terrorists think we will weaken in the face of their threats they could not be more wrong.” (Barack Obama and David Cameron, Strengthening the NATO alliance, op ed published in the London Times, September 4, 2014, emphasis added)
But these “Barbaric Killers” were created by the Western military alliance. They are serving the strategic interests of the U.S., Britain, not to mention Israel.
“They are Our Terrorists“. Without the terrorists, the “Global War on Terrorism” would fall flat.
The Obama-Cameron narrative borders on ridicule. It is not only absurd, it is criminal.
What they are proposing is an all encompassing NATO mandate to “Go after Terrorist Entities” which they themselves created as part of an insidious intelligence operation to destabilize and destroy both Syria and Iraq.
British and French Special Forces have been actively training Syria opposition rebels from a base in Turkey.
Israel has provided a safe haven to Al Qaeda affiliated rebels including ISIS and Al Nusrah rebels in the occupied Golan Heights.
Netanyahu has met up with jihadist leaders in the Golan Heights. The IDF top brass acknowledges that there are “global jihad elements inside Syria” supported by Israel.
Image left: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Shakes Hand with a wounded Al Qaeda Terrorist in occupied Golan.
Lest we forget, Al Qaeda was at the outset a creation of the CIA. Who is behind the ISIS terrorists? The mainstream media is mum on the subject, despite mountains of evidence that they are creations of the Western military alliance.
Islamic State funded by Saudi Arabia enters Iraq
NATO’s Criminal Agenda
What we are dealing with is a criminal agenda under NATO auspices. The evidence amply confirms that the US and Britain in liaison with the Atlantic Alliance have relentlessly supported both the creation as well as development of an Islamic Terror Network which now extends from the Middle East and North Africa into sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia.
And now Obama and Cameron, whose governments are the architects of the Islamic State, are calling upon the Atlantic Alliance as well all on the governments of the 28 NATO member states to endorse the bombing campaign on Iraq and Syria as part of “counter-terrorism” operation.
The ISIS brigades are “intelligence assets” supported by US-NATO-Israel. They will not be the object of the bombings. Quite the opposite.
What is envisaged as part of the propaganda campaign is to use the “threat of the Islamic State” as a pretext and justification to intervene militarily under a “humanitarian” “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) mandate. The civilian population will not be protected. Under this diabolical military-intelligence operation, The Islamic State (ISIS) brigades with Western Special Forces within their ranks are slated to be “protected”.
The War on Syria
From the outset of the war on Syria in March 2011, member states of the Atlantic Alliance as well as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have (covertly) supported the terrorists –including al Nusrah and the ISIS– with a view to destabilizing Syria as a nation state. These actions were implemented in liaison with NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The process of recruitment and training of mercenaries had been sub-contracted to private security companies operating out of the Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Reports point to the creation of training camps in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Moreover, confirmed by CNN, security companies on contract to NATO member states were involved in training Syria “opposition” death squads in the use of chemical weapons:
“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)
NATO Supported the Terrorists in Libya
From the outset of NATO’s 2011 “humanitarian war” on Libya, the Atlantic alliance was working in close liaison with the “pro-Al Qaeda brigades” led by “former” Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) leader Abdul Hakim Belhhadj (Debka, Pro-Al Qaeda brigades control Qaddafi Tripoli strongholds seized by rebels, August 28, 2011 )
The US-NATO coalition is arming the Jihadists. Weapons are being channeled to the LIFG from Saudi Arabia, which historically, since the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war, has covertly supported Al Qaeda. The Saudis are now providing the rebels, in liaison with Washington and Brussels, with anti-tank rockets and ground-to-air missiles. (See Michel Chossudovsky “Our Man in Tripoli”: US-NATO Sponsored Islamic Terrorists Integrate Libya’s Pro-Democracy Opposition, Global Research, 3 April 2011)
The following article was first published in September 2014 at the outset of the air campaign “against the ISIS”. In recent developments Russia has officially joined the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). What are the implications?
Amply documented but rarely mentioned in news reports, the ISIS is a creation of US intelligence, recruited, trained and financed by the US and its allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel and Jordan.
What this means is that the ISIS terrorists are the foot soldiers of the Western alliance. While America claims to be targeting the ISIS, in reality it is protecting the ISIS. The air campaign is intent upon destroying Syria and Iraq rather than “going after the terrorists”.
But now Russia is involved in the campaign against the ISIS in coordination with the Syrian and Iraqi governments.
What does that mean? The official story is that Russia supports America’s resolve to fight the terrorists. It’s all for a good cause.
In reality, however, Russia is (indirectly) fighting America by supporting the actions of the Syrian and Iraqi governments against the ISIS terrorists, who happen to be the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance, with Western mercenaries and military advisers within their ranks.
The forbidden truth is that by providing military aid to both Syria and Iraq, Russia is (indirectly) confronting America. Moscow will be supporting both countries in their proxy war against the ISIL which is supported by the US and its allies.
Michel Chossudovsky, September 30, 2015
* * *
The Islamic State (IS) is portrayed as an Enemy of America and the Western world.
With the support of America’s indefectible British ally, President Barack Obama has ordered a series of US bombing raids on Iraq allegedly with a view to defeating the rebel army of the Islamic State (IS).
“We will not waver in our determination to confront the Islamic State … If terrorists think we will weaken in the face of their threats they could not be more wrong.” (Barack Obama and David Cameron, Strengthening the NATO alliance, op ed published in the London Times, September 4, 2014, emphasis added)
But Who is behind the Islamic State Project?
In a bitter irony, until recently the rebels of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were heralded as Syria’s “opposition freedom fighters” committed to “restoring democracy” and unseating the secular government of Bashar al Assad.
And who was behind the jihadist insurgency in Syria?
Those who ordered the bombing campaign are those who are behind the Caliphate Project.
The Islamic State (IS) militia, which is currently the alleged target of a US-NATO bombing campaign under a “counter-terrorism” mandate, was and continues to be supported covertly by the United States and its allies.
In other words, the Islamic State (IS) is a creation of US intelligence with the support of Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-’Āmah ( رئاسة الاستخبارات العامة). Moreover, according to Israeli intelligence sources (Debka) NATO in liaison with the Turkish High Command has been involved in the recruitment of jihadist mercenaries from the outset of the Syrian crisis in March 2011.
In relation to the Syrian insurgency, the Islamic State fighters together with the Al Qaeda affiliated jihadist forces of the Al Nusrah Front are the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance. They are covertly supported by US-NATO-Israel. Their mandate is to wage a terrorist insurgency against the government of Bashar al-Assad. The atrocities committed by Islamic State fighters in Iraq are similar to those committed in Syria.
As a result of media disinformation, Western public opinion is unaware that the Islamic State terrorists have from the very outset been supported by the United States and its allies.
The killings of innocent civilians by the Islamic State terrorists in Iraq are used to create a pretext and a justification for US military intervention on humanitarian grounds. The bombing raids ordered by Obama, however, are not intended to eliminate the Islamic State, which constitutes a US “intelligence asset”. Quite the opposite, the US is targeting the civilian population as well as the Iraqi resistance movement.
The Role of Saudi Arabia and Qatar
Amply documented, US-NATO support to the Islamic State is channeled covertly through America’s staunchest allies: Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Acknowledged by the Western media, both Riyadh and Doha acting in liaison and on behalf of Washington have played (and continue to play) a central role in the financing the Islamic State (IS) as well as the recruitment, training and religious indoctrination of terrorist mercenary forces deployed in Syria.
According to London’s Daily Express “They [the Islamic State terrorists] had money and arms supplied by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”
“The most important source of ISIS financing to date has been support coming out of the Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia but also Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates,” (According to Dr. Günter Meyer, Director of the Center for Research into the Arabic World at University of Mainz, Germany, Deutsche Welle)
This money was channeled to ISIS terrorists fighting against government forces in Syria:
“Through allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the West [has] supported militant rebel groups which have since mutated into ISIS and other al‑Qaeda connected militias. ( Daily Telegraph, June 12, 2014)
…[M]eet Saudi Arabia’s latest monstrous contribution to world history: the Islamist Sunni caliphate of Iraq and the Levant, conquerors of Mosul and Tikrit – and Raqqa in Syria – and possibly Baghdad, and the ultimate humiliators of Bush and Obama.
From Aleppo in northern Syria almost to the Iraqi-Iranian border, the jihadists of Isis and sundry other groupuscules paid by the Saudi Wahhabis – and by Kuwaiti oligarchs – now rule thousands of square miles. (Robert Fisk, The Independent, June 12, 2014
In 2013, as part of its recruitment of terrorists, Saudi Arabia took the initiative of releasing prisoners on death row in Saudi jails.
A secret memo revealed that the prisoners were being “recruited” to join jihadist militia (including Al Nusrah and ISIS) to fight against government forces in Syria.
The prisoners had reportedly been offered a deal — stay and be executed or fight against Assad in Syria. As part of the deal the prisoners were offered a “pardon and a monthly stipend for their families, who were allowed to stay in the Sunni Arab kingdom”.
Saudi officials apparently gave them a choice: decapitation or jihad? In total, inmates from Yemen, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Jordan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq, and Kuwait chose to go and fight in Syria.(See Global Research, September 11, 2013)
“Volte Face”: About Turn
On September 11, 2014, coinciding with the commemoration of 9/11, the King of Saudi Arabia together with the Monarchs of the Gulf States announced their unbending commitment to support Obama’s holy war against the Islamic State (IS), which has and continues to be funded by Qatari and Saudi money as part of a carefully engineered intelligence operation.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry, left, speaks with Joseph W. Westphal, the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on his arrival at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia on Sept. 11, 2014. (Pool photo by Brendan Smialowski via Associated Press)
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States which actively contributed to the financing of the Islamic State, not to mention the recruitment, training of terrorists on behalf of Washington, pledged their unbending support for Obama’s military campaign to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State.
The statement of support contained in the communiqué, commits the “leading Arab states to working with the U.S. to cut off the flow of foreign fighters and funds to the Islamic State.” It also confirms that members discussed “a strategy to destroy the ISIL wherever it is, including in both Iraq and Syria.”
Saudi Arabia has come to understand the Islamic State group is a serious threat to their country as well– that it isn’t a mainstream Sunni movement.One element of Obama’s IS plan seeks to undermine the ideological and religious claims that the Islamic State militants make to Islam.
The administration hopes Riyadh will use its influence among Islamic religious leaders. (Voice of America, September 11, 2014)
Recruiting “Moderate Terrorists”
As part of the agreement, the House of Saud is to “host a training facility for thousands of Syrian rebel fighters who are combating both the Islamic State and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.” An absurd and fake proposition. Until September 9th, “officially” Saudi Arabia had been supporting the Islamic State against the government of Bashar al Assad and now it has been entrusted in recruiting jihadists to fight the Islamic State. An absurd and fake proposition. But the media has failed to connect the dots and uncover the big lie.
We are dealing with a diabolical project: The architects of the Islamic State have informed the World that they are “going after” their own terrorists as part of a counter-terrorism operation.
While these actions are undertaken under the banner of the “Global War on Terrorism”, the US has no intention to target its IS own terror brigades which are integrated by Western special forces and intelligence operatives. In fact the only meaningful and effective campaign against Islamic State terrorists is being waged by Syrian government forces.
Needless to say, US, NATO, Saudi and Qatari support and funding to the Islamic State will continue. The objective is not to destroy the Islamic State as promised by Obama. What we are dealing with is a US sponsored process of destabilizing and destroying both Iraq and Syria. The campaign against the Islamic State is being used as a justification to bomb both countries, largely targeting civilians.
The endgame is to destabilize Iraq as a nation state and trigger its partition into three separate entities.
The broader US-NATO strategic objective is to destabilize the entire Middle East- North Africa -Central Asia -South Asia region, including Iran, Pakistan and India.
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 militarisation 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.
The U.S. claims it wants to hit the Islamic State but in one year of bombing it never really touched one of its biggest sources of income. Hundreds of oil tanker trucks are waiting every day at IS distribution points to smuggle oil to Turkey and elsewhere. Only one such distribution point was ever bombed and that attack was by the Iraqi air force.
Now the Russian President Putin played some “name and shame” at the G-20 meeting in Turkey and, lo and behold, the problem gets solved.
The Obama administration recently claimed it would increase attacks on the most expensive Syrian oil infrastructure which is owned by the Syrian government but under IS control. But it said it would still not hit the large truck gatherings.
While the American-led air campaign has conducted periodic airstrikes against oil refineries and other production facilities in eastern Syria that the group controls, the organization’s engineers have been able to quickly repair damage, and keep the oil flowing, American officials said. The Obama administration has also balked at attacking the Islamic State’s fleet of tanker trucks — its main distribution network — fearing civilian casualties.But now the administration has decided to increase the attacks and focus on inflicting damage that takes longer to fix or requires specially ordered parts, American officials said.
The obvious target to stop the oil trade is to hit the trucks. Without trucks the other infrastructure is useless for IS as the oil can not be sold. With trucks destroyed the men behind the smuggling will lose all profits and leave the business. The “civilian casualties” argument does not hold. There could be warnings to avoid human damage or one could consider that these oil smugglers are dealing with terrorists and thereby accomplices. The real U.S. reluctance to hit the oil smuggling might be out of deference to the Turkish government which of course profits from such oil transfers.
Then came along Russia and its President Putin and demonstrated at the current G-20 meeting that the U.S. is not serious about fighting IS. Today the Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt reports remarks by President Putin from a G-20 sideline event:
Abdullah Bozkurt @abdbozkurt
Putin in #Turkey: I provided examples based on our data on the financing of different #ISIL units by private individuals.”This money, as we have established, comes from 40 countries and, there are some of the G20 members among them”, Putin says
“I’ve shown our colleagues photos taken from space & from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil”
Putin provided that information and the photos yesterday. Obama must have been deeply embarrassed. Suddenly, a day after Putin exposed the U.S. reluctance to hit IS where it is needed, a big truck assembly was bombed:
Intensifying pressure on the Islamic State, United States warplanes for the first time attacked hundreds of trucks on Monday that the extremist group has been using to smuggle the crude oil it has been producing in Syria, American officials said. According to an initial assessment, 116 trucks were destroyed in the attack, which took place near Deir al-Zour, an area in eastern Syria that is controlled by the Islamic State.
Until Monday, the United States had refrained from striking the fleet used to transport oil, believed to include more than 1,000 tanker trucks, because of concerns about causing civilian casualties. As a result, the Islamic State’s distribution system for exporting oil had remained largely intact.
It seems that Putin’s naming and shaming with regards to the oil smuggling was successful. We might soon see a similar effect on the financing sources he mentioned.
I was sickened to hear and watch the events occurring in France. Part of that was for the immediate families, friends and neighbours of those so needlessly killed. Another part was the fear factor, not fear of terror or for myself but fear for how the powers that be would ratchet up the security control within their own societies by using their own biased racist fear factors in order to rationalize it to control their own populations. A wider perspective is the sick feeling of realizing that humanity in general is capable of producing such atrocities.
The latter is where a large problem arises within our supposedly ‘civilized’ western world. It is not just the terrorists who are capable of atrocities against humanity; it is not just Muslim fanatics who are capable of terrorising the west; it is not the ‘other’ who is capable of demonizing and killing their opponents. It is you and I and the societies that we support that are also capable of producing terror across large swathes of the world.
Just as the roots of terror lie within our own hands, so do the roots of an altruistic humanitarian outlook.
It is our history of moral superiority and technological advantage for which we, the ‘western’ world, the ‘civilized’ world, perceive ourselves as being superior – well, look at us, living lifestyles of comparative wealth and luxury to much of the world, of course we are superior. What is not contained within that narrative is that our wealth has much more to do with the imperial conquests by the European ‘west’ of various regions in order to extract their wealth of whatever sort. Our moral superiority is nothing more than a gloss of rhetoric over the motivation to use a superior military technology to subdue, conquer, and extract wealth from other regions and other peoples.
In short the roots of terror lie within our own hands. Certainly other civilizations of past eras have done the same thing with their own versions of morality and technological advantages. That only underlines the idea that this is a human condition, with our current version apparently much more deadly than previous iterations of our collective and unrecognized heart of darkness.
Imperial overdrive for power and control.
Wherein, then, do the roots of terror lie, historically apart from within ourselves generally? One could trace the roots of terror back to the beginning of historical times, and then beyond into pre-history. But as we are supposedly a morally/technologically superior society today, the roots of today’s terror can arguably be traced back to World War I, its imperial atrocities on all sides, followed by the demise of the Ottoman Empire.
Before then of course is the whole colonial history concerning the conquest of the Americas and the subjugation of its indigenous population. Societies then, almost wholly European, used the same old/same old tactics of arguing moral superiority while utilizing brutal technologies to subjugate and destroy native people. Africa was dealt the same deal, and while the indigenous populations were not destroyed, the slavery, resource extraction, and control of the physical land covered the entire continent. Most parts of Asia, whether the British in Southern Asia or the French in Southeast Asia, with the Portuguese and Dutch scattered throughout the region, underwent a similar colonial pattern.
World War I was effectively a clash of these empires trying to supercede the control of the other empires for the wealth and power of the rest of the world. From that war rose the divisions of the Middle East by the British and French into either outright control or spheres of influence ranging from the Sykes-Picot secret agreement through to the League of Nations mandates. The Versailles peace, while it ‘worked’ for some, failed miserably for others, not meeting the ideals of the Wilsonian rhetoric about all nationalities deciding their own futures democratically.
Because of that failure, World War II became the last and largest battle of World War I, witnessing again a change in the imperial overlords. Politically, financially, and economically, the U.S. became the dominant power gaining control of Europe through NATO, and using a combination of military and financial tactics to try and gain control of the rest who were not willing to submit to U.S. dominance. The readings of history are widely available, with various interpretations, with the general trend being one of an artificial moral superiority, combined with powerful economic forces (Bretton Woods, World Bank, IMF, WTO, OECD, et al), all sustained through covert and overt military actions.
The unipolar empire
The collapse of the Soviet Union is probably the most current historical turning point. It left the U.S. and its partners as the heirs apparent to being the global hegemon. A global peace would surely ensue, it was the ‘end of history’. Unfortunately the same imperial imperative from centuries past survived and thrived with what was supposed to become the New World Order. It played out militarily through the designs of the Grand Chessboard, rather than through the logic of orderly trade and cultural interaction searching for a better understanding of each other’s cultures.
Arguably, the 9/11 attacks on the WTC could be labelled as a more important inflection point of history, but it is more readily seen as a culmination of blowback from actions taken by the global imperial hegemon after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That incident released powerful forces already prepared, ready to be set in motion. It was the ‘New Pearl Harbour’ desired by the authors of the Project for a New American Century (Kristol, Feith, Kagan, Wolfowiz, Woolsey,Rumsfield, Bolton, Perle) who had been around since Reagan’s tenure. It allowed the rapid passing of the Homeland Security Act, one so large it had to be by necessity ready to go for such a framework. It ramped up the rogue nature of U.S. military and corporate actions globally, as their infamous ‘with us or against us’ paradigm turned everything black and white, losing all perspectives of grey or colour.
The ultimate goal was global hegemony, the containment and or destruction of both Russia and China, the unparalleled support of Israel, and the demonization of all things Islamic. It was applied ruthlessly through all means of military operations, through the manipulation of international standards (e.g. the so called ‘right to protect’ doctrine), through the manipulation of financial markets and last but not least, the outright control of the mainstream media and its acquiescence, indeed promotion of, imperial rhetoric.
Fortunately we are at another inflection point in history – not fortunate for the depth of its current and potential violence – fortunate in that the ‘rest of the world’ has acted against the imperial overdrive of the U.S. and its imperial cohorts and satraps.
Yes, the attacks in Paris were brutal, vicious and intended to terrorize. But what of the terror that has been instigated in the name of empire, the empire in which you and I live? Is it less of a terror tactic to bomb cities, villages, and countrysides indiscriminately as in the Vietnam War? Are we more ‘civilized’ now that we pretend to use smart weapons? Is shock and awe a feature of technological morality making us superior to the thousands killed immediately, with millions more affected in subsequent years? Is the use of hyperbaric bombs, cluster munitions, white phosphorous, depleted uranium munitions, Hellfire missiles, dense inert metal explosives – all used by ‘civilized’ western powers in the wars of the Middle East and beyond – is that being more civilized?
Similarly is the control and manipulation of the financial world a morally justifiable act? Are ‘free trade’ agreements anything but free when they subjugate the junior partner to both financial and legislative/legal terms that essentially destroy sovereignty? Is our lifestyle - predicated on consumption, living within a rentier extractive economy (living in debt), buying cheap resources and goods from countries subject to financial and military imperial overdrive – is that how we rationalize our moral superiority?
This is understood by some of the world. It is seldom if ever recognized within the mainstream media, except for the odd occasion when a ‘balanced’ report is made on a situation in which there is no balance. What is being recognized, slowly and without huge rhetorical counter-attack, is that there is, fortunately, no longer a single global hegemon, even as they remain desirous to attempt it.
Putin asked at the UN, “Do you know what you have done?” They have created an empire of chaos that serves certain sectors well but for the most part to a level of violence not witnessed for several generations, that could – if the right wing rhetoric and bluster of U.S. presidential candidates holds any meaning – could lead to the end of the world as we know it. The mujahideen “freedom fighters” of Reagan have morphed through the Taliban to al-Qaeda into the current ISIS iteration.
These groups have all been supported by the U.S.: certainly the mujahideen from which the Taliban; less so al-Qaeda other than as a useful ‘other’ as an excuse to combat on a global scale yet supported by long time ally, the medieval tribal monarchy of Saudi Arabia; and as can be extrapolated from current actions against ISIS who have proven to be a convenient destabilizer against Assad, receiving U.S. military aid indirectly through Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other partners.
As for France, it has been a willing partner in most if not all of these imperial endeavours. Asymmetric warfare has brought those endeavours to the ‘homeland’. France could have imposed martial law and locked the country down as more than likely would happen in the U.S. if a similar incident had occurred. In Canada the response has been measured and compassionate, a decided change from what would have happened if Harper was still in power and able to ramp up the terrorist fear factor. Fortunately, humanity also carries within itself an altruistic caring capacity towards others.
Just as the roots of terror lie within our own hands, so do the roots of an altruistic humanitarian outlook. That includes all humanity, indeed all of the global environment, and if nourished properly can result in the eventual reset to a more compassionate and caring social structure. I expect no miracles as the hatreds and animosities that have been developed by the control of the commons politically, financially, and militarily, presented with a subservient media, will not be easy to overcome.
What needs to be recognized is that we are all complicit partly through the acceptance of our lifestyles and what it is truly based on. As individuals sometimes not much can be achieved, but it becomes an individual responsibility to question authority, to question the raison d’etre of our moral judgements, and to be prepared to do our own search for the truth, however painful that truth may be to predetermined ideologies.
Civilians in Paris have been killed because of these imperial drives for power, just as tens, hundreds of millions before them have been killed in the past. The human condition, its extremes of pathos and joy, requires a recognition of a global responsibility towards each and every ‘other’ that exists. Take personal responsibility, think globally, act locally towards an era when perhaps the world will be at peace with one another.
Labor unrest and Washington’s threats involving participation in AGOA poses challenges for ANC government
Members of the National Education and Health Care Workers Union (NEHAWU), an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), are defying an interdict (injunction) to end their strike and demonstrations at the Parliament building in Cape Town which has prevented the normal operations of legislative sessions.
Negotiations were halted on November 16 when the NEHAWU leadership reported that their member’s salaries were withheld due to their participation in the strike. The South African government is saying that the strike is illegal because the workers perform what is described as “essential services.”
One of the main issues in the dispute is centered on the way performance bonuses are calculated. Labor leaders say that talks to end the strike will not resume until the workers are paid their salaries from November 6 when the work stoppage began.
Parliament workers perform various functions including cleaning and catering to overseeing the efficient operations of the legislative committee meetings as well as access control at the visitors’ center. Consequently the strike has severely hampered the capacity of the parliament to function properly.
Sthembiso Tembe, the Parliament branch chairperson of NEHAWU, said “the strike is continuing.” A settlement earlier in the year involving at 9 percent pay increase did not encompass the issues related to performance bonuses. (News24)
Since November 9, workers have engaged in strike actions inside the parliament building resulting in the cancellation of legislative committee meetings. The strike action has been strengthened by numerous messages of solidarity and support including from COSATU.
Other statements of solidarity have been sent from the NEHAWU regional leadership, the South African Students Congress’s (SASCO) national executive committee and the chairperson the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in the province. A rally held on November 16 emphasized that the NEHAWU demands were non-negotiable.
Independent Online reported on the rally noting that “Workers gathered in the Old Assembly chamber on Monday (November 16) morning on day seven of their strike to hear messages of support from the NEHAWU leadership, ANC alliance partners, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).”
The newly-elected NEHAWU Ikapa South regional secretary Baxolise Mali told the crowd “We are going to have a national shutdown…we are very clear. We are not fighting the alliance, we are fighting the employer.”
Mali conveyed to the parliamentary staff that the time for negotiating with Parliament was over. “We are not negotiating. We have passed that stage,” he declared.
The latest action is the result of not only the outstanding labor issues going back to 2014 over pay levels but also the demand for the removal of parliamentary secretary Gengezi Mgidlana.
On November 11 police used stun grenades in clashes with the NEHAWU members marking the second time in a month where the Parliament building in Cape Town has been the scene of battles between students in October and now workers. Law-enforcement officers wearing full body armor carried away members of NEHAWU. “The police must go,” union members chanted as they held their ground on the front steps of parliament’s second house, the National Council of Provinces.
Parliamentary administrators are saying that the adoption of the demands of NEHAWU would be unsustainable. South Africa is already facing serious economic challenges including the rapid decline in the value of its currency.
An article published in News24 says “The financial implications of agreeing to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) demands are unbudgeted for and unaffordable for Parliament given the shoestring budget it is managing, a parliamentary spokesperson said on Sunday (November 15). In a statement, a spokesperson said Parliament ‘is committed to continuing discussions’ with the union to ‘resolve the impasse which has seen the union embark on an illegal strike last week’”. (November 16)
Finance Minister Says Drought Will Compound Economic Crisis
At the G20 Summit held in Turkey, South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene spoke on the drought in the sub-continent which could impact agricultural production and consequently prompt a rise in prices for food and other consumer goods. The Southern Hemisphere is moving into the summer season and the lack of rain would destroy crops compounding the already precipitous decline in economic growth.
Nene told Reuters press agency in an interview delivered outside the conference meeting that the drought, “If it’s long, indeed it will have serious impact on food prices. It will have an impact on economic growth because agriculture is one of our focus areas. It would also have an impact on employment; it would have an impact on our revenues. We are bracing ourselves for the worst.” (November 15)
Problems with the state-owned Eskom utility agency have mounted over the last several months. Periodic power shortages and outages have compelled the government to take measures aimed at addressing the fall in consumer revenues from power generation.
The government response to the Eskom crisis includes the conversion of subordinated debt into equity, which Nene says has eased funding pressure. The utility agency has still not tapped into the roughly 50 billion rand (approximately $US3.5 billion) of financial banking guaranteed by the government.
Nene said of Eskom “They still have room to play. All of that gives them breathing space between now and the time they go out to the market again.”
Obama Threatens to Suspend Aspects of South African Participation in AGOA
As it relates to South African foreign policy and the deepening economic crisis inside the country, the administration of President Barack Obama is demanding changes in Pretoria’s trade policy which the White House says maintains barriers to United States access to domestic markets.
The Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) was established during the latter period of the presidency of Bill Clinton. It is ostensibly designed to foster the export of capital to the continent while providing market access for products produced by both the U.S. and African nation-states.
If the U.S. removes key agricultural sectors from the agreements with South Africa it could cause further damage to the economy. Negotiations to resolve outstanding issues are ongoing while a January 1 deadline approaches.
In a statement issued by the South African Communist Party (SACP) on November 9, supporting the ANC government’s position in the negotiations, the party says that despite its commendable declarations “in reality, AGOA is imperialist both in terms of its content and strategic goal disguised under the fetishist illusion of ‘free market’. Its extraterritorial imperialist content is now being aggressively pushed by the U.S. against South Africa.”
This same statement from the SACP goes on to emphasize that “to allow the U.S. to prohibit ownership of economic assets by the state in our country is to allow it to usurp our constitutional right to democratic national sovereignty. This will be tantamount to handing over to U.S. imperialism our right to determine our own development trajectory and decide policies to achieve it. The SACP is strongly opposed to, and rejects, imperialist domination in its entirety and all its manifestations.”
The party also noted “South Africa’s independence must be safeguarded in the interest of the completion of our struggle for national liberation and social emancipation. Our democratic national independence and public property rights – the right to collective ownership of productive assets including through the state – are crucial to the success of our second, more radical phase of transformation!”
Such a stance by the Obama administration illustrates the real agenda behind AGOA and the overall foreign policy imperatives of the White House. South Africa has the inalienable right to determine its own economic program without the interference of Washington and Wall Street.
Washington and its French vassal have refined how they conduct their false flag operations. With the Charlie Hebdo operation, they knew to immediately set the story in stone in order to avoid any questions from the print and TV media and in order to use the set story to take the place of an investigation.
The set story made it unnecessary to explain the mysterious “suicide” of one of the main police investigators while engaged in the investigation of the event. The set story also made it unnecessary to explain why it was necessary to kill rather than capture the alleged perpetrators, or to explain how the French authorities could be so wrong about the alleged get-away-driver but not about the two gunmen. There has been no explanation why the authorities believed there was a get-away-driver, and no such driver has been captured or killed. Indeed, there are many unanswered questions of no interest to any media except the alternative Internet media.
What the US and France learned from the Charlie Hebdo skepticism on the Internet is to keep the story flowing. Charlie Hebdo involved two scenes of violence, and the connection between the two acts of terrorism was vague. This time there were several scenes of violence, and they were better connected in the story.
More importantly, the story was followed quickly by more drama, such as the pursuit of a suspected perpetrator into Belgium, a French bombing attack on the Islamic State, a French aircraft carrier sent to the Middle East, a declaration of war by the French President against ISIL, and speculation that Hollande, pressured by Washington, will invoke NATO’s Article V, which will pull NATO into an invasion of the Islamic State. By superceding each event with a new one, the public’s attention is shifted away from the attack itself and the interests served by the attack. Already the attack itself is old news. The public’s attention has been led elsewhere. How soon will NATO have boots on the ground?
The Western media has avoided many interesting aspects of the Paris attacks. For example, what did the directors of the CIA and French intelligence discuss at their meeting a few days prior to the Paris attacks. Why were fake passports used to identify attackers? Why did the attacks occur on the same day as a multi-site simulation of a terrorist attack involving first responders, police, emergency services and medical personnel? Why has there been no media investigation of the report that French police were blinded by a sophisticated cyber attack on their mobile data tracking system? Does anyone really believe that ISIL has such capability?
The Western media serves merely as an amplifier of the government’s propaganda. Even the non-Western media follows this pattern because of the titillating effect. It is a good story for the media, and it requires no effort.
Initially even the Russian media served to trumphet the set story that rescues the Western political establishment from politial defeat at home and Russian defeat in Syria. But it wasn’t too long before some of the Russian media remembered numerous false stories about a Russian invasion of Ukraine, about Assad’s use of chemical weapons, about US ABMs being placed on Russia’s borders to protect Europe from nonexistant Iranian nuclear ICBMs. And so on.
Russian media began asking questions and received some good answers from Gearoid O Colmain:
To understand the Paris attacks, it helps to begin with the question: “What is ISIL?”
Apparently, ISIL is a creation of the CIA or some deep-state organization shielded by the CIA’s operations department. ISIL seems to have been used to overthrow Gadaffi in Libya and then sent to overthrow Assad in Syria. One would think that ISIL would be throughly infiltrated by the CIA, Mossad, British and French intelligence. Perhaps ISIL is discovering that it is an independent power and is substituting an agenda of its own for Washington’s, but ISIL still appears to be at least partially dependent on support, active or passive, from Washington.
ISIL is a new group that suddenly appeared. ISIL is portrayed as barbaric knife-wielding fanatics from medieval times. How did such a group so quickly acquire such extensive global capability as to blow a Russian airliner out of Egyptian skies, conduct bombings in Lebanon and Turkey, outwit French intelligence and conduct successful multi-prong attacks in Paris? How come ISIL never attacks Israel?
The next question is: “How does the Paris attack benefit ISIL?”
Is it a benefit to ISIL to have Europe’s borders closed, thus halting ISIL’s ability to infiltrate Europe as refugees? Does it help ISIL to provoke French bombing of ISIL positions in the Middle East and to bring upon itself a NATO invasion?
Who does benefit?
Clearly, the European and American political establishment in so many ways.
Establishment political parties in France, Germany, and the UK are in trouble, because they enabled Washington’s Middle East wars that are bringing floods of refugees into Europe. Pegida is rising in Germany, Farage’s Independent Party in the UK, and Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France. Indeed, a recent poll showed Marine Le Pen in the lead as the next president of France.
The Paris attack takes the issue and the initiative away from these dissident political parties. Among the first words out of the mouth of the French president in response to the attack was his declaration that the borders of France are closed. Already Merkel’s political allies in Germany are pushing her government in that direction. “Paris changes everything,” they declare. It certainly saved the European political establishment from defeat and loss of power.
The same result occurred in the US. Outsiders Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were slaughtering the establishment’s presidential candidates. Trump and Sanders had the momentum. But “Paris changes everything.” Trump and Sanders are now sidelined, out of the news. The momentum is lost. The story has changed. “Paris attacks become focus of 2016 race,” declares CNN:
Also among the early words from the French president, and without any evidence in support, was Hollande’s declaration that the Islamic State had attacked the French nation. Obviously, it is set for Hollande to invoke NATO’s Article V, which would send a NATO invasion force into Syria. This would be Washington’s way of countering the Russian initiative that has saved the Assad government from defeat by the Islamic State. The NATO invasion would overthrow Assad as part of the war against the Islamic State.
The Russian government did not immediately recognize this threat. The Russian government saw in the Paris attack the opportunity to gain Western cooperation in the fight against ISIL. The Russian line has been that we must all fight ISIL together.
The Russian presence, although highly effective, is small in Syria. What does the Russian government do when its policy in Syria is crowded by a NATO invasion?
The only benefactor of the Paris attack is the Western political establishment and Washington’s goal of unseating Assad in Syria. The Paris attack has removed the threat to the French, German, and British political establishments from the National Front, Pegida, and the UK Independence Party. The Paris attack has removed the threat to the US political establishment from Trump and Sanders. The Paris attack has advanced Washington’s goal of removing Assad from power.
The answer to the Roman question, “cui bono,” is clear.
But don’t expect to hear it from the Western media.
On this Monday morning, the CNN network is scrolling features about a “global manhunt” for those said to have been involved in the Paris attacks on Friday. Attackers are “at large”. The imaginary of global terror feasts yet again on the body of reason. But what should also be featured is a calming campaign against what is becoming a virulent assault on certain vulnerable persons. They did not dictate the narrative of Paris, but they are becoming its victims.
Where there are flows of people, there will always be suggestions of impropriety and poor character. The legitimate asylum seeker is stalked by suggestions that he or she takes the seed of tyranny, or criminality, with them. Australia’s Howard government throughout the 1990s and the first decade of 2000 made a long sport of it, arguing that refugees who sewed their lips up in protest were morally deficient, and dangerous to that unspecified concept called the Australian character.
At every given opportunity, statements were made to harden the Australian populace against these purported charlatans who were attempting to cash in on generous spirit in the antipodes. The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s office was stern about strategy towards those intercepted at sea, notably on the injunction against humanising the refugees.
Images of children being thrown overboard by desperate parents were manipulated. “I can’t comprehend,” feigned Howard in 2001, “how genuine refugees would throw their children overboard.” Such a poison still lingers in the Australian body politic.
It is axiomatic that amidst tens of thousands of people, an enterprising bad egg, or moulding apple, will be found. Amongst the concentration camp survivors liberated as the Second World War neared its conclusion, the vigilant guards, sensing an opportunity, attempted to disappear into the crowd. Such an argument was never one to be used against liberating the survivors, let alone allowing refugees in. Nazis and Nazi collaborators did become migrants, as did genuine displaced persons.
It is that sort of argument, at least in some form, that is being used in attempting to further halt the refugee arrivals in Europe. It patterns all too neatly with the paranoid world view of former Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who warned in the second Margaret Thatcher lecture at Guildhall that Europe, in embracing a “love your neighbour” policy was slipping into “catastrophic error”.
“The Australian experience proves that the only way to dissuade people seeking to come from afar is not to let them in.” Turn them back, he was suggesting. Cut off arrival points. Close borders. Extend the gulag. The conservative Spectatormagazine cheered in Thatcherist approval.
The challenge is proving most pressing being in such countries as Germany, which is becoming the “shock absorber” of Europe for those seeking refuge. There are broader matters at play as to why such large numbers are being accepted, not least an economic rationale fronted by German industry.
A bleaker social and security picture, however, is being pushed home by nervous sceptics, not least of all from the governing parties themselves. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies are seething, and the immediate aftermath of the attacks in Paris prompted sharp remarks by some members.
The point of contention here was the holder of a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the assailants who perished in the Friday night attacks. He had passed through Greece in October, according to Greek authorities. Not in itself conclusive of anything, but it was enough to link free movement with ISIS penetration even beforeresponsibility was ascertained. It was enough to suggest that open borders constituted open invitations to spread mayhem in Europe.
Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soeder provided his few Euros worth on the topic: “The days of uncontrolled immigration and illegal entry,” he told Welt am Sonntag, “can’t continue just like that. Paris changes everything.” Such dangerous nonsense slams the door on legitimate attempts to flee oppressive regimes, shifting the focus back on concepts of illegal entry. We cannot trust them, these strange creatures who do not abide by the protocols of processing.
Soeder had inspiration from Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer of the Christian Social Union (CSU), who has called for a border clamp down. Soeder has, in turn, been listening to the railing statements of Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, who has told Merkel in no uncertain terms that there should be no “moral imperialism” at play here.
Orbán has seen his moment underscored in the Paris attacks. Blood has nourished his pan-European Christian rhetoric, a point he managed to put forth in his parliamentary address in Budapest titled “Attack on Europe.” Some of his initial words suggested that he would, in fact, draw a line between desperate refugee and opportunistic terrorist. “In a deliberate and organised way, terrorists have exploited mass migration by mingling in the mass of people leaving their hopes of a better life.”
Then, a truer picture emerges, one that has little to do with compassion, and everything to do with the orthodox righteousness of the nation state. “The right to self-defence is stronger than any other, we should not put European lives at risk on the basis of any kind of ideology or economic arguments.” Except, of course, the ideology of unquestioned sovereignty itself.
This then paved the way for Orbán to strike at apologists and the compassion brigade, a feint suggestion that they had collaborated in the project of undermining European security. “Those who said yes to immigration, who transported immigrations from warzones, those people did not do everything for the defence of European people.”
The dog whistling then became vehement. “We don’t think that everyone is a terrorist but no one can say how many terrorists have arrived already, how many are coming day by day.” Liberal Europe, deemed deluded in its compassion, under assault, and gradually giving way at the seams.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]
Attacks in Paris turn entire populations into suspects within imperialist states
A gathering of African leaders and European Union (EU) member-states in Malta has resulted in a proposed financial package of nearly $US4 billion which will ostensibly be utilized to halt the flow of migration from Africa to Europe.
European governments say they are willing to send funds to Africa so that people will not be interested in migrating to the continent. Such a program would in effect turn African presidents and prime ministers into the gatekeepers of Europe.
In 2015, the level of dislocation internationally is worse than any other period since the conclusion of World War II. In Syria alone, it is estimated that 11 million people have been displaced with four million outside the country in neighboring states and other regions.
People from not only Africa but the Middle East and Asia are flooding out of their geo-political areas seeking refuge from imperialist war and the burgeoning world crisis of capitalism. Rather than address the actual causes of dislocation, migration and the refugee problem, the imperialist states in Europe and their allies are seeking to contain the crisis within the oppressed nations which they have destroyed through centuries of enslavement, colonization, neo-colonization, super-exploitation and militarism.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants have crossed the Mediterranean into Southern, Central and Eastern Europe in recent months creating a humanitarian crisis and exposing the racist character of governments in the EU. Despite the offer of billions to stem the tide of migration, African leaders, even those with close political and economic ties to the imperialist states, have looked upon these proposals from the EU with skepticism and outright rejection.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Europe Editor Katya Adler wrote on November 13 that “in addition to NGO concerns…, African leaders widely dismissed EU offers of cash and other aid, as far too little to tackle the root causes of migration. As flowers go, the extra aid package doesn’t even make the gaudy plastic category.”
Somalian Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, the head of a state that is heavily dependent upon United States and EU funding for the 22,000-member African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), which handles its security along with U.S. and NATO intelligence advisors, was not impressed with the new offer of cash for containment. The experience of Somalia illustrates that western aid and military occupation does not necessarily translate into social stability and economic prosperity.
Adler noted that “Somalia’s distinctly unimpressed Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke put it to the BBC that Africa needed investment, not charity, to improve its economies. The same as the U.S., the EU or anywhere else in the world, he said.”
Moreover, the EU countries have not even been able to raise the funds for this proposed project with commitment being lukewarm apparently over doubts about the efficacy of such a program. Pledges of aid and other forms of assistance over the last two decades has done very little to halt migration when the foreign policies of these European states have largely been shaped by the U.S. in its so-called “war on terrorism.”
European Divisions Over Migration Continue
An escalation in the migratory pattern from Africa to Europe has accelerated during 2015 which has divided the EU politically. Hundreds of thousands of migrants are being trafficked across North Africa to the Mediterranean where countless numbers have died since January.
Migrants have been met with barriers and brutality in Eastern Europe where several governments are calling for a total ban on people originating in Africa, the Middle East and Asia from entering their countries. Images of desperate migrants being hosed with water cannon evoke sympathy for their plight as well as outrage over such treatment.
The same above-mentioned article by Adler says “Cross-border co-operation is disintegrating as barbed wire goes up and borders slam shut across Europe: in Slovenia, Hungary, Austria, Sweden, Norway. Even Germany is toughening border regulations. In stark contrast to the warm welcome given to hundreds or thousands earlier this autumn, Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s hugely popular finance minister, has begun to mutter darkly about a migrant ‘avalanche’ engulfing his country. There’s little evidence of the EU – more of each country for itself.”
Continued divisions within the EU prompted Council President Donald Tusk to warn that Schengen, the EU agreement allowing passport-free border passage across much of Europe, is in danger of collapse. This accord has been championed internationally as major contributor to the integration of the continent.
Real Causes Neglected While Paris Attacks Reinforce Militarism and Racism
Nonetheless, the underlying issues of imperialist war and the global economic crisis are not being addressed by the EU relying instead on military and police solutions. This new scheme to fund African states to essentially imprison their own people will also collapse.
The attacks in Paris on November 13 that resulted in the deaths of approximately 130 people in a series of operations claimed by the Islamic State (IS) has prompted a security crackdown in France and other EU states. Socialist Party President Francois Hollande in a speech on November 16 called for the revision of the French constitution to allow even greater powers for intelligence and law-enforcement agencies.
Hollande immediately escalated France’s bombing of Syria. This response will create further dislocation both inside and outside of the embattled Middle Eastern state while the doors of migration will be further closed from Europe to the U.S., where politicians have already announced the denial of admission to Syrian nationals.
It has been the imperialist foreign policy led by Washington which has laid waste to huge swaths of territory throughout North and East Africa, extending into the Arabian Peninsula and down into Central and Southern Asia. The U.S. and NATO occupation of Afghanistan was carried out under the guise of fighting “Islamic extremism and terrorism.”
This war was a direct outcome of the efforts by the administration of President Jimmy Carter in 1979 to undermine the Soviet-allied socialist government in Afghanistan. With the fall of the Soviet Union and other Eastern and Central European socialist states, the emphasis of imperialism was shifted to the attempted realization of a “unipolar world”, where Washington and its allies in Western Europe would dominate military and economic power globally.
Consequently, the “war on terror” is a misnomer. The advent of many of the “extremist groups” is a direct product of imperialist foreign policy.
Retired President Fidel Castro, the former leader of the revolutionary island-nation of Cuba, charged in a column written on August 31, 2014 that leading U.S. political figures are responsible for the creation of IS. He condemned the war policies of Washington and issued a challenge for the modern period.
“Would it not be preferable to struggle to produce food and industrial products; build hospitals and schools for billions of human beings who desperately need them; promote art and culture; struggle against epidemics which lead to the death of half of the sick, health workers and technicians, as can be seen; or finally eliminate illnesses like cancer, Ebola, malaria, dengue, chikungunya, diabetes and others which affect the vital systems of human beings?” (Granma International)
The Cuban theorist and tactician concludes by inquiring whether “If today it is possible to prolong life, health and the productive time of persons, if it is perfectly possible to plan the development of the population in accordance with growing productivity, culture and development of human values, what are they waiting for to do so? Just ideas will triumph, or disaster will triumph.”
Although President Barack Obama said he opposes “endless war” and “America’s combat mission in Afghanistan may be over,” he announced that the 9,800 US troops presently there will remain. Obama had previously stated that he would cut the US force in half, but he has decided to maintain the current troop level until 2017.
Seventy years after the founding of the United Nations, armed conflict, especially US wars that violate the UN Charter, continues to plague the world. In 1945, the UN Charter was created “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” It forbids the use of military force except in self-defense after an armed attack by another state or when approved by the Security Council. Yet the three most recent US presidents have violated that command.
Bush, Clinton and Obama Circumvent the UN
In October 2001, George W. Bush led the US to attack Afghanistan, even though Afghanistan had not attacked the United States on 9/11. Nineteen men, 15 of whom came from Saudi Arabia, committed a crime against humanity. Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan did not constitute lawful self-defense and the Security Council did not approve the use of force. The US war on Afghanistan has replaced Vietnam as America’s longest war.
Two years later, before he invaded Iraq and changed its regime, Bush tried mightily to secure the imprimatur of the Security Council. Although the council refused to authorize “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” Bush cobbled together prior Security Council resolutions from the first Gulf War in an attempt to legitimize his illegitimate war. Bush’s war on Iraq was a disastrous gift that keeps on giving. It has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, led to the rise of ISIS, and dangerously destabilized the region.
John Bolton, Bush’s temporary UN ambassador (a recess appointment since the Senate would never have confirmed him) infamously declared, “There is no United Nations. There is an international community that occasionally can be led by the only real power left in the world, and that is the United States, when it suits our interest, and when we can get others to go along.” Bolton added, “When the United States leads, the United Nations will follow. When it suits our interest to do so, we will do so.”
Indeed, Bush’s predecessor could have helped prevent the genocide in Rwanda. But instead, Bill Clinton prevented the United Nations from acting to stop the killing of 800,000 people in that country. Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeline Albright, called the UN “a tool of American foreign policy.”
Barack Obama and his counterparts in France and Britain secured a resolution from the Security Council approving a no-fly-zone over Libya in 2011. But the three powers engaged in forcible regime change, ousting Libyan president Muammar Qaddafi. This went far beyond what the resolution authorized. That action has also contributed mightily to the current instability in the region.
The Libya resolution mentioned the emerging doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect.” This doctrine is contained in the General Assembly’s Outcome Document of the 2005 World Summit. It is neither enshrined in an international treaty nor has it ripened into a norm of customary international law. Paragraph 138 of that document says each individual state has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Paragraph 139 adds that the international community, through the United Nations, also has “the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the UN Charter, to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”
But the United States and its allies have not utilized the Responsibility to Protect doctrine to protect the people of Gaza from massacres by Israel, most recently in the summer of 2014.
An Institution Created to Maintain the Power of WWII Victors
The objective of the victorious powers of World War II in creating the UN system was to make sure they would continue to control post-war international relations. The League of Nations, which the US had refused to join, had failed to prevent fascism and the Second World War.
In 1942, the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, and China – four of the permanent members of the Security Council (later joined by France) – had met at Dumbarton Oaks, near Washington DC. They hammered out the framework for the UN. A few months before the founding UN conference, the US, Britain and the Soviet Union met at Yalta in the Crimea and made important decisions about the post-war world, including the structure of the UN.
The United States made certain that the founding conference would be held on US soil, and it took place in San Francisco. In order to ensure that the US choreographed the meeting, the FBI spied on foreign emissaries and even on the US delegates themselves.
Stephen Schlesinger noted, “The US apparently used its surveillance reports to set the agenda of the UN, to control the debate, to pressure nations to agree to its positions and to write the UN Charter mostly according to its own blueprint.”
George Kennan, architect of the US containment strategy against the Soviet Union, didn’t pull any punches: “We have 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population … Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will allow us to maintain this position of disparity … We should cease to talk about the raising of the living standards and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts.”
The Veto Power
Without the power to veto decisions of the Security Council, the US and the Soviet Union would not have joined the UN. One of the major sticking points during the conference was the scope of the veto power. Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans described the motivation behind giving the permanent members the power to veto decisions of the Security Council. He stated, “to convince the permanent members that they should adhere to the Charter and the collective security framework embodied therein, a deliberate decision was taken to establish a collective security system which could not be applied to the permanent members themselves.”
The Security Council has 15 members – five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members. The Soviet Union wanted the permanent members to have veto power over all decisions of the Security Council, which would have allowed them to prevent discussion about the peaceful settlement of disputes in which they were involved. A compromise was reached that gives the permanent members a veto only over “substantive” matters; the peaceful settlement of disputes is considered a “procedural” matter.
Religious groups feared the veto would permit the big powers to use their military might against the small nations without accountability. A group of prominent Protestant ministers called it “a mere camouflage for the continuation of imperialistic policies and the exercise of arbitrary power for the domination of other nations.”
Smaller countries, including Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Switzerland, Italy and the Vatican felt the proposed voting structure was not consistent with the sovereign equality of states and would place the permanent members above the law.
Interestingly, the word “veto” does not appear in the UN Charter. Article 27 says that decisions on procedural matters “shall be made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members.” One permanent member can therefore exercise veto power by withholding a concurring vote.
Tensions With Latin American Countries
The US, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and China, as the sponsoring powers of the conference, issued formal invitations. Fifty countries, primarily from the industrialized North, were represented at San Francisco. They comprised fewer than one-quarter of the countries of the world. About 35 were aligned with the US, five were allied with the Soviet Union, and 10 were non-aligned. At the time, most of the developing countries were colonies or semi-colonies.
During the conference, conflicts erupted between the big powers and countries in the South. The Latin American contingent was made up of 19 countries that had been non-belligerents during the War. But since they had declared war on the Axis countries by the deadline, they were allowed to join the UN.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) had a warm relationship with Latin America, stemming from his Good Neighbor Policy in the 1930′s. It provided for non-intervention and non-interference in the domestic affairs of the countries of Latin America. In return, the United States expected sweet trade agreements and the reassertion of US influence in the region. FDR died 13 days before the San Francisco conference, leaving Harry Truman to represent the US in negotiations over the UN Charter.
Although the Latin American countries proposed the inclusion of Brazil as the sixth permanent Security Council member, the US successfully prevented it.
The Latin bloc sought to establish its own regional security system apart from the UN. The Act of Chapultepec, which was developed at a prior Inter-American conference in Mexico City, said that an attack on one state in the region was an attack on all, which would result in immediate collective consultation and possible military action.
Objecting to a provision in the UN Charter that would give the permanent members the power to veto any action by a regional organization, the Latin countries advocated the principles of Chapultepec. The final draft of Article 51 of the UN Charter protects “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense.” In deference to the Latin bloc, “collective” is a reference to Chapultepec.
The US Opposes the Use of “International Law”
Article 2 provides, “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.”
The original proposal stated that international law would determine what is “solely within the domestic jurisdiction” of a state. When the US Congress demanded that the words “international law” be removed, they were deleted.
Since then, not surprisingly, the United States has repeatedly violated international law in both the use of armed force and the killing of civilians, most recently in Obama’s drone war.
The US Dilutes the Jurisdiction of the World Court
The UN Charter established the International Court of Justice, or the World Court, as the judicial arm of the UN system. Would states have to submit to its jurisdiction? Truman said that if “we are going to have a court, it ought to be a court that would work with compulsory jurisdiction.” But after Secretary of State Edward Stettinius convinced Truman that the US Senate would never ratify an International Court of Justice statute with that provision, Truman relented. The court only has contentious jurisdiction over states that consent to its jurisdiction.
Indeed, when the International Court of Justice ruled in 1986 that the US had violated international law by mining Nicaragua’s harbors and supporting the Contras in their insurrection against the Nicaraguan government, the US thumbed its nose at the court, saying it was not bound by the ruling.
Whither the UN Charter?
For 45 years during the Cold War, the veto power paralyzed the Security Council. But after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the veto ironically turned the Security Council into a countervailing power to the US, as the council is the only international body that can legitimately authorize the use of military force.
And as stated above, Clinton, Bush, and Obama have circumvented or manipulated the Security Council, in violation of the UN Charter.
The United Nations has succeeded in some instances in slowing down an immediate resort to military force, although it has failed to broker a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or develop a treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons.
Nevertheless, the US government feels compelled to try to obtain the Security Council’s blessing for its military interventions. And although the US often uses armed force without Security Council approval, it is increasingly apparent to the countries of the world that the United States is a notorious lawbreaker.
Nick Buxton introduces the theme of an upcoming London talk on 25 November sponsored by Global Justice Now that will launch a new book, The Secure and the Dispossessed -How the Military and Corporations are shaping a climate-changed world
There is no shortage of words in the latest negotiating document for the UN climate negotiations taking place in Paris at the end of November – 32,731 words to be precise and counting. Yet strangely there is one word you won’t find: military. It’s a strange omission, given that the US military alone is the single largest user of petroleum in the world and has been the main enforcer of the global oil economy for decades.
The history of how the military disappeared from any carbon accounting ledgers goes back to the UN climate talks in 1997 in Kyoto. Under pressure from military generals and foreign policy hawks opposed to any potential restrictions on US military power, the US negotiating team succeeded in securing exemptions for the military from any required reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Even though the US then proceeded not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the exemptions for the military stuck for every other signatory nation. Even today, the reporting each country is required to make to the UN on their emissions excludes any fuels purchased and used overseas by the military.
As a result it is still difficult to calculate the exact responsibility of the world’s military forces for greenhouse gas emissions. A US Congressional report in 2012 said that the Department of Defense consumed about 117 million barrels of oil in 2011, only a little less than all the petrol and diesel use of all cars in Britain the same year. Deploying that oil across the globe to the fuel-greedy hummers, jets and drones has become a growing preoccupation of NATO military strategists.
But the responsibility of the military for the climate crisis goes much further than their own use of fossil fuels. As we witnessed in Iraq, the military, the arms corporations and their many powerful political supporters have consistently relied on (and aggressively pushed for) armed intervention to secure oil and energy supplies. The military is not just a prolific user of oil, it is one of the central pillars of the global fossil-fuel economy. Today whether it is in the Middle East, the Gulf, or the Pacific, modern-day military deployment is about controlling oil-rich regions and defending the key shipping supply routes that carry half the world’s oil and sustain our consumer economy.
The resulting expansion of conflict across the globe has consumed ever-increasing levels of military expenditure: in 2014, global military expenditure reached $1.8 trillion dollars. This money is a huge diversion of public resources that could be invested instead in renewable energy as well as providing support for those most affected by climate change. When the UK government in 2014 allocates £25 billion to the Ministry of Defence but only £1.5 billion to the Department of Energy & Climate Change, it is clear where its priorities lie.
Ironically despite their role in the climate crisis, one of the loudest voices calling for action on climate change is coming from the military. US Military Head of Pacific Command Samuel Locklear III is typical of a growing chorus of military generals identifying climate change as the major security challenge of this century. The generals have been echoed by politicians. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has argued that, “Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing our world. And it is not just a threat to the environment. It is also a threat to our national security, to global security…”
This could seem a welcome development. After all who would not want one of the most powerful forces on your side in tackling humanity’s greatest ever challenge? But there is a good reason also to be cautious of who we jump into bed with. A close look at military climate change strategies reveals that they are all about securing borders, protecting supply-routes for corporations, controlling conflicts around resources and instability caused by extreme weather, and repressing social unrest. They turn the victims of climate change into ‘threats’ to be controlled or combated. There is certainly no examination of the military’s own role in enforcing a corporate capitalism and fossil-fuel economy that has caused the climate crisis.
In fact, there is evidence that many players in this corporate-military-security industrial nexus are already seeing climate change not just as a threat but an opportunity. Arms and security industries thrive on conflict and insecurity and climate change promises another financial boon to add to the ongoing War on Terror. British arms giant BAE Systems was surprisingly open about this in one of their annual reports saying “New threats and conflict arenas are placing unprecedented demands on military forces and presenting BAE Systems with new challenges and opportunities.” An Energy Environmental Defence and Security (E2DS) conference in 2011 jubilantly proclaimed that “the aerospace, defence and security sector is gearing up to address what looks set to become its most significant adjacent market since the strong emergence of the civil/homeland security business almost a decade ago.”
One of the critical lessons for climate change movements in recent years has been an understanding that simply pressurising politicians to do the right thing will not deliver effective change. Instead we must target, delegitimise and undermine the corporations that are blocking change. As climate change impacts start to hit home, we must now widen our focus to stop these same forces now disturbingly seeking to profit from the consequences of climate change. As the Paris climate talks take the global stage, it’s time to draw attention to the military elephant in our room and demand that adaptation to climate change is led by principles of human rights and solidarity, rather than militarism and corporate profits.
These issues will be explored at the launch of Secure and Dispossessed – How the Military and Corporations are seeking to shape a climate-changed world (Pluto Press/TNI) held at 6:30pm on Wednesday 25 November in Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Rd, London EC1R 3GA. Book your free ticket here.
UPDATE: In the light of the tragic events in Paris, Professor Chossudovsky will also be reviewing in Toronto the alleged role of the Islamic State in the Paris terrorist attacks. For further details see:
While Al Qaeda and their affiliates, including the Islamic State (ISIS), are routinely presented as terrorists threatening the “Free World”, most media fail to mention that they were recruited and trained by the CIA, Mossad and others.
* * *
The United States and its allies have launched a global military adventure which threatens the future of humanity.
America’s hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the “Globalization of War” whereby the U.S.-NATO military machine —coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”— is deployed in all major regions of the world. The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.
This “Long War against Humanity” is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history.
It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.
The ultimate objective is World conquest under the cloak of “human rights” and “Western democracy”.
Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author and Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Ottawa. He is the Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), and Editor of the globalresearch.ca website, a cutting-edge, independent research and media organization. He is the author of: The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order, America’s War on Terrorism, and Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War. He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Brittanica; his writings have been published in more than twenty languages.
NATO Article 4 calls for members to “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any” is threatened.
Article 5 considers an armed attack (real or otherwise) against one or more members, an attack against all. Collective self-defense is called for – perhaps in the wake of the Paris incident all-out war on humanity, risking global escalation if confrontation is provoked with Russia or China.
Unleashing US-led NATO’s killing machine could become the war to end all wars, risking world peace and humanity’s survival.
Republican presidential aspirant Marco Rubio called for “invok(ing) (NATO’s) Article 5,” requiring all 28 Alliance nations to defend a member under (alleged) attack.
On ABC’s Sunday morning program, Rubio lied, calling what happened in Paris “an act of war and an attack on one of our NATO allies, and we should invoke Article 5 of the NATO agreement, and bring everyone together to put together a coalition to confront this challenge.”
His rant followed French President Francois Hollande calling the incident “an act of war,” automatically blaming ISIS despite no evidence proving it.
Fellow presidential aspirant Jeb Bush on CNN Sunday urged “conven(ing) the North Atlantic Council to discuss” invoking Article 5, adding:
“If that’s what the French want, then, our longest and strongest and most loyal ally over our entire history, we should certainly consider it.”
The only previous time Article 5 was invoked was after the 9/11 attacks.
Bush called the Paris incident “a threat to western civilization, and we should consider it that way.”
Obama’s deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes called what happened “an act of war,” a clear indication of what’s coming. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said member states are ready to assist France.
“We stand strong and united in the fight against terrorism,” he blustered, a near declaration of all-out war.
Former NATO commander, retired Admiral James Stavridis, wrote a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) controlled Foreign Policy op-ed, calling the Paris attacks “an act of war…waged by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, by Daesh, against France…”
“The Islamic State is an apocalyptic organization overdue for eradication,” he ranted – ignoring his full knowledge of it being a US creation, used as proxy foot soldiers.
Netanyahu took full advantage of the Paris incident, saying “(t)he time has come for countries to condemn terrorism against us to the same degree that they condemn terrorism everywhere else in the world.”
“The terrorists who attack us have the same murderous intent as those in Paris” – ignoring his all-out terror war on Palestine and possible complicity with almost certain state-sponsored terrorism against Parisian civilians.
Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon blustered: “This must be a time of reckoning,” suggesting the worst to come against Palestinian civilians, defenseless against Israel’s rampaging killing machine.
New York Times editors headlined “What Will Come After Paris,” saying Friday Paris attacks “along with twin bombings in Beirut on the day before and the downing of a Russian jetliner over the Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31, show a new phase in the Islamic State’s war against the West, a readiness to strike far beyond areas it controls in Iraq, Syria, and increasingly, Libya.”
“The challenge for threatened countries is huge,” Times editors barely stopping short of urging greater US-led war on humanity than already – never explaining ISIS is a US creation, used to wage war on Syria, Iraq and other targeted countries, heading for Russia if not stopped.
“France must take measures to protect its citizens, as must the United States” and other countries, Times editors blustered, ignoring what’s most important to explain to readers.
The following text was presented to the Public Forum on:
America’s War on Terror and the Urgency of World Peace: Its Ramification in the Philippines.
Social Sciences, University of the Philippines (UP-Cebu), March 2, 2015
March 2, 2015
America’s “war on terrorism” is a hegemonic project, under a fake counter-terrrorism agenda which consists in going after al Qaeda entities which “threaten Western civilization”.
Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The U.S. military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.
Under a global military agenda, the actions undertaken by the Western military alliance (U.S.-NATO-Israel) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Ukraine, Syria and Iraq are coordinated at the highest levels of the military hierarchy.
We are not dealing with piecemeal military and intelligence operations. The July-August 2014 attack on Gaza by Israeli forces was undertaken in close consultation with the United States and NATO. The actions in Ukraine and their timing coincided with the onslaught of the attack on Gaza, Syria and Iraq.
In turn, military undertakings are closely coordinated with a process of economic warfare which consists not only in imposing sanctions on sovereign countries but also in deliberate acts of destabilization of financial and currencies markets, with a view to undermining the enemies’ national economies.
Our analysis in this article will largely be geared towards refuting the myth that the United States is waging “a Global War on Terrorism”. The evidence amply confirms that the the United States of America is a “State Sponsor of Terrorism” and that the campaign against the Islamic State is a smokescreen used by the US and its allies to justify in the eyes of public opinion its global war of conquest.
The Global War on Terrorism has become a consensus. It is part of war propaganda. It is also used by Western governments to justify and implement “anti-terrorist” legislation. It is the cornerstone of the West’s demonization campaign directed against Muslims.
It should also be understood that the “Global War on Terrorism” supports a process of “economic conquest”, whereby countries forego their sovereignty.
Their national economies are “taken over by foreign investors”.
Their assets are confiscated, austerity measures are imposed and a process of macro-economic restructuring under the helm of Wall Street and the Bretton Woods institutions are implemented.
US sponsored terrorism creates factional divisions within national societies.
Countries are impoverished and destabilized. National institutions are undermined as part of a US led war of conquest.
The evidence presented in this article, including the historical review, is intended to fully reveal the “Big Lie”.
Beyond doubt, the “Global War on Terrorism” is a fabrication. The United States of America is the “Number One” State Sponsor of Terrorism.
Public Forum on America’s War on Terror and the Urgency of World Peace: Its Ramification in the Philippines. University of the Philippines, UP-Cebu, March 2 2015
The Global War on Terrorism: Obama’s Crusade against the Islamic State (ISIS)
The U.S. airstrikes initiated in September 2014 directed against Iraq and Syria under the pretext of going after the Islamic State are part of a scenario of military escalation extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to Central and South Asia.
Since August 2014, the US Air Force with the support of a coalition of more than twenty countries has relentlessly waged an intensified air campaign against Syria and Iraq allegedly targeting the Islamic State brigades.
According to Defense News, over 16,000 airstrikes were carried out from August 2014 to mid January 2015. Sixty percent of the air strikes were conducted by the US Air Force using advanced jet fighter and bombing capabilities (Aaron Mehta, “A-10 Performing 11 Percent of Anti-ISIS Sorties”. Defense News, January 19, 2015.)
The airstrikes have been casually described by the media as part of a “soft” counter-terrorism operation, rather than an act of all out war directed against Syria and Iraq.
This large scale air campaign which has resulted in countless civilian casualties has been routinely misreported by the mainstream media. According to Max Boot, senior fellow in national security at the Council on Foreign Relations. ”Obama’s strategy in Syria and Iraq is not working… [ because] the U.S. bombing campaign against ISIS has been remarkably restrained”. (Newsweek, February 17, 2015, emphasis added).
Americans are led to believe that the Islamic State constitutes a formidable force confronting the US military and threatening Western Civilization. The thrust of media reporting is that the US Air Force has failed and that “Obama should get his act together” in effectively confronting this ”Outside Enemy” of America.
According to CFR Max Boot, military escalation is the answer: what is required is for the president “to dispatch more aircraft, military advisers, and special operations forces, while loosening the restrictions under which they operate.” (Ibid)
What kind of aircraft are involved in the air campaign? The F-16 Fighting Falcon,(above right), The F-15E Strike Eagle (image below) , The A-10 Warthog, not to mention Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor stealth tactical fighter aircraft.
Why has the US Air Force not been able to wipe out the Islamic State which at the outset was largely equipped with conventional small arms not to mention state of the art Toyota pickup trucks?
From the very outset, this air campaign has NOT been directed against ISIS. The evidence confirms that the Islamic State is not the target. Quite the opposite.
The air raids are intended to destroy the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria.
The USAF-15E Strike Eagle
We call on our readers to carefully reflect on the following image, which describes the Islamic State convoy of pickup trucks entering Iraq and crossing a 200 km span of open desert which separates the two countries.
This convoy entered Iraq in June 2014.
What would have been required from a military standpoint to wipe out a ISIS convoy with no effective anti-aircraft capabilities?
Without an understanding of military issues, common sense prevails.
If they had wanted to eliminate the Islamic State brigades, they could have “carpet” bombed their convoys of Toyota pickup trucks when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq in June.
The answer is pretty obvious, yet not a single mainstream media has acknowledged it.
The Syro-Arabian Desert is open territory (see map right). With state of the art jet fighter aircraft (F15, F22 Raptor, F16) it would have been –from a military standpoint– ”a piece of cake”, a rapid and expedient surgical operation, which would have decimated the Islamic State convoys in a matter of hours.
Instead what we have witnessed is an ongoing drawn out six months of relentless air raids and bombings, and the terrorist enemy is apparently still intact.
(In comparison, the NATO bombing raids of Yugoslavia in 1999 lasted about three months (March 24-June 10, 1999).
And we are led to believe that the Islamic State cannot be defeated by a powerful US led military coalition of more than 20 countries.
The air campaign was not intended to decimate the Islamic State.
The counter-terrorism mandate is a fiction. America is the Number One “State Sponsor of Terrorism”.
The Islamic State is not only protected by the US and its allies, it is trained and financed by US-NATO, with the support of Israel and Washington’s Persian Gulf allies.
Al Qaeda Afiliated Entities are “Intelligence Assets. Instruments of US Intelligence
The Global War on Terrorism is a Fabrication used to justify a war of conquest. The Jihadist terrorists are “Made in America”. They are instruments of US intelligence, yet they are presented to public opinion as “enemies of America”.
The Islamic State (IS) militia, which is currently the alleged target of a US-NATO bombing campaign under a “counter-terrorism” mandate, continues to be supported covertly by the US. Washington and its allies continue to provide military aid to the Islamic State.
US and allied bombings are not targeting the ISIL, they are bombing the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria including factories and oil refineries.
The IS caliphate project is part of a longstanding US foreign policy agenda to carve up Iraq and Syria into separate territories: A Sunni Islamist Caliphate, an Arab Shia Republic, a Republic of Kurdistan.
These various affiliated Al Qaeda entities in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia are CIA sponsored “intelligence assets”. They are used by Washington to wreck havoc, create internal conflicts and destabilize sovereign countries.
“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad.”
Lest we forget, Osama bin Laden, America’s bogyman and founder of Al Qaedawas recruited by the CIA in 1979 at the very outset of the US sponsored jihadist war against Afghanistan . He was 22 years old and was indoctrinated in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp. Al Qaeda was a creation of US intelligence, which was put together with the support of Pakistani and Saudi intelligence:
“[I]t was the government of the United States which supported Pakistani dictator General Zia-ul Haq in creating thousands of religious schools from which the germs of Taliban emerged.” (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), RAWA Statement on the Terrorist Attacks In the US, Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RAW109A.html , 16 September 2001)
Since the Carter Administration, Washington has supported the Islamic terror network
Ronald Reagan called the terrorists “freedom fighters”. The US supplied weapons to the Islamic brigades. It was all for “a good cause”: fighting the Soviet Union and regime change, leading to the demise of a secular government in Afghanistan.
Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)
Front row, from left: Major Gen. Hamid Gul, director general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Willian Webster; Deputy Director for Operations Clair George; an ISI colonel; and senior CIA official, Milt Bearden at a Mujahideen training camp in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan in 1987. (source RAWA)
“We Created Al Qaeda to Fight the Soviets in Afghanistan”
“We know of their deep belief in god – that they’re confident that their struggle will succeed. – That land over-there is yours – and you’ll go back to it some day, because your fight will prevail, and you’ll have your homes, your mosques, back again, because your cause is right, and god is on your side.”
… the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.
The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books…
The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books “are fully in compliance with US law and policy.” Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.
… AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.
“It’s not AID’s policy to support religious instruction,” Stratos said. “But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity.”
… Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtun, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska -Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $ 51 million on the university’s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.” (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)
Picture above is translated as follows: “Jihad – Often many different wars and conflicts arise among people, which cause material damages and loss of human life. If these wars and disputes occur among people for the sake of community, nation, territory, or even because of verbal differences, and for the sake of progress…”
This page is from a third-grade language arts textbook dating from the mujahidin period. A copy of the book was purchased new in Kabul in May 2000.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations in the wake of the US 2001 invasion,”New madrassas sprouted, funded and supported by Saudi Arabia and U.S. Central Intelligence Agency,where students were encouragedto join the Afghan resistance.
Washington’s Agenda: Destabilize Secular Institutions. Install an Islamic State in Afghanistan. The Role of the Wahhabi Missions
US military intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980s was supported by the Wahhabi missionaries out of Saudi Arabia, which trained the Taliban (‘graduates”) in the US sponsored madrassas in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Wahhabi doctrine would not have spread in the way it did without the support of US intelligence.
Saudi Arabia worked closely with Washington in recruiting the Mujahideen (holy warriors) to fight against the Soviet Union. The Saudi monarchy enlisted the support of the religious authorities. Fatwas were issued;
”urging Saudi and non-Saudi youths to go to Afghanistan and carry out jihad there. And it praised those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Islamic nation’s causes.” (Al-Quds al-Arabi, op cit)
Confirmed by the Afghan Project (http://nsarchive.chadwyck.com/afintro.htm ), which has collected hundreds of CIA and State Department documents, cables and memoranda, the CIA developed from the late 1970s, ties with a number of Islamic organizations. The objective was to use “Islamic fundamentalist” doctrine to unseat the secular pro-Soviet People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) government as well as unleash a war with the Soviet Union. The same strategy of supporting Islamic political movements was used by Washington in the post-Cold War era in the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union as well in Bosnia and Kosovo.
In the 1980s, Kabul was “a cosmopolitan city. Artists and hippies flocked to the capital. Women studied agriculture, engineering and business at the city’s university. Afghan women held government jobs.” There were female members of parliament, and women drove cars, and travelled and went on dates, without needing to ask a male guardian for permission. (Julie Levesque, Women Rights: From Afghanistan to Syria: Women’s Rights, War Propaganda and the CIA, Global Research, April 2014)
Kabul University 1980s
Women in Kabul today
Al Qaeda and The Islamic State
“The Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) is presented as a “Clash of Civilizations”, a war between competing values and religions, when in reality it is an outright war of conquest, guided by strategic and economic objectives.
U.S. sponsored Al Qaeda terror brigades (covertly supported by Western intelligence since the 1980s) have been deployed in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Somalia and Yemen. Al Qaeda affiliated organizations have also been deployed in several Asian countries including China and Indonesia.
The Islamic State (ISIS) was originally an Al Qaeda affiliated entity created by US intelligence with the support of Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-’Āmah ( رئاسة الاستخبارات العامة).
In relation to the Syrian insurgency, the Islamic State fighters together with the Al Qaeda affiliated jihadist forces of the Al Nusrah Front are the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance. They are covertly supported by US-NATO-Israel. Their mandate is to wage a terrorist insurgency against the government of Bashar al-Assad. The atrocities committed by Islamic State fighters in Iraq are similar to those committed in Syria. Their unspoken mandate is to wreck havoc and destruction in Syria and Iraq, acting on behalf of their US sponsors.
The ISIS brigades were involved in the US-NATO supported insurgency in Syria directed against the government of Bashar al Assad. NATO and the Turkish High Command were responsible for the recruitment of ISIL and Al Nusrah mercenaries from the outset of the Syrian insurgency in March 2011.
According to Israeli intelligence sources, this initiative consisted in:
“a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011.)
There are Western Special Forces and Western intelligence operatives within the ranks of the ISIL. British Special Forces and MI6 have been involved in training jihadist rebels in Syria.
Western military specialists on contract to the Pentagon have trained the ISIS and Al Nusrah terrorists in the use of chemical weapons.
“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)
The ISIS’s practice of beheadings is part of the US sponsored terrorist training programs implemented in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Yousaf al Salafi – allegedly the Pakistan commander of Islamic State (IS) or Daish – has confessed during investigations that he has been receiving funds through the United States.
Law enforcing agencies on January 22 claimed that they arrested al Salafi, along with his two companions, during a joint raid in Lahore. However, sources revealed that al Salafi was actually arrested sometimes in December last year and it was only disclosed on January 22.
“During the investigations, Yousaf al Salafi revealed that he was getting funding – routed through America – to run the organisation in Pakistan and recruit young people to fight in Syria,” a source privy to the investigations revealed to Daily Express on the condition of anonymity.
…[F]rom 2007 where the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel openly conspired to stand up, fund, and arm a terrorist army to fight a proxy war against Syria and Iran, to 2015 where this army has finally manifested itself as the “Islamic State” complete with funding, arms, and fighters streaming in from NATO members, the source cited by the Tribune claiming that “the US had to dispel the impression that it is financing the group for its own interests,” and thus must now feign to be interested in stopping the organization in Syria, is the most compelling and logical explanation available.
The State Sponsors of Terrorism: Who’s Who
George W. Bush and the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
The late Saudi King Abdullah was known to have supported and financed Al Qaeda in liaison with the Washington. Saudi intelligence played a key role in this regard.
The House of Saud provides financial aid to the terrorists. And so does the bin Laden family. According to The Washington based CATO Institute (November 2001) Saudi Arabia is a “prime sponsor of terrorism”
The U.S. government has warned that it will treat regimes that harbor or assist terrorist organizations the same way that it treats the organizations themselves. Yet if Washington is serious about that policy, it ought to regard Saudi Arabia as a State sponsor of international terrorism. Indeed, that country should have been included for years on the U.S. State Department’s annual list of governments guilty of sponsoring terrorism.
We recall that in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush stated in no uncertain terms that “State sponsors of terrorism” would be considered as “terrorists”.
“We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them”.
But there is always an “Exception that the Proves the Rule” and that is George W. Bush himself.
When George W. Bush respectfully kisses King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, does this mean that Dubya could –by some stretch of the imagination– be considered a “suspected terrorist”, who should never have been elected president of the United States of America?
The answer is negative: Kissing “State sponsors of terrorism” on the mouth is not defined by the FBI as “suspicious behavior”.
The Insidious Relationship between the Bush and bin Laden Families
Now let us turn our attention to the relationship between the Bush and bin Laden families.
The Bushes and bin Ladens are long-time friends. This relationship goes back to George H. W. Bush, who served as head of the CIA in the Ford administration, before becoming Vice President under the Reagan administration and President of the United States (1989-1993).
George W. Bush Junior had business dealings in the oil industry dating back to the late 1970s, at the time when his father Bush Senior was head of the CIA:
The wider bin Laden clan [was] closely tied to the Saudi royal family. According to Seymour Hersh … it is far from clear that the royal family, … has forsaken Muslim extremists. Indeed, some members of the royal family itself are said to bankroll Osama bin Laden. … The Saudi monarchy, Hersh reports, has also quietly resisted U.S. efforts to conduct background checks of Saudi suspects in the wake of September 11. While much remains to be learned about these shadowy connections, it is clear that any investigation of the bin Laden’s family’s U.S. investments will lead to some well-placed Texans.
Like George W. Bush, the fortune of Osama bin Laden is rooted in oil and his family’s government connections. Before his death in a 1968 plane crash, Osama’s father, Mohammed bin Laden, made a fortune off construction contracts awarded by the Saudi royal family. The $5 billion per year construction conglomerate, known as the Binladin Group (the company uses another spelling of the name) remains closely tied to the Saudi royal family.
After the death of Mohammed bin Laden, control of the company passed to Salem bin Laden, Osama’s half brother. The roots of the first known Bush-bin Laden convergence date back to the mid-1970s, when the two clans were linked by a Houston businessman named James R. Bath. … By 1976, when Gerald Ford appointed the elder George Bush as CIA director, Bath was acting as a business agent for Salem bin Laden’s interests in Texas. …
After W. lost a bid for Congress, he decided to launch an oil company in Midland in 1979. For $50,000, Bath bought a 5 percent stake in W.’s Arbusto (Spanish for “Bush”) partnerships. At the time, Bath also served as business agent for several prominent Saudis, including Salem bin Laden. In exchange for a percentage of the deals, Bath made U.S. investments for these clients in his own name, according to Time. Although Bath has said that he invested his own money in Arbusto, not Saudi money, the fact that he was Salem’s agent at the time has fueled speculation that Osama bin Laden’s eldest brother was an early investor in W.’s first oil venture. It was around the time of this investment, incidentally, that Osama bin Laden made his first trip to the Khyber Pass, where he would soon join the Mujaheddin and the CIA in the holy war that expelled the Soviets from Afghanistan. (Salem, for his part, owned a house in Marble Falls, and died in a 1988 plane crash near San Antonio.) Andrew Wheat, The Bush-bin Laden Connection, Texas Observer, November 9, 2001)
The Bush-bin Laden Relationship: Flash Forward to September 10, 2001
Despite his family ties and links to the Royal Saudi household, Osama bin Laden was officially considered ”a disgrace” to members of the bin Laden family, who reluctantly provided him with “pocket money”, which was used to develop Al Qaeda (The Base). He was referred to as a “Black Sheep”.
Its all part of a “good guys project” of going after Osama, the “Black Sheep”, and waging the “Global War on Terrorism”.
There is nothing wrong, therefore, in socializing and doing business with family members of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, including the late Salem bin Laden and Shafiq bin Laden of the Carlyle Group.
Flash Forward to September 10, 2001. The Bush-bin Laden Relationship prevails. Confirmed by the Washington Post, “fellow investors” of the Carlyle Group Osama’s brother Shafiq bin Laden and former President H.G.W. Bush met at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on September 10, 2001, one day before 9/11, (see image below):
It didn’t help that as the World Trade Center burned on Sept. 11, 2001, the news interrupted a Carlyle business conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel here attended by a brother of Osama bin Laden [Shafiq bin Laden]. Former president Bush [senior, see image below], a fellow investor, had been with him at the conference the previous day. (Greg Schneider, Pairing the Powerful With the Rich, Washington Post, March 16, 2003)
Lest we forget, Osama bin Laden was the alleged architect of the 9/11 attacks, yet his brother Shafiq bin Laden was meeting up with the presidents’s dad, former president George H. W. Bush on September 10, 2001.
A day later, on the evening of September 11, 2001, president George W. Bush pronounced a historic speech in which he defined the relationship between “terrorists’ and “state sponsors of terrorism”:
The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I’ve directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.
Needless to say Osama’s brother Shafiq and members of the bin Laden family were flown out of Washington in government planes in the immediate wake of 9/11.
Where was Osama bin Laden on September 10, 2001
Ironically, on September 10th while brother Shafiq bin Laden and George Bush Senior were meeting at the Ritz Carleton, the alleged 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden was undergoing treatment for his kidney condition at the Urology War of Pakistan’s military hospital in Rawalpindi. (according to Dan Rather, CBS News Report).
Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.
Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into this military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment. On that night, says this medical worker who wanted her identity protected, they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them. She says it was treatment for a very special person. The special team was obviously up to no good.
“The military had him surrounded,” says this hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, “and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time,” he says, “I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.” Those who know bin Laden say he suffers from numerous ailments, back and stomach problems. Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively on the Taliban, says the military was often there to help before 9/11.
AHMED RASHID, TALIBAN EXPERT: There were reports that Pakistani intelligence had helped the Taliban buy dialysis machines. And the rumor was that these were wanted for Osama bin Laden.
PETERSEN (on camera): Doctors at the hospital told CBS News there was nothing special about that night, but they refused our request to see any records. Government officials tonight denied that bin Laden had any medical treatment on that night.
PETERSEN: The United States has no way of knowing who in Pakistan`s military or intelligence supported the Taliban or Osama bin Laden maybe up to the night before 9/11 by arranging dialysis to keep him alive. So the United States may not know if those same people might help him again perhaps to freedom.
What this CBS report, which has largely been overlooked by analysts, suggests is that:
1) Pakistan’s Military Intelligence (ISI), which is in permanent liaison with the CIA, was complicit in protecting Osama bin Laden.
2) If the CBS report by Dan Rather is accurate and Osama had indeed been admitted to the Pakistani military hospital on September 10, 2001, courtesy of America’s ally, in all probability, his whereabouts were known to US officials.
3) The hospital was directly under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Military, which has close links to the Pentagon. U.S. military advisers based in Rawalpindi. work closely with the Pakistani Armed Forces. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive, but then maybe bin Laden was serving another “better purpose”. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld claimed at the time that Osama’s whereabout were unknown: “Its like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.
Needless to say, the CBS report was a crucial piece of information in the 9/11 jigsaw. It refuted the administration’s claim that the whereabouts of bin Laden were unknown. It pointed to a Pakistan connection, it also suggested a cover-up at the highest levels of the Bush administration.
Bush and the “State Sponsors of Terrorism”
Ironically, in a subsequent address to the joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate on September 20, 2001, president George W. Bush stated unequivocally his administration’s intent to “pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism”, with no exceptions (e.g. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan)
Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make.
“We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make.
Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.)
From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime [state sponsor of terrorism]. President George W. Bush, 20 September 2001 (emphasis added)
What both presidents Bush and Obama have failed to acknowledge is that America’s staunched ally Saudi Arabia, not to mention Turkey and Israel are financing and supporting the terrorists, in liaison with Washington.
Both Bush and Obama seem to be caught up in the contradictions of their own political rhetoric, the “either you are with us or you are with the terrorists” conundrum:
“I am with myself and I am also with the terrorists”
Flash Forward to March 2011: “New Normal” and the War on Syria: Supporting “Moderate Terrorists”
With the war on Syria (2011- ), establishing political ties with “State sponsors of terrorism” is considered to be part of a “New Normal”, a humanitarian endeavor intent upon unseating the secular government of Bashar al Assad and spreading American democracy throughout the Middle East.
John Kerry concurs: financial aid to Syria’s Al Nusrah, an affiliate of Al Qaeda is part of an R2P mandate.
There are now “‘good guy terrorists” and “bad guy terrorists”. Financial aid is channeled to Al Qaeda “good guy terrorists” to protect Syrians against the terrorists (New York Times, April 20, 2013)
Barack Obama, John Kerry, John McCain: Are They “Terror Suspects”?
Now let us examine in more detail the Al Nusrah Front, which constitutes the main rebel fighting force in Syria. Al Nusrah is affiliated to Al Qaeda. The leader of Al Nusrah, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, has pledged his allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who replaced Osama bin Laden after his death.
According to the State Department Bureau of Counter-terrorism, Jabhat al Nusrah, the main rebel force in Syria is a terrorist organization, an affiliate of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).
The State Department has issued a “prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with, al-Nusrah Front, and
the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of U.S. persons.” (emphasis added). It is understood that US State Department Counter-terrorism policy also applies to “state sponsors of terrorism”.
Al Nusrah is financed by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel in close consultation with NATO and the Pentagon.
The Obama administration has openly confirmed its support for the Syrian rebels with most of this aid channeled to Al Nusrah.
US Senator John McCain is reported to have met up with jihadist terrorist leaders in Syria. (see picture right)
The Role of Israel: State Sponsor of Al Nusrah and the Islamic State (ISIS)
Jihadist fighters have met Israeli IDF officers as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu. The IDF top brass acknowledges that “global jihad elements inside Syria” [ISIL and Al Nusrah] are supported by State of Israel. See image below:
image. “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon next to a wounded mercenary, Israeli
military field hospital at the occupied Golan Heights’ border with Syria, 18 February 2014″.
Xenophobia: The Demonization of Muslims
The US president and his NATO allies, not to mention Bejamin Netanyahu, “R the Terrorists”, they are the “state sponsors of terrorism.”.
Obama’s “counter-terrorism” campaign against the Islamic State has contributed to the demonization of Muslims, who in the eyes of Western public opinion are increasingly associated with the jihadists.
Anybody who dares to question the validity of the “Global War on Terrorism” is branded a terrorist and subjected to the anti-terrorist laws.
The ultimate objective of the “Global War on Terrorism” is to subdue the citizens, totally depoliticize social life in America, prevent people from thinking and conceptualizing, from analyzing facts and challenging the legitimacy of the inquisitorial social order which rules America.
The Obama Administration has imposed a diabolical consensus with the support of its allies, not to mention the complicit role of the United Nations Security Council. The Western media has embraced the consensus; it has described the Islamic State as an independent entity, an outside enemy which threatens the Western World.
France has initiated a hate campaign against French Muslims, who represent approximately ten percent of France’s population.
While France mourns the victims of the Charlie Hebdo January 2015 attacks, the French government under the helm of president Francois Hollande is supporting as well as funding Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists in the Middle East and North Africa in liaison with the US, NATO and Israel:
With the recent attack in Paris likely the work of the very terrorists France has been arming and backing across North Africa and the Middle East, the French government itself stands responsible, guilty of the continued material support of a terrorist organization that has now killed French citizens, including two police officers, not only on French soil, but within the French capital itself. (Tony Cartalucci, Global Research, January 8, 2015)
Ironically, while the French media in chorus point to “Freedom of Expression” in journalism, not a single French media has had the courage of pointing to the issue of State sponsorship of terrorism by the French Republic.
The Urgency of World Peace
The antiwar movement in several Western countries is in crisis. Some of America’s wars are condemned outright, while others are heralded as “humanitarian interventions”. A significant segment of the US antiwar movement condemns the war but endorses the campaign against international terrorism, which constitutes the backbone of US military doctrine.
Historically, progressive social movements in Western countries (including the World Social Forum) have been infiltrated, their leaders co-opted and manipulated, through the corporate funding of non-governmental organizations, trade unions and political parties. The ultimate purpose of “funding dissent” is to prevent the protest movement from challenging the legitimacy of the capitalist elites.
The “Just War” theory (Jus Ad Bellum) has served to camouflage the nature of US foreign policy, while providing a human face to the invaders. The logic behind the “Global War on Terrorism” is that of a Just War. It is portrayed as a counter-terrorism initiative rather than outright military operation.
A large segment of “progressive” opinion in the US and Western Europe is supportive of NATO’s R2P “humanitarian” mandate (Responsibility to Protect) to the extent that these war plans are being carried out with the “rubber stamp” of civil society.
Prominent “progressive” authors as well independent media outlets have supported regime change and NATO sponsored humanitarian intervention in Libya. Similarly, many “progressive voices” rallied in support of the US-NATO sponsored opposition in Syria.
Let us be under no illusions: This pseudo-progressive discourse is an instrument of propaganda. Several prominent “left” intellectuals –who claim to be opposed to US imperialism– have supported the imposition of “no fly zones” and “humanitarian interventions” against sovereign countries.
“Progressives” are funded and co-opted by elite foundations including Ford, Rockefeller, et al. The corporate elites have sought to fragment the people’s movement into a vast “do it yourself” mosaic. War and globalization are no longer in the forefront of civil society activism. Activism tends to be piecemeal. There is no integrated anti-globalization anti-war movement. The economic crisis is not seen as having a relationship to the US led war.
Dissent has been compartmentalized. Separate “issue oriented” protest movements (e.g. environment, anti-globalization, peace, women’s rights, climate change) are encouraged and generously funded as opposed to a cohesive mass movement. This mosaic was already prevalent in the counter G7 summits and People’s Summits of the 1990s.
In numerous organizations including the trade union movement, the grassroots is betrayed by their leaders who are co-opted. The money trickles down from the corporate foundations, setting constraints on grassroots actions. Its called “manufacturing dissent”. Many of these NGO leaders are committed and well meaning individuals acting within a framework which sets the boundaries of dissent. The leaders of these movements are often co-opted, without even realizing that as a result of corporate funding their hands are tied.
In recent history, with the exception of Iraq, the so-called Western left namely “Progressives” have paid lip service to US-NATO military interventions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. “Progressives” also support the official 9/11 version of events. They deny 9/11 Truth.
“Progressives” acknowledge that the US was under attack on 9/11 and that the war on Afghanistan was a “Just War”. In the case of Afghanistan, the “self-defense” argument was accepted at face value as a legitimate response to the 9/11 attacks, without examining the fact that the US administration had not only supported the “Islamic terror network”, it was also instrumental in the installation of the Taliban government in 1995-96. It was tacitly implied that by supporting al Qaeda, Afghanistan had attacked America on September 11, 2001.
In 2001, when Afghanistan was bombed and later invaded, “progressive” organizations largely upheld the administration’s “just cause” military doctrine. In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement against the illegal invasion of Afghanistan was isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Media disinformation prevailed. People were misled as to the nature and objectives underlying the invasion of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden and the Taliban were identified as the prime suspects of the 9/11 attacks, without a shred of evidence and without addressing the historical relationship between Al Qaeda and the US intelligence apparatus (as outlined above). In this regard, understanding 9/11 is crucial in formulating a consistent antiwar position. 9/11 is the pillar of US war propaganda; it sustains the illusion of an outside enemy, it justifies pre-emptive military intervention, it is the cornerstone of xenophobia and the hate campaign directed against Muslims.
With regard to Syria, from the outset in 2011, “progressives” and mainstream “antiwar” organizations have supported so-called opposition forces without acknowledging that the mainstay of these forces is composed of Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists, recruited, trained and financed by US-NATO and their allies including Israel, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
These antiwar groups, which previously supported NATO intervention in Libya, blame the Syrian government for the atrocities committed by the US sponsored Al Qaeda rebels.
Rebuilding the Antiwar Movement
What is required is to rebuild a mass movement. And this cannot be undertaken by organizations which are supported of corporate foundations and charities.
The social base as well as the organizational structure of the antiwar movement must be transformed. America’s “Long War” is an imperialist project which sustains the financial structures and institutional foundations of the capitalist World Order. Behind this military agenda are powerful corporate interests including an extensive propaganda apparatus.
War and the Economic Crisis are intimately related. The Worldwide imposition of neoliberal macro-economic policy measures is part of the broader imperial agenda. And consequently, the broader movement against neoliberalism must be integrated into the anti-war movement.
Breaking the “Big Lie” which presents war as a humanitarian undertaking, means breaking a criminal project of global destruction, in which the quest for profit is the overriding force. This profit-driven military agenda destroys human values and transforms people into unconscious zombies.
The holding of mass demonstrations and antiwar protests is not enough. What is required is the development of a broad and well-organized grassroots antiwar network, across the land, nationally and internationally, which challenges the structures of power and authority as well as the nature of the capitalist World order. People must mobilize not only against the military agenda – the authority of the state and its officials must also be challenged.
A meaningful anti-war movement requires breaking the “war on terrorism” consensus and upholding 9/11 Truth. To reverse the tide of war and globalization requires a massive campaign of networking and outreach to inform people across the land, nationally and internationally, in neighborhoods, workplaces, parishes, schools, universities and municipalities, on the nature of the imperial project, its military and economic dimensions, not to mention the dangers of a US sponsored nuclear war. This movement must also occur within the Armed Forces (including NATO) with a view to challenging the legitimacy of the military agenda.
The message should be loud and clear:
The US and its allies are behind the Al Qaeda and Islamic State terrorists who have committed countless atrocities against civilians on the specific instructions of the Western military alliance,
China and Russia are not a threat to Global Security. Neither are Syria, Iran or North Korea a threat to World Peace. Quite the opposite. The threat to Global Security emanates from the Pentagon and the US State Department.
What has to be achieved:
Reveal the criminal nature of this military project. War is a criminal undertaking under Nuremberg. It is the ultimate “Crime against the Peace”.
Undermine war propaganda, reveal the media lies, reverse the tide of disinformation, wage a consistent campaign against the corporate media. Bear in mind war propaganda is also considered a criminal act under the Nuremberg protocol
Break the legitimacy of the warmongers in high office. Indict political leaders for war crimes.
Dismantle the multibillion dollar national intelligence apparatus.
Dismantle the US-sponsored military adventure and its corporate sponsors. Bring home the troops.
Repeal the illusion that the state is committed to protecting its citizens.
Uphold 9/11 Truth. Reveal the falsehoods behind 9/11 which are used to justify the Middle East/Central Asian war under the banner of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT).
Expose how a profit-driven war serves the vested interests of the banks, the defense contractors, the oil giants, the media giants and the biotech conglomerates.
Challenge the corporate media which deliberately obfuscates the causes and consequences of this war.
Reveal and take cognizance of the unspoken and tragic outcome of a war waged with nuclear weapons.
Call for the Dismantling of NATO.
Reorganize the system of international justice which protects the war criminals. Implement the prosecution of war criminals in high office.
Close down the weapons assembly plants and implement the foreclosure of major weapons producers.
Close down all US military bases in the US and around the world.
Develop an antiwar movement within the armed forces and establish bridges between the armed forces and the civilian antiwar movement.
Forcefully pressure governments of both NATO and non-NATO countries to withdraw from the US-led global military agenda.
Develop a consistent antiwar movement in Israel. Inform the citizens of Israel of the likely consequences of a US-NATO-Israeli attack on Iran.
Target the pro-war lobby groups including the pro-Israeli groups in the US.
Dismantle the homeland security state. Repeal the legitimacy of Obama’s extrajudicial assassinations. Repeal the drone wars directed against civilians.
Undermine the “militarization of law enforcement”.
Reverse the gamut of anti-terrorist legislation in Western countries which is intended to repeal fundamental civil rights.
These are no easy tasks. They require an understanding of the power structure, of hegemonic relations between the military, intelligence, the state structures and corporate powers which are promoting this destructive agenda.
Ultimately these power relations must be undermined with a view to changing the course of World history.
Without war propaganda and media disinformation, war criminals in high office do not have leg to stand on. Without the mainstream media’s lies and fabrications, the legitimacy of the “Global War on Terrorism” would collapse like a deck of cards.
This text was presented to the Forum on America’s War on Terror and the Urgency of World Peace: Its Ramification in the Philippines.
Social Sciences, University of the Philippines (UP-Cebu), in cooperation with Cebu Educators Forum (CEF), National Union of Students of the Philippines, (NUSP), National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, Visayas (NUSP), NUJP, Cebu Archdiocese, Peace Solidarity Movement, Cebu.
The G-20 summit of world political leaders being held in Turkey to discuss the economic issues impacting on the world economy has been turned into a council of war. The major imperialist powers are moving rapidly to escalate their military intervention in Syria in the wake of Friday night’s terror attack in Paris.
President Vladimir Putin says he’s shared Russian intelligence data on Islamic State financing with his G20 colleagues: the terrorists appear to be financed from 40 countries, including some G20 member states.
Just it was in the wake of 9/11, the people of the world are being provoked, agitated and mobilized; the fear, horror, rage and shock channeled and shaped into wave of collective vengeance and hatred. Hatred towards what and whom?
The SAA, the National Defense Forces (NDF) and the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) made several advances in the northern of the Dara’a province after making another push to reenter the town of Sheikh Miskeen on Saturday. According to the field reports, the Syrian forces captured the northern farms of Sheikh Miskeen, and the Water Resource Facility after a series of intense firefights against of the vestiges of the Free Syrian Army’s “Southern Front Brigades”. Now, the government’s forces are in position to launch an advance on the town of Sheikh Miskeen. The town of Nawa will likely become the next target of the SAA if Sheikh Miskeen is captured.
The Syrian forces are continuing operations in Southern Aleppo. Considering the reinforcements noted by SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence on Nov. 13, the government’s spearhead at the sector consists of the SAA, Hezbollah, the NDF, the Ba’ath Battalions, the Iraqi paramilitary groups of Harakat Al-Nujaba and Kataeb Hezbollah, and a joint Iranian and Afghani paramilitary force of Firqa Fatayyemoun.
Over the last 3 days, the joint pro-government forces have captured the towns of Al-Hadher and Tal Al-‘Eiss aiming to approach the Damascus-Aleppo highway from the eastern flank. They captured approximately 408 square kilometers of territory in southern Aleppo. The SAA and their allies are now approaching the northeastern part of the Idlib province. The Syrian government lost this area during the militants’ offensive in summer 2012.
On Saturday Syrian moderate terrorists’ sources claimed that they had killed Iranian al Qods chief, the commander of Iranian forces in Iraq and Syria, Gen. Qassem Soleiman, in the fighting east of Aleppo. This statement isn’t confirmed by any other sources. The terrorists say they located the Iranian general’s movements by means of intelligence and struck his car with a TOW missile, killing him and three other Iranian commanders, Masoud Askari, Mahmud Dahakan and Ahmed Rajai. If it’s confirmed it would count as a significant lose for the pro-government’s officer personnel at the battlefield.
The US think tanks argue that the “Syrian Democratic Forces” offensive along the Syria-Iraq border, toward the town of al-Hawl has become an epic success for the US-backed forces. Accordin to them, the SDF captured more than 36 villages and six border posts and partially surrounded al-Hawl. The push toward al-Hawl is part of a broader attempt by U.S.-backed forces to squeeze ISIS out of large swaths of the border region and reduce the number of border crossings in the group’s control. The effort should complicate ISIS logistics.
Considering the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces” is, de-facto, Syrian Kurds partly supported by separate US-backed Sunni units, it becomes hard to confirm the victorious statements which support the Kurds offensive. In previous reports, SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence noted that the White House urgently needs a significant success at the Syrian-Iraq battlespace. So, we should expect some “extravagance” in description of the US-backed efforts by main stream media and think tanks.
While global demand for the world’s most popular metal – aluminium – continues to rise, it is critical that the aluminium industry address its environmental and social impacts, particularly in indigenous peoples’ territories, according to new report published today by Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Forest Peoples Programme (FFP) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
With many of the world’s bauxite mines, and the rivers used to generate power for its processing, located in or near indigenous peoples’ territories, the aluminium industry needs to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples are respected and protected, as outlined in the UN Declaration of on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said the authors, who are participating in the UN Business and Human Rights Forum taking place here from 16-18 November.
The report, Mining, the Aluminium Industry and Indigenous Peoples: Enhancing Corporate Respect for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, provides a global overview of the challenges facing indigenous peoples, and presents five case studies from Australia, Cambodia, Guinea, India and Suriname. The case studies reveal that indigenous communities are affected by primary production activities, such as mining and associated infrastructure (Australia, India, Guinea, Suriname), and by secondary processes such as smelting and energy production used to sustain operations (India, Suriname).
The publication is intended to inform the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative’s new voluntary industry standard, which includes requiring certified companies to adhere to key principles concerning the rights of indigenous peoples, including obtaining Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) “where new projects or major changes to existing projects may have significant impacts on the Indigenous peoples associated culturally with and living on the relevant lands.”
“The lack of respect for indigenous peoples’ rights particularly to their lands, territories and resources, and to decide on the development that they want, is found in all stages of the mining and hydroelectric projects — from initial project planning to concession insurance, operations and project closure. In areas where there is an ongoing conflict, these injustices are often magnified,” said Joan Carling, Secretary General of AIPP. “Indigenous communities must be able to define the terms and conditions of their engagement with the industry as well as develop their own technical capacity.”
FFP Director Joji Cariño added:
“As many indigenous territories are located in areas of rich biodiversity and natural resources, governments have often neglected indigenous peoples’ rights in the name of externally defined ‘national interest’, which makes the ASI’s inclusion of a requirement to obtain the consent of indigenous peoples particularly welcome. Going forward, governments must create a more secure, enabling environment that supports the right of indigenous peoples to self-determined development, including full control over sub-soil resources and full participation in any discussions regarding the development of such resources.”
“This report underscores the serious challenges facing the aluminium industry – and mining in general – by examining its historical legacies with regard to indigenous peoples and identifying some positive steps that can be taken across the sector,” said Giulia Carbone of IUCN, which also contributed to the study. “By creating a consistent approach to indigenous peoples’ rights, the ASI Standard can help companies improve their environmental and social impacts in areas that are most at risk.”
For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
Funded by the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), the report is one of the main outcomes of an Indigenous Peoples’ Expert Meeting on the ASI Performance Standard, held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in August 2015, where participants recommended publishing their experiences with the aluminium industry, along with guidance on FPIC and the identification of indigenous peoples.
ASI was launched in 2012 by key players in the aluminium industry. For two years until August 2015, IUCN served as a coordinator of a multi-stakeholder process that involved representatives from industry and NGOs, including FFP, and led to the creation of the first ASI Performance Standard. ASI is now an independent organisation. For more information, see: www.aluminium-stewardship.org
About Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
AIPP is a regional organization founded in 1988 by indigenous peoples’ movements and is committed to the cause of promoting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights and human rights and articulating issues of relevance to indigenous peoples. AIPP has 47 members from 14 countries in Asia with 14 National Formations, 15 Sub-national Formations and 18 Local Formations. Of this number, six are Indigenous Women’s Organizations and four are Indigenous Youth Organizations.
FPP was founded in 1990 in response to the forest crisis, specifically to support indigenous forest peoples’ struggles to defend their lands and livelihoods. FPP supports the rights of peoples who live in forests and depend on them for their livelihoods and works to create political space for forest peoples to secure their rights, control their lands and decide their own futures.
If the U.S. President were not a mythical position but a serious job, the job interview would include asking the candidates their basic plans of action. This would start with, “What will you encourage Congress to spend a couple of trillion dollars on each year?”
At the moment, about half of federal discretionary spending is spent on one thing, militarism. A basic budget proposal from each candidate would tell us whether they think military spending should go up or down. Some of the Republicans have blurted out that they want it increased. Marco Rubio has lamented a failure to spend $100 billion more, suggesting that he would push for that increase. Rand Paul has denounced that idea, suggesting that he’d maintain or reduce military spending. But none of them has actually laid out a proposed budget in even the roughest terms.
The Democrats have avoided the subject even more. When forced to talk about the military, Senator Bernie Sanders has talked about waste and audits but left us completely in the dark as to what level he thinks spending should be. This is odd, because he talks about creating significant new spending all the time, for things like free college. But he never proposes to pay for such projects by pinching a bit from the military; he always proposes to tax billionaires — which is always criticized by the media as severely and nonsensically as a proposal to cut the military would be.
CBS hosted a debate this weekend, and I thank them for actually posting a full transcript and a full video that can be fast-forwarded. This allows an interested person to not actually watch the god-awful thing, but to read it and watch the bits that the transcriber marked “unintelligible” or the bits that require particular attention.
Here are a few segments worth paying attention to:
SANDERS: “I think we have a disagreement. And– the disagreement is that not only did I vote against the war in Iraq, if you look at history, John, you will find that regime change– whether it was in the early ’50s in Iran, whether it was toppling Salvador Allende in Chile or whether it was overthrowing the government [of] Guatemala way back when– these invasions, these– these toppling of governments, regime changes have unintended consequences. I would say that on this issue I’m a little bit more conservative than the secretary.”
That’s new and useful. If the U.S. were to stop overthrowing governments, most of the U.S. military could be dismantled. Here’s where Sanders finally mentions the military budget:
SANDERS: “Let me pick up an issue that– a very important issue that we have not yet discussed. This nation is the most powerful military in the world. We’re spending over $600 billion a year on the military. [He means just in the Department of so-called Defense alone, not counting Homeland Security, State, Energy, etc.] And yet significantly less than 10% of that money is used to be fighting international terrorism. We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars maintaining 5,000 nuclear weapons. I think we need major reform in the military making it more cost effective but also focusing on the real crisis that faces us. The Cold War is over and our focus has got to be on intelligence, increased manpower, fighting international terrorism.”
The upside here is that Sanders pointed out the military price-tag — and perhaps the idea of reducing or eliminating the nukes. The downside is that he didn’t suggest cutting militarism. He didn’t suggest moving money away from militarism. He only proposed to move money, from place to place, within the field of militarism. When asked later about taxing people to pay for college, Sanders failed to mention cutting military spending.
Wanting “cost-effective” military spending, of course, means getting good killing power for your buck. Sanders wants to kill; he just wants to spend as little on it as possible. Whether he ultimately wants military spending reduced, increased, or kept at its current level we just don’t know. He talks up foreign evils and the need to fight them enough that one could as reasonably guess he wants an increase as a decrease. But one way in which Sanders wants to be “cost-effective” is by getting other nations to fight wars. Since most of these other nations are armed largely with U.S. weapons, he may also think this is good for business:
“The– the secretary’s obviously right. It is enormously complicated. But here’s something that I believe we have to do is we put together an international coalition. And that is we have to understand that the Muslim nations in the region, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, all of these nations, they’re gonna just have to get their hands dirty, their boots on the ground. They are gonna have to take on ISIS. This is a war for the soul of Islam. And those countries who are opposed to Islam, they are gonna have to get deeply involved in a way that is not the case today. We should be supportive of that effort. So should the UK, so should France. But those Muslim countries are gonna have to lead the efforts. They are not doing it now.”
Elsewhere in the debate he said the U.S. should “lead.” Here he wants the “Muslim nations” that “are opposed to Islam” to “get their hands dirty.” Saudi Arabia is slaughtering children in Yemen with U.S. weapons, beheading children at home, funding the terrorists Bernie wants it to take the lead in destroying, and shipping poison to the world in the form of oil that will render Saudi Arabia uninhabitable this century. That’s not “dirty” enough?
The potential plus side of Sanders always saying he wants someone else to fight wars, even if he doesn’t understand who would fight on which side, is that it suggests he might not want the U.S. to fight as many wars. If you contrast that with Hillary Clinton’s eagerness to be the toughest militarist on the planet, Bernie wins. If you contrast it with a sane sustainable foreign policy, he loses. If you try to figure out what he actually wants to do in any sort of detail, you clearly have not understood what the point of these horrible debates is.
There has been a massive outpouring of sympathy for the victims of the dastardly, heinous massacre in Paris on 13 November 2015. Once again, with the help of the media, the whole of the human family has come together to grieve with the bereaved in France.
I only wish there was a fraction of that sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of victims of acts of terrorism right across West Asia and North Africa (WANA) in the last few decades. In many instances these innocent men, women and children were also the targets of the terrorist group, the Islamic State (IS), the alleged mastermind behind the Paris carnage, and other equally vicious perpetrators of violence. But IS terrorism in WANA is seldom analyzed to its roots in the mainstream global media because it would reveal the ugly truth about the hidden hands that manipulate so much of the murder and mayhem in that region.
To understand the IS’s role today, one has to go back to the Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, the second greatest calamity to befall WANA, after the imposition of the entity called Israel upon the region in 1948. The occupation of Iraq and the ouster of Saddam Hussein was followed by the dismantling of the country’s security apparatus which deprived tens of thousands soldiers and police personnel of their livelihood who later became a fertile recruitment base for Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Their anger and resentment peaked when parliamentary elections in December 2005 produced a Shia-led government (the Shias are the majority community in Iraq) which was perceived by many Sunnis as biased against them. Sunni terrorist activities spearheaded by Al-Qaeda received covert support from individuals and groups in other WANA states such as Saudi Arabia who feared growing Shia, and therefore, Iranian influence in the region. Israel, which since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran was totally antagonistic towards Iran for whom the liberation of the Palestinian people was a foreign policy priority, was also determined to curb the rise of Iran. Given Israel’s position, it was not surprising that the US which a few years earlier had overthrown a Sunni leader was now quietly aiding and abetting Sunni insurgents. It is worth noting that under Saddam there was not a single Al-Qaeda terrorist cell in Iraq.
It was a breakaway group from Al-Qaeda in Iraq motivated by anti-Shia sentiments that moved into Syria in 2011 to reinforce the armed rebellion against President Bashar Al-Assad, a member of a Shia minority sect ruling a Sunni majority population. The group morphed into IS. The IS and other terrorist outfits such as the Jabhat al-Nusra receive overt and covert support from Sunni states and non-state actors within and without WANA. Apart from arms and money, recruitment networks established in a number of countries from Europe to Africa and to Asia have facilitated the flow of foreign fighters from more than 80 countries into Syria in the last 3 or 4 years. In creating and sustaining this flow, it is alleged that CIA operatives, Mossad infiltrators and M16 agents have played a significant role. They are involved “in overseeing the conduct of terrorist operations on the ground together with Turkish and Qatari special forces, as well as thousands of mercenaries recruited from Muslim countries…”
How does one explain the involvement of so many different groups and states in what are clearly terrorist activities aimed at overthrowing a legitimate government? For many foreign fighters, the visceral hatred for the Shia sect cultivated by Sunni ulama (religious personalities) appears to be a driving force. If anything, Bashar’s brutal suppression of dissent in some situations has intensified this hatred. In the case of the Saudi elites, antagonism towards the Shia is intertwined with resentment against what they perceive as Iran’s growing political clout in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain and Yemen. 15% of the Saudi population itself living mostly in the country’s oil rich province is Shia. Bashar, they know, is Iran’s staunchest ally in the region. In order to stem Iranian influence, some Saudi elites depict their opposition to Iran as an attempt to curb Persian penetration of the Arab heartland. While Qatar may share some of these sentiments, it turned against Bashar partly because he refused to acquiesce with the former’s proposal to build a gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey which would have impacted adversely upon Russia’s supply of gas to Europe.
Turkey from the Ottoman period has regarded Syria as vital to its own security and would have been more comfortable with a leader in Damascus who would willingly share power with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood with which the present Justice and Development (AKP) rulers in Ankara enjoy some affinity. More than Turkey, it is Israel that wants a regime change in Damascus — a change which would lead to the termination of Damascus’s close ties with Iran, on the one hand, and Hezbollah in Lebanon, on the other, the two forces in WANA that remain opposed to Israel’s hegemony over the region. At the same time, it hopes that the exit of Bashar would make it easier for Israel to gain complete control over the strategic Golan Heights which it captured in the 1967 Israel-Arab War. Israel’s agenda has shaped to an extent the US and Western approach towards Syria and the region.
The Obama Administration is determined to get rid of Bashar because it is aware of the role he plays in perpetuating the three way resistance to US and Israeli dominance of WANA expressed through the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah link. What piques Obama even more is that Syria is a strategic ally of Russia which has special naval access to the Mediterranean port of Tartus. In recent months, the Syria-Russia bond has become even stronger.
It is obvious that there is a set of complex factors ranging from the religious to the geopolitical that is responsible for the opposition to Bashar, a significant part of which is related to the politics of hegemony. It is not just in relation to terrorism in Syria that the politics of hegemony is critical. If we examined the three real reasons behind the invasion of Iraq in 2003 which sired the current pattern of terrorism in WANA they are all connected to hegemony — the US desire to control Iraqi oil; Iraq’s strategic location in WANA; and Israel’s desire to eliminate an Arab leader who was not only passionately committed to the Palestinian cause but also uncompromisingly opposed to Israeli hegemony. Indeed, hegemony is at the root of the chaotic mess that prevails in yet another Arab country today. It was because of the West’s quest for control over Libyan oil and to thwart Muamar Gaddafi’s plan for economic self-reliance and political integration for Africa that NATO chose to liquidate him in 2011. His liquidation has opened the way to intense competition for power among contending terrorist groups. If we go back in history it was the contest for hegemony between the US and the demised Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) over Afghanistan in the nineteen eighties that gave birth to terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda.
Even if we took another in-depth look at the Paris carnage it is undeniable that France has become a target of the IS because of its military interventions in a number of states from Syria, Iraq and Libya in WANA to Chad, Mali and Ivory Coast. It appears that France wants to play a more dominant role in both West Asia and Africa in pursuit of its own hegemonic agenda. This has earned it the ire of a lot of Muslims and Africans.
This is why it will not be possible to eliminate terrorism unless there is a concerted attempt to overcome hegemony at the global level. Citizens within the hegemonic centres of power in particular will have to stand up and demand that their governments cease overt and covert military operations in other countries. Government leaders should know that they cannot denounce terrorism at the rhetorical level and yet hobnob with terrorist organizations in terms of realpolitik. They should be persuaded through the democratic process to abandon their hegemonic agendas forever. Respecting the independence and sovereignty of other nations and peoples should be a principle that is put into practice rather than preached from a rostrum.
This does not mean that if global hegemony ends, terrorism will disappear altogether. There are many other causes of terrorism which will have to be combatted with resolute vigour. Nonetheless, a global movement against global hegemony with the focus upon terrorism is the need of the hour.
Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
Farmland fund investing in Brazil is managed by TIAA-CREF of New York City
Farm acquisitions tied to Brazilian businessman accused of violent land grabbing and involvement in money laundering scheme
Farms acquired in Brazil by way of a company structure that evades regulations on foreign investment
TIAA-CREF and pension fund investors contravening the international principles of farmland investment that they developed
A New York company managing the retirement savings of workers in Sweden, the US and Canada is evading Brazilian laws on foreign investment to acquire farmlands from a businessman accused of violently displacing local communities, according to a new report, released today by Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos, GRAIN, Inter Pares, and Solidarity Sweden – Latin America.
The investigative report, entitled “Foreign Pension Funds and Land Grabbing in Brazil,” exposes how Swedish, US and Canadian pension funds have acquired farmlands in Brazil by way of a local businessman accused of using violence and fraud to displace small farmers.
The pension funds have been investing in Brazil through a global farmland fund called TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture LLC (TCGA). The fund is managed by the New York-based Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF). Those investing in the fund include TIAA-CREF, the Second Swedish National Pension Fund (AP2) and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDP) and the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC) of Canada.
Instead of supporting Omot, his former employer the World Bank has said little about his case and continues to bankroll the Ethiopian government, as do the governments of the US, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Canada.
“For years these pension funds have refused to provide specifics on their land deals in Brazil, saying that we should trust in their due diligence procedures,” says Annelie Andersson of Solidarity Sweden – Latin America.
“It took three years of investigative work to find the location of some of the farms the pension funds acquired, and what we found contravenes the principles for responsible farmland investment that these companies claim to follow.”
TIAA-CREF is a founder of the Principles of Responsible Investment in Farmland and the largest institutional investor in farmland globally. It claims to follow strict procedures to verify the title of the lands it acquires and it says that all of its farm properties in Brazil were acquired in compliance with federal and local laws protecting aboriginal heritage and indigenous community rights.
The report; however, shows how TIAA-CREF and the other pension funds acquired several farms in the southern parts of the states of Maranhão and Piauí, where land conflicts and land grabbing are rife, and that these acquisitions were made from a businessman accused of using force and assassinations to acquire lands in the area.
“Through our research into official documents and interviews with local authorities and communities where the pension funds have acquired farms, we were able to determine that these foreign pension funds acquired several farms by way of a businessman who is accused of illegally acquiring large areas of land in the area,” says Fábio Pitta of the Brazilian organisation, Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos. “This businessman is known to use falsified documents and violence to evict local residents, and federal authorities have connected him to a multi-million dollar system of money laundering and land grabbing.”
Brazilian legislation was developed to prevent foreign investment in farmland on this scale. The report; however, details how the pension funds used a complex company structure and system of debentures that allows them to evade Brazilian regulations.
“People’s hard earned savings in Sweden, Canada and the US are being used to grab lands from small farmers in Brazil and to set up massive industrial farms that poison the local communities with pesticides and rob them of their local water sources,” says Devlin Kuyek of GRAIN. “The communities get nothing in return: no decent jobs, no compensation, and no food because all of it is exported elsewhere.”
“We are deeply disturbed to see the pension funds of workers being used to fund the expansion of a model of industrial agriculture that is so destructive of family farms,” says Kathy Ozer of the National Family Farm Coalition in the US. “This kind of financial speculation is also displacing family farms here in the US and Canada, and it needs to be stopped.”
“The pension funds have deceived the people whose money they manage into believing that they are making socially responsible investments,” says David Bruer of Inter Pares. “They should immediately divest from their farmland investments and ensure that any lands they have acquired illegally or through processes of land grabbing be returned to the local communities.”
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems
The report is available in English here and in French here.
A version of the report in Portuguese produced by Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos is available here.
A call-in press conference is scheduled for November 17 at 9:00 am EST.
To participate in the press conference, please use the following information:
Access code: 982173#
Maria Luisa Mendonça, Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos, +1 510 283 8374, [email protected]
Fábio Pitta, Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos, +1 510 283 8374, [email protected]